If there’s one thing I can commend this movie for, it has to be the participation of actors from different countries. We see actors here from Japan, Thailand, USA, and Taiwan. can see where a non-Japanese audience is going to have problems with the film. How do you shoot a film with an international cast which live in a world where Japanese is the lingua franca? You dub it. Also, they shot the film in HDR (high dynamic range) which really animated the facial expressions and heighten the the boundary between real and imagined scenery — a huge plus in this kind of film, and especially beautiful to watch on the big screen. Oguri Shun’s performance was top notch. He nailed the role. The other characters hit their character’s tone, too. And when you see the situation the characters will find themselves in, you’ll see they are not played as one dimensionally as the typical anime/cartoon to live action film. Their situations are complex and multifaceted.
The film focuses on how the series’ main characters met for the first time and will reportedly update the franchise to a contemporary setting. Kitamura is a talented director, and one hopes he hasn’t fallen too far into the system to drag himself out and do films that don’t feel like they’re made by committee. And as for future Lupin III live action films, the disgruntled viewer I overheard coming out the theater ahead of me said it best: “I guess anime should just be anime.”
It doesn’t concern itself with slavishly following the original manga and isn’t afraid to make radical changes or new additions to serve the strengths of the film medium. So, you don’t have to read the manga or watched the anime to understand what’s going in this movie. The manga styles and movie styles fit the genre perfectly without downplaying either medium, mostly for two principal reasons: a great visual and a great cast.
There is this one scene which somehow put me into questioning. There’s this scene where Lupin, as cunning as he is, employed some trick for the bad guys. He made use of this recorded tape/flashdrive and it was his animated look shown on the screen. They altered Lupin’s face to match Shun Oguri’s! Were they authorized to alter Lupin’s animated face just to match to the actor who played him in live-action? I mean, they’re basically altering a face already known for what, 30 years, just to accommodate a live-action adaptation? Which brings me, Shun Oguri doesn’t really have this Lupin aura. Lupin was oval-faced, Shun Oguri is square-faced. There were these scenes where Shun Oguri makes the trademark smirk of Lupin. I’m a very forgiving watcher so I’ll just go with that. Tadanobu Asano was fabulous as Inspector Zenigata! All in all, the movie is okay. There was a little drama, the action scenes were par, and the special effects were passable.
A band of smugglers reluctantly gets back together to do what they do best (and what makes them the most money)…i.e. extract and sell human organs on the Asian black market. They accomplish this task via their preferred method of arranging for an unsuspecting organ “donor” to take a cruise ship from Korea to China. During the journey, the gang harvests what they need from the unlucky target, disposes of the evidence, sell the goods in China, then return home for the payday. Things don’t always go as planned though, and this trip will clearly not be without serious repercussions for many of those on board.
The movie begins with a short flashback scene that somewhat explains why these smugglers got out of this nasty business in the first place. Then, the rest of the movie takes place in the present where the main characters are slowly introduced & expounded upon through the first part of the film. The story does its best to make you identify with these people and those around them as best it can, and, it does this fairly well actually (although, at the end of the day, it is awfully hard to root for people who are killing other people in order to slice & dice them up for profit). For better or worse though, the ship has soon set sail, and we’re underway towards the business end of this flick.
I guess you could say this film is somewhat graphic, but you’ll see/probably have seen far worse. There are no explicit scenes of organs being ripped out, but the blood does occasionally flow…and, there are a couple of boobs + perversion shots here and there. This is not a horror/gore film though, as it squarely has its sights on belonging to the suspense genre of films. It also contains a number of twists and turns as it goes along (some of which are predictable and some unexpected) until, and long after, it reaches is climax. In typical Korean movie making fashion for a film of this nature, things probably aren’t going to end very well for most of the characters involved with this story when all is said and done.
This whole endeavor is helped considerably by the main cast members; there’s a good deal of recognizable talent in front of the camera, and they all put in the solid work you would expect. The story is not half bad either, and, this movie is indeed entertaining and does quite a number of things well. Somewhere in all of this is a really, really good flick to be had. Alas, there’s ultimately just too much emphasis placed on playing up every conceivable story angle possible to make this a streamlined MUST SEE film…cut that stuff down by 50% or so though, and this thing would have been near awesome. Nevertheless, I often love me some suspenseful melodramatic brutality and this movie certainly delivers on that front.
A young man and his sister learn that the man that they’ve always thought of as their grandfather was in fact the second husband of their grandmother, and that their biological grandfather was a kamikaze pilot who died during the war. They decide to find out more about him but get conflicting accounts from his former comrades-in-arms about what kind of man he was and how he ended up in a kamikaze squadron. Thus began the investigation of Kentaro Saeki (Haruma Miura) and his older sister, Keiko (Kazue Fukiishi) upon discovering that their real grandfather was no other than Kyuzo Miyabe (Junichi Okada), the said fighter pilot.
Visiting many war veterans, the brother-sister team felt humiliated for having their grandpa branded as a weakling. But insisting on getting more information about the case of his death and why he joined the special forces, they soon discovered more clues as to who he really is – is he really a coward or was he a genius who can outsmart the best fighter pilots from Japan’s enemies? What are the reasons behind his seemingly strong desire to continue living and not getting shotdown on air? What really happened during that fateful day when he was listed as one of the special forces to attack a US carrier with no chance of survival?
One scene particularly strains credulity. Kyuzo opposes an officer’s attempt to shame a trainee, who crashed during a training flight, as a traitor for destroying the valuable plane. Kyuzo is badly beaten, but keeps his position and earns the respect of his colleagues for speaking out. Insubordination is not tolerated in any military apparatus. Such a lax approach in the Japanese imperial army to opposition from the ranks, especially in one of its most fanatical units, is to whitewash the methods used to instill fear. Moreover, what exactly enabled Kyuzo to withstand the military indoctrination and drove him to actively stand up to it? The issue is never explained or explored. The audience is simply expected to go along with it. The scene in which Kentaro, Kyuzo’s grandson, tries to argue the righteousness of “tokkotai” with his largely disinterested young friends is completely contrived.
The special effects – the dogfights and the bombings at sea were quite realistic, and offer lots of excitement. It may not be as awesome as the previous Michael Bay film, Pearl Harbor, which coincidentally also dealt with the deadly attack at the same US military base. We are often bombarded with war movies from Hollywood which almost always have Germans and Japanese portrayed as villains. In The Eternal Zero, we get to see a different perspective of the Second World War, from the eyes of the Japanese. While there was never really any direct justification of why Japan invaded her neighbors and entered an alliance with America’s enemies, the last part where Haruma Miura saw the fighter plane flew across his neighborhood – it felt like the movie is convincing viewers to be more sympathetic rather than cynical or apathetic to Japan’s war cause.
The film centers on a police detective investigating a series of gruesome murderers. As the case pulls him deeper, he soon realizes that he may be a prime suspect. MURDERER is an example of a film that tries too hard to be unique and different from every other film with a similar plot. In fact, it tries too hard that the film falls apart. Let’s start with the good: The first half of the film is interesting and captivating. The film lays out the puzzle pieces while our protagonist tries to put them together.
Aaron Kwok plays a police detective in charge of an investigation into a string of serial murders, who suffers amnesia apparently as a result of an incident shown in the opening sequence of the film (and in which another police detective was seriously injured). The first half of the film shows his state of mental decline as he gradually succumbs to paranoia when he (re)discovers clues and evidence that seems to finger him as the murderer. This part of the film is very well done, minus the grizzly murder scenes and the opening sequence, which are clearly gratuitous. Kwok makes a convincing performance as a detective who is simultaneously convinced that he is being framed but unable to deny the trail of evidence that confronts him. The uncertainty over his role in the murders is compounded by his amnesia and his personal conviction regarding his innocence, which compels him to conceal damning evidence from his colleagues while trying desperately to hunt down a killer that he believe is still “out there.” “Western” audiences are most likely to compare this segment of the film to Memento given the amnesia component and the gradually unfolding clues that lead the main character to question his starting assumptions.
Then comes in the dreaded second half. Whatever good was built up in the first half is now broken down, stomped upon, and lit on fire. Stupid and unbelievable things happen here. For example, our protagonist seems to be framed for some murders. Well, the easiest way to find out is some DNA testing, right? Nope. Somehow, nobody in this film ever thought of that. It’s as if the film took place 50 years ago when there was no technology or DNA testing. The lame script aside, we have to admit that the build-up is rather tensed and suspenseful – thanks to Kwok and co-star Cheung Sui-Fai who plays his cop buddy ‘Ghost’. Kwok gives his Detective Ling the requisite touch of outrage and paranoia that help to sustain our curiosity. Cheung, on the other hand, plays a man of reason and logic – until he is overwhelmed by them. Ning Chang is solid as the long-suffering wife but it is Josie Ho who livens things up as Minnie, Ling’s younger sister who arrives from the States. The movie collapses when the ‘truth’ is revealed. Director Roy Chow (who also wrote the screenplay with To Chi-Long) seems to have spent so much time on the build-up that he has to rush through the ending. Instead of explaining the plot (or mystery), he makes the ending more ridiculous, opening up lots of questions on the minds of viewers. A very unfortunate debut for director Chow
Dae-Ho is an unproductive bank clerk who is late to work every morning and the object of his manager’s frustrations. He was a fan of TV wrestling as a child, but can’t get out of a headlock. He finds a local wrestling trainer and through a series of events eventually starts to train. He is slowly transformed as he begins his second job as the cheating villain wrestler known as the Foul King. He starts to stand up for himself in odd ways that are not really in his own best interest. Events get out of hand as conflicting influences come together. For a film about a masked wrestler, there is surprisingly little cheesiness to this film. We follow a downtrodden banker as he invests his self esteem in the sport, and first see it treated in a very realistic, everyday way, without dramatic music or camera angles and are allowed to see the inherent ridiculousness of it. As the film builds up, and becomes more stylized, it hasn’t made a grand statement about wrestling, but allows it to be seen as reality. With this, the fight sequences become one aspect, while the real heart of the movie are the Mr. Bean like physical comedy bits where the main character tries to get respect in his everyday life. While a few key scenes take place in the ring, the best bits are in the office, on the street or in the park.
I don’t disagree that when the comedic elements are present – they work well. However, and this is a big however, they are few and far between. The movie fails for me because of its pacing. There is nothing really fantastic going on between the comedic moments. It’s just filler material that tries to tell a story about the blandness of a man’s life, and his interactions with his environment. It succeeds in showing why he would go into wrestling, but also succeeds in putting the viewer to sleep. I watched it once myself, and watched it again with friends. During the second viewing I had multiple requests to fast forward through dull, drawn-out scenes. It was funny at the same time. Unfortunately, it is not the humor that I especially enjoy. If there was an American remake, it would easily feature Adam Sandler – not a great recommendation.
But though the film does everything right, from an explosive finale to great comedy and a cute romance, there’s always the lingering sense that it is not quite enough. It’s definitely a testament to Kim Ji-woon’s success that we are left wanting more of what he presents, but it still leave may leave viewers unsatisfied. I wanted more from the teasing bit of romance between Dae-ho and his coach’s daughter. I wanted more of those moments where wrestling helped in his real life. I wanted more humor from his dead-end job. They were minor focuses of the film, but even in a film full of gorgeously stylish slow-motion wrestling moves, these were still the moments that really mattered.
Everyone knows the love story plot. Boy meets girl. Something bad happens and boy looses girl. Yet, they get back together. But then something very bad happens and boy really seems to lose girl. It follows the story of two lonely teachers, a male and a female. They were assigned at the same rural school but a year apart. The girl being assigned first, attempted to write her thoughts on a diary, being stuck out in boonies. One day she has to be transferred to another school and left the diary. The male teacher came by as a substitute and saw the diary, thus, falling in love with the unacquainted writer. He also wrote his thoughts on it. The guy also left and the lady returned and saw that there are added articles on the diary. She also fell in love with him but now having a hard time looking for the boy.
As with many romance comedies, the film won’t work without its charming and likable leads. Of the two teachers, Ann, the female lead, is the better one – smarter, braver, skilled among the two, capable of adapting her life at the houseboat school with the kids. On the other hand, Song, the male lead, breaks his arm as soon as he reaches the school and struggling to teach the kids algebra maths (because he sucks at maths). Although they are different, they share the same ideals towards teaching the young. It’s their passion and dedication towards teaching that brings them together as one. Their relationship troubles due to the nature of their jobs were well presented. All the kids are lively and likable as well.
Song’s infatuation and admiration for Ann was sincere and it doesn’t feel creepy at all. We can see that Song was genuinely fascinated by Ann’s dedication towards teaching, through her personal thoughts and frustrations while teaching at the school. After Song leaves and Ann resumes her teaching at the school, she was touched that her dedication inspires others and starts to admire Song after hearing things about him from the kids and his writings in her diary. The film never overdoes the melodrama and making it overly sentimental.
All in, this magical little movie gives us the complete smile in our lips and soul after watching this movie. The film is filled with a handful of jokes that provides a few laughters here and there. The editing was done well such that the alternating scenes of Ann and Song are presented coherently in the film. It was evenly paced and the story flows nicely as well. Not to mention, the widescreen cinematography of the lake location is simply stunning. Simply put, one of the best romantic drama comedies I’ve seen this year.
A Japanese zombie Pink Horror film from 2012 from the co-director of ‘Vampire Girl vs Frankenstein Girl‘, now before I say anything else I should explain what a pink film is. A pink film is term used to categorize a wide variety of Japanese films with adult content. This encompasses everything from dramas to action thrillers and exploitation and horror films, as well as soft-core porn. and this movie is ‘Rape Zombie: Lust of the Dead’.
Rape Zombie: Lust of the Dead is more or less a Japanese remake of the Troma film ‘The Taint’ but with more rape and guns and Japanese girls. Also The only way to kill the zombies is by removing or destroying their penis. I think it is needless to say but this film is not for everyone its an erotic exploitation horror film about rapist zombies full of sexual violence and nudity, only for those who can handle seeing a lot of messed up stuff. The girls in this film are very attractive sadly the only time you see them nude is when they are being raped which isn’t the best way to see them. The acting is decent along with the writing and effects some of the effects are pretty good then at other times there is super fake CGI blood and visual effects. The effects are still pretty good its kinda like the effects in ‘Ichi the Killer’ good and bad but still cool. The camera-work and lighting are kinda OK you know shaky cam at times and a bit of lens flair here and there. The film has a very Vampire girl vs Frankenstein girl look and vibe to it, violence, gore, nudity, sex, schoolgirls.
That was basically it, the entire movie wrapped up in a short summary. The storyline is entertaining enough in its oddity and absurdity. But it can only carry the movie so far, because there is little else to keep the movie afloat. That is, unless you are into soft core Japanese pornography and really awful zombie make-up. The acting in the movie was as you’d expect from a movie with the title “Rape Zombie: Lust of the Dead”. So don’t get your hopes up here. Personally I think that director Naoyuki Tomomatsu was spending a little too much time filming staged rape scenes with poor-looking zombies, instead of focusing on establishing a proper movie. There are two sequels to “Rape Zombie: Lust of the Dead” that I am familiar with, as I found them on Amazon. But at the outrageous price they are set and after having seen the train wreck that is “Rape Zombie: Lust of the Dead”, then I will call it quits here and not invest in further installments to this low budget sleaze-fest.
In the hills outside Lashio, an unnamed young vegetable farmer (Wang Shin-hong) and his unnamed father (Zhou Cai Chang) are facing grim economic realities. Featuring a cast of relative unknowns, this socially conscious drama maintains a remarkable feeling of authenticity from start to finish. At the heart of the story is a pair of individuals trying to make ends meet in the tough environs of rural Burma, with the dangerous (but enticing) city looming in the distance. The film begins on a farm, with a farmer and his son harvesting their latest crop. After this latest haul, they discuss the challenges associated with their profession, which is no longer as profitable as it once was. They decide to explore other options and upon conversations with other farmers in the village, they decide that the son must start a scooter taxi service. This city-bound service promises greater income but it also comes at a price. As the elder villagers are fully aware, the city is filled with vice (particularly drugs like crystal meth) that often end up attracting the youth. As such, the son is warned to stay away from these distractions. Unfortunately, he’s eventually lured into the drug trade (and consumption) after his taxi service proves unsuccessful.
From the onset, it’s clear that the director is going for a docudrama feel with this film. The first act involves many lengthy conversations between the villagers, delivered in a relaxed everyday tone. There’s no actorly expressiveness or showmanship, far removed from the usual expectations of “performance”. Likewise, the direction and cinematography is purposefully drab, conveying the routine banality of the setting. As a result, these traits manage to simultaneously work to the film’s benefit and detriment.
Working in the film’s favor for example, is the fascinating plot that follows the son’s exploits with the other main protagonist – a young woman who he transports home for her grandfather’s funeral. Both of them are disenchanted with their lives and decide to strike up a partnership to sell crystal meth (the “ice poison” in the film’s title) throughout the city. With his taxi service, they have a ready delivery system on hand, while her worldly experience (she has just returned from living in China) proves useful in the marketplace. It’s a classic situation of a convenient buddy alliance, but it never feels contrived. Indeed, the tone that film establishes suggests that such partnerships could almost be commonplace in this world. The boredom displayed (half-hearted karaoke scenes are the film’s only moments of genuine levity) would certainly drive anyone mad.
This authentic boredom is also the source of some of the film’s main issues. The dull visuals and slow plotting are impressively devoid of artifice, but it also strains the audience interest. Even the most emotionally heightened scenes (the grandfather’s funeral for example) are played with such a matter-of-fact attitude that it limits the film’s dramatic power. The lead actor’s placid acting doesn’t help either. Reflecting on the overall achievement however, Midi Z. successfully accomplishes his goals(portraying these people and their world with honesty and truth), cinematic flare be damned. The style may prove tedious at times, but the plot has enough depth in content and theme to reward those willing to go along for the ride. For me, I found it to be an engaging exploration of the ideals of “The American Dream”. As such, its themes are both region-specific and universal. Evidently, anywhere you go, you’ll find that the struggle is real.
Beyond Beauty is excellent. It is a work of love, sincerity and pride on the land of Taiwan. On the surface it looks like a BBC or National Geographic production. Shot in HD with mostly aerial shots, Beyond Beauty is almost a moving physical geography textbook or a tourism promotion clip showing the stunning and therapeutic natural wonders of Taiwan, a beauty we have never experienced because of the different perspective from the sky.
What distinguishes this local production from the global documentaries, however, is the exposure of the saddening consequences of economic development – in agriculture, mining, fishing, manufacturing and tourism – which result in pollution and imbalance in the environment and climate change. It is red flagging us to pause and examine our priorities – it challenges what we have been doing to improve our lives and its threat in leaving a sustainable land and lifestyle for our descendants. The film also cites some examples of a few villagers who refuse to be developed/ modernized. Instead, they stick with organic farming to preserve the land for the generations to come.
The dilemma of economic development vs environment protection probably exists in every country, regardless of their level of development. With powerful images of the soothing natural beauty contrasting the horrifying man-made damages laying in front of us, Beyond Beauty presents an alarming and overwhelming wakeup call for all mankind to care for our earth after making us so proud of our resources.
The music performed by the Prague Symphony Orchestra perfectly highlights the masculine landscape while exemplifying the passion of the producers. When the film begins to depict the downside of recent economic development and its consequences, the music also follow suit. Custom composed music is soaring and inspirational in tone with great. Even in passages regarding Taiwan’s environmental woes (overbuilding, waste, rising sea, earthquake damage, overwhelmed landfills, many exist), music suggests a hopeful sentiment, a prevailing Taiwanese attitude. Narration finishes the film’s spirit that Taiwan is a special and unique land whose beauty is mostly unknown even to Taiwanese & Taiwanese-Americans themselves.