The Knot 云水谣


Director: Yin Li
Starring: Chen Kun, Vivian Hsu, Li Bingbing, Isabella Leong, Gua Ahleh, Chin Han, Yang Kuei Mei
RunTime: 105 mins

Genre: Drama
Rating: PG
Will Appeal To: Aunties who crave for Chinese/Taiwanese soap

When you see names like Chin Han and Gui Ya Lei on the cast list, you should know what to expect. Entering the cinema without reading the production notes, I was unknowingly brought back to the past…

…The past when I would watch Taiwanese soap operas written by Qiong Yao (Zai Shui Yi Fang, Ting Yuan Shen Shen and the Six flowers series) where Chin Han is matched with every young sobbing newbie.

Chin Han has been 'promoted' to a father figure while Vivian Hsu and Chen Kun take over as the love birds in anguish. They play students Qiu Shui and Bi Yun (take note of their poetic names) who are torn apart due to different family backgrounds and political beliefs.

Please prepare your tissue as the young couple declare their love, tears rolling down while they cry out each other names (Qiu Shhuuuiiii… Bi Yuunnn….). Don’t forget the rain and music, exchange of love items and promise to stay true forever. Korean dramas, please step aside.

While the youths may wince at such mushy plot and cringe inducing dialogue, aunties will reminiscent the kind of soap dramas they used to watch. With confusing point-of-view flashbacks, and picturesque scenes of China and Tibet fade in and out constantly, I wished I had the fast-forward button.

The Knot – My mother may like

Trust The Man


Director: Bart Freundlich
Cast: Julianne Moore, David Duchovny, Billy Crudup, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Eva Mendes
RunTime: 103 mins
Genre: Drama
Rating: TBA
Will Appeal To: Couples having problems with relationships

Is there a trend of movies like these nowadays - New Yorkers 30 and above facing emotional crisis and do nothing but sit around to talk and whine? (Think The Last Kiss and Friends With Money.)

Julianne Moore, David Duchovny, Billy Crudup, Maggie Gyllenhaal join in the pack who sit around dissatisfied with their love life. The X-files man play the sex addict (Is twice a day THAT much) vs his actress wife has doesn’t want more, and the single and happy vs his girlfriend (Mr Brokeback Mountain's sister) who watches her biological clock tick for the last 7 years.

Conflicts tore them apart. They each find solace in a younger actor, mother for sex, a hot ex girlfriend and a boring French man. The 4 other halves do nothing to add drama to the movie. A pity for Hitch’s Eva Mendes who is the temptress who just want to ‘live life to the fullest’.

As they search for love in the midst of careers, family, infidelity and the ever-daunting search for Manhattan street parking, they find themselves and also the most important thing in their life.

This movie may strike a chord with city dwellers with similar problems. Otherwise, it is another shallow piece who can do with better scriptwriting and pacing. A waste of the four very good cast.

Trust The Man – But Not The Movie

A Battle of Wits 墨攻


Director: Jacob Cheung
Starring: Andy Lau, Ahn Sung-ki, Wang Zhiwen, Fan Bingbing, Wu Chi-lung, Choi Si-won
RunTime: 132 mins

Genre: Period Drama
Rating: PG (Some Battle Scenes)

(This entry is contributed by my colleague Patrick.)

It’s undeniable that A Battle of Wits is an extravaganza and along with this term, there inadvertently exists the social stigma of elaborate costumes and special effects, coupled with poor storyline and acting to boot.

While I agree that the film does boast an international cast such as Hong Kong actor Andy Lau, Korean talent Sung-Kee Ahn and China budding actress Fan Bing Bing, “A Battle of Wits” also has very deep political overtones, which I will attribute it to the director Jacob Cheung’s ambitious aspirations to pass his messages to the world through the world of cinema.

The plot also proves to be quite unique. Given that a small kingdom of Liang is under siege from a large army of Zhao, the ruler of Liang has requested assistance from a group of strategists, know as The Mozi. Just before the start of battle between the two parties with the Liang army on the verge of surrender, a lone figure was spotted trekking across the harsh desert terrain right up to the castle of Liang. His name is Ge Li (Andy Lau), a member of the Mozi clan. And with his appearance and subsequent intervention, the tide of battle is turned.

What makes A Battle of Wits so distinctive and impactful are the social messages that it conveys. The characters in the film are not mere caricatures, and each of them seeks to pass a message to the audience. It’s been sometime since characterisation surpasses storytelling in filmmaking. But this film proves the point that film characters are still the best option to push the story forward, along with the narrative.

The film’s anti-war message is prominent throughout this 132-minute film, portraying the consequences of war well: death, destruction, loss of loved ones, orphaned children, betrayal, love for power, biased justification for war and loyalty. The film also prominently and unabashedly displays human’s lust for dominance and destruction at the cost of human lives, and openly exhibits human’s unfathomable acceptance for sacrifices as well as the unacceptable lengths that they will go to achieve their personal ambitions over world peace.

A Battle of Wits also illustrates the fact that the world is often divided into two halves of good and evil. Whenever an evil tyrant stays in power, the good individuals are often suppressed and oppressed in a world where justice seldom prevails. The film also offers a perspective that the loyalties of wandering travelers from a town to another ultimately lies in their personal gains.

What makes this film so eerily haunting is the fact that it almost always speaks true of our current times. If one were to go through the history of mankind in times of war or flip through the pages of any newspapers, one will find certain truths in these filmic messages.

But there’s another message that tries to break out of the movie. And that‘s the exploration into the psyche of human nature. The film delves deep into the heart of human nature and explores questions such as: Should all love one another? Should there be giving without receiving? Should people advocate peace instead of war? Should life be treasured rather than discounted?

Sadly, in the film, some characters long for revenge over redemption, pursue personal gains over self-sacrifice, chose war over peace and kill rather than forgive. The male lead Ge Li thereby acts as the lone messiah in the mist of power-hungry warlords, backstabbing court officials and victims of circumstances.

It seems to reflect the state of our current times, where goodness is often shrouded in dense darkness.

But what will send a chill down your spine after watching this film is its revelation of how complex and dark human nature can be.

A Battle of Wits - A Reflection of State

Step Up


Director: Anne Fletcher
Starring: Channing Tatum, Jenna Dawam
Runtime: 98 mins
Genre: Drama / Music / Dance
Rating: PG
Recommended for: Viewers of So You Think You Can Dance

(This review is contributed by Vonjie)

Having read quite a few bad reviews of the movie, my expectations of Step Up's storyline were decidedly low, so I wasn't too disappointed.

All the grooving was sufficient to keep me entertained throughout, envying the bodies which moved with such poise, ease and energy. There were some bits which made the movie a little slow and could have potentially made Step Up more than just a music/dance movie.

My favourite scene wasn't the final showcase but the mass dance in the club. The movie changed my bias towards techno/hip hop music and made hip hop dance absolutely cool. In contrast, ballet seemed somewhat boring. Combined, the dance was chic and stylish.

Channing Tatum's physique and ability to sweep a girl off her feet literally would wow any woman. Together with Jenna Dewan, they manage to pull off sweet sexy without the sleaze, but not much sizzle either.

Step Up - makes you want to step out and learn how to dance

Deck The Halls


Director: John Whitesell
Starring: Danny DeVito, Matthew Broderick, Kristin Davis, Kristin Chenoweth
RunTime: 100 mins
Genre: Comedy
Rating: TBA
Will Appeal To: People curious at how lame a movie can get

Some movies are so bad that you may swear off Christmas movies.

This Christmas stars Danny DeVito and Matthew Broderick as New England neighbours who spark a feud when one of them goes overboard with the Christmas decorations. DeVito plays Buddy who wants his house to be seen from "My Earth" (You know Goggle Earth?) and outer space. Two credible actors have just reached a low time in their careers.

"Oh honey, Christmas is THE most important day in the year." Give me a break. The acting was so bad that it is so unnatural, lame and cringe-worthy.

Nasty neighbours fight but realise that Christmas is all about sharing. Family resolves conflicts and gets together for a meal, decorating the house with lights. The whole town goes in merry making, and ends by singing "Oh Holy Night". How contrived, pretentious and hypocritical can a Christmas movie get? It’s Christmas, so please at least be sincere and realistic about it.

The CG was so badly done. The scriptwriters forgot that their audience is actually sophisticated. As if we all know the 'true spirit' of Christmas is about being together with our family and neighbours. Singing Christmas carols waving lighted hand phones was the last straw.


Deck The Halls – We wish you a dreary Christmas

Tenacious D in the Pick of Destiny


Director: Liam Lynch
Cast: Jack Black, Kyle Gass, Ben Stiller
RunTime: 95 mins

Genre: Music Comedy
Rating: M18 (Coarse Language)
Will Appeal To: Fans of the greatest band in the world

(Warning: Entry rated M18)
Oh the dragons balls were blazin'
As I stepped into his cave.
Then I sliced his f***in' cockles,
With a long and shiney blade! '
Twas I who f***ed the dragon,
F***alize sing f***aloo!
And if you try to f*** with me,
Then I shall f*** you too!

Interesting, I am writing this after teaching a lesson of symbols in poems. Hmm... Anyway, Jack Black and Kyle Gass return with this tale of how Tenacious D came together, drawing on celebrity friends to tell a tale of a mystical guitar pick that will help them become the greatest band of all time.

You either think they are really talented and funny, or downright stupid, distasteful and crude. You take your pick.

Film critics probably won't take them too seriously, especially when it is a movie produced by Ben Stiller. Some may just miss the whole point of the movie, which is to be nonsensical.

Stealing a guitar pick and fighting with the devil may not be your choice of a logical and intellectual plot, but how they weave all the songs together was simply brilliant.

Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny – Not an "A" movie, but at least a "B-".

The Last Kiss


Director: Tony Goldwyn
Cast: Zach Braff, Jacinda Barrett, Casey Affleck, Blythe Danner, Rachel Bilson, Tom Wilkinson
RunTime: 1 hr 44 mins
Genre: Drama/Comedy
Rating: M18 (Scenes of Intimacy)
Will Appeal To: Zach Braff fans of
Garden State

Based on the 2001 Italian movie L’ultimno Bacio, The Last Kiss focuses around a young couple torn apart due to infidelity. It was a reflection of reality as a group of 20-somethings who face the crossroads of life as they approach the crucial age of 30. It was a choice between taking the safe route or the road less traveled.

Although the movie was featuring a large ensemble cast, the supporting cast turned out to be stereotypical roles who were inconsequential. The subplots of Jenna’s parents who face a midlife crisis and best friend Chris who was abandoned by his wife could have been explored a lot further. Unfortunately, it was just a touch-and-go. The stories of the two other friends also did nothing but slowed down the pace of the movie.

One of the key roles should be the 3rd party Kim, yet the only impression of the audience of her was a typical student seeking fun. There was no character development; therefore we don’t feel a sense of connection or sympathy. She does nothing more than to splice up the sex factor in this movie.

It is hard to fit this movie into any genre. While termed as a feel-good romantic comedy, it wasn’t very funny, sweet or dramatic to begin with. In fact, I couldn’t remember much of it except that it felt exceptionally long for its 104 minutes screen time.

The screenplay is written by Paul Haggis, who has two Oscar winning movies Million Dollar Baby and Crash behind him. He is also involved with the screenplay of Flags of Our Fathers and Casino Royale. Unfortunately, the Last Kiss could not handle the complexities of characters (like Crash) or depth (like Million Dollar Baby).

Although it was a story on commitment and adulthood, it was predictable and boring. It was hard for the audience to feel a sense of connection or emotion towards the story or ill-developed characters. The Last Kiss probably won’t get the same type of reviews the original Italian movie had, with most the authenticity lost in translation.

The Last Kiss – A long and boring kiss that is unmemorable.

Happy Feet


Director: George Miller
Voice Talents of: Elijah Wood, Robin Williams, Brittany Murphy, Nicole Kidman, Hugh Jackman

RunTime: 98 mins
Genre: Animation
Rating: PG

Will Appeal To: Young children and Old 'children'

If Happy Feet can’t make you happy, few will.

Happy Feet is set deep in Antarctica. Into the Land of the Emperor Penguins where each needs a heart song to attract a soul mate, a penguin is born who cannot sing. Our hero Mumble, son of Memphis and Norma Jean, is the worst singer in the world… however as it happens, he is a brilliant tap dancer!

The animation starts off as a music fanfare with Nicole Kidman and Huge Jackson sealing their love musical style. Their medley of Kiss and Heartbreak Hotel was sweet and magical. I always look forward to all the songs from the old cartoons we used to see. (What happened to the songs in the newer animation?!) But Happy Feet promises songs of many genre, with penguins dancing to Boogie Wonderland.

Mumble (voiced by Elijah Wood) is Cute with the Capital C (perhaps not so much after he grew up). Watching him fumble and tap-dance to the tune of American Idol Fantasia Barrino was very heart warming. Yes, another plush toy please!

Possibly inspired from Life in the Freezer and March of the Penguins, it goes on to discuss more adult issues (which justifies for its PG rating). From family, relationships, acceptance of deviance in the society, religion (watch out for Christian undertones), ecological issues to environmentalism, Happy Feet strikes a good balance between the its two target audience. You may be prepared to drop a tear or two.

As a trivia, this is Steve Irwin's last movie as well as he voices one of the elephant seals.

Breathtaking scenes, cutesy animation, music, dance and issues, Happy Feet is a happy feat.

Happy Feet – Start tapping your feet!

Time (Korean)


Director: Kim Ki-duk
Starring: SUNG Hyun-ah, HA Jung-woo
RunTime: 98 mins
Genre: Korean Drama
Rating: M18 (Some Sexual Scenes)

(This review is contributed by my colleague Patrick)

While always adhering religiously to metaphors and motifs in his films, Korean director Kim Ki Duk’s 13th film “Time” takes a turn for the obvious. Brutally honest and grim, Time gradually peers away the layers of superficial beauty that lies behind the face of plastic surgeries and explores the possibility of the ephemeral love among South Koreans. Kim Ki Duk holds nothing back in this film, and offers audiences the bare truth on the drawbacks of plastic surgery among South Koreans, where it is said that a substantial number of them go under the knife every year.

At the heart of the film lies a very simple plot. See-hee is very much in love with Ji Woo, to the point of being insecure of their relationship. And Ji Woo does reciprocate her love. However, tragically, both See-hee’s and Ji Woo’s perception of love are very different. While See-hee’s love for Ji Woo is very physical, Ji Woo’s love comes in the form of emotional bonding and trust.

This insecurity in See-hee soon escalates to the point where she hates and dislikes her body, longing for a permanent change. Jealousy soon results whenever she saw Ji-Woo talking to svelte and statuesque females who possess the slightest tendency to make advances towards him. This obsession is especially directed towards a specific waitress whom Ji Woo has an interest in in a particular cafe.

See-hee’s salvation comes in the form of plastic surgery. Without bidding Ji Woo farewell, she disappears herself, goes under the knife and appears before Ji Woo again six months later, with the same name but a different face. What’s more interesting is that she has intentionally replaced the waitress that Ji Woo has a fancy for in her bid to create a fantasy scenario whereby Ji Woo will fall in love with her all over again.

Kim Ki Duk’s direction is excellent, moving from happy moments to despair with ease. The film itself seems to serve as the symbol for unrequited love, which is what this film is about. After See-hee’s plastic surgery, the relationship between Ji Woo and See-hee are at times ecstatically satisfying while at times excruciatingly painful. It is indeed unbearable to watch such a loving couple falling apart as the film progresses. But the portrayal is as realistic as it can be about real-life couples who splinter due to different expectations.

Plastic surgery, while meant to be a saviour for many an average-looking lady, becomes a third party that splits the couple in this film. This could probably be the reality in Korean society today, and few directors can be as brutal and direct as Kim Ki Duk who delivers the message with a strong, in-your-face punch.

Time - Brutal and direct

Casino Royale


Director: Martin Campbell
Cast: Daniel Craig, Judi Dench, Eva Green, Mads Mikkelsen, Jeffrey Wright,
RunTime: 145 mins
Genre: Action / Adventure
Rating: PG (Some Violence)
Will Appeal To: The masses except true blue bond fans perhaps

His name is Daniel, Daniel Craig.

Short (1.8m), blue eyed, blonde and 'ugly' Daniel was the centre of controversy when he was the chosen Bond over Huge Jackman, Ewan McGregor and Clive Owen after Mr Brosnan was retired. Knowing he won't have it easy, he works really hard (and works out really hard) and it shows in his debut as 007.

Casino Royale is based on creature Ian Fleming's first novel about the debonair and dangerous British secret agent. There are plenty of action sequences, explosion and sex to drive adrenalin. I have nothing to complain really, as the movie didn't even feel that long.

This is a new Bond, also because it is based on the 1st novel. Going back to the roots, you won't see much of high tech gadgets (if the Sony Ericcsson phone I badly want counts). Q and Ms MoneyPenny are also excluded. You will see more of the 'real' Bond, rather than the slick and suave one.

Bond is not only smart, egoistic and sexy, but Very egoistic and sexy (more skin than anybody), dark, reckless and vulnerable. As blue eyed Bond meets green eyed Vesper, they sizzle and you see the other side of this man.

Good action, witty conversations, riveting casino game, character development... Casino Royale packs it all.

Casino Royale – Daniel's the Man

A Good Year


Director: Ridley Scott
Starring: Russell Crowe, Albert Finney, Abbie Cornish, Marion Cotillard
RunTime: 118 mins
Genre: Drama

Rating: PG
Will Appeal To: Shall I say mature audience?

Just as my student tells everyone to avoid A Good Year, why won’t I be surprised?

When I was 18, I will always prefer cola more than any form of alcohol, and fine French wine was bland, bitter, or just blah to me. A Good Year is like French Wine, something to be appreciated slowly, and may disappoint many.

Ridley Scott and Russell Crowe unites after Gladiator for this movie based on Peter Mayle’s best selling novel. A British investment broker inherits a vineyard in Province from his late uncle. He discovers a new laid-back lifestyle as he leaves behind the fast life, for the fine life.

Beautiful scenery, wine, gorgeous French women and lots of money – the choice is clear. While A Good Year may not be a crowd favourite, it is a feel-good piece with music, vineyards and a inspiring painted view of life.

A Good Year – To be slowly appreciated

Colic (Thai)


Director: Patchanon Thumjira
Cast: Pimpan Chalayanacupt, Witthaya Wasukraisparn

RunTime: 108 mins
Genre: Horro (Thai)
Rating: NC 16 (Some Disturbing Scenes)

Horror movies are almost categorized with Japanese movies featuring white long haired woman, and Hollywood movies with blood and gore. In recent time, filmmakers start toying with technological gadgets from videos, to hand phones and emails (ghosts through your broadband and cable next?).

The Thais stick to something conventional, yet effective – a baby. It may be the vulnerability of babies, or housewives' tales involving babies, horror tales featuring babies and children should always work. The poster of Colic features a baby with a missing hand sitting next to a blood stained fruit blender, and can almost stir up your imagination (Argh!).

Colic is actually a syndrome found in infants, which causes infants to cry continuously for hours. This unexplained condition affects infants for up to five to sixth months and affects one in ten infants. Baby Pan doesn't stop crying, and the superstitious yet sweetly nice Thai mother-in-law blames it on supernatural beings.

The other Thai movie Shutter works because it is not what you see that scares, but what you don't see. Colic keeps the audience in suspense on what may happen and you question if there's something than more than what meets the eye.

However, the baby never stops crying and nothing ever happens. The pace of movie is further slowed by scientific explanations of the syndrome Colic and long conversations. The audience obviously knows that the burnt neighbour next door has something to do with the mystery, but all we hear is crying.

The real excitement comes through the last ten minutes of the movie, where you see real blood and gore which may keep eyes covered. (But you can't really close your ears so more baby's crying for you.) Again, that reminded me one of the scenes Final Destination Three.

Colic could have potentially a frightening horror movie that would match up to Shutter's success. Only if it had a faster pacing and focused on what it was trying to achieve.

Colic - Strongly not recommended to pregnant women and mothers with infants

Just Friends


Director: Roger Kumble
Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Amy Smart, Anna Faris, Chris Klein
RunTime: 96 mins

Genre: Romance Comedy
Rating: NC-16
Will Appeal To: Lovey-Dovey Couples

Two words a guy never wants to hear…

Just Friends. As the most wonderful time of the year is arriving, Just Friends is a festive romantic comedy that should appeal to young couples.

Chris reminds me of myself. He was fat, very fat, geeky, silly, tries so hard to impress but never had the girl he wanted. The only difference is he is Ryan Reynolds in a fat-suit, and I exercised. 10 years latter, he transforms. Will he get his girl now?

The movie is made by the producers of American Pie, so you think you know what to expect? It’s hilarious, mischievous, clean and bitter sweet at times. While Ryan Reynolds proves that he has comic timing, the person who is unforgettable is really Anna Faris, who does a bimbotic turn after her Scary movies. Oh no, she will be type cast, but who cares.

Just Friends fizzles out towards the end, with predictable turns and run-on-the-mill jokes. It is still a feel good movie for its target audience this holiday season.

Just Friends – Just the right comedy for couples

Joni's Promise (Indonesian)


Director: Joko Anwar
Cast: Mariana Renata, Nicholas Saputra, Rachel Maryam
RunTime: 87 mins

Genre: Comedy (Indonesian)
Rating: PG
Will Appeal To: If you want something different…

Talk about Indonesia and you will think of haze, maids, politics, Susilo… but movies?

Joni’s Promise should be the first Indonesian movie I have watched, and I don’t know how much it will appeal to the local audience. It resolves around Joni, a movie reel delivery boy never fails to make it on time. When the girl he loves challenges him to the next delivery, Murphy’s Law decides that whatever will go wrong will go wrong for him.

While the plot can get a little bizarre and old school. but it’s appeal lies in its simplicity. Joni may not be the best actor but he is very likeable.

What strikes me most is the movie feels very ‘old’ - old fashioned filming and editing techniques, jerky camera movements and a boom mike in sight. Is it Indonesia or is it done on purpose?

If you have enough of hamburgers. steak or kimchi, some Gado Gado may prove to be very refreshing.

Joni’s Promise – Indonesia can make good movies

Material Girls


Director: Martha Coolidge
Starring: Hilary Duff, Haylie Duff, Anjelica Houston
RunTime: 97 mins
Genre: Bimbotic Comedy
Rating: PG
Will Appeal To: Strictly Duff Fans

While taking the super crowded MRT train back home from Woodlands, I start to feel horrible about myself.

I must be affected by the Marchetta sisters (Hilary Duff and Haylie Duff) who fall from riches to rags after their cosmetic brand causes severe allergies. They have to wear hand-me-downs *gasps*, wash the dishes *super gasps*, and take the public transport *breathless*! As the older Duff says “Friends don't let friends take public transportation”, I start to think worse about my miserable life and my own friends.

Nah. The Olsens or the Hilton/Richie combo may have done a better job. Material Girls is not even funny. I laughed a total of 5 times (perhaps more if I didn’t catch the trailer.) They also butchered the Madonna classic! But watch it if you want to watch the Duff sisters wear pretty clothes (even though they are supposed to be poor) and do an Erin Brockovich. It just shows that Hiliary is more than just a Disney Girl.

My friend asked which one was Hilary. While I answered "the prettier one", I thought twice and should have answered "the one with the smaller nose, but acted slightly worse".

Even though it scored only 1.8 out of 10 in IMDB and 6% in rottentomatoes, Material Girls will appeal to a certain demographic. The distributor obviously knows the target audience – the Cineleisure crowd. "Oh, so preeeettyyyy." I agree, and that’s pretty much about it.

Material Girls – Only catch it when you want a bimbotic moment



Director: Julien Temple
Featuring: Cold Play, Chemical Brothers, Blur, Radiohead, David Grey, White Stripes, Scissor Sisters, Prodigy, Bjork

RunTime: 135 mins
Genre: Music Documentary
Rating: M18 (Brief Nudity)
Will Appeal To: Music Lovers of this genre

A documentary on the 30th anniversary of Britain's best-known music festival. The film invites audiences to submerge themselves in the spirit, characters and overwhelming sensory experiences of Glastonbury - the longest running and most pre-eminent music festival in the world.

Glastonbury allowed me to see another side of this world, where people gather just to celebrate music. The crowd was delirious, and the atmosphere overwhelming. Music lovers from all over the world turn up in camps literally, to join in the fun of watching performances from Cold Play, Chemical Brothers to Blur.

The documentary started off well in celebration of fans dancing in the nude, pitching tents, and making friends who share a common love.

Unfortunately, it dragged on to become a mishmash of random footages from home videos, regardless of time period, subject, or music genre. It even featured on how they got rid of human wastes in between screaming fans and Bjork singing. Hmm...

135 minutes is really too long for a movie. The filmmakers forgot a movie is not a concert.

Glastonbury – Strictly for fans

The Man Of My Life (French)


Director: Zabou Breitman
Starring: Bernard Campan, Charles Berling, Lea Drucker
RunTime: 104 mins
Genre: Drama
Rating: R21 (Mature Theme)
Will Appeal To: Gay Men

While branded as the French Brokeback Mountain, the two movies are very different. The term

'brokeback' seems to be synonymous with gay movies now, regardless the content.

Interestingly, a movie about a two males point of view (one homosexual, and one heterosexual) is directed by a woman.

The contrast of two men: One’s married man with children, the other’s homosexual. They have different lifestyles, one practicing monogamy and the other still in search for the perfect man. The only thing they have in common is their love for jogging and late night conversations.

The movie can be highly stereotypical at times in its portrayal of homosexual men, yet there is truth in it. The heterosexual man falls for the homosexual man through their conversations. What does it say? Does it go against stereotypes?

Visually very stylish, the story asks a lot of questions and you will find no answer. The lack of emotional depth, and slow moving pace did little to save the film.

Like Brokeback Mountain, the movie’s most pivotal scene involved the anguish of the man’s woman. Ironic. How about the men?

The Man Of My Life – More style than depth

The Grudge 2


Director: Takashi Shimizhu
Starring: Amber Tamblyn, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Edison Chen
RunTime: 102 mins
Genre: Horror (Perhaps)
Rating: PG
Will Appeal To: Fans who still have hope in Japanese horror, and boyfriends who want to scare their girlfriends

All right. Raise your hands if you still have hope in Japanese horror movies. The Ring was scary, Dark Waters griping, Ju-on was okay, and others that came after it is laughable.

Boyfriends who want to bring your girlfriends for a good scare, and then hug them during the movie: Your girlfriends will feel bored and ogle at Edison Chen instead.

If you want to catch Sarah Michelle Gellar like me, sorry, she dies really soon. Don’t have to ask why and how. You know it.

The Grudge 2 is a remade of Japanese successful franchise Ju-On. Having the original Japanese director, or Hong Kong’s Edison Chen cannot save it. 3 school girls enter a cursed house, and ends up being haunted by wide-eyed mama in long hair and pale boy who goes “Meow!”

Anything new? Yes, there is: A Japanese lady who explained the story in English. The audience laughed. It reached No.1 in US box office. Hurray! Now, that’s an unsolvable curse.

The Grudge 2 - Repetitive, boring and even funny

Days of Glory (Indigènes)


Director: Rachid Bouchareb
Starring: Jamel Debbouze, Samy Naceri, Roschdy Zem, Sami Bouajila
RunTime: 130 mins
Genre: War (French)
Rating: NC16
Will Appeal To: War movie lovers

Many tales of the war has been told, from Saving Private Ryan, Schindler’s List to Merry Christmas. None have mentioned about African soldiers fighting a war for French.

1943. 4 "natives" who had not even set foot in France, joined the French army to free the motherland from the Nazi enemy. These native heroes were forgotten in history, until this movie came up.

A movie about French soldiers may not be of too much significance to local audience, but rest assured the battle scenes are "Hollywood" worthy and gripping enough. Only gripe is the movie is marred by a rather slow form of story telling, and I wished there was more character development.

Days of Glory made one one of the most remarkable influences in movie history. Despite regular claims and court orders, the war survivors have not been receiving full war pensions. After watching the movie, France's President Chirac has moved to redress claims of war pensions for the "natives".

This shows the impact of movies.

Days of Glory – A piece of forgotten history

Flushed Away


Director: David Bowers, Sam Fell
Voice Talents of: Kate Winslet, Hugh Jackman, Ian McKellen, Andy Serkis, Bill Nighy, Jean Reno

RunTime: 86 mins
Genre: Animation
Will Appeal To: More adults than children, fans of Wallace and Gromit

Hugh Jackman Movie 3

This movie is a blast! I havn't enjoyed myself at an animation for such a long time. Personally, it is even more brilliant its predecessors Madagascar and Shrek.

The idea of rodents leaving at underground skewers below a toilet bowl may not appeal to many. There may not be a strong moral story at the end (such as the typical family ties or friendship), it is an enjoyable ride down.

Huge Jackman, Kate Winslet and Andy Serkis (Prrreecious) are one of their best. This shows how important voice actors are to an animation rather than just getting celebrity names. Huge Jackson doesn’t sound like himself! Kate Winslet is so feisty! The 'star' of the movie has to be Jean Reno who plays the French frog with his sardonic comments.

Pay attention to the details of the visuals. There is a lot of pop culture reference and tributes to movie characters from Hans Solo, Wolverine, Elvis, Nemo to Gromit. It may be very stereotypical, but who won't like jokes about the English football team?

If there are plush toys on those screaming/singing slugs, I will definitely get one of them. As they break out into song and dance, you join in the fun.

(The movie may not appeal that much to children and viewers who will not appreciate British humour though.)

Flushed Away – The best animation this year. Open Season and Happy Feet, watch out!

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