告白 + 非單親關係 + 午夜來嚇

Every Cloud has a Silver Lining

Confessions, directed by one of my favorite Japanese directors, Tetsuya Nakashima, is one of the most disturbing and depressing movies I have watched this year. It is a psychological thriller of a grieving teacher turned cold-blooded avenger with a twisty master plan to pay back the students who were responsible for her daughter's death.

In the story, the major characters make confessions one by one. The more perspectives from which the murder is looked at, the more we know about the characters and their motives, which may remind the audience of A Stranger of Mine. As the story is unfolded, there are several surprising twists. While making confessions and sometimes touching on the subjects they are ashamed of, some characters refuse to accept the truth, tell lies and point the finger of blame at others to salve their conscience.

The director tries to explore the reasons why innocent children become evil teenagers with no conscience. Some seek attention because they are abandoned or physically abused by their parents. Some become vulnerable owing to their overprotective parents. Some feel lonely because they are nerds neglected and bullied by their peers. Some commit suicide or other crimes because they follow suit. Some tragedies are also attributed to the internet which allows people to gossip anonymously, the mass media which places too much emphasis on violence, and the law which exempts teenage murderers from being punished. Thanks to the convincing cast, the characters become lifelike.

The black-grey-and-white setting, which is very different form the flamboyance of Memories of Matsuko, is stifling and depressing. After watching the film, the images of crimson blood, white milk, snow-white sakura, the bleak classroom, the lifeless homes and the dimly lit school hall will linger in one's mind. Apart from these, the gloomy skies in the movie were reminiscent of the ones in Elephant by Gus Van Sant. Despite the ominous dark clouds gathering overheard, every cloud has a silver lining, which symbolizes that the director still believes in the goodness of human nature, despite its dark side. This belief is also reflected in the scene when the female teacher stares at the strawberry given by a kid and another scene in which she says "your new life has begun".

The mesmerizing classical music, spiced with a hypnotizing female voice, not only creates a shocking contrast to the disturbing scenes shot in slow motion, but also adds eeriness to the story. The sound effects are also memorable. When the female teacher puts down the last stroke of the word LIFE on the blackboard, the ear-piercing sound chilled me the bone. When the bubble pops, we feel hopeless.

The film would have been more gripping if the first confession had been shorter and less talky. Besides, the CG images at the end are mediocre. Also, it is a difficult movie for the faint-hearted to sit through.

On the whole, Confessions is a darkly disturbing, visually stunning and thought provoking movie ruthlessly exposing the root of various teenage problems and the dark side of human nature. After watching the movie, I left the cinema with a heavy heart. It conjured up images of several parricides committed by Hong Kong teenagers recently and I pondered on what had happened to our post 90's generation.

 IMDB: 7.6 / 10  
 Kenji Chan 4.5 / 5

Let's Define a Family

The Kids Are All Right
is a humorous and heartwarming drama with a terrific ensemble cast and memorable characters. The movie talks about family problems and the definition of a family.

The movie delivers a message that straight families and gay families are no different and they should be treated on an equal footing. First, marriage is hard, be it straight or gay. Their kids are as rebellious as the ones in straight families. Second, the kids can still grow up healthily in a gay family. Third, the kids treat their lesbian mums as their beloved family members, despite their sexual orientation and the intrusion of their biological father, because it is the two women who raise them and under no circumstances can the biological father replace the mums. Hence, a family should not be defined as a social group made up of a man, a woman and their children. Instead, it should be defined as a group of persons, the adult members of which assume responsibility for caring for children and loving them unconditionally.

Despite the politically correct message, the film has some flaws. First, the problem is resolved too easily at the end. Second, (spoiler warning) that Jules does not even spend a minute considering developing a formal relationship with Paul is not convincing. After all, Jules enjoys having sex with Paul (She is probably a bisexual). He is not only a biological father who gets along with her kids, but also the owner of a restaurant. What's more, their marriage has reached crisis point. Nic is not only a control freak, but also an alcoholic.

At the end of the movie, their love to each other in a family can be deeply felt. The ending is so touching that some members of the audience will be moved to tears. Despite growing up in a gay family, the kids are all right.

 Rotten Tomatoes: 98% Positive 
 IMDB: 7.8 / 10
 Metacritic: 86 / 100 
 Kenji Chan: 4 / 5

A Rehash Less Scary than the First Film

Paranormal Activity 2 is a low-budget mockumentary rehashing the first installment.

The film is slow-paced in the first hour. Despite the director's attempt to build the tension step by step, the similar images repeatedly shown by the cameras fail to engage the audience. In the last 30 minutes, there are some creepy moments which will give you goose pimples, thanks to the demon's rumble, the dog's growls, the creaks of the door echoing eerily in the house, etc, whereas those who have watched the first film may find the tactics used familiar and the story formulaic.

To make the most out of the film, you should watch Paranormal Activity 1 first because it starts as a prequel and ends with a twist related to the first film. Besides, you should avoid spoilers and watch it in a cinema with as few talky people as possible.

Those who have watched the first film may find Paranormal Activity 2, whose tactics we have already seen, less scary.

 Rotten Tomatoes: 65% Positive 

 IMDB: 6.5 / 10
Kenji Chan: 3 / 5



秘密潛行 Secret Reunion - 4 / 5
死魚 Coldfish - 4 / 5
社交網絡 The Social Network - 4 / 5
公路.電影 Road, Movie - 3 / 5
愛麗絲蒸發奇案 The Disappearance of Alice Creed - 3.5 / 5

詩 Poetry - 4 / 5
實驗囚室 The Experiment - 3 / 5

21 則留言:

  1. 我看《告白》那天身體不適,睡了不少,所以會重看﹗這電影很有意思,女主角演得出色。而《非單親關係》我覺得故事一般,但兩女主角演技精湛,有些情節我都看到眼濕濕。
    [版主回覆10/18/2010 13:06:00]Confessions - I think the second viewing is necessary because there are lots of symbols inside. I also want to know if the colours of the costumes and the kinds of flowers shown have any symbolic meanings. Please help haha. ^^
    If the parents are not two mums, the story is ordinary, but the cast is great, isn't it?

  2. 電影評級 不斷更新 <---- Excellent! will read your critics later!!
    [版主回覆10/18/2010 21:18:00]Thanks Sloppy Joe.Watch the films before reading my reviews. Both are GOOD!!! When I am busy, I can only put down my rating. If I have time, I will write more reviews.^^

  3. 同意啦﹗《詩》有加場或許我會去看。你看完後會否都寫寫﹖
    [版主回覆10/18/2010 22:43:00]Really interested in 詩. Wanna write about it if I have time.

  4. Hello Kenji, 很久沒見了.
    我也很喜歡 "告白". 題材尖銳, 人物性格描寫細緻.
    配樂和攝影都很好. 我給 85 分.
    相信會是我 2010 的十大喜愛電影候選之一.
    [版主回覆10/20/2010 18:27:00]YES It will be one of my top 10 this year. I guess you have seen Memories of Matsuko. Although I prefer the previous work, Confessions is surely a great movie.

  5. 告白也是近年出色之作,但看完此電影,我反而覺得現代人好像漸漸容易失去生命的意義,故事中的角色好像不知自己為何而活,電影中做的東西只是想証明自己的存在。
    [版主回覆10/20/2010 18:39:00]Some teenagers lack love, so they do something shocking to seek attention. Some are overly protected by parents, so they can't cope with the stress. Some are poorly educated by parents and affected by the mass media, so they lack conscience. I am really sad after watching this film, probably because I am disappointed by some members of the post 90's generation.

  6. Thanks for comment of Confessions.
    It inspires me to think about 'do' and 'don't', but ...
    so annoyed was the film classed as category III that I had to read the book!
    [版主回覆10/25/2010 19:32:00]Welcome. Thanks for encouraging me to keep writing. In my spare time, I will write a few words about movies. Yes, it is a pity. Still, I agree with the decision this time as some teeangers may find it very disturbing.

  7. 是否因為牽涉教育界, kenji sir專程回來寫"告白"? 本片絕對是我今年的十大之一, 這個非常手法的心理懲罰很令人深思, 亦充分反映新世代的思想, 用血淋淋的方式表達出來, 實在是對教育界及家長作當頭棒喝!
    森口最後一句: "玩你咋!"很型! 將一直沉重的氣氛來個360度扭轉!
    [版主回覆10/27/2010 01:01:00]Right! One of my top 10 too and I love the twist. This movie is so impressive that I am motivated to write a review again. Also, I wanna thank Golden Scene for the invitation to the preview of The Kids are All Right, so I started writing again. I will try to squeeze some time to write more in the future. Thanks so much for your support. ^^

  8. Confessions -  much attention has been paid on the movie.  I planned to watch the movie but after reading your review, I doubt if I should watch it...I wonder if I can bear the heaviness.....
    [版主回覆10/27/2010 01:02:00]It is very depressing. However, as a movie lover, you may not want to miss it. The plot, the images and the music will blow you away. ^^

  9. 看完告白也有沉重的心情!!  是一部另類教育的電影呢!!!
    [版主回覆10/27/2010 01:04:00]These teenagers do exist in our society. It is time we spent more time paying attention to their needs.

  10. Welcome Back, Kenji. But I have to暫別Yahoo Blog now...
    [版主回覆10/28/2010 21:01:00]WHY? Let me go visit you now. ^^

  11. Because of fb lol... But I really wanna to go out a short period. I'll be back very very soon. And I also write down a little goodbye on my blog just like you.
    [版主回覆10/29/2010 18:04:00]GOOD! Looking forward to your grand return.

  12. 也很喜愛"秘密潛行", 全因宋康昊才買票入場! 有緊張刺激, 亦有不少笑位, 可惜劇情有點犯駁, 尤其是個結局有點突兀! 但總體還是可以!
    [版主回覆10/29/2010 18:11:00]The brotherhood touches me. Totally agree that the last scene is cliched.

  13. "告白"的講故事手法其實十分高明, 佈告精心, 每人逐個告白, 一層一層地把故事推展, 角色若無其事地冷冷道出令人震驚的劇情, 反差非常大, 令人不寒而慄! 不過, 或許期望過高, 也難免地跟其他以復仇為題的電影比較, 覺得"告白"太過抑壓, 不夠"原罪犯", "親切的金子"那樣淋漓! 這比較也未免有點不正確, 因為"告白"只是一齣以復仇為面, 講社會問題才是核心的電影, 主題也非追求娛樂性追求感官刺激的報仇! 在日本, 學童欺凌已是老問題, 多年來不少電影日劇都有提及; 而日本也同時是世上治安最好的國家之一, 好不矛盾!
    [版主回覆10/29/2010 18:37:00]I love the atmosophere and I think revenge is only one of the themes of the movie. Apart from the themes I mentioned in my review, it is also about motherhood. Indeed, Japan has a unique culture. People there are stressed, but at the same time, they are disciplined superficially. Thanks for your visit and sharing. I love your opinions.

  14. 好耐無見!~告白和The Kids Are All Right是我今年必看的!~ 前者劇情吸引,後者全因美麗動人的 Julianne Moore !~
    [版主回覆11/01/2010 12:59:00]yes long time no see, eventually back haha. Julianne Morre performs so well in a Single Man. Have you watched it?

  15. 我想了很久很久,最後都是決定不看【告白】。始終不能認同女教師的做法
    [版主回覆11/01/2010 13:31:00]I think everyone is different and some may do the same.
    Please say hi when you see me on Friday. ^^

  16. Definitely! See you on Friday
    [版主回覆11/02/2010 09:51:00] YEAH

  17. 我覺得自己越來越腌尖,我只不過聽了【社交網絡】四個字,便已經決定不看~~~ Alice Creed 只得 3.5,那就省回了  
    [版主回覆11/06/2010 19:11:00]HAHAHA... but the poster is quite appealing to me. Alice Creed is suspenseful and the three actors can engage us, but there is not much to think about. Quite good indeed!

  18. hello,很久沒見,你的工作情況如何﹖會否比上年有所改進﹖法國電影有否買票看﹖近日天氣早晚涼中午熱,多多保重,以免著涼 。
    [版主回覆11/10/2010 23:54:00]Thank you so much for your visit. Of course, I have been VERY busy recently. Still I feel better this year because I have adapted to the new environment. However, I am sometimes disappointed by some students who have very poor learning attitude. Sigh... I think they will really learn a lesson and treasure what they have after the public exam or when they work. 法國電影 --- not interested this year... but there will be some good ones released, e.g. fair game.

  19. Kenji, 我也為了這套戲而暫時中斷的的遊記(但係仲有野寫)。 我也喜歡這電影的多角度, 除了講教育, 還講生命和母親與子女的關係。 今次坐飛機我看了500 Days of Summer, Toy Story 3和《中坑同學會》(Grown ups)。同兩套我都很喜歡(我投入不到《中坑》的世界)。
    [版主回覆11/28/2010 15:02:00]What a coincidence! The movie is so powerful that I really want to write a few words on it. Grown-ups remidns me of 冰火時光機之回到80後, which is a bit lousy and is also not my cup of tea hahaha...

  20. 我有睇social network,好好睇呀!
    [版主回覆12/06/2010 20:32:00]I think Social Network is a good film technically. The story with so many dialogues is well told and edited. However, emotionally I cannot connect to the main character. He is too cold to be liked. Confessions... it is just too dark and quite bloody. It is also worried that students may imitate the main characters in the movie. Even adults feel depressed and disturbed after watching it.

  21. I simply viewed Confessions as a thriller with a theme of revenge, the director has a done a great job. I like the ending, exactly the same with the original novel. i agreed with u that we should have second reviewing of Confessions.
    [版主回覆05/20/2011 22:16:00]I have not read the novel, but the images and story are gripping.