# A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
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Affectionately Yours (1985) Directed by: Wong Ying-Git

Alan Tam plays a florist who is duped by his "friend" (Eric Tsang) to marry his sister (Maria Chung) and off they go to Japan for their honeymoon. Whilst there, he falls in love for real with a slightly intrusive Atsuko (Yamazaki Atsuko). Divorcing should be the easy part, convincing Atsuko's parents of his true love for her is a bit tricker...

It's really quite hard to pinpoint why Affectionately Yours works on the levels it does. Alan Tam is his usual acting vacuum and doesn't strike up any pitch perfect chemistry with his Japanese co-star. Add to that not a thoroughly convincing and engaging story but somehow it gels into a watchable, pleasant and easily digested 90 minutes. Credit director Wong Ying-Git I guess, despite handling the film in a pedestrian way but he does capture the Japanese settings well. Billy Lau co-stars.

Buy the DVD at:
HK Flix.com

Against All (1990) Directed by: Andrew Lau

It's nigh on impossible NOT to think of A Moment Of Romance as the inspiration for Andrew Lau's directing debut here. While the similarities are not always the same in terms of the romance structure, having main characters also into racing clearly cements the aim of the filmmakers here. Lacking heart and power that the enduring Andy Lau classic always will have, what we're left with in Against All is a hideously uncharismatic Nick Cheung (acquired from the Dorks "R" Us store apparently) and rarely is there sparks flying between him and Ng Suet Man. Lau also pads out the running time by at least 8 minutes due to song numbers for Ng, creating little MV's in the process.

Against All is not convincingly executed filmmaking but does possess some bearable traits, starting with the fact that Lau doesn't drench the film in cinematography tricks in favour of storytelling, which is something you see from time to time when directors of photography turns to directing. He also collaborates well with action director Tung Wai and the film has a fine amount of intense triad brawls, action and haunting violence. Danny Lee does done the cop role again (traffic cop actually) but plays more the protecting uncle. A role Lee is definitely very right for. Shing Fui On, James Ha, Wu Ma, Ha Ping and Barry Wong also appear.

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HK Flix.com

The Age Of Miracles (1996) Directed by: Peter Chan

image stolen with permisson from lovehkfilm.com

Lam Mei Kan (Anita Yuen) makes a deal with God to reduce her life by 10 years in order to save one of her young sons from death. Cut to the present and her children (played by Alan Tam, Jordan Chan and the sister by Teresa Caprio) are now grown up and Lam's time on this earth is beginning to come to a close as evident by the frequent sighting of the rather loveable angel of death (Roy Chiao)...

A film for all ages and speaking to all ages, Peter Chan scored another UFO hit but it's a wildly inconsistent work. Buried under unconvincing make-up, Anita Yuen is still very good as Lam who haven't treasured her time enough and even manages to buy a few days more just to achieve proper closure. Her home still has children, despite their adult age (Jordan Chan's character is the most puzzling here, carrying with him a paper doll of Kelly Chen who also turns up for real of course), and time has come to send all on their way (emigration in this case). Great material looking at the template but Chan's blend of heavy-handed sentiments with interludes of otherworldly magic doesn't gel. Frankly, it's Chan thinking he's being more poignant than anyone has ever been before. Some reality within the magic lurks in a few scenes and interactions but The Age Of Miracles frustrates and falls very much short of its goals, despite the frame trying to convince us otherwise. Eric Tsang and Christine Ng co-stars.

Ah Ying (1983) Directed by: Allen Fong

The Best Picture and Best Director winner at the Hong Kong Film Awards (honors that were bestowed upon Allen Fong's debut film Father And Son as well), Ah Ying tells the real story of its lead Hui So-Ying as she attempts to make it as an actress, gaining her creative flow through the bond with her drama teacher Cheung (Peter Wang, also co-writer). Same for him as he tries to get a movie project of his off the ground but being the artist is not a notion that belongs in the Hong Kong cinema the movie company is trying to produce.

Allen Fong has created a compelling and curiously uplifting film considering he was part of and made this during the new wave of often dark and pessimistic Hong Kong filmmaking in the early 80s. Utilizing its real life aspect to create a documentary feel, it's not totally unlike what Fruit Chan did subsequently in movies such as Made In Hong Kong and Durian Durian. While it's equally a portrayal of the working- and living conditions of the poor, Fong's film focuses on a lead character very much worthy of respect. Ying wants to break free, pursue dreams but she is also obedient in helping her family make a living, without protest. Fong largely uses an amateur cast to great effect, getting the core chemistry between Hui and Wang right in the process also.

The downer aspect of Ah Ying comes through a sub-theme talking about the dissatisfactory treatment of cinema, a sentiment that rings true both for how home video has treated Allen Fong's films but also generally today as companies like Celestial expects us to accept what's fed, even though it's highly disrespectful treatment of a legendary legacy. Allen Fong must look at this world today with the same kind of sadness.

Air Disaster (1983) Directed by: Lui Kam-Fong

Yep, it's a disaster all right but the actual one within the narrative takes its sweet time to occupy our senses. Doing the flick Airport-style, only much cheaper and injecting so called character depth via the variety of friendly, scheming and all out psychotic, panty sniffing characters (also seen in endless amounts of flashbacks), it's tedious, not in any way funny due to the crude nature of it all plus Hong Kong cinema simply didn't have the resources to pull off a movie like this on all fronts. Some basic suspense towards the very end and an unexpected conclusion of this apparently real life retelling means the flick had some balls after all but still no reason to exist. Ray Lui, Guan Shan, Wong San and Tin Ching stars.

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All About Women (2008) Directed by: Tsui Hark

Two visually hungry filmmakers also wishing to chomp down on a big piece of quirky, surreal comedy cake, Tsui Hark and Korea's Kwak Jae-Yong (My Sassy Girl) collaborates on the script for All About Women and too many ideas at once and said comedic stylings ultimately makes this movie trip on itself. Zhou Xun is an "ugly" (just because of her abnormally big glasses) doctor researching the effect pheromones have in terms of triggers for love. Going as far as creating stickers and experimenting on various men. Completing the trio and making them intersect for huge changes in their lives is ruthless businesswoman Tang Lu (Kitty Zhang) and singer Tie Ling (Kwai Lun-Mei). Tang falls for a professor (Alex Fong) without luck, Tie Ling has had a lifelong relationship with X, a celebrity she's about to meet. Visual gags enhanced with CGI, big symbolic sequences of character's inner emotions and a cartoon feel in general, that overblown aspect would've been tolerable had this been about ONE woman. Preferably Zhou Xun. By having a three characters, visual humour and a 2 hour running time to cover all of this, All About Women becomes puzzling and tedious for about two thirds. Zhou Xun's basic quest for love through a rather silly, maybe even unreal plot works as pleasant distraction and simplifying it would've worked for Tsui Hark here. Being slotted into the romantic comedy genre but focusing on adding a smile inducing, funny aura through the filmmaking style is nothing to be ashamed of. Also with Stephen Fung.

All For The Winner (1990) Directors: Jeff Lau & Corey Yuen

Stephen Chow became a bonafide superstar with this parody of the successful God Of Gamblers-franchise. He plays the Saint of Gamblers and must with his supernatural powers save the day at the tables. Chow's trademark humour is very much on display with highlights such as the parody of the famous entrance scene from God Of Gamblers.Corey Yuen's action directing gives Stephen a chance to show a few moves as well. This movie has more untranslatable Cantonese humour than later Stephen Chow projects and that may lessen the experience a little for westerners. It did for me but All For The Winner is still worth tracking down...

...on dvd finally! Mei Ah realized their blunder in the exclusion of footage of the first remastered pressing and have now put out a new version (with a different cover showing only Chow) that reinstates the film to its full length.

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All In The Family (1975) Directed by: Chu Mu

The stable of stars and actors at Golden Harvest gather for a light, goofy time possibly containing tangents on greed but god only knows what this unintelligible mess actually wanted. There's no fun in the stars on parade stance here and Jackie Chan getting half an hour out of the blue devoted to his rickshaw driver character leading to nudity and sex, All In The Family is conflicted it. Wants to be fun for all including for the adults only crowd but it doesn't help its stock. Dean Shek and Tien Ni stars while Sammo Hung, James Tien and Carter Wong also appear.

All Men Are Brothers (1975, Chang Cheh & Wu Ma)

Clearly filmed during the extensive chunk in the early 70s where Chang Cheh was producing multiple adaptations of stories from the classical novel 'The Water Margin', All Men Are Brothers suffered at the hands of censors and a shortened version wasn't released until 1975. Chang Cheh continues to wisely go for a more narrow scope telling selective tales of the 108 Liang Shan outlaws as they attempt to rid the country of corruption and rebel factions taking over the government. The other huge advantage to this outing versus the longer and more dialogue heavy The Water Margin is that the plot is all about ongoing plans and action this time around. Therefore as basic as they come with no noticeable depth to the famous heroes but that's in a way audience friendly. You go to movies for escapist entertainment and in this case to see known characters at center... in action.

So the usual production quality standards are present but the star is clearly fight choreography and a ton of violence. The enlarged action directing team (including Lau Kar-Leung and Tong Kai) stages fine mass brawls, whose main highlight include a variety of performers (including Chen Kuan-Tai and Wong Chung) taking on dozens of opponents only to die the heroic and gory death. Not just showing stabbings off screen and covering the characters in blood, we also have brutal impalings, limbs being cut off and it's easy to see why the film would've been objectionable in a time where censorship was increasing its presence. Thankfully restored partly to allow us to witness the heroic bloodshed, All Men Are Brothers takes a more active route versus the epic predecessor and is the most beneficial for an outside audience. David Chiang and Fan Mei-Sheng return, Chen Kuan-Tai finally gets an expanded role, so does Danny Lee and Ti Lung as Wu Song pops up on occasion.

All Men Are Brothers - Blood Of The Leopard (1993) Directed by: Billy Chan

Extracting and characters and events from the 'Water Margin' novel (as movies and TV has over the years), Billy Chan's take probably requires some more intimate knowledge of characters and events while another section of the audience should be able to admire the action spectacle on display. Centering around General Lin Chiung (Tony Leung Ka-Fai) and an unlikely brotherhood with monk Ru Chi-Shen (Elvis Tsui bringing inspired energy), there's enough, honed comedic banter between the stars and inspired wire-fu choreography. It makes one realize that deep into the 90s kung-fu trend, these intense, flying sights could still exhilirate. Not everybody needed to be Tsui Hark in order to get that verdict. Also with Joey Wong, Tan Lap-Man, Lam Wai and Lau Ching-Wan in a rare period role.

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