sirkevinho1

IMDb member since September 2005
    Lifetime Total
    10+
    IMDb Member
    15 years

Reviews

Kunsten å tenke negativt
(2006)

Very recommended.
Very few movies are made about disabled people. It seems to be a taboo area that few filmmakers are willing to venture into, as they do not want to make a tearjerker propaganda film that manipulates people's feelings or appear to be too insensitive about the issue. This film does neither; instead, through realistic characters, it takes the honest approach and allows the audiences to examine the characters and understand how they feel without the filmmakers help. Thus, it makes the film enticing and provocative.

The film examines the different degrees and dimensions of both physical and emotional disability and how it affects those around them. It shows how some people are down on themselves and refuse to improve or become worst than they are. It shows how those disabled can increase pressure and frustration on those closest to them, and vice-versa, how those closest to them can cause them pain and suffering, even if they had the best of intentions. Finally, it shows that acceptance, both the disabled and those around them, is a process. It takes time and patience; if one does not have the patience, it is better off if that person leaves.

One thing to take away from this film, as it offers a great lesson: there must be a balance between positive and negative thinking. Being too positive and smiling all the time might not be such a good tactic in life. Just look at Marte. She tries to be positive in order to protect her partner's feelings; instead, he feels very guilty and does not appreciate her efforts. However, at the same time, being too negative will only sent one into depression, as Lillemor demonstrates. She is rather healthy, but because she is so down on herself, she thinks she is no better than the disabled people she associates with. Therefore, in the end, one must be both positive and negative. This way, a person would be able to examine the reality of the situation and have the courage to move forward.

8/10

Bang bang wo ai shen
(2007)

Pointless film.
If one has seen films made by Tsai Ming-Liang, one would recognize Lee Kang Sheng, the actor and director of Help Me Eros, as he is the main character in all his films. Thus, it is no surprise that Help Me Eros feels like an extension of Tsai's films, as it mimics his style and atmosphere. Sadly, Lee Kang Sheng has not learned his mentor's directing touch. As a result, his work becomes a muddling piece of junk and I consider it a complete failure.

In Help Me Eros, the film opens with a memorable opening scene, similar to Tsai's films, and appears to head in a promising direction. However, by the end of the film, the film bored me to death, as I struggle to finish the film, and I ask the question: Is this an art film, or a soft-core porn film? Even though its style is reminiscent of an art film, the director is unable to convey a message to the audience. At the same time, although the explicit sex scenes definitely belongs to the porn film category, they do not go far enough. Instead, they become out-of-place and unnecessary. Help Me Eros, in the end, is a hybrid soft-core porn and art film. Sadly, the result fails to deliver the mystique of either an art film or the "satisfaction" and "fulfillment" one get from a porn film. It is just a messy piece of work.

There is absolutely no point to this film. Don't bother with this film. Check out Tsai Ming-Liang's films instead.

Dan in Real Life
(2007)

"Mini-masterpiece"...Yes, it's not an exaggeration.
I was not expecting much from the film when I first rented it; I thought it was just something to past my time with. After seeing it, I am very pleasantly surprised by how smart it is. To a certain extent, it is a "min-masterpiece".

Of course, this film will not make anyone's "Best Films of the Century" list. Yet, when you watch the film, it demonstrated the basic element of all the best films: "Show, not tell". It is apparent from the very first scene, as we see Dan, played by Steve Carell, pet the empty side of the bed and look longingly at it. Then he turns around, sighs, and goes to the home office to read letters asking for help. The camera then shows his column in a newspaper. Without a single explanation by anybody, one knows everything about Dan: he lost his wife, he misses his wife, and he is a self-help columnist for a local newspaper. So much information is shown in less than a minute. That, my friends, is film-making at its finest. Watch out for the director. He will be a good one.

Carell and Binoche is one of the smartest pairing in recent memories. Who would have thought this unlikely pairing (a funnyman and one of the most elegant leading ladies) would have such perfect and believable chemistry? I never liked Carell before, but this film shows he is quite a capable actor.

Of course, the thing that keeps it from being a "masterpiece" is that there is nothing that can be remembered about this film. It is part of pop-culture, a fad. There is no iconic scene or a life-altering message within the film. Although it touches on subjects such as love and parenting, there are no new revelations on these subjects and there are no new lessons to be learned. Instead, this is just a lighthearted fun film, as it pokes fun of the notion that newspaper self-help columnist might not be able to solve his own problems.

Thus, even if this film is very smart, from the casting to the directing, and it displays very good film-making skills, it is not a "masterpiece" because it lacks something that people will remember this film for.

7.5/10

Metro ni notte
(2006)

Very weird film...Bad script...Not worth the time.
Time Travel is always an interesting subject, as people are always fascinated by it, and the possibilities are endless. However, at the same time, the concept had been explored many, many times and a lot of films are made based on this concept, such as 12 Monkeys, The Butterfly Effect, The Jacket, 13 Going on 30, Big, the Time Machine, Back to the Future Trilogy, etc. Thus, one has to be careful when one decides to explore Time Travel. If executed incorrectly by either the director or the screenwriter or both, it can feel tiring, unoriginal and trivial, and the audience would not accept such a impossible idea. This film, sadly, falls into the latter category, where both the screenwriter and the director misused the idea, and as a result, it became a messy piece of trash.

The basic format is good, as a son estranged from his father, through some strange miracle, was able to travel back in time via the metro system, learn more about himself, his father and his family, become able to forgive his father, and in turn, become a better man. There is potential for it to be a heartwarming story that the audience will love and take something away from it. However, because of its execution and a couple of glaring mistakes, it became messy and the film jumped all over the place.

First of all, it was never explained why the main character was able to time travel. It seemed all of a sudden, he traveled back in time. He did not have a goal, and because of that, the film did not have a goal and became very unorganized.

Secondly, the time travel was very inconsistent. Sometimes it felt as the world he entered into knew of his existence, while other times the world did not see or even remember him. Thus, this inconsistency contributed to the messiness of the film.

The third and final problem happens in the subplot, as the woman the main character is having an affair with turns out to be his half-sister, and she kills herself when she grabs her pregnant mom, in a time travel experience, and plunges down a flight of stairs. Although an interesting concept, the revelation came a little too late for the audience to become relevant. Instead, it is seen to be a ruse to get the audience interested by the use of a taboo subject.

Furthermore, it is not clearly shown if she knew the truth or not. If it becomes clear that she knew, then it is understandable why she decides to kill herself. However, because of the ambiguity, the subplot seems irrelevant.

In the end, due to the poor script and even worst directing, a once promising film becomes a junk piece of work. It is not worth the time.

3/10

Juno
(2007)

Sorry to say...overrated.
It was different and refreshing when I first watched it. If I wrote a review the very moment I saw the film, I would have given it a 9 out of 10. Now, after almost half a year, the feeling has passed and I feel the film is very overrated.

Ellen Page does give a very good performance. It can be seen she cares about the role and she gives the role all her energy and devotion. Yet...is her performance Oscar worthy? That is up for debate. Like the film, her performance is good but forgettable.

The rest of the cast is solid. Jennifer Garner does her job rather well, and is there a more awkward kid than Michael Cera? He is born to play Bleeker. Nevertheless, Diablo Cody does not deserve her Oscar. Truthfully, her writing is shallow and empty. There are more deserving candidates.

"Juno" is good, but empty. There is no deep or life-changing message within the film, and this film is just like the language within the film and the western culture: a fad. After the initial awe and surprise pass, it will not stand the test of time and will not be remembered.

I would recommend Waitress, because it has more "heart", or Knocked Up, because it is more funny. Juno is somewhere in between, and quite frankly, it remains there. It takes the quality of both films, but it does not exceed or stand out from either films.

6/10

Elizabethtown
(2005)

Disappointing Crowe film.
I always liked Crowe and his films. Say Anything has the most copied gimmick, Jerry MacGuire has witty dialogue and a pop culture line and Almost Famous is a great and different coming of age film. Then he hit Vanilla Sky...and let's say things went downhill from there.

Elizabethtown is a very disappointing film. It has all the Crowe elements that people enjoy in it: witty dialogue, cute characters that one cares for, a romance and a path of self-discovery and change for the main character. However, the film does not have a direction, as it starts out as a romantic film, and then in the last 10 to 15 minutes turn into a road trip film. The change causes the viewers, all of a sudden, to feel like they are watching another film, and it leaves them, quite frankly, confused and frustrated.

Another downfall of the film is romance, which is the essential to the film. First of all, a character such as Claire, play by Dunst, who is so cheerful and willingly engage in a conversation and subsequent romance with the main character, Drew, play by Bloom, simply does not exist. No person in the world is that friendly and that optimistic. Secondly, more explanation is needed for the romance, which is out of the blue. One second before the main characters are just friends, and a second later, they are attracted to each other. The whole attraction process needs to be there. Finally, the ending, where the two reconciled, does not make sense. Why would Claire wait for Drew at the end of the road trip? What did Drew learn about the romance during the road trip that will improve their relationship? Does Drew truly love Claire, or is he just grateful? These questions needs to be addressed, and sadly, they are not.

The acting is nothing spectacular. Orlando Bloom is passable as a leading man. He plays the part as it is written, which is okay, but he will never be an Oscar nominee or a winner. Susan Sarandon is good, because she is funny and has great timing for her role as a comic relief. But the last spot goes to Kristen Dunst, who is absolutely annoying. She loses her accent here and there, and her acting is over exaggerated and unnecessary. She may be the worst leading lady right now. Where is the talent she shown in Interview with a Vampire?

In Elizabethtown, it seems like Crowe is trying to duplicate and recapture his success by mixing Jerry MacGuire and Almost Famous, and the result is a film that is both confusing and frustrating. He could have done better, and hopefully, next time, he will just stick to one genre.

3/10

Shoot 'Em Up
(2007)

Finally, Hollywood is listening to what people want!
Guns, bigger guns, good gun fight sequences, sex and even more guns...

That basically sums up Shoot 'Em Up. The movie takes away most plot, most dialogue and most character developments (the key ingredients for a good movie, as some "experts" say) and all is left is an gun action movie in its purest form: a lot of shooting and even more shooting, plus a little bit of sex and a lot of one liners to save screen time for more shooting. For most guys and action movie fans, this is what they have been praying for. Indeed, even without most the key ingredients (plot, dialogue and character development), this is a very entertaining movie. It is fast pace and the gun sequences are amazing done. To top it all off, it has one of the most memorable sex scene (every guys' dream!) It will keep the audience at the edge of their seat, and they would want want.

Kudos to Paul Giamatti. He has done it again and prove once again he is one of the most underrated actors in Hollywood. He has manage to be both the menacing villain and the comic relieve at the same time, which is very difficult. Well done.

Clive Owens is good in his role, but it feels like he is just an extension of his character from Sin City. He is somewhere around a B to a C. Good, but not great.

Monica Bellucci. Beautiful. Just beautiful. She takes kinky roles. Pretty sure no one would complain.

If I have to pick a flaw, I will start with a question, and this goes for all action films. Why does the main character, like all action heroes, never gets hit but all his shots hit the mark? Mr. Smith gets shot millions of times and he is hit maybe just twice in the whole film. That is illogical.

Still, who cares? Good guy win, bad guys die. It is the Hollywood winning formula most viewers enjoy.

For guys (probably most of them are action film fans), it is a ten and maybe more. It is an action film in its purest form. What more can you ask for? So, it will be a 12 out of 10.

For gals, the violence might be too much. It is raw macho energy and thus, it might be a 4 out of 10 to them.

In the end, to balance both sides, I give an 8 out of 10. Now you can't call me a sexist.

Spider-Man 3
(2007)

The film is trying to do too much and I am greatly disappointed.
I really believe this is the worst film in the series. The series should get another producer/director and go another direction. The film, simply, is trying to do too much. The director should have just stuck with one major villain, like the previous two films, instead of three. That way, the movie would feel less rushed and better developed. Right now, the film has too many angles, themes and story lines to be one coherent story. It is actually frustrating to watch.

The most disappointing part of the movie is how under utilized Venom is. For such a major character in the original comic book series and a character with so much potential, his screen time is laughable. I want to see more of him than the last 30 minutes of the film. It is understandable that the director is using the alien symbiote (since it brings out the bad side in people) to create an internal conflict in Peter Parker; however, having Sandman as Uncle Ben's original killer is enough (not so in the comic books). Venom would be better served if he is in Spiderman 4, and be the only villain in the story.

The only redeeming quality of the film is the impressive CG (computer graphics) and the last battle scene. That is money well-spent. Everything is smooth and realistic; it feels like a steal to pay only ten to fifteen dollars to witness such marvels in technology. Still, the battle feel a little bit too short. I wish it could have been longer.

The plot is only worth a 3 out of 10; however, with the technology, I would bring it up to 5 out of 10. It is an entertaining movie, but not an award winning movie.

The Usual Suspects
(1995)

I loved it...But would not see it again.
This movie contained the best twist I have ever seen. It is the best ending, one that was unexpected and came out of the left field. Even with all the subtle clues throughout the movie, the ending was unexpected. It is possibly the best twist ever created.

The problem with the film, however, was also with the great twist and ending. The ending would probably leave everyone dumbfounded and shocked. After the initial shock, however, came the resentment for the movie. The twist made the film, albeit the ending, useless. One would feel they had wasted 2 hours watching the film. The film was entertaining and gritty throughout; nevertheless, one would tend to question the film after it.

For those who have not seen the movie, I recommend it because it is indeed a great movie and a great script. Personally, however, I felt the movie was a complete waste of time and left me empty. The movie was for pure entertainment value and nothing else.

8/10, all because of the great twist.

Wong Gok ka moon
(1988)

Hard to describe...
My feelings towards this film was mixed. In a way it seems to be overrated, just because it was Wong Kai Wei's first film and it was probably his only commercial and gangster film. It was very typical of Hong Kong gangster film in the 80s, with the same overplayed message of loyalty and the main characters trying to prove their value being the central theme. The story was plain and dull, and truthfully, it was another one of the gangster films made in the 80s that is influence by John Woo. Still, I feel this movie deserved some credit for being raved about in certain circles. First of all, this was one of the better gangster films out there, and even though the subject of loyalty seemed overplayed, it was still touching to see the friendship of a boss and his follower. Secondly, and very interestingly, the movie was filmed with an artistic touch. I have rarely seen a gangster film incorporating artistic techniques, such as the distortion of time or using shots of nature, signatures of Wong Kai Wei's latter films, but these artistic scenes became memorable. How could I ever forget the scene where Maggie was walking gingerly through the door, stopped, hesitated for a moment, but continued and slowly, but with class of a true lady, make her way up the stairs? That scene was unforgettable. Although the viewer could only see her back, but from her back, she was still able to project the feeling of uncertainty, but in the end, bravery for going after her love. Usually a scene like this would only be seen in art films, and rarely in a gangster film. In this film, however, the artistic touch only added to the movie's special appeal. A lot of Wong's artistic shots were unforgettable.

The performances by the two lead actors, Andy Lau and Jackie Cheung, were solid and touching, but far from spectacular. A lot of times I feel their expressions, especially Lau, were forced. Jackie Cheung seemed more natural in his acting, but his expressions were exaggerated, probably exaggerated to enforce his aura of cockiness, an aura that was not believable. Future films of the two stars, especially the recent ones, had better performances, and the viewer could see their vast improvements. The performance of Maggie Cheung must be complimented. Her sweet naiveness was so convincing that I had a hard time linking her with the ditsy roles she took before, such as in the Police Story. One could tell big things were ahead for her, and her future success proved it.

Overall, very interesting film, but just another one of the 80s gangster film.

7/10

Densha otoko
(2005)

One of the better romantic comedies...
The story behind this film was really interesting. Apparently it was based on a true story. The story goes like this: A 22 year old Japanese guy, called an otoku (it describes a video game and computer fanatic) saved a pretty young woman in her 20s from a drunkard on the train. She got his address, and send him a gift to thank him. The otoku, who thought the encounter was just a mirage, could not believe it and wanted to ask her out. But there's a problem: He is a nerd! He had never been out on a date and did not know what to do. Therefore, he turned to his only source of help: his computer, and using the name "Train Man", he asked for help on the largest site in Japan: 2channel. Interestingly enough, a bunch of helpful people came to his aid and in the end, he was able to be in a relationship with the girl of his dreams. This story was told by millions on 2channel before it was drawn to a manga, and then written in a book, then a play, and finally, into a screenplay for both a movie and a television series. The story became a hit, and everything telling this story became a hot item. The book and manga became best sellers, the movie became one of the highest grossing films, and the television series had a very decent percentage of viewers.

Truthfully, because I am not Japanese, I have not watched many Japanese films. Still, I tried to keep up with Japanese entertainment and in recent years, the trend tends to be romance film. There does not seem to be much romantic comedies being produced, but this is one of the better romantic comedies I have ever seen, including Chinese, Korean or Hollywood movies. What I like about this film is that first of all there is a sense of realism to this film; this movie feels real and could happen to anybody. The main character feels so real and has such a resonance to young desperate nerds that I could relate him to other desperate nerds that I know. Secondly, the comedy is not forced. Unlike Hollywood romantic comedies, which relies either toilet humor or physical comedy to keep the movie going, or Chinese romantic comedies, which uses crude sexual humor and play on words to keep the movie alive, this film uses realistic situations and realistic responses. What the desperate guy would do in those situations is understandable and the mistakes he makes, which are what makes the movie funny, seemed to be the just right and not unrealistic. The comedy seemed natural and the funny things that happens in the movie seemed to be the funny things of everyday life. Thridly, as the movie progresses, you see character development and the character becomes a more rounded person without sacrificing who he is. You want to root for the character and you feel his highs and lows. Fourthly, the formula for the movie, of a guy asking for date advice, is hilarious. I found it really funny that a guy would actually ask for date advice on the internet. You never know who you will get, as you might get your double to give you advice, and the movie proved it. All sorts of different people gave him advice, from singles, those who just broke up and those who are married, and it is kind of unthinkable that they are able to give the advice that they gave. Finally, the main reason why I like this film is that this movie truly personifies love in the new millennium. This is what happens to young people nowadays. Young people nowadays are so caught up in computers and video games that when there is a chance for love, they do not know how to respond and turn to the only thing they know: the computer. Luckily for the main character, many of the people are helpful and do not tried to sabotage his chance to have a relationship with the girl of his dreams.

Still, I feel that the movie tried to do too much. In the movie, the story of "train man" influenced all those around him. Those who helped him were so touched by his story that their lives were better. Other nerds went outside of their virtual world and tried to get in touch with reality; people who just broke up were able to move on; and a husband and wife had their romantic fire rekindled. You see how "train man" influenced them and you want to ask: Is that possible? Did he really help those people? Is it that great of a story that everyone is touched by it and have their lives improved? It feels like the movie makers are trying to promote this story as a life-changer. All this guy did was to have the courage to ask for advice and tried to get a date. I admit, it was brave, but it is far from a world changing experience.

I applaud the actor who took on the titled character. He gave a very real performance and captured me. He did not tried to force anything. Everything he did feel natural. You really feel that you are indeed watching the story of a nerd.

Other than the movie trying to do too much, the movie is great. It has an inspiring story and leaves plenty for people to imagine at the end. Plus, it is one of the funniest romantic comedies I have ever seen without using toilet humor and everything is clean. A great film for all ages.

8/10

Ji de... xiang jiao cheng shu shi II: Chu lian qing ren
(1994)

Not your typical Hong Kong movie...
When you think of Hong Kong cinema, you think of guns, gunfights and explosions. You think of Chow Yun-Fat and his signature 2 bad boys shooting and killing everything in sight. There is no depth. They are made just for entertainment purposes. This one...is not one of those movies.

It is a coming-of-age movie that takes a insightful look at teenagers (more for guys) growing up in Hong Kong. The backdrop might be the 80s, but the things that the main character went through are reminisce of everything a person will go through during his or her adolescence. It talks about issues that a person goes through while becoming a man, ranging from love, sex, the pressures of trying to get into a good school, ups and downs of friendships, relationship with parents, etc. It leaves nothing unturned and with the movie dealing with these issues through an adolescence's point of view, it gives the movie a sense of honesty and insightfulness that contributes to part the movie's appeal. This movie will bring back memories to the viewers, for those who went through adolescence and especially for those who went through it in Hong Kong, and put a smile to their faces.

Another part of the movie's appeal is that the main character interacts with a lot of pop culture that define the 80s era, like the same technique "Forrest Gump" used. Even though the time period was never discussed, the viewers all know the movie is set in the 80s, with some prominent names, movies and events of that era appearing throughout the movie. Names of movies and famous people of the 80s pop up here and there (with Leslie Cheung, a symbol himself in the 80s, appearing as himself, and discussing his most famous movie, "A Better Tomorrow"), and quotes of famous commercials or movie characters that define the 80s being talked about throughout the movie. There are a lot of what-could-have-been moments, with the main character influencing and even creating some of the moments that defined the 80s (the diamond commercial quote, with my best translation, "I don't care if I don't own it forever, all I treasure is that I own it before,"), and the movie added the criticisms of now-famous personnels during that time (with a teacher calling Eric Kot, a fast-talking DJ turned rapper turned actor, "strange, always mumbling to himself.") It brings the viewer, especially if he grew up was a adolescence growing up in the 80s like myself, back to his adolescence and back to the 80s era. It is a unique experience.

Most of the actors and actresses are B-list actors. Although they all did a good job and many had memorable performances, it is a little disappointing that none achieved fame. The main character, Booby played by John Tang, has never achieve the same amount of fame in his latter works and he is regulated to playing small and bit parts for TV, typecasting into always playing a man who has not grew up yet. The most recognizable name is Eric Tsang (not counting the uncredited cameo by Leslie Cheung) and he did not disappoint. He showed of some of his acting skills by playing a believable sympathetic father and his performance is touching, fitting well with the movie.

This movie is a different kind of entertainment than everyone is used to, but it has this artistic touch and depth rarely seen in Hong Kong movies, which is a nice surprise. Recommended for everyone. Adolences, especially ones that had grew up in Hong Kong, and those who lived in Hong Kong during the 80s, will enjoy this movie even more.

8/10

Tau man ji D
(2005)

Entertaining...Jay Chow...
That's about it. The race scenes were shot pretty decently. They grip the viewers at the edge of their seat. The songs by Jay Chow are pretty good. The movie is funny. It was set and filmed in Japan, yet all the dialogue were in Cantonese. What else is there to say?

Jay Chow was pretty good for his first starring role. He gave a believable performance. Anthony Wong is his same reliable self and Chapman To again provides comic relieve (seems like he is typecast now).

The movie did not follow its inspiration, the manga. Even though Jay Chow's character is low-key and mild-mannered already, in the manga the character is even more mild-mannered and even less intense. In the manga, the dad seemed to be more responsible and nicer. That does not matter though, because the races are entertaining enough. That is one of two reason why people pack the theaters to see it. The other reason? Jay Chow. Do not underestimate his draw power. This guy is an idol in Asia. Whatever he do is gold.

This film is made for entertainment purposes. No depth. No plot. Just watch it and have a good time.

7/10, because it is entertaining. Take that out, a 4.

Ima, ai ni yukimasu
(2004)

Beautifully made...
I always liked Japanese TV shows and movies. The directors have great techniques and the images are unbelievably crisp and clear. They really know how to pick the sights to film. Everything is beautiful and feels like paradise. They know how to create a cinema experience that allow the viewers to leave the weary world and indulge in the fantasy for a little while.

Usually I am not a big fan of romantic movies or chic flicks. Many of them are corny and many of them are too idealistic. You know that the story just could not happen in real life. You know love never happens that way in real life. You know that it is just a big fantasy created by the writer and director. You know it is too ridiculous to be true. This movie...well, my feeling towards this film is hard to describe. The plot fits the unrealistic bill (there are some time travel involved and a time limit). It fits the corny bill. It fits the fantasy bill. It fits everything I dislike about romance films; yet, I really like the film. I guess it was the underlying idea of everlasting love and what one would do in the name of love is what moved me. The idea is realistic enough that one feels it is possible and one hopes would happen to him. Who would not want someone, even knowing that the decision would kill her, still going through with it all because she loves you? The idea is so beautifully and sentimentally portrayed that the typical aspects of a chic flick (the corniness, the unrealisticless) can be ignored.

I guess everyone is a sucker for love. At least the audiences in Japan seem to think so. It is the 3rd highest grossing film in Japan in 2004. I really recommend it. It is a pretty good date movie. It might be slow at times, but the slowness only helps the sentimental aspect, which is what this movie feeds on. Possibly even the hardest critic on love would love this film.

8/10

Sam cha hau
(2005)

Unfulfilled...A waste of time!!!
After Aaron Kwok won the Golden Horse, the Taiwan's equivalent of the Oscar, for best actor, I got interested in this movie to try to figure out how this pop star who was considered a long shot by many people won the prestigious award. The first impression I got after I finished was, and I remembered clearly, sitting at my sofa, staring at the blank TV screen for a couple of minutes, and saying, "What just happened?" No, I was not blown by it. The opposite occurred. I was confused.

The movie was a typical Hong Kong movie, with the usual grittiness and stylishness. It had its moments, but sometimes, for some strange reason, it felt slow. Maybe there was not the ridiculous amount of gunfire, car chases and explosions that we viewers of Hong Kong thriller films are most familiar with and what I am most fond with. Maybe the love line story was so unnecessary that it dragged the movie down. Whatever the case, the mysteries and the search for the truth got my attention and got me excited...till I reached the twist. The twist right before the ending was a little surprising, but in retrospect it became obvious because too many clues were given that even a 2 year old could guess it (not recommended for 2 year olds- they are too young to be subjected to bad films). Still, it could be forgiven because an effort was made and it was a decent twist, no matter how predictable it was. However, here was what killed the moving- the ending. Nothing good could be said about it. It felt like they were trying to make this movie sophisticated by leaving so many questions unanswered. The problem was, those questions were not rhetorical or philosophical questions that might make one reexamines one's life. Instead, those questions were questions about the plot; the ending made the writers look stupid and left the movie feeling unfinished. Not enough clues were given in the film to help the viewers to try to answer the questions that were left. I tried to answer those questions, but after a few moments of pondering, I gave up and started swearing at the writers for wasting almost 2 hours of my time and the favors I have to pull to borrow this movie. There was no way to answer them and it was dumb to even try.

I could not say nothing good came out of this film. I finally understood the formula for the voting panel at the Golden Horse Awards. 2 words: star power. The guy was once part of the legendary 4 kings of Hong Kong pop music and even though the status had became history and he was struggling for the past few years, he still have draw power. Letting him win would be a feel good story and let people talk about it for days; it could boost popularity for the show, which saw its ratings down from last year and had been on the down side in recent years. This was not to put down Mr. Kwaok. He did a good job and it might arguably be the best performance of his career. However, compared to the other nominees, his performance still felt weak. I guess everything was for the ratings.

My only advice: do not watch it just because Aaron Kwok won the Golden Horse for it. It is a meaningless piece of work and your time would be better devoted elsewhere.

I give it 6/10, because an effort was made and only the ending sucked.

Network
(1976)

The best movie I have ever seen!!!
I watched this movie about 30 years after it was made and amazingly, it still felt relevant today and seemed like it was made for today's audience. Now that is a movie for the ages!!! I believe this movie was a landmark film back when it was first released in 1976. It dealt with many problems relevant and visible with the TV industry back then, practically the news. It talked about how the industry only cared about ratings, how uncompassionate and realistic it was (taking away people's job when they lose popularity even if they have worked many years) and how greedy it was (creating news by funding different groups that could tear the fabric of society). These issues still remain prevalent in the industry even to this day, in some form or another. Ratings still count, even more people lose their popularity over night (all those "real" TV stars comes to mind) and although better nowadays, there are a lot stories that prove to be made up and a publicity stunt just for ratings.

Another thing about this movie was its witty observation of today's generation and of the society and rallying the people for change. Who can deny that the younger generations today learn their life from Bugs Bunny? Who does not feel that war, with so many images of war on TV nowadays, is as interesting as a 6-packs of beer? Who can say that they do not try to imitate scenes or lines from movies and TV that they saw? These observations are a wakeup call to society, telling society to change its value, with the rallying cry, "I am mad as hell, and I won't take it anymore!" Do not be the TV generation. Have some feelings! Have some compassion! The most incredible thing was how this movie is prophetic in a way. It predicted the next moment in "trash" TV, fulfilled by the introduction of "reality" TV in recent years. Although the example of Howard Beale was too extreme back in those days, his fall, rise and then the extreme fatal fall narrated in the film did not seem far off today. The wave of reality TV today felt like it was fulfilling the prediction that the movie posed forward. Look at the comparison and you would see that there are uncanny similarities. Reality TV feeds into the egos of the contestants and many of them, with the sudden fame, begins to act like maniacs, like Howard Beale; and just like Howard Beale, the more insane they act, the more the audiences love and encourage. When they lose the appeal, the network see no more use of them and dispose of them, "killing" them off, just as the same fate as Howard Beale. The death of them on TV is really the death of them in real life, as most could not accept the loss of fame and the audiences in real life could not accept them as part of their society. The TV personnel and the real personnel are in such contrast that ordinary people just could not handle and label these reality stars as outcasts. The movie is really saying that reality TV shows would kill many innocent people. Remember Najai "Nitro" Turpin of the "Contender"? Or Sinisa Savija of the Swedish version of "Survivor"? These 2 committed suicide just months after their cast off.

The movie could not be the revelation that it is without the great acting by the main characters. Peter Finch stole the show with his portray of down-on-his-luck news anchor Howard Beale. His ramblings were classic, and his observations still hold true. William Holden was solid and though not spectacular, he provides the only sane voice in the movie. Faye Dunaway gave what I consider the best performance of her career, in the role of the power hungry TV producer. Beatrice Straight and Ned Beatty, though having short screen time, each gave a rather memorable monologue and stole the screen with their short time there.

Last thing I am going to say about this movie is that even the lives of these actors fulfilled the prophecy of tragic ends put forth by the movie. Peter Finch died of a heart attack while championing for his Best Actor Oscar selection. William Holden died within 5 years after the film was produced. Faye Dunaway had never been in a movie as good as this and her career died off in the 80s. Who remembers Beatric Straight and Ned Beatty after this film (except for film buffs)? In a strange way, these people "died" off following their success. Maybe the movie was not as extreme or controversial as it seemed back in those days.

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