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Yi ngoi

Intriguing, original and simply astounding
Accident might just be the most refined and intelligent piece of Hong Kong cinema since 2002's Infernal Affairs. The film probably won't prove as popular with mainstream audiences due to its almost meditative, slow-burn pacing - but for anyone with an interest in inventive genre cinema, Soi Cheang's newest outing is a must-see.

Taking its cues from Jean-Pierre Melville, Accident revolves around a group of assassins who stage their murders like accidents. The group is led by Brain (Louis Koo in a career-defining performance), who grows increasingly paranoid when one of the group's accidents goes awry and kills another member.

Thankfully, while the actual "accidents" are impressive and cleverly put together, Soi Cheang doesn't make the mistake of letting gimmicky set pieces dominate his film. Instead, Accident becomes a fascinating character study of a man who gradually destroys himself through paranoia and guilt. As such, the film largely depends on Louis Koo's performance - and what a performance it is; with this film, Koo finally deserves to be elevated from the hotpot of mediocre HK-popstars-cum-actors people used to include him in.

Add to this an elegiac score by Xavier Jamaux, elegant cinematography and you end up with the most compelling film to come out of Asia in the past 2 years.

If there is any problem to be found in this, it's that Accident is purely a Milkyway Image film, not a Soi Cheang film. Anyone hoping to find the director's trademark relentlessness here will be disappointed - although it could be argued some of the nihilism found in works like Dog Bite Dog was carried over into Accident's finale.

Tit sam gok

Totally underrated
With all the negative reviews and opinions I had read about Triangle before watching the film, I expected to be disappointed. Actually, I was pleasantly surprised.

Triangle is by no means a masterpiece that lives up to any of the three directors' names, but it is certainly not the incoherent mess some people make it out to be. Tsui's first third establishes too many subplots, but I thought that even in Lam's third, I was able to follow everything. Sun Honglei really shines in the film, and it would be great seeing him in other Milkyway films. But what's most important is that despite the slightly confusing plot, Triangle always remains an entertaining movie - from the great car chases in Lam's segment to the typical Johnnie To shootouts in the final third, it always kept me on the edge of my seat. Great music has become a staple in Milkyway productions since the last few years, but Zerafa's score here shows strokes of brilliance, adding to the mythical tone established by Tsui in the first third. And that piece playing in the credits is beautiful!

I also really liked the ending, which in a way comments on the theme of "fate" which I thought was illustrated pretty well throughout the movie.

Sure, you perhaps need to be a huge, huge fan of at least one of the directors present here (To's style seems to be prevalent, even in the segments not directed by him) to appreciate this film, but I thought it was pretty great. Maybe people just need to be a bit more open-minded and not expect a masterpiece from three legendary directors who are just having a bit of fun - and contrary to what others said, I felt I was able to participate in that fun.

Madame Tutli-Putli

Madame Tutli-Putli is, quite simply, the greatest stop-motion short film I have ever seen, and I have seen quite a few. If you thought all that stop-motion films could be are comedic romps without any emotional weight, Madame Tutli-Putli proves you wrong. But the film also does not fall into the trap of becoming a self-indulgent showpiece, which, with so many years of work the filmmakers put into this, might as well have happened.

Additional props must go to the music score, which fits the film's mood perfectly and greatly enhances the spectrum of emotions the viewer will experience while watching Madame Tutli-Putli.

Touching and poignant, this is 2007's best short film.

Il grande silenzio

Poignant & beautiful
Corbucci's THE GREAT SILENCE is one of the most neglected and under-appreciated westerns right besides Sollima's and Damiani's entries into the genre. The fantastic scenery in snow, Morricone's incredibly melancholic soundtrack which ranks among his best works, and of course the charismatic actors: All this make THE GREAT SILENCE not only one of the best, but also one of the saddest westerns of all time.

Of course, as with many Italian productions of the time, there are bits of odd dialogue, some rough editing, and scenes were the lower budget shines through, but the brilliant ending more than makes up for it. It's there where you finally realize that this could never have come out of Hollywood.

Highly recommended.

The Fountain

Pure beauty
Many people, mostly critics, have accused The Fountain of being pretentious; of being an esoteric, manipulative mish-mash that clamors about its own importance in every scene.

While I can see and understand the angle where these people are coming from, I think The Fountain is one of those films where you just need to stop thinking. I don't mean stop thinking in a bad way - not like with a Michael Bay film; rather, one needs to immerse himself in the flow of the images, the atmosphere and the message Aronofsky's film is trying to convey. It may not have a really deep meaning or one that hasn't been dealt with in film yet, but Aronofsky, behind all the flashy visuals, delivers it with such an honesty and passion that I have not seen in years, in any film.

The mistake Aronofsky does make is that he thinks he needs to make this message more complex, more ambiguous in order to make viewers susceptible to it. And so he goes a bit overboard with the closing scenes. He doesn't know when enough is enough, and that detracts a bit from The Fountain's elegance and beauty.

Nonetheless, this film is one of the most enjoyable pictures I've seen this year, one that really doesn't deserve the hate it gets.

Quella sporca storia nel west

Highly enjoyable
This underrated spaghetti western, based on an idea by Sergio Corbucci and directed by Enzo Castellari of Keoma fame, sports excellent cinematography, a nice soundtrack by the recently deceased Francesco De Masi and an impressive cast. While the protagonist, played by Andrea Giordani, is the usual spaghetti 'avenging hero' fare, the highly charismatic Horst Frank and the rest of the cast do a great job. The 'Hamlet' theme injects a lot of originality into the vengeance story, the intro dream sequence being very surreal and creative. And while you will not find a deep, meaningful version of 'Hamlet' here, lots of religious metaphors are around and, along with the healthy dose of humor (which not everyone will appreciate) make this one of the more intelligent euro westerns around. Definitely recommended.


Laughably bad
While Siri's previous movie, The Nest, was a decent action flick, superbly filmed, he turns to the commercial action thriller trash genre with 'Hostage'.

'Hostage', still having been filmed very elegantly and with style, is going nowhere for the whole 2 hours of the movie. You have your cliché-ridden 'depressive cop rising from the ashes'-story, a unbelievably ridiculous plot of three teenagers taking a rich family as hostages that eventually turns into a soap opera and - later - a hilarious 'The Shining gone Scream gone Why The Hell Is This In The Script' teenage screamfest, and finally there's the really bad-ass guys who put the cop under pressure and are of course superior to anyone.

It's not just that we have seen this a thousand times (only less ridiculous), the script is fleshed out in such a boring, and at the same time absurd manner that you cannot help but ask yourself where this movie is going. This could have been a solid action thriller with a straight storyline, concentrating on one problem or situation, but in the end they try to put so much confusing stuff into this, completely forgetting the viewer in the end.

I'll admit that Willis puts up a good performance, but it doesn't save this time-waster from being utter trash. I get entertained quite easily, but this was too much. Bad, really bad.


A great action movie - if you can slur over the plot holes
Yes, this movie has more plot holes than there are orphans in this world. Yes, if there exists an exact opposite of "Original story", Returner is the best example. But I don't care, because this movie is damn entertaining. I don't care for the 1,000 effects copied from the Matrix either, because they are used in a good way. You can argue about the story, but at least there IS one - see Resurrection Of The Little Match Girl. I can highly recommend this to everyone who likes good action movies, who can overlook plot holes and a rather cheap story (Though it's laid out extremely nice, especially at the end).


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