Posts Tagged ‘stephen chow’

Check Out Stephen Chow’s “The Mermaid”

If you live in North America and are lucky enough to be near one of the scant 35 theaters that is showing “The Mermaid,” make the effort to check it out. It was released over the weekend on 2/19 with some sneak preview screenings on 2/18. I spent all day today reading reviews about this wonderfully enchanting & thought-provoking movie. The overall consensus is that while there is a total lack of disregard from Sony’s marketing department for this film, critics are loving Stephen’s environmental message disguised within fantastic nonsensical storytelling & quirky slapstick gags that are infamously Stephen Chow style. Not to mention, they are giving widespread criticism towards Sony for its inactions, leaving us fans wondering what the hell is going on?

I’ve attended a couple of Chinese language films in San Francisco this year and I thought they would show a preview of The Mermaid at least before the Chinese films. Alas, there was no mention of it, not even a Coming Soon poster anywhere to be found. It seems zero dollars were spent marketing this movie in San Francisco and we have one of the biggest Chinese populations around. What gives? They promoted Kung Fu Hustle pretty hard back then but I started to think maybe it is because they are associating Chinese people with martial arts. Thus, I’ve concluded that perhaps this is a little bit racist and Sony should be ashamed of themselves if that is the case.

As a bonus, I came across some wonderful Behind The Scenes videos on YouTube. They are in Chinese but you can see how much work Stephen is putting into the film and they are still worth a watch:

Deleted fragments:

I could go on and on about this but I don’t have to. These reviewers have done it already. Pretty sad how this amazing film is being treated in the US. I don’t expect Stephen to want to work with the US much more.

TO check out some of the reviews I’ve read, see below. Thank you all for giving The Mermaid a voice.

Forbes

New York Times

RogerEbert.com

Metro

LA Times

Variety

Pajiba

Twitchfilm

Entertainment Weekly

Criticwire

Film Journal

UPDATE:2/23/16 Looks like Sony stepped up and added more screenings. Yay!

No One Can Compete with Stephen Chow

For the past five weeks, I have been watching Stephen Chow’s movies/TV shows every week, hence, my lack in blog posts. Who is Stephen Chow? Only the best Chinese comedian/actor/director in Asia in my humble opinion. I still remember the very first time I learned how to use the internet back in 1995. One of the first things I remember looking up was Stephen Chow, which brought me to his IMDB page. I didn’t know about web addresses yet, only the search engine which at the time, was Yahoo as the home page at my college. I recall emailing my Chinese friends some instructions on how to get to his IMDB page and telling them which movies they should check out. What a great way to learn how to use the internet!

While watching his films, I would notice a lot of similarities such as scenes that involve eating noodles. Then I read an article that gave a biography of Stephen’s that said that his mother used to make him a bowl of noodles everyday when he came home from school. I also noticed that a lot of the stories he’s done are about the lower class of people and I read that he grew up in a single parent household after his father left when he was 7 years old and his mother held two jobs to raise their family of 4 as he had 2 older sisters. So it’s really nice to see him putting little elements of his childhood into the movies he does.

I really love this guy. The more I read about him, the more I appreciate his work as an actor, a writer, and a director; especially as a director. I find that if you read interviews where they have asked him about his history, you’ll find quite a genuine soul who believes that the “true heroes are the workers.” So in a lot of the movies he’s done, you will find that hero to be someone you wouldn’t normally envision as a hero. The hero in his films are usually the underdogs of society; the poor, the seemingly weak, the ones who are not universally considered attractive, desirable or smart. The heroes in his films are the ordinary people like you and me. In addition, he created a whole new genre of films called “Mo Lei Tau” which basically means “nonsense.” His movies came out at a time when the young people of Hong Kong had no voice and he gave them a voice to speak with. They became inspired by him and everyone fell in love with his films. At one point, Hong Kong’s top five movies that were out in the theaters all had Stephen Chow in them! Who can do that?!! Astonishing.

Anyway, I am excited to watch his new movie, “The Mermaid” come out this year. It is being released in Asia on the first day o Lunar New Year, 2/8/16. I was thiiiiiiiisss close to quitting my job and cashing out my vacation pay/sick pay and flying off to Hong Kong just to watch the movie in case it doesn’t come here on the same day. I eventually came to my senses and realized that a movie ticket costing over $1000 is never worth it…unless Stephen Chow is sitting there right beside you.

My favorite movie of his is “All’s Well, Ends Well” but it’s not online unfortunately except for the trailer.  However, if anyone is going to check out a Stephen Chow movie for the 1st time, I would start with “All For The Winner” which was a comedic parody movie of a Chinese drama movie called “God Of Gamblers.” Only problem is, Stephen has such an outstanding command of Cantonese that his improv involves a lot of Cantonese wordplay. So while his comedy is funny, there is actually another level of comedy that most of us can’t comprehend unless we were familiar with Cantonese! For example, at around 1:25 of All For The Winner below, the english subtitle says he is calling the vending machine, “Mr. Machine.” In Cantonese, the phonetic words he is using is gei lou. In Cantonese, the word “gei” (机) also sounds like the word “gei” (基) which when put together with lou (佬) is the words they use to call someone gay. It’s actually a rather vulgar term and used only in Cantonese. However, reading the English subtitles, that joke would have gone right past you. Anutha level, bruh. Anutha level.

If you’re interested, here are some comedic scenes Stephen has done in the past. Enjoy.

King Of Comedy (1999)

Kung Fu Hustle (2004)

Magnificent Scoundrels (1991)

Compilation –
All For The Winner (1990)
God Of Cookery (1996)
Magnificent Scoundrels (1991)

SF Int’l Asian American Film Festival

The 29th annual Asian American Film Festival begins next week & I’m thoroughly excited! I LOVE this film festival. I’ve decided to volunteer for them this year. I figured this would be a great opportunity for me to network and learn a little bit about the film industry before I decide if I want to enter this world professionally. The festival will run from March 10th – March 20th in multiple theaters around the Bay Area including Sundance Kabuki in San Francisco, Pacific Film Archive in Berkeley, and Camera 12 in San Jose. I’ve been attending this festival for the past 10 years and it has never disappointed me. I usually catch the comedy shorts program but over the years, with so many vast & intelligent topics surfacing, they had enough to start grouping the topics of the short films together. For 2011, the shorts programs are 3rd I South Asian program (South Asian/Indian), Chicken Proof (comedy), Future States (transmedia experiment), Life, Interrupted (human spirit), Living Life Large (portraits), Play/House (family dynamics), Silent Rituals and Hovering Proxies (texture of life), Suite Suite Chinatown (Chinatowns), and Tainted Love (love).

This year though, I’ve decided to skip the shorts progam and opt for a Hong Kong-based feature length film called “Break Up Club.” No, there won’t be any Asian Molly Ringwald look-alikes twirling her overdyed auburn hair or any rebellious Judd Nelson types carving Chinese characters of symbolic meaning onto wooden desks. It actually stars Fiona Sit and Jaycee Chan (Jackie Chan’s son, fyi) and it is “a tale of a mysterious Web site, Breakupclub.asia, that will reunite estranged lovers if one party enters the name of a happy couple and agrees to separate them in exchange.” – Center for Asian American Media(CAAM). Sounds pretty intriguing, right?

I love Hong Kong films, but my favorites are the comedy films with Stephen Chow in it. He is hilarious!! If I could, I would almost marry that fool. He’s an amazing actor and an even more creative comedian who is now directing and producing his own films. He’s been doing this for over 20 years and during this time, with each film, you can witness his progress in honing his comedic timing down to an exact science. He’ll make you cry he’s so good!

My favorite film with him in it is “All’s Well Ends Well” but I wouldn’t suggest watching that as a first Stephen Chow film. He was still at the beginning stages of learning his comedic timing in this one but I just like it because I enjoy the plot. If anyone ever decides to check him out, I would suggest watching “Shaolin Soccer” or “Kung Fu Hustle” in which he starred in and directed. Alternatively, one can watch him in “Fight Back To School,” “God of Gamblers II,” or “All For The Winner.” And those aforementioned are just the tip of the iceberg. All his films have English subtitles so they’re perfect for me. While I do speak Chinese, I can’t, however, read nor write it.

Wow, all this Stephen Chow talk has got me wanting to go watch his movies now. Hmm…I wonder if there’s a Chinese version of Netflix out there. Ah well, doesn’t matter. I own copies of many of his movies anyway. I think I’ll go watch “Take Me Home Tonight” this weekend. Topher Grace is one of my favorites but no one can hold a candle to Will Friedle, at least not in my book. ;0)