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Archive for the ‘Sign of the Apocalypse’ Category

Stone Wong cannot be denied

This is worth sharing:

Michael Wong and his sax
“Mommy, look! Stone Wong can play a musical instrument!”

Even though Michael Wong barely makes films nowadays - his appearance in Tsui Hark’s Seven Swords could qualify as his last memorable screen role - the man is still around. Currently, he’s shilling for HSBC, one of Hong Kong’s two biggest banks, in print ads all over the territory.

This picture is from a magazine, but if you happen by the Tsimshatsui MTR station, you may be able to catch a larger-than-life glimpse of Wong, as this image measures a good fifteen feet high on the MTR walls. There’s also an alternate ad of Wong playing the accordion. No further commentary is necessary.

In other Wong news, you can catch Michael’s brother Russell in The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, currently losing screens all over North America.

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!”

Damn You, Everyone! The Webmaster weeps for Hong Kong.

Hong Kong is so boring and cold. Nothing is happening at all right now.

Edison and Stephen
Stephen, you’d better wash your right hand.

Actually, unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you do know that something’s up, namely the ire of the populace and the local media thanks to the appropriately named Edison-Gillian-Bobo-Cecilia Scandal. I have been asked my opinion on this subject by about three people…so I’m going to post it on my blog!

To be honest, my response is a rather pedestrian one that really means nothing. Indeed, this whole fiasco really doesn’t bother me that much. I’m more bothered by the fact that it has delivered tons of useless traffic to my website, in the form of people desperately searching out photos of Edison and his conquests. I live in a small world.

But in the meantime, I’d like to say that this is an invasion of privacy and probably one of the stupidest things I’ve ever been witness to.

No, I’m not talking about the pictures themselves, which are someone’s private business and were taken by a bunch of consenting, but rather foolhardy individuals. Really, nothing is that shocking here, unless you’re so prudish that sex is a complete turnoff. So, young women have sex? Yes, they do. So, a dope kid like Edison takes pictures of his conquests and saves them on his hard drive? Hardly a surprise, considering the “I’m from the streetz” stereotype Ed seems determined to embody with every phrase or action that he’s party to. At least he never claimed to be a role model.

Basically, we’ve learned three things from this:

1. Edison Chen is someone who you would like to stay away from your sister.

2. Famous women can have bad taste in men, and can sometimes do stupid things just like regular women.

3. Hong Kong is full of people who should know better.

I say this last thing because some people seem to act like they have a right to own these photos. Currently, webmasters of forums that hosted the photos are being arrested, leading to outrage from the local citizenry. Results of a current Apple Daily poll are frightening. According to the poll, 76% of all respondents think the blame for this fiasco actually lies with the photographer, and not with the people who chose to illegally distribute the offending photos without said photographer’s permission. There’s even talk of some sort of protest or march in support of people who posted Edison’s private photos on their websites. Say what?

Sometimes I wish people would just learn to leave these things alone. Did we really have to see and share these photos? Artists are people, too. They don’t belong to us. We can make fun of them if they trip up publicly, but this is a case of criminals taking private property that belonged to someone and using it to damage them. The artists are the victims here. Even Edison.

I still wouldn’t want him to date my sister, though.

Let’s close this with a photo:

Jay Chou will beat up fans for money
“I’ll beat up anyone who says anything bad about Ryosuke.”

OMG! Bey Logan on Attack of the Show! Some other guy appears too.

I had even money on being cut, but apparently Attack of the Show left me in their Hong Kong travelogue. You can find me between shots of awesome Kung Fu movies and Bey Logan:

I probably have stories to tell about the experience and the resulting clip, but I’ll leave that for another time, if ever. Now that this whole thing is finally over, I hope we can leave it in the past - like our memory of that movie Himalaya Singh. We now return to our normal semi-unnecessary blogging.

Stephen Chow thanks you for your time:

Stephen Chow thanks you
“Thank you for putting up with this.”

Back on TV, or Another Sign of the Apocalypse

In a likely horrific development to some, will be on television again.

“Shoot my good side.”

Only a few longtime readers may remember, but a few years ago, I managed a mini guest gig on The Screen Savers, an entertainment program on the G4 network that pushes geek culture to the world at large. My experience consisted of sitting in a make-up chair and running through the questions, which had to do with such movies as Kung Fu Hustle, Casshern, and 2046. After that, I went to the studio and answered those questions, LIVE on camera. Luckily there was no flop sweat involved, but I think I shaved at least two years off my life due to the stress.

As evidence for the above, you can find an archived interview stored here. I do have a video clip of the segment, but I have not yet figured out that new-fangled YouTube thing yet. So, it won’t be posted here anytime soon.

The same thing may or may not occur with my next TV appearance, which is scheduled to occur sometime in early January. I was recently contacted to appear in a segment of Attack of the Show, the followup program to The Screen Savers, only this time they’re in Hong Kong (where I am), and there was no make-up chair or live broadcast. On the downside, there was also no rehearsal so I had to pretty much make up my answers on the fly, which is not easy for a usually camera-shy individual like me.

More photos from the Hong Kong shoot:

“Attack of the Show” host Zach Selwyn and Kozo
“Attack of the Show” host Zach Selwyn and the guy who runs this website

Guest appearance by time-travelling John Woo
A young John Woo (far right) makes a guest appearance.

The most important part of this development: that this happened on Sunday, December 16th, three days after the opening of The Warlords, and practically the only free day I had until the following weekend. I was only notified of this appearance on the previous Thursday, so that means that the day I had earmarked to write a Warlords review had just been booked. As a result, I wasn’t able to write Warlords until the following week, though there are other reasons, which you can read about in this rambling post.

Fortunately or not, this TV appearance is not the precursor to even more media attention, or the crowning of as some sort of major information source like a bunch of other sites. We’ve been online only five years, and are only featured in out-of-context blurbs on Australian DVDs (Reportedly, they managed to get a recommendation out of our Confession of Pain review. God bless them.). We haven’t even interviewed Bey Logan - which is, as everyone knows, the most important thing any Hong Kong Cinema site must do to gain entry into the online fraternity. All we do is watch movies and dish about them. Frequently people disagree. Sometimes they get upset. It’s the way of the world.

So, I am not convinced that this site has somehow arrived. What would convince me? If had its own Wikipedia entry, then I would believe we’ve made it. Until then, I’m just glad that we’re the 22,081st most-visited website in the world. In Australia, we’re the 4762nd most visited site - probably because of those Confession of Pain DVDs. Thanks a lot, Hopscotch Films!

Signing the release form
Kozo signing an autograph…we mean, the release form.

UPDATE: In case people actually do want to see the Webmaster make a fool of himself on television, Attack of the Show airs on the G4 network in the United States, and G4/Tech TV in Canada. However, I’m really not sure when it’s airing. And who knows, I might be cut for more time with Bey Logan.

Your Daily Sign of the Apocalypse

An abundance of text would only distract from the following sight:

Michael Wong sings
Going platinum!

That’s right: Michael Wong sings. Actually, Wong has had his own band for awhile, but never before has he been allowed to bring his work to a wider, international audience. Joining Michael on a couple of tracks are Kelly Chen and Kenny Bee. One shudders to think of the possibilities.

Buy or rubberneck here.

I’m off to buy a lottery ticket because this is the same day we learned that Chow Yun-Fat has been cast in the Dragonball Movie and Lee Byung-Hun is rumored to play Storm Shadow in the G.I. Joe Movie. I may also jump off of IFC tonight to see if I have the power to fly like that guy on Heroes. My other option is simply to stay in bed for a week.

Michael Wong in City Hunter (1993)
Buy my album!

UPDATED with YouTube Link!

BTW, my computer currently has no sound, so I still don’t know what this sounds like. However, watching him boogie during the rehearsals gives me the willies. If you check this out you may want to hide your kids first. Copyright © 2002-2024 Ross Chen