HOME |  JOIN |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Unsane
Smithereens
Last Warrior, The
Artemis 81
Rampage
Quiet Place, A
Braven
Changeover, The
Isle of Dogs
Funny Cow
Maze Runner: The Death Cure
Mad to Be Normal
Beast of Burden
Dead Men Walk
Game Night
Under the Tree
L'Amant Double
Gonin
Coco
Producers, The
Molly's Game
Forest of the Lost Souls, The
Hatchet III
Birdman of Alcatraz
Pacific Rim: Uprising
Wonderstruck
If It Ain't Stiff, It Ain't Worth a Fuck
Nun, The
Red Sparrow
My Friend Dahmer
   
 
Newest Articles
The Edie Levy: Edie Sedgwick, Andy Warhol and Ciao! Manhattan
The Ultimate Trip: The Original Psychedelic Movies
Players of Games: Willy Wonka, Tron and Ready Player One
What Am I Doing Hangin' 'Round? The Ends of The Monkees
Flings and Arrows: Conquest vs Flesh + Blood
Orson Around: F for Fake and The Late Great Planet Earth
ITC What You Did There: Retro-Action on Blu-ray
And It Was the Dirtiest Harry We Have Seen in a Very Long Time: The Dirty Harry Series
Manor On Movies: The Astounding She Monster
Manor On Movies: Don't be a dolt. That's not a cult (movie)
Wes Anderson's Big Daddies: Steve Zissou and Others
Bad Taste from Outer Space: Galaxy of Terror and Xtro
A Yen for the 1990s: Iron Monkey and Satan Returns
Hey, Punk: Jubilee and Rock 'n' Roll High School
Help! with The Knack: Richard Lester in 1965
   
 
  All About Women Ooh, Hark At Her!Buy this film here.
Year: 2008
Director: Tsui Hark
Stars: Zhou Xun, Kitty Zhang Yuqi, Kwai Lun-Mei, Alex Fong, Steven Fung, Godfrey Kao, Shen Chang, Eddie Peng, Jacob Cheung, Tsui Hark, Kwak Jae-Yong, Henry Fong Ping
Genre: Comedy, Romance, Fantasy
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: Homely scientist Fan-Fan (Zhou Xun) secretly invents the magical “Pheromone Stickers” in order to maximise her seductive charms and thus find true love. Men swarm like bees to honey around gorgeous businesswoman Tang Lu (Kitty Zhang Yuqi), but she is eager to prove she has more to offer besides beauty. Punk rock chick Tie Ling (Kwai Lun-Mei) has always been with the “man of her dreams”… even if he’s only a figment of her imagination. A chance meeting at a restaurant draws these kooky girls and their calamitous love lives into a whirlwind of misunderstandings, thwarted passions and romantic misadventure.

Whoever thought Tsui Hark, the man behind A Chinese Ghost Story (1987) and Once Upon a Time in China (1991), would score his biggest hit in years with Hong Kong’s answer to Sex and the City? Actually, Hark has always been interested in feminist issues and strong female characters going back to his period action classic Peking Opera Blues (1986) and failed attempt to convince John Woo to make A Better Tomorrow (1986) with an all-female cast. Although Chinese critics drew the Sex and the City comparisons, while All About Women is refreshingly frank about women’s sexual desires (for a non-Category III Hong Kong movie, anyway), the tone is less raunchy than zany. Thankfully, one does not need to have the xx chromosome to enjoy this sassy saga of sexual one-upmanship, thanks to a sharp script from Kwak Jae-Yong, the Korean writer-director behind My Sassy Girl (2001).

As often with Jae-Yong, beneath the surface wackiness lies a story about three emotionally scarred people whose comic misadventures bring about often painful self-revelations and ultimately prove part of a healing process. His other trademark are the surreal detours into sci-fi subplots, manifest here as “selective sclerosis” - a rare condition Fan-Fan suffers from that leaves her prone to Carrie-like psychokinetic outbursts during courtship and sex. This serves as part of the film’s central message that in order to find love one has to risk being vulnerable, as anxious Fan-Fan, calculating Tang Lu and angry Tie Ling slowly welcome intimacy with their respective, good-hearted paramours: rock guitarist Xiao Gang (Stephen Fung), eco-activist Professor Wu (Alex Fong) and long-suffering office drone Mo (Godfrey Kao).

The film struck a chord with Hong Kong moviegoers in ways that might not resonate with an English audience. For one thing, it is plugged into very 21st century Chinese tensions between rampant economic growth and the dehumanisation of society. Set in a vibrant, multicultural Hong Kong of incredibly chic surroundings and glamorous women, the film stresses a winning message about setting corporate greed aside in favour of worthier artistic and eco-friendly pursuits. Hark’s breakneck visual style, punctuated by daydreams, fantasies and cartoon sequences perfectly suits Jae-Yong’s vibrant script, although surprisingly for him it takes about an hour to establish the characters and draw them all together. His restless experimentation sometimes runs to the detriment of his storytelling, but the gags are often very funny indeed. Especially priceless are the scenes where Tie Ling sings a duet with her imaginary boyfriend in front of a baffled audience and when nearsighted Fan-Fan creates havoc at an auction.

If the frantic pace proves exhausting, viewers can latch onto a trio of top-notch performances. Kitty Zhang Yuqi demonstrates she can do so much more than just stand around looking pretty, as she was wastefully required to in CJ7 (2008). She ably conveys the outwardly conceited Tang Lung’s self-delusion and secret vulnerability, as someone who has looks, power and wealth but not a single friend. Kwan-Lun Mei makes a very convincing rock chick, despite indulging Jae-Yong’s usual comic preoccupation with girls who beat up their boyfriends. She also contributes to the fantastically eclectic soundtrack that proves Hong Kong has finally found an indie rock scene!

By far the most inspired comic turn comes courtesy of Zhou Xun. After playing a schizophrenic in Baober in Love (2004), a sexy kung fu diva in Ming Ming (2007) and a lovelorn ghost in Painted Skin (2008), she further stakes her claim to being one of the most versatile actresses in modern Chinese cinema by gamely sporting a bad haircut and deadpan demeanour. Most of the laugh-out-loud moments revolve around her character.

Interestingly, All About Women opts for an open-ended conclusion rather more bittersweet than your standard rom-com ending. That seems fitting since after all, love is a complicated beast, though the film seems to imply if you open your heart to a woman you are just as likely to get punched in the face as kissed.

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 2587 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

Tsui Hark  (1950 - )

Hong Kong director, producer, writer and actor and one of the most important figures in modern Hong Kong cinema. Hark majored in film in the US, before returning to his homeland to work in television. Made his directing debut in 1979 with the horror thriller The Butterfly Murders, while 1983's Zu: Warriors from the Magic Mountain was a spectacular ghost fantasy quite unlike anything in HK cinema at the time. Other key films of this period include Shanghai Blues and the brilliant Peking Opera Blues.

Hark established the Film Workshop production house in 1984, and was responsible for producing such groundbreaking films as John Woo's action classics The Killer and A Better Tomorrow, Ching Siu-Tung's A Chinese Ghost Story and New Dragon Gate Inn, and Yuen Woo-Ping's Iron Monkey. In 1991 Hark revitalised the period martial arts genre and launched the career of Jet Li by directing the hugely successful Once Upon a Time in China, which was followed by several sequels.

Like many Hong Kong directors, Hark gave Hollywood a go in the late nineties and directed Jean-Claude Van Damme in Double Team and Knock Off. He returned home soon after to continue directing and producing movies like Time and Tide, the epic effects-fest Legend of Zu and romantic adventure Seven Swords.

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which film has the best theme song?
Spectre
The Ups and Downs of a Handyman
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
  Robert Segedy
Darren Jones
  Asma Amal
  Chris Lawrence
Enoch Sneed
George White
Stately Wayne Manor
   

 

Last Updated: