HKMDB Daily News

October 11, 2012

The Thieves (Hollywood Reporter review)

Filed under: Reprints — Tags: — dleedlee @ 12:53 pm

The Thieves
by Deborah Young

The top-grossing Korean film of all time comes to the U.S. amid comparisons to “Ocean’s Eleven.”

A sparkling heist film tricked up with imaginative action scenes and 10 fully developed characters who keep the ball rolling, The Thieves is a stylish and entertaining caper. Dubbed South Korea’s answer to Ocean’s Eleven, the story does indeed revolve around a daring casino theft and a playful band of robbers, in this case all ace criminals.

Directed by heist-meister Choi Dong-hoon (The Big Swindle) and featuring a swinging A-list cast, it has topped 13 million domestic admissions to become the most-watched Korean film of all time.

Apart from generating a great deal of romantic chemistry, the glamorous cast of characters are as fast with barbed wit as they are nimble on their feet or, as the case might be, flying through the air, climbing up the side of a building or dangling by wires. The fact that each of them is memorably individualized marks a tribute to Choi and Lee Gi-cheol’s carefully penned screenplay as well as the acting talent. Adding a modern note, the actresses get equal time and respect as pros in their field.

Although the plot unfolds at the speed of light and the viewer needs to be very quick-witted to follow it, this isn’t Shakespeare, and missing out on a few story points won’t diminish the fun.

It all begins with a Korean gang’s plans for a big heist in Macau with a band of thieves from Hong Kong. Director Choi has a magician’s touch in keeping multiple balls in the air while making the impossible seem vaguely plausible. A big part of the sleight of hand is the joking tone of the dialogue and goofy action that always seems on the verge of cueing an entrance by Inspector Clouseau and the Pink Panther, as the action scenes get wilder and wilder and romances and betrayals get even more entangled. The technical work always hits the mark, with the musical score adding tension or ironic comment as needed.

Venue: Busan Film Festival
Opens in U.S.: Friday, Oct. 12 (Well Go USA)
Cast: Kim Yun-seok, Kim Hye-soo, Lee Jung-jae, Gianna Jun, Simon Yam, Kim Hae-sook
Director: Choi Dong-hoon No rating, 135 minutes

August 19, 2012

The Thieves (Screen Daily review)

Filed under: Reprints — Tags: , — dleedlee @ 3:25 pm

The Thieves
18 August, 2012
By Jason Bechervaise

With its impressive choreographed set-pieces and compelling script, together with a smartly chosen ensemble cast that includes a number of iconic names from across Asia, The Thieves hits all the right notes to become one of the most talked-about films of the summer. It may owe much of its success to the tried and tested formula found in Steven Soderbergh’s ‘Ocean’s’ series, but much like his previous caper films (Tazza: The High Rollers and The Big Swindle) director Choi Dong-hoon is able leave his own mark.

The film has performed exceptionally well in its home market of South Korea, amassing just over two million admissions ($13m) on its opening weekend, and has recently broken the 10 million ticket barrier (approx $64m) in just three weeks, as it remains on course to become one of the most successful local films of all time.

Furthermore, given its pan-Asian cast, which includes local superstar Gianna Jun, as well as Hong Kong’s Simon Yam and Malaysian actress Angelica Lee, it’s set to continue to attract a number of buyers from across the Asia-Pacific region. Also noteworthy is the number of Asian locations used in the film as well as the multilingual dialogue, which may also entice buyers as it is set to hit film festivals beginning with Toronto next month.

The film follows a group of thieves led by Popeye (Lee Jung-jae) as they team up with a Hong Kong crew brought together by Macau Park (Kim Yun-seok) to steal a $20 million diamond that’s being kept in a casino in Macau, but as the narrative unfolds, it becomes clear they all have their own personal agendas.

In terms of the film’s plotting, it’s perhaps difficult to differentiate The Thieves from any other heist film, but Choi along with scriptwriter Lee Gi-cheol collectively put together a dynamic script that’s full of wit and energy. Crucially, it allows many of the cast, though not everyone, a bit of room to breathe so they can fully develop their respective characters. Gianna Jun in particular has benefited enormously from her role in this film, as she’s been able to showcase her talent following a number of miscasts.

Technically, the film isn’t quite flawless, but overall, it is hard to fault its well-crafted set pieces, superb sound-design and vibrant soundtrack that compliments the film’s strong visuals.

It may not boast an array of originality, but makes up for its shortcomings in its solid execution, and while it’s unlikely to perform as well in other markets, it should make an impression.

Production Company: Caper Film

International sales: Showbox/Mediaplex, Inc.,

Producer: Ahn Soo-hyun

Screenplay: Choi Dong-hoon, Lee Gi-cheol

Cinematography: Choi Young-hwan

Editor: Shin Min-kyung

Music: Jang Young-gyu, Dal Palan


Main Cast: Kim Yun-seok, Kim Hye-soo, Lee Jung-jae, Gianna Jun, Simon Yam, Kim Hae-sook, Oh Dal-soo, Kim Su-hyun, Lee Sin-je, Derek Tsang

July 27, 2012

July 27, 2012 [HKMDB Daily News]

Filed under: News — Tags: , , , , , , — dleedlee @ 6:14 pm

FBA: Flying with You review

Fluffy Chinese vehicle for South Korean actress-singer Jang Na-ra is for addicts only.

CF: Final Poster of “The Silent War” Released

A final poster for the spy-themed film “The Silent War” was released today before the movie hits mainland screens on August 10

After setting a new box office record with a total of 685 million yuan (US$ 107.1 million), the production side of the movie “Painted Skin 2″ held a celebration party yesterday in Shanghai [on a luxury cruise ship].

Zhao Wei

Celebrating RMB$700M take at the box office

(Sina-gallery) (Sina-slideshow)

CF: ”Switch” Set for Release on November 2

With an investment of over 160 million yuan (about US$26 million), the movie was originally set to be released during the National Day Holiday slot. According to Zhang, in order to set aside enough time for the 3D effect team, they had postponed the movie’s release to November.

Stephen Fung’s “Tai Chi 0″ will have its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival August 31. Angelababy and Eddie Peng will help to promote in Venice according to reports.

Angelababy (Sina)2

Martial arts flick “The Four” kicked out “Painted Skin: The Resurrection” to sit in the top spot with a surprisingly $11.13 million in its second week of release for a two-week total of $24.16 million. “Painted Skin: The Resurrection” ended its fourth week of release to number two of the boxoffice chart, adding $9.13 million for a total of $109.15 million. Those figures put “Painted Skin: The Resurrection” officially to become the highest grossing domestic movie at all time, taking the boxoffice record from “Let the Bullet Fly” (2010), which grossed a total of $101.37 million in mainland China.

The 135-minute film features a gang of South Korean thieves who team up with a Hong Kong crew to steal a diamond necklace from a heavily-guarded casino safe in Macau. As the cops close in, old betrayals — and misunderstandings — resurface.

“The Thieves” poster (Sina)

Yahoo: Suit filed over ‘Expendables 2′ stuntman’s death

Kun Liu was killed during a stunt in Bulgaria in October 2011 while performing in a rubber boat on Ognyanovo dam, just outside the capital, Sofia. He died after suffering wounds from a nearby explosion.

Original posts: 10.28.201110.31.2011

Cecilia Cheung in a series of stills modeling costume and on set for Joe Ma’s “Lion Roars 2″. Opening Aug. 17.

Cecilia Cheung

“Meet the In-Laws” stars Xu Zheng, Lin Peng and Hui Siu-Hung and opens Aug. 7

Lin Peng, Hui Siu-Hung, Xu Zheng

Hui Siu-Hung, Lin Peng, Xu Zheng

Hui Siu-Hung, Xu Zheng

Trailer, frankly a little uninspiring


“Good-for-Nothing Heros”

Still with Kimi Qiao Renliang, Lam Suet reflects the original title, “Island Paradise” (Sina)2

“Good-for-Nothing Heros” teaser and trailer

Tang Wei receiving an award for Most Popular Actress at the 2012 First Youth Film Festival


Johnnie To, Keanu Reeves, Lisa S and Rosemary were among the stars on hand to help launch a new international movie channel in Hong Kong.

Lisa S.

Rosemary (Sina-slideshow)

MSN: Cecilia Cheung: “I’m calmly dealing with my divorce”

Asked what she thought of being dubbed ‘Box Office Poison’ after her recent films bombed at the box office, the actress said, “As an actress, as long as I do my part and work hard to showcase myself, ticket sales are not the most important.”

MSN: Liu Yan denies causing Myolie Wu and Bosco Wong’s breakup

July 26, 2012

July 26, 2012 [HKMDB Daily News]

Filed under: News — Tags: , — dleedlee @ 6:09 pm

CF: ”The Last Supper” to Premiere at 37th Toronto Film Fest

“Last Supper” was scheduled to be released on the mainland on July, but the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television dashed that plan citing “nonbusiness reasons.”

Daniel Wu

Liu Ye

Chang Chen


CF: 3rd NY Chinese Film Festival to Open in Oct.

At the press conference, M1905 also unveiled an Internet high definition movie player, which is a Netflix-like movie-streaming service.

The film’s cast features a strong lineup, including Tom Cruise, Hugh Grant, Hugo Weaving, Ben Whishaw, Jim Broadbent, Hally Berry, Du-na Bae from South Korea and Zhou Xun and Ju Ju from China.

Zhou Xun, Tom Hanks - from the trailer (Sina) (VH1-trailer)

CF: Jiang Yiyan: Zombie-like Makeup in “The Bullet Vanishes”

CF/THR: China’s Wanda Group Gets Regulatory Approval to Buy AMC Entertainment

‘The Thieves’ Breaks Record for Biggest Opening in Korean Film History

Director Choi Dong Hun of Tazza: The High Rollers and Woochi directed the film, and cast a variety of actors from Kim Yun Suk to Kim Hye Soo, Lee Jung Jae, Jun Ji Hyun, Kim Hae Suk, Oh Dal Su and Kim Soo Hyun. [Chinese cast includes: Simon Yam, Zhang Jingchu, Derek Tsang and Angelica Lee]

Celebrated Korean Feature Film “Tazza: The High Rollers” Comes to DVD as a 2-disc Special Edition on September 18, 2012 [Highly recommended - the film, don't know about this DVD edition]

TaipeiTimes: Pop Stop

Edison Chen, Zhang Ziyi, Shu Qi, et al.

MSN: Is marriage on the cards for Zhang Ziyi?

The Chinese actress has reportedly accepted Chinese host Sa Bei Ning’s proposal

August 1, 2011

August 1, 2011

Filed under: News — Tags: , , , , — dleedlee @ 4:39 pm

AFP: Taiwan indignant over Venice film festival error

Taiwan has protested to the Venice film festival for wrongly listing a film vying for the Golden Lion award as co-produced by China

FBA: Taiwan protests Venice label

FBA: Thieves completes Macau casino raid

Mysterious Island - Nothing to Fear but Fear Itself

There’s a paradox about Chinese horror films. A genre subject to rigorous censorship pertaining to the supernatural, what’s released is rarely good and no big director ever picks the genre. At the same time, what does succeed are often shoestring affairs, meaning great returns on little investment.

At a Mei Ah press conference in Beijing, it was announced that Yang Mi would be featured in four upcoming projects: Chinese Princess Turandot, Windseeker, Butterfly Cemetery and Great Wudang. Mei Ah will invest $300M in the four films.Windseeker will be directed by Alan Mak and Felix Chong and star Tony Leung Chiu-Wai.

Yang Mi is red hot and has plenty to be happy about

Butterfly Cemetery

Chinese Princess Turandot screenwriter Chan Khan


Great Wudang

Director Patrick Leung Pak-Yin, writer Chan Khan, action director Corey Yuen

Mei Ah Entertainment Group Chairman Li Guo-Hsing

Mysterious Island “smashed” $80M box office

(Sina)2, (Sohu)(Xinmin)(enorth)

Alan Mak and Felix Chong’s Overheard 2 opens Aug. 18

Wu Fung, Kenneth Tsang Kong (Sina)2

Love in Space posters

(Sina) CF: Posters of “Love in Space” Unveiled

Perfect Baby poster

Deng Chao stars in the Sino-French co-production

Deng Chao, Clemence Saint-Preux (Sina)

CF: “Perfect Baby” Releases Poster

The 13th ACGHK (Animation-Comics-Games Hong Kong) Fair opened Friday

Ada Wong, 21 year-old daughter of Wong Jing tries her hand at modeling (HunanTV)

MSN: Cecilia Cheung willing to give away her two apartments to save marriage

A1: Cecilia apologises to mum-in-law

MSN: Huang Xiaoming fends off relationship rumours with his mother

July 4, 2011

July 4, 2011

Filed under: News — Tags: , , , , , , , — dleedlee @ 7:58 pm

ChinaDaily: The science of martial arts

Veteran Hong Kong director Peter Chan’s latest film aims to demystify martial arts, while also tackling moral dilemmas.

He, too, wanted to give the old genre a new spin, but could not figure out how until 2009 when hesaw a television program, which depicted in detail how a bullet penetrates a person’s skin, flesh,veins and heart.

Reel China: It’s Rough out West for Chinese Films (LATimes)

Films that have been blockbusters in China have failed to find much of a market in the U.S. Zhang Yimou’s $100-million “The Heroes of Nanking,” with Christian Bale and large portion of English dialogue, tries to change that.

…despite its Hollywood-style violence and an actor with international name recognition, “Let the Bullets Fly” hasn’t even managed to find a distributor in the United States.

Interview: Chrissie Chau (TimeOutHK)

Starting out as a toothpaste-dripping lang mo, Chrissie Chau has gone from rom-com sidekick to a leading lady in two years…It would be an injustice to presume Chrissie Chau is a bad actress purely because of her spectacular figure.

FBA: The Detective 2

A notch down overall on the quirky original but with a stronger third act.

Bai Ling reveals dark memories of Chinese army

Actress Bai Ling said she is confronting a dark chapter from her past: sexual abuse she suffered as a teenager at the hands of Chinese army officers.

Filming for the South Korean Oceans-like caper film, working title Thieves, has begun on the Tai Pak Floating Restaurants in Aberdeen, Hong Kong.

Kim Hye-Su, Simon Yam

Jeon Ji-Hyun, Angelica Lee (Sina)

New stills from My Kingdom with Han Geng, Barbie Hsu and Wu Chun


A third TVB film production, following “72 Tenants of Prosperity” and “I Love Hong Kong” wrapped after only 20 days. Produced by Eric Tsang and directed by Chung Shu-Kai, the cast will again include a variety of TVB actors including Fiona Sit, Fala Chen, and Michael Tse. Even with only a 20 day shooting schedule, Eric Tsang promises it will not lack in quality. The two previous films were Lunar New Year films but this one will be released in August to avoid heavy competition. The film (lit. Invincible Gods) is a TVB-Hunan Satellite TV co-production.

Wong Cho-Lam, Lee Sze-Chit, Maggie Cheung Ho-Yee, Louis Yuen

Lee Sze-Chit

Louis Yuen

Fiona Sit

Eric Tsang and Richard Ng (Sina-gallery)

39 year-old Ronald Cheng and girlfriend Yu Sumin have registered to marry. According to law, he must marry within 3 months. Hong Kong media reports that the marriage registry application was dated June 20. (Xinhua)

MSN: Cecilia Cheung’s eldest son to adopt her surname? (July 4)

MSN: Cecilia Cheung denies receiving divorce papers (July 4)

A1: Nic and Cecilia break their pre-nup (July 3)

MSN: Nicholas Tse signs divorce papers (July 1)

MSN: Zhou Dongyu pulls-strings

The public is currently speculating that teenage actress Zhou Dongyu is about to get into the prestigious Beijing Film Academy not because of her exam scores, but because of her connections

Conflicting reports of exam scores (Sina)2

MSN: Yeoh from Myanmar to Monaco

A1: Maggie Cheung receives degree in Scotland

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