Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Bourne Legacy review

On the contrary to most reviews available online now, my feeling is that the first half is actually more content-compacted than the second half. Literally, there's no subtitle on the screen for the last 20 min -- they don't need it cuz there's no talking, only fighting, motorbike chasing, parkouring, etc. So what's next after the pair get rid of a hunter and find some temporary peace? Oh yes, we are expecting sequel...

I like the first half because it's full of drama, wisdom (on both the "good" and the "bad" sides), and emotions gradually grow, as well as audience' awareness of what is happening. Forget about Jason Bourne, there are much more going on there, compared to which, an amnesic agent who is fighting to regain his identity looks just trivial.

Aaron Cross actually got "profit" from the Outcome program -- his less-than-average intelligence got improved. And he doesn't want to lose it, which makes him not look so "moral" -- he stays in the program just to stay away from a even worse life, while his recruiter, Byer, and even Dr. Shearing, believe(d) that they are serving their country, at least.

I feel that Cross started some casually romantic feeling towards Doc during the repeated visits for examinations. I mean, you don't really count the times you meet a certain doctor in a few years, unless you have some special feeling for him/her. And that near "harassing" lines inside the examination room...

While Doc started to look at No.5 in a different way when he was focusing on preparing a fake passport for her. Maybe that was the first time that she saw one of her "participants" really working in the field. There's the saying that "Man who is seriously working is the sexiest" (or some line like that), absolutely true.

The script is really "wide-open", in the sense that now anyone can add in another new program at any time. So there can be endless hunting, endless new agents/opponents, therefore endless sequels, if fans buy it. James Bond must get envious, cuz he cannot even kill a bad guy too fast sometimes but has to keep that for a future sequel. My only concerns are, first, now they've used up the idea of high-speed chasing and chaotic parkour in a crowded city, what other fresh things they can come up with next time? And second, since Aaron Cross has got permanently "infected", he needs the pills NO MORE, so the story actually needs the Doc NO MORE? hmmm that's a dangerous sign for a hero's lady in such a franchise...

P.S. An interesting finding: Outcome had 6 remaining agents when it started to be burned down to ground. We've known that 4 were killed (1 in Pakistan, 1 in Seoul which I believe is the one undercovered into N-Korea intelligence network, the lonely ranger who got "demoted" for falling love, and No.6 who is the black guy), No.5 a.k.a Aaron Cross managed to escape, so who and where is the last one? A thread for sequel? Hope they didn't miscount...

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Roles in "Sai Lo Hid"

Sornram Theappitak as Khun Krai Peeriya (later Luang Krai)

Sattawat Doolayawijit as Muen Thip

Usanee Rakkasikorn as Mae Yuean (younger sister of Khun Krai, wife of Muen Thip)

Sorapong Chatree as Khun Pra Suwanracha ,Father of Daorueng

Banjertsare Yamapai as Khun Ya Nim (grandmother of Daorueng )

Metta Roongrat as Chod (cook in Daorueng's family)

Left: Kluay Choenyim as Tub (servant in Daorueng's family)
Right: Bee Matika Atthakornsiripo as young Daoreuang

Left: Yuwadee Ruengchai as Yuean (nanny of Daorueng)

Right: Worached Nimsuwan as Ming (servant of Muen Thip)

Kochakorn Nimakorn as Lamduan (elder sister of Daorueng)

Ekapan Banleurit as Luang Thep (husband of Lamduan, elder brother of Khun Krai)

Left: Nisakorn Yaowarat as Im (nanny of Mae Yuean)

Right: Chaiwarong Changkoed as Ma (servant of Muen Thip)

Prompong Nopparit as Chao Khun / Praya Peeriya (father of Khun Krai & Luang Thep)

Tanyarat Lohanan as Khunying Sri (mother of Khun Krai)

Panadda Komalatat as Mae Prig (mother of Muen Thip)

Roongrat Duangkwan as Puang (a mistress of Muen Thip's)

มาฬิศร์ เชยโสภณ (Neung Marit Choeysophon) as Duean (Luang Sena) (elder brother of Daorueng & Lamduan)

Monday, March 15, 2010

The Next Harry Potter? – “Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief”

This is one of so-called “blockbuster” movies – Don’t expect too much in the storyline, acting or more complicated things, just enjoy the show. Most ppl will draw the wallet once they read the line of “from the creators of ‘Harry Potter’” on the poster.

Actually I have more knowledge in Greek mythology than “Harry Potter” – cuz I never read the original novels of the latter… So when I saw the three teens entered the “sculpture garden”, I knew that was the dungeon of Medusa. Here the writers are quite loyal to the myths – Percy killed Medusa by cutting off her head, just like his namesake Perseus did in “real myth”. Even the idea of “mirror” remained the same – Perseus used a shielf (given by Athena), while Percy used a more “modern” weapon. 

The “bad boy” Luke by Jake Abel looks more shining than the leading actor sometimes… He ended up in the Hudson River just because he didn’t have a “Big Three” father… Fortunately we will have him back in the sequel, “The Sea of Monsters”.

Another surprise in this movie is to see some actors/actresses of my flavor – Pierce Brosnan proved that he can be a good supporting role too; Kevin McKidd from “Grey’s Anatomy” is one of my recent favorites, and happy to see him as a powerful yet gentle Poseidon here; and Melina Kanakaredes from “CSI:NY” finally got a chance to portrait a real Greek beauty (named “Athena”) after her not-so-successful trial in the hot TV series several months ago (btw I heard that she wrote the story of that ep by herself… no wonder all of a sudden Mike was so attracted by her…), pity she didn’t get a chance to show off her language ability.
It is said that this series will be the next “Harry Potter”. Well, let’s see…

Monday, November 16, 2009

An Overwhelming “Buffet” – “2012”

There are only two questions that you need to ask for any doom-day movie: When it comes, where will you be and who will you be with? Anything else, like the special effects, humanity issues, religions, etc., are either pure technical things or things that could be covered by these two billion-dollar questions.

The profile of Roland Emmerich (a.k.a the director) actually decreased my desire to watch this movie: From “Independence Day” (1996), “Godzilla” (1998) all the way down to “The Day After Tomorrow” (2004) and “10,000 B.C.” (2008), it seems that the only thing increases is the ratio and tech level of those special effect shots in his movies. It was actually this poster and the name “John Cusack” (a.k.a the leading actor) that dragged me into the cinema.

The whole thing looks like a mixture of all disaster movies within the recent decade – You don’t need to be an expert to pinpoint the names like “Japan Sinks” (OK, if you haven’t watched this Japanese movie yet, go for it. I recommend the 2006 version.), “Titanic”, “War of Worlds” and Emmerich’s own “The Day After Tomorrow”. And of course, the Ark... It seems that Emmerich believed that if he could “extract” the classic scenes from all these movies and put them into one new movie, he could be able to create a more successful one. But what we see here is just an overwhelming “buffet” – we have everything, but we simply cannot digest.

Again a wrong role in a wrong movie for John Cusack. He could not even surpass Tom Cruise in “War of Worlds”. He should pick some more sophiscated roles to engrave his name onto some trophies.

And the writers of this movie simply “follow the rules”: Bad guys must be Caucasians; those supporting roles can find their peace in heaven so that the leading guy will reunite with his family and live happily ever after; and don’t forget these “popular” issues now:
1. BRIC: The fallen Christ in Brazil, Russian president and giant plane, the secret discovered by Indian scientist (and in India also), and China that makes the Arks.
2. Black U.S. president.
3. Brave U.S. firemen / firewomen
4. Tibet

Although, you should watch such a doom-day movie once every several yrs, just to think about those two billion-dollar questions, it’s good for your own sake.
P.S. Do you know the meaning of “Himalaya”?

Monday, November 2, 2009

Legend on the Stage – “This Is It”

Although I knew it is just a final milking from the cash cow by the production company, after watching this “Final tribute to MJ”, I still felt sad and sorry for his departure.

He belongs to the stage: Whatever he did off it, he just shines on it. Even without actually singing those songs (to protect his voice before the real show, as he said), his confident movements proved that he is really the “King of Pop”. Those 80’s costumes and movements might look “out” on anybody else, but just so “in” on him. And he is one of the only two ppl that can make the “black-shoe-white-socks” a fashion instead of a disaster – the other one is the late Bruce Lee. Now they can finally meet in the heaven.

And the stage belongs to him: As one of the two stage directors, he requests for perfection for every detail – echo, lighting, movements of the dancers, etc. The keyboard guy complains that “MJ knows every tone of every single one of his songs”. God knows that most singers have to recite the lyrics and stage positions before every single one of their shows… And I particularly like what he said to that young guitar girl when they were rehearsing for the duo – “It’s your time to shine!”.

Editing based on limited original video clips is never an easy job. (I did some trivial editing jobs recently, and that’s why I understand that.) This documentary really deserves an Oscar nomination for that. Come on, you cannot get MJ to come back and shoot for some additional cuts when you find out that you are missing them… Yup, I heard that some of the scenes were not by the “real MJ”, but, whatever…

There are so many songs that are important to me here: The anti-war “They Don’t Care About Us”, the save-the-planet “Earth Song” and “Heal the World”, the anti-discrimination “Black or White”, and a very special one for me – “Beat It” (cuz I performed this song in an aerobics way with some classmates back to the college yrs…). And so many classic movements: moonwalk, robot dance, “Billie Jean” (you know what I mean…), etc. Just like a “compilation”… After watching all these, you will have the same feeling as I do – why we have to lose him?!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Golden Ages Once More -- "Inglourious Basterds"

Again, I was attracted to cinema by Brad Pitt. Not Quentine Tarantino, cuz so many movies related to his name really disappointed me... Lucky for him, this time he made it right.

There are 5 chapters in this movie (literally), so I would take it more like a "compilation" of 5 short films which are somewhate related.

Chapter 1: The conversation between a French diary farmer and a SS officer (Col. Landa) almost single-handed consists of the whole 20 min, and even within a humble farm house setting! From now on we should pay attention to this name Christoph Waltz, who also brought us several other excellent scenes in the following chapters.

Chapter 2: This is like a brief for the team of "Basterds", in a close-to-Kill-Bill style. And I guess it's this chapter that made this movie got the "M18" classification in Singapore.

Chapter 3: The real story began here -- One leading female role Shosanna (Mélanie Laurent) made her official debut. And with the handsome German Ace sniper Fredrick (Daniel Brühl, who gained worldwide fame by "Goodbye, Lenin!"), I almost thought that this gonna be a "love in war" movie... Luckily, I was wrong. Another conversation (or interrogation?) from Col. Landa, with Shosanna this time, equally breath-taking.

Chapter 4: This chapter reminds me the "Where Eagles Dare"(1968). If you don't know what I'm saying, go find that movie and watch it. I'm pretty sure that Tarantino has already done that. BTW, although I cannot distinguish Munich and Frankfurt accents, I was strangely whispering "shit" when I saw the English Lieutenant gestured his three middle fingers as "3"... And I saw John Woo in the gun-fighting again...

Chapter 5: Shosanna's make-up scene with the 80's Disco music was a little bit "over", esp. when she walked out in a red-yellow-black outfit... The ending of Shosanna and Fredrick was a bit surprising, but surprisingly good. The distorted face and horrible laugh of Shosanna in the fire brought me the feeling of "The Phantom of the Opera"... And the final scene was actually within my expectation, I even wish Pitt could do sth "further"...

Like I said, you can find many elements of those classic spy movies in this one, and Tarantino's biggest accomplishment might be to make you walk out of the cinema laughing after seen so much blood and bloody things. He should thank Brad Pitt in particular.

Monday, September 28, 2009

The Magic of Sandra Bullock

She is not a “pretty girl” any more, but she still got the magic. After “Speed”, she got bad shots like “Speed 2” and “Miss Congeniality 2”, but she got more good ones like “Miss Congeniality”, “Two-week Notice” and the successful re-union with Keenu Reeves in “The Lake House”. This latest “The Proposal” could be considered as a “reversed” version of her “Two-week Notice” with Hugh Grant several yrs ago – you just need to change the boss from a guy to a gal, and of course, change the super assistant from a girl to a dude.

Sandra did quite a good job in playing “tough girls”, like the “wild cat” in “Speed”, and of course, the Tom-boy cop in “Miss Congeniality”. This time, she is once again, playing an icon for all OLs – the all-mighty editor in chief, a.k.a., “the witch”. While Ryan Reynolds is arguably the most handsome assistant ever, you could be daydreaming about having such a considerate assistant that can do everything from OT, bodyguard, party partner all the way to rush out to buy lady’s pads for you at midnight… The funniest thing is, he even drinks the same flavor of take-away coffee with his boss, cuz he’s afraid that he might spilt her share on the way to office…

The whole story is actually quite predictable – the female boss was forced to fake a marriage with her own male assistant, and they had to pretend to be a couple in love in front of the family members and friends of the dude. Jokes are everywhere, and I particularly like those ones that are quite close to our daily office work. Obviously most audience in the cinema shared the same opinion as mine.

BTW Sandra Bullock keeps fit quite well (although not quite sexy…), and when paired with the latest “Sexiest Man Alive”, the nude scene is pretty nice… Feel like that Ryan shares with Andrew (his role in this movie) in one common thing – they both married a powerful woman…

For the ending, everyone knows lah… Plus, the scenes in Alaska are gorgeous.

(This pic was used to make the cinema posters in Singapore, which I preferred. Wonder why I couldn’t find this version of poster online…)