HKMDB Daily News

September 20, 2013

My Lucky Star (Hollywood Reporter review)

Filed under: Reprints — Tags: , , — dleedlee @ 11:34 am

My Lucky Star

9/20/2013 by Frank Scheck

The Bottom Line
The luminous Zhang Ziyi is the saving grace of this overly silly and frenetic spy movie parody.

Recalling everything from the ‘60s-era Matt Helm and Flint spy spoofs to such modern-day variations as the Austin Powers series, the Chinese import My Lucky Star at least provides one element of originality by giving a female spin to the genre. This tale of a mild-mannered young woman who becomes involved in an international conspiracy by teaming up with a master spy has an engagingly frothy quality that makes it go down easy. But its overall familiarity should make it a hard sell for American audiences despite the luminous presence of Zhang Ziyi (The Grandmaster, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) in the starring role.

The film, being released in North America day-and-date with China, is the first Chinese feature to be directed by an American woman, Dennie Gordon, whose previous credits include many TV series and the feature Joe Dirt.

Reprising the character she played in 2009’s successful Sophie Revenge, Zhang plays an unsuccessful comic book writer and illustrator who makes her living as a travel agent. Much of her day is spent drawing and daydreaming, her elaborate scenarios depicted onscreen via graphic panels and animated segments.

When she wins a trip to Singapore, her fantasies come to life as she meets the dashing secret agent David Yan (Leehom Wang, of Lust, Caution) who’s in pursuit of the “Lucky Star,” a diamond so large that it can apparently be used for destructive purposes. The villainous Charlize Wong (Terri Kwan) plans to use it to blow up Bermuda — the reasons for which, at least for this viewer, were lost in translation.

Sophie soon finds herself embroiled in a series of life-or-death situations, with her helpless bumbling often requiring her to be saved by the ever-resourceful David. Along the way, she attempts to help him in various ways that often exploit her considerable physical charms, most notably when she poses as a stripper to seduce a ruthless arms dealer.

Director Gordon stages the proceedings in glossily slick fashion, with the film benefiting from the visual allure of the two leads as well as such exotic locations as Hong Kong, Singapore and Macao’s Venetian Resort Hotel.

But with a running time of nearly two hours, the overall silliness wears thin rather quickly, and the reductive nature of Zhang’s lovestruck Sophie, who seems mostly interested in whether David is romantically interested in the female villain, doesn’t exactly make her a feminist ideal.

Opens Sept. 20 (China Lion)

Production: Bona International Film Group

Cast: Zhang Yiyi, Leehom Wang, Terri Kwan, Jack Kao, Zheng Kai, Yao Chen, Ruby Lin, Ada Choi

Director: Dennie Gordon

Screenwriters: Amy Snow, Chris Chow, Hai Huang, Yao Meng

Producers: Zhang Ziyi, Lucas Ling, Beaver Kwei, Second Chan, William Cheng

Executive producers: Yu Dong, Zhang Ziyi, Jeffrey Chan

Director of photography: Armando Salas

Editors: Zack Arnold, Ka-Fai Cheung

Production designer: Second Chan

Costume designer: Yi Tang

Composer: Nathan Wang

Not rated, 114 min.
THR

Related article: My Lucky Star: Slapstick rom-com fizzles (CNA)

September 18, 2013

My Lucky Star (Variety review)

Filed under: Reprints — Tags: , , — dleedlee @ 11:34 am

My Lucky Star
September 17, 2013

Zhang Ziyi and Wang Leehom co-star in an entertaining caper that doesn’t take one’s breath away in the romance department.

Maggie Lee

Touted as the first mainland Chinese film from an American female director, Dennie Gordon, and toplined by Zhang Ziyi as an accidental agent chasing after a rare diamond, “My Lucky Star” is wholesome, effortless entertainment that runs smoothly enough but seldom takes one’s breath away in the romance department. Slickly lining up a series of jet-setting hijinks, the film ladles out zany, self-mocking fun, but a hectic itinerary doesn’t give Zhang and co-star Wang Leehom much room to breathe, let alone fall passionately in love. Still, the pic’s perky spirit should generate healthy local biz; it bows Sept. 20 in the U.S.

Initially developed as a prequel to Eva Jin’s “Sophie’s Revenge” (2009), which Zhang produced and starred in, “My Lucky Star” retains little of that film’s spirit or backstory, aside from the heroine’s namesake and her two chatterbox friends Lily (Yao Chen) and Lucy (Ruby Lin). While Jin’s kooky, character-driven romantic comedy was a classic chick pic, “Star” is an adventure-driven caper that will appeal to a family audience, with its unabashedly fantastical plotting and character motivations. But without a strong supporting actress like Fan Bingbing, who gave a scene-stealing turn in “Sophie’s Revenge,” Zhang dominates the film, at times belaboring her role’s less convincing traits.

In a move to bring the glamorous Zhang down to the audience’s level, the film’s four screenwriters have reworked the role of Sophie, previously a feisty manga artist, into a humble telesales travel agent in Beijing. She’s routinely dressed down by her boss for daydreaming and dabbles in drawing cartoons as a hobby. In her doodles, she imagines herself as a hotshot spy rescued from an evil siren with a spider neck tattoo by a James Bond-like fellow agent.

When she wins a free vacation to Singapore, her travel companions Lily and Lucy stand her up at the last minute, giving her a chance to bump into David (Wang) outside the hotel and gate-crash his rooftop party. Not only is David the spitting image of Sophie’s cartoon hero, he is (gasp) an American secret agent on a mission to snag a diamond named “Lucky Star” by sabotaging a transaction between underworld dealer Li Wan (Morris Rong, grotesque) and arms dealer Mr. Gao (Jack Kao, manic).

Clueless and lovestruck, Sophie botches David’s operations at every turn, yet each blunder gives her an excuse to canoodle with the hunk. They team up with cyber-geek Bo (Ryan Zheng) to Hong Kong and Macau in pursuit of the diamond, and eventually the trio come face-to-face with Sophie’s nemesis Charlize (Terry Kwan, gleefully vampish), who has a black widow tattooed on her neck and a desire for world domination.

Whether flubbing a naughty-nurse floor show or slinking panther-like across a bar counter, Zhang displays sufficient comic verve to make the silly gags hit the sweet spot. But no matter how much she sweats at being klutzy-cute, her character’s naivete and romantic longing feel fabricated to win audience sympathy. It’s only when she bitchslaps Charlize or lashes out at her acid-tongued g.f. Xixi (Ada Choi) that she reverts to her more forceful persona, exuding the can-do spirit that Sophie is supposed to embody. (The high camp of Choi’s imperious, crazed Xixi adds some extra bite to the tame romance.)

A certified heartthrob in China, Taiwanese-American actor Wang throws himself into his stunts with manly gusto, but doesn’t let himself go in scenes meant to send up the genre. Hardly out of each other’s sight onscreen, he and Zhang click readily as comrades, but the action-oriented screenplay doesn’t encourage them to open up to each other or connect on an emotional level. There’s nary a sexual spark, even when they’re drifting across the Singapore night sky via parachute, or cuddling together in a getaway van filled with stuffed animals.

Longtime TV helmer Gordon skillfully sets a snappy yet even pace, effectively balancing verbal jokes and campy drama with purely physical stunts as the protags gallivant from one metropolis to another. While the Asian cities are fortunately lensed without kitschy exoticism, however, the locations and sets have no particularly striking visual style; the action sequences (choreographed by Wu Gang) are flashy but not showstopping. As with ”Sophie’s Revenge,” the narration is peppered with animated sequences, but these prove less magical than Jin’s own cartoon illustrations. Zhang’s colorful wardrobe reinforces her endearing eccentricity; other tech credits are pro.

The Chinese title translates as “Extraordinary Luck,” echoing the original moniker of “Sophie’s Revenge,” which means “Extraordinary Perfection.”

Reviewed at Saga Cinema, Solana Lifestyle Shopping Park, Beijing, Sept. 10, 2013. Running time: 113 MIN. Original title: “Feichang xingyun”

Production
(China) A China Lion Film Distribution (in U.S.)/Tianjin Bona Cultural Media Co., Huaxia Film Distribution Co. (in China) release of a Bona Film Group, Beijing Cheers! Cultural Investment Co. presentation of a My Lucky Star Prods. production in association with Wuxi Jinyuan Industry Investment & Development Group Co., Bona Entertainment Co. (International sales: Distribution Workshop, Hong Kong.) Produced by Zhang Ziyi, Ling Lucas, William Cheng, Second Chan, Ming Beaver Kwei. Executive producers, Yu Dong, Zhang Ziyi. Co-producer, Ryan Wong. Co-executive producers, Wang Lifeng, Jeffrey Chan, Lu Guoqiang.

Crew
Directed by Dennie Gordon. Screenplay, Amy Snow, Meng Yao, Sean Huang, Chris Chow, based on a the story by Ming Beaver Kwei, Gordon, Amy Snow. Camera (color, widescreen, HD), Armando Salas; editor, Zack Arnold; music, Nathan Wang; production designer, Second Chan; costume designer, Tang Yi; sound (Dolby Digital) Joe Huang; supervising sound editors/re-recording mixers, Joe Huang, Terry Tu; visual effects supervisor, Cui Weichuan; visual effects, Crystal CGI; action choreographer, Wu Gang; line producer, Eric Guan, Jonathan Lim; associate producers, Zhang Hao, Mi Zi; second unit camera, Nathan Wang.

With
Zhang Ziyi, Wang Leehom, Terri Kwan, Jack Kao, Ryan Zheng, Morris Rong, Ada Choi, Ruby Lin, Yao Chen, Max Zhang, Liu Hua. (Mandarin, English, Cantonese dialogue)
Variety

November 2, 2011

November 2, 2011 [HKMDB Daily News]

Filed under: News — Tags: , , , , , — dleedlee @ 9:41 pm

CRI: Cecilia Cheung Promotes New Film’s Premiere

Cecilia Cheung, who plays the lead role in the war movie “Legendary Amazons”, was in Beijing to promote the film.

CF: Jackie Chan: I want to be a woman

Jackie Chan told the media he made the movie because he had adored the story of Yang Family for a long time. “It’s a pity I’m a man,” he said, “I really wanted to portray a heroine of the family.”

Her new romantic comedy is titled “My Lucky Star”. Zhang will produce and star in the film, according to reports in the Beijing News. “New York Minute” director Dennie Gordon will direct the film, with other cast members to be announced later.

Huayi Bros and Atom Cinema’s pure love movie, “Starry Starry Night,” is scheduled for release tomorrow. The promoting company unveiled a batch of new still photos in the run up of its release.

The film has the same lead actors as Xu’s last film, “Go Lala Go!”, which tells of an office romance and features costumes with vibrant colors. However, by releasing a decolorized trailer for her new film, Xu told Sina.com.cn that she wanted to send a message to the audience that while “Dear Enemy” still uses workplace romance as its theme, it is a very different film from “Go Lala Go!”.

Directed by Lv Zusong and Cui Siwei, starring Zhang Mo, the makers of the film “Piano Trojan” recently released the first trailer, after its appearance at the Golden Rooster & Hundred Flowers Awards this month. 

Once, Ekin had teased Yoyo, daring her to “strip naked and jump into the water”. The latter did so, leaving Ekin speechless.

When Gigi Leung and Nick Cheung appeared at event for MontBlanc a couple days ago. Gigi offered Ekin Cheng and Yoyo Mung congratulations if rumours of their wedding were true. She wore a short gray skirt showing off her legs and revealed her new wedding ring.

Gigi Leung

Recently, it was revealed that the 31-year-old had dated 16-year-old model Cammi Xie after a photo of the couple kissing was leaked online.

The Notorious E.D.C and Cammi Xie

Text messages between Edison and Cammi

(Sina-slideshow)2

The singer also revealed his criteria for his future wife.

“She must idolise me, but not blindly. She has to be as low-profile as I am, understanding and provide me with constructive feedback on my music,” Jay said.

Powered by WordPress