The House Bunny
This Anna Faris vehicle looks like junk judging from the trailer, but early reviews are very affectionate. Faris is an uber-dumb Playboy Bunny who gets ejected from Hugh Hefner’s digs and responds by teaching a sorority full of gormless young ladies to triumph over their apparent sexlessness. In turn, she learns that making yourself smarter has its advantages. Sounds like Revenge of the Nerds meets Legally Blonde, which, come to think of it, might be a good thing. And it’s no accident: The latter film and this one share the same screenwriters.
20th Century Boys
Nobody quite embraces the apocalypse and loss of innocence like the Japanese, and here’s another movie sourced from a classic manga to prove it. Childhood friends create a fantasy world — complete with an unsettling symbol — that imagines dreadful events befalling the planet. After reuniting as adults, they discover that their youthful fantasies are becoming reality and that the world faces annihilation at the hands of a cult leader/terrorist called Friend who has accessed their past. The film concludes with spectacular and disturbing scenes of destruction and mayhem, but hope remains: Part 2 is on the way.
City of Ember
An intricate underground city not unlike the one envisioned by the Artilleryman in the book of The War of the Worlds is the setting for this futuristic, family-ish movie. On the surface of the Earth some kind of apocalyptic event has forced humans underground and to accept the challenges that go with it. How else could the city tolerate Bill Murray as its eventual mayor? Two hundred years on, two precocious children find clues that suggest things are looking very bad for the community, not helped by collapsing infrastructure and predatory creatures roaming the outskirts. Also stars Martin Landau and Tim Robbins (who, by the way, played the Artilleryman redux in Steven Spielberg’s War of the Worlds).
No, this videogame-cum-movie is not directed by Uwe Boll. Mark Wahlberg is the title character, out for his own brand of justice after his wife and baby are murdered. Like City of Ember, this movie privileges style and heat over content and light and may delight budding production designers as Max pursues crooks at an evil company that produces a terrifying, unpredictable drug for military purposes. Lots of action for the faithful, but it seems we’ll have to wait until Gaspar Noe directs Grand Theft Auto IV for a truly envelope-pushing movie based on a format that always lent itself to addiction and robotic violence, not real emotion.
A revelatory, wide-ranging documentary on breakdancing, this might be the best release of the week. Those put off breakdancing for life after watching fluff like the Cannon studio’s Breakin’ and Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo in the mid-1980s might find themselves converted, despite themselves, after watching this. Superb dancers from around the world strive to reach the finals of the world competition in Germany, with the viewer intimately following five of the crews, including Japanese and South Koreans. Variety points out that the director opted for the dancers to show their moves without the hype of excessive editing or close-ups, which should please dance aficionados.
A French production set in Ireland supposedly based on an incident in the US, the title refers to a creepy-looking girl who is seemingly possessed, while the story has a psychologist attempting to reach her through her Sybil-like battery of sinister multiple identities — but not necessarily to the delight of the Wicker Man-like locals, who may have a vested interest in keeping some nasty secrets buried within her. Not a favorite among the folks at Tourism Ireland, this movie was also released as Dorothy.
The Taiwan of yesteryear was dominated in whole or in part by the Dutch, Spanish, Qing Empire and Japanese. But is the Taiwanese name for a popular edible fish derived from the Portuguese language? Cheng Wei-chung (鄭維中), an associate research fellow at Academia Sinica’s Institute of Taiwan History, says yes. The fish in question is the narrow-barred Spanish mackerel, which was listed in early 18th century Qing local gazetteers as Taiwanese specialities alongside milk fish and mullet, according to Cheng’s paper, “Mullet, narrow-barred Spanish mackerel and milkfish: Multiple contextual developments of three certified seafood specilaities in Taiwan, from the
Aug. 10 to Aug. 16 They called him the “No Problem Doctor” (沒關係醫生) because that’s what he always told his patients when they couldn’t pay up. Operating the only clinic in Changhua County’s Pusin Township (埔心) during the 1950s, Hsu Tsai-chih (許再枝) knew that life was difficult in his remote hometown. “They barely had enough to survive, so it was pointless to chase after them for the money,” an 81-year-old Hsu told the United Daily News in 2002. “I just went with the flow, some offered to pay me back years later but I had already forgotten
I didn’t expect to spend more than three minutes out of my car, yet the sun was so brutal I put on my hat before approaching the seawall. Beimen (北門) is the flattest and most sun-baked part of Tainan. It lacks trees and people. In wintertime, the weather is often delightful. It wasn’t yet mid-morning in the hot season, however, and I felt like a leaf shriveling in the desert. Atop the seawall but facing inland, I could see dozens of the rectangular ponds which account for a significant percentage of Beimen’s “land” area. Some, no doubt, were dug to produce
A widely criticized peer-reviewed study that measured the attractiveness of women with endometriosis has been retracted from the medical journal Fertility and Sterility. The study, “Attractiveness of women with rectovaginal endometriosis: a case-control study,” was first published in 2013 and has been defended by the authors and the journal in the intervening years despite heavy criticism from doctors, other researchers and people with endometriosis for its ethical concerns and dubious justifications, with one advocate calling the study “heartbreaking” and “disgusting.” The study’s conclusion was: “Women with rectovaginal endometriosis were judged to be more attractive than those in the two control groups.