Fri, Nov 06, 2009 - Page 16 News List


By Martin Williams  /  STAFF REPORTER


Meat Grinder

A coming-on-middle-aged street vendor projects her madness and history of abuse onto (mostly) unsuspecting, sleazy men — and cooks up a storm. Surprisingly good reviews greeted this gory Thai drama, which is right up there with Hong Kong’s The Untold Story (八仙飯店之人肉叉燒包) as a boundary-pushing, gag-inducing Asian incarnation of Sweeney Todd; it’s also a perfectly timed essay for people who think US beef is the sign of the Devil. Abstruse political subtexts (it’s set during student riots in the 1970s) and class and gender commentary ... or blood, guts and torture for their own sake? Take your pick. Taiwan’s censors have let this one through without cuts, though it isn’t clear if this is the version originally banned in Thailand. Either way, here’s the question: Why doesn’t Taiwan make movies like this?

Taipei County Film Festival

The Taipei County Government is screening a series of local and foreign films, including documentaries, in hardtops and on the road for another week. Outdoor screenings are free. See for details in English of indoor screenings. There’s also a related exhibition at the county government building in Banciao.

Baby Love

A gay doctor (Lambert Wilson) in France wants to adopt a baby but circumstances conspire against him, starting with the authorities and the hostility of his partner. Solution: Arrange a phony marriage with an illegal immigrant from South America and thus acquire a surrogate child. Touches of Green Card and La Cage aux Folles abound, but they don’t quite balance the mood of apprehension that accompanies the fatherly yearnings of the lead character. French title: Comme les Autres.


The Spot theater in Taipei is taking a chance in screening this strange film. Viewers expecting any sort of standard plot or setting will find themselves hemmed in as the camera (meant to be a cellphone held by some kid at a fashion show) trains on a series of characters who talk for more than 90 minutes as troubling events take place in the vicinity. Fans of Andy Warhol’s films might get nostalgic, and there is a lineup of superb performers (starting with Judi Dench, Steve Buscemi and Jude Law). But director Sally Potter (a million miles away from her excellent Orlando) gives new technology more credence than it’s due; in one of the less convincing gimmicks of recent years, this film premiered simultaneously on mobile phones. Starts Sunday.

Love Happens

Aaron Eckhart (The Dark Knight) is a motivational speaker and author motivated by his wife’s death on the roads. Jennifer Aniston is a florist he meets while hosting a seminar in Seattle. A relationship blooms, even as other people in Eckhart’s life remain difficult customers. “As each struggles with the hurt of love and loss, they realize that in order to move forward, they need to let go of the past. And if they can, they’ll find that, sometimes, love happens when you least expect it,” says the promo. That should tell you all you need to know.

The Girl in the Park

It’s taken more than two years for this drama to be released here; it barely screened theatrically in the US after poor reviews. Sigourney Weaver’s daughter goes missing in New York’s Central Park; years later, her confrontation with a young thief (Kate Bosworth) — who would have been her daughter’s age — sets some very strange behavior, thoughts and relationships in motion. Lots of talent in this one, but for many critics it just didn’t add up.

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