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Tiny Times 4 set for release in JulyApril 24, 2015
As indicated in the final moments of Tiny Times 3, the youth drama was originally set for theatrical release during the Lunar New Year holiday. However, the release was reportedly affected when Taiwan actor Kai Ko, who has a major supporting role in the series, was arrested for drug use during Chinese authorities' crackdown on vice-related crimes in the entertainment industry. The film's distributor confirmed late last month that Ko will be cut out of the film.
Ko has also been replaced by Jing Boran in fantasy adventure Monster Hunt, and the release of his romantic comedy A-Choo has been stalled.
The teaser poster that Guo released on his Weibo account comes with the tagline "I suppose this is good-bye then," hinting that this will be the final film of the hugely successful franchise. Guo confirmed this on his post, writing, "On July 9th, let us spend our final two hours with them. When the lights come on, let us whisper our farewells. I suppose this is the final farewell."
Based on Guo's own novel series of the same name, the Tiny Times series follows the trials and tribulations of four girls living in contemporary Shanghai.
Text / Rockman
Asia makes strong comeback in Cannes 2015April 24, 2015
South Korea will have the biggest presence on the Croisette with three films: Hong Won Chan's mystery-thriller Office will have a midnight screening, while Oh Seung Wook's noir drama Shameless (starring Jeon Do Yeon) and Pluto director Shin Su Won's Madonna will screen at the Un Certain Regard section. This is the third consecutive year that Korea does not have a film in the main competition.
India also has two films in the sidebar section: Fly Away Solo by former Anarug Kashrap assistant director Neeraj Ghaywan (Kashrap is also a producer on the film) and Gurvinder Singh's The Fourth Direction.
Two of Japan's most renowned auteurs will make their return to the festival. Kurosawa Kiyoshi, who won the Un Certain Regard prize with Tokyo Sonata, will return to the Debussy Theatre in the Un Certain Regard section with Journey to the Shore. Starring Asano Tadanobu and Fukatsu Eri, the film is about a woman who goes on a road trip with her husband, who suddenly returns home after a three-year absence.
The winner of the Jury Prize in 2013 with Like Father, Like Son, Kore-eda Hirokazu will be several hundred feet away in the Lumiere Theatre as part of the competition section with Our Little Sister, a manga-based family drama about four sisters in the seaside town of Kamakura.
The festival organizers saved the most exciting announcements for last, finally revealing that Taiwan's Hou Hsiao Hsien and China's Jia Zhangke are both in the competition with their latest films. In the works for over two decades, The Assassin is Hou Hsiao Hsien's first foray into the martial arts genre. The film stars Shu Qi as a professional assassin who falls for one of her targets.
Announced during last year's Cannes Film Festival, Mountains May Depart is a multi-generation story about a mother and son. This is Jia's third consecutive appearance at the festival, after attending in 2013 with A Touch of Sin and in 2014 as a jury member. Jia will also receive a lifetime achievement award at the Director's Fortnight sidebar.
Festival director Thierry Frémaux said that the remaining 10% of the festival's official selection (likely the Cannes Classics line-up and possibly other competition titles) will be announced this week. The Director's Fortnight and Critic's Week sidebars will also announce their selections this week
Text / Rockman
Kim Soo Hyun returns to the big screen with RealApril 20, 2015
Real tells the story of a reporter attempting to seek out Jang Tae Young, a brilliant, infamous criminal consultant who solves problems for the leaders of Seoul's underworld. Kim will take on the role of Jang Tae Young, and the film will be helmed by writer-director Lee Jung Sub.
Real will begin filming in October 2015 and is set to be released in the latter half of 2016.
Text / Frood
Ann Hui's The Golden Era wins Best Film at Hong Kong Film AwardsApril 20, 2015
The twice-nominated Lau Ching Wan picked up his second HKFA Best Actor for Overheard 3. Alan Mak and Felix Chong's surveillance thriller also won Best Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor for veteran Kenneth Tsang. Vicki Zhao beat out Sandra Ng, Tang Wei, Charlene Choi and Zhou Xun to win Best Actress for the first time with her role as a distressed mother in Peter Chan's abduction drama Dearest.
Singer-turned-actress Ivana Wong, who received a record-setting five nominations, went home with two trophies, Best Supporting Actress and Best Performer for her role in Golden Chickensss. David Lee won Best New Director for his psycho drama Insanity.
John Woo's wartime drama The Crossing 1 took two technical prizes: Best Sound Design and Best Editing. Donnie Yen's Kung Fu Jungle won Best Action Choreography while Wong Fei Hung reboot Rise of the Legend won Best Visual Effects. In the music categories, Best Original Film Score went to The Midnight After and Best Original Song to Anthony Wong's "Destination" from Aberdeen. Zhang Yimou's Coming Home was named the Best Film from Mainland and Taiwan.
This year's Professional Achievement Award was given to veteran propman Lee Kwun Long, who began his career at Shaw Brothers and has worked in the Hong Kong film industry for over four decades.
See full list of award winners here.
Text / Sanwei
YG hip-hop duo Jinusean makes comeback after 11 yearsApril 17, 2015
Formed by namesake members Jinu (Kim Jin Woo) and Sean (Noh Seung Hwan), Jinusean debuted in 1997 with the single Gasoline, and quickly found success with their second single "Tell Me." Regarded as one of the early pioneers of Korean hip-hop, the Korean-American duo released four albums from 1997 to 2004 before shifting to working mostly behind the scenes in production, management and charity. Both Jinu and Sean hold high-level positions in YG Entertainment.
Jinusean's comeback is the first Korean release from YG Entertainment this year, and will be followed by Big Bang's long-anticipated new Korean album. The label's notoriously delay-prone schedule for 2015 is also expected to include Ikon's debut and CL's US debut.
Text / Sanwei
Mei Ah announces 2015 lineup at HK FilMartApril 8, 2015
The closing film of this year's Hong Kong International Film Festival, Port of Call stars Aaron Kwok as a middle-aged detective investigating the gruesome murder of a prostitute. The film is the third feature film by writer-director Philip Yung (May We Chat?).
The company also announced that it has signed a long-term partnership with Wong Kar Wai's production company Jet Tone. The partnership's first production is Drive Me Crazy, a romantic comedy starring Chang Chen and Wang Luodan that is produced by Wong. The director has not been announced.
Jet Tone is also working on a secret project that will begin shooting next year with Tony Leung Chiu Wai in the lead, but no additional details have been revealed yet. Mei Ah also announced that it has acquired distribution rights for Jet Tone's Ferryman, the directorial debut of writer Zhang Jiajia.
Encouraged by the success of films by Hong Kong directors in China, Mei Ah announced several co-productions by Hong Kong directors. Wong Jing will direct a Home Alone-esque family comedy starring Francis Ng and Angela Wang (from Where Are We Going, Dad). Gordon Chan and Chan Hing Kai will co-direct a comedy about three young men chasing their dreams in England. Joe Ma (Love Undercover) will direct a fantasy thriller based on a popular novel. Finally, Manfred Wong (Young & Dangerous, The Storm Riders) will produce a Boyhood-esque drama shot over the course of 15 years.
Meh Ah's plans also includes actress Carrie Ng's second directorial effort Knock Knock Who's There, as well as Taiwan erotic comedy Sashimi starring adult film actress Hatano Yui and Lee Kang Sheng.
Text / Rockman
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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