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July 10th, 2002


Girl Power + Four-Star Cinema -
Rating the Reviews on

Girl Power
     In the first ill-conceived edition of Life with Kozo, I made the error of stating that there were no strong female characters left in Hong Kong Cinema. This was a gross misrepresentation, and YTSL of the oft-mentioned Hong Kong Cinema - View from the Brooklyn Bridge website made sure that I knew it.
     Well, I know.
     In truth, there are still quite a few strong female characters left in Hong Kong Cinema. Here are some:
     Carina Lau and Gigi Leung in La Brassiere: despite the frilly title and hunky male stars (Lau Ching-Wan and Louis Koo), the women wore the pants in last year's hit comedy.
     Karena Lam in July Rhapsody: Lam's self-assured portrayal of a seventeen year-old temptress was last year's breakthrough performance.
     Angelica Lee in Princess D and The Eye: In both films Angelica Lee (or Sinjie) showed she could be tough, tender and complicated - both as person and as a woman.
     And an obligatory action female: Cecilia Yip in The Avenging Fist. She looked like she could seriously beat up both Stephen Fung and Alexander Wang Simultaneously.
     When I made that statement, I obviously wasn't thinking straight. Was it the booze? Or the late nights? Who knows? Regardless, the statement should have been that there were no more strong female protagonists left in Hong Kong Cinema. What I mean are female characters that control the film from start to finish, rendering the male characters almost an afterthought.
     That statement is inaccurate as well, because Wu Yen has a strong female protagonist multipled by three, and then there's that Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon movie. In truth, I was thinking back to films like Peking Opera Blues, The Heroic Trio, Naked Killer and pretty much anything starring Brigitte Lin. Films like those were built on the strength, personality, and complexity of its female stars. When viewed in comparison to today, it seems that the past had far more films like those. However, hindsight is 20-20. Perhaps in a few years, I'll look back and come up with more than two examples.
     I was most definitely wrong about one thing though: more recent actresses than Sammi Cheng and Miriam Yeung have given us non-flower vase performances. The list above is proof of that, and there are far more that I didn't mention. Maybe I've just been watching too much Wong Jing.

Four-Star Cinema -
Rating the Reviews on

     The most recent reader poll asked a common reader question: Do you want ratings/grades on the reviews? The response was expected: over half the readers (a whopping 50+ people) want a four-star/letter grade stamp on the reviews. The popular media is full of those classifications, as three stars, C+, thumbs up or "guy sleeping in seat" have become legitimate modern equivalents for critical analysis. And the masses have a lot of say.
     However, just because people want it doesn't necessarily mean it's going to happen.
     In the big picture, 50+ readers is next to nothing, so it would be easy to ignore the request. Still, that's not why I won't be adding ratings anytime soon. Nor am I truly opposed to the idea. If I were absolutely, positively against ratings then I wouldn't have even run a poll about it.
     But, they're not going to happen anytime soon. And here are the reasons why:
     A) In truth, I don't like ratings very much. Giving two completely different films the same critical rating has never made any sense to me. And besides, sometimes a movie can be bad and still have something worth checking out. No star rating can get that across.
     B) This site has over five hundred reviews on it. In actual numerical form, that's 500 plus. To go back and give all those reviews a standarized rating system - and then doublecheck for consistency - would be an incredible amount of work. Which leads us to reason C.
     C) is still a small operation that has only one (1) guy doing all the maintenance, updates, etc. I've received a lot of suggestions recently. A few readers have suggested that actor filmographies be listed chronologically. Another idea (and one I actually like a great deal) asks that all actors have a "skinny" too. Then, there's the much-needed addition of "Top 10" or "Recommended" lists, which the site is noticeably devoid of. Yep, all the above could - and maybe even should - be added. But one guy doesn't have that much time.
     So, I hope people can see that my reasoning for not adding ratings is more than a simple "It's my site so I can do what I want" raspberry. (Though if you think about it, it is my site so I can do what I want. Bwahaaha! Oh, the power.) There's a lot of things I'd love to do for the site, and it's nice to know that some people actually read it. Despite the negligible amount of people that vote on the reader polls, traffic reports seem to say that a great many more people actually visit the site. In the future I'd actually like for to do more than it does now (see Life with Kozo Volume 1 for more on this topic).
     So, to accomplish more for the site there might be a quiet call for "volunteers" in the future. What this means and how it can be done are ideas that aren't fleshed out yet. And, the truth of the matter is does nothing overtly tangible for those who work on it. Would anyone want to volunteer their time simply to make the site better than it already is? That is, besides the few (thank you Lee, Jennifer and Erika) who already are giving their time?
     Hey, this sounds like a poll idea. - Kozo 7/10/2002

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The opinions expressed within are merely the musings of the Webmaster, and as such should be taken with the requisite grain of salt. If you disagree with an expressed opinion please feel free to contact him here. If you feel he has insulted your favorite popstar, you can still contact him. However, your chances of receiving a reply will be reduced by half.
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