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Wong Kar Wai dvds ?

Old 05-24-01, 07:42 PM
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Okay...anyone out there have the US Region 1 dvds of Happy Together, Ashes of Time, and Fallen Angels?

Anyone have the HK dvds of these films?

Anyone ever see both and could really tell me which is better.

Do the HK dvds have removeable subtitles and can you chose JUST English subtitles?

Are they NTSC? They are regionless right?

I am interested in comparisons of picture quality between the US and HK versions. Are either anamorphic?

Thanks so much for any opinions.
Old 05-24-01, 08:26 PM
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US versions:

Ashes of Time (World) - One of the MOST atrocious DVDs ever released. Sub-VHS quality. Worse, 20% of the picture is blotted out because the old subtitles are covered by a black bar, so that new (badly translated) subtitles can be done. In other words, you're always seeing only 80% of the screen at any time. An F for transfer. Avoid at all costs.
The VHS copy has better picture quality, isn't blotted, and has better subtitles. I kid you not.

Fallen Angels (Kino) - The best quality US DVD of Wong's. It's 1.85:1, but not anamorphic. The film has scratches and nicks, but the colors are very saturated and the print is a good transfer from film. Sound is in mono, and is serviceable. Unremovable subtitle. Transfer: B-

Happy Together (Kino) - Somehow, Kino didn't do a good job here. After seeing Fallen Angels, I expected a decent print for Happy Together as well. The film is 1.85:1 non-anamorphic, but the print is not good. Nowhere near the atrocity of Ashes of Time, but considering that Happy Together's visuals is truly stunning, the print instead dulls the color to near black, and there is a lot of stuttering and noise. The sound is nearly inaudible as well. I was disappointed with this transfer, but considering that no other version is coming out, I still think that the current DVD is serviceable and worth my money. Unremovable subtitle. Transfer: C

Asian DVDs - all Regionless

Ashes of Time (Mei Ah) - Another bad transfer that is sub-VHS in quality. But the screen isn't blotted, and the subtitles are better. So now you can see the whole screen. Still the picture looks worn and grainy. Watchable, but hardly acceptable. Unremovable subtitle. Transfer: D-

Days of Being Wild (Mega Star) - This one is Anamorphic! Still, the film stutters, has tons of scratches, and has horrible rainbow patches in dark area. Has good extras and removable subtitles. Transfer: C-

As Tears Go By (Mega Star) - Also anamorphic. A bit better than Days of Being Wild, but the same reoccuring scratches and rainbow patchs still occur. Has good extras and removable subtitles. Transfer: C.

Chungking Express (Ocean Shore) - Full screen. No kidding. Unremovable, illegible subtitles. Scratches everywhere. Worn and grainy. Comparable to Mei Ah's "Ashes of Time release". Transfer: D-
Old 05-24-01, 09:06 PM
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I already knew all this & yet I still got depressed reading it.
Old 05-24-01, 09:30 PM
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Grimfarrow,
thanks for the info. yikes. are the HK dvds NTSC?
Do you know anything (or anyone else) about the Happy Together or Ashes of Time HK dvds?
I just wanted to know which versions, of the ones available in the U.S., are better so i know whether or not to bother with the US ones at all or not.

Thanks!
Old 05-24-01, 09:40 PM
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hk does their thing ntsc style. in fact i believe all of asia goes the way of the ntsc
Old 05-24-01, 09:59 PM
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Originally posted by garmonbozia
Grimfarrow,
thanks for the info. yikes. are the HK dvds NTSC?
Do you know anything (or anyone else) about the Happy Together or Ashes of Time HK dvds?
I just wanted to know which versions, of the ones available in the U.S., are better so i know whether or not to bother with the US ones at all or not.

Thanks!
1) Yup. NTSC
2) Happy Together HK is even worse than the US.
3) I gave a review of the Ashes of Time HK DVD above. Transfer rate: D-
4) For Fallen Angels and Happy Together, the US is better. I'd avoid both versions of Ashes of Time - the quality is just too horrendous. Better to get the VHS version than either DVDs.
5) Days of Being Wild and As Tears Go By aren't bad, despite their rather disappointing transfer. Good extras, Dolby Digital 5.1, anamorphic. I personally recommend Days of Being Wild quite highly.
Old 05-24-01, 10:08 PM
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thanks for the info Deskjet and Grimfarrow (I meant to ask about Happy Together and Fallen Angels HK the second time...oops....but you answered both anyway...thanks)

Hear anything about the HK In the Mood for Love?

Old 05-24-01, 10:12 PM
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BTW, I just first got introduced to this director with In the Mood for Love and haven't seen any other of his films...

which one or two would you recommend to see next....

and after that?

Thanks.
Old 05-24-01, 10:18 PM
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One more question I wanted to ask the other day....and this thread seems as good a place as any........

Does anyone know if there is any connection between the Tony Leung (Chiu Wai) from In the Mood For Love:
http://us.imdb.com/Name?Leung+Chiu+Wai,+Tony
and the Tony Leung (Ka Fai) who was in The Lover:
http://us.imdb.com/Name?Leung+Ka+Fai,+Tony
I don't know anything really about how Chinese names are arranged and if these two names would imply a possible relationship......

Thanks.


[Edited by garmonbozia on 05-24-01 at 08:21 PM]
Old 05-24-01, 10:32 PM
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As far as I know, there is no connection between the two different Tony Leungs other than the fact that they're both actors that work in Hong Kong. I'm not sure why/how they ended up with similar names.

Personally, my favorite Wong Kar Wai films are Chungking Express, Fallen Angels and Ashes of Times. However, since you started out with In The Mood For Love, and you liked that one, I'd suggest that you watch Days of Being Wild next.
Old 05-24-01, 10:35 PM
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Originally posted by garmonbozia
thanks for the info Deskjet and Grimfarrow (I meant to ask about Happy Together and Fallen Angels HK the second time...oops....but you answered both anyway...thanks)

Hear anything about the HK In the Mood for Love?

Yes - the HK DVD is, again, flawed - very surprising for such a recent film.

I'd suggest you wait for the US version. Hopefully, USA Films will give us Wong's short 20 minute film that he debuted at Cannes just a week ago: "In the Mood for Love 2001: Three Stories About Food" - all composed from scenes that were cut from In the Mood for Love. It would make a wonderful extra!

As for recommendations, you may want to start with Fallen Angels and happy Together, since both are readily available in the US on R1 DVDs. A lot of people think Fallen Angels is one of Wong's best, but I personally think it's his second worst. Well, to be fair, I liked it, but it didn't have the same resonance that its prequel, Chungking Express, has.

My favorite Wong films are between Ashes of Time, Chungking Express, and In the Mood for Love (all 10/10 from me). This is followed very closely by Happy Together (9/10) and Days of Being Wild (8/10). You can skip As Tears Go By - it's his first film, and it's not very significant.

Ashes of Time is his most elliptical and enigmatic - an existentialist kung-fu film in which the fighting is actully a debate within oneself. The film is very dense, and it requires, for me, multiple viewings before it is even clear what is going on.

Chungking Express is his most "pop" - funny, touching, and dazzlingly vibrant. The characters, from Faye Wong's flighty counter girl to Brigitte Lin's brooding iconoclast, are so original that they have already been countlessly imitated (most notably in a Japanese film called "Postman Blues" by Hiroyuki Tanaka).

Old 05-25-01, 11:02 AM
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Is there any hope that we'll see a Rolling Thunder dvd of Chungking Express? They released Switchblade Sisters and Peking Man but no CKE - I don't care about Star Wars or the Goonies or any of the most wanted dvds - I want Chungking Express. Now.
Old 05-25-01, 11:15 AM
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magnetichuman is right, there's no connection whatsoever between the two Tony Leungs.
Old 05-25-01, 11:46 AM
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i've been wondering if rolling thunder will release chungking express forever. i've been checking their web page for the last year. i've never seen chungking express and am waiting for a good dvd of it to come out before i see it. i made the mistake of buying ashes of time and returned after watching only 10 minutes because the quality was so bad. how come this amazing director doesn't have any good releases on dvd?
Old 05-25-01, 12:01 PM
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Originally posted by Lokimok
I already knew all this & yet I still got depressed reading it.
Same here.
Originally posted by biggen
how come this amazing director doesn't have any good releases on dvd?
China is not very big on film preservation and has only in recent years tried to step up its production values. Overall though, I would say it has a lot to do with art directors not getting much acclaim, not being big money makers in China, so the films suffer because of that.

Old 05-25-01, 12:51 PM
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Originally posted by coffin_booth

China is not very big on film preservation and has only in recent years tried to step up its production values. Overall though, I would say it has a lot to do with art directors not getting much acclaim, not being big money makers in China, so the films suffer because of that.
Saying "China" is somewhat incorrect, even though Hong Kong is now part of China. The Hong Kong film industry is completely separate from that of China's film industry. Wong Kar-Wai makes film in Hong Kong, where most films are catered toward fluff entertainment. China, on the other hand, have a smaller but much more serious film industry, where famous directors like Zhang Yimou, Tian Zhuangzhuang, Jiang Wen and Chen Kaige came from.

But you're right that Hong Kong is not big on film preservation. I have no idea how it is in China.
Old 05-25-01, 04:33 PM
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Thanks for the info everyone, even though it's not very happy info.
Old 06-19-01, 06:18 PM
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Originally posted by Grimfarrow
Days of Being Wild (Mega Star) - This one is Anamorphic! Still, the film stutters, has tons of scratches, and has horrible rainbow patches in dark area. Has good extras and removable subtitles. Transfer: C-

As Tears Go By (Mega Star) - Also anamorphic. A bit better than Days of Being Wild, but the same reoccuring scratches and rainbow patchs still occur. Has good extras and removable subtitles. Transfer: C.
I've noticed that there are Mei Ah versions of these two discs as well (at least I definitely saw a Mei Ah for one of them). Are the Mega Star versions the better ones?
Thanks.
Old 06-19-01, 07:11 PM
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Originally posted by magnetichuman
As far as I know, there is no connection between the two different Tony Leungs other than the fact that they're both actors that work in Hong Kong. I'm not sure why/how they ended up with similar names.
FYI - both 'Big Tony' and 'Little Tony' are in Ashes of Time so it can be confusing. 'Big Tony' (Evil East) is indeed the same actor as played in L'Amant (The Lover) according to my recollection and IMDB
Old 06-19-01, 07:58 PM
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If you're looking for middle ground between the terrible DVDs of Ashes of Time, or actually buying a VHS , I would somewhat recommend the Mei Ah VCD-----it is cheap, widescreen, and about the same quality as decent VHS. Man, this is one movie that could definitely use a pristine-print DVD release.
Old 06-19-01, 09:18 PM
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Boo hoo! This news is quite depressing, since I love Wong Kar Wai's movies! Oh well, I guess I'll stick to VCD's in the meantime for my WKW fix.
Old 06-19-01, 10:39 PM
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Originally posted by garmonbozia
Originally posted by Grimfarrow
Days of Being Wild (Mega Star) - This one is Anamorphic! Still, the film stutters, has tons of scratches, and has horrible rainbow patches in dark area. Has good extras and removable subtitles. Transfer: C-

As Tears Go By (Mega Star) - Also anamorphic. A bit better than Days of Being Wild, but the same reoccuring scratches and rainbow patchs still occur. Has good extras and removable subtitles. Transfer: C.
I've noticed that there are Mei Ah versions of these two discs as well (at least I definitely saw a Mei Ah for one of them). Are the Mega Star versions the better ones?
Thanks.
Mega Star are markedly better than the Mei-Ah ones (which isn't saying much). Plus, the Mei Ah ones are out-of-print.
I's till recommend Days of Being Wild Mega Star disc though, even though the quality of the print isn't the greatest. At least it's anamorphic, has extras, and has good Dobly 5.1 setup!
Old 06-20-01, 11:13 AM
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Originally posted by Grimfarrow
I's till recommend Days of Being Wild Mega Star disc though, even though the quality of the print isn't the greatest. At least it's anamorphic, has extras, and has good Dobly 5.1 setup!
Thanks Grimfarrow,
I plan on getting them, I just need to figure out the cheapest way. Any suggestions. I got the two Kinos. So far I've only watched Happy Together (I enjoyed the movie, BTW. Great cinematography.). It was actually much better quality than I was expecting after reading repsonses here. I guess it was the effect of anti-hype. I just yesterday ordered the HK version of Ashes of Time cheaply off half.com (the black bar thing about the American release disturbs me). At least I'll be able to see the film. Today I plan on venturing to Chinatown (Philadelphia) to see if I can find any of the HK imports I am looking for. In case it is fruitless, where do you guys buy your HK stuff from? Who has the best prices? I'd rather not have to get everything off eBay.
Old 06-20-01, 12:10 PM
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For those who missed "In the Mood For Love" in the theaters, it's over at http://www.getvcds.com
Old 06-20-01, 12:37 PM
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Originally posted by chitowndvd
For those who missed "In the Mood For Love" in the theaters, it's over at http://www.getvcds.com
uh, I don't get your point. It's readily available at many places, GetVCDs doesn't have it, and GetVCDs has been known to sell bootlegs (i.e. CTHD).

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