IMDb member since July 2007
    Lifetime Total
    Lifetime Filmo
    Lifetime Plot
    Lifetime Title
    IMDb Member
    15 years


Yip Man 2

Ip Man is a hero with so much grace!
I'm not Chinese but this story appeals me greatly. This is not a story about a Chinese man beating a western man. It's a story about David and Goliath. About the oppressed rising against the oppressor. It criticizes the imperialism ruling over the under-developed country through brutal force, and the bourgeoisie enslaving and exploiting the working class by the name of law and order.

Ip Man is a righteous man preaching to the world of the deaf. His virtue is an obstacle to the comfort and luxury the world offers. His generosity is ignored by the ignorant. The ignorant only learns through physical defeat. They know their life is spared only when they see the sharp blade stop in front of their eyes.

The character of Twister is not realistic. He's a boxing world champion. To be a world champion, one has to go through tremendous physical and mental struggle. I haven't met any world champions, but I don't think there are many champions who are so full of conceit and self-importance. In my opinion, one can't attain the champion title without overcoming oneself. When one overcomes oneself, one learns to respect others. That's why so many people rooted for Rocky Balboa.

But Twister is more than a character. It's a metaphor. The vice of the imperialism, capitalism, and chauvinism all integrated into one. That's why it's so powerful. Chinese martial art masters can easily defeat tens and twenties of other Chinese men. But this western bully is so different. He's a giant – the real Goliath mocking the David. He possesses powerful punch, strong muscle and agility. Money and fame feed his ego and the law and order can be bent in his favor. But we all know how the story ends.

It'd be nice if we can always come face-to-face with our opponents. Then, the righteous will eventually rule over the world. Unfortunately the world is governed by the privileged few who hide behind the system and employ puppets do their work. They neither bleed nor sweat. They rule and manipulate the mass with man-made virtue, money. And the virtuous lives in poverty since one's virtue can't be monetized.

That's why Ip Man is dear to us. He lives in poverty but his mind is lofty. He's humble but not servile. He's gentle but stands firm behind his principles. He fights without hatred or anger and accepts the victory without arrogance. IP MAN may not belong to the proletariat, but he is a true working class hero that many of us yearn for.

Never Forever

Beautiful and Engaging - Masterly storytelling through amazing performance
Watching this movie was a breathtaking experience to me. From the very first scene, it grabbed my attention, and I became more and more involved with the story of this beautiful and desperate woman, Sophie Lee.

The movie touches so many important issues such as interracial marriage, faith and religion, class determined by economic factors, and illegal immigrant. Yet those issues are so well blended without distracting the audience' attention from the main story.

The main story is purely simple. It's a woman's struggle to keep a man she loves happy. But in the end, she realizes that she has to pursue her own happiness.

It's the story of my own life. It's the story of so many women that I know. It's also the story of so many sons and daughters, wives and husbands, and fathers and mothers. That's why this movie touches the very core of my heart - anybody's heart.

The visual elements are very powerful. Extremely shallow focus are used in many scenes, isolating the characters from the background and sometimes from each other. However camera is never in the way of story telling.

The most notable element of the movie is, needless to say, the outstanding performances by Vera Farmiga, Jung-Woo Ha and David McInnis. Especially I was overwhelmed by the powerful screen presence of Vera's delicate feature. She can be funny, sexy and innocent without even trying. She becomes the woman I'd love to be friends with. She becomes the lover I'd cherish and hold in my arms, and the mother I'd look up to. She arouses so many emotions within me that through her I face my own womanhood and independence.

After watching the movie, I thought makers of "Unfaithful" should watch this movie to learn that an affair can have such depth, profundity and purity...

In Between Days

Artistic and Daring - perfect kind of first feature for an indie filmmaker
I had been wanting to watch this film so long. I read a review in one of the indie film magazine early this year, and it really caught my attention. One of the best reviews I've ever read. I forgot the critic's name, but it said something like "If only I could make a film this good." What better review can a filmmaker expect?

So, when I found out it was screening at the IFC center only a short period, I went to watch it. And it took my breath away from the very first scene. Very artistic shots. Heavily relied on medium and close-up shots. They seem almost daring. It's the kind of daring and freshness I expect to see in the first feature of an independent filmmaker. Very personal, intimate and touching. Authentic style far from convention. She showed such a small movie could be so big.

I left the theater and came right back home. Instead of heading out to the Independence Day celebration party, I decided to paint. I'm not a painter, but I had to do something creative so that the inspiration I got from the movie wouldn't go waste.

46-okunen no koi

Powerfully Beautiful, Inexplicably Sensual and Intellectually Provocative
I can't say I'm a fan of Takashi Miike. Actually I watched his "Audition," and it gave me such creeps. The story was intriguing, but I couldn't stand the gore and spookiness of the scenes. When I saw the poster of "Ichi the Killer" I said, "Forget about it." I put his name under 'must-avoid-if-I-can' director category.

But the poster of "Big Bang Love" was quite eye catching. The body of a beautiful man covered with tattoo captured my interest strongly enough to visit it at the theater. And it took me totally by surprise. It was powerfully beautiful, inexplicably sensual and intellectually provocative.

The first scene features three generations of men: a boy, an old man, and a young father whose beautiful body is covered with ethnic pattern tattoo. I assume those tattoo patterns symbolize something about life and universe. This father dances. It's primitive yet sophisticated dance. It's not the type of dance that attracts a mate. It's the dance that brings out something within and throws it out to the world - world of emptiness...

After the dance, we move to a prison located out of nowhere. But it turns out that this nowhere is everywhere. It's where the past meet the future, religion confronts science, and hope collides with despair. Rocket and Pyramid are powerful symbols that express all those conflicting ideas. Rocket will lead us to Space, which is unknown nothingness while Pyramid will lead us to Heaven, which is hopeful solution to human misery. Here, Heaven and Hell are not the concepts at the opposite of one spectrum. Life is Hell, so Heaven's alternative becomes Space. Otherwise, there's no choice in afterlife, even though it may be true.

Two main characters are also in radical contrast. Ariyoshi and Kazuki are the same and the opposite. Ariyoshi seems fragile and passive, but it's just because he wasn't given the chance to act out. We know from the very beginning that he was imprisoned for murder. He murdered a man and murdered his own innocence. He yearns for love, but how can he after what he's done and what the world has done to him? Kazuki seems tough and aggressive. He always acts out before a thought enters his mind. But his heart is full of pain and his mind is full of fear. Death is the only comfort for him. He'd rather take a rocket then a pyramid. Heaven is the extension of this gruesome world, but Space... we can completely lose ourselves in the space. We're nothing but a tiny fraction of this vast unknown-ness. That devastating factor is a comfort to many.

Miike kept all the gruesome acts off screen. The physical fights were very raw, dynamic and beautiful. The sets were also very fascinating. The walk to the jail cell reminded me of the sets of "Dogville." The pentagon shaped cell and its pattern on the floor were very impressive. Where Kazuki died is like the ancient podium on which a victim was presented to God. So his death is lead to rebirth, but that rebirth defies God and soars to the emptiness of Space.

I couldn't quite sleep after movie, recapturing some of the images of the movie. I can't wait for DVD so that I can revisit the scenes again and again.

See all reviews