Twins Effect II

"I just woke up from the strangest movie..." said Gillian Chung, as she grasped her neck.

Back when Forced Perspective was still in its teething phase, I gave Dante Lam’s 2003 film The Twins Effect a glowing recommendation – albeit, a recommendation as a guilty pleasure. In hindsight, I still feel Lam’s film is more of a “silly” film than a “bad” film for many of the same reasons I’d stated earlier: despite the subpar plot and acting, it’s technically well-crafted and doesn’t take itself too seriously. I’d even forgotten to mention how entertaining Anthony Wong was.  The film was a financial success as well, so it is no surprise that less than a year later Emperor Motion Pictures sprung forth Twins Effect II, a sequel-in-name-only directed by Corey Yuen and Patrick Leung. Like the original, it combines a carefree silliness with a sense of technical skill. The big difference between the two films is that Twins Effect II genuinely sucks.

Read more of this post

Advertisements

Sawako Decides

Hikari Mitsushima is one hell of an actress. I haven’t looked too much into her past, but from what I gather she is a gravure idol-turned-actress, who started out with small bit parts in feature films, notably the live-action Death Note series. I have not seen these films, so this means next to nothing to me. She first really made waves in circles of Japanese Cinema fans in Shion Sono’s masterpiece, Love Exposure, as the protagonist’s obsessive love interest, who put him through hell. Though she was one of the major characters in Love Exposure, it is in Yûya Ishii’s Sawako Decides which she truly shines. After having only seen two of her films, she has already put herself in contention to be one of my favorite young actresses working today.

Read more of this post

My Sassy Girl

Jun Ji-Hyun & Cha Tae-Hyun... possibly the two biggest reasons to watch this movie.

Directed by Kwak Jae-Yong

South Korea; 2001

137 min. (director’s cut)

Starring Cha Tae-Hyun and Jun Ji-Hyun

In Short: Based on a series of blogs, this romantic comedy is quite possibly South Korea’s most internationally popular film, and it’s not hard to see why. The two leads make for memorable characters, and much of the broad humor and melodrama actually work. However, the film is much longer than it needs to be, and there are a few embarrassingly bad sequences that really should have never made it out of the editing room intact.

Read more of this post

Citizen Kane (April Fool’s)

This poster does not seem to have anything in common with the movie.

Directed by Orson Welles

United States; 1941

119 min.

Starring Orson Welles, Joseph Cotton, and Agnes Moorehead.

In Short: Often considered to be one of the greatest films of all time, Citizen Kane has begun to make me question my taste in films. How is it that everyone liked this film so much? While it has a few neat visual tricks that were probably considered groundbreaking at the time, the story is based on a dubious account of history, the acting is unimpressive, and none of the characters are the least bit sympathetic. Felt more like a Michael Bay film than classic Hollywood cinema.

Read more of this post

Just One Look

Wong Yau Nam, a child, and Shawn Yue work the fishball stand in 1970's Cheng Chau.

Riley Yip’s Just One Look is a pleasant surprise of a film. Given the pop star pedigree of the cast, which includes young idols Shawn Yue, Wong Yau Nam, and both Twins (Charlene Choi and Gillian Chung), it’s not hard to come in expecting a lightweight commercialized youth romance. While romance is indeed involved, the film is also about of bitter grudges, martial arts, the transformation into adulthood, and of course, the love of cinema.

The films starts out with Fan, played by Li Ting-Fung as a child and Shawn Yue as an adult, witnessing an argument between his father (Sam Lee), a decorated policeman, and Crazy (Anthony Wong), a local triad who Fan’s father is in debt to. The two see a movie shortly afterward, and partway through, the father gets up to leave, taking one last look at his son before entering the bathroom, where gunshots are soon heard from. While the death is largely assumed to be a suicide, Fan swears for many years that Crazy was responsible. Read more of this post

The Guilty Pleasure Pile: My Wife is 18

Ekin Cheng in a rare non-preening face deals with the multi-faceted energy of Charlene Choi

Generally Speaking, we at Forced Perspective love great films and detest bad films. But what happens when one of us grows fond of a film that we know in our hearts is total crap? This is where we stash such films: The Guilty Pleasure Pile.

Several months ago in the inaugural post from The Guilty Pleasure Pile, I confessed my love for the masterpiece of marketing, Dante Lam’s The Twins Effect. Now, I turn my attention to another silly, fluffy film, the romantic comedy My Wife is 18, which actually just so happens to star both Ekin Cheng and Charlene Choi (the taller Twin) from my previous guilty pleasure. In fact, many of my guilty pleasures star either Ekin Cheng and/or one or both of the Twins, but I promise in the future I’ll try and cover something that people who don’t know every last detail about the Hong Kong film industry will actually care about.

Read more of this post

The Chaser

Directed by Na Hong-jin

South Korea; 2008

125 min.

Starring Kin Yun-seok, Ha Jung-woo, and Seo Yeong-hye

In Short: Na Hong-jin’s debut film is yet another film continuing South Korea’s recent dominance of the crime thriller genre. With a ticking-clock narrative and very clearly defined characters, it is almost impossible to not be emotionally affected by this film in some way, shape or form. Not surprisingly, an American remake starring Leonardo DiCaprio is in the works.

Read more of this post