Thursday, May 24, 2007


I DON'T WANT TO SLEEP ALONE (Tsai Ming Liang, 2007)

I missed his retrospective in Central Market some time ago. *sigh* Exams be damned!

The first Tsai Ming Liang film that was filmed back in his home-country. An examination of 'loneliness'(a recurring theme in his films) amidst the bustling, claustrophobic Kuala Lumpur. As to be expected; minimal dialogues, 'meditative' pacing and perfectly framed, long, static shots are inevitable in a Tsai Ming Liang film.

Tsai perfectly captures the sense of 'seclusion' of his protagonists. That is, their need for 'soulful' connection, far surpasses the need for verbal communications.

It's amazing, really, the level of detail that has been put in each scene, each frame. There is so much too look at, to marvel at, in the intricate details embedded in every long, static shots. It's almost like every movement was choreographed, but at the same time, feels naturalistic. It is filled so much with visual beauty, that my mouth was left gaped in awe most of the time. Indeed, under Tsai's unique flair, KL have never looked this beautiful. Even in those damp alleyways, squatterhouses and abandoned constructions. The last shot, in particular, is simply breathtaking.

Although after the first half the film kind of meanders on a bit and the novelty of the 'new locale'(Kuala Lumpur) starts to succumb to wear, the film's finale is more than enough to reward your patience. The film is truly a sumptuous cinematic experience, and must be fully appreciated on the big screen.

Verdict: 4/5

28 WEEKS LATER (Juan Carlos Fresnadillo, 2007)

The sequel to Danny Boyle's 28 Days Later. Although I still prefer the orignal, Juan Carlos Fresnadillo still managed to brew a worthy enough successor to one of the best horror films ever. Frenetically fast paced, with hardly any pauses for a breather, this is as gripping, and thrilling as you can get from any movie this summer (I'm doubtful of Pirates 3 and Transformers to reach this height in terms of entertainment value. But we'll see.).

Although it falters in terms of 'humanistic' elements that was prevalent in the original, 28 Weeks Later redeems itself with pure adrenaline rush. Frequent jolts, buckets of blood and gore, and inventive action set pieces elevate to a very commendable horror/action flick. It even managed to slip in a critical commentary on the US-army interference (More like a slap in the face for the American 'military power').

The movie left me exhausted. In a good way.

Verdict: 3.5/5

Tuesday, May 22, 2007


"I Believe In Harvey Dent."

...This is ALL kinds of COOL.

Saturday, May 5, 2007


SPIDER-MAN 3 (Sam Raimi, 2007)

Spiderman 3 is without a DOUBT, an ENORMOUS DISAPPOINTMENT. Considering its predecessor Spiderman 2 has been often touted as the best superhero movie ever made (although personally I'd choose Batman Begins all the way!), maybe it's the considerable high standards that i've come to expect from this series, and from Raimi and co., that detracts the overall experience of the film. But as it stands, and being the most expensive movie ever made, it definitely should have been better, or at least provide a satisfactory conclusion to the trilogy.

Judging by the trailers, I first thought that this entry would be a much 'darker' and 'violent' version (treading the path of Batman Begins). A black Spiderman, and the promise of Venom as one the villains, are enough to put fanboys in ecstacy.

Instead, Spiderman 3 is more or less similar in tone as the prequels. Only differing in terms of quality; it's messy, bloated and lacklustre in almost every regard. Raimi dished out too much of everything. Too many villains. Too many characters. Too many subplots. In this case, 'more' turns out to be 'less'. It is painfully obvious that no attention was paid towards the 'script', or much of the things that made the prequels great in the first place. Spiderman 2 explores Peter Parker's inner turmoil with sufficient depth and focus whereas Spidey 3 only skims the surface in terms of character developments. And Doc Ock is a more compelling villain than Sandman, Goblin, and Venom combined.

The sappy 'soap opera-ish' story didnt help either. Boring and ultimately unnecessary. The dialogues are dry and cringe-inducing; sorely lacking compared to its predecessor. Sandman is underused, and its 'tidy' tie-up to Peter's history felt 'tacked-on'. Like a lame reason just to introduce the character, and show off the CGI effects. And not forgetting the plainly corny "father-child" subplot, trying too hard to squeeze out the audience's sympathy on the character. The best villain in it would probably be Venom. But again, he appeared too late, and too short a time to make an impression. However, it was Harry Osborne that stands out above the rest. His inner demons and ongoing feud with Peter are compelling enough to garner attention, even when the script sinks into 'Opera' world (particularly towards the end).

Don't get me wrong, there ARE some good, if not great, parts in the movie. But alas, they are scattered all over, with the horrible parts sticking out like a sore thumb. The only thing this film excelled at, is in the action sequences department. At best, they are as exhilirating and imaginative as its predecessor. The special effects are just jaw-dropping. I think the movie would fare better if they would just shut it on the 'melodrama' part, and just get on with the action. Aaahh but let's not forget the Bruce Campbell cameo. Priceless! I'd even be so bold as to claim him as the best thing in the movie!

That said, Spiderman 3 turned out to be just a passable action movie, but a failure as an entry in the series, thus ending the trilogy on a sour note. It's no wonder that the movie's promotions are off the charts. Seems to me that the guys in Sony weren't all that 'convinced' on this entry in the first place. In the meantime, let's not hope this would mark the start of a 'Summer Movie Curse'.

Verdict: 2.5/5