Review Fall in Love at First Kiss (2019)

Fall in Love at First Kiss could’ve delivered a more heartwarming romance which pays beautiful tribute to the source material, whichever it refers to.

Frankie Chen’s Fall in Love at First Kiss (一吻定情) adds another entry to the list of Kaoru Tada’s manga, Itazura Na Kiss screen adaptations (which has spawned various television series in Japan, South Korea, Thailand and Taiwan). Chen’s version takes a closer approach to the first Taiwanese incarnation, It Started with a Kiss (惡作劇之吻), especially by using the established character names and settings. While the plot might sound eerie and unhealthy in deeper observation, the movie’s sugarcoating—with bubble-gum visuals and comical characters—can, at times, divert the attention to a distant lesson.

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Review Dear Ex (2019)

Dear Ex tangles up troubled, dysfunctional characters into a nuanced joint of secrets and emotions, adorned with sympathy and sensitivity; even when the story often nearly plunges into full-fledged melodrama.

Mag Hsu & Chih-yen Hsu’s Dear Ex tangles up three troubled, dysfunctional characters into a nuanced joint centering on secrets, love and burst of emotions. Everything begins when a man died leaving his widow, Sanlian (Hsieh Ying-hsuan) and his teenage boy, Chengxi (Joseph Huang) with nothing but grief, confusion and, at certain level, grudge. In an elusive twist, the dying man writes his son out of the insurance policy in favor of Jay (Roy Chiu), another man for whom he’s leaving the family. All the inherited money can only go straight to the man’s secret lover if Sanlian signs off. Yet, it was always more than just money.

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Paradoxical / 時光 (2017) – BALINALE Review

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”

The Assassin (2015) – Review

Review: Taiwanese arthouse director and Cannes darling, Hou Hsiao-hsien returns with a new, pretentious wuxia bravura in The Assassin, which granted him Best Director award in the festival which love him much.

Based on a story, even a myth, from the 9th century China, The Assassin is not just an exhibition of exquisite production design and beautifully orchestrated martial arts; it’s a critic-winner. But, not everyone is a critic. Continue reading “The Assassin (2015) – Review”