When Ed Wong (the reliable Tzi Ma) retires, he finds that the meaning in his life has been lost. His first way to regain it is to surround himself with old tapes of his three daughters and wife when they were growing up. It doesn't help to look at them now. His wife (Freda Foh Shen) has become a mechanical beast of nagging and criticism. Samantha (Jacqueline Kim), his eldest, has become all business, no soul, and gives all her time to her husband, who is likewise all business. His middle daughter, Julie (Elaine Kao), is a repressed lesbian who begins falling for a B-movie actress (Mia Riverton). And then there's Katie (Kathy Shao-Lin Lee), his youngest, a hip-hop dancer who shows her affection for her neighbor (Sebastian Stan) by pulling dangerous pranks. Ed attempts to commit suicide, but not one of the 40-plus attempts have been successful. Ed's finally conclusion: become a Buddhist and move to an upstate temple to study the religion. This, of course, sends the family into disarray.
Continue reading: Red Doors Review
No, it isn't high art. It isn't even Lethal Weapon, but the triple-threat of ham-fisted actors makes The Hollywood Sign something of a guilty pleasure.
Continue reading: The Hollywood Sign Review
To celebrate high school graduation, Alice Mareno (Claire Daines) and Darlene Davis (Kate Beckinsale) plan an eleven day sojourn to Bangkok. ("Las Vegas without parents and laws," Alice proclaims to the more cautious Arlene) After a few days of fun in the sun, the two get a little more than they bargained for after they meet the seductive and alluring Nick Parks (Daniel Lapaine) who invites them on a weekend excursion to Hong Kong. In their rush to get to the airport, they fail to realize that Nick has planted over a kilo of heroin in Darlene's backpack. They both are arrested in the airport and once in prison, Darlene is tricked into signing a confession. They are each convicted of drug trafficking and given 33 years apiece in a hideous prison ruefully described by it's inmates as "The Brokedown Palace." Desperate for help and down to their last hope, the girls turn to "Yankee Hank" (Bill Pullman) a maverick American lawyer who takes up the daunting challenge of defending them. Together the three attempt to salvage their lives and their freedom against the tyrannical Thai government and outlandish justice system.
Continue reading: Brokedown Palace Review
Generations (having dispensed with the numbering of the sequels) is a fair enough film. It's massively contrived to be sure -- the Kirk-era cast and Picard-era cast were meant to be some 80 years apart -- but considering the difficulty of trying to combine two crews in one movie, Shatner & Stewart turned in a fair enough endeavor.
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Indie flick The Operator is a hybrid black comedy/Hitchcock thriller about a real cad named Gary (Michael Laurence) -- a lawyer, quite naturally -- who "reaps what he sows" after telling off a vengeful telephone operator. Gary cheats on his wife (and his mistress), gambles, spends the savings on a fancy car, and represents dirtbags at the office. When the stress of his life gets too much to bear, he lets a poor Ma Ball employee we known only as Shiva (Jacqueline Kim) take the brunt of his wrath, which she turns back upon him in spades.
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The silence is broken only by Michael's tenant, Lori (Eugenia Yuan), who lives downstairs in the first floor of Michael's house. Lori has the disturbing habit of making loud, passionate love to her boyfriend, Justin (Matt Westmore), and then coming upstairs to snuggle with Michael and talk about this and that.
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It would be a lot easier to take "Brokedown Palace" seriously as an Americans-imprisoned-abroad drama if the soundtrack wasn't peppered with chart-bound, pensive chick-pop. With empowering anthems from the likes of P.J. Harvey regularly laid down to illustrate its perceived depth of emotion, this movie makes being framed for drug smuggling and locked up in a dingy Thai prison play like little more than a vaguely deep, teen movie metaphor.
The teens in the case are Alice (Claire Danes) and Darlene (Kate Beckinsale), fresh out of high school and spiriting away to the Far East for one crazy summer before starting college.
Two apple-cheeked 18-year-olds, innocent in the ways of the Third World, their spontaneous Asian adventure (they told their parents they were going to Hawaii) begins with carefree cultural touristing at farmers markets and $6-a-night hotels. But it becomes a grim nightmare when a handsome young Australian (Daniel Lapaine) charms them both senseless, then hides heroin in their luggage after inviting them to visit him for a weekend in Hong Kong.
Continue reading: Brokedown Palace Review
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It would be a lot easier to take "Brokedown Palace" seriously as an Americans-imprisoned-abroad drama...