Saturday, March 31, 2007

Freedom Writers

The story is based on a true story and it is about how a new teacher's innovative teaching methods helped her class get good grades. She asked her students to keep a daily journal and this helped her to better understand them.

Very impressed by the teacher's dedication to her work and how she managed to help the students work together as a team! I also liked how the film presented each student's journal with voice narration in the background! They sounded very sincere and personal!

Internet Movie Database Link

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Nine Lives

The story is about the lives of nine women described separately in different short segments. Each segment is filmed in a single shot and some women appear in more than one segment as their lives intersect.

Liked the natural dialogue and how the different roles played by women are presented! Each segment provides a sample on a typical mother, wife, lover or daughter through basic daily activities.

Internet Movie Database Link

Sunday, March 25, 2007

McDull, prince de la bun

This is a sequel to "My Life as McDull" which is an animation about the life of a family in Hong Kong. In the first movie, McDull, who is a little pig, studies in a kindergarten and trains hard to be an athlete. The sequel presents the life of McDull's parents as a bedtime story told by the mum to McDull.

Liked the film's distinctive Hong Kong flavor that came out through the social issues discussed and the realistic 3D cityscape! The bedtime story is also very interesting and meaningful!

Internet Movie Database Link

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Hula Girls

The story is about how a small town in Japan transformed from a coal mine place to a Hawaiian tourist attraction in the 60s. Part of the plan was to train the miner daughters to be Hula dancers.

Liked the interesting dance moves and the pretty costumes! Was caught a little off guard by the melodramatic moments but they were pretty well executed and not too over-the-top.

Internet Movie Database Link

The Old Man and the Sea

The story is adapted from a novel by Ernest Hemingway and it is about how an old fisherman battled a big fish out at sea.

Liked the narration that describes the old fisherman in great detail! Great action at sea too!

Internet Movie Database Link

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Osen of the Paper Cranes

The story is about how a servant girl, Osen, befriended a penniless young man and how they escaped from their household headed by an unscrupulous antiques dealer to lead a new life.

Was really impressed by the scene where Osen whipped out a crane from nowhere and blew it towards the sky! Didn't really understand the first part where they described how the bad guys cheated other people and felt quite puzzled. Liked the special effects and the exciting finish though!

Internet Movie Database Link

Nightly Dreams

The story is about how a waitress worked very hard to provide for her son and how she reconciled with her out-of-job husband but things didn't turn out as well as expected.

The husband looked like the landlady's husband in "Kungfu Hustle"! The director would suddenly zoom very close to a character's face for several scenes and I didn't really like the effect as it made me dizzy. The storyline is quite good though!

Internet Movie Database Link

Woman of Tokyo

Saw three silent films at one go at the NUS Arts Festival organised by NUS. The first film is a family drama about what happens when a brother learns about another side of his sister from his girlfriend.

The story telling is very well done and everything falls in place nicely! Liked the tense "face-off" among the chracters towards the end! The girlfriend, played by a young Tanaka Kinuyo, looked quite pretty! Only seen her in later films like "Life Of Oharu", "Flowing" and "Equinox Flower" and she looked a little bit older in those films. Hmm, those films happened to be one Mizoguchi, one Naruse and one Ozu too, similarly to what is featured in this film festival!

Internet Movie Database Link

Saturday, March 10, 2007

The Pursuit of Happyness

The story is about how the life of a young father, Chris Gardner, changes after he started attending a stockbroker course.

Really impressed by how Chris Gardner manages his time and his skills as a salesman! Would have liked the film even more if it was more compressed it is quite longwinded with multiple chase scenes of a similar nature.

Internet Movie Database Link

The Sun

The story is about the life of Japan's Emperor during the end of World War II focusing on his everyday life and the interaction with General MacArthur from the US.

Liked the claustrophobic feel of the underground bunker and the interaction between the Emperor and General MacArthur! The animated dream sequence was very nicely done too!

Internet Movie Database Link

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Pan's Labyrinth

The story is about a little girl's adventure in her garden's labyrinth towards the end of the Spanish Civil War. Her mother remarried a Captain whose job is to eliminate the freedom fighters in the woods.

Very nice visual effects but it was more violent than I expected! Liked the green dress that the little girl was wearing and the interesting tasks that she has to complete! I was very worried when she took her time on one of them!

Internet Movie Database Link

The Lives of Others

The story is about conditions in East Germany during the mid 80s seen through the eyes of the Stasi (secret police). A captain's life changes after he starts monitoring a playwright for illegal activities.

Nice plot and the film explains the work of the Stasi pretty well! Quite scary to see the things that people do when they have a lot of power in their hands! Realised that one always have a choice on how he leads his life even under very trying circumstances!

Internet Movie Database Link