Fri, Aug 21, 2015 - Page 10 News List

Movie releases

Compiled by Han Cheung  /  Staff reporter

The Laundryman 青田街一號

The Laundryman is the directorial debut of Taiwanese writer Lee Chung (李中), who apparently cannot be mentioned without referring to his famous father, writer and screenwriter Hsiao Yeh (小野). It seems to be a mishmash of genres, as the trailer opens with a laundry shop that doubles as an assassination service, but things turn paranormal when a hitman with a troubled soul starts seeing ghosts and seeks help from a cutesy, pink-haired psychic medium who turns into the vehicle for these ghosts to interact with the hitman. Like many Taiwanese movies these days, the dialogue and action seem to take place in a constant manic state, which actually could be an endearing national trademark after you get used to it. It’s an irreverent black comedy with lots of violence that is sure to entertain, but also takes a look at human nature through the absurd.

Hitman: Agent 47

The genetically-engineered assassin protagonist of the popular first-person shooter video game Hitman: Codename 47 hits the big screens again in this reboot of the 2007 adaptation. This time, Agent 47 goes up against an organization that wants to find out the secret to his powers, and replicate them. Not surprisingly, he teams up with a young woman, also with secret origins, who may have the key to it all. There’s just one problem here. In the game, the player can choose to advance by way of an all-out bloodbath, but earns more points for tactical efficiency such as conserving bullets, not triggering alarms and killing targets without collateral damage. Yet, the trailer shows Agent 47 choosing the former path (such as ramming enemies with cars) which may indicate that the movie kind of misses the point of the game, or of an assassin movie at all.

Marvel Stories

If you’re feeling blue that there won’t be any Marvel action movies until Feb. 2016, take solace in the fact that Taiwan is the only country in the world that will be showing the French television documentaries Marvel Renaissance and Marvel Universe in one setting as Marvel Stories. The first film tells the story of how Marvel recovered from its 1996 bankruptcy to take over Hollywood and become an entertainment industry trendsetter. Descriptions of the film promises juicy tidbits and insider information that would surprise the casual fan, and the audience will hear from Hollywood producers, comic book writers and Avi Arad, former head of Marvel Entertainment and founder of Marvel Studios. Not sure what the second film is about, but hey, it’s 70 more minutes of Marvel screen time you’ll get to enjoy this year.

Pixels

If you grew up playing classic arcade games like Donkey Kong and Centipede, you’ll probably be ecstatic about the film’s premise of giant, pixelated characters from these games attacking the earth and its promotional posters featuring Pac-Man devouring its way through San Francisco. The US government doesn’t know what to do, so the illiterate president (Kevin James) turns to his best friend, a former video game child prodigy-turned-sad sack loser played by, if it isn’t obvious enough, Adam Sandler. Such a promising premise seems to have been turned into a formulaic Sandler bro-comedy with him playing the same person he’s played in most of his films. Worst thing is, it’s not even an original idea — the movie was inspired by a two-and-a-half minute YouTube short film by French filmmaker Patrick Jean, which critics say is better than its feature-lenght counterpart. I won’t lie, though, the special effects are pretty cool.

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