HKMDB Daily News

September 14, 2010

September 14, 2010

Filed under: News — Tags: , , , — dleedlee @ 4:08 pm

Variety: Showtime

FBA: Driverless (無人駕駛) (7/10)

Ultra-chic, precision-shot drama of intertwined relationships is cleverly constructed but not emotionally engaging.

CRI: ”Chen Zhen” Music Video Released

THR/AP: Andrew Lau looks for hit with ‘Chen Zhen’

Wang Luodan plays Quiet Autumn in the TV version of Under the Hawthorn Tree


CRI: Lin Chi-Ling Featured in Commercial

Lin Chi-Ling is to appear in a commercial for Swiss luxury watch brand Longines with Oscar-winning British actress Kate Winslet and Bollywood beauty Aishwarya Rai. (Related post)

Zhang Yuqi, Stephen Chow (Xinhua)

Stephen Chow breaks silence on Kitty Zhang’s contract dispute

TIFF: Break Up Club intro and Q&A by Barbara Wong and Lawrence Cheng - both, thanks to Brian who captured the videos

SG: Karena Lam gone into hiding

SG: Vicki Zhao fails in business

Chow Yun Fat to leave 99% of his wealth to charity

Showtime (Variety review)

Filed under: Reprints — Tags: — dleedlee @ 9:36 am

Yongxin tiao

(China-Hong Kong) A Golden Scene release (in Hong Kong) of a Shanghai Starlight Culture Media Co., Shanghai Film Group, 3 Will Kingdom, Huaxia Film Distribution Co. presentation and production. (International sales: Golden Scene, Hong Kong.) Produced by Yin Jianhua, Wang Tianyun, Steven Lo, Zhou Li. Executive producers, Ren Zhonglun, Dai Xiaojun, Willie Chan, Gu Guoqing.
Directed by Stanley Kwan. Screenplay, Jimmy Ngai.

With: Huang Lei, Jia Song, Fan Liao, Carina Lau, Bingbing Li, Jun Hu, Tony Leung Ka-fai, Christopher Doyle, Huang Lei.

The dancers are dunces in “Showtime,” Stanley Kwan’s borderline incoherent tale of time-traveling hoofers that’s (probably?) supposed to say something about the contrast between the shifting and the always-constant aspects of Shanghai (a fetish location of the Hong Kong helmer). Despite the involvement of high-profile crew, including Wong Kar-wai’s d.p. Christopher Doyle and editor William Chang Suk Ping, pic reps something of a career worst for almost all involved. Beyond Kwan completists, this won’t two-step anywhere.
Screenplay by Kwan regular Jimmy Ngai (”Lan Yu”) seems to have been dictated by an oracle high on party drugs and bad talent-shows. In the present, a teacher (Huang Lei) at the Shanghai Theater Academy preps his nameless students for their graduation project. They are miraculously paired with dancers from 1936, who can only return if they perform in harmony with their new recruits. But old and modern dance sequences are more like intermittent stylistic flourishes than fully choreographed setpieces. Story is often incomprehensible, and scenes seem randomly stitched together. Visuals are bland, acting flat and countless cameos, including Doyle’s, pointless. Finale, in translucent pink gowns, has to be seen to be believed.

Camera (color), Christopher Doyle; editor, William Chang Suk Ping; music, Yu Yat-yiu, Ho Shan@PMPS; production designers, Lan Bin, Wong Ka Lun; costume designer, Lui Fung Shan. Reviewed at Venice Film Festival (noncompeting), Sept. 1, 2010. Running time: 96 MIN. (Mandarin, Shanghainese dialogue)

September 7, 2010

September 7, 2010

Screen Daily: Detective Dee and the Mystery of Phantom Flame

There’s a tasty idea in here, and its entertainingly executed: graft a detective story onto a historical martial arts actioner set during the Tang dynasty, and see what emerges. Director Tsui Hark has never been a less-is-more kind of guy, and the sheer abundance of plot threads and sumptuous, FX-enriched set pieces threatens to swamp the story at times.

Strait Times/AFP: Tsui’s film wows

Screen Daily: The Child’s Eye 3D

While the script of cult directors Danny and Oxide Pang’s 3D horror movie is a strictly by-the-numbers affair, there are more than a few nicely set-up 3D moments and a healthy moment of surreal filmmaking in amidst the film’s horror-in-a-hotel tale.

Screen Daily: Reign of Assassins

As a action-packed tale of martial arts revenge and killings, the impressively staged Reign of Assassins certainly delivers the goods in stylish fashion. It might lack the sheer visual poetry of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, but its scenes of sword-play are wonderful and once the story gathers momentum it is absorbing and entertaining.

Poster for national release


Screen Daily: Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen

Screen Daily: Showtime

Macau-born Clara Law at Venice Festival

Law will present “Red Earth”, which is one segment of a larger project, “Quattro Hong Kong,” featuring the independent contributions of four Hong Kong directors: Herman Yau, Clara Law, Heiward Mak and Fruit Chan.

CRI: Li Bingbing in Venice(Sina-slide show)

CRI: Shu Qi Models ‘Legend of the Fist’ Costumes

Lam Suet

Lam Suet, Liu Hua

Lam Suet plays his first lead role in the Hollywood-style Mainland action thriller Adventure Island directed by Feng Chao. Starting as a stage manager in the ’80s, Lam Suet became a regular in Johnnie To’s films and won a Best Supporting Actor Award for his role in PTU. (Sina)

Up Close With Benny Chan2

FBA: Seediq Bale finally wraps

FBA: Hawthorn to open Pusan festival

Guests include Tang Wei and a gala screening of Late Autumn.

Karena Lam break due to pregnancy? In July, a pregnant woman resembling Karena Lam has been regularly seen visiting a Toronto hospital for check ups. To confirm suspicions, documents were checked and indicated the patient’s English name was indeed ‘Karena Lam’. This was reported by someone who is a friend of a nurse. A call by reporters to a GM at Filmko said that there were no signs of pregnancy and that Karena’s break was for education purposes in order to get a degree in Canada. (Xinhua)

CRI: Film-goer Jolts Cinema, Distributor with Lawsuit over “Aftershock” Ads

Chen, who saw the movie twice at the Xi’an Polybona International Cinema (Polybona), said in her suit that audiences were given no warning or indication on the ticket that ads before the film ran to 20 minutes.

October Elle - Zhao Wei


Sam Lee, Edison Chen

Edison Chen and Sam Lee sold out a club in Hangzhou with 1000 tickets at 200 yuan each. One caller offered 80,000 for a box. Outside the club, it was like an auto show, Lamborghinis, Porsches, and Ferraris filled the street. Out of town license plates indicated that many had made special trips to come. Edison’s rapping in Mandarin was bad yet the crowd screamed like crazy. Female fans were especially excited as he left the stage and they grabbed to touch him. (Xinhua)

HKStandard: Bullets that silenced the hired guns

There were several robbery cases involving banks and goldsmiths between the mid-1980s and the early 1990s. The robbers used nine-millimeter automatic pistols (like the Black Star made for the People’s Liberation Army), assault rifles such as the AK47 and even grenades…

September 6, 2010

Showtime (Screen Daily review)

Filed under: Reprints — Tags: — dleedlee @ 11:17 pm

By Lee Marshall

Dir: Stanley Kwan. Hong Kong/China. 2010. 95mins

What this mess of an Asian teen movie is doing playing at the Venice film festival is anyone’s guess. Presumably it was the reputation of director Stanley Kwan and cinematographer Christopher Doyle that convinced the selectors – but they would have done well to watch the film first, as both cinematic maestros are running on empty in this bizarre train crash between a talentless made-for-TV High School Musical and half-baked time-travel yarn.

Dance sequences – some with amateurish wire work and mundane acrobatics – are thrown in whenever the script can’t think of where to go next, which is fairly often.

The casting of upcoming teen talents from the Shanghai Theatre Academy and Music Conservatory, plus cursory walk-ons by Asian superstars Tony Leung Ka-Fai and Carina Lau, may give this abject excuse for a film some cachet among impressionable mainland Chinese teens, though Hong Kong and Taiwan are probably above it. Elsewhere it has no chance of seeing the light except, perhaps, in auxiliary format among Asian diaspora communities.

The confused and confusing plot revolves around two rival teen dance academies in present-day Shanghai – one of which has actually travelled forward in time from 1936. After a short, undramatic stand-off that plays like West Side Story directed by a TV tea boy, the members of the present-day troupe, won over by the superior skills of the six time-travelling ‘Eccentric Ones’, become their twelve disciples – thus allowing them to go back to where they came from.

No, it doesn’t make any more sense in the film itself, and even by the end we’re struggling to remember who character s with names like ‘Fourth Brother’ and ‘Sixth Sister’ are, and who’s romantically interested in who. The transformation of Shanghai from human-scale Europeanised colonial city to vast Asian metropolis is a theme of sorts, but it is never developed between the most obvious platitudes.

Dance sequences – some with amateurish wire work and mundane acrobatics – are thrown in whenever the script can’t think of where to go next, which is fairly often. Meanwhile, the 18 all-singing, all-dancing starlets are mostly called on to look cute. And this, it must be said, they do admirably.

Production company: Shanghai Film Group

International sales: Golden Scene Company Limited,

Producers: Wang Tian-yun, Steven Lo, Zhou Li, Yin Jian-hua

Screenplay: Jimmy Ngai

Cinematography: Christopher Doyle

Production design: William Chang, Lan Bin

Editor: William Chang, Chan Chi Wai

Music: Yoyo Yiu

Main cast: Students of the Shanghai Theatre Academy 2007, Students of the Shanghai Music Conservatory 2006, Hu Jun, Tony Leung Ka-Fai, Carina Lau
Screen Daily

September 3, 2010

September 3, 2010

NPR: ’Noodle Shop’: A Coen Brothers Tale Goes East

Relocated from flat and empty Texas to hilly and vacant China, Zhang’s film has a lot of fun with the original material, along with some smiles at the expense of the director’s own style. But the pacing is too deliberate, and much of the humor doesn’t translate; the result is a would-be farce that’s more droll than uproarious.

NPR: A Family Torn Asunder Takes The ‘Last Train Home’

Frequently moving and quietly enlightening, Last Train Home is about love and exploitation, sacrifice and endurance.

NYTimes: Last Train Home

FBA: Showtime (用心跳) (2/10)

Incoherent, wannabe musical drama fumbles the ball at every level.

Resisting his long-time penchant for dazzling, picture-perfect visual effects and dropping the political edge in his early movies, top Chinese film director Zhang Yimou has recreated a pure love story on the silver screen in a simple and direct way.

WSJ: Hong Kong: A Love Story - All About Love

“I make films because I really want to find out what Hong Kong is like at the moment,” says the 63-year-old Ms. Hui.

THR: Contagion’ spreads to Hong Kong - Soderbergh film to feature Josie Ho

Ho, who met Soderbergh in Hong Kong in July, said she would draw on her own memories of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome outbreak to play her role in “Contagion.”

“It was a very sad time when we were all scared and nobody knew where to turn for help,” Ho said. “I really respect all the doctors and nurses who saved us. They are heroes.”

FBA: Asian stars join Soderbergh’s Contagion

CRI: ‘The Piano in a Factory’ to Compete at Tokyo Film Festival (formerly Steel Piano, here)


FBA: Tang Wei invited back to Party

Malaysian hit film Ice Kacang Puppy Love featuring Angelica Lee opens Sept. 9 in China.  (Sina)

New stills from Legend of the Fist released

(Sina-slide show)

Promises, promises

Jackie Chan brewing up another donation-gate? Inquiries have revealed that Jackie’s 2009 promise to donate funds from Little Big Soldier box office for the reconstruction of a Beichuan Middle School destroyed by the 2008 earthquake in Sichuan has so far been not met. Jackie Chan and Li Yuchan visited Beichuan on the first anniversary of the earthquake and made his pledge then. A search of the online website listing donors turned up nothing for Jackie Chan or his various other names, Sing Long, Chan Kong, etc. Jackie Chan’s Charitable Foundation confirmed that no record of a donation to Beichuan has been made. (Xinhua)

Louis Koo’s agent tried to clarify earlier reports that the star would be out of commission for 9-12 months. He said that the actor would not completely suspend working after surgery for that length of time, more likely one month for rest and recovery. (Sina)

Chen Kun and Zhao Wei in Chengdu appearing for luxury brand LV.


SG: Beautiful voice runs in Faye Wong’s family

SG: Vicki Zhao thanks hubby

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