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Everybody’s a little guilty


Just watched Hot Fuzz, the latest from Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg of “Spaced” and “Shaun of the Dead” fame. As many know, this time Wright and Pegg take on the action genre, and as expected, it’s a ton of fun. Unlike spoofs, which mocks the cliches of the genre it’s taking on, Hot Fuzz embraces the action genre, taking every editing, sound, visual cliche from Hollywood and blows them up to the max. It’s so into it that audiences who aren’t in on the joke will probably love it at face value, when the filmmakers are probably making fun of them for buying into its Hollywood counterparts. On the other hand, those who “get it” would probably still find it pretty cool.

- Continuing with the previously-reported story about the appearance of pirated Spiderman 3 DVDs on the streets of China, Sony has confirmed that cheap suckers have been scammed by those amateur entrepreneurs. That’s right, the poor bastards who thought they got a chance to watch Spiderman 3 before everyone else in the comforts of their own home spent their hard-earned renminbi for just another copy of Spiderman 2 packaged as Spiderman 3. Ha-ha!

- It’s time for Oricon rankings. On the singles chart, concocted pop boy duo Takki and Tsubasa’s latest single gets the number one spot with only 65000 copies sold. As predicted, all but two on the top 10 happen to be new singles, including the new single by AAA, SEAMO (who hit it big with his 2006 single Mada Aimasho), and Spitz, all selling less than 35,000 copies in their first week. Next week’s sales should be healthier, as KinKi Kids’ latest already sold over 40,000 copies on its first day.

As for the albums chart, Kat-tun’s second album rule the charts with 270,000 copies sold. The surprise, at least for me, was Avril Lavigne’s second place debut with her latest “The Best Damn Thing,” selling 220,000 copies and making her an even richer woman for having not all that much talent. Why?! How?! Which?!

- Japan has a new pop group, which features a former Morning Musume member (I suspect there are a lot of them out there floating in the J-pop world anyway). This time, the gimmick is the “gyaru” image, and the pop group name is - you guessed it - “Gyaruru.” I’ve seen these “gyarus” in Tokyo before, and they’re not really all that appealing to me. Who wants to guess that they’re not gonna go very far?

- In something that comes as absolutely no surprise, Hollywood has come out saying that they are backing the United States government’s complaint against China for intellectual copyright. In fact, they’re even threatening a ban, which means it might just rescue China from crappy Hollywood films, only to be replaced by more happy Chinese blockbusters promoting messages of peace and communism.

- To show those Americans that China takes copyright very seriously, a Chinese courts just found Yahoo! China guilty of copyright violation because the site provide links to sites with unauthorized MP3 downloads and lyrics.

- On the other hand, Chinese public television broadcaster CCTV has nothing to complain about, seeing how they just found a distributor for their content, thanks to the BBC.

- But then, the Asian media is not quite happy about how they are always in the shadow of Western media. They complain about how Western media only represents 1/7 of the world’s population, yet they control 2/3 of the world’s media, blah blah blah. Well, guess what, this report is right: Asian media does kind of suck. When they decide to stop sensationalist, inaccurate, and xenophobic reporting, then maybe someone will pay attention to you.

- Those who loved Hong Kong director Soi Cheang’s Dog Bite Dog are surely looking forward to the director’s latest, the Japanese comic adaptation Shamo. Even though it’s not being released in Hong Kong until September, the film will be shown at the Cannes film festival for potential overseas buyers. The bad news? Unlike Dog Bite Dog, which is category III due to violence and subject matter (meaning no one under 18 may be admitted, PERIOD), Shamo will only be category IIB (which is the equivalent of an R, except anyone can get in).

- When people watch Hong Kong film credits, they usually see the same guy for sound: Kinson Tsang. Honestly, I don’t know how that guy manages to do sound for almost every single Hong Kong film, but guess what? There’s actually another sound guy out there in the Hong Kong film world, and his name is Martin Chappell. KFC Cinema has an interview with him, and it’s quite informative.

- Director Mira Nair, who’s made films from Mississippi Masala to Monsoon Wedding, is getting the Pride of India award at the Bollywood Film Awards next month. Good for her.

- Lastly, in light of the “surprise” success of Hong Kong film Love is Not All Around, Ming Pao has a column on possible direction Hong Kong films can go:

青春愛情片在日本、韓國很流行,香港則甚少見也少有好票房,其實是傳統市場計算的問題。理論上,影市萎縮,餘下入場看電影的觀眾群,以青少年為主,是拍拖的主要活動,但港片偏就缺乏青春愛情片。

Youth romances are popular in Korea and Japan, but those in Hong Kong have seen low box office gross. That’s because there’s a problem with market calculations. Theoretically, the market has shrunk, and the audience that remains are mostly teens, who see moviegoing as a date activity. But Hong Kong film lacks youth romance.

最主要原因,是愛情片從來是港片的弱項,不是沒有,是少之又少,較有這方面才華的創作人,年紀已大,心態也大了,拍出來的作品,成熟觀眾喜歡,青少年沒有共鳴。可惜成熟觀眾多半已不入場看戲。

The primarily reason is that romance is a weakness of Hong Kong films. It’s not that they don’t exists, they just amount to very little. The artists that have talent in that aspect have grown old, and their mentalities have matured. Older audiences like those films, but youths can’t connect with it. Sadly, mature audiences mostly don’t go to cinemas anymore.

港片最有市場的是動作片,在香港可能只收幾百萬,但內地有市場,歐美也要這些片,拍幾千萬不是問題,再貴些都可以。黑社會片也可以,或者鬼片,一樣有埠。

Hong Kong’s biggest market is in action films. It may only earn a couple of million Hong Kong dollars locally, but there’s an audience for them in the Mainland, Europe, and America. The budget can go to tens of million dollars. Triad films and horror films have overseas markets as well.

在香港拍青春愛情片市場太窄,成本不能高,否則風險大。成本不高,可以請的卡士也不能太大,大也不一定好,因為當今的一線明星,個個年紀有番咁上下。

The market for youth romance in Hong Kong is too narrow; budget can’t be high, or the risk is too much. With a small budget, the cast can’t be too great. Even if they attract the big stars, all the big stars are past their prime.

韓、日動作片不及香港,愛情片反而有市,製作費也較高,無論畫面、美術、音樂各方面也做得比港片好,浪漫感也更強。愛情片拍得好,其實有很大空間,可惜香港電影公司把投資放在更有把握的片種上,不拍青春愛情片,也就少培養這方面的創作人才。

Korean and Japanese action films aren’t as huge as Hong Kong’s, but the market for romance exists. The budget is higher, hence visuals, production values, music, etc. are done better than Hong Kong films. The romantic feeling is stronger. Actually there is quite a bit of space to make good romance, but Hong Kong film studios put their investments in films they are more confident in instead of making romances. This prevents the cultivation of talents for those type of films.

《十分愛》的成功,希望可為香港年輕觀眾帶來更多有共鳴的電影。

Hopefully, the success of “Love is Not All Around” can bring more films that can connect with the young audiences of Hong Kong.

Original Chinese article

There are quite a few romances aimed at youths. Too bad the ones that exist - My Sweetie, Love@ First Note, and Super Fans - happen to be really crappy and manufactured to please record companies/Karaoke joints. Thing is, are the Japanese and Korean youth romance films all that much better?

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