Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Underworld: Awakening [ Movie Review ] ★★

The Pitch 

Underworld Awakening is the fourth installments to the Underworld franchise. Just like Vin Diesel with the Fast and Furious franchise, the lead actress of the first two Underworld movies, Kate Beckinsale returns to the franchise after skipping one installment.

It's been reported that Kate Beckinsale had no intention to return to the Underworld series but was convinced by the quality of the script. Since Kate Beckinsale felt that the script was good enough to wear those tight rubber suits and corsets for another round of supernatural whack fest, the Underworld fans must be rejoicing to have another chance to see her strut her stuff on the big screen.

Personally,  I never seen any movies of the Underworld franchise, I had always been curious with the longevity of this series that revolves around the world of vampire vs werewolves. This series had always felt like a hoakey blend of two groups of beloved supernatural creatures with stylist tight clothing and a huge range of noisy weaponry. It isn't something that I would go out of my way to watch but since folks at Incinemas were nice enough to pick me from their facebook contest, Underworld Awakening shall be my entry point to the Underworld series. Let's hope that it would be a good jumping point for a Underworld newbie.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

All's Well End's Well 2012 八星抱喜 [ Movie Review ]

The Pitch

When it comes to Chinese News Year period, the other activity beside celebrating new year at relatives and friends' house, it would probably be a trip to the cinemas for a He Sui Pian (贺岁片 Chinese New Year Movie).

In recent years, Raymond Wong and Eric Tsang had been consecutively churning out authentic He Sui Pian (贺岁片 Chinese New Year Movie) for the Chinese New Year period. This year, Raymond Wong is back with another installment of the All's Well Ends Well franchise and Eric Tsang has another installment of I love Hong Kong.  

All's Well End's Well 2012 八星抱喜 features the likes of Sandra Ng, Donnie Yen, Louis Koo, Kelly Chen, Chapman To, Lynn Hung, Yang Mi and Raymond Wong.

The interesting point would be to note that who has the better He Sui Pian and who takes in the biggest slice of the He Sui Pian Box office. Since it's impossible to gauge who is the winner in this box office until the end of the Chinese New Year period, let's just see who has the better Hei Sui Pian.

Romancing in Thin Air | 高海拔之戀 II

The Pitch

Romancing in Thin Air ( 高海拔之戀 II) marks the latest collaboration between Louis Koo and Sammi Cheng as a on screen couple since "Good Times, Bed Times" & "Love for All Seasons" in 2003. While Sammi Cheng's fans might be excited to see her back on the big screen, this isn't exactly what caught my attention for this movie.

Initially, it was the Chinese title for this movie that comes with a "II" It seems to indicate that this movie is a sequel but it would be a sequel to a movie that nobody had heard of. An intriguing move by the film makers to keep the movie buff interested and guessing.

The premise of romancing in the highlands that depicts how love could sometimes leave one breathless sound pretty poetic. I am interested to see how it would be explored in this movie.

Last but not least, I am a fan of Johnny To and Wai Ka-Fai's movies. Although they have some misses with their romance movies, Romancing in Thin Air somehow invokes the feel of Running on Karma. I would love to see them repeat their brand of movie magic with this movie.

Theme Song of Romancing in Thin Air (Mandarin Version)

The theme song Do Re Mi by Sammi Cheng sound lovely and haunting at the same time. One of the reasons why I am interested to catch this movie.

Character Posters featuring Louis Koo and Sammi Cheng

Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Soul of Bread | 愛的麵包魂

The Pitch

The local movie distributors must be very impressed with the business that You are the Apple of my Eye did in Singapore box office. That Taiwanese movie was the highest grossing Asian films of 2011 in Singapore, raking in $2.93 million (and counting) with relatively unknown stars.

Like many other male viewers, I was pretty much enthralled by the beautiful lead actress Michelle Chen and it's very likely that these collective male fans would flock to buy a ticket to watch whatever she might be doing next. That's probably why Michelle Chen's latest movie The Soul of Bread 愛的麵包魂 is getting a theatrical release in Singapore on the 15th Mar 2012! Just a few weeks after the commercial release in Taiwan (3rd Feb 2012) and we don't usually get their movies from the Asian region that quickly.

From the trailer (embedded below), The Soul of Bread looks like it's going to be a love triangle set in the world of bakery. A charming foreigner and the local village guy competing for the affection of a beautiful baker's daughter.

It would be interesting to see how Michelle Chen's follow up movie to You are the Apple of my Eyes would fare. The only thing in the trailer that didn't work for would be Han Tien Chen's performance as the local bumpkin. But then again, it's just first impression from the trailer and it might be too hasty to judge.

The usage of bakery as subject matter is quite a smart move. In recent years bread, cakes, pastries, and other forms of desserts are becoming rather popular in the Asian region. There's already a couple of movies like Antique Bakery (Korean), Chonmage Purin (Japanese) and Patisserie Coin de rue (Japanese) that deals with the art of baking and relationships that derived from it. There's potential in this movie about baking and the showdown between bakers but it remains to be seen how it would be executed.


Trailer from The Soul of Bread 愛的麵包魂 Official Youtube Channel


 The Soul of Bread - Anthony Neely
 The Soul of Bread - Han Tien Chen

The Soul of Bread - Michelle Chen

Sunday, January 22, 2012

The Viral Factor | 逆戰 [ Movie Review ] ★★★1/2

The Plot

A failed mission to protect a scientist who has stolen a copy of the smallpox virus left Jon Man (Jay Chou) severely injured and the scientist kidnapped by his traitorous colleague Sean (Andy On). The bullet is lodged in Jon's brain will paralyses him within two week and he decides to spend his final days with his mother (Elaine Jin).

What he didn't expect was that his mother revealed to him that he has a long lost brother Man Yang (Nicolas Tse) whom she left behind with his gambling addict dad Man Tin (Liu Kai Chi). To fulfill his mother last wishes, Jon decides to track Man Yang down in Malaysia.

En route to Kuala Lumpur (Capital of Malaysia), Jon befriends medical specialist Rachel (Lin Peng) and came across criminal organization attempting to kidnap her. During the process to foil this kidnap attempt, he discovers that Man Yang is a wanted felon working as a mercenary for Sean, who needs the help of a medical specialist to mutate the small pox virus and holds the world ransom.

After Man Yang failed to kidnap Rachel but escaped with the virus, the criminal organization attempts to control him by kidnapping his daughter. The righteous Jon has to decide whether to stop Man Yang from breaking more laws or assist his wayward brother in rescuing his niece and stopping Sean's diabolical plans?

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Dance Dance Dragon | 龙众舞 [ Movie Review ] ★★★

The Pitch

Last year He Sui Pian (贺岁片 Chinese New Year Movie)  winner in Singapore box office was the local movie "It's a Great Great World". It made $2.43 millions, beating the likes of Raymond Wong's "All's Well, Ends Well 2011 最強囍事 2011", Eric Tsang's "I love Hong Kong" and Jack Neo's Homecomings.

This year Kelvin Tong (director of It's a Great Great World) and an ensemble of Singapore / Malaysia actors are back with another He Sui Pian call "Dance Dance Dragon". Kelvin Tong will be taking on the duties of a producer while handling over the directing duties to his long time collaborator Kat Goh.

Dance Dance Dragon is set up to celebrate the upcoming year of Dragon with the anticipation of the baby boom period in 2012 (Most Chinese believes the Dragon Year is the most auspicious time to have a baby). It's going to incorporate Dragon dance and perhaps other forms of dancing into the movie (hence the title Dance Dance Dragon).

 Dance Dance Dragon features local celebrities like Adrian Pang, Kym Ng and Dennis Chew (who is starring in this movie with his popular Aunty Lucy persona). Malaysian veteran actress Lai Ming is back again in another Singapore movie and personally, she is a delightful actress to watch out for.

But the biggest question remains. Will "Dance Dance Dragon" be able to repeat "It's a Great Great World" financial success at the box office this year? Let's wait to find out.

Monday, January 16, 2012

The Great Magician | 大魔術師 [ Movie Review ] ★★★

The Pitch

Without looking at the plot premises, The Great Magician 大魔術師 was already alluring with the people involved with this project. It has a stellar cast of Tony Leung Chiu Wai, Lau Ching Wan and Zhou Xun. Three actors had all impress me with their performance in respective movies (Happy Together, Hero, Mad Detective, My Name is Fame, The Flying Swords of Dragon Gate & The Message - just to name a few) in the past.

Beside the cast, The Great Magician is directed by Derek Yee. Like the cast, I enjoyed the director's previous works (C'est la vie, mon chéri, Full Throttle, Viva Erotica and Triple Tap) and I have yet to find a disappointing movie from him.

On a closer look, The Great Magician seemed to share a similar premise with Edward Norton's The Illusionist. A magician taking on a dictator for the affection on a woman. It's a pretty good movie and even if The Great Magician ends up as a rehash of The Illusionist, I am still looking forward to how this collaboration between Derek Yee, Tony Leung, Lau Ching Wan and Zhou Xun would turn out.