Asian Cinema : Recently Seen, part 11 (March, 2016)

Re: Recently Seen, part 11 (March, 2016)

Lynch is one of the absolute worst directors Ive ever encountered.

Harsh Erik, harsh . Have you seen The Elephant Man or The Straight Story? If not, you might actually enjoy those as opposed to his more outlandish stuff. They're certainly very well acted and nicely shot movies.

Last Film Seen;
Kuroneko (Kaneto Shindo, 1968) 8/10

Re: Recently Seen, part 11 (March, 2016)

I saw The Straight Story, but thought it was run-of-the-mill.

I'll probably check out The Elephant Man in a few years, when I forget how much I hate this director.

YouTube Asian Movie Review Channel

Re: Recently Seen, part 11 (March, 2016)

Alice in Earnestland Seong-sil-han na-la-ui Ael-li-seu (2015) South Korea

I was looking forward to this film which film stars Jung-hyun Lee, the girl who got naked, knocked around, and raped at age 16 in the remarkable film A Petal Ggotip (1996). She's great here as a young woman trying to raise money for a guy she inexplicably marries who has a hearing problem (so the actor playing him shouts all his lines). The film starts off with bad table manners, food horror, and eating-acting. There's shots of raw meat, a close-up of a bloody surgical procedure, and a scene where where one of the many unpleasant characters she meets tortures her with a hot iron. There is nothing pleasant about this film. It's trash. No rating.

A Sono Sion retrospective to cleanse the palette:

TAG - I re-watched and liked it again so much I decided to revisit some classic Sono.

Love Exposure - Not quite as good as the first time. Its four hour run-time felt a little long this adventure. Or maybe it just took a bit to ramp up. The up-skirt pantie parts that happen before the miracle and that group of kids seemed overly childish and uninteresting. After that (and Hikari Mitsushima enters the scene) it picks up pretty well. The film gets kicked up a notch because of the excellent soundtrack, especially the Yurayura Teikoku bits. I feel a kinship with Sono's taste in music which is one of the reasons I enjoy his movies. Music, for me, is about rhythms, melody, and cadences, and Sono reveals his filmic sense of these things in the music he chooses. What really struck me this time was how "off-the-cuff" the film felt. Many, including me, consider this Sono's "masterpiece". So how does a film that seems "thrown together" enter masterpiece territory? Answer: Sono is a Master at throwing films together.

Another four hour plunge:

The Suicide Club/Noriko's Dinner Table pair - On the one hand these also felt a little less exciting because they didn't have the sense of wonder they had when I first watched them. Suicide Club is a very funny film. The bowling alley scene with the rock star singing with a lisp while he stomps on puppies is priceless. It also felt sort of slapped together, but again this opened up a new form of appreciation. I consider Noriko's Dinner Table an absolute favorite film of all time. It still holds up. It was lacking that sense of discovery it had during my first watchI wasn't looking for answers or surrounding context regarding Suicide Clubbut it's still pure poetry for me. The film is cast well and Sono knows how to get the most out the people he chooses to work with. I'm sad Tsugumi gave up commercial acting for porn and never worked with Sono again. The scene near the end with her smoking a cigarette in bed while her friend lying next to her gets bludgeoned to death is one of the most scary beautiful things I've ever seen in a film. At almost three hours it went by in a flash. The film transports me, not to another world but to a different version of this world. Sono is a deep, thoughtful, very poetic guy who makes films with the devil-may-carefree abandon of a twelve year old. There's nobody like him.

\_-|/`— my opinions are incomplete. always will be

Re: Recently Seen, part 11 (March, 2016)

The film gets kicked up a notch because of the excellent soundtrack

Yeah really. I was just elated by that first section where he played the entire Ravel Bolero or it was on a loop or something for like a half hour. My jaw was on the floor. It takes balls to play a music cue for a half hour. Props for that. I wish Sono made more films for people like me who watch the slashy-spurty bits through the fingers of their hand. This is another guy who, like Lynch above, to me has "one film." But it's a hell of a film. I agree that the four hours is too much, but it's probably the only good four-hour film, and I felt like the ending was so beautiful that it was his way of saying, thanks for sticking with me.

Re: Recently Seen, part 11 (March, 2016)

That Bolero usage was bad-ass. I agree. I think Sono's blood pumps to that rhythm.


I haven't re-watched Love Exposure yet. I watched it once and I'm afraid if I watch again it won't have the same effect..or it will. I don't know. That's what I have against rewatches. I'm afraid I might not appreciate these movies the same way I did when I first watched it. And the element of mystery gets lost because I already know what will happen next.

And of coursethe runtime of Love Exposure is quite enough to let me forget about a rewatch this soon. If I totally and completely forget about its plot, that's the time I might give it a rewatch..or not. I think I miss some scenes. Not the ridiculous panty escapade though.

Meadows of Heaven-

Re: Rewatches

This distinction might seem odd, but of all those Sono films I just watched I enjoyed TAG the most, but admired the others more.

It's all about the musicality of the film for me, not about "what happens next" sort of plot stuff. And I don't just mean the soundtrack. The rhythm of the film, and that elusive something or other that has to do with how well the actors believe (in) what they are doing.

Back in the 90s I used to watch some (among others) American movies over and over:
Trust (1990)
The Spanish Prisoner (1997)
Shakespeare in Love (1998)
Jennifer Eight (1992)
Nadja (1994)
Bodies, Rest & Motion (1993)

Don't laugh.

Back then, I had all the "premium" movie channels and used to have the TV on all the time tuned to one of them. I hate (the sound/musicality of) commercials so I never tuned to commercial TV. I wouldn't always pay much attention. I would be doing other things while it was on in the background. If the film playing "sang" to me in some pleasant or interesting way I would be drawn to it and watch. Again, not the soundtrack, just the overallness of itoften the dialog. Were people saying intelligent (or at least not stupid) things in a pleasant way that attracted me? Shakespeare in Love (1998) is hands down the most musical American film I've ever seen (20 times).

This either explains, or is an example of, why I hate gun fights, car chases, people yelling their lines, and other obnoxious (comedy) stuff. If I ever heard that kind of thing in the background of my life I would change the channel. Try just listening to a Grunting Man flick sometime without watching it and you may understand why I hate them so much.

The Asian film I have re-watched the most is M (2007). It has a few screams in it (which is waaaay different than someone yelling their lines because they think it is more emotionalor because the director is a jerk and thinks annoying the audience is street-cred cool), and is without a doubt the most visually musical (or musically visual?) film I have ever seen.

Re: Rewatches

"Don't laugh."

Well I can't laugh because I haven't heard of those movies, except Shakespeare in Love, until now. I've heard you mention about musicality in films before and I know that no matter how I crack my brains figuring it out, I know there's no black-and-white rule to identify whether the film sings to you or not.

I don't think I can watch Shakespeare in Love more than once. And I think I'm literally the only one who hasn't seen it, and even though a lot of friends I know loved the film, I don't have that enough motivation to put it on my watchlist. I think I may be discriminating it based on the title as I'm thinking its one of those "true love" love stories again that usually gives me an eye-rolling exercise. day I will watch this.

Yeah, I've always known you don't like much action in films, I figured you like silent films (not literal silent filmsbut films where there's some tranquility both in the plot and in the characters). I guess I can't describe what movies suit you in a statement, because its undescribable. There are times when I go, "ehhhhh?" when you praise a movie so much and I watch it and I say."why exactly did sitenoise fall in love with this movie????" And there are times when I think that a movie is really a masterpiece, with those masterful acting, great plot, with a twist! and you go "meh". And then there's the fact that you don't watch trailers whereas 80% of the movies I watch are based on the trailers I've seen. Some things I can't understand.

As far as my tastes go, surprise surprise I like plot-driven movies. Which is why I easily lose interest in rewatching films because I know what's gonna happen next, so why would I still go through everything again? I only rewatch when its a total amnesia that I can't literally remember a thing. There's also the part that I want to seal whatever memories or impressions I got the first time I watched it and just put it in the corner of my mind without reopening it because I might not feel the same way the first time I watched it. It could go both ways, I may feel less impressed, or I'll like it more the second time. More like the former in my case though.

You know that M (2007) film really really really feels surreal. I believe I must have watched it already, I just can't remember when I watched it and what exactly happened.

Meadows of Heaven-

Re: Rewatches

I just can't remember when I watched it and what exactly happened.

Sounds like time for a rewatch. lol

Re: Recently Seen, part 11 (March, 2016)

I've seen Love Exposure 5 times at thispoint. I re-watch every summer.

Top 50 Favourite films

Re: Recently Seen, part 11 (March, 2016)

Amsal (2015) (Assassination) / Dong-hoon Choi. Colorful, epic action adventure drama set in Korea during the time of the Japanese occupation (1910-1945). The title sequence is set in 1911, the year after the bloodless takeover when a new born resistance movement attempts to kill a high-ranking Japanese official. Most of the movie, though, takes place in 1933 in Manchuria and Seoul. One of the resistance groups determines to assassinate a Japanese general and a prominent Korean collaborator on a particular day when they are on their way to inspect an airplane plant. They put together a team of three led by the superior sharpshooter An Ok-yun (Gianna Jun). Captain Yem (Jung-jae Lee), the man who recruits the team is, we quickly learn, working for the Japanese. Yem hires a mysterious hitman known as Hawaii Pistol (Jung-woo Ha) to assassinate the assassins. But thats just the start of the complications. Hawaii Pistol has encountered An Ok-yun before and is starting fall for her, and, unknown to everyone except the audience, the Korean target is Ans father and she has a twin sister who had been raised with the father. There is almost too much story in this film making it go on a little bit too long but the director, Choi, keeps everything clear. The twists and betrayals and violent action coupled with an amazing recreation of 30 urban Korea, a combination of costuming, set decoration, and CGI make this film compelling right to the end.


Trust me. Im The Doctor.

Re: Recently Seen, part 11 (March, 2016)

This has a loaded cast with many recognizable faces, which yields great performances across the board. The plot is quite complicated, but it is interesting and does a good job of creating a web of conflicts between the characters which comes to a boil later on. There are also a few wicked twists and unexpected moments. Period set designs are showcased and are excellent. Action ramps up near the midpoint and is nicely staged in a realistic manner. Its always cool seeing 1930s technology utilized.

YouTube Asian Movie Review Channel

Re: Recently Seen, part 11 (March, 2016)

Spot on write up, especially this part:

There is almost too much story in this film

Gianna was great.

Re: Recently Seen, part 11 (March, 2016)

I was gonna say, not my kind of flick, but the trailer looks like Lust/Caution with Mrs. Sassypants in it so I'm tempted to check it out. She has that wonderful burbling voice, I could see spending two hours with.

Re: Recently Seen, part 11 (March, 2016)

This is not an Asian film but I would like to recommend to you guys, especially zelena who's not really into animated films, THE GOOD DINOSAUR (2015).

I wanted to write a review of it but I had a mental block.

My title for the review is: I hate this film. I hate that it has dinosaurs in it. Green, adorable dinosaurs. And I hate that the kid has the same face shape and hair as my son. I hate that there's a close relative dying, which made me hold back my tears. I hate that there's a weakling in this film, someone who can't stand on his own. I hate that there's a touching and heartwarming story of friendship, a one-of-a-kind friendship, which made me hold back my tears part 2. And I hate that there's a part of letting gowhere my tears fell hard because I can't hold them back anymore.

I hate that I'm the one who cried watching this instead of my nephews and nieces who can already understand the story. I hate that I'm crying over a really shallow (no its not shallow!!!!) stuff. I hate that my son keeps on playing this back and I can't turn him down so I have to go through the same agony of almost crying everytime we watch this together.

I hate that this film is just simply made and Pixar has pierced through me, attacking my weakness, and made cry. :((((

Meadows of Heaven-

Re: Recently Seen, part 11 (March, 2016)

Well I'm not likely going to watch this, but all the crying makes it seem pretty goodexcept green dinosaurs? I'm confused about this hate, though. I think we first bonded over a couple weepers and your handle is plsletitrain, so what's the deal? Give into it! If a movie can move you to tears, applaud that movie!

I'm actually out in the woods doing a little more diving into anime and watching Hollywood movies. If I can get it I might indulge.

Re: Recently Seen, part 11 (March, 2016)

Well, yeah, the hate means I don't like people seeing me cry over a kid's movie. Or well, any type of movie because I'M STRONG!!!! Hehehe. And as zelena explained on his post, I also see Pixar as this sinister money-making gorilla who takes advantage of emotions, making us cry, then go out with billions of that makes me an easy target. And with The Good Dinosaur, I cried, so the sinister money-making gorilla succeeded once again.

I watched it again yesterday, because literally my son behaves when this movie is playing (maybe he likes the look of the dinosaurthe dinosaur is really cute btw (the sinister money-making gorilla is smiling again about me finding their dinosaur cute)and I almost cried again. I don't know. Maybe because the kid looks like my son so I pictured him to be alone in the jungle with a weakling dinosaur who saved his life? Ooopss, was that a spoiler???

I don't think you guys will be crying over this so I don't know why I even bothered to recommend? lol. Oh yeah, I seldom see this being mentioned in the boards. Give it a try if you have nothing to watch and you're bored.

Meadows of Heaven-

Re: Recently Seen, part 11 (March, 2016)

I also see Pixar as this sinister money-making gorilla who takes advantage of emotions, making us cry, then go out with billions of revenue.

Although zelena could be from Lithuania for all I know, that sinister stuff sounds an awful lot like New York cynicism. An algorithm is only as good as its programmer and all the good programmers are out here in the west. We got fresh air and open spaces. We enjoy life and aren't afraid to cry. We create all the cool cutting edge stuff. New Yorkers write about it, often eloquently and amusingly, masking their sadness and envy. I kid! If he is from NY, he is familiar with this refrain.

Seems like the film delivered precisely what was on the tin. Nothing sinister about that.

Re: Recently Seen, part 11 (March, 2016)

I didn't know there was such a thing as "New York Cynicism". How is that any different from say, *insert name of another US state here* cynicism?

I think what we mean about Pixar having this ulterior motives is that they don't do it for pure art, fun, entertainment, craft, bla bla bla, . They're doing it for the $$$$$$$, like what usual superhero franchise that gets spewed every other minute does. While human emotions are being played at, they're diving into their pool of cash.

Of course, I have nothing against these movies as I'm a fan of a lot of their stuff. In fact, I think there's just a few of their movies that I haven't seen yet.

Meadows of Heaven-

Re: Recently Seen, part 11 (March, 2016)

Some folks are just cynical by nature. New Yorkers believe they've earned it. Zelena's writing is colorful, referential, funny, and seems effortless. He's got New York written all over him.

Re: Recently Seen, part 11 (March, 2016)


Re: Recently Seen, part 11 (March, 2016)


Re: Recently Seen, part 11 (March, 2016)


Meadows of Heaven-

Re: Recently Seen, part 11 (March, 2016)

oh, looks like he's fired up the family camper and is heading out west

Re: Recently Seen, part 11 (March, 2016)

Oh my gosh, what are you on about, with the second-person stuff? Thanks for the (slightly backhanded) compliment on my writing, sitenoise-shi. I'll take it, and right back atcha.

But I have a wholly different take on what's cynical! From this coast, seems cynical that Pixar makes these films that are calculated to extract human emotions for money. The tears, the emotions, are not given generously by the audience in empathy. They feel extracted like we're being subjected to some virtual-reality Nazi medical experiment, where I'm anesthetized and they pry the empathy out of my aorta with forceps.

I've enjoyed some of the Pixar movies wall-e and Brave In spite of myself. But it's very creepy and false sometimes. It's as false as it gets. I drew the line at Up! which was just over the top in trying to manipulate emotions. I did not feel sorry for the computer-animated old geezer because his wife died. It was a step too far. People have a tendency to feel empathy for each other, that's the core thing that makes us people, and movies lever that. Fine. But you have to know when to draw the line, and you're being manipulated. I'm fine with wholesome Korean tv dramas, which show people, and have to do with people, and we relate to it. But Pixar is too slick and fake and corporate and above all: empty. There's no substance to it, because there is no (real) person, no place, and no message, aside from general focus-group tuned Oprah-ready platitudes about self-love and friendship and let it go and yadda yadda yadda.

I mean, I don't need Pixar to remind me I'm human. Films can remind you to care about reality, and that's good. When when they talk you into caring about virtual-reality, that's bad. I have a feeling we would also disagree strongly about whether Silicon Valley is "saving the world," and whether technology is "amazing," and the value of Facebook, etc etc. But we probably agree on the value of art. I think art has always had subject that we recognize, since they were scratching ibexes on cave walls and other cavemen said, 'hey! that looks like an ibex!' But with Pixar, I never for a second forget that the computer generated old fart in Up! is fake; it's not even a human's expression. I look at it and say, I don't know you. Maybe sinister would be overstating how seriously I take it, but I know where I stand about it. And so does everybody else, now

Yeah I think I mentioned I'm from NY! Also lived in SF (back when it was cool, before it was invaded by the dot-com types) for years. There's good and bad to both sides. You know, Californians can be superficial and phony and passive-aggressive. But we love them, right? Well most people in both of those towns come from somewhere else originally anyway. I definitely envy people living in Cali, but not because you got Silicon Valley!

Re: Recently Seen, part 11 (March, 2016)

lived in SF (back when it was cool, before it was invaded by the dot-com types

Yeah so true. It's heartbreaking but doesn't really affect my day to day life as most of my living, loving, and working time here has been in the Avenues. As you know, it's mostly Asian, or as my mainland girlfriend likes to describe it: "Cantonese speaking of modern peasants".

most people in both of those towns come from somewhere else originally

That's huge. And I'm not gonna say it out loud but you and I know what the end result of that is.

I tried moving to New York years ago, had pretty good connections there. My best friend was managing editor at Grove Press. We'd go to Bob Guccione /Spin magazine parties, partake of Scooby Doobie time at Ornette Coleman's place. It was nuts. It took me less than a year to realize the place was going to chew me up and spit me out. New Yorkers have earned their cynicism because they've seen into the abyss. They are familiar with the underbelly of most of the machinations of enterprise. You are surrounded by hustlers there. If you don't hustle in NY you're roadkill. So, respect, my friend.

For the record I've seen exactly 0 films by Pixar. LOL. But I've met a number of the folks doing the work there. Most of them are friends of my friends. We all came up in the same culture and it's hard to believe any of them are not sees.

I guess I did recently watch Inside Out but I don't think I made it to the end. I really enjoyed the way they nailed San Francisco in a self deprecating and amusing way.

All cartoons are fake, simplistic, and manipulative. Big whoop! I wanted plsletitrain to applaud and be grateful for an experience her family seemed to enjoy and that moved her to tears. She could've posted that the hot dog she just ate tasted really good. I'm gonna reply "I love a good hot dog". You show up and tell her what's in it. Lol. So two things: 1 why do people get mad or avoid/dislike movies that make them cry? 2 why is Pixar worth singling out/any different from everyone else?

I mean K-pop! What's in that sausage?

K-dramas push buttons and serve up ridiculously melodramatic suppers, but we like them. Why? Because they do them well. Just like Pixar. Empty? What krom kom do you carry around with you as a life teaching moment?

I suppose we should all be suspicious/cynical toward any corporate entity making money off products aimed primarily at our children. But Pixar? I don't see it. Maybe I should watch one of their movies. Lol

Man, it sucked typing this up on my cell phone.

Re: Recently Seen, part 11 (March, 2016)

"So two things: 1 why do people get mad or avoid/dislike movies that make them cry? 2 why is Pixar worth singling out/any different from everyone else?"

1)Crying=weak. It seems that people don't like to cry because it shows they're vulnerable, that they can be manipulated by "just" a movie where everything is all just fiction and simulated and just acted upon. I do find people who cry in movies cute and adorable though. But not me, because I don't let anyone see me cry in a movie because I'M STRONG!!

I haven't come across anyone who dislike movies that make them cry though. Its usually men who avoid dramas and romance not because they think it will make them cry but more on the genre-preference. Personally I tend to avoid movies that make me cry because..I'm vulnerable enough that I take them seriously and it gives me the downers after watching them. lol.

2)I think Pixar is singled out because its been very successful it already comes as a "job" rather than for pure art. Then again it can be argued that aren't production companies doing their "job"? I think what zelena means is that, while in the usual process of filming, a story is created then the crying parts just come along, in Pixar, the crying parts have to be thought-of first then just build a story around there somewhere. lol. No? Yeah, I think I'm blabbering again.

"I suppose we should all be suspicious/cynical toward any corporate entity making money off products aimed primarily at our children. But Pixar? I don't see it. Maybe I should watch one of their movies. Lol"

Yes yes please! I know you didn't ask for it but might I suggest the Toy Story Trilogy, Monsters Inc. and Monsters University and of course, The Good Dinosaur. These are the movies that I really love. And they're all cute. I'm willing to bet my no-name that you won't like it but I'm taking chances because one can never tell until you see them.

For the record I love that our conversations went this far. At least I get to know what some Americans (whom I have conversed with) think of New York or San Francisco. Its different listening to actual people talk about it rather than hear them from news or just search for them on google. That's why I also used to lurk on FG and then observe how some posters post and then I find out where they're from and then I go."Oh so this is how people from *name of place* talk" or "Oh they do have these experiences same as ours". Not entirely representative of the whole population though but at least it gives me a picture of that place as I haven't been anywhere out of the rock I live in. lol. :)

Meadows of Heaven-

Re: Recently Seen, part 11 (March, 2016)

Not entirely representative of the whole population though but at least it gives me a picture of that place as I haven't been anywhere out of the rock I live in. lol. :)

Yes absolutely, we're all trying to get beyond the islands we live on, and it's a cool experience to touch the universal in totally foreign cultures and see ourselves. For me 2046 (2004) was the 'ah-ha' moment of that.

You said it better than me about Pixar - I expand on it above. It pisses me off when they manage to get me. Because it is so you know. Intentional. Pixar has perfected the art of making films that kids and adults can both watch that's why they are making billions.

But I think generally, people love to cry. Most people. The challenge for filmmakers is to really earn it. I think most men watch stuff like Saving Private Ryan and get some dust in their eye at the end . They love it. If it's a genuine story, like you said. Just like people love to be terrified and horrified. It gets the blood pumping and makes you feel like you are really alive, not sitting on your fat ass on the couch wasting your few precious years of life

Re: Recently Seen, part 11 (March, 2016)

I haven't come across anyone who dislike movies that make them cry though

My Lovely Wife won't go to any movie that might make her cry because a good cry at a film will sometimes give her a sinus infection.


Trust me. Im The Doctor.

Re: Recently Seen, part 11 (March, 2016)

She could've posted that the hot dog she just ate tasted really good. I'm gonna reply "I love a good hot dog". You show up and tell her what's in it.

LOL - I am totally that guy, in all areas of life, and proud of it.

I think you came up with some good coinage here; New York, NY - the Hot Dog Production Capital of the World: You Don't Wanna Know. Whether it's your pension fund or your mortgage or your late-night talk show or your lawsuit you don't want to know what went into it. Nasty *beep*

I don't have to try to make this look effortless, it just is, but a few thoughts; you have a good point about k-pop being the same kind of sausage, and I somewhat anticipated that parry and thought about it. The difference is just in how you experience it, so if Pixar works for you, it works. But kdrama works for me because it is a real live actress, consciously or unconsciously we know it's a real person 'just acting,' and you give her a certain amount of credit. It's like she's making a ritual sacrifice for us: a sacrifice of her pride and shame by acting silly or stupid and melodramatic and potentially making an ass of herself. Or just acting badly. We watch, rapt, and give her credit. When she acts like her husband has died or something, we feel empathy, knowing it is a real person acting out the emotion, and reminding us of the (unexpressed) emotion in our own relationships. It's like she's leading us in prayer.

With Pixar I can't suspend disbelief for computer animation, for one thing. All right, I don't mean they're Nazis (though I am 200% luddite so I'm at odds with their values) but there's something too clinical and formulaic about Pixar films. You should check one out sometime. I'm sure you will enjoy it. Yeah I didn't even get around to mentioning Inside Out (didn't see it) which is sort of the meta Pixar: it's just straight up about the formulaic classification and extraction of human emotions. I want to vomit just reading the synopsis. It's just too neat by half. Too pat.

What krom kom do you carry around with you as a life teaching moment?

I would genuinely embarrass myself answering that. The real answer is all of them. I enjoy the emotionally and morally salutary effect of all of them, especially the good tv krom-kom stuff. It reminds this New Yorker that the world is not entirely a steaming heap of . I think I've said before, it's not Korea that I love per se, it's their expression of an ideal world, where everybody is kind and funny and loving and really knows how to drink. So to round out your very apt metaphore, this sausage is low-fat, healthy, no I don't want to see one get made, but I know it's good for me. Pixar is Hagen-Daas. Or Grey Goose maybe. Cheese-whiz.

Well if you almost settled in NY and made it to SF, you dodged a bullet. Well done. You got it right, it's a hardcore place. Most of us can't even remember when we sold our souls to Satan, but outside the context of NY we can be kind of bull-in-a-China-shop. Glad you're enjoying the mellow Ocean Beach environs. Oddly enough, when I was out there I almost never set foot north of Market or west of City College. I'm not sure I even knew Silicon Valley was nearby. We were ensconced with the good peasants of El Salvador in the Mission, making it the Mission that everyone wishes was still there, living the dream. My studio apartment was $525 a month . I love the comment about the cantonese speaking proles. When I moved there at 19 I was pretty chuffed that I could tell the difference between Mandarin, Cantonese, and Tagalog after a few months taking MUNI every day. And I didn't even really have any interest in Asia at the time. I realize now that SF is in Asia.

Re: Recently Seen, part 11 (March, 2016)

Tell me when you guys meet so we can turn it into a Pixar movie.


Meadows of Heaven-

Re: Recently Seen, part 11 (March, 2016)

I have really mixed feelings about Pixar. I have seen a few of their films, and I have to admit they have it dialed: they really know how to make you feel in empathy with the characters. But there is a certain Silicon Valley vibe to it. Like they are using some psychology algorithm in software to figure out what pushes people's buttons. It's almost creepy, and I kind of resent it. They nail it every time, and walk away with a billion dollars in revenue. It's starting to not work on me anymore. I feel like some vegetable plugged into the matrix, and the billion-dollar pixar machine feeds on human tears. You have to consider that they will definitely be make virtual reality Pixar movies (with product placements) in ten years and picture your kids plugged into that

Sometimes I think, well, but there are worse ways to make money, than to make wholesome movies about kindness. but hrmm, I don't know. Maybe I am old-fashioned, but I also still find the computer animation kind of creepy. It's not made by a human hand, like a lot of Japanese anime still is at least that shows human craftsmanship. So my take is like yours, but the more I think about it, the more I literally HATE it.

Re: Recently Seen, part 11 (March, 2016)

Well-said zelena. That's why I hate(love) this film: I gave in to Pixar's bait. I can't help it. Maybe next time I'll show Pixar they can't exploit my emotions. But with this one, ugh, they've succeeded.

Meadows of Heaven-

Re: Recently Seen, part 11 (March, 2016)

Part 15 of my Asian Horror Year In Review playlist is now up. It covers the better films released during 1998:

Here are the films I saw this week.

Highly Recommended

Olympus Has Fallen (2013) (American Action) After Korean terrorists take over the White House and hold the President hostage, a Secret Service agent gets angry and kicks some butt. This no nonsense action movie feels like it was made during the 80s or 90s . . . and thats a good thing. But that also means that a bunch of internet girly men with terrible taste in action movies will give it a 1/10 rating. But dont worry, because this wasnt made for them. It was made for meat-eating, testosterone-fueled action junkies who can stare script implausibilities right in the face and not even blink an eye, so long as the action delivers. And the action does indeed deliver, with a huge bodycount of good guys and bad guys. Theres a lot of it and it is surprisingly violent and bloody, which is a huge positive. Lots of graphic gunshots to the head, which is always nice to see. Theres also a nice mix of small and large arms fire. Heck, even Gerard Butler is good in this, and that doesnt happen often (he has a few hilarious one-liners). I would have liked to have seen at least one popular South Korean actor in here, like Byung-hun Lee or Jeong-min Hwang, but thats a minor gripe. This is basically Die Hard in the White House, but thats a compliment. Ill take this over most superhero movies any day of the week.

Born to Fight (2004) (Thai Action) (repeat viewing) A policeman attempts to stop a village massacre by terrorists in this film by Panna Rittikrai. This is technically a remake of his 1986 film of the same name, but this is actually better and quite different. A bit too much slow-motion is used during the action, but thats one of the few negatives. The stuntmen earn their money with some very dangerous, bone-crunching falls and beatings. During the final third, the viewer is treated to one of the most absurdly unrealistic yet entertaining action sequences in motion picture history. The patent ridiculousness of the entire scene is guaranteed to leave the viewer in gut-wrenching laughter. Enjoy.


Keeper of Darkness (2015) (Chinese Fantasy Horror/Drama/Romance) Nick Cheung directs and plays a streetwise exorcist who befriends a lady journalist while investigating the history of a mysterious, killer ghost. There are some culturally specific nuances, like rituals, reincarnation, etc. This definitely has a Hong Kong vibe to it, which is a good thing in this case because its a charming experience that is both playful and a bit creepy. It is also nicely shot and acted, with Cheung carrying the lead role easily. I also really enjoyed Sisley Choi and Amber Kuo, who round out the very likeable protagonists that represents what is likely the best aspect of this film. I really enjoyed watching these three interact and how their relationships developed. CGI is used quite a bit, for both the ghosts as well as some otherworldly environments, but it works due to the horror/fantasy vibe and the fact that some ghosts are friendly. Still, sometimes it looks pretty good, other times it doesnt. This is cool stuff thats a bit different and more dramatically impactful than you might expect.

The Thirst for Love (1967) (Japanese Drama) A widow lives with her late husbands family on a farming estate outside Osaka and winds up sleeping with her aged father-in-law while at the same time nursing an infatuation for a strapping young man who works the small farm acreage. Koreyoshi Kurahara is a great visual director, with a talent for framing shots and moving the camera. The plot meanders around for a while, but things become quite interesting once the female lead begins to manipulate people.

Safari 5000 (1969) (Japanese Drama/Action) A rally car driver nearly dies after a terrible accident at a race in Monte Carlo. After his team breaks up, he is recruited to drive in an African rally, where he faces off against his former teammate. The races are really long (the finale lasts over an hour!!) and show the difficulty and stress of such driving. The racing is interesting because of the roadways used, as well as the grueling off-road obstacles that must be endured. Some of the English language dialogue is stiff and the runtime of almost 3 full hours is on the long side, but this film by Koreyoshi Kurahara is worth watching.

Universal Soldier: Regeneration (2009) (American Action) This film is direct sequel to the original Universal Soldier from 1992, unrelated to the two Universal Soldier television sequels that were produced in 1998 and completely ignores the events from the 1999 theatrical sequel Universal Soldier: The Return. When a Chechen extremist threatens to spark another nuclear disaster at Chernobyl, superholdier Luc Deveraux (Jean-Claude Van Damme) leads a team to reclaim the power plant. This opens with a good car chase/shootout. Most of the action is good, but the hand-to-hand fight choreography gets very repetitive. The bloody violence certainly helps matters. However, this is not on par with the original film, mostly due to the bland, poorly developed characters and monotonous patches. The drab, grey environments dont help. This is an ensemble case, with Van Damme in a supporting role. Decent brainless action.

Born To Fight (1986) (Thai Action) A young Panna Rittikrai directs and stars as a former cop turned martial arts coach who trains and fights against criminals. The action here consists almost entirely of low-budget martial arts that take place in rural locations, but the choreography is good and the stuntmen take some solid beatings and falls. There are a lot of effectively hard-hitting strikes on display. Theres even an impressive sparring match between two little kids. Rittikrai has a lanky body, which looks a bit different from most Asian action stars. The story and characters are very thin, but if you can handle martial arts flicks with low production values, this is one to check out.

Thai Police Story (1986) (Thai Action) Panna Rittikrai directs and stars as a cop caught between corrupt officers and vicious drug gangs. The plot is cliched and weak, but theres plenty of B-grade action to hold interest. As one might expect from this director, the fights hit hard enough to provoke a response from the viewer (the stuntmen earn their pay by getting thrown against everything) and the film overall is nicely violent. The English dub is entertaining because it is cheesily performed by the guys who did Hard Boiled and Riki Oh. This does have low production value and boring locations though. Only 57 minutes long.

Not Recommended

Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning (2012) (American Thriller/Action) After his family is brutally murdered, a haunted soldier (Scott Adkins) hunts Luc Deveraux (Jean-Claude Van Damme) and a rogue army of genetically enhanced warriors led by Andrew Scott (Dolph Lundgren). This begins with a fairly uncomfortable home invasion sequence, and its obvious that this director is going for a darker, thriller version of this storyline. Ballsy move for sure. Unfortunately, it comes off as needlessly artsy, confusing, and extremely shallow. I swear, everytime Van Damme show up he stares blankly into the camera and that is not an exaggeration. Theres a strobe light effect that is used multiple times, but is just obnoxious. Its slow paced with almost no action during the first half. On the positive side, there is one good car chase (near the midpoint) that transitions into a fist fight, the finale is decent, and the violence is nicely bloody. I do admire this different take on the story, but its too inconsistent and theres too much dead weight to sit thru in order to get to the good stuff.

Dragon Blade (2015) (Chinese Action) When corrupt Roman leader Tiberius arrives with a giant army to claim the Silk Road, Huo An teams up his army with an elite Legion of defected Roman soldiers led by General Lucius to protect his country and his new friends. A movie starring Jackie Chan, John Cusack, Adrien Brody, and Si-won Choi? I had to watch this, even though the trailer looked stupid. Right from the start, something seems off (and cheesy). The acting and dialogue is poor across the board. Jackie Chan is way past his prime and should not be attempting action anymore because hes simply too old and slow. On the positive side, there is quite a bit of action, which makes this kinda watchable despite the fact that the action itself is merely decent. But the plot is dull and the music is painfully overdramatic.

YouTube Asian Movie Review Channel

Re: Recently Seen, part 11 (March, 2016)

This week's theme is punting and plucky guitar

I really enjoyed:

M (2007)

A re-watch. Yeon-hee Lee and Hyo-jin Kong rock my world. Myung-se Lee's dedication to the audio/visual marriage is awe-inspiring. This is the best film ever made.

Blindly in Love Hakoiri musuko no koi (2013) aka Love of a Son who is in the Box Japan

Superbly played take on a Romeo and Juliet thing between a 35 year old virgin with a Social Anxiety Disorder who works at city hall and lives with his parents and a blind piano playing girl who lives with her wealthy parents.

The Good Ingredients:

Gen Hoshino - Not a misstep in his performance as the nerd and a few truly wonderful scenes. His big Romeo moment where he runs across town to Juliet's balcony, screaming, made me smile ear to ear. He runs well. When he finally reaches her balcony, the hilariously long static shot of his back made me applaud and laugh out loud. This young man, recently seen in Jigoku de naze warui (2013), impresses here.

Kaho - The youngest from Our little Sister Umimachi Diary (2015). I'm a sucker for cute girls playing blind. If they play piano, all the better. When she cries into her beef noodle soup I wanted to cry with her. So did nerd boy. You think its not going to work, but hey! Great shot!

Hitomi Kuroki - she plays the blind girl's mom. I could watch her sleep. Wait of course that would be hot! I could watch her make tofu and sing kumbaya. I'm telling you people, if you want to see how sexy and well-styled this woman is watch Tokyo Tower (2005). A 5/10 movie, but good golly!

The scene during the rainstorm.

The less than stellar stuff:

Occasional plucky guitar soundtrack, not a deal breaker.
Stereotypical grumpy Japanese fathers. The poor one does have character arc and a couple teddy bear moments and the rich one has a moment where if you blink you'll miss it, but it says a lot. So all in all, a pretty flawless and enjoyable film (for what it is).

Good Morning Everyone Gummô ebian! (2012) Japan

A possibly message-to-our-youth film about family values revolving around two 30-something ex-punk rockers and a daughter.

The Good stuff:

Kumiko Asô - She doesn't get enough love. Here she plays the difficult role of a skilled but unmarried mom. More on the difficulty later.

Ayaka Miyoshi - I'm a sucker for precocious teens who play more mature than their moms. Her performance is natural and very nuanced. It's hard to take your eyes off her. She's the rock of this film. I look forward to more of her.

Toru Yamamoto - He shows up loud and obnoxious making stupid faces and I thought: "Damn! There goes this film." But he won me over. Kudos, dude. And when they get to the big scene where they actually perform, he nails it (even though he had some pretty noxious nonsense he had to get out of the way first).

The less than stellar:

The film is a little message-y but not heavy-handed.
I have no idea what the Japanese think of punk rock, or even rock for that matterin mainstream film context, anyway. I've seen a few films dealing with the subject and none of them have been anything like the punk I know. A little nit-picky, no points lost. I'm just curious.


As a musician, as a guitar player, I cringe every time I'm going to see someone fake playing guitar. I've avoided watching this for some time for that reason. Kumiko fakes it in a very understated, mom-like way, complete with a MILFy guitar solo. I'm sure she researched and practiced. She is a major pro as an actress. It was kind of lame but not too objectionable (and not as good as Miyazaki Aoi, who actually sweated up a storm in Soranin (2010)). (The rest of Kumiko's band rocked soundly). She was also tasked with playing an ex-punk mom who drinks a lot. Honestly, if the film were billed and played about ex-hippies I think she could have played the character exactly as she did here. Tough role. And people who have to act being drunk usually make me want to puke. Again, Kumiko plays it understated and succeeds. I've seen her in a lot of films and she has always delivered but this film moves her to the top tier in my book. Really good for a small, quiet-ish film.

I more or less enjoyed:

National Lampoon: Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead (2015)

I wasn't aware of the straight line from National Lampoon to Saturday Night Live (1975).

The Garden of Words Koto no ha no niwa (2013) Japan (anime)

This 45 minute cartoon about a troubled young school teacher and a troubled younger student who wants to be a shoemaker is kind of sexy, especially if you have a foot fetish. I don't, just sayin'.

I found little to enjoy in:

Midnight Diner
Shinya shokudô the movie (2014) Japan

I think this is a spinoff from a TV series because everybody acted like we already know and love them. I didn't find any of the patrons of this establishment interesting (except Tamae Andô who doesn't get much screen time and doesn't get have any story arc). Ditto the "Master" cook guy. There's annoying plucky guitar and when the Master served up the advice "You need to learn to forgive yourself" I knew I should have punted. (Actually the homeless girl, Mikako Tabe was interesting but she disappears half way through and doesn't return (much).)

When Marnie Was There Omoide no Mânî (2014) Japan

From the evil bastards at Studio Ghibli, a little. An androgynous, blue-eyed Japanese girl meets Rapunzil or Cinderella or some blond phantom who speaks Japanese. It's a cartoon about a couple girls who turn out to have a unique relationship that defies a timeline and was too deep for me. I think there was social commentary on foster children subsidies and foreigners. The animation was okay. I enjoy beautiful landscapes but the ones here were fake. Somebody just drew them. I couldn't justify having watched this. Wish I would have punted.

I've decided to punt earlier on films that aren't working for me instead of suffering through them.

Big Punts:

The Virgin Psychics Eiga: minna! Esupâ da yo! (2015) Japan

I'm totally at peace with the fact that one of my favorite directors in the world is going to make films I'm not going to enjoy.

Going My Home Going My Home (2012) Japan (10 episode TV series)

I gave this one 3 episodes (~2 hours) and punted. I don't think I will return, but maybe. The little girl who sees ghosts/phantoms was plucky cool but didn't get much screen time. I like Hiroshi Abe. I loved Tomoko Yamaguchi twenty years ago in Shunji Iwai's Undo (1994). You has been great in other Hirokazu Koreeda films. I think I still worship Aoi Miyazaki and know that I punted before she moved to the forefront.

I'm not at peace with having punted on this one with all the talent involved. I blame the plucky guitar soundtrack. It trivialized the whole thing, like it aspired to sounding like canned crap. Sometimes watching people make tofu and sing kumbaya doesn't work.

I also watched a bunch of non-asian stuff. The only things worth mentioning:

Mr. Right (2015)

Sam Rockwell always plays a sincere, psycho, charming, funny guy. I enjoyed this, quite a bit.

Ant-Man (2015)

The comedy bits work. The drama bits were awful. I do love Paul Rudd. That's why I watched.

Anomalisa (2015)

Only-from-New-York Charlie Kaufman is one of my heroes. This cartoon has its moments and some deep thoughts.

\_-|/`— my opinions are incomplete. always will be

Re: Recently Seen, part 11 (March, 2016)

There could be a whole thread on the plucky guitar asian pop music in films and tv, now increasingly nails-on-chalkboard hipster ukulele and mandolin. That was one of the most striking things when I first started watching korean tv: the very particular grammar of the pop music, where chord progressions don't resolve when they're supposed to and they just keep going for like another bar or something!! Hugely annoying at first, but just amusing now.

Good to know there are plenty of options for Japanese tofu-curdling viewing out there. Checked out the trailer to Good Morning Everyone and yeah looks like it's a few punk-points shy of where it would need to be.

I enjoy the Shinkai animated films more than most people. I just find it delicious aesthetically, as pure puff. I would never have tolerated Garden of Words in live action, but animated, I thought it was great. And I don't think I have a foot thing going on? I'm really looking forward to his new one this year.

For some reason I am extremely skeptical I'll share your take on the 'best film ever made,' will watchlist it.

Re: Recently Seen, part 11 (March, 2016)

For some reason I am extremely skeptical I'll share your take on the 'best film ever made,'

I think I remember you saying something once about how important sound design is, down to the foley work. And besides that: Hyo-jin Kong. But you won't think it's the best film ever made. I have a feeling you'll find it derivative of somebody or something. It's a style.

The thing with plucky guitar for me is it feels Western. That breaks the spell.

Re: Recently Seen, part 11 (March, 2016)

Hyo-jin Kong

Yeah I'm going to watch it for her - I realized that afterward. You've never shown any interest in kdrama, but you might enjoy her tv series from last year, The Producers. Not her best work, but best kdrama of the year, more intelligent than most, good funny, quality upbeat stuff to watch. Heck, it beats the hell out of watching people get stabbed and dismembered by bad haircuts all week!

Re: Recently Seen, part 11 (March, 2016)

Part 16 of my Asian Horror Year In Review playlist is now up. It covers films released during 1999:

Here are the films I saw this week.

Highly Recommended

Bakuman (2015) (Japanese Drama/Comedy) An amateur artist teams up with an amateur scriptwriter to create manga and break into the business at Weekly Shonen Jump. This is a very interesting and engaging drama, with a fantastic cast of young acting talent (Takeru Satoh, Ryunosuke Kamiki, Shota Sometani, Takayuki Yamada, etc.). One big positive is the rhythm and pacing, which will keep the viewer glued to their screens. Plot developments play out very naturalistically; even the romantic subplot is nicely portrayed. A few creative sequences use manga drawing special effects that are blended with the live action shots. Theres a nice dramatic impact as well because manga writing and drawing is portrayed as hard work that requires long hours as well as talent. Both protagonists are determined, right from the start, and they have very likeable personas. There are some very funny scenes along the way. One surprise is the scoring and soundtrack, which are really good. A must see.


Prophecy (2015) (Japanese Mystery Drama/Thriller) A cyber crime officer (Erika Toda) investigates a man who wears a newspaper mask and broadcasts videos on the internet that tell of his future crimes against immoral companies and persons. This movie takes its time to develop the antagonists history before he became a criminal, and touches upon the plights of the everyday worker who gets behind early in life but can never seem to recover through legitimate means. Pacing is a bit slow, but this is good.

Sweet Red Bean Paste (aka An) (2015) (Japanese Drama) The manager of a pancake stall befriends an odd but sympathetic elderly woman looking for work. A taste of her homemade bean jelly convinces him to hire her, which starts a relationship that is about much more than just street food. It is interesting to see the process of making bean paste, but even more emphasis is placed on caring for the elderly (and the sick). This film by Naome Kawase focuses more on character interaction than plot.

White House Down (2013) (American Action) While on a tour of the White House with his young daughter, a Capitol policeman springs into action to save his child and protect the president from a heavily armed group of paramilitary invaders. Overall, this is a fun flick that is unrealistic. The best scene arrives near the midpoint and involves a car chase/shootout on the front lawn, but the action overall is simply pretty good with decent shootouts and unimpressive fights. The severely cliched plot points follow Die Hard, The Rock, and and other popular action movies so closely that it becomes eye-rolling in spots, but there are a few surprises (like the missile scene later on). The dialogue is really bad; not in a cheesy funny way, but in a lame, cringe-worthy way. Maggie Gyllenhaal is an awful actress, but most everyone here comes off as mediocre at best, so maybe thats the directors fault.

Fletch (1985) (American Mystery Comedy) After being offered a large sum of money to murder a cancerous millionnaire, a newspaper reporter (Chevy Chase) smells a rat and investigates the man. Consequently, dangers arise. This is a fun movie that should please most of Chases fans. Its nicely laid-back and has a certain charm to it. The mystery component helps as well. There are a lot of recognizable faces in this too. The score screams 1980s! and its better for it.

The Final Girls (2015) (American Horror/Comedy) A teenage girl grieving the loss of her mother, a famous scream queen from the 1980s, finds herself pulled into the world of her moms most famous movie. This is a fairly fun movie to watch, with good pacing overall. I like some of the tracking shots, which are creative. There are a few atmospheric scenes as well. The female characters are good and basically carry the film, but the male characters are either forgettable or obnoxious. The humor doesnt work as well as it should because its based on lazy writing. In fact, lazy writing seems to be this films biggest weakness because it fails to deliver anything clever with this implicitly interesting scenario. The characters also explain every little obvious thing to the viewer, instead of just letting things play out naturally this creates an amateurish, soap opera-ish vibe with some cringeworthy dialogue a times. Nevertheless, this is still fun fluff that is engaging and easily consumable.

Not Recommended

The Golden Cane Warrior (2014) (Indonesian Action/Drama) A master of the bow staff is betrayed by two of her students, leaving the others to fight for their honor. First and foremost, there is a lot of dead weight and boring filler to sit through. The final fight is pretty good, but not worth the wait. The way the fights are shot seems to expose the non-athletic protagonists. Not an awful film, but it is mostly boring.

Big Business (1988) (American Comedy) (repeat viewing) Two sets of twins get mixed up at birth, but accidentally reunite in a corporate NYC high-rise forty years later. Lots of misunderstandings and absurdly contrived situations arise, but the premise does have potential. The main problem with this film is the scriptwriting, which is lazy and just plain terrible. Even when a situation looks like its going to be interesting, the script sabotages it into something lame. The second problem is that both leads (Bette Midler, Lily Tomlin) are extremely annoying and not particularly funny. When practically all of the best humor is presented by the supporting actors, you know you have a problem. The best moment: Fred Ward walking off the World Putt Putt Championship.

Rocky 5 (1990) (American Drama) (repeat viewing) Reluctantly retired from boxing and back from riches to rags, Rocky takes on a new protege as his son must adjust to his familys new life after bankruptcy. This movie feels off right at the start, with an odd adaptation of the score and an ineffective montage. Actually, the soundtrack sucks balls when compared to the previous films in this franchise. Then we get some unconvincing acting and dialogue from just about everyone, as well as an annoyingly contrived event that destroys the protagonists financial standing. A Don King clone shows up and is unbearably cartoonish. The final fight is stupid, both dramatically and stylistically. This is embarrassing. I did like the flashback scene with Mickey though.

YouTube Asian Movie Review Channel

Re: Recently Seen, part 11 (March, 2016)

Six degrees of In-Na Yoo:

Assassination (2015) - a fun 7.1, but thin gruel
I don't want to diss the director, but I kind of wish that this project had been 'helmed' by a better director. Because there was obviously a *beep* of resources thrown into this project and a lot of faith that it would make money. But the production value seemed to just get away from the director's ability to get on top of it all and have a vision of what's happening and how to shoot it. This might sound sick, but it reminds me of the time a commercial airliner crashed in New York because the co-pilot was embarrassed to tell the pilot he was wrong about something. That happens a lot. The 1970s kung-fu zoom ins were really tacky and stupid. He did them really slow because he was ashamed of himself for even doing it.

Jianna Jun was just marvelous as always, she's a huge murmuring presence on film, and one of the best actresses working. Also really knows how to wear a garter belt, FYI. Everything she touches with her wand turns into rainbows and lollipops. I guess actors are often people who are good at languages, but she acquitted herself so well in Chinese (and Japanese) it was like she was showing off a little. It's just too bad that the script didn't give her much of a character to fill up.

As others have said, the historical production sets of 1930s Seoul and Shanghai were amazing and delicious to look at, and also the CGI was restrained and tasteful, unlike current Spielberg type stuff. This is the first time I have said this, but I admired the way this film was color-graded in post. That, again like the Revenant, tells you a lot about the low-light sensitivity of digital photography these days. It was graded to look a bit like one of those watercolor postcards.

The visual overlap with Lust/Caution is obvious. It was shot on the same "Shanghai" set. I found myself thinking, damn, I wish I could just go to that set and hang out in that 1930s Seoul speakeasy and do the jitterbug with those Korean girls, or just wander around 1930s Shanghai. Well, it's China, so obviously, you can! The Shanghai set is a theme park in its off hours and you can go there google it. That's China for you.

Love Fiction (2012) - a rich but crumbly 8.13
Hyo-Jin Kong is the best actress in a nation that pumps out actresses like Saudi Arabia pumps out oil. This movie has been on my watchlist for like two years why didn't I watch this sooner? Probably because of the dumb promo poster. This is a a good, well written film that just feels weirdly easy. Like he just had a pretty intelligent script, and didn't try too hard beyond that.

Jung-wo Ha is the leading man here, who was also in Assassination. What a weirdly flexible guy he is. He sort of morphs around in an imagination space in the film, and it's almost scary how different he can look. This guy could sneak up on you, he'd be a great spy.

But Hyo-Jin Kong, what a phenomenon. This chick. Wow. She raises the IQ of any film just by walking in the room and staring at you blankly. She's the kind of woman who never, ever seems to have a blank expression on her face. Because you can always read her thoughts. Or you can't read them, but you can see that she has them. Because she is actually having thoughts, nonstop, which is something most people don't have. Kong just blows all the other actresses away. It's not that she makes it looks like she's not even trying. It's that she makes it look like everyone else is not trying. She has some signature moves, like nodding and raising an eyebrow, like 'oh yeah?' that I could watch all day long. That's one chick I could watch spooning kimchi into tupperware for the rest of my life.

So it's pretty easy to make this feel like a pretty realistic expression of the first-person experience of falling for someone and being in an imperfect but indispensable relationship. Definitely in the top five of realistic love stories, to me. The humor didn't always hit the mark. It was not as funny as the average dumb kromkom. But well worth the watch.

One More Happy Ending (2016) - enjoyable 7.62
This is a TV kdrama from this year. In-Na Yoo is the second in command, female friend of the star. Yoo is not exactly what you'd call a character actor, but she's a hot 35 year old actress who is now the perpetual second-fiddle in films and TV. She had a small part in Love Fiction above, and the no.2 'bad girl' in Jianna Jun's hit kdrama Love From Another Star. Here, she's a curly-wigged, harry-potter glasses wearing, penciled-on freckles having, short-tempered perpetually-single doormat schoolteacher. And man, she's a screamer, for those into that kind of thing. So this is my tip of the hat to In-Na Yoo, who is turning out to be a pleasure to watch in everything.

The star is cartoonishly hot Jang Na-Ra, who is the kind of woman who looks like an anime version of somebody else born for theater because she's larger than life from the 20th row. At first I didn't like her because she's just too square, too self-controlled and trying too hard to be cool. But that turns out to be part of the joke, because when the chips are down, she's nuttier than a fruitcake.

Her dilemma is the usual one vexing 35 year old hot korean heroines: two charming, rich, thoughtful stud-muffins (who are best friends) are madly in love with her, and she has to choose! Gosh! Plus the usual list of sideshows involving bosses, besties, the paparazzi, children, fainting spells, self-referential fourth-wall jokes, yadda yadda, yadda. It's amazing the audacity of this series to dust off literally every cliche ever used in a kdrama, and yet, like a 1000 year old knife, they all still work perfectly every time. They throw in a lot of Koringlish in this one, to keep it zippy.

I particularly like all the scenes of Dudes Saying *beep* That Dudes Don't Say: they get together for a tête-à-tête so that the one can tell the other "I have feelings for her, and I intend to date her seriously." So step off, bro. And this line is in pretty much every kdrama.

After about eight hours of this I thought, good god, is 16 hours of this really necessary? But I have almost plowed through to the end. Like most dramas, many of the good jokes are frontloaded to get you addicted. One, with the punchline, "but I'm not into that kind of thing!" is worth the price of admission. But overall, good fresh-out-of-the-oven entertainment. I just couldn't get in the mood to re-watch Wong Kar-Wai.

I'm working on developing a drinking game for kdramas, where you have to take a shot or a puff every time somebody wears a turtleneck sweater, etc etc, there are a lot of potential triggers. Let me know if you have any suggestions

Millenium Actress (2001) - kind of a stale 7.1
You know, just not as nutty as the other Satoshi Kon films. I saw a sort of homage to his directing on youtube that got me looking at it more closely, and this one is well done and enjoyable. But nothing special.

Ten Years (2015)
This is a super-low budget omnibus of five shorts. It almost seems unfair to compare it to even $2 million medium-budget films of the kind we usually talk about. But it made a big stir in Hong Kong because it is talking about things that don't usually get talked about. All the shorts center on the apocalyptic scenario of China's eventual total absorption of Hong Kong that will happen by 2047. It says, okay, let's imagine and show what this will concretely look like.

Unfortunately, only one of the five is really good. Mostly the acting and scripting are not up to par, and it's a little self-absorbed. And it's extremely parochial. You almost have to be from Hong Kong to give a damn about locally grown organic eggs and whatnot this is mostly not centered on the big-picture of civil rights. Still, I'm glad to see it, and it only raises more questions than it answers about what's going on in Kong Kong and what exactly people think about it.

Mr. Perfect (2014)
Sounds like a chick-flick, but it's just a broad redneck comedy. Unfortunately, just too dumb to watch. I made it through about 30 minutes before punching out.

Outside Asia:
On the Waterfront (1954)
What's all the fuss about? I love Brando, but nothing in the world can convince me to spend two hours in Hoboken. I watched almost half, then skimmed through to see the ending, just because everybody says this is historic cinema. I guess you had to be there.

That's all I got for ya.

Re: Recently Seen, part 11 (March, 2016)

It must be terrible to live in Hong Kong these days. And my gosh, has there been a decent film from there in the last decade? I'm about to punt them from Asia, stop watching films from there entirely, like I did Thailand. I know Ten Years isn't really a film, film and I am still interested in seeing it, kind of, a little bit, maybe.

I can't remember Love Fiction. I rated it a 6/10 so I have seen it. Is it the one where Kong has the hairy armpits?

The thing with Assassination for me is that it felt like congratulations were more in order than applause.

Re: Recently Seen, part 11 (March, 2016)

It must be terrible to live in Hong Kong these days

Won't surprise you when I say, yeah, but there's actually nowhere in the world I would rather live right now! If you're out there, gods, and you have a job opening, hit me up! I was sort of involved in the umbrella revolution stuff I coined the term 'umbrella revolution' on twitter, he humble-bragged. So I'm deep into that stuff. Ten Years is basically that POV from HK, which you don't get from the movies. Partly because everyone is terrified of the power of the Beijing gods - including Wong Kar Wai, who had narry a peep to say about the umbrella stuff. Worth seeing.

has there been a decent film from there in the last decade?

Well you're the Oscars, you don't dig comedy! Hong Kong does basically 40% Stephen Chowian comedy, and 40% asia-export kick-em' in the face action movies. Not much dramas and stuff. I guess HK is like people who work at Merrill Lynch, and ghetto kids that break-dance in the projects. They don't do arthaus.

I'm constantly scanning for a good movie from tier-two or peripheral Asia; Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malasia, Thailand, Cambodia & Laos Nothin. Noth-in. Maybe I should make a thread, I bet ebo has a list as long as my arm. But I'm getting nothing.

Re: Recently Seen, part 11 (March, 2016)

Blue Spring Ride Ao Ha Ride (2014) Japan
Same ol' Japanese young love business. This one is too youngster.

Port of Call (2015) Hong Kong
This film, based on a real life grisly murder, has three very strong elements: newcomer Michael Ning as the murderer; newcomer Jessie LI as the murdered; and Christopher Doyle's photography. Ning is simply frightening every moment he's on film; Li is so atypical of everything she's awesome; Doyle is Doyle and gives all the schlock here a good look.

The film, winner of many awards, has three very weak elements: pretty boy who can't act Aaron Kwok; writer/director Philip Yung; and everything else. Kwok looks stupid in frumpy clothes, oversized glasses, and a I-wish-I-was-still-twenty haircut, albeit graying, while trying to act like he's important to the proceedings He's not; Yung may be full of edgy ideas but I don't think he has any idea how to tell a story. Doyle's photography aside, the film is ugly and dirty. Yung thinks this is contemporary edgy. The film is sprinkled with wonderfully, atmospherically, icky scenes, but that's Doyle.

Yung's previous film May We Chat Mei Gaau Siu Nui (2014) struck me the same way. Instead of inviting you into the seedy world he depicts contempo-Hong Kong as, he splatters it against the wall and expects you to Mapplethorpe it.

I watched the 100 minute cut version. If you think a graphic depiction of dismembering the girl's body and flushing it down the toilet would improve the film, hold out for the 120 minute version.

Mapplethorpe: Look at the Pictures (2016)
After a couple decades of being famous Mapplethorpe actually learned how to shoot artistic photography. Before that, and for most of this Doc, it's the worst and most laughable of the NY art scene: intellectualizing crap.

Deadpool (2016) USA, Canada
I like well choreographed ultra-violence compared to violence that pretends to be real and looks and sounds stupid. I'm fan of the punch or kick that sends someone flying thirty feet into a concrete wall or a car or something. (Woman Knight of Mirror Lake Jian hu nu xia Qiu Jin (2011) China did this well) Some of the humor here works (the bartender guy was funny, had good timing; some of the fourth wall breaking bits), and but some of it is so bad the film risks being punted repeatedly. It's a rough week when something like this comes in first.

\_-|/`— my opinions are incomplete. always will be

\_-|/`— my opinions are incomplete. always will be

Re: Recently Seen, part 11 (March, 2016)

Part 17 of my Asian Horror Year In Review playlist is now up. It covers the better films released during 1999:

Here are the films I saw this week.

Highly Recommended

The Hypnotist (aka Hypnosis, aka Saimin) (1999) (Japanese Horror/Thriller) (repeat viewing) Three apparently unrelated suicides occur on the same day in Tokyo. One involves a young athlete, one a groom at his wedding reception, and the third an elderly man celebrating his wifes birthday. A middle aged detective investigating one of the cases begins to suspect a connection between the three when he discovers that each person mentioned a green monkey before they died. With the help of a young psychiatrist he formulates the theory that hypnosis is somehow involved. In the mean time other bizarre "suicides" are reported and the mystery intensifies. Who will be next? What is the truth? Can more deaths be prevented? This has lots of twists and an unorthodox premise. The death scenes are unconventional (albeit awkward and a bit goofy at times) and the villain is totally surprising. The entire second half is riddled with creative, memorable moments. If the viewer goes in expecting some uneasy madness, theres quite a bit of fun to be had here despite a few slow-paced patches.


The Hateful Eight (2015) (American Drama/Thriller Mystery) In the dead of a Wyoming winter, a bounty hunter and his prisoner find shelter in a cabin currently inhabited by a collection of nefarious characters. This film by Quentin Tarantino has an impressive cast, which includes Kurt Russell, Samuel L. Jackson, Tim Roth, and Michael Madsen. The dialogue is a bit simplistic and grating at times, but overall its still good enough to move the story forward and give some color to the characters. The mystery and paranoia elements keep things interesting. Some bloody violence and black humor is executed fairly well. Brew some fresh coffee while you watch this, because the snowy environment is omnipresent and the characters themselves drink coffee throughout.

The Glacier Fox (1978) (Japanese Documentary) Koreyoshi Kurahara directs this story of a family of foxes struggling to survive in the hostile environment of northern Japan. This is two full hours of fox life, which is interesting despite the fact that it meanders quite a bit. Some natural environments are beautifully captured. The soundtrack consists of 70s Japanese hippy music, but it works well (probably due to the constant frolicking in the grasslands). A nice companion piece to this directors outstanding film Antarctica (1983).

The Monkey King 2 (2016) (Chinese Fantasy Action/Drama) In an act of desperation, a monk releases the Monkey King (Aaron Kwok) from his mountain prison. Afterward, they both journey to the west but must overcome the manipulations of an evil witch (Gong Li) who wishes to eat the monk for her own sustenance. This sequel is an improvement over its predecessor in just about every way. The relationship between the leads is adequately developed and the viewer will root for their friendly bond. The witchs tricks create some good dramatic tension between them too. Kwok is surprisingly good in the lead role, and the supporting actor is also solid. This movie has some of the weirdness of Hong Kong fantasy films from the early 90s, which makes it feel authentic. This has some heart to it, and does not feel like a lazily produced cash grab. The CGI is still cartoonish at times, but it is used in a more engaging manner than the last film. There are a few exciting, fun special effects sequences here: which include the beginning as well as the memorable monster finale. Better set and character designs too. Any film that showcases an army of skeletons gets brownie points from me. Gong Li is still hot, by the way.

Erased (2016) (Japanese Anime Mystery Drama/Thriller Television Series) The story follows a man who is sent back in time to when he was 11 years old for the purpose of preventing a kidnapping that resulted in the murder of three of his classmates. This anime (12 episodes, 23 minutes each) has a strong dramatic foundation to it. Slightly contrived in spots, and it is predictable at times, but this is good stuff.

Port of Call (2015) (Chinese Crime Drama) An inspector (Aaron Kwok) investigates the grisly murder of a young prostitute, and seems to have found the culprit. This movie touches upon the disillusionment of Hong Kong residents. It is rather slow-paced and uses flashbacks to show the girls relationships with her acquaintances and clients. It is sufficiently dramatic, unnerving, and sad. Viewer beware of some sex and bloody violence.

Village of Haze (aka Village of the Mist) (1982) (Korean Drama/Thriller) A beautiful teacher takes a job at a desolate village, where a suspicious drifter lurks. The rural location shots are really nice and atmospheric (mountains, plains, farmlands, etc.), and are frequently shown in foggy or overcast conditions. The architecture is decrepit too. Much of the interaction involves the villagers, their relationships, and conflicts. There is one lengthy, disturbing scene near the end. The female lead has some odd morals and outlooks on life, which could insult some women viewers.

Not Recommended

Wild Zero (2000) (Japanese Comedy/Horror) (repeat viewing) A rock band and their fans battle against a zombie invasion. Things start off fairly well with an unorthodox style, but theres no effort put into constructing scary/funny zombie attacks. This was helmed by a music video director, and it shows because its shot and edited incompetently. The zombie attacks themselves are marred by extreme close-ups. The humor is ineffective. The female characters are watchable, but the male characters are very annoying and they scream a lot. There are stretches where nothing interesting happens. The use of hard rock music is different, but its used so much that it becomes obnoxious; its also excessively loud and overly intrusive as it shreds the viewers ears and distracts from whats happening on screen. This is an unorthodox zombie film that still suffers from the typical flaws of the sub-genre.

Corpse Party (2015) (Japanese Horror) A small group of highschoolers are transported to an alternate dimension, become trapped in an empty school, and stalked by a zombie with a sledgehammer. This suffers from a poorly written, cliched script that features moronic decision-making by the protagonists (e.g., self-inflicted sprained ankles, characters splitting up, taking a nap while a murder is lurking around, etc.). Acting is bad across the board. No character or story development; no effectively developed suspense or creative thrills either. On the positive side, there are a few good, bloody death scenes to enjoy and the children spirits are particularly vicious.

Green Lantern (2011) (American Fantasy Action) Reckless test pilot Hal Jordan is granted an alien ring that bestows him with otherworldly powers that inducts him into an intergalactic police force, the Green Lantern Corps. This is a clunky film, with a plot and characters that are extremely boring and cliched. Theres no dramatic weight to anything. Alien character designs are lame. The action, sci fi, and comic book visuals consist of a bunch of messy, cartoonish crap thrown onto the screen. Some moments in this are embarrassing to watch. The human bad guy is so badly acted and unintentionally hilarious, its almost unbelievable.

The Falling (2014) (British Drama/Horror) After a conservative English boarding school suffers a tragic and mysterious death, the teenage girls begin exhibiting disturbing swooning fits. This movie sits around, going absolutely nowhere for its entire runtime. Theres an obnoxious sense of fake depth to the entire proceeding. As the film goes on, the viewer will be confronted with the fact that the screenplay is wafer thin and almost completely pointless. Not a problem if its fun to watch, but it sure as hell isnt. Crap like this gives art movies a bad name.

We Are Still Here (2015) (American Horror) Hoping to leave behind the trauma of their teenage sons death, a husband and wife relocate to a rustic house in a small town. But soon after their move in, they begin to sense the dead sons ghostly presence in their new home. This is painfully, painfully cliched and it doesnt offer much in terms of entertainment value. In other words, its really boring. The performances and dialogue are excruciatingly amateurish. This is student film level crap. This is practically unwatchable until the finale, which has a few good deaths.

YouTube Asian Movie Review Channel

Re: Recently Seen, part 11 (March, 2016)

Asian Films:

Black Coal, Thin Ice (2014) 7/10

A retired detective in Northeast China struggling to keep his life together finds himself recommitted to an investigation of a series of gruesome, unsolved murders from five years ago which continue to traumatize him. The movie does a good job of portraying the realistic hardships endured by both the local police and regular civilians in such a cold, lackluster environment. The better qualities of the movie reminded me a lot of Jia Zhangkes various films. This is a genuine thriller but it does have some significant flaws including several plot holes and a mediocre ensemble cast. Theres also a scene towards the end of the film which takes place on a ferris wheel that was completely unnecessary. Nonetheless, Black Coal, Thin Ice is worth watching and is currently available on Netflix.

Cemetery of Splendor (2015) 9/10

A group of Thai military personnel suffering from a mysterious sleeping illness are transferred to a rural makeshift hospital where they are cared for by medics and locals including a psychic and a woman who develops a close relationship with one of the ill soldiers. This movie is further evidence of why Apichatpong Weerasethakul is currently one of my favorite directors. Apichatpong does an excellent job of portraying a lucid environment where reality lives alongside the spiritual world and how the interaction of these realms affects the people who live in this peculiar environment. Although it shares many similar themes seen in his previous works, Cemetery of Splendor does set itself apart with its strong political tone and a stronger commitment to understanding its characters. It is also one of the most dreamlike films I have ever seen due to its brilliant use of colorful imagery and sounds of nature which help the viewer inhabit this strange world. Its slow, deliberate pace is not for everybody but I would highly recommend this to fans of Apichatpongs previous films or any curious movie lover wanting to try something different. Its the best movie Ive seen so far this year.

Cure (1997) 10/10

An emotionally repressed detective investigates a series of bizarre murders that have one strange theme in common: none of the perpetrators can remember why they committed each of their respective crimes. His investigation eventually leads him to Mamiya, a mysterious antagonist suffering from severe short-term memory loss whose confounding behavior threatens to erode the detectives remaining shred of sanity. Cure is the purest psychological horror film in the history of cinema and is simply one of the best films I have ever seen. Kiyoshi Kurosawa is in top form as he masterfully creates a tense atmosphere where confusion and frustration overwhelm the characters and viewers alike. Koji Yakusho gives a great performance as always but the acting MVP goes to Masato Hagiwara whose unnerving performance makes Mamiya one of the greatest cinematic villains of all time. I watch Cure about once a year because it still fascinates me in every way a movie lover would want from a masterpiece that they cherish. Kurosawa has made a number of great films but I doubt that he will ever be able to make a film as excellent as Cure.

Non-Asian Films:

Chimes at Midnight (1965) 6/10

Deadpool (2016) 5.5/10

Elvis and Nixon (2016) 6.5/10

Everybody Wants Some!! (2016) 8/10

Everyone Else (2009) 8.5/10

Francofonia (2015) 8/10

Green Room (2015) 7/10

Knight of Cups (2015) 8.5/10

Miles Ahead (2015) 7.5/10

"What am I gonna do with 40 subscriptions to Vibe?" - Peter Gibbons, "Office Space"

Re: Recently Seen, part 11 (March, 2016)

Hello everyone, I'm new to Korean cinema (and to the IMDb message boards in general), although I've always been a big fan of Hong Kong cinema. I was wondering if people here could point me in the right direction in regards to some of the newer films (I already have bought a bunch of DVDs from the Korean new wave e.g Shiri, JSA, Oldboy etc). Which website for example is the best to keep up to date on Korean, or any Asian film news and what are some of the new releases worth checking out 2015-

Re: Recently Seen, part 11 (March, 2016)


Here are a few recommendations for Korean films from recent years:

Couples (2011)
Thread of Lies (2014)
Silenced (aka Crucible) (2011)
The Beauty Inside (2015)
Han Gong-ju (2013)
Confession of Murder (2012)
Assassination (2015)
Sunny (2011)
All About My Wife (2012)
The Royal Tailor (2014)
Cold Eyes (2013)
Masquerade (2012)
Love Forecast (2015)
War of the Arrows (2011)
The Terror Live (2013)

Here are some websites for Asian movie news:

Asian Movie Pulse
Film Smash

YouTube Asian Movie Review Channel

Re: Recently Seen, part 11 (March, 2016)

Part 18 of my Asian Horror Year In Review playlist is now up. It covers the turds released during 2000:

Here are the films I saw this week.

Highly Recommended

Bloodsport (1988) (American Action) (repeat viewing) An American martial artist (serving in the military) decides to compete in a martial arts tournament in Hong Kong where fights to the death can occur. The performances are generally not good, with the worst actor (a young Eli Manning, perhaps?) being showcased immediately near the beginning. However, this movie still has a certain dramatic effect to it, at least in terms of establishing some likeable protagonists and a nasty villain. The fighting is merely pretty good for a martial arts film, but many different styles face off in the tournament and that provides much entertainment value. Scoring and soundtrack are solid too. A lean 92-minute runtime helps to keep things moving. One of Jean-Claude Van Dammes best flicks. Have some Mentos while you watch it:

Commando (1985) (American Action) (repeat viewing) An elite Black Ops Commando (Arnold Schwarzenegger) launches a one man war against a group of South American criminals who have kidnapped his daughter. This film doesnt mess around as it begins the bodycount within mere minutes. Since the protagonist is on a time limit, the fast pacing is a big positive; the lean runtime of 90 minutes also helps. Gotta give an action film credit when it keeps you entertained in-between the fighting. This is loaded with entertaining one-liners, even by the ancillary characters (the cop at the mall, etc.). The action itself is somewhat basic in construction, but excessive in quantity and absurd unrealism. There are also some good stunts, the best of which involves a long balloon in a mall. Some viewers complain about the score, but I like it a lot. It has a tropical, jazzy beat that goes well with the weather, locations, and time of season (summer).


Chongqing Hot Pot (2016) (Chinese Crime Drama/Thriller) When three friends open a hot pot restaurant in a former bomb shelter and dig further to build an extension, they discover its linked to the bank vault next door. They contemplate a plan to fix the hole, but are also pressured by loan sharks to pay off a large debt. This does a good job at developing the protagonists moral dilemma. There are some improbable coincidences at play, but this is a good movie that introduces some entertaining plot turns down the stretch. Viewer beware of some bloody violence.

Hiroshima (1995) (American/Japanese War Drama/Documentary) Dramatic reinactments and a bit of documentary footage are used in this film that focuses greatly on the incidents and discussions leading up to the use of the atomic bomb in Hiroshima. This movie was shot in such a way as to be more consistent with the documentary footage used. Performances are a bit stiff by the caucasian actors, but they are sufficient. Discussions by the Americans regarding whether or not to use the atomic bomb are enlightening. The huge monies spent on the development of the bomb itself actually had an impact on decision-making. Japans responses to the declarations of surrender, and the bombings themselves, are also interesting. Koreyoshi Kurahara is the second unit director. Runtime of 185 minutes is mostly justified.

Mothers Revenge (2016) (Chinese Horror) After being abandoned on a snowy night, the spirit of an old lady returns for vengeance. Luckily for her, a black cat entered her casket and transformed her into a cat-woman ghost. One of her sons, however, suspects that the threat is a human one. The aesthetics are effective, and this is especially true of the old architecture which consists of decrepit stone and brick buildings. Theres also quite a bit of fog that is used, which adds to the atmosphere. There are a few cheap jump scares along the way, but this is not as schlocky as one might expect. The acting is good and the ending has a nice dramatic impact.

Journey to the Shore (2015) (Japanese Drama/Romance) Three years after a womans husband disappears, he returns to her as a spirit. They then travel to different Japanese towns together and befriend other spirits who have not yet passed into the afterlife. This film by Kiyoshi Kurosawa is simplistic stuff that is very calm and slow-paced. Performances by Eri Fukatsu and Tadanobu Asano are good, as expected. Yu Aoi is also impressive in a brief cameo. All in all, however, the score is a bit too melodramatic for my tastes and the content here feels lightweight and unambitious for this particular director.

Not Recommended

Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of GaHoole (2010) (American Animated Action/Drama) Some barn owls are kidnapped from their peaceful forest homes and used as slaves by a superior owl species in this film by Zack Snyder. Not much to say about this one. It is painfully generic and monotonous from start to finish. Cheesy and very, very lame.

21 Jump Street (2012) (American Comedy/Action) A pair of underachieving cops (Jonah Hill, Channing Tatum) are sent back to a local high school to blend in and bring down a synthetic drug ring. This represents everything thats wrong with Hollywood comedies. This fratboy style of humor is pathetic, lazy, and obnoxious. Theres no nuance or thought put into the jokes at all. Pacing is decent and there is some stupid action thrown in, but the comedy is a failure on almost every level. Oh, and why are people citing this film as an example of Channing Tatums progress as a legitimately good actor? Im not seeing it. This movie is overrated garbage.

YouTube Asian Movie Review Channel

Re: Journey to the Shore

Yu Aoi is also impressive in a brief cameo. All in all, however, the score is a bit too melodramatic .

Agree on Yu's cameo. She looked good, strong. But you're too kind re: the soundtrack. It was laughably out of place.

Just the 3 of us (Philippines, 2016)

So I finally managed to escape for some alone time to go the cinemas last weekend. Alas, when I already had the chance, nothing noteworthy really interests me (no plans to watch Captain America). Of all times. Grrrr. So I blindwatched this rom-com just so I can see if Philippine rom-com has improved or its still as predictable and eye-rolling as ever.

This movie is directed by Cathy Garcia-Molina. She's like the queen of Philippine rom-coms. I didn't really dig the trailer so I didn't have high hopes for this. Rightfully so. Although the presence of John Lloyd Cruz somehow breaks it away from technical rom-com because JLC is drama king so there's the element of seriousness, tears, self-pity, emotion overload.

The story is very familiar it rings a bell. Or so many bells. CJ (Jennelyn Mercado) has got a long time crush on Uno (JLC), a pilot. Some one-night stand caused CJ to go after Uno, revealing she's pregnant and she wants support what with her losing her job as Flight Attendant because of her pregnancy. But then Uno denies it's his offspring. So here's where the comedy parts come in, CJ acting like a stalker/blackmailer. Then the romance blooms because Uno is an abandoned child, with no one to care for him, then here comes the bubbly CJ taking care of him bla bla bla. You know how its all gonna end up.

You know how I always have my eyebrows raising when I watch rom-coms so my opinion on this movie isn't really surprising. So I just went after the redeeming part, the drama part. And you can always count on JLC to bring on the tears so it's not surprising if my eyes got a bit teary-eyed (just a bit) about the part of him telling his dad how he has been after being abandoned. You know, like, "Hey dad! I became a Pilot even without you by my side! How irresponsible have you been, yet, look where I am!"

Jennelyn Mercado-I'm quite divided on her. I like her face. I find her beautiful. Her beauty is real Filipina beauty. On her acting..hmmmshe was..well, she did her role quite well. Then again, if I didn't like the role she played, there's little chance I'll like her acting, won't I?

Overall..for the story, I don't recommend it because you guys have seen better rom-coms made by Koreans. And I can't really recommend Philippine rom-coms because most of them are unauthentic. If there's anything I can commend about Just the 3 of us, its the acting. I don't even know what to rate it. I'll think about it. After watching the movie, I didn't really find it remarkable. It was just so-so.

The Rhythm-