Whale of a Tale Productions

A Post Production Company
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Blade Runner the Final Cut by Ridley Scott (1983-2007)

I do love Blade Runner, it has been one of my favorite films for some time, and the effects still hold up to this day. I have seen the original, the Criterion version with more violence and the director’s cut, and read Paul M. Sammon’s book FUTURE NOIR: THE MAKING OF BLADE RUNNER, and since then have been dying to see the Work Print and then this much vaunted Final Cut. I even tried to get onto the DVD since I like this film so much, but had a little disagreement with the producers. And this film has never looked better, though I was actually surprised at how little this version differed from the Director’s cut from so long ago. With an added shot of Joanna Cassidy instead of the stunt women and a few fixed effects, it still seems almost the same, with almost none of the missing footage from the book. I guess I will have to watch the Workprint to see that. And I when I watch the docs I will also write about those, but this is on the Final Cut.

Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford) is a retired Blade Runner in a future dystopian Los Angeles. Technology has advanced to the point where mankind can make humanoid replicants to serve them and work as slaves, but they are illegal on Earth, so Blade Runners are special police who hunt them, using a device called a void comp test human emotions which the short lived replicants do not have. Deckard’s replacement Holden (Morgan Paull) was shot in the throat by a Replicant named Leon (Brion James) who was working at the Tyrell corporation run by Eldon Tyrell (Joe Turkell) who manufacture replicants. Deckard’s old boss Bryant (M. Emmet Walsh) sent out Gaff (Edward James Olmos) to bring Deckard in, and explain to him that he has no choice but to take the job and hunt these new Nexus 6 Replicants that have returned to Earth. Deckard’s first stop is the Tyrell corporation who he meets Tyrell and his niece Rachael (Sean Young). Tyrell is supposed to give Deckard a Nexus 6 to test, but he tells Deckard he wants to see a negative first, so he test Rachel, but Deckard after much testing shows she is a replicant. Tyrell has her leave and explains that they implanted the memories of Tyrell’s niece into her to give a base for an emotional response, making them easier to deal with. Deckard then heads out to check out Leon’s apartment.

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A Clockwork Orange adapted and directed by Stanley Kubrick (1971)

A disturbing dystopian vision of the future, and an all time classic, which has never looked better than this HD DVD version. Warner did an absolutely amazing job with this disk, and this is a must see. It has never looked better! Such a disturbing film, and Malcolm McDowwell is so amazing as the anti-hero who we love, but hate, and cheer when he comes through at the end, no matter how bad he is.

In the year 2017, the world is a dark and dismall place and we are following a young man named Alex (Malcolm McDowell) who skips out on his reform school, and spends his time with his gang members, or droogs, Dim (Warren Clarke), Georgie (James Marcus) and Pete (Michael Tarn). They dress in identical outfits, and go out and perform acts of ultraviolence, beating homeless people, rival gangs, and performing home invasions, including the home of Mr. Alexander (Patrick Magee) who they hurt and rape his wife. His teachers are on to him, but have not caught him yet. And their is trouble with Alex’s droogs, who don’t like how they are being treated. Alex beats the hell out of them, and then agrees to do the big robbery they want, but Alex goes too far and commits a murder, and his droogs turn on him, so he is put in prison.

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Lady of Steel by Mo Meng Hua (1969)

Another overly complex martial arts film, with some pretty cheesy special effects. Cheng Pei is as great as always, but the film is a little much, and certainly not one of the Shaw’s best films. Only go for it if you are a huge Cheng Pei Pei fan. This is of course another Region 3 disc, and is anamorphic so it looks great.

Cheng Pei Pei plays a woman whose family was murdered by some evil villains when she was a child, but she was raised by a kindly martial arts master (Goo Man Chung), and is out to seek. She works with a group of good martial arts masters, but they have a demon in their midst, played by Wong Chung Shun. Cheng Pei Pei goes out and does good, and meets the head of the beggars (Yueh hua) who helps her and becomes her ally. Wong Chung Shun uses this connection to cheat her, and causes her to be thought of as the traitor, so she must escape to prove her name. She goes out an hooks up with Yueh Hua again to go and clear her name.

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Into the Mirror 거울속으로 written and directed by Kim Seong-ho(김성호) 2007

I picked this one up because Yoo Ji Tae has proven to be a good actor in the past (especially disturbing in Old Boy), and this is an enjoyable horror film with an interesting conceit, a world behind the mirror. A fun film with an enjoyable ending. I actually watched the Chinese Region 3 disc of this film, which has English subs, and is significantly cheaper than the Korean disc.

At a huge department store named Dreampia in Seoul there was a huge fire the year before under unusual circumstances, and they are now working to re-open the store on time and restore money to the stock holders. A woman named Choi Mi Jeng (Lee Yeong Jin 이영진) steals a MP3 for her friends birthday, and also a pizza cutter, then her image in the mirror uses the pizza cutter to slice her throat, though it is deemed a suicide. Now we meet Yong-min (Yoo Ji-tae 유지태) a former police inspector, who had some accident where he caused his partner to be shot, and is no longer a police, but works for his uncle as security at Dreampia. Then another worker has an apparent suicide by shoving a pen into his ear, and the actual police are brought in to check the possible serial killer. A former colleague of his is brought in, his name is Hyeon-su (Kim Myeong-min (김명민) who has nothing but contempt for Yong Min. The security director gives Yong Min a gun and tells him to investigate on his own. Yong-min finds that there was a single employee death in the fire, and the rest of the people in her department are the ones who are dying, including one who quite and is going insane in his apartment, bouncing like a mad man.

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The Bucket List by Rob Reiner (2007)

I am a fan of Rob Reiner and his films, though this wasn’t on the top of my lists even with Jack Nicholson and MOrgan Freeman in it. This felt too cookie cutter, with terrible visual effects (they travel the world from a green screen stage, and sky dive with terrible face replacement). Sure it is a feel good film, and a tear jerker, but just felt overly contrived to me overall, and could have been much better. Sure Nicholson is as awesome as always and so is Morgan Freeman, but the material is still pretty contrived. I cannot recommend this one too much.

Carter Chambers (Morgan Freeman) is a mechanic with encyclopedic knowledge who starts coughing up blood and ends up in the hospital dyeing of cancer. He has a loving wife Virginia (Beverly Todd) and family, and is consigned to die. Edward Cole (Jack Nicholson) is a bastard who buys out hospitals and makes them into businesses, with 2 patients in every room, who also starts coughing up blood, and the surly man ends up as Carter’s roommate, though his only visitor is his assistant Thomas (Sean Hayes) who he treats like shit, and his doctor (Rob Morrow from Northern Exposure). The two completely but heads at first, but just as they both find out that they have at best 1 year to live they make friends. And Carter was writing a list called a Bucket List with the things he wanted to do before he kicked the bucket, and since Edward is so rich, he says they should go do it, but adds things like sky diving and kissing the most beautiful woman in the room. Carter wants to live some, he never went to college to support his kids and grandkids, and wants to live, though his wife is totally pissed off at him, but he decides to go with Edward.

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I am Legend by Francis Lawrence (2007)

I really am a fan of Will Smith, he just seems like such a likable guy, so I had wanted to see this film, the third time this post-apocalyptic story has been adapted for the screen (the last time as OMEGA MAN with Charlton Heston). And this is a good monster disaster movie, though digitally making New York deserted worked better than the creatures which seem like pale imitations of Gollum, and honestly I thought the ending could have been done much better than it was. Still I did enjoy it, and Will Smith was able to carry this film all by himself, he really has that much charisma (and damn if he isn’t more ripped than I though was possible). A note is that the film is shot almost all handheld, so it is very shaky cam, and actually made my Fiancee Kelly very sick watching it. They should warn people on films like this, but that didn’t actually bother me other than wishing it hadn’t made Kelly so sick. And honestly I do get pretty annoyed by the constant shake of action films now days, I really wish SteadiCam would come back. Still this is a decent popcorn movie with some pretty impressive effects, so it is worth seeing, at least on video.

A top US Scientist created a supposed cure for cancer, it was a virus, designed to do good, and it worked 100 percent, but then problems developed. Now Robert Neville (Will Smith) is the last man in New York City, he is a soldier and a scientist, and is working on the cure for the rest of the population that is still actually alive. Most died, some were turned into creatures of the night, allergic to the sun, and living as feral beasts in buildings and at night, and a few were immune, Neville among them. It has been 3 years and he lives alone with his dog Sam (actually Samantha) scavenging, watching videos, and working on a cure. He broadcasts a radio message trying to find survivors and waits for them every day at the docs, a place that has a horrible past for him.

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Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street by Tim Burton (2007)

I used to love TIm Burton, but that quickly went away with his string of terrible films, like Mars Attacks!, Sleepy Hollow, Planet of the Apes and Corpse Bride, but this film looked pretty damn good, and so my mom and I went to see it, and enjoyed it greatly. The production design is amazing, as is the cinematography and directing. And the story and music are of course wonderful, as are the singing of both Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter who are not professional singers. And the film is literally drowned in blood. Sure the blood is red paint red, but it flows so much I am amazed this could get an R rating, but I am glad it did, because this isn’t just a great film, it is an absolute must see! This is certainly the Christmas film of the year! This is such a fun and enjoyable film.

Benjamin Barker (Johnny Depp) was a barber in London living a happy life with his gorgeous wife Lucy (Laura Michelle Kelly) and his newborn baby Johanna, but an evil Judge named Turpin (Alan Rickman) had his eye on Lucy and arrested Benjamin and had him sent away to Prison. Benjamin got out and was found at see by a young sailor named Anthony Hope (Jamie Campbell Bower), but Benjamin has changed his named as he has changed and is returning to London as Sweeney Todd. Sweeney returns hoping to find his family, but instead finds Mrs Lovett (Helena Bonham Carter) a woman who knew him and loved him in the past and tells him that Turpin raped Lucy and she took Arsenic to kill herself, and the judge took Johanna (now Jayne Wisener) and raised her as his ward to later marry her. Mrs. Lovett runs a failing meet pie restaurant as she can’t get any meet, and lets Sweeney move back into his place upstairs, giving him back his silver razors and letting him start his business again.

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Charlie Wilson’s War by Mike Nichols (2007)

The True Story of Democratic Representative Charles Nesbitt Wilson of the 2nd Congressional District in Texas who funded a war in Afghanistan against the soviets and which later became the funding for Al Queda and the problems we are having in the middle East. An amazing film with 2 fantastic performances from Tom Hanks and the always good Philip Seymour Hoffman. This is getting a lot of flak, but this is totally true, and it is true, that we basically trained the people who became Al Queda, and if we had finished the job, and actually rebuilt Afghanistan the problem would never had occurred. And the amazing thing is we are doing the exact same thing to Iraq now, except we are the Russian invaders this time around. This is certainly award material and I hope it at least gets partially recognized, because they did an amazing job.

The film starts with Charlie Wilson (Tom Hanks) getting an award from the Intelligence community as a Fellow for his work in getting the Soviets out of Afghanistan and helping to end the cold war. Then we cut back to the story of how it happened. with Charlie in a hotel room in Vegas in a hot tub with some strippers a movie producer and a playboy bunny. We only see him drinking, and in fact seems more interested in Dan Rather’s report on the Mujahadin in Afghanistan than being there with a Producer who wants money out of him to make a Dallas type show set in Washington DC. Charlie returns to Washington, with a new interest in the War in Afghanistan. When Charlie returned to Washington he requested a doubling of the Congressional Appropriations Committee black ops funding for Afghanistan from 5 Million to 10 Million dollars. Charlie then gets a call from the richest woman in Texas Joanne Herring (Julia Roberts), and an invite to a party, and he goes with his assistant Bonnie Bach (Amy Adams). Joanne is raising money for the fight in Afghanistan and even showing a film about the plight, though she is fighting for the Christian perspective. Joanne sleeps with Charlie and wants him on her side to go against the communist Soviets in Afghanistan. And shortly thereafter he is put in touch with a CIA agent on the outs with the agency who has been put in charge of Afghanistan, and this is Gust Avrakotos (Philip Seymour Hoffman). Right when Gust arrives, Charlie learns he is under investigation for Heroin usage, but he doesn’t let that stop him from getting help from Gust and using his power in the congress as a congressman who is owed many favors to get more and more money and start making deals to get money to the Afghanis.

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Juno by Jason Reitman (2007)

I thought the trailer looked really funny, and this film just looked quirky, and I have to say it was right. This is a really cute film with witty dialogue and some great performances. And Ellen Page is going to be huge. She does such a great job here with some really snappy dialogue and really pulls it off. Sure she can be a bit over the top in some instances, but the film really pulls together and works. And really everyone is so damn good, the father played by J.K. Simmons and the step mom played by Allison Janney are both amazing as are both Jennifer Garner in the most moving role I have seen her in and Jason Bateman. This movie is really a must see. A quirky indie with quite a bit of mainstream appeal.

The film starts with the 16 year old Juno MacGuff (Ellen Page who is super cute and has such a great personality in this that you know she is just going to be huge) taking stomping down to her local seven eleven drinking a gallon of Sunny D and being berated by it’s cashier (Rainn Wilson) as she takes her third pregnancy test and once again getting a positive. Juno calls her best friend Leah (Olivia Thirlby), a cheerleader with a thing for older teachers, and she laughs it off as they discuss where to get an abortion. She gets Leah’s friend to help her move the chair and furniture set to the yard of the father, Paulie Bleeker (Michael Cera) who comes out to run for track, and sees her, and she tells him the hard facts, and that she is going to take care of it, so he runs off, a little crestfallen, and Juno heads out to get it taken care of. Outside is a Chinese girl Su Chin (Vaelrie Tian) protesting abortions, and Juno goes in and is ready to do it, but something stops her, and she decides to have the kid and give it away. Leah finds a couple in the penny saver that really wants a child, and Juno decides she will give it to them, but first she must tell her parents.

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Ju Dou by Zhang Yimou and Yang Fengliang (1991)

The first Chinese language film to be nominated for an academy award, and is of course a partnership with Gong Li, who really makes the film with her amazing performance. This is a horrible tragedy, but an an amazing film about that time in Chinese history and what it could be like for women.

Ju Dou takes place in early 20th century China. Yang Tianqing (Li Baotian) returns from a trip selling silk to his adoptive uncle Yang Jinshan (Li Wei). Jinshan has just purchased his third wife, after beating the last 2 to death. THis is Ju Dou (Gong Li) and since she hasn’t gotten pregnant he beats the hell out of her, but in fact he is impotent. Tianqing instantly likes Ju Dou and carves a whole in teh wall so he can watch her bather. She discovers the whole, and at first is worried, but then realizes maybe it will be a way out. She and Tianqing make love and a child Tianbai is born, though Jinshan thinks it is his own.

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Interpol 009 by Yang Shu Hsi (1967)

Another swinging 60’s James Bond rip, and with a quick cameo by Ho Li Li, so I am of course there. Not the best film certainly, but still fun overall in a ridiculous over the top way. And amazingly the music is not a bond rip-off and is actually good. This film is silly fun.

Tang Ching is the titular Interpol agent 009 who is sent to Hong Kong to stop a counterfeit operation making American bills and sneaking them around in cars. He meets a woman singer on the plane (Sam Yi) another women who works for the counterfeiters (Margaret Tu Chuan). The woman counterfeiter and her right hand (Ku Feng) follow him, so he gets arrested and in jail meets a thief that hooks up with him. 009 must stay alive and stop the counterfeiters before they move on after this operation.

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Contract Lover by Alfred Cheung Kin Ting (2007)

I have to admit I only saw this for Fan Bing Bing after seeing her in Flash Point, and she is certainly cute here. This is a stupid romantic comedy all the way around, but I have to admit i did laugh. It is pretty funny, and I actually liked the ending. And of course Yuen Wah is fun. And even Richie Ren isn’t too bad in this, though I am never really a fan. An enjoyable one off, just don’t expect anything except a couple of laughs.

Fat (Richie Ren) is a rich investment banker in Beijing with a very non-traditional girlfriend named Rachel (Kate Tsui Tsz Shan). Rachel learns to pole dance and carries a condom for casual sex, so Fat can’t introduce her to his traditional father Master Fok (Yuen Wah). So Fat and Rachel decide to fool his father by employing a fake girlfriend to blow their mind, and make then easier to accept Rachel. They hire out of work college graduate Joe (Fan Bing Bing) and her gay American friend Alex (Ian Powers). And they go and try to blow the minds of Fok his wife, and Fat’s aunt.

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My Boyfriend is Type B (B형 남자친구) by Choi Seok-won (최석원) 2004

A typical and not so great Korean romantic comedy, and further showing the stereotype that Korean men seem to be quite the bastards. This guy doesn’t deserve this girl in the slightest. She is cute and nice and puts up with way too much from him. And the break into the one song is lame and not really needed. This guy is such a loser, and should not get the girl in the slightest. And she doesn’t even confront him about stealing and using her credit card. Lame.

Han Mi (Han Ji Hye 한지혜) is a beautiful college student who wants to find love. The one she meets is the loser Young Bin (Lee Dong Geon 이동건) who lives out of a Sauna, dumps girls for no reason, and has an expensive car, but no job. The meet by chance when she accidentally texts him, and then they run into each other as she gets off a bus, and their phones gets switched and hers gets broken, and she tries to steal his. Her roommate and cousin Chae Young (Shin ee 신이) runs a dating agency that runs on blood type, and she hates type B, which is of course what Young Bin is, while Han Mi is a nice A. So she tries to keep them apart, but Han Mi will have nothing of it.

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The Railroad 경의선 by Park Heung Shik 박흥식 (2006)

A really interesting art house film, not entirely successful, but certainly worth a watch. Combining 2 stories, one of adultery and one of tragedy and intertwining them into recovery for the 2 people involved. The stories are intercut, with us starting at the halfway mark and then going back to see what led us to there. The acting is top notch, and while not much happens in the film, it is interesting and certainly kept me watching throughout.

The first story involves Hanna (Son Tae-yeong 손태영) who is a guest lecturer at a university, and is having an affair with the full time professor (Baek Jong-hak 백종학). It turns out they met in college, when he was a graduate and she was a Freshmen, and then he went to Germany to study, and she did too, and they were together until he returned to Korea and got married, and she had to stay in Germany to finish her degree. The second story is of a subway driver named Man-soo (Kim Kang-woo 김강우) who works like mad, and has a strange and beautiful girl (Cha Seo-won 차서원) come and deliver him a magazine and coffee and a pastry and magazine once a month, though she strangely knows his schedule, and he knows nothing about her.

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Duel of Fists by Chang Cheh (1971)

I am a huge Ti Lung and David Chiang Dai Wei fan and also Chang Cheh, but for being the number 2 to Bruce Lee’s the Big Boss, this could have been a better film. Sure the action is great, but there is too much use of shaky camera moves and zooms, that do detract from the story, but that isn’t as bad as having this scope film presented in non anamorphic 4×3 screen size. Blech. Still David Chiang and Ti Lung are as enjoyable as always, even if the movie is only decent. The Action by Liu Chang Liang/Lau Kar Keung is of course top notch, and it is cool to see Ti Lung fight with a Thai Boxing style and David Chiang fight with Chinese boxing. A nice contrast. And the “stylish” outfits that David Chiang wears have to be seen to be believed!

Fan Key (David Chang Dai Wei) is a construction engineer, and martial artist. His father runs a chinese boxing school. His father has a heart attack when he is supposed to go to Thailand, and he leaves it to his son before he dies. It turns out Fan Key has an older brother from a Thai woman in Thailand, and all he has to go on is a photo of him as a kid, with 2 tattoos on his arm, and he knows that he is a Thai Boxer, so Fan Key goes to find his brother. In Thailand Wen Lie (Ti Lung) who is Fan Key’s brother has to make money for an operation for his mother, so he is entering a fight against the current champion Cannon (Guk Fung). A fight promoter named Qiang Ren (Chan Sing) tries to get them to sign with them, but Wen Lie refuses, and so the gangsters plan on killing him at the fight.

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The Dukes of Hazzard by Hay Chandrasekhar (2005)

While I was a fan of this show as a child (I mean who wasn’t) I stayed away from this film with a vengeance, but when I caught the opening on cable, I laughed pretty hard so I decided to tivo it. And you know what, I actually really enjoyed it. It really is just more of the same things that made the original show much fun. Idiot hick fun, and great and ridiculous car stunts. And they could have not cast this movie better. I can’t believe I am saying this, but I really liked this film. it is ridiculous fun.

Bo (Sean William Scott) and Luke (Johnny Knoxville) Duke are two cousins living in Hazard County. Bo drives an old 1969 Dodge Charger painted Orange and named the General Lee and he is the best driver in Hazard county, which is good because they drive moonshine for their uncle Jessie (Willie Nelson). Luke is the ladies man, always getting them in trouble by chasing the ladies. Their main nemesis is the evil Boss Hogg (Burt Reynolds) and Sheriff Rosco P. Coltrane (M.C. Gainey). There is also Deputy Enos Strate (Michael Weston) whom Daisy Duke (Jessica Simpson) can always shake her ass and get info from him. The boys crash the General Lee on some big construction trucks at a neighbors and head over to a bar, where they find out that the local race that Bo has won for the last 4 years has new competition in a competitive driver who came from Hazard named Billy Prickett (James Roday) who Boss Hogg has hired to come back and race. The boys friend Cooter (David Koechner) fixes the General Lee including painting a Confederate flag on top, and they head with it and some core samples they stole from boss Hogg to Atlanta and a girl that Bo used to love, and on the down low Luke used to date.

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Fox Volant on Snowy Mountain 雪山飛狐

Yes I am certainly a sucker for Chinese soap opera, especially a Wuxia one, even if it is overly sappy and ridiculous. I mean this one seems to teach that heroes will have a terrible life, and villains a much better one, and most people who fall off mountains survive, but I still did enjoy it. I was psyched to see it was shot in 16×9, but depressed to realize the disks were mastered in 4×3, so there was no anamorphic to it, which would have looked much better. I picked this up because of the amazing cast of Hong Kong actors who are in this. This is a terribly sad, and a bit repetitive soap opera, but I still enjoyed it overall, even if it does seem that the villains mostly do better than the heroes because the heroes are too righteous for their own good.

This starts off with grand Master Wu Yidao (Anthony Wong Chau Sam) and his Pregnant wife going to battle Grandmaster Miao Renfang also known as Unbeatable (Alex Fong) at the Snowy Mountain. The are fighting because of an ancestral promise, where 4 adopted brothers were fighting for the Han Generals against the Manchu in a losing battle. The General split their books of martial arts into 4 books and hid a clue to the treasure of Kublai Khan in each one. Then Wu’s ancestor pretended to kill the Gerneral, but actually saved him, leaving the other brothers thinking Wu was a traitor. Miao doesn’t particualarly like his other 2 adopted brothers, especially the evil Tian Guinong, who has secretly started working for the Manchu emperor and is working to kill both Miao and Wu so he can get their books and his hands on the treasure. Wu and Miao fight for 5 days, and quickly become great friends, but keep fighting. Wu even goes off and kills Miao’s biggest enemy during the night, and they decide if they are still even after 5 days they will be friends, and stop, but Tian has an evil doctor poison the sword of Miao, and in the battle Wu is hit, and instantly dies. Then Tian has the Emperor’s men come in and Mr’s Wu is killed, though he is son is saved by a man who Wu saved named Ping Si. Ping Si loses an arm and one page of the manual the evil doctor named Yan Ji who later becomes a monk, Ping Si manages to escape with the child Wu Fei, who he will teach to hate Miao and seek revenge. Miao spends years looking for Wu Fei, but can’t find him so eventually leaves.

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Full Metal Jacket adapted and directed by Stanley Kubrick (1987)

Another of the quintessential Vietnam films ever made, and a classic. This film about city fighting in Vietnam is about as brutal as it gets. It actually feels like 2 films that star the same main character, but is more or less about the dehumanizing effects of Marine training and going to war, and what it does to you. The first part being about Marine training and it driving a man insane, and the second about actual war and what it does to people. Like Matthew Modine says about his peace symbol, and having born to kill scrawled on his helmet, it is the Jungian thing about the Duality of men. The performances are amazing. You knew Vincent D’Onfrio would be huge after his performance as the slow Private Pyle. And R. Lee Ermey as the drill sergeant is just plain scary, no wonder he is so enjoyable to watch on Mail Call. And until watching it this time I hadn’t realized that Animal Mother was Adam Baldwin who played Jane on Firefly. I watched this on HD DVD, so it was my first time seeing it in it’s proper aspect ratio (Kubrick had changed the aspect ratio to 4:3 for the VHS release) and it looked great. Sure you can see the film grain, but the blacks don’t artifact, and go all the way to dark black. Certainly the way this film was meant to be seen.

We follow a group of young men who join the Marine Corp and is sent to Paris Island in the late 1960’s and meet their Gunnery Seargant Hartman (R. Lee Ermey) who proceeds to break them down and turn them into fighting weapons. We have our protagonist who becomes Private Joker (Matthew Modine), Private Cowboy (Arliss Howard) from Texas and the slightly retarded Leonard Pratt known as Private Gomer Pyle. Leonard really can’t hack it, can’t do anything right, and since punishing him isn’t working, the Gunny starts punishing the whole group instead. Joker stands up to the Seargeant and is made a squad leader, and put in charge of Leonard, trying to get him through. And the only thing he seems good at is shooting, but he starts talking to his gun.

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Blood Brothers by Alexi Tan (2007)

The curse of the music video director’s, this is a gorgeous, even sumptuous film, but even with an all star cast, action by Phillip Kwok Chun Fung, and not only an adaption of John Woo’s A Bullet In the Head (but moved to 1930’s Shanghai), but with John Woo attacked as an extecutive producer, but the film still falls absolutely flat. There is nothing to the story, the characters are so underdeveloped that they are laughable, and you just don’t care about any of them, and the action is so badly shot that you even that doesn’t elevate. This film is really a waste of talent all the way around.

Daniel Wu is Fung, a country boy in love with a gorgeous women named Shen Zen (Lulu Li), but whose best friend Hu (Tony Yang) and his other brother Kang (Liu Ye) who protects them, decide to go to Shanghai to make it big he goes along. Fung and Hu work as rickshaw pullers, but Kang works at a club called Paradise, run by the gang boss Hong (Sun Hong Lei). Kang brings his two friends there to see the place, and they see the gorgeous singer Lulu (Shu Qi) who Kang instantly likes, but she is in fact in love with Hong’s right hand Mark (Chang Chen) who is also Hong’s killer. That night Mark decides to Kill Hong, and goes to do it, but is wounded, and ends up getting helped out by Fung.

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Secret Sunshine (밀양) written and directed by Lee Chang-dong (이창동) 2007

The film that won the Prix d’interprétation féminine du Festival de Cannes for Jeon Do Yeon (best actress). This is a powerful and moving film about loss and it’s effects on people. This is an amazing film, and my only complaint is that it is all hand held and honestly I am getting really sick of the hand held movie thing, I know it is all the style and rage, but it honestly distracts me and pulls me away from otherwise amazing films. This is really worth checking out, a must see. Lets hope this comes out in the US soon.

Shin Ae (Jeon Do Yeon 전도연) is moving the the city of Mil Yang with her small son Jun (Seong Jeong Yeob) from Seoul after her cheating husband was killed in an automobile accident, but their car breaks down on the way, and they get a mechanic Kim Jong Chan (Song Gang Ho 송강호) to help them. Shin Ae opens a piano school, and Jon Chan does everything he can to get her business and help her, as he is obviously interested in her. Shin Ae meanwhile meets various people, including the christian pharmacists across the way who want her to join their church. Shin Ae keeps talking about how she wants to buy land and invest and Jong Chan tries to help her, introducing her to people, but when she starts making friends, she spends one night out with other ladies from the town, and returns home to find Jun is missing. She gets a call to get all her money and leave it, but she does, and it is not enough, because she was lying about the investing, because she wanted to pretend she had money. The son is then found murdered, and she is crushed. Then she sees the delinquent daughter of the school bus driver (Jo Yeeong Jin 조영진) crying and looking into her store, she calls the police, and the girls father is caught and put in prison for the murder. Shin Ae is followed around by Jong Chan, and goes to a church meeting, and quickly finds god.

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Last Life in the Universe by Pen Ek Ratanaruang (2003)

I saw this film because it was shot by my favorite cinematographer, the drunk and amazing Christopher Doyle, and it is certainly an interesting film, but very strange. Especially with 2 characters who can barely communicate, and an ending that gives clues, but does not give away much of anything. I think I may have gotten it, but I am not really sure. A stranger than strange film, and at a languid pace, with moments of insanity, I didn’t really know if what I was seeing was real or fake. I can’t honestly say that I really get it, or can even recommend it because it is just too out there. I am glad I saw it, but damn it was weird.

Kenji (Tadanobu Asano) is a lonely Japanese librarian living in Thailand, with a mysterious past, and dreams of suicide. His brother (Yutaka Matsushige) is a low level Yakuza, who made the mistake of sleeping with his bosses daughter. Kenji leaves a strange and lonely life, organizing his books, and leading a sterile existence. One day Kenji sees a beautiful Thai girl in a schoolgirl outfit named Nid (Laila Boonyasak), but he does talk to her in time, and she is gone. Kenji’s brother come to his place to hang out with his drinking buddy (Riki Takeuchi), but the buddy is there to kill him, and does kill the brother, but Kenji then kills him and then cleans up and leaves his place. He goes out to commit suicide on a bridge and that is just when Nid drives by with her sister Noi (Sinitta Boonyasak) and kicks Nid out because she slept with Nid’s boyfriend, but Nid sees Kenji and pauses in the rose and is hit and killed by a car.

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Atonement by Joe Wright (2007)

This film by Joe Wright whose last film with Keira Knightley, Pride and Prejudice got her an Oscar Nomination is an epic story of love and betrayal, and is one of the best shot films I have seen in some time. I enjoyed it immensely, and was really sucked in, though even with a 2 hour and 10 minute run time, I felt it ended too soon, and would have watched more. Knightley is as lovely as ever, slinking around in her dresses that only seem held up by her tiny braw-less bosom, though she could certainly use to eat a hamburger or 10. James McAvoy is also good, but really impressive is Romola Garai who plays the 18 year old Briony, and shows a great deal of emotion in her eyes alone. Actually the ending surprised me, but seemed fitting. This is well worth checking out, though certainly not as good as the aforementioned Pride and Prejudice. Most impressive are some of the shots, like a continuing steadicam shot on the beaches of France during World War 1 that goes on and on, and the method of showing events from one characters eyes and then coming back and showing what actually happened from those involved. Most impressive, really one of the most impressively done films I have seen in some time.

This is the story of a young girl from a rich family in England in the build up to World War 1. This is Briony Tallis (Saoirse Ronan), and she is creative and imaginitive, and is always writing, and has written a play for the weekend, that she wants to perform with visiting cousins whose parents are getting a divorce, the young twins Pierrot (Felix von Simson) and Jackson (Charlie von Simson) and their older sister Lola (Juno Temple), though they don’t want to do the play, and Lola seems more interested in looking at older men. The play is in honor of her brother coming home Leon (Patrick Kennedy) who is coming with his friend Paul Marshall (Benedict Cumberbach) a very rich and eligible man who owns a chocolate factory, that will be included in each soldiers ration pack. On the eve of arrival Briony sees her sister Ceceilia (Keira Knightley) have a confrontation with the son of their housekeeper Robbie Turner (James McAvoy) out at the fountain, where Cecelia strips to her skivvies, and dives into the fountain. Briony doesn’t understand what is going on, but is disturbed. We later see what actually happened, that these 2 who both went to Cambridge at the same time (both on her father’s dime) have a huge sexual tension going on. Robbie goes home and starts writing draft after draft of a letter apologizing to Cecelia, but he accidently puts a most explicit one in the letter, as he heads over to have dinner with the Tallis’s, and gives it to Briony to give to her sister, but after the incident at the fountain Briony thinks he is a pervert and opens it, and is even more disturbed. And she later walks in on Robbie and Cecelia making love in the library, not knowing that they have professed their love, and have always been in love. Briony thinks he is attacking her. Then the twins run off, and they all go looking for them, and Briony goes on her own and sees Pual Marshall raping Lola, but convinces herself it was Robbie, and concocts a story that it was him, and the police come and arrest him, and wrench him away form his love.

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Futurama: Bender’s Big Score by Dwayne Carey-Hill (2007)

After it’s untimely cancellation amazingly Futurama has returned from cancellation and started with a joke about the network idiots that cancelled the show. And it is back in all of it’s glory. This is a movie that will be broken down into 4 episodes fro the cartoon network, but this is it in all it’s full length glory. This is amazing, it is as good as the show ever was, and I hope it goes more than just these 4 movies, because this show rocks! Futurama is funnier than the Simpsons ever was, so much more over the top, and so much more in your face. I love Bender, Fry and Leela, Amy, Hermes, and The Proffesor. WHY OH WHY WAS THIS SHOW EVER CANCELLED, BUT THEN FOX CANCELLED FIREFOX AS WELL.

The gang returns, Phillip K. Fry (Billy West), Bender (John Di Maggio), Leela (Katey Sagal), Amy Wong (Lauren Tom), Hermes Conrad (Phil LaMarr) and Professor Farnsworth (again Billy West), and this time they head to a nudist planet, where they all fall for some scammers and give out their e-mail addresses, and then get caught in Spam and Phishing Scams. And not only that but Hermes has an accident, and loses his body, it will be fixed, but for a while he will have to live in a jar from the museum, and her wife quickly goes back to her first husband, and Leela meets the technician Lars Fillmore a bald guy with a deep voice, and they quickly hit it off. Meanwhile they have lost all their stuff to spammers without Hermes to stop them, and professor loses the business, and Bender takes a spam that makes him under the Spammers control. The Spammers move in and smell knowledge coming from Fry’s ass. On it is a bender tattoo with the machine code that allows someone to travel back in time, so they use Bender to go back in time and steal things for them, until they have stolen all the wealth of Earth, and even Leela’s pet Nibbler (who is actually an advanced race) can’t get them to stop. They do realize that the copies of themselves made by the time travel are doomed to die though.

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Battlestar Gallactica Razor by Felix Enriquz Alcala and Wayne Rose (2007)

Ronald D. Moore has really topped himself here. The series Battlestar Galactica is fantastic, dark and brooding and a great commentary on our modern times, though it has not been looking too good in the last season and a half, but this single movie has elevated it again, because this is easily as good or better than the show ever was, giving the story of the Battlestar Pegasus that we never saw, and introducing an incredible new character who really brings this show up. The DVD is great, with extra scenes that flesh out characters back stories, and let us see more of the scenes that were shown on Sci Fi (though not all of the Adama scenes strangely) and is well worth seeing, if only it were in HD! This is probably the best episode of this show since the first Season, and I can only hope that Season 4, the final Season is this good. And this will certainly give us a new perspective on the events that happen in the new Season, which I think was the point. It is too bad this show is ending after this Season.

This is the story of the first mission of the Pegasus under the command of Captain Lee ‘Apollo’ Adama (Jamie Barber) who has been given command of the ship after it’s first Captain, Admiral Helena Cain (Michelle Forbes) was killed by the Cylon 6, here known as Gina (Tricia Helfer) then Colonel Jack Fisk (Graham Beckel) andf his replacement were killed too. Apollo gets one of Cain’s key Captain’s, Kendra Shaw (Stephanie Chaves Jacobsen) who was pealing potatoes under Cane’s replacements, and is now injecting herself with some drug, and makes her his new hard asses XO. And though Kendra we see the story of the Pegasus and what happened to it before.

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Enchanted by Kevin Lima (2007)

I had seen the trailer and had thought that this was a film that I did not want to see, but Kelly did, and with all the hype, and how well it is doing at the box office, I expected quite a bit, and was unfortunately disappointed. Sure it has it’s funny moments as you watch it, but this felt like a film that looks down it’s nose at it’s audience and hits them over it’s head, and only only aims at very young girls. Not impressive characters or writing, just not witty enough. Sure it has some very funny scenes, but they are still way too over the top, and didn’t get the actual disney feel, but comes off as a parody that didn’t really get what was so special about the original.

The film starts as as a much over the top Disney Animated film in the country of Andalasia, with a poor but happy women named Giselle (Amy Adams) who sings and talks with all the animals of the forest, and longs to find her prince charming. That prince is Prince Edward (James Marsden) whose step mother is Queen Narissa (Susan Sarandon) who uses her sevant Nathaniel (Tomothy Spall) to keep the prince busy fighting ogre’s in the like, so he will never meet a princess and never become king. Of course Giselle and Edward meet and instantly fall in love, and plan on marrying the next morning, so Gisselle and her friend Chipmunk Pip (Jeff Bennett) head the castle, but Giselle runs into an old hag who takes her to a magical waterfall, and pushes her in. Giselle falls and comes out as a human in the real world, along with Pip, who can no longer talk, though can gesture very well, they come out of a manhole into the real world of New York City. There she wanders around, trying to find her prince, until she runs into a divorce Lawyer named Robert Philip (Patrick Dempsey) and his daughter Morgan (Rachel Covey). Robert wants to get her some help, but ends up taking this strange woman home, and letting her stay for a night. Meanwhile Edward heads to the real world, and Nathaniel follows to help the Queen who he loves.

REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS…

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