Watching TV with the Red Chinese
Watching TV with the Red Chinese (2012)

Three Chinese students, Tzu (James Chen), Wa (Keong Sim) and Chen (Leonardo Nam) come to study in America in the summer of 1980. They move into a New York City apartment next door to Dexter (Ryan O'Nan), a graduate student who… More

Directed By:
Rated: Unrated
Running Time:
Release Date: January 20, 2012
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Critic Score: 40% Rotten Tomatoes™ Critic Reviews
V.A. Musetto
New York Post

Dotan takes this iffy story and makes it nearly unwatchable by jumping back and forth in time, using screens within screens and bouncing between color and black-and-white.

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Ronnie Scheib

The conversations feel artificial, overly concerned with re-creating period detail or interjecting relevant philosophical life concepts, like a constantly rehashed theory of alternate universes built on different "what if?" scenarios.

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Sara Maria Vizcarrondo
Boxoffice Magazine

Less a story loosely bound by cause and effect than a kind of scrapbook of memories, all of which convey the concerns of being super smart and mostly confused in a culturally mixed Manhattan, circa 1980.

Daniel M. Gold
New York Times

The film nicely captures the grad-student vibe: beer-fueled bull sessions about science, religion, probability and destiny; fragile, self-absorbed egos preening even as confidence wavers.

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Alison Willmore
AV Club

The timeline jitters out of order, dropping viewers into a scenario it takes far longer than necessary to discover is straightforward and self-seriously soap operatic.

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Kam Williams

A cautionary tale of innocence lost, delivering a prophetic message with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight that a generation ago America might have already been 'a culture in decay.'

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Joe Neumaier
New York Daily News

This quirky indie has an off-kilter, shaggy appeal and a filling story.

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Nick Schager
Village Voice

Nearly every scene is clunky...

Andrew Schenker
Slant Magazine

The first half of Shimon Dotan's Watching TV with the Red Chinese is a virtual compendium of high-culture references, topical concerns addressed almost in passing, and narrative fracturing devices.

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