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A dying drug addict ran away from San Francisco to Hong Kong, to meet up with a net friend she had never met. However, the one she ran into was an ill-tempered old man, who lived as a recluse at Tung-wah Coffin Home. A Chinese herbal physician, who had been staying in San Francisco over decades, decided to return to Hong Kogn when a deed was delivered by courier to her. The owner of a traditional herbal shop in Hong Kong, was a lad who hated to carry on his family business. He came to himself on account of three women. The world changes so swiftly, things we were once familiar with could just vanish in no time. A chance encounter with strangers could bring new horizon to their lives. You can always acquire a new life regardless of your age. You just have to believe.
For more about Merry-Go-Round and the Merry-Go-Round Blu-ray release, see Merry-Go-Round Blu-ray Review published by Dr. Svet Atanasov on May 28, 2011 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.0 out of 5.
Merry-Go-Round Blu-ray Review
Reviewed by Dr. Svet Atanasov, May 28, 2011
Winner of the Taipei Golden Horse Film Festival Audience Award, Gorretti Mak and Clement Cheng's "Merry-Go-Round" (2010) arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of Hong Kong-based distributors Kam & Ronson Enterprises. The only extra on the disc is an audio commentary with directors Gorretti Mak and Clement Cheng. In Cantonese and English, with optional English, Traditional Chinese, and Simplified Chinese subtitles for the main feature. Region-Free.
Gorretti Mak and Clement Cheng's Merry-Go-Round tells the story of four lonely people who have began reevaluating their lives. They feel that they could have made wiser decisions that would have allowed them to be with the people they loved but could not keep. Desperate to fall in love one more time, they meet on the streets of Hong Kong.
Eva (Nora Miao, Run Papa Run), a respected San Francisco-based Chinese medicine physician, is informed that her nephew, Allen (Lawrence Chou, The Child's Eye 3D, Ex), is planning to sell the family's old pharmacy in Hong Kong. Convinced that the pharmacy can be profitable if managed right, she packs her bags and heads to Hong Kong, hoping to change Allen's mind.
Merry (Ella Koon, Look for a Star, Just Another Pandora's Box), also from San Francisco, is a drug addict who has been diagnosed with leukemia. Having realized that she has little time left to live, she also heads to Hong Kong to meet a boy she has been chatting with on the internet.
Uncle Hill (Teddy Robin Kwan, Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame) manages a large coffin home in Hong Kong. The place is filled with coffins containing the remains of immigrants from the Mainland. Some of them have been with him for years because they could not reenter the country - a form of punishment for those who abandoned the Revolution and their homeland - but the Chinese government has finally reconsidered its discriminative policy and the relatives of the deceased have started claiming the coffins. Uncle Hill understands how important it is to keep the coffin home open but has also started realizing that he can no longer manage the place alone.
A tragic incident has irreversibly changed Allen's life. Because he feels responsible for it, he has never been able to fall in love and do the things young men like him typically do. Naturally, most of the time he feels depressed and useless.
Mia meets Allen but immediately concludes that it would be impossible to change his mind. While going through some old photographs and documents in the pharmacy, she remembers a man who was once madly in love with her. Meanwhile, a good friend manages to convince Allen that it is better to let go of the past and focus on the present. Uncle Hill is also approached by a young and beautiful girl looking for a job.
The film is broken into various episodes, each highlighting an important event that reveals why the main protagonists have started reevaluating their lives. After their paths cross in Hong Kong, these episodes are linked by a common theme.
Considering the enormous amount of material, the film blends romance, comedy and drama very well. A lot could have gone wrong, especially during the final third of the film, but the flashbacks and the episodes that take place in the present are balanced perfectly. As a result, from start to finish there is a great sense of continuity.
Cinematographer Jason Kwan's (All About Love, Bruce Lee, My Brother) lensing repeatedly impresses with its simplicity and style. The prominent pop soundtrack, however, should have been toned down. The endless guitar solos, for instance, eventually become tiresome.
Note: Earlier this year, Merry-Go-Round was nominated for Best Cinematography Award (Jason Kwan) at the Hong Kong Film Awards.
Merry-Go-Round Blu-ray, Video Quality
Presented in an aspect ratio of 2.34:1, encoded with MPEG-4 AVC and granted a 1080p transfer, Gorretti Mak and Clement Cheng's Merry-Go-Round arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of Hong Kong-based distributors Kam & Ronson Enterprises.
I would argue that Merry-Go-Round is the most beautifully lensed contemporary Hong Kong film to be released on Blu-ray in 2010. There are certain sequences in it that look quite incredible, on par with what one would expect to see in a Wong Kar-Wai film. Fortunately, the high-definition transfer Kam & Ronson Enterprises have used for their Blu-ray release of Merry-Go-Round also happens to be one of their very best.
The outdoor scenes look wonderful. The image has tremendous depth and fluidity, while color reproduction is just about perfect. The blues, greens, yellows, browns, and blacks look fresh and natural but at the same time remarkably rich. There are a couple of scenes where Eva is seen wandering around and thinking about her past that truly look like moving pictures (the memory flashbacks have a light, gentle yellowish tint that makes them look dated). Edge-enhancement is never an issue of concern, though I did notice some mild sharpening early into the film, when Merry first meets Uncle Hill. Severe aliasing or banding, however, do not plague the high-definition transfer. As the screencaptures I hope reveal, heavy filtering has not been applied either. Lastly, there are no serious stability issues to report in this review whatsoever. (Note: This is a Region-Free Blu-ray disc. Therefore, you will be able to play it on your PS3 or SA regardless of your geographical location).
Merry-Go-Round Blu-ray, Audio Quality
There is only one audio track on this Blu-ray disc: Cantonese Dolby TrueHD 5.1 (with portions of English). For the record, Kam & Ronson Enterprises have provided optional English, Traditional Chinese, and Simplified Chinese subtitles for the main feature. When turned on, they appear inside the image frame.
The Cantonese Dolby TrueHD 5.1 track handles the film's trendy soundtrack quite nicely. The long guitar solos, for instance, are lush and well rounded, while Merry's voice truly fills up the room. The bass, however, rarely comes alive. The dialog is crisp, clean, stable, and easy to follow. For the record, I did not detect any disturbing pops, cracks, hissings, or audio dropouts to report in this review. This being said, the English translation could have been a lot better. I noticed a number of small spelling and syntax errors.
Merry-Go-Round Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Merry-Go-Round Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Gorretti Mak and Clement Cheng's Merry-Go-Round effectively reminds that one's life can be as fulfilling as one wants it to be and that it is never too late to rediscover love. If you can, see this film. The Blu-ray disc herein reviewed, courtesy of Hong Kong-based distributors Kam & Ronson Enterprises, looks and sounds great. It is also Region-Free. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
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