Posts tagged “Hong Kong Film

In the Mood for Love / Drinking Port


In the Mood For Love  -  Front DVD Cover  -  UK ReleaseHong Kong, 1962.  Chow (Tony Leung – “Happy Together”, “Hard Boiled”) is a junior newspaper editor with an elusive wife.  His new neighbour, Li-zhen (Maggie Cheung – “Days of Being Wild”, “Irma Vep”), is a secretary whose husband seems to spend all his time on business trips.  They become friends, making the lonely evenings more bearable.  As their relationship develops they make a discovery that changes their lives forever…  In this sumptuous exploration of desire, internationally acclaimed director Wong Kar-Wai (“Chungking Express”, “Happy Together”, “Fallen Angels”) creates a world of sensuality and longing that will leave you breathless.  “In the Mood For Love” has seduced audiences and critics alike, winning awards at Cannes 2000 for best actor, cinematography and editing.

2000  –  Certificate: PG  –  Hong Kong Film
Rating  Details:  Mild sex references and language
7.0 out of 10

I’ve recently developed a new interest; a new kind of fetish if you like.  I’ve discovered port.  Not the type with boats and things, but the one that’s like red wine on steroids.  Cockburns Special Reserve Port is meant to be vegan and is well structured, with rich, ripe fruit and gentle spicy tannins.  It has a clean aroma, showing maturity and finesse, with a hint of dried plums.  Off dry to medium sweet, it has a rich, mellow texture and a smooth tannin structure, with a long, satisfying finish.  (Obviously I got that lot from the Internet; I don’t really know anything about port, other than it’s red and I like how it tastes.)  Apparently the classic way to serve Special Reserve is with aged Stilton cheese after dinner; or with roasted almonds or walnuts and squares of rich, dark chocolate, for a simple but elegant dessert.  Personally I just drink it on its own out of the wrong shaped glass.  Still, I like to think I’m a higher class sort of drunk.  You won’t find me in the gutter with some cans of Asda lager in the remains of a six-pack ring, or a smashed bottle of Buckfast.  Port is a bit of a throwback to a more civilized time now past; so’s this film.

When I was young I used to sit at home on a Saturday afternoon with my mum, watching old, black and white films on BBC2.  In those days we only had three TV channels to pick from and no Internet or home videos; life was hard.  Nowadays I can pick from about 200 TV channels and a billion videos on the Internet, or select a DVD or Blu-ray disc to watch.  No wonder more people suffer from mental health difficulties these days.  Those old films were inevitably made in the 50s and focused on some couple in America with ‘marital difficulties’.  They were pretty boring.  I’d much rather have watched the wrestling on ITV’s “World of Sport” and seen ‘bad-guy’ Mick McManus trashing another opponent illegally when the ref’s back was turned, but you only had one TV in those days.  (Sadly Mick died earlier this year.)  Watching “In the Mood For Love” took me straight back to those days; (the films that is, not the wrestling).  It’s in colour and set in Hong Kong in the first part of the 60s, but other than that…  When I was watching it I was trying to work out why I’d bought it, as it’s not the sort of movie I’d normally watch, but by the end it made perfect sense.  It’s got the sort of plot Thomas Hardy could easily have written, (if he’d been able to get away with writing about marital affairs).  Chow Mo-wan certainly has something in common with Jude Fawley.  The first 15 minutes or so are a real muddle to follow, but then it settles down.  It’s also currently the 247th most highly rated film on IMDB, so I guess that means it’s pretty special.  Whatever.  But overall it’s worth watching, despite the lack of explosions, spaceships and perverted sex.

The music plays a big part in making this movie work, from the use of a number of songs by Nat King Cole, through to the regular musical montages (using the same bit of hypnotic waltz music) that’s used to drive parts of the story along.  Not a soundtrack I’d want to listen to on its own, but great in the context of the film.

Recommended for newspaper editors, PAs and lonely husbands and wives.

No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.

Top badass moment?  It seems you have to be a bit of a bastard to get anywhere in life these days.  Su Li-zhen and Chow Mo-wan were just too nice.  This makes them badass, but unfortunately it also makes them total losers.  What a shame.

In the Mood For Love at IMDB (8.0 / 10)

In the Mood For Love at Wikipedia

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The Untold Story / Birds Eye Potato Waffles


The Untold Story  -  Front DVD Cover (US Release)In a riveting performance that won him 1993’s Hong Kong Film Award for Best Actor, Anthony Wong (“Hard Boiled”) stars as the owner/chef of the Eight Immortals Restaurant, where the original owner and his family mysteriously disappear.  As the police, led by Danny Lee (“The Killer”), intensify their investigation, they gradually uncover the shocking truth.  Definitely not for the squeamish, “The Untold Story” is also an intelligent character study filled with dark humour touches. And remember… it actually happened!

1992  –  Certificate: Not Rated  –  Hong Kong Film
Rating Details:  Scenes of extreme violence and graphic sexual situations
6.5 out of 10

In the late 80s I stopped eating Birds Eye Potato Waffles.  This is because I got really bad food poisoning from them, twice in a row.  I can still remember it quite vividly.   I think it’s the last time I took time off work through being physically ill.  They’re the only thing that’s ever given me food poisoning, as far as I can remember.  A few months ago I decided to try them again.  The good news was, no sickness or diarrhea etc, a promising start.   (I don’t recommend trying to microwave them though, the results aren’t especially satisfactory.)  Now, these are potato waffles; they’re probably one of the Bird Eye brand’s ‘signature products’.  On the side of the packaging is a marketing highlight which proudly proclaims, “Made with REAL potatoes”.  What the fuck?  Potato waffles and they’re actually made with potatoes; surely not?  Is that really the best thing they can come up with?  It doesn’t bode well for the rest of the product if that’s the highlight.  This also left me wondering what exactly is an unreal potato.  The packaging also goes on to say each 100g of waffles is made with 109g of potatoes.  Really?  I guess an understanding of particle physics is helpful if you want to enjoy Birds Eye Potato Waffles; it must be all that ‘new physics’ stuff again.  Personally, I’d rather know that all the potatoes used are grown within 40 miles of the factory where they make them, which is what it says on its web site; I think that’s much more worthy.  Has our food become so crap these days that the fact it contains what you’d expect it to contain has become such a big deal that it needs bragging about?  (Oh, I forgot about all the horse burgers.)  Birds Eye in Europe is presently owned by private equity group Primira. One of its 11 Business Principles is “Comply with both the letter and the spirit of all applicable laws, regulations and contractual obligations”.  I guess that’s why it has its finance team based on Guernsey; nothing to do with its tax haven status then?  This film features a restaurant and food that makes people sick; and dead.

Never released in the UK, Anthony Wong plays a restaurant owner called Wong Chi-Hang and it’s worth tracking down a copy of this film for his performance alone.  The guy has some serious, anger management issues.  When he’s not feeding his clientele with the ground-up remains of people he’s killed, raping his staff, beheading children or cheating at Mah Jong, he’s being beaten up by various people, generally the police or the relatives of those he’s murdered.  For a pretty gruesome and dark film that’s basically about a serial killer, the police are presented as only a few steps above the Keystone Cops.  The senior detective and his team investigating the case don’t seem to do a lot of work, they continually belittle the only woman in the team, they happy beat up poor old Anthony with the least provocation and the senior detective nearly always has a prostitute with him at work.  It’s not often you can have any sympathy for a serial killer, but he’s clearly a product of his environment; well, sort of.  Set in Macau, this film is meant to be based on a real crime too.  It’s a bloody horror with the occasional bit of almost slapstick comedy; very watchable if you can deal with all that.

This film has a fair amount of background music, much of which is clearly inspired by the “Psycho” ‘shower scene’.  You’ll not want to watch this film for the music.

Recommended for catering students, the police and anyone who’s crap at Mah Jong.

No cats or chainsaws and three decapitations; two of the latter were after they were dead though.  It’s not often you see a child have her head cut off in a film…

Top badass moment?  In the middle of cutting a load of people up, it was good to see Anthony Wong take time out to sharpen the meat cleaver he was using.  (He forgot to wear safety goggles or gloves whilst using the grinder though.)  No wonder he was so pissed off when the cutting edge got damaged soon after.  (Maybe he sharpened the blade too finely for cutting bones; or perhaps he hit the floor with it by mistake?)  Caring about your tools, even if you’re a serial killer, is good practice and therefore badass.  They do say a blunt tool is more dangerous than a sharp one.

The Untold Story at IMDB (6.8 / 10)

The Untold Story at Wikipedia