you tell me...
Bubble (2006) Soderbergh - Low-budget film about three people who work at a doll factory in a dead-end, thoroughly depressed/depressing, poor town. Martha is middle-aged and takes care of her aging father. Kyle is in his early 20s, never graduated high school, and smokes a lot of weed. Rose is also in her early 20s, never graduated high school, has a two year-old daughter, and is the newest employee at the factory. Martha considers Kyle her best friend and is a little hurt when Rose and Kyle start becoming close. Drama ensues. 4/5
Harlan County, U.S.A. (1976) Kopple - Documentary about coal miners in eastern Kentucky in the mid-1970s. Mainly centers around the union workers' strike that lasts 13 months. Some pretty epic southern-style, gun-toting feuds between the strikers and the scabs happen. You may not think that a labor union documentary would be all that engrossing, but in this case you would be wrong. Especially in regards to the union presidental elections, which are handled in a very mafia-like manner. 4.5/5
High and Low (1963) Kurosawa - While Kurosawa may always be associated with his samurai epics, High and Low plays more like a noir crime story. Gondo is trying to save his position as a corporate big wig of a shoe factory by buying out shares from investors. Meanwhile, a kidnapper attempts to nab Gondo's son for ransom, but the boy turns out to be the son of Gondo's chauffeur. Gondo is forced to choose between saving his livelihood or the life of a child that is not his own due to the large size of the ransom asked. I think this film is even better than some of the "epics." 5/5
Mon Oncle (1958) Tati - So, we get to bumble around with M. Hulot again as he gets confused about modern gadgets in a France that is quickly becoming very alien to the one he grew up in. He hangs out at his sister's very modern house and manages to mess a lot of things, but entertains his nephew who also doesn't function very well in such a sterile, strict, and rigid environment. I liked this film better than Playtime even though both essentially tackle the same themes. 4/5
Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991) Cameron - This was actually my first time ever seeing the "Terminator" in any form. Arnold Schwarzenegger plays a modified terminator from the future sent back in time to protect John Connor, who in the future, is an important military person for the humans in the fight against the terminators. However, another evil terminator who can morph into anything he touches, has also been sent back in time, but his mission is to kill John Connor. A pretty ridiculous action film, but as far as action films go, I liked the themes and the cheesy interaction between John and his father-figure robot, and overall had a good time with this film. 4/5
Young Torless (1968) Schlondorff - The film is about a group of adolescent boys that attend boarding school. One boy, Basini, ends up stealing money from another boy in this group, but instead of being reported, the boy whose money is stolen decides that he would like to have Basini as his personal slave. Earlier this year, I happened to read the novel by Robert Musil, that this film is based on, but I think if you just watched the movie, a lot of things would not make any sense. One of the main themes in the book was an undercurrent of sexuality being manifested in homosexual actions (it's an all-boys' school). Sometimes the sexual acts were linked with torture and cruelty, but for Torless they were more genuine if not rooted in confusion. Nearly that entire aspect is missing from the film, making the overall story far less interesting. 3/5
In News (the South Korea edition)
* Park Chan-wook, probably best known for Oldboy or Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance (I've only seen Oldboy which I thought was really good), is filming a new movie titled Thirst. Not a big surprise that it's going to be a horror film, but this one is going to involve vampires!
* Bong Joon-ho, who made the likable The Host, is currently working on a couple projects. One project is called Transperceneige; an action film dealing with apocalyptic themes in the form of a socially-stratified train trying to escape from an impending Ice Age. The other is a film being called Mother and all I know is that it's a murder thriller. Also, a sequel to The Host is in the works, however, Bong Joon-ho is not directing it.