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Navel-gazing, or Why I haven’t written a review of The Warlords.

Now would be a good time to invoke the title of this blog.

After being incredibly focused on updating the website and implementing the site blogs through October and early November, the well of energy I so miraculously possessed has finally dried up. Last week it was hell for me to get reviews of Mad Detective and In Love with the Dead finished, not to mention take care of all the smaller stuff that has to be done with a website this size. Despite the number of contributors listed on the About Site page, I’m the only one around to tidy up and take out the trash. As a result, the energy simply to make dinner just isn’t there.

Here’s a photo just to break things up:

148 Connaught Rd.
Kozo standing outside 148 Connaught Rd. in Sheung Wan,
waiting for Anthony Wong to be thrown off the building.
It could still happen.

Recently, I saw the much ballyhooed film The Warlords, but I’ve held off on writing about it because A) I’m tired, and B) a number of sites already have. Normally I would make it some point of pride to see a new Hong Kong movie (or Chinese-Hong Kong-Aiming for the West movie) and get a review up ASAP. I used to feel that way about this website, even when I lived in the United States and saw DVDs. Getting new DVDs and dumping reviews on this website was like an obsession back then. You could say it was like collecting action figures; you have to get them all, and if you miss one, you feel like a complete chump. This is the sad story of my thirties.

No need anymore. One of the things that has occured in the 5 years since I’ve started this site is the virtual explosion of people willing and wanting to cover all the “hot Azn flix”. Sure, they won’t go out of their way to see, oh, Sweet Revenge or A Mob Story, but people out there are really working. Before, reviews of the very latest Hong Kong movies were not easy to come by, but now there are plenty of places and media outlets to find what you need.

Let’s take a look: currently, Twitch has two reviews up for The Warlords. BC Magazine has become very up-to-date with their Hong Kong films since hiring Yvonne Teh of Hong Kong - View From the Brooklyn Bridge, and VarietyAsiaOnline is getting a bit faster too with their Asian film coverage. There are also numerous aggregators, including the KFCCinema forums, and The Golden Rock. Plus there are the blogs, which are too numerous to mention. Basically, you have a world of Asian Cinema opinions in front of you; this site is now only one of them.

So hey, you don’t have to come here anymore. The door is behind you.

The Warlords
Still no review for this movie, but that’s okay!

Not that I’m asking you to not visit In truth, I’m glad that people visit the site, because if they didn’t I wouldn’t have gotten attention from, moved to Hong Kong, or been in the position to review Naraka 19 before anyone else. I’m grateful for the people who visit.

Hell, I’m even grateful for the people who just drive by. Those people arrive here via Google and then promptly leave because they find out A) I don’t have naked pictures, B) I don’t host downloads, and C) I dislike all their favorite movies. Even though those aren’t quality visits, they inflate my statistics, such that people think this site is a Grade-A Asian Cinema hotspot. Joke’s on them: we all know that the real action is happening at Twitch, or numerous sites I won’t mention because they host downloads. We’re an online stuffed shirt by comparison.

But I shouldn’t complain, because I am where I am because of the traffic. So thanks a bunch.

Stephen Chow thanks you
Stephen Chow humbly thanks you for your patronage

Still, despite all the good that comes to me from this website, I spend an inordinate amount of time wondering why I forsake a regular life to maintain it. I recently got a PSP, but have found no time to play it, even though it was designed for people with less time to play games. Likewise, I still haven’t read the three novels I bought this year, and my box set of 24: Season 4 has gone unwatched. By the way, they’re up to Season 6 now, so I’m fully three years behind on the Jack Bauer Power Hour. I figure I should catch up by 2015.

Perhaps I shouldn’t be wasting this precious webspace getting self-reflective, but unfortunately, I’m the type of person that’s given to lots of navel-gazing - though I’ve never called it that. I prefer to call it “self-indulgent time wasting”. In fact, I didn’t really know the meaning of navel-gazing until a couple of months ago when someone told me what it was. Before that, when the word “navel-gazing” was invoked, I would think of something like this:

Lee Hyo-Lee
The magic of Google Image Search

The above proves a couple of things: A) Korea knows what they’re doing, and B) I sometimes assign the wrong meaning to a given English word - something that I shouldn’t do because I’m supposed to be a professional writer/editor. Actually, until fairly recently I was confusing the word “atypical” for “typical” and using it totally incorrectly. That admission just cost me a raise.

But yes, I’m given to fixating on a ton of different things - which can be both good and bad. It’s good because five years of fixation on has resulted in, well, It’s bad because it’s self-indulgent, wastes time, and mines an insecurity that we would all be better without.

It’s also the reason that I haven’t written a review for The Warlords. I should actually be grateful right now because this Christmas season is largely poor for Hong Kong movies. We pretty much only have two, Warlords and Pang Ho-Cheung’s Trivial Matters, meaning I can use the time to catch up on other things, like Summer’s Tail and Who’s Next, both of which were just released on DVD.

However, instead of using the break to catch up and write new reviews, I’m spending it thinking about, as usual, what the hell it is that I’m doing. My new topic is what to do with this blog. Honestly, I have no clue what to write here, as people can get pretty much everything they want from other places. News aggregation, industry commentary, rumors and hype - this stuff can be had at numerous sites, forums and blogs, some housed on this site, and some not. Better opinions (or sometimes more forceful yelling) can be had elsewhere. Damn You, Kozo! can do something else.

Unfortunately, that “something else” is still a total mystery to me. I could update people on my life, but my non-LoveHKFilm life is not worth relating, as it’s full of uninteresting crap regarding office politics, hirings and firings, and the occasional story about how I fell asleep on the bus and was late to work. This happens on occasion, and though the nap is nice, it’s bad for my attendance. It also sets a bad example for the people I manage.

My LoveHKFilm life isn’t necessarily more interesting, and talking about it threatens hubris or self-promotion - not that I don’t engage in that from time to time because I do. I think everyone who runs a website does, which is both understandable and a little disturbing. I would cite examples but then I’d be picking on others, and God knows, we never do that around here.

One thing I could possibly do at this blog is dish on the HK Entertainment circle, but Sanney is much better at talking HK Entertainment-related stories, and he also has the knowledge to back up his incredibly informative discussions on retired actresses or HK Entertainment-related minutiae. My version of an HK Entertainment-related story is talking about how I happened on the set of a film in Tai Kok Tsui and saw Shawn Yue. Liu Kai-Chi and Teddy Robin were also there, and they crashed a car into a wall while a stuntman rolled over the hood. I’m assuming it’s the new film from the director of The Pye-Dog, but I can’t be sure. Sometimes, not being able to read Chinese can really suck.

Yeah, so I saw Shawn Yue. I took no pictures, so you’ll have to take my word for it. This was his reaction:

You should see the other guy
“You’re next, Kozo.”

Mr. “one time I got in trouble for wearing a Nazi uniform in a photo shoot” is pretty much the only celebrity I’ve seen recently, and he was just sitting in a van. Celebrities are actually a dime-a-dozen over here, and I’ve never publicly talked about who I’ve seen or when. I really should, because I’m more of a Hong Kong film fan than an actual critic. In case nobody knows, I still pay to see the majority of the films I see, and don’t get studio comps or press passes. I’m also more of a rambler than a writer, but I pretend to be that too. At least I try.

Anyway, here’s a partial count of my celebrity-stalking. Not counting people I’ve seen on a stage or podium, I’ve now seen Andy Lau, Charlene Choi, Wong Jing, Anthony Wong and Lau Ching-Wan (both in Starbucks), and also Francis Ng. I also saw Michael Tong in a noodle joint, but I’m betting that nobody cares. As usual, I have no photos of these events because my camera recently broke. I should buy a new one, but I’m wasting my time navel-gazing instead.

Admit it, this was your wallpaper
Another navel for you. Giordano just paid us off.

I did, however, find time to buy a new computer, meaning hopefully no more truncated updates when my current laptop overheats at 1:00 am. Now you know: sometimes the site updates get delayed because my computer overheats in Hong Kong’s humid climate. Configuring the computer will probably take a lot of extra time though, which means even more time I don’t use to write reviews, or pursue fun personal hobbies like video games, reading, or maybe some exercise. I also don’t have time to answer my site emails. Speaking of which, if you sent me an email in the last 2 months, I didn’t answer it and I apologize profusely. I may get around to it one day, but if so, you’ll probably have forgotten that you ever emailed me.

Also, I still haven’t found a moment to start that English-subtitled Huo Yuan Jia drama that I picked up.

Ekin Cheng fell down right after this photo was taken.

So maybe starting this blog wasn’t such a hot idea. Admittedly, I did it not because I had a plan for it. I basically built this thing because I thought it might be interesting to see what would happen if I did have a blog. Would I find it more interesting than the regular site? Or would I grow tired of it, concentrate on the site, and just let it lay dormant, like so many blogs that came before? Or would I use it as just an impromptu version of Life with Kozo? To my disappointment, that’s what seems to be happening.

So we’re at a stalemate here. Awesome! Words, words, and more words later and I still don’t know what to do with this blog. If I can ever figure out where I’m going with this thing, I’ll let you know. That is, if you haven’t tuned out already. In the meantime, I hope it doesn’t drag this website down any further than it already has. Now I’m off to write that Warlords review. If you’re lucky, you’ll see it by next week.

One more navel for good measure:

Not all navels are sexy

10 Responses to “Navel-gazing, or Why I haven’t written a review of The Warlords.”

  1. Buma Says:

    completely pointless rambling…except now i’m googling lee hyolee and cant get any work done…

    thanks kozo…like i’m not busy enough as is…

  2. V Says:

    Hi Kozo,

    I think you’re being too hard on yourself. Sure, others managed to review Warlords before you did, but does that really matter? Sometimes, it is OK to make us wait :) Go on, and take some time out for yourself; don’t you think you deserve it?

    And yeah, thanks for introducing “navel-gazing”. Had I heard it elsewhere, I would’ve thought of something along the lines of those pictures!

  3. Gabriel Says:

    Yes, there are multiple reviews elsewhere of the films you review. But yours are the most interesting and informative. We’d miss them if you stopped permanently.

  4. YTSL Says:

    Thanks for the shout out with regards to my work for bc, Kozo. All the same, have to say that I’d be interested in reading what you think of “The Warlords”… :)

  5. glenn Says:

    So please tell me you at least spoke to Lau Ching Wan and Charlene Choi and Anthony Wong?

    I am far too old to be that impressed by your proximity to celebrities BUT they are Hong Kong celebrities, and as such, more interesting than the Hollywood variety.

    Seriously, I have been hoping you’d write a Life with Kozo on your adventures as an American with Mandarin skills in a Cantonese speaking environment.

    And a review of the Warlords would be nice; YTSL made it sound better than I had hoped.

    God knows it can’t be as ridiculous as that Empress and the Warriors thing whose trailer makes me almost sick of wuxia films.

    Still got a soft spot for Kelly Chen though.

  6. Webmaster Kozo Says:

    I’ll write a Warlords review soon. I just figured that this one will be so talked about that those thirsting for any info can easily find it. Most of the time I’ve tried to review big movies sooner because I know people are interested, but for some reason I’m just not feeling it at the moment. That may be why I’m retreating to the blog, where I can ramble pointlessly and get away with it.

    Sorry Glenn, I don’t try to speak to any celebrities in HK. Celebrity sightings are cool, but that’s how I treat them: as sightings. If I ever do meet any celebrities, I usually hope that the meetings are more substantial than a run-in at Starbucks. Other than when I met Cheng Pei-Pei and Andrew Lin, I can’t say it’s really happened.

  7. ABCgal Says:

    What happened when you met Cheng Pei-Pei?

    Also, I second on what glenn said regarding “your adventures as an American with Mandarin skills in a Cantonese speaking environment.”

    Anyways, thanks for your work on lovehkfilm and even your rambling blog posts. You may not realize it, but they bring untold joy and happiness to untold millions! Millions! :D

    Keep on truckin’!

  8. Webmaster Kozo Says:

    I met Cheng Pei-Pei at work. Her daughter, Marsha Yuan, was in the office for an interview and feature on’s sister site, I got a picture and an autograph, and we chatted for a bit. I qualify the experience as better than your usual celebrity sighting because we got to sit down and we addressed each other by name. I don’t think that would have happened if I had approached Wong Jing when I saw him at the mall.

    And unfortunately, my adventures in Hong Kong are more like “A Chinese-looking guy who can’t speak either Cantonese and Mandarin in a Cantonese-speaking Environment.” More often than not, people think I’m Korean or Japanese.

  9. eliza bennet Says:

    I like your reviews and actually was curious about what you thought of Warlords.

    And it is fun to read your ramblings so do go on when you can. Many sites can have similar content but it is really not easy to find good quality.

    Yeah it would be really weird to actually stop and talk to a celebrity (I never do that to celebs where I live, just ignore them or give a polite nod if they happened to look at me - strangely enough this occurred often- but I probably couldn’t help but gaze lustfully at Anthony Wong, so it is good that I never saw him)

  10. Webmaster Kozo Says:

    Hi Eliza, it’s a pleasure to see you around these parts.

    The Warlords review is up, so now you know what I thought. About Anthony Wong, when I saw him he was sitting with Lau Ching Wan and Amy Kwok, so I pretended not to see them. I did a marvelously bad job. I’m sure my gaze was not lustful, however.

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