Blog Archives

The White Haired Witch of Lunar Kingdom (2014)

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The White Haired Witch of Lunar Kingdom

China’s big summer release for 2014 is The White Haired Witch of Lunar Kingdom, based on the popular 1950s tome Baifa Monu Zhan written by Liang Yusheng. Its most recent and most favoured screen version is the 1993 Hong Kong pic The Bride With White Hair, directed by Ronny Yu and starring Brigitte Lin and Leslie Cheung in a beautifully lensed tale of romantic obsession amidst the clan wars during the Ming Dynasty. Like the mystical flower of … (read more)

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Firestorm (2013)

Firestorm (Poster)

The night I saw Firestorm, I was surprised that there were no posters or advertising material on display in the theatre for this new big-budget Hong Kong film. And I was even more surprised to see at the main entrance of the Century City multiplex an over-sized poster for Feng Xiaogang’s new movie Personal Tailor – which has yet to be released! Two hours later, I had a much better understanding of why there was a lack of advertising for … (read more)

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Long Arm of the Law (1984)

Still from Long Arm of the Law

Johnny Mak’s powerful 1984 crime film Long Arm of The Law was a film for its time and a big box-office hit that year. Nearly thirty years later it stands the test of time extremely well and looks to be having a new lease on life, with recent incarnations on Blu-Ray, DVD and theatrically.

For Australian audiences, Long Arm of The Law is part of Brisbane’s Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) Action, Hong Kong Style film programme which is, without … (read more)

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The Tower (2012)

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The Tower

The Tower is South Korea’s first attempt at a full-on disaster movie, and overall it’s pretty good but does bear a strong resemblance to the Hollywood pic The Towering Inferno, widely seen as the peak title in this 1970s movie subgenre.

It’s also the latest film from director Kim Ji-hoon, whose most recent pic was the underwater-monster feature Sector 7, which did big business at the box-office.

Christmas Eve in Seoul sees the public debut of the Tower … (read more)

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Drug War (2012)

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Drug War

In just under twelve months, I’ve had the good fortune to have watched three superb new release Asian crime movies. In my opinion, they mark a turning point in their respective film cultures. The films are: from India, Gangs of Wasseypur, a very un-Bollywood-like crime saga which chronicles a century long blood feud; the Chinese feature Lethal Hostage from wannabe auteur Cheng Er; and Johnnie To’s first mainland produced and financed cop drama, Drug War. More on the … (read more)

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The Thieves (2012)

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One of the most enjoyable times I spent in the cinema last year was watching the big-budget, star-studded, South Korean caper flick, The Thieves — where the energy, humour and all-round film-making smarts were a joy to experience.

Sold nearly everywhere as an Asian version of Hollywood’s Oceans franchise – well, that’s called marketing. As I saw it, The Thieves was a surprisingly effective counterpoint to the lethargic, middle-aged preening of director Soderbergh and his precious stars.

Gianna Jun in … (read more)

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Lethal Hostage (2012)

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Lethal Hostage

With a title which sounds more like a low-budget straight-to-DVD feature, mainland director Cheng Er has created a major film which deserves an audience outside China. Lethal Hostage is an inventive and meticulously crafted crime drama set on the China-Burma border.

The story opens with a father who has just been released from jail meeting his only daughter {May Wang) who he hasn’t seen for over ten years. As a child, the daughter was kidnapped by a drug dealer (Sun … (read more)

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Vulgaria (2012)

Vulgaria (2012)

Director Pang Ho-Cheung is one of Hong Kong cinema’s chameleons. If you’re unfamiliar with his work, he is well worth discovering. In just over a decade he has made quality and sophisticated dramas like Isabella and Beyond our Ken, which sit comfortably with his cunning and often ground breaking (and at times violent) satires such as You Shoot, I Shoot and Dream Home. His recent RomComs Love in a Puff and Love in the Buff are intelligent and … (read more)

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