HKMDB Daily News

July 8, 2010

July 8, 2010

THR: Confab to demystify 3D for China filmmakers

FBA: China and Taiwan crack open film markets

Taiwan currently maintains a specific cap on the number of mainland Chinese movies (that are not co-productions) that can be imported each year. It has been set at 10 but until last year the quota had not been filled. This cap will now presumably be abolished, or made more flexible and then removed.

FBA: Like a Dream (如夢) (4/10)

Clara Law’s confused, unengaging trifle about an ABC and his “dream girl” is beautifully shot but not much more.

CRI: Jiang Wen’s ‘Bullets’ Set for Dec. 16

“Let the Bullets Fly”, an all-star Chinese gangster film directed by Jiang Wen, will hit domestic cinemas on December 16, its investor Ma Ke has announced.

Jiang Wu, Liao Fan at yesterday’s trailer release event for Let the Bullets Fly (Sina)

CRI: ‘The Haunting Lover’ to Open at the End of July

The romantic horror film “The Haunting Lover” starring Li Xiaolu and Vanness Wu will hit Chinese mainland cinemas at the end of this month.

The film is inspired by an urban legend from Singapore that prevailed in Southeast Asia during the 1930s. A young man (Vanness Wu) suddenly disappears, and his girlfriend (Li Xiaolu) is found dead in her bathtub. The police investigation turns vain, and the man and his girlfriend seem to both appear again 10 years later.

Li Xiaolu - The Haunting Lover

CRI: “Unusual Love” Photo Stills

Stills from the Chinese adventure film “Unusual Love” starring Vincent Chiao and Miao Pu. It’s a love-hate story which takes place in the western China desert during the 1920’s. The film opened July 2nd.

Unusual Love

CRI: “Painted Skin 2″ Starts Shooting In Da Lian

Donnie Yen, Zhao Wei, Zhou Xun and Sun Li will join the film again, and mainland actor Huang Xiaoming will replace Chen Kun to play the male lead, Wang Sheng and his son Wang Ying.

CRI: Chinese Animation Competes with ‘Avatar’

The Dreams of Jinsha’ has been previewed before select audiences where it received praises that will help it compete with “Avatar,” the world’s most successful film ever made.

Toy Story 3 - Lau Ching-Wan voiced for the Pixar cartoon along with Dicky Cheung and Joey Yung. Lau rooted for Brazil in the World Cup. (Sina)

Mutant villain Collin Chou - City Under Siege

(Sina)

Shu Qi, Collin Chou (Xinhua-slide show)

Carl Ng Kar-Lok

Carl Ng is said to be confirmed to play Brother Sharp in Deng Jian-Guo’s Legend of Brother Sharp. Less reliably, Shu Qi and Lin Chi-Ling have been mentioned as possible cast members. Shu Qi would play Brother Sharp’s ex-wife who died in an auto accident and caused his grief and confusion that led to his wanderings. Lin Chi-Ling would play a sympathetic woman he meets later that helps him with his problems. Besides Carl Ng, the other additional actors and crew names being thrown out seem to be the result of pitch meetings. (Sina)2

Gillian Chung

While promoting Fantastic Water Babes in Guangzhou, director Jeff Lau urged support for Gillian prompting Gillian to weep. Said Lau, “She is just an ordinary girl. It’s not easy to stand up, I hope you give her this opportunity.” In response Gillian said, “The greatest achievement making this film is to know Jeff Lau. He is my ‘ba-ba’(father). Growing up in a single-parent family, I now know paternal love.” (Sina)

Huang Xiaoming, Zhang Jingchu, Richie Jen

Huang Xiaoming complained, jokingly(?), that director Lee Lik-Chi deleted his scenes. Allegedly, Huang made similar remarks about his role in Ip Man 2.

Guangzhou promotion for Flirting Scholar 2 (Sina)

8-Mo: Rika, Hazel, Hidy and Vibeke

The 8-Mo girls reacting to Anthony Wong, “Society has different voices but it’s not right to make personal attacks. He should go to church, learn how to respect people, not make personal attacks. We accept the views of different people but he does not, does he?” Would they be embarrassed if they ran into Wong? They would not object to meeting him. Praising his standing, Rika said, “We would use our strength to look after ourselves. He just does not understand us.” (Sina) [Just a sample of the back and forth in the ongoing Book Fair Ban Affair.]

Louis Koo

Jolin Tsai, Show Luo

Huang Xiaoming

A beverage brand shot a series of adverts using the theme of Journey to the West. (Xinhua)

Andy Lau

Andy Lau has been polling fans in order to gauge his popularity and book an appropriate venue for a Hong Kong concert in December. Andy hasn’t held a Hong Kong concert in 3 years and is concerned about fan fallout due to his marriage. (Xinhua)2

Gaile Lok played down divorce rumors at a recent Hong Kong appearance. (Sina)

A Chinese company is suing Hong Kong actress Cecilia Cheung for 41 million yuan (S$8.3 million), after claiming that her involvement in a 2008 sex photo scandal caused them to lose a fortune

This is not the first time Cheung had clashed with the company. She has apparently had a number of legal scuffles with the firm over contract issues and copyright infringement between 2005 and 2009.

April 20, 2010

April 20, 2010

Filed under: News — Tags: , , — dleedlee @ 1:55 pm

Screen Daily: Hong Kong’s Celestial signs two-picture deal with Teddy Chen

Celestial Pictures has kick-started its move back into production by signing a deal with filmmaker Teddy Chen (Bodyguards And Assassins) who will direct and produce two features films for the Hong Kong studio.

Celestial also announced that it has picked up worldwide rights outside China to Sum-Wood’s upcoming movie The Enchanter, to be directed by Derek Kwok (The Pye-Dog,The Moss). The film tells the story of con artist whose life changes when he meets a pathological gambler and his 20-year-old intellectually disabled son.

Poster for Clara Law’s Like a Dream

Daniel Wu showed his wedding ring at the Beijing Student Film Festival where Like a Dream premiered (21cn)

Talking to reporters, Peter Chan “This year in July, I want to start a martial arts film. I want to make it to be very logical and the martial arts, every fist, every foot is authentic, not the kind with flying. In addition, the end of this year, I will shoot an art film art film ‘Waiting’ [This would be his film ten years in planning based on the novel by Ha Jin, originally with Chow Yun-Fat attached and then later Zhang Ziyi and Takeshi Kaneshiro.] Chan also said, “In addition, I may also work with Tang Wei in a movie, I do appreciate her.”  (Sina)

Vincent Zhao (Chiu Man-Cheuk)

Vincent Zhao (Chiu Man-Cheuk) is the latest to join the cast of Chen Kaige’s Zhao’s Orphan. He will play the father of the orphan, Fan Bingbing’s husband. The cast now includes Ge You, Huang Xiaoming, Zhang Fengyi and Wang Xueqi. HK action director Gu Hin-Chiu  (CJ7, 14 Blades) has also been engaged. (Xinhua)

Simon Yam at the airport

Takes picture with fans (Sina)

Teddy Chen, Peter Chan, Andrew Lau

Oriental Daily reports that Teddy Chen suffered from depression while filming Bodyguards and Assassins. This led to Andrew Lau stepping in as ‘guest’ director. Hence, the many ‘thanks’ to Lau during many of the HKFA winners’ acceptance speeches. (Sina)

Simon Yam, Nicholas Tse

Aarif Lee, Sandra Ng, Peter Chan, John Shum

Aarif Lee, Lowell Lo, Alex Law, Mabel Cheung, Evelyn Choi, Sandra Ng, Simon Yam

(Echoes of the Rainbow) (Sina)

Simon Yam consoles Sandra Ng on not winning Best Actress award (Sina)

No baby for Vivian Chow?

Hong Kong media reports that despite her marriage last year, she refuses to have a baby. Besides returning to film in Ann Hui’s All About Love, she intends to also return to music according to these reports. (Xinhua)

Big Sister Joey Yung and Twins

Twins thank Joey Yung

Last concert?

Twins, Mani Fok

Rumor of Twins break up persist, according to Ming Pao. Thus, the three show concert could be their last together for the near future despite invitations to tour Canada, Singapore and Malaysia. Gillian thanked Joey Yung for stepping in to replace the Twins concert schedule when Sexy Photo Gate broke out two years ago. Charlene also got emotional and called Joey a true friend.

(Sina)2

Edison Chen

Cheer Chen

Sam Lee

A new series of photo adverts for a clothing brand (Xinhua)

March 25, 2010

March 22, 2010

Variety: Hong Kong festival kicks off

The 34th Hong Kong Film Festival kicked off Sunday with the twin bows of Ivy Ho’s comedy “Crossing Hennessy” and Clara Law’s “Like a Dream” at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center.

Screen Daily: Like A Dream

Clara Law’s beautifully absorbing fable is a lush and at times entrancing moody melodrama that is highlighted by the quite wonderful performance by the enchanting Yolanda Yuan who plays dual roles.

Screen Daily: Crossing Hennessy

Crossing Hennessy is an engagingly fresh and enjoyable dramatic comedy that makes great use of its Hong Kong locations as it delves into the romantic complications of modern urban life.

THR: Chinese presence fuels optimism in Hong Kong

Almost a fifth of this year’s exhibitors — more than 120 — hail from mainland China, as the growing strength and importance of that market continues to show itself.

Jackie Chan and Stanley Tong will produce a 30-part television series about Yuefei, one of China’s most heroic and controversial generals, now that they have secured long-sought Chinese government approval.

The series, “Yuefei,” is about the general of the Southern Song Dynasty in the 12th century A.D., who helped defend central China against invaders, but eventually was imprisoned and executed by the high court at age 39. Yuefei’s name was cleared posthumously and his story is told to Chinese children today to teach courage and tenacity.

Chow Yun-Fat - Let the Bullets Fly

(Sina)

CRI: Interest in ‘Bullets’ Runs High

CRI: Director Wang Quan’an’s New Project Not So New

CRI: Bazaar Releases ‘La La” Fashion !

Bazaar releases a special issue of its magazine to coincide with ‘Go Lala Go!’ that includes more golden rules of office survival.

Miriam Yeung and Shawn Yu hope Cat.3 rating won’t affect box office for Love in a Puff

(Sina)

Asian Film Awards Jury President Tony Leung Kai-Fai suffering from eye irritation.

Awards to be announced Monday. (Sina)

Tang Wei at HKIFF

Paw Hee-Ching, Ivy Ho, Tang Wei (Sina)

Stanley Huang and Karen Mok in Go Lala Go! (Du Lala’s Promotion)

Three “Jing girls” in Wong Jing’s Future X-Cops

Zhang Li

Tang Yifei

Natalie Meng Yao (HunanTV)

(Re)Inventing China’s “Seventeen Years” on Film at the 2009 New York Film Festival

Mainland Chinese works of art from this “Seventeen Years” period have been routinely dismissed as propaganda by the same Western scholars and critics who periodically “discover” and celebrate masterpieces of Chinese cinema from the preceding Republican era or the later post-Mao era.

Mao-era Chinese films are univocal, tedious, and thematically homogeneous.

This rarely questioned truism could only be asserted by the ill-informed, and its widespread acceptance reveals how common is the ignorance of this period of Chinese film history. The cinema of this period includes comedies, musicals, dramas, animation, war epics, historical sagas, traditional operas, children’s films, and spy thrillers…

Mao-era Chinese films are excessively ideological and oppressively obvious, bludgeoning the viewer with blatant political propaganda…

THR: Echoes of the Rainbow

Bottom Line: A nostalgic and unabashedly sentimental family picture.

THR: 14 Blades

Bottom Line: A traditional martial arts thriller beefed up by gimmicky weaponry.

THR: Crossing Hennessy

Bottom Line: A rom-com that is more comical than romantic.

THR: Like a Dream

Bottom Line: Little thematic and less narrative sense make for difficult viewing that often tests the patience.

THR: Amphetamine

Bottom Line: Aesthetic aspirations killed the camp.

Bottom Line: Evidence that the digital revolution isn’t necessarily a good thing.

Bottom Line: A teasingly original idea from a new filmmaker wrapped up in the familiar.

THR: Wong Jing tackles 3D comedy

‘King of Jesters’ to be produced by Mega-Vision

Wong also returns to familiar grounds with “Naked Soldiers”, the US$4 million three-quel to his sex and crime series “Naked Weapon” and “Naked Killer,” which raised to cult status in Europe with their main draw of T&A and guns. Next, Mega-Vision will also begin production of the 30 million yuan (US$4.4 million) action adventure “Aladdina,” starring Louis Koo and the Hong Kong pop group Twins.

THR: Filmko on a quest to make 3D ‘Quixote’

First Chinese stereoscopic 3D period drama, helmed by Chinese director Agan

…starring Karena Lam (”Claustrophobia”) and Liu Ye (”City of Life and Death”), the film was produced with the Chinese Academy of Sciences, utilizing the academy’s stereoscopic 3D camera, the first in China. The film also hired a group of 3D experts from Germany as consultants during the shoots.

The company is now developing its next 3D epic, “The Monkey King,” a 180 million yuan retelling of the Chinese mythical literature “Journey to the West” with a script written by “Ip Man” writer Edmond Wong. Filming is scheduled for October with a 2011 release date.

Fresh from his win at the Berlin International Film Festival for his romantic comedy “Au Revoir Taipei,” Chinese-American director Arvin Chen is at this week’s Hong Kong-Asia Film Financing Forum to meet with potential investors for his new movie,“Nan Jing East Road.”

East Wind Rain poster


Half a century on, ‘Suzie Wong’ still a star in Hong Kong

Actress Nancy Kwan walks into Hong Kong’s Luk Kwok Hotel, the first time she has ever visited the backdrop to her classic 1960 film “The World of Suzie Wong”.

Jacky Cheung concert tour embroiled in fraud case

Stanley Ho’s daughter, Pansy Ho

Asian casino magnate Stanley Ho denied Thursday that he has ties to Chinese organized crime gangs.

Casino VIP rooms opened door to gangsters in Macau, report says

Vivian Hsu was surprised with a birthday cake on the set of Seediq Bale

Director Wei Te-Sheng, Vivian Hsu 

March 22, 2010

Like a Dream (Hollywood Reporter review)

Filed under: Reprints — Tags: — dleedlee @ 10:07 pm

Like a Dream
By Elizabeth Kerr
Bottom Line: Little thematic and less narrative sense make for difficult viewing that often tests the patience.

HONG KONG — At one point in Clara Law’s latest film, one of the characters says to another, “Perhaps this world is not meant to be comprehended.” That could be said of “Like a Dream,” a globe-trotting romantic drama that tries to be several things at once, never quite makes a concrete decision as to where to focus, and so ends up a disjointed and ill-defined curiosity more than a film.

Law is a film festival favorite, but as a filmmaker she runs hot — “Floating Life” — and cold — “The Goddess of 1967.” “Dream” is a troublesome offering that teeters on the precipice of mainstream cinema: it’s bilingual and stars one of Hong Kong’s more audience-friendly actors but the overall tone borders on aggressively arty. “Dream” is likely to stir up festival attention and it could see limited release on the art house circuit in both Asia and abroad based on Law’s reputation. Broader exposure than that, however, is a long shot.

Surly computer geek Max (Daniel Wu) has a recurring dream in which he and a mysterious woman (Yolanda Yuan) attempt to recreate the events of her boyfriend’s suicide. In the waking world, Max becomes convinced she actually exists while on a business trip to Shanghai when he accidentally picks up some phototomat pictures whose subject is dream girl’s doppelganger. He enlists the help of yet another look-alike, a “country bumpkin” (also Yuan) to find her and before you know it he’s on his way back to continue the hunt. As it turns out there’s a kernel of truth in his dreams, and after a great deal of running through alleys and cryptic quasi-wooing by the woman, everyone’s skeletons come out of the proverbial closets.

“Dream” is by no means inept filmmaking. It is impeccably composed and elegantly photographed. But the tangle of themes that are raised and dropped make it a bit of a headscratcher. Is the film an exploration of identity, of Chinese-ness? The film begins with Max burying his dead cat, the only tangible connection he has to his family. So is it an examination of how we deal with trauma? A deconstruction of the fuzzy line between fantasy and reality? The answer is all of the above, but never enough of any one to form a cohesive whole.

By jumping between New York, Taipei and Shanghai in various planes of reality, Law does manage to convey the characters’ disbelief, frustration and uncertainty. But the film goes off track by muddling the roots of Max’s obsession and the woman’s motivations for helping him. Enigmatic characters are one thing; foolish or baffling ones are quite another. Max simply sounds weird when he explains his goals and he behaves like a stalker. No amount of whimsy will take the taint off his actions. The “bumpkin” fumbles around like a village idiot and less country girl in the big city. When the revelations finally unfold — after a glacial buildup — they come across as more soap opera contrived than clarifying.

As a film that relies on empathizing with its characters, its central performances lack the emotional heft demanded for that connection. The histrionics of the dream couple, wandering as they do through a chillingly blue and fantastically barren Taipei works on an unreal level, however when the same behavior is applied to the film’s real world the performances creak under the weight of the narrative’s nonsense and the tendency for the characters to grate on the nerves. It doesn’t take long for Yuan to slip into overwrought territory, while Wu stands around looking perplexed and as if he’s trying to have a hard time communicating. The less said about the lone supporting characters — Max’s New York colleagues — the better. When “Dream” finally winds down with its closing dance, any dreamlike qualities have been overwhelmed by questions of logic, which is the kiss of death for a film reliant on anything but.

Venue: Hong Kong International Film Festival (opening night)
Sales: Distribution Workshop (HK) Ltd.
Production company: Lunar Films, Arc Lights Films
Cast: Daniel Wu, Yolanda Yuan
Director: Clara Law
Screenwriter: Eddie Fong, Clara Law
Producer: Eddie Fong, Peggy Chiao
Director of Photography: Sion Michel
Production Designer: Yee Chung-man, Penny Tsai
Music: Paul Grabowsky
Costume designer: Dora Ng
Editor: Steve Doyle, Jill Holt
No rating, 113 minutes

THR

Like a Dream (Screen Daily review)

Filed under: Reprints — Tags: — dleedlee @ 10:42 am

Like a Dream
By Mark Adams,

Dir: Clara Law. China. 2010. 118 mins

Clara Law’s beautifully absorbing fable is a lush and at times entrancing moody melodrama that is highlighted by the quite wonderful performance by the enchanting Yolanda Yuan who plays dual roles. Though Like a Dream flies close to out-and-out artiness at times, it has the class and composure to intrigue overseas buyers and could well be a festival fixture.

The film mark’s return to narrative filmmaking since her 2000 film The Goddess of 1967, and her new film is modest in one level (it is virtually a two-hander, with only a few other minor supporting characters) but is equally ambitious on another, as it attempts to tell a cross-continent story of love and obsession both in dreams and in waking-life.

Daniel Wu plays an American-born Chinese living in New York who is increasingly distracted by vivid dreams of a stylish woman (Yolanda Yuan) in Shanghai who is traumatised and needs his help.

When in China on business who decides to see if there is truth in his dreams, but only ends up finding the woman’s mirror image, but in the form of an unsophisticated girl from the regions (Yuan again).

She agrees to travel to Shanghai to look for the mysterious woman, but as the real-life couple draw closer, his dream world encroaches on their fledgling relationship.

Yolanda Yuan is a real revelation in the twin roles - glacial and intense in the dream role and infectiously joyous and playful as the country girl. She gives the film its much-needed drive and energy, and counter-balances Daniel Wu’s one-tone on-screen depressive personality. The film is beautifully shot, with the dream scenes a burnished blue tone that makes the most of the empty Shanghai street, while the music score in elegant and atmospheric.

The film comes close to overstaying its welcome as writer-director Law allows the ending to meander close to pretentiousness, but the day is ultimately saved by Yuan’s charisma and joyfulness.

Production company: Lunar Films Company Ltd
International sales: Distribution Workshop. www.distributionworkshop.com
Producers: Eddie Fong, Peggy Chiao
Cinematographer Sion Michel
Editor: Steve Doyle, Jill Holt
Music: Paul Grabowsky
Main cast: Daniel Wu, Yolanda Yuan
Screen Daily

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