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Sunday, October 30, 2005

2009: Lost Memories, The Office, FIFA Fever

2009: Lost Memories (directed by Si-myung Lee): Rating 6.0/10

The movie starts off with a failed assassination attempt in 1909 Harbin, China. But that failure leads to an alternate future in which Japan allied with the US to win World War II; a future in which WWII ended when atomic bombs were instead dropped on Berlin in 1945 and Japan took hold of Manchuria and Korea never got freedom. Fast forward to Japanese run Seoul in 2009 and to an incident where some terrorists hold innocent people hostage in a museum. The Japanese Police force, headed by two JBI agents, rescue the hostages and kill the terrorists. But not before one of the terrorists shouts to one of the Japanese cop of Korean origin that their group is trying to fight for an independent Korea. Sakamoto (Dong-Kun Jang) has always considered himself Japanese. But he is reminded of his Korean blood and chooses to examine his life and past. His exploration of the past helps him uncover the truth about his father and his own recurring visions of a woman. However, his probing comes at a price – he is suspended from the case and loses his friendship with his friend and police partner.

The first half of the movie is not bad but the second half ends up being too predictable. The acting is ok, nothing really stands out. The script has shades of Philip K. Dick’s The Man in the High Castle, a book about an alternate future in which America had lost the WWII to Germany and Japan. Overall, not that bad of a movie but not that great either.

The Office (Season Two of the British Comedy Series): Rating 9/10

I liked the first season of The Office but I have to admit, it was a bit difficult to watch. Now the reason it was difficult was because the comedy was so real, that it made one uncomfortable. I was reminded of Larry David’s antics in Curb Your Enthusiasm, a hilarious comedy but painful to watch because you know the main character, Larry David, is going to keep doing stupid embarrassing things. Likewise in The Office the main character, David Brent, (played to perfection by co-writer and co-director, Ricky Gervais) is so annoying, so clueless and so conceited that you are sometimes embarrassed to watch because you know he is going to say something stupid, do something even more idiotic. And on the same token, here lies the beauty of the show – it shows things so real, that they end up being funny.

With season One successfully out of the way, I finally got around to watching Season Two. And I truly enjoyed Season Two a lot more. Maybe it was because I knew what to expect from the characters. I knew what each character is like and how they have behaved, so I could enjoy what they were going through. The first two episodes (out of the total 6) are probably a bit uncomfortable because you could see the mishaps in advance, but nonetheless, it is well worth watching.

FIFA Fever (documentary celebrating 100 years of FIFA from 1904 – 2004): Rating 7/10

In celebration of 100 years of FIFA (federation of international football association), a two disc DVD was released which highlighted some of the best moments from all the soccer world cups from 1930 – 2002. Sounds like a great idea. But I was hugely disappointed with this DVD collection. This two DVD disc contains a lot of the memorable goals, saves, upsets, controversial moments and other aspects from the World Cups but it is all laid out in a very dull boring manner. A look at the beautiful game deserved a better treatment. Now, I believe the chapters are laid out such that they can be sold as tv episodes in 2006 but still, I was let down. The disc also gives some coverage to other FIFA tournaments as the Women’s World Cup, Futsal and the youth championships.

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