Wednesday, April 1, 2020

[2020.04.02] FOR THE WEEK ENDING SUNDAY MARCH 29 2020

For the week ending Sunday March 29 2020
Photos courtesy of Yahoo! Movies Hong Kong



10 RE: ZERO KARA HAJIMERU ISEKAI SEIKATSU
    d. Masaharu Watanabe
    Japanese Animation
  Rating : IIA
  Length : 137 mins.
  Opening March 26 2020


  9 THE INVISIBLE MAN
    d. Leigh Whannell
    Elizabeth Moss, Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Aldis Hodge, Michael Dorman


  8 MY SPY
    d. Peter Segal
    Dave Bautista, Chloe Coleman


  7 THE CALL OF THE WILD
    d. Chris Sanders
    Harrison Ford, Karen Gillan, Dan Stevens


  6 THE PLATFORM
    d. Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia
    Ivan Massague, Antonia San Juan, Zorion Eguileor,
      Emilio Buale, Alexandr Masangkay


  5 BATTLE OF JANGSARI
  Can : Hung Chuen Jeh
  Lit : Lucky Survivors
    d. Kim Tae-hun, Kwak Kyung-taek,
    Kim Myung-min, Megan Fox, Choi Min-ho
  Rating : IIB
  Length : 110 mins.
  Opening March 12 2020
  Trailer : https://youtu.be/PvgRKm7Xk9E

[ BROADWAY CIRCUIT ]
    Based on the incredible true story of Jangsari Landing Operation. When North Korea invades South Korea on June 25, 1950, they pushed South Korea and its ally US Army to the southernmost city. U.S. General MacArthur planned Operation Chromite, which would see the joint allied forces to take back a strategic location of Inchon and in order for it to succeed, he needed a small battalion to flank the North Korean army and eliminate their supply line at Jangsari beach.

    Having lost his family on his retreat away from North Korea before the War, a model student Choi Sung-pil enlists in the army to fight for the South. Ki Ha-ryun is a rebellious youth from the South who volunteers to fight in the war. All of the 772 students and youths are like them who are barely out of school with only 2 weeks of boot camp training. Task force commander Captain Lee Myung-jun knows that it’s a long shot, but he has no choice but to lead them into a crucial mission. Meanwhile, US war correspondent Maggie braves the dangers of the battlefield to report on the war in the frontlines. She feels empathy for the Korean students who must go into battle on behalf of the veteran soldiers for their country, and tries to do what she can on her end to rescue them.

    With little ammo, scant food supplies and raggedy weapons, can the students successfully carry out their mission and return home safely?


  4 HAPPY OLD YEAR
  Can : Mo Tung Duen Jeh Lei
  Lit : Painless Break Up
    d. Nawapol Thamrongrattanarit
    Chutimon Chuengcharoensukying, Sunny Suwanmethanont
  Rating : IIA
  Length : 114 mins.
  Opening March 26 2020
  Trailer : https://youtu.be/TKKttTQUliE

[ BROADWAY CIRUCIT ]
    Jean wants to convert her house into a home office and she needs to majorly declutter and reorganise her entire house. Anything that has been lying around unused, she just simply throws all. However, Jean faces a great challenge when she comes across some items that belonged to Aim, her ex-boyfriend. Although she has no use for the items, each one reminds her of a story that brings back memories, along with unresolved feelings that cannot be easily discarded by just dumping them into the garbage bag. Jean has to decide what to do with Aim's stuff. Should she just throw everything, keep everything, or return the items to their rightful owner to clear them completely from her house and her heart?


  3 MR. ZOO: THE MISSING VIP
  Can : Ho Gau Duk Gung Dui
  Lit : Good Dog Special Assault Team
    d. Kim Tae-yun,
    Lee Sung-min, Kim Seo-hyung, Bae Jung-nam, Kal So-won
  Rating : IIA
  Length : 114 mins.
  Opening March 19 2020
  Trailer : https://youtu.be/qqfckyhUs-8

[ BROADWAY CIRCUIT ]
    Joo Taeju is the top agent of National Intelligence Service. While Taeju was on a mission to guard a very special VIP, the VIP disappeared by a sudden accident and he can understand what animals are saying after his accidental fall NIS Director Min and agent Mansik suspect Taeju who is suddenly acting strangely, but Taeju is on a mission to find the VIP with help of Ali, a military dog...In the middle of downtown, never seen a team play between a man and an animal's start to happen!


  2 THE HUNT
    d. Craig Zobel
    Betty Gilpin, Hilary Swank



  1 BLOODSHOT
    d. David S. F. Wilson
    Vin Diesel, Eiza Gonzalez, Guy Pearce

[2020.04.02] JOHN WOO'S WIFE HAS SUCCESSFUL BRAIN TUMOR SURGERY

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The Hong Kong Film Award winning director John Woo (Ng Yu Sum)'s wife Anne Niu Chun Lung had brain tumor. Her life was on the brink and with the pandemic hitting the U.S. it doubled the impact. Earlier at a dinner to celebrate their 44th anniversary, they were as sad as they were at the "Last Supper". Fortunately with the support of her husband she was finally able to get over the hard times.

Two months ago, Niu Chun Lung suddenly had a headache and almost fainted. A MRI showed a ping pong ball sized tumor in her brain. The doctor suggested operating immediately. Originally scheduled for surgery on their wedding anniversary, the operation was postponed due to the doctor. Then the novel coronavirus pandemic erupted and added to the risk of her surgery.

For their anniversary dinner, Ng Yu Sum personally cooked. They did not dare to touch upon the subject of brain tumor, as they only lowered their heads and ate. He kept offering more food to his wife and tried to be as attentive as he could. Mrs. Woo had the surgery on March 12th, Ng Yu Sum stayed by her side. The surgery was successful but the doctor said that some of the tumor was pressing against blood vessels. If it was completely remove the risk would be very high. Thus they would wait and see. Mrs. Woo revealed that before the surgery she had lunch with her husband. At the time she told him that in case the surgery would not turn out well, it would become their last lunch; she said that her husband at the time was so nervous that he did not know what to say. He just silently kept his head down and ate. After the illness, she remembered to say that she wanted to help her husband's dream of making the new version of THE KILLER (DIP HUET SEUNG HUNG).

[2020.04.02] HONG KONG REMEMBERS LESLIE CHEUNG AMID ANOTHER PANDEMIC


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Daffy Tong posts a photo with Gor Gor to remember him
Chan Suk Fun brought the origami cranes from Gor fans to pay her respect at Po Fook Hill
courtesy of mingpao.com

Superstar Leslie Cheung Kwok Wing 17 years ago on April 1st April Fools' Day passed away. His friends and fans every years would hold memorial events. This year due to the novel coronavirus the mass memorial events were canceled, but everyone never stopped remembering Gor Gor. Gor Gor's beloved Daffy Tong Hok Tak (Tong Tong) every year would post in remembrance of his "most beloved". This year Tong Tong borrowed the strength from remembering Gor Gor as he believed that he would encourage us and cheer for us from afar, get over the hard times together. When Gor Gor passed away SARS was rampant. This year Hong Kong ran into the novel coronavirus that was even worse than SARS, Margie Tsang Wa Sin wished that Gor Gor in Heaven would bless the entire world with the rapid end of the pandemic!

Despite the event cancellations, "Gor" fans missed Gor Gor no less. Around 5PM around 20 "Gor" fans in masks presented fresh flowers at Central's Mandarin Oriental Hotel. Later fans continued to present flowers with almost over 50 batches of fresh flowers. With the flowers were also cards for Gor Gor. Some "Gor" fans also presented teddy bear, charm and cigarette. A fan even lit three cigarettes in lieu of incense.

Gor Gor's manager Chan Suk Lam yesterday with her son Ka Ho arrived early at Po Fook Hill and brought three thousand origami cranes that "Gor" fans sent from around the world and a book of well wishes collected online for "Gor Gor". Chan Suk Fun selected the Cheung Kwok Wing song with Richard Lam Chun Keung's lyrics, BEING TOGETHER, to remember her friend. "I hope to be able to run into you again on the way, being separate is still like being together".

Tong Tong published late at night to remember his beloved. He posted their "sweet" photo on social media. In it Tong Ton carried an umbrella with his arm around Gor Gor's shoulder as they both showed happy smiled. "17 years ago you left us, but I know that you are in another place always thinking of us; especially in this dangerous time you would encourage us even more, cheer and wish everyone would work hard to get over this pandemic together."

Margie Tsang Wa Sin posted, "Perfect Gor Gor, today I miss you even more! Gor Gor you were a kind person, I wish that you in Heaven would bless the entire world with a rapid end to the pandemic. At the same time, everyone no matter you or I would fight the pandemic together and win this war! Go! Hong Kongers!"

Vying to be on top of the music scene in the 80s with Gor Gor, Alan Tam Wing Lun's friendship with him was unaffected despite their warring fans. Alan remembered Gor Gor and praised him as a "hard to come by artist".

Tony Leung Chu Wai also posted a photo of Gor Gor and simply wrote "17 years" to express how much he missed him. Anita Yuen Wing Yi who worked many times with Gor Gor wrote, "When I see the stars in the sky, I would always think of you." Julian Cheung Chi Lam remembered Cheung Kwok Wing while also expressing, "We will survive."

Dicky Cheung Wai Kin also posted, "17 years ago due to SARS, I wore a mask to attend your funeral; 17 years later today the days of wearing mask has returned. Please relax though, we still would overcome the pandemic with a tenacious heart."

Vivian Chow Wai Man played a couple with Cheung Kwok Wing in a film, privately they were close as well. This year she made a video for the first time to remember Gor Gor. She wrote, "Dear Leslie You're forever in heart! Vivian"

Sharon Chan Man Chi was another artist who remembered Gor Gor with a video. Man Chi revealed in the film, "My most memorable time was working with him, that collaboration was also the final time I saw Gor Gor. I was very honored to be able to participate in a music video Gor for one of Gor Gor's songs. The song was titled RESENTFUL MAN, I remember I had to put my hand on Gor Gor's chest. I was very scared, then Gor Gor told me not to be scared. He grabbed my hand and taught me how to do it. I still remember that feeling now. I wish you a great life even in another place, we love you!"

Benjamin Yuen Man Kit shared on social media that when he started he worked with Gor Gor on the Lunar New Year film ALL'S WELL ENDS WELL (GA YAU HEI SI). He even brought a photo book for Gor Gor to autograph and they chatted, all of which became so memorable that he would never be erased for him.

Many artists who have worked with Gor gor and many of the younger generation could not forget "Gor Gor" as they all posted photos and videos of Gor Gor online. They included Leo Ku Kui Ke, Louis Koo Tin Lok, Remus Choy Yat Kit, Calvin Choy Yat Chi, Man Suet Yi, Law Kar Ying, Real Ting Chi Ko, Karen Tong Bo Yu and others, as they saluted the superstar of a generation.

Sunday, March 29, 2020

[2020.03.30] HONG KONG FILM INDUSTRY IS IN CRISIS







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As the novel coronavirus spread globally, Hong Kong economy went on a downturn. Every business and industry have been impacted, the unemployment rate rose, the film industry also ran into a tsunami style impact. The film production rate was almost zero as the industry was trying to come up with ways to save itself. Known as the new generation film tycoon, Louis Koo Tin Lok said, "The tsunami is coming, we have to do something." At the end of March, the government initially would allocation HK$ 20 million to promote the film industry. The Federation of Hong Kong Film Workers at the same time also would meet with various film companies to discuss the grand revival scheme, unite to save the market so everyone on and off screen would benefit, have jobs and show signs of life again.

After Hong Kong filmmakers switched to the Mainland market to make Renminbi, Hong Kong film in recent years has lost its luster. As the tension rose in Hong Kong last year and early this year the novel coronavirus broke out, the industry development has taken a nose dive as the entire industry has come to a halt. The Federation of Hong Kong Film Workers president Tin Kai Man lamented, "Everything has stopped, no job! Many behind the scene people have switched jobs, some basic level took second jobs as security guards, Uber drivers and sales clerks."

Tin Kai analyzed the current situation, in the market on one government assisted HK$ 3.25 million production budget feature film HAND-ROLLED CIGARETTE (SAU GUNE YIN) was in production. Reportedly all film companies had no film that would start production before April as the film industry fell into a crisis! He said, "Before the pandemic, at the end of last year we already started to ask the government for help. The government has already allocated HK$ 20 million. At the end of this year the Federation would help the industry with some startup information, but that would only be the first step. The Federation would also fight for more funding allocation with the government to help others, like rapid film production start and training programs. However for the longer term domestic films are still necessary. In this area, the Federation has talked with the government, but the government could not become the investor. Thus the Federation at the end of this month will meet with various film companies and make suggestions to see what the government can do, rebuild everyone's trust to make more Hong Kong films; because many bosses now don't make movies in Hong Kong, Hong Kong workers don't benefit and all of the Hong Kong film industry is dead!" Tin Kai revealed that he has talked with (Louis) Koo Tin Lok, who expressed his support. "He even said, 'The tsunami is on the way, we have to do something.' Later they would met with other bosses to sit down and discuss how to start productions, now we have to give a little more push in this direction."

Universe film company boss Daneil Lam Siu Ming admitted that he has already moved the base to Beijing to focus on making Mainland movies. However he would still make some Hong Kong films. "This year one or two will be made in Hong Kong. In the summer we will start work on THE WHITE STORM 3 (SO DUK 3). At the end of the year we will make an airplane disaster film starring (Andy) Lau Tak Wa." Originally in April two movies would have started production, a Barbara Wong Chun Chun directed romance and a Oxide Pang Chun directed OUT OF INFERNO 2 (TOH CHOOK SUN TIN 2 tentative title), both with Mainland actors in the leads. However now it would depend on the pandemic development.

Director Andrew Lau Wai Keung years ago began to switch to make Mainland films. With the box office success of THE FOUNDING OF AN ARMY and THE PILOT, he most recently directed FROZEN CHOSIN went to shoot on location in Liaoning last year. Midway through due to the outbreak it was forced to shut down. Lau Wai Keung said, "We estimate that it will be the end of the year, because we need to coordinate with the winter snow scenes and the pandemic has not settled yet. Now we can only plan for other productions that won't require to be overseas, pure Hong Kong films and animation. I heard that many behind the scene workers are unemployed, even if they switch jobs the food business is also very hard to make a living in."

Mandarin Motion Picture boss Raymond Wong Pak Ming has been the center pillar of the Hong Kong film industry, from on screen, film production to cinema circuit. The "pandemic market" had certain impact on him. The currently in production G STORM (G FUNG BO) has been forced to stop production and without any idea about a date to resume, but the losses still have not been as serious as his cinemas. "The influence on the cinemas is very sharp, in comparison to February in previous years the business has dropped over 60%. Family viewers did not even dare to go the movies. We can only take the full safety measures, disinfecting and cleaning we definitely need to do, taking temperatures of viewers, if they have fevers then sorry their tickets will be refunded. In addition we would give each viewer a mask, wearing it at the movies is a little safer."

In recent days the government took a new approach and closed six types of venues including cinemas for 14 days. Wong Pak Ming agreed with the move. "I feel the government has to assist the industry, including the cinemas, show business, music, and drama worlds because everyone has stopped without a job." With the 14 days closing, many films including the Leslie Cheung Kwok Wing starred THE BRIDE WITH WHITE HAIR (BAK FAT MOR NUI JUEN) and THE PHANTOM LOVER (YEH BOON GOR SNG)'s all new 4K restored versions, the Michelle Wai Sze Nga starred LOST AND FOUND IN TOKYO (SHOOK NUI OI MAN YAU), the Hidetaka Yoshika and Kumiko Goto starred TORA-SAN, WISH YOU WERE HERE and other films all had to postpone their releases.

As the film industry "stopped", not only behind the scene workers had no jobs, actors were not spared either. As an actor, a martial art director and Hong Kong Stuntman Association president Chin Kar Lok has not worked since after the Lunar New Year. Originally he had two movies to be shot overseas in March, but due to the pandemic they had to be postponed. However Kar Lok did not complain or slack off, feeling that with danger there would be opportunity. Everyone had to prepare and plan during the ice age. "Many people ask if the film industry is in serious trouble, entering into an ice age. I can relate, but it's not just the film industry, the travel industry, restaurant and bar industry and others have been affected as well. Instead earlier the Hong Kong Stuntman Association talked with Tsang Chi Wai, after the pandemic ends what should we do? During this period although production has stopped, but a pause might not be a bad thing. In the past everyone just kept charging head and overlooked a lot of things; for example, now that I have stopped, I have more time to be with my two daughters. Our relationships are better. Thus with risk there is opportunity. Think positively, the pandemic will pass. Then we would need a lot of entertainment and action films. Now we shouldn't be lazy. We have to build a firm foundation, discuss through video and social media platforms and plan." He estimated that the ice age will end at the end of the year.

Kar Lok hoped that the film development fund would provide even great support to the industry later so more domestic films could be made. "We can't just have co-production films, this way Hong Kong talent would be lost. In the past 10 years I have enjoyed staying in Hong Kong to make movies. I am not worried about the Mainland market but if Hong Kong doesn't make more domestic films everyone would be lost. The veterans would be gone and the new ones wouldn't be able to get into the business! I hope the entire industry would unite and make more Hong Kong film."

Have stunt people switched jobs due to a lack of work? Kar Lok said, "It's the climate, under the pandemic, many have been affected. Some stunt people switched to drive taxis due to a lack of work, now even taxis have no passenger. Under this situation we can only think harder and do other jobs, like using their kung fu knowledge to make some videos to teach people to strengthen their bodies online and provide everyone job opportunities. We just want everyone to have a job first." For now he has not received any request for assistance from members in financial difficulties, but earlier Eric Tsang Chi wai donated some masks, rice, canned goods and some everyday products for gift bags, The Chin Stuntman Association presented the bags to elders and members with lacking opportunities. "It was rather pleasant, an encouragement. Although it was very enormous or generous, we did whatever we could do. I hope each member and person with the ability would take that extra step, helping those around them in need."

If they did not work they did not eat, without any movie to make the behind the scene basic level personnel looked for a way out. Some at the "make up and hair department" enrolled in beauty courses to be certified then look for job at beauty salons; some also started permanent eyebrow business. At least they would not need to wait for movies to start work to eat. Some production assistants waited for several months without any work. Some of them became taxi drivers and some went to home renovation, as they became the hot professions for behind the scene film professionals.

Film productions could not be without catering. In recent years many veteran catering sisters have retired. A mother and son pair worked as basic film workers, the mother was in catering for a few years and the son was moving equipment. Without any film production, mother and son switched jobs to work at a theme park to make a living. Yet with the outbreak even theme parks have been put to a halt.

[2020.03.30] ROWENA CORTES WAS ONCE MISTAKEN FOR DATING LESLIE CHEUNG

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April 1st would be the 17th anniversary of Leslie Cheung Kwok Wing (Gor Gor)'s passing. This year due to the severity of the novel coronavirus outbreak, public memorial events were canceled. However "Gor fans" and friends still would remember him in different formats. Rowena Cortes (Lo Wan Na) had many opportunities to work wiht Gor Gor in the past. She spoke with Gor Gor's super fan and Cheung Kwok Wing impersonation contestant Simon Au Shun Hei about how much they missed Gor Gor.

Au Shun Hei was envious of Lo Wan Na for having worked with Gor Gor. Lo Wan Na revealed that she and Gor Gor spent a lot of time together on the set and even revealed that Gor Gor really liked preserved eggs. Each time when they had meal boxes, Gor Gor would stare at the half preserved egg in her box and she would automatically hand it over.

Because Gor Gor often put his arm around her, the crew mistook that they were dating. Lo Wan Na said, "Leslie really like to have heart to heart talks with female friends. I started at the same time as he did and we often worked together, so we were confidants. Later I even turned into his 'tile friend', after work we would go to his home to play mahjong. Despite seeing each other from morning to night, we would not be tired. He really knew how to care about friends. When we saw working overnight on the set, he would tell jokes to cheer everyone up. With him it was never boring."

Gor Gor as a judge described Au Shun Hei as a mix of himself and Louie Castro (Ga Si Lok) at the impersonation contest. Lo Wan Na felt that Au Shun Hei's personality was like Gor Gor, as both were very vain, warm and really took care of friends. What would they like to say to Gor Gor the most? Au Shun Hei said that Gor Gor would forever be his idol, no one would be able to replace him. Lo Wan Na said that she really missed Gor Gor and even blew a kiss to Heaven for Gor Gor.

Friday, March 27, 2020

[2020.03.28] HONG KONG CINEMAS SUPPORT THE GOVERNMENT'S TWO WEEK SHUT DOWN ORDER

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Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet Ngor yesterday announced that in the latest effort against the pandemic all entertainment venue would suspend operation for two weeks, they included cinemas. The restriction would begin at 6PM today. The theater industry including the Hong Kong Theatres Association all expressed their support, would fully coordinate with the government restriction, fight the pandemic with the entire city and work hard toward returning to a healthy Hong Kong.

The Hong Kong Theatres Association issued a statement after the announcement, "Since the outbreak began, the theater industry has been severely impacted. Cinemas has been paying a lot of attention on the audience's health and released the following procedures like 'isolation/alternate seating ticket', delaying the opening and moving up the closing time for cleaning and disinfecting of the entire cinema, requiring viewers to wear masks and taking their temperature as they entered in hopes to strengthening viewer confidence about going to the movies. The cinema environment was even safer than anywhere else, the risk of infecting was not high. Because viewers purchased tickets online, they could pick up tickets without any contact. Inside viewers could wear masks and enjoyed ample viewing space. Despite during the outbreak the box office still reached new lows, the theater industry still persisted in continuing operation in hopes of preserving employee's employment opportunity. However, due to the worsening situation, in hopes of reducing the temptation of going outside and coordinating with the government ordered stronger restriction order cinemas would work with the government and temporarily close for 14 days. The cinema industry hopes to successfully win the fight against the pandemic with Hong Kong and continue to provide quality viewing experience to the audience."

Cinema City circuit boss Raymond Wong Pak Ming's 5 cinemas before suspending operation at 6PM would still run movies as scheduled. However the April 1st release of the 4K restored THE BRIDE WITH WHITE HAIR and the April 8th release of the 4K restored THE PHANTOM LOVER in memory of Leslie Cheung Kwok Wing would be rescheduled after the reopening of cinemas.

Golden Scene film company responded, "We very strongly agree with the cinema temporary closing. Because the current box office has been very low but employees still had to go to work as usual, both viewers and employees would have risks. As for films that we have scheduled, we would wait until the reopening of cinemas to release them. We would have no problem. As the entire city unites to fight the pandemic, health is the most important!"

The film LOST AND FOUND IN TOKYO (SHOOK NUI OI MAN YAU) originally was scheduled for an April 2nd release, which now has been halted. Star Michelle Wai Sze Nga said, "I feel it is a good thing, being safe is more important than the release date. I personally agree and support this method. My promotions have already been done in advance anyway, now I can only post online to promote. With how severe the pandemic is, staying at home is the safest."

[2020.03.28] LESLIE CHEUNG REMEMBERED ON THE SIDE OF BUSES

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April 1st would be the 17th anniversary of "Gor Gor" Leslie Cheung Kwok Wing's passing. Due to the novel coronavirus outbreak, the annual flower presentation was canceled earlier. Film poster designer Yuen Tai Yung's son, artist Yuen Kai Tsang, hand drawn a classic Gor Gor look with fresh flower in his hand and printed 12 giant posters to be posted on buses in memory of him all over Hong Kong. Hopefully it would bring back people's memory of Gor Gor's great music, film and art achievements.