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Trigger's Shipments and Reviews...

Old 03-22-04, 04:53 AM
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Trigger's Shipments and Reviews...

The last thread was gettin kinda long, so I'll start a new one. The purpose of this is to keep me confined to one thread so I don't go cluttering up the forum. Past threads are all over the place, you can search for em if you like... I've been doing this for a couple years or so now.

Anyway - the latest shipment was expensive, but didn't include alot of DVDs cuz I picked up a couple of big ticket items - the Bruce Lee set (beautiful) and the Band of Brother set (very cool). I watched Band of Brothers and that was really good.

Tonight though, I watched Zatoichi 2003 'beat' takashi version. I picked up the R2 DVD from Japan. It comes in a 2 disc standard sized amaray case (flipper insert) with a pretty cardboard slipcase. It's nice looking anyway. The picture quality is kinda drab - a little washed out for a Japanese release. The sound was good though - 5.1 DD. The subtitles were also very well done and quite thorough.

The movie wasn't all that great. Kitano was fantastic as Zatoichi, but the film was very disjointed and dull at times. It seemed like 'the film that had ADD' sometimes as it would trail off away from any sort of story onto these long scenes that weren't really poignant nor artsy (neither of which would've fit with the tone of the film anyway). There were musical bits here and there that I really liked. The story was quite simple, although some of the characters seemed to lack any sort of motivation for their behavior or else there wasn't enough character development. True, it's a new take on a classic story, but a film should be able to stand on its own.

Another problem I had was with the CG blood and swordplay. I'm quite tired of seeing films rely on CG to replace a visual effect that can be done manually. In Battle Royale, the CG blood didn't bother me because the story was so great and involving. Seeing as how in Zatoichi the swordplay was the highlight of the film, it would've been nice if they had put in the extra effort rather than pan it off on some CG effects company. This isn't a spoiler, but the movie ends with a dance number with everyone from the film doing some sort of Stomp/Riverdance number... it didn't make much sense and it was pretty hypnotic. Alot of scenes went on too long actually... especially the scenes where the film gets ADD and stops telling a story. I think this is a case where some tighter editing could make this film more enjoyable... not really to cut out entire scenes, but to shorten some that went on for too many beats (no pun intended).

The film has some humor and drama and action and even some twists, but not enough of any of these elements. Overall, I have to give this a low 6/10 and can only recommend this as a rental. I'm sure some people will love it, but I just don't consider it a must see. Certainly above average film-making and not a waste of time or anything - but there's so many better movies out there, you can safely pass this one up if you want. Feel free to disagree.

I picked up a few others and I'll post my thoughts as I watch them... peace out.
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Old 03-22-04, 06:45 AM
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CG Blood = Style, some people like it, others don't. Other than that I agree with alot of your points. The film did seem to have ADD, and some scenes did go on longer than they should. However, I feel that in the end this was a great film. I thoroughly enjoyed the sword fights, the overall style and look of the film, and the well placed bits of humor.
8/10

Last edited by flashburn; 03-22-04 at 06:28 PM.
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Old 03-22-04, 01:34 PM
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I enjoyed the film, and I thought the CG blood looked great. It was very stylish, and while it didn't look realistic, it added a neat visual flair to the violence.
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Old 03-23-04, 05:26 PM
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There just seemed to be too many minor characters and minor sub-plots that didn't do anything to enhance the movie, and instead took away from the major characters and the main plot. That was my major problem with the film. As for the CG blood, I didn't mind that except for the fact that some of it seemed to evaporate out of thin air before it hit the ground. I'd give it a 6.5, since even though I didn't think it was very good, it at least wasn't boring.
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Old 03-27-04, 06:36 PM
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The Greatest Expectations - s. korea

Cute romantic comedy/drama about an unlikely couple yadda yadda... it's quite typical, but it was enjoyable. It wasn't movie magic or anything, but there were enough unique and genuine moments to make this film stand out somewhat. This film was a little long in the tooth too for a romantic comedy... some of it was redundant and they could've just gotten to the conclusion a little faster.

Overall though, it was decent and not a bad purchase. Certainly worth renting. 7.5/10

____________________________________________________
Spy Dad - HK

Silly and crappy HK comedy that represents all that is wrong with HK cinema today. Somehow, a couple years after the millenium, HK cinema took a serious nosedive. Sure, we still get the occasional gem like Infernal Affairs... but more often we get treated to crap. I consider this a slump. Anyway - this flick wasn't completely worthless, but it wasn't that great. Actually, you could do alot worse if you haven't seen a HK film in a year or so. The problem with this film is that it's tired. The jokes are all tired and used up. Still doing matrix jokes *yawn*...

It's about a guy who is divorced and raising his kids and who is a james bond of HK in the movies. His ex wife is also famous and she left him because they had a burgler once and she found her hubby passed out on the floor so she left him cuz he was a coward. Then there's this real life james bond type who gets hit with some regression drug and he ends up forgetting who he is and childlike. Eh - I'm actually tired of explaining what it's about... nevermind.

4/10

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The Uninvited - s. korea

One thing this flick had plenty of is potential. This could've been an excellent film. This film has some truly brilliant scenes in it - some great imagery and shocking moments. This film ran into trouble in the middle where it got really dull. The performances were good and so was everything else - I think this film could benefit from a better editor... now I sound like Harvey Weinstein. Anyway - don't expect a horror film or anything - it's a sometimes-shocking psychological supernatural thriller. It does move too slow at times and it won't blow your mind - but it will stick with you for awhile.

A man starts to be haunted by the ghosts of his past until he meets up with a narcoleptic girl who helps him remember the darkest memories his forgotten childhood... and that's all I'm gonna say. It's totally worth seeing, and I'd call it a rental except that there's a few scenes that you might want to have the DVD for so you could pop it in and shock your friends with. My gauge for that is if I'm watching a film and I actually say "Oh My God!" out loud.

6.5/10

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Take 2 - HK

Interesting film about a girl who picks up a coin on a bus and bad luck follows her for a few days... then she gets a chance to do it over again. I like this sort of basic plot in films and this film handles it fairly well. There's lots of better films out there though and this one doesn't do quite enough to stand out. If you're sick of all the junk that's been coming out the last year or so in HK and wanna go back and see something you missed from back when HK films were good - check it out.

6/10

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Dragon Loaded 2003 - HK

Basically - it's about three rich friends who are forced to join the police academy by their fathers so they can prove they are worthy to inherit the family fortunes. The main character tries his best to be Stephen Chow and mugs and pratfalls his way through this film. He develops a love interest and bumbles his way to her heart. He's even got the confident moron thing going on as well.

Dragon Loaded wants to be a Stephen Chow film badly... even down to script elements. That doesn't make it a good film though. There are lots of cameos in it, but these cameos are brought in as if they think people are going to be excited about it... I mean, it's just Miriam - I'm not impressed. Some of the jokes work - there are a few laughs to be had, but most of it is falling back on the same tired old jokes - Matrix jokes again? C'mon... at least one of the matrix jokes did get a chuckle out of me though, so that's gotta say something. They do spoof a few better films here and there in a subtle way... over all though, it's all kinda tired. Not a horrible film - it kinda keeps a cohesive plot going and manages to be funny by throwing it all out there and seeing what sticks.

5.5/10
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Old 03-28-04, 06:09 AM
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Scent of a Man - Korea

*sigh* Hmm... well I have 6 copies of this DVD (perhaps 7) due to that free DVD offer from yesasia. What am I gonna do with all of them? Tell you what - if you send me a pre-paid padded mailer, I'll give you one if you want. I have 5 or 6 to give away... I think I'm gonna hang on to my opened copy.

Anyway - how's the film, eh? Well, it's pretty good actually. An early Korean dramatic romance tale of woe. I won't give away any spoilers - all this happens in the first act...

A young boy lives in the ghetto. His father comes home one day talking about how it must be tough to do the chores all the time, so he brought a young girl to do the work. Someone had owed his father money, so he gave his daughter in trade (wtf?). So the little girl stands there in the rain looking sad and wet and the little boy walks up to her and protects her with his umbrella (d'awww)... from then on, he became her protector - and more or less her brother. As they grew up together, she became more beautiful and more of a target for rape and attacks. Subsequently, the 'brother' had to go beat the shit out of everyone all the time. So he became a brilliant fighter.

They move to Seoul to try and make it - he wants her to go to college. He takes a construction job and ends up in the middle of a gang attack when a mob tries to shut down the construction. He beats up the mob guys. They bring bigger mob guys, but he beats them up too. So they recruit him. Eventually he reluctantly works his way up the mob ladder and is able to pay for his 'sister's' schooling. And then the rest of the movie happens.

So how was it then? Well, it was pretty good... especially for an earlier korean film (98). It wasn't awesome or anything, but it did have some decent heavy emotion and it never really got boring or anything. Overall, I guess I'd give it a 6/10. So what's the problem? Well, the DVD is shit. The picture is decent, but the sound has hissing - either poorly mastered or just a poor job mixing sound. At least the dialogue wasn't looped. The main problem though was with the subtitles which were just plain awful. Not only were the sentences mondo retardo, they didn't translate more than 40% of what was being said - so all you get is the basic idea - and sometimes not even that.

It's certainly not a must-have, but as I said - I'm giving it away. It's worth watching - even with crappy subs. Just don't expect some kind of cinematic magic or anything.
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Old 03-28-04, 12:20 PM
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I will take one!!! Email me the address to send the padded mailer to and I will send it out. Thanks

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Old 03-28-04, 07:49 PM
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I missed this one as well. So, I'll send you a padded mailer for a freebie. Thanks!

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Old 03-28-04, 09:29 PM
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I liked Uninvited... 7/10...

Cheers

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Old 03-28-04, 10:22 PM
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Uninvited was pretty good...

Allright - you three have email. I have two more to give away.

Anyway - here's my latest orders - some I have already but most are on the way to me... Feel free to make requests for reviews. I think tonight I'm gonna watch Romantic Killers.

Sound of Colors
Anna In Kungfu-Land (DTS Version)
Onmyoji S.E (Korean Version)
Fantasia
The Legend of The Evil Lake
Taxi 3 Special Edition (Korean Version)
Spy Girl
Ice Rain
Blue Spring (Overseas Version)
The Twilight Samurai (Overseas Version)
Battlefield Baseball (Normal Edition) (Japan Version)
Nabi Special Edition
Last Present (Overseas Version)
My Love Ssagajy : 100 Days with Mr. Arrogant Limited Edition
The Greatest Expectation Limited Edition
Romantic Killer
Public Enemy
PTU (DTS Version)
Infernal Affairs III (Limited Edition)
Zatoichi (Japan Version)
...ing Special package Limited Edition
The Spy Dad
The Uninvited
Il Mare Special Edition
Black Hawk Down R3 Superbit
Hulk R3
Acacia R3
Blue R3
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Old 03-28-04, 10:52 PM
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Trigger, I'd take one but I'm in Canada. Could you send me one, and I can pay you the postage with Paypal?

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Old 03-28-04, 11:09 PM
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Hey Trigger, I'll take one if you still one available! Thanks!!

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Old 03-29-04, 04:50 AM
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Romantic Assassins korea (aka Romantic Killers/Romantic Warriors/etc...)

I was really surprised by this film with all the weak and mediocre reviews I've read. It's actually quite good. Quite good indeed. It's a comedy about a group of assassins who encounter a group of female ghosts who are trying to get into heaven... the assassins have kidnapped a couple for ransom and the ghosts have been scaring men to death in order to collect 1000 tears so they can leave earth. All of this during the chinese invasion of Korea.

The humor in this is largely bathroom/low-brow stuff... you either think that sort of thing is funny or you don't and if you do, it either hits or it misses. If you like this sort of humor, it often hits in this film... very funny. I found myself laughing out loud quite a bit - even when I was watching it alone (my roommate could only watch part of it, but he also thought it was a riot) and when I watch funny films alone I don't usually laugh out loud. It does take a bit of a detour away from the laughs and gets a bit too heavy about 2/3s in and kinda throws off the mood a bit. That's really the only problem with this film that I could see... it's otherwise really good. It's got lots of laughs, lots of beautiful women, lots of decent fantasy swordplay, and good special effects with decent production values.

The DVD is nice as well sporting good sound and video and good subtitles as well. Solid package very much worth picking up - at the very least worth a rental. If you hate low-brow humor, then skip it. I like poo jokes and pee jokes and people acting stupid, so I give this an 8/10 and a .

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PTU - HK

Johnnie To tries to bring another gripping police drama to the screen. All he manages to do is bore the piss out of me. The film just moves slowly as we follow a group of PTUs (which I believe means Police Tactical Unit, but that's just a guess) on their graveyard shift patrol. A friend of the PTUs squad leader who is in another division of law enforcement loses his gun when he is jumped by a group of thugs he was following. So they all set out to find the gun before 4am.

The problem here is that there isn't much character development. It all happens in one night, but nothing really happens until the end of the night. The film's payoff was decent - perhaps classic To, but it wasn't worth sitting through the rest of the film IMO. I'm sure alot of people will disagree with me on this one, but I just didn't really care about anyone in the movie at all. It would make a good 30 minute episode of a cop drama show if the cut alot out of the beginning and middle and just got to the end quicker.

The DVD is fine - good sound and decent video (the blacks were a bit on the green/red side) and good subs. The menus were trying to look professional, but ended up giving the impression that the transfer quality within would suck, so I was pleasantly surprised when the transfer didn't suck. Overall, the film gets a 5/10 from me for being merely average... others are likely to like it more than I did.
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Old 03-29-04, 07:21 AM
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I would love a little sypnosis of The legend of evil lake, this will be playing at the Philadelphia Film Festival and I would like to know what I'm getting into.
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Old 03-29-04, 07:39 AM
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Legend of Evil Lake synopsis (from KFC)
Story: As the tribal age of darkness and incantation comes to its end, with the birth of new kingdoms, the Kingdom of Shilla led by PARK Hyokkose destroys Auta Tribe, a tribe that worships the Great Tree. The vast hole where the Great Tree once stood is filled with the blood and hatred of Auta Tribe and it turns into a dark lake. Hyokkose thrusts the Sword into the Great Tree to seal off the sorcery power of Auta Tribe.
1000 years later... In the last years of Queen Chinsong’s reign, the Unified Kingdom of Shilla has deteriorated into a weakening nation with ongoing wars and the failing frontiers. It is at the brink of complete destruction. General Biharang, a trusted warrior of Queen Chinsong, faithfully fights for his country but after years of countless battles, his only wish is to live a quiet life with his beloved woman Jaunbie. One day, while General Biharang is out in another battle, unknown assassins attempt to murder Jaunbie. As she tries to escape from them, she accidentally throws herself into the lake where the malice spirit of Auta Tribe lies deep within.

You can watch the trailer at www.asiandb.com although it might be called something slightly different there.
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Old 03-29-04, 09:07 AM
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Hi. I am much interested in reviews for NABI and ...ing, when you get a chance. Thanks!
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Old 03-29-04, 09:16 AM
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I would like to hear what you think of "Legend Of Evil Lake" whenever you get the chance to watch it. I have been thinking of picking that up on my next dvdasian order...
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Old 03-29-04, 09:22 AM
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I have ...ing already, but not the other two yet... perhaps this week or next - it's being held up by Taxi 3.
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Old 03-29-04, 12:14 PM
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I'd be interested in hearing more about Acacia and Nabi...
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Old 03-29-04, 12:58 PM
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Thanks for the reviews, Trigger! I'd be interested in your thoughts on "Ice Rain".
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Old 03-29-04, 01:26 PM
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Trigger, after you are done with all the requests, could you please review Spy Girl and My Love Ssagajy : 100 Days with Mr. Arrogant. Thanks
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Old 03-29-04, 02:56 PM
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I Loved PTU, To's best film since The Mission. But yeah, you have to like slow films where nothing much happens. The cinematography in PTU is brilliant, it's quite a feat to make HK appear deserted at night. I give it an 8/10.
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Old 03-29-04, 04:12 PM
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Originally posted by eXcentris
I Loved PTU, To's best film since The Mission. But yeah, you have to like slow films where nothing much happens. The cinematography in PTU is brilliant, it's quite a feat to make HK appear deserted at night. I give it an 8/10.
I also loved PTU, thought it was fantastic. I did like The Mission more however. Johnny To movies are great.
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Old 03-29-04, 04:25 PM
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I like To movies and I like slow moving films as well - this one just didn't do much for me. *shrug* As I said, I figured others would like it much more than I did.
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Old 03-30-04, 04:13 AM
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...ing - s. korea

So our young girl from Tale of Two Sisters stars in this romantic drama as a girl who was born with some sort of terminal illness and a mysterious hand covered with a mitten. Being raised alone by her mother, she spends most of her life in and out of hospitals. She meets the new boy who moves in downstairs and her initial repulsion turns into her being smitten with him. I won't reveal any of the details because I don't want to spoil anything, but if you can watch it without having a heartstring tugged on at least a little bit then you're a robot.

...ing is beautifully filmed and well paced. At times it felt like a Mandy Moore movie (but not in a bad way) and it does start out like some sort of music video, but the bulk of it is a perfect example of why korean cinema is the place to go for dramatic and tragic romance films.

Anyway - I liked it quite a bit. I thought it was really well made and very touching. It wasn't the 'most' or 'best' - it was just good and 'lite'. Absolutely worth watching for fans of this genre. The DVD presentation is excellent... the sound was fantastic as was the video and subtitles. The special edition packaging comes with a 3 ring binder containing a few things and the DVDs are in a standard clear amaray. To be honest, the binder packaging is something I'll never really look at and I will probably keep the DVD on my shelf in the case. Outside of that, it's a great package.

I give this film a conservative 7/10, but it's easily an 8 in terms of quality.
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