Anthony Wong and Isabella deliver solid performances


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The Painted Veil – A project produced by Edward Norton and Naomi Watts, The Painted Veil is adapted from W. Someret Maugham’s novel. In Shanghai, Bacteriologist Walter Fane decides to head out to a cholera stricken village after he discovers that his wife has an affair with a British diplomat. During their stay, the couple discover more about each other and a genuine love develops between them. But this all comes too late. The Painted Veil is a well-made film but retains that exotic China (only found in films, perhaps) that fascinates foreigners. Hong Kong’s very own Anthony Wong has a secondary role as a KMT officer and he delivers a subtle but effective performance. I found the film so-so, but a few ladies in the cinema were crying. So I suppose the movie works for some.

Spider Lilies – This homosexual romance features local star Isabella and Taiwanese mega idol Rainie Yang. I was expecting a sappy and sentimental weeper, but the film turned out to be much more restrained. I never really listened to any of Isabella’s pop songs and have always been sceptical of her acting chops. On the basis of this film, however, I would say she is more natural than any number of “actress” (like Miriam Yeung and Fiona Sit among others) that command more box office potential in HK. At around 95 minutes, the picture doesn’t overstay its welcome and I found it decently watchable. The much publicized lesbian sex scene is brief and not explicit.

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