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Love Contractually 合约男女 (2017) – Hong Kong

[NeoFilmShop.com] Love Contractually 合约男女 (2017) – Hong Kong

Sometimes, we don’t need an original story or an unpredictable ending, what we need is a pair of big stars who have an adequate level of winning romantic chemistry to drive an entire film forward. In the 90s and 2000s, Sammi Cheng and Andy Lau pairing is almost assumed success and in this film, Cheng pairs up with Taiwanese heartthrob Joseph Chang. The duo matches particularly well despite the decade of age difference and the chemistry is clearly there adding to the most crucial part of any romantic comedies.
First time director Liu Guonan whose previous credits include assisting the great Zhang Yimou is a number of films, smartly focuses all his attention between the interactions of the two attractive leads. The story is given a side track and the coherent is almost forgotten. However, emotionally it works as the audience ends up rooting for the duo to be together. Maybe this is what you call movie magic as there are so many believable moments throughout and yet the film still ends up somehow working. Casting actors for roles are important, but having natural chemistry is rare and it is precisely this little aspect making Love Contractually afloat.

I rated it 3/5

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Dealer / Healer 毒誡 (2017) – Hong Kong

[NeoFilmShop.com] Dealer / Healer (2017) – Hong Kong

Director Lawrence Lau finally gets a turn at a bigger budgeted film with some of industry biggest stars at his disposal. Famed for characterising the genre of youth difficulty living on the edge of poverty and drugs, Lau takes a step further into the adult world of drugs and eventual redemption. To be honest, the film is constantly uneven and ends up a mixed bag of emotions given the the peace making message for the second duration. Still, the film remains fun throughout, carried by lead Lau Ching Wan in a difficult role about a deadbeat gangster living in the walled Kowloon City with his estranged girlfriend (played excellently by Jiang Yiyan) who is forced to the brink of prostitution. Gordon Lam and Max Zhang shows up as Lau’s best buddies and are more ridiculously and unbelievable in both their acting and characters they are portraying. Patrick Tam appears in some scene stealing scenes, while Louis Koo seems to be acting in his own film as small time gang leader.
The problem with Dealer / Healer is not so much the storyline, but the focus appears to be all over the place. The first half we get a besieged city and people living in atrocious environment, but the film makes an instant switch with Lau Ching Wan waking up instantly to be a peace maker and anti drug administrator. It all seem too forced and manufactured and that being said, there are some lovely comic moments especially in the second half. Don’t get me wrong, this is a brutal film, but it never hits the mark.
I rated it 3/5

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What The Health (2017) – USA

[NeoFilmShop.com] What The Health (2017) – USA

Produced by Netflix, What the Health is an entertaining and involving documentary that talks about the links between vegan, GMOs, Meat Industry and health. I am not saying that the film is scientifically accurate as it tends to skip many technical details in the route to cure cancer, health issues, heart problems and diabetes through promoting going vegan. However, the manner the film goes from point to point is fast paced enough to be both informative and entertaining. At the end of the day, we don’t go into these film searching for universal truths, but rather opening up our questioning minds to think for ourselves. After all, the health is ours and it is up to us to improve our own quality of life.

Putting the obvious bias aside on the meat industry, it is undoubtedly that the big meat corporation need to care more for the environment and their surroundings. Feeding rotten pigs and cocktail of antibodies to the pigs that eventually we will all end up on our plates for dinner is not acceptable, nor is the cause of spreading different diseases acceptable. Government regulators need to tighten the screws on these areas and impose heavy fines, even if these corporations whether meat or medical industry are paying them a lot of money to keep quite. The sad reality remains and the greedy will be more greedy and the real suffers at the end of the circle will be all of us. If there is one thing to take from this film, is that we do have a choice, one way or another.

I rated it 3/5

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The Tuxedo (2002) – USA

[NeoFilmShop.com] The Tuxedo (2002) – USA

I think we can all agree that Jackie Chan does not need CGI effects to enhance his Kung Fu skills. Whilst it is fun to see Chan attempt to play a taxi driver thrown into a James Bond situation and gaining magically superman-like kung fu skills after wearing a tuxedo. Add in the sexy Jennifer Love Hewitt as the sidekick, the premises seem fun enough for a 100 minute ride. However, the film drags and even becomes a tad boring which is a tough ask, given Chan is displaying his martial art prowess in superman fashion. The story is probably to blame as the gadgets seems to be the focus.
Chan is a physical comic actor and in many scenes it is so obvious CGI enhanced that makes his action seem far less enjoyable. The whole technological idea of using science, water and insect to poison the world is also rather bizarre and full of plot holes. Having said that this kind of film actually worked well in the reins of Johnny English, but we all know Mr. Bean cannot fight and with him playing the super spy, it all adds to the fun. Here, Chan have always played that kind of role and now with a suit, it doesn’t exactly light fireworks. All in all, The Tuxedo looks good on paper and even in the effects department, but with Chan still at his semi-prime, a CGI enhanced Chan may not be in everyone’s best interest.

I rated it 2.5/5

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The Score (2001) – USA

[NeoFilmShop.com] The Score (2001) – USA

There are many heist genre thriller that ends up unrealistic and far too technical for us to follow. However, The Score stays extremely grounded and keep everything simple, even when computer hacking and codes are involved. It’s helps that we get great actors in the key roles, Robert De Niro as the master and veteran safe breaker going about his final payday teams up with the smart, but aggressive Edward Norton who is absolutely brilliant when required to pretend to be handicapped. Marion Brando in his final film role as the crime boss simply adds an extra layer to the film.

The premises is not fresh or anything ground breaking, the duo simply needs to find a way to break into the underground storage safe of the local French museum. Seeing DeNiro or his stunt double climbs and crawl his way through the tunnel and the metal fence before eventually hosing water into the metal safe are all fun to watch. Add in the quirky and unexpected nature of Norton’s role, it’s simply an exhilarating ride to endure. All in all, The Score simply works as director Frank Oz is never pretentious or goes over the top, it is a simple film about an heist operation and how they managed to steal their prize and the escape plan along the way. Sometimes, that is all a genre film needs to be, simple, but fun.

I rated it 3.75/5

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