# 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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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.

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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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Love Without End (1961, Doe Ching)

A reference point for the melodrama genre and star Linda Lin Dai, it's at times hard as new, outside eyes to appreciate the impact of a movie like Love Without End. Because we've seen it all and the style comes off as quite big and old fashioned. But there is craftsmanship here and aspects that stand out. And if you read up on its impact, those aspects are quoted and that means they survived. Linda Lin Dai plays Li Qing Qing who gets help breaking out as a singer from Tang Peng Nan (Guan Shan, father of actress Rosamund Kwan). There's romance in the air but irrationality and lack of communication derails their connection. Also, with it being a melodrama, there's going to be terminal disease at the heart of the plot for hour two. Already an established star, Lin Dai gets to tackle the tropes of the melodrama. Ranging from her charming singing scenes (especially when done in montage-form) to facing difficult truths when she finds out she's sick. She's at the center of director Doe Ching's treatment and by hour two, despite the hugely dramatic tone, there is an intelligence on display here. Especially since characters decide not to tell Qing Qing of her diagnosis in order to keep her mental state intact. But who's to say that is the route and wouldn't someone want to wrap up their life more truthfully? Under the old fashioned and sometimes basic cinematic treatment (cinema is always evolving and Hong Kong was too), this is a poignant undercurrent to the film. Coupled with Lin Dai's emotional and classic theme song, there is a case for Love Without Endhaving endless impact.

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.

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