The Pink Panther 2
Enough people saw and enjoyed the Pink Panther remake featuring Steve Martin as Inspector Clouseau for this sequel to be financed, but it’s hard to imagine another one being made. The upside is that it’s got a good cast: John Cleese, Jeremy Irons, Jean Reno, Alfred Molina and Martin’s All of Me co-star Lily Tomlin, to name a few, though some critics lamented the waste of talent — not to mention a gratuitous CNN cameo (guess who). In Part 2, the Pink Panther diamond is targeted by a legendary thief, and Clouseau must foil him. Peter Sellers fans are advised to hire the old DVDs.
Now we’ve seen everything: an Exorcist-style movie steeped in Jewish religious lore and Nazi scientific atrocities. For the rest of the horror crowd not into such themes, there’s also hot babes, creepy children and a catalog of shocks. Odette Yustman (Cloverfield) plays a young woman whose link to experiments at a World War II concentration camp turns her life into a supernatural nightmare. Also stars Gary Oldman (as a rabbi) and Jane Alexander. Director David S. Goyer is a prolific action/fantasy writer-producer; he played a big role in Christopher Nolan’s Batman films. But his work here has not passed muster among those with little tolerance for the genre.
A casualty of a nervous (or passionless?) US film industry amid the economic gloom, this Michelle Pfeiffer film had lone screenings in New York and Los Angeles before being dumped on the DVD market. Taiwanese audiences, however, are lucky because some of the many straight-to-DVD-in-the-US features screened here are worth the price of a ticket. Pfeiffer is the mother of a deaf child and, because of a murder, recently bereaved; she meets a man (Ashton Kutcher, from That ’70s Show) in a support group and a bond develops between them. Also stars Kathy Bates.
Thomas & Friends: The Great Discovery
Fans of the long-running (25 years!) British TV show for kids about a friendly, hard-working locomotive, his engine friends and their controller will be delighted to see this up on the big screen. Thomas’ “discovery” is an old mountain town on a little-used stretch of track. For the TV show, Ringo Starr and the late George Carlin were among the narrators for the UK and US markets respectively; for the movie, Pierce Brosnan steps into the sound-proof booth. Screening at the Vieshow complex in Xinyi District.
A Frozen Flower
South Koreans took to this sensual, bloody costume drama in record numbers — for an adults-only film. Set around 1,000 years ago, a homosexual emperor asks his lover/bodyguard to impregnate his wife and sire a son to avoid a clash over succession ... but allegiance to the emperor can only go so far. Handsomely mounted, beautifully filmed and featuring a gorgeous cast, this lengthy saga has sex scenes that fully earn its restricted rating.
Some might argue that the Japanese film industry is an offshoot of that country’s manga market, and here is yet more grim evidence of it. Selected members of the curious male acting ensemble known as D-BOYS star in this trifling story based on a dated manga of a high school bicycle racing team that must overcome assorted challenges to prevail. The film may score points for its enthusiasm, but this is no Breaking Away, sad to say.
A remake of a pioneering German film from the late 1950s that attempted to make sense of World War II, this is a made-for-TV production that will be quickly forgotten. A bunch of high school students find themselves called up to the army as US forces approach; their token job is to defend a bridge of no strategic value, but disaster looms anyway. Stars Franka Potente (Marie in The Bourne Identity) and a bunch of young male actors unknown outside Germany. Screening at the Scholar multiplex in Taipei and Wonderful Cinemas in Taichung.
The Baixue theater in Ximending is hosting more hiChannel promotional screenings, this time for Highway Star, a South Korean comedy from 2007 about an up-and-coming heavy metal singer who signs up to perform the dreaded form of music known as “Trot,” which the atmovies Web site helpfully likens to Taiwanese pop songs — the ones with interchangeable melodies, plagal cadences and warbling saxophones beloved of variety shows. Stars Cha Tae-hyun from the hugely successful My Sassy Girl. Starts tomorrow.
Taiwan’s rapid economic development between the 1950s and the 1980s is often attributed to rational planning by highly-educated and impartial technocrats. Those who look at history through blue-tinted spectacles argue that, for much of the post-war period, the government was staffed by Chinese who fled China after the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lost the civil war “who had no property interests in Taiwan and no connections with a landlord class,” leaving “the KMT party-state more autonomous from societal influences than governments [elsewhere in East Asia],” writes Gaye Christoffersen in Market Economics and Political Change: Comparing China and Mexico. At the same
It’s impossible to write a book entirely in the Taokas language. There are only about 500 recorded words in the Aboriginal tongue, whose speakers shifted to Hoklo (also known as Taiwanese) generations ago while preserving certain Taokas phrases in their speech. “When I first started recording the language around 1997, I really had to jog the memories of the elders to find anything,” says Liu Chiu-yun (劉秋雲) a member of the Taokas community and a language researcher. The Taokas last month unveiled a picture book, Osubalaki, Balalong Ramut the community’s first-ever commercial publication using the language. The lavishly illustrated book
In his 1958 book, A Nation of Immigrants, then US senator from Massachusetts John F Kennedy wrote the following words: “Little is more extraordinary than the decision to migrate, little more extraordinary than the accumulation of emotions and thoughts which finally lead a family to say farewell to a community where it has lived for centuries, to abandon old ties and familiar landmarks, and to sail across dark seas to a strange land.” As an epithet, the book’s title is commonly associated with America and, in the face of the xenophobic rhetoric that has marked US President Donald Trump’s tenure,
It seems that even the filmmakers don’t know what happened in 49 Days (驚夢49天). After spending too much of the film building up the mystery and constantly introducing confusing elements, they wrap up the film in the last couple of minutes in the laziest way, with the protagonist actually uttering “nobody knows.” That is bloody annoying, having sat through over 90 minutes of disjointed and head-scratching storytelling. Billed as a horror flick featuring the chilling Taoist ritual of guanluoyin (觀落陰), or visiting hell, 49 Days was meant to scare the pants off viewers over Dragon Boat Festival weekend. Horror movies