Monday, June 28, 2010

The Sorcerer's Apprentice in NYC Chinatown

In April 2009 my fiance (I think this word sounds silly, so I don't plan on using it much) and I went into to Chinatown for dinner and DVD/VCD shopping. After a long and cold winter the warm air began to pop up and walking around C-town became more tolerable. During our travels we came across Eldridge St. at the corner of Division St. and the above scene. I immediately remembered a news report from a few days prior stating that Nicolas Cage was in the city shooting scenes for his upcoming Disney film, THE SORCERER'S APPRENTICE. I wasn't entirely sure if this set up was for the film, but after I enquired it was confirmed that this set up was in fact for the Cage film. I took a few shots from the closed off street/set. Also came across a really cool prop that was to be used in the film (pic below). So, as THE SORCERER'S APPRENTICE is about to be unleashed on the film going public, I figure I would give ya'll a glimpse of one of the sets used. I probably won't see the film. It's not my cup of tea. If any of you do see the film, let me know if you come across this c-town set up.









We kept our eyes peeled for a glimpse of Nic Cage but we couldn't spot anyone with a rats nest hairdo. After the thrill was gone we made our way to my usual HK DVD/VCD haunts, spent $ I didn't have on way too many HK movies, then tried a new spot for dinner. We contemplated hitting our favorite eatery, Big Wong's, but decided to try Big Wong's sister location just up the street, Big Wing Wong's. Same greasy chopstick atmosphere and same cheap and tasty food. Pretty nice spring day in Chinatown.




Sunday, June 27, 2010

NYAFF Day 3 tease

Woke up this morning and felt like garbage. Got out of bed and shook the cobwebs out. Get it together! It's day 3 of the NYAFF! There will be time for sleep when I'm dead! Or later on tonight when I get home? Going back and forth from way out on Long Island to the city for the passed few days has been rough. But it's for a good cause. It's for the kids. So, I hopped on the LIRR, made my way into the big city, and cabbed it up to Lincoln Center.
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I had a ticket to STORM WARRIORS but I had to bail for a special assignment. I met a buddy of mine at the theater. He runs another great film blog, HK and Cult Film News. So, as the story goes.....last week my buddy contacted me and said that he was in touch with 'someone' at the festival about possibly interviewing one of the celebrities that were going to appear at opening weekend. They gave him the green light. I assume that he knew my affection for HK cinema and my NY location and that is why he asked if I would like to tag along as a photographer? Maybe click a few pics as he spoke with one of the lucky actors? I was overjoyed that he thought of me. I honestly only know him through the beast that is facebook. So, you see folks? Social networking sites DO do good for people. They're not just for sexual predators. Anyway, I quickly accepted and upped the ante. I got my hands on a camcorder and things were looking up. Things began to look way up when we discovered that we would be interviewing one of my HK idols, Simon Yam tat-wah!!!!! History was made today folks. Cheesy HK cinema blog history. Wait until you see this video. All I did was press record, stand back, watch Simon, and wet myself. I'm the Peter Pau of video blog interviews. The interview went well but the video is so bad it's awesome! It fits my rag tag blog perfectly and I'm immensely proud of it. I hope to have it up sometime soon. HK and Cult Film News will also have the interview. If you haven't yet, check that site out. I'm a daily visitor. Here's the link:
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OK, so back to the fest. After the best damn interview you will ever see occurred, it was movie time. I stuck around for BODYGUARDS & ASSASSINS + the companion documentary DEVELOPMENT HELL. I had already seen B&A and enjoyed it. So much more exciting on the big screen. DEVELOPMENT HELL, about the cursed production of B&A, wasn't the greatest document i've seen but in parts was very interesting and did a serviceable job in covering the unfortunate occurrences that shrouded the film and mostly director Teddy Chen Tak-sum. Some more lovely things happened to me today but I will leave that for a later date. Remember that sleep I was talking about at the beginning of the post? It's time. Tomorrow it's back to reality.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

NYAFF Day 2 tease

Sammo. Adult film star.
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Day numero dos at the NYAFF. EASTERN CONDORS and ECHOES OF THE RAINBOW. Sammo and Simon were on hand for their respective screenings. Sammo had a great Q&A with Grady Hendrix after the EASTERN CONDORS screening. I took video of the whole thing. I just watched it. Unfortunately. It is like a Paul Greengrass film. While I adore his style, Sammo's Q&A is shaky cam city. I hope to post it soon and I apologize before hand. It's still freakin' cool. Just like the above pic. Sammo's lovely wife Joyce Mina Godenzi was also there and looks just as drop dead gorgeous as she did in Eastern Condors. My 'F' didn't know who she was but remarked how her eyes stood out, almost purple hued, and were so beautiful as EASTERN CONDORS kicked forward.
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My future spawns namesake, Simon Yam Tat-wah, took to the stage to intro his drama ECHOES OF THE RAINBOW. The 'F' cried uncontrollably throughout the film. I can't take her anywhere! I also took video of this brief moment. Just watched it and it is awesome. In all of it's shaky cam glory. I will be back tomorrow for day 3 of the fest before taking a few days off and LITTLE BIG SOLDIER on Thursday. I bought a ticket for STORM WARRIORS tomorrow but I think I'm going to miss it for a possible special assignment? I may have just jinxed it?! Either way, the fest has been unbelievable so far. Now, it's bed time. I don't know how these festival guys do it?! I'm exhausted after 2 days and i'm just an admirer.

Friday, June 25, 2010

NYAFF. Day 1 tease

Family Day
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One of the better photos I took from the fest this evening. My camera is a bit old and I've been meaning to upgrade but have been to lazy to go and take a look at all of the pretty and sleek newfangled photo contraptions that are on the market these days. Tonight, laziness bit me in the arse as my camera pooped the bed and took some god awful shots. Out of about 100 shots, 10 are 'barely' usable. The above pic of the awesome award ceremony was the best one. It goes downhill from there. I'm planning on switching cameras tomorrow and hopefully taking better pics from here on in. Knock on wood. But, I was there. And it was unforgettable.
I also took some video of the awards ceremony but haven't taken a look at that yet. In the above pic you can see Simon Yam Tat-wah, Sammo Hung Kam-bo, Huang Bo, and the lovely lady in red is the legendary Angela Mao Ying. She was a surprise special guest on hand to present Sammo with his Lifetime Achievment award. How awesome is that?! Hopefully the video turns out better than the pics? I hope to fully report on this weekend sometime next week. But, as you know, i'm lazy. If and when I get to it, I get to it. Hahaha

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Christmas in June.....and July. 2010 New York Asian Film Festival

It's the eve of the 2010 NYAFF and boy oh boy am I excited! I am going to see 8 films this year. More films than I have gone to in previous years. And they are all Hong Kong flicks, with the exception of the award winning Mainland film COW, starring one of the Film Festivals special guests and Rising Star Award recipient, Huang Bo. I will be attending this screening. Also at the fest this year and receiving awards are the great Sammo Hung Kam-bo and a gentleman I am planning on naming my first born (boy or girl) after, Simon Yam Tat-wah.

Sammo will be on hand for the opening night film and North American Premiere of IP MAN 2. He will also introduce the film and hang around to receive the Star Asia Lifetime Achievement Award.On day 2 of the fest Sammo will be back for a long Q&A session and also to present his kick ass classic EASTERN CONDORS. In a sweet Sammo double bill, later in the evening he will be presenting his more recent foot and fist effort, the culinary actioner, KUNG FU CHEFS. That is a ton of Sammo to cram into one weekend! I will be attending IP MAN 2 and EASTERN CONDORS. Good weekend so far. It only gets better.


I like Mooooooooooooooo.....vies!



And finally we come to my future childs namesake. Simon Yam Tat-wah is inimitable. He is my Category III prince charming. Whether playing a psychopath and charing Kent Cheng's daughter to a crisp in Billy Tang Hin-sing's RUN AND KILL, tapping tang in one of his male gigolo roles, or wanting nothing to do with tang as the flamboyant homosexual sociopath Judge in Ringo Lam's FULL CONTACT, Yam's talent hit's the highs and lows of the characters he employs with deft skill and charm to burn. Yam will be appearing opening night and receiving the Star Asia Award. The 2nd night of the fest he will be back introducing the North American premiere of his award winning drama, ECHOES OF THE RAINBOW. Day 3 has Yam introducing 3 of his films, the action fantasy STORM WARRIORS, the kung-fu epic, BODYGUARDS & ASSASSINS, and a second screening of ECHOES OF THE RAINBOW. I will be attending the first screening of ECHOES OF THE RAINBOW, as well as STORM WARRIORS and BODYGUARDS & ASSASSINS.
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To round out my festival experience I will be hitting up screenings of Jackie Chan's LITTLE BIG SOLDIER and the super-hyped retro fit kung fu flick, THE GALLANTS. Especially looking forward to THE GALLANTS.
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I have received some interesting news about my participation in the fest. I don't want to mention it because I don't want to jinx it. If things hold true, I hope to have a ton of pics, videos, news, and then some. Anyway, if you happen to be in town during the next two weeks, chop and kick your ass over to the Walter Reade Theater @ Lincoln Center and get your fix of some of the absolute best cinema Asia has to offer. The NYAFF is THE best fest in town.


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Ghost Fever (1989)

GHOST FEVER (1989)
Great poster for the 1989 ghost-comedy GHOST FEVER. The script was penned by schlocky Wong Jing and stars a handful of A-list heyday players....including my master Charle Cho Cha-lee. Starring alongside my sifu are Pat Ha Man-jik, Nat Chan Pak-cheung, Max Mok Siu-chung, Wong Jing, and the beautiful Rosamund Kwan Chi-lam. The film definitely wears it's time and place in HK cinema history on it's sleeve, vacillating between silly comedy and the spooky spooky. It's a fun hybrid that was common around these days of being wild in HK cinema. Director Lau Shut-yue only has a brief filmography but has made a handful of fine ghostly laughers including GHOST BUSTING, MY NEIGHBORS ARE PHANTOMS, LOOK OUT, OFFICER!, and FORCED NIGHTMARE.


My Sifu. Charlie Cho Cha-lee


Wong Jing and Rosamund Kwan Chi-lam
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Recently, and unfortunately, Ms. Kwan has announced her retirement from the Hong Kong film biz. Though she hasn't appeared in a film in 5 years, she has made her decision final as she plans to concentrate on a real estate endeavour. She will be missed by many fans of HK cinema as she was always an asset to any production. Beautiful, talented, and consistently alluring in the films she appeared in. One less class act in the industry. But we still have Angelababy! So things kinda even out. Oy vey.



Nat Chan Pak-cheung and Max Mox Siu-chung

Below is a brief clip from GHOST FEVER. This scene shamelessly rips off a dinner party scene from Tim Burton's wonderful BEETLEJUICE. Unfortunately, the GHOST FEVER diners don't break into Harry Belafonte's work-up of 'The Banana Boat Song', as it was memorably done by Catherine O'Hara and bunch. Still a funny scene none the less. Enjoy!
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On a side note, I have no idea how to get youtube videos placed properly on the blog without having the edge of the video cut-off? I welcome any and all answers. Thanks.


"He was hurt by some sex mania"

"He was hurt by some sex mania"- DEVIL GIRL 18 (1993)



Saturday, June 19, 2010

Dragon Fight (1989) SF film locations pt.2

Billy Tang Hin-sing's 1989 crime-actioner DRAGON FIGHT is another film lensed in San Francisco. Before Tang was the Tang that we all have come to know and love (the CAT III Tang), he tapped 2 rising young stars, Jet Li Lian-jie and Stephen Chow Sing-chi for this above par action film. Dick Wei stars as the baddie and also does the action directing. For some fans of the 2 stars, this film is seen as a lesser effort, or a hiccup, on their path to stardom. I say it's a pretty darn good flick for both Li and Chow that fits in nicely alongside other HK action flicks of the late 80's.



Anyway, below are pics of a car chase scene through the streets of SF, a la Steve McQueen's BULLIT. These photos also show the intersection of Grant Ave. and California St, the same location I mentioned in my previous post about CHINATOWN KID. If you look toward the center of the picture, as Li and his wife Nina fly down California St, trying to elude a few of Dick Wei's dastardly henchmen, you will see a McDonalds. This is the exact same place that was the Chinatown Wax Museum back in 1977 and The Chinatown Food Court today! 1980's corporate greed take over a section of C-town. For a short while anyway. Mickey D's in C-town!? Did they serve General Tso's Chicken Nuggets? Durian Pie? Duck Egg Mcmuffin? A Big Mao? OK. that's enough of that. NYC's C-town still has a Popeye's Chicken and a Mickey D's smack dab in the middle of it. So I can't be too harsh on Mickey D's trying to gentrify SF's C-town once upon a time.


Li and wife take to the air at intersection of Grant and California (1989)



Touchdown on California




Same intersection today (2010)






Below is the video to the chase scene. Pick the scene up at around the 4:05 mark. As Chow gets his ass handed to him by Dick Wei, Jet and Nina hop into their cool-ass station wagon and take off down California St.....leaving Chow behind!!!??? With friends like these....??? Anyway, Jet and Nina soar through the breeze at the Grant/California intersection near the 4:30 mark. Finally, the baddies car flips and explodes in a fiery, and fitting, end at around the 5:30 mark. Great scene. Enjoy!






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Friday, June 18, 2010

Chinatown Kid (1977) SF film locations pt.1

Got a lot of location shots done while on vacation (even ditched the 'F' to get some done). Our hotel was close to C-town so we hit the area up about 3 times on our stay. San Francisco's Chinatown is one of the more picturesque C-town's around and is quite large if you sprout out to the more less touristy areas. And of course we did. The pic above is of a building on the corner of California St. and Grant Ave. Grant Ave. is C-town's main drag, full of restaurants, souvenir shops, and on weekends, shoulder to shoulder tourists. This intersection gets quite busy and is a hot spot for photos, not only because of the ornate building on the corner but the cable cars that run up and down California St. stop right there.



The building houses a food court on the ground level and the Cathay House Restaurant above. We did not stop off and eat here because the internet word of mouth wasn't favorable. But we did stop to snap a few pics. Below is a shot from the opening credit sequence of Chang Cheh's CHINATOWN KID. Circa 1977, when the film was shot, the above mentioned building housed the Chinatown Wax Museum. Now, in 2010, you can find the Chinatown Food Court in the same location. Though I hear the food tastes like wax. So maybe not much has changed?


Chinatown Wax Museum. Corner of Grant Ave. and California St. 1977



Chinatown Food Court. Same corner. 2010




Ahhhhhh. The beautiful Lombard St. Located in the Russian Hill section of San Francisco and post card famous the world over for it's 'zig-zagging' street design, director Chang Cheh also used a shot from about 2/3 of the way up this hill, looking out over the North Beach and Telegraph Hill districts in SF. Cheh nicely stamped his 'Director' card over this beautiful landscape shot. See the below shots for comparison. I tried to get a pic of the same location and angle that the CHINATOWN KID shot was taken. Because i'm a nerd.





Lombard St. 1977






Lombard St. 2010


Stay tuned for more location shots from CHINATOWN KID. Also look out for locations pics from ALAN AND ERIC, SAUSALITO, GATES OF HELL, THE WESLEY'S MYSTERIOUS FILE, and DRAGON FIGHT.




Thursday, June 17, 2010

Tiger On the Beat 2 @ Amoeba Music. San Francisco

TIGER ON THE BEAT 2. Fail?




Flipping through the HK movie section @ Amoeba Music in The Haight I came across this used copy of the cool Danny Lee Sau-yin and Conan Lee Yuen-ba actioner TIGER ON THE BEAT 2. A savvy enough employee added a nice post-it to the dvd cover. Obviously referring to the infamous 'missed' stunt and long slo-mo fall of co-star Conan Lee Yuen-ba. While 'fail' might be a strong word, I think that Lee not 'pulling off the stunt' is what makes the film more memorable than it otherwise would have been. It was a happy accident for the film and HK cinema fans. Maybe not so much so for Mr. Lee. But it was defiantly not a fail. Anyway, I found this little note hysterical and laughed out loud in the middle of the store. I then proceeded to buy it. I already have the film in a few different formats but this was just priceless. $6 for a post-it. Hahaha


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If you have no clue what I am talking about, below is the infamous scene involving the wonderful Conan Lee Yuen-ba and the fortunate/unfortunate missed stunt. Ouch!




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Return To Action!

Hey guys! I'm back from my vacation in San Francisco and I brought (bought, cha ching, $$$$$) some friends home with me. 60+ Hong Kong films for about 230 bucks! Not bad. Had a wonderful time romping around and seeing the sites and boy are my feet, and wallet, tired. I had to pay an extra $30 on the flight back to NY for the checked bag full of HK flicks but 'twas a mere pittance. Don't look at me like that. You would do the same. I also got almost all of my blog homework done and hope to start posting some of the film locations that I spotted while sight seeing real soon. Or later? Or whenever?

I was in C-town a few times and the HK movie pickin's were pretty paltry. On my last day in town my gf and I trekked back for a bit to do some souvenir shopping. Thanks to my gf wanting to drag me into a shady ass souvenir shop. In the back of the shop I struck gold. Go west young man. In the rear of this run down joint I found a ton of HK movies, old, new, and legit, strewn about all over the place. I spent the next 1 1/2 hours rummaging through the bins and stacks of DVD's and VCD's, taking home a few gold nuggets. I found some old World Video DVD's of PINK KILLER aka PINK PANTHER and the rare TRILOGY OF LUST II. If you remember, I reviewed TRILOGY OF LUST I a few weeks back and plan on reviewing part II soon. I have the gray market DVD which is dubbed in Portuguese and now I have the original HK version. I hope to review both version in the coming weeks. Both, PINK KILLER and TRILOGY OF LUST II only cost $4, so I bought the only two copies of each that the store had. I have issues.


Found a few more gems (pictured above and below) while in SF. Came across a few more World Video DVD's in C-town; JIN PIN MEI, TEMPTATION SUMMARY II, and YES SIR 4. Some great VCD titles I picked up are the CAT III goodies DON'T STOP MY CRAZY LOVE FOR YOU and VIETNAMESE LADY, Daniel Chan Fai's artsy fartsy SLOW FADE, and obscure actioners FATAL DREAM with Karel Wong Chi-yeung, URBAN COP and CRAZY MISSION, both with Dick Wei. I also found the low budgeter STRANGERS MEET ON THE WAY with Yu Rong-guang, Jade Leung Chang, and Wayne Lai Yiu-cheung, the ultra rare and quirky Takeshi Kaneshiro/ Carmen Lee Yeuk-tung action-drama, THE ODD ONE DIES, and picked up another copy of the Athena Chu Yun throwback action pic TEMPTRESS OF A THOUSAND FACE. I found a copy in Boston's c-town about 2 year ago. Score. Outside of C-town I found a cool copy of the silly adult-comedy THE THREE LUSTKETEERS at Amoeba Music on Haight st.



VCD = Unbridled, passionate, and dirty love




Found these two Bruce Lee bobble heads while walking around Sausalito. I just had to have them. $15 each and worth every penny. It was an excellent trip and I hope to return in the next few years. If you have not been to San Francisco, I cannot recommend this beautiful location any higher. Even though I have probably sapped the C-town HK movie supply (sorry 'bout that), If I could afford it, I would drop everything and move there without a second thought. Clean, great weather, kind people, and just lovely to look at. Anyway, I hope to share some of my SF experiences and goodies in the coming months. I also picked up a few new flicks too. The Tai Seng DVD of Simon Yam Tat-wah and Sandra Ng Kwun-yu in Alex Law Kai-yui's ECHOES OF THE RAINBOW, Dennis Law Sau-yiu's tired Japan spook inspired WOMB GHOSTS, and Jacky Cheung Hok-yau and Tang Wei in the rom-com CROSSING HENNESSY. I am waiting for the NYAFF to see ECHOES OF THE RAINBOW, and when I do I will report back on it. As for WOMB GHOSTS, this was a monumental turd. Stay far away. Law should be embarrased for putting this film out and should go back to hawking real estate. I watched CROSSING HENNESSY on the flight home and it was not as great as I had hoped, but it was rather delightful and breezy enough to warrant a sunday afternoon sit through.
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A bit off topic, but I would like to say that I got engaged to my girlfriend while in San Francisco. So, now she goes from 'gf' to 'f'. I hope she'll be OK with the new moniker. I kinda like it! Hahaha With that being said.......back to the Hong Kong movie goodies!





Tuesday, June 8, 2010

San Francisco days, San Francisco nights

Hey folks! The girlfriend and I will be going on a little summer vacation this week. Destination 9th Heaven.....San Francisco! We were there a few years ago for the first time and fell in love with the place. We have been wanting to return, and now we are. I am planning on doing some blog homework while sightseeing as well. The things I do for you guys!? I hope to do some HK/SF film location stuff. I have done a little research and found some filming locations for the flicks SAUSALITO, ALAN AND ERIC: BETWEEN HELLO AND GOODBYE, THE WESLEY'S MYSTERIOUS FILE, THE CHINATOWN KID, and GATES OF HELL (the latter film is where the above and below screen shots come from). I can't promise that I will get to all of the spots that I intend to but i'm sure going to try. So, with that said, I won't be updating the blog until I get back next week. I'm sure you will all miss me. I am looking to hit c-town pretty hard and give Chinatown West over in Inner Richmond a go as well. I'm hoping to bring home some HK cinema goodies to post for you guys. Last time there I found c-town way too expensive and only came home with about 20 or so movies. Praying things are a bit better this go-round. Off to JFK! See you next week!
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Aiiiiiyyyyyaaaaaahhhhh!!! I can't take you anywhere!?!?






Saturday, June 5, 2010

Tricky Gambler (1991)

TRICKY GAMBLER aka THE FATAL GAME (1991)







Sir Francis



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Pretty cool poster to the 1991 gambling/action pic TRICKY GAMBLER aka THE FATAL GAME, directed by David Shum Dai-wai. The film stars Ray Lui Leung-wai, Sharla Cheung Man, Francis Ng Chun-yu, the lovely Ann Bridgewater, he of the Abe Lincoln chin strap beard, Kwai Chung, B-flick stalwart Shum Wai, and another Charlie Cho Cha-lee apprentice, Gam Biu. I have not seen the film. Can't find it. Any leads?




Sharla Cheung Man





Ray Lui Leung-wai






Ann Bridgewater and Shum Wai



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The majority of the name cast have been M.I.A. from HK films for some time now. We all know that Mr. Ng is one of the better actors in the universe. And Lui can hold his own and is a welcome sight in any flick. Sharla, though gone from display on the jade screen, has taken to tube and sometimes finds herself behind the scenes. She has starred in and has directed a few HK TV dramas. Cheung is underrated, and not mentioned nearly enough as one of the few actresses from the heyday that was always in a quality production and cast against a star lead. Ann Bridgewater's film career spanned approximately 10 years and in those 10 years she has appeared in a dozen or so high profile flicks like the OPERATION PINK SQUAD films, FULL CONTACT, CURRY AND PEPPER, TOM,DICK,AND HAIRY, and YESTERYOU, YESTERME, YESTERDAY. She left the industry, went to medical school, and became a psychiatrist. Maybe she should have HER head examined!? M.D. or HK movie star? I think the answer is clear. What a mistake! Gam Bui is a CAT III gentleman. Debonair and ever so chivalrous, Mr. Bui has tapped many a nubile HK actress arse. He's a disciple of the grand master, and my sifu, Charlie Cho Cha-lee, and they equal each other in their dirty movie output. He appeared ancient in the early 90's. Is he still with us? Anyone? Anyone? Hacky Shum Wai turned out to be a cheese movie actor but earned his wings with appearances in some fine 80's and early 90's productions. For most, he isn't missed. But for me, sorely. His amber colored corrective lenses burned right through my HK cinema lovin' soul. Come back to the HK cinema, Shum Wai, Shum Wai.







Brothers of the world, UNITE!

All the while i'm traipsing around NYC in attempts to locate some Hong Kong movie locations, the guys over at the wonderful and indispensable HK movie site, Hong Kong Cinemagic, have been doing the same thing with locations in Hong Kong! Thomas Podvin and Gary Wong have compiled an awesome stack of photos from famous HK movie locations. They, as always, have gone the extra mile for HK cinema lovers like us. A wise man once said, "Great minds think alike......about HK Cinema!" That guy was right!

Please head on over to Hong Kong Cinemagic and check out their project. See locations from A BETTER TOMORROW, CHUNGKING EXPRESS, INFERNAL AFFAIRS, and IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE. Plus much, much more. The project is still being completed and fine tuned. Thomas even asked little old me if I could provide some of my film location pics. And of course I am going to. Anything for HK cinema. I'm still amazed at the excellent job the Cinemagic crew did. Check it out now!
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Thank you Hong Kong Cinemagic!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Comrades, Almost A Love Story. Harold L. Lee & Sons Inc. Insurance.

May 8, 1995. The day that famed Taiwanese songstress Teresa Teng suddenly died of a severe asthma attack while on vacation in Chiang Mai, Thailand. She was only 42. One of Teng's most popular songs, "The Moon Represents My Heart", was used to endearing affect in Peter Chan Ho-sun's 1996 romance film COMRADES, ALMOST A LOVE STORY. I've featured this wonderful film on the blog before and have also showed you guys a few of the NYC locations where some of the scenes took place. And here is another one. Harold L. lee & Sons Inc. Insurance. Located on Pell St. in NYC Chinatown. In the below series of photos, you can see the name 'Harold L. Lee & Sons Travel Service' stenciled on the door that Maggie is about to exit. Circa the mid 90's, the place appeared to be a travel agency for the c-town folk. From travel agency to insurance company. I guess Harry and his boys knew where the money was? At the bottom of the post you'll find one of my cheesy little videos that I know you all love so much.




In the scene, my lover Maggie Cheung Man-yuk is inside of Harold L. Lee & Sons and is informed that she has finally received her green card and can now return home to China without incident. Upon exiting the establishment (pictured above and below) she overhears on the radio of the passing of Teresa Teng.


Teng's "The Moon Represents My Heart" is a beautiful song that once heard is unshakable. Even if you don't understand the language, the lovely melody coupled with Teng's shimmering voice really takes hold, and, if you are so lucky, make you happy to be in love. In the film, the song serves as a connection between the two main characters, Maggie and Leon Lai Ming. It also serves to link them back to a time and place that seems so distant and almost forgotten, as the two struggle to root down and make meaning of their lives in foreign surroundings.



Maggie. Dreaming the reality.




Maggie and the Bloody Angle.....again.





COMRADES, is one of many HK films that attempts to portray strangers in a strange land. Whether that land be Hong Kong and the odd disconnect that seems to exist between various Chinese denizens there or the fish-the-way-the-heck-out-of-water attempt to fit in in New York City. It's a film that, though populous and only ankle deep in meaning, is far reaching to a large Chinese diasporic population, and appears to get the feeling of it's characters, and their time and place, right.

Above is an up to date photo of the outside of Harold L. Lee & Sons establishment. The outside is never shown in the film and I suspect has transformed over the last 14 or so years into what you see here. There is also a gwailo heroin hooker doing her best gangster lean up against the facade. While an idiot gwailo HK film geek takes a photo of her. Gotta love C-town. Below is one of my award winning documentaries that I made of the outside of Harold L. Lee & Sons Inc. Insurance. Enjoy.



video




If your memory is a bit fuzzy, below you can find the above mentioned scene from COMRADES, ALMOST A LOVE STORY. The scene runs from the 10:57 mark to the 11:52 mark. But if you want to hear a little snippet of Teng's "The Moon Represents My Heart", let the video run to the end. And, again, enjoy.