HKMDB Daily News

January 12, 2013

The Grandmaster (Screen Daily review)

Filed under: Reprints — Tags: , — dleedlee @ 1:07 pm

The Grandmaster
11 January, 2013
By Edmund Lee

Forget about any preconceptions you may have on Ip Man and, indeed, genre conventions. Barely illuminating as a biography and quietly anticlimactic as a kung fu epic, The Grandmaster, Wong Kar-wai’s years-in-the-making project on the real-life Wing Chun master who famously trained Bruce Lee, is nonetheless a kind of cinematic feat. It is at once loyal to the Hong Kong director’s aesthetic sensibilities and the myriad of martial arts traditions that he’s gone to exhaustive length to pay homage to.

As one of the world’s pre-eminent auteurs of the past two decades, Wong, with his latest effort’s more traditional pacing and top-notch action choreography, looks to have finally found a level of commercial success that’s previously alien to him on his home turf. The film opened in mainland China and Hong Kong this week to very handsome opening box office figures; it will next go on general release on January 18 in Taiwan, to be followed by its international premiere on February 7, when the film will screen out-of-competition as the Berlinale’s opening film.

A sumptuously visualised yet unevenly narrated martial arts drama, The Grandmaster explodes into life with its pre-credit action sequence, in which Tony Leung Chiu-wai, playing Ip Man as a smirking man about town, sees off an incessant flow of challengers in a dimly lit alley drenched in rain. The scene’s staging may bring to mind a similar setting in the Matrix trilogy, which shares the same action choreographer in Yuen Woo-ping, but the moves in this set-piece – and, indeed, the rest of Wong’s film – are rendered with even more clarity and sophistication. Aided by the precise cinematography of Philippe Le Sourd, it’s possible for the audience to recognise the intensive training that the main actors have gone through in their characters’ respective fighting style.

In terms of narrative flow, it is to the director’s credits that he doesn’t once rely on the customary Japanese villains – the kind of stock characters that have been heavily utilised by the other action biopics on Ip released in the last few years, such as the two Wilson Yip-directed, Donnie Yen-starring Ip Man movies, as well as Herman Yau’s 2010 ‘prequel’ The Legend Is Born: Ip Man – to drive the story forward. As if being pulled back by the gravity of Wong’s insular world of romantic yearning and regrets, the film, in spite of an action-packed first half, climaxes not with a showdown fight but a peaceful heartbreak.

In fact, there will be love for The Grandmaster, which appeared to be quite a thematic detour for the auteur when the biopic was first announced a decade ago. While not nearly scaling the emotional heights of In The Mood For Love, the new film is essentially a decade-spanning would-be romance in which Tony Leung, perhaps in an unintended twist, isn’t even the most captivating actor in the story; that honour goes to Zhang Ziyi, whose defiant yet disheartening performance against Leung in 2046 finds its perfect reverberation in this film.

The year is 1936 and the martial arts community in Foshan, an affluent city in southern China, is growing restless over the imminent retirement of Gong Yutian (Wang Qingxiang) at the helm of the Chinese Martial Arts Association. In the hope of finding a worthy successor, the northeastern master sets up a battle of wit with the best fighter from the south – this happens to be Ip Man – and gracefully passes on his authority when the newcomer wins the duel. Incensed by the blemish on her father’s invincible reputation, however, Gong Er (Zhang) seeks out Ip for a follow-up contest – only to clandestinely fall for the married man in the film’s most intimately staged battle.

The unspoken affection between Ip Man and Gong Er will subsequently prove futile, as the former’s livelihood is severely interrupted by the Sino-Japanese War, while the latter, originally engaged to marry, is forced to give up everything to avenge her father’s death at the hands of a former protégé, Ma San (Zhang Jin). In typical Wong Kar-wai fashion, Ip and Gong drift apart towards their destinies for the next decade and a half, before finally – and very briefly – meeting again to contemplate what might have been. Taking the place of his leading lady’s cheongsam in In the Mood for Love, the director’s perfunctory chronicle of Ip Man’s life here seems to function less as an account of the man’s legacy than a marker of the passage of time.

As a biopic, indeed, The Grandmaster is almost pedestrian to a fault. Ip’s background and life philosophy is expounded through the character’s own voiceover, often from a bafflingly omniscient perspective, while the only substantial relationship that he has developed in the film – aside from Gong Er – is that with his wife, who is played by Korean actress Song Hye-kyo in no more than a few nearly-wordless sequences.

Scattered with worldly philosophical musings by veteran martial artists, The Grandmaster may be described simultaneously as a mediocre attempt at biography and an engrossing slice of wisdom that poetically encapsulates the martial arts tradition in which Ip was deeply entrenched. It’s simply not always possible for the audience to know what Mr Ip is thinking – or feeling.

The amendments of the film’s English title in the past few years – from Grandmaster to The Grandmasters back to the newly confirmed The Grandmaster – may also hint at the subtle changes in Wong’s conception of his ambitious tale. Only Tony Leung and Zhang Ziyi are currently billed in the opening credits, while the rest of the high-profile cast, including Chang Chen, Zhao Benshan and Song Hye-kyo, end up in parts that leave quite a lot to the audience’s imagination. In particular, Chang’s character The Razor, who is allegedly one of the masters, has a grand total of three scenes throughout – one of them being clearly at odds in tone with the rest of the film, and none being directly connected to the story of Ip.

Rumours continue to persist that Wong finalised his edit in great haste for the local release. (There are noticeable signs: the release dates were repeatedly postponed, a few days at a time, in the past couple of months; there are two different prints in circulation in Hong Kong cinemas, one being with English and Chinese subtitles and the other with only Chinese subtitles.) Seeing that the current version of The Grandmaster – at 130 minutes – was reportedly trimmed down from a four-hour rough cut, fans may hang on to their faintest of hope that the notorious perfectionist will be tempted to return to the editing room for an alternative cut. After all, last time he tried – with Ashes of Time – it had only taken Wong 14 years to finish.

Production companies: Jet Tone Production, Sil-Metropole Organisation

International Sales: Fortissimo Films, Bunch,

Screenplay: Wong Kar-wai, Xu Haofeng, Zou Jingzhi

Original story: Wong Kar-wai

Cinematography: Philippe Le Sourd

Editor: William Chang

Production designer: William Chang

Music: Shigeru Umebayashi

Action choreographer: Yuen Woo-ping

Main cast: Tony Leung Chiu-wai, Zhang Ziyi, Chang Chen, Zhao Benshan, Zhang Jin, Wang Qingxiang, Song Hye-kyo

January 11, 2013

The Grandmaster (Variety review)

Filed under: Reprints — Tags: , — dleedlee @ 1:50 pm

The Grandmaster
Yidai zongshi

(Hong Kong-China)

A Sil-Metropole Organization, Jet Tone Prod. (in China/Hong Kong/Macau)/Annapurna Pictures (in North America) release of a Sil-Metropole Organization, Jet Tone Prod., Block 2 Pictures, Bona Intl. Film Group presentation of a Jet Tone Prod., Sil-Metropole Organization production. (International sales: Fortissimo Films, Amsterdam/Wild Bunch, Paris.) Produced by Wong Kar Wai, Jacky Pang. Executive producers, Chan Ye-cheng, Megan Ellison, Ng See-yuen, Song Dai. Directed by Wong Kar Wai. Screenplay, Wong, Xu Haofeng, Zou Jinzhi, based on a story by Wong.

With: Tony Leung Chiu-wai, Zhang Ziyi, Zhang Jin, Song Hye-kyo, Chang Chen, Wang Qingxiang, Cung Le, Lo Hoi-pang, Liu Xun, Leung Siu Lung, Julian Cheung Chi-lam. (Mandarin, Japanese dialogue)

Venturing into fresh creative terrain without relinquishing his familiar themes and stylistic flourishes, Hong Kong auteur Wong Kar Wai exceeds expectations with “The Grandmaster,” fashioning a 1930s action saga into a refined piece of commercial filmmaking. Boasting one of the most propulsive yet ethereal realizations of authentic martial arts onscreen, as well as a merging of physicality and philosophy not attained in Chinese cinema since King Hu’s masterpieces, the hotly anticipated pic is sure to win new converts from the genre camp. Wong’s Eurocentric arthouse disciples, however, may not be completely in tune with the film’s more traditional storytelling and occasionally long-winded technical exposition.

With a first-rate production package and glamorous casting, notably the luminous Zhang Ziyi trumping co-star Tony Leung Chiu-wai, Wong’s 10th feature might be his first to win over a mass Chinese audience. Set to make its international bow as the opening-night entry at the Berlin Film Festival, where Wong will serve as jury president, the film has already sold to key markets through Fortissimo Films and the Wild Bunch. It’s set to be released Stateside through Megan Ellison’s Annapurna Pictures, with Ellison credited as a producer on the film.

Five years in the making and reportedly 16 years in gestation, “The Grandmaster” is the latest in a string of period chopsocky films (”Ip Man,” “Ip Man 2,” “The Legend is Born — Ip Man”) centering on the life of the martial-arts master who taught Bruce Lee and popularized the Wing Chun kung fu style around the world. However, Wong’s interpretation stands apart from its predecessors by taking a less conventional biopic route. Offering an eye-opening pageant of martial-arts schools and their radically different exponents, the multistranded but generally linear narrative never dedicates itself entirely to charting Ip’s achievements. Instead, by focusing on his encounters with other fighters, the film arrives at the enlightened realization that there is no single “grandmaster.”

This idea is demonstrated in the opening sequence, when Ip (Leung) remarks: “Kung fu equals two words: horizontal and vertical. The one lying down is out; only the last man standing counts.” Just turning 40 when the film begins in 1936, Ip is an entitled Cantonese gentleman of leisure who lives in Foshan, a popular hub for martial-arts experts from all over the country. This presents numerous opportunities for duels, and the film’s entire first hour feels like a breathless succession of action sequences, accompanied by one-liners of worldly wisdom couched in kung-fu terminology.

Ip’s most significant duel is with Gong Baosen, who has come from Dongbei (then Manchuria) to choose an opponent for one last fight before retirement. Gong’s real intention is to discover young talent and bring it into the limelight, but his match with Ip is not resolved in a way that satisfies Gong’s daughter, Er (Zhang) who is extremely proud of her family’s invincible track record. She tries to teach Ip a lesson, which only brings them closer together.

Something bordering on mutual attraction develops, but the film leaves it oblique, their feelings merely hinted at by the poems they exchange throughout the story. Rather abruptly, the two are separated for more than a decade by war, and narrative interest shifts almost entirely to Er. Driven by the principles of honor that made her challenge Ip, she pits herself against Ma San (Zhang Jin), her father’s defiant disciple, to defend the reputation of the Gong family. Er’s initial pride is offset by a revelation of inner strength when she makes a great sacrifice in order to defeat Ma.

Years of extensive training for this film have enabled the protags to look extremely convincing as masters of their art. Zhang’s moves combine grace and confidence, raising the bar from her perf in “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,” but even in the dramatic scenes, she’s the center of attention, limning extreme emotional changes as she undergoes a series of tragic upheavals.

By contrast, Leung, the helmer’s frequent muse, lacks his usual intensity here: His Ip Man reveals few distinct characteristics in the early scenes except humility, and shows little emotional variation even as he falls on hard times. Even less satisfyingly handled is the peripheral character of Razor (Chang Chen), a violent and enigmatic drifter whose purpose in the story is so underexplained that he could easily have been excised, despite figuring into one fabulously shot and fought action scene.

Compared with the typically free-flowing structure of Wong’s films, “The Grandmaster” is more straightforward and coherent, with only one (well-placed) flashback. While the fight scenes ensure there’s hardly a lull in the first half, the second half feels hastily stitched together, rendering Ip’s relations with his wife (South Korean thesp Song Hye-kyo) patchy.

Some of the helmer’s artsy trademarks — introspective soliloquies, the sense that the protags are trapped in stasis — have been replaced by ideas more grounded in practical experience, with characters who don’t hesitate to act. In developing a world of strict decorum that is nonetheless predicated on constant competition, Wong clearly benefited from the collaboration of co-scripter Xu Haofeng, here transplanting such elaborate fighting theories from his own films “The Sword Identity” and “Judge Archer” to less cryptic effect.

Having previously grappled with his personal experience as a Shanghai-to-Hong Kong emigre, the filmmaker here applies that theme to a broad historical canvas that deals with the Chinese diaspora and its impact on national identity and the continuity of cultural heritage. Even as the last quarter is suffused with a languid melancholy and heartbreaking loneliness that recalls “In the Mood for Love” and “Ashes of Time,” unrequited love is represented in the context of two irreconcilable ways of life — to survive by biding one’s time, or to burn out by living in the moment.

Tech credits are aces, reflecting a stately, unified aesthetic with a stark palette dominated by blacks, whites and grays. Lensers Philippe Le Sourd (”7 Pounds”) and Song Xiaofei (”Design of Death”) accentuate balletic movement in the fight scenes by shooting from a dazzling variety of angles and at different speeds. They also contrast the austere beauty and expansiveness of Dongbei’s snowy outdoors with the Western-influenced opulence of the South, as re-created in production designer William Chang’s deliberately flashy interiors. Shigeru Umebayashi’s sweeping classical score sometimes swells above the action and dwarfs its impact, but the use of regionally specific songs as period markers helps counter that effect.

Camera (color/B&W, widescreen), Philippe Le Sourd; editor, William Chang; music, Shigeru Umebayashi; production designer, Chang; art director, Tony Au; set decorator, Yuan Zi’an; costume designers, Chang, Lv Fengshan; sound (Dolby SRD), Chen Guang; supervising sound editor, Robert McKenzie; visual effects supervisor, Isabelle Perin-Leduc; visual effects, BUF Compagnie; action choreographer, Yuen Woo-ping; chief martial-arts consultant, Wu Bing; Wing Chun consultant, Ip Chun; line producer, Helen Li; associate producer, Michael Werner; second unit camera, Song Xiaofei. Reviewed at UA KK Mall, Shenzhen, China, Jan. 8, 2013. (In Berlin Film Festival — opener, noncompeting.) Running time: 130 MIN.

The Grandmaster (Hollywood Reporter review)

Filed under: Reprints — Tags: , — dleedlee @ 1:23 pm

The Grandmaster
1/9/2013 by Clarence Tsui

The Bottom Line
A scintillating mix of explosive action choreography and suppressed emotions, but it could have used more work on consistency in tone and character development.

Prior to The Grandmaster’s barnstorming pre-credit fighting sequence, the film’s main protagonist, Ip Man (Tony Leung Chiu-wai), is heard expounding his own view toward martial arts to an unseen friend. “Don’t tell me how good your skills are, how brilliant your master is and how profound your school is,” he says. “Kung fu: two words. One horizontal, one vertical — if you’re wrong, you’ll be left lying down. If you’re right, you’re left standing — and only the ones who stand have the right to talk.”

It’s a line that sums up Wong Kar-wai’s much-anticipated historical martial arts epic. The Grandmaster, which will open the Berlin International Film Festival on Feb. 7, is an action-packed spectacle for sure — indeed, the film contains some of the most dazzling fights ever seen onscreen, courtesy of the action choreography of Yuen Woo-ping (of The Matrix and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon fame) — but the Hong Kong auteur is seemingly more preoccupied with the introspective verbal exchanges between his battle-hardened warriors.

While martial arts aficionados will find fulfillment with the fights — complete with more-than-explicit primers from some of the fighters themselves about the specialties of the art they practice — Wong’s art-house fanbase also will find much to savor, with the leading characters oozing the kind of longing that defines the filmmaker’s oeuvre. The suppressed affections between Ip and Gong Er, the young, headstrong northeastern fighter played by Zhang Ziyi, doubtless will mesmerize festival audiences converted to Wong’s aesthetics through In the Mood for Love.

And beyond yearning of the romantic kind, The Grandmaster also is an evocation of the yearning for home from drifting individuals, with Hong Kong becoming a haven for fighters living out their last years after their forced departure from a politically tumultuous China (it’s hardly coincidental that the idea of the film was conceived as the director was putting final touches on Happy Together, his 1998 film about two Hong Kongers living in self-exile in Buenos Aires just around the time of the former colony’s transition to Chinese sovereignty). It’s a sentiment which should play well with audiences in the director’s hometown. If they are patient enough to draw such meanings from the film, that is.

Since Wong first announced the project in 2002, the life of Ip Man — a real-life master who was responsible for the development of the Wing Chun school of martial arts, of which a teenage Bruce Lee was a student — already has found its way to the screen with Wilson Yip’s Ip Man and Ip Man 2. Offering a more straightforward account of Ip’s life, those films are distinctly more accessible than The Grandmaster, with actor Donnie Yen generating critical acclaim not just for the action but also for a measured performance revealing the man behind the moves.

This has certainly left a mark on Wong’s pursuit of The Grandmaster, with recurrent reports through the years of how the director was working to move his brainchild away from being just an Ip Man biopic. The project has traveled under the title of The Grandmasters for a certain period of time (the pluralistic title remains on the poster at the main Web page of Wong’s production company Jet Tone Films). Indeed, it would have been a more appropriate title: While Ip’s perception of the world somehow frames the narrative — through voiceovers accounting for his background and his observations of life and characters around him — the final two-hour cut dedicates sizable screen time to Gong Er’s story, with other masters weighing in with their own philosophical and physical nuggets as well.

The film’s first half-hour is definitely Ip’s (and Leung’s), though. Set in Foshan, the section first lays down Ip’s backstory, with his narration about his childhood and his marriage juxtaposed with images of a young Ip being initiated into martial arts by his teacher Chen Heshun (played by Yuen Woo-ping himself) and then intimate sequences of Ip’s contented domestic life with his wife Zhang Yongcheng (Korean actress Song Hye-kyo). Ip’s voice then leads the viewer to the Golden Pavilion, a lavishly appointed establishment, and brothel, which serves as a 1930s version of the tavern in old-school martial arts films.

Ip is contracted into a duel with Gong Yutian (Wang Qingxiang), a martial arts master from northeastern China looking for a last fight (and a consolidation of the supremacy of his school over its southern rivals) before he retires. When Ip emerges victorious, Gong’s daughter, Gong Er, challenges Ip to a fight to restore her clan’s reputation. She satisfies her hunger for a win, but also finds herself subjected to another craving: With her and her opponent’s limbs winding up all entangled (and some parts of the fight shot beautifully in slow motion), their yearnings begin.

But it’s at this point that Ip recedes into the background and Gong Er is allowed to take over. Shifting to her hometown in Japanese-occupied northeastern China in the late 1930s, the story kicks into play again as Gong Yutian dies after a confrontation with Ma San (Zhang Jin), his estranged ex-protege. Gong Er vows to avenge her father’s murder in the face of much disparagement from her misogynist elders, who tell her to let things lie and get married.

In one of their last meetings, Gong admits to having once harbored amorous feelings for Ip. But it’s a confession that leads to nothing. Just as significantly, she also tells Ip about what her main regret in life is — that she has yet to see life as it is, and asks Ip to do so on her behalf.

Ip has survived all to tell the tale, albeit in a solitude shared by many of Wong’s forlorn protagonists in previous films. Putting Ip in a suit and tie in one of the film’s final scenes, it can be said that Wong might be evoking Chau Mo-wan, the fictional 1960s martial arts novelist whom Leung plays in In the Mood for Love.
When asked about the challenge of adhering to deadlines — postproduction of the film reportedly was finished just in time for its world premiere in Beijing on Jan. 6 — Wong said in a press conference that he would have spent “a couple of months more” editing the film if he could. It’s easy to agree with him on the need for this: While this domestic-release version is a sight to behold, Wong struggles to channel his original vision into a limited time span. (His first rough cut, which reportedly came in at four hours long, easily could appear later somewhere as a redux, as his Ashes of Time did in 2008.)

While Zhang Ziyi’s Gong Er is more or less complete and coherent, the same can’t be said of some of the other characters, such as Chang Chen’s Razor, an expert of the Bagua school who is supposed to be another of the grandmasters. Song Hye-kyo’s Madam Ip has only a cursory presence and is basically rendered invisible in the film’s second half. It’s a situation brought about reportedly by the long gestation of the film — rumors are that the Korean actress couldn’t fit additional filming into her schedule — but it also undermines Wong’s efforts to provide a fully realized, nuanced account of Ip’s emotional torment.

Still, The Grandmaster offers audiences much to marvel at visually. Production designer William Chang Shuk-ping has come to Wong’s aid with sumptuous sets, ranging from the pompous Golden Pavilion to the stunning snowscapes in which Gong Yutian’s funereal march takes place. Philippe Le Sourd’s cinematography brings Yuen’s scintillating action sequences into sharp focus — a crucial factor given Wong’s penchant for close-ups that can seemingly reveal a universe in the burning tip of a cigarette.

True to Wong’s style, The Grandmaster is infused with melancholy and a near-existentialist resignation to the uncertainties of fate. Even though we know that Ip eventually will prosper — Wing Chun is now one of the most well-known martial arts schools in the world — Wong’s version of Ip ultimately is a portrait of a sad, isolated figure. Wong seems to be saying that Ip may be the last one left standing, but he is not necessarily the one who wins, after all.

Production companies: Jet Tone Films and Sil-Metropole Organization
Cast: Tony Leung Chiu-wai, Zhang Ziyi, Chang Chen, Wang Qingxiang, Zhang Jin, Zhao Benshan, Song Hye-kyo
Director and Story: Wong Kar-wai
Screenwriter: Zou Jingzhi, Xu Haofeng and Wong Kar-wai
Producers: Wong Kar-wai, Jacky Pang Yee-wah
Director of photography: Philippe Le Sourd
Action director: Yuen Woo-ping
Production and costume designer: William Chang Shuk-ping, Alfred Yau Wai-ming
Editor: William Chang Suk-ping
Music: Shigeru Umebayashi


May 24, 2012

May 24, 2012 [HKMDB Daily News]

Filed under: News — Tags: , , , , , — dleedlee @ 12:16 pm

FBA: An Inaccurate Memoir review

Actor Huang Xiaoming shines in a quirky, blackly comic tale of bandit heroes during WW2.

Part western, part martial arts homage, part Sino-Japanese resistance drama riff, An Inaccurate Memoir is a bustling mixture of genre references and colourful characters that ultimately celebrates the heroism of unnamed “ordinary people” (its Chinese title).

John Woo Has Cancer?

According to authoritative sources, the reason John Woo has postponed the filming of “Love and Let Love” (formerly “Pacific Steamer”), starring Chang Chen, Zhang Ziyi and Song Hye-Kyo, is that while preparing for production in April the director was hospitalized for laryngeal cancer in the US. According to previous rumours, Woo had surgery for a heart ailment or pancreatic cancer. Producer Terence Chang did not return calls from reporters but according to a friend Woo did not have heart problems. Woo is currently recuperating in the US and he is optimistic that Woo will begin working again by the end of the year. Speaking of the remake of “The Killer”, to be directed by Lee Jae-Han (John H. Lee), Chang said that Nicolas Cage and James Franco are being considered but not yet confirmed.(Sina)

FBA: Yeoh stirred by CJ Cooktales

Production is now underway in Thailand on Cooktales, an English-language drama about food and family set in Singapore.

The much-delayed film is directed by South Korea’s Gina Kim and stars Asian superstar Michelle Yeoh.

CF: Jiang Wen to Shoot “Gone With The Bullets”

Leading Chinese filmmaker Jiang Wen is likely to reunite with Gong Li in his latest directorial project, Gone With The Bullets

CF: Jiang Wen’s “Gone With The Bullets” Releases Posters at Cannes

Jiang Wen’s latest project, sequel to the 2010 blockbuster “Let the Bullets Fly,” released two posters at Cannes International Film Festival. The movie, titiled “Gone with the Bullets,” is expected to start shooting between September and October this year and the release date is set for late 2013.


CF: Latest Pics Unveil the Holy Land of Wu Dang at Cannes

Partial cast of “Wu Dang”

Yang Mi

Fan Siu-Wong

Dennis To Yu-Hang

Vincent Zhao (Chiu Man-Cheuk)

Xu Jiao

Father and daughter, Vincent Zhao and Xu Jiao (Sina-gallery)

CF: Cannes Planning Surprise Screening Of Non-Fest Films

Wong Kar Wai’s “The Grandmasters” may be included

A Wong Kar-Wai microfilm “Deja Vu”, sponsored by Chivas Regal, had its world premiere at Cannes May 18 and stars Chang Chen and supermodel Du Juan.  It will premiere in China June 15. (Sina)

CF: Cecilia Cheung Promotes “Dangerous Liaisons” at Cannes

Today is Cecilia Cheung’s 32nd birthday (Sina)2

The film, featuring Fiona Sit and Chapman To and directed by Fung Chi Keung, is slated to screen in the summer on the mainland. 

CF: Babara Wong Set her Foot in Mainland wih”9090″

CF: New Trailer of Chen Kaige’s “Caught in the Web”

A1/AFP: ’Monkey’ to go West again as cinema power shifts East

CNA: Anthony Wong blasts “unprofessional” Chinese production teams


Zhang Jingchu starting on “I Trust You”

Zhang Jingchu is in Rome to begin shooting “I Trust You” an Italian film about global food safety. Filming will also take place in China and Hong Kong. (Sina)2

TaipeiTimes: Pop Stop

Edison Chen, Leni Lan, et al

The big news this week is Lau Ding-sing’s private photo collection. The Apple Daily reported that the wealthy Hong Kong businessman claims to have 100,000 photos of partially dressed and fully nude male celebrities.

SGYahoo: Aaron Kwok not changing plans for marriage

A1: Michelle Yeoh delighted with ‘Datuk Seri’ title

MSN: Edison Chen invited Joyce Wu to his hotelSGYahoo

There seems to be no end to Edison Chen’s philandering ways as his provocative text messages to Chinese actress Joyce Wu came to light recently.

Joyce Wu Sifan


January 7, 2010

January 7, 2010

CRI: Jeon Ji Hyun to Pair up with Ziyi in ‘Snow Flower and the Secret Fan’

CRI: Shooting Ends for “Tangshan Earthquake”

Chinese director Lu Chuan accepts decision to pull film

Maggie Cheung to guest/cameo in Hot Summer Days according to insider reports. This will not mark Maggie’s return to film but rather as a favor to cinematographer/cameraman Sion Michel (Memoirs of a Geisha, The Mummy 3, etc) (HunanTV)

Actor Donnie Yen insures limbs for S$17.9m each

His recent films have done well in the box office and caused his acting fees to skyrocket from 5 million yuan (S$1 million) to 20 million yuan (S$4 million) per film, almost double the 11 million yuan (S$2.2 million) fee Hong Kong star Tony Leung Chiu Wai commands and Heavenly King Andy Lau’s 9 million yuan ($1.8 million) asking price.

Sa Dingding and Donnie Yen officially launch the 14 Blades website in a ceremony yesterday.

Sa Dingding sings the theme song ’Heaven and Earth Together’ for the film . (Sina)

Let The Bullets Fly - Hu Jun

Yao Lu

Li Jing (Xinhua)

Gillian Chung - Former

Opening lens ceremony for Former, produced by Chapman To and directed by Heiward Mak

Boss Albert Yeung

Chapman To

William Chan Wai-Ting

Michelle Wai

Unnamed newcomer Jacky Heung

(Xinhua) (HunanTV) (2) HD (Sina)

Wong Kar-Wai, Zhao Benshan

Zhang Ziyi

Four masters, Wong Kar-Wai, Zhao Benshan, Zhang Ziyi, and Yuen Wo-Ping met in NE Shenyang (Zhao’s base) to ring in the new year and prepare for the upcoming Grand Master. (Xinhua) Slide show (9)(Sina)

Faye Wong taped a greeting for the official Confucius theme song release yesterday (Sina)

Theme Song

Andy Lau: Married life is ordinary

He did not discuss Choo much during the interview but described former co-star Cherie Chung as an ideal wife, the newspaper said.

He starred with her in 1991’s Zodiac Killers, her last film before she married advertising guru Mike Chu and retired from entertainment.

At the time, she did not know how to cook and studied cookbooks on the set, he said.

‘She had a cookbook with her every day and she said, ‘I’m going to be a wife, I should be able to cook’.

Zhang Yimou set to direct Turandot in Taiwan

March 20, 2009

Nanjing Massacre Films to Highlight April Silver Screens

Beijing-based distributor-turned-producer ACE Film Studio has announced that it is lining up thriller Midnight Taxi and China-Japan co-production Dream Wall

Screen Daily Review - Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li

SFAAFF Reviews
White on Rice
Ocean of Pearls
Fruit Fly

Ashes of Time: Wong Kar-Wai credits Sammo Hung for being the inspiration behind Ouyang Feng/Leslie Cheung’s lines, ‘What’s behind the mountain? Same desert, another mountain.’ Says while checking locations during filming with the rotund Sammo Hung, Sammo didn’t like all the walking about and casually uttered those same words.

Taipei Times: Pop Stop

Huang Shengyi
Huang Shengyi’s Hollywood debut in Race to Witch Mountain reduced to 45 seconds

Gillian Chung
Chengdu auto brand cancels on Gillian Chung

Not satisfied with feedback on jeans promotion

Gillian Chung
Gillian Chung off to Beijing for sponsor promotion - gallery

First time back to Mainland

Andy Lau is starting to have severe hair loss

Kelly Chen announces in Hong Kong that her baby is a boy,

Ariel Lin underwent brain surgery; irritable after operation

Maiden in China: Pop star Jane Z hopes to woo new fans around the world

Flags-made-in-China flap has (Ontario) legislature in uproar
(Thanks, Brian)
[Hmm, should they burn them? 80 ]

Mainland soldier shot dead and machine gun stolen

March 13, 2009

March 13, 2009

Zhang Yimou: Insider story of the Beijing Olympics

John Woo to Film Chinese Sunken Titanic
John Woo will join hands with China Film Group to shoot the tragic romance “Tai Ping Lun” (previously known as “1949″)

New York Times: Tokyo Sonata - Upended by Downsizing

SFIAFF: 10 Glorious Days of Asian American Film

Chinese disrupt ‘Mulan’ shoot (Update in English)
Villagers take revenge for earlier film shoot

F4’s Van Ness: Anything for Ang Lee
Full film schedule

Yesterday, at Beijing Normal University, Wong Kar-Wai explained the mystery of Joey Wang’s removal from Ashes of Time. At the time, Jeff Lau was under scheduling pressure to finish his Eagle Shooting Hero, so he released Joey and ‘lent’ her to Lau. [A better/clearer translation welcomed]

Shu Qi talks about her previous experiences of kissing scenes
Praises Tony Leung for being the best

Lin Chi-Ling gets waxed - more

Lin Chi-Ling at Hong Kong Madame Tussauds
When asked about Sun Honglei’s criticism of her acting skills, Lin accepted her shortcomings

Cecilia Cheung expecting her second child

Nic Tse’s Undying Love

Despite threat on life, Edison Chen plans to attend the Singapore premiere of The Sniper, said his boss Peter Lam Gin-Ngok. The deadline date to retire in the letter, April 4, corresponds to this year’s Ching Ming Festival and the meaning of the enclosed Liberty Bell stamps supposedly says to make funeral preparations.

Edison: I’ll come to Singapore again

Letter threatens harm to Chinese-Canadian star involved in racy photos scandal

Chen received two death threats last year
Explanation for heavy security during press conference last year revealed

Taiwan Pop Stop

Shu Qi at Adidas 60th anniversary event

Gong Li

Gong Li

Gong Li in Paris for Louis Vuitton fashion show

Donnie Yen

Shu Qi

Shu Qi, Andrew Lau
At a banquet last night, Donnie Yen said he hoped the threat to Edison was only a practical joke.

And, in case you were wondering, Apple’s new VoiceOver feature in the newly announced 3G Shuffle doesn’t support Cantonese, only Mandarin.

Can the new iPod shuffle speak my music catalog in Swahili?
Sorry, the only languages supported are Chinese (Mandarin), Czech, Dutch, English, German, Greek, Italian, Japanese, Polish, Portugese, Spanish, Swedish, and Turkish.

1000th Hong Kong Ferrari

1,000th Hong Kong Ferrari delivered on junk ship (Thanks, Ed!)

B.C. model’s killer sentenced to die in China

March 7, 2009

Filed under: News — Tags: , , , , , — dleedlee @ 8:53 am

‘24 City’ Premieres in Beijing

Wong Kar-Wai signs with Hollywood agent

Former porn director wins Oscar
Yojiro Takita’s ‘Departures’ won Best Foreign pic

Daughter of the Dragon, Sister Of the Crow
Shannon Lee Guards the Legacies of Her Iconic Father and Her Famous Brother

A-Mei’s Star Tour is set to get the Mandopop star partying

Future Cop’s Tang Yifei
Also filming Dream of the Red Chamber series
Tang Yifei

New photos released
Gillian Chung


Photo Gallery

Gillian Chung took the first difficult step
Both new love and old love supported and hoped that Gillian would have a smooth career
Hong Kong citizens disgusted at Gillian Chung’s TV interview

HK “Airport Auntie” gets apology, ticket upgrade from Cathay

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