Double Feature: Little Big Women (2020) & Lost Girls and Love Hotels (2020)

Next double feature is here! I went ahead to check out two 2020 movies. The first is Netflix Taiwanese family drama Little Big Women followed with a drama thriller adapted from a book, Lost Girls & Love Hotels.

Let’s check it out!

Little Big Women (2020)

Director (and co-writer): Joseph Chen-Chieh Hsu

Cast: Shu-Fang Chen, Ying-Hsuan Hsieh, Vivian Hsu, Ke-Fang Sun, Buffy Chen, Ning Ding, Han Chang

Family members grapple with the passing of their estranged father and the remnants of the life he led during his absence. – IMDB

Based on the 2017 short film, Little Big Women tells the family picking up the pieces after the estranged father leaves as his life story gets brought back to life through their memories. Through the conversations of the family and the memories of his wife, what drove the man away slowly gets revealed by the end which causes family separation between other family members and why other members seem to have harsh judgement towards them. The father’s estrangement also causes a different change in each of his daughters as they also embrace their own life whether its married with a child or being single or hiding away secrets. Also, as the mother’s motives seem to be the most supported by her granddaughter. This Taiwanese family drama reminded me at the beginning a little of Ang Lee’s Eat Drink Man Woman. Its quiet and slow-paced as the characters slowly reveal who they are and the roots of their issues with both their father and their mother. Being a quiet film, its not about a lot of fancy things and dials it all back down to the narrative itself. Death even with the most estranged people will bring about about personal and social issues: reflection, letting go of the past and of course, how society views the traditions of the whole ordeal.

Little Big Women isn’t too different from other family dramas outside from the emphasis on perhaps showing some of the culture in Taiwan regarding death whether its choosing the religion and what ritual to use or how the family structure changes. Sometimes, its the smallest things and yet, the significance is big to how others perceive it or even on a personal level. In this film, there’s a lot of narrative the evolves around the three daughters but at the same time, the mother has a lot also as she is the one that one of the daughters is trying to convince to fulfill her father’s wish and let the father’s girlfriend attend. The whole process of accepting her and making peace between the two actually comes to a very well-executed segment near the end that has probably one of the best scenes especially since the process throughout the film as she tries to find this lady lets her learn quite a bit about her through other people’s interpretation which makes the final talk so well-deserved.

At the same time, the daughters also have a big emphasis here. Each of them having their own moments and struggles. Its been a while since I’ve seen Vivian Hsu, who undoubtedly is probably one of the bigger names here (and I could be wrong as I’ve broken off of Taiwanese movies for quite a while) as she started her career fairly young (and made me want to rewatch 1997’s We’re No Bad Guys). There’s some pretty touching sequences between them especially when the father being estranged has different effects on them as their knowledge of their family changes with the different siblings. Family events are truly where all the family secrets come out and that is shown really well here as well.

Overall, Little Big Women is a family drama. Its nothing groundbreaking or shocking about the whole film. The narrative does build up these characters as they face the death of their estranged father and the process of preparing his funeral. The family secrets, the struggles, self-reflection, letting go: all these themes pop up in this film and as quiet as this film is, it does manage to pack quite the emotional punch by the end.

Lost Girls and Love Hotels (2020)

Director: William Olsson

Cast: Alexandra Daddario, Takehiro Hira, Carice van Houten, Andrew Rothney, Misuzu Kanno, Kate Easton

Haunted by her past, an English teacher explores love and dust with a dashing yakuza gangster in Tokyo. – IMDB

Adapted from the book of the same name and having the author also be the screenplay writer for Lost Girls & Love Hotels, this story almost feels a little like Lost in Translation except a little edgier and hardcore. Being an adaptation and one that I haven’t read the original source material, it feels like there’s a few things that seem to make its appearance that may have been overlooked when putting together this story. However, seeing that the author of the novel also acts as the screenplay writer here, it perhaps holds a good part of the essence of what is key to her story or at least we can only assume that. With that said, while the story execution feels at times a little disjointed as it hops from one scene to the next and some of it feeling like it loses its purpose a little for certain side characters like her friends, the cinematography is done really well. Capturing Japan on one hand while mostly capturing the sensual shots really well especially when talking about the lighting used in every scene that adds to the overall visuals and ambiance to elevate the passion between the two characters.

Lost Girls and Love Hotels is focused primarily on the journey of Margaret, played by Alexandra Daddario as she seems live a rather messy life as she starts off being a girl that seems to not quite seem to fit in her role in her day job and then seems to be falling in a sexcapade life at night full of boozy times at bars with her friends and hooking with men at love hotels. While not too familiar with Daddario filmography, it definitely feels like one of the more dramatic roles as her character is trying to escape from something on her mind and settling with being alone hence her trip to Japan. This film is where she is “reborn” as she meets this Yakuza gangster where she embraces her feelings for him while having an element of forbidden love. In some ways, what feels lacking here is the portrayal of Margaret’s desire of BDSM being her turn-on which could be where the thriller element of the story would appear however, its not shown nearly enough to make it have that effect that would inevitably lead to a very obvious foreshadowing at the beginning. Due to the lack of the character building for her as well except for some hints of what she is running away from, her character feels less authentic in some ways. The closest that she feels is the scene above when she starts talking about being alone.

While not exactly groundbreaking character building for her or her love interest Kazu, played by Takehiro Hira, the scenes of them together does have okay chemistry, although it might be the cinematography and sex scene choreography that is done really well. Kazu’s body-long tattoo covering the backside of his body creates a really nice visual overall. Not to mention that Takehiro Hira does stand out in this film as he has a more quiet character that has a lot more mystery plus he has a rather charming sort of look. A lot of it is hidden between the lines through conversations or observation from Margaret. Its a little sad since these characters lack a little more depth in their portrayal in this adaptation. It makes me wonder whether the novel would have fleshed them out more than just their relationship and having a more hollow personality especially for Kazu whose dialogue seems to hold some depth which does eventually enlighten Margaret not before one decision pushes her into a downward slope of bad consequences.

Lost Girls and Love Hotels is a decent watch overall. It helps that its the type of movie that I generally enjoy where its a piece of someone’s life where there’s some type of self-discovery plus it adds in that whole passionate romance which always works for myself when done well. However, this film does lack character depth and perhaps some more thriller-esque moments as currently, it definitely feels more like a romance drama. Not exactly the same thing, right?

Movies and Tea #43 – Mank

Next episode of Movies and Tea is here as we wrap up the David Fincher season with his latest film, Mank. Head on over to Movies and Tea to give it a listen and let us know your thoughts on this film.

Movies and Tea

Working from a screenplay by his late father Jack Fincher, here Fincher’s bio-picture about screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewich as he attempts to finish the screenplay for “Citizen Kane” against the backdrop of a turbulant time in old Hollywood.

Music on this episode

Cowboys and Indians – Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
All This Time (Happily Ever After) – Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross Mank

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Movies and Tea #42 – Gone Girl

Time for the next episode of Movies and Tea as we wrap up our David Fincher season and also share our favorite, worst and hidden gems of the season! Head over to Movies and Tea to give it a listen! Feel free to share your own picks for David Fincher!

Movies and Tea



Bringing our David Fincher season to a close is Gone Girl as he delivers another adult thriller with one hell of a killer twist as Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck) soon discovers that his wife Amy’s disappearence might be a cover for much darker intentions.

We also reveal our favourite, hidden gems and worst films of Fincher’s filmography.

Further Viewing

Dark Places
Memento
Nightcrawler
To Die For
Stoker

Music on this episode

Keith Mansfield – Funky Fanfare

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Movies and Tea #41 – The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

The next episode of Movies and Tea is here as we continue on with David Fincher’s season looking at the next film with the adaptation of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. Head over to Movies and Tea to give our discussion a listen.

Movies and Tea



Originally set to adapt the whole Millenium trilogy we would sadly be left with a what if as Fincher’s english language adaptation of the book fell short of the studios expectations.

We look at the film and try to find out what went wrong as Daniel Craig’s Mikael Blomkvist, a disgraced journalist, teams up with Lisbeth Salander, a computer hacker, to solve the mystery of a woman who has been missing for forty years only to soon discover much darker secrets being hidden by the family.

Further Viewing

Gone Baby Gone
Gone Girl
8mm
The Silence of the Lambs

Music on this episode

Enya – Orinoco Flow
Keith Mansfield – Funky Fanfare
The Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Immigrant Song

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Movies And Tea #40 – The Social Network

The next episode of Movies and Tea is here as we move forward to the next movie in David Fincher’s films and discuss The Social Network. Head on over to Movies and Tea to give it a listen!

Movies and Tea



While the idea of making a movie about Facebook seems like the kind of fodder best suited for a TV movie, in the hands of Fincher while working from a script by Aarron Sorkin it arguably became one of the best films of the last decade.

Here Fincher spins a tale of sucess, greed, envy and betryal. But then you don’t get to 500 millions friends without making a few enemies

Further Viewing

The Big Short
Steve Jobs
Man On The Moon

Music on this episode

Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross – In Motion
Keith Mansfield – Funky Fanfare
Vega Choir – Creep

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Ultimate Decades Blogathon 2021 Conclusion

Its time for the conclusion of Ultimate Decades Blogathon! A big thank you to our participants and my co-host as well all the readers! Head on over to Drew’s Movie Reviews for the full conclusion post!

Drew's Movie Reviews

Hello, friends!

I hope you enjoyed the new format of the blogathon. While Kim and I had fun looking at everyone’s picks for their favorite films from a spotlight decade, we wanted to shake things up a big after covering 50 years of film. Switching to a format that spans decades opens up for many more possibilities. Our participants did not disappoint! We had films reviewed that were released just one decade ago all the way up to 10 decades ago! Here is the full list of participants and entries for the sixth annual Ultimate Decades Blogathon:

Drew’s Movie Reviews – Bridesmaids (2011)

Tranquil Dreams – Spirited Away (2001)

 Plain, Simple Tom Reviews – The Kid (1921)

MovieRob – The Maltese Falcon (1931)

Movies and TeaThe Devil’s Backbone (2001)

18 Cinema LaneThe Abominable Dr. Phibes (1971)

Often Off Topic – Through the Decades (1971 –…

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Ultimate Decades Blogathon 2021 Wrap-Up: Fight Back To School (1991) by Tranquil Dreams

It’s for the wrap-up posts! Kicking things off is my own selection which had a last minute change due to the passing of Man-Tat Ng the past weekend and ended up with the choice of 1991’s Fight Back To School as a tribute of sorts to him and Stephen Chow comedic pair that I grew up with . Head over to Drew’s Movie Reviews to check out the full review!

Drew's Movie Reviews

Hello, friends!

Today we begin to wrap things up for the sixth annual Ultimate Decades Blogathon. Starting the closing festivities is my wonderful co-host Kim. I can’t say enough how much you need to be following her blog, Tranquil Dreams, but I’ll say it again: you need to follow her blog. She posts on a variety of topics and I guarantee she has something there you will like. Kim specializes in Asian cinema, which is the topic of her post here today. For her second post of the blogathon, Kim shares her review of the 1991 Chinese film Fight Back To School.


Fight Back To School (1991)

Fight Back to School movie poster

Director (and co-writer): Gordon Chan

Cast: Stephen Chow, Man Cheung, Man-Tat Ng, Roy Cheung, Chi Yeung Wong, Gabriel Wong, Barry Wong, Dennis Chan, King-Tan Yuen

“A SWAT team leader is going undercover at a high school to retrieve a stolen gun…

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Ultimate Decades Blogathon 2021: Through the Decades (1971-2011) by Often Off Topic

The next entry for the Ultimate Decades Blogathon is a rather impressive Through The Decades from 1971 to 2011 from Often Off Topic. Head over to Drew’s Movie Reviews to check out her selection for each decade.

Drew's Movie Reviews

Hello, friends!

Sometimes it can be hard to pick just one film for a blogathon topic such as this. That is the problem Allie from Often Off Topic ran into. So instead of choosing just one, she chose 5! If you don’t know who Allie is, she blogs about a variety of films and life happenings. Her posts are always a blast to read so if you don’t follow her, please go give her site a look. You won’t be disappointed. Now Allie has a lot to get to so let’s get to it!


With so many movies in so many eligible years, it was impossible for me to pick just 1 movie to talk about so instead I’m bringing you 5 of my favourite movies spanning 5 decades!

1971 – Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory

I’ve watched very few movies from the 70s but one of those just…

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Ultimate Decades Blogathon 2021: The Devil’s Backbone (2001) by Movies and Tea Podcast

Wrapping up the Ultimate Decades Blogathon is a previous podcast from Movies and Tea Podcast for 2001’s The Devil’s Backbone! Head over to Drew’s Movie Reviews to check out the post and give it a listen!

Drew's Movie Reviews

Hello, friends!

Closing out the first week of the blogathon is a close friend of Kim. As you might know, Kim is involved in many projects on her blog, Tranquil Dreams. One of which, is the Movies and Tea podcasts that she co-hosts with Elwood Jones from From the Depths of DVD Hell. Together, Kim and Elwood go through a spotlighted directors filmography each season. They are currently reviewing their way through David Fincher’s filmography so be sure to give their recent episodes a listen. Today, Kim and Elwood are sharing their episode of their podcast where they reviewed Guillermo Del Toro’s The Devil’s Backbone.


The Devil's Backbone movie poster

Guillermo Del Toro has made a name for himself as a dark fantasy or gothic horror director. His stories and directorial abilities are quite outstanding with the different movies that he has released. While you can argue whether Pan’s Labyrinth is the breakout movie…

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Ultimate Decades Blogathon 2021: The Kid (1921) by Plain, Simple Tom Reviews

Moving on the first guest entry for Ultimate Decades Blogathon! We have a wonderfully timed review of 1921’s The Kid by Plain Simple Tom Reviews! Head on over to Drew’s Movie Reviews to check it out!

Remember to drop by here tomorrow to see the next guest entry!

Drew's Movie Reviews

Hello, friends!

Welcome to the middle of the first week of the sixth annual Ultimate Decades Blogathon 2021. I’m really excited for this entry because this is the type of deep cut I was hoping to see. Today’s review comes from Tom of Plain, Simple Tom Reviews. Tom reviews a wide range of films on his blog with great insight. I highly recommend you go check out his blog if you don’t already follow him. Now, about his entry, when Kim and I changed the format from a specific decade to specific years in a decade, that opened up the possibility of someone like Tom reaching back 100 years in film history. With The Kid celebrating its centennial this year, Tom chose to spotlight it for the Ultimate Decades Blogathon.


The Kid movie poster

For this particular blogathon, we have been invited to discuss films from any year ending in a 1 and…

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