Exploring the Past – The Great Buddha+ (Dà fó pǔ lā sī, 大佛普拉斯) (2017)

TL;DR – This is a film of dissonant halves, both funny, yet confronting, sad but also hopeful, engaging but also infuriating

Score – 3.5 out of 5 stars

Post-Credit Scene – There is a mid-credit scene but it does not offer any answers

 

The Great Buddha+. Image Credit: MandarinVision

 

Review

Today I get to review a film thanks to the Brisbane International Film Festival that I would not have normally been able to see. I have been trying to increase the films that I have seen from Asia, and while this has included films from Hong Kong and China, today is my first dive into Taiwanese filmmaking with Huang Hsin-yao’s odd The Great Budda+. This is an interesting film but also a frustrating one at times, so to properly review it we will first give a general overview before we enter into spoiler territory as we dissect its ending, and what an ending it is.

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Countdown – My Personal Top 10 Films of All Time List

TL;DR – Today we countdown my Top 10 films of all time; from towns where there are a lot of ‘accidents’, to all forms of Sci-Fi, to do you know the man with six fingers on his right hand, and everything in between.

Countdown

Recently I watched the CineFix crew countdown their Top 10 films, and it had me thinking what are mine? Now it was at this point where I of course naturally spiralled as how can you reduce thousands of films that you have seen into only a Top 10. Just before I threw my hands up in resignation and chucked in the towel I happened to catch an episode of Movies with Mikey on how he determined the best sequel. With this in mind I wondered if there was a set of criteria that I could use to categorise the films into a list that I would be happy with, and after some work, I came up with the following criteria that work for me.

 

  • Films that are beautifully constructed
  • Films that mean something to me
  • Films that are always re-watchable
  • Films that have added to my love of the craft of cinema

 

With this criterion in mind I went through all the likely candidates and with a bit of a struggle I think I have been able to come to a final list, well at least until I change my mind next week, which is always a chance.

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Exploring the Past – Sicario (2015)

TL;DR – A masterful look at how to use tension to build a story in a brutal world

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

Sicario. Image Credit: Lionsgate

 

Review
Today I got to cross a film off my pile of shame that has been sitting there for quite a while. Sicario was one of those films that were made by people I have come to deeply respect in the film industry but at the time when it came out, I was not in the right head space to give it a watch. Ever since then I have been meaning to go back and give it a go if only to add to my understanding of some of these filmmaker’s work, but it sat there. Well, today that changes as we take a dive into the world, or at least one perspective of the world on the American/Mexican border.

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Exploring the Past – Super Troopers (2001)

TL;DR – A combination of off-brand Afghani animation, smugglers on the border, and all the shenanigans.

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

Post-Credit Scene – There is a mid and end credit scene

Super Troopers banner

Review
Super Troopers is one of those little films that could. Fighting hard to get it financed and being turned down at every point and then finally getting it greenlit but you only have $1.2 million to put your passion project together. Well after many years a sequel is about to be released so I thought it would be good prep to take a look down memory lane at a world full of shenanigans, so, many, shenanigans.

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Exploring the Past – Pacific Rim (2013)

TL;DR – “At one point a giant mech picks up a cargo ship to use as a cricket bat to take down a giant monster stomping its way through Hong Kong” you will probably know if this film is for you from that snippet alone.

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

Post-Credit Scene – There is a mid-credit scene

Pacific Rim

Review

Back in the relatively calm year of 2013, how five years can change the world, there was this little gem of a film. It was a homage to the mecha and giant monster films of Japan and at the heart was the simple message that we should all work together. Well, it has been years since I have watched Guillermo del Toro’s monster epic, well at least his giant monster epic, and with the sequel coming out later this week, now is as good as time as ever to dive back into the world of Jaegers* and Kaijus*.

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Exploring the Past – Blade Runner (1982)

TL;DR – The legacy of Blade Runner is not overstated, even if parts of the film have not aged well.

Blade Runner (1982) banner

Review

I continue my look into the gems of films from the past that I missed the first time round by today looking at the most topical of films Blade Runner. Like 2001: A Space Odyssey (see review), Blade Runner is one of those films that came out before I was born, so I missed it the first time around, and due to its content it didn’t get a lot replay on TV as I was growing up. Now while I haven’t seen the film before today, I have read the book Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? As well as this, Blade Runner has appeared in so many countdown and best of lists, and multiple parodies and had homages have been made of it over the years. So even though I have never see the film, I have seen so many separate bits that I have probably seen a decent chunk of the film over the years. So with all of this I was a bit apprehensive before sitting down and watching it, would it live up to the huge cultural impact it has had, well could anything really, let’s find out. Now before we go on just a moment of clarification, the version I saw was The Final Cut, which as far as I can tell is the cut that Ridley Scott prefers, so there is likely to be differences between this and the theatrical release.

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Exploring the Past – 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

2001 A Space Odyssey

2001: A Space Odyssey is a cinematic masterpiece, and when you look at lists of best Science Fiction films or indeed the best films of history it is near, or indeed at the top. However, even though I am a fan of Science Fiction and of innovative filmmaking, this is one film I had actually never gotten to see myself because it is one of those classics that just was never played on TV when I was growing up. However, this week I was given the opportunity to go see a wonderful live performance of 2001: A Space Odyssey put on by the Queensland Symphonic Orchestra, as part of World Science Week Brisbane. So after finally getting to see a masterpiece of cinema I thought it would be a good idea to look at 2001: A Space Odyssey, the film, its legacy, and how well it holds up today.

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