ABC Film Challenge – World Cinema – Y – Fearless (2006)

Director: Ronny Yu

Writer: Chris Chow, Chi-long To (Screenplay)

Starring: Jet Li, Li Sun, Yong Dong, Yun Qu, Ailiing Xu, Collin Chou, Hee Ching Paw

 

Plot: A biography of Chinese Martial Arts Master Huo Yuanjia, who is the founder and spiritual guru of the Jin Wu Sports Federation.


Tagline – “Mastering others is strength. Mastering yourself makes you fearless.”

Runtime: 1 Hour 44 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Action Packed Biopic

 

Story: Fearless starts in Shanghai 1910, four countries have bought their best fighters for one tournament, Huo Yuanjia (Li) is the Chinese representative. We see how he went from small child wanting to learn, to become the best in his town, proving himself against every single competitor.

Master Huo became the best until he lost everything putting him in a lost state where he finds himself in a small farming community living with a blind woman Moon (Sun) as he looks to find his love for life again before returning to prove himself in combat.

 

Thoughts on Fearless

 

Characters – Huo Yuanjia is considered one of the greatest, if not the greatest fighter of all time in China, he didn’t have it easy though, he fought to become the best before losing everything, being talked into proving himself once again to be the best in the world. Moon is the lady that helps Huo turn his life around, a blind woman that has no judgement on his action only his work. Anno is the biggest rival to Huo one that is also a friend too, the two have learnt to fight together and soon become the best of enemies.

PerformancesJet Li is the complete star of this film, he is involved in the different time periods we follow and we get to see just how deadly he is in the combat with anybody that gets in his way, he keeps the character feeling grounded which is needed for the story being told. As for the supporting cast everyone makes their impact when required too.

StoryThe story follows the life of Huo Yuanjia as he started in a fighting school at a young age became the best before losing everything only to return with a new lust for life to become one of the mot respected fighters the world has ever seen giving Jin Wu Sport Federation something to stand for. This is a by the books redemption story for the character, he doesn’t break the law, he just becomes over confident which is why he lost everything, he continued to prove himself to the top of his game despite creating enemies. Where this film does fall slightly short is in the number of different times we follow with some not getting enough time to show the events with the bet impact.

Action/BiopicThe action is fights, Jet Li is one of the best in the world at the fight sequences, this was no different as he shows us just how to make fights feel edge of your seat. The biopic side of the film does show the like of Huo only it doesn’t give each chapter the time required.

SettingsThe film uses the settings to represent the different positions that Huo finds himself in life, we see how he has risen, fallen and fought his way through the different locations he finds himself in.


Scene of the Movie –
Final fight.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Certain chapters don’t get enough time.

Final ThoughtsThis is an action packed biopic that does show the life of one of the greatest fighters the world ever saw.

 

Overall: Action heavy biopic.

Rating

 

 

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Meryl Streep Weekend – The Devil Wears Prada (2006)

Director: David Frankel

Writer: Aline Brosh McKenna (Screenplay) Lauren Weisberger (Novel)

Starring: Meryl Streep, Anne Hathaway, Emily Blunt, Stanley Tucci, Simon Baker, Arian Grenier, Tracie Thoms

 

Plot: A smart but sensible new graduate lands a job as an assistant to Miranda Priestly, the demanding editor-in-chief of a high fashion magazine.


Tagline – Hell On Heels.

Runtime: 1 Hour 49 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Funny Comedy

 

Story: The Devil Wears Prada starts as newly graduated journalist Andy Sachs (Hathaway) gets a chance to work as the second assistant to editor-in-chief Miranda Priestly (Streep) at a high fashion magazine. Andy is one of many applicates only she doesn’t have the knowledge of the fashion world, unlike the first assistant Emily (Blunt).

Andy must learn to get through the cold nature of Miranda who always looks down on her and everybody, to get through a year which could put her in a position in the journalist world she has always been dreaming off.

 

Thoughts on The Devil Wears Prada

 

Characters – Miranda Priestly is the feared editor-in-chief of a fashion magazine, her presence makes her employees dress to impress, everybody in the industry respects her opinion and for some reason she decides to take on Andy, she pushes Andy to the limits to see if she is good enough to work or her, like all the employees. Andy Sachs is a journalist graduate who is looking to a job in any publication, she doesn’t understand the fashion industry with this job being her gateway to her dream job, but she must learn fast or face being eaten alive in this industry. Her time in the job sees her change who she once was, pushing her friends and boyfriend away. This one-year job could see her future open, but her friendships vanish. Emily is the first assistant under Miranda, she knows the ins and outs of the business and has been waiting for this role for years. She doesn’t like Andy because she doesn’t have the same desire in the fashion industry. Nigel is the only person in the office that Andy gets along with, he does help put her on the right track for success under Miranda.

PerformancesMeryl Streep is fantastic in this leading role, she brings a horrible boss to life, without making her seem like a truly horrible person, just somebody career driven. Anne Hathaway is wonderful too, to start with it seemed weird that she wasn’t considered the right body shape for position in the fashion world, but it does make perfect sense with how this world is working. Emily Blunt brings what should be a small role, to be one of the most interesting and entertaining part of the film. Stanley Tucci is a delight in the supporting role being the moral compass for the Andy character.

StoryThe story follows a recent graduated journalist that takes a job working under one of the most notoriously difficult editors in the industry, here she must learn the industry to stand a chance to above water in this world, while gaining the experience she requires for her own success. This story first shows how difficult finding the first job for experience could be for any former student trying to get int the industry, it shows how fast the learning curve could be, how you can be looked upon as a replacement for others job too. It shows us how careers can take over lives if you let them which is important for how Andy changes through the story. most importantly it shows us just how you should never forget where you came from and the people that were there for you when you needed them. You will also get to have a laugh at how the fashion industry is considered to operate at the pace which could make or break careers in no time.

ComedyThe comedy in this film come from seeing how the world operates, seeing Andy needing to learn fast, the relationship with Emily and just how everyone can act over the top about the smallest detail.

SettingsThe film is set mostly in New York, it shows how the business lives can move at such a pace it would be hard to keep up.


Scene of the Movie –
Andy sees a real side of Miranda.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not understand brand names.

Final ThoughtsThis is an enjoyable comedy with wonderful performances from the whole cast.

 

Overall: Enjoyable comedy.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – World Cinema – C – Curse of the Golden Flower (2006)

Director: Yimou Zhang

Writer: Zhihong Bian, Nan Wu, Yimou Zhang (Screenplay) Yu Cao (Play)

Starring: Chow Yun-Fat, Li Gong, Jay Chou, Ye Liu, Dahong Ni

 

Plot: During China’s Tang dynasty the emperor has taken the princess of a neighboring province as wife. She has borne him two sons and raised his eldest. Now his control over his dominion is complete, including the royal family itself.


Tagline – Unspeakable secrets are hidden within the Forbidden City.

Runtime: 1 Hour 51 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Visually Beautiful

 

Story: Curse of the Golden Flower starts in China, Later Tang Dynasty, 10th Century. On the eve of the Chong Yang Festival, golden flowers fill the Imperial Palace. The Emperor (Chow Yun Fat) returns unexpectedly with his second son, Prince Jai (Jay Chou). His pretext is to celebrate the holiday with his family, but given the chilled relations between the Emperor and the ailing Empress (Gong Li), this seems disingenuous. For many years, the Empress and Crown Prince Wan (Liu Ye), her stepson, have had an illicit liaison. Feeling trapped, Prince Wan dreams of escaping the palace with his secret love Chan (Li Man), the Imperial Doctor’s daughter. Meanwhile, Prince Jai, the faithful son, grows worried over the Empress’s health and her obsession with golden chrysanthemums. Could she be headed down an ominous path? The Emperor harbors equally clandestine plans; the Imperial Doctor (Ni Dahong) is the only one privy to his machinations. When the Emperor senses a looming threat, he relocates the doctor’s family from the Palace to a remote area. While they are en route, mysterious assassins attack them. Chan and her mother, Jiang Shi (Chen Jin) are forced back to the palace. Their return sets off a tumultuous sequence of dark surprises. Amid the glamour and grandeur of the festival, ugly secrets are revealed. As the Imperial Family continues its elaborate charade in a palatial setting, thousands of golden armored warriors charge the palace. Who is behind this brutal rebellion? Where do Prince Jai’s loyalties lie? Between love and desire, is there a final winner? Against a moonlit night, thousands of chrysanthemum blossoms are trampled as blood spills across the Imperial Palace.

 Man cheng jin dai huang jin jia (2006)

Thoughts on Curse of the Golden Flower

 

Final ThoughtsI am going to be honest, I couldn’t get into this movie at all, I found it hard to follow the story and description above is just copied of the IMDB. What I did like the visuals, the sets are fantastic, colourful and so easy on the eye, you just want to make screen savers out of them. The costumes a beautiful, authentic and stunning too. The performances from the cast are good throughout too, and the action sequences and romantic moments all check off the boxes well, it is only the story I didn’t like really, which is the main thing you need to be able to follow.

 

Overall: Visual treat on the eyes

Rating

 

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Biopic – W – World Trade Center (2006)

Director: Oliver Stone

Writer: Andrew Berloff (Screenplay) John McLoughlin, Donna LcLoughlin, William Jimeno, Allison Jimeno (True Story)

Starring: Nicolas Cage, Michael Pena, Maria Bello, Jay Hernandez, Jon Bernthal, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Michael Shannon

 

Plot: Two Port Authority police officers become trapped under the rubble of the World Trade Center.


Tagline – A True Story Of Courage And Survival

Runtime: 2 Hour 9 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Powerful Drama

 

Story: World Trade Center starts like every other day for police officers John McLoughlin (Cage) who sets the assignments for his department which include Will Jimeno (Pena) and Dominick Pezzulo (Hernandez). Today is going to change their lives, today is September 11th the day the World Trade Centers Twin Twos get hit by the planes, while being part of the rescue team the crew find themselves trapped.

When the dust settles Will and John are the only ones still alive with their loved ones Donna McLoughlin (Bello) and Allison Jimeno (Gyllenhaal) waiting to hear if they were in the towers when they went down. The two must support each other in hope that they would get rescued as New York and America comes together to rescue their own.

 

Thoughts on World Trade Center

 

Characters – All the characters in this film are based on real people, we have real victims from 9/11 being portrayed. John McLoughlin is the experience police officer that leads his men into the Twin Towers in a rescue attempt, he is a father of four which is one of his greatest motivations to survive once he becomes trapped in the rubble. Will Jimeno is the fellow officer that becomes trapped with John, he is a parent too with a second on the way, he is injured but uses the company of John to stay awake. We do have the wives and loved ones and fellow officers that helped in the rescues to being portrayed here showing the heroes involved on those days.

PerformancesNicolas Cage shows in this role that he still was a brilliant performer along with Michael Pena stepped to a leading role. We have fantastic performances from the whole cast if we are being honest.

StoryThe events of this day shocked the world like no other events, the stories of the survivors being found was a race for hope for anyone who might have had someone in the towers. We do focus on just two officers that became trapped as they fought to survive while waiting for rescue. Watching how the rescuers worked to save people trapped, the family waiting helplessly for news on their families, add this together and you get a powerful drama that showed the heroics during that tragic event.

History/ThrillerThe events of this movie are one of the most if not the most famous terrorist attack in modern history, seeing how the two officers just had to rely on hope to survive shows us just how the country was bought together to find a people which does make this edge of your seat waiting to see if they make it or not.

SettingsJohn and Will are trapped for the most part of this movie, it shows how hopeless the situation looked for the men, outside we see the aftermath of the attack.

Special EffectsThe effects used in the movie are fantastic to show the horror of the moment the towers came crashing down on the people inside to the surviving in the rumble and re-creation of the devastation.


Scene of the Movie –
For the visual the collapse is shocking to watch.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It is still hard to watch because of the shock of the event.

Final ThoughtsThis is a powerful drama that shows how the city came together during the time of need.

 

Overall: This is a must watch but it is hard to re-live those moments.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Action – D – DOA: Dead or Alive (2006)

Director: Corey Yuen

Writer: J.F. Lawton, Adam Gross, Seth Gross (Screenplay)

Starring: Jaime Pressly, Devon Aoki, Holly Valance, Sarah Carter, Natassia Malthe, Kane Kosugi, Matthew Marsden

 

Plot: The world’s best fighters are invited to DOA, an invitational martial arts contest. There, four female rival fighters will have to work together to uncover the secret that the organizer of the tournament is trying to hide.


Tagline – You’re Invited.

Runtime: 1 Hour 27 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Guilty Pleasure

 

Story: DOA: Dead or Alive starts as we meet our three leading ladies, wrestling royalty Tina Armstrong (Pressly) who wants to prove herself in legitimate fighting, Chinese princess Kasumi (Aoki) who leaves her clan to find out what happened to her brother at last year’s tournament and master thief Christie Allen (Valance) who can fight her way out of any corner.

The three get selected to enter this year’s DOA tournament along with 12 other competitors along with daughter of the creature Helena (Carter), they get sent to remote island where the three becomes friends and fight for the prize pool which will see them waiting for their opponents to be selected.

 

Thoughts on DOA: Dead or Alive

 

Characters – Tina Armstrong is an American wrestler, she has been on the top of that world and has always dealt with people questioning her own fighting ability, this tournament will give her a chance to show just how good she is. Kasumi is a princess of a Chinese clan, forbidden to leave the temple or face death, her brother vanished in the last tournament, she will go against tradition and face death in an attempt to uncover the truth about her brother. Christie Allen is a master thief whose latest job attracts the attention of the organisers of the tournament, she along with her partner have other plans while on the island. Helena is the daughter of the creator of the tournament, this is her first year on entry and she wants to do her father proud.

PerformancesThis is a movie which hired actresses that needed to look extra sexy, we can see this from our main four women, each comes from different backgrounds which shows in the performances where they all handle the fighting well, with Jaime Pressley giving us the best performance outside of the fighting.

StoryThe story follows three women bought from different background to enter a fighting tournament on a mysterious island, unlike most fighting tournaments, these can happened whether you get informed about your opponent which does give us different locations for the fights, it also shows us how the honour between these fighters is shown, with none of the fighters being the villainous side of the story. this is a video game turned film, so we know the story isn’t going to need to be the deepest and as long as we see the people fight we will be happy. Things do go over the top in the final act of the story which is fine again, for a video game story it all makes sense. There are clearly holes in the story which comes from where the defeated competitors go after losing and having one extra side story feels like we have slightly too much going on at times.

Action/AdventureThe action is a mix of different fights in different locations with the final fight in the temple being the true highlight on this side of everything. the adventure side of the film takes our characters from around the world ready to compete in the tournament.

SettingsThe film is mostly set on the solo island location, we get the beach, temple and hotel locations shown for the fights.

Special EffectsThe film does have moments of effects which are not as strong as they should be, with explosions and moments in the fights not looking that impressive.


Scene of the Movie –
Christie’s introduction is so ridiculous.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Disappearing characters.

Final ThoughtsThis is easily become people’s guilty pleasure, it has solid enough action scenes making it an acceptable video adaptation.

 

Overall: Video Game Joy.

Rating