Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Man From Nowhere (2010)

Directed by Lee Jeong-beom  (original title: Ajeossi)

The Man From Nowhere, a top-notch action thriller, directed by Lee Jeong-beom has similarities to Luc Besson’s Leon: a dark horse next-door neighbor, a little girl (orphaned), and DEA cops. Lee’s film is darker (akin to its Korean pedigree) and serves up a spectacular dish of retribution, redemption, and revenge. 

It’s available on Netflix streaming, so go see it. Here's the US trailer (it's probably better if you don't watch it).
Here's the UK DVD trailer (which shows a lot of the action scenes) for those who have already seen the movie.
* Revision: this movie is more like Man On Fire than anything else (i'm not into that movie; that's why i dis-remembered).

Film reviews in fifty words (2011).

Friday, June 24, 2011

Lost in Translation (2003)

Directed by Sofia Coppola

Sofia Coppola’s Lost in Translation owes a lot to Wong Kar-Wai’s films—their sense of loneliness and images—as well as the premise of Richard Linklater’s Before Sunrise.  However, it’s Bill Murray that gives Coppola’s film its own magic.  His connection with Scarlett Johansson's character can’t be described, only felt.

I'm not even sure if the top poster is an official movie poster, but i like it.
I also like this image:

On a side note, Wong Kar-wai's In the Mood for Love takes cues from a movie set in Japan, Hiroshima Mon Amor.
Film reviews in fifty words (2011).

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Best Comic Book Superhero Movies (revised Aug. 10)

I just saw X-Men: First Class and it’s awesome.

Why do the X-Men movies have the worse posters? 
This international poster for First Class is the best of the bad bunch.

Top Ten Superhero Comic Book Movies (*)
  1. The Dark Knight (2008)
  2. Spider-Man 2 (2004)
  3. Iron Man (2008)
  4. Watchmen (2009) **
  5. Spider-Man (2002)
  6. X2: X-Men United (2003)
  7. X-Men (2000)
  8. Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)
  9. X-Men: First Class (2011)
  10. Hellboy (2004) 
Honorable Mentions
Batman Begins (2005), Iron Man 2 (2010), Thor (2011), and Fantastic Four (2005)
    Let me know of your top ten or top five in the comments section.

    * I tried to keep the list to contemporary/modern era films. I’m not counting Superman (Christopher Reeve, both one and two would be on this list).   Superman Returns should probably be an honorable mention too.  Christopher Nolan's Batmans are so real that they don't feel like superhero movies (i almost don't want to put them on the list--almost).

    ** I know Watchmen is an anti-superhero movie but it has superheroes nevertheless. I dis-included action movies based on comic books such as The Losers, Red, 300, Sin City, etc. (perhaps Kick-Ass? and Scott Pilgrim is not a superhero). 

    Revision (6-25-11): moved X-Men First Class from 7 to 6, X2 from 9 to 7, and Batman Begins from 6 to 8. 
    Revision (6-29-11): added X-Men at 8, bumped everything down, and moved Thor to honorable mention.  
    The X-Men movies hold up a lot better than I had previously thought (re-watched them all on bluray).
    Revision (8-10-11): revised the list to include Captain America and Hellboy; repositioned X-Men: First Class.

    Saturday, June 18, 2011

    I Am Love (2010) / Two Lovers (2008)

    Directed by Luca Guadagnino / James Gray

    Both Luca Guadagnino’s I Am Love and James Gray’s Two Lovers look to melodramas of the past, with Joaquin Phoenix and Tilda Swinton as the leads in their own miniature operas set in Brooklyn and Milan/San Remo.  Themes of love/lust and following/breaking tradition drive each film.  John Adam’s score swells in key scenes of I Am Love in contrast to the film’s subtle pacing.  While in Two Lovers, the scenes play out as if they’re on stage but the textures of the interiors and exteriors of the apartment and Brighton Beach are very real—like its characters and their choices.

    Trailers: I Am Love and Two Lovers (the UK version is less revealing). Both films can be seen on Netflix streaming.
    Other reviews: I Am Love by John Powers and Two Lovers by A.O. Scott, Roger Ebert, and Bartleby (Pop Culture Ninja).

    Film reviews in fifty words, a new series (2011); times two, one hundred words for two films.

    Wednesday, June 15, 2011

    In the Mood for Love (2000)

    Directed by Wong Kar-Wai

    There are transcendent moments in Wong Kar-wai’s In the Mood for Love when the characters play-act the roles of their spouses (involved in an affair).  Simultaneously, you feel their pain, empathize with their spouses, and experience their connection—pushing you to understand what has happened, is happening, and could happen. 

    Here's the french movie trailer and an extended trailer/montage with great images from the film.
    The image above is the original Hong Kong poster from Posterdemic. Watch the US Criterion Collection release

    Film reviews in fifty words (2011): Movies in need of a bluray release.
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