Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Bedevilled - 金福南殺人事件始末

Bedevilled (金福南殺人事件始末) is a 2010 film out of Korean. The movie stars Seo Young-hee and Ji Seong-won.

Ji plays Hae-won, a modern woman living in Sheol as a banks financial advisor. Hae-won witnessed a beating and decides not to get involved out of fear. After that, she gets into it with a bank customer and co-worker. After the wo-worker confrontation, Hae-won decides to visit her grandfathers island where she visited as a child. Seo plays Bok-nam, the youngest woman on the island. The two had played together when they were young. The two strike up their friendship again. Bok-name however is treated more like a slave than a human. Eventually, Bok-nam cracks.

Seems that many of the Korean movies I've been watching lately are so dark. Exploring the darkness within humans. Where do you think you're humanity starts and others end. In this case, over and over, the abuse of Bok-nam becomes so common, its part of everyday life.

Major props to Seo Young-hee. Seo puts on an amazing performance of transforming herself into this island person. If you've seen her elsewhere, you know how beautiful Seo normally is.

The movie moved really slow as it really focused on character development for more than half the film. Much like other Korean films of late, be prepared to be a little shocked at the darkness presented.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World - 歪小子史考特

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (歪小子史考特) is a 2010 film. The movie stars Michael Cera and Mary Elizabeth Winstead. The large supporting cast includes Ellen Wong, Kieran Culkin, Chris Evans, Brandon Routh, and Jason Schwartzman.

The movie is about a rock band bass player Scott Pilgrim, played by Michael Cera. At a party, Scott meets Ramona Victoria Flowers, played by Mary Elizabeth Winstead. He instantly falls for her and goes out of his way to woo her. When he does, he finds out that in order to keep dating her, Scott will have to battle and defeat Romona's previous seven boyfriends. Let the battles begin.

This movie was a total trip. I had heard of how offbeat and potential for a mind-trip this movie could be. Going in with those high expectations, I was ultimately let down. Scott isn't a very likable character in general so I had a hard time pulling for him. In the end, I was just hoping for a nice happy ending. Ramona's character wasn't all that much to write home about either. So, strike out on the characters. So that leaves the story and special effects to save the day right? Well, the story was your standard win the girl at all cost kind of deal. Through in the weird boyfriends, it was straight forward and easy to follow. So easy that I was a little bored. So, can the special effects help salvage the movie? Yes, that part of the film was quite awesome. Taking queues from video games and things in gadget culture for reference points. I was delighted by the nice visuals.

In all, I think I should have just watched the movie with no expectations. Maybe I would have liked the movie better.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Echoes Of The Rainbow - 歲月神偷

Echoes Of The Rainbow (歲月神偷) is a 2010 film out of Hong Kong. The movie stars Simon Yam, Sandra Ng, and Aarif Lee. The movie is set in the 1960s while Hong Kong was still under British rule.

The Law family of little brother, older brother, father and mother live on Wing Lee Street with their grandmother and oldest uncle. Father Law is a cobbler and business starts to get rough and his short temper with demanding clients. Older brother is a successful student and athlete at an English school. Younger brother is a troublemaker and loves his brother dearly. The movie follow their lives from the narrative perspective of the younger brothers recollection from the 1970s.

The movie was quite heart-wrenching because you see the everyday struggles of people of that era try to make ends meet and to send their kids to school for a better life. Reminds me of my upbringing where my parents with no English come to the US in their late 30s and try to start over. I can't even fathom "starting over". Yet, that's what another generation did and had to do many times in their lives. Yet it was an hard watch because the younger brother was so annoying. Really annoying.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Black Swan - 黑天鵝

Black Swan (黑天鵝) is a 2010 film. The film stars Natalie Portman. The supporting cast includes Vincent Cassel, Mila Kunis, and Barbara Hershey. The movie is based on a troupe's production of Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake.

Natalie Portman plays Nina Sayers, a ballet dancer with a very shelter life. Nina lives with her mother Erica, played by Barbara Hershey. Erica was a failed ballet dancer in her youth and has poured much of her energy into Nina's career. Nina's troupe leader Thomas, played by Vincent Cassel, has chosen her for the lead role. That lead role includes playing both sides of the black and white swan story. Nina's white swan is good, but Thomas tries to bring out more feeling and depth when in black swan mode. Nina starts to descend into madness as the first show approaches.

The movie was a little disappointing for me. I had friends who saw it in the theater say how awesome it was or how terrible it was. Both sides, no middle ground. I landed in the middle. I think its slick story telling and Nina's fractured reality was presented in a very unique way. At the end, I wasn't sure what was real. I would not recommend this movie to friends though. I wouldn't even talk to them about it. It's too convoluted of a story to discuss and it falls too much into the artistic realm to suit my taste.

Friday, May 27, 2011

America's Best Dance Crew - Season 6 - Kanye West Challenge

Last night was the eighth episode of America's Best Dance Crew (Season 6), the Kanye West Challenge. The remaining 3 groups battle it out for the last two spots. The bottom two crews were Phunk Phenomenon and I aM mE. After a spirited dance off, Phunk Phenomenon were let go by the judges.

As predicted, its an I aM mE and ICONic Boyz finale. ICONic Boyz never hit the bottom, being saved by votes or MTV. Who knows how the voting works in this things. Had ICONic Boyz ever gotten to the bottom, based on their last 2-3 performances, they would be gone. And based on this episodes' performances, it should be an Phunk Phenomenon and I aM mE finale.

For the bottom 2 head to head dance off, both Phunk Phenomenon and I aM mE brought it hard. Technically, i think I aM mE was superior. From the energy level perspective, Phunk Phenomenon was the winner. And since the judges get to pick, they would probably go with the more technically sound group. For me, there were good moments with Phunk Phenomenon, but I was wowed by I aM mE because I like their style more.

This weeks challenge was based on Kanye West songs, but sucka didn't even bother to show himself. Instead, we got something better. We got season five's winner, Poreotix dancing to the challenges. The challenge was to incorporate ISOS, the Dougie, and Boogaloo. Poreotix ended up being in the crowd as well.

Next week, there's going to be a "Battle of the Final Two" episode which I don't really understand. The finale will have all the past champions there. Which I will be looking for to. Will D-Trix get back onstage with Quest again? Will we ever see Koba back on the ABDC stage again?!

After this episode, I actually think that I aM mE has a shot. The two performances by ICONic Boyz were very underwhelming and could have ppl saying to themselves, "they're cute, but I aM mE killed it". However, my gut has ICONic Boyz winning. I really hope not, but its prolly gonna be ICONic Boyz. Its an unstoppable marketing force.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Fantastic Water Babes - 出水芙蓉

The Fantastic Water Babes (出水芙蓉) is a 2010 film out of Hong Kong. The film stars Gillian Chung and Alex Fung. Supporting cast includes Eva Huang, Stephen Fung, Chrissie Chau, and former olympic gold medalist Tian Liang.

Gillian Chung plays a brass swimming gal who's madly in love with her boyfriend. However, she's gravely embarrass when a secret recording is broadcast of her boyfriend cheating on her and making bad remarks about her. She challenges the gal he's cheated on to a swimming challenge. In order to do this, they kidnap Alex Fong, who's a world class swimmer.

This movie is common HK fare these days. The gals are pretty, the plot suffers from cheesiness, but its a feel good movie at the end. This is so different from the HK movies that I grew up watching from the 80s and 90s. Where happy endings were made fun of. Watch it for Gillian, Eva, and Christy. Skip if you want a good story that makes sense.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader - 納尼亞傳奇:黎明行者號

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (納尼亞傳奇:黎明行者號) is a 2010 film. The movie is the third installment of The Chronicles of Narnia film series. However, it is the fifth story in the C. S. Lewis's epic fantasy series The Chronicles of Narnia. The movie takes place 3 years after the 2nd Narnia movie, Prince Caspian.

Netflix's plot summary about does it:

With their dour, bookish cousin Eustace (Will Poulter) in tow, the youngest Pevensie offspring -- Lucy (Georgie Henley) and Edmund (Skandar Keynes) -- take an unexpected trip back to Narnia and join noble King Caspian (Ben Barnes) for an epic high-seas adventure. Setting sail aboard the Dawn Treader, the young heroes head for the end of the world, determined to rescue seven once-powerful lords banished by Caspian's evil uncle.

The movie was just ok for me. I really disliked Eustace. Even though he comes around later on, I can't help but hate him for more than half the film. The rest follow a pretty standard epic tall of destroying the evil that abounds. If you've watched the first two, this is around the same, just with a little more special effects.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

McDonald's Commercial With Victor Kim and Yuri Tag

Recently, while washing my daily butt-load of dishes, I saw a McDonald's commercial about their new frozen strawberry lemonade. I looked over because the beat was catchy and saw some spinning yellow dood. Than a familiar voice starts and goes to Yuri Tag. Whaa?!!! After a few seconds laters, I see that its Victor Kim that was spinning round and round. Whaaa?!!! again and I was glued. But the commercial ended. ARGGHHH!!! I finish the dishes and start up to YouTube and find it. Nice.

Good to know that the colors that Victor Kim was wearing was that of Lemon vs. Yuri Tag's red outfit for Strawberry. Well, I hope it was meant for that!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1 - 哈利波特:死神的聖物I

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1 (哈利波特:死神的聖物I) is a 2010 film. The film stars Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, and Emma Watson. The film is Part 1 of 2 of the seventh book of the Harry Potter book series. Part 2 is set for general release in the summer of 2011.

The Netflix plot summary does it just about right:

The first installment of the two-part conclusion to the Harry Potter series finds the bespectacled wizard (Daniel Radcliffe) walking away from his last year at Hogwarts to find and destroy the remaining Horcruxes, putting an end to Voldemort's bid for immortality. But with Harry's beloved Dumbledore dead and Voldemort's unscrupulous Death Eaters on the loose, the world is more dangerous than ever.

I loved this movie. It was dark, funny, and gut wrenching all at the same time. Since you probably saw the previous six films, you can see how an innocent childhood is lost to an abrupt introduction to adulthood. From Harry's search for the remaining Horcruxes, to his friendship with Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger, to his bid to keep others safe around him, it was quite a ride. I've never read the books, but this film series is quite something. Something amazing.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

I Saw the Devil - 看見惡魔

I Saw the Devil (看見惡魔) is a 2010 film out of Korea. The film stars Lee Byung-hun and Choi Min-sik. This was the return vehicle for Choi Min-sik after a 4 year absence.

The movie follows Choi Min-sik as Kyung-chul, a serial killer. Lee Byung-hun plays Soo-hyun, a "secret service" type character. Kyung-chul kills Joo-yun, Soo-hyun's fiance who was pregnant. Joo-yun's father is also a detective that gives Soo-hyun a list of suspects in the killing. Soo-hyun finds Kyung-chul and starts to exact revenge.

The movie is another dark Korean triller for me. Seems all the recent Korean movies I watch are laden with evil from even the main protagonist. In this case, its Soo-hyun's desire to exact revenge on Kyung-chul. The surprising thing is that this film was picked up for limited release in the US. Maybe its for the name and face recognition of Lee Byung-hun and Choi Min-sik, but the movie's subject matter is really dark.

I thought this was an interesting movie selection for both Lee Byung-hun and Choi Min-sik. Choi's last role in Sympathy for Lady Vengeance wasn't very normal. And Choi's character in Oldboy isn't one to write home about either. So, for Choi, its both a surprise and not completely shocking.

Lee however is another story. Lee's riding a wave of international goodwill with G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra and The Good, The Bad, The Weird. Lee's role in this movie will definitely put a lot of people off in the international realm. The role's character never develops into someone you care about. You're on his side because the antagonist is so evil. Next up for Lee is the second Joe movie. Hopefully this movie isn't a measuring stick for him.

In all, I thought the movie was well made around a plot point of revenge to the evil-doer. However, all the other elements around that plot made for an uneasy watch. Took me over 4 days to finish, because I lost interest or I just felt so uneasy as the moments developed. Another thing was that I was predicting all the major plot points to add to my uneasiness. Which means that I am saying to myself to skip this and go find a light hearted Korean film like Marrying The Mafia or Take Off.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

The Wolfman - 狼嚎再起

The Wolfman (狼嚎再起) is a 2010 film. The movie stars Benicio del Toro, Anthony Hopkins, Emily Blunt, and Hugo Weaving. This movie is a re-make of the 1941 film The Wolf Man.

Benicio plays Lawrence Talbot, a world renowned Shakespearean actor in London. Lawrence's brother, Ben, has recently gone missing and Ben's fiance Gwen Conliffe has sought Lawrence out to help find Ben. Lawrence, reluctantly agrees and heads back home Blackmoor. Lawrence has not been home since his teens when he witness his mother's murder. When Lawrence makes it back, Ben's body is found and kept at a slaughterhouse. From that point on, its a chase to find out who the wolfman is.

The movie was pretty well made and told a very straight forward story. The storyline was easy to follow and actually no so boring. Benicio does a good job of being both tough, uneasy, and reluctant. Anthony Hopkins was another story, that guy was so strange throughout the movie. Emily Blunt was the lone female in a heavy male dominated cast.

An impression action thriller and well made movie.

Friday, May 20, 2011

America's Best Dance Crew - Season 6 - Nicki Minaj Challenge

Last night was the seventh episode of America's Best Dance Crew (Season 6), the Nicki Minaj Challenge. The remaining 4 groups battle it out for the remaining three spots. The bottom two crews were Phunk Phenomenon and Street Kingdom. After a spirited dance off, Street Kingdom were let go by the judges. This was the third time Street Kingdom landed in the bottom 2.

This week, we had a group dance to start the show. Which wasn't very interesting nor was the music any good. Just bad. I don't think that performance will make any Season 6 highlight reels. But than I aM mE took the stage and rocked it. Sometimes I think the themes given by the judges are quite lame. Although I aM mE had to incorporate childhood games into their routine, I was thinking, what if they didn't have this. What if they could do a magic trick and choose their own song. Imagine if this happend during season three. Beat Freaks and Quest would never have been able to elevate their game to the stratospheric levels that they did. What if..??

ICONic Boyz seem like a force that's unstoppable. I think they are going to win it. Not because they're the best, but because they're going to get the most votes. They will not fall into the bottom two. That's my take and you'll see I aM mE and Phunk Phenomenon in the bottom two next week. I predict an ICONic Boyz and I aM mE finals with the Boyz winning it all. Just imagine the marketing bonanza that's going to happen after. A non-Asian crew wins! We can finally market a ABDC winner! Not since the masked Jabba men have we been able to market an ABDC winner.

Even though it may seem like I didn't like the episode, it wasn't a major disappointment. I am in because of I aM mE. I gotta support them. I just voted for them like ~10 times right now.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The King's Speech - 國王的演講 - 王者之聲:宣戰時刻

The King's Speech (國王的演講/王者之聲:宣戰時刻) is a 2010 film out of the UK. The movie stars Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush. The large supporting cast includes Helena Bonham Carter, Guy Pearce, and Jennifer Ehle. The movie is based on the true story of King George VI and his plight to overcome his stammer with the help from his elocution coach and friend, Loniel Logue.

King Goerge VI of the UK was the Duke of York before he became King. Goerge VI had a speech impediment, a stammer. Having to speak publicly during his generation's radio and public functions, it became well known that he had a stammer. King VI started to see Loniel Logue to help him overcome this. As the movie progresses, it goes what seems a few short years, but in reality, was 15 years. Logue helped the Duke with his public speaking.

The movie was quite good. The character development of both the Duke and Loniel Logue was quite delightful. I was drawn into their world right away. From that point on, the story was more about how and if he could conquer his impediment. What struck me was that these guys hardly had what I perceive to be a British accent. They seemed to be speaking normal English. I didn't have trouble understanding them at all. Am I mislead, is this how all British speak?

A must see if you like a well made film that has great character development and a great feel good story.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

2011 Summer Blockbuster Movies Guide - The Asian Stuff

I recently went through a list of some upcoming 2011 Summer Movies for the US. I boldly proclaimed a long playoffs run by my beloved Lakers. Which was not to be. No "San"-peat. I also noted some other films to watch out for from Asia.

But this summer in the US, some Asian films will have a limited release. I am not sure of how many others will make it to the theaters this summer, but this is what's been reported so far. Its interesting that there's a big lack of Korean or Japanese films, of which none have been announced. Maybe they're holding them off for the fall when there is less competition.

True Legend (蘇乞兒) was release in 2010, but made it to the US this past weekend.

Kung Fu Panda 2 (功夫熊貓2). Ok, so this isn't officially from Asia. I had mixed feelings about the first one. However, Jackie Chan's voice will grace the screen this time around. Instead of an all faux accent cast, we'll get a real FOB accent in the movie.

Empire of Silver (白銀帝國) is a 2009 film out of Zhong Guo. The movie stars Aaron Kwok, Zhang Tielin, and Hao Lei. It makes it stateside on June 3rd.

City of Life and Death (南京!南京!) is a 2009 film out of China. On June 17th, it will hit the theaters. I think it'll hit the art circuit as the subject matter isn't commercially friendly.

Shaolin (新少林寺) is also set for release somewhere this summer. The date is currently TBD, but most likely on August 5th. The movie stars Andy Lau, Nicolas Tse, Jackie Chan, Fan Bingbing, and Wu Jing. I haven't seen the movie as of this writing.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Whip It - 飆速青春

Whip It (飆速青春) is a 2009 film. The movie stars Ellen Page. The supporting cast includes Drew Barrymore, Alia Shawkat, Kristen Wiig, Juliette Lewis, and Jimmy Fallon. The movie is based on women's roller derby.

Ellen Page plays Bliss Cavendar, a girl with very little direction in life. Because of this lack of direction, she gives in to her demanding mother and enters beauty pageants. Bliss works at a local pig stop with her best friend Pash. Bliss and her mom make a trip to Austin to pick up some gear and run into girls on a roller derby team. Intrigued, Bliss picks up the try out flyer and goes secretly withour her parents knowledge and being underaged. Bliss makes the team and starts to compete for star status. Bliss also helps her team go from zero wins to challengers for the season's title.

This was an pretty amazing movie. From the aimlessness of Bliss to the over the top personas of the other team members, this movie was really a fun ride. Nothing too crass was needed to advance the story. In essence, it was a coming of age story for Bliss. Going from a gal with no direction to a gal who has renewed confidence. And its all because of roller derby.

Monday, May 16, 2011

The Man from Nowhere - 大叔

The Man from Nowhere (大叔) is a 2010 film out of Korea. The movie stars Won Bin. This was the top domestic grossing Korean film of 2010.

Cha Tae-sik, played by Won Bin, is a loner who owns an pawn shop. So-mi, played by Kim Sae-ron, is a loner girl trying her best not to stay home with her mother, a drug addict. So-mi's mom was in on a heist and the people they stole from want find her. They take So-mi and her mom hostage only to kill the mom in a most deplorable way. So-mi is than sold into slavery as a child drug runner. Cha and So-mi build a uneasy bound as she pesters him daily so she doesn't have to go home. When So-mi leaves the drugs at his pawn shop, he's dragged into the chase against his will. When So-mi goes underground, Cha makes it his mission to find her and all those that stand in his way will pay the price.

This was an awesome movie. The story was a dark from the beginning and you knew you were dealing with thugs with no conscious. Cha has a tragic past and avoids people at all cost. However, So-mi pestered her way into his life. Much like many action oriented Korean movies, it takes the gritty nature laced with the darkness in all humans. Are all humans as dark as this movie makes people out to be? I have to believe not or society as a whole has no courtesy. However, this film dives into the So-mi yearning for love anywhere away from her mom and Cha's reclusion from his tragic and deadly past.

This film has been compared the the Liam Nelson film Taken, but I haven't watched that film so I can't say if that's true or not. However, this film reminded me a lot about Man On Fire with Denzel Washington. Man On Fire was gritty and explored the business of human trafficking for profit. Man From Nowhere was a little less investigative, but had that same gritty feel and shady characters to boot.

I can see why this film was a major hit in Korea and has been picked up for limited release in the US last year. Won Bin's heartthrob past isn't a hindrance nor the super cuteness of So-mi. A must watch for all Korean and Asian movie buffs.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

The Fighter - 燃燒鬥魂

The Fighter (燃燒鬥魂) is a 2010 film. The movie stars Mark Wahlberg and Christian Bale. The supporting cast includes Melissa Leo and Amy Adams. The movie is a based on the life story of "Irish" Micky Ward, a professional boxer.

The movie focuses on the boxing career of Micky Ward, played by Mark Wahlberg. Micky is a welterweight boxer and is training for an upcoming fight. You notice that there's a HBO crew following them around. The crew is there to shoot a documentary about Dicky Eklund, played by Christian Bale, Micky's brother. Micky's head trainer is Dicky and the manager is his mom, Alice played by Melissa Leo. They get to the fight to, but have to change plans and still fight to get the purse money. As the movie moves on, its the balance of family and professional career as a story that's presented. The story of Micky's relationship with Charlene is explored in regards to Micky and against his family.

The movie was an enjoyable watch. Embellished true stories seem to have that kind of effect on people. In the back of your mind, you're always thinking, this is true, it could have happened. I can see why a lot of people had this film in their top ten list from 2010. However, the movie was just ok for me. As the movie progress, I did not not feel an emotional attachment to Micky. Yes, he's trying to love his family and make ends meat. Yes, he trying to make good with his daughter and start fresh with Charlene. Yet, through it all, it was just a presentation of a story. The character development for Micky was very little and I was trying hard to connect. But the story started to get in the way. Dicky's descent into darkness was heart wrenching, but I was having a hard time caring. In all, a enjoyable movie that presented a nice embellished true story, but just didn't get me all that interested.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Love In A Puff - 志明與春嬌

Love In A Puff (志明與春嬌) is a 2010 film out of Hong Kong. The movie stars Shawn Yue and Miriam Yeung. The film received many accolades in the HK film circle. Almost as a return to making movies for the HK audience.

Shawn Yue plays Jimmy, a person in the ad business. Jimmy's caught his girlfriend cheating and they split up. However, the girlfriend starts to publicly date the person now and they all work at the same company. Miriam Yeung plays Cherrie, a mall clerk who's with a wandering eye boyfriend. The two meet up to smoke outside. They strike up a very friendly friendship. To the point that some people think they're dating. But if you ask them, its just "smoking buddy" status.

This movie was very HK for me. From the locations to the cig buying, all things only HK residents would know. I had no clue and just had to roll with it. Which is it good point and bad point. So HK that it turned me off a little, but also made me think about 80s and 90s flare that was so HK, like Chungking Express. This was no Chungking Express, but it was a movie for HK folks.

Friday, May 13, 2011

America's Best Dance Crew - Season 6 - Justin Bieber Challenge

Last night was the sixth episode of America's Best Dance Crew (Season 6), the Justin Bieber Challenge. The remaining 5 groups battle it out for the remaining four spots. The bottom two crews were Instant Noodles and Street Kingdom. After a spirited dance off, Instant Noodles were let go by the judges.

I feel sad that the full Asian group was removed. But I couldn't say they deserved to say on too. The performances yesterday was in general all very mediocre. These theme songs and gimmicks takes away from the previous seasons where the groups got more open challenges that let them put their personalities out there a little more. Fanny Pak would hate this season.

Didn't wow me or make me think it sux this week. But I am not very motivated to watch next week based on this weeks performances.

I think the Iconic Boyz will take it all, I just can't see them falling into the bottom two for elimination. I will be sad if these take it all. Although I like I aM Me's style the best, they didn't have a good performance.

JC hit it on the dot, he mentioned that the TV audience doesn't see what they see. MTV! Stop with the lame angles and have more straight on views.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

與愛別離 - Revenge Of The Factory Woman - Upcoming

與愛別離 (Revenge Of The Factory Woman) is being released in Taipei this coming Friday, May 13, 2011. The film stars Peggy Tseng, Chou Heng-Yin, and Yin Chao-te.

The english title of this film is a strange one. But maybe they're going there to get some shock value. Another name that could get used is "A Departure from Love". But the story follows two female best friends. The first gets married and gets pregnant. But the best friend and husband start an affair and she gets prego too! Scandalous! But to add that top, the best friends have their babies and the wife demands a swap. Drama! I am in!

Taiwan, go support your local products!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


2012 is a 2009 film. The film stars John Cusack, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Amanda Peet. There's a huge supporting cast to go with the three main characters.

The movie starts with Chiwetel Ejiofor as a geologist named Adrian Helmsley. Adrian finds that the year 2012 could result in massive world destruction. Adrian is a fan of an author, Jackson Curtis played by John Cusack. Jackson is a failed writer that drives limos. Jackson's ex-wife, Amanda Peet as Kate Curtis, with whom they have 2 children always on him for being a dreamer and not caring for her or their children. When the crazy Earth stuff happens, Jackson goes into action to save his family and Adrian tries to save as many.

The is one of those big disaster flicks that makes for a fun night of eating popcorn at home. It is not a guilty pleasure film, but its a fun watch for those looking for simple action and nothing to really think about.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Children of Invention - 自力更生

Children of Invention (自力更生) is a 2008 film out of the USA. The movie stars Cindy Cheung, Michael Chen, and Crystal Chiu. The movie is directed and written by Tze Chun. The logline for the movie is, "Two young children living outside Boston are left to fend for themselves when their mother gets embroiled in a pyramid scheme and disappears."

I can't really give a plot synopsis beyond the tagline of the movie. You need to watch it to understand. Watch the trailer and you'll get the gist of the movie. The subject matter presentation in the movie is both surreal and heart breaking. Movies can present to us normal life. In this case, the life of normalcy for this family is anything but. As the movie progresses and ends, my heart sinks and breaks. Not only for the children but for their situation. It makes me appreciate my parents and my snug suburban life.

Props to Cindy for her pseudo fob accent. You can see from the special features that she speaks perfect American English and had to pick up the dialect. However, her accent comes across more Singaporean for me vs. a HK fob. But hey, the rest of America will think she has a normal Chinese accent.

Major props to those that got the film made and distributed. It is not common to see an Asian family presented on screen. Major props again.

Monday, May 9, 2011

The Social Network - 社群網戰

The Social Network (社群網戰) is a 2010 film. The movie stars Jesse Eisenberg. The supporting cast include Andrew Garfield, Justin Timberlake, and Brenda Song. The film was one of the most highly regarded films of 2010. Making multiple top ten list and doing very well on the awards circuit.

The movie starts at Harvard when Mark Zuckerberg makes a rating site overnight and "micro" blogs about it. Within hours, the site crashes the servers and he gains notoriety around campus. This notoriety brings the Winklevoss brothers to ask him to start an exclusive Harvard site. Which Zuckerberg instead makes into "The Facebook". From there, he enlist the help Eduardo Saverin to help fund his new venture. Thus, begins the story of Facebook and the story of Mark Zuckerberg.

The movie was one of the best of 2010 for me as well. Well made and Jesse pulls off an amazing Zuckerberg. It doesn't matter if the portrayal took liberties, Jesse drew you in. If you're not a techie, it doesn't matter, the reference have been "layman" down for you. As a professional in the website business, there's no such thing as a zone, but it's nice play on "heads down" programming.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

C'est La Vie, Mon Chéri - 新不了情

C'est La Vie, Mon Chéri (新不了情) is a 1993 film out of Hong Kong. The film stars Anita Yuen and Sean Lau (Ching-Wan).

Sean Lau plays Kit, a sax recording artist and song writer that has grown tired of the industry. Seeking to make music for the sake of making music, Kit abandons his girlfriend and career. Kit moves to a part of town with lots of street hawkers. There, he lives the life to make music. Anita Yuen plays Min, the daughter of a psuedo-famous Chinese opera singer. Min and family lead a life of hawking their talents on a street corner. Min lives upstairs from Kit and takes an interest to his life and eventually him. The two start up get to know each other and have a magical bond linked to music. Min was a former bone cancer survivor in childhood. In remission for many years, its back again and Kit's relationship is put to the test as she deals with the reemergence of a life threatening disease.

Back in my teens and twenties. Rarely did I ever get teary eyed when watching films. But this one brings it out of you. Anita's portrayal of Min was so engaging and authentic that you're instantly drawn into her world. When it comes crashing down around her, you can see the love around her.

I have this in my top ten HK movies of the 1990s. As for the bigger picture of movies, I would have to rank this in the top 50. A must watch for any HK movie buff.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Piranha 3D - 3D食人魚

Piranha 3D (3D食人魚) is a 2010 film. The film stars Elisabeth Shue, Adam Scott, Jerry O'Connell, and Ving Rhames. The movie is a remake of the original 1978 version. I saw this version on Blu-ray without 3D.

The movie is about a bunch of pre-historic piranha's that are released into a lake after a slight earthquake breeches a encapsulated water cave. But guess what, these creatures get out right around spring break and the town is crazy busy with young people. Guess what? That's a lot of bodies for these fair creatures to feed off. Let the hijinx begin.

The movie is a guilty pleasure movie to its max. You got your spring break theme. You've got cheezy lines. You've got your over the top antagonist. What more is there not to like?

Friday, May 6, 2011

America's Best Dance Crew - Season 6 - Rihanna Challenge

Last night was the fifth episode of America's Best Dance Crew (Season 6), the Rihanna Challenge. The remaining 6 groups battle it out for the remaining five spots. The bottom two crews were Phunk Phenomenon and 787 Crew. After a spirited dance off, 787 Crew were let go by the judges.

This week, I aM mE impressed me the most. Their visuals are top notch and keep me engaged. At first, I wasn't all that impressed with Instant Noodles performance to start the show, but after the other 4 crews gave very ordinary performances, they sorta stood out after that.

I am not sure if the judges are seeing stuff I am not seeing, since they get a straight on view and than birds eye pictures. I get a heavily edit version that I am starting to hate more and more. So, they gave praise where I did not see it. Oh well.

A mediocre episode this week, but not that bad that I am walking away. But after this week, I really really like I aM mE now.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

他們在畢業的前一天爆炸 - Days We Stared at the Sun - Upcoming

他們在畢業的前一天爆炸 (Days We Stared at the Sun) is an upcoming movie out of Taiwan set for release on Friday, May 6, 2011 in Taipei. The movie seems to be either a continuation of the tv drama from 2010 or the condensed version of that tv drama. My Chinese isn't good enough to decipher it.

What it looks like is a few high school students that are bad news for society and make a mess of their lives. Not very interesting to me to see a bunch of high school punks think they own the world while others around them suffer. I am going to take a pass on this and the tv drama.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

走出五月 - Goodbye May - Upcoming

走出五月 (Goodbye May) is an upcoming film being released in Taipei in a couple of days on Friday, May 6, 2011. The movie stars Alan Kuo and Serina Fang.

Seems to be a love story between Alan Kuo and Serina Fang that includes a love story of Alan's grandparents. Influenced by music and the potential to be what you're suppose to be. The movie does look very interesting. I am in mainly because of Serina, but hey, the story looks good to.

Taiwan, go support your local filmmakers!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Fast Five - 玩命關頭5 - Box Office

Fast Five (玩命關頭5) took the box office crown this past weekend with an impressive $86,198,765 take. This is the second straight The Fast and the Furious movie to take number one.

This movie jump starts the summer movie season with a bang. The film stars two action movie icons in Vin Diesel and The Rock, Dwayne Johnson. Both have had success at the box office, but not very consistently. Whereas the fourth installment looked to get spring business, the fifth film was looking for the summer business. The reviews for the movie has been generally more positive than the previous two Justin Lin helmed movies in this franchise. This installment was also estimated at $125-$170 million to make. If the worldwide take is double that, it'll be very good for all those involved with the movie.

Major props to Justin Lin, the Taiwanese-American director at the helm. This is the third The Fast and the Furious movie for Justin and he's done an awesome job so far. I really enjoyed Tokyo Drift as well as Fast & Furious. I am guessing that after this film, Justin will be a legitimate A list director in Hollywood. A first for a Taiwanese guy. Here's to hoping he gets to make the kind of movies he wants to from now on. Indie or mainstream, I will watch his stuff.