Ryan Wu

Ryan Wu


Lawyer and cinephile. Programmer for the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival.

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Recent reviews

  • Purple Noon

    Purple Noon


    Apparently hewing closer to Patricia Highsmith's novel (which sits unread on my bookshelf) than did Anthony Minghella's adaptation, Purple Noon concentrates on the procedural aspects of the crime—the murder, the forging of the fake passport, liquidating his assets, and the like. It didn’t delve into the class envy that so fascinated Minghella. And for those of us who came to The Talented Mr. Ripley first, Purple Noon’s Ripley is quite a departure. He’s not an ingenious improviser committing a crime…

  • Back to the Future Part II

    Back to the Future Part II


    Revisiting this brought to mind one of my favorite recent tweets: "At this point, I think it's safe to assume that no one ever invents time travel with the capacity to go back and warn people."

    Anyway, had completely forgotten that Part II devoted more time outside of the 2015 timeframe than within it. Just as well, as it's in keeping with the trilogy's rather brilliant conceit—the eternal recurrence of the McFly v. Tannen feud, playing out across alternate timelines.…

Popular reviews

  • The Crimson Kimono

    The Crimson Kimono


    Pea Brain: You call this noir? It’s a dopey police procedural, lacking in tension and style, with a last-second revelation that makes absolutely no sense. For my money, this is the weakest entry in Criterion Channel’s Columbia Noir series.

    Normal Brain: Look, the whodunnit is a let down, but it’s a fascinating historical document on representation. How many movies of that era feature an Asian-American co-lead? How many explore the “just how American are you” question at the root of…

  • Paris Blues

    Paris Blues


    Easy to dismiss this as a kind of Guadagnino-ish lifestyle porn of the bohemian ex-pat life, an excuse to parade impossibly beautiful actors by iconic locations as if they’re making ads for the Paris Tourism Board. And those sober and well-adjusted characters, trombone player Ram Bowen (Paul Newman) and tenor saxophonist Eddie Cook (Sidney Poitier), bear no behavioral resemblance to actual Paris-based jazz luminaries like Bud Powell or Dexter Gordon, who continued to battle their personal demons abroad. It’s all…