CHINESE LANGUAGE FILM REVIEWS

Kung Fu Hustle (2004)

A language advantage film review by Sarah Maddocks

Set in the 1940’s in a pre-revolutionary China, Kung Fu Hustle is a film about gangs. In particular the story of a small time thief called Sing (Stephen Chow) who wants to become a member of the ruthless Axe Gang, led by Brother Sum (Kwok-Kwan Chan). A slum called Pig Sty Alley is the only safe area from the gang as it is so poor there is nothing that the gang could take. Sing attempts to extort money from one of the locals but the slum holds a secret and the locals are not all that they appear to be.

Sing attracts the gang to Pig StyAlley which in turn leads to the inhabitants fighting for their lives. The fight between the gang and the neighbourhood unearths some legendary martial arts Masters. Sing must make the decision  between becoming a killer and joining the Axes  and helping the slum and saving the day.

This film is everything rolled into one: action, adventure, comedy, crime and fantasy.Stephen Chow is fantastic and the slapstick comedy is some of the funniest I have seen in a long time. Thoroughly enjoyable, and you can brush up on your Mandarin!

In Chinese Mandarin with English subtitles.

To buy  Kung Fu Hustle  and other  Chinese language films>>

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House of Flying Daggers (2004)

A language advantage film review by Sarah Maddocks

Directed by Yimou Zhang, House of Flying Daggers is set during the reign of the Tang dynasty in China.  A secret organisation,’The House of Flying Daggers’ opposes the government. Leo (Andy Lau), a police officer sends officer Jin (Takeshi Kaneshiro) to investigate Mei (Ziyi Zhang), a young dancer whom he believes is part of this secret organisation. Leo arrests Mei and Jin breaks her out in order to gain her trust and lead him and the government to the mysterious new leader of the secret organisation. What consequently happens is a tale of romance and intrigue, of action and adventure.

Before I sat down and watched this film I thought I would hate it. I am not one for martial arts movies but House of Flying Daggers is so much more and has managed to change my view on the martial arts genre. It combines action, adventure, fantasy and romance which in my opinion is a fantastic combination which produces a fantastic film.

Language is Mandarin Chinese with English subtitles.

To buy  House of the Flying Daggers  and other  Chinese language films>>

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Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2002)

A language advantage film review by Sarah Carroll

A beautiful film from start to finish, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon is really absorbing. It is a tribute to amazing martial arts displays as well as a beautifully shot film.

You can see why this film has won so many awards with its combination of language, love, action and adventure. It has won over 40 awards including the Best Foreign Language Film Music at the Oscars and four BAFTAs.

Wonderful as it is, it is best to see it in its original language version, you have to concentrate on the English subtitles unless your Mandarin is fluent, but it is well worth it!

The director of the film is Ang Lee. In Chinese with English subtitles. Rated 12 in the UK.

To buy  Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon  and other  Chinese language films>>

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Hero (2002)

A language advantage film review by Sarah Maddocks

It is hard for anyone to say that this film is not fantastic. Directed by Zhang Yimou (who also directed House of Flying Daggers) and produced by Quentin Tarantino, it already has two of the biggest names involved from both the Chinese and American film industries. Jet Li stars in this movie.

Hero takes place in feudal China before the warring kingdoms were united into a single country. The Nameless warrior (Jet Li) has been brought before Qin (Chen Daoming) the King of the northern province to receive a reward for killing three assassins who threatened Qin’s life. The Nameless warrior tells the King how he killed Long Sky (Donnie Yen), Broken Sword (Tony Leung), and Flying Snow (Maggie Cheung). The King challenges his story and tells a completely different version full of conspiracy and mistrust.

The visuals of this film are stunning and contribute largely to what Yimou is trying to achieve through the characters and script. The fight scenes are amazing: the use of colour really adds to the film’s intensity. The only thing to remember when watching this film is to watch it in its original format with subtitles rather than the dubbed English version in order to add authenticity.

The film is in Chinese Mandarin with English subtitles.

To buy  Hero  and other  Chinese language films>>


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PIMSLEUR QUICK & SIMPLE MANDARIN CHINESE REVIEW

pimsleur-mandarin-chinese-quick-simpleAn independent language course review by Lisa Zealey

Being used to studying Latin languages which all have a similar structure, learning Chinese Mandarin was something completely new to me. I had often been keen on trying Chinese, Japanese or something totally different but always thought it would be really difficult to pick up for a total beginner and never even tried.

The Pimsleur method is very well structured and it gave me a real buzz to say simple phrases in Mandarin which would be of use to me if I was in China. Pimsleur is a totally audio method of language teaching, which means no books, pens or paper, similar to the way Michel Thomas teaches. This method seems to be getting increasingly popular as a modern and more ‘to the point’ way of language learning. Having tried a couple of Michel Thomas courses for other languages I was familiar with this kind of technique. The main difference between the Pimsleur and the Michel Thomas way of teaching is that Pimsleur uses real native speakers on the cassettes (I presume for all languages in the series – not just Mandarin). With Michel Thomas it is always him who does the speaking in the language.

It gave me a real buzz to say simple phrases in Mandarin which would be of use to me if I was in China.

So Pimsleur has real Chinese speakers, which I think works well, especially with a language like Mandarin where intonation is so important to meaning. He uses a Chinese man and woman throughout to illustrate examples and it is nice to hear each gender speak rather than just one.

There are 4 cassettes in the first pack that I used, so 8 cassette sides to work through. The key to absorbing it is being totally focussed and not thinking about anything else at all. While listening to it (in a relaxing bath!) for the first time I thought the whole thing was going to be too fast and that I would just have to keep rewinding it again and again. I realised though that the cassettes are made without this intention – you should just press play and let it run. By doing this I also realised that he is always going back to things you have learned before, introducing something new, and then going back again to what was learned at the beginning so slowly, it all starts to fall into place and you start to create sentences of your own which shows you are really getting somewhere.

It all starts to fall into place and you start to create sentences of your own which shows you are really getting somewhere.

I liked the way that there was a fluent conversation between two Chinese people at the beginning of each cassette. When you first listen to it you think ‘Oh my God – that’s impossible’, but by the end of the cassette you can do it! Listen to it again and you realise it was not impossible at all! It is really confidence boosting!

The listener has to make his own ‘word associations’ in order to recall vocabulary although some help is given by Pimsleur by translating things literally into English. It may be a little difficult for someone who has never learned even a European language before, but still, with perseverance, it is worth a try. It is a case of relating a totally new sound to an English meaning and once you can create that link in your mind, with practise, you shouldn’t forget it.

I found a few negative points to this course, one being that it is written for Americans. I now know perfectly well how to tell a Chinese person that I am American but don’t have a clue how to tell them that I am English! This, of course, will have to be adapted if these products are to be marketed in the UK. I found the second cassette a little harder to absorb and listened to it two or three times before moving on. Maybe an American might be able to tell me why it is important, but I could not understand the reason for Pimsleur revising how to say ‘College Road’ and ‘Long Piece Street’. This is another thing I can now say pretty well but cannot see it ever being useful.

Besides that though, once I had got past this stage I started to regain interest and was learning how to ask where things are, say I want to go to the restaurant, drink tea/beer, eat, ask when, what, with whom and lots of other interesting and useful expressions.

I think the most difficult part is probably the totally new vocabulary and sounds and the fact that intonation makes such a difference to a Chinese ear. The underlying grammar is not too confusing and I can think of European languages I have studied, such as German, when I have found word order more difficult.

In some ways Mandarin can be easier – really! I was delighted to find only one word for ‘to be’ in every person, singular and plural. However, expressing positive and negative can be more complicated to get your head around -with no obvious words for yes and no. But once you understand that you have to repeat the verb to do this, it becomes logical.

Each topic is only loosely touched on because it is a fairly difficult language to master and Pimsleur just tries to teach the get by basics in this first Quick and Simple series.

Once you have finished the course you will still feel like your Mandarin is fairly limited – it will be – but you have also come a very long way since the beginning, from not knowing anything to ‘getting by’ (just about!) Four cassettes is only the start and there are follow-on courses for beginners, intermediate and advanced learners, if you are still feeling really keen when you reach the end!

I definitely enjoyed this course as a whole and will certainly consider following it up. I will stick to audio for now though – learning to write it could be an even bigger challenge!

to buy Pimsleur Quick & Simple Mandarin Chinese [USA]>>
to find out more about Pimsleur language courses>>

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Michel Thomas Language Courses Are Still The Best

After all these years, the extended range of Michel Thomas audio-only language courses still makes Michel Thomas one of our bestselling language courses all  around the world.   Millions of people have learnt a new language with Michel Thomas where other language courses have failed them.   [Read more…]

CHINESE LANGUAGE MOVIES

Take a look at our selection of Chinese language films, read our film reviews and let the movies motivate you to get the Chinese language advantage.

We’ve picked out a selection of our top Chinese foreign language movies (Mandarin and Cantonese). It’ll help you to get more familiar with the Chinese language and is a great way to appreciate the culture from various Chinese-speaking countries.


Chinese Language Films and Movies

++check format, age classification and language combination is appropriate before you buy!++

film title year buy from amazon.com buy from amazon.co.uk
The Forbidden Kingdom (2008) DVD                  Blu-ray DVD                      Blu-ray
Curse of the Golden Flower (2007) DVD                  Blu-ray DVD                     
Fearless (2006) DVD                  Blu-ray DVD                      Blu-ray
Kung Fu Hustle (2005) DVD                  Blu-ray DVD                      Blu-ray
2046 (Cantonese) (2005) DVD DVD
Hero (2004) DVD                  Blu-ray DVD                      Blu-ray
House of the Flying Daggers (2004) DVD                  Blu-ray DVD                      Blu-ray
Warriors of Heaven and Earth (2003) DVD                  Blu-ray DVD                       
Balzac and the little Chinese Seamstress (2003) DVD DVD  
Zhou Yu’s Train (2002) DVD DVD  
Shaolin Soccer (Cantonese) (2001) DVD DVD                      Blu-ray  
Beijing Bicycle (2001) DVD DVD  
The Emperor and the Assassin (2000) DVD DVD  
In the mood for love (2000) DVD DVD  
The Road Home (2000) DVD DVD  
Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon (2000) DVD                  Blu-ray DVD                      Blu-ray  
In the Mood for Love (2000) DVD DVD Special DVD  
Eat Drink Man Woman (1995) DVD VHS only  
Chungking Express (1994) VHS only          Blu-ray DVD                      Blu-ray  
Farewell my Concubine (1993) DVD VHS only  
The Last Emperor (1987) DVD                  Blu-ray DVD                      Blu-ray  
  More Chinese language films on DVD from amazon.com More Chinese language films on DVD from amazon.co.uk  

Read our Chinese language film and movie reviews>>


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World Cinema

Watching a foreign language movie is a great way to learn a new language, improve existing language skills and to find out about a foreign country and its culture. Buy a DVD in a foreign language and you can choose both the language you watch in and the language of the subtitles. You’ll be amazed at how much you can already understand. Film is a great language learning resource and makes a great gift too. Motivate yourself with a movie!


Our top 10 foreign language films

01 Downfall German
02 House of the Flying Dagger Chinese
03 Motorcycle Diaries Spanish
04 Amelie French
05 Il Postino Italian
06 Life is Beautiful Italian
07 Y Tu Mama Tambien Spanish
08 Delicatessen French
09 Spirited Away Japanese
10 Manon des Sources French


Foreign language movies by language

We have selected the most popular foreign language movies for you:

Chinese language movies
English language movies
French language movies
German language movies
Hindi language movies
Italian language movies
Japanese language movies
Spanish language movies
Other foreign language movies


Foreign language film reviews

This is where we tell you what we really think about foreign language films on language advantage! We’ve picked out a selection of our favourite foreign language movies and written a short review of each. They are all very different, but excellent viewing – and of course will motivate you to get the language advantage.

Chinese language film reviews
French language film reviews
German language film reviews
Hindi language film reviews
Italian language film reviews
Japanese language film reviews
Spanish language film reviews
Film reviews in other languages


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Teach Yourself Conversation

Are you lost for words when speaking a language?
Picture the scene: You’ve arrived at the airport in Spain, excitedly clutching your suitcase and sun hat, when you ask an airport official in your best phrasebook Spanish where the taxi rank is. It seems to work as he replies straightaway …… but that’s where the conversation ends!

[Read more…]

COURSE REVIEWS

This is where we tell you what we really think about the language and culture courses on language advantage!

We have reviewed the best and most innovative language courses on language advantage. And we invite you to do the same. So now you’ll know what you’re really buying – from independent people that have actually done the language courses … and love learning languages! If you would like to send in a review, or find out more about any of the courses we feature on language advantage, contact us now!


think french july 2012 issueThink French online audio language magazine>>

An independent language advantage course review by Ali Gibbs – Brighton, UK

The Think French online audio language magazine is more than a simple French language course – it is designed to help you to learn French while teaching you about life and culture in French-speaking countries.  It is a much more current and engaging approach to learning French for intermediate and advanced learners, and even beginners. …>>

Read Ali’s review of the Think French online audio language magazine now>>


Michel Thomas Start Greek and Michel Thomas Start Spanish>>

michel thomas method start spanishAn independent language advantage course review by Sue Gooch and Andy Dunhill – UK

Andy Dunhill from Huddersfield, UK and Sue Gooch from London, UK both took on our request to review a Michel Thomas Start language course. Andy tried the Michel Thomas Start Spanish course and Sue tried her hand at the Michel Thomas Start Greek course. Both are interested in learning languages for different reasons. We introduced them to the Michel Thomas Start language course and both had very different things to say about their particular course.

Read Sue’s review of the Michel Thomas Start Greek language course now>>

Read Andy’s review of the Michel Thomas Start Spanish language course now>>


Think Spanish online audio language magazine>>

think spanish november 2011An independent language advantage course review by Rosemarie Goonewardene – Indiana, USA

I became interested in learning Spanish when I wanted to visit friends in Mexico.  My first attempt was a Spanish beginner’s class covering a few topics related to travel. Some time later, I took a couple of traditional Spanish classes, but the main emphasis was on grammar and there wasn’t much conversation practice. I looked at various Spanish language text books and found many of them confusing, although I did find listening to the accompanying tapes helpful.

Read Rosemarie’s review of Think Spanish online audio language magazine now>>


Other independent language course reviews:

BBC Buongiorno Italia>>
BBC Get Into Spanish>>
BBC Hindi Urdu Bol Chaal>>
BBC Quickstart Spanish>>
BBC Steps Online>>
BBC Suenos World Spanish 1>>
BBC Suenos World Spanish 2>>
BBC Talk Portuguese Online>>


Don Quijote Spanish Course in Córdoba, Argentina >>


Don Quijote Spanish Course in Salamanca, Spain >>


Earworms iPod & MP3 Rapid French Volume 1>>
Earworms iPod & MP3 Rapid French Volume 2>>


Michel Thomas French 2-hour Course>>
Michel Thomas German 8-hour Course>>
Michel Thomas Italian Language Builder>>
Michel Thomas Spanish Language Builder>>

Michel Thomas Start Greek>>

Michel Thomas Start Spanish>>
Michel Thomas Advanced Spanish>>


Pimsleur Quick & Simple Mandarin Chinese>>


Teach Yourself Instant German>>
Teach Yourself Instant Greek>>
Teach Yourself Instant Italian>>
Teach Yourself Italian Grammar and Italian Verbs>>
Teach Yourself Japanese Conversation>>
Teach Yourself One-day Greek>>


Think French online audio language magazine by Andrea Lainé>>

Think French online audio language magazine by Ali Gibbs>>


Think Italian online audio language magazine  by Andrea Lainé>>


Think Spanish online audio language magazine  by Andrea Lainé>>

Think Spanish online audio language magazine by Rosemarie Goonewardene>>


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LEARN BUSINESS MANDARIN CHINESE

language advantage brings you with the best and most innovative language courses in Business Mandarin Chinese. Get the Mandarin Chinese language advantage for your business and claim your competitive advantage!


01 Teach Yourself Business Mandarin Chinese

teach-yourself-business-mandarin-chineseThe most up-to-date business Mandarin Chinese language course in the world. Learn with realistic business situations and business articles on an audio CD, and follow along in the accompanying booklet which contains the transcripts and a glossary. You can even download it to your iPod or your MP3 player. Also learn about the French business culture around the world in the Teach Yourself Business Mandarin Chinese Culture Book. It is written by Sarah Carroll, founder of www.languageadvantage.com.
for more information and to buy Teach Yourself Business Mandarin Chinese, browse our Language Advantage Business shop on amazon.co.uk>>
for more information and to buy Teach Yourself Business Mandarin Chinese, browse our Language Advantage Business store on amazon.com>>

02 Eurotalk Business Mandarin Chinese CD-ROM

eurotalk-talk-business-mandarin-chineseThis language course for Business Mandarin Chinese is on CD-ROM software for both Windows and Mac. Topics covered include business meetings, trading, IT,  advertising, negotations and  banking. Perfect to take on your business trip with you and to improve your language skills as you travel.
for more information and to buy Eurotalk Business Mandarin Chinese, browse our Language Advantage Business shop on amazon.co.uk>>
for more information and to buy Eurotalk Business Mandarin Chinese, browse our Language Advantage Business store on amazon.com>>

03 Mandarin Chinese Business Dictionary

business-chinese-collin-dictionaryWhen preparing a sales pitch or product presentation, you need to be sure that you have the technical language correct. Invest in a business dictionary to make sure your language skills are in the best possible condition!
for more information and to buy a Mandarin Chinese Business Dictionary, browse our Language Advantage Business shop on amazon.co.uk>>
for more information and to buy a Mandarin Chinese Business Dictionary, browse our Language Advantage Business store on amazon.com>

04 Electronic Mandarin Chinese Dictionary and Mandarin Chinese Translator

It is impossible to carry a heavy Mandarin Chinese dictionary with you when you are travelling on business, so why not take a handheld electronic Mandarin Chinese dictionary or translator with you. For those of you that love gadgets, get a speaking Mandarin Chinese dictionary and translator, which is very cool as well as very useful. It will be a great talking point in your meetings!
for more information and to buy Electronic Mandarin Chinese Dictionaries & Translators, browse Ectaco [UK]>>
for more information and to buy Electronic Mandarin Chinese Dictionaries & Translators, browse Ectaco [USA]>>

05 Business Mandarin Chinese Course Abroad

The best way to learn a language is to study in the country where the language is spoken. Travel to Beijing or Shanghai to learn Business Mandarin Chinese – and even get some work experience in a Mandarin Chinese-speaking company.
for more information about Business Mandarin Chinese Language Courses Abroad>>


browse more Business Mandarin Chinese language courses on amazon.co.uk>>
browse more Business Mandarin Chinese language courses on amazon.com>>


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Learn to Speak Mandarin Chinese

Mandarin Chinese spoken in China, Taiwan and Singapore and by over 1 billion people.
Get the Mandarin Chinese language advantage!


Here are our top Mandarin Chinese language courses to help you to learn to speak Mandarin Chinese:

01 Michel Thomas Mandarin Chinese

02 BBC Active Mandarin Chinese

03 Pimsleur Mandarin Chinese

04 Rosetta Stone Mandarin Chinese

05 Teach Yourself Mandarin Chinese

06 Learn Mandarin Chinese on your iPod or MP3 player


Mandarin Chinese business language courses

Read our independent Mandarin Chinese language course reviews>>


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