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King of Comedy (1999) – Her Review November 26, 2006

Posted by Eury in Action, Comedy, Movies.
2 comments

King of Boring

Orig. title Hei kek ji wong
Dir. Stephen Chow, Lik-Chi Lee

Starring Stephen Chow, Karen Mok, Cecilia Cheung etc.

We watched this movie about a month ago, and honestly, I already don’t remember that much of it. I guess it was just not that memorable. What I do remember is that it’s about this out-of-work actor that tries to do everything he can to break into movies. He is very confident that he’s the next big super star but actually he’s just not very good, not even in this movie. He gets a break at one point to be the leading actor in a film but that doesn’t work out and it seems fitting. Sometimes you watch a movie and when someone is down on their luck you feel for them, even in a comedy, but that just didn’t happen here.

This movie was a bit of a let down. I guess I was expecting more. Nothing really stuck out as being really good or exceptional. There were a couple laughs but they were few and far between.

This is Her review, you can read His review here.

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The King of Comedy (1999) – His Review November 26, 2006

Posted by Jinx in Action, Comedy, Movies.
2 comments

temporary

Orig. title Hei kek ji wong
Dir. Stephen Chow, Lik-Chi Lee

Starring Stephen Chow, Karen Mok, Cecilia Cheung etc.

Wan Tin-sau (Chow) is an unemployed actor trying to get work in Hong Kong movies. He’s well read, but also well bad. This is where the fun ends.

Before the excellent Shaolin Soccer and the reasonably good follow-up Kung-Fu Hustle, Stephen Chow made a name for himself with similarly styled, but lower budget kung-fu/comedy movies. This is not a big secret of course, everyone comes from somewhere. I hadn’t seen any of his earlier stuff though, and what I found most surprising was the very low quality.

Low quality meaning bad movie – more specifically bad acting, bad action sequences, completely incomprehensible characters, and just plain stupid dialogue.

I want to like Chow, i really do. But this makes me think Shaolin Soccer was a fluke more than anything, and that the not-as-good Kung-Fu Hustle was a step backwards. The weirdness that permeates King of Comedy may come from referencing Hong Kong popular culture, something I’m not that keen on researching, or it may just be his unpolished brand of humour. Either way, I didn’t find it funny, which doesn’t mean it’s not. It just means it’s not my cuppa.

I’ll wait for Kung-Fu Hustle 2 instead of watching more of Chow’s old stuff.

This is His review, you can read Her review here.

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Krrish (2006) – Her Review October 8, 2006

Posted by Eury in Action, Adventure, Comedy, Movies, Musical, Romance.
2 comments

The masked man, what masked man, the one with the mask on...oh...him?

Dir. Rakesh Roshan

Starring Hrithik Roshan, Priyanka Chopra, Rekha etc.

Krishna (Roshan) is a young boy that has inherited super powers from his dad. Hoping to keep him by her side and away from any evil influences or dangers, his grandmother is extremely over-protective and by the age of 20, he still plays with very young children, has animals as his friends and is extremely naive…. until one day, a group of kids from a young adult’s camp practically come crashing down on the little Indian village.

His grandmother looks like she’s about his age, but with a bit of makeup in the creases of her mouth and some grey added to her hair. I want to look like that when my grandson is supposedly 20…. and yeah, he’s supposed to be 20, looks like he’s thirty which makes sense, since IMDB’s stats say he’s 32.

Krishna falls for a young girl, Priya (Chopra) that he saves from a crippling accident while dropping from a paraglider. Since this is a Bollywood type of movie, of course we get to see them dance, often… at times knee deep in snow! What? Yep.. don’t ask… it’s weird, it’s funny and that’s all that matters , I guess.

Without going into the details of exactly why, but believing that Priya loves him and hoping to marry her, Krishna goes to see her in Singapore where trouble starts falling into his lap. Having promised his grandmother not to let anyone know he has super powers is a difficult promise to keep when tragedy strikes and he is the only person who can help. A mask and a black leather coat later, we witness the birth of Krrish… (yes, we are saved from having to see yet another superhero become a wizard at sewing their own costume ūüėČ )

Of course, dancing moments mixed with romance are sprinkled throughout this movie. There is plenty of lipsynching going on… the lips really don’t match, the girl singer has a really, really high-pitched voice and yes, amazingly… everyone always knows the moves.

I have to admit there are some really cool action scenes in this movie.. With leaps and bounds he takes out his opponents… all the while fans are blowing wind on Krrish.. which makes his black leather coat and long hair waver; he looks every bit the part of super hero.

There are also some really huge holes in the plot and stuff that just doesn’t make sense. It’s as if two people wrote the story and didn’t have time to get together to compare notes. Still, as I said earlier, I laughed and often… sometimes because the movie was funny, like whenever this one guy says : “Just imagine”… there is a voice over that yells out “brrrooulllalaloooyylllall…” and then sometimes because the movie had such ludicrous moments that didn’t just make sense… I was like…what?… then almost spit out my coffee… (or was I having a beer?) but who cares… most important is it was crazy enjoyable.

This is Her review, you can read His review here

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Krrish (2006) – His Review October 8, 2006

Posted by Jinx in Action, Adventure, Comedy, Movies, Musical, Romance.
1 comment so far

Just Imagine! Blblblblblblblblblb!

Dir. Rakesh Roshan
Starring Hrithik Roshan, Priyanka Chopra, Rekha etc.

An indian superhero. He runs fast, he jumps high, he fights like a whirlwind, and of course he sings and dances the pants off N’Sync.

Krrish tells the story of Krishna (Roshan), who grows up in a small Indian village feeling out of touch with everyone because of his special abilities. He can’t play with the other kids because he’s too strong, so he has to cope on his own, frolicking through the forest. As an adult he’s not that bright, and gets tricked into going to Singapore, hoping to find love. He promises his grandmother to keep his powers hidden, which proves to be tricky.

Everything including the kitchen sink has been put into this movie. I’m not overly familiar with Indian cinema, but I am fond of the style – mixing old and new into any genre. There’s of course plenty of butt-jiggling and shoulder-twitching to music – hard to pull off in a Spielberg or Bay production, but effortlessly interwoven with the rest of the movie here. The other ingredients don’t blend as easily though. There’s action and fighting (excellently shot and edited), which is pretty graphic if not necessarily bloody, which comes into stark contrast with the very kids-friendly plot and dialogue. It’s a pretty extreme gap between the two, which seems an odd way of trying to reach a wider audience.

There’s also some awkward casting choices and subplots that make some sequences feel long, and others totally unnecessary. The grandmother is played by an actress in “old-people make-up” – glasses and greyhaired wig, which robs most of her scenes of any real connection. The sudden change from happy and frolicking Krishna to the dark-caped vigilante Krrish isn’t made to work. There’s plenty of non-intentionally funny scenes, where dialogue doesn’t quite reach Cap’n Kirk level, and just end up embarrassing.

Oh, and it’s 2.48 hours loooooong.

All in all, I can’t say I’m disappointed though. It’s a fun movie, with some good action sequences, good humoured characters who you end up liking, and an OK ending. I was also quite impressed with the production value of it, it certainly looks spiffy. If you like a bit of kung-fu mixed in with your singin’ and dancin’, then check this one out. A footnote: This movie is a sequel to Koi… Mil Gaya, but completely watchable on it’s own. It’s in hindi, with some english interspersed, so you’ll probably be watching subtitles (Gah! Reading! Scary!).

This is His review, you can read Her review here.

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House of Flying Daggers (2004) – His Review September 19, 2006

Posted by Jinx in Action, Drama, Movies, Romance.
2 comments

Almost a euphemism for Snakes on a Plane

Dir. Yimou Zhang
Starring Ziyi Zhang, Takeshi Kaneshiro, Andy Lau
Click for larger poster >>

OK, it’s time for pretty again. And gritty perhaps?

Yes, what us blissfully ignorant westerners will always refer to as Yimou Zhang’s second movie gets a little closer to “realism” than it’s predecessor. The stunts are still wild but plausible, the story is much more down to earth, and the actors actually act full out.

It proudly puts a lot of effort on cinematography and a few key action moments, but the story arc is fulfilling in and of itself which to me makes for a more complete experience. Where Hero had one foot in epic chinese traditions, both in storyline and in storytelling, Flying Daggers focuses on a simple story:

China, the Tang Dynasty era. A would-be political assassin is captured. A young officer of the law frees her, and pretends to woo her while trying to find her guild, the House of Flying Daggers’¬†secret headquarters. The rest of the story merely nudges you to switch whom you root for, as there¬†are no real heros and villains, just people. Romantic, voyeuristic, judgmental, kind, unpredictable, flip-kicking people.

It’s nothing you will miss not seeing, but definitely something you will be glad you did.

This is His review, you can read Her review here.

Keywords: , ,

House of Flying Daggers (2004) – Her Review September 18, 2006

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

for only 42.95, not only do you get this fabulous set of daggers...

Dir. Yimou Zhang
Starring Ziyi Zhang, Takeshi Kaneshiro, Andy Lau

In a previous review I wrote about how, now that I had seen Hero, that it was difficult for me not to compare any movies of the same genre with it. Well, this movie is not only of the same genre, it is by the same director: Yimou Zhang.

The story rotates around Mei, a blind girl… although in disguise in the palace as a dancer, she is actually a martial arts expert believed to be the daughter of the recently assassinated leader of the Robin Hood type of gang called the House of Flying Daggers.
Without giving out any spoilers, there is an exquisite dance near the beginning of the film called the Echo Game. It is simply breathtaking. Mei performs a dance with acrobatics worthy of the Cirque du Soleil. Combined with the ryhthm of drums and the dust flying off of them and the flow of her sleeves.. (you’ll understand once you see this, I assure you) the scene is a memorable one.

Not quite as spectacularly shot as Hero, this is still very much eye-candy for anyone who enjoys a visual festival of color and costume. Although the story supposedly is set within a few days, we do see a movement through the seasons, albeit sort of backwards. When they leave the palace, the trees are all in their autumn glory, red, gold and rust. We then enter a sea of very fine bright green.. just as in spring.. and are even witness to a wintery snowstorm.

There are some astounding action sequences in this movie. Again, I will compare it to Hero.. by saying it is not as fantastical.. or magical, but more real and frightening. There were moments where I literally held my hands over my eyes (as if that would really help, huh? ) because it was so intense. Although this movie has incredible action sequences (notably one amazing one in a bamboo forest), the story is a very simple one mainly of a woman and a man and an ex-lover doing what lovers have done through the ages.

Perhaps not a very complex storyline, but such a sight for sore eyes, shouldn’t be missed.

This is Her review, you can read His review here

Keywords: , ,

Hero (2002) July 29, 2006

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

Amazing Eye Candy

Dir. Yimou Zhang

Starring Jet Li, Tony Leung, Maggie Cheung, Ziyi ZHang etc.,

Hero is the story of a Chinese warrior named “Nameless” (Jet Li) who gets the privilege of meeting the King of Qin and is given gifts in return for assassinating the King’s 3 most treacherous enemies: Sky (Donnie Yen) Broken Sword (Tony Leung) and Flying Snow (Maggie Cheung). The King wants to know the entire story and Nameless obliges. With each proof of having killed the assailants, Nameless is given more gifts and is allowed to get closer (10 paces) from the King.

As Nameless relates his story, my jaw dropped to the floor and pretty much stayed there for the rest of the movie. I do not remember a movie in my life that was ever this beautiful. It didn’t matter if it were inside the dark palace with hundreds of votive candles that made pounding sounds rthymically as the wind caught the flames or during the most violent battle, it was all beautiful. I can honestly say there is not a frame in this movie that I didn’t find amazingly gorgeous.

The music in this movie was also unbelievable. No matter if it were the Chinese seven-stringed zither (thank you, Google!) played by an old blind man during an outside courtyard chess scene, the soulful one-stringed violins and cellos, the acapella soprano or the men’s choir voices or even the rustling of falling leaves… it was always perfect for the mood, and sounded incredible.

Not only did this movie astound me with it’s poetic beauty and sound, but the story is great too. We watched the sub-titled version of this movie and the dialogue is lean yet smart. The story is so visually well-told that you don’t need tons of dialogue. As the movie progresses, the plot begins to gather layers and becomes more and more interesting as do the characters of the movie. Where in the beginning they are seen as just very good warriors that can beat the crap out of anyone, as the movie progresses, you see their bravery, their love, their passion and their insight, soul and depth.

The artful way the story is told is quite extraordinary. As the story progress, the characters fighting individually, we see them wearing different colors. I was struck that you could clip out just one scene anywhere and know exactly which section of the movie it was from. I also knew there must be some symbolism to the colors used and did a bit of research (again, thank you, Google! ) and found that red was for fire and imagination, blue was perceived reality, white was for truth and green, for enlightenment and peace.

The only thing I can see that was wrong about this movie, was that I didn’t see it in a cinema, where it truly deserves to be seen and heard.

I cannot overstate how beautiful this movie is. Every single frame is drop-dead gorgeous.

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Keywords: Kung-Fu, Legends, Epic

Hero (2002) July 28, 2006

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

Our hero, the Jet

Dir. Yimou Zhang

Starring Jet Li, Tony Leung, Maggie Cheung, Ziyi ZHang

Jet Li proved he’s a great actor in Danny the Dog, so I can support his choice to abandon martial arts movies. If he sticks to it, Hero will be one of the last to feature him in full action mode, and while the acting takes a back seat here, it certainly is a good overall performance. Action scenes can’t be done solo though, and the team behind him,and his co-stars bring a lot to the table. The fighting is shot and cut well, which is important. And while it leans towards the fantastic, everything works well within the movie.

The movie is told mostly in flashbacks, by the “hero” who has supposedly slain the most dangerous assassins threatening the King of Qin. What follows is just plain cinema at it’s grandest –¬†big scenes, great colors, lights and cutting, and some fancy dancing around in trees. Is there more to the story than what is told?¬†Chinese history is as much legend as fact, and that is mirrored in the storytelling here. The facts are blurry.

You would probably find more depth¬†in every scene every time you rewatch this movie. Much is left to interpretation, and just as much transcends interpretation – it’s just there to look pretty. Without giving too much away, let me just say there’s a scene with a lake. Holy heck. This movie is just plain gorgeous.

If you can, I suggest you try to get hold of the chinese extended version which adds 8 minutes to the movie (107 minutes in total). I couldn’t tell you what’s different since I haven’t seen the regular version, but you’ll definitely want as much of Hero as you can get.

Keywords: Kung-Fu, Legends, Epic

Keywords July 26, 2006

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