Thursday, September 3, 2009

Taipei Times - Short Takes
First Snow
If you crave a mixture of squeaky-clean inter-ethnic teen romance and family drama, there’s no beating First Snow (also known as, ahem, Virgin Snow). Korean immigrant Lee Jun-ki bumps into incredibly sweet Aoi Miyazaki a couple of times and they fall in love. The real drama of the flick comes from the latter’s wretched home life, which leads to the question: Why do aberrant movie families always produce daughters who are as pure as the driven snow? Set in Kyoto, which doesn’t hurt.

Overheard (竊聽風雲)
Infernal Affairs (無間道) co-writer-director Alan Mak (麥兆輝) and co-writer Felix Chong (莊文強) return with another tale of crime and compromise. Stalwart leading man Sean Lau (劉青雲) joins Louis Koo (古天樂) and Daniel Wu (吳彥祖) as intel agents who cross to the dark side, but their plan to make a quick profit leads to a nightmare of cover-ups and murder. This flick is notable for securing a release in China without having its ethical gray zone excised. More importantly, the public and critical response in Hong Kong was very positive. Koo also stars in the other, much more lowbrow Hong Kong release of the week, namely ...

On His Majesty’s Secret Service (大內密探靈靈狗)
The Chinese title suggests a follow-up to the 1996 Hong Kong costume court comedy Forbidden City Cop (大內密探零零發, retitled 鹿鼎大帝 for its Taiwan release) featuring superstar Steven Chow (周星馳) at the beginning of his directorial career and the delightful Carina Lau (劉嘉玲). Sadly, critics said this Wong Jing (王晶) production lacks star power and momentum and could do with more technical smarts. Louis Koo is an imperial guard who gets caught up in a competition to marry off the emperor’s daughter; farce follows. For the faithful there are movie references, anachronistic and gay panic gags, silly stunts and clunky props. The cast includes Taiwan’s Barbie Hsu (徐熙媛, better known as 大S) in the Carina Lau role.

The Code
A Japanese nightclub singer in Shanghai has a tattoo that contains the code to a stash of treasure left behind by the Japanese during the war, and the heroic Detective Office 5 and its debonair staff must recover the treasure, led by enterprising Detective 507 (Kikunosuke Onoe, Kaidan). Handsome to watch, but Variety moaned about unnecessary complexity and sobriety, while IMDb lists no less than seven directors.

George Lam and fan
Later asked where his wife, Sally Yip was, Lam replied that she had an important badminton match. (!?)
Gillian Chung
Gillian said she hopes to sing with Charlene again

Eight weeks after giving birth Kelly is back promoting mooncakes
During dress rehearsals A-mei flew 100 feet above the ground. from a tower to the track and field while singing the theme song. The flight which lasted one and a half minutes left A-mei shaking and in tears.

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