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Monday, September 15, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 53.0° F  Overcast
The Paper
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Curse of the Golden Flower
Zhang Yimou's follow-up to Hero and House of Flying Daggers

What exactly is Zhang Yimou on? Curse of the Golden Flower, his follow-up to Hero and House of Flying Daggers, is so richly ornate it starts to feel like a hallucination, a trip to the opium den. Set during the Tang Dynasty, when China's royal family descended into various Shakespearean tragedies (shades of King Lear, Macbeth and Othello), the movie turns court intrigue into the stuff of opera, or at least soap opera. And the actors, including Chow Yun-Fat as the ruthless emperor and Gong Li as the wife he's slowly poisoning, are up to the challenge, brewing up a veritable storm of emotions. But it's the settings and costumes that steal the show, that and some dazzling action sequences, including an attack by black-clad ninjas who could wrap Spiderman around their little fingers. Call it eye candy if you want. Just pray it isn't addictive.

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