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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)
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The Grandmaster (2013)
A solitary man in a white fedora weaves his way among dozens of nameless fighters as a silver rain cascades down around them. The slick street is illuminated by a single lamp, which casts off an ethereal glow. A blur of fists erupts and the bodies start to fall — elegantly in slow motion. We hear a comment that summarises the martial arts in two words: horizontal and vertical. Whoever remains standing, wins. The solitary man walks into the rain … (read more)
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Days of Being Wild (1990)
Days of Being Wild is one of the early films by renowned Hong Kong director Wong Kar-Wai. It has all the trademarks of Wong’s later works, such as Chungking Express and In the Mood for Love. But despite being less well-known in the West, Days of Being Wild is certainly no less impressive than any other film by Wong. It is a beautiful movie that features unforgettable characters played by some of Hong Kong’s best actors and actresses working … (read more)
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Confession of Pain (2006)
The word ‘confession’ carries a great deal of weight in Western culture; in religion, it goes hand in hand with the concept of sin; in the secular world, it’s generally accompanied by legal action. It comes in as many shapes and forms as there are people to make it – from Okay, yeah I ate the last piece of cake to I’m having an affair with your boss and worse. It can ruin lives and relationships, damage trust, hurt others … (read more)
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Ashes of Time (1994)
As I see it, there have only been two rolled gold masterpieces of the Cantonese cinema since the late 1980s: John Woo’s bloodstained Vietnam odyssey Bullet in the Head and Wong Ka-Wai’s Ashes of Time. Both were produced within three years of each other and are poles apart in content and style, but they remain shining examples of a film industry at its peak.
Ashes of Time is based on a popular Chinese martial arts novel The Eagle Shooting … (read more)
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My Lucky Star (2003)
Ah, another Romantic Comedy. If I was the paranoid sort, I’d suspect Mark Gor was sending me to these things with the intention of brightening my outlook and making me a happier person. That may very well work for the weaker amongst us but worry not faithful reader, be comforted that I am much too bitter and cynical to fall for such a weak and obvious ploy.
No, instead that cynicism comes in to recognise My Lucky … (read more)
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Infernal Affairs III (2003)
My expectations for Infernal Affairs 3 were not high. Infernal Affairs 2 had proved to be little more than a lazy attempt to ‘cash in’ on the (deserved) success of the first film by inexplicably substituting the original’s too-cool style for some bland direction and stupid story choices, and there seemed little reason to think IA 3 would be any different.
Well, at least this time Andrew Lau and Alan Mak have made something that can be described as a … (read more)
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