• Hong Kong superstar Andy Lau stars in Ann Hui’s A Simple Life.

If you browse the Reader’s movie listings on a regular basis, you may have noticed that the River East 21 recently started showing Chinese-language films—and that we publish no information about them beyond their directors, casts, and showtimes. That’s because none of these movies are ever screened for the press: the distributors must assume they have a built-in audience that will attend any Chinese movie that screens downtown, regardless of quality. That’s unfortunate for the rest of us who might enjoy seeing a good movie from China, Taiwan, or Hong Kong once we learn something about it, but, to paraphrase Jackie Chan, half a loaf of kung fu is better than no kung fu.