Friday, December 31, 2010

The Road Less Traveled (Leads To Elements Mall On New Year's Eve)

I just got back from an early showing of Derek Chiu's The Road Less Traveled (2010). This Derek Yee-produced drama screened for one showing at The Grand Cinema in Elements mall. I've been told this sort of thing happens to make sure the film qualifies for film awards covering the calendar year.

I'm lucky I noticed this screening as most of the Chinese films I wanted to see on this trip are not out here until January.

The Road Less Traveled is the story of Louis Koo's HK truck driver who drives goods across the border to Mainland China. As the trailer reveals, he runs over the husband of a restaurant owner (Huang Yi) while having to contend with his own materialistic HK girlfriend (Karen Mok).

I'm not going to write a Kozo or Golden Rock-worthy review but I did like the film and I think that in many ways it succeeded.

That said, the early scenes bordered on the mawkish and the unnecessary soundtrack in some key dramatic moments almost made the thing turn into a total parody.

And I couldn't quite believe that Louis Koo and Karen Mok's characters were ever together -- much less for 8 years! -- but those are minor points.

When the film finally gets the plot device out of the way, it proceeds at a very nice, languid pace. Frankly, I was surprised at how things just seemed to happen without any rush or elaborate fanfare.

It's not an Ann Hui flick but it's pretty good in moments. I commend Louis Koo for at least trying this sort of role even if he's much better in some moments here than in others where he does seem miscast.

Huang Yi was quite good and natural and Karen Mok was a bit understated in what was, essentially, the thankless money-grubber role.

The morning started yet again with breakfast/brunch/lunch at Mang Ambo in Wan Chai. I had my fave beef steak with onions and corned beef with pork today. Check out those Egg Nog cookies I got from the restaurant's nearby store!

People here are too nice. In America, Nic Cage's big goofy mug would have been defaced a long, long time ago in a wildly offensive fashion...

Is this totally unnecessary remake of A Better Tomorrow a Korean flick? Why?

I had a quick sushi dinner at Wild Ginger in the mall, near the theatre. This meal would have cost at least twice the price in America...

By HK standards, these were pricey treats. But $4US for that big scallop with black truffles on top was a bargain. As was the $3US for those two pieces of octopus with wasabi sauce. The scallop and truffles were fantastic. The taste of the octopus was totally destroyed by the wasabi. (I sound like a food nerd now!)...

I found this Tsui Hark-directed flick, Working Class, for only $7US in the HMV in Elements. The flick stars Joey Wong, Tsui Hark, and Teddy Robin and looks like it will be cool. I'm holding it as I wait for the train back to the Hong Kong station from Kowloon beneath the mall. How fitting!