Millions - movie review


 After watching the touching and feel good Walter Mitty, I decided to re-visit an older show from 2005: Millions.
This is Danny Boyle's only none R-rated movie, and it's about a young boy who finds a million pounds, that literally drops on him. He thinks it's from God and proceeds to do good with it.
The sweet innocence and the lovely interaction of this boy with the supporting cast is beautiful and will withstand a few viewings. Both kids and adults will find this a solid movie, although it's only found on DVD right now.
Recommended.




I have no financial interest or other interests in any of the items / events I write about.

200 000 views

Made it to 200 000!

Thank you everyone who reads this blog and I hope you continue to enjoy it as much as I enjoy writing ..

Galileo Double X - movie review


Fuji TV Drama Special 2013 ~ Galileo Double X


This is a special standalone bridging episode in the well received Galileo TV series, which happens between Series 1 and Series 2.
Shibasaki Kou is the main protagonist here, with the eccentric Professor merely having a cameo. She is at a crossroads in her detective career, feeling the weight of coping in a male dominated career, she is dragged into a murder case that takes her to Nagano, and in the course of investigating this case, opens up a big can of worms on a 10 year old case, that has suspicion of mis-handling by the police.
You get familiar music, sans the wild writing of the Professor, and there is genuine detective work here, not unlike the more famous film, Suspect X, from which this made for TV movie is derived from.
Shibasaki Kou sticks to her detective chops, and grows up from merely a pretty face, and I still find it a pity that she is replaced in Series 2. Fans of this TV series will enjoy this 1:45 hour TV movie.
Recommended, especially for fans of Galileo. Do note that there are only Chinese subtitles, no English ones. There is little use of surrounds, but the plot and tension will keep you at the edge of your seat.




I have no financial interest or other interests in any of the items / events I write about.

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty – Movie Review

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I first noticed this movie as a trailer, and I didn’t have a deep impression of this show, thinking it was a little akin to the less than successful movie “Sucker Punch”, which has a similar daydream cum fantasy / escapism kind of theme, but I was glad I decided to give it a chance.

It’s easy to consider this as a fine tourist promotion video of fine places, with a man who has trouble facing reality, but it actually combines the triad of elements that make for the most successful movies:
Action, humor and romance; all rolled together into a well-edited package with little spare fat, and gives the viewer a nice feel good end. It also combines two of my favorite hobbies outside of Hi Fi: travelling and photography.

Walter, played by Ben Stiller in his finest showing yet, is a Life Magazine Negative Editor, a dinosaur in the modern world of digital photography and online magazines. He lives a boring life in the dungeons of the Life Magazine company basement. He doesn’t do much and is the epitome of the boring loser, who daydreams of doing daring stunts to save dogs from burning buildings and impressing the love of his life, a co-worker called Cheryl Melhoff, but he just can’t bring himself to do anything real, and his new jerk of a boss makes fun of him and acts like the ass as he trims the payroll and downsizes the company with much glee.

Life Magazine is about to stop it’s paper editions, and jobs are cut, and he is soon to be made redundant after the last edition. Sean O’Connell played by Sean Penn sends him the photo which will be made into the cover page of this last edition, and Walter can’t find it. With his job in peril, he latches onto a series of clues to locate Sean and recover this photo.

What happens next is a journey through some of the most scenic places in the world, and the Oscar Nominated DP Stuart Dryburgh does a wonderful job of filming these places leading to plenty of gasps at the beauty of the places and also the rawness of the rugged lands and seas.

The movie works because it has a certain understated feel, captured brilliantly in the scene when Ben meets Sean, and there is a lack of overacting or hysterical emotion, and yet you feel a certain satisfaction, at the end, and the movie cleverly avoids showing what this missing photos is until the last 3 minutes of the show.

The cast is brilliant, from the jerk of a boss, played so devilishly by Adam Scott, that you really want to hate him, the lovely Kristin Wiig and many others, including the funny and very drunk helicopter pilot.

Here is a refreshing movie, that is a delight to watch, and not a single f-bomb or any other four letter word in sight, that manages to convey love without a sex scene, and captures many words by zooming in on the faces, with little words, but plenty of emotion conveyed in, simply by the juxtaposition of a wonderful background, a lovely score and some very sweet chemistry between the actors, and a solid performance by Ben Stiller.

After the credits roll, here is a movie that makes sigh, you want to watch it again, and 
think about your own life, then grab a backpack and get out there with a camera..

To top it off, you will see some very decent photography, and Sean using the Nikon F3 Titanium makes me want to take out my own FM2 or FG and slap in a roll of TMax 400 and put it all into my backpack and take off for Iceland.

A little spoiler here:

I love the concept that Sean didn’t take the shot in the mountains, but instead decides to admire the subject, because too often, as a photographer, we are too wrapped up in plastering our eyes to the viewfinder, and not spending enough time actually admiring the scenery or just taking in the moment.

Plot 4.5/5

As for action, actually surround effect fans and action junkies will find something to please them in the daydream sequences, and the volcano scene will definitely wake up the neighbors..

The movie is low on chick factor in the traditional sense, but the casting of Kristen Wiig was brilliant, she carries a world weary beauty, not the sexy, booby type but a more mature, and still graceful kind of charm and if the scene in Greenland was real, I must say she can sing a tune or two…

Add in a nice soundtrack, and you have the elements of a movie to keep. I don’t agree with the negative reviews, and perhaps this movie isn’t Oscar material, but to me, this movie is one of my top 20 movies of all time, and I look forward to owning the Blu Ray disc and possibly the soundtrack too.

Well recommended.


 
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I leave you with the motto of Life Magazine as depicted in the movie:

“To see the world, things dangerous to come to, to see behind walls, draw closer,to find each other and to feel. That is the purpose of life.”


I have no financial interest or other interests in any of the items / events I write about.

The Chef, the Actor, the Scoundrel Blu Ray Review


Aka : 厨子戏子痞子
 

An interesting and slightly outlandish Chinese production, set during WWII in China, where a group of Chinese Resistance fighters try to wrestle the secrets of an antidote to a cholera epidemic out of a couple Jap scientists.
The plot is over the top, and totally outlandish, with bright colors and crazy acting. Good chemistry and the whole show is largely set within a small place but you will be glued.
This is done by the DP of the sleeper hit, Crazy Stone, and you will find that despite the smallish main cast, and the wild antics, the story has depth, and clever dialogue. You will need a few viewings to get the nuances. It has the claustophobic feel of "Dragon Inn", and the twists will keep you guessing til the last act.

Good surround and fantastic bass, a real demo for mid and deep bass.

Recommended for a watch at least, but you will need to understand their lingo.








I have no financial interest or other interests in any of the items / events I write about.

Galileo Drama Series 2 - review


 Inspector Galileo series 2 is now out...

This series follows the antics of a quirky but brilliant physics professor who helps a young detective to solve less than usual crimes which render the Japanese police helpless.

When you have a successful formula, don't mess with it, and the 10 episode show follows the same style, with music from Koh+ sung by Kou Shibasaki, but is no longer the bright eager young detective, and is replaced by another sweet young thing Yuriko Yoshitaka, but the concept remains the same.

Each 40-45 min episode has an opening scene where a crime, usually a murder happens in a strange way, that baffles the police, who are usually portrayed as bumbling buffoons. They then enlist the physics professor in the form of the ever youthful looking Masaharu Fukuyama, who is mainly in it for the mystery, rather than to find the criminal..

Each time he will utter that "behind every mysterious phenomenon there is a logical explanation" the theme music comes on and he solves the crime after sketching some mathematical formula. It may sound formulaic, yet the lovely chemistry between the two main leads propels the series, and the crimes are rather interesting. The new SYT (Yuriko) is a little more annoying than Kou, and I didn't see a need for Kou to be replaced, but there is still charm and you will find it a nice change in pace to the other crime shows on TV like CSI or Bones.

The series comes in Japanese only, but you get subtitles, and it's a nice series, especially if you are a fan of the Galileo franchise. The new movie length show has also been released.




The theme song for the new series is sweet too:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JvIltNShRKE

And the new movie length feature has also been released:
http://www.tokyohive.com/article/2012/09/fukuyama-masaharu-to-star-in-new-galileo-movie-manatsu-no-houteishiki/
Now out on DVD..
Manatsu no Houteishiki' (lit. 'Midsummer Formula'): trailer: http://eigapedia.com/trailers/manatsu-no-houteishiki

In the new film, Masaharu Fukuyama reprises his role as the genius physicist and crime-solver, Manabu Yukawa, aka “Galileo”. Yukawa is invited to speak at a panel on a plan to extract valuable minerals from the seabed off an area called the “Pristine Coast”. While staying at a local inn, he meets a boy named Kyohei who’s staying there with his aunt’s family over the summer. The next day, the corpse of an inn guest named Tsukahara is discovered on an embankment near the local harbor. Soon, a mystery slowly unravels involving Kyohei, his environmental activist cousin Narumi (Anne), and a secret kept by her parents.
“Manatsu no Houteishiki” will be released by Toho in Japan on June 29, 2013.

I have no financial interest or other interests in any of the items / events I write about.

Unbeatable – Movie Review

 


Dante Lam is an interesting Hong Kong director who can bring the best of his stars. In Nick Cheung, he has one of the best material to showcase. Nick is willing to make a lot of effort in preparation for his roles, and here, he does a massive transformation, beating his 45 year old body into shape, and producing a top shape chiseled body for his role as a down and out ex boxer who wants to make a comeback as a MMA fighter.
The movie borrows heavily from many other movies, such as Warrior, which borrows from traditional hits like Rocky, and other boxing shows before. What makes the difference is the intensity Nick Cheung brings, and his chemistry with the younger, and new actor Eddie Peng, who does valiantly to keep up and the precocious and yet lovely young actress Crystal Lee who is like Asia’s Dakota Fanning.
Sporting movies with an underdog concept are always welcome, and even though the boxing plot the backbone of the movie, it’s much more than just a sporting movie, and the acting brings this movie to a whole new plane, with a greater focus on relationships, and making the best of difficult lives. There is hope, amidst the sadness, and Nick does wonderfully to portray the down and out boxer, with a solid supporting cast. The MMA fighting scenes are also quite well done, and there is plenty of action too.
4/5 for plot
Surround and action 4/5 : good use of surrounds, bass and the 7.1 DTS-MA soundtrack works well to impress.
Chick factor: lots of sweeties, but not a movie about hotties. The plot and good action, plus the humorous scenes will more than compensate.
A keeper for me.
PS: for the trivia fans, Nick worked for 9 months to get his body in shape, and for the audiophiles, the initial cans the lady used are Panasonics (Panasonic RP-HTX7-W1 Stereo Headphones -White) whilst the I think the second pair are Philips SHL5905BK/28 CitiScape Uptown Headphones and the lovely song is Sound Of Silence by Ania Dabrowska.



I have no financial interest or other interests in any of the items / events I write about.

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That old adage still applies: " if it ain't broken, don't fix it .. " Unless there's something obviously wrong...