Category Archives: 2015 Movies

In The Room 無限春光27 (2015) – Singapore / Hong Kong

[NeoFilmShop.com] In The Room (2015) – Singapore / Hong Kong

Reviewed by Andrew Chan

Singaporean director Eric Khoo have long been credited with reviving Singapore cinema and his latest work “In The Room” is a controversial one, but not necessary a successful one. In many ways, the portrayal of sex and culture through the decades of Singaporean history within the same hotel room 27 is really a mixed bag with some good moments mingled around a lot of question marks. It’s difficult to coherently direct a film essentially a combo of short stories and with the common link being the ghost and the room itself. The film celebrates diversity, not just in sex, but with the number of nationalities on display. Hong Kong’s Josie Ho is given a fun and sensual role as prostitute trainer, but is given limited screen time. Japanese AV veteran Show Nishino provides most of the intense and graphic sex scenes, whilst suppose to be the central of the story being of regret and longing, it fails to hit the marks. The Korean segment provides some sort of potential in both its originality and interplay of events, but once again suffers from a lack of focus on the key subject matter. All in all, this is a diverting piece of cinema that tries hard to indulge and fails to connect and convey. 

3/5 

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Concussion 震盪真相 (2015) – United States

Concussion 震盪真相 (2015) – United States

Reviewed by: Andrew Chan
Director: Peter Landesman
Writers: Peter Landesman, Jeanne Marie Laskas (GQ article “Game Brain”)
Stars: Will Smith, Alec Baldwin, Albert Brooks

Will Smith is back and time this with an accent. Small guy going against big corporations to make the wrong things right sets the tone for the latest Investigative journalist turned director Peter Landesman and producer Ridley Scott’s effort in “Concussion”. There is a lot to like about this film, namely the obvious Will Smith’s inspiring performance, the daring message against NFL and the steady fast pacing that is likely to keep the audience interested till the end. Making a difference, standing up for something and believing in yourself against the odds are central to the film success. The real irony in the film is how the most true American was not American at all, namely a Wuhu doctor from Nigeria.

Will Smith have made himself a career of playing small and marginalised characters who go on to achieve big things (“Pursuit for Happiness”) and here the opening scene where he display his wittiness in the court room sets the tone for the rest of the film. His never give up attitude and risk all for the sake of justice and the pursuit for the ultimate truth comes through extremely strongly. Gugu Mbatha-Raw provides great support to Smith as their supportive chemistry emphasis how they simply compliments each other lives. Alec Baldwin fights for redemption as the NFL team doctor who teams up with Smith in turning against his own employers. Arliss Howard simply chews scenery as Smith’s supportive boss.

All in all, “Concussion” works as a genre film that transcends on its single focus message. The need to fight for what you truly believe in. In a modern society like Hong Kong nowadays, this is a relevant and universal film in that we need to stand up for the truth and justice, before it’s too late. One line rings true as the credit rolls, “if you do not speak for the dead, who will?” As far as inspiring filmmaking is concern, “Concussion” does the trick and a little more.

Recommended film and endorsed by HK Neo Reviews.

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Anniversary 紀念日 (2015) – Hong Kong

Anniversary 紀念日 (2015) – Hong Kong

Reviewed by: Andrew Chan

Directed by: Patrick Kong

Screenwriter by: Patrick Kong

Starring: Stephy Tang, Alex Fong, Loretta Lee, David Siu, Louis Cheung, Leila Tong

Patrick Kong finally delivers in the last film of 2015. An unique display of restrain and maturity is seen throughout the film. The new generation commercial pairing of Alex Fong and Stephy Tang started 11 years ago in 2004 and this year’s decade long “Anniversary” is surprisingly realistic, away from Kong’s usual overwrought undertones of “love” and presenting real characters and life situations that made this film, by far Kong’s most assured and best film of his dogged career. Save for the final twist as Kong cannot resist as usual, the film contains genuine moments, emotions and even something to say about modern love and marriage.

Alex Fong’s acting career is kind of in line with Patrick Kong’s films. Fong have been stuck in a decade long of routine and love-struck roles one after another and usually utterly non relatable and immature. Here, he displayed a level of restrain and sensibility that make his character convincing. His chemistry with Stephy Tang is undeniable and while their past corroboration relies on this single commercial aspect, here their interactions, arguments, differences and subtle moments translates wonderfully onscreen. Tang delivers the better performance of the duo and her tough onscreen person and subtle hidden smile carries the film throughout. Perhaps the scene stealing performance goes to Louis Cheung once again, whose in the limited screen time is able to switch between comedic moments and the highest point of genuine emotions in the film. Bob Lam simply chews scenery in his joyous role and the eagerly awaited couple reunion of Loretta Lee and David Siu (TVB hit series classic Greed of Heart) rounds out the sentimental proceedings. Leila Tong gives a wonderful raw performance and her death video is surprisingly effective.

All in all, Anniversary manages to exceed the usual low expectations of Kong’s filmmaking career. The film deals with real issues facing modern romance and marriage. Kong have always have a hack of marketing his film better than the ultimate product and where in the past, he fills his film with overlong music videos and repetitive flashbacks, this film shows enormous improvement and restrain to be different. Fong and Tang may not be the best actors around, but their genuine chemistry and ease around each other, is probably as close as Andy Lau and Sammi Cheng of our generation. I remember lamenting Kong for his lack of taste and ability in his last film “Return of the Cuckoo” and for that I am forced to eat the humble pie. Great way to end 2015 Hong Kong cinema. (Neo 2015)

Recommended film and endorsed by HK Neo Reviews.

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Ip Man 3 葉問3 (2015) – Hong Kong

Ip Man 3 葉問3 (2015) – Hong Kong

Reviewed by: Andrew Chan

Directed by: Wilson Yip

Produced by:Raymond Wong

Written by:Edmond Wong

Starring: Donnie Yen, Zhang Jin, Lynn Hung, Patrick Tam, Karena Ng, Kent Cheng, Bryan Leung, Louis Cheung, Danny Chan, Mike Tyson

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It’s been a long time since I anticipated for any Hong Kong movie release and “Ip Man 3” delivers precisely that expectation and a bit more. Rarely do a trilogy of films, gets better with age and this one provides us with plenty of the evergreen Yuen Woo Ping inspired fight sequences one after another. The original film made Donnie Yen an iconic superstar and by the third film, he have made the role Ip Man truly his own. His screen presence, stoic persona, deep feelings buried beneath and his mentality to the true spirit of martial arts are all deeply felt. Life and death are inevitable, nor is it truly stoppable. It takes one to appreciate the moments and director Wilson Yip once again succeeds with honest human emotions this time the impending departure of Ip Man’s wife.

Donnie Yen shows exactly how one can truly be iconic and his ability to single handedly bring back the entire Hong Kong market to the local cinema and that’s something to be proud of. His fight with the notorious Mike Tyson was a joy to behold, while Zhang Jin continues his Grandmaster form to become Yen’s predecessor in an industry striving for the next martial arts superstar. However some of the film best scenes is reserved for Lynn Hung who manages to put the earlier films behind her and pulled off a restrained yet emotional display of maturity and letting go. Patrick Tam is right at home in a scene stealing villainous turn.

All in all, “Ip Man 3” is yet another blockbuster Christmas hit that will allow martial arts fans to rejoice and simply embrace. Films like these are a rarity these days and while CGI effects is evident in numerous scenes, there are enough master Yuen Woo Ping in the proceeding to make this a truly crafted and worthwhile experience. Family and the people closest to us are equally important to our own personal life mottos and goals. Martial arts is never about winning and being best, but rather a groundwork to show and pass on to the next generation and beyond of how to live and the way to live. As far as Christmas is concerned, it’s another great gift to end the year. (Neo 2015)

Recommended film and endorsed by HK Neo Reviews.

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Wonder Mama 媽咪俠 (2015) – Hong Kong

Wonder Mama 媽咪俠 (2015) – Hong Kong

Reviewed by: Andrew Chan

Director: Clifton Ko Chi-sum
Starring: Petrina Fung Bo-bo, Babyjohn Choi Hon-yick, Kenneth Tsang Kong

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“Wonder Mama” is an over the top family drama about the process of letting go, a new lease in life and the adaptation of change. Fung Bo Bo headlines the film as the mother and daughter caught in the middle of a violent and incapable relationship of her father (played ably by the always brilliant Kenneth Tsang) and the inferno of emotions displayed by Susan Shaw. Director Clifton Ko have made many great comedies focusing on family moral values in the 90s and here his focus on the subject matter is rather noble than sale-able. However, the film goes over the top on many occasions and while it provides laughter in a sense, it loses the emotionally appeal when reality is being suspended.

Fung Bo Bo provides the most restrain of the acting and carries the film with ease and presence. Her struggles, difficulty and the ability to grow through the circumstances is evident for the audience to witness. Babyjohn tries to put in some comic sidekick as her son, while Susan Shaw in a scene where they threw it all out in screaming “I am jealous of him having a better life than me” is frightening genuine. Kenneth Tsang anchor his role as the ageing with a new love is surprisingly believable.

All in all, “Wonder Mama” may not be a great film, but it provides enough moments of how we need to deal with difficulties in life and the decision we make will affect those around us. Ultimately, the best part of the film is the essence of needing to know when to let go. This is a well meaning, if over the top family drama that remains very local Hong Kong. (Neo, 2015)

Recommended film and endorsed by HK Neo Reviews.

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