This is like the fifth time I've flown on KLM this year. This time I watched some non-Cantonese movies as well, so I only got one Canto movie in. It would have been more, but the others on offer all seemed to be either romantic movies or heavily Manda-influenced, so I wasn't interested.
What I watched this time was Mr. and Mrs. Incredible, starring Louis Koo and Sandra Ng as a pair of retired superheroes who have to go back to their roots to foil a dastardly plot to steal martial artists' powers. It's not as good as it sounds. Pretty much the only good thing about it was the Ng and Koo have some chemistry as a married couple, as they go things like jealousy and infertility and buying a house, that sort of thing. I can't say I got too much Canto practice out of it, but I did finally figure out that the "gu-leung" thing that annoying ATV series kept saying stands for "Miss" or something close to it. That's new.
So basically Mr. and Mrs. Incredible was a movie with plenty of failed attempts at humor and some rather mediocre superpower action, but the romance between the two leads made up for it. It was quite sweet and touching. A bit corny sometimes, and that love scene after she gets pissed off, well, that was like borderline marital rape, wasn't it? But they overcame everything and had a baby in the end, so all's well that ends well.
Well, enough about that. Next up, I've found two fairly modern Canto movies that have actual Cantonese subtitles: Stephen Chow's Knight of Gamblers and Ekin Cheng's Young and Dangerous 2. Young and Dangerous 1 probably has them as well, but I deleted it long ago and can't be bothered to re-download it, so we'll make do with that we've got. Both movies aren't much to write home about (YD2 is actually b-a-d), but if I can get my hands on some audio ripping software, I can rip the voice track, chop it up through Audacity and get myself several hundred new entries for my SRS. My computer is almost out of space, so I'd better get on with it sharpish so I can delete them.
I forgot to write up the two Hong Kong movies I watched on the last flight I took, a couple of months ago. They were "Double Tap" starring Leslie Cheung and Alex Fong, and "I Love Hong Kong", with Sandra Ng and Tony Leung (Big Tony). They were both kinda bad, though Double Tap was watchable, especially in hindsight, seeing as it stars Leslie as a seriously depressed maniac. He plays Rick, a gun expert who develops a penchant for killing after shooting a crazed cop, while Alex Fong plays the policeman who has to track him down and stop him. The movie was going well until the end, which was too simplistic. Basically the men shot each other, but Alex's wife had taught him breathing techniques to prolong his life when shot, so he lived and Leslie died. See, that's too simplistic right? Bit of a disappointment there.
"I Love Hong Kong" was just bad. The idea was good, about a man who moves back into a housing project with his family after losing everything. The movie is supposed to show how they adjust to life in a poor area and how they transform it eventually but 1. It takes them very little time to adjust completely, so there's no tension there. 2. All the real transformation is carried out by the man's shady friend, played by Eric Tsang. The family might as well not have moved back. 3. All problems are quickly and easily resolved, making you wonder if they were really problems at all. 4. The ending features a spectacularly cheesy singing sequence that made me cringe in my seat and change the channel. Way to go.
Watching Cantonese movies on flights really helps the time pass quickly, while letting me learn a bit in the process. Every time I watch a movie after studying for a while, I find I understand more and more of what's being said without relying on the subs. I'm still not entirely ready to go sub-free, but I'm getting there.
The ATV stream is back! Woo-hoo! You don't know what you have until it's gone, and all that.
Just in time, cos I was going astray, visiting all kinds of English websites and reading about Japanese celebrities. They're all so coy. They won't even admit to the plastic surgery and dental work many of them (Namie, Gackt, Amuro, etc) have obviously had. Come on, don't be so shy. We know you did it! Actually I believe stars are entitled to their privacy just like the rest of us, and that their obligation to the fans stops right at entertaining us. But as a fan, I can't help it. I loooove celeb gossip!
Just now I dug up some dirt about B'z vocals Koshi Inaba. He's one of the most intensely private Japanese stars out there, and the only thing he'll cop to is having parents, a brother and some dogs. Now I can finally put the doubts to rest: he's married and has at least one kid as of 2002! Bob Marley had these lyrics: "Only your friend / Know your secret / So only he / Can reveal it"! Yup, it was someone on one of his tours who spilled the beans: American bassist Billy Sheehan, via his official website. Source: http://www.billysheehan.com/photos/photos_bz06.html
More of these, Billy. Go on more tours and reveal more information oh so casually on your site! Next up, Tak Matsumoto. He's 50 and apparently...single? Not that there's anything wrong with that...
Nothing interesting's going on with me, I'm still plodding faithfully along. I gave up on books for now and am focusing on internet resources. I was lucky enough to come across Milan's Cantonese blog with several Cantonese monologues recorded by his wife, a native Cantonese speaker. They've made excellent sacrifices to my Cantonese SRS deck, MWA HA HA HA HA! I'm happy with how much I've learned from them so far, but I'm also encouraged by how much I already understand. I can't call myself a beginner any more, maybe more like a lower-intermediate learner. I can get the gist of most things I listen to, and even understand quite a bit of some topics. As for the news, once they have those Mandarin subtitles up, it's all over for them. Needless to say, I enjoy watching the news quite a bit.
Or more like I enjoyed it, because the ATV stream I used to watch regularly suddenly went down a few nights ago. I'm heart-broken Now I have to find a new source of terrible dramas and annoying tourism shows and endless mahjongg tournaments and pro-Beijing news to watch. It was fun to have ATV streaming away whether I watched it or not, and I learned a ton of new characters and compounds from the news broadcasts. But it does no good to lament the past, just got to keep moving forward. I'm sure I'll find something else eventually.
I've been doing my SRS reps and all, but I didn't listen to any Cantonese radio or TV for two or three days. All of sudden I barely understand anything any more! It's only been a few days, why is the effect so sudden?! I'm sure if I listen to it again for a day or two I'll be okay, but this is a lesson to me that I'm nowhere near full comprehension. I can't afford to slack off at all.
I'm thinking of picking up a drama, since I always tune in to ATV when they're showing either Putonghua news or some drama that doesn't come with Mandarin subtitles. Also it sucks. There's this guy who keeps screaming this girl's name non-stop. It sounds like Gu-long, Gu-long. 30 minutes of Gu-long, Gu-long, Gu-long, Gu-long, Gu-long, Gu-long every single episode made me sick, which is probably why I rebelled. Right now I'm listening to a morning radio show on RTHK2 (no, I don't think it's 晨光第一線) while working on some papers.