Posts tagged "China"

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

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Posted by Tars Tarkas - April 9, 2014 at 12:01 pm

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The White Haired Witch of Lunar Kingdom drops a trailer!

The latest version of The Bride with White Hair comes out April 25th, and the trailer has just been released. The White Haired Witch of Lunar Kingdom白发魔女传 – stars Fan Bingbing as Lian Nishang, the woman whose hair turns white when she’s betrayed by a man. Huang Xiaoming is the man Zhuo Yihang. Judging from the scenes, the movie carves its own path and doesn’t follow any of the previous film adaptations. As I’ve not seen a translated version of the original story, I don’t know if it is following that or is wholly unique. The amount of time Lian Nishang has white hair is limited, so just how quickly she goes all white hair revenge I don’t know.

It’s a big budget wuxia flick from Mainland China – which doesn’t have the best track record. Jacob Cheung directs, and he has directed 2006’s A Battle of Wits, which came out at the time China was dropping tons of historical action films every week. It certainly wasn’t the worst of them, so perhaps things will be interesting enough.

The White Haired Witch of Lunar Kingdom

The White Haired Witch of Lunar Kingdom

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Posted by Tars Tarkas - March 7, 2014 at 3:39 pm

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Carrie Ng and Shirley Yung make their directorial debuts with Angel Whispers

Carrie Ng
The 12th Hong Kong Asia Film Financing Forum (HAF) announced their list of films they are funding, and the list is full of potentially cool projects. But the project that stands out is Angel Whispers, which will be the directorial debuts of Carrie Ng Ka-Lai (吳家麗) and Shirley Yung Sau-lan (翁秀蘭). Of the 25 project winners, 5 of them have female directors or co-directors. There is also Lina Yang for Forgive Me, Dechen Roder for The Honeygiver Among the Dogs (Bhutan), Fazila Amiri for Hip Hop Kabul (a documentary), Birgitte Sigmundstad (with Sherman Ong) for Lucy and I (a documentary)

Carrie Ng is best known for starring in a string of genre pictures, including Naked Killer. Shirley Yung has spent much of her career being a production manager and planner on a lot of popular Hong Kong films. It will be interesting to see how both of them use their experience on Angel Whispers. The film is about a group of prostitutes who battle the Triad over ownership of a building slated to be demolished, and soon someone begins killing the women.

The amount of woman directors is painfully small (and awesome words on that subject were written recently by Lexi Alexander), so it’s good to see some of them breaking through in Asian cinema, even if there is a long way to go.

The HAF selects projects from all around Asia, with this year having winners from China, Japan, Bhutan, Afghanistan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines, and Taiwan. A full list of winners is available on the HAF site and by pdf.

via FilmBizAsia

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Posted by Tars Tarkas - January 30, 2014 at 2:08 pm

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Angel Warriors (Review)

Angel Warriors

aka 鐵血嬌娃 aka Five-Star General aka 五星上將 aka The Five aka 5星上將
Angel Warriors
2013
Written by Fu Huayang and Xu Shalang
Directed by Fu Huayang


Break out the pillows, because Angel Warriors will cure your sleep disorders. In fact, you might find yourself reflecting at how you are wasting your brief time here on planet Earth watching something that’s a complete mess of a film. But maybe you’ll then be motivated to go out and achieve something, lest watching Angel Warriors end up your final act.

Angel Warriors

This lady finds more tiger cubs before 6 AM than you do ever!


Angel Warriors began life as Five-Star General, which we actually reported on in 2011, though it sounded completely different and I didn’t even realize this was the same film! But true to my word, I checked it out and now regret saying I would look into it. The two year turnaround to get a release hints at the problem the completed film had. And there are a lot of problems. It is time to address them in list format, because that is efficient, and we’re all about efficiency at TarsTarkas.NET, a site that regularly has rambling reviews that never get to the point. Wait a minute, ignore that last part!
Angel Warriors

I dare you to lick it!


Cinematic Crimes Angel Warriors is guilty of:
Angel Warriors

Just call me Powerglove because I’m so bad!


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Posted by Tars Tarkas - January 15, 2014 at 11:59 pm

Categories: Movie Reviews, Ugly   Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Fox Lover (Review)

The Fox Lover

aka 白狐 aka Arctic Fox
Fox Lover
2013
Written by ???
Directed by Niu Chao-Yang

Fox Lover
Another effects-laden Mainland China film about fairy spirits, these have been all been slogs, and I was expecting another mediocre effort. The shocking thing is The Fox Lover is actually good! The freedom of not being a direct copy of one of the classic 80s/90s Hong Kong films has given it some freedom to still be loyal to the tone of the fox spirit movies, but to be able to do its own thing. The other key to success was it isn’t as big budget effects as it is advertising. There are a few scenes, but most of the effects are more practical, and the lack of money means they need to rely on things like the story and acting.

The Fox Lover is based on one of the tales in Pu Songling’s Strange Stories from a Chinese Studio/Liaozhai Zhiyi, the origin for a huge chunk of supernatural ghost lover stories in Chinese film – such as Erotic Ghost Story, Painted Skin, A Touch of Zen, and A Chinese Ghost Story.
Fox Lover
I think things went a bit too far overboard as far as female characters getting a raw deal is concerned. But then practically every character has something bad happen to them. It’s even a disclaimer in the film itself – romances with fox spirits end in tragedy. The only reason the mother fox is offering her daughter to a human is from a sense of repayment for saving her life long ago. It also helps Lord Wang out, as his son Wang Yuen Feng’s mental condition will keep him from finding a human bride who would want to be with him (I don’t think that’s entirely true, as the Wang family has money and there would be many poorer families that would give multiple daughters. But I guess that’s not as good of a choice socially has a hot fox bride!)
Fox Lover
Through a series of problems, the white fox family is drawn into battle with Sea Bat King, who murders Lord Wang as revenge for protecting his village from the Sea Bats. Madam Yu vows to avenge her friend’s death, but the Sea Bats are too powerful to fight without causing danger to her entire family.
Fox Lover

Willow (Gillian Chung Yan-Tung) – Called “crazy” by the other fox sisters, Willow is a strong-willed spirit who delights in causing mischief. Her hobby is ripping up kites. Willow’s color theme is subtle turquoise with touches of lavender and green. One of her closest friends is Rattan the tree. Does not initially think that Wang Yeun Feng is the man that she should make body contacts in cloud and rain with.
Wang Yuen Feng (Julian Cheung Chi-Lam) – The adopted son of the magistrate of Cangcheng, Lord Wang (Wang Yuen Feng was a foundling, and came with sword that no one can unsheathe) Wang Yuen Feng has been afflicted with an illness that turned him into an idiot. Has magic powers that need to be unlocked, and can only be unlocked by making love to a woman he loves.
Madam Yu (Kara Hui Ying-Hung) – White Fox Fairy Spirit who lives in Fox Fairy Valley with her daughters. As she was saved by Lord Wang 40 years ago, she offers to betroth one of her daughters to Lord Wang’s son. Has the Power of 9 Tail, though transfers it to her daughter Willow.
Ling (Abby Yin Guo-Er) – A Human girl adopted by Madam Yu, her color scheme is green and she is usually serving tea to the other girls.
Sea Bat King (Gao Hu) – Lord of Sea Bat Island and leader of a gang of blood drinking demons call Sea Bats. They are like vampires, with long claws on all fingers. Most are formless and black clothed, except adviser Wisdom Spirit. Sea Bat King can morph into a more demonic form that looks straight out of early 1990s practical makeup effects. Sea Bat King hates Lord Wang, who prevented him from feeding on the inhabitants of his town. His vengeance sets into motion a war between the Sea Bats and the Fox Spirit family.
Ji Yao (Guo Ming-Xiang) – A cousin of Wang who becomes the de facto head of the Wang family after Lord Wang is kidnapped and murdered. Wants a fox fairy spirit of his own. He starts out a coward, but finds bravery.

Fox Lover

I’ll get those Hobbits!


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Posted by Tars Tarkas - January 12, 2014 at 5:26 pm

Categories: Movie Reviews, Ugly   Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

An Inaccurate Memoir

An Inaccurate Memoir

aka 匹夫 aka Pi Fu
An Inaccurate Memoir
2012
Written by Leon Yang Shu-Peng and Zhang Xiao-Bei
Directed by Leon Yang Shu-Peng

An Inaccurate Memoir
Wow, did I get An Inaccurate Memoir wrong! Here I thought it looked cool and would be entertaining, but instead it just ends up being boring and making me wonder why I’m wasting time on it when I have a thousand other films to watch. A sad end, because An Inaccurate Memoir looked strong, taking place during the Japanese invasion of China and featuring bandits and resistant fighters in a near-lawless setting.
An Inaccurate Memoir
It’s not all bad, there is some awesome cinematography of wide open spaces indicative of Westerns that so many of these Eastern/Occupied China films emulate. There is some cool imagery, if you are patient enough to wait around for it. Most striking is the occupying Japanese soldiers playing soccer with a skull. The Japanese are dehumanized in most scenes, especially the raid on the bandit base by gas mask wearing Japanese troops that look like monstrous invaders.
An Inaccurate Memoir
The action sequences are too sparse, and when under way, are done with an intense energy, like every move and shot is done with great pain and heroic struggle. Think everyone acting like screaming Spartans from 300 except without all the stylized effects around them and just in a real firefight, and it begins to look ridiculous. I’m all for stylizing action films, but here it is just a mess of struggle. Sure, some characters it can be advantageous to show the heroic struggle…if used in moderation, not filled so much the seams are bursting.
An Inaccurate Memoir
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Posted by Tars Tarkas - September 16, 2013 at 8:22 am

Categories: Movie Reviews, Ugly   Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

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