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Reviews

Fei Lung gwoh gong
(1978)

Sammo Hung is the Chaplin of Hong Kong Cinema! ( Score 10/10 ⭐)
Sammo Hung (1952-) is the legendary martial arts star and his huge contributions to Hong Kong and entire Chinese film culture are enormous. He and his team choreographed King Fu, Bruce Lee, Jacky Chen, and Donnie Yen etc.'s action sequences. Almost all leading Hong Kong filmmakers of each generation tightly worked with him. For example, the opening scene of Enter the Dragon (1973) is a fight between Bruce Lee's Lee and Sammo Hung as a Shaolin fighter.

Sammo Hung is the Chaplin or Mel Brooks in Hong Kong cinema due to his multiple talents in all aspects of filmmaking. Enter the Fat Dragon (1978) is his second directing film which firmly established the genre and it shows sophisticated Martial Arts action comedy style of notable Hong Kong films of the 1980s golden era that followed.

Enter the Fat Dragon (1978) is not a parody of the similar title Enter the Dragon (1973). It is a satire of Way of the Dragon (1972) and 1970s' Bruceploitation phenomenon. Moreover, Japanese video distributors and TV stations fraudulently named some Sammo Hung action comedies as part of Enter the Fat Dragon franchise. It totalled 17 different Sammo Hung films named ''Debugon'' (Fat Dragon) series. In fact, there is ever no sequel to Enter the Fat Dragon (1978) at all. It is a similar deception like Steven Seagal's Under Siege franchise (1992-) made by Japanese distributors after the real part 2, Under Siege 2: Dark Territory (1995).

Story Structure

ACT1: Ah Lung (Sammo Hung) is a pig farmer and a Bruce Lee fan moves to Hong Kong from mainland China to help his Uncle Hung (Fung Fung)'s food cart business. Inciting Incident is that local counterfeit art dealer Chiu (Roy Chiao)'s thugs threaten Ah Lung's coworker Ko (Luk Chu-sek) to counterfeit paints for Chiu. After the refusal, Chiu's thugs not only destroy Hung's food cart, as the result, both Ah Lung and Ko have to find new jobs. Ah Lung finds a job at a restaurant where their friendly customers Ah-Chen and Hsiao-wei work for. Ko works as a taxi driver.

ACT2:The first half of ACT2 is about a conflict among Ah Lung, Ko and Chiu's thugs. Chiu's thugs destroy Ko's taxi car, and then Ah Lung mistakenly ruins their restaurant general manager's new car in front of the thug as a revenge for Ko. Midpoint:Chiu's client, sadistic Professor Bak / Bai (Peter Yang) wants Ah-Chen who reminds him of his ex girl friend. Ah Lung decides protecting her from the Chiu's thugs and Bak's three boxers. The fight at the party in Repulse Bay is ended up as a disaster. at the end of ACT2, Chiu's thugs successfully kidnap Ah-Chen and brings her to a warehouse at port.

ACT3: Ko gets on taxi to go to the warehouse to save her while Ah Lung has to chase the taxi in which Ko mistakenly thinks Ah Lung is on the back seat. After their arrival, the final kung fu battle between Ah Lung and Professor Bak / Bai's three boxers starts.

Kung fu sequences dominated the most of the time and plot points however this Hong Kong parody film follows the basic structure of screenwriting, the Three Act Structure. Enter the Fat Dragon (1978) has its classical structure in its story telling process. As the result, it is not a porno of kung fu actions.

Film Editing And Cinematography

Hong Kong films of 1970s like the present Hong Kong filmmaking used multiple cameras (now they basically use three cameras) due to their specific choreographic requirement mentioned by Sammo Hung. The flow of actions should not be disrupted by repetitive shots of the same action. Disruption of actions is unavoidable while filmmakers use single camera. In this film, the use of zoom in/out is very beautiful and stylish than others. The opening dream battle sequence which abstracted from natural environment shows its creative concept.

1.Multi-camera shots have the same lighting conditions. See lighting conditions of each shot to identify which shot is made by single separated camera.

2.Enter the Fat Dragon (1978)'s sets of action shots begin from quick zoom in or zoom out. Zoom in/ out can be equilibrium of multiple camera effect within one shot. Disruption of choreographed action flaws is the major enemy for action filmmakers.

3. Cut points are made when actions or reactions start. There is no cut point which do not relate sifts or changes of major actions.

3.Multiple camera editing in this film does not like multi-camera work because its camera work was done in single camera principles. In multi-camera work, it needs keeping axis of the same action while shooting different sizes of shots from same angles, otherwise, it will lose seamless cutting solutions among different sizes of shots on any continued action flaws.

4.Smash cutting is typical and skilful among all action sequences in this film.

Smash Cut

First, Sammo Hung puts zoom up shot of his fist, then quickly cuts to smash on the villain's stomach, finally cuts to full shot of both of them. Three shots used in this action montage.These shots are separable. A moment of smash can be a cut point, which is usually a close up.

From the joint (pose) shifts to the next set of shots

There are joints among different sets of shots in editing generally. Moreover it is unavoidable even if we use how many cameras. In this film, Sammo Hung's poses form joints for the next sets of shots. In this set of shots, we can also learn the most beautiful reverse cut in this film. Reverse cut is mostly used in action films. Sammo Hung's reverse cut points cooperate with action shift points in choreography. Reverse cut is separable.

The smooth and dynamic use of Zoom in/out

Zoom in and out can be equilibrium for multi-camera editing like this set of shots. First, zoom up of Sammo Hung's face, then he turns his body towards his villains, camera zooms out. It is the most aesthetically complemental solution by zoom up and out. Zoom ups and outs can create visual impacts like this.

The next set of shots is the same kind that it starts from zoom up of villains' fists and then zooms out to create visual impact. It needs accompany of choreography.

Sammo Hung's Pose as Joints. The following set of shots show dynamic use of zoom in and out and smash cut. First zoom up of Sammo Hung, then zooms out to be a full shot, after he knocked out of these villains, finally camera zooms into his pose. This pose is a joint for the next set of shots.

The Last Set of Opening Fight Sequence is mixture of contemporary multi camera editing and smash cut

In the last set of shots in the opening fight sequence, it starts from the pose which is same with the previous set of shots as a joint. Then, reverse cuts to the villain's medium shot which is a single shot that can be separate. Then, cuts back to full shot of both from the villain's another reverse angle. Then, cuts to a reverse angle of medium shot in which villain kicks Sammo Hung. Then quickly cuts to villain's another reverse angle shot in which Sammo Hung defences his body from the kick. Cuts back to the villain's continued kick action medium shot, finally seamlessly cuts to a full shot of both done by multi-camera work. The Fighter in the Opening Credit Sequence (Yuen Biao)'s kick shots in different sizes were done in the typical multi camera work in which it shows us the seamless flow of the same action between shots. Multi-camera work's seamless continuity editing effect can only be achieved by following axis of the same action flow. On the contrary, different angles that distract axis only will kill the multi camera effect. As the result, it seems single camera editing.

Enter the Fat Dragon (1978) is not only the best parody of Hong Kong films, but also it established the typical style of the 1980s' Hong Kong comedy action master pieces. Sammo Hung is the Chaplin or Mel Brooks of Hong Kong cinema. There is no one more influential than Sammo Hung except Bruce Lee himself. This film is one of genuine film master pieces in Hong Kong film history.

The White Storm 2: Drug Lords
(2019)

Social Reality of Anti Drug Philanthropist
The White Storm 2 - Drug Lords (2019) is not a real sequel to The White Storm (Dir. Benny Chan; 2013) because it has only the common theme and the actor Louis Koo in the different role. Audience can directly enjoy this film without any knowledge about the first film and the entire franchise. Sequel films without any continuation of the whole story became a strategical form of franchise in Hong Kong. It differs from any Hollywood film franchise in which complete discontinuation is not allowed by its executives. This franchise tendency is also confirmed by another upcoming sequel film Shock Wave 2 (2019). Furthermore both of them are produced and distributed by Universe Entertainment.

Hong Kong films lost its momentum locally but it has been in the Mainland China co-production project era since 2003. It proved to be the most thriving strategic production model for the Chinese local city Hong Kong. However Hong Kong film productivity itself is doubted that it only produced 53 films in 2018 contrary to 300 foreign films shown in the city where only 55 cinemas available for distribution. Moreover registered film / TV/ video / commercial and other entertainment industrial workers are only totalled 16,459 people in Hong Kong.

Obviously the annual increase of Hong Kong cinema produced capital of 9% (6.1 billion renminbi) is heavily relied on resources of Mainland China. This industrial mode of Hong Kong film production won't change in upcoming years and decades. Only a few established Hong Kong main film crew figures and casts with vast majority of unknown Mainland film workers will only empty its local film productivity base itself. As the result, purely localised film production is facing increasing difficulties. None of leading figures of Hong Kong film industry have rights to oppose the tendency due to their heavy dependency on Mainland China projects for survival. Hong Kong actually lost its balance for both production and market share in its own territory. There is no big governmental support on its purely localised film production and distribution.

The White Storm 2 - Drug Lords (2019) is politically matured and critically sophisticated due to its director Herman Yau (1961-) who only keeps anti corruption attitude on Hong Kong society among all leading film directors. It is also a creative contribution by his long term partner script writer Erica Lee (1966-).

Direction and Acting

The protagonist Yu Shun-tin (Andy Lau)'s drug lord background in the past and anti drug philanthropist and financial tycoon status at the present can form a thematic comparison and conflict to audience. And it is a political and social reality that represented by some notorious example like financial alligator George Soros (1930-) who is not welcomed by Hong Kong stock market dealers and its government. It could be sharper than the character setting if Yu Shun-tin still is a drug lord.

In fact, drug dealers themselves won't consume its poisoned drugs. Drugs are sheer money making device for the mafia groups. Drug business is pure capitalist business. It crystallises nature of capitalism. Drug is to make artificially ''needs'' among its victimised consumers by addiction; then the addiction plays the same function with advertising; finally it puts victims in a vicious circle of addiction, destruction and money vacuuming.

The White Storm 2 - Drug Lords (2019) shows its mechanism more clearly than the other mafia movies of this kind.

The drug dealer Jizo (Louis Koo)'s name is from Japanese word ''Jizo'' which means the stone statue of Ksitigarbha. It is definitely opposed from its nature of the character Jizo cynically. However Louis Koo's villain role is acceptable, fleshy and it proved his acting talent. A good actor can play characteristically different roles, and its notable differentiation is recognised by audience. Unfortunately his doggy-like sex scene is a failure because it does not like a sex scene.

Jizo (Louis Koo)'s motivation is a revenge on Yu Shun-tin and the Ching Hing triad due to his ousting and chopping off of his finger by the ex friend, triad comrade Yu. Yu Shun-tin's role is very similar to Infernal Affairs (2002)'s Senior Inspector Lau Kin-ming. Yu keeps close tie with the Ching Hing triad even after his success as an anti drug philanthropist and financial tycoon. It seems that Yu helps the Ching Hing triad but Herman Yau does not show details on his continuation of the Ching Hing triad business in some social area. The boss of the Ching Hing triad Yu Nam (Kent Cheng) developed Yu and provided his financial support. This vagueness and doubt dulled its role or defamilialized it to some extent. In other words, this character setting and depiction are pretty risky while the antagonist Jizo and the chief superintendent of the Narcotica Bureau Lam Ching-fung (Michael Miu)'s character functions are so obvious.

Chrissie Chau played ex girlfriend of Yu, May Chan who makes his son Danny. Her acting is always the same but in this film she tried make up of a dying cancer patient. It's overly done basically, as the result, audience hardly recognise her under the heavy make up in the hospital scene.

For technical aspects, art department did the greatest contributions to this film's success. 1:1 replica set of the Central MTR station is astonishing and many audience thought it's really shot in the station with CG effects however it's basically shot at the huge set. Thus the car chase among two major characters Yu and Jizo at the end of ACT3 is outstanding among all car chase scenes made in Hong Kong films in the past. Another memorable viewing experience is complete depiction of suicidal actions. It's repetitively shown during this film, especially addicted victims and drug dealers who assassinated by Yu's the Ching Hing triad jumping out of high buildings.

Herman Yau shows these complete actions of jumping out or throwing out of the roofs or window of these buildings until these victims crushed on the ground. This is what Hollywood films tending to avoid of due to its censorship however it shows typical feature of Hong Kong filmmaking that challenges censorship with more exaggerated depictions of violence. Undoubtedly it depends on CG animation and it's quite obviously identifiable.

Anyway, The White Storm 2 - Drug Lords (2019) is a good entertainment as a mafia action film genre which frequently made in Hong Kong recently because of its attractive and cutting edges of action sequences.

The Secret Life of Pets 2
(2019)

The Good, The Cute and The Pretty ( Score 10/10 ⭐)
Rating 10/10 This 3D computer animated film is very successful that all pets are attractive and lovely for all ages. The most influential factor for this film is Harrison Ford (1942-) who played a ''Oz''like-MENTOR role in this film which called Rooster, a Welsh Sheepdog. Many countries and regions dubbed original English actors with local voice actors, thus, the English version is highly recommended.

Audience will notice that there are sakura trees in the New York City sequence. It is a visual signature of Japanese landscapes in Spring. It sends audience a signal that The Secret Life of Pets 2 (2019) is not any kind of antithesis to Hayao Miyazaki (1941-) animation films. One the contrary, it is quite harmonious with Miyazaki world and his sprit.

In fact, there is no any barrier between Miyazaki animation fans and Pets fans. Actual protagonists and roles are not humans but all are pets, thus, the story structure is unique and twisted from live action movies. The development of the film story is not concentrated in one character while the main conflict is basically the same. As the result, the pace of the film is pretty slow from beginning to the middle of the entire film. The story is not driven by one protagonist, many characters are in charge of main plots as an ensemble drama. It is also the reason of decentralisation of the story structure. Story Structure ''EXPOSITION'' ACT1: The protagonist Max a Jack Russell Terrier (Patton Oswalt) and its owner Katie (Ellie Kemper )'s family take a road trip to their relative's farm. Inciting Incident is not this change of location from New York to the farm. It is when Max accidentally breaks cattle grid, and some sheep escapes, then farm's tough sheepdog, Rooster decides to retrieve the missing sheep with Max.

End of the ACT1 is when Max successfully retrieves the missing sheep at the cliff, and gets Rooster's trust. At the end, Rooster presents Max his handkerchiefs as symbol of his trust.

''DEVELOPMENT"ACT2: The first half of ACT2 is composed by a conflict around Busy Bee which is a Max's favourite toy left for his girlfriend Gidget (Jenny Slate), a white Pomeranian. Gidget accidentally loses it in one of apartment rooms where infected by bunch of cats and owned by a cat lady (Meredith Salenger). After Chloe (Lake Bell) a morbidly obese and apathetic grey tabby cat trains Gidget on how to be a cat. As the result, not only Gidget successfully retrieves Busy Bee with Plan B ''red dot'', and hailed by bunch of cats as ''queen of cats.'' Midpoint: Chloe and Snowball (Kevin Hart) a white rabbit and former flushed pet meet Daisy (Tiffany Haddish), a Shih Tzu and decide to rescue white tiger named Hu which tortured by the abusive Russian circus owner Sergei.

The rest of the ACT2 is after Daisy and Snowball free Hu to Pops (Dana Carvey) an elderly Basset Hound's apartment, Hu is kicked out from there, thus they hide him at Max's apartment. At the END of ACT2, Max and Duke's family come back from the trip, the Russian circus owner Sergei (Nick Kroll) sends his black wolves to track Daisy down with her flower clip she dropped, and Sergei captures Hu. This is the most dangerous and intensified moment for the characters.

''CONFRONTATION''ACT3: Sergei escapes in train, and Snowball, Max, hamster Norman (Chris Renaud) a guinea pig and Gidget chase the train. Max and Snowball defeat Sergei's monkey and wolves. They kick Sergei off the train, then Gidget knocks him out with the cat lady's car. Finally they free Daisy and Hu. The Secret Life of Pets 2 (2019) is a good example of Three Act Structure in ensemble drama. It is not so simple like more individualistic structure however it proved that Three Act Structure actually works and fits ensemble drama. This animation film is good for all ages of audience.

From Russia with Love
(1963)

The Best James Bond Film Ever Made! ( Score 10/10 ⭐)
From Russia with Love (Dir. Terence Young;1963) is undoubtedly the best 007 film ever made. Its intelligent adjustment is that they avoided the Cold War narrative which is today called ''Russophobia.'' In detail, they changed SMERSH (Soviet counter-intelligence agency) into fictional SPECTRE. Originally Ian Fleming put anti Soviet narrative into his 007 novel however the adaptation made this film superior than the original film.

As the result, SPECTRE 's role is very close to real intelligence agencies. Their scheme is to play with both British and Soviet intelligence agencies changed the entire story structure more insightfully and suspense-fully. A Lektor cryptography device is stolen by SPECTRE themselves from the Soviet Consulate in Istanbul and ultimately sold to Soviet Union.

During this mafia-like business, SPECTRE orders Rosa Klebb (Number 3), a former SMERSH (Soviet counter-intelligence) colonel to recruits Tatiana Romanova, a cipher clerk at the Soviet consulate in Istanbul who still believes Klebb works for Soviet. SPECTRE's another goal is to revenge 007 for Dr. No. A sex scandal between UK and USSR, and suicide of 007 are planned. This film has three kinds of narrative layers. Such as false narrative, official narrative and true narrative. False narrative is created by Grant (Robert Shaw) ; official narrative is shared between UK and USSR; the true narrative is witnessed by the audience. It makes this film the best 007 film.

Story Structure

ACT 1 is exposition before Istanbul. SPECTRE starts training of assassins, Irish assassin Donald "Red" Grant (Robert Shaw) is one of them. Inciting incident is Ernst Stavro Blofeld (Anthony Dawson) orders SPECTRE's chief planner, Czech chess grandmaster Kronsteen (Number 5) to plan a revenge for Dr. No and puts Rosa Klebb (Number 3), a former SMERSH (Soviet counter-intelligence) colonel, in charge of the mission. This Blofeld decision is the inciting incident of the entire film.

Tatiana Romanova is forced to accept Rosa Klebb (Number 3)'s ''order'' and contacts MI6 for defection with a Macguffin, LECTOR, then, M (Bernard Lee) orders 007 James Bond (Sean Connery) to go to Istanbul to help her even though they know it would be a trap. This is the end of ACT1. ACT1 of this film is a perfect example of ACT1 as EXPOSITION.

ACT2 is formed by the entire Istanbul-Orient Express sequences. Meeting Station T chief Ali Kerim Bey (Pedro Armendáriz) is Bond's first step to reach Tatiana Romanova however it involves Bond into a years of conflict between Bulgarian Soviet agent Krilencu (Fred Haggerty) and Ali Kerim Bey. This is the first half of ACT2's conflict. Krilencu sets a limpet bomb in Ali's office, Bond and Ali spy on the Russian consulate to identify the bomber is Krilencu, after the battle in the Station T's hideout gypsy camp, Bond and Ali track down Krilencu and kill him with Bond's rifle. The First Half of ACT2's conflict is perfectly built and dealt with MI6 agents. Grant helps Bond secretly to let him steal a LECTOR smoothly. Midpoint is that after Bond gets a consulate floor plans from Tatiana Romanova and steals a LECTOR from the Soviet consulate in Istanbul, Bond and Tatiana Romanova decide to escape with it by Oriental Express. This is a solution to the ACT1 and the first half of ACT2's conflicts. Grant helps Bond to kill other Bulgarian agent to ensure Bond receives the floor plans.

The last half of ACT2 is a conflict between Grant (Robert Shaw) and Bond in the Oriental Express. Grant kills both Soviet agent Benz and Ali to prevent rendezvous of Bond and Soviet. The aim is to get a LECTOR and stage Bond and Tatiana's scandalous deaths ultimately. A brief stop at the Belgrade station sets up the Station Y's agent Nash's death at Zagreb where Grant pretends to be Nash to get close with Bond. Then, Grant drugs Tatiana and assault Bond. At the end of ACT2, Bond is in the most dangerous situation and Grant reveals truths about a recruit of Tatiana and staging scandalous deaths of Bond and Tatiana. Bond tricks Grant into setting off the booby trap in the attache case and stabs him with a switch knife and strangles him with his own garrotte. They flee with Grant's getaway track.

ACT3 is a synthesis of ACT1 and ACT2. It starts from the execution of the failed Number 5, and Blofeld orders Klebb to acquire a LECTOR in order to sell it back to Soviet.

After escape from SPECTRE's helicopter attacks, Bond and Tatiana steal Grant's escape boat on the Dalmatian coast and deal with Morzeny's squadron of SPECTRE powerboats. Finally at Venice's hotel room, Klebb disguises as a maid and attacks Bond however Klebb is shot by Tatiana. Their mission accomplishes and Bond throws away Grant's blackmail sex film in the canal of Venice. Three Act Structure is perfectly and ideally applied in this film as mentioned above. Suspense and spy films are best examples for understanding this universal standard of cinematic story telling. It reveals that decision making is nature of plotting. In other words, expression of violence itself is not a ''plot,'' not an essential part of story telling. Plot is decision making. Story structure is made from decisions of main characters who engage in conflicts.

Technical Aspects

For film editing, Terence Young (1915-1995) dislikes master shots. He did not shoot any master shots for his films including this film. Terence Young followed John Ford (1895-1973). Moreover, Young intended to avoid close ups. As the result, there are a few close ups in his films. Minimal use of close ups is his one of signatures.

Terence Young used at most three cameras for shooting this film. Multi-Camera work is standard of the successful genre films. 007 is not a single camera work. Three cameras used to shoot the fight of Bond and Grant in the Oriental Express.

Their film is not completely based on story board but they shot another sequences did not exist in original scripts and story board. As the result, the film editor Peter Hunt (1925-2002)'s editorial role was decisive on the final film version.

The illness of Mexican actor Pedro Armendáriz did not drastically affect the entire film structure however the script itself had major flaw in EXPOSITION. Then Peter Hunt rearranged the narrative order of EXPOSITION and it was a really idealistic editorial job. It proved that a film editor must understand story telling and its standard of story structure to save the film. Here is the example. The original script order of EXPOSITION was 1) Klebb to SPECTRE Island; 2) Klebb recruits Tatiana; 3) Chess match; 4) Meeting at Blofeld's yacht. It was quite vague to understand the narrative as EXPOSITION.

Thus, the film editor Hunt rearranged it into 1) Chess Match; 2) Meeting at Blofeld's yacht; 3) Klebb to SPECTRE Island; 4) Klebb recruits Tatiana. It works as EXPOSITION. This is a film editor's idealistic job during filmmaking. Film editing is part of story telling.

Back / Rear projection was frequently used in 007 films of that era. It was useful when it was impossible to reestablish the same set, it only needs the same actor to reshoot at anywhere at the studio. Editing the sequence of Klebb at meeting in Blofeld's yacht later lacked her medium shot but there was no set at the time of editing. Thus Hunt suggested Young to do rear projection.

Akira Kurosawa (1910-1998) mentioned the difference between Japanese editing and Western editing. The main difference is pacing. Peter Hunt is a good example, his editing is good at quick pace in any way. For example, when Ali and Bond walks out from their office, Hunt directly cuts to a shot they walking down steps of Basilica Cistern. If this was a Japanese film, it would have shown many shots between them to connect different places. Hunt's action match cutting actually cut off unnecessary shots between the office and underground palace where ''no story'' occurred.

From Russia with Love (Dir. Terence Young;1963) is a perfect example of story telling and film editing. There is no doubt that this 007 film is the best of the bests among all James Bond films.

This film is highly recommended for all film students and 007 fans.

High Anxiety
(1977)

The Best of Mel Brooks! ( Score 10/10 ⭐)
Self Importance of Parody Film

High Anxiety (Dir. Mel Brooks; 1977) was and still is the best satirical comedy master piece ever. This film always referred as a homage and satire to Hitchcock films however it is quite independently satisfiable as a suspense comedy. On the contrary to what many mainstream media critics wrote about this film's lack of 'self importance,' Mel Brooks's highly successful film was praised by Hitchcock himself with complemental words and priceless wines (six magnums of 1961 Château Haut-Brion) .

"A small token of my pleasure, have no anxiety about this."
  • Alfred Hitchcock


His other satirical comedy master piece Young Frankenstein (1974) could not get this primary response from whom Mel Brooks paid a homage to due to the original film director James Whale's early death (1957). Mel Brooks is good at grabbing core essence of classical films he made parodies.

The successful satire and parody can revive and develop original films into more laughable and socially realistic comedy in the present filmmaking conditions. High Anxiety (Dir. Mel Brooks; 1977)'s social reality is fictionally represented by Nurse Charlotte Diesel (Cloris Leachman) who institutionalises wealthy people as 'madmen' to extort millions of dollars from their victims. Like Arthur Brisbane who is trapped by Nurse Charlotte Diesel and her fraud partner Dr. Charles Montague (Harvey Korman).

Story Structure

Mel Brooks cinematically maximised and criticised the really horrible fraud plot of ''milking patients'' at mental hospitals. This dramatically core conflict in this film is a serious social reality which perfectly expressed in this parodical way. This is his remarkable creative sense and entertaining talent. As the result, not only this film is the idealistic satirical comedy but also it is a serious social comment at the same time dialectically. Film is not about individualistic identity but it is for enlightenment, truth.

Some Hitchcock films are referred in this film, for instance, The 39 Steps (1935) , Rebecca (1940), Foreign Correspondent (1940), Suspicion (1941), Spellbound (1945), Notorious (1946), Under Capricorn (1949), Dial M for Murder (1954), Rear Window (1954), To Catch a Thief (1955), The Wrong Man (1956), North by Northwest (1959), Vertigo (1958), Psycho (1960), The Birds (1963), Frenzy (1972) and Family Plot (1976). Thus, it is not just a parody of Vertigo or Psycho at all.

These film features are just covers of this parody and fully reorganised into this independently meaningful comedy thriller. It does not like an ''imitation'' of Hitchcock films. Highly original approach to the social context with references to Hitchcock.

ACT 1 is that ''high anxiety''sufferer Dr. Richard Thorndyke (Mel Brooks)'s inauguration of being the director of the Psycho-Neurotic Institute for the Very, Very Nervous where antagonists Nurse Charlotte Diesel (Cloris Leachman) and Dr. Charles Montague (Harvey Korman) milk wealthy ''patients.''

Inciting incident is formed by two key incidents. One is when Dr. Montague takes Thorndyke to the shiny light's source which is originated from the room of ''patient Arthur Brisbane.'' Not obviously Brooks makes this shiny light a SOS sign from the real Arthur Brisbane but some edits also caused it so vague. It is better than being any implication of encountering of fake ''Arthur Brisbane.'' This editorial solution works so well. The other key incident is Dr. Philip Wentworth (Dick Van Patten)'s argue with Diesel and the resulted death by loud music. Dr. Philip Wentworth and hospital driver Brophy oppose what Diesel and Dr. Charles Montague are doing in the hospital. If Dr. Philip Wentworth is alive, Thorndyke won't go to San Fransisco conference which he dislikes. These incidents drive Dr. Richard Thorndyke to go to San Fransisco for his scientific presentation at the end of ACT1. Mysteries and suspense are created. This film's inciting incident is unique that it contains double blows.

ACT 2 really starts when Victoria Brisbane (Madeline Kahn) who is the daughter of Arthur Brisbane bursts into Thorndyke's room. The news paper conflict with Dennis (Barry Levinson) is mechanically filled the first half of ACT2 but this pure parody of Psycho is not actually a driving element of the entire story. The following bar scene is a musical insert however it reveals the real Brisbane's photo when Victoria drops her wallet accidentally, thus it is not an ordinary Three Act structure. Beside this, not all characters appear in ACT1. Such as Victoria Brisbane and the JAWS like assassin "Braces" (Rudy De Luca ).

Midpoint is when Thorndyke sees a real photo of her father Arthur Brisbane and realises the patient he met is a fake. This is a moment of truth. Point of no return. ACT2's main conflict is that "Braces" sets up Thorndyke by pretending to be him and shooting a man in the lobby of the hotel. The most intensified tension is how Thorndyke proves his own innocence. His driver Brophy's photos of the scene prove his alibi, then, Thorndyke who gets Victoria's help asks Brophy to enlarge the elevator on the photo where he is in at that moment of the shooting. Later Brophy's interrupted by the antagonists.

Then, Nurse Diesel and Montague order "Braces" to assassinate Thorndyke. The failure of the assassination leads protagonists to go back to the hospital to save Brophy and the real Arthur Brisbane. Brophy is caged at North Wing and informs protagonists whereabout of real Arthur Brisbane.

The mechanical and physical conflict with Dennis at hotel, the impersonation attempt of Thorndyke and the assassination attempt of Thorndyke by "Braces" are triple blows to the protagonist Thorndyke.

ACT3 is the north wing and tower sequence, in where Thorndyke solves his trauma with the help of Professor Lilloman and climbing up the tower's steep stairs bravely to save real Arthur Brisbane from the antagonists Norton, Diesel and Dr. Charles Montague. This film is not about self identification, it is about enlightenment, it is not only important for audience but also it is equally important for the protagonist himself. Lack of love of his parents, fear of not being loved by his own parents caused his high anxiety. The truth prevailed and the film story finished.

Film Editing

For some technical aspects, unprecedented creative solutions must be mentioned. Flash CUT at LAX is a more sophisticated solution than what Hitchcock did in The Birds (1963)'s explosion of gas station scene without any still camera. In which Melanie Daniels (Tippi Hedren)'s surprising responses to the bird attack are dealt with a series of still shots but this film deals with a series of Brophy's photos on Thorndyke taken at the airport. It is more natural and defamiliarises the image of Thorndyke. Photos within a film gives a character a fictional reality and dementions.

Editing techniques are diversified in this film. SMASH CUTs are remarkable and effective. When the gay man shows his body in the toilet scene, Mel Brooks quickly cuts to short close shot of the gay man's annoying medium shot then cuts back to the full shot. The action itself is disrupted but it creates visual impact that Thorndyke is supposed to have when he sees it. This is a typical editorial technic in Sergei Eisenstein (1898-1948)'s films. The other one is Dr. Charles Montague scares the patient with werewolf fangs during Thorndyke's mental check on the patient who supposed to be normal. One quick close up of Dr. Charles Montague inserts in to the middle of the scaring action, then cuts back to continue the action. It a disruption but it actually creates a visual impact.

Transitional edits are also unique and complicated. Stop motion plus fade out at the end of opening title credit, ''stop motion plus fade out and in'' after the conversation between Thorndyke and Professor Lilloman (Howard Morris) enhance visual rhythm and express anxiety. Red in/ out between the end of bar scene in where "Braces" notices Thorndyke finds the truth and Diesel and Dr. Charles Montague's discussion scene on the fate of Thorndyke. Focus in/ out are also used in this film, when Thorndyke wakes from flashbacks. Shape match cut between eyes of Diesel and the flash lights of the car in which Dr. Philip Wentworth gets killed by loud music. Transitional cuts are not just mechanical methods to connect shots but they themselves are creative expressions of psychology and meaning of the situation.

Sound Cut with orchestra symphony in the bus is a visually astonishing sound cut. It is one of creative innovations of this film. When Thorndyke hears about devastating situation of politics at the hospital from his driver, tension music starts and Thorndyke gets nervous, then cuts to the bus in which orchestra symphony plays the exactly the same music. It breaks the fictional barrier between music track and the cinema world itself.

Beautiful editing trick is fake Thorndyke taking off his mask. That is done by Mel Brooks's close up with action of taking off a mask, then continuously cuts to "Braces"'s medium shot with the continuous action. It is the best example of action mach cut. And it is creatively higher than any ordinary match cut. It has its narrative meaning not just a mechanical cut.

The funniest scene is the telephone box battle under the Golden Bridge of San Fransisco. "Braces" attacks Thorndyke when he calls Victoria, and their voices from the straggle wrongly misinterpreted by Victoria as a telephone sex spam, at the end Thorndyke is able to kill him with a shard of glass from the phone booth, the last breath of "Braces"reminds her a ''money shot'', thus she says: ''You are an animal!'' This line is the funniest one, and it is only funny in English. An English joke.

This is the best of the bests in parody, comedy films! Highly recommended!

Spider-Man: Far from Home
(2019)

The Best Spider Man Film Ever! ( Score 10/10 ⭐)
Rating 10/10 Peter Parker / Spider-Man's Here To Save The World again!! Surprisingly and excitingly entertaining. This movie is just amazing and the acting from everyone was great. Excellent acting performance especially by Tom Holland, Samuel L. Jackson, Cobie Smulders, J. B. Smoove and Jon Favreau!! Spider-Man: Far from Home(2019) is a strong proof that even during the crappy comic action times, there comes a film to surprise you. It definitely worth to watch !! As a big Marvel fan, I recommend you to see it at cinema!

Black Cat (Gatto nero)
(1981)

The Best Adaptation of Poe's The Black Cat ( Score 8/10 ⭐)
The Black Cat (1981)'s inciting incident is not the car accident. It is just an exposition. The inciting incident is when couple of young man Stan and his girlfriend Maureen Grayson (Daniela Doria) are asphyxiated in the boathouse. The story really develops when Lillian Gayson (Dagmar Lassander) calls the local police to investigate on their missing case.

End of Act 1 is the American photographer Jill Trevers (Mimsy Farmer) finds the the cat scratch on the dead body of local man named Ferguson (Bruno Corazzari) who scared to fall out of the beam in a barn house by the black cat. It reminds her encounter with rambling old house owner Robert Miles (Patrick Magee) who also scratched by the black cat when Jill visits him.

Robert Miles (Patrick Magee) is an owner of the black cat and paranoia who thinks possessed by the black cat. However audience is not allowed to judge the real antagonist between the owner and its cat. Curse of the black cat or Robert Miles' black magic caused everything? In fact, both are the antagonists. Decentralisation among protagonists and antagonists are main feature of this Fulci master piece. Conflict between antagonist Robert Miles and the black cat causes vagueness of responsibility on these murders. however this is alternative to ordinary narrative structure.

Beside this, Jill Trevers (Mimsy Farmer) and newly arrived Inspector Gorley (David Warbeck)'s protagonist roles are also decentralised and both of them are victimised by Robert Miles and black cat. There is no strong and superman-like protagonist in this film as the result, every protagonist shares their weakness and heroic actions.

In ACT2, Lillian Gayson (Dagmar Lassander) asks Miles to find Stan and his girlfriend Maureen Grayson by his psychic power. Later at night, the black cat causes fire at her home and Mrs. Grayson is dead.

Midpoint is the following day when Jill realises major suspect is Miles, she visits and shows him the photos of the cat scratches on victims. Miles clams he is possessed by the black cat. The rest of ACT2 is Miles kills the black cat, then the black cat tries to kill Inspector Gorley (David Warbeck). This is the most intensified moment in the entire film. It marks end of ACT2.

ACT 3 is after the incident of Inspector Gorley (David Warbeck), Jill sneaks into Miles' house and trapped and buried alive in the wall. Finally Inspector Gorley who guesses Jill's whereabouts finds her in the wall when he and his colleagues hear cry of the black cat in the wall.

The Black Cat (1981) actually has its three act structure but it highly depends on guess and supernatural devices. However it also shows audience some alternative narrative to the Poe's original novel and ordinary story telling custom.

Annabelle Comes Home
(2019)

Click Factory is working busy now ( Score 0/10 ⭐)
A SPOOKY HOUSE OR FILM?

Rating 0 /10. Annabelle franchise is a mess with jump scares and cheap tricks borrowed from horror master pieces in the past. James Wan's films are empty and mixture of horror devices that used in successful Western and Eastern horror films in the past. I could not tell what the story was during the screening. Won't regret if you don't see this stuff. Don't waste your money and time for this.

Only jump scares with noisy sound effects and cheap cliches used millions times in J horrors, no plot, no story. This is a spooky house rather than a film or drama. Nothing new, nothing creative. It fully depends on commercial promotions of main stream media and major distributions. Moreover, mixture of monsters without contexts is a chaos. In conclusion, it is a collection of jump scares against the three little girls not a story. The three girls are jump scared to death but still they want to stay in the house? There is no logical explanation for that.

IT'S A SPOOKY HOUSE WITH MAJOR FILM DISTRIBUTIONS. NOT A FILM.

Katok i skripka
(1961)

This student film is a master piece! All film students must see this Soviet film!
This student film is a master piece! All film students must see this Soviet film The Steamroller and the Violin (1960; Dir. Andrei Tarkovsky and written by Andrei Konchalovsky).

Two film masters cooperated to made their remarkable diploma film at VGIK where founded by Lev Vladimirovich Kuleshov under Lenin's film policy. Both Andrei Tarkovsky and Andrei Konchalovsky became successful directors in film history.

Of course, this film followed the Socialist Realism style. However, many advanced and innovative film technics were used. The most obvious one is "Person-wipe'' which later used in JAWS (1975). Dir. Andrei Tarkovsky created the person wipe for the first time in this film.

In the music school scene, the protagonist Sasha (Igor Fomchenko) plays the guitar, the teacher is in the wide shot, in which she walks across the frame and then the same action continues in the next tighter shot by slightly overlapping. This is what consciously and sophisticatedly used in JAWS (1975) later. Steven Spielberg saw this film. Student art film actually influenced the first blockbuster genre film.

Typical Eisenstein cutting solution is also used in this film. When Sasha stands next to the steamroller in a single shot, it cuts into wide two shot and Sasha is switched from foreground to background, and suddenly Sergey is in the foreground facing the steamroller. Akira Kurosawa in earlier films used this solution typically in Seven Samurai (1954). Quickly switching perspective and reposition of both foreground and background are typical features of Eisenstein cutting.

This film story is a simple and moody but actually a conflict driven story. The protagonist Sasha (Igor Fomchenko) and worker Sergey (Vladimir Zamansky) make friends and promise to see the socialist realism master piece film Chapaev (1934) together however a bad kid and Sasha's mother (Marina Adzhubei) are dramatic obstacles.

For cinematographic achievements, there are several aesthetically astonishing expressions. This is typically one camera operation and off screen actions and reframing are mainly used but not a long take dogmatic style. Moreover, it is very poetic, and Russian formalistic expression is memorable.

One is gradually enter into ''out of focus'' frame of a cup of water, and it is suddenly refocused when the teacher warned Sasha for concentration. This music class shot becomes the psychology of Sasha. Audience can see his psychological status visually. It is a typical example of Defamiliarization. On the other word, it is poetic.

The other one is when Sasha and Sergei watch a wrecking ball demolishing a decrepit building, revealing one of the Seven Sisters in the background. The POV of wrecking ball reminds us Dziga Vertov. Furthermore, the revelation of the Seven Sisters is also highly intellectual montage. It actually created the image of revolution by using the old building and the best architectural creation of Soviet. I think use of Christal filter at the split frame like mirror reflection sequence is not so meaningful. However, the dramatic technic of creating an imaginal action and imaginal time is astonishing.

Many people would refer to the use of water motif. The reflection of puddles is an imitation of Sergei Eisenstein's Strike (1925). It is not a new expression. Eisenstein already achieved its creation.

Its dramatic achievement above mentioned is about an apple which Sasha leaves on the chair in front of the music class room door. The girl looks at his apple, then after Sasha leaves the class room, camera reveals the rest of the apple. During this scene, camera switches their objective and subjective views by reframing. Finally, it visually implies that she ate it.

This student film, a shot film of 45 min. is a real Soviet film master piece. This film is a technical synthesis of SOVIET films before Andrei Tarkovsky. You must see if you are a film student. Highly recommended.

Child's Play
(2019)

Mark Hamill's Brilliant Acting! Best Horror Film of 2019! ( Score 10/10 ⭐)
Best film of the year !! Best horror film of 2019! Mark Hamill's acting in this movie is very effective. Best director by Lars Klevberg. Best acting by Mark Hamill and Aubrey Plaza!! To all of you go see it you won't regret it.

Child's Play franchise includes 7 films and TV series. Such as Child's Play 2 (1990), Child's Play 3 (1991), Bride of Chucky (1998), Seed of Chucky (2004), Curse of Chucky (2013) and Cult of Chucky(2017), followed by a television series titled Child's Play: The TV Series. The original film of 1988 which perfectly directed by Dir. Tom Holland. Tom Holland's very known by his both Fright Night film franchise (1988-2013) and this one. The upcoming reboot is basically the same story.

When review the reboot of the original, you must see the original one. The original film is one of 1980s' classical horror films and Tom Holland's best film. Thanks to the exclusive screening of the film.

Child's Play (1988) is a social comment about consumerism. Andy(Alex Vincent)'s mother Karen (Catherine Hicks) makes a grave mistake in this film's beginning. The Good Guy doll is promoted in front of Andy while he watches the television, then his mother has to buy it to please her beloved 6 year old kid. The problem is that she buys the stolen item from the peddler. This is a film's socially realistic aspect in the fictional terror story. This is an inciting incident of the entire film. Chucky the killer doll which possessed by the evil spirit of Charles can get into the family of Andy. Then, Andy will be targeted as a replacement body for Chucky to be human. This is the core conflict of the drama.

Detective Mike Norris (Chris Sarandon) shoots the rubbery Charles Lee Ray/Chucky at the beginning. After the shoot fight sequence, Charles uses the Voodoo magic to get into the doll. This is a film magic. And the villain was well created by the Brad Dourif who also played the Damian Karras/ James Venamun in the psycho-horror The Exorcist 3 (1990). Brad Dourif and Mark Hamill are similar type as actors. Their faces and characteristics are very close with each other. Mark Hamill 's also well known for his voice acting performances in Firelord Ozai in Avatar: The Last Airbender and Batman's nemesis, the Joker, in DC's animated movies and series. This casting is precise for the reboot.

The reboot of 1980s horror classics tend to over use of 'jump scares' ,' over use of CGI effects,' 'grotesque killing', 'hybrid of famous film monsters,' 'easy and rapid appearing of monsters and ghosts.' These flaws which are typical in James Wan factory products make films ''spooky house'' at some amusement park rather than ''film art.'' There is no reboot is free from these flaws. However the reboot of Child's Play (2019) successfully avoided the common dulness and disappointments.

Child's Play's Chucky is not hybrid of many monsters. It is only a possessed doll by evil. This simplicity is still effective and does not confuse audiences. Simplicity of the monster setting is typical and successful feature of the 1980s' horror classics.

Only one narrative flaw of both original and reboot is that the vagueness of the Good Guy doll's ability to speak. It is mechanic function or something unnatural? This point is vague at the living room scene when Chucky requests Andy to watch TV news. The entire style of creating suspense is the same with JAWs (1975) and the Friday The 13th.(1980) which called minimalist approach to the creation of the suspense. This is also praised by Christopher Lee when he referred it on Rosemary's Baby (1968). This minimalist tradition is the core spirit of the horror classics. If you do not follow the tradition, the reboot will be a spooky house.

However Tom Holland's direction is something hesitated at the begining of the home sequence. As if he hesitates between fully exposition of Chucky's unnatural behaviours and just functional actions of a mechanically spoken doll. This vagueness is the border line between reality and fictional reality. I think Tom Holland's approach is the maximum efforts that followed by the reboot.

This film is originally a whodunit. Whodunit is a kind of plot to find a killer during the story. This element is weakened in both the original and the reboot. In Act 1, after Maggie Peterson, Karen's friend and Andy's babysitter 's murder sequence and Chucky's revenge on the traitor, rubbery partner Eddie Caputo, Andy is suspected by police and put in the psychiatric hospital. This plot is something unpersuasive and the weakest plot point.

The mid point is when Karen finds the Chucky's super natural status and decides to burn Chucky in the furness. This plot is critically persuasive when she finds Chucky moves without butteries. The rest of the Act 2 is Chucky tries to kill Mike for revenge, and gets John "Dr. Death" Bishop, Chucky's former voodoo mentor to know about how to turn into living human body. The goal of the antagonist is also clearly set up by the plotting.

After that, audiences are hooked and just need to follow the Chucky and protagonists' battle for Andy. Act 3 is the final solution. Chucky wants to get into Andy's body. Mike and Karen try to protect Andy from the devil doll. Both the original and the reboot follow the three act structure.

Thus the reboot is necessary? The original film already achieved the perfect film construction in terms of story telling. The main feature of the reboot is Mark Hamill's Chucky.

Seth Grahame-Smith, one of the producers mentioned the Mark Hamill's efforts on creation of Chucky.

''Not only was he into it, he really started wanting to talk to us a lot about it from a standpoint of creating a character, and he wanted to do it as an acting challenge. And when we showed up the first day and the first recording session, he had watched all seven of the original movies, and he had sort of written a whole series of notes about his progression through the character, and development of voice. And then he showed us some of the voices he was developing. It was insane. He really jumped into it like a serious acting challenge. And we're still actually doing the last little records right around now, and I'm star-struck every time I'm in his presence. I can't believe that I'm in a recording booth with Mark Hamill. But that goes away really quickly when he starts to do the Chucky voice and match to picture. He becomes that character. And I think that like everything we're trying to do, there's a difference, right? You're not imitating Brad Dourif. That would be insane, and not respectful. I think cast-wise, voice-wise, we couldn't have done better in terms of the people that we attracted to the movie.'' - Seth Grahame-Smith

The reboot is for Mark Hamill's remarkable voice acting of Chucky. It is equally astonishing with Brad Dourif 's original Chucky. It will be the biggest hit block buster film of the year! I love it!

10 stars for both the original and the reboot!

Men in Black 3
(2012)

The Most Impressive MIB Film ( Score 10/10 ⭐)
Men in Black franchise includes 4 films, such as Men in Black (1997); Men in Black II (2002); Men in Black 3 (2012) and Men in Black: International (2019). This franchise was made from the popular Malibu/ Marvel comic series of the same title The Men in Black (1990-1991: author Lowell Cunningham).

MIB is a fictional intelligence agency which work is to save the earth from bad aliens covertly. It also works as a kind of police for alien residents who camouflaged in human bodies.

Men in Black: International (2019) is not only a UK branch story, but it is also about what happens after Men in Black 3 (2012) world. Thus it is a spin off, also it is a sequel in the same universe.

Before reviewing Men in Black: International (2019), audience must see Men in Black 3 (2012). The latter is the best of the bests in the US HQ trilogy because of the protagonist Agent J (Will Smith ) 's emotional relationship with Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones ) is impressively reestablished at the ending. That is a surprise!

Act 1 is Agent J's time travel to 1969 world to save Agent K from the alien fugitive Boris the Animal who killed Agent K by time traveling device. The inciting incident is disappearance of Agent K form 2012 world. Time traveling was a key feature of Men in Black 3 (2012). Act 1 ends when Agent J enters into 1969 era.

Act2 is Agent J's arrest by young Agent K (Josh Brolin) during a confrontation with the antagonist Boris. The corse of persuasion of Agent K into the cooperation and mutual trust is a dramatic conflict in this part. At the mid point, Agent K still is skeptical but partially trusts Agent J to find Griffin who owns the ArcNet which is a Boglodite killer device. Act 2 ends when 2012 Boris teams up with 1969 Boris to kill Agent K. It is the most intensified phase of the conflict. Besides this, Agent J, K and Griffin realise that they must attach the ArcNet to Apollo11 to save the earth from Boglodites.

Act 3 is a direct confrontation of both sides at Cape Canaveral. Agent K gets rid of Boris at the end. However the most important thing is that Agent J realises that his father is killed by 1969 Boris and Agent K then becomes his protector and future recruiter. Agent J's moment of truth is created via 2012 and 1969 confrontations with two Boris. What deeply impressing audiences is synthesis of Agent J, K relationship of 1969 and 2012. The 1969-2012 conflicts created and depicted their inner relationship and history cinematically.

This emotional engagement to the relationship between Agent J and K is why this film is so successful not only in box office, but also in creativity.

Men in Black: International
(2019)

True MIB Fans Love it! Absolutely Perfect MIB! ( Score 10/10 ⭐)
Absolute perfection, MIB!! Good acting performance to all the characters. Great CGI's. Truly epic & perfect ending to a long journey of MIB movie. Go see it you won't regret it !! Perfect MIB film!!

Men in Black franchise includes 4 films, such as Men in Black (1997); Men in Black II (2002); Men in Black 3 (2012) and Men in Black: International (2019). This franchise was made from the popular Malibu/ Marvel comic series of the same title The Men in Black (1990-1991: author Lowell Cunningham).

MIB is a fictional intelligence agency which work is to save the earth from bad aliens covertly. It also works as a kind of police for alien residents who camouflaged in human bodies.

Men in Black: International (2019) is more sexually and racially democratised due to the controversial protagonist Agent M (Tessa Thompson), a new MIB recruit assigned to the UK branch. Casting is attractive and diversified than the US HQ trilogy. Agent M is equal with Agent J in the previous films.

Agent H (Chris Hemsworth) is the Agent K's role in this new film. Chris Hemsworth 's acting is the most attractive when he plays a comical action character like Kevin in the Ghostbusters (2016). Agent H's characterisation is very close to Kevin. It is no doubt that Chris Hemsworth is the most talented male young actor in the present Hollywood film industry.

Men in Black: International (2019) is the best of the bests! Highly recommended!

Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives
(1986)

Underrated Classical Horror Film of 1980s ( Score 10/10 ⭐ )
Dir. Tom McLoughlin as a comedy director actually added the humorous essence to this best Jason film. It includes dialogues and actions even in the most intensified scenes. No laziness and rough construction of all fields of filmmaking in the 6th. installation of the Friday the 13th. franchise series (1980-2009; created by Victor Miller). It's the first time let Jason became a ''undead'' serial killer.

It is more persuasive than any other pseudo plot setting in this series as a fictional horror film.

It's quite slick in every fields and not depended on James Wan like jump scares and cheep hybrid of the past successful monsters. Unlike the original film (1980), this film is not about audiences waiting for the mysterious killer to appear at the end. The original film's structure is not twisted, it's straight forward that audiences seeing the serial murder of victims at Camp CrystalLake without a detective role. Waiting until it turns to the protagonist Alice (Adrienne King) to face the killer.

On the contrary, Friday the 13th. Part VI: Jason Lives (1986)'s story telling is more sophisticated than any other Jason films ever. It follows Classical Universal Monster movies and Hammer Horror Film traditions. It's very moody and creepy but it's also very beautifully created.

Act 1 is the protagonist Tommy Jarvis (Thom Mathews) confronts Sheriff Mike Garris (David Kagen) who doubts Tommy's testimony of Jason's resurrection. How Tommy persuading the authority is the real drama in this part. Inciting Incident is not Jason's resurrection. It's this conflict between human beings. It adds action movie elements to this film as car chase, physical fight and gun shooting. Sheriff Mike Garris's role creates dramatical diversification and inner tensions.

It ends when Sheriff Mike Carris escorts him to the end of his jurisdiction.

Act2 is a massacre at Camp Forest Green. After Sheriff Mike Carris finds victims' dead bodies, he indicates Tommy as the suspect behind the serial murder. Tommy gets help from Sheriff Mike Garris's daughter Megan Garris (Jennifer Cooke) to stop Jason.

Act 2 is about the uprising conflict and tension between Tommy and Sheriff Garris. This is the dramatic conflict of this film. Jason is emotionless, it is just a killing machine, a story device like zombies. Tommy's arrest after the failure to get back to Cristal Lake Camp is depicted through a car chase sequence.

The mid point is Tommy and Megan's escape from the jail by developing the ruse. This time with gasolines and a chain to drag Jason into the lake. Tommy's decision and preparation on how to get rid of Jason is the nature of the mid point. After that, tension among Jason, Sheriff Garris and Tommy, Megan only intensifies at Camp Forest Green.

Act 2 ends when all major characters arrive at the camp, Jason hears Megan's calling her dad, then Garris tries stopping Jason but gets killed brutally. The death of Garris and the highest danger of Megan mark the end of Act2.

ACT 3 is Tommy and Jason's direct confrontation in the lake. Trapping Jason as Tommy planned at the mid point. Megan is in grave danger, then Tommy calls him to after him instead of Megan. The ending is quite dialectical that it is not only a happy ending for both Tommy and Megan but also it is an open ending that Jason is still alive. It can say that a happy ending for both protagonists and antagonist.

The Scariest Scenes

The two scenes, murder of Sissy (Renée Jones) and Paula (Kerry Noonan) which perfectly follow the Christopher Lee's principle of horror filmmaking. Christopher Lee (1922-2015) refereed his favourite horror film Rosemary's Baby (1968) as a good example of creating a scary scene. It does not depend on splatter movie's gore expressions and digital era's jump scares, just an opened door, no CGIs, just an opened door which scarers audiences. Creating scary mood can not be done by showing monsters too easily and frequently.

Thus, Dir. Tom McLoughlin only shows us an opened window for Sissy's murder, and an opened door for Paula. When steadicam creeping toward the window from the back side of Sissy, it scares audiences.Paula's walking toward the opened door is also created in the same way. These long take shots are quite moody and effective for creating real horror scenes. It makes this film a classic. This is not a slasher film. It is rather than a classical horror film made in 1980s. I recommend this film for all horror film fans and filmmakers who want to know what true horror film is.

Chui lung II
(2019)

Antagonist is the Protagonist! This Film is for Logan! ( Score 08/10 ⭐ )
The first film Chasing the Dragon (2017) was about the mafia's big boss Crippled Ho (Donnie Yen) versus UK colonial government. Conflicts among criminals, corrupt officers and colonialist establishment are only chaotic reflection of that era (1963).

The story line is a mould among typical mafia action movies in Hong Kong that ''police sends a spy to mafia group for arresting them at the end.'' They love intelligence spy action / mafia drama that mainly depicted through upper class society members. Such as leading mafia groups, police and millionaires.

Its core spirit is twisted patriotism/ localism against UK colonialism however it's expressed by typical mafia crimes. Thus, it cannot exceed the framework of establishment. Crippled Ho 's patriotism is more focused in Hong Kong indigenous Chinese residents who bullied by White colonialists.

This sequel is also equivalent of the same stance but during the pre 1997 era when Hong Kong would return to China within a year. Chasing the Dragon II: Wild Wild Bunch (2019) is about serial billionaire kidnapper Logan (Tony Leung Ka-fai) versus the protagonist/ police spy Sky (Louis Koo) on Logan's abduction cases in which Logan abducts Hong Kong and Macau billionaires for ransoms.

Its creative success is mainly dependent on Tony Leung Ka-fai and Louis Koo's decent and charismatic acting as real Hong Kong stars. On the contrary, young actors of contemporary Hong Kong are less charismatic. Sooner or later, there won't be charismas in film actors. This ageing problem in star system is fatal. It'll be a seriously industrial crisis in the near future. STAR SYSTEM without STARS has been gradually noticed by its audiences.

Chasing the Dragon II: Wild Wild Bunch (2019) is mainly dedicated to Logan (Tony Leung Ka-fai) when we see the last sequence at the border between Macau and Mainland China. The most impressive stand-off scene is Logan confronts Kanton police on the highway. Hong Kong mafia boss confronts Mainland Chinese establishment.

What Dir.Jason Kwan and Jing Wong intended to depict for Hong Kong audiences via this film must be this scenery. Furthermore, it includes the Logan's execution scene at the final moment of the entire film.

The localist view point, politically local minded stance are embodied by Logan in this twisted way. It's not obviously Hong Kong opposition stance but it's very close to its pro independence attitude towards Mainland China. However it still cannot be defined as exactly the same ideology. It is more about pride of being Hong Kong indigenous people.

Sentimentalism of Hong Kong indigenous people in their colonial and post colonial history is the creative goal of the two Chasing the Dragon films. There is no scene impresses audiences emotionally in this hard boiled nihilist film but they can actually feel or sense creator/ Logan's respect for Hong Kong, strong local minded stance of the antagonist. It is what this film about.

Pride and localised political stance of Hong Kong indigenous people are highly respected in the twisted way. This is obviously a Hong Kong film. The regional tendency is strong.

Damien: Omen II
(1978)

THE OMEN of Failure
The Omen franchise had started from 1976 and continued until 2016. It made 5 films and 2 TV series totally. David Seltzer created the novel and wrote the screenplay for the first successful horror master piece. The Omen (1976) was and still is the most horrifying cinematic story and screenplay. The story telling itself is organic with its content and forms. A perfect example. Thus, it is a real classic, master piece of horror film and genre film in general. This article is for reevaluating the failure of the sequel.

Damien: Omen II (1978) is about good versus evil in Christian religious context. The main conflict is survival of the antichrist Damien (Jonathan Scott-Taylor) in the ruling class family the Thorns. Family members of Thorns and their relatives who find the true identity of Damien are eliminated one by one by raven, ghoulish accidents and curse of Damien himself.

In its story structure, this sequel does not accumulate the suspense like the first one. Audience get dull and boring about the ''ritually'' repeated murder scenes among archaeologist Carl Bugenhagen (Leo McKern), his friend Michael Morgan (Ian Hendry), industrialist/ protagoist Richard Thorn (William Holden)'s Marion (Sylvia Sidney), journalist Joan Hart (Elizabeth Shepherd), Thorn Industries' senior manager Bill Atherton (Lew Ayres), Dr. David Pasarian (Allan Arbus), a doctor (Meshach Taylor), Damien's cousin Mark (Lucas Donat) and curator of the Thorn Museum, Dr. Charles Warren (Nicholas Pryor). The first one is rising conflict structure but this one is horizontal imposition of serial murder plots without accumulation of suspense and inner relationships among them.

ACT1 is established by Bugenhagen sequence in Israel. ACT 2 is a buffet of ghoulish murder actions , and the mid point is when the protagonist Richard Thorn decides to go to New York for confirmation of Damien's real identity. In ACT 2, Richard insists to see the mural of Yigael's Wall and refuses listening to any warning from the sub characters. The military school and Thorn factory are less important that they are actually unnecessary. A critically important plot point to create the death of Thorn's child Mark is his eavesdropping on the secret conversation between Richard and Charles at Thorn house. It reveals the truth for him.

The most of ACT 2 is unnecessary and should be shortened. However lack of plot points is unsolved by editing itself if there are fatal script flaws. This film can only be improved more smoothly by cutting off many shots of military school and the factory matters.

After the critical point, the sequel gets momentum. Death of Mark, Richard sees the wall and decides to solve the antichrist Damien. This should be originally the course from mid point toward ACT3.

The sequel has its positive and surprising plot twists. One is the failure of Bugenhagen and Michael to follow Robert Thorn; the other one is Ann Thorn's ''sleeper'' role at the end. Both plot twists are intelligently created but they also decreased the suspense and sustainability of drama within the not uprising conflict structure of this film.

Damien: Omen II (1978) is a failure and inferior one however we can learn why the sequel is failed. The story structure itself is doomed for this result. The omen is the failure of Bugenhagen sequence. When we lose him at the begging of the film, the film itself is also out of momentum. Our expectation is not satisfied by this murder. It disconnected the first film visually.

Johnny English Strikes Again
(2018)

Mr. Bean Strikes Again
Johnny English Strikes Again (2018; Dir. David Kerr) is the third film of Johnny English franchise (2003; 2011; 2018). And it is the best of the bests among other two prequels as a parodical mixture of 007 James Bond MI6 spy action film franchise (1962-2020; total 25 films) and Bean comedy franchise (1997-2007; total 2films and cameo appearance in 1 film).

There two important features should be mentioned at least in this remarkable film. One is that in this film Russia spy is surprisingly not demonised like in the most of action / comedy films in the West.

The Russian spy Ophelia corroborates with Johnny English to deal with the mastermind hacker, an Internet cyber space industrial giant Jason who wants to dominate the world politics, economy and everything by forcing G12 countries to agree on authorisation of total management of national intelligence. (Use of Jason's server)

The other important feature is that this film shows the future tendency that world nations will be threatened by this 'Jason' like cyber space industrial giants' dominance and manipulation of its intelligence and internet-driven infrastructures. AI is additional threat to replace human world.

For solving this real terror from the private internet giants, this film sends Johnny English to save the world temporarily however in real politics, we need our governments to nationalise these cyber space giants in the near future before it looses control on them.

This film's politically insightful points above mentioned. 1) No Demonisation of Russians; 2) Future national security threat from cyber space industrial giants and their internet crimes.

This is a really well made comedy action in terms of insightful political view point, and it is the best among other two films.

Godzilla: King of the Monsters
(2019)

Visually Stunning & The Best Godzilla Film ( Score 10/10 ⭐ )
The creature design concept of Titan-like Godzilla is not only obvious in the sequel but also the previous film Godzilla (2014) already materialised the creative concept. This is the most complemental achievement of this Hollywood franchise.

"Primitive man saw these creatures, and you want to give them a presence that would make him drop to his knees and bow to this god...It can't just look like big dinosaurs. Jurassic Park has that covered. These have to be distinct. They have to be their own thing. They're Titans." - Dir.Michael Dougherty

About Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019), prescreening before officially announced release date is now Hong Kong audiences' advantage.

The good 'Titan' Godzilla fights other kinds of MUTOs (Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organism) like well known Godzilla characters Mothra, Rodan, King Ghidorah and original non Toho characters. The story line is simple enough for both children and adult.

Both Godzilla (2014) and Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019) are kind of pro wrestling entertainment of titanic MUTOs. The huge gap of dramatic importance of characters is also gigantic among all dinosaurs films in the past. The Godzillas are now main protagonists, and human characters can do a little to the story not play critically important roles to get rid of MUTOs. It is a job of Godzilla. Humans are observers or refugees from their titanic pro wrestling on the urban cities. The Hollywood trilogy of Godzilla is far better than any Japanese Godzilla films made in the past in terms of technology and storytelling. Making Hollywood remakes is seemed as advanced phase of filmmaking in Japan. It is quite wrong. Originally Japanese filmmakers must make high quality Godzilla films by themselves.

Child's Play
(1988)

The Best Horror Classic of 1980s
Child's Play (1988) is a social comment about consumerism. Andy(Alex Vincent)'s mother Karen (Catherine Hicks) makes a grave mistake in this film's beginning. The Good Guy doll is promoted in front of Andy while he watches the television, then his mother has to buy it to please her beloved 6 year old kid. The problem is that she buys the stolen item from the peddler. This is a film's socially realistic aspect in the fictional terror story. This is an inciting incident of the entire film. Chucky the killer doll which possessed by the evil spirit of Charles can get into the family of Andy. Then, Andy will be targeted as a replacement body for Chucky to be human. This is the core conflict of the drama.

Detective Mike Norris (Chris Sarandon) shoots the rubbery Charles Lee Ray/Chucky at the beginning. After the shoot fight sequence, Charles uses the Voodoo magic to get into the doll. This is a film magic. And the villain was well created by the Brad Dourif who also played the Damian Karras/ James Venamun in the psycho-horror The Exorcist 3 (1990).

Child's Play's Chucky is not hybrid of many monsters. It is only a possessed doll by evil. This simplicity is still effective and does not confuse audiences. Simplicity of the monster setting is typical and successful feature of the 1980s' horror classics. Only one narrative flaw of both original and reboot is that the vagueness of the Good Guy doll's ability to speak. It is mechanic function or something unnatural? This point is vague at the living room scene when Chucky requests Andy to watch TV news. The entire style of creating suspense is the same with JAWs (1975) and the Friday The 13th.(1980) which called minimalist approach to the creation of the suspense. This is also praised by Christopher Lee when he refers it on Rosemary's Baby (1968). This minimalist tradition is the core spirit of the horror classics. If you do not follow the tradition, the reboot will be a spooky house.

However Tom Holland's direction is something hesitated at the begining of the home sequence. As if he hesitates between fully exposition of Chucky's unnatural behaviours and just functional actions of a mechanically spoken doll. This vagueness is the border line between reality and fictional reality.

This film is originally a whodunit. Whodunit is a kind of plot to find a killer during the story. This element is weakened in both the original and the reboot. In Act 1, after Maggie Peterson, Karen's friend and Andy's babysitter 's murder sequence and Chucky's revenge on the traitor, rubbery partner Eddie Caputo, Andy is suspected by police and put in the psychiatric hospital. This plot is something unpersuasive and the weakest plot point.

The mid point is when Karen finds the Chucky's super natural status and decides to burn Chucky in the furness. This plot is critically persuasive when she finds Chucky moves without butteries. The Act 2 is Chucky tries to kill Mike for revenge, and gets John "Dr. Death" Bishop, Chucky's former voodoo mentor to know about how to turn into living human body. The goal of the antagonist is also clearly set up by the plotting.

After that, audiences are hooked and just need to follow the Chucky and protagonists battle for Andy. Act 3 is the final solution. Chucky wants to get into Andy's body. Mike and Karen try to protect Andy from the devil doll. Both the original and the reboot follow the three act structure.

Avengers: Endgame
(2019)

Thanos is the Ultimate Antagonist in Film History
Marvel fans in Hong Kong almost booked many seats before this week's theatrical release of Avengers: Endgame (2019) which series made the biggest box office hit in the history of Hong Kong film since 1897 (some archive source referred 1896 which same with Japan). The recent local box record was US$20,585,253. In fact, its franchise film box office records exceeded the box office giant Avator (2009) due to top 2 films ranked on the list.

''After half of all life in the universe was killed due to the actions of Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War, the remaining Avengers and their allies must reassemble to revert those actions in one last stand.''

In fictional story tales, the good always win over the evil. And the justice side is the winner. However this Marvel franchise untraditionally broke the general principle of narrative stories successfully in 2018 with Avengers: Infinity War (2018). That was a surprise when we saw Thanos turns Marvel heroes into dust in the infinity war.

Hitchcock said that the stronger the antagonist is, the more engaging the audience in the film.

He believed that his antagonists should be attractive and complex in order to awaken curiosity. The more flaws and insecurities a villain has, more the spectator will recognize his humanity and, as humans themselves, be aware of how malevolent he can be. This will incite vulnerability in the viewer, who usually has ambiguous impressions of these villains.

However Thanos is too strong like multi corporation billionaires, C.E.O.s who earn 312 times more money of average workers.

CEOs for the 350 largest US companies earned an average pay of $18.9 million in 2017, a sharp 17 percent increase from the previous year, according to a new study by the left leaning Economic Policy Institute. These estimates include salaries, bonuses, restricted stock grants, cashed-in company stock, and other forms of compensation for chief executives at those firms. Meanwhile, wages for the average US worker grew a paltry 0.2 percent during that time.

The growing power gap among Thanos and Marvel heroes are cinematic equivalence of growing gap of inequality among CEOs and average workers. This is why we feel some kind of reality and apocalyptic atmosphere in this film. Supremacy of individual power is at the maximum level in this film.

Thanos is the representative of all antagonists. We can say that the true protagonist is the antagonist who is more powerful than the protagonist. Thus, the antagonist becomes the protagonist in this film. It is dialectically new and meaningful.

Thanos is the ultimate antagonist in film history.

Hotel Mumbai
(2018)

Terrorist or CIA Agent? Yes both!
This Australian-Indian-US coproduction film HOTEL MUMBAI (2019) cinematically depicts the 2008 Mumbai Terrorist Attacks and inspired by the Indian docudrama action thriller The Attacks of 26/11 (2013; Dir.Ram Gopal Varma).

In general, the entire production quality is higher than any Hong Kong action thrillers today in spite of its slow pacing that caused by overly conscious effort to add some official narrative of US and five eyes mainstream media to this terrorist film.

First, the terrorists of the coordinated attacks in Mumbai are played by unknown actors who are not kung fu stars. Instead, the antagonists are more real than any kung fu stars. Typage is successful in cast.

Second, the main issue of this kind of terrorist film after the insider job 911 is that the terrorists are terminator-like robots which seemed as emotionless killing machines. This is what main stream media depict ''terrorist villains'' in WAR ON TERRORISM ''a terror fraud.''

The most important scene is when one of hostages Muslim Iranian-British heiress Zahra (Nazanin Boniadi) recites the Muslim player, the paid terrorist, Islam extremist Imran (Amandeep Singh) resists the executing order from the unknown employer via phone. This is an exaggerated anti muslim bias that expressed by the filmmakers on the ''anti terrorist'' propaganda effort. Paid terrorists are not religious saints. They are just doing the job as ''terrorist roles'' in the terror fraud which ordered by mysterious employers in religious covers.

It proves that this film's positioning on the interpretation of the incident is still a bit unstable, and its hesitation resulted in this mixture of different explanations about the back ground of the terror attacks.

Although Zahra plot line is unnecessary and slowing the pace, it still embodies the core of this film.

The official narrative is that evil Muslim terrorists ordered from Afghanistan or Iran or Iraq massacred the Indians in Mumbai and occupied the hotel to get hostages for money. The fictional narrative of this film basically followed the official line however the identity of the employer of the terrorists is vague. This vagueness is the most important point and difference from the official narrative. However, this vagueness does not serve revealing the entire background context which completely out of this film's storytelling.

The truth is that these paid terrorists are double agents of CIA who conducted the terror fraud in India to threat India and demonise oppositions of US imperialism, such as great muslim countries, Iran, Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan at the same time. The true narrative of this Mumbai attacks is far from the official narrative and fictional reality of this film.

The most trusted media of Russia RT already published the amazingly profound analysis on this issue in 2009.

US citizen David Headley, who was arrested in connection with last year's Mumbai terrorist attacks, may have been a double agent for the CIA at the time of the incident, according to US journalists.

More than 160 people were killed in the financial hub of Mumbai in three days of attacks by a group of 10 gunmen, beginning on November 26, 2008.

Headley had allegedly helped plan the attack by conducting reconnaissance missions in Mumbai.

More than two months after Pakistani-American jihadist David Headley was held in Chicago, India's intelligence services are divided on whether they were told the whole truth about the Lashkar-e-Taiba clandestine agent's operations. Many in the intelligence services even suspect that the United States is less than committed to letting the whole truth be known.

Public debate has focused on claims that Headley-who served as a Drug Enforcement Administration informant after being arrested with two kg of heroin in 1988-may have been planted by US covert services inside Lashkar after his release in 2002.

"If this David Headley was working for the CIA all along, which is a very plausible conclusion," says writer and journalist Webster Tarpley, "It means that the CIA implicated and was running and masterminding the Mumbai terror attack of 2008."

Thus, the employer of Imran must be CIA. In reality, the 2008 Mumbai Terrorist Attacks were CIA's terror fraud job like other US-Israel-NATO backed IS terrorist attacks world wide. Anyway this film is really a good action thriller despite its political centralist vagueness.

Godzilla
(2014)

Godly Presence of the Legendary Atomic Monster of Japan
Godzilla (2014) is a mediocre film that the filmmakers did not give the persuasive plot for why Godzilla appears and helps people from the Mantis-like MUTO which is quite familiar design among US sci-fi films. There is only one line of Dr. Ishiro Serizawa (Ken Watanabe)'s explanation for the cause that 'It's natural order.' It explained everything in the fictional reality world.

More over it is a pro USFJ film that the multinational nuclear plant corporate stationed worker Joe Brody (Bryan Cranston)'s son, USFJ soldier, protagonist Ford Brody (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) successfully revenges MUTO which kills his parent in Japan by detonating its nest. And other sub characters including Dr. Ishiro Serizawa (Ken Watanabe) are one of observers of the battle between Godzilla and MUTO.

Beside the major plot flaw, the film's major success is that the filmmakers correctly avoid the lack of godly appearance / presence of the legendary atomic monster. If it is just a giant dinosaurs like Jurassic Park (1993), it is quite meaningless.

Godzilla is supposed be the Shintou the Japanese religion's god thus it should have the unimaginable power. The Western concept of Titan is harmonious with the Shintou concept of the Gods. The US filmmakers approach to the Godzilla in Godzilla (2014) and and other two Hollywood films are appropriate in terms of the Japanese culture. Moreover it is an issue of Defamiliarization of previous giant dinosaur films they have to overcome.

So called Defamiliarization or ostranenie is the artistic technique of presenting to audiences common things in an unfamiliar or strange way in order to enhance perception of the familiar.

The creature design concept of Titan-like Godzilla is not only obvious in the sequel but also the previous film Godzilla (2014) already materialised the creative concept. This is the most complemental achievement of this Hollywood franchise. "Primitive man saw these creatures, and you want to give them a presence that would make him drop to his knees and bow to this god...It can't just look like big dinosaurs. Jurassic Park has that covered. These have to be distinct. They have to be their own thing. They're Titans." - Dir.Michael Dougherty

The Curse of La Llorona
(2019)

Welcome to Conjuring Empire!
The Conjuring Universe consumes successful horror film icons and devices, such as demons, possessed dolls, exorcists, evil dead, zombies, anti vampire tools, Kurt Barlow-like makeup in the Salem's Lot, The Amityville Horror and now James Wan consciously consumes local monster tales, ghost stories of the world as part of his own Conjuring Universe.

The Mexican folklore is not an exception from his ambitious imperialist list for Conjuring Universe. Delocalisation in the blockbuster film project which depicts the local legend is a serious issue aesthetically.

La llorona is said to be the wandering spirit of a woman who murdered her children after her lover betrayed her by marrying another woman. Spurned by St. Peter until she could bring the souls of her children with her to the Gate of Heaven, she roams the earth, crying, "¡Ay, mis hijos, mis hijos!" Her appearance is said to be a sign of impending disaster or death.

This La llorona film is not the first one in film history. The first one was La llorona (1933; 73min.) which made when Mexico film industry started the sound film making during the golden era. You can see full movie from Youtube.

The Curse of La Llorona (2019) is nether a spin off nor reboot of this tale. La Llorona is just the Nun in this Conjuring packaged film to scare people as a spooky house device. However it follows basic plot of the tale formalistically that La Llorona seeks other families' children to be sacrificed for her own victims, her two children. The official story of this film is below:

"When Anna Garcia (Linda Cardellini), a social worker and widow raising her two children in 1970s Los Angeles, is called to check in on one of her cases, she finds signs of foul play. As she digs deeper, she finds striking similarities between the case and the terrifying supernatural occurrences haunting her family. Enlisting the help of a local faith healer, she discovers that La Llorona has latched herself onto Anna and will stop at nothing to take her children. La Llorona, also known as the Weeping Woman, is a female ghost in Latin American folklore who lost her children and causes misfortune to those nearby. As she searches for them, she takes other lost children, making them her own. Anna turns to mysticism with the help of a disillusioned priest to fight the evil entity."
  • Warner Bros. Pictures and New Line Cinema


In short, the entire plot is that a social worker Anna Garcia 's children become targets of La Llorona after she mistakenly interrupted exorcism of Patricia Alvarez (Patricia Velasquez) which done for protecting Patricia's own children. The twisting plot is strikingly remarkable that Patricia Alvarez turns against Anna and asks La Llorona to get her children for revenge. It is psychological aspect of this La Llorona film.On the contrary, La Llorona itself is emotionless and mechanical, as the result, there is no emotional interaction with any roles in this film.

What other critics mentioned is high dependencies on jump scares; Kurt Barlow-like make up of La Llorona (The Nun is the same); lack of further in-depth approach to the interesting creepy story; anti vampire tools (cross, bible and holy water) for dealing with the monster; the creative tendency to create cinematic spooky house attraction etc..

There is one thing has to be mentioned is the unique character of the ex-priest, La Llorona hunter Rafael Olvera (Raymond Cruz). He makes Anna and her two children as baits to attract La Llorona for creating a chance to get rid of the evil ghost once and for all. His passiveness during the crisis of Anna's family is something new in this kind of exorcist film.

In general, audiences who want to enjoy spooky house attraction must see this film. However, horror fans who seeks in depth psychological horror drama based on the unique Latin American folklore should see the La Llorona (1933). The Curse of La Llorona (2019) should have explored the psychological aspect of La Llorona instead of creating a spooky house.

Lun lok yan
(2018)

Domestic Helper's Hong Kong Dream
First Feature Film Initiative

Hong Kong government got started filmmaking subsidies like Taiwan due to decades of stagnation since 1993. It's the first democratic film financial program in the Hong Kong film history(1897-). In the past, there was no such governmental fund like First Feature Film Initiative before 2013. This subsidy program is more advanced than any Taiwan film subsidies that it correctly prevents usurpation, domination and privatisation of state subsidies by a certain small interest groups.

The aim of the FFFI is to support new directors and their film production teams to make their first feature films on a commercial basis in order to nurture talents for the film industry.

It funds at most three films per year in two categories like professional teams and students. As the result, the 3 major Hong Kong film schools (Hong Kong Baptist University; Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts and City University of Hong Kong) themselves still have no filmmaking subsidies however any students can make their first commercial feature films by this subsidy. This drama genre film was made by this policy. And it is the most successful student made commercial feature film in Hong Kong. The budget is 5 millions for students and 8 millions for professionals in 2018.

Other domestic film financing resorce, The Film Development Fund (FDF) also funds professionals but not students with state subsidies since 2008. These state subsidies are for local productions not for coproductions with Mainland China basically.

On the contrary, Japan's top film school TUA (Tokyo University of the Arts) had ceased their first commercial feature film program for students in 2015. That was a leading film school policy which actually worked in Japan for the first time in Asia during 2007 to 2015 even US did not have such a program. And HK students now actually enjoy the similar financial support and cooperations with film industry.

The main aim is to let students and professionals firmly establish their own production teams for future independent projects. That is critically important especially for students.

Foreign Domestic Helpers in Hong Kong

5% of Hong Kong population; 99% of them are females; the total amount in recent years is about 400,000 including the two major ethnicities such as Indonesians and Philippines. They have no rights to live outside of employers' residents as resident workers for cleaning, bringing stuff, cocking, taking care of children, disabled and aged members, and doing what ever host families require them to do.

They can only have statutory holiday that is generally only Sunday. And there is no much freedom. Parks and streets are full of them in their holiday due to gatherings and sending purchased goods to their home countries. The weakness is not only law regulations and Hong Kong Chinese people's racist bias against them, but also it is language Cantonese.

The film's protagonist Evelyn Santos (Crisel Consunji) also suffers typical cultural barriers such as deception and bullying by market petty capitalists on daily purchase for their cocking. Dir.Oliver Siu Kuen Chan maturely depicted the typical situations in which the most of foreign house helpers suffer in Hong Kong everyday. We can grab it in short word ''denial of human rights.'' Their social lives and activities are completely divided in this city visually even in their houses. Chats in carbon sheets, closed doors, obvious social separations of both Chinese and them etc....they only together with them when they work for the host families. However, this film cannot create Spartacus of poor foreign domestic home helpers for them. Instead, Dir.Oliver Siu Kuen Chan pursues capitalistic individualist dream as their social solutions.

Spartacus of Poor Foreign Domestic Home Helpers?

The disabled construction worker, protagonist Cheong-Wing Leung was well created by Anthony Chau-Sang Wong 's brilliant acting. You can see realistic approach and generalisation of the social situation is highly embodied in characters. It should be aesthetically complimented. This film's production value is undoubtable that it is the best technical achievement among all current Hong Kong films including co-productions with Mainland China yet it does not exceed capitalistic individualist dream that it still sees ''turning into the opposite social class'' as an individual solution in society.

In this film, Evelyn Santos who seeks photography job just follows the legendary house helper who married to rich bank manager and became a capitalist who hires other house helper. Capitalistic individualism for themselves is not for others in its nature. It won't make them Spartacus of poor foreign house helpers. Evelyn Santos first turns down offers but finally accepts studying abroad to France after the award winning and Cheong-Wing Leung 's arrange. Her individualism wins and reveals at the last sequence. Moreover it is not persuasive if she loves him so much.

''Turning into the opposite social class'' is a suggested solution in this film as Hong Kong/ China/ American Dream.

Thus, there still is certain necessity to create Spartacus of foreign house helpers who bravely tries to liberate the entire social class as their comrade. Of course, this must cross the redline to make films for the oppressed class. They should know that true hero, true protagonist is who tries to liberate the oppressed class not just save him/herself by becoming oppressors.

Pet Sematary
(2019)

It Should be Buried in the Pet Sematary
"Sometimes remade is better?" It is a tagline of this film promotion. On the contrary, this film is turned out to be unsuccessful even in the ''Eastern Hollywood'' Hong Kong. It only hit international box office record of ten million dollars out of the production cost twenty million dollars in both US and Canada.

Pet Cemetery (1989) was an alternative to Romero zombie films and pretty successful in terms of box office record. It is a psychological zombie drama when a tragic family who lost their child and a pet finds a magical burial ground where buried dead bodies reanimated according to the fictional Micmac Indian tale.

Pet Semetery (2019) should be forced on psychological aspect of the main characters. The family including the doctor/protagonist Louis Creed (Jason Clarke), his wife Rachel Creed (Amy Seimetz), his daughter Ellie Creed (Jeté Laurence) and his son Gage Creed (Hugo Lavoie).

Major problems of this film

First, this film's ridiculous even in the dead movies. It's scaring effect is heavily depended on jump scares that endlessly overused in SAW series (2004-2017) and Ju-On series (1998-2020) in the past. It is a mechanical method to scare people with jump cuts and heavy sound effects.

As Christopher Lee pointed out that creating horrific atmosphere with imprecations is the best way of horror film's artistic practice. In this film, the killer dump truck rapidly move into frame with heavy horn noises, Rachel Creed's sister Zelda Goldman's evil ghost suddenly appears in the food carrying path in the house.

Second, it is too easy to summon the ghosts in the film. As if ghost is an ordinary existence in the film's everyday life. This mistake is also done in the remade version of IT (2017). For example, Victor Pascow is mutilated by a car accident and the doctor Louis Creed failed to save him, then the ghost of Victor Pascow appears just after his death in front of him. It's too easy to show ghosts in the film. The biggest flaw in the film is that illogical involvements of Victor Pascow's ghost, the evil spirit of Zelda Goldman and the neighbour Jud Crandall (John Lithgow)'s deceased wife Norma Crandall (Suzy Stingl).

Especially Jud Crandall and Victor Pascow guiding Louis Creed to the Indian burial ground is self contradicted that they should not have informed the protagonist the existence of the cursed burial ground that animates dead to get the living.

''The Ocean is dying... the plankton is dying...the Pet Cemetery zombie is made out of the people.''

Highly not recommended.

'P' fung bou
(2019)

P for Prison
This is the 4th.film of the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) action thriller series which starring the best Hong Kong actor Louis Koo as the chief inspector William Luk of ICAC, the protagonist. And this is also a typical coproduction between Hong Kong and Mainland China. Coproduction with Mainland China is 50% of annual Hong Kong filmmaking.

Many opposition critics demonise Mainland and Hong Kong Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA) for stagnation of Hong Kong film industry (visual industry) which legally includes films, TV, videos, commercial films, music videos etc. However the stagnation has started before CEPA (2003) in 1993. It's ten years earlier than CEPA. The number of annually production of Hong Kong film has been maintained below 60 titles per year since then. 2018 was 53 titles for 55 theatres. The half of them were coproduction with Mainland China. Moreover the biggest box office hit ($4,328,060; ranked #14) of 2018 was made by the coproduction film Project Gutenberg (2018). Thus, we cannot deny this economic advantage of the present Hong Kong filmmaking under the stagnation and CEPA. Chinese money and state subsidies are major resources for both local production and coproduction. You have to know that the situation of Hong Kong film production is still better than Taiwan and Macao in terms of quality and quantity.

Among Z Storm (2014); S Storm (2016); L Storm (2018), P Storm (2019) is the unique one. CEPA's ''James Bond'', William Luk investigates prison inmate Cao Yuenyuen (Raymond Lam Fung) who is a land shark mafia arrested due to murder of new territories' land owner Natalie's grandfather Liao Mu-zhi (Lo Hoi Pang). The antagonist Cao Yuenyuen tries to revenge Natalie for his arrest from prison with helps of corrupt prison officers such as the prison chief Chen Guoqiang (Patrick Tam Yiu Man).

The protagonist William Luk launches the one man spy operation in the prison to collect evidences of the suspected corruption between the prison officers and the land shark mafia Cao Yuenyuen. The action line with Wong Man-bun (Lam Ka-tung) who was a corrupt policeman William Luk arrested back in Z Storm (2014) is something additional to the main conflict. Mainland prosecutors are also additional. The filmmakers spent too many time with Wong Man-bun line which slowed the pacing of the development of the main conflict. It is not obvious that how helpful Wong Man-bun is for the investigation.

What ICAC 007 lacks is that love story line with 'Bond' girl. No ICAC officers develop love tales in this film. It is different from the failed ICAC franchise Integrity (2019). However its film style is full of quick cuts like James Bond film series. William Luk is not a kung fu master like Sammo Hung. His action cannot last longer in stylistic way. Temporary and improvised actions are his appropriate action style as non kung fu master. As the result, it's pretty limited in random violence actions like Kitano Takeshi's howling yakuza films yet this film's violent action sequences are more vividly dealt by Hong Kong action choreographer. There is no major inferiority to any contemporary Asian action films.

Besides these, the screenplay is something problematic in two major plot points. It's ridiculous that the chief officer William Luk does the one man operation in prison as an inmate. This plot is approbate in feudalistic era when a loyal family member pretends to be a drifter to monitor local land lords' ruling of people in his kingdom. Such as Japanese TV drama series Mito Komon (1969-2011). The catharsis moment should have been when William Luk discloses his true identity but it does not work in this way. The setting is more exaggerated than feudalistic drama of this kind, thus it doesn't fit this kind of feudalistic plotting.

The other major problematic plotting is that Wong Man-bun does not inform Cao Yuenyuen true identity of his main enemy William Luk for revenge when he arrives at prison. This is impossible for being a vengeful antagonist to William Luk. These major plotting flaws decreased the attractiveness and momentom of this film however it still has the attractive sub character A Luk (Louis Cheung Kai Chung) who is a typical young citizen of the contemporary Hong Kong who thinks the bright future of young generation is to become an inmate. A Luk is a comical character and a cynicist who is a cinematic equivalent of a factory worker (Charles Chaplin) in The Modern Times (1936).

Maybe cinematic comparison with Project A (1983) is effective for explaining seriousness of P Storm (2019). The pirates hunter Sergeant Dragon Ma Yue Lung (Jackie Chan) is William Luk in this film. And Pirate Chief Lor Sam Pau (Dick Wei) is Cao Yuenyuen. Suspense atmosphere is created in the fear of true identity of protagonist being exposed by some accident or antagonist's interrogation. Both of them has this atmosphere however the P Storm (2019) is more realistic and deeper than violence expression of Project A. Such as torture of A Luk by thugs that shown to William Luk via SNS live. On the contrary, this kind of dramatic torture scene does not exist in Project A.

That emotional reaction of William Luk who keeps his smile in front of the thugs during the torturing of A Luk to cover his identity is this film's very cinematic moment. I can say that vomiting after the torturing moment is successfully performed in realistic way and very emotionally engaging audiences. Everything prepared for this emotional response which highly embodies William Luk's ethical values and humanity. It's psychologically and aesthetically cinematic experience. I recommend this film to all Hong Kong film fans despite of some major plotting flaws mentioned above.

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