HKMDB Daily News

September 17, 2009

September 17, 2009

Filed under: News — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , — dleedlee @ 12:20 pm

Johnnie To, Johnny Hallyday

Long lines of fans waited for the Toronto screening Johnnie To’s Vengeance (

Jay Chou as Kato (CRI)

The Message (Feng Sheng) will close the 14th Pushan International Film Festival (PIFF), which will open on

Oct 8 and run for nine days.

The Message, starring Zhou Xun and Li Bingbing, tells the story of how the Japanese-controlled puppet government finds an undercover agent among five suspects during China’s War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression (1937-45).

Variety: Cow review

War is crazy and most of the characters are, too, in “Cow,”an often brilliantly imagined black comedy-cum-magical-realist yarn about a dumb Shandong peasant and his cow during WWII.

Screen Daily: Sawasdee Bangkok (Thailand) review

After Paris and New York, here comes a quartet of love letters to Bangkok - episodes marketed as one feature film, financed by the Thai Public Broadcasting Service, and with the intention of showcasing the country’s capital internationally.

Filming will be begin early next year for Chen’s new film based on Orphans in China. Orphans in China is a play written by Voltaire that itself is a translation of a famous Chinese play Orphan of Zhao. The story is based on a true incident and takes place in the Spring and Autumn Period. Chen intends to build a whole Orphan City a la Bodyguards and Assassins. It will be built in Xiangshan, Zhejiang Province (after much competition from other cities) and encompass 152 acres. Construction of the city has already begun and will be completed by year end. Sun Honglei unexpectedly appeared at the ceremony as the cast is unannounced yet. Sun, who is in demand by both Zhang Yimou and John Woo, said, ‘I am here to cheer on the director. Certainly, if the director invites me, I will participate.’ (

Zhao Wei

Zhao Wei is in studio working on Mulan’s post-production dubbing. Of great interest, was whether her real voice would be used. Earlier, it was reported that her voice was considered too harsh and heavy. However, it was considered fitting and consistent for the role. In the end, the rumors proved unfounded. Zhao Wei’s voice is recognizable and distinct, and she refused to be dubbed. Since, Mulan had been in the battlefield many years disguised as a man, her voice cannot be soft. Zhao Wei said, ‘I have faith in my voice. The role is different from my other roles. I am a man standing over hundreds of generals so the sound of my voice will be certainly different.’ ( [You go, girl!]

Ekin Cheng

Ekin hopes to recapture the spirit of Storm Riders in Storm Warriors 11 years later. (

Riding on a Storm

A decade after appearing in storm riders, Cheng E-Kin and Aaron Kwok reprise their roles as Wind and Cloud

China’s ‘Iron Man’ an undying legend

“Du Lala’s Promotion” Stills Revealed (CRI)

Remake of “Journey to The West” in the Works (CRI)

Though at a reportedly huge cost of 100 million yuan, the new project had draw the public to question if it could outdo the widely applauded 1980 TV series of “Journey to The West”, the first - and so far the best - small screen production of the classic novel.

Cow (Variety review)

Filed under: Reprints — Tags: , , , — dleedlee @ 11:54 am

Dou niu

(China) An Enlight Pictures release of a Changchun Film Studio, Tiger King Film Co., Enlight Pictures presentation of a Loongbaby Movie & TV Co., Shandong Film & Teleplay Prod., Beijing Geliang Media Co., Beijing Jia Tong Century Movie & TV Co. production. (International sales: United Star Corp., Hong Kong/Beijing.) Produced by Zou Xiong, Chow Keung, Cui Guoming, Jin Liang, Zhao Yunsheng. Executive producers, Zhao Guoguang, Zou, Wang Changtian. Directed, written by Guan Hu, from an original story by Zhao Dongling.

With: Huang Bo, Yan Ni.
(Shandong dialect, Mandarin, Japanese dialogue)

War is crazy and most of the characters are, too, in “Cow,” an often brilliantly imagined black comedy-cum-magical-realist yarn about a dumb Shandong peasant and his cow during WWII. Motored by a tour-de-force perf from bozo-faced thesp Huang Bo (”Crazy Stone,” “Crazy Racer”), this powerful allegory about the stubborn resourcefulness of the Chinese common man amid mass inhumanity boldly announces writer-director Guan Hu, largely unknown outside his home turf. With 10-15 minutes’ worth of trims, the pic could milk modest arthouse life after grazing in fest pastures. “Cow” was tucked away in Venice’s Horizons sidebar but fully deserved a competition slot.

Opening reel, with Song Xiaofei’s HD lensing bled of any warmth, sets the tone as the solitary, half-mad Niu’er (Huang) stumbles around his deserted stone village of Yizhen and happens upon a mass grave. As Niu’er hears a strange whining sound behind a rock wall, the titular heifer makes a stunning appearance. It’s the winter of 1940.

Pic’s structure is not always easy to follow as it shuttles between past and present, though the general trajectory and message are easily absorbed if auds go with the flow. Guan, largely known for his successful TV dramas in China, used the same fluid approach to narrative in his 2000 kid-centered drama, “Goodbye! Our 1948,” with its sudden shifts from black-and-white to color, plus the same magical-realist tone.

A flashback to when the village was inhabited (and run on feudal lines) shows how the doofus Niu’er ended up with the “foreign” (Dutch) cow, an object of local awe for its size and ability to produce vast quantities of milk. When the Japanese first bomb and then enter the village, Niu’er flees; after most of them have left, he steals back in and finds some other survivors.

Caught and almost executed by the remaining Japanese, he’s saved by the arrival of the (communist) 8th Route Army, but the ornery critter proves more elusive. However, as a bunch of starving refugees arrive from the next village, the cow’s prodigious milk production is a life saver.

Guan uses the impressively realistic outdoor set of the village (built in a remote area of Shandong province) as an elaborate stage on which the madness of war and human cupidity are played out in a heightened style, with the almost knowing character of the cow selflessly dispensing balm at regular intervals. With Niu’er’s in-your-face emotions and hard-scrabble existence, the pic recalls Jiang Wen’s slightly similar “Devils on the Doorstep.”

As time moves on, and the war with it, Niu’er finds himself strangely attached to the animal, whose existence becomes of overriding importance in his life. Final reels, with a melancholy coda, are poignant, as man and beast brave the elements together.

Though the large cast contains a number of succinctly drawn characters, the pic is Huang’s show, as he traverses every emotion in a thick Shandong dialect that’s nigh impenetrable for Mandarin speakers. (Thesp actually hails from the province.) Only other major character is feisty peasant girl Jiu (Yan Ni), who takes a liking to Niu’er. Some auds may find the lusty overplaying a tad unnuanced, though this could be mitigated in the trimming.

Handheld lensing brings energy to the tale and reflects Niu’er’s mercurial temperament without becoming grating. Sparingly used music by Li Ke adds warmth at key moments.

Camera (color, HD), Song Xiaofei; editor, Kong Jinlei; music, Li Ke; art director, Meng Yu; costume designer, Hou Jingli; sound, Terry Tu; sound designer, Zhao Suchen; visual effects supervisor, Wu Qingtao; assistant director, Li Jinglan. Reviewed at Venice Film Festival (Horizons), Sept. 10, 2009. Running time: 109 MIN.

September 11, 2009

September 11, 2009

Huang Bo strikes a pose for Cow

Huang Bo, Director Hu Guan


Fan Bingbing has travelled to Chengdu to prepare shooting a new film, Guanyin Mountain. The movie will costar Sylvia Chang and the film’s director, Li Yu (Lost in Beijing). Sylvia Chang has been learning Beijing Opera for her role. Fan is red hot in demand this year, currently shooting Sunshine in Chongqing with Wang Shuoshui and Guo Degang’s Three Smiles (Flirting Scholar) and will soon be promoting Wheat. (

Posters for Huang Jia Ci Qing (Royal Tattoo)

The film is a costume kung fu comedy with a mix of a Chinese version of Prison Break. It’s a humorous reinterpretation of a classic plot about a Qing Dynasty royal secret treasure and tattoo treasure map. ( (

Taipei Times review: Somewhere I Have Never Travelled

Small town, big ambitions

Where do you go when you live at the edge of the world?

Hollywood Reporter: “Chaw” ready to tear up U.K.

Hollywood Reporter: Founding’ to open with record prints

Farewell, Dai Sor

Taipei Times: Short Takes

April Bride

In Japan, if you make a movie about a gorgeous bride with terminal breast cancer and cast the hottest young actors, you can make a lot of money. Whether or not it will encourage female viewers to have their breasts checked regularly is another matter. Nana Eikura is the unfortunate woman, whose diagnosis and a mastectomy send her fleeing from her perfect boyfriend (played by Eita), who manages to track her down in time to propose. Based on a true story.

Love Twisted

Late last year we previewed Man, Woman and the Wall (2006), a Japanese erotic thriller steeped in voyeurism. Love Twisted was made in Japan two years earlier, but shares the theme, as well as crossover porn star Sora Aoi in one of her first non-porn roles. Imagine Fatal Attraction with more nudity and set in a really depressing housing complex. Starts tomorrow.

Into the Faraway Sky

Taiwanese actor Chang Chen (張震) has a supporting role in this 2007 film set in Hokkaido about offbeat villagers standing in the way of an airport project and the government man sent to fix the problem. The Taiwanese distributor, ahead of a DVD rollout, has changed the Chinese title to link it to the otherwise unconnected Taiwanese production Orz Boyz! (冏男孩). Starts tomorrow.

Hollywood Reporter: Strand catches ‘Spring Fever’

The film, about a wife who discovers her husband is having an affair with another man, took the best screenplay award at the Festival de Cannes.

Hollywood Reporter: Hong Kong inaugurates Chinese film fest

Initiative designed to help promote creativity industry in HK

Lau Ching-Wan

Lau Ching-Wan voices Garfield again in Garfield 3D which opens Oct. 1 in Hong Kong. Lau previously was the voice behind the cat in both previous Cantonese editions of Garfield. (

Taipei Times: Pop Stop

Brides, Bruce and boobs

September 9, 2009

September 9, 2009 (2)

In the winter of 1940, peasant Niu Er is unluckily burdened with the task of protecting his village’s only Dutch dairy cow, which supplies milk for the wounded Chinese soldiers. Even when all the other villagers are massacred by Japanese troops, Niu Er remains committed to protecting the cow. Loyal Niu Er outsmarts Japanese soldiers, starving refugees who abuse the cow’s generous milk-giving, and greedy thugs who even try to slaughter the cow for meat…

Gordon Liu plays Nic Tse’s father in Yit Lat Lat (’Spicy Hot’?), a story about troubled youth

(Oriental Daily)

Zhao Wei and Jingle Ma

Zhao Wei attended Jingle Ma’s press conference in Beijing where he officially signed on with Starlight International Media Group to produce three films including Beijing Raiders and Hua Mulan 2. (

Chow Yun-fat: Confucius Bored Me to Death

Taipei Times: Tsai movie set at Louvre to screen at concert hall
The Taiwanese feature film Face, or Visage in French, a production paid for in part by the Louvre Museum in Paris, is scheduled to make its debut at the National Concert Hall in Taipei on Sept. 22.

Season of Good Rain Seoul premiere

Heo Jin-Ho, Guo Yuanyuan, Jung Woo-Sun


August 26, 2009

August 26, 2009

The Founding of a Republic features 172 stars but no guarantee of box office success

Dada’ Dance - Zhang Yuan

Story parallels Noriko Sakai’s recent drug scandal. [This is also Zhang's first film since his own drug arrest.]
Chinese director Zhang Yuan releases first film since drug scandal
[Previous drug arrest reports]

The Message opens September 30

Huang Bo
Huang Bo in black comedy ‘Cow’ opens September 11

“Accident,” Cheang Pou-Soi (China-Hong Kong)
“Tetsuo The Bullet Man,” Shinya Tsukamoto (Japan)
“Prince of Tears,” Yonfan (Hong Kong)
“Chengdu, I Love You,” Fruit Chan, Cui Jian (China) - Closing Film
“Yona Yona Penguin,” Rintaro (Japan)
“Adrift,” Bui Thac Chuyen (Vietnam)
“Cow,” Guan Hu (China)
“1428,” Du Haibin (China)
“Once Upon A Time Proletarian: 12 Tales of a Country,” Guo Xiaolu (China)

Kelly Lin and Ge You attend premiere of Gasp

Jet Li returns to Chinese film
Due to start shooting ‘Ocean Paradise’ in Chinese
Li will star with Taiwanese actress Kwai Lun-mei, last seen in Tsui Hark’s “All About Women,” in the directorial debut of Chinese screenwriter Xue Xiao-lu, titled “Ocean Paradise” in Chinese. Xue has written for director Chen Kaige, working the script for Chen’s 2002 drama “Together With You.”
Jet Li to star in first non-action drama Ocean Heaven
Christopher Doyle will handle cinematography while Hai Chung-man (Curse Of The Golden Flowers) will serve as art director of the film. The release date is set for spring 2010.

Variety: Blood Pledge (South Korea)
Variety: Missing (South Korea)
Variety: Insadong Scandal: Replicated Strokes (South Korea)
Variety: Macabre (Singapore)

Support for China animation lags
Industry fails to develop despite government backing

Donnie Yen plans to give up acting in 2013.

In an NY Times interview (see Aug 20 post), Yen said he plans to concentrate on behind the lens directing and action choreography after finishing his 2012 obligations.

Sammi Cheng reveals she once had depression

[I think the film they are referring to is Everlasting Regret]

Mike He: I’m being framed again

‘Jewel in the Palace’ star weds in US
Lee Young-ae is also known for her role in the Park Chan-wook film “Sympathy for Lady Vengeance.”

Stars attend Dayo Wong’s stage show

Andy Lau and Carol Chu returning to Hong Kong from Malaysia

First public acknowledgment of their relationship
Andy Lau and girlfriend appear together publicly (English)

Yang Lijun
Article recalls the many (rumored) loves in Andy Lau’s life

Danny Poon, Idy Chan, Yue Hoh-Yan, Anita Mui, Rosamund Kwan, Yang Lijun (the crazy fan)
More airport photos, and, still, more

Andy Lau apologized on his blog for creating the chaos at the two airports and thanked fans for their concern

Andy avoided questions from media while leaving his apartment

Carina Lau
Carina Lau at Hong Kong Airport

When questioned about Tony’s injuries, Carina smiled and replied, ‘OK, la’. Article notes her HK$100k handbag, too.

Vivian Chow
Vivian Chow and Rosemary attend fall fashion show

Vivian is described as adopting a dishevelved, wild cat (or is it cougar?) look

Guests at Dorian Ho’s fall fashion show

Universally unimpressed with this year’s Miss Hong Kong contestants
[Reigning Miss Hong Kong Edelweiss Cheung was denied the opportunity to crown the new Miss HK. Instead, Loletta Chu, Miss Hong Kong 1977 and Henry Fok's former daughter-in-law, crowned Sandy Lau]

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