The King’s Speech
The big winner at the Oscars, The King’s Speech picked up awards in the best picture, best director, best original screenplay and best actor categories. Outstanding production values, a fine script and great acting by all involved have made this period drama a crossover success story, turning the tale of a British monarch’s speech impediment into a runaway hit with audiences around the globe. Although it doesn’t break any new ground, everything about it is so finely crafted and the performances so well judged that it is hard to find fault. At least one critic stated that he enjoyed it despite strongly held republican sympathies. Colin Firth manages to be both aloof yet sympathetic as King George VI, and he is ably supported by Geoffrey Rush, Helena Bonham Carter and Derek Jacobi.
I Am Number Four
A second-rate reworking of some of the ideas from Twilight Saga, but with aliens replacing vampires and werewolves, spruced up with elements taken from the likes of The Lord of the Rings. I Am Number Four is so annoyingly and joylessly derivative that it will have fantasy fans tearing their hair out. The lack of imagination even extends to the hero’s home planet being called Lorien and the bad guys coming from Mogador. All that’s missing is a small person called Frodo. Good-looking teenagers with special abilities sorting out relationship issues while on the run from an evil alien race fail to create tension, and various babes wander in and out of the frame, probably in order to keep the audience from noticing that the story isn’t going anywhere.
The only reason I can think of for screening the 2007 comedy St Trinian’s at the present time is that it takes some of the wind out of Colin Firth’s Oscar success. This naff British comedy is a coarser, cruder reworking of the 1954 The Belles of St Trinian’s, and it does no credit to anyone involved. Firth only plays a minor role. The main culprits of this comedy about a bunch of unruly high school girls who band together to save their appalling school from closure are Rupert Everett and comedian Russell Brand. It could work if you like sexed-up school uniforms.
All’s Well, Ends Well (最強囍事)
A romantic comedy in the same style and with some of the same cast as the highly successful 1992 film with exactly the same English name. All’s Well, Ends Well is being billed as Cecilia Cheung’s (張柏芝) return to the movie screen after giving birth to her second son. She is joined by a host of variety show regulars including Raymond Wong (黃百鳴), Louis Koo (古天樂), Carina Lau (劉嘉玲) and Angela Baby (楊穎), who get embroiled in all kinds of relationship tangles as members of a successful cosmetics company. Lots of pretty faces and some clever dialogue make this a funny, if forgettable, 100 minutes of entertainment.
In the Electric Mist
A thriller/noir murder mystery with Tommy Lee Jones as Dave Robicheaux, a detective in post-Katrina Louisiana whose investigation into a recent murder links up with the accidental discovery of a long buried corpse. Jones is a master of the tough cop role, and in Electric Mist he is given excellent support by Peter Sarsgaard as a drunken film star and John Goodman as a mafia boss. Based on a novel by Edgar Award-winning crime writer James Lee Burke. The story is convoluted and the presentation sometimes confusing, and the movie never feels the need to answer all the questions it raises, but its atmosphere, heavy with the scent of corruption, is something to be savored.
This is the third installment in director Kenji Kamiyama’s animation series East of Eden, which in turn is an outgrowth of an anime TV series. The movies feature a hero who has totally lost his memory (in the manner of Jason Bourne) and a 21-year-old university student who runs a trading Web site that buys junk items and enhances their value. These two unlikely characters battle a slew of villains whose aim is to commit terrorist acts.
With most of his village preferring to converse in Mandarin, opportunities are scant for 81-year-old Kacaw to use his mother language of Amis. But things are changing in his household — one day the family was having an animated discussion when his plucky four-year-old granddaughter Nikal bursts into the room: “You should talk in the mother tongue,” she tells them loudly in Amis. Another time, Nikal’s uncle Yosifu, a well-known artist, overheard her arguing with her grandmother over rights to the television remote — “in our mother tongue,” he tells me excitedly. “With such visible change, I can see hope
Deaths, economic meltdown and a planet on lockdown: the coronavirus pandemic has brought us waves of bad news, but squint and you might just see a few bright spots. From better hygiene that has reduced other infectious diseases to people reaching out as they self-isolate, here are some slivers of silver linings during a bleak moment. WASH YOUR HANDS! The message from health professionals has been clear from the start of the outbreak: wash your hands. Everyone from celebrities to politicians has had a go at demonstrating correct technique — including singing Happy Birthday twice through to make sure you scrub long enough, and
Within 10 minutes of the train pulling into Chaojhou (潮州) in Pingtung County, I’d retrieved my bike from a paid-parking compound and initiated the fitness tracking app on my phone. Just one thing bothered me: The color of the sky. I cycled southeast, passing the shuttered Dashun General Hospital (大順醫院). Given everything that’s going on in the world, I couldn’t help but think: If the government needs extra facilities to handle the COVID-19 epidemic, this sizable building could perhaps be brought back into service. After crossing Highway 1 (台1線), I skirted a settlement established after 2009’s Typhoon Morakot disaster, during which
While those of us stuck in self-isolation or working from home watch TikTok videos and refresh liveblogs, a meme has been going around that claims Shakespeare made use of being quarantined during the plague to write King Lear. The Bard supposedly took advantage of the Globe’s lengthy closure to get on top of his writing in-tray — coming up with Macbeth and Antony and Cleopatra to boot. If you weren’t panicky enough about how little you’ve achieved recently, this is surely a way to feel worse. Why aren’t you finally dusting off that novel or screenplay you’ve been itching to