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Archive for July, 2011

NYAFF 2011 Tsui Hark Edition - Coverage by Michael Wells

Welcome to the third and final installment of Michael Wells’ coverage of the 2011 New York Asian Film Festival here on Damn You, Kozo. Michael writes for the Everybody Likes Movies blog, and it’s a place for, well, everybody who likes movies. This time out, Michael talks about director Tsui Hark, plus some guy named Tsui Hark and maybe a little something about Hark (first name) Tsui (last name). They’re all fascinating people. He also talks about two other films he saw at the NYAFF. After this entry, Michael will ride the Information Superhighway back to his regular haunt on Everybody Likes Movies. We thank him for his time and his copious way with words. His cheap per-word rates are helpful too.


By Michael Wells

Grady Hendrix, co-founder, co-programmer and official publicity whore for the New York Asian Film Festival, took the words right out of my mouth when he stood up before the screening of DETECTIVE DEE AND THE MYSTERY OF THE PHANTOM FLAME and gushed, misty-eyed, about how Tsui Hark had changed his life and that of the other members of the Subway Cinema group (Daniel Craft, Goran Topalavic and Marc Walkow, as well as retired founding members Brian Naas, Paul Kazee and Nat Olson). I, too, can credit or blame this single individual, more than any other, for an addiction to Hong Kong film that would lead me to orally pleasure strangers in back alleys, like some desperate crackhead at rock bottom, if that was what it took to get my eyeballs on these movies.


NYAFF 2011 Coverage by Michael Wells - PART 2

If you haven’t been paying attention, have simply had better things to do, longtime Asian Cinema fan Michael Wells of the Everyone Likes Movies blog is contributing coverage of the 2011 New York Asian Film Festival here on Damn You, Kozo. This is Part Two of his three-part effort - Part One can be found right here, while Part Three is likely to drop sometime in the next few days. Also, be sure to visit Everyone Likes Movies for more of Michael’s movie musings.


By Michael Wells

The NYAFF programmers say they’ve been wanting for a few years to show Yeo Joon-han’s SELL OUT! (Malaysia, 2008), a low-budget indie musical comedy satirizing corporate capitalism in general and Malaysia’s ethnically-Chinese, “Manglish”-speaking yuppie elite in particular. I would bet they made that decision as soon as they saw the opening: a filmmaker who has just won the Kryzhindangzhongbushaus Village Far Eastern Film Festival Young Oversea-Chinese Women New Director’s Honorary Mention Award is interviewed for TV, proves as pompously impenetrable as the drying-paint minimalist drama he directed, lambastes popular genre cinema and all who make it, and then is killed along with most of the other people in the room when a post-robbery shootout spills through the door. It’s virtually a one-scene manifesto - and a very funny one - for the festival’s sloppy, smoochy embrace of pulp movies and their bored distaste for stereotypical festival art cinema.


NYAFF 2011 Coverage by Michael Wells - PART 1

Michael Wells of the Everyone Likes Movies blog has graciously offered to cover the 2011 edition of the New York Asian Film Festival (Called NYAFF by friends and intimate acquaintances) for, and we’re posting his text here on Damn You, Kozo! This is only Part One of his mult-chapter, super verbose look at the fest and its movies, so check back in the coming days for more on this week-long fest. Also, be sure to visit Everyone Likes Movies for more of Michael’s movie musings.


By Michael Wells

It’s a sign that you’ve arrived when the press gives you your own set of cliches. So, in celebration of this year’s bigger-than-ever 10th annual edition of the New York Asian Film Festival, here goes: Kung fu monks and giant robots and violence and sex and body fluids. Cheeky defiance of the staid art-cinema norm of film festivals. Scrappy four-man team makes it all happen. They’re not culture big shots, they’re just regular fans like their audience. They charge it all to their credit cards! Don’t they know how hard it is to get credit these days? Crazy! And that guy with the red hair and the loud suits who shouts a lot before the movies? Crazy! Also there are three other guys. And they’re not even Asian! But now they’re almost respectable (they get actual Asians who make movies to fly over for the festival and they show movies at the Lincoln Center Film Society right across the street from the Metropolitan Opera and NY Philharmonic) but not quite, because they still raffle off prizes to the audience and still kung fu monks and giant robots and blood and slime and only in New York!


Edison is happy that we’re blogging again

Complain all you want, he still can’t hear you.

“It’s all pops and buzzes from here, dawg.”

Edison is a bad role model. If we did things his way, we would gladly ignore any and all criticism, and would classify those who criticize us as “haters” a.k.a. “people who don’t agree with me, and thus are terrible or awful because of it.” When you think about it, Edison is actually a prime example of the Internet generation: poor English standards, bad perspective and overwhelmingly in love with himself. At least he’s good with a camera.

Bringing this back a bit, and the powers-that-run-it have received a fair amount of criticism over the years. I try to look at the good side: going on ten years online, has long outlived what I thought would be its usefulness. It’s done a great deal for me, and supposedly it’s done a good deal for others too. At least, that’s what the email I get tells me.

At the same time, my email also tells me that the site has annoyed and even offended some, and I do take those complaints seriously. Still, I eventually have to decide if the complaints are fair and have merit, or if they come from people who are operating from a limited if not selfish perspective. It would help if I could read minds, but I don’t seem to be able to do that. Yet.

The last time I updated Damn You, Kozo was over a year ago. In that time, has taken numerous vacations and the site blogs have become rather quiet. Something needs to change. has a focus, limited and unpopular though it may be. Damn You, Kozo needs a focus too. As soon as I figure out what it is, I’ll do it.

In the meantime, this blog will reopen with occasional posts. Michael Wells of the Everyone Likes Movies blog will be contributing some guest posts on the latest New York Asian Film Festival plus we may do one of those Top 100 Hong Kong Movies reader polls again. We might also post some pictures.

It’s good to be back. Copyright © 2002-2019 Ross Chen