Category Archives: Dada Chen

Lucky Star 2015 吉星高照2015 (2015) – Hong Kong

Lucky Star 2015 吉星高照2015 (2015)- Hong Kong

Reviewed by Andrew Chan

Date: 23 May 2015

Director: Ching Long

Starring: Eric Tsang, Wong Cho Lam, Ella Chen (S.H.E.), Dada Chan, Wen Chao

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We all reminiscent the good old days of Stephen Chow’s style of comedy and his string of 90s classic have pretty much earmarked a generation of Hong Kong people. “Lucky Star 2015” like many other films before it, tries hard to recapture this memory in referencing to as many Chow’s iconic scenes as possible. In many ways, this is a hit and miss film, where some moments are better than others and while remembering Chow’s best moments in cinematic history is enjoyable to say the least. It can also be overindulgence and serving as a hefty reminder of what Hong Kong cinema have become today.

Wong Cho Nam headlines this film as a struggling director in the Hong Kong film industry and instead venture the role of a “mama san” for gigolos in order to survive. Adding to the trouble is his fading figure as the boyfriend of an up and coming actress (played by Dada Chan) who is considering a nude CAT III role in Ang Lee’s latest film – “Lust, Caution 2” (This is not real by the way.) Wen Chao (Stephen Chow’s fulltime voice impersonator) whose life quest is to meet Stephen Chow plays Wong Cho Nam’s sidekick, while Taiwanese singer S.H.E’s Ella Chen provides some comic relief.

All in all, “Lucky Star 2015” is by no means a great film, but it have plenty of enjoyable and fun moments to warrant a single guilty pleasure viewing. We all love Stephen Chow and sometime, seeing his iconic scenes acted out again provides a simple nostalgic moment. Wong Cho Nam pairs well with Dada Chan as the two play off each other in a complimentary manner and some of the best scenes remains on the Hong Kong heritage tram ride. It remains to be seen, whether Wen Chao can craft himself a career out of simply impersonating Chow’s voice, but at least his presence here is more welcoming than annoying. With the current crop of Hong Kong lunar New Year comedies (the likes of “An Inspector Calls” faltering badly), “Lucky Star 2015” is actually quite decent in comparison and enough laughs to warrant a one-time viewing. (Neo 2015)

Recommended film and endorsed by HK Neo Reviews.

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Hardcore Comedy 重口味 (2013) – Hong Kong

Review by: Andrew Chan FCCA AACTA FIPRESCI
Review Date: 11th September 2013

Directed by: Henri Wong, Chong Siu-wing, Law Yiu-fai
Starring: Dada Chan, William Chan, Oscar Leung, Kelvin Kwan, Alien Sun
Film Distributed by Mei Ah Entertainment Hong Kong and Dream Movies
In cinemas Hong Kong from 29 August 2013 and 12 September 2013 in Australia

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“Hardcore Comedy” is not entirely something that the Hong Kong local audience has been asking for, but rather cashing in on the success of last year’s “Vulgaria”, local filmmakers seem to think that anything that relates to extreme vulgarity will turn out into profits. Unfortunately, the makers behind “Hardcore Comedy” makes a big mistake in thinking that vulgarity and nudity equates to entertainment and local humour, but in all sense, that is never really the case. What makes Pang Ho Cheung’s “Vulgaria” or even “SDU Sex Duties” a hit with the masses, is the smart storyline and excellent use of dialogue and word play that is genuinely laugh out loud moments, but “Hardcore Comedy” prefers to show vulgarity rather than suggest the fact, which results in a low brow, bad taste and probably bad for you fast food like McDonald and without the taste value factor. In essence, “Hardcore Comedy” is a terrible film as it is not a film, but rather a collection of porn and if Hong Kong cinema has to resort to this, then I am vastly disappointed.

In fact, I am going to go over-the-top to suggest that the cast and crew associated with this film, should simply be ashamed. I was one of the first critic to embrace “Vulgaria” and even “SDU Sex Duties”, but this is nothing like the former. Taking things over-the-top is okay, if you have a decent story to back up the film, but to show body parts, sex and all other nonsense associated in order to hope for a local box office hit, that is simply low and crass. Take one scene or act for example, newcomer Vivian Law appears in no less than 3 scenes and in all three she is being fucked, fucking or quite frankly enjoying being fucked. If you can find character in that performance, I salute you. The fact that 3 experienced producers are over-seeing this production makes it even more demeaning. I am not saying that Hong Kong films should just kiss the ass of Mainland censors, but if a local film have to go to this extreme to satisfy investors, then I rather they stop making this kind of movies.

All in all, “Hardcore Comedy” is precisely the kind of film that will drag the Hong Kong industry down with it. With so few local productions, one must expect quality and when I say quality it needs to be on par with “Vulgaria” and “SDU Sex Duties”, meaning local productions that combines, sex, humor and comedy. However, “Hardcore Comedy” fails in all department, except for a few saving grace, namely Siu Yam Yam being hilarious as usual, Dada Chen in a surprisingly effective performance and a decent final installment starring Oscar Leung. Apart of these positives, negatives are everywhere and almost available instantly. It is okay to be crude, but it needs to be funny and somehow the filmmakers involved failed to realise that. To the makers behind this film, please take note, nudity and vulgarity is not by itself funny, it is the substance and the essence of vulgarity that makes it funny. Let’s hope this is a minor mishap for all involved, as I am not proud to call this a local Hong Kong production. (Neo 2013)

I rated it 2/10

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SDU: Sex Duties Unit 飛虎出征 (2013) – Hong Kong

Review by: Andrew Chan FCCA AACTA
Review Date: 23rd July 2013

Director: Gary Mak
Produced by: Pang Ho Cheung and Leung Kai Yun
Starring: Chapman To, Shawn Yue, Matt Chow, Derek Tsang, Jim Chim, Siu Yam-yam and Dada Chen

Film Distributed by Media Asia Distributions and Making Films Production

In cinemas across Australia, Hong Kong and New Zealand from 25th July 2013.

Hong Kong Box Office taking: HK$16,711,696

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Pang Ho Cheung continues his dominant taste and form with the Hong Kong audience, while at the same time providing the Hong Kong critics a direct reply upon his “Vulgaria” snub earlier this year. In an era where Hong Kong movies aren’t really that anticipated by the local audience, it is almost paramount for a pure Hong Kong production to strike a chord with the audience. It needs to be smart with relevant dialogue, uniquely Hong Kong style, and naughty and over the top and ultimately so hilarious that it cannot pass the Chinese censorship. In Pang’s last year “Vulgaria”, he did exactly that and while “SDU: Sex Duties Unit” isn’t as good, it makes up for an over the top exercise and enough laughs to ensure another HK$30 million Box Office hit looming for the producer and writer Pang.

This time around, the focus is no longer on purely Chapman To, but rather the comedy and chemistry is spread between four key characters. The somewhat serious Shawn Yue juxtaposes perfectly with the seedy yet hilariously funny Matt Chow, while Chapman To is “Chapman To”. Surprisingly Derek Tsang gives a wonderful effeminize performance that is likely to draw many laughs.

Director Gary Mak is surprisingly effective and at times, it really seem as though we are watching a Pang Ho Cheung movie. While in some way, you would have preferred a more personal style, it is almost undeniable that Pang will always have a heavy influence in films that he produced. After-all the auteur have not made a single bad movie in over a decade and have already overtaken Wong Jing’s mantle in the local box office.

In terms of nudity, the film never exposes in a crude and disrespectful manner, which is to be complimented. Everything act of the film goes towards producing a moment of laughter. While “SDU” will never revitalize the industry, but it gives a much needed boost to the quality starved local audience. As usual the supporting veteran players Jim Chim and Siu Yam-yam in their respective roles as “mama-san”, which all, but increase the value of entertainment. The constant interplay and referral to the “Vulgaria”‘s donkey jokes is also welcoming.

All in all, in creating “SDU: Sex Duties Unit”, Pang Ho Cheung is fast becoming Hong Kong’s most bankable local movie producer and with an acquired taste of local interest in smart, naughty, sexy and fun. Pang manages to strike the gold pot once again and despite leading man Chapman To taking a back seat, the four SDUs interplay are always impressive, full of jargon in-jokes, super wordplay and a delightful display of Macau’s vibrant and sexy nightlife. “SDU: Sex Duties Unit” is certainly not as good as “Vulgaria” in terms of quality filmmaking, but it is most certainly outrageously funny and sometimes, that is precisely what the local audience demands. (Neo 2013)

I rated it 7.5/10

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32nd Hong Kong Film Awards 2013 香港電影金像獎 – Winners and Nomination List and Detailed Analysis

Analysis and Coverage by: Andrew Chan AACTA FCCA FIPRESCI
Attended as guest of the 32nd Hong Kong Film Awards 2013 in Hong Kong on April 13th.
Also published in various Australian and Chinese media.

The 32nd Hong Kong Film Awards 2013 was held on the 13 April 2013 at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre. What impressed me about the event is the audience are kept mostly entertained for the entire duration, whether it is the singing acts in between or the in-jokes cracked by the various presenters. It is usually the highlight of the annual film award show in Hong Kong.

COLD WAR

This year’s biggest winner remains the highly overrated “COLD WAR“, winning in 9 categories, including Best Film, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Newcomer and Best Screenplay. “COLD WAR” isn’t a bad film, but it is at best an average film event that is done on a larger scale. The first half of the film is certainly stunning as wall to wall tension is constantly built, however, the film fails miserably in the second half as everything seems to point to an inevitable sequel. Still, Tony Leung Ka Fai is fully justified in receiving the Best Actor award as his menacing and controlling performance is second to none and is at his expressive best. A deserved 4th Best Actor crown for a true veteran of Hong Kong cinema. With that being said, multiple award winners Longman Leung and Sunny Luk does craft a wonderful script, but the film suffers from rather average direction and overall pacing issues. Another aspect worthy of debate is the terrible performance by Best Newcomer Alex Tsui, who looks nothing like an ICAC commissioner, despite being one himself in his other lifetime. It is shame as there are others far more worthy contenders in that category.

VULGARIA

The other big winner of the night, is one of my favourite Hong Kong movies of 2012, “VULGARIA“. Ronald Cheng deservedly steals in show in “VULGARIA” as the lavish mainlander with a definite odd taste for food, women and the star of the show – Donkey. Cheng won the Best Supporting Actor award as he tells of his former life as spoil brat and how Andy Lau’s words of wisdom made him a changed man. A wonderfully timed emotional moment for both Cheng and the crowd. The biggest surprise of the night goes to winner of Best Supporting Actress, Dada Chen, who gracefully accepts the award. It is certainly Chen’s best performance, if you count “LAN KWAI FONG”, as she is able to engage the audience with laughter and provides an adequate chemistry with co-star Chapman To, which in turn is the driving force to the success of “VULGARIA“. However, I stand by my words, Chen does adequately without being entirely successful, and could have expressed more from her character rather than being one dimensional. Still, I am sure Chen with the encouragement of the award will continue to strife for better things and improvement.

Pang Ho Cheung / Miriam Yeung

While Pang Ho Cheung didn’t win any awards directly, both his films “VULGARIA” and “LOVE IN THE BUFF” featured heavily in almost all the major acting dons, including Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor and Actress. Miriam Yeung is a bit of a dark horse, while her performance is certainly natural and have shown improvements from her numerous romantic comedy roles, there was a striking lack of chemistry between Shawn Yue and Yeung. While “LOVE IN THE BUFF” is easily a good film, I thought mainland actress Mini Yang flairs just as well comparatively, if not better. However, Yang is not nominated in any category this year. Nothing can be taken away from what Yeung is able to achieve and like how she puts it herself “many people may not consider this to be my best performance, but I know I will continue to improve to that level.” Still, the award is probably deserved as she is the only nominated role that clearly portrays a highly local Hong Kong female character in the most natural manner. Although many will argue that Sammi Cheng is unlucky not to win the award, as she was almost flawless in “ROMANCING IN THIN AIR“.

Jacky Cheung singing
The highlight of the night goes to Jacky Cheung, who clearly sang the roof off in his rendition for “THE LAST TYCOON“. His ability to draw the crowd in and climax at the most crucial moments is one of the reason why Cheung remains the best singer of the four heavenly kings. Another high point goes to Anthony Wong’s series of remembrance after a decade of the late Leslie Cheung and Anita Mui.

Overall, Hong Kong Film Awards Association should be complimented for putting on a good show as the audience is constantly entertained and the presenters selection is pretty much spot on. As for the awards, it always open to debate and I am sure they have good reasons for winners of every category, even if you don’t entirely agree. Once again, congratulation to all the winners of the 32nd Hong Kong Film Awards 2013 and see you all next year.

*Winners in BOLD

Best Picture
Vulgaria <低俗喜劇>
Motorway <車手>
The Bullet Vanishes <消失的子彈>
The Viral Factor <逆戰>
Cold War <寒戰>

Best Director
Cheang Pou Soi (Motorway)
Pang Ho Cheung (Love in the Buff)
Law Chi Leung (The Bullet Vanishes)
Dante Lam (The Viral Factor)
Longman Leung and Sunny Luk (Cold War)

Best Screenplay
Pang Ho Cheung, Luk Yee Sum, and Lam Chiu Wing (Vulgaria)
Pang Ho Cheung, Luk Yee Sum (Love in the Buff)
Law Chi Leung, Yeung Sin Ling (The Bullet Vanishes)
Longman Leung, Sunny Luk (Cold War)
Alan Mak and Felix Chong (The Silent War)

Best Actor
Nick Cheung (Nightfall)
Chapman To (Vulgaria)
Sean Lau (The Bullet Vanishes)
Tony Leung Ka Fai (Cold War)
Tony Leung Chiu Wai (The Silent War)

Best Actress
Zhou Xun (The Great Magician)
Miriam Yeung (Love in the Buff)
Sammi Cheng (Romancing in Thin Air)
Elanne Kong (Love Lifting)
Zhou Xun (The Silent War)

Best Supporting Actor
Ronald Cheng (Vulgaria)
Liu Kai Chi (The Bullet Vanishes)
Gordon Lam (Cold War)
Chapman To (Diva)
Alex Man (The Bounty)

Best Supporting Actress
Susan Shaw (Vulgaria)
Dada Chen (Vulgaria)
Jiang Yiyan (The Bullet Vanishes)
Elaine Jin (The Viral Factor)
Mavis Fan (The Silent War)

Best New Performer
Zhang Lanxin (CZ12)
Joyce Feng (The Last Tycoon)
Jayden Yuan (Tai Chi 0)
Alex Tsui (Cold War)
Sammy Sum (Lan Kwai Fong 2)

Best Cinematography
Andrew Lau and Jason Kwan (The Last Tycoon)
Chan Chi Ying (The Bullet Vanishes)
Kenny Tse (The Viral Factor)
Jason Kwan and Kenny Tse (Cold War)
Anthony Pun (The Silent War)

Best Editing
Yau Chi Wai (CZ12)
David Richardson and Allen Leung (Motorway)
Chung Wai Chiu (The Viral Factor)
Kwong Chi Leung and Ron Chan (The Bullet Vanishes)
Kwong Chi Leung and Wong Hoi (Cold War)

Best Art Direction
Yee Chung Man and Eric Lam (The Last Tycoon)
Yip Kam Tim (Tai Chi 0)
Lau Sai Wan (The Guillotines)
Silver Cheung and Lee Kin Wai (The Bullet Vanishes)
Man Lim Chung (The Silent War)

Best Costume Design and Make-Up
Yee Chung Man and Jessie Dai (The Great Magician)
Yip Kam Tim (Tai Chi 0)
Dora Ng (The Guillotines)
Stanley Cheung (The Bullet Vanishes)
Man Lim Chung (The Silent War)

Best Action Choreography
Jackie Chan and He Jun (Chinese Zodiac)
Sammo Hung (Tai Chi 0)
Chin Ka Lok and Wong Wai Fai, Ng Hoi Tong (Motorway)
Dante Lam, Chin Ka Lok, Wong Wai Fai, Ng Hoi Tong (The Viral Factor)
Chin Ka Lok and Wong Wai Fai (Cold War)

Best Original Film Score
Chan Kwong Wing and Yu Peng (The Last Tycoon)
Teddy Robin and Tommy Wai (The Bullet Vanishes)
Peter Kam (Cold War)
Eman Lam and Veronica Lee (Diva)
Chan Kwong Wing (The Silent War)

Best Original Song
定風波 (from The Last Tycoon)
刀鋒偏冷 (from The Guillotines)
DoReMi (from Romancing in Thin Air)
戀無可戀 (from Lan Kwai Fong 2)
追風箏的風箏 (from Diva)

Best Sound Design
Kinson Tsang (The Guillotines)
Benny Chu and Steve Miller (Motorway)
Phyllis Cheng (The Bullet Vanishes)
Kinson Tsang (The Viral Factor)
Kinson Tsang (Cold War)

Best Visual Effects
Han Young Woo, Victor Wong, Patrick Chui, and Seong Ho Jang (CZ12)
Chas Chau, Kim Ho, Ng Yuen Fai, and A Law (Tai Chi 0)
Victor Wong (The Guillotines)
Law Wai Ho and Hellowing Cheung (Motorway)
Cecil Cheng (Cold War)

Best New Director
Chow Hin Yeung (Nightfall)
Brian Tse (McDull: The Pork of Music)
Fung Chih Chiang (The Bounty)

Best Film of Mainland and Taiwan
Back to 1942 <一九四二>
Gf*Bf <女朋友。男朋友>
Love is Not Blind <失戀33天>
Painted Skin: The Resurrection <畫皮II>
Love <愛Love>

[36HKIFF] Vulgaria 低俗喜劇 (2012) – Hong Kong

@ 36th Hong Kong International Film Festival – International Premiere
Review by: Andrew Chan (Neo) FCCA
Review Date: 11 April 2012

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Pang Ho Cheung does it again and this time, he goes over the top in creating possibly the most foul language film of Hong Kong cinematic history and the most laugh-out-loud movie event of the year…

Reviewer note: However, knowledge of Hong Kong cinema, language, culture and everything else is a must for full enjoyment.

“Vulgaria” is very much a local Hong Kong fair and for that alone it is worthy of its admission price. It’s been a long time running since, I laughed out loud together with a full-house screening of a Hong Kong movie. In fact, it is probably since “Hang Over” that I laughed so much continuously at a cinema screening. There is no question about “Vulgaria”‘s entertainment value and in terms of that; it is truly up there with the best. Director Edmond Pang Ho Cheung once again strikes a chord with the local audience and this time, he succeeded in creating a laughing cord connection. Comedies are never easy, but black comedy and satire is truly Pang’s forte. Think no further than his debut work (still one of Pang most hilarious and smart film) “You Shoot, I Shoot”. What makes this film a success is very much due to ability of Chapman To to deliver an all-out comedic performance and a clever script to boot?

Chapman To is one fine actor. I still remember the lad appeared in almost every other Hong Kong movies back in 2003-2005 periods. In recent years, To have proved to be as much a capable leading actor in combining dramatic and comedic roles in particular “La Comédie humaine”, in which he delivered one of his finest performance. In “Vulgaria”, the To is able to own the film in a manner where he is truly coming of age and becoming a star in his own right, own style and own flair. It is not since Stephen Chow that there is a second coming and while To may not have the same star power, his performance here is second to none. Likewise the Chow heir apparent, Ronald Cheng overacts as the rich Mainlander provides a perfect combo To-Cheng duo act as the two play of each other and radiates the screen, whenever they collides. Unfortunately the weakest link of the trio comes in the form of hot and sexy Dada Chen. While Chen is hot whenever she comes onto the screen, she is unable to create a character in a role that require much more. Not unlike “My Name is Fame“, where the aspiring actress Huo Siyan is able to make the role her own; the same cannot be said about Chen. Surely a step up from her steamy hot performance in “Lan Kwai Fong“, but still a far cry from the rest of the cast. Despite, her limited screen time, veteran Susan Shaw is perfectly casted as herself in a straight talking role that actually contributes to one of the funnier moments on the screen.

All in all, Pang has hit the jackpot once again and it is not surprising, considering he is one of the few directors to never having made a bad movie. In fact, all his movies are smart and somewhat refreshing and in “Vulgaria”, Pang goes all out to create smart and efficiently scripted cheap and effective laughs. It’s not every day we watch a movie where the actors and crew have so much fun in rooting animals and using popping candies as a sexual foreplay. Adding with some strong performance from Chapman To and Ronald Cheng, Pang is able to deliver one of the freshest and funniest entry to 2012 Hong Kong cinema. Although the film may not appeal to the older generation and some may even find it offensive, but for an age group of 20-40, this is surely a film not to miss. “Vulgaria” may not win any awards, but in terms of entertainment value, Pang has done it again…(Neo 2012)

Neo rates it 9/10