• Beauty on Duty

    Beauty on Duty

    Beauty on Duty is Jing Wong trying to revive the comedy he was known for at the very start of his career. Situational comedy, lots of overacting and simple formulas. The problem is that is comes off rather stale and uninspired, as if he wasn't really feeling it himself and was just going through the motions.

    Chung Oi Fong is a young cop who saves Fat Wai from hired killers on one of her first patrols. Fat Wai has information…

  • Men Suddenly in Love

    Men Suddenly in Love

    A somewhat surprising misfire from Wong. What you get here is his take on Ho-Cheung Pang's Men Suddenly In Black, but without all the wit and cinematic prowess. Maybe it's because Wong is a little too obvious with his references here, which makes his film come off that much worse.

    Five men organize a party for their old teacher. Five women join the party, but then their teacher collapses. He gives the men one last assignment: get their mistresses to…

  • The Rainmaker

    The Rainmaker

    You don't see courtroom dramas being released that often nowadays, and that's probably not a bad thing. By far one of the most narrative-driven, lengthy and sentimental genres in the film industry, I don't think I've ever seen a really good one either. The Rainmaker fits right in with the rest of the bunch.

    A young and spirited lawyer is assigned an insurance case. He's really not equipped to battle the legion of lawyers representing the insurance company, but he…

  • Spectre

    Spectre

    Craig's Bond reign has been one big disappointment. Not because Craig's terrible, though I will say he doesn't really fit the profile of the Bond I prefer. Having seen all the films in the main series, it's clear that I thoroughly prefer the sillier side of Bond. Spectre doesn't do silly (well), it's mostly a very serious film.

    Though I've seen most of the Craig Bonds in a relatively short span of time, and recognize something of a story arc…

  • Your Name Engraved Herein

    Your Name Engraved Herein

    A modern Happy Together. Wong Kar-Wai's coming of age drama has become a landmark film for Asian LGBT+ communities, it's a small miracle that it took this long for a film to challenge its status. Kuang-Hui Liu delivers a pretty brave attempt, though his film doesn't really rise above many of its peer.

    Jia-han and Birdy are two boys who discover they are attracted to each other. The film is set in late 80s Taiwan, and gay relationships weren't socially…

  • Canary

    Canary

    Canary may not be topping too many lists, nor does it have a strong, dedicated fan base. That has more to do with its relative obscurity and tough, almost impenetrable exterior than factual lack of quality. Shiota proves himself a gifted drama director and balances cinematography, score and performances to draw the most out of the conflict between the two leads. Canary may not be a very flashy or exuberant, it's a superb drama that doesn't flinch when it's dealing with unpleasant characters and darker, often taboo themes. Well worth watching if you're starved for good Japanese dramas.

    Full review:
    www.onderhond.com/blog/canary-review-akihiko-shiota

  • The Postman Always Rings Twice

    The Postman Always Rings Twice

    A very straight-forward noir/romance that's been stretched to a runtime that nears the 2-hour mark. I'm not quite sure why, possibly because they tried to cram in as much as possible from the book this was based on, but with a plot and characters this simple there's really no point to let it drag on this long.

    Frank's a wanderer, someone who can't stay in one place for very long. That is, until he walks into a diner and meets…

  • The Curse of Audrey Earnshaw

    The Curse of Audrey Earnshaw

    Not a bad film, but it's hard to look at Lee's film and not see the inspiration of The VVitch. The Curse of Audrey Earnshaw certainly isn't a bad film, but the formula starts to shine through early on and from that moment the film just follows a pretty strict trajectory, without making too many attempts to add something original.

    Agatha has a farm a little outside a very devout commune. While people in the commune are suffering, Agatha seems…

  • Mercenaries from Hong Kong

    Mercenaries from Hong Kong

    It's easy to forget Jing Wong started his career as a Shaw Bros director. Mercenaries from Hong Kong isn't the usual Shaw Bros material though, instead we get some kind of John Woo-like vehicle, with Wong focusing almost exclusively on (gun) fights. It's clear that this isn't really Wong's forte.

    Luo Li is a veteran who fought in Vietnam and Cambodia. He and his palls are trying to reintegrate in society, but they've got very little to show for their…

  • Hong Kong Playboys

    Hong Kong Playboys

    One of the very early Jing Wong films. Like most of his contemporaries, Jing Wong is a "practice makes perfect" kind of director, meaning that a lot of his early work just isn't that great. Hong Kong Playboys is a prime example. It's somewhat decent filler, but if you're looking for a proper Wong film, it's better to skip this one.

    Sheng is a real player, but he has some serious competition. When his mom returns from Canada, she brings…

  • In Her Shoes

    In Her Shoes

    Curtis Hanson goes lengthy drama/romcom. I'm not really sure what notes he was trying to hit here exactly, but none of the three genres are very successful. Instead, you get a bit of everything, spread out over 130 minutes of film. I think people making that kind of commitment deserve more.

    Maggie and Rose are sisters, but they have opposite characters. Rose is neat, tidy and needs to be in control, Maggie lives her life from one week to the…

  • The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It

    The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It

    I wasn't expecting too much from this third part, looking at the previous Wan-verse films it seems the formula is running on its last legs. I didn't really like Chaves' earlier film either, so maybe that's part of the reason why this turned out to be a pretty solid entry in the Conjuring franchise.

    This third film has Ed and Loraine solving another case. After the exorcism of David Glatzel, the demon jumps into the body of Arne Johnson. Things…