Fri, Jan 20, 2006 - Page 17 News List

Fun flicks for the festive season

Chinese-language films take control of local movie theaters to pave the way for the holiday season


It's fun to be young and in love.


With Chinese New Year just around the corner, local movie theaters are set to get festivities underway with a range of films from Hong Kong, Japan and Taiwan that offer plenty of action, drama, romance and humor.

Local production My Fair Laddy (我的逍遙學伴), Hong Kong teen romance flick B420 (八年級青春未滿) and feature animation Stormy Night from Japan will hit screens nationwide starting this weekend.

Riding on the rising popularity of locally-produced movies, Taiwanese director Alex Yang's (楊順清) college campus movie My Fair Laddy offers a neurotic, comedic version of the usual story of innocence and romance.

The storyline centers on the most beautiful girl on campus named Sophia, who has 108 study partners and admirers under her spell. Tong, a philosophy student who never receives any attention, suddenly becomes the hottest guy at school after writing an award-winning play.

Sophia is attracted to Tong's talent and agrees to star in his play as the leading lady. The two hit it off right away a situation which leaves Tong's girlfriend heartbroken. However, behind his newly gained fame, Tong is eaten up by a dark secret -- his play is in fact plagiarized from an online work penned by a mysterious man.

A play on words meaning "before 20" and "before too old," the romance flick b420 tells of yet another version of the wild and free-spirited adolescent lives. Koey is a girl who lives for the moment, believing happiness is like a can of soda that has to be enjoyed right away. Simon believes in delayed gratification. He thinks real satis-faction and happiness can only be enjoyed after hard work. A former car racer, Willy is a loner who has no faith in life. The lives of the three intertwine, presenting three different experiences of life and love.

Film Notes:

Stormy Night

Directed by: Gisaburo Sugii

Language: In Japanese with Mandarin subtitles

Taiwan Release: today

As filmmaker Mathew Tang's (鄧漢強) directorial debut, b420 has been well-received on the international film festival circle. Winning the grand prize at the Fukuoka Asian Film Festival last year, the film was also selected at the Hong Kong Asian Film Festival and Munich International Film Festival and the list will go on for sure.

Offering cuddly animal-packed entertainment fit for the whole family, Stormy Night is a feature animation adapted from the popular children's illustration book series of the same title in Japan. The story begins when a lamb and a big wolf seek refuge from a stormy night in a mountain hut. The two become friends, but their unconventional friendship breaks taboos on both sides of their divide. Chased by the wolf troupe, the pair is determined to find utopia at the legendary Jade Forrest.

International martial arts star Jet Li (李連杰) will kick off his latest kung-fu flick Fearless (霍元甲) right before the Chinese New Year. Remi-niscent of Bruce Lee's (李小龍) preferred storyline in which a Chinese hero takes on foreign challenges and defeats them all, the highly anticipated film follows the story of Hua Yuan-jia (霍元甲), a self-taught martial arts master who tries to restore China's glory in the face of foreign aggression at the end of the Qing Dynasty.

The young fighter retreats into self-imposed exile and embarks on a journey after his arrogance causes his mother's and daughter's deaths at the hands of his enemies.

Reborn as a martial arts master, he returns home to confront four fighters that represent the four major foreign powers present in China. In the battle of the century, Hua shows the world what Chinese people can achieve and offers cinematic testimony to the expanding power of contemporary China.

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