Time for another Review, and this time out it’s a trip back to the 1960’s and the heyday of the Shaw Brothers with a look at the sumptuous 1965’s Huangmei opera film “The Mermaid” based on the 16th-century Chinese play “A Tale of Goddess of Mercy’s Fish Basket (觀音菩薩魚籃記)”. A virtuous scholar, a beautiful Carp Spirit Fairy, romance, comedy, mistaken identity gags, and oodles, and oodles of singing. Yep… they don’t make them like this anymore…
Our synopsis? Well it sorts goes like this: “A scholar named Zhang Zhen who finds himself taken in by the Prime Minister after the death of his beloved parents. Soon enough, Zhang Zhen falls in love with his benefactor’s pretty, but haughty daughter, Peony. But, there are two problems preventing a union between the two. For one, her father simply won’t approve of the match, and Peony herself has no interest in the lowly Zhang as a suitor to begin with!
Stuck inside with nothing to do but study for exams, Zhang tries to brighten his spirits by feeding fish in a nearby pond. On one fateful day, a carp fairy transforms itself into a beautiful woman who just so happens to look exactly like Peony! Plenty of misunderstandings and misadventures ensue when this lovely Carp Spirit tries to adapt to life on the surface while trying to woo the scholar to whom she has lost her heart! Who will Zhang choose – his first love, Peony or the vivacious mermaid?”
Yep… sweet, sweet romance and magical hi-jinx abound. But will I be able to sit through all the singing and dancing? Guess we’ll find out, won’t we? 😉
Psst! This way for more!
With our August “Frolicking Under The Sea: Mermaid Fantasy Film Festival” currently chugging along in full swing here at the Litterbox, you Gentle Visitors just know this Catgirl Princess couldn’t pass up a chance to do her own review of HK filmmaker Stephen Chow’s latest romantic comedy “The Mermaid”, just available here on Region 1 DVD release. Sigh… Neko’s got a real soft spot for sweet magical romantic comedies…💖
Did somebody say synopsis? Yep, and it goes like this here: “Pretty, naive young mermaid Shan is sent to the human world on a secret mission by her people to play the part of a sexy temptress so she can assassinate Lui Xuan, a spoiled millionaire developer with a real estate project that threatens to destroy the last remaining ecosystem of her race. But despite her resolve to finish him off, Shan ends up falling in love with him instead. Can she put aside her feelings and save her people or will the mermaids fade away once and for all and become nothing more than legend?”
💕 Awwwwwww!!💕 Sweet adorable magical girlfriend romance movies… This wee lady can never ever get enough of those. Ghosts, Fox Spirits, Aliens, you name it… so why not one about one with a cute girl who is half human and half goldfish? Yeah… I’m there. The fact that this one is by the director of one of my all time favorite films, “Kung Fu Hustle” only makes me want to see it even more.
It’s a surprising smash hit in Asia, but will it live up to this wee lady’s hopes and expectations for movie goodness? Guess we’ll all find out…
Psst! This way for more!
Time for another of our February festival reviews for our “Martial Arts Mayhem: Fighting Femmes Festival – 2016″, and this time one of those classics I told you I had on tap, 1985’s Hong Kong action fav, “Yes, Madam!” featuring the dynamic pairing of Michele Yeoh and Cynthia Rothrock.
Our synopsis? “Investigating the murder of a rich Westerner, tough Hong Kong Senior Inspector Ng is forced to team up with equally tough Scotland Yard Inspector Carrie Morris to track down secret microfilm evidence that contains complete details of a triad boss and his gang’s illegal activities, evidence which has fallen into the hands of a trio of hapless bumbling thieves. Bullets flying, fists and kicks exploding, it’s a race to the finish to see who will find the microfilm first with the lives of those low level crooks always hanging in the balance.”
This one’s an old movie from waaay back in the day, and probably the inspiration for the torrent of “Tough Lady Cop” movies that ruled the late 80’s and early 90’s HK movie scene. Yours truly caught it back when I was in college as part of the wave of HK action films that began showing up here in the US. While maybe not the best of them, it most certainly made it’s mark and cemented the careers of both Michele Yeoh and her co-star Cynthia Rothrock as the ruling queens of HK action cinema. Been some time since I gave it a watch, so with our current theme festival underway, I dug my old Mei Ah Region 3 release out and decided it was time to see it again. Wanna share my cinematic memories? Then, by all means, “Read On” o’ Gentle Visitors! 😉
Psst! This way for more!
Time for another entry in February’s “Martial Arts Mayhem: Fighting Femmes Festival – 2016”, and this time out we have 2015’s Chinese period Martial Art drama “The Assassin”.
The synopsis reads as follows: “Tang Dynasty China. 10-year-old general’s daughter Nie Yinniang is abducted by a nun who initiates her into the martial arts, transforming her into an exceptional assassin charged with eliminating cruel and corrupt local governors. One day, having failed in her task, she is sent back by her mistress to the land of her birth, with orders to kill the man to whom she was promised – a cousin who now leads the largest military region in North China. After 13 years of exile, the young woman must confront her parents, her memories and her long-repressed feelings. A slave to the orders of her mistress, Nie Yinniang must choose: sacrifice the man she loves or break forever with the sacred way of the righteous assassins.”
OK… Pretty young girl raised to become the deadliest assassin in ancient China… sounds like we’ve got a promising selection for our current theme, but naturally, the only way to know for certain if this one is gonna satisfy your Favorite Catgirl’s thirst for oodles of “Female Empowerment” is to give it a watch, right? So let’s not waste any more time and get right to it then shall we? 😉
Psst! This way for more!
Time for another Review… a really waaaaay overdue one… and this time out, yours truly has herself another goofy “Hopping Vampire” tale from good ol’ HK, the 2014 Horror/ Comedy “Sifu Vs. Vampire” by prolific HK genre producer/ director Wong Jing. Expecting some more of the riveting Jiangshi horror we saw in “Rigor Mortis”? Ha!!! I said “Wong Jing”… so leave all expectations of serious Asian horror right by the door as you enter… Wong Jing don’t play that way… 😉
Our synopsis goes like this here: “Small time gangster Nicky and his friend Boo get the assignment of a life time, to threaten Charlie Jiang, a feng shui master into exhuming the corpse of the great grandfather of TV station tycoon Kelvin Chow. A new burial is said to bring Kelvin great fortune and prosperity but things take a turn for the worse when his great grandfather’s corpse turns into a deadly Vampire King and is let loose inside the TV station while a show about zombies is being filmed. Soon our heroes are up to their necks in both trouble and the hopping dead!”
Yep. From our trailer, looks like we’re going to get all the retro Jiangshi antics we HK movie fans know and love. Hopping Vampires… Taoist Vampire Hunters… a lovely romantic ghost girl… and two hapless boobs to scream and run around like idiots. Yep. They seem to have all the usual bases covered. So what the heck are you waiting for? Neko’s ready to spill the beans if you’re ready to “Read On”, o’ Gentle Visitor. Let’s get hopping!! 😮
Psst! This way for more!
Brrrrr!!! The wind is certainly blowing the snow fiercely around my windows with some serious fury as I prepare for another “Shared Review” with our blogging friend Stephen over at his blog, Gweilo Ramblings. “Winter… why, o’ why do you seem to hate this wee lady so?” 😉
Anyways… This time out we’re going to be taking a peek at the recent Hong Kong/ Malay production, 2014’s “Hungry Ghost Ritual” directed by and starring Nick Cheung. As always, it’s a pleasure to welcome Stephen here to visit me at the Litterbox to share his opinions on the films we both love so well. 🙂
As always Miyuki, the pleasure is mine. As I know you love Ghost stories so much, I was hoping this one might be just up your street.
Ooooh! Ghost story? Yep, I’m soooo there! 😉 So what’s the score with this one then? Well how’s this for our synopsis: “Prodigal son Zong Hua, the long absent son of a modestly successful opera troupe leader, returns to his family after more than a decade in China on the eve of their Hungry Ghost Festival performance. His personal and professional life in tatters, Zong tries desperately to fit back into a life he’s never really been a part of. No sooner has Zong arrived, however, when a series of bizarre, supernatural occurrences start to take place. Zong’s younger sister Jing Jing starts acting up, and all the stress and pressures begin to wear on Zong’s father bringing on a heart attack. With the inexperienced Zong now in placed in charge, the rest of the troupe turn against him and are quick to blame his lack of understanding for their rituals and traditions for their problems. Problems which soon escalate into creepy and unexplainable horror for them all…”
Ahhhh… now that all sounds sort of familiar, doesn’t it? Looks like we’re in for a pretty much by-the-numbers exercise in Chinese horror, but hey… sometimes one of these films goes in surprising directions, so with my fingers crossed… and the popcorn popped… let’s settle down and give it a watch, shall we Stephen?
Indeed we shall. I’ll cross my fingers too, even if it makes this Super-Size Cola hard to hold. 🙂
Psst! This way for more!
I know, I know…. I’ve let things slip away from me again, and I’m sorry my ambitious plans for improving my posting here have fallen short… again. So… how about this wee Catgirl making up for it by taking time for another “shared review” with our Blogging friend and fellow Asian cinema fan Stephen here at the Litterbox and over at his new Blog “Gweilo Ramblings”? Our last couple of efforts have tended to focus on Korean film, but this time out, we thought we might just shake things up a bit with a look at director Juno Mak’s new Chinese Horror effort “Rigor Mortis”, just out on English subtitled Region 3 DVD. So… if you are up for it Gentle Visitors, let’s see if the venerable “Hopping Vampire” film still has a bit of life… or should that be “unlife?… left in it.
You’ve slipped, I’ve slipped. Maybe us Asian film fans are just utterly unreliable? Anyway, glad to be here Miyu! Thank you for welcoming me in as always. Now how about you give us one of your lil’ synopsis things?
😉 Our lil’ “synopsis thing” goes as follows: “Rising to fame with his role as a vampire hunter in the movie Mr. Vampire in the 80s, action star Siu Ho (Chin Siu Ho playing a fantasized version of himself) is now a down-and-out middle-aged man who lives alone in the haunted unit numbered 2442 in a dreary public housing estate. With a broken family and a career that has gone downhill, Siu Ho tries to end his life in his own apartment but ends up having his body possessed by a pair of twin ghosts. Saved by exorcist Ah Yau (Anthony Chan), Siu Ho decides to help his ex-tenant Yeung Fung (Kara Hui) and her son after finding out about their family tragedy. Unknown to them all, Aunt Mui (Paw Hee Ching), a kindhearted old lady in the neighborhood, has a secret coffin hidden in her flat which foreshadows the beginning of a horrific encounter with an old familiar… and apparently very real… Evil.”
Oooohhh!! This lady’s been aching for this one since seeing the Trailer, crazy horror film junkie that I am… Will it score big with both Stephen and I or land badly with an audible “plop”? Only one way to know… and that’s to give it a look see. You of course, can benefit from our fanatic desires for Asian horror thrills by simply kicking back and giving both our reviews a read (take a peek over HERE for Stephen’s version… 😉 ) as we trade opinions. (Pssst!! That’s your cue to “Read On”!!… poke, poke!! 😉 )
Psst! This way for more!
A sad bit of news, legendary Hong Kong movie mogul Shao Yifu better known worldwide as Sir Run Run Shaw died this Tuesday. He was 106 years old. 😦
Certainly for this wee Catgirl and others who grew up in the heyday of US televisions fascination with the prolific output of Kung-Fu films he produced, he will always be fondly remembered. To quote a great truism… “They just don’t make ’em like that anymore…”.
This crazy lil’ girl loved (and still loves today…) the classic films that came from the Shaw studios… “Come Drink With Me” with the legendary Cheng Pei Pei…Chang Cheh’s “The One-Armed Swordsman”… “Five Fingers of Death” and “The Five Deadly Venoms”… and perhaps my favorite, “The 36th Chamber of Shaolin” from director Lau Kar-leung known here in the US as “The Master Killer”.
But Shaw didn’t limit their output solely to Kung Fu films… and as I grew older, I came to enjoy their other forays into action, sci-fi, horror, and fantasy as well. The number of people my age who were influenced by him and his company worldwide are innumerable and he will be remembered always with respect and nostalgic fondness.
Time for a little less of my own personal Drama of late, and a bit more chop-socky Martial Arts movie action here at the ol’ Litterbox, Chinese style, with a look at director Andrew Lau Wai-Keung’s remake of the 1975 Shaw Brothers classic “The Flying Guillotine”, this time out titled simply as, “The Guillotines”.
Our synopsis goes like this: “During the Manchurian-ruled Qing Dynasty, Manchu Emperor Yong Zheng established his own personal secret assassination squad known only as “the Guillotines” to eliminate all who opposed him. Serving the Qing Court unquestioningly, and wielding a powerful flying weapon that can decapitate any enemy in a split second, they have never failed in 348 missions to eliminate their targets since their inception.
But their success has made them arrogant and complacent. Now serving under the new Emperor Qian Long, their latest mission tasks their new team leader Leng and them to rescue kidnapped team member Mu and capture the cunning peasant leader Wolf, a dangerous Han rebel leader who has stubbornly managed to elude custody. With palace official Haidu tagging along, the team follows Wolf to a village. However, the team doesn’t know that Qian Long is also treacherously planning to end the era of the Guillotines by replacing cold weapons with modern firearms and eliminate them to conceal the truth of his rule in Historical record. If they make one false move, they will become the hunted. Facing annihilation, Leng and his Guillotines must outfight and outwit enemies from both sides.”
Sounds pretty good… now if only the new CGI effects and modern film-making tricks will be enough to eclipse the legend of the original Martial Art cult classic. It’s always hard to beat a legend….. So let’s all “Read On” and see if “The Guillotines” is up to the task. 😉
Whew!! With all my Valentines Day festivities over, it’s back to our usual stuff here at the ol’ Litterbox and a new review for the recent Mainland Chinese film “Nightmare” aka “午夜凶梦”, the latest Psychological Suspense/ Horror to try to tip-toe between the lines and stay carefully within those strict Chinese prohibitions against ghost stories at the movies these days.
Our synopsis for it goes along these lines: “Young surgeon Fang Lei (Zhou Xianxin) has been constantly tormented by weird dreams and incidences of sleepwalking since she experienced the tragic murder of both her parents as a child. One day, she meets by chance her best friend from her orphanage days, Angel (Gillian Chung), who is now married to Lei’s ex-boyfriend Zhou Feng (Wu Jianfei). When her next door neighbor Wang Quan (Victor Huang) becomes entangled in Lei’s complicated life, it seems to trigger a series of inexplicable and deadly things. First Zhou Feng goes missing, and then Lei finds herself being stalked by the creepy girl ghost from her childhood nightmares, all the while more people in those dreams begin to turn up dead for real. Is she the somnambulant murderer as she fears, or is there a more supernatural reason for it all?”
Well… that has a promising sound to it, but, as a Mainland Chinese film, I expected this one to be yet another of the recent “bait & switch” horror movies to come out of China the last year or so. Not that a truly good effort wouldn’t be worth a look mind you…. So with some measure of trepidation, I decided to give this one a chance. Ok then… without wasting any more time, let’s all see if it was worth my risk and maybe even yours… shall we?