Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Quick takes #7

Josie Ho, lowering the value of some property in Dream Home (2010).

Dream Home
(Pang Ho-Cheung, 2010) - Pang Ho-Cheung does his usual bit of establishing a context of either a social phenomenon or a societal condition and then delivering a film around that subject but in a way that you probably won't expect. This time around it's a gory slasher film about a woman (Josie Ho) having trouble affording an apartment in the pricey Hong Kong real estate market. Pang manages to keep the sharp but still effortless and easygoing tone of his earlier films despite the absolutely over-the-top gore and truly horrible proceedings of the main character. Dream Home is actually the only film I can remember where the gore felt like it was too much to take, despite it being so exaggerated it's shown in a calm and realistic way and Pang manages to make it almost unbearable. With Dream Home, Pang once again shows he's the most interesting director in Hong Kong, can't wait for his next film.

(Kazuaki Kiriya, 2009) - Historical fantasy adventure starring Yosuke Eguchi as master thief Goemon Ishikawa. Directed by Kazuaki Kiriya who made Casshern, Goemon is made in the same style of all CG environments and landscapes with (mostly) live actors. While Goemon is a more entertaining film than Casshern, which felt overly long and slow, I have to say that the computer created world worked better in the sci-fi film than in this period piece. A bunch of great actors in supporting roles do make it a fun time though.

Takao Osawa and Yosuke Eguchi in Goemon (2010).

Negative Happy Chainsaw Edge (Takuji Kitamura, 2007) - Supernatural coming of age action drama starring always annoying Hayato Ichihara. Could have been a pretty cool b-movie about a school girl fighting a chainsaw maniac from the moon and getting unwanted help from another kid at school but takes a turn for the more serious, and dull. It has all the afformentioned but still manages to mess it up by making it a story about Ichihara's desire to do something cooler than his friend who passed away in a motorcycle accident. It should have focused on the chainsaw wielding maniac from the moon.

One Million Yen Girl (Yuki Tanada, 2008) - Suzuko (Yu Aoi) moves into an apartment with a friend and the friend's boyfriend only for them to break up. When the ex-boyfriend later throws out a kitten that someone leaves at the door, Suzuko throws out all his belongings but it turns out to be a big mistake as she is sentenced to prison for it. Apparently the guy had a million yen hidden in a bag in his room and pressed charges. When released, Suzuko decides to leave town to make it on her own, and each time she's managed to save up a million yen, she ups and leaves for a new town and a new job. This of course makes it hard to connect with people, not to mention having a relationship with someone. Nice film, both sad and hopeful.

Yu Aoi and Mirai Moriyama in One Million Yen Girl (2008).