The movie is about a hit man from America’s mid-west who is of Korean decent. When he botches what was supposed to be his last job by killing an innocent kid, he is sent to Korea to fix what he screwed up by killing the kid’s mother. It sounds a bit like a fish out of water story, but the movie only proves that the crime world is the crime world no matter what country you are from. The night shots of Los Angeles are especially gorgeous which reminded me of Michael Mann’s signature visual shots of Los Angeles in his flawless crime thrillers, “Heat” and “Collateral”.
The money part is where all the crime Drama comes in as it’s about a Korean gang uses a legit network to launder Triad money, The plot tries to be complex with the an everyone is not who they seem kind of situation. They film also tries to give some depth to the main character showing us why a harden hit man would allow an accidentally killing to melt his heart like it did. For me the story was not as complex as the action sequences.
The lack of character development in “No Tears For the Dead” is what makes “The Man From Nowhere” so much better. In “The Man From Nowhere”, you actually cared about the characters and what the protagonist goes through to save his neighbor’s child. Here, it is almost nonexistent since the action sequences leave no time for them to get acquainted. However, both use the exact same format of revealing the protagonists’ past that made them become who they were and it is also effectively done in “No Tears For the Dead”. I came to care about the protagonist but there should’ve been more between the killer and mother.
The ending was also disappointing since it wasn’t clear what really happens to everyone. But the final scene was a good way to end the movie on a tragic note which pretty much explains the title of the movie. Overall, it’s not as good as “The Man From Nowhere” in terms of plot and character development. The reason I bring up the “The Man From Nowhere” is that “No Tears For the Dead” is a very similar movie but shot on an entirely different canvas. However, “No Tears for the Dead” is nevertheless another enjoyable entry from its director.
t’s nothing like Isao Takahata’s other works. This one is about an Alternate Viking/Scandinavian Time Period about a boy named Horus who receives a sword from some Earth God, and is sent on a quest to defeat an Ice Demon meets a group of village locals and a mysterious Girl who has the key to restoring peace to the land. However, as in most Isao Takahata animes the focus is not on the animation, but on the script. People battle against the forces of evil using their most powerful weapon: will power. Evil comes in the form of bad luck, misfortune, direct attacks and sneaky social manipulation. Good’s champion is a boy that has come to fulfill his dying father’s last wish. You can find love, betrayal, anger, violence, marital ceremonies, friendship, all the hallmarks of good Japanese anime.
While Disney were creating gimmicky films like The Sword In The Stone, Takahada filled his film with the truest essence of humanity, as Hols must not only fight The Frost King, but must also deal with peoples misconceptions, stubborn attitudes and discriminatory views. The Little Norse Prince is deeper than fighting shape changing witches and squirrel romances, and in its purity is so awe inspiring. It has the ability to turn you into a child again, and view it with the eyes of an innocent as he manages to remind us what is noble about humanity and what we sometimes lack in ourselves. The Little Norse Prince is by no means a classic in the grand sense of cinema, but has an undeniable ability to transport us to a time and space when the world seemed a better place and life was worth fighting for.
Takahada laid the foundations with The Little Norse Prince for some remarkable and simply brilliant films, and it is quite easy to see how he and Miyazaki (who was an animator on this production) found the inspiration to be able to take the essence of Norse Prince, elaborate and expand on the settings and morals. One of the notable aspects is how exceptionally refined the imagination of Takahada is, as this film just exudes originality and feels completely different and fresh next to its contemporaries, and indeed the same can be said of the more recent Ghibli films compared to talking fish and super hero families. The Little Norse Prince may not be the greatest anime ever created, but it certainly is true to itself and the messages it wishes to deliver us as an audience and can only be praised as an effective means of emotive story telling which can and does not only appeal to all ages, but speak to all ages.
Sadly the story doesn’t make fully sense. Some characters aren’t designed as well as they could have been. Especially the evil demon didn’t look impressive at all – not even slightly scary. Also the drawings lacked detail all together. But that is all understandable, since “Anime” has been in it’s children’s shoes. I don’t know why, but Isao Takahata movies are the emotionally most touching movies for me. Grave of the Fireflies has been the most extreme cinematic experience for me. I am almost crying remembering this movie. And it’s almost 10 years ago since I watched it the last time. Horus is different. It’s not a sad movie, like Grave of the Fireflies is. I’ts quite cheerful and optimistic. It’s one of the movies that is so warmhearted, that it makes you feel like a child again. The originality that The Little Norse Prince exudes is nothing short of impressive, as his anti-aging formula transports us back in time to makes us feel young and vulnerable. While it may not be the greatest anime of all time, it is nothing short of being the most important.
I have to admit that I am not well versed in Asian action films, nor Korean history but I love this film. YOON Jong-bin’s “Kundo”is the story of a bandit clan that take on the tyranny inflicted on the peasant population during the Joseon Dynasty. The film is a Korean period piece, set in 1859, and brings together a modern vision to classic Asian action-fantasy with tradition dramatic passion.
“Kundo” tells a very powerful saga between the impoverished people suffering at the hands of the ruling nobility. It is a tale that rings, not only in historical record, but in modern time around the world. Similar to the legend of Robin Hood, “Kundo” creates a wonderful narrative of one group of individuals standing up to the oppression, taking what they can from the rich, and handing it out to the poor. Something that is universally recognizably as true human heroism. Yoon brings the story to live in epic style, filled with both visual and emotional power that captivates.
The special effects in “Kundo” are restrained and by no means rise as the star of this film. The story, with all its raw intensity, personable emotion, and hypnotizing sound effects are of equal status in this one. The choreographed fighting style is every bit as entertaining as Hong Kong’s action films that match this type of film. However the character that develops in “Kundo” balances that fantastical ability of Asian martial arts and war with true passionate story telling that hits at the heart. It is relatable on so many levels. At times the film reminds me of the American westerns of the late 60’s and early 70’s that tried to give an honest voice to the First Peoples plight.
Over all I have to say the “Kundo” is an affective film-creating a strong atmosphere than pulls you into the story completely. Yoon is brilliant in his ability to make a historical picture relevant to modern audiences while honoring the past. Elements of Western bravado show at certain moments, without spoiling the film I can only say that the film is truly entertaining, giving moments of Kevin Reynolds’ “Prince Of Thieves” dramatically-Hong Kong styled fighting and action reminiscent of Tsui Hark’s “Once Upon A Time In China”. Ther is also a bit of wild west attitude in “Kundo” that reminds me of Christopher Cain’s “Young Guns”. And yet Yoon manages to keep a unique signature style that is what must be totally Korean, all the elements that make “Kundo” such a stellar film are balanced perfectly with out being overstated. It is a true cinematic gem.
South Korean trademark genre “Revenge Thriller” is back with Jeong-ho Lee’s “Broken” based on the novel by Japanese novelist Keigo Higashino. A widowed father Lee Sang Hyeon (Jeong Jae Yeong) is seeking vengeance after her only daughter is raped and murdered. He is utterly disgruntled by ineptitude of police until he finds a clue about the murderers, he takes the law in his own hands and kills one of the murderers. Now he becomes a fugitive and detective Eok-Gwan (Lee Sung-Min) is in his pursuit. Broken is a carefully crafted film with gloomy and revolting notions. It raises questions about juvenile felony and adult crimes. It rather blemishes of Korean law regarding juvenile delinquency. Is it veracious to kill minors who are involved in heinous crimes because Korean Law does not have a rigorous imprisonment system of minors? We can hear a lot of conversations in the movie regarding the moral or ethical verdict.
“Broken” unveils many contemporary concerns: adolescent bullying in schools, teenage prostitution and incompetent judiciary system. Jeong-ho Lee makes you embroil up with the characters and their dilemma is felt in every manner. The begrimed mood goes very well with immaculate cinematography. The actors are perfect in their roles; every character has been played with utmost solemnity. Lee Sang Hyeon gives a stunning performance as a devastated and unforgiving father. Broken is a thoughtful look at vehemence and violence with use of definitive elements of film-making.
I was very skeptical at first, but after reading the synopsis of the movie I decided to give it a shot. I was well rewarded for that decision. As a father with a daughter who is the love of my life, I found the story line very appealing and riveting. The acting was superb. I identified with what the father was going through after his daughter’s death and actually believe that I would seek out my own personal justice too. All of the actors were great. I was very surprised at the level of entertainment that this movie provided. I never left my seat for the entire movie. I hope to see more entertaining movies such as this one in the future. I highly recommend that you sit down and watch this movie. You won’t be disappointed.
Good Morning, Vietnam has the uncanny ability to surprise. At around the hour mark, I was convinced that the film, while funny and impossibly kinetic and energetic in tone and performance, was solely sticking to this act of energy, while maybe touching but not capitalizing at the apparent possibility of an emotional subplot. Sure enough, director Barry Levinson and writer Mitch Markowitz manage to work in a seriously believable and touching bout of sentimentality to a picture so manic one doubts that it could possibly fit comfortably inside of it. The film is the perfect blend of manic, disposable energy and tender drama that it becomes a film to seriously commend in many different departments.
Robin Williams is at the film’s core as Airman Second Class Adrian Cronauer, who arrives in 1965 Saigon to work as a DJ for the Armed Forces Radio Station. He meets and takes a liking to the straight-laced and genial Private First Class Edward Montesquieu Garlick (Forest Whitaker), who also takes a liking to Cronauer after seeing what the man can do with a microphone and a broadcasting signal. Cronauer’s radio broadcast, contrary from the archetypal and uninspired transmissions the bases were used to hearing, are irreverent and fun, with lively bursts of energy and unpredictable wit coming directly from the mind of its radio DJ. This leads him to be immensely controversial with his peers. However, Cronauer becomes supported and rejoiced by his students who attend his English language learning class on a frequent basis, proving that while he does things differently, the man has the incredibly ability to connect and to inspire.
It should be dually noted that Williams exercised the practice of improvisation while performing his wild-and-out radio shows in Good Morning, Vietnam, for it shows extreme comic energy, timing, and capability. Williams indefatigably, zealously delivers monologues of true power during his radio shows, zipping by with unprecedented comedic speeds, with jokes so sneaky and quick that you’re bound to miss at least a few. His character Cronauer doesn’t even a cohost for his radio show, as he is the sole provider of such indescribable energy and fun in the film.
Furthermore, Williams works to illustrate Markowitz’ more sentimental and emotional second half, which isn’t as emotionally manipulating as one would expect. Rather than carelessly paint a second half so somberly, immediately following a goofy but thoroughly enjoyable first half, Markowitz carefully constructs scenarios and characters for us to latch onto as likable souls victim to a senseless, brutal war. After an hour of Williams’ rampant comedic delivery, despite it being incredibly enjoyable, I was expecting the entire film to only vaguely come to an emotional or even dramatically investing second half. As Markowitz goes on, however, he totally creates a wonderful climax and conclusion to the film. In addition, let it be known that Williams works tirelessly to detail the emotions necessary for the film to succeed. He transitions ever-so naturally from manic energy to humble and sentimental, effectively but commendably illustrating a drastic divide in emotions so beautifully. The performance at hand rightfully earned him an Oscar nod and affirmed a potentially skeptical audience of Williams’ incredible on-screen energy.
Until Zou deploys nuclear option of rom-com twists, “But Always” meanders from one flashback to the next. After we meet struggling artist Anran. Fast forward a couple of years more and we catch up with both of them in the Big Apple; but whereas An Ran is now working as a tour guide, Yongyuan is a successful businessman on Wall Street whose masterful grasp of English proves that you can do a lot with your time in prison. Though the hand of fate has turned, Yongyuan is still very much in love with An Ran, and despite knowing that she is already attached to a painter (Qin Hao), wants to let her know that his feelings for her have never diminished through the years. On the other hand, An Ran is less sure, and only sparks to Yongyuan’s advances after being convinced of his sincerity – alas, a happily ever after isn’t on the minds of co- writer and director Snow Zou.
In a most clichéd turn of events, An Ran’s on- and off-boyfriend is left paralysed from the waist down after a car accident, and because he had just visited her prior to it, she feels responsible for his condition and chooses to stay by his side to take care of him. But just as you think Zou might be ending things on a bittersweet note, he goes on to deliver yet another stunner straight out of a certain Robert Pattinson movie called ‘Remember Me’. Yes, it’s no coincidence that our couple find themselves in New York in the year 2001, but instead of being poignant, that supposed twist is so shamelessly manipulative that it may leave you infuriated.
It comes off even worse when you consider the coda at the end, which sees An Ran returning to Beijing in 2014 on board a bus which announces how many Chinese like her are doing likewise to take advantage of the opportunities in their own hinterland. Admittedly, Peter Chan’s most recent ‘American Dreams in China’ also had the same message, but the positioning here reeks of sheer insensitivity, so much so that you won’t be thinking of the romance by the time the movie is over.
On their part, Tse and Gao try to muster as much chemistry they have with each other against weak plotting and one-note characterisation, but ultimately neither their characters nor their relationship resonates as much as it should. There aren’t any strong supporting characters to speak of, which is why it is fortunate that the cinematography is excellent, so even though the story or the characters aren’t particularly engaging, the shots are always pretty to look at.
After years of disappointment from Hollywood putting out horrible films of this beloved video game franchise, now we have an independent director come and do the film JUSTICE! This was just greatness. I’ve played Street Fighter all my life and now recently have become an even bigger fan because of this movie. Street Fighter Assassins Fist is what the fans have wanted for so long. So why is Street Fighter: Assassin’s Fist any different? Why is this particular series able to break the vicious circle of failures?
Well, for a starter, Street Fighter: AF was produced by passionate fans for the fans, but passion is only the starting point. While it is a great driving force, a good script is required and that’s where SFAF shines. For new comers to the franchise, the series presents a well written story that carries an intriguing lore, which gradually reveals itself through each episodes. The premise is simple and focused on two iconic characters; Ryu and Ken. Both learning a mysterious martial art in a secluded part of Japan in the mid 80s. Through each episodes, we get to discover and learn about past students and the darker secrets behind the art. To reinforce the script, we are presented with an incredible selection of actors that really poured their hearts into this production. For fans, the characters were authentic and as real as they could get. Mike Moh and Christian Howard are pretty much the perfect Ryu and Ken. Both can act the part and perform physically. Togo Igawa and Akira Koieyama really felt like masters of an ancient art while still offering a very human side. The careful balance between being a surreal character with a human touch is very hard to maintain but these actors did and it payed off. The intensity of certain scenes could rival some of the best triple A productions out there.
Speaking of authenticity, Street Fighter: AF nails it in pretty much every possible way. From choosing the right shooting location, to the fighting style of each characters to the incredible costumes. Ryu and Ken are in simple words, perfect. Even through the action scenes, the combat stances, special attacks and general movements were simply jaw dropping. As a huge fan of Street Fighter, I couldn’t stop reciting the sequence of every moves such as Ryu performing a great focus attack.
As for the music, usually in independent productions, the music is often very generic and unoriginal. However, I got to say that in this case, the soundtrack is quite good and in most situation, it strongly delivers. For the fans, there’s a few pleasant surprises. On a technical side, the production does contain a few mistakes here and there. Some special effects and editing could have used a bit of additional tweaks but for the most part, these issues are very minor and shouldn’t distract you from the overall experience. In the end, Street Fighter: Assassin’s Fist is an incredible independent production that values and respects both fans and new comers alike. It has heart and knows its own limits. The story is focused, the actors are well balanced, the action is short but intense and the overall production is strong.
No stranger to such farces after pulling duties in as ‘Vulgaria’ and ‘SDU: Sex Duties Unit’, To here stars as a magazine writer Wyman Chan, who has most recently lost his job writing steamy stories for a saucy magazine. After commiserating with a buddy (Derek Tsang) about the death of porno VCDs/DVDs with the availability of free Internet porn, Wyman rounds up a few like-minded Hong Kong guys and travels to Tokyo to get to the heart of AV itself – i.e. to invest in their own AV content production and not only with the hope of making some money out of it, but also to have the opportunity to watch the filming live in the flesh.
Wayman and his friends try to exert their influence on the movie that’s being shot, but only succeed in goading an actor into quitting. With their investment on the line, Wayman is drafted into a role on the other side of the camera. And to his bewilderment, he’s a massive hit, embodying a new image of masculinity – he’s a passive object of desire and humiliation, and this turns out to be wildly popular among female consumers.
There’s only so far you can go with the notion of reversed gender stereotyping in the adult movie industry, but director Lee Kung-lok pushes the idea as hard as he can. With a cast that includes several Japanese AV stars, he also has plenty of fun constructing increasingly absurd and parodic AV scenarios that generally involve his hapless central character. All this is tricked out with a few topical gags, a flurry of in-jokes and movie references, star cameos, broadly bad taste set-ups, clunky special effects and shameless silliness.
Ultimately, ‘3D Naked Ambition’ knows exactly what it wants to accomplish and does exactly that. It doesn’t purport to be high art, or anything else for that matter, except skewer the Japanese AV film scene – that it does with great hilarity thanks to a largely witty script by Chan and a very game male lead in Chapman To. It also pushes the R21 limit in terms of the number of boobies on display, so that should be incentive for those who were undecided whether or not to watch this.
It’s been forty-seven years since George Takei began his iconic role as Sulu on the Star Trek television series, and since then he’s gone on to participate in an animated show along with six feature films portraying the same character. But what most people outside of his intimate fan-base don’t realize is that throughout the bulk of his acting career he was forced to hide his homosexuality, fearing he would lose his job and other subsequent parts he hoped to get. But now with battles over same-sex marriage starting to see a hopeful end, he’s become deeply imbedded in the fight for gay rights. And with his position as official announcer on The Howard Stern Show, has been quite upfront about his orientation.
It primarily focuses on his life today as well as his childhood in a Japanese internment camp during WWII. For me, it offered only few surprises because I already knew quite a bit about Mr. Takei, as the actor has been very public in recent years. His Twitter feeds and comedy clips online are legendary and with a HUGE following numbering in many millions. However, despite me already knowing that he’s gay and married his partner back in 2008, the film did reveal some interesting information about the man. However, despite a few revelations, the best part is simply to listen to the man talk about his life…and laugh. Yes, Takei is a chronic laugher and even when he talked about subjects he didn’t like (such as every time William Shatner was mentioned), his smile and laughter was omnipresent–and it’s hard not to like someone who laughs this heartily and this often.
The documentary consists of Takei, and sometimes his husband, Brad, talking about their lives and going about their exhaustive routine of film, convention, radio and public service appearances. However, it did not have a narrator–something I really liked in this film. So, instead of listening to a narrator explaining or interpreting, the film just lets him talk…like you are listening to him as he talks about whatever comes to mind or whatever piques his interest. Additionally, there are many television and movie clips as well as photos–which all help tell his story. The main themes are alienation and human rights. This begins with Takei’s discussion of how his and other families were denied their basic freedom when Japanese-Americans on the West Coast were forced into internment camps during WWII (FYI–this did NOT happen to German-Americans despite the US also being at war with the Nazis). And, over the course of the film, it segues into his discussing his homosexuality and gay marriage. In particular, Takei’s decision to come out about his orientation as well as discussing his life with his partner–and the film does a good job humanizing homosexual marriage and puts a face on it–making it more than just a concept. The films ends with a discussion of Takei’s renaissance–his new career in the busy latter years of his life as a cultural icon–as well as his coming to terms with his internment years. All in all, the ending presents an interesting and unexpected turn of events to say the least over the last decade or so of his life.
“To Be Takei” is a nice, gentle picture where you tag along with Takei and learn from him and his years of experience. Most of it is very uplifting and enjoyable–though as I mentioned above, there isn’t a lot of nice stuff in the film about William Shatner and I am sure the guy won’t be buying a ticket to see this film himself! However, there are also interesting interviews with surviving cast members (including Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, Nichelle Nichols and Walter Koenig without his toupee, as he apparently is NOT self-conscious about his baldness), footage of Takei greeting Star Trek fans and signing autographs at a convention as well as a few interviews with his friends. The sum total of all this is enjoyable and easy to watch–just like listening to an old friend reminisce.