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The Lake House (2006) – His Review August 30, 2006

Posted by Jinx in Drama, Movies, Romance.
1 comment so far

Crappy Movie Posters 101

Dir. Alejandro Agresti

Starring Sandra Bullock, Keanu Reeves, Christopher Plummer

Not exactly Ghost, not quite Bridges of Madison County, but somewhere in between.

Or so the PR people for this movie would have you believe. From the media image it looks like a dreary tale of a war veteran who finds love as he is fighting cancer, only to wake up realizing it was a dream he had in the hospital – after which he dies in cancer.

Luckily The Lake House is a whole lot more interesting – and funny – than that. It’s got some weird time-travel going on, which is a lot better than cancer. Alex & Kate (Reeves & Bullock) live in a house by the lake, but not at the same time. With the help of a seemingly magic mailbox they become penpals, friends and more. It’s not a wacky race for laughs but the story creates funny moments all the time, which is what I hoped for when I learned of the premise.

The acting is subdued, but there is some great work done here. Bullock shows her character’s change over the years very naturally, and Reeves.. well he does fine. He looks like he just woke up, both literally and metaphorically, but it works. Ebon Moss-Bachrach is great as Alex’s younger brother, tormented by some inner demons that we’re never really introduced to, they just show in his mannerisms.

I haven’t seen the Korean original, can’t say I’m all that interested to compare them, but I may watch it later. As for this one though, it’s a definite must-see if you like the tinglies associated with feel-good movies. It’s a chick flick in the same way that Reservoir Dogs is a guy flick – it’s just a good movie in it’s genre.

This is His review, you can read Her review here

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The Lake House (2006) – Her Review August 30, 2006

Posted by Eury in Drama, Movies, Romance.
1 comment so far

You've got Mail!

Dir. Alejandro Agresti

Starring Sandra Bullock, Keanu Reeves, Christopher Plummer

Kate Forster (Sandra Bullock) moving on with her life and moving to the big city, leaves a note in the mailbox of her house on the lake for the next tenant so they can forward her mail. Alex Wyler (Keanu Reeves) writes her back and says she must be mistaken since the lake house he just has moved into hasn’t been inhabited for years. They soon come to realize that the confusion is simply because she’s living in 2006 and he’s living in 2004. They exchange notes via the magical mailbox. I loved this part of the movie, it was fun and exciting and I was spellbound.

They continue to write notes to each other and soon fall in love. Is there a way for them to be together? Can they somehow arrange to meet in his future.. and her tomorrow? Two years is a long time, but can they do it? Is it possible? We follow their journey and wish wholeheartedly that they get together, as destiny seems to want them to be… otherwise why would this wonderfully impossible relationship be happening?

Some people may look at this movie and be too analytical and try to figure out the science of time travel etc., and I think this is exactly what you shouldn’t do. You must really just suspend your disbelief and let yourself be absorbed into these extraordinary events. Many couples have hindrances in their relationships… so if these two can get together through the distance of time, other obstacles such as geography suddenly seem small and leave us all with hope.

I’ve often looked at Sandra Bullock as the girl next door, very likeable but usually have not been able to feel her having much chemistry with her leading men in other movies. She’s usually strong, comical and much louder. In ‘the Lake House‘ she is very soft and I could feel her having chemistry with the (perhaps a little wooden) Reeves. Yes, he is a bit stoic but there are guys like that and that doesn’t mean they aren’t feeling anything beneath the skin, so I liked him also.

I genuinely liked this movie quite a bit. I laughed, I smiled and yeah, maybe I cried a little too… throw away your logical side and let yourself flow with the magic that exists in this universe.

This is Her review, you can read His review here

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Undercover Blues (1993) – Her Review August 27, 2006

Posted by Eury in Comedy, Movies.
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No actual babies were hurt during this movieDir. Herbert Ross

Starring Kathleen Turner, Dennis Quaid, Stanley Tucci, etc

Former FBI and CIA agents, Jane and Jeff Blue (Kathleen Turner and Dennis Quaid) now in semi-retirement with an 11 month old child and on vacation in Louisianna, take on a special job because not only will it saves lives, it pays pretty well too.

They nonchalantly take on the local police, street muggers, the big bad guys and girl all while changing diapers and having a healthy sex life (no, there is no actual sex, but you just know they “get it on” just fine! 😉 )

This movie is pure comedy. Everyone is hilarious and even likeable… yes, even the bad guys!

Stanley Tucci plays Muerte, (or Morty to his close friends) a two-bit mucho-macho thief, who spends the entire movie trying to get back a bit of his hombre reputation after getting his tush kicked by Mr. and baby Blue. He is uproarious in this role. He literally had me rolling in laughter.

It’s pure fun, stereotypes are taken just a little over the top…but not to the point where you think it’s absurd… A bit of slapstick, a bit of romance, throw in some one-liners and some kooky action and you’ve got yourself an evening of good old fun family entertainment.

This is Her review, you can read His review here

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Undercover Blues (1993) – His Review August 27, 2006

Posted by Jinx in Comedy, Movies.
1 comment so far

Can you say plastic explosives?Dir. Herbert Ross

Starring Kathleen Turner, Dennis Quaid, Stanley Tucci, etc

A family of spies, sans Bradgelina and Spy Kids.

It’s hard to explain Undercover Blues, it has such an aloof feeling, and never quite takes itself seriously. The exploits of spy couple Jane and Jefferson Blue (Turner & Quaid) defy the laws of physics, and the rules of child rearing. I can imagine some “better-than-good christians” being appalled by some of the gags, but really, this is as family-friendly as it gets in my opinion. There’s something disarming about it. Every character and event in the movie seems put there just to make you laugh, including the “straight men”. And the plot is actually not out of any mold, even if it has some spoof-like connections to things you may have seen before.

For some reason this movie seems to have vanished from the mainstream consciousness. I remember it being quite popular as a rental, but I guess word-of-mouth back then didn’t pack the same punch as it does today. Can you say “viral marketing”? If you haven’t seen it, it’s well worth a watch, heck even a dvd purchase. It’s as much an adult comedy as it can be enjoyed by the kids for pure slapstick. Everyone takes their character over-the-top, and is at his funniest by far.

This is His review, you can read Her review here

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The Storm Riders (1998) – His Review August 25, 2006

Posted by Jinx in Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Movies.
1 comment so far

Der Sturm Ritter ja aber bitte

Dir. Wai Keung Lau
Starring Aaron Kwok, Ekin Cheng, Sonny Chiba, Kristy Yang, Qi Shu, Michel Tse

If you know nothing, or next to nothing about Hong Kong movies – that is to say movies made with traditional HK cinema sentiments – let me give you a few hints. If you want to skip it, scroll down to the review. Let’s call it..

A short list of rules for HK cinema.

The characters are often named after their main character trait, so you instantly know who they are. For example someone who is fat generally has no other traits, and is called Fatty or something similar. The sister of the main hero can be named Sister, just to clear things up. If a guy is brooding, then Cloud is a good name, since there’s a dark cloud permanently above him.

The story consists of minor events that are interlinked, and seldom referenced in the rest of the movie, with the exclusion of the beginning and the end – you are often given the setup for the end of the movie right at the start. An example would be: Hero-type-person is face to face with his foe, just about to do battle. He has a cool looking sword. Then there’s a flashback or similar, in which Hero goes on a complicated quest. Then we get to the end, forget all that happened in between and just continue from the prologue. What happened to all the stu-uff? Nevermind.

The effects can be very cheesy. Now, this is of course subjective to your taste, but HK cinema is over-the-top cheesy. While, in a hollywood movie you may sneer at a fake looking dinosaur texture, here you are so overwhelmed by the audacity of the FX-makers and fight choreographers that it just becomes genius. It’s OK to have a Poser-rendering as your main effects shot. It’s totally fine to throw apples at Newton, and have people falling diagonally.

And yes, yes you can steal entire plots from other movies. If you think the Hollywood remake jungle is thick, then Hong Kong is.. well, thicker. With foliage and vines and junk. It’s very hard to be original when the style demands otherwise. Think of it more in terms of homages, or clichés, and you won’t choke when you see the same thing happen in yet another movie.

That probably won’t explain the genre (yes, I’m calling the entire HK movie output one genre, bite me), but it may give you a solid starting point.

On to the review:

The Storm Riders is in some ways the end of an era. After this movie, big-budget HK cinema has become more and more polished (bigger budgets presumably). You get the regular storyline, the usual protagonists, and probably one of the best attempts at live-action anime ever, all with an apparent lack of constraints on the imagination. Suspending your disbelief is impossible, to become engrossed in this story you would have to be dead. The stunts and effects, and even the story, is just so freaky that you have to smile.

This is the movie that made Qi Shu (Chi Hsu / Qi Hsu / Shu Qi / Kei Shu / Qui Shu / Kei Su) a star, reached a new box office record, and it’s got a fire monkey in it. A Fire Monkey!

So yeah, you can go see it now.

This is His review, you can read Her review here

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The Storm Riders (1998) – Her Review August 24, 2006

Posted by Eury in Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Movies.
1 comment so far

Let me give you a hand.. I mean arm!

Dir. Wai Keung Lau
Starring Aaron Kwok, Ekin Cheng, Sonny Chiba, Kristy Yang, Qi Shu, Michel Tse
Click for larger poster>>

Conquer is the leader of a clan and wants to be the best in all the World of Martial Arts. A prophet, Mud Buddha tells him he cannot foretell his complete future but he does say that it depends on two young children, Wind (Ekin Cheng) and Cloud (Aaron Kwok). After murdering the children’s parents, he raises the boys as his own. The story continues 10 years later when the boys have grown up. Wind is quite calm and Cloud is very stormy and unpredictable.

I wish I had seen this movie before seeing Hero (Xing xiong) which totally blew me away with it’s storyline, music and imagery. I just couldn’t help but compare them to the detriment of “The Storm Riders”, (Fung wan: Hung ba tin ha) I ‘m not saying this was a bad movie, per se… just that it seems lacking to me when I had just recently seen the other and was so thoroughly impressed with it.

I also kept looking at the principal players and found that they made me think of living manga characters and there seemed to be so many different people involved, and often for short spurts of time that I often was left wondering if this was written after some book or legend and I was missing some of the information needed. The first part of the story was confusing to me, but mid-point I did feel the pieces did come together and I finally understood.. maybe it was the coffee break that helped 😉 .

Although it did come together, there were things that simply distracted me… a box called the Ice Vigor (I won’t say what it is) but to me it looked like it was out of paper maché and another place it seemed like the rocks were made out of chipped styrofoam. Stupid details that shouldn’t be important, like dresses that, at times, I found looked too modern for the story, or a costume that should look old and torn, but looked somehow like it was cut with scissors. I know this sounds insignificant but often the finesse and wonderfulness of a movie are in those little details that just make everything flow so wonderfully when they are perfect. Now, I ‘m not saying it was really bad … but if I’m distracted enough to see these things, then at that moment, I’m not engrossed in the story, now am I?

If you are a fan of martial arts action, there is plenty of it in this movie; if you like special effects, there are even more. It is very fantastical and the stuff of superheroes. Think bigger, faster, more grandiose … not pretty like in the movie Hero, (see my review here) but it still works and some of the effects are quite spectacular and very cool looking.

This is Her review, you can read His review here

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If Only (2004) – Her Review August 21, 2006

Posted by Eury in Drama, Movies, Romance.
2 comments

Don't it always seem to go, that you don't know what you got til it's gone

Dir. Gil Junger
Starring Jennifer Love Hewitt, Paul Nicholls, Tom Wilkinson etc.,

If Only starts off with Samantha and Ian (Jennifer Love Hewitt and Paul Nicholls) teasing and romping around in their London flat. The colors were bright, the mood was light, I thought I was off to a sweet, romantic, feel-good comedy. Very soon though, we see that not everything is alright within this cute couple’s relationship. Sam is so head-over-heels in love with Ian, that she does everything in her power to make him happy even forgetting about what’s important to her. Ian, on the other hand, professes his adoration for her, but has little time for who she really is, what she cares for, or what is truly important to her. It’s pretty much all about him. Let’s be honest here, he’s a bit of a jerk. After a quarrel, Ian comes to realize what he actually had and gets a chance to relive that day over and perhaps change fate.

Although the premise of this story is somewhat the same as Groundhog Day, it is not at all in the same genre… it is much slower, pessimistic and extremely emotional to the point, actually, that I would be not understating to say that it was heart-wrenching.

I thought Jennifer Love Hewitt was really good in this movie and I found it easy to identify with her simply because I’ve been and often still am that girl. I thought she was amazing in this film and was surprised to learn that it’s actually her that is singing in this movie (no, it’s not a musical 😉 ) and that she’s got a very pleasant voice.

I’m not sure if I should thank the director, Gil Junger , or throttle him for the experience because it had me bawling my eyes out. Did I like this movie? Yes.. I just was perhaps unprepared for it to pull so wickedly at my heartstrings as it left me emotionally-drained.

This is Her review, you can read His review here

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If Only (2004) – His Review August 21, 2006

Posted by Jinx in Drama, Movies, Romance.
1 comment so far

If only briefly

Dir. Gil junger
Starring Jennifer Love Hewitt, Paul Nicholls etc.

If Only is an emotional drama-based spin on the “another chance” scenario of Groundhog Day, slightly similar to Sliding Doors if you know that one. It tells the tale of London-dwelling couple Samantha and Ian, and their angst and trials that come to a head with Samantha’s sudden demise. The clock turns back, and Ian awakes the day before – remembering everything.

It’s not a very cheerful story, let me make that perfectly clear. It’s also quite predictable and slow with only a few moments where it picks up in pace. There is a feeling of impending doom, captured quite well, running through the movie. It’s not so much in the storyline as in the faces of the actors, to their credit. The use of sound and lack of sound is also excellent in the dramatic scenes, adding much to the results.

I really see no point in watching this alone unless you’re a glutton for punishment (or maybe a woman), it’s a well put together effort to grind water out of stones.

This is Hisreview, you can read Her review here

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Nothing (2003) – His Review August 20, 2006

Posted by Jinx in Comedy, Fantasy, Movies, Mystery, Sci-Fi.
1 comment so far

Much ado about Nothing

Dir. Vincenzo Natali
Starring David Hewlett, Andrew Miller, Gordon Pinsent etc.,

This review contains no spoilers!

This is not the movie version of Seinfeld, but it is a movie about nothing.

Nothing is the story of two friends who both have the worst day of their lives. Dave is accused of embezzling from his work, he is fired, and his girlfriend dumps him. Andrew gets locked out of the house and ends up accused of molesting a girl scout. To top it off they receive notice that their house is being demolished.

Then nothing happens.

If you enjoy odd movies that deal with pure fantastic elements, you’ll like this movie. It’s not a joke-y comedy, it’s got much more in common with arthouse cinema than National Lampoon, but it is very funny. It gets a bit dark and grim at times, but there’s fun in that too.

I can’t really go into anything more about this movie without ruining at least part of the actual point of it. I hadn’t seen the trailer for it before seeing the movie, and they do give way too much away in it, so you may want to steer clear (link to the trailer in case you just don’t care). I promise, it’s a lot more fun to see this film without knowing what’s gonna happen. And it’s an everflowing source of puns – “What did you watch today?” “Oh, Nothing”.

This is His review, you can read Her review here which doesn’t have spoilers either.

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Nothing (2003) – Her Review August 20, 2006

Posted by Eury in Comedy, Fantasy, Movies, Mystery, Sci-Fi.
1 comment so far

Nothing lasts forever

Dir. Vincenzo Natali
Starring David Hewlett, Andrew Miller, Gordon Pinsent etc.,

David and Andrew have been best friends since they’ve been 9 years old. Neither are popular; Dave is very self-centered and Andrew is afraid of everything. They survive by sticking together. Even as an adult, David (David Hewlett) doesn’t get along well with anyone, except for Andrew (Andrew Miller) work at home travel agent, agoraphobic and pack rat. They live together in a house filled to the brim with lots of junk until one day their lives take a spin for the worse when both are accused of crimes they have not committed. Nothing more of the plot can be told after this without spoiling all the fun, and I really don’t want to do that.

What I can say is this film, written and directed by Vincenzo Natali, who also wrote and directed the famous Canadian cult classic “Cube” is truly “nothing” to scoff at. Natali, quite famous for his grandiose visions that he creates with low-budgets and green/blue screens does not disappoint. This movie is extremely funny, extremely original and like “nothing” I’ve ever seen before and it sort of makes me proud to say that it’s Canadian! Trust me, find this little unknown jewel and let yourself enjoy something truly unique.

This is Her review, you can read His review here

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