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)
From Melbourne With Love
A survey of the modest collection of obsolete optical media in my apartment reveals 32 Stephen Chow titles, a ratio of at least 5:1 over any other actor or director. Rather than being an irrelevant humblebrag on my part, this elucidates the fact that there is a global audience for Hong Kong’s popular cinema and — more importantly — Chow, whom I still consider its shining star. My take on his most recent film, Journey to … (read more)
So, a month or so after Tai Chi 0 hit cinemas, its sequel has arrived: Tai Chi Hero, filmed back-to-back with its predecessor on a shared budget. Accordingly, most of what Rhys says in his review of the first film holds true for this one: it’s a 3D action-comedy-adventure film with a steampunk feel to the art direction, solid action choreography from action legend Sammo Hung, and some modern CGI crammed in for today’s effects-hungry audience.… (read more)
Tai Chi 0, the latest offering from actor-turned-director, Stephen Fung, is a throwback to period kung fu comedies from the early nineties. The film’s style steps away from the swordplay movies re-popularized in the west, towards the more simplistic kung fu genre. Avoiding supernatural themes, the film embraces an en vogue steampunk style; this time, hostility towards industrialization represents the typical anti-European sentiment familiar to the genre. Unfortunately, Tai Chi 0 is overcrowded by some CG comic book and … (read more)
Well, there seems to a plethora of comic book based movies nowadays, with the ever-increasing ability of digital effects to recreate the comic book panel. So whilst skimming over a cinema guide recently, my mind slowly drifted to one of the first comic book digital effects spectacles that I could remember: The Storm Riders. It was convenient then that Pinnacle are about to do an Australian DVD release, meaning I get to revisit this 1998 ‘classic’.
Ah, nostalgia – … (read more)
The role of Chen Zhen is a storied one in Hong Kong film. First played by Bruce Lee in (arguably his best film) Fist of Fury, the fictional vengeful student of real-life martial artist Huo Yuan Jia has been played by Jet Li (in Fist of Legend, also a classic), and in television adaptations by Donnie Yen, Bruce Leung and Jordan Chan. Fist of Fury’s original director Lo Wei also went on to make a sequel, 1976’s … (read more)
I first saw Millennium Mambo on my birthday at MIFF in 2002. As an admirer of all Hou’s films, it was a screening I was tremendously excited about. A couple of hours later, I was confused and left wondering what had happened to Hou’s distinctive film style of yesteryear? My first impression was thus one of resistance. Somehow, Mambo hadn’t met my expectations. It was like opening a present and finding something I didn’t like but putting on a gracious … (read more)
Another entrant in the done-to-death ‘I see ghosts’ sub-genre of Asian horror, and it faces some tough obstacles. We’ve already been bombarded by so many films of this kind that, by now, the appearance of a pallid presence evokes nothing more than a yawn. Oh, yeah, another dead person. Where’s the fun in that?