Reviews

189 Reviews
Sort by:
Filter by Rating:
Life on Mars (2018– )
9/10
More than ordinary
6 October 2018
Warning: Spoilers
This is a splendid drama. Strong story, tight execution, subtle acting and chemistry. Yes there's kind of virtual time travel, but the not so clear explanation (but the hint is very strong as to what's going on) is actually well done. Some may not like that though. The final message for sure takes center stage here instead of the plot.

The captain and the female officer gave fantastic performances. The cases are interesting and essential to the main character finding his past and formulating his thoughts and choices for the future. And the cliffhanger really shines he main character fights to make sure the tough choice actually makes sense.

The chemistry between the 2 male lead is good. The comedy aspect is not overdone. The strange gathering place where they drink and talk gives a weird vibe.

My only gripe is the constant same camera trick of pulling zoom whenever the main character have a headache. That's just too distracting.

Supposedly taken from the UK tv show, but this show carries it's own weight and transplant itself with old time radio Kpop, karaoke, chicken dinners, and male chauvinistic attitudes. Bravo
1 out of 1 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Fargo (2014– )
8/10
What hasn't been Said ?
14 February 2018
Warning: Spoilers
Season 1 is slower, Billy Bob's character Malvo is a bit too much for me. And the Biblical parallel story in the middle seems more of a filler to me. Martin Freeman's character arc is compelling, although repugnant. I can see great care in the first episode, in that to it very much resembles the movie. That's a setup. Setup for the payoff to the violence at the end of episode one. Or maybe even a setup for season 1 for Allison Tolman's character to arrive at the possible parallel (or some reference) to that of Francis Mcdermottt's character in the original movie.

Season 2 moves at a breakneck pace when compared to the first , but there maybe one of two plot holes near the end. And I thought the execution by the forest is in some way similar to that in the Cohen's movie Miller's Crossing. At least I thought of it right away. Not as elaborate but reminiscent of. And for me, certain character motivation is not as clear or probable. Like the native Indian's mindset near the end, which needed a voiced over - a sign of lack of clarity.

Very enjoyable overall because the story is solid, focused and meticulous. And acting is first rate.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
9/10
Subtleties of Emotions
14 February 2018
Warning: Spoilers
There is a scene near the end, when K goes on his way after being informed that he is not who he think he is, to find Dekkard again. He stops in the middle and a gigantic hologram of Joi seemingly talking to him. He paused for a moment then went on his way. In that brief pause, to me, was a brief expression of realisation and sadness. The realisation is that he was living a dream. Not a lie. But a dream that the world sold to him. But I am not sure I have that fully correct.

This is a very thoughtful movie. It showed us what emotions everyone of us takes for granted, but ironically, place it onto the of makeup of a replicant. Dread, fear, loath, hope, anger, melancholy, grief, lost, happiness, frustration, confusion, elation, betrayal, loneliness ... you name it it's mostly there. Or at least the situation encountered presented these possible emotions. But how K is capable (or tried to) process these and express these is another question. More, what's more important , K the replicant is able to display that he is able to think on his own terms, make his own decisions, and ultimately find his own way. Which is more than I can say for some of us.

And then, at the end, K makes a sacrifice - giving up the present for the future. The future of others. And this is significant - a magnanimous gesture to a degree. - and with his own existence no less.

What a great movie.
1 out of 12 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Stranger (2017– )
9/10
The Key of Success
31 July 2017
Warning: Spoilers
I am still 1/2 an episode away from the ending of the show, yet I'm lamenting, savouring the demise of this very, very good show.

No, the show is not perfect, but darn close. Here, I will neither lead off nor delve into what I see are the minor short comings but instead try to elaborate on the secret of this show's success.

The story revolves around how a prosecutor unearths the details and convoluted dealings that is behind an initial murder of a shady character.

One of the key element of the story is that this prosecutor has a unique physical (and thus related emotional) flaw. This flaw allows him to be almost devoid of emotions, but brilliant (almost to a fault) at deductive reasoning, theories correlation, and stone-cold, unrelenting, unapologetic, and unflinching resolve. This character flaw also provide the storyline with one of the most explosive yet unusual, non- action based climax (1 of 2 near the ending). For this, the audience is the scapegoat in soaking up all the tension in between. This character trait, I believe is absolutely necessary, to serve both the seriousness of the subject matter, and the 'burden' of the plot.

This leads to another great component of the show and that is the overall tone. The constant pressure, mystery, event after event (constructed in great detail) that unfolds seemingly backs the 'good' guys into a tight corner. All this done in a serious, nonchalant, no extra fat, point to point, manner. While there is only just a small, right amount,of understated comic relief. This goes against most other formulaic Korean detective show of over the top funny characters.

A third key of success is the balance of characters. The balance of the female lead oppose to the male lead. Officer Han is just as tough, physically and mentally, has a sense of justice that pairs along with a sense of doubt. This does not mean she is weaker in any sense, but instead more human. A fine touch is how she likes to sketch and scribbles with a pencil. Also must be noted is subtle variation of characters in both the prosecution and police staff. The writing provides its characters with varying level of moral, ethical, and conscientious standards. Some people change, some don't.

Other elements that are not so common in K dramas. No clearly stated development of romantic relationships for the main leads. No prolong, repetition of pop-song heavy based, unnecessary flashbacks. No over sentimental gratuitous tug of the heart strings. No over stylized cinematography. No must see next episode ending to every episode. And there is no over the top, fantastic human feats, or earth shattering twist of the plot.

Lastly, but to a lesser extend is the reduced dependence on dialogue. But instead through use the camera angles and movement, specific thoughts and facial expressions of the characters to move the storyline along. This is especially so in the first few episodes. That means some information are not from given through the exchange of dialogue, not a directly feeding of the plot line to the viewer, but instead implied or visually taken care of.

And as the mystery slowly reveal itself, the audience is not taken for a ride but instead is going along for the ride, side by side with the task force. What a pleasure for us the audience to have this quality writing and what eyes for director and producer to trust the strength of this writing, too.
12 out of 13 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Nazo no tenkôsei (2014– )
8/10
teenage sci fi that is the opposite teenage mutant ninja turtle
6 August 2014
Warning: Spoilers
TV Tokyo is coming out with some great stuff. They are often shot differently, has good music score and source from some good materials.

And this is no exception, it has well explained science background (true of not), mix that with some serious teenage angst and you have a winning plot.

It all has to do with this old man next door.. who has memory issues (possible Alhzheimer's). The dad is a sci-fi writer, the son is one of the main characters along with his girl he likes at school. And as the title suggests, there's a transfer student.

It has sci-fi moments but that is not the point here. The point is about trust, kindness and consideration to others, especially strangers.

Each episode is only 25 min or so with very little repetition and that's the right length given the rather slow approach. Thumbs up nevertheless.
1 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Chen fun du miao (2004– )
10/10
Overdue review
5 March 2014
Yes, the format copies from 24, the plot is like Infernal Affair - and it's convoluted. But the detail of the plot is their own. And for the times, the execution is very before it's time , especially in HK, and ESPECIALLY from TVB !!! There are tons of outdoor scenes, tones of night shots, foreign locations. Everyone is cool looking, tough talking, has a hidden agenda.

There are no quick edits to make it 'seems' the action is happening. But it relies more on the slower 'pace' to create, builds up and elongate the tension. This can even create a distraction of how some part of the story will turn - even though if you think about it, the story does travels on a logical path.

And even one of the 'seemingly' major character dies not 1/3 way through.

I'm keeping my DVD copy and rewatching this one but is it too much to ask to release it in hi-def ? (joke)
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Unbeatable (2013)
7/10
mature rocky meets million dollar baby
5 March 2014
More solid than I first thought, but also more sentimental than needed be. But the execution saves it all.

This is a story where 3 sets of lives comes together in Macau: a ex-champ boxer, an aimless young man, and a down and out mother-daughter.

So it goes through the 3 acts: the background, the middle struggles, and the triumphant finish. All predictable, all about redemption (again). The sentiments are just full to the brim. The MMA sequence are good enough to behold. And there are the comic reliefs to breakups the mundaneness. However, the execution, the shots, the editing, the color, the settings, holds the atmosphere, tension together into a nice pace.

You can see how the last fight ends miles away. But no complaints here as it was well done.
2 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
8/10
drown by love
5 March 2014
What a story this is! One of theme is fairly obvious - protection, whatever the cost.

For those uninitiated, this is a one-off movie/special from a TV series about a physics professor helping the police to solve difficult cases. And the original stories came from a various novels.

This one opens with the Professor travelling to s small town. The town is on the verge of redevelopment but is opposed by environmental concerns - to 'protect' the ocean. The professor stays at a small local inn where a death occurs. An ex-cop no less. Then as he gets intertwined with a little local boy he unravelled a series of 'events', passed or present from this death.

The story is a bit heartbreaking, but I think the message comes through loud and clear. Although the message is nothing new, and occurs very often in this type of crime/drama, the way it was handle was fairly well. There are a couple of places where sentimentality could have been more restrained. Other then that, no complaints.
10 out of 12 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
7/10
A little bit of philosophical choice.. then turn into A Better Tomorrow
16 December 2013
At the point when Lau yield at his superior (with a strong baritone voice sourcing from the lower belly regions) 'It's a life you're dealing with !!!' it was pretty exhilarating. I thought this might be different.

Then the 3 main actors got together for a lunch and started singing.. I can see the sentimental setup already. Further more with another signing episode when deciding to go to Thailand or not. By the way, Nick Cheung's goofy hair style and demeanour sort of too childish and maybe gave away the 2nd half? Yet, at the climax of the Thailand scenes, the 'other' philosophical writer came back!!!! The "choose 1 of 2"... difficult choice Lau has to make breath life back into the narrative again. I would have like a bit more time there to show the difficulty (maybe like Good/Bad/Ugly with the 3 minute song extreme close up ending).

Yet over yet, when the 8 face Buddha comes to HK and messiness resumes. Then until the rooftop scene where "choose 1 of 2" philosophical question came full circle.. I thought this could be revenge well played but really how would they follow it up? then came a Better Tomorrow ending that is maybe 1/2 the effort of all the footage before it. Sighhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh....
2 out of 11 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Library Wars (2013)
5/10
alternative future .. alternative F 451 ?
13 November 2013
Warning: Spoilers
I'm not saying it's 451 but it does have the dystopian future aspect of book burning.

Supposedly based on a book (not manga right?), the premise aligns 2 opposite sides of library protectors and censorship wing. What is so strange is that both sides are armed and have diametrically opposing views on censorship. Which kind of implies police and political groups are mostly useless? I just can't get pass the logic of the premise.

However I do have to say, I've seen the male lease Junichi Okada in the SP series (and 2 movies). He fits that action role to a T. And here, in this movie, I was just waiting for him to go into action. Still, he conveys a sense of thoughtfulness, toughness, with a trouble past. The female lead, played by Nana Eikura, which I've seen in other TV shows, has not been and is not as impressive (for my taste that is). Her acting is relatively 'girl'-like. Her best acting I've seen was in 'A Taste of Honey'. I am not sure she is ready for lead yet.

Story wise, it is well paced. An overview of the history of this alternative universe. Builts into the 2 main lead, then the current library, the training session to built the characters. Then the initial confrontation, interlude , the extensive battle , rest again and the final sequence.

Ther action is packed when it needed be, and sounds good. But you are never sure the 2 leads are in danger. And the villain didn't get any time at all, so you don't feel anything there.

It's a romantic action genre with neither dominating and neither spectacular. So in this way, it is kind of disappointing.
1 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Limit (2013– )
7/10
there are moments but overall.. a slight letdown
29 October 2013
Warning: Spoilers
There are moments in there that seems to be different. But those didn't last long enough. Some of these moments eventually turned into cliché and other turn into prediction that most you can see it coming.

The premise is a bus got lost and only a few students survived. For me it had too many fronts, although some are minor. But it was kind of a bit distracting. There is the school teacher, the bus company, the parents, the 3 kids, the reporter sister, and what is happening to the site.

And at the accident site, the friendship evolution is good enough but not deep enough. The murder aspect wasn't given a full or reasonable explanation as to why the culprit went on and on to continue to eventually hurt that person in the stomach near the end. It's too much unexplained emotions that did not make sense.

And the ending , last episode, is kind of a let down. You know the main character (through the trials and tribulations) is not about to leave the injured person. And you know the story won't so cruel as to NOT let the injured elder sister returned to the 3 younger brothers and sisters.
2 out of 6 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
2 Weeks (2013)
7/10
good enough
25 October 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Sometimes the preset premise can set a boundary in which creativity is limited. This drama Two Weeks comes close but is able to manoeuvre around just enough to be just good enough.

The premise is about harden weakling ex-con criminal who discover himself being a father of an 8 year old girl, and on top, framed for murder, reinvents and rediscovers himself in 2 weeks.

The intricacy of the plot involves 2 unlikely scheming selfish villains, a female politician and an mob boss vying for one last big deal. Along with this a prosecutor who has been gathering evidence on these 2; the ex-wife of the ex-con, the current boy friend who is a cop, and the 8 daughter who needs bone-marrow transplant.

The 2 weeks, marks off day by day, and the intertwining plot, scenario and relation setup is just complicated enough to build up tension. However, you know the ex-con is not gonna to die, or the seeming dangerous plot points say.. in episode 8 will be escapable. (Since he has to escape until episode 16). But it all works.

It works because the villain is despicable, the melodrama is very cheesy. And acting, although not under nor over, fairly even. And th 8 year old girl is so cute.

There are better dramas, like Phantom, Sirus. But this is not too shabby.
0 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Namonaki Doku (2013– )
8/10
human drama about scathing venomous ... words ?
25 October 2013
Warning: Spoilers
This is based on novel by Miyuki Miyabe, whose many other adaptation I've seen lots of. On thing about all those adaptation is the they all preserve the beauty language used. And that seems to be the flavor of the author's. Which I appreciate a lot. It made the show to have a distinct character of style.

The other element of style that comes through no less is the direction of the drama itself. They have the mystery aspect, but the point is never the how or even why or any twist of deed (be it high murder or lowly simple act of cruelty) is done. But instead the affect on the surrounding people.

Thie one, Nameless Poison is in the same vein. It tells the tale of a timid good average Joe, who is married into a well to do family. He is seen (or sometimes in his mind read) by others as depending on the in-laws. Although that is very far from the truth. This very polite person thus harbours many of the 'poisonous words' of others, including his straight forward mother.

This average 'Joe' encounter 2 major mysteries in this series and goes about unwrapping them. It is through these deftly unique situation he unleash and discover and unwind his own true character.

This is not a fast pace one. There are many internal monologues. And the cases are does not have grand conclusions. But they are intricate studies of human nature. Very enjoyable.
1 out of 1 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Cold Eyes (2013)
8/10
an excellent tribute
16 September 2013
Warning: Spoilers
You don't have to watch the original, 2007, Eye in the Sky HK movie. But then you won't get the ending cameo.

Personally I don't think there will be an sequel. Korean movies are not known for that. Casue the find new materials every time.

Sometime they make good remakes, (like this or remake of Japanese "Trains"), sometimes not as so (I heard "A Better Tomorrow" or "White Nights" are not as appealing) Story is about a team of surveillance cops vs. a cold calculated criminal, who can plan, execute and getaway a crime with precision and detail to account for almost everything. On the other side is a rookie with pinpoint memory who is recruited by a weary veteran.

Usually I won't waste time trashing a movie if I don't have a long line of reasons to (like the missing science in the Star Trek reboot - but it so bad that is was funny instead). And why waste time/words, effort on a review to trash or to vent if you could have walked out in the first place.

Howerver, there is no "real" central focusing character in this setup. I think they didn't want to be completely on the 'rookie' female cop. But added more back story to the villain to carry the load instead. This maybe the weak point for me. It's all very very well-done but lacking some kind of soul. For example, compare to the Howling, The man from Nowhere. But as entertainment, yes. No complaints.
2 out of 6 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Helpless (2012)
7/10
no longer surprised ..
16 September 2013
Warning: Spoilers
by the tight Korean production professionalism that is.

The story origin is an Japanese crime genre novel. I think there was a Japanese series of movie once. I did not see that.

Story is around the sudden disappearance of the fiancé of the male lead when they were on the way to meet the in-laws. This all happened at a gas station. Then the relentless of the male lead, hooking up with his estranged cop(ex?) brother who is very detail oriented, try to find out what happened. And the more they go, the more unknowns were uncovered.

The title, as used so many other before, implies the inevitable that will come. The foreseeable ending and that truth will always come out, if you dig hard enough ? But is this movie good enough? I was swaying between a 7 and 8.

7 because , the male lead , for me, is a bit over the top. The cop brother slightly better. 8 because of the tightness of the story.

I get that the movie wants you to be in that shoe of helpless, not knowing what happened to your most significant other. But he really didn't know her from the beginning. So the emotional hook wasn't really there ?
1 out of 7 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Haunters (2010)
8/10
kind of like a different version of that Bruce Willis movie
16 September 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Unbreakable - that was the movie. Kind of like that understated, more realistic view of how people with super powers deals with their 'gift'.

The thing I find about Korean movies is, each is so focus on what each one wants to be, wants to tell, in such specific ways. You can say, the confidence is never an issue. It's overflowing in fact. And never murky who is good, who is bad. It's almost always entertainment. Unlike too many Hollywood these days, either over the top action, or too thought provokingly murky. No middle ground, no thriller any more.

This is no exception. 2 guys, one can control minds, the other basically heals himself endlessly. One good, one bad. And there are at least 3 memorable scenes. One at the money shop, one at the subway, one during the end game.

The comic relief is just a tad too obvious and see it coming. There are a few transitions moments with some information left out .. as in how did the plot get from here to there. Otherwise, I'm good with the way it holds up.
1 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Montage (2013)
9/10
snappy, yet calculated
16 September 2013
Warning: Spoilers
I'm sure there are some holes (spolers:like the such a man at such an age can still run that fast) in the storyline but the movie helped by never overstaying it's welcome.

as always now with Korean productions.. the technical aspect is flawless. The story is a thriller about the re-occurrence of an almost exact kidnapping case that just terminated due to statue of limitation.

there is a clever twist, a twist on the moral side that 'seem' justified. I have a feeling that if this were Japanese or Chinese, it would have err on the side of 'justice' and whoever committed a crime, however good intentioned, is a crime. But I like this ending. It's a feel good thriller in a way. This twist is also aided by a time-line "issue". A good one at this.

All the information is there for you, as audience to figure things out before the final review and then the final twist. I like that. The story wants you to figure it out, just like the mother. Kind of.

The color palette is muted. But since the story is a thriller, not an action genre, there were some fast cuts to show the footwork and the grind work. There are a few chases and they are on foot, not elaborate, not over the top, adds to the flavor. And the ending also review what happened 15 years ago. it kept the purpose of the reveal climax to the end. True to a thriller.

The acting is solid. Now I'm don't know the names of the actors, but think the male cop is the one of the 2 leads in 'Memories of Murder'. The female lead looks familiar but I can't place her. Sorry for my ignorance on this. She is also very good indeed.
4 out of 5 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
6/10
Overdrawn
3 September 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Finally went through the 11 episode of this adaptation.

It's a bit long even though each are 30min or so long. First 3 episodes devote one each to the brothers. Then 4th is a mix of all 3. Introducing their character and the possibility of each of committing the murder.

Then it gets moves slowly. Not until episode 10 that we are steered to another possibility. Between 4th and 10th.. I don't really recall what happened...mostly guilt trips and flashbacks I suppose.

The music various a lot but adds to the flavor. But compare to the Crime and Pushiment adaptation this was a bit underwhelming for me.

Acting is not bad. The detective stole the show though.

6/10
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
The 3rd Hospital (2012– )
7/10
Average but fun
16 August 2013
Warning: Spoilers
If you are looking for complex medical cases go elsewhere (believe there's a Korean show on Emergency care). This one is basically about relationships.

Saw it on Viki, the story is about joining 2 teams of doctors, one with Westen medical training, while the other primarily Eastern in a new (3rd) Hosiptal. And coincidently there are 2 brothers on either side. And eventually the dad, who is a famous neurosurgeon also gets into the mix.

There are a few love interests and all this does is just plot along with some situations, cases that eventually leads to happy ending and resolution of family conflict between the 2 brothers, dad and their past.

Although nothing too shocking, there were some little twists and turns and the comedy helps. There are 2 major female leads but the one with the doctor occupation is very dorky and funny.

Overall, so so, but if you want a light one. This may do. However, comparatively I like 'How to become a millionaire' better.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
teenage angst
25 July 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Man this is a funny show. Funny in that it explore the teenage isolation, angst, uncertainty feeling and add super powers on top! There is 3 main characters in this and they are all still in school. One is the guy who discovered he can read other's people's thought. He is attracted to a girl who transfer from Tokyo to this small town. Then there is another boyish girl who has the same thought reading power.

Together with a few side kicks they encounter, discover and team up together along with each of their own super power.

There's lots of humor but mostly related to sexual needs and angst. Yet there is a seriousness to all of this. It's the finding of oneself, one's purpose in life, and reading your own feelings.

There's a few episode with plot that is very well put together including the hypnotist's looping dream and the last episode regarding the final battle.

This is a break from the formulaic Japanese series. Great Work.
6 out of 8 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
The Chaser (2008)
9/10
realistic and fatalist in one pot
10 July 2013
Warning: Spoilers
I cringed a lot in US cop or action blockbuster nowadays cause everything is gun blazing. They are mostly just very loud and bloody and violent to the point of 'what's the point'? And the sound effects always pump up the gun volume to an unbearable level. And that gets me all nervous - so much so it doesn't make me enjoy the movie at all

Now slightly better with more hand combat but .. not the Segal style nor the Bourne style.

Heard great things about The Chaser and finally hunted down a copy from a friend. True to the hype this is a good one. Story line is fairly complex, characters nicely developed throughout , grate foot chase scenes, good cinematography with lots of night scenes (with none of the midnight FM shakiness)

Storyline is about how the life of an ex-cop, a pimp, runs into coincidently a suspected serial killer.

I don't think there's a gun fired in this but some of the scenes are pretty violent.

what works is how you the audience are slowly tied to the emotion of the chaser(s) in trying to discover the nest of the killer. What also helps is the pimp seems to have a conscience. Along with the down and out ex-cop.

With the backdrop of police image problem to a recent mishandling of a case. The details are there to provide a sense of boundary, and control.

The tension comes from you see the hideout from the beginning, you know the killer from the beginning. And it is because you are given more information then the 'chasing' characters, you want them to find out quicker then usual. But the story holds it back. This technique is actually old school, but used very well here.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
xxxHOLiC (2013– )
8/10
without the luggage
10 May 2013
The caveat is NOT having seen the original manga, not having seen any other previous TV or otherwise animated incarnation. I found this one good enough, in face, very good enough.

Good enough in that the series is short (30min, 8 episodes), it has a purpose, it definitely has a style. In the end I wanted to see more.

The story revolves around a student who can see things, and 2 of his friends and how they come across a person who grant people wishes in exchange for something of equal value.

There is a definite style to the madness, cinematography is bokhen filled, shallow depth-of-field, long lens, slow motion at times - this captures the self center teenager years well (as well as the problem they are internalizing).

Anne's outfits and decor is very lavished and her character exposes well a sense of loftiness and business-as-usual, matter-of-fact personality.

The costume has fine details - and that's where it seems to money went even though you know this is a relatively small budget production - but looks really really good.

The main character he-of-April-1st, has a good grasp of the role as well. The casting of female student is excellent in the idiosynchroncies of the particular look and the of course again the small details of the costuming. The other, tall athletic male co-star exhumes just that and compliments well to counter the other 2.

I wish they can expand and do a 2nd season.
5 out of 5 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Sirius (2013– )
8/10
The angst of being another "you"
29 April 2013
Warning: Spoilers
There are some plot points that are arguable, but those are minor. It is the writing that outshines all in this production.

Although I've only seen Iris, Athena and Phantom (i've been spoiled), but I've seen glimpses of a few others enough to say, unlike most other long winded Korean productions that are melo-dramatic to say the least. Those typically run 16-20 episodes milk the daylight out of every plot turns, and character background.

The -2 is for some extreme acting, the microphone blowing, and the overthought out title. And maybe the cinematography is almost too luscious, too caring for the setup. And for maybe 15min on some 'elements' of melodramaticness.

The story revolves around identitcal twins and their growing up from a tragedy in their youthful days. Being only 4 episodes, this allow more succinct plot but the very unique inner emotions between the twins are flushed out nicely, deep down diving into the complex psych of seeing another version of yourself. And on top, being family. And on top being separated by an act of social accident.

Each episodes begins with going back to the past and that leads to a particular point in that show. Well thought out. The younger twins are to me more captivating, the older one is noticeably not that old to have the emotional gut and umphhh still not beaten out of them by society yet. Which is important.

There are a few lines in the last 2 from the twins that are extraordinary writing. You go find out yourself.
1 out of 1 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
9/10
Memory, mystique, mourning and mastery
29 April 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Memory is a funny thing. If you are a romantic, the further away you are, the better the original 'event' it seems. If you are a pragmatic, the tougher it is to swallow. Whichever you are, it becomes more unclear with each passing day.

It seems to me Wong KW has a lot to say in this one. But that is his norm but more than others I suppose. Although there might be a different version of this somewhere in the cutting room floor, I find this one more accessible, and has more of a storyline shall we say.

To me the story is the story of Kung Fu of an era, of a specific time frame. The monologue or dialogue oozes with wiki information. It makes the distinction of northern and southern style on the outset. And that is mighty important if you know Kung Fu. There are also many tradition, inklings, sayings, and practices seamlessly into the 30 or what not years of the story - the hay days of that art and more importantly the culture of this form.

All the, cliché shall we say are there but in a less fantastic but more romantic sort of way. The young vs old; tradition vs ability; love vs duty; humbling vs trailblazing.

The story also carry the age old plot of revenge within one's own clan, and the love story between 2 unlikely rivals through the eyes and life of Ip. But as the title suggests, it is about a grand master, the point-in-case of a lineage, the apex of certain spirit. But is it Ip ? To me it seems the main character is the daughter, Gong Er. She defeated the passive and reluctant Ip. She sacrificed her own life for and against tradition. She carried on the style, leadership and most of all grace of the clan.

In the same fight between the retired Northern master and the rebel student, the dialogue mentioned a particular move in relation to the importance of looking back. To my memory, this is an important theme in some of Wong's movies. Just as key to see Gong uses the exact same sequence to defeat the rebel in the train station sequence.

And in the final meeting between Gong and Ip, Gong displays all the wariness, weigh and dignity of a head master. Contrasting to Ip who latched on to the romantic notion of their past, unknowing to what had transpired.

In the dialogue, I belief it mentioned twice that there is the outer mask of style versus the inner strength. The outer gets the glory but the inner gets to do the dirty work (I can't recall exactly). But isn't that the jist of the movie ? Ip gets the billing, but Gong is the heart and soul of Kung Fu.

Indeed, life is but ashame if there are no regrets.
7 out of 11 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Oblivion (I) (2013)
8/10
Moon .. anyone ?
22 April 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Although technically well done and I highly, very highly applaud this movie for strongly letting the action take the back seat (But Tom Cruise is still Tom Cruise in the movie (e.g. Jack Harper is and ID) ), the plot have that eerie you've-seen-it-somewhere-before feeling.

Especially if you have seen the better performance but lower budget Moon staring Sam Rockwell.

Albeit not hard to guess and I don't think the similarity was intentional ,(it just maybe my confirmation bias), the story takes its time and this alone might throw someone off. Taking its time like Wall-e's 1st act. And for once, a dystopian sci-fi that shows a lot of sun time instead of dark lit scenes, or rainy, or night time actions only.

But there are action sequences .. a somewhat extended sequence near the end in a cave complex. But that is more of a time killer then a plot device. And not too well executed in that it brought nothing new to the technical table.

Yet in another way, this movies has not a lot of surprises. Maybe I was hoping for yet another Matrix 1.
1 out of 4 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
An error has occured. Please try again.

Recently Viewed