29 de jun de 2006

Asian Thrillers

"Hide and Seek"

1.The Eye (DVD, Hong Kong/ 2002)
Director: Pang Brothers
Actors: Angelica Lee, Lawrence Chou
A blind young woman gets her vision back after a surgery and, with a very creepy bonus, starts to see evil spirits.

2.The Eye 2 (DVD/ Hong Kong/ 2004)
Director: Pang Brothers
Actors: Shu Qi, Jesdaporn Pholdee
As the first “The Eye”, the malevolent spirits are all around, frigthening the living ones. A girl is dumped by her boyfriend and, after a failed suicide attempt, starts to see spirits that, aparently, are trying to make harm to her unborn child.

3.Dark Water (DVD/ Japan/ 101 min.)
Director: Hideo Nakata
Actors: Hitomi Kuroki, Rio Kanno
A divorced young woman struggle to raise alone her daughter. They move to a suburbian building, were strange things happen, like growing stains on walls, and visions of a child´s angry ghost. It´s a very dark and sad tale, and a very interesting study of the women position in the opressive niponic society.

Legend of Gingko, Shinobi and Azumi

3 Action-Fantasy Films:

Moyuru Tsuki: The Legend of Gingko(“Danjeogbiyeonsu”: South Korea, 2000, 117 min.)
Director: Je-hyeon Park
Actors: Jin-shil Choi, Kyung-gu Sol, Mi-suk Lee, Seok-hun Kim, Yoon-jin Kim.

A not so well mixed pack of period action flick and fantasy melodrama. A fashion this days in the east cinema, this “genre” has better examples inside the japanese cinema. Two primitive tribes in war, a lot of bloddy fights, enchanted swords, tearful romances, make this a very uneven story. It´s worth to rent it if you´re curious about the previous movie career of the fine actress Yoonjin Kim, made a star to the west with the Lost TV series.

Shinobi (Heart Under Blade) (DVD/ Japan, 2005)
by Shimoyama Ten; with Yukie Nakama, Jô Odarigi, Tomoka Kurotani, Erika Sawajiri, Kippei Shiina, Takeshi Masu, Mitsuki Koga.

Imagine Romeo and Juliet having the X-Men powers, and living inside of a japanese epic. A good example of anime turned sucessfully into live-action film.

Azumi (DVD, Japan, 2003)
by Ryuhei Kitamura
with Aya Ueto; Kenji Kohashi; Takatoshi Kaneko; Yuma Ishigaki; Yoshio Harada; Yasutaka Sano; Tak Sakaguchi; Shinji Suzuki.

Inspired by the original manga and playstation 2 videogame, it´s a very well done and fun fantasy/adventure movie. Azumi is a teenage swordswoman trained, with the company of some skilled young men, to kill the insurgents of the empire. The director Kitamura manages to balance with great sensibility the action scenes and the storytelling, making a very enjoyable film to watch.

13 de jun de 2006

Joint Security Area / Mountain Patrol

Joint Security Area (DVD/ South Korea, 2000, 109 min.)
By Chan-wook Park; with Byung-hun Lee, Young-aeh Lee, Kang-ho Song.

The unexpected friendship between army soldiers, at the border of the divided Koreas, and it´s tragic consequences. Park directed the fantastic “Oldboy”.
(if you like JSA, don´t miss Tae Guk Gi: The Brotherhood of War)

Kekexili (Mountain Patrol )(DVD/ China, HK, 2004, 95 min.)
By Lu Chuan; with Duo Bujie (Ritai) and Zhang Lei (the reporter Ga Yu).
Awards: Golden Horse at the Taiwan´s Film Festival (Best Picture and Cinematography, Best Asian Film at Hong Kong Film Awards, Special Prize at the Berlin Film Festival.

The true story of a group of courageous men that, as volunteers, had tried to protect the tibetan antelopes from the skin hunters, in the mid 90´s. The landscape is breathtakingly beautiful, the characters have great empathy; true heroes, the kind we don´t see a lot this days. Oh, and for the girls, be careful with that Zhang Lee guy, that smile could kill you!

9 de jun de 2006

Jackie Chan´s The Myth and New Police Story

Jackie Chan´s
The Myth
(DVD/ Hong Kong, 2005)
by Stanley Tong
with Jackie Chan, Tony Leung Ka-fai, Kim Hee-Sun, Yu Rong-Gaung, Ken Lo
If you´re a Jackie Chan fan like myself, you´ll see this and all of his films, even if the critics are bad. Well, I did expect a lot more from The Myth, but the looks of “big budget production” were just an allurement, a fine bait. It´s lacking heart, and not money to Mr. Chan´s movies, this days.

New Police Story (DVD/ Hong Kong, 2005)
by Benny Chan Muk-Sing; with Jackie Chan, Charlie Yeung , Nicholas Tse, Daniel Wu, Francis Ng, Charlene Choi.
After watching with disappointment the dvd of The Myth, it would be easy to disqualify this one. But looking with a certain dispassionate feeling, It wasn´t so bad, after all. New Police Story is a mix of “GenX Cops” and “Time and Tide”, but with the Jackie Chan extra special bonus! Only that I still prefer the old Police Story franchise.

7 de jun de 2006

Crazy Action in China

Only for the brave ones (warning: crazy editing, dubious acting skills and a lot of fun!)


Wheels on Meals (DVD/ Hong Kong, 104 min.)
by Sammo Hung; with Jackie Chan, Yuen Biao, Sammo Hung
“The horror, the horror!” Seriously, only for die hard Jackie´s fans. The 80´s clothes and hairdos can make you sick.

The Evil Cult or Kung Fu Cult Master (DVD/ Hong Kong, 1993, 90 min.)
by Wong Jing; with Jet Li, Sammo Hung, Sharla Sheung.
Again, only for kung fu fanatics, or if you bought it for five bucks, like myself. The director wasn´t present at the footage, or the editor is nuts, or both; Sammo Hung is crazy fun; we wait too much to see Jet Li do something, like fight (the sex jokes would be better at Stephen Chow´s lips). Oh, and the story doesn´t end, so look for the next chapter, if you dare.

The Twins Efect (DVD/ Hong Kong, 2003)
by Dante Lam & Donnie Yen
with Ekin Cheng, Charlene Choi , Gillian Chung, Anthony Wong, Jackie Chan
This is the “so bad that is good” kind of film. If you don´t resist the kuteness of the new generation of HK movie stars, you´re in heaven, baby!

The White Dragon (DVD, China, 2004, 92 min.)
by Wilson Yip; with Cecilia Cheung, Francis Ng, Andy On
By the dvd´s cover picture, you may wrongly think that it´s another subproduct of the chinese epic-romance movie fashion. Actually it´s just another example of the Hong Kong´s new generation talent, a silly mix, at least to the west, of satire and melodrama, epic and teen movie flick (oddly, films like Clueless and Crouching Tiger... were reminded through the screening) . The film has it´s moments, specialy for the cantonese pop culture fans, so if your´re not a teen girl, don´t bother watching it.
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