# 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 In The River (1998) Directed by: Barry Jue

Two stories, first about a widow (Emily Kwan) who's put to rest yet ANOTHER husband. A journalist (Mark Cheng) is curious and gets involved in a relationship with the woman. Enter paranoia and the eventual truth about her back story. Fairly ambitious cinematography and a sexy Emily Kwan performance works in its favour but the story also involving quirky humour and in the end a very inconclusive end makes it go nowhere.

Number 2 or Affair 2 involves a model (Marianne Choi) who manages via her friends to look after her boss' house. So the focus on a pajamas commercial goes to her enjoying the luxurious surroundings in a long shower scene that is then interrupted by a pointless romance with Patrick Tam's character who may hurt her BAD emotionally by the end. Hard to come to any conclusion when neither story does or is in any way interesting so we have no affairs to remember in Love In The River.

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Love In Sampan (1992) Directed by: Dik On

Things doesn't bode well when the main credits of Love In Sampan are scored to a low-grade Love Boat-esque-theme and not so surprisingly, things quickly derail from here in this Cat III rated erotic drama.

The problem is that director On has set out to do drama and while the themes of love and the unfair despair that comes with it is well-meaning on paper, On isn't armed with paper, budget or acting, resulting in an effort that reeks. Love In Sampan did of course come out during the heyday of Cat III exploitation filmmaking and many efforts certainly were close to the low quality of this one. Most of the time, others resorted to being uniquely Hong Kong though, which did at least produce some form of charm and fun. Love In Sampan intended to be respectable however. A respectable choice, not a respectable final result.

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Love In The Time Of Twilight (1995) Directed by: Tsui Hark

Yan Yan (Charlie Yeung) and Kong (Nicky Wu) develop a rivalry during a matchmaking festival and obviously have zero chance of ever falling in love. However, Kong falls victim to a scam, planned by a gang of robbers, and ends up murdered. Cut to 2 weeks later and as a ghost, he turns to Yan Yan for help in stopping his untimely demise, in the past...

The reunion of Charlie Yeung and Nicky Wu from Tsui Hark's visually gorgeous but flawed The Lovers is an unexpected treat of a movie. The expected romance take on a better meaning by the end compared to the former film in which Charlie and Nicky starred but it's the sheer insanity on display that will win certain viewers over, depending on how receptive you are of all this.

Tsui throws buckets of weirdness at us including fairly extensive but rough use of CG (and this is set in 1920s Shanghai just so you know), situation comedy, situation comedy involving lots of projectile vomit, Eric Kot being annoying like only Eric Kot can, frankly creepy after life-esque imagery, time travel and an insanely funny or maybe serious comment on the development of technology during this era. It all adds up to a wild time and only a movie that can come from the imaginative mind of Tsui Hark. Also starring Lau Shun and William Ho.

Love Is Love (1990) Directed by: Tommy Leung

A few months before All For The Winner seriously broke Stephen Chow as a comedy star, he managed to squeeze in this rather unknown and underrated drama-comedy. Co-starring with Sandra Ng, they are a couple to be who flees the demanding grip of her father (a superb Shing Fui-On). Moving into a small cubicle apartment in the city and trying to get employment, she ends up as a hostess (who doesn't have sex with her clients) and he manages to rise through the ranks at a jewelry company. Getting close to the daughter (Suki Kwan) to the boss and eventually being well off financially, the better the world for the village couple, the further they drift apart...

Much is basic in terms of beats and script-wise in Tommy Leung's frame so he has to hinge a lot on his performers to make familiarity stand out. Thankfully Chow and Ng are likeable leads, well versed in the crazier comedic detours that do take place (but never break mood inappropriately) and showing sincerity when there's emotions involved. Thankfully it's never about gross melodrama but a realistic treatment about how the lovers are drawn apart (a white lie about them being brother and sister starts it off). A bit overlong but Love Is Love is an experiment in human moods for broad comedic performers that works very well. Little Pauline Kwan as the sister of Sandra's is excellent as well.

Love Is Over (1993) Directed by: Fung Kung-Ming

If you ever wanted to see the movie where Charlie Cho probably clinches the dozen mark in sex scenes, Love Is Over is your obvious choice. Placing the Category III rating in the actual title card, nothing refined plot-wise is going on here other than the big boss (Cho) of possibly an insurance office teaching his new recruits (Lee Chung-Ling & Chui Bo-Lun) the less than subtle arts of going to bed with as many women as possible that is not your respective loved ones (Yes, Charlie cheats on Pauline Chan even!). A good amount of comedic energy (without being inspired comedy) helps Love Is Over immensely and its stance to please its characters so may times. Charlie Cho is having the time of his life, Lee Chung-Ling (often eating a banana) is adoreable and Stuart Ong turns up in drag and gives Charlie a lesson he's not forgetting anytime soon.

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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