Hitman (Hong Kong) 1998


Hitman (Chinese) 1997

Jet Li’s latest is a curious film. It’s an action comedy about Fu (Jet), an ex-soldier who gets hired by a low-rent triad (Eric Tsang) to chase a $100 million dollar hit: to kill the King of Assassins, who was responsible for the murder of a powerful Japanese crimelord. Thing is, everyone and their brother is after the reward, including the Japanese guy’s son, who’s damn intent on getting that 100 million for himself.

Fu seems to have the ability to get the job done, but he’s too damn nice, which is a perfect fit for Jet Li the actor. This is actually the best character Jet Li has played in a while, eschewing his humorless acting for a gentler personality. This film effectively dodges the previously inescapable Jet Li bullet: no personality. Eric Tsang and Jet Li make a good team, with Tsang edging Li in the acting department. However, Li isn’t too bad, and we hear his real voice for the first time.

Gigi Leung shows up as Tsang’s daughter, a budding lawyer who takes a small shine to Fu. As always, she’s incredibly cute but she doesn’t do all that much. Simon Yam is on board as the cop intent on catching all the hitmen entering HK. There are some good action sequences that are weighed down by a sometimes confusing and slow plot. But, this film has a definite HK charm that it deserves credit for. This isn’t a thrill-a-minute exercise, but it’s quite worthwhile, especially for the chemistry between the actors. (Kozo 199

Awards: 18th Annual Hong Kong Film Awards
• Nomination – Best Action Design (Stephen Tung Wai)

Year: 1998

Director: Stephen Tung Wai

Producer: Gordon Chan Car-Seung

Writer: Chan Hing-Kai, Vincent Kok Tak-Chiu

Cast: Jet Li Lian-Jie, Eric Tsang Chi-Wai, Simon Yam Tat-Wah, Gigi Leung Wing-Kei, Ng Chi-Hung, John Ching Tung

Language: English

The Shopaholics (Hong Kong) 2006


Plot

Fluffy and fun. The Shopaholics is a fast and furious screwball comedy that relies on speed and repetitive shenanigans instead of a solid screenplay or acting – which is fine, because this is a Lunar New Year film. A much, much better movie than Himalaya Singh.
Review:
It’s that time of the year again. Besides red pockets and (hopefully) a day or two off, Lunar New Year means yet another opportunity for Wai Ka-Fai, Cecilia Cheung, and Lau Ching-Wan to attempt to tickle our funny bone. They did a fine job two years ago with Fantasia, but missed the mark by a good 3000 miles with last year’s Himalaya Singh. Their latest attempt: The Shopaholics, an urban farce about people who like to shop too much. In the case of Fong Fong-Fong (Cecilia Cheung), the habit is a major issue. She loses jobs, forgets her responsibilities, and generally acts like a total loon when let loose in one of Hong Kong’s omnipresent mega-malls. For Fong-Fong, shopping is more than a hobby, it’s a disease.
Enter Choosey Lee (Lau Ching-Wan), a popular psychologist who resolves to cure Fong-Fong. He also hires her to be his assistant, which comes about during a breathless session/interview where the equally-addled doctor keeps switching between counseling and interviewing Fong-Fong. Choosey’s problem is that he isn’t able to make any choices, from buying his lunch, to selecting his fighting style (in a repeated gag, Choosey can’t decide which martial art to use when kicking people’s asses), to choosing his women. Choosey has an ex-girlfriend, Ding Ding-Dong (lucious-lipped Ella Koon), who’s also a shopaholic, but one who’s lowered herself to knockoff goods and crappy discounted merchandise. Fong-Fong also has another guy, insanely rich tycoon Richie Ho (Jordan Chan), who alternates between being a tightwad miser and a spendthrift, the latter of which happens when someone competes with him financially. The four eventually demonstrate the seriousness of their neuroses by getting involved in a four-way engagement, the resolution of which is scheduled for their joint wedding day. How screwed up is that?
The answer: plenty screwed up, but that’s where all the fun in Shopaholics lies. Wai Ka-Fai seems to be lampooning Hong Kong citizens in general with his tale of spendthrift screwups. Early on, Choosey Lee tells us that Hong Kong people have plenty of mental illnesses thanks to their hectic, fast-paced lifestyles, which are concerned with one thing only: making money. As the stereotype goes, Hong Kong people are all about the $$$, and get involved in such sordid things as massive debt, rampant materialism, and arbitrary choices based on a person’s bank account. There isn’t room for serious issues in a Lunar New Year flick, and Wai Ka-Fai blithely slides by any real commentary by going for the screwball farce. He does wring some sly laughs from his parody of Hong Kong’s culture of materialism, but makes sure to appease the parodied parties by delivering a fantasy about a gorgeous shopaholic like Cecilia Cheung getting stuck between two incredibly rich and eligible bachelors. If only real-life psychiatry patients were as screwed up as the attractive neurotics presented in Shopaholics.
And there are plenty of neurotics to go around. The parents are messed up too, from Wong Tin-Lam, who has narcolepsy, to Law Kar-Ying, who’s a gambling addict and can’t stop using foul language. The matriarch of this entire bunch is Dr. Phoenix Luk (classic singer Paula Tsui, also playing a shopaholic), who’s not actually related to anyone, but serves as the mother thanks to her overly-genial personality and way with psychiatry. She eventually decides to solve the young foursome’s choosing issues with a whirlwind of phone call psychiatry on their joint wedding day, directing them to chase, dump, or trick their potential partners in a protracted “get to the church on time” finale that’s as amusing as it is breathless and tiresome. Wai Ka-Fai goes for broke with his back-and-forth climax, which mines repetition and overdone histrionics to such an extreme that it only grows exhausting. If you happen to check out Shopaholics and find the breathless pace, overdone characters, and rampant silliness tiring, you’re probably not alone.
But the speed of silliness is half the fun of Shopaholics. Things move so quickly and so forcefully that the film’s lack of anything substantial doesn’t seem to register once the credits roll. Only once or twice does the film really slow down, and the moments manage to be semi-affecting ones between usual costars Lau Ching-Wan and Cecilia Cheung. Neither does anything in Shopaholics worth writing home about; each mugs and overacts with the practiced professionalism of a Lunar New Year film veteran. The same goes for the rest of the cast, the only exception being Paula Tsui, who doesn’t really seem to act at all – though Wai Ka-Fai’s screenplay and direction don’t seem to require it of her. Wai doesn’t seem interested in challenging anything or anyone, and goes ultra-innocuous by making everything incredibly light and predictable. The result is too inconsequential to be truly noteworthy, but these are forgiving times. Shopaholics is an entertaining trifle, and fast, fluffy, and funny enough for the masses. (Kozo 2006)

AKA:………………….. Jui oi nui yun kau muk kong

Year:………………….. 2006
Directed:…………….. Ka-Fai Wai
Genre:……………….. Comedy/Romance
Runtime:…………….. 92 minutes
Country:…………….. Hong Kong
Language:………….. Cantonese Language Version
Subtitles:…………… English(.idx, .sub, .srt)
IMDB: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0491002/ User Rating: 5.0/10

Passage to Buddha (Korean) 1993

Passage to Buddha

Director Jang Sun Woo might be best known for provocative, controversial films, such as “Lies, A Petal, and To You From Me”, but he has a quiet side as well. Winner of the Alfred-Bauer Prize at the 1994 Berlin Film Festival, “HwaOmKyung” (a.k.a. “Passage to Buddha”, one of Jang’s best works, is a quiet and evocatively beautiful meditation on life. Based on former monk and political activist Go Eun’s novel, “HwaOmKyung” is one of the best Buddhist-themed films Korea has produced. Oh Tae Kyung (Old Boy) gives a stunning performance as Seon Jae, a young boy who spends his life on the road in search of his mother. A modern unfolding of the Avatamsaka sutra, his spiritual odyssey leads him to telling encounters with strange people and, eventually, the essence of Buddhism. HwaOmKyung stole the show at the 32nd Grand Bell Awards, bringing home four awards including Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Music (by Lee Jong Gu), and a special prize for Taeheung Pictures. Like all the other titles in the Taeheung Pictures Collection, “HwaOmKyung” has been remastered through a HD Telecine. [Yesasia.com]

IMDB-link……..: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0107171/

Original title…: HwaOmKyung
Genre…………: Drama / Buddhist
Distributor……: Taeheung Movies
Year………….: 1993
Country……….: South Korea
Director………: Sun-Woo Jang

Hallelujah (Korean) 1997

Plot

Yang Deok-Keon, a swindler, finds an interesting letter in the purse of a reverend, a victim of traffic accident. The letter says if one comes with this letter, he or she can receives 100 million won as settling fund of newly founded church. Deok-Keon assumes the air of the clergymen to go to the church instead of the real clergyman who is still unconscious in hospital. However 100 million won of easy money can’t come to him with ease. The church authority demands him to help for 2 weeks on behalf of the church’s clergyman who is in America on business. Thus Deok-Keon shows real face of the fake clergyman to get the money dashing this side and rushing that…(Source: asiandb)
IMDB Link……..: http://imdb.com/title/tt0296664/
AsianDb Link…..: http://www.asiandb.com/browse/movie_detail.pfm?code=59
Genre…………: Comedy
Distributor……: Korea Image Investment and Development
Year………….: August 9, 1997
Duration………: 98 minutes
Country……….: South Korea
Subtitles………: English
Director………: Sin Seung-soo
Starring………: Park Joong-hoon /Lee Je-ni/Choi Jong-won

Balzac And The Little Chinese Seamstress (China | France) 2002

Balzac And The Little Chinese Seamstress

Synopsis / Plot
In 1971 China, in the lingering grip of the cultural revolution, two university students, Luo and Ma, are sent to a mountain mining village as part of their reeducation duty to purge them of their classical western oriented education. Amid the backbreaking work and stifling ignorance of the community, the two boys find that music, and the presence of the beautiful local young women are the only pleasant things in their miserable life. However, none compare to the young seamstress granddaughter of the local tailor. Stealing a departing student’s secret cache of forbidden books of classic western literature such as the works of Honore de Balzac, they set about to woo her and teach her things she had never imagined. In doing so, they start a journey that would profoundly change her perspective on her world and teach the boys about the power of literature and their own ability to change their world in truly revolutionary ways.

Chinese Title: Xiao cai feng
Year: 2002
Director: Sijie Dai
Genre: Biography, Comedy, Drama, Romance
Runtime: 1:46:11
Country: China, France
Language: Mandarin, French
Subtitles: English, French (SUBIDX)
IMDB: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0291032/

Cast
Xun Zhou, Kun Chen, Ye Lieu, Shuangbao Wang, Zhijun Cong, Hong Wei Wang, Xiong Xiao

Pisces (Korean) 2000

Pisces (Korean) 2000

Synopsis / Plot
For Aeryeon (played by veteran actress Lee Miyeon), a video shop owner, her only friends are movies and a couple of tropical fish she raises in the shop. The other joy of hers is to select quality videos for her customers, which is interpreted as part of her effort to overcome solitude. Then one day comes attractive and handsome Dongseok, a lover of French movies and music. From that time on, she waits for him every day. She hears from him that he composes music and prepares to release an album in order to make a debut as a singer, but has been rejected many times by producers. Although she confesses her love to him, he says he has a girlfriend to marry. Aeryeon meets Dongseok¡’s girlfriend and tells her, “You can meet other boyfriends than Dongseok. But for me, Dongseok is the only lover. Please leave him.” Pisces is the 12th sign of the zodiac, represented by two fish, and believed to affect the character and life of people born between Feb. 21 and March 20. For the people of Pieces, love never stops, even at the face of rejection. If it stops, it is not love. The color of blue and yellow appears alternately in this film, with jazz music as the backdrop. The film has something that touches viewers’ heartstring, more so than other films of its kind. Newcomer director Kim Hyeongtae superbly portrays the psychology of a female character abandoned by her love.

AKA: Mulgogijari
Year: 2000
Directed by: Kim Hyeong Tae
Genre: Romance
Runtime: 99 mins (approx.)
Country: Korea
Language: korean
Subtitles: not in movie (but .srt file avail.)
IMDB: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0380565/

Cast
Lee Mi-youn
Choi Woo-jae
Yoon Ji-hye