Another great old Linda video.
Friday, August 21, 2009
Janice has usually included some songs in English on her cantopop CDs (including some translated Leon Lai songs on her debut) but this is her first fully English album. She sounds great of course with her pronunciations spot on though on some songs her breathing is a little too audible. My favourite song on the album is "speechless" which is a nice ballad with good tone and a big chorus. Its basically a good cantopop album in English though the lyrics are maybe a bit basic.
A-1 (HK 2004)
A-1 is a refreshingly cerebral film, a murder investigation thriller without buckets of blood and ultra-violence (not that these are bad, just that its nice to have a change). The gorgeous Angelica Lee stars as a reporter with a debt problem. Not only are debt collectors in the shape of Anthony Wong and Eric Kot hanging around wanting her money her boyfriend has died in a car crash. And when Anthony Wong turns out to be an ex-cop and suggests the car crash wasn't an accident then Angelica begins an investigation into what really happened with her rather gormless photographer friend in tow played by Edison Chen.
Had Angelica's boyfriend uncovered a plot to cover up the death of a model because of the involvement of a son of a tycoon? Well yes and is the editor of the newspaper covering it up? Well maybe. And what is the role of the police in all this? The film is an enjoyable exploration of HK from it's gadget obsessed (and debt stricken) youngsters to the super-rich and the influence they can exert on society, even the forces of law and order. There is some action but most of the film is slow burning investigation. There is also a slightly romantic subplot involving Anthony and Angelica, even if she says he reminds her of her Dad!
One criticism of the film is that it ends very neatly with various parties coming clean about their parts in corruption and maybe a bit of a damp squid with little suspense but maybe we are just too used to big action set-pieces and plenty of spent cartridges. The sudden about-face by Anthony about one of the key parts in the plot also confuses slightly. But this is a very enjoyable film with good characters and a good script, some may call it boring however i call it intelligent and dare i say it realistic?
Monday, August 17, 2009
Sunday, August 16, 2009
The Sniper (HK 2009)
The Sniper is a decent and enjoyable HK action film. Its very commercial, with plenty of buff male bods and guns on show to cater for as many parts of the film audience as possible. It is also a bit confusing to be quite honest but gets it's job done in the end.
Edison Chen (he of the nude celeb photo collection) plays a rookie in the elite HK sniper team. Despite being new he is full of confidence and thinks he can be the best sniper ever. The two current contenders for that title are the head of the sniper team played by Richie Jen and a disgraced ex-member of the team played by Huang Xiaoming. When we first see Huang he is coming out of prison. We arn't told for some time why he has been in the Nick, it was because of a mission that went wrong but he is most sore about the fact that he wasn't backed up by Richie in the enquiry.
Huang now is using his skills on the side of the bad guys including gangster Jack Kao but is it all just a means to an end so he can try and gain revenge on his ex-team mates? Well you will just have to see it and find out.
The film is rather confusing though does make sense, more or less, in the end. There are a number of plot dead-ends though such as an appearance by Edison's Father. Their relationship is rocky but the film doesn't go anywhere with this. You get the impression the film could do with another 30 minutes of footage to tidy it up though that may spoil the taut and macho action. Its not really a film for exquisite storytelling, its a story of guys with guns running around bare chested. Great action scenes and some nice stylish cinematic touches. Maybe it needs a sequel to tidy everything up. Though with what Edison has been up to over the last couple of years that is unlikely to ever come about.
Monday, August 10, 2009
Monday, August 3, 2009
True Women For Sale (HK 2008)
True Women For Sale is one of those very HK films that reveals in the people and culture of the SAR that you either love or find totally alien. I fall into the former category and loved this collection of misfit/normal HK characters struggling in their different ways to make it in the world.
You have Prudence Lau, in a rare film outing, as an aging drug addict prostitute with terrible teeth. Anthony Wong as an insurance salesman who is always looking for a new client even if his working class clients are not exactly that regular with payment of their premiums. Race Wong plays a mainland immigrant made pregnant by a now dead HK man who is continually demanding her rights and in a very annoying squeeky manner too (no doubt intentionally to amuse the HK audience).
The film, directed wonderfully by Herman Yau, does not have a plot as such. It is more like a set of storylines based around the various characters which sometimes intermingle and portray a HK unsure of it's reunion with the mainland and under pressure from its larger, more virile and in some ways quite alien neighbour. Thus Anthony Wong considers selling insurance on the mainland but is warned the market is very different and the HK prostitutes face competition from younger and cheaper women from the mainland.
Fairly low budget but the film does not suffer for that because of the style and content. The film is full of rough HK humour but it does not detract from the drama and social comment, the humour is used in a very natural way. One criticism may be it's more like a truncated soap than a movie but the story reaches a (kind of) conclusion in the end and is highly recommend for those who love HK and want a bit more than bland action thrillers which are set in HK but could basically be anywhere.
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