Monday, February 23, 2009

A Year Without Love

Argentina 2005

Details  imdb

Seen 22 February 2009

A HIV positive man, Martin, looks for companionship, friendship, love and sex through the classifieds, the streets and the clubs. At the same time, he writes a diary as he says “about this search for love, the loss of love, desires and fear of death”. While under treatment for his ailment, he still seeks out that special person to love. He goes into dangerous territory as he likes the leather club sex scene. But despite that knowledge, he falls for one of the lovers of the man who organizes these parties and faces the consequences.

His recently published book also triggers a backlash from his own family and he is out on the streets again after that year without love.


Maaf, Saya Menghamili Istri Anda

Indonesia 2007

Details  thesupermovie

Seen 21 February 2009

Dibyo, who does not seem to be able to hold a permanent job despite many efforts, is depressed about his life circumstances but an encounter with Mira, a girl he met during a night out with his friend, changed his outlook forever. Their relationship became closer until one day; Mira found out that she is pregnant. To complicate matters, even though Mira is in the process of having a divorce, she is still legally married to a neighbourhood mob leader. The rest of the story shows how Dibyo tries his best to tell the truth to Mira’s ex- husband and the scrapes that he had to go through to carry out this simple task.

I had a vcd copy of the movie and there were no subtitles, so I missed a lot of the dialogue. I could not get the nuances of the script so it is unfair to past a general judgment on the whole story.

A lot of slapstick but it does give a picture of the efforts and sacrifices one goes through in order to prove one’s love and commitment.



Argentina 2004

Details  timeout

Seen 21 February 2009

The forbidden love between two siblings is the central theme of this movie, a love doomed from the start, and how the two protagonists handle the situation when they were found out by their brother and eventually the mother.

On the surface, the family seems like any normal middle class family, with an extensive network of friends and relatives waiting for the son’s homecoming with his bride. But there are strong undercurrents unbeknown to the others happening right under their noses. The explosive ending might seem too pat for some, but the prevailing question is a moral dilemma to anyone faced with the same situation. Should the happiness of two persons be circumscribed because they have transgressed the norms of society?

This will definitely strike a chord with those trying to make moral and ethical decisions in unexpected and trying circumstances.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Wall E

USA 2008

Details  imdb

Seen 20 February 2009

A love affair between two robots, seems incredible doesn’t it? Well, in the hands of Walt Disney and Pixar, anything is possible.

A lonely existence on Earth suddenly seems not so mundane with the appearance of another robot from who knows where. Thus begin a courtship, loyal devotion and love between the two unlikely characters. One is a clunky old model, Wall E and the other, a much newer, super efficient version, Eve.

As in any other love story, they go through trial and tribulations, a test to their commitment towards each other. Will they succeed to live happily ever after? Only time will tell. And don’t forget we also have the Earth devastated angle as well.

A standard entertaining formula from the purveyors of happy endings, albeit set in the future.

In Bruges

UK 2008

Details  imdb

Seen 19 February 2009

An assassin’s first job gone awry and Bruges is the scene where he finds his purgatory. A brilliant dialogue driven drama, replete with references to the after life and our beliefs, demands the audience to listen carefully.

Can we ever forget our mistakes? How does one end the pain of things past? Integrity and high principles do take a place even in the worst of men. Should another chance or opportunity be given to make good of past misdeeds?

The film succeeds in presenting its case at a brisk pace while allowing deeper thoughts to shine through the three main characters’ words.

Impressive effort from all involved.

Monday, February 16, 2009


Philippines 2003

Details  imdb

Seen 15 February 2009

Duda is Tagalog for doubt, the main backbone of this film. How would we confront our demons when we have never experienced love? Our experiences thus far have only been sexual encounters, hundreds or maybe even thousands since our teenage years. But suddenly you feel it is time to have a more permanent relationship and this brings complications to the present equation.

Faithfulness, trust, innuendos, all fighting for its place in your heart, until one day, you realize that the feeling has gone. That life has to move on, you deserve better, and with friends who are with you through thick and thin, nothing seems insurmountable.

 As an expose of relationships, the film has its heart in the right place but do not expect excellence in the technical or acting department. Competent but would have been much better if there was a tighter script and editing.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

La Vie En Rose

France 2007

Details  imdb

Seen 14 February 2009

The life and times of Edith Piaf told from her childhood days until her last days as one of the greatest artist that we have known. Her life is no bed of roses. Growing up as a sickly child, Edith was literally thrust up front by her father in order to earn the meal for the day. Her discovery by a cabaret hall manager started her actual singing career. A strong willed woman, with an inordinate singing talent, interpreting the lyrics, giving the songs her personal touch, she did reach the pinnacle of her career during her lifetime. But this was not the same in the love department.

As usual, real life is so much more beguiling than fiction.



First Love and Other Pains

Hong Kong 1999

Details  imdb

Seen 14 February 2009

A student’s crush for his teacher seems normal but in this case, Mark, the student came into the teacher’s life, Hugh, at a low point of his teaching career.

Hugh is frustrated that his effort as a playwright is not up to standards. He is just mediocre. Mark’s advances are at first dismissed as the typical student crush but over time the two do have a relationship. Different backgrounds, common interests; a more matured father figure willing to share and impart his experiences to his younger lover, and the first love becomes so sweet.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Revolutionary Road

USA 2008

Details  imdb

Seen 10 February 2009

Two people in love can conquer mountains but once the love is gone, the whole world come tumbling down. The Wheelers, a young couple with two young children is your typical suburban American family. They seem to be getting into the routine of making a living until one day; the wife reminded herself and her husband about his dreams of pursuing something close to his heart.

That desire to strike on your own started the ball rolling for a move to Paris. But, there is also news, a promotion with bigger pay and more challenges. Then we see the beginning of conflicts and all its consequences. Dalliances with others; biting, truthful comments from a person considered mentally unsound, all add up to an explosive showdown and a sad decision.

Are we brave enough to take that unknown road, the revolutionary road?

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The Reader

USA 2008

Details  imdb

Seen 8 February 2009

A boy’s first love, and in this case, the affair was with an older woman, saw its effects lingering and making an impact even when that summer has gone.

The boy is the reader. That is his role whenever he comes to his lover’s place. And unknowingly, that role is repeated again when the woman needs that tinge of hope to carry on with life after being sentenced to life imprisonment for her past.

There was a refrain, “The more I suffer, the more I love”, spoken by the boy to describe his love. Maybe, it is true.

Monday, February 09, 2009

The Bubble

Israel 2007

Details  imdb

Seen 8 February 2009

The love between Noam and Ashraf seemed doomed from the beginning. The two are from opposite camps, Noam, an Israeli and Ashraf, a Palestinian. Despite efforts and support from friends and those like minded, who want peace above all else, they face barriers. Barriers, physical and emotional, built up through decades of animosity between the two sides seem insurmountable. Everyone is in their own bubble.

Would the lovers be able to live happily ever after? 

Sunday, February 08, 2009

I Just Didn't Do It

Japan 2007

Details  fivestarlaser

Seen 8 February 2009

A gripping court room drama and might even be said to be an indictment of the Japanese legal system.

A man is accused of groping a female student in a crowded train. His innocence is put to the test when he was first accused and brought into custody. The conditions when he was remanded seem such a harsh reality check for someone caught in the legal web and his efforts in securing a release so futile. But with the help of his good friend, mother and a team of defense lawyers, he might be able to escape a prison sentence.

An eye opener of how the legal system works. It might be the same situation elsewhere too.



Saturday, February 07, 2009

Savage Grace

USA 2007

Details  imdb

Seen 7 February 2009

If you ever need a dysfunctional family, you need not look any further than the Baekeland family.  An aloof father and a mother who is to put it mildly, a nymphomaniac, would put a strain on any child. The effect would be felt more as your terms of reference are not the norm. We see the father living with the son’s girlfriend and the son sleeping together with the mother’s lover. All comes to a head when the mother tries to wean the son from being a homosexual.

The sad part of it all is that this story is based on real life.

Truth is more bizarre than fiction.


Once Upon A Time in Seoul

South Korea 2008

Details  hancinema

Seen 7 February 2009

The alternate title is ‘Boys Don’t Cry’.

Desperate times need desperate measures and we also get to see the other side of a person’s characteristics. In this case, we are in 1953 South Korea, after the war and the nation is still trying to recover and build anew.

Two 18 year old boys try to make a better life for themselves and in the process discover their first love, the meaning of loyalty, friendship, courage and sacrifice. A chance encounter with the local gang brought the two a step closer towards their ambitions. But their plans had to take a step back when they encountered a band of street urchins.

This was the beginning of a new scheme, and it was not smooth sailing.

A good script and laudable effort from the two leads make this a gripping tale of human struggles and triumphs in the face of adversity.

A worthwhile watch.


Friday, February 06, 2009


Sri Lanka 2008


Seen 5 February 2009

This is a bitter sweet film on the urban poor, the marginalized and the victims of the on going war in Sri Lanka. A motley bunch caught in the never ending struggle to make a better life of themselves, with ambitions to get abroad in the hopes of making a change.

A flyer on a handball tournament in Germany started the ball rolling for a fantastical plan to go there as the national handball team.

Despite the odds against them, the men managed to get to Germany but of course their ultimate aim is to make their departure the starting point for their freedom from poverty and hardship back home. This would not be served on silver platter, but more struggles ensue.

Definitely an eye opener, sad but upbeat.

Vicky Cristina Barcelona

USA 2008

Details  vickycristina-movie

Seen 2 February 2009

Another love story from Woody Allen, and he does not disappoint.

This time, two girls are on a summer holiday to Barcelona. One, Vicky, engaged to be married, staid and sure of herself and Cristina, the girl who would try anything once. Then there is Juan Antonio, an artist who came into their lives and made the holidays not the usual touristy jaunt.

We must not forget Maria Elena, the fiery ex-wife.

All the questions on love, loyalty, doing the right thing or following your heart’s desire are explored. No stock answers but we get delicious highlights.


The Visitor

USA 2008

Details  thevisitorfilm

Seen 2 February 2009

A low key story of a professor of economics encounter with illegal immigrants to the US. Walter has become jaded with his career and the moment he stumbled into the young couple who had occupied his apartment in New York, his life took a different path.

At first, the couple was allowed to stay for a while until they can find another place but slowly, a friendship develops and Walter became more involved with their lives when the young man, Tariq was detained for overstaying.

Walter discovers again a passion for life through Tariq and his girlfriend, Zainab as well as Muna, Tariq’s mother who came to New York when Tariq was detained.

The emotions are well kept under the skin, just simmering, seldom going beyond boiling point.



Slumdog Millionaire

UK 2008

Details  foxsearchlight

Seen 1 February 2009

Based on the book Q&A by Vikas Swarup, this film adaptation still gives us the basic story of a poor uneducated boy winning the Indian version of the television game show ‘Who Wants To Be A Millionaire’.

The chances of that happening seem so remote that we are given a question by question tale of how the boy knows the answer. There is a day to day struggle to survive in the microcosm that is India, the family bond, brotherly love, loyalty and betrayal, and as always a love interest.

The director has made a good decision in using the Bollywood style of story telling for this movie, lots of short scenes with a pulsating and sometimes melancholic soundtrack at the appropriate moments. A competent cast that was in sync with each other made this movie a worthwhile watch.

Sunday, February 01, 2009


USA 2008

Details  doubt-themovie

Seen 1 February 2009

Do we cast aside our doubts when we’re so convinced that our actions are in the right? The premise of the story sees Sister Aloysius with conviction pursuing the ouster of Father Flynn from her school. Her single mindedness in this endeavour stemmed from a report by a young nun, Sister James. Father Flynn did explain his actions as much as he could but there were details that he was reluctant to divulge fully.

Until the end of the story, we still kept questioning who is in the right in all this drama.

Strong performances by the two leads, Meryl Streep and Philip Seymour Hoffman ably supported by the two supporting actors, Amy Adams and Viola Davis give the audience an unforgettable experience.