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Archive for the ‘Meeting celebrities’ Category

What happens in Udine - pics and notes from FEFF12

It’s been nearly a month since I attended the 12th Udine Far East Film Festival, but I have yet to post more than one or two photos detailing the trip. In past years, I’ve usually written quickly about the experience, but this year? It didn’t happen. Besides a podcast I did over at Paul Fox and Kevin Ma’s KongCast, all I did was put up one photo of LGM and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Here’s a photo of me taking that photo:

Me taking photo
That’s GALLANTS co-director Clement Cheng in the background,
wondering why I’m interrupting an interview to take toy photos.

Obviously, I act in a completely professional manner while I’m over there.


Filmmaking is fun

So last Wednesday I was walking down the street in Tsimshatsui and I happened upon this scene:

There’s always a crowd in front of 7-11

Hey, they were shooting a film! I was genuinely surprised and hung around to snap some photos. Hanging out near the film set resulted in me being 75 minutes late for a date with a girl, but she understood. Unfortunately, I have been unable to confirm her understanding because she won’t return my phone calls.

I’m sure Nick Cheung would have done the same thing:

“I totally make women wait!
They are powerless to resist my debonair charm.”


Kozo & Yotsuba in Italy: Part 1

I figured I had to get this thing started sooner or later. I’ve neglected to write about so many things that this blog will soon turn into some sort of 20/20 hindsight memoir. I still haven’t blogged about the Aaron Kwok concert experience - and that was like 4 months ago.

Aaron again
“What, you still haven’t blogged about me?
But I’m just so bloggable!”

You sure are.

Anyway, since I’m now 10 reviews into the 24 movie backlog I’ve amassed - with absolutely no guarantee that I will actually be able to review all 24 films - I figured I should get started with the blogging too. It’s not like I have to get my whole trip out in just one post. Worst case scenario is I only get one part done and I forget the rest. It wouldn’t be the dumbest thing I’ve ever done online. The dumbest thing? Probably admit that I enjoy Seven Swords.

Tsui Hark lives
“Thanks! You may be the only person in
Hong Kong who still thinks I can direct!”

Anyway, on to the trip.

I think Hong Kong people primarily take pictures of two things: toys and food. Not to be outdone, I did exactly the same during my trip to Italy. I also took pictures of people and buildings, but I consider that a moot point because we all take pictures of people and buildings. I just didn’t take any photos of myself.

Regardless, this is a rare photo without food or Yotsuba in it.

First night in Udine
In Italy, the cars are small

Not too long ago, I managed to journey to Italy for the Udine Far East Film Festival. This photo-essay is pretty much all I brought back, besides a copy of the 10th Anniversary Book and the Festival Catalogue, which features more information about Asian films than I could ever pretend that I know. And I can pretend that I know a lot.

Before I left for Italy, Yotsuba sat on my office desk with a couple of her friends:

Yotsuba in Office
Having a plush CJ7 may somehow be more
satisfying than owning the DVD

After we got to Italy, this is what she looked like:

Yotsuba in Venice 2
“This canal behind me smells great!”

Yotsuba is a fine toy to bring on trips. Not only is she small and poseable, but she’s got an interchangeable head so you can pretend that she’s experiencing mood swings. It’s like bringing another person along, except this one doesn’t speak or hit you up for money.

Oh, yeah, I went to a film festival. From the outside it looked like this:

Far East Film
Nobody in this photo enjoyed Empress and the Warriors

The fest is located in Udine, a small city about a two-hour train ride from Venice. My photos of Udine are like the one four photos up: empty and quiet. Udine is a peaceful place, and much nicer to walk around in than, say Venice. Just compare these photos:



Big difference, eh? I’m not a crowd person, so yes, I much prefer Udine to Venice. So does Yotsuba. When faced with crowds, she gets murderously angry. This is Yotsuba with her unhappy face:

I will shoot someone
Someone must pay

I went to Venice on the film festival’s Horror Day, so I ended up skipping a whole day of blood and screaming and exchanged them for wall-to-wall tourists and overpriced gelato. One could argue it was exactly the same experience, only with more walking.

Anyway, since I was on vacation, I had gelato at 12:16 pm.

Gelato at noon
My crappy Swatch is proof of my poor eating habits

I had some nice food in Italy, too - like this insanely huge calzone that ended up counting as 2.5 meals.

Mmmm, calzone
I ate this in three bites

Of course when you’re on vacation you have to eat well. I was lucky and got to attend many nice dinners with insane spreads that tripled my calorie count. Like this one:

Wow…that’s a lot of food
The reason for my current two-month period of fasting

If I were to rate my trip on the food experience alone, I’d probably give it an A-minus. I won’t give it a solid A because I never give anything a solid A. The film reviews I write are proof of that.

No trip to Italy would be complete without a shot of a gondola in a canal:

Required photo of Venice canal
Rush hour!

A picture of a dog chained to a wall is required, too:

Dog in Italy
The black terror of Venice

In the interests of equal time, here’s a cat:

He’s relaxed because the dog is chained up

I also took a picture of one of these:


Plus another one of food:

Green Risotto
To clarify possible confusion, I should note
that this picture was taken BEFORE eating.

By the way, the above picture is of wild herb risotto, and it was excellent - though a quick glance may make someone think ”partial digestion”. I shan’t elaborate. 

That pretty much wraps up Part One of my Italy trip. Part two will probably talk more about movies and my general impression of the Udine Far East Film Fest. Here’s a spoiler: I enjoyed myself. Unfortunately, none of the enjoyment mentioned in this post has anything to do with Asian film, meaning I’ve broken the #1 rule of Blogs: stay on topic. The #2 rule is try to blog at least once a week. Looks like I’ve broken that rule, too.

Let’s leave with this photo:

Lam Suet and some other guy
Me and some guy I met at the airport

I hear he had a good time in Italy too.

Navel-gazing, or Why I haven’t written a review of The Warlords.

Now would be a good time to invoke the title of this blog.

After being incredibly focused on updating the website and implementing the site blogs through October and early November, the well of energy I so miraculously possessed has finally dried up. Last week it was hell for me to get reviews of Mad Detective and In Love with the Dead finished, not to mention take care of all the smaller stuff that has to be done with a website this size. Despite the number of contributors listed on the About Site page, I’m the only one around to tidy up and take out the trash. As a result, the energy simply to make dinner just isn’t there.

Here’s a photo just to break things up:

148 Connaught Rd.
Kozo standing outside 148 Connaught Rd. in Sheung Wan,
waiting for Anthony Wong to be thrown off the building.
It could still happen.

Recently, I saw the much ballyhooed film The Warlords, but I’ve held off on writing about it because A) I’m tired, and B) a number of sites already have. Normally I would make it some point of pride to see a new Hong Kong movie (or Chinese-Hong Kong-Aiming for the West movie) and get a review up ASAP. I used to feel that way about this website, even when I lived in the United States and saw DVDs. Getting new DVDs and dumping reviews on this website was like an obsession back then. You could say it was like collecting action figures; you have to get them all, and if you miss one, you feel like a complete chump. This is the sad story of my thirties.

No need anymore. One of the things that has occured in the 5 years since I’ve started this site is the virtual explosion of people willing and wanting to cover all the “hot Azn flix”. Sure, they won’t go out of their way to see, oh, Sweet Revenge or A Mob Story, but people out there are really working. Before, reviews of the very latest Hong Kong movies were not easy to come by, but now there are plenty of places and media outlets to find what you need.

Let’s take a look: currently, Twitch has two reviews up for The Warlords. BC Magazine has become very up-to-date with their Hong Kong films since hiring Yvonne Teh of Hong Kong - View From the Brooklyn Bridge, and VarietyAsiaOnline is getting a bit faster too with their Asian film coverage. There are also numerous aggregators, including the KFCCinema forums, and The Golden Rock. Plus there are the blogs, which are too numerous to mention. Basically, you have a world of Asian Cinema opinions in front of you; this site is now only one of them.

So hey, you don’t have to come here anymore. The door is behind you.

The Warlords
Still no review for this movie, but that’s okay!

Not that I’m asking you to not visit In truth, I’m glad that people visit the site, because if they didn’t I wouldn’t have gotten attention from, moved to Hong Kong, or been in the position to review Naraka 19 before anyone else. I’m grateful for the people who visit.

Hell, I’m even grateful for the people who just drive by. Those people arrive here via Google and then promptly leave because they find out A) I don’t have naked pictures, B) I don’t host downloads, and C) I dislike all their favorite movies. Even though those aren’t quality visits, they inflate my statistics, such that people think this site is a Grade-A Asian Cinema hotspot. Joke’s on them: we all know that the real action is happening at Twitch, or numerous sites I won’t mention because they host downloads. We’re an online stuffed shirt by comparison.

But I shouldn’t complain, because I am where I am because of the traffic. So thanks a bunch.

Stephen Chow thanks you
Stephen Chow humbly thanks you for your patronage

Still, despite all the good that comes to me from this website, I spend an inordinate amount of time wondering why I forsake a regular life to maintain it. I recently got a PSP, but have found no time to play it, even though it was designed for people with less time to play games. Likewise, I still haven’t read the three novels I bought this year, and my box set of 24: Season 4 has gone unwatched. By the way, they’re up to Season 6 now, so I’m fully three years behind on the Jack Bauer Power Hour. I figure I should catch up by 2015.

Perhaps I shouldn’t be wasting this precious webspace getting self-reflective, but unfortunately, I’m the type of person that’s given to lots of navel-gazing - though I’ve never called it that. I prefer to call it “self-indulgent time wasting”. In fact, I didn’t really know the meaning of navel-gazing until a couple of months ago when someone told me what it was. Before that, when the word “navel-gazing” was invoked, I would think of something like this:

Lee Hyo-Lee
The magic of Google Image Search

The above proves a couple of things: A) Korea knows what they’re doing, and B) I sometimes assign the wrong meaning to a given English word - something that I shouldn’t do because I’m supposed to be a professional writer/editor. Actually, until fairly recently I was confusing the word “atypical” for “typical” and using it totally incorrectly. That admission just cost me a raise.

But yes, I’m given to fixating on a ton of different things - which can be both good and bad. It’s good because five years of fixation on has resulted in, well, It’s bad because it’s self-indulgent, wastes time, and mines an insecurity that we would all be better without.

It’s also the reason that I haven’t written a review for The Warlords. I should actually be grateful right now because this Christmas season is largely poor for Hong Kong movies. We pretty much only have two, Warlords and Pang Ho-Cheung’s Trivial Matters, meaning I can use the time to catch up on other things, like Summer’s Tail and Who’s Next, both of which were just released on DVD.

However, instead of using the break to catch up and write new reviews, I’m spending it thinking about, as usual, what the hell it is that I’m doing. My new topic is what to do with this blog. Honestly, I have no clue what to write here, as people can get pretty much everything they want from other places. News aggregation, industry commentary, rumors and hype - this stuff can be had at numerous sites, forums and blogs, some housed on this site, and some not. Better opinions (or sometimes more forceful yelling) can be had elsewhere. Damn You, Kozo! can do something else.

Unfortunately, that “something else” is still a total mystery to me. I could update people on my life, but my non-LoveHKFilm life is not worth relating, as it’s full of uninteresting crap regarding office politics, hirings and firings, and the occasional story about how I fell asleep on the bus and was late to work. This happens on occasion, and though the nap is nice, it’s bad for my attendance. It also sets a bad example for the people I manage.

My LoveHKFilm life isn’t necessarily more interesting, and talking about it threatens hubris or self-promotion - not that I don’t engage in that from time to time because I do. I think everyone who runs a website does, which is both understandable and a little disturbing. I would cite examples but then I’d be picking on others, and God knows, we never do that around here.

One thing I could possibly do at this blog is dish on the HK Entertainment circle, but Sanney is much better at talking HK Entertainment-related stories, and he also has the knowledge to back up his incredibly informative discussions on retired actresses or HK Entertainment-related minutiae. My version of an HK Entertainment-related story is talking about how I happened on the set of a film in Tai Kok Tsui and saw Shawn Yue. Liu Kai-Chi and Teddy Robin were also there, and they crashed a car into a wall while a stuntman rolled over the hood. I’m assuming it’s the new film from the director of The Pye-Dog, but I can’t be sure. Sometimes, not being able to read Chinese can really suck.

Yeah, so I saw Shawn Yue. I took no pictures, so you’ll have to take my word for it. This was his reaction:

You should see the other guy
“You’re next, Kozo.”

Mr. “one time I got in trouble for wearing a Nazi uniform in a photo shoot” is pretty much the only celebrity I’ve seen recently, and he was just sitting in a van. Celebrities are actually a dime-a-dozen over here, and I’ve never publicly talked about who I’ve seen or when. I really should, because I’m more of a Hong Kong film fan than an actual critic. In case nobody knows, I still pay to see the majority of the films I see, and don’t get studio comps or press passes. I’m also more of a rambler than a writer, but I pretend to be that too. At least I try.

Anyway, here’s a partial count of my celebrity-stalking. Not counting people I’ve seen on a stage or podium, I’ve now seen Andy Lau, Charlene Choi, Wong Jing, Anthony Wong and Lau Ching-Wan (both in Starbucks), and also Francis Ng. I also saw Michael Tong in a noodle joint, but I’m betting that nobody cares. As usual, I have no photos of these events because my camera recently broke. I should buy a new one, but I’m wasting my time navel-gazing instead.

Admit it, this was your wallpaper
Another navel for you. Giordano just paid us off.

I did, however, find time to buy a new computer, meaning hopefully no more truncated updates when my current laptop overheats at 1:00 am. Now you know: sometimes the site updates get delayed because my computer overheats in Hong Kong’s humid climate. Configuring the computer will probably take a lot of extra time though, which means even more time I don’t use to write reviews, or pursue fun personal hobbies like video games, reading, or maybe some exercise. I also don’t have time to answer my site emails. Speaking of which, if you sent me an email in the last 2 months, I didn’t answer it and I apologize profusely. I may get around to it one day, but if so, you’ll probably have forgotten that you ever emailed me.

Also, I still haven’t found a moment to start that English-subtitled Huo Yuan Jia drama that I picked up.

Ekin Cheng fell down right after this photo was taken.

So maybe starting this blog wasn’t such a hot idea. Admittedly, I did it not because I had a plan for it. I basically built this thing because I thought it might be interesting to see what would happen if I did have a blog. Would I find it more interesting than the regular site? Or would I grow tired of it, concentrate on the site, and just let it lay dormant, like so many blogs that came before? Or would I use it as just an impromptu version of Life with Kozo? To my disappointment, that’s what seems to be happening.

So we’re at a stalemate here. Awesome! Words, words, and more words later and I still don’t know what to do with this blog. If I can ever figure out where I’m going with this thing, I’ll let you know. That is, if you haven’t tuned out already. In the meantime, I hope it doesn’t drag this website down any further than it already has. Now I’m off to write that Warlords review. If you’re lucky, you’ll see it by next week.

One more navel for good measure:

Not all navels are sexy

More fun with wax

I still have no idea what to do with this blog…so here’s some more wax people to look at. It could be all that we do around here.

In our last blog entry, we mentioned that Andy Lau is the most-harassed wax figure at Madame Tussauds, meaning more people want to touch him than Michelle Yeoh, Yao Ming, Bruce Lee, Lee Ka-Sing and Hitler. But what happens to the other wax figures when nobody’s looking?

Are people harassing one or perhaps both of the Wax Twins?

Better than Twins Mission
Better than any scene
in Twins Mission

Does Janice harass herself?

Two is not necessarily better than one
And what exactly has Janice
done to get her own wax figure?

Is Wax Jackie jealous of Wax Andy?

Even his wax dummy gets some action
“I refuse to be harassed less than Andy Lau.”

Does Cecilia Cheung get angry that Wax Nic gets harassed?

Cecila won’t like this
After Cecilia found out, she arranged
for both this girl’s arms to be broken.

None of the above celebs can hold a candle to Wax Andy’s popularity, which may say a lot about how much people actually like the real Andy Lau. Honestly, Andy Lau deserves his massive popularity; he works very, very hard at being Hong Kong’s top entertainer, and even works when he doesn’t have to.

For example, I took this picture of a friend with Andy Lau while he was bowling a fine game in Tai Kok Tsui:

“Pretend you like him, Andy.”
“I’m kicking ass on the lanes today!
…yeah, I’ll pose for a photo with you.”

The man takes both his bowling and his fans seriously, and never seems given to fits of pique or celebrity attitude. He’s Andy Lau 24/7 - a duty we lesser mortals could probably never handle. After taking the above photo, I declined to have my own picture taken with Andy Lau because he had enough adoring fans looking for photo ops and autographs. Somehow I didn’t feel the need to bother him while he was attempting a seven-ten split. Better to let him enjoy his time on the lanes without yet another fan wanting a piece of him.

Besides, I panned All About Love, and constantly make fun of his CYMA watch ads, so I would feel embarrassed about meeting Andy Lau.

“Don’t touch my wax brother!”
“Buy a CYMA watch! Go on, buy one!”

Meanwhile, a fan just stole Wax Andy’s CYMA watch, which is why he’s got his hand in his pocket.

Wax Andy on a good day
“The fan also stole my hand.”

Poor Wax Andy. Copyright © 2002-2024 Ross Chen