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2005's best movies

Our fast-Paised take on the Top 10 films of the year.
More Top 10 lists:
Michael Wilmington
Michael Phillips
Robert K. Elder
Allison Benedikt
fast-paised film

Quick reviews of:
• Big Momma's House 2
• When a Stranger Calls
• Something New
• Imagine Me and You
• The World's Fastest Indian
• The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada
• Going Shopping
• Annapolis
• Nanny McPhee
• Bubble
• The New World
• Last Holiday
• Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World
• The Real Dirt on Farmer John
• Hostel
• Glory Road
• Tristan and Isolde
• Cache
• Rumor Has It...
• Match Point
• The Matador
• Casanova
• Munich
• The Ringer
• Gilles' Wife
• Fun w/Dick and Jane
• Cheaper/Dozen 2
• King Kong
• Brokeback Mountain
• Memoirs of a Geisha
• The Producers
• Syriana
• Chronicles of Narnia
• 39 Pounds of Love
• Aeon Flux
• First Descent
• The Kid & I
• Rent
• The Ice Harvest
• Just Friends
• Harry Potter
• Walk the Line
• Bee Season
• Squid and the Whale
• The Weather Man
• Shopgirl
Plus interviews:
• Sanaa Lathan tries something new
• Albert Brooks looks for comedy
• Hear from the stars of "Glory Road"
• What scares "Hostel" director Eli Roth?
• Our interview with Cameron Crowe
• Celebrity stylist Phillip Bloch turns to acting
• Claire Danes and Jason Schwartzman
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Movies in bold received 4 stars.
39 Pounds Love
A Good Woman
Ballets Russes
Bee Season
Be Here to Love Me
Breakfast on Pluto
Brokeback Mountain
Cafe Lumiere
Cheaper by the Dozen 2
Chicken Little
Christmas in the Clouds
Duane Hopwood
Ellie Parker
Emmanuel's Gift
End of the Spear
Far Side of the Moon
First Descent
Fun with Dick and Jane
Gay Sex in the '70s
Get Rich or Die Tryin'
Gilles' Wife
Glory Road
God's Sandbox
Going Shopping
Good Night, and Good Luck.
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Imagine Me and You
In Her Shoes
Innocent Voices
Just Friends
King Kong
Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang
Kung Fu Hustle
Last Holiday
Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World
Match Point
Memoirs of a Geisha
Mrs. Henderson Presents
Nanny McPhee
Never Been Thawed
Nine Lives
North Country
Paradise Now
Pride & Prejudice
Protocols of Zion
Regular or Super: Views on Mies van der Rohe
Roving Mars
Rumor Has It...
Sarah Silverman: Jesus is Magic
Saw 2
Something New
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
The Dying Gaul
The Family Stone
The Ice Harvest
The Kid & I
The Legend of Zorro
The Matador
The New World
The Passenger
The Producers
The Real Dirt on Farmer John
The Ringer
The Squid and the Whale
The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada
The War Within
The White Countess
The World's Fastest Indian
Tristan and Isolde
Walk the Line
Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit
Where the Truth Lies
Wolf Creek
Yours, Mine and Ours


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Fast-Paised review: ‘Memoirs of a Geisha'

2 ½ hours later, we still want to know: What's a geisha?
rating (out of four)

related stories
Movie review: ‘Memoirs of a Geisha'
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Memoirs of a Geisha
Memoirs of a Geisha
(Sony Pictures)

'Memoirs of a Geisha'  Trailer
'Memoirs of a Geisha' Trailer
(DreamWorks SKG, Sony Pictures Releasing)

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December 5, 2005

Eastern Lore, Western Allure
November 6, 2005

You do the review
Tell us what you think of "Memoirs of a Geisha."

I never read the book either, actually didnt know there was one until i saw the production book of it. Anywho I loved the movie sooo much and have seen it three times already. So the critics themselves must be bores if they cant see a great film at hand.
Submitted by: sean
9:45 PM CST, February 1, 2006
I'm not really a fan of Japanese flicks, and I have to admit I enjoyed this movie.Ü
Submitted by: Denise
7:52 AM CST, January 28, 2006

Make a night of it
Recommended dining
Recommended bars

Big question: Arthur Golden's novel "Memoirs of a Geisha" stroked audience curiosity with the whole submissive/pretty maid thing. Can glammy "Chicago" director Rob Marshall's screen adaptation explore this Japanese subculture provocatively enough to win over folks who don't know the difference between "geisha" and "wasabi"?

Skip it: Presented in English and cast with many non-Japanese actors, "Memoirs of a Geisha" is as authentic as cheeseburger teriyaki. But even more problematic is that, in 144 minutes, Marshall hardly makes an effort to contextualize or investigate a phenomenon in which women insist they are not prostitutes yet auction off their virginity to the highest bidder.

Catch it if: Costume design is your favorite category at the Oscars, and you're undisturbed by the idea of a prepubescent girl falling for a man a few decades her senior. The film's romantic arc is whether these two will end up together later in life. Ick.

Bottom line: "Memoirs of a Geisha" takes a fascinating Far Eastern subject and turns it into an American tale of female subordination, senseless competition and sake-swilling divas. It tries to assert that women have no choice but to submit to servitude and objectification--yet never analyzes why they are so thrilled to be selected as geishas-in-training. (They receive little in return and beauty appears to be the only prerequisite.) Revealing nothing about the skill, precision and discipline required of a geisha, these can only be considered "memoirs" for those who would be interested in a chapter in a girl's diary called "My 5-second tutorial on the proper bow."

Bonus: A brief glimpse at geisha trash-talking: "Stay out of my room. Your fingers smell!" Snap!


'Memoirs of a Geisha'

Directed by Rob Marshall; screenplay by Robin Swicord, based on the book by Arthur Golden; cinematography by Dion Beebe; production design by John Myhre; music by John Williams; edited by Pietro Scalia; produced by Lucy Fisher, Steven Spielberg and Douglas Wick. A Dreamworks and Columbia Pictures release; opens Friday. Running time: 2:25. MPAA rating: PG-13 (for mature subject matter and some sexual content).

Sayuri - Ziyi Zhang

The Chairman - Ken Watanabe

Mameha - Michelle Yeoh

Hatsumomo - Gong Li

Nobu - Koji Yakusho

Pumpkin - Youki Kudoh

Mother - Kaori Momoi

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