Accurary of Death 死神の精度 (Film)


The Grim Reaper seldom comes in the form of a suave and charming Takeshi Kaneshiro. He plays Chiba the 'God of Death’ who observes people for seven days, and his job is to place judgment on whether the person should die.

This symbol of death is effortlessly styled with Gatsby model type hair, dressed in black coat holding an umbrella. His loyal dog unfortunately is the drenched one and speaks in the unspoken Manga language. The story spans from 1985-2000-2028, each with Takeshi with a different look and hair which will thrill his female fans, gasping at how young he still looks.

Story One has the feeling of bitter sweet, when the pessimistic and shy office lady finds hope in life after meeting him. Story Two seems a little out-of-place initially, dealing in gangsterism and brotherly love. My personal favourite is Story Three, with the charming old hairdresser lady showing the Grim Reaper the meaning of life.

Yes, one would expect a movie called ‘Accuracy of Death’ to reflect life.

Indeed, the Japanese are almost perfect in their art of story-telling. It is never obtrusive and not really obvious. You may sit through a huge part of the movie feeling rather it’s rather ordinary. But as the story unfolds, you will realise the beauty is in what is unspoken.

As the old lady brings the Grim Reaper to admire the sky, he gets his answer at the end. So will the audience. That is also a reflection of life. We sometimes wait till the end before we know what life is about. Poignant, and beautiful.

Accuracy of Death - A Beautful Reflection of Life

Speedracer (Film)


The Wachowski brothers have done it again, bringing yet another out-of-this-world movie. The Matrix trilogy has already showed their talent and craziness as filmmakers, and V for Vendetta blended both political messages and entertainment cleverly.

Enter the future with Speed Racer and his quirky family, which may reminds many of The Jetsons and The Robinsons. All 3 are set in an unknown time beyond where the world is psychedelic with flying vehicles.

The visuals are amazing. Fast speeding vehicles over a retro future setting would remind many of being right in an arcade game. The rapid editing over time frames forward and backward was styled like a manga series.

Critical receptions have been negative though, with reviewers calling it ‘pure cotton candy’, ‘cinematic pile up’, to ‘most headache-inducing’. The avante-garde nature may not appeal to all, but I appreciated its take on just wanting to be very colourful and fun.

But like an oversized lollipop, it may be too much for the people to take. With themes on anti-establishments, family, love, brotherly love, identity and conspiracy, the focus was a little all over the place.

Asian viewers who wants more of Rain may be disappointed to see that his role though considerable, was rather forgettable.

For a movie on speed, the pace could have been a little tighter as it ran over two hours. Perhaps there were too many sub-plots and chimpanzee tricks.

Speed Racer – A Visual Spectacle

Made of Honour (Film)


(Ashley and Kevin with their Maid of Honour Alvin, the guy on the left.)

Director: Paul Weiland
Cast: Patrick Dempsey, Michelle Monaghan, Kevin McKidd, Kathleen Quinlan, Sydney Pollack
Genre: Romantic Comedy
Rating: PG
Would appeal to: Dating couples
A highly anticipated romantic comedy Made of Honour is yet another paled down version of My Best Friend’s Wedding.
The charming Patrick Dempsey from Grey’s Anatomy plays Tom the best friend who is asked to be the ‘maid’ of honour (MOH) of Hannah (Michelle Monaghan). Little does Hannah know that this playboy has fallen in love with her and wants to stop the wedding.
The story screams nothing original and looks like a jigsaw of several other similar movies. Patrick may be good looking, but he’s no Julia Roberts.
During the media screening, the distributors actually staged an actual wedding ceremony and the MOH Alvin was a male best friend. How many guys would actually do this for their girl friends?
Alvin said that he was doing purely out of friendship, and only after numerous persuasions by the bride. He certainly looked very awkward as he was holding up the bride’s gown.
I had the ‘privilege’ to be in a good friend’s ‘jie mei’ team once. Certainly embarrassing! Especially when we had to be colour coordinated (fortunately not pink). I would not have done it if she hasn’t been a friend since secondary one, and there was another guy in the same fate with me.

Well, the benefit is the bride ‘sisters’ get all the fun, and not do pushups and drink bitter tea. But even as people become more open-minded, a guy standing in the middle of girls during the wedding may get more attention than the whole group of them.
Before you scream “gay”, he is most likely a very good friend of the bride. So ladies, think twice before you ask your best guy friend to be your MOH. He is certainly not the best person to fuss over your makeup, coordinate your China, and adjust your straps, even if the groom doesn’t mind at all.

Made of Honour – Certainly no My Best Friend’s Wedding

Dance of the Dragon (Film)


Director: John Radel, Max Mannix
Cast: Jang Hyuk, Fann Wong, Jason Scott Lee
RunTime: 111 mins
Genre: Drama
Rating: PG

In case you haven’t read about it, ST Life gave this film a miserable half a star. Why wasn’t I surprised?

I was looking forward to this movie. After all, it is an interesting collaboration with the Koreans, Americans and Singaporeans, and touted to be Jang Hyuk’s big break into Hollywood. Being constantly fascinated by dance forms, films like Strictly Ballroom, Mad Hot Ballroom and Take the Lead were mostly enjoyable.

The film started rather promisingly, with picturesque scenes of a Korean village, and engaging conversations of father-son tensions. But once Korean village boy Tae (Jang Hyuk) received a dance audition letter out of nowhere from a dance school set in washed-out Chinatown Singapore, the movie is on its route to ridiculous mockery.

“Where. Did. You. Learn. That. Dance. From?” as judge/dance teacher Emi (Fann Wong) asked rather awkwardly and slowly. You will also start to realise that this graceful teacher not only dances slowly, but speaks, walks, picks her clothes, looks into the sky at an amazingly dawdling tempo. (It reminds me of dance teachers I know who dances unhurriedly, but scolds students at the top of their voices. Fann, we need some attitude!)

Jason Scott Lee is completely wasted with his only one black-faced ‘you-owe-me-lots-of-money’ look. Fann Wong has that perpetual dazed gaze, and Jang Hyuk’s charm is the saving grace.

The three gets tied in a love triangle. Martial arts principal gets beaten up for $20,000. He then challenges Korean boy to a duel for dancing with his girl. Korean boy learns martial arts from a DVD. Fann Wong joins a dance competition with somebody she never really practiced with. Do we really care?

During the final act, Fann and Jang get into yet another slow tango, dancing to Enrique Iglesias’s fast tempo Hero, while the audience clap constantly at slow-mo. Sigh… The only thing worth watching is perhaps the Francis Cheong diamond studded red dress. Nice.

Dance of the Dragon – This dance is out of the rhythm

Nim's Island (Film)


Director: Mark Levin, Jennifer Flackett
Cast: Jodie Foster, Abigail Breslin, Gerard Butler
RunTime: 95 mins
Genre: Adventure/Children/Fantasy
Rating: PG

It’s only in a movie like Nim’s Island that the heroine is Little Miss Sunshine Abigail Breslin, with heavy weights Jodie Foster taking a back seat. This young child talent (some say acting prodigy) is the spark in the entire movie.

The story is a children's adventure based on the book Nim's Island by Wendy Orr. A young girl, Nim (Abigail Bresline), seeks help from the author of her favourite adventure series when her scientist father (Gerard Butler) goes missing. The author, Alexandra Rover (Jodie Foster), is an agoraphobic living in San Francisco. Rover overcomes her fears and sets out in search of Nim on an unknown island somewhere in the South Pacific.

Last seen in The Brave One, Jodie Foster so used to the playing strong independent woman does a 180 degree turn in playing this accident prone, perpertually frantic agoraphobic. This is the kind of role that would go well with one of the desperate housewives like Felicity Huffman. Some say it’s rather refresing, while I thought Jodie looks mismatched and embarrasing in this character more concerned with her sanitizers.

Spartan Gerard Bulter, depsite playing two roles in this movie, is rather forgettable. Being caught at in the rain and sea most of the time, his screentime is not as magetic as the girls.

Being both innocent and resourceful, wide-eyed Abigail Breslin is totally likeable. But along with flying pet reptiles and dancing sealions, the cuteness level may be too much for some adults to take.

Nim’s Island – Will please children below 12

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