Review: Taiwanese documentary filmmaker, Mu-Ming Tsai (Hanzi, Design & Thinking, Maker), spawns his first feature film, Paradoxical—a romance drama which goes hand in hand with a modest time travel chronicle. The result is an essay of love & time presented in a low-key, dialogue-driven cinema.
The film chronicles the blossoming relationship between an aspiring terrarium artist, Shi Jing (Helena Hsu, credited as Nai Han Hsu), with a cute geek, You Kong (Kenny Yen), whose job is related to a new time-travel technology called Time-lag. You Kong gets involved in a secret mission using Time-lag with a prodigy, Yuan Hai (Yuchen Ho); while Shi Jing begins to experience existential crisis as an artist. As their relationship grows, a thread of unrelated incidents around their lives starts to unravel a complicated connection between their past and their future. Continue reading Paradoxical / 時光 (2017) – BALINALE Review
Review: South Korean female director, Lee Soo-youn (The Untitled) showcases her admiration to Alfred Hitchcock as she borrows the auteur’s cinematic style to present her later thriller, Bluebeard. It’s a story about a divorced colonoscopist who recently moved to neighborhood dubbed as ‘the mecca of serial killing’ only to find himself tangled in a new chain of serial killings.
Aside from the Hitchcockian aesthetic, there’s nothing apparently new to offer in this thriller. The story can be manipulative at some times as it relies heavily on its barely reliable narrator, dr. Seung-hoon (Jo Jin-woong), along with sudden blackouts, rough cuts, and repetitive dream sequences. Bluebeard’s visual can sometimes be deceitful, too, as it plays with perspective. However, tensions are pumped up effectively in the beginning and kept consistently jolting out as we are following the protagonist’s self-realization upon entering a dark web of murders. Jin-woong consistently presents us a convincing portrayal of an unreliable narrator until the consistency falters by the middle of the middle act. Continue reading Bluebeard (2017) – BALINALE Review
Review: Taking up where the first film left, Kingsman: The Golden Circle revolves around the downtown-boy-turned-secret-agent, Eggsy (Taron Egerton), as he finally joins the rank of Kingsman. While the young agent calibrates into his new secret life—including living in his deceased mentor’s (Colin Firth) mansion and secretly dating a Swedish princess he once saved, the secret service is undergoing a massive attack from a colossal crime organization called The Golden Circle. To cope up with the attack, Eggsy must enlist the help of the Statesman a.k.a. Kingsman’s American counterpart.
Matthew Vaughn apparently got highly invested in making Kingsman that he finally made his first sequel. This time, Vaughn—along with his frequent collaborator, Jane Goldman—takes the liberty in expanding this globe-trotting espionage bravura. His passion can be seen from his eagerness to amplify what he achieved best in the first film into double-powered action panache. It’s bigger in scale and in duration (clocking in at 141 mins); but, is it more fun? Barely.
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Review: It takes nearly 7 years for Eli Craig, writer-director of the 2010 horror-comedy sensation, Tucker & Dale vs. Evil, to finally spawn a Netflix-produced sophomore project entitled Little Evil. Similar to what he’s done in his previous feature, Craig once again plays out with horror clichés and extracts a fresh spoof, which would test and tease audience’s references with clear-cut hilarity.
In Little Evil, Eli Craig spoofs clichés from spooky-kid films, incorporating tropes from Rosemary’s Baby and, most obviously, The Omen. Simply look at the poster and you’ll see the alleged prodigal son (striking a pose like Damien in Omen) taking up the axis between his biological mother, Samantha (Evangeline Lilly) and his stepfather, Gary (Adam Scott). That kid (portrayed by Owen Atlas) is, as the title might suggest, the little evil—the spooky kid in Eli Craig’s horror-comedy.
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Review: Best part about Marvel’s The Defenders is that it’s not a carbon copy of Avengers, despite revolving with the same all-heroes assembled formula. There’s no need a Nick Fury figure to unite Marvel’s heroes streamed at Netflix. Daredevil (Charlie Cox), Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter), Luke Cage (Mike Colter) and the man-boy, Iron Fist (Finn Jones) are intertwined in their own business until sophisticated web of conflicts tangled them. And that’s a good sign, given the individual shows’ uneven height.
To begin with, this assemble isn’t at the same height as Netflix-Marvel’s best—that would be the first season of Daredevil and the cancerous single season of Jessica Jones. Yet, it’s definitely far more superior to the weakest—that would be Iron Fist. The Defenders might be in tie with the convoluted second season of Daredevil, but has more substance presented in a more straightforward manner. Continue reading A Season with: Marvel’s The Defenders (2017)
Review: From the director of Expendables 3, Patrick Hughes, a same-old brand new breed of hard-boiled action comes in the shape of The Hitman’s Bodyguard. With classic B-movie influence and dirty chemistry between the leads—Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson, this electric summer bonanza stands erect between being exhilarating and annoying.
There’s a hitman, Darius Kincaid (Jackson), a key witness to the legal persecution of a former Belarus tyrant (Gary Oldman).There’s a former Triple-A level bodyguard, Michael Bryce (Reynolds). There’s a past beef between the two. Yet, there’s a mutual purpose between them: to get Kincaid safe from England to Netherland. There’s common enemy: the Belarus mercenary, which infects Interpol.
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