Get us in your inbox

Search

Hong Kong film releases

Reviews, trailers, cinema listings and Hong Kong film releases

Advertising

The biggest films in cinemas now

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Film
  • Drama

Harrison Ford has plenty of experience working with big, furry co-stars, but in ‘The Call of the Wild’, his hairy companion is a little more down to earth than Chewbacca. A St Bernard-Scotch collie, Buck is the protagonist of this latest adaptation of Jack London’s 1903 novella. If you’re familiar with the story or you’ve seen any of the other umpteen adaptations, you’ll know the dognapped hero goes through a series of human-sidekicking adventures in the Yukon – pulling sleds, dodging avalanches and facing down grizzly bears, before tussling with his wolf ‘ancestor’ wild side. The curveball in this version is that it’s not entirely live action. Bar a couple of goats, all of the animal cast is rendered in CGI, while our pooch hero is performed by motion-capture expert Terry Notary (‘Rise of the Planet of the Apes’). The results are, at best, mixed. While director Chris Sanders (‘How to Train Your Dragon’) is able to pull off action set pieces and human-dog interactions that would be a big ask for even the most versatile canine performer, Buck has a slightly fake look and lacks the tangible reach-out-and-pat charm of an actual dog. It’s the uncanny (or uncanine-y?) valley writ large. Fortunately, Ford is his usual charismatic (and entirely non-CG) self as a kindly-grouchy frontiersman. Janusz Kaminski’s lush cinematography is a sizeable compensation too. Although it gets a bit mushy at times – with a vision of nature that is frankly fantastical (the animals don’t talk, but they

Like A Boss
  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Film
  • Comedy

A lack of charisma and un-funny gags make this comedy about the cosmetics industry as pointless as a blunt eyeliner pencil. Mia (Tiffany Haddish) and Mel (Rose Byrne) are best buddies, business partners and flatmates in ropey friendship comedy ‘Like a Boss’. They’ve shared every detail of their lives – and plenty of dope – since high school, and yet they share little chemistry on screen as their make-up company, Mia & Mel, gets swallowed up by a cosmetics conglomerate fronted by Claire Luna (Salma Hayek). Inevitably, their friendship is tested as Luna puts them through their paces and smashes their ideas – literally, with a golf club, for no discernible reason. Predictably, Hayek’s character is a one-dimensional boss ‘bitch’ with a backstory that we never really understand, who has self-professed ‘enormous’ breasts and wears a Charlotte Tilbury wig. Scenes in Mia and Mel’s store are just as jarring. Jennifer Coolidge plays shop assistant Sydney, channelling her turn in ‘Legally Blonde’ but with astronomically worse one-liners (‘It’s fresh and clean, like a thermometer that goes in your butt’). There are some funny moments, including a shocking baby shower cake reveal and a typically sassy performance from the inimitable Billy Porter (‘Pose’) as Mia & Mel’s make-up creator, but most of the gags feel either completely out of context or completely out of nowhere – as does an appearance from Lisa Kudrow right at the film’s flimsy finale. There’s no amount of foundation that

Advertising
  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Film
  • Thrillers

Guy Ritchie has gone back to his roots, or at least backwards. After a run of big-budget blockbusters – most recently this year’s $1 billion-grossing ‘Aladdin’ – the director has returned to the world of fast-talking British gangsters, the milieu that launched him in ‘Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels’ and ‘Snatch’. This film will be popular with fans of both, but it paints a strange and regressive picture of a world where white straight men are all morally superior to everyone else, even if they’re murderers, thugs and drug dealers. The title should be a blackly comic joke, but the plot seems to take it seriously. The film centres on Matthew McConaughey’s Mickey Pearson, a former Rhodes scholar who became a drug dealer to the upper classes while at Oxford and built a billion-dollar empire on weed. Now he wants to sell to Matthew Berger (Jeremy Strong) and retire with wife Rosalind (Michelle Dockery) – but rival gangster Dry Eye (Henry Golding) could scupper the deal, while private investigator Fletcher (Hugh Grant) threatens to expose them all. The story is largely told via flashback, as the flamboyantly pervy, ferret-like Fletcher visits the gorgeous home of Mickey’s right-hand man Raymond (Charlie Hunnam) to explain how much he knows and how he knows it. Grant’s scenes with Ray are immense fun, but the flashback structure doesn’t work as well. We don’t get much of a look inside Mickey’s head even when he’s on screen, just his operation, and despite McConaughey’s charis

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Film
  • Action and adventure

Little good came out of 2016’s ‘Suicide Squad’, but one of its few bright points was Margot Robbie’s anarchic Harley Quinn. Now she gets another shot at the spotlight in this spin-off directed by Cathy Yan (‘Dead Pigs’), who lets her heroine’s mania guide her through a story that’s scrappy, weird and ultimately fun as hell. Quinn has broken up with her long-time beau, the Joker, and now faces a seething Gotham underworld unprotected. She must scramble to survive her enemies, particularly crime kingpin Roman Sionis (Ewan McGregor), aka Black Mask, and his right-hand man (Chris Messina), introduced via a scene of shocking sadism. She makes a deal with Roman that should keep her alive but it puts her up against disillusioned cop Renee Montoya (Rosie Perez) and the idealistic Danah Lance/Black Canary (Jurnee Smollett-Bell), a singer at Roman’s club. They’re all after a young orphan (Ella Jay Basco as the character who, in the comics, becomes Batgirl). Oh, and someone’s shooting mob guys with a crossbow. The mysterious Huntress (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) may or may not be involved. You’ll need that deep breath you just took, because the film’s first act mirrors Harley’s incoherent, time-hopping narration in its explanations of who’s who and what’s what. But once that is untangled, ‘Birds of Prey’ is wildly entertaining. McGregor goes full psycho as Black Mask, a foppish ‘trustafarian fuckwad’, all Elton John suits and Skeletor masks. But it’s really the ladies’ show. Robbie’s tur

Advertising
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Film
  • Drama

Bittersweet and maturely witty, director Lulu Wang’s Chinese-American family drama ‘The Farewell’ beats with an immigrant’s split heart. Featuring a thoughtful, career-revising turn from ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ scene-stealer Awkwafina, Wang’s autobiographical story is ‘based on an actual lie’ (as an intro title tells us), though not the comforting kind of white lies shared at the start: Walking through a wintry New York City on a long-distance call, the unemployed writer Billi (Awkwafina) reassures her concerned granny back home in Changchun, China, that she’s wearing a hat. (She isn’t.) In turn, ‘Nai Nai’ (Zhao Shuzhen, adorably commanding) casually claims that she’s at her sister’s house. (She’s actually at the hospital for a scan.) Now comes the real lie: In what is commonplace practice in China, Nai Nai’s family elects to withhold a grim diagnosis of cancer from her, saying the news is good. The clan comes together in Asia under the false pretext of a sudden wedding between Billi’s cousin and his confused Japanese girlfriend, setting the stage for a gathering that’s outwardly celebratory but secretly devastated (a mood beautifully supported by Alex Weston’s vocal-heavy score). Wang expertly plays these scenes to both comedic and heartbreaking effect, while the unruffled but bossy Nai Nai proudly throws together the trimmings of a full wedding, complete with a photoshoot and an over-the-top, colourful banquet. The riotously awkward event (reminiscent of a low-key version of

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Film
  • Comedy

‘Dolittle’ has long been a dream project for its star, Robert Downey Jr. But it’s hard to imagine that this version is what he was dreaming about, even during his most feverish nights. Writer-director Stephen Gaghan finds little joy in the simple premise of Hugh Lofting’s books about a man who can talk to animals. Gaghan, who made his name writing seriously chewy adult dramas like ‘Traffic’ and ‘Syriana’ (which he also directed), seems a strange choice to helm a movie in which one of the lead characters is a bloody-minded ostrich. In this adaptation, John Dolittle is a recluse. He once sailed the world with his wife, chatting to animals and curing their ills. But following the death of Mrs D, he has locked himself away with a pack of assorted creatures (voiced by the likes of Emma Thompson and Tom Holland, and created with excellent CGI). Now the Queen of England has been taken ill, threatening the future of his home (long story), and he’s forced back into action. The only thing that can save her is a fruit growing on an island that nobody has ever found. The laziness of this premise – how can an undiscovered fruit be a known cure for anything? – is typical of the slapdash approach to most things in this film. Voiceover is used to paper over gaps in the storytelling, while Downey Jr – who plays Dolittle as vaguely Welsh – just looks baffled, and well he might. By the time we arrive at a finale centred on one grumpy creature’s impacted bowel, all sense has vanished and pulli

Advertising
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Film
  • Drama

Greta Gerwig has directed only two films that are solely her own but she’s already become a brand. That’s in evidence within the first five minutes of ‘Little Women’, a huggably self-deprecating take on the Louisa May Alcott classic. Brashly confident Jo (Saoirse Ronan, from Gerwig’s debut film ‘Lady Bird’, still uncorking those soulful stares that outclass the competition) sits in the office of a New York publishing house. Because it’s the 1860s, she has to pretend she’s trying to sell the work of a friend. But a parental editor (Tracy Letts, also from ‘Lady Bird’) sees through this and has mercy on her. He reads, pencil in hand. ‘Make sure she’s married at the end – or dead,’ he concludes, somewhat approvingly. Jo, elated, runs down a city block, just like Gerwig did in ‘Frances Ha’. If this isn’t the ‘Little Women’ you remember, either on page or screen, that’s understandable. But it’s likely the one you felt, and that’s more important. Gerwig, who should be celebrated as both an evolving screenwriter (the bold adaptation is hers) and a shrewd formal stylist, cuts to the thematic essence of the novel – sisterhood and coming of age, but also nostalgia and mourning your own past – and finds a visual language for it. Alcott’s saga of the four March sisters has been divided and restitched by Gerwig into two interwoven halves. Girlish energy suffuses the warmly lit scenes of their Massachusetts teenhood (Daddy’s away, fighting the Civil War), days chockablock with attic theatr

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Film
  • Drama

Think ‘Ocean’s Eleven’ with strippers and you’ve got the premise of Lorene Scafaria’s surprising, gripping ‘Hustlers’. Constance Wu stars as Dorothy, aka ‘Destiny’, the new girl at a hot Manhattan gentlemen’s club. The wildly successful Ramona (Jennifer Lopez) takes Dorothy under her wing and shows her how to get ahead in exotic dancing. But after the 2008 financial crash, the pair and their friends resort to criminal means to keep the cash coming in. This is a deeply feminist film, one where men are given less screentime than the cameoing Cardi B and Lizzo. These women are objectified by the world, though rarely by Scafaria’s camera. They use that fact to scam money and take revenge on Wall Street’s finest. Scafaria treats them as flawed, fractious characters and folk heroes, not sex dolls. She packs in some visual flourishes too, like a shaky cam shot of one of the crew’s walk of shame to her daughter’s school. It’s a reminder that there’s more at stake for these women than the ability to buy designer clothes. If Wu is compelling as Destiny, Lopez is magnetic as her savvy mentor. It’s her most authoritative role since ‘Out of Sight’. The plot, in contrast to the stars, sags in the middle and there are a few more celebratory hang-out scenes than we need, but the gang are so charismatic, it’s no great chore to spend extra time with them. Why, some people would pay thousands for just a few minutes.

Advertising
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Film
  • Animation

It’s pretty weird to think that Disney used to recycle its own animations to save a few bucks. So, Baloo from ‘The Jungle Book’ magically became Little John in ‘Robin Hood’ with a little sleight of hand by its toiling animators. Of course, that was long before the Mouse House became a world-conquering animation behemoth on the back of Pixar’s success and smash hits like 2013’s ‘Frozen’. That made $1.3 billion, so around one dollar for every time your kids have made you watch it. Happily, this long-anticipated sequel feels entirely fresh. The world it creates is charming, the wit sparkles and – one brief burst of ‘Reindeer(s) Are Better Than People’ aside – the songs are all new. So let go of ‘Let It Go’ and clear some room for a new batch of earworms. As you’d expect, the self-contained Elsa (voiced by Idina Menzel) remains at the heart of the story, but ‘Frozen 2’ also belongs to her exuberant sister Anna (Kristen Bell). She’s very much a co-conspirator here, sharing ‘When-Harry-Met-Sally’-ish tiffs with lovestruck Kristoff (Jonathan Groff, blessed with a genius ’80s-style power ballad from songwriters Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez) and helping to guide the scene-stealing Olaf (Josh Gad) through a very funny coming-of-neige plotline. The hilarious ‘When I Am Older’ and some philosophical musings on the nature of existence are an absolute delight. If there’s a flaw, it’s the slightly fiddly plot that has more folky symbols and elemental runes than a Hoxton tattoo

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Film
  • Drama

Martin Scorsese pulls off a killer curveball at the beginning of the frequently electrifying, if overstuffed ‘The Irishman’. As The Five Satins’ ‘In the Still of the Night’ plays, the camera creeps forward... only this time it’s not through the Copacabana nightclub à la ‘Goodfellas’, but down a nursing home hallway. Is this where Scorsese’s gangsters end up? Only the unlucky ones, the film suggests. Adapted by Steven Zaillian (‘Schindler’s List’) from 2004 crime memoir ‘I Heard You Paint Houses’, the 209-minute ‘The Irishman’ isn’t about still nights so much as the dying of the light that comes with old age. It’s also about the belated surge of guilt that comes at the end of a life of crime. At least it is, eventually. When we first sidle up to the wheelchair-bound Frank Sheeran (Robert De Niro, building a performance that gets better and better), he’s a white-haired old-timer looking back on his life. Just for a second, you wonder if he’s rambling to himself. He steers us back to a time in the late 1940s when, as a married World War II vet and union truck driver, he meets mafioso Russell Bufalino (Joe Pesci, terrific) on the side of a Pennsylvania road. It doesn’t matter how many times Pesci calls De Niro ‘kid’ (and it’s several), nothing will sell you fully on Scorsese’s biggest gamble: digitally de-aging his cast so that they can play their own thirtysomething characters. Everyone looks unnaturally pink and puffy-faced, like 50-year-olds who have recently discovered hair

Recommended
    You may also like
      Advertising