Thursday, May 31, 2012

America's Best Dance Crew Season 7 - LMFAO Challenge

Last night was the eighth episode of the seventh season of America's Best Dance Crew. The super star for this week was LMFAO. Each crew was given a song and to create a routine from it. Members of Quest Crew helped the crews out. This week, the bottom two were Rated Next Generation and 8 Flavahz. In the end, the judges decided to eliminate Rated Next Generation.

I feel a little mixed as I thought RNG should have stayed. RNG gave me one of the better performances this season with the new jack swing stuff. But also one of the worst with the Zhong Guo inspired Ching Chong one. But the judges liked 8 Flavahz better this week.

I think its a good top three and Mos Wanted is showing they are the best dancers. They just need to get to together every week. Will they even stay a crew after this season? I have doubts on that too.

Funny to see D-Trix being in those Season 3 highlights, but not with the crew. I think its worked out good for both parties.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Front Line - 高地戰

The Front Line (高地戰) is an 2011 film out of Korea. The movie stars Shin Ha-kyun and Go Soo. The movie is set during the Korean War.

Shin plays a investigator sent to a platoon that takes a hill from the north and loses it to the north. With the help of air support from the US, the south retake the hill. Back and forth it goes. The soliders of the front line are asked to risk their lives for a hill that will look good on a map.

The movie was mostly about the lives of the soliders that risk their lives for nothing. It explores the north and the south soliders and the lives they live. The movie is pretty long and covers the gambit of things they go through.

I think I've seen too many Korean north/south war things that it wasn't all that interesting to me. It took me a few days to finish it because of my general lack of interest. Good thing for Netflix.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Contraband - 禁運品

Contraband (禁運品) is an 2012 film. The movie stars Mark Wahlberg, Kate Beckinsale, Ben Foster, and Giovanni Ribisi. I've seen this film on Blu-ray and multiple times via HBO.

Mark Wahlberg plays Chris, an owner of an security installation company. He's chilled from his former life of running "contraband" on ships. Married with children, he tries to stay away. Hey, but if he did, we wouldn't have a movie. When Chris's wife owes some sharks money, he is forced into action to get a pay day to settle the dept. However, there's a bigger plot on the side that puts Chris's family in harms way. Can Chris save the day?

Of course, its a movie! Mark plays a really compelling character with skills and an dark past. A past that we can stereotype into kung fu master territory. When he's force to do a job, the movie kicks into high gear. At its essences, this is an heist movie. And all well made heist movie rock! This one is no exception!

Monday, May 28, 2012

The Flying Swords of Dragon Gate - 龍門飛甲

The Flying Swords of Dragon Gate (龍門飛甲) is an 2011 film out of Zhong Guo and Hong Kong. The movie stars Jet Li and Zhou Xun. The supporting cast include Chen Kun, Li Yuchun, Kwai Lun-mei, Louis Fan, and Mavis Fan. The movie is the "sequel" to the 1992 film New Dragon Gate Inn staring Tony Leung Ka-fai, Brigitte Lin, Maggie Cheung, and Donnie Yen. The movie is one of the first wuxia films in 3D.

Jet Li plays Zhou, the rebel that is causing trouble for the Ming Dynasty in the desert regions. Zhou Xun plays Ling, a wanderer in search of Zhou. The government is on the hunt for a boy and Ling saves him and leads them to the location of the Dragon Inn. The Ming soliders get there and the desert holigans are also there. All wanting a piece of the action. Zhou and Ling also make it there to bring some spice to the party.

The movie is a sequel to the 1992 version as Jet Li plays the main guy. The eunuch is now replaced by a version by Chen Kun. The movie is pretty slick in its effects and it's got a very complicated story, like the 1992 version. The two versions can and should not be compared. Why should you compare them? Tsui Hark is the reason. Why should you not. The movies are roughly 20 years apart and mainly a Zhong Guo production. You just don't have that HK silver era feel in this movie. The effects are different and the story is quite different.

I liked the movie for its bigger is better attitude. I like the fighting too. Very slick. The story on the other hand was weak and hard to follow. I think from an international level, the story is too convoluted to follow. However, a must watch for wuxia fans. A must watch for Jet Li fans.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Haywire - 即刻反擊

Haywire (即刻反擊) is an 2012 film. The movie stars Gina Carano. The supporting cast include Channing Tatum, Michael Angarano, Ewan McGregor, Antonio Banderas, Michael Fassbender, and Bill Paxton. Pretty impressive resume for Gina's debut in film. Gina Carano is best known as an MMA cage-fighter with Strikeforce. The movie is directed by the acclaimed and well respected Steven Soderbergh.

Gina plays, Mallory, a mercenary working on covert operations for the US government. Mallory is the prize agent of her current firm. The firm's head and Mallory had a thing in the past that has recently ended, but it hasn't directly affected their personal lives. On a mission to Spain, things go a little off when they extract out a exiled national from Zhong Guo. When back in our home base of San Diego, she's sent back out into the field, in Dublin. There, things go haywire and she's framed for murders. Back in the US, she tries to go Bourne and find out what happens.

This movie was a lot of non-stop action a la the Bourne movies. Except, you have a female lead in Gina doing the spy thing. The fighting is brutal and the made to be like real life. The story itself was hard to follow as there were so many characters on different sides. Gina didn't have to do too much acting as the movie was a constant motion picture. It reminded me of Japanese movies where they film people walking. Lots of long shots of Gina doing athletic things.

I liked the film for the fact that it was a slight departure from the Bourne and Statham type movies. Gina can kick @$$ and you'd believe it. I'd prolly last all of 10 seconds in the cage with her. 9 seconds of it is running away. Good movie, but the story was quite difficult to follow.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

War Of The Arrows - 弓箭之戰

War Of The Arrows (弓箭之戰) is an 2011 film out of Korea. The film stars Park Hae-il, Moon Chae-won, Kim Mu-yeol, and Ryoo Seung-Ryong. The alternative title of the film is "Arrow: The Ultimate Weapon". It was the box office champ in Korea for 2011.

Park plays Nam-yi, the son of a former general, who's very skilled with the arrow. His sister Ja-in, played by Moon, took refuge with another general who is had ties with their father. The general's son and sister plan to marry. On the day of the marriage, their city is attacked by the Manchurians. Ja is captured with the rest of the city to be slaves. Nam was in the forest hunting when this transpires. We he arrives back in town, he sees that his sister is gone and may still be alive. He starts to track her, but on the way he gets into a arrow fight with some Manchurians that were left over. Surviving, he sets out to track his sister. Along the way he's got his arrows and wit to help him against the Manchus.

This movie was pretty hyped for me. In the fall of 2012, it had a limited release run in the US. I was considering trying to catch it. But life got in the way and I had to wait for Netflix. As the number one movie for 2011 in Korea, I felt like it would be a good movie. The trailers were pretty good in promoting it as action picture. But the history behind it was intriguing as well. The acting was a bit "over" for many of the captives scenes, but when it got back to the arrows, it was the reason for the movie. Nicely made film that can have international appeal.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Jeremy Lin - Not Quite An Olympian Yet

Jeremy Lin is headed back to Cali. Even tho its NoCal, its still Cali. Cali rulz. Respect....

In other news, Jeremy Lin was trending number 1 over things like Facebook on Monday with rumors of his future being up in the air.

Jeremy Lin was selected to the "practice" squad for the upcoming Olympics. The squad that plays against the crew that actually goes to London. The squad that goes need practice. We are talking about practice. Practice mang.

The other news is that he can only do this if he has a contract. And as of today, none. Which means he can't practice. Sad. Let Jeremy Lin play.

With STAT wanting his former teammate Nash in NYC, where can the Knicks put Jeremy Lin. Who else wants to make a run at a guy coming off an injury.

Maybe my hometown Lakers will shake things up and that gives a chance for Jeremy Lin to come. Hey, I can dream right?

Thursday, May 24, 2012

America's Best Dance Crew Season 7 - Rihanna Challenge

Last night was the seventh episode of the seventh season of America's Best Dance Crew. The super star for this week was Rihanna. Each crew was given a song and to use props inspired by the song. This week, the bottom two were Fanny Pak and Elektrolytes. In the end, the judges decided to eliminate Fanny Pak. This was the fourth week in a row that Fanny Pak fell to the bottom.

I am not all that familiar with Rihanna songs, but a couple of them popped up today that made me go, "oh hey, I didn't know this was from Rihanna". In my late 30s now, I hear the songs, but I normally don't have a clue who the artist are. Most of the time.

Mos Wanted Crew finally came through and did an amazing performance. I think we all know that they are the best dancers, but as a crew, as a unit, they've hardly proven that. Maybe they'll have enough of a good showing these next two weeks to propel them. However, at this point, I think any of the four crews can win. Do you think anyone can stop 8 Flavahz? I don't. But I thought that of the Iconic Boys from season 6 as well. In season 8, the first criterion is to be sub 15 years old.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

貧民英雄 - Common Heroes - Upcoming

貧民英雄 (Common Heroes) was released in Taipei this past weekend. I wasn't going to post on it because it looked like one those games shows in movie form. But its the Taiwan version of Hot Shots and Scary Movie. Taking shots at the conventional and turning it on its head. After a lunch of speaking all Mandarin yesterday with some co-workers, I've got a renewed vigor for which this blog was created. I promptly went to sleep early too and watched nothing last night. Nice.

Because of the trailer alone, I am willing to give it a try.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Inglourious Basterds - 惡棍特工

Inglourious Basterds (惡棍特工) is an 2009 film. The movie is directed by the infamous Quentin Tarantino. It stars Brad Pitt, Christoph Waltz, Michael Fassbender, Eli Roth, and Diane Kruger.

The movie is based on the events of World War II. Brad Pitt plays the captain of a group of soliders set to infiltrate the Nazy occupied lands and to take out the troops. The do this with ruthless fun and violence. On the other hand, the allied countries have devised a plan to assassinate Hitler if they can. This sets in motion a string of events from Brad Pitts crew to Michael Fassbender and Diane Kruger. Will they be able to take out the villain of the twentieth century.

This movie was ultra violent and yet suspenseful at the same time. The basement bar scene was intense as was the final scenes in the movie theater. Brad Pitt played up his part to the delight of many. The French and German portions will also a nice touch of how it was during the WWII. Since it was set in an alternate reality, it was enjoyable and a fun watch. I caught this on DVD back in the day and recently via Spike and some other movie outlets.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Let the Bullets Fly - 讓子彈飛

Let the Bullets Fly (讓子彈飛) is an 2010 film out of Zhong Guo. The movie stars Chow Yun-fat, Jiang Wen, and Ge You. The large supporting cast include Carina Lau, Feng Xiaogang, Zhou Yun, Jiang Wu, Chen Kun, Hu Jun, Liao Fan, Wei Xiao, Shao Bing, and Miao Pu. There were many more. I only listed the ones I know.

The movie starts with a train going through southern Zhong Guo in 1920. The train is hijacked by bandits. The bandits demand money. The man on the train suggest that they can get money from a nearby town if they pretend to be the governor. The bandits and the man goto Goose Town to get money. Once there, the bandits find that a business man functions as the town warlord. The bandits go into battle of wits with blood and lives.

The movie is a thriller about how a bandit group takes on a local warlord and wins. I don't know if this was to play on the current state of how the people in Zhong Guo feel about some of the government corruption. When the people feel hopeless, they go with the one with power for safety. When they feel that fairness is within reach, they will fight for it. At least, that's what I walked away from the film thinking.

The acting in this film was pretty awesome. From Chow to Wen to Ge. It was pretty amazing to see them at work. Through in there a who's who of the current Zhong Guo actors landscape, you have a pretty amazing film, in terms of acting. The story was also quite convoluted. You have to pay attention to follow. No bathroom breaks for this. But you have the pause button.

It took me two sittings to get through this. The first was over a year ago via a local video store. The second was via Netflix.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

The Debt - 諜債

The Debt (諜債/特務謎雲/惡棍狙擊) is an 2011 film. The movie stars Helen Mirren, Sam Worthington, Marton Csokas, Ciarán Hinds, Tom Wilkinson, Jessica Chastain, and Jesper Christensen. The movie is a remake of an 2007 Israeli film of the same name.

Helen Mirren, Tom Wilkinson, and Ciarán Hinds are in their 50s to 60s. Ciaran's character of David Peretz has come back to Israel after being away for several decades. David attempts to make contact with Helen Mirren's character, Rachel Singer. Rachel is the subject of her daughters newly published book about the three spy's experience in 1960s East Germany tracking down a well known Nazi war criminal, "The Surgeon of Birkenau". Their goal is to capture and bring back to Israel for a trial. Tom Wilkinson's character is a man of high sature within the government. However, with the book, the past comes back to haunt them all.

The movie is an combination of present and flashback. The flashback is pretty awesome. You get a sense of the misery these characters went through to be where they are at 40 years later. If you like spy thriller type movies, this is one for you.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

District B13 - District 13 - 暴力特區

District B13/District 13 (暴力特區) is an 2004 film out of France. The movie stars Cyril Raffaelli and David Belle.

The the future, France is a military state and people or assigned to their districts and not allowed to move around. A all out war starts when the hood takes on the state. In the middle of this a freerunner and a former special agent. They take on the people that start the war.

This movie had a lame story, lame acting, and even lamer ending. Even the action was enough to make me want to go for the sequel.

Friday, May 18, 2012

50/50 - 活個痛快

50/50 (活個痛快) is an 2011 film starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt (JGL) and Seth Rogen. The supporting cast includes Anna Kendrick, Bryce Dallas Howard, and Anjelica Huston.

JGL plays Adam, a radio script writer. His best friend and co-worker Kyle is played by Seth Rogen. Adam finds that he has cancer. His girlfriend is initially supportive, but cheats on him. They break up. The majority of the movie is mainly Adam dealing with his cancer, the treatment, the decline, and the comeback. Kyle is seen as a selfish guy at first, but totally does what's in his friends best interest.

The movie was enjoyable. I had a good time watching. However, its not a subject matter I care for. As I've lost family members to cancer myself, its not a pretty sight. Sometimes its a slow decline. Sometimes it changes your life in an instant. JGL is masterful in going from secure, insecure, confident, shy, and ambivalent all in the span of the movie. For Rogan and JGL fans, its a must watch.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

America's Best Dance Crew Season 7 - Pitbull Challenge

Last night was the sixth episode of the seventh season of America's Best Dance Crew. The super star for this week was Pitbull. Each crew was given a song and to represent the different countries Pitbull has been too. The show went back to the traditional two bottom crew elimination this week. This week, the bottom two were Fanny Pak and Rated Next Generation. In the end, the judges decided to keep both crews. Thus, no elimination happened this week. The judge cited that they thought the two performances from the bottom could have been the two best and deserve another shot to dance next week.

I did not like Rated Next Generation's routine. They Ching Chong it all up with their lame hands together bowing and kung fu fighter moves. The 1000 hand routine as shown on the show was made famous by this specific troupe, but it's hardly Chinese too. However, Zhong Guo does not really have an dance like other countries have a signature one. With so many ethnic groups in Zhong Guo, no signature dance ever emerged. But that's true for most countries.

In summary, I didn't like this week much. I didn't really enjoy the routines. After watching the Lakers blow a comfortable lead in the playoffs, I wanted something more. It wasn't and I was gravely disappointed. But I will watch on, maybe, I got Diablo III installed and waiting for me. Make it better MTV!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Sitter - 保姆奇遇記

The Sitter (保姆奇遇記) is an 2011 film. The movie stars Jonah Hill and 3 kids. Sam Rockwell plays the sensitive drug dealer that has problems.

Jonah Hill plays Noah, a college drop out that has a dead end life. At the age of 20. In a relationship with a girl that he pleasures, but doesn't pleasure him back, we see him as a pushover. But when he gets home to his mom, we see him as selfish loser that is a plain jerk. Add to it that he's lazy. When his mom is set up with a date with a doctor, he reluctantly agrees to babysit for the family doing the set up. Once there, he's introduced to a overly sensative 13 year old, a violent adoptee, and a 9 year old pre-madonna diva. Once there, his "girlfriend" agree to have sex with him, IF he gets her some blow. Nice. So the story goes into drugs, the hood, a night club, and a wild chase. Nice night for a Sitter. The story takes place all within a few hours.

The movie was funny in parts and completely ridiculous in others. If Noah had any ounce of like-ability, it was that he was a complete jerk and kept to it. Because he was a jerk, maybe you felt something for him. I did not and I watched for the funny stuff, but it was far and few. I don't recommend this nor will I be watching it on re-runs.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Thanks Jeremy Lin

Thanks Jeremy Lin for a great 2011-2012 season. You brought a whole new dynamic to the NBA landscape. I bought NBA league pass because of you. I cared for the Knicks for the first time ever...this from a lifelong Lakers fan. You made me believe that I didn't have to follow the tried and worn path to a career. You made me believe...period. I hope you for a Laker next season on a long shot, but I prolly have to watch you in another uniform.

Monday, May 14, 2012

The Girl Who Played with Fire - 玩火的女孩

The Girl Who Played with Fire (玩火的女孩) is an 2009 film out of Sweden. The movie stars Michael Nyqvist and Noomi Rapace. The film is the sequel to The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. It is the second part of a trilogy.

The story shifts from the mystery of Harriet to the mystery of Lisbeth. A the end of the last film, Lisbeth cons herself into being very rich and wealthy. Lisbeth returns to Sweden for some unfinished business. Back at Millenium with Blomkvist, Dag, a writer for the magazine is going to publish a sex trafficking report. A dead end arises whenever they get to a underground individual named "Zala". Blomkvist starts his search for him and Lisbeth helps out. As this mystery starts to unfold, you find that Lisbeth is in the middle of it. We end the movie with Lisbeth confronting "Zala" and being wounded. Blomkvist comes to the rescue.

The movie wasn't as exciting as the first as this was more of an reveal movie versus the first. The mystery of Harriet was much more exciting than the mystery of Lisbeth. Yes, Lisbeth is special and knowing how she got there is important, but the getting there wasn't as suspenseful. You expect things to be messed up there. I caught this via Amazon Prime again and before the US remake of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

The Viral Factor - 逆戰

The Viral Factor (逆戰) is an 2012 film out of China and Hong Kong. The movie stars Jay Chou, and Nicholas Tse. The supporting cast include Lin Peng, Bai Bing, Andy On, and Carl Ng. The majority of the movie takes place in Malaysia's Kuala Lumpur. The movie starts in Jordan and ends in Beijing.

The Story
Jay Chou plays an special agent, Jon Man, of an international group called International Defense Commission (IDC). The are in Jordan to escort a biochemical scientist, along with his wife and daughter out of the battle zone and to safety. The scientist has been able to mutate an smallpox virus for mass destruction. During the escort, they group is attacked and later revealed to be an inside job. Jon's in love with another agent in the escort called ICE, played by Bai Bing. During the ambush, ICE is shot dead and the bullet travels through her to injure Jon. Jon is saved, but the bullet is too deep in to be removed. Jon is given 2+ weeks to live in his current condition. Jon travels home to his wheelchair stricken mother but keeps the injury a secret from her. The mother breaks down and reveals that she left a brother and father from a previous life of abuse. Jon was too young to remember them and the mother told Jon that his father died long ago. The mother wants to see them and to possibility reconcile. Jon sets out for Kula Lumpur to find the father and brother. On the way there, Jon has medical attack that leaves him zombie-fied. The doctor the on the plane is played by Lin Peng as Rachel Kan, whom is also an renowned scientist. When Jon comes to from the attack, he thanks Kan and they get off the plane together. Kan offers Jon a ride, but Jon declines and gets a taxi. While entering the taxi, Jon notices that Kan is a bit strange and tails her. When the kidnappers notice Jon tailing, they kidnap him too. Jon kicks it into high gear and tries to escape and save Kan. The kidnappers is lead by Nicholas Tse as Man Yeung. Yeung is able to defeat Jon, but sees a family picture fall out of Jon's wallet. The picture is of him with his father and mother and Jon. Yeung spares Jon and escapes. Jon is taken to the hospital and continues to track down Yeung and Kan. Kan is eventually captured and force to make the small pox virus antidote. Jon and Yeung are finally reunited, but they are worlds apart in lifestyle. One is a perpetual criminal and one is part of the law.

My Thoughts
The movie was all over the place. Don't watch the movie and expect the story to make complete sense. It has an brotherhood angle, family reunion angle, revenge angle, terminal illness angle, global treat angle, and fatherhood issues angle. And that's just from the main characters. The subplots of the movie drag it down even more. For me, I was really bothered by the switch between Cantonese and Mandarin in the film. I usually like the Taiwan or China dubbed Mandarin versions so I don't have to read subtitles. This one had English, Malay, Cantonese, Mandarian, and Arabic. The majority was Cantonese and Mandarin. When Jay spoke, it was either Mandarin or English. When Nicholas Tse spoke, it was Cantonese. Weirdness.

Is the movie worth watching? YES! This is one of the highest production value movies out of China and Hong Kong in some time. They were at international locations, had good special effects, and its a movie that can hit the international market via DVD and VOD. This was also the movie that Nicholas Tse was filming during the Cecilia Cheung and Edison plane encounter that eventually led to their separation.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo - 龍紋身的女孩

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (龍紋身的女孩) is an 2009 film out of Sweden. The movie stars Michael Nyqvist and Noomi Rapace. The movie is based on the best selling novel of the same name by the late Stieg Larsson. The movie is the first of a trilogy.

Michael Nyqvist plays a disgraced journalist, Mikael Blomkvist, just found guilty of libel against a very powerful man. His magazine, Millennium, and the people envolved are now at risk of folding because of this. However, he takes a leave to relieve pressure from the magazine. Noomi Rapace plays Lisbeth Salander, an hi-tech private investigator hired to dig into the life of Mikael. When her report is favorable of Blomkvist, her client decides to hire him because they see him as an honorable man. Blomkvist is hired to investigate the disappearance or death of the niece of one of the most powerful men in Sweden, Hans-Erik Wennerström. In order to help Blomkvist crack the case when things get interesting, Erik allows for the Blomkvist and Lisbeth to partner up. Once the partnering happens, the clues come to life and reveal more than they ever have. With some hi-tech detective work along with good old fashion puzzle solving, the two begin to crack the case. Will they ever crack this 40 year old mystery?

The movie was pretty good. I watched it via Amazon Prime months before the release of the US remake. Noomi played such an amazing Lisbeth, I didn't think it could be remade. The subtitles did not bother me either. The movie does present some very dark subject matter. Stieg Larsson's Swedish name for the novel is translated to "men who hate women". In this film, we see that in the behaviors of a few people. The movie does not have the high production value of the US remake but makes due with storytelling. I wouldn't go so far is to say that you should watch this movie first. But there are elements to Lisbeth's behavior that are explained more in this film vs. the US remake.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Dragon Eyes - 龍眼 - Upcoming

Dragon Eyes (龍眼) is being release today in limited release. Originally set for a straight to video (DVD/Blu-ray) release. It's seeing life on the big screen. The movie stars Cung Le with Jean-Claude Van Damme (JCVD). Set in New Orleans, this may be JCVD's first movie since Hard Target with John Woo (I can't confirm that). Seems to be a lot of gangsters, fighting, and kick @$$ in the movie. I am in! When it gets to DVD/Blu-ray.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

America's Best Dance Crew Season 7 - Jennifer Lopez Challenge

Last night was the fifth episode of the seventh season of America's Best Dance Crew. The super star for this week was Jennifer Lopez. Each crew was given a song and to represent the essence of the song. Instead of the traditional two bottom crew elimination, this week included three bottom crews. This week, the bottom three were Collizion Crew, Rated Next Generation, Fanny Pak. In the end, the judges decided to send Collizion Crew home. This week, the judges were all hugs and smiles.

Surprising for even myself, I liked Rated Next Generation's routine the most. The main reason is that they took it 1990s old skool. Doing things like the kid n play and new jack swing. Dance moves I'll be teaching to my daughters in a few years. The rest of the crews were just aiite tonight. Slightly more enjoyable than last week. I think the challenges force crews to do elements out of character and it shows. And the routines are pretty short too with way too much MTV camera work.

The one cool element this week was the guest DJ spot given to Pauly D. I don't know who this guy is. But Pauly D is apparently famous and he was pretty good on the turntables from what I can tell. The cool thing was that during the middle of the commercials, they cut back to the break times where the audience is getting down to the DJ. You'll see the judges and other past ABDC crews in the audience getting down. It was a fun element to see. MTV, keep doing those!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

內人外人 - We Are Family - Upcoming

內人外人 (We Are Family) is being released in Taipei this coming weekend. The movie follows 4 women in very different lives, but they all have to make due with the life they've been dealt. A look at the lives of those in Taiwan is always of interest to me. I'll be sure to look for this in LA.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Killer Elite - 特種精英

Killer Elite (特種精英) is an 2011 film starring Jason Statham. The supporting cast include Clive Owen, Robert De Niro, Yvonne Strahovski, and Dominic Purcell. The movie was based on a book with the concept of The Feather Men.

Jason Statham and Robert De Niro are hired mercenaries in 1980. After a deal goes bad where a child is killed, he decides to leave the trade and heads to the open fields of Australia. However, his pass still catches up with him when De Niro is captures and used as bait to get him to do another job. Off he goes to do this job and save his friend. The job takes him to mostly European cites and the last part of his job leads him to London. In London, he is met by the capable Clive Owen whom is protecting the men he's after. Will Statham finish the job or get stopped by Owen?

The movie wasn't a complete bore but I felt little for the players involved. Their survival in this spy thriller was assumed to be zero. There were times that I thought, oh, maybe they'll make me care for the folks. But that never happens and I just keep watching the action as it unfold with no emotional attachment. And thus, no real feeling when the movie is done. Will not be viewing again.

Monday, May 7, 2012

戀戀風塵 - Dust In The Wind

戀戀風塵 (Dust In The Wind) is an 1986 film out of Taiwan. The movie stars Wang Chien-wen and Xin Shufen. The movie is directed by acclaimed Taiwanese filmmaker Hou Hsiao-Hsien.

Two young high schoolers are best friends growing up. They both decide to move to Taipei to make a "better" life for themselves. When things get rough, the male protagonist goes to the army. After being released from the army, he finds that the girl is now married to an local post man. Devastated, he much pick up life without her and live in regret.

What can I say, it is an Hou Hsiao-Hsien film through and through. Look takes, lots of walking, lots of seeing people do things, and far shots. Hou does far shots because he uses new people that are "shy" in front of the camera. The far shots are for their benefit. They can relax and just do the scene. For us, we go, "why are they so far away, I can hardly see their faces!" In this movie, we get plenty of that. Far shots, people waiting for things. It is like watching a slice of some people's lives through the cafe window. But I love it. I get ready for Hou's film. I say to myself, what is he trying to say. I liked this film a lot because it was from the 80s and it was during that time that Taiwan started to make a name for itself internationally for its computer smarts.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

In Time - 鐘點戰

In Time (鐘點戰) is an 2011 film. The movie stars Justin Timberlake and Amanda Seyfried. The supporting cast include Cillian Murphy, Olivia Wilde, Alex Pettyfer, Johnny Galecki, and Vincent Kartheiser.

In the future, people have been genetically engineered to have a certain lifespan. When you hit the age of 25, you stop aging and are given a clock that runs on your arm. Currency is now about adding time to your clock or you drop end, literally. Justin Timberlake plays a regular worker on the poor side of town named Will Salas. Will goes to a pool bar after work and ends up saving an "high roller" with over a 100 years on his clock. Will normally keeps only 48 hours and hustles to get more to stay alive. After he saves the man, the man commits suicide and gives him his extra time. From that point, Will makes it to the rich part of town, gambles his way to more time currency and meets Amanda Seyfried's Sylvia Weis, the daughter of one of the riches men on earth. Weis falls for Will and the Bonnie and Clyde storyline kicks in.

The movie was based on Sci-fi elements to make it unique, but the storyline was classic Bonnie and Clyde. Boy and gurl overturn the system and go outlaw. The way you have to look at the "future" where death is commonplace seems bleek and unlikely. The movie itself needs you to suspend a certain sense of "common sense". The movie is easy to watch and fun.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

珈琲時光 - Café Lumière

珈琲時光 (Café Lumière) is an 2003 film out of Japan and Taiwan. The movie stars Yi Hitoto and Tadanobu Asano. The movie is an homage to the late Japanese director Yasujiro Ozu's 100th birthday. The film was directed by famed Taiwanese director Hou Hsiao-Hsien.

Yo Hitoto plays an independent writer who is recently pregnant researching Jiang Wen-Ye. Tadanobu Asano plays her friend and research allie. We see their story unfold in their lives around their homes and with Yo's parents.

Hou's films are very artsy and don't have much story in them in terms of dialogue. The story is the lives they live. In our case, the single women decides to raise the child to the displeasure of her parents. Asano is almost comic relief when he shows up. However, the story also revolves around being "foreign" in Japan with her research of Jiang Wen-Ye. We're also exposed to the ever changing things in life when she re-traces Jiang's steps. If you like slice of life films, you should catch this one.

Friday, May 4, 2012

The Avengers - 復仇者聯盟 - Avengers Assemble

The Avengers (復仇者聯盟) is an 2012 film from Marvel. The movie stars Robert Downey, Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Tom Hiddleston, and Samuel L. Jackson. The supporting cast include Cobie Smulders, Clark Gregg, Stellan Skarsgård and Gwyneth Paltrow. Stan Lee makes is customary cameo appearance. The movie is the sixth installment of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

The Story
Nick Fury is at a facility to research and harnest the power of the Tesseract, aka, The Cosmic Cube. When they get to the research center, Loki appears before them and makes off with the Tesseract. Setting in motion Fury's plan to assemble the Avengers, Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, and the Hulk. Add to the crew, two current SHIELD field agents, Hawkeye and Black Widow. Loki is given a army to attack the earth with by an extraterrestrial force called the Chitauri. When the Avengers seemingly break apart, the Tesseract is activated and a portal to the Chitauri army is started. New York is attacked and the Avengers must put away their differences and fight and fend off the alien forces. Can Earth's Mightest Heroes save the earth or avenge it?

My Thoughts
This movie was amazing. Action, great storyline, amazing 3D effects, humor in the right places, and an amazing cast of heroes. I was hyped going into the movie and it was exceeded. I already have plans to watch it again before it leaves theaters. I went the 12:01 showing in IMAX 3D and throughly enjoyed it. I had 4 other great friends there and the theater had an energy that was geek-esque. We screamed, cheered, and ah-ed our way through the movie.