September 15, 2006

South Korean Blockbuster The Host

Just watched the South Korean blockbuster The Host (Goemul),- the movie that is currently the highest grossing movie in South Korea of all time with 12.3 million tickets sold in South Korea alone.

Its a really exciting film that brings to mind other monster movies like Jaws and Godzilla, especially in the opening scences when we see the beachgoers running frantically away from the horrific river monster that suddenly appears on the banks of the Han River.

But The Host is not a normal Hollywood style monster movie, as the movie progresses, you realise that the director (Bong Joon-ho) is not trying to convey a simple story of how an ordinary family overcome tremendous odds to rescue a little girl captured by the monster... in fact the movie is a satire on the selfishness of ordinary people and the inefficiencies and gross corruption of the authorities during emergency situations. Besides the captured girl's immediate family, everyone else in the movie behaved in a most deplorable manner...

Telling examples include the scenes when bystanders (or reporters?) start snapping pictures of the family grieving for the little girl at the mass funeral or the scences when the ex-classmates of the uncle of the little girl try to capture him to collect the bounty that the authorities have placed on the family.

But, the human-like fobiles of the family's heroic attempts to save the girl brings a tear to my eyes... and provide an added dose of realism to the film, as the protagonists do not suddenly turn into superheroes when faced with danger... unlike Hollywood movies of the same ilk.

However, some parts of the movie were not explained at all, like why in the world is the mutant monster bringing human beings to its sewer lair? Why doesn't it just gobble them up? Is it in fact lonely for company or it is a one-monster cleaning crew trying to clean the river of the pollutants in the river, of which humans are a part?

Check out the great trailer from Youtube:

[Picture from]

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September 10, 2006

Chinese Film Still Life Wins Golden Lion!

Still Life - a low-budget surprise last minute entry in the 63rd Venice Film Festival by Chinese director Jia Zhang-ke has won the coveted Golden Lion Award, astonishing critics and journalists everywhere.

The Chinese title of the movie - San Xia Hao Ren (三峡好人) means the the good people of the Three Gorges and the movie, as the title describes, is about the plight of villages and townsfolk affected by the Three Gorges Dam Project.
Still Life is the second mainland Chinese movie to win the Golden Lion after Zhang Yimou's Not One Less in 1999.

Tsai Ming-Liang's Black-eyed did not win any awards but did garner the longest applause at the film festival (7 minutes) :-)

September 4, 2006

Curse of The Golden Flower

Curse of the Golden Flower looks like its going to be a hit when it has its worldwide release in Chirstmas this year :-) This Zhang Yimou movie stars Chow Yun-Fatt, Gong Li, Taiwanese pop star Jay Chou and Liu Ye.

Check out the trailer from Youtube:

Another (longer) version of the trailer can be found on the Official Site.

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September 3, 2006

Battle of the Red Cliff All Set for 2009 Oscars

The highly anticipated historical movie Battle of the Red Cliff (赤壁) will begin principal shooting next March and its planned world-wide release will be just 3 weeks before the Beijing Olympics in 2008! The Chinese mainland regards this movie as the most important Chinese film during the next 3 years and an Oscar contender for 2009!

The confirmed cast include Chow Yun-Fatt as Sun Yu, Lin Chi-Ling as Xiao Qiao and Tony Leung as Zhuge Liang. And it will be directed by John Woo.

Wow, this movie is set to become an epic! I am pretty sure the producers and the Chinese authorities will be putting in much resources to ensure its success so it should really be a visual feast when its shown :-)

More info about the movie can be found in my earlier post here.

[Info from news article]

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