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Control
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10 days ago
10 days ago
  • Overall 8.5
  • Story 8.5
  • Acting/Cast 8.0
  • Music 9.0
  • Rewatch Value 8.0
Control is a fascinating Hong Kong thriller that will have you guessing to the end. The story concept is a great twist on on the thriller plot trope of being blackmailed and controlled by an all-seeing eye, or the downward spiral of being 'forced' to commit crimes to cover something up or protect the one thing you care about. Sure, it could have explored the ideas and themes here far more deeply read more or creatively, and I do wish the characters could've been developed just a little more so we could understand their motivations better. But the movie isn't trying to do that, it's just that I feel it could've done so with just a bit more script tweaking.

I enjoyed the tone set by the stylized cinematography (which utilized many CGI sets) and slightly futuristic setting. The CGI is for the most part creatively done, and gives the film so much more style--kind of a graphic novel feel (some have said it had a Sin City vibe). It could've been set in the present day too, but the slight upping of the CCTV world does make the plot more credible, even if still slightly fantastic. I'm sure Hollywood folks would criticize the technology/production design, but I actually liked how the futuristic setting wasn't distractingly overkill but instead felt subtle. There was actually something more realistic about a present world with some remodeling rather than a rebuilt world.

Acting was good; nothing hugely special, although Daniel Wu pulls off his multi-layered character quite deftly. I don't think I appreciated the nuances until I finished the movie. That said, rewatch value is highas a second watch will be a different experience thanks to the twists. The music was really well done--it fit the story and pacing and tone just right.
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After The Banquet
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10 days ago
10 days ago
  • Overall 7.5
  • Story 7.5
  • Acting/Cast 7.5
  • Music 7.5
  • Rewatch Value 7.5
The story a blast form the past. Korean version of mamma mia. It was kinda cute but the setting doesnt do much to help. Its raining and cold and the set just feel cold. I think if there was some sunshine it woulda been more livelier. The actors did a good job, it just felt dull.
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Dreams
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10 days ago
10 days ago
  • Overall 9.5
  • Story 9.5
  • Acting/Cast 9.0
  • Music 10
  • Rewatch Value 10
"Some say life is hard, but that is just talk. It is good to be alive, it is exciting!"

One of the most beautiful films I've ever had the pleasure to watch. Kurosawa is a master at building such a theatre inspired aesthetic with the focus primarily on his actors performance it comes to no real surprise that the performances throughout are terrific. Split into anthology of sorts the film at times read more struggles to maintain a coherent tone which it's audience may struggle to adapt with. The films only real issue is that it unfortunately steps into self indulgent territory with many scenes over extending their stay, resulting in bloated sequences throughout.

| STORY |

1. Sunshine Through The Rain
Magic. An incredible reminder that dreams had in childhood can have cruel and terrifying stakes that far exceed our external world. Stunning matte paintings, too.

2. The Peach Orchard
My mouth was hanging open watching this shit. A mix of pre-pubescent mystery, wonder, and frustration. Kurosawa is on the longest of lenses, compressing his action to a completely flat plane, like a tapestry – they’re so long you can actually see heat waves shimmering in the foreground. Worth watching for this segment, alone.

3. The Blizzard
Mountaineers slowing down, stuck, fallen, and visited by a snow ghost spirit. I feel like I've had a version of this dream at some point. Jeff Foxworthy voice: "If the base camp turned out to be next to you the whole time......you might be dead from exposure!"

4. The Tunnel
The distant glowing light of the solider's 'home' packs more poetic visual punch than a lot of entire movies do. Seems plain to me now that Kurosawa was doing the orange and teal thing before anyone else.

5. Crows
Scorsese plays Van Gogh. Love his frantic dedication to the craft - ‘not enough time, not enough time’. The drive of a locomotive. Especially surreal to see a contemporary interior in a Kurosawa movie.

6. Mount Fuji In Red
The impact of this is all in the devastating futility of the ending. I understand the enormous cultural baggage at play with the radiation here, but this is where 'Dreams' gets soggy, which is when its imagery gives way to unnecessary monologuing.

7. The Weeping Demon
Giant dandelions and writhing, tormented demons lounging by red pools. This feels like a Fringe show I saw once.

8. Village of the Watermills
More monologuing about the environment here, but ‘Village’s funereal atmosphere wraps up ‘Dreams’ in a way that closes the loop but stays ambiguous enough to make you reconsider the whole film. And then I woke up.

| ACTING/CAST |

Many of the dreams deal with loss of innocence, not only of “I” but also of Japan as the setting of the film. While the protagonist is very early on faced with death and destruction (especially of nature) which later continues with his trauma caused by the senseless deaths of his comrades during war Japan loses its innocence as well as the colors of the first dreams start to fade turning into dark tones in the later episodes until everything is wiped out during the nuclear explosions and their aftermath. This might lead to one of the reasons why it was so difficult for Kurosawa to find the money for his picture since, especially the sixth dream titled “Mount Fuji in Red”, it is highly critical of Japan embracing nuclear technology. After the war this seems to be the doom for the country as well as its people, with the toxic red gas approaching which contains plutonium as one of the last surviving humans (Hishashi Igawa) tells two others before he jumps from a cliff into a quicker death. Japan, as shown in the film, has long gone and its only choice is to find a way back before its too late.

| MUSIC/CINEMATOGRAPHY |

Dreams is a film which lives and breathes through its impressive use of color and landscape. As he has done so many times before, especially in works such as Ran, beautiful wide angle shots show nature in its entire beauty, a sight which is overwhelming at times for the observer. While in Ran the setting for the many battle scenes here it seems more peaceful – until it erupts in the sixth dream leaving the world in a desolate state with demons roaming the deserted ash fields of what once was a country. It is an idyllic setting, nature with its forest and rivers, one which is in no need for technology which, in the end, only speeds up the process of humanity's demise. It is a very didactic approach the director has chosen, but one which he expresses full of conviction.

In conclusion, Dreams is a beautiful and sometimes disturbing film about the relationship between humanity and nature as well as about a boy growing up, finding his way in life and exploring its possibilities. Using the logic of dreams each one of the episodes ends rather abruptly like waking up (sometimes form a nightmare which one would rather forget as soon as possible). It is a very personal film for its director, one with a message for its viewer which – considering the alternative he offers – sounds a bit naïve, too utopian to be precise, especially for someone who has explore the human condition in his work for most of his life.
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Gray
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10 days ago
10 days ago
  • Overall 7.5
  • Story 7.5
  • Acting/Cast 8.0
  • Music 10
  • Rewatch Value 7.5
STORY: This movie is pretty short but essentially about Pun and Mon rekindling old feelings for each other and Pun having a crisis of conscience over this. There are a number of cute scenes, kinda slow in parts, and a bit of screen time is wasted on replaying scenes we just watched; with the exception of one scene which you get to see what was missing from the scene earlier, which was read more a nice touch.

ACTING/CAST: Richard Ricardo Carter is very cute and rather irresistible.

MUSIC: I liked the music also. It was very fitting.

REWATCH VALUE: Yeah, I'd watch it again.

OVERALL: A short about rekindling a friendship and more. It's was worth 45 minutes of my time.
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Old Boy
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Other reviews by this user
10 days ago
10 days ago
  • Overall 4.0
  • Story 1.0
  • Acting/Cast 9.0
  • Music 9.0
  • Rewatch Value 1.0
Ok so I watched this movie. I started with the idea that 'it is an awarded movie' and that therefore it should be great at some point.

I watched it entirely, being literally disgusted for the most of it. The acting and shooting are great no doubt about it, the movie is smooth and stuff... But...

Even with a few research I couldn't find any explanation on the movie plot nor on read more its meaning. I can say some things about it from what I understood but it's just some random phrases I could say.

This movie is just a show of odd fantasy which should be banned from our world to my view...

I can't recommend it.
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This Summer
1 people found this review helpful
Other reviews by this user
10 days ago
10 days ago
  • Overall 7.5
  • Story 7.5
  • Acting/Cast 7.5
  • Music 7.5
  • Rewatch Value 5.0
STORY: A short story I'd chalk up to fantasy. It's hard to say what actually was going on. But I still liked it.

ACTING/CAST: Falling in Love with a Rival ring a bell? These guys are cute. Too bad Feng Jian Yu didn't have any lines.

MUSIC: The song was English-subbed.

REWATCH VALUE: For eye candy purposes only. Though the scenes with the cat were cute.

OVERALL: A short one to tide read more me over until Counterattack Season 2.
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You Are My Star
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10 days ago
10 days ago
  • Overall 7.5
  • Story 7.5
  • Acting/Cast 7.5
  • Music 7.5
  • Rewatch Value 7.5
STORY: This is super short but I thought the story was good. It has a happy ending.

ACTING/CAST: They did a fine job.

MUSIC: Standard

REWATCH VALUE: It's so short I'll watch it more than once.

OVERALL: Stick around for after the credit roll, they show some hilariously cute outtakes.
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Ghost Boyfriend
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10 days ago
10 days ago
  • Overall 7.5
  • Story 7.5
  • Acting/Cast 9.0
  • Music 7.5
  • Rewatch Value 7.5
STORY: Two college roommates live together and one (Lu Qi Ming) is killed in a car accident. He was given the chance to come back for a limited time to tie up loose ends. He loves his roommate (Ye Xiao Ou) so much but will he be able to tell him before his time is up?

I liked the story concept very much. I've seen it twice. The ending is sad and read more sort of confusing though but it ties into the very beginning of the video. I didn't notice that the first time around. As mentioned in the comments, something is up with the editing, seems parts were cut or jump around.

ACTING/CAST: Hu Xu Chen did a great job as he was both annoying and cute while playing the very immature Ye Xiao Ou. He just made Lu Qi Ming want to love him. Good chemistry.

MUSIC: Odd in parts, pretty in others.

REWATCH VALUE: Twice already. If I ever find a complete uncut version, I'll watch it a third time.

OVERALL: Love someone while you have the opportunity. Life is so short. Don't let it slip away.
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The Kodai Family
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by Kai
Other reviews by this user
10 days ago
10 days ago
  • Overall 10
  • Story 10
  • Acting/Cast 9.5
  • Music 10
  • Rewatch Value 9.0
Such a cutie~ . Got-to watch this movie. You'll love it! Great acting by all and the plot the stitches your whole thought into the movie.
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To You, For Me
0 people found this review helpful
Other reviews by this user
11 days ago
11 days ago
  • Overall 9.0
  • Story 9.0
  • Acting/Cast 8.0
  • Music 5.0
  • Rewatch Value 9.0
If you knew your love would someday kill the one you love, what would you do differently?

STORY: Two college guys who are very close friends come to love one another before tragedy strikes. This is a short BL story, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. Happy ending.

ACTING/CAST: The guy playing Paul is just super cute. They did a fine job acting.

MUSIC: Uh, no idea. Too busy watching.

REWATCH VALUE: Yes. read more Such a neat short story. I hope to share it with friends.

OVERALL: A neat story, kinda like The Butterfly Effect. Hope you got 30 minutes to spare, it's worth it.
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The Great Wall
0 people found this review helpful
Other reviews by this user
11 days ago
11 days ago
  • Overall 8.5
  • Story 8.0
  • Acting/Cast 8.5
  • Music 10
  • Rewatch Value 8.5
Okay, I liked The Great Wall quite a bit, actually. It was gorgeously filmed (which I fully expected, given my experience with Chinese cinematography) and vibrantly colored. The action scenes were beautiful. There was a touch of 'What this place needs is a honky' but not nearly so badly as I feared from when I first saw trailers for it. The Chinese have a flair for epic fantasy and hopefully we'll be read more able to avoid another world war, so we can see more joint Chinese-Hollywood projects in the future.
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Fabricated City
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Other reviews by this user
11 days ago
11 days ago
  • Overall 9.0
  • Story 9.0
  • Acting/Cast 9.0
  • Music 8.0
  • Rewatch Value 8.0
I saw this mve becoz of Ji Chang Wook. I like the manipulative organization in this mve. Acting is on point. No romance here. Its a little dark theme. But very nicely done with the mve. The cast acted very well.

I still don't understand what the title meant. I thought "Fabricated crime" would be an apt title as it describes the plot. Kim Sang Ho acted as a side villan here read more which surprised me becoz i only saw him in roles of comedian, kind person. I couldn't take seriously his actions becoz of his previous drama effect. I would have liked a little romance b/n the hacker girl and Wook but that's my opinion.

All in all its a good mve to watch on a summer evening worth 8.6/10.
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Yell for the Blue Sky
1 people found this review helpful
Other reviews by this user
11 days ago
11 days ago
  • Overall 10
  • Story 10
  • Acting/Cast 10
  • Music 10
  • Rewatch Value 4.0
SUCH A BEAUTIFUL MOVIE. I feel like crying even though it's not even a sad movie. It is so inspirational (motivated me to play piano) and just... BEAUTIFUL. (I just watched it now, so sorry if I sound too emotional).
Everything about it is just perfect, thus the 10/10. It doesn't have that hurried feeling that most j-movies have and the story is really amazing.
The only reason the re-watch value is read more so low is simply because I never like to rewatch anything... unless I forget about the plotline completely.

This movie is definitely a 2016 must-match, so go watch it NOW! XD
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The Admiral: Roaring Currents
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12 days ago
12 days ago
  • Overall 7.5
  • Story 7.0
  • Acting/Cast 7.5
  • Music 10
  • Rewatch Value 7.5
This had so much potential. It should've been great as a film--it had all the elements: a great historical story worth telling, a talented director/writer, some great veteran actors, a high budget, etc. So I hate that I'm in the Super Disappointed camp and not the This Was a Masterpiece camp. I guess my melodrama tolerance is too low, and my expectations were too high considering how great Kim Han Min's last read more movie was and how iconic this film is always going to be in Korean film history. I mean, pretty much everybody went to go see it when it came out. I love historical films...especially epic historical films...but this one just left me feeling let down, considering how great it should've been.

STORY:
I felt like the downfall of what could've been truly an epic, emotive film were these two things: a seriously mediocre script and melodrama overkill. So I get that filmgoers would have already known the story from history, and I get that in some ways the first half of the script's very sparse storytelling decisions were somewhat typical of this genre for a well-known historical event. But I thought the script was such a waste for the most part, and not only messed up the pacing of the first half, but kept us from being fully invested in compelling character roles.

Here we have in the historical story such complex and rich conflict...but in the film, it hardly plays out in an emotive or visceral way, except for Admiral Yi's inner conflict (which Choi Min Shik did an admirable job showing with very little to work with in the script) and the too-few scenes with Im Joon Young and his wife. No one else's character is remotely developed, and sure, 2 hours isn't a lot of time, but it's plenty. With better writing that first half could have been so compelling instead of dragging like it did. As a result I just didn't feel as much as I should have. The stakes were high, but the storytelling didn't let me actually feel with the characters, and the few that had the potential just weren't capitalized on.

The themes had a ton of potential too. I did like that it went a bit further beyond the typical "stand and fight never bow down" thing (which I do think epic Korean historical films are great at doing in emotive ways). There was that, and it was fascinating to wonder what the admiral would think of next or how he would solve his next impossible problem of doom rather than give in like everyone wanted him to. And on that front, there were some nice plays on typical Art of War strategy ideas. I always enjoy that in war movies, where there's a subtle debate over the philosophy of a particular one. But I thought so much more could have been done with those themes, and so many small relationships and overall plot points that were totally ripe for development. That was disappointing...and ultimately why even the cool plot turns were just cool and not emotionally satisfying.

Instead, there was wayyyyyy too much time spent on melodrama overkill. So Korea does melodrama oh so well and I realize my personal taste has a pretty wobbly line that gets easily crossed. So if your tolerance is way high or you're Korean and super patriotic, you may love what I did not. But I found myself continuously pushed out of the story by the way too loooong shots of Choi Min Shik staring all heroically into the camera or to the side or the way too long slo-mo scenes of battle that actually made some of the otherwise good fight choreography look distracting/ridiculous [e.g. watch soldier stunt man unconvincingly get his brain bashed out with the same move for like 30 seconds instead of 3]. I should note, however, that the battle scenes were for the most part really well done considering how tough it must have been to direct in the studio. Kim Han Min really excels with action scenes.

That said, his War of the Arrows is proof that incredible action/cinematography/direction coupled with good writing goes so much further (he also directed and wrote that script). I don't know for sure, but I'm wondering if more of the script was written by co-writer Jun Chul Hong who also wrote Kundo: Age of the Rampant...another film with tons of potential but similar script flaws.

ACTING:
I was really let down by the acting too. Choi Min Shik was totally the best person for the role of the grizzled leader pressed against the wall, and I was impressed with what Ryu Seung Rong did with his character (the badass enemy Kurushima), who didn't have any interesting dialog but whose presence totally seethed. Otani Ryohei had little interesting dialog too, but had great presence, as did a couple other secondary officers I didn't totally recognize. Jin Goo (the scout) was so good in his few scenes, and his character interesting enough that I was sad we didn't really know who he was in spite of the heroic role he ends up playing on numerous levels.

And while normally I'm not too bothered by Korean actors playing Japanese characters with horrible Japanese accents (especially when it's only a small part of the story), I did not get the choices made here. I mean, there was a ton of Japanese dialog, and there are quite a few excellent Korean actors who speak excellent Japanese. I don't get why they cast Kim Myung Gon in a role many others could've played when he sounded soooo bad it was totally hilarious...and even the actors who were well cast (like Ryu Seung Rong and Cho Jin Woong) are very proficient speakers, and big names, their still-not-convincing accents were pretty distracting...I don't understand why they couldn't at least dub some of the more sub-standard lines in post production like the Chinese do for less-than-fluent second-language speakers? I realize not everyone cares, but sheesh, with such a high budget and so much Japanese dialog, why not do it right?? I mean, this film had a release in Japan, after all.

OST:
As others have said, the epic OST was on point. SO good! Emotional without being too melodramatic, and dramatic without being exhausting...and a great theme. One you'd want to listen to over and over. If anyone knows who the composer is and what other film scores they've done, I'd like to know.

REWATCH:
The naval battle direction in the second half was pretty great and worth rewatching. And if you're not familiar with the story, it's also worth rewatching so you can actually get what's going on in the first half, which can be slightly confusing as there's very little character introduction or set up.
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The Great Wall
0 people found this review helpful
Other reviews by this user
12 days ago
12 days ago
  • Overall 7.5
  • Story 5.0
  • Acting/Cast 10
  • Music 10
  • Rewatch Value 5.0
Although it feels like a bad copy of 'Jurassic Park' at the very start, the movie soon shows its unique side. The best thing about the film is without doubt the action, as it brings adrenaline. Furthermore, there is some truth to the story - facts about the Great Wall have been greatly observed before the making of all this. For instance, the barracks were mentioned and shown, although for plenty of read more seconds. Matt Damon also puts in a great performance as William; he lived up to my expectations for sure. However, I was dreaming the whole time for Luhan to have a little more significant role. If you're planning to watch this film because of him, do not lose your time.
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