Archive for chinese

Happy Chinese New Year! It’s the year of rooster!

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 28, 2017 by vincentloy

I’m wishing everyone a Happy Chinese New Year! This wish is particularly for my family, relatives, friends, neighbours, and to all Malaysian Chinese! Gong Xi Fa Cai!

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The lunar new year comes early this year. This Chinese largest festival (known as Spring Festival in China) always falls on February every year. But for this time, it’s on end of January. We have just finished celebrating the new year 2017 and now we get to celebrate another one. Next year, this festival will be pushed back to February due to additional days in our lunar calendar once every four years.

We now say goodbye to the year of monkey and welcomes the year of rooster. Rooster is the main character this year and unfortunately, it’s also usually the main character in our Chinese dishes. Chicken dishes everywhere and my two nephews love to eat them the most.

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This is also the time for us, the superstitious Chinese to check on our zodiac forecast of the year. I was born in the year of sheep and so my Chinese zodiac sign is sheep. I found out that this is going to be an average year for me, with nothing really bad or good happening. It’s a fairly flat year for me. I will take that. Well, I’m not superstitious but getting a knowledge of it is something not harmful either, so why not…

I had a fairly plain reunion dinner just now in a simple and affordable restaurant nearby. The important thing is not the cost of the food, but everyone being together on the table for this significant meal. It’s alright. We will be having a ‘grander’ dinner soon for the next weekend when my eldest sister and her family will join in too. I will be spending the first day of the Chinese New Year visiting some relatives and also watching a Chinese New Year movie in cinema hopefully. Then, from second day to sixth day of the celebration, I will be having a vacation in Hanoi, Vietnam with my parents. After coming back, I will be spending that coming weekend (next Saturday and Sunday) on Genting Highlands. That’s it. After that, it’s the end of my Chinese New Year celebration this year before I fly back to Perth, Australia near the end of February to resume the final year of my postgraduate study.

Let’s not talk that far yet. Now, is the time to get prepared to welcome this lunar new year with joyful mood, get dressed in new clothes, get angpows, meet relatives (and hopefully successfully dealt with all those questions from aunties and uncles asking about whether you have boyfriend or girlfriend already or not), gamble (who doesn’t like to play and hopefully win), attend friends’ gatherings, eat all those delicious new year biscuits and cookies, watch all the released CNY movies this year, light up firecrackers or fireworks, etc.

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Once again, Happy Chinese New Year! May you have a blessed year ahead with good health and wealth! Gong Xi Fa Cai!

(Images in this post are from various sources throughout the world wide web)

7 Sensational Modern Theaters in China.

Posted in Architectural Territory with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 5, 2016 by vincentloy

Recently, I found an article to be very interesting as it looks into six very good-looking contemporary opera houses in China. Hence, I would like to share the article here below:

Pure Architectural Theater: 6 Sensational Chinese Opera Houses.

As China’s presence on the global economic stage has steadily risen over the past couple decades, so too has its desire to match its outsize economic influence with equally robust cultural institutions. Despite being one of the world’s biggest economies and a producer of the vast majority of consumer goods, China has been less recognized for its cultural output including the performing arts, theater and opera than for its booming population and rapidly expanding cities. But as China continues to grow its economic stature, inhabitants and cities for the near future, it also needs to provide the cultural space for these forces to express themselves.

The opera house is one architectural intervention for a city, state or culture to manifest its values and ambitions and in doing so proclaim a degree of cultivation and artistic cachet. In Western Europe, the opera house emerged in the 17th century, often financed by noblemen and wealthy merchants looking to solidify their cultural hegemony. This began to change in the 19th century, as opera houses became more democratic spaces financed by public institutions.

While this rich history is absent in China, we can see similar impulses behind the following collection of contemporary opera houses. These spanking new facilities provide spaces not only for opera, but a number of performing arts enjoyed by the public. Furthermore, they are a physical manifestation of the powerful forces of the country’s economy, the untapped cultural potential of the public, and the architectural destination-making pioneered by Gehry’s Bilbao. These Chinese opera houses reinterpret this enduring cultural institution for a new era and are tailored to a region witnessing dramatic physical, social and material transformations.

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Dalian International Conference Center by Coop Himmelb(l)au, Dalian, China

The multifaceted, scaled aluminum façade on this Northern Chinese port city’s opera house contains within it a conference space for 2,500, a smaller 1,400-person theater and flexible exhibition spaces. The billowing and sinuous forms of the building pierced by unexpected angles are typical of Coop Himmelb(l)au’s Deconstructivist approach to architecture and well-suited to this changing typology.

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Guangzhou Opera House by Zaha Hadid Architects, Guangzhou, China

Zaha Hadid’s similarly dramatic Guangzhou opera house is one of the most well-known realizations of China’s drive to jumpstart its urban cultural development. Set in one of the country’s largest megacities along the Pearl River, the building features two smoothed spatial “pebbles” clad in triangular granite and glass panels supported by a webbed steel frame that leaps into intrepid forms.

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Harbin Opera House by MAD, Harbin, China

Occupying a gigantic site of almost 450 acres along the Songhua River, this three-petaled opera house, cultural center and public outdoor space is composed of ascending curvilinear forms that seem to sprout from the wetland landscape and warmly envelop patrons from the elements. The white aluminum cladding of the exterior mirrors the harsh winter climate, while the seemingly hand-sculpted Manchurian ash of the auditorium provides a cozy counterpart.

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Wuxi Grand Theatre by PES-Architects, Wuxi, China

A series of structural steel roof wings overhang the cubic volumes of this multipurpose opera house and feature LED-lit undersides of perforated metal. The terraced pavilions of the entrance and outdoor spaces are illuminated by decorative columns that continue into the lobby to become structural supports. The design incorporates elements of traditional temples and the crystalline forms inspired by Finnish geography.

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Grand Theater Tianjin by gmp – von Gerkan, Marg, and Partners Architects, Tianjin, China

The semicircular roofline of this theater extends from a stone public plaza and opens up towards the head of the adjacent lake. The three volumes of the building are sheltered by this cantilevered form that fans out like a traditional bandshell and exposes the functional spaces towards the outdoors.

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Bayuquan Theater by Shanghai Dushe Architectural Design DSD, Bayuquan, Yingkou, China

This smaller-scale opera house was designed with traditional Chinese theater in mind, and the bent thatches of the aluminum façade recall the billowing fabrics in the classic performances. The building is organized like a traditional theater, but can also be rotated and shifted according to programmatic needs.

The article above came from this original source (including the images):

http://architizer.com/blog/chinese-opera-houses/.

However, I think the author of that article must have left out the…

National Centre for the Performing Arts by Paul Andreu, Beijing, China.

It is nicknamed ‘Giant Egg’ due to its form. The centre, an ellipsoid dome of titanium and glass surrounded by an artificial lake. This is another amazing opera house in China that is deserving to be in that list too.

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(Image by Vaughan Jordan)

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(Image by SilverKris)

Movie review for Kung Fu Panda 3 (2016) and Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny (2016)

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 27, 2016 by vincentloy

Before my first semester for my postgraduate study officially begins next week, I’m still enjoying my free time in Perth. Without any assignments yet, I’m almost bored to death spending most of my time in my room. Not only that I watched ‘Deadpool’ one more time in Perth after having watched it already back in Malaysia before I came here, I also managed to watch two new movies released this year.

The first one is ‘Kung Fu Panda 3’. It is a computer-animated action comedy martial arts film and is the third installment in ‘Kung Fu Panda’ film franchise which mainly revolves on an unlikely panda being selected as a ‘dragon warrior’ alongside the help of his master and his martial-art friends to protect a valley from villains. In this sequel, Po (the panda) has to face with a supernatural villain whom is out to defeat all the kung fu masters across China. At the same time, Po is also reunited with his long lost father and discovered many more of his species (panda) in a secret village to his surprise and joy.

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Just like its two predecessors, this latest movie delivered with highly entertaining story and characters. Eventhough we have seen the same characters and the similar plot in the first two movies, this third one still manage to capture our attention and had me engaged. There are still plenty of hilarious scenes to keep it a good and a fun comedy while the film is also successful from its beautiful animation works and some positive messages to learn from. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘Kung Fu Panda 3’ a total of 7.7. Surprisingly, I’m still not tired with this franchise and I’m more than fine for this franchise to keep expanding. One of the big thing many people didn’t know about this film is that most of the cast involved for the voices of the characters in this animated movie are big movie stars; Jack Black, Angelina Jolie, Jackie Chan, J.K. Simmons, Bryan Cranston, Dustin Hoffman, Seth Rogen, Kate Hudson, etc.

The second movie is ‘Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny’. It is a martial-arts film and is a sequel to the critically-acclaimed 2000 film titled ‘Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon’. The first film won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film (the first and the only Chinese film to do so in history of Oscars) as well as three other Academy awards, while also being nominated in the Best Picture category. I didn’t get to watch that one but I have heard of many positive feedback to that one. In this sequel, all of the original cast members did not return except for Michelle Yeoh. Well, I would love to see her in a new film since we are Malaysians and hence I allocate my time for this movie.

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Well, as expected, it would be not as good as the first one as seen on the comparison of reviews for both movies from critics across the world. However, it is still an enjoyable Chinese film with plenty of action sequences on martial arts shown throughout the movie. Michelle Yeoh is now getting old (she is now over 53) but she still managed to perform some great stunts in this movie. The same goes to Donnie Yen who joined this film as the leading actor. Well, I’m always seeing him in recent Hong Kong martial arts films and so it is not surprising that he would be in this movie too. He is convincing on his fight scenes as expected but there isn’t any chemistry between him and Michelle Yeoh in this movie. Anyway, the movie is fine for me (the story is not bad) and I would rate the film a total of 7.1.

Before I’m ending this post, I find that the recent Chinese films like to put in excessive CGIs (visual effects) into the movies including this one. I don’t think it is necessary and the more I see of those CGIs, the more I felt how they interrupted the feel of the movie instead of enhancing it. Quality of visual effects in Chinese productions is still far behind from Hollywood standard. Hence, I hope that there wouldn’t be too much of ‘forced’ insertion of CGIs into future Chinese films especially the big-budget ones. You simply just waste huge sum of money on heavy and unrealistic effects for very little purpose.

(Images in this post are from various sources throughout the world wide web)

 

Happy Chinese New Year! Let us all have a wonderful time in this Year of Monkey!

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 7, 2016 by vincentloy

It’s the most festive time of the year again; the Chinese New Year celebration! I would like to wish to all my family, relatives, friends, colleagues, neighbours and my fellow blog visitors (yes, you!) a Happy Chinese New Year! I wish that we all will be blessed with great health and fortune in this lunar new year! I also wish that all of us would be having a prosperous and a very smooth year ahead! Gong Xi Fa Cai!

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Goodbye to the Year of the Goat! It has been a year of quite a number of ups and downs (mostly downs) especially for me who is also born in the year of goat, and hence expected to be not having a good year in 2015. That is over and now we welcome the Year of the Monkey in 2016! For this year, after being a little superstitious especially at this time of the year getting to listen and read to all the Chinese horoscope forecast, I discovered that those born in the year of goat (myself included) would be very good this year! Wow…the first thing on my mind is; Sure or not? Let’s hope so in the end.

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Today is already the Chinese New Year’s Eve! It’s the day for all family members to gather together and above all, having the very important reunion dinner this evening. I have had reunion dinner with my family early this week already since I would be flying to Australia tonight with my parents for a vacation, hence no time for the dinner tonight. We had our reunion dinner outside in a nice restaurant and we tossed yee-sang too (typical tradition). There is nothing special about it but for me, it is always feeling great to see all of our family members seated together for a nice meal and chats along. It is harmonious. You will feel it later too. It is just so good.

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This is also the time of the year again for me to post up some clips related to this wonderful Chinese New Year celebration which is also popularly known as Spring Festival in China. The first two clips are two wonderful advertisements for this year’s CNY by BSN and Petronas, and one more is from CCTV in conjunction with CNY last year about the essence of chopsticks, the traditional eating utensils by Chinese. I’m moved by these three clips:

Happy Chinese New Year once again! And for my other Malaysian friends who are not celebrating it, Happy Holiday to you too!

(Images in this post are from various sources throughout the world wide web)

Full nomination list for the 35th Hong Kong Film Awards

Posted in Explosive News and Results with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 2, 2016 by vincentloy

Let’s take a break from the awards season at the West and switch a little attention back to one of the major Chinese film awards honouring the best of Chinese films in 2015. At the end of last year, we observed the Taiwan’s 52nd Golden Horse Awards. I didn’t have much interest on that particular Golden Horse Awards last year because I didn’t watch many of the nominated films especially that majority of them are from Taiwan or China productions.

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Now, here comes the nomination list for the 35th Hong Kong Film Awards which I am more familiar with since there are more Hong Kong films nominated in this one (obviously) and I do watched at least 10 Hong Kong films released last year. It is another prestigious annual awards for Chinese films with quite a long history. The nomination list is here below alongside with my thoughts on some categories that I’m particularly more interested in. Only had my opinions in few categories since I also didn’t watch many of the nominated films too:

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(Film posters for three of the many nominated films in 35th Hong Kong Film Awards. From above to below: Port of Call (received the most nominations), Ip Man 3 (my personal pick for the best last year) and Little Big Master).

BEST FILM
TEN YEARS
LITTLE BIG MASTER
THE TAKING OF TIGER MOUNTAIN
IP MAN 3
PORT OF CALL

Opinion: My personal choice would be ‘Ip Man 3’. This martial-art movie is being highly received not only in Chinese-speaking region but also from US and other countries in the West too. It is really a good movie. Outstanding. Usually, sequel won’t do good but ‘Ip Man 3’ is totally an exception. ‘Port of Call’ would be a dark horse since it received the most nominations but I didn’t watch this movie. ‘Little Big Master’ is also a nice and a touching movie but I don’t think a low production movie would win best film. My prediction would be ‘Port of Call’ but my personal favourite is ‘Ip Man 3’.

BEST DIRECTOR
Adrian Kwan Shun Fai (LITLTE BIG MASTER)
Derek Yee Tung Sing (I AM SOMEBODY)
Tsui Hark (THE TAKING OF TIGER MOUNTAIN)
Wilson Yip Wai Shun (IP MAN 3)
Philip Yung Tsz Kwong (PORT OF CALL)

Opinion: I have a feeling that if ‘Ip Man 3’ won for best film, then this best director would be for ‘Port of Call’. Or otherwise. I’m happy if Wilson Yip is taking this one too for his excellent direction in ‘Ip Man 3’. Another strong contender in this category is Tsui Hark.

BEST SCREENPLAY
Adrian Kwan Shu Fai, Hannah Chang (LITTLE BIG MASTER)
Derek Ye Tung Sing (I AM SOMEBODY)
Saville Chan, Adam Wong (SHE REMEMBERS, HE FORGETS)
Lau Ho Leung (TWO THUMBS UP)
Philip Yung Tsz Kwong (PORT OF CALL)

Opinion: I have only watched ‘Little Big Master’ out of all the five nominated films. So, I’m biased for it. It does had a great screenplay. I’m very moved with its story.

BEST ACTOR
Andy Lau Tak Wah (LOST AND LOVE)
Nick Cheung Ka Fai (KEEPER OF DARKNESS)
Tony Leung Ka Fai (THE TAKING OF TIGER MOUNTAIN)
Jacky Cheung (HEAVEN IN THE DARK)
Aaron Kwok (PORT OF CALL)

Opinion: Didn’t watch all five of the performances above. Out of these five, two of them have not win the best actor prize before; Aaron Kwok and Jacky Cheung. Hence, they are more deserving and are long overdue as well. Both are also two of the four Heavenly Kings in Cantopop music (Andy Lau is also here, making it to three but Andy Lau had won this prize several times before). Aaron had been nominated in this category few more times than Jacky Cheung, and so I would prefer him to win it finally for this year. Aaron Kwok had also been nominated in the recent Golden Horse Award for the same performance but he lost (he had won Golden Horse for best actor in the past anyway). Hence, his chance is very high for him to win this time among all the nominees. 

BEST ACTRESS
Tang Wei (A TALE OF THREE CITIES)
Miriam Yeung (LITTLE BIG MASTER)
Sylvia Chang (OFFICE)
Karena Lam (HEAVEN IN THE DARK)
Jessie Li (PORT OF CALL)

Opinion: Out of the five performances above, I have only watched Miriam Yeung in ‘Little Big Master’ and she is quite good in that movie that requires a lot of passion and emotional scenes. She had won before for this best actress prize and so she now is only being regarded as a dark horse for now. My pick would be Karena Lam. She had won recently in the Golden Horse Awards for best actress and I think she may continue her winning streak here too despite her nominated work is different. Sylvia Chang is also another strong contender since she had also been nominated in the Golden Horse Awards for the same role and she is very great veteran actress. Jessie Li also stand a chance since she had won Best Actress in Hong Kong Film Critics Society Awards for this role. However, she had much higher chance and even a lock to win in ‘Best New Performer’ category. She has to leave this one for the other four nominees who are more senior.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Andrew Lam (FULL STRIKE)
Louis Cheung (KEEPER OF DARKNESS)
Max Zhang Jin (SPL 2: A TIME FOR CONSEQUENCES)
Max Zhang Jin (IP MAN 3)
Michael Ning (PORT OF CALL)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Qin Hailu (A TALE OF THREE CITIES)
Anna Ng (LITTLE BIG MASTER)
Janice Man (HELIOS)
Lee Sinjie (MURMUR OF THE HEARTS)
Elaine Jin (PORT OF CALL)

BEST NEW PERFORMER
J. Arie (GET OUTTA HERE)
Sisley Choi (KEEPER OF DARKNESS)
Cecilia So (SHE REMEMBERS, HE FORGETS)
Michael Ning (PORT OF CALL)
Jessie Li (PORT OF CALL)

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
Wang Yu (A TALE OF THREE CIITES)
Pakie Chan (TO THE FORE)
Choi Sung Fai (THE TAKING OF TIGER MOUNTAIN)
Tse Chung To (IP MAN 3)
Christopher Doyle (PORT OF CALL)

BEST FILM EDITING
Chan Ki Hop, Poon Hung Yiu, Pang Ching Hei (TO THE FORE)
David Richardson (SPL 2: A TIME FOR CONSEQUENCES)
Yu Bai Yang (THE TAKING OF TIGER MOUNTAIN)
Cheung Ka Fai (IP MAN 3)
Liao Ching Sung, Wong Hoi, Philip Yung Tsz Kwong, Chu Ka Yat (PORT OF CALL)

BEST ART DIRECTION
Tim Yip, James Cheung (A TALE OF THREE CITIES)
Horace Ma Kwong Wing (THE CROSSING II)
Yohei Taneda, Lee Kin Wai (MONSTER HUNT)
Yi Zhen Zhou (THE TAKING OF TIGER MOUNTAIN)
William Chang Suk Ping, Yau Wai Ming (OFFICE)

BEST COSTUME AND MAKE UP DESIGN
Tim Yip, William Fung (A TALE OF THREE CITIES)
Chen Tongxun (THE CROSSING II)
Yee Chung Man (MONSTER HUNT)
Kwon Yoojin (THE TAKING OF TIGER MOUNTAIN)
William Chang Suk Ping, Lui Fung Shan (OFFICE)

BEST ACTION CHOREOGRAPHY
Jackie Chan, JC Sunt Team (DRAGON BLADE)
Chin Ka Lok (HELIOS)
Li CHung Chi (SPL 2: A TIME FOR CONSEQUENCES)
Yuen Bun (THE TAKING OF TIGER MOUNTAIN)
Yuen Wo Ping (IP MAN 3)

Opinion: My pick is definitely ‘Ip Man 3’. Despite being already the third installment in the ‘Ip Man’ film franchise, this third movie still delivered on its wonderfully choreographed and creative action sequences and fight scenes. Brilliant. Absolutely terrific to the point that I’m almost 100% sure it win will this.

BEST ORIGINAL FILM SCORE
Taro Iwashiro (THE CROSSING II)
Day Tai (SHE REMEMBERS, HE FORGETS)
Wu Wai Lap (THE TAKING OF TIGER MOUNTAIN)
Dayu Lo, Chan Fai Young (OFFICE)
Ding Ke (PORT OF CALL)

BEST ORIGINAL FILM SONG
VORTEX (THE CROSSING II)
Composer: Dayu Lo
Lyric: Lin Xi
Performer: Dayu Lo

FOR WONG KA YAN (WONG KA YAN)
Composer: Benny Lau
Lyric: Chan Wing Him
Performer: Wong You Nam

MURMUR OF THE HEARTS (MURMUR OF THE HEARTS)
Composer: Chen Chien-Chen
Lyric: Huang Ting, Chen Chien-Chen
Performer: Rene Liu

WE ALMOST FLY (SHE REMEMBERS, HE FORGETS)
Composer: Day Tai
Lyric: Saville Chan
Performer: Feanna Wong

DARKNESS OF THE SEA (PORT OF CALL)
Composer: Ding Ke
Lyric: Ding Ke
Performer: Ding Ke

BEST SOUND DESIGN
Kinson Tsang, George Lee Yiu Keung (KEEPER OF DARKNESS)
Kinson Tsang, George Lee Yiu Keung, Yiu Chun Him (MONSTER HUNT)
Kinson Tsang, George Lee Yiu Keung, Yiu Chun Him (THE TAKING OF TIGER MOUNTAIN)
David Richardson, Tu Duu-Shih, Wu Shu Yao (OFFICE)
Kinson Tsang, Yiu Chun Him (IP MAN 3)

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS
Enoch Chan, Felix Lai Tsz Fai (KEEPER OF DARKNESS)
Jason Snell, Ellen Poon, Tang Bingbing (MONSTER HUNT)
Wook Kim (THE TAKING OF TIGER MOUNTAIN)
Ken Law Wai Ho, Tommy Hellowing (OFFICE)
Raymond Leung Wai Man, Yee Kwok Leung, Garrett K Lam (IP MAN 3)

BEST NEW DIRECTOR
Nick Cheung Ka Fai (KEEPER OF DARKNESS)
Raman Hui (MONSTER HUNT)
Lau Ho Leung (TWO THUMBS UP)

Opinion: I think the members of Hong Kong Film Association are liking Nick Cheung very much and seeing him taking on directing job is something new and big. His directorial debut also appeared to be fruitful eventhough I didn’t watch ‘Keeper of Darkness’. Hence, my pick would be for Nick Cheung who had also won twice the Best Actor prize in this film awards.

BEST FILM FROM MAINLAND AND TAIWAN
MOUNTAINS MAY DEPART
OUR TIMES
THE ASSASSIN
WOLF TOTEM
BLIND MASSAGE

Opinion: I’m sure ‘The Assassin’ will take this one. It won the most in the recent Golden Horse Awards, had also won the Best Director prize for Hou Hsiao-Hsien in Cannes Film Festival, and was even selected as Taiwanese entry for Best Foreign Language Film in submission for the Academy Awards. Eventhough the movie didn’t get nominated in the end, but it looks to be the best Chinese movie in 2015. I’m 100% sure it will win this.

The 35th Hong Kong Film Awards will be held on 3rd April 2016.

(Images in this post are from various sources throughout the world wide web)

Films in 2015, a look at the box office figures this year and my selection of the best.

Posted in Explosive News and Results with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 28, 2015 by vincentloy

2015 has been a year with many great films. For a movie enthusiasts like me, films have been a major part of my entertainment for every year and 2015 is no exception. I started a habit beginning this year of noting down the movie’s title right after I watched it. And when I checked it back just now, I’m shocked to see that I have watched about 70 (now updated to over 100) films released in this year (2015).

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That would make 2015 more than enough to be the year with most number of films released in that particular year that I have watched. That’s my personal milestone. It equals to me watching an average of nearly two movies every week in a year. Here below is the list of movies in 2015 that I have watched, alongside with my own rating (in stars with 5 stars being the highest). I had also written reviews to over 90% of movies listed below in my past blog posts this year.

Hollywood (English Language) Films:

  1. Kingsman: The Secret Service. *****
  2. Project Almanac. ***
  3. Blackhat. **
  4. Jupiter Ascending. **
  5. Ex Machina. ***
  6. Fifty Shades of Grey. **
  7. Chappie. ****
  8. Cinderella. ***
  9. Furious 7. *****
  10. The Divergent Series: Insurgent. ***
  11. Avengers: Age of Ultron. *****
  12. Mad Max: Fury Road. *****
  13. Demonic. ****
  14. Area 51. ***
  15. The Human Centipede 3: Final Sequence. *
  16. Spy. ****
  17. San Andreas. *****
  18. Tomorrowland. **
  19. Jurassic World. *****
  20. The Boy Next Door. **
  21. Careful What You Wish For. **
  22. Terminator Genisys. ****
  23. Minions. ***
  24. Home. ****
  25. Stung. ***
  26. Harbinger Down. **
  27. Ant-Man. ***
  28. Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation. ***
  29. Extinction. ***
  30. Pixels. ***
  31. The Gallows. ***
  32. Fantastic Four. ***
  33. Exeter. **
  34. Southpaw. ****
  35. Robert The Doll. **
  36. Contracted: Phase 2. **
  37. American Ultra. ***
  38. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl. ***
  39. Everest. ***
  40. Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials. ****
  41. Cooties. ***
  42. Hotel Transylvania 2. ***
  43. Knock Knock. ***
  44. Tremor 5: Bloodlines. **
  45. The Martian. *****
  46. The Pack. ***
  47. Hitman: Agent 47. ***
  48. The Man From U.N.C.L.E. ****
  49. No Escape. ****
  50. The Hallow. ***
  51. Spectre. **
  52. Goosebumps. ****
  53. The Walk. *****
  54. The 33. **
  55. Submerged. *
  56. Sinister 2. ***
  57. By The Sea. *
  58. Scouts Guide To The Zombie Apocalypse. ***
  59. Pan. ****
  60. The Intern. ****
  61. Inside Out. *****
  62. Carol. ***
  63. The Revenant. ***
  64. The Danish Girl. ****
  65. Steve Jobs. ***
  66. In The Heart Of The Sea. ***
  67. The Good Dinosaur. ****
  68. Anomalisa. **
  69. Bridge of Spies. ****
  70. The Peanuts Movie. ***
  71. Spotlight. ***
  72. The End Of The Tour. ***
  73. Sisters. ***
  74. Room. *****
  75. Containment. **
  76. Sicario. ***
  77. Truth. ****
  78. The Last Witch Hunter. ***
  79. Lavalantula. *
  80. Legend. **
  81. Kill Your Friends. **
  82. Brooklyn. *****
  83. The Big Short. ***
  84. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2. ****
  85. Star Wars: The Force Awakens. ****
  86. Krampus. ***
  87. The Invitation. **
  88. The Sand. ***
  89. Life. **

The ones in bold are my personal top 10 favourites from the above list. This year, I watched more independent films (those movie titles that you probably have not heard of) and while on the other hand, I also didn’t miss out some biggest titles this year.

Chinese (Hong Kong/China/Singapore-Malaysia) Films:

  1. King of Mahjong ***
  2. From Vegas to Macau 2 ***
  3. An Inspector Calls **
  4. Triumph in the Skies *
  5. The Gigolo **
  6. Lucky Star 2015 *
  7. S For Sex, S For Secrets ***
  8. 12 Golden Ducks **
  9. Dragon Blade ****
  10. Little Big Master ****
  11. Ip Man 3 *****
  12. Monster Hunt ***
  13. Return of the Cuckoo ****

The ones in bold are my personal top 3 favourites from the above list.

Norwegian Film:

  1. The Wave. ***

South Korean Film:

  1. Attack on Titan (Part 1). ***
  2. Attack on Titan (Part 2). **

This year, out of surprise, I do watched three movies not of English or Chinese. One Norwegian film that had my interest as it is a disaster movie that is also the highest grossing 2015 film in Norway. Another one is a South Korean film series titled ‘Attack on Titan’ about the titans (of course), gigantic human-like monsters devouring humans that got me a bit excited. This particular film is split into two parts, hence I consider that as two separate movies.

Hence, so far, I have watched 105 films released in year 2015. Beyond 100-mark! Wonderful! That’s a strong proof that I’m a movie fans! I also can’t wait for next year as there would be many nice movies releasing next year like ‘Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice’, ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’, ‘Captain America: Civil War’, ‘X-Men: Apocalypse’, ‘Deadpool’, ‘Suicide Squad’, ‘Kung Fu Panda 3’, ‘The Huntsman’, ‘London Has Fallen’, etc. Anticipating all of that and more.

2015 has been a great year for box office figures too. 2015 breaks record by having most number of films exceeding USD 1 billion in worldwide grossing at 5 films. I guess you can name that five films easily but I will reveal it below anyway in the list of 2015’s highest grossing films:

  1. Star Wars: The Force Awakens. (USD 2.068 billion)
  2. Jurassic World. (USD 1.670 billion)
  3. Furious 7. (USD 1.516 billion)
  4. Avengers: Age of Ultron. (USD 1.405 billion)
  5. Minions. (USD 1.159 billion)
  6. Spectre. (USD 880 million)
  7. Inside Out. (USD 857 million)
  8. Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation. (USD 682 million)
  9. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2. (USD 653 million)
  10. The Martian. (USD 630 million)

Four films (the top 4 in the list above) made it into the top 10 list of world’s highest grossing film (not adjusted for inflation). ‘Furious 7’ became the fastest film to cross over USD 1 billion mark, doing so in 17 days. The record was later taken over by ‘Jurassic World’ two months later, achieving it in only 13 days. Then, ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ did it in only 12 days. On the other hand, ‘Jurassic World’ grossed USD 524.4 million worldwide on its opening weekend, making it the highest-grossing worldwide opening of all time. The record was then overtaken by ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ with USD 529 million opening worldwide. ‘Minions’ is the third animated movie to cross the USD 1 billion milestone, and is now the second highest grossing animated film, just behind ‘Frozen’. ‘Star Wars: The Force Awaken’ as expected earlier will broke multiple records in box office and it did.

Now, here comes the last part of this blog post with me selecting the best films, actors and actresses of the year. Now, it’s a special moment for me to pretend to be a professional critic, judge or voter on my own to choose the best in 2015 films. This is solely based on my personal opinions in the following 26 categories:

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  1. Best Motion Picture: Room.
  1. Best Director: George Miller (Mad Max: Fury Road)
  1. Best Actor in a Leading Role: Leonardo DiCaprio (The Revenant)
  1. Best Actress in a Leading Role: Brie Larson (Room)
  1. Best Actor in a Supporting Role: Jacob Tremblay (Room)
  1. Best Actress in a Supporting Role: Rooney Mara (Carol)
  1. Best Rising Performer: Alicia Vikander (Ex-Machina, The Danish Girl)
  1. Best Original Screenplay: Inside Out.
  1. Best Adapted Screenplay: Room.
  1. Best Film Editing: Mad Max: Fury Road.
  1. Best Cinematography: The Revenant.
  1. Best Production Design: Bridge of Spies.
  1. Best Costume Design: Cinderella.
  1. Best Make-up and Hairstyling Design: The Danish Girl.
  1. Best Art Direction: The Danish Girl.
  1. Best Visual Effects: Mad Max: Fury Road.
  1. Best Sound Editing & Mixing: Jurassic World.
  1. Best Original Score: Bridge of Spies.
  1. Best Original Song: See You Again (Furious 7).
  1. Best Action Choreography: Furious 7.
  1. Best Animated Feature: Inside Out.
  1. Best Musical or Comedy Film: Kingsman: The Secret Service.
  1. Best Science-Fiction or Action Film: Furious 7.
  1. Best Youth or Superhero-themed Film: Avengers: Age of Ultron.
  1. Best Horror or Thriller Film: San Andreas.
  1. Best Chinese Language Film: Ip Man 3.

(Images in this post are from various sources throughout the world wide web)

(Post updated on 20th December 2016)

Winners list of Taiwan’s 52nd Golden Horse Awards, and a quick movie review for ‘The 33’ (2015).

Posted in Explosive News and Results with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 22, 2015 by vincentloy

This year, I didn’t put much attention on the Taiwan’s 52nd Golden Horse Awards which was held last night. The awards which is the longest in history of Chinese cinema is always regarded as the Oscars for Chinese language films. However, I get to see parts of the lengthy awards ceremony last time live from Astro channel and here I would quickly put in the full winners list of this prestigious awards:

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Best Feature Film: “The Assassin”
Best Director: Hou Hsiao-hsien “The Assassin”
Best Leading Actor: Feng Xiaogang “Mr. Six”
Best Leading Actress: Karena Lam “Zinnia Flower”
Best Supporting Actor: Michael Ning “Port of Call”
Best Supporting Actress: Lu Xue-feng “Thanatos, Drunk”
Best New Director: Bi Gan “Kaili Blues”
Best New Performer: Lee Hong-chi “Thanatos, Drunk”
Best Original Screenplay: Jia Zhang-ke “Mountains May Depart”
Best Screenplay Adaptation: Pema Tseden “Tharlo”
Best Cinematography: Mark Lee Ping-bing “The Assassin”
Best Visual Effects: Wook Kim “The Taking of Tiger Mountain 3D”
Best Animation Feature: “McDull: Me & My Mum”
Best Art Direction: William Chang, Alfred Yau “Office”
Best Makeup/Costume Design: Hwarng Wern-ying “The Assassin”
Best Action Choreography: Xu Haofeng “The Master”
Best Film Editing: Chang Tso-chi “Thanatos, Drunk”
Best Original Film Music: Lin Shangde, Tseng Yun-fang “Thanatos, Drunk”
Best Original Film Song: Aka Pisawad “Wawa No Cidal”
Best Sound Effects: Tu Duu-chih, Chu Shih-yi, Wu Shu-yao “The Assassin”
Best Documentary: “The Chinese Mayor”
Best Short Film: Cheng Wei-hao “The Death of A Security Guard”
Outstanding Taiwanese Filmmaker of the Year: Hou Hsiao-hsien
Lifetime Achievement Award: Li Lihua

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As expected, ‘The Assassin’ film which is already receiving very good reviews from even the Western film festivals overwhelmed the ceremony last night as the biggest winner with 5 win that includes Best Feature Film, Best Director and Best Cinematography. Well, I’m not into this kind of award-winning film and so I didn’t watch it and could not comment further. But so far, I think ‘The Assassin’ is the best work this year representing Chinese cinema for Oscars next year in Best Foreign Language Film category. Most (I guess all) winners in this year’s ceremony are Taiwanese as Hong Kong nominees this year aren’t strong. I’m quite happy that Karena Lam (I still remember her despite seldom or didn’t even seeing her recent movies) whom is a Taiwanese but based in Hong Kong won Best Actress. I remembered well her role as a deformed ‘phantom’ woman in a horror movie long time ago which is quite scary yet emotional and fantastic. Singaporean Chinese films couldn’t make any impact in this awards this year but I remember in the past that Singaporean film do win big before in Golden Horse. As for Malaysian Chinese films, hmm…no need to say it out obvious…we are very lacking behind in quality of film-making.

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To end the weekend, I watch a new movie named ‘The 33’. It’s a survival drama film based on the real events of 2010 mining disaster in Chile that trapped 33 miners for more than two months. I’m surprised and actually glad that the disaster (earth shaking and boulders falling) happened not long after the movie commenced. It’s good as it bring me to the intense moment straight without any early dull and lengthy introduction scenes. While watching the movie, I do feel the impact of being trapped inside the mine so deep with little hope and starvation, while on the other perspective, also felt the impact of being the family member outside waiting desperately for update and rescue mission by the government. The movie presented on what it wish to deliver and I’m quite engaged. However, things can be more interesting or dramatic inside the mine. However, I think they avoid from doing that as a respect to the real trapped miners since this is based on real event. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘The 33’ a total of 7.0.

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(Images in this post are from various sources throughout the world wide web)