Thursday, August 16, 2012

A SIMPLE LIFE (HK 2011) -- A+

Andy Lau and Deanie Ip in A Simple Life

Director: Ann Hui. Screenplay: Susan Chan, Roger Lee. Producers: Roger Lee, Ann Hui, Chan Pui-Wah. Cast: Andy Lau, Deanie Ip, Qin Hailu, Wang Fuli, Elena Kong, Paul Chun Pui, Chapman To, Eman Lam, Hui So, Tsui Hark (cameo), Sammo Hung (cameo), Ning Hao (cameo).


At the 31st Hong Kong Film Awards, Ann Hui's quiet drama, A Simple Life earned an award for Best Picture, besting its more bombastic competition, which included Let The Bullets Fly, Flying Swords of Dragon Gate, Life Without Principle, and Overheard 2. In fact, the multiple-nominated film made a clean sweep of all the major categories -- with cast and crew taking home trophies for Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress,  and Best Screenplay. While I normally lean towards the argument that there's no such thing as a "best film," I think an equally valid argument could be made that A Simple Life simply outclassed its competition on nearly every level. While Hong Kong cinema may have made its mark internationally with martial arts and action cinema, the comparatively subdued drama, A Simple Life, demonstrates Hong Kong cinema at its finest.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012


Director: Derek Yee. Screenplay: Chun Tin-nam, Lau Ho-leung, Derek Yee. Original Novel: Zhang Haifan. Producers: Albert Yeung, Yu Dong, Jeffrey Chan. Cast: Tony Leung Chiu-Wai, Lau Ching-Wan, Zhou Xun, Wu Gang, Yan Ni, Paul Chun, Kenya Sawada, Lam Suet, Wang Ziwen, Alex Fong, Wang Ziyi, Daniel Wu, and Tsui Hark.


There's a reason for the term "movie magic," as magicians and filmmakers actually have a lot in common. Manipulation, misdirection, sleight of hand -- these elements remain crucial to each of their respective trades. But while both magicians and filmmakers can certainly dazzle audiences with eye-popping special effects, there's also something to be said for other important qualities like presentation, stage presence, and even charm. While Derek Yee's The Great Magician definitely explores the connections between movies and magic, the illusion it presents isn't exactly the cinematic equivalent of making the Statue of Liberty disappear a la David Copperfield, but it is an entertaining diversion nonetheless.