Tag Archives: Reviews

Friday Film Club: Look Out, Officer! + DIG!

DOUBLEFEATURE - 2020-05-22T150320.181

Hi folks and welcome to the The Friday Film Club where both myself and Kim will be highlighting a film which we feel is worth checking out. At the same time we would love to hear your own selections whether you’re choosing to just name them in the comments section or join us in arguing the case for your film on your blog, let us know and we will share it below.

Kim’s Pick – Look Out, Officer! (1990)

look-out-officer

Being a remake of 1986 Where’s Officer Tuba? which starred Sammo Hung, Look Out, Officer is one of the earlier films of Stephen Chow and possibly one of the first that truly finds him embracing his “mo lei tau” comedy style with much success as he plays opposite some rather renowned Hong Kong cast at the time as he plays opposite, Bill Tung and Stanley Sui-Fan Fung. The former actor is a horse racing commentator that found fame being a wise-cracking police chief in Jackie Chan’s Police Story and the latter being mostly notable for his comedic roles especially in his role in the Five Lucky Stars movie series.

Look Out, Officer tells a comedic ghost story of a police officer Piao (Bill Tung) that goes to follow a drug den lead solo and ends up being killed but set up as a suicide due to his gambling habits and becomes held after death in limbo as he has to find the true culprit behind his death in order to get to the next stage. In order to do this, he is sent back to convince his “Savior/Lucky Star” to help him find his “Death Star” aka his killer. Luckily (and unluckily), he ends up having to work with rookie officer Sing (Stephen Chow) who only agrees to help him on the conditions that he can help him get the girl that ends up being his former partner’s (Stanley Sui-Fan Fung) daughter. No doubt hilarity ensues as the rookie officer is paired by his lazy former partner. Between the tangled web of human connections as well as seeking out the killer (Kong Fong), it’s both funny and silly with some buddy cop action elements and Chinese ghost fighting devices.

“Mo Lei Tau” comedy style is somewhat of a staple which shines especially in Stephen Chow especially after his showcase here gets him into his next film, All For The Winner that is a tangent film of the God of Gamblers film series. Look Out, Officer has some absurd comedic moments which comes with this style. While its a question whether some of the quirky and pun-y Cantonese dialogue gets lost in translation for international audiences, it’s still a movie that shows off one of the starting points of Stephen Chow’s career. This one is just a good time. It’s funny and ridiculous but all of it is done in such a clever way. Look Out, Officer holds up on multiple repeat viewings. What’s even better is that it’s currently on Netflix right now (at least in Netflix Canada).

 

Elwood’s Pick – DIG! (2003)

dig03-1

For seven years director Ondi Timoner followed The Dandy Warhols and The Brian Jonestown Massacre two bands joined by the friendship between their respective frontmen Courtney Taylor-Taylor and Anton Newcombe as the Dandy Warhols found fame and success while the Brian Jonestown Massacre struggled to find their own success..

Narrated by Courtney Taylor-Taylor whose dry tones perfectly suit the narrative being told by Timoner which since the release of the documentary has been heavily disputed by both bands which they cited as being biased towards the Brian Jonestown Massacre as a large focus of the film is focused on the madness and genius of Newcombe who while prolific in his musical output for the band seen at one point churning out an album in a week. At the same time Newcombe is often shown as the self sabotaging force which hinders the band from achieving the success that they deserve.

However watched for the narrative that Timoner has crafted it’s an engrossing car crash even if you’ve never heard of either band, with both bands having their engaging personalities with Newcombe being the sort of personality who could have been the sole subject of the documentary especially when so many of the dramatic moments from fighting band members and audience members to proclaiming a musical revolution are provided by him. The footage with Dandy Warhols on the other hand helps to provide the light relief especially as the Jonestown Massacre verges ever closer to imploding while they are enjoying the trappings of success.

This is a documentary well worth discovering especially if you’ve been looking for a follow up to Penelope Spheeris’ Decline of Western Civilisation trilogy

 

So you’ve seen our picks for this week’s double feature but what are your movie watching plans this weekend?

 

Let us know in the comments section below.

Movies and Tea #32 – Life of Pi

As we bring out Ang Lee season to a close with Life of Pi his Oscar winning film based on Yann Martel’s 2001 novel of the same name. Here Pi Patel recounts the story of his life and most importantly how he survived being standed in a lifeboat with a tiger called Richard Parker.

We also reveal our favourite, worst and hidden gems from the season.

Listen to the Show

Anchor
Itunes
Spotify
Google Podcasts
Stitcher

Movies and Tea #31 – Lust, Caution


Our Ang Lee season arrives at Lust, Caution, an erotic thriller set in Hong Kong in 1938 and in Shanghai in 1942 which sees student Wong Chia Chi being drawn into an assassination plot to kill special agent for the Japanese goverment Mr. Yee only to soon find herself falling for him as she is forced to decide between lust and duty.

Despite the critical acclaim recived for the film it still saw leading Tang Wei blacklisted unlike her male counterpart Tony Leung which we also question as we also look at the controversy the film caused upon its release in China

Listen to the Show

Anchor
Itunes
Spotify
Google Podcasts
Stitcher

Friday Film Club: Seoul Station + Repo Man

DOUBLEFEATURE - 2020-04-10T081955.750

Hi folks and welcome to the The Friday Film Club where both myself and Kim will be highlighting a film which we feel is worth checking out. At the same time we would love to hear your own selections whether you’re choosing to just name them in the comments section or join us in arguing the case for your film on your blog, let us know and we will share it below.

Kim’s Pick – Seoul Station (2016)

Screen-Shot-2017-03-09-at-8.13.59-AM

With the recent release of Train to Busan’s sequel Peninsula, it seems the right time to revisit this franchise and nowhere better to start than the animated prequel, Seoul Station. While Korean animation isn’t as popular as Japanese animation, Seoul Station has some ambitious efforts of crafting how the zombie outbreak starts and sets itself in the South Korean city center, Seoul, giving it more people and areas while wrapping itself in a story that focuses on a few characters as they get chased across the city, in some cases, not only by zombies but their own back story.

Seoul Station focuses around 3 characters. The main character is a sex worker Hye-Sun who runs away from her brothel and then realizes that the second character, her boyfriend Ki-Woong is also trying to pimp her out due to money problems. As she escapes this situation, her father Suk-gyu comes looking for her. Its at this time that the infection breaks out around the Seoul Station area where these three characters are and as they reunite and run away and get chased around, they start being encountered by the zombies and we start seeing how this infection works and what the government and in turn, military view this situation.

Seoul Station might not be quite as polished as Train to Busan but it is a good piece as a prequel. It keeps its characters simple and manages to show the infection break out on a wider scale in a bigger city like Seoul. At the same time, these characters each have their own stories but we only see the bits and pieces revealed throughout an intense chase for survival. There is definitely a chase within a chase between Hye-sun and Suk-gyu. If there’s anything to say about the visuals of the animation, the color palette is done really well as well as the animated elements itself. For one, with the amount of chase scenes, the zombie animation and the speed in their movement is captured really well. The story itself is well-paced and executed at a quick pace to keep the action and tension going.

For fans of Train to Busan, this is a good one to watch. For people who haven’t seen Train to Busan, this one stands alone either way and is a good zombie animated movie that is definitely worth a watch.

Elwood’s Pick – Repo Man (1984)

1525278416012

After being fired from his supermarket job and dumped by his girlfriend, Punk Otto (Estevez) unwittingly finds himself being drawn into being a repo man by Bud (Stanton). However when a bounty for a 1964 Chevy Malibu comes up Otto soon finds that he’s not alone in the search for the car and the mysterious glowing cargo in it’s trunk.

Having set out on a mission to save cinema and coming off his baffling short film Sleep is for Sissies director Alex Cox found surprising support in Monkee’s guitarist (and the only man to make a woolly hat iconic) Michael Nesmith who produced the film while convincing Universal Studios to back the project. The end result seeing Cox drawing ideas from his debut film while making a film which is as much about punk culture as it about conforming to society, while throwing in a whole heap of sci-fi randomness for good measure.

While not an active participant in the emerging San Francisco punk scene and instead more of an onlooker but certainly here the film embraces the scene which is clear from the get go as Cox opens to shots of a map of L.A. to the strains of Iggy Pop who saw the opportunity to contribute to the films soundtrack as a “Gift from god” seeing how it came at a low point in his life from years of drug and alcohol abuse and furthered his own drive to clean himself up. This punk infused soundtrack which also features tracks from the likes of Black Flag and the Circle Jerks would also serve to save the film itself after a disastrous initial release the popularity of the soundtrack lead to the film being re-released turning it into a bonified cult hit.

Outside of the random plot threads Cox here demonstrate a real visual flair from the smoking boot remains of the traffic cop who looks into the trunk of the Chevy through to the blank label can which only mark out their contents it’s a world which is both visually engaging yet never needing to throw it directly at the viewer to get them to register these details.

As my first experience with the work of Alex Cox having previously known him through his Moviedrome introductions I’m now keen to see what else in his filmography I might have been missing out on. Repo Man meanwhile is a true cult classic which might take a couple of viewings to fully appreciate but it is an unquestionably fiercely original film.

So you’ve seen our picks for this week’s double feature but what are your movie watching plans this weekend?

Let us know in the comments section below.

Friday Film Club: Easy A + Bad Lieutenant

DOUBLEFEATURE - 2020-04-03T085822.138

Hi folks and welcome to the The Friday Film Club where both myself and Kim will be highlighting a film which we feel is worth checking out. At the same time we would love to hear your own selections whether you’re choosing to just name them in the comments section or join us in arguing the case for your film on your blog, let us know and we will share it below.

Kim’s Pick – Easy A (2010)

e32412ce4a804bdf4845babb5a3ce0a1

Scroll back 10 years ago in 2010, Easy A was one of the first movies to really give the teen movies a big boost both in character and nostalgia. It paid homage to John Hughes films while also creating its own voice on teenage coming of age experience in the high school environment. Easy A tells the story of Olive, a girl who is a normal high school student that didn’t stick out in a crowd but through her own misuse of words to the wrong person ends up propelling rumors that she ends up riding along with and raising her own popularity to a point that gets a little out of hand.

There’s so much to love about Easy A. While it does wittingly put in a lot of teenage romance comparisons to John Hughes films or even 80s teenage films in general, the movie itself is somewhat a refreshed parallel of those memorable movies as well with a look at the 2010s landscape with technology being able to propel the rumor mill at a faster speed. While at the same time, a lot of the film’s success does have to lie with its cast, especially the witty take on the character of Olive by Emma Stone, showing off her comedic side thoroughly as well as her convincing take on this character that tries to prove a point by embracing the dark side in public, at the same time, not realizing the pain it would cause her until it was too late.

Of course, no great movie is one person. It also has to pair up with a lot of equally witty characters, mainly, Olive’s entire family which is packed with some fun characters. Playing her mother is Patricia Clarkson and as her father is Stanley Tucci who both make the family scenes every bit a highlight with their quick comebacks and witty dialogues. At the same time, the school scenario is not lacking for good cast members either with Thomas Haden Church, Lisa Kudrow and of course, Amanda Bynes who was a teen film favorite in 2000s and sees her in her last feature film role here.

Easy A is executed as a look back at the events as Olive recounts what she has gone through in a livestream. Its a particularly smart move to give the film structure, almost like its in stages and chapters for each turning point of the situation, narrated by the main character themselves. At the end, it also delivers a good message about high school rumors and being true to yourself. Packed with a great lesson and a witty and sarcastic take on the high school dilemmas and rumors, Easy A is a great movie that is still fun every single watch even after 10 ten years.

Elwood’s Pick – Bad Lieutenant (1992)

bad-lieutenant
Back in the late 90’s when I was first seriously getting into film, beyond the surface level enjoyment I already got from my movie watching, Channel 4 here in the UK used to show Extreme cinema; a genre pretty much dead these days with society on a whole becoming harder to shock it would seem. Back then these films were truly seen as pushing boundaries of taste and would be shown as part of their late night schedule on a Friday night. It was from these seasons of films that I was exposed to films such as Greg Araki’s The Doom Generation and necrophilia romance Kissed which shocked me almost as much as they held a strange fascination for me, knowing that I was watching something which certainly fell outside of the cinematic mainstream, especially with their frequently graphic depicatations of sex, drugs, nudity and any number of taboo subjects. It would also be through these late night movie watching sessions that I would first see this film, which while I might not have followed it fully back then, still proved to be a memorable experience while kick-starting a lifelong fascination with the films of Abel Ferrara whom I mention in my review of The King of New York is my director of choice when I feel like watching something truly grimy and once again here it’s what he truly delivers.

As always with Ferrara it is a suitably grimy vision of New York that he once again gives us here, especially with the Lieutenant frequently seeming to take us on a guided tour of its most seediest parts as investigates the rape of a nun while he hangs out with drug dealers and trades drugs he steals from evidence aswell as adding to his own habit. It’s a habit which when combined with his frequent drinking, often finds him in some more than questionable situations as he frequents with prostitutes often in some form of stupor which also gives us one of the more memorable scenes from the film as a naked Keitel staggers around a room wailing into the night as he looks barely capable of functioning in any form and this is just for starters.

As well as these two vices and the constant pursuit of them, the Lieutenant also finds himself in a rapidly increasing spiral of gambling debts, as he continues to back the Dodgers as they face off against the Mets over a series of games, while Baseball player Darryl Strawberry seems to be the only hint at any human connection that he has with anyone with the sporadic interactions he has with his family either erupting in volatile outbursts or general neglect as he often appears to be distant even when surrounded by his family. This self-imposed isolation only increases over the course of the film as he gambles himself into further debts, while his addictions run wild, ultimately coming to ahead as he suffers a breakdown in a church, memorably grovelling and howling for forgiveness to a vision of a post crucified Jesus.

Unquestionably this is not an easy film to view, but despite the frequently graphic nature and crude tone the film takes, Ferrara clearly isn’t aiming to just shock his audience but instead punch them square in the face as he blurs the lines of gritty reality with frequently grotesque imagery. At the same time it is a powerhouse combination that we get from the potent combination of Ferrara’s direction and a bold and fearless performance by Keitel who despite committing numerous hideous and depraved acts still remains grimly watchable.

Similar in many ways to Taxi Driver the film views humanity at its darkest, perhaps making it all the more fitting that a nun is chosen as the victim of rape, as here even a symbol of purity and light is not beyond being soiled. At the same time the nun’s refusal to participate in the investigation of her attackers, furthers Ferrara’s own reoccurring ideals of finding forgiveness and compassion even when surrounded by a society fuelled on violence and hatred.

Unquestionably though thi is not the sort of film which is watched for enjoyment in the traditional sense, but this is still a griping if bleak experience and one truly carried by Keitel, whose performance Nicolas Cage would attempt to replicate with perhaps more overacted results in the unrelated, let alone Ferrara despised Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans. However if you’re looking for a companion piece to Taxi Driver it’s safe to say that this film delivers the goods and more.

So you’ve seen our picks for this week’s double feature but what are your movie watching plans this weekend?

Let us know in the comments section below.

Friday Film Club: Your Name + Ocean’s 8

DOUBLEFEATURE (96)

Hi folks and welcome to the The Friday Film Club where both myself and Kim will be highlighting a film which we feel is worth checking out. At the same time we would love to hear your own selections whether you’re choosing to just name them in the comments section or join us in arguing the case for your film on your blog, let us know and we will share it below.

Kim’s Pick – Your Name (2016)

your-name-2

Adapted from director Makoto Shinkai’s novel of the same name which was published only one month prior to the film’s premiere, Your Name stands out because of all its elements being done very well: story full of reveals and twists, emotional moments, music score and of course, its rich animation. Your Name tells the story of Taki and Mitsuha, a teenage boy and girl respectively who live in different places, don’t know each other and somehow swap bodies in their sleep and gradually forget the other’s name and events when they wake up again in their own bodies. In the midst of a rare comet passing through, their lives become intertwined unexpectedly as they build a connection with each other and try to seek out one another.

Your Name has incredibly rich animation. Each scene has a lot of intricate details. Whether its setting up how the sunlight beams through a scene or how the night sky and the comet and lights contrast in its night scenes, every scene is set up to look beautifully authentic, especially in its outdoors nature scene that almost looks like a realistic snapshot full of colors, instead of an animation. Paired with its music score by Radwimps which runs fittingly throughout all the scenes, especially during the montage moments between the two main leads and the little things that happen to go through time quickly.

Your Name carries a rather complex story packed with swapping bodies, time elements and a few surprises along the way. Its execution is possibly the most important element put to the test in order to make each of its reveals timed perfectly to make it have the most impact and Shinkai does it so masterfully that it manages to make each one unpredictable and pulls the story into another direction and packing in a lot of emotions and tugging some heartstrings as this is at the centre of it all, a love story by the end. At the same time, props to Shinkai who also starts off the story in a light and fun way of introducing these two characters who learn to discover each other physically and emotionally, adding a lot of charm and humor.

At the end of the day, Your Name delivers an fun and emotional story that has a lot of creativity behind it. Its success lies heavily on the twists that it delivers effectively and yet, there’s so much more to this as both the visual aesthetics and the music support the story including the supporting characters which give foundation to explain why these two characters are caught up in this dilemma.

Elwood’s Pick – Ocean’s Eight (2018)

oceans-8-e1527879750819

Working with half the crew but losing none of the star power this genderswapped follow up to the original trilogy (lets just forget that Ratpack original) see’s Danny’s sister orchestrating her own heist upon her release from prison after an art swindle went south. Now gathering her own crew together she plots the snatch of a diamond necklace from the Met Gala.

Switching out the bright lights of Vegas for New York is certainly a great move as it really stops the film from falling into just reworking one of the original heists. It also gives Debbie her own stomping ground even if both her and her partner Lou (Blanchett) feel a little too similar to Danny and Rusty.

Thankfully the similarities end with Debbie and Lou with the rest of the crew each standing out on their own merits and not used before skill sets like Rhianna’s hacker Nine Ball and Mindy Kaling’s jewelry maker. Add to this Helena Bonham Carter’s fashion designer and the always fantastic Awkwafina who here shows up as the always required hustler / pickpocket. It’s equally nice that director Gary Ross resists the urge to cram in a bunch of cameos from well known female celebs to ramp up the girl power, which I honestly was expecting from the setting so to not see an awkward cameo from Taylor Swift or god forbid Lena Dunham was a welcome surprise. We do however get James Corden as an insurance investigator which feels like it was dropped into the film just to give him a role even as per normal he adds nothing but runtime to the film.

The downside here though is compared to the Ocean’s 11 heists the one here lack alot of the twists and complexity and comes off a little too straightforward for the brand. I guess we should just be glad it doesn’t pull the franchise killing move of having an actor suddenly play themselves as we got with that Julie Roberts moment in Ocean’s 12.

A fun heist movie with a good energy between the cast, it’s just a shame this feels so self contained as certainly this could have been the start of a fun new trilogy with this crew. But in the meantime it’s a fun watch while it lasts even if it’s not exactly bringing anything new to the genre.

So you’ve seen our picks for this week’s double feature but what are your movie watching plans this weekend?

Let us know in the comments section below.

Movies and Tea #28 – Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

Having made a Western with Ride With The Devil it seemed almost fitting that Ang Lee would choose to follow it up with an Eastern as he pitched the film as Sense and Sensibility with sword fighting as he brought together Wuxia fight scenes and lavish production design in a film which not only revitalised the intrest in Wuxia film but also helped open the door for a revived interest in Asian cinema.

Listen to the Show

Anchor
Itunes
Spotify
Google Podcasts
Stitcher