Movie Releases

Compiled by Ian Bartholomew  /  Staff reporter

Fri, Jan 18, 2013 - Page 11

Machi Action 變身

Directed by Jiu Ba-dao (九把刀), the Internet novelist turned director whose style crisscrosses genres such as fantasy, romance, thriller, black comedy, action and wuxia (武俠), or Chinese martial-art literature. With Machi Action, he taps into the superhero serial, telling a tale of a TV actor who loses his job after 10 years playing a world-saving superhero character. Inevitably the actor, played by Chen Bo-lin (陳柏霖), has a disabled younger brother, who plays into the inspirational theme of the film, and a romantic element handled by Chen Ting-hsuan (陳庭萱). Although a younger actor with more contemporary appeal has replaced Chen’s character on TV, our hero finds that you don’t have to wear spandex tights to change the world for someone else.

To My Dear Granny 親愛的奶奶

Directed by Arthur Chu (瞿友寧), this semi-autobiographical film is an intimate look back over the complex life of a family with deeply hidden secrets. The story is told largely in flashback as the narrator Ah-da, played by Lawrence Ko (柯宇綸) helps his aging grandmother write a letter and gradually delves into his own past, understanding, little by little, the small events of his childhood that shaped the life of his family members. The grandmother is played by Chang Hsiu-yun (張岫雲), a former Chinese opera star who brings enormous presence to the screen.

The Sessions

A very different film about sex. New York Time’s critic Stephen Holden describes it as “a touching, profoundly sex-positive film that equates sex with intimacy, tenderness and emotional connection instead of performance, competition and conquest,” and many have agreed that it serves as a slap in the face of all the either glamorized or salacious content that passes for movie sex. There are outstanding performances by John Hawkes and Helen Hunt, which elevates a potentially tiresome and manipulative story about a man in an iron lung who wants to lose his virginity before his inevitable early death, and who does this with the assistance of a sex surrogate, into realms of deep feeling and, astonishingly, even comedy.

The Last Stand

Arnold Schwarzenegger’s rebirth as a Hollywood action hero after his stint in politics enters high gear with The Last Stand, standing out from his crowd of tough-guy cronies of The Expendables to take his rightful place at the head of a rocking and rolling action romp. With South Korean Kim Jee-woon at the helm, who wrote and directed the wacky action hit The Good, the Bad, the Weird, good things can be, cautiously, hoped for. We can only hope that Kim finds his groove with Arnie more effectively than John Woo did when he teamed up with Jean-Claude Van Damme in Hard Target. Trailer releases promise a mix of big-ticket stunts and easy humor, as Arnie plays off his persona as a tough local sheriff, head of a small town police force, who is the only thing that stands between an escaped drug lord and the Mexican border. Cigars, a Gatling gun, a wacky sidekick, and the occasional babe as window dressing. Don’t pretend you don’t know exactly what you’re going to get.