The themes of this National Day week-long break are unsurprisingly patriotism and surprisingly Mount Everest. Here’s the slate of films trying to beat Ne Zha and The Wandering Earth‘s record-breaking numbers this year. All four are available in limited theaters in the U.S. and Canada (and probably New Zealand and Australia).
Abominable, the love letter to Chinese scenery that’s the first film from Pearl Studio, a venture between DreamWorks Animation, China Media Capital, and the Shanghai Media Group. I’ve seen it in English and definitely recommend it. The main characters are very shippable in an Asian drama way, and the imagery is super imaginative.
Note that if you’re in the U.S., you can watch the film with Chinese dubs in theaters by using the Theater Ears app. Voice actors: Chloe Bennet, Albert Tsai, Tenzing Norgay Trainor in English; Zhang Zifeng, Arthur Chen Feiyu, Wan Qian, Cai Qin in Chinese
The Climbers 攀登者 tells of the first successful Mt. Everest expedition by Chinese climbers. The star-studded cast includes Wu Jing, Zhang Ziyi, Zhang Yi, Jing Boran, Hu Ge, Wang Jingchun and Jackie Chan.
Directed by Daniel Lee (Time Raiders), the film is slated to premiere on September 30th.
Let’s face it, all we really want is a Wu Jing vs Jackie Chan fight.
Ma Li will star in buddy comedy written by Karen McCullah (Legally Blond, Ella Enchanted, She’s the Man) . Eva Jin (Sophie’s Revenge) will direct. (Deadline)
The story centers on an unlikely pair of alpha females — Zoe, an American tech entrepreneur who relocates her company to China, and Maylin (Ma), a local female bodyguard who is hired to protect her. When Zoe’s life is threatened, the odd couple must put aside differences and join forces in order to survive.
Gong Li signed on to star as volleyball legend Lang Ping in upcoming film. (SCMP)
Hu Ge signed on to play coach and husband Jiang Shan in upcoming Li Na epic by Peter Chan. Poster below the cut. (Sina)
Avengers and I, Tonya star Sebastian Stan will star in 355, the spy-thriller starring Fan Bingbing, Jessica Chastain, Lupita Nyong’o and Penélope Cruz. Marion Cortillard has dropped out due to personal reasons. Filming is expected to begin in July (The Hollywood Reporter)
Feather Flies to the Sky has been continuously collecting well-deserved trophies for the past year, and this time screenwriter Shen Jie and male lead Zhang Yi received top accolades. Zhang Yi shared the award with Li Yifeng, who won for his performance in popular espionage drama Sparrow. He has improved since then, so I guess the theme this year is encouragement?
Jia Zhangke (Touch of Sin, Mountains May Depart) often creates contemplative stories that reflect issues in society, and I’m expecting his new romantic thriller Ash is Purest White 江湖儿女 to do the same.
Because the awards shows are government endorsed, the Flying Asparas are taken very seriously, and that means all nominees turn up, which makes the live stream that much more interesting. Red carpet round up and winners list below.
Operation Mekong 湄公河行动 was a critical and commercial hit when it premiered, and this year director Dante Lam has returned with Operation Red Sea 红海行动, another military action film that focuses on members of the Navy, played by Zhang Yi (Brotherhood of Blades II), Huang Jingyu(Demon Girl), Du Jiang(The Wasted Times) and Hai Qing(Midnight Diner).
Aptly titled The Infernal Battlefield, the second instalment of the Brotherhood of Blades film series brings together a talented cast of actors in one of the best wuxia epics in recent years. The story formula hasn’t really changed since the first movie, but it’s worth watching for the cinematography and action choreography alone. Minor spoilers ahead.
Brotherhood of Blades II stars Chang Chen (Mr.Long) as Shen Lian, a member of the Ming Dynasty’s secret police (Jinyiwei) who becomes a scapegoat for a powerful and corrupt official. While on the run, he meets a mysterious painter with a painful past, played by Yang Mi (Reset).
The turnout rate for the actors was pretty embarrassing this year – Zhang Yi was the only Best Actor nominee who attended the event, and ended up winning the award as well. His costar Yin Tao also took home Best Actress, though I’ve read great reviews about their performances in Feather Flies to the Sky, so there was no controversy surrounding the wins.