Laughing Gor之潛罪犯 (Turning Point 2) (Blu-ray release 2012-2-23) is an extension of a popular TV series in Hong Kong. The movie starts by gradually revealing a complex and grand scheme of crimes. Then it becomes a total nonsense. It even manages to alter the bad ending in the TV series to become much much worse and illogical. This piece of crap wastes the good cast involved.
Sleeping Beauty (2011) (Blu-ray release 2012-2-27) shows a university student getting paid for being drugged to sleep while old men do anything they want with her without penetration. This movie shows a fair share of frontal nudity including women and old men, but no sex. So you know this is an artsy movie. According to other reviewers who actually understand this movie, this movie explores the meanings of life and death, and sexual violence. Although I sort of understand what those reviewers say, this movie is still beyond me and makes me wonder whether I’d stay away from artsy films.
Hugo (雨果的巴黎奇幻歷險) (Blu-ray release 2012-2-28) is not a fantasy movie despite its Chinese title. It is, however, an excellent drama with heart. Its visuals are so breathtaking that watching it is like watching a dream. It has 11 Oscar nominations – I have no doubt it will win multiple awards.
奪命金 (Life Without Principle) (Blu-ray release 2012-2-16) is a unique Hong Kong movie that shows how money shapes the life of ordinary people. There is a prolonged scene of how a bank staff, under the pressure of meeting quota, misled a customer to buy a risky fund with her life savings and eventually lost a great deal. It reminds me of why I like to stare at the monitor and struggle with banks’ hard-to-find-what-I-need web sites instead of going to a bank in person.
Buried (活埋) (Blu-ray release 2011-1-18) shows Ryan Reynolds being trapped in a coffin, from start to finish. It got universally excellent reviews. Ryan Reynolds is really good here. However, I don’t like the style of this movie as I found it somewhat boring, and I prefer 127 Hours’ style much more, and the fact that the latter is based on a true story. I’m a little surprised that this movie needed 2 million USD to make.
Underworld: Awakening (妖夜尋狼：血姬覺醒) has far more action sequences, but also a much simpler story, than its predecessors. Comparatively the action sequences are more sophisticated than before, but the CG wolves in some scenes strangely look worse and fake. I can’t say this movie is better, primarily due to the plot and the lack of explanations for many things.
Deep in the Valley (2009) is a sex comedy without sex. There are topless scenes, but not from any of the major characters in the storyline. The concept is interesting: two guys are transported to an alternate porn world – something like a porn version of Pleasantville (1998). The first half of the movie is mildly interesting. The second half is a letdown, with the characters doing things or going to places with no reason (or I failed to understand it). Since Pleasantville is an excellent movie, I think the great potential in this concept is wasted.
Most critics consider The Three Musketeers (2011) (Blu-ray release 2012-3-12) to be bad. I think I can understand that. Two of the three musketeers have little screen time, let alone character development. All three are supporting actors only. Even though I have no idea what the original Three Musketeers story should be, I’m sure this 2011 version does not resemble the classics. So people feel offended.
However, character and screenplay issues aside, this movie has plenty of action scenes, and good enough pacing. The action scenes may not be original, but I think they are done well enough. Most importantly, there are airships. There aren’t enough movies with airships. So I consider this movie to be quite entertaining, despite the numerous flaws. I like it much more than Resident Evil from the same director.
I love time travel movies, especially those with time paradox. Therefore I watched O Homem do Futuro (Blu-ray release 2012-1-19), a Brazilian movie. Wikipedia states that it is a romantic comedy, but I don’t find it romantic or funny. This is not necessarily bad as long as it has a good story. Half way through the movie I felt upset as it seemed to be turning into yet another Butterfly Effect (2004), which is not a bad movie but too tragic for me. However, during the climax I’m pleased to see something unusual for a time travel plot. It ends in a smart way, although it is not strictly consistent with itself.