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Archive for the ‘Awards’ Category

25 Top Hong Kong Films of the Decade — now with 50 films

Voting for the Top 25 Hong Kong Films of the Decade ends this Friday, and response has been good. I was hoping to get 100 respondents and we’re getting there - no small feat for a dinky blog/site like this one.

“Your website is so small,
that I could easily crush it with my left hand.”

The best thing about the votes so far is that the films have been so diverse that I can expand this list to a Top 50. Hopefully, a Top 50 would help people discover more key films of the ‘aughts than this site’s up-and-down reviews do. Also, a Top 50 allows for lots of films aside from the “usual suspects” to make the list - if you get my meaning.


Top 25 Hong Kong Films of the Decade - Voting now open!

It’s nearly the end of the year, but more importantly, it’s the end of the “aughts”, so that means it’s time for a “Best of” list. Because everyone loves lists. Don’t they?

Anyway, to commemorate, celebrate, or perhaps complicate the end of this decade, would like to run a list of the Top 25 Hong Kong movies of the Decade. I — that is, the Kozo in Damn You, Kozo — will probably publish my own “Best of the Decade” Hong Kong movie list sometime towards the end of the year, but I’d like to see what the general Internet population - or, at least the 30-40 people who read this website - think.

That means this list will be decided upon by you.

Vicki Zhao
“Huh? Me? Why me?”


Golden Horse Award Winners and what they have in common

Anyone who knows me knows that I’m not a big chaser of star photos, especially when said photo involves me actually standing next to them. Considering that I may have panned their latest movie, getting all chummy with celebs is something I’ve never been partial to.

That said, this year I did take pictures with two Chinese actors. The first one was with Nick Cheung.

Nick ane Me

Nick Cheung just won Best Actor at the Golden Horse Film Awards, but he had to share it with someone else. There was a tie, and the other winner was the world’s most awesome actor, Huang Bo.

Coincidentally, Huang Bo was the other actor I took a photo with this year.

Huang Bo and me

What this means: to increase your chances - nay, to guarantee that you win an acting award, you should take a photo with me AND make sure that your competition doesn’t. Though who knows, maybe you can score a tie like these guys.

Seeing as how IP MAN 2 is coming this year, I think I may be able to help. Donnie, give me a call.


Just keep your shirt on.

Mid-year Hong Kong Cinema Top 10, or a list of half the movies released in 2009

Wong Cho-Lam believes that we can save Hong Kong Cinema:

Hello American people!
“Hong Kong Cinema fans, yes we can!”

If it’s not clear from his outfit and slightly darkened skin, that’s Wong Cho-Lam doing an Obama impression. Score another one against Political Correctness. I found myself so offended by the above that I immediately went to see TRANSFORMERS: REVENGE OF THE FALLEN.

Setting the art of cinema back two decades.


Hi and bye, plus another edition of Kozo’s Mailbox

Man, it’s been awhile. And it’ll probably be a lot longer before I write in this thing again because in a few short hours, I’m off to Italy. Again. My toys will miss me:

Carue plus Chopper
Carue and Chopper will guard my Blu-ray collection.

This year is the second year that I’m attending the Far East Film Festival. I get to go because I contributed to their catalog and book, plus I’m fortunate enough to have saved enough money for a plane ticket.  This is a special time of the year because it represents the end of a lot of stuff. The Hong Kong International Film Festival is over. The Hong Kong Film Awards and associated drama is over. The LoveHKFilm Awards and all the related busywork is over. All that’s left is the review writing, which I’ll get to when I get to. That’s what 2009 is about for me: not doing more than I have to.


One of the films listed here is the Worst Film of the Year

Zhang Ziyi wants to wish you an even happier Lunar New Year!

Ziyi LNY
“This stuffed cow has seen me naked, too!”

In other news, the annual LoveHKFilm Awards will be announced Sunday, March 15th, 2009. I would tell you to mark your calendars, but because these awards are less important than the day-old donut sale at Dunkin’ Donuts, I won’t presume to do so. Instead, I ask that you drop by to see the results if you would be so kind as to deign us with your presence. You’d be surprised at how many people don’t deign.


2008 Midyear Evaluation

My job requires me to do midyear evaluations for my staff, an always pleasant experience that I look forward to with unbridled enthusiasm and delight. Really, I’m totally telling the truth.

Here’s a photo from one of my team meetings:

“It’s his fault.”

Anyway, as of July, I would consider these to be 2008’s Top 10 Hong Kong films. In no particular order:

Run Papa Run (the #1 choice, everything else is uncertain)
L For Love, L For Lies
Beseiged City
Hong Kong Bronx
Playboy Cops

City Without Baseball
Yes, I Can See Dead People
The Moss

Wow, that’s a dismal list, isn’t it? Some of the stuff that made this cut was not very good, but I had a hard time leaving them off in place of other films. There was no way that Missing, Linger, Kung Fu Dunk, or Fatal Move was making this list. They’re all more likely to make the “Worst 10″ list, though naming that right now would be useless because not much more than 20 films have been released thus far in 2008. That low number makes this the worst output from the territory since way before I was born. And I was born a while ago.

This is usually where the expected “Hong Kong movies are really lousy” rant should occur, but I maintain that this is a numbers game that would be supported if Hong Kong produced more than 50 films a year. Back when Hong Kong made 300 or so movies per year, you could expect somewhere close to 60-100 good, or at least watchable films. Percentage-wise that’s not great, but apply that percentage to current times, and you get a little less than 20 good films per year - which is more or less accurate when applied to Hong Kong Cinema in 2005-2007. If my math is bad, I apologize.

There’s also a whole other discussion here about what’s hurting Hong Kong film - i.e., lack of local support, targeting China, undue hype from the Internet, etc. - but I’ll leave that for another day. That is, if I ever talk about it at all.

Some notes: Shamo and Beseiged City get included here because neither had wide theatrical release in 2007. Two films that would have made the cut are High Noon and The Way We Are, but both are thus far officially unreleased in cinemas so I’ll leave them out to see if they make the end-of-year cut. CJ7 misses the list not because it’s bad (it isn’t), but because the amount of disappointment that came with it is so disproportionally large that I couldn’t feel good about including it.

Also, I didn’t consider The Sparkle in the Dark because I haven’t seen it yet. I’m guessing it’s not going to be Top 10 material anyway.

Some quick performance evaluations:

  • Shawn Yue: A- (For making so many films, and turning in decent performances)
  • Patrick Kong: B (For continuing his streak of hit questionable-quality films)
  • Johnnie To: C+ (Sparrow and Linger cancel each other out; the “+” is complimentary)
  • Charlene Choi: A (She’s got a ton of projects lined up, plus she gets a sympathy bump)
  • Chow Yun-Fat: D (Where is he? If he does Red Circle, he could move up to “C” range.)
  • Sammi Cheng: B- (One upcoming film and numerous public appearances earns her some goodwill)
  • Louis Koo: A (Many movies, no stinkers. The guy’s on a roll.)
  • Stephen Chow: C- (CJ7 was okay, but Shaolin Girl hurts the Chow brand)
  • Jackie Chan: B- (Stretching in The Shinjuku Incident, but had less than 10 lines in Kung Fu Panda)
  • Gillian Chung: D (Cut from Mei Lan Fang, and The Fantastic Water Babes is still MIA)
  • Alex Fong Lik-Sun: B+ (Making strides)
  • Stephy Tang: B (Has shown some improvement, despite relative lack of talent)
  • Andy Lau: B+ (Still such a hard worker; now a Justice of the Peace in Hong Kong.)
  • Lawrence Lau: A- (He made two films! Neither is awesome, but it’s nice to see him)
  • Edison Chen: Incomplete (If Sniper and Jump get pushed to 2009, this becomes an F)
  • Jet Li: B (His projects are inconsistent, but everything is better than War)
  • Karena Lam: C- (Trying new things, but results have not been impressive)
  • Aaron Kwok: A (Agreeing to do Storm Warriors gets him an A)
  • Ekin Cheng: B+ (Storm Warriors gets him an A, but MIA film Rule Number One hurts him)
  • Kelly Chen: B (*cough*Empress and the Warriors*cough*, but she’s getting married. Congrats!)
  • Wong Jing: C (He passes with solid, average results)
  • Jay Chou: B (Because Kung Fu Dunk was not his fault)
  • Tony Leung Chiu-Wai: A (Hard to fault the guy for anything, really)
  • China: Incomplete (We’ll have to see how their approval board behaves post-Olympics)

If I remember, I’ll pass out final grades at the end of the year.

Here’s a photo for good measure:

Playing with the ball
In the middle of his freestyle rap,
Jay Chou was knocked unconscious by a flying basketball. Copyright © 2002-2024 Ross Chen