John Lui, The Straits Times

John Lui, The Straits Times

2020-10-04 (1)

30 September 2020
ST Life Picks Ep 96: South Korea's violent crime thriller Deliver Us From Evil is stylish, savage yet tender
Deliver Us From Evil is the latest in a series of tense, violent crime thrillers from South Korea. If this story has a Western vibe, it is because it features a showdown in a city that has become Asian cinema’s stand-in for Mexico: Bangkok. It’s where triads, yakuza, gun-runners and drug dealers of all nations come to do battle, at least in films. The stage is set for a stylish, savage match-up, one that has surprisingly tender family moments.
The Tunnel, on the other hand, plays out as slow-motion horror, made all the more horrifying because so much of it is based on fact. Opening cards tell audiences that there are 1,100 tunnels in Norway. Most do not have escape routes and that eight major fires have occurred in these mountain passageways since 2011.

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9 September 2020
ST Lifestyle Picks Ep 93: Satirical zombie apocalypse flick and war film about Chinese history
#Alive is a zombie apocalypse flick that is a uniquely Korean version of the survivor format. This near-perfect blend of satire of the survival drama depicts a lonely and petrified video-game addict trapped in his apartment, who must play a real-life version of the game in which a player explores the surroundings while picking up makeshift weapons, tools and food. Unless he takes risks, he will die of starvation or thirst.
The Eight Hundred, an action-oriented ensemble piece re-enacting a pivotal moment in Chinese history, serves as a big-budget corrective to myths about war generated by Western cinema, such as the idea that Asians stood by as Westerners fought their battles.

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19 August 2020
Netflix thriller about pill that grants users temporary superpowers: Lifestyle Picks Ep 90 
Project Power is an ambitious take on what is by now a standard science-fiction premise of the drug that grants superpowers to ordinary folk. Like many thrillers, it contains the moral: Those who defy nature will face consequences.
Defying nature here is New Orleans teenager Robin (Dominique Fishback), a dealer in the super-stimulant given the name Power; there is cop Frank (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), tracking down the source of the drug. Jamie Foxx appears as The Major, a mysterious super-soldier also looking for the makers of the glowing orange pill.
There are a couple of fresh twists here, such as the notion that swallowing the drug leads to unpredictable results.

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29 July 2020
Imelda Marcos focus of The Kingmaker documentary: Life Picks Ep 87
This week, Money FM's Bernard Lim hosts The Straits Times' film correspondent John Lui so he can share his picks for the week.
The Kingmaker, a documentary about Mrs Imelda Marcos, former First Lady of the Philippines, brings the audience through her life from a beauty pageant into politics, her husband’s rise to power and her time as First Lady in the 1960s to the 1980s.
Beasts Clawing At Straws, a South Korean crime thriller, adapted from the 2011 Japanese novel of the same name, depicts everyone as rotten, the only difference is by how much. As the relationships between the eight characters in the film develops, events intensify and turn bloodier.

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