Category Archives: Movie Premiere + Stars Sighting

Lan Kwai Fong 2 喜愛夜浦2 (2012) – Hong Kong

@ Red Carpet Screening with LKF2 stars: Shiga Lin, Mia Chan and Dominic Ho courtesy of Dream Movies Australia (DMA) and Vie Media

Review by: Andrew Chan (Neo) FCCA AACTA
Review Date: 27th August 2012

Hong Kong Box Office Takings: HK$11,089,491

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Wong Jing has finally find a predecessor under his belt in the form of “Lan Kwai Fong 2″ director Wilson Chin Kwok-Wai and that’s not a compliment in any way. In fact, the sequel to last year’s commercially successful mindless entertainment “Lan Kwai Fong” is so bad that it is funny.

Director Wilson Chin is the next Wong Jing and that is nothing to be proud of. If Wong Jing’s recent output is to go by, “Lan Kwai Fong 2″ is precisely what you call cheap, sexy and lowbrow. If the first film is somewhat empty, but mindless fun filled with sexy performances from Dada Chen, Jeana Ho and Shiga Lin (who is the only of the trio to returns for the sequel) and fun performances from Chen Zi-Ming, Jason Chan and Sin Lap-Man. The sequel lacks all the vital ingredients that made the first film a fun and enjoyable ride into the world of Hong Kong’s iconic party scene. In fact, the film is so bad that it is funny. Some of the script writing and acting is so terrible that the film becomes filled with unintentional humour and the audience laughing at the cheap production values. When the best things coming out of the film are the cameos performances, in particular Alex Fong is a real scene stealer in an ultra-hilarious performance that singlehandedly remains the funniest and more memorable moments in the film.

Director Wilson Chin needs a seriously look in the mirror as this is by far the worst film in his short career. However, like Wong Jing’s worst films, “Lan Kwai Fong 2″ will sell tickets, but if he keeps making films like these, his hands will be forever tie to cheap productions rather than the promised land of bigger budget productions. In fact, the film is filled with bad editing, poor writing, poor lighting inconsistent acting, cliché storyline and uninteresting characters compared to the original.

Shiga Lin (“Lan Kwai Fong”) is far from ready to lead a film, her inexperience to handle crucial moments did not help the film. Likewise, Lin and Kevin Kwan do not have enough chemistry to justify the amount of screen time. Mia Chan is the case of the unfortunate, having to expose more than required including many unnecessary crude shots of her under garments. Perhaps Mia is following Dada Chan’s (“Vulgaria”) footstep, but when the focus becomes your other assets rather than actual acting, Mia is more like the victim of its circumstances. In the scene after Mia bedded Avis, her quick and unusual turn of emotions filled the audience with unintentional laughter. With Mia at the screening, one can only imagine how embarrassing it would have been. Make no mistake, Avis is one terrible actor and apart from his association with Chrissie Chau, one must wonder why someone of his acting calibre can even get a film gag. While newcomer Dominic Ho adds nothing to the preceding other than looking cool and smirking a smile, not unlike the infamous Edison Chen.

“Lan Kwai Fong 2″ contains all the hallmarks of bad filmmaking and it does not help when everyone involved somewhat contributed to the downfall. Director Wilson Chin should get the burden of the blame and should promptly sack whoever the editor was involved. The cutting of scenes affected the film flow of events and by the final third of the film, it seemed so rushed that one can be forgiven to think that the film simply went out of budget. The numerous “close up” shots is more annoying and overused and just about anything that was good in the original, director Chin somehow managed to exclude it. However, the well made finale involving the entire LKF going backward is unbelievable yet sweet, but after going through everything before, the scene is definitely out of place and undeserving of such an ending. One wonders, if the entire production budget and thoughts went into filming the final sequence, the director forgetten that he is not shooting a music video, but rather an entire movie.

With the Hong Kong film industry making lesser local productions, “Lan Kwai Fong 2″ by being sexy and riding on the fame of the first film, may yet sell a few tickets, but with its questionable and cheap quality, it certainly does not help the future of local productions. Still, there is still some fun within this film, but mostly it relates to unintentional humour and to a large degree on the laughable script writing and the bad acting involved. If the first film is mindless entertainment, the second is just so bad that it is funny…(Neo 2012)

I rate it 4/10

Released by Dream Movies Australia (DMA) in selected cinemas across Australia from 23rd August 2012

低俗喜劇 Vulgaria (2012) – 香港 (中文翻譯 – 晏晏)

@ 第36屆香港國際電影節
Review by: Andrew Chan (Neo) FCCA
Translated by: Kristy Leung
Review Date: 16th April 2012

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總括而言,彭浩翔是香港少有的,未製作過一部參差電影的導演。故事與別不同,我們很難會看到講述人獸交的笑話和用爆炸糖來作性趣用品的電影。他的全力以赴和快速效率,為這部戲創造出最「低俗」卻令人感受深刻的笑料,亦再次成功打入了香港市場。 鄭中基和杜汶澤的演出有力地增加了戲劇效果,讓彭浩翔在2012年香港的電影院中,表達出一部最有新鮮感和最富趣味性的電影。雖然這部電影未必吸引到年老一代,或者有些人會不予欣賞態度,但在少年及中年的階層上,卻是不可錯過的電影。《低俗喜劇》或許未能贏得什麼獎項,但彭浩翔賦予的娛樂性,讓它獨具意義。(Neo 2012)


歷翱 評 – 9/10

(中文翻譯 – 晏晏)

Painted Skin: The Resurrection 畫皮II (2012) – China [Australian Premiere]

@ China Lion Screening

Review by: Andrew Chan (Neo) FCCA

Review Date: 3 July 2012

“Painted Skin: The Resurrection” is a perfect example of pure guilty pleasure, mixed within a dream of wonderfully crafted beauties in Zhou Xun, Zhao Wei and Mini Yang…

Seriously, who can possibly resist the temptation of the flawless and seductive display from the ever-wonderful Zhou Xun, a much improved performance from Zhao Wei (after her dismal role in last year’s “Mulan”) and of course the insanely cute portrayal by Mini Yang. Like the 2008 prequel, “Painted Skin”, to truly embrace the experience, the audience needs to slip into the film like a dream and suspend all beliefs. The more you escape from reality and believe into the world of “Painted Skin: The Resurrection”, the more you will end up enjoying the experience. It is one of those special films that require the audience to just go with the flow, enjoy the scenery, the on-screen beauties on display, over the top action sequences, some truly wonderful acting and along with the stunning bright visuals on display.

Zhou Xun is simply flawless in her display as the “spirit” that wants to be more human than human. However, while this film shares the same issue as Ridley Scott’s classic “Bladerunner”, the issue of wanting to be more human is only given a superficial flick of a dice. Still, Zhou is able to carry the film and the manner in which she seductively graces the screen is nothing short of amazing. In particular her noticeable dance to seduce the General (played by Chen Kun) is certainly a highlight. It should also be noted that when the Zhou is required to switch roles with Zhao Wei, it is Zhou who is able to seamlessly step into the shoes of the princess character. It’s been a while since Zhou’s winning performance in “Perhaps Love”, and while she may not win this year, another nomination is only just around the corner.

In terms of Zhao Wei, one must say that she gets better with age. This does not mean that she is aging well in terms of beauty, but rather the improvement comes in the form of her acting. After the disappointing “Mulan” where the fault lies more in the director and the script, rather than her ability in question, Zhao stands shoulder to shoulder in the role of a princess who values beauty and exterior, over the need of being a human. Her character is a direct contrast to Zhou Xun and she performs particularly well until the two switches bodies. There is a sadness in her eyes that allows the audience to always sympathize with her. It is a natural ability that cannot be taught and in many ways, she was always like this. Think back to “Shaolin Soccer” days, the tears in her eyes when she made the noodles still stands firmly on the back of my mind. While she did not exceed Zhou in terms of acting, there is no doubt that Zhao is finally coming of age.

After first catching my eye in “All’s Well, Ends Well 2012” as the swimsuit babe, tackling a relatively difficult and engaging role in “Love in the Buff” and then meeting her in person at the same movie premiere, it is unreservedly that Mini Yang is the latest “it” girl to win my heart. What impressed me in this role is how versatile Yang is. Yang is constantly cute and perhaps the one character in the film that can link more to reality at a human level. Her giggles, laughs, cute-eyed look and comic timing is all at show here. While on surface, it seems like an easy role to play, it should not be underestimated, as it is a kind of role that can so easily go the route of being outright annoying and a waste of space. Instead Yang is able to glue the audience to the screen and turn her small role into a scene stealing performance. Putting aside my personal bias, Yang is still an actress to watch for years to come.

With the trio of actresses taking center stage, the male counterparts are given lesser roles. Still, as general, Chen Kun (also in the original “Painted Skin”) is adequate if not stunning. In particular in the scene when the princess departs him, the sadness and regret in his eyes is certainly of note. While Feng Shaofeng (“White Vengeance”) is filled with boyish good looks and his chemistry with Mini Yang carries the film in another angle. Perhaps the weakest link of the film comes in the form of Taiwanese singer Fei Xiang (born Kris Phillips) as villain, which in many ways seems more laughable than menacing.

It must be said that one cannot stop being disappointed in the lack of a need for 3D or perhaps for the film not making most of the technology on hand. While “Painted Skin: The Resurrection” is beautiful to look at and at times the bright contrast and use of colours in the scenery and backdrop is breathtaking to endure. On the other hand, in the battle scene where the shooting of thousands of arrows is disappointing to say the least, despite obviously taking a page out of Zhang Yimou’s infamous “Hero” scene. While Yimou did not have the same technology back in 2002, “Skin” fails to stretch the 3D technology and the result lacks the outcome of Yimou’s earlier work. The film always lacks the vital ingredient of fight sequences, this may be due to the departure of Donnie Yen, but for the few fights that is included, almost all of them are well-choreographed. However, sometimes, less is not more, when the film could have done with at least a few more elaborated staged fights.

All in all, “Painted Skin: The Resurrection” is easily a crowd pleaser and in many ways more of the same as the 2008’s original. What I really enjoy about these kinds of fantasy films are the manner in which it allows you to escape into another world. Imagine having a dream which compose of the seductiveness of Zhou Xun, the sympathetic looks of Zhao Wei and the cute-eyed Mini Yang. For me, it is more like a dream come true. Still, “Skin” is by no means a perfect movie and as with most dreams there are numerous plot holes, flaws and unrealistic moments, but if one is able to totally suspend your beliefs, then one can truly enjoy the experience. At the end of the day, sometimes when watching a film like “Painted Skin: The Resurrection” it is all about entertainment and for me, just thinking of the trio of actresses, I am already finding it hard to resist. Most certainly a dream-like experience… (Neo, 2012)

Neo rates it 8/10

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Rock of Ages (2012) – USA [Sydney Première]

Tom Cruise. Mr. Tom Cruise is simply amazing. In fact he is the only reason why this movie should be watched. Believe me; his performance here is exhilarating, different, rock-like and totally awesome. In essence, Cruise is easily unrecognisable and the manner he is able to electrify the big screen makes Rock of Ages totally watch-able. Without being over-bearing, “Rock of Ages” is an average movie that never raises above its musical genre clichés. In fact, it is actually filled with all the predictable clichés of puppy and stop-start love plot line. However, the reason that the film is better than it should be, can simply be attributed by a long list of strong supporting cast that goes on like a shopping list in Hollywood.

In leading roles are two young guns and romantic leads in the form of Diego Boneta and Julianne Hough. Their love of rock music brings them together and eventually predictably put them apart at the same time. While both kids are rather raw in their acting, they are both likeable and have enough justifiable presence along with a good singing voice to boot. However, both are only able to manufacture emotions and the result is the audience never really connecting with the duo. Alec Baldwin and Russell Brand turn out far better and the sudden twist of storyline provides a welcome laughter moment for the audience. Likewise, Paul Giamatti is always good as the greedy music producer and the monkey is without question along with Cruise the best thing in the film. In terms of females, Malin Åkerman does extremely well as a Rolling Stone’s journalist and is able to churn out an hilariously and sexy display. Unfortunately the usually dependable Catherine Zeta Jones turns out the worst out of the pack and incredibly wasted in a role that seems more annoying than funny.

All in all, “Rock of Ages” is at best an average film that offers nothing new, but is elevated by some fine performances, namely Tom Cruise and a strong cast to boot. Director Adam Shankman is an expert in the musical arena; therefore it is all the more unfortunate that Rock of Ages seems just exactly like “Hairspray” in disguise, rather than aiming for something more original and touching. Still, despite all these mediocre phrases, “Rock of Ages” starts off slowly, but kicks out the electric presence the moment Cruise steps into play as Stacee Jaxx and never stops beating till the credits began to roll. That’s a fine achievement by all means, even if the film never truly deserves it at all. At the end of the day, this is a film where some fun can be had, but ultimately it is really just an empty rock ‘n’ roll experience… (Neo 2012)

Neo rates it 6.5/10