HKMDB Daily News

March 18, 2013

Ip Man — The Final Fight (Variety review)

Filed under: Reprints — Tags: , , — dleedlee @ 1:52 pm

Ip Man — The Final Fight

03.18.13
Maggie Lee

With “Ip Man — The Final Fight,” the lucrative Chinese franchise about the grandmaster of Wing Chun reaches a plateau. Competently executed by Hong Kong helmer Herman Yau, with the title role magnetically played by Anthony Wong, the film delivers a detailed account of the hero’s middle-to-later years that is never boring. What the pic lacks in stylistic sparks compared with other renditions by Wong Kar Wai and Wilson Yip, it makes up for in sinewy action and traditional values. The film should have a decent run in Asian markets, and attract offshore genre completists who embraced the franchise, mostly on home formats.

“The Final Fight” follows Yau’s “The Legend is Born — Ip Man” (2010), which depicted the legendary character’s youth. Both are produced by Checkley Sin, an investor and Wing Chun consultant on the earlier “Ip Man” (2008) and “Ip Man 2” (2010) helmed by Yip.

The story — credited to Sin, a pupil of Ip’s son Chun — is diligent in representing the protag’s life with authenticity and respect, but pacing suffers. There’s only so much to draw from one man’s life, and this installment’s focus on Ip’s middle age and his role as a teacher yields an inherently less active story. Qualities like humility and restraint are readily appreciated by Asian auds, but genre fans in the West may be underwhelmed by the fewer scenes of stirring conflict.

The film follows Ip’s life from age 56 to his death at 79. In 1949, following the Communists’ victory in China. Ip leaves his family in his hometown of Foshan, Guangdong Province, and arrives in Hong Kong. Calling on a friend, he is challenged to a duel by cocky cook Leung Seung (Timmy Hung, son of action star Sammo Hung). In a sequence that skillfully highlights the pliant style of Wing Chun, Ip defeats Leung without moving from where he stands.

Leung subsequently uses his professional connections to help Ip form a makeshift school on a rooftop, which attracts a motley crew of pupils: policeman Tang Sing (Jordan Chan), jail warden Wong Tung (Marvel Chow, Sin’s disciple and the film’s Wing Chun consultant), dim-sum vendor Sei-mui (Gillian Chung), Lee King (Jiang Luxia) and tram-driver Ng Chan (Donny Ng).

As in “The Legend in Born,” Yau delights in period nostalgia, recreating the messy but bustling street life of ’50s and ’60s Hong Kong with colorful studio sets, but also depicting an environment of labor unrest, government corruption and colonial oppression. In this sense, the theme is as much about the difficulty of making an honest living as it is the challenges of preserving the core values of Wing Chun. A brief encounter between Ip and a pupil who’s become an “international star” (who looks suspiciously like Bruce Lee) reinforces Ip’s anti-elitist attitude toward disseminating his art.

Although the proportion of action to drama is less than that in “The Legend is Born,” this sequel still boasts four vigorous setpieces, shot with minimum stylistic distraction by Joe Chan, and edited briskly by Azrael Chung. A duel between Ip and Ng Chun (comedian-producer Eric Tsang), master of the White Crane school, displays a precision and fierceness unexpected of elder-statesmen Wong and the pint-sized Tsang. Their sportsmanlike rapport contrasts with a later battle against an unscrupulous underground boxer (Ken Low), which combines visual exuberance with undertones of malice.

Wong convincingly draws on his lifelong training in Monkey Fist boxing style to strike the pose of grandmaster, Ip’s outsider status underscored by a thick Foshan accent. Wong’s dramatic range shines in a cordial, slow-brewing romance with a Shanghainese songstress (Zhang Chuchu), the unmistakable sexual chemistry in contrast with a brief, almost platonic interlude with his wife Wing Sing (Anita Yuen).

Unfortunately, most other thesps are let down by Erica Lee’s workmanlike screenplay, which tries to pack in too many characters and incidents, none of which develop into anything of substance. Chow’s martial arts acumen can’t help his hopelessly wooden acting, while Jordan Chan’s evocative perf gives his undercooked cop role an intriguing ambiguity.

Tech credits are generally pro, but lack distinction, with crowd fights staged as unfocused melees. Brother Hung’s clamorous score distracts from the visual spectacle of the action and drowns out quieter dramatic moments.

Ip Man – the Final Fight
Yip Mun – Chung Gik Yat Jin
(Hong Kong-China)
Reviewed at Hong Kong Film Festival (Opener), March 17, 2013. Running time: 100 MIN.

An Emperor Motion Pictures (Hong Kong), release of a National Arts Films Prod., Emperor Film Prod. Co., Dadi Century Co. presentation of a National Arts Films production. (International sales: Emperor Motion Pictures, Hong Kong.) Produced by Checkley Sin, Albert Lee. Executive producers, Checkley Sin, Albert Yeung. Co-producers, Cherry Law, Catherine Hun.

Directed by Herman Yau. Screenplay, Erica Lee, based on a story by Checkley Sin. Camera (color, widescreen), Joe Chan; editor, Azrael Chung; music, Brother Hung; production designer, Raymond Chan; costume designer, Thomas Chong; sound (Dolby Digital), Ken Wong; supervising sound editor, Wong Chun-hoi; re-recording mixer, Ken Wong; visual effects, Herb Garden; action choreographers, Li Chung-chi, Checkley Sin; martial arts consultants, Marvel Chow, Leo Au Yeung, Luk Chung-mow, Joe Luk, Yiu Kin-kong; assistant director, Ko Tsz-pun; second unit director, Ngai Man-yin.

With Anthony Wong, Zhou Chuchu, Anita Yuen, Eric Tsang, Timmy Hung, Jordan Chan, Gillian Chung, Marvel Chow, Jiang Luxia, Donny Ng, Xiong Xinxin, Ken Low, Wong Cho-lam, Liu Kai-chi, Law Koon-lan, Ip Chun. (Foshan dialect, Cantonese dialogue)

Variety

March 17, 2013

Ip Man – The Final Fight (Screen Daily review)

Filed under: Reprints — Tags: , , — dleedlee @ 12:28 pm

Ip Man – The Final Fight
17 March, 2013
By Edmund Lee

Although few people other than martial arts aficionados knew much about him before 2008’s Ip Man, the Wing Chun master who counted Bruce Lee among his protégés has already headlined five movie outings since, with Ip Man - The Final Fight following hot on the trails of Wong Kar-wai’s The Grandmaster. In a programming decision that seems to speak more about the movie’s local sentiments than its artistic idiosyncrasies, Herman Yau’s action drama premieres as the opening film of the Hong Kong International Film Festival on March 17, before receiving its domestic theatrical release on March 28 and its European premiere at Udine’s Far East Film Festival in April.

With its chronically nostalgic tone, The Final Fight sometimes plays like Echoes of the Rainbow (2010) featuring Ip Man. A watchable if far-from-memorable view on the character’s later years, the movie is indeed the second take on the legendary figure by the prolific Yau.

If his clearly fictionalised The Legend is Born – Ip Man (2010), which features real-life kung fu champ Dennis To in the title role, is a fluffy crowd-pleaser that functions more or less as a prequel to the other recent Ip Man biopics, the new movie may be regarded as a sequel of sorts to all the rest, as the filmmaker casts his regular leading man Anthony Wong as an ageing master living a tough but dignified life in the turbulent post-war Hong Kong.

While Yau and Wong first established their cult status together with such 1990s horror classics as The Untold Story and Ebola Syndrome, the actor’s rather human portrait of Ip Man couldn’t be further apart from those crazed, early roles. Sporting a Foshan accent that inevitably reminds a Cantonese-speaking audience of his hilarious voicework for the McDull animation franchise,

Wong nevertheless lends a new dimension to the grandmaster as he mentors his eclectic group of students (Jordan Chan, Gillian Chung, among others), finds an unlikely partner in a beautiful songstress (Zhou Chuchu) after the death of his wife, and finally fights his way into the Kowloon Walled City to save a student from a mythical fighter-cum-criminal kingpin (Xiong Xinxin).

Much early buzz surrounded Wong’s mid-film, closed-door fight with fellow Infernal Affairs alumni Eric Tsang, the former stuntman, now-iconic comedy actor who’s here playing a rival-turned-ally at the helm of the White Crane school of martial arts. But the soul of this movie is really in its tireless references to the historical and social conditions of 1950s and 60s Hong Kong, whose street views are recreated in vibrant, saturated colours.

The character of Bruce Lee does show up briefly in the last reel, though the cameo – which largely obscures the character’s face and shows him as something of a Westernised, prodigal son opposite Ip Man’s humble presence – is unlikely to impress many of his fans.

Despite its title, The Final Fight is arguably the least but certainly not the last we’ll see of Ip Man on the big screen: the 3D final chapter of the Donnie Yen-starring, Wilson Yip-directed Ip Man trilogy is expected to wrap filming within the year.

Production companies: National Arts Films Production Limited, Emperor Film Production Company Limited

International Sales: Emperor Motion Pictures

Executive producers: Checkley Sin, Albert Yeung

Producers: Checkley Sin, Albert Lee

Co-producers: Cherry Law, Catherine Hun

Screenplay: Erica Li

Cinematography: Joe Chan

Editor: Azrael Chung

Production designer: Raymond Chan

Costume designer: Thomas Chong

Music: Brother Hung

Action choreographers: Li Chung-chi, Checkley Sin

Main cast: Anthony Wong, Gillian Chung, Jordan Chan, Eric Tsang, Marvel Chow, Zhou Chuchu, Xiong Xinxin
ScreenDaily

Ip Man — The Final Fight (Hollywood Reporter review)

Filed under: Reprints — Tags: , , — dleedlee @ 11:43 am

Ip Man — The Final Fight
3/17/2013 by Deborah Young

There seems to be no end in sight for the lucrative Ip Man film series, which to date counts at least five biopics of the legendary kung fu master who trained Bruce Lee in the art of Wing Chun. The fame of the real-life Ip Man, who died in 1972, spread far beyond Chinese borders with January’s release of Wong Kar-wai’s romantic hit The Grandmaster, a reflective auteur actioner which set the bar extremely high as far as international audiences are concerned. Opening this year’s Hong Kong Film Festival, Herman Yau’s Ip Man - The Final Fight is an enjoyable if far less sophisticated tale that nostalgically taps into Hong Kong cinema of yesteryear, while still delivering considerable excitement in the fight scenes. Offshore, it may hitch a ride with dyed-in-the-wool martial arts fans on the coattails of The Grandmaster, but more likely will get lost in the shadow.

For the record, Wilson Yip directed the acclaimed 2008 Ip Man starring Donnie Yen, which focused on the master’s early life in Foshun; it was soon followed by the high-grossing Ip Man 2. Producer Raymond Wong has announced the imminent release of a third installment in 3D. Meanwhile, veteran Herman Yau directed the 2010 The Legend is Born – Ip Man with Dennis To portraying the master as a teenager learning his craft in China, effectively a prequel to the other films.

Still, none of the pictures, even those made with the consultation of Ip Man’s son Ip Chun, like The Final Fight, attempt anything like a rigorous biopic. Each reworks the main character into a mythic mold. Here, the focus is on the moral authority that an aging, Zen-like master exerts over his pupils during a very confused historical period in British-controlled Hong Kong of the 1950s.

Engaging veteran actor Anthony Wong plays an ironic older Ip Man who arrives in Hong Kong from the mainland as the curtain rises. His pretty wife Wing Sing soon follows him. They’ve lost their wealth and part of their family in China during the Sino-Japanese war and are looking to make a new, if humble, start. They are at once taken under the wing of an adoring group of working-class students who are passionate about learning the Chinese discipline of Wing Chun. Coming from all walks of life, these earnest young folk are involved in the politics of the day, including union strikes and clashes with the police, and a stand-off with organized crime.

Without really trying, Ip soon gathers a strong school around him. One of his pupils is a local cop (Jordan Chan) who is sorely tempted by bribes. Another, the leader of the restaurant union, offers Ip a scenic terrace where he can hold lessons. A young woman student is a firebrand union leader who urges on a mass of starving workers in a protest march that ends in a fierce battle with the police. When she is arrested, the local cop uses the bribe money he has ambivalently accepted to re-bribe the British and get her out of jail.

Chan’s cop is a full-fledged character and the most memorable of Ip’s students, even though he ignores the master’s cryptic moral advice and eventually throws in his lot with the scarred crime lord Dragon in an unholy alliance that allows him to rise to the top as chief inspector, but on Dragon’s payroll. He’s a key participant in the closing free-for-all mentioned in the film’s title, which takes place at an illegal boxing ring and in the eerie alleyways of Dragon’s walled slum. When a clean-cut young boxer who rose to fame with Wing Chun refuses to throw a fight, Dragon orders him killed in the ring. Improbably, his wife gets wind that he is in danger and Ip Man appears on the scene with his whole school of fighters for a satisfying action finale. All this takes place during a typhoon that sweeps the picturesque streets with falling signs and blowing litter.

Wong is such a fine, subtle actor that it comes as a surprise to find him a superb martial artist as well, as he convincingly demonstrates the superiority of Ip Man’s technique over competing schools, like old Ng’s White Crane style (actor-producer-director Eric Tsang in a happy cameo).

One could wish for a little more realism and a little less glossing over of Ip’s relationship to the lovely, illiterate young singer Jenny (an able if impossibly saintly Zhou Chuchu). Their platonic friendship, much snubbed by his prudish students, gives way to a sentimental ending that is anyway well-handled by the actors. It’s she who introduces him to opium when he’s doubled-up in pain, but it is made to seem an accidental, one-off indulgence and not the serious long-term addiction it was rumored to be.

What is not covered up is the dire poverty of the times, affecting not just the main characters but also a family the Ips know who are forced to sell one of their six children to feed the rest. Here again, Wong wiggles out of a potentially schmaltzy moment with a quiet, self-controlled, but very human reaction. In a scene that rhymes with Jenny offering him a glass of liquid opium, he acknowledges his friends’ pain and temporarily assuages it by pouring out more booze. Given everyone’s utter poverty, there’s little more that can be done.

Deliberately old-fashioned lighting and production design paint a quaint Old-World city shot on a studio backlot. The colorful streets hung with signs make an apt setting for some of the mass fight scenes between Ip Man’s students and various malefactors, whose West Side Story feeling is increased by Chun Hung Mak’s overblown score. In a delightful moment, Bruce Lee, the master’s most famous student, returns from Hollywood as a warm-hearted but naive star in a shining Rolls Royce, which Ip Man politely declines to ride in.

Venue: Hong Kong Film Festival, Mar. 17, 2013.
Production companies: Emperor Motion Pictures, Pegasus Taihe Entertainment
Cast: Anthony Wong, Eric Tsang, Gillian Chung, Jordan Chan
Director: Herman Yau
Screenwriter: Erica Lee
Producers: Checkley Sin, Albert Lee
Director of photography: Kwong-hung Chan
Production designer: Raymond Chan
Costumes: Thomas Chong
Editor: Wai Chiu Chung
Music: Chun Hung Mak
Sales Agent: Emperor Motion Pictures
102 minutes.
THR

June 5, 2012

June 5, 2012 [HKMDB Daily News]

FBA: Guns and Roses review

Busy but uneven heist movie by Ning Hao, set in ’30s Manchuria under the Japanese.

Variety: China pic’s Square root

Directors, writers, venture capitalists and sundry celebs gathered in an Imax theater in a Wanda cineplex in downtown Beijing recently for the launch of a 3D pic about Cui Jian, China’s most popular and controversial rock star.

CF: Zhou Dongyu Shoot Elle Magazine’s Short Film

“Mou Girl” Zhou Dongyu recently shot a short film produced by Elle Magazine. Alexi Tan directed produced the film [Stéphane Sednaoui directed]. It will be screened on June 16.

Zhou Dongyu

(Sina)23

CRI: Jiang Wen Seeks U.S. Partner for ‘Bullets’ Sequel

CF: ”Million-Dollar Crocodile” Premieres in Beijing

The film tells the story of an eight-meter-long crocodile on the rampage in Beijing.

(Sina)

Poster for Herman Yau’s “Nightmare”, opening July 6 in the mainland

Fiona Sit, Huang Xuan with director Herman Yan in Beijing

Herman Yau rocking his Van Halen t-shirt (Sina)23

Taiwan version of “Painted Skin 2″ poster

Zhou Xun transforms into a fox spirit

Simon Yam attended  the Taiwan premiere of  ”Design of Death” which opened the 4th Taiwan-China Cross-Strait Film Festival.

Simon shows off his shoes (Sina)

Miriam Yeung has delivered a 7 pound baby according to Hong Kong media. Husband Real Ting announced the news via his microblog. No news on the whether the baby is a boy or girl. (Sina)

Chapman To has just about fully recovered from Miller-Fisher Syndrome and is expected to return to work in July on a new movie. Kristal Tin thanked Sandra Ng for referring them to a doctor and, today, the couple is planning on leaving for the US to celebrate their 7 year wedding anniversary. (Sina)

The songstress’s daughter took to her microblog to complain about the tight reins her mother have over her life

MSN: Aaron Kwok pays Lynn Hung’s father’s medical bills

MSN: No baby shower for Andy Lau’s firstborn

The low-profile superstar holds a strict control over the list of family and friends who are keen to visit his newborn

MSN: The mastermind behind Zhang Ziyi’s scandal is Fan Bingbing?

On May 31, renowned movie critic, Bi Cheng-gong revealed on his microblog that Bingbing was the one behind the 33-year-old’s scandal. He claimed that the actress “is addicted to throwing her weight around and is infamous in the scene for this.”

How I Landed In The Middle Of China’s Crazy New Rumor

SGYahoo: Nicholas Tse’s new girlfriend?

CNA: Maggie Cheung “currently single”, German beau now “good friend”(A1)

May 30, 2012

May 30, 2012 [HKMDB Daily News]

CF/THR: Dangerous Liaisons: Cannes Review

An interesting twist on a classic plot, Dangerous Liaisons is essentially a deluxe soap opera. But with its beautiful cast and gorgeous production design, it is still a highly enjoyable way to waste two hours.

CF: China Lion Eyes U.S. Market With Cannes Pickups

… it has a deal with AMC Entertainment to screen up to 15 titles a year, include the raunchy Hong Kong comedy Vulgaria, Taiwanese romantic comedies Girlfriend Boyfriend and When A Wolf Falls In Love With A Sheep, warlord actioner The Bullet Vanishes and Thai martial arts pic Rebirth.

CF: Release Date for “Nightmare” Announced

The production company for the upcoming thriller “Nightmare”, which is directed by Herman Yau and starring Fiona Sit, Huang Xuan and Zhou Chuchu, announced its July 6th mainland release date yesterday.

CF: Character Posters of “Caught in the Web” Released

Chen Kaige, known for his top award-winning film at Cannes “Farewell to My Concubine,” has turned his focus to ordinary people and hot topics in modern times in his latest film.

The film revolves around the problems caused by internet violence and “flesh searches” in modern society.

A few of the character posters for “Caught in the Web”

Yao Chen

Gao Yuanyuan

Wang Xueqi

Wang Luodan (Sina)

CF: Lu Chuan’s First Micro Film Releases Poster

Director Lu Chuan’s first micro film “The Way of the Heart” releases its poster.

In more micro film news, actress Huang Yi is directing her first micro film, “Exchange”, based on a true incident in which a female university student inspired by the ‘paperclip for a villa’ (see links below) exchanged two rings and in four months after three more exchanges built a classroom building. Huang Yi developed an interest in micro films when she was invited to act in another micro film earlier. This time, she was invited by the Shanghai International Film Festival’s director of micro film projects to direct and Huang readily accepted.

Huang Yi

Huang Yi and young actors (Sina)

Student barters rings to build school in Guizhou

From paper-clip to house, in 14 trades

Vicki Zhao’s directorial debut “To Our Past Youth” finished shooting in Nanjing and Shanghai, and the cast and crew are in the midst of their shoot at the Huangguoshu Waterfall, a famous scenic spot in Guizhou Province.

Another June edition of L’Officiel, with Huang Yi on the cover this time.

The Hong Kong actor is said to have become more caring and cheerful after officially ending his marriage recently

Zhang Ziyi, as ambassador of the event, was all smiles at the 12th Chinese Film Media Awards last night

February 20, 2012

February 20, 2012 [HKMDB Daily News]

FBA: White Deer Plain review

Potentially epic peasant drama, with a fine cast, is undercut by an uninvolving approach.

CF: ”Love” Presented at Berlin Film Festival

CF: Bullets Sweeps the 24th Harbin Film Festival

The awarding ceremony of the 24th Harbin Film Festival was held on February 16th. “Let the Bullets Fly,” the top grossing blockbuster in 2010, and “The Piano in a Factory” swept the festival and obtained three awards respectively.

Leon Lai Ming, Charlie Yeung, Kara Hui, Feng Shaofeng and directors Daniel Lee, Huang Jianxin were spotted on the red carpet of the festival.

TimeOutHK: Simon Yam interview

Synonymous with Hong Kong movies by appearing in seemingly half of them, veteran actor Simon Yam tells us about his thespian secrets – and why he never gets tired of playing cops.

CRI: Final Posters of “Nightfall” Unveiled

Award-winning actor Simon Yam unveiled the two movie posters featuring Nick Cheung and himself in the run up to the film’s much anticipated release.

Simon Yam

Janice Man (Sina-gallery)

CF: Poster Released for “The Second Woman”

The movie will hit national screens on March 8th. Actress Shu Qi and actor Shawn Yue were featured as leading roles in it

CF: Promotional Poster for “An Inaccurate Memoir” Unveiled

Featuring Huang Xiaoming, Zhang Yi and actress Zhang Xinyi, the film is currently in an intense post-production stage.

“An Inaccurate Memoir” poster

(Sina)2

Stills from Herman Yau’s “Love Lifting” starring Chapman To and Elanne Kong. Chapman To plays a house husband to Elanne Kong who hopes to fulfill her athletic dreams.

Herman Yan, Elanne Kong and Chapman To at the Harbin Ice and Snow Film Festival (Sina)2(Poster)

“Dwelling in the Fuchun Mountains” held a press conference after they wrapped up shooting in the National Museum in Beijing recently

Andy Lau, Zhang Jingchu, Lin Chi-Ling, Tong Dawei, co-director Bob Brown

Co-director Sun Jianjun (l)

Four leads - Tong Dawei, Andy Lau, Lin Chi-Ling, Zhang Jingchu

Lin Chi-Ling

Lin Chi-Ling, Zhang Jingchu (Sina-gallery)

CNA: First ever ‘4D’ Hong Kong adult film in the works, says HK film producer

Hong Kong film producer Stephen Shiu Jr, who had worked on the Hong Kong adult film “3D Sex and Zen” which made waves across Asia last year, recently revealed that he plans to release a ‘4D’ sequel to the film, reported Hong Kong media.

CNA: 64 injured at Faye Wong concert after spectator stand collapses

Faye Wong’s concert in Chongqing on Friday was abruptly cancelled, after a section of the spectator stands suddenly collapsed, leaving 64 people injured, reported Chinese media. 
MSN: Faye Wong utters 36 words at concert

The Chinese singer moved her fans to tears when she went beyond her usual “Thank you” at her concert

January 13, 2012

January 13, 2012 [HKMDB Daily News]

Filed under: News — Tags: , , , , , , , — dleedlee @ 1:02 pm

Herman Yau has begun working on a “Inception”-like thriller called “Qing Yan”. Fiona Sit and mainland actor Huang Xuan will head the cast. (Sina)

A few posters for the Valentine’s Day Chrissie Chau mainland thriller “Night Club Suspense Tales”.

(Sina)

TaipeiTimes: Black and White Episode 1: The Dawn of Assault review

Tsai Yueh-hsun’s action blockbuster-to-be elevates the country’s filmmaking industry to a new level

TaipeiTimes: Flying Dragon, Dancing Phoenix review

Kuo, a real-life operatic diva, hands in an amazing debut performance on the silver screen as she plays both Chun-mei, a woman who plays men, and Micky, a man who plays a woman who plays men. It is a pleasure to watch the operatic veteran toy with the idea of gender roles through her varied acting, while staying true to her two characters.

Still from “Flying Dragon, Dancing Phoenix”

CF: Behind-the-scenes Footage of “Crazy Dinner” Released(CF)

Starring Liu Hua, Fan Wei, Huang Bo, Mo Xiaoqi, Dai Lele and Liu Yajin, the film is slated to hit cinema screens nationwide on January 23,2012.

Derek Yee pleases mainland market

He has set his latest work, The Great Magician, in Beijing. It’s his first comedy for almost 30 years.

The film, based on a popular novel set in the early 20th century in the capital, reveals how amagician wins back his lover from a warlord.

The novel is a melancholy melodrama, but Yee has turned it into a comedy to pleaseaudiences.

CF:  Youku Signs Content Deal With Twentieth Century Fox

Youku Inc., China’s leading Internet television company (”Youku”), announced a deal with Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment on 11 Jan, under which Youku will license 250 titles of new release and library films.

CF: Deals and Disputes Multiply in China Video Sector(FBA)

Independent Australian-Canadian sex shop comedy Red Light Revolution (2010) has also been picked up for release by Tudou Inc.

You Are the Apple of My Eye

Thanks to China’s censors, several scenes that make up nine minutes of the movie were edited out. Apparently, things like masturbation and kissing are deemed unsuitable for general viewing in China. Also, the character Boner, has had his name changed to something more innocuous.

Ko was noticeably absent from a promotion event held in Shanghai earlier this month, but he flew into Beijing to meet fans on Monday. He said that he didn’t attend the event because he was upset about the deleted scenes.

Yang, 25, became one of the most popular actresses with a rise to instant fame in 2011. The Beijing native began acting at 4 years old and rose to fame for her role in the TV series “Palace” in 2011.

The two actresses are rumoured to be unhappy about how their names are placed in promotional materials

The cast list on the movie poster also came in two different formats. In the Taiwanese version, Shu Qi’s name was listed before Vicki, while in the Chinese version, the latter’s name was listed first. The movie production company was said to have used this method to pacify both actresses.

Posters for  Doze Niu’s “Love”

Sorrows and Joys of Love edition (Sina)23

The Hong Kong singer found out the gender of his baby after taking his wife to an ultrasound scan

WPost: China denounces ‘Hong Konger’ trend

China is battling what it sees as a subversive challenge: an academic survey showing that many in this former British colony identify little with China.

More photos from the MontBlanc event in Beijing

Wu Chun

Vivian Hsu is ready to spin the Wheel of Fortune!

Vivian Hsu

Wu Chun, Vivian Hsu, Kevin Tsai, Yang Lan (one of the “Chinese Oprahs”) (Sina-slideshow)

October 16, 2009

October 16, 2009a

HK Magazine: Shawn Yue Man-lok interview

bd magazine talks to Herman Yau - A Different Split

HK Magazine and bc Magazine Film Reviews

The Message

Seeing “The Message” makes one realize just how strong mainland cinema has become in recent years, and also makes you worry about whether Hong Kong cinema can keep up.

The end result is a propaganda film that is more embarrassing than patriotic. I would have preferred to be brainwashed than to see this piece of crap.

Chrissie Chau proves she has more potential than just as a seducer of teenage boys with her life-size cushion.

The film suffers from very slow pacing and, at over two hours, has probably managed to successfully alienate its intended demographic. It is genuinely surprising that the film’s producer, acclaimed filmmaker Ann Hui, didn’t have a quiet word in her protégé’s ear to suggest that if the film lost half an hour, it would stand a far better chance of being appreciated by those who will benefit most from it.

It’s easy to roll your eyes and dismiss this film as yet another popular Japanese romance weepie, but the truth is it’s a dramatic interpretation and enactment of a real person’s last days, a young woman given the short end of the stick by Fate.

HK PICKS

The Warrior and The Wolf

(China) An army commander during the Han Dynasty falls in love with a beautiful widow while stranded in the desert, with disastrous results. Directed by Tian Zhuangzhuang. Starring Maggie Q, Joe Odagiri. Opens Oct 22.

Poker King

(Hong Kong) Another local gambling-themed romantic comedy except this time they’re playing Texas Hold’em in Macau. Directed by Chan Hing-ka, Janet Chun. Starring Lau Ching- wan, Louis Koo, Stephy Tang. Opens Oct 22.

Astro Boy

(USA) The popular Japanese manga gets a slick, 3-D facelift in this animated feature. Directed by David Bowers with an all-star voice cast including Kristen Bell, Nicolas Cage, Charlize Theron and Samuel L. Jackson. Opens Oct 23.

bc magazine’s HKAFF Preview

The Warrior and the Wolf

The opening film is a large scale historical epic, starring Japanese navel-gazing superstar Odagiri Jo and originally Tang Wei – her with the hairy armpits in Lust, Caution. But since being banned from appearing in Mainland productions, the infinitely more attractive, though perhaps not as talented Maggie Q, steps into the fold. Directed by Tian Zhuangzhuang – not a New Romantic band, but rather the highly acclaimed director of films like The Horse Thief and Springtime in a Small Town, as well as the elegant snoozefest, The Go Master. This looks bigger, louder, faster and sexier, so here’s opening the festival opens with a bang.

At the End of Daybreak

The closing film this year comes from Ho Yuhang, the award-winning Malaysian director of Sanctuary and Rain Dogs. The film details a secret relationship between a simple working class lad and a wealthier schoolgirl, a tryst that turns sour leading to blackmail and far worse. Examining their fractured family lives, the lack of parental control, class divisions and broader criticisms of society, At The End of Daybreak continues to cement Ho’s reputation as one of the most important filmmakers in a region of ever-increasing relevance.

Breathless

Actor Yang Ik June turns Writer, Producer and Director in this bold, brutal and uncompromising tale of domestic violence and self-destruction. Picking up a slew of awards on the global festival circuit, Breathless is the largely autobiographical tale of a brutish, deeply disturbed debt collector, who crosses paths with an equally abrasive schoolgirl, only for this mismatched pair to strike up an unlikely friendship. The cutting edge of Korean Independent Cinema.

Mother

Highly acclaimed and internationally successful director Bong Joon Ho (Memories of Murder, The Host) has, by all accounts, turned in another masterpiece. Controversially centring this tale of murder, corruption, justice and revenge on an aging female protagonist, the film follows the titular matriarch as she sets out to clear the name of her handicapped son, accused of murdering a schoolgirl and coerced by authorities into signing a confession. Mother is slated to be Korea’s official entry into next year’s Academy Awards and promises to be an intelligent, yet thrilling experience.

Air Doll

Hirokazu Koreeda’s latest film, after a string of critical hits including Nobody Knows and Still Walking, seemed at first glance to be a controversy-baiting piece of poorly judged titillation, casting Korean star Bae Doo Na as a sex doll that miraculously comes to life. What has emerged, however, is a different beast entirely. Air Doll is a delightful tale of unrequited love examining what it means to be human and the loneliness of urban life, while putting a decidedly Japanese spin on the old Pinocchio story.

Face

Always a talking point, the films of Taiwanese director Tsai Ming Liang often defy description. This is especially true of his latest French co-production, Face. Purportedly about a Taiwanese filmmaker (Tsai’s regular cohort Lee Kang Sheng) travelling to Paris in order to stage an adaptation of Salome at The Louvre, Face is a bold, challenging spectacle, brimming with beautiful imagery and even the occasional show tune. Some have loved it, some have hated it, some have been bored to tears – but everybody who has seen Face has come away with a strong, opinionated response.

Crows: Zero II

Whether he is making depraved horror films like Visitor Q or Audition, or big budget family-friendly fare such as The Great Yokai War or Yatterman, a new Miike Takashi movie is always worthy of attention.

This clumsily titled sequel to 2007’s Crows: Zero (which played at last year’s HKAFF) guarantees fisticuffs galore as he continues to adapt Takahashi Hiroki’s school gang manga for the big screen. Expect fighting, swearing, wonderful accessorising of militaristic school uniforms and, this time out, an entire army of skinheads. Not particularly highbrow, but sure to be lots of fun.

The Housemaid

Widely hailed as one of the greatest Korean films ever made, this 1960 psychodrama tells the tale of a regular family torn apart after their newly-hired maid turns out to be a sexual predator with her own increasingly evil agenda. Largely unknown outside of Korea until the 1990s, this is a revelatory piece of work that had the Global Film Community finally looking East to the Han Peninsula.

HK Magazine: G.E.M. interview

Coco Lee’s take on fame and music

August 15, 2009

August 15, 2009



Guo Xiaodong and Jiang Yiyan Pair up for “Qiu Xi”


Stops for fan photograph
Anthony Wong, Virginia Lok and Herman Yau bury the hatchet over Laughing Gor premiere seating incident

Dine over wine and pizza

HK actor Sammo Hung hospitalised for heart surgery

Brigitte Lin/Lin Ching Hsia recalls triad encounters

At the End of Daybreak -Film Review
Bottom Line: Well-meaning tale of young love misfiring lacks cohesion.
Shu QiAndy Lau
Jet LiKwai Lun-Mei>Wu Bai
Celebrities raise funds for Typhoon Morakot victims relief

Charlene ChoiJoey Yung
Charlene Choi and Joey Yung donate NT$1M for diaster relief

Jackie Chan in Beijing donates NT$1000M (HK$25M)
Chinese star Jet Li helps Taiwan typhoon relief
Sylvia Chang
Sylvia Chang campaigns for children


Zhang Ziyi throws out first pitch at Korean baseball game, accidently shows off T-back

Carina Lau
Carina Lau attends the Shanghai Book Fair

August 12, 2009

August 12, 2009

Anthony Wong with Lorretta Chow, Koni Lui, two former Miss Hong Kong runner ups
No seat reserved at Laughing Gor premiere for Anthony Wong

So he leaves


‘Turning Point’ for Shaw, Hong Kong film

Maverick Yau helms first new Shaw Brothers pic in 22 years

McDull animation hits big screen


Zhang Ziyi, Fan Bingbing
Shanghai press conference for Sophie’s Revenge


On His Majesty’s Secret Service celebration held

Earned RMB$70M in 10 days

Movie With 100 Stars Presents A Question: Who’s Chinese?

‘Haeundae’ Hits 7-Million-Viewer Mark

Shu Qi
Shu Qi and Ge You film an auto advert with wedding theme

Based on their characters from If You Are The One

Film “Tian An Men” set for release
The story in “Tian An Men” revolves around a team of stage art workers given the task of refurbishing Tian An Men Tower a month before the founding ceremony of new China.

Jet Li’s One Foundation PSA
Photo gallery


SCMP: Beijing struggles to make Olympic changes permanent

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