Once you’ve had your fill of festival cinema screenings — ably provided by KOFFIA in Melbourne and the JFF if you’re in Adelaide this week — September looks set to offer quite an array of Asian cinema in regular theatres. Here’s what’s coming up this month:
My Kingdom (China)
A big-budget film set in the late 19th century and centered around a Shanghai opera troupe. Stars Wu Chun, Han Geng and Barbie Hsu, and the trailer seems to indicate that there’ll be quite a bit of action. Sammo Hung’s the action choreographer, and Yuen Biao and Yu Rongguang pop up in supporting roles. Arrives tomorrow, September 8, Australia wide.
13 Assassins (Japan)
We’ve written about this flick before, and we’ve got a review on the way, but briefly: 13 Assassins is a remake of the 1963 film of the same name, a samurai epic set in period Japan. Director Takashi Miike is an HC favourite, and this film showed to packed houses at both the Sydney and Melbourne Film Festivals this year — so it’ll be showing at a few cinemas in both of those cities for a little while in case you couldn’t get tickets (as I couldn’t!)
The Sorcerer and the White Snake (China)
Jet Li returns to the big screen in a martial arts picture from Tony Ching Siu-tung, for the first time since Dr. Wai (though Ching did helm the action on Hero and The Warlords). It’s an adaptation of the Legend of the White Snake, which has been done many times in everything from opera to television — but this version brings some contemporary star power, a considerable budget and (judging by this trailer) a decidedly CGI-enhanced fantasy feel to the story. Sorcerer stars Jet Li, Eva Huang, Raymond Lam and Charlene Choi, and opens everywhere on September 29.
Mayday 3DNA (China/Taiwan)
An unusual release for us to get in Aussie cinemas, this one is a combination concert/concept film from Taiwanese rockers Mayday, combining live concert footage from the 2010 “DNA” tour with fictional stories. Opens Australia wide, and in 3D, on September 22. Distributor Icon have more info on their site for the film.
An adaptation of the novel by Chinese-American writer Lisa See, directed by Wayne Wang (The Joy Luck Club) this is a drama about the concept of laotong, a relationship that pairs two women for life. Stars Jun Ji-hyun (My Sassy Girl), Bingbing Li (Detective Dee), plus Vivian Wu and Hugh Jackman. Opens Australia wide on September 15.
Love in Space (China)
Aaron Kwok, Rene Liu and Xu Fan star in this ensemble rom-com from directors Tony Chan and Wing Shya, who previously co-directed Hot Summer Days (in the same genre, and also with support from Fox in the USA). The story follows the various romantic entanglements of a mother and her three adult daughters, and there’s even some local interest, with one plot set in Sydney. There’s a trailer on YouTube, and it opens tomorrow, on September 8.
Lan Kwai Fong (Hong Kong)
Rather naughtier, judging by its trailer, is Lan Kwai Fong, a Hong Kong production set in the eponymous clubbing district in HK. It opens on September 15 in most states, and there are more details on Dream Movie’s site.