L.N.D.N Marathon Movie #5: Rainbow Eyes (2007)

Is the killer a man or woman?

 

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 Words by: Desmond “Neo” Childs

It’s been a long week. There’s no rest for the wicked, and unfortunately for you that idiom feels like a double-edged sword. You’re a cop. A quiet, dusty little bar serves as your local “watering hole” and you look forward to things finally winding down. There’s a pretty little number in a black dress on stage singing her rendition of Frank Sinatra’s My Way. It’s nothing special, but the little tune fits within the dated, quaint bar you’ve become accustomed to. Suddenly, you get a phone call–there’s been a murder. Great, there goes your quiet Friday. But let me ask you something, alright?

What would you say to me, if I told you that the new case could compromise your place at the department. Well, detective?

Rainbow Eyes is a murder-mystery centered around an inspector and his detectives investigating a couple of grisly murders. Initially the killings seemed unrelated, until further digging uncovers that both victims had backgrounds with the military. I won’t go into any more detail about this film simply because I feel as if it’s the must-watch of the marathon series. Director Yun-ho Yang grips the helm of this feature film and steers it toward a seedy, dark and brooding drama about rape, sex, and gender. For a director probably most famous for helming the television dram Iris, Yun-ho Yang seems to have already been comfortable with developing engaging crime dramas.

 

Wait. Huh?

Yes, I said sex and gender. As in how abusing one could cause the other to be put into question. And that is precisely what this story grapples with–Does love transcend gender? We all know the answer to that is clearly yes, even if some of us have to set aside our moral opinions. Homosexuality is featured prominently as the investigative team dig deeper, and when it’s revealed how horribly perverse certain people are–the movie switches from being a slow-burn detective story toward a fast-paced thrill ride. The killer isn’t who you’d expect it to be, and that my friends is a pretty sizable understatement.

To end the movie marathon on such a note is truly satisfying, and I’m curious about where the opinion of others stands on this film. The thrill of the hunt is capitalized on here, and although the majority of the film features lead characters juggling work life and personal woes–I never grew tired of the case at hand. I will say that I found it interesting that a particular character’s homophobia was targeted and exposed for dramatic effect. I wondered if it was magnified to be brought back up again later in the movie, but it appeared to simply have been present to confirm how much of a simpleton the character appeared to be. We all know there are people who chose to hate homosexuals and aren’t afraid to express that hate in a violent way. Again, I’m not sure why this needed to be beat over the side of the audience’s collective conscience. I honestly cannot think of anything else that felt tacked on, as even the sub-plots take major  prominence by story end.

I’ll be back next week with the Late Night, Date night movie marathon wrap-up, along with a brand-new episode of SVRadio. I still need to come up with a name for the award show too, but I’m working on it believe me.

[Watch ‘Rainbow Eyes’ Here On Hulu.com]

L.N.D.N Marathon Movie #4: Romantic Island (2008)

Won’t you join me?

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Words by : Desmond “Neo” Childs

You look like you’ve had a rough week. Do you need a vacation or something, because you look a little out of it. Wow, you need to use some of your vacation hours–about a month’s worth.

The three couples featured in this film all need a break. Not from each other but the life that’s dealing them a rough break. The premise of the movie puts these people somewhere in the Philippines (Boracay Islands) where they began the process of ‘healing’.

One couple (the middle-aged one) take a trip together to get away from their steady, mundane jobs. However, after a while it’s revealed that the man is suffering from a disease. He’s contemplating suicide, and sees death as a way to make amends–for something.

Our second couple comes together through circumstance. A tall, lanky loser meets an idol singer who is traveling around incognito. They spend the film bonding, developing their relationship and having a blast.

The third and last couple also happen to meet by happenstance. A young businessman whose job may be in jeopardy and a young woman who has ‘run away’ from her family and responsibilities.

The men and woman in this picture our seeking a release. They are all stressed out in one way or another, and the film seems to serve as a vehicle for its characters to wind down and relax. Which is fine. I enjoyed watching them be silly, go sight-seeing and dine at expensive restaurants. There were three different writers and all of them added some depth to the couples. Dealing with the loss of a parent you didn’t get to know? Come to the Boracay Islands! Tired of the idol singer lifestyle? Head on over to Boracay Islands! Running away from responsibility?

Well.

You get the idea.

Anyway, the sub-plots aren’t heavy-handed and lightly touch on the humanity of a few individuals in the group. Nothing too deep, but just for us to understand the actions of said people. While I don’t really have anything negative to mention here I’ll admit that the film is predictable. But I didn’t have a problem and I was entertained by the gentle, romantic comedy director Kang Cheol-Woo delivered here. As of now, this movie is my second favorite behind Love in a Puff–both films truly feel like movies you’d like to enjoy with that special someone.

Aside from this picture, Kang Cheol-Woo directed Real Fiction  (2000). He’s done some work as a screenwriter and I don’t think it’s a coincidence that he also did some writing for Romantic Island in addition to directing it. With that being said, the location doesn’t call for a lot of extra toward sprucing up the picture. The Boracay Islands are gorgeous. It truly does look like the vacation ads I’ll receive every now and then in the mail. The actors probably had a blast being able to not only film on location, but then go out and party.

With only one movie left to go in the marathon–I’m looking forward to seeing the last film (Rainbow Eyes). As always you can watch Romantic Island yourself by clicking on the link below. Check out the trailer too.

[CLICK HERE TO WATCH ‘ROMANTIC ISLAND’]

Updated: New SVRadio in late April, network full of relaunches and premieres

Alright so I’m already prepping for the next release of SVRadio for toward the end of the month. I need to figure out what the name of this marathon awards episode is going to be titled too. One thing I am sure about, is that the award show will be broadcasting at a later date. The month of May looks to feature about three movie reviews–from hulu.com too, but they won’t be following any particular theme.

The network as a whole has been super busy, so I’m going to take this paragraph to shop every single BIG thing that has gone on since I last updated:

Alright, AfterDark Radio recently ended it’s run on our airwaves–only to rise from the ashes as NexusGen Radio. Check out the brand-spanking new premiere by clicking here. The ladies discuss Summer Wars, Captain America 2, and even introduce a new member of the NexusGen team.

Wiseguy Jukebox has some big news to announce, as the show will taking on a very hot issue within the music community–The death of Hip-Hop. Or perhaps the ‘poor’ state that so many seem to think it’s in. More on what the official word on what’s to come soon. In the meantime, Dj Horus has a new episode out centered around Electronic music. Click here to listen to that episode now.

Bobbo’s Block, after a sudden hiatus, is experiencing a little reboot of sorts as it slowly positions itself as the headlining program for the network. Tonight (April 16, 2014) the show releases a Toonami tribute. If you’re interested in hearing older episodes, click here to jump to their podomatic page.

And last but not least–Project Zion has kicked off it’s first radio drama series titled G-Diffuser 01. The series follows Fox McCloud and team Starfox’s adventures. The show is written, directed, and starring Johnny Balsa. Click here to hear episodes 0-3, and here for episode 4.

Alright guys, that wraps it up for this post–I will catch you guys on the next SVRadio, will be chatting about the latest, greatest, and/or most hated topics floating about the movie world. Until then!

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UPDATE: 92 and counting…

We’re in the middle of our Late Night, Date Night movie marathon but I wanted to bring attention the fact that this blog is nearly over 100 written reviews. I’m elated that this project has turned into what it has, and cannot wait to see what other movies get added to the list. Of course the idea behind this blog was for me to have fun with Asian cinema. And I have, but I’ve also learned so much. Movies tell stories, sure–but they also convey some very heartfelt messages.

There is a new episode of SVRadio coming up on the latter half of April, and of course 2 more movies in our marathon! There may also be a special debut from Project Zion coming in the future as well. For those that don’t know, Project Zion Studios is OtaKast Radio Network’s special department that produces radio plays and dramas.

At any rate, I’m already looking forward to the month of May in terms of new movies to watch and review! Look for an upcoming post in the future, and I’d like to thank all 529 of my subscribers for sticking with me!

 

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L.N.D.N Marathon Movie #3: Secret (2007)

I’ll play for you at graduation

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Words: Desmond “Neo” Childs

The third movie in our Late Night, Date Night Marathon differs from the previous two in that it delves in something other than romantic comedy or erotic-drama. Jay Chou, the world-famous Taiwanese musician and singer–makes his directorial début here while also starring as the male-lead. The story itself centers around a talented young pianist who meets and becomes infatuated with a classmate. The problem is, she only shows up for school now and then. How will Lun (Jay Chou) ever confess his feelings to Yu (Guey Lun-Mei), the ‘mysterious piano girl’?

I’m tempted to unfairly lump this film into a group of movies with a label on them. The label isn’t necessarily a negative one, but many people who hear it cannot help but see it at one–and it’s predictable.

No.

‘Predictable’ is the label. I kind of found this film predictable. What makes it a little weird for me, is that when I say something is predictable I’d like to be able to back that up with examples. I can’t do that. At least not at the moment. So instead, I’ll layout the most basic line of narrative this story follows.

Boy meets girl in school–in this case, they meet specifically in piano class. They’re both talented people and their supporting cast follow typical high school student tropes.

They interest one another–they begin to have cute little conversations, silly banter and begin to actively seek one another out.

Something the boy does is misinterpreted as his interest in the girl dissipating–The guy is either caught hugging another girl or some weird mishap where he kisses someone. Of course the leading-lady is worried about her relationship with such an individual.

The brief fallout–the two separate and are miserable. In this film, the fallout leads up to a major twist so I do give Mr.Chou (who also wrote the story) kudos.

The happy/magical/sappy/silly reconciliation–You know this part. It’s probably the most predictable of the predictable things I’ve listed. And to Jay Chou’s credit, he chooses take a route not traveled AS OFTEN. I can’t really say too much without giving the twist away other than the relationship between the two lead characters really is ‘timeless’.

I honestly enjoyed the subplots and supporting cast more in this one than the overall story. There were the two ruby students who befriend Lun and always seem to get into trouble. And let’s not forget Lun’s father–Chiu, played by the always brilliant Anthony Wong. The highlights of the movie itself would most definitely have to be any scene in which a piano serves as the primary set piece. The chemistry between Chou and Lun-Mei feels honest enough, but their on-screen relationship didn’t feel profound enough to call for the actions the both took. The whole ‘love’ story feels more like infatuation–and their onscreen time together was too muddled in flirting and empty promises. I guess the idea is that the two love birds didn’t really get the chance to explore ‘what could have been’.  And if that’s the case then fine. But the falling action of this movie dealing with Lun frantically searching for Yu suddenly brings out the not so obvious point that both characters are seeking something more along the lines of an escape from their loneliness. But that’s just me.

On a positive note, Jay Chou’s direction is pretty poised and the story he developed isn’t a mediocre one. The scenes featuring instruments or concerts were beautiful to watch–and even seemed to serve as action sequences in an otherwise quiet, sullen picture. I do not feel like anyone outside of Anthony Wong deserves any true praise, but even he’s given certain dialogue that made me roll my eyes.

Ex: “Don’t be anything special. Be normal.”

Or something to that effect. He doesn’t want his son to try to be anything more than what anybody else is. I understand the culture is  such that putting ‘self before the community’ is looked down upon–but it just felt like the scene wasn’t very nuanced.

This movie isn’t a bad movie. I just feel like it’s mostly forgettable. The movie did play at the 10th Udine Far East Film Festival–but i couldn’t find any info about whether it competed or just held showings. At any rate, you can check out the movie, free of charge on  hulu.com

If you’ve seen Secret and agree or disagree, send me an email at svmovieblog@outlook.com

All images used have been taken from google.com and I do not own any of them.

[CLICK HERE TO WATCH ‘SECRET’ ON HULU.COM]