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Posts Tagged ‘Mason Lee’

Limbo (2021)

Tuesday, January 9th, 2024

Soi Cheang a.k.a. Cheang Pou-soi is a director whose name(s) get my attention because he made one of the great modern action films, KILL ZONE 2 a.k.a. SPL 2: A TIME FOR CONSEQUENCES (2015) – a masterpiece in my book. He has a bunch of other ones I need to catch up with, but I enjoyed his car movie MOTORWAY (2012), and one that’s maybe a little more informative here, the 2007 manga adaptation SHAMO, which I would describe as an evil fighting tournament movie. Its protagonist is the usual underdog fighting against the odds, except he’s also a murderer, he has no sense of honor, and he does not seek or receive redemption. Bad person, good athlete, the end.

For almost its entire runtime, Cheang’s 2021 serial killer thriller LIMBO is even grimmer. It has between one and three characters you can root for, depending on your level of forgiveness, but its story and the world it takes place in – a fictional garbage-strewn neighborhood in Hong Kong – are the bleakest of bleak. The black and white cinematography by Cheng Siu-Keung (INVINCIBLE DRAGON, IP MAN 4: THE FINALE) gives  it a moody noir feel at times, gothic horror at others, but mostly just bringing a uniformity to frames crammed with chaotic visual detail. (The screengrabs here will be hard to make out in miniature, and you do get plenty of breathers from that kind of busy-ness in the movie, but I chose them to give you an impression of the incredible production design.) (read the rest of this shit…)

Dead Pigs

Wednesday, June 28th, 2023

DEAD PIGS is a little movie that premiered at Sundance in 2018, and didn’t come to home video in the U.S. until a few years later, but I knew about it because it’s the feature debut of director Cathy Yan, and got her the job of directing BIRDS OF PREY (AND THE FANTABULOUS EMANCIPATION OF ONE HARLEY QUINN).

Yan is American, born in China, raised in Virginia, went to high school in Hong Kong, then went to Princeton and a couple other American schools. Before she started making short films she was a reporter for the L.A. Times and the Wall Street Journal working out of New York, Hong Kong, and Beijing. With a background like that it makes sense that her debut would be a truly international movie: American producers, Chinese financiers, presented by Chinese director Jia Zhangke (ASH IS THE PUREST WHITE), filmed in Shanghai with a bilingual crew, with mostly Mandarin dialogue but also some English, post production done in New York. (read the rest of this shit…)