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  1. Bodyguards And Assassins (2009) (Blu-ray) (2023 Reprint) (Hong Kong Version) Bodyguards And Assassins (2009) (Blu-ray) (2023 Reprint) (Hong Kong Version) Donnie Yen (Actor) | Nicholas Tse (Actor) | Tony Leung Ka Fai (Actor) | Peter Chan (Producer)
    After 10 years of tumultuous production history that included rainstorms, labor disputes, suicide, and two spells of depression, Teddy Chan's Bodyguards and Assassins has finally arrived. Anticipation is high, as everything here seems to be screaming "quality": a solid ensemble cast, an intriguing pseudo-historical gimmick, and even Peter Chan's producer stamp of approval (this is the first film under his new Cinema Popular label). Given all the above, it may disappoint some to know that this isn't the best movie of the year. However, it's still an admirable attempt to create a Hollywood-scale Chinese-language blockbuster. One can say Bodyguards is Hollywood-like in terms of scale - the... [read more]
  2. Protege (2007) (Blu-ray) (2023 Reprint) (Hong Kong Version) Protege (2007) (Blu-ray) (2023 Reprint) (Hong Kong Version) Liu Kai Chi (Actor) | Daniel Wu (Actor) | Louis Koo (Actor) | Andy Lau (Actor)
    Hong Kong Cinema gets a shot in the arm - both literally and figuratively - with Protégé, a powerful drug drama directed by Derek Yee, who was last seen slumming with the routine romantic comedy Drink-Drank-Drunk. Protégé brings Yee back to his strengths, telling a detailed and thoughtful narrative in riveting, emotional style. The themes in Protégé are nothing new, and how could they be? We live in a global community, and by now everybody has (hopefully) seen Traffic, be it the BBC drama or Steven Soderbergh's Oscar-winning film. Yee brings a similar tale to Hong Kong, and he does so in a way that creates an immediate emotional response. Protégé prods its audience to feel and react,... [read more]
  3. Shock Wave 2 (2020) (4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray) (Hong Kong Version) Shock Wave 2 (2020) (4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray) (Hong Kong Version) Andy Lau (Actor) | Lau Ching Wan (Actor) | Tse Kwan Ho (Actor) | Ni Ni (Actor)
    Shock Wave 2 opens with possibly one of the most visually ambitious opening sequences ever in Hong Kong cinema: From multiple angles, Hong Kong International Airport is ripped apart in the blink of an eye by a nuclear explosion. Even though audiences are immediately spoiled by the voice of Lau Ching Wan saying that the nuclear explosion will be stopped in time in reality, the rest of Shock Wave 2 doesn't pull any punches in bringing the pyrotechnics and firepower, albeit in smaller scale than the opening tease. Once best known in the industry as a director who can execute modestly budgeted films on time and on budget, director Herman Yau proves with Shock Wave 2 that he has comfortably... [read more]
  4. The Eight Hundred (2020) (Blu-ray) (Hong Kong Version) The Eight Hundred (2020) (Blu-ray) (Hong Kong Version) Guan Hu (Director, Writer) | Jiang Wu (Actor) | Oho Ou (Actor) | Wang Qian Yuan (Actor)
    Chinese director Guan Hu (The Chef, the Actor, the Scoundrel, Mr. Six) takes a major leap forward as a filmmaker with The Eight Hundred, one of the biggest Chinese productions of all time. Staging the famous 1937 Defense of Sihang Warehouse in Shanghai with technical prowess and impeccable filmmaking craft, Guan's violent and unflinching vision of the hellish battle will surely be remembered as one of the best Chinese war films ever made. During the early days of the Sino-Japanese War, the Sihang Warehouse was the site of an intense five-day siege in which over 400 Chinese soldiers fended off the relentless attacks of the Japanese Imperial Army. Comparable to the Alamo siege or the Dunkirk... [read more]
  5. My Missing Valentine (2020) (Blu-ray) (English Subtitled) (Taiwan Version) My Missing Valentine (2020) (Blu-ray) (English Subtitled) (Taiwan Version) Liu Kuan Ting (Actor) | Patty Lee (Actor) | Duncan Chow (Actor) | Gu Bao Ming (Actor)
    No one really expected My Missing Valentine to be the biggest winner of this year's Golden Horse Awards. After all, it's a hybrid of romantic comedy and fantasy, two genres that always face an uphill climb at serious film awards like the Golden Horse Awards. This is all thanks to the ace up its sleeve: Chen Yu-hsun. The 58-year-old writer-director is one of the less prolific comedy directors in Taiwanese cinema – My Missing Valentine is only his fifth feature film since 1994 – but he is also one of its cleverest, thanks to his knack for blending charming humor with fantastic gimmicks. With My Missing Valentine, Chen has made a wonderfully whimsical return to form. Post office worker... [read more]
  6. Beyond the Dream (2020) (Blu-ray) (Hong Kong Version) Beyond the Dream (2020) (Blu-ray) (Hong Kong Version) Terrance Lau (Actor) | Cecilia Choi (Actor) | HUANG LAN (Actor) | Poon Chan Leung (Actor)
    As is the case with most film industries around the world, 2020 has not been a good year for Hong Kong cinema. However, there was one bright spot that nobody expected. The odds seemed to be against Beyond the Dream from the start – it's a heavy, emotionally intense story about mental illness; it's by a director who doesn't have a proven commercial track record; and it's led by two actors who have never had starring roles in a film before. Thanks to its nominations at the Hong Kong Film Awards, positive word-of-mouth from audiences over several months of preview screenings, and tabloid attention on the two stars after they admitted publicly that they started dating after the shoot, Beyond... [read more]
  7. Detention (2019) (Blu-ray) (English Subtitled) (Taiwan Version) Detention (2019) (Blu-ray) (English Subtitled) (Taiwan Version) Gingle Wang (Actor) | Tseng Jing Hua (Actor) | Pang Chin Yu (Actor) | Chu Hung Chang (Actor)
    Detention starts out like a fairly by-the-numbers horror film – two teenagers wake up in an abandoned high school in the middle of the night. There's no electricity, there are weird noises everywhere, and before you know it, spooky things that go bump in the night start showing up. On the surface, Detention fits in perfectly with films like The Tag-Along series, The Rope Curse and recent box office hit The Bridge Curse as part of Taiwan cinema's recent horror resurgence. But two things set this surprise blockbuster apart from its contemporaries: It's Taiwan cinema's first adaptation of a homegrown video game, and it tells a story that is deeply rooted in a dark chapter of Taiwan's real... [read more]
  8. Lost in Time (2003) (Blu-ray) (Hong Kong Version) Lost in Time (2003) (Blu-ray) (Hong Kong Version) Lau Ching Wan (Actor) | Cecilia Cheung (Actor) | Harashima Daichi (Actor) | Nina Paw (Actor)
    Director Derek Yee returns after a four-absence with Lost in Time, a remarkably subtle and restrained romantic drama which could mark a major turning point for controversial actress/singer Cecilia Cheung. Cheung is Siu Wai, a willful young woman who gets thrown a curve ball when her dashing fiancee Man (Louis Koo) is killed in a two-car collision. Man was a minibus driver, and the bus (numbered 1314) was totaled in the fatal accident. Against her parents' wishes—and probably the common sense of most—Siu Wai decides to have the bus repaired, and takes on Man's job as her own. Her reasons are understandable, if not a little unrealistic. The bus was where Man and Siu Wai first met, and also... [read more]
  9. No Puedo Vivir Sin Ti (Blu-ray) (2020 Reprint) (Taiwan Version) No Puedo Vivir Sin Ti (Blu-ray) (2020 Reprint) (Taiwan Version) Leon Dai (Director) | Chen Wen Bin (Producer, Actor) | Chao Yo Hsuan (Actor) | Lin Zhi Ru (Actor)
    Actor-director Leon Dai takes a 180-degree turn from Twenty Something Taipei for the unassuming black-and-white drama No Puedo Vivir Sin Ti. Meaning "cannot live without you", No Puedo Vivir Sin Ti tells the based-on-a-true-story tale of an uneducated man in Kaohsiung who finds himself victim to an impersonal bureaucracy. However, despite that description, this is not really a social drama. The film opens with a television broadcast of the man threatening to jump off a bridge along with a young girl, with the media reporting, the police trying to intervene, and numerous onlookers watching and sometimes commenting cynically. His beef: that life and society have treated him unfairly. Flash... [read more]
  10. Seven Swords (2005) (Blu-ray) (2019 Reprint) (Hong Kong Version) Seven Swords (2005) (Blu-ray) (2019 Reprint) (Hong Kong Version) Charlie Young (Actor) | Leon Lai (Actor) | Xiong Xin Xin | Donnie Yen (Actor)
    After too long Tsui Hark makes a return to the director's chair for Seven Swords, an ambitious martial arts epic based on "The Seven Swordsmen from Mountain Tian", a wuxia novel by Liang Yu-Sheng. Tsui's absence from Hong Kong Cinema has been felt, though the feeling has been a mixed one. After all, Tsui's last two features were the special effects-assisted Black Mask II and The Legend of Zu. One was an egregious comic book movie, the other an ambitious fantasy that was more sensory overload than success. This reviewer even referred to the once-annointed cinema master as "George Lucas on crack." Does Seven Swords further that designation? Or does it mark the return of arguably Hong Kong's... [read more]
  11. Human Lanterns Human Lanterns Anthony Lau | Chen Kuan Tai | Lo Lieh | Tanny Tien
    Shaw Brothers made martial arts movies, and Shaw Brothers made horror movies, but when they made martial arts horror movies they really struck gold. Slowly, these shivery action flicks are being unearthed from the Shaw Brothers vaults and as each one is exposed to the light it gleams like pure gold. Human Lanterns (also known as “Human Skin Lanterns”) is a Technicolored marvel that looks like the kind of movie MGM would have produced if it had suddenly stopped making movies in the 1950’s and started making horror flicks: a lush, beautifully lit emotional epic that unfolds on a series of gargantuan soundstages. Chen Kuan-tai and Liu Yung play two tetchy noblemen locked in a long-running game... [read more]
  12. He's A Woman, She's A Man (1994) (DVD) (2019 Reprint) (Taiwan Version) He's A Woman, She's A Man (1994) (DVD) (2019 Reprint) (Taiwan Version) Anita Yuen (Actor) | Leslie Cheung (Actor) | Carina Lau (Actor) | Peter Chan (Director)
    Anita Yuen won her second consecutive HK best actress award in this winning UFO film from director Peter Chan Ho-Sun. Yuen plays Wing, a spritely girl who idolizes singer Rose (Carina Lau) and Rose's producer/boyfriend Sam Koo (Leslie Cheung). When the chance arises to meet her idols, she jumps at the chance. Unfortunately, that chance is an open talent search for a male singer. Wing is so desperate to meet the two that she masquerades as a boy to enter the contest. In typical sitcom fashion, Wing wins despite not having a whit of talent, and discovers that there's more to Sam and Rose's relationship than she knew. It turns out the two are dysfunctional lovers, each possibly loving... [read more]
  13. Love Education (2017) (DVD) (English Subtitled) (Taiwan Version) Love Education (2017) (DVD) (English Subtitled) (Taiwan Version) Sylvia Chang (Actor, Writer, Director) | Tian Zhuang Zhuang (Actor) | Lang Yue Ting (Actor) | Song Zhu Feng (Actor)
    At first glance, Sylvia Chang has made movies similar to Love Education. Her latest film is a comedy-drama focusing on three generations of women, while her earlier 20:30:40 (2004) covered the experiences of three women at different life stages. Also, many of her films deal with relationships, family, womanhood or a combination of the three – which is a workable, if very succinct description of Love Education. But generalizing the film this way is dismissive. Chang may be devoted to particular themes, but her strength as a filmmaker lies in her ability to create fully realized characters through a balance of personality, situation and nuance. Sylvia Chang movies feature more than characters... [read more]
  14. Always Be With You (2017) (Blu-ray) (Hong Kong Version) Always Be With You (2017) (Blu-ray) (Hong Kong Version) Julian Cheung (Actor) | Louis Koo (Actor) | Gordon Lam (Actor) | Charlene Choi (Actor)
    Western film fans who complain about never-ending franchises and eternal sequels might take a moment to consider the Troublesome Night series, which had an incredible 19 entries between 1997 and 2003. Initially starting off with the horror anthology format, the series later shifted to single narrative features, and despite declining budgets and box office returns, somehow managed to still make it into Hong Kong cinemas. Produced specially to mark the 20th anniversary of the series is its 20th instalment, Always Be With You, directed by Herman Yau, who also helmed its first six entries, and which also sees the return of frequent star Louis Koo and producer Nam Yim – naturally, Helena Law,... [read more]
  15. The Tag-Along 2 (2017) (Blu-ray) (Hong Kong Version) The Tag-Along 2 (2017) (Blu-ray) (Hong Kong Version) Rainie Yang (Actor) | Tiffany Ann Hsu (Actor) | River Huang (Actor) | Gao Hui Chun (Actor)
    Given that The Tag-Along was a major commercial success in 2015, emerging as the biggest Taiwanese horror hit in a decade, it's no surprise that a sequel now arrives, continuing the curse of the 'Little Girl in Red'. Again directed by Cheng Wei-hao, who in between the two also directed the dark mystery thriller Who Killed Cock Robin?, the film keeps its focus on female protagonists, with Tiffany Hsu (Battle of Memories) returning, joined by Rainie Yang (Spider Lilies) and Francesca Kao (The Losers). With a bigger budget and an expanded, more ambitious storyline, the sequel out-performed the original at the box office, pulling in more than NT$100 million during its domestic release. The film... [read more]
  16. Zombiology: Enjoy Yourself Tonight (2017) (Blu-ray) (Hong Kong Version) Zombiology: Enjoy Yourself Tonight (2017) (Blu-ray) (Hong Kong Version) Michael Ning (Actor) | Louis Cheung (Actor) | Venus Wong (Actor) | Alex Man (Actor)
    The zombie genre has been enjoying a new lease of life in Asian cinema after the massive international success of the Korean hit Train to Busan, Hong Kong getting in on the act with the strangely-titled Zombiology: Enjoy Yourself Tonight. Adapted from a popular novel, the film was directed by Alan Lo, who also draws upon his own 2012 short Zombie Guillotines for a wild and wacky tale of geeks and ghouls. The film's cast is a real mixture of new and old school Hong Kong talent, headlined by Michael Ning, who recently won a number of Supporting Actor awards for his role in Port of Call, and Louis Cheung (Keeper of Darkness), joined by up and coming actresses Cherry Ngan (The Way We Dance) and... [read more]
  17. Chasing The Dragon (2017) (Blu-ray) (Hong Kong Version) Chasing The Dragon (2017) (Blu-ray) (Hong Kong Version) Andy Lau (Actor) | Donnie Yen (Actor) | Wong Jing (Producer, Director, Writer) | Chan Wai Man (Actor)
    In terms of Hong Kong star power, it really doesn't get much bigger than Chasing the Dragon, headlined by the legendary Donnie Yen and Andy Lau, teaming up for a retelling of the stories of drug boss Ng Sek Ho, better known as Crippled Ho, and corrupt police sergeant Lee Rock. The film was co-directed by Jason Kwan (who previously helmed the oddball A Nail Clipper Romance) and the one and only Wong Jing, charting their rise and fall in the 1960s and 80s against a background of turbulent change in Hong Kong. The film begins in the 1960s with Donnie Yen as Ng Sek Ho, who with a group of friends smuggles himself from Chaozhou to Hong Kong, hoping to find a better life. Things don't go as... [read more]
  18. The Empty Hands (2017) (Blu-ray) (Hong Kong Version) The Empty Hands (2017) (Blu-ray) (Hong Kong Version) Stephy Tang (Actor) | Chapman To (Writer, Actor, Director, Producer) | Stephen Au (Actor) | Kurata Yasuaki (Actor)
    Chapman To follows his 2016 directorial debut, the cookery comedy Let's Eat with something very different in martial arts drama The Empty Hands. With To directing, producing, starring and co-writing the film with regular Herman Yau collaborator Erica Li, it feels very much like a passion project, and plays out differently to what might at first sound like a fairly basic sports-themed redemption story. The film is headlined by Stephy Tang, taking on a challenging role far removed from the kind of rom-coms the actress is known for, winning a number of nominations and awards for her efforts, including taking Best Actress at the Hong Kong Film Critics Society Awards and receiving her first Hong... [read more]
  19. The Brink (2017) (Blu-ray) (Hong Kong Version) The Brink (2017) (Blu-ray) (Hong Kong Version) Shawn Yue (Actor) | Wu Yue (Actor) | Max Zhang (Actor) | Janice Man (Actor)
    Having worked on the likes of Overheard 3 and Blind Detective, Jonathan Li steps up to make his debut with The Brink, backed by heavyweight producing duo Soi Cheang and Paco Wong. A gritty action thriller revolving around gold smuggling fishermen, the film also marks the first lead role for actor Zhang Jin, a rising action star who made his mark in The Grandmaster, S.P.L. 2 and Ip Man 3, here playing a wayward cop who comes up against a ruthless criminal played by Shawn Yue (Wu Kong) on the stormy seas surrounding Hong Kong, backed by an impressive supporting cast of familiar faces, including Wu Yue (Paradox), Gordon Lam (Trivisa) and Janice Man (Helios). The film opens with Zhang Jin's... [read more]
  20. Mon Mon Mon Monsters (2017) (DVD) (English Subtitled) (Hong Kong Version) Mon Mon Mon Monsters (2017) (DVD) (English Subtitled) (Hong Kong Version) Giddens Ko (Director, Writer) | Angie Chai (Producer) | Kent Tsai (Actor) | Eugenie Liu (Actor)
    Although Taiwanese author and filmmaker Giddens Ko is best known for romantic fare such as his massively popular 2011 directorial debut You are the Apple of My Eye, Café. Waiting. Love and the likes, he has also shown a talent for tapping into the darker side of the human psyche, as seen with his writing on the deliriously crazed The Tenants Downstairs. Perhaps it shouldn't come as too much of a surprise then that , his second outing behind the camera, sees him sticking to the shadows with a wild tale about an unpleasant gang of youths who manage to capture and imprison a flesh-eating monster, with gruesome results. Written especially for the screen by Ko, the film follows Lin Shu Wei (Deng... [read more]
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