HKMDB Daily News

October 5, 2012

Cold War (Screen Daily review)

Filed under: Reprints — Tags: , , , , , — dleedlee @ 12:16 pm

Cold War
October, 2012
By Jason Bechervaise

cold-war-poster-blue-ice

Opening this year’s Busan Film Festival, Cold War is a refreshing Hong Kong crime thriller that provides enough enjoyment that should help secure a wider-audience, but suffers from an overly convoluted plot.

The film’s appeal is further expanded owing to the film’s local stars: Tony Leung Ka-fai (2005’s Election) and Aaron Kwok (Divergence, 2005), which should help drive sales across the Asian region and possibly further afield, but neither is able to deliver the necessary performances to make them stand out.

The film follows two Deputy Chiefs, Lau and Lee who are both seeking the top position on the Hong Kong police force. After five police officers are taken hostage, it’s left to Lau and Lee to solve the case, but they both have different approaches, which ultimately leads to failure. What ensures is a realization that they have become pawns in a more treacherous game.

After building a strong reputation for their contributions on a number of films, debut directors Longman Leung (credits include Vengeance, 2009) and Sunny Luk (who worked as an assistant director on 2006 film Isabella 2006) are keen to exploit their visual talents, which is evident throughout the duration. The film includes a number of well-executed set-pieces, but lacks a fine polish in places due to some rather poor CGI. Nevertheless, its strong and vibrant aesthetic does make up for some of the film’s flaws.

Produced by internationally renowned Bill Kong (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000), it has real potential to perform well in Asian markets, but its sloppy storytelling may hinder its success in some other territories.

Production Companies: Edko Films Limited, Stars Shine Blue Sea Productions Limited

World Sales: Edko Films Limited, info@edkofilm.com.hk

Producers: Bill Kong, Dai Song, Ryuhei Chiba, Hugh Simon.

Editor: Chi-Leung Kwong

Music: Peter Kam

Main Cast: : Tony Leung Ka-fai, Andy Lau, Aaron Kwok, Eddie Peng, Aarif Rahman, Charlie Young & Ka Tung Lam
ScreenDaily

October 4, 2012

Cold War (Hollywood Reporter review)

Filed under: Reprints — Tags: — dleedlee @ 4:42 am

Cold War
10/4/2012
by Deborah Young

cold-war-poster-blue2

The exciting Hong Kong actioner stars Tony Leung Ka-fai and Aaron Kwok as rival police commissioners.

BUSAN – When the main cop says “Cold War is a terrible title for this operation,” one can’t help feeling first-time writer-directors Leung Longman and Sunny Luk winking at the audience in this bold actioner with piquant political undertones.

Hidden, and not too subtly, amid the excitingly paced chases, explosions and shoot-outs is commentary on Hong Kong’s status, laws and changing identity 15 years after the oft-mentioned handover to China. Though the political metaphor is potentially controversial for Chinese orthodoxy, it’s a winning combination that should get both the critics and mainstream Asian audiences behind the film, and a particularly savvy choice to open the Busan Film Festival.

The style is pure quicksilver procedural, with much undigested plot thrown at the viewer at the speed of a don’t-look-back videogame. The main players are two deputy HK police commissioners: dapper hotshot Sean Lau (Aaron Kwok of Divergences) and hard-liner M.B. Lee (an unrecognizably aged Tony Leung Ka-fai of The Lover) who’s pushing retirement age. While the chief commissioner is out of the country, Lee has been appointed acting commissioner with all the enormous power it entails. Although both men want to work for the good of Hong Kong and the safety of its citizens, their conflicting perspectives explode over a serious crime that takes place in the opening scenes.

A bomb blasts through a crowded film theater. At almost the same time, an arrogant drunk driver speeds through the city’s freeways and totals his car. When a police van loaded with five cops arrives on the scene, it’s hi-jacked and vanishes from police radar. Despite all the expensive, sophisticated technology at their disposal, the police can’t find their own van. Lee’s son is among the kidnapped officers, raising concern he can’t act objectively. And so it seems: he hotly declares a major state of alert and then harshly refuses to let his press officer (straight-talking actress Charlie Yeung) release info to the public. This breach of “the rules” causes his rival Lau to step in with a legal stratagem, political support from above, and some arm-twisting.

A brief glimpse of an officer using water torture on a suspect during interrogation at police HDQ passes as routine, but raises uncomfortable questions. Yet in general, the HK police are portrayed as hyper-efficient and far less corrupt than in most American TV series. True, there is one bad apple in the barrel, a mole who is passing info to the criminals, but he will be caught and punished.

So there are no angels on either side, but most viewers will realize they are meant to side with the good-looking, ever-serious Lau, who is now in charge of “operation Cold War.” His mentor, the Secretary of Security for the Hong Kong Security Bureau (played by star Andy Lau in a brief cameo), gives him full powers, but there’s something even above him – the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC), established under British rule and Commonwealth laws. Their investigation into how the crisis was handled overrides everyone else. It’s put in the hands of a young, brilliant, maddeningly green hotshot (actor-singer Aarif Rahman) who arrests first Lau and then Lee before learning “the rules of the game.” This conflict between institutional powers becomes a running theme, even as the fast and furious action scenes continue.

In the role of Lau, Kwok projects wide-eyed earnestness, though he wins sympathy points for being constantly forced to make hard decisions, especially after a huge ransom is demanded for the missing cops. Whereas Tony Leung plays up Lee’s Marine sergeant style, like sending a SWAT team to storm a suspicious ship in the harbor, Kwok’s Lau foregoes the muscle and uses logic and deduction to outwit his mysterious opponents. Lau’s monotonous seriousness and Lee’s unflinching toughness both signal their integrity, however.

It can be said in the film’s favor that it is a rare example of genre in which the death of a minor character pulls the heartstrings, thanks to its being underplayed. It is an even rarer in characterizing people by the books they’re reading. This invention-within-convention bodes well for the future of tyro directors Leung (an award-winning production designer) and Luk (a well-known assistant director) both working under the guidance of veteran producer Bill Kong.

Their understanding of on-screen action keeps tension high scene after scene, blending confidently into character development and their reflections on Hong Kong’s balance of power. What doesn’t gel is the overly complicated plot that becomes an impossible challenge to untangle as the story progresses. A climactic scene involving fireworks exploding on the roof of a tall building is totally baffling and looks tacked on, though it is spectacularly shot.

D.P.s Jason Kwan and Kenny Tse drain the color out of the cinematography, leaving only shades of gray, but their sweeping crane and aerial shots of nighttime Hong Kong and its neon-lit buildings are gorgeous and exciting. Action work is heart-stoppingly professional, pumped up by Peter Kam’s over-used score that sounds a bit like Bernard Hermann on steroids.

Venue: Busan Film Festival (opening film), Oct. 4, 2012
Production companies: Edko Film, Stars Shine Blue Sea Productions
Cast: Tony Leung Ka-Fai, Aaron Kwok, Andy Lau, Eddie Peng, Aarif Rahman, Charlie Yeung, Lam Ka Tung, Chin Ka Lok, On Andy, Yin Terence
Directors: Leung Longman, Sunny Luk
Screenwriters: Leung Longman, Sunny Luk
Producers: William Kong, Matthew Tang, Ivy Ho, Catherine Kwan
Executive producers: William Kong, Song Dai, Chiba Ryuhei
Director of photography: Jason Kwan, Kenny Tse
Production designer: Alex Mok
Costumes: Stephanie Wong
Editor: Kwong Chi-Leung
Music: Peter Kam
Sales Agent: Edko Films
No rating, 102 minutes
THR

April 25, 2012

April 25, 2012 [HKMDB Daily News]

Chapman To ill

Hong Kong media reports that Chapman To has been diagnosed with Miller Fisher Syndrome and has stopped all work to recuperate from home. In a telephone interview, Chapman said that doctors have sent his blood sample to a US laboratory to diagnose the severity. A recovery period of two weeks to six months is estimated. Although potentially fatal, Chapman was optimistic and expects to recover. (Sina)

FBA: US regulator probes China film relations

US financial regulator, the Securities and Exchange Commission has made preliminary enquiries into whether Hollywood studios have been involved in bribery in China.

Variety: SEC eyes majors’ activity in China

Three character posters for Hur Jin-ho’s “Dangerous Liasions”. The film will be going to the Cannes Film Festival next month. (FBA)

Cecilia Cheung

Jang Dong-gun

Zhang Ziyi (Sina)2

CF: Wuxia Drama “The Four” Slated for Release in July

CF: First Trailer for “Double Trouble” Released

Jacyee Chan portrays a Taiwan security guard while Xia Yu plays a security guard visiting Taiwan from the mainland. The two men, along with a tour guide portrayed by Chen Handian, get into trouble following a burglary at the Imperial Palace.

Chen Han-Dian, Deng Jiajia, Xia Yu, Jaycee Chan, director Chang Hsun-Wei

(Sina-gallery)

“Double Trouble” trailer

Poster for “Shadows of Love” (aka “Repeat I Love You”)

Cecilia Cheung and Kwon Sang-woo are flanked by Jing Tian, Sphinx Ting, Jing Boran and Angela Chang (Sina)

“Shadows of Love” trailer

Opens May 11

CRI: Aaron Kwok Promotes “Cold War” in Beijing

“Cold War” is a crime-thriller which tells an interlinked story involving the police, undercover cops and mindless thugs. The storyline is incredibly broad but also very elaborate, covering the entire Hong Kong Police force.

Aarif Lee, Aaron Kwok, and Tony Leung Ka-Fai promote “Cold War” in Beijing. The cast also includes Charlie Young, Ethan Ruan, Chin Ka-Lok Terence Yin and others.

Aarif Lee, Tony Leung Ka-Fai, Aaron Kwok

Aarif Lee, Tony Leung Ka-Fai

Aaron Kwok (Sina)

The cast of “An Inaccurate Memoir” in Shanghai

Director Leon Yang Shu-Peng

Huang Xiaoming

Zhang Xinyi - We can be heroes, just for one day

Zhang Xinyi, Zhang Yi

Wang Lie (Sina)

Trailer for “An Inaccurate Memoir”

Angelababy promotes “The First Time” in Beijing. American-born singer Cindy Yen and Angelababy sing a duet in the film. Angelababy plays a young girl with a congenital disease who is in a romance with Mark Chao. A June 8 release is scheduled.

Angelababy

Angelababy, Cindy Yen

Korean director Han Yan

Cindy Yen plays Mark Chao’s ex-girlfriend

Angelababy

(Sina)2

‘Mou girl’ Ni Ni and Liu Ye will co-star in “Sha Jie” (literally “Forbidden Killing”). The pair will play lovers and enemies at the same time. The film hopes to balance art and commerce, a la “Lust, Caution”.

Ni Ni, Liu Ye

Ni Ni

Director Zhang Jiarui, Liu Ye, Ni Ni

Liu Ye presents Ni Ni with a dagger (Sina-gallery)

MSN: Andy Lau to join the line-up for Iron Man 3?

MSN: Sean Lau Ching Wan is trying hard for a baby

MSN: Maggie Shiu suspected to be pregnant

October 27, 2011

October 27, 2011 [HKMDB Daily News]

Variety: You Are the Apple of My Eye review

A bawdy, sentimental but still enjoyably Taiwanese coming-of-ager.

WSJ: Taiwan’s Hit ‘Apple’ Takes Off in Hong Kong

The popularity of this year’s biggest movie in Taiwan is spilling over into Hong Kong.

CF: Lead Actress of “Magic to Win” Makes Public Debut in Press Conference

The film tells the tale of a modern magic story, in which an ordinary girl accidentally obtains magical powers from her magician teacher. Consequently, she becomes embroiled in a magical world which is beyond her control.

CF: Gao Qunshu to Follow in the Footsteps of the Cohen Brothers

“Gao will start shooting the first movie of the franchise, ‘Detective Hunter Zhang’ in November. He will follow this up with a series of black comedies. We’re hoping that Gao can film two movies every year.”

CF: Still Shots Featuring Kimi Qiao in Film “A Big Deal” Released

FBA: Hot cast for Coldwar

CF: ”Cold War” Holds First Press Conference

During the event, Tony Leung revealed that the film begins with a police car under siege in the middle of a street. With the police station finding it difficult to cope with the crisis, everyone inside is under suspicion for being a mole.

The main investor behind the film, Edko Flim Limited, has claimed that the structure of the story is similar to that of “Infernal Affairs” in some ways, but claims that the film has incorporated a number of other elements including lots of car-chases and deadly explosions.

Aaron Kwok, Tony Leung Ka-Fai (Sina-gallery)

CF: Couple Joins Forces for a Third Time in New Thriller

The movie held its premiere ceremony yesterday in Beijing to celebrate the fact that this will be the first time that an Oxide Peng film has been screened on the mainland.

Angelica Lee

Angelica Lee Sinjie in Shanghai today for the opening of Oxide Pang’s “Sleepwalker in 3D”

Movie poster

Angelica Lee - movie stills

(Sina-gallery)2

Producer Yuan Xiaomin announced that Cecilia Cheung would attend the Beijing and Shanghai premieres of “The Legendary Amazons”.  Despite currently working on “Dangerous Liaisons” Cecilia readily agreed to appear.

(Sina)2

“Cold Steel” stills of tough guys Peter Ho Yun-Tung, Tony Leung Ka-Fai, Mickey He and Guo Mingxiang. In the action film opening Dec. 2, Peter Ho portrays a young farmer who becomes a skilled sniper in the war against Japan. Song Jia, Angeles Woo, and Yu Rongguang are also in the cast

Tony Leung Ka-Fai

Peter Ho

Guo Mingxiang plays a Japanese sniper

Mickey He  (Sina-gallery)

Karen Mok in another guise for Jeff Lau’s East Meets West (Sina)

Director Tom Lin Shu-Yu

From today’s premiere of “Starry Starry Night” in Beijing

Xu Jiao

Rene Liu (Sina)

Photos from last night’s birthday banquet for Deborah Li at the Cosmopolitan Hotel in Wan Chai, Hong Kong. Besides family, Susanna Kwan and her partner also attended the celebration.

Deborah’s 60th birthday

Andy On, Jennifer Tse

Jennifer and Nicholas with mother

Patrick Tse Yin

Quintus and Lucas

Quintus and dad (Sina-gallery)

Hong Kong’s Next magazine published a photo of 56 year-old Gordon Liu recently. The Hong Kong martial arts star suffered a stroke and was admitted to the hospital. His right side has hemiplegia, paralysis, and he is undergoing long term rehabilitation. To prevent identification, Liu wears a knit hat and mask.

Gordon Liu

(Sina)

October 17, 2011

October 17, 2011 [HKMDB Daily News]

Filed under: News — Tags: , — dleedlee @ 3:59 pm

Variety: Bachelor Mountain (Guanggun) review

Reinforcing his position as one of the world’s superior nonfiction filmmakers, Yu Guangyi completes a landmark docu trilogy with the exquisitely observed and touching “Bachelor Mountain.” Rounding out what came before with the rough-and-ready “Timber Gang” and the intense character study “Survival Song,” Yu’s look at the life and impossible love of a hardscrabble logger/laborer is his most emotionally felt work and, if fests are paying attention, should get Yu some worldwide love.

CF: ”The Great Magician” to Spur Competition Between Tony Leung and Lau Ching-Wan

The makers of the film released a batch of new character posters today with the leading actor Tony Leung Chiu Wai being absent from the pictures.

Zhou Xun (Sina)

Huayi Bros and Emperor Motion Pictures have unveiled the release date of their action blockbuster ‘The Viral Factor’ whilst simultaneously revealing the first trailer for the movie,

CF: First Trailer of “Legendary Amazons” Released

CF: Andy Lau in Gangster Film “Cold War”

Up-and-coming cinematic artists Liang Yueming and Lu Jianqing will direct the film. This does raise questions though - as their debut film, how has it attracted a host of renowned stars? The answer lies in the screenplay.

Yesterday, EDKO Film Ltd announced that they will be investing close to a billion Hong Kong dollars to produce Cold War.

“She’s hot. She can do well in Hollywood if her English is good,” said an unnamed source that is apparently working on the production of the upcoming “James Bond” film.

October 13, 2011

October 13, 2011 [HKMDB Daily News]

CF: How Special Effect Used in the Movie “1911 Revolution”

The production company of Jackie Chan’s 100th war flick, “1911 Revolution,” released a batch of behind-the-scene photos that unveiled how special effect was used in the movie.

CF: Zhou Xun and Zhang Ziyi vie for role in Keanu Reeves’ movie

CF:  Remake of “Internal Affairs” In Production

A film tentatively titled “Cold War” which stars Aaron Kwok and Tony Leung, and would be a remake of the cult classic ‘Internal Affairs’ is being shot in Hong Kong ,according to a report from sina.com.cn. (Sina)

CF: Qian Xuesen’s Biopic Expected to be Released in the U.S.

An employee within the Western Movie Group revealed that negotiations with AMC, the largest chain of cinemas in the U.S., and with the American video website Hulu, regarding the movie’s copyright are drawing to a close. The movie is expected to be released in MIT, where Qian carried out his studies, and other regions across America…The inspiration for the movie, Zhang Huiling, is a plain clothes police officer from a sub-station of the Haidian police station, in Beijing. He has arrested more than 1600 criminal suspects over the course of 7 years…

CF: Director Gao Qunshu to Shoot “Hunter Zhang”

Director Gao Qunshu, who has previously directed several acclaimed movies including “The Message” and “Wind Blast”, has stated that “Hunter Zhang” will be the first movie to be included as part of his “1930-2030″ Movie Series, which is set to feature the lives of ordinary individuals. (Sina)

CF: Promotional Trailer of “My Way” Released

Josie Ho - next Bond film?

Or Tang Wei?

The new Bond film has been casting for a Chinese actress and front runners are Tang Wei and Josie Ho, according to this article. Li Bingbing, Fan Bingbing and Shu Qi are also said to be “finalists” being considered. The production company has been quietly interviewing candidates in Mainland China and Hong Kong last month. The role calls for sexy, bad and mysterious. Fan Bingbing and Li Bingbing are well known domestically in China but Fan’s English is not strong and Li’s is not as strong as Tang Wei and Josie Ho. Shu Qi has sexy but in “The Transporter” she did not have much dialogue. Tang Wei is considered the likely choice due to both her English fluency and notoriety from “Lust, Caution”. Josie Ho has the rebel image and fashion style, also, she recently worked on Steven Soderbergh’s “Contagion”. The film, directed by Sam Mendes, begins shooting next month so a final announcement is expected shortly. (Sina) Elsewhere, it’s being reported that the official Bond girl is French actress Berenice Marlohe

Athena Chu goes zombie hunting

Scary Market features Athena Chu as a zombie killer in the mainland horror-comedy. Co-starring Cheung Tat-Ming, Li Fei-er and Liao Jian. The movie joins the Halloween scary movie season, Oct. 21.

Athena Chu

Liao Jian, Athena Chu (Sina)23

What’s Under the Bed Poster

(Sina)

More stills and a final trailer released of Lin Chi-Ling from Love on Credit, opening Oct. 20.

(Sina)

Yao Chen on cover of November Elle

(Sina-slideshow) (Sina)

CF: Fan Bingbing Covers Harper’s Bazaar Magazine

Fan Bingbing graced the cover of Harper’s Bazaar magazine to celebrate her thirtieth birthday, on September 16, 2011.

(Sina-slideshow)

Tang Wei wears green plaid in Busan for photo shoot and interview.

Raymond Lam has gotten into trouble with his ex-girlfriend, busty Chinese model-actress Mavis Pan lately.

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