Valentine’s Double Feature: Secret (2007) & The Space Between Us (2017)

Its been a while since I’ve continued on the Valentine’s Netflix Alphabet marathon! Its getting dangerously close to the end of the month and I still have a good few movies to get through. At this point, it might spill into the beginning of March. Either way, I said that I’d finish it so I will. Due to the missing X selection later on, I have chosen to do two S selections! This is the last change to the alphabet marathon. Surprisingly though, these two are both teen romances and have some unique-ish idea/concept.

Let’s check it out!

Secret (2007)

Director (and writer): Jay Chou

Cast: Jay Chou, Lun-Mei Kwai, Anthony Wong, Kai-Syuan Tzeng, Ming-Ming Su, Devon Song

Ye Xiang Lun, a talented piano player is a new student at the prestigious Tamkang School. On his first day, he meets Lu Xiao Yu, a pretty girl playing a mysterious piece of music. – IMDB

Jay Chou’s directorial debut sees him both as the writer of the original story and also acting in the film. From Initial D, its already not high expectations in the Jay Chou acting but Jay Chou is a creative individual and a very musical person so its no surprise to see that he has injected a musical element to this story. The pity of this film goes to Netflix categorizing its subgenre that ruins the twist of the story making it much easier to guess. The ending is somewhat of a headscratcher and feels a bit flawed from what the whole logic behind the situation was, the story itself had its charm. The first is the setting that its done, bordered by water, the school grounds and the more classical building. The second is its characters, including Jay Chou who wrote in a character that truly matches himself. Its probably the perk of being the writer of the original story.

secret 2007

On the off-chance that you aren’t watching this through Netflix, I’m going to keep this spoiler free as much as possible. While this movie seems a lot like your average teen movie with the female character having some ailment, there is a much more light-hearted sort of appeal to this mostly with its added twist. Using music as a medium is a really nice touch here. With the subgenre that it tackles, there are some little logic issues and flaws but it also has this fantasy element that adds a little something extra.

As I mentioned before, Jay Chou writes a character very suitable for himself therefore he does a decent job. Its really his romantic interest, Lun-Mei Kwai that takes a lot of credit here. Her personality reflects Xiao Yu’s character a whole lot whether its her little movements or when she’s happy or sad. The chemistry between them spark up some nice little moments that make us truly root for this pairing. However, in a movie full of young actors and actresses, there is no doubt that Anthony  Wong stands out the most playing the father of Jay Chou’s character. He has this vibrancy and his character while seemingly not very significant in the beginning, ramps up quite the significance by the end.

The Space Between Us (2017)

the space between us

Director: Peter Chelsom

Cast: Asa Butterfield, Britt Robertson, Gary Oldman, Carla Gugino, BD Wong, Janet Montgomery

The first human born on Mars travels to Earth for the first time, experiencing the wonders of the planet through fresh eyes. He embarks on an adventure with a street smart girl to discover how he came to be. – IMDB

I’m not exactly understanding all the hate that this movie seems to get via the different site that I’ve looked at. To be honest, this movie is right up my alley. For one, it has an incredible cast, at least I’m a big fan of everyone here. Then it has this whole sci-fi premise of space and Earth. The idea behind the story is pretty nice as well. There are some glaring similarities to a lot of other movies, the one that I thought of first was Jack and the Cuckoo Clock Heart (Review), an animated film that I love a whole lot. To see competent young actor and actress like Asa Butterfield and Britt Robertson take over this pairing just warmed my heart because they are both constantly on my radar.

With that said, the music here is fantastic. The story here is a bit thin on the character development side of things and focuses on some cheesy teen romance thing, which worked for me because somehow these two have a good bit of chemistry and some really nice scenes. Plus, the whole fish of water thing always makes me feel incredibly entertained especially how they wrote up Asa Butterfield’s character even if he falls into those tropes of having some weakness to him but the fact that its because he’s born on another planet really makes it unique in its own way.

On top of that, you get Gary Oldman and Carla Gugino in this film who truly add quite a bit to the film in their roles. Its quite the adventure to see the whole chase from one thing to the next. There is romance but also a great deal of adventure that is where the bonding of the characters happen. Britt Robertson does play a very similar role to a few roles she’s done where she is a teen that doesn’t fit into the life that she is from. The key question here that is asked is “What is your favorite thing about Earth?” I think its a valid movie that uses this story to ask a deeper question about appreciating the things that we have around us that we take for granted. There are many layers to the story. Sure, it has its faults and there’s a ton of cheese and its fairly predictable but there’s also a lot of fun and adventurous moments here that work. Plus, it doesn’t take the normal teen romance type of bittersweet ending so I’m all for that.

That’s it for this double S feature for Valentine’s romance!
Both movies that have flaws but that I found a lot of enjoyment from!
Have you seen Secret or The Space Between Us?

Opinion Battles Round 17 Favourite Time Travel Movie

Round 17 of Opinion Battles is here! This time we’re talking about our Favorite Time Travel Movie! I’m pretty sure I know which is going to win this time around but hey, I like to be different. There’s been quite a few time travel movies recently that is pretty good. The one that has been on my mind whenever we talk about this subgenre is Source Code.

Head over to Movie Reviews 101 to check out all the selections and drop a vote on the one you like!

Movie Reviews 101

Opinion Battles Round 17

Favourite Time Travel Movie

Time Travel movies have people talking for years to come after seeing them with people discussing the ideas of time travel, the good, the bad or the side effects and while it was The Time Machine that really put the genre on the map we have seen people take a fresh approach to the genre for years now. We have come together to give what should be a wonderful amount of time travel films to see which most people consider the best.

If you want to take part in the next opinion battles the subject is favourite Zombie movie you will need to have your choice by 3rd September 2016 and email your choices to moviereviews101@yahoo.co.uk

Darren – Movie Reviews 101

Back to the Futureback

Back to the Future is on the list of films I will be showing my children…

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Fantasia Festival: I’ll Follow You Down (2013)

This is what a World Premiere feels like! I went to see I’ll Follow You Down at the Fantasia Festival with my best friend and it was the world premiere yesterday evening.  One of the actresses, Susanna Fournier was there and the director, Richie Mehta was there also to make an opening speech.  After the credits, Richie Mehta and the producer or production manager (can’t remember which one they said), Lee Kim was there to talk a bit about the concept of the movie and then answered some questions from the audience. The experience was pretty awesome!

i`ll follow you down poster

Director: Richie Mehta

Cast: Haley Joel Osment, Victor Garber, Rufus Sewell, Gillian Anderson, Susanna Fournier

In 2000 set in Toronto, 9 year old Erol and his scientist father (Rufus Sewell) needs to finish off a chess game before heading on a plane to a conference in Princeton for 3 days. However, when Errol and his mother, Marika go to pick up his father, they realize that he has vanished and the last person to see him before the mysterious disappearance was Erol’s grandfather Sal (Victor Garber), a professor at Princeton.  12 years later, Erol (Haley Joel Osment) and Marika both struggle to live after the disappearance.  By chance he learns that Sal is trying to figure out the research that his father was doing before he disappeared on wormholes and the concept that there are many spaces in time and that his father has accomplished going back in time to 1946 to meet Einstein.  He also offered that the only way he can retrieve his father back is to figure out how to re-create the time travel at a certain point in time.

i`ll follow you down erol

I’ll Follow You Down is an emotional drama sci-fi mystery.  I’m not a fan of sci-fi usually but this one was pretty impressive.  The setting, lighting created a really suitable atmosphere and mood to the movie.  It was paced well and was a comfortable 92 minutes long (rare nowadays that movies don’t go over 2 hours).  To me, that make it effective as they simplified and let certain things be concise and direct, straight to the point.  It kept me engaged and wanting to figure out more.  Plus, there were a few twists that changed from the norm and because of that, it was definitely a good change. Time travel is a really tricky premise to do and it all comes down to whether the audience buys the concept.  In this one, the simplicity among the complex concept of the time travel really helps.  As technical as they tried to make it more believable, it was also explained in a way that it was easy to grasp what they wanted to do.

i`ll follow you down marika

The cast was perfect in every way.  Although a lot of the actors and actresses are known but not completely active in Hollywood as much, this movie still shows their full potential.  For one, Haley Joel Osment was popular as a young actor back in 2000/2001 with the breakthrough role in The Sixth Sense and followed through with A.I. According to IMDB, he did a lot of voice work for video games and some animations.  Seeing him back on screen is different.  For one, he looks completely different and his acting has definitely matured.  I see him doing really great things if he get the opportunity.  He had to go through a spectrum of emotions in this movie from sad, happy, scared, nervous and being especially smart and perspective and he did it all.

i`ll follow you down sal

As for the other cast members, they did amazing performances all around. I haven’t seen Gillian Anderson much, especially since X-Files was before my TV streaming days and with bunny ears I think I watched one episode of it and then Rufus Sewell, I only know from The Holiday as that jerk boss that takes advantage of Kate Winslet‘s character.  However, I am a huge fan of Victor Garber so I was super happy to watch him in this.

Fantasia I'll Follow You Down

After movie chat by director Richie Mehta and production Lee Kim

However, just a note that it gave me a bit more to reflect on because I listened to director and production talk about the movie.  However, I didn’t feel the same way as what they said they wanted to portray.  As I think about it more, I understand what they want to portray with the concept of consequences but I can’t really go into too much depth without spoilers.  Lets just say, the director (and writer) of I’ll Follow You Down wrote this for over 10 years.  I applaud that effort because its amazing but however, if he wanted to portray “awareness of mindfulness”, I’m not exactly sure it did that.  Maybe I missed something.

Overall, I’ll Follow You Down is a solid sci-fi mystery drama based on the concept of time travel.  Its story is nicely paced and is not lengthy. It focuses on ideas such as fate and choices, and as the director mentions, consequences. The atmosphere is captivating and the cast acts really well, with special mention to Haley Joel Osment.  I highly recommend this movie! Its definitely one of my favorite movies of 2013 🙂

Are you a sci-fi fan? How about time travel? What do you think about cast in this: Haley Joel Osment, Victor Garber, Gillian Anderson, Rufus Sewell? Do you think this might interest you?