慾望迷城 - Breaking and Entering

Stealing someone's computer is a crime, but is it worse to steal someone's heart? Are you interested in this philosophical question? I am not personally. To me, Breaking and Entering is just another typical melodrama with a contrived plot, talking about a man betraying his lover and having a fling with another woman.

Will (Jude Law) and his friend Sandy (Martin Freeman) run an architecture firm and move into a new office in the improving but still dangerous Kings Cross area of London, where they intend to transform a run-down neighborhood into a modernistic multiple-use park. Will totally immerses himself in his urban renewal projects. This worsens his relationship with his beautiful girlfriend Liv (Robin Wright Penn), who spends most of her time worrying about her autistic 13-year-old daughter Bea (Poppy Roger), who rarely sleeps and eats. Bea's only outlet for her energy is gymnastics.

Their new studio office has been burgled twice within days by a local gang of thieves and Will chases one of the young gang members, Miro (Rafi Gavron), back to the apartment he shares with his mother, a Bosnian refugee named Amira (Juliette Binoche). Will befriends Amira to further investigate the burglary, but their friendship gradually turns into an affair. Amira soon discovers that Miro robbed Will's office and becomes suspicious of his true intentions in their relationship. Amira, thus, blackmails Will in order to protect her son…

The director intends to make the movie conspicuous for its depiction of how different social classes and cultures collide. However, the contrived plot, the characters' strange behaviour and implausible lines hinder me from connecting with any one of the characters. First, it is unlikely for Will, a handsome English architect, to have a romantic affair with a Bosnian refugee whose son breaks into his office. The motive for his interest in her is unknown. Second, we don't understand why Will's daughter obsessively practicing gymnastics does not want to sleep and eat. Third, the Hollywoodized and unreasonable ending does not go with this independent film. {SPOILER} Why does Will suddenly become aware that Liv is the woman he loves most? Why are the policeman and lawyer easily deceived? Why does Liv easily forgive Will, after kicking the car and shouting neurotically, for having an affair? This is hardly believable.

If you watch Breaking and Entering owing to Anthony Minghella's success with The English Patient and The Talented Mr. Ripley, you will be disappointed. If you watch it because of Jude Law and Juliette Binoche, a French actress who is able to fully master her character's Eastern European accent, you may feel satisfied. Despite the powerful cast, Breaking and Entering cannot break and enter my heart. I give it 2.5 stars out of 5.

 Special thanks to the Intercontinental Film Distributors (HK) Ltd.


落葉歸根觀後感 - Getting Home: What is Life?

老趙是個五十多歲的農民,他南下到深圳打工,卻因為好友老劉死在工地上,決定展開回鄉安葬老劉之旅。老趙先把老劉偽裝成醉鬼,混上了長途車,卻不幸在途中遇上劫匪。老趙誓死保護老劉的補償金,贏得劫匪敬重之餘,還救了一車人的財物。但他因為暴露了屍體,結果反而給乘客趕了下車。老趙在路上攔車,把老劉假裝成急救病人,並遇上好心人把他們送到醫院。晚上要住店,過了一夜才發現錢被偷了,老趙不禁悲從中來,但這未能動搖他的決心。要解決錢的問題,他把老劉裝成乞丐;要解決吃飯的問題,他到別人的葬禮哭喪;要掩蓋屍斑,他請髮廊妹為老劉化妝。一路上,老趙遇到形形色色的人。家鄉在望之際,他遇上泥石流,只能靠意志力戰勝大自然。當老趙帶著老劉回到故鄉時,卻發現故鄉已變成水庫,村莊都埋在水底了。此時,一段回憶湧現老趙眼前…… 小酒館裡,大醉的老趙向老劉抱怨生活艱辛、身體衰竭,他極害怕自己客死他鄉。同樣大醉的老劉對他說:「你死了,我就是背也要把你背回家鄉。」就是這個承諾及同胞之情,再加上沿路各有心人輕輕的扶一把,令老趙能默默支持走到最後,好讓老劉能落葉歸根的最大推動力。而同樣地,老趙亦在路途上發揮了人與人之間互助互愛的精神。

導演 : 張楊
演員 : 趙本山, 胡軍, 夏雨, 宋丹丹
片長 : 110 分鐘
級數 : IIA
語言 : 國語 (中英文字幕)

If the motherland were a river, I would be a fish swimming happily.
If the motherland were a road, I would be a car moving forward happily.
If the motherland were a tree, I would be a leaf waving in the breeze happily.

Life is unpredictable, consisting of ups and downs.
Sometimes you may be in high spirits, but at other times you can feel very low.
Sometimes you may meet very good people, but don't forget villains do exist.
Sometimes you may bound forward and run quickly, but you may stagger along one night.

After a dead leaf falls down, it is absorbed by the soil and a new plant will grow.
The cycle of birth, growth and death repeats itself, like the river in the last scene.
That's life…

No matter how feeble and helpless we may feel sometimes, human beings will still struggle with the environment and fate for an opportunity to live. Ahead of us are lots of things to experience, exciting and depressing. Nevertheless, because of pain, we know what pleasure is. (That's just like the walking scenes in the movie. When the girls working in the field, cars, cow and bicycle pass by, we know how fast Old Zhao walks. By the way, the audience may pay attention to the symbolic meanings of different vehicles in the movie, e.g. bicycles, coaches, carts, private cars, trucks, buses, etc.) If we were doomed to the sufferings, what we are able to change would be the way in which we interpret them. Be positive and never give up!

The movie ends suddenly and the unfinished business may puzzle some members of the audience. However, I personally find it very meaningful and symbolic. The ending successfully upgrades this can-be-typical road movie to an abstract motto. "Life is a road comprising UPS and DOWNS. Do live each day happily as it comes and enjoy life to the full!" The ending (i.e. the river) also symbolically implies that human beings should not always emphasize the importance of results. Instead, we should pay attention to the process.

Those touching moments, black humor, superb acting and the meaningful ending make this road movie a unique and impressive one causing catharsis. Moved to tears and laughter, you may ponder on the meaning of LIFE when you leave the theatre. HIGHLY recommended! I believe it will be chosen as one of my top ten movies in 2007. I give this film 4 stars out of 5.

盛夏光年 Eternal Summer - 唯美的莫名奇妙

康正行、余守恆是小學同班同學,正行是班長,守恆卻患上「過度活躍症」,一天到晚惹麻煩。某天,小學轉來了一位女生,竟遭守恆施展惡作劇令她當眾出醜。老師為了此事大動肝火,委派了正行幫助守恆適應校園生活。他倆不自覺地開啟了彼此間的陌生心靈,正行更了解守恆稀奇古怪的世界,二人頓成好友。轉瞬間經歷十數年頭,康正行(張睿家 飾)和余守恆(張孝全 飾)友情不變。高中時代的正行於校社裡結識了惠嘉(楊淇 飾),互相有著淡淡情愫。與此同時,正行發現自己對守恆的感覺超越了好朋友情份。惠嘉發現了這個秘密,她答應永不洩露出去。正行害怕面對自己,開始對守恆諸多逃避。守恆遍尋不果,卻發現惠嘉出現在球場上。惠嘉因為發現了正行的秘密,也對他喜歡的對象產生好奇。三人間微妙的友情、愛情關係,微妙的傾斜起來。

Eternal Summer is a beautifully shot movie reminding me of a song 勞斯.萊斯!

康正行 is a hardworking monitor while 余守恆 is a sporty boy who often misbehaves. The blue sea, the quiet library, the sweaty basketball court, the tiring classroom, the school uniforms, the bicycles, the green field, etc, beautify the movie and remind the auidence of our youth. Do you remember the green field in "All About Lili Chou Chou" and the school in "Blue Gate Crossing"? The movie successfully captures those happy memories of the youth. That's why I love the cinematography and music so much.

However, the plot is weak and you may find the motives for the characters' behaviour unclear. Besides, the acting is mediocre and and the film ends VERY suddenly. With lots of question marks in my mind, I give this film 2.5 stars out of 5. ___________________________________________________________________

Here is the summary of how people on the internet feel about this movie. I hope you find these comments useful. By the way, it's hard to find the pics here on the internet. I love them very much. ENJOY!



好多懷念的場景,清晨蜜月灣無人的沙灘、海浪、沿著沙灘修築的堤防步道、國小操場... 那個我們曾經參與的夏天,似乎也隨著時間逝去。留下的,是回憶~

『每個人 生來就不應該孤獨』這是電影中的引子。你是 Gay, Les, Bi,都值得擁有愛

人長大了,真的什麼都變了... 會讓人懷念校園生活...

深度不足做作有餘, 十七歲的天空好看多了...


說難看不至於, 但就是少了分刻骨銘心的感動 ...

You may listen to the soundtrack here!


生日快樂 Happy Birthday

每年的生日,小米 Mi (劉若英 Rene Lau 飾) 都坐立不安的等待著一封風雨不改的電郵,一封從小南 Nam(古天樂  Louis Koo  飾),一個她從來無法忘記的人寄來的生日電郵。10年後,滂沱大雨之下,這封電郵遲了42個小時。但小南真的忘了“生日快樂”這個祝福的承諾嗎?


然而多年後,他們盼望的都沒有來臨,一天,小南竟說自己將要結婚。小米這才醒覺,這一次,她是真真正正的失去小南… 10年聚散,他天天都掛念著她,每一年,小米都會收到小南的一個生日電郵,一年一次的連繫,讓彼此知道對方的關心… 然而因為一個秘密… 他們守護著彼此也傷害了彼此…

繼【心動】後,改編自劉若英的短篇小說《Happy Birthday》,張艾嘉編劇,導演馬楚成最新浪漫感人作品。從大學時代開始的10個生日歲月裡,在每年生日的祝福中,一對聚散又分離的情侶,究竟能不能得到彼此歸屬的幸福呢?

Happy Birthday is a visually poetic portrait of a woman's inability to establish a fruitful romantic relationship owing to a lack of a sense of security.

A tragic love story can easily become a tear jerker, yet the director handles the subject with tact and tries hard to move the audience with a simple love story. Xiao Mi, influenced by her mother's sudden leave in her childhood, becomes a vulnerable girl who lacks confidence and is easily freaked out by the idea of loss. She is worried that a handsome boy will go one day and that's why she refuses to call Xiao Nam her boyfriend. Her personality results in regrets...

Thanks to the Muji-like setting, the love story looks purer and more simple. The white walls, the cream-coloured cushions,  the beige teapoy, etc, may linger in your mind when you leave the theatre. The props are also carefully chosen to show the moving time. The soundtrack is more touching than the movie and I love the theme song very much. It has been with me for several nights. By the way, the setting and the characters' names also remind me of 向左走向右走. 幾米's fans may like this film!

The cast's performance is beyond my expectation. Rene Lau (劉若英)'s finely nuanced performance is much appreciated. 古天樂, 吳耀漢, 周俊偉 and 吳嘉龍 also act naturally, whereas it is not convincing for Mr. Ku to act a university student when the wrinkles on his forehead can be obviously seen and 曾寶儀 slightly overacts.

Because of the moving trialer, I expected too much before watching the movie. As a result, I was a bit disappointed owing to several reasons. First, there is an unpredictable twist at the end, but it is not an original one. I heard some people complain that the ending was old-fashioned. Second, I feel little pity for Xiao Mi as it is SHE who proposes being his best friend first and it is also SHE who regrets. If I were her, I won't announce that I wanna change the relationship. Once she does so, she should know that he can have another girlfriend and may even get married. Later, Mi even has sex with Nam while she knows that he has a grilfriend in Hong Kong! After TEN years, is it reasonable for Nam to get married with another woman when she never calls Nam her boyfriend and she allows him to have another girlfriend? Third, the first hour of the movie is a bit boring. Fourth, it is a pity that Rene's voice is dubbed into Cantonese.

Although I personally find the plot mediocre and the ending slightly disappointing, Rene's subtle performance, the Muji-like setting and those memorable and delicate quotes deserve our praise. I give this honest Hong Kong movie 3 stars out of 5.


緣份精華遊 The Holiday

Iris (Kate Winslet) is in love with a man who is about to marry another woman. Across the globe, Amanda (Cameron Diaz), realizes the man she lives with has been unfaithful. Two women, who have never met and live 6000 miles apart, meet online at a home exchange website and switch homes for the holiday. Iris moves into Amanda's L.A. house in sunny California as Amanda arrives in the snow covered English countryside. Shortly after arriving at their destinations, both women find a new romance. Amanda is charmed by Iris' handsome brother Graham (Jude Law) and Iris, with inspiration provided by legendary screenwriter, Arthur (Eli Wallach), mends her heart when she meets film composer Miles (Jack Black)...

It's time we needed a cosy Christmastime romantic comedy that makes us all want to hug one another around the fireplace drinking wine and coffee in an English cottage. The Holiday, a heart-warming and light-hearted rom-com, is undoubtedly a great treat savouring this Christmas festival.

The charismatic cast is so charming that you'll probably enjoy the manipulation and overlook numerous flaws. Although Cameron Diaz sometimes overacts, Kate Swinlet successfully plays the role of a kind-hearted girl with an unrequited love for a man who is going to marry another woman. Jack Black is humorous and Jude Law's character is so lovely that most women would fall in love with him. At the end, most members of the audience would have a reluctant affection for all these characters and the cast indeed offsets the flawed storytelling.

It is not hard to find that most characters work in the film industry and the director wants to pay tributes to the people who are involved in making movies. However, I think Sleepless in Seattle is more successful in this connection.

Surely, the movie has a couple of problems. First, the movie doesn't look real to me and it may be too cutesy for some. The contrived plot concerning two women swapping homes (one of them has a very big house) and meeting great guys in two weeks is unbelievable and the acting at the beginning is a bit hammy. Secondly, the ending is predictable and unreasonable. {SPOILER} It seems that the problems of the long distance love between Jude and Cameron suddenly disappear at the end!!! Is it necessary to have two hollywoodized happy endings? Cameron, who is not able to cry for years, can eventually shed a tear because of Jude Law. However, does it mean that she should be with Jude, while she rationally understands that their long distance love won't last. If I were the director, I would end the movie by saying that Cameron will remember the happy days she spent with Jude for the rest of her life. I find this ending more reasonable and touching. Thirdly, I agree with some critics that no formulaic romantic comedy needs to be over 100 minutes. This two-hour-plus movie lacking any surprises may eventually overstay its welcome, though I personally don't find it too long because of the attractive cast.

If The Holiday weren't so long and the ending were more reasonable, I'd give it a more glowing recommendation. Despite this, I still recommend it to those who want to see a relaxing and heart-warming romantic comedy during this cold winter. You can get two somewhat touching romances for the price of one and it makes you glow, laugh and cry when you leave the theatre. I give it 3.5 stars out of 5.


斷背山 Brokeback Mountain

Brokeback Mountain is one of my favourite movies in 2006. Thanks to Mrs Laverty for her interest in this movie, I feel a sudden urge to write and share with you how I feel about this movie, while listening to the soundtrack of this movie.

Brokeback Mountain is a great film with mesmerizing music, stunning cinematography and superb acting. Director Ang Lee takes his time developing the characters and situations, making the proceedings credible. Don't expect to watch a very entertaining tear-jearker. There are no ups and downs and it is slowly-paced, but what happens to these two men who love each other may touch you.

For the prejudiced folks disliking homosexuals, this movie may reaffirm their beliefs that homosexuality ruins families when people follow their sinful desires. However, they don't see that Ennis and Jack are not only lying to their wives, but also to themselves, and the principal culprit leading to the tragedies is the "social norms" pressurizing them to get married and have children. They are in fact victims whose lives become regreattable as a result.

The magnificent Wyoming settings captured emphasizes natural beauty, as well as the feeling of remoteness and isolation. It seems that Ennis and Jack can only live happily there, without others. Both of them are in the wrong place at the wrong time.

The story is a tragedy because Ennis and Jack have found something that some people, of whatever sexual orientation, never find - true love, AND they can't do anything about it. I finished watching this haunting film with a heavy heart and a profound sigh, pondering how the social norms cruelly ruin the lives of these two men who love each other. "If you cannot fix it, you have to stand it."

Open your heart to see the film and it will break your heart, quietly, without special pleading and sentimentality, at the end. LOVE the people around you before it is too late.