Reviews by Country
When Cantonese director John Woo left Hong Kong for Hollywood in the mid-1990s, many people expected him to become one of the giants of world cinema. His American movies turned out to be, at best, problematic and his talent for combining strong human drama and rip-roaring action sequences was never fully realised. His most recent Hollywood film was Paycheck, I doubt in the history of American movies has a more apt title ever been given.
Two years ago, Woo … (read more)
Farewell, My Concubine is not an easy film to watch. It deals with social and political upheaval in China from the Japanese invasion through to the Cultural Revolution, by following the three main characters through those difficult times. But it is still a very moving, and very beautiful, film, with some superb performances.
The story follows two boys training in a Beijing Opera school, who grow up to be major stars. Shitou, the older of the two, is a strong … (read more)
It’s by Chen Kaige, who made Farewell, My Concubine, so you know it will be huge and detailed. It stars Gong Li and Zhang Feng Yi, both mainland megastars, so you know it’s big budget. And it garnered lots of attention internationally, so you know it translates well. But for my money, it’s a bit too big, and a bit too overblown, although given that it’s one of the biggest stories in Chinese history that’s understandable. Just don’t watch … (read more)