Posts Tagged ‘Tat-Ming Cheung’



HONG KONG 2010  Directed by: Pang Ho-Cheung  Story: Pang Ho-Cheung Written by: Pang Ho-Cheung, Heiward Mak Produced by: Subi Liang, Pang Ho-Cheung  Cinematography: Jason Kwan  Editing: Wenders Li  Music: Ngai Lun Wong, Janet Yung  Cast: Miriam Yeung, Shawn Yue, Tat-Ming Cheung, Matt Chow, Tien You Chui, Charmaine Fong, Vincent Kok, Jo Kuk, Ying Kwan Lok, Sharon Luk, Fei-Iin Miao, Roy Szeto, Tak-Bun Wong

Thinking about all the ups and even more downs of the Hong Kong film industry one easily forgets one of its unique assets: the nameless sub-genre of movies philosophizing about life and love in the city (which in this form of course has been started by Wong Kar-Wai). It’s a genre born out of historic events, mostly the 1997 handover: shortly before this life-defining incident the first films of this kind surfaced, and ever since the mid-nineties works discussing the cloudy future of Hong Kong’s current Generation XYZ have become a standard in the local film repertoire. Not that most of these movies were ever more than niche or independent films (they lacked the large portions of slapstick of other romantic or comedic movies to make it to blockbuster fame), but looking back they have always been around sporadically.

LOVE IN A PUFF by writer-director Pang Ho-Cheung shares the same tradition, even though it appears to be more conceptual: the story deals with the changing smoking laws in Hong Kong and centers around a group of working professionals for whom smoking is an essential part of their lifestyle. In fact, smoking is crucial for socializing and displaces eating or working from the top spot.

Shot partly in quasi-documentary style LOVE IN A PUFF observes a group of colleagues working in the same building or district, meeting regularly at the designated smoking areas to exchange news, jokes and gossip. Most of the time is spent on updating each other on the relationships of friends, and of course a cigarette is also a welcome starting point of new relationships, like between Jimmy (Yue) and Cherie (Yeung). As both are having troubles with their partners they start spending more and more time together, finding the comfort of strangers.

It is wonderful to watch their relationship grow (and other relationships deteriorate, or at least stagnate), interspersed with pseudo-realistic interviews and news on Hong Kong’s changing smoking laws. LOVE IN A PUFF is a cynical comment on the city’s smoking situation and it makes the best out of it using it as a thematic backdrop for its story. Smoking with a vengeance, it’s payback time: the ordinary man and woman aren’t gonna give up easily.

Despite LOVE IN A PUFF bordering on satire it still shows all the strengths of Hong Kong’s life-and-love-in-the-city flicks: the loose flow, the random events, the unpretentious attitude, the natural acting, the girl-and-boy-next-door love story, the humorous and emotional conversations about trivial matters and the very individual perspectives on the shared reality.

Life isn’t all that serious in LOVE IN A PUFF – it rather just goes by (usually not too fast) or zigzags from one mundane event to the next. Always authentic and entertaining, the movie shows Pang’s talent for discovering the extraordinary within the ordinary, just like in many of his earlier movies before. Life doesn’t need special effects, it needs someone to pay attention and appreciate its diversity and nuances. Pang delivers another fine film with LOVE IN A PUFF, a worthy successor of gems like LOVE IS NOT A GAME, BUT A JOKE or FEEL 100% / FEEL 100%…ONCE MORE.

If you have been an avid fan of Hong Kong cinema back then you will appreciate LOVE IN A PUFF as one of the warmest and most charming movies in a while. It’s a lively account of Hong Kong anno 2010, and proof that everything remains different.




It’s been a while since Stephen Chow’s original FLIRTING SCHOLAR, but what goes around comes around and so we’re due for an update: FLIRTING SCHOLAR 2 is actually a prequel showing Tong Pak Fu sent to a monastery and meeting Qian Qian who he falls in love with. The rest is, well, a spoof.

Directed by Lik Chi Lee, starring Xiaoming Huang, Jingchu Zhang, Richie Ren, Natalis Chan, Kar-Ying Law, Tat-Ming Cheung and parodies ranging from PAINTED SKIN, to WOLVERINE, to PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN and THE TRANSFORMERS.




HONG KONG 2010  Directed & Written by: Wong Jing  Produced by: Lee Kwok-Hing, Zhuo Wu  Cinematography: Suny Shum  Cast: Charlene Choi, Benz Hui, Sandra Ng, Siu-Wong Fan, Tat-Ming Cheung, Lam Suet, Sammy Leung

I was honestly hoping that FUTURE X-COPS would be the most horrible movie Wong Jing is producing this year, but BEAUTY ON DUTY is really putting my nerves to the test.

I have been exposed to the typical Hong Kong humor and to Wong Jing’s version of that humor for decades. Sometimes it works or me, mostly it doesn’t. Humor is very subjective as well as a cultural facet, so in general it is very hard to tell funny from not funny.

Therefore I will not claim being objective when it comes to BEAUTY ON DUTY. On the other hand it’s a film released for the big screen and hence it is subject to criticism like any other movie out there.

Apart from the subjective quality of humor it must be noted that Wong Jing still cashes in on the same old recipe he is using since over 20 years now. He is still fooling the audience and they still don’t get it. The “story” (which is a rip-off and doesn‘t deserve a second of my time to recap here) provides a very basic framework for a non-stop firework of slapstick: no joke is too dumb, no topic too cliché-ridden and no overacting too much to provoke a reaction from the audience.

Everything has to be simple-stupid and as loud as possible. The smallest common denominator is what really matters. Nothing has changed for Wong Jing the almighty recycling machine since the 80’s: why invent it yourself when you can just steal it and make it worse? You got no ideas, no taste and no style? Go work with Wong Jing, there’s always plenty to do.

As mentioned elsewhere he could put is talent to better use, but unfortunately usually chooses not to. Even a veteran crew and cast cannot save a movie like BEAUTY ON DUTY, and seeing Sandra Ng, Tat-Ming Cheung or Andy Lau being degraded to clowns hurts – for a moment, then we realize they are generously compensated for their decision to act in junk like this. Shame on all of them.

BEAUTY ON DUTY is a disgrace to filmmaking. It has no artistic qualities whatsoever. If you are interested in watching a movie, look elsewhere. Your dog wouldn’t want to watch this one. BEAUTY ON DUTY doesn’t even come close to what is generally considered a movie.

BEAUTY ON DUTY is an un-movie. It’s must-miss cinema. And I am sure Roger Ebert would want to cut both his thumbs off seeing it (hope you read this review Roger, really).