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Johnnie To confuses all, and communists just hate Zhang Yimou

- Johnnie To seems like a far more productive version of Wong Kar-Wai; while he does put out up to two movies a year, he can’t seem to decide what to do. News reported that shooting for a PTU TV series have been underway with different directors, but now comes the announcement that Johnnie To himself is going be making 5 films under the PTU series, with one being a theatrical release and the others being straight-to-video releases. He’s also in post-production for two films - Sparrow, which he’s been shooting on-and-off for a while, and his third of “The Iron Triangle,” co-directed by Tsui Hark and Ringo Lam. He’s probably shooting three more films we don’t know about that has no script, but who cares? He’s Johnnie To. As long as he keeps churning out more Exiled than Yesterday Once More, I ain’t complaining.

Source: Variety Asia

- Zhang Yimou is always caught between a rock and a hard place. First, his movies kept getting banned because of “subversive elements,” now that he appeases to the party, the party bites right back. According to Yahoo News, the Communist Party training academy (what the hell is that anyway?) has publicly criticize Zhang Yimou’s Curse of the Golden Flower for leaving a “feeling of nausea that would not go away.” They even said “Fine art is not built on money. Good movies are not based on banquets of glitzy scenes and effects, and less so when violence and sex are involved.” Maybe they should watch Raise the Red Lantern, or better yet, To Live. Oh, wait, they banned both movies!

Source: Yahoo News

- Jason Gray has put up more news about Beat Takeshi(or Takeshi Kitano)’s new film “Kantoku, Banzai!” (Long Live the Director). It seems both more intriguing and mind-numbling at the same time.

Source: Jason Gray

- More on the Youtube-JASRAC negotiations from Variety Asia. Apparently now Youtube is planning on building a Japanese version of Youtube as well, and is negotiating with companies to put contents on their Japanese site. Good thing they’re rejecting JASRAC’s request to require users to register their addresses. If you want people to stop infringing copyrights, why not make them available yourself, and make some advertising bucks out of it? This is the country that won’t even let users from outside Japan watch the ads for their dramas on the internet, so they probably won’t listen to foreigners.

Source: Variety Asia

- It’s not really news, but apparently the new Eddie Murphy film Norbit is crappy. Really crappy.

Source: Hollywood Elsewhere

- Apparently Steven Soderbergh is not making only one Che Guevara film, but TWO. I like Steven Soderbergh when he’s making edgy mainstream films (that would include Ocean’s Twelve, mind you), not experimental art films. Then again, I like Paul Thomas Anderson, so maybe some people out there actually like Soderbergh’s stuff.

Source: Hollywood Elsewhere

- I’m gonna keep peddling Khalil Fong’s album “This Love” here. For film fans who need convincing, he even did a song named after Wong Kar-Wai’s broken-hearted protagonist Su Li-Zhan. Link’s here . This is a talented guy, so give him some love by buying the album here.

- A wag of the finger to Joy Sales for their pan-and-scanning of the VCD for Jackie Chan’s Rob-B-Hood (yes, a poor college student does have to resort to the VCD these days). It goes from widescreen during the credits to full screen for the opening sequence, then widescreen again for the rest of the credits. Why not just widescreen the entire film like everyone else does? It’s not like it costs extra money to leave the widescreen print on, it’s already on the DVD. And no, Rob-B-Hood was not shot on Super-35, so don’t even start that.

More of the widescreen-vs-pan and scan (also known as “full screen”) argument here.

Lastly, I’ve now gotten hooked on RSS feed, and was looking into how to set one up myself. Turns out a real RSS 2.0 feed is too complicated, and Blogger already set an atom one down at the bottom. So use your aggregator and click on the feed link on the bottom to subscribe. That is, if you are inclined to do so.

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