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Archive for February, 2008

Buried Alive

It’s been a while.

Running LoveHKFilm.com and its associated businesses, subsidiaries, and licensed properties can sometimes be quite a chore. Even when I ignore its main product - film reviews - I’m usually dealing with a related commitment, be it a favor or freelance job acquired through the site, emails in relation to the site, or personal meetings having something to do with the site. Since I now live and work in Hong Kong because of the site, I can now count almost everything I do every day as something having to do with the site. When you put it in those terms, the whole thing can feel slightly alarming.

Back to the main point: I owe LoveHKFilm.com some new reviews soon, which is no big deal because that’s the way the site works. Without new reviews, LoveHKFilm.com would become a shadow of its former self, a 35 year-old statue guarding the lane while speedy guards blow past me for an easy layup. That’s right, just like Shaquille O’Neal.

I’m big and slow
“I am the greatest! Well…I was about six years ago.”

However, since the inception of Damn You, Kozo! I have gained a new responsibility: I now owe this blog some posts, which is more difficult to handle than I first thought. There are two reasons for this. 1) I have lots of ideas, but lack the time and energy for proper execution, and 2) I have yet to master the art of the short blog post. If I could somehow satisfy myself with a 200-word blog post I’m sure I could become ultra-prolific.

I also seem to enjoy putting lots of pictures on my posts. If I simply broke that habit I’m sure I could double or triple my output.

Then again, how can I resist posting photos like these:

Daniel loves Edison
“Edison is so dreamy…except his skin is dull
and fatigued. He should use L’OREAL Hydra
Energetic moisturizing gel cream to hydrate
and reduce his skin’s natural pastiness.
Because he’s worth it.”

Speaking of Daniel Wu’s pitchman abilities, they’ve apparently claimed another victim. Just a week or so ago, I celebrated my latest birthday, and someone - after getting a load of this blog post - saw fit to present me with my own can of L’OREAL Hydra Energetic moisturizing gel cream, so I too can tighten, hydrate, and, uh, anti-dull my skin.

My skin is saved
The first step towards meterosexuality

I think the above qualifies as a Sign of the Apocalypse.

My birthday is only the most recent thing that’s eaten up time. There was also an ill-timed bout of sickness, and your usual things such as work, weather, and Sexy Photos Gate, which has been covered respectably by our sister blog, The House Where Words Gather. I commend Sanney’s ability to dissect the issue intelligently and without active bias. I have the ability to do neither, because when I see the Sexy Photos Gate-related photos that Apple Daily has seen fit to unearth, I can’t help but make jokes about them.

By the way, did you know that Edison recently survived an assassination attempt?


The assassin (right) almost got the drop on Edison Chen (center),
but the grey-suited bodyguard (left) intervened quickly,
using his Index Finger of Death (TM) to strike the assassin
in the throat, instantly rendering him mute, unconscious,
and unable to participate in any future karaoke activity.

Apple Daily is a treasure trove of fab celebrity photos. They’ve outdone themselves with their coverage of Sexy Photos Gate, but there are plenty of non-Edison pictures available in their fine daily postings, too. Frankly, I have so many fun photos saved up by now that I have no idea when or how to use them.

Here are a few examples:

She’s so very pink
Zhang Ziyi’s pink dress also doubles as a personal space protector

They’re really brothers
Upon meeting, the two Wongs
discovered that their individual
filmographies share many similarities.

This looks bad
Media Asia boss Peter Lam, Johnnie To, Shu Qi, and Miriam Yeung.
There’s a real story behind this photo but it’s more fun
to look at it and make up your own. It can be a contest.

Apple Daily rules.

Anyway, time for some navel gazing.

Everybody loves navels
Lee Hyo-Lee.
Or is it Lee Hyolee or Lee Hyori?
Inconsistent romanization only
makes Google Image Search more difficult.

Fourteen months ago, I started LoveHKFilm.com’s current update schedule, which is known as “Whenever I feel like it.” Originally, that was done to prevent the grind of the two-week update, but it actually caused me to update the site far more than I originally used to. What I discovered was that site updates were not dependent on a fixed time interval or even my mood, but only upon the movies that I see.

Recently, LoveHKFilm.com has gone three weeks without new reviews, which is pretty unusual. That’s all because the movies I’ve seen all fall into one of two categories: A) movies that already have reviews on LoveHKFilm.com and B) movies that shouldn’t be reviewed by LoveHKFilm.com. Here’s what I saw recently:

Movies that already have reviews on LoveHKFilm.com:
Blood Brothers (dir. Chang Cheh, 1973)
Bullet and Brain (dir. Keung Kwok-Man, 2007)

Movies that shouldn’t be reviewed by LoveHKFilm.com:
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (dir. Julian Schnabel, 2007)
Sweeney Todd (dir. Tim Burton, 2007)
Enchanted (dir. Kevin Lima, 2007)
Vantage Point (dir. Pete Travis, 2008)

So to assuage the three people who are wondering why the site has been so quiet, that’s the reason why: because I’m not seeing anything that I need to review. Not to worry; soon Empress and the Warriors, Playboy Cops, Shamo, and Fatal Move will get released, which means I’ll have some new movies to eviscerate review. March also sees the release of L for Love, L for Lies, the new travesty effort from Patrick Kong, auteur of twin terrors delights Marriage with a Fool and Love is Not All Around. It’s going to be a busy month.

However, it’ll also be a busy month for another reason: the Hong Kong International Film Festival. This year marks my fourth year in Hong Kong, but this will be the first year I go insane and check out 21 films at the HKIFF, a number that guarantees to send me straight to hell.

If you’re curious, here’s the lineup:

3/18 Candy Rain (7:15pm)
3/18 Drifting Flowers (9:30pm)
3/20 I Just Didn’t Do It (6:45pm)
3/21 Winds of September - Taiwan (7:15pm)
3/21 Winds of September - China (9:45pm)
3/22 City Without Baseball (6pm)
3/22 Besieged City (9pm)
3/23 Home Song Stories (12:30pm)
3/23 Run Papa Run (6pm)
3/23 A Decade of Love (8:45pm)
3/24 Kabei (3pm)
3/26 In Love We Trust (7:15pm)
3/27 The Way We Are (7:15pm)
3/29 First Born Unicorn (9pm)
3/30 Soul of a Demon (12:30pm)
3/30 Sex is No Laughing Matter (6pm)
4/2 Winds of September - Hong Kong (7:15pm)
4/4 Love is Elsewhere (6pm)
4/6 Coffee or Tea (6pm)
4/12 A Brighter Summer Day (7pm)
4/13 Mahjong (5pm)

You can read all about the movies here.

All of the above are Asian films without reviews on LoveHKFilm.com. Quite obviously, this means two things:

1) If you want to kick my ass, now you know where I’ll be and when. I couldn’t make this any easier for you.

2) I may have to resort to the “800 words or less per review” rule I instituted during last fall’s Hong Kong Asian Film Festival. Hell, I may do that one better and go for a “600 words or less per review” rule, because there will be regular Hong Kong movies coming out alongside the above 21 movies. Who knows if I’ll survive the experience. If I do, that means more reviews for everyone. If not, that means I’ll have given up and the Internet will have one less self-proclaimed, questionably-qualified film reviewer. I see winners in either eventuality.

Regardless, I look forward to the fest, because seeing movies without expectations is much more enjoyable than seeing a film after being inundated with print and television advertising. Admittedly, I haven’t seen a lot of advertising yet for Playboy Cops, but the poster doesn’t inspire me with much confidence:

Yeah! We fight crime AND have fun!
They kick ass AND have fun. What could be better?

Managing expectations is the key to enjoying modern cinema. That didn’t help me much at Kung Fu Dunk, but everyone who I’ve talked to about the film enjoyed it a lot more than I did, with some of them actually saying, “After listening to you, I expected the worst, but it wasn’t that bad!” I’ve also had similar responses after lending people my copy of D-War. It could be our new tagline:

LoveHKFilm Banner
Lowering Expectations Since 2002

Anyway, we’ll see if we can handle our March-April workload. If we can, I’d consider it an achievement. In the meantime, I’ll attempt to perfect the art of shorter blog posts, in order to keep this thing going on a semi-weekly to bi-weekly basis. And if worst comes to worst, I’ll just post funny pictures. I have tons of those.

Damn you, Edison!
“Dammit, Edison! I told you to exfoliate and hydrate
every other day! Now your skin is oily and improperly
balanced! You’ll never get rid of that shine now!”

Buy CJ7 now! No waiting, no hassle, and maybe no movie.

Everybody loves CJ7. That is, except the people who didn’t like it. There are actually quite a few, judging from the film’s lukewarm-to-positive response both locally and on the web. Personally speaking, the movie isn’t great nor is it terrible; its worst offense is that it’s simply a bit of a let down, especially considering that it’s Stephen Chow’s first movie in 3 years and that he really isn’t in it very much.

Not sure why he should care though. The movie is making bank. And man, that CJ7 is one cute critter.

One is cuddly, but the other is mega-rich.
“I love you, my little cash cow.”

However, they could make about 40 extra bucks if they could stop something like this:

No overhead costs!
Two McDonald’s coupons can get you a copy of CJ7

What’s in this blurry photo that I took with my mobile phone? Why, it’s none other than a shoe box where you can deposit 20 Hong Kong dollars voluntarily. Afterwards you can take one of the paper-sleeved VCD copies of CJ7 the nice people who set up the box have left next to the shoe box. Whether or not it actually contains a copy of CJ7 is a good question. It could be just a trailer, or maybe a blank CD. Worst case scenario: it’s a copy of Wonder Women.

By the way, nobody is manning this little kiosk because, well, this is illegal. I suppose there might be somebody watching the stand from afar, but nobody came out of the shadows to kneecap me when I took this photo. So maybe nobody was nearby. Anyway, I hear they’re all in Canada looking for this guy:

 A class act
No caption required

HK Customs, if you’re reading this: run now to the Kwai Hing MTR Station in the New Territories. You’ll be able to sieze about ten bootleg copies of CJ7, not to mention the 40 illegally-earned HK dollars that are sitting in the shoe box. I wish you all the luck in the world. Frankly, all bootlegged VCDs or DVDs should end up like this:

The fate of all VCDs
The deserved fate of all illegal media

Sadly, the above disc is genuine. It’s been stuffed in the dirt to ward off birds at a local community garden. One would think that using tinfoil or some other form of shiny, bird-repelling trash would work just as well, but nope, they’re using Hong Kong movies to keep birds from eating their flowers. 

At least the movie they’ve tossed is Rules of the Game, a nineties triad movie that would never qualify for a classic genre retrospective. It could be worse. They could be misusing a good movie like, say, Benny Chan’s excellent nineties actioner Big Bullet.

Oh, sorry, they’re using that too:

Poor Big Bullet
This VCD is a metaphor for Jordan Chan’s career

What does all this show us? Probably what most of us already know: that people in Hong Kong don’t really value entertainment, much less the media its encoded onto. An old VCD is worth more as a makeshift scarecrow than it is as a form of entertainment. Sadly, the same garden also contained some discarded DVDs, including a little movie called The Fellowship of the Ring, so this poor respect for the creative work of others applies to movies from pretty much anywhere. It’s just disposable junk to a lot of people in Hong Kong, and is not worth more than 2 hours of braindead time. Apparently, over 10,000 wasted man-hours devoted to media hype and celebrity scandal are far more valuable and necessary.

Man, I’m depressed. Not even Louis Koo hawking watches can make me feel better.

Kozo meets Louis Koo
“My steely gaze instructs you to buy my watch.”

Two down, two to go…plus a couple of holidays and other random crap

Happy Lunar New Year!

You should see their other photos
Former softcore pin-up girl with current hardcore pin-up guy

Oh wait, the above photo has THAT GUY in it! You know, the one who’s at the center of Hong Kong’s bizarre media circus that needs its own Wong Jing parody film. Frankly, the “thing involving the pictures that resemble people who’ve worked with Charlene Choi” is all anyone can talk about over here. I would add to the constant buzzing in your ears, but it’s still not over and it seems that I change my mind about it every single day. Maybe I’ll say something afterwards.

A week or so ago, I said I wouldn’t make fun of it because it involved criminal activity and frankly, I was tired of the media coverage. I’m still tired of it, but now the whole thing has escalated to the point where I have to make fun of it simply because it’s the only way I can deal with the constant barrage of news and gossip related to He Who Shall Not Be Named.

No, not Voldemort. I’m talking about this guy again.

He’s livin’ large.
“I’m a good person!”

Um…no, you’re not.

At this point, everyone will come out of this debacle looking bad, including the participants, the victims, the media, the police, and the overexcited and frankly overjudgmental public. I’d give everyone a giant raspberry, but it’s so cold that I feel drained of the required energy to complete such an action. Instead, I’m providing this picture to illustrate how I see the entire mess:

FIGHT!!!
I’m betting on the kangaroo.

Sudden subject change: some weeks ago, I blogged briefly about my Andy Lau concert experience. Basically, it consisted of me marveling at the man’s endless energy, willingness to put himself in danger, and his unparalleled pitchman abilities. The concert was fun, because Andy Lau was Andy Lau. Accept no substitutes.

You won’t find any pictures of me!
“Thanks, Kozo!”

However, Andy Lau’s concert was only the second I’ve attended in my three years since moving to Hong Kong. The first one was Sammi Cheng’s back in May. Actually, I’ve seen her in concert twice before in the states, so basically this latest Sammi concert I attended was just like old home week. The fact that Sammi and I have both aged adds to the metaphor.

I actually wrote a Life with Kozo column about my Sammi Cheng Hong Kong concert experience back in May 2007, but it never saw print because I never got around to posting it. It’s buried somewhere on my hard drive along with some, uh, pictures I don’t want anyone to see.

Ed the Player
These pants no longer contain any mysteries

Thankfully, I attended my third concert just recently. I lucked into a ticket to one of Jacky Cheung’s remaining concerts here in Hong Kong. Here are some shots from Yahoo HK:

Jacky Cheung sings
“This one’s for you people in the crappy seats!”

Jacky and two others
Only Jacky is allowed to wear a jacket.

 

Jacky said during the concert that the dancers were all masked in order to make him look better. Personally speaking, I don’t think Jacky is all that bad looking, though someone I once knew had him classified in the “ugly guy, good singer” category, the implication being that there’s a category called “pretty guy, bad singer.” You can figure out who goes into that category yourself.

But I enjoyed Jacky’s concert a bit more than Andy Lau’s, to be honest. Andy is pure entertainment, but as a singer, Jacky clearly wins. Also, I sat in the cheap seats so I had no choice but to appreciate Jacky for his vocal range and ability to act effeminate without ever threatening his manhood. The man is multi-talented.

A sample of my perspective that evening:

Where I sat
The lightsabers were free

Sadly, Jacky did not have a guest performer - which really sucked because I was expecting something like this:

Jacky and Jacky 2
The number of people in this photo also attended Nick Cheung’s last concert

Now that I’ve seen Jacky Cheung, I’ve officially attended concerts for two of the Sky Kings. That’s two down, and two to go. Who are the remaining two? Well, there’s this guy:

Leon drinking
He’s been at this all morning

And this guy:

Aaron and pal
Aaron Kwok and a, uh, Golden Horse

I’m actually betting that Mr. Golden Horse will be the next one I see. After all, Aaron Kwok does have a concert going on right now in Hong Kong. Maybe I’ll luck into some tickets, and hopefully he won’t wear something like this:

Greatest Photo Ever
Insert your own caption here

By the way, we just had Valentine’s Day here in Hong Kong. Two years ago on Valentine’s Day, I went and hung out with a friend - who we’ll call Mr. G - in Lan Kwai Fong. We went to a party attended by other single people who had no Valentine’s Day dates. I actually didn’t want to go, but I went as his wingman. I still paid for my own drinks.

The highlight of the evening came when he introduced me to a pretty girl who worked in Central. Mr. G said to her, “This guy runs a famous website! It’s all about Hong Kong movies!”

“Really,” she said. “About Hong Kong movies?”

“Yep,” was my reply. My beer was warm.

She arched an eyebrow. “But Hong Kong movies are shit.”

Kenichi Matsuyama will tell you how I felt:

You suck!
“You suck, Kozo.”

Being single is tough.

A final dating tip for all the guys. If you want to do well with the ladies, you need one of these:

Edison’s Tool of choice

Just learn how to repair it yourself.

Photo credits: Yahoo HK, Apple Daily, a borrowed digital camera, and my hard drive.

Damn You, Everyone! The Webmaster weeps for Hong Kong.

Hong Kong is so boring and cold. Nothing is happening at all right now.

Edison and Stephen
Stephen, you’d better wash your right hand.

Actually, unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you do know that something’s up, namely the ire of the populace and the local media thanks to the appropriately named Edison-Gillian-Bobo-Cecilia Scandal. I have been asked my opinion on this subject by about three people…so I’m going to post it on my blog!

To be honest, my response is a rather pedestrian one that really means nothing. Indeed, this whole fiasco really doesn’t bother me that much. I’m more bothered by the fact that it has delivered tons of useless traffic to my website, in the form of people desperately searching out photos of Edison and his conquests. I live in a small world.

But in the meantime, I’d like to say that this is an invasion of privacy and probably one of the stupidest things I’ve ever been witness to.

No, I’m not talking about the pictures themselves, which are someone’s private business and were taken by a bunch of consenting, but rather foolhardy individuals. Really, nothing is that shocking here, unless you’re so prudish that sex is a complete turnoff. So, young women have sex? Yes, they do. So, a dope kid like Edison takes pictures of his conquests and saves them on his hard drive? Hardly a surprise, considering the “I’m from the streetz” stereotype Ed seems determined to embody with every phrase or action that he’s party to. At least he never claimed to be a role model.

Basically, we’ve learned three things from this:

1. Edison Chen is someone who you would like to stay away from your sister.

2. Famous women can have bad taste in men, and can sometimes do stupid things just like regular women.

3. Hong Kong is full of people who should know better.

I say this last thing because some people seem to act like they have a right to own these photos. Currently, webmasters of forums that hosted the photos are being arrested, leading to outrage from the local citizenry. Results of a current Apple Daily poll are frightening. According to the poll, 76% of all respondents think the blame for this fiasco actually lies with the photographer, and not with the people who chose to illegally distribute the offending photos without said photographer’s permission. There’s even talk of some sort of protest or march in support of people who posted Edison’s private photos on their websites. Say what?

Sometimes I wish people would just learn to leave these things alone. Did we really have to see and share these photos? Artists are people, too. They don’t belong to us. We can make fun of them if they trip up publicly, but this is a case of criminals taking private property that belonged to someone and using it to damage them. The artists are the victims here. Even Edison.

I still wouldn’t want him to date my sister, though.

Let’s close this with a photo:

Jay Chou will beat up fans for money
“I’ll beat up anyone who says anything bad about Ryosuke.”

 
 
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