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Archive for April, 2007

Ups and downs

- Hong Kong films are going through a bit of a slump in Japan. From the weak box office of Battle of Wits to the recently-released Rob-B-Hood, the latest casualty is the number 8 highest Hong Kong grosser last year Dragon Tiger Gate. On about 40 screens nationwide, the film grossed only 5.9 million yen. That’s 11% of Seven Swords and 23% of Rob-B-Hood’s openings. Even The Queen managed a 5.59 million yen opening on one screen. Ouch.

- In good news for Hong Kong films, Johnnie To’s Triad Election (better known worldwide as Election 2), opening next Wednesday, got a really good review from Entertainment Weekly. Too bad it’s also a really short review.

- Earlier in the week I mentioned the Singapore Film Festival and the possibility that the Singaporean gay film “Solos” may be banned from the festival. In a compromise, the film will not be screened publicly at the festival, but will still be eligible for the awards because it will be screened privately for the jury instead.

- “The Good, The Bad, and the Weird,” the highly-anticipated new film by director Kim Ji-Woon (A Bittersweet Life, A Tale of Two Sisters) starring three of Korea’s biggest actors, is going to start shooting on Wednesday. Yay.

- This weekend at Japan Times, they have three new reviews - one for personal favorite (but also equally hated in other places) Babel, one for the limited-release Japanese comedy Tsukue no Nakami (it’s so limited that it’s only playing once a day at one theater), and for the equally limited-release Australian film 2:37.

Also, they have two interviews to go with the reviews - one with Babel star Rinko Kikuchi, and the other with Murali K. Thalluri, the director of 2:37 who won Un Certain Regard last year at Cannes.

- Speaking of Rinko Kikuchi, Hoga News also has more news about her first Japanese film since she shot to stardom with Babel, a strange little comedy about bugs.

Still keeping it short. More news coming up tomorrow, and a short review of Derek Yee’s Protege as well.

The Golden Rock song of the day - 4/20/07

Today’s song of the day is again inspired by a movie (when is it isn’t?). From the excellent Japanese sports film Ping Pong, this is the film’s theme song by the broken up techno group Supercar. I first heard this song in the trailer for Ping Pong, only to find out the film is a much more cerebral experience than its energetic theme song would suggest. From the film’s awesome soundtrack and the album Highvision, it’s Supercar’s “Yumegiwa Last Boy.”

Why? Because it was a very rare instance where a film’s theme song hooked me as much as this song did. Because Supercar was one of the coolest techno group to come out of Japan. Just close your eye and get into it.

Here is the trailer, where it all began.

Happy Happy Friday

Friday is upon us, which mean it’s a smaller edition of the daily news because I’ll be spreading them over the weekend.

- Let’s start, as usual, with the Thursday opening day numbers in Hong Kong. I should have seen it coming, but Gold Label’s latest film Love is Not All Around, which promises to continue the mean streak left by the ending of director Yip Lim Sum’s previous effort Marriage with a Fool, shot to the top of the box office after preview screenings last weekend. On 34 screens, Love is not All Around made HK$770,000 for a total of already HK$1.35 million after previews. Look for this to do pretty well this weekend, and sadly for Gold Label to keep making more films.

As for other openers, Hollywood stinkers Epic Movie and Shooter both make HK$200,000 on 26 and 29 screens, respectively. Meanwhile, the Edward Norton/Naomi Watts art film The Painted Veil, co-starring Anthony Wong and shot in China, makes HK$60,000 on 5 screens on its first day, making it the best limited opener this weekend. But look for Spider Lilies, which expanded by one more screen, to rule the limited-release box office this weekend. On Thursday, it made HK$100,000 on 10 screens. However, I do expect Love is Not All Around to take away business because of a similar target audience.

- Continuing from yesterday’s report of the Cannes line-up, Variety Asia also recognizes the absence of Asian films in this year’s festival, despite an Asian filmmaker being chosen to open the festival.

- Meanwhile, Jason Gray has not only more on the sole Japanese selection in competition this year, but also the Udine Far East Film Festival, which got a hilarious mention in Edmond Pang’s AV.

- Before its appearance at Cannes, there’s already a review up for one of the two South Korean films in competition - Kim Ki-Duk’s Breath.

- Speaking of review, Variety also has an early review of Spiderman 3, and it pretty much echoes the review I posted up yesterday. On the other hand, Hollywood Reporter seemed to have loved it. Sounds like it’s gonna be fun, but a bit of a mess as well.

- Since we’re already talking about reviews, Hot Fuzz, the much-anticipated (at least on my list) follow-up by Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright to Shaun of the Dead opens today in the States. I could be a big fan and go opening day, but I prefer to go next week to avoid the human traffic. Anyway, the reviews are mostly positive, with an over-80% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. I consider that a good thing, yes.

It doesn’t seem like much, but tomorrow I still have plenty of news, including plenty of reviews and film news. It’s all an effort to make this blog more readable from day to day.

The Golden Rock song of the day - 4/19/07

Today’s Song of the Day is inspired by one of my favorite films from 2006 Babel and its soundtrack, not because I’m in a disco phase. When I heard this song, the whole movie suddenly picked up for me, and I knew then I was watching something great. From Earth, Wind, & Fire, it’s “September.”

Why? It’s hip, and it’s groovy, man. What else do you need?

I can’t find the MTV, so here are two live versions instead.

And here it is used in the film.


Babel
Uploaded by Koleguilla

Twists and turns

- The biggest news out there, as I started teasing yesterday, is Tony Leung Chiu-Wai signing back onto John Woo’s troubled production of Battle on Red Cliff. As mentioned, Oriental Daily first broke the news without official confirmation. Ming Pao waited until this morning Hong Kong time to do it. Excerpt as follows:

昨晚《赤壁》監製透過網上承認此消息,他說﹕「經與梁朝偉先生聯絡後,梁朝偉先生基於與吳宇森導演20多年的友誼,又見到周潤發離開了《赤壁》劇組,《赤壁》又是一部令人期待的作品,必須要拍下去,所以當吳宇森邀請他重返劇組時,他一口答應,替吳宇森解決燃眉之急。」

Last night, “Red Cliff” producer admitted to the news via the internet: “After communication with Mr. Leung Chiu-Wai, based on his 20-year friendship with John Woo, Chow Yun-Fat’s departure, and the need to continue shooting the much-anticipated film, he decided to rejoin the film after John Woo invited him, helping John Woo due to the pressing need.

張家振表示,因偉仔已經熟讀劇本(去年初第一稿出時,已經給了偉仔)不會有發哥最介意的劇本問題(究竟發哥最介意的劇本問題是什麼,張家振未有回答)

Terence Chang said, since Tony have already read the script thoroughly (The first draft was given to him early last year), Chow’s problem with the script will not occur (But Chang has not responded to the question of what specific script problem Chow had).

Original Chinese report.

Variety Asia also has an English report.

- The other big story is the geniuses at New York Times finding what drove Virginia Tech student Cho Seung-Hui to kill 32 of his peers. Apparently, a package he sent to NBC just before he killed 30 students in a school building contained a picture of him holding a hammer that looks like he’s trying to imitate an image from Park Chan-Wook’s Oldboy. You know, it’s obvious because he’s a Korean, so of course violent Korean films would drive this poor disturbed bastard to murder.

OK, so how long before the American press starts blaming John Woo movies for the murders too?


Oh, wait, they’re not Korean, so Cho cannot possibly be influenced by those movies. Personally, I think anyone that blames movies for real-life crimes are just looking for false scapegoats so they can avoid dealing with real problems with society, like why he was mentally disturbed in the first place, and why he wasn’t properly treated by the authorities.

Plus, if Cho knew how fucking silly he looks with that hammer, maybe he would’ve woken up, but that’s just me.

In related media news, not only has there been reports of South Koreans coming out and apologizing for Cho’s rampage (what the hell for? They’re just feeding into this racial scapegoating the media is doing. The man has been in America so long he’s more Americanized than I am, for crying out loud), the Korean media has also taken a “it’s America’s fault” approach as well. (Thanks to Japan Probe for the link)

- Back to more relevant news to this blog, the Cannes 2007 lineup has been announced. As predicted, Wong Kar-Wai’s English-language debut My Blueberry Nights will be opening the festival, assuming that Wong is actually done with post-production. Representing Asia in competition will be South Korea’s Kim Ki-Duk with “Breath,” South Korea’s Lee Chang-Dong’s “Secret Sunshine,” and Japan’s Naomi Kawase with “Mogari No Mor.” Except for Wong, no Hong Kong films will be screened in or out of competition, despite predictions that Tsui Hark-Ringo Lam-Johnnie To actioner Triangle might make it. Nevertheless, the lineup looks pretty solid.

- Speaking of Korean films, Asian Cinema - While on the Road has reviews of a few Korean gangster films that are sure to corrupt another Korean-American youth’s mind (that was sarcasm, by the way).

- With the Hong Kong Entertainment Expo being a huge success, who can resist holding another film market in Hong Kong? That’s right, another film market event is going to Hong Kong, this time it’s Amazia, and it will open in November 2008. Yay.

- However, I don’t think the Amazia folks would be very happy to find what Hong Kong celebrities are doing with their Nintendo DS - some publicity photos have caught these celebrities playing their DS’s with an add-on that’s designed to enable the DS to play pirated games.

- I’ve never pushed box office news this far down an entry before, but I don’t want seem like I’m beating a dead horse. Eiga Consultant analyzes just exactly how bad Sunshine has done in Japan. According to his figures, it only grossed 52% of The Promise in its opening week in Japan. 52%?! I’m pretty damn sure Sunshine is better than The Promise based on this photograph alone.

- Ryuganji apparently has this report as well, but I saw it on Twitch first, so I gotta be fair. Anyway, Takeshi Miike is working on another new film, and apparently it’s a manga adaptation. I don’t care much for Miike, so you can find out more for yourself here as well.

- The troubled Bangkok Film Festival is making progress on its comeback, and this year they’re promising more Asian films. Good for them.

- I consider myself a fairly big fan of Japanese films. Sure, I’ve missed out on a lot of classics (I.have.not.seen.Seven.Samurai.), but I’m still a fan. So who’d know when Japanese people what 10 films they would recommend to foreigners, they would not only recommend a non-Japanese film (Letters From Iwo Jima), but they would actually recommended 57 films instead (the Tora-san series contains 48 films. I assume the Japanese people want us to watch them all)?

- Japanese new artist Ayaka has become the first female artist in over 4 years to sell more than 1 million copies of her album. Good for her too.

- I discovered Kon Ichikawa’s work when I took a Japanese cinema class last year. I discovered Shunji Iwai’s genius when I followed up my first viewing of Swallowtail with Love Letter. Too bad Iwai hasn’t done a new narrative film since Hana and Alice, but at least he made a documentary about Ichikawa, and it’s coming on DVD.

- Aside from making his war film The Assembly, Chinese director Feng Xiaogang is making a short film for China’s anti-piracy campaign. It even features one of the best metaphors for pirated films I’ve ever read.

- Jeffrey Wells has a link the the first legit review of Spiderman 3, and the verdict isn’t good.

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:

張家振承認投資者和發行商的確嫌發哥演周瑜太老,發哥的年齡的確是比周瑜大了20歲,但他和吳宇森一直都很維護發哥。真正的原因是發哥經律師擬定的合約,美國保險公司有73條不接納,他已盡量作出讓步,但可惜還是不能成事。

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.

張家振說﹕「發哥要求在開拍前一次付清片酬,他說對每部獨立電影也一視同仁,後來我苦苦哀求,他才答應先付50%,收到錢3天後才向劇組報到,另外50%要我們在銀行一個帳戶,拍到一半時給他,雖然他不是一次拿到錢,但我也要一次把錢拿出來。(發哥的片酬是否很昂貴?)是500萬美元,另加全球分紅,沒有虧待他,他最近拍了4部電影的片酬加起來也不及此數目。」

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.

The Golden Rock song of the day - 4/17/07

I believe today’s song was chosen by fate. Last night I caught a broadcast of the classic film Saturday Night Fever. I’ve never seen the whole thing in its entirety (honestly, it didn’t even look like that good of a movie), but any film fan has probably seen at least parts of it because of the soundtrack. I watched the opening 20 minutes, and I heard today’s song when I manage to catch the last 20 minutes. And then this morning at the dentist, I heard the song again playing on the radio at the clinic. That’s when I knew the Bee Gees were calling out to me. You may call me silly, but I can’t escape fate. So from the Saturday Night Fever Soundtrack, it’s “How Deep is Your Love”

Why? Because John Travolta emoted to this song at the end of the movie!

Misinformation

- So remember over the weekend, Shochiku announced that the opening day box office was so high for the film version of Tokyo Tower that they expect it to surpass Kimura Takuya X Yoji Yamada’s 4 billion yen hit “Love and Honor?” Well, the Japan box office numbers are out, and Eiga Consultant can’t see how that’s possible. On its opening day, Tokyo Tower made only 196 million yen, which is 90% of the 1.41 billion yen-grossing Shinobi. In fact, its opening day gross was only 65% of what Love and Honor made on its opening day. You can compare the results yourself for Love and Honor and Tokyo Tower with those links. My own calculation (following the exchange rate BOM used for the respective weeks) actually showed that Tokyo Tower only made 53% of Love and Honor’s opening weekend, but that only furthers the point that Shochiku is lying out of their asses. This isn’t the first time Japanese distributors overestimated final grosses anyway; remember the Genghis Kahn movie? Exactly.

Elsewhere on the top 10, Blood Diamond seems to be hanging on thanks to word-of-mouth, and Sunshine opened weaker than I thought with only roughly $500,000. Otherwise, it’s been a pretty quiet weekend in Japan again.

- Meanwhile, South Korea had a fairly quiet weekend at the box office as well, with The Show Must Go On falling a sad 58% in its second week.

- The South Korean box office isn’t really looking all that bright for the summer either, with Hollywood offering Spiderman, pirates, and transformers, while Korea is offering horror flicks and….D-War?!

- The big news out of Hong Kong is not only Lau Ching-Wan’s best actor win at the Hong Kong Film Awards, but also fellow nominee Chow Yun-Fat withdrawing from John Woo’s epic The Battle of Red Cliff. It’s another “he-said-he-said” (there’s no she in this story) type of situation - producer Terence Chang said that the financiers can’t acquiesce to Chow’s request to pay his salary of US$5 million at once (which is reportedly 3 times the salary he got for Curse of the Golden Flower), while Chow’s side says that he got the script too late, which meant he couldn’t prepare early enough for a role that requires him to speak in Mandarin (Chow’s native tongue is Cantonese). He also said he already took a pay cut for not demanding a raise after the decision was make to split the films in two (um….they’re shooting it at the same time anyway). This is the second major blow to Woo’s ambitious US$70-million project after star Tony Leung Chiu-Wai dropped out due to the 6-month shooting schedule. Of course, the bigger question is whether Chow’s withdrawal will affect Woo and Chow’s legendary friendship.

- I read about this about a week ago in Oriental Daily, but I don’t remember reporting it. Anyone waiting for a Shaolin Soccer sequel can release half their breath. The good news is that there is a Stephen Chow-involved sequel being made, the bad news is that it probably won’t have anything to do with the first film. Fuji TV has teamed up with Chow to make a pseudo-sequel called “Shorin Shoujo” (Or Shaolin Girl) starring Ko Shibasaki as the title character and Bayside Shakedown helmer Katsuyuki Motohiro directing. It’ll be about a young girl returning from Japan after training at the Shaolin Temple and ends up helping out a college Lacrosse team. Shaolin Soccer co-stars Lam Chi-Chung and Tin Kai-Man will appear, Chow will apparently not. While in anyone else’s hands, this might be a bad idea, but I like Robot Productions and Motohiro enough that it might turn out to be a good popcorn flick.

- The big news coming out of Tokyo is the world premiere of Spiderman 3. Honestly, the only interesting part about the report is how making sequels actually keep down marketing costs and allow the studio to leave that for the production instead. Other than that, there’s no advance review out yet.

- Reading Kafka’s “Metamorphosis” (for a Comparative Literature class) and Kobo Abe’s “Woman in the Dunes” in the same quarter put me in a huge existential crisis. In other words, it was one of the greatest academic periods of my life. Anyway, I mention this because Criterion is releasing Teshigahara’s surprisingly faithful adaptation of Woman in the Dunes in July on DVD as part of a Teshigahara boxset. Anyone looking to get into an existential funk should check out this surreal classic.

- Like Warner Bros. in Japan, 20th Century Fox has struck a deal with Showbox (who distributed The Host) to finance and distribute South Korean films. This comes as no surprise to me since my Kick the Moon DVD was actually released by Fox already. Is this good news or not? Look at what Warner Bros. did in Japan and you might have an idea.

- Professor Bordwell is back from Hong Kong, and his first entry since returning tackles a subject that I, as a wannabe filmmaker, is actually immensely interested in. Many film viewers may not notice, but for me, the toughest part of editing a film is dialog scenes. Editing rely on a capturing a certain beat, and shooting dialog scenes are particularly tough because when you only have one camera, you have to shoot the scene many times at different angles, which can be tough for actors AND directors. Then when you have all that footage, you have to decide when to cut to which angle without ruining the pace of the scene. The cutting-in-between technique in dialog scenes is called “reverse shots,” meaning you start on one angle, then you cut to where the opposite angle where the camera shows where the initial shot was from.

Anyway, Professor Bordwell goes into how certain directors don’t use reverse shots. For me, it’s fascinating. Maybe for me only though.

- I’m sure many have heard about the Virginia Tech shooting allegedly committed by a disturbed neutralized South Korean student (please let it be known that he is a naturalized American citizen, not just some foreigner that went crazy on Americans) that killed 32 people, including himself. At one point, the Chinese press got a hold of reports that a Chinese student actually did the deed and ran with it (the local Chinese papers I saw today all have it on their headlines). During that time, the Chinese press ran into chaos, trying to decide whether to run the story or not, while the netizens reacted very quickly on the message boards. This is their story.

The Golden Rock song of the day - 4/16/07

“1960 April 16th, one minute before 3 pm, we were together. I’ll remember that minute because of you. We’re one-minute friends from now on. This is fact, you can’t deny it because it’s already past.”—-Days of Being Wild.

Originally appeared on 1992’s The Legend of Pop Queen Part II album, but now only available on compilations such as this one, today’s song of the day is inspired by Wong Kar-Wai’s Days of Being Wild. The line above is probably my favorite moment in Wong Kar-Wai film history. That’s why today’s song of the day is the film’s theme song by Anita Mui - “It’s Like This”

Why? It’s one of my favorite moments from one of my favorite movies. This should make this one of my favorite songs. Even if it’s not, it’s awfully fitting for the film, isn’t it?

Here’s a Mandarin cover done by Leslie Cheung, with the famous moment right at the very end.

 
 
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