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Old 05-18-12, 10:42 AM   #426
logboy
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Re: What´s HOT in Asian cinema right now?

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Originally Posted by flixtime View Post
Silenced (2011 - South Korea) - Thoroughly engrossing and stomach-churning film about a new teacher at a school for deaf children and his realization that some of the children are being sexually abused by the school staff. Apparently based-on-a-true-story - though I have no familiarity with the original Korean incident - this movie disturbingly reminds one of the recent Penn State scandal here in the U.S. Obviously, this film is powerful stuff. Overall, the movie is certainly recommended viewing. I did think the first half was the stronger part of the film. Most of the second half involves courtroom drama and is also well done, though it feels more routine and has a greater sense of familiarity in covering well-worn ground such as showing how the legal system has little to do with actual justice but is more a toy to be played with. With a 125-minute runtime, I was surprised at how fast the time went by. That being said, I thought the film had a measurable stumble over the last fifteen minutes, where the switch over to a vibe of movie melodrama dropped me out of the more realistic experience and emotion I was feeling for the story and characters prior to that. The first 105-minutes were so well-done, I wish the closing portion sat better with me...while nicely done on its own, the change in tone just threw me out of things. Still, I'd grade out SILENCED at a praiseworthy better-than-good in recognition of how exceptional it was especially during the highly gripping first hour-plus.
not a comment on flixtime's review above, but, having watched the film now, i'd say it's a brave person who feels capable of treading around the risk of looking distinctly dodgy for reviewing a film that from many perspectives shows similar flaws in how the story is told in the film to how the true story was allowed or able to unfold in 2005.

that is, so many flaws potentially exist in how much punch is given to elements (for instance the distinct lack of forensics or true investigation beyond the stereotypically negative corrupt, inept and lazy end of the stick police usually get in korean films) that seem to be blatantly worthy of condemnation. the settlements / pay-off and bribes to parents in particular are distinctly distasteful but not only apparently culturally-acceptable, the direction of the script is so flat and lacking in searing insight / imagination or bravery that it's pretty close to being glossed-over in a way which doesn't take it's chance to point it out as anything other than a manner in which a case can be prevented from continuing, as though there's no real issue with one party's choice to allow that to happen as it's excusable or understandable and not an issue that can be conquered by a similar self-expectation or principal that's shown by the teacher that instigates the case when he arrives in town.

as a film, i think it's distinctly lacking in any real individual artistic drive, and doesn't manipulate a true story with familiar dramatic devices - equally a flaw if you can accept that being done and if you don't find the lack of imagination to find fresher ways to tell the story.

personally, i'd guess that this is a film that truly benefits from the perspective of living within korea and knowing the reality of many / most or all of the elements at play. conversely, there's a risky perspective of someone completely outside the culture that would take much research of the original elements of the story and a sense of objectivity that's hard to maintain, in order to get somewhere close to getting to the bottom of a tangled commercial exercise that doesn't do justice as either entertainment or education to the troubling issues that are both universal and in many respects partly specifically korean at heart. there's something about it all that doesn't really do justice to the evil of what was done, or the resulting damage that was done to children who are left dealing with those issues for the rest of their lives - as it may be, apparently, potentially, done to others at that very same school.
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Old 05-23-12, 02:05 PM   #427
flixtime
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YesAsia.com coupon code...$3 off an order of $10 or more, valid until June 30th:

YAEASONUK3
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Old 07-03-12, 09:46 PM   #428
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Re: What´s HOT in Asian cinema right now?

Watched Love Exposure the other day and found that it was great. The four hour run time didn't seem that long at all. It sorted reminded me of a Shakespearean tragedy set to film. It does incorporate some of the usual Sono trademarks as well.

I might pick up the Olive bluray release since I liked it so much.
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Old 07-09-12, 03:12 PM   #429
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Re: What´s HOT in Asian cinema right now?

Watched Castaway on the Moon (2009) the other day on Netflix. Very charming, quirky little flick (that oddly feels very much like a US indie flick)
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Old 07-09-12, 03:40 PM   #430
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Re: What´s HOT in Asian cinema right now?

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Watched Love Exposure the other day and found that it was great.
Love Exposure has been on my radar for a while now. I've heard nothing but amazing things about it - so my expectations are pretty high. But I suppose I can wait a bit until the domestic blu-ray comes out in a couple months.
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Old 07-10-12, 09:27 PM   #431
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To follow-up on past discussion regarding the longer cut of THE YELLOW SEA...not sure how much faith to put in YesAsia's specs, but they do have up for pre-order an English-subbed DVD release from Taiwan...and the specs do list 157 minutes (which would mean it is the longer cut).



HOWLING (2012 - South Korea) - average/okay...enjoyable and entertaining enough but only of interest to fans of Korean mystery-suspense-thrillers...a rather generic and disposable entry in that genre. Not in the same league as Director Yu Ha's more impressive efforts such as ONCE UPON A TIME IN HIGH SCHOOL, DIRTY CARNIVAL, and FROZEN FLOWER.
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Old 07-11-12, 08:33 PM   #432
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Oba: The Last Samurai (2011 - Japan) - Based on a true story WWII tale of a group of Japanese soldiers and civilians holding out against American forces during (and after) the Battle of Saipan (seen in films such as FROM HELL TO ETERNITY (the Guy Gabaldon story), and WINDTALKERS (there is small mention of a part-Navajo soldier in OBA)...and also with a movie connection in that actor Lee Marvin fought in and was wounded during this battle).

Anyway, OBA is a film that runs along dual tracks alternating between scenes with the Japanese and scenes with the Americans. I was somewhat surprised in that I'd estimate that over half the movie was in English, including the narration...the main American character being a humanistic Japanophile. Despite solid production values, the movie isn't very good. It starts off okay enough but then everything sort of fails for quite a while before rebounding to a more decent level over the final third or so. I think you can guess what to expect in terms of performances when it comes to foreigners acting in a Japanese film...in this case Daniel Baldwin was particularly poor. In general I thought the story choppy and superficial...even the Japanese side of things was only fair. I don't really mind heavy-handedness, sentiment, melodrama, stock characters, and such...but it just wasn't any good in this movie. If you are a completist for WWII films and go in not expecting much, then sure you can walk out with a satisfying enough viewing experience I suppose. Otherwise, I don't expect it to be of much interest to others.

Watched via the Hong Kong DVD release (also available on Hong Kong Blu-ray). Also available on UK DVD under the title BATTLE OF THE PACIFIC. On the HK DVD, the English subs do still appear during the English-language sections.
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Old 07-13-12, 06:39 AM   #433
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Director PARK Chan-wook's half-hour, shot on an iPhone short film - NIGHT FISHING - is up for pre-order at YesAsia. It is an English-friendly release coming via a DVD out of Taiwan.

I don't know if it has already been released in any sort of Korean boxset of short films (or anywhere else for that matter). I don't believe it has as I do track Korean DVD/Blu-ray releases fairly closely...but I won't commit to being a 100% certain at this moment.

Also, I don't know if it already might be available for online viewing as I don't follow that sort of stuff.
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Old 07-15-12, 04:45 PM   #434
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Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale (2011 - Taiwan) - Watched Part 1 of this 2-part film about the aboriginal inhabitants of the island of Taiwan and their uprising against the ruling Japanese in the early 1930s. I had no awareness of this actual historical incident prior to the release of this film, therefore I appreciate the filmmakers shining a light on this story.

As to the film - at least based on the first part (clocking in at 143+ minutes) - it was just okay. Curiously for this type of film - that should play to the emotions and get you roused up and cheering for the protagonists...aka SPARTACUS, BRAVEHEART, DANCES WITH WOLVES, etc...well, it just didn't succeed for me in that respect at all.

Also, I didn't care for some things stylistically early on...the opening scenes felt a little off technically, in the sense that, at times, the movie felt a little choppy or sped-up (like it was showing in some sort of slight fast-forward). Actually, this is very insignificant and I'm probably overstating. But it had a style I'd more expect from a South Indian film as compared to say something out of China/Hong Kong.

Also, for the long runtime, I thought the storytelling and character development was sloppy. The movie actually starts in 1895 and after a while it jumps to 1930...this part should have been handled more gracefully, instead I felt a little disoriented by the jump in the timeline.

The part I liked the best was the extended use in two scenes of what I presume to be traditional Seediq folk music.

Part 2 should be on tap for tonight.


Love Strikes! (2011 - Japan) - My longwindedness for the day is approaching empty (a reference to recent postings in the Indian cinema thread...where naturally I am sharing some musings on a French TV crime show). So LOVE STRIKES!...a falsely marketed romantic comedy/melodrama...the geeky-type protagonist doesn't really find himself the attention of romantic interest from four different women...more like three and that third is only a small section in the middle of the film. So we are down to two women, he is chasing after one and he has another chasing after him. Also, this idea of "moteki" the Japanese title meaning a period in a man's life where women find him irresistibly attractive (hey, where can I get some of that!)...umm, where was I, yeah "moteki", anyway I thought it'd be something more "magical", but in this movie, the two women who seem to become attracted to our protagonist seem to do so because they really like him as a person...because they share common interests. Perhaps a false expectation with regard to the concept of "moteki" on my part...thought I'd mention it anyway. Anyway, I didn't connect at all to the characters and didn't get swept up in any of the romance...though I did feel for one of the female love interests, therefore my rooting interests were at odds with our protagonist. The dealbreaker though is that the characters were annoying...thirty year-olds behaving like fifteen year-olds...and it was an assault on my ears listening to their screeching.

I will say...skip the film but buy the soundtrack!! There is quite a bit of Japanese pop music throughout the film - both old and new (actually not sure as I know nothing about the subject, but I'm guessing some of the songs in the karaoke scenes were old pop songs). There is a musical song and dance number, karaoke scenes as mentioned, and a couple brief looks at bands performing on stage, and in general just a lot of music throughout. The end credits were interesting...done as scrolling webpages...very colorful...but, yeah, when you have to reach for end credits as a point of praise then maybe things just didn't go so well with much that came before.
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Old 07-15-12, 08:47 PM   #435
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Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale (2011 - Taiwan) - Finished up the 131+ minutes Part 2 of SEEDIQ BALE. Overall, I'd say it was an average viewing experience...meaning both movies combined. With regard to Part 2, it is overwhelmingly devoted to numerous battles/skirmishes between the Seediq and the Japanese/Seediq forces. Now I like war films, but here it was battle after battle after battle to the point that disinterest set in approaching the midway point. It was just recycling the same thing over and over again, while offering the viewer too little else of interest besides the fighting. I just got the restless feeling of "okay already, I know how it's going to end so let's get there already".

Looking at the entire experience, I can't help but feel there was absolutely no need for this to be two long films...the story is your standard Spartacus/Braveheart template of Oppression/Rebellion/WinningtheBattles/LosingtheWar and in this case given the nature of the parties in conflict it had also a feel of a modern era U.S. Cavalry vs. Native Americans Western to it. So this film really could have come in at 160-minutes and been more effective. And by that I mean it should have been constructed like that in the conception/writing stage, not in the sense of editing the existing two films to that length. The story itself needed to be better written...more character moments and more emotion.

Also, as mentioned earlier I really did not feel much for the plight of the Seediq. Actually the leader Mona Rudao came across to me a little like a suicidal old and bitter simpleton...instead of being a great leader, and adapting to his station in life, he opted to lead his people to certain destruction. Like Native Americans in Westerns there's lots of "happy hunting grounds" type of talk aka a better afterlife...so if you are not happy with your lot in life, then go out in a prideful blaze of glory, and live better in the afterlife...I mean gosh that isn't too far removed from the load of crock being sold by some terrorist groups nowadays. Now, I've totally bought into this type of storyline in pro-Native American Westerns, but it just didn't have that same charm in SEEDIQ BALE.

I'll commend the film for its subject matter, the work of the Seediq cast members, the wonderful music (again appearing in Part 2), and the audacity of commitment to a project of this size (even if the scope of the project was misguided). Otherwise, it is only an average sort of entry in this sub-genre.
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Old 07-24-12, 09:57 PM   #436
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The Foreign Duck, the Native Duck and God in a Coin Locker (2007 - Japan) - Yup, the title is a mouthful for sure...but once you see the film you will never forget it. Decided to give this film a viewing after thoroughly enjoying FISH STORY - one of Director NAKAMURA Yoshihiro's more recent films. This earlier 2007 effort is...well, maybe I'll try and label it as a "humanistic mystery". For more than half its 110-minute running time though, it doesn't really play out as a mystery (at least in any traditional sense), but instead it just sort of feels like a lower-budget, indie, with some quirky - but likeable - characters...and you just spend time learning about this handful of characters and their relation to each other. It's all fairly innocuous and interesting enough, but yeah you will start to feel the runtime and get to wondering what the point of all this is going to be. Slowly but surely things do come into focus, and when all is said and done I felt very appreciative for the entire storytelling journey. Ultimately, the true power of the film really sneaks up on you, and I found it to be quite an emotional and touching tale. Just a really nice job in weaving a story that hopefully gave some viewers something to ponder even after the end credits roll.

Speaking for myself, I'd pretty much reached a stage in thinking that BREAKING BAD (I'm just nearing the finish to Season 3) had pretty much ruined my ability to enjoy movies...glad to see that isn't the case.

And just in case I'm not actually the last person on earth to get around to watching BREAKING BAD, well...at least based on the first 30 episodes, BREAKING BAD is just an astonishing masterwork. I rarely break out the "excellent" rating for movies...but even the label "excellent" doesn't seem high enough praise for BREAKING BAD. The other day I watched the Belgian movie BULLHEAD...it was one of the five films nominated for the Oscars in the Foreign Film category. And I thought it just sort of okay (suffered from plot/character overload early on (and when looking back it wasn't really relevant), and questionable/mismatched casting). When I later caught an episode of BREAKING BAD, I couldn't help but wonder why there wasn't a single scene in BULLHEAD that came anywhere close to matching the excellence displayed during multiple scenes in just that one episode of BREAKING BAD (somewhere in Hollywood they just need to build a monument to everyone involved in BREAKING BAD).

And just to go back to THE FOREIGN DUCK, THE NATIVE DUCK AND GOD IN A COIN LOCKER...I watched it via the Hong Kong DVD. I haven't done a full check but the Hong Kong DVD might be the only English-friendly option. It doesn't look like the Japanese, Korean, or Taiwanese releases were English-friendly. The Hong Kong DVD is a little rough in terms of visual presentation as well as the quality of the subs...on the bright side it wouldn't be a pricey purchase.
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Old 07-25-12, 09:55 PM   #437
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To follow-up on my earlier post regarding NIGHT FISHING, I do now see that it is available on youtube. However it is not a subtitled print. That said, if you scroll down a bit in the comments section, it does seem that someone was thoughtful enough to provide a timecoded transcript of English subtitles. Given that there isn't a lot of dialogue in the short film, maybe it should be fine enough if you follow along matching the transcript to the visuals.

Here is the youtube link:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DoeN8_LZDqg



Let's Go! (2011 - Hong Kong) - Following on their terrific 2010 effort REVENGE: A LOVE STORY, the directing/acting pair of WONG Ching-po and Juno Mak return with another B-movie effort...this time something similar in spirit to ZEBRAMAN (and all those other recent films in this sub-genre of superhero films). Unfortunately, this movie was a missed opportunity. For this type of B-movie comicbook/pulp entertainer, you need to keep it simple, lay your cards on the table from the get-go and let your audience know what they are going to get and then give it to them with heart and a protagonist that you can root for. That didn't happen in LET'S GO. It started off in ZEBRAMAN territory, and then it sort of felt like maybe instead it'd be a B-entry in the crime/martial arts genre...and generally speaking it just took too long to clue me in as to what this movie was really going to be about. The first half or more of this 96-minute movie should've been condensed down to twenty minutes, and then everything that came after should have been expanded with much more detail to the characters. However, what we get instead is just too disjointed in storytelling and even in terms of the action scenes. The fight scenes did utilize sped-up camerawork, wires, and lots of editing but I was okay with that aspect...again what I didn't like is that the fight scenes just felt choppy without a nice arc in terms of build-up and dropping out. I did quite like the operatic, larger than life musical score as it fit the movie quite well. Also, the film - for a smaller budgeted effort - did come across as rather stylish at times. I thought perhaps it was headed towards a better final third but when it did come around to the climax the whole thing just felt more silly (and rushed) than not to me. Instead of rooting for the protagonists, I simply felt they came across as too much mixed up in the head...just a little too whacko for me to be cheering for. Like too many films, this was a failure at the script level. It's too bad as LET'S GO really should have been a fun little B-movie...again a missed opportunity as it did exhibit some potential in terms of general concept, nice music, some style, workable action, etc. As a note of interest, Shaw Bros. star Jimmy Wang Yu does have a significant role in the film...though if it weren't for my noticing his name in the opening credits, I don't think I would have recognized him otherwise.
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Old 07-26-12, 08:59 PM   #438
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Nightfall (2012 - Hong Kong) - The team behind a film I quite enjoyed - 2009's MURDERER - are back again with their latest effort NIGHTFALL (aka MURDERER 2, note: only because of the writer/director pairing, the films are otherwise not related in terms of characters/story). I thought this new entry in the series was quite decent...in retrospect when you think about it then it doesn't fair so well, but I had a decent enough time with it in the viewing. It actually feels and equates rather well to your standard Korean mystery/suspense/thriller...notably in terms of production values and style. Given that this is a Hong Kong film, it deserves some recognition in that respect. If you had to watch one, I'd say MURDERER would be my clear recommendation. Still NIGHTFALL was diverting enough that I'd be pleased to see this film series continue with a third installment.



Entering longwinded mode...finished up Season 3 of BREAKING BAD...my appreciation for this show can now be measured to infinity and beyond.

And taking into consideration France's colonial past - specifically in Asia, I'll just post the following here - as opposed to the Indian Cinema thread where I posted some thoughts on Season One of the French TV crime show - BRAQUO.

Contrary to plans, I decided to boot up Season Two of BRAQUO now - instead of waiting a good long while (given how underwhelming Season One was). The first episode of Season 2 does fine with some decent gunplay and a gratuitous sex scene (but no nudity - so maybe not so good). It was better than most of the episodes in the first season primarily because it wasn't entirely braindead and too it looks like this second season might actually have a decent storyline...nothing especially creative and of the cookie-cutter variety, but given how woeful the storyline was in Season 1, it is a welcome improvement. Again just one episode in so far, but the bad guys this time around seem similar to Ed Harris and company from THE ROCK...ex-military with a grudge. That too could be problematic in that I'm still ice cold in my feelings for the supposed protagonists of the show...so it could be a rough go as I might actually be rooting for the bad guys. I won't be doing an episode-by-episode rundown like I did with the first season, but just thought I'd post my impressions on the first episode. And once I blow through this eight-episode season, I can return to awesomeness (I hope) with Season 4 of BREAKING BAD.
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Old 07-27-12, 09:18 PM   #439
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Punch (2011 - South Korea) - Gentle characters going about their plain lives with great warmth and decency. The story focuses primarily on an at-risk type high-schooler and his loving nag of a teacher, yet also encircles at least another half-dozen characters - family, friends, and romantic interests - in their world. The student and teacher also happen to live next door to each other in a low-rent neighborhood, and everything unfolds as they go about their lives at home and at school. PUNCH was a very pleasant film to watch. It was both artificial in its simplicity and goodness, and natural in its characters and warmth. The characters were easy to feel good about. I think PUNCH succeeded in what it aspired to be...a pleasingly diverting and light, feel-good viewing. The movie isn't entirely fluff as - through these characters who reside on the periphery of Korean society - there is a clear thread of social commentary going on throughout the film. I wouldn't describe it as weighty so it might not stick once the credits roll, at the same time, to its credit, it wasn't too heavy-handed or overbearing or of the message-movie variety. Actually, giving it some thought, perhaps it was deceptively clever in its presence...hiding in plain sight without overwhelming the viewer such that you are taken out of your relating to the characters as real people. PUNCH was a box-office hit with Korean audiences, so maybe the sleight of hand worked...giving audiences something good for them without them knowing it. Though I've said the social commentary might not stick once the end credits roll, perhaps that isn't the case, and maybe slowly over time efforts such as this can assist a little in bringing about change and greater acceptance and tolerance of others without people even realizing why their outlook has changed. I don't think a vanilla movie like PUNCH is the type of film that would get folks in movie message-board land especially excited, and even those who find peace with its charms will likely consider it a one-time viewing type of film. At the same time it is what it is, and it was certainly successful in that regard.



And, well, you know its coming...some more on BRAQUO...went through episodes two and three, and they are in line with my thoughts on the first episode. The storyline and assorted bad guys are much more interesting this time around...the whole thing still feels like you've seen it all before...but at least it is an improvement over the first season. Actually, the big flaw with this whole thing continues to be the four protagonist cops. Things just seem less interesting whenever they are on-screen. And, by episode three, well I've seen enough now to say that these four cops rank somewhere on the scale between "dunderheads" and "nincompoops"...for supposed elite cops, they - to put it lightly - just aren't very successful in anything they try to do...almost to the point of amusement for me. And one last comment..."black" whether it be leather, denim, or whatever, sure seems to be the preferred wardrobe color for everyone on this show.
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Old 07-28-12, 01:10 AM   #440
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Re: What´s HOT in Asian cinema right now?

This is sort of general comment on Braquo but I really hated a couple of characters, the IA cop Vogel and Theo who is supposedly one of the protagonists that you are supposed to cheer for. It was watchable as you state, but I was watching mainly because of Jean-Hughes Anglade.

To be honest, both seasons feature stupid plotlines. I was shocked in S1 how much shit those cops were able to get away with. I think I prefer S1 but it doesn't really matter as I'm not sure I'll ever revisit this series.

Spiral is supposed to be really good and I'm looking to check that out. Also, you should consider watching Bron/Broen (aka The Bridge) as that one just finished up airing in the Spring. I really enjoyed that series. Luther is pretty good too and available on Netflix streaming.
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Old 07-30-12, 03:34 PM   #441
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sleepyhead55, yes I agree with regard to the characters of Vogel and Theo. Vogel's character was a bad cartoon, while Theo was a punk with anger management issues (and he never seemed to exhibit much skill as a cop).

I did finish BRAQUO...by episode 5 it started to again cross the line over to being kind of super senseless (aka dumb)...I liked how a "wanted man on the run" character just kind of seems to be roaming around the crowded city in broad daylight (not even attempting to disguise himself), eating leisurely in crowded restaurants, etc.. Anyway, I did prefer Season 2 because I enjoyed the strong villains...and yeah the storyline was basically THE ROCK. Still, BRAQUO ranks only as "not unwatchable" at best...just a terrible job by the writers/directors involved. And it looks like they will be giving us a final third season. Actually, I liked the Samuel Le Bihan character significantly more than any of the other cop characters.

I did pick up the first three series of SPIRAL when I ordered BRAQUO...won't be getting to that show for a while though as I want to finish BREAKING BAD and then maybe I'll give a spin to FORBRYDELSEN aka THE KILLING.

I'll be sure to keep an eye on THE BRIDGE...just need it to get a bit of a pricedrop on Amazon UK first.

With regard to LUTHER...struggled to stick with the first season...outside of the lady villain who was outstanding, the rest of the show didn't do much for me...like BRAQUO I though it "not unwatchable", don't remember my exact reasons. On a related note, the first episode of SHERLOCK was tremendous but there was a significant dropoff I thought with the following two episodes...not sure if I'll check in on the second season or not.
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Old 08-13-12, 08:36 PM   #442
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Re: What´s HOT in Asian cinema right now?

Quote:
Originally Posted by flixtime View Post
Love Strikes! (2011 - Japan) - My longwindedness for the day is approaching empty (a reference to recent postings in the Indian cinema thread...where naturally I am sharing some musings on a French TV crime show). So LOVE STRIKES!...a falsely marketed romantic comedy/melodrama...the geeky-type protagonist doesn't really find himself the attention of romantic interest from four different women...more like three and that third is only a small section in the middle of the film. So we are down to two women, he is chasing after one and he has another chasing after him. Also, this idea of "moteki" the Japanese title meaning a period in a man's life where women find him irresistibly attractive (hey, where can I get some of that!)...umm, where was I, yeah "moteki", anyway I thought it'd be something more "magical", but in this movie, the two women who seem to become attracted to our protagonist seem to do so because they really like him as a person...because they share common interests. Perhaps a false expectation with regard to the concept of "moteki" on my part...thought I'd mention it anyway. Anyway, I didn't connect at all to the characters and didn't get swept up in any of the romance...though I did feel for one of the female love interests, therefore my rooting interests were at odds with our protagonist. The dealbreaker though is that the characters were annoying...thirty year-olds behaving like fifteen year-olds...and it was an assault on my ears listening to their screeching.

I will say...skip the film but buy the soundtrack!! There is quite a bit of Japanese pop music throughout the film - both old and new (actually not sure as I know nothing about the subject, but I'm guessing some of the songs in the karaoke scenes were old pop songs). There is a musical song and dance number, karaoke scenes as mentioned, and a couple brief looks at bands performing on stage, and in general just a lot of music throughout. The end credits were interesting...done as scrolling webpages...very colorful...but, yeah, when you have to reach for end credits as a point of praise then maybe things just didn't go so well with much that came before.

I'd figure the movie was going to throw you off but I think this is a movie where you'd enjoy more if you had watched the TV series. Babel's Rinko Kikuchi had a hilarious guest spot on the series. I reckon Rinko enjoyed working on this series because I coulda swear I heard her singing "Linda Linda" on the set of a film that she had worked on in Toronto last year. (An old 80s Japanese rock song in which her character sings on "Moteki")
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Old 08-25-12, 03:43 PM   #443
flixtime
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Spiral is supposed to be really good and I'm looking to check that out.
Just a quick follow-up...sleepyhead55, I've watched the first 4 (out of 8) episodes for Series 1 of SPIRAL aka ENGRENAGES. At this juncture, I am not impressed. Outside of some interest in the less touristy, street-level view of Paris that is sometimes shown, I can't find anything else for positive commentary. BRAQUO was dumb but not unentertaining. SPIRAL though is sort of dry, dull, slow, and unengaging. It seems entirely generic and derivative (poorly done derivative) of U.S. crime shows such as LAW AND ORDER, THE WIRE, CSI, THE SHIELD, etc. The main characters are neither interesting nor especially appealing. Each episode seems to contain one unnecessarily graphic (gore, gross-out, etc.) scene that doesn't fit at all with the tone of the show. The tone being not nearly as grim and gritty as you might have read it to be. Actually, it sometimes has a trace of soap opera with the prosecutor and his romantic triangle with his ex-wife and the lead female cop. Speaking of which, the lead female cop just comes across as one of the least believable police offers I've ever seen. Surely, real French police inspire more confidence than what we see in this show and BRAQUO. Again, the storylines are nothing you haven't seen many times over...which is fine I suppose...but they just aren't well presented at all. Also, from a director/cinematography view, they use this superfast crash zoom-in technique a few times each episode and it is cheap and off-putting. Also, they sometimes use some ineffective suspense-type musical cues in the background of scenes which becomes tiresome to listen to. So, yeah, my opinion - at this point - is completely at odds with stuff like the (thoroughly headscratching to me) comments at IMDb. If I were a betting man I'd bet that things aren't going to improve at all...weak characters, weak writing, shallow/choppy storytelling, lacking in action/sex/thrills, unsophisticated in comparison to U.S. crime shows, tonally confused, poor directorial technique, no narrative drive, dull...just way too many issues. Obviously, not recommended. For all the criticism I had for BRAQUO, at least it was "not unentertaining"...SPIRAL is having a tough time in meeting that low standard.
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Old 09-04-12, 04:03 PM   #444
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I recently watched the high-profile action film THE RAID (posted a comment in, naturally, the Indian thread). This post actually concerns the Blu-ray coverart. Now, as I understand, Todd Brown of Twitch was one of the producers for the film. On the Blu-ray cover is a highly praiseworthy quote from Twitch. I don't know...but that just sort of leaves a bad taste in mouth.
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Old 09-05-12, 06:17 PM   #445
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Re: What´s HOT in Asian cinema right now?

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Originally Posted by flixtime View Post
I recently watched the high-profile action film THE RAID (posted a comment in, naturally, the Indian thread). This post actually concerns the Blu-ray coverart. Now, as I understand, Todd Brown of Twitch was one of the producers for the film. On the Blu-ray cover is a highly praiseworthy quote from Twitch. I don't know...but that just sort of leaves a bad taste in mouth.
I think the dude deserves a little website publicity if he's going to at least spend money producing the flick! If you were in his shoes, what would you have done?

Flixtime, did you see the Korean film SUNNY? I just ordered it. It looks pretty funny.

EDIT: never mind, I back tracked and saw your comments with Sunny!
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Old 09-05-12, 09:38 PM   #446
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Flixtime, did you see the Korean film SUNNY? I just ordered it. It looks pretty funny.

EDIT: never mind, I back tracked and saw your comments with Sunny!
From what little I recall, SUNNY (2011) had a little bit of everything...nostalgic coming-of-age and friendship storyline. I liked the 2008 SUNNY also (as you likely read in the same post). I really don't remember much in detail though. If you haven't seen it, maybe try and read up and see if it too might interest you.

From what I gather, you liked THE RAID significantly more than I did. What did you think of MERANTAU? If ever you posted about, I don't recall.

Did you watch KAHAANI yet, if not, are you planning to?

Actually, drop movies and come on over to the DJariya side...the best in movies is on television! All an excuse for me of course to say...BREAKING BAD is like, you know, the greatest thing ever!


Random thought for the day: all the empty seats in Tampa tonight, such a shame to see
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Old 09-06-12, 01:21 AM   #447
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Re: What´s HOT in Asian cinema right now?

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Originally Posted by flixtime View Post
From what little I recall, SUNNY (2011) had a little bit of everything...nostalgic coming-of-age and friendship storyline. I liked the 2008 SUNNY also (as you likely read in the same post). I really don't remember much in detail though. If you haven't seen it, maybe try and read up and see if it too might interest you.

From what I gather, you liked THE RAID significantly more than I did. What did you think of MERANTAU? If ever you posted about, I don't recall.

Did you watch KAHAANI yet, if not, are you planning to?

Actually, drop movies and come on over to the DJariya side...the best in movies is on television! All an excuse for me of course to say...BREAKING BAD is like, you know, the greatest thing ever!


Random thought for the day: all the empty seats in Tampa tonight, such a shame to see
Yup, I loved The Raid...i didn't see Merantau and have no desire to see it. The whole appeal of The Raid was the film and music itself, not really that main action star dude. The main star wasn't even that impressive - the Mad Dog villain was the true star of The Raid.

Kahaani, I keep on thinking about it, but I really have no desire to see it as well. Sure it looks good for India standards, but if I saw a trailer for this film as if it was a typical film from anywhere, it still didn't look tempting.

One of these days I'll start watching Breaking Bad. I'm sure that when I start I'm gonna be thinking, "why did I wait so long to watch this amazing show?"
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Old 09-06-12, 06:03 AM   #448
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Man, toddly, I'm jealous of how little sleep you and guys like Pro-B seem to get by on...I need all the beauty sleep I can get (and as to the "beauty" aspect, "yes", I gave up waiting a long time ago for that to kick in). Note: this is what happens when you hate your favorite baseball team, you get a little flaky.

As to THE RAID. The music??? Okay, I'm totally not a "music guy" (just to clarify not a "musical guy" either for any older folks who might be wondering about the whole beauty sleep thing.) Anyway, I listened to both scores for THE RAID and neither registered much at all in my memory.

Okay, did a google check just now and this Mike Shinoda appears to be someone of high stature as a musician.

The Mad Dog guy - Yayan Ruhian - is in MERANTAU too. The issue being that the International cut we got is a totally butchered version of the film. A large chunk of the butchered material includes his character (and one of his fight scenes). At least most of the cut material, including the fight scene, is on the disc as deleted scenes. I like the guy too. Gareth Evans should make a detective action film with Iko Uwais as the lead detective, while Yayan Ruhian can be the Hawk-JoePike-WinLockwood butt-kicking sidekick.

As to KAHAANI, yup, you are 99.1% correct, it is par-for-the-course with many other suspense-thriller type films...but...and, yup, some might feel it coming...a BREAKING BAD reference...but, as Walter White might say, that remaining .9%, well, in this particular situation, that's a lot.
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Old 09-06-12, 11:56 AM   #449
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Re: What´s HOT in Asian cinema right now?

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Originally Posted by toddly6666 View Post
Yup, I loved The Raid...i didn't see Merantau and have no desire to see it. The whole appeal of The Raid was the film and music itself, not really that main action star dude. The main star wasn't even that impressive - the Mad Dog villain was the true star of The Raid.
Merantau felt like a retread of Ong Bak. It bored the shit out of me. I agree the Mad Dog villian was bad ass.
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Old 09-10-12, 09:45 PM   #450
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My Way (2011 - South Korea) - The best war film in decades...and I'm not the producer...haha. Kidding aside, after the crushing disappointment that was another recent Korean war film - THE FRONT LINE - I took my time in getting to MY WAY...even though I was certainly very eager to see it. Likewise, Director KANG Jy-kyu seems to take his own sweet time between movies...MY WAY follows his earlier high-profile war film TAE GUK GI (2004) which followed his barrier-breaking SHIRI (1999). I can't argue with the results...that's for sure. MY WAY is essential viewing for anyone, like me, who enjoyed TAE GUK GI. This World War II tale of childhood friends/rivals - one Korean and the other Japanese - should feel very familiar to those who have watched TAE GUK GI. The earlier film isn't fresh in my memory, but I think it is safe to say that MY WAY goes a step, or maybe a few steps, further in terms of magnificent grandeur and great spectacle...through our two leads you follow a story that encompasses all of World War 2 from the early years of the war in Asia, to Russia, and finally to the beginning of the end at the beaches of Normandy...and supposedly this seemingly unbelievable tale is actually inspired by a true story. Anyway, there are plenty of reviews out there since this is available on Blu-ray here in the U.S.,...so no need for me to be more longwinded than necessary. Though I don't believe I found it as emotionally moving as TAE GUK GI, I enjoyed MY WAY immensely and I'd certainly rank it very well in comparison to other recent war films. Highly recommended!
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