Posts tagged "China"

The Assassin (Review)

The Assassin

aka 刺客聶隱娘 aka Nie yin niang
Assassin
2015
Written by Hou Hsiao-Hsien, Chu Tien-wen, Hsieh Hai-Meng, and Zhong Acheng
Based on a story by Pei Xing
Directed by Hou Hsiao-Hsien

Assassin
The Assassin is a great film that will bore the living crap out a whole bunch of people thinking they’re going to see something that it’s not. It’s one of those films that makes me feel like a bad movie review website guy because it should be a film I’m jazzed for, but I just don’t really have strong feelings for it. I’ve even seen some of director Hou Hsiao-Hsien’s other work, thanks to a particularly well-stocked Blockbuster that had Millennium Mambo (great!) and Flowers of Shanghai (greater!). This was before I moved to an area with great independent video stores, and also way before movies became easy to find on the internet, but that’s a whole different topic! But that meant The Assassin should have been right up my alley. And yet, I never really connected with it.

The Assassin has beautiful cinematography, some of the best I’ve seen in a long time. If anything the cinematography is too beautiful, every shot of the landscape looks out of a storybook, it’s a wonder how anything was ever done in 9th century China as everywhere people looked they would just see beautiful landscapes and spend all their time admiring them. The plot is steeped in historical characters as the story is literally dropped in the middle of actual history. I don’t know if Shu Qi’s character actually existed, but much of the rest of the characters are actual historical figures. Historical spoiler alert, Tian Xing, the guy who is exiled, will eventually have Tian Ji’an’s job. If anything, The Assassin got me to read up more on Chinese history, something I hadn’t done as much as I would have liked before.
Assassin
Read more…

Be the first to comment - What do you think?
Posted by Tars Tarkas - July 5, 2016 at 10:52 am

Categories: Bad, Movie Reviews   Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Unauthorized but familiar Chinese movies

My wow Bootleg Warcraft Movie 我的魔兽世界
Chinese cinema hit the news cycle recently, but not because of a new breakout hit or because another Hollywood studio added a big Chinese star for one line of a movie in order to try to get a share of their box office, but because of a movie that is basically a bootleg of a bigger budget movie. Cinemas in China will get what is basically a bootleg Warcraft film, called My Wow (aka 我的魔兽世界 which means My World of Warcraft)! My Wow is set to hit theaters before Warcraft does, and the costumes look shockingly familiar. The plot is completely different, as it features “A man gets transported to a fantasy world of warcraft, where the impossible occurs…”

So basically it’s that same story where someone gets transported into a fantasy world and becomes a hero, except this time the fantasy world looks suspiciously like World of Warcraft without actually being Warcraft. It also stars Jatfei Wong/Wong Yat-Fei, though he doesn’t play the fish out of water character. The image at the top of the article are the oddly suspicious costumes from the film.

If you bootleg fish out of water stories from China, then you might also be excited for the upcoming release of The Adventures of Panda Warrior, which is totally not Kung Fu Panda, don’t get any ideas!

A peace-loving soldier from Ancient China is magically transported into a world ruled by an evil nine-headed snake. Transformed into a panda, he joins forces with a flying pig to free the once-peaceful Merryland from tyranny. But first he must train to be the kingdom’s most courageous panda warrior.

If The Adventures of Panda Warrior seems vaguely familiar, that’s because you might have stumbled across a trailer for it when it was called The Adventures of Jinbao (大兵金宝) in 2012. Jackie Chan voices the panda, because The Adventures of Jinbao is actually a sequel to his 2010 movie Little Big Soldier. Sort of. It’s a sequel to a flash game sequel to Little Big Soldier called FLASH Little Big Soldier (FLASH大兵小將), hence following the art style for the very beginning before Jackie Chan’s character is turned into a panda. Of course, the US version trades Jackie Chan for Rob Schneider and Norm MacDonald. None of this should be confused with the other animated Kung Fu Panda ripoff, Little Panda Fighter, which is Brazilian but also awful.

Adventures of Jinbao

Adventures of Jinbao Jackie Chan

Now if you want even more exciting stuff, April’s Crazy Toy City (疯狂玩具城) mysteriously has a similar poster and title to Disney’s Zootopia, known in China as Crazy Animal City (疯狂动物城). This was roundly mocked on China’s internet, though the film itself seems to have little to do with Zootopia, instead following a boy who is transported to a toy-ruled city after mistreating his toys. So maybe it’s a sequel to Toy Story?

Crazy Toy City Zootopia posters

Whatever the case, I’m sure we’ll soon have many more very original films to talk about! Now I have to go watch Hollywood’s latest reboot of a prequel of a sequel of a remake.

photos/info via qq and thenanfang

Be the first to comment - What do you think?
Posted by Tars Tarkas - May 24, 2016 at 11:07 am

Categories: Movie News   Tags: , , , , ,

Black Coal, Thin Ice (Review)

Black Coal, Thin Ice

aka 白日焰火 aka Bai Ri Yan Huo aka Daylight Fireworks
Black Coal Thin Ice 白日焰火
2014
Written and directed by Diao Yinan
Black Coal Thin Ice 白日焰火
In the bleak urban atmosphere of a rapidly industrializing China, body parts begin to appear at a coal processing plant mixed in with the incoming coal shipments. Those thought responsible are found, and after a bloody conclusion, things seemed solved. Years later a new crop of body parts appear, and things get darker from there. A disgraced cop who worked on the original case must put aside his own demons long enough to figure out the who-done-it before he becomes the next set of parts showing up in coal plants.

Diao Yinan’s Black Coal, Thin Ice paints a murder mystery backdropped by the new urban China, the landscape coated in layers of snow that mask the grit below. Glowing neon signs provide an aurora of human habitation among the snow, lighting many of the key locations. But the glow doesn’t show the warmth of humanity, it’s an unnatural presence that makes the night time illumination otherworldly. The inhabitants have their own secrets and shady lives, and who did what and why makes the mystery akin to peeling onions.
Black Coal Thin Ice 白日焰火
Officer Zhang Zili is an up and coming investigator with the police, though the first sign of trouble is his wife leaving him. The investigation around the body parts in the plant yields the name of the victim, the widow confused as to why her husband was targeted. Robbery suspects are located, but thanks to one of them being armed many of the characters of the first act get wiped out, Zhang only barely escaping death by killing them.

Years later, Zhang Zili lives in an alcohol-fueled state of minimal functionality. His reintroduction is him having his motorcycle stolen while he’s too drunk to give chase. He’s burned every bridge at work, where he is a walking joke kept on because of fading goodwill over surviving the shooting incident that capstoned the murder investigation.

But then more body parts are found in coal processing plants. Dun dun DUNNN!!!
Black Coal Thin Ice 白日焰火
Read more…

Be the first to comment - What do you think?
Posted by Tars Tarkas - August 3, 2015 at 7:51 am

Categories: Good, Movie Reviews   Tags: , , , , , , ,

The Balala the Fairies series (巴啦啦小魔仙) is something you need to be aware of!


Because, why shouldn’t you be aware of Balala the Fairies, a Chinese television series turned movie series about magical fairy girls that are an amalgamation of Sailor Moon, Winx, Tinker Bell, and Harry Potter? It’s just 100% natural that this is a must-know franchise! Especially since they’re already on movie #2, which released in January in China. Now the films are inching towards broader releases. You can already find episodes of the show fansubbed online, and that means the barriers of entry to the Balala world is crumbling. Crumbling like a fairy who is on life support because the audience won’t clap!

Let’s just ignore the fact the young actress who stars in Balala the Fairies: The Magic Trial (巴啦啦小魔仙之魔法的考驗) is named Daisy Cakes. Because, seriously? I play you for this, AngelaBaby!

The first film is Balala The Fairies (巴啦啦小魔仙):

After a few months, when Mei-xue (美雪) and Mei-qi (美奇) were at stargazing camp with a few friends, they saw some meteorites shooting in the sky that crashed onto the earth. When Mei-xue (美雪) and Mei-qi (美奇) went to check things out, they found a strange but pretty looking stone with a badly wounded bird, they took the bird home to look after it. But they ended up to have found Xiao-lan (小兰)back from Fairyland, why is that? There is going to be another mission to finish!?

And it’s followed by 2014’s Balala the Fairies: The Magic Trial (巴啦啦小魔仙之魔法的考驗), which features some fairy idiots letting an emo idiot loose in the real world. There’s also a plot about a girl who isn’t popular being upset at the fairy girls, who appear to be acting all snotty. I support the girl who is mad at the fairy girls 100%, even if she’s teamed up with Sorrow Potter or whatever the villain’s name is.

This film made $2 million and will probably show up in the US soon. You can find the TV series fansubbed all over YouTube (if you dare!) and there will probably be more and more films, as there is a whole toyline to support! It’s called market saturation, people!

Balala the Fairies

Be the first to comment - What do you think?
Posted by Tars Tarkas - June 4, 2014 at 9:37 am

Categories: Movie News   Tags: ,

Cat-it-tude Links!

Cat it tude forever 21
Above is a shirt I tried unsuccessfully to get my wife to buy. And below are a bunch of links I’ll successfully get you to click on, along with some random movie news that didn’t warrant their own updates.

**Fist of B-List meets Angelfist!

**Derek Yee Tung-Sing (爾冬陞) has begun work on his next director’s gig, a 3D film called The Sword Master (三少爺的劍), which is written by Tsui Hark! The Sword Master is about a retired master swordsman who returns to the martial world to try to settle a dispute with his longtime nemesis. It will star Lin Gengxin (林更新), Peter Ho (何卓榮) Jiang Yiyan (江一燕) and Jiang Mengjie (蔣夢婕). The lack of big name stars was apparently controversial, which caused Derek Yee to say “If a collaboration between Tsui Hark and I still need big stars to get you to waste your time and spend your money on a ticket, then we might as well pack up, go home, drink whiskey and shoot the breeze.”

**Pre-Code.com meets The Man From Monterey!

**The teaser trailer is out for High Heels (하이힐). The film stars Cha Seung-Won (차승원) as Detective Ji-Wook, who solves violent crimes and also desires to become a woman. The film will costar Esom (이솜) as mysterious woman Jang-Mi, and Oh Jung-Se (오정세) as Heo-Gon, who didn’t get a character description in English. High Heels is directed by Jang Jin (장진), who did the classic Guns and Talks and the more recent The Quiz Show Scandal .

**beyondasiaphilia finds That Demon Within!

**Have a nice list of the 100 best Mainland Chinese films to argue about!

**The Film Fiend is drafted into Frankenstein’s Army!

**Five cool Bengali directors

**Teleport City meets the 13 ghosts of Golgo-13!

**An Evening With Jim Henson and Frank Oz – July 1989 at the Puppeteers of America

**Jeremy Blitz feels that Black Torment!

**Newsreel archive British Pathé just released 85,000 films onto YouTube! Holy crap!

**The Vern watches Shorts!

**Reminder that Kate Mulgrew was tricked into narrating a documentary where it’s alleged that the Earth doesn’t revolve around the sun.

**FilmiGeek declares OMG – Oh My God!

**A cool essay about African American women in the silent film industry

**At Monster Island Resort the TCM Classic Film Festival Hosts TCM Party!

**RIP Pervert Dave

**The Horror!? makes bets with Daredevils of the Red Circle!

**Hey, Ju-On (The Grudge) is getting another Japanese installment!

**Hey, The Grudge (Ju-On) is getting another American reboot!

**Will there be a Gamera reboot? Probably if the Godzilla remake doesn’t bomb.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?
Posted by Tars Tarkas - April 23, 2014 at 8:12 am

Categories: Movie News   Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Li Bingbing is a snow demon in Zhong Kui: Snow Girl and the Dark Crystal

Zhong Kui Snow Girl Dark Crystal Li BingBing
Production has becon on Zhong Kui: Snow Girl and the Dark Crystal (鍾馗伏魔 雪妖魔靈), a new 3D fantasy film from China starring Chen Kun (陳坤) and Li Bingbing (李冰冰). Zhong Kui will be directed by Zhao Tianyu (趙天宇), who is mainly known for the 2011 romance film The Law of Attraction.

Zhong Kui follows the story of Zhong Kui, a ghost whose job it is to keep other ghosts in line. So basically RIPD. Li Bingbing will play a snow demon, and expect appearances from Winston Chao, Bao Bei-Er, and Summer Jike Juanyi. There is no promotional shots yet as it is still filming, with a release date set for 2015’s Chinese New Year on February 19th.

I’ve had my reservations about some of the big budget Chinese films, as they’re track record is worse than America’s big budget films, but some productions look neat, and Li Bingbing is always amazing in whatever she does. So at worst this will be sort of entertaining, and at best this is either going to be awesome or going to be so campy it becomes awesome by reverse opposite reaction, or something. It’s a Newton Law, it can’t be avoided.

via FilmBizAsia
photo via

Be the first to comment - What do you think?
Posted by Tars Tarkas - April 9, 2014 at 12:01 pm

Categories: Movie News   Tags: , , ,

Next Page »