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Archive for April, 2011

The Golden Rock - Opinions Are Like A**holes Edition, part 1

There have been a couple of outspoken interviews recently - one from a Hong Kong filmmaker, and one about Hong Kong films. Over these two posts, I present translations of these two opinions as a taste of what I’m picking up day-to-day reading Chinese film media.

The first post is excerpts from an interview originally done in Shanghai’s Dong Fang Daily reprinted on www.entgroup.cn with Hong Kong New Wave director Patrick Tam, whose last film was AFTER THIS, OUR EXILE and serves as faculty at the multimedia department of Hong Kong’s City University. The interview deals with his thoughts on Chinese-language films in 2010 and his view on the future.

Q=Reporter
T=Patrick Tam

Q: Let’s talk about Chinese-language films from the last year, especially those from Hong Kong. Were there any films that surprised you?

T: Last year was a low period for Hong Kong films. You can tell from the Hong Kong Film Award nominations that there weren’t many special works. As a jury member for the Golden Horse Awards last year, I watched 30-plus films in 10-plus days. You can probably say those are the most representative works of Chinese-language cinema, right? There were some pleasant surprises from Taiwan and China, while Hong Kong films were the weakest. I think that’s a worrisome situation.

Q: In recent years, many Hong Kong directors have gone up north to make films. How does this affect the creativity of local Hong Kong films?

T: After the handover, the relationship between the Mainland and Hong Kong has grown closer. Maybe they were only technical collaborations in the past, but in recent years, many Hong Kong film professionals have moved to Beijing to work on co-productions. These North-bound Hong Kong filmmakers have lost much of their uniqueness in order to consider the Mainland market, but do they really understand what the Mainland audience needs to see?

Q: What attracts Hong Kong director north-bound?

T: It’s the appeal of the money, the appeal of the market. That’s why I think their focus isn’t quite right. Johnnie To is fairly late in becoming a North-bound director. His local Hong Kong works have a lot of unique appeal. I’m not sure how much of his personality will he be able to keep, since i haven’t seen his latest co-production (That’s DON’T GO BREAKING MY HEART). Take John Woo as an example, I personally think that the BETTER TOMORROW period was his creative peak, and even though his production and creative environment became more professional after he went to Hollywood, the creative restrictions in turn prevented a creator from being faithful to his art. Among all the current Chinese-language directors, I think only Ang Lee has done fairly well at integrating into foreign cultures. He’s the only successful example in Hollywood. This is the same dilemma that Mainland-bound Hong Kong directors are facing today.

Q: Last year, it seems like some Hong Kong director kept the focus local. Some made films with nostalgic themes, and some had urban themes.

Translator’s note: Note that he did not name any specific films, though at least one is pretty obvious.

T: They weren’t very good. Some films talked about nostalgia, but it doesn’t mean using the same old way to tell stories. Plus, the stories were very false, so I was very disappointed. Some films expressed young urbanite romances, but you can only see the director is trying to play clever in a trivial way, and it looked smart-ass to me. I didn’t see the director’s concern for the target nor his/her stance towards the incidents. Some of these films exploited women in the way they were coded. I think a director’s character, temperament, and nurture are very important. Do you really have concern for your target, or are you using serious societal issues to sell sex and violence? If you’re out to explore the problem of real estate prices, then certain films didn’t explore them as deeply as DWELLING NARROWNESS (Translator’s note: A controversial Mainland TV drama) did. Films cannot be used to fool audiences.

One Hong Kong film from last year was OK, it’s GALLANTS by Derek Kwok (translator’s note: Plus Clement Cheng). Even though it was a little rough, one can see the author’s creativity.

After some discussion about Mainland and Taiwanese films, the reporter asked him about his thoughts on films again. 
Q: How do you feel about some of the Mainland films that were successful at the box office last year. Say, AFTERSHOCK?

T: I don’t really like that film. The common folks’ ethics are simple, they won’t think too much. They’ll think they’ve been touched once they’ve cried. I wasn’t touched because I don’t just watch a film’s content. I’d also watch how this film was produced in the cultural space. It’d be very sad if one only uses box office to measure a film’s achievement.

Q: Did you see LET THE BULLETS FLY?

T: I quite liked LET THE BULLETS FLY. Jiang Wen is a very smart person, but I think he’s sometimes too smart. Jiang gave the best character to himself (laughs). Ge You was great. His character is very tough to do. The film has a message for sure, but I don’t think the director’s motivation was to bury all kinds of obscure meanings for audiences to decipher. Those “horse pulling train” explanations (translator’s note: those that speculate the meaning of the horses pulling the steam train at he beginning of the film) on the internet kind of went too far. This film was quite loose [in censorship standards], which is very rare compared to films that played by the book. [Jiang] was following a certain style in THE SUN ALWAYS RISES, but the finished product was incomplete. However, if you want to talk about a director’s “heart”, I think Jiang Wen’s “heart” is in his first film IN THE HEAT OF THE SUN.

Q: Have you been following THE GRANDMASTER? (translator’s note: Patrick Tam edited DAYS OF BEING WILD and is Wong Kar Wai’s mentor)

T: The poster is quite good. I hope the film will be as good as the poster. Wong Kar-Wai is someone who can tell stories, but the style he developed later on is relatively loose (Wong was the scriptwriter for Tam’s FINAL VICTORY). I personally think Wong Kar-Wai’s best film to date is DAYS OF BEING WILD. He captures the 1960s Hong Kong spirit very well.

Q: Have you noticed that many directors have began making martial art films? Jia Zhangke, Hou Hsiao Hsien, Wong Kar Wai will have martial art films in 2011.

T: Maybe they’re looking for change. Take Hou, I guess that he feels modern Taiwan society stories are finished being told, so he wants to try new challenges. Wong has wanted to make a martial arts film for a long time, he’s just hasn’t been able to do so. Maybe his individual style being matched with this type of films will produce a different result.

Q: Are you looking forward to their change?

T: I don’t have much expectations for filmmakers that have already matured. Say Wong, even when he used foreign actors for MY BLUEBERRY NIGHTS, I can still identify his trademarks. That’s why my expectations are for the young people only.

Q: Do you think this is the best of times or the worst of times for films?

T: We’re in the worst of times, not just in film. In terms of film, the global golden age of film is over. Masters are dying one by one.

Q: Are you planning to make any more films after AFTER THIS, OUR EXILE?

T: I won’t give up film production. I’m preparing a new film now. It’ll use Hong Kong as background, and it’s a story about young people. I can’t reveal too much. I think it’ll be an interesting film.

Part 2 - A Chinese editorial about the Hong Kong Film Awards. 

The Golden Rock - 30th Hong Kong Film Awards Live Blog Edition

This is it. The 30th HK Film Awards live blog starts here at 19:30 Hong Kong Time!

19:27 - The party starts now. Heavy rain on red carpet. Stars still arriving and getting soaked. Heard Conroy Chan saying “WHAZZAAAPP” loudly to red carpet host Jerry Lamb.

19:34 -  Technical difficulties solved for now. Coverage being brought to you by Splashtop Remote

19:38 - That’s it, Conroy Chan is official craziest man on the red carpet.

19:40 - I have decided to never live-blog on the iPad anymore. Tonight is gonna be tough.

19:42 - ATV not doing a pre-show this year. Leaving the duties to Jerry Lamb and Chiang what’shername on the red carpet. Now TV has their own thing set up with Icy Wong and other hosts

19:45 - With red carpet winding down and the show not starting for another 20 minutes, it’s a little quiet now. Hey, tell me your predictions on Twitter @TheGoldenRock using the hastage #HKFA30

19:47 - Due to technical difficulties, tweeting will be a little slow tonight. Less, but longer bits throughout, I hope.

19:49 - Tonight’s Hong Kong Film Awards coverage is brought to you by ATV HD Channel

19:51 - For the latest bits from the awards, just click reload on  http://www.lovehkfilm.com/blog/thegoldenrock/?p=1068 . That’s the dedicated page for this entry

19:56 - Dropped Now TV’s coverage to ATV. Now they’re just repeating footage from the red carpet. 13 minutes to go!

20:00 - 5 minutes to go. ATV counts down with…..a music video. Not, not movie-related at all.

20:02 - Tonight’s hosts are Teresa Mo, Vincent Kuk, and Lawrence Cheng. Eric Tsang he will also make an appearance in the opening and ending, plus present an award with some action actors.

20:05 - Showtime! Typical montage about how important the awards are, blah blah blah.

20:06 - Shirley Kwan and Kay Tse open the show with a medley of Hong Kong film theme songs. Kwan obviously having a tough time with this audio mix. Can barely hear her voice.

20:08: Montage showed a clip from AFTER THIS OUR EXILE, even though it’s clearly supposed to be AH YING

20:10 - Was just reminded that Joey Yung can’t appear on the show because Emperor is still friendly with TVB (exclusive contract). Show is on competitors ATV and Now TV.

20:12 - Film theme songs medleys are great and all, but can we get on with the show already? It just shows how much film theme songs suck now in HK cinema. Oh, yay, fireworks.

20:14 - What the hell is Hou Hsiao-Hsien doing in the audience, and why does he look like a migrant worker?

20:16 - Eric Tsang monologue. Of course, he brings up how hard the 2003 show was to do because of SARS, etc etc.

20:17 - Yeah, keep on going about doin’ it for HK cinema….then finish filming your movie in China. Go on, hypocrites.

20:19 - The 3 hosts enter the stage. Wait, is that orchestra gonna just sit there the whole time?

20:20 - What, is the theme tonight all about “For Hong Kong cinema” and all that? Notice how all five Best Picture nominees tonight are co-productions?

20:21 - Vincent Kuk - “Finally, Arthur Wong isn’t nominated for Best Cinematography this year. How fresh!”

20:22 - Wong Jing and Ann Hui on stage together to present the Best New Director award…wait, are they coming out? Um….anytime now……

20:23 - Removing orchestra delayed the two directors’ entrance.

20:24 - Wow, not only is this kinda cool because of Hui and Wong’s past feud, they’re also the first people to come down on that weird dolly thing on stage.

20:25 - OH NO, Wong Jing joked he will make 3D THE FRUIT IS RIPE. I hope he’s joking.

20: 27 - First up, Best New Actor. I predicted Dennis To. Winner is….HANJIN TAN FOR BRUCE LEE MY BROTHER. Wow, no one saw THAT coming.

20:27 - Hanjin Tan is best known as a musician and sometimes blatant plagarizer of western music in Cantopop. He played one of Bruce Lee’s buddies in the film.

20:29 - And now, Best New Director. I expected Ivy Ho, but I have a feeling it’ll be another upset.

And the winner is….Felix Chong for ONCE A GANGSTER

20:30 - Chong has already won one HKFA for Best Screenplay as the co-writer of INFERNAL AFFAIRS. ONCE A GANGSTER is his first solo directorial work.

20:31 - Ugh, I’m already 0 for 2 for tonight. This year’s awards are very hard to predict.

20:32 - What the hell? New segment this year - showing best awards moments from past years

20:35 - These are good moments and everything, but can we get on with it already?

20:36 - That was quick. Time for Best Supporting Actress, presented by Liu Kai Chi and Michelle Ye. Ye NOT in the crazy dominatrix costume from HI, FIDELITY.

20:38 - I predicted that Bau Hei-Jing will win Best Supporting Actress. At least don’t let CITY UNDER SIEGE win anything.

And the winner is - Susan Shaw for GALLANTS. Wow, GALLANTS may have a fighting chance tonight!

20:41 - Hou Hsiao-Hsien: Seriously, I know you’ve been to those nice European awards and all, but you really gotta dress better at these things.

20:42 - Sa Dingding and Wu Ching-Feng now perform the nominated theme song from REIGN OF ASSASSINS. Twitter time!

20:45 - As Sa and Wu sing with the flipping acrobats, all I can keep thinking is “don’t move”

20:48 - Is it time for Best Screenplay already? Kuk and Cheng banter about scriptwriters.

20:50 - Time for Simon Yam, Kate Tsui, and some former Golden Harvest guy named To to present the Best Screenplay award.

I predicted BREAK UP CLUB will win, though I wanted LOVE IN A PUFF. Might GALLANTS have a chance?

And the winner is: Pang Ho-Cheung and Heiward Mak for LOVE IN A PUFF! Yay!

20:55 - HKFA finally giving Pang Ho-Cheung some love. Pang gives a hilarious story about how he pitched the film to Media Asia’s Peter Lam

21:01 - And we return from commercial break with the Most Fashionable Award. But first, some banter with hosts and nominees. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz………..

And the winner is: Daniel Wu for the man and Janice Man for the woman. Hou Hsiao-Hsien got robbed!

21:04 - Angelababy, Raymond Wong, and Fong Ho-Yuen present Best Cinematography and Best Editing.

Best Cinematography up first. I predicted Peter Pau based on respect alone. Wanted Jason Kwan to win for gorgeous MERRY-GO-ROUND look.

And the winner is: Peter Pau for CONFUCIUS, as expected. My first correct prediction.

Next up is Best Editing. I predicted IP MAN 2. I wanted DETECTIVE DEE.

And the winner is: Cheung Ka-Fai for IP MAN 2. No, not Nick Cheung.

21:13 - Time for the Professional Achievement award for Willie Chan, dubbed “the golden manager”

21:15 - Chan’s accomplishments: He introduced Jackie Chan into the film industry and served as his manager for 30 years. He also served as manager for Maggie Cheung, Tony Leung Ka-Fai, Jacky Cheung, etc etc.

21:17 - Willie Chan enters on…….a boat. An entrance as flamboyant as the man.

21:20 - Willie Chan obviously a very major player in the HK film industry. Got a standing ovation. Stanley Kwan, Daniel Wu, Terence Yin, Maria Cordero, Jackie Chan, Simon Yam, all on stage.

21:21 - Jacky Cheung offers “My Way”. Um, shot during his concert rehearsal.

He also said “The awards people asked me to sing this song.”. Um, probably shouldn’t have said that.

21:26 - Presenting the actual award to Chan - Golden Harvest founder Raymond Chow.

21:30 - Back to the awards. Kuk interviews Nicholas Tse about the post-production facility he invested in and how he wants HK films to keep post-production in Hong Kong. Did anyone know about this?

21:32 - Aarif Lee and Janice Man present….whattheaudioflub?

Time for Best Sound Design. I predict IP MAN 2 because MR. TWISTER IS SOUND DESIGN!!!!!!!!!!

The winner is….DETECTIVE DEE. Yay, anything not with Kinson Tsang.

21:35 - Co-winner Zhao Nan accepts the award and clears up that she is not Mr. Zhao Nan. And quite attractive MS. Zhao Nan.

Now, time for Best Visual Effects. I predicted DETECTIVE DEE for CGI, but want DREAM HOME for the make-up.

And the winner is…DETECTIVE DEE

21:39 - Tsui Hark accepts the award for the Korean special effects team. Says that the effects house is now into computer animation instead.

21:40 - Now, Mavis Fan’s mom, accompanied by Mavis Fan, performs LOVER’S DISCOURSE theme song.

21:42 - This song is actually pretty good. I keep thinking how it would sound if Mavis sang it herself……….

21:48 - Back from commercial break 2, for more old clips.

21:50 - Time for Best Supporting Actor.  Lawrence Cheng makes fun of Teresa Mo’s exaggerated laugh after Mo makes fun of Cheng being nominated only once.

Gigi Leung and Angelica Lee present the Best Supporting Actor. I predicted and hope for Teddy Robin. It’ll be a pretty big upset if he loses…….Then again, we did name the overacting award after Liu Kai Chi.

21:55 - And the winner is TEDDY ROBIN FOR GALLANTS!!!!!!

21:57 - Actually, Teddy Robin for Supporting Actor is fine with me because he’s not the protagonist of the film - Chan Kuan-Tai, Bruce Leung, and Wong Yau-Nam are.

22:00 - Time for tribute to Hong Kong action choreographers with a fight display on stage. Whooooo.

22:02 - Shotgun and explosive squibs onstage. Impressive.

22:03 - Eric Tsang now present clips of impressive stunt men with the stunt guys present.

Tsang: “How could you jump that high past that car?”

Stunt man: “The guy was going fast, and I had to jump above it, or I would get hit.”

22:05 - Tsang “Why did you do two takes of that stunt?”

Cheung Wah: “Because the company had two vases”

22:07 - Chow Yun Fat leads the standing ovation for the stuntman. Classy.

Time to present Best Action Design. I predicted IP MAN 2, but wanted DETECTIVE DEE. Either way, a win for Sammo Hung.

And the winner is……Sammo Hung for IP MAN 2. They didn’t even say the name of the movie he won for, but Raymond Wong heard the music and went up.

22:12 - Raymond Wong refers to Mr. Twister as “gweilo”. Oh, naw, he didn’t.

22:13 - Now the lifetime achievement award for Ms. Terry Lai, the founder of Intercontinental Films. One of the first executives to send kung fu films abroad with English subtitles. IVL also easily now the biggest HK film distributor of foreign films.

22:15 - She head the anti-piracy movement, but please don’t credit her with saving HK films. Bittorrent as widely used as ever, and Mainland co-productions “saved” HK films, mm-kay?

22:22 - Lawrence Cheng says you only need two words to succeed in Mainland Chinese films : “Xing” (Sure!). “Mei Wen Tiiiii” (No problem).

“Will this movie make 200 million?” “Mei wen ti”

“Can my girlfriend be in the movie?” “Xing”

22:25 - Jun Kung now performs his MERRY-GO-ROUND best theme song nominee. Suddenly leaning towards LOVER’S DISCOURSE winning now. Jun Kung has a fine song, but suddenly come to like the other one better.

22:34 - Back from commercial break 3. Clips from 2003 awards. Really tough year: SARS, Anita Mui, Leslie Cheung.

22:34 - Oh, no, Mr. and Alan Tam performance. Yay, another break.

22:36 - oh, great, Alan Tam x Mr. was the in memoriam sequence, but they totally covered the screen. Another cinematic crime by Alan Tam.

22:38 - And now, Best Art Direction and Best Costume Design presented by Wyman Wong and Fiona Sit. Whoa, Wyman Wong in a dress.

Pointless banter between Fiona Sit and Wyman Wong. Get. On. With. It.

Finally. First up is Best Best Costume Design. Predicted CONFUCIUS, but DETECTIVE DEE may end up having a chance winning.

The winner is……DETECTIVE DEE. Namsun Shi accepts the award on his behalf and reads an acceptance speech from him.

22:43 - Next up is Best Art Direction. I predicted CONFUCIUS. And CONFUCIUS will probably win.

And the winner is….DETECTIVE DEE. Wow, 4th award for the film, but all technical awards so far.

22:47 - Now, Li Yuchun and Tsui Hark present the Best Original Music award. What an unlikely match.

22:49 - Time for Best Original Score. I predicted Ip Man 2 for pure bombardment. I wanted LOVE IN A PUFF, but not nominated. Would like GALLANTS for nostalgia.

And the winner is…..GALLANTS!!!!! This is not only the film’s third award of the night, it’s also Teddy Robin’s second HKFA of the night.

22:53 - Directors Clement Cheng and Derek Kwok join Teddy Robin onstage. Cheng bows down in front of Robin.

22:54 - Tsui and Li return to present Best Original Song. I predicted Jun Kung, but now I lean towards LOVER’S DISCOURSE.

And the winner is……Jun Kung! Whooooooooooooooo

22:56 - Jun Kung previously acted in TIME AND TIDE, but is much better known as one of the most underappreciated musicians in Cantopop.

22:59 - Hou Hsiao-Hsien and Zhao Wei now present Best Asian Film. Alright, AFTERSHOCK, go get your award and make people crime.

Seriously, director Hou, please wear something nicer.

23:00 - Vicky Zhao - “Some day Asian films are getting more and more attention”. Seriously still saying that? It’s been only a few decades!

23:02 - Time for Best Asian Film. I root for CONFESSIONS, but it’s AFTERSHOCK’s world.

And the winner is……….CONFESSIONSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

23:06 - Happy from CONFESSIONS win. When the hell did t he HKFA jury grow taste?

23:08 - End of another commercial break. Time for the major acting awards. Yay.

23:11 - Chow Yun Fat takes the stage and talks to the hosts. Where is this all leading to?

23:12 - OK, so he’s giving Best Director. Strange line-up, Best Director coming before the acting awards.

Chow Yun Fat to Nic Tse: “The next 30 years of HK cinema depend on you now.”

23:13 - This is more Cantonese spoken by Chow Yun Fat than in all of his movies in the last decade. Please come back to Hong Kong, Fat Gor.

23:15 - Wong Hei-Wun co-present the Best Director award with Chow Yun Fat.

23:16 - Wong: “A director that can’t make money isn’t a good director!” Oh dear.

23:17 - Finally time for the award I predicted Wilson Yip to get his due, but want Tsui Hark for his spectacular comeback. GALLANTS might also have a chance.

And the winner is……Tsui Hark for DETECTIVE DEE. Welcome back to respectability.

23:21 - This is only Tsui Hark’s second Best Director award. I believe the term “relative best” applies here.

23:22 - DETECTIVE DEE’s chance for Best Picture just skyrocketed. Good night, IP MAN 2. Maybe a GALLANTS come back from behind? Ahhh, it’s all so exciting.

23:24 - Time for Best Actress. Oh, hosts first simulate Teresa Mo actually winning the Best Actress Award, and Teresa Mo not winning the award. latter “Happens all the time!” - says Lawrence Cheng

23:26 - Michael Hui and Kara Hui present Best Actress. Hui says he’s wearing the same hat he wore when he won his Best Actor award.

23:29 - Finally time after some bantering. Carina Lau has huge chance of winning, and will likely get it as a lifetime achievement thing. Really, quite a tough category this year.

The winner is……Carina Lau for DETECTIVE DEEEEEEEEE

23:31 - This is Carina Lau’s first Best Actress win. She says she’s more used to losing than winning.

23:35 - Time for Best Actor. Eric Tsang makes his 3rd appearance at the ceremony. Is it intentional so they can get Tsang to show up on ATV as much as possible?

23:36 - Please cut the banter and get on with the award already.

23:38 - Oh, Tsang isn’t giving out the award. Zhou Xun and Lau Ching Wan are.

23:39 - I am now convinced that Zhou Xun was a man.

23:40 - Lau Ching Wan takes the opportunity to lament his three losses of Best Actor award to Tony Leung Chiu-Wai.

23:42 - Time for the award. I predict Nick Cheung, Nicholas Tse might stand a chance?

The winner is…..Nicholas Tse for STOOL PIGEON. Tse cries manly tears.

23:44 - Nic Tse won the Best New Artist award when he was 18 years old. Nic also does an impression of his old man during his acceptance speech. Leads to a story about him telling his old man that he won a HKFA before him. WHOOOOOOOO

….oh, story of him pissing his dad off leads to apology to his dad.

23:47 - Carina Lau and Jackie Chan present Best Picture.

Jackie Chan: “Hong Kong action films never left!” Yeah, no thanks to you, Jackie.

23:50 - Here we go, time for Best Picture. I think it’ll be DETECTIVE DEE’s world.

And the winner is………GALLANTS!!!!!!!!!!

23:53 - I’m pretty sure that the GALLANTS award is for the spirit and what it stands for more than the actual film. I’m really, really happy for it, though. What a surprise!

That’s it for the live blog this year. Let’s continue the conversation on Twitter @TheGoldenRock with the hashtag #HKFA30

The Golden Rock - Predictions for the 30th Hong Kong Film Awards

As I had promised, I would offer my own predictions for the Hong Kong Film Awards last year. I have to admit that this year is quite hard to call, especially with the technical awards. So, I will try and look for patterns from past voting and call what will most likely win.

Of course, you can come up with your own predictions with the list of nominees, and we can match results during my live blog on Sunday night. If you predict more than me, you get a cyber pat on the back.

Here are my predictions, with comments on selected categories:

BEST NEW DIRECTOR:

Will win: Ivy Ho (Crossing Hennessy)
Should win: Freddie Wong (The Drunkard)

As seen with all the nominations for CROSSING HENNESSY, you can tell that the HKFA committee has a thing for Ivy Ho. Considering that she lost two years ago to Derek Kwok, she may finally get her chance here. However, I think Freddie Wong did the best, directing-wise, even though I enjoyed ONCE A GANGSTER the most out of these three films.

BEST ASIAN FILM

Will win: Aftershock
Should win: Confessions

People who follow the blog know how much I loved CONFESSIONS, so it’s an easy choice for me. But you know the popular opinion is for AFTERSHOCK, and the Hong Kong-based committee will definitely be no different.

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS:

Will Win: Detective Dee

Should win: Dream Home

No clear winner, but I think DREAM HOME’s make-up/special effects team really made the film. DETECTIVE DEE would also be a fine choice, though.

BEST SOUND DESIGN:

Will Win: anything with Kinson Tsang

Should win: Anything not with Kinson Tsang

Poor Kinson Tsang does almost every major HK films these days, but his work is highly overrated. He overmixed the INFERNAL AFFAIRS trilogy and hasn’t done one good dubbed movie since. You work hard, Mr. Tsang, but I’d rather see someone else get the award. You should be fine, though, look at how much money you probably make.

BEST ORIGINAL SONG:

Will Win: Here to Stay (Merry-Go-Round)

Should Win: Here to Stay (Merry-Go-Round)

I hated how the music was used in MERRY-GO-ROUND, but I love Jun Kung’s music. So there.

Best ORIGINAL FILM SCORE:

Will Win: Ip Man 2

Should Win: Gallants

BEST ACTION DESIGN:

Will Win: Ip Man 2

Should Win: Detective Dee

DETECTIVE DEE should be recognized for the cave fight scene alone, but IP MAN is IP MAN.

BEST COSTUME DESIGN:

Will Win: Confucius

Should win: Bruce Lee My Brother

BEST ART DIRECTION:

Will Win: Confucius

Should win: Confucius

BEST EDITING:

Will Win: Ip Man 2

Should Win: Detective Dee

A Tsui Hark movie is never easy to edit, and anyone who can take a Tsui Hark work and edit it into a coherent piece of cinema deserves recognition.

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY:

Will Win: Peter Pau (COnfucius)

Should win: Jason Kwan (Merry-Go-Round)

Just like Arthur Wong, Peter Pau is one of those figures who would likely win any cinematography nomination. He’ll pick it up, but I’ll remember MERRY-GO-ROUND as the most gorgeous HK film of the year.

BEST NEW ARTIST:

Will Win: Dennis To (Legend is Born)

Should Win: Bryon Pang (Amphetamine)

Dennis To got the most attention-getting role, but Bryon Pang really did give his all to AMPHETAMINE. No matter how bad the movie was, Pang was solid in his role as the unstable drug addict. Plus, judging from how he was at the HKIFF Q&A, his acceptance speech alone will make the show run an hour overtime. At least.

BEST SCREENPLAY

Will Win: Break Up Club

Should Win: Love in a Puff

I’m a Pang Ho-Cheung fan (at least up til recently), and LOVE IN A PUFF is easily his wittiest and most natural script. BREAK UP CLUB has a better chance with its narrative gimmick, but I hated its self-indulgence. I wouldn’t even mind if GALLANTS ended up winning.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

Will win: Bau Hei-Jing (Crossing Hennessy)

Should Win: Mimi Chi Mi-Mi (Crossing Hennessy)

Bau Hei-Jing simply annoyed me in CROSSING HENNESSY, though it was the writing’s fault. Mimi Chu gives the most subtle performance I’ve seen her in, but that’s because she frequently overacts. Her down-to-earth performance was the most refreshing thing in the film. If Carina Lau was in this category, it would’ve been a hell of a lot easier to pick.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

Will Win: Teddy Robin (Gallants)

Should win: Teddy Robin (Gallants)

He won the Most Awesome Award at the LoveHKFilm awards. ’nuff said.

BEST ACTRESS

Will Win: Carina Lau (Detective Dee)

Should win: Fiona Sit (Break Up Club)

Again, as much as I hated BREAK UP CLUB, it featured Fiona’s most natural performance yet. Her performance was easily the most award-bait of all, and may well getting enough votes to beat Carina’s star power votes.

BEST ACTOR

Will Win: Nick Cheung (Stool Pigeon)

Should Win: Nick Cheung (Stool Pigeon)

Nick is the only one that would earn a win, in my humble opinion.

BEST DIRECTOR

Will win: Wilson Yip (Ip Man 2)

Should win: Tsui Hark (Detective Dee)

Tsui Hark is back, and that’s enough for me. Wilson Yip might get the sympathy vote for not winning for IP MAN, and the first half of IP MAN 2 was actually really damn good.

BEST FILM

Will win: Ip Man 2

Should win: Detective Dee

IP MAN 2 will ride on the tail of IP MAN and likely pick up the blockbuster best picture votes. However, DETECTIVE DEE is a more impressive filmmaking feat overall. But hey, maybe GALLANTS will get the nostalgic love and go home winnin’. I’d be happy, but I’ll just say I didn’t vote for it as Best Film at the LoveHKFilm Awards.

So, now you know my predictions. I may change them during the live blog, but these are the best picks I can make as far as I know now. Join us on the Golden Rock 30th Hong Kong Film Awards Live Blog and catch all the action. Just click on the link and find out what you need to know.

See you all on the 14th!

The Golden Rock - Days of Being Wild 20th Anniversary Screening Edition

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Since 2003, the Leslie Cheung fan club Red Mission would put on various activities to commemorate the death of the superstar. They include outdoor concerts, photo exhibitions, and of course, movie screenings. In addition to the screenings of HAPPY TOGETHER and BUENOS AIRES ZERO DEGREE at the Hong Kong International Film Festival, Red Mission is taking advantage of the 20th anniversary of Wong Kar Wai’s DAYS OF BEING WILD by choosing it as the film to screen this year. This year, the screening is at Tsim Sha Tsui’s Grand Ocean Theatre, which is one of HK’s largest cinemas, and one of the few single-screen cinema left in the city.

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It doesn’t look very big, but it’s a 579-seat theater

The group put on two screenings of the film over two days - the digitally remastered version on the first day, and the original 35mm film print on the second. I wanted to watch the original film print, but I could only fit in the digitally-remastered print, which I imagined would look crisp, but not as nice as a film print.

Of course, the showing was literally packed, which prompted me to show up a little bit early to catch the pandemonium in the small cinema lobby.

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Many fans, who spoke various languages, were all trying to get a picture of this:

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As you can see, most fans that were there was female. I’m thankful I was with one at the time.

Upon entering the cinema, each audience member got this:

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There’s two brochures for the group’s activities and a commemorative ticket

Just like how CHUNGKING EXPRESS will always be my favorite Wong Kar Wai film, DAYS OF BEING WILD will likely remain my second for a very long time, and Leslie Cheung’s charismatic performance will make up a large part of that. The way Leslie turns the unlikeable Luddy into one of the most memorable romantic leads in the history of Hong Kong cinema is the very definition of a star performance. He commands the screen every time he appears, and there’s probably no better film to showcase Leslie’s talent than this film.  Being a screening by the Leslie Cheung fan club, there were applause at the very first shot of the film, with Leslie walking down the hallway. Days before the screening, producer Alan Tang Kwong-Wing suddenly passed away, and there were applause from the audience when his name appeared in the opening credits as well.

I’ve never seen DAYS OF BEING WILD on the big screen, and it was absolutely mesmerizing. However, the so-called digitally remastered version doesn’t improve the film too much. It’s a fine print, even with Christopher Doyle’s intended green tint restored. But the film is shot in very soft tones, which means it’ll never look at that crisp. With that, I would rather see a film print for the grain and the inherently old-school look that comes with a film print.

Nevertheless, what better way to remember one of Hong Kong’s best superstars with a screening of one of his best films. As a fan of Hong Kong cinema, Wong Kar Wai, DAYS OF BEING WILD, and Leslie Cheung, this was a great experience. Whether I’ll be returning to next year’s screenings depends on the film Red Mission will be choosing, but right now I’m already betting I’ll be there.

 

The Golden Rock Hong Kong Film Awards Live Blog - 2011 Edition

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The size tells you how much the awards really matter

We’re at it again - Yes, this blogger will be live-blogging this year’s Hong Kong Film Awards live once again as he watches from the comfort of his own home. I am grateful that Hong Kong ATV has once again picked up broadcasting rights and promised to show the whole thing live without one single cut. That means I will be reporting once again the victories, the #winnings, the celebrity fails, and everything else in between right here on this blog.

If you’re read my awards live blogs, you’ll know that the live blog consists of constant updates minute-by-minute, and the only thing you have to do to stay updated is to click the reload button. As I have turned off comments once and for all here on this blog to prevent spam (hasn’t worked), I will be using my Twitter as an interaction tool in addition to updates on the blog. To keep the interactions all in one search, please use the hashtag #HKFA30 when you tweet about the awards.

And now, the basics:

Date: Sunday, April 17th
Time: 19:45 (7:45pm), Hong Kong/Beijing Standard Time (adjust to your own time zone accordingly)
My job: Update on this blog and interact on Twitter
Your job: Read, click “reload” on the blog to follow the updates, and/or interact on Twitter.

Some time over the next week, I will be posting my own predictions, but you can make your own from the list of nominees.

See you all on the 17th!

 
 
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