Saturday, February 16, 2008


USA 2006

Details shortbusmovie

Seen 15 February 2008

Provocative. The general public should watch the movie with lots of caution. There are lots of nudity and explicit scenes. The subject matter itself is love but the director's treatment might not be to everyone's liking. A sexual therapist who hasn't experienced orgasm is introduced to a social club by her patient, a gay couple at the crossroads of their own relationship.

The main draw of this club is its celebration of the physical aspects of love. There are rooms with specific themes on the subject of sex. The therapist, Sophia, explores the different expressions of love in her quest to find a solution to her own problems.

Her search opens up pent-up feelings that helped her in achieving her goal, an orgasm.

There might be a lot of overt depictions of the sexual act, but nevertheless, the underlying message of finding yourself and letting go of excess emotional baggage before embarking on the next stage of a relationship is well put.

Never a dull moment. The actress who played Sophia and the supporting cast held the whole project together superbly.

Monday, February 11, 2008

The Chess Players

India 1977

Details satyajitray

Seen 10 February 2008

A tragic comedy of sorts set in India during the takeover of the state of Oudh by the British East India Company in the 1850s. The main characters are two noble men who spent their entire day in their new found interest, the ancient game of chess. They are so engrossed in their game that the men forget their obligations towards the family especially the wives. One of the wives felt so left out by the husband’s new interest that she even hides the chess pieces while the other wife brazenly has an extra marital affair.

The two men even went so far as to find a secluded place out of their house so that they could concentrate on their game without any disturbances. All these happened against the backdrop of the intrigues and machinations of the British during their attempt to take over the state.

Friendship, loyalty, misplaced trust and devious plots abound in this superb production. The actors who play the lead roles rose to the occasion in their portrayal of human nature and were ably supported by the rest of the cast.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

The Blossoming of Maximo Oliveros

Philippines 2007

Details dvdasian

Seen 10 February 2008

Entertaining from the first scene. A 12 year old boy picking up a flower and sashaying in the back lanes of his neighbourhood. I thought it would be just another exploitative story of a boy who is on the soft side. But this version has lots of heart.

Growing up in one of the poorer districts of a big city, Maxi led an idyllic life of the typical 12 year old, albeit with more emphasis on fashion and beauty. The tell tale traits of femininity. He has a close knit family of two elder brothers who love to tease him and a father who tolerates his girlie side. But when it come to the fore, all of them protect him.

Until one day, the new policeman in the district saves Maxi from being roughed up by the neighbourhood bullies. This would be the beginning of Maxi's crush on Victor and the dilemma he faces when circumstances dictate he has to choose between family or his new found interest.

The actor who played Maxi carried his role superbly and was ably supported by the rest of the cast. The not so beautiful side of a city is depicted in all its grim reality. Poverty pervades and some are led to a life of crime, corruption and abuse of power.

A delight overall and poignant in parts.

Friday, February 08, 2008

This Girl's Life

USA 2003

Details imdb

Seen 8 February 2008

The subject matter itself is provocative. The story revolves around a famous porn star. We get to see how she started in the business, and where she is five years later. She finds herself at a cross road in her life when she meets an actor. The man seems to understand her situation and does not put any pressure on her to change.

Moon, the porn star is also taking care of her father who is afflicted with Parkinson's disease. She decides to be more independent of the industry when her father's physical and mental condition deteriorates further.

Her new part-time career as a sex investigator, someone who is hired to find out whether a partner is or will cheat on his partner, booms. But a case she took on forced her to face facts and a new reality.

The story which highlights the inner workings of the adult movie industry is an eye opener. However independent the players try to be, there is always an element of force and coercion involved. Those who want to opt out must be strong and it helps if they have support from those close and dear to them.


Possible Changes

South Korea 2004

Details hancinema

Seen 7 February 2008

Two good friends' love relationships.

One, an out of work writer meets a woman through the internet. He has a wife and a daughter but the marriage seems to be going through a strain. The woman he met does help alleviate the emptiness of his marriage. But the woman herself has a fiancée and their meetings does not amount to more than a sharing of problems and physical proximity.

The other still pines for his first love. One day he succeeded in getting her to sleep with him even though she herself has a husband and children. That physical contact brought back feelings of things that might have been. He was supposed to marry her after they had finished their studies but he met with an accident which made him slightly disabled and emotionally scarred.

He carries that chip on his shoulder since that day which also affects his relationships with other women. Fortunately, his good friend is always at hand to give support. Until the very end.

Happy End

South Korea 1999

Details global.yesasia

Seen 7 February 2008

The title might be a misnomer as there is no happy ending in the conventional sense. This is a story of love and anguish. A longing for that lost feeling of affection and attraction for each other. There is even a wish that I think came true but in a macabre fashion.

The woman in the story finds love with a man who is a part of her past but still maintains a semblance of normalcy at home with her husband and child. Eventually she has to decide between these two sides of her life when the unsuspecting husband finds evidence of her dalliance. This lead to the ultimate decision involving the three.

The three main actors portray their characters to the tee. Unfortunately, happiness seems an elusive dream even to the victor.

Broken Sky

Mexico 2006

Details cduniverse

Seen 2 February 2008

What do you do when the love of your life suddenly does not feel the same towards you. In this story, he tries to win back his lover's attention to the extent he looks and behaves like a forlorn puppy. But to no avail.

Fortunately, there is someone else in the background but he does not accept that love at first. And the ex-lover? A tormented soul.

The most interesting aspect of this film for me is the filming style. There are few words spoken. There is a voice over occasionally, and the background music is a mix of opera, and modern pieces. The silent moments and body language speak volumes of the struggle within each character. The physical attraction for each other when they were in love and the revulsion when one party has lost that loving feeling was so apt in their respective scenes.


Mrs Henderson presents

UK 2005

Details mrshendersonthemovie

Seen 2 February 2008

A musical set just before the Second World War. The focus is on the theater owner, a recently widowed rich lady and her stage manager. Both of them are strong headed individuals and we see differences of opinions throughout. From the opening of the theater, the programme, and even the lives of the stage actors.

The only disappointment for me is the scarcity of outstanding songs that could stand out representing the story. Other than that, it is a treat seeing the machinations that go to produce a stage show. Judi Dench and Bob Hoskins hit the right notes and it was enthralling the see the sparks fly.


USA 2003

Details imdb

Seen 1 February 2008

Filmed in a documentary format with the film crew following a screenwriter's life. He was a part of a team of a successful television series. But he decides to move to Las Vegas after being fired from the production.

He was supposedly doing research on a future project. A screenplay with characters who happen to be dancers. But in reality he is discovering himself as a person as well as a passion for dance. He feels that dance will be his vocation even though the odds are stacked against him.

The film does not end with a very big happy ending for the main character but he his wish does come true.

The subject matter is interesting but the filming could have been better. Despite big names that play themselves in the film, I can't really feel the struggle the main character goes through in achieving his dreams. Maybe I'm too used to melodramatics that a light touch does not seem adequate.


Belgium 1999

Details imdb

Seen 26 January 2008

A teenage girl's struggles to have a semblance of a normal life. No father in the picture. Mother going downhill on booze and sex. No permanent job.

Fortunately, she found a friend who understands her predicaments and tries to help. But even this gesture was spurned in her despeartion to get a job. Her actions do not herald a new phase of happy endings but seems like just another turning in her never ending quest to get out of her rut.

Brilliant look at life's struggles and choices that has to be made in pursuing that dream, of having a better life for oneself.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Talk to her

Spain 2002

Details sonyclassics

Seen 24 January 2008

That is the advice given to a man whose girlfriend is comatose. This is a story centred on two patients and how the those surrounding them are affected by the patients' medical condition. The director shows the background to their present state and how feelings intertwined with the facts of the day. There are presumptions and preconceived ideas on certain behaviourial patterns of the main characters.

The assumptions of the majority at the hospital might have contributed to a tragedy for one of the patients. But there was a silver lining of sorts for her. She might even rise up again to greater heights like the proverbial phoenix from the ashes. As for the guilty party, he found his own heaven in a sad way.

Favourite dialogue: Love is the saddest thing when it goes away.