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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Movie Reviews: King Kong & Memoirs of a Geisha

King Kong


Arrogant filmmaker Carl Denham (Black) sails to the remote Skull Island with his new leading lady, Ann Darrow (Watts), and crew, including screenwriter Jack Driscoll (Brody). But upon their arrival, native warriors kidnap Ann in order to sacrifice her to the great ape King Kong. Surprisingly, instead of eating her, the beast saves her. Later, Kong is trapped and taken back to New York City, where Carl puts him in a Broadway show, to disastrous effect. Soon, the huge animal is running amok in the city, looking for Ann.

Cast Naomi Watts, Jack Black, Adrien Brody, Thomas Kretschmann, Colin Hanks (more)

Director(s) Peter Jackson

Writer(s) Philippa Boyens, Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh


Peter Jackson's King Kong is fantastic movie watching experience from beginning to end. Some have complained about the sluggish 1st act but it's hardly enough to ding the awesome work that Jackson has created. The 2nd act really explodes with action that is so jarring and immerse that you'll feel as much fear and tension as the characters on screen. It is a spectacular effect to experience. Peter Jackson gives us a complete version of what the original classic intended to be. Skull Island is a fully realized environment full of dangers and beauty. Jackson's love for the original is fully evident with various references or allusions, visually or via dialogue, to the original film. The acting is serviceable with Naomi Watts being a big standout. Major credit must be given to Jackson and Andy Serkis, who gets an extended cameo in the film, for bringing to life a massive ape that emotes better than any digital creation before it. Kong's character is expressed via his facial expressions and body language in such a believe way that you can help but empathizes with the creature as the film heads towards it's tragic end. A must watch film.


Memoirs of a Geisha


Just prior to World War II, a young Japanese girl is taken from her impoverished family to work in a geisha house. Sayuri (Zhang) rises through the ranks to become one of the country's most famous geishas. But all the while, she's haunted by memories of a man she met in her youth (Watanabe).

Cast Ziyi Zhang, Ken Watanabe, Gong Li, Michelle Yeoh, Youki Kudoh (more)

Director(s) Rob Marshall

Writer(s) Robin Swicord, Doug Wright


Rob Marshall's newest film is a visually stunning if some hollow experience. Memoirs of a Geisha is simply a feast for the eyes. Incredible set designs along with beautifully crafted wardrobe transport the audience to long lost era depicted in the film. My real issue with the film is that the love story tends to feel a bit artificial and unrealistic. The acting is decent but as I watched this movie I kept getting this notion that this movie would have been better served had it been in Japanese with English subtitles. I just feel that a movie about any cultures heritage or traditions should be in their native tongues to make the movies feel more authentic. Regardless, this movie is an enjoyable experience even if the love story is a bit stilted but the visual so extraordinary that it deserves a viewing.


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