Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Farewell My Concubine 霸王别姬

Released Year: 1993
Directed by 陈凯歌 KaiGe-Chen

Casted by:
张国荣 Leslie Cheung as 程蝶衣 Die
张丰毅 FengYi-Chang as 段小楼 Lou
巩俐 Gong Li as 菊仙 Ju
葛优 Ge You as 袁四爷 Yuan
In 1977, the year after the end of the Cultural Revolution, two men in Beijing Opera costumes, one in a female role, the other as a stage king, enter the performance hall and are greeted by a voice off camera—they haven't performed in eleven years—and a single spot light falls on them.

The scene, now shot in sepia, cuts to 1924. A woman walks hurriedly with a small child in her arms through a crowded Chinese market. A man, recognizing her, tries to speak to her but she roughly pushes him off as he shouts,"Whore!" A crowd is watching a troupe of boys from a Beijing opera training school perform for coins in the street, supervised by their aging director, Master Guan. One of the boys, Laizi, tries to run away, and the crowd is insulted. The leader, a possible warlord, begins pushing around Master Guan. One of the troupe, Shitou (meaning "stone"), shames the crowd by breaking a brick on his head. The crowd cheers, but Shitou is later punished for pulling such a stunt.

The mother takes the boy to the troupe house but Master Guan refuses him because of a birth defect, a superfluous finger. Throughout the scene you can hear a peddler calling out his skill as a knife sharpener. Apparently the mother goes to him to get a sharp knife. As the child whimpers that his defective hand is freezing she covers his eyes with a scarf and cuts off the extra finger. There is silence, perhaps because his hand was numb from the cold, then a cut to a distressed child crying as his mother carries him back to the school. She signs the contract with his thumb print in blood and leaves without a word. Shitou welcomes him as "Douzi" [Bean]. The two boys soon become good friends.

A few years later. Laizi, craving freedom and candied crab apples, and Douzi escape, but return after seeing a performance by an opera master that makes Laizi weep and ask how they became stars, and how much they had to endure to become stars. Another reason for Douzi to return is his longing for Shitou. As Master Guan brutally beats Shitou for allowing the escape of Laizi and Douzi, Laizi hides to eat his crab apples. Douzi walks to the beating bench to accept his punishment. Master Guan begins to beat him mercilessly, but Douzi never screams though Shitou begs him to say he is sorry. Shitou charges the master but the assistant yells for the master to come: Laizi has hanged himself.

Douzi attaches himself to Shitou and is trained to play Dan (female) roles. He practices the monologue "Dreaming of the World Outside the Nunnery," but when he is to say, "I am by nature a girl, not a boy" he instead says "I am by nature a boy..." The monologue comes from the kunqu "The Record of an Evil Sea," kuhai (the Evil Sea) being a Buddhist term for a life of sorrow. Shitou learns the jing, a painted-face male lead.

When the famous theatrical agent, Na Kun, a Manchu, visits the troupe, Douzi is brought out to recite his bravura role, but he says again "I am by nature a boy," and the agent begins to leave. With the future of the troupe at risk, Shitou twists a tobacco pipe into Douzi's throat until he gargles in his own blood. Suddenly there is a soft whisper of, "I am by nature a girl... not a boy."

Jump cut to Douzi in full costume at an elaborate stage in front of a large audience in an elaborate private pavilion of the aging Eunuch Zhang, who admires him and his talent. Douzi and Shitou sing the famous duets, and the audience roars.

After their performance, the two are summoned for an audience with Eunuch Zhang. Shitou admires a beautiful sword in Zhang's collection, stating that if he were emperor, Douzi would be his queen. Douzi says that one day he hopes to give Shitou a sword like that. The boys are told Douzi is to meet Zhang alone.

Douzi walks in on the old man in a lascivious embrace with a young girl. Douzi is afraid as the man eyes him up and down. He wishes to find Shitou because,"I have to pee." The old man brings a glass dragon jar, tells him to pee, stares in lusty amazement at the boy's body, and reaches for him. Douzi tries to flee, but Zhang pushes him to the ground. Hours later he emerges, and Shitou cannot get him to say a word. On their way home, Douzi spies a baby abandoned in the street. Master Guan urges Douzi to leave the baby, saying "we each have our own fate, or yuanfen," but Douzi takes him in and eventually trains him.

Douzi and Shitou become stars of Beijing opera and take on the stage names Cheng Dieyi, and Duan Xiaolou. The adult Dieyi is in love with Xiaolou, but the sexual aspects of his affection are not returned. When they become a hit in Beijing, a patron, Yuan Shiqing, slowly courts Dieyi. Xiaolou, in the meantime, takes a liking to Juxian, a headstrong courtesan at the upscale House of Flowers. (Although she is later accused of being a "prostitute", she was somewhat more elevated than Dieyi's mother in the first part of the film).Xiaolou intervenes when a mob of drunk men harass Juxian and conjures up a ruse to get the men to leave her alone, saying that they are announcing their engagement. Juxian later buys her freedom and, deceiving him into thinking she was thrown out, pressures Xiaolou to keep his word. When Xiaolou announces his engagement to Juxian, Dieyi and Xiaolou have a falling out. Dieyi calls her "Pan Jinlian", a "dragon lady" from the novel Golden Lotus. Dieyi takes up with Master Yuan, who gives him Zhang's sword. Master Guan shames them into re-forming the troupe.

The complex relationship between these three characters is then tested in the succession of political upheavals that encompass China from the onset of the Second Sino-Japanese War. The film also follows the fates of Na Kun, who turns his theater troupe over to the new government after 1949, and the abandoned baby, who is trained in the female roles. He is called "Xiao Si", or "Little Fourth Brother", which has the same sound as "little death." They go through Japanese Occupation, Kuomintang regime, Liberation in 1949, as the People's Liberation Army enters the city, and the Cultural Revolution in which the traditional opera is attacked as feudal. The portrayal of these events led the film to be initially banned in China.

"Xiao Si" and Douzi have an argument about "Xiao Si" training and punishment at the end of which "Xiao Si" threatens revenge. On the eve of the Cultural Revolution, Shitou and Juxian are seen burning now contraband literature and clothing. After a few drinks, they rekindle their relationship. The next scene shifts to Shitou being questioned by the communist party on a few unpatriotic words he said years ago and overheard by their manager.

"Xiao Si" is seen in the background seemingly in a position of power. The Beijing opera troupe is taken out for questioning and offered a chance to repent. Under duress, Shitou confesses that Douzi performed for the Japanese and may have had a relationship with Yuan Shiqing. Douzi, enraged, tells the mob that Juxian was a prostitute. Shitou is forced to admit that he married a prostitute but swears that he doesn't love her and will never see her again. Juxian is crushed to hear his words and hangs herself. "Xiao Si" is seen in a gym practicing Concubine Yu's role, happy over having usurped Douzi's position. Communist cadre catch him in the act. His fate is unclear.

The film then jumps back to the first scene. Douzi and Shitou are practicing Farewell My Concubine. Their relationship seems to have mended since the tribunal and suicide of Shitou's wife. They exchange a smile and Shitou begins with the line that gave Douzi trouble forty years ago. Douzi makes the same error of finishing the line with he is not a girl. Shitou corrects him and they continue practicing. Douzi then commits suicide by sword in the same manner as in the play.
L² Scored: 8.5/10

L² Comment:
A very good film from fiction as the same name by novelist Lilian Lee Bik-Wah. In this film, Leslie Cheung definitely outshine all the others actors and actresses. So damn charming when he's in the chinese-opera makeup. Expression and twist and turn of the storyline has push the film up to a high level.

A 3 hour film is a bit short to show the whole life of Chen Die Yi, really marvelous. 2 thumbs up :)

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Jackass Number Two

Released Year: 2006
Directed by Jeff Tremaine

Casted by:
Johnny Knoxville
Bam Margera
Chris Pontius
Ryan Dunn
Dave England
Jason "Wee Man" Acuña
Preston Lacy
Ehren McGhehey

Well, nothing much to say but just enjoy the pictures.
L² Scored: 3.5/10

L² Comment:
This 2nd movie should be much more dangerous, wild and fun. But i think the DVD that i watch has deleted a lot of scenes... so, well~ that's all :)

Jackass: The Movie

Released Year: 2002
Directed by Jeff Tremaine (MTV Reality)

Casted by:
Johnny Knoxville
Bam Margera
Chris Pontius
Ryan Dunn
Dave England
Jason "Wee Man" Acuña
Preston Lacy
Ehren McGhehey
Just enjoy the pictures
L² Scored: 4.5/10

L² Comment:
Silly people from MTV doing all sorts of crazy things... some of them are so funny yet is so damn dangerous... haha~ gonna watch the 2nd one soon :)

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Superman Returns

Released Year: 2006
Directed by Bryan Singer

Casted by:
Brandon Routh as Superman / Clark Kent
Kate Bosworth as Lois Lane
Kevin Spacey as Lex Luthor
James Marsden as Richard White
Superman, having been missing for five years, traveled to where astronomers believed they had discovered the remains of Krypton. During his absence, Lex Luthor was released from prison and married a rich widow to obtain her fortune upon her death. Superman, having failed in his hopes to find surviving Kryptonians, returns to Earth and, as Clark Kent, resumes his job at the Daily Planet in Metropolis. He subsequently learns that Lois Lane has won the Pulitzer Prize for her article "Why the World Doesn't Need Superman." Meanwhile, Luthor travels to the Fortress of Solitude and steals Kryptonian crystals, which he uses for an experiment that causes a power outage on the East Coast. The power loss interferes with the flight test of a space shuttle to be launched into space from its piggy-back mounting on an airliner, occupied by Lois Lane who is covering the story. Clark flies into action as Superman and stops the plane from crashing onto a baseball stadium.

The world rejoices at Superman's return, but he has difficulty coping with Lois' fiance, Richard White, nephew of Daily Planet editor-in-chief Perry White, and their son, Jason . With Superman distracted by an out-of-control vehicle (a diversion involving Luthor's henchwoman, Kitty Kowalski), Luthor steals Kryptonite from the Metropolis Museum of Natural History. Perry then assigns Lois to interview Superman while Clark investigates the blackout. Lois and Jason inadvertently board Luthor's ship and are captured after Lois decides to hold interest in the blackout story, which she connects to Luthor's experiment. He reveals to them his grand scheme of using one of the stolen Kryptonian crystals, which he has combined with the Kryptonite, to grow a new continental landmass in the Northern Atlantic Ocean that will cause sea levels to rise drastically, killing billions of people.

Seeing Jason seemingly have a slight reaction to Kryptonite, Luthor asks who Jason's father really is; Lois asserts that the father is Richard. The crystal begins to create Luthor's new landmass, while Lois attempts to escape but is attacked by a henchman. He is crushed to death by a piano, which Jason shoves into him, thus proving that he really is Superman's son. Meanwhile, Superman is attempting to minimize the destruction in Metropolis caused by the new landmass' growth when Richard arrives in a sea plane to rescue Lois and Jason. Superman soon arrives to help and then flies off to find Luthor.

Meeting Luthor, Superman discovers the landmass is filled with Kryptonite, which weakens him to the point that Luthor and his henchmen are able to beat him. Superman is stabbed by Luthor with a shard of Kryptonite and falls into the ocean. Lois makes Richard turn back to rescue Superman, whereupon she removes the Kryptonite from his back. Superman, after regaining his strength from the sun, lifts the landmass after putting layers of earth between him and the Kryptonite. Luthor and Kitty escape in their helicopter; Kitty, unwilling to let billions of people die, tosses away the crystals that Lex stole from the Fortress of Solitude. She and Luthor are stranded on a desert island when their helicopter runs out of fuel. Superman pushes the landmass into space, but is weakened by the Kryptonite and crashes back to Earth. Doctors remove more Kryptonite from Superman's wound, but after it is removed they cannot penetrate his skin with their surgical tools. While Superman remains in a coma, Lois and Jason visit him at the hospital where Lois whispers a secret into Superman's ear and then kisses him.

Superman later awakens and flies to visit Jason, reciting Jor-El's last speech to Jason as he sleeps. Lois starts writing another article, titled “Why the World Needs Superman”. Superman reassures her that he is now back to stay, and flies off to low orbit, where he gazes down at the world once again.
L² Scored: 6.5/10

L² Comment:
Superman used to be my all times favourite hero when i'm small. 4 years ago i even sit on the first roll in the cinema just to watch this movie. But definitely this is not a re-watch-type-of-movie. The storyline is a bit dull, the rival is not some sort of creatures of beast, just human being...how boring is that...

But luckily they have Brandon Routh as superman :) Cute and extremely good looking. But Routh and Bosworth don't seems to have much luck after this movie...

Bodyguards And Assassins 十月圍城

Released Year: 2009
Directed by 陳德森 Teddy Chen

Casted by:
梁家輝 Tony Leung as 陈少白 Bai
王学圻 XueQi-Wang as 李玉堂 Tang
胡军 Hu Jun as 阎孝国 Guo
谢霆锋 Nicholas Tse as 邓四弟 Shi
甄子丹 Donnie Yen as 沈重阳 Yang
王柏杰 PoChieh-Wang as 李重光 Guang
李宇春 YuChun-Li as 方红 Hong
巴特尔 Bateer as 王复明 Ming
黎明 Leon Lai as 刘郁白 Yu
范冰冰 BingBing-Fan as 月茹 Ru
曾志伟 Eric Tsang as 史密夫 Smith
张涵予HanYu-Zhang as 孙中山 Sun YatSen
張學友 Jacky Cheung as 杨衢云 Yun
任达华 Simon Yam as 方天 Tian
周韵 Zhou Yun as 阿纯 Chun
1906, a year which is very important for China. The time of revolution. Sun Yat Sen is gonna arrive in Guang Dong after his mate of war Yun been killed by Guo. Bai has gathered up everybody to protect Sun Yat Sen on his arrival. Tian is a former army and willing to help, but three days before Sun Yat Sen arrived, he was murdered. To make revenge, Hong the daughter joined force.

Tang is a businessman who support the team of revolution. His son Guang wanted to join forced but was rejected by the father. Tang's concubine, Ru begged Yang, her ex lover to protect Tang when Sun Yat Sen arrived. Guang sneaked out to Bai and willingly to help no matter how the servant Shi try to stop him. Tang eventually has helped Shi to proposed to Chun for a marriage after Sun Yat Sen left, therefore Shi join force too.

Tang has helped the beggar Yu to found his silver fan and he too willing to help for the country. Ming the ex monk also help out to protect. On the say Sun Yat Sen arrived, everyone fought and a lots of them sacrificed. In the end, Guang pretend to be Sun Yat Sen and mislead Guo away so that Sun Yat Sen can escaped safely. But this has cost Guang's life. But finally the revolution has successed.
L² Scored: 8.5/10

L² Comment:
A bit regret that I missed out this great film in cinema last year. With a lot of huge casting from Hong Kong and China, and a preparation for more than 10 years, finally the film took place and show us what they have.

Winning a lot of awards including best film, best director for teddy chen, best lead actor for XueQi-Wang, best supporting actor for Nicholas Tse.

And don't miss out the NBA player, a Mongolian Bateer and super pop singer YuChun-Li have presented their first time in the big screen. Even Michelle Reis has came out for the show after her marriage.

The only failure would be Leon Lai. I just feel that his wig is so so weird... and his expression... gosh... how to explain... but simply not the right things... i dun knw why, but he seems like a big failure in all the movie!!!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Sex & The City 2

Released Year: 2010
Directed by Michael Patrick King
Casted by:
Sarah Jessica Parker as Carrie Bradshaw
Kim Cattrall as Samantha Jones
Kristin Davis as Charlotte York Goldenblatt
Cynthia Nixon as Miranda Hobbes
Chris Noth as John James Preston / Mr. Big
John Corbett as Aidan Shaw
David Eigenberg as Steve Brady
Evan Handler as Harry Goldenblatt
Max Ryan as Dr. Rikard Spirt
Alice Eve as Erin
The 4 girls have been living happily until one day they feel threat over Erin, a young nanny whom Charlotte employed to take care of her 2 daughters. Samantha got invited to Abu Dhabi for a new job and she brought her 3 friends along.

They enjoyed and live like queens at there with all the charges paid. Carrie happened to meet her ex Aidan shopping in the flee market, feeling its faith, she promised to go out for a dinner no matter how Miranda and Charlotte tried to stop her. Eventually, she kissed Aidan and confronted it over the phone to Mr Big. Big cannot accept it and hung up the phone.

In the meanwhile, Samantha was flirting with Dr Rikard Sprit and tried to have sex at Abu Dhabi's beach. But this offended the Muslim law and was brought to police station. Luckily Miranda was there to help. Samantha was shoo out from the hotel and the 4 girls quickly packed their belongings and rush to airport. On their way back, Charlotte went to the flee market and they went into the fake-branded shop.

When they left, they misunderstood Samantha as a thief. When they are arguing, Samantha purse broke off and condoms flew all over. By wearing sexy and picking up condoms, the arabian guys feel insulted and Samantha even raised her middle fingers and showing her tempered. The 4 girls have to rush into a hut to hide and the Arabian woman who read Samantha book helps them to escaped.

Back to New York, everyone is happy with their life, and Mr Big forgive Carrie too.
L² Scored: 6/10

L² Comment:
Seriously, this is a sad sad movie for me... The girls look old... once again proved that no matter how pretty or young u once are... u will never defeat age and time... amen.... lol

Well, the storyline is a bit dull... it should be call sex and abu dhabi instead... right? The whole movie is just like an introduction to abu dhabi to the audience... silly and stupid... the guys are all on minor role... Noah Mills and Max Ryan are both hot!!!

But hopefully there will be no more Sex & the City 3... coz i stand it no more to watch them have all the wrinkles on their faces and still wear all those glam dresses... lol~ a new movie please !!!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Orphanage ( El Orfanato )

Released Year: 2007
Directed by Juan Antonio Bayona

Casted by:
Belén Rueda as Laura
Roger Príncep as Simón
Fernando Cayo as Carlos

In Spain, Laura returns to the dilapidated orphanage where she grew up, accompanied by her husband, Carlos, and their seven-year-old adopted son, Simón. Her plan is to reopen the orphanage as a facility for disabled children. Once there, Simón claims to see a boy named Tomás, whom he befriends and draws as a child wearing a sack mask. A social worker named Benigna Escobeda visits the orphanage, telling Laura that she has Simón's adoption file, which includes the fact that Simón is HIV-positive. Incensed at Benigna's intrusion, Laura sends her away. That night, Laura finds Benigna snooping around her coal shed, but Benigna escapes before Laura can confront her. Later, Simon teaches Laura a type of scavenger hunt game that Tomás taught him. The game involves hiding a person's possessions, with the player who recovers his final possession winning a wish. While playing the game, the clues lead to Simón's adoption file with an angry Simón saying his new friends told him that Laura is not his real mother and that he knows he is going to die.

During a children's party at the orphanage, Laura and Simón argue, and Simón hides from her. While searching for him, Laura is confronted by a boy in a sack mask with the name "Tomás" embroidered onto his shirt. The boy traps her in a bathroom, and when she escapes she finds that Simón is missing, and searches for him throughout the house and outside. The hunt leads her to a cave where she trips and injures herself. At a medical center, the police psychologist, Pilar, suggests to Laura and Carlos that Benigna may have abducted Simón. That night at home, a bedridden Laura hears unexplained banging in the walls.

Six months later, while searching in a snowy city in Northern Spain, Laura and Carlos spot Benigna pushing a baby carriage downtown. As Laura calls out to her, Benigna is suddenly hit and killed by a speeding van. Laura rushes to Benigna's carriage, but finds only a doll wearing Tomás' sack mask. The police search Benigna's home and find evidence revealing that Benigna worked at the orphanage long ago and that she had a son named Tomás who was at the orphanage. He wore a sack-like mask over his head due to his deformity and was housed away from the other children in a separate room. Tomás was accidentally killed by the children of the orphanage who stole his mask near a beach cave, which is accessible at low tide. Embarrassed, Tomás hid in the cave, resulting in his death by drowning. In desperation, Laura goes to a medium named Aurora, seeking clues to her son's disappearance. With clues from the medium, Laura searches the orphanage grounds and discovers the remains of the orphans she grew up with who were killed by Benigna and stored in sacks of bone and ashes that were hidden inside the coal storage outside the house.

Unable to cope with the situation, Carlos leaves the orphanage as Laura promises him she will be done in two days. Laura attempts to contact the ghost children and soon begins to see them around her when she initiates a game of pili-pili, that she used to play while growing up at the orphanage. The ghosts lead her to a hidden door leading to a basement room. In the room, she discovers Simón alive and hugs him in a blanket. As the ghost children vanish, Laura finds that the blanket is empty and the body of the deceased Simón lies behind her. She realizes that she had inadvertently caused Simón's death (she had accidentally blocked the hidden door to the basement where he was playing, trapping him inside), and that the unexplained noises she had heard were Simón trying to get out. Laura carries Simón's body upstairs and swallows all of his medication, begging to be with Simón again. Laura's wish is granted as the ghosts of the dead children appear and Simón comes to life in Laura's arms. Simón then tells Laura that his wish was for her to stay and take care of all the orphans.

Some time later, Carlos walks alone over to the gravestones for Laura, Simón, and the orphans which stand outside the orphanage. Carlos returns to the orphans' old bedroom and finds a medallion from St. Anthony, the seeker of lost articles, that he gave to Laura on the floor. He hears the sound of the bedroom door opening; as he looks up he slowly smiles.
L² Scored: 3/10

L² Comment:
A bit disappointing on this Spanish aka Mexican horror movie :( A lot of people recommend me to watch it but seriously the story is simple and predictable. The only best thing of this movie is that Belen Rueda is a really really good actress. Hopefully can get to watch her other movie as well.