Xiao Long Baos

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You know the feeling when you think the movie is gonna end like in the next minute it actually doesn’t and goes on for another 15?

Well, I do all the time.

However, this is the first time where it actually ended when I wanted to end.

I recommend this movie.

The chemistry between the two leads was exceptional and just really entertaining. The story lend itself well to set these great comedy beats for the two of them. The situation is super serious and they’re probably gonna die so let’s stick this rather amusing dialogue scene in there and it totally works. The foiling of the two worked really well and it was just fun seeing on the screen. Luckily, the other character arcs were decent enough that you didn’t miss the main attraction too much.

The thug boss was menacing and just downright intense. I swear this movie probably has the MOST intense smoking scene in ALL the movies I’ve seen. Man, that tension was nuts and intense.

In terms of vibe and atmosphere this movie goes between comedy duo act to intense drug lord thriller. I really enjoyed it. I gave both sides more to work with as each foil each other really well.

Cinematography wise it was shot well as it really supplemented the atmosphere. The shots when they are lost in the taxi and just trying to find their way, that far out pan really shows how lost and hopeless they are.

I really enjoyed the pacing and narrative. We are introduced to our characters one by one and we see what makes them tick and all that. I enjoyed it even more as characters came and left the screen and the focused changed.  The actual plot is simple and the ending reminds me how 600 Miles with Tim Roth ended; as in the thing that was promised in the beginning of the film to end the interaction was the very thing that ended the film. Love it when it all falls together.

Michael Hui speaking bad Mandarin and then switching to Cantonese was great as I could totally relate. I personally haven’t seen much of his performances so I liked it a lot; though I can’t say the same to audiences who’s seen him in a lot of stuff. So whatever, I enjoyed it. Would totally watch it again because it just hits all the right notes for everything.

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Yellow Supply Tents

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The occupation happened 2 weeks after I left hong kong back in 2014. This is the closest I’ve been to the subject matter of a documentary. I’ve walked those streets those occupiers were on. I understand what they are going through. When it happened, I was reading/watching a lot of the stuff to see where they were gonna go/get accomplished.

So with that said, I’m bias to the cause.

Anyway, do the actual film.

Real props to the director, Chan Tze Woon, for capturing the events on the front lines. 

I enjoyed the narrative as Chan met his subject on day 1 of the occupation and followed them throughout.

The entire doc consists of a lot of casual interviews about political views and the situation they were in.

It’s pretty straightforward and the editing is exceptional as it keeps you engaged as to what are these helpers doing during this occupation.

I feel like I have more to say in terms of social commentary rather than the actual quality of the doc, so I’ll just leave it at that.

The doc did its job, it showed you what happened during those 79 days in Hong Kong and what some of the people went though. Being on the front lines in that city during that time was frightening as Hong Kong was experiencing something it had never experienced. The doc convey that fear really well as citizens were all of sudden confused and angry about the actions of both the government and the police.

I’m no expert at all to this subject matter. I lived in Hong Kong for 14 months prior to it and I probably would’ve just stayed at home if I had stayed behind. So I can’t say and don’t want to get into the right and wrong of this.

I just hope more and more people get a chance to see this doc so that they get an understanding of what happens when a so-called developed place yearns for democracy. Hope that this movie gets more screenings so that when it goes back to Hong Kong, the cinemas there will treat it like the next Ten Years.

John Wick 1.5 : The Origin of Batfleck

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Enjoyed it whenever Batfleck was on screen.

The overall plot and supporting cast was pretty bland and lacked presence.

Batfleck and The Punisher was a highlight. Enjoyed their performances. Batfleck’s performance of a high functioning autistic person was belieavable and the stuff they made him go through as a kid is intense and proabbly questionable as to if anyone should be raised like him, but I bought it for the sake of entertainment and not social commentary. I liked his on screen time and that’s good enough for me. Punisher shows up here and there and I liked the tension in his scenes as he seems to be a fly off the handle type of guy but sometimes he’s not, so he’s unpredictable. So I enjoyed that.

In terms of plot, I appreciated how they actually dwell on the accounting side of things longer that I thought they would. And also that probably was my favourite scene of Kendrick which was when her and Batfleck freaked out about what they found out; that was a nice touch. Another thing is that they don’t explain one character and I really enjoyed that. I felt that it could have hampered with pacing and the narrative if they ever explained how the British were.

In terms of action, it’s John Wick all over again and I really enjoyed it. Swift, precise and efficient. There are moments of bodies just flaying at each other but there were moments of great hits shown so props for that (but that really should just be the norm).  Gun choreography was intense as well so I enjoyed that as it was (you could say) more tactical than John Wick. I mean, Neo just plowed through everybody whereas Batfleck here systematically took people down.

The social commentary about autism was appreciated as well. They’re not labels, they’re just different was the message / moral that I got and I appreciated that cause that’s what it is. We’re afraid of differences and unknowns so we label them and make us safer and disregard the feelings of the affected.

JK Simmons had one good scene and his presence was there but not much was done. Kendrick was good at work but when the shit hit the fan and she freaks out it was pretty boring as she didn’t really show a good performance when it mattered. The back and forth with Batfleck was fine but when it went to their backgrounds and motivations, it was pretty dry. Cynthia Addai-Robinson was pretty dry and literally really boring. I looked her up and she’s done a lot of tv so its just more like she’s out of her depth and it just made the scenes she was in really dry.

So overall, watching it for Batfleck and Punisher is good enough. Action is good. Story is pretty meh but hey accounting! Good on yah. But yeah, it’s decent enough for what it is.

 

PS: I want to check out gavin’s previous film now, Jane Got a Gun. It sounds intriguing. And right, while I’m at it, I should finally go watch warrior as well.

Junior Detectives

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Enjoyed it.

The lead was decent. I enjoyed his portrayal of the extreme in emotion that he had throughout. The two child actresses were exceptional. I was surprised to learn that this was the debut of the younger actress. They really added a lot more emotion and comedy in this.

The bad guy was meh. The politician plot was pretty weak as it was really clear as to what they were really trying to do. Overall story is simple. Props for the team to bring up this classic hero and instilling some new contemporary life into the property. The supporting cast was less developed so it was slow and kinda a bore when the lead and the kids weren’t on screen; though, the innkeeper wasn’t too bad.

The visuals were interesting when they play around with the mist and amped noir-ness. The CGI backgrounds were reminiscent of Sin City so it added another visual aspect to it. It was interesting but it didn’t necessarily added to the overall vibe of the film too much. The tone of the film was never consistent and I wish they had more of the dark stuff around when the lead was in his darker moods.

For what it was, it was enjoyable.

Recommended? I would say so for the child actresses performance alone its worth the entry. And it be a decent enough experience when you tack on the performance by the lead. Cinematography-wise, it’s nothing new and the CGI backgrounds is balancing the line of intriguing usage and gimmicky.

 

Don’t Run with Scissors

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MUST WATCH.

this story

the character

the cinematography

the twists

the production

the cast

the performances

the overall art work

is just great and exceptional.

Mr. Park created this amazing piece. Love it. Glad I checked it out.

The cast was superb. Their chemistry and performances were really enjoyable to watch. There really was never a dull moment and that speaks for the movie on every front.

The getting to know the characters stage to the end. It was engaging and you just wanted to see how things were going to be down.

The shots were beautiful. Less conventional shots which was a great welcome.

I don’t really know how to convey how I feel about this movie but GO WATCH IT. It was great by all counts.

Speed: Normal Life Edition

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This was amazing.

Great cinematography.

Great story progression.

The subtleness of characters.

Character chemistry.

GREAT
GREAT
GREAT!!!

After watching ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE or whatever that film was called, I would have to say that I enjoyed Paterson a lot more cause its like there’s a pattern and it continues with that pattern throughout the film with slight changes here and there.

I have pet peeves against using days as a progression of time cause normally it doesn’t matter how many weeks passed between shot 1 and 2 but here it makes the difference because it is actually part of the story.

So yeah, I loved the cinematography. The repeated use of the shots were amazingly done and it was masterful to incorporate it like he did in the narrative.

The story was great. Character chemistry was just so real. Supporting cast did up and beyond performances. So legit the story. Just about the relationship of people. No grand scheme of things or moral of the story or whatever.  The subtle changes to the sets as her art project grew and grew.

Just great.

TOTALLY RECOMMENDED.

Castaway: Family Edition

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Enjoyed.

Great animation

Weird/interesting story beats.

Recommended.

It’s definitely an art film and not a typical studio ghibli thing.

People are probably flocking to see this due to the ghibli connection but have real expectations. This movie was co-produced and Isao worked on it, not Hayao. So keep that in mind.

It was beautiful and definitely helps watching it in the theatre because there IS NO DIALOGUE. If you watch it at home, this probably will be very easily tuned out or watched while multi-tasking, and you’ll lose out if you do that so don’t.

 

Infernal Korean Affairs

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I`m back!!!

Oh man, this blows THE ASSASSINATION out of the water.

Dark, gritty, suspense, intense and that cinematography.

Just wow!

Starring the great Song Kang-ho and hot off his new found fame off Train To Busan, Gong Yoo, these two dudes are amazing.

A great cloak and dagger film for the masses. This certainly isn`t up there with the crazy John Le Carre or John Lescroart but for the wider audiences, this will keep you entertain either with the spy stuff or the action and thrills.

The plot is pretty much like THE ASSASSINATION, with the exception that the mission is much bigger and involving many more pieces.

I found that there are a lot more character drama and interest compare to that movie.  I`m trying to think hard about that film and I  can`t seem to remember any stand out roles. Sure I reread my review and it talks about the visuals and set pieces and I agree that those things were more standoutish than the actual characters.

Here in Shadows, the characters are much more important and much more developed and intense.

Shingo Tsurumi  was amazing as he was so intense all the time when he showed up. He`s character added so much more thrills as you could not read what he was going to do. Sometimes it was flat out mental breakdown and sometimes it was calm and composed.

Everyone was great for their roles really. I read a review that it was hard to follow as they don`t really info dump you much about the era and the time they are in. So I guess I paid more attention and didn`t really find it a problem.

I mean it speaks to the fact that the people`s names/roles are not the MOST important thing but rather their relationship and how they are going to react to their circumstances.

Also, the cinematography was great as it really had that sense of dread at times when meetings are being held and you don’t know what is going to go down. The style and camera angles were different from typical ones so that was pretty good. The beginning raid shots were great as seeing all those soldiers crowd out the resistance fighter, it made it so much more dynamic.  The soundtrack was also great and interesting. Sometimes it would kick in in advance to set the mood and you know something is going to go down. Sure, some shot could have benefited with just silence and the sound stage. But overall, it created a good and engaging atmosphere.

So overall, I really hope it gets nominated.

It definitely will help everyone’s careers here, especially Gong Yoo’s.

So yeah, go check it out. You’ll enjoy it.

 

Beyond Fandom

Yeah. I’m back. I’m sorry. I’m lazy. I’m blah.

But anyway, today we return with hardly a review.

My thoughts on the new ST?

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characters are good
justin lin is good, he just needs to work with a better cast
the small stuff is good but the overall stuff aint my thing
 
this is classic ST, the most ST of the 3 films
but at the same time its a lot of ‘been there done’ that type of stuff.

Race Swap

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If the Japanese themselves can do this to a major franchise, Hollywood can certainly race swap any character they want when making an adaptation. http://kotaku.com/why-attack-on-titans-most-popular-charact…

The more I think about the race swap the more accepting I actually am about this. It’s a movie business. Her name is a huge draw. I mean that dumb LUCY movie made 100x it’s budget. It had a budget of 40 million and it made 464 million. It was a horrid movie yet it did so well. Why? Scarlett Johansson. In a way it’s Marvel’s fault cause there still isn’t a Black Widow movie.

And seriously, Motoko doesn’t even look Japanese and the other casting is fine. Hell, Michael Pitt actually sort of reminds me of Kuze and he’s originally based off a half Japanese half Taiwanese actor so whatever.

The biggest “obstacle” of any Japanese adaptation is the language. Sure you can cast someone who looks like the original character but you for sure can’t cast someone who can act and SPEAK English and look like them at the same time. I’m actually surprise they cast Kitano as Aramaki, I mean I didn’t even know he speaks English and if he does its gonna be heavily accented.

Maybe if dubbing was a thing in Hollywood then we might have gotten Rinko Kikuchi but again visually, general audience probably wouldn’t have cared about this movie cause Scarjo is a lot more attractive in the Hollywood sense then Rinko.

That’s the thing with these types of movies. Companies have to make it so it appeals BEYOND the fanbase.

This thinking came when I saw this article about actresses who could and should replace Scarjo. https://ca.news.yahoo.com/…/six-japanese-actress-could-rep…/
I disagree with all their choices except for Rinko Kikuchi. Whoever wrote that is probably not a fan of ghost in the shell or an actual movie goers who understands how movies work. Winning an Oscar nomination is all good and all but people probably forgot that she did it with a role where she doesn’t even speak. Her other Hollywood film that is also amazing is also another film where she doesn’t speak much English so hence my dubbing comment.

And the other suggestions are just plain bad and uninformed.

Motoko is a hard character to play. She’s this strong and silent type with a gentle side of humanity in her cyborg body. And then you have the harder moral/philosophical stuff that she has to deal with throughout the series. Casting Scarjo makes it much more viable that they make enough movie to have an actual franchise. It’s not the same if you were to cast her with TV star who Japanese with no audience draw with her name.

The easiest way to wipe and clean up this white girl playing Japanese girl is to have a throw away line in the movie about how her current cyborg BODY is a white model rather than a Japanese model. BOOM! Easy fix. That is all that is needed to explain this race swap.

Tho with everything said and done this movie is being produced by avid arad. He sucks. But maybe the screenwriter from Straight Outta Compton and Rise of the Planet of the Apes will write something good that can then be directed by the guy who did Snow White and the Huntsman. But actually, never mind I’m just gonna go reread the manga and watch SAC again.

Okay I’m done here.
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