A reworking of ideas from Jerome Salle’s 2005 chic French espionage thriller Anthony Zimmer, which starred Sophie Marceau and Yvan Attal. Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck’s Hollywood version has upped the ante in star power with the likes of Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp, who are supported by Paul Bettany, Timothy Dalton, and Steven Berkoff. The Tourist drips style, but the dialogue falls a bit too pat and everyone is so scrubbed and coiffured that the film makes a Roger Moore Bond flick look like a gritty exploration of crime by comparison. That said, for audience members who like to watch good looking people pretending that they are playing a high stakes game, The Tourist is a more than adequate way of passing a couple of hours in the cinema.
Me, 19 (我,19歲)
Music, dancing, young people on the cusp of romantic and artistic discoveries: With its music video cinematography and soap opera style, an obtrusive score, and fantasy sequences that cut into various styles of anime, Me, 19 has it all. But there is so much packaging, it’s impossible not to wonder whether there is any content. Chang Chieh (張捷) plays a young, exceptionally talented cellist who falls for a struggling young dancer and has to face the challenges of ambition, love and the realities of growing up. Produced by Peggy Chiao (焦雄屏) and starring young actor Anita Lee (李路加) and veterans Jack Kao (高捷) as the stern parent and Huang Kuo-lun (黃國倫) as the flamboyant musical maestro.
A film by new generation Hong Kong director Kwok Chi-kin (郭子健) that combines science fiction, comedy and nostalgia for the ballads of Leslie Cheung (張國榮). The film stars Philippines-born jazz crooner Janice M. Vidal, who has become a vibrant presence in the Hong Kong music scene. Her character discovers a cryogenically preserved body of a woman in a family vault. It transpires that this is her mother, who died in a traffic accident 20 years earlier, and when regenerated, introduces her daughter to the heyday of Canto-pop and one of its eternal icons: Leslie Cheung. Cheung’s music figures extensively throughout the movie, which coupled with Vidal’s own considerable fan base, is likely to give Frozen a solid following, whatever its other merits.
Kungfu, Wingchun (功夫,詠春)
Building on the success of the three recent Ip Man (葉問) movies, which have done much to reinvigorate interest in the wingchun (詠春) style of martial arts, Kungfu, Wingchun takes the next logical cinematic step by introducing a woman into the main martial role. Wingchun is a form of kung fu that has long prided itself on turning weakness into strength, and this film, which features female kung fu star Kara Hui (惠英紅) and emerging media personality Bai Jing (白靜), tells the story of a girl who beats the guys at their own game. Good acting and a comedic take on the martial arts genre gives Kungfu, Wingchun a lightness that might lead the way to rediscovering the appeal of early Jackie Chan (成龍) films.
Odds in Love (愛情鬥陣)
Directed by Chen Hsiu-yu (陳秀玉), Odds in Love stars Robert Wing Fan (范植偉) of Crystal Boys (孽子) and Prince of Tears (淚王子) fame, and singer Kelly Poon (潘嘉麗), who emerged from Project Super Star, a Singapore talent show. They play two A-list celebrities who loathe each other but who are required by their agents to work together on a project. Cue mutual bitching as they go about bad-mouthing one another, fighting rumors that they are an item, then, surprise, surprise, they fall in love. Shot in Taipei, Shanghai and Singapore. The whole enterprise is as stilted as the film’s English title.