Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber on Fleet Street

16 04 2008

How about watching our infamous Jack Sparrow singing on stage?

On thisĀ  movie, adapted from Stephen Sondheim’s musical, we’ll meet Johnny Depp role-playing as Mr Todd, a grim full-of-hatred barber who not only cut hair, but also throats.

Originally wronged by a powerful Judge Turpin who had had his eyes for his beautiful wife, Todd returned to London 15 years later with a lust for
vengeance and reunition with his daughter, who’s now Turpin’s ward. On his
plot, he was helped by Mrs Lovett, who ran “the worst-tasted pie” shop in
London, under his barbershop.

Plotting also as Todd’s partner-in-crime, Mrs Lovett graciously regarded the carcass of Todd’s victims as “fresh supplies” for her savory meat pies.
Too bad that Todd just hadn’t realized the secret that Mrs Lovett buried deep in her heart, a secret that would’ve given everything an alternate ending if only Todd had known it earlier.

While being comically grotesque, the movie was at the same time frighteningly real and detail in depicting its scenes. Especially when the bodies with slitted heads slithered from the chair down a chute, crashed and crumpled in the cellar, soon turned into meat. My most favorite one was when in the end, Todd, with his slitted neck pouring geyser of blood, sat lifelessly holding the corpse of his wife.

The music, the true essence of the movie, was also of infernal heaven.

You might be seeing some major characters of Harry Potter in here. Helena Bonham Carter, our Mrs Lovett, was known better as Bellatrix Lestrange. Alan Rickman, roling as the judge, was the notorious Snape while Timothy Spall as Beadle was the right hand of Voldemort.

Johny Depp himself, has numerously collaborated with Tim Burton previously. Other than being Jack Sparrow in the pirates sequel, he was also the mentally unstable Edward Scissorhands, the confectionary genious Willy Wonka, and the smart Ichabod Crane in Sleepy Hollow.

31 03 2008


Another version of Shake Hand with The Devil, telling Paul Rusesabagina’s story, a manager of a Belgian owned hotel in Rwanda.

Between April and September 1994, Rwanda was in a political uproar leading to the massacre of million of Tutsi minorities by the Hutus.It’s supposed to be very easy for Paul,a Hutu himself, despite his Tutsi wife,to simply turn his back on if not joining the euphoria of the blood shed orgy.But instead,he opened his hotel as a secret refugee,saving more than a thousand Tutsis and risking himself as another “Tutsi cockroach”.

Of course it’s easier to be said than done.On the process,Paul was entangled in certain complexities.The most interesting one was how,in spite of his own mental deprivation,he insisted on portraying himself still as a professional hotelier.Not only so that their secret refugee left unattaked, but also it’s vital for the Tutsis to maintain a sense of hope in the verge of insanity. This was clearly seen when he avoided Dube,his ever faithful staff from seeing him in the middle of his tears.

Many ironic scenes were catched here. A cynical TV journalist said to Paul when he was elated for the possibility of the world to save them when they saw the video of the massacre: “If people see this footage, they’ll say how terrible it is and then go on eating their dinner.”

But indeed the world really turned their back. The UN forces’re not allowed to shoot as they’re told to be the “peace keepers”,not the “peace makers”. Although the Tutsis were defenseless without military power to support them, there’s clearly enough foreign army in Rwanda to do that.The problem was they’re ordered only to evacuate the foreigners, even not including Paul, who had swallowed all the ridiculous western manners,wine,and chocolates through his life. He’s still black and he’s not even a nigger.

To survive this tumult and save the people in his care,Paul was forced to be smart in making quick decisions.All along his years,he had been raised to understand the true strength of power.As a wheeler-dealer he realized the importance of trading favors here as well as how thousand of lives at his hand relied on his stock of cigars and scotch left to bribe the Hutu

And as if everything he had done was not enough, in the last second, when his family finally obtained the visa required to get out off Rwanda, Paul even decided to stay behind in the hotel with the rest of Tutsis which led his wife and kids to hysteria when they were evacuated by UN convoy.

Unlike SHTD, Hotel Rwanda was downlaying the actual gore. But still, the movie would bring you not only to feel that your heart was being squeezed out by the irony, but also to the brink of helpless alarm how the seething hatred would finally burst.

My Blueberry Nights

22 03 2008


Despite the bad reviews it’s been getting, MBN is an artistically beautiful love movie with a strong feeling of gripping loneliness and complexity throughout the plot: in which the main character took the long road instead of the short one to find her love.

Norah Jones played as Elizabeth who coincidentally found out from Jeremy (Jude Law), a cafe owner, about her boyfriend’s affair. Their next few meetings after grew love between them but Beth needed to make sure how she felt first before she embarked into a journey of a new love. So, after a last kiss with Jeremy, Rachel set off, leaving her keys with Jeremy: which then he kept with many other keys accidentally left there, keys with lots of stories behind them, so Jeremy said.


Working double shift to save for a car, on the road, she met with Arnie, a cop with drinking problems who could not forget his wife, Sue Lyne. When later in desperation, Arnie killed himself, Beth in turn comforted the the wife, who despite her saying that she no longer loved her husband, now grieving at her wit’s end.

In the next place where the bus took her, her path then crossed with a gambling gal, Leslie’s. They then made a bet: Beth had to lend her savings to Leslie which would be returned if she won. But if she lost, Beth would get her Jaguar. So Leslie lost and Beth was asked to drive her to Las Vegas. There Leslie planned to meet her father, also a gambler. Despite her outgoing personality, now we could know how Leslie was so lonely inside. She once vowed not to trust anyone but cards. Even when she got a call that her old man was severely ill, she refused to come, afraid of being tricked by him once more. However, it turned out that Leslie’s lost this bet: when she finally chose to come, the old man had passed away.

All the turmoils on the road finally brought Elizabeth back to Jeremy.


Jones’ inexperience in acting became her advantage here as she played a passive in-the-background role, observing other characters. This way, the watchers were led to plunge deeper into the emotional turmoils of the player.

For the first English film directed by Wong Kar Wai, My Blueberry Nights is amazing, especially in his choice of shooting angle which brought more the feeling of longing in this movie.

27 Dresses

12 03 2008


They say, “Always a bridesmaid, never a bride”

It’s a classic themed movie about our reliable, never-say-no Jane. Here’re what we can say about her: modestly beautiful, lonely but eternally hopeful, devoted…and also a sincere doormat for almost everyone. Lol. Of course everyone in her office knew how deeply in love she was with her boss, George..except the boss himself of course!

A romantic naive, she truly believed that by always being there in her friend’s greatest day (even though it meant being silmutaneously in 2 weddings in one night!), she would finally find her soul mate (hopefully George) and when it did, her friends would be there for her. Plus, she was also a faithful fan of “Commitments” column in the Sunday Wedding section of New York Journal.

So Jane had found her dream career: a bridesmaid who kept all the 27 dresses (and the dreams in each one of it) of those weddings she became one. And of course finally, our waiting-for-her-prince-on-a-white-horse Jane met with Kevin (later turned out to be the secret writer of Commitments) who was a jaunty, cynic, and pain in the arse. NB: in case u haven’t known yet, he’s the ridiculous prince in Enchanted, but here, he’s so charming!! Being so curious of her since they first met, Kevin just never stopped courting her

As if it wasn’t a nuisance enough, Jane got her little sister Tess, came visiting. As she was so stunningly beautiful – although shallow and selfish at the same time – it could be readily guessed that George then fell in love with Tess, instead of Jane, from the first sight. Again, unable to say no, she ended up being the wedding organizer and bridesmaid for her sister’s wedding with the man she loved – in her dream wedding.

On the process, Jane had to couple up with Kevin, as he said that he would be writing about Tess’ wedding. Despite all their disputes, she came to find out that they did have some similarities, unlike her and George. But Kevin then found out how Jane’s actually in love with her future brother-in-law and Jane found out Kevin’s hidden motive to her. Being so sick of everything, including Tess’ lies to George, Jane then blurted out all the truths – and her repressed feelings – just before the D-Day, causing the wedding to be canceled.

Of course in the end everything ended up well and Jane finally found her true Mr Right. The movie was a cliche. But as I’m still a regular woman who love all these craps of romance, I love this movie! And I especially love the songs featured in it, “Call Me Irresponsible”, “Lady West”, and definitely “Bennie and The Jets”!

The Painted Veil

4 03 2008


Based on a novel of the same name, Painted Veil is a classic themed movie about love, affair, and tragedy. But yet, it’s still beautifully charming.

Set in the 1920s the newly weds Kitty and Walter Fane would soon set off to China, as this land seethed with revolutionary movements and… cholera.

Although no one could doubt Fane’s devotion as a bacteoriologist there, viewers could soon realize that he accept the task to redeem his broken heart as well as to punish his vain reckless wife for her affair. For Kitty, as she was forced into this hasty marriage by her dominant mother, a reliable gentleman like Dr Fane was just boring. Therefore, she fell easily into the trap of a married womanizer, Charles Townsend.

But then, in Shanghai, where death seemed to linger around everywhere, Kitty surprisingly learned how selfless and caring Fane was. Her husband might look cold and ignorant while he was with her, due to his anguish to her. But later, when she decided to volunteer in a local orphanage ran by a couple of French nuns, she could start to know her husband from a different angle and learn to love him.

Their marriage finally blossomed. Once again, Kitty respected and admired her husband for his unconditional love to her when she found out that she was pregnant but she could not say who the father was. Instead of being engulfed by rage, Fane simply said that it no longer mattered, bringing Kitty to edge of her tears of affection for her husband.

Sadly, their happiness was not long lasting. Kitty was again left in devastation and grief when her husband suddenly died of cholera. She then decided to return to London. But now, she had been a mature new Kitty, Kitty who was full of love for her husband, instead of a feeling that she was being wasted and useless, when she was before dumped by Townsend.

An interesting scene was when five years later Kitty with her five year old son, Walter, who was clearly Townsend’s child by looks, unexpetedly ran into her old lover, Townsend. By then, Kitty could show that Townsend meant nothing for her now and walk gracefully with her nose in the air.

PS I Love U

28 02 2008


Frankly speaking, I was rather reluctant to watch this movie at first… I never read the novel before as I thought that it would be a weepy sentimental reading..and I avoided watching it for the same reason: I clearly did not want to waste my money for then wasting my tears after it!

But, really, the tears (and the money of course) worth spending! The movie is indeed sentimental, but it’s hilarious as well. It’s the only movie I’ve ever watch where I could shed tears and laugh at the same time. It’s an awkwardly charming movie!

In this movie, you will meet the most perfectly matched couple ever – although they didn’t look so at the first time. Holly Kennedy, starred by Hillary Swank, was a beautiful smart late 20s woman married to the passionate impetuous Irishman, Gerry (whose name was quantly spelled “”Jerry” and who, of course, had a very cute Irish accent!). As other normal couples, they normally sweated petty stuffs like money, ambition in life, and even whose turn to turn off the light today!

But then, as life went sadly ironic to those two (those who lived their life to the fullest, like Gerry, often had to die first), and Gerry passed away because of brain cancer, Holly missed him desperately. In her complete feeling of loss, she locked herself in her apartment…in order to avoid someone telling her the truth that her husband was no longer with her. She lived her voidness by hallucinating sleeping in Gerry’s hug like always every night, wearing his shirts, and even refusing to take shower, simply because she didn’t want to forget his body scent on hers.

But Holly was just not ready when she got a surprise present on her birthday, a few weeks after the funeral. A birthday cake and a recording with a letter from Gerry. And that letter was followed by many letters after. Each of them, as promised, came to her in an unexpected way every month simply to cheer her up. Each of them was filled by instructions that Holly must obey no matter what. And each of them was ended by a sentence: ps, i love u.

With those letters, Gerry unselfishly taught her to, just like him before, live her life passionately! To chase her dreams in life and to be understanding when her best friends’ lives seemed in their fullest bloom while hers’ not.
With those letters as well, he unselfishly taught her to always remember him, but at the same time realizing that he was only a short chapter in her long to go life.
And at the same time, assuring her that no matter what, he still loved her…

Clearly, in the end, the movie provided a logical answer of how those letters came to Holly.

But what impressed me most was of how loving Gerry was in his last minutes of life. Instead of grieving how God was so unfair to him and how frightening death was, he was afraid of how Holly could continue her life without him.

That is what true love is for me.

American Gangster

25 01 2008


“We could become successful and have enemies. Or we can be unsuccessful and have friends. That are our choice.”

The life of Frank Lucas (Denzel Washington) finally started when his respected mentor and boss who was in charge of the whole Harlem, Ellsworth “Bumpy” Johnson died in 1968.

As the proverb said that once the cat left, the mice would celebrate, that’s what happened after Bumpy’s death. Flashy and tiny worthless gangsters started to test their luck by coming forward. Who knew that they could be the next Bumpy? And Frank detested them.

But that soon changed when Frank chose to interfere and turned the heroin business, the most powerful business, in Harlem upside down by getting a new potent substance called “Blue Magic” through its sole supplier in the woods of Vietnam, which was in the middle of Vietnam War at that time. Frank quickly made a fortune and then called his nephews from the quiet North Carolina to build a heroin empire in Harlem. With the gorgeous Eva, the beauty queen from Puerto Rico, Frank Lucas was now really the emperor in rule. And he really handled his small kingdom with his iron fists. A promise: he would definitely punish and get rid of anyone in his way, even if they were his family members.

Despite his extravagant and risky business, in reality Frank really led a decent life. He went to church every sunday. He loved his mother and especially his wife. He was the second Robin Hood after Bumpy in Harlem. He was so generous that the people of Harlem loved him so much. Frank was really a man who knew that he could not extend things too far.

It’s just that, in order to get a peaceful life like this and for the sake of his business as well, Frank needed to spend a portion of his money…to bribe the rats from the local authority.

That’s before he met Detective Richie Roberts, who was juggling his marriage and his police career for his idealism. He’s just that honest that he could turn in nearly US$ 1 mil when he found it. And he’s just that honest that almost everyone in his force detested him for getting in their way.

But this would soon change when his superior, Captain Lou Toback, assigned him in charge of a special Narcotics Unit in order to ruin Frank Lucas’ Blue Magic empire, as well as the corrupted authority. And the life of Richie was now intertwined with Frank and both of them now needed to plunge in a brain game: only he’s who’s fast and smart could come as the champion in the end.