Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Year 2006

Note:- You will notice the recent marathons of korean movies. Yes, I've gotten access to many and have patiently sat thru quite a few, warranting a summary of my overall perception of korean movies. In short, they are an acquired taste ie. not of the norm... more often than not, slow paced, sometimes weird and purposely confusing with endings which may be un-agreeable.... in other words, not mainstream. Maybe that's why many of them are succesful and getting rave reviews in Cannes or international film festivals. On the other hand, romance movies are usually mainstream though.... but still slow paced.... takes a lot of patience to sit thru but sometimes it pays off. Many a times, people will have different tastes and perceptions of what's good and not. For me, I only go for mainstream plots/stories and easy to grasp at first viewing... so there you go.

Renaissance - french live action animation of sorts, stylistic mystery thriller

Severance - british slasher thriller, funny and fun to watch

Behind Enemy Lines2 - grade A wannabe movie, with some interesting plotlines in sync with recent North Korean nuclear tests

Hanbando - a political thriller raising anti-japanese sentiments amongst the korean scene, fiction or true, it will reignite past hatred

Friends with money - a sad human drama of a movie, about different couples and their lives. Jennifer Aniston's star power doesn't quite liven up the mood

Stormbreaker - the beginning was promising thanks to short-lived Ewan McGregor, but quickly turned south becoming a 'Spy Kids' kind of movie. Even Donnie Yuen's choreography may not liven this up

Butterfly effect 2 - a sequel of the same theme, it doesn't bring a surprise element, but yet draws audience into a twilight zone mystery

Who killed the Electric Car - a documentary movie which raises many insights into technology advances or backwardness

Pirates of Silicon Valley - a nice biographical movie of sorts about Bill Gates and Steve Jobs rise to power.

Break-up - another one of those War of Roses couple plots, hyped up by Aniston-Pitt breakup.

Thank you for smoking - a nice intelligent movie about the cigarette industry and the power of the gab. Star studded cast.

Kisses and caroms - if you love Clerks, Waiting or Chasing Amy, this low budget well-done sexual comedy movie is for you.

Da vinci code - a treasure hunt reminiscent of Indiana Jones Last Crusade or Nicholas Cage's National Treasure, with twists and turns. Entertaining

X-men 3 Last Stand - this 3rd instalment lost its sense of surprise or awe. Everything seems all too familiar. Whatever happened to Nightcrawler, Sabretooth, Toad, etc.? Superpowers on screen are getting boring for my liking.

Click - a nice family romance comedy, involving dummy Adam Sandler and yummy Kate Beckinsale. Must watch to realign one's priority in life.

Superman returns - another superhero movie revamp, this was a boring experience for me. Villian is uninteresting and nothing much to say about the hero, except for a little 'surprise'

Silent hill - videogame to movie, this was well done ie. spooky and mysterious throughout. Plot is multi-layered and require much interpretation, if one is not familiar with the game.

City of violence - quite a nice action packed kill-bill-revenge-popcorn-kungfu flick

Devil wears prada - nice uplifting movie about the fashion industry, success ladders, cold bosses, employees, etc.

Dragon tiger gate - aside from the cheesy and imo irritating-Nicholas Tse-overdone stylistics, this comic to kungfu movie is well done, production-wise

Triangle miniseries - captivating x-files of sorts kind of miniseries involving quite a fair no. of actors

Bloody aria - one of those funny situations (what-if) which either keeps you wondering or just quit watching

Mr Wacky - too whacked (not funny) for me

Daisy (데이지 - De-i-ji) - korean love story shot in Netherlands mixed with cop and assassin plot. Light, slow and typical korean style.

Update (June 2006) :-
Bought my first korean original dvds from Technomart (a great place for dvd bargains - new and 2nd hand) :-
- Memories of Murder LE 21,000
- Sympathy of Lady vengeance 19,000
- Old boy FE 20,000
- Kung fu hustle Box set 20,000
- Shaolin soccer box set 7,300
- Public enemy 10,000
- Bittersweet life 19,000

Inside Man - Wow. I can't even remember the last good Hollywood movie I watched (it's that long) but this takes the cake. Really good characterisation, witty and interesting towards the end. A simple and captivating bank robbery. Highly recommended.

Typhoon (태풍 - Tae-poong) - an action-packed international crisis sort of movie. Didn't relate to the characters. Pacing was rushed and time-chronologically mixed up to make it look exciting, but it didn't work for me though.

Friend (친구 - Chin-goo) - a story almost similar to "Once upon a time in high school" but with a darker twist. I feel parts of story were rushed or didn't linked, causing a gap in my feelings towards the characters and their motives.

Arahan (아라한-장풍 대작전) - if you like Volcano High or martial arts with some wire stunts, this movie should be fun to watch. Comedic at times.

Tristan and Isolde - a good historical Briton vs Ireland braveheart kind of movie and a love story in between

Failure to launch - a good romance movie... good casts.

Running scared - Paul Walker in a non-stop twist and turn series of action sequences, interesting, grim and fun.

16 Blocks - Bruce willis in a character role best suited for him.... a wasted cop with bad hangover. Much better than his previous 'Hostage' movie. Good watch

Matador - an up and down movie about friendship and a messed up assasin. Quite fun watch.

Once upon a time in high school - school experience in the 70's... good fun, with some romance and fight scenes. Ending is typical of Korean directors, swaying from the norm.

Forbidden quest - a period drama, interesting and funny at first then it became dark and miserable. Pacing is slow. Still visually interesting

Guns and talks - assassins and friends... quite enjoyable... fun.

Romance - korean love story of the disturbing kind... very pretty pan-asian looking actress.

King and the clown aka King's man - highly acclaimed period drama that topped Korea's 2006 boxoffice. I expected more but it was a downhill experience... from good spirits to typical Korean aftertaste ending. The overall visuals are excellent though.

Mr Housewife aka Quiz king - a heartwarming story of family, career and romance. Funny too. Recommended

My girl and I - a simple story but told in layers. A goofy guy from Sassy Girl with a very pretty girl.

Il Mare a love story (Siworae)- crybaby Ji-hyun Jun in another romance drama. An interesting twist of sorts in this parallel time travel romance.

H - psychological suspense/murder mystery. Decent effort from korean movie. Girls would love the male lead actor.

Cheaper by the dozen 2 - not as good or funny as the first.

Hoodwinked - animated spoof of Red Riding Hood and fairy tales. Not as funny as Nemo or Shrek ... decent effort.

2 guys - mediocre korean mafia/action/comedy. Too wacky and irritating to appreciate main actors.

S diary - mediocre love scorned drama/comedy. Promising at first, but what happens later, I guess producer/director changed vision midway.

Donnie Darko - an old cult movie, confusing and weird... left much to own interpretation ie. mine is "dream of the alternate/possible future" similar to Vanilla Sky

Moment to remember - another nice korean tragic romance story, great for couples

Addicted - first come first serve love, in difficult situations. Incomprehensible end.

Attack the gas station - though highly praised as an anarchist kind of movie, I found it mediocre... quite frustrating to watch such a situation unfolding ... all buffoons. Expected laughs but none... was mostly just intelligence insult.

Running wild - as this korean crime movie unfolded, it looked promising at first .... and as it slowly dragged on with drama and more frustrations about how stupid law enforcement can be, I finally gave up my enthusiasm in the end.

Please teach me English - korean goofy comedy.... just goofy

April Snow - a familiar plot (from Harrison ford movie, I think), with 2 favorite casts from 'The Classic' and 'Winter Sonata'. Average.

History of violence - simple but engaging. Bam... when it hits, whoa!

The Classic (클래식 - Classic) - korean romance... beautiful cast, beautiful cinematography, beautiful soundtracks ... just beautiful.

Sad movie - korean drama, a mix of stories similar to Hollywood's 'Love Actually' but opposite in emotion.... star studded. Good for tearjerking relief... picture speaks most.

Fever Pitch - decent romance comedy revolving around baseball, from the Farrelly Brothers. Good chemistry between Barrymore and Jimmy Fallon.

Art of seduction - korean comedy.... playful

Sweet sex and love - korean romance sizzler, equivalent to 9 1/2 weeks but more daring exposure ... all about sex... gets boring after a while. Come to think about it, korean movies are the most daring of all asian film, in terms of sexual scenes.

Basic Instincts 2 - sequel not as steamy or interesting as the first. Perhaps the main actor or non-chemistry or less sex. Plot is all too familiar and predictable.

Battle Royale - japanese movie about a game of death revolving around students in an island. Mediocre.

Samaria - so far, 3 viewings... and not finished yet. Suspected it, checked IMDB and behold, it's another from Kim Di Duk. Will see how it ends out of curiosity. Human drama.

Boondock Saints - irish vigilantes with a priceless tough gay FBI agent (Willem Dafoe). Funny as hell.. had me ROTFL with Dafoe's forensic analysis each time. Some Tarantino elements.

Memories of Murder - korean murder mystery, based on true story set in the 80's in a small village, the mood is haunting yet peaceful. As usual, pacing is not as expected.... ending was typical yet leave some form of aftertaste. Comedic performances keeps the mood up with well balance drama. Captivating. Critically acclaimed movie.

Rumor has it - romance with some comedy, interesting storyline with 'The Graduate' mixed in. Jennifer Aniston as her usual Friends character. Not bad.

Scarlet letter - another korean murder/drama/romance story which was paced too slow for my taste.... yawn

Amazing race - latest episode in Italy. Another disappointment.... didn't want the losers to go.... sob!

Germany next top model - Lena Lena Lena ..... I'm for you!!!

Bad news bears - baseball & family/kids kind of movie... mediocre

Desire - another one of those silent korean movies... slow as hell. I'm going to avoid any poster/cover that involves 3 lovers .... hehehe

Beauty shop - black comedy with mixed bag of hilarious characters eg. Kevin Bacon as a gay austrian hairdresser is a classic and Alicia Silverstone as black-girl-wannabe with country-girl accent.

The Big White - 'Fargo' meets 'Big Lebowski'.

3-Iron - korean movie of the weirdest so far... amazed how I sat thru it all. Critically acclaimed, just too artistic for me.

Stay - what a surreal mind-trip. Good cast (Ewan Mcgregor and Naomi Watts) keeps you hooked and from stopping the movie till the end.

Haute tension - french slash & dice thriller... quite interesting. Makes me think back about the movie.... still figuring it out.

Nanny McPhee - beautiful fairy tale of a story. Feel-good movie.

The Alibi - great cast and con movie of sorts. Rebecca Romijin seems to be putting on the pounds.

My tutor friend (동갑내기 과외하기 - Dong-gab-nae-gi Kwa-oi-ha-gi) - korean romance comedy with some kungfu action.... refreshing and playful.

Domino - gritty bounty hounter action with lots of cast ... Keira Knightley, Lucy Liu, Jacqueline Bisset, Mickey rourke, Christopher walken, etc.. Experimental editing and flashscenes... distracting at times.

Prime - nice romance light-comedy w/ Uma Thurman and Meryl Streep in hilarious situations.

Waiting - Finally finished the show. Good fun. Makes you think twice ever eating in a restaurant. Never going to order extra sauce, fromunda cheese, garlic salt and anything with alfafa.... hahaha. The restaurants 'game' is hilarious.... the look, the brain, the bat, the abe lincoln and the goat... wat a finishing.

Descent - just another creature horror movie centered around women lost in a cave.

Anthony Zimmer - french thriller, refreshing and twisting. Nice.

Amityville horror - well-made remake, jumps you at all angles. Great for bright afternoons.

Top chef - another reality series, gunning for best chef title. Decided to give it a shot and turned out good.... amazing how each contestant has its own style and ingenuity on each challenge.

Sympathy for Mr Vengeance - the worst of the trilogy from Park Chan Wook, slow moving and hauntingly quiet.

Waiting - teen movie with Ryan Reynold.... the usual slackers sex-themed kind of comedy. Some funny moments which unexpectedly crack me up hard.... "no mix of Mexican and Continental" scene... priceless!

Ice Harvest - halfway thru. Pace is slow but seems promising with good cast.

Fun with dick and jane - Expected more from Jim Carrey. Some goofy funny moments but otherwise not very good chemistry from Tea Leoni and Jim.

America's Top Model Season 6 - After watching Germany's season 1, it's disgusting to see the quality of girls selected out of thousands in America... still... there are some hopefuls

Fearless - nicely done kungfu movie of historical character. Isn't it nice to watch a movie set in shanghai, when in shanghai... hehehe.

Family stone - Lots of good cast keep family holiday comedy interesting. Land of the dead - Gore and violence galore.... fun.

Screaming and kicking - not funny and waste of time

Just friends - beginning was promising, but crashed onwards

Derailed - decent thriller of a movie, good cast.

Garden State - not for restless viewers... slow moving. Syriana - no big deal. Li'l confusing and slow... had to tolerate till passed half of the movie.

Good night and good luck - as interesting as the color of the movie The Aristocrats - weird, interesting and funny, amazing how this concept can be pulled off

Dungeons and dragons 2 - Made for tv but fun. Great raid - decent war movie, inspired by true events. Jogs my anti-japanese fire.

Lord of War - good story and insight into the world of weapons and war.

North Country - expected more of this, but was just an extension of the known events/outcome (human drama) ... unsatisfying.

Kiss Kiss bang bang - nothing great murder mystery... but had some funny moments.

SAW2 - more gory than the first. Prefer the first better.

Constant Gardener - nausea-tic camerawork reminiscent of Blair Witch. Non-satisfying overall.... boring in the beginning, interesting somewhere in the middle but fall flat after.

Napolean dynamite - crap

Kungfu mahjong 2 - crap

Sleeper cell series - slow moving but seems interesting, hopefully the calm before the storm

Munich - uninteresting

Zathura - similar to Jumanji

Aeon Flux - crappy except for Charlize In her shoes - drama (thought it was comedy)... yuck

Must love dogs - romance drama/light comedy ..... uninteresting actors

Doom - no-brainer action.... great for bored nights... similar to resident evil

Harry Porter and Goblet of Fire - getting worse as series progresses... trying to confuse audience (or readers) with bits here and there.

King kong - beginning and ending sucks, the middle rocks with action. I think there has been some omissions... trailer scenes are not in the actual movie.


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