Tuesday, January 1, 2008

A by-the-numbers look at my 2007 movie viewing year

Movie advertising on the back of a bus, Hong Kong style!

1 -- The total number of 'new' (i.e., previously unseen by me) Brigitte Lin Ching-Hsia movies viewed in 2007 (and for the record, it was Little Sister-In-Law, newly available on VCD, with English and Chinese subtitles, in 2007). (And for those who haven't realized it, Brigitte Lin is my favorite actress of all time!)

2 -- The number of films viewed in a corporate boardroom setting this past year! (And should anyone wonder, the plus side is that the seats are really plush but the negative side is that the sound and visual quality may not be as great as one would like.)

2 too -- The number of feature films I've viewed on DVD while living in Hong Kong!! (So, yes, my viewing habits have changed enormously from being a mix of home video and public setting to almost entirely the latter.)

2 1/2 -- The total number of Malaysian films I viewed in 2007 (with Yasmin Ahmad's affecting Mukhsin and Tan Chui Mui's frustration-inducing Love Conquers All being the wholly Malaysian films and Tsai Min Liang's I Don't Want To Sleep Alone counting as just a half in my book.)

4 -- The number of films that will only officially be released in Hong Kong cinemas in 2008 that I viewed in 2007.

6 -- The total number of feature-length documentaries and/or biographical works viewed this past calendar year. (The titles: Nanking (USA), The Bimo Records (Mainland China), Before the Flood (Mainland China), The Go Master (Mainland China & Japan), Crossing The Line (Britain & North Korea), and Persepolis (France).)

11 -- The number of Hong Kong movies and/or co-productions viewed in 2007 that I'd give at least an 8.5 out of 10 -- i.e., 'very good' -- rating to. And should you wonder, these are (in viewed order, and with the original year of release in parentheses): Sister Long Legs (1960), Curse of the Golden Flower (2006), After This Our Exile (2006), Whispers and Moans (2007), Hooked On You (2007), The Drummer (2007), Flash Point (2007), The Sun Also Rises (2007), The Wild Wild Rose (1960), The Warlords (2007), and Trivial Matters (2007).

14 -- The number of non Hong Kong movies viewed in 2007 that I'd give at least an 8.5 out of 10 rating to; with these being (in viewed order, and with the territory (or territories) of origin in parentheses): The Sinking of Japan (Japan), Mukhsin (Malaysia), Bubble Fiction: Boom or Bust (Japan), King and the Clown (South Korea), Hula Girls (Japan), Zodiac (USA), Ratatouille (USA), The Loyal 47 Ronin, Part I (Japan), Hairspray (USA), Lust, Caution (Taiwan-Mainland China), Hero (Japan), The Last King of Scotland (Britain), Persepolis (France), and My Blueberry Nights (an English language Wong Kar Wai movie whose territory of origin I'm actually unsure of!).

15 -- The number of different territories whose films I viewed this past single calendar year. (And for the record, they were Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Iran, Iraq, Mainland China, Malaysia, North Korea, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, and the USA).

15 as well -- The total number of movies I viewed over the course of a little bit more than a week at the 2007 Hong Kong International Film Festival.

15 yet again! -- The number of films from Japan viewed in 2007 (And, for the record, this diverse group comprised -- in viewing order -- Four Days of Snow and Blood (1989), The Sinking of Japan (2006), Flower and Snake (2004), The Returner (2002), Sway (2006), Bubble Fiction: Boom or Bust (2007), Umizaru 2: Test of Trust (2006), Hula Girls (2006), The Loyal 47 Ronin, Part 1 (1941), The Loyal 47 Ronin, Part 2 (1942), Udon (2006), The Girl Who Leapt Through Time (2006), Hero (2007), Tokyo Tower: Mom, Me and Sometimes Dad (2007), and Rainbow Song (2006).

16 -- The number of movies from the USA that I elected to check out this past calendar year. (And, again for the record, this mixed bag comprises -- in viewing order -- House of D (2004), Meet the Fockers (2004), Film Geek (2005), Guess Who? (2005), Apt Pupil (1997), Nanking (2007), The Family Stone (2005), Sunshine (2007), Shrek 3 (2007), Zodiac (2007), Ratatouille (2007), Hairspray (2007), Rush Hour 3 (2007), Lions for Lambs (2007), I Am Legend (2007), and The Bourne Identity (2002).)

16 once more -- The number of movies released in 2007 whose director and/or (at least) one of its stars I interviewed over the course of my work.

30 -- The number of 2007 Hong Kong films I viewed in 2007.

50+ -- The number of film personalities I've spotted at movie premieres as well as in everyday settings (e.g., at a fruit stand, in a cafe, in an MTR station!) since moving to Hong Kong. And yes, I really stopped counting around the 6 month mark of my Hong Kong stay! ;o

58 -- The number of Hong Kong (and Hong Kong-related: i.e., Mainland China-Hong Kong co-productions like Curse of the Golden Flower) movies viewed this past calendar year.

64 -- The number of movies from other than Hong Kong viewed this past year.

84 -- The number of films viewed on on a big screen (i.e., usually a cinema but also film festival settings like the Hong Kong Cultural Centre's Grand Theatre) this past year.

122 -- The total number of movies I viewed for the first time in 2007. (In other words, I'm not counting repeat viewings.)

1941 -- The original year of release of Kenji Mizoguchi's still highly impressive The Loyal 47 Ronin, Part I, the oldest film I viewed in 2007. (And yes, I also did check out The Loyal 47 Ronin, Part II (1942) as a double feature treat. ;b)


Glenn, kenixfan said...

As an American, let me apologize for House of D and Guess Who, among others. Wong Jing movies don't look so bad compared to multi-million dollar failures like those flicks.

So why was I Don't Want to Sleep Alone only a half? You walked out or fell asleep? I liked the Wayward Cloud but probably couldn't sit through it again.

And what are the 4 Hong Kong films you saw in 2007 that will be released in 2008?

I am shocked at how few films you saw on DVD this year.

Happy New Year as well!

Willow said...

How did you track the films you watched? I viewed a ton this year and it would be such an arduous task (but worthwhile) now to try to put together a list (for purposes of, perhaps, a blog) cos I kept no track whatsoever. =( Did you keep a running list, like on MS Excel or something? haha.

I think I've seen these films in theaters: Shrek 3, Bourne Ultimatum, Lust, Caution, Mad Detective, Finishing the Game, and Komaneko the Curious Cat. Everything else was viewed at home.

Happy new year!

YTSL said...

Hi Glenn --

Actually, "Guess Who", even while obviously not being as good as "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?" wasn't as bad as I feared. "House of D", OTOH, was disappointingly maudlin and mediocre. Still, it definitely wasn't as excruciating as the one Wong Jing (produced) movie I saw in 2007: "Beauty and the Seven Beasts". So... no need to apologize for being an American on this account! ;b

On the subject of "I Don't Want To Sleep Alone": I neither walked out or fell asleep -- though I must admit to feeling tempted to do both. Instead, the reason why I considered it only "half" a Malaysian movie is that while filmed in Malaysia and having a Malaysian director, its star was Taiwanese and it was a weird Tsai Min Liang Malaysia where Mandarin was the dominant language.

As for the 4 2008 movies I saw in 2007: They're Johnnie To's "Linger" and a low budget work entitled "The Spark in the Dark" along with Feng Xiaogang's "Assembly" and Wong Kar Wai's "My Blueberry Nights". (And yeah, well, no prizes for guessing which movie I liked the best of that lot!)

Hi Willow --

Sad but true: I track the films I have watched -- and have done so since 1999 -- by making a separate MS Word list of Hong Kong movies watched, another for non Hong Kong movies watched *and* an additional Access(!) file for Hong Kong movies (this one with dates as opposed to my short impressions ('highpoints', 'lowpoints', etc.) of each movie... ;S

And oh wow re how different our home video vs cinema viewing habits are! ;o

Anonymous said...

oh my my, ytsl, you really kept that movie log?????? amazing...

i could probably watch wayward cloud a couple more time but i don't think i can say the same of i don't want to sleep alone.


YTSL said...

Hi hd --

You mean you don't keep a movie log????? I'm shocked/surprised!!! ;D

As for the movies of Tsai Min Liang: I think I've given them ample chances. No more!

Anonymous said...

hahaha. i really loved tsai's the hole. hd

YTSL said...

Hi again hd --

I know that Tsai Min Liang has his fans -- and all the more power to him for that -- but, really, he's one of those filmmakers whose works get me thinking: "I want those hours spent viewing X film of his back!" ;(

Anonymous said...

woohoo... goodbye dragon inn is his masterpiece! u were referring to that eh?

by the way, seriously, how can i get hold of mizoguchi's ronin movies? is it available on dvds with english sub? yesasia didn't seem to have it. thx - hd.

YTSL said...

Hi once more hd --

Re Tsai: Let's just that "Goodbye Dragon Inn" is among those works of his which I've viewed!

As for Mizoguchi's Ronin movies: Sorry, can't help you with DVD info as I viewed them on a big screen at the Hong Kong Film Archive... ;b

Anonymous said...

grrrr... big screen.... grrrr..... can they telecine a copy????

Willow said...

I will start tracking my films! And books! My one resolution for 2008. And an easy one to boot. ;D

YTSL said...

Hi hd (I'm sure that's you!) --

Sorry but I think they can't telecine without permission... And yes: big screen. Really! ;b

Hi again Willow --

It IS easy enough to do if you do it one by one and immediately after watching/reading. Good luck with keeping your 2008 resolution! :)

Madara said...

Girl, you have got the LIFE!

I've got THE GIRL WHO LEAPT THROUGH TIME and THE SINKING OF JAPAN on my to-view pile of DVDs. I really want to see NANKING; it opened theatrically here and I clean forgot about it until reading your list. I just checked the movie listings and it's gone.

But the two most intriguing films on your list are titles I've never heard of before--LITTLE SISTER-IN-LAW and SISTER LONG LEGS. Tell us more!

YTSL said...

Hi leo86 --

Teeheehee re your opening remark!

As for the movies: NANKING is a film that won't lose much when viewed on video; so I recommend that you get yourself a DVD of the film when that comes out.

Re LITTLE SISTER-IN-LAW: Brooklyn Brian has a pretty good -- especially when you consider that he saw the film without unsubs some time back! -- review over here:-

As for SISTER LONG LEGS: It's a classic Cathay family comedy-of-manners which stars Julie Yeh Feng (someone you've GOT to see, if you haven't already!), Jeannette Lin Cui (another Cathay star I adore) and Roy Chiao. BTW, didn't it play in New York as part of the Cathay series??


Madara said...

I only got to see one film at the Cathay series, WILD WILD ROSE. But I have seen Julie Yeh Feng before--in SUN, MOON, AND STAR Parts 1 & 2. Check out my reviews of same on IMDB.

YTSL said...

Hi again leo86 --

Too bad re your going to see only one film at the Cathay series. Also, THE WILD, WILD ROSE isn't half bad but, for my money, the Cathay comedies generally are better than the dramas. As for SUN, MOON AND STAR: Glad you enjoyed it and yes, its female stars really are wonderful. :)