A Tale of Two Sisters (2003) — Horror/Thriller (7/10)

February 20, 2009 at 7:33 pm (Movies) (, , )

I heard that this is the highest grossing film of all time in South Korea… so, you can probably guess this is South Korean film… and you’re right! The director, Jee-Woon Kim does some really oddball films. He’s done a segment for the horror compilation Three Extremes 2 (by the way, if you ever get the chance to see Three Extremes, the first one, then do it! There’s some great stuff there).

Anyway, this film has two things going for it:

1) It doesn’t explain what is going on as it just starts… occuring. The whole time, you’re going, “What are you talking about? Who is this family? What are they talking about?” Yes, it is confusing, but I think that confusion mostly plays out to the film’s advantage (for the twist-ending, of course).

2) There are some interesting themes that the film tackles that make the impact reasonably effective. The film goes into regret, disappointment and hate (but mainly regret, which makes it more interesting than your usual Asian horror film these days).

That being said, the “scares” and “chills” are nothing to speak of. Don’t watch this trying to be scared. I’d watch this just to try and understand and to counter your wtf? moment that run through your brain. The film in some regards, is really typical. The look and images doesn’t do anything for you like say The Grudge, which was a horrendous film.

The movie that came out a few weeks ago, The Uninvited, that is a remake of this film. I wonder how much they changed. I’m sure they must have drastically changed a few elements because this film would never work in the realm of America.



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Elephant (2003) — Drama (9/10)

January 8, 2009 at 10:55 pm (Movies) (, , )


Thank God for good films. It seems that mostly I watch what end up being “average” or “solid” films, but not as many hit me emotionally or really make me think about life. Films like: Adaptation., One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, After the Wedding, The Triplets of Belleville, Watership Down, Alien, American Beauty and Ratatouille have all had profound effects on me. To a lesser degree, I’d say this film, Elephant, has had an important impact on my life.

I am a sucker for movies about the high school experience. This movie provides an almost voyeuristic quality to what things ‘might’ have been like on the day of the shooting at Columbine high school. Really, there are so many layers, and you see just what type of person you might think yourself to be. Were you the geeky girl that ran from everybody? Were you the blonde-headed guy that managed to get outside before the shooting began? Would you be the hero? Would you run for dear life?

There are SO many interesting and high points of this film, and it asks a lot of questions. I think it really shows bullying to be distasteful, but it’s chilling at how cold and calculated these murder were (in the film). I must confess that I don’t know a lot of the backdrop of the actual events, but if they are anything like this movie, then it really is disturbing to see how meticulous and heartless these two guys really were.

I would encourage you to watch this movie by yourself. If not, watch it with just a few people, and certainly don’t talk during this movie (and try not to fall asleep, too!). This film is haunting and beautiful, and this film is definitely slow. Don’t think that anything here will keep your attention for you, so I think you’ll have to pay attention on your own this time.

There’s a scene where the camera follows this guy while the Moonlight Sonata is playing in the background. I could watch that scene for days and still find new meaning. This is a true work of art by Gus Van Sant. I want to see his now-playing film Milk, but I haven’t had the chance. It’s just too bad that Gus Van Sant makes such otherwise mediocre films (Paranoid Park, Good Will Hunting, Finding Forrester, the Psycho remake…). Go see this film, please.


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