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Crude Chinese comedy following a cash-strapped film producer who is asked to remake a classic erotic movie for an eccentric Triad. Down on his luck, To (Chapman To) is currently in the midst of an alimony battle with his ex-wife (Kristal Tin) when he is approached by Tyrannosaurus (Ronald Cheng), a member of the Triads who would like To to remake a favourite film of his. Originally eager to go ahead with the plan, To quickly learns that Tyrannosaurus has a few requests for the movie that are unusual, to say the least. Unless he is able to convince the original lead to reprise her role and for To to perform an indecent act on camera, Tyrannosaurus will not invest the money the producer so desperately needs...
For more about Vulgaria and the Vulgaria Blu-ray release, see Vulgaria Blu-ray Review published by Dr. Svet Atanasov on May 29, 2013 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.5 out of 5.
Starring: Chapman To, Ronald Cheng, Dada Chan, Suet Lam, Simon Lui, Kristal Tin
Director: Ho-Cheung Pang
» See full cast & crew
Vulgaria Blu-ray Review
Reviewed by Dr. Svet Atanasov, May 29, 2013
Winner of Golden Horse Award for Best Supporting Actor and Hong Kong Film Awards for Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress, Pang Ho-Cheung's "Vulgaria" (2012) arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of British distributors Third Window Films. The supplemental features on the disc inlcude a standard making of featurette and original trailer for the film. In Cantonese, with optional English subtitles for the main feature. Region-B "locked".
The film opens up with Q&A session in an unnamed university. To (Chapman To, Infernal Affairs, Isabella), a veteran producer, is asked by an enthusiastic professor (Lawrence Cheng, The Stool Pigeon) to explain what someone like him must do in order to be successful. The producer smiles and then delivers one of the strangest and most explicit explanations ever shared with an audience. A series of flashbacks then reveal how the producer started his career.
The fist, and arguably funniest, flashback shows To and his old pal Lui (Simon Loui, The Three Lustketeers, Heartbreak Motel) approaching Tyrannosaurus (Ronald Cheng, Mr. Cinema, The Four), a kooky Mainland gangster interested in financing a film in Hong Kong. While discussing the film, Tyrannosaurus urges To and Lui to taste some of his favorite dishes (the majority of which have such colorful names that they cannot possibly be named in this review). When they refuse, Tyrannosaurus consults with his right-hand man (veteran Hong Kong actor Suet Lam, Accident, Vengeance) and then asks one of his associates to bring two mules. To and Lui are then told to make love to the mules if they wish to return home to Hong Kong. The lesson: Film producers must be ready to sacrifice a lot if they want to be successful.
Another flashback shows how To meets Popping Candy (Dada Chan, I Love Hong Kong). Popping Candy is a very ambitious young actress who does not mind spending time with older men who can help her with her career. She does not mind doing different things to them either. Her exotic specialty cannot be described in this review, but as her name suggests it has something to do with popping candy. The lesson: Sometimes film producers must be ready to spend time with strange young actresses who would do strange things to them.
There are also flashbacks revealing plenty about To's personal life. In one of them To's ex-wife (Kristal Tin, My Mother Is a Belly Dancer) warns him that she would allow him to continue seeing their daughter (Jacqueline Chan) only if he behaves like a real father. But To introduces his daughter to Popping Candy and seriously angers his ex-wife. The lesson is this: Film producers cannot have normal personal lives because their professional lives always take priority.
Pang Ho-Cheung's Vulgaria will not be universally liked, but viewers who appreciate zesty humor and especially those familiar with the Hong Kong film industry will get a kick out of it. Indeed, the numerous references and witty jokes are absolutely spot on.
Large portions of the film remind of Kevin Smith's Dogma. They have a similar subversive tone and target sex in the same manner Smith's film tackles religion. The different remarks about category III and 3D films are particularly witty. (There is one terrific sequence where one of the male protagonists struggles to find a good reason to disagree that 3D films are not as good as 33D films).
To is the heart and soul of the film. As usual, his facial expressions are outstanding. Cheng also leaves a memorable impression as the crazy Mainland gangster who dreams of financing Confessions of Two Concubines, a zesty sequel to Peter Yang and Chen Chi-Hwa's 1976 "classic" Confession of a Concubine.
Vulgaria was shot with the Red One MX camera in less than two weeks. Cinematographer Jason Kwan teamed up with director Ho-Cheung for a second time after the crowd-please Love In A Puff.
Vulgaria Blu-ray, Video Quality
Presented in an aspect ratio of 2.38:1, encoded with MPEG-4 AVC and granted a 1080p transfer, Pang Ho-Cheung's Vulgaria arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of British distributors Third Window Films.
The presentation is very impressive. I've seen all of the films Third Window Films have released on Blu-ray to date and Vulgaria is unquestionably the very best looking one. Shot with the Red One MX camera, the film boasts a very impressive clean and often remarkably crisp look. Close-ups with plenty of light look simply outstanding. The nighttime footage with the crazy gangster also impresses with excellent clarity (see screencapture #3). Colors are exceptionally well saturated and looking remarkably natural. Also, there are no serious compression anomalies to report in this review. There are no stability issues either. All in all, in my opinion Vulgaria looks as good as it possibly can on Blu-ray. (Note: This is a Region-B "locked" release. Therefore, you must have a native Region-B or Region-Free PS3 or SA in order to access its content).
Vulgaria Blu-ray, Audio Quality
There is only one standard audio track on this Blu-ray release: Cantonese DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1. For the record, Third Window Films have provided optional English subtitles for the main feature. When turned on, they appear inside the image frame.
The lossless track has a fantastic range of nuanced dynamics. Despite the fact that Vulgaria isn't a film with an impressive sound design, the overall depth and fluidity are indeed excellent. It is easy to tell that lossless track is very well mixed and opening up the film as best as possible because even random sounds and noises are very easily felt. The dialog is exceptionally clean, stable, and easy to follow. The English translation is very good.
Vulgaria Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Vulgaria Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Vulgaria is a wild and quite different Hong Kong-produced film. I think that it works rather well without going too far too quickly. Some familiarity with the Hong Kong film industry, however, is required to fully appreciate its wit and playfulness. The technical presentation of the film is very impressive. RECOMMENDED.
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Vulgaria Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Vulgaria Blu-ray - February 25, 2013
Independent British distributors Third Window Films have detailed their upcoming Blu-ray release of Pang Ho-Cheung's Vulgaria (2012), starring Chapman To, Ronald Cheng and Dada Chan, and sent us a trailer for the film. The release will be available for purchase ...
• Upcoming Third Window Films Releases - December 17, 2012
Independent British distributors Third Window Films have revealed plans to bring to Blu-ray a number of films in 2013. Some, such as The Woodsman and the Rain and Vulgaria, were already announced, but there are some exciting new additions.
• Third Window Films Brings Vulgaria and The Woodsman and the Rain ... - September 12, 2012
Independent British distributors Third Window Films have confirmed that they are planning to release on Blu-ray Pang Ho-Cheung's Vulgaria (2012), starring Chapman To, Ronald Cheng and Dada Chan, and Shûichi Okita's The Woodsman and the Rain (2011), starring Kôji ...
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