Saturday, January 10, 2009

Midnight Sun / Taiyô no uta / A song to the sun (Japan, 2006)

This film was a true surprise to me. I never heard of it before and did not expect too much of it, but I was totally wrong. Midnight Sun is a very good movie in the romance/drama genre.
It is about a girl who has a rare illness (XD) and is allergic to sunlight. In the morning she always looks through the window and sees the same guy at the bus stop again and again. A romance evolves, a first love.

Even though sometimes very sad and moving, in fact this is a film that will make you feel good. It makes you smile to be able to watch these kind of films. The acting is really pure (especially by Yui, who looks just stunning and her voice is amazing), the music and songs really wonderful and emotional as well. This is a story that will probably find a way to your heart. Maybe it starts a bit slowly and some people might think it is boring because not too much happens, when you love romantic films you just can’t miss this one.

Recommended to all romantics in this world.

Wolfhound from he tribe of grey dogs / Volkodav iz roda Serykh Psov (Russia, 2007)

Wolfhound is a big Russian fantasy production. A man who was doomed to die is taking revenge on the ones responsible for the annihilation of his tribe.
This is a film full of magic and swordfights. The plot is maybe a bit shallow, but the scenery is very atmospheric. This atmosphere makes the film really enjoyable, where the fighting scenes and story is not really innovating and more or less of an average quality. Oksana Akinshina also has the mysterious beauty you wanna see in a princess, which makes the casting for her perfect. It is also very interesting that it is a Russian fantasy, because it is about their legends and gods. The story has some elements of Slavic archaeology and the main character looks like a Scythian as well. It is refreshing to see a fantasy film with a different kind of culture.
In some ways it is rather enjoyable and in some ways it is a bit silly. It feels a bit like the Russians are still trying to find their way in the production of these epic fantasy films.

Though it has its flaws, it is a great enjoyable adventure movie which does not bore for a moment. That is really amazing with a runtime of 140 minutes.

Friday, January 9, 2009

The Warlords / Tau Ming Chong (China, 2007)

The Warlords is an excellent action flick. The story, where three man become blood brothers, is about honour, revenge, betrayal and love. With an outstanding cast (Jet Li, Takeshi Kaneshiro, Andy Lau) and a immense budget it is not unimaginable that it would be a very spectacular movie. Spectacular it is, with huge fighting scenes! But maybe these scenes aren’t the best of this movie, it’s beauty lies it its amazing cinematography, in the scenes between Pang and Lian (excellent played by Jinglei Xu). These scenes are really outstanding. The wonderful music adds up to it as well!

Sometimes this film became a bit too dramatic, and it seems that Jet Li doesn’t always feel comfortable in such scenes so that could have done in a different way. But in all, a huge spectacular war movie with also shows the horrors of war. It is also interesting to see how difficult it is to keep loyal to your given word. To make judgements which will leave 4000 soldiers to their death. How can one be right In such a situation? Human emotions of times in war can lead to the fall of everything.

Strong Chinese film about the effects of war on humanity.

Tazza: the high rollers (The war of the flower) / Tajja (South Korea, 2006)

This is a film, based on a comic by Yeong-min Ha, about the underground gambling industry in Korea. A pretty good crime thriller which focuses on a guy who has lost his sisters’ money in gambling. To win the money back he has to learn some deceiving tricks. He gets better and better in it, but that also means he is living in a dangerous world. Mighty and dangerous opponents are in his way. Maybe it starts a bit slowly but keeps getting interesting for not less than 140 minutes. It is also a story about love, but that isn’t the most interesting part of this film. At least it should be said, there is much violence in this movie, so you better be prepared for it (though it is no gore)!
This is pure entertainment, when you are going to watch this movie to see good entertainment and a thriller about gambling it won't disappoint you.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Th Scarlet Letter / Juhong geulshi (South Korea, 2004) and the tragic story of Eun-ju Lee

This time I will not talk too much about the movie itself but more about the story behind it. A tragic story that makes you watch this film in a complete different way.

To begin with, ‘The scarlet letter’ deals about romance, betrayel, a different kind of love and regret. 75% Of this movie is decent, just about average, but the last 15/20 minutes are weird (in the trunk of a car) and very intense. It will leave you with an uncomfortable feeling. But again, knowing the story behind this film makes it really uncomfortable.

The star of this movie, in my eyes, is Eun-ju Lee. She acts with all her ability and she impressed very much! It is all before I heard she killed herself.
Because of this movie contained semi-nude scenes (don’t forget that most Korean people still have problems with this) the story goes that she almost starved herself to look good in those scenes. Maybe because of this she started to have problems within her own family. Some days after the release of ‘the Scarlet Letter’ 25 year old Eun-ju Lee was found by her brother, she hanged herself in her own closet. Why, me and many other, asked ourselves. She was a very talented actress. But everyone struggles with its own problems. Maybe she couldn’t bear to cause problems in her family, maybe it is something completely else.
Marks on her body indicated that she tried to slit her wrists as well, writing a farewell note in her own blood ‘Mother, I’m sorry, I love you’. A different farewell note showed: "I wanted to do too much. Even though I live, I'm not really alive. I don't want anyone to be disappointed. It's nice having money... I wanted to make money."

When I heard all this, I knew I would never forget this film and also that I never want to see it again. People even considered she took her own life because of the intensity of this movie. She is a great actress so I think that would not be the matter but no film deserves it to end in such horror in real life. Her own family said she would have suffered insomnia and depression because of the semi-nude scenes in this film.

The film was decent with a intense ending, the story behind it made it an awful, horrifying and heartbreaking experience. Eun-ju Lee, forever you will be remembered by those who knew the quality of your acting. Whatever caused your suicide, who are we to blame you? Such a cruel fate must mean she was also very strong, that it was enough.

To never see her smile again must be most hard for her child who has to live without its mom. Eun-ju Lee: Smile down to us sometimes.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

A Millionaire's first love / Baekmanjangja-ui cheot-sarang (South Korea, 2006)

A millionaire’s first love is one of those typical Korean romantic drama’s.
Despite of the not too intelligent title, in my eyes this is a pretty good film.
The story deals about a spoiled young man who will inherit the millions of his dad, but there is one problem. To get his inheritance he needs to graduate in a small village and to experience something that is more worth than any money in the world.

In this small village he meets a girl and slowly and they starts to like each other. It wouldn’t be a Korean drama if not anything sad would happen, and yes, this girl seems to be very ill. So far nothing new under the horizon but what it wants to accomplish, it accomplishes it! A really moving tale of finding love when you don’t expect it and of the cruel fate which is always so very very close to each one of us.

The part of this film where the two fall in love is shamefully less convincing. This part is way too short, maybe the director wanted to be aware of the runtime but really this part should have been longer. Than it wouldn't have lost anything of its fairytale-like charm. The acting of both Yeon-hee Lee and Bin Hyeon is really good, the act pure and their emotions can be felt sometimes. The clothing is fine as well, especially Yeoh-hee Lee looks pretty natural and good in the clothing!

When you are interested in these kind of Korean drama’s it is a must-see!!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Diving Bell and the Butterfly / Le Scaphandre et le papillon (France, 2007)

The diving Bell and the Butterfly , directed by Julian Schnabel, is a story about a man (former director of Elle) who suffered a stroke and got the ‘locked-in’syndrome. He has lost all ability to move his body or even swallow. The only thing he can do is blinking with his left eye.
This is a film about his view, how he has to learn how to communicate with only using his eye. Of course, the story is not an easy one but because of the humor in it, it is never too heavy.
Wonderful cinematography, sometimes even dreaming like scenery which really will get to your heart. Along with poetical texts a wonderful atmosphere is being created.

The acting of Mathieu Amalric is really great! You can feel the pain of not being able to do anything anymore, the suffering of the problem that no one understands what you mean. The music of a great quality, with a very interesting choice of songs.

A very strong film about life after your former life.