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Sunday Afternoon Fare

March 11th, 2008 (12:36 am)

© 2008 D. Gordon

I saw Stephen Chow's latest movie, CJ7, yesterday. I'm far from being a Stephen Chow expert - I've seen several of his late 90's / early 00's movies, although none of the ones that made him famous - but this is a different kind of Stephen Chow. There's a hint of Shaolin ET in there, and there are some really funny bits (what? Shaolin ET isn't funny enough?), but the movie focuses much more on the kid, Dicky Chow, and his father Ti. The movie is also billed as kid's fare, which it definitely is, although it's a slightly different definition of "kid's fare" than is normally found in the States. The alien isn't Super Alien (and that point is emphasized); the bad kids are more or less like bullies anywhere - still kids; and the love interest is really a secondary (maybe even a tertiary) story. There's only one "miracle" and it actually catches you a bit by surprise.

It was enjoyable, and I'd let a kid of mine watch it. Not quite what I'd expect from a Stephen Chow movie; but with a cute kid, cute alien, and good father, what's not to like?


I also saw Peur(s) du noir (Fear(s) of the Dark), part of Lincoln Center's Rendez-Vous with French Cinema 2008, before heading over to CJ7.

This is a French animation omnibus of horror, done by some well-known animators - not all French - who usually do comics, not movies. Some of the five stories evoke intermittent edge-of-seat feelings; some are just unpleasant to contemplate (as in "you wouldn't want that to happen to you" more than "that's disgusting"). The segments are threaded together in a way that's about 80% successful, which keeps the different animation styles from competing with each other, but I left with a sense of incompleteness. And I didn't know enough about the animators to even sort out who did what during the Q & A.

The film is slated for release by IFC sometime in the near future.

Official Website