Ping Ting Lam editor, 1998, 660p, $27.50 or £14.95, ISBN 962 217 641 0
Cinema critic Paul Fonoroff compiled the reviews he wrote for the China South Morning Post between Nov. 1988 and June 1997, that is to stay about 600 reviews! The alleged purpose of publishing such book was to provide an informative reference resource about the HK cinema from that particular period (i.e. lucky days of the 80's, fear of the Handover of the 90's).
However Fonoroff hasn't reviewed every single classic movies produced then, even if he was used to review two to three films a week. For instance there is nothing about the all time classic Once Upon a Time In China. Fonoroff's critics can be very tough and sometimes he seems blasé as would be a critic used to watch tons of movies I suppose. But this implies that almost all the features are depreciated and the best ones are not always distinguished from the lousy ones (Robotrix better than Chungking Express ?). This process can sometimes be frustrating.
Reviews were written weekly so Fonoroff wasn't probably in a position to stand back to appreciate a movie. This also imply that he wrote reviews in reference to the local cultural and topical events. What's more, the writer always gives the upsides and downsides of each features, which helps the reader to find if film is suitable to his/her taste. That kind of cold attitude toward movie reviewing shows how professional Fonoroff is. He tries to prove his points and don't write instinctively saying "it's awesome" or "it's rubbish!", words we have come across too many times. The honesty of the whole thing make it a compulsory purchase for anyone who intents to develop his/her collection of DVD made in Hong Kong and needs a guide.