Nick’s Picks 11/14/12
YOU ARE THE APPLE OF MY EYE
Adolescence is like a heavy rain. Even though you catch a cold from it, you still look forward to experiencing it once again. Ko-Teng has several close friends who had a crush on Shen Chia-Yi. Those friends of Ko’s thus moved in unison from Ching Cheng’s junior high school straight into the senior high school division in pursuit of her. Naughty in nature, Ko was ordered by their homeroom teacher to sit in front of honor student Shen for her to keep close tabs on him. The two hadn’t hit it off at first but Ko gradually fell for Shen, who was always pressuring him to study hard. On the other hand, Shen became impressed by the contrasting values Ko represented. Ko started pursuing Shen but Shen remained hesitant. After graduation from senior high, Ko and Shen almost became a couple but the deal was spoilt by a dukeout competition organized by Ko. Growing up together to witness their beloved Shen walking down the aisle to become someone else’s wife, these boys have learned their coming-of-age lessons and continue to pursue each’s happiness.
The director of this film states that “at that pivotal moment of saying farewell to your adolescence, you are most likely to create the most ravishing work about youth.” That statement really rings true with You Are the Apple of My Eye. The film is based on Giddens’ autobiographical novel of the same name that was published six years ago. Interestingly enough, the translation of the title of both the book and film is “the girl we all chased during those years.” The story is set mainly in the writer/director’s alma mater, Ching Cheng High School, in his hometown of Changhua City, which is located in central Taiwan. “My adolescent days were joyful and crazy, but also marked with regrets. All those regrets became the wonderful side effects of adolescence, leading me back to the hot summer when I was 17. Look at us! A bunch of brats! See how we desperately went after the cutest girl in the world, Shen Chia-Yi.” He goes on to comment that people accused him of being childish, which he clearly took as a compliment. “Fortunately, I am even more childish than any one could imagine.” Ko is quite proud of his final product, as he should be. He put together an excellent production team and some extremely skilled young actors. As director of the project, he was able to recreate the vibes and the atmosphere of his former school – a fact that he is very pleased about.
Just to lend some perspective, on the last day of 2011, the list of Hong Kong’s top grossing films had a new No. 1. With Ko’s internet based story, he has produced one of the most incredibly surprising feature films in the history of the Orient. A love story, built upon the attraction and desire of students simply wanting to be kids, raced up the charts and took the number one spot. A spot long held by Kung Fu Hustle since 2004. Bottom line is You are the Apple of My Eye is an extremely touching film that demonstrates a creative force across the globe. Feature films are no longer being anointed as outstanding based upon how much money is spent on them or what kind of special effects they might include. Hong Kong and film makers across the world have a new standard regarding what audiences look for in their films. Having an expectation that humanistic cinema be provided that incorporates commercial appeal and juxtaposing that stance with the idea that films must be able to spread their wings in order to provide creativity is now the norm. Imagine that!
Of Special Note, please take advantage of joining MFAH Film Committee member and UH Associate Professor Karen Fang for the lecture, “A New Era in Taiwan Cinema: Cape No. 7 and You Are the Apple of My Eye” on Saturday, November 17 at 2:00 pm at the Taiwan Culture Center in Bellaire, which is located at 10303 West Office Drive in Houston, TX 77042. If you have any questions about the lecture, please call (713) 789-4995.
You are the Apple of My Eye
Starring: Zhendong Ke, Michelle Chen & Owodog
Director: Giddens Ko
Company: Focus Features
Now Showing: Museum of Fine Arts, Houston on Friday, November 16 at 7:00 pm & on Sunday, November 18 at 5:00 pm
MPAA Rating: NR
RAIDERS! The Story of the Greatest Fan Film Ever Made
In the 1980’s two boys remade the film Raiders of the Lost Ark shot for shot, with no money, no resources, and no clue. Incredibly, they realized their dream, though it took them a staggering seven years to complete their movie. By then, they had grown up – and almost burned down the family home, nearly killed Eric, and stopped speaking to each other. Twenty-nine years later, today their film Raiders of the Lost Ark: The Adaptation has been praised by Steven Spielberg, Harry Knowles and Eli Roth, has an obsessive and devoted following of millions and is considered the best and most successful fan film ever created.
Now this book tells the whole story of their odyssey – from two kids with nothing but a dream to recreate their most beloved movie to two seasoned filmmakers with an international cult phenomenon. RAIDERS!:The Story of the Greatest Fan Film Ever Made by Alan Eisenstock with Eric Zala and Chris Strompolos is an excellent read and is just a fun book. Perfect for the entire family and a must own for anyone that is a fan of the Raiders franchise. The behind the scenes goings on, the accidents and even the disagreements help to paint a picture of the complete resolve these kids had in seeing their dreams come true. I cannot recommend this book more highly!
FREE DVD GIVEAWAY
We are doing a Free DVD Giveaway! If you are interested in a chance at winning a free copy of the Predator Collection or Kiss Me, it is really easy! All you have to do is send me an email at HoustonMovieGuy@gmail.com. The subject line of the email should read DVD GIVEAWAY. In the body of the email, be sure to put your name, full mailing address and which DVD or Blu-ray you would like. Winners will be selected by random drawing. Best of luck!
WEEKEND – Criterion
This sensual, remarkably observed, beautifully acted wonder is the breakout feature from British writer-director-editor Andrew Haigh (Greek Pete). Rarely has a film been as honest about sexuality—in both depiction and discussion—as this tale of a one-night-stand that develops into a weekend-long idyll for two very different young men (exciting newcomers Tom Cullen and Chris New) in Midlands England. It’s an emotionally naked film that’s both an invaluable snapshot of the complexities of contemporary gay living and a universally identifiable portrait of a love affair.
PREDATOR COLLECTION – Inception Media & the Smithsonian Collection
They rule the grassy battlefields of the Serengeti and reign supreme over the perilous rivers of Botswana. They are the world s deadliest predators: the big cats and big crocs of the African wild. Pack hunters or lone assassins, each possesses its own lethal skill set, which it needs in order to stay alive in one of the most unpredictable environments on Earth.The Predator Collection takes you from the top of the savannah food chain to the depths of the Okavango Delta, where every day is a battle for supremacy and survival, even for the fiercest, fastest, most ferocious killers in existence.Meet the Big Cats of the Savannah, the only place in the world where lions, leopards, and cheetahs coexist, not always peacefully. Then follow a mother cheetah running for her life…and the lives of her three cubs in Cheetah: Price of Speed. Witness Lions in Battle, where the harshest season in decades forces a desperate pride to attack a much larger from of prey. And finally, Diving with Crocodiles drops you into the lair of Africa s number one killer of humans: the Nile Crocodile.
KISS ME – Wolfe Video
A sensual, romantic drama about how love appears in the most unexpected ways at the most unexpected times! Mia and Frida, both in their thirties, meet for the first time at their parents engagement party. Mia s father, Lasse, is about marry Frida s mother, Elizabeth, which will make Mia and Frida stepsisters. Lasse s daughter, Mia, has not visited her father in years and arrives with her fiancé Tim. As Mia and Frida get to know one another, strong emotions begin to stir between them. Their relationship will turn everything upside down for everyone close to them with dramatic consequences.
PAINTED SKIN: The Ressurection – WellGo USA
According to ancient lore, if a human freely offers their heart to a demon, that monster can become mortal, experiencing the true pains and passions of existence. This is the ultimate triumph of the underworld. Xiaowei (Xun Zhou), a millennia-old fox spirit, is freed from her frozen prison and transforms into a dangerous seductress, consuming living hearts to keep her beautiful as she searches for her chance to become human. Meanwhile, Princess Jing (Wei Zhao), hiding her marred beauty behind a golden mask, flees an unknown threat to her kingdom by pursuing the only man she ever loved: the guard who was unable to protect her, so many years ago. A twist of fate brings Princess Jing and Xiaowei together, and a slow game of wits, deceit, and seduction begins for the princess very own heart.
COMES A BRIGHT DAY – Strand Releasing
In this offbeat, romantic crime thriller, Sam is a bright, ambitious and handsome bellboy at a five star hotel who has big dreams of one day running his own restaurant. On a seemingly ordinary day, he suddenly finds himself in a life or death hostage situation with the radiantly beautiful Mary and her belligerent elderly boss Charlie while running an errand at a one of London s most exclusive jewelers. Against the backdrop of an armed jewel robbery that goes badly wrong, hostages Sam and Mary, flung together by deadly circumstance, discover their true feelings for each other.
MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING: 10th Anniversary – HBO
Toula is 30. And unmarried. Which means as a nice Greek girl — she’s a failure. All her cousins did the right thing — married Greek boys and made Greek babies. So everyone worries: what will become of Toula? Then one day she sees the ultimate unattainable guy and realizes the only way her life will get better is if he gets away from her big, fat Greek family. Toula escapes from the family restaurant. She exchanges her seating hostess jacket for a college diploma, convinces her aunt to give her a new job, and trades in her coke-bottle glasses for contact lenses, just in time for “him” to walk back into her life. Ian Miller is tall, handsome but definitely not Greek. Their courtship is an Olympian culture clash. Can Ian handle Toula, her parents, her aunts, uncles, cousins and several centuries of Greek heritage? Will Toula discover the love she’s been missing right in the heart of her big, fat family? One thing is for sure, for better or worse, for richer or poorer, with Ian’s proposal Toula is headed for her big, fat Greek wedding.
DUCK DYNASTY: Season One – A&E
Louisiana is known for many things. Everything from food to music is mentioned when you ask tourists out it, but if you ask the locals, it’s always the same answer: Duck Calls. What? Yes, really. The Robertson family, affectionately known as the “first family of the bayou state,” created the Duck Commander duck call. The Commander is known as the best duck call in the world. Beginning as a small mom and pop business that, with the help of the entire family, has evolved into a multi million dollar business. The traditional family all work and play together and the schemes and tribulations of Willie, Jase, Uncle Si, Phil and the rest are both hilarious education. This isn’t your typical reality television show, either. Duck Dynasty is creative, funny and perfect for the entire family. Each episode ends with some kind of lesson to be learned that provides perspective on family values. Touching and humor filled, Duck Dynasty is a must own and is sure to tickle even the most stoic of funny bones!
SAVAGES – Universal
Three-time Oscarr-winning filmmaker Oliver Stone returns to the screen with the ferocious thriller Savages, featuring the all-star ensemble cast of Taylor Kitsch, Blake Lively, Aaron Johnson, John Travolta, Benicio Del Toro, Salma Hayek, Emile Hirsch and Demian Bichir. The film is based on Don Winslow’s best-selling crime novel that was named one of The New York Times’ Top 10 Books of 2010. Laguna Beach entrepreneurs Ben (Johnson), a peaceful and charitable Buddhist, and his closest friend Chon (Kitsch), a former Navy SEAL and ex-mercenary, run a lucrative, homegrown industry-raising some of the best marijuana ever developed. They also share a one-of-a-kind love with the extraordinary beauty Ophelia (Lively). Life is idyllic in their Southern California town.until the Mexican Baja Cartel decides to move in and demands that the trio partners with them. When the merciless head of the BC, Elena (Hayek), and her brutal enforcer, Lado (Del Toro), underestimate the unbreakable bond among these three friends, Ben and Chon-with the reluctant, slippery assistance of a dirty DEA agent (Travolta)-wage a seemingly unwinnable war against the cartel. And so begins a series of increasingly vicious ploys and maneuvers in a high stakes, savage battle of wills.
LUKEWARM – Image
Luke Rogers (Jeremy Jones) started out on the right path, but when his dad (John Schneider) walked out when Luke was just a boy, his world came crashing down. Now working as a bartender to make ends meet, Luke is slowly losing his way. Between the enticements of the nightclub scene and a reluctance to fully commit to his devoted girlfriend (Nicole Gale Anderson), Luke’s crisis of faith is coming to a head. Will he ultimately succumb to temptation or can he take control of his life and try to forge a new bond with his estranged father? Featuring a great cast including Jason Burke, Jenna von Oÿ and Bill Cobbs, and a universal message of hope, Lukewarm is an inspiring tale of faith, forgiveness and redemption.
TWILIGHTS LAST GLEAMING – Olive Films
Originally made in 1977, Twilights Last Gleaming is quite an impressive and yet frightening film that focuses upon the potential start of World War Three. Legendary director Robert Aldrich delivers a nail-biting thriller starring screen legend Burt Lancaster in an unforgettable performance as Lawrence Dell, a highly decorated US Air Force Colonel who escaped for a military prison and with the help of three other convicts (Paul Winfield, Burt Young, William Smith). The four men take over a nuclear base and hold America hostage. This fully restored director’s cut was re-mastered by the Bavaria Film Studios. The stellar cast includes Richard Widmark, Joseph Cotten, Melvyn Douglas and Charles Durning as the American President. Well beyond its time, Twilights Last Gleaming will keep you on the edge of your seat from beginning to end.
FRIENDS: Complete Series on Blu-ray – Warner
Over ten years and 236 episodes, Friends put drama and comedy at the forefront of everyone’s television set with the trials and tribulations of Ross, Rachel, Monica, Chandler, Phoebe and Joey. Clearly one of the best television series of all time, Friends shot to prominence and stayed there throughout its network run. The final program was aired in May of 2004 and was watched by over 51 million people in the United States. It’s been eight years since the program originally left the air, but the group of Friends still live in our collective minds and our hearts.
Warner has put together the ultimate collector series on Blu-ray and features over 110 hours of material. Each and every one of 236 episodes is included in a beautifully designed collector package in the form of a hard cover book. It contains all 21 discs as well as a 32 page guide that is chocked full of pictures and bonus content directly from the archives at Warner Bros entertainment. Friends The Complete Series on Blu-ray is a collection for the serious Friends junkie! There are a tremendous amount of bonus features included as well and this set is a must own for any fan of this iconic show.
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