Hong Kong Cinema

A subforum to discuss film culture and criticism both old and new, as well as memorializing public figures we've lost.
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moreorless
Joined: Thu Apr 26, 2018 5:34 am

Re: Hong Kong Cinema

#201 Post by moreorless » Fri Jan 11, 2019 3:52 am

Slaphappy wrote:
Thu Jan 10, 2019 11:20 am
moreorless wrote:
Thu Jan 10, 2019 12:47 am
I was never really exposed that much to laserdisc but what stood out with HK legends was the number of releases and the focus on their own brand(and expectations of certain extras) similar to criterion but with genre cinema. It wouldn't just me the case of "I want a copy of Eastern Condors, which is the best one?" but rather looking to what they released as an active recommendation.
I think Redemption was the first to create a brand like that in UK mid 90's. Edit. Manga Entertainment had a pretty strong brand and focus too and they started early 90's or so. Hong Kong Legends is my favorite company of the three for sure.
Yes your right with Manga although I spose I didn't think of it that way at the time because there was a period were they were pretty much all their was to anime in the UK(Lydon's now forgotten cash in single) were as there was some HK cinema before HK legends.

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colinr0380
Joined: Mon Nov 08, 2004 4:30 pm
Location: Chapel-en-le-Frith, Derbyshire, UK

Re: Hong Kong Cinema

#202 Post by colinr0380 » Fri Jan 11, 2019 6:51 pm

I would disagree about Manga Video being all there was to anime in the UK back in the day, as I have fond memories of Kiseki Films for releasing Macross: Do You Remember Love?, Fly Peek! Peek The Baby Whale (aka the earlier, better Free Willy!), Gunbuster and the boobtacular Plastic Little. They were perhaps the best anime company on VHS in the mid to late 90s. But there was also Western Connection (who released titles such as Devil Hunter Yoko and The Sensualist) and even Pioneer released a few titles (notably Armitage III in its four part series form before Kiefer Sutherland re-voiced one of the main characters in its condensed feature version, as well as the 1993 version of The Hakkenden, which I mostly love for its fantastic soundtrack!)

So while Manga Video were the biggest name in that industry there were others in the field. I doubt many of the videos would have turned up in stores but they were definitely available through mail order catalogues. In fact the first mail order video company I bought films from (the first being Akira naturally! Along with Macross: Do You Remember Love) was called MVM which itself has now turned into an anime distribution label in its own right!

Orlac
Joined: Tue Apr 14, 2009 4:29 am

Re: Hong Kong Cinema

#203 Post by Orlac » Thu Jul 04, 2019 8:04 pm

I had a Kiseki tape of SHAOLIN WOODEN MEN. Green, fuzzy, dubbed, cropped, stretched and missing the entire first reel!

hanshotfirst1138
Joined: Wed Mar 12, 2014 6:06 pm

Re: Hong Kong Cinema

#204 Post by hanshotfirst1138 » Wed Jul 17, 2019 10:06 pm

Apparently the latest Hong among release of Hard Boiled omits the mono track yet again. I wish I knew why it was so fucking hard to include.

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tenia
Ask Me About My Bassoon
Joined: Wed Apr 29, 2009 11:13 am

Re: Hong Kong Cinema

#205 Post by tenia » Thu Jul 18, 2019 2:54 am

2 main possibilities : the right holders can't find it anymore (and possibly only have a remix fold-down left), or HK labels consider (justly) consumers there don't care and want a 5.1 mix. I was told Hong Kong is basically, as a whole, at the dawn of restoring properly their movies and the general audience there isn't used AT ALL to older movies tropes (film grain, original mono, etc), and it's very hard to make the right-holders accept an old movie is supposed to look like that.

hanshotfirst1138
Joined: Wed Mar 12, 2014 6:06 pm

Re: Hong Kong Cinema

#206 Post by hanshotfirst1138 » Thu Jul 18, 2019 7:29 am

I just don’t get why the mono can’t be included as an extra or something. I’m not saying to make it the leading track, you can put the 5.1 first.


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tenia
Ask Me About My Bassoon
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Re: Hong Kong Cinema

#207 Post by tenia » Thu Jul 18, 2019 8:03 am

They either think it's pointless for their market, or again don't even have it within easy reach.

hanshotfirst1138
Joined: Wed Mar 12, 2014 6:06 pm

Re: Hong Kong Cinema

#208 Post by hanshotfirst1138 » Thu Jul 18, 2019 1:16 pm

When Eureka did the first two PS movies, and later Criterion, Fortune Star didn’t even provide the mono tracks; they were acquired from a fan.


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dwk
Joined: Sat Jun 12, 2010 6:10 pm

Re: Hong Kong Cinema

#209 Post by dwk » Thu Jul 18, 2019 3:58 pm

Criterion actually got the original mono track for Police Story from Fortune Star. The mono track for part 2 was fan sourced.

Orlac
Joined: Tue Apr 14, 2009 4:29 am

Re: Hong Kong Cinema

#210 Post by Orlac » Sun Jul 21, 2019 4:25 am

Indeed. But when Eureka got the "mono" track, it was a downmix of the remix used for the 2001 HKL DVD.

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YnEoS
Joined: Fri Oct 08, 2010 10:30 am

Re: Hong Kong Cinema

#211 Post by YnEoS » Sun Feb 02, 2020 5:54 pm

Lovehkfilm is coming out of several years of inactivity to do a vote for their Best Hong Kong Films of the 2010s List. I think I've mentioned in the past how helpful these lists were to me for exploring Hong Kong cinema, and seeing this website suddenly come back is such an unexpected treat. So if anyone feels like they've seen a good amount of HK films from the past decade, I encourage you to vote! Otherwise, the final list, when it comes around should be a good source of new recommendations.

hanshotfirst1138
Joined: Wed Mar 12, 2014 6:06 pm

Re: Hong Kong Cinema

#212 Post by hanshotfirst1138 » Tue Apr 14, 2020 5:19 pm

YnEoS wrote:Lovehkfilm is coming out of several years of inactivity to do a vote for their Best Hong Kong Films of the 2010s List. I think I've mentioned in the past how helpful these lists were to me for exploring Hong Kong cinema, and seeing this website suddenly come back is such an unexpected treat. So if anyone feels like they've seen a good amount of HK films from the past decade, I encourage you to vote! Otherwise, the final list, when it comes around should be a good source of new recommendations.
I’m surprised they didn’t include a review for Ip Man 4.


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The Elegant Dandy Fop
Joined: Thu Dec 09, 2004 3:25 am
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Re: Hong Kong Cinema

#213 Post by The Elegant Dandy Fop » Wed Apr 15, 2020 7:47 pm

Panorama has started a new line of Blu-ray releases of classic Hong Kong films labeled "Hong Kong Classic Movies". It's all established classics and cult titles that date back to the laserdisc/VHS age including Robotrix, The Story of Ricky, Erotic Ghost Story, and School on Fire. According to accounts on the dreaded Blu-ray forums, School on Fire is a cut version and not the original category III version that's apparently different that any cut previously released on home video. I caught this on 35mm about a year ago and wonder how it compares to the Hong Kong release print I saw. I personally purchased The Haunted Cop Show, co-written by Wong Kar Wai, as I own the laserdisc of the sequel, but have never seen the original. I excitedly popped it in and was tremendously let down to see that it was a bad up-scaled release of an SD scan. Presumedly, this is the same scan used for the Hong Kong Legends release over a decade ago. I figured as all these releases are licensed from Fortune Star, who have been responsible for the gorgeous transfers on all of Eureka's and 88 Films releases of Golden Harvest films, that these would be similar, but sadly that's not the case. Does anyone have experience with any other releases?

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feihong
Joined: Thu Nov 04, 2004 12:20 pm

Re: Hong Kong Cinema

#214 Post by feihong » Thu Apr 16, 2020 2:52 am

I have the School on Fire blu. It is apparently an upscale, though it looks a bit better quality to my eye than the Joysales DVD. I know the quality is not what it should be, but it looks better to me in motion than it does in the screenshots in blu ray reviews of the film.

It's a fairly heavily–edited version of the movie, apparently very similar to the Joysales DVD and the Hong Kong Laserdisc of the film. Movie–censorship.com has a list of cuts made here:

https://www.movie-censorship.com/report.php?ID=902569

It's probably not worth getting if you have the Joysales DVD, and if you're a completist, I guess the U.S. Tai Seng VHS has the longest, least–censored cut of the film.

Not part of the series, but Panorama recently released 2 different blu-rays of Shunji Iwai's A Bride for Rip Van Winkle (1 disc a theatrical cut and the other the television miniseries version). These are in true hi–def and they look fantastic. So I don't think it's Panorama who is responsible for the bad quality. I'm bummed out to read that Haunted Cop Shop isn't up to par. I won't make the upgrade, then.

hanshotfirst1138
Joined: Wed Mar 12, 2014 6:06 pm

Re: Hong Kong Cinema

#215 Post by hanshotfirst1138 » Sun Apr 19, 2020 5:54 am

The Elegant Dandy Fop wrote:Panorama has started a new line of Blu-ray releases of classic Hong Kong films labeled "Hong Kong Classic Movies". It's all established classics and cult titles that date back to the laserdisc/VHS age including Robotrix, The Story of Ricky, Erotic Ghost Story, and School on Fire. According to accounts on the dreaded Blu-ray forums, School on Fire is a cut version and not the original category III version that's apparently different that any cut previously released on home video. I caught this on 35mm about a year ago and wonder how it compares to the Hong Kong release print I saw. I personally purchased The Haunted Cop Show, co-written by Wong Kar Wai, as I own the laserdisc of the sequel, but have never seen the original. I excitedly popped it in and was tremendously let down to see that it was a bad up-scaled release of an SD scan. Presumedly, this is the same scan used for the Hong Kong Legends release over a decade ago. I figured as all these releases are licensed from Fortune Star, who have been responsible for the gorgeous transfers on all of Eureka's and 88 Films releases of Golden Harvest films, that these would be similar, but sadly that's not the case. Does anyone have experience with any other releases?
Blu-ray forums are dreaded?


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feihong
Joined: Thu Nov 04, 2004 12:20 pm

Re: Hong Kong Cinema

#216 Post by feihong » Thu May 21, 2020 6:56 pm

I got 3 Hong Kong blu rays in the mail today: The Fun, The Luck and The Tycoon, My Heart is That Eternal Rose, and the Tsui Hark film The Raid. There were surprises in store.

The Fun, The Luck...is released by Panorama, with a Fortune Star logo on the package as well. It looks ruufff. There's no visible grain most of the time. Everything looks soft. It is DNR'd to death. The early scenes set on the water are just a nightmare, but even scenes set in the kitchen look dark and muddy and blurred. Once in a blue moon an image holds for a second without much movement, and some grain comes into view. In those instances, the image starts to look sharp, and the littlest amount of depth becomes visible. There's not much of this. So this one's pretty much a disaster.

The other two discs were released by CN entertainment, which has not come through for the most part, except for a pretty good–looking disc for Wild Search. These new discs, like that one, have a Mei Ah logo on their cover, along with the CN one––though Full Contact and Victim also had the Mei Ah logo, and those two have a lot of DNR (Victim especially).

But My Heart is That Eternal Rose and The Raid actually have a pretty tight–looking grain structure. The discs look sharp, and there's a lot of depth of field. There are occasionally scenes that don't render great on blu ray––My Heart... has a lot of soft–focus scenes in the beginning, and both movies have a few scenes shot with a fog machine misting everything up. But otherwise, each film looks surprisingly sharp and clear, and so the discs look really, really nice. My Heart is That Eternal Rose has never looked better to my eyes.

Hopefully this means that future releases from the Mei Ah catalog might end up produced at a higher picture quality than what is the unfortunate standard for Hong Kong discs. Looking over my old Mei Ah DVDs, I wonder if things like the Tsui Hark movies Green Snake, Swordsman II, We Are Going to Eat You, and Dragon Inn might end up with a high–quality blu ray release in the future? Iron Angels was on Mei Ah. Or, dare I dream, Johnnie To's The Mission? Ashes of Time was on Mei Ah DVD at one time, though I'm sure those rights ended up somewhere else.

bad future
Joined: Sat Apr 14, 2018 6:16 pm

Re: Hong Kong Cinema

#217 Post by bad future » Fri May 22, 2020 1:21 am

My Heart is That Eternal Rose is on my watchlist and I’m thinking I might just splurge and blind-buy that blu ray, but I’ve never bought an HK release before. How are the English subs on that one? Is YesAsia the best way to order to the US?

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feihong
Joined: Thu Nov 04, 2004 12:20 pm

Re: Hong Kong Cinema

#218 Post by feihong » Sat May 23, 2020 12:29 am

I ordered YesAsia and it shipped to Los Angeles just fine. I found the subs just fine, though I have put in, you know, decades watching Hong Kong films, so do I even know what good subtitles are anymore? Nothing I saw in the subs distracted from the viewing experience. It wasn't as untranslatable as part of The Blade, and it wasn't as incoherent as the subs for another Patrick Tam film, Final Victory.

It occurs to me that maybe Mei Ah's catalog still includes yet another Tam film, Nomad. I wonder if that's a possibility for a blu ray? That would be remarkable.

As for My Heart is That Eternal Rose, it's really good. The blu ray makes it look a lot more luminous than it used to look on DVD. It's a nice romantic crime melodrama, where characters express a lot of pain. Nobody seems too cool. It's pretty fun as a corrective to John Woo's romantic killer schtick. There's a lot of good performances, especially from Rosamund Kwan's dad, from Ng Man–Tat, from a very creepy Gordon Liu, and from the very mopy young Tony Leung. Joey Wang is quite good as well. I think Kenny Bee is okay. The neon of Hong Kong glows in a very special way. To my mind Patrick Tam makes really thoughtful, visually creative and emotionally satisfying movies. I wish he had more opportunities to make movies. And it would be nice if lesser–scene films of his like Burning Snow and Love Massacre were seeable pictures.

cowboydan
Joined: Sat Apr 18, 2020 1:27 pm

Re: Hong Kong Cinema

#219 Post by cowboydan » Sun May 24, 2020 1:55 am

Thanks for the info guys. I just ordered My Heart is That Eternal Rose. I love Christopher Doyle's photography in all of his films. Aside from his Wong Kar-Wai collaborations, I also have Ruined Heart, Hero, Last Life in The Universe, and That Day on the Beach. Though, LLiTU is only dvd. Hopefully that can be upgraded one day.

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feihong
Joined: Thu Nov 04, 2004 12:20 pm

Re: Hong Kong Cinema

#220 Post by feihong » Sun May 24, 2020 2:25 pm

I really want to see Burning Snow, a Patrick Tam movie that apparently just isn't available at all, which stars Simon Yam. Apparently Doyle shot that movie, too, and is I think the only credited cinematographer. David Chung also shot on My Heart is That Eternal Rose. Altogether the cinematography looks just stunning on the blu ray. and very consistent. I can't see where Doyle's contribution ends and Chung's begins. I originally saw this movie on VHS, and then later on the Mei Ah remastered DVD. I never thought it looked that great. It actually looks incredible. Watching through it all again yesterday, it really looks pretty special.

I wonder what happened to Patrick Tam, exactly? I remember reading that he had been teaching when he returned to make After This Our Exile (in an interview he said that students discovering that he was in fact a notable filmmaker prompted him to make a movie again). But it seemed as if after My Heart is That Eternal Rose he kind of retired. Interesting too that so many later collaborators with Wong Kar–Wai work with Tam first. Is it right to call Wong a protege of Tam? He definitely is there helping Wong at the beginning of Wong's directorial career, I think really shaping Wong's approach to editing, especially on Days of Being Wild and the original, way better cut of Ashes of Time. When I see the Patrick Tam movies now, I feel like I'm looking at a more "rationalist" version of many Wong Kar–Wai movies to come. So many of the same elements are there: the melancholy, the casual, goofy humor, the saturated visuals...the kind of steamy sexual heat that is absent from so many other Hong Kong movies. Wong's own interest in 60s–era fashion and old, nearly abandoned bars and back alleys seems to be prefigured in Patrick Tam's films, especially Nomad, Final Victory, and My Heart is That Eternal Rose. Tam plays things a little straighter all around, with more traditional melodrama (though Nomad really feels like a French New Wave film for a lot of its runtime), less overt use of music. As a result, I find Tam's films are often more easily and readily communicative than Wong's films––it usually takes me a few viewings of a WKW movie to figure out where the drama is located within the picture, what is really motivating the characters, etc. In Tam's films all that material is more foregrounded and available to the viewer. Whereas with Wong I tend to notice the style first. And so the characters and their struggles come to the foreground in Tam's movies, and they often come across as more authentic people than are in the standard Hong Kong movie. But it's interesting to see as Wong's fortunes rise in the film industry, Tam's opportunities seem to wither away. I don't know if what that really reflects is less desire on Tam's part to make these movies, or more resistance from the studios he was working for to his less glamorous, less hyperbolic view of attractive people (one of the things that struck me about these rewatches of My Heart is what lumpen losers these pretty, pretty people are in the movie––the movie is really about them facing desperate circumstances, where any way out only forestalls a violent death). I could see Tam's closer adherence to genre as something that might make further movies a boring prospect––whereas Wong seems to discover what seems initially a more sustaining pursuit of higher style.

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The Fanciful Norwegian
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 2:24 pm
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Re: Hong Kong Cinema

#221 Post by The Fanciful Norwegian » Sun May 24, 2020 5:45 pm

Tam has said that after My Heart Is an Eternal Rose he decided he wasn't really happy with the way any of his movies had come out and that he needed to step back and take stock of his career; specifically, he felt he wasn't capable of the compromises necessary to be a filmmaker in Hong Kong and that he might be better off doing something else. He worked in advertising in Taiwan for a few years, then got a job as an in-house screenwriting instructor for a Chinese-language TV production company in Malaysia. (One of his students there was Ho Yuhang.) The basic story for After This, Our Exile was developed by his student Tian Koi-leong from a then-recent incident in the news, then Tam and Tian then worked on and off for about ten years turning it into a complete script. In the meantime, Tam decided he liked teaching and took a post at City University in Hong Kong while raising funds to turn the script into an actual movie. He still teaches at Hong Kong Baptist University (though his full-time residence is in Malaysia) and has been developing another script with his students that he intends to film one day. Most recently he completed a segment for a Johnnie To-produced omnibus called Septet, a collection of 35mm shorts about different periods in Hong Kong history; it was supposed to have premiered at Cannes this year.

Regarding the Wong/Tam relationship, it's a pretty standard trope in "WKW studies" to treat Tam as an early mentor, but Tam's stated opinion (which is obviously not the final word) is that he had "no effect" on Wong whatsoever, and he's bluntly dismissive of Wong's work since Days of Being Wild (including Ashes of Time, which Tam says he didn't get to cut the way he wanted because William Chang was taking over more of the editing duties by that point; Tam turned down an offer to edit Fallen Angels for that reason). Wong certainly didn't learn much in the way of working methods from Tam, whose reputation is of a hyper-perfectionist who plans every last detail in advance—I suspect this is at least part of the reason Tam didn't get on very well with the industry in Hong Kong. A strange chapter of the Wong/Tam relationship is that Tam asked Wong to write a letter to Eileen Chang regarding the screen rights to Half a Lifelong Romance, and that Wong apparently did so under his own name, with no mention of Tam. It's not really clear what happened next, except that Ann Hui ended up adapting it instead, as Eighteen Springs. There was also talk a few years ago of Tam making a short from one of Chang's unproduced script outlines, and I wonder if that might actually be his contribution to Septet.

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whaleallright
Joined: Sun Sep 25, 2005 12:56 am

Re: Hong Kong Cinema

#222 Post by whaleallright » Sun May 24, 2020 7:27 pm

I think Tam also forshadowed Wong in his wide range of influences (cinematic and otherwise) and unabashed artiness and intellectualism; Nomad is named after a concept from Derrida, after all.

The Udine film festival published a fabulous volume on Tam which contains seemingly 80% of the critical writing on his films in English. It also discusses (and catalogues) his television work, which by reputation is amazing but is basically impossible to see. Interview segments with Tam from this book indeed suggest that what he took from a prolific decade in the HK film industry was mostly disappointment.

Anyway, here's a link to the book, which I scanned in a few years ago: https://1fichier.com/?5sfjal8uznnz9hxr2oip

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Orson Kane
Joined: Mon Jun 10, 2019 12:07 pm

Re: Hong Kong Cinema

#223 Post by Orson Kane » Sun May 24, 2020 8:01 pm

Hi guys, I wonder what your opinions are of the Hong Kong Rescue guys (https://hkrservices.lpages.co/hong-kong ... ollection/) a US based based fan company doing their own releases.

Has anyone bought from them and can recommend them at all?

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whaleallright
Joined: Sun Sep 25, 2005 12:56 am

Re: Hong Kong Cinema

#224 Post by whaleallright » Sun May 24, 2020 10:38 pm

I have bought them all and the guy (it's just one guy, albeit relying on a lot of advice and help) does an incredible job. He really goes all out, and goes to hurculean lengths to get things right within the limits of his resources. The menu/navigation screens can be kind of chintzy but aside from that, they are usual great packages for the price point; they rival many or most "legitimate" releases, including Criterions. I was actually planning to get his version of Peking Opera Blues when it's ready (supposedly in a few weeks).

bad future
Joined: Sat Apr 14, 2018 6:16 pm

Re: Hong Kong Cinema

#225 Post by bad future » Mon May 25, 2020 11:46 am

Hong Kong Rescue actually came to my attention because I was googling around for any word on a decent blu ray release for Peking Opera Blues... really looking forward to that and hope it does the trick, especially since I’m not sure if it’ll ever end up with anyone like Criterion.

One thing I thought was a little curious in their newsletter updates is that in one scene they’ve proactively ‘corrected’ some mismatched coloring between a matte, the set, and the real sky in some adjacent shots. (They demonstrate what I’m talking about here.) I’m not complaining, but it does seem less preservation-minded than a lot of ‘restorations’ would be... or is this the kind of thing that may have been better matched at one point, and then the color timing wasn’t correctly reapplied for the HK blu ray release?

Oh and thanks for the feedback on My Heart is That Eternal Rose upthread; I’ll probably order it!

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