Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Kelly Chan

Could Kelly Chan Wai-Lam get any more beautiful? That didn’t seem possible based on her movies. However at a recent public appearance on Valentine’s Day at the time of the announcement that she is three months pregnant she now looks even more devastating. Like many Hong Kong actresses she is also a singer--each career complementing the other.

Kelly Chan isn't asked to do much more than look beautiful and move gracefully--and occasionally to be awkward in a graceful way. She hits her mark and says her lines. She has looked fetching but not very threatening as a command officer in the Hong Kong Police Force ("Breaking News"), unhappy but not quite heartbroken as a bride left at the altar ("Tokyo Raiders"--top picture) and constantly annoyed when her life is disrupted ("Lavender"--second picture). With Kaneshiro Takeshi as her co-star in "Lavender" the comeliness quotient was extremely high so any actual acting was a bonus. There is nothing at all wrong with this--gorgeous women will always have an honored place in the movies in (almost) any language and culture, particularly if, like Kelly, they bring the star power of a successful music career with them.

In her recent Valentine's Day appearance she is dazzling--confident, in control, bringing glamour to what looks like a run of the mill promotion. The pictures below which depict this very well are from, the Internet news service of the People's Daily There is a video with sound that starts automatically several seconds after the page is opened.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Teresa Mak "To Seduce an Enemy"

"To Seduce an Enemy" is a terrible movie by any standards. It fails even as a Category III exploitation slime-fest. I would have thought it was impossible to film and edit a scene in which Teresa Mak's character shows another woman how to be sexy by seducing her and make it boring. I would have been wrong. I had been warned how bad it was and watched it only in the interest of seeing as much of Teresa Mak's screen work as possible. Absent that kind of reason there is no reason to waste a moment with this deplorable film. It yielded a few screencaps. The other actress shown here is Winnie Leung Man-Yee.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Teresa Mak "Love Me, Love My Money"

In "Love Me, Love My Money" Teresa Mak has a familiar part as best friend/buddy to the female star--in this case Shu Qi. The star of the movie is Tony Leung Chiu-Wai who has gone from billionaire to bum overnight. His angry ex-girlfriend cancels all his credit cards and reports his ID card as stolen; his accountant is hospitalized after drunkenly smashing up his car so he can’t help; he has fired his entire staff in order to save money and his extremely loyal (one might say insanely loyal) secretary, played by the beautiful Cho Chun, quits after not having a raise or a day off for five years.

Now with no money, not even a provable identity he has to convince Shu Qi to help him out. She is understandably suspicious while being attracted to Leung. Teresa Mak is witty and acerbic as she observes and comments on the developing relationship while finding love (or at least lust) with the now recovered accountant. Their relationship is simple--they can't keep their hands off each other, can't even wait to find a bit of privacy. Mak and Gordon Lam as the accountant, are constantly slipping behind a handy counter or trying to use a potted palm for cover for a quick grope. It is a funny bit, not overdone and in contrast to the very slow dance between the two stars.

One reason that Mak gets so many female buddy roles is her undeniable beauty. With her hooded eyes, luscious lips and knock-out figure she doesn't disappear from the screen when sharing it with Shu Qi, a gorgeous actress and true movie star.

"Love Me, Love My Money" (yet another casualty of overly literal Cantonese to English translation of titles) works as a romantic comedy, particularly the comedy side due to the sheer charisma and talent of the actors, the unusual for him attention to detail by Wong Jing and the impeccable timing shown by everyone all the time. Even though it is a supporting role it is one of Teresa Mak's best and well worth seeing.

Teresa Mak "Tortured Sex Goddess of the Ming Dynasty"

At first “Tortured Sex Goddess of the Ming Dynasty” seems to be one of the typical casualties of the slapdash translations from Cantonese to English that are a particular plague of Hong Kong films. In this case they may have gotten it right, bizarre though it may be. It is labeled as Category III, the rough equivalent of a “hard R” rating, a skin flick with lots of simulated sex and plenty of nudity. Teresa Mak is the star, the topliner whose presence gave “Tortured Sex Goddess” the briefest sheen of respectability. She keeps her clothes on and spends most of the movie chained loosely to a wall waiting to be reborn. I think the Buddhist concept of avici hell or endless suffering is being illustrated or at least referred to here, and the constant knowledge of how each day will be more horrible than the last may be how Mak felt during the filming.

After an opening act that is too tawdry to describe here, action in the film moves to a palace. The focus of the action is Eunuch Liu (Teresa Mak) and the Evil Enchantress (played by, I think, Japanese porn actress Yuri Kumuro). Eunuch Liu is stuck in a horrible cycle of reincarnations, reborn every day and every day sentenced to death and smothered. He is stuck because of the karma from past lives, times in which he was guilty of killing innocent people. He tries to convince the officials around him that they don’t exist but are only images from his dreams and that they will cease to exist when he is killed—which, of course, doesn’t work although his inability to convince them seems to be part of the karmic price he will be paying for the next few thousand years.

The Evil Enchantress wants to change bodies with Eunuch Liu solely, she claims, because she feels sorry for him, which makes absolutely no sense based on anything that has happened until then. The switch does create the basis for sex among three women plus some rough sex between whomever is in the body of the Evil Enchantress and the court official who pronounces the death sentence on Eunuch Liu every day.

This is really a horrible movie, one of the many, unfortunately, that are on Mak’s filmography. While it would never make it to the top of her resume she does a workmanlike job and cashed a paycheck.