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A History of Violence (2005) – His Review November 26, 2006

Posted by Jinx in Action, Drama, Movies, Thriller.
7 comments

temporary

Dir. David Cronenberg

Starring Viggo Mortensen, Maria Bello, Ed Harris, Ashton Holmes, William Hurt etc.

The name Cronenberg should mean something to most people. To me he’s “not the weird guy who made Twin Peaks, the other one”. Call me uninvolved, but I’m not really a fan.

A History of Violence is a good start to making me one. It’s intense in it’s stillness, and very much seething with the titular violence. Homely small town diner-owner Tom Stall (Mortensen) takes on the forces of darkness from his own past, while trying to keep his family out of harms way. It’s all written and played very small, with bursts of plot/character development/action. This makes the whole experience come together as one entity, with nothing to detract or disorient.

Acting – superb. Photo – perfect fit. Movie – fantastic. I can’t see any reason not to see this movie, unless you’re a whore of Satan. You’re not a whore of Satan are you?

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

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A History of Violence (2005) – Her Review November 26, 2006

Posted by Eury in Action, Drama, Movies, Thriller.
2 comments

Hey, look it's Aragorn

Dir. David Cronenberg

Starring Viggo Mortensen, Maria Bello, Ed Harris, Ashton Holmes, William Hurt etc.

I was a little apprehensive before seeing this movie.. first because it was by David Cronenberg (yes, he’s Canadian… but still, not everybody’s cup of tea). He’s known particularly for being off-beat, unique and a little crazy. I was also a bit hesitant as the title sort of made it look like it may be full of gore and I didn’t feel up to seeing it.

This movie, however, was a pleasant surprise. It starts off with a couple of psycho killers who leave a motel and kill the clerk before leaving. My first instinct was to believe that this movie would be about these two guys going from town to town, just killing people off like flies, without a care or a look behind. We’ve all seen those movies… the been there, done that kind of movie… blood, guts and a bit of yawn.

What actually happens is that these two crazies come to a small town, where mostly everyone is kind and polite and a bit conservative and bully their way in a small restaurant where they get surprised by normally very calm and collected Tom Stall, played by Viggo Mortensen who in a burst of bravado kills them with their own weapon and becomes the town’s hero.

After appearing in the newspapers and on television, Tom must now confront mobsters from Philadelphia who believe he is an ex-mobster and are now harassing him and his family.

Violence runs throughout this movie, but it isn’t in any way gratuitous. I want to say so much about reactions and how events open deep feelings, restrained feelings, but I won’t go any further because such statements wouldn’t make much sense without explanations and it’s too hard to explain without giving anything away, and for once, I really think there should be no spoilers at all. I can say though, that you will probably be completely immersed into this film.

The acting is superb, the direction of this movie is exceptional. This may be perhaps David Cronenberg’s most commercial venture of date, but I must say, it doesn’t make it bland, boring or ordinary. Au contraire, this is one of my favorite movies I have seen this year. I was in awe.

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

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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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Storm (2005) – His Review September 25, 2006

Posted by Jinx in Action, Drama, Movies, Sci-Fi, Thriller.
2 comments

Storm bork bork bork!Dir. Måns Mårland and Björn Stein
Starring Eric Ericson, Eva Röse and Jonas Karlsson

Sweden is hardly known for mainstream cinema, in fact the only thing most foreign people will know of swedish cinema is Ingmar Bergman, so don’t feel too out of the loop if you read this review and go “huh?”.

Storm follows succesful but detatched¬†thirty-something journalist DD (Ericson), who leads a “rich” social life with parties and¬†drugs, but doesn’t have much¬†of an inner life. His fish-bowl world¬†cracks¬†when he meets a mysterious woman, hunted by unknown fiends, who seems to know him inside out. Despite his best attempts he gets involved,¬†and receives a seemingly¬†unbreachable metal box. The hunters now go after him, to get hold of the box before it is opened.

There’s hasn’t been many good Swedish movies made since the 80’s. Even the new generation of film-makers seem to follow in the footsteps of the old garde –¬†directors who haven’t changed direction since their first movie, and writers who keep rewriting the same script over and over. How many damn “comedies” can you make about a man and a woman who have been married for 10 years, drink and fight, and then get divorced? Why would kids want to see the¬†3rd sequel to the crappy kids version of the multi-sequel remake of a Danish original movie series? Where’s the originality?

Well, it’s not in this movie. But – and it’s a big but – this movie steals it’s inspiration not from Sweden, but the mainstream international market, while still retaining a subtle Swedish aftertaste. The action scenes are certainly nothing to gape over, and the ride isn’t as smooth as it can be with an accomplished driver/director, but it is quite refreshing nevertheless. The straight action-movie lingo can be pretty annoying, but I found that, along with the comicbooks that are also used as a literary device, it sort of makes sense. It’s surreal and fake, as if filtered through the mind of a 10 year old film- and comicbook-geek, another piece of DD’s puzzle.

You’re allowed to not like this movie, it probably takes a certain mindset when you watch it to get engrossed since it’s so fidgety. If you like movies that switch genres on you, fairly successfully, from flickering sci-fi action to spine-tingling thriller to heart-wrenching drama, give it a try. It may work on you.

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

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Storm (2005) – Her Review September 25, 2006

Posted by Eury in Action, Drama, Movies, Sci-Fi, Thriller.
1 comment so far

Swedish Rubik's CubeDir. Måns Mårland and Björn Stein
Starring Eric Ericson, Eva Röse and Jonas Karlsson

This movie starts out like a typical sci-fi thriller, with Lova, (Eva R√∂se) or Promise as they call her in English, being followed by a multitude of men including the character played by Jonas Karlsson. She is protecting what appears to be a brushed silver cube which she hands off to another girl telling her to guard it with her life as they are apparently the only survivors. I was strangely intrigued… what could the cube be… did it contain something, did it have some sort of power?

Enter Eric Ericsson as DD. He’s a bachelor in Stockholm who seems quite content to live alone. After listening to his neighbor having sex with his girlfriend, he quite, nonchalantly, lets us know that he believes that love is pretty useless… and if you want sex, you’re never better served than by yourself. Not only does he not appear to be affected by sentimental feelings, we learn that since he was a child he also cannot feel any pain of the physical kind. After another boring night at the bar, he opens up his taxi door to help Promise, who appears practically out of nowhere, fleeing from some mighty dangerous dudes. Hence starts DD’s descent into a maddening spiral of events.

The movie has many twists and turns, moving between scenes that appear as if out of a video game, others from comic books and even revisiting DD’s past. It certainly appears more complex and complicated in writing than on the screen. I felt the movie moved along smoothly and opened layer after layer to the viewer’s eyes which made it easy to understand.

Warning: Spoilers Ahead

This movie deals with a subject seen in many movies over time… a tragic event that leaves someone scarred and incapable of becoming a secure and happy adult. Storm uses a unique and interesting way of entering DD’s mind and his memories to help him become whole again. DD must relive some horrendous acts he did (not pertaining to the actual tragic event) hoping to be punished because he is riddled by guilt. Promise is there to help him while the character played by Jonas is trying to prevent him reliving his pain and tries to get him to stay just as he is.. cold and detatched.

The story is not a new one, but Storm brings a new twist in how the story is told and although it had lots of action scenes it managed to make us care for DD and feel his pain; the pain he’d been avoiding since childhood, the pain that has prevented him, until now, from being able to love and be loved.

This is Her review, you can read His 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.

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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

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