Blog Archives

The Great Wall (2016)

(from /, dir: )

To answer the question right off the top that everyone’s probably wondering about — no. Matt Damon does not save China in The Great Wall. Oh, he has a great white hand in slaying the monster, but he doesn’t strike the lethal blow. That’s splitting hairs, sure, but hey. Baby steps.

If you haven’t already heard by now, The Great Wall is Hollywood studio Legendary East and state-owned China Film Group’s US$150 million fantasy epic that is supposed to … (read more)

Comments Off on The Great Wall (2016)

Coming Home (2014)

(from , dir: )

Coming Home is the latest Zhang Yimou-Gong Li screen collaboration, and it reminds me of their great films from the 1990s. In Coming Home Gong Li once again shows that she is one of the world’s most gifted actors.

Director Zhang Yimou’s recent film-making has kept him busy, but mainly in a workmanlike way. International hits such as the Grand Guignol of Curse of the Golden Flower and the arthouse-wuxia pics Hero and House of Flying Daggers have kept his … (read more)

Comments Off on Coming Home (2014)

Curse of the Golden Flower (2006)

(from , dir: )

The new Chinese drama Curse of the Golden Flower is a welcome return to form by director Zhang Yimou, and further proof that major Chinese stars Gong Li and Chow Yun-Fat do their best work on home ground.

In the past fifteen years Zhang has gone from being the bad boy of Chinese cinema (Ju Dou, Raise the Red Lantern) to the acceptable face of a cultured China with international hits like Hero and House of Flying (read more)

Comments Off on Curse of the Golden Flower (2006)

Raise the Red Lantern (1991)

(from , dir: )

Zhang Yimou has emerged in recent times as one of Mainland China’s best known directors, having directed the recent international successes Hero (remember, it’s Quentin Tarantino Presents Jet Li’s Hero for us!) and House of Flying Daggers. His films have been very successful on the film festival and arthouse circuit for a long time, however, and I’ve managed somehow to never see any of them.

So, when World Movies presented this as one of their 25 Films You Should (read more)

Comments Off on Raise the Red Lantern (1991)

House of Flying Daggers (2004)

(from , dir: )

I have to admit that when I first saw House of Flying Daggers, I felt somewhat ambivalent about it. I had somewhat decent expectations for the film since it was a Zhang Yimou film, the man who brought us Hero, and had a solid enough cast of Takeshi Kaneshiro, Andy Lau and Zhang Ziyi. Yet, while the performances were strong and set pieces impressive, the story was lacking and a great deal of the fighting lacked a certain … (read more)

Comments Off on House of Flying Daggers (2004)

Hero (2002)

(from , dir: )

Well it’s been about two years since I first saw Zhang Yimou’s Hero and, at long last, I am getting around to writing a review. Sure this has to do with finally seeing it on the movie screen and it finally receiving a general release but my point is that I am in no way vain-glorious enough to believe that whatever audience this may very well reach is in anyway exclusive to HC and it is likely that that those … (read more)

Comments Off on Hero (2002)

Happy Times (2002)

(from , dir: )

Has anyone noticed leading actresses in Zhang Yi Mou’s films have been getting younger and younger?!

OK, small digression — let’s get back to Happy Times. When I think back to Zhang Yi Mou films, the word that I invariably end up using to describe his work is “intense” — the experience for the audience, the film itself, the landscape, the music — unforgettable. His older films had a lot of urgency, tension, you could feel the blood, sweat … (read more)

Comments Off on Happy Times (2002)

To Live (1994)

(from , dir: )

Late in the story, To Live bares its theme in an interchange of dialogue between its central male character, Fugui, and Chunsheng, the only person in the story who Fugui might want to call a friend. Having met each other as unwilling and clearly apolitical participants in the late-1940s war for the control of China, Chunsheng is later found responsible for an accident that claims the life of Fugui’s son. Now, years later, Chunsheng tells Fugui that his wife has … (read more)

Comments Off on To Live (1994)