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#1 theoddone33

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Posted 18 March 2005 - 12:01 AM

Now that I have something to start it with, I can start a general thread about Asian films. I guess this is intended for general news and discussion about lesser-known Asian films that may be without U.S. theatrical releases and thus probably would not warrant a thread of their own.

Starting off the discussion: The Hong Kong Film Association recently released a list of the 100 best Chinese movies of all time. I don't have a link to the full list, but here are the top ten:

1. Spring in a Small Town (1948)
2. A Better Tomorrow (1986)
3. Days of Being Wild (1990)
4. Yellow Earth (1984)
5. A City of Sadness (?)
6. Long Arm of the Law (1984)
7. Dragon Inn (1967)
8 Boat People (1982)
9. Hsia Nu (1971)
10. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000)

I've only seen two of the above. sad.gif

#2 MichaelRay

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Posted 18 March 2005 - 08:52 AM

I'm a bit surprised that Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon beat out all Zhang Yimou's films for the top ten. Some of my favorite's in Asian cinema are Lifetimes, The Road Home, and Hero. When I was in Beijing I read that Raise the Red Lantern is considered by many Chinese to be one of the greatest films the country has produced.

Any idea why Zhang was left out of the top ten?

#3 opus

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Posted 18 March 2005 - 09:37 AM

Thanks for starting this, oddone, after I didn't get off my butt to do so.

Part of me is thrilled to see a John Woo film in the top 10 (and at #2, no less), but I find it somewhat odd that it's A Better Tomorrow. I mean, I can understand as it's your prototypical John Woo film, and the one that really established all of his trademarks (intense manly loyalty and melodrama, cool anti-heroes, slow-mo gunfights with unlimited bullets, etc.), but I've always considered The Killer to be his best film. But that's just me.

And yeah, I also find it odd that Crouching Tiger is on there. IIRC, it received quite a drubbing when it was originally released overseas. But perhaps it's on the list because that's probably the film that opened a lot of Westerner's eyes to Chinese film.

#4 opus

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Posted 18 March 2005 - 09:51 AM

QUOTE(theoddone33 @ Mar 17 2005, 11:01 PM)
Starting off the discussion: The Hong Kong Film Association recently released a list of the 100 best Chinese movies of all time.  I don't have a link to the full list, but here are the top ten:

View Post


You can find the complete list here, and I find it rather interesting.

The first Zhang Yimou is Red Sorghum at #25. Chungking Express is at #22. I'm kind of disheartened to see Johnnie To ranked so highly, but I'm glad to see that it's The Mission, which is probably the least disappointing of his films. Infernal Affairs is #32, followed by Drunken Master (the only other Jackie Chan film is Police Story, at #60).

I've only seen 17 films on the list. Time to get crackin' on Netflix, I suppose.

#5 Jeff

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Posted 18 March 2005 - 10:16 AM

During the summer of 2002, I saw a lot of commercials for Shaolin Soccer. It looked cool but I don't think it played anywhere around here, sadly. Was it any good?

#6 opus

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Posted 18 March 2005 - 11:48 AM

QUOTE(Mister Jeff @ Mar 18 2005, 09:16 AM)
During the summer of 2002, I saw a lot of commercials for Shaolin Soccer. It looked cool but I don't think it played anywhere around here, sadly. Was it any good?

View Post


It's a very, very fun film... very silly and very cheesy, but a great thing to watch when you just want an hour and a half or so of popcorn entertainment.

#7 JennyLynne

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Posted 18 March 2005 - 04:52 PM

I'm also surprised "The Road Home"
isn't on the list at all. While I'm also
a fan of "Not One Less," I would have
placed Road Home above it. . . and I
would have placed both before CTHD.

I would have thought Farewell My
Concubine would have been a bit
higher up too. . . but I guess it is
all rather subjective.

#8 theoddone33

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Posted 18 March 2005 - 11:52 PM

It's a fairly surprising list, I guess, seeing the whole thing. I've only seen fourteen of the films, but right off I'm surprised that Rouge was so high. Comrades: Almost a Love Story is a gem smiling at me from 28th place. See that film, everyone.

I just had a thought... the makers of this list may have been striving for political correctness, since it is a patriotic endeavor in the first place. This would probably explain the exclusion of films such as To Live/Lifetimes and Chen Kaige's The Emperor and the Assassin, which were noted for their controversy when they were released.

#9 theoddone33

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Posted 20 March 2005 - 03:53 PM

General news:

Thanks to Twitch for telling me about what everybody else seems to know... the upcoming movie Sha Po Lang.

This movie looks incredible. Given that it stars Donnie Yen (Hero, Iron Monkey), Wu Jing (Tai-Chi 2), Sammo Hung (Magnificent Butcher) and Simon Yam (every 3rd HK movie for the last 10 years), it's fair to say that it will be a long wait until this one comes out. Latest reports indicate that it will be out sometime this year, possibly the end of spring.

#10 theoddone33

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Posted 21 March 2005 - 04:18 AM

More awards news here. This article is sadly a tad sparse.

QUOTE
BEIJING, March.21 -- Hong Kong star Alex Fong was awarded Best Actor and Taiwan singer and actress Rene Liu crowned Best Actress at the fifth Chinese Film Media Awards opened last night in southern China's Guangzhou city.


Rene Liu presumably wins for her role in A World Without Thieves, while Alex Fong undoubtedly won for his role in One Nite in Mongkok. The best picture award and best director awards went to the same film, something I've never heard of apparently titled Delamu.

The more time passes since I've seen it, the more I like A World Without Thieves. If you can Netflix it sometime in the next few months, it's worth a watch. Opus and I have both mentioned how incredible One Nite in Mongkok is in other threads. That should be a high priority for everyone if a U.S. DVD release becomes available. (Even if it doesn't, I'd say.)

While I was on Xinhua, I also noticed that Ang Lee will be making a prequel to CTHD. This is probably already common knowledge.

And one more just for fun: a list of the 50 most beautiful Chinese people has been released. This list is clearly just for fun, since any serious list would put Cecilia Cheung much higher than number 25. angry.gif

Edited by theoddone33, 21 March 2005 - 04:23 AM.


#11 opus

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Posted 28 March 2005 - 10:07 AM

MonkeyPeaches recently posted the winners of the 24th Hong Kong Film Awards. Kung Fu Hustle and 2046 both cleaned up, with One Nite In Mongkok winning two awards. OldBoy won Best Asian Film.

#12 JennyLynne

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Posted 28 March 2005 - 05:01 PM

Since I'm sure you all know far
more about Asian film than I,
what would be some good films
for a Zhang Yimou fan wanting
to branch out?
I've seen (and enjoy) films like
Farewell my Concubine, Green Tea
and Shaolin Soccer.

I'd follow this top 100 list, but
as it seems to be contested, etc,
so I thought I'd just ask the
"experts" =0)

#13 Christian

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Posted 28 March 2005 - 05:06 PM

QUOTE(JennyLynne @ Mar 28 2005, 05:01 PM)
Since I'm sure you all know far
more about Asian film than I,
what would be some good films
for a Zhang Yimou fan wanting
to branch out?
I've seen (and enjoy) films like
Farewell my Concubine, Green Tea
and Shaolin Soccer.

I'd follow this top 100 list, but
as it seems to be contested, etc,
so I thought I'd just ask the
"experts" =0)

View Post




Anything by Kurosawa.
The Burmese Harp.

#14 rathmadder

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Posted 28 March 2005 - 05:15 PM

Ugetsu Monogatari by Mizoguchi, also The Life Of Oharu and Sansho Dayu by the same director.
Yi Yi by Edward Yang.
City of Sadness by Hou.
I agree with anything by Kurosawa, particularly Ikiru, High and Low, Seven Samurai, Throne Of Blood.
Tokyo Story by Ozu.
Chihwauson by Im Kwon Taek.
Happy Together by Wong Kar Wei.
Hana Bi by Takeshi Kitano.
Gohatto by Nagisa Oshima.

#15 theoddone33

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Posted 29 March 2005 - 12:34 AM

I would say that a good progression would be...

Zhang Yimou -> Chen Kaige -> Wong Kar Wai -> Andrew Lau -> Derrick Yee -> Korea

Some movies to watch (in order?) could be...

The Emperor and the Assassin
Ashes of Time
Chungking Express/Fallen Angels
Comrades: Almost a Love Story
As Tears Go By
Young and Dangerous 1 - 6
Infernal Affairs 1 - 3
Lost in Time
One Nite in Mongkok

At this point you'll have seen most of the best of what HK has to offer in the last few years. And any time is a good time to branch out into Korea's latest offerings, which have this odd tendency to be excellent.

#16 theoddone33

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Posted 01 April 2005 - 03:37 AM

QUOTE(opus @ Mar 28 2005, 07:07 AM)
MonkeyPeaches recently posted the winners of the 24th Hong Kong Film Awards.  Kung Fu Hustle and 2046 both cleaned up, with One Nite In Mongkok winning two awards.  OldBoy won Best Asian Film.

View Post



Finally taking an opportunity to comment on this a little. There are some big misses. Firstly Ziyi Zhang has never out-acted Cecilia Cheung in her life. It is nothing short of a tragedy that she should get the Best Actress award rather than Ms. Cheung. (Although it was refreshing seeing Ziyi play a character out of her range and do a decent job.) Secondly, I have seen Kung Fu Hustle and do not think it should have won the Best Film award. Thirdly, I can't help but think there were probably better choices in the Best Supporting Actor category.

The rest of the awards seem to have gone the right way. Jiang Hu wasn't great, but for a directorial debut it was worth recognition. Oldboy certainly deserved its award for Best [Pan-]Asian film. I'm happy to give Kung-Fu Hustle a choreography award, because there wasn't much else this year that deserved it to the best of my recollection. Christopher Doyle's cinematography on 2046 was simply incredible and definitely deserves its award.

So all in all, a mixed bag.

For more fun, here is a link to the 3rd annual Golden Durian Awards. (Think Razzies)

Edited by theoddone33, 01 April 2005 - 03:40 AM.


#17 opus

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Posted 01 April 2005 - 10:23 AM

QUOTE(theoddone33 @ Apr 1 2005, 02:37 AM)
Secondly, I have seen Kung Fu Hustle and do not think it should have won the Best Film award.

View Post


I saw this a few weeks ago, and I have to agree. It's a lot of fun, and even sillier than Shaolin Soccer, but nowhere near as cohesive and well-made. In many ways, it felt like a throwback to Chow's earlier, more nonsensical films. That being said, I still wish I would've caught this in Toronto. I have a very strong feeling that, with the right group of people, the film would be 10 times more enjoyable.

#18 theoddone33

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Posted 02 April 2005 - 12:58 AM

QUOTE(opus @ Apr 1 2005, 07:23 AM)
I saw this a few weeks ago, and I have to agree.  It's a lot of fun, and even sillier than Shaolin Soccer, but nowhere near as cohesive and well-made.  In many ways, it felt like a throwback to Chow's earlier, more nonsensical films.  That being said, I still wish I would've caught this in Toronto.  I have a very strong feeling that, with the right group of people, the film would be 10 times more enjoyable.

View Post



Ah.. but I like Chow's earlier, more nonsensical films. The thing that bugged me most about Kung Fu Hustle was that it couldn't decide what audience it was for. At many points throughout the movie there were extremely violent, gruesome, and heartless things going on... yet the whole movie had a cartoonish feel. It was a juxtaposition that only worked for me half the time, and provided some moments that were more corny than clever.

Other parts of the film seemed unbalanced. The romance aspect seemed like it was added as an afterthought, and there really weren't that many outright laughs. Chow's humor has always been kind of subtle, but I didn't think this was anywhere near as funny as some of his other works. I'm not really sure why it caught on in Asia, much like I'm not sure why the LOTR series caught on in the U.S.

There wasn't much to 2046, but I definitely think it was a better film than KFH. ONiM was also much much better.

#19 opus

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Posted 02 April 2005 - 02:55 AM

QUOTE(theoddone33 @ Apr 1 2005, 11:58 PM)
Ah.. but I like Chow's earlier, more nonsensical films.  The thing that bugged me most about Kung Fu Hustle was that it couldn't decide what audience it was for.  At many points throughout the movie there were extremely violent, gruesome, and heartless things going on... yet the whole movie had a cartoonish feel.  It was a juxtaposition that only worked for me half the time, and provided some moments that were more corny than clever.

I, too, thought film felt very unbalanced. It never quite hit its stride with any of the characters. Quite unlike Shaolin Soccer, which, for all of its silliness, did a decent job of providing some actual depth for its characters. And that's doubly true for the "romance". Sorry, but one lollipop does not a romance make.

QUOTE(theoddone33 @ Apr 1 2005, 11:58 PM)
There wasn't much to 2046, but I definitely think it was a better film than KFH.  ONiM was also much much better.

View Post


You know that. I know what. But when will the masses see the light?

Speaking of silliness, I caught Bangkok Loco a few nights ago (here's my review). Absolutely crazy Thai musical/sex comedy/parody/black comedy that posesses a sense of humor very similar to what you see in Zucker Brothers films (i.e. Airplane). Parts of it were brilliant - the opening homage/parody to Ong-Bak was nice, as was the acid trip-esque musical numbers - but other parts were just way too nonsensical. That, and I suspect you had to be Thai to get a lot of the references. Many of them seemed to be about politics or just general Thai pop culture, which I know absolutely nothing about. Plus, there were quite a few jokes involving in-scene text (street signs, etc.).

Edited by opus, 02 April 2005 - 02:56 AM.


#20 theoddone33

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Posted 03 April 2005 - 01:53 AM

Tonight I watched Kekexili: Mountain Patrol, which won Best Picture and Best Cinematography at this year's Golden Horse awards (Taiwanese Oscars). It was about a group of volunteers who protect the endangered Tibetan antelope from poachers in the Kekexili mountains. After one of their number is murdered by poachers, a reporter from Beijing is assigned to cover the story and accompanies the patrol on a dangerous journey through some of Tibet's most beautiful and yet unforgiving terrain.

My initial impressions of this movie are favorable. There are a lot of good cinematic moments in Kekexili, but much like the Tibetan wilderness the film is quite unforgiving. One thing the film does very well is highlight the great personal sacrifices the patrol members make to protect the antelope. There's not a great deal of dialogue, but a few short conversations almost make the film worthwhile alone.

Sitting here thinking about it, the cinematography award was probably well deserved. It's been said that cinematography is what tells the story of a movie when no one is talking, and this movie's story came across quite well. It's a hard movie to view, but worth checking out given the chance. As far as "dramatization of historical events" movies go, I think 2004's Korean blockbuster Sil Mi Do struck me harder on an emotional level, but Kekexili will be with me much longer.

(IMDB says Kekexili is nominated for a Grand Jury prize at 2005's Sundance festival.)'

Here is a good (but spoiler-filled) article I found about the movie.

Edited by theoddone33, 03 April 2005 - 02:21 AM.