Wednesday, 14 March 2018

The Monkey King 2

Directed by Soi Cheang, 2016

Travelling monk Tang Seng (William Feng) is on a mission for the Goddess Guanyin, or Quan Yin, (Kelly Chen) to retrieve some sacred scriptures from a temple far away. While he is stranded in a wasteland, he learns that he is to be accompanied by Sun Wukong, the Monkey King (Aaron Kwok). A thousand-year-old White-Boned Demon, named Baigujing (Gong Li), has her eye on the monk, however, and intends to devour his spirit in order to save herself having to incarnate on Earth again. She has three days in which to achieve this so she plans to have some fun with the monk first. However, the Monkey King, along with his allies Zhu Bajie (Xiao Shen Yang) and Sha Sen, or 'Bro Sha,' (Him Law) get in her way. Which, as wonderfully mesmerising and powerful as she is, complicates the film too much in the end.

Although the Monkey King sees with his fiery eyes of truth and equipped with the power and skill required to effect justice, Guanyin gets in his way in order to teach him to see from the heart. Reason therefore takes a dive while mercy and compassion take us on a more scenic route and lead to a complicated mess). The monk's three companions are, of course, personifications of the qualities he is polishing and perfecting within himself.

Apparently The Monkey King 3 is out now. Not much chance of finding it on at a cinema in England unfortunately.


Sunday, 11 March 2018

The Fate of Swordsman

番外之四海流云 (fanwai zhī si hai liu yun)

Adapted from a 3D online roleplaying game called Jian wang 3 (剑网3)

Directed by Qin Zhen, 2017

Rivalry in the Tang dynasty, the earliest period, that of the Kaiywan Shengshi, the reign of Emperor Xuanzong, approaching the An Luchan Rebellion. (Although it would appear that he has not succeeded to the throne yet - the plot's a bit sketchy). The Crown Prince (Linzi, I think) has plans to revitalise the empire in an alliance with certain warriors in order to end the chaotic situation that has been brought on by threats from groups such as the Wei Clan and Ming Sect. The empire is backed by the powerful Chunyang sect which is at the heart of the state religion. Its head happens to be the great Taoist Immortal Lu Dong Bin in this fantasy adventure. And, while the Crown Prince is preparing to make use of his eldest disciple in this struggle for power when he himself comes to power. Meanwhile, Wu Dan and Mu Sa are plotting to eliminate him because they won't last long in the central plains with him around. Xie Yunliu, a gentle, dignified and reserved man, happens to be an outstanding swordsman who is sure to win the top prize at the Fame Sword Meeting which is due to be held at the Hidden Sword Mountain Village.

These menacing rivals send assassins to kill the Crown Prince but he rode on ahead with his men on horseback leaving his sister alone in the carriage. Something of a tomboy, she soon dispenses of them. However, she is aided by Xie Yunliu who happens to be passing by. He refuses to kill anyone, however. So it's just as well she is happy to shed blood. Xie Yunliu has been given the responsibility of returning young Li Chongmao, third or fourth heir to the throne (I think), to the Eastern Palace at Chang'An, the capital. It appears that these dark forces are behind this move as a way to keep the Crown Prince in check. For he could become his successor one day, should he himself be dispensed of. Perhaps they hope to influence the young boy who has just spent seven years in the monastery. The plot is a tad confusing even though this is based on historical events.

Anyway, Wu Dan invites himself to the Crown Prince's banquet in an attempt to assassinate Xie Yunliu before he even makes it to the tournament since he feels that his partner in crime, Ma Su, who smirks a lot while carrying a brown bullwhip around with her, is sure to lose to him at the Fame Sword Meeting. These two master swordsmen clash using the power at their disposal. The crystals on their swords light up and magic is loose. And Xie Yunliu wins without killing his opponent even though he is forced to kill Ma Su by deflecting her flying darts after disarming her.

 The Crown Prince (Linzi, I think)

Huang Jing Xiang as Li Longji, who became known as Emperor Xuanzong (seventh emperor of the Tang dynasty, third eldest son of Emperor Ruizong)


Monday, 26 February 2018

A Fox Spirit Story 倩狐传

Directed by Lv Lei, 2017

I could find no information about this beautiful, enchanting film online. Love at first sight between a poor Taoist scholar and a young woman who is cursed with demonic possession and fears both her demonic 'family' and the threat that the fox demon poses to her beloved. However, a couple of demon hunters are there to save the day. They defeat the wicked sister, the evil betrothed and the fat, long-finger-nailed, powerful, overbearing 'grandma.' With the fox demon gone as well, these two sweet young individuals can live happily ever after. I enjoyed it anyway.

Thursday, 22 February 2018

Madam Medusa

2010 Digital Remaster by UB40

Medusa by Godmachine

From the land of shadows
Comes a dreadful sight
Lady with the marble smile
Spirit of the night
See the scourge of innocence
Swinging in her hand
Hear the silent suffering
That echoes through the land

From the tombs of ignorance
Of hate and greed and lies
Through the smoke of sacrifice
Watch her figure rise
The sick the poor the old
Basking in her radiance
Men of blood and gold

In her bloody footsteps
Speculators prance
Men of dreams are praying
For that second chance
Round her vacant features
Gilded serpents dance
Her tree of evil knowledge
Sprouts a special branch

Madam Medusa
Madam Medusa
Madam Medusa

Knock her right down
And then she bounce right back
Knock her right down
And then she bounce right back
She gone off her head
We've got to shoot her dead
She gone off her head
We've got to shoot her dead
Run for your life before she eat you alive
Run for your life before she eat you alive
Move out of the way 'cause you're blocking out the day
Move out of the way 'cause you're blocking out the day

Artwork by Brian Allen

Medusa by Rob Shields

Tuesday, 20 February 2018

Duel in Ten Days 將界十日決

Directed by Dai Yi-Lin andQiu Xiao-Cheng, 2017

Aladdin meets Cinderella and helps her to find a magic Rubik's Cube that has been stolen from the imperial Tang family.

Saturday, 3 February 2018

Richard Burton

Actor Richard Burton (left) laughs with his father, Richard Jenkins

Richard Burton interview in depth by Júlia Baló

The Richard Burton Interview on Parkinson

In From the Cold. The World of Richard Burton

Richard Burton on The Dick Cavett Show July 1980.
Plus Cavett's reminiscence of the interview

Cleopatra: Richard Burton and Liz Taylor on Set in 1962

Thursday, 25 January 2018

Detective Dee 2

Young Detective Dee: Rise of the Sea Dragon

Directed Tsui Hark, 2013

"From legendary action director Tsui Hark and the creators of international smash hit Detective Dee - Mystery Of The Phantom Flame comes the captivating tale of Dee Renjie's beginnings in the Imperial police force. His very first case, investigating reports of a sea monster terrorising the town, reveals a sinister conspiracy of treachery and betrayal, leading to the highest reaches of the Imperial family." (IMDb).

Note: I was unable to track down a copy of Detective Dee 1 to watch for free online

French with English Subtitles