Reviews written by registered user

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44 reviews in total 
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14 out of 14 people found the following review useful:
Amateurish and a bit offensive., 18 August 2011

This movie was disappointing. As a native Hawai'ian, I was excited to see and support a historical movie detailing a significant period in our history filled with issues that still weigh heavy on us until this day. Most of the movie seemed amateurish and poorly put together but it tells a story so I guess thats what mattered. There are several scenes which serve merely to develop the viewer's sympathy for Ka'iulani in love, begging us to be overly sensitive towards our heroine and an interest in love while in England ..instead of building her character around more important issues that were her life. Characters like Alice, Archie, Miss Barnes are shallow and rather dull. They exist solely to enhance Ka'iulani and funnel the plot towards her own turmoils in romance.

Though the dialog has its moments (like the lovely conversation at dinner in regards to food and politics), the whole movie gets sidetracked by just another fated love story... the same one we've seen a million times: Girl and boy from different situations, finances, countries, and dispositions are supposed to hate each other, but end up falling madly in love. There were also many significant events in Ka'iulani's life that are not portrayed in the movie.

11 out of 14 people found the following review useful:
UNIQUE! Two thumbs up for brilliant storytelling!!, 27 April 2011

I have to say I was blown away by this newer version of "Ôoku"! It turned out to be much better then we imagined it would be.

But first of all, let me say that I don't know why someone wrote Sci-Fi for the genre here at IMDb. It doesn't even come close to a Sci-fi flick. I was not expecting a story with such depth tho...The cinematography, the art direction, and the sheer enormity of the visuals were as beautiful as expected of Japan in various seasons. And even more, the acting was superb! Very emotional at times. Personally, I think that the characters are very well developed because they are complex, deceptive and quite multi-dimensional in their basic human drives. They make sense within the constraints in which they are cast. We get the full spectrum of a movie; varied scenery and ambiance, multiple stories, realistic characters, a realistic society portrait, and so on. Certainly, this movie has strong characters, but like the inner chambers of any Shogun's castle, they are puppets. Along with intense & emotional moments, it concludes with a mind blowing twist that'll keep this movie on your mind long after it's over.

Lastly, the filmmakers who designed and implemented all the sets and costumes should take a hell of a lot of pride in what they do. Some of the most lavish personal quarters and outfits I've ever seen in a Japanese flick of this time period!

Overall, it's an entertaining movie with an understandable story and believable characters that no Japanese movie lover should miss! :)

Yamazakura (2008)
4 out of 27 people found the following review useful:
Brilliant!! Completely !!!!!, 12 July 2010

This is a sweet, breath-taking little gem that all lovers of Japanese films will truly enjoy. I love the way Noe's reluctant humble character slowly draws us into her journey after running into noble Tezuka again. It than evolves into an emotional, mesmerizing, story that leads up to a compelling and beautiful conclusion.Based on a short story written by Shuhei Fujisawa (who also wrote the popular trilogy Twilight Samurai, The Hidden Blade, Love and Honor), the film depicts the uneasy life of Noe Isomura (Rena Tanaka) with the difficult family she has married into after her former husband passed away. Rena Tanaka perfects her character with such elegance and grace, the audience is sure to become immersed in the dream-like tone and background set by Mr. Shinohara. All the actors were simply amazing, falling into character w/ powerful performances! It will definitely leave you thirsty for more films like this *wink* THANK YOU JAPAN!!

4 out of 31 people found the following review useful:
Based on true events,Tsuyama Massacre!, 15 June 2010

As the storm cloud of war gathers over Japan, the desperately patriotic Tsugio waits for his call up to duty. But in the close-knit community of his hometown of Higureya, the women have grown desperate for the company of men. When Tsugio stumbles upon one adulterous union, he too is quickly seduced. But this newfound experience quickly sours when Tsugio is diagnosed with tuberculosis and ostracized by the village. With everyone turned against him, Tsugio takes to the streets, fully armed and thirsty for bloody revenge.

Masato Furuova, the star of this film and who plays the alienated Tsugio, committed suicide in 2008. This seems cruelly apt, as Village Of Doom is a film full of images of death, whether of a body hanging under a tree, spilled poison, gunshot wounds, stabbings or a shotgun barrel entering mouths, although the principal violent events occur at the end. Starting as a film in which Tsugio helps to send a friend off to war and then, after being denied active participation in the real struggle overseas ends up bedding several war wives almost by accident, it ends with him shouting "Banzai!" again - this time to himself, before marching off on a bloodthirsty campaign of his own. Between these two pivotal events is the story of a tubercular youth faced with his physical disadvantages, as well as the frustrations of living in a small, presumably in-bred village. Here, it is said, blood kin sleeps with blood kin and unwanted outsiders are "buried in the hills." During the war there are "always lonely women" the results of their liaisons, it is suggested, being dropped in the river. In many ways this is a return to the isolated and feudal Japan of the past: inward looking, where feuds were brought to bloody and formal climax.

Director Tanaka spent a good deal of his early career in the Japanese porn industry before branching out onto more ambitious and complex subject matter. Village Of Doom betrays some of these origins, as Tsugio's early encounters are filmed in characteristic fashion (there is notable finger-fellatio scene which is dwelt upon) and his serial bedding of those lonely wives, their husbands serving conveniently overseas, would be standard fare for a sex comedy. However Tanaka and his screenwriters have a different tale to relate, one whose success depends to great extent on how sympathetic their lead character is, rather than any libidal considerations. And it's a brutal story, based on a novel, but which one feels might just as easily been inspired by real wartime events. Tsugio's actions are staged in such specific and grisly fashion that they feel like a reconstruction of a case; whether or not this is true, there is no doubt that they provide a powerful conclusion.

Wolfhound (2006)
4 out of 22 people found the following review useful:
WoW! Russia pulls a Hollywood...amazing!, 2 May 2010

This movie blew me away! It was the most interesting 2 hrs I've spent engulfed in a fantasy film in over 2 years! The fact that it was really from a foreign country with real Russians speaking Russian put the icing on the cake...mmmh delicious! The plot was tight and well scripted, the acting was kick a--, and I really believed I was back in time with the back drop and costumes. I didn't even realize Russians were such beautiful people! Oh yes, one more thing...the special effects was so impressive, I felt like I was in movie lala land! Hey! no plot holes here, either. Now you know, thats quality film making and writing there *wink* If you enjoy this genre in films, sword fighting, fantasy, and happy endings...don't miss this little gem!

22 out of 35 people found the following review useful:
6 yr, old Power Rangers should enjoy this!, 23 April 2010

Americans will yawn or laugh this sci fi off the screen, for the most part, but if you dig Andy Lau in Future Cops (1993), or you're a 6 yr old Power Ranger, you should dig this spectacle. The plot is an overlong, unengaging mess. I was'nt able to cease all brain activity, kick back and enjoy hard hitting action sequences which I do in most good Chinese action films. While the special effects are not up to the Hollywood standard and far from reasonably convincing, it can be a teeny bit entertaining if you appreciate how far Hollywood has come. Hong Kong used to be seen as the home of unintentionally comical chop-socky movies of interest only to kung-fu freaks and those who like to day dream about kicking some bully's a--. While that's not a fair assessment of that country's current output, it's not a totally undeserved one concerning its past. So it made a refreshing change to see that Hong Kong – along with other Asian countries – had begun producing stylish wuxia, biopics, and energetic efforts like Yip Man, Bodyguards and Assassins, and The Banquet. Sadly, I don't think they're quite ready to stray off from that if they're going to introduce their films to the rest of the world.

The film's first big action sequence provides a weak mix of 'futuristic plot holes' and bad 'character development', all of which threaten to scupper the entire project until a potential surprise that goes for the heartstrings, which is why I gave it 2 pts. I did read somewhere that Wong claims sci-fi was never his goal, and that he was trying to tell a moving and emotional story. Strange mix? I'll say. To fully enjoy it, (whispers...) make sure to turn a blind eye on the special effects, seriously. The visual effects by Korean VFX house Kinomotive are hilariously awful, managing the same effectiveness as Wong Jing's The Wesley's Mysterious File, which came out a full eight years ago. Surprisingly, Wong Jing's skills with CGI has not improved in 8 yrs. Neither has his storytelling or directing ~by bluepeas

Hidden (2009)
5 out of 33 people found the following review useful:
Great acting but a HUGE MESS! Very disappointing!, 20 April 2010

The story-telling & direction was HORRIBLE in this film. Pieces of the entire plot are fed to us in so many kibbles that the movie ends up a huge MESS. The director and writer attempted to use the element of surprise to make the film more jaw dropping by throwing in scenes to throw us off, such as the constant presence of this female inn keeper and finding a female officer's photo crumpled up & stashed under water. Than KK catching up to Peter in the forest and Peter mirroring his hand motions as if to say it's actually KK seeing himself. Because a number of scenes and ppl were totally irrelevant & unnecessary, instead of serving it's purpose, it made the film even more chaotic. It was all over the place. Just a big mess! The entire backdrop was of dark dense colorless woods through most all the film, and an old huge deteriorating "filthy" home that should have been less filth & more spook. Even worse, 75% of the film was filmed in this mess of a house. Unlike other foreign films, or another Norwegian film which showed beautiful landscape or country sides of their homeland, this film did not as some claim in their reviews here. I have the DVD on my PC right now and just glanced back through it. The reviews are completely dishonest so I assume were made by those affiliated w/ the film. The purpose of piles of ugly hand stitched dolls is never explained, which we assume would serve a reasonable purpose considering the film & camera also revolved around the quantity while keeping the dolls in almost every scene. I gave it a 2 for good acting by the lead actors and that is the lowest I ever gave any film in my IMDb career. So that should explain anything I left out.

15 out of 37 people found the following review useful:
Oscar Worthy!! Should have been their Best Foreign Film entry!!!, 17 April 2010

I swear, DO NOT listen to negative comments, which is why I took so, so long to watch this mind boggling, fast paced, amazing film! In the past few wks, I started running more & more into fantastic reviews on The Message, so I finally decided "reluctantly" to watch it! I went ahead and chilled, kicked back with low expectations, and prayed not to fall asleep.

I kid you not! Soon as it started to roll, the suspense and action kicked in! I love the way it started too and it's fast paced. No long drawn out scenes and I didn't take my eyes off the movie once. The acting was fantastic, powerful and intense. And the story was a high level THRILLER with many corners to keep us guessing! Seven to 10 main actors, so don't expect to lose your way in all those Chinese names. That's a good thing! The story-line & plot was so good, they had every loose end covered. It's rare to find a good flick with no holes. There's a lil twist at the end too. I'm not into spy films but this was kick a-- and the Chinese have been throwing out top notch films better than the U.S, Japan and everywhere else in the past 5 yrs. They are truly getting better and better at their game, heheh...I'm so serious. The 2 beautiful female stars were amazing & had our eyes glued to the screen. I loved the way their drama & expressions sucked us into the film and I heard they were nominated against one another for best actress award in this film in the Golden Horse Awards! This is like the 3rd film in 4 wks I ran into with few and bad reviews here, but great reviews elsewhere, which turned out to be EXCELLENT films. If you've become addicted to GOOD films such as I have, YOU WILL LOVE THIS!

25 out of 39 people found the following review useful:
The Sword With No Name aka The Last Empress, fantastic!!, 26 March 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Director Kim Yong-gyoon's tale played out as a fascinating driven journey blending swordplay, high romance, and politics with nice action sequences and mind-boggling scenery! An excellent biopic of the beautiful & strong-willed 15 yr old consort of King Kojong from the Yi period, played by the Korea's enchanting Jae-woong Choi. It revolves around a 15 yr old girl named Ja-young, who later is crowned Queen Myeongseong, considered a national heroine in South Korea today, and her bodyguard, Moo-myoung. Moo-myoung starts off as a Joseon dynasty headhunter who tracks down fugitives and lives off their rewards. One day, he encounters a beautiful noble girl, Ja-young, and falls in love with her. A few years later, Ja-young enters the royal palace as the next queen of Joseon, Empress Myeongseong. Lovesick Moo-myoung becomes the personal guard to the Empress in order to be closer to her.

Empress Myeongseong (19 October 1851 – 8 October 1895), is arguably one of the most controversial figures of the entire Joseon Dynasty back in the Yi period. Her parents passed away when she was 9, leaving her a poor orphan who had to live with the Mins of Yju, the place of her birth. She was made the royal consort in 1866 at the urging of Lady Min, consort of Hungsn Taewngun and mother of her future husband, King Kojong. At barely 16, she married the 15 yr old boy king at the Joseon Dynasty. She's portrayed as pure, innocent (but not naïve), devoted, and defiant. This movie is about her rise to power and bloody assassination (at the hands of the Japanese), which all seems to fall in line w/ historians. After Japan's victory in the First Sino-Japanese War, she advocated stronger ties between Korea and Russia in an attempt to block Japanese influence in Korea, which was represented by the Daewongun, her father-in-law. She is an assertive and ambitious woman, unlike other queens that came before her, and later becomes quite interested in politics and the western world via a French friend (Sophie Broustal); the arrival of electricity in the country; and international power politics. Miura Gorō, the Japanese Minister to Korea at the time and a retired army lieutenant-general, backed the faction headed by her father-in-law, whom he considered to be more sympathetic to Japanese interests. She tries to modernize the dynasty by allying with foreign nations but becomes turmoiled into a political power struggle. Moo-myoung must fend off devastating threats from her father-in-law and the foreign army(Japanese) in order to protect Ja-young from harm.

A powerful & moving biopic. The Koreans have in recent years produced some pretty decent swordplay movies Bichunmoo, The Restless, The Duelist and Shadowless Sword being some of the more memorable movies. 9 out of 10 from me!

Hit and Run (2009) (V)
10 out of 103 people found the following review useful:
An extremely unrealistic and stupid script!!!, 19 March 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The acting was good & I think thats probably why so many felt it was fun but gave it a low score...but the storyline is dumb as heck, seriously. I seen when she drove off from the wreck & there was NO BODY under or on her car. And the cameras doesn't even try to hide it, lol. But even worst...this is one of those very low budget movies that the main character does ""every single thing"" even the dumbest person wouldn't do! I had to fast forward a little because it way to dumb on most parts & the editing was REAL BAD. It jumps scenes. They weren't trying to be professional about it, in other words. Now if you're home all alone way in the woods & you hear someone in your r not going to the top of the stairs & say, "HELLO??"", and not turn one light on, lol. And thats only in the first 10 min. Imagine the rest. I don't want to include spoilers, just wanted to give u an idea of how ridiculous the story line is so you don't waste money renting this than end up mad b/c you could have rented something less stupid, smdh

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