HKMDB Daily News

February 8, 2014

The Midnight After (Screen Daily review)

Filed under: Reprints — Tags: , , — dleedlee @ 4:55 pm

The Midnight After
8 February, 2014
By Flossie Topping

The Midnight After is a quirky apocalyptic horror from Hong Kong indie director Fruit Chan, who returns to the Panorama section after his success with Dumplings, which premiered in 2005.

Adapting the web-series turned best-selling novel Lost On A Red Mini Bus To Tai Po by a writer who goes by the pen name “Pizza”, we follow 17 Hong Kongers as they travel by night bus to Tai Po, a market town on the outskirts of the city. Things become mysterious when the bus passes through a tunnel, and emerges into a completely deserted street. The group soon starts to question whether they may be the last 17 people alive.

Set against a backdrop of neon lights and whizzing traffic, Chan and cinematographer Lam Wah-tsuen successfully capture the bustling city in all its glory. However, it is the diversity of characters that make the film so engaging, trapping together a potbellied gambler (Lam Suet) a cokehead (Sam Lee, Made in Hong Kong) and a psychic insurance saleswoman (Kara Hui), to discuss their fate in an abandoned Michelin-starred restaurant.

Black comedy comes in bursts when the characters start to be killed off in odd circumstances, some contracting the plague and others simply turning to stone and crumbling into dust. Odder still, the group find that the only clue that they’ve been given from their enemy is the lyrics to David Bowie’s Space Oddity, sent to them in Morse code on their phones.

Fans of Chan’s will warm to his unique sense of humour and many pop culture references, such as having his characters play Candy Crush and air guitar with a mop, but to a wider audience, the randomness of events and gratuitous violence may leave them pining for a more fixed genre or plot structure. The Midnight After may be best suited to a domestic audience.

In his earlier films, Chan made numerous references to Hong Kong’s relationship to China and its burgeoning identity. This too, carries on with that theme, delivering a distinct local flavor whilst also throwing in commentary about Hong Kong’s zombie-like masses and the lasting effects of the SARS virus and the 2011 nuclear meltdown in Fukushima, Japan. During the film we are told “Hong Kong doesn’t do sci-fi”, but Chan has successfully defied genre conventions here.

Production companies: The Midnight After Film Production, One Ninety Films Co.

International sales: Fortissimo Films

Producer: Amy Chin

Executive producers: Winnie Tsang, Fruit Chan

Screenplay: Chan Fai-hung, Kong Ho-yan, Fruit Chan, based on the novel “Lost on a Red Minibus to Taipo,” by Pizza

Cinematography: Lam Wah-tsuen

Editors: TinSupFat, ToTo

Production designer: Andrew Wong

Music: Ellen Loo, Veronica Lee

Cast: Wong You-nam, Janice Man, Simon Yam, Kara Hui, Chui Tien-you, Lam Suet, Cheuk Wan-chi, Lee Sheung-ching, Sam Lee, Cherry Ngan, Melodee Mak, Jan Curious, Ronny Yuen, Kelvin Chan, Endy Chow
Screen Daily

August 19, 2012

The Thieves (Screen Daily review)

Filed under: Reprints — Tags: , — dleedlee @ 3:25 pm

The Thieves
18 August, 2012
By Jason Bechervaise

With its impressive choreographed set-pieces and compelling script, together with a smartly chosen ensemble cast that includes a number of iconic names from across Asia, The Thieves hits all the right notes to become one of the most talked-about films of the summer. It may owe much of its success to the tried and tested formula found in Steven Soderbergh’s ‘Ocean’s’ series, but much like his previous caper films (Tazza: The High Rollers and The Big Swindle) director Choi Dong-hoon is able leave his own mark.

The film has performed exceptionally well in its home market of South Korea, amassing just over two million admissions ($13m) on its opening weekend, and has recently broken the 10 million ticket barrier (approx $64m) in just three weeks, as it remains on course to become one of the most successful local films of all time.

Furthermore, given its pan-Asian cast, which includes local superstar Gianna Jun, as well as Hong Kong’s Simon Yam and Malaysian actress Angelica Lee, it’s set to continue to attract a number of buyers from across the Asia-Pacific region. Also noteworthy is the number of Asian locations used in the film as well as the multilingual dialogue, which may also entice buyers as it is set to hit film festivals beginning with Toronto next month.

The film follows a group of thieves led by Popeye (Lee Jung-jae) as they team up with a Hong Kong crew brought together by Macau Park (Kim Yun-seok) to steal a $20 million diamond that’s being kept in a casino in Macau, but as the narrative unfolds, it becomes clear they all have their own personal agendas.

In terms of the film’s plotting, it’s perhaps difficult to differentiate The Thieves from any other heist film, but Choi along with scriptwriter Lee Gi-cheol collectively put together a dynamic script that’s full of wit and energy. Crucially, it allows many of the cast, though not everyone, a bit of room to breathe so they can fully develop their respective characters. Gianna Jun in particular has benefited enormously from her role in this film, as she’s been able to showcase her talent following a number of miscasts.

Technically, the film isn’t quite flawless, but overall, it is hard to fault its well-crafted set pieces, superb sound-design and vibrant soundtrack that compliments the film’s strong visuals.

It may not boast an array of originality, but makes up for its shortcomings in its solid execution, and while it’s unlikely to perform as well in other markets, it should make an impression.

Production Company: Caper Film

International sales: Showbox/Mediaplex, Inc., www.showbox.co.kr

Producer: Ahn Soo-hyun

Screenplay: Choi Dong-hoon, Lee Gi-cheol

Cinematography: Choi Young-hwan

Editor: Shin Min-kyung

Music: Jang Young-gyu, Dal Palan

Website: www.thieves.co.kr

Main Cast: Kim Yun-seok, Kim Hye-soo, Lee Jung-jae, Gianna Jun, Simon Yam, Kim Hae-sook, Oh Dal-soo, Kim Su-hyun, Lee Sin-je, Derek Tsang
ScreenDaily

August 18, 2010

August 18, 2010

CRI: 3D “The Legend of Silk Boy” to be Released on August.20

Jackie Chan is the voice of the hero, Xu Rongcun, while the film’s director, David Liu, also worked on “Star Trek”, “Transformer” and “Toy Story”.

The cast also includes Li Bingbing, Li Yang and comedian Zhou Libo, who speaks in a Shanghainese dialect for his character.

FBA: Toronto unleashes Butcher in madness

The 35th Toronto International Film Festival (9-19 Sep 2010) will host the world premiere of Wu Ershan’s anarchic action-comedy The Butcher, the Chef and the Swordsman [ previously Legend of the Kitchen Knife here] in its Midnight Madness section.

The film is the first feature from Daniel Yu’s Beijing-based production company First Cut Features, founded in June 2008. Yu previously produced the Focus First Cuts series, including Crazy Stone.

In Butcher, a lowly pork vendor tries to steal the heart of a top courtesan, a mute learns how to cook to avenge the death of his father and a warrior attempts to become the world’s number one, all with the help of a magical blade.

The martial-arts comedy stars Ando Masanobu, Ben Chang You and Kitty Zhang.

Karena Lam

Don Quixote poster featuring Karena Lam

CRI: Karena Lam Announces Retirement from Entertainment Industry

HK actress Karena Lam quit showbiz?

With the expiration of her eight year contract with Filmko last year, Karena Lam has effectively withdrawn from the movie business. She has declined to appear for publicity events for her most recent film Don Quixote which she worked on under a tacit agreement. According to friends, Karena has been studying photography, ceramics and architecture in Canada and France. After the expiration of her contract, she rarely appeared in public and last month she dismissed her assistant of many years. Even though Filmko was willing to extend her contract, Karena was unmoved. Now 31 years old, Karena grew up in Canada and at the age of 15 signed a 5 year development contract in Taiwan as a singer against her parents wishes. After being put on ice after a falling out, she went to Hong Kong in 2001 where she made her first film, July Rhapsody, and won Best Supporting Actress. Karena made twenty films in 5 years but her career subsequently stalled. (Xinhua)(21cn)

Guangzhou premiere press conference for Stool Pigeon

Guei Lun-Mei

Miao Pu, Nick Cheung

Liu Kai-Chi

Liu Kai-Chi

Audience favorite, Liu Kai-Chi won HKFA’s Best Supporting Actor in 1993 for his role in Cagemen and was nominated three more times for Internal Affairs 2, SPL and Beast Stalker. (Sina)2

Liu Ye as young Mao Zedong

Li Qin

Li Qin plays Mao’s second wife, Yang Kaihui

Liu Ye and Li Qin

The Founding of a Party (tentative title) held a low key opening lens ceremony. Filming is scheduled for 5 months with a 2011 release. (Sina)2

Jiang Wen and Robert De Niro

Robert De Niro recently visited the Shanghai World Expo and was unnoticed by the public. Later, De Niro visited Jiang Wen in Beijing and watched an early preview of Jiang Wen’s Let the Bullets Fly. Afterward, even though the special effects and music has not been completed, De Niro praised the film as thrilling, funny and fantastic. He offered his own people to provide the subtitling because if he wanted to attract American audiences native English speakers would be preferable. The following day, in honor of De Niro’s 67th birthday, Jiang Wen held a banquet complete with the Godfather theme. He also gave De Niro a handwritten scroll with the character ‘Warrior’. (Sina)

Poster for Cheer Chen’s Sept. 4 Guangzhou ‘Summer Etude’ concert (21cn)

CRI: Tsai Chin to Start New Concert Tour

SG: Jay Chou late for Lee Hom’s Love In Disguise opening

SG: Andy Hui fesses up

SG: Huang Xiaoming rails at AngelaBaby in public

SG: Lucas Tse’s Disney birthday bash

Lucas

Lucas and Quintus

(Xinhua)(Sina-slide show)

Aaron Kwok says no to cohabitation

The 44-year-old star who graced the opening of a fitness centre in Hong Kong’s Mong Kok district on Tuesday revealed that he was dead against cohabitation.

April 1, 2010

April 1, 2010

Filed under: News — Tags: , , , — dleedlee @ 5:30 pm

CRI: Leslie Cheung Remembered

Li Bingbing, Jeon Ji-Hyun - Shanghai

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan

Dressed as students eating popcorn, filming surreptitiously to not attract pedestrians

Director Wayne Wang (right) (Sina)

CF: “Secret Fan” Shooting Secretly in Shanghai

CF: ‘Shaolin’ Releases First Trailer

Andy Lau: “no regrets” having kept his 24-year romance a secret

Charlene Choi denies Ronald Cheng hurt himself to win her back

January 12, 2010

January 12, 2010

CRI: HK Critics Name Wang Xueqi Best Actor

CRI: “All’s Well, End’s Well” Launches Sequel

CRI: Stills and Behind The Scenes of ‘True Legend’

CRI: A Good Rain Knows opens in China on January 20

Alex Law and Mabel Cheung’s Echoes of the Rainbow will be competing at the Berlin Film Festival (Feb.11-21)(Sina)

Patrick Tse (Sina)

Another son for Cecilia Cheung and Nicholas Tse

Sandra Ng to marry director Peter Chan

Kate Tsui a kept woman?

Isabella Leong in HK to discuss upcoming nuptials with Richard Li?

Singer Ayumi Hamasaki implicated in drug scandal

Zhou Shiya, Simon Yam

The Simon Yam affair in Hangzhou continued to ruminate as additional reports surface. Originally, the woman photographed going to a hotel with Simon was said to be only a staffer accompanying his entourage. Later, the woman was identified as a mainland actress Zhou Shiya. In phone interviews with Hong Kong press, Simon said that he did not know her but that she simply followed the entourage into the hotel, implying that she was a publicity seeker. Now a photo has surfaced showing the pair together and it is reported that they have, at least, a working relationship. (Xinhua) (Sina)

Stephen Chow took his King of Comedy 2 promotion to Guangzhou. Chow hopes to recruit mainland actors and make the film on the mainland. An enthusiastic male fan greeted a surprised Chow onstage.  (HunanTV)

Wax on…

(Sina)

Wax figure of Jackie Chan unveiled in LA

Edison Chen turns to greet reporters following him while shopping in Causeway Bay

(Sina)

CNN: Acid attacks are ‘easy’ in Hong Kong

Police blasted over acid rain

December 21, 2009

December 21, 2009

Filed under: News — Tags: , , , — dleedlee @ 5:22 pm

THR: John Woo to get Venice fest career award

Screen Daily: John Woo to receive Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement at Venice

Kelly Chan

Nick Cheung was welcomed home with Champagne by Emperor’s CEO after winning Best Actor Award at the Asia-Pacific Film Festival in Taiwan. By chance Kelly Chan was returning from Malaysia from her concert tour. (HunanTV) Red carpet slide show (Sina)

THR: Quake fails to shake awards

Faye Wong, Li Yapeng

Carina Lau

CRI:Lis Steal the Show at Celebrity Fundraiser

The Smile Angel Fund organized a charity gala dinner on December 18 in Beijing, drawing a star-studded crowd of some 100 celebrities.

CRI: A-Mei Rocks Beijing

Shu Qi

Ekin Cheng and Shu Qi kiss in concert HD (97) (Sina)

Guests included Rebecca Pan, Karena Lam

November 13, 2009

November 13, 2009

19 Confucius posters released at Beijing press conference (Sina)

The posters are meant to show 8 lesser known sides of Confucius’ life and his disputes with ten characters.

(cri.cn)

Huang Yi

CRI: Huang Yi as Jet Fighter Maintainer

Actress Huang Yi plays a captain-ranking jet maintainer in the upcoming Chinese film “Jian Shi Chu Ji” (literally “J-10’s Sortie”), which focuses on pilots of China’s homemade J-10 fighter jet. The film is slated to open in theaters later this month. (Related article)

Fan Bingbing

‘Bodyguards and Assassins’, an all-star film about a group of bodyguards protecting Sun Yat-Sen from assassins, has premiered. (Sina photos) (2)

Stool Pigeon - Kwai Lun Mei

Nic Tse

Filming Stool Pigeon in the streets of Tsimshatsui

(Sina)

Variety: Snowfall in Taipei

WSJ: An Asian Epic Is Cut in Half

John Woo’s smash hit ‘Red Cliff’ gets an American haircut

Harvard Crimson: Red Cliff

HDNet Movies to Sneak Preview John Woo Film

THR: Jackie Chan marks Peking Opera school anniversary

Gillian Chung photo shoot for a large chain electronic store (HD Sina)

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