HKMDB Daily News

September 19, 2012

Caught in the Web (Hollywood Reporter review)

Filed under: News — Tags: , , — dleedlee @ 10:21 am

Caught in the Web
9/17/2012 by Deborah Young

Chinese master Chen Kaige returns to a contemporary setting with top actors Gao Yuanyuan, Chen Hong, Mark Chao and Yao Chen.

In Caught in the Web, director Chen Kaige updates the high-energy brushstrokes of his sweeping historical epics like Farewell My Concubine to describe the modern intrigues of Internet rumor-mongering and office politics. In this fast-moving, densely plotted black dramedy, a faux scandal raised by an ambitious web TV editor comes close to destroying a number of lives, offering a masterful panorama on urban, middle class China. Toronto should be just the first port of call on a long festival voyage, with some crossover into the niches.

The popularity and dangers of Internet discussion boards hardly seems like the kind of thing that would spark the interest of the master of Asian costume dramas set in yesteryear. Yet in his third film with a contemporary setting, Chen effortlessly spins out his familiar themes of scandal, love, power, role-playing and betrayal in a society now dominated by the media and technology. In this sleek modern China, everyone’s out to get something from somebody, selfishness is the rule and “only the mentally ill tell the truth.” The screenplay, co-written with Tang Danian (Beijing Bicycle), is intricate but never confusing and filled with complexly drawn characters, particularly women. Its only real misstep is the dark, sentimental ending, which doesn’t hit quite the right note.

One morning in a big city, a young woman learns she has lymphatic cancer and must be operated on within a week. Shocked by the news, Lanqiu (Gao Yuanyuan) is so preoccupied that on her way to work she refuses to give up her bus seat to an old man and reacts rudely to protests from the other passengers. Unknown to her, cub TV reporter Jiaqi (May Wang) is filming the scene on her cell phone. She proudly presents it to her editor Ruoxi (Yao Chen), who knows a good thing when she sees it, and sends it viral on the net, igniting what comes to be known as “the Sunglasses Girl scandal.” Thanks to a jealous, ambitious co-worker, Lanqiu’s identity is revealed on the web and she is forced to go into hiding. Even the company she works for suffers, as the whole country moralistically shakes its head over her shameless arrogance on the bus.

In truth, Lanqiu is the reserved executive secretary of Mr. Shen (Wang Xueqi), the wily old company president. Uncharacteristically, she bursts into tears in his private office while asking for a loan (for the operation), just as Shen’s wife Mo Xiaoyu (actress and producer Chen Hong) walks in. She misreads the scene entirely and decides to take revenge on the two “lovers”, as subtly and cruelly as a poisoning at court. Still, she has her own backstory and a terrifying master-slave relationship with Shen that partly exonerates her.

She gets in touch with Ruoxi, who is a ruthless and stupidly ambitious young woman, yet also sports a human side. Ruoxi is dating Jiaqi’s hot brother Shoucheng (Mark Chao) and the three of them share a rented apartment, while Ruoxi dreams of making it big so they can buy a bigger place to live.

Shoucheng is a photographer who still has some ethics intact. When his path crosses Lanqiu’s, she offers to hire him for one week, basically to protect her from herself. He cautiously agrees, knowing she’s the victim of an outrageous Internet smear campaign that could lead her to suicide, but not knowing that she’s ill. Naturally, he has to hide the gig from his girlfriend, Ruoxi. She finds out.

Only a top-drawer cast could individualize all these characters. In the main role, the ethereal Gao Yuanyuan (City of Life and Death) is so noble and refined she’s almost a fantasy figure, though she’s unpredictable enough to keep the appealing Chao guessing as her temp bodyguard. He gets to kick up his heels in a playful martial arts fight; she terrifies him in a mini-car chase. They’re cute characters and their inevitable romance has all the more impact for being handled delicately.

The other notable acting pair is the rich Mr. Shen and his trophy wife, always at each other’s throats. Wang Xueqi’s Shen is delightfully cunning and cynical, though he’s a tyrant to his wife. She gets pay-back when she calls Ruoxi for a private chat, but in the last scenes, Chen Hong’s dignity earns respect.
Fast-paced and beautifully shot by Yang Shu, the story is told in theatrical spaces, through curtains and doorways, and inside soaring glass and stone buildings in which all traces of the past have been erased. Meng Ke and Ma Shangyou’s score is varied and touching.

Venue: Toronto Film Festival, Sept. 10, 2012.
A New Classics Media presentation of a 21 Century Shengkai Film production in association with Ningbo Radio & TV.
Cast: Gao Yuanyuan, Yao Chen, Mark Chao, Chen Hong, Wang Xueqi, Wang Luodan, Chen Ran, Zhang Yi, May Wang
Director: Chen Kaige
Screenwriters: Chen Kaige, Tang Danian
Producer: Chen Hong
Executive producers: Cao Huayi, Chen Hong, Wang Ziwen
Director of photography: Yang Shu
Production designers: Gao Yiguang, Tu Nan
Costumes: Sawataishi Kazuhiro
Editor: Li Dianshi
Music: Meng Ke, Ma Shangyou
Sales Agent: Moonstone Entertainment
No rating, 121 minutes.
THR

September 12, 2012

September 12, 2012 [HKMDB Daily News]

Filed under: News — Tags: , , , , , — dleedlee @ 8:22 pm

LATimes: Chinese pay for product placement in Hollywood movies

TimeOutHK: Karen Mok interview

My next big project is my first English album and it’s jazz. This has been my dream for as long as I can remember. Our take on this jazz album is to also retain our Chinese identity. So we have some Chinese elements in the album. I play the guzheng and we put that in as well. It’s a completely new sound we’re trying to create.

(Xinmin)

Karen Mok’s micro film/advert for Cadillac shot on Route 66

Daniel Wu gets Tom Cruise-y for Cadillac

Posters for the recently opened (in August) Mainland horror film “Horrible Hotel”(?). The B-list cast includes Cecilia Cheung look-a-like, Gong Mi, and the pulchritudinous Zhao Ming, Anya, comic actors Li Jing and Dong Lifan. Hong Kong singer-actor and Wang Lee Hom clone, as well as Kelly Chen’s brother, Victor Chen is the nominal hero.

Gong Mi, Victor Chen

Nightgown scene

Wet tee-shirt scene

Chinese Klansman?

(Sina)

September 10, 2012

September 9, 2012 [HKMDB Daily News]

Filed under: News — Tags: , — dleedlee @ 5:00 pm

TimeOutHK: Lo Chi-leung interview

Perhaps better known for his scary flicks and modern thrillers, director Lo Chi-leung is now playing detective for the excellent The Bullet Vanishes.

Liu Kai-Chi

FBA: Lotus review

Simplistic drama of a young female “rebel” fails to convince on a dramatic level.

FBA: Lethal Hostage review

Manipulative but gripping crime rondo set in the southern drug trade, with a fine cast.

Sun Honglei

Ni Dahong

Wang Luodan

Yang Kun

Zhang Mo

September 5, 2012

September 5, 2012 [HKMDB Daily News]

Filed under: News — dleedlee @ 12:22 pm

WSJ:  Raunchy ‘Vulgaria’ Defends Local Culture

When asked if “Vulgaria” would be distributed in China, producer Subi Liang replied: “Impossible.”

Related: China Lion’s Coming Soon

TimeOutHK: Gwei Lun-mei interview

In the decade since she stole the audience’s heart as a teenager in Blue Gate Crossing, Gwei Lun-mei has accumulated an uncharacteristically versatile body of work that ranges from arthouse sensations to action thrillers.

FBA: Tai Chi 0 (aka Tai Chi Zero) review

THR: Tai Chi 0 review

Stephen Fung’s much-awaited steampunk kung-fu actioner showcases stars Tony Leung Ka-fai, Eddie Peng and Shu Qi.

What in the heck is steampunk, anyway? Help me Urban Dictionary, you’re my only hope!

Variety: The Bullet Vanishes review

Robust opening in China followed by a U.S. bow proves demand for cerebral Asian genre fare exists.

August 3, 2012

August 3, 2012 [HKMDB Daily News]

Filed under: News — Tags: , , — dleedlee @ 6:27 pm

Trailer for “The Silent War”

Teaser for “Let it Be” starring Joan Chen and Van Fan

Some behind-the-scenes and making-of from “Lion Roars 2″

August 1, 2012

August 1, 2012 [HKMDB Daily News]

Filed under: News — Tags: , , — dleedlee @ 6:24 pm

TimeOutHK: Lacuna

Lacuna, perhaps adhering to the conservative censorship standards in China, feels uncharacteristically tame and gratuitously sweet. Indeed, the nocturnal rom-com’s Category IIA rating in Hong Kong should ring all sorts of alarms for those looking for The Hangover, Beijing.

TimeOutHK: Pang Ho-Cheung

Pang Ho-cheung is returning to his controversial best with his latest showbiz satire, Vulgaria.

TimeOutHK: Sexy Shiga Lin

CF: Jackie Chan Brings “Rush Hour 4″ Back

CF: August One Studio: Shooting from a New Perspective

CF: Character Posters Released for ‘White Deer Plain’

CRI: Zhang Yimou Responds to Ad Scandal

Zhang Yimou to cooperate with railways film probe

(Sina)

GlobalTimes: Rail ministry under fire over 7m yuan film kickback

Shortly after an audit report showed the Ministry of Railways had spent 18.5 million yuan ($2.91 million) on a disappointing publicity short film, the public was shocked again to learn that a huge chunk of the investment might have been pocketed by ministry officials.

CF: Chinese Stars on the Torch Relay of London Olympics

July 31, 2012

July 31, 2012 [HKMDB Daily News]

FBA: Vulgaria review

Rough-and-ready satire of low-end Hong Kong filmmaking is what it is, and no more.

FBA: Fairy Tale Killer review

Scrappy serial-killer tale that fails to make a case for Danny Pang as a solo director.

Review:Not So Awesome Foursome

The Four has so far raked in 150 million yuan ($23.5 million), leapfrogging domestic blockbuster Painted Skin: The Resurrection for top spot last week. But not all viewers of the film have given it the thumbs up, hinting at growing fatigue among Chinese audiences for kung fu productions.

GuardianUK: Why Painted Skin 2 has taken China by storm

GlobalTimes: China’s 1st Microfilm Competition launches alongside film festival

GlobalTimes: ”Human flesh search” film renews discussion of Internet vigilantism

Chen Kaige’s latest film “Caught in the Web” has drawn fresh attention to issues regarding privacy infringement and Internet-based vigilantism.

FBA: Kirk Wong rolls a Six

Hong Kong’s Kirk WONG will shoot his first film in more than a decade when his upcoming Six cranks up in November in China and Louisiana, US.

SGYahoo: Lee Lik-Chi to film “Hua Xiao Hero”Hong Kong comedy director Lee Lik-Chi has confirmed that he will be making a Malaysian film titled “Hua Xiao Hero” soon, with local veteran artist Auguste Kwan to star as the male lead in the film

CF: ”The Silent War” Premiers in Beijing

The production company of “The Silent War” announced at the ceremony that the release date of the film was moved up to August 7, three days earlier than the previously scheduled screening time.

Poster for “Dangerous Liaisons, to be released Sept. 27

CF: Kimi Qiao and Shi Yanfei “Kiss” at “Good-For-Nothing Heroes” Premiere Ceremony

Director Fu Yong, accompanied by actors Suet Lam, Kimi Qiao, Kent Cheng, Christy Chung, Terri Kwan, Shi Yanfei and Leni Yan, attended a premiere ceremony for the romance comedy “Good-For-Nothing Heroes” yesterday in Beijing.

“Justin” Lam Suet

Kent Cheng

Lam Suet, Christy Chung

Leni Lan/Lan Yan (Sina-gallery)

CF: A Serious Chow Yun-Fat in the First Trailer of “The Last Tycoon”

Chow Yun-Fat

Huang Xiaoming (Sina)

CF: Zhou Xun’s 20 Years from an Actress to a BO Revenue Guarantee

Zhou Xun in 1999 TV series

CF: Chinese Films to Enter American Homes

M1905.com, the China Movie Channel website, and Jiaflix, an American based enterprise, have teamed together to stream Chinese movies through set-top boxes. It will bring thousands of Chinese flicks into North American families’ homes.

SGYahoo: Comedian Ng Mang Tat also sings?

Plays a karaoke champion in “Kara King”

SGYaoo: Chapman To joins “Wedding Diary 2″

Four years after ’singing’ in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Lin Miaoke co-stars in the thriller “Insistence”

Lin Miaoke, Ken Lok

“Insistence” poster (Sina)

A1: Zhang Ziyi ends her scandals with a ring

Zhang Ziyi’s romance with CCTV host Sa Beining has been blown wide open with loads of consequences-China’s news hounds are filling pages with wedding talk, Internet bloggers are chatting about Ziyi’s motives, and businessmen are baiting fashion watchers with copies of the lovers’ sandals!

In Hong Kong director Gordon Chan’s latest wuxia flick The Four, she plays a woman named Emotionless, who has telepathic and telekinetic powers.

MSN: Eason Chan’s wife slammed for “ill-mannered Chinese” comment

SGYahoo: Mad dash for In-N-Out burgers at Circular Road

Tuesday’s pop-up store was a test case for In-N-Out — a family-run chain famous in the US West Coast — to see if it’s worth setting up a permanent store in Singapore.

July 27, 2012

July 27, 2012 [HKMDB Daily News]

Filed under: News — Tags: , , , , , , — dleedlee @ 6:14 pm

FBA: Flying with You review

Fluffy Chinese vehicle for South Korean actress-singer Jang Na-ra is for addicts only.

CF: Final Poster of “The Silent War” Released

A final poster for the spy-themed film “The Silent War” was released today before the movie hits mainland screens on August 10

After setting a new box office record with a total of 685 million yuan (US$ 107.1 million), the production side of the movie “Painted Skin 2″ held a celebration party yesterday in Shanghai [on a luxury cruise ship].

Zhao Wei

Celebrating RMB$700M take at the box office

(Sina-gallery) (Sina-slideshow)

CF: ”Switch” Set for Release on November 2

With an investment of over 160 million yuan (about US$26 million), the movie was originally set to be released during the National Day Holiday slot. According to Zhang, in order to set aside enough time for the 3D effect team, they had postponed the movie’s release to November.

Stephen Fung’s “Tai Chi 0″ will have its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival August 31. Angelababy and Eddie Peng will help to promote in Venice according to reports.

Angelababy (Sina)2

Martial arts flick “The Four” kicked out “Painted Skin: The Resurrection” to sit in the top spot with a surprisingly $11.13 million in its second week of release for a two-week total of $24.16 million. “Painted Skin: The Resurrection” ended its fourth week of release to number two of the boxoffice chart, adding $9.13 million for a total of $109.15 million. Those figures put “Painted Skin: The Resurrection” officially to become the highest grossing domestic movie at all time, taking the boxoffice record from “Let the Bullet Fly” (2010), which grossed a total of $101.37 million in mainland China.

The 135-minute film features a gang of South Korean thieves who team up with a Hong Kong crew to steal a diamond necklace from a heavily-guarded casino safe in Macau. As the cops close in, old betrayals — and misunderstandings — resurface.

“The Thieves” poster (Sina)

Yahoo: Suit filed over ‘Expendables 2′ stuntman’s death

Kun Liu was killed during a stunt in Bulgaria in October 2011 while performing in a rubber boat on Ognyanovo dam, just outside the capital, Sofia. He died after suffering wounds from a nearby explosion.

Original posts: 10.28.201110.31.2011

Cecilia Cheung in a series of stills modeling costume and on set for Joe Ma’s “Lion Roars 2″. Opening Aug. 17.

Cecilia Cheung

“Meet the In-Laws” stars Xu Zheng, Lin Peng and Hui Siu-Hung and opens Aug. 7

Lin Peng, Hui Siu-Hung, Xu Zheng

Hui Siu-Hung, Lin Peng, Xu Zheng

Hui Siu-Hung, Xu Zheng

Trailer, frankly a little uninspiring

(Sina)23

“Good-for-Nothing Heros”

Still with Kimi Qiao Renliang, Lam Suet reflects the original title, “Island Paradise” (Sina)2

“Good-for-Nothing Heros” teaser and trailer

Tang Wei receiving an award for Most Popular Actress at the 2012 First Youth Film Festival

(Sina)2(CF)

Johnnie To, Keanu Reeves, Lisa S and Rosemary were among the stars on hand to help launch a new international movie channel in Hong Kong.

Lisa S.

Rosemary (Sina-slideshow)

MSN: Cecilia Cheung: “I’m calmly dealing with my divorce”

Asked what she thought of being dubbed ‘Box Office Poison’ after her recent films bombed at the box office, the actress said, “As an actress, as long as I do my part and work hard to showcase myself, ticket sales are not the most important.”

MSN: Liu Yan denies causing Myolie Wu and Bosco Wong’s breakup

July 26, 2012

July 26, 2012 [HKMDB Daily News]

Filed under: News — Tags: , — dleedlee @ 6:09 pm

CF: ”The Last Supper” to Premiere at 37th Toronto Film Fest

“Last Supper” was scheduled to be released on the mainland on July, but the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television dashed that plan citing “nonbusiness reasons.”

Daniel Wu

Liu Ye

Chang Chen

(Sina)

CF: 3rd NY Chinese Film Festival to Open in Oct.

At the press conference, M1905 also unveiled an Internet high definition movie player, which is a Netflix-like movie-streaming service.

The film’s cast features a strong lineup, including Tom Cruise, Hugh Grant, Hugo Weaving, Ben Whishaw, Jim Broadbent, Hally Berry, Du-na Bae from South Korea and Zhou Xun and Ju Ju from China.

Zhou Xun, Tom Hanks - from the trailer (Sina) (VH1-trailer)

CF: Jiang Yiyan: Zombie-like Makeup in “The Bullet Vanishes”

CF/THR: China’s Wanda Group Gets Regulatory Approval to Buy AMC Entertainment

‘The Thieves’ Breaks Record for Biggest Opening in Korean Film History

Director Choi Dong Hun of Tazza: The High Rollers and Woochi directed the film, and cast a variety of actors from Kim Yun Suk to Kim Hye Soo, Lee Jung Jae, Jun Ji Hyun, Kim Hae Suk, Oh Dal Su and Kim Soo Hyun. [Chinese cast includes: Simon Yam, Zhang Jingchu, Derek Tsang and Angelica Lee]

Celebrated Korean Feature Film “Tazza: The High Rollers” Comes to DVD as a 2-disc Special Edition on September 18, 2012 [Highly recommended - the film, don't know about this DVD edition]

TaipeiTimes: Pop Stop

Edison Chen, Zhang Ziyi, Shu Qi, et al.

MSN: Is marriage on the cards for Zhang Ziyi?

The Chinese actress has reportedly accepted Chinese host Sa Bei Ning’s proposal

July 25, 2012

July 25, 2012 [HKMDB Daily News]


Brigitte Jolie (Southcn)

CF: Brigitte Lin Comes Out of Retirement for Zhang Yimou’s New Film

With the budget of 100 million yuan, the film features a host of strong cast members including singer Hu Ling, pianist Lang Lang and comedian Guo Degang. But more surprisingly, Lin will play alongside the Hollywood megastar Angelina Jolie.

Other reports still call it a false rumour. Wanda Pictures also denies it.  It is noted that Brigitte Lin, Angelina Jolie and Lang Lang’s paychecks combined alone would blow the the budget. (Sina)2

CF: Joan Chen Plays Plastic Surgeon in “Double Xposure”

CF: New Posters of Joan Chen’s Absurd Comedy “Let It Be”

CF: Lau Ching-wan Overcomes Mandarin Barriers for “The Bullet Vanishes”(Sina)

CF:  Nicholas Tse and Sean Lau Refuse Stand-ins in “The Bullet Vanishes”

CF: ”The Silent War” Releases New Posters

CF: Good-for-Nothing” Releases New Posters

The production company for “Good-for-Nothing Heroes” released three posters to promote their upcoming film

Lam Suet, Leni Lan (Lan Yan)

Christy Chung plays a buck-toothed single mother in “Good-for-Nothing Heroes”

(Sina)23

Veteran actor Sun Honglei leads a Chinese version of “Leon: The Professional,” starring opposite actress Wang Luodan.

The suspense romantic film “Sha Jie” is intensely shooting in Beijing. A new series of still shots have been released to drum up the interest of the audience.

Ni Ni (Sina)

The 12 Star Signs [Zodiac?] Micro Films Project is co-filmed by Lu Chuan, Wang Xiaoshuai, Teng Huatao ["Love is Not Blind"] and Hao Lei. Each will shoot three films.

Co-sponsored by Buick, but not your father’s Buick

Wang Xiaoshuai’s “Far Away” (on poster)/”So Far So Free”(on video)

Sagittarius and the need for passion (!)

Lu Chuan’s “Heart Direction”/”The Way to Heart” (on video) based on Libra - freedom to choose?

CF: Zhao Wei Joins Stanley Kwan’s “Fang Lang Ji”(Sina)

Chinese movies to feature Toronto Int’l Film Festival

Stephen Fung’s Tai Chi 0, a period martial arts film, will also be a premiere in North America.

Peng Bo in comedy “BMW Rhapsody” starring Jordan Chan (below)

(Sina)

“One LV bag is the equivalent of a full house of 150-200 seats”

CF: Jackie Chan, Feng Xiaogang Gathered at Li Bingbing’s Family Event

The wedding was held by Huayi Bros’ top actress Li Bingbing. The bride is Li’s younger sister and a manager at Huayi. The couple registered as a couple in Las Vegas, Nevada two years ago.

Fashion magazine editor, Su Mang, Li Bingbing and sister, Li Xue

Li Bingbing and nephew, the “Little Prince”

Jackie and the wedding couple

CF: Jackie Chan Sings “Best Wishes from Beijing” Along with Another 176 Celebrities

CF: Aaron Kwok Presents Award to Prince Harry

MSN: Zhang Ziyi’s new romance revealed

The Chinese actress was said to be dating a Chinese host for the past year (Sina-slideshow)

MSN: Are wedding bells set to ring for Shu Qi and Stephen Fung?

“Do they really want me to get married so desperately?” Shu Qi questioned helplessly.

MSN: Gigi Lai celebrates twin daughters’ birthdays

The heavily pregnant actress made a rare appearance in public for the special occasion

MSN: Nicholas Tse and Cecilia Cheung discuss business over a meal

MSN: Chinese star claims Deric Wan cheated her of money and love

A Chinese actress by the name of Wan Jiarong has shockingly claimed that Hong Kong actor Deric Wan is her ex-flame and cheated her of her money and love.

MSN: Is Eason Chan’s wife a party animal?

WaPo: Intense typhoon Vicente slamming Hong Kong (Jul 23)

The government of Hong Kong has issued its highest level typhoon warning for the city - known as the number 10 signal. Such a designation is reserved for storms expected to produce hurricane-force winds.

Hong Kong Book Fair Attracts 900,000 Visitors Despite Storm

Stanley Ho’s relatives in the local news

WaPo: Hong Kong tycoon Eric Hotung ordered to pay son Michael Hotung $1.2 million by Fairfax County jury

Son is illegitimate offspring of love affair with cousin Winnie Ho.

WaPo: Alleged crime ties may affect casino’s chances of coming to Prince George’s County

MGM Resorts is trying to open casino while reputation of Macau partner, Pansy Ho, is scrutinized.

When confronted with a similar question a couple of years ago, New Jersey, a state that is no stranger to organized crime, balked — leading to MGM’s expected exit from Atlantic City.

Older Posts »

Powered by WordPress