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一碌蔗 (2002)
Just One Look

Reviewed by: Hyomil
Date: 04/07/2011

Reviewer Score: 6

Reviewed by: ewaffle
Date: 05/31/2010
Summary: A good movie-movie

"Just One Look" is Riley Yip's homage to movies although from the point of view of the audience instead of the filmmaker. Unlike “Day of Night” by Truffaut or “The Player” by Altman it isn’t a master looking at his art/craft/business but how movies can teach basic truths, show us how to deal with everyday life and how to escape from it when necessary. Almost everything in “Just One Look” happens in the context of movie watching: romance, revenge, friendship and love occur on the scene and in the lives of the characters almost simultaneously.

There are specific reference to scores of films. One of the most telling is when Ghost Girl and Fan are hiding from an inquisitive nun by ducking into the shower and then turning it on. They are facing each other and both are fully clothed. We see that Fan is thinking of a series of kissing scenes from both Hong Kong and western films as he crouches next to Ghost Girl. Immediately one recalls Giuseppe Tornatore’s masterpiece “Cinema Paradiso” with the glorious ending consisting of all the kissing scenes that the officious priest had ordered cut from the films shown in the village during years past and which had been saved and spliced together into one long hyper-romantic sequence.

Movies are part of our introduction to both Fan and Ghost Girl. We see Ghost Girl as a young child asking the chief nun if the Buddha’s Palm strike really exists. She is told that of course it doesn’t, it is just part of a movie. Fan, when we first see him, is waiting for his father to come out of the local Triad casino to go across the street to see a movie, something we think that father and son have often done. This trip ends tragically and resonates throughout the rest of the story, always reflected in what Fan sees on screen. Nam, the demon drummer, and her father Gok Pow, a martial arts master with a very singular method of teaching, turn out to be immersed in movies even while Gok Pow denounces the horrible influence that action movies have on his pupils.

Much of the action takes place in front of the town cinema where Fan and his grandmother make their living with a sugar cane stand with huge posters of current and coming attractions serving as a backdrop. Fan’s best friend, Ming, works right next to them in his mother’s fish ball stand. Over the course of a year or so, with many flashbacks to younger but not really simpler days, Fan and Ming fall in love with Ghost Girl and Nam and feel the incredibly poignant joys and frustrations of relationships.

The turning point in Fan’s life was his father’s suicide, something which he has always refused to accept, deciding instead that Crazy, the venal and cowardly Triad chieftain (played to sneering, sniveling perfection by Anthony Wong) actually killed him. While Crazy was part of the world that became too much for Fan’s father to live in any longer Crazy was no more responsible for the suicide than were the fellow cops investigating Fan’s father. One way that Fan deals with this is seeing himself as the good guy and Crazy as the villain in action movies, scenes which always result in Fan killing his nemesis. These scenes are very well done--the first one is quite surprising when we realize we are no longer watching someone watch a film but are seeing him fantasize being an instrument of righteous slaughter and holy vengeance.

One parallel between Fan’s father the apparently corrupt cop and Crazy, the foul and debauched gangster, takes place in front of the movie theater. When they are going in Fan’s father stops at the can stand and picks up to pieces one for each of them. A look passes between him and the stall owner that says volumes--Fan’s father doesn’t expect to pay, the stall owner propitiates him feeling he is getting off cheaply and Fan, of course, doesn’t see what is really happening. Ten years later, with Fan and his grandmother are running the same cane stand in the same place Crazy comes through to not only take free cane--and fish balls from the adjoining stand--but also to pick up his protection payment. The point that the two of them are actually part of the same unsavory world is subtle but unmistakable.

Riley Yip did an excellent job with Shawn Yu Man-Lok and Wong Yau-Nam. They carry the movie and carry us along as they come of age. Shawn Yu in particular is a charismatic young actor with talent to burn. The slender capacities of Gillian Chung and Charlene Choi to impersonate characters other than themselves weren’t taxed and the large cast of supporting players, many of them getting their first acting credits here, helped keep things moving.

The last scene in which Fan finally sees the owner of a piece of lingerie about which he and his friends have been speculating could refer to another Giuseppe Tornatore masterpiece, “Malena”, another film about the joys of being a spectator

Reviewer Score: 8

Reviewed by: j.crawford
Date: 07/13/2006
Summary: a great movie.

Here is a great movie. A joyous film from writer and director Riley Yip Kam-Hung that is sensitive and heartwarming. A coming of age scenario set in the 70's, about 2 young men who work in their family business's which happen to be food concessions in front of the local cinema. Everything in the film is related to movies. Pivotal scenes take place in the cinema. Every character in the film shares one thing in common; a love of movies and the world's that the cinema-going experience opens to each of them.

The screenplay is lovingly crafted and the production is luscious to behold. Mr. Yip gets nice, subtle performances from the young cast members while he manages to corral the talent of Anthony Wong Chau-Sang into one of his best performances ever. This is one of those films you must see, if you consider yourself a Hong Kong cinephile.

Reviewer Score: 9

Reviewed by: mehaul
Date: 02/28/2005

Well done coming of age movie set in the 70's. Good performances by all the leads. A nice combination of humor and drama. 8/10

Reviewed by: pjshimmer
Date: 04/15/2003
Summary: Neat little movie

This movie definitely reminded me of Metade Fumaca, so it comes as no surprise that both films share the same director, Riley Yip. Just one Look is almost as fabulous. I enjoyed this romantic story, which also served as homage to 50s/60s/70s local films. I recommend watching Metade first, if only to chuckle at the corresponding ending of the latter.

Very recommended.


Reviewed by: carrot car
Date: 03/18/2003
Summary: Great Movie 9 of 10

I liked this movie a lot. The main character, Fan ( Shawn Man-Lok) is an upcoming star in Hong Kong. The story is well written and the movie really takes the viewer to the forgotten world of 1960's Hong Kong. I like what director, Riley Yip Kam- Hung brings to this movie. This movie shines just like his last movie, "lavender" with it's powerful yet simplistic story. Highly recommended! 9/10

Reviewed by: Lo Fi Cat
Date: 01/09/2003
Summary: Just one look at the clock to see when the film will be over

Ever take a chance on a new film, one that you haven't heard much about and isn't necessarily in line with films you normally purchase? Me, too. This title was one of them.

I love Eastern films. So much so, that in order to see them, I buy them. There are no stores in the area to rent Asian films... Any foreign films, really, except for a token Oscar winner or two.

Anyhoo, I read several good reviews about this film, and was selling it for a reasonable price (though their prices seem to be steadily rising). I bought it.

This is not a bad film. It is not a good film, either. It exists somewhere in between. It doesn't know what it wants to be. Is it a comedy? Is it a drama? Is it a period piece? Is it a romance? Is it a revenge tale? Don't ask - I don't know. Some movies are able to aptly juggle various genres. Those movies, however, usually have a coherent script and an able director. Look up the director of this film. Check out their past releases. This may be their best. Does that matter?

Anthony Wong was fun to watch. His character is supposed to be a criminal that the town doesn't like. He isn't portrayed that way, though. Seems like a nice down-to-earth guy. Except for the lesions. What's going on with his make-up? Horrible. Both laugh and grimace inducing.

The movie is more disjointed than this purported review. It aimlessly wanders about, introducing and discarding various plot elements without resolving any of them. Then events occur that really make no sense.

Other than Mr. Wong's lesions, another wonderfully embarrassing moment is when a female protaginist is introduced... by obviously NOT playing a drum. Very funny. As is her father, who is supposedly a martial arts teacher. More unintentional laughter.

This movie had potential, but many movies do. If you have time to spare, you may want to rent this. There are some nice scenes... but I can think of many other films that could better occupy your idle hours.

Reviewed by: danton
Date: 12/30/2002

Another one of the myriad of recent movies starring the TWINS, this film is actually much better than the presence of the manufactured Cantopop duo would lead you to suspect. In fact, Just One Look is a rather nostalgic, sweet story of young people growing up on one of the less populated HK islands in the 60s and 70s, presented through the prism of the movies of the time, complete with hilarous parodies of some of these classic titles.

The story is rather episodic, driven more by the characters and their interaction than by a tight plot, and since the characters are well-written, this works quite well. Anthony Wong stands out in particular as the local bad guy, but it's mostly an ensemble cast of young and relatively unknown actors (with the aforementioned TWINS playing the two love interests, known as "Ghost" and "Heroine", respectively). The tone of the film is kept quite realistic, although some of the scenes are pretty humourous, and at one point the movie quite inexplicably ventures into choreographed wirefu territory. All in all, a well written, intelligent effort with quite a few similarities to the Italian film Cinema Paradiso.

Cameos by Sam Lee and Shu Qi (the latter one being rather surprising, and quite effective).


Reviewed by: Sydneyguy
Date: 11/21/2002
Summary: Very Average

Nothing much happens in this movie. It's basically about a little boy who believes this thug killed his father (even though father really commited suicide) and about love. But the problem is you do't really care about the characters. There is little depth in them.

Sam Lee is barely in this movie and look out for a 5 second appearance of Shu Qi. Anthony Wong plays his role like he plays most of his role. He looks natural!!

There are some funny parts but this movie is definaltey more drama. Nothing new here to recommend.