As much as Larry Gopnik struggles to be a mensch (a serious man, guided by right principles) he’s constantly fed with temptations and mysterious bad events. He tries his best to keep the family together and live straight, but there’s no end to his tribulations. Read the rest of this entry »
I recently watched this movie. The plot is about an ex secret agent from Mossad now secretly controlled by the US government to perform illegal actions in defense of the “American lifestyle” and declaring he is OK to kill a few innocents when that is for the good of everybody else. This bad guy goes crazy for money and escapes control, killing his angel in the Senate and creating an incident with many victims. Read the rest of this entry »
Wednesday was horror day so most movies in this post are horrors.
by Mark A. Reyes
The Philippines 2007, sci-fi
The usual plot where Earth is invaded by extra-terrestrial monsters and a group of rebels fight against them. Of course the fearless leader will save the world, to say nothing of the girl. In this one they built a collage of references to famous movies: Star wars, Mad Max, Gladiator, X-men and countless others. Sci-trash.
The glorious team Batista
by NAKAMURA Yoshihiro
Japan 2008, medical thriller
Something is wrong in the hospital. People undergoing earth surgery suddenly started to die. Perhaps a killer hides in the equipe and two very different investigators will find it out. Well done movie with ironic lines and plenty of tension.
by Jung Kil-young
South Korea 2008, psycho-horror
In a small town a serial killer suddenly starts to murder people and crucifix them. We’re immediately told who the killer is but there’s something wrong, perhaps there’s a copycat? What’s their motivation? Sustained tension leads to a dramatic conclusion. Best use of audio effects.
by Rico Maria ILARDE
The Philippines 2007, horror
The classic haunted house story, but done so hilariously bad you get to laugh all the time. I wonder how this made it to the festival.
The screen at Kamchanod
by Songsak MONGKOLTHONG
Thailand 2007, horror
Ghosts tied to a forgotten movie appear when the film is run. A scientist a his friends try to solve the mystery. Slow and a little boring.
by SHIN Terra
South Korea 2007, psycho-horror
An insurance agent is sucked in a story of horrifying murders and mutilations enacted by a psychopath to get money from the insurance company. Trying to react, the agent will then attract violence on himself in a spiral of increasing tension. Best splatter scene.
The guard post
by KONG Su-chang
South Korea 2008, horror
Something terrible happened at GP506, a military fortification on the border with North Korea. 20 out of 21 men were killed in a furious internal fight. A man has a mere few hours to investigate what happened and he’s going to have to face the same unknown enemy. Blood, violence and mystery. Recalls Carpenter’s The thing.
by Adam WONG
Hong-Kong 2007, youth romance
Two young magician friends are in love with the same girl and will use all of their tricks to capture her feelings. In the process they’ll learn to grow up while the girl will learn the value of playfulness. Average.
by FENG Xiaogang
China 2007, war epic
During the civil war of 1949 a platoon is sent to defend a land post against the overwhelming enemy fire. The 1st 20 minutes have a great dramatic effect for their crudeness and recalled Saving private Ryan, though this was possibly made even better. Weren’t for the final, a little too slow and commemorative, this would have been a perfect war movie.
Deathfix: die and let live
by MIKI Satoshi
Japan 2007, crazed comedy
A freelance writer is asked to get a near-death experience using a special chemical and report on the afterlife, but the plot doesn’t matter that much cause it’s just an excuse for a sequence of jokes and surreal situations. This movie is probably lots of fun but it was late at night, past midnight, and I was so tired it wasn’t funny anymore. At some point I fell asleep so I won’t cast a vote on this.
A sister’s garden
by Shin Sang-ok
South Korea 1959, drama
Another movie from the retrospective. In a post-war South Korea two sisters struggle to keep up with their lifestyle after most of their money went to pay a debt and their father died in the process. They are surrounded by men with different agendas and must swallow plenty of delusions in this newly capitalist society. Old style but still enjoyable.
Kala malam bulan mangambang
by Mamat KHALID
Malaysia 2008, noir
A black and white story with a reporter blocked in a strange village of the countryside where ghost-like events happen and every character has a bad shadow, but ironic lines and comic situations let the movie on a parody tune. There are probably references to local culture that I couldn’t get, or maybe actual consistency errors.
Adrift in Tokio
by MIKI Satoshi
Japan 2007, road movie
A debt collector and a student lagging behind stop their everyday activities to walk together through Tokio, small talking and progressively getting to know each other until they’re tied by actual relationships. A very light movie about small things important in our life.
Funuke, show some love you losers!
by YOSHIDA Daihachi
Japan 2007, black comedy
Thee brothers are forced together after their parents both died abruptly. They have very difficult and violent relationships but the most oppressed will find a way out in a very manga style. Excellent photography and surreal sequences.
by Oxide PANG
Hong-Kong 2007, thriller
A private investigator is hired to find a women who’s apparently chasing the client but he will found the story is much more complex and there are lots of things and crimes to explain. The sequence of the dropping fridge is hearth-stopping.
Handle me with care
by Kongdej JATURUNRUTSAMEE
Thailand 2008, road movie
A three-armed man and a big-breasted beauty coming from the countryside meet while traveling to Bangkok, trying to solve their problems. Their physical diversity, altough opposite, make them feel empathy and fall in love. Intelligent drama with a surreal twist.
The happy life
by LEE Joon-ik
South Korea 2007, drama
After the funeral of a friend, three men in their 40s get together to re-form the rock band of their youth and escape the problems of their ordinary life, no matter what their wives can say. Like an active volcano, after 20 years of rest they can still erupt their sheer passion and make a success. Fun.
Always – Sunset on third street – 2
by YAMAZAKY Takashi
Japan 2007, nostalgic melodrama
This is a sequel of what I think was the best movie at FEFF2006. The humble and yet extraordinary life of the same characters in the neighborhood of a post-war developing Tokio, with a constant feeling of great hope for a better world that’s coming. Moving, again.
by PANG Ho-cheung
Hong-Kong 2007, episodes
Seven small episodes about nevrotic life and unimportant things. A self-amusing sequence of style exercises where the director tries to yield a good result with a very low budget, unfortunately with uneven outcome. Some episodes are great, some aren’t. Entertaining none the less.
A flower in hell
by Shin Sang-ok
South Korea 1958, drama
This year FEFF dedicated a retrospective to this Korean director of the 50s. This movie is interesting to see post-war South Korean life, with men stealing stuff from the American army warehouse and selling that on the black market while their gorgeous women sell themselves to the American soldiers. Unfortunately it’s 50 years old and nowadays it’s not easy to watch.
by Samson Chiu
Hong-Kong 2007, nostalgic drama
Released to celebrate the 10th anniversary after handover to the Chinese government, this movie describes life in HK in the last 40 years, following economic booms and recessions, political struggle and society changes revolving around the humble but proud family of a projectionist. A little propaganda but not bad.
In the pool
by MIKI Satoshi
Japan 2005, comedy
In a sequence of surreal and comic situations a manager that has to swim in a pool to defend against stress, a men with a constant erection and journalist affected by anxiety are the three improbable patients of an even crazier psychiatrist fond of leopard-print shirts. Crazy fun.
Between a movie and the next one you can sunbath on the grass in front of the theater or sit at the internal cafè. Here at the FEFF in the middle of the crowd it happens strangers will sit at your table and you suddenly find yourself doing conversation in a casual group of half a dozen people, one from Beijing, one from Klagenfürt, one from Udine, one from Villach. You can feel like you are in a global melting (G-s)pot, and that’s not just for cinephiles.
So once again I’m attending the Far East Film Festival in Udine. This year they run 8 movies a day and there’s practically no pause to eat. If you want to miss nothing you need a catheter Yesterday I got two autographs from NAKATA Hideo (director of Death Note movies) and YAMAZAKI Takashi (director of Always Sunset On Third Street). Stay tuned.
After having been to New York several times, I recently watched a movie shot in the city. When you recognize places you have been, the movie feels completely different, so I felt like watching some more and next in line came some classics like When Harry met Sally, Taxi Driver, and The Warriors.
The latter two in particular made me think. The New York they depict is very different than the one I visited. They talk about a scary place where crime is commonplace, gangs fight to control their turf, whores tease on sidewalks, walking down the street alone at night is dangerous, and taxi drivers carry a gun and prefer to avoid some parts of the city. Washington Square and Bryant Park were no-go areas for ordinary people.
Nowadays you’d never tell New York used to be like that. As Travis hoped while talking with Palantine, they cleaned up the mess. In one decade Mayor Giuliani and those who came after him made it one of the safest and cleanest places I’ve even been.
While writing this post I discovered after 29 years Paramount Pictures is re-making The Warriors movie and this time it’s going to be shot in Los Angeles. It’s expected to hit the theaters later this year.
Do you know that funny video out there on the Internet, where two guys play kung-fu style ping pong making impossible movements and acrobatics while badly-hidden black-clothed counter figures support them, similar to Hong-Kong martial arts B movies from the 70s? It must have been an inspiring source for this totally exhilarating movie.
A former ping-pong player spent his life as a loser after failing the world championship at the final match and having his army-veteran father killed by the triads. But now, CIA recruited him to go hunt the triad’s boss, who is passionate about ping-pong, and he is determinate to get back his and his father’s honor.
To help him, CIA will have him attend lessons on a Chinese kung-fu style school, where he gets to know the true art of ping-pong, as well as a fascinating she-teacher.
This is a crazy movie and it helped me a lot on a boring 9-hour flight between the US and Italy. Not a masterpiece as Shaolin Soccer, but truly fun. And by the way, the Italian dubbing is even more fun.
I see there are lots of negative critics of this movie, they say it’s not worth an 8 euro ticket, but you know what? On a long distance flight I find this much more enjoyable than serious movies.
Balls of fury
USA 2007, by Robert Ben Garant, Comedy
While trying to invent a cure for cancer, a researcher inadvertently releases a virus that mutates humans in a sort of zombies attacking furiously everything they can. Manhattan is the epidemic epicenter and therefore is evacuated and quarantined, but the virus eventually spreads everywhere.
There is only one survivor: Doctor Levine (Will Smith), who is mysteriously immune to the virus and therefore convinced to have in his blood the seed for a vaccine. For three years he kept on researching a cure, hiding at night in hist apartment in Washington Square and trying to live a “normal” life in daylight. He’s alone tough, alone and saddened by the lost of his wife and daughter. His dog Samantha is the only companion in his endeavor.
I was in Manhattan when I watched this movie. First thing I was impressed by how realistically they rendered the city in a deserted condition. I could recognize several places and on wondered how they could remove all the crowds who usually walk there, how they could grow grass in the asphalt of the avenues and sand on top of the cars, how they could make it so still. Further, it’s hard doing a movie with basically only one actor and almost no conversation. Will Smith here did a very good job. We can clearly see what he thinks, even when he’s silent. Third, the plot (from a sci-fi book wrote in 1954) is fascinating. It’s not just action and special effects: there’s also convincing drama and the “a-ha” effect on seed how it would be like.
I read at the last minute they decided for a totally different ending because the original one was bad. Unfortunately, the one they used as a replacement is equally disappointing to me.
I am legend
USA 2007, by Francis Lawrence, Drama/Sci-fi/Horror