This week’s movies offers quite a lot of diversity and not only within the film crew but also concerning the stories. The Cutthroat Island director Renny Harlin continues his film career in China with a thriller taking place during Christmas eve. Sounds familiar? With little resemblance to Die Hard 2 his new movie Bodies at Rest takes place in a morgue and probably has more similarities with Home Alone than it has with John McClane’s holiday special at an airport.
Another foreign director, Russian Oleg Stepchenko, is directing the Sino-Russian co-production and sequel Viy 2 which takes place during the 18h century and will probably go down in history as the movie which had a fight between the two action giants Jackie Chan and Arnold Schwarzenegger.
The anime-inspired animated film For the Glory is about a team of E-sport competitors who has their mind set on winning the national championship. A bit unclear what game they are playing except that it follows the aesthetics of exaggerated fantasy dress code and hyperbolic fighting scenes.
One of this weeks films that I’m looking forward to the most is Send me to the Clouds. Starring one of Chinas bigger names, Yao Chen, the film touches on every day existential subjects such as the frailty of life and who to spend your life with. The trailer looks promising but it might as well be a film with a generic sentimental ending where everything works out. Let’s hope not because nothing beats a good tragedy.
Three smaller productions this month. A family drama where Little Miss Sunshine seems to have been their biggest inspiration (Crazy Family Show); Our Forty Years, a movie which depicts a China today and a China 40 years ago when China first opened up for reform and to the world and all the nostalgia which comes with that time. The biggest enigma might be The Cave Dwelling which is being labelled as a horror film but has next to nothing when it comes to promotion material. I’m most of the times very sceptical towards Chinese horrors because Chinese film regulations doesn’t allow too much gore or scariness (though this is usually inconsistent depending on the content of the film) and also the genre itself doesn’t have that long history within the Chinese film industry so we need to restrain or anticipations for these films some time more.
Press the title of the film to watch the trailer.
Title: Bodies at Rest 《沉默的证人》
Director: Renny Harlin
Writer: Wu Mengzhang (吴孟璋), Chang You (畅游), David Lesser
Starring: Nick Cheung (张家辉), Yang Zi (杨紫). Richie Jen (任贤齐), Clara Lee
Plot: Christmas Eve. Forensic experts Chen Jiameng (played by Nick Cheung), and Qiao Lin (played by Clara Lee) work is suddenly interrupted one night when a group of violent thugs enter the morgue and forces the two forensics to bring forward a certain corpse and remove a bullet from the body. In the process of removing the bullet Qiao and Chen discover that the bullet is connected to a major case concerning the criminal underground in the city. With only the tools at the morgue at their disposal Chen and Qiao decides to fight back in order to protect those who are involved with the case and expose the criminals behind the murder.
Title: For the Glory 《全职高手之巅峰荣耀》
Director: Shi Juansheng (史涓生), Deng Zhiwei (邓志巍)
Writer: Li Youcong (李又聪)
Starring: A Jie (阿杰), Bian Jiang (边江), Xia Lei (夏磊)
Plot: Best friends Ye Qiu and Ye Muqiu decides to join the national E-sport competition with their team Jia Shi (嘉世). With some help from the owner, Tao Xuan, of a local Internet Cafe they build up their team and start practicing.
Title: Send me to the Clouds 《送我上青云》
Director: Teng Congcong (腾丛丛)
Writer: Teng Congcong
Starring: Yao Chen (姚晨), Yuan Hong (袁弘), Li Jiuxiao (李九霄)
Plot: Sheng Nan, a female who pursues her dreams with high ambition but who also seeks true love, though she is all alone. During an accident she finds out that she has ovarian cancer and needs surgery but her father is short of money and her mother shows no interest. She has no other option than to take a job she doesn’t want in order to pay for the surgery. With pride and arrogance Sheng Nan finds it far more difficult to deal with the situation she is in than she could have imagined. With a mixture of hope and despair she tries to understand the world in her own way.
Title: Viy 2 《龙牌之谜》
Director: Oleg Stepchenko
Writer: Alexey Petrukhin, Oleg Stepchenko
Starring: Jackie Chan, Arnold Schwarznegger, Jason Flemyng, Rutger Hauer, Charles Dance
Plot: The English traveller Jonathan Green (played by Jason Flemyng) receives from Peter the Great an order to map the Russian Far East. Once again he sets out for a long journey full of incredible adventures that will eventually lead him to China. The cartographer will unexpectedly face a lot of breathtaking discoveries, encounter bizarre creatures, meet with Chinese Princesses, and confront deadly martial arts masters, and even the king of all dragons, the Dragon King. What could be more dangerous than meeting eye-to-eye with Viy, except doing it again? What would be stronger this time, a staunch skepticism of the scientist or the old black magic that has seized power of Eastern lands?
Title: Our Forty Years 《我们的四十年》
Director: Li Yixiang (李易祥), Bao Zhenjiang (鲍振江), Li Zhenwei (李振伟), Huo Meng (霍孟)
Writer: Bao Zhenjiang (鲍振江), Huo Meng (霍孟). Guo Zhuang (郭状)
Plot: 1978, Bao Zhenjiang soon graduates in drama at a university in Kaifeng where his examination project is a play about the Song politician Bao Zheng (包龙图). But on the eve of the premiere his best friend Jin Hong breaks his leg and is unable to act in the play. 40 years later Bao Zhenjiang is with his friends in the US to once again do the play about Bao Zheng. Chen Shan earns his living by selling Beef noodle soup to his customers. He and his son Chen Qingfeng has a restrained relationship and when the son returns home three years after his mother died a conflict between the son and the father
Title: Lost in the Cave Dwelling 《古窑迷踪》
Director: Yuan Jie (袁杰)
Writer: Liu Ping (刘萍)
Starring: Puff Kuo (郭雪芙), Robin Luo (罗彬), Liu Yongqi (刘永奇)
Plot: In the village of Guyao an ancient cave attracts a lot of people to curiosity because of the many myths and strange phenomenons that occur at the cave. The writer Zhang Xiaoyan is accompanied by her boyfriend and other friends to the cave in order to get some inspiration from the scary environment for her upcoming book. A mysterious coffin, frightful door knocks and a maze that traps them, what more dangers awaits them in the cave?
Title: Crazy Family Show 《疯狂一家秀》
Director: Ye Xiaozhou (叶小舟)
Starring: Xiao Cong (肖聪), Yuan Zifei (原梓霏), Yang Kexin (杨可心)
Plot: Jiang Meidou is a ten year old who just won a sing and dance competition which gives her the chance to go to Beijing and compete in the final competition. Her whole family goes with her: dad, mom, the rebellious big sister and her granddad which, to put it mildly, has a drinking issue. But their way to Beijing is far from being fast and smooth, instead they meet all kinds of crazy people on their way.