There are some genuinely funny moments in this rather low-wattage comedy about a teddy bear that comes to life, and manifests himself as a foul-mouthed, weed-smoking, misogynistic companion to affable underachiever John Bennett (Mark Wahlberg). Inevitably, he also creates all kinds of trouble when Mark starts to get it on with Lori (Mila Kunis). Director Seth MacFarlane, the creator of the Family Guy animated TV series, does not seem completely at home on the big screen, and the loose string of gags in Ted would seem to be more suitable for the more casual viewing environment of the lounge room. The two human stars are both adequate, but MacFarlane, who also has a writer credit on the show, does not really give them a chance to use their talents.
French comedy made up of six shorts working round the topic of infidelity, The Players sports a strong cast, including recent Oscar winners Jean Dujardin and has Michel Hazanavicius, director of The Artist, taking on directing duties on one segment. As with all compilations, the quality of this film is largely dictated by its weakest link, and there are a few sections that vie for this honor. The closing segment, with its over-elaborate staging and extensive on-screen nudity, stands out for its lack of imagination. Hazanavicius does some good work, bringing out new depth in Dujardin’s acting, but this is not enough to save this messy melange of a film.
Detective Conan: The Eleventh Striker
The 16th feature film in the Detective Conan franchise. The story, as the title suggests, is set against a background of professional soccer, with the intrepid detective tasked to find a bomb hidden in a sports stadium. The films in this series are original stories and not adaptations of existing material for the original manga. Directed by Yasuichiro Yamamoto in his second film in this series, the presentation does not mess with the tried and tested style and format that has made Detective Conan one of the biggest manga exports from Japan.
A film based on a novel by bestselling author David Foenkinos, La Delicatesse, and starring Audrey Tautou, whose presence gives this release something of the feel of Priceless and Amelie. Unfortunately, the film doesn’t have much going for it other than Tautou’s personality, and though it is buoyant throughout, it is never willing to let loose on anything that might break the mold of harmless, inoffensive and generally bland romantic entertainment. There are some delightful moments, but the material joining it together is thin and shopworn, so that even its best moments are compromised by a sense of deja vu.
A Danish movie with its own grim sense of playful fun that does not shy away from a less than PC portrayal of women and a cheerful delight in presenting racial stereotypes. It has its tongue mostly in its cheek, and the story of sad-sack wine merchant chasing after his runaway wife, a hard nosed sports agent who is looking to marry her star client, a buff football sticker, has plenty of potential. A voiceover by an unseen Mikael Bertelsen provides an ironic commentary and insight into the thoughts of the characters, as the camera makes the most of Buenos Aires. There is plenty of romantic silliness, but somehow, director Ole Christian Madsen’s joy in his story keeps the whole thing afloat.
Steve Jobs Visionary Genius
This is a cinematic hagiography of Apple computer’s visionary leader. The film seems to go out of its way to see only the positive aspects of Steve Jobs and his accomplishments. It looks both at his private and public life, but frames the story as an epic struggle of a genius fighting against the constraints of mortality, foregoing any meaningful exploration of the nuts and bolts of his achievements as a marketing whiz kid or as one of the more extraordinary human beings of the 21st century.
Taiwan’s artist community was outraged when the authorities banned Lee Shih-chiao’s (李石樵) Reclining Nude (橫臥裸婦) from the 1936 Taiyang Art Exhibition (台陽美術展覽會). The Taiwan Daily News (台灣日日新報) reported that after hours of deliberation, the officials censored the piece for “contravening public morals.” Although the government did have rules on publicly displaying nude art, the state-run Taiwan Fine Art Exhibition regularly featured naked women, allowing more revealing pieces each year. On the same page, the newspaper ran a scathing criticism of the decision by an anonymous artist. “This is completely laughable … If they really thought [Reclining Nude] contravened public morals, they
John Thomson was a pioneering photographer in the 19th century and one of the first to journey to East Asia. In 1871, while in China he met Dr James Laidlaw Maxwell, a fellow Scotsman who was returning to Taiwan, where he served as a Presbyterian missionary. Maxwell’s description of Taiwan intrigued Thomson, and the photographer decided to accompany Maxwell to the island then known to Westerners as Formosa. Disembarking at Takow (today’s Kaohsiung) on April 2, 1871, Thomson brought with him the best photography equipment of his time, along with thousands of glass plates — an estimated 200kg of equipment. The
Alan Dolan couldn’t afford market research when he started out as a breathing instructor in 2005. Instead, he took soundings from London taxi drivers. “I’d tell them I taught people to breathe for a living — they’d be in hysterics and say: ‘What a great scam!’” Dolan says. Recently their reaction has changed: “Now they tell me about their sleep apnea or their wife’s panic attacks, ask me how that relates to breathing and often download my app.” Dolan, whose company is called Breathguru, teaches people to breathe deeply from their diaphragm, inhaling for longer than exhaling, without pausing between the
Those familiar with Jerome Keating’s work, whether through his previous books or regular op-eds in the Taipei Times, will already know his political stance. He is very open about it, and Taiwan: The Struggle Gains Focus is very much about his opinions and ideas, especially his scathing distaste for the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), which he calls “Pigs-1” and “Pigs-2,” respectively, in one essay. In another, he writes, “Those KMT who support the so-called 1992 consensus could consider moving to Kinmen and Matsu. From there, they could renew the ‘consensus’ with China and even