Fri, Jun 12, 2009 - Page 16 News List




The Hangover

By all reliable critics’ accounts this is a must-see comedy about a bunch of buddies for whom a bachelor party in Las Vegas goes seriously belly-up. Raunchy and smart, it also defies this Michael Bay era of non-existent characterization by putting genuinely interesting, funny, perverse and sympathetic characters in a world of pain (not just hangovers), starting with a missing groom, a mystery baby and a tiger in the hotel room. Features a cameo by Mike Tyson. These gentlemen, as lovable as they are, are surely fortunate they didn’t star in ...


There are two posters for this envelope-pushing and gory horror comedy. The more subtle one shows a teenage girl’s head peering out of a bubble bath, while the other is a remarkably literal X-ray capture of this film’s central conceit: the nice young woman hides dangerous dentures where men would like them the least. And they come in useful, too, as award-winning actress Jess Weixler protects her virginal self from a range of gentlemen who might just get what they deserve. This film took more than two years to get a release here, and was directed by Mitchell Lichtenstein (Roy’s son), who many moons ago played the white gay lover in Ang Lee’s (李安) The Wedding Banquet. See it with someone you’d love to be docked.

Blood: The Last Vampire

This is a live-action remake of the heavily touted manga from 2000, this time with French director Chris Nahon at the helm. A centuries-old semi-vampire in the guise of a Japanese girl has a score to settle with a swathe of demon-like creatures, the apparent leader of which dispatched her father. There’s no shortage of bloody combat to be found, and the trailer is attractive enough, but there are rumblings out there about below-par special effects and fight sequences. In the end, it might come down to whether you prefer your carnage inflicted by a brooding, muscle-flexing male or a Japanese schoolgirl (OK, OK, so the actress is Korean). Tarantino fans will obviously go for the latter.

Paris 36

The trials and tribulations of a 1930s music hall in Paris is given the melodramatic effort that reminds one of Cinema Paradiso. Unlike that sentimental favorite, however, most reviewers did not get on side with this one, complaining of shallowness, tedium and generic elements as the music hall operators contend with ominous political developments, a lack of custom and criminal intrigue. But it’s pretty, with lots of music. Original title: Faubourg 36.

Children of Glory

A 2006 Hungarian production co-written by Joe Eszterhas (Basic Instinct, Showgirls), the story moves between two infamous water polo matches between the Soviet Union and Hungary and the actions of a young freedom fighter and her water polo-playing boyfriend during the infamous Soviet crackdown that followed the Hungarian uprising of 1956. Critics were divided, calling it overbearing, affecting and sincere by turns, and Eszterhas hasn’t had a screenplay filmed since. But sports fans intrigued by the politics behind sporting contests should find this fascinating, especially the brutal Melbourne Olympics climax.

Speeding Scandal

A box office smash in South Korea last year, this is a romantic comedy in which a has-been pop musician and radio disc jockey suddenly finds his plans for a comeback hitting the wall when a teenager shows up at his home claiming to be his daughter — with his “grandson” in tow, to boot. Initial suspicion and hostility in our professionally challenged hero gives way to something rather more heartwarming in this Baixue theater offering in Ximending. It helps that the kid is sweet — and that the media are lying in wait for any slip-up by the DJ.

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