Love (2012) Poster

(I) (2012)

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8/10
Star studded with good looking people, this breezy affair promises to be an enjoyable movie date
moviexclusive12 February 2012
This just doesn't seem right – this single reviewer telling you, our esteemed readers, what he thinks about a movie about love? What also seems inappropriate is the untimely period – he who will spend Valentine's Day alone advising you whether you should catch this romance movie with your other half (or at least someone whom you hope will bless you with the status of "attached")? Well, this columnist will try his very best to comment on this ensemble piece featuring some of the best looking people in showbiz.

The story is, well, about love and the unfathomable things it makes people do. The characters in this movie are in some way related to each other, which is probably an attempt by the screenwriters to model the movie after the hugely successful Love Actually (2003), a feel good British production which never fails to make a couple's lazy afternoon at home. Here, the filmmakers have the couples situated in Taipei and Beijing, making them encounter joy, laughter, pain, crying and more essentially, love, over plot lines which may be familiar with the common folk.

For the older guys, we have Shu Qi playing the obligatory materialistic woman who yearns to find her true self and Zhao Wei (14 Blades) taking the role of a fearless single mother who wants nothing more than the best for her son. For the younger ones, you will be rooting for the sweet Ivy Chen (Hear Me) and Amber Kuo (Au Revoir Taipei) as two best friends who fall out after Chen gets becomes pregnant, thanks to Kuo's confused boyfriend.

Female viewers are treated with eye candy in the form of Ethan Ruan (Monga) as a stuttering neighbourhood boy who is wiser than he looks, Mark Chao (Monga) as a successful businessman who doesn't believe in commitment and Eddie Peng as a filmmaker wannabe who has a lot to learn about responsibility in a relationship. They are joined by director Doze Niu who plays a middle aged man who lives a lifestyle only known to the rich and famous. Incidentally, all four leading men have scenes featuring their well built physique (check out those muscles and abs!) - so get ready to drool, ladies.

The star studded affair is made more exciting by cameos from other familiar Taiwanese personalities like Rhydian Vaughan (the other good looker from Monga), Kang Kang (you'd know him from Taiwanese variety shows) and Charge Pu (most commonly known for his duet "Confucius Says" with Bowie Tseng).

Oh, has someone forgotten about the story and how it's supposed to inspire viewers to reflect on their own notions of love? With its 125 minute runtime, the filmmakers seem to be more concerned about making its stars look good on screen (after all, it's Mark Lee of "In the Mood for Love" fame who is calling the shots behind the cinematography department) than engaging its audience in a emotional journey. Sure, there are some poignant moments in the movie which may tug at your heartstrings, but unfortunately, it feels more like a touch and go affair. Also, probably due to the challenge to tell a few stories in one movie, the unsatisfying conclusion feels somewhat underwhelming.

However, the pretty to look at movie is still recommended for its contemporary take on love (seriously, what would you do if your best friend is carrying your boyfriend's baby?), and considering the cast's decent performances, you can be sure that your date won't be complaining after the credits begin rolling.

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7/10
HK Neo Reviews: Love 愛 (2012) – Taiwan/China
webmaster-30177 May 2012
"For every jerk, there lies a broken heart inside…"

Taiwanese cinema has proved to be the next Asian powerhouse. Love (2012) is a feel good romantic comedy about what else, but love. Headed by International star Shu Qi and Mainland superstar Zhao Wei, both carries the film broadly on their shoulders. However it is the love stories that make the movie a romantic affair. What makes Love a good movie is the fact that it doesn't go overboard in the overtly romance notion. It tries to deal with some real issues yet at the same time providing a true Hollywood experience. In along the reins of Love Actually and countless Hollywood Valentines' day events, Love is a good movie and works well within its defined boundaries without being truly special.

Shu Qi being the biggest drawer of International audience is able to create a likable and realistic character despite being mostly materialistic. Although her resulting relationship with Ethan Ruan is quite laughable, she is able to convince the audience in the scene where she packs her clothes and decides to leave. Likewise, Zhao Wei excites the audience and her dance tease is quite a treat. Eddie Pang does well and Ivy Chen shows good potential in a difficult role, while fellow Taiwanese actress Doze Niu is thoroughly cute and endearing.

All in all, Love is not really movies that inspires or deflect from genre conventions, but there is an undeniably good feel about it that makes it impossible to dislike. With good production values, decent semi realistic love stories and attractive actresses to boot, Love will not win any awards, but for a day called Valentine, it could be far worst. A good film for what it is worth…

Neo rates it 7/10

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10/10
A Nutshell Review: Love
DICK STEEL17 February 2012
This year's Valentine's Day has come and gone, but arguably the best film for the season was saved for last, making its premiere this week. Taiwanese films are on a roll these days, with greater awareness brought about by the success of You Are The Apple of My Eye that made more people sit up and take notice of its stories, but I thought that the filmmakers had upped their game with superb storytelling and technique these days that it's just hard to ignore film offerings that come our way.

Love belongs to that genre of romantic films that boasts of a stellar ensemble cast playing characters within their respective six (and likely a less) degrees of separation, with their carefully crafted ties all laid out to complicate matters yet provide interesting, individual perspectives. Doze Niu helms this effort and also plays one of the roles as a rich entertainment industry tycoon Lu whose relationship with Zoe Fang (Shu Qi) is heading for the rocks. Zoe lives a life leaching off rich men, but deep down desires that degree of independence if only she can find the courage to break out of her comfort zone. From these two characters the branches extend to Lu's daughter Ni (Amber Kuo) who finds out that her filmmaker wannabe boyfriend Kai (Eddie Pang) had impregnated her best friend Yijia (Ivy Chen), the latter whose brother Kuan (Ethan Juan) turns out to be sharing an innocent relationship with Zoe at the rooftop of his home where she can hang out and just be herself. Zoe's ex Mark (Mark Chao) who is also Lu's friend (yeah, the character of Zoe flits from one rich man to another) travels to find his roots in Beijing and sets off on the wrong foot with real estate agent Xiao Ye (Vicky Zhao), a single mom who links through an implied dotted line back to one of the mentioned characters,

That about lays out the skeleton of relationships that this story by Doze, Tseng Li-Ting and Qian Wang develops upon, covering a whole wide spectrum on its titular emotion put under the spotlight, but not without the usual ups and downs, of hurt and of satisfaction, of regrets and that whimsical feeling that everything will turn out just fine despite the odds. I suppose love, or being in love, with force some of the most positive feelings out of you, while those that fall out of favour, will naturally find life quite miserable, with the constant probing, lying, and the doing of despicable things amongst the desperate. And it's not just romantic love on display here, but that between siblings, best friends, parent and child too, providing that holistic view of the emotion that at times get quite incomprehensible to grasp, with some relationships being complicated, or even so simple that you'd start to worry.

Technically, this film grabs you by the collar from the get go, with a remarkable and unforgettable continuous tracking shot for the entire opening credits where we get introduced to key characters as they get choreographed to get into one another's way. It's a logistical nightmare (although I do suspect that some editing cheats were being employed), but it came off its blocks really nicely to introduce us to its bevy of stars and teasing their respective fans of their idol's guaranteed appearance in the film. Director of Photography Lee Ping Bin is also one of the best in the business, capturing the stars at their best angles and making them look absolutely gorgeous.

But that aside, Love has its sprawling story to thank, being simple enough to follow despite its concurrent multiple narratives that weave in and out of each other, keeping pace and tempo at pitch perfectness and gelling everything into one complete, satisfying package. There's plenty of drama and comedy that spring up at unsuspecting moments to keep things light and moving along, and is done so naturally that they don't seem too forced, nor trying too hard, nor artificial. And the cast of veterans such as Doze himself, Vicky Zhao and Shu Qi were balanced by the relative newcomers who hold their own against their more experienced co-stars, never making some of their pair ups a sore discussion point, despite their obvious age gaps.

There were plenty of lovely moments in the film that regularly punctuates the narrative throughout, and some of my personal favourites involve the Ethan Juan-Shu Qi story arc, and that caustic interaction that's all too familiar amongst parents who bicker on the outside, but deep down inside containing some steadfast emotions built upon bedrock. One of the best romantic films to be released in recent years, Love truly epitomizes its namesake containing stories that are strong in its individual arcs as well as the sum of its parts, blessed with a powerhouse of who's who from both sides of the Chinese straits in delivering credible performances all round, bringing to life some of the best written characters for what's usually a fluffy film meant for a typical date outing. This film shows how quality can be injected into usually throwaway romantic comedies, but Love is definitely for keeps, and is highly recommended. Don't miss it!
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childish screenplay, bad directing, casting and acting
rightwingisevil25 May 2012
i don't know why most of the Taiwanese screenplay writers, directors and actors never could anything right so far. for years, i've been waiting to see if there at least one or two screenplay writers could script something a bit mature enough to allow us have the patience to sit through a whole movie instead of walking out of the cinema or rejecting the DVD, or, not to use remote control to press down the fast forward button. for years, we've been waiting for director niu or director kevin chu to produce something matured enough instead of those childish stuff for the teenagers. the funny thing is even those movies they directed were for adult audiences, and there were enough adult actors in their movies, but from the very beginning of every movie or, to the end of every movie, they just looked so childish and immature. for years, we've been waiting some of the actors, male or female, could perform at least some believable or convincing enough roles in those movies, but every time, they just turned out to be under aged. they way they deliver the dialog was just horrible, they always spoke like teenagers, even they played adult roles.

this movie is no exception: the screenplay not only formulaic contrite but also very laughable. the storyline, scenario and the plot were so old and so boring, there were nothing new or breaking-thru new. the casting of this movie was also so inappropriate, young adult actors still looked like immature teenagers, while Qi Shu, an very old actress, still tried to play a very young woman, torn between material marriage or true love and, my god, she's so ugly! when we saw her face and we could not help if putting her features on a man's face, it would still be a disaster. and the other female actor, Wei Zhao, they recruited from mainland china, was also a disastrous cast, the romance this screenplay scripted for her and the taiwanese male actor, was like mother and son romance, and it's very uncomfortable to watch. furthermore, the dialog when the young actor tried to shoo the kid coming down from the tree was extremely laughable; how could you use such overly adult words to persuade her son coming down the tree? and her son's dialog was also too old for such a kid. the so-called sloppy dialog in taiwanese natural style was the worst to be taken seriously, no matter how old or what gender those actors playing, they seemed to speak out of the same mouth, every sentence ended with a prolonged AH, MA, LA, NE, BA dragging sound, and almost all the actors, male or female, young or old, simply couldn't deliver one clearly audible sentence. sometimes, you have to read the subtitles to understand what their dialog were about.

this is another big-yawn heavily formatted new-wine-in-old-bottle bore to death movie. another seeing one seeing all taiwanese movie.
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