Reviews by Country
Before you flip out, no, I haven’t forgotten what the name of this website is, nor has it slipped my mind the general region from which the films reviewed here originate. That said, the chances of any Asian filmmakers tackling the thorny subject of activist Aung San Suu Kyi and the political stalemate in Burma (or Myanmar) are low. Asian film industries have limited resources and focus first and foremost on their own markets (India excepted). Add to that the … (read more)
Sometimes the overwhelming success of a particular genre film can have an unfortunate effect on the movies following it. I’m talking here about Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, which has become so popular and awarded since its release in 2000 that it’s now the gold standard for martial arts films. It has allowed lazy film publicists, uninformed film reviewers and the general public to label a new kung fu / martial arts film as simply being not as good, or … (read more)
Of all the films I saw in 1997, The Soong Sisters was my favourite movie of that year. It soon became the most awarded Chinese film of the late 1990s.
A Hong Kong-China co-production and distributed by the Golden Harvest company, The Soong Sisters is a biopic of three Chinese-born and American-educated young women, who each played an important part in modern Chinese history. It’s a triumph of ensemble acting and superb direction which weaves these three lives together.
Michelle … (read more)
It’s almost impossible to write about Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon without using words like “grandeur”, “breathtaking”, and suchlike. The scenery positively demands it, without even starting on the film itself. Sweeping vistas over mountainous regions, wreathed in mist and clothed in vivid green, offer the sort of territory that is probably quite foreign to most of us. Ancient Chinese towns and cities, likewise, do a great job of transporting us into another time and another world. Clearly this film did … (read more)
“…an unalterable and unquestioned law of the musical world required that the German text of French operas sung by Swedish artists should be translated into Italian for the clearer understanding of English-speaking audiences.”
— The Age of Innocence
I couldn’t help but think of Edith Wharton’s witty summary of 19th century opera society as I watched Memoirs of a Geisha. Hollywood’s oriental-chic movie of the year is based on a novel narrated by a Japanese geisha, but written by … (read more)
The Police Story series is one of Jackie Chan’s best-loved series of films. The first one, made in 1985, is lauded by many as one of the best action films ever made. As well as showing off Jackie’s talents, they made stars of actresses Maggie Cheung (Jackie’s long-suffering girlfriend in the first three films) and Michelle Yeoh, who almost out-stunts Jackie in Police Story III.
It’s a slower film than the first two Police Stories, this one. Made … (read more)
Psst. Hey, wanna see a movie where everyone fights? Then Tai Chi Master might be just what you’re looking for.
Right from the start, where we’re introduced to the young Junbao and Tinbao as junior monks at Shaolin Temple, they’re scrapping. Fortunately, we’re spared too many “lovable tyke” moments, as the lads soon grow into Jet Li and Chin Siu Ho, still exercising their skills on laundry, lunch, and other pupils. Tinbao’s hasty temper lands them in a major pole … (read more)
Yim Wing Chun (Michelle Yeoh) is a female martial arts expert who lives with her aunt, Abacus Fong (Yuen King Tan), a tofu-seller with a knack for saying exactly the wrong thing at exactly the wrong moment. Wing Chun’s unwomanly ways are the despair of her father, and local men keep trying to put her in her place. She deals with one such unfortunate by telling him that if he can destroy her tray of tofu she will do as … (read more)