# 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 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.

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A Love Story (1997) Directed by: Lee Biu-Cheung

Joyce (Josie Ho) has inherited a triad debt from her ex-boyfriend but keeps making decisions that sets her back financially. Moving into a new building, her plight is sniffed out by Ken (Andy Hui), the blind son of the landlord (Chow Chung) and this starts a bonding between two in transition equaling that of change...

Ken buys a piano, wants to be a piano tuner, plays in a band, wants to appear grown up in the view of his father but it's a journey of up's and down's. Meeting Joyce also requires a social skill, to learn a woman (just as much as she needs to learn a man) as more than occasionally he casually puts her down. But this too nice male kid and this too impulsive female kid grow... which applies to Lee Biu-Cheung's reserved direction as well. Featuring no notions of injecting cheap melodrama and instead going that more difficult route of enhancing small moments to big, emotional ones because you've gotten to know the characters, it's clinched very well by Lee and ultimately matters may not be about the romance after all. Growth, independence, erasing self-doubt, all is suitably underplayed and thoroughly clear in this underrated piece of drama. Niggles include a quite fast development to Andy Hui and Josie Ho's relationship and a mysterious drop out of the triad debt plot but A Love Story (aka You Light Up My Life) shows quite high brilliance despite. Andy Hui puts in his best performance along with an always dependable Josie Ho. Also with Frankie Ng and Shing Fui-On. Produced by Bennie Chan who is behind the nasty Human Pork Chop as well as the wacky/felt romance Feel It... Say It... (starring Eric Kot and Candy Lo).

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Love Unto Wastes (1986) Directed by: Stanley Kwan

A circle of friends, consisting of player and rice seller Tony (Tony Leung Chiu-Wai), model Billie (Irene Wan - All Of A Sudden), actress Liu (Elaine Kam - Metade Fumaca) and her roommate, singer Chiu (Tsoi Kam) is formed during a messy and drunken night out. When Chiu is brutally murdered, the casual circle of friendship goes through a test that forces all to reexamine their lives. All while a cop (Chow Yun-Fat) is pestering the trio for clues but also looking to connect in his own personal way...

Stanley Kwan's second movie again sees him teaming up with Chow Yun-Fat, one of many fine assets of Love Unto Wastes. Love and waste certainly are key words in this unusual drama (co-written by Yau Daai On Ping who also penned Rouge with Lillian Lee) as it one, takes a loooong time to finally grasp and reward you. Secondly, Kwan lets us experience characters steeped in unsympathetic behavior, misery and imperfections, leaving us all alone in understanding and waiting for whether or not the people will change their ways or grasp an understanding themselves about what destruction they inflict upon their environment. His answers ring true to the character setups, answers that are too unconventional for the general moviegoer to accept but in the end, Kwan's pet theme of outcasts materializes quite nicely and Love Unto Wastes grows immensely.

Much thanks to low-key performances but the supporting role of Chow Yun-Fat is a marvelous showcase for the charm and humanity that Chow brings at the best of times. His commercial breakthrough was just round the corner with A Better Tomorrow so this one under the guidance of Stanley Kwan has sadly been neglected. At least he received a Best Supporting Actor nomination at the Hong Kong Film Awards, the same year he also won for his performance in A Better Tomorrow.

Love Will Tear Us Apart (1999) Directed by: Nelson Yu

Produced by Tony Leung Kar-Fai (also lead) and Stanley Kwan, this low-budget drama comes with suffering. Characters are torn and loveless towards themselves, as is the direction on display by first timer Nelson Yu. In a stripped down hands-off style, Yu draws out every image he can despite them being filled with nothing but basic meaning. In an odd way, that stretching makes sense as Yu portrays a slice of seedy life consisting of almost constant dullness but it sure doesn't make for a compelling study on film.

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Loving You (1995) Directed by: Johnnie To

picture stolen with kind permission from lovehkfilm.com

Tough as nails cop Lau (Lau Ching Wan) is shot by the criminal (Toh Chung-Wah) whose drugs he destroyed but miraculously survives with only the lack of smell and taste as defects. Having neglected his wife (Carman Lee) for so long, she is about to elope to Canada with another man but sticks around her recovering husband. He's definitely changing but she isn't about to accept his previous wrongdoings easily. Nor is his nemesis...

Johnnie To directs with tough style to the action segments but surprisingly is very low-key when Loving You deals with Lau and Lee's characters. At least for a bit seeing as he cranks up the emotions as we roll along and presents some rather familiar and convenient plot devices. The latter being especially true towards the end. Still, for the short experience that Loving You is, To affects thanks to his actors Lau Ching Wan and Carman Lee who shares wonderful chemistry as distanced husband and wife. Again, it's all over quick and therefore never carry great substance but Loving You works well during its brief stay. Ruby Wong also appear.

Lucky Diamond (1985, Yuen Cheung-Yan)

The Yuen-family were on a roll in the 80s, cranking out wonderfully zany comedies (Taoism Drunkard, Mismatched Couples etc). There was a knowhow present about maintaining a frenzied tempo but the dud in the output attempting all of this is Lucky Diamond. Director Yuen Cheung-Yan keeps matters simple though as a group of colorful villains (including Tai Po as a gay Nazi) are hunting down a diamond that's ended up in the hands of singer Ji (Anita Mui). Aiding her is a duo of detectives (Alex Man and director Yuen as IQ the wacky inventor). There is some well paced, comedic energy and terrific action whenever Alex Man is involved. So Yuen is nearly there for half a movie but energy peters it out seriously by the second half. Leading to a feeling of exhaustion watching these filmmakers and performers try without success. Also with Yuen Shun-Yi, Charlie Cho, Chan Si-Gaai and Bolo Yeung.

Lucky Dragon (1991, Wong Siu-Jun & Yip Wai)

Taiwanese action that brings skills via cast and in some of the action-beats but can't escape its low budget roots otherwise. A dual directing team crafts a muddled mess of cops and gangsters, dealmaking, betrayal and violence-template but the quick and basic gunplay has a snap to it. Even dipping into martial arts at points, there's essentially no other highlights after this initial rush. The rest is a dull, incoherent movie that feels way longer than 81 minutes. Starring Lam Wai, Shing Fui-On, Lung Kong, Ken Lo and Chi Kuan-Chun.

Lucky Encounter (1992) Directed by: Johnnie To

Tony Leung Chiu-Wai and Kent Cheng are two kind robbers out to retrieve a specially marked Garfield the cat doll but in the villa where they strike, they face resistance from a lonely child spirit (Jang Paak-Lam - To Catch A Thief). He needs to exact revenge on Cheap Chan (Anthony Wong), the one who killed him for the money in Garfield...

From the era when Johnnie To was not yet Johnnie To, Lucky Encounter becomes mild, light amusement at best but can't conjure up much entertainment overall. Johnnie probably doesn't look back on this and his pre-Milkyway era with pride but then again, there's worse crimes out there. Anthony Wong provides a little scene stealing performance as the drooling, upper class twit of the film. Also with Song Lei (Fruit Punch), Kingdom Yuen, John Shum, Wong Yat-Fei and in a tiny cameo towards the end, Sylvia Chang. And by the way, I highly doubt the filmmakers had permission from Paws, Inc to use their famed creation.

Lucky Seven (1986) Directed by: Chiu Chan-Kwok

A group of not so cute, not so funny kids run around in undercranked fashion, fight and run from clumsy villains wanting their precious diamond back and get abused quite a bit by the stunt crew by the end... it's the latter aspect that saves Lucky Seven from being a fully terrible, live cartoon for the kids as all of a sudden the adult sit up and notice the action and the little ones take the hits and falls for our celluloid pleasure. It's not violence but it's an edgier nature I was personally asking and wishing for to break up the unfunny parade of the kids on BMX bikes, cross dressing and pop culture references (on the stolen soundtrack as well).

Lucky Seven II (1989) Directed by: Chiu Chan-Kwok

What a difference a couple years does to a filmmaking vision. The original Lucky Seven was a lazy, live cartoon for the family that didn't convey that the kids in any shape or form in MOVIE REALITY could take down their adult counterparts. Except for during the end where they got treated as adult stuntmen and that mentality continues here. Sure there's still a lot of cartoony and juvenile humour left but the energy and atmosphere is a lot more fun this time around. Making little sense, the group of kids are essentially sent to military school (think Full Metal Jacket for kids aside from the murder and suicide) where they are drilled hard while their drill sergeant gets quite physically beaten and blown up in the process. This is a live animation with more thought and snap to it and is only mildly obnoxious to boot! The comedy is shot undercranked at points still but the action is kept logical filmspeed-wise and now the kids feel a bit more like they have power and contrasting all this against the kidnapping plot headed by Yukari Oshima (playing a villain again after Angel is fun to see) adds up to a perfectly sufficient, comedic action time where there's even more ouch moments spread evenly throughout for the majority of the cast. Young and old. Also with Phillip Ko.

Lucky Stars Go Places (1986, Eric Tsang)

With merely a cameo by the established Lucky Stars gang (including Stanley Fung, Richard Ng and Eric Tsang. However Sammo Hung has several scenes as support), the fourth entry in the series wants to establish a new group of idiots mostly after bedding women and somehow saving the day in the end. Eric Tsang sets the stage rather well initially with absurd humour and character-behavior, clever sight gags and a delightful cross over with the Aces Go Places-series (represented by Karl Maka and Sylvia Chang). However when the gang of Andy Lau, Alan Tam, Kent Cheng, Billy Lau and Anthony Chan are assembled, the production leans more towards lame filler usually relying on the lecherous men-formula and a hence a bunch of rape-jokes. It's lame, actors like Andy does not look comfortable, it stalls the movie and makes you miss the original gang despite their imperfections comedically too. Essentially the unique voices of the cast gets exchanged in favour of acting according to formula. The Sammo Hung action choreography is terrific however, with a very funny padded cell encounter between Maka and Hung as well as Andy Lau being thoroughly immersed in the demanding (and powerful) choreography for the action-finale. Also with Maria Tung.

Lung Wei Village (1978) Directed by: Tyrone Hsu

Dynasty opposition, trying to sniff out a traitor and out who the mythical, fast as lightning white fighter is, Polly Kuan, Yueh Hua and Lo Lieh occupy a light time which is a good choice as this is standard genre fare. That director Tyrone Hsu (The Red Phoenix) realizes and not only peppers the movie with quality martial arts but also has fun cinematically conveying the awesomeness of our white fighter (the finale comes together in a fine way thanks to this directorial skill). Aspects that make you forget that several stretches of light stuff is boredom, especially coming from Polly who works way better as a stoic fighter (male or otherwise. Male in the case of this movie). Also known as 99 Cycling Swords.

Lust For Love Of A Chinese Courtesan (1984) Directed by: Chor Yuen

A while into Chor Yuen's Lust For Love of A Chinese Courtesan you realize that it's not so much the remake of his 1972 classic Intimate Confessions Of A Chinese Courtesan but a new take, using the template in which Ai Nu (Nancy Hu) is forced into prostitution under the watchful but loving eye of Lady Chun (Candace Yu). This time however, the story doesn't take the path of revenge and instead turns into something akin to a thinking man's exploitation/erotica vehicle, with unexpectedly good results.

Ai Nu is here taught the ways of the world where sacrificing ones purity and innocence for wealth is the laid down rule. One character even describes the outside world as no better so accept what's within the confines of the brothel. The path of discovery for Ai Nu instead turns into a tale of rediscovering and holding onto innocence but more importantly love, not being devoured by the world of wealthy men where woman are merely emotionless servants. Chor Yuen's has a compelling grip on the material and long patches of dialogue dominates the second half, to an immersing effect. The stunning Shaw Brother's sets and art direction is dependably captured as well.

Where it's clear Intimate Confessions Of A Chinese Courtesan fell down was the lack of depth to characters, especially that of Chun (although Betty Pei Ti elevated the shortcomings greatly). Here she gets the full treatment with not so much classy results but when venturing into the main themes of the film subsequently, you get more of a solid ground to stand on. Ai Nu and Chun's relationship contain different dynamics as well since Ai Nu isn't out for revenge, but it boils down to how lost the characters are and can become.

Lust For Love Of A Chinese Courtesan lacks the full grace and effect of, what you might call the original movie (Candace Yu and Nancy Hu do fine work but are not as memorable as Betty Pei Ti and Lily Ho) and possesses a few cartoonish elements such as the portrayal of the wealthy, horny men. It makes for a not so comfortable contrasting two halves but the rise in quality subsequently in thematics makes many flaws forgettable. Also with Alex Man and Chang Kuo-Chu.

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