Fri, Jan 15, 2010 - Page 16 News List

OTHER RELEASES

By Martin Williams  /  STAFF REPORTER

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The Men Who Stare at Goats

If it’s George Clooney, then it must be a liberal-leaning action movie or historical drama, right? In this case, it’s a bit of both. Based on a book that exposed purportedly real-life shenanigans by elements in the US Army over the years, this is a yarn that should delight fans of leads Clooney, Ewan McGregor, Kevin Spacey and Jeff Bridges. Clooney is a special forces operative of mysterious purpose whose activities in Iraq turn out to be wackier than McGregor’s reporter could have dreamed ... and the fate of the titular goat is just the beginning.

20th Century Boys: The Last Chapter - Our Flag

The final installment in this manga-sourced Japanese trilogy of kiddie-induced apocalyptic madness arrives in Taipei to a ready-made audience. Part 3 concentrates on the final stages of the attempt by doomsday cult leader Friend to destroy the world. His long-time opponents — a rock star and his female relative — attempt to frustrate him both within his organization and from the outside. It’s worth noting that this intriguing and sometimes disturbing mixture of cults, children, terrorism, pop music and religion could never have been made in the US.

Crazy Racer (瘋狂的賽車)

Frenetic Chinese action comedy involves a disgraced cyclist whom fate further mistreats by ensnaring him in a mish-mash of drug-running, spouse murder and even more nefarious activities. There’s action to spare and some innovative elements, too. Perfect for getting crazy on a brainless night out on the town. This is a follow-on of sorts from director Ning Hao’s (寧浩) Crazy Stone (瘋狂的石頭) in 2006.

The Warrior and the Wolf (狼災記)

Chinese director Tian Zhuangzhuang (田壯壯), who made the fine drama The Blue Kite (藍風箏), is a force to be reckoned with. Unfortunately, this strange, messy film may not enhance that reputation. Maggie Q (Die Hard 4.0) is a luckless widow, Japan’s Joe Odagiri (Air Doll, which also opens today) is a warrior and Taiwan’s Tou Chung-hua (庹宗華, from Lust, Caution) is a fallen general in this cosmopolitan action fantasy set thousands of years ago. The film offers two pieces of advice among the battles, rape sequences and pretty vistas: (1) Don’t fornicate with wolf-women and (2) Don’t assume eclectic Asian co-productions will make money.

Sex, Party & Lies

What, no videotape? A hit in Spain, this teen drama seems to be mining territory (teens getting it on and getting out of control) that Larry Clark exhausted years ago, though the actors cast here seem a little older. If the version that screened at Cannes is the one released here, then the teen audience that this flick craves will be locked out. If you want to see Spanish filmmakers pushing the envelope, track down some of Pedro Almodovar’s earliest films instead. Original title: Mentiras y Gordas.

Conversations With God

We in Taiwan may get a regular supply of films about religious figures, but it’s not often an explicitly religious film gets a screening — let alone Christian. This one invites the viewer to join Neale Donald Walsh’s real-life transformation from street bum to super-wealthy self-help author thanks to some conversations with the Almighty when he was at rock bottom. Henry Czerny plays the itinerant-turned-publishing icon well enough, according to some reviews, but overall this effort left most critics conversing with themselves about their own career direction. Find God at the Changchun theater in Taipei.

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