TIFF – Blind Detective

I managed to catch the last screening of Blind Detective on Saturday, Sept. 14 at TIFF 2013 with my mom, who hadn’t been out to see a movie in… I’m not even sure how long.

Director and Producer: Johnnie To
Starring: Andy Lau, Sammi Cheng
Production Co.: Media Asia Films Ltd., Milkyway Image
Canadian Rating: 14A

Andy Lau of Internal Affairs (remade by Martin Scorsese into The Departed) reunites with Sammi Cheng to star together in a fantastic madcap take on a typical “buddy cop” movie.

Chong, played by Andy Lau, is a blind ex-detective with an uncanny ability to solve cold cases using his vivid imagination to put himself in the crime scene as the perpetrators and victims. Ho, played by Sammi Cheng, joins him as a young and promising but hopelessly inexperienced inspector to solve a series of cases with Chong’s particular brand of method sleuthing – including a serial killer and one that cuts very close to Ho.

Johnnie To brings an amazingly hilarious, morbidly madcap and visually rich story through Blind Detective. The movie takes use of universally understood visuals and cues that it easily surpasses the language barrier between Chinese (both Cantonese and Mandarin) to English.

My Thoughts:

I do have a weakness for Andy Lau’s movies, especially when it involves Sammi Cheng. These two Hong Kong superstars have now worked together seven times and it shows that their screen chemistry is a force to be reckoned with, even after almost a decade.

Even though I am a little biased, I thought that it was a great movie! The summary floating around the internet is horrible because the movie explores a lot more than just a simple caper movie between a couple of cops. The characters are realistically flawed, which makes their antics a bit more fantastic since it feels like their adventures shouldn’t happen. The scenes where Chong mentally tries to figure out what happened is so visually stunning in a simple manner that you can’t help but get pulled into his imagination.

I’m more or less fluent in conversational Cantonese, but I found the subtitles to be pretty useful and mostly accurate. Aside from a couple mistranslations with slang and some timing with the dialogue, the subtitles were spot on for once.

WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD

Obviously, since it’s Andy Lau and Sammi Cheng, they end up falling in love with each other. That’s something I knew was going to happen, but it was a very awkward relationship development.

Throughout the movie, Chong didn’t show ANY sign of deep affection for Ho. The majority of the movie partially revolved around Chong’s obsession with a certain dancer who he fell in love with before he was blinded. They showed Chong as a talented blind detective, but one who has a really shallow character. For most of the movie, Chong takes advantage of Ho’s wealth and kindness and puts her in harm’s way to solve his cases. Even though Ho wants to learn from him, it doesn’t make much sense for her to fall in love with him after all the hell he puts her through.

I know it’s supposed to be a somewhat silly movie, but it seemed too convenient for Chong to fall in love with Ho just by realizing that she’s rather pretty. It’s within his character to do so, but it just seems too deux ex machina.

SPOILERS END HERE

Johnnie To doesn’t hold back on the gore when the story deems necessary, which is something I thoroughly enjoyed since the nature of the story was quite graphic and pretty psychotic. I felt that the amount of gore was just enough to balance the unnerving psychological issues that the antagonists clearly had.

Maybe it’s supposed to show how everyone has some sort of deep psychological problem that manifests in various degrees, since all of the characters we see are almost comically flawed.

No matter what, my mother and I are anxiously awaiting the DVD release so we can watch it again. I’d highly recommend you see Blind Detective, even if you don’t like TIFF-esque movies, because it’s not anything like what you might think.

xoxo,

B.elle

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Nintendo 2DS in Blue

Quick Facts

  • Nintendo 2DS follows the 3DS consoles released in 2011, which features 3-D gameplay. In 2012, Nintendo released the 3DS XL, which featured the same capabilities as the 3DS but with a larger screen.
  • The 2DS can play both DS and 3DS games.
  • The 2DS comes in either blue or red.
  • It retails at $129.99 in North America. The 3DS retails at $169.99 and the 3DS XL retails at $199.99.

I recently pre-ordered the Nintendo 2DS and a copy of Pokemon X from EB Games and I picked it up yesterday. I’d been playing on the DS Lite for the last few years, and the new release of Pokemon X and Y really had me thinking about upgrading my hand held.

So, instead of the 3DS, I opted for the 2DS. The only major differences seem to be the lack of 3-D technology (hence, 2-Ds) and the fact that it’s not in the distinctive DS-clamshell shape. I personally don’t buy a lot of games, 3-D technology usually gives me a headache and I don’t bring my DS out of the house too often, so picking the 2DS saved me about $70. (Woot!)

Seen here fuzzily in blue (other version in red)

Seen here fuzzily in blue (other version in red)

The wedged shape helps to see the screen and finger placement. It also gives it a pretty distinctive look amongst the other handheld consoles.

Even though it looks really unwieldy and awkward, the 2DS is surprisingly comfortable to hold. Smaller hands might find it a bit hard to grip for a long time, but the positioning of all the buttons and the frame’s design are very well done for portable gaming. Protip: Grip the whole console like a giant controller with your palms against it for more support.

I’ve seen some reviewers say that touchscreen gaming is going to be really awkward on the 2DS, but using the stylus on the bottom screen feels very similar to using a touchscreen tablet. Hopefully, if you handle the 2DS in the same fashion, it’ll make it a lot easier.

Compared to the DS Lite, the screens are obviously much sharper and the colours are brighter. I was kind of worried that the dual screens would look a bit strange because of misalignment like the DS Lite had when opened all the way, but there’s no noticeable strange angles.

The casing feels durable but very light at the same time. I felt like I could probably throw the DS Lite against the wall and nothing much would happen, but the 2DS feels a lot more fragile to me because of the type of plastic they used, the increased size and the lack of the clamshell hinge. In fact, I realized that the instruction manual for the 2DS weighs more than the actual console. Not like I’m going to try breaking it, though. Good thing it feels as durable as a brick without the weight. (Yay!)

To me, the size definitely hinders the 2DS’ portability because it barely fits into my giant woman-purse that’s filled with a million things at any given time. The circle pad on the left side of the console is probably really sturdy, but I’m still really paranoid about it snapping off because it hits something in my purse in the wrong angle! Without a case, I’m really hesitant to bring it out with me while travelling, but like I said earlier, I’m not expecting to take it out too often. It’s simply a minor setback that I didn’t think was going to happen.

I can’t compare battery life to the 3DS family since I don’t have one, but I haven’t noticed my battery draining too quickly yet. Mind you, I keep my 2DS tethered to the wall while marathon-gaming, so… XD

Overall, I’m pretty happy with my 2DS and I’m definitely not regretting it! I’ve played a bit of Pokemon X with its 3D capabilities and I haven’t found it lacking at all! That being said, the 2DS is pretty much designed for the more casual gamer consumers out there at $130 (USD and CAD!).

Bottom Line: You get what you pay for. If you want to save money to play the new generation of Nintendo handheld games and you don’t mind lacking 3-D play, the 2DS is perfect for you. If you want the full experience, the 3DS-XL would probably fit you better.

xoxo,

B.elle