Tag Archives: tragic

Silenced: Korean Courtroom Drama

So, stereotypically, when it comes to Korean films, I watch horror and thrillers. It’s not often I stray from that path and end up watching something unique and beautiful like I did with this. Based on a true story, Silenced is a film about the injustice and legal accusations of a school of deaf children against their abusive and molesting faculty. This movie hits you hard with its brutality and tugs at your heartstrings with the emotions the child actors show in their voiceless anguish. Not what I was expecting, and so wonderfully done I don’t want to forget it. This movie could very well impact your life.

The basic premise of this film. Kang In-Ho (Gong Yoo) is a mild mannered teacher of

The utter grace of sign language, in all languages.

the deaf who comes to a new school. Working for his daughter with severe asthma and his mother (his wife has passed on), Kang In-Ho is forced to pay 50 million Won (50,000 in American dough) in order to work at the school, “without complications”. After noticing some strange activities, including the beating of a young male student, Kang In-Ho must do something.

And do something he shall. Enlisting the help of a civil rights worker named Yoo-Jin (Jung Yu-Mi), the duo brings to court the cases of three students, all tragically tainted by their experiences at school, and without the power to voice their cries. The added element of sign language in this film creates more of an impact when silent tears roll down the children’s faces.

Shocked into silence.

The acting in this film was phenomenal (as might be expected from the film festival reviews) and the dark atmosphere was superbly coupled with the cinematography. The subject matter is heavy and troubling, but you really get a chance to connect to the characters in the film and care about their well being. Hats off to any child actor who can deal with a role like this in a professional context. It has been a while since I’ve seen this, but I always enjoy a courtroom drama, and this one delivered on so many levels. The outcome is surprising as well.

What really sums up this movie is the message at the end. This being about real events, this movie was out to make people aware of the atrocities mankind commits on mankind. The troubling scenes and the feelings of hatred and injustice that spill throughout this movie make it for an emotional watch, but it is well worth it if you care about the issues at hand in this film. (It helps if you like Asian films as well.) Don’t know much else to say about this, other than to watch it ASAP. I’ll give Silenced more than a whisper on my rating scale: 8.4 out of 10.

Heartbreaking.


Almost Heroes

So I made a post about Almost Heroes and was about to post it when WordPress decided to completely delete it with an Auto Draft or some bull.

Is said it was an average film that sent Chris Farley out with a sputter instead of a bang. Tragic. It was okay for Christopher Guest but not some of his best work.

You will be missed.

Matthew Perry was okay. The cast was okay, it was good for a period piece comedy (a la Blazing Saddles) and Kevin Dunn looked like James Gandolfini. Watch it once and say you’ve seen it.

And please fix this problem WordPress. First time happening, but I don’t feel it’s the last. It made me not want to write this blog completely over again. You win again, laziness. 5 out of 10 for Almost Heroes.


Killing Bono (Not Literally)

What would it have been like growing up living in the shadow of Bono and U2? Well Neil McCormick, author of Killing Bono: I was Bono’s Doppelganger knows exactly what that feels like. And his book turned out to be quite a good movie based on his experiences. With a huge interest in seeing Robert Sheehan in a role other than Misfits, I sat down to check out Killing Bono. In an odd turn of events, this is one of those films of one-upsmanship. I find McCormick’s character to be intriguing and tragic, especially with his circumstances and the adversity he faces. So let’s blast out to some U2… and Shook Up.

In the late 70’s, Paul Hewson, soon to be known as Bono (Martin McCann) and his friend David Evans (The Edge) would form a band that would sweep the world, in a similar fashion to The Beatles. Neil McCormick’s brother Ivan (Robert Sheehan) was recruited at first by Bono, but it was Neil’s (Ben Barnes) decision to keep him from the band. Holding this secret inside, Neil will do anything in his power to beat Bono and his fast rising star. With travels to England, a few

A little bit of Martin McCann as Bono.

relationships, and some fiddling around with record producers, It is up to Neil to prove to his brother and everyone that his mistakes were made for a reason.

And it’s a long journey from the bottom to the top (or as close as it gets). This movie has some twists and turns (on a downward spiral), and leaves you realizing that it doesn’t matter if Neil succeeds, it is up to him to do what he thinks is best for himself, and realize he cannot choose for others. He can only ┬ábe as good as he himself can be. Now there’s a bit of some moral wisdom to dish out at the end of a film.

A little taste of the McCormick brothers!

I had only seen Ben Barnes in a few things before he burst onto the scene in this film. Stardust and Prince Caspian in the Narnia series to name the few. But this is one of those out there roles for Barnes. He’s all over the place, he’s ecstatic, he’s cocky and ready to roll at any moment. This is a hard role to pull off if you don’t have the personality for it, but Barnes does a good job of it. I wouldn’t have minded to see Robert Sheehan in the pivotal role, but this was all good all the same.

But my what a young actor Robert Sheehan is turning into in the world of movies. First there’s his strange appearance in Nic Cage’s Season of the Witch, and then followed by this movie? Soon he’ll make a name for himself as a period piece actor in the American film world. And I hope his unforgiving comedy will be able to come across the “big pond” in order to become a mainstay in America. I see big things for this young star, and I wish him the best.

Pete the ridiculous record exec.

It is rather unfortunate that this is Pete Postlethwaite’s last performance before his death. This actor who I will always remember as the whimsical man who gave James the seeds that would send him on his journey in James and the Giant Peach. In this film, he’s a bit of a different character. Pete plays a garishly homosexual landlord with a penchant for large parties. Helping Neil and Ivan along the way in London, it is Pete who brings together Gloria (Krysten Ritter) and Neil as Karl, Gay Landlord Extraordinaire.

That’s some great hair there, Robert.

And you can’t forget Peter Serafinowicz as Hammond, the ridiculous record producer. First he was Pete, the dick roommate in Shaun of the Dead, but he has gone on to do some great T.V. work Look Around You and various other writing and starring in British television. He was the voice of Darth Maul for god sakes! What an accomplishment! This strangely wonderful man is just the kind of quirky actor this film needed.

Oh, and we have to talk about the soundtrack! This movie didn’t directly feature any U2 tracks, this features all original (or did Neil make it?) music for the film, or something or other. And I really enjoyed the music. Ben Barnes had a great musical performance and really captivated what it meant to be a popular band in the 1980’s. Couple this with a combo of darkish humor and drama, and you have a film about triumph and revenge. I’d give this film a watch for any U2 fans. 6.9 out of 10.

Let’s get some dark eyeliner on and hit up this club.


Misfits: Series 2

The Misfits are back for series two, even bigger and stronger than ever. By this point (and I hope those people who follow me have watched it) you know the ASBO 5’s powers. There’s Kelly and her ability to hear people’s thoughts. Alisha and her irresistible sex appeal through touch. Simon and his invisibility, Curtis and his power to turn back time under stress, and Nathan’s immortality that is discovered at the end of the season. I really enjoyed that aspect of mystery in the show and going on the journey of discovery with the Misfits in finding their powers. And, lo and behold, Nathan has the best power of all.

But I have a theory about these powers. Due to Kelly’s insecurity with her self image and fighting attitude, it is her punishment that she hears what other people think, especially her. Simon’s invisibility almost goes without saying, due to his lack of social abilities. Curtis wishes to go back and fix the mistakes he made, as is depicted in the first season. Alisha exudes sex and is treated thus, and Nathan, well, the phrase sticks and stones may break my bones is ironically applied to him. This wonderful analysis of the characters and the back stories we discover is why this show is one of the best I’ve ever seen.

That's what I like to see, Nathan.

And yes, I gave last season a 10 out of 10. Is it a stretch to say that the second season is even better? More strangers with powers, more life and death situations, AND a new masked parkour artist out to help the Misfits. What could be better? A bit of video game violence and cheese never hurt anyone, and adds to this series tremendously. Nathan is still making my sides hurt with his ridiculously offensive quips, and Alisha is as sexy and sassy as ever. Kelly has her smart mouth and Curtis is classic as well. And Simon, well, Simon is Simon.

Oh, and all the twists in this show! Everything connects, things you won’t expect will happen, and you’ll be tragically, yet happily surprised by the end. This show does not spare feelings and will make you care for these characters. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it a thousand more times. Get on Hulu and watch this show. Now. You won’t regret a minute of it.

Ohhh Simon...

I don’t want to reveal too much at this point about the show because of every episode’s potential to blow your mind. I really enjoy the length and breadth of every episode and how much is delivered entertainment-wise in each episode. I will tell you that this season takes place towards the end of their community service. And you may say, “Hey, the series must be over when they leave, right?” I would tell you I wish it were so, especially because of Nathan’s departure, but the show must continue for some reason. With a third series filmed and a fourth planned, let’s hope this show ends gracefully at some point.

But until then, watch on and discover why I rant about this show for paragraphs at a time, not saying a single bad thing about it (other than that Nathan leaves after the second season…) and loving every minute of it. It’s well worth the watch, and I’ll have to give this bad boy an 11 out of 10 because of how highly I thought of the last season in comparison to just how damn good this one is. Misfits Series 2 breaks my charts. Redonkulous.

Get some of that ASBO 5.


Gnomeo & Juliet

This cute little film filled with British actors takes a new look at the story of Romeo and Juliet and uses a British topic of interest. Garden gnomes. (Not sure if a lo of Brits have these, but it’d be interesting to see some U.K. gardens.) I watched this with my mom (U.K. T.V. analyst and fellow blogger) mostly for James McAvoy’s voice talents. We’re both fans, but for slightly different reasons. (Not really though, he is pretty dreamy.) This tragic William Shakespeare story is turned on its head (as the poster suggests) with a cute plot device using warring gardens who happen to be owned by Miss Montague (Julie Walters, good old Mrs. Weasley) of the “Blue”burys and Mr. Capulet (Richard Wilson) of the “Red”bricks.

Set apart from typical Pixar and Dreamworks films, this film takes its own approach to animation in the 3-D. Although

McEvoy and Blunt as the disguised Gnomeo and Juliet

Touchstone and Miramax do good animated films, this British touch to the way things looked was refreshing, at the same time that it seemed a bit off in its sharpness and cutting edge-i-ness. But it’s all the same to me these days, what with all these mass amounts of animal infested, fantastical adventures films made for kids and adults in 3-D animation. (I would recommend Rio though, it was quite a cast and story.) But the story stands out in comparison to the lack of pizzazz in the animation, and gave it some credibility.

Warring gardens with love in the mix.

So as expected, the story follows quite closely to the original Romeo and Juliet plot line. (Less death unfortunately.) The warring families led by Lord Rebrick (Michael Caine) who’s Juliet’s (Emily Blunt) father and Lady Bluebury (Maggie Smith) who’s Gnomeo’s (James McAvoy) mother despise each other for reasons that seem a bit hazy. The real test between the families is whose garden is superior. One night, in order to impress her father, Juliet sneaks out of the garden in order to retrieve a beautiful flower to spruce up the garden. Surprise, surprise, Gnomeo sneaks out as well for some mischief. The two cross paths, sparks fly, and their love is forever fated.

But oh the problems that ensue. One’s red and the other’s blue! What will they do? Their love is forbidden and they may only meet in secrecy. And there must be some conflict that arises when their love is discovered! And yes, there is. This version doesn’t disappoint and how could it? True British actors are tackling a fellow countryman’s play.

Now let’s talk about the cast. I was quite surprised at the acting chops associated with this film, and every last one a Brit! Of course there’s the two star-crossed

Sorry Jim Cummings you just missed the mark.

lovers, James McAvoy and Emily Blunt as Gnomeo and Juliet. Maggie Smith and Michael Caine lend their voices to their parents as some veterans of the BBC business. Also, and more unexpectedly, Jason Statham is featured in this film as Tybalt the red menace of the Montague house. I was really surprised to discover this after a few Transporter lines were delivered. I just can’t seem to grip the idea that Jason Statham is British! Matt Lucas, the good old Little Britains sketch comedy genius of the hairless kind lends a generically comedic voice to Benny, Gnomeo’s number 2. Even Patrick Stewart (Will Shakes himself) and OZZY OSBOURNE himself lends his voice to this film, as a ceramic fawn!

Thanks to this British cast for the cute film!

The only miss in this film is Jim Cummings as the pink flamingo garden ornament. His annoying attempt at some sort of foreign bird just loses it for me, because, to put it bluntly, didn’t deliver a funny line. This is quite disappointing as Jim Cummings has been in the Disney voice business since the early 90’s.

But all in all, this cute film about what our gardens hold delivers a nice little escape from reality for 75 minutes. With the occasional grown up joke and slapstick comedy, mixed with witty uses of the gnomes and what they’d be like if they could move (Toy Story style), this movie delivers a bit of entertainment worth a watch if you’re into British accents or children’s love/comedy/adventure films. 6 out of 10.

AND DID I MENTION THAT THE FILMED IS FUELED BY A ELTON JOHN SCORE AND SOUNDTRACK?!?!?


RomeoxJuliet: Neo Style

And yet I keep coming back. I know I’ve been gone for a short while, but those college finals are creepin’ up on me. But I’m here for yet another anime review, and this time, it’s academically related.

So this time in Anime Club, we watched RomeoxJuliet, the slightly altered fantasy version of the classic Shakespearean teen angst play, Romeo and Juliet (not much of a title change). But this time, it’s different. No spoilers (already had it ruined for me before I saw the ending) but it’s not as different as you’d think. Slightly different. Okay, kind of a major plot twist ending. And yet, still romantic and tragic. Yeah…

So this is the story of Juliet “Insert ridiculously long middle name here” Capulet, the remaining member of her noble family who were wiped out 14

Juliet. More manly/aggressive.

years ago by the evil Montagues. It was a good thing she had Conrad (who was only a badass in his earlier years. Now he looks like a whiny old coot.) or else she may not have survived, thus, no need for this anime. But anyways, now her and her family’s followers are out for revenge. But for the first 5 episodes or so, she doesn’t know she’s of royal descent. But yeah, of course that changes her and gives her a bit more of an edge and a chip on her shoulder. It’s expected.

But what does she do before she learns this sworn hatred of the ruling Montague family? She falls madly and irrevocably in love with the son of that

Romeo. Pansy.

evil bastard, Romeo Montague. I feel like it was a love based on herbology, but that’s for another review. Just know: irises. So this complicates things. OH, AND DID I FORGET TO MENTION? They have been passing off Juliet as a boy for the last 14 years of her life. She’s been Odin, knowing she was a girl, but she never knew why. Now she does. And now, Romeo is sexually confused. Add that little twist to your lemonade why don’t you.

So the rest of this little Twilight romance (yes, there are references) is played out in Neo Verona, a floating island above God knows what and it’s falling apart. That’s cool. But these little lovebirds must decide what’s more important, love/angst or their families, and we all know how that one goes. But it’s a great twist and quite worth a look see.

Great supporting cast.

Things I liked. The use of other characters from other plays. If only in name, this was a great tribute to Shakespeare, and, being in a Shakespeare class now, I can appreciate the sentiment. Again, I also liked this anime because it didn’t follow the exact plot of Romeo and Juliet. It used the new additions and twists to carry along a well told out story to a new end. Quite interesting if I do say so myself. Looking back on the list of voice actors, I wish I had watched this dubbed and not subbed. J. Michael Tatum as William “Willy” Shakespeare? Thanks very much I’ll take that.

The animation/art was quite good and the plot was ripe for the homages. The ending reminded me of Xam’d untimely end, but I think that’s the only reason I liked it. Otherwise the ending was terrible. The explanation, the random use of the tree of life… I was a little thrown off by how out of place it all was and why any of it was relevant. You have this nice little Romeo and Juliet plot zooming along and then you throw that tree/world wrench in there. Completely unnecessary. Other means to end the anime would have been appreciated.

Other than that, quite a good show. The story empowered Juliet instead of making some damsel in distress out of her, and it actually turned the story around completely. It made Romeo into the princess in the tower and quite

How cute. He's "watching" her from afar.

the whiny, unlikeable counterpart to Juliet. It took a while, but he came into his own. Tybalt destroyed people, I loved the Curio/Francisco (Eric Vale, by the way) dynamic, and it was all good (sort of) in the end. If you’re a Romeo and Juliet fan, or a Shakespeare fan in general, check this out, it’s worth the watch/twist. 6.8 out of 10.

Did I mention this anime ruined Josh Groban’s “You Raise Me Up” forever. Well, it sorta did. But here it is all the same.