Tag Archives: Film Reviewer

Eden – Film Review #edenthefilm2013

18 Jun

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Based on a true story, Eden follows a young Korean-American girl, who in 1994 was abducted and forced into prostitution by domestic human traffickers, as time passes she realizes that her only way to survive is to join forces with her captors.

A compelling watch, Eden is the kind of unexpected hit that you find yourself unable to pause and return to – it has to be watched from start to finish in one sitting. The reason, well, you spend the first half of this film trying to work out just what is going on, as you begin to go on this hellish journey with Hyun Jae (Jamie Chung). The fact that this is a true story makes it all the more grisly.

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Cleverly you are sheltered from any graphic detail in terms of what the girls actually do when they’re brought to various parties, nightclubs and pornography film sets. Instead you are a second pair of eyes for Hyun Jae, figuring out as she is, what is going on, why she’s here being held in a 10 x 10 storage unit and what her fateful future holds. What is brilliant about this film is that you really don’t know who to trust, and that there are twists and turns at every opportunity. The film really doesn’t turn out how you expect it to, and you are playing a complicated guessing game at every throughout.

The cast is solid and led by an impressive Jamie Chung who carries the film with ease. She plays both the innocent and later the intelligent influencer very well and provides a stark contrast to not only her capturers but also the other girls kept in confinement with her, some of which have grown accustomed to this way of life and begin to play the game for what it is.Screen Shot 2013-06-18 at 09.32.10

Supporting Chung are Beau Bridges who plays Bob Gault, a ruthless and corrupt Federall Marshal who runs the organization with little mercy; and Matt O’Leary who plays the troubled Vaughan, who’s past and wrong life choices have led him to this destination. All of the characters have their distinct traits which you can identify with and pin point straight away. Bob Gault requests no sympathy from the audience, he runs this operation under the façade of a pillar of the community and underneath it all profits unremorsefully on the actions of the girls.  Vaughan has moments in which he battles with his conscience over what he’s doing and you can immediately spot his vulnerability, as does Hyun Jae, which keeps you gunning for our female lead as she patiently figures out how to get the better of those who keep her.

Full of suspense and intrigue, Eden is a highly watchable film with notable performances and a gripping storyline. A thriller from start to finish and well worth a watch when it comes out in cinemas on the 19th July


3.5 stars

Peter Ho-Sun Chan’s Dragon – Film Review #film #review #movie #dragon

7 May

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One of the most prominent Chinese filmmakers Peter Ho-Sun Chan takes us back to the turn of the twentieth century with this kung fu, kick ass tale of gangs, redemption and future thinking detective work.

It’s 1917 and Liu Jun-xi (Donnie Yen) is a village craftsman whose quiet life is irrevocably shattered by the arrival of two notorious gangsters in the local general store. When Liu single-handedly saves the shop keepers life and kills the gangsters, he comes under investigation by detective Xu Bai-jiu (Takeshi Kaneshiro). Convinced that Liu’s marshal arts mastery belies a hidden history of training by one of the regions vicious clans, Xu doggedly pursues the shy hero – and draws the attention of China’s criminal underworld in the process.Screen Shot 2013-05-06 at 16.14.19

If you are a fan of the more recent period based Far Eastern action movies like House of the Flying Daggers, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, or Zatoichi, you will find yourself thoroughly at home with this film. With enough of a Western feel throughout in terms of the films approach and fantasy, action and excitement; Dragon becomes palatable for someone who feels that subtitles are not a barrier to watching a perfectly good film. From the opening titles you are seduced with powerful music and motion graphics that resemble ink blots on the screen taking you on a journey, which you don’t expect to then lead to China in 1917.

Once you arrive at this picturesque and secluded Chinese village, full of greenery, you meet the central figure in the film – Liu Jun-xi and his family. The film outlines the average day for this family, morning prayer, breakfast as a family and work, a simplistic and normal existence. What I like about this, is that it draws you in as a viewer, you immediately relate to this scenario, its very similar to that of our time showing that despite technology and cultural changes, life back then is fundamentally the same as it is now.

Screen Shot 2013-05-06 at 16.14.50Once the world is turned upside down, through the arrival of the gangsters, you find yourself attempting to piece the puzzle back together just like Xu Bai-Jiu, except his far more advanced style of thinking (something you’d expect to see in CSI China – if there ever was a programme like this) quickly puts the audience back in its place and show’s who the real genius in the room is. Cleverly, Chans direction paints the portrait of the detectives mind beautifully for us to watch as he thinks through his justification for why there is more to this act of self-defense than just luck.

As we follow this battle between the detective and his subject, we discover wider implications of this deed than just heroics – and this is where the fun really begins. Bring in the extensive fighting scenes and in-depth knowledge of how clever our bodies are and what trickery they can cause. As Liu’s dark past is revealed, he faces some much bigger battles, as history comes back to haunt him and he is forced to show his true colours. Without spoiling it, seeing this in action reveals epic moves both of this world and beyond, which keeps audiences gasping and entertained at its crisp precision and complications, believe me, by the end of this movie you will all want to be able to summon the power of Qi.

Screen Shot 2013-05-06 at 16.15.44What you learn from films like this, is that guns, blood and guts can be one persons cup of tea when watching an action flick, but for others, the expertise that goes into developing clean cut fight sequences that don’t even display even one splattering of blood can often be much more compelling to watch, and to throw in a few homages for good measure there’s a fair share of roof top gliding as well – the mark of an excellent Eastern action film that knows how to please its audience.

An interwoven and carefully thought out plot propelled by believable characters and unbelievable stunts, Dragon is a must for any martial arts enthusiast. Truly breathtaking.

4 Stars

Move over John McClane – here’s John McClay!

11 Feb

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A hero can come in many different shapes and forms, but none more diverse and well dough light than…John McClay, in A Good Clay to Die Hard!

Yep you heard it right, Bruce Willis’s iconic character takes a new meaning in this very clever animated short. It reminds me a little of Celebrity Death Match, and made me laugh, A LOT… so its definitely worth a watch.

But if nothing but the real thing will do, then A Good Day to Die Hard is out on Valentines Day – how romantic!

Altogether now…Yippie Kay Yay Mother Russia!