Thursday, December 24, 2009

Whats On starting December 24

Holmes is here

Holmes is here!


Chiang Mai movies beginning Thursday, December 24, 2009


… through Tuesday, December 29


by Thomas Ohlson


Best Bet:  Avatar.   Sherlock Holmes.


This is Issue Number 8 of Volume 5 of these listings, into our fifth year!


Picture at right shows our favorite doctor (Watson) played by Jude Law

in this week’s film Sherlock Holmes.


Major Cineplex has a special: All regular seats 60 baht on Wednesdays, except for premium films.



Now playing in Chiang Mai    * = new this week


* Sherlock Holmes: US/ UK/ Australia, Action/ Adventure/ Crime/ Drama/ Mystery/ Thriller – A new take on the Holmes canon. Apparently, once you get over the shock of seeing Sherlock played as an action figure, it isn’t all that bad. Robert Downey Jr. plays Holmes and Jude Law his stalwart partner Watson. Mixed or average reviews: 53/56 out of 100.  


* The Storm Warriors 2 / Storm Riders 2: The Storm Warriors/ Fung wan II / 风云II: Hong Kong, Action/ Adventure/ Fantasy – 112 mins – A film produced and directed by the twins Oxide Pang Chun and Danny Pang, The Storm Warriors is described as a martial arts/wuxia film, andis the first Chinese film to extensively use bluescreen – shot entirely in three studios in Bangkok. In this sequel, the heroes of the first film, Wind and Cloud, find themselves up against a ruthless Japanese warlord intent on invading China. Most reviews so far applaud the style and not the substance.


* October Sonata: Thai, Drama/Romance – 90 mins – Sangchan is a girl working in a factory who falls in love with an attractive young student named Rawee, a leader of student activists whom she meets in October 8th of 1970 at a funeral of a comrade activist. . Rawee goes tostudy abroad, but he keeps a promise to come back to see Sangchan on October 8th of each year. But in October 1973, Rawee fails to show after being rounded up for his involvement in the October 14 uprising. But eventually they meet again, in another October.


* The Founding of a Republic / Jian guo da ye: China, Drama/ History – 138 mins – This film was made to coincide with the 60th anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party’s founding of China. The film boasts the most number of China's movie stars in one film many of the country’s top stars were invited to star as leads, supporting characters, or just a cameo in the film, including some of the top Chinese stars like Jackie Chan and Jet Li, who only have one shot or one line in the film. This political drama begins in 1945 and chronicles the Chinese Civil War, which eventually led to the Kuomintang’s retreat onto the island of Taiwan, as well as the Communist Party’s establishment of the new country in 1949. The film makes no pretense of doing anything other than recounting history from the current Chinese government’s point of view, and may prove to be a refreshing introduction. It’s propaganda, of course, but quite well done. Only in a Thai-dubbed version with no English subtitles, and only at Vista.


Avatar: US, Action/ Adventure/ Sci-Fi/ Thriller – 162 mins – From director James Cameron, a major achievement and a technological breakthrough. The story involves a band of humans pitted in battle against a distant planet's indigenous population. It’s a film of universal appeal that just about everyone who ever goes to the movies will see. The film delivers on all counts. Highly recommended; not to be missed. In English and Na'vi dialogue, with English and Thai subtitles as needed at Airport Plaza; Thai-dubbed only at Vista. Reviews as of Mon, 21 Dec, 9 am: Universal acclaim: 83/76 out of 100. In 3D in Cinema 3 at Airport Plaza, and 2D elsewhere there and at Vista. Vista version is Thai-dubbed only.


Rotten Tomatoes: Indeed a visionary picture, a movie of such sensorial power and majesty that you won't mind too much that the plotting and characters aren't quite as state-of-the-art. Sam Worthington stars as an ex-Marine who has replaced his twin brother as an Avatar driver in the alien world of Pandora; he soon finds his loyalties divided between the military and the Na'vi, the indigenous species on this strange planet. The pundits are wowed by Cameron's phantasmagorical visuals, which many agree mark a giant leap forward in the realm of special effects.



Roger Ebert: Watching Avatar, I felt sort of the same as when I saw Star Wars in 1977. That was another movie I walked into with uncertain expectations. James Cameron's film has been the subject of relentlessly dubious advance buzz, just as his Titanic was. Once again, he has silenced the doubters by simply delivering an extraordinary film. There is still at least one man in Hollywood who knows how to spend $250 million, or was it $300 million, wisely.


Avatar is not simply a sensational entertainment, although it is that. It's a technical breakthrough. It has a flat-out Green and anti-war message. It is predestined to launch a cult. It contains such visual detailing that it would reward repeating viewings. It invents a new language, Na'vi, as Lord of the Rings did, although mercifully I doubt this one can be spoken by humans, even teenage humans. It creates new movie stars. It is an Event, one of those films you feel you must see to keep up with the conversation.


It is an Event, one of those films you feel you must see to keep up with the conversation.


Pai in Love / ปายอินเลิฟ: Thai, Romance/ Comedy – 115 mins – Thai ensemble romantic comedy of six short films centered on a group of friends who take a winter vacation to the same placePai, northern Thailand's hippie retreat. Not terribly compelling, it could most charitably be characterized as your usual sub-adequate, substandard Thai comedy/ romance.  (13+)




Scheduled for Chiang Mai cineplexes on Wednesday/ Thursday, December 30/ 31


The Treasure Hunter / Ci Ling / 刺陵: Taiwan, Romance/ Sci-Fi– 90 mins – A story about time-traveling lovers in Genghis Khan's Mongolia. In the northwest desert where countless prosperous dynasties have flourish and fallen, there is rumour of a buried treasure of unbelievable riches. A group of mysterious guardians have kept the map to the location of the treasure safe, until a fierce rivalry erupts. A notorious international crime group, The Company hunt down the map keepers and before they manage to secure it, the keeper passes the map to a young chivalrous man Ciao Fei (pop star-turned-actor Jay Chou). Ciao Fei is forced to give up the map to save the live of his mentor's daughter Lan Ting (former supermodel Lin Chi Ling). Teaming up with Hua Ding Bang (a famous archaeologist) and Lan Ting they embark on a dangerous journey to recover the map and fight to protect the ancient treasure. Starring: Jay Chou and Lin Chi-Ling. Director: Kevin Chu/ Yen-ping Chu. Side note: Jay Chou is in the just-finished film The Green Hornet where he plays the Asian manservant Kato; film is due here next December.


Kaskus:  Ci Ling talks about a modern pair of young lovers, they accidentally fall into a time warp and arrive in Mongolia, they begin a struggle for treasure with a mysterious man at Ghengis Khan's tomb, as well as a triangle love link spanning time. Jay Chou plays Qiao Fei in the movie, he is the reincarnation of a desert eagle, he has the ability to solve various things within seconds, he has long hair at the back, he wears a brown leather coat and combat boots, his look seems like he is rich and has the tint of legends.


30 year old Lin Chi Ling takes on the challenge of playing a 25 year old female writer, she has hair down to her shoulders, she wears a red dress matched with flat brown boots, she looks very fashionable and matches well with Jay Chou.



32 Tan-Wah / 32 ธันวา: Thai, Comedy/ Romance  – 90 mins – “Note” doesn''t know who he truely loves. When Note considers his confusing mind as an ailment, he goes for some unusual therapy.  


Did You Hear About the Morgans?: US, Comedy/ Drama/ Romance – 103 mins – Starring: Hugh Grant, Sarah Jessica Parker, Sam Elliott, Mary Steenburgen. Generally unfavorable reviews: 27 out of 100.


Seattle Times, Moira Macdonald: Grant and Parker play an estranged New York power couple who have the great misfortune of witnessing a murder and thus becoming the immediate targets of a hit man. They're whisked into the witness protection program and sent to Ray, Wyo., a place populated by bears, rodeo cowboys and no Saks Fifth Avenue. And, well ... nothing much happens for the next 90 minutes. . .  Toss this one on the ever-growing pile of failed Hollywood romantic comedies, and wish Grant and Parker better luck next time.


Orlando Sentinel, Roger Moore: Painful to watch.


As It Happens / บังเอิญรักไม่สิ้นสุด: Thai, Drama/ Romance – 90 mins – Director: Udom Udomroj. Another Thai romantic drama that takes place in far-off places.



And looking forward:


Jan 7, 2010 Cirque du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant: US, Action/ Adventure/ Comedy/ Fantasy/ Horror/ Thriller – 108 mins – A young boy named Darren Shan meets a mysterious man at a freak show who turns out to be a Vampire. After a series of events Darren must leave his normal life and go on the road with the Cirque Du Freak and become a Vampire. Mixed or average reviews: 43/39 out of 100.


Rotten Tomatoes: Vampires are all the rage these days, so it makes sense that the 12-volume Cirque du Freak book series would be adapted for the silver screen. However, with The Vampire's Assistant, critics aren't exactly hailing the birth of a franchise. Chris Massoglia stars as a young man who mistakenly ends a truce in a 200-year-old vampire war; becoming a half-vampire means "dying" to his friends and family and plunging into the bloodsucking world. The pundits say The Vampire's Assistant is overstuffed and scattershot, uneasily mixing scares and laughs while leaving its characters underdeveloped.


Jan 7, 2010 Bodyguards and Assassins / Shi yue wei cheng / 十月圍城: China, Action/ Drama/ History – In Mandarin – The film concerns efforts by a group of martial artists to protect Dr. Sun Yat-sen who is popularly referred as the Father of Modern China, from an assassination attempt while visiting Hong Kong to raise funds at the beginning of the 20th century. Directed by Teddy Chan, this isaction/drama film featuring an all-star cast including Donnie Yen, Leon Lai, and Nicholas Tse. 


Jan 21, 2010Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs: US, Animation/ Family 90 mins – I know it sounds crazy, but the buzz is that it’s quite enjoyable. Generally favorable reviews: 66/64 out of 100.


Rotten Tomatoes: Quirky humor, plucky characters, and solid slapstick make this family comedy a frenetically tasty time at the movies.


Inspired by Ron and Judi Barrett's beloved children's book of the same name, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs follows inventor Flint Lockwood (voice of Bill Hader) and brainy weathergirl Sam Sparks (voice of Anna Faris) as they attempt to discover why the rain in their small town has stopped while food is falling in its place. Meanwhile, lifelong bully Brent (voice of Adam Samberg) relishes in tormenting Flint just as he did when they were kids, and Mayor Shelbourne (voice of Bruce Campbell) schemes to use Flint's latest invention--a device designed to improve everyone's lives--for his own personal gain. Mr.T. voices by-the-books cop Earl Devereaux, and James Caan voices Flint's technophobe father, Tim.


New York Daily News, Elizabeth Weitzman: Very likely the most fun your family will have this month.


Variety: Eye-popping and mouth-watering in one, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs spins a 30-page children's book into a 90-minute all-you-can-laugh buffet.


Jan 21, 2010 The Spy Next Door: US, Action/ Comedy/ Family With Jackie Chan. “Former CIA spy Bob Ho (Chan) takes on his toughest assignment to date: looking after his girlfriend's three kids, who haven't exactly warmed to their mom's beau. And when one of the youngsters accidentally downloads a top-secret formula, Bob's longtime nemesis, a Russian terrorist, pays a visit to the family.” 

Alliance Française schedule

At Alliance Française on Fridays at 8 pm

At Alliance Française on Fridays at 8 pm


The Alliance Française shows its series of French films in a small room in their building at 138 Charoen Prathet Road. The building is directly opposite Wat Chaimongkhon, near the Chedi Hotel. Tell your taxi "Samakhom Frangset" and/or "Wat Chaimongkhon." A contribution of 30 baht is requested; you pay outside at the information desk of the Alliance Française proper.


At Alliance Française on Friday, December 25:  Holiday!  No screening.


At Alliance Française on Friday, January 1:  Holiday!  No screening.


At Alliance Française on Friday, January 8:  Le père Noël est une ordure / Santa Claus Is a Stinker(1981) by Jean-Marie Poiré – 83 mins – France, Comedy. English subtitles.


With Anémone, Josiane Balasko, Marie-Anne Chazel, Christian Clavier, Gérard Jugnot, Thierry Lhermitte.


Félix, disguised as Father Christmas, hands out leaflets advertising a sexy Christmas party. His place is taken by an African Santa Claus and he returns to his caravan only to find his girlfriend Josette about to leave him. When he comes after her, she takes refuge at "SOS Distress", run by two neurotics, Thérèse and Pierre...

Alliance description


IMDb viewer:  Great comedy!  This is the kind of movie you don't mind watching over and over again because its script is so rich, so full of wonderful dialogue and genuinely funny situations, that one view isn't enough to absorb everything. Ultimately, this is a film about the spirit of Christmas in the modern times. We live stressed and frantic lives, so why would Christmas Eve be different form a regular day? That's sort of the premise of this movie.


Le père Noël est une ordure is a black comedy, a very dark one, full of odd characters and bizarre situations. Themes like homosexuality, suicide, and murder aren't left behind and spice up this crazy, passionate, comedy set on Christmas Eve.


The performances are plain terrific, with no exception. The characters are wonderfully defined and the dialogue is delicious. It's impossible not to laugh. A lot! After a relatively calm beginning, the wacky situations start to pile up in a frenzy rhythm. Being a huge fan of black comedies myself, I prefer a more subtle approach to the themes. The humor here is sometimes histrionic, theatrical, and over-the-top. That can be easily accepted because the movie is adapted from a stage play and, in the end, it works in perfection.






Film Space schedule

At Film Space on Saturdays at 7 pm

At Film Space on Saturdays at 7 pm


December is The Month of Classics at Film Space.  January, The Month of Coincidence.

Film Space is to the right and in the back of the CMU Art Museum, in the Media Arts and Design building across from the ballet school. Showings are in a classroom on the second floor or on the roof, weather permitting. A contribution is requested in the donation box at the entrance – you should leave 20 baht. Well worth supporting.


At Film Space Saturday, December 26:  Psycho (1960) by Alfred Hitchcock – 109 mins – US, Horror/Thriller. In B&W. Reviews: Universal acclaim: 89 out of 100.


Rotten Tomatoes: Credited with inventing the genre of the modern horror film, Psycho has had its share of sequels and imitators, none of which diminishes the achievement of this shocking and complex horror thriller. Alfred Hitchcock's choreography of elements in Psycho is considered so perfect it inspired a shot-by-shot remake by Gus VanSant in 1998. However, Hitchcock's black-and-white original, featuring Anthony Perkins's haunting characterization of lonely motel keeper Norman Bates, has never been equaled. Bates presides over an out-of-the-way motel under the domineering specter of his mother. The young, well-intentioned Bates is introduced to the audience when Marion Crane (Janet Leigh), a blonde on the run with stolen money, checks in for the night. But Momma doesn't like loose women, so the stage is set for this classic tale of horror--and one of the most famous scenes in film history. Psycho was initially received by audiences with shock and amazement--and it still terrifies today. Though it is now considered prototypical Hitchcock, its setting, pace, and emphasis on terror were major departures for the director at the time, coming after the more classically grand North By Northwest.


Consensus: Infamous for its shower scene, but immortal for its contribution to the horror genre. Because Psycho was filmed with tact, grace, and art, Hitchcock didn't just create modern horror, he validated it.



Roger Ebert [December 6, 1998]: "It wasn't a message that stirred the audiences, nor was it a great performance...they were aroused by pure film."


So Alfred Hitchcock told Francois Truffaut about Psycho, adding that it "belongs to filmmakers, to you and me." Hitchcock deliberately wanted Psycho to look like a cheap exploitation film. He shot it not with his usual expensive feature crew (which had just finished "North by Northwest") but with the crew he used for his television show. He filmed in black and white. Long passages contained no dialogue. His budget, $800,000, was cheap even by 1960 standards; the Bates Motel and mansion were built on the back lot at Universal. In its visceral feel, Psycho has more in common with noir quickies like "Detour" than with elegant Hitchcock thrillers like "Rear Window" or "Vertigo."


Yet no other Hitchcock film had a greater impact. "I was directing the viewers," the director told Truffaut in their book-length interview. "You might say I was playing them, like an organ." It was the most shocking film its original audience members had ever seen. "Do not reveal the surprises!" the ads shouted, and no moviegoer could have anticipated the surprises Hitchcock had in store--the murder of Marion (Janet Leigh), the apparent heroine, only a third of the way into the film, and the secret of Norman's mother. Psycho was promoted like a William Castle exploitation thriller. "It is required that you see 'Psycho' from the very beginning!" Hitchcock decreed, explaining, "the late-comers would have been waiting to see Janet Leigh after she had disappeared from the screen action."

 These surprises are now widely known, and yet Psycho continues to work as a frightening, insinuating thriller. That's largely because of Hitchcock's artistry in two areas that are not as obvious: The setup of the Marion Crane story, and the relationship between Marion and Norman (Anthony Perkins). Both of these elements work because Hitchcock devotes his full attention and skill to treating them as if they will be developed for the entire picture.


The setup involves a theme that Hitchcock used again and again: The guilt of the ordinary person trapped in a criminal situation. Marion Crane does steal $40,000, but still she fits the Hitchcock mold of an innocent to crime. We see her first during an afternoon in a shabby hotel room with her divorced lover, Sam Loomis (John Gavin). He cannot marry her because of his alimony payments; they must meet in secret. When the money appears, it's attached to a slimy real estate customer (Frank Albertson) who insinuates that for money like that, Marion might be for sale. So Marion's motive is love, and her victim is a creep.


This is a completely adequate setup for a two-hour Hitchcock plot. It never for a moment feels like material manufactured to mislead us. And as Marion flees Phoenix on her way to Sam's home town of Fairvale, Calif., we get another favorite Hitchcock trademark, paranoia about the police. A highway patrolman (Mort Mills) wakes her from a roadside nap, questions her, and can almost see the envelope with the stolen money. She trades in her car for one with different plates, but at the dealership she's startled to see the same patrolman parked across the street, leaning against his squad car, arms folded, staring at her. Every first-time viewer believes this setup establishes a story line the movie will follow to the end.


Frightened, tired, perhaps already regretting her theft, Marion drives closer to Fairvale but is slowed by a violent rainstorm. She pulls into the Bates Motel, and begins her short, fateful association with Norman Bates. And here again Hitchcock's care with the scenes and dialog persuades us that Norman and Marion will be players for the rest of the film.


He does that during their long conversation in Norman's "parlor," where savage stuffed birds seem poised to swoop down and capture them as prey. Marion has overheard the voice of Norman's mother speaking sharply with him, and she gently suggests that Norman need not stay here in this dead end, a failing motel on a road that has been bypassed by the new interstate. She cares about Norman. She is also moved to rethink her own actions. And he is touched. So touched, he feels threatened by his feelings. And that is why he must kill her.


When Norman spies on Marion, Hitchcock said, most audience members read it as Peeping Tom behavior. Truffaut observed that the film's opening, with Marion in a bra and panties, underlines the later voyeurism. We have no idea murder is in store.


Seeing the shower scene today, several things stand out. Unlike modern horror films, Psycho never shows the knife striking flesh. There are no wounds. There is blood, but not gallons of it. Hitchcock shot in black and white because he felt the audience could not stand so much blood in color (the 1998 Gus Van Sant remake specifically repudiates that theory). The slashing chords of Bernard Herrmann's soundtrack substitute for more grisly sound effects. The closing shots are not graphic but symbolic, as blood and water spin down the drain, and the camera cuts to a closeup, the same size, of Marion's unmoving eyeball. This remains the most effective slashing in movie history, suggesting that situation and artistry are more important than graphic details.


Perkins does an uncanny job of establishing the complex character of Norman, in a performance that has become a landmark. Perkins shows us there is something fundamentally wrong with Norman, and yet he has a young man's likeability, jamming his hands into his jeans pockets, skipping onto the porch, grinning. Only when the conversation grows personal does he stammer and evade. At first he evokes our sympathy as well as Marion's.

The death of the heroine is followed by Norman's meticulous mopping-up of the death scene. Hitchcock is insidiously substituting protagonists. Marion is dead, but now (not consciously but in a deeper place) we identify with Norman--not because we could stab someone, but because, if we did, we would be consumed by fear and guilt, as he is. The sequence ends with the masterful shot of Bates pushing Marion's car (containing her body and the cash) into a swamp. The car sinks, then pauses. Norman watches intently. The car finally disappears under the surface.


Analyzing our feelings, we realize we wanted that car to sink, as much as Norman did. Before Sam Loom is reappears, teamed up with Marion's sister Lila (Vera Miles) to search for her, "Psycho" already has a new protagonist: Norman Bates. This is one of the most audacious substitutions in Hitchcock's long practice of leading and manipulating us. The rest of the film is effective melodrama, and there are two effective shocks. The private eye Arbogast (Martin Balsam) is murdered, in a shot that uses back-projection to seem to follow him down the stairs. And the secret of Norman's mother is revealed.


For thoughtful viewers, however, an equal surprise is still waiting. That is the mystery of why Hitchcock marred the ending of a masterpiece with a sequence that is grotesquely out of place. After the murders have been solved, there is an inexplicable scene during which a long-winded psychiatrist (Simon Oakland) lectures the assembled survivors on the causes of Norman's psychopathic behavior. This is an anticlimax taken almost to the point of parody.


If I were bold enough to reedit Hitchcock's film, I would include only the doctor's first explanation of Norman's dual personality: "Norman Bates no longer exists. He only half existed to begin with. And now, the other half has taken over, probably for all time." Then I would cut out everything else the psychiatrist says, and cut to the shots of Norman wrapped in the blanket while his mother's voice speaks ("It's sad when a mother has to speak the words that condemn her own son..."). Those edits, I submit, would have made Psycho very nearly perfect. I have never encountered a single convincing defense of the psychiatric blather; Truffaut tactfully avoids it in his famous interview.


What makes Psycho immortal, when so many films are already half-forgotten as we leave the theater, is that it connects directly with our fears: Our fears that we might impulsively commit a crime, our fears of the police, our fears of becoming the victim of a madman, and of course our fears of disappointing our mothers.



At Film Space Saturday, January 2:  Burn After Reading (2008) by Ethan Coen and Joel Coen – 96 mins – US/ UK/ France, Comedy/ Crime/ Drama. With George Clooney, John  Malkovich, Frances McDormand, Brad Pitt. Rated R in the US for pervasive language, some sexual content, and violence. Generally favorable reviews: 63/61 out of 100.


With Burn After Reading, the Coen Brothers have crafted another clever comedy/thriller with an outlandish plot and memorable characters.


Rotten Tomatoes: With their overtly comedic follow-up Burn After Reading, the Coen Brothers return--about a third of the way--from the dark, dank recesses of the human psyche they traversed in their Oscar-winning No Country For Old Men. For those unfamiliar with the landscape of modern movie psychoanalysis, this puts the fraternal filmmakers square in the cruel, misanthropic, and farcical realm of their 1990s-era body of work, somewhere between the tragicomic crime thriller of Fargo and the disconnected noir-homage anti-storytelling of The Big Lebowski, with 2007's No Country retroactively adding new nihilism-tinged dimensions of smart skepticism to the proceedings. In a more linear trajectory, Burn After Reading also stands as the third entry, after Blood Simple and Fargo, in what could be an unofficial Tragedy of Human Idiocy trilogy, wherein characters make the most outlandishly moronic moves to devastating consequences simply by adhering to true human behavior. Indeed, Carter Burwell's emotionally weighty score, which washes over biting scenes of explosive, anesthetizing belly laughs, is very reminiscent of his Fargo work. Burn is ostensibly structured and propelled by a spy-thriller plotline involving a classified CD lost by a disgraced CIA spook and found by two simple gym employees. But, in actuality, it's simply--amazingly--a collection of brilliant caricature studies interwoven by veracious, if Coenesque, social interactions, as epitomized by the pathos of the Frances McDormand character's precipitous quest for cosmetic surgery. The CIA superior who learns of the film's events (always second-hand and sometimes along with the viewer) doesn't know what to make of it, and why would he? This is the first Coen film in almost 20 years not shot by cinematographer Roger Deakins, yet the "new" guy, Emmanuel Lubezki (Children Of Men), has created as visceral and emotionally fraught a high-definition cartoon as any since Barton Fink.



At Film Space Saturday, January 9:  A Stranger of Mine / Unmei janai hito / 運命じゃない人 (2005) by Kenji Uchida– 98 mins – Japan,  Comedy/ Drama/ Romance. A multi-award-winning film.


In one long Friday evening, Takeshi Miyata, a straight-arrow businessman, will encounter a number of people (some only fleetingly) who have intertwining fates. After six months he is still mourning the loss of his girlfriend, Ayumi and is lured from his apartment when his childhood friend, the detective Yusuke Kanda, telephones invoking Ayumi's name. Arriving late at the appointed restaurant, Kanda says Ayumi is getting married and chides Miyata over not finding a new girlfriend. He then spontaneously invites a solitary [female] diner, Maki, to join them. Although she is silently vowing to be alone because of bitterness over her engagement being broken just the day before, she quickly agrees. Kanda makes a sudden exit, leaving his friend to contend with the despondent and homeless girl. The two return to his apartment,


Japan Times, Mark Schilling: Interestingly, this is not a festival film, in the high-brow, deep-think sense. Instead it is a circularly plotted, slickly made relationship comedy that abounds with witty lines and twists, but has about much weight as a "Seinfeld" episode (which is not meant as a slam).


Uchida sees himself as a mainstream entertainer Billy Wilder is one of his idols whose talents lie more in casting the right actors and giving them funny things to say than in the nitty-gritty of lighting, shooting and cutting (for that he relies heavily on his staff, beginning with cinematographer Keiichiro Inoue).