Top 3 Tsui Hark films and reasons? Personally I've always hoped he would do a musical someday, something like Perhaps Love.
Anyway, the movies:
PEKING OPERA BLUES because it distills everything that was great about Hong Kong Cinema into a single film. Reasons for its awesomeness include its unique mixture of genres, its breakneck pacing, its action, its cultural flavor, its use of history and Chinese nationalism, its strong female characters, Kenneth Tsang's facial hair, and finally the actresses, the actresses and the actresses. I've called PEKING OPERA BLUES the "perfect Hong Kong film" and I'll probably never change my mind.
SHANGHAI BLUES because it does a lot of what PEKING OPERA BLUES did but adds romance, music and Sylvia Chang and Kenny Bee. Probably the closest we'll ever have to a Tsui Hark musical, unless you count bits of his other films.
THE BLADE because its action is so awesome. As an early attempt at the postmodern martial arts movie its now somewhat dated and pretentious, but at the time it was an exhilarating and unexpected work. It also was a huge flop.
Do you think Gordon Lam deserve the BA award?
I also voted for Lam at the Hong Kong Film Critics Society Awards. I should note that I never did see SHED SKIN PAPA, though.
Do you think Taiwanese director Chu Yen Ping has an unfair reputation or are his movies truly terrible?
What's your top ten HK film for 2016 so far? I know 2016 doesn't even merit five titles, let alone ten. But what would your answer be id you imagine Anthony Wong pointing a gun at your temple and force you to do so any way? 10 being the worst all the way to the best at 1. Thank you.
Some movies are specifically set in 1997 or pre-handover times, but when watching them the time period doesn't seem to make any difference. What's the significance of this period choice for HK's domestic audience?
Another reason to set a film before the Handover may be to avoid potential political readings. In the case of something like SPL, which takes place before the Handover (even though someone is wearing a Vince Carter Toronto Raptors jersey - he was drafted in 1998), the filmmakers may have wanted to avoid concerns about police corruption. By making the film take place while Hong Kong was under British rule, you can't blame the current China government for not having a better handle on the Hong Kong police force. I realize that isn't even an issue in SPL, but who knows, someone could read into it and get offended.
many are -ve about HK movies these days and r of the opinion that they churn out rubbish. In contrast, they love TVB dramas, which still get many followings even in SEA. I personally think TVB dramas are worse rubbish. Why is there a contrast between HK movies & TVB dramas? R they not equally bad?
Also, longform storytelling does give viewers the chance to get to know the actors and characters in ways that movies don't allow. This can make a difference to some people.
Have you seen the Hong Kong throwback movie "The Man with the Iron Fist"? If so, what is your opinion on it...
What's your opinion on Weeds on Fire? (Would also love a review on your site!)
A review will probably be up on the site at our next update, which will hopefully happen before 2017.
Do you think Brandon Lee would have been the next big martial arts/action star or reached Jackie Chan level of fame and success if he didn't die so early?
The part I don't cover is if Brandon Lee would have reached a Jackie Chan level of fame and success. Honestly, I don't think so because Jackie Chan's level of success was SUPER huge -- like, way above the Jet Lis and Donnie Yens of this world. Brandon Lee could conceivably been a Donnie Yen type. I think by name alone, he would at least have surpassed the Andy Ons, Philip Ngs and Wu Jings of this world.
Which one do you consider a better actress: Fan Bingbing or Angelababy?
Regardless of who's the better of the two, neither is top tier. And neither has really impressed in their Hollywood work.
Any new hong kong movies recommendation?
I heard your site just had a financial set back. What happened and do you think the site can recover?
However, this is only a big problem if the site is my main source of income -- which it isn't, so we're all good. At worst, it's just a semi-expensive hobby. Also, there were some years where the site was fairly profitable, so whatever I made back then could easily be applied to these "lean years". I think the main lesson to take from the loss in 2015 is simply to look for ways to cut costs. I could look for a cheaper hosting package on a shared server, for example. Some years back I had to move from shared to a dedicated server because the traffic was so high. Now traffic is much lower, so I could probably move back to a shared server and save a little money.
Will you review Sammo Hung's "The Bodyguard" on your site soon?
Speaking less jokingly, I'll write a review of the film whenever the site returns.
Do you think it's too late for Lau Ching-Wan to debut in an English speaking movie?
Does buying dvds/blu rays of HK film direct from HK sites like YesAsia, DDDHouse, and Bad Panda Shop contribute more money toward the HK filmmakers, or does it not make a difference if I buy in the US? And what about US versions like Ip Man 3? I really want to support the HK film industry.
If HK filmmakers don't receive the money from the actual sale of the DVD/Blu-ray (some companies like Universe have their own physical media arm), then they make money from the ancillary sales, which includes sales of DVD/Blu-ray rights to US companies like Well Go or Lionsgate or whoever. I can't speak for which method of purchase makes a filmmaker more money, so I'd be content with just purchasing legal media. For IP MAN 3, you can buy whatever version makes you feel better: HK or North America. At least the money is going to someone who's somehow working with Hong Kong Cinema.
There may be DVD forums or places like City on Fire or Filmsmash that are better-versed on this subject.
Do you agree with Adam Laidig review of John Carpenter's "Big Trouble in Little China", calling it racist?
On the subject of racism, that's a tougher and much more complex subject.
Is the film "guilty" of some degree of racism? I think it is, especially when viewed from today's progressive media perspective -- you know, the same media climate where Oscars So White becomes an actual trending thing. The film used garish Asian stereotypes and put Asians into subordinate roles, even making sure that Jack Burton, despite being portrayed as somewhat of a buffoon, got the final killing blow on Lo Pan. It's clear that some of the people behind the film do like kung-fu movies, but in the end it's a surface exploration of Chinese movie signifiers that seems exceptionally shallow because it's made by non-Chinese consumers of a popular movie genre, and not actual Chinese who get how that genre fits with their culture.
This doesn't mean that the people who made BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA are racists. I don't think they were, nor do I think the film should be looked upon badly because of its use of Chinese stereotypes. The film was a product of its time and should be viewed as such. I have no doubt that if the same people who made BIG TROUBLE were to try and make it today, they'd go about it differently. At any rate, someone in Hollywood currently has the bright idea of remaking BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA so may yet see what a modern, more culturally sensitive version of the film looks like. Who knows, I may end up preferring the original anyway.
What Hong Kong movie from the Warner Brothers archive do you REALLY want to see released?
So, you got any special DVDs and stuff, like out-of-print releases that are better than more ones, or even alternate versions of movies?
Also, since I've been buying HK DVDs since the 90s, many titles I own are now out of press and no longer available, like a lot of the early Milkyway Image stuff. I also own a DVD of YOUNG POLICEMEN IN LOVE, which nobody has boasted about ever.
Why no review of Stanley Kwan's "Women"? Just paid $30 for it and it was well worth it The list of great Golden Age films I discover seems to never end.
How has Jackie Chan's recent troubles, legal, personal and socially affecting his career? Do you think he can recover?
So yeah, locally few people really care for him anymore. Internationally he fares much better since people look at him as an action star (and not an entertainment personality) and all his negative press means less to your average kung-fu fan than a Hong Kong person. Do you think some guy on a random Kung Fu movie forum really cares that he's said stuff that denigrates Hong Kong people? Doubtful. They're just happy that he still punches and kicks people in movies occasionally. And China is likely happy with him because he sucks up to them.
Overall, Jackie can't recover his local popularity but internationally and in China he'll be fine.
I'm not sure if this has been asked before but why did you end up choosing Kozo as your pseudonym for writing reviews?
The name Kozo comes from a pretty boring place. When I was a freshman in high school there was some dude in one of my classes named Kozo. He wasn't my friend, but I thought it was a cool-sounding name and used it when playing games like FINAL FANTASY or any of those SNES or PC titles where you got to enter your name. I played a lot of games like that so I used the name a lot.
When I built the site, web handles were still a thing so I signed all my reviews with that name. People actually read the reviews and would write in using that name, so it pretty much just stuck. Looking back, it's pretty weird that I ended up adopting the name of some guy who I barely knew from a single year in high school for all my online activities. But I still think it's better than naming yourself Wolverine91784.