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Archive for the ‘awards’ Category

The Golden Rock - March 4, 2012 Edition

This entry covers two major messes going on in the Chinese film industry, and a Golden Broom to sweep it all up.

Photo from Sina Entertainment Weibo account

- The attention for action film SPECIAL IDENTITY meant to go to Donnie Yen, who is starring and producing under the direction of Clarence Fok. However, the attention has now shifted elsewhere before shooting has even wrapped.

This started when Apple Daily reported on February 24th that co-star Vincent Zhao essentially left the set due to complaints about the new script by Hong Kong writer James Yuen, which undermines his role and favors Donnie’s. The new script had been changed without Zhao’s approval, though Zhao’s contract said that he had the right to do so. There were also complaints about Zhao’s prima donna attitude on set (which includes an entourage of seven).

On February 27th, the SECRET IDENTITY production opened its own official Weibo account (verified as the real deal by Sina), followed by an official statement from the production on the night of February 29th announcing that Vincent Zhao has officially left the production, and that it was an amicable split. James Yuen (he’ll show up again later, by the way) also wrote his Weibo that he did not write one word of the film.

Two hours later, Vincent Zhao posted a e-mail from the IDENTITY production on his own Weibo:


As of noon on March 1, 2012, the SECRET IDENTITY production will no longer provide accommodation for Mr. Vincent Zhao. I hope you can understand; the production is seriously over-budget!”

At 6 am, Zhao also posted a statement on his Weibo discrediting the points in the Apple Daily report one by one, and that the statement from the production was released without his knowledge, which means Zhao has essentially been fired.

Zhao’s wife also joined in on the fun, defending her husband and accusing the production of using him as a scapegoat for the mismanagement of the film’s finances. Zhao calls himself the victim and left Shenzhen (where the film was being shot) for Beijing on the same day. Meanwhile, public support from Zhao’s past co-stars like Laung Ka Yan, Timmy Hung, Xu Jiao, and Wudang director Patrick Leung came Weibo-ing in.

Thing were quiet until today, March 4th, when Zhao held a press conference in Beijing essentially repeating his Weibo statement. He accused the production of changing the script that he’d signed up for without his approval, and that he was unilaterally dismissed by the production.

Several hours later, the production put out its own statements to counter Zhao’s points. They are as follows:

1) Zhao caused the start of production to be delayed by a day because he not only demanded to be upgraded to an executive suite, he also demanded that the production pay for the expenses for his wife, his two kids, the nanny, an English teacher, his agent, and his assistant, as well as a driver and bodyguards (a martial arts actor needing a bodyguard. Imagine that).

2) The script changes were done for the benefit of the film. As producer and action director, Donnie had approached Zhao to discuss the changes, only to be turned away. In fact, the production only agreed to take on Zhao based on Donnie’s recommendation.

3) Andy On is to replace Zhao on the production.

Zhao says he retains his right to take legal action, but with On joining the production and Zhao simply crying shenanigans, it looks like this will remain only a battle of words. Zhao has little more to say (unless he wishes to counter the production’s counter-argument), but it’s likely that SPECIAL IDENTITY will be remembered more for this scandal than anything else for the time being.

- Another person calling foul is writer James Yuen. The respected Hong Kong scriptwriter of films like LOST IN TIME, several Peter Chan films, and oh, HERE COMES FORTUNE, is crying foul because he claims that his script for SHADOWS OF LOVE, the latest Cecilia Cheung film, was stolen by the film’s investor.


This all began on February 19th when Oriental Daily reported Yuen’s claims that he has written the original script for SHADOWS OF LOVE, and that its investor Allen Tan (a former talent agent) took it without giving proper credit or proper compensation. After a strong denial Tan himself, who says director Calvin Poon and his writer essentially rewrote the script, which means there’s not much traces of Yuen’s work. Tan also accused Yuen of demanding too much money. Angered, Yuen took it further by writing a complete account of his side on Weibo.

Here are the basic explanation of Yuen’s claims:

  • Yuen was asked by Tan in March 2010 if he had any scripts that Tan could produce.  Yuen then turned in a 6000-word outline that he wrote with two assistants back in 2009. However, he never heard from Tan again.
  • In June 2011, Yuen heard that a film with the same story and characters starring Cecilia Cheung had just wrapped shooting.  The film’s producer: Allan Tan
  • Yuen then called producer Stanley Kwan, who said that he knew they were Yuen’s material and even asked Tan to settle any copyright and payment issues. That was never done
  • The following month, Yuen and Tan had a meeting, and Tan asks Yuen to sell off the rights to him and his company. Yuen agreed and even signed a contract.
  • However, Yuen claims he never got his payment, and when he inquired Tan about it, Tan said that financiers China Film Group and DMG were unwillingly to pay.

On February 22nd, Yuen writes that this mess has entered legal proceedings, which means there won’t be any more public comments from either side. However, this may also block the film’s release until the case is settled and turn this into another case of bad luck/bad career choice for Cecilia Cheung.



- On Saturday, March 3rd, the 3rd Annual Golden Broom Awards was held in China. Much like the Razzies in America, the award (dis)honors the worst in Chinese cinema. After nominations from the public, the awards are decided by a jury of 27, which includes scholars, film critics, authors, editors, and members of the media. The award ceremony also included a respectable guest list that included director Wang Shaoshuai, Li Yu (BUDDHA MOUNTAIN), Manfred Wong, Lou Ye (SUMMER PALACE), Gu Changwei (LOVE FOR LIFE), Zhang Meng (PIANO IN A FACTORY), Yu Dong (head of Bona Group), and actress Qin Hailin. By the way, none of them won any of the dishonors.

Here is a list of (lose-)winners:


Most Disappointing Mid-Low-Budget Films: NO. 32, B DISTRICT and LOVE NEVER DIES

Special Jury Prize for Most Disappointing Film: FLOWERS OF WAR (for using the Nanjing Massacre to sell sex)

Most Disappointing Directors: Frankie Chan (LEGENDARY AMAZONS), Gao Xiaosong (MY KINGDOM)

Most Disappointing Actor: Sun Honglei (WARRING STATES)

Most Disappointing Actress: Cecilia Cheung (LEGENDARY AMAZONS and TREASURE HUNT)

Most Disappointing Ensemble: EAST MEETS WEST

Most Disappointing Animated Film: XI BAI PO

Most Disappointing Imported Film: THE GREEN HORNET

Since the award was being held by the mook (magazine-book) YOUTH FILM HANDBOOK, there were also positive awards handed out to good films, but we won’t mention them here.

As expected, no one that won any of the disappointing award actually showed up. Instead, you got the Cecilia imposter above and the Sun Honglei imposter here:



Of course, we can’t expect anyone to have Halle Berry or Sandra Bullock’s sense of humor, right?



Sina Weibo

The Golden Rock - August 29, 2011 Edition

With talk about the box office battle looming in China come December, it’s a good time to do a focus story about the art of scheduling movie releases in the Greater China area:

- As i had mentioned in an earlier entry, this summer has not been a particularly great one at the movies here in Hong Kong. The thing is that it hasn’t been that great in China, either, as BEGINNING OF THE GREAT REVIVAL, WU XIA, and MYSTERIOUS ISLAND have been the only three major stories all summer. This may baffle those who are used to the usual summer tradition around the world, with the biggest, loudest blockbusters rolled out to make money from kids out of school on holiday (high weekday grosses).

While the vacationing kids audiences is big in China, high ticket prices means that the movie going audience tends to skew a little older, which means that big filmgoing periods are more likely to coincide with big holiday periods when people don’t have to work.

There are essentially four big release periods in China that every distributor of major blockbusters in China want to get their hands on: Lunar New Year, Golden week in May, National Day extended holiday in October, and mid-to-late-December. Since the summer is when Hollywood blockbusters dominate the global box office, the summer is not a huge release period unless you have something big enough to compete.

Case in point: Out of the top ten grossing films in China in 2010, only two films were not released during those four periods - AFTERSHOCK was big enough to take on the summer, and UNDER THE HAWTHORN TREE was released a week before the National Day holiday rush began with LEGEND OF THE FIST.

Three of those periods are pretty self-explanatory when it comes to why they’re huge for filmgoing - Instead of long weekends, China’s holidays are clumped into longer batches because it allows time for workers in big cities to return home to visit their families. Extended holidays also mean theaters and distributors are blessed with consecutive days of high box office gross, which also means plenty of good publicity for the films as well.

However, the period that baffles even me is the December period. The so-called “year-end celebratory” period has long been where Feng Xiaogang reigns as king (ever since his SORRY, BABY in December 1999, only THE BANQUET was not released during that time), and that’s when China made so many major blockbusters that it’s become the place where Zhang Yimou and Feng Xiaogang earn top box office dollars with films like HERO, THE ASSEMBLY, IF YOU ARE THE ONE, and CURSE OF THE GOLDEN FLOWER. In 2010, the period saw its most intense competition yet with a direct battle between Jiang Wen’s LET THE BULLETS FLY and Feng Xiaogang’s IF YOU ARE THE ONE 2. While BULLETS came out on top, IF YOU ARE THE ONE 2 also made 473 million yuan, Feng’s second highest-grossing film after AFTERSHOCK.

That battle is about to get even more intense this year, with three big films already locked to duke it out in the same week in mid-December:  Derek Yee’s THE GREAT MAGICIAN (Tony Leung + Lau Ching Wan + Zhou Xun), Tsui Hark’s IMAX 3D FLYING SWORDS OF DRAGON GATE (Jet Li +wuxia + 3D), and Zhang Yimou’s NANJING HEROES (big budget +rumored IMAX release + Batman!). There’s even word that Wong Kar Wai’s GRANDMASTER may be trying to make that release date as well.

But why? and how? December sees no major holidays in China (I’m pretty sure they don’t get Christmas Day off over there), and yet, that’s when the year’s biggest films (yes, even bigger than Lunar New Year) are rolled out. But at least now you know why all the talk in Chinese cinema right now is concentrating on that all-important December period. If your film is there, you’ve hit the big time, baby.

- China has three major film awards - The Golden Rooster Awards, the voter-based Hundred Flower Awards, and the Huabiao Awards. Held by the State Administration of Radio, Film, and Television every two years, the latest edition of the Huabiao Awards has just announced its nominees. The Huabiao is a little unique in that it clearly separates purely Chinese productions and co-productions into two separate categories.

Under “Excellent Chinese Narrative Films”, the 20 nominees include both FOUNDING OF A REPUBLIC and BEGINNING OF THE GREAT REVIVAL, as well as “box office hits” like WENTIAN, GUO MING YI, and WEN SHAN ZHOU. Of course, Zhang Yimou’s UNDER THE HAWTHORN TREE, Chen Kaige’s SACRIFICE, and Feng Xiaogang’s AFTERSHOCK are included. Even GO LALA GO managed a nomination.


10 other films were also nominated for “Excellent Digital Film”, but those are just small productions that no one really cares about.

Only two foreign films were recognized in the nominations - AVATAR and INCEPTION. Those who care, raise their hands? OK, moving on.

WENTIAN, the astronaut film produced by the People’s Liberation Army’s August 1st Studio (Last I heard, they were making an inspiration sports film about their basketball team), scored the most number of nominations - with “Excellent Film Techniques”, Best Script, Best Director, Best Actor in addition to its best film nod. I can’t wait for that WenTian sequel, which might be some twisted, communist propaganda version of STAR TREK.  Yes, soon, the PLA will be liberating the oppressed people of space from the evils of the intergalactic Kuomintang.

For those who still care, the awards were held on August 28th, and 10 out of the 20 nominated films were recognized for best films. They include REVIVAL, AFTERSHOCK, REPUBLIC, WENTIAN, GUO MING YI, WEN SHAN ZHOU, and HAWTHORN TREE. Meanwhile, WENTIAN and REPUBLIC picked up Best Director (s), REVIVAL won Best Screenplay, both Ge You (for SACRIFICE) and YANG SHAN ZHOU’s Li Xue Jian won Best Actor(s), Sandra Ng won Best Overseas Chinese Actress for ECHOES OF THE RAINBOW, and Chow Yun Fat picked up Best Overseas Chinese Actor for CONFUCIUS.

Notice one important omission? Yes, LET THE BULLETS FLY was completely ignored.

The complete list of winners (in Chinese) can be found here.

Not much for an entry today, but I promise Chinese box office and other gossip in the Chinese movie scene next time.

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 . 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 Hong Kong Film Awards Live Blog - 2011 Edition


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!

The Golden Rock - What day iz thiz Edition

Before I move on to regular programming, perhaps some (or none) are asking, “hey, where did you go?”

I ask myself the same question everyday.

As for the serious answer, I made an extremely awkward transition from my student life to my working life, which involved the two blending together, and then diving into the latter pretty much immediately, meaning I haven’t really had the time to adjust. Of course, that could sound like an excuse, but considering the other time I spend doing my weekly review job, recording East Screen/West Screen, plus real life crap, 24 hours doesn’t seem enough in a day. Also, Google Chrome is real crappy with this wordpress thing, which means I get a little confused when switching browsers, leading to all kinds of headaches and taking longer than usual to write an entry.

So what motivated me to start writing again now? First of all, Kozo keeps footing the bill for this space, which means it would go to waste if I keep letting it accumulate in spam, and that ain’t very nice.  Second, I will be sadly writing less reviews than before, though that’s only because much of my work has shifted to a certain section of a website that starts with Y and ends with Asia. However, my motivation to start writing again is mainly because I want to do internet journalism right. As I mentioned on the latest episode of East Screen/West Screen, some sites have gotten away too long with spinning information the wrong way. I can’t say I never did the same with this blog, but at least I spun responsibly, and I own up to my mistakes. If the blog writing schedule goes right again, I hope to return to the old format that people (barely) read, but I will certainly no longer use the site I mention in the podcast as a serious source, but only to point out and correct their errors.

Here’s a little news for today, to get things started:

- As always, we start at the box office. At the Japan box office, Tetsuya Nakashima’s CONFESSIONS reign again for a third week, while the MASKED RIDER movie opens at second place, and the youth tearjerker PIECING ME BACK TOGETHER opens at ninth. Check the admissions ranking, and more when the numbers are out.

- Looking at the Korean box office, A MOMENT TO REMEMBER director Lee Jae-Han’s latest 71-INTO THE FIRE scores a huge opening with 1 million-plus admissions, while the period film SERVANTS has already earned 2 million admissions. STREETDANCE 3D opened at 6th place, and PRINCE OF PERSIA is approaching 2 million admissions, but not likely to get there.

Hancinema rankings (which switches the admissions for HAHAHA and THE HOUSEMAID) and the KOFIC ranking.

- After several theaters backed out in Japan (including one in Shibuya, Tokyo) from showing the documentary THE COVE, the distributors have found another theater in Tokyo in the same neighborhood to take over the film. The Image Forum (which also runs a film school) will be showing the film after Theater N pulled out due to threats by crazy right-wingers. I’m guessing this will be another YASUKUNI situation, where the threats will continue until the film opens, then ntohing will happen.

The report also lists 21 other Japanese theaters that’ll be showing the film, so look for one near you, er….if you know how to read Japanese.

- In film production news, I wrote a few weeks ago that the new Bruce Lee biopic that will be covering his teenage life in Hong Kong, and as now Film Business Asia has confirmed that production will indeed begin on the Manfred Wong-produced, Raymond Yip-directed film WITH MC JIN….not as Bruce Lee. As I mentioned on East Screen/West Screen, this is the version of the Bruce Lee story that I look more forward to than the Hollywood bullying one that Filmko/Mandarin Films are planning.

Also, in the words of Nikki Finke, TOLDJA!

- The Millennium documentary festival in Brussels has given the Chinese documentary LAST TRAIN HOME its top award. I saw LAST TRAIN HOME at the Hong Kong International Film Festival and liked it. Congratulations to the filmmakers.

I will be back, and hopefully soon. Especially if it’s not a slow news day.

The Golden Rock 2010 Hong Kong Film Awards Live Blog

This is the initial post for The 2010 Golden Rock Hong Kong Film Awards live blog. Showtime is in about 110 minutes (we start at the red carpet show). I have added a live chat function on the right. So those who are interested feel free to join in before we start.

DISCLAIMER: This is a real-time, filter-less thoughts of the blogger.  If anyone is offended, feel free to skip a few posts, where I will choose someone else to offend.

19:30 - Red carpet coverage starting. Writer of House of Mahjong Lam Chiu Wing one of the guest host. Yay.

19:31 - Lam brags that they will only go to an ad every 30 minutes. Better hit the bathroom, everybody.

19:33 - red carpet is just a review of celebrities walking the red carpet. Host panel has no idea what to say. This is embarrassing.

19:35 - Fashion expert Walter Ma commenting over the red carpet footage is both awkward and hilarious. “Bau Hei Jing’s look is suitable for her age….”

19:37 - Was watching Now TV’s live coverage and Chapman To giving the hosts a hard time. “That’s what you get for doing live!”

19:39 - Ann Hui all smiles at the red carpet interview. “I’m very calm tonight. I don’t know why, I just am, hahaha”

19:41 - Commercial break. ATV being a poorer stations means cheaper - i.e. more hilarious - ads

19:43 - Blog a little quiet now because of pre-show. Come join the live chat instead!

19:46 - mysterious 4th member on the guest panel is a fortune teller!!!!

19:47 - “Kara Hui is from Shangdong, and Shangdong is having a great year this year!”

19:50 - Finally a shot of the venue. Ah, Cultural Center Grand Theatre, how I miss thee.

19:52 - “Anyone know who designed this year’s stage?” “Someone professional….”

19:55 - Fortune teller says Wang Xueqi has no chance. Simon Yam, on the other hand, is from Shandong!

19:57 - Show about to start. Juggling live blog and live chat. This will be an interesting night.

20:00 - Hosts discussing the show before real show gets started. Fortune teller won’t shut up; he’s far too entertaining.

20: 02: Quick, final preview of the show before play-by-play. Lawrence Cheng hosting solo. Quite a few musical performers, including Rebecca Pan’s performance on red carpet.

20:05 - Showing starting now. With a moment of silence for the Qinghai earthquake victims.

20:07 - I hope they don’t follow this with trailer for Aftershock

20:08 - Following it with Chiu Tsang Hei leading the awards theme song performance on the red carpet instead

20:09- Fireworks on the red carpet. Or are they blowing it up?

20:10 - A kid started singing. Leading to Rebecca Pan’s What a Wonderful World performance with At 17. She’s singing way too slow.

20:11 - Brilliant. Montage of Best Picture nominee playing in the background. Bodyguards has Tony Leung getting beat up.

20:14 - Thought Lawrence Cheng is hosting solo. Instead, Eric Tsang and Chin Kar Lok show up. Their game show being shown at the same time on competitor TVB.

20:16 - Introducing the 5 nominees for best new artist now. Chin Kar Lok spokea Mandarin to make sure Li Yuchun knows she has to be on the stage. Miss HK-style interview going on now.

20:18 - Buzz Chung (kid from Echoes of the Rainbow) can’t stop laughing.

20:19 - “You should speak Cantonese more now that you have the chance!” - Eric Tsang to Fala Chan. TVB stars are not allowed to speak in Cantonese for other channels.

20:21 - Best New Artist award being given out now. The winner is…….Aarif Lee for Echoes of the Rainbow.

20:24 - Glad Aarif won over the kid. But a win for one of them is a win for the film. Aarif offers Buzz the mic. He says nothing. Cute kid.

20:25 - Lawrence Cheng now on the stage as host. Monologue about his time as host.

20:27 - Lawrence Cheng has a funny anecdote about his first two films as screenwriter failing - first one for pissing off Mongkok audience, second one for poor box office.

20:29 - Daniel Wu and Stephen Fung out now to present Best Young Director. Daniel Wu called “The Groom”

20:32- Winner is Cheung King-Wai for KJ

20:33 - Husband and wife Chapman To and Crystal Tin present the Best Cinematography and Best editing.

20: 36 - Best Cinematography goes to….Arthur Wong. As expected, he wins every time he’s nominated.

20:38 - Arthur Wong acknowledges Andrew Lau. Thanks wife for not visiting him once on set.

20: 40 - Now Best Editing. Award goes to………….Overheard. That was really a surprise, though I’ve heard editing is a sympathy award.

20:41 - great clip for Overheard’s nomination. Michael Wong screaming like a girl.

20:43 - Best New Artist winner Aarif Lee is joined by Lowell Lo on stage for performance of nominated song from Echoes of the Rainbow.

20:46 - Aarif Lee isn’t a bad singer. Just a crappy English lyricist (listen to Janice Vidal’s album to find out)

20:47 - Best dressed award (with sponsored accessory) go to Nic Tse and Denise Ho

20: 48 - Love in a Puff couple Shawn Yue and Miriam Yeung on stage now. “Love in a Puff is a romance, but got a Cat III rating!” “It’s a romance with category III”. “But no one took off any clothes!”

20:50 - They’re giving out the Best Supporting Actress Award. Which goes to…..Michelle Ye! Well-deserved. Was afraid she’d be overlooked.

20:52 - “Someone told me, no one would make me a lead actress.” - Michelle Ye

20:53 - Why is TVB getting so much love after screwing up the awards so badly last year?

20:54 - “You’re not here tonight, but I see you!” — Michelle Ye to Louis Koo. Someone saw Avatar!

20:55 - Finally the first commercial break.

20:58 - Ethan Yuan and Mark Chao (stars of Monga) on stage now to present Best Sound Design. Winner is…….Red Cliff II

21:01 - They won last year, so no surprise they win again this year.

21:02 - Ruan and Chao staying on stage to joke around? No, to present best visual effects.

21:04 - Best Visual Effects goes to….Storm Warriors II. Well-deserved, despite film sucking

21:06 - Another Best Original Song performance. Li Yuchun performing now. No loud fans screaming?

21:08 - Why does Bodyguards and Assassins need a ballad for its theme song anyway?

21:10 - “Professional Achievement Award” now. Arthur Wong presents it to….a lighting man.

21:14 - Finally reveals award goes to Chow Lam - founder of HK Lighting Association - after 5 minutes speech.

21:16 - “He fixed the lights around him himself before he came out here” - Lawrence Cheng.

21:19 - Best Screenplay award now present by Dayo Wong

21:20 - Dayo Wong turns it into an amusing standup comedy act, of course.

21:23 - Dayo Wong still going. Quite funny, though

21:24 - “Tin Shui Wai the only place HK-ers can afford housing now. Then Ann Hui does a movie called ‘Night and Fog’ and makes it like it’s Paris”

21:26 - And the Best Screenplay award goes to………Alex Law for Echoes of the Rainbow

21:29 - Alex Law thanks John Sham, who got the film made in the first place.

21:32 - Denise Ho and Josie Ho on stage for best Supporting Actor now. Made fun of Nic Tse’s red clothes, liken it to red carpet

21:33 - Winner is…..Nicholas Tse for Bodyguards and Assassins

21:35 - Nicholas Tse thanks his wife, and apologizes for being only in HK for a day, even before she gives birth to second baby

21:36 - Chinese singer Alan, who has far more successful career in Japan, now on stage to sing Red Cliff theme song.

21:38 - Alan has quite a powerful voice, but kind of wasted on this song, sadly.

21:39 - Yay, second commercial break.

21:40 - If Simon yam doesn’t win tonight, at least he has his Nu Pharm ad playing in every movie theater in HK.

21:43 - Lifetime Achievement award for Lau Ka-Leung now.

21:46 - Reenactment of the Dragon dance on human tower scene in one of Liu’s most famous films.

21:48 - Mr. and Mrs. Liu going on stage now. People are very slow in standing ovations in HK.

21:50 - Liu shows off fact that he’s 4th generation of Wong Fei-Hung’s disciples.

21:55 - Liu Ka-Leung still talking like it’s a lecture on “life as Kung Fu actor in Hong Kong”. Stops and gives the stage to his wife.

21:56 - Liu to present Best Action Design, which goes to…..Bodyguards and Assassins

21:58 - B&A choreographer: “I don’t know why we’re thanking Andrew Lau, but thank him!”

21:59 - Long lifetime achievement segment ends…..just to go to a original song performance. At least it’s the McDull song. The Pancakes’ guitar has a sticker that says “This is not art.” Indeed.

22:01 - Simon Yam and Lynn Xiong on stage now talking about marriage. Cuts to Miriam yeung laughing in shock.

22:03 - Finally, they reveal they’re presenting Best Costume Design.

22:05 - And the winner is…….Bodyguards and Assassins. Dora Ng gives her speech in three languages.

22;07 - Simon Yam says documentaries will be the end of the business for costume design and art direction. Simon Yam: HK documentary hater.

22:09 - Winner for Art Direction is….Bodyguard and Assassins.5 for Bodyguards so far, and looking like it’ll be the winner this year.

22:11 - Another commercial break now.

22:15 - Some empty seats in the Grand Theater already. Now the In Memoriam segment. Excuse for pop stars to come out and sing.

22:19 - In Memoriam segment classy, with Kay Tse singing.

22:22 - Andy Hui and Gigi Leung goes on stage to present Best Score first. And the winner is………..Bodyguards and Assassins.

22:25 - B&A score was very typical epic score, with way too much symbols. Nothing worth remember about.

22:26 - Gigi and Andy stay for Best Original Song. Winner is Echoes of the Rainbow song written by Lowell Lo and performed by Aarif Lee. Not a bad song.

22:29 - “This is for all the kids that don’t pass their exams. Look at Alex Law!” - Lowell Lo

22:31 - Aaron Kwok and Kelly Lin on stage. Aaron  - “Welcome Kelly, because she is our guest!” Actually, I think Aaron doesn’t watch Kelly Lin’s movies.

22:33 -They’re presenting Best Asian Film. Winner is…….Departures. Director shows up to accept the award.

22:39 - Now a segment to celebrate Bruce Lee’s 70th birthday. Andy Hui sings. I think LMF should appear here too. They played the intro to 1127. Kato dancers in the background. Louis Fan now gives a kung fu demonstration after flying across the stage on wires. Jam Siao sings Kung Fu Fighting while kids in yellow jumpsuits dance behind him. Jam Siao leaves and kids do nun-chuks. Guy on stilts behind them, I guess in a Kareem Abdul Jabaar impression. LMF then goes on stage to rap 1127, their song about Bruce Lee. Josie Ho, Shawn Yue shown on camera having a good time.

22:50 - Coming up on the final hour of the awards now. Time to stretch the show out with the major awards.

22:55 - Lawrence Cheng talking about his acting career and lack of award recognition. Quite bittersweet.

22:57 - Shu Qi and Chang Chen present the Best Actor award. Chang Chen should win for trying to speak Cantonese.

22:59 - Winner is…………..Simon Yam for Echoes of the Rainbow.

23:01 - Crowd quite excited, and Simon very very happy.

23:05 - Andrew Lau and Bau Hei-Jing on stage now. Bau asks why people thank him for Bodyguards and Assassins. Lau wouldn’t spill why, though. Trying to steer clear. Award is Best Director. Winner is Bodyguards and Assassins’ Teddy Chan.

23:09 - Teddy Chan gives award to Andrew Lau to hold for a while. He waited 10 years for this.

23:12 - Looks like it’s Best Actress time. But first, a long Lawrence Cheng monologue.

23:14 - Lau Ching-Wan and Nick Cheung come out to present award. Lau jokes Anthony Wong passed his prime to present award, and Francis Ng sitting in jail again.

23:18: Winner for Best Actress is………..Kara Hui, as expected.

23:20: Kozo points out Kara Hui was first Best Actress winner at Hong Kong Film Awards.

23:22 - Kara Hui quite touched. Crying hard.

23:23 - Teresa Mo and Stanley Kwan present the final award - Best Picture. Stanley Kwan asks Teresa Mo to give stand-up routine, but complains that Dayo Wong was too good and threw it away.

23:27 - Time for final award. Best Picture winner is………..Bodyguards and Assassins. Peter Chan grabs award and gives first speech. Points out that it’s first film he produced but didn’t direct to win Best Picture.

23:31 - Everyone thanks Andrew Lau, and Teddy Chan cannot be seen onstage.

23:35 - Show officially over. Thanks to everyone who participated in the live chat and reading the live blog! Discuss results in the comments section.

23:42 - Live Blog getting dragged out a little more because ATV panel is back. Would like to see what the fortune teller says.

23:44 - Starts off more about fashion. Zzzzzzzzzzzz…………Fortune teller back after the commercial break

23:47 - Not waiting anymore. Officially end of blog. Thanks for following, everyone! Continue discussion in comments section, please

Hong Kong Film Awards 2010 Predictions

Before we get rolling on the live blog for the Hong Kong Film Awards. You can look here for the full nomination list. These are my predictions:

Best New Director:

Will Win: Cheung King-Wai (KJ)
Should Win: Cheung King-Wai (KJ)
My take: Technically, this is not Cheung’s first film (that would be the excellent All’s Well With the World), but since the rules are for directors under the age of 40 rather than a director’s first film, that would make him qualify. That’s all the better, since he certainly deserves it for KJ.

Best Asian Film:

Will Win: Departures (Japan)
Should Win: City of Life and Death (China)
My take: Departures was very well-regarded here in Hong Kong, and word-of-mouth even got it to become a box office hit. Besides, the first Asian film in years to win a Best Foreign Film Oscar to not win Best Asian Film here would just be embarrassing. However, don’t be surprised if the committee ends up giving face to any of the China nominees, and I would only be happy if that winner is City of Life and Death.

Best Visual Effects:

Will Win: Bodyguards and Assassins
Should Win: Storm Warriors
My take: I think this may be a case where the committee will end up choosing the better film over the film with the better effects. Storm Warriors may have sucked, but its visual effects definitely sets a new standard for Hong Kong cinema.

Best Sound Design

Will Win: Bodyguards and Assassins or KJ
Should Win:
Red Cliff II
My Take: I’ve seen all of these films on the big screen, and only KJ was entirely shot on live sound recording. The rest featured the usual awkward post-production dubbing and overdone sound effects. KJ may follow its lead at the Golden Horse Awards and win in this category for the music, or Bodyguards may win for prestige. But the bigger budget, the better, and Red Cliff II probably deserves the award here for consistency. 

Best Original Song

Will Win: Echoes of the Rainbow
Should Win:
Echoes of the Rainbow

My take: It’s a fine song, and it plays a big role in the film. Plus, the film the sleeper hit of the year.

Best Original Score

Will Win: Red Cliff II
Should Win:
My Take: Red Cliff won last year, so there’s little reason for it to not repeat the success, though Lo Tayu’s score for Vengeance was the most distinct one out of them all. 

Best Action Design

Will Win: Bodyguards and Assassins
Should Win:
Bodyguards and Assassins

My Take: This win is purely by default, since the action in the five nominated films were all just so-so. Then again, Donnie’s presence on
14 Blades may help, but its action was a real ho-hum effort, especially for a Donnie film.  They really should’ve nominated Kung Fu Chef. 

Best Costume Design and Make-up

Will Win: Red Cliff II
Should Win:
Red Cliff II
My Take:  Red Cliff won this category last year, so again, don’t see much reason for it not winning this year, even though they’re going up against a Yonfan movie this year.

Best Art Direction

Will Win: Bodyguards and Assassins
Should Win: Bodyguards and Assassins

My Take: They rebuilt an entire district of Hong Kong in a film studio. ’nuff said. 

Best Editing

Will Win: KJ or Bodyguards and Assassins
Should Win: KJ or Red Cliff II

My Take:
’s editing was easily one of the best things about the film, and this would be the win that’s most well-deserved. However, Having a new editor on Red Cliff II made all the difference in the world from the draggy first installment, and Bodyguards and Assassins may pick this up out of prestige.

Best Cinematography

Will Win: Arthur Wong - Bodyguards and Assassins
Should Win: Chin Ting-Chang - Prince of Tears
My Take: Arthur Wong seems to take this award every time he’s nominated, and he’ll probably win for the likely Best Picture winner, just because he’s Arthur Wong. I didn’t care for Prince of Tears, but I will not deny that it was a damn pretty-looking film. I hope dearly that Arthur Wong doesn’t return next year for Here Comes Fortune.

Best New Artist

Will Win: Buzz Chung - Echoes of the Rainbow
Should Win: Aarif Lee - Echoes of the Rainbow
My Take: The audience opinion leans heavily towards the younger Echoes actor, while I picked Aarif out of default. Buzz was too annoying for my taste.

Best Screenplay

Will Win: Echoes of the Rainbow
Should Win: Everything else
My Take: As mentioned, Echoes is going to easily take this one out of popular opinion, but it’s in my opinion the least deserving out of the five. Accident had a killer idea and went with it until its contrived finale, Overheard was a fine commercial script that again fell apart at the third act, Bodyguards and Assassins is the most solid out of the five and was easily the favorite until Echoes won at Berlin (somehow Europeans appreciating something can validate previously inferior things here in Hong Kong), and Written By is easily the most complex script out of the five, but the committee don’t care for that kind of cerebral stuff.

Best Supporting Actress

Will Win: Li Yuchun - Bodyguards and Assassins
Should Win: Vicki Zhao - Red Cliff II
or Michelle Ye - Accident
My Take:
Bodyguards will win this round because Echoes isn’t nominated, and Li is the only female performance people rave about in the film (for what I have no idea). And I only choose Vicki Zhao as should win because the LoveHKFilm Award committee has voted so.  I thought Michelle Ye’s intensity in Accident
complemented Louis Koo’s cold personality in the film well.

Best Supporting Actor

Will Win: Nicholas Tse - Bodyguards and Assassins
Should Win: Nicholas Tse - Bodyguards and Assassins
My Take: This is a Nicholas Tse performance we’ve never seen before, and the result is THE performance to beat this year. Surely some kind of justice for him after Nick Cheung stole all the thunder for Beast Stalkers.

Best Actress

Will Win: Kara Hui - At the End of Daybreak or Sandra Ng - Echoes of the Rainbow
Should Win: Zhang Jingchu -
Night and Fog

My Take: Kara Hui has long been a favorite, and I would be happy if she wins for her powerful performance. On the other hand, Sandra Ng has been picking up steam because of the Echoes of the Rainbow fever sweeping the city, so I wouldn’t be surprised if she picks up some votes. My favorite, however, remains Zhang Jingchu, who not only have to handle the tough role of the abused wife in Night and Fog, but also had to perform the entire role in Cantonese. It’s definitely an overlooked effort that deserves recognition.

Best Actor

Will Win: Wang Xueqi - Bodyguards and Assassins
Should Win: Wang Xueqi - Bodyguards And Assassins
My Take: The only main cast the least physically involved with the action part of the film ends up being a lead in an ensemble cast of more than ten characters. Wang has been building steam since the film came out, and his win should be no surprise - or disappointment - to anyone. Unless you’re an adamant fan of Echoes of the Rainbow and believe it should win everything.

Best Director

Will Win: Teddy Chan - Bodyguards and Assassins
Should Win: John Woo - Red Cliff II
My Take: Teddy Chan will likely be recognize for his ten-year journey in bringing this film to the big screen, but John Woo deserves recognition for pulling off the most expensive Asian film ever made. Like Peter Jackson, Woo should be recognized this year for his effort on the two-part film, but its Lunar New Year slot last year means people probably have already forgotten it. Alex Law was rightfully excluded for Echoes of the Rainbow because the directing was one of the film’s major problems, while Soi Cheang and Cheung King-Wai should’ve been in this list.

Best Film

Will Win: Bodyguards and Assassins
Should Win: KJ 
My Take: KJ is a very strong character portrait that happens to be a documentary. It’s a testament to not just documentary filmmaking, but to the art of filmmaking and storytelling. However, Hong Kong cinema is a commercial industry, and Bodyguards and Assassins is an excellent commercial film that isn’t perfect, but mostly delivers. I wouldn’t be upset if it won, but I’d know that it still isn’t the best film of the year.

We’ll see how I do come Sunday night. What are some of your picks? Share in the comments section!

The Golden Rock - Not-So-Live Golden Horse Awards 2009 Edition

For some reason, no Hong Kong television station is showing this year’s Golden Horse Awards live (does the lack of HK presence play any role in it?). So all I could do was watch the entertainment news channel and update the awards list as I go. Now that I find out it was simulcasted on the internet live, maybe I can live-blog it again next year.

Until then, here’s the winners list:

Best Film - No Puedo Vivir Sin Ti

Best Director - Leon Dai - No Puedo Vivir Sin Ti

Best Actor - Nick Cheung Ka-Fai - Beast Stalker and Huang Bo - Cow (tie)

Best Actress - Li Bingbing - The Message

Best Supporting Actress - Kara Hui - At the End of Daybreak

Best Supporting Actor - Wang Xueqi - Forever Enthralled

Best New Performer - Yu Shaoqun - Forever Enthralled

Best Original Screenplay - Leon Dai, Chen Wen-Pin - No Puedo Vivir Sin Ti

Best Adopted Screenplay - Guan Hu - Cow

Best Documentary - Cheung King-Wai - KJ: Music and Life

Best Editing - Cheung King-Wai - KJ: Music and Life

Best Cinematography - Cao Yu - City of Life and Death

Formoz Film Award - No Puedo Vivir Sin Ti

Formoz Filmmaker Award - Li Long-Yu

Best Art Direction - Face

Best Action Choreography - Ip Man

Best Original Score - Equation of Life and Death

Best Sound Effects - KJ: Music and Life

Best Visual Effects - Crazy Racer

Best Make-up and Costume Design - Face

The Golden Rock - September 14th, 2009 Edition

Whoa, it’s a news post! You have Tropical Storm Koppu to thank for that.

First off, the latest episode of East Screen/West Screen is up. This time, Paul and I talk about Trick or Cheat, Sophie’s Revenge, realistic romance movies, and Hong Kong’s representative at the Academy Awards.

- And as I predicted about Prince of Tears, the controversy has already started.  Just a day after we recorded the podcast, Taiwan’s Government Information Office has requested their NT$10 million subsidy back if it remains to be HK’s representative. Yonfan has also responded, saying that he would rather give back the money. He can probably afford it anyway.

- No HK box office figures yet, but South Korea’s film council already has the weekend stats up. The melodrama Ae-Ja takes the top spot in its opening weekend, as Take Off adds another 321,000 admissions (with 63,000 of those going to the new director’s cut.). Meanwhile, Haeundae has passed Silmido and is now aiming for Taegukgi with 11.18 million. The Case of Haewon Suicide opens in 3rd place with an OK 282,000 admissions.

-In Japan admission rankings, 20th Century Boys continues to hold the top spot, while Wolverine debuts at 2nd place. Hitoshi Matsumoto’s Symbol (which got its premiere in Toronto, not Venice. D’oh!) debuts at 5th place, and Tajomaru with Shun Oguri (somewhat based on the short story In a Grove, which inspired Rashomon) flops with a 7th place debut.

- Speaking of Symbol, Variety’s Russell Edwards has the first review of it after he saw it in Japan.

-Fans of Takeshi Kitano’s gangster films will be happy to know that his latest film, which is now in production, will be a return to the violent gangster genre that he departed from with three self-reflexive films.

- Though it’s yet to be officially reported, Haeundae now has a Canadian distribution deal. No word, however, on whether it’ll be the shorter cut that China and Hong Kong are getting.

- Continuing with the blog’s obsession with super-duper Communist celebration movie Founding of a Republic, a record 1,450 prints will be going out for its release this weekend.

- In a move that will confuse foreign viewers, Team Bastista no Eikou, whose characters have already been seen twice in feature films with a different cast, will be getting a one-off special episode (i.e. TV movie).

- Mark Schilling writes about the wave of 1950s nostalgia that’s been sweeping Japanese mainstream culture in recent years.

And not much else today on storm night. Hopefully this will be a daily thing again. See you all tomorrow.

The Golden Rock - July 28th, 2009 Edition

- Still on 105 screens, Harry Potter continues to rule the Hong Kong box office. However, it also suffered a huge drop in its second week, which means it may not end up going much further from the current HK$37.5 million take, especially with Disney/Pixar’s Up opening this weekend.  Meanwhile, Public Enemies beat out the other opening films by a large margin, making HK$3.64 million over its first 4 days from 35 screens (note that it had a ticket price inflation for length), while Taken (which appeals the same group of audience, sans female Johnny Depp fans) made just HK$1.86 million from 34 screens over 4 days, despite the heavy publicity effort.

With those two films, Murderer suffered a loss of screens and audience, but it has also grossed HK$11.2 million and will likely do better than The Detective and After This, Our Exile combined. Sad, but true. Written By looks like it will stop with about HK$4 million, which is decent for a borderline arthouse flick like this. However, the Hong Kong Film blog has been reporting strange grosses at Newport Theater chain theaters, though I always take their box office reports with a grain of salt because of a lack of source reported.

KJ continues to sell out showing, and has now made it to the top 10, making a total of HK$134,776 with just 1-2 shows a day on 2 screens, with more shows just added. It’s quite amazing. Also impressive in its limited release, the French film Paris 36 has made HK$119,686 on just one screen after 11 days on just one screen.

- In China, Alan Mak/Felix Chong’s Overheard and the new McDull movie both opened this past weekend. While both lost to Harry Potter, Overheard managed an impressive 35.3 million RMB (in perspective, Forever Enthralled opened with 42.2 million RMB, and Painted Skin opened with 40 million RMB, though both opened just before holiday periods), and McDull opened with 33 million RMB, which breaks the record set by Chinese animated film Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf for the opening of an animated film. Supposedly.

News from Sina News.

Meanwhile, even though the Chinese comedy One Night in Supermarket made only about 8 million RMB in its first week, it’s been packing shows in certain areas, prompting theater owners to call it the next Crazy Stone. Areas like the Southern region of Guangdong, where comedies from the north like this one don’t do too well, is even starting to add shows.

- In Japan, no newcomer really challenged the existing films, so everything stays the same, except Ice Age 3 flops with a debut at 10th place on the admission ranking chart. At least it replaced Transformers 2. Now we know at least two things about the Japanese market: They don’t buy into the 3D thing, and they don’t buy into Americans messing with their franchises. Wait, does anyone know how the Hollywood take on Godzilla did in Japan?

And since I said I don’t do box office reports that don’t quote sources, I will refrain from looking at blogs that report numbers without sources. Not even Japanese ones.With eight of the top ten local hits, naturally Toho is the highest-grossing distributor of Japan, especially when their hits are more moderately-budgeted films like Rookies and April Bride, even though they also have the mega-budget 20th Century Boys to take care of.

Nevertheless, the real news is that box office earnings in Japan is up 17.6% this year over the same period last year.

- No South Korean numbers out yet, but there’s already reports of disaster film Haeundae scoring a huge opening over its first 5 days with 1.57 million admissions, knocking Harry Potter off the top spot.

-In Summer 2009 Japanese drama ratings, I already mentioned last week that Buzzer Beat didn’t fall as badly as Kankatsu! in its second week. Kareinaru Spy now has the biggest drop of the season anyway, dropping to an 8.3% rating after the 15.6% it got for its premiere. On the other hand, Tsuyoshi Kusanagi’s Ninkyo Helper managed to bounce back a bit with a 14% for its third episode.  It’s now the highest-rated drama this season so far.

Believe or not, the second highest-rated series so far this season is the 9th season of the “Wednesday Mystery” drama Kasouken no Onna, with a current season average of 15%. However, its ratings have been slipping, but if it keeps up, it will be its highest-rated season, and if Ninkyo Helper slips again, it may even be the first season to top the season average.

- As I mentioned in the Twitter, Hong Kong arthouse theater the Cine-art House, which was known for being one of HK’s only arthouse and the patience for showing limited releases for hundreds of days at a time (it still holds the record for longest period of release with the Japanese film The Yen Family, which played for 524 days.), will be officially reopened this week in the residential neighborhood of Kowloon Bay, even though it’s been operating as Cine-Art for the last two months (I saw Largo Winch there a few weeks ago). The lease is six years long, and the owner is looking to recoup its cost within 3-4 years.

Playing a mix of foreign arthouse films and commercial films, it will also be doing morning shows of older films and a Chinese film retrospective in September. After all, the Cine-Art house is own by patriotic company Sil-Metropole, who recently closed down Kwun Tong’s Silver Theater, only two subway stations away from the current Cine-Art House location.

- After Twitch wrote about a rumor involving Hong Kong director Andrew Lau taking over directorial duties on the film Bodyguards and Assassins after Teddy Chen quit/fired over disagreements with producer Peter Chan, it’s now confirmed that Lau has indeed joined the production. No details, though, about the extent of Lau’s participation or whether Teddy Chen really did return to the set, as Twitch also reported.

- The Network of Asian Fantastic Films, the projects market of the Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival, just wrapped up its second edition, with plenty of praise from its guests. Four films, two of them Korean or partly Korean, won post-production support awards.

- With almost all Chinese films pulled out of the Melbourne Film Festival over the documentary about exiled Uighur leader Rebiyah Kadeer and its website hacked by presumably Chinese hackers, the festival is now considering going the Venice Film Festival route of making potentially controversial China-related films surprise films in its future editions.

Food for thought: Does anyone else think that these producers pulled their films out of government pressure/need to appease government position to keep their careers? Just a question, not an opinion.

- Even though the second Umizaru film was advertised as the last one yet, Fuji understandably changed their minds after it became the highest-grossing local film of the year, and the third film, featuring essentially the same damn story as the second film, will be coming in 2010. For people who called their sequel Limit of Love, they certainly don’t know what “Limit of Franchise” means.

-Hong Kong director Lee Kung-Lok, perhaps best known for My Mother is a Belly Dancer and co-directing Fu Bo with Wong Ching-Po, will be directing the romantic comedy Let’s Fall in Love in Beijing, and Hong Kong’s Sundream has now joined the list of investors, which also include China’s Polybona and Korea’s IHQ.

- Netizens in Hong Kong has discovered similarities between the new commercial for electronics retailer Broadway featuring Joey Yung and a commercial for Microsoft portable music player Zune. I can’t even get myself to be surprised about these things anymore.

Does anyone know which agency did the ad? I’m very very curious.

-It’s reviews time! Variety’s Ronnie Scheib has a review of the Shunji Iwai-produced effort Halfway, directed by TV writer Eriko Kitagawa, and Japan Times’ Mark Schilling took a look at Fuji TV’s Amalfi last week.

- Two departures to report in this entry:Malaysian director Yasmin Ahmad passed away over the weekend after suffering a stroke. At least two blogs on my rss reader has written about her passing, and they can write more and more eloquently than I ever can:

Blog of Tokyo-based filmmaker Edmund Yeo.

Blog of YTSL - Hong Kong-based writer.

Actor Tetsuo Yamada, who was in Departures as a tough-talking widower, has passed away from cancer. His last film appearance will be in the upcoming epic The Sun That Doesn’t Set. He was 53 years old. Copyright © 2002-2018 Ross Chen