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Archive for August, 2009

East Screen/West Screen - Episode 3

The third episode of East Screen/West Screen is up on Kong Cast.

This week, it’s all about sci-fi in Asia.

So as always, please leave any comments or questions you may have here or at Kong Cast and let us know what you think!

Peeking Out

I have turned another year older, and I’m now halfway through the 20’s, which means it’s time to look back on my life and examine and whatnot.

I’ve also been back in Hong Kong for two years now, and I’ve accomplished quite a bit in this short period of time:

- Improve my Mandarin
- Become a (relatively) better writer
- Accumulate a collection of autographed DVDs
- Write a full-length script
- Published in a magazine.

Of course, then there is also plenty that I haven’t done:

- Get my Masters
- Write all the reviews I need to write
- Update this blog

And this entry is my attempt to amend that third thing.

Mainly, I should explain why I haven’t updated the blog. I still write reviews for LHKF, as you can see from our latest update, and my next review will be the Laughing Gor movie, Turning Point. At the same time, as I mentioned in East Screen/West Screen episode 3 (up soon), I also write freelance articles for a local magazine, then I next have to transcribe an interview with Patrick Tse Yin for a friend (I was there. He was cool.), and as of next week, I will have school, which means I will be able to amend that first thing too.

And like Sanjuro, when I have spare time, I also am in a happy relationship. If it’s not hard enough to deal with me already, imagine the infinite patience it takes for a girl from Mainland China to stand my not-so-friendly attitude towards the “grandpa” up north. This means I probably should work extra hard to prove my sanity.

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Me when I complain about the SARFT

I know I promised more regular updates during the summer, and that rarely happened. For that, I apologize. Not only did I not do things that may or may not benefit you, the readers, I didn’t even get to do things that would benefit me. For example, research for my history-based thesis script.

With school starting, it’ll be nice to send my life back to a structured schedule, and I will again pledge to try and update more. Except on Mondays, because I already know I’ll have class then.

If in the unlikely case that any of you miss my presence, you can catch me on a weekly basis on East Screen/West Screen with Paul Fox at KongCast, and you can also tweet me and follow me at Twitter. That was not a euphemism.

Until then, I have a birthday to enjoy.

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Doraemon and his birthday cake. Not pictured: The Golden Rock blogger Kevin Ma

 

But before I go, I have to do a bit of news reporting and report this unfortunate piece of news:

Shing Fui-On, or known in Hong Kong as “Big Silly”, has passed away from cancer on August 27th at 11:45pm Hong Kong time. He was one of the most well-known actors in Hong Kong cinema, and will certainly be missed. His last film was The Detective, starring Aaron Kwok.

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 Shing Fui-On
1955-2009

RIP, Big Silly.

East Screen/West Screen - Episode 2

The second episode of East Screen/West Screen - hosted by Paul Fox, myself, and guest William Chan - is on Kong Cast now.

This week - China (yay!), McDull, Girl-on-girl action, and DVD recommedations.

As always, please leave a comment at Kong Cast or here and let us know what you think or any questions you might have.

The Unofficial Golden Rock Podcast, kind of.

I don’t really have any time to work on my own podcast anymore, and for some reason, I don’t think people cared all that much. But thanks to the hard work of friend Paul Fox (formerly of Canton Kid), he’s started up Kong Cast. And guess what? It includes a podcast too!

Fortunately, Paul offered me the co-host spot for it, and now you can hear me ramble on about films again hopefully once a week, with much better editing.

Here’s the first episode. Please leave comments here or at Kong Cast and let us know what you guys think about it. Unless you’re gonna tell me to not be biased about China, then you can leave that to yourself.

We’re recording episode 2 tonight, and hopefully that’ll be online soon.

This Post is Not Yet Harmonized

I’d be a liar if I say that my news blog here is as balanced as the news should be. Gathering the news is only one of the reasons why I started this blog, another reason being for me to share my opinion on the news I choose to share.

Yes, I don’t choose to report all the news I see, because some I don’t know well enough to cover, and some I just don’t care. For example, Johnnie To getting a retrospective at Pusan would be relevant for the blog. “Leng Mo” Chrssie Chau going out with her boyfriend or whether TVB star Kevin Cheng will be friends with his Flaming Hearts (trust me, it’s about firefighters) co-stars would not.

So accusing this blog of bias would not be a criticism, but a statement of fact. You can’t fight fact because it’s true.

Fact: Chinese censorship exists.

Fact: Hong Kong filmmakers self-censor or censor each other in order to fit their films for the Chinese market.

Case in point: Alan Mak and Felix Chong said, as quoted in Hong Kong Film Magazine (the new version of City Entertainment), that Overheard was only made after several of their ideas were rejected for not being able to pass Chinese censors. The only reason producer Derek Yee got Overheard made was because corruption is a popular genre in China. So popular that I’ve seen a whole shelf of TV drama DVDs in a Shenzhen legit DVD store under the genre label “Corruption”.

Fact: The Mainland Chinese version of Overheard has several extra scenes that show one character is clearly working with the ICAC. The Hong Kong version keeps the gray-ish morality and ends that way.

Fact: The directors of Lady Cop and Papa Crook had to edit their film three times, as well as do additional reshoots, with the Chinese censorship body finally accepting the fourth version. Even the final Mainland version is reported to have been further “harmonized” from the Hong Kong theatrical version.

Fact: Transformers 2 was “harmonized”

Fact: Lost in Beijing was “harmonized”, then was banned anyway.

Fact: Lust, Caution was “harminized” voluntarily, then was banned, along with its female star, who has now since immigrated to Hong Kong and finally found a follow-up role.

So can anyone really blame me for not being a fan of China’s State Administration of Film and Television? I guarantee you won’t be after you realize its ex-deputy director went off to make this movie:

 

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Compared to this, Rush Hour 3 is an artistic achievement. 

With films like that driving China’s domestic film market (so bad that 74% of the 2450 voters on Chinese entertainment rating site Douban gave it a failing grade) and Transformers 2 becoming the most popular movie EVER there, I’d think an argument that a good co-production film is made in spite of China is a fair one.

Another “in spite of” argument? On Her Majesty Secret Service is lazy and unfunny, in spite being made for a Mainland Chinese audience.

Oh, I’m sorry, that’s a “because of” argument.

 
 
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