To read the entire review of a selected movie, click on the cover art.
|1. Mary From Beijing (Directed by: Sylvia Chang)|
|Any director would envy Sylvia Chang based on her work here. Employing the most simple, clear beats for a multi-layered, subtle story about two souls on different part of the bureaucratic tape trying to get ahead in life. Splendid performance from Kenny Bee and Gong Li as well as excellent cinematography from Christopher Doyle makes this another fine gem in Sylvia's catalogue of directed films.|
|2. Swordsmen In Double Flag Town (Directed by: He Ping)|
Essentially Sergio Leone comes to the Wuxia world, He Ping's Mainland lensed movie is sparse on dialogue, action but hypnotic whenever he lets matters explode in short bursts of swordplay and bloodshed. All while it's a well portrayed story of growth shot in the desolate sand landscapes of China.
|3. Red & Black (Directed by: Andrew Kam)|
|An extraordinary achievement from Andrew Kam (Fatal Termination)! The mix between real issues of the Cultural Revolution and issues of the supernatural means we get a somber, dark and eerie time with Hong Kong horror for once. Lam Ching-Ying is in the movie but is playing against type and is more part of the family drama leading him to become a reluctant hero.|
|4. Temptation Summary II (Directed by: Ho Fan)|
|Ever wanted to go behind the scenes of the Category III sex movie? I'm sure you're hesitant but Ho Fan's fictional account of the rather sleazy business (and it would apply to the movie business as a whole) is absolutely hilarious and even his romance subplot between Lee Chung-Ling and an absolutely charming Tsui Man-Wah works thanks to the wonderful interaction between his leading men and lady.|
|5. Underground (Directed by: Chee Keong-Cheung)|
|Low budget UK produced tournament movie that genuinely surprises in more areas than one. One clear aim is of course fight action and Chee works with his fighters to deliver hard hitting brutality. Since the story actually holds some resonance, Underground truly cements a underrated status that deserves to be greater than it currently is.|
|6. Bless This House (Directed by: Ronny Yu)|
Ronny Yu clearly was hellbent on for once providing scary, crap your pants Hong Kong cinema so his take on the haunted house scenario (think The Amityville Horror but better) is actually very effective overall. Although the dips into lighter parts do bother, Yu overall showcases he can build, build and even deliver throughout the finale.
|7. Gates Of Hell (Directed by: Otto Chan)|
|It isn't without its silly streaks (in reference to the samurai sword wielding villain played by James Pax) but largely Otto Chan's story of a husband (a likeable Chan Kwok-Bong) searching for his kidnapped wife in San Francisco is as effective as the title promises. The seedy, violent underworld feels just like that and audience involvement in terms of wanting to see this couple reunited is unexpectedly high. A tough, gritty gem from the 90s cannon of Hong Kong exploitation.|
|8. Goodbye Mammie (Directed by: David Lam)|
|A terminal disease drama but thoughtful nonetheless, David Lam is a director that's received somewhat of his due in 2009 on this very site and there's no better place to start than with his debut here. Mother and son uniting even more firmly in the face of disease, it was refreshing to see such a layered portrayal of the son. It doesn't make him more adult than he is, that's also important to note.|
|9. Fatal Love (Directed by: Lo Gin)|
|A grisly and unusually well-made entry when again working with the high rating. Ellen Chan is the cop going undercover to nail rich, murderous bastard played by Michael Wong but develops feelings. She also witnesses horrific events around his big house, some of which are surprisingly gory and deviant to be INTACT within the III rating.|
|10. The Forbidden Legend Sex & Chopsticks II (Directed by: Cash Chin)|
|Finishing off his adaptation of Jin Ping Mei (The Plum In The Golden Vase) in part wacky but mostly dark manner, Cash Chin solidified the return of the Category III rated period erotica to Hong Kong screens. It felt both part 90s, part updated and although clearly the series was meant as a cheap bonk-a-thon, there's compelling stretches of sleazy film as we follow the the rise and fall of rich perv Ximen Qing.|
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