**May contain spoilers**
(Shanghai Daily news)
The incredible popularity of `Sex and the City' has spawned a series of imitations, most recently Hong Kong's `Sex and the Beauties,' which opened last week.
But, as reporter Michelle Qiao finds out, the Hong Kong film is a pale wannabe of the lusty original When the HBO hit series ``Sex and the City'' bowed out on February 22, Shanghai fans didn't have long to mourn. On February 26, ``Sex and the Beauties,'' a Hong Kong film version of the series, opened.
There's no denying the similarities. Selina (played by Carina Lau) is a psychologist, a rare eligible single in fast-paced Hong Kong. She forms a Ladies' Club for single women, who often gather to talk about their loves and lives. Selina's psychology background and mature mind make her the unofficial love consultant to a group that includes a famous columnist, Guan Dexian (Athena Chu), and a bar owner, Ni Xian (Yoyo Mong). But despite her facility at dispensing love advice, her own experiences with men have made her fearful of taking the plunge herself.
At a banquet held by her mother, Selina runs into her first love, Ken (Kenny Bee) and gets acquainted with his daughter, Yuki (Cecilia Cheung) who has an explosive personality. Ken asks Selina to be Yuki's guardian, to treat her as a patient and to guide her back on the right road. Four beauties, with highly paid jobs, trendy clothes, bittersweet love stories who tell their tales against a backdrop of dazzling restaurants and bars -- every effort seems to be directed to imitate its American counterpart. ``Yes, I admit that this movie has influences from `Sex and the City.' I designed the four characters after the American series,'' says Wong Jing, the film's director, with apparently no irony intended. ``But the stories center on fashionable Hong Kong yuppies -- you could call it a Hong Kong version of `Sex and the City.' I'm confident that Chinese audiences will find it easier to relate to my movie.''
It might be easier to relate to -- but that doesn't make it a better show. Introducing the four women and telling their stories in 101 minutes feel rushed, not to mention confusing. Four women, five men, plus their parents and other assorted friends -- this is a film filled with so many characters and shallow, banal discussion. Part of what made ``Sex and the City'' such a hit was the introduction of a trivial, yet interesting, love topic each episode, topics that offered insight into sex and the single woman. ``Sex and the Beauties,'' however, leaves audiences with no idea what the characters are talking about -- and what Hong Kong's single 30-something women's feelings about love are. Instead, what we get is a hackneyed fairytale ending, with lovers all living happily-ever-after.
Clearly Wong, the Hong Kong director known for box-office hits like ``God of Gamblers'' series, is not good at describing the sensitive emotions of women. He showcases four women, their sexy dresses and pretty faces, but not their hearts and souls. They appear like cartoon images, instead of real, flesh and blood women. Chu, for example, is no Sarah Jessica Parker. Her short hair, exaggerated expression and unnatural postures made her come across like an uneducated Hong Kong woman rather than a renowned columnist. But it's interesting that Chu's proclaimed attitude to love shares some similarities with her onscreen self. The columnist she plays proclaims, ``I don't want marriage, or a 20-year-old son. Everything is up to me.'' The actress announces, ``I feel that it's my golden time now, and I don't lack money or opportunities. Marriage should appear at another stage of my life. See how free I am? Marriage is a burden, after which you can never only think of yourself.'' Chu admits that neither she nor Hong Kong is as open as the movie might have you believe. ``I'm open in the movie, someone who seeks exciting moments. But in reality, I'm very conservative,'' she reveals. ``Hong Kong people may seem liberal, but we have a conservative heart, reflected in our attitudes towards love, dress and attitude towards others. ``I love reading articles and novels about men and women,'' she adds. ``I especially like Japanese writer Junichi Watanabe, author of `Lost Paradise,' from which I came to understand more about men and became more tolerant of them.''
The women in this movie are all star beauties, considered dream lovers by many Chinese young men. But despite the feast of dazzling beauty, this is just not a sexy movie. ``I think it would be odd to turn the series into a Hong Kong movie,'' says Li Xiaojun, a producer and fan of the American series. ```Sex and the City' is a series that captures a particular place and culture, one that is very different from our own. Unlike Western countries, China is a reserved nation, and it's odd to talk about sex freely on the screen. Moreover, I think it would also be very difficult to compress the American series into an American movie -- you'd need a very skillful scriptwriter.'' Even worse, the China Film Bureau has censored some of the sex scenes and words, making the movie even odder. In the end, it is just a sex comedy, with the emphasis on the comedy.
As supporting actor Andy Hui says: ``It's just a comedy. I love this movie myself because I feel happy after watching it.'' Not to be left out of the ``Sex and the City'' sweepstakes, a Chinese mainland version of ``Sex and the City'' will finish shooting soon. Starring China's not-sexy-at-all pop singer Na Ying and actress Jiang Wenli, this 40-episode TV series covers the love stories of four Beijing women. It doesn't bode well. Can't we ask just let ``Sex and the City'' rest in peace? Apparently not. Who's Who?
Selina (Carina Lau) Selina is a psychological therapist, who her friends often turn to for love advice. But her own unhappy love experiences have made her fearful of marriage. Eventually, she does fall in love and marries a patient, a former head of a criminal syndicate. Sammantha Jones (Kim Cattrall) Scintillating Jones is a successful PR exec who embraces her uninhibited sexuality with a diverse group of lovers. Forget wedding dreams, Jones takes lust over love any night, and she's proud of it. * Guan Dexian (Athena Chu) Like Bradshaw, Guan is a successful writer for a sex column, who is both cynical and witty. She simultaneously falls in love with reviewer Da Ban (Hui Siu-Hung) and a handsome university student Stone (Edison Chen). Unfortunately, the two men are father and son. Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker) As fodder for her column, the single and fabulous Bradshaw looks to both her own experiences and those of her best friends. Never shying away from difficult or delicate subjects, Bradshaw has covered everything from emotional dependence to sexual independence. * Ni Xian (Yoyo Mong) The owner of a bar, Ni has a quiet face that conceals a wild heart. She never stops to pursue excitement, from fast driving to parachute jumping. She also seeks fun by letting her pursuers taste the excitement. Finally a specialist from Chinese mainland, Da Dan (Lu Yi), seeks her heart by jumping from hotel's platform to a swimming pool. Charlotte York (Kris Davis) Well-bred art gallery manager York has a refreshingly optimistic outlook on love and romance. Her love ambition: to marry a wealthy, handsome social elite. * Yuki (Cecilia Cheung) The daughter of a wealthy man, Yuki appears incredibly ugly with straw-like hair, dirty teeth and toes poking out from worn socks. Her father invites Selina to educate her. After falling in love with her body guard, A Jin (Andy Hui), she miraculously turns into a beautiful woman. Miranda Hobbes (Cynthia Nixon) Hobbes is a smart, self-assured partner in a law firm, who has struggled with her love life and abandoned the pursuit of love altogether. She doesn't open up easily, masking her vulnerability with cynicism and self-deprecating humor.
Following Edison's fight with two teenagers a few days ago, Ceci is now involved in another hassle, only this time, it's between two reporters and two unknown strangers.
Ceci returned to HK and was driving to attend a meeting at CHINASTAR's headquarters, when she noticed that reporters were following her. Wanting to get rid of them, she began circling around the Central district and ended up in Jordan. Her manager, Miss.Li, who was also in the car with her remembered a building that had two exits and told Ceci to wait in there while the reporters pass by. Ceci obligated and stopped her car, however, moments later, the two reporters, both badly bruised approached her car and demanded, "Did you do this?!?" Ceci, having no idea what was happening was terrified. The reporters continued and said,"Don't you leave, I've already called the police."
In order to prove her innocence, Ceci stayed behind and waited till the police came to give her testimony.
The two reporters were sent to Elizabeth Hospital, and when they came out, a totally different story came from them.
According to them, that morning they were following Ceci, and when Ceci saw them, she gave them the middle finger before driving off and telling them not to follow her. Of course, the reporters didn't listen. As they were following her, they watched as she picked up the phone and made a phone call, moments later, she went into a building located in Jordan. The two reporters got out of their car and followed. Suddenly, two men approached them from behind and began beating them for about 6 seconds. They then said; "I'll see if you dare to follow someone again.", before leaving. Another one of their colleages was in the car but did not film the attack.
The reporters also stated that Ceci did not stay and wait for the police, in fact, she left before the ambulance came.
Yesterday, Ceci's good friend Jordan Chan was in TVB studios rehearsing for an upcoming charity show. When he heard of the news, he says: " I don't know anything, but I do care for a friend. I'll ask someone from CHINASTAR about what happened." When asked if he thinks that Ceci had a part in this, he said: "No. Ceci's not that type of a girl. In the past, she might have been hot-tempered, but she's much better now."
Cecilia Cheung Pak-Chi, Jordan Chan Siu-Chun, Lau Ching-Wan, Louis Koo Tin-Lok, Twins, Michael Tse Tin-Wah, Patrick Tam Yiu-Man, Cheung Tat-Ming and Pinky Cheung Man-Chi were among those on hand the night before last as a banquet was held to celebrate the box office success of the Lunar New Year film FANTASIA. Cheung and rumoured boyfriend Jordan Chan Siu-Chun were the focus of attention as reporters looked for signs of affection between the two. While the couple talked and joked with each other off camera, when the cameras were on, they refused to pose with one another (left). Joking with reporters, Cheung said: "If you have the ability, you can try and Photoshop us together."
After reporters gave up on getting anything from the Chan-Cheung pairing, they focused on the continuing saga of Cheung and Nicholas Tse Ting-Fung. Both will begin work shortly on Chen Kaige's new film THE PROMISE (MO GIK). Asked if it is going to be awkward working with Tse on the same film, Cheung replied: "No, I'm a professional actress. I won't let unrelated private issues interfere with my acting."
When asked if she and Tse will have many scenes together, Cheung said: "I don't know. I've only read my part of the script. All I know that most of my scenes are with Hiroyuki Sanada and Jang Dong-Kun. I hope that I can learn some Japanese and some Korean from them."
In related news, Cheung and Daniel Wu (Ng Yin-Tso) continued to work on Derek Yee Tung-Sing's ONE NIGHT IN MONGKOK yesterday. As she was wearing her mini-skirt and fishnet stockings "prostitute's uniform", Cecilia Cheung clutched a hot-water bottle in between takes to ward off the cold winter wind.
edison with ceci
Cecilia filmed a new set of photos for BONJOUR. During filming, the weather was very cold and wearing such little clothes, Ceci was freezing. QiQi was the stylist that day, choosing Ceci's clothes for her.
Following the assault of the reporters, Ceci had to immediately fly off to Beijing to try on costumes and then start filming for Chen Kaige's new film, Mo Gik. When Ceci arrived at Beijing, she was shocked to see so many reporters there waiting for her. In order to avoid the reporters, Ceci had deliberatly rode a car to "Shum Chun" China and then went to the airport to take a plane to Beijing, hoping that by making the longer trip, reporters won't follow her. Apparently, her plan did not work.
Ceci's younger brother, Ronny Cheng Ho Lung recently signed with a gym to become spokesperson. Reporters were on hand to visit on the day of the photoshoot. When asked about the reporter incident involving his sister Ceci, he said that he hasn't talked to her yet but will call her soon because she is now busy filming for her new movie. When asked does he feel tired for her, he says that there isn't anything he could do. "Reporters follow her everyday, no matter what happens. What can I do?"
In other news, EEG's newcommer,16 year old Isabella Leong has finally signed into EEG and stepped foot into the Entertainment industry. Isabella actually signed into EEG when she was 13 years old, but because of child labor laws, they were unable to put her to work because HK law forbids children under 16 to work after 11pm.
Isabella's company EEG music has openly admitted that she will be competing with Ceci;hoping to become the "better" Cecilia Cheung in HK
BEIJING, Mar.26 (Xinhuanet) -- Having long been the subject of tabloid headlines linking her to male singers such as Daniel Chan (Chen Xiaodong), Nicholas Tse(Xie Tingfeng) and Jordan Chan (Chen Xiaochun), Cecilia Cheung (Zhang Bozhi) this time catches the public attention for her talent rather than romantic life.
Cheung goes into the 2004 Hong Kong Film Awards as a triple nominee — two in the best acteress category for her performances in Lost in Time and Running on Karma, and one in the best original song category, with the theme from Lost in Time.
With only five years of acting behind her, Cheung displays her glittering acting talents in the roles which would have challenged many more experienced actresses.
Director Derek Yee (Er Dongsheng) likens Cheung to a student who can succeed in exams without studying. “What she has is inherent talent mixed with skills,” he says. “She can deliver the emotions very effectively.”
Yee, having directed Cheung in Lost in Time, can speak with some authority. In one of the pivotal scenes when Cheung learns of her fiance’s death, Cheung successfully expresses a string of emotional transformations in just a few seconds, which is usually backed up by years of performing experience. But Cheung could achieve it at 23.
Considering Hong Kong’s lackluster output last year, Cheung’s role in Lost in Time is a frontrunner for the awards. Lost in Time will probably stand Cheung in better stead than Johnnie To’s (Du Qifeng) Running on Karma, where she plays opposite Andy Lau.
Cheung’s strongest competition is expected to come from Carina Lau (Liu Jialing) who portrays as the wife of a band leader in Infernal Affairs 2. Other best actress nominees include Sandra Ng (Wu Junru) as Ah Kum, the prostitute with a heart of gold in Golden Chicken 2, and Karena Lam (Li Jiaxin) in Floating Landscape.
It’s no easy for a pretty woman to find a place in an industry obsessed by beauty. Cheung, although possessing the flawless features and sexy figure demanded of a leading lady, has undergone plenty of difficulties and drawbacks before coming into fame. And her eventful family life and romantic affairs also contribute to her molding of different characters.
Cheung was sent to Australia to study at the age of 14 when her parents divorced. At 17, she returned home. After she appeared in a television commercial for a soft drink, talent agents set their eyes on her.
In 1999, Cheung starred as a young nightclub hostess who won the heart of Stephen Chow’s (Zhou Xingchi) impoverished actor in King of Comedy. Despite being a supporting role, Cheung did her best. It was enough to garner her a nomination for best newcomer at the 1999 Hong Kong Film Awards.
But it was Jingle Ma’s (Ma Chucheng) tearjerker, Fly Me to Polaris, released in the same year, that forged Cheung’s career as a glittering A-list actress. Ma once said she was without a parallel for her age.
“Despite her age, she’s experienced a lot by being sent to study overseas at a young age, and she has a pretty complicated family situation. This background has been a great advantage,” said Ma.
After Fly Me to Polaris, she appeared in a lot of popular movies including Para Para Sakura, Cat and Mouse and The Lion Roars. She also starred opposite renowned South Korean actor Choi Min-sik (Cui Mingzhi) in the drama Failan.
Now Cheung is in Beijing working on Chen Kaige’s new movie, The Promise, which has garnered wide media attention and is expected to be a hit when it comes out.
Cecilia Cheung will be the most glamorous figure on the night of April 4 when she goes to the 2004 Hong Kong Film Awards armed with three nominations — two in the best acteress category and one in the best original song category.
Edited by mv_288, 21 June 2008 - 04:26 AM.