Saturday, April 23, 2005

Travel Time

Ergh... no pics as of now, but I did get to meet Che-che Lazaro while coming home from Malaysia. I also almost got on the wrong airplane - instead of heading towards Clark Air Base, the one we mistakenly lined up for was headed for Kuala Lumpur.

Heh.

Back home, then off to Zamboanga City. Will it be interesting? I hope so.

Friday, April 22, 2005

I am a foot soldier...

Well, I feel like one. Somehow I feel condemned to mediocrity for life. I guess it may because of my own pessimism towards things in general. Well, I feel a bit assured when I realize there are billions of us in this little planet and it makes no difference what I feel, so...

Ok, rant over!

I've rekindled my interest in anime (I hope.) Well, as soon as I get off this computer...

I may get something on the God of Gambler series soon. Watch out for that.

And of course, an epilogue for my little excursion to Malaysia...

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

No Mind, Instanteity, Perfect Concentration

Welcome to another edition of my blog thingy! I've just returned from Malaysia and am resting nice and comfy in my little place in Manila. I'll miss those cheesy wedges, but hopefully there will be better things.

I haven't had time to prepare the pics for my little epilogue to my excursion in Malaysia, so that'll come a bit later. In the meantime, I'd like to talk to you about some other things.

A long time ago, say, fifteen years, my aunt gave me a sci-fi novel called On My Way to Paradise. Back then, my only exposure to novel-length literature were Star Trek novels, and back then, I didn't want to read anything but Star Trek novels, and from what I saw from the book, I found it uninteresting.

So the book stood in the shelf for years. Once I tried to read it, but I was occupied with other things. Then, last week, I decided to bring it along with me on my Malaysian trip to keep me occupied. Since that day fifteen years ago I've been exposed to the greats of sci-fi literature, Frank Herbert and his Dune series, or the sadly overlooked books of A.A. Attanasio, mainly his Radix tetrad.

Now, having finished the book, I can say that this is a good read, and the timing could not have gone better. Better than all those Star Trek novels I used to read.

The novel depicts the life of a morphologic pharmacologist, Angelo Osic, when one day he helps a woman who calls herself Tamara. This one act of mercy takes him on a ride, divided into three parts, from his quiet little house in Panama to space, to a distant planet called Baker, occupied by two warring Japanese factions, the Motoki Corporation and the Yabajin.

For a first novel, it's pretty impressive that the novel's author, Dave Wolverton (who would later go on to write some Star Wars novels) managed to weave a deep, multilayered tale about how society works, and how an honest or at least decent man can be changed to do almost anything (a similar theme exists in some brilliant movies, like the recent works of Park Chan-wook) Sometimes the tone of Angelo's musings seemed to me a bit too moralistic, but could that speak volumes on my own beliefs and moral standards? I ask myself, how much have I compromised to get where I am now?

There are many powerful scenes of savagery that shook me in a way few other literary works do. As Angelo joins the war and is forced to do acts of destruction that intensify as time goes on, he struggles against his compulsion to continue to do evil things. And as the ending comes, it sheds a different light on his motivations, on the way he made decisions in the past, and on how he decides to live the rest of his life.

Though not thouroughly perfect, the images will stay in my head for a long time to come: the burning cities of Motoki, the riots inside the Chaeron, the standoff in Sol Station, and my personal favorite moment of the book, the last part of the first third of the book, when Angelo dreams of his friend Flaco and Tamara playing along the sea.

"Where are you headed?"

"I'm on my way to paradise!"

"Hah! Good Place! I have a cousin who lives there!"

And Angelo spouts wings and takes flight. I hope you have found paradise, Don Angelo. Free at last.


"Pain is a rose of great peace. Silence is the depth of a song. And stillness is the space of our lives, So empty it can hold everything. " - A.A. Attanasio, Radix

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Malaysia Diaries 3.1416: No title necessary

Hi Folks,

I just came back from a place called Kota Kinabalu, which is a city a few hundred kilometers from where I posted last time. You can reach it by plane from where I was in approximately 45 minutes. We decided to take the cheaper route: 90 minutes by ferry, then two hours by car. It was fun, but predictably I was asleep most of the time.

***

On route to our destination, our ferry would pass through a river and a strait, a space between two islands. The ferry itself is big, able to accomodate a lot of cars and trucks, and the airconditioner inside the passenger's lounge is freaking cold. One interesting thing I noticed was the onboard movie they screened. On the way to K.K. it was "Bride of Chucky." Now that made me raise an eyebrow. "A Horror movie? There are kids around!"

On the way back, it was a Takashi Miike movie: Dead or Alive 2.

Fun fun fun entertainment for the whole family.

***

oh, I managed to find barbecue-flavored Roller Coaster. Interesting... It doesn't taste all that good, though.

I also managed to taste this KFC's Curry Chicken. Imagine a hot and spicy piece of KFC, then put curry spices while you're cooking it. It's pretty tasty. Oh, and I finally managed to find two McDonalds (and a Burger King). It's a plague, I tell you. However, compare that to around 10 KFCs that I've found so far.

***

I took a tour of the University of Malaysia Sabah. I was very impressed. The place is freaking huge, and takes up the space between a mountain and the sea. I'd say it's larger than UP Diliman, and it has better buildings to boot. Pictures soon. You really have to see it to believe it.

***

Movie hunting: gosh, I've gone through a lot, so I'll jsut go through the missed chances and disappointments: Still no DVD of Sepet, no Hana and Alice with English subs, and I found a copy of Shimotsuma Monogatari starring Anna Tsuchiya and Fukakyon. No english subs on that one either. I did manage to dind Wong Kar-wai's Happy Together, but at the same time I missed getting the Thai Movie Beautiful Boxer.

Oh, and there's a franchise movie seller here after all: it's called Speedy, and ony through them have I been able to purchase legit DVDs.

Tomorrow I'm heading to the beach, then going home. Expect a postscript to all this soon.

Until then, excelsior!

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Malaysia Diaries 2.52: A Tale of Two Lovers


Aga Mulach and Kristine Hermosa Whenever I think of Philippine Romantic Cinema, I think of hackneyed, shoddy plots, ridiculous plot contrivances, Deus ex Machinas galore and corny dialogue. Well this movie may not be a total surprise to me, but it does come out relatively satisfying.
In the last few days I managed to watch the 2004 Philippine romance flick All My Life, starring Aga Mulach and Kristine Hermosa. The pair plays Sam and Louie respectively. Sam is a person who lives life in the moment. Louie is a person who lives life according to a set amount of organization. Their two lives collide when they meet each other in a ship cruise line thingy. When they first(? wink, wink) meet, Kristine does the best impression she can of a drunken whiny evil woman, but the master of that craft is still Jeon Ji-hyun. Things get underway rather fast.

Anyway, you don't have to rely on me to know the plot of this movie: all you have to do is read the cover in the back of the VCD/DVD and that's basically the whole thing.

Anyway, on to the review: Aga Mulach tries, tries, tries to get our sympathy and he probably will-he's good. We'd probably be annoyed by Kristine, but she looks great. There are a ton of contrived subplots that detract from the focus of the story rather than help it. Take the dillema regarding Louie's mother, for example. Her character is a one-dimensional cardboard cutout reminiscent of some of the characters of Million Dollar Baby, a movie that reeks of poor, manipulative screenwriting. When the plot point is resolved, it's quickly whisked under the carpet - failing to do anything within the story, something that at least MDB was successful at doing.

Another thing: the editing choices in the first third or so in the movie, where Sam and Louie have happy times together, makes some of the scenes seem like a mishmash of scenes juxtaposed together. It immediately reminded me of Star Wars Ep. II, where a scene would just appear out of nowhere for the sake of character development, or the entire first half of the Korean movie Windstruck. It's up to your personal choice on whether you'd like this or not, but for me it didn't seem effective.

The good - some plot contrivances don't seem contrived, which is nice. It's also nice to see the Manila Baywalk used as a setting for some of the scenes. And lastly, a bit of melodrama and romantic theatrics isn't that bad once in a while.

After all the weepy melodrama and overly cheesy dialogue is done, at the very least you'd have a quarter of a tear wrenched from your face - assuming you managed to sympathize with the characters at all. Approach at your own risk.


Malaysia Diaries 2.1: Cheese, Chicken and Chinese Subtitles

Hi Everybody!

(Hi Dr. Nick!)

eh... bad joke.

I'm currently in a little Malaysian island called Labuan. It's a three hour trip from Luzon, full of sand, beaches, plants... and stuff. The population here is mixed Malay, Chinese, a few Hindus, and some people from other places, such as the Philippines. The last time I went here was around 1994, and a lot has changed since then.

Here's just a few things I noticed while vacationing here:

There aren't much TV stations here, but there is a satellite thingy called Astro that broadcasts a large number of great channels. For an Asian Film Fan like myself, one of the channels even screens Korean films on a daily basis.

The only major fastfood joint here is KFC. Maybe a little Pizza Hut, but only a little. For starters, the sandwiches in Malaysian KFCs are around 20-30 % smaller than in the Philippines. Imagine a Zinger with a bun the size of a Burger McDo. Yep, you got it, it's that small. The equivalent of a Chicken Fillet has an even smaller bun, just a tad larger than your average pandesal.

The taste of KFC in Malaysia is very different from Philippine KFC. For one, it is reminiscent of Canadian KFC, it's only a little more subdued. I'm guessing it must be the breading. Plus, they have these regional dishes like Curry Crunch (I haven't tasted that yet, and I want to!) that look tasty. There is one thing that I'd love for Philippine KFCs to have: Potato Wedges with Cheezy Sauce on them. Droooool...

Also, almost every afternoon the sky darkens and looks mighty threatening, as if it would rain down any minute. It didn't for three days, but now it did.

Anyway, knowing that a large Chinese Population = Chinese VCDs (at least) I went Movie Hunting today.

I was pleasantly surprised.

The thing here is that unlike the Philippines, there are no franchise stores like Video City or Astrovision selling optical media here in Malaysia (or maybe there are, but they haven't reached Labuan.) Every store here is seemingly privately owned, usually by the Chinese.

In my search of three stores. I found a preponderance of various movies from China, Korea, Malaysia, possibly Indonesia, Thailand, India, Japan, and some other countries that I don't know. The titles were predominantly VCD format, which seems to be the standard here.

I managed to pick up the following movies: One Night in Mongkok, a decent HK movie, the recent A World Without Thieves, the Korean romance/art film Art Museum by the Zoo, one of Takashi Miike's rarer films, The Bird People in China, the Vicki Zhao starrer Goddess of Mercy, and the joint Japan - S.Korea project Asako in Ruby Shoes.

In my search, I had seen a copy of Shunji Iwai's Hana and Alice- one of my most eagerly sought-after films of the year - but unfortunately it only had Chinese Subs. Sigh...

Also, I found a 9-cd set of the entire season of GITS SAC 2nd GIG, but I no longer had any cash. Double Sigh... maybe next time.

I'll be looking for an English-subbed Hana and Alice and and English-subbed version of the Malaysian movie Sepet:



It's a love story about a Chinese boy and a Malay girl who fall in love. It's pretty controversial over here; Malays moved to have the film banned because I don't think they like interracial relationships.

In other news, I heard that Star Wars Episode III is going to be rated PG-13. Excellent... everything is going as planned.

That's about it. I'll be island-hoping for three days starting tomorrow, so tune in soon...

Monday, April 11, 2005

Malaysia Diaries 1: Insert title here

Hi all.

got some things on my mind that I'd like to share:

1. If you're a K-film fan, then you'd probably recognize the company name CJ entertainment. Yep, they're responsible for distributing and producing a large number of Korean movies. I was in Subic and I saw an advertisement for animal feeds. What was it called? CJ rations, manufactured by CJ Feeds inc.

Well, that may have just been a coincidence, but the logo that I saw with this company matches the logo for CJ entertainment almost to the last color. I see this company must be this all-encompassing mega-conglomerate that aims for world domination... muahahaha.

2. Referring to one of my previous posts, I found out that it is indeed Vivian Hsu that is featured in the Hang Ten billboards and posters. She's damned cute, IMO more so than Shu Qi. She's been in the Chinovela "Love Storm" with Vic Zhou and she posed nude in some Japanese produced photobook. That takes balls of steel. Plus, she's an accomplished bowler too. Her average score is equivalent to my highest score ever, plus 20.

3. It's strange here in Malaysia. Everything seems familiar, but you know it's different. All the vehicles are RHD. And their license plates are white text on black background. Pretty boring, eh? Well, it's hotter, for one.

4. Saw ads for theater showings for the Pang Brothers' Eye 10 and Stephen Fung's House of Fury. If they have subs, you betcha I'll watch em in Malaysian cinemas!

Until next time...

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Old Guys: When I Turned Sixty-Nine


When I Turned Sixty-Nine As much as I enjoyed the talents of some of Korea's younger actors last year, I also got to appreciate some of its more veteran actors. The jopok comedy Shit Up! (a.k.a. None of Your Cheek) is one of those movies, and it's okay, if a little bit unremarkable.

Choi Bul-am, Oh Ji-Myeong and No Ju-Hyeon play three gangsters who were at the top of their game back in 1989. On the eve of their boss' retirement, they are betrayed by their colleague Jo Dong-pal, and the former two gangsters are sent to prison for fifteen years.

After serving their sentence, the two meet up with No Ju-Hyeon's disgraced character and go out for revenge against Dong-pal. But fate has more in store for our three protagonists...

Shit Up! is basically a fun, turn-your-brain-cells-off movie. There are lots of scenes and situations that require you to suspend your disbelief, and there's an entire romantic subplot between Dong-pal's daughter that at first, seems tacked on, then later threatens to take over the focus of the movie in the last half, but if you can get through that, you can get a lot of enjoyable things from this movie.

Now for the enjoyable parts: the acting, which makes a few scenes look more funny than they actually are, the compulsory action scenes, which is okay, and the wacky camera work. Fast zoom-in shots ala Shaw Brothers? You Got It!

This movie, thanks to its stars, ends up far more interesting than it should be, and warrants at least a rental.


Saturday, April 09, 2005

Three Little Roses for You

Welcome back to my world...

1. Have you ever witnessed an argument where you agreed with both sides? You want to side with one, but you can't because you contradict your own beliefs, and you don't want to compromise. Strange thing.

2. Takeshi Kitano.


The Man

I managed to get ten of the man's movies. TEN. Granted, I'd already seen five previously (Minna, yatteruka?, Zatoichi, Dolls, Kikujiro and Hana-bi, with the last two viewed with no subs) but now I can view seven anew or with subs.

The best thing about it is, it's worth only the price of 4 DVDs. Four for the price of ten. That blows my mind.

I'll be heading to Malaysia on the tenth, so expect me to write something about it when I get back on the 18th... probably Kitanofest 2005~!

heh.

3. wow, I can't believe it's really vacation time. I miss a lot of people from school. But would I go back there now? Nope. Gotta enjoy the R&R.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Twilight Thoughts

10 pm here, and I'm getting sleepy.

Well one more thing before I say goodnight to the world:

Is Vivian Hsu the girl in the Hang Ten posters downstairs? She looks really cute.

That's about it. See you guys tomorrow...

Midday Musings

Now it's the middle of the day, and I still have a few thoughts in my head.

From the Star Online Malaysia:

18th Singapore International Film Festival. We have a competitor for the competition part of the festival- the movie 1st Time. Yeah, you probably remember right- it's the movie with the Viva Hot Babes. Aside from acting ranging from horribly bad (Myles Hernandez was terrible in her segment, as far as I can remember) to halfway decent (read: most of the supporting cast) and poorly edited sex scenes, which may have been more of the fault of censors rather than the editor, the film is technically proficient. There are definitely some good shots in the movie, and the camerawork was honestly surprising.

Other competitors from the festival include, and I quote directly from the source:
Thoi Xa Vang/ A Time Far Past (Ho Quang Minh, Vietnam)
Bow Barracks Forever (Anjan Dutt, India)
Rindu Kami PadaMu/ Of Love and Eggs (Garin Nugroho, Indonesia)
Stray Dogs (Marziyeh Meshkini, Iran)
Lu Mao Tze/ The Green Hat (Liu Fendou, Hong Kong)
Anshi/ The Hunter (Serik Aprymov, Japan/ Kazakhstan)
Yeoja, Jeong-hye/ This Charming Girl (Lee Yoon-Ki, Korea)
Sud Pralad/ Tropical Malady (Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Thailand)
Gheir Saleh/ Underexposure (Odey Rasheed, Germany/ Iraq).

I'm personally rooting for This Charming Girl. It's a great film that tells a lot without saying much - a piece of visual poetry that transcends language barriers.

Other films of note is Lav Diaz's epic Ebolusyon ng Isang Pamilyang Pilipino/Evolution of a Filipino Family which runs for 11 freaking hours. Wow. You may know Lav Diaz from another long movie - Batang West Side, which ran for around 5 hours. What can I say, the man has a penchant for long movies. I can understand why some of the judges for the MMFF went out for snacks often while viewing his film - they must have been addicted to the 1.5-2 hour format that is normally accepted everywhere. Well, except for Bollywood. Those clunkers are three hours long on average.

The closing film is Mamoru Oshii's Innocence, sequel to the anime classic Ghost in the Shell. The movie is a pure visual experience, bathed in philosphical discussions on dolls and the human image. It's based on one of the story arcs in the original Ghost in the Shell manga. The interesting thing is in the manga, this story arc that Innocence was based on appears before the Puppet Master story arc, which was the basis for the first film. Confused yet? Wait'll you see the films themselves.

That's about it. See you in the afternoon.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Early Morning Blues

just a few things I want to get out of my head...

Green Tea KitKat.

That is probably one of the strangest chocolates I have ever seen. The bitterness of Green Tea with the sweet chocolate + wafer flavor of KitKat.

I wanna taste some.

well, to see more of these things, go to jlist and view the wacky items category.

#2 thought of the day: I'm up for another physical exam today. Students do this every year, and it's understandable considering that we're studying for a place in the medical profession. But if you take an x-ray every year, wouldn't that be as detrimental as... something? I understand that those machines are safer than they were when Roentgen invented the things way back, but irradiating yourself every year seems a bit like... well, overkill. And I mean part of that in a literal way too...

A Matter of Semantics

I'm a little intrigued by the way the horror movie The Ring Two is being promoted here in the Philippines.
Curiously, promoters have attached the name of the main 'villain,' Samara, to almost all of the promotional material for the film, even going as far as putting in a voice over uttering 'Samara' before the title of the movie is uttered in the theatrical trailer.

It's most probably to prevent confusion on which Ring movie series this movie is connected. The original trilogy of Japanese films was released a couple of years ago, possibly as a move to make money off the impending release of the American remake. Long story short, here in the Philippines the general public (as far as I know) liked the Japanese originals more, and pretty much forgot the remake. So the promoters of the film probably thought that this new film would be part of that Japanese trilogy, or a different movie as a whole, since the moviegoing populace probably think of "Sadako" rather than "Samara" when they see a Ring movie. The confusion would have also be heightened since Hideo Nakata, the director of two out of three of the Japanese originals, is the director of this remake, following in the footsteps of his colleague Takashi Shimizu, who directed the remake of the Japanese horror film The Grudge.

The Ring Two premieres on Philippine theaters April 13th. I'll probably post something when I get to see it...

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

An Empty House



It seems that North America has picked up Kim Ki-duk's latest movie 3-iron. I had the privilege of watching the movie last January, and I consider it to be one of Kim's better works, but not his best (my favorites from his oevure are still his 2002 film Bad Guy and last year's Samaria.)

The film, which clocks at just about 90 minutes, basks in silence. Kim makes the silence an allusion to the detachment our two protagonists have from the rest of the world, and the attempts they make to maintain this detachment. Invisibility is their aim, and yet ironically their lack of invisibilty was the thing that made them find each other in the first place.

But perhaps that could be explained by another thematic element that Kim tries to promote though his movie: perspective. He makes this clear throughout the movie, with various references to eyes and sight (not to mention the words he flashes at the end, which some may consider a bit of overkill). The houses the two protagonists invade may serve as a small window of perspective to the lives of their occupants; every house has a distinct quality that says something about the family living there.

Kim's protagonists are often misunderstood characters, some living on the fringes of society, with some of his movies portraying that isolation (The Isle comes to mind) visually. In 3-iron, this convention stays, but instead of an isolated place, the characters do their activities in an 'empty,' ironically 'personal' space.

The film never drags, thanks to relatively snappy editing and pacing. Kim definitely knows how to build atmosphere visually, making the entire 90 minutes an interesting experience into a more mature work of a prolific director.

Stairway to Limbo

So... yesterday I had agreed to meet with my teacher and talk about stuff at 10am.

So I thought I'd work on this blog, pray, sleep, what have you and wake up at 9am - reasonable enough because my uni is a five to seven minute walk away.

I woke up at 10:15 am.

So I was running late - I could run, assuming I had the energy, that sort of thing. I leapt into my pants, not eating even a small scrap of food for energy, still wiping the sleep from my throbbing eyes. I ran to the elevators.

Now I live in the 16th floor. That's quite high up considering the space between floors. The wait for the elevators wouldn't be much of a problem, since there are three elevators in my building, and from my mental estimates a ride would be available within, say, 90 seconds. That's enough time.

The elevators weren't working.

It wasn't just one elevator, or two. I'd experienced that before. This time, it was all three. With time running out, I decided to bolt for the fire escape. It was the only way to get off the building, barring jumping out of the window - and I'm not aerodynamic.

The steps on the fire escape would snugly fit a size 7 shoe. I'm a size 13, and more than one time I was in danger of tripping and falling down the stairs and breaking my neck. But since I'm here typing this, that thankfully didn't happen.

A note about the fire escape stairs before we go to the next plot point - in between floors there are two flights of stairs. You see the exit, say, to the 15th floor, you go down two flights of stairs and you can see the exit to the 14th floor.

At around the third floor, I go down two flights of stairs and I see nothing. That's normal, since the building curiously does not have a second floor.

But after going down at least three more consecutive flights of stairs and see nothing, I get a little scared. What if this stairway was connected to some evil limbo dimension and I'd be climbing down stairs forever?

Thankfully, I got out. It was 10:25. The moment I bolted out of that door at the ground floor, I saw the elevators were working. Dammit.

I ran like hell to school. Almost every component of my lower extremities were hurting like mad, lactic acid was overwhelming my system, my knees were trembling and it wasn't because of luu-huuu-huuve. Thank God I didn't have to go up any stairs (well, maybe one or two flights) or I would probably be dead from a heart attack.

I arrived at the meeting place; it was around 10:30.

When I got to school, I was told the teacher I was scheduled to talk to had moved our meeting to 11am.

Whee!

That said, I ate at Burger King for lunch.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Still Tinkering...

After a crash course in html, I finally got most of the site underway. Now, If someone were to read this drivel, I'd be happy.

There I go with the deprecatory remarks again. Heh.

Korean Box Office things

Thanks to a news item from twitchfilm I saw the South Korean box office returns this week, and it contains a lot of good Korean movies.

Number one on the list is Kim Ji-woon's action noir A Bittersweet Life, a hotly anticipated film since Kim's last work, A Tale of Two Sisters, is a classic in its own right. After seeing some of the footage I have to say that this film reeks of stylistic cinematography and a gritty sort of feel you hardly see anywhere else. Also, I hope Lee Byung-hun does justice to the role (and I think he will - I believe he's a very talented actor.)

Number two is Crying Fist, beaten by the previous film only by a horse's hair. Incidentally, if read the tallys right, this film had more national admissions, but was beaten in the Seoul Admissions. What can I say about this film. Choi Min-sik, one of the greatest contemporary actors of our time, and Ryu Seung-bum, talented in his own right.

Number three was last week's reigning champion Mapado. I'm glad that a small-scale film has done so well; reports indicate over 2 million tickets over the past two weeks.

Number four is the comedy She's on Duty, whose popularity was probably bolstered by its usage of a phrase in the movie referencing the current issue on the ownership of the Dokdo islands. It seems to mix genres, spanning from action to school action to (quite possibly) some aspects of the jopok comedy, incidentally one of my favorite genres.

Fifth on the list is the only Hollywood movie, Miss Congeniality 2. Critics have so far been unkind to the movie, but who knows? I'll probably check it out within the week or so.

That's about it. Makes you think how Korea manages to outperform Hollywood in ticket sales.

Update: it seems that in other box office tallys Crying Fist has the top box office spot. Personally I'm just glad that both these excellent movies are getting the domestic attention they deserve.

Movies: When I Turned Nine


When I Turned Nine In 2004, Korean audiences were treated to films that showcased the talents of the country's older, veteran actors in the films Sweet Sixties and Shit Up! In contrast, 2004 also offered When I Turned Nine, based on the popular novel by We Ki-chul, with a cast of up and coming young actors, notably Lee Se-young, who would go on to star in at least two more films in '04: (quite paradoxically) the aformentioned film Sweet Sixties and the school comedy flick Lovely Rivals.

When I turned nine, I was in the third grade. It was the dawn of the last decade of the millenium. I had a crush on my seatmate, I worried about grades and wanted toys and watched cartoons, I basically went through the same bratty phase most of us probably did. The same phases of growth are experienced by our characters. Woo-rim is a transfer student who comes from Seoul, who seems fickle and snobbish at times, and adapted to the city life. Yeo-min is the kid version of the generic Korean teen drama male lead - a noble, good-hearted guy who is the "Captain" of his third-grade class, being the best fighter in school.

Through the span of the film, I saw that the characters have at least some depth to them: Yeo-min experiences probably his first brush with the love bug; also, in one of the side-plots he works hard to buy glasses for his mother, whose one eye is looked down upon by some people. Woo-rim brags about living in America, but there is more than meets the eye than we may initially think. Keum-bok, one of Yeo-min's core friends, begins to feel jealousy towards the budding relationship between her friend and the new girl.

Adam Hartzell, in his review of the film, points out the way social classes are treated. I think he makes a pretty good point about it, and it shows itself in the film the most for me when Woo-rim first comes to class and looks in mixed disgust and surprise when she sees Yeo-min's dirty bare feet.

In some way, I felt that I connected with some of the characters in a personal level. I myself know how it feels to experience such feelings at a young age. Things proceed as only a Korean melodrama can and at the end, we are left with the fleeting memories of a cherished past. Ultimately, the film is a decent experience which could have been handled a bit better, but as a whole left me more or less satisfied.

First. Post. Ever.

Stacatto sentences notwithstanding, I'd like to welcome you to my little nook of the internet. I've tried to do something like this before, but I have a knack of putting off something for later. Someone once said, "Procrastination is like masturbation. After you've finished doing it, you realize you've screwed yourself."

Not anymore! I hope.

I'll be making a few movie reviews, do some other random stuff, and basically talk about Life, the Universe and everything.

Well, here's a little something to put into this thing, some links. I visit these places a lot for some reason. Go figure.

The Ring Forum - a great little community to talk about stuff in general, especially horror movies. It's filled with a lot of nice people.

The Galactic Senate - a nice little board about Star Wars. You can probably guess I've been waiting for the latest (and last) installment, Episode III, to come out.

Well, on with the show...