Love and Again

I just finished watching 駁命老公追老婆 (Love and Again) and it was so absolutely romantic and caught me completely by surprise. I wasn't looking for a romantic series, certainly not a TVB show, but this had everything I needed - except a thesis which I delayed in order to watch this 20 part series. The unfortunate thing is that I have been sucked back into HK entertainment land with no time to spare. A lengthy review to come, but the rundown is that I like it partly because the story is fresh, as far as TVB goes. Fresh in that it isn't about falling in love but about keeping it even in death. I got into a discussion about this and 天幕下的戀人 (Under the Canopy of Love) with my favorite TVB partner who chastised me for even comparing the two. Both are excellent, and I even admit that UTCOL is superior in casting, acting, writing, and story, but they really are two different shows as far as the love theme goes. Anyway, I'm also in love with Alex Fong Chung Sun, something I avoided successfully for many years. But his super nice guy role was too overwhelming and I succumbed. (Also buttressed by his super brooding cop role in One Nite in Mongkok, his super charming mob boss role in Drink Drank Drunk, and his super underrated architect role in Building Blocks of Life. I'm a sucker.)

And a video for fun. This is Miriam Yeung's theme song from Drink Drank Drunk called My Drunk Love (



I just watched Glee and I loooooove it!!

(The youtube clip was removed. Damn you, copyright laws!)


'George Clooney throws you a wink and you leave your brains at the door.'

O-M-G. I just caught Sir Richard Armitage in the Wednesday slice of BBC's Moving On series, 'Drowning Not Waving'. There are 5 in all, I think, just short 45 minute sets shown each afternoon this week. It was the first one I'd watched though I'd heard that the others were fantastic. The general line is great writing matched by great acting. How comforting that solid storytelling is still appreciated. I hope the Beeb takes notice and commissions more work that exercises our intellectual and emotional capacities rather than stuff that exercises the CGI department.

Today's edition featured Mr. Armitage as John Mulligan - the kid voted 'most likely to end up in jail' by his high school class but who seems, 20 years later, more like the kid 'most likely to be a millionaire'. Big John Mulligan has landed himself a profitable gig in real estate, and some devilishly good looks. When he comes knocking on old classmate Ellie's door, she's a bit taken, as we all would be if Richard Armitage came calling. Turns out he wants to help her out of a property jam; the girl is stuck in a big pile of debt poo and needs to unload her devalued house. Mr. Mulligan shows an interest in house and lodger, and a swank dinner, some fish and chips, and a few Budweisers later, things look grand. Ellie, played by Christine Tremarco, indulges her best friend, also an old classmate, in the new relationship. Oh, but things soon go to shits. Her friend Maria gives John a proper verbal beatdown, much to the anger and confusion of Ellie. Maria soon reveals that John is not a posh real estate tycoon but in fact a dirty drug dealer. Damn. Ellie confronts John about his hobby/business, and accusations go into overdrive. Eventually, she has to decide whether to side with her best friend or her bed friend, and his money.

I'll ruin the ending and say that John planted drugs on Ellie who in turn gets the bastard locked up. The final scene is in-tense! Not because anyone's shouting or squirting tears. Quite the opposite. The two sit there, under the eye of a guard, and quietly try to sort out this sludge of betrayal and guilt they've landed themselves in. It's almost as if they are trying to outdo each other, trying to come out on top in spite of it all. For John, he's satisfied with an honest accounting for his actions, whatever side of the moral divide they fall on. Meanwhile, Ellie wraps herself in a guise of virtue and incorruptibility, somewhat unwilling to acknowledge her own complicity. They finally part, each a little vindicated, a little satisfied, if uncomfortably so. But if they emerge redeemed, they also can't escape coming off as losers. There's a sense that neither really gets it; John may absolve himself of a guilty conscience and pride himself on his self-sufficiency, but at the end of the day, he's still a drug dealer. And Ellie can stick it to John now that she's helped put him away, but he indicts her too, reminding her that she's been rescued by the same drug money.

Credit goes to the writer for a very tight script, and to the producers for holding the line. An extra hour could have been squeezed out of this story, but the shorter time slot pushed things forward. The last scene was especially choice, for some of the reasons I listed above. Of course, credit also to the prime acting. Richard Armitage stuns again. The ladies on his fan forum positively flipped and I think a good number are still passed out in a puddle of their own drool. The way he reflects the ambiguities of this character reminded me in some ways of his creepy role in Between the Sheets. In both instances, the characters are juggling two very different personas, one which they actively craft for public consumption as it were and the other which they are keen to suppress. I rather like him taking on the John Mulligan type of baddie. He's much more devastating here than as Sir Guy of Gisbourne in Robin Hood, though maybe that's because I don't often come across insecure leather-clad jackoffs with greasy hair and a huge sword. But he also had a capable foil in Christine Tremarco. Though I'd never seen her work, I really enjoyed watching her here. She has a way of hinting at her character that catches you from all sides. During their first dinner, Ellie is cautious, skeptical but intrigued and a bit flirtatious for the same reasons. The last moment when she looks at John and finally walks away is equally textured, and you're not quite sure what to finally make of this relationship. They start off two fractured characters and end two fractured characters. What a way to start off the next chapter of one's life.

Thank you once again, British taxpayers!

(George Clooney does nothing for me, but if Richard Armitage gave me a wink, I'd puddle.)


Brits, Eurovision, and Soler

Watching: crap Chinese music playlist on youtube
Listening: crap Chinese music playlist on youtube
American Anticommunism by M. J. Heale

News of the Day:

  • Damn, British students revolt because unis are skimping on teaching duties.
  • Damn, British poets revolt. Actually, they don't but they do get their pants in knots over sexual misconduct - of the harassment sort and the kind that involves a kitchen, honey glaze over a supermarket duck, and a fuck. All because of some poetry post at Oxford. American poets don't fight over this stuff......because who ever heard of an American poet?
  • Damn, British would-be terrorists revolt. Actually, this is a revealing a revealing article from the inside about how British youth are being recruited by terrorists.
  • Damn, British protesters revolt (hence, protester). In classic Looney Toons style, they spread carpet tacks along the roadway of a charity bike race.
  • Stupid criminal alert: teenage robber pulls the my banana is really a gun trick.
  • Humans eat Neanderthals, so say some scientists.. Sounds like next summer's blockbuster.
Eurovision........Oh, my music IQ might equal that of Sarah Palin's real IQ and I may subject myself to endlessly to Cantopop, but is there really a good excuse for Eurovision? I blame the fog machine and laser light lobbies for this saccharine spectacle. It's cheesy, camp, and amateur, which I think is kind of the purpose. But that formula works in say Hong Kong because the market is small, people outside the city would rather watch their movies (the really good ones not the crap Wong Jing ones), and who really understands Cantonese anyway? It's a bit unsettling to watch the entire European continent indulge in this, however. Eh, maybe I'm an unfair critic, which is probably the case. Judge yourself.

Norway's winning entry. Really, what are those other 3 guys doing?!!

Britain's 5th place entry. Lyrics by Diane Warren, music by Andrew Lloyd Webber, winner chosen by a tv talent contest.......

The after dinner mint to a shitteous entree and side dish - Hong Kong music that doesn't suck! I think the name of this song by Soler is: 惹我. It's not the original video but it kicks the original video's ass.


Bits and Bobs for 5.15.09

News of the Day:
  • Rescued sea horse! How adorable. I hope that video is of the actual rescued sea horse and not some imposter.
  • Don't put bank notes in the back of your car - especially if you're driving a convertible, with the roof down.
  • Soccer star attacked by poached egg!

This weekend.......Eurovision erupts in Moscow, anti-abortion protests erupt on Obama at Notre Dame, Springtime in Germany (The Producers) erupts in Berlin......


Bobbin Hood

I'm in poo up to my forehead because of an upcoming presentation, but I still managed to catch the latest Robin Hood (S03E06) - and it was fantastic! Well, as far as Robin Hood is concerned. I would almost say Toby Stephens steals the show, but Richard Armitage was involved in a pretty important plot sequence. The whole team of baddies was so much more intriguing than Robin and his hood. That whole gang is essentially shunted. Anyway, more to come. Hopefully the writers will continue the intrigue.

(Also watched the first episode of the new series of Ashes to Ashes. I don't think I caught too many full episodes of the last series as I'm still working on the first series of Life on Mars. But I do like Keeley Hawes, possibly because of my Spooks bias, so hope to find time to address some of the criticisms of her and the direction of the show.)