A Pessimist Is Never Disappointed is one of the blogs I look forward to new updates from the most. An always eclectic mix of posts about many of the things I love the most, from food to film, music to comics and most especially Hong Kong. A keen Anglophile, Glenn writes with real intelligence, a keen eye for detail and excellent taste.
In case you haven't come across his blog before, our favourite pessimist made the monumental decision to uproot his life and move to Hong Kong. A decision that has had it's share of ups and downs, making for the kind of fascinating read you just don't get from your average blog. Writing as someone who has thought long and hard about doing the same from my own trips to the fragrant harbour, Glenn's odyssey has a special hold on me.
In alphabetical order.
The Chinese Feast.
This is the sort of film people are talking about when they say that they don't make HK films like this anymore. Funny, silly, dramatic, and with a lot of great cooking scenes, The Chinese Feast is an enjoyable romp. Anita Yuen and Leslie Cheung make a great couple as well.
The ultimate triad film? Maybe. Watchable and less concerned with the John Woo-type stuff than the daily workings of being a gangster in a changing world.
Exiled is a mix of genre tropes: is it a gangster film? an Eastern Western? A heist picture? Whatever it is, it's a joy for most Johnnie To fans. Not the first To one should watch but maybe one of the first 10? The middle drags but that opening rocks! And the finale is pretty damn good too!
Hong Kong, Hong Kong.
Hong Kong Hong Kong is the film to watch if you think Cherie Chung is just a pretty face. Ms. Chung does more acting here with just her eyes than most actresses do with pages of dialogue. An overwrought drama can't mar what is undoubtedly one of the hidden gems of HK cinema in the 1980s. Quite simply, Cherie Chung's best performance. Read more of Glenn's thoughts here
In The Mood For Love.
In The Mood For Love.
Not much to say here. It's like porno for arts majors. A lovely film with great music and two impossibly beautiful leads. Style trumps plot but who cares when it looks like this?
Legend Of Zu.
Silly and ridiculous, this film seemed so magical at the time. A reminder of another era in HK cinema, this film has moments that make a viewer forget how bad most of the film is. Admittedly, this sort of CGI nonsense has been done to death but there's something about this film -- at least parts of it -- that always intrigues me. Read more of Glenn's thoughts here
If Scorsese made a film about HK gangsters, it would be this one. Four great performances in a film that really seems like the antithesis of anything John Woo ever did. If you, like me, find Woo overrated, check out this film.
Peking Opera Blues.
A film that always rewards a viewer on each viewing. A film that always makes me feel like I need to learn more about Chinese history. A film that always seems unlike anything else that I've ever seen. I can't claim to understand every subtlety of this flick but I'm sure I'll understand more each time I rewatch this masterpiece. Read more of Glenn's thoughts here
Just a blast! Cheng Pei Pei's most fun film, easily! Combined the charms of an old John Ford flick with the best of the Shaws' wuxia tendencies of the 1960s. If I had to put only one Cheng Pei Pei film on my list, it had to be this one simply because it is just so much fun to watch. Read more of Glenn's thoughts here
We Love Millionaires.
I needed an example of the kind of frothy SB musical/comedy that I like. The leads are lovely and there's not much here but, hey, it's a joy to watch and Lily Ho deserves a spot on someone's list. Read more of Glenn's thoughts here