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Archive for August, 2007

Ping Pong (JAPAN 2002)

Director : Fumihiko Sori
Cast : Yosuke Kubozuka, Arata, Sam Lee, Naoto Takenaka, Shido Nakamura, Koji Ogura

Synopsis
Two friends, Peco and Smile are the best two table-tennis players in their school. Peco is fullof teenage attitude and often misses practise but plays games for money, while Smile (so called because he always looks miserable) practices but only actually plays to kill time. The two friends enter a tournament and Peco loses miserably and takes it badly, while Smile is convinced by his coach Ota to start playing seriously. As they enter local tournaments the two friends and some of the players around them find that they are maturing in their outlook on the sport – and their lives.

Review
by Martin Cleary

Based on a manga by Taiyo Matsumoto, Ping Pong takes what seems to be an unlikely sport (for the cinema) and turns it into a decent sports-comedy-drama. The two friends Peco and Smile (played by Yosuke Kubozuka and Arata) provide the central plot. This initially seems to be a strange friendship as Smile is a bit of a miserable sod while Peco is a loud show-off. We soon learn that the two became friends as children when Peco saved Smile from being beaten up. The differences in the friends personalities reflects in their approaches to their sport – Peco plays for fun but also to win, while Smile plays to kill time and will not try to win if it hurts his opponents feelings.

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Phone (KOREA 2002)

Director : Byeong-ki Ahn
Cast : Ji-won Ha, Yu-mi Kim, Woo-jae Choi, Ji-yeon Choi and Seo-woo Eun.

Synopsis
Soon after Ji-won gets a new cell phone, her friend’s young daughter, Yeong-ju, puts it to her ear and immediately begins screaming in terror. When other strange things start happening in connection with the phone, Ji-Won does some investigating and discovers that of the people before her who had the same number, almost all of them died suddenly under unusual circumstances. As Yeong-ju’s behavior becomes increasingly alarming, Ji-won digs deeper into the circumstances surrounding the disappearance of the number’s first owner, a high school girl named Jin-hie.

Review
by Edward Tang

For the last year or so, I’ve seen about 15 movies that center around the telephone. The telephone is a device that can be used for many purposes, like getting pizza or calling a 35 year old woman and enjoying yourself in more ways than one. But these small ideas couldn’t fit with the writers of the world, so the phone became a demonic device which signaled your death with an eerie phone call.

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Peace Hotel (HK 1995)

Director : Wai Ka Fai
Producer : John Woo
Screenplay : Wai Ka Fai
Cinematographer : Wong Wing Hang
Cast : Chow Yun Fat, Cecilia Yip, Chin Ho, Lau Shun, Annabelle Liew, Ng Sin Lin

Synopsis
The death of his wife provokes the ‘King of Killers’ to go on a killing spree. After murdering dozens of men single-handedly the Killer has an epiphany. He decides to open the ‘Peace Hotel’, a place where criminals fleeing for their lives can find a save-haven. The rule of the ‘Peace Hotel’ is observed by all including mobs and the local law-keepers– while under the roof of the Peace Hotel, any man or woman comes under the protection of The Killer. Ten years after the hotel first opened its doors, a young woman arrives who tries to hustle the occupants of the hotel. The Killer decides to throw her out, but when a lynch mob appears outside he has to decide whether to extend his protection to the troublemaker and risk endangering the lives of everyone living in the building, or to sacrifice her to the angry crowd
outside.

Review
by Martin Cleary

In his last Hong Kong role before disappearing to Hollywood, Chow Yun-Fat quite aptly takes the role of The Killer (sounds familiar!) a man who is searching for redemption after the death of his wife and his subsequent murdering of dozens of people. The film opens with a flashback sequence of carnage, images which later haunt the hotel like a ghost.

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On The Mountain of Tai Hang (CHINA 2005)

Director : Wei Lang, Shen Dong, Chen Jian
Cast : Zhang Lin, Alan Lau Tak Hoi, Wang Wu-Fu, Liu De-Kay, Tony Leung Ka-Fai

Synopsis
Set during the first three years of the Sino-Chinese war (1938-41), On The Mountain of Tai Hang tells the story of three separate groups of Chinese forces who managed to work together to defend a vulnerable Chinese province from a large Japanese Army. The film follows Commander-in-Chief Zhu De and his troops as they risk their lives to defend their country and how different classes of Chinese managed to unite for one common cause.

Review
by Martin Cleary

At its best On The Mountain of Tai Hang is an epic war film depicting the Chinese Red Army’s military defence of the Shanxi province of Tai Hang against Japanese invasion. The film’s battle scenes are truly impressive as what appears to be thousands of troops fight over a massive mountainous area. There’s some pretty good CG camera shot’s allowing the camera to fly through the air, through the cockpit of a plane and out of the otherside, as well as assisting in showing bodies being blown to bits through the air. Some of it is pretty gruesome – but of course this is a war film.

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Wheels On Meals (2 Disc Edition) (Hong Kong Legends)

DVD Information
Hong Kong Legends Release
Content : Two discs
Format: Widescreen 16:9
Languages: Cantonese, English
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1, Mono
Subtitles: English, Dutch
Region: 2

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