# A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
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Love Massacre (1981) Directed by: Patrick Tam

Patrick Tam's second movie after debuting with the excellent swordplay drama The Sword (1980), Love Massacre details a quartet of characters and how breakup can lead to bloody consequences. Louie (Charlie Chin) breaks up with Joy (Tina Lau who was apparently the assistant director on the film as well) and in her distraught mood, she attempts suicide. Friend Ivy (Brigitte Lin) steps in as mother and angel during this time, trying to support and nurse Joy back to health. She even calls Joy's brother Chiu Ching (Chang Kuo-Chu - Lust For Love Of A Chinese Courtesan) but progress in Joy seems distant. Meanwhile Ivy falls Chiu Ching and shortly afterwards Joy dies in a car accident. Chiu Ching seems to change and even doctors wanted to call in Joy and Chiu Ching for fear of both their mental state. On cue, Chiu Ching snaps and his obsession with Ivy inreases...

Initially feeling very arty, static and slow, it's a tool used by Tam to increase tension bit by bit and he's rewarded as well as rewarding audiences. Shots are distant, static but very deliberately composed (there's often vertical lines present in the environments, symbolism or not... it looks striking) and strong colours break up the otherwise dominating white to striking effect (especially when red is introduced). A trippy soundtrack and the escalation to scary stalker thriller largely works (even though the stalker part feels like a tired horror convention) but via Brigitte Lin's character Tam infuses Love Massacre with depth. Her reasoning and angelic characteristics will live long after the viewing has stopped and I've not even mention how she absolutely absorbs the frame with her beauty. BUT... not at the expense of the movie. Patrick Tam isn't that stupid. Blink and you'll miss her, Ann Hui appears in a small cameo. Largely filmed in San Francisco.

A Love Of Blueness (2000) Directed by: Huo Jianqi

Huo Jianqi struck Mainland Chinese cinematic simplicity gold with Postmen In The Mountains in 1999 and following up with A Love Of Blueness... let's be kind and say it's a total dud. Devoid of any emotional interest in the unfolding mystery spanning generations, mainly we follow young cop Tai Lin (Pan Yue-Ming) whose encounter with actress and performance artist Liu Yun (Yuan Quan) starts a romance but also a 20 year old cop killing case is put front and center again. To unearth the truth and Liu Yun is a key, Tai Lin both has to act the cop and boyfriend...

Those with disdain for pretentious acting behaviour (like me) will find telltale signs early in A Love Of Blueness that the path about to be taken will be frustrating. Although the initial unfolding of the story does see Huo Jianqi keep matters straight and dreamy in an alluring way, quickly the movie gets lost is not so much to abstract behaviour but uninteresting story and characters. The harsh mix of a crime and theater isn't one that merges into interesting or compelling and it's very easy, and probably correct, to call A Love Of Blueness a pretentious mess as it thinks it has depth and interest when it simply doesn't. Was Postmen In The Mountains the experiment in simplicity that Huo wanted to leave behind? It remains to be seen IF... I care to explore further.

Love On Delivery (1994) Directed by: Lee Lik-Chi

images stolen with permission from Dragon's Den UK

The classic underdog story in the hands of Stephen Chow expectedly goes some insane places with also splendid comedic results. Chow is well in tune with both a low key delivery as well as broader hysterics and while some jokes lean towards repetition from earlier films, Chow is simply a master of making the repetitive silliness work wonders each time. Flaws do exist as the romantic angle with Christy Chung is relatively uninteresting but director Lee Lik-Chi knows what the main focus should be; the comedic duo of Chow and Ng Man-Tat running wild. Love On Delivery may sound underwhelming when I say it's just like many other Stephen Chow efforts of the time but believe me, that's a great, big compliment and a sure sign of quality. Was Jim Davies, creator of Garfield, ever given royalties for this film by the way? Co-starring is Lee Lik-Chi, Ben Lam, Wong Yat-Fei, Vincent Kok, Paul Chun with cameos by Billy Chow, Lam Suet and Jacky Cheung.

Love Recipe (1994, Leo Heung)

Despite quite a pronounced and ordinary soap opera, twenty somethings story-template, Leo Heung (Headlines) does mount a pleasing looking production at least. Favouring the drama and dialogue rather than comedic excursions, the cast may look great but Love Recipe is pretty empty in feel when all is said and done. There's trouble in paradise for some couples, subsequent cheating, breakdown and then build up. All eventually centering on cook Alex Fong drawing parallels, because the script say so, between food and love.

Lover Of The Last Empress (1995) Directed by: Andrew Lau

Detailing innocent Yu Lan's rise to the position of power hungry and ruthless Empress Dowager through the eyes of Wong Jing and Andrew Lau, usually lead Chingmy Yau is fitting for a cheap production from Wong Jing. However this epic tale requires something else, an actual actress and Wong must've cast based on old set in stone routines. Because the movie hinges on Yau's portrayal and while she does perform the beats, she's several miles off embodying a character in any kind of interesting way. The naive, innocent Yu Lan is a forced image and so is the cold Empress Tzu Hsi. Initially a fairly interesting and clear look at the routines and the silly regulations in the imperial palace, Yu Lan is brought in as a concubine for Emperor Hsien Feng (Yu Rong-Guang) and is lucky enough to be chosen for the night at one point. However since the emperor isn't happy afterwards, his servants literally beat the sperm out of Yu Lan. A true moment maybe but a very Wong Jing one too. Which brings us to the point when Lover Of The Last Empress works. These select few moments of sex, the aftermath as described and harsh violence transforms the classy surroundings into something entertainingly shameless. But Andrew Lau and Wong Jing think they are being more important than that and downhill the flick goes when concerning itself with Yu Lan's descent into evil and the historical power struggles that goes along with it. Zero interest and even the expensive frame isn't made particularly noteworthy despite Lau himself being the cinematographer. Viewing is based on the extended Taiwan version running 115 minutes while the original Hong Kong version clocks in at 95 minutes approximately. Also with Tony Leung Ka-Fai, Valerie Chow, Yvonne Yung, Kingdom Yuen, Chan Kwok-Bong, Lau Shun, Teresa Ha and Ku Feng.

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Lover Of The Swinder (1993) Directed by: Jacky Pang

Carina Lau's character dreams of being a hostess, becomes one and also gets fulfillment in the excitement stakes when she gets involved with a gang of swindlers. Falling in love with one of the members (Tony Leung Ka-Fai), she might actually be the victim of the group's tactics...

With a foot in most genres conceivable in a modern, urban setting, Jacky Pang's film doesn't quite amount to anything largely despite a stunning Carina Lau on screen. Annoyance is a factor due to many facets registering as limp but during the last half hour the film picks up some steam when concentrating to a larger degree on action (choreographed by Yuen Cheung-Yan). Featuring what seems like a stylistic choice of having blood spurt onto the camera lens, main highlight is a nifty garage park fight and shootout capped by a hairy stunt possibly performed by Tony Leung himself. None of this adds up to any thematic closure but there's evidence of a lighthearted caper comedy that would've benefited from coming to life much earlier. Pauline Wong's supporting role as a tough as nails cop should've had a spin-off movie. Has terrific written all over it. Also with Kenneth Tsang, Vincent Wan and Anita Lee.

The Lovers (1994) Directed by: Tsui Hark

KENNETH'S REVIEW: Tsui Hark's adaptation of the famed Chinese legend "Butterfly Lovers " (that has been compared to "Romeo & Juliet") is noteworthy for its visual beauty and operatic sensibilities (and the story was shot as an opera at Shaw Brother's, as Love Eterne in 1963) but stumbles in key areas otherwise. Being totally delightful and then switching moods isn't offending throughout but Tsui has trouble getting the depth out of the tragic fates of Chuk Ying-Toi (Charlie Yeong) and Leung Shan-Pak (Nicky Wu). Dressing up as a boy for her studies, her bonding with Leung of course brings in an often touched upon gender-bender angle to Tsui's work. Hatred, playfulness and attraction, Tsui is right in making proceedings farce-like and often succeeds outside of the Yeong/Wu team-up. Within them, we have a more difficult time believing they are truly immersed into the legend and it probably is down to casting. Structurally it's still all good, especially when Tsui unleashes the gloom, the opera-like filmmaking and otherworldly involvement to cap his tragic story. He's in his element here and will create a permanent memory in all after his final, powerful reel. Elvis Tsui, Carrie Ng and Lau Shun also appear.

Lover's Tear (1991) Directed by: Jacob Cheung

Public security officer Chang Ao (Ngai Sing) is framed for a murder on another officer (Yukari Oshima) and he manages to flee in cuffs with the only witness in his favour, deaf woman Ling (Nina Li), the mistress of gangster Lin Wei (Elvis Tsui). Taking refuge in the countryside, the two develop feelings for each others but Ling still has an unexpectedly strong bond to ruffian Lin...

Unusually complex and moving considering Lover's Tear also stars Sammo Hung, Lam Ching Ying, Ku Feng and Wu Ma but if you stop and think about it, those veterans had proven their worth in dramas such as Painted Faces, School On Fire and Hong Kong 1941 already. It's still a rare opportunity given by director/co-writer Jacob Cheung (Cageman, The Kid) to profiles highly associated with action to take part in drama. Going past The Defiant Ones reference reveals a low-key love story centering around nobility and the difficult choices of Ling. It's therefore encouraging to see Nina Li come through with such a telling performance, despite the limited dialogue. Her chemistry with stuntman Ngai Sing is lacking though as he is the failed experiment of Cheung's here, fitting poorly as a lead and romantic lead for that matter. Someone like Andy Lau could've better embodied this arc but Lover's Tear still remains engrossing throughout, especially when the stakes are high towards the end. Sammo, Lam Ching Ying and Elvis Tsui are all exceptional towards this end section, dealing with written material with grace coupled with strong, tight direction from Cheung. With its unexpected but fair conclusion, Lover's Tear is underrated but since the main male star pretty much fails, it's not up to the master levels Cheung has reached before.

Lover's Tears (1996) Directed by: Lee Gwok Laap

All's great for newlyweds Heung Cheng (Carman Lee - The Odd One Dies) and Ming Sang (ace director Derek Yee). He brings two children from a prior marriage that was disrupted by his wife's death but wife to be is now also pregnant. Tragedy soon rears its ugly head. Struck by the couple's new acquaintance, cop Long's (Tok Ching-Wa) impulsive behavior as he attempts to apprehend a traffic violator leaves Mang Sing wounded by gunfire and in a coma. Heung Cheng casts aside the friendship with Long to face the greater responsibility as a single parent, even though she firmly believes Ming will come back...

Lee Gwok Laap (Sea Root) is provided with material that is certainly risky in many respects. The challenge involves, at least in my mind, to avoid the highest pitch in melodrama and it also has to do with your delivery of story touches that you are expected to deliver. Lover's Tears doesn't end up advancing to the high division but having Derek Yee around seems to be inspiring for Lee. It is misery of the gravest kind, a story about forgiving, mending and considering what Lee puts Carman Lee's character through, it's very surprising to see him handle it with a gentle stroke rather than the fist. Ponder scenes where she's changing light bulbs, telling dialogue like "How did you father punish you then?!" and you'll immediately realize the credit Lee deserves. The subtlety in the melodrama is very spot on and the story holds a realism that generates probably unconventional movie choices. I'd rather have that. Worthy of criticism is some obviously planted characters for the theme of the film to be furthered and perhaps it isn't as touching always as it should but they're minor setbacks amongst the whole. Anchored to a very good degree by Carman Lee, Derek Yee's supporting role also reminds us about the warmth in his screen presence post-Shaw Brothers. Also with Pauline Suen (Ichi The Killer).

Love Soldier Of Fortune (1988) Directed by: Stanley Fung

Nerdy, dorky and uncharismatic piano tuner Antonio Go (makes sense Alan Tam is cast then) meets a ghost in the form of his great granduncle (Stanley Fung) who asks the tuner (who can't play piano or compose songs) to bring one of his songs out to the world as a calling to the great granduncle's love in the afterlife, Pill-Hung. The composition is a hit and Antonio is launched into celebrity. Hence forgetting the meaning of the developing romance between himself and radio host So See Dai (Maggie Cheung) so off to the land of redemption we head for the final reel. Yes, he composes a song of his own...

A good enough looking movie but Stanley Fung misses the train on the romantic core (and seemingly doesn't pay off the one concerning his character) as leads Tam and Cheung have no chemistry whatsoever. It's quite inconceivable these two would fall in love, even within the rules of movie magic. A tolerable but also complete bore of a commercial time. Also with Sandra Ng, Nat Chan and Miu Kiu-Wai.

Buy the DVD at:
Yesasia.com

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