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Under the Sunday sun.

Not a lot of news today, but it’s Sunday, so bear with me, ya?

- Box office estimates here in the States are out, and my faith in the American moviegoing public is fading away more than ever - Letters From Iwo Jima flopped, Children of Men flopped (although from its subject matter, I don’t know if I would’ve greenlit it with an $72 million budget), and now The Host hits theaters with a disappointing $320,000 gross on 71 screens - That’s only a $4,500 per-screen average. Then again, it’s pretty much flopped everywhere outside of Korea, and it’s not like it didn’t make enough money in Korea already.

Of course, I’m not gonna criticize 300, who made back its $60 million budget this weekend with a $70 million weekend, because I haven’t seen it and I think it looks quite cool. But violent testosterone-driven bloodfests has never ceased to attract the young’uns, so whatever.

- Amidst being the theme song of a hit drama and the middle of a very public divorce, Utada Hikaru’s latest (and worst in a while, in my humble opinion) single Flavor of Life hit the number 1 spot with 270,605 copies sold, which is the best-selling Utada Hikaru single since, and this is sad to say, Be My Last (its first week sales already exceeded the latter’s total). It should top the charts again for this week, as it’s been leading on the daily Oricon rankings.

On the album side, Ayumi Hamasaki’s best-of albums - A Best 2 Black and A Best 2 White - or known as “best way to continuously rip off my fans,” scored the number 1 and 2 spot on the album chart, with roughly 470,000 copies sold for each album. Shiina Ringo’s “Heisei Fuuzoku” (which I will be reviewing for Yesasia whenever it arrives) is down to third with 33,000 copies sold (that makes total sales about 120,000 now). Next week should be interesting, as 7 of the albums that were released on March 7th has been making the daily top 10, so look for a huge shift on the album chart next week.

- I don’t want to sound shallow, but I’m not a fan of Tsai Ming Liang - I rented Viva L’amour, and couldn’t sit through it, and I haven’t had a chance to watch his more provocative work. His latest work, I Don’t Want to Sleep Alone, has been getting positive reviews, and may even get a release in his homeland Malaysia. But the Malaysian censors pulled a China and decided to ban the film because of “negative portrayal” of Kuala Lampur, and they don’t want it messing up their tourist campaign. But after an appeal, it has now been unbanned, but the censors still want those naked buttocks and stories about open burning gone.

Well, that’s one less country to make movies in for me.

- Home Theater Forum has a review of the brand-new Fire on the Plains DVD by Criterion. I saw the film and read the novel for a Japanese film class and enjoyed it immensely (Despite its graphic nature). I recommend anyone who thinks that Japan only makes nationalist war films to check this one out and look at better times before the ultra right-wing took over the Japanese war film genre

- On the other hand, DVD Talk has a review of Zhang Yimou’s Curse of the Golden Flower, due on region 1 DVD on March 27th. I thought this one was OK, but I wish Zhang Yimou would get back to making small human dramas rather than sometimes gratuitous martial arts films for Westerners.

- Webs of Significance has a report on Alan Mak (whom I see as the brains behind the Infernal Affairs trilogy, not Andrew Lau) and his reaction to The Departed. One can see his great promise with the overlooked actioner A War Named Desire, before he became the poor beta member of the Andrew Lau team.

- Oricon talks about this season’s Japanese dramas, and The Flower Boys’ popularity seem to reach almost every age group surveyed (except people in their 40s, who rate it second). Not so fortunate is Karei Naru Ichizoku, who find its biggest fans in those 30 and above (given its grand 70s rich family epic background, that’s not a surprise), and of course, the most consistent performer of the bunch is Haken no Hinkaku, who find itself in the high 70s among all age groups. With all these dramas ending this upcoming week, it should be interesting to see just how top will they go. Haken No Hinkaku will see itself at 3rd for sure, but will the flower boys beat out the steel-producing/bank-swallowing family?

Don’t worry about that yet, drama ratings for these 2nd-to-last episodes will be out tomorrow.

Also tomorrow will be Hong Kong numbers, and after this entry is best of the week.

One Response to “Under the Sunday sun.”

  1. rachael Says:

    i don’t know if it’s a similar case in the states, but here in the smaller sphere of my home city, children of men only played at a cut price cinema (before the oscars) and letters from iwo jima is only currently showing at two, one being an arthouse cinema. i think it gets treated more like a foreign film because of the language content. unfortunate…

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