2010 Neo-Cult Classics Film Festival (2010新·地下經典影展)
Following its recent HorrorFever mini film festival, distributor Catchplay has put together another batch of non-mainstream horror features ranging from straight-to-DVD boobs-and-bullets B movies like Bitch Slap to campy romps like Yatterman, which took top slot in the Japanese box office for four weeks when released last year. The 12 movies mostly fall into a broadly defined horror/gore category (the two already mentioned are something of an exception), and include fantasy (Vampire Girl V.S. Frankenstein Girl, Japan), zombies (Dead Snow, Norway, The Neighbor Zombie, South Korea), slasher (Tokyo Gore Police, Japan) and classic grind house (Trailer Park of Terror, US), and various combinations and variations of the aforementioned. Screenings run through Oct. 8 at the Shin Kong Cineplex (台北新光影城), 36 Xining S Rd, Taipei City (台北市西寧南路36號). Detailed information about the films can be found at www.catchplay.com. Single tickets cost NT$175 when purchased through 7-Eleven store ibon kiosks or NT$190 directly from the venue. Detailed information on screening times and ticket discounts can be found at www.catchplay.com/tw/neocult.
The Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen (陳真:精武風雲)
Billed as the sequel to Bruce Lee’s 1972 classic Fist of Fury (精武門), and directed by Infernal Affairs’ Lau Wai-keung (劉偉強), The Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen has much to tantalize martial arts fans. Primarily there is Donnie Yen (甄子丹), fresh from his stint as another patriotic martial arts hero in two Ip Man movies. He plays the title character, Chen Zhen (陳真), a role that cements his place as the foremost contemporary Chinese martial arts performer. Unfortunately, the production team didn’t place its faith in his chop-socky talents and chose to overload the story with complex subplots, most of which lack conviction. Shu Qi (舒淇) is included on the bill to show a bit of leg, and though there are a couple of masterful fight sequences, the film’s pretensions to be more than just a fight movie fail to be realized.
Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps
Oliver Stone’s much anticipated sequel to the original Wall Street, released 23 years ago. Stone has said that he felt that in unintentionally setting up Gordon Gekko as a role model for a generation of MBAs he delivered the wrong message, and Money Never Sleeps is an attempt to rebuild Gekko from the ground up. Gekko, played again by Michael Douglas, is out of prison, but is he really a new man? Shia LaBeouf (from the Transformers series) is a young protege who looks up to the former financial whizz, but also has ambitions to net Gekko’s estranged and idealistic daughter (played by Carey Mulligan).
A Very Very Beautiful Love Story (Ensemble, Nous Allons Vivre Une Tres, Tres Grande Histoire d’Amour ...)
French film that has achieved some appeal among those with a taste for vaguely surrealistic romance fantasies. The story follows a convoluted and highly improbable love affair between Dorothee (Marina Hands) and Nicolas (Julien Dore) and endures many separations and even a marriage between the heroine and a deaf-mute Italian tailor played by Guillaume Gallienne (see review of The Concert). The film favors style and sentiment over plot, and the whole concoction is tres, tres whimsical and Gallic, and perfectly delicious if you like this sort of thing.
Man of Vendetta
South Korean drama about a preacher, Joo Young-soo, who suffers a crisis of faith when his five-year-old daughter is kidnapped. Eight years later, long after he has abandoned religion, Joo is approached by the kidnapper, who demands a ransom. Religion and a lust for vengeance all play a part in this drama, with the religious aspect marking it out as something different from the conventional thriller. There is lots of violence as Joo declines to turn the other cheek. Starring Kim Myeong Min, an A-lister in South Korea with a solid regional following through his performance in The White Tower (白色巨塔), a hugely popular television soap.
The Sea Purple (Viola di Mare)
A costume drama about young women falling in love in 19th-century Sicily. The problem is that Angela (Valeria Solarino) and Sara (Isabella Ragonese) are not falling in love with eligible young men, but each other. To overcome the condemnation of a lesbian relationship, Angela takes the decision to dress as a man for the rest of her life, so that she can continue to live as Sara’s partner. The film is an exploration of the relationship and the difficulties the couple encounter as they try to hide their true nature.
Who R U? (Kria Nai Hong)
Thai horror that mixes up shocks and gore in a story about a boy, Ton, who has locked himself in a room to play video games for five years, communicating with his mother only through cryptic notes. People eventually become curious about Ton’s lifestyle, and it is not long before someone crosses an unseen boundary and releases the horrors that exist in the room. The film has also been released as Haunted Room. Supposedly based on true events, Who R U? has garnered some good reviews on the Internet.
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