My C/HK/TW Movie Watchlist 2014

In order of anticipation.

Every big name director is having an epic out in 2014.  This is already my shortlist, there are many I am not interested in but make good business sense.  Quite a few, I can not wait!

The Golden Era/黃金時代

PD Anne Hui is the working sino director I respect the most operating solely on uncompromised heart and her own social commentary.   I hope TangWei can do Xiao Hong justice and I trust PD to balance the story so the romances will be rightfully facets.  I still do not think FSF (who is playing the love of her life) is lead actor material. What I like about FSF though, is he is coachable: I see a humility in him, able to soak up proper directing and improve.   Northern writers in wartime China are living lives of forced nomadic exiles, Xiao Hong lived a few colorful if tragic lifetimes squished into her 31 years all over the country in 1930s.  Her 生死場, 呼蘭河傳, 小城三月 are/should be in Women’s Studies curriculum.  I am crazy about her prose, simple, succinct choice of words hitting corners of my soul unassumingly and stays.  The most earnest director, so pure and focused on her art, never surrendering to the climate, the life story of a brightest wartime writer, an extraordinary woman living life with so much fight ahead of her time, and a competent actress with the screen presence and aura taunted as time-traveled from exactly that era….it should be trifecta of awesome. The supporting cast is very terrific, so much so, I think they will steal the show from the leads.  Zhu YaWen will be playing the husband for one.  TianYuan, HaoLei… always awesome.  What could possibly go wrong?!  It could. Writer is Li Qiang, rumored to be the highest paid CN scriptwriter, freshly reeking spectacularly with what he did to To Our Youth that is Fading Away,  the hugest aspiration gap of an adaptation I have suffered.

Blind Massage/推拿:

Based on Massage by Bi Feiyu which won the prestigious MaoDun in 2011.  The drama is watchable too.  The movie is directed by Lou Ye garnering buzz at the festival circles (in competition for the Golden Bear at Berlinale with Tony Leung CW as a Jury this year).  The material is not easily translatable on screen with a very fluid flow of details as the story trickles along like a free stream of words picking up  little pebbles along and in time dumping up an emotionally charged fortress.

Aberdeen/香港仔:

Writer/director Pang HoCheung is never boring, ever.  The reigning L’enfant Terrible of HK, I might have only loved half of his stuff at most, but still, how often these days?!  He has a very good track record with me in satires, everything he touches, I watch, one can never accuse him of playing safe.  This would deviate from his usual biting comedy/social commentary, it may be his first venture into serious angst, no hiding behind the guffaws: family dynamics in the suffocating metropolitan.  The different Chinese titles being used for different regions piqued my interest, it was originally named 曼珠沙华/lotus sutra, the flower of…afterlife, an omen of departure, never meeting again. It’s now named 香港仔, a southern district on the island,  It is said to be the origin of the town and has witnessed drastic changes through the decades, from sleepy fisherman’s dwellings/boat people before the British colonization, evolving to an industrial area with manufacturing factories mixed with ghettos of public housing, to now a quainter affordable residential backyard of the cosmopolitan with the chance of serene ocean view worth millions, still with a few of the signature fish boats, I bet solely for tourism, with the tourist playground Ocean Park just to the west and billionaire’s mansions to the east and south.  I am also quite sure the intention is to play with the literal characters: Hong. Kong. Little./Sons of Hong Kong. In mainland it will be known as 人间小团圆/ Little Reunions on earth, much more literal a take.  It has my Shawn Yue/muse of  Mr Pang.  I expect a lot from the writing and hopefully it will tide me over some guaranteed lackluster acting (Louis Koo, Miriam Yeung, GiGi Leung….meh).

Mr. Pang also have 撒嬌女人最好命/Women Who Know How to Flirt Are the Luckiest, a romantic comedy, starring hottest commodities Huang XiaoMing and ZhouXun in the works.  So, chinese NottingHill?!

Tell me how I can look away!?!  Cherry on the cake is Sonia Sui in a supporting role! Pang got the idea for the movie a few years ago after noticing ladies everywhere holding the book by the same name from the best selling TW author for self help books for the sexes 罗夫曼 (which is phonetically..Lover Man <_<).  I hope, no I trust Pang Ho Cheung this will be something snerking a satire on our fixation on romcom and XiaoMing will play the pervie douchebag Hugh Grant character, the ahole of I am too good looking for my whitey tighties underneath his few seasons passe Gucci, but alas, it looks like his character will be dorky in glasses.

Gui Lai/Come Back 归来 :

Zhang YiMou collaborating with writer Yan GeLing again after War of Flowers, add in GongLi and Chen DaoMing and a novel (陆犯焉识) I liked and I am already squealing.   The duo is interestingly, perfectly cast imo.  Protagonist is basically a middle aged Jia BaoYu (the dazzling womanizing princeling of a filthy rich influential family now in financial ruins) living circa Cultural Revolution.  CDM can play Minguo blueblood intellectual/proud entitled playboy in his sleep.  But it would be GongLi’s performance that have me wow’d if this is as awesome as it is promising, she would be playing the timid subservient suffering wife of the arranged marriage. CDM’s fallen educated rich prince would be sent down to rural NW for ‘re-education’…and come back home many years later to a new China and grown children absolutely foreign to him.  What am I to do but keep pinching myself?!

The Assassin/ 聶隱娘:

Hou Hsiao Hsien doing an arthouse Tang wuxia with Chang! Chen!, media is already drawing parallel to WKW’s Grandmaster.   HHH has a softer, gentler, more cryptic/poetic approach as an auteur than WKW, so it would be interesting to say the least how he will approach the genre.  CC is just my lovely TW BAMF I am sucked into watching everything and anything he is in.   I doubt ShuQi can pwn what Zhang ZiYi did, her body type is opposite of the Tang aesthetics, but she is the killer lady here.  I still do not understand Mr HHH’s obsession.  Surprise me.  I love pleasant surprises.

Speaking of Chang Chen being smexy in a C period, his Ming dynasty period action thriller with Liu ShiShi in 飞鱼服绣春刀 should be out in 2014. I have squeed in excitement earlier 

Playing a supporting role in a period is the better fantastic vehicle for SS to move towards the big screen.  Her quiet screen presence in emoting matches the best in this setting and she can give a very good use of her physical physique in gorgeous action sequences to do a lot of the talking as well.  All in all she looks her most assured here.  Needless to say I am here to watch the bromance of the three hotties. I have not seen 李东学 since being handsome in Zhen Huan Zhuan and 王千源 is squarely in his ascension, will be everywhere next year also appearing in Golden Era and The Crossing.    Here in the bts the bromance is so cute. 王千源 is smiling, holding the fan he fondly tells everyone Chang Chen gives him, the stronger one, while CC is using the weaker one himself.   AWW!

There is also a very smoldering Nie Yuan!

And ShiShi is also working with her bff Ye Qing:

Gone with the Bullets:

I had a good time watching Let the Bullets Fly, this second installment of the trilogy should be at least popcorn fun.   If Jiang Wen one day decides to do a movie on his bromance with Ge You, it would be so precious I would weep through the entire thing.

Overheard 3/竊聽風雲 3

Sigh… I love Overheard 2 even more than 1 because of the scenery chewing, kicking ALL their asses off Mr Kenneth Tsang.  This installment gives me some more Mr. Tsang and throws in the bone of a ZhouXun who is everywhere in all sorts of genre.  There is also a Ng Man Tat who has been the most awesome supporting actor anyone can ask in HK cinema for decades given a fleshy role with much more to do.  They are pulling all the stops, huh?!

Look at this face of Mr Ng:

三城记    Tale of Three Cities

When I wish upon a star~, Tang Wei x Sean Lau AHAHHH~, my dreams come true~~~!…No request is too extreme, so Tang Wei x Yuan Hong,,,as dreamers do~.

I don’t know, just typing this post make me lethargic of the whole 1930s wartime spanning decades and cities depressing epics.  This one is based on Jackie Chan’s parents’ life stories, I’ve read.  I am not sure how many depressing personal tales I really can take and not bummed myself crazy.  However, this has SEAN LAU!!!!

无问西东

I do not know what this is about other than it is a love triangle of whatever combination between Chang Chen, Zhang ZiYi and Huang XiaoMing.   Good luck prying me away even if this is crap.

Tai Chi:

I have a saying, if there is a Transformer in production, I get a cloud of  wuxia with a chance of Stephen Chow.  I do not even know if this is just fanart, he is always the recluse and I have not read anything substantial this is actually happening, but who knows?!?!

There is also the guaranteed very pretty wuxia White Haired Witch with Fan BingBing and Huang XiaoMing (I do not think he ever sleeps, this is workload of a Chow Yun Fat in the heydays of HKcinema).  I have already gushes about it here.

Wolf Totem/狼图腾

I have watched The Bear a dozen times, and this could be its companion piece with wolves.

 

The Crossing/太平轮   

You big guns have to stop feeding me wartime epics with insanely gorgeous peeps I can not look away.  John Woo, this is too much pretty, ok?!?!?!  Especially when this is tagged a dead, dead, dead, they will most be dead Chinese Titanic.

My gut is telling me Mr JW is again biting off more than he can chew, if he can f up a RoTK he has been passionate and pouring his all in for a decade, he can do it with material from good writer Wang HuiLing, easy.  This is screaming to me lets pile on all the excessive luxury brands a Daima can hold up on her body movie style and call it an epic.

But seriously, it got me with the above pic of Takeshi Kaneshiro and Masami Nagasawa even when they are barely serviceable actors.  I am shallow.  Let alone Miss Zhang ZiYi, Miss Song HyeKyo, Mr. Huang XiaoMing… all of them will be sparkling wet and some dying deaths so gorgeous we will still be seething with envy for SHK’s porcelain skin that refuses to prune up.

Hello, where is the 14 year age gap?  And what is the deal with devil you can look like a college kid still Mr Kaneshiro?

放浪记:

This is still in preproduction, from director Stanley Kwan.   I can tolerate Zhao Wei, but she is mucho overrated, here she will play the young new scheming It girl in the actress scene against the fading big star still with a fight in her played by Joan Chen, then there is EITA in the mix.  I have been wanting an evil ZW for a long time, and this has my hopes up for a ZQ/Joan Chen catfight in qipao, or a threesome of the 2 with Eita.  Can Stanley use up every bit of his power to talk a Maggie Cheung into a cameo?!  Hey, anything can happen!

Taoist Mountain/道士下山

I am sick of people, almost everyone I know who read wuxia forcing me to read this, harping this is so very very good and so my thing, this is GuLong if he was sober and not dead, and he wrote a neo-wuxia epic set in revolutionary China, there will be magic and fantasy, peking opera and espionage in the mix, part non-fiction historical documentary.  I got so overwhelmed, my expectation is so off the roof mixed with absolutely confused with what the heck is this and…give up even trying, not able to handle any disappointment.  Now that Chen KaiGe is tackling the material, who…I thought is a hustler, and Farewell my Concubine is a fluke.  Nothing will repent The Promise.  Knowing myself too well, I would still be terribly curious to watch…and before that I MUST READ THE BOOK.  My plan of action is always go in unspoiled for the more worthy medium the work is in, and my money is always on the book/original.  At least I need to be educated to snark my hearts out: any big deal popcorn extravaganza casting a Lin ChiLing as leading lady is welcoming me with open arms to be ruthless.

12 thoughts on “My C/HK/TW Movie Watchlist 2014

  1. OMGGG my saliva is flowing at all the goodness and pretty!!!
    黄金时代 is giving lots of expectations, so is 归来. Gong Li and Chen Dao Ming OMFGGGGG And ugh how kaneshiro how?!?!?! HOW?! And omg zhou xun and HXM are so cute bts. Love the 聶隱娘 poster, it’s making me imagine some beautiful things. Just saw news that it 杀青 two days ago, but post-prod will take another year at least ://// Didn’t know 狼图腾 stars 冯绍峰 bleagh I dont really like him. But Tang Wei, I welcome welcome. 道士下山 looks very interesting, seems like it’s scheduled for Dec release? (http://movie.douban.com/subject/24879839/)

    • I can wait a year for HHH, I mean how long did we wait for Grandmaster? I can’t even remember.

      2014 is like the year C cinema is evolving…or the audience is not satisfied with just event movies. It still seems like the honchos are bankrolling too many wartime epics at once, but at least these should not hurt our head too much.

      Have you read 道士下山 ? I am about to jump in. My hopes for the movie are not that high though, along with Tsui Hark’s 智取威虎山. I do not care about Chen KaiGe outside of Farewell My Concubine and TH is never into storytelling/authentic to source material which I think this subject matter needs.

  2. Thanks for the update, Mookie! :D
    I’ve been out of the loop with C-entertainment, so it’s good to find your post updating us on the latest news. Wolf Totem looks interesting :)
    You’ve piqued my interest with the mentions of Stephen Chow and John Woo. Stephen is such a recluse so it’s hard to get news of him. I heard that he’s more into producing than acting now. As for John Woo, it’s always good to see something with him involved. I heard that he was stepping back from film for a while because of health reasons, so if he’s coming back then it’s good news – I’m not sure how true it is about his health but if he’s got new works coming out then at least it means his health is OK.

    • Hi dear~
      Oh I did not know JW was sick!! Looks like he must’ve recovered well enough. I think Crossing started filming quite a while ago in 2013 and it is now in postproduction…I think.
      Yeah I do not think SC is into acting anymore, but I still like what his brain can do. I do like his take on Journey to the West last year and he has a sequel to it coming out. imo he at least is proud (and filthy rich) enough to care about the quality of works with his name attached and his films come so far and in between I can’t help but look forward to it no matter.

  3. Holy crap! It all looks so good. Where to begin? Looking at this I realise my exposure to c/hk-flicks has generally been limited to popular (but still great) fare.
    And yes, TK still looks like a college kid. 0_O`

    • I can’t remember last I saw a kickass popcorn C flick. It’s almost always entertainment in the form of gaudy brainfart XD

      But this bunch seriously looks promising, even if it’s the same old over and over again. I have my hopes up~!

  4. Ngl, I’m actually allowing myself to be excited about the C-drama fare this year. Keeping my fingers crossed that it won’t disappoint! On a side note, Ye Qing is really pretty. Not sure about if Taoist Mountain book is good or anything, but I’d rather her be on that movie than Lin Chi Ling.

    • I have never been excited about so many C movies in a year, at least I see hope.
      I think Ye Qing is attractive too and in a unique memorable natural way, more importantly I think her eyes can emote very well, which gives her an edge over ShiShi actually, let alone a LCL.

  5. Thank you for this. I too have been out of the loop when it came to Chinese cinema and this list is a great help.

    The strongest disagree I have with you is regardin Chang Chen and Shu Qi. I just can’t see the hotness and talent everyone else mention when it comes ot Mr.Chen. Shu Qi on the other hand I find very very talented regardless of the director but with HHS she is luminous (I recommend the opening of Millenium Mambo for a great director/actor combo scene)

    The thing I agree with you most is Zhao Wei. Like you I think she is overrated but also capable of giving a good performance and that upcoming film seems to me similar to All About Eve and I’m looking forward to it.

    Second thing I agree with you is Takeshi Kaneshiro the man can do nothing but sit on a chair and I wouldn’t mind watching him. Shallow but true.

    • To your surprise perhaps, I have seen everything ShuQi has done (even the racier ones, I admit) esp when she was such a huge commercial and critical darling in tonnes of HK cinema back in the later 90s and in almost everything I was terribly interested in. She is not without talent, and she is luminous and the camera loves her… but imo she does not measure up to how extremely lucky compared to so many talented sino-actresses in their late 30s early 40s with the opportunities she is getting. Last number of years I find her cruising by and giving me same tiring old. My opinion. And even though I can agree with you she is talented, she is not invincible, she just is not suitable for every HHH role and this is, imo, one of them. I just love HHH ridiculously much since Dust in the Wind and I thought his directing suits an extremely subtler brand of acting. My main gripe is, ShuQi has too much of an individuality on screen, does not have a period stance, she pulled it off in the Qing portion of Three Lives but that is about it. She was horrible in all other period outings, ALL…esp here when she has nothing of the Tang lady aura, she is horrible a miscast if in need of historical authenticity. If HHH really has the heart to, he could do the lyrical ambigious poetic wuxia of GuLong justice like nobody else. Just for the sake of discussing, a ZW, though I think she still has not hit her potential (if she would ever work harder at it at this point of her career with her enormous stardom already), would be a better fit as a Tang lady, assassin or not. I find ZW a capable actress, but terribly limited. She can only play stronger, feistier woman and she has never master the craft of nuances in anything borderline arthouse. It is like she’s driven into a habit, encouraged to stay there, never given good chances, nor the need to hone her craft to be more versatile, and 2 decades later, we still have her playing versions of Little Swallow Princess as her only arsenal.

      Lets be frank, are you a victim of your own bias of not finding CC hot/attractive and thus he is nothing to you!? ^^ He is so not in my beautiful/pretty men bracket, but his dedication to his craft is a force to be reckon with. I adore subtlety, I adore not even noticing an actor is putting in effort, seeing the seams of acting, and I perhaps blindly worship WKW, I do not care any longer, any artist he deemed worthy to be captured by his lens repeatedly, and vice versa as in any actor that committed to go through the labor, I would say torture. working with a WKW by any means necessary is worthy of being in my thespian pile. Simple as that. And he is absolutely succinctly enthralling in every WKW he’s in, even sheer seconds. He is my TW Odagiri Joe, if you get my drift, ie he has horrible to eccentric taste in projects but I could sit through 10 crappy things he did just for the 1 scene he was magical in.

      haha I actually am not a fan of Takeshi in movies (except WKW…you know). I will probably bail out if he’s doing nothing or a lot on my screen… he just lacks the talent and drive, sorry to say. I have very low expectation of Crossing because I lost some love (not that I love them terribly to begin with) for JohnWoo AND Takeshi in Red Cliff. I lost some love for TonyLeungCW there as well, that was how ragey I was. Everyone was aggravatingly horrible. I can only be as shallow as droolzing at some posters. Masami is not exactly getting my hopes high acting wise. SHK can be terrific, but not in the hands of a ham-handed JW still has not evolved from his patented loud excess popcorn fare.

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