Cheongdam bosal (aka Fortune Salon) (2009) – Continuing with my resolution to watch more world cinema, I decided to browse the “foreign films” section on Netflix one afternoon and this film popped up as a suggestion. I was in the mood for a light, “easy viewing” film, and this South Korean romantic comedy seemed like just the ticket. It tells the story of a woman who makes a very good living as a fortune teller/tarot card reader, but finds her own life influenced by a prophecy regarding her romantic future, which she was told by her mother. Cute at times and ridiculous at others, Cheongdam bosal is generally a fun watch. There’s some corn to be had. (In one scene, jazzy music you’d usually find in a ’90s Hollywood rom-com love scene plays over a scene of two people over-dramatically crying!) A decent watch.
Furious 7 (2015) – As I’ve mentioned on the blog before, I have a totally out-of-character love for this fast-car action series. I enjoyed Furious 7 just as much as the previous films, though I did find the dialogue a bit cheesier than usual at times (especially from Hobbs). I’m really happy with the way they handled Paul Walker’s character, following the actor’s untimely death in late 2013. The ending montage may even have made me tear up a bit (while simultaneously reminding me how long this series has been going on, and giving me the urge to re-watch all of the early films).
Judy Garland: By Myself (2004 “American Masters” TV program) – A wonderful documentary about Judy’s life and career, making use of Judy’s own words as well as interviews with those close to her (and those who worked with her). Clips from many of her films and narration by Harris Yulin are also used to tell her story. At nearly two hours in length, Judy’s life and work are explored pretty thoroughly, and the darker aspects of fame are not shied away from. Heartbreaking, but a very good watch.
The Longest Ride (2015) – Another year, another new Nicholas Sparks movie for me to enjoy despite the fact that it’s objectively… not great. The ’40s side of the story is more successful than the modern-day rodeo romance (with nice performances by Oona Chaplin and Jack Huston, who have very good chemistry and outshine the film’s somewhat-shaky leads). Both stories deliver exactly what you’d expect from a Nicholas Sparks adaptation. It’s a cute, sappy romance and I had fun watching it.
This month, I also got sucked into the wild and wacky world of VICE documentaries, falling down the rabbit hole after one of them popped up in my recommendations on YouTube. I watched Suicide Forest in Japan, Interview with a Cannibal, Big Cats of the Gulf, Inside North Korea, North Korean Labor Camps, and North Korean Film Madness. The North Korea docs were the most interesting to me, though all of the VICE docs make for good viewing.