HKMDB Daily News

February 14, 2014

No Man’s Land (Screen Daily review)

Filed under: Reprints — Tags: , — dleedlee @ 7:11 pm

No Man’s Land
13 February, 2014
By Jonathan Romney

Dir: Ning Hao. China. 2013. 117mins

Widescreen sepia deserts, lashings of Spanish guitar and highway mayhem a go-go - Chinese actioner No Man’s Land (Wu Ren Qu) milks them for all they’re worth, and more so. This boisterous entertainment by Ning Hao - director of Crazy Stone and Mongolian Ping-Pong - is in a vein of pastiche updated spaghetti Western action that you might call ‘phoney Leone’. In the US, the vein has been milked variously by the likes of John Dahl, Oliver Stone and the Coens, and Ning gives the sub-genre a boisterous spin of his own, although the knockabout violence and escape-from-peril twists pile up to eventually numbing effect.

But it’s all very slickly executed, if impersonal, with much wham-bam road content. In Chinese markets, the film - completed in 2009 and released belatedly, reportedly because of censorship issues over its representation of police - made over $20 million in its first week of Chinese release in December. The film should export healthily, and play in festival cult slots - essentially, find a home wherever there’s a fanboy following for post-Tarantino genre-twisting fun.

The setting is in the vast, arid expanses of the Gobi Desert, which a Tex-Mex flavoured score gives that old Western borderline feel. The action begins with the arrest of a falcon rustler (Huang Bo) and a car crash caused by his leather-jacketed, dagger-toting boss (a memorably scowling, Van Cleef-like Duo Bujie). Self-serving city slicker attorney Pan Xiao (Xu Zheng) breezes into town and uses his cynical wiles to get the Boss acquitted of murder, then leaves with a sleek red car as his down payment. But once he comically manages to alienate the entire vicinity’s raggle-taggle population, it becomes clear that he won’t be seeing the big city again in a hurry.

Trying to manage his escape, with some caged falcons, a pile of loot and an apparently dead body (although stiffs have a way of resuscitating quickly here) Pan Xiao ends up with no allies except a roadside hooker (Yu Nan) - although her main role is the traditional one of screaming a lot and getting bound and gagged by whichever heavy wanders along next.

Engagingly cast with assorted character plug-uglies giving their all, the film goes gangbusters at the start, but once it hits the desert roads, the action really has nowhere much to go. More cars crash, more guns are fired, more (increasingly brutal) blows come Pan Xiao’s way, more mariachi trumpet blares on the soundtrack. Intermittently, the hero offers ponderous voice-over theories about man, monkeys and the dog-eat-dog world. The relentless cynical tone is hardly leavened by a bathetically soppy coda. But splashes of black humour and the occasional authentically knockout action moment at least make it hard to dislike the film - or to lose interest for too long. The caged wild birds don’t seem to have too happy a ride, though.

Production companies: China Film Group, Injo Films

International sales: China Film Company, katerina.warren@gmail.com

Producers: Sanping Han, Haicheng Zhao

Screenplay: Ning Hao, Shu Ping, Xing Aina

Cinematography: Du Jie

Production designer: Hao Yi

Editor: Cheung Yuan

Music: Nathan Wang

Main cast: Xu Zheng, Yu Nan, Huang Bo, Duo Bujie
ScreenDaily

January 16, 2014

No Man’s Land (Hollywood Reporter review)

Filed under: Reprints — Tags: , — dleedlee @ 12:39 pm

No Man’s Land
1/14/2014 by Elizabeth Kerr

The Bottom Line
A bleak and completely engaging Chinese neo-western thriller that works on almost every level.

Thieves, snobs, hot-tempered smugglers and petty mercenaries are among the unsavory characters that populate the arid No Man’s Land, a nihilistic and fatalistic romp on modern China’s bleak side. The latest by mainland filmmaker Ning Hao, who made a splash with his comedies Crazy Stone and Mongolian Ping Pong, is that rare movie that can pull off making such aggressively unlikeable people compelling. It’s familiar genre stuff—the average Joe caught in a situation spiraling out of control—but Ning takes such pleasure in exploiting its conventions the end result is a darkly humorous comment on disintegrating morality and unchecked, rampant selfishness.

Relegated to release limbo after running afoul of China’s SARFT, No Man’s Land finally hit Chinese screens in December with little in the way of explanation but great box office fanfare, hauling in over $20 million in its first week. Shot in 2009, the film was deemed inappropriate and “depraved,” and in the interim, Ning went on to make the bland but serviceable Guns and Roses. No Man’s Land is a welcome return to form for Ning (more likely Guns was a deviation in the service of penance), a pitch-black comedy-thriller reminiscent of the Coens and early John Dahl, though what version of the film this is and what’s been cut is anyone’s guess. Engaging performances, spectacular visuals and Ning’s name above the title should garner strong festival interest across the board, and release in Asia and targeted markets overseas isn’t out of the question.

The wide-open Gobi desert landscape serves as the perfect dusty, barren backdrop for the action as well as an indicator (hoary though it is) for the characters’ moral landscape. In the grand tradition of the urban neo-western that would rival anything unfolding on the Texas-Mexico border (what Ridley Scott’s The Counselor and Zhang Yimou’s Blood Simple retread; A Woman, a Gun and a Noodle Shop aspired to) No Man’s Land starts with a vicious falcon poacher (a suitably stoic Duo Bujie) and his right hand man (Huang Bo) trapping a bird. The criminal pair has a run-in with a local cop that winds up dead, and next thing you know the poacher is in jail. Enter arrogant lawyer Pan Xiao (Xu Zheng), arriving in the backwater town to represent the poacher pro bono, fully expecting to generate headlines that will lead to fame and fortune.

All that is a set up for a classic scenario wherein one bad decision—an unreported traffic accident—is the catalyst for a personal and professional nightmare that includes a pair of angry truck drivers (Wang Shuangbao, Sun Jianmin), a ramshackle truck stop run by a price-gouging pervert (Yan Xinming), a young prostitute desperate to get out the Podunk “town” (Yu Nan), a bitter cop (Zhao Hu) on a mission to mess with Pan and a horse. Pan’s every decision is a bad one or the wrong one, and as he digs himself deeper and deeper into a moral and ethical quagmire rooted in greed and ambition, it becomes painfully clear there’s no way out for him, and by extension, the everyman Ning has him representing.

Unlike Jia Zhangke’s similarly nihilistic SARFT-challenging A Touch of Sin, Ning has a better understanding of genre convention and how to manipulate it, and though the film shines a glaring light on how little life is valued in modern mercenary China, Ning is having a gleefully nasty time with it. The cast is also uniformly adept at getting a handle on their characters, and the best segments put viewers on edge predicting how each is likely to react to given situations. As the truck stop owner’s wife, Guo Hong creates a vivid busybody-for-profit in just a few scenes, making her fate simultaneously inevitable and surprising. Huang is particularly amusing as the partner in crime that’s had it with working with idiots, and though Pan is just a reprehensible as the rest, Xu manages to shade him, if not totally redeem him, as the story progresses. It isn’t a spoiler to say no one comes out of the story intact, but the film does end on a vaguely hopeful note, though nothing that would negate all that came before it.

No Man’s Land could use some streamlining; there are segments that would benefit from brevity and Ning often winds up belaboring his point. But Du Jie’s outstanding cinematography—of the opening panorama, a nighttime canyon chase and the final ghostly frontier town as just a few—and Nathan Wang’s evocative Sino-western score make the film’s dead zones bearable.

Opens: General release, China
Production company: China Film Co., Beijing Orange Sky Golden Harvest, Guoli, DMG Entertainment, Galloping Horse, Bad Monkey
Distribution company: Emperor Motion Pictures
Producer: Zhao Haicheng, Han Sanping
Director: Ning Hao
Cast: Xu Zheng, Yu Nan, Huang Bo, Duo Bujie, Wang Shuangbao, Zhao Hu, Yan Xinming
Screenwriter: Shu Ping, Xing Aina, Cui Siwei, Wang Hongwei, Shang Ke, Ning Hao
Executive producer: Ning Hao, Yu Weiguo, Lin Fanxi
Director of Photography: Du Jie
Production Designer: Hao Yi
Music: Nathan Wang
Editor: Du Yuan
No rating, 117 minutes
THR

December 16, 2013

No Man’s Land (Variety review)

Filed under: Reprints — Tags: , , , — dleedlee @ 12:51 pm

No Man’s Land

December 16, 2013
Maggie Lee

With a nod to the Coen brothers’ jet-black humor and twisty plotting, mainland helmer Ning Hao takes his personal brand of Chinese picaresque to nihilistic levels in “No Man’s Land.” An oater-cum-road-movie in which a lawyer’s misadventures on a lawless Xinjiang highway becomes a metaphor for a society governed by base human instincts, the film delivers white-knuckle suspense and mean action sequences spiked with an undercurrent of misanthropy and outrage. Ning’s acerbic wit has been endorsed locally with a nine-day B.O. haul of more than $27 million; offshore, the pic’s cool noir style and breathtaking desert vistas should draw Asian-friendly arthouse and genre crowds.

Completed in 2009 and scheduled for release six times over the past few years, only to be held back each time, “No Man’s Land” is rumored to have run afoul of China’s film bureau due to its allegedly negative portrayal of police (not noticeable in the current version). It’s impossible to tell from the final screened version how many edits or reshoots it has gone through, but except for a mawkish ending that feels tagged on, the yarn is tautly paced and structured.

Although speculation surrounding the film’s delayed opening no doubt stirred curiosity, it owes its commercial success primarily to the casting. While male leads Huang Bo and Xu Zheng have both appeared in Ning’s hit crime capers “Crazy Stone” (2006) and “Crazy Racer” (2009), it was their pairing in this year’s “Lost in Thailand,” China’s highest-grossing domestic film, that hyped up expectations for this particular outing.

Neither as crowdpleasing as the “Crazy” series nor even classifiable as comedy, “No Man’s Land” is instead a social allegory that harks back to the dyed-in-the-wool cynicism of Ning’s 2003 debut feature, “Incense”; both films portray spineless protags who find themselves shortchanged by an even more immoral society. Compared with that earlier work, this one is less dry and formalistic, expanding the same theme in a more entertaining genre framework. And although it alludes to Hollywood genres, it’s more stylistically coherent than the kitschy fusion of martial arts, noisy farce and Indiana Jones-style cliches represented by past Chinese Westerns set in desert locations, from Gao Qunshu’s “Wind Blast” to Liu Weiran’s “Welcome to Shama Town” and Zhang Yimou’s “A Woman, a Gun and a Noodle Shop.”

“This is a story about animals,” announces the voiceover of protagonist Pan Xiao (Xu), setting up a running motif about man’s instincts toward predation and self-protection. These ideas are underlined by an arresting opening action sequence in which an illegal poacher (Huang) hunts down two endangered falcons in the Xinjiang desert. He is caught by policeman Wang (Zhao Hu) but escapes with the help of his boss, Lao Da (Tibetan thesp Duo Bujie, imposing), who stages a road accident as part of their getaway.

It is to this barren outpost that big-city lawyer Pan is summoned to defend Lao Da against allegations of dangerous driving. When the lawsuit wraps in the defendant’s favor, Pan coerces his client into giving him his late wife’s car as collateral for deferred payment. As the red Mustang roars along the lonely highway, the city slicker who can’t wait to get out of Hicksville unwittingly trespasses into 500 kilometers of no man’s land.

What follows bears some resemblance to Oliver Stone’s “U-Turn,” turning into a freakshow of roughneck nasties, who take turns insulting, scamming, thrashing and seducing Pan. Unlike the small-time crooks in Ning’s crime capers, whose colorful speech and goofy shenanigans give them a touch of quirky charm, the characters in “No Man Land” are physically and morally repugnant. Setting a new standard of grotesquerie in mainland comedy are a scuzzy family of three who run the world’s filthiest rest stop, and two loutish truck drivers whose idea of courtesy is to spit on the windshields of passing vehicles.

Every time Pan invokes the law, he invites more injustice, and audiences may feel torn between deploring his situation and enjoying the comeuppance of someone who routinely bends the law to his own advantage. Though the majority of the narrative is set on one straight highway, the ace car crashes and chase sequences devised by Hong Kong stunt coordinator Bruce Law (“Man of Taichi,” “The Raid 2″) keeps delivering visual thrills, while Pan’s endless reversals of fortunes and the other characters’ elusive comings and goings sustain an air of unpredictability. The appearance of Jiaojiao (Yu Nan), a sassy prostitute who becomes Pan’s unwanted travel companion, finally lends the narrative some human connection and dramatic heft.

Xu’s unscrupulous Pan bears a superficial resemblance to the mercenary yuppies he played in “Lost in Thailand” and its prequel, “Lost on Journey,” but in contrast with those trips, he’s on a less redemptive path. The actor is more low-key than usual here, his character evincing few signs of growth or emotional development, even when his conscience is tested in various life-and-death scenarios.

Playing an ingenue one minute and a hustler the next, Yu convinces as both, but is finally let down by an arbitrary epilogue that reduces her to a platitudinous mouthpiece. Huang amuses with his zombielike mannerisms without skimping on the character’s malevolence, while Duo’s quietly unhinged sociopath recalls Anton Chigurh from “No Country for Old Men.”

The harsh landscape (the film was shot around the craggy dunes of Xinjiang’s Hami region) evokes a godforsaken wasteland where every shred of human propriety has been discarded. Ning’s regular lenser, Du Jie, makes spectacular use of widescreen format to convey the velocity of the driving sequences as well as the vastness of the desert. Production designer Hao Yi’s grimy sets, beat-up vehicles and shabby costumes are totally of a piece with the dusty sepia tones of the imagery, and Nathan Wang’s thunderous, Ennio Morricone-inspired score goes well with the potent sound mix.

Production
Directed by Ning Hao. Screenplay, Shu Ping, Xing Aina, Cu Xishu, Wang Hongwei, Shang Ke, Ning. Camera (color, widescreen, HD), Du Jie; editor, Du Yuan; music, Nathan Wang; production designer, Hao Yi; set decorator, Maimaitiyiming Kelimu; sound (Dolby Digital), Wang Gang; re-recording mixer, Wang Gang; visual effects supervisors, Wang Lifeng, Steve Katz, Miao Chun; stunt coordinator, Bruce Law; associate producers, Miao Xiaotian, Ling Hong, Kuan Xiaoze; casting, Li Kai.

Crew
(China) A China Film Group release of a China Film Co., Beijing Orange Sky Golden Harvest TV & Film Prod. Co., Beijing Guoli Changsheng Movies & TV Prod. Co., Yinji Entertainment & Media, Beijing Galloping Horse Film Co., Emperor Film and Entertainment (Beijing) presentation, production. (International sales: Emperor Motion Pictures, Hong Kong.) Produced by Han Sanping, Zhao Haicheng. Executive producers, Han Xiaoli, Peisen Li, Shirley Lau, Ning Hao, Yu Weiguo, Lin Fanxi; Co-executive producers, Zhang Qiang, Dan Mintz, Ivy Zhong, Albert Lee.

With
Xu Zheng, Yu Nan, Duo Bujie, Huang Bo, Wang Shuangbao, Sun Jianmin, Yang Xinmin, Guo Hong, Wang Pei, Zhao Hu, Tao Hong. (Mandarin dialogue, Xinjiang dialect)
Variety

March 16, 2012

March 16, 2012 [HKMDB Daily News]

Filed under: News — Tags: , , , , — dleedlee @ 7:45 pm

CRI: Tang Wei Sings “Late Autumn” Theme

Tang Wei will sing the theme song for the film “Late Autumn” (Wan Qiu), her latest collaboration with South Korean actor Hyun Bin. This marks Tang’s first foray into a singing career.

CRI: ”A Simple Life” a Hit at the Mainland Box Office

New cast posters for Ning Hao’s “Guns and Roses” released yesterday at a press conference in Beijing. Huang Bo revealed that he only had a small role in the film and did not charge the director a fee.

Huang Bo

Fan Wei

Guo Tao

Liu Hua

Sun Chun

Tao Hong

Yue Xiaojun

Cheng Yuanyuan

Lei Jiayin

Guo Tao, Tao Hong, Jue Xiaojun, Ning Hao, Huang Bo, Liu Hua (Sina)

Simon Yam and Sandra Ng are working in southern Taiwan on Zero Chou’s “Hua Yang”, a costume drama. The cast includes Ivy Chen, Jerry Yan, Michelle Chen and Cheng Yuan-Chang. A midsummer release is expected with a premiere at the Venice International Film Festival.

Ivy Chen, Cheng Yuan-Chang, Sandra Ng

Jerry Yan, Simon Yam

Jerry Yan

Simon Yam is a pirate king

An early birthday celebration for Simon Yam who turns 57 on the 19th (Sina)

CNA: Michelle Yeoh receives France’s highest honour

MSN: Gigi Leung is two months pregnant

MSN: Has Kelly Chen given birth?

February 22, 2012

February 22, 2012 [HKMDB Daily News]

THR: 10+10 review

Taiwanese shorts anthology is a mixed bag.

CF: Ning Hao’s New Project in Post-production

Ning’s new project has been a closely guarded secret ever since shooting began, an ambitious move from a director who hasn’t seen the big screen in 3 years.

CF:”Scheme With Me” Premieres in Beijing

Richie Jen and guest, actress Zhao Ming

Tengger, Zhao Ming (Sina-slideshow)

“Scheme With Me” character posters

Tengger

Richie Jen

Jiu Kong

Steve Yoo Seung-Jun

Yvonne Yung

Xiong Naijin  (Sina)

“Crazy Stupid Thief” (Chinese title) opens March 1. Shown below, Francis Ng and Ying Er (Liu Ying). Lam Suet, Dong Lifan, Teddy Lin and Peng Bo round out the cast. Two screenings of the film were held at the Harbin Snow and Ice Film Festival earlier this month.

Dong Lifan

Ying Er (Liu Ying)

(Sina-gallery)

CF: Charming Zhou Xun Graces BAZAAR Magazine

A1: Fiona Sit’s betting on new role

In the slapstick comedy Mr and Mrs Gambler, which opens here on Thursday, Sit and rotund funnyman To are Flora and Manfred, a pair of boorish compulsive gamblers who find themselves falling in love with each other after being held captive by loan sharks.

SGYahoo: Gigi’s husband is ok with sex scenes

SGYahoo: Andy Lau for Hong Kong Chief Executive(CNA)

Netizens in a forum have sounded out their hopes for Hong Kong’s multi-talented star Andy Lau to register himself to be in the running for the position of Hong Kong’s Chief Executive.

MSN: Andy Lau to raise daughter in new home

Hong Kong singer Andy Lau is sparing no efforts to ensure the best for his unborn child.

February 21, 2012

February 21, 2012 [HKMDB Daily News]

CRI: ”Fushan Mountains” Wraps up Shooting

The movie will enter its post-production stages. And the release date has yet to be confirmed.

Variety: Keanu Reeves to deliver masterclass in Hong Kong

Ning Hao’s big bank robbery caper film has been given an English name, “Guns N’Roses” (previously aka Robbing the Gold/A Big Gold Robbery/Gold Mystery Case). It was revealed in the teaser trailer that was recently released. A summer release is planned.

Ning Hao

Ning Hao guesting as a police officer (Sina)

“Scheme With Me” (aka “Tales of Two Cities”), starring Richie Jen, shares a similar storyline of a big gold robbery and opens February 24.

(qq)

Monica Mok (Mo Xiaoqi) plays a young village woman in Manfred Wong and Raymond Yip’s “Blood Stained Shoes”. Kara Hui and Ruby Lin costar.

Working in a distillery

(Sina)

CF: Actress Shu Qi on Figaro Magazine

A1: HK’s Liu Kai Chi to star in Singapore production

CNA: Edison Chen’s marathon results voided amidst fraud allegations

MSN: Did Michelle Reis and Kelly Chen abandon their family for money?

These female artistes became the talk of the town recently, after it was reported that one female celebrity, with the initials ‘K’ had left her husband and daughter, in order to marry into a rich family.

December 7, 2011

December 7, 2011 [HKMDB Daily News]

Filed under: News — Tags: , , , — dleedlee @ 7:05 pm

FBA: Shaw finally set to retire

Sir Run Run Shaw, the 104 year-old Hong Kong media mogul is to retire at the end of the month from Television Broadcasts.

CRI: Former TVB Actor Wang Wei Passes away at 70

The Story of a Discharged Prisoner (1967)


CRI: Zhang Yimou to Publish His First Autobiography

CF: “A Big Deal” Encourages Flash Marriages

As the introduction states, “A long courtship can’t guarantee the lasting happiness of marriage. The point is to meet the right person at the right time.”

CF: ”White Vengeance” Tops Mainland’s Box Office with a Cume of 100m RMB

CF: Promotional Posters of “Perfect Two” Out

Not to be outdone “The Flying Swords of Dragon Gate 3D” is also moving up its release to Dec. 15., 2pm, 4 hours before the 6pm release of Zhang Yimou’s “The Flowers of Wars”. Stay tuned!

(Sina)2

The “third tear” in Barbara Wong’s “The Allure of Tears” featuring Shawn Dou Xiao and Joe Chen

Shawn Dou

Joe Chen Chiao-En (Sina)

Teng Ge’er and Richie Jen play antagonists in “Tales of Two Cities”

The comedy involves a contest for gold treasure in the deserts of Northwest China and opens in late December.

[Sounds a little bit like the Ning Hao-Huang Bo film, "A Big Gold Robbery"] (Sina)

CF: China Canada Co-Production Initiative Opens World’s Largest Market

Chinese film star buys St Emilion property

Chinese film star Zhao Wei has bought a St Emilion chateau for an undisclosed price.

Although the price Zhao paid for the 7ha Château Monlot has not been revealed, local property agents put it at between €4 and €5m.

‘She is huge in China - the equivalent of Drew Barrymore,’ one Chinese observer told Decanter.com.

Wu Chun: Ekin Cheng is like a big brother

CNA: Aaron Kwok open to having children out of wedlock

A1: Pricked by a Rose thorn?

But as quickly as the sympathy came, it also vanished rapidly when more pictures emerged of Chan smiling during the supper high jinks.

MSN: Intimate photos of Joe Ma with a girl surface onlineTVB actor Joe Ma is caught in yet another scandal.

MSN: Faye Wong and Li Yapeng’s wedding photos surface

August 9, 2011

August 9, 2011

FBA: Make Up review

A mystery-drama that’s rather different from the Taiwan norm, and with terrific playing by actress Nikki Hsieh.

CF: Ning Hao’s Next Project Going for Gold

CF: Director Shang Jing’s New Project Underway

Shang Jing, director of the successful 2006 TV comedy series “My Own Swordsman” has officially announced that his new project titled “Crazy Dinner Engagement” is in intense shooting stages

CF: Behind-the-scene footage of “Love in Space” Released

CF: Legendary Film Star Brigitte Lin is Back as a Writer

Derek Yee, Alan Mak, Felix Chong, Huang Yi and Daniel Wu, from Overheard 2, attended a Forbes Bona Film forum on film industry investing in Beijing yesterday.

Huang Yi

Daniel Wu, Huang Yi

Daniel Wu

(Sina-gallery)2

New publicity stills featuring Collin Chou in Mural

Multiple aspects of Huang Yi in Herman Yau’s Woman Knight of Mirror Lake

Bride a-marrying

Brush-stroking

Dagger-stabbing

Handsome manly looking

Horse-riding

Robe-wearing

Sword-wielding

Slashing

Gun-toting

Opens Sept. 1 (Sina-gallery)

MSN: Nicholas Tse accused of using publicity surrounding his marriage to raise his asking fee

MSN: Karena Lam does not regret sacrificing career

May 10, 2011

May 10, 2011

Filed under: News — Tags: , , , , — dleedlee @ 8:05 pm

CRI: Gianna Jun’s Portrayal in “The Secret Fan” Revealed

CRI: Musician Gao Xiaosong Detained for Drunk Driving

Gao had attended a press conference in Beijing yesterday morning to release the trailer of his directorial film “My Kingdom” which stars Wu Chun, Han Geng and Barbie Hsu.

CF: ”Banquet at Hongmen” Releases Seating Plan Plot

The film [aka White Vengeance] features actors Leon Lai Ming, Zhang Hanyu, Liu Yifei, Feng Shaofeng, Anthony Wong, Jordan Chan and Andy On.

CF: ”The Devil Inside Me” Eyeing a Late June Release

CF: Poster Released for “The Pretending Lovers”

The movie revolves around a couple who travel around the world for true love.

The movie “72 Hours” will hit national screens on the third anniversary of the Wenchuan earthquake,

3D The Monkey King posters designed for Cannes

Designed by William Chang, the posters contains hidden secrets to the film. One interpretation is that Donnie Yen and Chow Yun-Fat will battle to the death. The film is scheduled for a  summer of 2012 release. (Sina)

Cannes posters for Tony Ching Siu-Tung’s The Sorcerer and the White Snake. The star-heavy cast includes Jet Li, Charlene Choi, Miriam Yeung, Huang Shengyi, Vivian Hsu and Raymond Lam. The posters reflect the theme that love is a disaster, sometimes very violent.

(Sina)

Ning Hao, still waiting for the release of his film, No Man’s Land, announced a new film (tentatively, Case of Golden Puzzle) in Shanghai today. A black comedy, Ning Hao plans on completing it by mid-August. Huang Bo and other former cast members are participating. Set in 1941 Shanghai, Huang Bo plays a beggar that eventually organizes an anti-Japanese campaign. (Sina)

Poster for the upcoming Shanghai International Film Festival (Sina)

Jiang Wen’s cameo as a railroad engineer in Love For Life.  (Sina)

June Elle with Cecilia Cheung on cover

(Xinhua)

Oriental Sunday reports that Cecilia Cheung has ‘four rules’ for the shooting of her current film, Love Again: 1) Use of double/stand-in, 2) daily lunch break, 3) limit shooting to 6 hours a day, 4) return to Hong Kong daily [currently filming in Shenzhen]. (Xinhua)

Alan Mak

Alan Mak clarified rumours that he was seriously ill. Due to problems with his vision six months ago, Mak underwent a brain scan. To correct a little problme he was given medication to control a hormonal imbalance that had side effects and made him fat. Mak is fine now and his condition is under control and he is back to work in Beijing. (Sina)

Twins, Carol Dodo Cheng, Julian Cheung and Jim Chim appearing on the taping of TV game show All-Star Glam Exam. Lots of nice pics of Twins.

With host, one of the Grasshoppers, Calvin Choy

CF: Crystal Liu Graces Chinese May Issue of Harper’s Bazaar

Years after Cantopop diva Anita Mui passed away in 2003 from cervical cancer, the legal tussle over her estate finally came to a close on Monday.

Tam expressed she had no plans to contest her daughter’s will again but Mui’s elder brother Peter Mui said he will look for another opportunity to overturn the court’s decision.

CNA: Anita Mui’s millions to stay in trust fund after mother loses court appeal

(Xinhua)

The pregnant Hong Kong actress, who has gone past her due date, is apparently opting for induced labour

February 21, 2011

February 21, 2011

Director of new China’s first film with kissing scene dies at 90

Huang Zumo, director of the classic Chinese movie, Romance on Lushan Mountain, died Saturday night in Shanghai.

1981 - Huang Zumo, Zhang Yu, screenwriter Bi Bicheng (Xinhua)

A Woman, A Gun, and A Noodle Shop - Coen remake released on DVD

On Blu, the visuals and soundscapes are stunning. On DVD, they are good. Both formats share an exhaustive documentary that, at 119 minutes, runs 29 minutes longer than the brisk feature. You see Yimou’s exacting filmmaking techniques. His bravado is even more impressive because you see he was in pre-production while concurrently planning the opening ceremonies for the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

CRI: Theme Song MV of ‘Buddha Mountain’ Released

Chen Bo-Lin, Li Yu, Mavis Fan, Fan Bingbing, Fei Long

Mavis Fan, Fan Bingbing

(Xinhua-gallery) (Sina-gallery)

CRI: New Director Debuts with Two Films

Journalist-turned filmmaker Yan Ran will make his directorial debut with “Sweet Journey” and “Together”

ScreenDaily: Stool Pigeon review 2

A tasty Hong Kong cops and robbers movie marred by a cliched plot and over-melodramatic backstory

The Butcher, The Chef and The Swordsman poster, opening Mar.17

Ning Hao in guest appearance (Sina)2

Ning Hao’s aptly-named and ill-fated No Man’s Land has seen its release delayed again. Rescheduled for a tentative April release, the film was once again postponed. The film began shooting in May 2009 and originally slated for a December 2009 release. After criticisms from the film review board for having no good characters and too many bad guys, the film has struggled to find approval for its release. Meanwhile, Ning Hao has begun work on a new film for 2011 audiences. (Sina)2

Poster for the thriller Fatal Invitations (Deadly Invitations) based on a best-selling Japanese novel

The film stars Cheung Tat-Ming and opens Mar.4 (Sina)

Poster for Lock Destination, formerly J-10’s Sortie

Huang Yi

Huang Yi costars in the film, a tribute to the 60th anniversary of the mainland’s Air Force (Sina) [3.2.2010]

Dragon Pearl poster

Dragon Pearl is a Chinese-Australian co-production and will be released on Mar. 11

Jordan Chan costars in the archeological action film. Mario Adreacchio directs Sam Neill and Heidi Wang Ji in the leads.  (Sina)(Xinhua)

Cherie Chung appearing in Beijing for jewellry brand Chaumet (Feb.19) (Xinhua)

MSN: Selina Jen’s wedding put on hold indefinitely

MSN; Kristen Jen rumoured to replace Selina Jen in drama

MSN: Kevin Tsai to host Barbie Hsu’s wedding

MSN: Patty Hou confirms April wedding

Italian seeks kung-fu stardom in Shanghai (AFP)

“Shangdown: The Way of the Spur” is an independent kung-fu spaghetti western, and the cowboy is Christian Bachini, a 25-year-old Italian actor who came to Shanghai to become an action star.

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