Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Sweet November - 甜蜜的十一月

It's been awhile since I've been able to blog for a month. These days, I've been watching a lot of Amazon Prime videos. Although the selection is pretty weak right now, I am catching up on stuff I didn't watch in the past, like Lost Season 6, Dresden Files, and Firefly. And the good thing is that I can choose to watch in HD. Once you go HD, it's hard to turn back. That's one of the major problems with watching the asian stuff, its not HD. And to get HD, it's usually not available or double the $$.

I'll be a lot more sporadic for the next 3 months. I'll prolly be back to do a daily in March 2012. But my days of daily posts year round are over.

In honor of my daily post for the whole month of November, I give you a sappy movie from one of my favorite actors, Keanu Reeves. Recently shown on cable during Thanksgiving break.

Sweet November (甜蜜的十一月) is an 2001 film. The movie stars Keanu Reeves and Charlize Theron. The two also played a couple a few years earlier in 1997's The Devil's Advocate. However, this time around, they turn up the romance.

Nelson Moss (Keanu Reeves) plays an high level marketing guru who meets Sara Deever (Charlize Theron) during a DMV visit. Sara sees that Nelson is a complete jerk and proposes that they spend a month together. Sara's way of saving Nelson from his jerkhood. Nelson is too pompous to see and blows her off. High and mightly, he also goes ballistic at a client for an ad campaign and gets fired. Sara sends him a dog and they start their month to the reluctance of Nelson. Thus, Sweet November. However, you are kept wondering what's Sara's story. But while you're thinking about this, Sara changes Nelson into a better human being. Seriously changes him. But what's Sara's story again? I won't spoil it for you.

Keanu always gets a bad rap for his stiff acting and over the top persona when he plays "driven" individuals. This movie was no different. Just watch the scene where he gets fired. You'll also see it in the clothes. Keanu looks really good when he's the bad @$$ ad guru. But when he becomes the better man, he's in jeans and flanel. This is also the time when Charlize was becoming an A-lister. 10 years later, both still look really good in the film. The film actually still holds very well for being from 10 years ago. The clothes, the professions, and the story still provide a lot of strong feelings.

If you like Hollywood endings, you might want to skip this movie too. Its a adult coming of age film for Keanu and plays to another storyline that would spoil the movie. I especially like the OG trailer and how the Enya song, Only Time, played to the emotions of the film. Being a Keanu, Charlize, and Enya fan, that trailer rocked. The movie is one for the ages in my opinion.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

痞子英雄:首部曲:全面開戰 - Black And White Episode 1: The Dawn of Assault - Upcoming

痞子英雄:首部曲:全面開戰 - Black And White Episode 1: The Dawn of Assault is set for release in January of 2012. The film is set to star the majority of the cast from the television series from 2009. Vic Chou will not be reprising his role as "black" portion. However, it looks like they've gone out and got Huang Bo to be the "痞子" or rascal part of the equation. Mark Chao, Ivy Chen and Janine Chang round out the returning cast. Angelababy and Alex To were added to the cast as well. Add to that an contingency of Taiwanese movie mainstays like Terri Kwan, Dean Fujioka Tatsuo, 阿Ken, Leon Dai, and Jack Kao, this movie looks awesome.

The trailers are starting and the stars are hitting the circuits in Taiwan to promote the film. I would imagine that with an earlier Chinese New Years, the movie will play to that. I have to decide if I can wait for the Blu-ray version to be released in Taiwan or get a crappy version around LA in February. Decisions, decisions.

Monday, November 28, 2011

My Kingdom - 大武生

My Kingdom (大武生) is an 2011 film out of Zhong Guo. The movie stars Wu Chun, Barbie Hsu, and Han Geng. I actually saw this movie in my hotel room while on a business trip in Zhong Guo.

In the world of Chinese Opera, when a master is challenged and loses, he must exit his studio and remove himself from that world. When Wu Chun and Han Geng's master loses, they are forced to retreat into seclusion and gain their skills to mount a challenge when they are older. The practice for many years until their adulthood. They head back to what appears to by Shanghai and take over the studio their master lost to by beating the reigning master. Once they are the head of the Opera, they become famous and rich in the city. However, they both have a bit of bad boy in them. Will their new found fame and glory go to their heads?

This movie was quite boring. I was waiting for it to get more interesting. However, it wouldn't. It refused. It must have said to itself, "Hey, no one else here, let's make the story confusing, lead characters unlikable, and throw in a love triangle. Seriously, they should have stuck to a simpler story.

My Kingdom

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Mortal Kombat: Legacy - 真人快打

Mortal Kombat: Legacy (真人快打) is an 2011 YouTube web series collected into Blu-ray form. The series was a total of 9 webisodes. The stars included Michael Jai White and Jeri Ryan.

The web series explores all the major characters and how they had lives before the tournament. The goal of the series was to explain why they would go if presented past lives.

I didn't know what was going on when I rented it. I thought it was some B movie and that I might enjoy it. I had another thing coming. I was confused at first as the episodes didn't relate back to the previous stories. I was thinking, it's all going to connect right? But it doesn't. The video game connects them at the tournament. I ended up waiting for things to happen when it didn't and also wondering why things were longer and some were shorter. They should have did a directors intro before everything started to set the tone.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Love in Cosmo - 搖擺的婚約

Love in Cosmo (搖擺的婚約) is a 2010 film out of Zhong Guo. The movie stars Yao Chen, Zhu Yu-Chen, Guo Xiao-Dong, and Annie Wu.

The movie follows the life of Yao Chen, a magazine employee that's set to get married in a matter of days. Yao already lives with her fiance Guo. However, Guo is cheating on her with Wu and they run off. But before Guo does, his college friend Zhu comes to crash for a few months. Zhu comforts Yao after the breakup and they fall for each other.

Yao is uniquely pretty. With that big mouth, he has a natural smile and is very easy on the eyes. Although I didn't think this a few years ago. But her leading lady turns are starting to covert me. I think she can be a leading lady.

The movie is Zhong Guo quality for 2010. Production value is there, but the story, transitions, and character development are not enough. What I mean by transitions is the way the story moves from one section to the next. Zhong guo movies have a hard time with that in general as of 2010. I am seeing it improve, but its not quite there yet.

In all, it was a light hearted movie that really features Yao. If you like to watch Zhong Guo films, you'll want to see this one.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Conan the Barbarian - 蛮王柯南

Conan the Barbarian (蛮王柯南) is an 2011 summer film. The movie stars Jason Momoa. The supporting cast includes Rachel Nichols, Stephen Lang, Rose McGowan, and Ron Perlman. The is a reboot of the Conan and is supposedly closer to the orignal material of creator Robert E. Howard.

The movie starts with an young Conan learning the ways of the barbarian in his homeland, Cimmeria. Conan's mother died giving birth to him in battle. Because of this, Conan and his father have a very tight bound. Conan proves to be an excellent warrior. When his village is attacked and wiped out, Conan vows to take revenge. Along the way, he leaves a trail of carnage.

The movie was quite disappointing. The mythic character of Conan I watched in Arnold in the 80s and the Marvel Conan I read around the same time was missing. Conan's line of "I live, I love, I slay, I am content" is barely there. Conan is much more Kull in this film. I was hoping for a better villain and lead love interest. The movie was completely casts wrong too. Production value is really high. Story, cast, and flow were not.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

The Sorcerer and the White Snake - 法海:白蛇傳說

The Sorcerer and the White Snake (法海:白蛇傳說) is an 2011 film out of Zhong Guo. The film stars Jet Li, Eva Huang, and Raymond Lam. The supporting cast include Charlene Choi, Wen Zhang, and Vivian Hsu. I watched this in the comforts of my hotel room on an recent trip to Dalian, Zhong Guo. And it was playing in the theaters, what?!

The movies follows Abott Fahai (Jet Li) with his assistant Neng Ren (Wn Zhang) as they battle an temptress demon (Vivian Hsu). After finding out how powerful Fahai is, you know you don't want to mess with him. We move to two lovely nagas played by Eva and Charlene. They decide to play a joke on a medicine picker and than save his life. In order to save the life, the naga has to kiss the person. There goes the love story. The naga now wants to enter into the medicine mans life. They marry and have an happy life. However, when demon's run amuck. Trouble follows. When the medicine man wants to save the ppl of a sick village, the naga lends her hand. Fahai enters the picture here and says that humans and deities can't co-exist. Its not part of nature. From here on out, the movie gets crazy with the fighting and special effects. Will love win out?

The movie was quite entertaining. I like Eva. I like that she's willing to play both meek and strong roles. In this movie, she plays a very strong role and it helps carry the movie while Jet is at his temple. The movie gets good when both main characters are at it with each other. However, you can see just how important Jet is to movie. When Jet is absent, the story drags and felt uninteresting. When he was there and with Eva, the movie was great. And it's a total shame to waste Vivian as a temptress demon. Only 5 minutes of film time. Weak! More Vivian!

If you're an Jet Li fan, you should watch this. If you're new to these stuff, it might be a hard watch.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Crazy, Stupid, Love. - 熟男型不型

Crazy, Stupid, Love. (熟男型不型) is an 2011 summer film. The movie stars Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, Julianne Moore, and Emma Stone. The supporting cast includes Kevin Bacon, Marisa Tomei, Analeigh Tipton, and Liza Lapira.

The movie starts with Cal Weaver (Steve Carell) and his wife Emily (Julianne Moore) are having a hard time picking a dinner at a restaurant. A very uncomfortable looking Emily declares that she wants a divorce and reveals that she has cheated on him. From this point on, Cal puts in motion the process of divorce by moving out. Cal makes his way to a bar the night Emily wants a divorce and meets Jacob Palmer (Ryan Gosling). Jacob is presented as an successful playa that gets all the pretty girls. However, the first time we meet Jacob, he unsuccessfully beds Hannah (Emma Stone) at the bar. Jacob takes pity on Cal and teaches him the tricks of the womanizing trade. Eventually, through osmosis, Cal becomes a player. However, Cal is still in love with Emily and goes back to the house and secretly maintains the lawn and garden. Will he win back the love of his life?

The Zhong Wen translation for this movie is quite weird, 熟男型不型. 熟男 means mature male. 型不型 in this context means capable. Put together, it does not equal Crazy, Stupid, Love. I can see how they have a judgmental angle on the character of Love, but its not what the movie is about. Again, very weird name for the movie. In general, its hit and miss with the translations. In this case, it totally missed the mark and contains nothing from the orignal English name.

The movie was quite trying for me. I am not a particular fan of both Steve Carell and Julianne Moore. However, the trailer looked so good and it had Ryan Gosling. The movie presented a unique story. I am married with children, so getting movies with that life stage is a plus. Unfortunately , in order for Hollywood to spice things up, it usually comes with infidelity and divorce. Unique story and perspective with lots of things. The Jacob and Hannah story had a unique twist and you ended up cheering for them. There were a couple of side plots that I didn't care much for, but was needed for things to move along.

Ryan Gosling is my current favorite Hollywood actor. Dood chooses good films. He's entering the prime of his careers and hopefully it'll last. As for Steve Carell, he didn't play that comedic type guy that we see on Office or Bruce Almighty. Steve played the role straight as a hurt man who's wife cheated on him and wanted a divorce. Not a imbecile that I want to run away from.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Illusion Apartment - 異度公寓

Illusion Apartment (異度公寓) is an 2010 horror film out of Zhong Guo. The movie stars Stephanie Hsiao Chiang, Eddie Cheung, Ray Ma, Yao Lin-Na, and Amguulan.

The film follows Stephanie as an housewife that lost her son. The husband is a successful entertainment executive. When Stephanie's friends notice some strangeness, they start to snoop. The snooping doesn't do them any good. The husband is concerned for the sanity of his wife and starts to secretly meet with a psychologist to seek help. However, when the psychologist's sister enters the picture, it confused everyone and starts a mess. Will they ever figure out what's going on? Is the ghost of the son real?

This was a terrible movie. I had it on while washing dishes. That's prolly the main reason I didn't turn it off. I didn't have dry hands to work the remotes. If you like to torture yourself with bad movies, put this on.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Captain America: The First Avenger - 美國隊長

Captain America: The First Avenger (美國隊長) is an 2011 Marvel film. The movie stars Chris Evans, Tommy Lee Jones, and Hugo Weaving. The supporting cast includes Stanley Tucci, Hayley Atwell, and Sebastian Stan. Captain America probably didn't do well enough in the US box office to green light a sequel. Captain America is one of primary characters in next years Avengers movie.

Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) wants desperately to join the army during WWII. In New York City, Steve tries repeatedly and is turned away each time. Mainly because he appears too weak. However, his patriotism is notice by a scientist. This scientist is looking to make a super solider serum. Looking for the right person, Steve Rogers qualifies with flying colors. Injected with the super solider serum, Steve Rogers body is enhanced to 100% and grows a few inches to boot. However, Red Skulls minions infiltrate the experiment and kill the scientist. Leaving Steve as the only subject, but a successful one. The US gov't decides to have Steve trout around the world as a beacon of hope for victory. Hoever, Steve again desperately wants to be in the thick of the action serving his country. Eventual getting into the action, he tracks down Red Skull and they go at it. If you know the Story, he is launched out by a rocket and lands in an icy place to be perserved. The movie ends with his discovery 70 years later and being asked to be part of the Avengers.

The movie was one of the most enjoyable action films I watched this year. No fanfare, just tell a great story and let the action speak for itself. Very well made movie. Its too sad that no sequel is in the works and that Captain America's big screen appearances will be in other movies like the Avengers. Chris played Steve Rogers straight up. A patriotic guy that wanted to serve his country. There was any extra character development needed. There wasn't any extra gimmicks needed to move the story along.

If you're looking for an fun action film, you got it with Captain America: The First Avenger.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

樂之路 - Road Less Traveled - Upcoming

樂之路 (Road Less Traveled) is an upcoming film being released in Taipei on December 2, 2011. The movie stars Van Ness Wu, Jimmy Hung, Dean Fujioka, Eric Tu, and Christopher Lung.

From the trailer, it looks like a rags to riches story of a band. Van Ness has very long hair, so I'll have to date this movie his pre Autumn Concerto days. Looks like all these fellas are also raised aboard.

Looking forward to the movie. Especially Van and Xian Zi.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2 - 哈利波特:死神的聖物II

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2 (哈利波特:死神的聖物II) is a 2011 film. The film stars Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, and Emma Watson. The film is Part 2 of 2 of the seventh book of the Harry Potter book series. Part 1 was released in the fall of 2010. The it is the final film of this film series.

The story start off with Harry's landing and his continued quest to destroy Lord Voldemort. Eventually, it leads back to Hogwarts. Where they search for more clues to destroy more horcrux. It leads to an epic battle and a conclusion. Does Harry and crew survive this ordeal?

I really wanted to make it out to watch this in the theaters. However, I couldn't find ppl that had watched all the previous films. When I did, they had already watched it. Which my busy schedule, I was resolved to watch this on Blu-ray. OH well, still very good. And the movie itself was very good. If you've been following along, you have to have the historical reference of the other movies to understand this. It was a fitting conclusion and left me closure.

I am guessing they'll wait another 10 years before they resurrect this property for another film series. 2 billion reasons to do it again.

Friday, November 18, 2011

喋血孤城 - Death And Glory In Changde

喋血孤城 (Death And Glory In Changde City) is an 2010 film out of Zhong Guo. The movie stars an ensemble of people, but the stars were Ray Lui and Ady An.

The movie is placed in 1944 when Japanese troops are trying to take down the Nationalist Chinese army in the Changde area. We follow the lives of one particular troop. This troop ends up holding off the Japanese long enough for reinforcements to show up. However, in that process, many lives are lost and the movie moves to make the Japanese the bad guys with honor. In this mix is couples that wonder if they will ever get married or survive.

The movie was quite a surprise. An Nationalist army movie released in Zhong Guo? And a very patriotic tone to it. Yes, it was about overcoming the Japanese invasion, but it wasn't about the communist army. I thought it strange and continue to try to reconcile that. Unless I am completely wrong and those uniforms have confused me. Which is quite easy. Ady An plays a part in the bigger ensemble but still shines.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Horrible Bosses - 老闆不是人

Horrible Bosses (老闆不是人) is an 2011 film. The movie stars Jason Bateman, Charlie Day, and Jason Sudeikis. The supporting cast includes Kevin Spacey, Jennifer Aniston, Colin Farrell, Jamie Foxx, and Julie Bowen. The film did well enough that there are talks for an sequel.

The movie follows Jason Bateman, Charlie Day, and Jason Sudeikis as they go through life. However, circumstances would have it that they all hate their bosses for different reasons. The plot to kill them so their lives can be happier. The stumble across Jamie Foxx that gives them ideas on how to kill them off. However, these guys are not career criminals and bumble their way through it.

The movie was just OK. I didn't feel like I laughed that much. Nor did it gross me out as much as I thought it would. Good performances by all involved.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

麵引子 - Four Hands - Upcoming

麵引子 (Four Hands) was released on October 14, 2011 in Taipei. The movie follows what appears to be 3 generations in both Taiwan and Zhong Guo. The main lead is an older fellow that's based in Taiwan, but from Zhong Guo.

In interesting trailer that deals with what lots of Waishengren (外省人) go through in Taiwan now. Are you or are you not really "Taiwanese". It's an easy answer from an American point of view. However, that alien feeling still abounds.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

X-Men:First Class - X戰警:第一戰

X-Men:First Class (X戰警:第一戰) is an 2011 film from Fox and Marvel. The movie stars James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, and Rose Byrne. The supporting cast includes January Jones, Oliver Platt, and Kevin Bacon. Since this was a team film, there were many others, but too many to list. The movie is a prequel to the other films released by Fox. Essentially making it a reboot movie. But the movie had Hugh Jackman and Rebecca Romijn in cameo appearances.

In the ancient days of the 1940s and 1960s, mutants were just starting to come into existence. The movie tells the story of how Xavier and Magneto because who they are in the future. Magneto is found in the concentration camps of Poland and experimented on. Magneto than sets out for revenge against these people. Xavier is brought up in high class upstate New York and takes in Raven, a homeless mutant that can shift change. They both develop their skills and eventually meet and team up to form a secret gov't group of mutants. However, Magneto's need for revenge and Xavier's never kill mentally come to a head during the cuban missile crisis. Which sides will the mutants take, go with Xavier or go with Magneto.

The movie was very good, but also a little disappointing at the same time. You have to have extreme circumstances to make evil people. In the case of Magneto, it was there. I think they needed someone human than Fassbender. I didn't think he was evil enough looking. Kevin Bacon was also pretty good in this film.

Monday, November 14, 2011

賽德克 - 巴萊(下):彩虹橋 -- Seediq Bale 2 -- Upcoming

賽德克 - 巴萊(下):彩虹橋 (Seediq Bale 2) was released in Taipei back in September. I was on an business trip and wasn't able to blog about it. Well, now is better than later right? From the acclaimed director of Cape No. 7, Wei Te-sheng, this is the second part of Seedig Bale. Seedig Bale was so long that instead of cutting it more, they just split the movie in two. The first was release a few weeks before the second part.

So far, its doing very well at the box office. To what degree, I am not exactly sure. But I am really looking forward to its release on Blu-ray and for it to make it here to LA.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Green Lantern - 綠光戰警

Green Lantern (綠光戰警) is an 2011 film from Warner Bros. The film stars Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively. The movie is based on a DC Comics character of the same name. The movie did not perform well enough for an sequel.

The universe is overseen by elders who give guardians to each of the 3,600 sectors. The guardians are given powers through their greens that gets power from the will. However, an evil force called Parallax and former elder wanted to gain power using fear. Parallax is captured by Abin Sur and trapped. Parallax is released and seeks revenge and gravely injures Abin Sur. Abin Sur crash lands on Earth and his ring seeks a new worthy owner in Hal Jordan. Hal is a failure in life except when it comes to flying. A daredevil by nature, Hal is chosen and immediately needs to figure out what this whole Green power is. If not, the power of the Parallax approaches earth and wants to destroy it. Hal must learn the power of the Green Lanterns and save it from Parallax.

The movie was entertaining but not very good either. The special effects looked really fake. Fake to a point of annoyance. Blake however kept me engaged because she's so dang pretty. Other than that, watch it only if you're a Green Lantern fan.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Shower - 洗澡

Shower (洗澡) is a 1999 film out of Zhong Guo. The movie stars Zhu Xu, Pu Cunxin, and Jiang Wu. The film is directed by Zhang Yang.

In an old part of Beijing, a bath house is being run by Old Liu and his 2nd son, Liu Erming. Erming is mentally challenged. The older son, Liu Daming returns when he receives a postcard that he interprets is the passing of his father. Daming and Old Liu are not on good terms because Daming went south to get rich and abondoned his family. Old Liu goes so far as to say that Daming is ashamed of his fathers profession. However, upon his return to Beijing, Daming starts to make amends. Will it work out for this family?

The movie was slow and hard to follow. Going for character development more than a fast pace movie, it grows on you and at the end, you may feel satisfied with the film. I was. I am glad I didn't give up and let the movie develop, because the pay off was good. Worth a watch, but beware that its a movie that shows its age. And for those not aware of the showering custom of those in Zhong Guo. Showering isn't a daily occurrence for them. For many, have one every couple of weeks is common. In the more rural areas, once a month is common too. Will it change in the future, we will see.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Transformers: Dark of the Moon - 變形金剛3

Transformers: Dark of the Moon (變形金剛3) is an 2011 film. The movie stars Shia LaBeouf. The supporting cast also includes Josh Duhamel, John Turturro, Tyrese Gibson, and Patrick Dempsey. The is the third movie in the series by Michael Bay.

The transformers had some evil land on the moon and its surfacing now. This evil is so menacing, it takes over the earth. Its up to Shia and his crew to bring them down in Chi-town baby. Let the fun begin.

The movie was better than 2, but not as good as 1. The love interest in the film was also a little disappointing. Its hard to replace Megan Fox in her prime. Watch it for entertainment value only.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

A World Without Thieves - 天下無賊

A World Without Thieves (天下無賊) is a 2004 film out of Zhong Guo. The movie stars Andy Lau, Rene Liu, and Ge You. The supporting cast include Li Bingbing, Wang Baoqiang, You Yong, and Gordon Lam. The movie is also directed by

Andy Lau and Rene Liu play con artist that just made it off with a BMW and are heading to trade it in for cash. Along the way, Liu wants to stop the stealing and settle down. When Lau refuses, she says she wants to leave him. After the car trade in, Lau gives in and they head home. Along the way, Liu takes in a country bumpkin with no clue about thieves. However, on the same train is a team of skilled thieves that want to take the bumpkin's life savings. Let's the battle wits begin!

The movie was the first where I saw Andy and Rene being directed by a mainland director and based in the mainland. And this was during a time in life where I wasn't watching much from Asia. But an interview on a showbiz blurb had Andy Lau saying how he tried so hard to be "ugly". Seriously. I had to watch it. Andy is not ugly nor does he deserve that hair. I recently watched it again while washing dishes. The movie wasn't half bad and I liked the presentation of the world of grifters.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Pirates of the Caribbean:On Stranger Tides - 加勒比海盜 神鬼奇航:幽靈海

Pirates of the Caribbean:On Stranger Tides (加勒比海盜 神鬼奇航:幽靈海) is an 2011 film from Disney. The movie stars Johnny Depp and Penélope Cruz. The supporting cast includes Geoffrey Rush and Ian McShane. This movie is without Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley, whom appeared as co-stars in the first three of this film series. This is the fourth movie in the film series.

Jack Sparrow tries to rescue his first captain in England. In a failed attempt, he piggy backs on a quest to find the fountain of youth. Along the way, Sparrow makes a uneasy alliance with Cruz's character Angelica and Angelica's father, Blackbeard, played by McShane. There they go on their quest to find the fountain. However, its like a a treasure hunt and they have to collect artifacts for a ritual at the fountain. However, on this quest, they are not the only ones. The spanish and brits are both on their quest too. Who will make it their first and how can Sparrow survive and live another day!

The movie was actually pretty entertaining for me. I had read so many negative reviews that I thought it was going to suck really bad. Which it didn't. It was entertaining and fun to watch. Being a long time fan of Depp (from the 21 Jumpstreet days) and love his rendition of Sparrow. Maybe if you go in with such low expectations as I, you might like it!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

星空 - Starry Starry Night - Upcoming

星空 (Starry Starry Night) was released this past weekend in Taipei. The movie stars the "boy" from CJ7, Josie Xu. The film is directed by Tom Lin, whom also directed another coming of age story in Winds Of September.

The movie looks a little too "young" for me. Josie looks like shes still in Jr. High. I am gonna pass.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Thor - 雷神索爾

Thor (雷神索爾) is an 2011 film from Marvel Studios. The movie stars Natalie Portman and Chris Hemsworth. The supporting cast includes Anthony Hopkins, Stellan Skarsgård, and Kat Dennings. The movie is based on an Marvel Comics character of the same name. A sequel is in the works for a 2013 release. I really wanted to see this in the theaters this summer, but had to settle for it on Blu-Ray.

In norse mythology, there are nine worlds. The immortal gods live in Asgard, whereas the mortals live in Midgard or Earth. Thor is the son of the ruler of the gods of Asgard, Odin. As Odin's son, Thor is brought up to be a super warrior and given the hammer called Mjolnir. When Thor almost starts a war with the frost giants, Odin sends Thor to Midgard to figure it out. Along the way, Thor's powers are bound to Mjolnir and given an enchantment of "Whosoever holds this hammer, if he be worthy, shall possess the power of Thor." Once Thor figures it out, he can regain his powers along with Mjolnir. Sent to earth, Thor lands in a remote town in New Mexico to figure it out. However, when he lands on earth he's met by Natalie Portman's character of Jane Foster. Jane Foster is an astrophysicist study alien energies. Well, Jane got it in the form of Thor! Loki, whom doesn't know he's not the birth son of Odin starts to feel a need to rebel and take over Asgard. Thor to the rescue.

The movie was a pretty straight forward introduction to Thor. A lot of norse Asgard and a lot of Thor figuring it out. Throw in a very lovely Natalie Portman and the occasional Kat, you've got a pretty entertaining movie. What's a little cool about the movie is the multi-ethnic take on Asgard. Tadanobu Asano as Hogun was quite weird and didn't work for me. There were some Asian extras, but beyond that, it was only Tadanobu Asano.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

13 Assassins - 十三人刺客

13 Assassins (十三人刺客) is an 2010 film out of Japan. The film stars Kōji Yakusho. The rest of the group is too many to name. The movie was released in various ways in the US. First on VOD, than limited theatrical, and eventually to DVD. I got this from Netflix.

In ancient Japan, a tyrant is having his way with the people, leaving a murderous trail behind him. A group of people want to eliminate this tyrant. However, it must be covert and in a time of peace, not a lot of people know how to fight. The recruiting process starts by looking for capable people. When they get the crew together, they plan a attack. These 13 take it to the tyrants 200+ entourage. Will they succeed or die trying.

The movie was quite good. Bloody good. Quite literally, bloody. The movie does start slow because of the recruiting process, but the rest of the movie is all about getting the "bad" guy. I can also see why this movie got so much hype. It's really a story about good vs. evil. We can all identify with that type of concept. We have an "unfairness" gauge in us that loves to see the struggle. This isn't a deep film or one built on character development. But there was enough to keep you engaged when each of them met their fate.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

How to Train Your Dragon - 馴龍高手

How to Train Your Dragon (馴龍高手) is a 2010 animated film out of the US. It ended up being a very successful animated film and a sequel is on the way for 2014.

The story of a vikings battling dragons. The chief of the village has a son Hiccup. He's not too keen on killing dragons. Much less anything. On his way to the forest one day to retrieve a dragon, he comes across an egg and a dragon pops out. Hiccup can't find it to kill it and lets it go free. Going back to search for it, they become friends. However, back at home, Hiccup is getting pressure to from everywhere to kill dragons. But he's seen them as friendly creatures. As the story progresses, Hiccup has to make a choice. The dragon or his clan. BUT there's more, they find the nest and hunt it down.

The movie was just OK for me. I think it had been hyped too much for me going in. I don't normally go and rent animated features, not even pixar ones. But did so on many adult recommendations. Do I regret it? Yes. I normally find it hard to follow the animation. I like real people in general.