HKMDB Daily News

September 2, 2011

September 2, 2011

Filed under: News — Tags: , , , — dleedlee @ 8:38 pm

WSJ: ‘Seediq Bale’ Opens at Venice

John Woo: ‘I Was Too Artistic’ (WSJ)

Variety: Love and Bruises review

After stirring controversy at home, Chinese auteur Lou Ye tackles a fresh setting while retaining his gratingly pessimistic view of human relations in the mostly Paris-set “Love and Bruises.”

Detective Dee: A Masterpiece from a Hong Kong Cinema Swami (Time)

NYTimes: Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame review

A Grand-Scale Adventure Filled With Household Names You Don’t Know

EpochTimes: Detective Dee Doesn’t Disappoint Martial Arts Fans

“Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame” opens in the United States on Sept. 9.

First Person: Joseph Koo

In the 60s, many Hongkongers happily hummed away to Western musicians such as the Beatles and John Denver. It wasn’t until songwriter Joseph Koo (known to most as “Brother Fei”) and his peers appeared on the scene in the early 90s that Hong Kong finally developed its own music culture.

Stills from a fierce fighting scene in Herman Yau’s The Woman Knight of Mirror Lake

Wong You-Nam

Huang Yi

To Yu-Hang (Dennis To)

Hung Yan-Yan

Wong You-Nam (Sina)

Charlene Choi in Venice promoting It’s Love/The Sorcerer and the White Snake.

(Sina)(Sina-slideshow)

Brigitte Lin opened a Weibo account today, in advance of her Mainland book launch, and greeted fans (Sina)

TaipeiTimes: Pop Stop

Determined to undo their fate of a doomed relationship, the pair was said to have secretly married nine years ago in Canada

September 30, 2010

September 30, 2010

To mark the 100th anniversary of the International Women’s Day and changes of role of woman in modern society, 10 Mainland films made by women filmmakers over the past three decades will be shown in the “Chinese Film Panorama 2010: A Feminine Perspective” from October 14 to November 7.

FBA: Mei Ah takes Grand Master rights

The Grand Master, which takes another look at Ip Man, the martial arts ace credited with teaching the wing chun style of kung fu to Bruce Lee, is tentatively set for release at 2011 Chinese New Year (Jan-Feb).

CRI: ’Aftershock’ to Grab Oscar Entry

The blockbuster film, “Aftershock,” which is the most successful film ever made in China, has been chosen to compete for the nomination at the 83rd Academy Awards next February.

Entertaining but throwaway whodunit set in Ancient China.

Jackie Chan, Li Bingbing and Winston Chao celebrate as the movie “The 1911 Revolution” started filming in Fuxin City of northeast China’s Liaoning Province on Wednesday, September 29, 2010.

Jackie Chan, Li Bingbing, Winston Chao

(Sina-gallery)

More on Stephen Chow’s New Journey to the West. Chow has personally invited Maggie Cheung to appear in his film. In addition, Will and Jaden Smith may be guest stars. Taking advantage of the Monkey King’s legendary 72 transformation, Chow will use this as a premise to cast many celebrities and guest stars. (Xinhua)2 [I can see Maggie now as Princess Iron Fan!]

Josie Ho, Jude Law

Josie Ho was tight-lipped about working with Jude Law in Contagion but met at an event in Hong Kong. (Sina)

CRI: Cherrie Ying, Jordan Chan Publish Uniform Wedding Photos

Liu Ye in a fall/winter fashion shoot for GQ

(Sina-slide show)

Vivian Hsu

Vivian Hsu at a recent magazine promotion event (Sina-slide show)

Jet Li attending the unveiling of his wax (un)likeness at Hong Kong’s Madame Tussauds

(Sina-slide show)

Elaine Ng

Elaine Ng was in Hong Kong for a skin care brand yesterday. She resides in Shanghai and is a former actress most well known as the mother of Jackie Chan’s “Dragon Seed” daughter who is now 11 years old. Still unmarried, Ng says her daughter knows who her father is but they rarely discuss it. (Xinhua)

Fuzzy Photos Dept: Faye Wong recently celebrated husband Li Yapeng’s birthday in Beijing. At one point, Faye coaxed friend Zhao Wei on stage to join her for a karaoke rendition of a Karen Mok song, ‘He Doesn’t Love Me’.

Faye Wong, Zhao Wei (Xinhua)2

Carina Lau

Carina Lau recently posted a collection of photos from her 7-day ‘Roman Holiday’ on her micro-blog. (Xinhua-gallery)

George Lam, Sally Yeh

Despite regular rumors of divorce, Sally Yeh appeared at George Lam’s recent Hong Kong concert. The concert was recorded and will be released later as a DVD. (Sina)

Patrick Tse showing off his ‘guns’

“The Chinese Jack Palance”

74 year-old Patrick Tse was seen with girlfriend Coco (47 years her junior) at Shanghai Airport. (Sina)

Rosemary

Rosemary was officially charged with 3 misdemeanor counts for her auto accident involving the Reno arch: hit-and-run, illegal right turn and not having insurance. The trial date for these charges will be on Dec. 8. The court hearing date for the more serious felony drug possession arrest is on Oct. 19. (Sina)

Hong Kong model’s Reno trial set for Dec. 8 for crash into landmark arch

Stephen Chow’s mother

Young Stephen and family

Resigned to a bachelor son, declares Stephen Chow’s mum (Sina)2

September 17, 2010

September 17, 2010

Filed under: News — Tags: , , , , , , — dleedlee @ 1:21 pm

Screen Daily: Aftershock2

Variety: Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame2

Variety: All About Love, 2

THR: Tsai Ming-liang turns to art films

Boxoffice success elusive for 1994 Golden Lion winner

CRI: Jiang Wen Confident about “Let the Bullet Fly”

CRI: Zhang Yimou and Cast at “Hawthorn” Screening in Beijing

FBA: Trademark dispute over “Seediq Bale”

Maggie Q (Sina-slide show)

THR: Maggie Q cast in ‘Priest’

Maggie Q is joining Paul Bettany and Cam Gigandet in “Priest,” a post-apocalyptic horror project that Scott Stewart is directing for Screen Gems.

The Warring States poster

Warring States directed by Jin Chen and starring Sun Honglei, Kim Hee-Sun and Francis Ng has finished shooting as is now in post-production. (ChinaDaily)

Jin Chen will be also begin shooting a sci-fi suspense film starring Bruce Leung, Tze Miu and Chen Shi in October in Shenzhen.

Bruce Leung

Tze Miu

Tze Miu in My Father is a Hero

Chen Shi (Sina)2

Hong Kong media is reporting that the reason for the failure of a Cecilia Cheung - Derek Yee reunion film agreement was due to a ‘price hike’ by Cecilia for her services. Last year, Cecilia has to pay large settlement costs as a fallout of from ‘photo-gate’ for loss of revenue by advertisers and brands. Elsewhere, Stephen Chow is still trying to get both Lucas and Cecilia to appear in King of Comedy 2 and has offered 10M yuan for the pair. (Xinhua)

Fan Bingbing

Fan Bingbing visted Tibetan children being treated in Beijing for congenital heart diseases on her 29th birthday. (Xinhua-gallery)

CRI: Cheer Chen to Give Solo Concert in Beijing

SG: Cecilia Cheung’s rumoured to have done two boob jobs

[I think the only real new news is the second one for reduction.]

SG: Chow Yun Fat to give away 99% of wealth after death

Michelle Reis to respond to speculations on pregnancy

Detective Dee and The Mystery of the Phantom Flame (Variety review)

Filed under: Reprints — Tags: — dleedlee @ 9:02 am

Detective Dee and the Mystery of Phantom Flame
Di ren jie zhi tong tian di guo

(China) A Huayi Brothers Media Corp. release of a Film Workshop Co., Huayi Brothers Media Corp. production in co-production with Zhejiang Hengdian World Studios. (International sales: Huayi Brothers Media Corp., Beijing.) Produced by Wang Zhongjun, Wang Zhonglei, Tsui Hark. Executive producers, Nansun Shi, Peggy Lee, Chen Kuo-fu. Co-producers, Directed by Tsui Hark. Screenplay, Zhang Jialu.

With: Andy Lau, Li Bingbing, Carina Lau, Deng Chao, Tony Leung Ka-fai.

By JUSTIN CHANG
An inventive marriage of ancient China and Agatha Christie, “Detective Dee and the Mystery of Phantom Flame” is a lavishly overwrought historical whodunit set around the controversial coronation of the country’s first empress. A string of hideously baroque murders and various imperial intrigues keep Tsui Hark’s costume drama-actioner percolating most of the way, though it eventually bogs down in a surfeit of red herrings and CGI. Tsui’s reputation and a name cast led by Andy Lau will ease access into offshore niche release and killer ancillary. Pic should catch fire locally Sept. 29.

Zhang Jialu’s screenplay centers around the character of Di Renjie, or Detective Dee (played by Andy Lau), a real-life Tang Dynasty official who has since been popularized in mystery novels and TV series. When the film opens in 689 A.D., Dee has been imprisoned for eight years for opposing Wu Zetian (Carina Lau), who is about to take the throne as empress — an event being memorialized by the construction of an enormous Buddha statue that towers over the palace.

But the future empress orders Dee’s release from prison so he can investigate the murders of two high-ranking court officials, both of whom burst into flame upon being exposed to sunlight. While the killings seem to have been the work of divine intervention (both victims made the mistake of moving around the sacred amulets inside the Buddha statue), Dee eventually surmises that a specific type of poison was used.

Indeed, every superstition and supernatural act in “Detective Dee” turns out to have a rational explanation, from the ability of certain characters to achieve facial transfiguration (essentially a variation on the contempo latex-mask trick) to the mysterious talking stag who occasionally materializes to offer Wu royal advice. Adding to the welter of narrative complications and political maneuvers is Dee’s inability to trust any of his cohorts — they include Wu’s most trusted servant, Jing’er (Li Bingbing), and judicial officer Pei Donglai (Deng Chao) — as well as his own conflicted feelings about the empress’ ascendancy.

Tsui’s first period epic since 2005’s “Seven Swords,” “Detective Dee” is a riot of visual imagination. Every widescreen frame of Chan Chi-ying and Chan Chor-keung’s lensing is packed with resplendent detail, from the ornate set work by production designer James Chiu and art director Wu Zhen to the richly tailored costumes by Bruce Yu. Carina Lau’s coiffure seems to grow more elaborate with every scene; at one point, her hair appears to have been fed through the spokes of a pre-industrial-era wheel.

Such outre visual touches provide some distraction from a narrative that grows more intricate yet also more laborious as it progresses. (At one point, “Detective Dee” becomes a sort of vampire movie, insofar as sunlight becomes lethal to those infected with the poison.) While the mystery’s solution is satisfying enough, it essentially serves as a front for a political parable about the importance of respecting the divine mandate of the monarch, so long as said monarch doesn’t abuse his (or her) power.

Performances are well handled, especially by Andy Lau, Carina Lau and Li, whose characters form a sort of emotional triangle. Visual effects are distractingly obvious in certain sequences, especially one that finds Dee clashing with an entire herd of computer-generated stags, though the recurrent image of characters igniting from within is disturbingly memorable.

Camera (color, widescreen), Chan Chi-ying, Chan Chor-keung; editor, Yau Chi-wai; music, Peter Kam; production designer, James Chiu; art director, Wu Zhen; costume designer, Bruce Yu; sound (Dolby Digital), Guo Xiaoshi; re-recording mixers, Wang Gang, Zhu Yanfeng; visual effects supervisor, Sang Woo-nam; action director, Sammo Hung; associate producer, Bernard Yang; assistant director, Leung Kwok-fai; casting, Chai Jin. Reviewed at Venice Film Festival (competing), Sept. 5, 2010. (Also in Toronto Film Festival — Contemporary World Cinema.) Running time: 123 MIN.
Variety

September 16, 2010

September 16, 2010

THR: Detective Dee

Bottom Line: Breathtaking sets and effects give this youthful martial arts film a modern air.

Global Times: Deconstructing Detective Dee

Li Bingbing (Xinhua)

FBA: Taipei Exchanges (第36個故事) (5/10)

Beautifully mounted but wafer thin story of two sisters running a boutique Taipei coffee house.

Global Times: Ice Kacang Puppy Love

Writing, directing and starring in romantic film Ice Kacang Puppy Love, Malaysian singer/ songwriter Ah Niu is enjoying his broadened repertoire and spoke with the Global Times after the film’s Chinese mainland premiere Monday in Beijing.

Feng Trilogy concludes with A Romantic Affair

After spy suspense film The Message (Fengsheng) and Western action film Wind Blast (Xi Feng Lie), director Gao Qunshu announced the third of the Feng Trilogy A Romantic Affair (Yichang Fenghuaxueyue De Shi) Thursday in Beijing.

Zhang Yimou’s new simplicity

Zhang Yimou’s latest work Under the Hawthorn Tree opens nationally on Thursday with the famous filmmaker meeting the press Sunday evening in Beijing, talking about his choice of young actors, film festivals and the ideals of love.

Dou Xiao, Zhou Dongyu, Zhang Yimou

Zhou Dongyu (Sina)

CRI;”Legend of the Fist” Returns

Legend of the Fist poster (Sina-gallery)

A Seven Little Fortunes reunion? Jackie Chan and Yuen Biao are trying to bring the old gang together. Besides Jackie Chan, Sammo Hung, Yuen Biao, Yuen Wah and Yuen Qiu, Eason Chan and Ronald Cheng are said to be in the cast.  The film would be about the history of the Seven Little Fortunes and is reported to start shooting in October. (Sina)

FBA: Stephen Chan to face corruption charges

THR: Former TVB GM charged with corruption

Former general manager of Television Broadcasts Ltd. Stephen Chan Chi-wan has been charged by the Independent Commission Against Corruption for alleged corruption and conspiracy to defraud offenses when handling TVB business affairs, the ICAC announced on Thursday.

Color Me Love poster and trailer release conference in Beijing (Sept.14)

Director Alexi Tan, Yao Chen, Zhu Hong, Monica Mok (Mo Xiaoqi)

Monica Mok, Yao Chen, Zhu Hong

Joan Chen called in to the conference from the US. (Xinhua-slide show)

CRI: ”Color Me Love” Releases out Trailer

Wang Xinjun, Andy Lau in costume for Founding of a Party (Sina)

Reign of Assassins: Jung Woo-Sung, Michelle Yeoh, Su Chao-Pin

Wedding scene stills (Sina-gallery)

Kelly Lin, Guo Xiaodong poster

Don Quixote poster featuring Miao Pu

Miao Pu

(Sina-gallery)2

Sleeping Beauty

Shu Qi napping before Beijing premiere after dressing and makeup, taken by hairdresser Sev Tsang

(Xinhua)

SG: Karena Lam married in June

Jay Chou adds another title to his resume: TV host

September 15, 2010

Detective Dee and The Mystery of the Phantom Flame (Hollywood Reporter review)

Filed under: Reprints — Tags: — dleedlee @ 8:28 pm

Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame
By Deborah Young, September 15, 2010

Bottom Line: Breathtaking sets and effects give this youthful martial arts film a modern air.
VENICE — Tsui Hark’s spectacular, much-awaited kung fu film “Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame,” shot in China for a reported $13 million, is an appealing combo of classic Chinese martial arts and mystery unraveling wedded to modern production design and CGI work. It will have special appeal for young video gamers and wuxia fans when it is released in China this month.

But despite the director’s credentials and its important cast, it looked like a fish out of water in competition at the recently completed Venice Film Festival, though a genre film raised to this high level of fantasy arguably can put up an artistic fight. Still, a little character development and an adult emotion or two crammed between jaw-dropping set pieces would have been appreciated.

Tsui’s last film, “Seven Swords,” screened at Venice in 2005.

The character of Detective Dee is based on a real imperial court judge, Di Renjie, who lived during the Tang dynasty circa 690 A.D. Flash forward to the 1950s, when Dutch diplomat Robert Van Gulik wrote a series of detective novels that popularized Dee in the West as an Asian version of Sherlock Holmes. The film’s teenage title could have been (though it isn’t) the title of one of Van Gulik’s 24 books.

As the story begins, Judge Dee (played by the youthful Andy Lau) has been thrown into prison by the emperor’s widow, Wu Zetian (a Machiavellian Carina Lau), who is about to be crowned China’s first empress.

The historic ceremony is to take place in the shadow of a giant Buddha statue, a marvel of architecture that is 200 feet high and still under construction. A visiting dignitary from abroad is given a guided tour inside the immense statue by one of the chief engineers. Its towering interior is dominated by a tall, treelike core, criss-crossed by bridges and movable mechanical parts.

When the engineer and his visitor reach the Buddha’s enormous eyes, a horrifying event occurs: the engineer, struck by sunlight, bursts into flames and is burnt alive from the inside out. The terrified workforce blames an ancient curse, and word is sent to the Empress that divine wrath is upon her coronation. Then the messenger himself meets the same fiery end, as he is riding to the imperial court.

At this point, Wu makes the smart move of pardoning Dee, the only man who can unravel the mystery. She sends her favorite, the beautiful martial arts expert Jing’er (Li Bingbing), to drag him out of an infernal prison where he has labored for eight long years, burning citizens’ petitions in a huge incinerator. Reinstated as a judge, he immediately sets to work puzzling out the strange deaths. He concludes that they’re not supernatural at all, but part of an elaborate plot to overthrow the future Empress.

With Jing’er and cruel young judicial officer Pei Donglai (Deng Chao), who have become his uneasy allies, Dee goes below the earth to visit the Black City, another imaginative set designed as a dark, watery nightmare kingdom. Waylaying an eccentric old hermit named Wang the Donkey, they seek information on the fearful Fire Turtles, scarab beetles that inject poison into the body that causes it to burn up as soon as it comes into contact with sunlight.

With one part of the mystery solved, Dee now must discover whodunnit. Leaping over underground lakes, Dee, Jing’er and Donglai have their first exciting fight with the Imperial Chaplain, a flying red figure with magical powers.

The atmosphere of mystery, magic and danger continues at a gallop in the final two action sequences, one set in the Monastery of the Infinite, where Dee defies the Empress’ orders and confronts the Imperial Chaplain; the other inside the Buddha statue in a breathtaking climax where fight choreographer Sammo Hung pulls out the stops on aerial wire work and special effects.

In star Lau’s youthful incarnation, Dee is noble, fearless and delightfully smart and observant, but nowhere does he become a human character with more than theoretical feelings and emotions. The lovely Jing’er and cruel Donglai are so young and ferocious they seem like fighting machines out of a video game, with the result that their fate is not very compelling.

Although it lacks the historical aura of classic Chinese wuxia backdrops, James Chiu’s post-”Avatar” production design is memorably imaginative.

Venue: Venice Film Festival
Production: Huayi Brothers Media
Cast: Andy Lau, Carina Lau, Li Bingbing, Tony Leung Ka-fai, Lau Ching-Wan
Director: Tsui Hark
Screenwriter: Chang Jialu
Producers: Zhong Wang, Nansun Shi, Kuofu Chen, Tsui Hark, Peggy Lee
Directors of photography: Chan Chi Ying, Chan Chor Keung
Production designer: James Chiu
Music: Peter Kam
Costumes: Bruce Yu
Editor: Yau Chi Wai
Action director: Sammo Hung
Sales: Huayi Brothers Media
No rating, 122 minutes
THR

September 7, 2010

September 7, 2010

Screen Daily: Detective Dee and the Mystery of Phantom Flame

There’s a tasty idea in here, and its entertainingly executed: graft a detective story onto a historical martial arts actioner set during the Tang dynasty, and see what emerges. Director Tsui Hark has never been a less-is-more kind of guy, and the sheer abundance of plot threads and sumptuous, FX-enriched set pieces threatens to swamp the story at times.

Strait Times/AFP: Tsui’s film wows

Screen Daily: The Child’s Eye 3D

While the script of cult directors Danny and Oxide Pang’s 3D horror movie is a strictly by-the-numbers affair, there are more than a few nicely set-up 3D moments and a healthy moment of surreal filmmaking in amidst the film’s horror-in-a-hotel tale.

Screen Daily: Reign of Assassins

As a action-packed tale of martial arts revenge and killings, the impressively staged Reign of Assassins certainly delivers the goods in stylish fashion. It might lack the sheer visual poetry of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, but its scenes of sword-play are wonderful and once the story gathers momentum it is absorbing and entertaining.

Poster for national release

(Sina)

Screen Daily: Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen

Screen Daily: Showtime

Macau-born Clara Law at Venice Festival

Law will present “Red Earth”, which is one segment of a larger project, “Quattro Hong Kong,” featuring the independent contributions of four Hong Kong directors: Herman Yau, Clara Law, Heiward Mak and Fruit Chan.

CRI: Li Bingbing in Venice(Sina-slide show)

CRI: Shu Qi Models ‘Legend of the Fist’ Costumes

Lam Suet

Lam Suet, Liu Hua

Lam Suet plays his first lead role in the Hollywood-style Mainland action thriller Adventure Island directed by Feng Chao. Starting as a stage manager in the ’80s, Lam Suet became a regular in Johnnie To’s films and won a Best Supporting Actor Award for his role in PTU. (Sina)

Up Close With Benny Chan2

FBA: Seediq Bale finally wraps

FBA: Hawthorn to open Pusan festival

Guests include Tang Wei and a gala screening of Late Autumn.

Karena Lam break due to pregnancy? In July, a pregnant woman resembling Karena Lam has been regularly seen visiting a Toronto hospital for check ups. To confirm suspicions, documents were checked and indicated the patient’s English name was indeed ‘Karena Lam’. This was reported by someone who is a friend of a nurse. A call by reporters to a GM at Filmko said that there were no signs of pregnancy and that Karena’s break was for education purposes in order to get a degree in Canada. (Xinhua)

CRI: Film-goer Jolts Cinema, Distributor with Lawsuit over “Aftershock” Ads

Chen, who saw the movie twice at the Xi’an Polybona International Cinema (Polybona), said in her suit that audiences were given no warning or indication on the ticket that ads before the film ran to 20 minutes.

October Elle - Zhao Wei

(Xinhua)

Sam Lee, Edison Chen

Edison Chen and Sam Lee sold out a club in Hangzhou with 1000 tickets at 200 yuan each. One caller offered 80,000 for a box. Outside the club, it was like an auto show, Lamborghinis, Porsches, and Ferraris filled the street. Out of town license plates indicated that many had made special trips to come. Edison’s rapping in Mandarin was bad yet the crowd screamed like crazy. Female fans were especially excited as he left the stage and they grabbed to touch him. (Xinhua)

HKStandard: Bullets that silenced the hired guns

There were several robbery cases involving banks and goldsmiths between the mid-1980s and the early 1990s. The robbers used nine-millimeter automatic pistols (like the Black Star made for the People’s Liberation Army), assault rifles such as the AK47 and even grenades…

September 6, 2010

Detective Dee and the Mystery of Phantom Flame (Screen Daily review)

Filed under: Reprints — Tags: — dleedlee @ 10:33 pm

Detective Dee and the Mystery of Phantom Flame (Di Renije zhi Tongtian Diguo)
By Lee Marshall

Dir: Tsui Hark. China. 2010. 122mins

There’s a tasty idea in here, and its entertainingly executed: graft a detective story onto a historical martial arts actioner set during the Tang dynasty, and see what emerges. Director Tsui Hark has never been a less-is-more kind of guy, and the sheer abundance of plot threads and sumptuous, FX-enriched set pieces threatens to swamp the story at times.

But it all moves along at a cracking pace, and the film’s half serious, half tongue-in-cheek tone will endear it to Western audiences who bridle at the more self-important style of kung fu epic. Hark fans will also embrace his latest as a return to the classic supernatural kung fu territory that the director made his own in films such as Zu: Warriors from the Magic Mountain.

In fact although budgeted at a lowish $13 million, Detective Dee may turn out to be a better performer than Hark’s previous martial arts bonanza, Seven Swords, which cost a fair bit more and yet underperformed both in Hong Kong and mainland China. The economies show through here in some of the CGI backdrop work, which at times is so artificial it looks like 3D animation. But while this may annoy the geeks, the hyper-real artisanal quality of the computer graphics suits the style of a film that has a likeable period nonchalance to it.

The action is set in the year 690 on the eve of the coronation of Empress Wu Zeitan (Carina Lau), China’s first female ruler. A huge, hollow stupa, or statue-temple of Buddha, is being built in front of the imperial court to glorify her reign; but while showing a foreign ambassador the view from the eye of the Buddha, a court officer suddenly bursts into flames.

Another spontaneous combustion soon follows – and in a court riven by plots, suspicions and internecine strife, the empress is keen to find the culprit. A court magician in the form of a talking stag advises her to send for courtier Di Renjie (Andy Lau) – anglicised as ‘Detective Dee’ – who was sentenced to hard labour seven years previously for criticising Wu for the way she seized power after the death of her husband the Emperor.

She does so, and appoints Lau to head the investigation – but being a wily and wary soul, sends her beautiful and martially talented protégée Jing-er (Bingbing) to watch over Dee. Also on the case is hotheaded albino court official and co-investigator Donglai (Chao), who gradually comes around to Dee as the latter proves his strength, intelligence and integrity.

The third main location - in addition to the Luoyang court and city, and the Escher-like interior of the giant Buddha statue with its struts and pulleys, wooden lifts and endless staircases - is an underground city called the Phantom Market, where a ghostly nether people live in a network of caves.

Choreographed by Hong Kong maestro Sammo Hung, the film’s fight sequences are marked by Hark’s usual inventiveness; perhaps the best is also the simplest, a comedy-tinged fight-seduction sequence between feisty Jing-er and unflappable Dee, which morphs in seconds from sparring to foreplay to the two of them teaming up to repel a death squad attack.

Much was being made in Venice of Dee as a sort of Tang dynasty Sherlock Holmes, but in fact another Holmes derivative, William of Baskerville from The Name of the Rose, is a better parallel: both men are smart forensic investigators who are part of and subject to the closed, hierarchical communities they’re holding up to scrutiny. The Tang court protocol and ceremony feel right (the credits include no less than two court etiquette consultants, as well as a sword design consultant), though costumes (especially those of the outlandishly-coiffed Empress) are closer to Alice in Wonderland than the historical record – and no worse for that.

Production companies: Huayi Brothers Media Corp, Film Workshop

International sales: Huayi Brothers Media Corp, www.huayimedia.com

Producer: Wang Zhonglei

Executive producers: Nansun Shi, Chen Kuofu

Screenplay: Zhang Jialu

Cinematography: Chan Chi Ying, Chan Chor Keung

Production design: James Chiu

Editor: Yau Chi Wai

Music: Peter Kam

Main cast: Andy Lau, Carina Lau, Li Bingbing, Tony Leung Ka Fai, Deng Chao
Screen Daily

August 31, 2010

August 31, 2010

Filed under: News — Tags: , , , — dleedlee @ 3:56 pm

CRI: Jaycee Chan’s ‘Break up Club’ Joins Toronto Festival

Siqin Gaowa

Siqing Gaowa will costar in a film, Let Love Come In, about women prison convicts and women prison guards. Cast includes Athena Chu, Wang Ji, Liu Xiaoqing, Cherrie Ying, and Hong Jiantao. (Xinhua)23

Who Killed Paul the Octopus? poster

Originally intended to be The Legend of World Cup, the film shot in South Africa and Beijing turned into a comic suspense film after Paul the match-predicting octopus gained worldwide notoriety. (Xinhua) [7.27.2010]

Empress Wu - Carina Lau in Detective Dee

Latest Detective Dee poster (Sina)

(Aug.30) Brigitte Lin visited the Taiwan Pavilion at the Shanghai World Expo. Organizers welcomed her by playing the theme song to The East is Red.

Brigitte Lin (r)

(Xinhua)(Sina)

Chen Kun in a Rock ‘n roll themed photo spread for Hong Kong Men’s Folio magazine.

Chen Kun (Xinhua-gallery)

Zhang Ziyi and Zhang Zaifeng (Aftershock) tape a program promoting education for TV (Xinhua)

SG: Michelle Reis to give birth in Hong Kong

SG: Faye Wong rules the household?

Singer Vivian Hsu claims career frozen for past three years

Barbie Hsu went on secret matchmaking dates

August 30, 2010

August 30, 2010

LATimes: Zhang Yimou remakes the Coen brothers’ ‘Blood Simple’

The result is the lush, slapstick ‘A Women, a Gun and a Noodle Shop.’ The film highlights the rise of Chinese cinema.

FBA: Woo to wage war in wide screen

John Woo will prepare his long in-development WWII epic Flying Tigers to be screened in the IMAX wide screen format.

Variety: Woo lives to make movies

Now if only someone would let him make a musical

Wang Lee Hom’s first attempt at writing and directing a feature film, Love In Disguise, drew mixed reviews from critics but raves from fans.

CRI: Jackie Chan, Li Bingbing to Play Couple in New Film

Jackie Chan and Li Bingbing will play a couple in the upcoming historical film “The 1911 Revolution” (aka Xinhai Revolution).

New stills released of Detective Dee and The Mystery of the Phantom Flame

Carina Lau

Andy Lau

Li Bingbing

Deng Chao (Sina)(Xinhua-gallery)

(m1905.com)

Reporters learned that Zhang Yimou invited a group of friends into a small television editing room to watch a preview of Romance Under the Hawthorn Tree. Though the original novel brought numerous tears to readers, the film was described as touching but not overly sentimental. In addtion, much has been made of the young actress playing Quiet Autumn, Zhou Dongyu, but praise was lavished on the young boy played by Dou Xiao. According to one viewer, ‘His performace was fine, pure, natural and simple. After the movie release, he will become a hit with young schoolgirls and thousands will fall in love with him.’ (Sina)

Cast of A Chinese Ghost Story press conference at Changchun Film Festival

Liu Yifei, Yu Shaoqun

Kara Hui

Louis Fan Siu-Wong, Wang Danyi Li

Following Ip Man 2’s May release this year, Wilson Yip is planning on a May 2011 release for A Chinese Ghost Story. (Xinhua)(Sina)

Anthony Wong has no opinion on Jackie’s remarks

(Xinhua)

(Aug.28) Alan Tam, Hacken Lee, Raymond Lam, Wang Leehom and Twins performed in a concert to celebrate the 3rd anniversary of the Macau Venetian.

Twins

Raymond Lam, Charlene Choi

Wang Leehom (Xinhua-slide show)

Faye Wong, daughter Dou Jing Tong

Dou Jing Tong, Li Yapeng

Faye Wong’s 13 year-old daughter is said to have inherited her mother’s genes after she sang in public for the first time. Dou Jing Tong sang a song, I Need You, in English beginning a little tentatively at first but gaining strength as she continued. The occasion  was part of the ‘Angel Fund Tour’.  Stepfather Li Yapeng and Dou Jing Tong and volunteers of the medical team of the Angel Fund to benefit children with free surgery to correct cleft lips were visiting a school in the town of Chifeng. After a day’s activity and a few glasses of wine, the students performed singing and dancing around a bonfire party to welcome the distinguished guests. Then, Li Yapeng introduced Dou Jing Tong, ‘Now I introduce to you a guest, she is my eldest daughter, Tong Tong. She will sing a song on stage for everyone, please give her a little applause.’  Afterwards, volunteers said her voice was crisp and sounded very much like her mother’s. Li Yapeng said that three years ago Tong Tong asked for a set of electronic drums and he approved. Tong Tong is active in the orchestra and choir at school. (Xinhua)2

Francis Ng spotted alone at Beijing airport

(Xinhua-gallery)

Aug.29 - Zhang Ziyi attending a celebrity dinner and auction organizned jointly by the Shanghai Love Foundation and Beijing Foundation for Disabled Persons.

Other guests included Huang Xiaoming, Pau Gasol, Jiang Wenli, Huang Yi, Gong Beibi, Liu Qian, Chen Luyu and many others.

Zhang Ziyi looks to have gained a little healthy weight

Pau Gasol

Huang Yi, Huang Xiaoming

Lin Miaoke (the Olympic girl), Sun Ming Ming

Magician Liu Qian

Liu Yan (the classical dancer who was paralyzed after a fall during a rehearsal for the Olympic Opening Ceremony) (Sina)(Xinhua)

Global Times: Jackie Chan’s twitter arouses haters in Hong Kong

Jackie Chan apologises for ‘disrespectful’ bus hijacking tweets

Some felt there was nothing wrong with his tweets and expressed disappointment that he caved to pressure and apologised while others felt he should have been more careful with his words in the first place.

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