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Archive for the ‘Film’ Category

Infernal Affairs II(Mou Gaan Dou II)

Posted by Janus on September 27, 2006

  • Information:
  • Title: (Infernal Affairs II or Mou Gaan Dou II)
  • Certificate: (15)
  • Released by: (Tartan Video’s Tartan Asia Extreme Label)
  • Run Time: (114 minutes)
  • Origin: (Hong Kong)
  • Language: (Cantonese)
  • Vintage: (2003)

Set between the years of 1991 and 1997, Infernal Affairs two begins ten years before the events of Infernal Affairs and tells the story of how the young Yan (Shawn Yue) and Ming (Edison Chen) got involved in their dangerous lives as a police stooge and a triad mole.

The Story begins with Inspector Wong (Anthony Wong) and Sam (Eric Tsang) behaving like the best of friends in a police station. Yan is embroiled in the family saga of a triad cartel inextricably liked with his origins and which he wants to get away from. Meanwhile Ming deals with his obsession with boss Sam’s Wife, Mary. (Ploy courtesy of Tartan Video’s DVD Release plus multiple changes)

The film is directed by Andrew Lau (Chow lok yuen) and Alan Mak (Yuen mong shu) and stars Edison Chen (Tau man ji D or Initial D), Shawn Yue (Gong Wu), Anthony Wong (Jing mo gaa ting), Eric Tsang (Daai Cheung foo) and Francis Ng (hak bak sam lam) as Lau Kin Ming, Chen Wing Yan, Inspector Wong, Boss Sam and Ngai Wing Hau respectively.

Infernal Affairs two is in essence a prequel to the 2002 smash hit that everyone loves, it was nominated for a total of fourteen awards or which it only won three. Those Awards included a win at the Hong Kong Critics society awards for best film and a win at the Hong Kong Film Awards for the best original film song along with 11 more nominations that didn’t come good. (This is an indication as to the originality of the film)

I went into this film thinking “Ohh! Great, another sequel”, But then I found out it was a prequel and not a sequel so I readjusted my thoughts mainly because when done right a prequel can beat any sequel cold out of those icy sea’s. I got going and started watching it with what was now a clean slate when it comes to opinion and found myself viewing a film that on it’s own would have had so much charisma it could have taken the world by storm, but instead I found myself fixated on the very fact that some of the details clearly contradict the original Infernal Affairs. An example of this lack of attention was the very fact that in the first film Keung is said to have worked for Sam for the last five years yet in this film he is still working for Sam but only two or so years too early.

As much as these contradiction annoy me I found the film to be enjoyable and a good distraction for the duration, I can’t possible think of giving it a rating as high as the original for the very fact it’s not as original and for those contradictions. For that reason Infernal Affairs two receives a rating from me of (7/10).

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Infernal Affairs (Mou Gaan Dou)

Posted by Janus on September 25, 2006

  • Information:
  • Title: (Infernal Affairs or Mou gaan dou)
  • Certificate: (15)
  • Released by: (Tartan video’s Tartan Asia extreme label)
  • Run Time: (100 minutes)
  • Origin: (Hong Kong)
  • Language: (Cantonese)
  • Vintage: (2002)

Ming (Andy Lau) and Yan (Tony Leung) lead parallel lives: Ming is a Triad mole in the police department; Yan is a police stooge in mob boss Sam’s (Eric Tsang) Triad gang. Both men have a desire to put their false lives behind them and to take up their rightful places in a society that eludes them.

One night, during a police raid to bring down Sam’s mob empire, the two men’s paths finally cross. Both the police and the mob soon realise that there is a mole amongst them, and a deadly game of cat and mouse ensues. In this race against time nobody is safe, and the lives of everyone involved become threatened. In the meantime, Superintendent Wong (Anthony Wong) does his best to keep Yan’s secret safe, but how long can the men’s hidden lives remain undiscovered? (Plot courtesy of Tartan video’s DVD Release)

Infernal Affairs was co-directed by Andrew Lau (The Storm Riders, The Park) and Alan Mak (Yuen mong shu) and stars Andy Lau (House of flying daggers), Tony Leung (Hero), Eric Tsang (Sat sau ji wong) and Anthony Wong (Kong woo giu gap) as Lau kin Ming, Chan Wing Yan, Sam and superintendent Wong respectively.

Infernal affairs was nominated for forty-one awards of which it won twenty-three including seven at the Hong Kong Film Awards beating out blockbuster Hero for the best picture award. Infernal affairs received much acclaim from critics and films goers alike, which in no doubt brought it to the attention of the western world.

I’ve heard a lot about Infernal affairs from the posts on the eternal sunset forum and had been wanting the watch it for some time, just never got round to it. I watched it at around six in the morning in late august and found myself hooked and reeled in by it’s power and the fact that it was a gangland film that had the style only supplied by the best of Hong Kong cinema, I watched this emotional epic while the time flied and I was sad when it ended. Not only because of the ending but because of the fact that it was a good film that got me total by surprise, I had been expecting something more in tune with the mountains of kung fu rubbish that Hong Kong is famed for but instead I got a well constructed film with perfect pacing and an interesting story to boot.

Style wise I do take my hat off to the directors Andrew Lau and Alan Mak for they did do a job only done by the best of directors. But ultimately while it was a film I’ll never forget and which I do no doubt thing is great I just can’t bring myself to give a full score to a film packed full of stars, I know their not Hollywood stars but I just cannot stand stars. So Unfortunately it only receives a rating of (8/10).

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City of God(Cidade de Deus)

Posted by Janus on September 7, 2006

city of god

  • Information:
  • Title: (Cidade De Deus, ‘City of God’)
  • Certificate: (18)
  • Released by: (Miramax)
  • Run time: (124 minutes)
  • Origin: (Brazil)
  • Language: (Portuguese)
  • Vintage: (2002)

Welcome to the world’s most notorious slum: Rio de Janeiro’s ‘City of God’. A place where combat photographers fear to tread, where police rarely go, and residents are lucky if they live to the age of twenty. This is the story of a young man who grew up on these streets and whose ambition as a photographer is our window in and ultimately may be his only way out. (Plot courtesy of Miramax’s DVD release plus some minor changes)

City of God was Directed by Fernando Meirelles (Domésticas) with co-direction from Kátia Lund (Minha Alma), It’s screenplay was written by Bráulio Mantovani (Nanoilusão) and based on a book by former city of god resident and writer Paulo Lins (City of God, ‘novel’). It stars Alexandre Rodrigues (Cafundó) as Rocket and Leandro Firmino (Corneteiro Lopes, O) as Li’l Zé with Matheus Nachtergaele (Amerelo manga) as the drug dealer Sandro Cenoura ‘Carrot’.

City of God has been Nominated for an Amazing seventy-three awards since its Brazilian release in 2002 including four Oscars, It has won Forty-eight of those awards including the 2003 BAFTA for best editing and six awards at the Cinema Brazil Grand Prize. Unfortunately, another foreign film is ignored at the Oscars with none of its four nominations coming good. Most of the characters are played by untrained actors from the slums of Rio de Janeiro with the exception of Carrot who is played by the only professional actor Matheus Nachtergaele.

The one thing that struck me when I had finished watching the film is how it had sucked me in and kept me occupied for the odd two hours of it’s duration, I had never expected a Gangland style film to keep my attention for so long but unlike American style gangland films, city of god has the substance I seek for in my entertainment. It is a film that shows the crazy social deprivation that people have to endure in the slums of Rio de Janeiro, which is a city thought of as beautiful. The violent measures these people are driven to shows the true nature of humanity, we humans will seek to survive at all costs and when violence is the only way to survive humans will inevitable go to it.

As well as substance city of god also has great visual flare, a film that is not only written with the right stuff but also directed and acted with the right stuff. Alexandre’s performance as rocket is a credit to his skill and a delight to watch unlike the undignified acting of Hollywood stars and shows that you can get an amazing film by using actors that don’t demand to be paid millions a go.

I have already myself decided to buy the novel upon which this film is based on the grounds that if this is an amazing film which it is then the novel should be better. With Gritty Brazilian style City of God receives a rating of (9/10).

Also to be found at www.emagi.co.uk

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Innocence

Posted by Janus on August 30, 2006

Innocence

  • Information:
  • Title (Innocence or Ghost in the shell 2)
  • Certificate (15)
  • DVD Releaser (Manga Entertainment)
  • Run Time (96 minutes)
  • Language (Japanese)
  • Vintage (2004)

It is the year 2032 and earth is a world where the few remaining humans coexist with artificial replicants, cyborgs and robots. Batou, a cyborg detective and his partner Togusa are charged with investigating the bizarre case of a malfunctioning gynoid that has murdered its owner: As they delve deeper into the investigation, they are forced to confront violent Yakuza thugs, devious hackers, influential government bureaucrats and powerful corporate criminals. (Plot courtesy of Manga Entertainments DVD release plus some minor changes)

Based on Shirow Masamune’s manga “ghost in the shell”, Innocence is Written and directed by Japanese film Legend Mamoru Oshii (Ghost in the shell, Patlabor: the movie) and stars Akio Ôtsuka and Kôichi Yamadera as Batou and Togusa respectively.

Innocence is the only animated film ever to be nominated for the Palme d’Or at the famous Cannes film festival. It won the orient express award at the Catalonian International film festival and was nominated for the best film award at the same event, in all Innocence was nominated for eight awards at various international festivals and award ceremonies but only won one of those awards. Unlucky if you ask me not to have won more of those awards.

I never really thought that the first ghost in the shell film was a big winner, in my eye’s it just didn’t have what was needed to make an incredible film that catches the mind, but Innocence is different. From the moment I saw it I realised that Mamoru Oshii had the kind of Talent needed to make a film impressive and I’ve been a few ever since. Innocence manages to appeal to people’s sense of style and their intelligent side rather then the primitive blood lust aspect of human culture. Visually I doubt you can find an animated film or even live-action film that can match Innocence for it’s magical carnival scene which in my opinion is simply unbelievable, even the music suit’s the scene and plays to absorb you into Oshii’s world of variable pace.

The Story itself is not necessary to enjoy this film; the visual and the psychological aspect of Innocence suck you in. But since a review need an opinion on the storyline I must say that it’s pants, the storyline isn’t all that good and in places doesn’t help the film, but as I said this film never needed a story to be a great watch so moving swiftly along we get to the philosophy. I know it is not easy for people to pay attention and understand the philosophical side of this film but I happen to think it important to get a feel for the philosophy of any film and especially one in which the philosophy takes such an important role.

Innocence in my eye is the most consuming and emotional film I’ve seen in my life and is the only film I have ever thought to be perfect in design, creation and execution meaning it is the only film thus far in existence which will receive a rating from me of (10/10).

Batou

Carnival

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Taxi 1&2

Posted by Janus on August 25, 2006

taxi

  • Information:
  • Certificate (15)
  • DVD releaser (Prism leisure)
  • Run time (86 minutes)
  • Language (French)

Former pizza delivery boy Daniel is speed crazy. Embarking on a new career as a taxi driver, his specially modified car is so fast even police radar can’t spot him!

When he unwittingly gives a high-speed ride to police officer Émilien, he is forced to accept a deal to keep his licence: a stint as Émilien’s personal police car driver. Now on the other side of the law, Daniel becomes the unlikely mastermind behind an investigation into a gang of German bank robbers.

Aided by his girlfriend Émilien’s mother and a whole squad of pizza delivery boys Daniel and Émilien join forces with hilarious consequences to foil the robbers on foot, on scooters, and of course in Taxi’s.

Taxi was written by French film legend Luc Besson(Léon, The transporter) and directed by Gerard Pires(Riders, Double Zéro). It stars Samy Naceri(La Mentale) as Daniel Morales and Frédéric Diefenthal(Dédales) as Émilien Coutant-Kerbalec with Bernard Farcy(Les Percutés) as Commissaire Gibert. Taxi became a cult classic and eventually spawned three sequels and a 2004 Hollywood remake dubbed in France “New York Taxi”, of course keen admirers of the original would never take to the hopeless American facsimile.

I have heard things about this film so I thought it would be nice to check it out, also I happen to be very fond of cars so it was even more reason to check it out. The film itself isn’t too bad, it’s funny and entertaining which is something you rarely get from the big Hollywood blockbusters but it does suffer from one main flaw which it lacks substance. For me a film that lacks substance can never hope to get a rating beyond six out of ten, also it tends to be a little predictable but if I’m being honest it’s a lot better than most other films of this type so it makes up for the predictability in those stakes.

As far as it goes this film isn’t the best film in the world but it does manage to be very funny and very entertaining which in my eyes means it deserves the maximum I’d give to a film without substance. Taxi receives a rating of (6/10).

Taxi 2

Taxi 2

  • Information:
  • Certificate (12)
  • DVD releaser (Prism leisure)
  • Run time (85 minutes)
  • Language (French)

The Japanese secretary of state for defence is visiting France. He is on a special mission to invest in the French expertise regarding anti-terrorism. At the end of his trip, he will sign a contract worth several billion dollars with the French government. But, he is kidnapped by a group of Yakuza……
Against their better judgement, Daniel the taxi driver and Émilien his friend the policeman become involved in a string of adventures in order to rescue the diplomat and ensure the contract is signed.

Just like the first Taxi film this one is written by Luc Besson(Nikita, The fifth element), it is directed by Gérard Krawczy(Wasabi) who stepped in temporarily during the Original taxi film after the director had an accident on a horse. As is with the first film it stars Samy Naceri(la Mentale), Frédéric Diefenthal(Dédales) and Bernard Farcy(Les Percutés) as Daniel, Émilien and Commissaire Gibert respectively. Other characters featured include Lilly Bertineau(Marion Cotillard) and Petra(Emma Sjöberg).

As far as I’m concerned this film like the first has no substance at all so it can never in my eyes reach a rating higher than six out of ten. This film also will have a more difficult time reaching that rating since it’s less original than the first film . Taxi 2 is indeed more comic than the first but that fails to protect it from it’s downfall, which is that it’s nothing more than a sequel and in that way it’s nothing special. Also the DVD I happen to own has issues with it’s subtitles, the subtitles tend to partially go bellow the screen when being viewed on a cathode ray tube television or monitor. Also the subtitles are semi-transparent which can make them difficult to read at a distance.

Overall Taxi 2 is better in the comedy stakes than the original but not as intriguing and with those bad subtitles it only receives a rating of (5/10).

As is usual with my film review they can also be found at www.emagi.co.uk

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