Nana

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Nana (Single Disc Edition) (buy from Amazon)

Type, Country, Year: Drama, Japan, 2005

Director: Kentar? ?tani

My rating: 3

Key actors/actresses:
Mika Nakashima ... Nana Osaki
Aoi Miyazaki ... Nana Komatsu
Hiroki Narimiya ... Nobuo Terashima
Ken'ichi Matsuyama ... Shin
Saeko ... Sachiko

Story:
Two girls both called Nana met by chance on a train and become good friends even though they have such different personalities. Incidentally they also end up renting a flat together. One of them is a rock singer who is deeply troubled with her relationship with her ex-boyfriend who is also a rock artist, he left her band to join another and pursue something bigger and indeed became very famous. The other Nana dreams of marrying her boyfriend and would do anything for him, only to find that they are too young and not ready for marriage, especially when she discovers that he has a new girlfriend.

The two girls have a lot to learn from each other...

My review:
Not supposed to be an exciting firm but nice in its own way to tell two stories of young girls in their early 20s who pursue very different lives and face with different problems and issues with people around them.

Death Note 2 - The last name

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Death Note: The Last Name (The Live Action Movie) DVD (buy from Amazon)

Type, Country, Year: Fantasy, Japan, 2006

Director: Shusuke Kaneko

My rating: 3
Key actors/actresses:
Tatsuya Fujiwara ... Light Yagami
Takeshi Kaga ... Soichiro Yagami
Shido Nakamura ... Ryuuk (voice)
Erika Toda ... Misa Amane

Story:
This is the sequel of Death Note. Genius Detective L is trying to find proofs that Light is Kara. At the same time, a second kara appears which complicates the matter. Would L be able to catch them all or would he fail and pay the ultimate price for going against Kara?

My review:
I have read the comic book and the story is a lot more complicated. But the adopted movie version is not bad but a bit rush and the plot is less cunning. Nonetheless, it is a interesting story.

Azumi 2

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Azumi Uncut 2 Disc Limited Edition (buy from Amazon)
Type, Country, Year: Adventure / Drama / Fantasy / Thriller, Japanese, 2005

Director: Shusuke Kaneko

My rating: 3

Key actors/actresses:
Aya Ueto ... Azumi
Yuma Ishigaki ... Nagara

Chiaki Kuriyama ... Kozue
Shun Oguri ... Ginkaku
Kenichi Endo ... Kinkaku (as Kenichi Endou)

Kai Shishido ... Hanzou

Story:
Continuing the story from Azumi 1, having killed 2 out of 3 of the warlords, Azumi and one remaining assassin must complete their mission to kill the last warlord but he is not going to sit and wait for their attack, in fact he has his own protection and attack team in the form of ninjas. He proactively launch attack on the buddest monk and on Azumi and her friends...

My review:
Yet more killing scenes and Azumi struggles on whether she should continue her mission and to understand the meaning of mission.

Though a bit repeatative, nonetheless the movie is pretty entertaining, especially if you like assassins vs ninja type of movie.

Azumi

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Azumi (buy from Amazon)

Type, Country, Year: Adventure/ Drama/ Fantasy/ Thriller, Japanese, 2003

Director: Ryuhei Kitamura

My rating: 3

Key actors/actresses:
Aya Ueto ... Azumi
Shun Oguri ... Nachi
Hiroki Narimiya ... Ukiha
Kenji Kohashi ... Hyuga
Takatoshi Kaneko ... Amagi
Yuma Ishigaki ... Nagara

Story:
At the end of the war, the Buddist monk of the country fears that in order to have long lasting peace, he must eliminate all the warlords, he asks the General to hide and secretly trains 10 kids to become assassins. Years later these assassins are ready to take on their mission to kill the three warlords who threaten peace. But their first mission to test their readiness is to kill their best friends who they have known and trained together since childhood. Azumi the only girl in the group (and the strongest) has to kill her boyfriend to prove her loyalty. The remaining 5 follow their master and try to accomplish their mission, but they soon find out that it is not as easy as they think...

My review:
I must say I find the master of the assassins very stupid, I mean halving your resource before you start and inducing doubts and questions in the surviving assassins as a result is hardly a smart move. This also contribute to the difficulty they have later. Too much repeatitive and senseless killing in the movie. Azumi's much exaggerated killing ability is hardly convincing.

The Girl from Paris

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The Girl from Paris (Une hirondelle a fait le printemps) [ NON-USA FORMAT, PAL, Reg.2 Import - France ] (buy from Amazon)

Director: Christian Carion

My rating: 3
Key actors/actresses:
Michel Serrault ... Adrien
Mathilde Seigner ... Sandrine Dumez

Story:
Sandrine is a Parisien who wants to become a farmer. Adrien is an old farmer, widower who is selling his farm. Sandrine bought Adrien's farm and turn it into a resort/farm, she has much to learn to be a farmer, Adrien also wants to train her, but he is keeping this cold face because all the farmers are skeptical about Parisien turns farmer... Indeed, it is a lot more difficult than Sandrine has anticipated but she is not giving up!

My review:
Though the plot is not really my cup of tea, but it is a nice simple story that is peaceful and positive. It presented some hardship that is not readily understood by people who live all their lives in the city.

The butterfly effect 2

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The Butterfly Effect 2 (buy from Amazon)

Drama, Thriller, USA, 2006

Director: John R. Leonetti

My rating: 2
Key actors/actresses:
Eric Lively ... Nick Larson

Erica Durance ... Julie Miller

Dustin Milligan ... Trevor Eastman

Gina Holden ... Amanda
Story:
Julie died a year ago in a car accident where her boyfriend Nick was driving the car. Nick still misses her terribly, he suddenly realizes he has this ability to go back and change the past by staring at old photos. But every time he changes something, it seemingly becomes better only to find out that something disastrous follows...

My review:
A bit disappointed actually because the plot is not new while the first Butterfly effect delivered a much better and more interesting story

Hard Candy

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Hard Candy (buy from Amazon)

Drama, USA, 2005

Director: David Slade

My rating: 3
Key actors/actresses:
Patrick Wilson ... Jeff Kohlver
Ellen Page ... Hayley Stark
Story:
Hayler is a supposedly 14-year old girl who has been lured by a grown-up photographer Jeff via internet chat room. But don't worry about Hayler, because Jeff is into a big surprise, he soon find out Hayler is a hard candy. His nightmare has just begun, he cannot even imagine what lies ahead...

My review:
Quite a powerful and interesting plot, full of twists and turns, even shocking at points. Splendid acting from Ellen Page.

Mezon do Himiko

Maison_Himiko
Drama, Japan, 2005

Director: Isshin Inudou

My rating: 3
Key actors/actresses:
J? Odagiri ... Haruhiko
Kou Shibasaki ... Saori Yoshida
Min Tanaka ... Himiko

Story:
Saori's father is a gay man who once owned a very popular bar/restaurant call Himiko. Himiko is dying of cancer, he is spending his final days in a house full of his gay friends including his current lover the young Haruhiko. Haruhiko has asked Saori to come and work as a maid in the house and also to see her father (though she has never forgiven her father for leaving her and her mother behind). At first, she felt very awkward among the gay men who are all interesting characters, soon she become accustom to them...

My review:
Unusual and creative story, especially, for the suggested scene that Saori and Haruhiko may have slept together which makes the relationship more complicated.

Close to you

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Close To You - Philippine Tagalog Movie DVD (buy from Amazon)

Type, Country, Year: Romantic Drama, Philippine, 2006

Director: Cathy Garcia-Molina

My rating: 3
Key actors/actresses:
John Lloyd Cruz ... Manuel
Bea Alonzo ... Marian
Sam Milby ... Lance

Story:
Manuel and Marian have been best friends since childhood. Secretly Manuel has always loved Marian in the romantic sense, but he conceals it well and often make silly comment about Marian. On the other hand, Marian always has a big crush on Lance who is her childhood friend and hero. Lance is now one of the biggest racing pop star. How would this love triangle get resolved?...

My review:
Though the story is a bit old-fashion, it is still quite entertaining (in the old fashion sense of course). So it is not bad at all if you want some clean fun laugh.

L' Enfer (Hell)

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L'Enfer (Bof) (buy from Amazon)

Type, Country, Year: Drama, France, 2005

Director: Danis Tanovic

My rating: 3
Key actors/actresses:

Emmanuelle B?art ... Sophie
Karin Viard ... C?line
Marie Gillain ... Anne
Guillaume Canet ... S?bastien
Jacques Gamblin ... Pierre
Story:
Three sisters live separate lives and all have their own problems. Sophie's husband is having an affair, Celine is approached by a man and she is not sure about his intention, Anne is in love with a married man - her professor who has a wife and a daughter. Their mother is paralysed after an accident that also caused the death of their father who was accused of a terrible crime...

My review:
Clearly a disfunc family. Sadly even when their mother learned about the truth, she still has no regret of her wrong accusation of a gross understanding, as a result, the family is broken and the daughters have suffered since. A sad movie and one doesn't feel good watching it.

"Hell" is supposedly to be one of stories that Krzysztof Kieslowski wanted to make, namely, "Heaven", "Earth" and "Hell".

Through out the movie there are signs of Kieslowski, such as the old lady pushing a bottle into the recycling bin (such scene also appeared in Blue, White, Red and Double life of Veronica).

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