Tuesday, 31 August 2010

The Dead Girl (2006)

Rose Bryne plays a long-grieving sister in The Dead Girl (2006).

At a glance:
Kerry Washington plays a lesbian hooker.
Not a very flattering shot, though.
Sometimes when I'm reminded of Brittany Murphy's sudden demise, I think of two things. One would be her boinkin Eminem at the car factory in 8 Mile (2002). The other would be her titular role in The Dead Girl (2008), somethin that will forever be a chillin irony after her tragic death in December 2009. Karen Moncrieff's The Dead Girl is a disturbingly powerful vignette piece about a dead girl and five women who are connected in some way or another to her. The Stranger (Toni Collette) is the awkward daughter of an abusive mother who finds empowerment when she finds the titular corpse. The Sister (Rose Byrne) is a depressed forensics student who tries to find closure by insisting that the corpse is that of her lost sister. The Wife (Mary Beth Hurt) is the thankless murderer's wife who almost reports her husband to the authorities but for a change of heart. The Mother (Marcia Gay Harden) is a clueless middle-class woman who cannot understand why her dead daughter left home even before she was killed; and finds some answers via a whore who used to live with her daughter. Lastly, The Dead Girl is a young woman who is shown to live a blameless life just days before she meets her grisly end. No - it's not a horror. It's not a murder thriller either. It's a beautifully restrained character study that benefits from a stellar cast and their solid performances. Flyin in the face of the adage ‘the dead tell no tales', this movie asks the questions nobody likes to hear; all through the cinematic device of a motionless corpse. Contrasted against a wasteland of a backdrop, we see characters and their motives - some noble, some ugly; but always unflinchingly realistic. It's the sort of movie that finds appreciation only through what we want to understand and derive from it.
Marcia Gay Hayden
Bad news on the doorstep:
Of course, what we understand and derive from it will always be contingent on the emotional force that drives it. Herein The Dead Girl suffered from the age-old censorship bug when I first viewed it in 2008 under Cathey-Keris' banner in Malaysia. The full texture of the film has been compromised by the cuttin of scenes instrumental to conveying the bleakness of the subject matter at hand.
Perennial wonderment:
What did happen to Brittany Murphy? Widower died at the same house, too. It had somethin to do with toxic mould, they said.
Mary Beth Hurt
Reminds me of:
Jindabyne (2006), The Invisible (2007), The Burning Plain (2008) and Brick (2005).
Amacam joker, berapa bintang lu mau kasi?
Thankfully, the strength of its performances survives this. I cannot think of a single poor movie with Toni Collette in it - this one just improves the statistic. Hers is just one of five characters and the rest of the cast are, pardon the pun, dead solid. Permeatin the emotional undercurrent is also a well-chosen music score to bring out the best in that sun-bleached, dry discomfort of L.A. backcountry. There is little more you can ask from The Dead Girl, except maybe another five stories from this excitin director. Maybe this time we could be spared the veiled feminism though, eh?★★★
The day the music died:
R.I.P. Brittany Murphy
(November 10, 1977 – December 20, 2009)
Brittany Murphy at The Dead Girl World Premiere and AFI Special Presentation
at AFI FEST 2006 / The Loft in Los Angeles, California.

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Stool Pigeon (2010) @ 线人

Liu Kai Chi, the ex-stool pigeon with a lousy retirement package.

At a glance:
It’s Beast Stalker Part II as one-genre man Dante Lam Chiu Yin’s latest Hua Yi Brothers-backed US$4 million crime drama goes down as his best so far, lookin like it’s been explicitly made with Golden Horse intentions, especially with the role reversal between Nick Cheung and Nicholas Tse, who now play a cop and an informant respectively. Since his unfocused Sniper (2009) was somewhat a one-dimensional letdown, it was great that Fire Of Conscience (2010) burned brighter and now we can attest to Stool Pigeon 线人 being a superior product that benefits from the exceptional pairin and also a particularly restrained but intense screenplay by Jack Ng Wai Lun, save for some jarrin extended downtime. The titular informant here is habitual offender Ghost Jr (Tse), son of a renowned underground racer and is now doin time but Inspector Don (Cheung) picks him out to be the best positioned informant to infiltrate a gang who specialises in jewellery heists. Since his sister has been pimped out due to his father’s debts, the money proves too good for him to refuse and Ghost Jr gets dragged through an epic struggle of blood, sweat and tears. We have good character development throughout, startin with Liu Kai Chi’s ex-stoolie character and even Kwai Lun Mei who apparently holds a gun for the first time in a movie, playin a feisty gangster’s moll. Mainlander Lu Yi gets a comfortable part as heist mastermind Barbarian while Miao Pu gets to play Nick Cheung’s wife again (Beast Stalker) in a twisted sideplot.
First time shooter: Kwai Lun Mei.
Bad news on the doorstep:
The mole scenario is a HK cinema overkill but Stool Pigeon offers two fresh aspects that are uncommon. One is the often darkly humourous dialogues about informant procedure and even pricing structure. We’re shown how to “treat your stoolie like your girlfriend” and also how cash rewards commensurate with task objectives in a most organised way. Next, we have a more textured presentation, as Lam chose despairing Kowloon streets for most scenes and there are plenty of location-specific references that enrich the movie.
Your informant is like your girfriend.
Amacam joker, berapa bintang lu mau kasi?
The picture comes off stylish, thematically-grippin and substantial, balancin drama and action will aplomb, unlike the many uneasy blow-em-‘up HK titles we have had to settle for every now and then.The director has edited a scalpin scene with Cheung, so you can expect the movie to be averagely violent, with plenty of realistically dirty blood-soaked scuffles (check out Tse getting beaten to a pulp on the kerb) instead of clean chops and martial arts. Watch it as this year’s best Hong Kong crime drama so far.★★★★


Thursday, 12 August 2010

City Under Siege (2010) @ 全城戒备

City Under Siege shu qi aaron kwok 全城戒备 seks melayu tudung gambar lucah kelantan amoi 3gp seks Hong Kong virus jay Chou naked
Superslut and superhero.
At a glance:
American X-Men are crossed with Chinese Future X-Cops in uneasy yet fairly entertainin Hong Kong actioner that certainly contains more drama than what poster or title might suggest. In a modification of the usual themes we find in movies about post-war Nazi experiments, this Benny Chan picture uses the prologue of fictional Japanese experiments in Malaysia durin WWII occupation and spins a mutant story with heroes and villains, mostly in fat suits, clown suits or any other futuristic-lookin PVC apparel, as long as they look more advanced than Streetfighter characters. In City Under Siege (2010), we follow a bumblin simpleton named Sunny (Aaron Kwok) who goes from circus clown to national hero in a bizarre turn of events that we’ll omit as spoilers. Colin Chou (Forbidden Kingdom) plays the arch nemesis, while Shu Qi (Gorgeous) gets a decent role as a beautiful TV news anchor. Meanwhile there are also Mr and Mrs Smith super agent roles for Zhang Jing Chu (Aftershock) and Wu Jing (SPL).
City Under Siege shu qi aaron kwok 全城戒备 seks melayu tudung gambar lucah kelantan amoi 3gp seks Hong Kong virus jay Chou naked
"Wow, I can see his ego from here."
Bad news on the doorstep:
The balance between CGI and traditional FX isn’t very comfortable, especially comin from such an established filmmaker who gave us the Police Story movies with Jackie Chan. As mentioned earlier, it’s rather unusual that the movie does have a useful healthy dose of emotional downtime and humorous interjections (Aaron Kwok’s obsession with bein “slim”) - this helps lift the mood for the otherwise very overdone plot. More importantly, it’s possible that many of the understated action scenes in this movie are actually quite explosive but can’t find a comfortable place to engage the audience who are bein visually bamboozled with various CGI oddities.
City Under Siege shu qi aaron kwok 全城戒备 seks melayu tudung gambar lucah kelantan amoi 3gp seks Hong Kong virus jay Chou naked
Aaron Kwok shouldn't have had that last murtabak.
Perennial wonderment:
We must however single out Aaron Kwok as being a much improved, very competent and professional actor despite the flak he gets all these years. In related observations, Shu Qi’s Cantonese has improved fivefold since the Sex And Zen years while Mainlanders Zhang Jing Chu and Wu Jing need better projects if they’re gonna break out of the B-movie mould.
I can't remember if I cried:
This movie had Malaysian indie distributor NEF havin a go at organisin a big event with the HK stars in town. It was a circus.
Amacam joker, berapa bintang lu mau kasi?
Feels more Ultraman than Rumble In The Bronx but you're likely not to feel shortchanged if you’re looking for an action movie with Chinese stars. ★★1/2

Friday, 30 July 2010

Aftershock (2010) @ 唐山大地震

Would you save your daughter or your son first?

Xu Fan's powerhouse turn.
At a glance:
Chinese filmmakin ace Feng Xiao Gang (Assembly 2007, The Banquet 2006) has made IMAX screens in China a rippling goldmine with the Hua Yi Brothers-backed Aftershock 唐山大地震 - a tearjerkin triumph of Mainland cinema that is at once more marketable to other regions than the usual fare due to its high production values. It also bears the unlikely distinction of being the first IMAX film that isn't created Stateside. Drawing from the 1976 Great Tangshan earthquake that had a death toll which is controversially contested up until today to be anything from 200,000 lives to three times that, Aftershock is a fictionalised story set during a real-life event (like Titanic 1997) and benefits from the unflinching powerhouse portrayal of the filmmaker's actress wife Xu Fan (One Foot Off The Ground 2006, The Founding Of A Republic 2009) as a mother who had to painfully choose between saving her son or saving her daughter during the atrocities of natural disaster. It is a strong, textured drama with very decent CGI work that doesn't detract from the primary focus of buildin on themes of guilt, abandonment, closure and redemption - essentially a film all of the Chinese diaspora worldwide can relate to. Sparin you a more detailed synopsis is probably the best idea considerin its epic landscape of a story that encompasses events such as Mao Zedong's death.
Bad news on the doorstep:
Ahh I jumped the gun on this one, me. I came back from the Singaporean premiere with a chest stirrin with emotions and gave it five stars. When the euphoria died down I realised I was very impressionable. I blame Xu Fan's incredible performance.
Perennial wonderment:
Just how far have we come from the traditional patriarchal importance of a male heir? Not far, I assure you.
Amacam joker, berapa bintang lu mau kasi?
The five-star performances in Aftershock (includin Zhang Jing Chu's role as the adult daughter) are a definitely highlight, not to mention its high entertainment value in balancin drama and action, just like Assembly. One can only hope that movies such as this, despite the fiction, serve to remind people the importance of family and just how much emotional resonance is left behind by natural disasters. Aftershock is a first grade tearful testament to that.
Bonus material:

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Mantra (2010)

penjara JOAN OF ARC demon jail scene
Mantra: Looks like that scene from Joan Of Arc (1999), innit?
At a glance:
Santau (2009) gets a thematic sequel with Mantra (2010), Metrowealth’s 38th in its catalogue and one that wishes to echo the RM 4.3 million success (collections from Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei) of the first movie last year. In Mantra, Zul Suphiaan (stage name Zul Handy Black, the dodgy neighbour in Santau) plays Muzir, a man who gets involved with dark powers and inadvertently gets thrown into jail for a crime. He loses his wife (Ana Dahlia) and while to another man, his one-time friend Hasbi (Hasnul Rahmat). In Pudu Jail (yes, you get to see several scenes shot inside it before its famous demolishin) he dabbles with the occult again by learnin black magic from an old prisoner (Rozaidi Abdul Rahman). With his newfound powers, Muzir manages to poison the warden (Hamdan Haji Ramli) and frees himself to seek revenge and reclaim his family.
Bad news on the doorstep:
Zul Handy Black
The recycled horror formula is simple – take an original research about black magic and add a strong revenge theme with an all-new cast of fresh faces, lettin it all bake in some decent CGI and sound work. You can say Mantra is better than Santau in all aspects, and can even lay claim to some artistic respectability due to its difficulty in producin – save for one sore point which is minimal character development, resultin in a compromised storyline. In the earlier 2009 film, the CGI work and the performance of its lead actors may not have been better but there were clear cut protagonists and antagonists who were easy to follow. In Mantra, the focus on the titular subject may (to the point of using “real” chants and incantations) seems to have backfired considerin the approach has come off a little too successful, takin away the appreciation of the 89-minute feature film as a whole. In other words, Mantra commands respect for its faithful adherence to the demonic subject but in terms of entertainment, we may not remember it as a particularly scary or successful film.
"Did you or did you not pick up the bar of soap?"
Reminds me of: 
The movie is one of the last to be filmed in the now demolished colonial relic Pudu Jail in Kuala Lumpur. Wished I had the chance to visit it but it was too late.
Amacam joker, berapa bintang lu mau kasi?
In a nutshell, Mantra was probably a hell of a script but this screenplay doesn’t give it an engagin justification. Santau had a certain Stephen King appeal to it but Mantra just comes off more like a dramaticised documentary. Let’s hope the next horror movie from Metrowealth – Ngangkung – will set it right.★★★
Bonus material:

Pudu Jail, Kuala Lumpur. Now demolished.

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

A Nightmare On Elm Street (2010)



At a glance:
New and old: Freddy still loves bathing pussies.
Creator Wes Craven, the man behind the 1984 original that spawned eight further films featurin That Other Guy With A Fedora Who Isn't Indiana Jones, would have good reason not to like this modern take. For him, he can be angry that he wasn't invited to contribute in some way for the new movie. For the rest of us who remember a time before Freddy vs Jason (2003), we can be disappointed that Freddy is now only half as scary and all the definitive ideas that Craven attached to the horror icon is burnt along with Freddy's face.
Bad news on the doorstep:

Speakin about his face, it was probably a good decision to have Freddy look more like a burn victim instead of the leprous miscreant we have come to remember him by throughout the 25-year franchise. What is disappointin is that the theme of abandonment and neglect, something that original Freddy man Robert Englund has always said was what he thought the character was about, is now only a small aspect of Freddy. The problematic teenagers and their recurrent nightmares about Krueger is a manifestation of their abandonment and neglect, even if you count in the in-universe backstory about how he his connected to them. That's why it's important that we see Kris' mum as an air stewardess in the movie. Without riskin a spoiler to those who aren't familiar with Elm Street's troubles, it's safe to say that it was a combination of this theme and the reality-fantasy duality narrative that captured the imagination of so many horror fans and made the franchise a classic. This new compromise makes Freddy suffer and it's incidentally ironic that the makers have gone ahead with the decision to drop all the jokes from Freddy's persona as well.
Katie Cassidy in a curious little see-through number.
Reminds me of:
Robert Englund. Can there ever be another Freddy? The relatively unknown young cast hold their own, but it must be said that Jackie Earle Haley's turn as Freddy, despite being a natural decision since his wonderful Rorschach in Watchmen (2009), is a little underwhelmin. Newcomer Rooney Mara looks (un)comfortable as one of Freddy's victims, Nancy Holbrook, and is delightfully easy to watch. In fact, her part seems to reference Nancy Thompson (Heather Langenkamp) in the original, as a special afflicted who can be key in nailin Freddy.
Most memorable line:
Don't remember any. For an R-rated horror movie however (18 in Malaysia, M18 in Singapore), it does give you decent value. There are several wonderful sequences, all borrowed from the franchise as a whole; and the nightmares are relived with better technology since we have progressed with more impressive CGI since. Freddy's appearances for example, are a mixture of traditional FX (prosthetics desiger Andrew Clement) and also CGI from the team who did Two-Face for The Dark Knight (2008).
Amacam joker, berapa bintang lu mau kasi?
To make this sound less like a bitter review from a fanboy writer, this A Nightmare On Elm Street reupdate would probably be enjoyed by a great portion of anyone going to see it anyway. It's just that Freddy isn't so fun anymore for those who know him better. Already you can read that Haley has been contracted for two more movies after this one. Frederick Charles Krueger R.I.P.★★1/2


Wednesday, 14 April 2010

My Rainy Days (2009) @ 天使の恋

SEXY
Gravure model-turned actress Nozomi Sasaki (佐々木 希) for all your lolita needs.
At a glance:
Cute as a button. In other words, jailbait.
Not that this is a Vatican daily and we're too uptight - but Cathay-Keris Films release My Rainy Days (2009) @ 天使の恋 @ 出租天使 (Romanised Japanese transliteration: Tenshi No Koi) is first and foremost, a very dangerous movie. No, we're not even talkin about the sleazy-lookin poster, which depicts the glorious bare back of Nozomi Sasaki as Rio, the schoolgirl whore who falls in love 35-year-old history teacher Kouki Ozawa (Shosuke Tanihara) after a chance meetin. We're talkin about how a popular mobile phone novel now gets NC16 screen time in a social irresponsible movie that glosses over the serious issue of child prostitution with glam halter tops, credit cards and Louis Vuitton umbrellas, making it merely incidental in what is, in essence, a love story with no moral resolution.
Bad news on the doorstep:

If only he could resist.
The danger in making a commercial movie for general release that intentionally overlooks opinion (especially when one is obviously needed) is that people, regardless of age, might really think that these things are normal and socially tolerated. This is ironically worse than the position where a movie glorifies lolita lifestyle from the outset. In My Rainy Days, we are treated to a two-hour long doomed (and potentially illegal) relationship between two people, which is stylishly shot but frighteningly hollow. Undertones of abandonment, bisexuality and feminism carry the film but everythin is incidental to the plot and the sum experience is largely unrewardin.
Love hurts.
Perennial wonderment:
Lolitas.
Reminds me of:
Lolitas.
Amacam joker, berapa bintang lu mau kasi?
If none of this bothers you and you really are looking for a movie with some pretty movin pictures to look at, My Rainy Days is by and large an unlikely Japanese romance that is mildly entertainin in patches (despite replicating the overdone brain tumour plot device you get in every other Korean drama) thanks to the MTV chemistry between the lead pair and some unexpectedly rich story detail. You feel that writer and director Yuri Kantake knows exactly what he wanted. The problem is whether it's what you want as well.★★
Bonus material:
Surely you could do better than this.

Friday, 19 February 2010

The Band (2009)

At a glance:
Aussie rock n roll soft porn (or hard core if you landed yourself the longer 90min version). Here's one that won't make the Australian Film Festival lineup at GSC next month. You can expect dirty toilet sex, semen on speakers, lesbo lovin and the sinkin feelin of havin wasted a good hour of your life when the credits roll.
Bad news on the doorstep:
Women ain't beautiful nor compellin, mostly pierced and tattooed white trash. Almost had enough to tell a story but nope, it was decidedly sex and more sex. Don't remember the music. Distinct lack of humour. There also seems to be some misandry goin on, what with the number of lesbo scenes and how all the men are complete muppets.
Reminds me of:
You know that movie where they keep cuttin between a concert and a lovers' tryst, 9 Songs (2004)?
Amacam joker, berapa bintang lu mau kasi?
Watch on fast forward. Who is this Anna Brownfield writer director anyway? The Band (2009) is probably not for you.
Bonus material:
I suppose this is director Anna Brownfield hard at work.

Thursday, 18 February 2010

The Book Of Eli (2010)

"Are you sure you're 18?"
At a glance:
The end may be nigh but not for post-apocalyptic movies. Denzel Washington's survivor feature is a well-contained, half-engagin, action drama best commended for not resortin to the all-too-easy wasteland CGI we've been seein too much lately in movies like 2012 and I Am Legend. Directin it are the Hughes twins (From Hell, Menace II Society) who give the picture an ashen sepia feel all throughout Eli's decimated dystopia, an illiterate world populated with rummagin cannibals and Mad Max characters. While the picture isn't particularly rich nor does it have too many cultural references, Book Of Eli is steady and focused, just like the titular journeyman who has been walkin West for 30 years carryin the last bible on Earth (which happens to be a KJV, gimme a break!) and villainous town elder Carnegie (Gary Oldman) has set his eyes on it. Joinin the story are loyal concubine Claudia (Jessica Beals, Flashdance) and her bratty-but-seekin daughter Solara (Mila Kunis, That '70s Show). Other notable appearances include Tom Waits (Imaginarium Of Doctor Parnassus) and Malcolm McDowell (A Clockwork Orange).
Bad news on the doorstep:

Strange co-producer Washington has to play a restrained, charmless hero here, when the story could have benefited with an anti-hero or villain who trash-talks, somethin he's more adept at doin in movies like Training Day and American Gangster; or an outright, desperate good guy in movies like John Q and Fallen. The direction doesn't allow for his powerhouse actin and nobody watchin this film for him would be pleased with the experience because the movie doesn't really need him at all. Despite a solid premise, the correspondin lack of engaging dialogue between all characters is apparent.
Reminds me of:

Haneke's Time Of The Wolf and a bit of that entertainin flop Waterworld.
Watch out for:

Details!
Most memorable line:

One of the few rare moments of humour in the film when Eli is asked about whether he's quotin the bible and answers: "No, it's Johnny Cash. Live at Folsom Prison."
Amacam joker, berapa bintang lu mau kasi?

Three stars. A missed opportunity but studio suits won't bein a hurry to shout remake or sequel, which would be a good progression. The last shot with Mila Kunis does make her look like a leaner Angelina Jolie playin Terminator's Sarah Connor.

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Barbi3 (2008)

Titi Kamal naked sex Poppy Sovia Francine Roosenda cathy sharon tits rosmah fat bitch birkin bagAt a glance:
Ngapain sih lu? Nggak ngapa-ngapain kok. Just watchin a stupid movie every now and then to keep it real. Didn't know I'd really hit it though. This is Monty Tiwa's idea of an Indon answer to Mean Girls, where Titi Kamal (centre), Poppy Sovia (left) and Francine Roosenda (right) play the most irritatin wannabe American highschool girls ever.
Bad news on the doorstep:
Titi O Titi, you ain't got much time left. Wonder how her restaurant's doin. Borin, overdone teen plot. Fluff.
Watch out for:
Cathy Sharon as Helen. Like Liv Tyler took Teri Hatcher's lips and turned Indon.
Amacam joker, berapa bintang lu mau kasi?
Some decent music, the Melly Goeslaw title track sang by Rossa especially. Unexpected depth in dialogue every now and then. If you buy the VCD, there's a 15-minute featurette at the end to console you. ★★

Monday, 15 February 2010

Up In The Air (2009)

At a glance:
Commitment-phobia never looked sexier than when skirt-chasin extraordinaire George Clooney plays Ryan Bingham, the cocksure, jet-settin elitist who spends all his time flyin, as the movie title suggests. For a drama with many depressive elements, Up In The Air is surprisingly just as upliftin as it sounds, as Thank You For Not Smoking and Juno director Jason Reitman predictably followed up those two thematically similar films with this one. No surprise then that it's in the runnin for Best Pic at the 82nd Oscars. Adapted off the 2001 Walter Kirn novel of the same name, we follow the globe-trottin Mr Bingham as he travels from city to city to fire people as a specialist consultant hired by bosses too gutless to drop the axe face-to-face when downsizin companies. He may call it 'career transition counsellin' but make no mistake, it's a dirty job of having to tell people they've lost their jobs. The story is enriched by his chance meet with an equally self-centred traveller who becomes his romantic interest (Alex Goran played by a delectable Vera Farmiga, The Departed) and also the introduction of a young, overly-idealistic, go-gettin colleague (Natalie Keener played by Anna Kendrick, Jessica in the Twilight movies) who has persuaded the boss (Jason Bateman) to try out a new semi-confrontational video conferencin method of firin people.
Most memorable line:
Some animals were meant to carry each other to live symbiotically over a lifetime. Star crossed lovers, monogamous swans... We are not swans. We are sharks.
Amacam joker, berapa bintang lu mau kasi?
Four stars. A refreshin, cynical take on our name brand society. It's only natural that Americans in particular warm up to this picture all too easily. While it isn't a morally punishin film, it is one with clear and sharp ideas on lifestyle choices and their correspondin consequences, with some very interestin scenes that play on a more sociological wide angle rather than a private behavioural breakdown. Followin the character arc of the very dislikeable Ryan Bingham is an engrossin prospect, as his values are tested and he even has the option of redemption. The film finishes strong and leaves you as a rather intimate, though wordy movie that entertains and rewards nevertheless. Very strong performances by the main cast will go some way to make this a worthy Best Picture contender.

Saturday, 13 February 2010

72 Tenants Of Prosperity (2010) @ 72 家租客

72 Tenants Prosperity Alan Tam Anita Yuen Carina Lau Charmaine Sheh naked Chinese sex Eric Tsang Fala Chen Hong Kong callgirl Jacky Cheung Kate Tsui Kelly Chen Lam Ka Tung Lam Suet Michael TseBone Town
At a glance:
72 Tenants Prosperity Alan Tam Anita Yuen Carina Lau Charmaine Sheh naked Chinese sex Eric Tsang Fala Chen Hong Kong callgirl Jacky Cheung Kate Tsui Kelly Chen Lam Ka Tung Lam Suet Michael TseReferencing the Shaw Bros 1973 classic The House Of 72 Tenants, the decidedly crowded 72 Tenants Of Prosperity is a colourful (though not necessarily nutritious) addition to the Chinese New Year movie calendar which will invariably draw laughs among all followers of Hong Kong TV and cinema, especially those with a history of TVB fandom. There's like 180 known actors in it! In this 2010 reupdate, the paedophile politicians and brothel owners are missin and they've been replaced by fish ball noodle hawkers and manga sellers. We get intermittent flashbacks to 70s HK where the events of Sai Yeung Choi Street originally took place: 72 tenants who battled greedy landlords, with a love triangle that gave rise to a family feud. In the present day, the feud continues with the same triangle still festering but now it's a full-on Romeo and Juliet adventure as the next generation start to commit inter-family relationships of their own.
I can't remember if I cried:
When I read this cast list: Jacky Cheung, Eric Tsang, Anita Yuen, Lam Ka Tung, Charmaine Sheh, Fala Chen, Michael Tse, Bosco Wong, Linda Chung, Stephy Tang, Wong Cho Lam, Joyce Cheng, Lawrence Ng, Ron Ng, Kevin Cheng, Kenneth Ma, Kate Tsui. Kelly Chen, Sunny Chan, Joe Ma, Ben Wong, Natalie Tong, Leung Ka Ki, Timmy Hung, Joel Chan, Carina Lau, Alan Tam, Natalis Chan, Chin Siu Ho, Wayne Lai, Nancy Sit, Tony Leung Ka Fai, Sammy Leung, Dicky Cheung, Andy Hui, Tin Kai Man, Sam Lee, Ella Koon, Bernice Liu, Kayi Cheung, William So, Wu Fung, Louis Yuen, Raymond Lam, Justin Lo and Myolie Wu.
Watch out for:
Unlike similar projects with jarrin cameos, this one goes at it casual with a most light-hearted and non-committal approach. Story is funny in a giggly way and a truly inspired highlight is when Jacky Cheung and Wong Cho Lam do a play of Jackie's hit number.
72 Tenants Prosperity Alan Tam Anita Yuen Carina Lau Charmaine Sheh naked Chinese sex Eric Tsang Fala Chen Hong Kong callgirl Jacky Cheung Kate Tsui Kelly Chen Lam Ka Tung Lam Suet Michael TseAmacam joker, berapa bintang lu mau kasi?
Decent family fun. The film must also be credited with one of the most original and inoffensive way to execute the obligatory product placements. They un-apologetically sang our all the sponsor names to the tune of a traditional New Year tune while holding out title cards and liftin household appliances! Do tell the kids not to copy all the swearin. ★★★
Desktop Strippers

Alan Tam, Anita Yuen, Carina Lau, Charmaine Sheh, Chinese New Year, comedy, Eric Tsang, Fala Chen, Hong Kong, Jacky Cheung, Kate Tsui, Kelly Chen, Lam Ka Tung, Lam Suet, Michael Tse,

Monday, 25 January 2010

Cheeky (2000) @ Trasgredire

"I'm just like you!"
The BEST eCigarette
At a glance:
Yuliya Mayarchuk obliges.
One of the relatively more recent erotic comedies from softporn supremo Tinto Brass. In Cheeky (the Italian title card cleverly highlightin the tradire (to cheat) part in trasgredire (to transgress), we get a blonde with The Perfect Backside™ who leaves her boyfriend behind in Venice while she goes whorin herself all over London. By this, I mean she's a girl who has absolutely no demonstrable restraint towards every form of sexual contact. Worse, she also seems to suffer from an acute case of allergy towards textile. Ahhh... Tinto Brass. Truly he's a feminist because in all his films, female infidelity isn't only healthy but actually serves to strengthen the primary relationship! No wonder his films are important. Anti-misogyny in porno. What an idea. In this movie, the girl gets her boyfriend (Jarno Berardi) all jealous but he ends up bein turned on by it. They both love each other madly no matter who or how many they fuck. That's just great, guys.
Bad news on the doorstep:
Movies about free love (even dirty movies) are easy to watch but difficult to internalise. I mean, do you want your mum and dad to share such promiscuous notions?
Reminds me of:
Paprika - the first Tinto Brass movie I ever watched.
Watch out for:
Ukrainian beauty Yuliya Mayarchuk, now based in Italy. Deadringer for Julia Stiles, only shapelier. Here's her website, you pervos.
Amacam joker, berapa bintang lu mau kasi?
Three stars.

What a joy.

Saturday, 23 January 2010

Hachiko: A Dog's Story (2009)

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At a glance:
Shall we call this genre dog drama? I can think of plenty of similar titles of late. This one's an American reupdate on the Japanese movie Hachikô Monogatari (1987), based on real life events about an Akita whose owner died and the animal theatrically waited everyday for the next nine years at the train station for his master to return. Entrusted to the able hands of that Swede Lasse Hallström, the man behind offbeat, sensitive stuff like Chocolat (2000), The Cider House Rules (1999) and My Life As A Dog (1985), you get a winsome, heartfelt tale without too many forced soppy moments. That's where someone like Richard Gere is able to fit fine, with that unassumin face of his.
Bad news on the doorstep:
Still PG stuff for the family, in case you're lookin for somethin more directly depressin.
Perennial wonderment:
Why did Sony do a straight-to-DVD release for America? That probably made more people think it's really petty stuff meant for family viewin. It's not. I thankfully got to watch this at Filmgarde in Bugis, Singapore.
I can't remember if I cried:
I didn't cry, okay? I got street cred to maintain. What do you take me for?
Reminds me of:
Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey (1993), 10 Promises To My Dog (2008) and Muffin, the Shih Tzu we had who's now an ex-Shih Tzu. Poor Muffin.
Amacam joker, berapa bintang lu mau kasi?
It's got heart and it's boosted by a great score by Jan Kaczmarek. You know I don't approve of soppy shyte so this one will hopefully surprise you. ★★★
Bonus material:
Status of Hachiko at Shibuya Station.
For further readin, see Hachiko.