Thursday, December 27, 2012

Les Misérables

3.5 Potatoes

"Les Misérables" (2012) by Tom Hooper was overall Okay.

Anne Hathaway was amazing and very impressive.
Hugh Jackman was not there 100%.
Russell Crow ... don't even bother.

Overall all the young casts were very talented and amazingly well acted:
Marius played by Eddie Redmeyne
Gavroche the little boy played by Daniel Huttlestone
and the little Cosette played by Isabelle Allen only had a small appearance but validated her existence.

It is a good holiday movie and a tearjerker. You can't go wrong with Victor Hugo.

Official Site:

Synopsis: In 19th-century France, Jean Valjean, who for decades has been hunted by the ruthless policeman Javert after he breaks parole, agrees to care for factory worker Fantine's daughter, Cosette. The fateful decision changes their lives forever. (IMDb)

USA: In Theaters Now

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

2013 Foreign Language Academy Award Submissions

Tell me what you think!

Mads Mikkelsen in "Jagten"

I know I would be upset if Michael Haneke wins... and disappointing to see Denmark's official entry is not Jagten... but hoping to see if Mads Mikkelsen bringing home some Oscar ...


Saturday, October 6, 2012

The Hidden Face

4 Potatoes

"The Hidden Face" (2011) by André Baiz- La Cara Ocluta is a thriller from Spain.

You know what happened and you know what is going to happen, but you don't know how it is going to end! Just a great thriller with unexpected and expected result.

You wouldn't regret watching it!

Synopsis: When his girlfriend, Bethlehem, vanishes, the handsome director of the Bogota Philharmonic Orchestra despairs -- then gradually moves on. But even as he finds comfort in a new relationship, questions about Bethlehem's disappearance linger. (Netflix)

Available on DVD and Streaming

Sunday, August 5, 2012

The Imposter

3 Potatoes

"The Imposter" (2012) by Bart Layton, a documentary about a French imposter Frédéric Bourdin and the family of a missing child Nicholas Barclay.

I have seen a film about this case "Chameleon" (2010) by Jean-Paul Salomé, which I talked about it on my blog.

The whole story is very disturbing, you know your own child, you know when the person is a stranger. The child do not change much around the age of 14-17. So  you know.

They are the only one know the truth what had happened to Nicholas.

Synopsis: A documentary centered on a young Frenchman who convinces a grieving Texas family that he is their 16-year-old son who went missing for 3 years.

Official Site:

Recommended on DVD.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Woman in the Fifth

2.5 Potatoes

"Woman in the Fifth" (2012) - La Femme du Vème by Pawel Pawlikowski was just released here in Los Angeles. A film with Ethan Hawke and Kristine Scott Thomas didn't appeal to me at first. I didn't see any chemistry between them.
Then I saw the trailer. It did change my mind to see it (On Demand), the suspense story was
interesting but it was a okay film.

I recommend you to see it on demand or on DVD.

My last thought was... "So she was....?" and "Oh Ethan Hawke aged not so well".

Official Site:

USA: In Theaters Now and Available on Demand.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

"Headhunters" from Norway

3.5 Potatoes

"Headhunters" (2011) - Hodejegerne by Morten Tylduma crime thriller from Norway, is a must-see!

This film was released at AFI last year and now in theaters in LA. 
Stylish, gruesome, suspenseful and very intelligently written. There are a lot of
surprises throughout the film, some humors are not to miss.

I really enjoyed it. Oh by the way, the guy who plays Clas Greve,
Nikolaj Coster-Waldauis Ser Jaime Lannister from the HBO series "Game of Thronesif you are wondering where you've seen him.

Synopsis: An accomplished headhunter risks everything to obtain a valuable painting owned by a former mercenary. (IMDb)

USA: In Theaters Now

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Snow White and the Huntsman

2.5 Potatoes

I just saw the pre-screening of the "Snow White and the Huntsman" (2012) by Rupert Sanders. Stunningly beautiful cinematography, beautiful costume and Charlize Theron's witchy Queen were mesmerizing, yet tough chick Twilight Snow White... not so.
I thought the Huntsman needed some acting lesson but hey one of the Avengers of course can save anyone right? Sorry for the son of the Duke, Duke of the dude to be, couldn't be the magical prince from faraway land.

A bit confusing to watch, great poster.

USA: In theaters June 1st, 2012

Sunday, April 1, 2012

"Miss Bala" & "REC 2" Failed...

1 Potato for both

I was pretty disappointed with this film "Miss Bala" (2011) by Gerardo Naranjo.
I remember this Mexican producer was raving about it at the AFI last year, but I have seen it better...

Another disappointment in the past a few weeks was the Spanish reality-show style horror "REC 2" (2009) by Jaume Balagueró & Paco Plaza. The part one was great.
There was a lot of mystery left at the end and I was so looking forward to seeing this sequel...

BUT the mysterious virus infested apartment building turned out be a house of a bunch of Linda Blair wannabe... Fail...

So what is this third sequel going to be?? OMEN?

I seriously need to restore my Netflix cue....

Sunday, February 26, 2012

"Welcome to the North" - Benvenuti al Nord

3.5 potatoes

Finally, finally, finally saw the remake of "Welcome to the Sticks" (2008) - Bienvenue chez les Ch'tis by my beloved Mr. Dany Boon. Nothing can be funnier than this. But I must say, I enjoyed it pretty much...

This first remake "Welcome to the North" (2012) - Benvenuti al Nord was created in Italian by Italian director Luca Miniero and was produced by Dany Boon.

The original film was very well respected in this remake, and it was intelligently arranged in the way to follow the culture and its custom well. For example the main character goes to North of France and encounters the sticks with thick accent, but in the Italian remake, the Neapolitan with thick accent goes to North, to Milan, and encounters the different culture and so on. All the necessities from the original film was well marinated into the remake.
I thought it was very well done.

Angela Finocchiaro's double cast in the film was hilarious!

Highly recommended. BUT make sure to watch the original first!!
By the way, finally the American remake will be released in 2013. FYI.

"Welcome to the Sticks"
Synopsis (ENG): Alberto e Mattia live marital crisis. Silvia doesn't like Milan because of its pollution and she accuses Alberto to be an egoist. In the meantime, Mattia lives with his wife Maria and his son Edinson into his mother's house. Despite himself, he goes to work in Milan. The impact of the Neapolitan on this city is terrible but slowly, the prejudices begin to disappear. (Los Angeles Italia Film Festival)

Synopsis (IT): In Benvenuti al Nord, Alberto e Mattia, sono in crisi con le rispettive mogli. Silvia detesta Milano a causa delle polveri sottili e dell'ozono troposferico e accusa Alberto di pensare solo al lavoro e poco a lei. Intanto Mattia, il solito irresponsabile, vive con la moglie Maria e il figlio Edinson a casa della madre, lavora poco e proprio non riesce a pronunciare la parola "mutuo". Mattia suo malgrado finirà a lavorare a Milano, incastrato dall'ingenuità dei suoi amici che lo affidano alle cure di Alberto. L'impatto del napoletano con la città sarà terribile: partito con un giubbotto fendinebbia il povero Mattia finirà col rovinare la sua vita e quella dell'amico Alberto. Ma, piano piano, i pregiudizi inizieranno a sciogliersi... (

Official Trailer:

USA: Not Available JUST Yet

Saturday, February 25, 2012


3 Potatoes

Finally saw Tom Tykwer's latest film "3" (2010) - Drei on DVD.
Fun editing style, great music as usual and very Tykwer-esque.
You have to be very concentrated watching this film, no distraction otherwise you can get lost very easily. In fact, I rewound it a few times!

I enjoyed the story, interesting subject, but the end.... meh for me.

But I must say the actress Sophie Rois's acting was brilliant.

Synopsis (ENG): Berliners Hanna and Simon, a couple in their 40s, have grown comfortable in their marriage. Independently, each meets and romances Adam, a handsome younger man. When Hanna becomes pregnant, all three must face what they've tried to ignore. (Netflix)

Synopsis (GER): 20 Jahre sind Kunsttechniker Simon und TV-Moderatorin Hanna nun zusammen – eine lange Zeit, in der sich das eigentlich wunderbar harmonierende Berliner Pärchen doch ein wenig entfremdet hat. Was haben die beiden nicht alles schon durchgestanden? Kinderwünsche, Inneneinrichtung, Seitensprünge, Fehlgeburten; was soll da noch groß kommen? Und dann ist da plötzlich Adam Born, ein erfolgreicher Stammzellenforscher. Nacheinander laufen Simon und Hanna dem bisexuellen Charismatiker über den Weg und lassen sich beide mit ihm ein. Das geht eine Zeit lang gut und tatsächlich rückt das Paar über den Umweg ihrer streng geheimen Affären wieder näher zusammen. Zumindest, bis Hanna schwanger wird... (

Official US Trailer:

USA: DVD Available & Streaming Available on iTune

Sunday, February 19, 2012

"Born in '68" - "Nés en 68"

3.5 Potatoes

I finally saw the film "Born in 68" (2008) - Nés en 68 by Olivier Ducastel & Jacques Martineau on DVD. I was so prepared to watch the full-on students movement film, but it turned out to be somewhat a hippy wannabes and their flower children story.

It started very lightly and having some doubt with Laetitia Casta as the lead actor almost made me turn off the DVD. But the story slowly got involved in their lives after the fact and beyond. And this was something that none of those students revolution films have ever done before. It really made me getting into the film.

The story was interesting, as a film it was ok.
Just made me happy to remember certain moments in Paris the later years in the film...

After all, I liked it anyway, but it didn't have to be 3 hours long.

AND Yes I would say she was acceptable, Laetitia Casta. :)

Synopsis (ENG): Two young lovers change their lives drastically after the 1968 revolt, leading to choices that move them in different directions. (IMDb)

Synopsis (FR): 1968. Catherine, Yves et Hervé ont vingt ans, sont étudiants à Paris et s'aiment. La révolte du mois de mai bouleverse leur existence. Gagnés par l'utopie communautaire, ils partent avec quelques amis s'installer dans une ferme abandonnée du Lot. L'exigence de liberté et la recherche de l'accomplissement individuel les conduisent à faire des choix qui finissent par les séparer. 
1989. Les enfants de Catherine et Yves entrent dans l'âge adulte et affrontent un monde qui a profondément changé : entre la fin du Communisme et l'explosion de l'épidémie de sida, l'héritage militant de la génération précédente doit être revisité.

USA: DVD Available on Netflix

"In Darkness"

3 Potatoes

One of this year's Oscar Foreign Language Film Nominees "In Darkness" (2011) by Agnieszka Holland is based on true story. This is not the first time she made a film based on true story, one of her acclaimed film "Europa Europa" (1990) was the winner of the Golden Globes Foreign Language Film back in 1992 and was nominated for the Oscar Best Screen Play for the same year.

This film "In Darkness" has amazing casts; Polish actor Robert Wieckiewics, German actor Benno Fürmann, German actress Maria Schrader and many more.
Yet something was missing from the film in my opinion, I felt that the story was scattered around and it wasn't solid.

"Europa Europa" was much deeper and stronger film that still remains in my memory clearly.

Does this film has a Oscar quality? The story Yes. The film.. not so.

Synopsis: A dramatization of one man's rescue of Jewish refugees in the Nazi-occupied Polish city of Lvov. (IMDb)

Official site & Trailer:

USA: In Theater Now

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

"Norwegian Wood"

2.5 Potatoes

I just saw a sneak preview of the much anticipated film "Norwegian Wood" (2010) by Tran Anh Hung, French-Vietnamese director, and base on the novel by Haruki Murakami. None of his novels are never made into film and this was the first one.

This film was filmed in Japanese with some known and talented Japanese actors: Kenichi Matsuyama for one, he is known for playing the character "L" in the film "Death Note: L Change the World" (2008), young yet very talented and became a father of a baby with actress Koyuki (Last Samurai) a few days ago.
I was also surprised how great the young model Kiko Mizuhara was. BRAVO for her.

The film starts very very slow. On top of that, Rinko Kikuchi is not a great choice for this film.
In my opinion, she got her recognition showing her crotch and explicit sex scenes, nothing to do with her acting ability. She doesn't even have an aura. She has no training, no experience in acting before she got the part of the film "Babel" (2006). Her voice is horrible, the way she speaks is horrible. It is about time for directors to realize she is no good. PLEASE!

I also wondered always that when the director films in foreign dialogues, how does he or she knows if the dialogue was spoken the way the director wishes?? Isn't that hard to direct if you don't know the language? I think it was also the negative point in this film, that both side of actors and director weren't using their talent to the max... well, that is only my opinion.

I would give 3.5 Potatoes if the main female character wasn't Rinko.

Synopsis: Tokyo, the late 1960s... Students around the world are uniting to overthrow the establishment and Toru Watanabe's personal life is similarly in tumult. At heart, he is deeply devoted to his first love, Naoko, a beautiful and introspective young woman. But their complex bond has been forged by the tragic death of their best friend years before. Watanabe lives with the influence of death everywhere. That is, until Midori, a girl who is everything that Naoko is not - outgoing, vivacious, supremely self-confident - marches into his life and Watanabe must choose between his past and his future. (Official Site)

Official Site & Trailer:

USA: In Theater Jan 27, 2012 (LA)

Saturday, January 14, 2012

"The Kid with a Bike"

3.5 Potatoes

I saw one of the Golden Globes 2012 Foreign-Language Nominees film by Dardenne brothers from Belgium "The Kid with a Bike" (2010) - Le Gamin au Vélo by Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne last night.

I usually not so fan of their films because they are depressing and mono-toned to me. BUT I see their films on DVD whenever they are available, just to see if I see them differently... But this time, it was different. I liked it. I loved the music effect also and the relationship between the boy and the woman. There was connection between them.

After the film, there was a Q&A, and actually the Dardenne brothers have such a great sense of humor! WHO KNEW?

It is highly recommended. ENJOY!

Synopsis (ENG): Abandoned by his father, a young boy is left in a state-run youth farm. In a random act of kindness, the town hairdresser agrees to foster him on weekends. (IMDb)

Synopsis (FR): Cyril, bientôt 12 ans, n'a qu'une idée en tête : retrouver son père qui l'a placé provisoirement dans un foyer pour enfants.
Il rencontre par hasard Samantha, qui tient un salon de coiffure et qui accepte de l'accueillir chez elle pendant les week-ends. Mais Cyril ne voit pas encore l'amour que Samantha lui porte, cet amour dont il a pourtant besoin pour apaiser sa colère ...

Official Site and Trailer:

USA: In Theater March 16, 2012

一月ドラマ「ハングリー」JP DRAMA

1 Potato or less for the rip off...

So I started to catch up with the January starts of the JP drama...

This one I just saw "Hungry" (2012) was a disappointment to me...
It is a total rip off of a German movie "Soul Kitchen" (2009) by Fatih Akin. I liked this movie a lot but the whole story line and even the movie set is pretty identical.

Seriously, can't you get your own original story???

Shame on you "Hungry"!!!!!

SOUL KITCHEN: In Hamburg, German-Greek chef Zinos unknowingly disturbs the peace in his locals-only restaurant by hiring a more talented chef. (IMDb)


Sunday, January 1, 2012

"A Separation"

3 Potatoes

Happy New Year everyone! Hope I can blog more often this year!

Today, I finally saw the ending of the film "A Separation" (2011)Jodaeiye Nader az Simin by Asghar Farhadi. I saw this film at the AFI Fest back in November but we had to leave early to catch another film... typical schedule conflict at the film festival...

Anyway, the story went very differently than how I expected. But I liked it, it was well done and well executed. I love his films mainly because he portrays their everyday life well: how people still struggle between the modern life and the old cultural life. The famous actress Leila Hatami, a daughter of the legendary Iranian director Ali Hatami, plays a small yet an important role. And the performance of both Sareh Bayat who plays the caretaker and Sarina Farhadi who plays the daughter are amazing.

I appreciated his last film "About Elly" (2009) - Darbareye Elly more, but both films are highly recommended!

Official Site & Trailer:

USA: In Theater NOW / Limited Time Release

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