Blog Archives

Punished (2011)

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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)

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The Eye (2002)

Two words. Angelica Lee. She carried this film. I hear Hsu Chi is in the sequel but the only thing you can be sure of is her hair will look great in it. Anyways I’m digressing. So what is the film like? Well, very creepy indeed — in the goosebumps-raising, arm-chair gripping, eyes-rivetted and teeth-grinding way. And the ocassional jump [if you’re a wuss like me]. In short, it’s good.

Mun [Angelica Lee] has been blind since young and after … (read more)

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House of Mahjong (2007)

Well, you see there’s a “House” and it has, y’know… “Mahjong” in it. With little more than two shooting locations the title of the film certainly bares it all: a strangely customer-less shopping mall and the interior of a millionaire’s mansion. Everything about this film speaks of its incredibly low budget – from the script, the acting to the bland production and cinematography. But before you figure that you’ve read all you need to read, there is actually a lot … (read more)

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Tiramisu (2002)

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Good grief, another “boy meets ghost” romance. Bittersweet and occasionally cloying, this fills up almost two hours with a combination of A Moment To Remember and Ghostbusters that works surprisingly well, provided you’re not too attentive.

The actors: Karena Lam is young and vivacious as the tragic/romantic lead, with a beguiling air of softness. Candy Lo is spiky and strong in the support role which she fills and then some. Eason Chan, as the oft-dumped roommate, is an amusing buffoon. … (read more)

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Men Suddenly In Black (2003)

Men Suddenly in Black is a one-joke yet consistently funny spoof of Hong Kong gangster movies. I should probably make it clear from the outset that I have virtually no standards when it comes to the send-up comedy genre, as I find the jokes that don’t work frequently funnier than the ones that do. So if you load your movie with transparently stupid references to other movies and genre conventions, you’re unlikely to get an entirely bad review out of … (read more)

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Six Strong Guys (2004)

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How exactly does one start reflections about a film titled Six Strong Guys when there with only really four main characters? Should one start with the rationalisation that there are two supporting men to make up the half dozen? Or perhaps conclude that they couldn’t make the other two interesting (or short) enough to fit into the movie?

Well the fact of the matter is Six Strong Guys basically the story of four men so self absorbed that they consider … (read more)

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Herbal Tea (2004)

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The joke was going to be that I wasn’t going to mention Chungking Express.

Well, all hail B’doom-ch’nk, the god of obvious punchlines.

Watching Herbal Tea, it is pretty hard to not draw some parallels with Wong Kar Wai’s debut masterpiece – but not for anything particularly praiseworthy or innovative. Just the plotline of the third story in CKE is quite closely aligned to that in Herbal Tea.

(For those not familiar with Faye Wong’s debut performance … (read more)

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Funeral March (2001)

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With a title like Funeral March, you can hardly expect it to be cheery and uplifting and boy does it not disappoint in the tragedy department.

Kwun Yi [Charlene Choi] is a wealthy cancer patient, convinced that she will die soon. She goes about arranging her funeral in advance, enlisting Siu Duen [Eason Chan], a funeral organiser to arrange the BIG day. She’s impressed by his pride in his work and his attention to details. It gets better, he … (read more)

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