11 Reviews
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Once every 500 years, a Korean movie like this comes around
19 October 2009
Warning: Spoilers
The movie was apparently a big hit in S. Korea. Is it misguided patriotism to support the movie when the legend is actually Chinese, the setting is American and the protagonists are white? I don't know. So in a nutshell, the movie has: The Hills chick clone, the Mac Guy clone, cheesy FX, stereotypical African-American sidekick, and many, many unintentionally hiilarious scenes. So in essence S. Korea now has caught up with Japan and shown it's capable of producing its own version of Godzilla. They're a little late to the game, but who can blame the director - making a national blockbuster is akin to building a large phallic building for many developing economies. Everyone wants to have one. The Russian produced 'Inhabited Island', Chinese produced 'The Promise'. They're all terrible films, laden with sub-par digital FX, mediocre story and ham acting. The money certainly would have been best used elsewhere, but it ended up on Rifftrax list, so I'm not complaining.
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banana bread? what were you thinking?
28 August 2005
I watched the director accept the Oscar, and I thought, something is not right. Then I decided to watch the documentary. It's got so many beautiful shots of kids, and the children are truly wonderful like all children really. However, about 10 minutes into the film the director makes her appearance, and that's where it goes downhill.

I couldn't help but recall that scene from the Simpsons when Apu's wife gives birth to octuplets and Marge Simpson bakes banana bread for them and brings it over, and it goes something like this: <>

Marge: I knew you had your hands full with the babies, so I baked you some banana bread.

Apu: (sarcastic) Oh hallelujah, our problems are solved. We have banana bread.

Marge: Well, you don't have to be sarcastic.

Marge: Maybe you two should get a nanny.

Apu: Yes, and what would I pay her with? Banana bread? Sorry, sorry, it's just that we haven't slept in days, and we're running out of money and ... banana bread? What the hell were you thinking? Banana bread. Apologize, apologize again. As a token of forgiveness, please take this baby.

What the filmmaker was thinking? That teaching kids photography (!!!) of all things can lift them out of poverty? Maybe she should've taught them some really useful skill, like reading or math? Anyone can do photography, and it seems that any well-intentioned westerner can afford to spend some time taking a walk "on the wild side", so afterwards they can sit around safely in their first-world country and pat each other on the back for all those humanitarian efforts that existed largely in their mind. I'm sure that the children benefited only marginally from their experience and are probably still living the same life as before.
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i was just hoping to get my ju-on
22 September 2004
...but what a non-scary movie it was. i admit, at the very beginning, about 5 minutes into it, i was somewhat interested. but then the plot descended into some kind of twisted-angle social commentary on how isolated are the Japanese city dwellers, and how they spent their time all by themselves in their tiny apartments, oftentimes spooked by a meowing boy and some lady with messy hair. i silently begged each character to turn on a TV, or maybe a stereo. i think one of them did, but what do you know! shopping network was on. the horror! don't they have mtv in japan? some dead horses got a pretty good beating in the movie. the unexpected phone rings. scared but going into dark places. scared but gotta open that door. hiding under a blanket was a fresh touch. but it's just it was sooo serious and sooo slow. come on, movie-making people, you gotta be fast these days, or else it turns into "scary movie 1-2-3". i had some juicy one-liners by the middle of the movie, but all went to waste as was by myself. to sum up. kid is not scary. lady is not scary. schoolgirls are not scary. male baldness pattern on the cop dude was scary. i give credit to the sound people, a great job on sound effects, but the story is just so bad and goes nowhere. will trade this for an episode of law & order: csi.
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'the mummy' plus 'hellraiser' plus 'indiana jones' minus 'exorcist'
21 August 2004
what can i say? even though it had a couple of suspenseful moments, it wasn't scary like the original. it's just very hard to be scared of the obviously computer-generated hyenas that move with the characteristic CGI jerks. father merrin comes across not as a conflicted former priest (compared with, say, mel Gibson in 'signs'), but like a boring idiot with a permanent scowl on his face. must be constipation. all those murdered children were absolutely unnecessary. it was like trying to gain understanding of the serial killer phenomenon by watching 'friday the 13th'. lower your expectations and stock up on popcorn. i hope they release the other version on DVD, but really it's better to just see the original film.
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Leaving the theater, I was infected with.... YAWN!
8 July 2003
Going to see '28 days...', I was thinking of 'Trainspotting' and 'Night of the Living Dead'. I forgot that the director also made 'The Beach'. I should've known to be more careful. Well, 112 minutes later and $9.50 lighter I have to say that:

The movie is a complete mess from start to finish. I haven't seen such level of overacting since 'Planet of the Apes'. It was so bad that it actually was kinda good! After the movie ended and I was walking to my car I was still savoring all those jokes that came into my mind during especially ridiculous scenes. A perfect movie to see with your friends, not unlike "The Stuff", although "The Stuff" was far more superior both in storyline and actors. If you've never seen Photoshop filters applied to film, go see this movie!
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yet another mediocre movie
12 April 2003
I've been waiting for it to be released, and it was disappointing. The film has no ending, it established no clear motives for characters' behavior and the gruesome violence is completely out of sync with the rest of the movie. If the makers intended to go for Godard's existentialism or for Tarantino's explicit content they failed on both accounts. Could be slightly improved visually by re-edit, but otherwise is bland. 10 seconds of good acting don't make the 2-hour film. I was quite bored halfway into the movie. Don't waste your money, it'll be on IFC some day.
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sky, happiness, water, flower
13 October 2002
A must-see if you like storytelling and Zhang Yimou style. Many little gems in this movie, like the early morning scene at the TV studio. Teacher Wei's character is written extremely well. I was glad it was subtitled, otherwise a lot would've been lost in the dub. Can't recommend it enough, forget the 10 o'clock news and watch this movie.
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Doyle is bad news - And a bad cop
23 July 2002
Like many other reviewers, I wonder what the fuss is about. I can't believe this movie made the Top 200 by AFI. There is no coherent plot, the little pieces of the story told in the particular 'jazzy' way, the trick that attracts some attention at first, but then it becomes dull and predictable. The director obviously strived for 'tell it like it is' approach, but all he managed to create is dull and chaotic movie. The movie heavily borrows from "Bullitt", which I found dull as well. There is no suspense in "The French Connection".

Gene Hackman's performance as a lead was a dud. I couldn't relate to his character at all - there's no internal drama, or really anything. The tagline - "good cop"? The drinking, whoring, racial slurs, shooting unarmed people? No wonder NYPD is knee-deep in lawsuits up to this day.

And a little bit of science fiction made it into the movie. It's clear that NYPD at the time made use of the time machine, because there is no possibility that you can rip apart the luxury car, including interior and the engine, and then put everything back so the car seemed untouched, all in 4 hours (!!!).

The much talked-about car chase is just a long, long, very long car chase. The 'near-collision' scenes are so heavily cut and edited, that all appearance of the continuous chase is gone, and one might be reminded of the editing style of the 'made for TV' films. It wasn't worth to block all that traffic in Brooklyn to shoot it.

One of the most overrated movies of the 70's.
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Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie
6 May 2002
A rather boring film. The gross-out jokes are just gross, not funny. Some offensive lines, what Costa-Rican women would do for 5 pesos, etc. It was meant to be a chick flick, but in comparison even "Romy and Michele's High School Reunion" seems a tour-de-force. I've seen this movie for free, and I would not recommend paying for it. The storyline is simple: three 'hip' late-bloomer ladies in their early thirties are 'living the life'. The life predictably consists of cheesy club-hopping and sleazy encounters of the non-classy kind, which somehow lead to a rather surprise fairytale ending. It remains a mystery exactly why was Diaz' character so enchanted by the bland male lead. My guess because everything he touches "turns to Sold". The movie is set in San Francisco, and the characters rent an apartment on Kearny Street in North Beach. So to sum it up, it's a dumb movie.
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29 April 2002
If you're expecting an "exotic India" kind of movie, you'd be better off not seeing it. This is a contemporary film, and it's made with love. Acting is terrific, and it becomes obvious that actors had so much synergy while working on the movie. Only a very cynical person wouldn't be emotionally touched by the story and the characters. A great film to see with your significant other on a weekend. Warm fuzzy feelings all the way!
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Swiri (1999)
So what's the big deal?
14 February 2002
The script for the movie is actually not so bad. It had a potential to be an interesting story. However, it turned out really bad. There are a number of points to address, and if a big budget movie like this came out in the States it would've been a flop almost certainly.

Camera movement - well, it seems it's shaking so violently as to conceal the absence of any kind of choreographed movement in action scenes. The one scene with the attack on the CTX truck convoy is just ridiculous. Are we expected to believe that trained soldiers will just jump out of the back of the truck and run sideways into the volleys of bullets provided by the North Korean terrorist squad? And why those hardcore killers seem to lack the basic understanding of what 'being in the line of fire' is? They just shoot in the same direction standing in the column formation. So chaotic action and a lot of noise makes for surprisingly dull movie.

Story line - predictably executed. The 'twist' is so obvious and is given away so early in the movie when Hyun/Hee looks at the photograph that basically there's no suspense factor. Chemistry between actors is zero, and acting in general is not stellar. Sorry, just couldn't believe in the dramatism of the 'one partner dying on other partner's hands' scene. Really bad acting.

But the worst part of the movie is definitely the SOUNDTRACK.
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