Epic Movie

12 May 2007
It has become some kind of tradition that popular Hollywood movies would be retold in another version. Before, there were parody movies which transformed all thrillers into comedy films with the name "Scary Movie" which isn’t scary at all. Now, come the new film from the team behind those funny "Scary Movie" franchise called "Epic Movie." It’s certainly a funny idea to mix all the plots and characters of last year (and beyond) big Hollywood movie into one extremely hilarious film. Those who watched or knew all the films being featured would find it funny just to see all the ripped-off work they made from those beloved films – sometimes they went beyond limit and it might disturb some easily offense audience. However, all in all,  "Epic Movie" is funny and made a very good cultural reference of American cinema and popular icons of 2006.

The main plot of "Epic Movie" followed the life of 4 orphans who discovered a secret wardrobe to the "Gnarnia Kingdom" where they have to fight with the evil White Witch to fulfill the prophecy and restore the peace to the land. Come to think of it, I could narrate the name of the movies which are featured in this film as follow: The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, The Da Vinci Code, Nacho Libre, X-Men: The Last Stand, Snakes on a Plane, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest, Harry Potter, Superman Returns, Click, Casino Royale, Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan and much more.

If you are well aware of American culture and celebrities as well as gossip entertainment news, you could easily understand all the puns in the movie. If not, it would be just another comedy with a few laughs for you. Some scenes might not make any sense, they are just there to intervene all the stories together. The effort of mixing up all movies together should be praised, but it depends on your taste and style – like it or not, it’s up to you.

2 stars out of 5 – Don’t expect too much for this kind of movie. Watch it in theater if you have spare time (and money for the tickets). If not, wait for the DVD to come out. There might be more hilarious outtakes and some more special features to watch anyway.

伤城 (Seung sing) a.k.a. Confession of Pain

11 May 2007
I meant to write about this Hong Kong cop thriller movie since last week but there’s something more interesting that I can’t help sharing with you all. (Read >>> "Do You Believe in Happenstance?") Now, it’s time to talk about this one good movie from Hong Kong that didn’t come out in a while.

The movie is mainly about revenge and how painful it is to endure all those hatred feeling inside yourself for years. A cop became private detective is hired to investigate a rob and murder case which all evidences point out that his former supervisor is a prime suspect. Half way through the movie, we all knew who was a murderer, but what we didn’t know was the reason behind his painful revenge…

Andrew Lau, as a producer and co-director, and Alan Mak, as a co-director and co-scriptwriter, knew what they’re doing and did it well in this movie. Story-wise, it’s challenging to present the main plot by revealing who the murderer is earlier in the film. Tony Leung Chiu Wai’s powerful performance in this movie is exceptional fantastic. The cinematography is superb, contemporary Hong Kong is portrayed perfectly in the film. It’s no wonder why Hollywood is interested in the film and the rights to remake this movie into American scene has been settled, following its predecessor – Infernal Affairs Trilogy which became American "the Departed."

5 stars out of 5 – recommend to those who loved those good old days when Chinese contemporary movie ruled in Thai cinema.
P.S. Check out an official website at <http://www.confessionofpain.com/>

門徒 (Moon to) a.k.a. Protégé

9 May 2007
This Hong Kong crime movie tells a story of an undercover cop who spent almost all his career working (as a spy) with the top heroin dealers in Hong Kong, gaining his trust to be the drug lord’s successor while trying to bring down this devil drug organization. On the personal side, the undercover cop befriended with his neighbor, a poor drug-addicted young single mother of a cute little girl, who was a victim of her drug-addicted husband whom she ran away from. Everyone plays a part in this drug business, gaining something or losing something.

The film is directed and written by Derek Yee Tung Sing with a star-studded cast of Andy Lau Tak Wah (as a drug lord), Daniel Wu Yin Cho (as an undercover cop) and Louis Koo Tin Lok (as a bad drug-addicted husband.) The story of drug trafficking is well portrayed in this movie, thanks to an excellent research by the writer/director. Even though the plot is not new, the audiences could enjoy the way the story is told and developed, with some classic car chasing and cop action scenes of Hong Kongian trademark. The performance by the cast is fine, especially the new-comer Zhang Jing Chu whose role as a drug-addicted woman represented perfectly the innocent victim of heroin.

All in all, it’s another good Hong Kong movie with good intention message. No matter how they say, drug is bad and people should avoid it at all cost.

4 Stars out of 5, recommend to Chinese movie-lover. You won’t be disappointed with this film.
P.S. A part of the movie was filmed in Thailand. Even though, it didn’t mention in the film, we could imply that there are opium fields and heroin factory in the Northern part Thailand (as a part of the "Golden Triangle") It’s sad but true that foreigners looked at Thailand this way. I also would like to point out, and this is not related directly to the story, that elephants were featured in the film somehow represent the idea of foreigners looking at Thailand. There are other choices of transport, why elephants???

“Dek Hor” a.k.a. “Dorm” Won Again!

4 May 2007
I have just been informed by P’Yong the director of the movie "Dek Hor" a.k.a. "Dorm" that his film has just received the Older Audience Award at the 8th Leeds Young People’s Film Festival, held from March 29th to April 6th 2007. It’s almost exactly the same time that the team of director and lead actors went to attend the 9th Deauville Asian Film Festival in France.

Congratulations to the director Songyos "Yong" Sugmakanan and all cast & crew of the movie. The award added another international recognized trophy to an array of awards that the movie has received so far. This reflected that good movie could be appreciated by everyone.

Check out the official website of the 8th Leeds Young People’s Film Festival to see full result of winning films at Leeds Film Homepage: http://www.leedsfilm.com/

P.S. There is an error on the official website as it stated that Dorm (Dek Hor) came from Singapore instead of Thailand. See the screen capture below. Hopefully, the mistake would be amended soon as I have already sent an e-mail notifying the webmaster of Leeds Film Homepage.

Spider-Man 3

1 May 2007
The greatest battle lies within.

Spidy is back! We reunion once again in the latest and final trilogy of Marvel’s Spider-man movie starring familiar cast of Tobey Maguire as Peter Parker, a man who got bitten by the supernatural spider and became everybody’s hero – Spider-Man, Kirsten Dunst as Mary Jane Watson, an actress and love-interest of Spider-man, and James Franco as Harry Osbor, a friend become enemy of Spider-Man in a disguise of New Goblin, a sucessor of his father’s Green Goblin. We also see a couple of new rivals of our beloved Spidy, namely Sandman, a guy whose body was transformed into sand, and Venom, an outer-space parasite which consumed the host’s wrath to become a gruesome creature.

We all saw Spider-Man in black suit and his enemies from posters and advertising materials previously released prior the film was out. Those certainly generated speculation of what the story of the movie would be. After watching the film, I could say that I satisfied with the story, even though some bits and parts are so cliche. You know where the story would lead once the main plot was established. With lots of character’s introduction, the first part of the movie would be long and boring, but it’s not the case for this movie thanks to comical relief which is scattered around the film. Once the story moved forward to the final part of the movie, we would see what we had not seen in the previous spider-man film – more fantastic actions and more emotional character development. Of course, we would see the dark side of Spider-man. This made it felt more realistic as no man is really good or bad. There are both sides of coin.

All in all, Sam Raimi did an excellent job as a director. I really loved the final fighting scene with a surprise team-work and dual.

5 Stars out of 5 – recommend to all action movie and super-hero lovers.

Miss Potter

26 April 2007
No, this movie has nothing to do with the young wizard Harry Potter even though it bears the same name. Well, what connects the two is that both are somehow related to English literature – Harry Potter is one of the most well-known modern day novels of young wizard while Miss Potter tells a story of Beatrix Potter, an author of one of the most beloved and well-known children’s book of all time, "The Tale of Peter Rabbit". In fact, the movie narrates the life of a 32 years-old single Beatrix Potter, who decided not to get married all her life, trying to prove her capability to publish an illustrated novel. She somehow succeeds as the publishing company accepted her manuscript with a hidden agenda by appointing the youngest son of the family to look after Miss Potter’s project. The story afterwards seems like a fairy-tale as the two fall in love. However, real-life is not bed of roses as the tragedy looms in…

Renée Zellweger really shines in the leading role of Miss Potter. Her performance is impressively superb. When she felt happy, everything seems bright and sunny on the screen and while everything turned upside down, she perfectly portrays an unexpected emotion of a world torn apart. The art direction of the movie is fantastic, especially the animation of Peter the rabbit and his animal friends. The set and location of the movie is beautifully shot. You could just fall in love with the nature and the character.

All in all, it’s an amazingly feel-good movie of life and love with a spice of imagination.

5 Stars out of 5 – recommend to all – old and young, you could enjoy the movie in your own way.

Meet the Robinsons

21 April 2007
Based on the illustrated book "A Day with Wilbur Robinson" by William Joyce, this Walt Disney’s latest 3-D animation movie tells a story of a young genius orphan boy named Lewis who always get an idea of inventions, even though he has never got it worked, he still keeps moving forward. Deep down inside of his mind, this 12-year-old boy always want a family who could adopt and take a good care of him. One day, he met with a mysterious boy named Wilbur who claimed that he came from a future with a flying time-machine. Lewis couldn’t do anything but believe once he warped to the future and met the Robinsons – the cheerful family of Wilbur. Without a choice, Lewis had to stop the Bowler Hat Guy from destroying all time-space consistency and changing the future forever…

Even though the plot is not original as you might have heard of the story like this before, I have to say that the story-line is excellent. With the best script, you are destined to have a fail-proof good movie. In "Meet the Robinsons," the story keeps unfolding piece by piece with an easy clue that you could guess the final plot. However, once the climax comes, you still feel excited and pleased. It’s a cliche and trademark of Disney’s movie with a magic inside. Funny moments and comical gags are plenty, those certainly would keep you laughing. The moral of the story is good for young viewers and adults alike – no matter how many times you fail, do not give up and just keep moving forward. We all might want to know what the future holds, but it’s us who could actually make it happens.

4 Stars out of 5 – this is a good movie for family to enjoy a fine moment together.