Billed as the story that inspired Moby Dick, Ron Howard’s adaptation of Nathaniel Philbrick’s National Book Award winner is a shamelessly old-fashioned sea-faring yarn recounting the true story of the Essex, a Nantucket whaleship that sank after being attacked by a giant sperm whale.
While remaining committed to the horror genre, Nick Cheung’s second outing as director is a huge improvement on 2013’s Hungry Ghost Ritual. Again casting himself in the lead, Cheung this time leaves writing duties to Yeung Sin Ling (Inner Senses, The Bullet Vanishes) to tell the story of an exorcist, whose unconventional methods attract the attentions of a spunky young journalist and a murderous demon. Complemented by rich production values, lively performances and an inventive screenplay, Keeper Of Darkness succeeds as detective story, spectral romance and even streetwise comedy, while resuscitating our confidence in Cheung as the new renaissance man of Hong Kong Cinema.
Winner of the Best Actor and Best Screenplay awards at this year’s Venice Film Festival, Christian Vincent’s dryly comic courtroom drama was selected as the opening film for the 44th Hong Kong French Cinepanorama on 18 November.
Considered by many to be the architect of wuxia cinema, King Hu was to martial arts was John Ford was to the western. Beginning with his 1966 Shaw Brothers adventure Come Drink With Me, Hu took a pulp genre associated with little more than cheap entertainment and period adventures, and fashioned from it some of the industry’s most revered and enduring cinematic offerings.
The events that went down at Jordan Hall in August 1971 have been recounted numerous times and inspired at least two films already – Oliver Hirschbiegel’s excellent Das Experiment (2001) starring Moritz Bleibtreu and Paul Scheuring’s American remake from 2010, starring Adrien Brody and Forest Whitaker. For this latest adaptation, writer Tim Talbott and director Kyle Patrick Alvarez return to the source for a meticulous account of exactly what happened – and why – at the Californian university.