Reviews written by registered user
|5 reviews in total|
Zhang Yimou's last two martial arts films had much to commend them,
but, honestly, I'd trade ten such films for this. It was almost too
much to hope for that the director would return to his earlier,
humanist style of film-making that saw "The Road Home," "Not One Less"
and "Happy Times" - but he has, and wonderfully so.
Ken Takakura, who has appeared in fine films such as "Poppoya" and "The Yellow Handkerchief," really shines here. It's his film all the way, and a wonderful tribute that Zhang chose to craft this film for him.
While the core of the film lies with the emotions of the characters, I should also point out that the cinematography here is splendid - there are shots that are as breathtaking as anything in "Hero" and "House of Flying Daggers."
Hou Hsiao-hsien's previous film, "Millennium Mambo," was filled with
pulsating colors and rhythms - "Cafe Lumiere," on the other hand,
offers us classical piano music, bookshops, and trains... lots of
To me, the plot, and in some way the characters, seemed very fluid - you never knew where the film was leading you, and (as in many of Hou's films) it's left up to you to form your own opinion about the characters.
"Cafe Lumiere" is a very languid, soothing film, filled with marvelous images and memorable vignettes. It is not a good place for a newcomer to Hou's films to start (try "Mambo" for that), and not a good film for the impatient. However, if you approach it in the right frame of mind, you will find yourself somehow transported into another person's life for a couple of hours, and come out with the film rattling around your subconscious for days afterward.
Not quite the masterwork that "Chicken and Duck Talk" is, "Hero of The
Beggars" is still a very enjoyable comedy, with Michael Hui playing the
"Mr. Boo" character to a hilt and Sandra Ng mugging furiously. The
overall plot involves Hui, as the leader of a group of Mainlanders,
trying to survive in Hong Kong. There are some very creative visual
comedy sequences, and - surprisingly - some well done action sequences
Until recently, this film was not available with English subtitles - the recent Universe DVD, however, corrects that - looks great, and even includes a trailer with some gag shots not seen in the movie itself.
I've seen almost all of Mr. Hui's films now, and this is one of the best.
Everything about this film is trite, recycled and dumbed-down to the lowest common denominator. The film begins with a shot of an animal urinating towards the camera, and doesn't get much better from there. Is it that today's filmmakers hold their audiences in such contempt, or are they under some illusion that idiocy and poor taste will somehow "sell" a film such as this?
I realize Jackie's getting too old to engage in some of the spectacular physical stunts he performed a decade or two ago... but age shouldn't (and doesn't) take away any of the his unique charisma and comic ability... it's sad to see him appear in something this awful.
"Riget" is one of the most unique films you could ever hope to see. Flawed though it is, it never loses your attention, and you never cease wanting to see more of it, even after hours. "Stephen King's Kingdom Hospital" has the opposite effect. Having sat through three episodes now, I'm on the verge of wondering just why I'm wasting my time. The premiere episode was okay - the second somewhat less than that, and the third out and out awful. I finally figured it out. Whenever they stick to remaking "Riget," the thing works. Whenever they veer from that path, it completely fails. I always thought "Riget" was basically a comedy, with some moments of true horror, and lots of suspense. "SKKH" has none of this. Nothing's funny. Nothing's scary. Nothing's even suspenseful, because they don't give you enough plot for you to even follow. What's annoying is that all they had to do is REMAKE the original for the whole thing to work - but nooooo... they had to go and "improve" it with talking anteaters, singing nurses, and oh-so-cute references (I'm told) to various other Stephen King novels, as if maybe THAT will keep us interested. The sad thing is that "Riget" was never finished - the first series leaves you with an incredible cliffhanger, and the end of "Riget II" tops THAT - cutting off just as everything finally seems to be coming to a climax. If SKKH had followed the original, we could at last have looked forward to seeing the thing resolved (even if it is in English, with a completely different set of actors). Now... who cares? It's already so far from the original that it can't possibly even be following the same storyline as the original. What a missed opportunity - what a shame. Sigh. Well, at least we have the originals (and I urge all of you who might like the U.S. version to try and hunt up the original and see how it MIGHT have been).