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All reviews - Movies (22) - TV Shows (14) - DVDs (1)

So Close review

Posted : 8 years, 6 months ago on 6 May 2010 12:14 (A review of So Close)

My favorite action movie and the one that got me into watching subtitled Asian movies. Note that you have to switch to the Mandarin track to hear Shu Qi's and Zhao Wei's real voices.

See my list: [Link removed - login to see] for more.

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BeastMaster (1999-2002) review

Posted : 8 years, 7 months ago on 24 April 2010 11:01 (A review of BeastMaster (1999-2002))

Three season series that hit its peak in the second. My favorite characters were Iara (Sam Healy) and Curupira (Emilie de Ravin). Iara was only in the episodes:

2x02 Iara
2x04 Orpheo
2x08 White Tiger
2x11 Golgotha
2x16 Fifth Element
2x17 A Terrible Silence
2x18 Birds

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Kung Fu Soccer review

Posted : 8 years, 7 months ago on 23 April 2010 10:26 (A review of Kung Fu Soccer)

From [Link removed - login to see] thread:

"Okay, for Charlene lovers, you get gypped. She's there for the first and second episodes, but only a LITTLE bit. Then later on they shoot a couple scenes of her, but all she does is tell some kids to cheer Dicky on. And that's it. I don't think she has more than 30 minutes in this series.

Gillian on the other hand, gets more time and plays a sassy restaurant stall owner."

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Death Note review

Posted : 8 years, 7 months ago on 22 April 2010 02:00 (A review of Death Note)

I saw this after watching the live-action movies. They were rather jumbled and I'd give them 4 stars (except for Erika Toda's amazing performance), but they were creative enough that I gave this a try. Its easy to see now that a very brilliant and meticulously crafted storyline in which every possible nuance is considered and explored was stuffed into the much shorter running time of the movies. The anime is really a marvel of ingenuity and if you like cat and mouse games you'll be in heaven. Misa, the character Erika Toda plays in the movie, is voiced by the equally amazing Aya Hirano, who I've never heard anything like. Unfortunately, the latter third of the series shifts gears and doesn't work as well, but, from what I've read, the anime is actually based on a manga and suffers from the same problem the movies did--trying to cut out parts to fit the running time.

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Her Name Is Cat review

Posted : 8 years, 7 months ago on 18 April 2010 04:39 (A review of Her Name Is Cat)

Here's where you really get a chance to see how Michael Wong earned his reputation as a horrible cringe-inducing actor. I've been surprised, though, in other movies that he's actually pretty decent sometimes. He would have to have been to have made it through the auditioning process.

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Love Undercover review

Posted : 8 years, 7 months ago on 17 April 2010 03:54 (A review of Love Undercover)

I had heard good things about this one and there's some funny moments here and there, but it doesn't work as a movie. Anything that shows potential gets dashed, reversed, or trivialized until the whole movie seems trivial. It almost tries not to be a movie (like a parody, yet it isn't) and the comedy isn't funny enough to make that okay. The actors use urgency and acting rushed as a response to everything and never find a rhythm.

I would say the writing/direction were the biggest problems. There's nothing too clever here, and director Joe Ma's later effort "Hidden Heroes" (2004) has some of the same defiant 'I'm just going to stick in whatever strikes me at any particular moment to shake things up' attitude and scatterbrained storytelling but was a considerable improvement with the more soothing presence of Charlene Choi vs. Miriam Yeung here who misses no chance to project callous disregard and an 'If you don't like it, you can take a hike' attitude that ceases to seem tough or cute. Daniel Wu's character just starts to seem pathetic as he continues to trail her around like a lost dog.

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Princess Returning Pearl / My Fair Princess / Princess Pearl review

Posted : 8 years, 7 months ago on 14 April 2010 10:33 (A review of Princess Returning Pearl / My Fair Princess / Princess Pearl )

A well-regarded series, but I think the only version of this that has subtitles is a fansubbed one, but either the quality of the original was awful or so much interframe noise reduction/bluring was applied that the result gave me a headache to watch.

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Chao suo xing jing review

Posted : 8 years, 7 months ago on 14 April 2010 10:17 (A review of Chao suo xing jing)

If this were a rough cut of a film, I'd say it had potential; unfortunately, this is the finished product. There could have been a good mix of drama and comedy with some care and polish, but there are constant reminders of its absence, with a phallic microphone drifting down into the frame like some kind of arousal meter, missing sound effects, generic music, and visual effects done in 2D rather than 3D that seem more like sticky notes that say "Insert this type of effect here" than actual effects. The leads, Sonija Kwok and Tiffany Lee, are both attractive and can act well--in fact, the acting is either good or funny all around--but it would be hard to make their roles seem more artificial or arbitrary if you tried. There's also little action and even less gun play, despite the misleading DVD cover.

Two different types of digital cameras are used: one really bad one with pixelation, artificial sharpening, and blown-out highlights, and the other pretty good but with artificial blurring. They look so different that whenever they switch between them it seems like they're either switching to a hazy flashback scene or a different time of day, as if hours have passed.

Perhaps they simply ran out of time to film some scenes and needed to add filler because between scenes they'll keep cutting back to the stars just dancing in the middle of a plaza for no apparent reason, having a good time as if they need frequent breaks from their difficult police work. The main character's friend gets shot and she goes to catch who did it, but not before some more dancing.

A 7 rating is surely more than this movie deserves on its own merits, but I got some good laughs out of its shortcomings and liked the leads. You might watch this if you've watched all their good movies and still want more.

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Millennium Mambo review

Posted : 8 years, 7 months ago on 13 April 2010 12:37 (A review of Millennium Mambo)

Not having seen every Shu Qi movie yet, I can't say for certain this is the bottom of the barrel, but I'll be very surprised if I come across anything worse. I felt like I’d been conned or cheated when the credits rolled. Art house movie in the extreme. Very little happens and the characters walk around in a drug haze. The only more irritating movie I can think of is Pistol Opera (2001). If there were a movie that showed people’s reactions while being forced to watch Millennium Mambo (I’m picturing rolling of eyes, checking of the time, etc., escalating into breaking of furniture and vows of revenge), it would be far more entertaining than the movie itself. There’s no way I would’ve made it through the whole thing if Shu Qi wasn’t the star. She has very little to do here other than seem clueless and depressed. I'm not looking forward to seeing two more Shu Qi-starring movies with director Hsiao-hsien Hou: "Three Times" and "The Assassin." At least "The Assassin" sounds like it'll have some action.

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Najica: Blitz Tactics (2001- ) review

Posted : 8 years, 7 months ago on 12 April 2010 04:25 (A review of Najica: Blitz Tactics (2001- ))

Like [Link removed - login to see] only better. Girls With Guns anime that's sort of a James Bond spy spoof. It doesn't just have fanservice but takes on the mission to see how much of it can be packed into an episode and still have an engaging storyline and characters. An incredible amount, it turns out! Panty shots are given top priority, with all the women inexplicably walking around everywhere in comically short skirts and the camera always pre-positioned to capture every one of the many wardrobe mishaps from the best angle, as could only happen in animation. I thought the gimmick would wear thin, but this series was both riotously funny and had engaging characters. There's all kinds of clever games they play with your head, revolving around where you direct your attention and why that takes something that could have been very sleazy and makes it seem almost debonair.

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