Reviews written by
CHI-14 (chil_man@email.com)

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17 reviews in total 
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6 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
In The Mood For "Holiday", 14 October 2000
9/10

It is a rare thing in Hong Kong Cinema. Quite experimental and thus difficult to be classified. But overall it is watchable and full of humor. Some movies try to make people laugh or cry, and some try to scare people, but this one tries to help people relax. In fact, the very loose structure really made me feel so relaxed when I was seeing the film. The cinematography, the music and even the acting also serve this purpose quite well. The narrative logic is not that important in this movie, and what really matters is the holiday mood. Adorable is also Leslie Cheung's performance, especially the long takes. In another aspect, this film also tries to challenge, but not reinforce, the social values of Hong Kong people, especially the character of Tony Leung. It's a good attempt, also brave enough, but of course, criticism is inevitable. In fact, so many negative comments I've heard about this movie. But to me, other than Kai Wai Wong's "In The Mood For Love", this is the best Hong Kong movie I've seen in this year. No doubt worth seeing.

3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
An Experimental Film About Self-Overcoming, 14 October 2000
9/10

It¡¦s a film quite experimental, no matter in sense of storytelling or visual concept. No nonlinear narrative we can find in this film, and the form is also very different from conventional continuity style. In fact, conventional is only the content, and the form is alternative. A strong causality is contained in this movie, but not so easy to be grasped, and thus a deep thought is required. To a large extent, it reminds me of some works of existentialism - the freedom to choose our life¡¦s direction brings us not only independence but also responsibility, and the latter gives such freedom a burden very heavy. The self-indulgence of the figures shows us an escape from bearing such responsibility, and thus they also reject the freedom. The killer¡¦s attitude to life reminds me of Sartre¡¦s bad faith. His agent and so-called girl friend can do nothing but living in the past, in fact both of them reject ¡§change¡¨, although slightly different is the attitude they take. The agent's longing for communication is shown from her voice-over in the ending, but too scared is she of being hurt, and therefore isolation seems inevitable. Her relation with the killer also reveals this point clearly. Almost everyone undergoes a complete transformation in this movie, but no one other than the dumb-boy can solve the problem radically. The girl he fancies just becomes to be normal but not to be herself. The unwillingness to recognize the dumb-boy shows us she is still an escapist. The killer finally has intention to make his own choice, but too late. Merely the dumb-boy, who is brave enough to bear the responsibility of his past and future, can control his present, and thus also the direction of his life. A very positive message is conveyed by this movie, and the loose structure no doubt makes it more enlightening. In fact, without a refreshing form of storytelling, nothing can be learned from the truth people have heard more than thousand times, although they are still suffering from those problems. The alternative cinematography gives a surreal look to the film, and hence makes it also visually very refreshing. The music is good, but the acting is just ok. I also like the editing very much. Wong¡¦s sense of humor also makes the film very entertaining. In the past decade, Wong¡¦s films to me are very experimental, and ¡§Fallen Angels¡¨ is no exception. Difficult to regard it as a masterpiece, but absolutely worth seeing. To the people who are also interested in the rewards of those experimentations, please don¡¦t miss ¡§In The Mood For Love¡¨ (2000).

Sausalito (2000)
2 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
Absolutely Worthless !, 5 October 2000
1/10

Please don't expect to see another "Comrade, Almost A Love Story", although this movie also stars Maggie Cheung and Leon Lai. It's the worst movie of Maggie Cheung in recent years. There is almost no description to the characters. Also nothing entertaining I can find. Awful is the best description to the performance of the actors, other than Maggie Cheung, and the style of the movie is very pretentious. Absolutely blamable is also the music. It's a movie undoubtedly worthless. Please don't see it unless you want to know why Hong Kong Cinema has gone downhill in the past several years.

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Wong's Second Masterpiece, 5 October 2000
10/10

A movie next-to-perfect. To me, it's Wong's second masterpiece, and the first is "Days Of Being Wild". Exploring the relation among people and the nature of existence in the post-modern world still plays the main role, but the storyline is stronger than before, although to a certain extent it's still puzzle-like. The flashback near the ending is surprisingly good. Almost all the technique that has made Wong become a cult figure can be found in this film, but the manner he employs to handle them is much more mature, and thus it is absolutely a film with timeless quality. Extremely excellent is also the cinematography and the set design. The composition of shot is also very beautiful. As usual, Maggie Cheung and Tony Leung have given wonderful performance. Full of humor is the dialogue, and hence the movie is also entertaining. This movie is not only a must see, but also the one we should at least see it twice on big screen.

Irma Vep (1996)
4 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
A New Syntax Of Film-Making, 10 September 2000
10/10

It is the first time I see this 1996 feature of Maggie Cheung and Oliver Assayas, the director and her husband. Some negative comments I had read in the past several years. But to me, this movie is refreshing, and in fact, excellent. Difficult to classify it, but classification seems not that important, and what really matters should be the overall effect. Assayas has said the world kept changing, and thus inventing new syntax to describe the circumstance around us was necessary. It also seems to be the best description of the style of this movie. Conveys so much information but I can't see a strong storyline. Also very natural is the manner used to convey those information. Nothing very exciting, but to me, it is very watchable. Praise-worthy is also the music. A must see !

1 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
A Good Commentary Of Today's Love, 30 July 2000
7/10

A movie visually graceful but interesting is mainly the plot. The film depicts a zigzag progress of exploring the main actor's innermost feeling. Max, who has lived in New York for two years and intend to marry a girl he met there, comes back to Paris and unexpectedly meets his ex-girlfriend whom he still fancies very much but finally finds out the one he loves the most in fact is her best friend. Non-linear narration thus many flashbacks and every part are articulated quite well. The three women Max has met symbolize something we must pursue although possibly having no clear picture about the underlying motivations. His fiancee is the one he needs rather than the one he loves and thus completely no loyalty we can see. She gives him also no love but only stability. True love also cannot be found in his relation with the ex-girlfriend. Merely a fantasy for him to escape - many things very romantic he has done for her but almost nothing seems amenable. The one who really animates Max's life in fact is her best friend. The equilibrium achieved at the end is not identical to the initial equilibrium because Max has understand much more about his innermost feeling. The nonlinear structure makes the progress of searching look more complicated. Not equally ingenious as "Pulp Fiction" but things seem much more natural in "The Apartment". Max is not the only character who undergoes a transformation and in fact interesting is also the description to Romane Bohringer. The good cinematography also makes her and Monica Bellucci look very beautiful. A good commentary of today's love and undoubtedly a film worth seeing.

A Movie Full Of Humour And Significant Insight! Also Warmhearted!, 26 July 2000

Several Ang Lee's films I have seen recently. "Eat Drink Man Woman" is one of them. May not be the best but definitely has the plot most warm-hearted and entertaining. This movie is great in a number of ways. The food preparation of course livens up the film very much, but the thing that really makes this movie very watchable for me is the way Lee describes the transformation of the chef's second daughter - the character most complex in this movie. Nothing I find unmotivated in her transformation, and too measured also. The development creates a sense of coherence in a manner very natural. Representing a typical youth of oriental societies, whom both oriental tradition and western culture influences her greatly, the character must find a way to balance those influence. No doubt a matter not so easy to handle. Escaping from the past is a way very usual, but absolutely not the one very suitable, to tackle such kind of difficulty. Aspiring to remove from the old house and the failure of this attempt symbolize this point clearly. Busy everyday but I saw no direction of her life. However, unexpectedly meeting her father in hospital makes a turning point and her life is also salvaged after that. Two scenes here I like very much - rejecting her so-called boy friend and starting a friendship, pure and sincere, to her colleague. Contrarily, her elder sister hides herself in the past, more accurately, the imaginary past, shows another kind of escapist. Tradition for such kind of people is nothing but an excuse to avoid the challenge in fact inevitable. The description to the chef is also interesting. Indeed a story very mediocre. But Ang Lee gives it life and thought and thus nothing vulgar can be found. Absolutely not a level that a metter-en-scene can achieve. Also full of humour and no doubt a movie worth seeing.

11 out of 11 people found the following review useful:
A Warmhearted Comedy With Significant Insight, 20 July 2000
10/10

A ground-breaking comdey of Hong Kong Cinema of 1970's. After Bruce Lee, Hui's Brother, Michael Hui and Sam Hui, dominated the Hong Kong show business for about a decade and "The Private Eyes" represents the peak of their career.

Some scenes are still very funny. Something like Mr Bean's style. Simple setup and no visually attractive cinematography but the content is the name of the game. Other than something funny, this simple detective story also reveals the innocence of Hong Kong people at that time, perhaps more important, the bright-side of capitalism.

The message is very positive. Don't be an escapist and only the fittest can survive. But surviving itself is not the ultimate objective of life and in fact just a condition to achieve that ultimate objective. In other words, we earn money for living but not live for earning money. It is also a belief of Hong Kong people at that time.

The consistency between the message of the movie and the belief of the people made The Private Eyes become a very influential comedy in HK cinema. Educating audience is something very important in Michael Hui's films. In fact, we can also find such kind of style in Jacky Chan's movies, but of course at a level very different.

The box office of The Private Eyes is about HK$ 8 millions in 1977, but measured at today ticket price, is about 120 millions. Titanic's box office in HK is only about 116 million and Jacky Chan's "First Strike"(1996), the most successful Chan's movie in HK in sense of box office, is nothing but about 58 millions. Of course the competition they faced is different and my calculation may not be absolutely valid. But the popularity of Hui's Brother in 70's is something definitely unquestionable.

A warmhearted comedy with significant insight is a short but full description for this movie. I like the ending very much. To the people who are interested in HK cinema's development, it is a must-see. To the people who just want a movie entertaining, also worth seeing.

A Good Movie For Spiritual Awakening, 19 July 2000
8/10

Last week I saw this movie for the first time. Very watchable and I really had a good time when seeing it. Nothing looked too calculated although everything was arranged very carefully. Silent and slow therefore highly relied on the acting. The cast undoubtedly gave wonderful performance especially Christian Ricci. Much better than the one in Sleepy Hollow. Kevin Kline and Joan Allen were also excellent. Many long takes. The camera angle and movement are indeed quite good. Comparing this movie with American Beauty is something very natural but also quite difficult. In fact the ways they describe the theme are very different. More serious but inevitably less entertaining. But in sense of acting, The Ice Storm is better. It is a very good movie for spiritual awakening and certainly a lesson worth learning. Also another remarkable movie of Ang Lee.

A Good Movie For Spiritual Awakening, 19 July 2000
8/10

Last week I saw this movie for the first time. Very watchable and I really had a good time when seeing it. Nothing looked too calculated although everything was arranged very carefully. Silent and slow therefore highly relied on the acting. The cast undoubtedly gave wonderful performance especially Christian Ricci. Much better than the one in Sleepy Hollow. Kevin Kline and Joan Allen were also excellent. Many long takes. The camera angle and movement are indeed quite good. Comparing this movie with American Beauty is something very natural but also quite difficult. In fact the ways they describe the theme are very different. More serious but inevitably less entertaining. But in sense of acting, The Ice Storm is better. It is a very good movie for spiritual awakening and certainly a lesson worth learning. Also another remarkable movie of Ang Lee.


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