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Archive for March, 2008

My Personal LoveHKFilm Awards, plus how the madness occurred

Last week, I posted the 13th LoveHKFilm Awards, so now would be a good a time as any to talk about the genesis and development of this not-so-prestigious event. Basically, there was no genesis. I made it up one day to add to my nifty new website because hey, I had time on my hands. When one is bored, they frequently come up with new and creative ways to pass the time. Just ask this guy:

Edison likes Pepsi
“Whew! I have a lot of time on my hands.
Maybe I’ll take up photography.”

Pardon our interruption to beat a dead horse. Frankly, the above horse is so entertaining that I think I’ll be walloping it well into 2008. I have not yet figured out how to make fun of Isabella Leong’s recent media blitz.

Wilson and Isabella
“I get into the craziest messes! Silly me!”

Anyway, back to LoveHKFilm Awards. Originally I created them just because I felt like being self-important. Oddly, I now get occasional emails from people asking me when the LoveHKFilm Awards will get announced. It’s almost like the awards actually mean something. I’m amazed that such a thing would ever happen because my opinion is about as important as the person who took your ticket stub on your way into the cinema. Hell, his opinion may be more qualified than mine, because I’m sure he sees more movies than I do.

But nobody sees more crappy Hong Kong movies than me. At least, that’s what occurred with this year’s LoveHKFilm Awards, which I decided to hand out this year via committee.

Some background: back when I lived in the United States, I watched most of my Hong Kong movies alone, and what few I could catch with friends usually fulfilled one of the following questions, “Does it have action? Does it have Jackie Chan? Does it have hot chicks?” A few of my friends managed to expand their range to become partial to the fine work of Andy Lau or Sammi Cheng, but nobody would go out of their way to see My Sweetie with me, no matter how cute that Stephy Tang was. That was my life a few years back.

But here in Hong Kong I know a few suckers friends who will check out all the latest Hong Kong movies with me, up to and including such fine motion pictures as Beauty and the 7 Beasts and The Lady Iron Chef. Really, if you must test the loyalty of your friends, the surest way is to ask them to see a Wong Jing movie with you. If they say yes, then you’ve found a friend for life.

Wong Jing loves his ladies
“Do you really think I care if my movies suck?”

Anyway, since I know people who are interested in seeing Hong Kong films, I figured why not ask them to help decide what 2007’s best Hong Kong movies were? Seven other such people took pity on me and agreed, leading to this year’s first LoveHKFilm Awards by committee. What’s the significance of this? Well, since it’s not just one person who’s coming up with these picks, perhaps this will be seen as more fair or balanced. Opinions are subjective, and mob rule consensus is always preferable to the voice of a single dictator person.

Kelly Chen agrees:

Ow!
“Yes, your LoveHKFilm Awards are quite fair.
Now get your foot off my head!”

So, hopefully this will be the first of many “jury-chosen” LoveHKFilm Awards. I’ll describe the simple rules below to account for the few discrepancies that exist between these awards and the other, more official ones out there. At the very end, I’ll print my personal picks because then you’ll know how I voted. If you stop reading along the way, no one will blame you.

RULES for the 2007 LoveHKFilm Awards:

Films under consideration must have premiered theatrically or on home video in Hong Kong in 2007. Exceptions to this rule are movies that only found distribution in 2007, but may have premiered in earlier years. Examples would be The Postmodern Life of My Aunt, which is considered a 2006 film thanks to an international fest premiere or The Third Eye, which premiered at the 2006 Hong Kong International Film Festival, but only came to DVD in 2007. Conversely, Shamo is considered 2007 by some sources (e.g. The Golden Horse Awards), but since nobody saw it in 2007, it’ll be counted in 2008. It’s already a lock for Best Fashion Accessory.

In addition, for a film to be eligible, it must meet 3 of the following 4 criteria:

1. The film contains Hong Kong investment. Totally important, and a major reason that both Lust, Caution and The Sun Also Rises - two films passed over for consideration by the Hong Kong Film Awards - count here.

2. The film features a Hong Kong actor in a prominent, if not starring role. Probably the biggest film on the bubble here is Jay Chou’s Secret, which only has one definite Hong Kong actor - Anthony Wong - in a key supporting role. Both leads are Taiwan-based, so this movie almost got cut from consideration. We counted it anyway. Not that it matters because it won nothing.

3. The film features a Hong Kong director, i.e. a director who either hails from Hong Kong, or whose career is largely associated with Hong Kong Cinema. Ang Lee probably doesn’t qualify as a Hong Kong director, and neither does Jiang Wen. However, both their films matched the other 3 criteria, so we counted them both. Make sense?

4. It must feature a Chinese language prominently. A movie like The Touch would still get consideration despite being shot in English, because it fulfills the three of the four above criteria. However, My Blueberry Nights would get knocked out because it’s all in English and doesn’t have a Hong Kong actor. Wong Kar-Wai doesn’t need our help, anyway.

The above rules didn’t prevent some issues from occurring. One major issue was whether or not to let Lust, Caution in, not only because of its lack of inclusion in all of Hong Kong’s film awards, but also because if it were allowed in, it might sweep everything and make us look like one of your typical snooty awards societies. Well, we did leave it in, and it did win everything. My curiosity demands that we do a hypothetical do-over to see what would occur in a world without Ang Lee.

Also, to be clear about something: not everyone in the jury saw every film that was eligible for inclusion. I myself missed two films, House of the Invisibles and Fear Factors, but that’s not that big a deal because nobody else on the jury saw them either, and I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that neither film would be giving Lust, Caution a run for its money. All jury members saw the majority of the films, and most saw any film up for a quality award (i.e., not some jokey or crappy award). I myself saw every single film under consideration, including that terrible Francis Ng film The Closet.

The problem that does exist though, is that means a film can be hurt by not enough people seeing it. This was possibly the case for The Sun Also Rises, which was seen by a little over half of the jury, but not by all. As a result, I did some awesome mathematical re-jiggering (Whoops! Are we allowed to use that word anymore? PC Police, help me out!) to make sure lesser-seen films had extra representation. The solution probably wasn’t foolproof, but hey, we did the best we can. It’s not like anyone around here got paid.

Though it must be noted: one person on the jury did not see Lust, Caution, which means that every other vote for Lust, Caution got an extra boost. That boost could have propelled it past Hooked on You, which had nearly the same score as Lust, Caution and was seen by the entire jury. So, if the last person had seen Lust, Caution and had decided that it was complete and utter crap, they would have not given it any points, thus making Hooked on You the winner of our Best Picture award. Add to this the fact that the person who didn’t see Lust, Caution opted out due to disinterest, and you have the definite possibility that Hooked on You wins Best Picture.

All things considered, it’s possible that Hooked on You got robbed by the LoveHKFilm Awards.

My scarf is chafing!
“What? My movie got robbed
by your crappy awards? Screw you, Kozo!”

Anyway, here are my personal picks for the LoveHKFilm Awards:

The 10 Best Films:
1. Lust, Caution
2. Mad Detective
3. Hooked on You
4. The Sun Also Rises
5. Exodus
6. Mr. Cinema
7. The Postmodern Life of My Aunt
8. The Pye-Dog
9. Magic Boy
10. The Detective

The 10 Worst Films:
1. Wonder Women
2. Anna & Anna
3. The Drummer
4. House of Mahjong
5. Kung Fu Mahjong 3 - The Final Duel
6. Beauty and the 7 Beasts
7. Love Is Not All Around
8. Kung Fu Fighter
9. Sweet Revenge
10. Super Fans

Best Actor: Tony Leung Chiu-Wai (Lust, Caution)
Best Actress: Siqin Gaowa (Postmodern Life of My Aunt)
Best Supporting Actor: Ronald Cheng (Mr. Cinema)
Best Supporting Actress: Teresa Mo (Mr. Cinema)
Best Director : Jiang Wen (The Sun Also Rises)
Best Screenplay: Wai Ka-Fai, Au Kin-Yee (Mad Detective)
Best New Artist: Tang Wei (Lust, Caution)
Most Underrated Film: Magic Boy
Most Overrated Film: The Warlords
Most Bizarre Film: Ming Ming
Biggest Disappointment: Blood Brothers
Best Action: Invisible Target
Best Production Values: Warlords
Worst Production Values: House of Mahjong
Most Underrated Performer: Eason Chan (Hooked on You)
Funniest Performer: Louis Koo (Triangle)
Best Overacting: Chow Yun-Fat (The Postmodern Life of My Aunt)
Worst Overacting: Tony Leung Ka-Fai (The Drummer)
Taking Up Space: Tsui Tin Yau (Who’s Next)
Career Suicide: Barbara Wong (Wonder Women)

And, to honor the old Webmaster-only LoveHKFilm Awards and its silly categories:

Most Annoying: Jim Chim Sui-Man (Simply Actors)
Most Charismatic: Guey Lun-Mei (Secret)
Most Loveable: Kate Yeung (Magic Boy)
Missing in Action: Anita Yuen Wing-Yee (Protege)
Funniest Film: In Love with the Dead
Entertainer of the Year: Eason Chan, even if he did appear in Brothers
The Special Award: Wonder Women, because it was so very, very, very special
The Winner of Many of Next Year’s Awards: Edison Chen, for a zillion obvious reasons

Anyway, that’s it for this year’s LoveHKFilm Awards. Startling and scandalous, wasn’t it? Well, probably not, because these awards aren’t official and will likely be ignored by everyone in the Hong Kong entertainment industry. But hey, it was interesting, right?

Nic looks pissed
“No, it wasn’t, and never claim that it was again. Got it?”

Sorry, man.

Why March 15th?

The LoveHKFilm Awards are being announced today, which I’m sure is so exciting that it’s got the attention of hordes of people. Here’s a look at a crowd anxiously awaiting the results:

Little Green Men
Ooooo! LoveHKFilm Awards!

This was the first year I did a nomination-and-selection-by-jury sort of thing, and I could probably write a whole post about the actual behind-the-scenes experience. I won’t though, because full disclosure on the ins and outs of running LoveHKFilm.com is impossible - not to mention possibly damaging. Over the years, I’ve learned that I can’t talk about all the little things that happen around this website because I may inadvertently step on someone else’s toes, or hurt the feelings of those whose personal sensitivity needs to be taken down a notch. Decipher that however you wish.

Talk to my hand
Edison wants you to stop the hate

Originally, I was a little more forthcoming about my personal life in the Life with Kozo columns. One reader even wrote in to tell me that Life with Kozo was much more “warm” than the Damn You, Kozo! replacement, and I happen to agree. Life with Kozo really was a personal column because LoveHKFilm.com was created as a personal website. My personal experiences and interests really helped determine a great deal of this site’s initial content. Even the most minor words on this site sometimes had a personal reason behind them.

Since those early days, traffic and readership has grown, so I’ve kind of adjusted. It’s now my primary objective to write about what people want rather than what I want to talk about. I’ve tried to put my personal obsessions aside, and instead have attempted to make sure that whatever gets printed on this site is accessible and fair to the people visiting it. So, even if I do make minor personal asides on this website, I don’t let it get in the way of why people come here in the first place: to read about Hong Kong movies.

At least, that’s what I try to do.

“Pay attention!”
“Kozo cares about the reader. Remember that!”

Also, in the past six years my daily life has changed to the point where it’s regularly identified with this website, so if I talk about personal stuff online it could possibly affect the people I interact with daily. When I had no job and ran this thing from my bedroom, there was little danger of anyone being affected, but now that I work in an office of 100+ people and regularly deal with people who read or can choose to read this website, I have to rein things in a little. As a result, there are no columns like this one, which I strangely took the time to read the other day. That’s fine, because nobody who reads this site should really care about my mid-life crises.

Oddly, I found that I really enjoyed reading that previous column. It was about me though, so I’m heavily biased. That’s the curse of the “all about me” blogsphere.

DONNIE!
I admire myself in much the same way that this guy admires himself

Anyway, the reason for this little trip down Life with Kozo lane is because someone asked me why I chose March 15 for the day to release the LoveHKFilm Awards. Well, if someone wishes to know the general significance of March 15, they can always check Wikipedia.

My personal response to the above question was that it was a convenient day because it was 3 weeks after the announcement of the nominations. But I have to admit, when I originally looked at the calendar to choose a day for the award announcement, March 15 leapt out very, very quickly. This is why:

warning
WARNING!
Self-indulgent
personal memory ahead.
Turn back if you’re
determined not to care.

As I mentioned above, even the smaller decisions on this website have a personal reason. My decision to select March 15 as the award roll-out date is one of them. A former high school friend of mine once claimed March 15 as his birthday. The last time I talked to him was over sixteen years ago, when I dropped by his apartment to complain about my crappy roommate experiences. Unfortunately, I was too young, stupid, and self-absorbed to pay attention to whether or not he was having a good day, month or year. As a result, our entire encounter that day consisted of me bitching, and him putting up with me because he was too polite to tell me to shut it. Some weeks later, he took his own life.

I was not exceptionally close to him when he left, but having known him for many years, I felt a terrible loss. Selfishly, the thing that sticks with me years later is how when I last saw him I was too busy complaining about my own circumstances to ask him a simple question: “How are you?”

There’s an obvious lesson here, and while I learned it a long time ago, it took me many years of practice to make it a part of my daily life. To talk about the specifics would probably be too self-involved and uninteresting to the vast majority of the people who read this, but for better or worse, it’s part of what makes me who I am today. So no matter what, March 15 means something to me.

The small side story to my March 15 experience is that it was also the birthday of a girl I once had feelings for. The two of us got along quite well for a few months, and then, to borrow an oft-used phrase, IT ALL WENT TO HELL. I was basically told to take an unceremonious permanent hike, and after some pushing and pulling, I took the hint.

Since I met this girl only a year after my friend died and she possessed the same birthday as him, I thought at the time that there might be some deeper meaning to our chance acquaintance. Obviously, back then I was a total moron who had read too many astrology books, and was so self-absorbed that I would fool myself into thinking something so patently absurd. My teenage years are filled with similar tales of self-aggrandizing idiocy.

March 15 also reminds me of that girl, but whereas once it meant bitterness and regret, I now feel only a mild annoyance - kind of like if someone mentions to me how damn good The Drummer is. To further pad this trip down useless memory lane, a couple of years ago the girl sent me an email with a “How are you, I’m doing great, sorry about back then” message - which happened to be a full ten years since the last time I spoke to her. I never replied to her email because not everything in our lives should be canonized as having meaning, and frankly this situation is one of them. Sometimes, things should be left where they are: in the past and forgotten.

I’m not sure why I chose to write about this subject on Damn You, Kozo! because it doesn’t really fit the blog’s usual “Damn You, [random celebrity]!” M.O. Still, the story does have some roundabout connection to LoveHKFilm.com besides the March 15 thing. After my friend died, I became closer to his older sister, and in 1993 she and another once-dear friend took me to a little movie called Days of Being Wild - which became the first Hong Kong film I ever saw that didn’t involve John Woo or Jackie Chan.

Also, when that girl I once liked e-mailed me ten years later, she found me through, duh, LoveHKFilm.com. Perhaps I should have used the Internet’s famous anonymity to my advantage when creating this website, but I did not foresee that it would last past year two of its existence. Had I known things would end up this way, I would have hidden my identity, or at least found a way to pretend that Kozo is tall, handsome, and still in his twenties.

Oh well, too late to change the past. Thanks for reading this far. As a result of this post, LoveHKFilm.com’s Alexa ranking just dropped another 3745 spots.

To end this, here’s a fun photo of a little girl pwning Eason Chan:

Ow, that hurts!
“Hey, that hurts! Why you little…”

Holy crap! There’s going to be an Ekin Cheng concert!

I have yet to share my experience at Aaron Kwok’s recent Hong Kong concert, though this picture is likely worth a thousand words:

Aaron rules
“I’m just acting! Really!”

I’ll remember to talk about it in detail one day, but I can probably sum it up right now in one word: fabulous.

Back to the main subject of this post: Ekin Cheng’s manager, Sandy Lamb San-San reportedly told media today that Ekin would hold a concert somewhere in Hong Kong to celebrate his twentieth(!) year in the entertainment industry. It likely won’t be at the Hung Hom Coliseum because sadly, Ekin probably isn’t big enough for that venue anymore.

But who cares? It’s an Ekin Cheng concert and I’m in Hong Kong to see it. I can’t begin to tell you how long I’ve waited for this day.

I predict my experience at the concert will involve the following:

- The concert will start late because all Hong Kong concerts start late. I predict at around 8:15 pm.
- Ekin will wear something shiny.
- Jordan Chan will be the guest performer and they’ll talk about how old they are.
- I will bring a neon sign with “梁詠琪” printed on it.*
- At 8:18 pm, I’ll attempt to throw a DVD copy of For Bad Boys Only at Ekin’s head to let him know that I’m still upset about paying to see it in the theater. Thanks to YesAsia.com’s previous “Buy 3 Get 1 Free” campaign, I now own multiple copies of the DVD so I’ll have multiple chances to tag him in the noggin. If I bring some VCDs, I can double my ammunition.
- I’ll hire someone to run up on stage to heckle Ekin for every single time he killed or help kill Roy Cheung or Francis Ng in a movie. I count six times, for Young and Dangerous, Young and Dangerous 3, Young and Dangerous 4, Born To Be King, A Man Called Hero, and Heroic Duo. I’ll throw in a seventh and eighth time for Infernal Affairs 2 because both Roy and Francis died in that, and I believe Ekin was responsible even though he didn’t appear in the film.
- At 8:23 pm, I’ll fend off my first attack from irate fans. I may bring pepper spray.
- At 8:27 pm, I’ll be escorted out by 4 security guards, one of whom will say to me, “I love your site, even though I don’t always agree with your reviews.”
- On my way out I’ll buy a ticket for the second concert to continue pursuing my dream.

Sadly, I probably won’t even be able to make it inside the second concert because members of the Ekin Cheng Forum will show up in force to stop me, likely assisted by their irate boyfriends, who have been forced to skip a PSP ad-hoc wireless party to beat up some guy outside the Ekin Cheng concert.

I cannot predict the outcome of the ensuing melee, but I hope Roy Cheung or Francis Ng appear to back me up. Roy and Francis, if you’re reading this, please show up. Thanks to Exiled and Once Upon a Time in Triad Society 2, I believe you both have the ability to kick ass.

If you’re in Hong Kong at the time, I welcome you to show up and support my cause. If anyone needs extra incentive, I found this photo on my hard drive:

Ekin is the best!
T-shirts don’t lie

Actually, I would like to own a shirt like that too.

*梁詠琪 = Gigi Leung Wing-Kei

The Gift That Keeps On Giving

This picture may get used more than any photo on this blog, because it’s so ripe for comedy that I simply can’t let it go. I apologize in advance for beating a dead horse.

Damn you, Edison!
“Dammit, Edison! Stop asking Maggie if she wants a hot dog!
This place doesn’t even have a snack bar!”

In related news, Edison Chen has inspired copycats.

I would comment more on this, but I have to check all my flash drives to see what’s stored on them.

 
 
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