Reviews by Country
The whimsical opening music of Gorgeous accompanies the narration of a romantic legend, while the camera pans across a dazzling night sky. This is promptly followed by a CGI fish burp gag. It’s not a movie to be taken seriously, but still ultimately wants to be a fairytale romance at heart. I can’t believe I watched this with my brothers back in the day without squirming.
Innocent, starry-eyed, Taiwanese girl Bu (Shu Qi) strikes out for the big city with … (read more)
Looking through our archives, it seems like almost everyone who’s ever written for Heroic Cinema has sat down at a keyboard to bash out a review of a Johnnie To film at one time or another. Ching Yee compared films from Milkyway Image to comfort food in her review of My Left Eye Sees Ghosts, and she’s right — To’s films have developed a distinctive style and consistently high level of quality over the years, and I always look … (read more)
Have you noticed how the last few years have seen South Korean cinema fall under the influence of the great Hong Kong crime thrillers of the 1980s and early-’90s? Whether it’s in a stylistic and/or thematic shout-out or a straight-up remake of a classic — like Son Hae-sung’s A Better Tomorrow or the upcoming 3D remake of The Killer (nooooooo!) starring Jung Woo-sung — the Korean industry owes a lot to the trail blazed by John Woo, Ringo Lam and … (read more)
To try and sort out the convoluted plot of Dante Lam’s Fire of Conscience would take more space than this website has bandwidth. Just thinking about the gratuitous twists and turns in the narrative is enough to prompt a migraine. To that end, Lam was probably going for more of the cops and robbers action vibe Hong Kong did so well in the ‘80s and ’90s — and that Lam evoked so effectively in last year’s Sniper and 2008’s surprising … (read more)
Milkyway Image Films latest Hong Kong release is the classiest and most intelligent film to come from Hong Kong so far this year. Lead actor Louis Koo (Overheard) gives a brilliant performance in Accident and is quickly becoming one of the best screen actors in Asia.
In his debut feature for Milkyway Films, director Soi Cheang (Dog Bite Dog) has tempered his usually dark, violent cinema visions and created a wholly satisfying cerebral crime drama, very … (read more)
Thankfully, 20:30:40 is not – as some marketing material has suggested to the contrary – a Sex in the City replicate with a Taipei backdrop. Unless you are the type of person that gets really upset when films about women are not also films that deconstruct feminism, try to ignore this kneejerk promotional tactic. I certainly wouldn’t climb over mountains to chase down a movie so advertised, but I might be inclined to set up a base camp, fire up … (read more)
Johnnie To confuses me. I have never been able to satisfactorily account for why I enjoy his films so much, and I don’t like that. It has always seemed to me that he strikes a very uneasy balance between visual style and dramatic substance; those devices (plot and character-related) To employs to lend weight to the emotional side of his films are usually very conventional, but somehow he always manages to obscure this until I think about it afterwards, which … (read more)
I respect Wong Jing. He has given me memories that, for better or worse, I know I will carry with me FOREVER. Jet Li’s cock-fu in Last Hero in China. Chow Yun-fat threatening to “cut it off” in God of Gamblers. Jacky Cheung at the urinal in High Risk. The missing penis in Naked Killer. Actually, all of Naked Killer.
All that said, I have absolutely no respect for either the quality or the quantity … (read more)