Monday, March 5, 2007

An Invitation


Before I begin, a big "thank you" to everyone for welcoming me back to the "Internet Forest" with such warmth and good will. A special thank you to Webmaster Kozo over at LoveHKFilm for helping me get the word out.

A few words about some of the reactions to my first post: I hope that you guys aren't expecting to come here and find news about recent happenings in the entertainment circle. I have to fill the fourteen-month hole in my entertainment circle knowledge before I can begin talking about the latest events. The HK entertainment database in my brain ends at around the time of the Lunar New Year 2006 release of FEARLESS in HK. The rest is a blank slate. The only things I know about the period between January 2006 and March 2007 are:
  • The deaths of Bau Fong, Kwan Hoi-Shan and Bill Tung Piu

  • News on four of my favourite 1990s-era actresses from TVB: Jessica Hsuan (Suen Huen) leaving TVB for an independent manager, Maggie Cheung Ho-Yee getting Graves' Disease, Fiona Leung Ai-Ling getting in a car accident while filming a "religious" video in Australia and Mariane Chan Miu-Ying still going strong in the business world.

  • Cecilia Cheung Pak-Chi marrying Nicholas Tse Ting-Fung and now, apparently, pregnant with his child

  • The Yumiko Cheng Hei-Yi de-pantsing incident

  • The Gillian Chung Yan-Tung/Easyfinder fiasco

  • Isabella Leong Lok-Si being "frozen" by EEG for "bad behaviour"

  • Ekin Cheng Yi-Kin shaving his head bald to play Huo Yuanjia for a television series

  • The Lydia Shum Tin-Ha health crisis. For those of you who don't know: Last summer, Lydia Shum was asked whether or not her daughter, Joyce Cheng Yan-Yee , had laser surgery to remove acne blemishes from her face. In response, Shum boldly said: "... 做過一次雷射就仆街死!" (if she did laser once, I'll f***ing die right now!). Soon afterwards, she was hospitalized for weeks with serious health problems involving her liver. Apparently, she's fine now but -- call me Chinese-superstitious -- it's another warning from karma, the Universe, God, Buddha, the Great Whatever, etc. to be careful of what you say and how you say it.

. . . and that's all I know of the past four-hundred-some days. So, I now formally invite you to help me restore my HK entertainment database by pointing out things that happened in the last year that you found interesting. They can be significant (Jackie Chan became a monk, shaved his head bald, sold all his assets and donated the proceeds to the monastery) or whimsical (Athena Chu Yan admits in an interview that she has "feelings" for a guy who ran some website called HK Entertainment News In Review but it disappeared and now she has no way to get in contact with him). If you found it interesting, I'd like to know about it. You don't have to go into chapter and verse detail -- just say: "Joey Yung Tso-Yi is dating Jack Donaghy" or "Edison Chen is starring in the remake of Tracy Jordan's WHO DAT NINJA?". I will look up the rest on the Internet.

In the meantime, here are some of the storylines I plan to research in the near future (if you know what's going on with any of the following, please don't hesitate to give me some details in the comments section):

  • What's happened to Sammi Cheng Sau-Man and Miriam Yeung Chin-Wah? Has their time at the top passed? I know Joey Yung Tso-Yi seized the Queen of Cantopop title last year but what about the movies? A quick check doesn't reveal any big projects coming down the pipeline for either of the women. Is it over for them already?

  • What's going on with Jackie Chan? Is he still undermining his son's career by publicly criticizing him? Is his box office prowess continuing to decline? Has he done anything embarrassing to himself in the past year?

  • Is TVB still going strong? ATV isn't much of a threat but is the availability of more entertainment choices eating away at TVB's dominance like specialty channels, DVDs, video games and the Internet have done to network television here in North America?

  • More on TVB: Were there any breakout hits last year? Are people still interested in the Miss Hong Kong Pageant? Is TVB feeling any pressure from the huge Mainland television productions?

  • What's going on with Athena Chu Yan, Nadia Chan Chung-Ling (I still refuse to refer to her as Nnadia), Flora Chan Wai-Shan, Yoyo Mung Ka-Wai, Ruby Wong Cheuk-Ling, Maggie Siu Mei-Kei, Jo Koo (Kuk Tso-Lam), Niki Chow Lai-Kei, Fiona Yuen Choi-Wan, Fennie Yuen Kit-Ying, Christine Ng Wing-Mei and Michelle Reis (Lee Ka-Yan)?

What were some of the better movies of 2006? Were there any LOVE BATTLEFIELD/CRAZY N' THE CITY-type sleepers? I talked briefly to Kozo about this and he suggested ELECTION, ELECTION 2, EXILED, BATTLE OF WITS, MY NAME IS FAME and ISABELLA as essential viewing. He also suggested that I might enjoy THE HEAVENLY KINGS, DRAGON TIGER GATE and ROB-B-HOOD. Does anyone have any other suggestions to add? If you plan on making a recommendation, please keep in mind that my local Chinese video store went out of business while I was sick so now I have to buy every movie I want to see. As a result, please put your recommendation in one of two categories: "must see" or "intriguing and somewhat interesting but it can wait". I've already dropped $40 for HEAVEN DRAGON THE EIGHTH EPISODE (the CCTV adaptation of DEMI-GODS AND SEMI-DEVILS) and $100 on an order for ELECTION, ELECTION 2, EXILED, BATTLE OF WITS and ISABELLA so the DVD budget is stretched a bit tight. I'm also eyeing the Pearl City DVDs of MISSING CINDERELLA and DEAR LOVE (as a kid, I used to love watching the late night airings of 1950s/1960s black-and-white romantic comedies starring Cheung Ying and Ha Ping -- like Mary Tyler Moore during the DICK VAN DYKE SHOW days, Ha Ping was quite the hottie back in the 1950s/1960s).

Thanks in advance for your tips and suggestions. I look forward to chasing down leads and catching up on some HK movie viewing.

A note on one of the comments from the last post: How does an English-only fan get into the wuxia genre? At this point, I'd say it's kind of difficult. There are a couple of English translations available for purchase: "The Deer and the Cauldron" and "Flying Fox of the Snowy Mountain" have been translated into English. However, they aren't exactly the best examples of the wuxia genre. "Flying Fox" is mediocre and introducing yourself to wuxia by reading "The Deer and the Cauldron" is like introducing yourself to Clint Eastwood's cowboy movie career by watching UNFORGIVEN instead of THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY or A FISTFUL OF DOLLARS. Moreover, fully translating wuxia into English is quite challenging. There are a lot of concepts that simply don't have English equivalents. I'd say your best bet is to try and buy one of the DVD sets of wuxia novel TV adaptations. I believe the CCTV adaptations have English subtitles and TVB has released English-subtitled versions of their classic 1980s adaptations of LEGEND OF THE CONDOR HEROES and RETURN OF THE CONDOR HEROES.

18 comments:

YTSL said...

Hi Sanney --

Just this for now:

Re Maggie Siu: She's in EYE IN THE SKY (Yau Nai-hoi's directorial debut and the opening film of the 2007 HKIFF) and, according to a Variety report (please see below for the link), she and Simon Yam plus Lam Suet will be reprising their PTU roles in Johnnie To's upcoming TACTICAL UNIT. So, at the very least, it seems that she's got a career as a supporting/character actress in Milkyway Image movies.

http://www.variety.com/article/VR1117958833.html?categoryid=2476&cs=1

Re Sammi Cheng: The word from Hong Kong friends of mine is that her cinematic star has faded. (And for that matter, so too has Gigi Leung's.)

OTOH, maybe Anita Yuen's making a comeback? FWIW, she *does* have a supporting role in Derek Yee's PROTEGE. However, considering how insubstantial that part was, maybe Derek Yee was just being nice and doing her a favor (since, she did, after all, help him become a star director back in 1993 with C'EST LA VIE, MON CHERI).

Also, Isabella Leong may have been frozen by EEG but she'll be in a 2007 HKIFF offering -- SPIDER LILIES (Taiwan, 2007). And will even the mighty EEG be able to keep her down if she wins Best Actress at the Hong Kong Film Awards on April 15th?

YTSL said...

Oh, and Athena Chu is the star of Herman Yau's WHISPERS AND MOANS, a movie which aims to cast "Hong Kong's sex industry in a new light" and will have its world premiere on 28th March at the HKIFF. :)

glenn (kenixfan@hotmail.com) said...

I liked Isabella quite a bit, esp. the moving Anita Mui reference in there (not to give much away there).

And My Name is Fame was a pleasant surprise.

I didn't see Crazy N'The City until 2006 but it was a pure joy -- made me want to get on a plane right away for Hong Kong.

Election 1, 2, and Exiled are classics that are worth purchasing; SPL has 3 major fight scenes and a lot of average exposition between them; I found After This Our Exile to be incredibly depressing despite decent performances from Aaron Kwok and Charlie Yeung -- overlong too.

Personally, I made a New Year's resolution to finally watch the 50 or so Shaw Brothers DVDs I had purchased and not opened yet so I'm giving the current stuff a temprorary rest.

At least until Twins Mission and Protege are on legal DVD!

Brian said...

Hi Sanney,

Nice to have you back. My top recommendation dvd wise for you would have been Heavenly Kings - not for being the best film but just for its fun gossipy inside look at the music industry - I think you would enjoy it.

I always depended on you for the gossip so the only thing I read was that Ekin left Gigi and was going out with Yoyo - but that was a few months ago so by now that is probably over and he is dishing it with some other actress - maybe Gillian! Was just watching some tv Chinese news station and they had a segment on Yoyo - don't know what they were saying but she sure looked fine.

Brian

Anonymous said...

I remember reading something about Jackie Chan making an ass of himself during a concert last summer. I think they said he was drunk.

GoldenRockProductions said...

Sammi Cheng has been virtually gone because of her sickness and her expired contract with Warner Records, same for Miriam Yeung, who has left Gold Label. Now they are both at "Dong Ah" (I guess it's East Asia Entertainment? It's the same as Denise "HOCC" Ho, if you need a reference) and they've had the spotlight lately because it's been rumored that these three are vying for the top spot in the record company. I smell a diva fight soon.

Jackie Chan is making Rush Hour 3, and yes, he did get drunk and went on stage at Jonathan Lee's Hong Kong concert, where he proceeded to make an ass of himself. But Rob-B-Hood became a hit and I don't think people care much now.

TVB started their own pay-TV service, but ratings for series have been somewhat down, while cable channel iTV is on the up with Sundream pictures getting more and more hits. But now iTV has its own competitor - PCCW's NOWTV. Anyway, TVB is still a viable force since quite a bit of HK people just watch it habitually.

GoldenRockProductions said...

oh, and Gigi Leung is dating a French guy, just like Zhang Ziyi.

Anonymous said...

sanney,

what's your email address? i can send you my dvd of my name is fame.

Anonymous said...

You can buy HK films on ebay. There are good deals but the shipping is expensive sometimes.

Yoyo Fan said...

Yoyo was in two TVB series last year, "Forensic Heroes" and "At Home With Love". She has an official website but it's under construction:

http://www.mungkawai.com/

Yoyo Fan said...

Forgot to add, Niki Chow is working for TVB too. Her latest series was called "The Seventh Day". She's rumored to be dating her co-star Kevin Cheng.

And, Maggie Siu is working on the big (80 episode) TVB series "Jewel's Splendor".

Niki has an official website too:

http://www.bma.com.hk/niki/index.htm

I think Fiona Yuen is still working for TVB but I haven't seen her in anything recently. She's supposed to be dating some Canadian guy who owns a restaurant.

Anonymous said...

I thought ON THE EDGE and 2 BECOME 1 were good. DOG BITE DOG is not must see but interesting.

Anonymous said...

Hi Sanney,

welcome back. I'm happy that you are well.

I saw Re-cycle and thought it was not bad. Not a must see but interesting.
Confession of Pain was nice-looking but the story was only ok. Definitely a disappointment considering the team behind it.

Isabella was better than I thought.

shaw said...

Glad to have you back, Shanney !

These sites continue your works updating HK and Asia ent news:

http://tvbspace.blogspot.com/
http://jaynestars.com/
http://asianfanatics.net/forum/index.php?showforum=68

Maggie Shiu's unreleased movies: Eye in the Sky (Director: Yau Nai Hoi), Tactical Unit (Directors: Johnny To & MilkyWay teams), The Curse (Director: Herman Yau), and (unconfirmed) 出埃及記 (Director: Edmund Pang) . She is currently filming TVB 80 eps drama Jewel's Splendor.

More about Maggie Shiu @ www.maggieshiu.net/bbs .

shaw said...

More about TVB's 1980s Jin Yong adaptations: beside the two you mentioned earlier, "The Duke of Mount Deer" and "Heavenly Sword and Dragon Sabre" have also been released on English-subtitled DVD. "Demi Gods and Semi-Devils" is coming in April.

Anonymous said...

Its great to have you back Sanney. There are actually quite a few websites where you can rent Hong Kong films. Netflix actually has a pretty decent selection of Hong Kong films, but if you want to see newer films I would give www.ehit.com or www.cinflix.com a try.

Sanney Leung said...

Thanks for the tips and suggestions everybody. A special thanks to the anonymous posters who wanted to send a DVD to me and who suggested the online rental places. I'll check out the rental places but I wonder if they have service to Canada. As for the DVD for MY NAME IS FAME, thanks for the offer but are you sure you want the post office and Customs to get involved with your DVDs?

Oh, I've put my e-mail address in the profile section. Substitute @ for (AT) and . for (DOT). Sorry for the bother but I'm trying not to have than new e-mail account turn into a spam nest like my other e-mail accounts.

eliza bennet said...

Hi Sanney,

I can understand that you are suprised that an English only fan can read JY novels. Thank God that there are people who are willing to translate them for no commercial gain and that's how I read Legend of the Condor Heroes (my favorite wuxia novel), Return of the Condor Heroes :)

And yes Clint Eastwood westerns are an apt metaphor (I love Clint too btw, both as an actor and a director)

As for HK entertainment you were my primary source so there is nothing here that you haven't heard before.