Reviews written by registered user
YNOTswim

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41 reviews in total 
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9 out of 10 people found the following review useful:
A tear jerker, 13 January 2007
9/10

This is a beautifully shot and profoundly touching film about love and grief. Normally I am not really into sappy romance movies, because many of them insult my intelligence. But this sentimental drama completely captivates me and I cried and cried and cried again.

In "Crying Out Love, in the Center of the World," Saku and Aki are two high school classmates in the 80s. They fall in love and use audio cassettes to record their diaries for each other. However, this romance didn't last forever. And 17 years later, when Saku comes back to his hometown, he is still consumed by his love of his life time.

The film travels between two time lines seamlessly and never slows down on building up the emotion through a brilliant performance by a terrific ensemble cast. I believe in and feel the love between the characters, which is why I am so deeply moved by their love story.

24 out of 24 people found the following review useful:
A compelling story, 26 September 2006
9/10

I have heard about the cult "Peoples Temple" before, but I knew little about it. Through large amount of rare footages and in depth interviews of the Peoples Temple survivors and family members of the members of Peoples Temple, the documentary takes a deep look into this cult and tries to find out why 909 people committed "mass murder/suicide" on November 18, 1978 in Jonestown, Guyana.

This film is what a great documentary looks like. It goes beyond the headline and dig deep into the story. I begin to understand whom Jim Jones was. I begin to understand why so many people crossed the racial and social boundaries to come together and even devoted their lives to this cult leader and their "church." Many of the cult followers were struggling with the social injustice and racial discrimination in the 60s and 70s. Jim Jones offered them equality and sense of belonging that the society didn't offer. So Peoples Temple becomes their utopia where they could be so happy and united. Only the sad part is that later some of them realize they were betrayed and they had no way out.

This is definitely a great documentary I have seen this year and I surely hope it will get an Oscar nomination.

124 out of 181 people found the following review useful:
Oscar is written all over it, 26 September 2006
10/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

A freshly graduated young doctor Nicolas from Scotland went to Uganda in 1970s hoping that he could offer his helping hands to the Ugandan people. Instead of serving the poor and needed, he met the charismatic Uganda dictator Idi Amin and his life is forever changed.

I didn't know anything about Idi Amin before the film, but I know a great deal about him after the film. He is charismatic yet brutal. I can see myself to become his friend when I first meet him and then realize that he can be the worst monster in my life and I want to escape far away from him. Idi Amin's character is so lively and fascinating in this film, through the terrific performance by Forest Whitaker.

I know it's just the beginning of the Oscar season, but Forest Whitaker definitely gives an Oscar worthy performance in this film as Idi Amin.

It's such a gripping film that keeps me on the edge of my seat all the time.

The performance is outstanding, the cinematography is breathtaking, the story is compelling, the music is deeply moving, and the film is simply fantastic.

And the Oscar is written all over it.

Yes, I am giving it a rare 10 out of 10.

1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Love the hair, 8 September 2006
8/10

During the 17th century, the ruler of Japan orchestrated a battle between two powerful ninja clans Iga and Kouga in order to reduce their threats to the ruler. Iga and Kouga have been rivals and fighting for hundred of years. Five of the best from each clan were chosen for the battle, led by Gennosuke (Joe Odagiri) and Oboro (Yukie Nakama) respectively.

However, there is one big problem: Gennosuke and Oboro love each other.

After seeing "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon," "Hero," and "The Seven Swords" in the recent years, this film still so refreshing and fantastically looking to me. I am simply awed by the incredible martial arts super power demonstrated by these shinobi.

If you think people walking on top of bamboo trees is wild, wait to see "Shinobi." Although some of these martial arts seem science fiction, but anyone who has read wuxia genre novel will believe they can do those things in the movie.

I really enjoy watching this film and I wish it had many episodes so each character's story can be told in more glorious (or gruesome) details.

Joe Odagiri's character Gennosuke perhaps is the worst written one among all the main characters, but Odagiri-chan is terrific nevertheless.

Now I need to save my hair long enough so I can have a "Japanese Hair Straightening" treatment to look like many guys in this movie, or in an anime.

Oldboy (2003)
9 out of 75 people found the following review useful:
Revenge or seek the truth?, 3 September 2006
10/10

If you are imprisoned for 15 years, without being told why and for how long, what would you do when you get out? If you have to choose between revenge and finding out the reason of the imprisonment, which one would you choose? This is the choice Oh Des-su has to make at the beginning of the movie "Oldboy." What a terrific film! I gasped, screamed, closed my eyes, and laughed numerous times during the film. This is a movie experience you do not want to miss. "Oldboy" has many gruesome images and unbelievable shocking scenes. However, you don't feel any exaggeration at all, and the characters did what they have to do after the chain of events.

There are so many secrets and mysteries in the film, so see it before anybody spoils the story for you.

17 out of 20 people found the following review useful:
A great complex film, 22 August 2006
9/10

I know a lot Americans guys travel to Thailand for young girls, and a lot German guys travel to Hungry for young boys. But I never know that sex tourism also include middle aged white women going to Haiti in the 70s for young black guys. That's a story a new film "Heading South" (Vers le sud) is telling.

Three mid-aged North American women (two Americans and one Canadian) went to Haiti for summer vacation in the 70s, soaking in the sun and their desire for beautiful young Haitian boys. They have what those boys don't have: money and social status. The boys have what the ladies don't have: their youth and bodies. When two of the three ladies want the same handsome 18 years old Legba, the vacation is over.

This is an excellent film. I love this film for its brutal honesty, its originality, its thought provoking subject, and its terrific performance. Money liberates these ladies' sexuality, but can money buy love that they really desire for? Isn't it interesting that these ladies wouldn't lay their eyes on a black guy back home, but they are lusting after these young men in the poorest country? What made the connection between them here in Haiti?

5 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
great film making, 30 March 2006
9/10

This is a splendid film about the lost of love, the memory of love, the pursuit of love, and the truth of love. It tells a triangle love story. What I like about this film is not how touching the triangle love is, but how touching this story is told.

It's directed by a famous Hong Kong's director Peter Chan, and staring by the handsome Takeshi Kaneshiro ("House of Flying Daggers," "Turn Left Turn Right"), the talented Zhou Xun ("The Little Chinese Seamstress," "Beijing Bicycle"), the remarkable singer and actor Jacky Cheung, and the Korean heartthrob Ji Jin-hee.

Ten years ago, in Beijing, a Hong Kong film student Lin Jian-dong (Takeshi Kaneshiro) fell in love with an energetic girl Sun Na (Zhou Xun). Sun Na left Jian-dong to pursue her dream to be a movie star, leaving Jian-dong devastated. Ten years later, both of them become big movie stars and their paths cross again when they co-star in a musical. However, the musical's director Nie Wen (Jacky Cheung) also loves Sun Na. Will the old love prevail or will it simply break more hearts? At the beginning, when the music and dancing started, I thought this film is another Hollywood style cheesy musical. I am not a big musical fan, so I got a little worried. That concern quickly disappeared because the heart wrenching story and the marvelous performance settled inside me, deeply. The music and the songs actually move me profoundly. The film brilliantly blends together the musical which two lead characters are filming and the movie itself. The characters are enacting their love affairs through the musical they are playing.

I am glad that Takeshi Kaneshiro speaks perfect Chinese in the film, not like how Zhang Ziyi speaks English in "Memoirs of a Geisha." Heck, even Ji Jin-hee speaks darn good Chinese (perhaps dubbed).

I shed so many tears together with those characters during the screening of this film. I wonder why. Perhaps, love?

11 out of 11 people found the following review useful:
Twisted fun, 26 March 2006
8/10

I really enjoyed this Korean film "Rules of Dating." You would think this is a romantic comedy from the poster, not quite. It's very hard to say what it is. It's murky, funny, weird, blunt, twisted, and fun. The first line of the film is: "Are you wet?" the handsome school teacher Lee asked the newly arrived student teacher Choi. No, they are not in the rain, they are sitting on a bench on campus in the beautiful fall weather. Lee is hitting on Choi as soon as he sees her, while both of them have a lover of their own. Nevertheless, the flirtation goes up and down, never a quiet moment.

The movie is very frank about flirting, sex, dating, and may I say, "sexual harassment?" Wait, that's a term only used in America. I think the American audience will be appalled by Lee's behavior, but the movie can get away with it because it's a Korean film and set in Korea.

If you enjoyed "My Sassy Girl," this will be a similar love hate drama, only smarter. The film dances around the true feeling of these characters and plays the mind of its audience. Just when I think they are in love, the film let Lee and Choi show me that they are just flirting. When I think they are just having some fun, they start to show me that they are in love. It's almost like I am dating somebody but I can never figure out what my date is really thinking. Of course, this is not a Kim Ki-duk's film, so I was hoping some more twists and turns (with my twisted mind) to happen while... oh well, I still love this film.

3 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
Not everybody's cup of tea, 26 March 2006
7/10

This is a film by Taiwanese director Hsiao-hsien Hou, paying tribute to the 100th birthday of the legendary Japanese director Yasujiro Ozu. This is not a film everybody will enjoy, or even remotely understand. This is a film for scholars and film school students, and for those who love Yasujiro Ozu and admire Hsiao-hsien Hou.

The film is about a young woman living in Tokyo. She is researching on a Taiwanese jazz musician in the 1930s. She came home and told her parents that she is pregnant by her Taiwanese boyfriend in a matter of fact fashion, and she has no intention to marry him. She likes to hang out with a friend who runs a used book store and likes to tape the sounds of trains in Tokyo. There is nothing more to the plot. It's not a melodrama, although it is extremely slow.

The film uses a lot low light and put the camera far away to quietly observe the daily lives of these characters, without any emphasis nor judgment. Simply observe. It portraits the modern lives in our industrial society, people are cold, lonely, disconnected, and invisible even you see them everywhere. Several times in the film, it shows the scene of passing trains at the same time on different levels in an overpass and toward different directions. It resembles people who run around on the streets all the time, but they never interact with each other and they never collide, unless there is an accident.

Andrew Sun wrote this on The Hollywood Reporter about this film:

"The fact is if you can stay awake through the whole 100 minutes, you should get a medal for being a resilient movie die-hard." I am gonna collect my medal since I didn't miss a minute during the film today.

3 out of 34 people found the following review useful:
Lost the connection to the film, 26 March 2006
6/10

"Linda Linda Linda" is a high school drama which bores me, because I can't make the connection with either the story nor the presentation of the film.

There is a school festival at a local Japanese high school, and one of the female student rock band can no longer play because one of its member broke her finger. What to do? They recruited a Korean exchange student Son to be the lead singer to sing Blue Hearts's signature song "Linda Linda Linda." They have to practice day and night because there are only three days left before the festival and Son's Japanese is not very good.

It might not sound much in this story, because indeed there is not much. If you went to a high school in Japan, I am sure that you would love this film and you can identify with the characters in the film and bring out so much nostalgia from you. But I didn't have that experience nor am I a Korean exchange student, so when the film doesn't make much effort to get me involved with the story emotionally, I start to yawn. I was bored being a bystander. The editing was sloppy as well in my opinion. It seems to me that the filmmaker doesn't want to cut anything shoot on films. So many scenes are randomly put together without a purpose, especially lacking of continuity.

While it was fun to see what Japanese high school life might be like, this film is a little too long and less interesting.


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