Change Your Image
Upload An Image
Crop And Save
Film is a work of art, each in some way with a message to tell its audience.
Totally absorbing...........one of the best films I've seen in a long time
I watched this film without really knowing anything about it - I just read the IMDb quick summary on what it was about - and seeing it praised so highly and a colleague of mine saying to watch it and it is a must see - I buckled down on it on a Friday night.
I was expecting this to be some sort of typical revenge film but with a deep meaning - why would it be rated so highly then? The good thing about the film is that it doesn't give you answers straight away and does a terrific job of keeping you engaged all the way through. You get to know the main character who has gone through years of torment for some unknown reasos as you experience his pain as Oh dae Su (Choi Min Sik) becomes a tormented man in his struggle for vengeance.
All I can say is that this film takes you down some paths that you think at one point - 'oh no they really are falling for clichés' but then it goes down something darker and you are totally blown away by what the conclusion is. I am usually a sucker when it comes to finding out twists as I can barely spot them but let me say the twist in this one I did not suspect one bit and was shocked by what I saw.
This is a unique film - the acting is perfect, the idea is clever and the emotions portrayed in the characters all exhibit human traits of being torn inside while still alive and just the whacky thing we can do to people to get our peace of mind if only temporarily.
All I can say is that you must see this film and it is a film I will be recommending to everyone to see.
Yeogo goedam 4: Moksori (2005)
Decent horror flick that has an emotional weight to it
First of all, for those who expect to be scared out of their mind with this film - you will be disappointed but if you look at this film from a different angle, you will find this film really touches on how loneliness can alienate all of us whether we are alive or dead.
The film tells how a girl Young-eon, a talented singer in her high school is murdered by a music sheet (sounds ridiculous but it will make sense when you watch it) and ends up becoming a ghost - only her best friend can hear her and help her find out what happened.
What the film explores is the feeling of being lonely and also being remembered. The two lead actresses do a great job in portraying the emotions and confusion of two teenagers and also bring out their friendship in a believable way. The film I would say is more psychologically driven in the thriller mode and it's pace is more steady which gives you time to get to know the characters.
Some scenes are spooky, and the film has an ambiguous atmosphere (as most Asian horrors do) so they keep you watching till the end so you can uncover all the mystery of the plot. I prefer horror films where you can have some emotional substance as it can sometimes take a turn that just shatters you - this film doesn't do that but makes you sympathise with the characters as well as be slightly spooked out.
The ending perhaps is a bit cliché - and also makes you question the main protagonists position in her actions and if she would do that (so much for friendship - that's all I'm saying) but overall I enjoyed this film and didn't bore me compared to some other Asian horror's I've seen in the past few days (Doll Master for one).
More slasher - and more 'Scream' like
Have to say, the film has a lot of potential to be something really spooky but unfortunately resorts to the almost Hollywood like style sense of horror with the predictable deaths of its characters which makes this look more like a slasher film.
It doesn't help that all the characters feel like card board cut outs - the annoying college girl, the annoying male, the uptight and serious guy, the awkward weirdo girl who can't be removed from her doll and our heroine who is sort of in the middle of everyone. They are all invited to a house so the owner can model dolls from their features and find well....there is more going on in this house than meets the eye - like you couldn't work that out for yourself.
The film doesn't build up the suspense which would have been perfect considering there are so many creepy dolls in this house - but relies more on the cheap scare tactics which doesn't work at all here. And it is a pity considering the production design and the look of the film has so much to work with.
If the director had seen A Tale of Two Sisters and tried to make that approach by slowly revealing things while still maintaining a sense of mystery instead of throwing it down your throat, this would have been a much better film but unfortunately, is on the same level as a teenager slasher film. Disappointing - has its nice moments but overall just as hollow as normal doll - all looks but nothing inside.
Romantic, gorgeous and just a great film
It took me a while to finally watch this film after my friend lent it to me ages ago. While I have been watching tons of Asian films since I am a huge fan of them, I decided to give this one a try on a Friday night.
And I am so glad I took the time to watch this. It is a stunningly beautiful film with some fantastic scenery and cinematography. But that is not the only good thing about it - the story, despite some predictability and cliché (what is truly original nowadays anyway) is quite interesting. It's about warriors called Shinobi who have managed to reach a state of peace in ancient Japan. After some consideration by the Lord of Lords, they decide to lift a ban on the war between two opposing villages - both must fight to the death to claim victory. The only problem is that the two leaders who have been chosen to lead their parties to victory just happen to be romantically involved.
So you have your Romeo and Juliet sort of story but what surprised me is that the film has a lot of fantasy elements - these warriors all have certain superpowers that not only make them strong but also vulnerable in terms of their desires and utility in life. It is sort of like Xmen in some ways as this film also touches upon the drawbacks on having certain gifts.
The two main leads really do a great job in their roles. Yukie Nakama as Oboro, the team leader of the Iga clan is stunningly beautiful and combines sensitivity and wisdom into her role. Jô Odagiri, the other team leader of the opposing clan is great in his role to and both have pretty good chemistry on screen - though it is a shame that the beginning is where they spend the most time together and it's not for long though.
The settings in this film are just beautiful, music score is pretty nice too and the action scenes are pretty entertaining, though some of the CGI gets a bit too much, though they didn't overblow it. The film really dwelves into the reasons for why we fight with other people and why some are for it, and others will try to resist it when it comes to human life.
The film manages to be emotional yet not overly sentimental which is a good balance to achieve. At the heart of the film is a love story and if you're not into romance, well it's a shame because you have to have characters you care about to make a really great film.
I'll just end this review by simply saying - go check it out. It may not be everyone's liking (and come on, a film isn't going to satisfy every person) but this did the trick for me. Recommended.
Sip si 32 dou (1996)
Decent action flick with emotional weight added in
I found this film enjoyable, though the main problem was that it was dubbed in English - the DVD I rented from my video store failed to inform me they didn't have the original Chinese dialogue - I was mortified as I hate dubbed versions, though it was alright this time, though I won't be so forgiving next time.
Chien-lien Wu plays an assassin who doesn't know her real identity and all she knows is killing and simply does what she is told. However, she eventually longs for something more when she meets a simple chef where she eats noodles after every time she kills someone - I guess it is her form of relaxation.
I never thought I would see Chien-lien Wu in another film again - I saw her in Ang Lee's 'Eat Drink Man Woman' and loved her in the movie. She makes a decent action heroine here, portraying many emotions. She brings a sweet innocent essence to the film while also showing that innocence can also be misinterpreted to the naked eye.
The plot is kind of predictable and the performances - well I can't really judge them properly considering they were dubbed but I'm sure they would have done a decent job - I think I have to find the original version to really get the full essence of the performances. However, from what I viewed, it has a simple plot that moves at a reasonable pace and I didn't get bored by it. In fact, the main character is pretty likable so you really want her to find the freedom that she longs for.
It's a simple film with perhaps too much random shootings and killings, in particular from the Korean bad guy but there are some enjoyable shoot offs that keep you on the edge of your seat. This isn't a remarkable film but enjoyable nevertheless.
Ji dong qi xia (1989)
Entertaining and often hilarious
This is a cheesy but enjoyable film about two warriors who live in the Ming Dynasty and quite simply - one is good, the other a womanising rapist. They get transported into modern day Hong Kong where the main character ends up meeting a prositute (Maggie Cheung) who hires him as her servant to do some chores around the house as well as being her bodyguard.
This is a film not to be taken seriously and you'll enjoy it the more if you don't. It is a no brainer action comedy flick that has a silly plot that works well in this type of genre. Maggie Cheung is terrific as the self centred prostitute who just doesn't really konw what to do with her life and Biao Yuen as Ching (the protagonist) is pretty good in his role and both of the leads work well together The action scenes are the sort you sort of expect in the Hong Kong action film and they remain believable if slightly outrageous. Essentially what makes the story work is its humour and I wasn't expecting this to be a comedy at all - in fact I think I must have not read the blurb at the back of the DVD cover properly as I didn't realise Ching was going to be transported to another era - and it surprised me the more when I watched it.
Check it out - it's a good film. Sure it's not a masterpiece nor will it be helmed as one of the greatest movies of our time but for what it is worth - it is worth the watch.
Surprisingly interesting and dark film, with light social commentary added in
'P' is a film that explores the misuse of magic and when it can backfire and the need to resort to it to gain an upper hand over rivals or people who have hurt you. This is a strange film to have a horror theme but that is not to say it doesn't work - it works quite well in the surroundings the film has set up.
The film tells the story of Dau, a poor girl living in rural Thailand whose grandmother has taught her the arts of witchcraft. There are three rules apparently that can make a spell backfire on the person if they break them:
1. Never cross under a clothes line 2. Never eat raw meat 3. You can share the knowledge of the spells but do not accept any form of payment
Dau goes to work in a brothel in Bangkok in order to make money to send to her sick grandmother and ends up being in the usual competition with the other girls. So she decides to put some of her useful magic knowledge to good (or bad depending on how you want to look at it) use to gain an upperhand on some of them.
The performances in the film are pretty decent with the leading actress being very convincing in terms of the cute girl trapped in a world she doesn't really want to be in. The film also gives light social commentary on the lives of these girls who work in such places - they are in it for the money and it also shows how foreigners (mainly white guys) come in simply just to be entertained and to have sexual acts with them. In fact, the bar the girls work in is a bar for foreigners.
Out of the three rules, the first one doesn't really make sense to me - the other two made more sense as the film progressed but I don't see how going under a clothes line will cause any harm - but if it is the rules it is the rules.
The film perhaps gets less scary once you know what is going to happen with Dau once the supernatural elements kick in and it sort of goes into slasher territory but it is part of the fun. In fact, the first 40 mins or so feels more like the film is a story about a sex worker than a horror film but it spends time developing the context of its story so that was pretty well done.
It is a good film if you're a horror fan and it is weird to see this combined with elements of prostitution in its story - some parts don't work as well but overall it is pretty solid.
Yip Man (2008)
It's a martial arts film with an emphasis on kick ass action scenes....but boy is it enjoyable
My colleague of mine recommended this film to me and no offence to him, but I was thinking 'hmmmm well I don't know if I really trust his judgement since he probably just likes all action no story'. But he kept telling me about it so I was like 'ok I'll check it out'.
And boy am I glad I did. This has a story that also dwelves around history with the Chinese occupation of Japan. But at the heart of the story, the real message is to always remain true to yourself regardless of your circumstances. Donnie Yen playes a martial arts respected master in his community, known as Master Ip. He has a wife and a son and often has tons of challengers who come to fight with him.
Sounds boring? Well it definitely isn't. Ip Man may at first look like a cheesy martial arts flick and while it has some of these elements, the character of Ipman is so likable and charismatic played wonderfully by Donnie Yen that you can't help but just respect him like he is some sort of noble wiseman. And the martial arts scenes are choreographed with such precision and excitement that you really just root for Ip man the whole way through.
There is also a political message in regards to the occupation of China from the Japanese - the film I wouldn't say doesn't necessarily take sides, though obviously Ip man is the character you feel for and is Chinese so it didn't really bother me - it is based on events after all.
All I can say is that I was blown away and the film kept me on the edge of my seat all the way through especially at the end. Ip Man is just a guy who values peace and dignity - he never once boasts or shows off - you just want him as your own master so you can learn some valuable lessons from him.
While Crouching Tiger is still my favourite martial arts film, Ip Man is a masterpiece in its genre as well. And why am I even comparing them? They are two different movies in different styles. Just go out and see it - you won't regret it!
Beautifully filmed but in the end the film is simply about a cheating love affair
The Housemaid tells an erotic tale of seduction, affair and scheming people all out to get their own way. Do-yeon Jeon plays Eun-Yi Li who is hired as a maid for an extravagant rich family - the wife is currently pregnant with two twin boys, they already have a little daughter and the husband is a very business businessman but just so happens to have time to fool with many women (supposedly) and one of them...surprise! just happens to be Eun-Yi.
The storyline is pretty typical and you can see where things will go so it didn't come as a surprise to me at all. What the film touches on is the schemes of the high class society in terms of their lifestyle and thinking that money can usually solve their problems. It also touches on the fact that the upper class often have not a lot of time on their hands - but not much really to do with it to entertain themselves.
The flaw of this film is that the main character of Eun-Yi - I didn't particularly sympathise with her. I guess it is because I found her decisions a bit stupid and you didn't really know much about her besides the fact that she was of lower class and really likes kids. In fact, I sort of didn't really hate the wife of the husband as she was actually quite decent to Eun-Yi, though you obviously can see that she is a victim in terms of her husband's infidelities.
One character that stood out for me was Miss Cho - who is the head housemaid in the mansion. You first see her as a very strict, no nonsense type of woman but during the film you see how she also is highly observant (typical butler/maid nosiness) and also has her fair share of mixed feelings towards the inhabitants of the house.
Now for the ending - won't spoil anything here. I can see why some people feel that the ending doesn't really do the film justice - I agreed at first but the more you think about it - the more the message is there. The ending I think really gets its message in the fact that the upper class can easily forget things and get on with their repetitive lives thinking they are on top and their materialism will drown out all bad memories or problems. The ending certainly won't work for some and while I feel more could have been put into it, it certainly does leave an impression the more you think about it.
The film is not perfect - a lot of decisions Eun-Yi makes didn't really make me feel empathetic due to the fact that I think she isn't a highly likable character nor a partcularly interesting one - they are sort of card board cut outs in my opinion.
Overall however, this is simply a film about a love affair and the consequences of it - I don't blame you if you watch this and you feel like 'this is something I've seen before too many times'.
Orora gongju (2005)
Impressive film of blinding revenge driven by emotion
So I was out one day at my local video store and I rented 10 Asian films as I'm quite a fan of Asian cinema. I got round to watching this and have to say I had quite a good time with this and was quite impressed.
The film does sort of play along with you and doesn't have any answers for the first hour or so. All you pretty much know is that you have your leading heroine (or anti heroine to some) Jung Sun (Jeong-hwa Eom) who looks perfectly innocent and cute, works as a car salesperson and starts going on a killing spree for reasons ambiguous to the audience to begin with. And she keeps playing a cassete tape that has a kid singing a song.
Obviously people kill for a reason - whether they have a tormented psychological issue, or are just plain psycho or may be killing thinking they are doing society good by killing people deemed a nuisance or unnecessary to live (think Taxi Driver style). So I knew there was something more to this character, and luckily the film delivers on that aspect and the reasons for each murder she does is explained at the end as you have no idea why she has targeted some of her victims.
Towards the end, it does sort of get a bit over the top but I didn't mind it and made me sympathise a lot more with the character. The policemen working on capturing her are stupid only because of the fact that the main cop also has a role to play in all that is happening.
I won't say what her motivations are for killing her victims - it makes it more surprising and involving when you find out for yourself. Perhaps you could say the end is slightly cliché but I think it was well deserved in terms of its outcome.
The performances are pretty good, especially from Jeong-hwa Eom who is able to pull the film on her shoulders and combines beauty with deadly vengeance all in one while also displaying human emotions in terms of her past. While the killings can get repetitive as you still don't really know where some of it is going, it pays off at the end, though some things were a bit hazy in terms of how she just happened to have luck in finding some of her victims after everything that happened.
What the film also sends in terms of its message is how we can sometimes overlook simple acts of kindness which can actually prevent major problems or accidents from happening. Our own selfish desires or self interest often results in harm to others which is apparent in any society whether it be Korean or in any other part of the world.
So yeah, I would recommend this film as it was pretty solid and I found myself enjoying it while also packing an emotional depth in its form.