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  1. Master Z: The Ip Man Legacy (2018) (Blu-ray) (Hong Kong Version) Master Z: The Ip Man Legacy (2018) (Blu-ray) (Hong Kong Version) Max Zhang Jin (Actor) | Michelle Yeoh (Actor) | Tony Jaa (Actor) | Patrick Tam Yiu Man (Actor)
    No Ip Man, No Problem
    March 28, 2019 Picked By Sanwei See all this editor's picks
    No Ip Man, no problem – at least when it comes to the spin-off film Master Z: The Ip Man Legacy. In 2015's Ip Man 3, Max Zhang left a strong impression as Wing Chun practitioner Cheung Tin Chi, who persistently challenged Ip Man for the title of Hong Kong's top martial artist. While not an antagonist, the character was an adversary to Ip Man for much of the film and provided various scene-stealing moments for Zhang. Three years later, the actor stepped back into the shoes of Cheung Tin Chi to headline his own film set after the events of Ip Man 3. Having closed his martial arts school and set aside the chip on his shoulder since we last saw him, Cheung Tin Chi is now content with running a... [read more]
  2. Project Gutenberg (2018) (Blu-ray) (Hong Kong Version) Project Gutenberg (2018) (Blu-ray) (Hong Kong Version) Chow Yun Fat (Actor) | Aaron Kwok (Actor) | Zhang Jing Chu (Actor) | Liu Kai Chi (Actor)
    Chow Yun Fat's greatest hits
    February 14, 2019 Picked By Sanwei See all this editor's picks
    Felix Chong's Project Gutenberg just garnered a ridiculous 17 nominations at the Hong Kong Film Awards so there are many nice things that could be said about the film's twisty plot, slick pacing and tight direction. I'd like to focus on the single most important factor that makes the crime thriller a must-watch for Hong Kong film fans (or at least me): Chow Yun Fat. Chow Yun Fat is in peak Chow Yun Fat form in the role of a criminal mastermind behind a counterfeiting operation. His commanding and charismatic performance in the film channels the classic effortless charm that captured a generation of Asian cinema fans and also the dangerous, unreadable duplicity of later roles in films like... [read more]
  3. House of The Rising Sons (2018) (Blu-ray) (Hong Kong Version) House of The Rising Sons (2018) (Blu-ray) (Hong Kong Version) Carlos Chan (Actor) | Jonathan Wong (Actor) | Tan Yu (Actor) | Deng Jia Le (Actor)
    Friendship wyns
    January 16, 2019 Picked By Sanwei See all this editor's picks
    It's hard to muster up much expectation for a biopic about an aged cookie-cutter Hong Kong pop band directed by one of the band members, but House of the Rising Sons turns out to be an appealingly amiable and nostalgic film whose overall niceness actually feels right. Formed by Alan Tam, Kenny Bee, Anthony Chan, Bennett Pang and Danny Yip, The Wynners were arguably Hong Kong's first idol band. The band exploded into popularity in the 70s with feel-good English and Cantonese pop numbers that appealed to a younger generation. By the early 80s, Alan Tam and Kenny Bee had shifted focus to solo careers. However, The Wynners never disbanded. The band has remained intermittently active over the... [read more]
  4. Detective Chinatown 2 (2018) (DVD) (English Subtitled) (Hong Kong Version) Detective Chinatown 2 (2018) (DVD) (English Subtitled) (Hong Kong Version) Liu Hao Ran (Actor) | Xiao Yang (Actor) | Wang Bao Qiang (Actor) | Shang Yu Xian (Actor)
    The birth of a detective comedy franchise
    October 31, 2018 Picked By Sanwei See all this editor's picks
    There is no shortage of crime mystery and suspense productions in China, but most with buzz and budget of late are based on novels – and often the same ones. Criminal Minds, Yu Zui and Qin Ming adaptations abound and no Nan Pai San Shu or Tianxia Bachang story is left unturned. In that sense, Chen Sicheng's blockbuster Detective Chinatown film series stands out for being a successful original creation rather than an extension of a pre-existing IP. Following his success with Beijing Love Story, actor-turned-director Chen Sicheng tried his hand at mystery in 2015 with the sophomore directorial effort Detective Chinatown. The film brought together the unlikely detective duo of comedy veteran... [read more]
  5. Goodbye Mr. Loser (2015) (Blu-ray) (English Subtitled) (Hong Kong Version) Goodbye Mr. Loser (2015) (Blu-ray) (English Subtitled) (Hong Kong Version) Yin Zheng (Actor) | Shen Teng (Actor) | Ma Li (Actor) | Ai Lun (Actor)
    From Mr. Loser to Mr. Billionaire
    August 27, 2018 Picked By Sanwei See all this editor's picks
    Since opening last month, Yan Fei and Peng Damo's comedy Hello Mr. Billionaire starring Shen Teng has grossed around 2.5 billion yuan to storm into China's top ten grossing films of all time. This is the third time in as many years that a Shen Teng film has broken into the top ten of China's rapidly refreshing box-office records, following 2017's Never Say Die and 2015's Goodbye Mr. Loser. In a mere three years, Shen Teng has gone from a mainly stage and skit actor into a household name and box-office force. The film that started it all is the sleeper hit Goodbye Mr. Loser. In 2015, directors Yan Fei and Peng Damo, star Shen Teng and other members of the Beijing theater troupe Mahua Fun Age... [read more]
  6. Legend of the Demon Cat (2017) (Blu-ray) (English Subtitled) (Hong Kong Version) Legend of the Demon Cat (2017) (Blu-ray) (English Subtitled) (Hong Kong Version) Chen Kaige (Director, Writer) | Huang Xuan (Actor) | Sometani Shota (Actor) | Liu Hao Ran (Actor)
    Magic, mystery and romance of the Tang Dynasty
    April 27, 2018 Picked By Sanwei See all this editor's picks
    How far can movie magic get you? Quite far in the case of Chen Kaige's splendidly strange fantasy mystery Legend of the Demon Cat. Based on a novel series by Japanese sci-fi/fantasy writer Yumemakura Baku, Legend of Demon Cat has the kind of story that one would be hard-pressed to explain out loud without sounding a bit silly. A bemused young monk (Sometani Shota) from Japan arrives in Chang'an, the capital of Tang Dynasty China, to exorcise demons for Emperor Xuanzong (Zhang Luyi), who dies mysteriously. He befriends the palace scribe, a moody poet (Huang Xuan) who swings between being super excited and dramatically devastated about his poem-in-progress, and the two investigate the strange... [read more]
  7. Nirvana in Fire II (2017) (DVD) (Ep. 1-50) (End) (China Version) Nirvana in Fire II (2017) (DVD) (Ep. 1-50) (End) (China Version) Liu Hao Ran (Actor) | Huang Xiao Ming (Actor) | Tong Li Ya (Actor) | Mei Ting
    Nirvana in Wind
    April 23, 2018 Picked By Sanwei See all this editor's picks
    On Douban, China's largest peer film review ratings site, the 2015 period series Nirvana in Fire tops nearly all Chinese TV dramas with a score of 9.1. Out of over 200,000 ratings, Nirvana in Fire earned five stars from over 70% of users, and four or five stars from over 90%. Those are staggering numbers for a local recent production and a reflection of the near universal acclaim for the drama from critics and everyday audiences alike. Nirvana in Fire essentially captured lightning in a bottle with its sublime script, cast and production values that reached an appreciative audience. Two years later, Nirvana in Fire II: The Wind Blows in Changlin arrives with a story set several decades... [read more]
  8. Wu Xin: The Monster Killer 2 (2017) (DVD) (Ep. 1-27) (End) (China Version) Wu Xin: The Monster Killer 2 (2017) (DVD) (Ep. 1-27) (End) (China Version) Elvis Han (Actor) | Ian Wang (Actor) | Sebrina Chen (Actor) | Landy Li (Actor)
    Wu Xin is still good the second time around
    February 28, 2018 Picked By Sanwei See all this editor's picks
    Wu Xin: The Monster Killer 2 has one undeniable shortcoming common to sequels: it's not as good as its predecessor. However, that doesn't mean it's not good. Wu Xin 2 picks up the adventures of Elvis Han's demon-exorcising immortal some two decades after he has lost memories of the events and people from the first season of the supernatural period fantasy series. Continuing the cycle of his endless wanderings, the good-natured Wu Xin resets with new encounters, exorcisms and enemies. Along with the reset, the supporting cast also sees some changes. Sebrina Chen, Ian Wang and Mike D'Angelo return but Gina Jin and Zhang Ruoyun do not, which does hurt the cast appeal. Landy Li joins as Wu... [read more]
  9. Our Shining Days (2017) (DVD) (English Subtitled) (Hong Kong Version) Our Shining Days (2017) (DVD) (English Subtitled) (Hong Kong Version) Xu Lu (Actor) | Peng Yu Chang (Actor) | Eason Chan | Yan Ni
    The sound of dreams
    February 27, 2018 Picked By Pisces See all this editor's picks
    In many Chinese communities, people tend to learn classical western music because traditional Chinese music is often thought to be old-fashioned. Pitting traditional music against classical music, the teen romcom Our Shining Days revives the image of Chinese music and reminds people of their initial dreams. Chen Jing (Xu Lu, Tribe and Empires: Storm of Prophecy) is an optimistic yet aimless music student who plays the yangqin, a traditional hammered dulcimer. To impress her love interest Wang Wen (Luo Mingjie), a cold and supercilious piano major, Jing recruits her buddy Li You (Peng Yuchang, Go Princess Go) and a group of cosplay-loving outcasts to form a traditional music ensemble. Since... [read more]
  10. The Posterist: The Art Of Yuen Tai-Yung (Blu-ray) (Hong Kong Version) The Posterist: The Art Of Yuen Tai-Yung (Blu-ray) (Hong Kong Version) Yuen Tai Yung | Hui See Wai (Director) | Kenny Bee | Ryan Hui
    He who drew the stars
    January 24, 2018 Picked By Sanwei See all this editor's picks
    The name Yuen Tai Yung won't ring a bell for most people, but if you're a fan of 70s and 80s Hong Kong films, you'll recognize Yuen's artwork immediately. Yuen's distinctive and eye-catching illustrations graced the movie posters (and VCD/DVD covers) of hundreds of films from Hong Kong cinema's golden age. The self-taught artist was uncannily good at capturing the biggest stars of the day and the tone of action and comedy films. His poster artwork for Bruce Lee films emblazoned the martial arts superstar's name in bold block letters across the top and animated his stunning aura with muscles rippling and limbs flying. Meanwhile, his funny caricature-like drawings for Hui Brothers classics... [read more]
  11. Heart Attack (2015) (Blu-ray) (English Subtitled) (Hong Kong Version) Heart Attack (2015) (Blu-ray) (English Subtitled) (Hong Kong Version) Davika Hoorne (Actor) | Sunny Suwanmethanon (Actor) | Nawapol Thamrongrattanarit (Director)
    You should get that looked at
    January 19, 2018 Picked By Sanwei See all this editor's picks
    The marketing visuals of Heart Attack would have you think that it is a cute romantic comedy of the type that GTH was very good at producing. However, the film's protagonist probably spends more time flirting with the medical meaning of the title than with the doctor he develops a crush on. Directed by Nawapol Thamrongrattanarit, the award-winning comedy-drama offers a hint of romance and a multitude of warning signs about the unhealthy workaholic lifestyles of urban professionals. Sunny Suwanmethanon is hilariously relatable as sloppy-looking freelance graphics designer Yoon, who's known as the best in the business. In order to keep that title and the jobs coming in, he must toil quickly... [read more]
  12. Bad Genius (2017) (DVD) (English Subtitled) (Hong Kong Version) Bad Genius (2017) (DVD) (English Subtitled) (Hong Kong Version) Teeradon Supapunpinyo (Actor) | Chutimon Chuengcharoensukying (Actor) | Eisaya Hosuwan (Actor) | Nattawut Poonpiriya (Director)
    Cruel truth behind exam cheating
    November 30, 2017 Picked By Pisces See all this editor's picks
    Education is important for young people to acquire not only knowledge but also proper social and moral values. However, these values can easily vanish in a goal-oriented education system, under which cheating may become a "strategy" to score high marks in exams. Inspired by the large-scale exam-cheating scandal that happened in Thailand in 2014, director Nattawut Poonpiriya (Countdown) calls for serious reflection on the country's education system and social inequality in the mind-blowing high-school heist thriller Bad Genius. Played by model-turned-actress Chutimon Chuengcharoensukying, math prodigy Lynn is admitted to a prestigious school on a scholarship thanks to her great academic... [read more]
  13. With Prisoners (2017) (DVD) (Hong Kong Version) With Prisoners (2017) (DVD) (Hong Kong Version) Kelvin Kwan (Actor) | Nick Yau (Actor) | Lee Kwok Lun (Actor) | Cen Jia Qi (Actor)
    Walking with prisoners
    October 12, 2017 Picked By Pisces See all this editor's picks
    Hong Kong's "Prisons Department" was renamed "Correctional Services Department" in 1982 to emphasize the rehabilitation of prisoners rather than punishment. However, inmate abuse scandals have continued to emerge despite the change in the department name. To increase public awareness about the human rights of juvenile inmates, rookie director Andrew Wong recreates the dark world of a youth detention center in his directorial debut With Prisoners, which questions the effectiveness of violent discipline methods in rehabilitating criminals and restoring order. Based on a real-life story, With Prisoners offers a brutal yet realistic look into the life of juvenile offenders under the Hong Kong... [read more]
  14. 29+1 (2016) (Blu-ray + Keyholder + Booklet) (Hong Kong Version) 29+1 (2016) (Blu-ray + Keyholder + Booklet) (Hong Kong Version) Joyce Cheng (Actor) | Chrissie Chau (Actor) | Kearen Pang (Director, Writer) | Ben Yeung (Actor)
    Embracing the big 3-0
    September 29, 2017 Picked By Pisces See all this editor's picks
    "30" can be a stressful number to some women. It is often considered the deadline of some major life events like getting married. In 2005, stage producer and actor Kearen Pang also entered her thirties. Instead of worrying about whether she can get married on time, she treated "30" as an age to meet new challenges. That year, she left her theatre troupe and made her solo debut with the one-person show 29+1, which casts new light on life as well as the big 3-0. In the original stage version, Kearen Pang played two 29-year-old Hong Kong women: successful marketing executive Christy and cheerful CD store worker Tin Lok. To offer a more vivid portrayal of the characters in the movie remake, the... [read more]
  15. 52Hz, I Love You (2017) (Blu-ray) (Hong Kong Version) 52Hz, I Love You (2017) (Blu-ray) (Hong Kong Version) Ball Chuang (Actor) | Suming (Actor) | Xiao Yu (Actor) | Mify Chen (Actor)
    Wei Te Sheng's first musical
    September 13, 2017 Picked By Sanwei See all this editor's picks
    Music played a big role in Wei Te Sheng's 2007 breakout blockbuster Cape No. 7 that launched him to prominence. After two historical sagas, he goes back to music with the full-fledged musical feature 52Hz, I Love You. The airy, whimsical Taipei-set romance weaves together several threads on Valentine's Day. Sandrine Pinna and Nana Lee begin the film with a cameo pitch for marriage equality as a lesbian couple participating in a mass wedding event organized by the city. Lin Ching Tai and Cyndi Chao, meanwhile, represent the older subset with an odd encounter on the subway. The two main pairings, however, are Mify Chen and Suming as a long-time couple on the rocks, though the latter doesn't... [read more]
  16. Cycling Angels (2016) (DVD) (English Subtitled) (Taiwan Version) Cycling Angels (2016) (DVD) (English Subtitled) (Taiwan Version) Paul Chu (Director)
    The long ride home
    July 27, 2017 Picked By Sanwei See all this editor's picks
    In 2012, the Taiwan documentary Go Grandriders about the inspiring round-island motorbike trip of a group of senior citizens set a new local box office record for documentaries. Four years later, we make the round-island pilgrimage with riders from the opposite end of the age spectrum in Cycling Angels. The first film from director Paul Chu, Cycling Angels documents the 1,200 km cycling journey of a group of children from the Yunlin County Xinyi Orphanage, the youngest of whom was only eight years old. This great test of physical and mental endurance is taxing even for adults, let alone young children who have already been through too much for their age. But, as the orphanage director... [read more]
  17. Princess Weiyoung (2016) (DVD) (Ep. 1-54) (End) (China Version) Princess Weiyoung (2016) (DVD) (Ep. 1-54) (End) (China Version) Tiffany Tang (Actor) | Luo Jin (Actor) | Vanness Wu (Actor) | Mao Xiao Tong (Actor)
    A meaningful twist on a revenge tale
    July 25, 2017 Picked By Pisces See all this editor's picks
    A typical Chinese palace drama, such as Legend of Concubine Zhen Huan and The Legend of Mi Yue, usually delivers a strong message of female empowerment and involves romance, power struggle, revenge and betrayal. To fit this type of dramatic plot, the protagonist is often designed to be a concubine's daughter who is destined to bring bad luck and becomes reluctantly embroiled in a fierce power fight with her once beloved sister. Despite its formulaic plot about the underdog tale of a brilliant and lionhearted fallen princess, Princess Weiyoung still possesses unique charms that kept me watching. In the original novel The Concubine's Daughter Is Poisonous, Li Weiyoung is the third child of... [read more]
  18. Hema Hema: Sing Me a Song While I Wait (2016) (DVD) (English Subtitled) (Taiwan Version) Hema Hema: Sing Me a Song While I Wait (2016) (DVD) (English Subtitled) (Taiwan Version) Zhou Xun (Actor) | Tony Leung Chiu Wai (Actor) | Sadon Lhamo (Actor) | Thinley Dorji (Actor)
    The power and poison of anonymity
    June 26, 2017 Picked By Sanwei See all this editor's picks
    What would you do if you were completely anonymous, such that nothing you do can be traced back to you? That is the alluring question posed in Tibetan lama Khyentse Norbu's eerie and intriguing Hema Hema: Sing Me a Song While I Wait. Hema Hema opens rather unexpectedly in a night club with Chinese actress Zhou Xun, whose significance will not be known until the end of the film. The modern-day bookend then leads into the green mountains of Bhutan where a man puts on a mask and surrenders himself to the tribe hosting the (fictional) ritual at the heart of the film. Every 12 years, a group of participants are invited to take part in a ritual that lasts for 15 days in the mountains. The... [read more]
  19. Duckweed (2017) (Blu-ray) (English Subtitled) (Hong Kong Version) Duckweed (2017) (Blu-ray) (English Subtitled) (Hong Kong Version) Eddie Peng (Actor) | Deng Chao (Actor) | Zanilia Zhao (Actor) | Han Han (Writer, Director)
    The growth of Han Han
    June 9, 2017 Picked By Sanwei See all this editor's picks
    When I wrote about superstar writer Han Han's directorial debut The Continent in 2015, I noted that the meandering vagabond road film employing tropes common to his novels was absolutely the film he was meant to make, but that the formula could grow old if he continued to use it for subsequent films. Two years later, his sophomore effort Duckweed came out of the competitive Chinese New Year box-office slot with a gross of over one billion yuan and strong reviews. Han Han will perhaps always write about headstrong young men on a journey of growth, discovery and destruction, but with Duckweed, he's taken that journey in another direction with a different tone. Deng Chao and Eddie Peng serve... [read more]
  20. The Inspired Island II: My City (2015) (Blu-ray + DVD + Book) (English Subtitled) (Taiwan Version) The Inspired Island II: My City (2015) (Blu-ray + DVD + Book) (English Subtitled) (Taiwan Version) Xi Xi (Author) | Fruit Chan (Director)
    The Writer and her City
    May 31, 2017 Picked By Sanwei See all this editor's picks
    The Inspired Island started in 2011 as a series of documentaries about Taiwan literary luminaries directed by new-generation Taiwan filmmakers. For the series' second batch of films, the subjects expanded to include Hong Kong writers Liu Yichang, Ye Si and Xi Xi. While the first two writers are documented by screenwriter Ben Wong who, like most of his Taiwan counterparts, is not an established director, My City about Xi Xi is directed by Fruit Chan. As the only big name director of The Inspired Island series, Chan shows his experience and expertise in one of the series' most engaging and accessible entries. Unlike some other titles in the series, My City resists the limitation of being too... [read more]
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  • Region & Language: Hong Kong United States - English
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