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The calm before the storm

This weekend is Hollywood’s biggest weekend, with the Independent Spirit Awards on Saturday and the Oscars on Sunday. What does that have to do with this blog? Absolutely nothing, but i’ll be busy this weekend anyway watching these, writing 4 reviews, and watching Karate Bullfighter tonight on IFC. Awesome weekend coming up? oh, you betcha.

- The troubled Bangkok Film Festival (which Grady Hendrix’s Kaiju Shakedown once chronicled) is officially back in July, but with a limited budget and no American dictators running things from LA. Apparently, the new focus will be Asian cinema and a festival more friendly to Thai audience. Hmm…Bangkok film festival, Bangkok is in Thailand, Bangkok film festival more friendly to Thai audience…that makes sense! Why didn’t they think of that in the first place?

- I don’t watch much Thai films, honestly, so you can’t blame me for not catching SARS Wars, although it does sound real wacky in that good way. Now the director Teewewat Wantha is back with a new work, and it sounds wackier than ever. Honestly, with a title like The Sperm, how can it not be wacky? Twitch has posted a teaser up, and it may be the funniest teaser I’ve seen in a while. Don’t worry, I don’t speak Thai either, and I thought it was funny, so there.

- I was once a huge fan of director Kwak Jae Young (note, imdb does NOT have his complete filmography) - I, like every other Asian American college student who had an internet connection, loved My Sassy Girl (don’t worry, I discovered it on a legit Hong Kong VCD). I even liked most of The Classic, which had great camerawork and directorial flair. But then he made Windstruck, one of the most uneven and intentionally emotionally manipulative Korean films I’ve ever had to sit through (and that’s say quite a bit). Now he’s back with another one those “My Girl is____” films (maybe he’s making a trilogy) with his Japanese debut “My Girlfriend is a Cyborg.”

More information from Ryuganji is here (I don’t want to steal his compiled links, so go check it out)

- Japan Times’ Mark Schilling really likes movies. He’s been giving quite a few 3.5-4-star reviews to films lately. But now he finally loves movies, particularly the personally-anticipated Sakuran directed by Mika Ninagawa (featuring the music of the amazing Shiina Ringo). It finally opens tomorrow local time in Japan, and Schilling has given it 5 stars.

Japan Times even posted two feature stories on the film, one an interview with director Mika Ninagawa, and another an interview with star Anna Tsuchiya. Both are well worth the read, and the official full-length trailer even has three Shiina songs in it.

As mentioned yesterday, it will also screen at the Hong Kong International Film Festival.

- Japan Probe has more information about the new film written by infamously conservative Tokyo governor Shintaro Ishihara. That’s right, much like my own governor, Tokyo has a leader that also dips into the world of film. “Ore Wa, Kimi No Tame Ni Koso Shini Ni Iku” (For You, I Go to My Death) is a touching tale about young kamikaze pilots during World War II through the eyes of a restaurant owner who watched over them.

Yup, another nationalistic war movie that tries to paint the Japanese troops as kind souls who just want to protect their country that will also serve as a guilt trip device for current generation for not learning about the war “properly.” I’m not saying if this film will be any good or any bad, but didn’t Hollywood do these kind of movies some 20 years ago already?

Considering this is the man who makes statements such as this, I wonder what the movie is going to be like.

- Oricon Style offers a music video of personal favorite Utada Hikaru’s latest single Flavor of Life (theme song for that drama with the Flower boys). It’s only the “ballad version,” but even as a fan, I have to say it’s easily the worst Utada Hikaru single ever released. The only appealing part is the chorus, while everything else sounds like it’s written randomly. There’s no rhyme or reason to the melody nor to the arrangement. It’s plain flat J-pop, and it’s no good. And I even defended Exodus, for crying out loud.

And no, it has nothing to do with the fact that it’s the theme song to a drama I refuse to watch.

- And now, some Oscar news:

Hollywood Elsewhere reports the voting habit of one voter. The movies this year aren’t THAT bad.

And Borat will not be making an appearance as a presenter. Not so niiiiiceeeee.

I should say I won’t be posting much this weekend, but considering I even spent an hour writing this entry on a slow news day, who knows what’ll happen?

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