Thursday, October 31, 2013

Highway to the by-the-book zone

War is Boring just did a great review of China's remake--apparently a nearly shot-for-shot version--of "Top Gun." It's called "Sky Fighters" and it looks like a mess.

"Top Gun" has always been one of my guilty (dorky?) pleasures, and I will never apologize for enjoying a well-filmed dogfight. But the same sequences in "Sky Fighters" look... well... boring. Take the "watch the birdie" scene, for example.

Fun! And it used, like, actual airplanes. The "Sky Fighters" version (the scene is at about 20:15) doesn't have real airplanes or even a rude gesture.

As the review notes, the main character doesn't have a cool callsign... he goes by "708." His wingman is "709." And his key talent is that he is a rigid doctrinaire. One might say he's not exactly a maverick. Ahem.

Anyway, the whole thing is on YouTube if you're into watching bad CGI, bad filmmaking and bad subtitles. But if you actually feel the need (the need for speed), fire up "Top Gun" instead.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

It's that time of year

Ah, the winds of autumn. Here in Hong Kong, the signs are everywhere: leaves not falling from the trees, brisk chill absent from the air, apple cider and pumpkin spice lattes nowhere to be seen. (There are, however, plenty of people roasting chestnuts on streetcorners, but they do that during the summer too.)

And, oh yeah, college basketball. There's nary a sign of it in the 'Kong, but on Tuesday Kansas hits the court for the first time this season.

That's right--a shakycam video of a video screen in a basketball arena at... a glorified practice session this month. It doesn't get much dorkier than that. Fortunately, as noted above, actual basketball highlights are right around the corner. Happy autumn!

Monday, October 14, 2013

The IHT is dead--long live the IHT

Hello, readers. It has, once again, been too long since I've typed at you about bloggy things. The reason--honest--is that it has been busy times here at my desk in Hong Kong. Tomorrow, the International Herald Tribune becomes the International New York Times after being identified for years as "the global edition of the New York Times."

I didn't know a ton about the IHT before I moved overseas. But it's a name with a lot of history.

And more than that, it's a name you kind of expect to see in a sweltering hotel lobby in Hanoi or laid out among morning tea in Delhi. An expat fixture, in other words.

A famous guy reading a famous paper in a famous place.

So there are many arguments to be had over what's in a name (and there is an incredible retrospective here). But regardless of all that, it is a bit sad to see an element of old-school expat life disappear. See you in the funny papers, IHT....