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Curse of the Golden Flower Reviews


Time Out
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April 12, 2007

St. Louis Post-Dispatch
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February 3, 2007
Joshua Rothkopf
Time Out New York
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Full Review Source: Time Out New York | Original Score: 4/6

February 3, 2007

Arizona Republic
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February 3, 2007
James Berardinelli
ReelViews
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Full Review Source: ReelViews | Original Score: 3/4

February 3, 2007
Andrew Sarris
New York Observer
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To put a point to it, the lavish period costumes, operatic mise-en-scène and ceremonial grandeur of Curse of the Golden Flower clashes fatally with the nuanced nastiness of modern marital discord.

Full Review Source: New York Observer

January 17, 2007
Lisa Kennedy
Denver Post
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For all the swordplay and martial-arts fisticuffs, Curse is its most delirious as a lavish argument for the soap opera's roots in Greek tragedy.

Full Review Source: Denver Post | Original Score: 3/4

January 12, 2007
Robert Denerstein
Denver Rocky Mountain News
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This spectacularly decorated movie offers the enjoyment of watching Zhang chronicle the lives of one very nutty family. It also allows Zhang to load every inch of the screen with images so full that you half expect them to collapse under their own weight.

| Original Score: B

January 12, 2007
Terry Lawson
Detroit Free Press
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Curse is straightforward and solemn, lacking not for spectacle but for humor and a humanizing touch.

Full Review Source: Detroit Free Press | Original Score: 3/4

January 12, 2007
Tom Long
Detroit News
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Make no mistake, all is epic, violent, bloody madness once the director hits his stride, and fans of Zhang's work will not want to miss Curse of the Golden Flower. But brush strokes are amiss here.

Full Review Source: Detroit News | Original Score: B-

January 12, 2007
Peter Debruge
Miami Herald
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The melodrama here is of a sort seldom taken seriously outside Shakespeare's tragedies, and the final body count rivals Hamlet in its royal bloodletting.

Full Review Source: Miami Herald | Original Score: 3/4

January 12, 2007
Roger Moore
Orlando Sentinel
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It's big, it's beautiful, and you won't leave the theater feeling cheated, no matter how much of a letdown the finale might be.

Full Review Source: Orlando Sentinel | Original Score: 4/5

January 12, 2007
Peter Travers
Rolling Stone
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If looks were all it took to thrill, this opulent, near-operatic historical pageant would rank with Zhang Yimou's last two epics.

| Original Score: 3/4

January 12, 2007
Eleanor Ringel Gillespie
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
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Basically, the movie is soap opera done on a grand opera scale -- more Dynasty than Later Tang Dynasty. The immensity of Zhang's vision is eyepopping. Imagine several football fields worth of shimmering golden chrysanthemums.

Full Review Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution | Original Score: B+

January 11, 2007
Richard Roeper
Ebert & Roeper
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It's operatic in its feeling and there's a lot going on here. And there's murders and betrayals, and affairs that are illicit, and women on horse-back and great fight scenes.

January 8, 2007
Owen Gleiberman
Entertainment Weekly
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Curse of the Golden Flower is a watchable soap opera, but its marching-band martial-arts scenes are little more than weakly staged retreads of the ones in Zhang's Hero.

Full Review Source: Entertainment Weekly | Original Score: B-

January 3, 2007
Steven Rea
Philadelphia Inquirer
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...A spectacle for the eyes and for the soul.

| Original Score: 4/4

December 29, 2006
Colin Covert
Minneapolis Star Tribune
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Director Zhang Yimou is aiming for glorious visual, kinetic and emotional overload, and he delivers the goods.

| Original Score: 3.5/4

December 28, 2006
Andrew O'Hehir
Salon.com
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The morbid grandiosity of Curse of the Golden Flower is its own distinctive accomplishment, another remarkable chapter in the career of Asia's most important living filmmaker.

Full Review Source: Salon.com

December 28, 2006
Claudia Puig
USA Today
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The year's most operatic and visually lavish film.

Full Review Source: USA Today | Original Score: 3/4

December 22, 2006
Peter Howell
Toronto Star
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It's a minor wonder that Zhang and his crew manage to make the film as stirring as it is, given the high body count and the general disregard for tender sensibilities.

Full Review Source: Toronto Star | Original Score: 2.5/4

December 22, 2006
Scott Tobias
AV Club
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Few filmmakers could produce so grand a spectacle, but [director] Zhang used to be good for more than just eye candy.

Full Review Source: AV Club | Original Score: B-

December 22, 2006
Moira MacDonald
Seattle Times
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Amidst all of this excess, an actor can too easily disappear, or be reduced to a hanger for a costume. But Gong Li, the standout in the cast, does wonders with her melodramatic role.

Full Review Source: Seattle Times | Original Score: 3/4

December 22, 2006
Ruthe Stein
San Francisco Chronicle
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Its overabundance is more blessing than curse, however, provided you can suspend disbelief over a campy plot and focus on one lush, eye-popping scene after another.

Full Review Source: San Francisco Chronicle | Original Score: 3/4

December 22, 2006
Jack Mathews
New York Daily News
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The ever-luminous Gong Li and the wickedly nonchalant Chow Yun-Fat are wonderful together.

Full Review Source: New York Daily News | Original Score: 3/4

December 22, 2006
Bruce Westbrook
Houston Chronicle
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A dramatic crisis erupts in bloodbaths that are filled with flash but little meaning. As armies clash, the cast also yields to histronic extremes.

Full Review Source: Houston Chronicle | Original Score: 2/4

December 22, 2006
Liam Lacey
Globe and Mail
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Instead of transporting awe, the viewer groans under the weight of Zhang's self-conscious cinematic one-upmanship.

Full Review Source: Globe and Mail | Original Score: 2.5/4

December 22, 2006
Jonathan Rosenbaum
Chicago Reader
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The movie has plenty to engage one's interest but little to sustain it.

Full Review Source: Chicago Reader

December 22, 2006
Wesley Morris
Boston Globe
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As easy as this movie is to watch, it's artificially flavored.

Full Review Source: Boston Globe | Original Score: 2.5/4

December 22, 2006
Bill Stamets
Chicago Sun-Times
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Zhang's script, based on Cao Yu's play, matches outlandish finery with outlandish bloodletting and body counts.

Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times | Original Score: 3.5/4

December 22, 2006
Stephen Whitty
Newark Star-Ledger
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There's only a rich family behaving badly, a kind of Dynasty with swords. And as tantalizing as that concept might sound to some Joan Collins fans, it's not enough to make this worth watching.

Full Review Source: Newark Star-Ledger | Original Score: 2/4

December 21, 2006
V.A. Musetto
New York Post
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Curse of the Golden Flower could also be called Curse of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.

| Original Score: 2/4

December 21, 2006
Kevin Thomas
Los Angeles Times
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A period spectacle, steeped in awesome splendor and lethal palace intrigue, it climaxes in a stupendous battle scene and epic tragedy.

Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times | Original Score: 4/5

December 21, 2006
Stephen Hunter
Washington Post
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It's just a great, old, wild ride at the movies.

Full Review Source: Washington Post

December 21, 2006
Peter Rainer
Christian Science Monitor
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Zhang Yimou's latest extravaganza is about palace intrigue during the Tan Dynasty, and it's exhaustingly action-packed.

Full Review Source: Christian Science Monitor | Original Score: B

December 21, 2006
Gene Seymour
Newsday
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It's all too ludicrous to absorb.

Full Review Source: Newsday | Original Score: 2.5/4

December 21, 2006
Michael Wilmington
Chicago Tribune
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Don't judge the film too quickly, though. It really is like almost nothing you've seen before.

Full Review Source: Chicago Tribune | Original Score: 4/4

December 21, 2006
Jeannette Catsoulis
New York Times
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The Chinese director Zhang Yimou achieves a kind of operatic delirium, opening the floodgates of image and melodrama until the line between tragedy and black comedy is all but erased.

| Original Score: 3.5/5

December 20, 2006
David Chute
L.A. Weekly
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In the end, Curse also looks alarmingly like a dry run for the opening and closing ceremonies Zhang has been hired to direct for the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008.

Full Review Source: L.A. Weekly

December 20, 2006
David Germain
Associated Press
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The stately Gong looks fantastic, the regal Chow looks cruelly calculating. Yet lacking the inner spark a richer script would provide, even they blend into the scenery.

Full Review Source: Associated Press

December 19, 2006
Rob Nelson
Village Voice
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The film's seemingly endless revelations of double- and triple-crosses would play like bad mid-'60s Hollywood epic wanking were it not for Zhang's mise-en-scéne.

Full Review Source: Village Voice

December 19, 2006

TIME Magazine
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It's less soap opera than grand opera, where matters of love and death are played at a perfect fever pitch. And grand this Golden Flower is.

Full Review Source: TIME Magazine

December 11, 2006
Kirk Honeycutt
Hollywood Reporter
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A disappointing misfire from a great director.

November 13, 2006
Robert Koehler
Variety
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Curse of the Golden Flower, Zhang Yimou's strangest and most troubled film, abounds in hysterical, mannered Tang Dynasty-era palace intrigue and dehumanized CGI battle sequences.

Full Review Source: Variety

November 13, 2006
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