Eversky.org A Dose of Asian Pop Culture & Entertainment

16Jan/080

The Worst Guy Ever (2007)

The Worst Guy Ever

A.K.A.: The Worst Man of My Life
Korean Title: 내 생애 최악의 남자 (Naesaengae Choeagui Namja)
Genre: Romance, Comedy
Starring: Yeom Jeong-Ah, Tak Jae-Hoon, Sin Seong-Rok, Yoon Ji-Min
Screenwriter: Kim Soo-Ah
Director: Son Hyun-Hee
MPAA: PG-13

Synopsis
Ju-eyon and Seong-tae have been best friends ever since they first met each other 10 years ago. But in one night their 10 year friendship comes crashing to the ground after they sleep together. The comfort and security of marriage is a siren call, and the two decide to forego their ideals to spend their first day as man and wife. However, their perfect lover soon appears right in front of them: A sexy editor appears to seduce Seong-tae and an advertising director appears to tempt Ju-yeon. With a single smile they turn the newlyweds’ dream into a nightmare. Even after only a few days, they soon find themselves faced with the worst choice of their lives as they struggle to reach happiness.
Source: Korean Film

Rating: C (Fine)
Rewatch Factor: Low
Comment: I decided to watch this movie after seeing a couple of the movie posters and reading the synopsis because it looks interesting annd funny, not to mention that it has the dashing Sin Seong-rok in it. The first 15 minutes into the movie was certainly promising. However, the movie just stopped there and never did move out of the would-be-great stage and into the great stage. The plot reminds me of the drama "9 End 2 Outs", about two best friends who even though are in love with each other did not want to admit that they are. In this case, the story would be better develop as a drama than a movie because a movie is simply too short amount of a time to detail out the deep relationship between the best friends and really gets the viewers emotionally involve. There are some things in this drama that didn't sit well with me e.g. the advertising director who is madly in love with Ju-yeon enough to try to break up her marriage, yet willing to easily let her go at the end. There are certainly some humorous scenes in this movie, but then again, some of those scenes I have seen before. All in all, this is just a mediocre romantic comedy flick--you won't gain much by watching it and you will not miss much if you don't watch it.

6Jan/083

The Rebel (2007)

Dong Mau Anh Hung

Vietnamese Title: Dong Mau Anh Hung
Genre: Action, Drama, Romance, Martial Arts, Historical
Starring: Johnny Tri Nguyen, Ngo Thanh Van, Dustin Nguyen, Nguyen Chanh Tinh
Screenwriters: Charlie Nguyen, Johnny Tri Nguyen, Dominic Pereira
Director: Charlie Nguyen
MPAA: PG-13

Synopsis
1920s. Vietnam under colonial French ruling. Anti-French rebellions emerge all over the country to disrupt the foreign occupiers. In respond, the colonialist employed units of Vietnamese agents to track and destroy these rebels. The film follows the journey of LE VAN CUONG, a French cultured undercover elite. Although branded with a perfect track record, Cuong's inner conscience is troubled by the sea of Vietnamese blood he had spilled to uphold a French washed ideal. Following an assassination of a high ranking French, Cuong is assigned to seek and kill the notorious leader of the resistance. Cuong encounters VO THANH THUY, a relentless revolutionary fighter and the daughter of the rebel leader. Cuong's superior intends for him to use Thuy as a mean to get to her father but Cuong soon has feelings for her. Thuy's patriotism ignites conflicts between Cuong's consciousness and his cultured faith. Will Cuong discover his inner-self and find love or will he continue his mission? The journey unfolds...
Source: Official Website

Rating: B- (Good)
Rewatch Factor: Medium
Comment: A delight film that holds great promise for Vietnamese Cinema oversea. This film is written, produced, and directed by the Nguyen brothers: Charlie Nguyen and Johnny Tri Nguyen.

At first I didn't know what to expect from this movie. Sure, the trailer looks interesting enough, but can it lives up to the preview shown in the trailer? Well, for the most parts I can say that it does. The film tells the story of Vietnam around the 1920s, with the French occupied the land and oppressed the Vietnamese people and a group of Vietnamese resistance trying to return freedom back to their people. Although the plot is nothing new, the film, nevertheless, is entertaining and action-packed. The film appeared expensive and well made. From the sceneries down to the costumes that people worn in the movie, everything gives off an authentic feel. Additionally, the action scenes are well choreographed--no wires or fancy cg, just raw martial arts.

I felt that with this film Johnny Tri Nguyen has finally got "the break" that he has been hoping for after all the time that he spent as a stunt double in Hollywood and for playing minor roles in such films like Tom-Yum-Goong, Cradle 2 the Grave, etc. While his acting skill is decent, he needs to work on his Vietnamese pronunciation. In some of the scenes I can barely figure out what is it that he is trying to say, and if there is no English subtitles I'm sure that I would be lost. Lastly, I think the movie can do without the love/intimate scene between the two main characters. It felt forced and contrived. I think that is my biggest problem with not just this movie, but many of the other films I have seen e.g. The Banquet, Farewell My Concubine, etc. I am all for love scene in movie, but only when it is necessary and essential to understand the plot of the film. I do not like love scene added to a movie simply because the film is trying to follow trend or simply because the director/writer trying to be risque/daring. Overall, it is a great action-packed flick that action fans everywhere will enjoy. Even if you are not an action fan, it is a good film to watch if you want a glimpse into the past of the Vietnamese people and culture.

15Sep/071

Sakuran (2007)

Sakuran

Japanese Title: さくらん
Genre: Period, Drama
Starring: Anna Tsuchiya, Hiroki Narimiya, Yoshino Kimura, Miho Kanno, Masatoshi Nagase, Masanobu Ando
Screenwriter: Yuki Tanada
Director: Mika Ninagawa
MPAA: R

Synopsis:
Based on the manga "Sakuran" by Moyoco Anno.

A young kamuro (maid in a brothel) is sold into the red-light district Yoshiwara, and is put under the care of the current oiran of the Tamakiku-house, Shouhi, who names her Tomeki. The girl is very rebellious and does not cry when punished, is foul-mouthed and bad-mannered, and talks back and even hits the other kamuros. It is because of this that the more experienced people in the household begin to think that she will be one day a great oiran, since to be an oiran one needs not only beauty and talent, but she should also have the tenacity to maintain the position.

After that, we follow Tomeki as she becomes O-Rin, a hikkomi (or prostitute-in training), and later Kiyoha, the most beautiful girl at the Tamakiku-household. Her popularity threatens the position of Tamakiku's oiran Mikumo, which creates great tension and jealousy between the two.

But rivalry is not the main problem to overcome for young Kiyoha, but rather the appearance of young Soujiro and the impossibility of love in the love-quarters.
Source: Wikipedia

Rating: A- (Great)
Rewatch Factor: Medium
Comment: Sakuran is a delightful movie, meant for mature audiences only. Its story similar to "Memoirs of a Geisha" but it is less romantic in a sense. The girls in the movie are no geisha, and to put it bluntly, they are high-class prostitutes of the Red Light District. Not to mention, Kiyoha, as rebellious as she is, holds no desire for the position of oiran in the beginning. The way the story presented is clear as you are hooked into the life of Kiyoha and those around her. It's hard to explain the story without spoiling it. It's one that requires you to watch the story from beginning to end without skipping any parts. The high points of the movie are the visuals. The clothing, setting, everything is beautifully done, and you shouldn't expect less. Fans of Masanobu Ando might enjoy seeing him in this movie, as well. The ending was quite a surprise, but it is a happy one. This is one movie you shouldn't pass up.