emspace thoughts

What's floating around in Em's brain today?

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Back in Scouseland

Back 'home' in Liverpool again looking after the shop this week. Things are pretty quiet though, so I have been catching up on some rest and TVB viewing.

"Maiden's Vow" was okay. The first story was quite good as I liked watching Sammul Chan's nasty streak. The second story was deadly boring and you just wanted to slap Charmaine's character for being so dumb. Third story was daft, like watching a silly sitcom, but then again I have never been much of a fan of the seventies series and the last story was cute - again, Sammul did great as the gay guy! I'd so love to have a mate like him, he was so caring and sensitive. I think Charmaine and Joe were at their most natural in the last story too, but the ending was just plain stupid. TVB have never been good with their endings - this series was no breakthrough.

I start on "Land of Wealth" this evening, although I have jumped ahead a bit and watched some of "To Grow With Love" to see what the hype was all about. It's okay so far, nice light comedy - I think I have to be in the right frame of mind to watch it though otherwise the shallow plot would just totally annoy me. My copy of classic ATV drama "Coincidentally" arrived this week as well, so my entertainment for the next few weeks is cut out.

Also went to watch "The Departed" yesterday. Being a big fan of the "Infernal Affairs" movies and based on the comments I have heard from other people, I didn't hold out much expectation for the film and it was a good job because I fell asleep for a few minutes in the middle of it. Yes it was that stimulating! There is no way that DiCaprio and Damon could match the charisma and charm of Lau and Leung and Mark Wahlberg was the only redeeming factor in the film. Jack Nicholson couldn't quite master the comedic timing of the Eric Tsang character and the incontinuity of the Sor Keung thread (played out in 'Departed' by various different people in the gang) destroyed the humour. Trying to combine all three films into one meant there was no suspense and the decision to drop the 'aside' where Leung and Lau meet in the hi-fi store was a bad one, because that ironic scene was one of the best in the original film. What made my experience worse was that the woman sitting behind me kept kicking my seat and then gasping in terror whenever she saw the unnecessarily graphic gore scenes. Maybe she should go and see a less violent film in the next screen instead, maybe "Open Season" would have been more in her league. Talking of which, I might go and catch that next - saw some trailers and they are hilarious!

Labels: ,

Sunday, October 22, 2006

"Face to Fate" and my addiction to Wuxia series

At the expense of some sleep and a couple of shopping/dimsum trips, combined with a contribution from shittyhormone insomnia and PMT lethargy, I have managed to polish off all 30 episodes of "Face to Fate" in the space of a week! I guess it is also down to my crazy addiction to 'wuxia' (ancient martial arts) series, especially when there is an element of fantasy in the storyline. I just get hooked and have to keep watching, even multitasking goes out of the window as it's one of the very few things in life that gets my undivided attention. I remember I once spent an Easter weekend doing nothing but re-watching Ekin Cheng's "Golden Snake Sword" and by the end of it, I must have left an imprint of my bum on the sofa! Oh and the eye candy helps as well... hehehe!

The series was based on a novel by Wan Shui On, but according to another report I had read somewhere, it is nothing at all like the original story. Typical TVB to adapt it into something completely different. There were a couple of stupid TVB-esque things I noticed that probably would have bugged the hell out of me in another series, such as the rubber tubing that Lai Yeuk Yi (Raymond Lam) and his brother used in their 'blood cleaning', the suggestion that they had transporters to get them from place to place in record speed and that they never had any luggage with them, but still had about three changes of clothing even when they were camping out in a cave. I think that the logical layout of the series - 'we have to find five heroes, seven ingredients to the cure and endure five rounds of the 'Golden Seal' tournament' - appealed to the logic of my mind and kept me going and the producer/scriptwriter did a good job of ending each episode on a cliffhanger, so you simply had to watch a little bit more to find out what happened. Another reason why I liked this series was that the characters were not all clear cut good or bad. Unlike most wuxia, where people are very clearcut goody-goody or evil villains, nearly all the main characters had a 'grey area', where they were neither good or evil. Even the protagonist, Lee Bo Yi (Frankie Lam) is neither a member of the black or the white and has his own weaknesses and demons to deal with.

The main cast was pretty good, Frankie, Raymond, Tavia and Selena all pulled off a decent performance and I particularly enjoyed the unconditional friendship between Frankie and Raymond's characters. However, the show was definitely made by the supporting cast - Derek and Nancy's romance was really sweet (although there was a tad too much 'run n hug' going on), the 'heroes' - Jimmy Au, Lee Ka Sing, Al Wai, Evergreen and Fiona - had some interesting mini-stories and I liked the fact that the main sect introduced much more than just the top four students and helped to introduce some fresher faces by delving a little deeper into the characters of the 'younger' students such as Chan Kwan, Matt Yeung and the girl who played 'Yat Ha' (her name slips my mind). The storyline was well organised and visually, this was another attractively presented series (not quite as good as 'War of In-Laws', but still good), bearing in mind the budgets and lack of location filming. Most of the location scenes were shot in Yuen Long's Tai Tong Lychee Valley, but they made the most of what they had and I thought they did a good job.

Oh I seemed to have slipped into review mode again, but I do recommend this series if you are into your martial arts. It's a shame though that this series will probably never be aired on mainstream Hong Kong television because it is typical of an 'export' production that is destined for Pay Vision. The Hong Kong viewers miss out on so much good stuff because they have a distinct preference for shallow, meaningless comedies. Hopefully TVB will continue to make at least a few quality productions per year and not just give in to mindless commercial pap. I'm off to watch "Maiden's Vow" now, but the multitasking will be back for that one. Not really too interested and it's just a stopgap whilst I am waiting to get my hands on "Land of Wealth".


Tuesday, October 17, 2006

History Matters - One Day in History

Be part of the biggest blog in history - TUESDAY 17TH OCTOBER 2006....



Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Fun fun fun....

This cheered me up a little - click on the link and click "View Trailer"...



Hyperdefensive Permanently Premenstrual Male Bosses

Had a shitty day at work today. I hate it so much when my boss makes me cry at work. A mixture of him being mega control freak, permanently premenstrual and hyperdefensive coupled with my shitty hormones was a recipe for disaster really.

I had flashbacks of my last encounter with a bullying boss when he spoke to me today. That was not pleasant. Like the last one, he wanted me to manage my team with an iron fist, targeting them hard and reprimanding them even harder when they missed their deadlines and targets. Does he not realise that in the current working climate, you CANNOT put pressure on staff to work like that. It is all about 'agreement' and 'commitment', not 'you will or else'. All it takes is a little upset and you run the risk of your staff member deciding to go off sick for a good 3 to 6 months or they are straight onto the phone to the union with allegations of bullying. If I was not as dedicated to my job, I could easily have done the same after today's little episode. If he carries on with his power trip and high horse charade, I may seriously consider it.

My senior manager learned months ago not to use the bully approach with me or my team when he found it got him nothing but disgruntled staff and poor results. I am hoping that my boss will catch onto this soon and snap out of it, before I start feeling a sickness coming on....


Sunday, October 01, 2006

CIB Files - "Can It Be" any worse?

Haven't done a TVB post in a while, but I was so disappointed by the much anticipated "CIB Files" that I have to mention it here, so if anyone reading this is in two minds as to whether or watch, I can save you some time and help you with your decision - don't bother!

I have to admit, I was quite looking forward to watching this series. There was so much potential in the storylines and backdrop, the cast was solid with some great talent and after reading Greg Rivers' enthusiastic blog post about it, I thought that it would yield another excellent police series, following in the footsteps of "Forensic Heroes" and the classic "Detective Investigation Files". After watching the series, the cynic in me is beginning to suspect that Mr Rivers was trying a little too hard to promote his series. I felt cheated.

The first episode proved promising, there was a little mystery in it, some investigation and second guessing and the characters were introduced with some intrigue. Unfortunately, it all fizzled out in the second episode and after that, the series began deteriorating into a mishmash of second-rate soap opera, attempted comedy and a modern-day tribute to Producer Chik's earlier success story in "War and Beauty". The cases became mundane and dismissive, the characters all displayed varying levels of blind stupidity and the 'flashbacks' to WAB such as Bowie's 'discussions' with Patricia, the love-hate relationship between Bowie and his father and the downbeaten Kenny Wong scenes were irrelevant and irritating, leaving me thinking to myself: "Eh? What was that all about?"

My view is that with top class actors such as Wong He and Christine Ng on board, Chik could have done so much more to enhance the show if he had concentrated more on the cases and the depth of the characters. There were so many unanswered questions: What had Christine endured to get to her position? Why was she so bitter with Bowie? What made Bowie change his mind about his father all of a sudden? How had Ah He's experiences undercover affected him? How had Maggie dealt with her ordeals? What makes the CIB such a fantastic team? ... instead, all we were presented with was a floaty wishy-washy explanations and interactions that all appeared to be surface deep, whilst the producer and writers indulged on trying to remind us of past successes and injecting the show with half-hearted humour that was both unnecessary and unamusing. Some scenes that bordered on farcical included the whole 'Fung Shui incident' between Greg Rivers and Kenny Wong and Ah He's unhealthy relationship with the traffic cop - 'Oh, we should stop meeting like this!' I could write better myself.

This blog entry is fast becoming a complete review of the series, so I will end my ranting here. Don't waste your time with CIB... honestly!

I'm a little behind on my series at the moment, so I haven't even started on 'Land of Wealth' or 'Face to Fate' yet, but I hope they will be better than CIB. One series I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised at recently was "War and Destiny". The reason for this was I was captivated by Sunny Chan's performance in this show - he totally made it for me. Ron, Myolie and the others were same old same old and Mandy Cho's whiny voice once again nearly made me switch off, but Sunny saved the day and the show. I've never really paid much attention to Sunny in the past because he is not one of those artistes whose performance jumps out at you, but the positive impact his wife is having on his life coupled with an extremely well written character was the recipe for success in this show. Check him out - you won't be disappointed. I was chatting to Tammy about this earlier and we both think that TVB should do a sequel to this show but just have Sunny as the central character - maybe a flashback story to tell us what happened in his last 8 years since he went missing. That would give us a great scope for excitement and we wouldn't have to endure another 20 episodes of Myolie's crying and Ron's declarations that he is not Japanese. Hey TVB - if you're reading, let Em and Tams write this for you. Hahaha!

Hmm... what shall I watch next?