HKMDB Daily News

October 31, 2009

October 31, 2009

Filed under: News — Tags: , , , — dleedlee @ 10:44 pm

Takeshi Kaneshiro has been invited to join the cast for the prequel to The Message. Huang Xiaoming, Li Bingbing and Zhou Xun are slated to return. (Sina)

Joan Chen riles S’pore film-makers

Joan, who rose to fame in The Last Emperor in 1987, said: “I love Singapore, life is great here, it’s clean, well-managed and well-run. The people are wonderful too…”

Then she added: “It’s just that, perhaps, the (film) industry isn’t ripe enough at the moment. It’s still in the process of development.

“I mean, Singapore is beautiful and orderly, it’s like a fairyland film set. You guys are really lucky that everything is so good here.

“But personally, I feel that art comes from dissent, not from contentment.”

HKMDB

HKTopTen: Veteran actor Lam Kau passes away at 88

Forty foot leap launched movie career

Lam Kau

With Ti Lung at Mid Autumn Festival appearance with Hong Kong Performing Artists Guild

(Sina)

So Ji-Sub, Zhang Ziyi

CRI: Ziyi in Tokyo for ‘Sophie’s Revenge’ Premiere

October 30, 2009

McDull Kung Fu Kindergarten (Variety review)

Filed under: Reprints — Tags: , , — dleedlee @ 3:09 pm

McDull Kung Fu Kindergarten
Maidou xiangdangdang

(Animated — Hong Kong-China) A Shanghai Media Group, Sunwah Media, U’young (China)/Bliss Concepts (Hong Kong) presentation of a Famous Now Investments production. (International sales: Golden Network Asia, Hong Kong) Produced by Chen Liang, Zhao Jun, Brian Tse. Executive producers, Li Ruigang, Samuel Choy, Tse, Zhong Xiaoqiu. Directed, written by Brian Tse; story, Tse, Alice Mak.

By DEREK ELLEY
Hong Kong’s most famous cartoon icon goes China in “McDull Kung Fu Kindergarten,” a welcome return to the franchise’s basics after the star-studded, only part-animated third entry, “McDull, the Alumni.” Though the least “Hong Kong” of the series — with the usual local in-jokes and linguistic wordplay virtually absent — this is the most marketable of the four to date, as well as a timely commentary on the onetime Brit colony’s cultural relationship with the mainland (where it did bonny biz this summer). Pic has enough charm to survive dubbing/rewriting into any language as an ancillary kidpleaser.

Writer-creator Brian Tse officially takes the directing helm for the first time, with co-creator Alice Mak again onboard. All other familiar elements are also in play, from the childlike but very clever irony of the narration (here spoken in fake-reverent tones by Huang Bo), through the non sequitur dialogue that always engenders some of the biggest smiles, to the delicate, watercolor-like backgrounds. The “McDull” series always has made a habit of concealing its artistry under a bushel, and here the switches between basic, almost naif 2D and swooping, spectacular 3D animation is handled without unnecessary grandstanding.

After a witty prologue describing a distant mainland ancestor of McDull, Maizi, who invented things like the first phone and rice cooker (but because there was no electricity at the time, they were useless), the pic spends a while — presumably for mainland auds coming to the series for the first time — introducing piggy-faced McDull (voiced by Zhang Zhengzhong) and his domineering mother and onetime TV chef, Mrs. McDull (Song Dandan), in Kowloon.

With McDull’s education stalled in Hong Kong (”He’s not mentally deficient, but he is good-hearted,” says a school report), his ambitious mom packs her bags and heads to China with her young son in tow. There, she dumps him in a mountain-top monastery in the Wudang Mountains to learn martial arts under Taoist teachers (Zhang Likun, Shao Yibei) while she looks to start a business in Shanghai.

However, life in a mainland monastery is tough for little McDull. On the verge of quitting, he decides to stay to take part in the Intl. Kindergarten Martial Arts Games.

With wordplay stripped out, Mrs. McDull is less of a motormouth, and the focus stays resolutely on tiny, terminally dumb McDull, a “typical” Hong Konger who’s basically only at home in Kowloon with his creature comforts. In one of several magical moments that Tse is so good at creating, the coda reasserts his separate identity in a strangely moving way.

For the record, the Cantonese version, released in Hong Kong with the official English title of “McDull Kungfu Ding Ding Dong,” was voiced by regulars Sandra Ng (as Mrs. McDull), Anthony Wong (Taoist coach) and Jim Chim (narrator).

Camera (color); music, Steve Ho; additional music, Ng Cheuk-yin; art director, Mak. Reviewed on DVD, London, Oct. 28, 2009. (In Pusan Film Festival, Ani-Asia.) Running time: 79 MIN.
Voices: Song Dandan, Huang Bo, Shao Yibei, Zhang Zhengzhong, Zhang Likun, Xie Haoxiao.
(Mandarin dialogue)
http://www.variety.com/review/VE1117941495.html?categoryid=31&cs=1

October 30, 2009

True Legend

Andy On plays the villain possessed by the devil

Guo Xiaodong first time doing martial arts - grades out an ‘80′

Michelle Yeoh plays a hermit in seclusion living in the mountain

(Sina)

True Legend (Beggar So) HD slides (5) (Sina)

Mulan

Jaycee declined using a stunt double

Latest stills show Zhao Wei and Jaycee Chan fighting (Sina)

Four Marshals

Charlie Young

Duan Yihong, one of the marshals

(Sina)

Xiao Shenyang (Sina)

Zhang Yimou’s Three Guns HD slide show (4) (Sina)

THR: ‘Blood Simple’ remake set for December

CRI: “Ip Man 2″ Shifts Focus to Life

He Ping’s Wheat accused of plagiarising The Robbers/Tang Dynasty Brothers. He Ping was chairman of the jury at the 2007 Shanghai International Film Festival when The Robbers was awarded as having the most market potential. He Ping and director Yang Peng had discussed the script, Bitter Bamboo Grove, at the time. (Sina)

Wang Kuirong in Wang Xiaoshuai’s Mosaic tries to capture old Chongqing (Sina)

Wang Xueqi and Qin Hao also costar (ifeng)

Jackie Chan: The Centurion

The action star celebrates his 100th film

Variety: Blue Mansions (Singapore)

It’s been a long time between drinks for Singapore helmer Glen Goei, whose 1999 debut pic, “Forever Fever,” a contagious local riff on “Saturday Night Fever,” promised to expand the island republic’s filmmaking horizons beyond local comedies and festival navel-gazers.

Though the least “Hong Kong” of the series — with the usual local in-jokes and linguistic wordplay virtually absent — this is the most marketable of the four to date, as well as a timely commentary on the onetime Brit colony’s cultural relationship with the mainland.

Yonfan’s overly self-conscious ‘Prince of Tears’ treats the White Terror period with a glib sentimentality that can best be described as political terror as soap opera

Old Fish (千鈞一髮)

An unusual Chinese police drama, to say the least. A Harbin cop is forced — and able — to defuse a time bomb thanks to his engineering background, only to find that more and more explosives are being planted in the area, and his superiors want him to keep doing the dirty work. Is Dennis Hopper on the loose? Ma Guowei (馬國偉) plays “Old Fish,” the put-upon policeman, in an award-winning turn. Directed by Gao Qunshu (高群書), who co-directed The Message (風聲), which is currently on release.

Plastic City (蕩寇)

A Chinese crook (Anthony Wong, 黃秋生) and his cooler-than-cool adopted Japanese son struggle to keep their enterprise afloat in Sao Paulo, Brazil, when rivals and the authorities turn on them, including a Taiwanese entrepreneur. Critics said the fascinating idea behind the film and its visual distinctiveness were undercut by avoidable technical problems (dubbing, for starters) and a stereotypically art house divergence from coherent narrative — not to mention stylistic lapses that verge on the silly.

Vengeance (復仇)

Johnnie To (杜琪峰) is a Hong Kong director who has kept pumping out solid action flicks over the years. He probably doesn’t have as much international exposure as he should, but this film may help to change that. The lead actor is legendary French singer Johnny Hallyday, who arrives in Macau after his daughter is nearly killed in a triad hit (the rest of her family is wiped out). Hallyday, now a chef, must draw on his unsavory past to accomplish his vengeful mission — but that past is disappearing as an old injury accelerates his amnesia. Co-stars include the formidable Anthony Wong (黃秋生) as a criminal (again) and Simon Yam (任達華) as a triad boss.

Screen Daily: Far East festivals compete for market attention

US and European buyers were scarce at both events. “There were some US companies in Tokyo but they were looking for remake material, not doing acquisitions,” says Tadayuki Okubo of Japanese studio Toei.

Made in China (Variety review)

Filed under: Reprints — Tags: — dleedlee @ 10:49 am

Made in China
A Beachwood Pictures production. (International sales: Lantern Lane Entertainment, Calabasas, Calif.) Produced by James Choi, Bronwyn Cornelius. Executive producer, Monnie Wills. Directed by Judi Krant. Screenplay, Krant, Dan Sumpter.

With: Jackson Kuehn, Dan Sumpter, Syna Zhang.

By ALISSA SIMON
A naive inventor from Texas travels to Shanghai to manufacture a “humorous domestic hygiene product” in microbudget indie “Made in China,” from debuting helmer Judi Krant. With yuks derived almost solely from practical-joke items (think sneezing powder, Groucho Marx glasses, oversized pencils), this goofy but good-natured comedy surprisingly copped the narrative feature prize at SXSW. However, limited production values and amateurish thesping will likely confine it to the fest circuit.
Out to achieve his American dream, gullible lug Johnson (Jackson Kuehn) wires money to an Internet conman who promises to introduce him to Chinese businessmen. Slow to realize he’s being cheated, Johnson falls in with Shanghai sharpies Magnus (Dan Sumpter) and Olive (Syna Zhang), also no slouches at milking an easy mark. Silly happy ending involves a photo cameo of fellow Texan Matthew McConaughey using Johnson’s new product. Director Krant’s whimsical animated histories of novelty inventors, including Samuel S. Adams (the joy buzzer), Milton Levine (the ant farm) and Gary Dahl (the pet rock), punctuate the action. Shot on location in East Texas and Shanghai, HD lensing looked dark and soft-focus at screening caught. Most crew members have cameos.

Camera (color, HD), Petter Eldin; editors, Victoria Mauch, Dan Sumpter, Bart Rachmil; music, Matt Mariano. Reviewed at Chicago Film Festival (New Directors — competing), Oct. 21, 2009. (Also in SXSW Film Festival.) Running time: 87 MIN.
http://www.variety.com/index.asp?layout=print_review&reviewid=VE1117941439&categoryid=31

Made in China (Screen Daily review)

Filed under: Reprints — Tags: — dleedlee @ 10:35 am

Made in China

By Duane Byrge

Bottom Line: A droll, superb comedy, “Made in China” needs no warranty.

CHICAGO — An audience favorite at the Chicago International Film Festival, “Made in China” is a frothy delight. A cheery tale about a Texas entrepreneur who takes off to China to get his novelty item manufactured, it bounces along with a casual flair that should ingratiate it as a DVD rental or cable offering. “Made in China” should thrive as a festival entrant and could garnish some big-screen green in college towns or select-site venues.

Screenwriters Dan Sumpter and Judi Krant have concocted a smartly off beat yarn, which Krant has guided into a zesty entertainment. In this unassuming ditty, Texas-raised Johnson (Jackson Keuhn) is a big dreamer, but his heroes are not the usual suspects. He idolizes those quirky folk who made millions on novelty toys, including all your favorites — whoopee cushion, pet rocks, bugs in ice cubes and other great U.S. inventions.

Undeterred by the practical warnings of family and friends, Johnson is doggone sure that he’s got a big moneymaker: It’s a “humorous domestic hygiene product,” which is such a great thing he won’t unveil its nature to anyone. To boot, he’s rounded up a pocketful of venture capital for his novelty item and hooked up with a Chinese businessman via Craigslist.

Both in Texas and in China, Jackson is clearly a fish out of water: Once he hits the Mainland, everything that could go wrong does go wrong, courtesy of a scam artist (Dan Sumpter) who regularly fleeces Craigslist pigeons.

Sent on a wild-goose chase through big-city slums and out to far burgs, his optimistic can-do attitude, together with his guidebook Mandarin vocabulary, carries him through. Amid his many wanderings and missteps, Johnson hooks up with a vivacious Chinese girl.

As the good-natured, determined Texan, Keuhn is down-home appealing: We root for him with every wrong turn he makes. As the scam-man, Sumpter is versatile in his many guises.

Technical contributions reflect the aw-shucks whimsy of the film: Special praise to Matt Mariano for the zingy, light music, and cinematographer Petter Eldin for his droll and snappy compositions.

Venue: Chicago International Film Festival

Production company: Beachwood Pictures
Cast: Jackson Keuhn, Syna Zang, Deng Jeng, Dan Sumpter
Director: Judi Krant
Screenwriters: Dan Sumpter, Judi Krant
Producers: James Choi, Judi Krant, Bronwyn Cornelius
Director of photography: Petter Eldin
Music: Matt Mariano
Editors: Victoria Mauch, Dam Sumpter, Bart Rachmil
No rating, 87 minutes
http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/hr/content_display/asia/reviews/e3i148e1ece59e59865695aac4e7eaf3d61

October 29, 2009

October 29, 2009

To Live and Die in Mongkok (lit.Mongkok Prison)

Liu Kai-Chi

Nick Cheung

Pau Hei-Ching plays Nick’s mother (Sina)

Nick Cheung plays a killer released from prison who suffers schizophrenia in Wong Jing’s latest film.(Sina)

Simon Yam

Model Emma Pei training with Kong Sifu

Producer Bey Logan chronicles the filming of Michael Biehn’s Blood Bond in Guangzhou on his blog, jump directly to the Simon Yam post, or meet Phoenix Chou

HK Magazine: Rebellion review

Despite being the 67th Hong Kong triad film I have seen thus far, “Rebellion” is a surprisingly interesting production. Directed by insanely prolific director Herman Yau (this is his sixth film in the past 12 months), the movie combines a cute suspense storyline with surprisingly good acting from some non-actors (namely Paul Wong and Jun Kung). It’s just a shame Yau coudln’t control the pacing better, and main star Shawn Yue didn’t turn in a more solid performance…

Ip Man 2

Donnie Yen says a third film will not be necessary, Ip Man 2 will be an instant classic and praises Huang Xiaoming. (Sina)

Donnie Yen and Sammo Hung face off

Wilson Yip and Donnie Yen

(Sina)

Carina Lau has joined the cast of Jiang Wen’s Let The Bullets Fly. Her role requires plenty of action, fighting, riding, wading and passionate scenes. Maggie Cheung was reportedly invited to join the cast but she was not prepared to return to film yet. (Sina) (Xinhua)

Yonfan and George Lam

Terri Kwan

Zhu Xuan

Prince of Tears Taipei Premiere slide show (18) (Sina)

Movie makes Taiwan relive ‘White Terror’ period

HK Magazine: Yonfan interview

One month before the year-end film season begins, the competition has already started heating up. The most anticipated Chinese movies seem to be following the same formula that is, a combination of ancient Chinese stories, all-star casts, and prestigious directors

Zhang Yimou and producer Zhang Weiping screened a rough of cut of Three Guns for the CEOs of the nation’s theatre owners to secure prime theatre slot for the year-end season.

Release dates: Treasure Hunter (Dec.9), Storm Warriors (Dec.10), Amazing Guns: Three Tales (Dec.11), Assassins and Bodyguards (Dec.18) (Sina)

October 28, 2009

October 28, 2009b

Filed under: News — Tags: , , — dleedlee @ 11:39 am

Producer John Woo and wife

Vivian Hsu (HunanTV)

BBQ!

John Woo

Vivian Hsu and Seediq Bale poster

Memorial service to commemorate the Wushe Incident

Wushe Monument

Wei Te-Sheng’s (Cape No. 7) new film will be about the massacre of Taiwan aboriginals by the Japanese during the occupation.  Financing for the big budget is short and Vivian Hsu offered to sell a $35M Yuan house her father gave her to help fund the film. John Woo and Terence Chang are considering cross-strait coproduction possibility and plan to engage Japanese and South Korean special effects teams. Wei has begun casting for about 30 aboriginal Taiwanese. A 2011 release is targeted. (Sina)

October 28, 2009a

Filed under: News — Tags: , , , — dleedlee @ 11:37 am

Cast of Four Marshals Meets Sina

Gao Qun Shun, director

Francis Ng

Charlie Young

Yu Nan

Wu Jing

Ni Dahong

Xia Yu

(Sina)

October 28, 2009

Charlene Choi and Louis Koo filming Derek Yee’s Double Tap King in Central

(Sina)

Jay Chou in Yuen Wo-Ping’s True Legend (Beggar So)

Zhou Xun

(Sina)

Johnnie To

Johnnie To visited Wang Xiaoshuai in Chongqing where Wang is filming Mosaic/Sunshine in Chongqing (Sina)

October 27, 2009

October 27, 2009

Francis Ng, a bounty killer?

Yu Nan, his partner

Four Marshals ( 四大名捕): two directors, one title, made famous by a martial arts novel written by Wen Rui’an .

Gordon Chan and Gao Qun Shu (co-director of The Message)  are contending for the use of the title 四大名捕. Gordon Chan has acquired adaptation rights to the wuxia novel and wants to make a costume martial arts (film?) series based on the novel. Gao Qun Shu has already been filming a modern tale in Gansu under the same title but the story is unrelated to the novel.

In Gao Qun Shu’s film, the story is about four police and a fugitive. Casting includes Duan Yihong, Ni Dahong, Wu Jing (replacing Wang Baoqiang, though rumors persist that he may be filming secretly), Zhang Li, Francis Ng ,Charlie Yeung (Francis’ girlfriend), Yu Nan,  (Xinhua) (2) (ifeng) HD slide show (4) (Sina.com) Francis and Yu Nan play world weary bounty killers who look to retire in Gansu after one last expedition. His favorite song is The Eagles’ Hotel California.


Xia Yu, a fugitive

Filming in Gansu

(Sina.com)

Director Billy Chung, Cherrie Ying (2nd left), Wang Zi (left) promote New Year’s action film Wu Lin Xiao Zhuan (lit.Martial Arts Comedy).

The film is a joint Mainland, Hong Kong, Taiwan venture. (Sina) (Xinhua)

Jaycee Chan

Zhao Wei

Mulan cast and crew become honorary citizens of Mulan’s hometown Shangqiu, Henan Province. The crew also donated movie props to the city. (Sina)

The Robbers (lit.Tang Dynasty Brothers)

A martial arts comedy starring Hu Jun and Jiang Wu opens November 20 kicks off the New Year early. It has been positively received at the Shanghai and Pusan International Film Festivals. (Sina)

Radish Warrior successfully opened the weekend with $8.7M at the box office (Sina)

Love At Seventh Sight (lit.Seven Days To Fall in Love With You)

Alfred Cheung’s romantic comedy opens Nov. 3 and features Mike He and Li Xiaolu (Sina)

CRI: Director Zhang Yimou Tells “Amazing Tales” in Color

The Message has surpassed $220M at that box office and the prequel is set to begin filming next summer. (Sina)

Chinese movie-makers keep faith with martial arts

The Chinese film industry is hoping a little more martial arts magic will woo international audiences over the next 12 months with two productions set to take familiar stories one step further.

First up comes the US$12 million (eight million euro) budgetedThe Storm Warriors, directed by Hong Kong-based twins Oxide and Danny Pang, and set to make its film industry premiere at next month’s American Film Market (http://www.ifta-online.org/) as they try to sell it to the world.

The film is taken from the wildly successful Hong Kong comic series Fung Wan (Wind and Cloud), by Ma Wing-shing, which also inspired the Andrew Lau-directed The Stormriders (1998).

That film starred Asian idols Aaron Kwok and Ekin Cheng, and raked in HK$42 million (3.6 million euros) from the local box office that year. It still ranks as Hong Kong cinema’s 12th all-time top earner.

The Pangs — who built an international reputation thanks to the success of horror film such as The Eye (2002) — say they have tried to reinvent the martial arts genre with their production, reuniting Kwok and Cheng and mixing live action and cutting-edge computer generated imagery.

They also claim the story should stand on its own and not be thought of as a sequel, even thought it features the same characters.

The same line is being taken by the people behind the US$29 million (19 million euro) budgeted Shaolin Temple - which shares the same name as the 1982 film that launched the career of martial arts star Jet Li, and is obviously set around the same legendary martial arts school.

The film is set to star box office draws Jackie Chan, Andy Lau and Nicolas Tse — alongside more than 1,000 monks from the temple.

The film starring Li took in 100 million yuan (9.7 million euros) in China and saw the Shaolin monks start to take their martial arts skills on international tours, a trend which continues today.

But director Benny Chan — who made the award-winning New Police Story (2004) with Chan — told Chinese media that while his production shares a number of things in common with Li’s film, he plans to move the story of the monastery forward from the seventh century to the early 20th century.

Shaolin Temple will have its fight scenes choreographed by Hong Kong’s Corey Yuen (Red Cliff, X-Men) and is set for an end-of-2010 release. (Independent.co.uk)[site flagged for trojan virus]

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