Categories
Features Live Action Movies

Hard Miles

Director – R.J. Daniel Hanna – 2023 – US – Cert. 12a – 108m

****1/2

A youth facility social worker takes a group of troubled young men on a transformative team bicycle ride – out in UK and Ireland cinemas on Friday, May 31st

Day-to-day life is one thing after another for Colorado medium-security correction school staff member Greg Townsend (Matthew Modine). He is in court defending, failing to get the court to see one of his charges as a human being rather than someone who committed an offence. Leaving, he finds someone has stolen his bicycle (it later gets found by the police, having sustained only minor damage). He is fielding calls from his prison-incarcerated brother about their father, who is in a care home and may not have much longer to live, and with whom Greg has not had contact for years. He is at the school, pulling boys apart as they attack each other for the most trivial remark.

However, not everything is about work and family responsibility. Greg is a cycling enthusiast, and is looking forward to taking his booked holiday of a week or more off cycling 1 000 (well, 762) miles to the Grand Canyon.… Read the rest

Categories
Features Live Action Movies

Mr. Vampire III
(Ling Wan
Sin Sang,
靈幻先生)

Director – Ricky Lau – 1987 – Hong Kong – Cert. 15 – 88m
***1/2
Stunt-filled action comedy in which a travelling con-artist in cahoots with ghosts helps a Taoist priest fight a gang of horse thieves led by an evil sorceress – out on Blu-ray in the UK on Monday, May 22nd as part of Eureka! Video’s Hopping Mad: The Mr. Vampire Sequels

The third ‘official’ Mr. Vampire film (i.e. to be made by Sammo Hung / Leonard Ho’s Bo Ho Films company).

Set in the early twentieth century of the original Mr. Vampire, this once again takes the constituent parts of the original and shakes everything up a bit to come up with something at once different yet recognisably the same.

Taoist priest Ming (Richard Ng) is not terribly good at the job, so is getting by as a con artist going from village to village banishing ghosts for anyone who’ll pay him, the con element being that he has two ghost assistants, the adult Big Pao (David Lui Fong) and the small boy Small Pao (Hoh Kin-wai from Mr. Vampire II) who act out the part of being banished. Real ghosts with a nasty habit of appearing and messing things up force him to move on.… Read the rest

Categories
Features Live Action Movies

Mr. Vampire II
(Geung See
Ga Zuk,
殭屍家族)

Director – Ricky Lau – 1986 – Hong Kong – Cert. 12 – 89m

*****

After a professor unearths a family of undead corpses, the child befriends a little girl and the parents go looking for it – out on Blu-ray in the UK on Monday, May 22nd as part of Eureka! Video’s Hopping Mad: The Mr. Vampire Sequels

The second ‘official’ Mr. Vampire film (i.e. to be made by Sammo Hung / Leonard Ho’s Bo Ho Films company).

A professor (Fat Chung) leads his two hapless assistants Chicken (Billy Lau) and Sashimi (Lau Chau-sang) on an archaeological dig, sending them into a cave where they find a family of corpses (father, mother, small boy played by Cheung Wing-cheung, Pauline Wong and Hoh Kin-wai respectively) immobilised by talismans on their foreheads, and take them back to the professor’s workshop. As the professor and Sashimi are driving the child corpse, the talisman comes off, and it comes to life, later escaping to a house where it is found and befriended by a little girl Chia-Chia (Hon Kin-yu), who keeps it hidden in her room from her widowed father Mr. Hu (Woo Fung). She introduces it to her brother (Choi Man-kam) and later to four of their friends.… Read the rest

Categories
Features Live Action Movies

A Light
Never Goes Out
(Deng Huo Lan Shan,
Dang Fo Laan Saan,
燈火闌珊,
lit. Waning Light)

Director – Anastasia Tsang – 2022 – Hong Kong – Cert. 15 – 103m

****

The widow of a Hong Kong neon sign maker attempts to fulfil his last wish in constructing a specific neon sign, despite new regulations outlawing them – out in UK cinemas on Friday, May 12th #ALightNeverGoesOut

Mei-heung (Sylvia Chang) hangs around an amusement arcade coming to terms with the loss of her husband Bill (Simon Yam) who died just six weeks ago. He believed in luck and wishes coming true, and once won on a machine she thought a scam by inserting a coin whilst facing away from the machine. In their younger days, he proposed to her by fixing various neon lights on timers so that every time she’d make a wish, a switched off neon street sign would light up. Discovering her hard-nosed, go-getter daughter Prism (Cecilia Choi from Detention, John Hsu, 2019) has dumped Bill’s effects at the local communal recycle bin, she tries to retrieve them, falling foul of a cop more interested in enforcing rules than community spirit.

Bill was a much better craftsman than businessman, and packed in his business ten years ago so as to obtain a university grant for Prism.… Read the rest

Categories
Features Live Action Movies

After Yang

Director – Kogonada – 2022 – US – Cert. PG – 96m

****1/2

In the distant future, a couple must come to terms with the loss of the eldest child, actually an A.I. purchased as an ethnically programmed companion for their adopted South East Asian daughter – SF mystery drama is on Sky Cinema from Thursday, September 22nd

Memory is one of the great themes of cinema because when you point a moving image camera at someone, you capture and preserve their moving image for posterity. (Something similar happens when you record the sound of someone’s voice. Or even if you write down their words on paper, a simpler, more primitive form of recording.) Memory is also one of the elements which defines us as human beings.

Full marks, then, to director (actually writer, director, editor) Kogonada for taking the short story Saying Goodbye To Yang by Alexander Weinstein and expanding it into a feature. As described in the parlance of the distant future world in which this is set, Yang is a technosapien (i.e. a robot), a purchased elder sibling of a family comprising father Jake (Colin Farrell), mother Kyra (Jodie Turner-Smith) and daughter Mika (Malea Emma Tjandrawidjaja).

Mika is adopted, and her ever so Hollywood liberal parents – he a white man who has built a business around his passion for tea, she a black woman who is a hard-working, highly motivated high-flier in a demanding corporate business that’s never really defined – are concerned that she connect with her South East Asian heritage.… Read the rest