HKMDB Daily News

August 3, 2011

August 3, 2011

Variety: Ocean Heaven review

Starring Jet Li in an uncharacteristic non-action role, “Ocean Heaven,” about a dying man’s attempt to assure the future for his autistic son, reps a modest success for Chinese femme scripter Xue Xiaolu in her helming debut.

ScreenDaily: Tony Leung to star in Mei Ah’s spy thriller Windseeker

Another film also to start shooting in October is Da Wu Dang (literally translated as Big Wu Tang Clan). The film is set in the 1910s about a major martial arts contest taking place on the Wu Tang Mountain. Hong Kong’s Patrick Leung will direct with Corey Yuen action directing. The film will star Louis Fan, Chiu Man-Cheuk and Yang Mi.

Tsui Hark’s Next Film: Popular War Tale in 3D (CRI)

CRI: ‘Saving General Yang’ Kicks off Filming

CF: “Saving General Yang” Kicks off in Henan

At the news conference Yu said that “this movie will be my next ‘Fearless’. I’m very confident about making it the coolest film based on the story of the Yang family”. Members of the cast visited Yang’s Shrine following the news conference to worship the ancestors of the family.

FBA: Yu’s Yang epic cranks up

FBA: 1965 edges towards its Beginning

The $5 million budget picture aims to be the first China-Singapore co-production.

CF: New Poster for “The Woman Knight Of Mirror Lake” Released

Set in the turbulent period of the Republic of China, the film is about the female hero Qiu Jin’s legendary life. The film emphasizes her skills as she blazed a path through the world of literature and the military.

The Woman Knight of Mirror Lake

Huang Yi

Xiong Xin Xin (Hung Yan Yan)

Dennis To (To Yue-Hong)

Overheard 2 - Huang Yi

Overheard 2- Michelle Ye

Louis Koo, Huang Yi

Huang Yi

Felix Chong explained why Zhang Jingchu was not brought back for the second installment of Overhead. First, Zhang Jingchu’s schedule was incompatible and, second, to highlight that Overheard 2 is a new story. Coincidentally, Michelle Ye was used to dub Zhang Jingchu’s Cantonese in the original film. Overheard 2 will be released Aug. 18. (Sina)2

Deng Chao and Zheng Shuang in Gordon Chan’s Mural

Opens Sept. 29 (Sina-gallery)

Lucas and movie dad Ekin Cheng (Sina-slideshow)

It is believed that Cecilia, who had reportedly refused to sign the divorce papers three times, had finally agreed to the split.

The Hong Kong actress is said to be making a comeback in showbiz

Shao Xiaoshan - spy?

The Banquet

31 year-old Chinese actress Shao Xiaoshan posted on her microblog that she was forced to act as a “honey trap” for military intelligence since she was 17 years old. She seduced Western embassy officials, including the son of the French ambassador to China in 2007, to gather information. Shao claimed that she no longer wanted to do evil things, authorities no longer paid the cost of living and would not let her emigrate. She risked her life and was not exaggerating. The post was immediately removed and her agent said that it was a result of too much drinking.

Shao acted as Zhang Ziyi’s nude body double in Feng Xiaogang’s The Banquet. But, afterwards, her American boyfriend abandoned her. (ifeng)(Sina)

Chinese Actress Says Forced to Spy on Foreign Boyfriends

August 2, 2011

Ocean Heaven (Variety review)

Filed under: Reprints — Tags: — dleedlee @ 7:16 pm

A Well Go, USA Entertainment release of a BDI Films, Beijing H&H Communication Medium, Nice Select presentation of a BDI Films, Elko Films production. Produced by Bill Kong, Hao Lee, Thomas Chow. Executive producers, Bill Kong, Hao Lee, Ma Hefeng. Co-producers, Matthew Tang, Shino Zou, Alice Yeung, Jason Lin. Directed, written by Xue Xiaolu.

With: Jet Li, Wen Zhang, Kwai Lunmei, Zhu Yuanyuan, Gao Yuanyuan. (Mandarin dialogue)

Starring Jet Li in an uncharacteristic non-action role, “Ocean Heaven,” about a dying man’s attempt to assure the future for his autistic son, reps a modest success for Chinese femme scripter Xue Xiaolu in her helming debut. Deftly avoiding sentimental overkill, this understated meller, largely unfolding in a marine park, invites varying levels of identification, with Li functioning as the film’s emotional fulcrum, Wen Zhang occupying its problematic center as the autistic 21-year-old, and water serving as its lifeblood. Curiosity value alone may wangle “Heaven” niche theatrical play, with cable sure to take a swim.

The story opens with Old Wang (Li) and son Dafu (Wen) calmly sitting in a rowboat enjoying a sunny day with their legs tied to a concrete block, the camera then following them into the ocean’s depths. This failed suicide/filicide attempt, apparently undone by Dafu’s unraveling of the ropes, represents the dying Wang’s first solution to the dilemma of what to do with his disabled son.

Wangs’ successive efforts send the pair visiting institutions all over Qidong, none equipped to take on an autistic adult except a “Shock Corridor”-like insane asylum which understandably terrifies Dafu. (Scribe/helmer Xue, a longtime supporter of an NGO that aids autistic children, here guardedly tweaks China’s limited health-care options.)

Between searches, Wang heads the electrical maintenance crew at the marine park aquarium, hiding his fatal illness from his sympathetic boss and co-workers, while Dafu, who swims like a fish and communicates with dolphins, happily spends his days in the tanks. Xue creates wistful but unrealized romances for both father and son: Dafu falls for an itinerant juggling clown (Kwai Lunmei), who whimsically responds to his guileless simplicity, while Old Wang, who gently resists the obvious devotion of a helpful widowed neighbor (Zhu Yuanyuan), finally admits his mutual attraction in a poignant scene in which he explains his reasons for having been silent.

Li’s restrained emotional perf meshes perfectly with Wen’s physical, highly abstracted interpretation of autism. Dafu, patently recalcitrant but making an effort to please his father, must constantly be pulled back from wherever his mind has led him. Scenes of endless repetition where Wang makes a game of teaching Dafu how to navigate getting on and off a bus by himself, Wang’s frustration layered with affection, evoke a lifetime of bittersweet parenting. This intense father-son relationship taps into a theme introduced in Xue’s first script, for Chen Kaige’s “Together.”

Respected lenser Christopher Doyle’s lensing of Dafu’s aquatic environment (a milieu that assumes mystical significance through Wang’s oddball identification with a sea turtle) affords the film an alternate reality that offsets production designer Yee Chung Man’s everyday, sparely decorated settings.

Camera (color), Christopher Doyle; editors, William Chang, Yang Hongyu; music, Joe Hisaishi; production designer, Yee Chung Man; costume designer, Stanley Cheung; sound (Dolby Digital), Rocky Zhang, Ma Jie; supervising sound editors, He Wei, Rocky Zhang. Reviewed at the N.Y. Asian Film Festival, July 8, 2011. Running time: 97 MIN.

June 13, 2010

June 13, 2010

Filed under: News — Tags: , , , , — dleedlee @ 8:11 pm

First domestic poster for Alan Mak and Felix Chong’s The Lost Bladesman (General Guan Yu)


THR: Ocean Heaven review

Bottom Line: Drama on dying dad and autistic son is less tear-jerking than it sounds.

THR: ‘Ocean Heaven’ opens Shanghai Fest

THR: Weinstein Co. picks up ‘Reign of Assassins’

Reign” is expected to be released in China later this year, and TWC is considering coinciding releases in North American and South Africa, the company said.

THR: Chinese director calls Weinstein ‘a cheater’

Harvey Weinstein drew tough criticism at the Shanghai International Film Festival forum on Sunday from popular Chinese director Feng Xiaogang, who accused him of promising financial backing then backing away.

Feng didn’t restrict his criticism to Weinstein. He dismissed both “Hero” and “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,” by Chinese American director Ang Lee as “Hollywood movies.” “They’re not Chinese movies,” he said, again drawing scattered laughter and applause.

BBC: Gong Li on Hollywood and hunger

Wired: 9 Things Parents Should Know About Karate Kid

NYTimes: In This Remake of an ’80s Martial Arts Fable, It’s Jacket On, Jacket Off

HKMagazine: Ex

Heiward Mak is on a roll—ever since her debut feature “High Noon” two years ago, this young director has become the hope of the industry and the most sought-after filmmaker in Hong Kong today, first co-writing “Love in a Puff” then editing “Amphetamine” this year. So the biggest question with “Ex” is, can the 26-year-old maverick work her magic again, and revive the doomed career of a certain fallen celeb named Gillian Chung? Er, no, not with this piece of crap.

HKMagazine: Cheng Dan-Shui, co-producer of Break Up Club

THR: Indie filmmaker gambles with ‘Close Encounter of Mahjong’

On the sidelines of the 13th Shanghai International Film Festival, a darkly comic story of a foreigner caught up in a Chinese love-triangle and a vicious game of mahjong highlights the grit it takes to get an independent film made these days, even in cash-rich China.

Global Times: One director, two knife wounds, three actresses and four gangsters

Who’s behind director Yan Po’s attack?

Ocean Heaven (Hollywood Reporter review)

Filed under: Reprints — Tags: — dleedlee @ 8:06 pm

Ocean Heaven
By Maggie Lee

Bottom Line: Drama on dying dad and autistic son is less tear-jerking than it sounds.

SHANGHAI — Action hero Jet Li gives a respectable turn as a terminally ill father grooming his autistic son to survive on his own in “Ocean Heaven” — a decent, if orthodox job by Xue Xiaolu. Xue off-sets some of the wholesome soppiness of this genre by keeping the tone light, the story simple and steering clear of grueling ordeals. Compared with “Together,” another father-son story that she co-scripted and Chen Kaige directed, it is less melodramatic and artificial. Set mostly in a marine park in Qingtao province, its interpretation of autism owes less to “Rain Man” than to “The Big Blue,” awash with holistic, quasi-fantastical overtones, enhanced by Christopher Doyle’s ravishing aquatic cinematography.

While the Chinese government, schools or NGOs may approve of this topic, “Ocean” goes against the grain of current market realities. A Jet Li who doesn’t fight or perform stunts is a tough sell overseas. Back home, it might be overlooked by an audience infatuated with period war epics and stir-crazy comedy-farce. Hopefully, a summer release following its premiere as the opening film of the Shanghai International Film Festival can draw moderate family viewers in Chinese-speaking territories.

Since his wife’s death 14 years ago, Wang Xingchang (Li) has been the sole guardian of his 21-year-old autistic son Dafu (Wen Zhang). When Wang is diagnosed with liver cancer, he tries to end both their lives in the sea, but Dafu is too good a swimmer to drown. Since then, Wang throws himself into the twin missions of finding an institutional home for Dafu, and training him to manage on his own.

The visits to different institutions, apart from giving a survey of special needs welfare in China, add naught to the dramatic flow or emotional interest; whereas the scenes of Dafu learning to perform the most basic tasks like boiling an egg, putting on his clothes or riding a bus can come across as hideously patronizing. The way Wang ooh-ahs at Dafu’s every move is a ploy to emphasize his fatherly instinct and stoicism that appears to confuse autism with mental disability. However, the meaning of these initially insipidly repetitive scenes finally emerges in the coda to quite moving effect.

The finest moments are found in the marine park, where Wang works as a technician and Dafu is in his element frolicking with the turtles and the dolphins. The fluid shots of him gracefully gliding underwater reinforce the autistic man’s affinity with a different world or reality. The lucent blue palette of the underwater shots and the aquarium’s melancholic, cavernous interiors contrast atmospherically with humble street locations that are lit and shot in the gloomy hues of overcast weather.

Billed as the lead actress, Kwai Lun Mei is under-used as an itinerant circus performer who strikes up a friendship with Dafu. Given no back story and smothered in clown face makeup half the time, her interactions with Dafu are too sappy and superficial.

Gao Yuanyuan, who appears in a flashback as Wang’s wife, leaves even less of an impression. It is the daily life episodes with kindly neighbor Aunt Chai (Zhu Yuanyuan) that are most plausible and warm. The tact with which Wang handles her love which he cannot requite is subtle and touching.

Li is largely credible as an ordinary working-class father, even if some might think he is trying to consolidate his public image as a philanthropist. Still, his role’s gambit to come back to Dafu in a different guise after his death is almost gag-worthy. Cynics will also find Dafu’s character too angelic, and the society presented squeaky clean, with all characters doing the right thing without a trace of intolerance.

Production values are tip-top — besides Doyle, such big names as Joe Hisaishi and Yee Chung Man provide quality music and production design respectively without overwhelming this small drama with excessive stylization.

Opening Film, Shanghai International Film Festival
Sales: Edko Films
Production companies: BDI Films Inc./Beijing H&H Communication Medium Limited/Nice Select Ltd
Cast: Jet Li, Wen Zhang, Kwai Lun Mei, Zhu Yuanyuan
Director-screenwriter: Xue Xiaolu
Producers: Hao Lee, Ma Hefeng, Bill Kong
Director of photography: Christopher Doyle
Production designer: Yee Chung Man
Music: Joe Hisaishi
Costume: Zhang Ke
Editors: Chang Suk Ping, Yang Hongyu
No rating, 102 minutes

June 11, 2010

June 11, 2010

New poster for Videocassete of 31 Degrees North Latitude

The film takes place in a mysterious jungle where a legendary Wild Man is said to exist. The videocassette documents the exploration team members effort to find the creature with a local resident acting as their guide. (HunanTV)

Taiwan pulls movies from Shanghai festival

The eight films are “Monga,” “Au Revoir Taipei,” “Hear Me,” “More Than Close,” “Orz Boys,” “Yang Yang,” “Three Times” and “Tonight Nobody Goes Home.”

Jet Li, Wen Zhang (HunanTV)

Li hopes autism film alternative to blockbusters

Jet Li says he hopes that his new movie about autism offers a refreshing alternative to the historical and kung fu epics that dominate the Chinese industry.

A noticeably thinner Li said he lost 18 pounds (8 kilograms) from a thyroid condition.

Film director heavily injured in knife attackDirector is badly cut by gang hired by a jilted lover[6.10.2010]

Three suspects have been arrested (Sina)

(June 10) Love in Cosmo (Swing de Marriage) press conference. Annie Wu and Zhu Yuchen were shocked at the news of director Yan Po’s attack.

Annie Wu

Zhu Yuchen


Beijing premiere of You Deserve To Be Single

Angie Chiu and husband Melvin Wong attended the Beijing premiere of You Deserve To Single

(June 10)

David Wu

Ruby Lin

(Ai Dai on left) Mike He Jun-Xiang

Mike He and Ruby Lin after her wardrobe coverup


Wilson Yip searching for Tree Demon

In a recent interview, Wilson Yip revealed that he is struggling to find the right actor to cast as the Tree Demon. The role has no dialogue but must express the anguish and inner sense of loneliness. (HunanTV)

Michelle Yeoh, Jung Woo-Sung

Reign of Assassins has been invited to open the Venice Film Festival in September. (HunanTV)

Lin Huiyin to be played by Zhang Ziyi

Lin Huiyin and Liang Sicheng will be played by Zhang Ziyi and Chang Chen

Xu Zhimo to be played by Ethan Ruan


Chang Chen

Chang Chen, appearing at a watch brand event in Beijing, said he did not know anything about appearing in Lin Huiying. He confirmed he will be costarring with rumored girlfriend Shu Qi in Hou Hsiao-Hsien’s martial arts film Assassin in 8 or 9 months. (Xinhua)

Chen Kun, Zhao Wei

Gordon Chan is trying to reteam Chen Kun and Zhao Wei together (Mulan) for his Painted Skin 2 due to their excellent screen chemistry, depending on her recovery from having a baby. Chan hopes Zhou Xun will also return to complete the cast. Chen Kun turned down an invitation to join the cast of Tsui Hark’s 3D remake of New Dragon Inn. (HunanTV)

Wang Luodan - Most Popular TV Actress Award

Wang Luodan was awarded at the 16th Shanghai TV Festival. She’s appeared in the TV version of Go Lala Go! (Du Lala’s Promotion) and will be seen in the upcoming film Driverless/Unmanned. (Xinhua)

(June 11) Slide show of Zhao Wei arriving at Shanghai Pudong Airport for the upcoming film festival. (Xinhua)(Sina)

June 8, 2010

June 8, 2010

Filed under: News — Tags: , , , , , , , , — dleedlee @ 12:09 pm

Ocean Heaven poster

A small-scale preview screening in Beijing received a standing ovation from the audience on June 6. (Sohu)

Jet Li

Jet Li took five autistic children to Ocean Park to play with the dolphins. (Sina)23

Aarif Lee Chi-Ting is busy buffing up for his role in Manfred Wong’s Bruce Lee Biography.

The film is based on the book ‘My Brother Bruce Lee’ by Lee’s younger brother. Lee Chi-Ting has been studying Wing Chun, fighting as well as a dance curriculum. (Remember, Bruce Lee was also a cha-cha champion in Hong Kong.) His trainer is Billy Chou Bei-Lei former 1985 light-middleweight World Kickboxer Championship winner. His past students include Nick Cheung, Vanness Wu, Candy Lo and Ng Ka-Lung. More details on the film will be released in late June in Guangzhou. (Xinhua)

Ruby Lin

Ruby Lin co-stars with Liu Ye, Gao Yuanyuan and Wang Luodan in Zhang Yang’s Driverless/Unmanned, described as a Chinese version of Crash. Ruby Lin plays a pregnant woman for the first time. July 2 is the release date. (Xinhua)

Stills from Stephen Chow produced CJ 7, Love the Earth. Xu Jiao and Dong Jie contribute voice work. The film opens July 9. (Sina)

Simon Yam

Simon Yam plays an effeminate FHM magazine editor

Simon Yam, director Li Yuan

Simon Yam met the press on the set of Back Hand in Beijing. He costars with Annie Yi and Chang Pei Pei in the action thriller directed by 7th generation director Li Yuan and produced by Gordon Chan. (Sina)2

A life-sized bronze statue of singer Teresa Teng was unveiled in Tuen Mun.

Friends and fans gathered to sing and remember the singer


A cache of 75 long-lost silent films uncovered in the New Zealand Film Archive vault, including the only known copy of a drama by legendary director John Ford, is being sent back to the United States to be restored.

June 5, 2010

June 5, 2010

Filed under: News — Tags: , , , , , — dleedlee @ 4:53 pm

Chinese poster for The Karate Kid


Jeff Lau’s Fantastic Water Babes opens July 22 (21cn)

Gillian Chung and Alex Fong Lik-Sun

Love in Cosmo poster

Love in Cosmo is a romantic comedy starring Yao Chen (Lurk, Go Lala Go!), Zhu Yuchen and Guo Xiaodong. (Sina)

CRI: Interview: Closer Look at Yao Chen

CRI: Opening of “Triple Tap” Postponed to Early July

This decision to postpone the film’s opening was in deference to Jet Li’s film “Ocean Heaven,” which is scheduled to open in cinemas on June 18. To support Li’s efforts to call attention to the situation of autistic children, the entire “Triple Tap” cast and crew decided to postpone the film’s opening to boost public awareness about autism, which is the theme of “Ocean Heaven.”

No action for Jet Li

The film, slated for a summer release in China, revolves around a cancer-stricken man (Li) who devotes himself to taking care of his autistic son and tries to find a sanctuary for him before he succumbs to cancer.

Taiwanese pop idol Jay Chou, whom Li worked with in 2006’s “Fearless”, has agreed to sing the film’s theme song at his behest.

Li also took a pay cut to appear in the film.

“It is a film that has a budget of just seven million yuan, what acting fees can I ask for,” said the action star, who usually demands millions for each film appearance.

Petrina Fung Bo-Bo

Arriving at HKFA

Greeting fans

The Magic Cup (1961)

Child star Petrina Fung Bo-Bo made a special appearance at the Hong Kong Film Archives (HKFA) screening of her film The Magic Cup. She flew in from Malaysia where she now lives. Fung revealed that she plans to begin writing her memoirs in October and that she will contact the other Seven Princesses. (Sina)

Gigi Leung is in Mexico filming a segment for the program One Earth.

Besides staying at a Cancun resort, Gigi will visit a Mayan city and see a Mexical wrestling match. (Sina)

Memorial to Zhang Ziyi

In Chengdu, a grave and tombstone memorial to Zhang Ziyi was discovered in a park. After some investigation, it was thought to be the result of some promotional marketing by an online game company. The tombstone was professionally made of wood with a portrait of Zhang Ziyi above it and the words, ‘Tomb of Internationally Dirty Miss Zhang’ and set next to a trash can. The grave was littered with paper money. In addition, business cards, posters and laptop bags led to the belief that this was all the work of an online game company that was co-sponsoring a dance competition. A company executive denied it and said the cards were fake. (Xinhua)

Acclaimed novelist Louis Cha Jin Yong has become the latest victim of a series of death hoaxes that have circulated in the entertainment industry lately.

May 21, 2010

May 21, 2010

Filed under: News — Tags: , , , , , — dleedlee @ 3:18 pm

Two concept posters for Felix Chong and Alan Mak’s The Lost Bladesman were released at Cannes. The character for ‘righteousness’ is seen on the blade. (Sina)

THR: Shanghai festival unveils line-up

In keeping with past years, SIFF programmers appear again to have had trouble attracting major world premiere titles to the event, which falls right on the heels of the Cannes Film Festival in France.

Hong Kong Chinese director John Woo will lead the SIFF’s main jury, which also includes Hong Kong actress Charlie Yeung,

Organizers promised China’s A-list movie-world regulars would walk the event’s red carpet — from actresses such as Fan Bingbing and Yu Nan to directors Chen Kaige, Feng Xiaogang and 2010 Cannes competitor Wang Xiaoshuai.

THR: HK producer to revisit ‘Sex’ in 3D

Sex and Zen redux

  • Stereoscopic 3D has lured veteran producer and screenwriter Stephen Siu to return to filmmaking, with a reinvention of his 1991 Chinese erotic classic “Sex and Zen,” and an upcoming 3D film adaptation of the beloved Ming dynasty Chinese fantasy “The Investiture of the Gods” (”Fengshen Yanyi”).
  • “Local Category III erotica had been in decline since the proliferation of the Internet; confined by the ratings systems, Category III films could not compete with the material available online for free,” Siu told The Hollywood Reporter. “But 3-D and IMAX versions are a different story, the audience has to go into the cinema to get the full experience. The realistic rendering of the environment and the action makes it perfect for genres that appeal to the senses. 3D has turned Category III erotica from a dead genre to a possible genre.”

New comedy from Raymond Yip Wai-Man

The story takes place in the period before Spring Festival Eve when China’s national railway system is overloaded with people rushing back home. It is extremely hard for many people to get a ticket back, let alone a comfortable seat.

Wang Baoqiang stars as a dairy worker who loses his job before Spring Festival, while Xu Zheng plays a businessman who’s in trouble with his wife and mistress.

The two characters meet while travelling to their hometown to spend Spring Festival with relatives. Funny things happen between the two men and with the people they encounter on their way home.

Ocean Heaven (Ocean Paradise) web launch event

Director Xue Xiaolu, Wen Zhang, Guei Lun-Mei

Wen Zhang

Guei Lun-Mei (Xinhua)

Fan Bingbing - Zhao’s Orphan

Back from Cannes, on the set of Zhao’s Orphan, Fan Bingbing carries her own umbrella! (HunanTV)

Pretend Couple, a comedy, launched in Yunnan

Huang Bo (Cow), Jiang Yiyan (City of Life and Death)

This is Jiang Yiyan’s first try at comedy. (HunanTV)

Gallants advert on side of bus

Co-director Derek Kwok

Qin Hao (Chongqing Blues) in front of Spring Fever poster

Qin Hao went to Paris to visit the set of Lou Ye’s film ‘Bitch’. By chance, his film ‘Spring Fever’ is currently screening. (Sina)

Sammi Cheng

Sammi Cheng appeared on a Taiwan radio program to share her experience with depression. (Sina)

Edison was in Beijing for a brand event stopped for a photo session (Sina)

Ole Scheeren, Maggie Cheung breakup rumors dispelled when the couple was seen at a public event together yesterday.


Donnie Yen’s wife admits to ectopic pregnancy

A-Mei rages at baseless accusations of her partying lifestyle

Jaycee with Glove

This is the coolest gift ever sent by my dad

Jackie Chan pays US$250,000 for Michael Jackson glove

Ken Lo fired by Chan’s wife

Pics of the Day - from random micro-blogs

Vivian Hsu in Japan to record her album

Vivian Hsu

Stephen Fung’s Mother’s Day post

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