Three Pictures X’mas Party (3P聖誕ALL夜)
A glimpse at the alternative edge of Hong Kong cinema for a sexy Christmas viewing experience, the Three Pictures X’mas Party showcases the work of three young Hong Kong-based directors. The three movie mini-festival, which runs today, tomorrow and Sunday, is screening Innocent (只愛陌生人), End of Love (愛到盡) and The People I Have Slept With (姣妹日記). The three films share a common interest in steamy sex, both gay and straight (only the last of the three is specifically straight), and promiscuous living in general, as well as a moderate level of festival circuit exposure. They aim for the racy end of the European art house spectrum, and for those who want to get into a sexy mood with someone special, you could do worse. The films will show at in89 Digital Cinema (in89豪華數位影院), 89, Wuchang St Sec 2, Taipei City (台北市武昌街二段89號). Tickets are available at the venue for NT$160 per screening and NT$499 for a set of three. Detailed information about the films can be found at mypaper.pchome.com.tw/3pxmas.
Love and Other Drugs
Taiwan’s film distributors clearly believe that this is the season for sex, and the recently released Love and Other Drugs fits the bill perfectly. It stars two very beautiful people, Jake Gyllenhaal and Anne Hathaway, who spend a large segment of the film’s 113 minutes getting naked. That would seem a good enough reason to see the film, but there is even more to recommend it. Director Edward Zwick has packed the film with sharp dialogue, a critique of the pharmaceutical trade, and a disease-of-the-day tearjerker. While a hasty assessment would suggest that the film could fall apart under its own weight, an old-fashioned sense of theatrical good humor holds it together, making it an ideal date movie for those who don’t think getting blown away by the special effects of Tron: Legacy 3D is all that romantic.
Anything for Her (Pour Elle)
This 2008 French movie served as the model for the recently released The Next Three Days, and for anyone who wants to watch this rather improbable thriller, the substitution of Vincent Lindon for Russell Crowe can only be a good thing. A married couple’s life is turned upside down when the wife is arrested for murder. Her husband, with no legal recourse, learns to become a criminal in order to bust his wife out of prison. Inevitably, he gets caught up in the dark side of humanity. The film received strong reviews for its solid acting and the tension created by director Fred Cavaye.
Home for Christmas (Hjem til Jul)
Based on a series of short stories by award-winning Norwegian writer Levi Henriksen, Home for Christmas manages to weave its separate elements into an organic whole. Beautiful to look at and with a hint of darkness that occasionally cuts through the feel-good festive surface, the film might serve as a welcome antidote to the more aggressively saccharine Christmas features offered by the big US studios. The movie tells a number of interlinked stories of people trying desperately to reconnect with family and friends, or indeed anyone who will listen. An excellent feel-good option for those who don’t want the sentiment laid on too thick.
Also distributed under the more expressive title The Lady Shogun and Her Men, Ohoku is an historical costume comedy that derives most of its humor from role reversal. In 16th-century Edo, a population decimated by disease sees women rise up the political structure, and female shogun Yoshimune (Kou Shibasaki) finds herself at the head of a harem of 3,000 men, all vying for her favor. The film has been a great hit with Japanese audiences, but Variety magazine, though lauding its production values, does not believe the plays on various gender stereotypes will draw many laughs from non-Japanese audiences.