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Suburgatory: Stray Dogs (2013)
This episode had Jay Mohr's character coming back from Singapore with his new Chinese bride Wan'Er. I'm always glad when my homeland gets mentioned in the media but could the character BE any more stereotypical?! She was depicted as some kind of bimbo who couldn't string enough words in English and it was so damn insulting! I know a lot of people don't know much about Singapore but they could've asked. We ARE a first world country and we have a record number of university graduates who I can assure you aren't anything like the Wan'Er's character. If they wanted to make some kind of statement about what a jerk Jay Mohr's character was, they needn't go far but to actually pick Singapore out and have her be depicted as a bimbo is really insulting to us. We're always glad to get mentioned in the media but we're a small country so we'd like to limit the number of negativity we get in the international media. Sure, this was meant in good fun since this is a dramedy of sorts but you know what, every little bit counts.
Royal conspiracy lead to tragedy
This movie is based on true events which wonderfully depicts a colourful and rich part of our Malay history. Unlike their European counterparts (i.e. Elizabeth I) the Malay rulers didn't have the education necessary and almost compulsory to rule a country. As such, they were vulnerable to their respective advisers which were all a matter of luck. This tragedy was mostly the cause of bad advice on the part of one of the advisers to the Sultan who was only out for revenge. The worst part was that being royalty usually meant you could get away with everything so a dispute about a fruit is seen as almost stupid in the eyes of present society. Thank god those days are over!
Cash & Marry (2009)
I am a fellow (documented) immigrant to the EU too and I have my own opinions to the causes and effects of the open borders policy. That aside, what I really liked about the documentary though was their brutal honesty in approaching the matter. They didn't attempt to hide it under any other premise than the fact that they were searching for someone to marry for the sole purpose of gaining citizenship and a passport. A good level of English is also spoken here which may be a surprise to some viewers not familiar with the East European communities. I won't give out the ending but I do hope more people will watch this.
Army Daze (1996)
Lost on foreigners
There are a few reviews here, presumably from foreigners, who have blatantly criticized this locally made Singapore movie. I think the format is lost on them because comparisons are made to Platoon. It is not Platoon and doesn't purport to be and doesn't aspire to be. It is a humble simple local movie about a very Singaporean topic so perhaps that itself is already lost on people who have absolutely no idea about life in Singapore.
This movie is based on a popular play about something that touches almost all families in Singapore and that is the mandatory military service (the official name is 'national service - NS for short') which all 18 year old males have to undergo for 2 years (Israel has it too and for both genders so we are not exclusive is that area). NS is dreaded by every male and their parents in this country as they forlorn the loss of those precious 2 years and the rigorous mental and physical routine and training under the humid Singapore sky and constant 30Celsius sun.
Things have changed for the better in the 80s and 90s and when the play came out, it was a big hit because it touched on the lighter side of NS, which up until then, was perceived to be non-existent. Then they made it into a movie and it was an even bigger hit because some of us, like myself, had missed the play due to age and/or ignorance of its existence. I reckon that the joy of watching the movie is lost on foreigners who don't appreciate and/or understand our local humor so naturally you aren't able to enjoy it in the way we do.
The fact that the movie doesn't appeal to you foreigners doesn't mean the movie deserves the negativity (some of which are quite mean-spirited) to which you have been so generous to dispense. Just as how we Singapoeans are able to enjoy British costume dramas and cowboy-and-Indian movies despite of our unfamiliarity with them, the same applies to you. And just like how those costume dramas depict a fact of life in England to which most of us have no first hand knowledge of, Army Daze is a visual documentation (of sorts) on a facet of our way of life here and it would be nice if you could try to enjoy it even if you cannot really appreciate and/or understand it.
Naturally, it isn't Fellini-quality but given the resources they had, the movie has turned out to be a decent piece of entertainment, presumably better than all those B-grade action movies Steven Seagal and the likes of all those other talentless actors churn out - they all the flair and pomp but no substance. We have given the same consideration to Western-made movies since the invention of movies itself and it would be nice if you guys cut us some slack as we try to navigate our way into the world of movie making, Singapore style.
30 Days of Night (2007)
I thought this would be just another horror zombie flick but as it turns out, it was actually quite a good movie. Yes, we've all seen the plot before but the 30 days without sun scenario actually gave the movie a big part of its realism. I get crazy enough during the short winter days so I can't imagine what your mind does to you if you don't see the sun for a whole month. The action is real and the survivors don't go to any extraordinary means to stay alive, they just used good old-fashioned group work. There were some good performance from the lead and it was nice to see Josh Harnett isn't just another pretty Hollywood face. The ending has a real nice melancholic twist to it.
Love In The City of Lion
As a born & bred Singaporean, I was intrigued by the title and the producers' choice to film the movie in Singapore. However, I couldn't help feeling that it was more of a 'product placement' for touristy Singapore with the locations being in the typical tourist spots like Chinatown and Arab Street. It would seem logical that the German lead actress would be seen going in and around the touristy spots as it was her first time in Singapore but for a Singaporean watching it, it feels tacky.
I understand that the movie was made for a German audience but they ought to know that Singapore's first language is English and you'd be hard pressed to find anyone who speaks German as fluently as the local actors do (although I think their voices were overdubbed as I am pretty sure Wong Lilin doesn't sound they way she does when speaking German).
All in all, it was a decent piece of Sunday television and nice for Europe-based Singaporeans like me.
I have been a faithful Law & Order fan ever since I can remember so I waited with anticipation as I heard about this new one here. All in all, it's pretty entertaining and gripping at times & as another commentator quoted here, it's a lot like 'Grey's Anatomy' but the sex-in-the-workplace formula is getting really old. They've used it in almost every series so they should do something different already. I mean it's logical for co-workers to get involved, especially ones who spend a lot of time at work but I'm sure not all lawyers marry/sleep with other lawyers. It would be interesting to see how they would juggle with a partner of a different profession. Wouldn't that be more interesting especially if it were to explore another territory altogether instead of doing the same old thing all the time. We had it from Ally McBeal, The Practice etc. They should do something different for a change.
Beyond Borders (2003)
Sad but as realistic as can be
I didn't even know about this movie until I chanced upon a trailer of it and then realised it hadn't even made it to the cinemas. I wondered why so I searched on IMDb, most comments are mixed but I reckoned I should give the movie a watch but couldn't get hold of the DVD until now. Only then did I know why it never made it to the box office nor even near any cinemas in certain countries.
Let's face it - we go to the cinemas to forget our problems and not be reminded of them which is precisely the reason why movies like these don't make any money but others do. Most movies about injustice and persecution always have the good guys win in the end but this movie doesn't. In fact, we're introduced to the startling reality of the lives of volunteer workers and what they have to go through with all their good intentions in place. We are also introduced and/or reminded of the ugly side of humanity as to why certain countries will never be able to have peace because people are just too selfish fighting out their own agendas to spare any thought for another person.
Clive Owen was superb in this movie and whilst I would've liked to see him paired up with Catherine-Zeta Jones (the original choice for the female lead), Angelina Jolie was pretty decent as well. It could've been worst coz the behind-the-scenes commentary said their original male lead was Kevin Costner. No offence but I don't think he would've pulled it off. He's too 'The Bodyguard' if you know what I mean.
The love story is just a sub-plot and was so subtly done and there are no mushy lovey-dovey sequences to make your eyes roll. It's just a simple story about two people bonded by their common passion but whilst one chooses to act it out whole-heartedly, the other keeps a silent but burning fire for it. Now, that's love!
One commentator here said that this movie doesn't do any justice for the refugees and the victims but I must say that no movie can. Even if you do visit these places to see for yourself what really goes on, you have a choice - you can leave whilst these people don't so unless you are in that exact same position, I think nobody should ever try to comment about it because it's something I don't think none of us in developed countries can ever truly understand. Besides, this movie is about the volunteer workers and what they have to go through and the love story between the two leads as the backdrop to distract us from the painful realities depicted in the movie. I don't really agree with some inaccurate plots in certain movies but I don't know the 110% truth about this movie so I just accept it and then find out more about it if I want to. It's something you can't expect from movies anyway coz movies are not supposed to educate but just to entertain and maybe enlighten us a little. You want a 100% accurate show, then go watch National Geographic.
All in all, the filmmakers of Beyond Borders deserve some credit for trying to tell a story different from the rest of the junk playing in the cinemas nowadays. Some of you might have felt they didn't really succeed but I still think they gave it their best shot. Now, you have to give them at least that!
The Nanny (1993)
Vanity project for Drescher
Yes, this series is hilarious but I truly believe the best lines and comedic routines were held by the supporting cast of the likes of Daniel Davis and Renee Taylor. Davis' ability to keep a straight face whilst delivering the wittiest and funniest lines is absolute to die for and Renee Taylor played the nosy mother to perfection. I especially loved Yetta and every scene that she was in was superb.
Other than that, I am more than convinced that this show is just a vanity project for Fran Drescher so she could prance around in her awful costumes whilst pursuing the man of her dreams who ignored her for 5 whole years. There are other wonderful shows about women who are desperate to get married or whose ultimate and/or only ambition in life is to get married but they aren't as pathetic and blatant as Fran Drescher's portrayal in this show. Furthermore, I didn't see any sexual chemistry between the nanny and Maxwell Sheffield and there was more between Niles and CC but even they got married in the end and it was such an anti-climax.
This is very slapstick humour and though it was fun at times, it got really bad towards the end when they all fulfilled their characters' ambitions for the show. Yes, it may not belong in the ranks of 'Seinfeld' but it could at least preserve some of its original dignity like how 'Friends' did.
Sex and the City (1998)
Great show but lousy ending!
Coming from a non-liberal Asian culture, this show is a breath of fresh air and I relished the sexual escapades these 4 women shared. I'm also glad that in the end the show finally proved the bottom-line of the whole saga - it was more about the friendship these 4 women shared more than anything else.
Yes, Carrie delivers the underlying message of her misadventures in this show which we all can relate to - we all want to love and to be loved and like how Carrie said in the finale, most of us want that undying, can't-be-apart-from-you love but do we really have to watch her torture herself all over again with Mr Big?! I think not especially for any smart single woman who knows that if it didn't work the first and second time around, there is no guarantee it would work the third. It seems that the finale is only meant to serve the affirmation for many single women out there that we can change a man and that after years of non-compliance, he will eventually come to his senses and having Mr Big and Carrie together in the end will somehow prove that somehow but we all know that is BS and real life is so not like that. It is so clichéd that it became disgustingly tragic!
I think perhaps the producers of the show had to succumb to public favour that the finale did eventually bring these two people together after years of hits and misses but it could have been done in a less clichéd, dramatic end i.e. she decides to come back to NY on her own and then meets Mr Big upon her arrival who had decided to wait for her return but not to go to Paris as she had blew him off on the night of her departure. The 'Gone With The Wind' finale was so hard to swallow and should have been altered to fit into this century's mindset and practice.
All in all, I loved this show but the ending was such a disappointment. It was such an anti-climax that I couldn't help but feel cheated out of the years of devotion that I've put into the show. Yeah, I sound dramatic but those of you who love this show or any other show as much would understand.
House of Sand and Fog (2003)
Somber solemn story
I guess this movie might be a bit too heavy for some and very depressing at the same time but I must say it isn't totally unbelievable. Firstly, there is a lesson to be learned with Ben Kingsley's character; his pride just won't let him go of his former glory though his situation and circumstances are totally different. He is so adamant of reclaiming his 'rightful' place that he goes to great lengths to achieve it, including buying the house with the specific intention of selling it off at a lucrative profit. Though he legally owns the house, he would have had more compassion for Jennifer Connelly's character if he wasn't so overwhelmed with greed. Their insistence in maintaining a lifestyle they couldn't afford has a lesson to be learned.
Jennifer Connelly managed to pull off her character with great empathy. She brilliantly portrayed a woman pushed to the edge that you almost felt sorry for her. You could imagine how a woman in her position could turn the way as she did, especially with no friends and/or family to turn to. I have to admit though that she did better here than in 'A Beautiful Mind'; I didn't think she completely earned her Best Supporting Oscar for that movie but she did here. Well, she got it already.
Though I was thoroughly annoyed with Ron Eldard's character, I felt he could be someone a lot of men could relate to. He was a typical confused troubled husband and father who just didn't know what to do and met a woman whom he thought was the answer to all his problems. I hope other husbands/fathers who watch this movie take a lesson from it; don't take the easy way out. True, you don't want to be stuck in a loveless marriage but at least let it cease the right way instead of getting yourself into more trouble.
All round solid performances by all and a somber plot to accompany them. It might depress you but the moral behind it serves as a reminder to most of us so watch it anyway. A movie like this won't hurt once in a while.
Brad Pitt can't act!
Let's face it. There are actors who are movie stars and there are movie stars who can act. Forget Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, Robert Duvall - those are legends and shouldn't even be mentioned in the same breath but Brad Pitt?! He's a movie star through and through and reckon he's not a bad actor but he pales in comparison to the others in this movie - Sean Bean, Orlando Bloom and most of all Eric Bana. All it took was (spoiler!) for that one scene with Peter O'Toole to display his lack of acting credibility. He didn't achieve international acclaim playing a substantial role - all he did was show off his abs in 'Thelma & Louise' and he was there! Yeah, fine actor alright. All he needed was to do sit ups every night.
The one who truly excelled in this movie was Eric Bana who showed ferocity and tenacity in his role as the older more responsible brother out to save his nation and younger foolish brother. I had just watched Orlando Bloom in his comic turn in 'Pirates of the Carribbean' so I was pretty surprised he could pull it off in 'Troy', which backs up my claim that he's an actor cum movie star. I'm just sorry Brad Pitt got all the attention and no credit was given to Eric Bana who gave the movie some sort of dignity amidst all the glamour of the blonde movie star.
All kudos to Wolfgang Petersen but perhaps his hands were tied in the casting process. I mean the days of making epic movies like 'Cleopatra' and 'Spartacus' are over for the very reason that those were days when the big movie stars, even Elizabeth Taylor, could command an audience awed by her sheer beauty and acting abilities. Kirk Douglas didn't just flash his dimpled chin to make 'Spartacus' into the masterpiece it was - he had to act and he could. Unfortunately, in the world of commercialism and utter nonsensical movies, people like Brad Pitt can star in a ridiculously expensive movie like Troy and get away with it. With the recent failure of 'Alexander' starring another similar-abled movie star, I hope the studios will learn that a pretty face is not enough to make a movie into the success that it could be. You need real actors who can really act and hold their own against greats like Peter O'Toole and not be totally overshadowed and killed just by sharing one tiny scene with him.
Captain Corelli's Mandolin (2001)
Another love-war drama
I agreed with another commentator's review that John Hurt should've received at least a nomination for Best Supporting Oscar. I was first bewildered that he was cast as a Greek doctor coz I had always thought John Hurt was one of the most 'British' actors I'd seen on screen but he pulled it off very well, from his tanned complexion (much thanks to the location I guess) down to his impeccable accent. Nicholas Cage tried to do his best and you could see his diversity and I appreciated the efforts he took, especially since he has Italian roots (Coppola). Christian Bale also shone as Greek patriot desperate to fight for his country and he was so passionate that I could almost fall in love with him. The worst miscasting however, was that of Penelope Cruz. Yes, the role was supposed to be of a simple Greek island girl and perhaps they couldn't find any other actress who was beautiful but not too extravagantly gorgeous that it'd make her believable in the role. But Penelope Cruz couldn't grasp the Greek accent and she had no chemistry with either Nicholas Cage nor Christian Bale.
They did stretch the movie out to show the intensity between Captain Corelli and Pelagia before they actually made a love. I tend to squirm at supposed love dramas which have nothing but sex. The movie showed that Pelagia was desperately in love with Mandras but his patriotism was too much for her handle and instead she fell in love with Captain Corelli's carefree ways. It took a while but I shan't question the director for the length though it could probably test your patience a bit.
If anything else, the location and gorgeous scenery make up for any defects the movie has. I can't stand war movies but I make exceptions for movies like this coz the scenery makes up for the violence and intensity of the plot. If anything, they score points on cinematography.
Yes, I admit I was hooked on this show when it first started. Mainly coz of the witch theme, which was fresh, new and unexplored (aside from the movie 'The Craft'). I'm not a big fan of Shannen Doherty but I have to say the dynamic of the cast was totally destroyed when she left. Even though Rose McGowan does bear some sort of resemblance, you could see that the first casting of Prue, Piper and Phoebe actually resembled each other a lot! It made the sister-thing believable and just when we were getting comfortable with the show, Shannen Doherty left (stupid her!) and things have never been the same.
As the show progressed, I did notice the drastic change in costumes - from regular girly-girl outfits to really eye-popping lingerie. Wasn't one of the aims of Charmed to show that even though they were extraordinary girls, they were trying their best to lead ordinary lives?! How does the change of costumes make that any realistically easier, I really don't understand. Their initial 'regular-girl' costumes were perfectly fine, in fact it actually made the show credible as I believe most of us ordinary girls do dress like them until (I just read it on the trivia section) the producers changed hands (to a man not least!) and the story lines, make up and costumes turned for the worst. Sure, it might have kept the ratings up and provide much needed eye candy for the male viewers but this was supposed to be a show for us girls and unrealistic as it may seem, most of us don't want to be reminded we can't either afford the campy clothes they wear or can't fit into one. There are enough things on TV to remind us of that so why couldn't this show remain the way it was?! Just about 3 sister trying to get along whilst fighting off evil together. A little romance here and there doesn't do any harm but does it always have to be about that?! I mean, come on. Enough already! And to think they cancelled perfectly good shows like 'The Practice' and let crap like this stay on the air. Even 'Sex & The City' knew when enough is enough. Charmed has to go before they start making a fool of themselves and give the E! producers more than enough material to put into one of their 101 specials.
Greatest love story of all
I have to admit that as great as Devdas is, I can't watch it too often as it is far too depressing but it is ultimately the most spectacular movie I have seen in a long time. Aside from its theme, the film making process was awesome including the costumes, the cinematography, the direction, camera angles. Imagine the number of hours the extras worked their *beep* off to dance in sync. Even the soundtrack was perfectly tuned to help set the mood of the movie and hearing Paro (Aiswarya Rai's character) sing for her love lost for Devdas (Shahrukh Khan) on her wedding day was enough to make you burst into tears.
The actors chosen were perfect for their roles as they portrayed it with such heart wrenching gut, you could almost feel their sorrow along with them. I was particularly surprised how Aishwarya Rai pulled off her biggest acting role to-date, thereby quashing any doubts on her previous beauty queen title. Shahrukh Khan once again proves why he is the reigning king of Bollywood playing a heartbroken alcoholic pining for the love of his life who's been married off to another man. Madhuri Dixit was equally wonderful as the beautiful courtesan who played her role with such empathy that I couldn't help but feel sorry for her and wished Devdas would eventually reciprocate her feelings for him. Jackie Shroff has never disappointed and was excellent in his supporting role as Devdas 'brothel' companion. All in all, the cast ensemble of this movie is one of the best in cinema history.
This movie is also a perfect (and spectacular) introduction to first timers of Bollywood movies into the lives and culture of Indian/Asian people in general. How, in this modern and civilised world, old traditions and values still hold dear in certain communities and whilst it is not the most favourable of beliefs, it is the age old cultural practices that makes one culture unique to the other.
Yes, no movie is perfect but Devdas almost does it so watch it with an open mind. Being Asian myself, I dare be bold and say this is better than 'Gone With The Wind'.
Nasib Si Labu Labi (1963)
Not as funny
This second instalment sees the plot shift from Labu Labi themselves and more to Haji Bakhil who has just lost his wife and rediscovers love with a younger woman. Whilst the first focused on Haji Bakhil's sheer "cruelty", this second movie shows the humane part of him. He's still very stingy, thus his name, Bakhil (which means 'stingy' in Malay) but we get entertained by his absurd antics. We also see Labu and Labi engage in their relentless tussle for the affections of Manisah who still has no idea how they both feel about her.
It's not as hilarious as the first but is still largely entertaining.
Ali Baba bujang lapok (1961)
This is another of P.Ramlee's gem which you will never get sick of watching. I must have watched it like millions of times since I was a child and I'm still watching it and no, I'm not ever going to get sick of it. Though the movie is based on the Ali Baba & The Forty Thieves fable, don't expect too much from it as it is supposed to be a light-hearted version of the myth. Just watch it for the humour and entertainment and knowing that back then, they did do good movies even if they didn't have an original story!
Along the way, you might see a lot of familiar faces in other P.Ramlee's movies - the extras all worked in the same movies together as they were already friends and familiar with each other's working styles. Plus, it was cheap too and back then, they didn't do it for the money or glory - they did it for the love of the art! Can't say the same for most of the people in the business now.
Ali Setan (1985)
Malay language movies churned out a number of successes in the 80's and Ali Setan personified that generation. The plot is rather unoriginal but the superb acting and consistent direction compensated the lack of unoriginality. Though some of the supporting cast members were not professional actors, they shone in their own right and captured the many colourful essences you'd find in a university. The only sang, perhaps, was the overdubbing used in this movie, which made the actors' voices sound rather unnatural. The actors could have gained more strength in their performances if their own voices were used.
A must for nostalgic mementos out of the 80's. They don't make movies like these anymore.
21 Grams (2003)
Naomi Watts should've won the Oscar!
As pointed out by someone else here, the style of the movie can get to you because it does get confusing but it's also precisely why it's so interesting - it forces you to stay focus and grasp the story. After a while, the confusion goes away and the story flows along at a regular pace, allowing you to appreciate the intensity of the movie. I loved this movie simply for the simplicity of the theme - that this kind of thing happens sometimes to someone somewhere and this movie explores the ramifications of such an event on the people involved.
Sean Penn clearly deserved his Oscar for Mystic River but many, including I, felt that he was rewarded for his work in this movie too and deservedly so. He seems to thrive playing tortured souls but he does it with a real authenticity to it so you don't feel like you're being tortured along with him. Naomi Watts was superb and after watching her other contenders for Oscar, I felt like she should've won. Yes, Charlize Theron deserved it too but not as much as Naomi because Naomi didn't use make up or any other gimmick to make her character shine through. Instead, she used hard core raw emotions, sans make up nonetheless but who has time to put on make up when you're mourning for your husband and 2 kids?! It's the reality to it that really struck me. I've always loved Benicio Del Toro and as awful as he looked here, he was really great. Unfortunately, he was outshined by the likes of Tim Robbins and other equally great performers this year. Ah well, he already has his Oscar. He doesn't need another one, not so soon at least.
Thoroughly depressing movie but hopeful nonetheless.
Whale Rider (2002)
I waited a whole year to watch this movie but it never came out in the cinemas. I've got nothing to complain though coz the wait is really worthwhile. The storyline is simple enough but Keisha Castle-Hughes' performance makes it poignant and throat clunching. She did it with all heart and soul and she did it beautifully. An Oscar nomination well deserved but we know who is going to win, don't we?!
Anyways, the cinematography provided for a really gorgeous setting and helped set the movie in place. Someone here said that the cultural theme was a bit too much but I disagree. The Maoris' struggle to keep their customs and traditions alive are well documented and it may have been the sole plot and purpose of this movie in this movie but it's just one of their ways of keeping their spirits alive and if it provides for good art, why not?!
A spectacular piece of work deservedly of all its accolades.
OK, I know a lot of people have dammed this movie and I'm not going to be the exception except perhaps Mariah Carey was a little too over ambitious about her first big break into movies. She fared better in Wisegirls but it doesn't mean she'll be picking up an Oscar anytime soon. She really ought to be taking acting lessons, if she hasn't had any, and not just assume that music stardom grants her automatic movie stardom as well.
The screenplay needed more fine tuning and so did the direction; Vondie Curtis Hall is a fine actor but don't think he has much experience in directing movies such as this. Even the setting of the movie, which was supposed to be in the 80s, didn't really materialise. The clothes didn't do much; a lot of people still dress that way nowadays. Otherwise, the only good performances were by the supporting cast playing MC's good friends.
In the hands of other people, who knows, it could've been a really good romantic story.
The Magdalene Sisters (2002)
Coming from Asia and Islam, I watched the movie for what it was and I didn't see any supposed anti-Catholic undertone; the Italian cinema ban seems rather harsh. I felt so because of the way the story was told. You could see the viciousness of the nuns though the actual physical abuse scenes were few and far between. The three leading actresses were very good considering it was their maiden efforts; they delivered well with their expressions and wide eyed fear and bewilderment at their fate. I could understand how something like this could happen in the 60s but I was rather shocked to discover it led on until the mid-90s. I just hope the survivors moved on with their lives.
Ying xiong (2002)
This isn't just another martial arts movie. It's another great martial arts movie, right up there with Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. The cinematography shows just how much beautiful landscapes are hidden in China. Vast deserts, beautiful lakes and gorgeous palaces set the scene for wonderful cinematography. The views are sometimes so stretched out you could almost believe that you were in ancient China.
The different colours worn by the cast in each different segment of the story symbolises the undertone of the movie - different colours represent different feelings, different moods. The fighting scenes were cleverly calculated; it wasn't too much as to bore oneself but enough to emphasise the skills exercised by these warriors. The wind effect was used a lot in this movie and it was marvellous and executed the mood of the movie to perfection. Perhaps, some may not agree and I even heard a few chuckles during the 'flying' scenes in the fight sequences. Well, I don't know much about martial arts but I do know that if Hollywood is allowed all those explosions, guns and destruction, then Zhang Yimou and his contemporaries are allowed to let their movies 'fly'.
I grew up watching the cast members, all except Zhang Ziyi, who was amazing in Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon. I think the director, Zhang Yimou, did a smart job by casting her in a supporting role as an unpolished understudy to a highly skilled sword fighter. You see the fire in her eyes but you feel sorry for her lack of skills so as not to be able to defeat each and everyone of her opponent. If only you watch CTHD, would you discover how really skilled Zhang Ziyi is and that she's just complimenting her skills in this movie by acting as the protege rather than the undefeatable fighter.
Tony Leung and Maggie Cheung have always made a great pair and this movie is no different. You sense the sexual tension between the two of them and learn of their love for each other but without the fireworks. It was refreshing to see a love story not be overblown by animal sex and all unnecessary drama. Maggie Cheung played the tortured female warrior brilliantly - I couldn't think of anyone else who would fit the part as well as she did.
The plot may confuse and bore a lot of you but don't be scared off by it. It's a story about ancient Chinese warriors so it's not your regular Hollywood type no brainer. There are a lot of traditional and cultural undertones to be taken into account and the movie seeks to combine all of that in one. Sit it out and you won't regret it.
Like another commentar said, this movie too, blew my breath and my mind away. I can't wait for the DVD!
Intolerable Cruelty (2003)
They should be married!
This movie had a brilliant cast. Catherine Zeta-Jones' gorgeous looks and haughty aura did embody the epitomous gold digger character. All she had to do was look beautiful and wear expensive clothes (all sponsored I presume) but the irony is that most real life gold diggers do dress like that and do go around with their noses turned up high to the sky. CZJ just immortalised it on screen to perfection. Or it could be that she didn't really need to stretch herself too much for this role.
George Clooney was perfect for this role but he didn't come off as cruel and calculating, just confused. It was refreshing to see him in something very different than his usual roles but he could have done a little better.
I thought Paul Adelstein was the funny one here. He didn't have much funny lines but it didn't really matter. Just seeing a grown man cry so much was amusing enough. Geoffrey Rush is one of my fav actors and it was disappointing to see him so shortly on screen. Julia Duffy was a surprise - I had seen her on TV quite a lot over the years but she was rather witty here.
Perhaps this movie is a let down for most Coen Brothers' fans; I didn't get much of the jokes but I took the movie as a mockery on Hollywood society itself. Anyways, you're not supposed to laugh out too loud coz most of their movies make you chuckle and giggle rather than split your ribs so one shouldn't go to this movie expecting that. You want to laugh your jaw to death, go see a Farrelly Brothers' movie.
In any case, both the leads saved this movie from any notion of utter destruction. In an ideal world, Catherine Zeta-Jones would be having George Clooney's children and they would be a couple, for real.
The Good Girl (2002)
This is a typical indie movie - substantial plot, good cast and superb location. I mean, how many times have we seen LA so this little Texan town was a nice change, especially since I love stories like these set in these typical American midwestern towns. You've seen and heard the story enough but with interesting twists and outcomes. Nothing spectacular but thought provoking enough.
I give kudos to Jennifer Aniston who really de-glamed herself for this role. She made a really good effort and it shows and she really deserves all the acclaim she got for this movie. I don't think we can ignore her efforts and how hard she's trying to prove that she is worthy of praise and she is an actress, not just a TV and movie star cum movie star spouse. Brad Pitt should be proud.
The wonderful John C. Reilly is no good looker but a bundle of talents. He and JA look really odd together as husband and wife but I guess that's the irony of it. You don't like him and how he treats JA as his wife - you even cheer for her affair with Jake Gyllenhall's character. As the movie goes along, you realise he's no brainer but he's not malicious and really does love his wife. It would be too much to ask to let him play the lead or hero but he will be around for a long time to come.
I've been a fan of Jake Gyllenhall since I saw him in 'Moonlight Mile'. His role in this movie is not too much different; that of a tortured sole in need of salvation and found in the arms of a beautiful woman. I really hope he plays a different character next time but maybe this is his forte. Perhaps, due to his excellent acting, I felt like slapping him in the face and telling him to just lighten up and stop being so depressed! He, or rather his character, was really pathetic.