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

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


"I'll go. I wanna go"

Faaar out, man.

It was really uncanny to watch AN with the original dialog. I realized that not only do I know every line of the film, but also the cadence in which it's spoken. So you hear the same lines often delivered in a weaker, more mousy tone, and they made everything way better with ADR (voiceover). If I was making a film, this technique would be a prominent part of the game plan. Walt Murch pretty much invented the technique of "worldizing" sound; recording the music and sound effects in an environment that really echoes (or doesn't) in the same way as what you're seeing. The whole effect, watching this in surround, or even stereo, with good bass, is amazing.

There was lots of other stuff that didn't even make it into the workprint Willard had a prostitute with him in the Saigon hotel room, etc.. There was one nice shot of Saigon in the wp and a lot more around the briefing, which is my favorite scene. I really think they ought to digitize the entire 236 hours of this film and all of the hundreds of sound tracks, and let film students go at it as an assignment; "give me an entirely different cut of AN." Instead, students cut their own garbage films, which is not ideal.


The Spy movie was fun, you know, straight from the popcorn machine, a seven. Its just that I was thinking, what a waste of actors! You and your movie posters!

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

This ADR stuff is interesting. To this day, my friends and I practice delivering that line: "I'll go. I wanna go" in many different ways. There are innumerable variations, mostly on the word 'wanna'. I'll rewatch the film soon and bask in the new way of looking. BTW - do you have an opinion of the Theatrical vs Redux? Beyond that, I'm not sure how this gets labeled, but when I saw it in the theater it just went to The End with napalm and no credits. Deadly.

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

So many quotable lines. My friends make fun of me for having an AN line for everything. Yeah I have seen that napalm ending you're talking about on youtube, but I never saw the whole film with that ending - I guess it was one theatrical release and the VHS version that was out. Part of the reason I love AN is because I resisted it for years "I don't do war movies" and then when I finally saw it like 10 years ago it blew my mind and I was an instant fan.

I think I saw the Redux first, and I repeatedly watch that one just because I can't get enough AN so more is better, especially the Duval bits. But some of the composition of the film is probably better in the theatrical. The Kilgore bit ends the way it should in the theatrical.

The ADR is incredibly significant if you're listening closely. As a musician I think you might appreciate this really technical write up about the sound design:

http://www.mixonline.com/news/profiles/apocalypse-now-redux/373389

This is how I know found the answer to my question about Sheen's voice; the whole film is recorded on a Schoeps CMC MK41 mic. I told you I'm an uberfan.

Re: Apocalypse Now

I just revisited both versions of this masterpiece, since you brought it up. I hadn't thought much about which one was better before this. I was in the camp of 'more is better' and left it at that. Now I can pronounce: The Theatrical version is way better, immersive story wise. The whole plantation bit (which is mostly what the redux is) is a distraction. It intellectualized the film unnecessarily. And the goofy bits like stealing Duval's surfboard are at odds with the unrelenting doom of the film. It doesn't need, nor should it have, comic relief. We should never see Willard smile.

The Redux version looks a LOT better and/but it was hard to tell if a few of the scenes, or bits of them, were actually different takes, or that they were just re-imaged. What a flick. Thanks for bringing it up. I wish I could find a rip of the original version I saw with no end credits, just the bombing. I remember those moments in theater when I first saw it. I was scared to death. It was like I wasn't watching a film any more. Someone with super powers had taken over the world and was dead set on freaking me out. I think I remember the few of us walking out of the theater and just saying 'no way. no way, man.'

I don't have a good sound system so I can't pass judgement on that aspect, but I definitely had fun hearing it anew. Especially Duval. There is so much of it that, with this new knowledge, was easy to see that there would have been no way they could have recorded it live and used it. After reading that article (most of which was over my pay grade), many of the fades and such, and the overall thickness of the sound design, really stood out. Beautiful experience.

I've never seen the Doc Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker's Apocalypse, but I'm going to find it, and watch it ASAP.

Re: Apocalypse Now

Fun times. I Haven't seen the theatrical version in a while, I should check it out again; you're probably right it's a better film. Yeah Willard's smile was out of place, although I can think of an argument for it but nah. One thing I liked in the Redux was the Roxanne interlude. It's too bad Willard couldn't have alighted in her boudoir without having to sit through that tedious dinner. I think (here's my theory) Coppola filmed that whole scene with all these 'out of town' actors, and didn't have the leeway to just sit and play chess with those actors and improv and reshoot and stuff like he'd been doing with the rest of the film. Roxanne was an interesting woozy kind of Oracle.

Well the bombing scene is probably better in your memory than it could ever be if you saw it again. But if you need to see it, you could cop the VHS on ebay!

The doc Hearts of Darkness is great, you'll enjoy for sure. Also, when you regain appetite for AN, Coppola's commentary track on the DVD is fantastic. A modest, lovely, brilliant guy.

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

Part 31 of my Asian Horror Year In Review playlist is now up. It covers more films released during 2005:


Here are the films I saw this week.

Highly Recommended

Postman Blues (1997) (Japanese Comedy/Drama) (repeat viewing) A disgruntled postman meets some shady individuals on his route, which prompts the local police to get the misleading impression that hes some kind of dangerous murderer. This film by Sabu is a lot of fun. The postman has no idea that the cops are staking him out and gathering an incredible amount of overwhelming circumstantial evidence against him, which makes the premise even more ironic and entertaining. The postmans interaction with a variety of characters is really what drives the film, and there are some hilarious sequences to enjoy (the hitman audition is a riot). Tons of bicycle sequences as well. It must be said that this director has got some serious balls for ending the movie the way he did.

Phantom Detective (2016) (Korean Crime Thriller) A detective works day-to-day to track down missing persons. One day, he finally finds the man who murdered his mother (when he was a child), but the man gets kidnapped and the detective must track down the criminals responsible while at the same time dealing with two little girls who are tagging along for the ride. This has a very noir-ish feel to it, with a lot of investigation that leads our protagonist from place to place. The lead actor does a good job of portraying a man who is proficient at his job, but is still vulnerable and can get in over his head. The dynamic between him and the girls is also endearing. There are a handful of shootouts and fist fights, none of which are graphically violent, but they do have a hard-hitting feel to them that adds a weight and danger to everything. The main bad guy shows up quite a bit, and is one tough son-of-a-gun. The ending is very cool.

Good Doctor (2013) (Korean Drama/Romance Television Series) A man with avant syndrome and developmental disability has a mental age of a 10-year-old, but he strives to become a paediatric surgeon. One of the strongest aspects of this K-drama (20 episodes, 60 minutes each) is the acting. Chae-won Moon is a convincing female lead, but the key component is Joo Won as the male lead because he doesnt go overboard on the mannerisms and fall into obnoxious Forrest Gump territory. The writing of the dialogue and characters is very good too. The protagonist is talented in terms of memory and diagnosis, but incompetent at dealing with people in a tactful way, which makes the viewer conflicted as to whether or not he should really be a doctor. Some of the side characters transition between being likeable and unlikeable, which is a nice touch. There is some political scheming within the hospital, and the technical language did sound convincing. There are some melodramatic moments, but they work and I teared up a few times. Some genuinely funny moments are peppered in as well.

Recommended

The Handmaiden (2016) (Korean Drama) Set in the 1930s in South Korea and Japan, this story revolves around three people: a noble lady (Min-Hee Kim) who has inherited a fortune, a swindler count (Jung-Woo Ha) who is after the noble ladys fortune, and a young female pickpocket (Tae-Ri Kim) hired by the swindler count. This is a very beautiful film, with the mansion being particularly extravagant. The story takes its time to set everything up, but gets more interesting near the mid-point, with the second half providing many entertaining turns of events. This ebbs and flows a lot, focusing more on character interaction than anything else. This feels unorthodox in how it develops, and it did not end like I thought it would. Performances are solid all-around, with both lead actresses being the stand-outs. There are only a few sex scenes, but one of them is fairly graphic. The runtime does seem a bit long, but this is a high quality film by Chan-wook Park that will likely improve upon repeat viewings. To compare it with another film in this directors filmography, it is most similar to Thirst in terms of content level.

The Last Supper (2005) (Japanese Horror) (repeat viewing) One night, a talent plastic surgeon (played by Masaya Kato) takes home some lefover fat from a liposuction procedure and fries it up for dinner. This taste of forbidden flesh fuels his desires, and he soon embarks on a killing spree to acquire fresh meat. Obsessed with eating human flesh, he devises ever more imaginative methods to indulge his appetites in this cannibalistic chiller. The storyline here is quite good, providing a set of flashbacks that explain how he discovered this delicacy as well as some entertaining plot developments involving other characters. Focuses a lot on the mentality behind cannibalism, as well as the underground society that is explored. This provides a nice foundation for the film as a whole. There is a sufficient amount of gore for those who enjoy that, and there is also some good, unorthodox use of music and effective lighting too. On the negative side, it is a bit convenient in how quickly our protagonist is able to get into the underground cannibal society when he visits Hong Kong. But this movie ends with a hilarious moment of black humor.

One Missed Call 2 (2005) (Japanese Horror) (repeat viewing) The cursed voice mail chain continues in this sequel, which was not quite as entertaining as the original, primarily because of the very slow middle section. There is a good death scene in a shower and a few other creepy moments, but afterward there is very little carnage until the finale, which has a nice twist. The big contribution of this film is that it introduces a storyline that is complex and makes the viewer think. You really have to pay attention to the details in order to figure things out, and in that sense this movie is somewhat ambitious.

Suffocation (2005) (Chinese Horror) (repeat viewing) After recently killing his unfaithful wife and sending her body out to sea, a man suspects that her ghost may be dwelling in the cello case he used to move the body from the crime scene. Haunted by his misdeed and tortured by his mental sickness, he descends further into madness. This is an artsy horror film, mostly because theres not much in terms of traditional storytelling, and the dialogue is minimal. Some viewers may not like its simplicity and repetition, but there are a few nuances and references for those who are paying attention. The sound design is very impressive, which helps to create a gloomy mood from start to finish. Water imagery is heavily used as a symbol for the lead characters subconscious suffocation. Ryeong had more water visuals than Ringu and Dark Water. Well, Suffocation has even more! Its probably excessive, but its also atmospheric, with some nice use of fog added at times. Suffocation is very slow going, but can be appreciated by those who like deliberately-paced, atmospheric horror.

Gods of Egypt (2016) (American Fantasy Action) Mortal hero Bek teams with the god Horus in an alliance against Set, the merciless god of darkness, who has usurped Egypts throne, plunging the once peaceful and prosperous empire into chaos and conflict. As many reviewers have pointed out, the script is weak and there is no dramatic weight whatsoever. However, this movie is far more watchable than its reputation suggests because it is nicely paced and has more than enough action. The post-transformation fights are crap, but there are only one or two of them and most of the other action is decent enough. The giant snake scene, for example, is legitimately entertaining. The lead actor could have been better, but he could have been worse and we thankfully have Jaime Lannister to carry him around. I liked the combination of desert and fantasy environments too.

Punishment Room (1956) (Japanese Drama) The protagonist here is an angry, unlikeable college kid who gets into fights and insults his father regularly. Then, he and his buddies drug some girls and rape them. One of the girls returns to hang out with him, which is quite odd and never fully developed. In any case, the character interaction is interesting enough to make it watchable. The unlikeable protagonist also adds a bit of a punch, and the ending is somewhat satisfying.

Not Recommended

n/a

YouTube Asian Movie Review Channel
https://www.youtube.com/user/anticlimacus100

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

Good Doctor sounds great. A good kdrama will get you through the lean times with slim pickins' of movies. Usually the 20 hour run time grinds me down though. A person needs korean television in life, and I want to figure out what the big hit of 2015-2016 is.

Postman Blues also sounds up my alley. I think I can rely on your taste in Japanese comedy. Man you're really on it with the new releases. I just (re)searched for english subs of the Handmaiden like four days ago. All the reviews are kind of 'meh, it's good, it's no Oldboy..'

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

In terms of K-dramas from 2015 and 2016, I really enjoyed Ex-Girlfriend Club(2015). It's only 12 episodes, and kicks into high gear around episode 5 or so.

I still have a lot of catching up to do on television series, which I hope to do in the winter time.

YouTube Asian Movie Review Channel
https://www.youtube.com/user/anticlimacus100

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

Postman Blues is awesome fun!!!!!
One of my favourite comedies of all time, I keep this film on my Top 50 of favourite films. It's also my favourite from Sabu.

I'm still waiting for a better torrent of The Handmaiden. My expectations are always high for a film from this director.

PORTUGAL EURO 2016 CHAMPIONS

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

It is a great film. It used to be my favorite from Sabu, until I saw Miss Zombie (2013).

YouTube Asian Movie Review Channel
https://www.youtube.com/user/anticlimacus100

Re: Women's indoor Volleyball

Sads that Japan has been eliminated from the quarterfinalsby the USA no less. They were hands down the most fun to watch. They're like a little ant farm, quick and efficient. But their tallest player is 6', and it's tough to compete with monsters. Even the announcer was impressed. They had more spunk and personality than any other team. I'm going to miss them.

Korea was also eliminated. They were a strangely nondescript team except for one player, who I believe is one of the top ranked players in the world. You can't win with one player, though.

China. Holy smokes. They beat Brazil and their big bosoms, and are heading to the semi-finals. For those of you not playing at home, Brazil won the Gold in 2008 and 2012. They had home court advantage and hadn't lost a single game in the 2016s until China came along. It was a major sweaty palm affair. Brazil took the first set 25-15 (which is a spanking) and no one was surprised. China is a very young team with a few really good players and a great coachone of the only women coaches I saw in these Olympics. One 21 y/old player at 6'5", Zhu Ting, is fantastic. China took sets 2 and 3 and the crowd went silent. Brazil took the fourth set, but China won the tie-break set 15-13. Great fun.

The semis will be:

USA vs Serbia
China vs The Netherlands


The Netherlands already beat China 3-2 in the prelims, but China is on a roll. Beating Brazil, the reigning champions, in Brazil, the home of these Olympics, is huge! Akin to the Cavs beating the Warriors at home in game 7.


Re: Women's indoor Volleyball

Wow, you're a fan. I haven't really watched a single game of the olympics. Ever.





====================
Between Mind and Heart-

Re: Women's indoor Volleyball

I'm not an Olympics fan. I've never really watched them either. I was just at a friend's house last week and she had on the Volleyball. Japan was playing Korea. At first, yes, it was just a bunch of cute young Asian women in short shorts hitting a ball around. But the Joy! Every play they would scream out and smile with such joyin Slow Motion! And then have a quick slumber party huddle. Adorable. It was like that scene in Sono's TAG where the girls ditch class and run down to the river. Then I actually watched the way the Japanese were playing and it was beautiful. Korea clobbered them but it looked like the Japanese were winning. They play faster and more cleverly. They are probably the best defensive team out there. Even the announcer was, like: "Wow, how did they get that one?!" I got hooked. And it is an Asian thing for me. If China doesn't make it to the finals I probably won't watch. It's a cultural thing, the way they treat each other, even after one of them makes a bad play. The way their coaches treat them. No one ever gets angry or poutsnot true of the Caucasian teams, although Team USA does seem to have a pretty cool coach. Everybody has good players.

Re: Women's indoor Volleyball


China vs The Netherlands


I read "China vs The Neanderthals." Lol. And you know what? I hope the Neanderthals win. Although actually if it comes down to China vs Serbia that will pretty well represent the progression of things for me. It's always a blast to watch high stakes Olympic games or World Cup with people of the nationalities competing. Or a bunch of neanderthals. Still, I'd rather watch high school girls play Volleyball on Virginia Beach.

Re: Women's indoor Volleyball


I hope the Neanderthals win.

Such is the nature of hope.

China vs Serbia for the Gold!

Re: Women's indoor Volleyball

China wins the Gold! Yeah!

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

Part 32 of my Asian Horror Year In Review playlist is now up. It covers more films released during 2005:


Here are the films I saw this week.

Highly Recommended

The Peanuts Movie (2015) (American Animated Drama/Comedy) Snoopy embarks upon his greatest mission as he and his team take to the skies to pursue their arch-nemesis, while his best pal Charlie Brown begins his own epic quest back home to win the love of his life. I havent seen the older Charlie Brown movies in ages, but from what I remember, this new one is surprisingly faithful in terms of character personality, character design, and even voice acting. A very nice effort in that regard that gives a charming, old school feel to this. This has a laid back story, which works. Snoopy is awesome.

Recommended

Gonin Saga (2015) (Japanese Crime Drama/Thriller) Takashi Ishii returns to direct the third film in this franchise, but the story follows directly from the first film. The opening 15 minute introduction uses footage from Gonin, as well as newly shot scenes with the current cast that are set during the time of the original film, which is interesting and works well. A bit confusing at first, especially because it forces the viewer to keep track of all the characters, but that irons itself out as it moves along. The entire second half is loaded with good thriller elements, with one stand-out scene involving a woman in her apartment. Like its predecessor, this has some bloody shootouts. And like its director, it contributs some welcome, unorthodox, over-the-top elements like the frail hitman who shows up with an oxygen tank. Its nice to see Ando Masanobu and Anna Tsuchiya in a film like this.

Scared (2005) (Thai Horror) (repeat viewing) A bus-load of students get stranded in the wilderness and become prey to a merciless killer. This is a no nonsense Thai slasher with a very impressive body count. It begins with about 20 minutes of set-up time, then kicks into high gear with at least 13 death scenes spread throughout the remaining runtime. This movie is only 81 minutes long, so if you take out that 20-minute opening, you get 13 death scenes in 61 minutes thats one death scene every 5 minutes, on average. Thats a major positive. And another good thing is that there is a nice variety of killings that are showcased. In terms of flaws, the screenplay is not particularly good, the characters make some dumb decisions, and there are a few jump scares along the way. But this is an entertaining slasher, so fans of that sub-genre of horror may want to seek this out.

The Booth (2005) (Japanese Horror) (repeat viewing) The film opens with the mysterious death of a DJ in the recording booth. Years later, a young DJ uses the same booth and experiences strange phone calls and noises. Despite taking place almost exclusively within the radio station, this film is quite different. The most obvious positive of this movie is that it eludes many genre cliches while at the same time producing some unexpected twists. Theres also a well-crafted sense of paranoia to enjoy. With a minimal budget, limited actors, only one set location (for the most part), this one does more with less.

Odd Obsession (1959) (Japanese Drama) A mostly impotent man (who is aroused by jealousy) tempts his beautiful wife into an affair with the doctor who is lined up to marry his daughter. Quite a perverted film for this era, but the style is classy. The character dynamics are interesting and drive the movie from start to finish. I very much enjoyed the ending, which is unexpected and ironic.

Younger Brother (1960) (Japanese Drama) A delinquent, bratty, troublesome teenager relies on his older sister for support because his parents are negligent. The opening half is very lively, with some unlikeable characters that are scattered around the likeable sister, who is the main protagonist. The step-mother is a raging, whiny bitch, but the dysfunctional family unit is interesting to watch. One memorable moment involves an army of ducks. The final half hour or so slows down and is not as intriguing.

Not Recommended

The Temple of the Golden Pavilion (1958) (Japanese Drama) A young man (with a stuttering condition) is sent to a monk who acts as the guardian of a temple. The protagonist is subjected to derision due to his speech problem, but makes friends with a few of the monks at the temple. This is a simplistic, weakly written, dry movie with a boring protagonist. The brief scene involving the American is incomprehensibly stupid and pointless.

Chariots of Fire (1981) (British Drama) Two British track athletes, one a determined Jew and the other a devout Christian, compete in the 1924 Olympics. There are some good qualities to this, like the opening music and Ben Cross, but overall I came away with a meh response. I dislike Ian Charleson in the lead role, and he quite frankly looks incomprehensibly stupid while hes running, and that consequently gives every race a cheesy, unintentionally funny vibe. Story isnt particularly interesting either, with quite a bit of dead weight and boring filler to sit through.

YouTube Asian Movie Review Channel
https://www.youtube.com/user/anticlimacus100

The Cure, Pulse, Retribution

I've made a marathon of Kiyoshi Kurosawa's well-known films because I'm usually late to the party but this is the kind of party I should not miss because its horror/crime/mysterymy favorite genre.

I will just lump my observations on the three movies into one. My verdict: I like him. His stories and premises are really great, but he just has some problems with the execution part.

My favorite among the three is Retribution, followed by Pulse, and then The Cure. I would have liked The Cure more were it not for the fact that I somehow got lost on the ending. I just had some parts where I didn't totally understand. It was like the ending went off.

Pulse was also alright but Retribution has more crime/thriller, plus better execution, that's why I consider it the best. Retribution is perfectly executed, with jump scares that are really jumpy, and ghosts that really look like ghosts.

Pulse had some ridiculous moments that gave me a facepalm, but I was kinda biased for Kiyoshi that I just let them pass. There were some funny parts (and the internet ghosts isn't that scary anymore in this day and age) nevertheless, I can say that he had the concept in mind.

But Retribution is the kind of movie that defines what I look for in a horror film. Its a combination of thriller/mystery/crime/horror that when fused together creates a wonderful experience. Everything was perfect, the acting, the story, the runtime, and most of all, the soundtrack.

If there's another thing I found remarkable in all three films, its the use of a distinct eerie and haunting soundtrack.






====================
Between Mind and Heart-

Re: The Cure, Pulse, Retribution

Hey, cool! I haven't seen Retribution yet. I'll check it out. I've been having problems with his newer stuffexcept Tokyo Sonata, which isn't a standard horror. I liked it a lot. I've been wanting to go back to some of his classic stuff. Pulse was one of the first Asian films I saw and I really liked it back then, thought it was wonderfully ominous and foreboding. When he gets the film to match the soundtrack it's a pleasure. Cure seemed forced to me. He's a great technician, knows the things that are supposed to work, but I don't get the sense he's very poetic or artistic about his endeavors. A couple of his films have pissed me off. He's not a nice guy like Koreeda

Re: The Cure, Pulse, Retribution

One point that I entirely missed in my previous post is, I don't know if you guys noticed this (if you get a chance to revisit Cure and Pulse, then watch Retribution, you'll see this)the part where (I'm pretty sure there's a film maker term for this but it escapes me now), the part where the scene shows the character driving or riding something but its not actually done. Its just stationary in the actual filming (in green light) then they just insert a background moving trees in the final product. That's present in all three films! And it came across as really funny..you know, watching ghosts and then some serious unsolved crime, then the bus/car-riding that's obviously just made in green light, the background was not even well painted. Hehe. Really quite funny.

I'll try some of his later stuff but I just find him cute. I dunno, not just his face. But I just adore him and then I remember his movies and then that bus/car riding.he's so cute.







====================
Between Mind and Heart-

My Wife got Married

My Wife got Married (A-nae-ga kyeol-hon-haet-da) [2008] South Korea
Director: Yun-su Jeon
8.97/10 (re-watch, up from 8.02/10)


It's a sign of real talent when a director can take an implausible scenario and stifle any objections to it by making it fun, not to mention plausible. This is a film about bigamy with the added twist that the bigamist is a woman. But that's just the shtick. It's really just another film about a man's obsessive desire for a beautiful, care-free, intelligent, independent, quirky, sexually confident, slightly crazy woman. Ritual, La Belle, Interview, Green Tea. The list of films like this is endless. Every guy who didn't get and stay faithfully married at eighteen knows a woman like this and every woman knows this power. The setup doesn't require exposition, just a good actress. Son Ye-jin fills the role here admirably. She's a paradigm of contemporary Korean actresses: beautiful, sexy and seductive yet pure and nice, successful, innocent and wholesome, almost virginal. All at once!

This is not a deep or thoughtful film. It doesn't mine the characters' motivations or history in search of discovery or enlightenment. It just plays things out. When the first husband asks Son's character how she can divide her love between two men she responds, "I don't think of it as dividing. It's doubling." How do you respond to that? You can't. When she declares to her first husband that there is another man in her life but she was afraid to tell him because she thought he would think she was crazy, she's telling the truth. She didn't want to upset a man she loves. Sure, the first husband is sort of a wimp but that's what happens when an angel drains your soul. He cries and tries to find strength. It's funny watching him fail.

Don't go into this looking for social commentary or deep thoughts on the complicated nature of modern romance. It's just a krom-kom with a delicious performance from Son Ye-jin. If you like her, and the broad theme doesn't morally prevent you from watching it, you will enjoy this film. It ultimately stays on the safe side of the road and only hints at being risqué, such as when Son Ye-jin fulfills her first husband's sexual fantasy of performing oral sex on him and keeping his penis in her mouth until he wakes up in the morning. Son Ye-jin!

Re: My Wife got Married

I like your description (although I still want to dedicate a thread on how you guys arrive at a rating such as 8.97 or 8.02).

I love Son Ye-jin, I think you perfectly just describe her. She is very sexy, and I don't mean just a curvy body. Sexy in awell, you'll know a sexy woman when you see one. I'm biased against movies with infidel husbands/wives but I like your review. I'll look for this.






====================
Impera-

Re: My Wife got Married

Nice write up! Just when I think I've wrung the last drop of krom-kom goodness out of the storied 1998-2008 halyu heyday (or whatever years it is) there's still a few I missed. I can't remember why I skipped this one, but I'll have to watch it on the strength of your review. You're dead right, the koreans are great at taking wacky, implausible situations and making them not only disbelief-suspendable, but even touching.

I like that style, how they take a completely vulgar topic, and then instead of going over the top with the language, they under-reference it, leaving a kind of comedy by awkward omission the opposite of the current Hollywood style. I also notice a lot of that theme of loser guy married to sexy goddess in Asian films. I think they're doing a better job in balancing the power between the sexes.

USS Indianapolis: Men of Courage (USA, 2016)

Not an Asian movie but the tragedy occurred in the Philippine sea so I thought I'd give this movie a review.

This is a true story on the account of the shipwreck that happened on USS Indianapolis while it was sailing on Philippine waters (set in the year 1945). I'll go first to the positive remarks of the film.

Since this is a true story, you can never go wrong with the inspirational/drama aspect because it will really touch you. You can't comment anything negative on stories of survival. It was a big bonus when in the end part, they put actual footages of the rescue, with some commentary made by the actual survivors, and an update on what eventually happened to the characters. It was very heartwarming seeing their actual faces, with a story of heroism of Capt. McVay, played by Nicolas Cage.

Which brings me to my next point. Now I keep hearing people say in a few recent years, "This is what Nicolas Cage has been up to now???". And these people might classify this film as another one on the list. The film felt and looked low-budget in some parts, and looked well-made in others. Especially on the explosions part, it felt all too mechanically drawn. They built an actual ship but the weaponry all looked too fake.

The overall direction also looked too forced. Everything was done in exaggerated proportions. Like how some irrelevant scenes ate a good portion of the runtime like the crew just singing and chatting some nonsense was all too dragged that I was about to say "Wake me up when the actual disaster happens". The actual disaster and actual days of survival on the water also looked too insincere. I know we should empathize with their plight, and its no question. My problem was just on the execution. They were slammed with hunger and thirst, and hopelessness, and sharks! But for a moment there, I never felt the sincerity of the scenes.

Nicolas Cagewhat can I say. The film could stand with or without him. He was unnoticeable on the first part. But he redeemed himself in the latter part when all the drama is there. And Nic can pull off the acting chops.

All in all, this is something I cannot really recommend. There's even no element of anything "Filipino" here except that the disaster happened on Philippine waters. And in the movie, you'll never know it was a Philippine water. lol. It was US water. And the sharks were just drawn there (the sharks looked real though). So there goes my Philippine movie.







====================
Impera-

Re: USS Indianapolis: Men of Courage (USA, 2016)

Poor Philippines, always the location where movies are shot, never the subject, lol! Well it looks lovely, in Apocalypse Now, Days of Being Wild, The Year of Living Dangerously and a million other Vietnam and WWII movies

I saw a documentary about the Indianapolis once. Unforgettable. The old guy was describing how they were all holding on to some piece of debris in a circle, and they had to kick off the weak and dying ones and feed them to the sharks.

Re: USS Indianapolis: Men of Courage (USA, 2016)

Haha lol this time, it was part of the subject, but whose location was never used. lol. I'm afraid you might get disappointed with this one after watching Apocalypse Now. Oh well, just focus on the main story. But believe me, this movie had some real draaagggg.

Yeah if it was well-executed I would have elicited a tear or two. They were really helpless, holding on to prayer what with their supplies getting depleted and most of them were injured with missing arms or legs. Never knew that part of the country had some Great White Sharks.






====================
Impera-

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

Part 33 of my Asian Horror Year In Review playlist is now up. It covers more films released during 2005:


Here are the films I saw this week.

Highly Recommended

Our Little Sister (aka Umimachi Diary) (2015) (Japanese Drama) (repeat viewing) I got to see this in the cinema! This is a film about three adult sisters 29-year-old Sachi, 22-year-old Yoshino, 19-year-old Chika who take in their half-sister after their father passes away. This film by Hirokazu Koreeda is loaded to the brim with outstanding interaction between the sisters that feels entirely realistic and authentic. A healthy dose of everyday humor really adds to this, but the dramatic and emotional impact sneaks up on you and it hits quite well despite the complete absence of melodrama. Much of the conflict and themes are driven by the family history, when the father left the mother for another woman. This showcases suburban life in Japan quite well too. Direction and acting are phenomenal; I was especially impressed by Haruka Ayase, who gives the best performance of her career. This is Koreedas most purely enjoyable film.

Recommended

Library Wars 2: The Last Mission (2015) (Japanese Action) Set 18 months after Library Wars, battles wage between the fascist government and Library Defense, which resists censorship of books and advocates freedom of expression. Opening half is dedicated to continuing the development of the conflicts. Like its prececessor, it does not sufficiently explore the theme of censorship, but there is some good dialogue and character interaction. The entire second half is essentially one big action sequence within a huge library complex, with the urban trench warfare style of action (with heavy use of bulletproof shields) being extensively extensively here. This is certainly effective because it shows how one side is overpowered as they are continually forced to retreat and give ground to the enemy, but the use of more hand-to-hand or one-on-one combat would have been more exciting because it could have placed more focus on Junichi Okadas character during those battles. Nana Eikura is likeable as the female lead. This is basically on par with the original.

Underworld: Rise of the Lycons (2009) (American Action) This prequel serves as an origins story centered on the centuries-old feud between the race of aristocratic vampires and their onetime slaves, the Lycans. Michael Sheen (Lucian), Bill Nighy (Victor), and Kevin Grevioux (Raze) all return and carry the film from start to finish. The medieval-like environments and sets are very good, and the story is predictable but effective. Some of the action is good too, with a particularly cool sequence involving harpoons. There is sufficiently blood violence on display as well, though the CGI wolves do get a bit cartoonish in spots. Good flick though.

An Actors Revenge (1963) (Japanese Drama) A Kabuki actor seeks revenge by destroying the three men who caused the deaths of his parents. Also involved are the daughter of one of the targets, two master thieves, and a swordsman who himself is out to kill the protagonist. This opens with a visually splendid stage play scene, and I enjoyed the overall style. Pitch black sets are nicely used, which provides no background or environment but is very stage-like in its presentation. There are also some atmospheric natural environments too (and fog). The protagonist relies on manipulation to get his revenge, which provides much entertainment value.

The Broken Commandments (1962) (Japanese Drama) Ushimatsus father told him never to reveal his lower-caste heritage. Years later, he now contemplates confiding in an activist fighting against such discrimination. This focuses on the plights of the burakumin or untouchables of japan, those traditionally trapped on the lowest rung of society without any rights to speak of, forced to live apart and practice unclean trades no one else wants to deal with. Good movie overall. Nicely shot, with some atmospheric natural environments.

Not Recommended

Being Two Isnt Easy (1962) (Japanese Drama) The film follows the everyday events of a family with one boy, coming up to his second birthday, interspersed with occasional thoughts of the child. There is some narration from the baby, similar to the Look Whos Talking films, only a lot more annoying here. Unfortunately, the writing is simplistic and boring. It feels amateurish. This is listed as a comedy in some places, but it has little to no humorous content.

YouTube Asian Movie Review Channel
https://www.youtube.com/user/anticlimacus100

Underworld: Rise of the Lycons (2009)

Me being me, with my preferences for historical settings (and fantasy), liked Underworld: Rise of the Lycans (2009) best (with a huge lead to the others) of the whole Underworld series. I second ebossert's recommendation. Lots of interesting pictures for me and a story that gripped me. Michael Sheen's acting induced me to follow him arround.

each brain develops its own preferences

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

Part 34 of my Asian Horror Year In Review playlist is now up. It covers some of the favorite films released during 2005:


Here are the films I saw this week.

Highly Recommended

Kill Bill (2003) (American Action) (repeat viewing) A woman wakens from a four-year coma. The child she carried in her womb is gone. Now she must wreak vengeance on the team of assassins who betrayed her a team she was once part of. This film by Quentin Tarantino is very high quality overall, with a particularly diverse style and use of setting. It even has a fairly lengthy anime sequence spliced in that works surprisingly well. This energetic variety of scenes definitely holds the viewers attention, especially considering that the film was directed very well. Some of the tracking shots are friggin awesome. Very nice use of color too. The big finale is action-packed and ridiculous. One of Tarantinos most crowd-pleasing flicks.

The Man from Nowhere (2010) (Korean Action/Drama) (repeat viewing) A man with an unknown past tries to save a little girl from underworld criminals. The plotline is generic, but in terms of pure execution this is very good. Theres not a lot in terms of action, but the finale is outstanding in its realism and brutality. The lead actor (Bin Won) is charismatic and convincingly portrays himself as a quiet badass, while the little girl is played by an incredibly talented young actress (Sae-ron Kim). This gets more exciting as it progresses and the ending is rather un-Korean.

Recommended

Intruder (1997) (Chinese Thriller) After strangling a prostitute and assuming her identity, a woman travels to Hong Kong and targets a single father for her own advantage. This has a deliberate pace to it early on, but it nicely ramps up the conflicts as it moves along. Using the antagonist as the main character makes things interesting, and her methods are surprisingly cold-hearted. Performances are good, and the rain-soaked atmosphere is a plus. The finale is a bit unpredictable too.

Blade (1998) (American Action/Horror) (repeat viewing) In this dark action-thriller based on a comic book series, good vampire Blade (Wesley Snipes) and his mentor (Kris Kristofferson) battle an evil vampire rebel (Stephen Dorff) who plans to take over the outdated vampire council, capture Blade and resurrect voracious blood god La Magra. This is an entertaining flick that still holds up today. Some of the CGI blood effects are cartoonish, but the main actors really hold it together and keep things engaging. The action is pretty good too.

Alone on the Pacific (aka Alone Across the Pacific) (1963) (Japanese Drama) This film is based on the book of the same name. It shows Kenichi Hories account of his 1962 solo voyage across the Pacific, which was the first successful transpacific solo voyage. By its very nature, this movie is somewhat repetitive, with many scenes of the protagonist fighting against storms. However, there are plenty of flashbacks that are used to break things up, and theres also a focus on preparation and survival at sea. Some nice ocean shots to enjoy too. The final shot is quite funny.

Tokyo Olympiad (1965) (Japanese Documentary) This documentary showcases the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. The uncut 170-minute version was viewed, which was pressured by the Japanese Olympic Committee into a much shorter version at time of original release because it was not in the style that the committee was expecting. The style is more cinematic than one might expect, which is quite engaging. Some awesome wide shots to enjoy as well. My favorite scenes involve pole jumping and the triple jumps.

Dongju: The Portrait of a Poet (2016) (Korean Drama) This follows the life of poet Dong-ju Yun (mostly during World War II), who was eventually imprisoned by the Japanese government for being involved in the Korean independence movement. This is shot in black-and-white. Definitely on the dry side, with some pacing issues, but the relationship between the two leads is developed well. The theme is focused on the use of poetry and literature to criticize Japanese occupation.

Youngblood (1986) (American Drama) (repeat viewing) A skilled young hockey prospect (Rob Lowe) hoping to attract the attention of professional scouts is pressured to show that he can fight if challenged during his stay in a Canadian minor hockey town. This is a very shallow, badly written film with wafer thin characters. The romance with the coachs daughter is completely pointless, and its stupid that the protagonist toughens up in a mere few days time. The story also feels like it takes an hour to get started. The thing is, once it gets started, its a lot of fun. Near the mid-point, theres one lengthy hockey match that represents some of the most undisciplined, violent hockey youll ever see. Its completely ridiculous and unrealistic, with the officials flat-out refusing to call any penalties at all! Another odd thing is that the director completely avoids wide shots of the games, opting instead for all close-ups and edits. The reason he does this is to make it easy for the protagonist to skate circles around the opposing team, which I guess is acceptable given the unambitious nature of the film overall. Ed Lauter is awesome as the coach, providing the most hilarious moments of the film.

Not Recommended

n/a

YouTube Asian Movie Review Channel
https://www.youtube.com/user/anticlimacus100

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

Skiptrace (2016, China-US)
If you are into Jackie Chan I guess you won't be disappointed; it's the same stuff he's been doing for 40 years. Terrible acting, cheesy, cliche setups, smacking people with all kinds of weird props. It's a living. His sidekick here is Johnny Knoxville a clone of Jim Carrey without the talent and that guy is so freaking annoying. He seems to have improvised most of his lines because they're so colloquial, but they're not clever. They must have had a hell of a time translating this into Chinese.

This movie is more of a Hollywood production, but the directing is bad in a very Chinese big-budget way. You have to be pretty cynical to make a movie like this. Boring plot, boring lines, boring action sequences. No chemistry between leads or any tension whatsoever. Still, is wasn't as bad as the toe-curlingly awful authentic Chinese fare like Breakup Buddies. This turd was the hit of the summer in China. I predict that by a year from now, Chinese audiences will be bored with the action-comedy genre.

Jason Bourne (2016)
The kind of thing I watch on half price Tuesdays at the theater with my bros. This one was like somebody won a contest for least original script and got it made anyway as a prank. It picked up in the second half, but the whole spy movie thing is so played out. Definitely not recommended.

Night Peacock (2016, China)
I wanted to like this because of the gorgeous scenery in Chengdu. But the script and the production values were so hackneyed, I had to punch out after a half hour.

I need to go watch some wholesome kdrama or one of those artsy-fartsy films that sitenoise recommends. I don't know about you guys, but I have a lot of promising 2016 films on my watchlist that I'm waiting for.

The Himalayas (South Korea, 2015)

10/10

Everest-type of movies are everywhere. You know, stories of being stuck at whatever mountain, survival, someone dying, someone losing his leg, sacrifices, tears, then resolution. But I still get touched every time.

This is probably the first mountain-survival movie I've seen from South Korea and I think I just made a realization while watching the film, South Korea is a hollywood of its own! For a second there, with the exception of a different language and non-caucasian actors, I was reminded of those Hollywood Everest movies. (Cliffhanger still tops my list, though).

It has a two-hour runtime, which was perfect to fully cover how the friendship bloomed. The amount of time allotted to the drama and tragedy was just balanced. Hwang Jung-min's acting chops were tested, and he delivered.

I like how the film managed to make you laugh, to put you at the edge of your seats, and make you cry. It was a good story of inspiration and friendship and the movie made sure that the viewers will get every dose of excitement and sadness and laughter that they can get.







====================
Impera-

Re: The Himalayas (South Korea, 2015)

Cool. Sounds like that korean movie magic we know and love. I'll check it out.

Train to Busan

Cheers! Speaking of Korean movie magic, I'm not sure if you're fond of zombie movies? I just watched "Train to Busan" and I'll just post my so-called review here as this movie has got everyone in the theater screaming their lungs out.


Train to Busan (South Korea, 2016)

10/10

This movie is set in a South Korean setting plagued with the zombie pandemic. It isn't a pure horror movie as a good chunk of the runtime was also devoted to the father-daughter relationship brought by the character played by Gong-Yoo and his daughter. Production-wise, there's nothing I can complain of. The CGI were clean that everything almost felt real (like the humans turning contortionists all felt real I wondered if some of the parts really had the actors doing the stunts). Story-wise, well it had its dose of everything indispensable in an apocalypse story: sacrifices. Morals wise, the movie also showcased how important is self-sacrifice for the benefit of others, and how despicable can being self-centered is. The execution and over-all performance of the film can be rated a 10/10.

For someone who thinks highly of SK films (I've said in another thread that SK films have set the standards higher for me), this movie is just one fine day at the South Korean Film industry. We've seen cannibalism, incest, necrophilia and all such other disturbing themes in South Korean films and they surely delivered, so some zombie stalkers won't really puke us out.






====================
Impera-

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

Part 35 of my Asian Horror Year In Review playlist is now up. It covers some of the lesser films released during 2006:


Here are the films I saw this week.

Highly Recommended

Bon Lin (aka Bon To Lin Chan) (2014) (Japanese Comedy/Drama) A teenage girl (who is a fan of boy love manga) convinces her childhood friend (a young man) to travel with her to Tokyo in an attempt to rescue her friend, who is apparently a sex slave to her boyfriend. This is a refreshingly different movie that is heavily reliant upon dialogue. Most fortunately, the dialogue is fantastic! This includes some dirty discussions regarding sex, which are expressed so nonchalantly, matter-of-fact, and dry that its delivery (mostly by the female lead) is deceptively charming especially given the fact that she is very well spoken, philosophical, even-keeled, and analytical in her views on life. Its totally hilarious, with some laugh-out-loud scenes that are peppered throughout. This has lots of quotable lines. Some exchanges are also filmed in long takes, which is impressive. Viewer should understand that there are stretches of drama that even out the comedic aspect, thereby creating a genre-bender that is very high quality. Ema Sakura is an actress to look out for.

Early Spring Story (1985) (Japanese Drama/Romance) Four years after her mothers death, a teenage girl befriends her mothers former lover. She is having trouble accepting her fathers girlfriend, and her father seems to misunderstand her feelings as well. All of this nicely sets up a coming-of-age tale, and this is a good one. The primary relationship is a bit odd, with a friendly tone for the most part but there are some streaks of romanticism despite the large age difference. Very nice performances by both leads. The protagonist is a spark plug who will directly chastise adults and tell them whats on her mind, which is certainly entertaining to watch. In general, this film is nicely shot. The opening synth score is also very relaxing.

Seas Lid (aka Umi No Futa) (2015) (Japanese Drama) After growing tired of living in Tokyo, a young woman decides to move back to her hometown in Shizuoka Prefecture, near the seaside. She opens a small store selling shaved ice and hires a teenage girl with a burn scar on her face. This is a very pleasant and relaxing movie, with little to no plot at all. Lots of character interaction and fine performances though. Its the kind of film you watch to take a mental vacation from your hectic life. The manual contraption that is used to shave the ice is neat too.

Recommended

The Producers (1967) (American Comedy) A rampacious but lovable producer (Zero Mostel) hasnt had a hit in years, but he and his neurotic accountant (Gene Wilder) come up with a plot to oversell shares in a surefire flop musical and make off with the profits. The catch is that their cash cow is the worst show ever written. This is a sufficiently funny movie, with a few laugh-out-loud moments and memorable side characters. Lee Meredith was smoking hot too.

Erased (aka The Town Where Only I Am Missing) (2016) (Japanese Drama/Thriller) This live action film is based on the manga/anime of the same name. The story follows a man who is sent back and forth in time to when he was 11 years old for the purpose of preventing a serial killer from murdering of his classmates. This follows very closely to the anime, with little deviation, which means that it has many of the same advantages. The most obvious plus being the good dramatic foundation. It has a tempered sense of intensity beneath the surface. It is slightly ambiguous in spots concerning the effects of changing the past, and it is predictable at times, but this is good stuff.

Slap Shot (1977) (American Comedy) This foul-mouthed classic follows an ex-hockey star who winds up leading a hapless minor league club. Eventually he realizes that playing dirty and beating the crap out of their opponents brings the crowds pouring in. I gotta say, Paul Newmans character is a real jerk in this one. Thats okay though, because some of the humor stems from that and the comedy mostly works. The Hanson brothers are great to watch too. It does feel a tad long at over two full hours. The finale intentionally denies the viewer a proper hockey match, which is a bit different but also somewhat disappointing. Fun movie.

Ordinary People (1980) (American Drama) The accidental death of the older son of an affluent family deeply strains the relationships among the bitter mother, the good-natured father, and the guilt-ridden younger son. This starts off rather sluggishly, but improves quite a bit as it progresses. The theme here is talking things out with people, and that does provide some good dialogue between the characters. Performances are solid all-around.

Not Recommended

A Touch of Unseen (2014) (Korean Thriller/Horror) Two adult sisters, who lost their parents in a fatal car accident, are sexually assaulted by a ghost. The older sister decides to protect her younger sister by leading the ghost away, but a deranged ex-boyfriend stalks the younger sister and complicates matters. This moves as slow as molasses in January, with lots of dull filler and dialogue. The story meanders and does not progress for much of the opening half. You just keep waiting for something . . . anything . . . to happen. The characters lack color and are not endearing enough for the viewer to care. Horror content is very light, with the finale being dumb and pointless (the sister screws the ghost back to the after life, but he might still be around anyways?). Also, the resolution to the stalker conflict is an anticlimax.

The Crazies (1973) (American Thriller) When a government plane laden with biological weapons crashes in a small Pennsylvania town, its deadly cargo seeps into the water supply and anyone who drinks it becomes stark, raving made. I found this film by George Romero to be very disappointing and hard to sit thru. The protagonist is introduced as a douchebag meat-head firefighter who takes his merry ole time responding to a fire alarm. Then we get a bunch of boring, generic military discussions with mediocre acting and bad editing that drags the entire film out unnecessarily. This is also blandly shot and boring to look at. The action/horror scenes are ineptly directed. And I gotta say, the constant screaming by everyone gets old really fast. This is the very definition of monotonous and sleep-inducing. Wake me when its over.

The Worst Witch (1986) (American Drama) This HBO movie stars Fairuza Balk as a hapless little witch who keeps screwing up at witch school. I was wondering why I never heard of this movie, and now I know its awful! The musical interludes are God awful, and some of the characters are annoying. Theres no genuine charm here, but the cheesiness is thru the charts! Tim Curry shows up in an unintentionally hilarious cameo. This actually feels like a very low grade Harry Potter film.

YouTube Asian Movie Review Channel
https://www.youtube.com/user/anticlimacus100

Re: Bon Lin (aka Bon To Lin Chan)

Your review suggested I better look into Bon Lin. Lo and behold it's directed by Keiichi Kobayashi of About the Pink Sky Momoiro sora o (2011) fame. Going to watch ASAP

Train to Busan

There's the re-animating deer near the beginning; the first few overflowing zombie pile-ups; several great contortion moves; a fantastic fiery Locomotive crash; hilariously great zombie herd tailgate surfing. What am I missing? That's about three minutes of quality movie. A Movie Trailer. And like a movie trailer it's a terrible representation of the film overallwhere the other 99% is a T-bomb. The pacing of the film is defecating: Zombies run into a door that's being closed; everyone takes a dump. Lather rinse repeat. The pacing is bad because the writing and acting are awful. "But you're not supposed to have writing and acting in a zombie movie!" That's right. So why shove it in our faces? Jung Yu-Mi gets a pass, and I liked the little girl. Ma Dong-Seok didn't embarrass himself too much because he's strong enough to overcome what he was given. Every line of dialog in the film is bad. Gong Yoo is a twerpy faux-stud who can't act his way out of a genre film, Korean or otherwise. I hope to never watch another film with his over-moisturized face.

I had high hopes for this. The three minutes of quality film are fantastic. End of story. Well, actually I like the Korean thing of killing everyone, although I'm not saying if the kid dies or not (like the one in The Host did). Korea might be inching toward doing Hollywood better than Hollywood, but it's still crap. I, and I can't believe I'm saying this, enjoyed The Happening (2008) more than this. Heck, I enjoyed a Woody Harrelson movie more than this.

Re: Train to Busan

Ouch. Strong powerful words there. But I think I get what you're trying to say. Whilst I did not have any problem with the execution aspect (just the story was kinda weak), I think I can see through your eyes. You made good points there, I can't rebut.

I watched the movie without watching the trailer (I just took from Colto's suggestion here) and the movie, execution-wise, was something good enough for trailers and I believe that the movie also gave life to the thrill/horror/whatever it is you feel when you watch zombies coming after you. I think its a movie made for a group of friends watching on a friday/saturday group night but as I've said in my other posts, its not something I can par with other SK films that are up there on my list.

I admit Gong Yoo had constipated faces there but forgive me, I just like his look on the big screen which is totally outside the ambit of an objective film review so I concede.








====================
Impera-

Re: Train to Busan


I think its a movie made for a group of friends watching on a friday/saturday group night
I agree, and wonder if it invalidates all my reviews when I admit I always watch movies alone. Even when I go/went to a theater. Groupiness can help you enjoy a (bad) movie. It can also be a kill joy.


I admit Gong Yoo had constipated faces there but forgive me, I just like his look on the big screen which is totally outside the ambit of an objective film review
Hey now. Don't start reviewing films. I enjoy your reactions so much more.

And squash the double standard. Guys, or maybe just me, often mention a woman's presence, charisma, beauty on screen. I do it for dudes, too. Jung-woo Ha in My Dear Enemy, for example. Kang-ho Song in almost everything. It's totally legitimate as a contribution to enjoyment. I'm not in to constipated faces, though.

Re: Train to Busan

"and wonder if it invalidates all my reviews when I admit I always watch movies alone."

Pardon for the late reply. Wow I guess there's a lot of us on the I-watch-movies-alone club. Never expected it, though to be honest. You always came off as a friendly, groupie, folksy, type.





====================
Impera-

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

One Day (Taiwan, 2010)
I just glanced at this and I thought it was a Hsiao-Hsien Hou film, which led to some confusion going on it's by newcomer Chi-jan Hou. But this turned out to be a lovely find. Very nicely shot, the photography is pretty and the story has a nice Asian simplicity to it, and a super tight ending. Feels very young and new-generation but not in a bad way. It's not easy to portray the dream state in a film, and I really like the way it turned out here.

Sully (2016)
If you would rather not experience a plane crash, you might as well skip this one. There's not much plot and story to tell, just a sort of documentary re-enactment by Clint Eastwood, whose films have an odd I-don't-care-what-you-think tone. Not a fan of Tom Hanks, but he knows his trade.

No One's Life is Easy So I Married An Anti-Fan (China, 2016)
Why do I watch this crap? Maybe just to validate my schadenfreude at China's totalitarian state not being able to write a decent script. This one is yet another from the recipe of slap a pair of glasses on a model and and have her "cutely" yell at some 'over-moisturized' boy model for two hours. I popped an Advil and switched it off after 45 minutes.

Like Father, Like Son (Japan 2013)
This masterpiece just gets better with repeated viewings, because you know where it's going and you get to sort of feel the whole thing all the way through. Getting slayed, that is. It's just amazing how good Kore-eda is at directing certain kinds of scenes. He's the master of the kind of shot where somebody is just sitting there staring off, thinking about something and he's set it up so that you are thinking the exact thing in the character's mind and feeling it, strongly, too.

I think among living directors, nobody directs children better than Kore-eda. He has a way of just letting them play and be themselves that is tremendously charming, rather than being creepy little drama-camp Lindsey Lohan robots. The kids are not even actors, but they deliver the role perfectly.

It sounds corny, but this film is rich like a feast. There were so many scenes that I didn't catch the weight of in the first viewing, like when the father is sitting alone in a parking lot in his miserable Lexus, trying to apologize to his mother on the phone, who nervously just really doesn't want to talk about it. Or when he blurts out the suggestion that they take both sons, and the other family's father slaps him on the top of the head, in a tremendously Japanese gesture that is not meant to harm but to humiliate.

When I watch Kore-eda's films, I think, why don't other directors make films that are about the subject of love? It's kind of a major thing in human life. The answer is that they can't.

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

Just joined my local film society, and the first film was Like Father, Like Son. And although ive seen it before on DVD, watching it again but on the big screen at the film club just cemented my love for Koreeda. And the feedback from the other memebers was it was a great film, sad, funny and just a joy and pleasure to watch. Everybody held a secret vote on their thoughts and results will be released at the next screening, so be interesting to see what the overall thoughts were.


My foreign film list http://www.imdb.com/list/z86jRjauDwE/

Re: One Day (Taiwan, 2010)

One Day has a lot going for it. And it fits the special case I like where a film succeeds in spite of itself, meaning it almost shoots itself in the foot but keeps going. Remarkable how weird as fork, almost, dare I say, Lynchian, danced around romantically sunny. Nikki Hsin-Ying Hsieh is lovely.

The beautiful theme song that plays as the end credits roll is sung by Tarcy Su, a singer and actress I just discovered in the remarkable film Blue Cha Cha. Another wowser from Taiwan. Those degrees of Kevin Bacon always give a film some afterglow. It gives me the warm and fuzzies just thinking about it again. I think a re-watch is in order.

And speaking of re-watches, maybe I'll give Like Father, Like Son another go. See if it moves up a notch.

Love is hard. There's a psycho-social perspective on Japanese Pure Love films (with high-schoolers). The purity is in wanting love, presented as being in love. Major repressed sublimation much?

Re: One Day (Taiwan, 2010)

I watchlisted Blue Cha Cha. I had confused it with another Taiwan movie, but I haven't seen that one yet. I know what you mean about the Japanese teenage love movies, but that's more in the idealized fair-tale realm, right? I like Koreeda's way of dealing with the dull workhorse version of love that most of us grownups get to experience. It's a pet peeve of mine that you rarely see movies with a couple who really knows and loves each other and is close, for example. Mostly people treat each other like objects. Maybe it's too difficult for actors. In reality, people know each other well. Like Father, Like Son was an 8.8 for me the first time, and it definitely moved up a notch. Doesn't quite have the form or architecture to put you through a great cinema experience (although actually the ending does), but it's made out of the material of the very best stuff. It's kind of like a raggedy, comfortable old blanket.

Re: love

One of the reasons Maboroshi is my favorite Koreeda is this love thing you bring up. In very short order Koreeda has to establish a love between the couple to maximize the bumbed-outedness the girl is going to feel after the boy kills himself (near the beginning of the movie!). I commented at the time it was one of the sweetest demos of love I'd ever seen. He does it without events or overt declarations. He shows them eating dinner, drinking in a bar, talking about a bicycle. Effortlessly.

An interesting review I read after the fact pointed out how Koreeda used darkness and shadows and dressed the characters in black so he could film them to look like a single blob with two heads.

the kids love thing is fantasy, but it's not, but it is pure fantasy. What I like about it is that, aside from a little peer pressure swirling around, there are no distractions of life to muddle the focus. It's not what you've brought up here, because the "in" love part isn't shown, just the wanting of it. The kids don't know one another, but want to. When I'm having a love jones, those little movies work sometimes.

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

"Why do I watch this crap?"

lol because of the title maybe? You've always discussed movies here with uhm, headturner titles, so I'm not surprised that No One's Life is Easy So I Married An Anti-Fan is a movie reviewed by you and not some motto written by someone in a slumbook.

"I think among living directors, nobody directs children better than Kore-eda. He has a way of just letting them play and be themselves that is tremendously charming, rather than being creepy little drama-camp Lindsey Lohan robots. The kids are not even actors, but they deliver the role perfectly."

Perfectly said.



====================
Impera-

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

Lol, I guess you're right, I'm a sucker for the quirky titles. Probably I take it as a sign of either humor or creativity. Usually it's just bad translation. I watch these silly Chinese movies, so you don't have to.

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

Many people here are a fan of Hirokazu Koreeda's work, as am I, but ive just watched Airdoll and its very different to his usual style. It was a good film but just lacked something, maybe the children, or the fact it was completely surreal.

My foreign film list http://www.imdb.com/list/z86jRjauDwE/

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

You're right, Air Doll is very different stylistically from the rest of his oeuvre. That's even more reason that I want to strike up a conversation with Kore-eda next time I bump into him at a cocktail party. I will be that guy who is like, "say, what were you getting at when you." and he'll try to escape from the conversation by waving frantically at Kim Ki-duk across the room.

The main thing different about Air Doll, to me, is the massive presence of Doona Bae. He doesn't usually have "big" actors who sort of blow out everything. What would Kore-eda do with Tom Cruise? It would be like that famous Michael Caine acting workshop we talk about, where he keeps advising the actors: "less. Less." Yes, the children help make Kore-eda's films really naturalistic and documentary feeling, and the otherworldly Doona Bae and her sexy pants kind of blast things in the other direction, or glossy and fake, although I love her and I liked the film very much.



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

Yeah, Airdoll is the (I dunno if its the right term, without the negative connotation of course) the black sheep among the majority of Koreeda's films. But I rank this as my first from him. Maybe because he delved into a subject that should not be made into a movie but made nonetheless: A doll that has life. And I felt her heart. And dolls don't have hearts, but this movie made me feel like it. And it traversed right through me, the fact that even the things which appear to be immune to pain, have feelings too. I almost cried in this one.






====================
Impera-

A Bride for Rip Van Winkle (Japan, 2016)

Been looking forward to this one a long time, and it did not disappoint. I guess this is Shunji Iwai's first real film that counts since Hana and Alice more than ten years ago. This one shares certain themes with Hana and Alice and All About Lily Chou Chou; the effect of the internet on Japanese society, and a friendship between two young women. Not really groundbreaking but certainly more ambitious than H&A. I have to say there seems to be a certain amount of cross inspiration between Iwai and Sion Sono, or maybe just the taste in music (European baroque/classical/romantic) makes it seem that way.

All three lead actors acquitted themselves really well, especially "Cocco" (who probably has that name for reasons similar to her character) and Gô Ayano who has sharpened his craft in a lot of TV work and gives a very smooth, masculine take on this hustler character. I still haven't seen Cocco in Kotoko, which everybody says she was great in also. A very freewheeling, larger than life actress with a lot to give. Haru Kuroki, meanwhile, just nails it with the whole range of stuff demanded from her in this role, where a lot of heavy **** happens to this girl. It's the kind of role that catapults an actress' career up a level.

Iwai is, of course, an "auteur" so he wrote the script himself and it could have been perhaps tighter here and there. But the film is long at three hours and I didn't once get bored of it for a moment, even though it really meanders all over the place. I'm almost ready for a re-watch already.

8.3/10

Top