Monthly Archives: October 2018

Shadow (2018)

Director: Yimou Zhang

Starring: Chao Deng, Li Sun, Ryan Zheng, Qianyuan Wang, Jingchun Wang, Jun Hu, Xiaotong Guan, Lei Wu

In a complicated opening we learn that the Commander has been replaced by a “Shadow” raised since he was a child to protect his master from palace intrigues. There was a lot going on in the opening scenes and I kept falling asleep due to being tired. It doesn’t help that the movie is slow paced on purpose to develop the characters and situations more.

The kingdom has had its’ home city taken over and the king advises against trying to retake it by force. The commander ads his two cents and ends up being stripped of his rank by the king and dismissed. Another peace offer involving the king offering the princess for marriage backfires when the prince wants her to be a concubine instead.

The commander and his double train to try and defeat his adversary in the challenge but are getting nowhere. Madame suggests that they use a parasol and move in a more feminine way, que lots of fluid movement and swishing water.

The double goes to the duel, knowing that he is not meant to win it and just act as a distraction for some other fighters to sneak into the city. Amongst the fighters is the princess who is seeking revenge after being slighted by the concubine offer. Will the plot succeed? Who lives and who dies? Will there finally be some action? Well I’ll let you find that out for yourself.

While there is no problem with the staging, costumes and sets the pacing was a bit slow for my liking and I was waiting for it to get to the action.

Great performances all round especially from the princess who gives it to the prince who slighted her.

When it does finally get to the fight scenes they are well staged and artistic. The scene with the fighters surfing down the hill on the steel umbrellas is a bit silly but not played for laughs.

I would recommend this movie if you would like a historical drama with some action thrown in.

Moira Finucane’s Dance Hall

featuring Moira Finucane, Maude Davey, Mama Alto, Clare St Clare, Paul Cordeiro, James Welsby, Berlin Willow Sizer

The Famous Spiegeltent, Luna Park

Thursday, 11th October 2018

I hadn’t been to one of Moira Finucane’s shows since Glory Box a couple of years back and I had been following this one via social media as it toured but did not think I would be able to see it.

Seeing the show pop up at the Speigeltent I said hello to Clare and she asked if I was coming to see it so I couldn’t say no as I had not seen her in so long.

I ended up getting the peanut gallery/artist tickets but was upgraded to a table when I arrived for the show.

The layout of the show is quite a bit different than the last one I saw with dance numbers, songs and some storytelling by Moira Finucane in some sections.

Moira acted as MC and had her own performances during the show.

Paul Cordeiro and James Welsby did some excellent dance numbers including the splits multiple times. My favourite dance of Paul’s was the Bollywood number and James was great doing the Vouging.

I did like having the other cast members holding torches to illuminate whoever was performing,

Maude Davey was quite versatile and even ended up doing a comedy routine dressed as the world.

It was great to see Mama Alto again and her singing was the best as always.

Clare St Clare was my favourite in the show and I got to talk to her after we got off the carousel.

Berlin Willow Sizer was from Mirbo North supposedly and did some great numbers.

After the show finished all the audience got to go on the carousel and have Maude Davey sing while we rode it. For some reason I thought this was only going to be for the deluxe ticket holders. There was a ride on the ghost train next but I did not have the premium ticket.

Special mention must go to the stage monkey who had to climb up a ladder to throw rose petals down and clean things up between acts.

All the acts were very good and I enjoyed having the performers rove around during the performances and sometimes have the acts come in from a direction you did not expect.

A great show and hopefully they all go on to do more shows and a repeat season after they finish.

Project Gutenberg (2018)

Director: Felix Chong

Starring: Chow Yun-Fat, Aaron Kwok, Dmitry Mazur, Jason Moehring, Rick Pokrajen-Harmon

Lee Man (Aaron Kwok) is in a Thai prison when he is gotten out by the Hong Kong police who want to question him about the whereabouts of a major counterfeiting kingpin the Painter (Chow Yun-Fat). He is scared that he will be killed, but agrees to tell them if they offer him a deal.

Cut to 1985 when Lee Man is a starving artist living in Vancouver with his girlfriend. Ten years’ later and he still hasn’t sold any of his art. A gallery owner offers him a job copying a work by Albrecht Durer to sell off at high prices.

Unknown to him the Painter takes an interest in his work and turns up to his girlfriend’s exhibition, insulting his work that was snuck in there to get his attention. Lee Man runs out to stop the Painter driving off and they go for a drink. He offers him his card if he wants some work.

When Lee Man finds out the work is to be counterfeiting $100 bills he is dead against it, but the Painter manages to convince him otherwise. He ends up burning his own painting for some strange reason and goes to meet the plane.

On the plane to Hong Kong he meets the usual suspects who are going to be part of the enterprise and each of their roles are explained. There is quite a lot of detail put into the scenes of setting up the counterfeiting operation with the drawing of the forgery, engraving the plates, printing test copies and trying to source the special paper and ink for the notes.

When they go to get the special ink that changes colour is when stuff starts to go south with a big action scene of holding up the armoured truck carrying the drums of ink and several casualties resulting. Lee Man is shocked that the Painter is so violent and refuses to pull the trigger.

Lee Man threatens to quit, but the Painter will not let him so Lee Man says he will come up with a way to get the ink without having to steal it.

There are quite a few scenes of them exchanging the fake currency for real money all over the world. In the mean-time an investigation has been launched in Canada after the armoured car raid and it ends up moving to Hong Kong.

A deal in the Golden Triangle goes bad, leading to a massacre and the whole group going underground. Loyalties are tested and Lee Man still wants no part in killing. When the group eventually ends up returning to Hong Kong things go bad again and this time the police get involved.

This a great crime story with a lot going on and a plot that reminds me of a certain film from the 90s with a large cast and unexpected turns.

It is great to see Chow Yun-Fat in a Hong Kong movie again even though he is not really the main character in the film. The shot of him lighting a cigar off a burning $100 note is not in the film so I guess Hong Kong movies play the same tricks as Hollywood ones.

I did enjoy the action scenes of the armoured truck heist and the raid on the village. We do get to see Chow Yun Fat with twin machine guns in the latter and having Lee Man refuse to shoot in most of the scenes was different.

The scenes of the interrogation were also good and I enjoyed the performance of the female police officer as she took no bullshit from anybody.

I had been looking forward to this movie for a while and it did not disappoint. While it would be good to see on the big screen, I am sure it will be streaming or on DVD/Bluray soon enough.