Friday, July 24, 2009

MV : "睡公主" by G.E.M. Tang

Right up to date cantopop wise a nice song by G.E.M. Tang.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

CD : Rowena Cortes - raining sha la la

Rowena Cortes did not release many albums in her short(ish) cantopop career in the 1980s but with this re-issue as part of UMG's Black in Black series this more or less completes her cantopop discography. There is one more album i have seen the cover of dating back a bit further (late 70s i think).

Raining sha la la was a hit for Rowena and starts off this typical mid-80s cantopop album, the song has a lovely early electronic melody to it. Electronics were just getting going in cantopop by then so this album is a mixture of the more organic funky sounds of the early 80s and the electro-pop which dominated the genre well into the 90s and the best songs are in this vein such as 暗藍 and 笑匠. Of course there are a couple of western cover versions though these arn't terrible. Overall its a good selection of music with Rowena's sweet vocals and seems a shame Rowena did not release that much after this album.

One nice touch, as with all the Black in Black series, is the black CD and faux-LP design.

MV : "DNA gone wrong" by Leon Lai

Oh no my DNA has gone wrong!

Review : Shinjuku Incident

Shinjuku Incident (HK 2009)

Lets review a new movie for a change. This is Jackie Chan's latest and is in a much darker tone than you usually get from the man. He plays an illegal immigrant from Mainland China who sneaks into Japan to look for his beau, Xu Jinglei, who has gone missing. Jackie settles down to a life as an illegal with his friend Daniel Wu doing the dirty jobs Japanese don't want to do though of course always being wary of the police and in one incident he ends up saving the life of a cop (Naoto Takenaka). Finally he sees his old love... who is now married to a Yakuza mob boss!

To survive Jackie forms his own gang from a collection of misfit Chinese illegal immigrants in order to get legal status and some respectability but of course as you know in these films a dark past never can be evaded forever and the cop he saved earlier wants him to get his former buddies back the right side of the law. The end of the film is very violent as Japanese and Chinese mob gangs do battle though the fight scenes are realistic (apart from Jackie who can't be stopped by gun or sword wounds it seems). The plot is quite generic for these kinds of movies (New guys enters scene / Fights way to top / Rivals want to bring him down) but also has a number of interesting sub-plots such as the experience of illegal immigrants in Japan to shake things up a bit though these sub-plots never really go anywhere.

Its the darkest Jackie Chan film i've seen and he tries his best to portray a complicated character with good and bad facets to his character but Jackie Chan has a lot of acting baggage (and not all of it that good) so sometimes it is difficult to relate to his character. It might just be down to the countless films you have seen him in before where he plays a much lighter character. Of course he has played "serious" roles before but often as the "good guy", here it is much more ambiguous.

The film is good though and portrays Japan's back streets as dark and violent. You won't find much if any of Jackie Chan's trademark action but you'll get a good solid mobster movie with plenty of gritty violence.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

MV : "虹日" by Hacken Lee

Going really old skool with Hacken!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Review : Raped By An Angel 3 : Sexual Fantasy Of The Chief Executive

Raped By An Angel 3 : Sexual Fantasy Of The Chief Executive (HK 1998)

With a title like this you know its not going to be an arthouse movie or a philosophical work, especially as Wong Jing is behind it. This film can be best described as a soft porn crime thriller in that it involves a candidate for the position of HK Chief Executive (Alex Fong) who is also a successful businessman but in his office building women working alone at night get raped yet this somehow does not affect his election standing.

The fact he keeps seeing naked women while out on the campaign trail doesn't affect him either or the fact he likes a bit of rumpy pumpy on his desk though he does go and see old-flame turned psychologist Angie Cheung who suggests he cut himself off from the world for 24 hours.

When the 24 hours are up, and he scarcely remembers what has happened in that time, he finds out one of his office staff, Pinky Cheung, has been raped and he is the suspect. Oddly enough though Pinky's brother is the cop assigned to the case. So no clash of interests there. The story is not bad though not very original and you can see the twist coming a mile off. Gratuitous use of female nudity and writhing bodies of course but an entertaining little film for all it's faults. The film may have been inspired by President Clinton and his libido.

MV : "私人時段" by E-Kids

Not to everyone's tastes i know but i like this song by E-Kids a lot.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

MV : "Desire" by Linda Wong

My favourite Linda Wong song. Just love the gothy feel to this.

Review : Blue Lightning

Blue Lightning (HK 1991)

Hong Kong: it seduces you, inspires you, attracts you but its a tough mistress. The streets have the bright lights and a myriad of attractions but in a dark alleyway is something ready to bite you on the...

Danny Lee plays a drunk ex-cop whose ex-wife is killed by person unknown. Only their kid survives. But why kill the woman? Thats the question on the lips of cop Tony Leung Ka Fei. As they investigate they start to delve into a world of blackmail, corruption and underage sex...

A Bigwig in HK is preparing for election but has a dark secret the assassin is trying to cover up. The assassin comes back for more to remove the evidence, including the friend of the deceased woman in the form of Olivia Cheng (in her last film according to online filmograhies before she went to become a golf instructor). And then he comes after Danny. The Bigwig has the police in his pocket, can he be stopped?

A hard bleak and very violent film. In this film HK is sleezy, HK is brutal, and HK doesn't care as another victim bleeds to death on it's tarmac...

Monday, July 13, 2009

10 Leon Lai videos uploaded

Finally getting around to some video uploading i put 10 Leon MVs on my Youtube channel last night. The songs are all from Leon's Polygram years. His Sony MVs are probably the best but there are also some classic moments from his earlier work. Including this MV, one of the best of all time (in my view)...

Thursday, July 9, 2009

MV : "Spokesman for sorrow" by Kelvin Kwan 關楚耀

Current favourite cantopop song.

Kelvin is a good singer, though his career is probably over (at least for a while) after he was arrested for drug possession in Japan. What is it with the young generation eh? You wouldn't catch the older generation and the 4 Kings doing this kind of stupid stuff (or not getting caught anyway).

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

MV : "Happy 2000" by Leon Lai 黎明

A classic track from Leon's Sony days when big video budgets and bigger beats were the norm! What a wonderful song and video this is.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Review : Till Death Do We Scare

Till Death Do We Scare (HK 1982)

The first few minutes of Till Death Do We Scare are among the funniest in movie history, thats if someone getting crushed by a steamroller (and then we cut to the funeral with a totally flat coffin) would make you laugh, it worked for me.

After that the film meanders a bit too much though the ending is fairly exciting with some nice ghost monster touches. There wasn't enough script for a whole movie but the good start and decent ending make the film worth persevering with.

A horror-comedy Till Death Do We Scare stars Olivia Cheng as a three-times widow who is wooed by Alan Tam. Olivia's 3 husbands (present as ghosts) want her to be happy and stay alive to maintain their legacy so try their best to get Olivia and Alan together and then, as they fear Alan will also die soon after marriage, do their best to try and split them up. Alan's sidekick Eric Tsang gets scared by a chair and menaced by the Ghost King's daughter playing the fall guy for a lot of the jokes as he does so well.

Its hilarious and stupid, like many other HK comedies of the period. The comedy is goofy and slapstick and at times highly inventive. At times the horror is quite frightening though others utter cheese. A bit genre-bending then. Great stuff.
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