Blog Archives

An Inspector Calls (2015)

One of this year’s biggest Chinese New Year film releases has belatedly arrived in Melbourne’s Chinatown Cinema for a short season. Well, better late than never I suppose. A successful Chinese New Year movie will nearly always have the following ingredients: it must be family oriented, have big name stars, countless celebrity cameos and story-lines guaranteed not to tax the intellect.

An Inspector Calls is a strange choice for a Hong Kong movie, let alone a major Chinese New Year … (read more)

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Ip Man: The Legend is Born (2010)

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Recently I watched Monsters, Gareth Edwards’ reasonably low-budget sci-fi and romance flick. Getting over the being-bashed-on-the-head subtext about racial inequality and the U.S.’ view of the poor and foreigners alike as ‘alien’, the film has a very gorgeous sense of cinematography. The landscapes are verdant, the cityscapes alive, rusted, and full of movement. Edwards’ film captures beautiful moments with economy and subtlety.

Why mention this? Because unfortunately the very next film I watched, immediately afterwards, was this film, Ip (read more)

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The Untold Story (1992)

This is one of those flicks that get labelled “controversial” and it is pretty darn easy to see why. Sure, we are a long way from Salo territory but Untold Story definitely disturbs. Far more than Audition which regularly gets mentioned in the same sentence as ‘gut-churning’.

All this needs some explaining though so here goes. Wong Chi Hang is a rather weedy, highly strung restaurateur in Macau. When police discover the sliced and diced limbs of a relative of … (read more)

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Dating Death (2004)

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Ah, Hong Kong fashion! I see about a half-dozen Canto-language teen flicks a year, and although they often tend to be more bad than good, I always look forward to the opportunity they provide to catch up on what’s hot on the streets of HK at the time of production. Dating Death proved to be particularly helpful in this regard, with every one of the six main characters getting about ten costume changes (including towels) — each new ‘ensemble’ trendier … (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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