A Taste of the Taiwan Film Festival Edinburgh 2021

By Stephen Palmer Last year fellow League member Caz (@SheSpoiledIt) and I got to look at some films that were being shown as part of the inaugural Taiwan Film Festival Edinburgh, a wonderful event that shone the light on some real unseen gems of 20th and 21st Century Taiwanese film. Because of the human malware situation, it was operated online, and gave the pair of … Continue reading A Taste of the Taiwan Film Festival Edinburgh 2021

The Silence of The Lambs – 30 Years Later

By Stephen Palmer In 1991, something rather amazing happened. A horror film swept the board at the Oscars. Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Director.. and something that no other horror film has done.. it won Best Picture. At the time of writing, no horror film before or since has achieved Best Picture (“The Exorcist”, “Jaws”, “Get Out”, “Black Swan”, and “The Sixth … Continue reading The Silence of The Lambs – 30 Years Later

Taiwan Film Festival: “The Bride Who Has Returned from Hell”

Year: 1965 Runtime: 118 mins Director: Tsin Chi Writer: Zhang Yuanfu Stars: Hsu Feng, Dai Peishan By Stephen Palmer After her sister is mysteriously killed in a boating accident, Bei Sui-mi (Jin Mei) returns from Singapore and secretly embeds herself into her late sibling’s privileged family, posing as a governess for her niece. Not content with solving the mystery of her sister’s death, Sui-mi manages … Continue reading Taiwan Film Festival: “The Bride Who Has Returned from Hell”

Taiwan Film Festival: “A City Called Dragon”

Year: 1970 Runtime: 90 mins Director: Chung Hsun-tu Writer: Chung Hsun-tu, Han Wu Stars: Hsu Feng, Chun Shih By Stephen Palmer When one considers the great female actresses who have devoted a substantial part of their careers to martial arts movies, some familiar names crop up. Maybe Malaysia’s Michelle Yeoh? Or Thailand’s Yanin “Jeeja” Vismitananda? Japan’s Meiko Kaji? What about American Maggie Q? Of course, … Continue reading Taiwan Film Festival: “A City Called Dragon”

Retrospective Review: Mulan: Legendary Warrior

One of the tentpole releases of 2020 is going to be Disney’s live action remake of it’s popular 1998 Animated musical feature “Mulan”, one of the highlights of the Disney Renaissance of the 1990s. Of course COVID-19 has seriously disrupted the schedule, and I’m not going to discuss the merits of it (at the time of writing) being shifted to on online release via the Disney + platform. What I do want to bring your attention to is to the 2009 Chinese live-action version of the story bought to the screen by Hong Kong director Jingle Ma Cho Sing, starring Zhao Wei (aka Vicki Zhao), and along the way tell you a little something about the origins of the character herself. Continue reading Retrospective Review: Mulan: Legendary Warrior

Why I Hate Star Wars

I’m old enough to remember 1977, and as a young 6 year old I got all caught up in the excitement of “Star Wars”. I had two copies of the 1978 annual. I read them avidly, cover to cover, multiple times. Because of how long it took for feature films to make it to British television, I’d actually see “The Empire Strikes Back” at the cinema before I ever saw the first film, but I knew the story forwards, backwards and sideways. I remember getting Alan Dean Foster’s ‘Splinter of the Mind’s Eye’ spin-off novel from our school library multiple times.

So this sounds like the origin story of someone who totally loves and adores “Star Wars” right? No. I hate “Star Wars”. Continue reading Why I Hate Star Wars

Review: Miss Americana

Cards on the table. I am a member of Team Swift. Even though I am probably not the target demographic for her music. To me, she’s a clearly talented and interesting songwriter and performer, and whom I believe showed great promise with her early dabble in acting on an episode of C.S.I.

Except… there’s always been something slightly manufactured about Taylor. Is it her straight-line upward success trajectory from her early days in Country to being a Queen of Pop? Was it the constant headlines about her relationships with various men or her celebrity girl gang? And then there are the Kanye West shenanigans. She’s one of a handful of superstars that have grown up in the Social Media Age (see also, Gaga, Lady and Perry, Katy), and on the whole, has seemingly managed a public persona that’s.. well just darn nice. Possibly just too nice. Continue reading Review: Miss Americana

Review: First Love

“First Love” is a comedy-drama, set in one of Miike’s favourite environments, the world of the Yakuza (Gangster). A promising boxer, Leo (Masataka Kubota), is surprisingly beaten in a contest and is informed it is probably due to an inoperable brain tumour. Whilst walking the streets attempting to process this news, he bumps into drug-addicted sex slave Yuri (Sakurako Konichi) and inadvertently messes up an attempt by a crooked cop and an up-and-coming Yakuza to steal a drug shipment from the local crime family. Along the way, we meet One-armed Chinese crime bosses, deadly female assassins, and murderously unhinged girlfriends, amongst other characters too numerous to list. Somehow, amongst the violence and craziness, the two form a connection with each other, but only if they survive. Continue reading Review: First Love

31 Days of Horror, Day 31: Jennifer’s Body

When making that perfect meal, there are two key rules – follow the recipe, and get the very best ingredients. Everything else is just adds to the general appearance, but if you get those basics right? You won’t go far wrong. Making a film is pretty similar – get the right story, and deliver it with the best creative team, and you’ll almost certainly get an enjoyable film. “Jennifer’s Body” is the exception that proves this rule.

Let me take you back to 2009. Megan Fox was one of the hottest properties in cinema, with her face and body being plastered all over the unfathomably internationally successful first couple of entries into the Transformers franchise. Amanda Seyfried was a key part of popular movies like “Mean Girls” and “Mamma Mia!”, along with a major role in hip TV show “Veronica Mars”. Continue reading 31 Days of Horror, Day 31: Jennifer’s Body

Anna May Wong: The First Asian American Icon

Now if I asked most people, which actor was the trailblazer for Asian people on the worldwide stage (and I guess I mean Hollywood), I would wager most would come up with Bruce Lee. A few might even offer up Nancy Kwan. What if I told you that the breakthrough was not made in the 1970s by Lee, nor in the 1960s by Kwan, but … Continue reading Anna May Wong: The First Asian American Icon