Song-and-dance film with the two big names on the marquee likely to make up for its many failings. One doesn’t expect great innovation in a movie like Burlesque, where the action exists to frame a couple of big set piece routines, but the lack of cinematic ambition is a disappointment in a film featuring such A-list celebs. Starring Cher and Christina Aguilera, and with the family friendly PG rating (viewing not permitted for children under 12), Burlesque is ripe for the teen market. Aguilera puts in a solid performance, especially in the early scenes, as a small-town girl trying to make it in the big city, while Cher stays very much behind the facade that has become her onstage persona. The rest of the cast includes many familiar faces including Stanley Tucci, as well as the likes of Peter Gallagher and Kristen Bell, who attempt to flesh out Burlesque with something akin to a story.
This movie, starring Jack Black, has only the most tenuous connection with Jonathan Swift’s novel, telling the story of travel writer Lemuel Gulliver, who finds himself in Lilliput after getting caught in a storm while en route to the Bermuda Triangle. Black’s comedic talents are not to everybody’s taste, but even fans complain that Gulliver’s Travels lacks the actor’s manic humor from School of Rock. Instead, what we have is an old-fashioned, light romantic comedy with a touch of medieval costume drama thrown in. (Lilliput is a very Camelot sort of place.) The cast includes Emily Blunt and veteran comic Billy Connolly, who are always enjoyable to watch, but with its sometimes cheap-looking special effects and mildly scatological humor, Gulliver’s Travels is more likely to appeal to children than adults.
Diary of a Sex Addict (Diario de una Ninfomana)
Also released as Diary of a Nymphomaniac, this Spanish movie, which premiered in 2008, is based on the best-selling novel Insatiable — The Erotic Adventures of a French Girl in Spain by Valerie Tasso. While the book, published in 2005, was something of a sensation in erotic fiction, this semi-autobiographical work about a middle-class French girl who dabbles in prostitution has not transferred so well to film. Though the commonplace cinematic trope of romantic fulfilment blunts the hard edge of Tasso’s psychosexual experiments, the acting is well above average — but that’s not sufficient to raise Diary of a Sex Addict above the crowd of sexy European art house movies that flood the DVD market.
Space Battleship Yamato
A live-action movie adapted from the classic 1970s television anime series. While the original series was remarkable for being able to cross the cultural divide and was released in Western markets under the title of Star Blazers, the series does not seem to have managed the transition to the big screen quite as successfully, with fans on the Internet expressing considerable disappointment with many aspects of the film, particularly the main characters’ shallowness. In terms of effects, Space Battleship Yamato is extremely ambitious, but in trying to cram a 26-episode TV series into 150 minutes, the film’s makers have bitten off far more than they can chew. While fans may be disappointed, newcomers to the series could find it an excellent introduction to a story that has achieved iconic status in Japan.
Big-budget Japanese romance inspired by a well-known song of the same name. The movie follows the lives of Canada-born schoolgirl Saki (Yui Aragaki), who achieves her ambition of getting into a prestigious Tokyo university, and Gohei (Toma Ikuta), a student from the nearby fisheries high school who is determined to follow in the footsteps of his fisherman father. They fall in love, try a long-distance relationship, break up and after many vicissitudes, are reunited. The two leads are both pop idols with strong followings, and the filmmakers have taken pains to shoot on location in Hokkaido, Toronto, New York and Tokyo, giving the film an exotic international look that will appeal to armchair tourists.
Starring Sylvie Testud, who might be known to Taiwanese audiences from the films Lourdes and Sagan, both of which were recently released here. Written and directed by Joel Seria, who made his reputation with a number of sexy pseudo-intellectual B-movie features, such as Don’t Deliver Us From Evil (1971), which tells the tale of two convent school girls who have taken a vow to sin and serve Satan. Telling the story of a neglected, mischievous kid called Roger, who finds new hope after being put into the care of Mumu, a strict teacher whose severe demeanor hides a heart of gold, Mumu is a departure from Testud’s usual material.
Cinematic filler from 2002 being brought to local screens to meet the needs of the festive season. Grand Champion will more than satisfy people looking for a nice film with children and animals that conveys an upbeat and inspirational message. Directed by actor Barry Tubb, a Texas native who was a bull riding champion at age 15 (in a junior division), the film tells the story of Buddy and Hokey (a calf), who work their way through the ranks of several Texas stock shows to win the coveted title of Grand Champion. They get help from all sorts of charming characters along the way.
Despite the country’s much-lauded National Health Insurance (NHI) and a raft of social-service programs, Taiwan still lacks a comprehensive welfare system. Citizens unable to take care of themselves are often forced to seek help from their relatives. For a foreign resident whose family might be on a different continent, this can be a huge problem, says John Groot, Taipei representative of Haxtrong. Registered as a not-for-profit organization in 2014, Haxstrong initially emerged in Kaohsiung in 2010 as an ad hoc group of expatriates and their Taiwanese friends who rallied to support Gregg Haxton. An English teacher from South Africa, Haxton had been
Miao Lin-Zucker (林季苗) wanted to teach Taiwanese how to speak French; instead she’s helping the French learn Hoklo (also known as Taiwanese). As of last week, nearly 120 people had expressed interest in the first ever Hoklo classes (listed as Taiwanais in French) offered by Les Cours d’Adultes de Paris, one of the largest public language learning institutions in France. The courses begin online next month. “It’s getting easier to explain Taiwan to people here due to its recent international visibility,” Lin-Zucker says. “So it doesn’t seem as strange anymore to promote a Taiwanese Hoklo class. I’m not training language experts
Sept 27 to Oct 3 When an apparition appeared in a vision telling Easter Lee (李幫助) to build a seminary, she said she would only do so if three conditions were met — conditions that were nearly impossible to meet for a woman born in 1909 to a modest family with 22 children. Still bitter about nearly having to give up her schooling for her younger brother, the ambitious 18-year-old wanted to cancel her arranged marriage, attend seminary school abroad and become Taiwan’s first female pastor. Lee accomplished all three before she turned 40, reaching the final milestone in March
It’s not often I glimpse something from a bus that, in a second or less, convinces me to press the stop-request button earlier than planned. But just after crossing into Taichung’s Shihgang District (石岡) from Fongyuan District (豐原), we passed a building that was so distinctive I didn’t care if I’d end up with a long walk under the hot sun. I’d never seen a fire station quite like it. The greater part was gray and somewhat bland, but to those familiar with Taiwan’s various architectural styles, the endearing cream-yellow entrance way screamed, “colonial-era public building.” My hunch turned out to be