狗牙 Dogtooth 4.5 / 5
Dogtooth is a bizarre, disturbing and thought-provoking Greece movie. In the story, a stern patriarch and his obedient wife keep their teenage son and two teenage daughters cloistered from the world and misinformed about the world. For example, they teach their children new words with absurdly inaccurate definitions e.g."zombie" defined as a little yellow flower. On the surface, the film is about the influence of authoritarian parents on their children. From the
political perspective, the movie can also be viewed as a stinging satire on the absurdity and terror of dictatorships which gain their power through violence, fraud, brainwashing, the control of mass media, satisfaction of basic needs, etc. Besides, the film also shed light on humans' curiosity. The audience will be amused by its absurdity, shocked by its gore and sex and impressed by its uniqueness and political satire.
90後突圍少女 Fish Tank 4.5 / 5
Fish Tank is a realistic, well-acted, gripping and poignant coming-of-age story with a gritty description of the bleak inner-city life. It reminds me of Precious and An Education, which are more dramatic.
亡情使者 The Messenger 4.5 / 5
The Messenger, albeit slightly talky, is a powerful, heart-wrenching and resonant healing process which shows us the human cost of war. It also features a friendship between two lonely hearts. Woody Harrelson superbly plays his role as a lonely soldier whose emotions are suppressed because of his identity. Ben Foster's character teaches him to treat soldiers as human beings who have feelings and should cry if necessary. Both actors give subtle and convincing performances. It is a pity that Ben Foster doesn't get nominated for an Oscar. His performance in this film is underrated in my opinion. Don't miss this touching indie movie leading to catharsis.
閃亮的星星 Bright Star 4 / 5
Bright Star is a very romantic and beautifully shot love story which will cast a spell over the audience, especially those who love poems.
謎情追兇 The Secret in Their Eyes 4 / 5
殺死我阿媽 I Killed My Mother 3.5 / 5
肥媽誤闖美麗加 Amreeka 3.5 / 5
冧爆你恐怖舞會 The Loved Ones 3.5 / 5
安非他命 Amphetamine 3.5 / 5
Amphetamine is about love, drug and fate. Compared with Permanent Residence, the director has made MUCH progress in terms of music (by People Mountain People Sea), editing (by Heiward Mak), cinematography and acting from the ensemble cast. I was touched by the love story and lots of snippets of their love can be recalled. The acting is VERY natural and convincing. Besides, the characters are lifelike. Nevertheless, a few lines (JUST a few) sound a bit stilted and a few CGI images are a bit distracting. On the whole, it is an independent local gay film which is emotionally expressive and visually stunning. This Hong Kong movie definitely deserves our support.
志明與春嬌 Love in a Puff 3.5 / 5
Love in a Puff is a light-hearted romantic comedy examining typical romantic relationships in Hong Kong nowadays. It starts creatively and ends with a catchy song. However, the film is far from perfect because of several reasons.
First, the story with some witty and authentic dialogue is not flawless. That Cherie leaves her boyfriend whom she has been with for 5 years because of a newly met male friend she fancies simply does not convince me. Her character should at least experience some emotional turmoil when she makes the decision. Also, it is unlikely for her to go to a motel with Jimmy with her luggage. Instead, she should look for a place to settle in first. Apart from this, the twist at the end seems unlikely.
Second, although Miriam Yeung is able to perform naturally, her character is not three dimensional enough to showcase her acting skills. Judging from her character’s tone and choice of words, the audience only sees Miriam, instead of Cherie in the movie. Miriam's character should be called Miriam. Moreover, the scene in which she argues with her husband in the bedroom is devoid of tension, which is a solid proof of her average performance.
Third, the use of foul language is slightly over the top. After watching the movie, I cannot help but ask if it is necessary for most characters (a health inspector included) to use foul language so often. It also seems to me that the movie is stereotyping smokers as foul-mouthed. By the way, it is interesting to observe that some members of the audience burst into laughter whenever a character uses foul language. Indeed, this kind of joke does not work on everybody.
Fourth, the interviews are insignificant and insipid. Indeed, most of the things they talk about in the interviews are not thought-provoking. Besides, is it necessary to show the boom mic intentionally in every interview?
On the whole, Love in a Puff, at times, has a subtle insight into romantic relationships in Hong
Kong nowadays, whereas it is far from perfect.
Non-HKIFF Movie: 雙情路 Brothers 3.5 / 5
I agree with Film Critic Kevin Maher that Brothers is a melodrama of some engaging moments which never quite coalesce into a credible or satisfying whole. The reasons are that the characters and most emotional changes are underdeveloped and feel rather contrived.
Non-HKIFF Movie: 馴龍記 How to Train Your Dragon 4 / 5
A visually stunning, fast-paced, gripping and heart-warming animation with pleasing characters. It reminds people of Avatar. Suitable for all ages. The film reminds me of what Martin Luther King says: men often hate each other because they fear each other; they fear each other because they don't know each other; they don't know each other because they do not communicate. The movie delivers a message that discrimination and fear is caused by misunderstanding. With communciation and understanding, it can be eradicated.