Thursday, September 29, 2022

Thursday Movie Picks #429 Mystery/ TMP Television Edition - Cold Cases


Hello there and welcome to Thursday Movie Picks a weekly series where you share your picks each Thursday. The rules are simple: based on the theme of the week pick three to five titles and tell us why you picked them. For further details and the schedule visit the series main page here.

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This week's Thursday Movie Picks is Mystery/Television Edition - Cold Cases

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Inspired by the 2000s TV series called Cold Case, this is another theme that I mistakenly believed was going to be easy. Anyway, I still managed to find three picks and am going with all British series.
 
Unforgotten (2015 - )
This is a pretty good crime mystery drama. It’s a one case per season series and usually a season opens with a body being found which tend to be a missing person from a cold case several years or decades old. I like the series but I do kinda find one thing annoying that is the lead female detective. She is sometimes overly emotional, like sniffling and nearly tearing up emotional even when briefing her subordinates. I get that the cases are heartbreaking, but if you are a commanding officer and need to cry…go into supply closet or something, do it in private…the people you lead do not need to see you all weepy.

Bancroft (2017 - 2020)
A young detective investigating a cold case finds that a senior detective may be connected to it. This is a decent crime thriller with a cunning manipulative villain. The last episode of season 1 was pretty diabolical.
 
The Pembrokeshire Murders (2021)
Based on a real police cold case investigation of unsolved 1980s murder cases. This is another decent crime drama and a sobering reminder how long it can take to catch a perpetrator. The murder cases were two decades old and it took about another half decade to reinvestigate and build a case against the perpetrator.
 
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Thursday, September 22, 2022

Thursday Movie Picks #428 Mystery Edition - Female Investigators (Private or Police)


Hello there and welcome to Thursday Movie Picks a weekly series where you share your picks each Thursday. The rules are simple: based on the theme of the week pick three to five titles and tell us why you picked them. For further details and the schedule visit the series main page here.

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This week's Thursday Movie Picks is Mystery Edition - Female Investigators (Private or Police)

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This theme is quite a challenge. I think there are much more female investigator roles on TV than there are in movies. Anyway, the past year or so I've been watching a lot of older 2000s and 1990s movies that I've missed and here are 3 that had female investigators.
 
Lethal Weapon 3 (1992)
I had watched Lethal Weapon 4 more recently but I think I liked this better and Rene Russo who plays the internal affairs officer got a lot more to do here, while in 4 she was just the pregnant girlfriend.
 
Copycat (1995)
Criminal profiling was probably such a new thing to explore in a crime thriller back in the 90s, now it's almost a given in every crime movie and TV show. Anyway Copycat was just very 90s and it was a pretty good thriller; I like it. It also had good performances from its two female leads, Sigourney Weaver who plays a psychologist and Helen Hunt who plays the detective.

Taking Lives (2004)
I don't think this is as strong as Copycat. It has a little more cheese but still an entertaining enough crime thriller in which Angelina Jolie plays an FBI agent assisting the Canadian police to profile and catch a serial killer that takes the identity of every new victim.

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Thursday, September 15, 2022

Thursday Movie Picks #427 Mystery Edition - Media or Technology Mysteries


Hello there and welcome to Thursday Movie Picks a weekly series where you share your picks each Thursday. The rules are simple: based on the theme of the week pick three to five titles and tell us why you picked them. For further details and the schedule visit the series main page here.

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This week's Thursday Movie Picks is Mystery Edition - Media or Technology Mysteries

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Third Mystery Edition. I'm going for the most recent ones that I like.
 
Kimi (2022)
A tech worker finds evidence of a crime in a work file. I really enjoyed this. I came in knowing very little of what it was about because the synopsis I had read was quite vague. Basically a woman, Angela, works for a company that runs a virtual assistant service called Kimi which is something like Alexa and Siri. She gets the failed commands audio files where Kimi doesn't understand the garbled commands or sometimes because as a computer Kimi just doesn't understand the context the user is using. So Angela is tasked to make sense of these failed commands and program Kimi to be able to read such commands better in the future. Then one day she gets a very unintelligible audio file where it seemed to be picking up the sounds of a crime occurring in the background and so she goes on a quest to find out which user's file it was and try to get help. Anyway, the premise is so interesting and I found it to be a pretty good thriller that feels very current. Also one of the characters in the movie actually references a real life case where the police wanted to use an Alexa recording as evidence in an investigation.
 
Upgrade (2018)
Set in a tech obsessed near-future, Grey a mechanic who becomes a quadriplegic after an attack that also killed his wife, is offered a secret unapproved experimental operation where he receives a chip implant that allows him to regain his mobility. Disappointed that the police investigation of the attack that killed his wife hasn't gotten anywhere, now secretly mobile, he begins his own investigation. I've picked this a few times before and it's here again because it is such a good sci-fi thriller that is very techy.

Searching (2018)
When his daughter goes missing, a father desperately goes through her laptop tracing her digital footprints to find her. I thought I had picked this at least once before, but apparently not. I really like Searching. It's a very good suspenseful thriller which does a great job of presenting the apps, websites, messages, etc on the screen as it tells the mystery of what happened to the girl.

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Thursday, September 8, 2022

Thursday Movie Picks #426 Mystery Edition - Historical Mysteries


Hello there and welcome to Thursday Movie Picks a weekly series where you share your picks each Thursday. The rules are simple: based on the theme of the week pick three to five titles and tell us why you picked them. For further details and the schedule visit the series main page here.

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This week's Thursday Movie Picks is Mystery Edition - Historical Mysteries

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Second Mystery Edition. This a quite an easy one. Anything with a period setting. I'm picking as usual the most recent ones I've that I also liked.
 
Death on the Nile (2022)
I've only read two of Agatha Christie's books and I'm not really a fan. I especially do not like her smarty detective style novels of which Poirot falls into. So I did not like Murder on the Orient Express. I thought the mystery (which was clearly inspired by the Lindbergh kidnapping) was convoluted and stupid. *SPOILER* Why anyone who was not family (some were only ex servants/employees) want to get involved in some rich peoples' quest for violent justice and jeopardise their own morals and freedom, when the rich people would never do the same for them, and why the rich people didn’t simply hire a hitman...now that should be the real mystery. Anyway...so I was surprised that I liked the Death on the Nile movie. The movie’s mystery is much simpler: love, money and jealousy. It also had a much more fun setting, a river cruise ship.

Enola Holmes (2020)
I've picked this before and I'm picking it again because it is such a fun adventure mystery flick following Sherlock's little sister as she goes looking for her missing mother. The sequel is coming this November.

Elizabeth Is Missing (2019)
Maud is suffering from dementia and depends on reminders and routines to go about her day and when she isn't able to meet her friend, she thinks she has gone missing. Decades ago when Maud was a teenager, her older sister disappeared never to be seen again. Now Maud is confused and agitated. She can't tell if her friend is really missing or if she is superimposing her fragmented past memories of her sister's disappearance on the present. This was good, sad and well performed. It was quite heartbreaking watching Maud sift through her distant past and the recent ones trying to reorder her memories to make sense of it all. 

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Thursday, September 1, 2022

Thursday Movie Picks #425 Mystery Edition - Capers


Hello there and welcome to Thursday Movie Picks a weekly series where you share your picks each Thursday. The rules are simple: based on the theme of the week pick three to five titles and tell us why you picked them. For further details and the schedule visit the series main page here.

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This week's Thursday Movie Picks is Mystery Edition - Capers

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I had the impression that capers were heists, but apparently they are kinda more broad theft movies which can include heists, frauds and cons. Capers also tend to be more lighthearted and comedic. I'm picking the most recent capers I've seen
 
Ocean's Eight (2018)
I think I've only seen the 60's Ocean's movie and parts of the George Clooney ones. So I don't know how much of a sequel or spinoff this is other that the main character is the Clooney's character's sister. Anyway I didn't love this, but it was fun and funny enough to be an entertaining watch.

Ant-Man (2015) and Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)
So as to the caper part...the Ant-Man is a thief, so he is always tasked with stealing something. I am very unfamiliar with the Ant-Man character thus I kinda went in thinking this seems like a silly superhero and the movie is probably is gonna be bad. Turned out I was pleasantly surprised. I found it to be probably two of the funniest Marvel movies.
 
Logan Lucky (2017)
This is a fun caper about two brothers pulling off a heist during a NASCAR race. Although it does take its time to show us what or how the actual heist is. But if you're patient it gets there.
 
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Thursday, August 25, 2022

Thursday Movie Picks #424 TMP Television Edition - Boarding School


Hello there and welcome to Thursday Movie Picks a weekly series where you share your picks each Thursday. The rules are simple: based on the theme of the week pick three to five titles and tell us why you picked them. For further details and the schedule visit the series main page here.

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This week's Thursday Movie Picks is TMP Television Edition - Boarding School

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When I was a kid I thought it must be a wonderful adventure to attend a boarding school...I guess I was influenced by all those children's books that idealised romanticised boarding schools. Then I did kinda get to stay at one, because my school, which was just regular school, had some sort of thing with a boarding school so some of us had a chance to stay for a few days at a boarding school. For a short stint, it was ok, but no way would I have been okay going there full time. I like my after school hours to not be at school and I like watching TV too much, which I suppose at a such a place there would be a time limit so in reality boarding school would have been awful for me. Anyway...when I came up with this theme I must have had the impression that because I've seen plenty of boarding school movies, I must have seen plenty of boarding school TV series too. Turned out that's not true. I've seen very few and none that I love.
 
Fate: The Winx Saga (2021 - )
This is the live action adaptation of the Winx cartoon series about young fairies going to a boarding school to learn to use their magic which I have never seen before. It is aired on Nickelodeon and from the images I saw of the cartoons, seems like it is for very young kids. This live action series though seems more directed at tweens and older and it is actually not bad. Quite entertaining and not as juvenile as I thought an adaptation of a kids cartoon series would be, though I suppose it probably isn't as faithful? One criticism is that they seem to have a very tight budget and not enough for adult extras; the series takes place at a boarding school, but there are basically only 4 to 5 teachers that we see and hardly any school support staff. It's basically weird to see a show set in a school with so few adults even in the background non-speaking roles.

Tiny Pretty Things (2020)
Based on a YA book series following a girl who got accepted into an elite ballet boarding school when a place opened up for her after a ballet student got into a mysterious accident. The book was okay. The TV series was a little too raunchy and inserted a lot more drama, more cattiness and just more scandalous stuff. It just seemed like it was trying so hard to be a ballet school drama version of Gossip Girl/Pretty Little Liars.
 
Hex (2004 - 2005)
I saw this a long long time ago, so I can remember very little. Something to do with witchcraft and fallen angels and demons all set in a British boarding school. I think I found it quite entertaining. If you like Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Buffy or Angel, you would probably like this, though this is a little more raunchy. This was I think the first time I had seen Michael Fassbender in anything; he played the devilish fallen angel Azazeal and I had thought he was pretty menacing in it.
 
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Thursday, August 18, 2022

Thursday Movie Picks #423: Dark Academia



Hello there and welcome to Thursday Movie Picks a weekly series where you share your movie picks each Thursday. The rules are simple: based on the theme of the week pick three to five movies and tell us why you picked them. For further details and the schedule visit the series main page here.

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This week's Thursday Movie Picks is Dark Academia

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This is a genre rising in popularity in the literary scene and a book that is said to have inspired its popularity is Donna Tartt's The Secret History which I did not like (instead I'd recommend If We Were Villains). Anyway that has yet to be adapted so I thought it would be interesting to see what movies could fall in the Dark Academia genre which generally features idealised romanticised view of education in institutions with old often gothic architecture, great libraries, preppy uniforms, moody atmospheres and where things are not all warm and cozy as it appears on the surface. Here are the ones I like, and since I've picked them for other themes before and I'm lazy, I'm going to copy and paste some of my previous comments.

Cracks (2009)
Girls in a swim team look up to their swim teacher, the glamorous Miss G who charms them with romantic tales of adventure but the arrival of a new girl changes the dynamic of the team. I really like this one. It has very beautiful costuming and scenery which is a nice contrast to the dark turns the story eventually takes.

The Chocolate War (1988)
A boy rebels against his school's secret society by refusing to sell chocolate boxes for the school fund raiser and inadvertently escalates the power struggle between one of the society's leaders and the school's corrupt headmaster. Love the book and while the movie falls a little short, still a worthy watch. If you can't find the movie go read the book.

Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975)
On a day trip to Hanging Rock on Valentine's Day, a few students from a girls' boarding school and a teacher disappear. One of my favourites, which I have also read the book, and have picked the movie multiple times before. Similar to Cracks it has beautiful costumes and scenery but the story is more haunting and eerie.
 
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Thursday, August 11, 2022

Thursday Movie Picks #422: Ageing Leading Actors Cast as Much Younger Men Playing Alongside Much Younger Actresses



Hello there and welcome to Thursday Movie Picks a weekly series where you share your movie picks each Thursday. The rules are simple: based on the theme of the week pick three to five movies and tell us why you picked them. For further details and the schedule visit the series main page here.

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This week's Thursday Movie Picks is Ageing Leading Actors Cast as Much Younger Men Playing Alongside Much Younger Actresses

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I'm always annoyed when I watch a movie where the actor is like 40 or 50 but is playing a much younger male character of 20+ to 30+ while the actress they are acting alongside is actually around the age or the female character which is 20+. I mean what were the producers thinking? The actor may look good for their age but they definitely don't look 20 years younger good. Here are a few movies guilty of such.

Rear Window (1954)
There are so many Hitchcock films that cast male leads that are usually nearly 20 years older than the female leads: North by Northwest, Vertigo, To Catch a Thief...But I'm gonna pick Rear Window, because in it, the nurse who comes to care for the male lead who has a broken leg is played by an actress who was about 6 years older than James Stewart, but she plays sort of the older maternal woman and in one of the dialogue as she is giving relationship advice she refers to him as a "young man". When I saw Rear Window the first time a long time ago, I had thought the couple played by Stewart and Kelly were having a May December romance. However, upon watching it the second time and having heard the nurse refer to James Stewart's character a "young man", only then did I realise that he was playing a much younger character, someone closer in age to Grace Kelly's character. Seriously? Stewart looks closer to 50 than 30. 

47 Ronin (2013)
Keanu Reeves plays a man who grew up with and falls in love with his master's daughter. The age his character is supposed to be is never mentioned but it seemed to imply that he is a young man, so 20 to 30 plus, at least that is how young the female character, the love interest, looked like and the characters are supposed to be close in age since they grew up together. Keanu Reeves when this movie was released was almost 50, and while he does he does look young for his age, he does not look 30 and the age difference is so obvious when he shares the same scene with the actress playing the love interest.

The Mummy (2017)
I could really pick quite a number of movies Tom Cruise has starred in the past 10 years: American Made, Edge of Tomorrow and Mission Impossible...they all had him star alongside actresses, who are often playing the love interest, who are close to 20 years younger him. Cruise's character's age is also almost never mentioned but I'm guessing he is always playing someone who is perpetually in his mid 30s. You know what, I'm waiting to see a movie where he actually plays a grandfather, with a partner who is also in their 60s.
 
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Saturday, August 6, 2022

Thursday Movie Picks #421: Math in Movies



Hello there and welcome to Thursday Movie Picks a weekly series where you share your movie picks each Thursday. The rules are simple: based on the theme of the week pick three to five movies and tell us why you picked them. For further details and the schedule visit the series main page here.

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This week's Thursday Movie Picks is Math in Movies

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I'm doing a real quick one. A lot of movies that feature a lot of math are about geniuses. I'm steering away from that and just pick those that do feature people that are very good at math just doing their jobs or outwitting a system.

My quick picks are: Hidden Figures (2016), The Martian (2015), Moneyball (2011) and 21 (2008)

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Thursday, July 28, 2022

Thursday Movie Picks #420 TMP Television Edition - Book Adaptations


Hello there and welcome to Thursday Movie Picks a weekly series where you share your picks each Thursday. The rules are simple: based on the theme of the week pick three to five titles and tell us why you picked them. For further details and the schedule visit the series main page here.

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This week's Thursday Movie Picks is TMP Television Edition -  Book Adaptations

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I’m picking the last 5 TV series I saw that were all adapted from books I’ve read.
 
Anatomy of a Scandal (2022)
A minister in the British government, a close friend of the Prime Minister, is accused of rape and his wife is convinced he is innocent but as she looks back at their life together, maybe she missed something in the past. I read this a few years back and have totally forgotten the plot. I think it’s because I read another British courtroom drama around that time which overshadowed this. Anyway, I really enjoyed the TV series. It was well made and acted. The courtroom drama and the drama outside of court - the whole how the family and his close friend the PM deal with the scandal was all interesting.

Pieces of Her (2022)
A woman’s perception of her mother completely changes when violence occurs during their trip to the mall. Karin Slaughter is one of my favourite crime novelists but of her books I've read, this is the one I didn't like. I would say the TV series is okay though quite missable, I suppose it can’t be helped since the book’s plot and the characters are just not as interesting as Slaughter’s other books so I was quite surprised this is the first of her books that got adapted. Side note, Slaughter’s Will Trent series of books is being adapted I think for ABC. I am thrilled about it but also disappointed as the Will Trent series is actually a spin off of Slaughter's earlier Grant County series and I wished they adapted Grant County first. I also think it would have been a better idea for it to be made by a premium network like HBO or Netflix as both of Slaughter’s crime series are very dark and the crimes are often violent and disturbing and being aired on a network like ABC might make the TV series less gritty and tamer or make it episodic when it should be more serialised with one story arc per season.
 
The Girl Before (2021)
A woman gets an opportunity to live in an ultra minimalist house that demands a certain lifestyle. The book for me stood out because it was quite weird and nutty. The TV series is not as weird and nutty, the house isn’t as minimalist (it’s more techy) and it removed certain aspects of the girl before’s relationship. Overall the series was an okay watch but I did think that David Oyelowo was miscast. I found him quite cheesy when he is suppose to be broody, aloof and controlling.
 
One of Us is Lying (2021)
When one of the five students at detention ends up dying from an allergic reaction after drinking from a water cooler dispenser, the others become suspects for his murder. I think the book was a lot better as it was more concise in its storytelling while the tv series changed and added some things seemingly for the purpose of lengthening the story. Still the TV series is an okay watch. If you like Pretty Little Liars, you might like this.
 
Panic (2021)
In a rural town with little economy, teens risk their lives to play Panic, a secret competition of various daring challenges, to win the  prize money they see as their ticket out of town. I really like the book which was a fun adventure thriller. The TV series was pretty fun as well and I enjoyed it. It's been a few years since I’ve read it but I think for the TV series they made the challenges a little tamer to make it I suppose more presentable and there's more of the teen relationship drama in it too. One thing I didn't like though is that the male actors who play the lead boys all look so old, they look closer to 30 than 18.
 
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Thursday, July 21, 2022

Thursday Movie Picks #419: Female Boss



Hello there and welcome to Thursday Movie Picks a weekly series where you share your movie picks each Thursday. The rules are simple: based on the theme of the week pick three to five movies and tell us why you picked them. For further details and the schedule visit the series main page here.

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This week's Thursday Movie Picks is Female Boss

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Today's theme is is a suggestion by Getter. I'm simply going for my most recent watches.

The Intern (2015)
An elderly retired man becomes an intern to an online store run by a young female boss. I have kinda avoided this and The Internship because I wasn't interested in the premise but I finally saw it this past year just cause I was looking for a comedy. The movie turned out to actually be ok, quite funny though overall not very memorable. 

Late Night (2019)
A woman gets hired to be a part of the writing team of a female late night talk host. I used to watch quite a bit of late night talk shows and enjoyed them, so it was really fun watching a fictitious behind the scenes of what goes on to put such a show up. I really enjoyed the drama that goes on and it was also a funny movie. Late Night was also written by Mindy Kaling so if you like some of the shows that she's written for in the past definitely see this.
 
The High Note (2020)
The movie follows a personal assistant and the superstar singer she works for. I really enjoyed this. I like movies that are about the creative or entertainment industry and this was really entertaining. Tracee Ellis Ross plays the superstar singer so there’s plenty of scenes her performing or being the glamorous star; she is by the way the daughter of Diana Ross so she probably was channeling her mom. Those scenes are fun to watch.

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Thursday, July 14, 2022

Thursday Movie Picks #418: Non-English Language Movies



Hello there and welcome to Thursday Movie Picks a weekly series where you share your movie picks each Thursday. The rules are simple: based on the theme of the week pick three to five movies and tell us why you picked them. For further details and the schedule visit the series main page here.

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This week's Thursday Movie Picks is Non-English Language Movies

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I haven't watched that many non-English movies the past year but these are the ones I like. There were all movies from the 2000s that I had been wanting to watch for a while and finally got to when they all got added to Netflix recently.

The Eye (2002)
[Cantonese and Thai] A blind woman gets a cornea transplant and soon realises she can see ghosts. There were quite a lot of horror movies coming out of Asia in the late 1990s and early 2000s that got pretty popular. This was one of them but it was one that I had yet to see until the past year. It's aged a little but still a good watch. Not too scary with a decent amount of scares and quite sad too.

April Snow (2005)
[Korean] A man and a woman meet in the hospital when their spouses are involved in a car collision. They soon learn their spouses were having an affair and start to bond over their shared plight. This reminds me so much of In the Mood for Love (which I love) in terms of the basic premise. That was a very stylish artsy movie with beautiful costumes, score and cinematography. April Snow is more subdued, sombre and also feels more grounded because it's just not as artistically pretty. It's the story of two people who are informed that their spouses are seriously injured and that they may never wake up from their coma and are very soon confronted with the realisation that their spouses were cheating on them. They have to cope with a mix of emotions from sadness over the injuries and hurt and anger over the infidelity and yet through it all they dutifully visit and care for their spouses at the hospital and cover up the infidelity from the rest of the family. I thought the movie does the interactions of the lead male and female character very well from their first meeting to their eventual relationship filled with quite a lot of understandably awkward moments - what does one say to the wife of the man your wife is having an affair with? Out of my three picks today this is my favourite. I do love a good quiet drama. Words are sparse but thoughtful, actions are restrained but meaningful, nothing is wasted.
 
The Host (2006)
[Korean] A family desperately tries to rescue their youngest member that had been snatched by a mutant amphibious creature which emerged from the Han River.  I remember this was really popular when it came out. I'm not really a fan of creature features so I wasn't going to spend actual money on it. Still I wanted to see it out of curiosity so waited around for it to get on TV or Netflix. So I finally saw it. It is pretty entertaining. Much better than the Godzilla and King Kong movies coming out of Hollywood in recent years. The Host is a mix action, drama, horror with a dash of humor.

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