Thursday, January 31, 2013

Taiwan Box Office - January 27, 2013 - 台灣票房榜

Weekend of January 27, 2013
Rank Film Title Weeks
1 女巫獵人 (Hansel And Gretel: Witch Hunters) 1
2 航海王電影:Z (One Piece Film Z) 1
3 一代宗師 (The Grandmaster) 2
4 變身 (Machi Action) 2
5 少年Pi的奇幻漂流 (Life of Pi) 10
6 浩劫奇蹟 (The Impossible) 1
7 驚爆危城 (Broken City) 2
8 無敵破壞王 (Wreck It Ralph) 5
9 00:30凌晨密令 (Zero Dark Thirty) 3
10 神隱任務 (Jack Reacher) 5
11 親愛的奶奶 (To My Dear Granny) 2
12 重擊防線 (The Last Stand) 2
13 風雲男人幫 (The Gangster Squad) 3
14 大上海 (The Last Tycoon) 1
15 哈比人:意外旅程 (The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey) 7
16 狼少年:不朽的愛 (A Werewolf Boy) 5
17 太陽劇團:奇幻世界 (Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away) 2
18 私立馬鹿蘭高校 電影版 1
19 性福療程 (The Sessions) 2
20 花神咖啡館 (Café de Flore) 6

Source: Yahoo! Movies Taiwan - retrieved January 28, 2013

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Skyfall - 007 空降危機

Skyfall (007 空降危機) is an 2012 film. The movie stars Daniel Craig. The supporting cast include Javier Bardem, Judi Dench, Naomie Harris, Ralph Fiennes, Bérénice Marlohe, and Albert Finney. The movie is based on James Bond by Ian Fleming. This is the 23rd installment of the film franchise. The film was an joint UK/US production.

Daniel Craig plays James Bond for the third time. The movie starts in Istanbul where Bond is in pursuit of hard drive of all MI6 agents. The chase leads to the top of an train. When the supporting MI6 agent has to take a shot. That agent misses the terrorist and hits Bond. Bond falls into the river and is presumed to be dead. Fast forward ahead a few months ahead, we see that Bond has survived and has picked up some nasty vices. While watching the TV, Bond sees that the MI6 headquarters have been bomb and the list he falled to secure is now slowly being released via the internet. The exposed agents start to show up executed. Bond decides it time to head back to MI6 and catch the person behead this. When he comes back, MI6 has gone through some scrutiny and Bond fails the agent "test". M however still puts Bond back on duty. Bond now pursues there only lead, the terrorist that first obtained the list. From their, the bad guy, played by Javier Bardem, rears its ugly head. Let the fun begin!

The movie was pretty long, clocking in at over 2 hours and 20 minutes. But I barely noticed the length. The movie was non stop in the beginning and from the middle on. Sam Mendes does a good job of keeping the essential elements of Bond, but for an audience based in 2012/2013. Movies continue to evolve and the bond series shows you very much how the trends have been for the last 50 years. The long Bond marathons on Spike show me how movies of the 1960s are so different than the decades proceed it. All the way to Skyfall.

From the box office side, Skyfall is most successful film of the franchise and it has truly captured the worldwide market as well. I have to say that I like this film just slightly more than Casino Royale.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Taiwan Box Office - January 20, 2013 - 台灣票房榜

Gonna try something new. I am going to try to follow the box office for Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Zhong Guo. We'll see how it goes. I have awfully slow time translating Zhong Wen websites. Another thing is that all three regions will have totally different Zhong Wen translations of movies from the USA. I'll also work on the table color scheme.

Weekend of January 20, 2013
Rank Film Title Weeks
1 一代宗師 (The Grandmaster) 1
2 少年Pi的奇幻漂流 (Life of Pi) 9
3 變身 (Machi Action) 1
4 驚爆危城 (Broken City) 1
5 神隱任務 (Jack Reacher) 4
6 00:30凌晨密令 (Zero Dark Thirty) 2
7 無敵破壞王 (Wreck It Ralph) 4
8 風雲男人幫 (The Gangster Squad) 2
9 重擊防線 (The Last Stand) 1
10 親愛的奶奶 (To My Dear Granny) 1
11 狼少年:不朽的愛 (A Werewolf Boy) 4
12 哈比人:意外旅程 (The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey) 6
13 太陽劇團:奇幻世界 (Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away) 1
14 性福療程 (The Sessions) 1
15 王牌大主廚 (The Chef) 2
16 十二生肖 (Chinese Zodiac) 4
17 凝視瑪莉娜 (Marina Abramovic: The Artist Is Present) 2
18 花神咖啡館 (Café de Flore) 5
19 追魂七殺 (Killing 7) 1
20 南方野獸樂園 (Beasts of the Southern Wild) 3

Source: Yahoo! Movies Taiwan - retrieved January 27, 2013

Monday, January 28, 2013

Total Recall 2012 - 攔截記憶碼

Total Recall (攔截記憶碼) is an 2012 film. The movies stars Colin Farrell, Kate Beckinsale, and Jessica Biel. The supporting cast include Bryan Cranston, John Cho, Bill Nighy, and Bokeem Woodbine. This movie was a remake of the 1990 version starring Arnold Schwarzenegger. The 2012 version did not fare as well as the 1990 version and has been lambasted as one of the biggest flops of the 2012 blockbuster films.

The movie follows Douglas Quaid played by Colin Farrell, a android robot assembly line worker. Feeling a little off, he visits an fantasy joint called Rekall. Rekall can implant adventures into your system for a nominal fee. The Rekall center is run by Bob McClane, played by John Cho. However, before the Rekall can truely happen, gov't agents bust in and try to take him alive. However, Quaid remembers his a lean and mean killing machine and goes on the run. At home, he confinds in his wife Lori, played by Kate Beckinsale. However, Lori starts trying to kill him. Quaid is now on the run form the gov't and now Lori. Confused and on the run, he's rescued by Melina, played by Jessica Biel. Quaid finds out he's really Carl Hauser, a top brass with the gov't but has defected to the resistance. Can he stop the gov't take over?

This movie was actually a fun ride, but they totally mis-cast the main lead. Collin Farrell is compelling sometimes, but he's mostly confused looking and of his role in the movie. Someone like Tatum or even Liam would have been a better fit. They can pull off the dazed and confused look and feelings without looking stiff.

If you like sci-fi movies a la the original 1990 version, you should watch this one.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

The Bullet Vanishes - 消失的子彈

The Bullet Vanishes (消失的子彈) is an 2012 film out of Hong Kong. The movie stars Nicholas Tse, Sean Lau, and Yang Mi. The movie was released here in Los Angeles the same weekend it was release in Zhong Guo and Hong Kong. It did modest business in the USA.

The movie follows two detectives investigating a murder in a factory. The murder victim was killed, but the bullet vanished. Thus the two investigators set out on the quest to find out who killed these people. The investigation goes from rabbit hole to the next. I can't reveal much more less I give the story away.

The movie was pretty good. Think Sherlock Holmes with two Hong Kong doods in 20s shanghai gear with a modern twist. The way they go about it is very crafty and does leave me wanting more. Part two please.

For Hong Kong movie buffs, this is a much watch. I watched at a local AMC.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Pitch Perfect - 歌喉讚

Pitch Perfect (歌喉讚) is an 2012 film. The movie stars Anna Kendrick, Skylar Astin, Anna Camp, and Brittany Snow. The supporting cast include Rebel Wilson, Hana Mae Lee, Ester Dean, Alexis Knapp, Jinhee Joung, and Elizabeth Banks. The movie had a short life in the theaters before blowing up on VOD, DVD, and Blu-ray. It's a cult classic already. Can it happen that fast?

Anna Kendrick plays Beca, a freshmen in college who loves to do mushup mixes in her spare time. Beca's father does not support her music aspirations and forces her to get a degree instead of heading out to LA to try to break into the industry. Beca moves in with the very strange Korean American, Kimmy Jin, played by Jinhee Joung. Kimmy is not kind to Beca and keeps her at arms length. During rush week, Beca is recruited into the campus traditional ladies a cappella group, Bellas. The Bellas are run by the very uptight and traditional leaders played by Anna Camp and Brittany Snow. Beca also has two love interest. The mysterious "hot dood" that DJs at the on campus radio station. And there's the other guy that not so secretly tries to woo Beca, but he's on the arch nemesis campus boys a cappella group, the Treblemakers. Can love leap barriers of groups. Oh, and there's the whole trying to win nationals in New York of all places.

This movie is total cheeze. Its the Sing-Off, Twilight, and Glee thrown into a pot, stirred, and put in college. Nice! We don't have to deal with the popularity crap of high school, but the challenges of dealing with responsibilities that college presents is very real. With a light hearted touch, this movie does in two hours what Glee can never do. People will suck, find the ones that like you, and move on with them. However, life isn't ever that simple. But this is a movie, not a 4 year degree of multiple classes or a PHD dissertation.

Props to the nice voice dubbed a cappella songs. They sound really good. Throw in the trendy mush ups and its a little cherry on top. I also like that this movie had weirdos, not just the Asians. However, the Koreans were the only called out ethnic group. Watch it ppl! Laugh at them and than at yourself.

Friday, January 25, 2013

2012 - The Other Films

2012 was a banner year for Taiwan films. After years of producing single digit releases, a full plate has been coming for the last few years. 2012 was a high volume year compared to the 20+ years before this. Taipei Times had a simi-decent look back at 2012 in Taiwanese Cinema. Here are the other releases that you may have missed.

西門町 (Westgate Tango)

球來就打 (Viva Baseball)

騷人 (Young Dudes)

犀利人妻最終回:幸福男,不難 (The Fierce Wife: Woman Onerous, Seeking Mr Right)

BBS鄉民的正義 (Silent Code)

變羊記 (The Ghost Tales)
[Not posting the poster or trailer here, follow the link...]

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Resident Evil: Retribution - 惡靈古堡V:天譴日

Resident Evil: Retribution (惡靈古堡V:天譴日) is an 2012 film. The movie stars Milla Jovovich. The supporting cast include Li Bingbing, Sienna Guillory, Michelle Rodriguez, and Johann Urb. This is the fifth installment of the current Resident Evil film franchise. It is rumored that the current franchise will conclude with the next installment.

The movie starts off where the last one ends, Resident Evil: Afterlife. They were on a boat and many survivors were released. The start of this one is that those survivors were eliminated and Alice captured and sent to a Umbrella demo site in mother Russia. Alice wakes up and is under the surveillance of Red Queen. Ada Wong and Wesker hack into their systems and release Alice to get out of there. When the Red Queen reclaims control, she unleashes an army on them. How will Alice get out of this one?

The movie was pretty well made. Lots of lots of stylish CG effects. Lots of ways to take out zombies and clones. The movie isn't a retread of the previous four movies, but moves the story further along and adds new CG elements you didn't see in the last one. Worth a watch of you've already seen the previous four.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

笑傲江湖 - Swordsman - The Smiling, Proud Wanderer - Upcoming

笑傲江湖 (Swordsman/The Smiling, Proud Wanderer) is being released in Zhong Guo in a couple of weeks. The current buildup to it is quite something. Usually, I hardly hear about upcoming wuxia series here in the states. They just show up in stores when its done broadcasting. The normal English sites that cover Zhong Guo entertainment can't cover all the series that are released. But I did come across a lot of news about this series and the screen captures have been steadily flowing in through the months. Maybe it's an Wallace Huo thing. Huo's series always seem to get major publicity. So much so that I almost always here about them. Especially the wuxia ones.

Within a ten year span of of 1991 through 2001, 笑傲江湖 had 3 movies and 4 dramas based on it. Which makes the current 12 year gap seem like an eternity. Jin Yong novels are regularly used as source material, from movies, dramas, commercials and video games. From the 1970s through the 1990s, dramas based on Jin Yong novels were independently made from both Taiwan and Hong Kong. The 2000s brought joint productions between Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Zhong Guo companies. Currently, the joint productions continue with much success.

I am very excited to watch this. It has been a long time since I've really dug down and watched an drama series out of Taiwan, Hong Kong, or Zhong Guo. I've only had the stomach for US made ones with Zombies and Winter waiting kingdoms of late.

Hurry up, get released so it can get to the states on Blu-ray!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Taken 2 - 即刻救援2

Taken 2 (即刻救援2) is an 2012 film. The movie stars Liam Neeson, Maggie Grace, and Famke Janssen. This film is the sequel to the 2008 movie, Taken, starring the same main cast. Due to its success at the box office worldwide, talks of a third installment have been rumored.

Liam Neeson plays a retired CIA agent, Bryan Mills, that moonlights as an bodyguard now. On assignment in Istanbul, Turkey, he invites his daughter and ex-wife to let off steam from their tumultuous LA lives. However, the Albanian kidnappers from the first movie has an extensive family that seeks revenge. They find out he's in Turkey and they will have blood. The movie starts with the kidnap of Bryan and his wife Kim. Lenore, the daughter, actually helps him out in this film.

This was a pretty ok movie. The action was furious and the plot line was straight forward. Revenge, revenge, and some more revenge. If you liked the first one, you'll get a kick out of this one.

Monday, January 21, 2013

變身 - Machi Action - Upcoming

變身 (Machi Action) was release this past weekend in Taipei. It is the tent pole movie for the Taiwan industry. Directed by the acclaimed Jiu Ba-dao (九把刀), it is expected to do very well. It has received wide spread Taiwan entertainment support.

The movie follows the life of our hero who spends his prime years playing a superhero a la Power Rangers. But when he's replaced, he's looks for the next chapter of his life and how to continue on, but no longer as THE superhero.

Look super interesting. So interesting that the Popu Lady gals did the 變身 pose with an alien life form.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

The Dark Knight Rises - 黑暗騎士:黎明昇起

The Dark Knight Rises (黑暗騎士:黎明昇起) is an 2012 film. The movie stars Christian Bale, Anne Hathaway, Tom Hardy, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt. The supporting cast include Michael Caine, Gary Oldman, Marion Cotillard, and Morgan Freeman. The film is based on the comic book character of the same name. The movie is the third and final installment of Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy.

The movie starts roughly 8 years after the events of The Dark Knight. Harvey Dent was a good guy turned bad by the Joker. Harvey's legacy has been good for peace and bad for crime. Crime is at an all time low and Gotham has forgotten its crime-ridden past. However, in the shadows lurks a mysterious villain. However, since Harvey's death, the need for a vigilante crime was no longer needed and Batman was retired. We come to find out that Bruce Wayne has injured his leg and seems crippled. Satisfied with the way things are, Wayne has given up on life. But the mysterious villain forces The Dark Knight to rise and fight crime again.

The movie was good. The Dark Knight was probably great. This movie was good. Good story. Well characterized heroes and villains and those in-between. Great production value and great acting. Put it all together, you get a film worth seeing and something to talk about after. The Dark Knight Rises is a bit of "more of the same", but The Dark Knight spurned more discussion in terms of who's right, wrong, and those in-between. The Dark Knight Rises tells you who's right, wrong, and those in-between. The extreme nature of some subplots rang hallow, but the story was suspenseful and kept me wanting more.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

花漾 - Ripples Of Desire - Upcoming

花漾 (Ripples Of Desire)is an Taiwan movie release last month in December 2012. It stars a lot of famous people from Taiwan entertainment. And a couple of HK veterans help the cause.

Jerry! That's enough for me to watch this movie.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Looper - 迴路殺手

Looper (迴路殺手/環形使者/時凶獵殺) is an 2012 film. The movie stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis, and Emily Blunt. The supporting cast include Paul Dano, Noah Segan, Piper Perabo, Jeff Daniels, and Xu Qing. The movie is set in 2044, after the collapse of the United States and the emergence of Zhong Guo.

Loopers are hitmen that dispose of victims sent from the future. JGL plays Joe, a drug addicted Looper from Kansas. Loopers who kill their future selves are sent a huge severance of gold and are than retired from the trade. When Joe hesitates to kill s future self played by Bruce Willis, the story gets interesting. Joe than tries to unsuccessfully kill his future self many times and now has a bounty on his head. On the run, he finds a farm run by Emily Blunt's character, Sara Rollins and her ~ten year old son. It is there that the new reality unfolds and things start to change. The old year has an agenda that unfolds as the movie progresses. The current Joe is just trying to make it out alive.

This movie was pretty awesome. The story is the main reason. Backed by an amazing performance by JGL and Emily Blunt, this is a must watch for time altering Sci-fi geeks. The love stories that unfold in this movie are quite heart warming too.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

甜 祕密 - Together - Upcoming

甜‧祕密 (Together) is an film out of Taiwan released last November 2012. Catching up to the notable Taiwanese movies I meant to watch. This love story set in the beautiful island is worth a watch based on the trailer, the actors, and the acclaimed soap opera director.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The Bourne Legacy - 神鬼認證4

The Bourne Legacy (神鬼認證4) is an 2012 film. The movie stars Jeremy Renner, Rachel Weisz, and Edward Norton. The film is based around the same timeframe as the third Bourne film, Ultimatum. But the story follows someone else.

We're exposed to gov't programs looking to enhance soliders for warfare. In this case, Jeremy Renner plays Aaron Cross, an operative in a secret soldier program that modifies chromosomes. This program takes dumb people and genetically modifies their smart gene, turning them into soldiers of mass destruction. When the Bourne events unravel in parallel, the other gov't secret programs come under fire. Aaron Cross is scheduled for termination, lethal termination. In order to permanently stay smart, he must finish the rest of the program. Cross set is sight on the scientist he had contact with. They head out to Pinoy land and have lots of fun!

This movie was pretty fun to watch. Lots of action, secret gov't talk, and they spend half the movie in Manilla. Yay! The fighting is top notch and they do the film series justice.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Popu Lady - 一直一直愛 - Upcoming

Popu Lady (一直一直愛) seemed to have exploded in popularity this past week. After not reaching the top 20 in sales its first two week of release, on its third week, Popu Lady's 一直一直愛 jumped to #2. What a jump. It may have been helped by their January 8th appearance on Kang Xi Lai Le (康熙來了). It's hard to define Kang Xi to the non Mandarin speaking world. It's pretty much the de-facto show for Taiwan show biz and it's watched from Zhong Guo to Singapore to the US.

In any case, K-pop girl groups! J-pop girl groups (ops, there haven't been many recently)! Gangnam style! Watch out, Popu Lady is taking Taiwan back. Maybe, call me later to find out.

Some MVs, clips, etc.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Wrath Of The Titans - 怒戰天神

Wrath of the Titans (怒戰天神) is an 2012 film. The movie stars Sam Worthington and Rosamund Pike. This movie is an sequel to 2010 remake, Clash Of The Titans.

The movie is about the struggle of the gods and humans. Humans do not believe in the gods anymore and their powers are fading. Ares however had others plans and betrays his father, Zeus, and tries to release the captured and imprisoned Titans. Well, the only one to save the day is Her..., I mean Perseus. Off they go. This time, against the Titans. I mean other stuff. Titans not in the picture until a lot later. Wrath is a good way to put it. Clash it is not.

The film was entertaining because things came and got smashed! The CG was great. But as I remember back to it, I have a hard time telling it apart from Immortals.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

球愛天空 - Baseball Love - Upcoming

球愛天空 (Baseball Love) was released in Taipei last November in 2012! Okay, I am a little late with this one. But I have to cover it! It stars hometown boy, Vanness Wu. And its a baseball movie! Baseball is great when you play it, not when you watch it.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

The Hunger Games - 飢餓遊戲

The Hunger Games (飢餓遊戲) is an 2012 film. The movie stars Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson. The supporting cast includes Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, and Lenny Kravitz. The film is based on the popular US YA book of the same name. The filmmakers expect to make this a long franchise.

The story is based in an alternative universe where Asians do not seem to exist. Maybe one district. The world is divided up into districts and they must offer up tribute to an authoritative regime. Imagine if North Korea were to take over Estonia or Finland. Strike that, imagine if the USSR were still around in the age of social media, etc. The district we're focused on is that of our two main protagonist, Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark, played by Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson. When they're selected as annual tribute for their district, they must be trained into well oil killing machines, because the tributes have to kill each other. And the last one standing is given freedom and riches! It is a dual to the death for these teenagers! The country stays peaceful and the rich get richer!

This movie was really difficult to watch. I think its because I watched a similar movie out of Japan only a dozen years ago called Battle Royale (BR). BR was revolutionary for its time because of the teenagers involved. The stars of those films went on to acclaim and a certain gal even appeared in a Kill Bill story arc. With that back drop, the Hunger Games people claim no knowledge of BR and that it was inspired writing. Yupe, the lack of whites in BR was repaid with the lack of Asians in The Hunger Games.

That aside, was the movie any good? Yes, the movie was well produced and told a really compelling story. Can our society ever get to a point of this? Unlikely, but it comments on the what can you deem acceptable for your society? Will tributes ever be acceptable for the US?

Friday, January 11, 2013

2013 January Blockbuster Movie Guide

I've already looked at the films you should look out for in 2013. Most of them only go up to July in terms of movie posters and trailers. A lot can change from now to the middle of the summer movie season. Drastic things can move a movie out of season or year all together. The Watch and G. I. Joe from 2012 are prime examples.

However, I still like to break it down in terms of months. Let's me keep track of the movies I need to rent in the future. Let's get to the movies with "Blockbuster" status. At least in my mind.

The Grandmaster (一代宗師)

The Gangster Squad (風雲男人幫)

The Last Stand (重擊防線)

Broken City (驚爆危城)

Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters (女巫獵人)

Parker (偷天派克)

Texas Chainsaw 3D (德州電鋸殺人狂)