Archive for the ‘China’ Tag
The Ferry (2013)
Director : Shi Wei
Screenwriter : Shengsheng H. D’après/Based on: The Ferry. De/By: Shengsheng He
Cinematographer : Wang Yang
Editor : Wang Qiuyue, Zhang Sheng
Cast : Zhou Guangda
Music : Wang Yuanping
Based on a true story, this leisurely paced movie is about a son who comes back from the city to visit his dad in the village. Their small house is next to a river that flows through the EnShi mountains The father has a row boat that he uses to ferry people across the river. He never asks for compensation but generally passengers will leave something whether it be food or other items as payment. It’s a service that has been passed down from many generations. The son, however, does not understand why his father continues to do this work and thinks they’ve done enough to repay the long passed away villagers who have long whom helped the ancestors many generations ago.
The film focuses mainly on the father and son. It’s a human drama that might be boring to the unprepared viewer. I found the pace a bit too slow but at the same time, it felt realistic and I was surprisingly not bored for the most part. If you can appreciate getting a glimpse into the everyday life of a villager then this movie will serve you well. There is a convenient and mostly tacked on love interest for the son to vary the tone of the story a bit.
Cinematography is nice. There are some breathtaking scenes, particularly early in the movie where they show a series of scenes rather quickly almost becoming a tourism video.
Overall, it’s an interesting movie with well-developed main characters. There’s certainly something to be learned from this movie if you have the patience.
The Deadly Bullet (2013)
Director : Ren Pengyuan
Screenwriter : Zhang Qiyin, Ren Pengyuan
Cinematographer : Han Qiming
Cast : Pu BaJia, Wang Zizi, Du Yiheng, He Dujuan, Wu Weidong
Music : Xiao Zhe
This is a decently entertaining but otherwise generic historical action thriller. The story is simple, rebels in An Hui are attempting to assassinate a corrupt government official and it focuses on one man, Xu, who joins the rebels and also ends up being a part of a love triangle. Each love interest representing a different side of the conflict.
It starts off with a dynamic fight in close quarters where two combatants try to shoot each other point blank but keep dodging and parrying each other. Unfortunately, none of the later action scenes feature such a fun if ridiculous combination of martial arts and gunplay, opting for mostly shooting and explosions. However, these later action scenes are decent. I was expecting a more involved final battle which doesn`t really happen.
Although the acting is good, the characters are one note and the story just moves along with no real development. One example is when Xu is assigned to be the leader of the police training academy and somehow gains the loyalty of the young cadets incredibly quickly. It just happens and is never shown. Read the rest of this entry »
This is a bit late in the coming but here are some Asian movies that caught my interest but of course that doesn’t mean others aren’t worth checking out. You can also check out this link which lists all the Asian films screenings at the festival and the World Film Festival website. Read the rest of this entry »
The Montreal Chinese Film Festival returns again and opens with the highly anticipated film The Grandmaster, which is Wong Kar Wai’s take on Ip Man. That film along with Tai Chi Zero will be showing with English subtitles. Other films will also be shown with French subtitles. For details visit Cinema du Parc’s website.
Le Festival du film chinois de Montréal arrivera bientôt. Plusieurs projections auront des sous-titres en français. Visitez le siteweb de Cinema du Parc pour tous les renseignements.
Grandmaster and Taichi Zero trailers after the jump.
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Toronto film fans, here’s your chance to win a pair of free tickets courtesy of Variance Films to the screening of Johnny To’s latest crime thriller DRUG WAR which opens August 9th at TIFF Bell Lightbox.
Simply reply to this post (making sure to fill out your email address) or send an email via the About / Contact page with “Variance Films Drug War Ticket Giveaway” in the message. Also feel free to tell us briefly about your favourite Johnny To film! A winner will be randomly selected from all entries. Deadline is August 7 at 11:59pm EST. You will receive an email the next day if you have won.
Theater and Tickets: http://tiff.net/filmsandschedules/tiffbelllightbox/2013/2330020385
You can check out my Fantasia review and view the trailer and synopsis below. The film also opens on August 9 in Vancouver at the Vancity Theatre and a week later on August 16 in Montreal at Cinema du Parc.
Manufacturing just fifty grams of meth in China will earn you a death sentence, and Timmy Choi (Louis Koo) has manufactured tons of it. After a violent lab accident, he’s in the custody of Captain Zhang (Sun Honglei), and now he has only one chance to avoid execution: turn informant and help Zhang’s undercover team take down the powerful cartel he’s been cooking for. With the uneasy allies forced to compress months of police work into just 72 sleepless hours, things begin to spin wildly out of control, and it becomes unclear whether the cop or the criminal truly has the upper hand in master director Johnnie To’s puzzle box of a crime thriller.
The Last Tycoon (2012)
Director: Wong Jing ; Screenplay: Wong Jing, Phillip Lui, Manfred Wong
Cast: Chow Yun-Fat, Sammo Hung, Francis Ng, Huang Xiaoming, Monica Mok
The story mainly takes place during World War 2 with flashbacks to around 1913. We see DaQi’s rise from a poor fellow wrongly tossed into jail to a powerful, charismatic triad leader and the friends, lovers, and enemies he meets along the way. When faced with the Japanese occupation of Shanghai, even a gangster must do the honorable deed and fight back.
Despite its generic action, one-note characters and predictable story, this movie managed to be entertaining due to the actors, pacing and beautiful shots of old Shanghai. Chow Yun Fat and Huang Xiaoming play the same character, Cheng DaQi. Huang being the younger version and Chow the older version. Both are practically invincible the entire movie and manage to stand straight up and shoot everybody dead or knife everybody to death. They shrug off their bullet wounds and glass shards stuck in their knees like it’s all nothing. Action scenes use lots of cuts and different camera angles with lots of slow motion employed. It’s actually not too overdone but it does little to make the action scenes anything more than serviceable. There is also a surprising amount of romance and sentimentality, Chow/Huang have not one but two lovely ladies whom they court. and much of what they do is for them.
Decent movie overall thanks to the actors that elevate the material and the general prettiness of the of time period. Without the acting talent this would’ve likely been panned as another cookie-cutter crime movie.
Drug War (2012)
Director: Johnny To ; Screenplay: Wai Ka-fai, Yau Nai-hoi, Ryker Chan, Yu Xi
Cast: Louis Koo, Sun Hong Lei, Crystal Huang, Wallace Chung
UPDATE: Variance Films have informed me that Drug War will open at Cinema du Parc in Montreal starting August 16. It will also open on August 9 in Toronto at TIFF and in Vancouver at Vancity Theatre.
Simple and straight to the point, Drug war is about a war on drugs. Sun HongLei plays a mainland, undercover cop named Zhang who’s also the captain of his team. Coming off a successful drug bust, by chance, he finds Timmy Choi in the hospital whom he immediately deduces as being involved in the drug trade. It turns out Timmy works for a major drug supplier and is supposed to set up an important meeting between the supplier and a port owner who wants to get into drug smuggling. Neither one knows what the other one looks like which presents a double duty undercover opportunity for Captain Zhang to take down a major drug supplier with Timmy’s help.
For the first hour, the story plays out in a straight-forward and at times all too predictable manner. Zhang’s team is super competent and everything seems to go their way as Zhang impersonates the port owner and the supplier with Timmy vouching for him in both scenarios. Luckily, just as the plot begins to drag a bit, some twists and turns occur and it leads to a couple of very satisfying shootouts with powerful gun shots and exploding pools of blood. People get shot, hit by cars and pretty much die immediately or almost immediately, no seemingly invincible people here although some have impeccable aim.
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Once again I’ll be listing here all the East Asian film screenings by date from July 18 to August 7. It’s three straight weeks of amazing films. Lots of good stuff that I’m looking forward to. Check out Fantasia’s trailer below.
Schedule after the jump
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