• Dear readers of my blog,

    Once again, I just felt like sharing one of the projects I had been working on over the last week for a high school project where secondary two (eighth grade) students have to create a radio show based on a couple of weird news. Some of these news that I have found all over the internet from all around the world are truly curious. Maybe some of them can put a little smile upon your face, who knows...Enjoy!

    Sincerely yours,
     
    Sebastian Kluth

     

     

     

    Weird news radio shows 1 - 10

     

    Name: _________________________________________ Group: ______________

    Task: Get together in groups of three.

    You have to prepare a radio show about weird news.

    One student has to play the role of the host.

    The other two students have to play the roles of two guests who have heard of two incredible events.

    Get prepared for your presentations.

    In the radio show, the host welcomes the two guests at the same time and asks them questions about how it happened, what happened, when it happened, where it happened, who was involved and finally why it happened.

    The guests all answer these questions.

    In the end, the host thanks his guests for coming. As a final word, the two guests and the host have to say which of the two stories was the weirdest and why.

    While you’re not doing your oral presentation, you have to listen to the other groups. For each group, you must listen to their weird stories and write down which story was the weirdest. You need to give at least two good reasons for your choices. You need to write full sentences.

    Good luck!

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Task: Read the following two weird news stories. Decide who of you picks which story and who wants to be the host.

                 2-year-old eats used condom at McDonald’s 

    Anishi Spencer is filing a lawsuit for $50,000 against McDonald's after her 2-year-old son ate a used condom he picked up in the play area of a Chicago restaurant, reports the Chicago Sun-Times. The incident occurred in February 2012 when her son Jacquel picked up the used condom, ate it, and later coughed a part of it up. Anishi is filing the suit on behalf of Jacquel, and her other son, Jonathan, 3, who was playing in the area at the same time. Jacquel received medical treatment after the ordeal. 

    The suit accuses the fast-food chain of not being sanitary and failing to properly maintain the area where children are playing, in addition to negligence with regard to "deviant activities" that were clearly going on in the restaurant. 

    A McDonald’s spokespersons suggested they are right now investigating the facts and that one shouldn’t jump to conclusions before having the facts. The spokesperson underlined that the company’s top priority is to provide a safe and clean environment to all clients in all their restaurants. 

     

    In September 2011, a similar incident occurred in the play area of a McDonald's in Perth, Australia. In that case a 2-year-old girl also ate what appeared to be a used condom. Ultimately it was revealed it had been prank by students at a local school who had filled the condom with vanilla ice-cream. 

         Man from Kentucky forced to eat his own beard

    A central Kentucky man said he was forced to eat his own beard after an argument about a lawn mower got out of control. Harvey Westmoreland of Lawrenceburg told the local media that two men cut off his big beard, stuffed it into his mouth and forced him to eat all of it.

    Westmoreland said his two former friends James Hill and Troy Holt got angry as they tried to negotiate a price for a lawn mower they wanted to buy from Westmoreland. The victim reported: “One thing led to another, and before I knew it, there were knives and guns and everything just went haywire.”

    The two men pleaded guilty to charges related to the incident and were sentenced for their strange crime in May 2009.

     

    Chinese man got his severed hand attached to his foot 

    Factory worker Xiao Wei lost his right hand in an accident at work in December 2013. His colleagues recovered the severed limb and he was rushed to his local hospital in Changde Xiao, China. 

    Doctors told him there was nothing they could do, but the larger regional hospital may be able to help. So, it was a race against time to get Xiao to another facility in Changsha where they could attach the hand.

    His mate drove him and they arrived seven hours after the accident. Doctors said they were hopeful they could re-attach the hand - but not right away. 

    In order to stop the severed hand from dying they attached it to Xiao's ankle, so it could have a proper blood supply. One medic at the facility in south central China, said: “His injury was severe. Besides ripping injuries, his arm was also flattened. We had to clear and treat his injuries before taking on the hand reattachment surgery.” 

    Nearly a month after his hand was severed, Xiao had recovered enough to undergo re-attachment surgery. According to doctors he will need to undergo several other surgeries but they are hopeful that he will regain full function of his hand. Xiao said: "I am still young, and I couldn't imagine life without a right hand." 

    Man from Kentucky forced to eat his own beard

    Christopher Sandberg, 34, pleaded guilty to arson by criminal negligence after police found him sitting in his truck in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada, with a propane canister.

    Police know Sandberg as a "huffer". This means that he is addicted to breathing propane. As officers were talking with him, Sandberg lit a cigarette. The resulting explosion sent both officers flying in the air. They weren't injured, but Sandberg suffered second-degree burns over more than 10 percent of his body.

    After his arrest, Sandberg was released on bail on the condition that he is not allowed to possess any sort of pressurized canister. The Canadian wasn’t able to get over his addiction. He was found passed out in a public park a month later, with a propane bottle next to him.

    His attorney pleaded for probation so Sandberg can overcome "all of his addictions", especially propane and cigarettes. In September 2009, the judge though ordered him to jail for 14 months.  

    Escaping criminals got stopped by a lamp post  

    Regan Reti, 20, and Tiranara White, 21, had each finished court appearances in Hastings, New Zealand, when officers led them out to return them to jail, handcuffed to each other.

    That's when "they made a bolt for freedom," said Hastings police Senior Sgt. Dave Greig. "They fell over and they were sprayed with pepper spray. But they got up and ran out of the court onto the street, across the road to a car park."

    The dullard duo was outpacing the officers, but "that's where they met the pole," Greig said. The two young criminals got stopped by a lamp post. They wanted to run around the lamp post in the car park but they went to different sides at the same time. The handcuffs hit the lamp post and both men fell down. The local police officers didn’t have any problems to pick them up. Once back in custody, each blamed the other for going to the wrong side. Both were charged with attempting to escape custody.

    Author writes about his sexual relationship with a dolphin

    Sixty-year old American Malcolm Brenner created quite a buzz when he released his book "Wet Goddess" in 2011. The autobiographical release talks about the man's nine-month sexual relationship he had with a dolphin in the seventies.

     

    The author claims he started his relationship with a dolphin named Dolly back in 1970, when he was in his early twenties. Brenner was a sophomore at New College of Florida in Sarasota when a writer hired Brenner to take photographs for a children's book about the dolphin show at an amusement park in Nokomis. He was given free access to the park and introduced to the staff.

    If Brenner is to be believed, the dolphin courted him. Initially, "she became more and more aggressive," said Brenner, who lives in Punta Gorda, Florida. "She would thrust herself against me." But over time, Dolly became gentler, he claimed. "I found that extraordinarily erotic," Brenner said.

    After about nine months, the Floridaland amusement park was sold. Brenner’s college sweetheart was shipped off to an oceanarium in Gulfport, Mississippi. They never saw each other again as the dolphin died about nine months later.

     

    It appears that Brenner's relationship wouldn't have broken any laws. Florida only passed a law banning bestiality this year, after two failed attempts. Biologist claim that Brenner’s book could send a dangerous message even though the author claims that he never abused the animal, that it all happened with the dolphin’s free will and that their relationship was mutual. 

     

    Killing sixty rats to get a new cell phone in South Africa 

    The poor suburb Alexandra of Johannesburg in South Africa where former president Nelson Mandela once lived when he first moved to the city, had a big rat problem in 2012. The neighbourhood’s crumbling structures, leaking sewage and discarded piles of rotting food are a perfect breeding ground for rats. Things were so bad that some children have had their fingers bitten off by rats during their sleep.

    That is why a local charity called Lifeline is sending a message that's loud and clear: Bring in 60 rats and you'll get a new cell phone. These are supplied by a local cell phone company called 8ta. Many motivated citizens worked on inventive traps to get their free cell phone. Some people even tried to kill enough rats to get cell phones for their entire families. The rats are killed on the spot, and officials take notes from the captors about where they found the critters so that those areas can be fumigated.

    Some animal rights activists have complained the cell-phone-influenced mass killings are cruel. On the other side, many other ideas for controlling the rodent population have been ineffective. There was a real fear that the rodents would take over and that Alexandra would become a city of rats.

    There is another fear since the launch of the new project: That locals will be so gung-ho about getting cell phones that they will raise rats just for the purpose of turning them in to receive the reward.

     

    Colombian grandmother carries “stone” baby in her body

    An eighty-four year old woman who was admitted to a hospital with stomach pains discovered she had been carrying a thirty-two-week-old baby in her stomach for the past forty years. The Colombian grandmother was thought to have gastroenteritis but an X-ray showed a petrified foetus in her abdomen. Further tests at the emergency centre in capital Bogota revealed an eighteen-inch-long foetus, weighing four pounds, which is thought to have been inside the woman for at least four decades. 

    It is thought that the condition was caused by a rare medical phenomenon, called lithopedion. This occurs when, unknown to the mother, a baby develops outside of the uterus then dies. Unable to expel the foetus, the body covers it with calcium to protect the mother from infection, effectively turning it to stone. Doctors advised relatives that it was as risky to leave the foetus where it was as it was to remove it. The pensioner was later transferred to another hospital and will undergo surgery to remove the baby by 2014.

     

    British teenager hiccupped 1.4 million times in two months 

    A teenager has been struck with a hiccup attack lasting two months and counting, causing him to hiccup more than one million times. Nineteen-year old Chris McKernan started hiccupping on November 20 and is average an astonishing 25 times every minute. 


    In the past 60 days he has hiccupped 1.4 million times with an average of 24,000 hiccups each day. Mr. McKernan has been awake around 16 hours a day a result of his prolonged hiccup attack and traditional cures like being scared have failed to work. 


    He said: "Everyone gets annoyed or laughs at me when I can't stop hiccupping. My girlfriend doesn't seem to mind, but it would be better for everyone if they went." 

     

    Doctors have been unable to cure Mr McKernan of his problems after prescribing him acid relieving tablets which failed to help. 

     


    The young man is still a long way shy of the longest recorded hiccup attack. The world record was set by American Charles Osborne. He had hiccups for an incredible 68 years.
    Mr Osborne hiccupped regularly from 1922 to 1990 and is estimated to have hiccupped 430 million times in his life.

     

    Chinese fake zoo passes ordinary animals as exotic creatures

     

    A private zoo in Luohe, Henan province, China, is under fire for trying to pass off a Tibetan mastiff, a particularly hairy dog, as an African lion. Fotos were quickly spread on the internet in 2013 and the whole country laughed about the cheap fake zoo. A representative claimed the real lions were away at another zoo for breeding purposes, and the dog was in the cage for his own protection. 

    However, the fake lion wasn’t the only odd thing in the zoo. Visitors also noticed that the creature in the jaguar enclosure looked suspiciously like a fox. On the other side, the zoo’s lone wolf was clearly a domestic dog that didn’t even look similar. 

     

    After the buzz, an official of the People's Park, where the zoo is located, said that the signs for the animals would be corrected. The zoo is a private enterprise. It is only there because its contract with the People's Park has not yet expired. Even though many clients complained and wanted to get their money back, other people were curious enough to visit the zoo. After all, the institution became (in)famous but made a considerable profit. 

     

    Chinese man blows up tyres with his nose 

     

    It’s a bit different from a course of antibiotics or a shot of penicillin. But Nie Yongbing said his doctor’s remedy blew his boils away.

    The 61-year-old inflates tyre inner tubes with up to eight people standing on them – using his nose.

    Mr Nie discovered his talent eight years ago in 2006 when he visited a Chinese doctor after being plagued by ‘really horrible red boils’. His physician told him he needed to unblock his body’s pathways – or meridians – by inflating balloons. Unbelievably, the treatment worked and Mr Nie has moved on to blowing up tyre inner tubes and mattresses.

     

    He now gives demonstrations of his skills to advertise his bakery in China’s south-west Sichuan province. International medias heard of his story in early 2014. Mr Nie said: “I’ve been doing this for eight years and never had a problem with boils since I started the treatment. It takes me about 20 minutes to pump up a tube with people standing on it. Doctors have told me I have an incredibly healthy lung with an enormous capacity which is great.”

     

    Swedish man reads his own obituary

    Death comes to us all – but sometimes obituary writers get there first. Sven-Olof Svensson was surprised to read about his death following a misunderstanding between his family and the hospital that had been treating him. The 81-year-old, from Jönköping in Sweden, was wrongly reported to be dead after his sister, 90, spoke with a doctor on the phone and was given the impression he was dead.

    Mr Svensson had been admitted on Christmas Eve 2013 after feeling unwell. His obituary appeared a week later in the local newspaper on New Year’s Eve.

    However, his sister’s friend – who had helped her compile the tribute – was shocked when he visited the hospital to collect Mr Svensson’s things and found him sitting up in bed. Svensson later welcomed a reporter from the same newspaper for a ‘follow-up’ article.

     

    When asked how he felt about seeing his obituary, he said: “You don’t feel much. We are all going to end up in the obituary section. I’ve lived a fantastic long life, I’m 81 and can’t complain about my age.”

     

     

    Woman spends 30,000 dollars to create a Star Trek home 

    Star Trek super fan Line Rainville has spent around 30,000 dollars turning her home into a replica of the show’s set.

    Her living room pays homage to the bridge of the Enterprise. Then there is Spock’s bedroom, a transporter room, utility panels and intercom on the corridor walls and a Starfleet bathroom.

    The social worker from Quebec City, Canada, has been a fan of the sci-fi series since the age of nine when she would watch the series with her father. Her parents even helped her. 84-year-old Mr. Rainville did the carpentry and her 80-year-old mother helped with the upholstery.

     

     “I just love Star Trek and the basement needed renovating so I thought why not?” she said. “When I started, my friends warned me all the grey colour would make me feel depressed but, as soon as I started painting, I was inspired. I wished some of the actors would visit my Star Trek basement now. It would be a dream come true.”

     

    Taliban commander turns himself in for reward 

    In 2012, Taliban commander Mohammad Ashan saw his own face on a wanted poster. He noted the reward was $100. So he grabbed one of the fliers and went to a police checkpoint in the district of Sar Howza, Afghanistan. He introduced himself and demanded the reward.

    Afghan officials arrested him instead. The man never got his reward but will face a long trial and imprisonment. He was wanted for plotting attacks on Afghan security forces.

    When American troops went to confirm that Ashan had in fact come forward to claim the finder's fee, they were initially incredulous. A local officer remembers: "We asked him: Is this really you?” Mohammad Ashan answered with an incredible amount of enthusiasm: “Yes, that's me! Can I get my award now?" 

    A biometric scan confirmed that the man in Afghan custody was indeed the insurgent they had been looking for. 

     

    British police officer chased himself for twenty minutes 

    In a story that was shared with a monthly police magazine, a police officer in Sussex, England, ended up chasing himself around for 20 minutes. A closed circuit television operator saw a suspicious man on the streets. He then called the police who transferred him to a plainclothes officer who was working on an undercover case.

    The operator gave directions to the areas where the suspicious man was caught on camera. The officer always seemed to be close to catch him, but could not see any evidence of the man.

     

    That is, until both of them realized that the "suspicious character" was actually the plainclothes officer himself. 

     

    Strange squirrel escape from a Japanese zoo

    In July 2012, a typhoon wrecked the squirrel enclosure of the Inokashira Park Zoo in Tokyo. All 30 squirrels escaped.

    Attempts to recover the animals were quite successful after a few days. At one count, 38 squirrels had been "recaptured."

    Zoo officials have offered three different explanations for the discrepancy:

    1. They miscounted how many squirrels had escaped.

    2. The squirrels reproduced while on the loose.

    3. Some wild squirrels may have been picked up by mistake.

     

    Following that curious incident, zoo officials decided to implant microchips in all of their animals. They want to make sure to retrace and recover all of and only their animals. Before the next typhoon hits the Japanese coast, all recovered squirrels will be scanned and registered in a new system. 

     

    Pupils bring lion cup at school 

    In 2012, children playing on the Russian steppe in the Rostov region found a 5-month-old lion cub. As they thought it was cute, they decided to take it to elementary school with them. Their teacher was quite shocked and contacted the authorities right away. While they were waiting for the police, the children were playing with the tame lion baby.

    The authorities first couldn’t find the owner of the animal baby. They found a temporary home at a local zoo where the lion became a huge attraction. Authorities later found out that the cub, named Barsik, had escaped from a car while being transported to a zoo in Dagestan. Several weeks after its misadventure, the lion baby finally arrived at its initial destination.

     

    Fox sends text message from a stolen phone

    Norwegian teenager Lars Andreas Bjercke downloaded an intriguing app that imitates the sounds of rabbits, in order to attract foxes. Each time Bjercke would receive a text message, the phone made the rabbit sounds. At one moment, the teenager lost his phone in a yard and couldn’t find it. It later came out that his app was quite authentic.

    After several nights of circling the yard where the phone was left, a fox took the phone and ran off! The theft was even captured on video.

    Lars later called the phone and, surprisingly, the fox answered. "There was a crackling sound and some noise," Lars told a local newspaper. 

    The next day, Lars's friend wondered why he had sent him an odd text message. The message was in strange letters and numbers. Lars knew that the sender was the fox. "I FRY o a0ab 34348tu åaugjoi zølbmosdji jsøg ijio sjiw," it said in the message. 

     

    Later on, the fox lost its initial interest for the cell phone when it realized that it wasn’t a rabbit. Local authorities found the cell phone in a nearby forest and gave it back to the owner.

     

    Amateur art restoration goes all wrong 

    A fresco of Christ by artist Elias Garcia Martinez was painted more than 100 hundred years ago in the Sanctuary of Mercy Church near Zaragoza, Spain. A recent donation from the artist's granddaughter was intended for the painting's restoration. However, cultural officials found that an elderly parishioner had already done her own restoration.

    The woman, who is in her 80s, did an "alarming and unauthorized" touch-up of the original work that completely covered Martinez's painting, although she claims the priest gave his permission. The woman had eventually realized she was having trouble with the job, and contacted the cultural ministry for guidance, but it may be too late to save any of Martinez's work. If the painting cannot be recovered, a photograph of the original may be mounted over what now adorns the wall.

    The "restored" picture became one of the biggest internet memes of the year 2012. The elderly art restorer, Cecilia Gimenez, became an instant celebrity. The new look of the art has made its home, the chapel at Santuario de Misericordia, such an attraction that the church has started charging an entrance fee of four euros. In the year following the failed restoration, tourist activity generated 40,000 visits and more than €50,000 for a local charity. 

     

    Now Cecilia Gimenez, the octogenarian who painted over the fresco, wants a cut of that. Her lawyers say she is entitled to royalties, which would go to charity. Meanwhile, the family of the original artist is considering suing Gimenez for destroying the art, and the church has retained lawyers in defense from all sides.

     

    Vatican purchases Europe’s largest gay sauna

    The Vatican seems to get itself embroiled in enough scandal that they'd be inclined to not create any more trouble for themselves, but they've done it again. The Holy See had made a seemingly innocuous, albeit pricey, real estate purchase at $30 million dollars in early 2013, only to find out that the Rome apartment block they bought contains Europe's largest gay bathhouse.

    The Europa Multiclub's entrance is so close to the living quarters of a handful of priests that it's nearly beyond coincidence. Even Cardinal Ivan Dias, the head of the Congregation for Evangelisation of Peoples and one of the Cardinals participating in the election of the current Pope, is one of those who lives nearby.

    It is currently unknown what the Vatican wants to do with its new real estate purchase. 

     

     

     

    Task: If you are one of the guests, you have to write down some important details of the two stories.

    First story:

    How did it happen?:

    ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

    What happened?:

    ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

    When did it happen?

    ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

    Where did it happen?

    ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

    Who was involved?

    ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

    Why did it happen?

    ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

    Second story:

    How did it happen?:

    ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

    What happened?:

    ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

    When did it happen?

    ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

    Where did it happen?

    ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

    Who was involved?

    ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

    Why did it happen?

    ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

     

    Task: Take some more notes for your role and your presentation. How do you want to talk to the others and present your topic?

    Notes for the host:

    _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

    Notes for the first guest:

    _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

    Notes for the second guest:

    _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

    Task: Listen closely to the other presentations. For each presentation, you have to choose which of the two presented stories is the weirdest. Write the topic down. Give at least two reasons for your choice. Write full sentences.  

     

    Group 1:

    Members of the group: _____________________________________________________

    Topic of the weirdest story: _________________________________________________

    Two reasons why this story is weird (full sentences!):

    1.      __________________________________________________________________

    2.      __________________________________________________________________

     

    Group 2:

    Members of the group: _____________________________________________________

    Topic of the weirdest story: _________________________________________________

    Two reasons why this story is weird (full sentences!):

    1.      __________________________________________________________________

    2.      __________________________________________________________________

     

    Group 3:

    Members of the group: _____________________________________________________

    Topic of the weirdest story: _________________________________________________

    Two reasons why this story is weird (full sentences!):

    1.      __________________________________________________________________

    2.      __________________________________________________________________

    Group 4:

    Members of the group: _____________________________________________________

    Topic of the weirdest story: _________________________________________________

    Two reasons why this story is weird (full sentences!):

    1.      __________________________________________________________________

    2.      __________________________________________________________________

     

    Group 5:

    Members of the group: _____________________________________________________

    Topic of the weirdest story: _________________________________________________

    Two reasons why this story is weird (full sentences!):

    1.      __________________________________________________________________

    2.      __________________________________________________________________

     

    Group 6:

    Members of the group: _____________________________________________________

    Topic of the weirdest story: _________________________________________________

    Two reasons why this story is weird (full sentences!):

    1.      __________________________________________________________________

    2.      __________________________________________________________________

     

     

     

    Group 7:

    Members of the group: _____________________________________________________

    Topic of the weirdest story: _________________________________________________

    Two reasons why this story is weird (full sentences!):

    1.      __________________________________________________________________

    2.      __________________________________________________________________

     

    Group 8:

    Members of the group: _____________________________________________________

    Topic of the weirdest story: _________________________________________________

    Two reasons why this story is weird (full sentences!):

    1.      __________________________________________________________________

    2.      __________________________________________________________________

     

    Group 9:

    Members of the group: _____________________________________________________

    Topic of the weirdest story: _________________________________________________

    Two reasons why this story is weird (full sentences!):

    1.      __________________________________________________________________

    2.      __________________________________________________________________

     

     

     

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  • Gam-si-ja-deul / Cold Eyes (2013)

     

    "Cold Eyes" is a South Korean action-thriller inspired by the Hongkong movie "Eye In The Sky" which came out six years prior to this film. 

    The Korean remake has a rather odd beginning from my point of view. The film takes too much time to introduce many characters but only three are truly addicting or important to the story where a special police department is hunting down high profile criminals. The first thirty minutes where everybody gets to know each other in the department and where the team follows a stupid criminal nicknamed "Thirsty Hippo" are rather lengthy. Some rather faceless unit members on one side and exchangeable criminals on the other are the main reasons for a mellow start of this movie. Once the three main characters take the lead and once some unimportant side-stories are eliminated, the movie gets a lot more dynamical around forty minutes into the film.

    The film is then carried by three characters. First off, there is the nervous rookie which is very well incarnated by actress Han Hyo-Ju. This character is very smart and has some impressive visual skills. On the other side, the young cop does a few fatal mistakes on her first mission. Han Hyo-Ju's acting feels natural and shows us a young woman torn between cold professionalism and emotional struggles who is growing throughout this story. This character is easily the most addicting one and carries the entire movie.


    Chief Hwang is very well played Sol Kyung-Gu. At first sight, his character seems to be quite professional but also very arrogant, cold and severe at moments. Towards the end of the movie, his personal values come into play and show us a softer core where the aged expert is ready to sacrifice everything to save his men. He also becomes somehow a father figure for the rookie cop. This dynamical character and his actions add some diversity and a few philosophical thoughts to this film.


    Last but not least, there is the cold-hearted, well organized and extremely smart veteran villain incarnated by Jung Woo-Sung. This character also has some quite different sides. He seems pitiless at first sight but he also cares about his men and refuses to blindly follow his superiors. It's a man that follows his convictions, his experience and his instinct. That's why he has some identical character qualities with the rookie cop on one side and her chief on the other. This explains why he is a quite respectable villain and not just a one- dimensional brutal bully.


    The clash of these three characters is what makes the movie really outstanding. The film gets more and more tension-filled towards the end. The last twenty minutes or so are dedicated to an amazing chase through the city of Seoul where each of the three characters has to sacrifice something. These scenes will bring you on the edge of your seat.


    The modern film techniques are effectively used without adding too many special effects to it. The film always remains as grounded and realistic as possible. The settings in this movie are well chosen but not exceptional either. While the story is nothing innovating, it's especially the great acting of the three main characters and the constantly growing pace leading to a dramatic turn of events that convince most. This is a welcome change to the effect-ridden Hollywood productions like "Mission Impossible" or "The Bourne" series.

     


    If you watch this grounded and well-acted action-thriller, just be sure to be patient enough to make it through the first thirty or forty minutes that are not completely useless but rather ordinary in comparison to what follows afterwards. Genre fans and those who care for South Korean cinema should appreciate this film even though it can't mess with some of the contemporary cinematic milestones coming from this extraordinary country. 

     

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  •  

    "47 Ronin" is a vivid fantasy movie that retells a famous legend in ancient Japan when forty-seven Ronin went out to avenge their master who had to commit suicide after a series of conspiracies and unlucky events. Of course, this movie has some historical inaccuracies but that's not an issue. This colourful tale should please to anybody who cares about Japanese culture in particular or epic fantasy movies in general.

    What I liked about the movie is that nearly all actors are still Japanese and actually have accents as well. Keanu Reeves is playing one of the leading roles but to my positive surprise, he doesn't take too much space and fits very well into this story. This is a lot more authentic than "The Last Samurai" with Tom Cruise for example. In general, the acting in here is very well done. The movie features moments of anger, defeat, despair, guilt, humour, jealousy, loyalty, romance, sadness and victory and all these emotions are captured very well by the actors.


    The characters in the movie are also quite diversified even though a little bit stereotypical. From the brave leader of the Ronin over the permanently jealous samurai and its rejected half-breed brother in arms to the arrogant villain who gets supported by a beautiful witch and a mysterious Lovecraftian samurai, the viewers are introduced to many epic characters. 


    The movie also convinces with great settings, light and visual effects. The three-dimensional version is worth watching and has some spectacular moments. The places shown in this movie from the slave market over the haunted forest and the creeping temple to the villain's residence in the mountains are intriguing and mysterious.

    The story itself is rather simplistic and easy to follow but the philosophical topic of honour which is this movie's guiding line is an interesting an typically Japanese topic and offers some food for thought. 

     


    Even though this movie doesn't innovate the action or adventure genre, this cinematic odyssey was highly entertaining from my point of view. I can't find any major flaws in here either. From an objective point of view, seven points are appropriate for this movie that is really worth to be experienced in cinema. It's due to my particular interest in ancient Asian cultures that this movie got me even more addicted and that's why I'm ultimately adding one more point. If you're intrigued by my review, you will also be by this film. 

     

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  • The After-Dinner Mysteries

     

    "The After-Dinner Mysteries" is apparently a quite popular Japanese series but you don't need to know that to enjoy this vivid movie. This very Japanese over-the-top film mixes elements of different genres such as dramas, slapstick comedies or old-fashioned suspense movies. This movie surely has a touch of "Death On The Nile" but also elements of "Casino Royale", "Robinson Crusoe", "The Naked Gun" or "Titanic" for example. The mixture of Western and Eastern elements is in fact very balanced in this film but it really depends on your very individual taste if you find this movie pretty entertaining or just ridiculously overwhelming.

    There are many elements I really liked about the movie. First of all, the film features several interesting side stories that are leading into one big story in the end. We basically get introduced to different pieces of the same puzzle. We follow the paths of a hysterical lottery winner, two lame-brained thieves, a lonely lounge-singer and more. All these stories are connected to two mysterious murders that are taking place on a luxurious cruise ship that seem to be more or less connected to the presence of two worthy oeuvres d'art that are getting transported from Japan to Singapur. 

    The way the movie mixes tension-filled scenes as when the main character gets mysteriously kidnapped and her life only depends on a risky poker tournament her assistant must win, dramatic or romantic passages when the lounge-singer slowly realizes that people all around her aren't what they pretend to be and funny moments when slapstick characters such as Detective Kazamatsuri ("Hai, hai, hai!" is by far my favourite and most memorable tag line in the movie) come into play is really diverting. The acting is quite good in this movie even though or maybe exactly because this plot works with amusing stereotypes. 


    I also liked the movie's out-thought final parts when the mysteries get completely resolved as in a classic suspense movie and when we see the falling action and the impacts of the climax on the different characters who gain more and more depth towards the end.


    From an even more artistic point, the set decorations are very detailed, the camera and light work is truly solid and even the soundtrack is very well chosen.

    There are still a few negative elements in this movie. It's a truly diversified movie but that's why it also feels a little bit too direction-less at times. Some scenes feel rather like a a ridiculous waste of time without adding much to the story. The scenes on the desert island are a good example for this category. 


    While most actors give their very best in this film, the main character Hosho Reiko is rather annoying, superficial and almost unimportant. That's the first time I remember a more epic movie with many characters where the main characters is by far the least intriguing one. Maybe it's because of some flaws in the script or due to the ordinary acting by Kitagawa Keiko or in reason of both. The idea of a smart but two-faced woman who is an elegant and rich heiress and a nervous rookie police officer at the same time is quite good but its potential is not quite used in this film. There would have been room for some more amusing scenes between Hosho Reiko and her amusingly stupid superior Kazamatsuri and even the chemistry with her snobbish but clever butler Kageyama.

     


    While the movie definitely has several flaws, it remains a fast-paced and entertaining movie that kept me guessing until the end and that had a few charming twists. Fans of Japanese cinema will adore this movie. Everybody else might find the mixture of genres in here exotically exciting or simply exaggeratedly odd. Choose your camp and watch some trailers first before you spend any money on this film. 

     

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  • Another Lonely Hitman (1995)

     

    "Another Lonely Hit-Man" is an impressive gangster movie that is somewhat different from the brutal mobster flicks of the seventies and the lengthy epics of the current second wave. This transitional movie between the two waves differs and that's what makes this film so unique. Created by former adult movie director Rokuro Mochizuki and featuring later star actor Ryo Ishibashi ("Audition" (1999), "The Grudge" (2004), "Phoenix Wright - Ace Attorney" (2012)) as well as future star director Miike Takashi ("Ichi The Killer" (2001), "Gozu" (2003), "13 Assassins" (2010)) in a cameo, this surprising hit has become some sort of an iconic cult movie among connoisseurs while it never gained the international success it would have deserved.


    Instead of giving us complex insights into different mafia families, this film follows the fate of the loyal hit-man Tachibana Takashi. Accompanied by his young daughter and under the influence of a heroin shot to feel more courageous, Tachibana kills a gangster boss in a restaurant before he gives himself in to the police and spends his next ten years in prison. When he gets out, his Yakuza family is the only thing he has left as former friends and family members turned their back on him. Haunted by the demons of his past and feelings of guilt, he meets other loners in an evolved world he fails to understand and accept. He crosses paths with a heroin addicted prostitute and a young gangster who openly admires him. Despite the fact that his Yakuza family offers him some money as well as a hotel room and a night with a prostitute, the hit-man can't identify with the family values anymore. His Yakuza clan doesn't follow its initial code of honour anymore and cares more about business contracts than moral values. What disturbs the hit-man most is how drug dealers have infiltrated the Yakuza. Tensions between him and his superiors arise and his new partner and him are soon isolated. Tachibana must take a crucial decision to give his wasted life a second chance and save those he feels responsible for. 


    "Another Lonely Hit-man" is a slow-paced character portrait and neo film noir that works a lot with cold camera angles, light effects, music samples and especially symbolism. The systematic chaos of urban infrastructures, the spartan designs and even ironically abandoned looking amusement parks are all symbols for the confusion, guilt and loneliness the hit-man feels. At the same time, he starts to fight his fate by becoming a better person. Even though many scenes look brutal and cold, the movie also has a few emotional and positive moments in comparison to many other genre flicks. This movie really has a message and a soul. 


    The philosophy behind this movie is not only carried by a great directorship but also by a truly authentic and unique acting by all involved actors. This is really an important element because you care about the characters as they have a beautiful side hidden underneath all their obvious ugliness. This movie perfectly shows us that one shouldn't judge a book by its cover.


    Hollywood movie fans might feel irritated about the movie's slow pace but I adore the fact that this film really takes all the time it needs to tell us a story and develop the different characters without getting redundant or epic. The key elements of this movie are simple but effective because they are so authentic. This movie could easily be based on a true story. 


    The slow paced film is interrupted by some more vivid elements. These scenes include the surreal opening killing scene, the physical encounters between the main character and a rude pimp, an arrogant racketeers and a cheap drug dealer or the almost bipolar reactions by the prostitute to her imposed drug rehab. The cold realism of the movie is underlined by scenes where we see characters barfing, bleeding, crying, having sex, laughing, peeing, puking, swearing and more. These elements feel direct but never obscene or out-of-place and give the film an almost documentary touch.


    My favourite part of the movie is though the last twenty minutes or so which feels like a road trip through the hit man's past and future. This last quarter of the movie was really touching. The fact that the ending is a little bit predictable is no big deal because this film is not an action movie or a simple thriller but a drama. The beginning and the end are less important than the odyssey in between them. 

     


    Open-minded fans of Japanese cinema and Yakuza flicks or those who like the drama and film noir genres in general can't get around this movie that has become a righteous classic over the past two decades. Those who are expecting an explosive gangster epic must look elsewhere.

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