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Great naval battle, good character development, and amazing acting
I stumbled upon this movie without having ever heard of it, and boy was I glad to watch it. It's the movie about one of the most famous Korean generals in Korean history during a crucial battle in the war with Japan. The acting in the movie was solid, even if I didn't understand the language. The naval battle scenes and how Admiral Yi used naval tactics to fight his enemy were realistic and breathtaking at the same time. I'd compare this with the 300: Rise of an Empire movie, with far less CGI, fantasy elements, better acting, and more realistic portrayal of naval battle. It's pretty amazing what they could do with ships back in those days.
The history/characters in the movie is a little hard to follow if you don't know about it beforehand or don't speak Korean/Japanese, but I still enjoyed it quite a bit and learned a little bit of Korean history in the process.
One of the best comedies I've seen at Frameline
I never saw the short film version of this movie but heard a lot of friends talk about it. So of course, when I saw that it was a full length feature at Frameline 36 in SF, I had to go see it. I must say, this is one of the funniest and wittiest comedies I've seen not only at Frameline, but across all films. The acting was superb, the casting perfect, and the story was just plain fun. There were so many great moments in the movie that my friends and I are still talking about. The first bedroom scene between Jen and Matt, the bitch fight between Nelson and Jen's work best- friend (forgot his character name), the whole "NellyBear" background, and the list just goes on and on.
I can't wait for this to come out again in the theaters later this fall and I'll definitely get the DVD/Blu-Ray. Do yourself a favor and go check this movie out!
Source Code (2011)
Impressive movie and an intelligent thriller!
It's rare to see such a fast paced, compact, and beautifully woven movie these days. While the plot device is out there (it is sci-fi, after all), the movie offers just enough explanation to satisfy the hard core techies without bogging the whole movie down. I was on the edge of my seat the entire time, wondering what will happen in the next 8-minute loop to the main character. Jake Gyllenhaal and the rest of the cast did a great job here humanizing the characters and making this a movie more about the people than the background or the mission.
This movie would have been a 10/10 if only the ending were a bit better. As it stands, it is a feel good ending, but if it ended 5 minutes earlier at that crucial scene on the train (for those of you who have seen it, you know exactly the moment I'm taking about), I think this would have been a perfect film.
Stunning movie where the story does not get in the way
People who go into this movie expecting Oscar worthy script or performance are deluding themselves (even though Jeff Bridges is in it). This movie was made to ENTERTAIN. The story and acting was "good enough" so it didn't get in the way of the stunning visuals, perfectly written score by Daft Punk, and the joy and excitement of "living" in a virtual world.
I saw the first movie a week before this came out, and while I appreciated what it did for its time, it was a pretty terrible movie. Tron: Legacy in my mind is in every way better than the original.
One more thing, this is one of those movies (like Avatar) where you HAVE to see it in a REAL IMAX theater. What do I mean by "real"? Not those retrofitted crappy AMC/Century "IMAX" screens, but the true big ones like the SF Metreon, or the ones in Dublin, LA Rave, etc... the full power of the movie and the IMAX resolution (for about 30% of the movie) cannot be released with a regular screen.
Jesus Camp (2006)
The most frightening movie since "The Ring"
This is easily the scariest and most frightening movie I've seen since "The Ring"! I could barely sit through the movie. I've known about the subject and what the "Jesus Camps" were like, but seeing it is a whole different story. It is just beyond me how these fundamentalists can brainwash 9-12 year old children with things like:
- Bush is a messenger from God - Harry Potter is evil and would have been put to death (because he's a Warlock) in the old days - Science doesn't prove anything - Democracy is a great system, but allows too much freedom to believe other things/religions - and more...
What I really liked about the movie is, unlike Michael Moore documentaries, this movie has no narrative, no commentary, just whatever the people on camera were saying. There were no pointed questions and no questions aimed at embarrassing the main characters. It is as even handed as documentaries go (I've heard "No End In Sight" is another even handed documentary I still need to see). The only snippets where you can detect the directors' personal opinions is when the Christian radio host talks about how small groups of fundamentalists have hijacked his religion. But even those parts are logical and fair.
Without a doubt, I highly recommend people watching this movie, and forming your OWN opinion on the subject. It's one of those movies where I can see everyone, from atheists to fundamentalists appreciating (for very different reasons). Rent it, watch it, and make sure you turn the night lights on.
Strong documentary with very important information
Brilliant documentary that discusses a "hidden danger" (well, for upper middle class professionals, that is) in our seemingly perfect "American Dream." This is probably one of the best Moore documentaries, and is definitely done more even handedly than "Farenheit 9/11". While Moore still uses some cheesy tricks to toy with the emotions of the audience, and some flashy stunts that are completely meaningless (the beginning of the Cuban section), the true stories of all the people who got denied life-saving medical procedures from the HMOs were heart wrenching.
I understand that the national health/medical insurance system in Canada, England, France, and Cuba aren't as "perfect" as the documentary portrays, but just from talking to people who are from those countries, they are a huge step ahead of our privatized system. Yes, implementing a national health care system haphazardly would probably hurt more than help people (i.e. poor doctor's pay, no freedom of choice, etc.), but if the plan were implemented thoughtfully (I really enjoyed hearing how the doctors' pays are determined in England based on their performance), a government controlled system would be better than what we have today.
Maybe it's because I am lucky enough to work at a big company that the HMOs treat very well (so far haven't gotten any medical treatment requests denied, knock on wood) that I haven't paid much attention to how pathetic our health system is, but this movie definitely woke me up. There could be one day where I'm in need of a huge medical procedure and I'm either between jobs, or the HMO decides to deny that procedure just that one time, and I would be royally screwed.
What can I do about this? At this point, I don't know, but knowing that the problem exists is part of the fight. I strongly encourage everyone to go see this documentary, filter out the "stunts" that Moore often likes to use, and understand that we HAVE a problem with our health care system. Be aware of future local or national politicians who pledge to fix the problem, and try to support any cause that will lead to a reformed system. If anyone has a better suggestion, please share it with all of us, as we need to stop the practice of "sacrificing" a life for better profits that the HMOs are doing right now!
Dawn of the Dead (1978)
Not bad, but I like the remake better
This one is supposedly one of Romero's best movies, and I am very glad that it's light-years above "Day of the Dead". I must say that I liked the remake version of this movie (with Ving Rhames) a LOT better, but that's probably because of the "Post-28 Days Later Zombie Syndrome" where things move much faster and are much scarier for your present-day movie goers who are numbed by scarier and gorier movies every day. (wow that was a long run-on sentence). Anyway, the acting was still a bit hokey, and people still do VERY stupid things that get themselves killed (then again, if they didn't, the slow moving zombies wouldn't be able to kill anyone). I did like the social commentary in this movie a bit better than the remake of "Dawn of the Dead", but overall as a movie, it was just above average. Some of the scenes do not make sense at all (like the beginning "raid" and the strange ending), but it's definitely worth watching if you want to see an old school "zombie" movie with a soul.
Reservoir Dogs (1992)
I've been wanting to see this movie since it came out. This was *the* movie to see as a college student (along with "Swingers" and "Pulp Fiction"), but I was deeply disappointed by it. For the first 30 minutes, I was just hoping the trademark Tarentino "dialogue" would end!!! I know Tarentino is very good at dialogue, but sometimes he overdoes it (also in "Grindhouse: Death Proof") and he definitely does so in this movie. The plot is intricate, the acting is well done, but the plot is at a full stop due to the endless drone of talk talk talk that I really don't care about. The ending was surprising and did save the movie from a lower score, but I guess I will never understand why people think this is one of Tarentino's best movies and one of the better movies of all time.
Eating Out 2: Sloppy Seconds (2006)
Wow, the sequel is better!
I kinda liked the first movie, if only for its premise and craziness, but the first movie had too many awkward moments (especially the piano scene). I must say, Eating Out 2: Sloppy Seconds is a DELIGHTFUL movie, and it's a sequel, no less! I was sad to see the original Marc be played by someone new (and not as good looking), but after I found out the guy was in the short film "Crush", I definitely had a better impression of him (I loved that short film!). Troy was just... I'm speechless. =) Overall, the movie was much quicker, tighter, no serious awkward moments, still over the top as always, light hearted, and funny. There were so many funny sex scenes in this movie it's worth watching it a 2nd time! I'm definitely buying this movie soon!
I liked this movie a little bit more than the 2nd one, "Dead Man's Chest". The plot was a bit confusing at times, and they tried to cram way too much story into the movie (it's a 2 hr 40 minute movie), but in the end, it was entertaining and fun to watch. The acting from Johnny Depp is good as usual, and the action/CGI sequences are even more breathtaking than the previous 2 movies. They throw in some good laughs throughout the movie, though sometimes the situations are a bit more absurd than they should be (especially near the end). All in all, a good "adventure novel" type movie to watch. If you liked the first 2 movies, you'll like this one. Oh yeah, stay till the end of the credits for a good scene.