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Director Ringo Lam returns with Wild CityMarch 31, 2015
As is the director's signature, the film is set in a gritty Hong Kong where individuals live to vie for money, power and sex. The story begins with bar owner Man (Louis Koo) escorting drunk female patron Wan (Tong Liya) home. However, when Wan sees her boyfriend George (Michael Tse), she goes into a fit and begs Man to take her away. Wan then asks Man and his brother Chung (Shawn Yue) to help her escape her boyfriend and return home. Man and Chung agree, unwittingly placing themselves in the middle of a dangerous and destructive gang war.
Wild City is set to be released in summer 2015.
Text / Frood
Blind Massage tops 9th Asian Film AwardsMarch 27, 2015
In addition to Best Film, the critically acclaimed drama also won Best Cinematographer for a total of two awards. Lou previously won the top prize two years ago with the marital drama Mystery.
China was the overall winner of the night, winning ten out of fourteen categories. Along with Blind, The Golden Era and Black Coal, Thin Ice each won two prizes. The Golden Era won Best Director (Ann Hui) and Best Supporting Actor (Wang Zhiwen), while Black Coal, Thin Ice won Best Screenwriter and Best Actor (Liao Fan). In addition, Jiang Wen's Gone with the Bullets won three technical awards.
Other Asian countries took only one award each. Korea's Bae Doo Na won Best Actress for her performance as a troubled police officer protecting an abused young girl in The Girl At My Door). Ikewaki Chizuru won the Best Supporting Actress award for Japanese drama The Light Shines Only There. Indonesian action film The Raid 2 won Best Editor while Mikey McCleary won Best Composer for India's Margarita, With a Straw.
As previously announced, legendary Korean filmmaker Im Kwon Taek was presented the Lifetime Achievement Award for his long and prolific career. Japanese actress Nakatani Miki won the award for Excellence in Asian Cinema.
A joint project between Hong Kong International Film Festival, Busan Film Festival and Tokyo International Film Festival, the AFA has been held in Macau for the past two years.
Text / Rockman
HK Film Festival hosts lavish opening ceremonyMarch 27, 2015
The star-studded opening ceremony was attended by the cast and crew of opening film Murmur of the Hearts - director Sylvia Chang, Isabella Leong, Angelica Lee, Joseph Chang and Lawrence Ko – festival ambassador Louis Koo, Taiwan actress Iri Cheng and Iranian director Mohsen Makhmalbaf. During the ceremony, Wilfred Wong, the Chairman of the Hong Kong International Film Festival Society, thanked the festival's staff and volunteers for making this year's festival possible.
In her first major acting role in seven years, Isabella Leong stars as a painter who is trapped in a dead-end relationship with a self-absorbed boxer (Joseph Chang) in . Lawrence Ko plays her estranged brother, and Angelica Lee appears in flashbacks as her mother. Sylvia Chang and her three actors attended the screening and appeared at a short Q&A session following the film.
This year's HKIFF features over 280 films from 50 countries and regions around the world. It closes on April 6 with the world premiere of Port of Call, starring Aaron Kwok.
Text / Rockman
Emperor Motion Pictures announces 2015 production slateMarch 26, 2015
Leading the pack is To The Fore, a Dante Lam-directed drama set in the world of top-tier cycling. The film boasts a cast of young talents like Eddie Peng, Wang Luodan, Shawn Dou and Super Junior's Choi Si Won.
Veteran heavyweights Francis Ng, Simon Yam, Leo Ku and Patrick Tam star in Lau Ho Leung's crime dramedy Two Thumbs Up, about a group of criminals who rediscover their sense of justice while posing as policemen for a robbery.
Starring Lee Jun Ki, Zhou Dongyu and Ethan Ruan, Jump Ashin! director Lin Yu Hsien's latest Love in Sicily follows a woman as she tries to discover the truth behind the breakdown of her relationship with her fiancé.
Lauded provocateur Fruit Chan helms Kill Time, a thriller starring Angelababy and Ethan Ruan about a woman who finds that a purchase she makes on a mysterious website might be the key to solving a murder. Chan also directs Hins Cheung in We are the World, a drama about a group of 8-year-old aspiring ballroom dancers and the people trying to coach them to victory.
Irene Wan, Patrick Tam and Zhao Bingrui form the three corners of a love triangle in Lim Kah Wai's romantic drama Love in Late Autumn, which finds a woman caught between an inattentive husband and a gentle cab driver.
Fresh off their collaboration in Sara, Chapman To and Herman Yau are reuniting for The Mobfathers, a gangster comedy about five gang leaders vying for the top spot in the Hong Kong criminal underworld.
Kara Wai and Carlos Chan headline Happiness, Law Yiu Fai's touching human drama about an unlikely friendship that develops between a middle-aged woman with Alzheimer's and a young slacker.
Young guns Carlos Chan, Ken Hung and Deep Ng live it up in Takkie Yeung's Drink Drank Drunk, a comedy that follows a rich kid and his two acquaintances as they stumble through a night of hilarious debauchery on the streets of Hong Kong.
Fourteen years after July Rhapsody, Jacky Cheung and Karena Lam reunite for Steve Yuen's Heaven in the Dark, which explores the aftermath of a woman's sexual harassment accusation against a pastor.
In addition, Yuen Wo Ping is in the midst of developing a martial arts comedy, while Derek Kwok prepares to helm legal drama War of Injustice.
See photos from the EMP press conference on YesAsia Facebook.
Text / Frood
Media Asia presents blockbuster lineup for 2015March 26, 2015
Johnnie To unveiled two projects including his new film Three, starring Louis Koo, Vicki Zhao and Wallace Chung, about a doctor who finds herself caught in a conflict between the police and gangsters. The other project is Three which To co-produces with Yau Nai Hoi. The heist movie, following three gangsters played by Richie Jen, Gordon Lam and Jordan Chan, is helmed by three new directors who are each responsible for one actor's portion of the story.
Richie Jen and Gordon Lam also brought their own projects to the Media Asia Presentation. Jen showed clips from his directorial debut All You Need is Love with co-director Andy Luo. The balmy romance stars Shu Qi and Jen himself as two people who cross paths on the island of Penghu. Gordon Lam will produce and star in An Office and a Panderer with singer Ivana Wong, who garnered a record-setting five nominations at this year's Hong Kong Film Awards. Lam described the romantic comedy as a romance on Portland Street, referring to Hong Kong's red light district.
Adam Wong, who made a splash with the 2013 indie hit The Way We Dance, follows up with She Remembers, He Forgets starring Miriam Yeung and Jan Lamb. Wong works again with writer/producer Saville Chan, who started developing the script five years ago, and producer Teddy Robin. In the film, a high school reunion prompts a middle-aged woman to flash back to memories of her youth when she was close with two boys, one of whom she eventually marries. Wong likened the story of nostalgia and mid-life crisis to present-day Hong Kong, which can also be seen as going through a mid-life crisis period. Miriam Yeung and Jan Lamb revealed that the film is actually carried mostly by the younger cast of newcomers, with Lamb joking that he couldn't remember if he's even in the film.
The final highlight of the presentation was a video message from John Woo in which he discussed his intention to remake Takakura Ken's 1978 classic Manhunt. Besides paying homage to the late Japanese legend, Woo remarked that the film would also satisfy the yearnings of people who miss his earlier works about brotherhood.
See photos from the 2015 Media Asia Presentation on YesAsia Facebook.
Text / Sanwei
Nick Cheung tackles horror again for second directorial effortMarch 26, 2015
Nick Cheung said that he was inspired to make Master Fat after watching YouTube clips about supernatural occurrences. Besides Cheung himself, the film also stars Karena Lam, Amber Kuo, Philip Keung, Louis Cheung and Shi Yanneng. The film is co-produced by Law Chi Leung, whom Nick Cheung credits with helping him stay on track when he gets "too rebellious" in the filmmaking process.
One Cool Film Production also announced other works on their slate this year including a romance with action and black humor produced by Sam Lee and directed by Leung Tak Sam; a crime film about the Internet, deception and how they connect to daily life produced by Soi Cheang and directed by Jonathan Li; an inspirational comedy about a soccer coach directed by Lam Chi Chung; a crime mystery directed by Cash Chin; and the Gordon Lam-produced Get Outta Here, starring Alex Lam, J.Arie, Louis Cheung, Ng Yuen Yi and Gregory Charles Rivers, which recently wrapped filming. The press conference's final highlight was a clip presentation of the in-development scifi robot project Virtus.
See photos from the One Cool Film Production press conference on YesAsia Facebook.
Text / Sanwei
Director Soi Cheang and stars Tony Jaa and Wu Jing at SPL 2 press conMarch 26, 2015
SPL 2 stars Wu Jing as undercover cop Kit who is planted in a crime syndicate, but he disappears after his cover gets blown and the operation called off. Kit ends up in a Thailand prison that acts as a front for organ trafficking. The prison warden, played by Max Zhang, wants Kit dead at all costs, while a prison guard, played by Tony Jaa, goes all out to keep Kit alive because he is a bone marrow donor match for his sick daughter.
During the press conference, the keyword "challenge" was used to describe the film and its production. Director Soi Cheang stated that just taking on SPL was a challenge in and of itself because of the pressure from the original film's fame and the great action actors onboard. For producer Wilson Yip, who directed the first SPL, the challenge was "letting go" and handing off the directing reins. Action director Lee Chung Chi revealed that his big challenge was integrating wushu and Muay Thai and handling the film's long single-shot fight scenes.
Tony Jaa said that SPL 2 is very important to him as it is his first Hong Kong film, while Wu Jing went as far as to call it perhaps the most memorable film of his life. Wu shared that he experienced marriage, the birth of his first child and severe injuries during the film's production time. On set, he was constantly getting hit by Max Zhang in fight scenes and even got knocked out twice. Zhang expressed that having to deliver lines in Thai was his great challenge, to which Tony Jaa quipped, "He speaks Thai better than me."
Other cast members also shared anecdotes about the film's grueling shoots: Philip Keung recalled one day when he had to jump off a building seven times and into water nine times, and Simon Yam said that he was hung upside down for days to shoot a particular scene involving his police officer character trying to save his family from Louis Koo's kingpin. Koo, taking on the antagonist role billed as a special appearance, joked that the special part of his role is that he's covered with a face mask most of the time.
SPL 2 will open in theaters on June 18.
See photos from the SPL 2 press conference on YesAsia Facebook.
Text / Sanwei
EXO's Lay joins cast of sci-fi romcom Oh My GodMarch 23, 2015
Also starring Cheney Cheng (Tiny Times) and Jacqueline Li (Personal Tailor), Oh My God tells the story of a couple who's trying to have a baby. They're thrown in for a loop, though, when they become the accidental parents of a baby who falls from the sky.
To be directed by brothers Wei Min and Wei Nan, Oh My God is set to start filming soon.
Text / Frood
Kim Soo Hyun, Cha Tae Hyun, Kong Hyo Jin and IU in new drama from Stars writerMarch 13, 2015
While Kim Soo Hyun will portray a rookie producer in the series, Cha Tae Hyun, who also famously paired with Jeon Ji Hyun before in the classic romance My Sassy Girl, returns for his first drama since 2012's Jeon Woo Chi to play a ten-year-veteran variety producer. Cha himself has a lot of first-hand knowledge of the variety world as he has been appearing on the popular program 2 Days & 1 Night for over two years. Kong Hyo Jin, whose last two dramas It's Okay, That's Love and Master's Sun have both been big hits, plays a music program producer and singer-actress IU, who co-starred with Kim in the 2011 musical youth drama Dream High, plays a top singer.
Producer will be directed by Seo Soo Min, a variety producer/director who has worked on 2 Days & 1 Night, Gag Concert and The Return of Superman. The series is expected to begin broadcast in late April or early May.
Text / Sanwei
Taiwan convenience store mascot to star in feature filmMarch 13, 2015
Like Who Framed Roger Rabbit and Space Jam, Open! Open! will feature a mix of animation and live-action. Actress Chien Man Shu, who has made short films of her own before, will make her feature film directorial debut as the co-writer and co-director of the film. Chien also stars in the film as a young girl who finds love in the big city with the help of Open-chan and his friends.
Though the live-action portion of the film started production this week, Open! Open! has already been in the works for over a year. The fantasy comedy is set for release in Taiwan this summer.
Text / Rockman
Star-studded cast unveiled for Zhang Yimou's The Great WallMarch 13, 2015
The story of The Great Wall revolves around an elite group of soldiers making a last stand for humanity against the onslaught of mythical creatures. Set in the 15th century, the soldiers' epic struggle occurs against the backdrop of one of the world's most awe-inspiring structures.
Filming is set to begin in April 2015, and the movie is expected to be released worldwide on November 23, 2016.
Text / Frood
Murmur of the Hearts to open 2015 Hong Kong Film FestivalMarch 2, 2015
Sylvia Chang is also this year's Filmmaker in Focus. In addition to Murmur, the festival will also screen 12 of Chang's acting and directorial works. The retrospective includes Edward Yang's A Day at the Beach, Aces Go Places, Chang Cheh's Legend of the Mountain, Tempting Heart and 20 30 40.
This year's closing film is Port of Call, a mystery drama from writer-director Philip Yung (May We Chat). Loosely based on a true crime, Port of Call stars Aaron Kwok as a middle-aged detective investigating the gruesome murder of a prostitute.
Other Asian films include Sabu's Berlin Film Festival title Chasuke's Journey, animated film Appleseed Alpha, Tsukamoto Shinya's Fires on the Plain, Takeba Lisa's Haruko's Paranormal Laboratory, Hiroki Ryuichi's Kabukicho Love Hotel, Fruit Chan's new documentary My City, Japanese comedy Princess Jellyfish, Tsui Hark's The Taking of Tiger Mountain and Golden Horse Award documentary The Moment.
The festival's annual omnibus Beautiful will return for a 2015 edition. The four directors this year are Tsai Ming Liang (who was on the first Beautiful omnibus), Huang Jianxin, Yim Ho and Mohsen Makhmalbaf.
The 2015 Hong Kong International Film Festival will run from March 23 to April 6, 2015.
Text / Garden
Translation / Rockman
12th Korean Music AwardsFebruary 27, 2015
Singer-songwriter duo Kim Sa Wol x Kim Hae Won were crowned Rookie of the Year for their album Secret, which was also named Best Folk Album. YG duo Akdong Musician fell short on the rookie award, but won Best Pop Album with their debut effort Play.
Two of the most talked-about R&B artists of recent years, Crush and Zion.T won Best R&B & Soul Album (Crush on You) and Best R&B & Soul Song (Yanghwa BRDG), respectively. The Best R&B & Hip-Hop Album and Song awards went respectively to Hwaji's Eat and B-Free's Hot Summer. For Dance & Electronic, HEO won Best Album with Structure and Yoon Sang won Best Song with his comeback single "If You Wanna Console Me."
Other genre winners include Danpyunsun and the Sailors' Animal for Best Rock Album, Asian Chairshot's Haeya for Best Rock Song, 9 and the Numbers' "Hide and Seek" for Best Modern Rock Song, Kwon Tree's "When I Was Young" for Best Folk Song, Lee Sun Ji's The Night of the Border for Best Jazz Album, Han Seung Seok and Jung Jae Il's bari, abandoned for Best Crossover Album and Kim Chang Hyun's Oblivion for Best Jazz & Crossover Performance. In the netizen categories, Jay Park, HA:TFELT and Infinite were voted Male Artist, Female Artist and Group of the Year.
Text / Sanwei
Corpse Party to become live-action filmFebruary 27, 2015
The game follows several high school girls who travel to another dimension in their haunted school and must solve the mystery behind the curse on their school to go home. In addition to several sequels, the game also spawned a series of mangas and OVA's.
The live-action film will be directed by Yamada Yasashi, who has directed several low-budget horror films. The film also marks the first starring role for idol Ikoma Rina, the popular center member of Nogizaka46 and Team B of AKB48. She previously had a supporting role on television drama Bad Boys J.
The Corpse Party film is set for release in Japanese cinemas this summer.
Text / Rockman
Golden Era, Black Coal and Haider lead 9th AFA nominationsFebruary 26, 2015
Ann Hui's biographical drama The Golden Era received the most nominations at five: Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Actress (Tang Wei), Best Supporting Actor (Wang Zhiwen) and Best Editing. However, the film was not nominated for Best Picture.
Six films are nominated for Best Picture: China's Black Coal, Thin Ice, China's Blind Massage, India's Haider, South Korea's Ode to My Father, South Korea's Hill of Freedom and Japan's The Light Shines Only There.
Black Coal, Blind Massage and Haider earned four nominations each. Diao Yinan's neo-noir mystery is nominated for Best Pictures, Best Director, Best Screenplay and Best Actor (Liao Fan). Lou Ye's realist drama is nominated for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Supporting Actor (Qin Hao) and Best Cinematography. The Indian re-interpretation of William Shakespeare's Hamlet is nominated for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Supporting Actress (Tabassum Hashmi) and Best Production Design.
Jiang Wen's dark comedy Gone With the Bullets also earned four nominations, but they were all in the technical categories: Best Music, Best Visual Effects, Best Costume Designer and Best Production Design.
In addition to Liao, Hill of Freedom's Kase Ryo, Overheard 3's Lau Ching Wan, Paradise in Service's Ethan Ruan, Roaring Currents' Choi Min Sik and Rurouni Kenshin: The Legend Ends' Sato Takeru round out the Best Actor race. Joining Tang Wei in the Best Actress race are Miyazawa Rie for Pale Moon, Bae Doo Na for Girl at My Door, Gong Li for Coming Home, Vicki Zhao for Dearest and Kaiki Koechlin for Margarita, With a Straw.
The Best New Actor nominees are EXO's D.O. for social drama Cart, Zhang Huiwen for Zhang Yimou's Coming Home, Ivana Wong for Golden Chickensss, Tosaka Hiroomi for Hot Road and Zhan Huai Yun for Meeting Dr. Sun.
The 9th Asian Film Awards will be held in Macau on March 23, 2015.
Text / Rockman
Lunar New Year films to pack cinemas in Asia during holidaysFebruary 23, 2015
In China, a total of eight films are opening on February 19, the first day of the Year of the Sheep. Jackie Chan brings Hollywood stars John Cusack and Adrien Brody to China for period epic Dragon Blade. Aloys Chen takes on demons in fantasy adventure Zhong Kui, co-directed by Academy Award-winning cinematographer Peter Pau (Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon). The second season cast of reality show Where are We Going, Dad takes a trek to Fiji in the show's second feature film, while the first season cast reunite for family comedy Emperor's Holiday.
Louis Koo, Francis Ng and Julian Cheung take to the skies of romance in the film spin-off of television series Triumph in the Skies, co-starring Amber Kuo, Sammi Cheng and Charmaine Sheh. Chow Yun Fat picks up his playing cards again in action comedy sequel From Vegas to Macau II, co-starring Nick Cheung, Shawn Yue and Carina Lau. France's Jean-Jacque Annaud (The Bear, Two Brothers) adapts a popular Chinese novel about a man who develops a bond with a Mongolian wolf in Wolf Totem, the director's first Chinese-language film. Finally, Xinnian is Coming: Uproar of Chuxi offers a fantastical animated adventure for kids.
In addition to Hong Kong co-productions Triumph in the Skies and From Vegas to Macau II, Hong Kong will see Louis Koo and producer Raymond Wong lead an all-star cast in offbeat detective comedy An Inspector Calls, which opened two weeks earlier in China. After the success of Golden Chickensss last year, Sandra Ng and director Matt Chow reunite for 12 Golden Ducks, which sees Ng putting on fake abs to play Hong Kong's top gigolo. Two weeks later, Eric Tsang and Wong Cho Lam give a belated new year's greeting to Hong Kong audiences with Lucky Star 2015.
In Taiwan, two local comedies and a unique animated film will face off against Dragon Blade. Following Night Market Hero, David Loman and Twa Tiu Tiann, popular comedian Zhu Ge Liang attempts for a fourth Lunar New Year hit with The Wonderful Wedding, co-starring Ruby Lin as his soon-to-be-wed daughter. Actor-director Peng Qia Qia is also back with comedy sequel Lion Dancing 2, a continuation of last year's hit film. Finally, a local puppet performance troupe brings their art to the big screen in 3D fantasy adventure The Arti: The Adventure Begins, created with a mix of puppetry and computer animation.
In addition to films from Hong Kong and China, Malaysia also has two homegrown comedies of their own. The first film of his new production company in Malaysia, Chapman To takes on Singaporean comedy star Mark Lee in Mahjong King, which also features many popular Hong Kong comedy actors. After setting box office records for The Journey, Ryon Lee aims for another box office hit with My Papa Rich, opening just one week after Lee's other new film The Dream Boyz.
My Papa Rich co-star Jack Neo also looks to retain his reign as Singapore's top commercial filmmaker this year with Ah Boys to Men: Frogmen, the third installment in his hit comedy franchise. The 146-minute comedy will face off against the Hong Kong films and Dragon Blade in Singapore cinemas.
While there is no major local film opening on New Year's day, South Korean audiences will likely keep period comedy sequel Detective K: Secret of the Lost Island at the top of the box office throughout the New Year holiday.
Text / Rockman
Katori Shingo and Ayase Haruka to star in Mitani Koki comedyFebruary 17, 2015
In the year 2265, humanity has spread throughout the solar system, and situated next to Jupiter is a space colony called "Uzushio," which is home to a portion of a space highway that links to Earth. Once a buzzing area with numerous eateries, Uzushio's space highway has seen business dwindle in recent years. It's here that the story of Noa (Katori Shingo) and Noe (Ayase Haruka) begins.
Galaxy Turnpike will begin filming in March and is slated to be released in Japan in October 2015.
Text / Frood
Narimiya Hiroki to leave Aibou after three yearsFebruary 13, 2015
The third actor to play the partner of Sugishita, played by Mizutani Yutaka, Narimiya joined the show in the beginning of season 11 as Kai Tooru, a rookie who met Sugishita after getting embroiled in a case during a trip to Hong Kong. Narimiya also co-starred in the series' third feature film.
Narimiya had initially been contracted to be in the show for only two seasons. However, the producers and Mizutani convinced Narimiya to remain for a third season.
Producers did not reveal the specific plot of Narimiya's final episode, but they did reveal that it would involve Kai's National Police Agency Deputy Director father, with whom Kai shares an antagonistic relationship.
The fourth actor to play Sugishita's partner for the show's 14th season will be announced at a later time.
Text / Rockman
Yamashita Tomohisa to star in drama adaptation of Flowers for AlgernonFebruary 12, 2015
The story was previously adapted as a Japanese drama starring Yusuke Santamaria and Kanno Miho in 2002. In the new adaptation, the story will undergo a few changes. Yamashita Tomohisa will play Shiratori Sakihito, an intellectually challenged 28-year-old man who works at a flower courier company. After he receives experimental surgery to enhance his intelligence, he feels a disconnect with his friends and co-workers that eventually evolves into crippling loneliness and anxiety.
Flowers for Algernon will air in Japan in April 2015.
Text / Frood