Asian Film discussion in Non-Asian Magazines

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Masterofoneinchpunch
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Asian Film discussion in Non-Asian Magazines

Post by Masterofoneinchpunch »

I like to do research and I do come across discussion lists/articles in film magazines on Asian films that I am particularly interested in. I did not see a thread like this and this would be something that I would post in from time to time.

Film Comment in May/June 2014 has several articles on Hong Kong cinema:
Made In Hong Kong Part II
Introduction by Grady Hendrix
Prime Movers A-Z by Ross Chen, Tim Youngs & Grady Hendrix
Milestones by Grady Hendrix
Johnnie To by Howard Hampton
Postscript by Grady Hendrix

I particularly wanted your opinion on the following (what should be on there and what should not):

Milestones list: Key Hong Kong Movies 1996 - 2013
1) Comrades: Almost a Love Story (Peter Chan: 1996)
2) Full Alert (Ringo Lam: 1997)
3) Too Many Ways to Be No. 1 (Wai Ka-fai: 1997)
4) The Longest Nite (Patrick Yau & Johnnie To: 1998)
5) Tempting Heart (Sylvia Chang: 1999)
6) In the Mood for Love (Wong Kar-wai: 2000)
7) From the Queen to the Chief Executive (Herman Yau: 2001)
8) Shaolin Soccer (Stephen Chow: 2001)
9) My Life as McDull (Toe Yuen: 2001)
10) Chinese Odyssey 2002 (Jeff Lau: 2002)
11) Lost in Time (Derek Yee: 2003)
12) Election & Election 2 (Johnnie To: 2005, 2006)
13) After This Our Exile (Patrick Tam: 2006)
14) Gallants (Clement Cheng & Derek Kwok: 2010)
15) Love in a Puff & Love in the Buff (Pang Ho-cheung: 2010, 2012)
16) A Simple Life (Ann Hui: 2011)
17) Cold War (Longmond Leung & Sunny Luk: 2012)
18) Ip Man: The Final Fight (2013: Herman Yau)

He puts Infernal Affairs Trilogy in there, but does not number it. There is a paragraph discussion for each pick which I can elaborate on if you are interested.

I certainly have not seen all of these, though I am surprised by his Ip Man pick (which I would not have picked) and not picking The Mission.
Last edited by Masterofoneinchpunch on 02 Jun 2014, 23:46, edited 1 time in total.

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RetroRobot
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Re: Asian Film discussion in Non-Asian Magazines

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Nice... feel free to include his paragraphs on my account. Those are some strange ass choices if you ask me. I can see why some of them belong there, and some I have not seen and can't speak on, but on the whole, this is a slightly curious list if we're talking actual milestone movies.

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Masterofoneinchpunch
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Re: Asian Film discussion in Non-Asian Magazines

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RetroRobot wrote:Nice... feel free to include his paragraphs on my account. Those are some strange ass choices if you ask me. I can see why some of them belong there, and some I have not seen and can't speak on, but on the whole, this is a slightly curious list if we're talking actual milestone movies.
You see I am thinking he (I've read him before) is getting milestones confused with personal bias. I've had a recent issue with moviefanfare articleon "fundamental films."

Seriously though Ip Man: The Final Fight? Two films from Yau? I have not seen the other one.

Here is the the paragraph from Ip Man: The Final Fight: "In this warts-and-all valentine to Hong Kong, kung fu is on the back burner with Ip Man (Anthony Wong) serving as a lens through which to view Hong Kong's half-century of labor unrest, left-wing activism, and anti-colonial politics. The final fight of the title turns out to be the unwinnable battle against death."

Not much on why it is a milestone for film.

But one thing that is important when dealing with Hong Kong films in sources like this, especially from magazines like this one, their audience is normally not going to be knowledgeable with HK movies other than a few directors like Wong Kar-wai. So the information they get might be considered canon to them especially since they will not be reading any contrary articles.
Last edited by Masterofoneinchpunch on 02 Jun 2014, 23:51, edited 1 time in total.

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RetroRobot
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Re: Asian Film discussion in Non-Asian Magazines

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Some are good or great films, but I don't see many milestones there. McDull maybe in terms of local animation. Shaolin Soccer in terms of international success and special FX mixed with nonsense comedy and perhaps a few others. But the rest are headscratchers.

I belive Grady Hendrix was Grady San on KFC, and he seemed very knowledgable from what I remember. I myself am certainly no expert on overall HK cinema history, but I still question these picks.

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Re: Asian Film discussion in Non-Asian Magazines

Post by Markgway »

Not sure what is meant by milestones?
I doubt many of the movies on this list changed HK cinema in any meaningful way.

If we're talking recommend viewing...

I highly rate these:

1) Comrades: Almost a Love Story (Peter Chan: 1996)
2) Full Alert (Ringo Lam: 1997)
6) In the Mood for Love (Wong Kar-wai: 2000)
12) Election & Election 2 (Johnnie To: 2005, 2006)
16) A Simple Life (Ann Hui: 2011)

I don't rate these:

3) Too Many Ways to Be No. 1 (Wai Ka-fai: 1997)
7) From the Queen to the Chief Executive (Herman Yau: 2001)
13) After This Our Exile (Patrick Tam: 2006)
14) Gallants (Clement Cheng & Derek Kwok: 2010)

These are somewhere in-between:

4) The Longest Nite (Patrick Yau & Johnnie To: 1998)
8) Shaolin Soccer (Stephen Chow: 2001)
10) Chinese Odyssey 2002 (Jeff Lau: 2002)
11) Lost in Time (Derek Yee: 2003)

I haven't seen these:

9) My Life as McDull (Toe Yuen: 2001)
15) Love in a Puff & Love in the Buff (Pang Ho-cheung: 2010, 2012)
17) Cold War (Longmond Leung & Sunny Luk: 2012)
18) Ip Man: The Final Fight (2013: Herman Yau)

I've seen this, I think, but don't remember what I thought....
5) Tempting Heart (Sylvia Chang: 1999)
If anyone cares, I'll look my notes up.
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Re: Asian Film discussion in Non-Asian Magazines

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I think After This Our Exile was a farly strong drama. Longest Nite made my top ten for '98. Have yet to see that damn Gallants movie.

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Masterofoneinchpunch
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Re: Asian Film discussion in Non-Asian Magazines

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Markgway wrote:...I've seen this, I think, but don't remember what I thought....
5) Tempting Heart (Sylvia Chang: 1999)
If anyone cares, I'll look my notes up.
If you can find it, post it. The more information, the merrier.

Now if only there was a cheap release of Too Many Ways to Be No. 1 which I've wanted to watch for ages.

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Re: Asian Film discussion in Non-Asian Magazines

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RetroRobot wrote:I think After This Our Exile was a farly strong drama.
Bored the tits off me - a truly miserable experience.
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Re: Asian Film discussion in Non-Asian Magazines

Post by Markgway »

Masterofoneinchpunch wrote:
Markgway wrote:...I've seen this, I think, but don't remember what I thought....
5) Tempting Heart (Sylvia Chang: 1999)
If anyone cares, I'll look my notes up.
If you can find it, post it. The more information, the merrier.
Actually, I haven't seen it.

That explains why I couldn't remember it... ;)
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Re: Asian Film discussion in Non-Asian Magazines

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Same magazine. Now each person mentioned below gets several paragraphs telling why (except for Andrew Lau and Johnnie To who get larger mentions elsewhere.) Now who is missing and who should not be mentioned here?

Prime Movers A-Z by Ross Chen, Tim Youngs & Grady Hendrix: A who's who of top talent in the post-1996 era.

Fruit Chan
Peter Chan
Soi Cheang
Stephen Chow
Ann Hui
Dante Lam
Andrew Lau
Andy Lau
Jeff Lau
Pan Ho-cheung
Johnnie To
Wong Jing
Herman Yau
Donnie Yen
Miriam Yeung
Wilson Yip

on Peter Chan: "Hong Kong's king of quality films for over 20 years..." -- Ross Chen

on Soi Cheang: "...none are more promising than Soi Cheang. ... Cheang stands head and shoulders above his style-over-stubstance contemporaries." -- Tim Youngs

on Andy Lau: "If you had to identify Hong Kong cinema with a single actor, it would probably be Andy Lau." -- Ross Chen

on Miriam Yeung: "Miriam Yeung is Hong Kong cinema's ugly duckling turned beautiful swan." -- Tim Youngs.

on Wilson Yip: "Despite his success, Yip's output outside his collaborations with Yen has not gained much traction with critics or audiences. Until he can fuse his commercial instincts with his personal vision, Yip will likely remain just a step elow Hong Kon cinema's very best." -- Ross Chen
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Re: Asian Film discussion in Non-Asian Magazines

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The only reason i'll agree with Wong Jing is that their starting point is '96, and he rejuvenated the Triad genre with the Y&D series and all those other BOB flicks. But after that, what has he really done of note? He was way more influntial in the late 80's early 90's.

Their comment on Andy Lau is true, and he would probably be my choice if I had to pick my number one fave HK actor. But with that said, his glory days was also late 80's early 90's. Though you can argue that while the quantity of his work went down by the mid 90's, the quality went up. Though I personally prefer his earlier work (in terms of entertainment value, not acting ability)

Donnie Yen, Soi Cheang, Johnnie To, Dante Lam, Andrew Lau and Wilson Yip I all agree with. Yip has an especially interesting and varied output from the late 90's and on. Cop soap opera like Bullet Over Summer, over the top popcorn action like Skyline Cruisers, subtle character study like Juliet in Love, ghostbusting FX flick like 2002 and then all the Donnie action films. That's an ecclectic mix for sure.

The arthouse directors I can't really speak on, as that is not my area.

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Re: Asian Film discussion in Non-Asian Magazines

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I've always felt that Jeff Lau was overrated.

At some point in the late 90s Andy Lau evidently decided that he couldn't play the young cool rebel forever and took a crash course in acting lessons.

Since A Fighter's Blues (perhaps?) he's emerged as one of HK's best actors.
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Re: Asian Film discussion in Non-Asian Magazines

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Well I always liked him. But I think you could say his "mature" performances started somewhere between Full Throttle and A True Mob Story. He was good in Fighter's Blues.... the ONLY good thing about that movie.

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Re: Asian Film discussion in Non-Asian Magazines

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Bruce Lee Special Newsweek Edition: 75 Years of the Dragon

It was displayed on many newsstands (US) with the "Display until December 26, 2015." It cost 10.99 dollars.

Rundown:
100 pages (including back cover)
Lots of images with photo captions;
I have not idea who the writer(s) is/are (just in case you want to blame some of the info). Ric Meyer's is quoted in this book and he is called a "film critic" which I would not call him. He, I believe, is only quoted twice to talk about Green Hornet and Batman.
Lots of little articles covering his whole life.
Not too many advertisements.
Definitely a hagiography but I was not expecting otherwise. So do not expect anything outrageous here. It is a fun little read, though with that higher magazine price I can see it turning people off form buying it. A decent amount of references to other material obviously including John Little, but some nice other sources like Burt Ward's autobiography.

On the Michael Jai White interview:
I do wonder how much he actually knows about MA film. He states that "There's bee no one ever in martial arts who uses so many long shots. Hel's performing sometimes 12 or 15 movements before the camera cuts." This ignores directors such as Lau Kar-leung who loved to have multiple actions chained per scene (and used with real weapons). You would see this also with earlier Jackie Chan films. I do wonder if he just picked the 12 or 15 number out of the air. Though this is something I will check out when I rewatch the BL films. I also found it funny that he is critiquing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's speed.

Ric Meyer quotes:
"Every kid, I believe, in America noticed that guy behind The Green Hornet -- the one who could kick, the one who could punch, the one who could move so amazingly -- all eyes centered on him," said Ric Meyers, a film critic. "The makers of The Green Hornet had to actively restrain Bruce Lee from being himself because they realized every time they saw the rushes that everything else was wiped off-screen."

"Even before I knew about kung fu and Bruce Lee, I was laughing when it was Robin versus Kato," said Meyers of the matchup. "it was so obvious that Robin would have been a smudge on the carpet within five seconds."

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Re: Asian Film discussion in Non-Asian Magazines

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Since I last posted I 've seen this one:

17) Cold War (Longmond Leung & Sunny Luk: 2012)

I'd put it in the somewhere in between list.
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Re: Asian Film discussion in Non-Asian Magazines

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Markgway wrote:Since I last posted I 've seen this one:

17) Cold War (Longmond Leung & Sunny Luk: 2012)

I'd put it in the somewhere in between list.
Good to know. I've been wanting to watch it for awhile and it is not that hard to get a hold of.

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