Friday, July 14, 2006

A Bittersweet Life

A Bittersweet Life (달콤한인생) embodied just what I love about Korean movies, and had few of the downsides. From director Kim Ji-Woon (A Tale of Two Sisters) and starring Lee Byung-hun (Three… Extremes) it was just one of those insane revenge pics that only Koreans can pull off so precisely.

The film is about Sun Woo (Lee), who is assigned to tail his boss' lover, whom his boss suspects of infidelity (ironically enough, the boss has a wife as well). Sun Woo is told that if she is found to be unfaithful, he must kill her. Upon confirming her cuckoldry, his conscience does not allow him to kill her; when his boss finds out about this, loads and loads of violence result, and Sun Woo opens up a Kimchi jar full of whoop-ass. The movie is definitely not as brutal as Oldboy or Sympathy for Mr Vengeance, but it's still a very violent movie, with incredible timing, gradually escalating to the final showdown.

The movie was gorgeously shot, with some fantastic scenes as well as excellent sound. Everything was absolutely top-notch. Definitely one of the better movies I've seen over the last while. Not only was it well done, I also had a lot of fun watching it.


Tokyo Zombie

Tokyo Zombie (東京ゾンビ), directed by Satou Sakichi (screenwriter for Gozu and Ichi the Killer) takes place in a near-future Tokyo, where, on a mountain of garbage (including junk, dead bodies, etc.) known as Black Fuji, the souls of the abandoned objects present therein have resulted in the resurrection of all dead bodies in the mountain. What follows are your pretty standard, run-of-the-mill zombies: taste for human flesh, you get infected if they bite you, sluggish movement, etc.

The story centres on a pair of friends (played by Tadanobu Asano and Shou Aikawa) one of whom has aspirations to become a jujitsu champion. Tokyo gets destroyed, with non-zombie people living behind high walls, with the rich exploiting the poor, with the only chance for any significant cash earnings being in the fighting ring, where they pit the living against zombies.

Overall, there was a lot of random comedy, but nothing was really funny enough, with a lot of deadpan humour, but not coming anywhere near the better Japanese comedies. The movie felt like it was dragging on, and if I have to look at my watch repeatedly in a film, odds are it’s not gonna be too great. And it wasn’t.


Fantasia 2006

Well, I'm gonna try to write reviews for all of the movies I see at Fantasia, but it's a long list, so that's a pretty tall order. I'll be posting them one by one, so there'll be an overload of posts in the near future. Hopefully I'll manage to review all of them. I might leave a few out. We'll see. And I hope Unicode serves me well, because I'll try to post the original-language titles, and I have a feeling it might fail when I try entering Thai titles or something.