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The Critic Ali Insane "Oyabun Max" (Lab 4, The 13th Floor)

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Peppermint Candy [DVD] [1999]
Peppermint Candy [DVD] [1999]
Dvd ~ Sol Kyung-gu
Offered by The World Cinema Store
Price: £5.99

4 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Tracks Of Trauma, 16 Aug. 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Yong-Ho (flawless performance from Kyung-Gu Sol) stands on the train tracks with blood shot eyes screaming at the camera: "I won't go Back!" seconds before his pending suicide is about to strike. Then the camera metaphorically tracks the pivotal events in Yong-Ho's life which led him to the fatal decision of self termination by travelling backwards along the train tracks until reaching the next part of the story. This repetitive method of threading each scene of the story together is rather tedious and adds to an already overly long feature in the worst possible ways imaginable.

Lee Chang-Dong's directorial decision to tell the story in reverse order was a bad choice: it doesn't work like Nolan's Memento or Noe's Irreversible. As the story unfolds, the viewer grows less sympathetic with the main protagonist due to the awful nature of his character and by the time the catalyst for all his self destructive behaviour has been revealed, most viewers would've already past the point of caring and come to the conclusion that maybe it was for the best that Yong-ho ceased contaminating the world with his bleak, negative onset.

If Director Lee had played out the story in chronological order, the viewer would've been able to see why his Yong-Ho character made the all the wrong decisions: if an individual doesn't seek professional help with experiences of a traumatic nature, then it stands to reason that his self absorbing mindset will relentlessly guide his tortured soul into making the wrong choices whilst believing there was no alternative.

I was seriously bored whilst I was watching this elegiac story unravel and couldn't wait for it to conclude; but, after a few days reflection had washed over me, I realised what a powerful tale it had been. If you like hard drama shot at a very slow pace then it's quite possible that this flick will be a 4 star, or even 5 in some cases, experience. It's worth watching for Kyung-Gu Sol's immaculate performance but don't expect him to be the ultra cool persona he portrayed in Public Enemy.

WARNING: Contains horrifying scenes of tuneless Korean's partaking karaoke - ear plugs advised for viewers discretion.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 4, 2014 4:49 PM BST


Kick The Moon [DVD]
Kick The Moon [DVD]
Dvd ~ Lee Sung-Jae
Offered by The World Cinema Store
Price: £3.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Random Route To Nowhere, 16 Aug. 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Kick The Moon [DVD] (DVD)
Late one night in Gyeongju city, a student party gets interrupted by a gang of violent youths armed with weapons wanting to challenge the visiting school in a battle for supremacy and honor. Popular student, Choi Gi-dong (Cha Sueng-Won), rallies his classmates for the brutal challenge and ends up becoming a legend for his acts of bravery and an inspiration for generations of students to follow. Shy, straight-A student, Park Young-joon (Lee Sung-Jae - Public Enemy) refuses to take part in the brawl and ends-up getting ostracized by all his classmates and relentlesly bullied for his display of cowardness for the remainder of his school days.

Years later, the infamous streetfighting punk has become a strict teacher at the school and the unpopular nerd has transformed himself into a notorious mafia underboss who's now returned to his home town to commence business operations. One night the two former pupil's paths cross again when a feisty damsel with a smile capable of melting icebergs, Ju-ran (Kim Hye-Soo), piques their interest; now, the game is on for the nerd to finally prove that he can beat his old rival by claiming the heart of Ju-ran.

The director, Kim Sang-Jin, has delivered a mish-mash story with lots of diverse elements and a incohesive narrative which ultimately goes nowhere. There's a few scenes that create genuine laughs from whacky characters deftly handling situational comedy; that is, when it's not entering Benny Hill territory; whilst others lag in the realms of tedium; but, despite all these obvious signs that glaringly point to a dreadful movie which should be avoided at all costs; it is somehow entertaining in a light hearted way if you can successfully disengage your brain for the whole 118min running time of this farcical testosterone charged comedy.


Old Men in New Cars [DVD] [2002] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Old Men in New Cars [DVD] [2002] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Offered by Newtownvideo_EU
Price: £10.30

4.0 out of 5 stars "I Want A Meat Room... With A Towel", 16 Aug. 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
It's not very surprising that this action/comedy/gangster flick from Denmark hasn't received much attention: the title misleadingly gives the impression that this will be rather boring to watch. Refreshingly, the follow-up to In China They Eat Dogs doesn't have any old men in new cars at all. What it does have is a lot of subtle but dubious humour written by one of the masters of black comedy: Anders Thomas Jensen (Adam's Apples).

After Harald (Kim Bodnia - Pusher) has been released from incarceration he visits his dying boss/surrogate father, Munken, on his death bed who informs Harald that he wishes to see his son before he passes away. The problem being that his Swedish son, Ludvig, is serving a life sentence in a high security prison for mass murder: a vital piece of information that hasn't been disclosed by Munken to Harald.

Harald instructs his Bakery friends, Peter and Martin (Nikolaj Lie Kaas - Green Butchers) that they have to come up with a fool proof plan to free the psychotic Ludvig and grant Munken his dying wish. Meanwhile, Ratko (Slavko Labovic - Pusher) and his vicious gang are threatening to kill Harald unless he repays the 3.5million Kroner he owes within the three weeks they have allocated him to find the hefty sum.

After the basic scenario has been laid down a series of highly charged scenes ensue with: bank heists, bullet strewn car chases, bungee jumping prison escapes, plane hijacking with a half dead doped up pilot, double crossings, murder with necrophilic implications, a redemptive romance of sorts and perfectly scripted cultural misunderstandings; making this action packed, genre bending spectacle an absolute howler of a comedy - recommended.


No Title Available

4.0 out of 5 stars Resistance: Because You're Worth It, 11 Aug. 2010
This is a lightweight 100% thin cotton t-shirt manufactured by Gildan.

If you normally purchase a large then a large will suffice.

The print has a very stylish design and is unlikely to pick-off from multi-washes.

It isn't prone to shrink after washing if you follow the instructions to the letter but it's likely to loose some shape after a short period of time.

It looks better on than it does displayed on the Amazon web page. So, go on: treat yourself.


No Title Available

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Play It Loud & Wear It Proud, 11 Aug. 2010
This is a lightweight 100% thin cotton t-shirt manufactured by Gildan.

If you normally purchase a large then a large will suffice.

The print has a very stylish design and is unlikely to pick-off from multi-washes.

It isn't prone to shrink after washing if you follow the instructions to the letter but it's likely to loose some shape after a short period of time.

It looks better on than it does displayed on the Amazon web page. So, go on: treat yourself.


Goemon [DVD] [2009]
Goemon [DVD] [2009]
Dvd ~ Arashi Fukasawa

45 of 47 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Special Effects Orgasm, 11 Aug. 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Goemon [DVD] [2009] (DVD)
Fashion photographer turned filmmaker, Kazuaki Kiriya (Director of Casshern), returns with a stunning epic about a 16th century ninja/avenging warrior known as Ishikawa Goemon (Yôsuke Eguchi); who stole from the rich and distributed his haul of gold to the poor without wearing girlie green tights and hanging about with fat drunken monks. The year is 1582 and feudal Japan has finally been united in peace; that is until master-thief Goemon steals a wooden box from Japan's newly appointed ruler, Toyotomi Hideyoshi (Eiji Okuda), which accommodates vital information on documents that will dramatically change the fate of the nation.

If you were entertained by Casshern then there's a very good chance you'll enjoy this overly stylized visual treat charged with outstanding battle sequences laced with a kinetic lunacy. It should also appeal to fans of extreme cinema as Goemon flexes his superhuman strength by slicing his foes in half and rapidly piling up the body count: shot in slow motion capture and amply sprayed with blood.

Goemon is loosely based upon a Japanese folk tale but as there isn't any real information recorded about this character: the whole affair is basically a pseudo history lesson. 90% of the feature is CGI enhanced and some of the tapestry gives-off a video game feel but in some scenes the gorgeous cinematography is a special effects orgasm providing multi-tiered jaw-dropping ninja battles to help detract the viewer from a weak script slightly padded with romance.

Kiriya's stylistic flair elevates this absorbing tale into something more than just a by the numbers ninja with swords affair. This fast paced action-adventure with fight scenes similar to those executed in anime doesn't suffer from the style over substance flaw despite the heavy usage of green screen. Goemon is not a masterpiece by any stretch of the imagination but it is highly entertaining despite the minor plot flaws and well worth watching.


Memories Of Matsuko [DVD]
Memories Of Matsuko [DVD]
Dvd ~ Miki Nakatani
Offered by The World Cinema Store
Price: £6.99

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Forgive Me For Being Born", 11 Aug. 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Memories Of Matsuko [DVD] (DVD)
Is memories Of Matsuko Japan's answer to Jean-Pierre Jeunet's Amelie? Yes, to some extent it is. There were certain parts of the film, particularly in the beginning, that were quite easy to see where these comparisons had originated from but as the story develops you soon realize that this isn't going to have the same schmaltzy ending that leaves the viewer feeling uplifted. On the contrary, the overall feeling coursing through my whole being when the credits rolled was akin to a swift kick in the nutts. Even odder was the overwhelming feeling that I'd just witnessed something rather extraordinary; considering I don't usually like this type of flick.

Tetsuya Nakashima has directed an absolute cracker with this drama/musical/comedy following the tragic life of Matsuko Kawajiri (a gut wrenching performance from Miki Nakatari). Don't let the word musical put you off purchasing as it's not a musical per se; the prison segment, for instance, plays out like an urban hit on MTV and on other occasions when the "I feel a song coming on" begins to rear its ugly head, it's mainly just a short kitschy interlude devised as a vehicle for the story to unravel: none of the numbers are camp or cringe worthy in any way, shape or form.

I watch a lot of violent flicks and find myself desensitized to the images being projected, but; when your watching scenes filled with romance and singing where the hue in the cinematography has been heavily saturated to make everything appear illuminated and then unexpected acts of savage violence erupt; it tends to have more of an impact, simply because your not expecting the mood to change so drastically: some scenes with this brutal nature will temporarily scar most viewers emotionally when watching Matsuko's relentlessly doomed love life unfurl.

As a child Matsuko was emotionally starved of affection from her father because all of his attention was focused on his sick child, Matsuko's sister Kumi. In her adult years, Matsuko remains so eager to please everyone that she's willing to accept any form of abuse by reasoning with herself: "if he hits me, it's better than being alone". We learn at the beginning of the story that Matsuko's body was found beaten to death in a park and her nephew, Sho (Eita), has been sent to her apartment to clearout her belongings. This commences a series of flashbacks as Sho and the viewer watch the tragic events that plagued the life of a beautiful dreamer.

The verdict: A 10/10 emotional roller coaster with masterpiece stamped all over it.


Flame And Citron [DVD] [2008]
Flame And Citron [DVD] [2008]
Dvd ~ Thure Lindhardt
Offered by 101Trading
Price: £4.40

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Flame & Lemon: A scorching Tale, 10 Aug. 2010
Director and co-writer Ole Christian Madsen's fictionalized drama/action movie about two of the most deadliest Danish Resistance fighters in the Holger Danske resistance group during World War II is based on actual facts. Although it has soldiers in it and it's about the war, it's not a war film per se; it has more of a noirish gangster quality to it. The flick centers around two Nazi assassins, Bent Faurschou-Hviid (code name: Flammen) and Jørgen Haagen Schmith (code name: Citronen) and both characters are superbly portrayed by Thure Lindhardt and Mads Mikkelsen respectively.

Both Flammen and Citronen carry-out hits against occupying Nazis and Danish collaborators ordered by their employer Aksel Winther (Peter Mygind) who claims to be getting his intel from the British government but for some reason he is reluctant to sanction the assassination of the Gestapo leader, Karl-Heinz Hoffmann (Christian Berkel). After certain members of the resistance group get ambushed the remaining agents soon realize that a traitor is in their midst; but, doubt starts creeping into the minds of both hitman, especially when Flammen receives conflicting information from his muse Ketty Selmer (Stine Stengade).

In a script laced with sly, underhanded tactics being employed by unscrupulous characters they may in fact be double agents, or; working for their own means and using the war as a smoke screen to carry-out their deviant acts in order to pocket some wealth; it's quite easy to be swept along in the break-neck pacing of this riveting story which has been superbly shot with the assistance of a big budget. Mads Mikkelson puts in another outstanding performance, most notably; when his character crosses the point of no return by committing the deed that transforms Citronen from a mere chauffeur into a fully focused killing machine. It's only fair to point out that Thure Lindhardt is equally as impressive as the ruthless Flammen as the dynamic duo of war fight for what they believe in most - the mother country.

These two exceptional characters are regarded as heroes/legends and their fascinating story needs to be seen - highly recommended.


Fish Story [DVD] [2009]
Fish Story [DVD] [2009]
Dvd ~ Atsushi Ito
Offered by The World Cinema Store
Price: £6.99

14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I Hear The Silent Scream., 8 Aug. 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Fish Story [DVD] [2009] (DVD)
First time writer-director Yoshihiro Nakamura intricately weaves four seemingly random plotlines stretching from 1975 - 2012 about a defunct Japanese punk band that write a fabled hit called Fish Story which fails to strike a chord with its current target audience but ends up saving the planet some 37 years later by intercepting a looming comet: Does that sound bonkers? Well, it gets a lot crazier in this mind-boggling story of pure genius drenched in originality.

The legend sweeping through the music underground is that only people with psychic powers can hear a women scream during the one minute silent interlude halfway through Fish Story, and so; in the year 1982 a nerdy school kid becomes fascinated with the track and later gets informed by a young psychic source that he will one day be responsible for saving the planet.

The multi-layered, time juggling jigsaw puzzle of a plot covers many disparate subjects such as: punk, plagiarism, romance, rape and impending armageddon; all perfectly blended together by a strong cast full of quirky characters that hold a strong sense of mystery as to how the quadrigeminal storylines will eventually pull together. The ending doesn't disappoint either and is guaranteed to put a wry smile upon your countenance and seduce you into rewatching this genre-hopping apocalyptic novelty again and again. Am I bigging this up too much? Sorry, but flicks like this come few and far between.

So, if you're looking for an oddball comedy/sci-fi with supernatural overtones that occasionally explodes into cool kung-fu action courtesy of "The Champion Of Justice", and has some catchy punk music laced with misinterpreted lyrics, then you really need to stick this excellent debut from Nakamura in the basket; i've already got him penned down as an artist to look-out for in the future. I really hope he can deliver another stonking picture this magnificent again in the not too distant future - highly recommended.


Devils on the Doorstep [DVD] [2000] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Devils on the Doorstep [DVD] [2000] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Offered by M and N Media US
Price: £256.32

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Funny Side Of War., 7 Aug. 2010
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Director/actor Jiang Wen's ultra black comedy is set during the closing days of Japan's brutal occupation of China during WWII. Ma Dasan (Wen) is doing press-ups on his widowed lover when suddenly there's a knock on the door and a gun immediately thrust against Ma's head, he's abruptly ordered to house two gagged and bound prisoners until the end of the week; a fanatical Japanese soldier and his Chinese interpreter. When the Chinese resistance fighters fail to return to the village the hostile elders refuse to boarding the prisoners a moment longer and hastily order Dasan to kill their unwanted guests but afraid of any repercussions Ma decides to hide the cantankerous duo in the Great Wall - that is until the villagers discover his crafty stratagem and almost lynch him.

Who said war isn't funny? Well, everyone in fact but when it comes to celluloid we all knows that tongue is firmly planted in cheek: don't we? Apparently NOT! Jiang's mordant war epic shot entirely in monochrome almost sunk his career after being banned in both Japan and China, and himself being blacklisted from the movie industry for seven years - more than enough reason to get this viewer interested in seeing what all the kerfuffle was about, and; i wasn't in the least bit dissapointed with the result.

The film's humour is based on cultural misunderstandings and farcical convolutions; as the plot unravels the outlandish dark tone curdles into hysterical outrage when the inexorable illogic of war sets in. The raging orgiastic rites of Bacchanalia do threaten to careen out of control, however, with it's absurdist spirit and delicate mise-en-scène Jiang's revolutionary black comedy proves a worthy addition to any film fanatics collection. The final scene definitely enters "the best ending to a film" category with it's savage, surrealistic execution and stunning effects.

This film won the prestigious Grand Prix at the 2000 Cannes Film Festival and, to date; America is the only country to release it on DVD. You see, they're not all complete morons in the film industry over there; some parts are still missing. Recommended for anyone looking for some belly chuckles mixed in with some brutality.


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