HKMDB Daily News

December 23, 2013

As the Light Goes Out (Hollywood Reporter review)

Filed under: Reprints — Tags: , , , — dleedlee @ 5:08 pm

As the Light Goes Out
12/23/2013 by Clarence Tsui

The Bottom Line
Early suggestions of a nuanced personal drama get overwhelmed by pyrotechnics, red-herring threads and inexplicable plot twists.

Another week, another on-screen depiction of Hong Kong confronting an apocalypse of sorts. Following swiftly on the city’s central business district being reduced to rubble in the cops-and-robbers spectacle Firestorm, young filmmaker Derek Kwok arrives to switch Christmas-time Hong Kong off with an action-thriller that aims to combine explosive pyrotechnics with a taut drama about high-strung, damaged souls.

A joining of forces between two of Hong Kong’s major film production outfits — with Emperor Motion Pictures represented on screen by its star Nicholas Tse (Bodyguards and Assassins) and Media Asia’s presence felt through Shawn Yue (Love in a Puff ) — As the Light Goes Out is a dazzling display of cinematic craft. While one of the most versatile filmmakers in the field today — his filmography includes understated noir (The Moss), pop romance (Frozen), laugh-out-loud comedy (Gallants) and VFX-laden blockbusters (Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons, co-directed with Stephen Chow) — Kwok seems to have fallen victim of his own ambitions. By over-burdening Light with one too many unnecessary and undercooked tangents, he and his screenwriters Jill Leung and PhilipYung have distracted the film from becoming simply a neat and simple story about fear, anxiety and guilt among a group of firefighters confronting what should be the defining battle of their lives.

Still, As the Light Goes Out remains markedly more substantial and fulfilling than the Pang Brothers’ visually bombastic but emotionally lightweight blaze-wrestling 3-D spectacle Out of Inferno from just three months ago. Whether Kwok’s film, which unspools in sneak previews in Hong Kong starting Dec. 24 before officially opening in the city on Jan. 2, can generate strong box-office traction depends on the local audience’s willingness to retry the firefighter-drama subgenre, which has been revisited several times on film (most memorably in Johnnie To’s 1997 film Lifeline) and on terrestrial TV serials in recent years. Viewers in mainland China, where the film will bow on Jan. 7, might warm to the film thanks a key subplots driven by two of their own: an earnest and sturdy mainland Chinese with an amazing physique and extraordinary capacity in mapping out smoke-filled buildings, and a perceptive electric Shanghainese engineer defying her cynical Hong Kong supervisor to avert impending disaster.

Kwok’s knack for subverting conventions is very much evident early in the film. In the film’s post-title scene, a voiceover speaks of how Hong Kong is seemingly braving for a doomsday scenario as temperatures hit a whopping 93 degrees on Christmas Eve. Barely has the newcaster’s voice drifted off that burning meteors begin raining down on the city to set it ablaze. And then Jackie Chan, dressed up in firefighting gear, appears — not to save the day, but to invite people to sign up for a career in the fire brigade.

Zooming out of the image, a group of young firemen are seen ridiculing the over-the-top nature of this public service announcement: manning one of Hong Kong’s most far-flung fire stations, the firefighters are seen whiling their time away exchanging easy banter, doing repetitive training drills or making soup.
The last task is the handiwork of Sam (Tse), an officer spending the last day at his posting and facing yet another twist in his spiralling career - a tailspin which began, as shown in the film’s opening sequence, when he and his hot-headed colleague Chill (Shawn Yue) were sold out by their cadet-school classmate Yip (Andy On) in an internal investigation about a botched rescue attempt. Yip has since stolen his rival’s rising-star thunder and, having risen above him to become stationmaster, slyly maneuvers Sam’s transfer to another even more obscure posting.

Thus begins what appears to be an uneventful Christmas Eve for the characters, as Sam’s preparations for departure juxtaposed with the introduction of the film’s many different threads. Ever the rule-breaker for better or worse, Chill is seen driving one of the fire trucks to transport his son to a school visit of a power plant; old-timer Tao (Simon Yam) is given some competition by the arrival of the po-faced (and incredibly strong) former mainland Chinese firefighter Ocean (Hu Jun), with the pair’s meet-cute – their bonding certainly sizzles with homoerotic frisson – taking the form of a stair-climbing race and shaped up by some of the rookies as a showdown between Hong Kong and mainland China.

Tao and Ocean’s professional pair-up is interesting, as it highlights the need for collaboration between the pair (and the two entities they represent) than competition - a notion most certainly at ease with the film’s position as a mainland-Hong Kong co-production (Emperor and Media Asia co-produced the film with China’s Zhujiang Film Group). It’s a thread brought further into focus later in the power plant, where visiting engineer Yang Lin (Bai Bing) emerges as the only dissenting voice when the manager (Patrick Tam) insists in pushing the facilities’ output to the max so as to protect his job but at the risk of reigniting a winery blaze which Sam, Chill and his company have just fought hard to contain.

Up until this juncture, the film remains very promising. The personality clashes reveal characters weighed down by the errors of their past, as seen in Sam’s messy state of mind when he questions his wisdom of that one episode in which he jettisoned his (and Chill’s) by first not doing things by the book, and then the demanding circumstances of the present, when everybody who’s anybody is trying their best (or worst) by staying on-message and in the good grace of the powers that be.

Ironically, As the Light Goes Out begins to veer out of control when it expands into a full-blown disaster movie. With the narrative confined to one single night, too much is allowed to happen after that first fire at the liquor production factory. As one thing leads to another and finally a worst case scenario which leads to Hong Kong falling into a complete blackout, but not before the abrupt death of one of the protagonists; the fact that this incident barely registered throughout the second half of the film highlights how the film is overwhelmed by one too many distracting and unnecessary plot points (most of which aim at consolidating the firefighters’ role also as flawed fathers and boyfriends).

The film also subverts its own early-stage humor about clichéd images of heroism, as cataclysmic situations bring out ever more extraordinary (and unbelievable) deeds. But as the on-screen calamities become ever more awe-inspiring, some of the action scenes have in turn become too quick to be deciphered clearly, rendering some of Eric Lam’s production designer obsolete. The audio-visual cacophony has unfortunately submerged what could have been a tight study of values and virtues in peril, with the film weighed down by an excess of dangling threads, nick-of-time interventions and cliffhanger moments resolved by logic-defying acts.

Venue: Gala Premiere, Hong Kong, Dec. 19, 2013
Production Companies: Emperor Film Production Company, Media Asia Film Production Company, Zhujiang Film Group
Director: Derek Kwok
Cast: Nicholas Tse, Shawn Yue, Simon Yam, Hu Jun, Bai Bing, Andy On
Producers: Albert Lee, David Chan, Zhao Jun
Executive Producers: Albert Yeung, Peter Lam, Li He
Screenwriters: Jill Leung, Philip Yung with Derek Kwok
Director of Photography: Jason Kwan
Editor: Wong Hoi
Production Designer: Eric Lam
Costume Designer: William Fung, Mabel Kwan
Music: Teddy Robin, Tomy Wai
International Sales: Emperor Motion Pictures
In Cantonese and Mandarin
118 minutes

THR

March 1, 2012

March 1, 2012 [HKMDB Daily News]

Filed under: News — Tags: , , , , , , , — dleedlee @ 10:24 am

CRI: Hong Kong Film Directors Guild Awards Handed out

Jackie Chan

Jiang Wen, Ann Hui, Felix Chong

Stephen Fung

Tsui Hark, Shi Nansun

Stephen Fung and Andrew Lau performing for the guests

Teddy Robin

Tsui Hark, Jackie Chan, Derek Yee, Andrew Lau

(Sina)23

TaipeiTimes: The Flowers of War review

Even with Christian Bale leading the cast, Zhang Yimou’s Nanjing Massacre epic misses the mark by veering off into gross sentimentality

CF: ‘Kung Fu Wing Chun’ Star [Bai Jin] Killed in Alleged Murder-Suicide

Rumors circulated that Zhou was a billionaire who made his fortunes from the stock market and owned many real estate properties. He was said to have divorced his first wife, with whom he had a son, for Bai and invested huge amounts of money in Bai’s acting career. They eventually married in October 2010.

However, earlier this year, some insiders claimed Bai conspired with her boyfriend in the mafia to steal 20 million yuan from Zhou and hire a prostitute to seduce Zhou in order to get a divorce, from which she would get more money. The widespread rumors alleged that Zhou’s mother “died of anger” earlier this year after discovering this.

CF: Actress Yang Mi Enjoying the Best of Times

She will also star in Hong Kong director Derek Yee’s new period drama, The Disappearing Bullet.

CF: Mainland Box Office Chart in the Eighth Week 2012

Shu Qi and Shawn Yue in Beijing for the premiere of  Carol Lai’s “The Second Woman”

Shu Qi

Playing games - Shawn Yue, Shu Qi (Sina)

Mainland version of “Turning Point Extreme” poster (Sina)

Cecilia Cheung sang the movie theme song while promoting “The Lion Roars 2″ in Hunan”. The cast, including Zhang Xinyu, Xiao Shenyang, was taping an episode of Happy Camp for Hunan Satellite TV.

Victor Huang

SGYahoo: Vincent no feud with Donnie

[Update: According to the latest report, Vincent Zhao and Donnie Yen have failed to reconcile and Zhao will need to be replaced. (Sina)2 ]

SGYahoo: Chrissie to ride

Chrissie Chow’s new film “Bauhinia Heroine 3D” will require her to perform on amotorcycle, but as she has no licence to do so yet, Chow has announced that she would be taking a motorcycle test and passMSN: Are things over for Aaron Kwok and Lynn Hung?

MSN: Nicholas Tse’s family vacation without ex-wife and kids

Fans who are hoping for Nicholas Tse and Cecilia Cheung reconciliation are going to be disappointed.

Nicholas Tse

Nicholas, Jennifer, Patrick Tse

Family and staff (!) (Sina-slideshow)

“Age does not matter when it comes to love,” Hong Kong actress Candice Yu recently said.

February 8, 2012

February 8, 2012 [HKMDB Daily News]

Filed under: News — Tags: , , , , , , — dleedlee @ 6:25 pm

Variety: Flying Swords of Dragon Gate review

The 3D is terrific in “Flying Swords of Dragon Gate,” but helmer Tsui Hark’s costume actioner — the first Chinese-lingo movie shown in the stereoscopic Imax format — is let down by two-dimensional characters.

CF: Video Clip of Remastered “New Dragon Inn” Released

CF: ”Let the Bullets Fly” Gets North America Release

Shu Qi, Shawn Yue star in Carol Lai’s “The Second Woman”

Shu Qi plays duo roles as twin sisters in the romance-horror.

(Sina)2

Final poster for “Romancing in Thin Air”  (Sina)

Lau Ching-Wan and Nicholas Tse attended the announcement of the HKFA nominations

(Sina)

‘Let the Bullets Fly’ and ‘Dragon Gate’ top HKFA’s shortlist

MSN: Nicholas Tse’s eldest son Lucas hospitalised for high fever

MSN: Choi Min-Sik afraid of Cecilia Cheung

The actress made news in South Korea recently when veteran actor Choi Min-Sik revealed an unhappy working experience with the former 11 years ago on the movie Falian.

Cecilia’s father, Zhang Ren Yong, was said to have powerful connections to the triads and stirred much fear within the production team of movie Falian.

Ceclia Cheung and father (Sina)

A1: Lollipop F’s Owodog avoids tweeting Gillian Chung

Rumours started flying last September when the two were seen tweeting each other on Weibo frequently.

Gillian was also seen attending a gathering at Owodog’s home, and catching You Are The Apple of My Eye with him in Taipei.

CNet: Ethical iPhone 5 petitions to be delivered to Apple stores

In a statement today, watchdog group SumOfUs said that it plans to deliver its own petition, along with one from Change.org, to a number of Apple’s retail stores around the world. That includes New York, Washington, D.C., San Francisco, London, Sydney, and Bangalore.

Mike Daisey was a self-described “worshipper in the cult of Mac.” Then he saw some photos from a new iPhone, taken by workers at the factory where it was made. Mike wondered: Who makes all my crap? He traveled to China to find out.

December 31, 2011

December 31, 2011 [HKMDB Daily News]

FBA: White Vengeance review

Impressive costume drama about two warring leaders loses the plot halfway.

THR: Flying Swords of Dragon Gate review

The Bottom Line

An effects-infatuated swordplay extravaganza with no down time.

CRI: ’Flying Swords of Dragon Gate’ audio review

Director Tsui Hark has succeeded in creating a lasting impression on viewers with many of his wuxia films, including “New Dragon Gate Inn”. But will his new film “Flying Swords of Dragon Gate” be as successful as its prequel?

Flying Swords of Dragon Gate: A new wu xia classic (CNA)

In sharp contrast to Peter Chan’s cerebral martial arts film “Wu Xia”, Tsui’s “Flying Swords of Dragon Gate” is a much more traditional wu xia film that is more boisterous and less melodramatic.

CRI: Tibetan Antelope Poacher Arrested 17 Years after Murder of Official(Variety)

Victim was subject of Lu Chuan’s “Kekexili: Mountain Patrol”

Orange Sky-Golden Harvest announced a series of classic film remakes for 2012. The first film will be the Cecilia Cheung-Richie Jen “Fly Me to Polaris”. No casting has been made yet. Also on the list of planned remakes: Stephen Chow’s “Fight Back to School”, “Tokyo Raiders” and “Marry a Rich Man”. (Sina)

CF: Shu Qi to Challenge Morality in “The Second Woman”

Shu Qi, best actress of the Golden Horse Awards, plays twin sisters who fall in love with a stage actor portrayed by Shawn Yue. The two sisters struggle with the discovery that they’ve slept with the same man.

Shu Qi

THR: Christian Bale’s ‘Flowers of War’ Already Top-Grossing Chinese Film of 2011

“Laughing Gor: Turning Point 2″ sees Laughing Gor go undercover as a prison inmate, to investigate the death of a police officer. 

And last week (51)

“The Flowers of War” bested “Flying Swords of Dragon Gate” at the mainland box office over first four-day run, by both admissions and box office income. Zhang Yimou’s “The Flowers of War” opened to the No.1 place of mainland box office with $24.07 million over four days, while Tsui Hark’s “Flying Swords of Dragon Gate”, which opened 4-hour earlier on the same day last Thursday, seconded the ranking with $22.42 million by Sunday night.

APA: Best of 2011: Chinese Films

Let the Bullets Fly, The Flowers of War, Love is Not Blind, and Piano in a Factory are amongst the best Chinese films of 2011.

“Love in the Buff” officially wrapped up shooting in Hong Kong on Christmas.

The movie is co-produced by Thailand and Hong Kong, China. Yue performs as a villain in the movie who going after a journalist and trying to kill her in order to keep his crime a secret.

Newly released stills from Johnnie To’s “Romancing in Thin Air” featuring Louis Koo and Sammi Cheng.

Louis Koo, Sammi Cheng

Doomsday romantic comedy, “Love Shock” (lit. 2012 Is Coming), opens today. The film’s stars are from the Mainland, Hong Kong, South Korea, Taiwan and Japan: Tanaka Chie, Wong You-Nam, Cheung Tat-Ming, Huang Xiaolei, Jung Hsiang, Li Jing, and Lee Seong-hyun.

(Sina)

“The Great Magician” opens January 12. (Sina)

Vivian Hsu promotes “Puss in Boots” for which she dubbed her voice.

Zhang Jingchu poses for a photo spread featured in the December issue of the lifestyle magazine “Femina”.

Director Sun Zhou’s latest romance “I Do” released a batch of new still photos featuring four leading actresses of the movie recently. Up and coming actress Li Bingbing performs as the leading character in the movie — a left-over business woman who insists to find her true love disregarding her growing age and the pressure from her parents

Li Bingbing and Sun Honglei, lead actors of the soon-to-be-released urban fashion romance “I Do”, posed for a photo shoot for a renowned fashion magazine in promoting their new movie.

Is Viann Zhang Xinyu an absentminded person, or a crafty starlet staking out her territory so as to boost her career in the entertainment business? 

Jackie Chan has 3 new TV commericals for V8 juice. Caught one the other day but can’t remember which one. Here they are on YouTube.com

MSN: Miriam Yeung may be having a baby boy

While Miriam is elated with her pregnancy, she is also fraught with worries.

In an earlier test, the singer was told that her baby faces a high risk of Down Syndrome. The singer has been advised to take a further test. However the test comes with an average risk of 1% of having a miscarriage.

Bolin and Lun-mei met on the set of Blue Gate Crossing 10 years ago. In the movie, they played a pair of lovers, who did not end up together in the end.

[Sweet! Finally, just watched Blue Gate Crossing last week!]

The Taiwanese singer jokingly grumbled that filming movie ‘The Viral Factor’ was like toying with his life.

It was rumoured that despite having her own manager, Hannah needs to get the green light from Jay before accepting a job. She is also not allowed to wear revealing clothes, or be intimate with other male celebrities on set.

China says man dies of bird flu

The 39-year-old bus driver living in Shenzhen, just across the border from Hong Kong, developed symptoms on December 21 and was admitted to a hospital on December 25 because of severe pneumonia, the official Xinhua news agency said.

He died in the early afternoon of multiple organ failure, having tested positive for the H5N1 virus, the report added.

China says its most wanted man admits crimes (Canada Lai)

Beijing had sought the deportation of Lai Changxing for years, accusing him of running a multi-billion dollar smuggling ring in the southeastern city of Xiamen in the 1990s in one of China’s biggest political scandals in decades.

2009: China’s most-wanted man hopes to sell real estate here

March 18, 2011

March 18, 2011

(AP)

Canada: Text REDCROSS to 30333 to donate $10

USA: Text REDCROSS to 90999 to donate $10

Other organizations23

Donate to the American Red Cross - select the International Relief Fund option.

Another large-scale gala in Taiwan called “Fight & Smile” will begin Friday evening to raise additional funds for Japan earthquake relief efforts.

July 21, 2010

July 21, 2010

Curse of the Deserted poster

The film stars Shawn Yu and Zhang Yuqi directed by Law Chi-Leung (Inner Senses, Double Tap). The horror film opens Aug. 13 and is based on a series of three novels, The Deserted Inn, The Deserted Apartment, and The Deserted Return. (Sina)

In a press conference held in Chengdu, it was revealed that Let the Bullets Fly would be released in two versions, Mandarin and Sichuanese. While Jiang Wen and Ge You’s native dialects are not too different, they would dub there own voices in Sichuanese. However, it is not possible for Chow Yun-Fat. Possibly Xuan Xiaoming would dub him but also a possibility, it was teased, was China Film Group’s boss Han Sanping himself may dub Fat Gor’s voice. (Xinhua)

CRI: Chinese Film “Kill Paul Octopus” Set for August Release

Feng Xiaogang blew up at a female reporter when questioned about the accuracy of a plot point in Aftershock. The point at issue, I think, was whether the character really remained a widow after the earthquake in memory of her husband or not.

Elsewhere, during a TV interview, Feng said that he was contemplating retiring from film after completing his contractual obligations with Huayi Brothers which is for five more films. Feng cited three reasons for retiring: 1) Lack of rest. He will be 60 when he finishes the 5 films. He admires Zhang Yimou and Chen Kaige but he misses time to play, drink with friends. 2) He is disappointed in the entertainment industry. When he directed an army art troupe it was like an art and literary circle with dedicated artists. Now, it is different. A lot of it is packaging young actors, etc. It’s exhausting. 3) Lack of privacy.  He expressed his hatred of being hounded by paparazzi. They are always following and filming. He wants to kick them again and again. But since he cannot, it is more tiring. (Xinhua)2(Sina)

Jackie Chan - Berlin

Jackie Chan was in Berlin promoting The Karate Kid. He reportedly looked tired as news of ‘endorsement-gate’ has reached him, no doubt. (Xinhua)

Danwei: Bawang Group in license-sharing scandal

Yu Man-Fung, Stephen Chow

Stephen Chow and long-time girlfriend Yu Man-Fung have broken up. Their low-key relationship since 1998 has finally dissolved according to news reports. Yu was the financial wizard behind Chow’s real estate investments and earned him hundreds of millions of dollars over the years. Yu and Chow will maintain their business relationship but marriage was not to be as Chow’s mother apparently did not accept her. Yu Man-Fung has since began dating a wealthy banker’s son.

(Xinhua) (baidu-profile)

Richard Li has reportedly give Isabella Leong cash, stock and properties in Toronto and San Francisco worth a value of 300M yuan so far. Yet, insiders say that Isabella currently is not as anxious for a marriage certificate as people think. One spokesman said, she is still ‘Miss Leong’. Friends say that Isabella is still in the US and has received many offers to return to film but with children to raise she is not interested in a comeback yet. .(Xinhua)2

Carina Lau’s 2 year quest to get pregnant has been abandoned. In a wedding anniversary dinner, Carina is said to have told Tony Leung’s mother that she has tried to give her a grandchild, but do not expect it. Tony’s mother supports the decision. (Xinhua)

Aishwarya Rai, Lin Chi-Ling, Kate Winslet - Rome

(July 20) Lin Chi-Ling was in Rome to shoot an advert for Longines brand watch. (Xinhua)(CRI)

SG: A-Sa seriously ill?

{Belated, but in English. SG Yahoo translates Chinese reports and are often many days after the fact. I post them for the sake of having the more accurate and detailed English version, not their timeliness.]

SG: Love for Gillian Chung turns into hate

SG: Cecilia Cheung: Parenting is more tiring than farming!

SG: Farewell to renowned vocal coach Tai Sze Chung

SG: Jay wants to stay single

Brazen behaviour from would-be singer

Mark Lee fulfills directorial dreams with ‘The Ghost Bride’

Also The Ghosts Must Be Crazy

October 23, 2009

October 23, 2009

Miriam Yeung, Shawn Yue

Cheung Tat Ming, Shawn Yue

Shooting Pang Ho-Cheung’s new film in Tsim Sha Tsui (Sina.com)

Huang Bo in Radish Warrior/Stubborn Radish

(Sina.com)

CRI: Zhang Yimou Creates Vibrant ‘Tales’

Dazzling pink for the men, and garish green for the women. Chinese director Zhang Yimou only wants gaudy costumes worn in his latest film “Amazing Tales: Three Guns”

Variety: I Come With The Rain review

Storm Warriors slide show (7) (Sina.com)

China Confronts Difficult History in New Domestic Film Premiering at the Chinese American Film Festival in L.A.

Gao Kao 1977 becomes Examination 1977, Exam 1977, for US, Turning Point 1977

TURNING POINT 1977 tells the sympathetic story of young people who struggle to determine their own futures.

Jiang Wenli has double cause for celebration.

Golden Rooster’s Best Actress for And The Spring Comes and

PIFF’s Audience Award for Lan in her directorial debut

(Sina.com)

CRI: New ‘Journey to the West’

House of 72 Tenants Cast Launch Ceremony

Producer, director Eric Tsang,

Anita Yuen and Jacky Cheung play husband and wife

Jacky Cheung (Sina.com)

Bernice Liu

Joyce Cheng reprises her mother’s (Lydia Shum) role

Charmaine Sheh

Linda Chung

Michael Tse Tin Wah

Bosco Wong

Joyce Tang

Lawrence Ng, Raymond Cho Wing-Lam

Eric Tsang

(Xinhua) (Sina.com)

The singer-actor produces, directs and acts the 20-episode Sci-Fi TV series, which is now in post production. (Props, Sina.com)

October 16, 2009

October 16, 2009a

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.

Coco Lee’s take on fame and music

August 28, 2009

August 28, 2009


Shing Fui-On passed away last night at 11:45pm at Hong Kong Baptist Hospital


Shing Fui-On passed away last night

Despite his poor condition Shing checked out of the hospital a couple days ago to be home because he did not like the feeling of loneliness at the hospital. Two days later his condition worsened dramatically and Shing returned to the hospital. Nick Cheung, Michael Miu Kiu-Wai, Eric Tsang visited him and others visited him. (Thanks, to Fan)

The fourth of five brothers, Shing quit school and joined his brother at Shaw Brothers at age 15 (some say 13) to work in the props department

Later he joined Golden Harvest but a downturn in the industry forced him to find work in a ballroom as a guard (?).
HK actor Fui-on Shing dies of cancer

Hong Kong Actor Fui-on Shing Dies of Cancer


Big Silly character debuted in 1985 Chase a Fortune

Big Silly (middle) with two cousins
Before he was fierce (center, with two cousins)
Disco era Big SillyFull fierce on
Once claimed in an interview that he joined the triads but later recanted


Xinhuanet coverage


Sina.com’s coverage of Big Silly’s passing



Opening ceremony for Fire Dragon

NY Times: Film on Confucius Resurfacing
Fei Mu’s Confucius being restored

No Kungfu and No Charity for Jet Li in Ocean Paradise

Daughter Cast in Director John Woo’s New Film

Two more sneak into Toronto lineup
The Toronto International Film Festival on Thursday made two last-minute bookings for Iranian director Hana Makhmalbaf’s “Green Days” and “The Warrior and the Wolf,” a combat epic from Chinese director Tian Zhuangzhuang.

Taipei Times: Hear Me review
A love story in silence
Blatant product placement for the Taipei City Government mars an otherwise enjoyable boy-meets-girl tale

Taipei Times - short takes

Let’s Fall in Love (尋情歷險記)
Also making use of Chinese Valentine’s Day is this up-close-and-personal Taiwanese documentary enjoying a proper release with a new promotional campaign. Twenty-odd married couples come under the spotlight with their relationship problems and weaknesses, together with the intriguing matchmaker-counselor whom all of them share. From award-winning director Wuna Wu (吳汰紝), who had to solicit hundreds of small investors to get this film into theaters.

The Forbidden Legend: Sex & Chopsticks 2 (金瓶梅2:愛的奴隸)
Sweaty and kinky sex for its own sake is a rare bird on the Taiwanese big screen these days. We haven’t had a soft porn extravaganza since, well, the original Sex & Chopsticks late last year. Japanese hardcore actresses Hikaru Wakana (with head still shaved), Kaera Uehara, Serina Hayakawa and Yui Morikawa secure another Hong Kong work visa to tell, for the umpteenth time, the misadventures of barely robed courtesans. But tableware fetishists will likely feel misled all over again; the Chinese title (“The Golden Lotus 2: Slaves of Love”) is more faithful to what’s on show.

Rookies: Graduation
And so, back to a movie based on a Japanese manga. A bunch of good-for-nothing punks regain self-respect and team spirit after their charismatic high school teacher shapes them into a formidable baseball team. This is a theatrical follow-up to a TV series based on the popular manga series Rookies. But unless you’re a baseball tragic or swoon at the sight of “bad boys” with trendy shocks of hair and perfect skin, this attempt at inspiration won’t mean a pitcher’s mound of beans. The Bad News Bears it ain’t.

KJ (音樂人生)
The poster for this Hong Kong documentary says it all: a boy sitting alone in an auditorium. The boy is “KJ,” a brilliant pianist with a bright future in store, though the film covers much wider, and occasionally darker, ground, which makes it an ideal companion to Four Minutes. With respected director Ann Hui (�?�) as consultant, this study of individual genius in a society that tends to stifle it has the stamp of quality. Six years in the making, KJ is screening exclusively at the Wonderful Cinemas complex in Taichung.
http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/feat/archives/2009/08/28/2003452150

Yasmin Ahmad tribute

Shawn Yue speaks up for Stephy Tang
Stephy criticized for potentially spreading H1N1 at typhoon fundraiser

The husband of Lee Young-ae publicly speaks about his wife

Felicia Chin breaks down at ongoing rumours of plastic surgery

Taipei Times: Pop Stop

Karen Mok

Karen Mok promoting her new digital album


Zhang Ziyi endorsing watch brand



Taiwan actress Yu Ke-Hsin lost Andy Lau to Carol Shu many years ago and suffered depression for some 15 years

Yu Ke-Hsin
Andy’s partner pregnant?
Is Lau’s long-term partner expecting a baby?
The women in Andy Lau’s life - captioned slideshow
[*According to Chinese custom, following the death of a father, the couple must marry within 100 days or wait 3 years. Others say AFTER 100 days otherwise bad luck for the bridegroom. You pick, I guess.]



Vivian Chow paintings selected for exhibition


Josie Ho
Josie Ho shows off a purse she designed featuring a gun

She joked that there are two meaning to the gun, to promote world peace and to keep evildoers away from her husband. Her father, Stanley Ho, remains in the hospital resting and recuperating from surgery.


Photos from Gillian Chung’s stage performance I Ought To Be in Pictures



More photos

Gillian Chung’s stage debut


Li Bingbing opens a flagship store in Ningbo

Michelle Reis slide show

August 24, 2009

August 24, 2009

21st Century Kato
Jay Chou as Kato

Jay Chou stuffs himself with good ol’ American food

Zhou Xun

Stills from The Message released

Ekin Cheng
Ekin Cheng at launch ceremony for typhoon relief

Asked about making another Young and Dangerous film, Ekin expressed doubt about the continued impact of film culture. He said it was better to do charity work.

Charlie Yeung and daughter in 37
Charlie Yeung in ‘37′

Leon Lai, Vivian Hsu, Richie Ren
Fire Dragon’s Leon Lai, Vivian Hsu, Richie Ren

Vivian unfazed by rumors of Shu Qi and boyfriend Stephen Fung


Michelle Ye
Pinky Cheung
More Fire Dragon cast photos

Leon LaiMichelle Ye
Dante Lam’s Fire Dragon

More photos

Gao Yuanyuan
Heo Jin-Ho’s Season of Good Rain, formerly a segment of Chengdu, I Love You

Tussle over Tony Leung
Carina Lau
Carina Lau philosophical about Tony Leung and Maggie Cheung incident

‘After so many years, we are very much like watching a love story. We do not want it played out quickly, if you want to see it then we have to go on.’

Shooting Stanley Kwan’s Energy Behind the Heart/Dancing With The Heart

Ducked into clothing store until her car arrived

More Carina Lau photos

HK star Shawn Yue is tired of being linked to female celebs

Actress Angelica Lee to wed HK director

Jackie Chan, Tan Jing
Zhang Ziyi
Stars attend solo concert celebrating China’s founding


Zhao Wei
Zhao Wei appointed as VP Chinese Performing Arts Society appears at skin care endorsement event in Shanghai

More photos

Aaron Kwok
Lee San-San
Aaron Kwok finished third in his own charity race in Shanghai

Zhang Ziyi


Vogue magazine spread - Zhang Ziyi (click through)

Andy Lau?
Funeral procession of Andy Lau’s ‘father-in-law’

Obscurred by a sea of white umbrellas, media determines Andy secretly in attendance. Trademark hook nose is the tell.
Photos: Funeral procession, Andy’s secret children?
‘Son-in-Lau’ goes under cover at Chu’s funeral
Last wish of Carol Chu’s dad - to see her wed Lau
Quite a ’scene’ at funeral of Chu’s dad

Lucky number 4

Sandy Lau Crowned Miss Hong Kong 2009

Simon Yam
Judge Simon Yam

Museum of Chinese in America Gets a New Home

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