There has been a glut of superhero films, particularly those based on the Marvel comics, and many individual heroes have had their solo outings. Now, in the case of the Hulk, Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, and a few others, they are back as an ensemble, all ready to save the world once again. Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury and Clark Gregg’s Agent Phil Coulson get a bit more screen time in this new story, and the villain is Tom Hiddleston’s Loki, who was last met in Thor. There are old, familiar faces, such as Chris Hemsworth’s Thor and Robert Downey Jr’s Iron Man, and new appearances such as Mark Ruffalo as the Hulk. Internet chatter from people who have watched early fan previews suggest the film has wall-to-wall action and plenty of exciting interaction between the disputatious heroes. Production values are high and the 3D effects have received high praise.
Declaration of War (La guerre est declaree)
A film that tells the story of a couple of bohemian Parisians, Juliette (Valerie Donzelli) and Romeo (Jeremie Elkaim), whose 18-month-old son develops a brain tumor, putting terrible strains on the relationship. The film is based loosely on the lives of the two leads, Donzelli and Elkaim, whose son suffered a near fatal illness. The film was also directed by Donzelli. The intimacy of the connection between the acting, writing and direction give the film a deep emotional punch that manages to survive the French new wave mannerisms that are sometimes in danger of undermining the film’s impact. The movie was France’s nomination for this year’s Best Foreign Language Film Academy Award.
Snowfall in Taipei (台北飄雪)
Directed by Huo Jianqi (霍建起), with a strong cast from both sides of the Taiwan Strait, Snowfall in Taipei centers on May (played by Chinese actress Tong Yao, 童瑤), a singer on the run from a relationship with her producer who finds herself in the scenic little town of Jingtung (菁桐) in New Taipei City. She meets local boy Hsiao Mo (played by local actor Wilson Chen, 陳柏霖), and some sort of relationship develops. She finds a quiet happiness, but awaiting just off the scene is another life that continues to hold a certain attraction. Both the people and the scenery are picture-postcard beautiful, but neither the acting nor the story can compete with the visuals.
Come for You (為你而來)
Romantic drama full of heavy-handed sentimentality, Come for You tells the story of Yichia (played by TV actress Cherry Hsia, 夏如芝), who despite suffering from a terminal illness embarks on a journey to China to fulfill the dream of an old man she met in a rest home. On the journey she meets surly photographer Lin De (played by Chinese actor Zheng Kai, 鄭凱). The scenic beauty is almost as contrived as the emotions depicted. The film may gain some following as the last in which local celebrity Johnny Lin (林宗仁), who became a household name after his performance in Cape No. 7 (海角七號), acted in before his death last year.
Cheers From the Heaven
Based on the true story of Hikaru Nakasone, an Okinawan who established a music village to help high school children aspiring to become musicians and inculcated various social values of respect and cooperation in the process. Hiroshi Abe, who is well-known as a comedian, takes the lead role. The story line ensures lots of musical interludes to showcase J-pop, as well as a strong inspirational message about believing in yourself.