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Archive for February, 2007

Rainy days AND Monday

Raining here hard in San Francisco means it’s time to watch some movies. And so last night, I popped in the HK DVD for Memories of Matsuko, the latest from Shimotsuma Monogatari (better known as Kamikaze Girls) director Tetsuya Nakashima. A Japanese online commenter wrote in wrote that it’s essentially a pop version of Dancer in the Dark, and it’s mostly true - Memories of Matsuko is a story of a woman who experiences an almost-constant downward spiral, but finds comfort in singing a little ditty here and there. The difference is that it’s not as pretentious, and there are actual pop stars involved.

Some may criticize it for things such as its gender politics (Matsuko makes some really bad decisions along the way because she just wants to be loved by a man) or its shallow MTV-style storytelling, but I find the MTV stuff done much better here than its Hong Kong counterparts. Hong Kong filmmakers often indulge in MTV-style editing for the sake of style, and they hinge on taking the film merely from one sequence to another to show off new visual tricks with no knowledge of pacing or fluidity between scenes. Here, Nakashima crams in decades of Matsuko’s life using this style, but he somehow manage to juggles style and storytelling at the same time, streamlining events along the way at an efficient pace, but also allowing the emotions to be felt at the same time. As for gender politics, Matsuko’s search for love isn’t simply out of her need for a man; that need comes from her family upbringing, out of her inability to be loved.

And the music - as a musical, Memories of Matsuko has some of the best integration of pop music last year. Unlike the recent musical, which cashes in on hit pop song cashing in on collective nostalgia, songs created for this film (by J-pop artists such as AI and Bonnie Pink, who both make appearances in the film) actually have things to do with what’s going on onscreen. It may be pop, but it’s pop with a meaning.

Behind the pretty pop stuff, though, there is a very tragic story in Memories of Matsuko, but the impact is lessen thanks to the blend of bubble gum pop and 50s technicolor Hollywood spectacle. Nevertheless, emotions are felt, and the senses are stimulated just the same. You buy it or you don’t. I did, and I think it’s one of the best Asian films of 2006.

A report of an interview with director Tetsuya Nakashima from back in May is here.

The Twitch review (written better, but tougher to read through) is here.

Buy the HK DVD here.

- The Hong Kong numbers are in, and as expected, Night at the Museum tops the box office with its advanced screenings with HK$1.43 million on Sunday from 55 screens (that includes most theatres who put it on at least two screens) for a $2.99 million total so far. I didn’t realized that the umpteenth computer-animated animal film Open Season (The Chinese version boasts the voice talents of Eason Chan and Jan Lam) also had its advance screenings this weekend, and it’s at number two with a very weak HK$220,000 Sunday on 27 screens. Repeating its fate from pretty much around the globe, Charlotte’s Web got only HK$160,000 on 29 screens for a total of HK$330,000 so far. These three films open next weekend before Lunar New Year.

Everything else is pretty meh around Hong Kong, with Borat having another strong Sunday showing with HK$70,000 on only two screens for a HK$650,000 total so far. Pretty good, considering it’s only been showing on two screens.


- The controversial uncensored version of Lost in Beijing was screened in Berlin, and people are wondering what the hell the big deal is. The details here from Variety Asia.

Good news is that it’s also generally well-received. At least by Variety.

- Update on the Yellow Handkerchief remake I mentioned a couple of days ago thanks to Hoga Central. Apparently, imdb lists Udayan Prasad, who made the little-known, but timely My Son the Fanatic, as the director. Apparently, Yoji Yamada is understandably not directing this (but did hand over a script, apparently) because this is going to be a Hollywood film too.

- Midnight Eye has posted its results for the best of 2006 poll by readers. As great as it is that lesser known films (really, Miike isn’t all that huge in Japan) are recognized, I think some of the better mainstream films are getting left out simply because they’re….well, mainstream. Japan’s mainstream films are quite solid, even if they’re often made for commercial intentions. At least they don’t make movies like Norbit in Japan.

Midnight Eye reviewers’ own best-of lists are here.

I was hoping the Japanese drama ratings would be out by last night, but it wasn’t. That’s life.

It’s all money, baby

- Can’t believe I missed out on these two reviews out from Berlin yesterday on Variety-

A disappointingly short review of Japan’s Sakuran, whose most exciting aspect is the music from a personal favorite artist of mine, Shiina Ringo.

A very positive review for the new Milkyway film Eye in the Sky, directed by longtime Milkyway screenwriter Yau Nai-Hoi (with some assistance from Johnnie To, I’m sure). Does anyone know when this opens in Hong Kong?

- Variety also reports that John Woo’s epic extravaganza “The Battle of Red Cliff” have not only increased its budget to US$75 million (making it by far the most expensive Chinese production ever - the previous record holder Curse of the Golden Flower costs a comparatively minuscule US$35 million), but Woo has also decided to split the Asian version of the film into two 2-hour films while the non-Asian version will be 2 and half hours long. Yikes.

- US weekend numbers are out, and Eddie Murphy’s contract with the devil is seemingly still in effect as Norbit hits number with an estimated $33 million, making it the best opening for a film so far this year. Meanwhile, Hannibal Rising scores the franchise’s second-worst opening with only an estimated $13.3 million. Honestly, they already milked it for all its worth with the mediocrely-directed Red Dragon, what else did they expect?

Meanwhile, The Pangs’ The Messengers drop about 50%, Letters From Iwo Jima drops a very small 3%, even though it had a screen increase, and the German best foreign film contender The Lives of Others, which I should be watching next week after it opens here in San Francisco, has a fairly strong opening on 9 screens with a $24,777 per-screen average.

Tomorrow: Hong Kong numbers, and Japanese drama ratings.

Limping through the weekend

Most of the major film blogs (understandably) don’t write on weekends, but I figured I should capture that niche of weekend blog writing, so here I am.

- Mostly reviews today.

The long-delayed Korean “blockbuster” D-War by Derek Elley, who describes the film as “the most expensive cult movie on DVD.”

Park Chan-Wook’s “I’m a Cyborg, but That’s OK,” which I don’t care what anyone says, I’m looking forward to it immensely.

Yoji Yamada’s third film in the “Samurai Trilogy,” “Bushi no Ichibun” (or known internationally as “Love and Honor.”), which I look forward to reluctance because I’m not much for quiet samurai films, but I liked “The Hidden Blade,” so there.

This issue of Entertainment Weekly also provided a review of the Infernal Affairs trilogy (which is finally seeing its region-1 release thanks to the release of “The Departed.” It’s not on the EW website yet, so here are some quotes:

“(The two follow-ups) were produced and released within nine months of the original, with equally convoluted plotting - so whatever they’re putting in the coffee, can we import some? The first Infernal plays like The Departed on fast-forward; you get dozens of scenes nearly identitcal to Scorsese’s…Affairs 2 is a decent prequel (just decent?) that downplays its dueling moles while filling in an epic mod-war backstory. The more intimate finale…prepare to be baffled about why key players get whacked, and whether to cheer or cry.”

Infernal Affairs gets an A-, 2 gets a B, and 3 gets a B-. Personally, I would’ve given 1 a B/B+(I can’t stand MTV-style overdirecting, and the contrived female character in Sammi Cheng), 2 an A, and 3 an agreeable B-, but I don’t write for EW, so there.

I saw Pan’s Labyrinth yesterday. It’s a harrowing fantasy mixed with a brutal (and I mean BRUTAL) war drama. It’s hard to decide what to think of it; it is a towering achievement for Guillermo del Toro, as this is now my favorite film of his (but I’ve only seen Mimic, Blade 2, and Hellboy, and wasn’t terribly impressed by any of those), and the fantasy stuff is great. But the intense violence will literally scar people for life (I rarely resort to closing my eyes in the theatre, but that’s what I did at one point), and the tragic conclusion perhaps takes things a little too far. Nevertheless, it’s an involving and beautifully realized piece of filmmaking.

- Some trailers: One for Julie Taymor(who directed the awesome Titus)’s new musical Across The Universe (one of the more overlooked Beatles song that I know), a teaser for Ocean’s 13, which I think a lot of people have seen by now, and one for the interesting French comedy The Valet.

These trailers are the high-res versions, if you want to watch them in HD, go to Dave’s Trailer Page for them.

- MonkeyPeaches reports that Jia Jiangke’s film Still Life, which was shot and projected in Hong Kong in digital, was taken out of the Hong Kong Film Award best Asian film race because the award has a rule that stipulates films must be shot in 35mm. According to vice-chairman director Gordon Chan, the rule is to “protect movies” and that they are aware that more and more films are being shot in digital but they are “not ready to include them.” In other words, they’re trying to protect high-budget blockbusters produced by the committee members’ (quite a few of them producers and filmmakers themselves) bosses so they can get their next films funded. I’m not a fan of Jia Zhangke at all, and I don’t mean to be on a personal attack mode, but the man who made this movie shouldn’t talk about protecting movies anyway.

It’s Fincher’s Zodiac….finally

I was very very disappointed at Paramount’s absurd decision to open David Fincher’s Zodiac (which I’m hoping to be the American version of South Korea’s Memories of Murder. If Fincher ever claims that he was inspired by it, I would be delighted with glee, but anyway, I digress) after the Oscar-qualifying period. Then again, I was a little afraid that maybe it just wasn’t that good.

But now my fears have subsided, because Jeffery Wells has posted a soundingly positive review, and since this was the first guy to stand up for Babel when it showed at Cannes, I just have to place some faith that it will kick as much ass as he says.

Meanwhile, go check out Memories of Murder, it’s THAT good.

Because I’m ready for a break

It’s Friday, so let’s make this quick for everyone:

- Berlin’s English newspaper Exberliner has a rather nonsensical blog about the Berlin Film Festival, which will run until the 18th. It seems to be written with such verbal vomit and nonsensical run-on sentences that I wonder if the writer is rather…influenced when he writes it.

For example: “When placed in comparison to the drudgery of my aging hipster lifestyle, the disease-filled, whorehouse-circus, heroin-blindness sufferings of La Môme’s Edith Piaf appear utterly galvanizing. And of course: an artist’s myth is more than just the vibration of talented muscle. Why is my life so insufferable when my father could be a contortionist? Wait, my father is a contortionist….anyway, the tears that streamed from my eyes during the first third of the film were neither entirely the result of the artistry of the filmmaker, nor the girth of the journalist sitting next to me.”

Maybe my English really sucks, but….what?

The blog is worth reading anyway, as it does offer some perspective about the festival and the films, and it’s right here.

- The new internet-only trailer for Hot Fuzz, from the makers of Shaun of the Dead, is out, and it’s special because it was edited by director Edgar Wright himself. There’s nothing new to see, but looks fun nevertheless.

- Hong Kong Thursday box office numbers are out, and it’s indicating a weak weekend. But that’s only because the big lunar new year films are all rolling out next week, starting with advance screenings for Charlotte’s Web and Night at the Museum throughout the weekend, then Derek Yee’s highly-anticipated Protege opens on the 13th, then Ronald Cheng’s directorial debut (I feel a bit of vomit saying that after watching the trailer in Hong Kong) It’s A Wonderful Life and the equally awful-looking Twins Mission (the title screen looks like a bad 80’s adventure film. Maybe it’s a homage!) opens on the 14th, and the two Western films see their openings on the 17th and the 15th, respectively. New Years (as in the official holiday) is on the 18th, so expect box office updates throughout next week.

Oh, Thursday numbers can be seen here. Expect the advance screenings of Charlotte’s Web and Night at the Museum to dominate the weekend.

- Cannes has enlisted the past winners of the Palme d’Or to each make a 2-3 minute short film for the festival’s 60th anniversary. The feature film is set to premiere, and will probably never be shown anywhere else, during the festival this May. Asian filmmakers include Wong Kar-Wai, Tsai Ming-Liang, Chan Kaige (who hopefully isn’t promising the return on the pimp finger stick), and Hou Hsiao-Hsien are expected to participate.

Source: Variety

- Japanese distributor Shochiku has made a deal with an American producer to remake Yoji Yamada’s classic film “The Yellow Handkerchief,” with no director named as of now. The original film, based on an American novel, was known as the first best picture winner in the Japanese Academy Awards in 1978. Considering Yoji Yamada is still alive and going strong (making a real actor out of Kimura Takuya in Bushi no Ichibun), and that Ichikawa Kon just remade his own film, why not have him do it? The film will begin shooting in New Orleans in March.

Source: Variety Asia

- Japan’s Kansai Television has revealed more false data in their now-canceled hit health show “Encyclopedia of Living.” After the much-covered scandal, in which producers gave false data that suggested natto (fermented soy beans that looks like held together with snot) can help people lose weight, setting off a natto-buying frenzy in Japan, now KTV has revealed at least two more cases where foreign experts’ testimonies were mistranslated on purpose.

I always approach these shows with caution myself, especially when they show these interviews, they dub over the English and show the subtitles of what the voiceover person is saying instead of showing what the experts actually said in English. I hope these scandals now bring greater transparency for these so-called health variety shows all around the world.

Source: Variety Asia

Today I’ll be watch Pan’s Labyrinth and I’ll receive my DVD for the great Paris Je T’aime tomorrow. Yup, it’ll be a good weekend. I might even post once or twice.

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.

So much news I needed to post twice

More Hollywood-oriented news now.

- Rumors of a sequel to The Departed have now blown up to rumors of TWO sequels, and neither of them are based on the original sequels (one prequel, and one nonsensical sequel). At least they’re not making it back-to-back within one year.

Source: Hollywood Elsewhere

- Youtube has agreed to post up Japanese warnings on their website for users after a meeting with the dev…I mean the JASRAC to prevent postings of Japanese copyright materials. The blog “Watashi to Tokyo” also include an interesting story about JASRAC’s practices, which involve the bullying of a small neighborhood lounge that played copyrighted music and got smacked down. Japanese entertainment has always held out any possible chance of reaching the widest audience possible by holding out for an extra couple of bucks. No wonder Japanese artists can’t find success outside of Japan.

Source: Watashi To Tokyo

- I posted a link for the trailer for Peter Berg’s The Kingdom here before. Now the film’s release date has moved from April to September after phenomenal test group scores in no other place than Sacramento, California. Relying on just one town’s test scores may not be such as good idea, remember The Avengers?

Source: Yahoo News

- New York Post critic Lou Lumenick reports that the new Nicholas Cage actioner-comic-adaptation Ghost Rider will be released without any screenings for critics. I feel like my job is in more and more jeopardy every time one of these reports come out.

Source: Hollywood Elsewhere

Sometimes you just don’t know whom to trust

- Box Office Mojo posted its own official Japan box office numbers from this past weekend, and there’s a slight discrepancy - While yesterday’s Eiga Daisuki ranking shows Monster House at 10th place with Battle Of Wits at 3rd, the Box Office Mojo ranking shows the new film Dear Friends at 10th place, and Battle of Wits at 4th, behind Marie Antoinette. What gives?

Nevertheless, the Battle of Wits opening is weaker in numbers than I thought, since the release is fairly wide at 246 screens, it only took in 130 million yen (that’s about 1.09 million in US dollars, according to Mojo) for a 528500 yen average, which amounts to only about US$4400 per-screen. And average ticket prices in Japan is 1500 yen (adult price is 1800, but advanced tickets are sold at 1300 yen, and students are charged 1500 yen as well), so do the math. Since, according to Eiga Consultant, it did do 114% of The Promise’s opening weekend business (and possibly with considerably better word of mouth and a popular source material), it might do respectable business for a Hong Kong film. Then again, Hong Kong films usually don’t even see the top 10, so we’ll see.

Meanwhile, Japanese films are staying afloat quite well, with Dororo losing only 15% of its business, and Shall We Dance director Masayuki Suo’s “Soredemo Boku Wa Yattenai” losing only 14% and will probably stay strong thanks to word-of-mouth and recent promotion by the director himself. The multiple-Oscar nominated The Departed, however, not doing so well, losing another 40% of its business over the weekend, along with Letters From Iwo Jima, which finally seems to be dying down after an astonishing 9 weeks in the top 10.

Source: Box Office Mojo

- Takeshi Kitano (or known as Beat Takeshi) has recently completed his 13th film, which will supposedly with a mishmash of homages to Ozu, science fiction, and I guess whatever oddball stuff he can come up with. It will open in June.

Source: Japan Zone (please scroll down if you don’t see it)

- Twitch has been provided with stills from Soi Cheang’s new film Shamo. This time a manga adaptation, the presumably hardcore action flick will star former pretty boy Shawn Yue, whom I always thought has great potential as an actor. The original comic apparently featured many gay rape scenes (it does partially takes place in prison), but the director himself said that they have been left out of the film.

Source: Twitch

- The team behind the controversial “Lost in Beijing” is now prepared to defy the censors and show the film uncut in Berlin….at least for the market screenings. But they have yet to decide which version to go with for the public screening. Come on, stick it up to the man!

Source: Variety Asia

Critics? What’s that?

- Variety likes to end their first paragraph of film reviews with a little prediction of their box office takes, because apparently being professional means you can watch movies early enough to predict their box gross, not analyze (like yours truly). A Korean film critic apparently likes to follow Variety’s vein by predicting the highly anticipated new film by Park Jin Pyo (You Are My Sunshine) “Voice of a Murderer” would flop. Despite, you know, “You Are My Sunshine” being the highest-grossing Korean melodrama ever, and that a crime film that tries to cash in on major collective memory happens to hit box office jackpot (read “Memories of Murder”).

Then comes news that “Voice of a Murderer” made $10.1 million with 1.46 million admissions, AND screen counts actually increased day by day.

I’ll bet a certain someone in Germany is happy about that.

Source: Twitch, Variety Asia.

- Those silly censors at the Chinese government strikes again. They have approved a heavily-cut version of Li Yu’s “Lost in Beijing” (starring Tony Leung Ka-Fai) to screen in Berlin. Apparently, the censors demanded 53 cuts (totaling about 15 minutes), include a scene of a car driving down a dirty alleyway with water since it gives a bad impression of Beijing. Man, people must think America is a pigsty after all the dirty alleyways with water they show in their movies.

Now producer Feng Li has to consider showing the approved version or open defy status quo and showed the original version in Berlin. Of course, he has to consider the last filmmaker that did that got banned from making films for 5 years.

Source: Variety Asia

- Japanese box office rankings for the past weekend is out. Dororo remains in the first place, as Pursuit Of Happyness in second. The biggest major opening this week would be Andy Lau’s A Battle of Wits. I don’t have an official screen count or numbers, but this is considered a pretty major opening for a Hong Kong film (It did get nominations at the Hong Kong Film Awards, so it’s a Hong Kong film, yeah? Good), let alone an Andy Lau film. This is probably due to the fact that it’s based on a popular Japanese comic, not the fact that Andy Lau is prominently featured in the poster
Source: Eiga Daisuki!

- Rinko Kichuchi from the brilliant “Babel” (that’s right, the more you hate it, the more I’ll love it) has signed up for a role in Rian Johnson’s (who made a great debut with Brick) con-man noir drama The Brothers Bloom. Here’s to hoping she just won’t become the fetishized Asian femme fatale there to satisfy the male gaze.

Source: Twitch

Ah hell, it’s Hollywood, that’s what probably will happen.

Extra large Monday edition

Having been lazy for the last couple of days about blogging, I feel somewhat obligated to deliver more news today.

- The Pang Bros.’ Hollywood debut The Messengers (although not completely their film - Producer Sam Raimi reportedly brought in another director to reshoot a couple of scenes after filming ended) debut at no. 1 with 14.7 million dollars at the box office, marking the 5th best Super Bowl opening of all time. Reviews have been mostly negative, even though I thought Variety’s review was leaning towards the positive side, and it still got a rotten tomato.

In other box office news, Letters From Iwo Jima sinks 9% this weekend, despite a screen expansion. Sadly, the multiple Oscar nominee will limp to get to the 10 million-mark, unless Flags of Our Fathers’ DVD release this week help boost box office takes. I doubt Warner Bros. is worried, though, since it’ll make 40 million dollars in Japan alone. That’s double its budget.

Meanwhile, Babel and Children of Men are in a virtual freefall now. Especially sad is Children of Men, which has gotten great acclaim, word-of-mouth, and even Oscar nominations, only to earn back less than half of its budget in the States. On the other hand, good news for Pan’s Labyrinth, which has now apparently becoming the highest-grossing Spanish-language film in the States (sans inflation).

Source: Box Office Mojo.

- Meanwhile, in Hong Kong, new opener House of Mahjong has inexplicably become the number 1 film this weekend, earning HK$410,000 on 29 screens on Sunday for a 1.52 million gross after 4 days. Even the Project Greenlight film Feast opened at third place with a solid 260,000 on 23 screens on Sunday for a 1.01 million total so far, even though the version in Hong Kong theatres is reportedly only 87 minutes long, suggesting a 8-minute trim for a friendlier category II-B rating.

Blood Diamond continues to stay strong at second place with a inflated 370,000 take on 31 screens on Sunday with a 7.71 million total as it draws closer to being first 2007 10-million earner in Hong Kong. It might happen, it might not, who cares?

In limited releases, Anthony Minghella’s Breaking and Entering, which is also doing decent but not great limited release business in the States, managed to make HK$150,000 on 7 screens on Sunday for a HK$560,000 total. The biggest limited release opener, though, is the 2-screen opening of Borat. It made an extraordinary 90,000 on only 2 screens for a 280,000 total so far.

Source:, Broadway Cinemas

- There was a test screening for Derek Yee’s new work Protege last week, and results were generally positive. In the post-screening Q&A, Yee also laments the decline of Hong Kong films, citing the recent incident where citizens called in to complain about a broadcast of the classic film An Autumn’s Tale because of the scene where the Chow Yun-Fat character swears in a scene of road rage played for laughs.

Source is from the Oriental Daily newspaper from Hong Kong, but they change their online content everyday, so there’s no longer any official source.

- Additional review for Japanese blockbuster Dororo. Last week I posted a negative review, so now here comes a positive review for the usually-reliable (at least when it comes to Japanese films) Mark Schilling at Japan Times.

- Speaking of reviews, four new reviews for the month are up:
Joey Yung - Close Up (music)
Miriam Yeung - Unlimited (music)
Like a Virgin (Korea)
Live Good (aka: Mission Sex Control) (Korea)

- I like the Colbert Report. Unlike The Daily Show’s sometimes-liberal slant on its skewering of news, The Colbert Report is a sharp satire of the so-called fair and balanced Fox News and other right-wing news shows. So why am I talking about Colbert, you ask? Because he recently did a segment on this year’s Academy Awards and how it’s destroying America. Trust me, it’s funnier than it sounds.

Watch it here.

More tomorrow, hopefully, when the Japanese box office results may come out. What can I say? I live by Box Office Mojo, and so should you. Copyright © 2002-2018 Ross Chen