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Blueberries everywhere

As both a fan of Wong Kar-Wai and the writer of an Asian entertainment blog, it’s hard to avoid report extensively about the debut of My Blueberry Nights, Wong Kar Wai’s opening film at the Cannes Film Festival. But I realize today that it’s hard to report it as well because of the negative reviews rolling in. I mean, it’s no The Da Vinci Code or anything, but the word-of-mouth is actually somewhat similar to 2046 in 2004.

Before the reviews, there are quite a few features on the man, and he provides some interesting insights while remaining somewhat ambiguous at the same time:

Dialogue: Wong Kar-Wai

Wong Unveils “Blueberry Nights.”

Wong’s Schedule is Too Busy for “Lady” (This would be in reference to “The Lady From Shanghai,” which is supposed to star Nicole Kidman)

Wong Keeps His Favorite in Project House (About the talent agency branch of his Jet Tone Pictures)

Wong Kar Wai: Advertising Director? (Here is his latest ad starring Clive Owen.)

And now: The reviews:

Variety calls it a film whose “ambitions and accomplishments remain modest to the extreme”

The Hollywood Reporter kind of likes it, but says it’s unlikely to “move beyond the arthouses in North America.”

Cinematical thinks the film looks beautiful, but thinks the film is full of moments that “you would rather see than hear.” (That would a reference to Wong’s penchant for voiceover, similar to 2046).

The Independent thinks the characters’ emotional agony comes close to being “tiresome chick-flick naval-gazing,” but thinks the film “looks ravishing” and “has a great soundtrack.”

The Guardian gives it 2 stars out of 5 and thinks it’s full of “false notes.”

Jeffrey Wells says it’s so groan-inducing that he leaned forward a lot, often with his hands covering his face.

Well, like I said, at least it’s no The Da Vinci Code.

- In more WKW related news, Sony Pictures Classics has picked up the North American rights to “Ashes of Time Redux,” the complete reworking of Wong’s 1994 martial arts film that has long been considering his most controversial film. It also remains the only WKW film I have not seen. The film is expected to come out at the end of the year.

- From potentially good movies to potentially very crappy movie, Emperor Motion Picture (associated with the infamous EEG record company) has secured the international rights of “Kung Fu Dunk,” (That title is already screaming at me to stay away) formerly known as “Slam Dunk.” Starring Jay Chou and Charlene Choi of Twins, the film is directed Kevin Chu Yin-Ping, who also directed the masterpieces Shaolin Popey 1 & 2. Those films are considered gems in Europe.

- Takeshii Miike, in addition to his “Sukiyaki Western” film “Django,” also has the comic adaptation Crows Zero, which apparently features a lot of schoolboys fighting each other. Cool. Twitch has the link to the website, which includes a teaser trailer.

- After watching Hot Fuzz, I realized that it’s going to be hard to watch another big Hollywood action flick again. One of those films that Hot Fuzz targeted was Point Break, starring Keanu Reeves (his acting is apparently considered a gem in Europe too) and Patrick “Dirty Dancing” Swayze. That film saw Keanu Reeves playing an undercover agent who infiltrates a group of surfers/bank robbers. Now, 16 years later, the original writer of the film is working on a sequel. Why is it in this blog, you ask? Because Point Break 2 is going to be set in Southeast Asia, and is mostly financed by Asian firms.

- Oh, yeah, there are the Oricon ranking in Japan too. This week on the singles chart, the new single by B’z ruled the charts as expected, selling 152,000 copies. Even though this is the 39th consecutive number 1 single for the band, the bigger news this week in the singles chart is the debut of enka star Kiyoshi Hikawa’s two singles at second and third place. Apparently, Hikawa is the first solo male singer in 26 years to have two of the top three singles, and the first enka singer is 34 years…probably when enka was actually still considered as pop music. Next week, the Keisuke Kawata single, which was our Song of the Day on May 7th, is expected to get the number one spot since it debuted at number 1 yesterday.

On the album charts, Mr. Children’s B-side album debuts at number 1 with 281,000 copies sold, which is far weaker than the sales of their previous album “Home.” Of course, the difference is that “Home” was an album of new tracks, while B-side is just a compilation album of companion tracks on past singles. No other Japanese albums debuted on the top 10 this past week. Sad. What’s sadder is Linkin Park’s new album looks to be ruling the charts next week. Very sad.

- Japan, the Grindhouse movies by Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodridguez are officially coming your way in the fall, although I have never heard of this BMS company.

- With the benchmark being set at 2 million viewers for a Korean film to have considered broken even (This is considering that Shiri was considered record-breaking back in 1999 when it crossed the 1 million viewer mark), Korean film productions are now looking to cut costs.

- The Asian Television Awards is now allowing Australian and New Zealand productions to be considered for awards. Last time I checked, Australia was its own continent, wasn’t it?

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