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1948 reviews in total 
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Lilting (2014)
Good film if you understand the cultural subtext, 31 January 2015

This film tells the story of a white male meeting his late boyfriend's mother for the first time. This is complicated by the fact that the boyfriend's mother is Cambodian Chinese, and does not speak any English. With the help of a translator, they get through the language barrier - but not the cultural barrier.

"Lilting" is an ambitious attempt to portray the cultural differences at play in a modern relationship. The story places a lot of emphasis on the filial duties of a Chinese child, and the anger of the mother whose son does not fulfill the supposed filial duties. This is surely mystifying to Western viewers, and the film does not really explain it that clearly. As I do understand this cultural context, I empathise with the story.

Two things that bug me though, is that Kai looks so Caucasian. I have huge trouble in believing that he is only a quarter English. The second thing is that the mother says he feels lonely during Christmas, which is clearly a line aimed at Western viewers because she would the most likely not be celebrating Christmas. She would be way more likely to feel lonely during Chinese New Year.

Overall, "Lilting" is not for everyone. The pacing is slow, but if you understand the cultural subtext then you will empathise with the story a lot.

Big Eyes (2014/I)
0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
A compelling account of a woman forced into lies and deceit, 27 January 2015

This film tells the story of a female artist who finds popularity and recognition because of her remarkable paintings of children with big eyes. However, her husband steals the credit, and she is forced into a life of oppression, lies and deceit.

"Big Eyes" is quite unlike the usual Tim Burton film, as there is no wild imagination, lavish sets or dark elements. It's refreshing to see him telling a captivating and compelling account of a hijacked life. The story is very engaging because I'm so angry at the husband for stealing Margaret's credit. I don't quite understand how a person can lie repeatedly without any conscience. I'm so glad Margaret ultimately decided to stand up for herself, especially given the fact that women's rights were not as established in those days. She had so much courage to stand up for herself. "Big Eyes" is such an inspirational biographical account. I'm moved, and particularly by the photo of Margaret and any Adams at the very end.

The Interview (2014/II)
1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Quite funny, 27 January 2015

This film tells the story of a famous television talk show host who interviews the North Korean leader live on television.

"The Interview" is basically a film with a lot of crude jokes, and is is as politically incorrect as can be about another country. The opening interview with a cameo from Eminem is actually quite a surprise, especially with what Eminem agrees to say on camera, and he even manages to keep such a straight face!

The plot then concentrates on the journalists' visit to North Korea, which is exaggerated and unreal. The encounter on the mountaintop is really funny. I was a little tired of the jokes an James Franco's rumoured sexuality though, because such jokes or references are appearing in many of his comedies.

A brilliant examination of morality and greed, 26 January 2015

This film tells the quest of a depressed woman, who has two days and one night to convince her colleagues to choose to keep her in the job, instead of a one thousand euro bonus.

The plot of "Two Days, One Night" is a simple one, but it is very effective. It angers me right from the start that the boss made such a poor management decision, which is to ask the employees to decide whether to fire a depressed woman on sick leave, the employees have a one thousand euro bonus. This unfair decision causes so much distress to the poor woman, and I feel so sympathetic towards her. The reactions of her colleagues, and the guilty feelings she harbours (even though she did not do anything wrong) are all very realistic.

The film examines what would people do, when morality and self interest are in direct conflict. It is almost like a cruel social experiment. I find this plot a brilliantly fascinating examination of morality and greed.

The Judge (2014)
A tale of a dysfunctional family, 22 January 2015

This film tells the story of a hotshot lawyer who goes home to attend his mother's funeral. He meets again his disapproving father and his troubled siblings. This is further complicated by his father's implication in a hit and run which resulted in the death of a man.

"The Judge" is a tale of a tale of a dysfunctional family, torn apart by a stern father and complicated by a not so bright brother. I feel the pain of Hank Palmer, who studied so hard to become a lawyer in order to please the father. Sometimes ignorance is bliss, and that's why it is blissful to be Dale who seems to be mentally challenged. The father and son relationship is well portrayed. Hank's relationship with his high school sweetheart, on the other hand, is weaker and distracts from the main plot. The courtroom scenes do not appear as tense and engaging as I hoped, but that is made up by the single scene where Hank and his father are in the bathroom. That scene is why Robert Duvall gets nominated for an Oscar.

Selma (2014)
3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
Touching, 22 January 2015

This film tells the story of the revered human rights activist's journey to secure equal voting rights for people the USA.

"Selma" tells the touching story of Martin Luther King's peaceful fight for a basic human right. The film sets the scene by detailing how African Americans were treated differentially in Alabama, and they did not get equal rights compared to whites. Martin Luther King's speeches are very powerful and effective. As Martin Luther King's movement continued, more incidents of appalling injustice are depicted. These horrific incidents are almost unimaginable these days, so it is very frightening to be confronted with the fact that these true events occurred only a generation ago.

"Selma" effectively touches the hearts of viewers, not only because it is well done, but because it deals with an issue that is fundamental and close to everyone. I enjoyed watching it.

A quirky and opulent love story, 21 January 2015

This film tells the story of a well respected man who becomes a fugitive, after he is unjustly accused of murdering the winner of a worldwide beauty pageant.

I was initially blown away by the "Gone with the Bullets" opulence of the film. The film starts off with a well respected man, Ma Zouri, being tasked with hosting the most marvellous beauty pageant the world has ever seen. And it is very marvellous indeed, because the sets and costumes are very extravagant. The dances are beautifully choreographed. The entire pageant is nicely shot, capturing the energy and vibrancy of an uplifting event. I was amazed by the production, and could hardly believe that I was watching a Chinese film.

Apart from the opulence, the film also uses many alternative techniques to tell the story. For example, it uses animation, a film within a film, black and white to tell some scenes. It is certainly very different compared to any Chinese film I have watched.

It is obvious that "Gone with the Bullets" is made with almost unlimited budget. The film talks about the newly rich who has to flaunt their wealth, and the whole film feels exactly just that. Someone is flaunting their wealth by making this film. Of course, there is nothing wrong with that, because the resultant "Gone with the Bullets" is a quirky love story that stands apart from other recent Chinese films.

7 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
Incoherent vice, 20 January 2015

This film tells the story of a private detective in Los Angeles who investigates the disappearance of his former girlfriend and a rich real estate tycoon.

"Inherent Vice" has a super incoherent plot. Not only do I not understanding a thing while watching it, I still don't understand it even when I paused the film and read the plot synopsis regularly. So the detective investigates the case, then somehow the case is completely forgotten because a prostitute tells him about a shipment of heroin. There are just far too many characters in the film, each one of them doing their little bit in the story that does not glue together as a whole. Every subplot gets mentioned them dropped, without any satisfactory resolution. This film is a tremendous waste of time!

Foxcatcher (2014)
0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Kept me interested, but I am a little disappointed, 19 January 2015

This film tells the story of a Olympic wrestling champion who is offered to be trained by a multi-millionaire on his estate. Things start to get sour when the champion's brother complicates the picture.

"Foxcatcher" tells the story of the Schultz brothers and the millionaire du Pont's story from the perspective of Mark Schultz. Mark gets attention and adoration from du Pont, but soon his limelight is robbed by his older brother. There are ups and downs, but I find the ups and downs not engaging enough. The road to Olympic glory could be inspiring and touching, but I guess this is not the focus of this film, therefore this journey to Olympic glory is very understated in "Foxcatcher".

The many subplots are not adequately explained, such as the appearance of military vehicles and firearms; and more importantly the homo-erotic undertones of du Pont's wrestling training. The ending is abrupt and has no build up to it. Though the film kept me interested, it did not manage to thrill me as it potentially could.

Gone Girl (2014)
0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
A captivating mystery thriller, 18 January 2015

This film tells the story of a man who comes home to find her wife gone. He tries to find his wife, but soon he's accused of murdering his wife.

"Gone Girl" has probably the most intense and captivating plot for a fun I've watched for a while. The story twists and turns like no other, and when you think you've figured it out, it surprises you again. There is constant mystery and thrill, even though information is presented to the viewers early on. The ending - who would have predicted it! There is much room for viewers to imagine what life will be like for Nick in the future. That could be material for a sequel, in fact I do hope the story will continue from where it ends in this film.

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