Movie Review: Besieged City

Movie Review: Besieged City

If you’re a fan of the “gutter-trawling” alienated youths genre of film, you should find this one enjoyable: and I did not intend to be ironic there because I actually think this was a good film. The story centers around two brothers: the younger one gets relentlessly and heartlessly picked on at school–beaten up, all…

Film Review: Fujian Blue

Film Review: Fujian Blue

The feature film debut of Robin Weng Shou-ming (翁首鸣), Fujian Blue follows a group of disaffected, purposeless souls who spend their time blackmailing middle-aged women and clubbing away their twenties. Such a premise somehow transforms into an absorbing narrative of deeply felt characters, a trenchant social commentary, and a tone poem to a nearly-lost generation….

Tailor Made: Chinatown’s Last Tailors

Tailor Made: Chinatown’s Last Tailors

Hidden in plain view among the abundant offerings of this year’s San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival (which runs from March 13 to 23) was a program of four short films under the title By Hand. Aside from the delightful opening bit of animation, three were documentaries featuring men of a certain craft, from a pushcart cinema operator…

Movie Review: Boomtown Beijing

Movie Review: Boomtown Beijing

Boomtown Beijing does fulfill its basic mission of capturing how ordinary Beijing residents are preparing for the Olympics. It’s an interesting cross-section of Beijing–there’s an old man practicing magic sticks, a nearly blind sprinter preparing for the Paralympics, a young boy who wants to be torch-bearer even though he’s too young. These are people who…

Empires of the Deep, or Waterworld in Chinese

Empires of the Deep, or Waterworld in Chinese

You know that China has fully entered the world of late capitalism when good Chinese folks are willing to blow $100 million on a sci-fi film for an American audience. Today’s Variety reported developments on this “ultra-ambitious” CGI film known as Empires of the Deep, an English-language tale of “mermaids, mermen and a hero who saves the world…

Film Review: Connected

Film Review: Connected

Reading the Wikipedia article on Connected makes us laugh: it says that director Benny Chan tried to make the characters more “real and believable” than the Hollywood film Cellular, of which it is a remake. Though we haven’t seen the original if Connected is “real and believable” then Star Wars might also be loosely based on a real story. Barbie Hsu (widely known…