Europa Report is a film that exists on the verge of being good. There is certainly a good premise behind the story, but the film falls just short of telling that story effectively. Continue reading “The Empty Balcony: Europa Report”
In public spaces in the United States, there is no expectation of privacy (with some caveats, of course). Conversations we have, things we do, while out in the wide-open spaces under the sky are free to be observed and recorded by anyone watching. That’s a little creepy, but something we have grown accustomed to over the years, as security cameras have become ubiquitous. Continue reading “Being Watched”
If you can follow the plot of The Yellow Sea, the Korean film from 2010 written and directed by Na Hong-Jin, then you must be Korean, or at least speak the language fluently. Those are the only reasons I can think of why so many western viewers online, including myself, found this flick’s plot to be confusing, at best, and impenetrable, at worst. The good news is that doesn’t matter. Normally, when a movie has a plot that I can’t follow, that is a bad thing. Not so with The Yellow Sea. About halfway through, I gave up on trying to keep track of all the twists and turns, and just sat back and enjoyed one of the best action films that has hit cinemas in this decade.
Gu-nam (Ha Jung-woo) has a problem. He’s an ethnic Korean born and raised in northern China, which has its disadvantages, apparently. He is what is known as a Joseonjok, a blanket term for ethnic Koreans in the country. In order to finance a better life, Gu-nam goes into debt with some local coyotes to arrange transportation to South Korea for his wife. Because the standard of living in South Korea is so much higher than in China, she should be able to work and send back enough money to Gu-nam to pay off the debt to the coyotes and finance a trip down to the peninsula for both Gu-nam and the couple’s young child. But, something goes wrong. Gu-nam’s wife has been in Seoul for months, and nary a check has arrived. On top of that, the coyotes want their cash. In desperate straits, Gu-nam agrees to be smuggled in to South Korea on a fishing boat, to carry out a hit for a Joseonjok gangster, with the understanding that the debt will be paid. Continue reading “The Empty Balcony: The Yellow Sea”
I can get the heart of this review out of the way quickly. Wake in Fright is the best movie I have seen in at least the last couple of years. Directed by Ted Kotcheff and written by Evan Jones, Wake in Fright has an interesting history. From 1971, it was close to being a lost film for a long time, with the only known copy in existence of such poor quality that it was unfit for transfer to home media. Twenty years ago, Anthony Buckley, who edited the original film, began to search for an intact copy. After much effort, he succeeded. A restoration was finally undertaken in 2009, and the film was released to the general public once again. Continue reading “The Empty Balcony: Wake in Fright”
After a long lull in their careers, it’s refreshing to see Sly Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger unapologetically doing what they do best, which is killing people and blowing shit up, all for the benefit of the movie going public. I can’t speak for the rest of audiences worldwide, but I can attest that in the last thirty years, my tastes have grown more sophisticated, as has my expectation of believability in any film. Unless, that is, the movie is shitty. In a shitty movie, it’s okay for bullets to blow up gas tanks. In a shitty movie, it’s fine with me when bad guys toting M4 carbines can’t hit the good guy, while, at the same time, the good guy is picking them off with little problem using a handgun. In high-falutin’ cinema, it’s bad form to end the climactic action scene with a cheesy one-liner. But in a shitty movie, that’s okay! Continue reading “Shitty Movie Sundays: Escape Plan”