# 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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Erotic Ghost Story (1990) Directed by: Nam Nai Choi

Despite this Cat III effort's obvious title play on A Chinese Ghost Story, Nam Nai Choi's Erotic Ghost Story in the end owes more to The Witches Of Eastwick than to the Ching Siu-Tung classic. The combination of softcore sex, a thin but surprisingly straight story certainly is very much worth sitting through and true to form, Nam Nai Choi gives us some wonderfully wild, bizarre and superbly entertaining images towards the finishing stages of the movie. I wouldn't mind if there had been more of that as Nam was one that had an uncanny ability to greatly entertain through his low-budget, special effects spectacles. Nam also acted as cinematographer here and Phillip Kwok action directed. Phillip would subsequently work in that capacity on Nam's The Cat and Story Of Ricky.

Erotic Ghost Story II (1991) Directed by: Peter Ngor

Sequel to Nam Nai Choi's cult favourite is merely connected via a fairly long prologue and a cameos by Amy Yip and Man So, two of the fairies from the first film. After that, it's business as usual as Peter Ngor gives us plenty of nudity, demonic sex and ghostly hijinxs. Like the first installment, proceedings do feel boring at various times but things do spark whenever Anthony Wong appears as the depraved Wu-Tang god. Another aspect to connect the films is the fact that the directors both served as cinematographers as well and it's here that Ngor clearly has the upper hand on Nam (you may remember Ngor in an acting role, playing the cinematographer in Viva Erotica). It's lush colours and fairly nice camerawork, with some particular stunning images (for the genre) appearing at the end. Still, Nam knew how to shift gears into overdrive, something Ngor isn't interested in so even the big finale is a slow battle.

Anyone who actually went after the sequel knows what they're after and truth be told, you can't really dislike Cat III smut like this. It's uniquely Hong Kong and some small merit lies in that.

Erotic Ghost Story III (1992) Directed by: Ivan Lai

Trying to follow in the footsteps of Nam Nai Choi and Peter Ngor, Ivan Lai took on the challenge of bringing something noteworthy to a series that's only mildly enjoyable anyway. Surprisingly, and in a big way, Lai utilizes a high gear of creative energy that I for one didn't think was in him, creating perhaps the second best of the series (best being Part II).

Using plenty of drawn out, fairly well-shot, erotic scenes instead of a full plot to get this baby up to 90 minutes (not necessarily a bad thing), Lai also gives us rather plenty of Cat III insanity along the way. Those include midgets, a character having the power to shrink himself to get into...umm...tight spots (one of them only in Hong Kong movie moments) and even a smattering of fun wire-enhanced martial arts choreography (Phillip Kwok returning to the series as action director). Starring Pauline Chan, Cheung King Fa, Noelle Chik, William Ho and in a fun little turn as the Buddhist monk, Shing Fui On.

Errant Love (1980) Directed by: Lau Lap-Lap

I've come to realize that Taiwan romance is equally addictive when in poignant AND corny territory. And somewhere in between efforts like Cloud Of Romance travels but Errant Love however loses its battle with me, being an audience of today. Shirley Lui is Ho Pan Yun, a widow shortly after marriage and her heart is broken in pieces. Living with the family of her diseased husband, lively and energetic young woman of it, Chung Ko Hui (Nancy Lau) devotes her heart to handsome singer Kao Kan (Kenny Bee). However Kao Kan wants to connect to the musical and blue Pan Yun more. Enter a little rivalry, tragedy, deception and lotsa scenes of Kenny playing the guitar...

Noble themes of heartbroken romance isn't a bad thing and despite the many musical numbers, sometimes very unwarranted, the film is blessed with a moody soundtrack. However as characters start to ache, the emotional distress on display doesn't really translate and although performers are nowhere near embarrassing, the women on display aren't able to challenge the power of Brigitte Lin, the queen of Taiwan romances.

Escape From Coral Cove (1986) Directed by: Terence Chang

KENNETH'S REVIEW: In the producing group of most John Woo's movies from Once A Thief and onwards, Terence Chang attempted directing once with this horror flick in the vein of Friday the 13th, Halloween (there's a shot by shot scene from the original in Chang's movie) and monster flicks in general. Sort of fitting the story of the first part of the former, along the way Chang injects totally gratuitous tits, ass, bush (in fairly well shot underwater scenes), a boat party that leads into a groovy party montage (watch out for the Donald Duck bathing suit) and then love rivalry as the majority of the useless characters decide to go with primal lusts in favour of friendships (no sex scenes in the flick though). Thank god there's a creature (Roy Cheung) in the water to disrupt things then. Or perhaps not as the monster stalking isn't particularly eventful. We do get genre clichés aplenty as people act in the most stupid of ways, like peeing on burial urns and walking in thick forests by themselves. A little boy and his science experiments sets up our finale not subtlety at all and the sole fun image comes from the reveal that our water ghost doesn't bleed, he spurts water! And the nice guy finishes last in this one! Bonus points for a busty Elsie Chan.

Escape From Hong Kong Island (2004) Directed by: Simon Loui

Simon Loui can't have escaped your view as he seems to turn up almost everywhere (except the big budget vehicles) mostly playing odd ball characters with mildly amusing, harmless results. Which means that his impression on a film usually isn't very long lasting and same can be said for his directorial debut Escape From Hong Kong Island.

The moral of the story as presented by Loui is glaringly obvious as we follow stock broker and genuine a-hole Raymond Mak (Jordan Chan) and his struggles to get to a job interview across the harbor in Kowloon. After being robbed of all his money, it's soon apparent that he's made no friends in this world that are willing to help out...

Shot on the cheap and not a little self indulgent in visual style and presentation of comedy, Loui hopes and prays that the inclusion of blurry visuals, split screens, Jim Chin and Chapman To will produce amusing results. As hard as it is to admit as performers Chin and To are annoying and largely unfunny respectively, there is an aura to Escape From Hong Kong Island that is mildly amusing and harmless. Jordan Chan gets us easily through the running time, handling the cliché development of Raymond as competently as the familiar script will allow and Loui paces the movie well enough, not overstaying his and its welcome. Whether or not he's is welcome to dabble in directing again is questionable as this first foray equals what he usually does when in front of the camera. It certainly rarely cost anything to have him there but if Loui want to further himself, he really should venture into darkness next as he proved in Killing End that he can make a long lasting, even haunting impression. Escape From Hong Kong Island is almost forgotten by the time I write this and is not a fine addition to 2004's Hong Kong output but there are a few more worse ones and that is some kind of kudos to Loui I guess. A host of familiar faces turn up including Law Kar-Ying, Tats Lau, Vincent Kok, Emily Kwan, Wayne Lai, Cheung Tat-Ming and Barbara Wong.

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Esprit D'amour (1983) Directed by: Ringo Lam

Reports are that Leung Po-Chi (He Lives By Night, Hong Kong 1941) started off as helm of this project before getting the boot after producer Karl Maka felt unsatisfied with his work. The assistant director Ringo Lam instead got upgrade to debuting director and helmed mostly a typical Cinema City production with the addition of a little of his own flavour.

No, it's really not a pre-cursor to anything that's now highly associated with Lam. I.e. gritty realism and pessimism (City On Fire, School On Fire) and largely Esprit D'amour certainly is a product of its time, featuring numerous silly bits in combination with the supernatural angle (man-ghost romance). The 80s cinema of Hong Kong often had its charms, combining a confidence in an actual uneven package and the film corresponds to that. Alan Tam fans probably walked home happy as their favourite star goes bare chested and engages in ghostly love with Joyce Ngai. The late Bill Tung's role becomes an in-joke as well as in real life he was devoting himself to the world of horse racing just like his character in this film. Phillip Chan is also allowed to be funny for once, a nice spark to the flow of the film. Cecilia Yip, Tien Feng and Lung Tin-Sang co-stars.

Then Ringo's dark demons surface and the film becomes another definition of a true Hong Kong product. Ejecting all notions of fun, Lam delivers a stylish tension-filled ending that makes you realize that Esprit D'amour actually holds some significance in regards to the future trajectory of his.

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The Eternal Evil Of Asia (1995) Directed by: Cash Chin

After a manslaughter act towards a powerful Thailand based wizard's (Ben Ng) sister, four Hong Kong natives now have the wizard hot on their heels and he's out for the strongest revenge possible.

Directed with a hyperactive visual style, this fairly straight up (if such thing can be applied to Cat III insanity such as this) supernatural horror effort proves to be a lot of fun. Leaving out most of the obnoxious comedy and even nudity in favor of decently executed gore and wild supernatural set pieces, director Cash Chin creates a definite "only in Hong Kong"-ride that only holds one sad flaw really. He doesn't choose to put Lily Chung's wizard character at the forefront and while Ellen Chan can stimulate the senses, she's not much of a heroine. On the other hand, we do get Ben Ng chewing scenery like no other can, even though this is not even 1/10 of the beast he was in Red To Kill. Kudos goes out to him and Ellen being game for the bizarre finale that must've felt totally ridiculous shooting.

The comedy that The Eternal Evil Of Asia does provide is well-timed and creative, the highlight being Elvis Tsui's dickhead character paying the price for being just that and a similar, though less elaborate, flying mating session a la A Chinese Torture Chamber Story turns up here as well. It's quite remarkable that director Chin could churn out this much fun and subsequently make the surprisingly boring Sex & Zen II the year after.

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Eunuch Of The Western Palace (1979, Wu Ma)

Wu Ma's competence as a director is usually not to be questioned and in a way same applies to Eunuch Of The Western Palace. Making this martial universe fairly cinematic through style, characters defined through their skill, incoherency still creeps its way in. Almost a trope that you stack and stack characters and motivations on top of each other in this genre, by opting to immerse through exposition dumps we don't get a true sense of the thread that runs through the film. Latching onto who's the good and bad in this equation is possible however and the weapons- and martial arts-scenes are of high, very fluid quality. Wu Ma's film feels like one of many though. One that slightly more competent but doesn't feel all that different either. With Don Wong, Mang Fei, Lo Lieh, Chung Wah and Lung Fei.

Evening Liason (1996) Directed by: Chen Yi Fei

A late directorial talent, Chen Yi Fei was otherwise an acclaimed painter of Chinese landscapes for most of his life. Evening Liaison and The Music Box represented his sole directed films before his death in 2005. It comes as no surprise then that the film is expertly designed, shot and scored, aspects that evokes fine eerie atmosphere, atmosphere of dread and the atmosphere of the time in the 1930s. Within this we find the story of a seemingly lonely press photographer (Tony Leung Ka-Fai) who encounters and falls in love with a woman claiming to be a ghost (played by Mabel Zhang). It's the Mainland Chinese Ghost Story then and right on cue, dialogue concerning that man can't fall in love with ghost finds its place in the film. But it's clear our initial truth may not be THE truth and although the interest peters a little as we move along, director Chen involves with his combo of art and flashback structure with several potential areas the story can head to. Politics gets covered, parallels to depression and at the end of the day, Evening Liaison doesn't live up to its rather great beginning reels but has us reeled in to a decent degree throughout.

Based on a folklore of the pre-revolutionary era, the film was given technical awards at both the Taiwan Golden Horse and Golden Rooster Awards.

Even Mountain Meet (1993) Directed by: Lawrence Lau

Screwball comedy, local parodies, odd musical numbers often done in off-beat Chinese opera style and we've only scratched the surface of this head scratching effort from Lawrence Lau (Gangs, My Name Is Fame) but it's clear he had it in him to deviate totally from his otherwise set drama path. There's no street level realism here, just a series of oddities strung together that manages to cohere, entertain and suitably the weirdness on display builds. Centering around the movie industry, Ching Ching (Wong Wan-Si) is a longtime maid of has been actress Ting Ling-Ling (Dik Boh-Laai). They apparently interact more often than not by singing but when Ting one day doesn't get up, it turns out she's dead. As a spirit, she does ask Ching Ching to find Prince Charming for her. Into this comes prop man Kin (Dicky Cheung), his father Tsao (Ng Man-Tat), and the movie star (Winnie Lau) Kin is infatuated with. It seems to lean towards Tsao as the Prince Charming-choice but somehow this very ugly man is the object of desire for many, including Ching Ching...

Or something like that. First half of Even Mountain Meet is your biggest test. Not only is there no signs of coherence but every dip into comedy and singing puzzles to the point of frustration. It's possibly a bit too local for an outsider but by amping the sights, sounds, creating a sparkling piece of visual cinema in the process, Lawrence Lau slowly warrants attention. And soon there's delight to be found in every off-beat detour, whether it's the midnight snack song number, Dicky Cheung looking for every piece of gold he can find in Ting's apartment or the mad plot developments towards the end. Even Mountain Meet isn't a film. It's spontaneity, playfulness, an eagerness to stay very Hong Kong and it's kind of loveable.

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