Friday, July 30, 2010

M



First I thought it could be a remake of the Fritz Lang's M, but it isn't. Although it also has dark, sinister mystery feeling to it, this is something I haven't seen before, especially from Korean cinema. The director Lee Myung-se is truly skilled in piecing stories, illusions and dreams together in a very artistic and stylish way. This is the first time I've really noticed the director's hands in editing when watching a film. I've seen Lee Myung-Se's other movie, "the duelist" before, which was visually very sleek and the story was much more light hearted. That movie didn't stay in my mind too long. But I think "M" will stay in my head for a long time, haunting me. Both movies have the same actor playing the lead and he is very good in both. In "M" he plays a writer who is struggling to separate his dreams/ hallucination/memories from the reality. It reminded me a bit of Nolan's "Memento" and "Inception", all dealing with a similar subject. But "M" also has a menacing and creepy quality like Lynch's with the precision of Hitchcock's thrillers. There are many Korean films coming out to the U.S. these days, I don't know how I missed it when this one came to the theater. I wish many people had a chance to see "M", because I think this movie is far better than some of the other well received korean movies out there.




Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Gary Komarin






I first encountered his paintings at a gallery near my old job. The gallery was super intimidating to walk into, with a very serious looking curator/owner at her table. So I used to pick in through the window and marvel at his paintings whenever I passed by.
It's too bad that there aren't any art books of his paintings out there.

I Am Love


Did I mention I have a crush on Tilda Swinton?
She's as amazing as usual in this Italian film. I can't say I understand this movie fully... the ending is a bit bizarre and the subject matter isn't something I can relate to... which is about a rich middle age woman having an affair with her son's friend. I, being unmarried, nor rich, nor have a son, couldn't really get into the character's dilemmas. But visually this movie definitely had a very precise style, I felt like I was watching Harper's Bazaar catalog of the 80's and 90's throughout the whole film. Amazing color and compositions!
I think this movie is meant to be viewed with an open mind, without demanding a solid conclusion or logical actions from the characters. And I did, so I enjoyed it.

Jaurim

Jaurim has been around Korean music scene for over a decade. I've loved their music when I was in middle school in korea, and I still enjoy listening to their music. Their music videos are equally well made to fit their music. Here are a few of my favorite music videos of Jaurim.







The lead singer, Kim Yoon-ah has made a solo album a few years ago. This song has been used in a popular movie based on a Korean comics I used to love in the 90's. I love the look of this music video, reminds me of great Chinese period movies like "lust, caution" and the "the last emperor".

Monday, July 19, 2010

Inception



So the movie that everyone has been waiting for finally opened last week. There really hasn't been many movies that I wanted to see lately, so I was very eager to see Christopher Nolan's Inception.
This movie starts off with intensity and momentum of a good heist movie. when Leo DiCaprio's character says "this is my last job", it reminded me of many slick action flicks like Layer Cake, Italian Job, or Ocean's Eleven. It sets up very high potentials to what might come later in the film. At the beginning, there seems to be no limit to what might happen in this movie just like in dreams.
But being a big budget film with limited time frame, it ends up being a bit too closed in, too safe, and too predictable. I understand the problem of creating a gripping story line within someone's dream, because the audiences know everyone's ultimately safe no matter what happened in their dreams. I wish Nolan had more guts to throw away the logic of awaken person and just let things unfold in it self, like an exquisite corpse because that's how the dreams are like. It's funny that I lost interests when Leo's character explains the danger of dying in a dream when the person is sedated. The movie needed this guide line for the story to work, but it felt too contrived and the story lost it's credibility. But nonetheless, Inception had some of the most striking visuals and concepts. I'm a total sucker for movies that deals with dreams and subconsciousness and I can almost see this movie flowering into a TV series, like 24 or Lost.

hmm.. what would my totem be?

Sunday, July 18, 2010

New paintings




I went to visit my mom in VA for a week and had a wonderfully productive time. I got my hair done, and eye brow done, went for a massage with my mom, ate loads of good food.. and among all these activities, I finished 3 paintings and started the 4th one.
My mom has a beautiful garden full of flowers and she took many photos of them in a vase. So I painted them to loosen up my painting hands. Then I painted a landscape using a painting knife for the first time. It was so much fun mixing oil colors with knife, I don't know why I haven't used it before. The colors smeared across the canvas so smoothly, like butter. I had to refrain myself from trying to eat them. :)

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Marcy Kaptur

What a bright and charismatic lady! I wish she runs for president, she got my vote!





Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Avatar: The Last Airbender (Nickelodeon)



When M Knight Shyamalan's new movie came out, my friend Selina mentioned how much she loves the original cartoon show the movie is based on. Although I didn't agree to go see this 3D blockbuster with her, I decided to check out the cartoon show since I haven't watched any good TV animations in a while. After watching first few episodes, I was completely hooked. The animation style is a good mix of both american nickelodeon cartoons and Anime. The main characters are very likable and goofy which take the edge off of larger than life issues these kids are dealing with in the story. Even though I knew it'll end happily (it's a nick cartoon for kids, they don't want to make the kids cry!) the stakes were very high, I really cared about how the story would unfold.
The quality of the animation is good, but what really got me in was the story telling. I loved how they incorporated the eastern philosophies and various martial arts. This is a fantasy story but somehow very well grounded in the real world. Although it is just a cartoon show for kids, it's made me feel very enlightened and spiritual after watching it. And I became a total fan of Appa, possibly the cutest animal character I've ever seen! Well done Nickelodeon!! :)

Monday, July 5, 2010

Jakub Julian Ziolkowki





On the july issue of W magazine, I read an interesting article on this young polish artist accompanied with a few of his paintings. His work has a duality of Francis bacon's freaky grotesque with Chagall's dreamy innocence which I find very interesting. And his use of color is just beautiful. The article about his life as an art student reminds me of some of my gloomy introverted classmates at RISD. I wonder what they are doing these days... hope they are doing as well as Mr. Ziolkowki.