Recent Movies

Ah! Finally! Got my copy of “Sympathy for Lady Vengeance” and watched it just now. I was looking forward so much to this Korean movie with the same intensity as when I was looking forward to watching “Green Chair”. Now that these two have been satisfied, I am looking forward to “Welcome to Dongmakgol”. This is Korea’s entry into the Oscar and based on reputation alone, is worth the wait. A Malaysian company has acquired the rights for Malaysian distribution and I have seen a copy of the screener floating around…. ;-) The Astro Box Office movie has acquired the rights for the channel and shall be showing the movie quite soon.

The wait for “Sympathy for Lady Vengeance” was well worth-it. This completes Park Chan-Wook’s “Revenge Trilogy”, beginning with “Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance” and followed by “Old Boy”. In this final work, I can feel the director appealing to us, the audience, to get ourselves involved in this revenge thingy, to ask us if this revenge thingy is right, or whether it can be justified morally. Are they (the characters in the movie) doing the right thing? What would you do? Do you really think that the characters in the movie are really redeemed? Is redemption ever possible?

Over the weekend, I have also watched “Moonlight in Tokyo”. This is Hong Kong’s final movie for 2005 and I went into the cinema hoping for the best. Directed by Alan Mak and Felix Chong (the guys who did the “Infernal Affiars” screenplay) and has Leon Lai and Chapman To as the lead players, it appears to be like a really stupid movie in the beginning, complete with the “Swan Lake” soundtrack. However, as the movie progressed, we still see nothing much, except for two guys trying to survive in the wild Tokyo, far away from home. The movie only really made sense towards the end of the movie, where the whole idea/concept, or heart of the movie, is revealed and we felt that it was very much worth the wait. Anyways, it is a real surprise (pleasant) to find this movie darker and more serious than the keyart for the movie depicts. If you go in expecting lots of laughter, well, then you will be disappointed. Anyways, the Hong Kong movie people get the movie key art wrong a lot of times (e.g. “Crazy n the City”, “Six Strong Guys” – both suffered from really stupid keyart). If I am giving “Initial D” 9 out of 10 points, I am giving this movie 7.5 points.

The final movie that I have watched over the weekend was the Malaysian made “3rd Generation”. I had really high expectations of the movie because the still photos, the trailer, the director’s CV, all looked really promising. However, the only thing that did not disappoint was the cinematography which was beautifully done. The storytelling, the acting (especially Amber Chia’s acting – I am totally convinced that she should just remain as a model and forget about becoming an actress), the sound recording and mixing, the very cheesy dialogues, ggggrrrr…… makes this such a pretentious film! I still could not understand what is wrong with Malaysian Chinese filmakers. All of them either want to be the next Wong Kar Wai or the next Tsai Ming Liang (in style, not achievement).

The movie basically shows nothing – it does not really tell a story (except for providing a broad outline of the movie, something you can do yourself by reading the synopsis), there is no real character development, it also failed to show how beautiful Penang is. All it felt like was like an extended commercial and music video, with very beautiful images.

As much as I like Nicholas Teo (who shot the music video of one of his songs in my house), and besides being a really nice fellow and puts 101% effort in everything he does, his performance did not shine through in this movie (his first feature, so maybe forgivable). However, I believe that this guy has some real talent and will go far. Hopefully his next feature will do him more good.

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