Showing posts with label china. Show all posts
Showing posts with label china. Show all posts

19 May 2017

I AM NOT MADAME BOVARY: IN CINEMAS MAY 26TH. REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS.

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21 January 2015

BFI To Release Feng Xiaogang's Back To 1942 Starring Adrien Brody, Tim Robbins, Watch UK Trailer

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From acclaimed director Feng Xiaogang (Aftershock, Assembly) comes this breathtaking war epic which revisits one of the most catastrophic periods of 20th-century Chinese history – the famine in Back to 1942 will be released by the BFI on 23 February 2014 on both DVD and Blu-ray with additional special features.
Henan Province during the 1942 Sino-Japanese War. Previously unavailable in the UK,

Zhang Guoli stars as Master Fan, a wealthy landlord who loses everything when he and his family flee their famine-stricken hometown. Academy Award-winner Adrien Brody (The Pianist) co-stars as a courageous American journalist who encounters the horrors of the famine first-hand and endeavours to enlist relief-aid from the Chinese government and expose the plight of the Henan refugees.

Awe-inspiring action and intelligent characterisation combine to masterful effect in this explosive blockbuster.

Back to 1942 was screened at BFI Southbank last February, attended by director Feng Xiaogang, ahead of the major BFI season A Century of Chinese Cinema.



Back To 1942 will arrive in UK on DVD&Blu-ray on 23rd February and we hope to review this closer to release. The film Guoli Zhang, Hanyu Zhang, Wei Fan and of course Hollywood Stars Adrien Brody, Tim Robbins.

Pre-Order/Buy Back To 1942 (Blu-ray Edition which comes a host of extras  which include original trailers, promoreel, a couple of short features. The blu-ray also exclusively have 2 extra features which give a running time of  80 minutes  between them.

15 January 2015

BFI To Release Chinese Masterpeice Spring In A Small Town On DVD

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Regarded as the finest work from the first great era of Chinese filmmaking, Fei Mu’s quiet, piercingly poignant study of adulterous desire and guilt-ridden despair is a remarkable rediscovery, often compared to David Lean’s Brief Encounter. Following its theatrical release last year as part of the BFI’s major season A Century of Chinese Cinema, Spring in a Small Town will be released on DVD by the BFI on 23 February 2014.


China / 1948 / black and white / Mandarin with optional English subtitles / DVD9 / Original aspect ratio 1.33:1 / Dolby Digital 1.0 mono audio
After eight years of marriage to Liyan – once rich but now a shadow of his former self following a long, ruinous war – Yuwen does little except deliver his daily medication. A surprise visit from Liyan’s friend Zhang re-energises the household, but also stirs up dangerously suppressed longings and resentments.

Focusing on people rather than politics, director Fei Mu’s greatest achievement perfectly captures the dilemma of desire raging against loyalty, and sits alongside both the tender family dramas of Japan’s Yasujiro Ozu and the wonderful post-war humanist realist cinema of René Clément, Satyajit Ray and Vittorio De Sica. It has been acknowledged as a formative influence by Zhang Yimou (House of Flying Daggers), Chen Kaige (Farewell My Concubine), Jia Zhangke (Still Life), and Wong Kar-wai (In the Mood for Love).

Fei Mu’s deft use of locations, dissolves and camera movements makes for a fraught, febrile mood of hesitant passion, entrapment and ennui. Cinematically and psychologically sophisticated, Spring in a Small Town has been restored by the China Film Archive as part of the Digital Restoration Project. It is accompanied here by two rare and fascinating films from the BFI National Archive.



Special features
BFI re-release trailer
A Small Town in China (1933, 9 mins): an intimate portrait of community life in an unidentified Chinese town
This is China (1946, 9 mins): a fascinating compilation of scenes showing diversity and disparity in 1940s China
Illustrated booklet with film notes and credits

Fei Mu's Spring In A Small Town will arrive on DVD from BFI on 23rd February, we are hoping to review  so stay tuned and you can pre-orderSpring in a Small Town (DVD) now.

11 July 2014

EIFF 2014 Film Review : Ai Weiwei: The Fake Case (2013)

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Genre:
Documentary
Rating: 15
Running Time:
87 minutes
Screened:
24, 27th June 2014 (EIFF)
Director:
Andreas Johnsen
Cast:
Andreas Johnsen, Ai Weiwei

Last year I was lucky enough to catch the tale-end of a Toronto exhibit of Ai Weiwei’s work. It was the first time I’d laid eyes on the renowned Chinese artist’s stuff but even then you can see the acidic commentary on the Chinese government clean off the bat.  Andreas Johnsen’s insightful documentary proves an educational look at the inspirational man behind the work, but most of all a disturbing glimpse into what fuels his message.

From the beginning of The Fake Case, Weiwei is a picture of composure: dignified, friendly, wise, considerate, a family man. It is unsettling then to learn of his incarceration at the hands of a totalitarian government who kept him isolated for 80 days in a blank room with 3 guards, then released him unceremoniously to continue persecuting him. The intended message is clear: no one fucks with the Chinese government.

Yet, Weiwei does.

Struggling against the titanic force of a 1984 caricature, a party so villainous it’s a real life version of Orwell’s dystopian nightmare, Weiwei remains zen and considerate, even mischievous, finding a few opportunities to stand defiant in front of his persecutors. Johnsen’s camera shows much of the enigmatic artist, his family, his life post-prison, the ominous control the government still exerts on Weiwei and his supporters, but the overwhelming amount of support he garners from the world and his fellow countrymen alike. The sounds of the Hong Kong cityscape play loud and ominous through distressing segments of the film, most notably during a display of Weiwei’s work at the end of the film.

This is a film that has to be seen, not simply as a fantastic account of Weiwei and his methods, but as a frankly terrifying look at the corruption inherent in an empire and the potential turning of a tide against it.

★★★★
Scott Clark


8 April 2013

Video Game Martial Arts Shernnigans in U.S Trailer For Tai Chi Hero

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When you have your own movie website it can be extremely frustrating when you post trailers for films your unlikely to see especially been based in UK. Stepehen Fung's Tai Chi O is one of those films I'm intrigued to see before I even get a glimpse at that film, the follow up film Tai Chi Hero has a new trailer out in time for it's American release. If you have been fortunate to see Tai Chi O you'll know its a madcap film combining steampunk with martial arts, funny, entertaining plenty of action whilst at the same time been 100% respectful to the ancients arts. Tai Chi Hero even has the one and only Peter Storamore playing the film's villain Duke flemming the Dutch East India Company, an actor whose become of cinematic expert at playing the baddie with a fun precision.

Tai Chi Hero will get a limited release in USA on 26th April and stars Yuan Xiaochao, Qi Shu, Tony Leung Ka Fai



Synopsis
Lu Chan (Jayden Yuan) is still trying to find his place in Chen Village, the legendary town where everyone is a martial arts master...and Chen-style Tai Chi is forbidden to outsiders. But since he helped save the town from a frightening steam-powered machine, Yuniang (Angelababy), beautiful daughter of Grandmaster Chen (Tony Leung Ka-Fai), agrees to marry Lu Chan and bring him into the family. It's only a formality, though - she is the teacher, and he is the student - and that suits Lu Chan just fine, as the mutant horn on his head gives him incredible kung-fu power, but leaves him dumber each time, and closer to death.

Chen Village still stands in the shadow of danger. A prodigal brother returns, Lu Chan's presence invokes a curse on the town, and Yuniang's scorned fiancée has an appetite for revenge, as well as some new partners in crime.

The second in a trilogy from the creators of IP MAN and DETECTIVE DEE, and featuring action directed by the legendary Sammo Hung, TAI CHI HERO is a full-on, steampunk-infused, video game-influenced kung fu throwdown that will knock you out of your seat.

source:Twitch




14 March 2013

Watch New Violent Trailer For Johnnie To's Drug War

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Hong Kong cinema has made a name for itself as a worldwide leader in action thrillers, a market that's delivered by the likes of John Woo,Shaw Brothers, Dante Lam, Tsui Hark. Even cinephiles worldwide who may not be overall fans of the genre they can say they have at least 1 hong kong thriller amongst their collections. Johnnie To is another fine Hong Kong based director who has contributed many great films down the years and next month Drug War (Du Zhan) will be released and tonight we have a brand new English subbed trailer.

If your looking for something gritty, violent Drug War will supply your needs. With the film been filmed on mainland China, there was a sense of doubt the violence as well as To's signature style the film would get the certificate due to China's strict regulations however everything has got the thumbs up now! The film was the secret film at the recent Rome Film festival which it left  some great reviews which is probably why now we have a new trailer with English subs! We don't know yet if (or when) Drug War will arrive in UK&Ireland, USA there is a distributor however no release date has been set.

Drug War (Du Zhan) is set for a 2nd April Chinese/Hong Kong Release and stars Sun Honglei, Louis Koo, Honglei Sun, Michelle Ye, and Yi Huang.



Synopsis

Set in Jinshan, China, Timmy Choi, a cold-hearted drug dealer, crashes his car into a convenient store after the exposure of his drug factory. In saving his own life, he locks his wife and brother-in-law inside the factory. Police officer Lei, extremely smart and careful, tries to track down drug criminals by offering an opportunity for Ming to reduce the penalty. Choi helps out by betraying all his brothers, until the last minute when he turns back...

source:Twitch

8 February 2013

John Woo's Reign Of Assassins Getting UK DVD Release End Of February

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John Woo co-directed Reign Of Assassins this friday will get itself a limited cinema release before been released on DVD  later this month. Reign Of Assassins (Jianyu) has an all-star cast in this period-set martial arts actioner that combines the action-comedy and romance of “Mr. & Mrs. Smith” with the identity swap thrills of “Face/Off”.

Nominated for ten Hong Kong Film Awards (including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Action Choreography, Best Cinematography), this is far and away the classiest and best-choreographed martial arts extravaganza we’ve seen since “House Of Flying Daggers”. John Woo’s inimitable directorial touch, sumptuous visuals, astonishing action set-pieces and a beautiful and extremely talented cast featuring the cream of Asian cinema, all performing at the top of their game, make this a must-see.

Reign of Assassins stars Michelle Yeoh, woo-song jung, Xueqi Wang, Shawn Yu, Kelly Lin and Barbie Hsu. Reign Of Assassins will be released cinematically on 15th February, DVD on 25th February

Special Features:

Preparing The Story

Challenging The Strongest

The Characters

Destiny

Sword Fighting & Magic

Buy Reign Of Assassins:On DVD






Synopsis

In Ancient China, “Drizzle” is the most deadly and ruthless assassin of the Dark Stone gang. After a life of theft and murder, she seeks to atone for her ways and leave the gang forever. Undergoing a drastic procedure to alter her appearance, she changes her name to Jing and starts a new life in the capital.

Even with her newfound life as a shopkeeper and a budding romance to Ah-Sheng, the Dark Stone gang is hot on her trail. She alone holds the secret of the mystical Buddhist monk’s remains, which legend says the possessor will gain control of the whole world. The gang will stop at nothing in their pursuit to control this power

8 January 2013

John Woo's Wu Xia Fest Reign Of Assassins To Get February UK Release Date

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Ratpack Films are pleased to announce that Reign of Assassins - described as “The best wu xia film since Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" by The Global Times - will be heading to UK cinemas on 15 February 2013.

Nominated for ten Hong Kong Film Awards (including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Action Choreography, Best Cinematography), this period-set martial arts actioner is far and away the classiest and best-choreographed martial arts extravaganza since “House Of Flying Daggers”.

John Woo (Red Cliff; Paycheck; Mission Impossible II; Face/Off) and Su Chao-pin's (Silk) inimitable directorial touch, sumptuous visuals, astonishing action set-pieces and a beautiful and extremely talented cast including Michelle Yeoh (The Lady; Memoirs Of A Geisha; Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon; Tomorrow Never Dies) and Jung Woo-sung (The Good, The Bad, The Weird; The Warrior), all performing at the top of their game, make this a must-see.

Reign of Assassins combines the action-comedy and romance of “Mr. & Mrs. Smith” with the identity swap thrills of “Face/Off”. In Ancient China, “Drizzle” is the most deadly and ruthless assassin of the Dark Stone gang. After a life of theft and murder, she seeks to atone for her ways and leave the gang forever. Undergoing a drastic procedure to alter her appearance, she changes her name to Jing and starts a new life in the capital.

Even with her newfound life as a shopkeeper and a budding romance to Ah-Sheng, the Dark Stone gang is hot on her trail. She alone holds the secret of the mystical Buddhist monk’s remains, which legend says the possessor will gain control of the whole world. The gang will stop at nothing in their pursuit to control this power.

Reign Of Assassins will get an cinematic run in UK&Ireland from 15th February below is the film's official film poster and a trailer .


19 August 2012

White Vengeance DVD Review

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☆☆☆☆

I'll level with you. I'm no expert on Asian cinema. I'm not completely ignorant, but I just tend to avoid films with titles like Honour Blade, Red Battle and the like. However, since White Vengeance plopped onto my desk, I thought I'd better give it a go, especially with the intriguing title, especially since the cover dispelled my initial theory that it was a Ku Klux Klan recruitment film.

Here's the thing, I sat through all 135 minutes of White Vengeance and I still don't know what the title is referring to. My best guess is that it's a reference to the board game Go which features in the film. According to Wikipedia: “the game is noted for being rich in strategy despite its relatively simple rules.” which makes sense from a thematic point of view.

White Vengeance is based on a tumultuous time in Chinese history where two brothers, Liu Bang (Leon Lai) and Xiang Yu ( the awesomely named Feng Shaofeng) end up in a power struggle, after it is decreed that whoever can subvert the Qin kingdom will be crowned Lord Qin. I honestly couldn't tell you more because that's basically all I understood. White Vengeance was confusing from the off. From what I understand, the film focuses on the Feast at Hong Gate, a notable period in in Chu-Han Contention phase of Chinese history. I gathered from the film that it was a time full of betrayal, intricate schemes and second-guessing strategies. The film isn't a history lesson, but it relies so heavily on prior knowledge of these various battles that I quickly got lost amongst the epic battles and overly verbose characters. It certainly doesn't make allowances for n00bs. Reading up on it, this particular bit of history does seem fascinating and has made me want to know more about the various dynasties. However, this film does not give you the information you need to become invested. No film should require prior reading or research.

Whilst huge chunks of the story were lost on me, I can tell you it all looks very nice. Director Daniel Lee definitely has a decent eye for shots and some of the battle scenes are well done. Not knowing his previous work, I guessed part way through that Lee was an action director at heart as the action scenes were the most confident and accomplished, with plenty to keep sword fans happy. It's a shame the rest of it doesn't match up. The film is overlong, way too talky and, as mentioned before, completely impenetrable to newcomers. I wanted this film to be my introduction to a new world of historical epics as I'm pretty sick of seeing the American Civil War and the two World Wars played out over and over again. Through internet research, I have found there is a budding interest for me there, it's just I couldn't get on with this film. If you're up on your Chinese history and familiar with this sort of flick I daresay it's probably a pretty solid entry to the genre. As a gateway film, it doesn't work at all. Still, it's made me think twice about blindly ignoring films like Honour Warrior: The Legend of Q'in Dinn or whatever.

Ben Browne

Rating: 15
UK Release Date: 20th August 2012
Directed by: Daniel Lee
Cast: Shaofeng Feng, Leon Lai, Anthony Wong Chau-Sang,

2 August 2012

A Simple Life (Tao Jie) Review

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★★★☆☆


For me, realism is an ugly word.

Mostly, this is because commenting on a lack of ‘realism’ is like a get-out clause for people who want to slam fantastical fiction, but are unable to think of a more valid criticism. Instead of commenting on narrative flow, story structure or character development, they choose to poo-poo aspects of a story that actually reveal creative ambition. Unreality is not a negative trait. Hell, it’s almost the opposite. I know about reality. I have to live here. In fact so do you, so tell me: is it really all that fun?

For those of you shaking your heads right now, prepare to be vindicated, because A Simple Life, today’s review topic, is a very realistic movie. It is also decidedly not fun.

A Simple Life is a film about a relationship. Roger (Andy Lau) is a film producer, living in Hong Kong while working in mainland China. Ah Tao (Deannie Yip) is Roger’s family’s maid. The family itself has emigrated to the USA, leaving Ah Tao only Roger to care for. Until, that is, one night, when Roger returns to his house to find Ah Tao unconscious, having suffered a stroke. She recovers, but is severely weakened, so Roger takes it on himself to look after her for a change.

This might at first sound like a bonding-through-adversity tale, but that’s not it at all. Ah Tao and Roger are already bonded before the film starts, after a long lifetime shared. Ah Tao apparently spoiled the young Roger rotten, going behind his parents’ back to get him film magazines and soft drinks, and their mutual affection has endured since then. They aren’t bosom buddies exactly. The difference in their lifestyles and social status makes some awkwardness inevitable. But nevertheless, these two are family, and at its core, A Simple Life is about watching that familial bond in action.

Admittedly, this does make for a vaguely compelling experience. Sometimes the film is a hair’s breadth from dullness, and I found myself staring at the DVD player timer, wondering how much more to go. But at other times, the film proves charming, and even funny. Lau is good with deadpan comedy, and the affection on display in some of his interactions with Ah Tao might win a smile from a stone.

However it is Yip’s performance that is more noticeably impressive. Her role calls, not only for emotional flexibility, but for physical artifice as well. It is a challenge, but one Yip proves well able to meet. Emotionally, I felt she was at her best acting against Fuli Wang as Roger’s mother. The awkwardness of their encounters, as Ah Tao’s illness brings down the social barriers between them, was palpable. Yip also achieves much on the physical side. In particular, the degeneration of her walk into a terrible, paralytic shuffle, really drives home the impact of Ah Tao’s stroke.

But despite all this, once the credits rolled, I found A Simple Life left little impression on me. The sheer lack of drama leaves it an annoyingly weightless film.

This is not to say I wish, oh, that about halfway through A Simple Life, Ah Tao suddenly has to fight ninjas or something (though that would have been interesting). Many films have a similar structure to A Simple Life, eschewing the straightforward conflicts of the average yarn. Rampart, that cop movie with Woody Harrelson in it, is a good, earlier-this-year example. What set that apart from A Simple Life though, was its sense of purpose. Rampart may not have had a plot per-se, but David Brown’s headlong dive towards self-destruction gives the film dramatic propulsion, something A Simple Life lacks.

See, Ah Tao may be well-acted, but as a character, she has no purpose. She is at the centre of the film, but she is never moving towards anything. Her life, in essence, is waiting: waiting to have that inevitable second stroke, and eventually, to die. And because this is what she is doing, the audience is stuck waiting too. Waiting and waiting for these miserable things to happen to her.

Not fun right?

Well yes, and yet it also happens to be depressingly accurate. At Ah Tao’s stage of health, life tends to become just one jerky, downward slide towards death. That’s not to say it’s devoid of fun or interesting things, or that it’s impossible to have goals at that stage. It’s just a conclusion once ignorable, is now plainly visible. And Ah Tao, in the face of that conclusion, and her physical fragility, essentially just gives up. The result is A Simple Life presents the experience of extreme old age as nothing more than a wait for the reaper.

This is realistic. But it makes for an experience I cannot recommend.

Adam Brodie

Rating:12A
UK Release Date: 3rd August 2012
Directed By:Ann Hui
Cast: Andy Lau, Deannie Yip , Lawrence Ah Mon