place among the alley-lik

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place among the alley-lik

A still from Mr Six Photo: CFP A still from Surprise Photo: CFP
Theaters in December [url=]Carson Wentz Jersey[/url] , the last month of the year, are often crowded with domestic productions. This year is no different, despite the fact that fewer Hollywood blockbusters have been imported into the Chinese mainland this year.

The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water (December 1), Point Break and Rush are the only imports currently scheduled to hit theaters in the mainland next month. While foreign flicks only offer up an animated feature and two action flicks, Chinese films provide a wider variety of genres to choose from, although comedies still make up the majority, an indication that studios feel audiences are more willing to let loose some pressure through some laughter rather than some thought-provoking stories at the end of the year.

Happy days are here again

Premiering Friday, so actually still in November, Bad Guys Always Die is another China-South Korea co-production that is the result of the warming relations between the two countries movie industries. While director Sun Hao is still a new name, the film's two producers - Feng Xiaogang and Kang Je-gyu - are widely recognizable names in their home countries and even beyond.

Starring a number of popular actors and actresses from both countries, Bad Guys Always Die tells the story of four Chinese men who find themselves caught up in a criminal enterprise after accidentally saving a South Korean woman from a car accident while on vacation on South Korea's Jeju Island.

Though Bad Guys Always Die is not the first crime comedy co-produced between the two countries, the limited number of films in this genre means audiences have yet to get tired of it. The success of 2012's The Thieves shows the genre is still going strong.

However, it may not all be smooth sailing for the film. Screened at this year's Pusan International Film Festival, critics have remarked that while the film has a big ambition to make a Hollywood-style film, it fails to tell an interesting story. Perhaps the film will strike a chord with audiences in China.

Surprise is another comedy but in a different vein. The big screen directorial debut for Yi Xiaoxing, Surprise is the film adaptation of his popular online series of the same name. While the show is extremely popular for spoofing current social issues, the film turns its focus on the classic Chinese literature work Journey to the West. The story takes place during the early years of the Tang Dynasty (618-907) in a small town called Shiniu, where a local man Wang Dachui is treated as an idol due to his skill with magic. However, when the Monkey King and his friends come to the town, Wang's status as a magician is challenged.

Journey to the West is a work that has been adapted countless times in China to both the applause and critiques of audiences. Which camp Surprise will end up falling in should become clear when it premieres in mainland theaters on December 18.

The end of the month sees another comedy, Devil and Angel, starring the actor couple of Sun Li and Deng Chao.

Last year, director and scriptwriter Yu Baimei cooperated with Deng on the comedy The Breakup Guru. Though the film did not live up to expectations critically speaking, it still grossed more than 600 million yuan ($96.72 million) at the box office.

Popular for her role in Legend of Zhenhuan, adding Sun to the cast seems to be trying to make up for the poor reputation of her husband's last film.

Adrenalin rush

Set to attract the male demographic, action films are the other major force out next month. Besides the two imported films, two action flicks from China are also highly anticipated: The Master (December 11) and Mr Six (December 24).

Point Break, which will arrive first out of the four, is a remake of the 1991 film of the same name but with a slightly updated plot: Johnny Utah, a young FBI agent, infiltrates a team of extreme sports athletes who are suspects in a series of sophisticated crimes. However, after spending some time with the group, Utah finds himself trapped between friendship and duty.

Ericson Core, director of the new version, has worked as cinematographer on films like The Fast and the Furious (2001) and Invincible (2006). Set for release in the mainland on December 4, the film comes to China a full 20 days ahead of the US.

Originally released overseas back in 2013, Rush makes its mainland debut on December 11. While not a new film, its good word of mouth means it still has huge potential in the market. It currently holds a grade of 8.210 on IMDB and 89100 on Rotten Tomatoes.

Starring James Hunt and Daniel Brühl as two skilled race car drivers in the 1970s, Rush focuses on friendship and rivalry between the two.

Also releasing on that same day is Chinese kung fu feature The Master, written and directed by Xu Haofeng.

Earlier this year, Xu's novel Monk Comes Down the Mountain was adapted by veteran director Chen Kaige, yet was received to mixed reviews. It seems that Xu has decided to be the boss of his own work this time.

While mainly known for his writing, Xu has had some directorial experience. Back in 2011 he directed period action film The Sword Identity, but it was not as well received as his written works. Hopefully this time he can come up with something better since he is adapting one of his own novels.

Having just won a Golden Horse award for Best Leading Actor, Feng Xiaogang's Mr Six is one of the most anticipated films of December. Known for his directorial work, Feng plays the film's main character.

Taking place among the alley-like hutong of Beijing, Mr Six centers on the older generation of native Beijingers, adding a melancholy tune to their out-of-date thinking when dealing with problems in an increasingly developed city.

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