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Discussion in 'Asian Cinema' started by sitenoise, May 1, 2017.
Why can't I go further with 5 Centimeters Per Second (Makoto Shinkai)... zzzzzzzzzzz
Rage (aka Anger) (2016) (Japanese Drama/Thriller) – A man brutally murders a married couple and leaves behind the words "Ikari" ("Anger") written with their blood. The killer then undergoes plastic surgery and flees. We are then introduced to 3 different stories involving different characters at different locations in Japan. Each of these stories involves a male stranger who is new in town. One of these men is the killer, but who is it? The cast here is star studded: Satoshi Tsumabuki, Aoi Miyazaki, Suzu Hirose, Ken Watanabe, Kenichi Matsuyama, Gou Ayano, etc. There is a lot of suspense in this movie. And that suspense is generated from feeling anxious and worried for all of the characters. Even more interestingly, there’s flip side to that coin because you will begin to care for the three male suspects, one of which is of course a killer. There’s a lot of multi-dimensionality to the characters in this movie. There’s also some hard-hitting social commentary and themes that are presented. Not a particularly violent movie at all, but a few scenes are quite disturbing. A few critics think that the characters show too much emotion for too long during the finale, but I felt that the film earned those moments.
Casshern (2004) (Japanese Sci-Fi Action/Drama) (repeat viewing) – Set in the late 21st century, a superhuman warrior attempts to stop a pseudo-human clan from destroying all of humanity. The entire movie is one gigantic CGI fest from beginning to end. Fortunately, the environmental designs are spectacular – so much so, in fact, that virtually every single shot of the movie has something to gawk at, regardless of whether or not it’s photo realistic. The action scenes are a mixed bag, in many cases having way too many quick cuts and edits to see clearly what is happening, but there are some great scenes in those instances where the camera slows down. The soundtrack is also hit-and-miss, in some cases being overdramatic. This is a creative and ambitious film, with an ending that is more impactful than expected. Kumiko Aso is a real looker too.
The Curse of Kazuo Umezu (1990) (Japanese Anime Horror Short) – Two separate stories that are 43 minutes in length (total). In “What Will the Video Camera Reveal”, a transfer student arrives from Mexico, causing great agitation into the life of a classmate named Masami. Masami begins having vicious nightmares and the festering flesh wound on her neck keeps getting worse. In “The Haunted Mansion”, four girls adventure into a sinister house in their neighborhood. Animation is on the cheap side, but there is some very cool horror imagery to enjoy. Surprisingly bloody and graphic. Rather creepy too.
Little Big Soldier (2010) (Chinese Action/Drama/Comedy) – Set in ancient China, a grizzled veteran (Jackie Chan) kidnaps a young enemy general, then escorts him on a journey to collect a reward. This is a grounded, entertaining genre-bender with brisk pacing. The action is simplistic and scrappy, but works given this film’s structure. Scoring is unique. This has a certain charm to it.
Goemon (2009) (Japanese Fantasy Action/Drama) (repeat viewing) – Set in 1582, a shinobi-turned-thief (Yosuke Eguchi) seeks revenge after a royal coup d’etat. Like this director’s previous effort (“Casshern”), the visuals are creative with lots of eye candy in the form of environmental special effects, beautiful set designs, and exquisite costumes. The storyline is more familiar this time around, but effectively uses a deliberately paced middle section to build anticipation for the finale. The CGI-based action scenes are entertaining despite an overuse of editing (the gatling gun staircase sequence is especially cool) and the characters are likable. This is more cartoonish than “Casshern”, and the SFX are a bit more distracting, but it’s still a fun feast for the senses.
Destruction Babies (2016) (Japanese Drama/Thriller) – At some point beating and ravaging others becomes a routine pastime when two kids go on a rampage with their fists as weapons. Critics seem to love this movie. I think it’s monotonous and completely lacking in any significant content. The theme of the movie is “life in Japan is so frustrating, so let’s beat people up!” Unfortunately, it comes off as undeveloped and uninteresting. It’s also not nearly as graphically violent as some have claimed. Performances and direction are good, but this is a supremely overrated flick.
Journey to the West: The Demons Strike Back (2017) (Chinese Fantasy Comedy/Action) – A monk and his three disciples continue on their journey to battle demons. The opening 10 minutes are stupid, relying on low-grade, silly humor and atrocious dialogue. Way too much screaming, slapstick comedy, and terrible special effects make this immediately obnoxious and very difficult to sit thru because this pathetic style is relentlessly from start to finish. There’s no plot, since the characters just goof around the whole time. All of the action looks like poorly constructed CGI vomit that was spewed onto the screen. The acting is also garbage, with perhaps the most boring depiction of the Monkey King in recent years. This is one of the worst films in Tsui Hark’s directorial filmography.
Rage (aka Anger) (2016) sounds really good!
Did you see my review for A Chinese Tall Story? Sounds like two (rotten) peas of the same pod LOL.
For my contribution, last night I watched The Life of Oharu (1952). Young lady causes her and her family to be exiled from their moderately high ranking position in the Shogunate court due to her dalliance with a lower ranking samurai retainer. The movie depicts the next 20 years or so as she tracks a downwardly mobile path (from esteemed concubine, to working in a brothel, to common streetwalker). In between stations she ends up back home, much to the chagrin of her status-seeking father who can't forgive her for ruining the family's chances. Fantastic acting all around. Toshiro Mifune has a small but powerful role (about 10 minutes of screen time) as the low ranking samurai who helped cause all the trouble in the first place. Kinuyo Tanaka is spot on as Oharu. I found the story to be moderately interesting; and the movie runs a bit long. But I'm just such a huge fan of these mid-century Japanese period dramas. 3.5 stars.
Yes, waiting on Rage (aka Anger) muchly. I've also been interested in the hype over Destruction Babies, but I trust ebo's opinion on this one and will adjust expectations accordingly.
...ing (South Korea, 2003)
I watched this because it has 3 dots on its title. I never knew I was in for a sad story.
I think I've seen this before but I have forgotten about the plot.
I like the simplicity of the movie yet it leaves a heavy weight on your feelings. Lim Soo-jung just shines in her fragile girl aura. And Kim Rae-won was so perfect in his psycho-boy-next-door-who-blows-donut-air-kisses
The story is about Kang Min-ah and her life. There are only three central characters, thus, the simplicity, but I think its a power cast already that they're enough to make this good movie. The sad songs being used here add to the sad atmosphere that the movie creates. We are taken to a wonderful mother-daughter relationship and how our lead girl experiences young love with the opposite sex. Our emotions are then taken to a low when we find out that Kang Min-ah isn't only as fragile as she looks, she is sick. And then the tears start pouring.
Personally, I did get sad and cried a bit during the final scenes. But there are two scenes which really caught me off guard: 1) The crying in the rain scene with the traffic man. I was caught off guard because I've totally forgotten about him and here he goes in the most touching concealing-of-sadness way, crying in the rain!
That scene alone made the movie top-notch. 2) The scene where Kang Min-ah and Lee Young-Jae walk in the rain. At first, they were walking apart. And then the girl closes her umbrella to join the guy. And then she places her hands on his shoulder. And then he does the same. And that was shot with their backs on the camera. That was a very cute scene!!! Makes me want to go back to those days when life's responsibilities and challenges aren't as big as they are now.
Overall, I think I'll add this to my top whatever list. A very very strong movie about unconditional love and true happiness.
I also liked ...ing very much. I rated it 4 stars and found it quite moving. I should watch it again soon.
This is one of a very very few movies that I actually seeked out the soundtrack for.
I think South Koreans are good at making their soundtracks fit the scenes. Its amusing that whenever I watch their drama series, the songs they use really registers in my mind that even if I don't understand the lyrics, I can associate it with the mood of the scene or the entire movie/series. And we can sing it, hum the tune of it so easily even if we don't understand the meaning of it.
Is it just me or Lim Soo-jung looks like Kris Aquino when she was younger and without make-up on. No?
Can't find any pic of that except this one (but she has make-up here):
I'm going to have to be honest and say that I never would have picked it ... although if I pull up the results of google image searches and compare them side by side, I can now see some similarities in facial structure.
Speaking of Lim Soo-jung, I finally caught up with All About My Wife and loved it - your comment about it being like a mirror is so true. For the first hour, I kept getting questioned "Is that like me?", "Does that remind you of me?", "Am I like that?". Some questions have a right and a wrong answer.
Badass. The best Wolverine moment in any X-Men before was the cage scene in the original film, it scared me a lot as a kid, but now I could feel that and much more. I did not expect this film to be this violent, it was really cool. Best marvel film since spiderman 2.
Death Note: The Last Name (2006)
Okay sequel with many good moments, but I didn't like how they changed the ending from the manga/anime. It didn't have any impact.
Death Note: L Change the World (2008)
Death Note: Light Up the New World (2016)
It creates its own identity while keeping the link to the original films. It is well directed and the atmosphere felt right, but the ending twist is meh.
Ada Apa dengan Cinta? (2002)
High school romance, probably the best in the genre from Indonesia. It has all the ingredients that makes it a cult classic.
This was really cool. Much better than the director's previous films. James McAvoy's performance was amazing, his character was so scary. It's a scary film but there's also a very sad side in it. A few scenes were boring but they were essential to develop the character and the messages of the film. Great ending.
xXx: Return of Xander Cage (2017)
I fell asleep multiple times despite it having so much action. And it tries too hard to be cool. It's just nonsense.
I've been curious to see this for quite a while. Ladya Cheryl was cool in Postcards From The Zoo.