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Buried Alive

It’s been a while.

Running 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 some new reviews soon, which is no big deal because that’s the way the site works. Without new reviews, 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’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, 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 and B) movies that shouldn’t be reviewed by Here’s what I saw recently:

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

Movies that shouldn’t be reviewed by
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 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!”

18 Responses to “Buried Alive”

  1. doro Says:

    City Without Baseball and Besieged City are both Lawrence Lau films, right? Would be very interested in hearing what you have to say about them…also, kinda weird how that guy suddenly puts out 2 films in one year with a similar theme (?) and you still keep hearing nothing about them.

    Lau is HK’s #1 underrated director of all time.

  2. glenn Says:

    On Bullet and Brain, as I said on my sad, little blog: any film that has Anthony Wong and Francis Ng playing Galaga can’t be all bad.

    But it is. Those two make it marginally watchable despite the atrocious dubbing.

    That one pic with Wong Jing, Shu Qi, and Miriam looks like some weird karaoke contest.

  3. MW Says:

    Can’t believe you have had time to follow the NBA to know Kazam is in the desert now. And baseball is just around the corner too!

    I can’t believe none of the blogs have posted about the LoveHK Film Awards. Us readers need to express our opinions on it. I can see why a friend gave you L’Oreal, if your life is as busy as you say you are (work, watch films, review, blog), you’ll probably need to moisture to keep your skin fresh because you’re worth it too.

    Thanks to LoveHKFilm, our first and only line of defence to lower expectations. It helped me enjoy many movies more at the expense of your suffering.

  4. eliza bennet Says:

    Happy Birthday Kozo :)

  5. Darren Says:

    happy bday and looking forward to the reviews…yay playboy cops! lol i liked tokyo and seoul raiders haha

  6. Piers Says:

    Better yet, the caption for the last photo should read “Dammit, Edison! I told you not to pull that popcorn trick again.”

    I second the lament about inconsistent Korean romanization. Fortunately for HK fans, there’s only one way to spell Edison.

  7. Willow Says:

    So how is the moisturizer working for you? Or have you set it aside for emergencies? Like when you’re doing your HKIFF duties and don’t have time for food or water. You must maintain your skin. ;D

    Happy birthday!

  8. aircompass Says:

    Happy Birthday Kozo :)
    May you be tightened and hydrated.

    … errrrr.


  9. aircompass Says:

    I was reading Daniel Wu’s blog a few minutes ago and he has a birthday gift for you too, Kozo!

    Apparently, he was working on a new L’Oreal Commercial on Friday. Just for you.

    Because you’re worth it. :lol

  10. Canton Kid Says:

    Kozo, your getting older now, so you need to switch to a product for the elderly….maybe SKII. ;) Happy Birthday.

    A singing stripper gram performed by Ekin Cheng is on its way. (Hey, he needs the work) :P

  11. Gabriel Says:

    I’m one of those 3 people. Forthcoming reviews…aaaaah [Homer Simpson-type drool]

  12. just a fan Says:

    Happy Birthday Kozo! I hope you had a great day.

    So it all comes back to Daniel Wu eh?

    I fear you may have an unhealthy fascination with Mr Wu.

    Perhaps you should change the name of the blog to “Damn you, Daniel Wu!”

    I kid, I kid! ;)

  13. Webmaster Kozo Says:

    I must say, using that L’OREAL Hydra Energetic is quite refreshing. Not sure it makes up for my recent 4 hour sleep nights.

    Also, I saw Daniel Wu tonight at the premiere of Shamo. No photo op or chance to meet though. If I do ever meet him, I promise I’ll bring along a box of L’OREAL for him to sign.

  14. Viktor Says:

    That dress Zhang Ziyi is wearing strikes me as very practical — if she follows Angelina Jolie to Africa, a whole family will be able to enjoy protection from malaria under Zhang Ziyi’s dress (that would leave her sadly exposed, though).

    On a different note, I am intrigued to hear that loveHKfilm has led our Webmaster to Hong Kong. I imagine what Kozo is up there — watching movies all day? That would be enviable…

  15. William Says:


    While youre at the Hong Kong International Film Festival, you may want to check out Orz Boys. I heard it was pretty good. Its a Taiwanese(not HK) movie but if you reviewed it you could put it in the pan-asia section. Heres the link to the movie on the HKIF site. It’ll be screening on March 19th and the 22nd.

  16. Webmaster Kozo Says:

    Hi Viktor,

    If I could watch movies all day, you would never hear me complain about my life in any way, shape or form. Well, except about how I’d probably be out-of-shape and suffering from agoraphobia and poor vision due to my insane movie-watching habits.

    I managed to get a job here, and running the site and this blog are totally side things.

    Hi William,

    Thanks for the pointer on seeing Orz Boys. I’m not sure I can get to it because my film schedule is already packed. And that evening I already have a dinner commitment.

    Have you seen Orz Boys? Would you recommend it personally?

  17. William Says:

    Too bad you didnt get to check it out since your schedule was packed. Luckily, The Hollywood Reporter Asia got to go see it,haha. They had good things to say about it. Check out the review if you get the chance

    BTY, Donnie Yen has started working on the Yip Man movie with director Wilson Yip and much of the SPL production team. Sammo Hung is action director and Xing Yu(from Kung Fu Hustle) and Simon Yam are in it too. Im pumped. Check out some of the casting

  18. Donnette Benecke Says:

    Hyori is so sexy! I adore her music so much! xoxo Kpop rocks!

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