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San Francisco, USA

 

Electronic Payment

People are talking about PayPal is becoming a virtual monoploy in US after the shutdown of Yahoo's PayDirect. This reader from Estonia is wondering why US still don't have any decent service, when over ten years ago it is already possible "for anyone with bank account in any Estonian bank to pay anyone else with a bank account."

I use the free Yahoo Bill Pay to pay my bills whenever possible (hope this service won't be affected.) The downside of this free service is that it can only pay to a limited number of participating merchants, payment have to be scheduled one week in advance, and the website goes offline regularly. All other places charge a ridiculous amount of monthly fee to use this kind of services. Come on, I elect to make my payment electronically and the merchant's bottom line is stand to benefit, since they can avoid the costly paper check payment processing. Now you even ask customers to pay for this?

2004.10.24 [, ] - comments

 

Review - 20-30-40

My favorite actress director Sylvia Chang's new film "20 30 40" is a story about 3 women. Xiao Jie (Angelica Lee) of 20 ran off to Taipei by herself to pursuit her dream career in entertainment. Xiang Xiang (Rene Liu) is an air stewardess having affair with several lovers. Sylvia herself plays the 40 something Lily, who found herself divorced one day but were starting to find a new life. Together they echoed her previous film, the endearing "Tempting Heart", which traversed the life of a woman from teenager to into middle age.

Like "Tempting Heart", the portrait of the youth is the most beautiful and romantic. Xiao Jie came to the big city fresh and innocent. She quickly found a girlfriend who helped her to navigate the new world. The singing career did not go where she wanted. But even when it has came to part, it was no doubt she has lived.

The story of Xiang Xiang was lot less glamourous. Despite dancing around multiple lovers, she life is marked by emptiness. Nice apartment, full wardrobe and all alone. Young no more, she only hope that one day she would find the right one.

Lily's story deliver lots of comic moments. Rather than feeling old and bitter for the divorce, she has gone back to the dating scene and was having much fun. Dancing, drinking, sports, you are just never too old to enjoy life if you stay positive.

There are also some excellent male roles. Anthony Wong plays Shi Ge, a rocker/manager who has tried hard but are mostly a failure. Richie Ren plays tennis coach, whose energy prove to be too much for a middle-aged woman.

In face of life's many unfulfilled longings, the movie has maintained an upbeat attitude.

(Taiwan, 2004)

2004.10.12 [] - comments

 

More movie reviews

Got to see two excellent movies in a row this week. I am excited to have written some reviews for Tagegukgi and 20-30-40. The front page is also getting crowded. It is also about time to reorganize it.

2004.10.12 [] - comments

 

Review - Taegukgi

The epic war film opened in the happy days in 1950. Jin-tae and Jin-seok were close brothers. Jin-seok was a bright student and the hope of the family. Jin-tae worked hard so that his younger brother could go to school. Life is not easy, but with the family and his fiancee around, they could not be more contented.

Then came the outbreak of the war. The brothers were quickly drafted and put into the front line. Right away the new troops were pounded by the enemies. Jin-tae desperately wanted to get his brother home. By volunteering himself for every dangerous mission, he figured he would either get a medal or get killed so that his brother could get out. His boldness helped them to win an intense battle. But this was only the beginning. As the war progress, things were descended deeper into darkness. Jin-tae became a ruthless soldier losing his humanity. The brothers relationship was under strain. As the fighting seesawed, casualties and deep wound between the two sides ensured.

Unlike many action movies those special effect look just like video games, the fighting scenes here are intense and realistic. But even more terrifying is the bayonet fights that was so savage.

Another absurdity is although much of animosity between the enemies is driven by the ideological divide, the central characters are really apolitical.

Although I considered myself an international film buff, somehow this is only this first Korean film I saw. It has not disappointed me. Taegukgi is easily the most affecting war film I have seen.

(Korea, 2004)

2004.10.09 [] - comments

 

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