Whale of a Tale Productions

A Post Production Company
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Match Point by Woody Allen (2005)

Not just the return to form that is so much being touted in the news for Woody Allen, but possibly a turning point in his career because this is his best film in a long time, and not only that a film that is so different than what he usually makes not only in it’s change of location from New York to London, but also in the fact that their is no character like Woody Allen in the film. This film is amazing, and unexpected, with wonderful performances. This is such a great film, up their with Annie Hall, Manhattan, Stardust Memories and Sweet and Lowdown. Thank you Woody.

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The New World by Terrence Malick (2005)

I have to admit to being a fan of Terrence Malick’s dreamlike cinema style, and this new film of his was no exception. This is a really powerful tale, expertly told with very little dialogue, and only minor quibbles, which mainly would be the score, which is very repetitive, and seems to only have 2 main themes, one of which sounds like one of the themes from Braveheart. The film is gorgeous though, and the their is so much story and emotion portrayed just in the actor’s faces to make this film really really impressive to behold. In fact I would say this is Collin Farrell’s best role yet, and the one that really proved he can act, at least with the right director. And of course Q’Orianka Kilcher as Pocahontas is phenomenal, and she is just 15 turning 16 now, so she was younger than that when they filmed.

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Munich by Steven Spielberg (2005)

I have been losing faith in Steven Spielberg for sometime I have to admit. I really didn’t like War of the Worlds, The Terminal, Catch Me if You Can, Minority report, AI, Amistad, The Lost World, and even Saving Private Ryan which I loved had those damn horrible beginning and end tagged on which really bothered me. Amazingly I have to say he has returned to form in this film, and without as much of the purposely placed crying moments, such as the girl’s red dress in Schindler’s list. This is just an amazing film. A film with a great message that violence begets violence, and that it does with some amazing performances, and extreme violence of these terrorist actions.

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Brokeback Mountain by Ang Lee (2005)

This movie has had huge amounts of press, and I must say I usually like Ang Lee (Except for that horror called THE HULK), and I have been a fan of Jake Gyllenhaal since Donnie Darko, and have never disliked Heath Ledger, so I was excited to see this. And in fact it actually surpassed my expectations. Yes this is about a gay love affair between cowboys, but really at it’s essence it is just a love story about people that are forced apart by the conventions of society. Of course I should have know I would like it considering it is from a short story by E. Annie Proulx and with a screenplay written by Larry McMurtry. And really the performances by these young actors are beyond phenomenal. I can’t recommend this film more.

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Samurai Rebellion by Kobayahsi Masaki (1967)

I am sure I have said it before, and I am sure I will say it again, Toshiro Mifune is the man. He is just so damn cool, and so hard to stop. And in this movie it is no exception. This is an excellent tale of rebellion when samurai find that their lords rule is in fact tyrannical and unjust, and will risk their lives to take the world. A powerful message in a Japanese tale, especially one about Samurai who are supposed to follow the orders of their master without question. An excellent and spectacular. I highly recommend this film.

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Kingpin by Bobby and Peter Farrelly (1996)

Now I am not usually a fan of American comedies, or at least these type of comedies, I prefer my comedies blacker, and maybe more British or for slapstick I prefer Hong Kong, or Wong Jing style comedies, but I saw this film a long time ago and enjoyed it, so I watched it on cable today. Sure it is ridiculous, but still a wonderful and fun tale with some hysterical performances, especially by the amazing Bill Murray. This movie is just plane fun.

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Pride & Prejudice by Joe Wright (2005)

Amazing how often Jane Austen novels get adapted, I mean this was adapted in what 1995 with Colin Firth, and then last year with Bride & Prejudice the Bolly-Hollywood musical version, but I had heard great things about this one and wanted to see it. Besides Keira Knightley is very beautiful and is proving to be a good actress. Well I must say I greatly enjoyed the adaption. It is beautifully shot with great steadicam and crane shots throughout, and a wonderful moment when Keira Knightly and Matthew MacFadyen are dancing, and they become the only people in a room filled with people. A wonderful moment, and a wonderful love story. And interesting that the character of Mr. Wickham takes a back seat in this adaption. My favorite Jane Austen adaption since the excellent SENSE AND SENSIBILITIES.

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The Flying Dagger by Chang Cheh 1968

I have to admit I got this film because of Cheng Pei Pei, but it really isn’t her film, it is really Lo Lieh’s film, and I am fine with that because it is a good and enjoyable film. They cheaped out a bit and the opening scene and titles are in black and white, but then the film jumps into full color, and is enjoyable with a good story. This is well worth checking out.

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King Kong by Peter Jackson (2005)

OK maybe I am biased since I worked 3 years on the Lord of the Rings DVD’s and have worked on and off for the last year on the Kong is King web site, and on various things for the King Kong DVD, but I loved this film. Now my one complaint of the original trailer was that Skull Island seemed too digital, and that still stands. Middle Earth looked so real because it used real locations all over New Zealand as well as sets, and this film is just all sets, so it doesn’t look as real as it could. WIth the exception of Kong who looks so real it is amazing. He portrays so much emotion that Andy Serkis and Weta Digital have to be congratulated for topping what they did with Gollum with this fierce and majestic creature. And hopefully the 1976 debacle can now be completely erased from our memory, and we can just have the original and this exquisite remake. Peter Jackson has certainly done it again, now I don’t think this will make LOTR numbers, but it should do very well, and they deserve all the accolades they can get. Lets hope the DVD is an extended edition, as their could certainly be more to it, Universal do what New Line did, please!!!

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Samaritan Girl 사마리아 by Kim Ki-duk (김기덕) (2004)

Hmmm, had heard really good things about Kim Ki Duk, and had wanted to see some of his films, and this was interesting, though I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone. It is about a bunch of fucked up people pretty much, and especially a little girl and her father.

Han Yeo-reum (한여름) plays Yeo Jin a high school girl who manages her best friend in her amateur prostitution, fixing dates and collecting money. Her best friend is the pretty Jae Yeong (Kwak Ji-min 곽지민)), who likes making friends with her patrons. Yeo Jin’s father is a police detective, so eventually their lives cross. Jae Yeong jumps from the second story of a love hotel and lands on her head to escape the police, and Yeo Jin takes her to the hospital. She wants to find her parent’s, but jaw Yeong gets her to bring her favorite client a Musician (Woo Yong 오용) who won’t come unless Yeo Jin first sleeps with him.

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Girl with the Diamond Slipper by Wong Jing (1985)

Wong Jing can be a mixed bag, with some amazing, and some horrible films, but with Maggie Cheung Man Yuk in it I had to take the chance, and absolutely loved it! It is great fun, with funny comedy and great action, and jumbled together, and it makes one hell of a fun film. Even if I don’t think Maggie should have ended up with the loser thief! i highly recommend this film!
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The Jade Face Assassin by Yen Chuan (1970)

Yea you know it already, if Ho Li Li is in it I will probably be seeing it! And this was such a fun film! Sure it reminds me of the Silver Fox with Ho Li Li once again being the daughter of someone who grows up to be an amazing warrior, though I did enjoy this film more. This is a really great martial arts romp with Ho Li Li right in the forefront, and is well worth checking out. Damn I love these old Shaw Brother’s films!!

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Tom Yum Goong by Prachya Pinkaew (2005)

I was sold after seeing Ong Bak I was sold on this team of Tony Jaa and Prachya Pinkaew, and this film just cemented it more. Once again I hear complaints about the story, well it isn’t a bad story, it is just a simple story. Ong Bak was about a man going to get his stolen Buddha. In this film a man is going to find his stolen elephants. As simple as that, and a great set up for some incredible action scenes. I mean this film really has to be seen to be believed. The capoiera fight is unbelievable. This is a must see!!

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Samurai 7 by Gonzo 2004

Usually I am not a fan of remakes, but I did enjoy the Magnificent 7, the western adaption of Akira Kurosawa’s masterwork THE SEVEN SAMURAI. And I did enjoy this re-interpretration of the classic story, though it is a bit surreal. In this Samurai are really supermen that can deflect huge cannon shots with their swords, and their are legions of giant robots, that samurai can dispatch with ease, even though they have powerful weapons. I liked the characters and enjoyed the update.

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The Myth by Stanley Tong (2005)

I heard when this movie bombed in China, and got passed in the box office by a Korean film, Jackie made a statement about him being too old. Which may be true, if this film is to tell. It is all effects. I just want to see Jackie as Jackie or I want to see him direct and have a protege, and he can play the prot

Save the Green Planet 지구를 지켜라! by Jang Joon-hwan (장준환) (2003)

An interesting though twisted movie, and I must say I expected the ending, just because the film needed a twist to it. Korea has certainly had it’s fair share of completely disgusting revenge films of late, and this one has an added twist. Are we watching the twisted mind of a serial killer, or could this crazy man be right that Aliens have invaded earth and he must contact them to save his mother from her 5 year long coma. Interesting but not too great. I certainly wouldn’t watch it again.
Lee Byeoung Gu (Sin Ha-gyoon 신하균) is a man who has gone over the edge. He has had a horrible life, and his mother has dropped into a coma after an accident at a chemical factory. And he is now convinced that Aliens from Andromeda have come to earth, and have the same genetic structure, but very different nervous systems. He and his girlfriend, the chubby and ugly tight rope walking Su ni kidnap the factory owner Kang Man Shik and torture him to find out about the alien invasion.
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Memoirs of a Geisha by Rob Marshall (2005)

Now I know this was an American story, that failed miserably on it’s release in Japan, but I was hoping the Hollywood rendition might go back to the roots, and delve into some of the life of a Geisha, but of course I was wrong. Not that I didn’t have my doubts, especially with the casting of 3 Chinese actresses as the 3 principles in the film, but I still had my hopes. Instead we get a cheesy love story filled with the mysteries of the orient as seen by director Rob Marshall, whose oscar hopes for this year have crashed and burned. I didn’t like the film, but I have to say that THE LAST SAMURAI was so much more faithful to Japan than this film. Now their were good performances in this film, especially Gong Li, and also Michelle Yeoh, but unfortunately Zhang Ziyi is her usual wooden self, and is completely outshone by the young girl that plays her in the beginning. And were not her eyes grey and not bright blue in the book?

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Millions by Danny Boyle (2004)

Certainly not the expected film from director Danny
Boyle who made Trainspotting and 28 days Later, but an excellent film
none-theless. A dark and quirky kids film, with an enjoyable story, some
wonderful moments, and a child’s struggle with ethics in the face of greed.
Really a wonderful film.

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Live 8 DVD 2005

From the sequel to the seminal Live Aid concert of the 1980’s, and once again to help the poverty stricken in Africa. This concert took place all over the world on July 2nd 2005, and features many prominent musicians the world over, but I have to admit I bought it for one reason, and one reason only. I bought the DVD to see and hear the return of Roger Waters to Pink Floyd. In fact I would be much happier with Pink Floyd reunion concert. Sure their are otehr great bands there, but Floyd is the reason to watch. In fact I have to admit to not even watching the whole DVD, as I don’t like most of the bands. I guess that is what turning 30 is.

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From the Earth to the Moon, Various Directors (1998)

This is really the only HBO mini series I missed. I didn’t get cable or HBO until BAND OF BROTHERS, which was also produced by Tom Hanks came on the air. I have wanted to see this for a long time, but just didn’t get around to buying it or watching it. And then I saw MAGNIFICENT DESOLATION: WALKING ON THE MOON at the IMAX, and realized just how much I wanted to see this. Well I have to say I was not disappointed. This is an excellent series that goes very in depth into the whole of the Apollo space flights and the United States manned missions to the moon. This is a great series and well worth checking out.

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Ghost in a Shell Stand Alone Complex 2nd SAC (2004)

Wow. I have loved everything GHOST IN A SHELL that I have seen, but was surprised by the fact that this second season actually seemed to top the first season and the laughing man story-line. Sure it isn’t as violent or surreal as the Oshii films of the same name, but this had some hands on by Masamune Shirow which brings it own complexity to the storyline. I must say these 2 series are some of the best anime I have ever seen. I hope they do another season and soon! Check it out on Adult Swim on the Cartoon Network if you haven’t seen it as of yet!

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Melinda and Melinda by Woody Allen (2004)

Wow, has Woody Allen really sunken so low, so low that the best character in his film is played by Will Ferrell? Yes I guess he has. This movie had so much promise and just threw it all away with some of the worst, most stilted dialogue I have ever seen. I hear his new film is a return to form, and I hope so because Woody really needs a good film, unfortunately this isn’t it.

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Jarhead by Sam Mendes (2005)

I finally finished seeing this film. The first time I got food poisoned and had to leave after half an hour much to the chagrin to me and my girlfriend, but vomiting all over the other guests wouldn’t have ingratiated me too well, and I was getting really dizzy!

This film totally rocks. A modern film about a man going to war, after choosing to join the Marine’s and realizing he may have made a wrong choice, and yet wanting the war so badly it hurts, and then not really having his own war, and yet being completely changed by it, without firing a single shot in anger. Based on a 2003 book by the same name, this film is fantastic. Showing the mentality of the volunteer army, and the people who join it to defend their nation, weather that means fighting in other countries that are no threat to the US, or defending their home turf. These are war machines, trained to kill and be killed, and wanting nothing more than to go head to head with the enemy, even if they don’t believe what they are fighting for.

And a good commentary on modern times, since the ground war in Operation Desert Storm lasted a mere 4 and a half days, and the current ground war in Iraq is still going on after 2 years with no end in sight. It seems obvious W was looking for the same thing, but never planned on any resistance after the war, expecting an easy win, and huge oil fields to call our own.

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The Ice Harvest by Harold Ramis (2005)

I have to say I am a huge fan of Harold Ramis, and especially GROUNDHOG DAY, and am even a bigger fan of John Cusack, and was hoping for a new Gross Point blank with this film, but oh was I wrong. This film has a huge amount of talent attached to it, but unfortunately it is wasted in a film that is mediocre at best. The story isn’t very special, and you really don’t like any of the characters, not even Cusack’s character, who never seems at all like-able, or as bad as he is made out to be. This film is just a bomb all the way around, and should never have gotten a theatrical release, because this is a film to be seen on bad cable or on a lame night when renting films. Don’t bother with this one. My girlfriend hated the trailer (and I guess Cusack as well), and she was right that we should have stayed away from this one!

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Star Trek The New Voyages Episode 2 “In Harm’s Way” The Special Edition by Jack Marshall (2004)

These are by far the most impressive fan made films I have ever seen, and I love the return to classic stories, such as the Doomsday Device, and even the return of a very mobile Captain Christopher Pike. And it is good to see the old Enterprise really put through her paces, and moving at really impressive speeds. The acting seems to be getting better as well, and I am sure will improve with time. Sure, some of the effects are too much (the Faragut flying down to the surface of a planet to go through a gateway), but the show really keeps with the original’s feel, look and heart. This is a must see for all Star Trek fans!

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