Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Love | 愛 [ Movie Review ] ★★★

The Pitch

No, this is not the movie installment for the popular long running Taiwanese television series that just ended it's run in Singapore. This is Doze Niu's Taiwanese rendition of "Love Actually" that's out to wrestle with Sammi Cheng's Romancing in Thin Air and Ah Niu's The Wedding Diary for the Asian Valentine Day box office profit love.

Love 愛 comes with a stellar cast of actor and actress from Taiwan (and China). Shu Qi and Zhao Wei probably needs no introduction in this part of the world.  Ethan Ruan, Mark Chao, Eddie Peng, Ivy Chen and Amber Kuo are the new upcoming good looking Taiwanese young stars who each had participated in at least one movie that was shown in Singapore cinema recently (Monga, Hear Me and Au revoir Taipei).

But personally, the main attraction for Love 愛 would be due to Doze Niu's participation in this movie as the director and actor.  His previous two full length features "What on Earth Have I Done Wrong?" and "Monga" (which he directed and acted) were pretty enjoyable and it made him one of my "Asian directors to watch out for" list.
It's not easy to make a "Love Actually" type of movie and quite a few had already failed badly (Valentine Day and Hot Summer Days). It's not easy to manage multiple plots and numerous big stars but I am having good vibes that Doze Niu might be able to deliver this.

(Special Thanks to Festive Films for a chance to preview Love 愛)

Friday, February 10, 2012

The Wedding Diary | 结婚那件事 [ Movie Review ] ★★★

The Pitch

This year, there's three Asian movies that is out to cash in on celebrate the Valentine Day season. From Hong Kong - China, there's Romancing in Thin Air. From Taiwan - China, there's Love. Last but not least, from Singapore Malaysia, there's The Wedding Diary. 

The Wedding Diary is a comedy about the difficulties in preparing and executing the most important day in a couple's life. It features artists across the straits such as Ah Niu 阿牛 (Anniu), Elanne Kwong 江若琳, Kara Hui 惠英红, Zhu Houren 朱厚任, Marcus Chin 陈建彬, Chris Tong童冰玉 , Shaun Chen 陈泓宇 and Maggie Theng 邓妙华.

Ah Niu's recent debut as a director and leading actor for  Ice Kacang Puppy Love was pretty impressive. The Wedding Diary marks the second time for Ah Niu in the leading role. Not bad for a guy who don't really fit the usual handsome suave stereotype for a male lead in a movie. It would be interesting to see how he fares in this movie.

This review is made possible with special thanks to Clover Films.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Chronicle [ Movie Review ] ★★★★

The Pitch

In recent years, the "Found Footage / Shaky Cam" genre has branch out to many interesting premise. No longer constrained in the conventional horror genre, it has move on to mega monster invasion (Cloverfield), space exploration (Apollo 18) and even religious faith (The Last Exorcism). The latest offering of the "Found Footage / Shaky Cam" would be a Chronicle of a group of high school kids gaining superhuman power after exploring a mysterious crater.

Chronicle's premise sound like a dream come true for anyone who had ever fantasize about gaining superpower abilities to rack some havoc or gain some form of popularity. It's probably going to appeal to the comic books readers and fans of anime. As someone who reads comics during the school days and had daydreams of flying in the skies, Chronicle became a highly anticipated movie after watching the trailer at their youtube channel.

The climatic end of Chronicle trailer also send vibes of the Japanese animation Akira ( アキラ ) . One of the friends is going to get mad with power and it's probably up to his friends to stop him. I can't wait to see how they are going to pull this off with shaky cam.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Quick | 퀵 [ Movie Review ] ★★★1/2

The Pitch

Quick 퀵 caught my attention with it's box office performance in Korea. It didn't managed to top the box office during it's run in Korea cinemas. Each week, it was outflanked by other Korean movies like The Front Line and Sector 7. But at the year end tally of total admissions, Quick was ahead of The Front Line and Sector 7. That piped my curiosity. What the draw of this movie which look strikingly like Keanu Reeves' Speed?

The Plot

Legendary biker Han (Lee Min-Ki) used to roam the streets recklessly with their motorcycles. Now he works as a courier boy who delivers his customer's goods in record breaking time.

His past caught up with him when his colleague dispatch him to send Ah-Rom (Kang Hye-Won) a member of a successful pop idol group to a concert. It turned out that Ah-Rom used to be his girlfriend and he broke her heart by cheating on her. Just as Han was about to proceed with the delivery, a mysterious caller warns him that Ah-Rom is wearing a helmet with explosive. If Han doesn't makes the deliveries within the time limited that the mysterious caller set, the helmet will explode. If they try to remove the helmet or are separated more than 10 meters, the helmet will explode.

The deliveries that they have to make are obviously explosive in nature. Not only that, they have to deal with Ah-Rom insistence on making a detour for her pop idol group's performance, the persistent hounding by Ah-Rom admirer cum Han's ex arch rival cum traffic police officer Kim Myung-Sik (Kim In-Kwon) and a conspiracy theory involving Japanese Yakuza. The chain of events and characters provide the set up for a series of unexpected fun and thrills.

The Perspective - Quick Movie Review

Quick 퀵 - think of it as "Speed" infuse with nonsensical humor and what a ride it was. In fact, there's even a climatic ending on board on a speeding train that stood out as a form of "homage" to "Speed". It might not have been equally thrilling but Quick stood out on with it's side bursting gags that kept me laughing as the explosive thriller unfolds.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

The Billionaire | Top Secret | วัยรุ่นพัน

The Billionaire Singapore Poster
The Pitch

It's been a long time since a trailer got me so excited over a movie and The Billionaire | Top Secret วัยรุ่นพันล้าน trailer did just that. A tale of rags to riches based on the real life story of a very young Thai businessman who created the crispy Japanese Seaweeds Tao Kae Noi (which I assumed that it's from Japan till I came across this movie) seemed to have the winning formula.

It starts by questioning what are we doing at his age. It would seems that our protagonist was like any teenagers of his age, addicted to games and failing school. To make matter worse, he had to leave school and his family went bankrupt. How did he turn the situation around and became a rich man?

Another hook for this movie would be casting choice for the lead actor. Staring "Peach" Pachara Chirathivat from Suckseed (my recent faveourite Thai Movie),  The Billionaire | Top Secret วัยรุ่นพันล้าน would test his ability to carry the movie on his own. I believe this movie would also test his dramatic abilities way more than Suckseed had.

Can't wait till 5th Jan 23 Feb 9 Feb 2012

The Billionaire | Top Secret Thai Poster
The Plot

What are you doing at his age?

Age 16, TOP gained 400,000 Baht monthly from playing online games.

Age 17, He was willing to fail school and instead earned money from selling chestnuts for 2,000 baht.

Age 18, His family went bankrupt and remained 40 million Baht in debt.

Age 19, He released 'Tao Kae Noi' seaweed to more than 3,000 branches at 7-Eleven.

At this present, Top is a 26-year-old businessman, the owner of the bestselling seaweed in Thailand. He owns 85 percent of the market share which is equivalent to 800 million Baht a year, and has 2,000 employees in his company.

THE BILLIONAIRE will let you get to know "Top Ittipat" in details about how he turned himself from an online game addict whom always got disparaged by teachers, to a famous young billionaire. How did he raise himself up to this position? Surely, everyone desires to get rich, yet not everyone dares to succeed like him.

(Plot Write Up from Golden Village Picture youtube channel)

The Trailer

Cool Dvd Alert

Stefan Shih had just send me Wise Kwai's blogpost on Top Secret - The Billionaire Dvd Special Box Set. The Dvd Box Set look so gorgeous that I am tempted to get it even though there's no English Subtitles and I have not seen this movie yet (as of 5th Feb 2012). 

Take a look for yourself.
Top Secret - The Billionaire Dvd Special Package Photo from GTH Facebook
The box set cover is painted like the handmade old movie posters. It comes with a 2012 calender and the box itself could be open up as a "monopoly" style game (complete with paper money, token, plastic houses and "Top Secret Cards" that probably function as the Chance and Community Chest cards ).

 There's even a Video for the Box Set (hosted by "Peach" Pachara Chirathivat, the star of Top Secret / The Billionaire)

According to Wise Kwai, the special artwork on the dvd box set is done by Somboonsuk Niyomsiri (or better known as Piak Poster). It turned out that Piak Poster used to paint movie posters and he went on to direct popular teen-oriented movies in the past. Top Secret - The Billionaire marks his acting debut at the age of 80 (he plays the uncle who help the teenage entrepreneur sell roasted chestnuts in the movie trailer). Interesting background information from Wise Kwai. It just fuel my anticipation for this movie even more.

Beyond the Movie

The actual billionaire Top Ittipat was in town for a special preview of The Billionaire (Top Secret) | 小富翁 | วัยรุ่นพัน on Wednesday (8th Feb 2012) at Golden Village Plaza Singapura. He even autographed on some of The Billionaire movie posters. Incidentally Golden Village is having a "The Billionaire Members Draw" (valid from 9th Feb to 22nd Feb 2012) and every purchase of a pair of The Billionaire movie tickets gets a chance to win a Tao Kae Noi Plush Toy and Movie Poster (It was not indicate if those poster in this draw are signed or not )

Credit: (Photo from Golden Village Facebook Page)