This Movie Is Broken
Concert movie that should be a great follow-up for those who made the Broken Social Scene gig here last weekend, and for those who missed it, an introduction to the band. The film by Canadian director Bruce McDonald weaves an easygoing story of a tentative relationship between Bruno (Greg Calderone) and Caroline (Georgina Reilly), who wake up together one morning and need to work out how to go on from there. Much of the action takes the two may-be lovers through the backstage setup of a Broken Social Scene performance. Intimate camera work is effectively cut with excellent concert footage, creating a movie that has proven a big hit with fans.
Ice Kacang Puppy Love (初戀紅豆冰)
This Chinese-language film from Malaysia is a bittersweet coming-of-age comedy that is full of nostalgia for traditional Asian family life. Directed by and starring Ah Niu (aka Tan Kheng-seong 陳慶祥, as Botak) and Angelica Lee (李心潔, as Fighting Fish) as cousins who have a close friendship verging on the romantic. Their relationship is complicated by an annoying neighbor, Malinfan (Gary Chaw, 曹格), who falls hard for the combative Fighting Fish. Romantic attachments in Ice Kacang Puppy Love are an extension of the sound track’s songs, which are slightly melancholic and very melodic. The mixture of pop star faces and nostalgic mood will be easily recognizable to Taiwanese. Ice kacang is the Malaysian term for the shaved ice dessert that is popular here. The theme music for the film is already working its way up the charts.
The Extraordinary Adventures of Adele Blanc-Sec
Any work by Luc Besson is likely to be visually stunning, and in his most recent guise of director, he has bundled together visual ideas into something that resembles a post-Avatar meeting of Mary Poppins and Laura Croft. There are flying dinosaurs and Egyptian mummies, as well as Louise Bourgoin dressed in 1920s flapper kit. The title character, Adele Blanc-Sec, is a free-spirited woman who throws herself into a world of adventure that involves many delightfully improbable scenarios rendered with all Besson’s usual attention to detail. Based on a comic book series by Jacques Tardi, Besson has predictably given the satirical and complex original material his usual stylistic polish (which for many translates as a complete lack of depth). This is a fantasy that is aimed as much toward adults as children.
Bunny and the Bull
A clever film that fails to be funny, Paul King’s (creator of the popular surreal/absurd comedy television series The Mighty Boosh) Bunny and the Bull is a visual feast that fails to work on many levels. Impressive production work that corrals a wide range of animation techniques into a fantasy road trip reminiscent of Michel Gondry’s Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and The Science of Sleep alienates audiences with its heavy-handed technical smarts. Leads Edward Hogg (Stephan) and Simon Farnaby (Bunny) provide a deadpan response to this fantasy work that should be funny, but they are let down by a script that is short of laughs.
Love You 10,000 Years (愛你一萬年)
Romantic comedies that depend primarily on a highly improbable premise for their laughs are nothing unusual, but Love You 10,000 Years manages to underwhelm even before it is out of the gate. Its lack of credibility is heightened by publicity material that lauds the support of the Taichung City Government and the presence of numerous scenic locations. Films that factor in government promotions are rarely a success. Then we have Vic Chou (周渝民), who has chosen this unpromising vehicle to save his floundering career. The story is about a slacker guitarist, played by Chou, who meets a Japanese woman on the rebound from a nasty breakup. They decide to embark on a love affair that will lasts just 100 days. The results are pretty predictable.