Commentaries and/or supplemental reviews

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Re: Commentaries and/or supplemental reviews

Postby Masterofoneinchpunch » Wed Dec 22, 2010 12:31 am

Shinjuku Incident R1
Say Hello To The Bad Guy: Up Close with Jackie Chan (10:34m English w/removable subs)
Wanted to do character for last 10 years.
Be like Robert De Niro, Client Eastwood
Derek Yee researched for more than 10 years
Wanted to be Daniel Wu’s character.
Besides Daniel most other actors are worked with for the first time.
Thinks compared to America, movie not violence, violent compared to China.
Lost China Market.
Think if you do not show something, not effective.
Wants to laugh, happy-go-lucky person, has to be quiet on set.
Story has a lot of education.
Nobody wants to be bad people.

The Warlords R1
117 Days A production journal (2007) (35m Mandarin w/removable English subs)
Started in Dec 2006.
Outside Beijing in the Mentougou district
anti war film? [I’m not sure on this]
mention Chang Cheh [should have mentioned this was a remake of Blood Brothers]
Rare to dig trenches in Qing Dynasty (Xi Zhongwen said this)
“All Quiet on the Western Front” was influence (both movie and book)
no completed script
Chang Cheh’s wife
1400 Crew members

27m of Deleted Scenes

Gen-X Cops R1
Making of Documentary (38:30m Cantonese/English w/English subs):
[Nicholas Tse, Benny Chan, John Chong, Hui Koan, Daniel Wu, Stephen Fung, Sam Lee, Terence Yin, Tom Sanders, Dennis McGlynn, Arthur Wong, Li Chung Chi, Joe Viskocil, Sam Nicholson]
[Daniel speaks English in doc]
“You Can’t Stop Me” song
short soundbites
scenes intercut from movie with making of scenes intercut as well
actually gets a shot of Jackie Chan and later talk from him during the wrap-up footage.
“Today it’s Jackie Chan. Tomorrow it’ll be Nicholas Tse!” – Jackie Chan
Shows making-of for burning pool scene with Nicholas Tse.
First blockbuster movie for Benny Chan was A Moment of Romance then Big Bullet.
10m
“The old genre of cop movie conservative & traditional.” – Benny Chan
“We wasted lots of film to train them”
“Those annoying kids had to run for their lives” – Benny Chan
Explains roles/characters by all.
Tom Sanders Aerial stunt Coordinator (also in charge of the later parachute stunt)
Dennis McGlynn Aerial Stuntman (height of jump around 750 feet; freefall time 4 seconds)
[shows parachute stunt]
Now on Skydiving stunt (15,000 ft)
Benny states first time Hong Kong movie had such a scene.
Nicoholas doubled during end fight scene (he’s not happy about that)
25m
Discussion on blowing up of the Convention Centre (full name Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre) and on Joe Viskocil, Sam Nicholson
Shows miniature Convention Centre.
Benny Chan stated that didn’t want happy ending; didn’t want them to die hthough but felt blowing up of building was correct.
You Can’t Stop Me video [this goes on for a few minutes]
“Don’t Buy Pirate Videos”
At around 33min mark shows what looks like an extended trailer.

51:30 min of deleted scenes
[ok that’s just crazy.]
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Re: Commentaries and/or supplemental reviews

Postby Brian Thibodeau » Wed Dec 22, 2010 8:55 am

Masterofoneinchpunch wrote:[size=150]Benny Chan stated that didn’t want happy ending; didn’t want them to die hthough but felt blowing up of building was correct.


I'd agree there. I thought that explosion was one of 1999's HK cinema highlights, and easily one of the more accomplished single special effects done in Hong Kong up to that point (and at least part of the draw for local audiences, I'm sure). Hardly surprising considering Joe Viscocil was involved, and even though it's a bit rough around the edges, it proved that HK filmmakers could think big when it came to destroying actual landmarks in spectacular fashion. Hollywood, of course, had been doing it for years, but it really started to become a pastime in the 90's (and continuing today), especially in popcorn blockbusters like pretty much anything directed by Roland Emmerich (the Convention Center explosion is just a smaller, lower-budgeted cousin to the building explosions at the beginning of ID4).

I still enjoy this film even today, though in its context. That was a good year . . . ;)

First blockbuster movie for Benny Chan was A Moment of Romance then Big Bullet.


I'd imagine he's referring to these in terms of box-office returns, which were handsome for both productions. Both of these are also excellent movies, but I think the seeds of Chan's future career as a specialist in Hollywood-style "blockbuster" action/thrillers were planted most intentionally in Big Bullet, which has a much grander scope, storywise and production-wise, than Moment of Romance -- bigger stunts, bigger gunfights, nastier villains (with two well-chosen actors to play them!) and a welcome sense of urgency and import to the plotting. I'd rate them both equally, for different reasons, but in Big Bullet you can practically feel Chan defining much of the the rest of his career in epic metropolitan thrillers like HEROIC DUO, CONNECTED, INVISIBLE TARGET, etc. :)
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Re: Commentaries and/or supplemental reviews

Postby Masterofoneinchpunch » Wed Dec 22, 2010 5:58 pm

Brian Thibodeau wrote: ... I'd agree there. I thought that explosion was one of 1999's HK cinema highlights, and easily one of the more accomplished single special effects done in Hong Kong up to that point (and at least part of the draw for local audiences, I'm sure). ...
I still enjoy this film even today, though in its context. That was a good year . . . ;)

First blockbuster movie for Benny Chan was A Moment of Romance then Big Bullet.


I'd imagine he's referring to these in terms of box-office returns, which were handsome for both productions. Both of these are also excellent movies, but I think the seeds of Chan's future career as a specialist in Hollywood-style "blockbuster" action/thrillers were planted most intentionally in Big Bullet, which has a much grander scope, story-wise and production-wise, than Moment of Romance -- bigger stunts, bigger gunfights, nastier villains (with two well-chosen actors to play them!) and a welcome sense of urgency and import to the plotting. I'd rate them both equally, for different reasons, but in Big Bullet you can practically feel Chan defining much of the the rest of his career in epic metropolitan thrillers like HEROIC DUO, CONNECTED, INVISIBLE TARGET, etc. :)


I agree that was an awesome explosion and done quite well. I was surprised by it (since I try not to read much on films until I watch it). 1999 was a good year, I'm going to have to check all the HK films I have seen from that year.

Another thing thing that makes that statement from Benny Chan suspect is that Johnnie To has stated that he had did quite a bit of uncredited directing on that first film A Moment of Romance as well. I'm going to make a note to get Big Bullet then. It has been quite fun to go back to the 1990s (and before) films that I never had a chance to see in the first place. Of course it does help when they remaster them.

But the one thing I've learned from people talking on extras is to first take suspiciously until you do research :D.

What Hong Kong films have you been watching lately Brian? I'm almost done with my The Odd One Dies essay (when I get my DVD back I am going to double check the names; for some reason HKMDB is missing the names and so far several sources are wrong, I think, on them; I reposted what I have worked up so far). Have you been watching any of the Shaw Brother's films lately?
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Re: Commentaries and/or supplemental reviews

Postby Brian Thibodeau » Thu Dec 23, 2010 2:57 am

Masterofoneinchpunch wrote:But the one thing I've learned from people talking on extras is to first take suspiciously until you do research :D.


This is exactly why I find most supplemental features on most DVDs of Hong Kong movies -- especially the American releases -- to be mixed-bag affairs very nearly across the board. I know I've often carped loudest and longest about one particular "Hong Kong Cinema Expert" both here and elsewhere, but he's not the only culprit, and to my thinking, a few seemingly minor errors on any given supplement (commentary, documentary) casts doubt over every other fact therein with the exception of the ones I know from experience to be true. I still find it sad that the scholarly heavyweights will rarely, if ever, weigh in on these DVDs, but there you go. Perhaps they know it will be wasted on a majority of newer, younger fans who've come to take the contributions of Logan and Meyers et al as gospel truths. David Bordwell's online version of his book can't come fast enough (http://www.davidbordwell.net/blog/?cat=37)

Masterofoneinchpunch wrote:What Hong Kong films have you been watching lately Brian? I'm almost done with my The Odd One Dies essay (when I get my DVD back I am going to double check the names; for some reason HKMDB is missing the names and so far several sources are wrong, I think, on them; I reposted what I have worked up so far). Have you been watching any of the Shaw Brother's films lately?


I've deliberately (if metaphorically) been restricting my access to my Hong Kong stacks, although I do still acquire as much as I can. The interest is stronger than ever, but I felt I needed to expand my knowledge of cinema from everywhere else before diving back into it, hopefully better informed. The timing of price drops on older DVDs of American films (and some foreign), as well as access to the Toronto library's insanely large DVD collection, has made expanding that knowledge base an easy priority of late. I'm literally down to my last two (of over 100) Big Lots DVDs right now; I'm just about to view the last film in the GARBO SILENTS collection tonight, then finish off with LADY FROM SHANGHAI And I recently polished off a large run of Criterions from the library (with more lined up in my queue). I've already tweaked some older Hong Kong reviews because of this marathon run, though in minor ways that don't alter my opinions of them. Even at that, I've still got TONS of non-HK DVDs to get through (and decide whether to keep or sell), but most of those aren't such a high priority that I'll put them all ahead of my Hong Kong stuff, so hopefully I can start back into Hong Kong cinema -- and stay there from then on -- sometime in the near future, preferably during the crappy winter we seem to be getting up here. Every time I bring home some new discs, I'll pop some into the player strictly to skim a couple of scenes (and subconsciously make sure the disc isn't defective in case it's months before i actually watch it!), and every single time it's almost painful to take it out, even if it's some dollar VCD I scored in Chinatown.

Interesting note about the missing character names in the DB entry for THE ODD ONE DIES. No doubt just a holdover from simpler times. When I was more actively watching HK cinema a while back, I always jotted down as many character names as I could, just so the DB would be that much more up-to-date. It's especially critical with a lot of newer movies loaded with new faces that many, at least in the web world, don't seem to know from Adam, and rightfully so.
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Re: Commentaries and/or supplemental reviews

Postby Masterofoneinchpunch » Mon Dec 27, 2010 7:48 pm

Brian Thibodeau wrote:...I've deliberately (if metaphorically) been restricting my access to my Hong Kong stacks, although I do still acquire as much as I can. The interest is stronger than ever, but I felt I needed to expand my knowledge of cinema from everywhere else before diving back into it, hopefully better informed. The timing of price drops on older DVDs of American films (and some foreign), as well as access to the Toronto library's insanely large DVD collection, has made expanding that knowledge base an easy priority of late. I'm literally down to my last two (of over 100) Big Lots DVDs right now; I'm just about to view the last film in the GARBO SILENTS collection tonight, then finish off with LADY FROM SHANGHAI And I recently polished off a large run of Criterions from the library (with more lined up in my queue). I've already tweaked some older Hong Kong reviews because of this marathon run, though in minor ways that don't alter my opinions of them. Even at that, I've still got TONS of non-HK DVDs to get through (and decide whether to keep or sell), but most of those aren't such a high priority that I'll put them all ahead of my Hong Kong stuff, so hopefully I can start back into Hong Kong cinema -- and stay there from then on -- sometime in the near future, preferably during the crappy winter we seem to be getting up here. Every time I bring home some new discs, I'll pop some into the player strictly to skim a couple of scenes (and subconsciously make sure the disc isn't defective in case it's months before i actually watch it!), and every single time it's almost painful to take it out, even if it's some dollar VCD I scored in Chinatown.
...


I did the same thing several years back when goading (aka I wanted to be able to come back with correct answers) from a few members made me realize that I needed to learn as much about cinema as I could (within time limits). Criterion helped with this, but after a while I realized that it was a good starting point, but not the end all of course (even for non-HK movies :D). Not everything you watch will be interesting, or liked, but there are definitely many, many gems out there.

The bad thing about taking this approach is you realize that is a neverending journey. A rewarding one, but lots of work. But when you get back to HK film it definitely helps overall. As you have stated in the past there is so much connected throughout all of cinema (then their is the difficulty to make sure the connections are actually there and not done in parallel development or just coincidental).

I Love THE LADY FROM SHANGHAI, but then I like most of Welles work even with the studio interference. The biggest connection to Hong Kong with that film is, of course, the mirror scene which would influence ENTER THE DRAGON, THE LONGEST NITE and MAD DETECTIVE (but easily seen in the first two I mentioned; Johnnie To has often stated it was an influence so I'm not making that up :D). I have not got to the GARBO SILENTS, but am interested in the future.
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Re: Commentaries and/or supplemental reviews

Postby Masterofoneinchpunch » Tue Dec 28, 2010 1:21 am

Center Stage R0 Fortune Star Remastered

Bonus Feature An Interview with Stanley Kwan (11:37m; Cantonese w/removable subs either English or Chinese)

An Interview on Center Stage
After Rouge wanted to work with Anita Mui again. Thought her profile looked liked Ruan’s [it does]
Already had been TV bio on Ruan starring Cecilia Wong during Rediffussion era [great article here on Rediffusion: http://188hughlowstreet.wordpress.com/2 ... %E9%9B%86/].
Wanted to work with Anita for this role.
18 months of research for script; met directors like Sun Yu [he died in 1990]

On The Most Memorable Scenes
Tony and Maggie squatting; backdrop of Shanghai’s Waibaidu Bridges [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waibaidu_Bridge]
Rumba dance scene the night before she died

On Actress Maggie Cheung
She has become a true actress; not quite when worked with her in “Full Moon in New York” (1990) [its close though I really thought “Days of Being Wild” later that year was quite important for her blossoming as an actress]

On Actor Leung Ka-fai
Great reservations on character Tsai Chu-sheng; did not like his films; mentions he later becomes Commissioner of the Film Board to make propaganda films for Communist China.
[says nothing on the actor]

On Script writer Tai An-ping Chiu
He [Kwan] considered giving up inter-cutting; even started new script.

On Team Spirit
The movie was not filmed exactly where she lived (they were at no. 7; she lived at no. 3)
Maggie spent four months in Shanghai

An Interview with Paul Foronoff on Ruan Lingyu (13m; Cantonese w/removable subs either English or Chinese)
[His grin throughout the interview is strange yet hilarious]
An Interview on Center Stage
Ruan bio info: born Shanghai 1910; poor family; mom worked with Chang
Got involved with Ta Min.
Became actress in 1926 to help support Chang and her mother.
Film debut “The Couple In Name” not extant; most films before Lienhua Studio are lost
Star Studio 1926 was largest stupid in Shanghai 20s, 30s.
1930-1935 Golden years she was versatile, made comedies as well (most lost); sang one theme song.

On Reputation
Many considered her the star of the 20s and 30s, but hard to say for real; more famous today because of this movie.

On Progressive Cinema in China
Left-wing influence appeared in arts in the 30s [I always have to warn that one generation’s left-wing can be another generation’s right-wing] Xia Yan continued to make films past 49 for Mainland [though he did prison time during the Cultural Revolution].

On Premonition
1934 “New Women” (Xin nü xing ) about Ai Xia who commited suicide in 1934 [I think technically the film came out in 1935 and Ai commited sucide in 1934]

On Suicide
“Malicious Gossip”: several attributed death to criticisms; Paul thinks there could have been other reasons. In 1933 to 1935 China moved from silent to talkies; she was a Guangdong native raised in Shanghai; apparently Mandarin was so-so. She might have worried about film career in talkies.

On Being Famous
Disputes that she is famous because of sucide; mentions Lin Fung in the 70s (aka Patrica Lam Fung) who committed suicide but is not famous today, same with Ai Hsia and Linda Lin Dai and Betty Loh Tih. Then mentions she is famous because Maggie Cheung played her in the film; then states that had their not been a suicide Stanley Kwan would not have made film. [of course negates what he first stated; something creepy about his smile during the suicide mentions]

Trailers:
Rouge; A Chinese Ghost Story, Police Story II
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Re: Commentaries and/or supplemental reviews

Postby Masterofoneinchpunch » Thu Dec 30, 2010 11:43 pm

God of Gamblers R0 Widescreen Mei Ah

Interview of Director (Wong Jing) (6.14m w/removable English subs )

Origin of God of Gambler
Name founded by Jimmy Heung, read a book, character was a ghost, states it was badly written.

The Most Unforgettable Scene:
First saw brother lung Fong after waking up [spelt Chau Yun Fat in subs]

In the eyes of gambling movies godfather Jeff Lau:
Enjoyed Jeff Lau’s All For The Winner (states created Stephen Chow; [while that film was a bonified smash Chow was doing decent with a few minor hits that year such as Curry and Pepper and My Hero]); says few know how to make a gambling film, later Wong worked with Chow in sequels; won’t give a glance to other gambling films.

Best Actor Chow Yun Fat [spelt correctly now]
Chow doesn’t gamble.
Knew him over 20 years; knows him as much as John Woo, Ringo Lam, Johnnie To; knew him since he first started acting. [seems a bit jealous]

From the aspect of Wong Jing

Between Ideal and Reality
Crying Heart (2000; did not get directors salary for), will make movies he likes [he means he will do films that are not necessarily popular]s

The Meaning of Awards
Never thinks about it, but will not refuse an award.

Style of Future Movies
Makes comedy/drama 2/3s of the time. The other 1/3 is made for black comedies. In 1998 made “A True Mob Story” and later “Crying Heart”. “Casino Raiders” made before, same with “God of Gamblers” and “Casino Tycoon.”

The Afterlife of Colour of the Truth [this movie came out in 2003 which dates this interview]
Show scenes [looks cool]
Planning to make sequel at the end of the year [Colour of the Loyalty would be made in 2005]
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