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Archive for February 27th, 2007

A thin line between praise and criticism

Not much of a news day, but still lots of different types of news going around.

- The Chinese media watchdog (better known as the government) has set up 20 rules to the press ahead of a major meeting of communist leaders. Some of them include a ban on talking about censorship in the media (I’m sure I’m not the only one who see the irony in this), a ban on discussing the cultural revolution, and just to be redundant, any discussion about the mistakes made during the cultural revolution should not deny the accomplishments by the party or Mao Zedong.

What the fuck?

Anyway, these are nothing new to those who have seen years of this type of censorship, and details from Variety Asia are here.

- The U.S. government isn’t quite helping when they just decided to cut broadcast aid to Tibet and reduce broadcasting hours by 50%. Many of the Tibetan exiles listen to these broadcast, and now many people inside Tibet can only listen to the official Chinese radio instead.

Variety Asia report here.

- Just to show that I don’t just criticize the Chinese government (because the wrath of the Chinese internet community is, honestly, kinda scary), the same agency that impose those new media rules also decided to bring cinemas to rural areas so poor farmers in those areas can watch the latest government-approved communists lovefest. Oh, there I go again. I ought to be happier that more people get to discover the magic of movies.

Again, Variety Asia has the report.

- And don’t think I’m just talking about China, the censors in Malaysia and Indonesia has also went and banned two documentaries, although for slightly better reasons than China, I suppose.

- After the Oscar win for The Departed (it’s from Hong Kong! Not Japan, Ms. Tuttle!), Warner Bros. have apparently been suckered into buying the rights for another Andrew Lau/Alan Mak movie - Confession of Pain (I mentioned the possibility of this 2 months ago here). Just as Hollywood Reporter reports, it’s about a former police detective investigating the death of his old superior’s father-in-law, and I’m puzzled why Hollywood even needs to spend 2.75 million dollars (a figure I heard Andrew Lau’s production company is charging) for a script any post-film school screenwriting grad can write. Maybe William Monahan is so pissed about people saying how much Infernal Affairs was better, so he decided to buy a crappy script to make himself look better (even though he has an Oscar to prove himself already…)

- Meanwhile, over in Japan, I don’t have those box office numbers yet, but Eiga Consultant does round up the results of Sakuran. On just 51 screens in the Kanto area (kind of like the opening weekend for The Departed in Japan, except 68 screens), it scored 44.83 million yen (that’s roughly US$374,000 on a $1=120 yen scale), meaning about 880,000 yen per-screen, which is about $7300. Not spectacular, but still a fairly good start, considering it’s been on fairly small screens in multiplex or single-screen theaters. It’s also 125% ahead of Honey and Clover, which had a similar rollout. It’ll open on 129 screens this weekend, so expect it to climb slightly up the top 10.

- NTV, who found a lot of yen last year with the Death Note movies, has bought stakes in a comic publisher. They’ve been kind of behind on those comic adaptations (TBS has Nana, and even Asmik Ace has Honey and Clover), so maybe now they can get more rolling, but to whose joy, I have no idea.

- For those in San Francisco, Bong Joon Ho, the director of The Host and Memories of Murder (both are now two of my Korean films) will be coming here for a showing of his three films at the Clay Theater on March 5th. I won’t be able to make it personally, but I encourage everyone to catch all three films, they’re all great in their own way. Of course, I will be catching The Host when it opens here on March 9th.

Anyway, details by Twitch here.

- I’ve got some new (and not as well-written as I’d like them to be) reviews on Yesasia, and they are as follows:

Love Me Not

Ad Lib Night

Hot For Teacher (aka Sexy Teacher, aka Who Slept with Her?)

Bye June

Jacky Cheung - By Your Side

- A new rapper has popped up in the hip-hop world, and guess what? He’s black, and he raps in Japanese! That’s right, it’s Kokujin Tenzai down from the dirrrrty South. Japan Probe has an entire post on this guy, and it reports that he’ll be holding a concert in Shibuya where a ticket cost 3000 yen. Would you pay 3000 yen to see this? I wouldn’t.

Although I do have to give him credit for learning the language AND getting his buddies to rap along with him. But I don’t think he quite has the finger on how conversational Japanese works, and in the words of Crocodile Dundee himself: That isn’t Japanese rap, THIS is Japanese rap.

Plus I don’t think Japanese people appreciate hearing a foreigner bragging going to Japan and “fucking yo’ bitches” and having “Gats in the Cadillac.”

On one last note: I’ve been checking who reads this blog, and what the heck are people at Circuit City, Bank of America, and Wells Fargo doing reading this blog? Get to work, guys!

 
 
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