Fri, Aug 28, 2009 - Page 16 News List




The Time Traveler’s Wife

Judiciously released on Chinese Valentine’s Day, this film stars Rachel McAdams and Eric Bana, a loving couple cursed (or blessed?) by the latter’s uncontrollable trips through time and space. As with the temporal hoppers in The Terminator, Bana slips in and out of the space-time continuum absolutely starkers, which proves to be more humorous here than dangerous. Will true love prevail in the end (or the beginning)? Critics saw through the holes immediately, but uncritical, lovelorn audiences might have a heartwarming time, especially because the leads are winning.

Let’s Fall in Love (尋情歷險記)

Also making use of Chinese Valentine’s Day is this up-close-and-personal Taiwanese documentary enjoying a proper release with a new promotional campaign. Twenty-odd married couples come under the spotlight with their relationship problems and weaknesses, together with the intriguing matchmaker-counselor whom all of them share. From award-winning director Wuna Wu (吳汰紝), who had to solicit hundreds of small investors to get this film into theaters.

The Forbidden Legend: Sex & Chopsticks 2 (金瓶梅2:愛的奴隸)

Sweaty and kinky sex for its own sake is a rare bird on the Taiwanese big screen these days. We haven’t had a soft porn extravaganza since, well, the original Sex & Chopsticks late last year. Japanese hardcore actresses Hikaru Wakana (with head still shaved), Kaera Uehara, Serina Hayakawa and Yui Morikawa secure another Hong Kong work visa to tell, for the umpteenth time, the misadventures of barely robed courtesans. But tableware fetishists will likely feel misled all over again; the Chinese title (“The Golden Lotus 2: Slaves of Love”) is more faithful to what’s on show.

Largo Winch

At last, a live-action movie based on a comic book that isn’t Japanese. Largo Winch stands to inherit a fortune from a tycoon who rescued him from an orphanage. But money like that doesn’t come easily if Daddy’s ruthless business partners have designs of their own, including offing the man and preparing the same for his son. A mixture of office intrigue and globetrotting action, this French effort is something different for people who think they’ve seen everything.

Rookies: Graduation

And so, back to a movie based on a Japanese manga. A bunch of good-for-nothing punks regain self-respect and team spirit after their charismatic high school teacher shapes them into a formidable baseball team. This is a theatrical follow-up to a TV series based on the popular manga series Rookies. But unless you’re a baseball tragic or swoon at the sight of “bad boys” with trendy shocks of hair and perfect skin, this attempt at inspiration won’t mean a pitcher’s mound of beans. The Bad News Bears it ain’t.

Four Minutes

A German film from 2006, Four Minutes is also an inspirational movie, but with sobriety, depth and darkness. A dangerous new prisoner (played by the much-admired Hannah Herzsprung) at a women’s correctional facility turns out to be a very talented piano player, catching the eye of the prisoners’ aging music teacher and sparking heat in different directions. The film climaxes with the minutes of the title in a killer performance. Filled with surprising brutality, poignance and energy, this is a hands-down must-see for musicians, especially piano students who feel chained to their instruments.

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