Creativity in cinema.
Two articles today. The first is from Reuters which features a short article on the comedy film, The Mermaid, setting a record, and the second article is from the NY Times which features a short review of the film.
I’ve been so busy that I have hardly paid attention to the news. If you would like to insert a review for this movie, contact me with the review for approval, and I’ll add it to this post.
Chinese film ‘The Mermaid’ sets China box office record
Chinese film “The Mermaid” has broken China’s box office record, overtaking locally-made “Monster Hunt” and Hollywood action movie “Furious 7”, as domestic and international film battle over China’s rapidly growing cinema market.
The comedy by Hong Kong director Stephen Chow pulled in around 2.47 billion yuan ($379 million) by Friday night, the official Xinhua news agency reported on Saturday, citing official data from the film industry watchdog.
The record was previously held by “Monster Hunt”, which took in 2.44 billion yuan in September last year when it knocked Hollywood car chase movie “Furious 7” off the top spot.
Foreign film-makers from the likes of Sony Corp and Walt Disney Co are increasingly turning to China despite challenges of navigating censors and having to compete to be allocated one of the coveted 34 spots allowed for foreign films each year.
Foreign films have traditionally dominated China’s box office, but locally-made films are posing a growing challenge.
While the North American market, still the world’s largest, has seen box office growth slow down, ticket sales in China rose to around 44 billion yuan last year, up nearly 50 percent over 2014, Xinhua said.
“The Mermaid” is an odd-ball romantic comedy about a businessman property developer who falls in love with a mermaid sent to assassinate him.
(Reporting by Adam Jourdan; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)
NY Times review
Review: ‘The Mermaid’ Features Stephen Chow Behind the Camera
FEB. 19, 2016
The remarkable Hong Kong filmmaker and comic performer Stephen Chow (“Shaolin Soccer,” “Kung Fu Hustle”) has in recent years opted to stay behind the camera. And perhaps it is his absence from the screen that made Sony keep his new movie, “The Mermaid,” low-profile for its United States release.
Although the film has been breaking box-office records all over Asia since its Chinese New Year-pegged release overseas, the presumption seems to be that whatever non-Asian-American audience Mr. Chow has here wants to see him doing the pratfalls, not just plotting and filming them.
While second-guessing the marketing strategies of movie conglomerates is happily not the concern of this reviewer, it does seem a shame that this exhilarating, bizarre, good-hearted, blatantly obvious sci-fi-fantasy-slapstick eco-fable isn’t getting wider fanfare.
The story sees the cute but awkward mermaid Shan (Yun Lin) on a mission to seduce and assassinate the vulgar entrepreneur and despoiler of the environment Liu Xuan (Chao Dng). Egging Shan on is a militant uncle who’s half-octopus (Shao Luo) while the matriarch of the mermaid clan is more of a follow-your-heart type.
This is crucial because — of course — Shan and Liu Xuan fall for each other. “The Mermaid” is no ordinary fantastical rom-com though, encompassing as it does weaponized sea urchins, incredibly delicious roasted chickens, man-octopus self-mutilation and other comic oddities. The slapstick is incredible, but that’s only one aspect of the movie’s spectacular humor: The relentlessly absurdist scene in which Liu Xuan tries to convince two police officers that he was kidnapped by a mermaid is probably the funniest thing that’ll play on a screen this year, and maybe next.
Things take a brutal turn when the businesswoman femme fatale Ruolan (Zhang Yuqi) begins an attack on the sea-people’s hide-out. The resolution returns things to sweet and goofy ground, but Mr. Chow’s signature is so sure that the tonal changes have a unity born of conviction. Good show.
“The Mermaid” is not rated. In Mandarin, with English subtitles. Running time: 1 hour 34 minutes.