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.
A Better Tomorrow (Mujeogja)
A South Korean remake of the John Woo (吳宇森) film of the same name. The original made Woo a star and gave Chow Yun-fat (周潤發) his ticket to Hollywood. But director Song Hae-sung’s version fails to achieve the transcendent quality that makes a silly action movie something more. There is lots of cool posing, but the well-toned but tone-deaf cast is just going through the motions. It’s all the more of a pity to see that Woo was an executive producer on this film. Get Woo’s 1986 original on video instead.
Gnomes and Trolls
The first part of what has become yet another fantasy franchise. Released in 2008, Gnomes and Trolls has scored sufficient success to warrant a sequel, which opened in Europe earlier this year, but is yet to make it to these shores. The first production from the recently established White Shark Film, subtitled “The Secret Chamber,” Gnomes and Trolls has a sufficiently interesting story to make up for its relatively low budget. A young gnome wants to transgress the limits set by his people to explore wider and more dangerous horizons. Gnomes and Trolls has garnered positive audience reviews but failed to achieve much critical attention. This new take on a familiar theme might appeal to younger audience members.
My Soul to Take 3D
Although directed by Wes Craven, creator of the Nightmare on Elm Street and Scream films, My Soul to Take 3D has little of the energy and spark that we expect from such a master of horror. A serial killer comes to a small town to stalk seven children whose birthdays fall on the same day he died. Conversion to 3D adds little visual interest and seems to have been done to make this second-rate offering more appealing.
A thoughtful film by Japanese writer/director Mika Omori, Pool follows the moods rather than the actions of five people staying at a guesthouse in Chiang Mai in northern Thailand. A young Japanese girl goes to Thailand to visit her mother, and hopes during the stay to understand why her mother left Japan to make a living in this unfamiliar country. She learns to appreciate the beauty and calm of the new life her mother has made, and makes the acquaintance of some unusual locals who pull the story in a mystical direction.
Sept. 28 to Oct . 4 A large number of 3000-year-old slate coffins were unearthed on a hill near Nanhe Village (南和村) in Pingtung County on Sept. 30, 1985. Unfortunately, the United Daily News (聯合報) noted that they had been seriously damaged by construction, and no artifacts or human remains were found. Although the newspaper called the find a “significant discovery,” little information can be gleaned about this specific site because it’s just one of countless locations where stone sarcophagi have been unearthed across southern and eastern Taiwan, and as north as Yilan County. These stone receptacles for the dead were
Sitting at the bar, martini in hand, Kristin Scott Thomas rolls her eyes briefly heavenwards. And then she declares, in one of the most memorable monologues of the cult BBC drama Fleabag, that menopause is the “most wonderful fucking thing in the world. And yes, your entire pelvic floor crumbles and you get fucking hot and no one cares. But then — you’re free! No longer a slave, no longer a machine with parts. You’re just a person, in business.” When an entranced Fleabag says she has been told the whole thing is horrendous, Scott Thomas’s character responds: “It is horrendous,
As if the climbs and views and snacks and companions of cycling in Taiwan aren’t sufficient, the GPS-generation of route-planners are now using apps such as Strava and Endomondo to create works of art as they ride. One such is nicknamed the Dove Road of Sijhih (汐鴿路), a 25km ride that follows the riverside bike path from the Nangang-Neihu Bridge (南湖橋) to New Taipei City’s Sijhih District (汐止), climbs around 400m up the Sijhih-Shiding Road (汐碇路), before dropping back down past Academia Sinica to generate a very dove-like pattern. Originally called Kippanas by indigenous Ketagalan people and transliterated into Hoklo (more commonly
A senior communist party operative whose only previous experience in Hong Kong is a business trip two years ago; a former Guangdong mayor who oversaw the mass arrests of villagers protesting against land seizures; a former provincial party secretary best known for tearing down hundreds of churches and crosses in eastern China. These are China’s top officials charged with Hong Kong affairs, hardliners and allies of the Chinese president, Xi Jinping (習近平), who are remaking the semi-autonomous territory into a city that is directly under Beijing’s control in all but name. They remain behind the scenes, rarely making public appearances. Little is