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Archive for April 18th, 2007

The Golden Rock song of the day - 4/18/07

Another classic song for today’s Song of the Day. With the new dramas starting up in Japan, I figure I should present one of my favorite drama theme songs. From the classic hit drama “Long Vacation” starring Kimura Takuya, it’s Toshinobu Kubota’s “La La La Love Song.”

Why? Because it’s one of those breezy J-pop song that really matched with the tone and the images of the drama. I still think it’s one of the best Japanese drama intros I’ve seen.

Here is the intro I was writing about

Nippon Wednesday Part 2

As the title suggests, there’s a lot of news coming out to Japan again. Of course, there’s news from everywhere else, but we’ll start with Japan

- Oricon rankings again fairly weak this week. On the singles chart, Seki Jani Eight (I don’t really get them, but whatever floats Japan’s boat) rules the chart with their new single, selling 190,000 copies. In second and third place are also new singles, but sales are way lower than the top single. As for remaining singles, Glay drops all the way down to 7th place, and Namie Amuro’s “Funky Town” (Not a cover of the disco hit) is already out of the top 10. Next week should be interesting, as the daily chart indicates 14 singles vying for the top 10.

Albums sales are even weaker this week, as YUI hangs for to number 1 again with just 100,000 copies sold. The best-selling new album of the week is the second album by Endlicheri Endlicheri (also known as Tsuyoshi Domoto of Kinki Kids), which sold only 77,000 copies. Most of the albums still on the top 10 are holdovers such as Ai Otsuka and Kobukuro’s compilation albums and Mr. Children’s latest. Next week, expect boy pop collective Kat-tun to rule the charts with their latest (probably cashing in on the respective members’ debuting dramas).

- And looks like the music sales slump isn’t just a seasonal thing either - Hollywood Reporter reports that Japanese music sales have been declining since last year, and the majority of that loss actually is in declining sales of foreign music. Not that Japanese music weren’t selling less either; their decline just wasn’t as bad. One thing I don’t understand is why Japanese music as priced so much more expensive than its foreign counterpart - According to the figures, even foreign CD (album and singles included) cost an average of $9.30, while a Japanese music cost an average of $10.54. It doesn’t seem like a big difference, but Japanese albums can cost over 1000 yen more than American albums. Is it production costs? Is it simply a way to cash in on a market that can move almost 53 million units?

- Academy Award winner The Queen opened in one theater over the weekend, and in light of high advance ticket sales, the theater decides wisely to put it on two of its three screens. Eiga Consultant reports that decision was right, because with 428 seats available for 10 shows a day, The Queen attracted 4072 people, bringing in 5.59 million yen over the weekend. With expansion over the next two weekends, can The Queen become a sleeper hit in Japan?

- A while ago, I complained that Japanese television broadcasters were not stepping up quick enough to get its dramas overseas. Once a giant market for exporting dramas, Japan has since been overshadowed by South Korea. Finally, the broadcasters are waking up, and are collaborating with the Communication Ministry to build an online database for potential buyers of TV shows. Japan does make decent television shows that should be just as popular as the ones in South Korea, but its lack of access for foreign audience has caused those potential audiences to find other ways to access these contents such as Bittorrent and triad-sanctioned pirated discs.

- Speaking of TV, looks like TBS screwed up again, this time on reporting the Fujita food scandal.

- I like Lee Byung-Hun. I never watched his dramas, but he’s done some great movies such as J.S.A., Bungee Jumping of Their Own, and A Bittersweet Life. He’s also quite a heartthrob in Japan, although his movies haven’t done very well there. Of course, it would make sense that if a Japanese blockbuster were to need a Korean heartthrob, it’d be him or Bae Yong Joon (or Yonsama, as Japanese people call him). That’s why I’m not very surprised to hear that Lee has been casted in SMAP member/Asian superstar Kimura Takuya’s latest film Hero, a film version of the hit drama. It’s official - this movie is gonna be huge.

- Two weeks ago, I introduced the Japanese film Campaign. Turns out Jason Gray has seen it (as did people in film festivals around the world), and he offers far more information than I had on it. This makes me want to watch it even more.

- Now that I’m done with Japan, let’s pick on China. I swear I didn’t make this up:

CBS has chosen China as the next spot for its popular reality show Survivor. While this is a great development for western media trying to break into China, it should also speak volumes about how living in Mainland China can actually be equal to living on a jungle island in the middle of nowhere with no civilized necessity. Maybe finding a way to talk about Tiananmen Square in public without getting sent to a labor camp can be one of the challenges.

- Meanwhile, Hong Kong has its own battle to fight. On film, that is. More details have emerged about the so-called “Battle of Hong Kong” trilogy that actually sounds like it might be good. Called “The Exodus,” the sci-fi epic is about how enslaved citizens in Kowloon rise up against their wealthy captors on Hong Kong Island. Of course, if you look at the map of Hong Kong, you would realize that logistically, you don’t want to be the power holder and be stuck on an island, but I’m just nitpicking.

The summary still sounds very promising, until I read this ugly tagline by the director that seems better used for a Hollywood boardroom - ““This is Ten Commandments meets Blade Runner shot like 300.” Honestly, I don’t know how that’s gonna work out.

- The Singapore International Film Festival lineup has been announced, and this time the theme is “fuck the censors.” They will be showing “Syndromes and a Century” and “Village People Radio Show,” both Thai films that are in big trouble with the Thai censors. Also, they are fighting the Singaporean censors to get the local homosexual film “Solos” played at the festival uncut. The censors have already forced the Danish film “Princess” to withdraw from the festival, so they ain’t taking this fight lying down.

Edit: Ummm…I need to read the stories closer. As YTSL pointed out, the film festival is already underway, and Village People Radio Show was banned by the Malaysian censors. Disregard all that you just read and read the story yourself.

- The Herman Yau-directed/Dennis Law-produced Gong Tau (Curse) has a trailer up, thanks to the good people at Twitch. I personally loved the purple floating head, what’s your favorite?

- In an exercise in redundancy, the Australian government has backed the establishment of a Pan-Asian film awards. The Asia Pacific Screen Awards will take place in November in Queensland for at least three years before being moved to another country. In an even wiser movie, the show will be recorded for CNN and would concentrate on recognizing films from countries we don’t necessarily associate with film rather than blinging it up on the red carpet.

The bad news? It’ll only offer 3 nominations per category and its winner will be determined by a 3-member jury? It may beat Hong Kong in presentation, but this award might just lose on credibility.

- The developing story in Hong Kong is obviously the future of John Woo’s Battle of Red Cliff. Producer Terence Chang has shot back, citing Chow Yun-Fat’s attitude as the reason for his withdrawal. From Ming Pao, excerpt are as follows:


Terence Chang admits that investors and distributors complained that Chow was 20 years too old for the role, but John Woo and he have always protected Chow. The real reason is that the contract Chow’s lawyer wrote up - the American insurance company would not except 73 of the conditions. He [Chang?] already tried to compromise, but they couldn’t finalize it.


Chang says: “Chow requested that his salary be paid in one installment before shooting began, he said that he treats every independent film the same. I end up pleading to him, so he agreed to taking 50% first and reporting to the set 3 days after receiving the money. The other 50% would be given to him halfway through shooting from a bank account. Even though Chow’s not getting the money in one installment, I have to raise the money in one installment. (Was Chow’s salary high?) It’s US$5 million, plus a cut of the worldwide gross. We don’t mistreat him, this salary is higher than the salaries he got from the last four movies he did combined.”

對於發哥指一星期前才收到劇本,張家振直斥這是廢話,他說﹕「早在去年,我就偷偷地交稿給他看。他在美國拍戲時,也跟我們提出了一些周瑜和小喬的感情戲,我們都覺得不錯。去年初,第一稿出來,我們同時給了他和梁朝偉,發哥有一些意見,向吳宇森和編導陳汗提出,編劇就發哥的說法潤飾了劇本, 此稿的確是一周前給他。」

Regarding Chow’s claim that he only got the script a week before shooting, Chang says that’s a lie. He says, “We’ve been showing him drafts since last year. When he was shooting another film in the States, he even gave us some suggestions regarding the romance that we thought was good. At the beginning of last year, the first draft came out, and we showed it to him and Tony Leung Chiu-Wai. Chow had some suggestions for John Woo and the screenwriter, so he changed the screenplay according to those suggestions. That draft did get to him a week beforehand.”

Original text in Chinese is here.

So there you have it. Who’s in the right? Who’s in the wrong? Chow admits that he did write up his contract in accordance to the Hollywood treatment he had, while Chang did admit that he only sent Chow the complete final draft a week before shooting. Meanwhile, even some of the Chinese press is blaming Chow’s wife for making these demands on the contract.

With Oriental Daily reporting that Tony Leung Chiu-Wai has actually joined the film again, but this time taking over Chow’s role, the plot thickens. More tomorrow when the latest Ming Pao comes online.

In less gossipy news about Red Cliff, Mei Ah has signed on as the distributor for the film, even without Chow, and predicted a HK$100-200 million gross in Hong Kong alone. Yeah, right. Copyright © 2002-2024 Ross Chen