ripplecloud's Movie Ratings - Rotten Tomatoes

Movie Ratings and Reviews

Argo
Argo(2012)

It was interesting and economical since we rented a DVD. No reason to watch in the theatres since it has no stunning visual effects that demand us to do that. Do I like remakes based on a true story? One wouldn't know where fact ends and where fiction begins. Misinformation starts this way I suppose. Still as a movie, it was engaging.

Up in the Air

Pretty interesting

ParaNorman
ParaNorman(2012)

Simply funny and original

Painted Skin: The Resurrection

This is one of the better horror films that I have seen in ages. By horror I do not mean scary, but I refer to the human condition in situations where one would find incredible and yes, horrifying. The romance in the plot enhances the horror of the tale. The visuals are slick and captivating beautiful in all its ethereal and grotesque quality. Although the enemy tribe and its visual associations with ancient Egyptians did seem alien to a Chinese mythical movie so that took some getting use to. I did like the little light hearted comedy if the side characters.

Life of Pi
Life of Pi(2012)

Beautiful movie of a good book. The 3d is nice but high definition digital will be good enough as well if you are spending too much on movies this month.

2012
2012(2009)

I can imagine this movie will be spectacular in 3d. About the average family that could not possibly hope to weather the disaster of the earth's crust breaking and displacing across the globe, triggering the whole collapse of continents and monumental tsunamis. Yet through desperate lunatic trust in inadequate skills of the family members to outrun earthquakes and fly planes, the protagonist and his family made their way from America to china and smuggled themselves aboard the government secret ark built to weather the oncoming storm. There's nothing I hate about this movie. It is not a tearjerker, not really.

The Silent War
½

Interesting if long and slow moving movie about spies and decoders.

Rurôni Kenshin: Meiji kenkaku roman tan (Rurouni Kenshin)

This movie needs some comedy and without the camp ... The teenager-looking actors can't carry long, slow and serious...

The Help
The Help(2011)
½

The help was perhaps 20% too long for me to sit comfortably through without waiting for it to end. But I did particularly like the Minny Jackson character because it has so much life and was such a humorous character. Octavia Spencer well deserved the supporting actress awards she got for the role.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

It's always great to relive a book read in one's childhood on the big screen. There's nothing to dislike about this movie really. A lot of blood and gore, machismo, ugly monsters and cute animals like dying hedgehogs and a dual personality golem. The action is non-stop and tiring, but nothing, NOTHING, can be as tiring as Inception :P

Jiro Dreams of Sushi

Interesting in a calm and peaceful way.

Premium Rush
Premium Rush(2012)
½

The story of a daredevil speedster protagonist who triumphs against a crooked policeman. It all feels very petty.

Midnight in Paris

Its just interesting to see a bunch of dead creative types come to life in this movie. A very nicely concepted movie where two people of different ages meet through a time leap and does yet another time leap to realise that there is no golden age and that the hankering for the ideal past is really just in the mind. Carpe diem.

One Day
One Day(2011)

Predictable and pretty much a downer since they did not live happily ever after.

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

It feels very scripted but is still very humourous. There is a good balance of lose and grief that comes with old age and a good amount of build up to an uplifting ending that helps you leave you movie in a positive frame of mind. Love it.

Transformers
Transformers(2007)

Transformers the movie started off well enough with the expected big bang and explosive action amidst the graphic play of robotic violence and military machismo. However, the movie quickly descends to become an awkward teen movie, decorated with hulking autobots with little in the form of common sense, and ridiculously enough affecting an Internet slang. The fact that these autobots transform into gleaming Pontiac and Chevrolets does little to enhance their performance in their showdown with the Decepticons. If anything, the plain, uniformly grey-looking Decepticons impressed more with their stealth, forward-planning, mutability, intelligence and raw power.

Closer to the end, the movie became so predictable, it was hardly worth watching. An online blogger shared that he went back to review old episodes of the actual cartoon and found them even more "retarded" compared to the movie. But I think that is no excuse for this movie to wallow in the pointless drivel that the scriptwriter intended it. Perhaps I am the wrong target audience, but I do think children deserve some intelligent storytelling as well.

I'm a Cyborg, But That's OK (Saibogujiman kwenchana)

I tried watching this but it didn't make sense to me and I couldn't sit through it. Maybe another time when I am in the right state of mind to watch this.

It's Complicated

Meryl Streep is great and love the set design of her house, fabulous!

Sherlock Holmes

It was entertaining but odd considering this is Sherlock Holmes.

Whisper of the Heart (Mimi wo sumaseba) (If You Listen Closely)
½

Slightly overlong at 1hr 51min. Nevertheless charming and a simple feel good type of story.

Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood
½

pretty ok for afternoon television

The Tourist
The Tourist(2010)
½

works pretty well as a comedy

The Switch
The Switch(2010)

simple and adorable

The Green Hornet

utter crap... what was jay chou thinking?

X2: X-Men United

definitely something I will and have watched again and again.

X-Men Origins - Wolverine

It was interesting to discover the history before Xavier and Magneto came on the scene, and Wolverine's backstory.

Dragonheart
Dragonheart(1996)
½

This is the first movie that I watched in the cinema all on my own. I'm quite sure it came to cinemas locally quite a few years late. 26 years later, I still find it quite charming and a harmless bit of fun.

Finding Nemo
Finding Nemo(2003)

imaginative and humorous story about wildlife and parenthood

Bewitched
Bewitched(2005)
½

ok for aimless time wasting in front of the TV... its gets more and more boring though as you go along

Seven (Se7en)
½

Not necessarily a favourite but it was interesting with an impactful plot twist. The characters work very well with the give n plot.

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
½

Abraham Lincolnâ(TM)s fictitious story started in childhood where he rashly stood up for his young black friend and indirectly caused his motherâ(TM)s death at her employerâ(TM)s hands.

It was years later, Abe is all grown up, his fatherâ(TM)s dead and thereâ(TM)s nothing holding him back. He strode into a bar to pour some liquid courage into his soul to fortify his resolve to seek revenge against his motherâ(TM)s murderer.

But the young man was still wet behind the ears, and certainly no match for an enemy that turned out to be a vampire. The revenge plan fizzled as surely as the first shot from his gun.

Abe was saved by a vampire hunter. Still eager to seek revenge, he trained under Henry with the condition that he was to stay detached from all relationships and to only whoever was on Henryâ(TM)s hit list.

From here, there is every excuse for all sorts of actions scenes involving ugly hissing vampires masquerading as pharmacists, bank robbers, blacksmiths, as well as all sorts of tools used in fight and disappearing acts because oh yes, vampires can make themselves invisible.

Abraham finally got his revenge in a glorious panoramic scene including a whole horde of extinguishable stampeding horses, and the vampire and him almost performing qinggong, almost but not quite.

But revenge only begets revenge, the father of all vampires Adam certainly was not going to let Abraham off for killing his minion. It is through his encounter with Adam in his plantation and how he abuses all his slaves that fortified Abrahams will in fighting for freedom for all mankind. He retired his axe and forged head on into politics.

So yes, now you have the perfect excuse to it whole field of human armies against vampire armies and have them vanquished in a breath. One only wonders why Abraham Lincoln needed countless men to die before he deign to remember to conscript the countries silverware into military service.

There is the problem of transporting all the misappropriated silverware pressed into national service to the battlefield. Easily solved by train, commandeered by Abraham Lincoln and his trusted white and black pair of sidekicks. Yes, equality to all man, even the sidekicks need fair representation. At this point, the movie starts to look like a video game. You have Abraham Lincoln, age 50 and should be creaking in real life, wielding his resurrected vampire chopping axe and fending the train against an exponential multitude of vampires that have landed on the train and yet persist on fighting him and his sidekick one-on-one. I suppose there were not that many vampires after all.

Everything seemed to be all dandy for Abraham and black sidekick until Adam comes along and stops the party. But no worries, even if Adam has so far proved to be a formidable opponent, indestructible through the ages, Abraham Lincoln will somehow manage to perform what he has not been able to accomplish before â" strike Adam dead with just one wristwatch-wrapped punch in the stomach. Truly, one never knows what once can do until pushed up the wall.

And the rest is history, although as a final emphatic symbol of equality of mankind, letâ(TM)s have Abraham Lincolnâ(TM)s wife deliver the silver (Abeâ(TM)s train was a decoy) to the soldiers and kill Adamâ(TM)s sister by her own hand. So there you have it, equality of the sexes and races. Vampires excluded.

The Amazing Spider-Man
½

Most people seem to think that The Amazing Spiderman was unnecessary since it basically retells a story that was told not so long ago on the big screen. I found it entertaining enough. Which means funny.

At first, I thought the screenwriter could have taking some liberties with the character, giving a nerdy photographer some crazy high tech skills, not to mention sewing skills, to be able to DIY-build his own strap-on wrist web shooter and Spiderman costume. But Mr P informs me that Spiderman has had his story developed by various writers, not just one, and there were storylines that did have Peter Parker shoot his sticky web from a tool rather then directly from his wrist.

I did like this Spiderman, who started out leaping around with a backpack on his back and his aunt calling him on his mobile reminding him to buy organic eggs home.

Limitless
Limitless(2011)

Interesting premise. Hate the ending. I need closure... this is yuck.

The Hedgehog
The Hedgehog(2011)

An improbable story that brings three oddballs - a child with a keen mind and a soul too mature for her small frame, a middle age janitor who hides her "pretentious" passion for books and culture and a Japanese gentleman recently moved into the luxurious apartment block they three characters reside in.

This is a thoughtful visual tale that follows the young girlâ(TM)s POV and at times those of the adults that come into her life. The girl Paloma, her small face framed by wavy blond hair wears her glasses as if they are a barrier and a filter between her and the world.

She displays a reluctance to interact with her family members, particularly her mother, preferring to hide herself away as her mother goes around the house look for her. The only time she lets the world of her family in, is when she points her video camera, the thing is is oddly attached for much of the movie, at them and focuses and frames them during moments that she finds significant.

And in this way she at once absorbs details around her, at the same time editing out much of her surroundings and environment that is out of her focal range. And in this way, we see how she sees her family and in her speech we learn how disturbed she is by her parents behaviour, her politician father and her mentally weak mother.

One wonders how such a neglected girl grew into her artistic talents.

âWhen life is meaningless, it is the job of the mind to give it meaning.â?

Thus Paloma embarked on a sort of self-propelled creativity that drove her to seek to articulate her planned suicide and eventual death via a video documentary of the people around her, saying:

âPlanning to die doesn't mean I let myself go like a rotten vegetable. What matters isn't the fact of dying or when you die. It's what you're doing at that precise momentâ?

Amidst the introspection, Paloma discovers Kakuro Ozu, an aged old neighbour who gave her the attention that a curious but necglected young child craves. He engaged her linguistically, challenged her in games of Go, gave her a refuge where she could play with his young granddaughter.

But still Paloma remained the cynic and continued to plot her early death, marking time using a self drawn calendar of inked squares on her white wall. She roleplays different scenerios where she kills herself in different methods. She tested the effectiveness of her mothers pills on Hubert the goldfish, flushing down the toilet when he floats up to the surface of his fishbowl. It is to be expected in a thoughtful work such as The Hedgehog that the young daughter of a woman dependent on drugs for her sanity, should choose to end her life via an overdose of the same drugs.

But that is not the meaning of Palomaâ(TM)s life that The Hedgehog ascribed to her. The sociable Kakuro was one the first step towards getting Paloma receptive to older adults. Paloma interest was piqued when she enters the janitors room and finds her book left opened on the kitchen table. She steals a shot of it in her video camera and sneaks out. After Kakuro, Paloma was emboldened to befriend the janitor Renee. A person she would later caricature as a hedgehog in her drawings. Paloma would find her kindred spirit in Renee, identifying with Reneeâ(TM)s secret library and her hidden âun-janitor-likeâ? self.

âYou have found the ideal hiding placeâ?

Unfortunately death comes knocking, forewarned by Hubert the gold fish who mysterious came to life again in Reneeâ(TM)s toilet bowl.

âI've known I'm heading for the fishbowl. A world where adults bang like flies on the glass. But I know one thing. The fishbowl isn't for me.â?

Reneeâ(TM)s death brings to close her budding love story with Kakuro. Theirs was an intimate friendship coloured by their common love of Leo Tolstoysâ(TM)s novel Anna Karenina and cats.

I have not read the novel before, but wikipedia says it is âcommonly thought to explore the themes of hypocrisy, jealousy, faith, fidelity, family, marriage, society, progress, carnal desire and passion, and the agrarian connection to land in contrast to the lifestyles of the city.â? Certainly common themes found in The Hedgehog.

Reneeâ(TM)s death, however, was necessary. Paloma experiences grief and understands death and what it means for the people who survive for the first time. This was in contrast to the detachment she shows when she filmed the body bag of another neighbour in an earlier scene. The young girl who seeked death survives at the end of the film and wondered what Renee was doing when she died because âWhat matters isn't the fact of dying or when you die. It's what you're doing at that precise momentâ?

Finding Forrester

an odd pair, sports and the power of words... a feel good type movie.

Stepmom
Stepmom(1998)

Pretty ok family drama for the fist 1.5 hours

Something's Gotta Give

Not your run of the mill protagonists, a very engaging romcom of oldies with some nice eye candy now and then *__*

Unstoppable
Unstoppable(2010)

This was pretty exciting, builds up really well but I can't help being disappointed by the ending which negates all the efforts prior to the successfully attempt of stopping the train.

WarGames (War Games)

interesting in its own way

1911
1911(2011)
½

I thought it was interesting.

Knight & Day
Knight & Day(2010)

Is this a romcom? Because its not that romantic, nor that funny. The action is irreverent and overall the characters appear pretty dysfunctional or delusional.

Vantage Point

I thought it was a pretty simple but coherent piece of storytelling about a fictional event. The pace also made it pretty engaging.

Monster House

entertaining little story with a lesson about kindness for children to take home.

I Am Number Four

easy entertainment as long as its on free to air TV when you want brainless entertainment.

Maid in Manhattan

easy entertainment as long as its on free to air TV when you want brainless entertainment.

Marvel's The Avengers

The black window, hulk and ironman made this show pretty fun to watch.

UDON: A Noodle Feast
½

A long, meandering movie that was rather boring and un-funny. The story goes somewhat over the top at times and detracts from (1) the appreciation of udon and (2) the father and son drama/relationship.

The Great Magician (Daai mo seut si)

I thought this show was enjoyable... until the Tony Leong character opened the seven bottles and things just started to go down hill from there - read illogical leaps in the storyline, pretty cliche slapstick, and unnecessary scenes that just made the 2nd half brain numbing and pointless.

That said, I did think the magic scenes were pretty nicely done.

Monte Carlo
Monte Carlo(2011)
½

Airplane entertainment, free and brainless. é£æºé¤?æ¬æ?¥å°±æ~¯æ²¡è?¥å...»ç. Still it was kind of fun to watch Selena acting as a stiff and and stuck up...not that it was convincing...

The Adventures of Tintin

It started to get tired at the point when the buildings start to crash in cinematic 3D rotational style and then it becomes long drawn. Still one can't fault the high quality production that brought to life the action packed adventures of one cartoon guy and his rather smart dog.

We Bought a Zoo

It's funny, its got Scarlett Johansson and animals, what's there not to like? First movie I've not slept though in a while!!

Exit Through The Gift Shop

OCD camera guy is just unreal, this show real or fake is cool

Thor
Thor(2011)

feels very slapdash and put together with a cast of unmemorable actors.

X-Men: First Class

I enjoyed this. Gives the context and added perspective to the men movies, comics in a great package.

Captain America: The First Avenger

Mostly action, average and a tad boring

Contrary to popular belief, a body double was not used for Chris Evans for the scenes when he was skinny...... Ultimately, the filmmakers utilized digital technology to "shrink" Evans down, essentially erasing portions of his physique, until they came up with what the filmmakers called "Skinny Steve". Over 250 shots were filmed like this, and because the shrinking process left empty space in the background, many of the scenes had to filmed in front of a green screen so that they could superimpose the backgrounds back into the scene. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0458339/trivia?tr=tr1522111

Iron Man 2
Iron Man 2(2010)

pretty cool action movie... especially the floating petals scene leading up to the battle with the drones

Iron Man
Iron Man(2008)
½

they made a boring man interesting...

Space Battleship Yamato
½

This is a typical mankind vs alien story but feels like Japan vs alien story. Mankind is the underdog here, struggling with an earth that is made close to unhabitable by aliens and being left with one space battleship in its resistance armament. What is most amusing is that Takuya's enemy appears to be an alien hivemind that suffers from split personality, one part seeking to survive by taking over earth, the other to self-destruct by foiling the radiation of earth that makes it inhabitable for humankind. Despite the protagonists being not the brightest bulbs in the room (they brought into the ship a trojan's horse!?!), they sure are one persistent and pernicious bunch, dodging and running via desperate hyperspacewarps, shooting uber-destructive missles (although that finishing blow met its swan song early :P) and invading enemy territory with a one red robot army. Kimura Takuya's each and every step is build upon the dead bodies of his "I will sacrifice myself" comrades. The ending is all too predictable.

Cars
Cars(2006)

not memorable

Catfish
Catfish(2010)

I don't love it but it is a pretty interesting if horrifying look at the individual behind fake facebook profiles.

Love and Other Drugs

it started out funny but the story seem to lose itself somewhere along the way

Tangled
Tangled(2010)

pretty funny, comes with music that mummies may not love.

Morning Glory
½

From the same screenwriter as The Devil wears Prada, Morning Glory is yet another light and amusing piece of entertainment for those days when you just want to be distracted. But if it was a choice between the Devil vs Morning Glory, I'll pick the former any time. A film that makes some points about the blurring of journalism and entertainment but does not give any strong conclusions or point of view at the end of the day seems to be a waste of time (if you are looking for more than light entertainment, i wasn't). And so a prideful veteran journalist in his dotage had to do a mid-career change and teach cooking on morning TV, so that the producer who had changed staid morning TV to reality TV featuring the anchors and very surely gained laughs from the cinema audience, would stay on with the show and keep things status quo and comfortable for the team involved. Enjoyable yes, but one comes out of the show feeling that some extra zing is missing and needed.

The Devil Wears Prada

Light entertainment that is definitely a keeper. There is nothing not to love about Meryl Streep as Miranda and all the other spunky characters that revolve around her. The story of Andrea's struggles in the catty fasion magazine world is engaging because of the fine acting and the plot twists.

Gum gee yuk yip 2 (Who's the Woman, Who's the Man)

My censor friends remain mystified how this could have been shown on TV and still be understandable with all the cuts that it should have undergone. The messages were just not positive.

The first one was funnier, this second one does not compare.

Watch this with Anita Mui, etc celebrity fans so they can fill you in on the subtext.

127 Hours
127 Hours(2010)

127 hours is yet another piece of Americana, amplified by Ralston's own memoir A Rock and a Hard Place, television news and finally the movie deal. It smells of a tale that will surely appear in Readers' Digest, if it had occurred in the 1980s. Like The King's Speech, perhaps the protagonist may be overly hyped or dramatised beyond their real life selves. But as works of dramatic narration that is not a bad thing.

The story about a cocky young man who takes off without leaving a hint as to his whereabouts is at once a cautionary tale to the young and the reckless as well as a celebration of the human will. This surely is a welcome piece of popular culture among a whole sea of cultural artefacts with no savoury message.

Les aventures extraordinaires d'Adèle Blanc-Sec (The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec)

The farcical adventure that involves the most unlikely of monsters, paranormal activity and the indomitable Adele Blanc-Sec. This film revels in and takes incongruity to the limit but somehow manages to carry through to the end with humorous ease. Take a romp with Luc Besson if you please.

The King's Speech

Just the sort of movie I like... humour with dignity.The King's Speech is not a tearjerker, nor did I find it overly-inspiring. But it is a feel-good movie that one can't really find fault with without being overly critical. Visuals are nice too.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
½

A detailed chronology of Button's odd life and the various people he met. If you can work yourself past the brain-numbingly slow first three-quarters of the movie, you find some tear-inducing Hallmark quote worthy moments. Than again, three-quarters of this 2hr 47min show is really too long to sit through... yawn...

Fujoshi kanojo. (My Geeky Girlfriend)

Crawling at a snail's pace... yawn.

Wedding Crashers
½

only because its on tv... but yah the time could have been put to better use.

Inception
Inception(2010)

Definitely a masterpiece, although it starts feeling like a marathon towards the later part of the show.

Zombieland
Zombieland(2009)

Cool zombie movie that is fun in all its blood, gore and hilarious entirety

A Single Man
A Single Man(2009)
½

Beautiful movie. Actors/Actress were great. It was a shock to realise the boy in About a Boy has grown up.

The Visitor
The Visitor(2008)

This movie blooms quietly as each petal unfolds a tale of human interactions, personal tragedy and passion with life.

Fantastic Mr. Fox

The animation style was interested, the dialogue and characters quirky, but it did find the film stretched overly long.

Invictus
Invictus(2009)

Morgan Freeman did a wonderful job on this film. The film went along at a fine pace and was immensely engaging, giving the nasty '80s airplane environment I was in. Appears that the poem in the movie is not the actual poem in Mandela's life, or did I hear wrong?

27 Dresses
27 Dresses(2008)

Watched it halfway on the plane, it was pretty ok brainless entertainment given the environment.

The Last Station

Somehow this film just didn't engage me

Nodame Kantâbire: Saishuu-gakushou - Kouhen (Nodame Cantabile: The Movie)

I can honestly say that I walked into the cinema with low expectations. I enjoyed the TV drama series 1, but the continuing storyline thereafter just did not sustain the comedy or engagement for me in both TV live versions and anime. The movie continues from series one, hence low expectations from my part.

What I was not expecting were the extremely awkward and outlandish "action" sequences. The way Nodame the obviously fake dummy substitute falls flat on her face with a heavy-gravity thump, the artificial digitally-composed scene where Chiaki hauls Nodame by her collar and hurls her out the door are just so raw and jarring. It seems like anything and everything in this film seeked to detract one?s attention from the main storyline. Suspension of disbelief is no longer possible as I gaped at Nodame?s big ass in her pink granny underwear as she plunges slow-mo into the pond, her skirts flying.

As Nodame Cantabile the Movie grinds to a freaking, abrupt, melodramatic halt that will ot continue until the seque comes out in cinemas. I made for the exit still in a daze.

Summer Wars (Sama Wozu)

An imaginative movie that pulls together members of a large family (despite their different ages and preoccupation with various online/offline matters) in a progressive showdown with a virtual hacker virus that threatens to destroy the family's homestead. Pretty strong in characterisation and plot. I enjoyed it immensely.

Alice in Wonderland

Alice was a rather dull and boring creature, who was very much overshadowed by other other mad characters. Even the wacky, affected Anne Hathaway left an impression, in a good way for me (compared to the blond bland eye candy that was Mia). Contrast Hathaway or Helena Bonham Cater to Johnny Depp and I somehow find Depp's dark Hatter performance was gritty and perhaps too grounded in a depressive realism that it appears incongruent to the more fantastical/wacky personalities in Wonderland. I thought the use of 3D could be executed better to enhance the effect of of Alice growing or shutting up like a telescope as well as the other visual oddities like Bonham's big head. It as not a bad movie but certainly I was expecting better.

Sex and the City 2

Laughable excuse of a 2.5hr long movie

The Hurt Locker

This psychological profile of men who live life on the edge in the context of a bomb squad stationed in Iraq is quietly gritty and morbidly realistic.- http://www.salon.com/entertainment/movies/review/2009/06/26/hurt_locker/index.html

Planet 51
Planet 51(2009)

corny, silly jokes galore.

Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief

This is a teen movie. Fundamentally, I just can't live with a movie about Greek gods and monsters who apparently only think the world is as big as the United States. The original author of the book should have had the breadth to go beyond and explore the world beyond in this limited advanture of a flick. That said I love Uma the Medusa.

Hula Girls
Hula Girls(2007)

The heartwarming type of entertainment that makes for an easy way to pass the time on the plane.

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs

Light, madcap inflight entertainment! I love all the colourful and fantastic scenes, definitely a visual treat.

Bright Star
Bright Star(2009)

It was probably not a good idea to watch this on the airplane movie channel. The environment, the small screen was probably not conducive for this quiet, slow movie. My state of mind probably was not optimal either. In the end it took effort and 2 flights to complete this movie. It helped that Abbie Cornish is a fashionista with changing costumes to retain my attention. A quiet tragedy that at the end did bring tears to my eyes.

Avatar
Avatar(2009)

I enjoyed the truly beautiful visual experience and action/adventure sequences that this movie presented. Overall, it was excellent enough for me to close an eye on any flaws. Perhaps because of the high production values and smooth flow of scenes, I found myself immersed in the movie and was more emotionally engaged to this compared to Princess Mononoke, which Avatar reminded me strongly of. There were just so many similarities between the two.

Environmental themes are not new in film after all, but Avatar is a timely update for the category. Whereas Princess Mononoke like Lord of the Rings dwelled on the conflicting relationship between nature and industrialisation, Avatar leapfrogs the conversation to preservation of nature vs capitalistic exploitation of nature in the context of technological advancement. The virtualisation of the hero extends the rhetoric of digital technology and the empowerment that the hero feels in his avatar form certainly makes the film socially relevant to the Internet generation.

Ironically, while the main character connects with his senses and nature via his avatar. Real life requires one to remove oneself from the network (i.e. get your ass out of the chair in front of the computer and go out!!!) in order to do so. After sitting through 2hr 40mins of Avatar, it was indeed time to get out, stretch those legs and smell the roses!

Chilgeup Gongmuwon (My Girlfriend Is an Agent) (7th Grade Civil Servant)

Close to 2 hours of exposure to Kang Ji-Hwan's over-the-top and exasperating character drove me crazy.

Up
Up(2009)

The only childlike thing about this animation must be its various idiosyncratic characters ? crotchety old man, stupid fat boys, talking dogs. Talking dogs? Yes, talking dogs. Other then that, this tale of a man and his flying house (?I think we are not in Kanses anymore?) feels like a tale written/produced by big male men for other big people, not small male men definitely. Not that there is anything bad about that. I enjoyed the thought that went into it all, that resulted in a extremely long piece of context setting before we finally get to the balloon flying part. I liked how the creators obviously have a story to tell and a quirky manner that they wanted to convey it with and they have stuck to it resulting in a product that is both cogent, well crafted and imaginatively pulls in and breathes new life to clichéd ideas. If there is any fault at all, it would be the uneven pace, hurrying along at breakneck speed in front, only to start dragging its heels closer to the end. That said the conclusion was neat and tidy. I enjoyed this film overall.

Monsters vs. Aliens

First time watching with 3D glasses.

500 Days of Summer

An entertaining comedy. Perhaps a tad idealistic towards the end but there's nothing wrong with that in a rom-com is there?

Julie & Julia

The versatile Maryl Streep was absolutely adorable in this one.

Star Trek
Star Trek(2009)

The explosive opening certainly catches one's attention and sets the heroic mood of the movie. However, one comes out of the theatre at the end feeling that the later half of the movie was not as strong or as well-conceived as it should have been

Brave Story
Brave Story(2006)
½

I haven't read the book, but i did enjoy the movie. It moved along pretty smoothly and coherently, and I linked how it draws in role-playing game elements as part of the story. This is pretty simply, an enjoyable animated adventure.

Detroit Metal City
½

Only if you are really bored... it was interesting to see Ken'ichi Matsuyama's performance in this after his role as L in Death Note. I am surprised they didn't give the show a more restricted rating considering the theme, language and burning cigarettes :P

Okuribito (Departures)

Focusing on the subject of death and casketing, this well directed film creates a highly emotional connection with audiences. But while it is effective in being highly evocative and tear-inducing, the plot is fairly predictable and feels very like a school exercise, albeit very professionally conveyed by good actors. The average plot parallels the occupation i guess, both needed dedicated performers to raise it to a level worthy of respect.

R.O.D. - Read or Die

The protagonist is pretty irritating after a while. If you can get past the corny nomenclature and the overall campiness of the show, it can be somewhat interesting.

Slumdog Millionaire

Considering the plot interweaves an entire gameshow format with short story snippets to explain how the protagonist's background led him to win in the game show, it is not surprising that the movie turned out to be too long and draggy for comfort. The gameshow questions traces the growth of the protagonist in a chronological fashion. There is an unabashed frankness about the whole contrived nature of the narrative. One watches the protagonist grow and yet feels strangely distanced from this fictional character.

The Reader
The Reader(2008)

Surprisingly well paced (perhaps even a little too fast). This is a beautiful film overall.

Inkheart
Inkheart(2009)

This is a fairly predictable movie, from the snazzy Hollywood visuals to the all too expected resolution. With such an exotic band of adventurers - Helen Mirren as a quirky aunt, the curious young bandit Farid and the cowardly Dustfinger - this could have made a more heady adventure than it actually delivers.

Ponyo
Ponyo(2009)

I came out feeling that the climax of the movie had somehow skipped past me... it seems the solution to the problem was smehow mismatched. No wonder a friend said I had to be prepared to suspend disbelief... as usual the animation is charming... although Ponyo looks like a frog in between stages... but in terms of story, I think this was a letdown.

Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter...and Spring

It's amazing how an almost silent film can be so beautiful and convey so much. More symbolic and than narrative, this movie impressess with its simple yet lyrical visuals. More notes on symbolism and meaning here - http://bit.ly/sqWl or http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0374546/board/thread/8123660

Bu neng shuo de. mi mi (Secret)

A charming little tale that did not bore even if the pace was slower. The ending is a little too carelessly done and the leading couple's casual relationship is not convincing enough for the eventual ending. But still an enjoyable movie if one overlooks these inadequacies.

The Cuckoo
The Cuckoo(2003)

I was first interested to watch this to see how different it is from No Man's Land. It couldn't be more different. While both movies are funny in their own ways, Kukushka does not aim at the poignancy that No Man's Land achieves. But it does leave a deep impression, right from the detailed illustration of Veiko's escape at the start leading to how each of the characters converge at the oasis that is Anni's farmstead, and they were detached from the on-going war.
- http://www.plume-noire.com/movies/reviews/thecuckoo.html
- http://movies.nytimes.com/movie/review?res=9905EEDD113DF932A25754C0A9659C8B63

Nobody Knows (Dare mo shiranai)

I couldn't finish this... it's just to heartbreaking to watch children being starved to death... not too mention that this is such a slow movie...

Boys Over Flowers: Final

Slow and pointless extension to the popular drama and animation series.

Igor
Igor(2008)
½

Fun movie about a couple of misfits trying to be themselves in a terrorist country. Love the rabbit that doesn't die.

Beverly Hills Chihuahua

I needed to watch something silly simply because this week has just been work work work work. This movie certainly fulfills the criteria. A Hollywood production that doesn't fail to amaze with how the scriptwriter can take such an incredible amount of literary license to create scenerios of absolute absurdity. Hah!

WALL-E
WALL-E(2008)
½

It's not rocket science but Wall-e is every bit a charming movie that it promises to be, a little draggy at some points, but charming all the same. I especially love the details given to the landscape and that brings Wall-e's character too live. I mean, look here is an out-moded tiny robot building towers out of compacted rubbish, how cool is that!

Mad About English
½

A lighthearted look at various members of the Chinese society, at varying ages, their motivations to learn English and their individual endeavours. Could be a little too over the top for the documentary genre though. I would have loved to see more depth as well.

Hancock
Hancock(2008)

Great home movie! Like the concept of the backstory but too bad its lacking in development.

Driving Lessons

A simple, fun movie :D although Linney does set my teeth on edge and make me feel like slapping her at times. Walters is as endearingly eccentric and irrational as Grint is as nice and sensible.

"So young and so pedantic... One glass. "

"Don't feel guilty. Guilt is a wicked ghost."

The Incredible Hulk
½

Movie starts promisingly with scenes of Brazil that looks really good. But overall the movie is just felt too long and tiring to watch.

Kung Fu Panda

A lot of homework done in terms of learning and incorporating details from Chinese culture and metaphors. But the heart and soul of this movie - Po's irrelevant humour - is still American. I would be interested to see China's reaction to the movie, where the national treasure is depicted as a bumbling, under-achiever who stumbles upon success by virtue of the bounciness of his belly.

All in all a fun movie with lots of memorable quotes. The concept of Tai Lung's high security prison and his escape is reminiscent of Magneto's prison escape in X-Men.

"Ther's no charge for awesomeness... or attractiveness"

Feet Unbound
Feet Unbound(2007)

An interesting documentary if you are into understanding more about China's revolution history. Feet Unbound basically takes you along the route called The Long March taken by female soldiers, who were mere teenagers, on the run who had to battle the ravages of harsh terrain, lack of food and death. The few survivors are now feisty old ladies with their own independent identities and unique outlook of China, while some others are still battling with the evils and scars from yester years. The journalist is less convincing.

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

I didn't have expectations of the movie so I did find it fairly entertaining. The unrealistic sequences and chain events were fun. Only thing is poor Indy probably won't survive long in his marriage when the after-effects of nuclear radiation sets in. RIP Indy!

The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian

Perhaps I am not the right age for this. Quarrelsome teenagers, some hasty decision making, and standing still waiting to be hit by giant stones lobbed over by catapults, just doesn't sit right with me. Lucy is cute though, especially when she's there at the bridge with her little knife.

Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium

Some interesting details, but not enough to make a good movie.

Citizen Dog
Citizen Dog(2004)
½

Having read the available synopsis for Citizen Dog (2004), I walked into the cinema expecting to see some pretty weird stuff like people walking around with tails. What was presented were scenes, grotesque or fantastical, reminiscent of Dali but with exuberant saturated colours.

"It's like an experimental art project," says the director (Wasit Sasanatieng) who graduated from the Faculty of Decorative Arts at Silpakorn University. [source: The Nation]

For a simple story of a boy seeking romance, the movie is over-embellished with quirky snapshots of Asian idiosyncracies taken to metaphorical extremes. It skims lightly over a cesspool of urban troubles and myths - reincarnation, pollution, environmentalism, idealism and dreams, over-dependence on mobile technology, materialism, rural-urban migration, isolation and loneliness, de-personalisation, illiteracy and of course love - while re-iterating its over-arching mantra of being content and not be overly-persistent in seeking desires that are a lost cause. Along the way, meet and accept other urban individuals as they are no matter how surreal, or contradicatory their opinions/actions are to yours. It is this open-heartedness of Pod, the protagonist, that pushes the story along to its happy ending for all the friends he made in Bangkok. In so doing, it seems the movie is also coming to terms with and accepts Bangkok's many flaws. Yes, underneath all the mambo-jumbo Citizen Dog is an un-abashed celebration of Bangkok, its culture, its little people and its icons (read sponsor Singha beer).

To achieve the movie's rhetoric, Wasit pulled no stops when it comes to employing different cinematic techniques - "computer graphics, special lenses and camera angles, puppetry, innovative props and colour dying, his signature technique." - making it a visual fest.

In the end, Citizen Dog, with its vivid retro colour, MTV music sequences and fantastical visual imagery, is a nostalgic reminder of the days when I was still doing visual communication lessons in school. You may or may not agree with the director's message in the movie. But it doesn't matter. We all have our own tails to bear.

The movie may seem a bit too long for its own good and slightly cheesy at times, but it is still a refreshing change from all the slick Hollywood blockbusters in cinemas.

Saam gwok dzi gin lung se gap (Three Kingdoms: Resurrection of the Dragon)

Based loosely on the chinese classic Three Kingdoms, the movie takes a lot of creative license to retell the story of a remarkable man. The movie by itself is average.

Father and Daughter

A simple tale in black and white but very emotive, Father and Daughter is a 2000 Dutch animation by the prolific Michaël Dudok De Wit. It won the 2000 Academy Award for Animated Short Film.

The Tell-Tale Heart

Love the old-school Hitchcockian horror atmosphere. Best watched in the middle of the night alone ;)

Death Note (Desu nôto) (TV SHOW)

Death note basically sets the stage for the "show" which actually starts at the end of the movie and continues in Death Note 2. Told mainly from the point of view of Light Yagami, the tale follows the self-righteous Yagami, whose character starts to distort as he progressively abuses the Death Note and manipulates the people around him to challenge the police. A well-paced movie that is as revetting as Yagami's growing megalomaniac tendencies.

Death Note: The Last Name (Desu nôto 2)

Finale makes creative use of temporary amnesia (ref Total recall, Paycheck) as a tactic to drive the plot. Interesting dynamics between the Reapers and the Death Note owners. Weak ending though.

Madame Tutli-Putli

Suspenseful, and really good stop animation. Watch the eyes, which are live action eyes composited on the puppet.

Miseuteo robin ggosigi (Seducing Mr. Perfect)
½

Daniel Henney's lines are so stilted! Otherwise funny in bits, but the overall story is so old. There has to be more original stuff to watch out there.

Kurôzu Zero (Crows: Episode 0)

Kurôzu Zero, adapted from manga, by Takashi Miike of Audition and Zatoichi fame, is jolly violent entertainment.

Amidst all the jostling to become top of the pack of Suzuran High, wannabe and clueless Genji (Shun Oguri) needs ALOT of help to be top dog, but finds time to discover the softer side of his comrades and enemies (namely the short, smiley Tamao Serizawa).

Guys will like this testosterone-driven live action flick that does not forget the token beauty Meisa Kuroki.

Persepolis
Persepolis(2007)

A deeply imaginative visual tale of an emotional subject, Marjane Satrapi takes the audience back to her childhood days in turbulent Iran and explores her struggle for her own identity growing up first in Iran and then in Austria.

True to the human spirit even in tenuous times, the film is peppered with humour here and there. Nevertheless it is one of those unfortunate stories which gives meaning in sadness. An animation that is more real than most of the life action movies out there. Persepolis is not without faults, it is rather slow at times, and some animation are pretty pointless. Still, it is a must watch for those who like a bit of history and humanism in film.

Juno
Juno(2007)

What is it about Juno that people love? Well the blurb on the right of the movie poster says it all: "A fresh, unusually intelligent comedy with dialogue so quick and funny you feel the actors are performing it on a high wire."

Juno is a great entertainment for teens and young adults, simply because it speaks at their level rather than talk down to them. No sane movie will throw off its mass audience. Perhaps because I am not its intended audience, I just can't reconcile myself with a plot that oversimplifies and makes it seem just too easy.

That said, the convoluted story of the up-upcoming script writer Diablo Cody is pretty interesting. Read more about the media studies graduate turned ad-agency employee turned stripper turned writer turned scriptwriter on Entertainment Weekly.
http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,20166944_20166964_20157948,00.html

CJ7
CJ7(2008)

Good movie to bring kids to, if you have kids that is. This movie is mostly funny but adults, being the wrong target audience, may come out disappointed. Must say the child actors did a great job in this film.

A World Without Thieves

Despite the exotic location, the tried and tested star artistes, this film falls into the could have been better category. Fairly slow, cliched, ending is expected and action scenes fail to satisfy.

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

This film is a fusion of the talents of Jean-Dominique Bauby (used to be editor of French Elle magazine) and Julian Schnabel (American-born artist and painter who has made two other biographical films prior to this).

The late Jean-Dominique Bauby probably (I say "probably" because it is an assumption since I have not read the book) provided much of the script via his book which later became the title of Schnabel's film. However, Schnabel's influence on the film via the visual image is just as tangible.

Right from the start, the true story of Jean-Dominique Bauby is told in the first person point of view whether it is the narrative or the out-of-focused and low camera shots and angles. A good portion of the beginning lingers over the slow-passing hours of Bauby's life as a victim of stroke and a prisoner of his paralysed body. The soft-focus scenes and cool colours will soon contrast with horrific moments such as when the doctors sew up Bauby's eye, ewwwww..... :( It's especially horrific because they shot it so that it seems like you are looking out of Bauby's eye as it is being sewn shut. (Ok I knew its probably two pieces of pig's skin being sewed together but the concept of it is still Yucks! ) Erghhh... shiver me timbers... (OK, according to the following paragraph it is not pig-skn, I apologise for being primitive >.<)

Schnabel's experimental approach kicks in with the first scene, a 15-minute sequence portraying Bauby's harsh new reality strictly from his point of view: the doctors and nurses examining him look and speak directly into the camera. Director of photography Janusz Kaminski uses a swing-and-tilt lens and cranks the camera at different speeds to convey his groggy emergence from his three-week coma; objects go in and out of focus as his eyes dart around the room, and light streaks the frame and flares up as his vision adjusts. After doctors advise sewing Bauby's right eye shut because it isn't blinking sufficiently, Schnabel portrays the procedure by stitching a piece of latex over the camera lens.

- Andrea Gronvall, Chicago reader

Yet Jean-Do retains his humane characteristics despite being unable to speak, eat and move at will, and this helps the film escape the trap of mobidity or any prolong and tedious sense of despair. Instead it soars through landscapes of Jean-Do's imagination, demonstrating Jean-Do's persistent (if repetitive) imagination and freedom in mind, if not in body. Only when we see him for the first time do we get a true sense of the loss the once glamourous ladies' man suffered.

"I look like I came out of a vat of formaldehyde." - movie quote

One comes to develop a lot of respect for Jean-Do not just because he wrote a book by blinking his one good eye but because he had the mental stregth to overcome a personal tragedy, while retaining his wit and self-deprecating humour, qualities that make him humane, compared to his mistress* who could not bear to visit him.

"Have you heard? Jean-Dominique is a vegetable."

"What kind of vegetable? A carrot? A pickle?" - movie quote

Jean-Dominique Bauby died two days after his book was published, but not before he left his mark with his story.

Some scenes may come across as gratuitous artistic license taken by Schnabel, example artisitc cutaway metaphors for Bauby's musings/feelings do take a fair amount of screen time. But I do think the film does show us a tiny slice of reality that we never come to terms with outside of our happy little lives - the tragedy and the amount of care required for stroke victims. And of course despite his flaws, one does admire Bauby for his sense of self. So this film is something that I highly recommend.

* In real life Baub's wife Sylvie left and it was Bauby's mistress who stuck with him. Source : http://www.chicagoreader.com/features/stories/moviereviews/2007/071220/

Just Like Heaven

Righteous ;) One of the more enjoyable if predictable films in the romance genre. Just Like Heaven is a fun modern day fairytale. I think there is a little bit of Elizabeth in every one of us... pulling late nights and just expecting ourselves to perform on the job. Too bad for the same amount of slogging, you only get to live in a penthouse with a garden, a view and a cute guy for a prince if you are a character in a movie. Good if you are just looking for a laugh without thinking too much... Love the gardens at the beginning and at the end.

Secret Sunshine

A study of one woman's emotional suffering as she tries to cope with the consecutive tragedies that befall her, Secret Sunshine is as complex as it is ambiguous. Religion and faith, betrayal, and human suffering are the main themes that this film explores.

The plot unfolds with excruciating slowness (I fell asleep as the protagonist hunts for a plot of land), painting with great detail the mundane as Shin Ae, recently widowed, moves into her husband's hometown Miryang with her son Jun and tries to start life a new.

As it meanders, it examines Shin Ae's budding relationships, how these relationships change as she is hit by crisis after crisis, and her personal struggles as she tries to bear up with the emotional blows that leaves her staggering theologically and psychologically.

Medium to long camera shots had a distancing effect, and one feels more like an unemotional observer of the proceedings than feeling any deep attachment to the miserable character that is Shin Ae. Despite her wails and screams, Secret Sunshine still feels very much like a quiet and private film. Though somewhat labourious to work through, the tenacious viewer will discover a production that quietly blooms into a multi-layered flower of meaning, like a richly textured novel. This of course is enhanced by credible acting of the lead actress in particular.

Just Follow Law: Wo zai zheng fu bu men de ri zi

Laughs died after 20 mins into the film, as the slapstick and Jack Neo's preachyness sets in. If the local-flavour jokes and jabs at the government are weaved into a good plot, this would have been worth a watch. Unfortunately, the "disaster" part of the film and its resolution towards the end are just too illogical and over-exaggerated to drive Mr Neo's message home credibly.

Sideways
Sideways(2004)

Apparently someone thought it will make a great comedy for a new age sensitive, depressed (and balding), "loser" of a literature teacher to take his himbo actor friend for a week of good wine and golf in the Californian wine country before said friend's bachelorhood officially ends. Unfortunately for Miles, Jack of course had other ideas that lean towards excessive physical exercise with a specimen, well any specimen of the opposite sex.

Then again the irrepressible, if infantile Jack serves surprisingly well as the 2-D counterpoint to Miles' more rounded morose and contemplative nature.

Miles Raymond: [while tasting wine] It tastes like the back of a fucking L.A. school bus. Now they probably didn't de-stem, hoping for some semblance of concentration, crushed it up with leaves and mice, and then wound up with this rancid tar and turpentine bullshit. Fuckin' Raid.
Jack: Tastes pretty good to me.

As Miles and Jack tour the vineyards, Miles describes at length the character of different wines they are tasting. At the same time, the choice of wine describes the personality.

Maya: You know, can I ask you a personal question, Miles?
Miles Raymond: Sure.
Maya: Why are you so into Pinot?
Miles Raymond: [laughs softly]
Maya: I mean, it's like a thing with you.
Miles Raymond: [continues laughing softly]
Miles Raymond: Uh, I don't know, I don't know. Um, it's a hard grape to grow, as you know. Right? It's uh, it's thin-skinned, temperamental, ripens early. It's, you know, it's not a survivor like Cabernet, which can just grow anywhere and uh, thrive even when it's neglected. No, Pinot needs constant care and attention. You know? And in fact it can only grow in these really specific, little, tucked away corners of the world. And, and only the most patient and nurturing of growers can do it, really. Only somebody who really takes the time to understand Pinot's potential can then coax it into its fullest expression. Then, I mean, oh its flavors, they're just the most haunting and brilliant and thrilling and subtle and... ancient on the planet.

Yet, Sideways is not all lyrical or romantic, there is a high amount of Jack-induced slapstick that are just so loud and glaring that for me sometimes distracts from the subtle dialogue and anguish of Miles.

Still the script, the animated dialogues between the different characters, the detail that went into portraying Miles' personality made this movie interesting. A watchable comedy that escapes admirably from really descending into one big fat joke.

Good Night, And Good Luck

Good Night, and Good Luck has gotten various nominations for direction, acting, screen play, art direction and cinematography. But the film, which re-enacts the period of life of the journalist, Edward R Murrow, where he challenges directly Senator Joseph McCarthy and his "methods" on a TV program, may fail to connect with general audiences who are not familiar with Murrow, one of American broadcast journalism's greatest figures.

In general, the 2005 black-and-white film moves at a snail's pace, interspersed with film time-stretching jazz music by Dianne Reeves. The gaps in the film's narration and the fairly abrupt ending also makes the movie more confusing to the clueless viewer.

In the end, I would rather spend the same time googling, reading reviews of the movie and learning about the event, and the trivia surrounding the production of the movie, all of which to me were more interesting than the movie itself.

Movie quote from Murrow's actual keynote speeches "To those who say people wouldn't look; they wouldn't be interested; they're too complacent, indifferent and insulated, I can only reply: There is, in one reporter's opinion, considerable evidence against that contention. But even if they are right, what have they got to lose? Because if they are right, and this instrument is good for nothing but to entertain, amuse and insulate, then the tube is flickering now and we will soon see that the whole struggle is lost. This instrument can teach, it can illuminate; yes, and it can even inspire. But it can do so only to the extent that humans are determined to use it to those ends. Otherwise it is merely wires and lights in a box. Good night, and good luck."

That said, this movie should still be applicable to students of journalism or any other interested party. Just make sure you read the back story before attempting this!

Crash
Crash(2004)

Crash is an excellent production that kept me rivetted with its twists and turns.

A timely film about the fallibility of mankind and the dangers of gun ownership, set against the background of racial prejudice and conflict, the film was careful to keep a neutral position when it comes to racism (up to you to decide how successful it is at that). Meet cops, politicians, wives, children, small business owners, petty criminals, of various races as the movie explores the tense interactions between them.

Smoothly cutting in and out of the various sub-plots, it slowly draws out a map of inter-connecting karmic relationships between events that when examined in silo (from the standpoint of the characters), would seem unrelated to each other. However, it is when they continuously crash into each other's lives and realise the consequences of their actions, that they learn more about themselves and lose their convictions and moral standpoint.

At some points, Crash may seem an over-dramatised film with racial stereotypes. However, the stereotypes are well deployed to show up "heroic" characteristics/actions towards the conclusion of the film. Considering that race is not an easy topic to explore well, I feel that the film is commendable in what it seeks to achieve.

I came out of the show, appreciative of the safe, secure and generally harmonious environment we live in. Four stars, well worth the DVD rental fee.

Stranger Than Fiction

Great storytelling using using words and visuals. Hilarious and charming. Great cast.

Fido
Fido(2007)

After the zombie wars, humans have managed to employ tame zombies as househelp. But what happens to Pleasantville when your pet zombie eats the neighbours?

Fido presents an interesting landscape of peaceful barricaded towns where Zomcon (the company that produces the zombie taming device) is the "government", where the pet zombie appears more human than one's scared father, where it is possible for a flesh eating zombie to appear thinking and not ravage those dear to him.

While the movie presents some interesting (albeit far-fetched) concepts, it is disappointing that it does not go further to develop them into something tangible. A fun, humourous, technicolour romp and alternative take on the zombie horror genre, but nothing more.

The Postmodern Life of My Aunt (Yi ma de hou xian dai sheng huo)

I'm not too enthusiastic about melancholic China movies in general, which is the direction that this movie is headed in its later half.

The story is simple enough. Kuankuan's aunt, otherwise nameless, is a middle-aged Chinese woman who is proud of her accomplishments (speaking in a British accent and painting among others) yet mindful of conventions and values of civic mindedness. She strives above all to live a poor yet dignified life, so that she can keep her head high among her richer but coarse neighbours.

Unfortunately China is fast progressing and Shanghai is the city of decaying morals, even if Aunt is staunch in keeping to the old values. She discovers too late the pragmatism of her employers, the amorality and duplicity of the people close to her and her all too exploitable trusting and kindly nature.

Still retaining some of the idealism of youth and unable to adapt to the changing times, Aunt is well placed as the character that is doomed to fail. Fall she does into a downward spiral of unfortunate events that will take away the very identity that she has fought to build for herself. The postmodern life of aunt shatters irresistably in the face of gritty reality. While slow and somewhat choppy, the movie does convey the painful transition beset on aunt fairly well.

However, there remains gaps in the storyline that I can't quite reconcile with Aunt's character. For example, if Aunt was truly a kindly person, why did she leave her daughter to go to Shanghai?

Still although I didn't enjoy the movie that much, it was interesting to see Chow Yun Fatt and Zhao Wei in their respective roles. The music was good too.

The Girl Who Leapt Through Time

Makoto, a teen who suddenly finds she can jump back in time, has a few hard lessons to learn when it comes to relationships and time travel abuse. Watching her resetting time does get tiring after a while. But all in all, the film is well structured and enjoyable on a lazy afternoon. Just don't expect anything new.

If you like similar stuff, you may also try Proposal Daisakusen. Some of us may recall being bored at a wedding reception but what if something magical happens to you there?

Deviating from most time travel concepts, the protagonist in this show can only travel to fixed points of the past based on the picture that is currently showing up on the slideshow that was shown at the wedding he was attending. As this is a TV series, each episode follows the same formulaic beginning and end but the overall premise is interesting. Catch it here if you are so inclined - http://www.mysoju.com/proposal-daisakusen/

Naam hoi sap saam long (Legend of Mad Phoenix) (South Sea 13 Son)

The one and only Hong Kong flm that left a lasting impression on me. You can find the synopsis at http://www.lovehkfilm.com/reviews/mad_phoenix.htm

The Golden Compass

The world is so much livelier when every human's soul manifests as a daemon following at his heels. Yet the mood is quickly dampened by the somber music, hinting dire conspiracies. The movie appears to be more of a prequel than anything else, doing a good job of explaining the metaphysical concepts of the story, and climaxing with a predictable battle scene that was more chaotic than impressive. The digital eye candy does not make up for the film's lack of memorable or strong storytelling.

Lust, Caution

A professional production with a seductive theme music. Lust, Caution the movie is essentially a character study of the female protagonist Wang Jiazhi - the events that propel her downward spiral into a life of deceit and desire, outlining in subtle detail the step-by-step moulding of her motivations.

As a passive drama student, Wang joins an amateur resistance group because of peer pressure, but soon finds herself unable to resist and leave the group despite the emotional stress and sexual abuse that the cell members expect her to endure.

One can't help but see a parallel between the character and the actress Tang Wei. Both are brave actresses with great mental strength when it comes to cooperating with the cell members and movie crew respectively to stage the rape and ultimate death of Wang the character. In the end, I find myself more intrigued by the enigmatic Tang Wei than the character she plays. How much more complex are her feelings towards her involvement in this film which entails participation in intimate sexual postures while exposing herself to the rest of the world? Regardless of Tang's actual state of mind, the circumstances in both the reel and real world has utterly dehumanised both the character and the actress for me.

Wang reminds me of Nicole Kidman's character in Dogville, I would definitely be interested to watch both again to make a comparison. But simply because of the actual R-rated scenes present in Lust, Caution and, as I perceive it, its unique relationship with both character and actress, I find Lust, Caution a more provocative film, and a more repulsive film.

Good Bye, Lenin!

funny, heartwarming, with well-planned snatches of historical detail. Love the soundtrack too.

Monsoon Wedding

Enchanting music, augmented by the warm colours and ethnic motifs.

Madhoshi
Madhoshi(2003)

A pinch of world trade centre bombing, a dash of beautiful mind, stir well with a series of song and dance routines -- I'm always amazed by the slap-dash quality of Bollywood movies. One can make quite a game out of spotting the cultural references.

Stardust
Stardust(2007)

A charming fairytale, but unoriginal

Ratatouille
Ratatouille(2007)

Cute but story needs to be more focused.

MirrorMask
MirrorMask(2005)

Strong storytelling using spectacular visuals. Memorable.

Quitting
Quitting(2002)

In a class of its own

Welcome Back Mr. McDonald

Great pacing, hilarious and mood lifting.

No Man's Land

Funny yet heart breaking.

Life Is Beautiful (La Vita è bella)

Funny yet tragic. The music is beautiful.