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Being an avid fan of Wong Kar Wei, I must say that I'm really disappointed with this offering. Very much style over substance and overly long, 2046 could do with a bit more story telling.
None of the stories seem very interesting and one might surmise that Wong has dried up on ideas. The performances were good and the film is visually stunning (as with all works by Chris Doyle). However, it just doesn't move you as much as his previous works. And though there's always some suspicion in previous films of some link or reference to an earlier film (usually Days of Being Wild), this is the only offering where the references are less than subtle.
I'm sure this film will still impress newcomers but for those who have followed him the last 15 years, it's best to lower your expectations.
Johnny To (another HK director) once said that Wong wasn't doing anything new in his films. With 2046, I'm inclined to agree.
Donnie Darko (2001)
Read so much about this film that it was inevitable that I be let down by high expectations. It's good but not great. Perhaps I would have enjoyed it more had I watched it when I was younger. Much like what Hal Hartley had over me when I was a teen but not now.
Anyhow, the soundtrack was a great throw back to the mid `80s. And there's this great version of Mad World (Tears for Fears) right at the end. But then again, it isn't great like the Some Kind of Wonderful soundtrack.
Watch it and then go for a holiday
A beautiful movie that addresses life's simple pleasures.
Marooned on an island, this band of soldiers are left with nothing to do and no war to fight. They mull around waiting for their apparent "call up" while soaking up along the Mediterranean. As their thoughts of war wane, they begin to explore the meaning of life.
With minimal dialogue, the juxtaposition between death (war) and life (the sea) is remarkably achieved through brilliant cinematography. With the sea as a backdrop, we are asked to question our existence and deduce our priorities.
This film will make you go for a holiday!
Poignant and Insightful
Tightly scripted Korean movie with a wonderful insight into family relationships. Fine direction with powerful performances from the cast, especially the mother who can draw both sympathy and annoyance from the audience.
This film tears away the usual Hollywood gloss concerning Mother & Daughter relationships, presenting an introspective and meditative look at real situations and everyday family life.
House on Haunted Hill (1999)
The Plot Sucks but the Lighting was Good
The House On Haunted Hill has a terrible storyline filled with dumb gags, poor characterisation and a bad ending. But who watches a horror film for the story? C'mon, get real.
What it does accompolish is its innovative use of lighting and, dare I say it, camera movement. It really does give you a sense that the house is alive. Of course there are images that make us scream Se7en or Hellraiser but the show, I feel, does succeed on its own merits.
Go watch it on a dark gloomy day and don't expect to be scared stiff, just entertained.
Ai qing lai le (1997)
This show is definitely a MUST SEE for those who are sick and tired of Hollywood crap. The story is ordinary but it's told in earnest, something that has largely been lacking in movies today.
The story revolves around the lives of lonely people, their interaction with society and their subsequent actions. With brilliant direction, the actors come alive, painting credible desires and universal fears.
The audience is able to empathise with the characters and hence, share in their pain and embrace their dreams.
Ye ben (2000)
Not an Art Film
The film is well made and does have several moments that are very cinematic. However, it should not be trumpeted as an Art film just because it presents an alternative lifestyle. If the characters were straight, we would be looking at a normal love story.
I think this point is important because 2 other films came to mind as I was watching Ye Ben, namely Happy Together and In the Mood for Love. Both films were directed by Wong Kar Wai. It is when you contrast Ye Ben to Wong's films that you realise what is Art and what is not. In Happy Together, you could have a straight relationship and the movie would still be considered an Art film. This is supported by In the Mood for Love.
But Art aside, Ye Ben can stand on its own merits.
Odoru daisosasen (1998)
What is this show trying to say? Action, Horror, Romance, Culture Clashes, Loyalty, the old and the new etc. I know it's wrong to pigeonhole something but really, this show suffers from a lack of focus. Done properly, it would have carried some merit. But what I saw was just slipshod film-making. The ending was so over sentimentalised that it was barf-inducing. Terrible.
I Dreamed of Africa (2000)
First of all, I would like to say that I have no problems with slow shows. And this movie does not fail because of that. It fails because of its predictability and absence of plot. Nothing is interesting and nothing could stop me from walking out after an hour and a half.
The Five Senses (1999)
Interesting Plot That's Well Executed
Films like these are in vogue - a well thought out plot involving an interesting cast of characters that are connected in some way. Some similar films include Pulp Fiction, The Ice Storm, Happiness and of course, the newly crowned American Beauty.
While the style of each one is different, what keeps the viewer in check is the story. In 5 Senses, J. Podeswa manages to weave the representation of each function with a character and how this applies to their work, their friends and so on. There is no basic premise here and like most Art-house productions, there does not appear to be a clear indication of where the film is heading. There is the sub plot of a missing girl, which somehow seems to bind the main cast together. But the film is not really in need of anything like that and in no way does it fall short of maintaining viewer amusement.
Well acted, well scripted and well shot. Obviously, Podeswa is a talent to watch.