Blog Archives

A Better Tomorrow 2 (1987)

(from , dir: )

The creative partnership of director John Woo and producer Tsui Hark came unstuck during this sequel to the 1986 smash hit A Better Tomorrow. The result is a somewhat schizophrenic picture which manages to quadruple the body count of the original film, but at some cost to the plot and soul. The first problem Woo faced was the fact that a popular character had been killed off last time – no problem, the old identical twin routine saves the … (read more)

Comments Off on A Better Tomorrow 2 (1987)

A Chinese Ghost Story (1987)

(from , dir: )

It’s impossible to not love this Tsui Hark masterpiece. It opens with a solitary scholar in a moon-drenched abandoned monastery, tempted by a beautiful girl swathed in soft white chiffon. Her drifting veil pulls the scholar to her, and as his paper lantern floats in a bowl of water, the scholar proves himself susceptible to her wiles. Alas for our scholar, he is but a bit-player in this beautiful fable, as his temptress turns out to be the point woman … (read more)

Comments Off on A Chinese Ghost Story (1987)

He’s a Woman, She’s a Man (1994)

He’s A Woman, She’s A Man is a classic. 8 years ago, I saw this in a packed session at the Mercury Cinema in Adelaide [back when they used to show the latest HK movies], and grandmas and rutgrats were jostling each other to get a seat. I tried jostling too but they were too tough for me those venerable grandmothers and tenacious kids.

Upon my second viewing last night without the need for jostling or extended family audience, I … (read more)

Comments Off on He’s a Woman, She’s a Man (1994)

Rouge (1987)

(from , dir: )

My copy of this film has no subtitles, but it doesn’t really matter. Leslie and Anita have two of the most expressive faces in the acting biz, and two of the best voices as well, both singing and speaking. So the drama and the emotion come through achingly clearly without understanding the dialogue.

Of course, having already seen it I know what the story is, which does help. But it’s a fairly simple story, albeit one drenched with emotion. Anita … (read more)

Comments Off on Rouge (1987)

Happy Together (1997)

(from , dir: )

This is the sixth film from Hong Kong arthouse director Wong Kar-Wai, and the one that netted him the Best Director award at Cannes in 1997. Wong takes two of Hong Kong cinema’s most handsome leading men to South America for a story of love lost and love endured. The script is partially based on The Buenos Aires Affair, by author Manuel Puig, whose non-linear narrative techniques were a seminal inspiration to Wong’s development as a film-maker and storyteller.… (read more)

Comments Off on Happy Together (1997)

Viva Erotica (1996)

(from , dir: )

This film starts with a bang. Literally. It’s the most enthusiastic bonking scene I’ve ever witnessed: Leslie Cheung and Karen Mok going at it with a fervour that, let’s say, is more suited to a sprint than a marathon. And a fine couple they make too: Karen Mok, she of the endless legs, with Leslie Cheung, who’s so entirely delectable that he’s probably a sex-poppet for all creatures chordate (that is, possessing a spinal cord, basically. I draw the line … (read more)

Comments Off on Viva Erotica (1996)

Once a Thief (1991)

(from , dir: )

Okay, it must be said that the plot is fairly simple, and apparently cobbled together from a variety of sources: we get two boys raised as thieves by a cruel foster father, who grow up, meet a beautiful girl that they both fall in love with; her father is a kind cop who covers for them occasionally and tries to steer them on the path to righteousness. Meanwhile, what is to be their last job is a set-up, and one … (read more)

Comments Off on Once a Thief (1991)