Fri, Apr 19, 2013 - Page 10 News List

Movie releases

Compiled by Ian Bartholomew  /  Staff reporter

Together (在一起)

Film from China directed by Clarence Fok (霍耀良) and featuring the Taiwanese duo Michelle Chen (陳妍希) and Kai Ko (柯震東), who came to prominence following the 2011 local hit You Are the Apple of My Eye (那些年,我們一起追的女孩). In Together, they are cast together with Hong Kong veterans Donnie Yen (甄子丹), who is taking a break from his stern kungfu master roles, and Angelababy (楊穎), in a lightweight romance that is driven by a more than usually absurd premise, not least that one of the characters, played by Yen, has a rare disease that makes him unable to smile, while another, played by Chen, has amnesia. Audiences may well want to forget why they bothered paying money to see this film.

Poor Folk (窮人。榴槤。麻藥。偷渡客) and Return to Burma (歸來的人)

These two films make up a double bill by director Midi Z (趙德胤). Although one is a feature film and the other a documentary, both deal with the harsh life of people living on the Thai/Burmese border, caught up in a complex web of drugs and people smuggling, hoping to find a new life in a better place. Midi Z’s career was kick started when he was selected as a protege of Hou Hsiao-hsien (侯孝賢), whose style of detached observation he has adopted in telling these gritty tales of ordinary people whose lives and hopes are bound up with the ambitions of brutal gangs and the impersonal forces of international relations.

Hitchcock

Based on Stephen Rebello’s Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho and adapted John J McLaughlin (author of Black Swan), Hitchcock stars Anthony Hopkins, Helen Mirren, and Scarlett Johansson. You could not really ask for better credentials than that, and the film does not disappoint, providing some fascinating insight into the Hollywood studio system and the way one of the world’s most recognized directors played it to get the film Psycho shot and screened even though it broke all the accepted rules of blockbuster production. The story follows the emotional rollercoaster between Hitchcock and his wife, and collaborator, Alma Reville during the making Psycho in 1959. Skilled storytelling, solid research and lovely performances make this film, so instructive about the mechanics of Hollywood, also great entertainment in its own right.

Parker

A thief with his own brand of ethics gets double-crossed by his crew and is left for dead. The thief, Parker, is played by Jason Statham. Is there any more to be said? Of course Parker is out for revenge, and there is the expected violence and the occasional cool one-liner from the Transporter star. Statham is playing a role he has played many times before, but this time he also gets to undress Jennifer Lopez, who provides the curves to complement the beefcake. The film does pretty much what it says on the box but nothing more.

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