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Paving a new path

I started playing the game The Movies again today, and I remember why I stopped in the first place - this game is addictive as hell. Maybe I just have a thing for sim games, but once i start, I couldn’t stop playing for well over an hour (an hour that i didn’t really have to spare). Good thing I stopped playing, went out and grabbed two books - Haruki Murakami’s After Dark and David Mamet’s Bambi VS. Gozilla. Otherwise, I would’ve never got myself to start today’s entry.

- Japan’s music charts continue to be weak, which might mean that Golden Week isn’t much of a shopping week. On the singles chart, Arashi’s latest gets the number 1 spot again, selling 150,000 copies. That might not sound too bad, but the number 2 singles. a solo effort from a Morning Musume member, sold only 27,000 copies. You can imagine how the rest of the charts go. This week, B’z releases their brand-new single, and they’ll probably debut at number 1 (again for the umpteenth time) on next week’s chart.

The albums chart is somewhat stronger, though not for Japanese music. Pop group mihimaru GT’s compilation album managed to debut at number 1 selling just 146,000 copies, but American pop albums from Avril Lavigne and Ne-Yo take the second and third spots with their albums, selling 118, 000 copies and 58,800 copies, respectively. Wait a minute, how the hell did Kat-tun fall to 13th place already? Ouch. There are no major album releases this week (at least none that is making a huge dent on the charts), so it’ll be kind of boring next week.

- Under kind of exciting news, Kenta Fukusaku announced that his latest film will be more like the hardcore masculine action movie his father Kinji Fukusaku used to make and a “real fight movie.” If it’s going to be anything like Kinji’s Yakuza Papers series, I can already tell it’s going to be quite good. Just look at who he has for his star.

- The Japanese string puppet film “Strings,” which is kind of like Team America: World Police except not, opened two weekends ago in Japan (the first half of Golden Week) in one theater. According to Eiga Consultant, in the opening 3 days, it attracted 2738 people and 4.65 million yen. For one screen, that’s really really good. However, it seems like the gender ratio of the audience is 2 males for 8 females, and most of the audience seems to be 20-30s females. Perhaps it’s not the gimmick that’s attracting people, but rather the presence of two of the Smap members in the voice cast.

- Korean films may still have a market in Asia, as plastic surgery comedy (I guess a new genre has just been invented!) 200 Pound Beauty hits it big in Singapore.

- In Hong Kong, Spiderman isn’t wasting his 120 screens, as the first hit of the summer makes another HK$1.9 million on Tuesday to an 8-day total of HK$32.28 million. I might go watch this tomorrow.

- Even though a lot of people are buying season pass to the Hong Kong Disneyland, it looks like it’s still struggling since its opening in fall 2005.

- Twitch introduces Funukedomo, Kanashimino Ai Wo Misero, one of the Japanese films going to Cannes’ Critics’ Week. It looks like a messy and twisted little family drama that might turn a couple of heads….or it might be another pretentious digital film that show maybe not everyone that can hold a digital camera can make a movie. I think it’s more likely to go the first route, though.

- Holy crap, it’s the trailer for Wilson Yip/Donnie Yen’s Flash Point. Dig it. (Thanks to Beat TG on the Lovehkfilm Forum for the link)

- India is trying to simultaneous release strategy, where a film opens in theater is also available in other formats almost instantly. “Life in a Metro,” starring Shilpa Shetty, who not only attracted attention from her win at the British Big Brother this past winter, but also from her PDA with Richard Gere two weeks ago, will open in several countries at the same time and also be made available on the internet for at least US$9.99 for a low-resolution version for only 72 hours.

- Darcy Paquet over at Koreanfilm.org updated his site with his thoughts on 2007 Korean cinema so far. It just made me more excited about Sai Yaichi’s Soo.

- Hong Kong’s Mandarin Films (When’s the last time they actually made profitable movie again?) has signed on to be a distributor for Tsui Hark’s latest film “Missing,” about a man diving into an ancient ruins underwater to retrieve his engagement ring. It’s a romantic thriller, folks.

- Anyone in Japan be sure to watch the Foreigner Otaku Champion on the night of May 10th Japan time! This ought to be interesting, to say the lease. More details from Japan Probe.

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