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All over the map

Update’s a little late today, but that’s ok.

- Updating late enough means I caught Hong Kong’s Thursday box office numbers. Sometimes I think I need to live in Hong Kong to understand release patterns. Case in point - the Hugh Grant/Drew Barrymore romcom Music and Lyrics have been on the top 10 since Valentine’s Day. Not very good results (actually the bottom spot among the new Lunar New Year films), but still respectable. But now it’s overtaken everything except Protege and Night at the Museum to take 3rd spot on its official opening day. It earned HK$450,000 on 31 screens for a HK$3.20 million total already.

As mentioned before, Night at the Museum and Protege continue to own the box office, taking in HK$2.18 million and $1.25 million respectively. Protege seems to be showing a bit of a slowdown, but business should pick up this weekend again, and at a total of 18.02 million so far, it’ll at least reach the 25 million mark, which would make it the Hong Kong film to beat for the rest of the year. Meanwhile, It’s a Wonderful Life closes in on the HK$6 million point with HK$410,000 on 33 screens on Thursday, and Twins Mission does HK$370,000 on 26 screens to get past the HK$4 million mark.

According to today’s Oriental Daily (no link because content changes daily)Gold Label’s head honcho Paco Wong is satisfied with It’s a Wonderful Life’s mediocre performance since it’s only Ronald Cheng’s directorial debut. Right, Paco, it has nothing to do with quality at all, I’m sure.

Source: mov3.com

- Speaking of Protege, Kozo at Lovehkfilm posted his long-awaited review, and simply said: it’s good. Not great, but pretty good.

- What I want to discuss more though, is his own Lovehkfilm 2006 awards. I didn’t come up with a top 10 for 2006 because 1) it was too late by the time I came back from vacation, and 2) As a film studies major trying to finish his degree in film studies, it’s tough to catch up on new films (although this is the first year in a long time that I’ve actually caught all 5 of the Academy Awards best picture nominee. More on that on Sunday).

Anyway, agreed on most of the top 10 (only mostly because I have yet to see My Wife is a Belly Dancer, and I’m only half way through After This Our Exile). Can’t agree on bottom 10 because I’ve only seen two of those (but no Love@First Note? Too charitable, I say). Most agreed on the special award to Gold Label (”For the dubious achievement of somehow making EEG look good”), and agreed on the best overacting award. Make your own judgments from there.

- Twitch has discovered a new database for those who just can’t seem to remember the faces of those HK actors that appear in every other movie. I say they need one for Korean films….

- I love the Hong Kong International Film Festival. They get all kinds of movies that I would not be able to catch here in the States (or in the case of my experience at the HKIFF, movies I couldn’t catch during my year in Japan). Too bad I live in San Francisco, not Hong Kong.

Anyway, this year’s lineup has been announced, and it seems like there are so many films that they can’t even fit in a closing film. I have a few personal picks myself - the opening films (Eye in the Sky and I’m a Cyborg, but That’s OK), Bubble Fiction: Boom or Bust, Sakuran, Woman on the Beach, Love and Honor, and almost everything in the Hong Kong Panorama section. They even have Berlin winner Tuya’s Marriage, and a Herman Yau tribute featuring the infamous Untold Story and Ebola Syndrome. I’m not saying I want to see those two, I’m just saying they should be very interesting screenings.

- It’s been floating around for a couple of days, but I didn’t want to report it because it’s such bad news. But now it’s been confirmed by auteur Rob Cohen (excuse while I vomit) that Jet Li and Michelle Yeoh will be in The Mummy 3. Jet Li will play a head mummy of the Terracotta Army. Excuse me while I go vomit some more.

- Personal favorite Shiina Ringo has a new album out that I posted an external review for a few days ago. Better news is that it debuted at number 1 on its first day of release. I’m gonna be ordering a copy of this myself when I dig up the 30 bucks needed to buy it, but rest assured, I’m gonna love it too.

- Oops, they did it again. Another Japanese TV station has admitted to presenting false data. Same old, same old.

- Top Japanese studio Toho’s chairman Isao Matsuoka will receive the lifetime achievement award at this year’s Showest convention. How about honoring him by putting more Japanese films on American screen?

Source: Variety Asia.

- If you haven’t checked out Japander, you really should. It features Hollywood star in all kinds of Japanese commercial ranging from awesome to strange to just plain mediocre. I mention this because Japan Zone has announced that Madonna will be advertising for some new apartment complexes set to open in 2009. Other stars mentioned in the report include Jean Reno, Leonardo Dicaprio, and Ken Watanabe. I myself saw one featuring Richard Gere in a subway station in Tokyo.

- Hoga Central just announced that the blockbuster Genghis Khan: To the Ends of the Earth and Sea (just not as catchy as Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World or Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, or Norbit: From Unfunny to Plain Disgusting) has had its distribution rights sold to 60 countries, including Iraq (a film about a conqueror that wants to rule the world. hmm……). Of course, none of this is any indication that it’ll be any good.

- The Saturn Awards (Or Academy Awards for fantasy films) has recognized quite a few Asian films. For instance:

BEST INTERNATIONAL FILM

Apocalypto (Buena Vista)
The Curse of the Golden Flower (Sony Pictures Classics)
Fearless (Rogue / Focus)
The Host (Magnolia Pictures)
Letters From Iwo Jima (Warner Bros.)
Pan’s Labyrinth (Picturehouse)

BEST PERFORMANCE BY A YOUNGER ACTOR

Ko A-Sung (The Host) (Magnolia Pictures)
Ivana Baquero (Pan’s Labyrinth (Picturehouse)
Jodelle Ferland (Tideland) (ThinkFilm)
Tristan Lake Leabu (Superman Returns) (Warner Bros.)
Mitchel Tate Musso (Monster House) (Sony)
Edward Speleers (Eragon) (20th Century Fox)

BEST COSTUME

Joan Bergin (The Prestige) (Buena Vista)
Yee Chung-Man (Curse of the Golden Flower) (Sony Classics)
Penny Rose (Pirates of the Caribbean:
Dead Man’s Chest) (Buena Vista)
Judianna Makovsky (X-Men: The Last Stand) (20th Century Fox)
Nic Ede (Flyboys) (MGM)
Sammy Sheldon (V For Vendetta) (Warner Bros.)

A complete list is here

- Twitch also reports today on the societal impact of recent Korean blockbuster 200-Pound Beauty.

- Lastly, Variety has posted its
review for David Fincher’s Zodiac. It’s sounding more and more like Memories of Murder, and that’s alright with me.

Whew, that was a lot of news. That should make up for the delay.

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