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Flash Movie Review: Mother

TWO mothers who do not know each other yet both dress consistently in an inappropriate way. One rarely showed up for school events for her child like concerts, bake sales or PTA meetings. These were things she was not interested in doing. However when she was out and about doing her errands or meeting friends for lunch, often she would walk or drive by the school. Her blouses were never buttoned all the way up and many times the material of them would be sheer. During the warmer months her standard form of dress would be a pair of shorts that barely extended down her thighs. It was not surprising to see the students in the playground stopping their games to gawk at this adult who dressed in such a young way, at least through their eyes. Her child was constantly being embarrassed by all of it.   THE other mother was the opposite when it came to her child’s school functions. She volunteered for every activity whether it was chaperoning a field trip to a museum or helping in a food drive for charity. Her clothing never fit properly across her large girth. Go-go boots with high heels and hot pants was one of her standard outfits. Where the first mother had very little interaction with any students, including her child’s friends; this mother treated everyone in the student body as her best friend. The other parents would react with a mixture of envy, jealousy and disgust. On the one hand there were parents who wished their own kids would react to them like they did to her. She was considered a fun parent; animated with the use of her hands to talk besides exaggerated facial expressions, her makeup was always heavy and thick which only accentuated the different looks she could make with her face. Many times her child would sit there in embarrassment. From extreme to extreme this film festival winning movie takes you into the world of another type of mother.     WHEN she found out her mentally challenged son Yoon Do-joon, played by Bin Won (The Man from Nowhere, Guns & Talk), was arrested for murder; this mother, played by Hye-ja Kim (How to Steal a Dog, Mayonnaise), was determined to find out the truth for herself, not what the police had decided. This crime mystery also starring Ku Jin (The Admiral, A Dirty Carnival) as Jin-tae and Je-mun Yun (The Good The Bad The Weird, The Host) as Je-moon was written and directed by Joon-ho Bong (Snowpiercer, The Host). I found the dramatic story alluring as it drew me into it. The actress who portrayed the mother did an excellent job of acting; I could feel her pain and emotions. The idea for the story was excellent since it immediately introduced this sympathetic character who was charged with a heinous crime. There were however a couple of characters who came off cartoonish which rang false for me, but I did wonder if this was due to a cultural difference in perceptions. I was taken aback by the twists in this DVD; what an interesting series of events. They say never mess around with a protective Mama Bear (mother) and this film proves that right. The Korean language was spoken with English subtitles.

 

3 stars — DVD    

 

 

Flash Movie Review: The Good, The Bad, The Weird

I could only imagine the parking lot must have looked like a bustling ant farm if seen from above. Cars were streaming in and out in a slow series of dances; some would tango together to get into an open parking space while other cars waltzed around the lot seeking a free spot to rest. Why I decided to venture out and get some shopping done on one of the busiest days of the shopping year I cannot explain, but I found myself there secure in finding a place to park on the street to avoid the chaos in the lot.   ENTERING the store was not too dissimilar from walking into a carnival. There were displays everywhere touting sale prices and bargains. In the aisles were temporary display shelves crammed full with what marketers call, “last minute items.” I was not as stunned with the amount of the people in the store, since the parking lot was full; as I was with the way they were acting. Shoppers with their shopping carts were careening through the aisles, dodging bystanders and display cases. They reminded me of contestants on a game show who were being timed as they grabbed as much merchandise as they could within the allotted minutes. Two women reminded me of Lucy Ricardo and Ethel Mertz as they played tug of war with a grape colored bath towel set. My overall feeling as I walked through the store was one of perplexed curiosity as if I had ventured into one of those freak show acts that make up part of the carnival. I passed people yelling at each other, scanning product codes with their smartphones or carefully balancing packages on top of an already full shopping cart. It was a crazy, non-stop, noisy atmosphere similar to what took place in this action adventure comedy.   EACH desperate to steal for themselves a secret map for a hidden treasure; an assassin, bounty hunter and outlaw traveled across China while each being chased by other forces. This film festival winning movie’s story was inspired by the works of writer and director Sergio Leone (A Fistful of Dollars, Once Upon a Time in America). Starring Kang-ho Song (The Host, Memories of Murder) as Tae-goo Yoon, Byung-hun Lee (G.I. Joe franchise, The Magnificent Seven) as Chang-yi Park and Woo-sung Jung (A Moment to Remember, The Warrior) as Do-won Park; this film took place in the 1940s at a time when Japanese forces were occupying China. There was an over the top feeling for me as I watched this DVD. The scenes, the action, the pace all had this bigness to it; in other words, nothing was subtle. Directed by Jee-woon Kim (A Tale of Two Sisters, A Bittersweet Life), the pacing was consistent though at times there was almost a spastic pulse to it. I thought the choreography was excellent; it reminded me of several of Jackie Chan’s movies. This was an easy picture to watch; one need not have to put much thought into it to get enjoyment. Essentially it comes down to a long chase scene/race with twists and turns. I was just glad I did not have to be a part of it. Korean, Mandarin and Japanese were spoken with English subtitles.

 

3 stars — DVD    

 

 

Flash Movie Review: The Handmaiden

I have always heard it is better to forgive someone instead of letting one’s anger and hate fester inside. Though when someone tells me this I respond by asking them how does it work when there is no hate or anger? What if you just remove the perpetrator from your life? Forgiveness has never been my forte; I have a hard time with someone who is deceitful. For example the customers who break their payment promises to me aggravate me but I do not take it personally. I just retain the memory of the event in a mental file cabinet besides noting it on their account. They will not be eligible to receive any favorable considerations from me.   ON a personal level, the people I have met through dating were for the most part honest and sweet. However if I did find out they misrepresented themselves or outright lied to me I would have nothing to do with them. I am afraid this also filters out to my friends who are in relationships. There is a married couple I have been friends with for several years. On the surface they appear to be your typical moderately successful couple, both working, nice cars and house. Recently I found out one of them had cheated on their spouse during a business trip. Here is the real ugly part; they did not say anything but the blister that showed up on their body said it all after it was diagnosed by their family doctor. They went through a divorce soon after that appointment. Though I was friends with both of them, I just could not maintain the same type of friendship with the guilty one. Let me add I have always had a hair trigger of disdain for those who cheat on their significant others; I have had my share of deceitfulness. All I can say about this wicked romantic drama is I am so glad I do not know these people.   SOOK-HEE, played by relative newcomer Kim Tae-ri, was part of a plot to gain access to the fortune of Lady Hideko, played by Min-hee Kim (No Tears for the Dead, Helpless). Things did not turn out exactly as planned once Sook-hee became part of the household. Written and directed by Chan-wook Park (Oldboy, Lady Vengeance), this foreign film was beautifully filmed. Including Jung-woo Ha (The Yellow Sea, The Chaser) as Count Fujiwara and Jin-woong Ju (The Admiral, Nameless Gangster: Rules of the Time) as Uncle Kouzuki; the acting was very good. Set in the 1930s during the Japanese occupation in Korea, the story was twisted; I enjoyed the way events suddenly caused a change in the plot. I will tell you I had at times a hard time getting through the subtitles before new ones appeared on the screen. Oh one more thing, there were some violent scenes that were cringe worthy so be prepared. I do not think this film festival winner will be pleasing to everyone; for myself, I found the unordinary plot provided entertainment even when I wanted to look away. Saying looks can be deceiving seems too easy and clichéd, but in this case it truly applies. Scenes with sexual content, violence and blood. Japanese and Korean were spoken with English subtitles.

 

3 1/4 stars            

Flash Movie Review: The Housemaid

I only began paying attention when the customer in front of me started to raise their voice at the sales clerk behind the counter. Trying not to appear nosy I pulled out my phone to check my emails as the customer’s tone of voice turned condescendingly darker. The poor employee was trying to maintain their non-confrontational demeanor; I am sure all of the company’s customer service training was being strained at the seams by this irate consumer. The thing that bothered me was the customer’s attitude. Let us be real here, the sales clerk did not manufacture the defective product, nor said anything accusatory towards the customer; so there was no reason to yell at her using derogatory remarks. Based on what the customer was wearing, it appeared as if they were wealthy. I know I should not judge a book by its cover but by the jewelry they were wearing and the way their clothing was cut, it looked like they did not shop at a dollar store. But this is the thing, I have known some people who were financially wealthy but no one would know it; they carried themselves without any airs and did not flash their money around. On the other hand I have seen some rich individuals who because they had a lot of money, they considered everyone who did not have as much money to be inferior. I find that type of thinking grotesque and do not want to have anything to do with such a person. I would be curious to hear how you feel about the family in this dramatic thriller.    WEALTHY businessman Hoon Goh and his wife Hae-ra, played by Jung-Jae Lee ( New World, City of the Rising Sun) and Woo Seo (Paju, Glass Mask-TV), were expecting twin babies. This was why their maid Byunk-sik, played by Yeo-Jeong Yoon (In Another Country, A Good Lawyer’s Wife), was instructed to hire more help. She found Eun-yi Li, played by Do-yeon Jeon (Secret Sunshine, The Contact), to take care of the couple’s young daughter. This film festival winner had a beautiful style to it. I loved the angle shots and the look of this film. Despite being unfamiliar with the spoken language, I thought all the actors did quite well with their characters. Finding out this was a remake I would like to see how the two compare because this script had more good moments than not. However, there were some parts that were odd to me. This film was listed as a thriller but I would not go that far; it was more suspenseful to me. If I were to compare this picture to a conceited wealthy person I would say it had a rich look covering up a not so nice interior. Korean spoken with English subtitles.

 

2 1/2 stars — DVD

 

 

 

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