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Member's Reviews

Three ...Extremes, a review by Jon

Three ...Extremes
4 out of 5

This is a clever anthology of Asian horror. It's nicely produced, because each of the three is a separate country as well as director.

Dumplings (dir. Fruit Chan) Hong Kong
An ageing actress wishing to reclaim her youth goes to a woman who makes dumplings that supposedly have regenerative properties; however, they contain a gruesome secret ingredient.

Wow, this is intense stuff! It's rather unassuming, with straight-forward direction and there are no jump moments or gore, but the subject matter will probably stay with you for some time. I say there's no gore, but that depends on your perception; safer to say, don't watch it for gore, because it isn't that sort of film. It's a drama, that follows a middle-aged actress as she visits an enigmatic lady who promises she can restore her youth. This lady seems much younger, but claims to be far older. Her secret is in her special dumplings, which she prepares for her customers at her apartment.

You find out what is in the dumplings fairly early into this 40 minute story, though you see her preparing something even earlier. And it obviously ain't chicken! It's as sick an idea as they come and for the rest of the running time, it fairly wallows in the idea. When the actress finds out, she does a runner, but then comes back and gets stuck in. The camera lingers a lot on her eating and the sound effects really turn the screw.

As with much Asian horror, it has substance beyond it's premise and deals with societies obsession with youth. It's very good and is a short version of a feature length film. I have yet to decide if my stomach can handle another dose!  :devil:

(click to show/hide)

Cut (dir. Park Chan Wook) Korea
A successful film director and his wife are kidnapped by an extra, who forces the director to play his sadistic games. If he fails, his wife's fingers will be chopped off one by one every five minutes.

This was a bit disappointing, to say it came from the director of OldBoy. What did I say about about substance above? This is rather empty in comparison, relying on a torture setup. It's still better than most of what the Saw films came up with and it's an ingenious trap and visually powerful. Korean films love to push the boundary of what cameras can do and Park pulls out all the tricks to brilliant effect.

The story is good to, with the director forced to consider something truly awful to free his wife, or at least save her remaining fingers. The kidnapper also forces all sorts of confessions and has an interesting theory about how rich and poor are depicted on TV compared to real life. Ok, I concede it has plenty of thought behind it. It's just the ending that felt a bit sensationalist. Almost as if they'd written themselves into a corner. Anyway, well worth seeing.

Box (dir. Takashi Miike) Japan
A soft spoken young woman has a bizarre recurring nightmare about being buried in a box in the snow. Searching for her long lost sister, she realizes her dreams and reality may possibly be connected.

With perhaps some very deep rooted similarities to the notorious Audition, this is easily the most ambitious of the three, but you wouldn't expect less from Miike who is a true master. He's also clearly mad! Visually the most powerful as he creates wonderful compositions without using any camera tricks (apart from a couple of subtle "twitches" that work very well), just well-dressed sets and contrasting tones. There are scenes in a snowy landscape that are simply gorgeous.

The story is the cleverest and most substantial of the three, again, relying on deep rooted psychosis rather than anything sensationalist. That takes away some immediacy, but I dare say this is the one that will continue to intrigue me. It isn't in anyway obvious and marks Miike out as the most Auteur-ish of the three brilliant men who contributed. I'd try to tell you more of the story, but the overview is good enough. I'm not sure I completely agree with the sentiments of that last sentence, but I can't describe it any better so I'll keep my mouth shut! Suffice to say, the ending leaves you in no doubt of the situation and may fascinate you enough to consider watching it again. Quite brilliant.

Three ...Extremes works very well in it's own right and just about escapes the problem that so many similar releases get trapped by. That feeling of style over substance, undone in the final moments, is common with short horror stories, but here, only Cut suffered and even then, it's still very good.

It works as an excellent primer to Asian cinema as well. They've been the best for horror for some time and the short stories make it easy to stop and come back to it, if you aren't used to their styles or even subtitles.

(From DCO third annual November Alphabet Marathon - discussion/review/banter thread on November 26th, 2009)

Member's Reviews

Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam, a review by Tom

Title: Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam
Year: 1999
Director: Sanjay Leela Bhansali
Rating: FSK-6
Length: 188 Min.
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 2.35
Audio: German: Dolby Digital 5.1, Hindi: Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: German

Salman Khan
Ajay Devgan
Aishwarya Rai
Zohra Sehgal
Vikram Gokhale

When Salman asks for Ash's hand in marriage her family refuses. They have already chosen a husband for their daughter. Salman returns to Italy. When Ajay, Ash's new husband realizes that his new bride has been in love with someone else, he is prepared to sacrifice his love for her and take her to Italy to be reunited with her true love, Salman.

Filmfare Awards2000NominatedBest Actor AwardAjay Devgan
Filmfare Awards2000NominatedBest Actor AwardSalman Khan
Filmfare Awards2000WonBest Actress AwardAishwarya Rai
Filmfare Awards2000WonBest Background Score AwardAnjan Biswas
Filmfare Awards2000WonBest Choreography AwardSaroj Khan
Filmfare Awards2000WonBest Director AwardSanjay Leela Bhansali
Filmfare Awards2000WonBest Male Playback AwardUdit Narayan
Filmfare Awards2000WonBest Movie Award
Filmfare Awards2000NominatedBest Music Director AwardIsmail Darbar
Filmfare Awards2000NominatedBest Supporting Actor AwardAjay Devgan
Filmfare Awards2000NominatedBest Supporting Actor AwardSalman Khan
IIFA Awards2000WonBest ActressAishwarya Rai
IIFA Awards2001WonBest Background ScoreAmrik Gill
IIFA Awards2000WonBest Choreography"Nimbooda": Saroj Khan
IIFA Awards2000WonBest CinematographyAnil Mehta
IIFA Awards2000WonBest DialogueAmrik Gill
IIFA Awards2000WonBest DirectorSanjay Leela Bhansali
IIFA Awards2000WonBest Male Playback"Chand Chhupa": Udit Narayan
IIFA Awards2000WonBest Movie
IIFA Awards2000WonBest Screen PlaySanjay Leela Bansali
IIFA Awards2000WonBest Sound RecordingJeetendra Chaudhary
IIFA Awards2000WonBest Sound Re-RecordingSushmita Sen
IIFA Awards2000WonBest StoryPratap Karvat, Sanjay Leela Bansali

Bonus Trailers
Music Videos
Scene Access

My Thoughts:
I had high expectations for this. Not that I would think it will be a masterpiece, but I thought for sure that this will be a movie I will enjoy. It has won a lot of awards and it is written and directed by the same guy who has written and directed "Black".
But I was disappointed. The characters were flakey and rather unlikable in the beginning. And even though I enjoy the music in these films, there was too much of it in this one. There was more focus on it than it usually is. Because of this there wasn't really much story. It got better towards the end, but I don't think this will be a movie that I can watch again and again.


(From Tom's Alphabet Marathon Reviews on July 8th, 2010)

Member's TV Reviews

"Due South" marathon, a review by Tom

1.08 Chigaco Holiday - Part 2 (1994-11-17)
Writer: Paul Haggis (Created By), Jeff King (Writer), Paul Haggis (Writer)
Director: Lyndon Chubbuck
Cast: Paul Gross (Constable Benton Fraser), David Marciano (Detective Ray Vecchio), Beau Starr (Lt. Harding Welsh), Daniel Kash (Detective Louis Gardino), Tony Craig (Detective Jack Huey), Catherine Bruhier (Elaine), Lisa Jakub (Christina Nichols), Stacy Haiduk (Janice DeLuca), Ron Lea (Mr. Nichols), Deborah Rennard (Medical Examiner), Peter Williams (Gerome), Holly Cole Trio (Themselves), Stephen Shellen (Eddie Beets), Marvin Ishmael (Niffug), Beth Amos (Mrs. McGuffin), Kevin Rushton (Henry), Tannis Burnett (Dominatrix), Kelly Proctor (Janus), David Rosser (Quigly)

I didn't like this second part very much. It was rather boring to me.


(From "Due South" marathon on July 10th, 2009)