1st Mid-Autumn Film Festival – The Rooftop

Takeshi Kaneshiro in Red Cliff

Takeshi Kaneshiro in Red Cliff

 

Takeshi Kaneshiro and Jay Chou are now officially added to the list of biases I have seen on the big screen.

I’ve seen Kang Dong-won through the Korean Film Festival for (5) times already in “Jeon Woo-chi: The Taoist Wizard” and “Secret Reunion,” Kenichi Matsuyama through last year’s Eiga Sai with “Kamui Gaiden,” and most recently Yusuke Iseya twice for “Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno.”

I did see Jay first on the big screen with “Green Hornet” but that wasn’t a Taiwanese film. Takeshi has been a long-time bias, one of my very first actor biases so he’s really special for me. And so I did, I successfully managed to watch “Red Cliff” at the Newport Mall. I won’t be discussing “Red Cliff” anymore as I’ve seen the film before.

It was my first time really seeing “The Rooftop.” That is something for me, as I haven’t seen the movie before and seeing it on the big screen is amazing in itself.  At first I was a bit confused with the movie, I feel like there are too many elements thrown in all together in one.

The first scene I saw was at Dr. Bo’s herbal clinic where Wax (Jay Chou) works and his friends. There was this performance of girls dressed as nurses with guys in wheelchairs that was intended to make the audience buy herbal medicines from him. That scene was like watching a Jay Chou music video, which isn’t particularly a good or a bad thing.

I didn’t know the film was set in the 70s too, so when I finally saw it; it kinda felt a bit awkward. It’s a musical in 70s setting with action and a bit of fantasy. Like I said, there are so many elements going on in just one movie. And all the colors too, it was definitely colorful but I wasn’t sure if it was the right thing to do in every scene. I do give credit for Jay though for attempting a Taiwanese musical/action/fantasy film; combining genres in one. The costumes and the hairstyles may have been a little bit off at some parts for me, specially with Jay Chou’s Elvis Presley-inspired hair.

The film is set in a fantasy city called Galilee City; wherein people with power and wealth live on the ground and people who live of simple ways live on the rooftop.  Wax and his friends Tempura, Egg and A-lang live at the rooftop and while they may not have the wealth and power, they all seem to be happy with their way of life with their friends and neighbors. Wax is in love with an up and coming actress named Starling who has a billboard overlooking the rooftop. By chance, Wax gets to meet her in person and starts working as William’s double in the movie she’s filming with the influential actor. He also helps his friend Tempura on his side job as a rent collector for City Housing Authority headed by Rango.

Things start to get complicated when Starling grows closer to Wax. William hires the help of Big Red, another rent collector to snap photos of Wax and Starling and have it scattered all over the media in an effort to put Wax down. Unknown to Starling, she believes this ploy thinking that Wax betrayed him. Due to her father’s debts to William, she is then forced to accept his conditions by making them appear as a real couple.

By this time, the movie starts to go all cliche. The sing and dance routines are suddenly pushed to the background to focus on the film heading to serious cliche. After discovering Starling and William are now a couple, Wax is seen walking and pondering whether he should start forgetting about her, and accompanied with some sudden dancing as he walks by on a rainy day. He later decides to go see her at the film’s premiere with his friends. Tempura gets in the event without hassle as Wax, Egg and A-lang waited.

Rango finds out Big Red is looting some rental money from him and fires him. Tempura is asked to take over Big Red’s duties. With this, Big Red kills Rango and seeks revenge to William as well, because it was William who told Rango that he wanted to take over Rango’s position at the City Housing Authority. He creates a big show at the film premiere when he killed William in front of the audience, Starling and Tempura. Wax then comes to the scene who now has to decide whether to save Starling or his friend. He manages to outwit Big Red with A-lang and Egg’s help and take Starling away from the scene. And here we go again, the damsel in distress and the hero sacrificing his life for the girl.

If there are some things I did like about the film, those are the scenes at the rooftop. I particularly like their big gramophone and when they play music every night. I also love the new songs Jay has penned for the film, specially “Moonlight on Rooftop” and “You Are Everywhere.” These are the kind of songs he’s best at and not the electro/auto-tuned songs he has released lately. These type of songs are after all the very reasons I like him in the first place.

As for the film, his best is still “Secret” and I’m still waiting for that sequel. I’ve also seen him in “Initial D” and acting, story and directing-wise, it’s still “Secret” for me.

*****

 

Also tried something new at Lucky Chinatown Mall, which is a new and small yet very posh kind of mall. I tried Mr. Bean’s hot mocha soy milk. I love their tagline “Life’s simple pleasures” and their kawaii logo. I also tried Mongolian style bbq rice from Heaven’s BBQ at the food court. Lots of rice but the bbq was quite small yet delicious. I love the water bottle too at the mall that I didn’t want to put it to the trash.