So Good have been around for about 6 months and a lot of Hong Kong movies of a variety of genres have visited the ol' DVD player during that time. Now at the end of this year I thought it would be nice to share with you my top 10 of movies I've WATCHED this year, not movies that was necessarily produced this year. To read the entire review of a selected movie click on the cover art. Here we go...
1. Juliet In Love (Directed by: Wilson Yip)
After a horrific introduction to this director in the form of Skyline Cruisers, I went back and checked out some of the works that landed him that gig. This highly unusual love drama is a truly rewarding experience even during the first viewing. A few viewings later the whole movie just clicks for me right up until the final frame. With both Francis and Sandra, Wilson found the perfect unlikely couple and it's amazing to watch these two actors at the top of their game.
2. Metade Fumaca (Directed by: Riley Yip)
I feel bad putting this in second place but it just couldn't get past Wilson Yip's masterpiece. Riley however has made a totally compelling and multi-layered drama about the beauty of memories. I just loved watching Nicholas Tse and Eric Tsang talking, walking on the streets of Hong Kong while the story unfolds in the most masterful way. Also here multiple viewings will be rewarding especially to witness the subtle acting touches provided by Eric Tsang. The fact that Universe provides an exceptional transfer which makes Peter Pau's cinematography stand out so much more should be enough for you to buy this right away.
3. Master Of The Flying Guillotine (Directed by: Jimmy Wang Yu)
Was so doubtful that I was going to be able to squeeze out a review for an old school Kung Fu movie. It turned out to be one of the biggest reviews of the year but for me the most fun to write. Pathfinder restored this classic martial arts movie to the best of their abilities but given the fact that the original elements were thought to be lost, it's an excellent release. For fans it was also a treat to see 12 minutes of additional footage not seen since it's theatrical Hong Kong release! Great fun all the way and a movie only Hong Kong cinema can produce.
4. La Brassiere (Directed by: Patrick Leung & Chan Hing-Kar)
This 2001 comedy isn't a great achievement in filmmaking but still made me smile and laugh on so many occasions. The energy and look of the film combined with the chemistry between the male and female stars will stay with you. Oh by the way, there's no nudity although the film is about bras, which is a GOOD thing in THIS movie.
5. A Moment Of Romance (Directed by: Benny Chan)
It's never too late to watch classic movies and A Moment Of Romance qualifies as one. Benny Chan's debut film is a hard hitting and gritty love drama that surprised me on so many levels, most notably Andy Lau's strong performance stood out. With Ringo Lam as one of the producers we get to witness some truly horrific violence which still is stuck in my head. Never thought this movie would come from the man who would later direct Gen-X Cops now did you?
6. Dream Lovers (Directed by: Tony Au)
Going back to 1985 this is a movie that should be EXPERIENCED. Dream Lovers is a slow-moving and slowly unveiling love drama set in both past and present Hong Kong. The narrative could've been lost underneath the beautiful cinematography but Tony has full focus on it, making this again a movie that should be seen by more people. If that doesn't convince you, Chow Yun-Fat and Brigitte Lin are both terrific in their roles.
7. The Mission (Directed by: Johnnie To)
Cool cast headed by ultra cool Francis Ng isn't alone what makes this movie so good. Johnnie To's movie is so good because of it's action scenes. Never before have I seen people standing still and firing gun at a calm pace without it being painfully dull. The design of the action is quite hard to describe but I can say this; it feels and look like bullet time without actually being bullet time. That was terrible so just watch it and prepare to be amazed.
8. Bullets Over Summer (Directed by: Wilson Yip)
I could fill this entire top 10 with Wilson Yip movies if he'd actually made 10 good movies. After the disappointing Bio Zombie, he returned with this cop-action-drama. This was my first Wilson Yip movie after Skyline Cruisers and here I saw what people was raving about. The middle drama section is subtle but a joy to watch for the growing bond between Francis Ng and Helena Law Lan's characters. Not perfect all the way through but a good place to start if you want to see a true Wilson Yip film.
9. Anna Magdalena (Directed by: Hai Chung Man)
A sliiiightly flawed movie in places but still excellent romantic love triangle told by Hai Chung Man. I fell in love with this movie because of the fact that it was a very believable and ordinary love drama. The fantasy segment towards the end of the movie didn't fully work for me but that shouldn't make you pass on this. Oh and Peter Pau does great work here as well...
10. The Eye (Directed by: The Pang Brothers)
Danny & Oxide took a recognizable premise and injected so much professionalism and commitment to make on of the highlights of 2002. It's scary, engaging and Angelica Lee masterfully masterly portrays the victimized Mun. The Panorama dvd features sound that will scare you to death as well!