Film & TV

News, reviews and movie star interviews from the world of TV and film. 
  1. For years Chinese actor Qin Hao has better known for being the young husband of Taiwanese singer Annie Yi Nengjing (who is 10 years his senior) than for his acting.That’s about to change. Thanks to the phenomenal success of recent Chinese TV drama The Bad Kids, in which Qin plays the male lead, the 41-year-old is emerging from Yi’s shadow.Broadcast on video platform iQiyi over 10 days in June, the 12-part series racked up more than 200 million views in China and attained a score of 9 out of 10…
  2. Hong Kong filmmaker Tsui Hark is well known for his bold visual style and free-ranging approach to storytelling. The wild and vivacious Swordsman III: The East Is Red, the final part of his highly successful Swordsman trilogy, takes both of these qualities to extremes.Visually, the 1993 film is an explosive assault of colour, noise, martial arts and action that mixes Spanish galleons and Japanese ninjas with more typical examples of Tsui’s “mythical China”. Imagination is not lacking, even if…
  3. 4/5 starsMental illness and altered psychological states have been popular subjects for bleak human dramas, and served as plot devices to make high-concept crime thrillers or nonsensical horror movies tick. But filmmakers in Hong Kong have rarely come up with nuanced romantic psychodrama to match those of peers in the art-house circuit abroad. Beyond the Dream is a first step towards correcting that.A fairy-tale urban romance complicated by one party’s unreliable mental state and the other’s…
  4. Like the female lead character she played in the hit drama 1995 TVB series The Return of the Condor Heroes, Carman Lee Yeuk-tung has had to overcome adversity.Little Dragon Maiden, whom she played with verve in the series based on the novel of the same name by Louis Cha (also known as Jin Yong), suffered a sexual assault and survived a plunge from a cliff before being reunited with the love of her life.Lee withdrew from the limelight at the height of her career in 2004 at her then boyfriend’s…
  5. Young actresses Awkwafina, Zendaya and Constance Wu were among those invited to join Hollywood’s Academy on Tuesday, as the Oscars-awarding club opened its prestigious doors to a diverse crop of new members.Slammed again at the Oscars this year for nominating just one non-white actor, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has boosted its efforts to increase female and ethnic minority membership in recent times.The majority of actors invited to join this year were women, and more than…
  6. The filmmaking career of Evans Chan has come full circle. In 1992 his first film, To Liv(e) – about the angst of Hong Kong people uncertain of their future after the June 4, 1989 crackdown on pro-democracy students in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square – had its international premiere at the International Film Festival Rotterdam.In January this year, Chan’s latest film, We Have Boots – which documents the political upheaval in Hong Kong from 2014 to 2019 – also had its world premiere at the Dutch film…
  7. 2/5 starsThe directorial debut of critic and novelist Sohn Won-pyung has been billed as the year’s “most intense mystery thriller”, but she doesn’t appear to have gleaned much inspiration from her time writing for Korean film journal Cine 21. Intruder is contrived, derivative and relentlessly dumb from the off.Kim Mu-yeol plays Seo-jin, a recently widowed architect who is struggling to manage his grief while juggling work and caring for his young daughter (Park Min-ha). He is determined to find…
  8. At the recent swansong performance of Chinese pop group Rocket Girls 101, all eyes were on Yang Chaoyue.Ever since the 11-member group was formed in 2018 from finalists in the Chinese edition of the talent show Produce 101 , the singer has been the one that has had the most media attention. The focus, though, has not been her talent – but on her lack of it.One particularly memorable moment was when Yang sang a cappella on stage during the televised competition and when she broke down in tears…
  9. 3/5 starsRecalling Steven Spielberg’s The Terminal, in which Tom Hanks played an East European refugee marooned at New York’s JFK airport, Eric Lartigau’s #Iamhere sees a French chef become an unlikely internet sensation after he is stood up at Seoul’s Incheon airport.Korean actress Bae Doona has a cameo as the protagonist’s elusive quarry of the in this well-meaning and intermittently successful romantic comedy.Spielberg’s film was based on the true story of Iranian national Merhan Nasseri,…
  10. “We are spirits in the material world,” warbled Sting, inadvertently predicting the advent of Netflix series Mystic Pop-Up Bar. And that’s precisely what the staff of a temporary Seoul eatery turn out to be: a couple of spectres at their own feasts, served at their seemingly normal downtown cafe. There, they delve into the secrets of the subconscious, helping enraged, aggrieved, sorrowful or otherwise disturbed humans settle scores or make amends, all by entering their dreams. The impossibly…