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

Stalag 17

When Gil Stratton’s character “Cookie” announces in the voiceover that opens Stalag 17 that “it always make me sore when I see those war pictures — all about flying leather-necks and submarine patrols and frogmen and guerillas in the Philippines… what gets me is that there never was a movie about P.O.W.s” he wouldn’t have been accurate, even in 1944 when the film was set; Renoir’s The Grand Illusion was released in 1938, but it’s French. What’s really happening there is Billy Wilder is already winking at the audience to think about what POW films have been made, and I’m guessing he was betting that his audience hadn’t seen The Grand Illusion, or British productions like 1947s The Captive Heart or 1950s The Wooden Horse. 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

Alternate Perspective: Summer Wars by JH

“Anime? You mean the Japanese cartoons like Pokémon and Yu-Gi-Oh!” or “Anime? You mean the Japanese cartoons full of sex and violence?” are probably the two most common responses by “normal” people when they find out that someone watches anime; I can’t help but find the polar opposite associations rather hilarious. Nobody would ever say “oh, you read poetry, you mean that stuff about flowers?” or “oh, you read poetry, you mean that stuff about wars?” The Association stem from the confusion that anime is a genre rather than simply animation from Japan; it’s no more a genre than French films are a genre. Once I’ve explained that to people unfamiliar with anime the next question is inevitably “why do you watch cartoons?”.  Indeed, the stigma against animation has something only suited for kids or outrageous satirical comedy is pervasive in most of the West. The simple answer behind why I watch it is that the creative freedom inherent in animation, and frequently expressed through animation, far outweighs that in the vast majority of live-action films, and Mamoru Hosoda’s Summer Wars is a prime example of that imaginative explosion. Read more of this post

Camille

Is there a greater repository of lost classics in the entire canon of world cinema than classic Hollywood? Today, major studios have learned that the real money is in putting all their eggs into one-basket blockbusters that cost hundreds of millions to make and can gross into the billions, but, back in the day, Hollywood was all about mass production. The initial inclination is to condemn this as a homogenized, manufactured approach to filmmaking, but the truth is closer to the opposite. Because Hollywood, especially the major studios, produced so many films they had the freedom to take risks that modern studios don’t. Classic Hollywood also had a cadre of the greatest technicians, artisans, and, yes, artists that filmmaking has ever known. It’s always an adventure to scan the credits of a classic Hollywood film to see what talents work on it. Read more of this post

Boris Barnet: Outskirts/The Patriots & Girl with the Hatbox

The Girl with the Hatbox (1930)

Outskirts/The Patriots (1933)

Outside of Jonathan Rosenbaum, who called Outskirts and By the Bluest of Seas masterpieces, Boris Barnet is a little-known figure even in cinephile communities. It’s a shame too, as the two films on this DVD point towards an early master of Soviet cinema. Of course, even mentioning “Soviet cinema” brings to mind the likes of Eisenstein, montage theory, and propaganda, but Barnet is the rarest of birds: an early master of Russian cinema that shies away from propaganda, and is supremely tasteful and judicious in his use of montage. The Girl with the Hatbox closely recalls the silent comedies of Charlie Chaplin in its elegance and charming humor. In the case of Outskirts, the truth is more devious; it’s a film that’s almost anti-Soviet in its satire, mixing comedy, drama, war, as well as sound and images in utterly original ways for a film from 1933. Read more of this post

Megamind

Science-Fiction, Action, Comedy; 96 minutes; 2010; U.S.; Directed by: Tom McGrath; Procuded by: Lara Breay Denise, Nolan Cascino; DreamWorks Animation, Pacific Data Images, Red Hour Productions

There are two things I’ve never enjoyed in Hollywood matter how hard marketing tries to make me enjoy them: Will Farrel movies and DreamWorks movies.

Well, that last one is a slight exaggeration. The first two Shrek films were enjoyable for me when they were funny. But the franchise was quickly exposed to be no more than a mindless and spiteful Disney mockery when their jokes failed to entertain those watching them, even if the viewers did tire of the Disney formula that DreamWorks was trying to demolish in their own jerky way. And as for Will Farrel, I’ve never enjoyed him in… anything. To me, he just comes off as a sick joke that’s trying too hard to be funny. Heck, I didn’t even like Elf, and that movie was trying to stay away from Farrel’s usual tacticks.

So why would I even watch a film that packaged these two annoyances together into one set for the Hollywood studio to throw at me? Well to be honest, I don’t quite know why myself. But I’m sure glad I watched the new DreamWorks film starring Will Farrel: Megamind.

Read more of this post