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The Golden Rock - June 7th, 2007 Edition

There’s so much news from Japan today that this entry might as well be called “Nippon Thursday.”

- Having been one of the top 5 dramas of the 2006 Spring season, Kurosagi is being turned into a feature film. Starring boy band NEWS’ Tomohisa Yamashita (currently in the hit drama Proposal Daisakusen), this will be his first feature film lead role, and the film is scheduled to be released next Spring.

- More on the opening of Kantoku Banzai. It’s 40 million yen opening on 113 screens is merely 72% of Takeshis’, which only made 280 million yen. Just like Takeshis’, the alienating nature of the film will probably mean that word of mouth won’t be good. On the other hand, like Takeshis’, Office Kitano should make its money back through foreign sales.

- Ryuganji has a really interesting commentary on a Japan Times commentary about the state of Japanese films. One is bleak about the state of Japanese films, the other says “hey, it ain’t so bad out here.” Guess which is which.

- One of the filmmakers mentioned in the Japan Times commentary is Cannes winner Naomi Kawase. Thanks to her Cannes win, she was recently able to go to the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry to try and convince the government in helping out the film industry. Why? Because her film is playing on only 28 screens in Japan when it’ll open on 70 of them in France.

- Fans of Hong Kong films in Japan: Milkyway screenwriter Yau Nai-Hoi’s Eye in the Sky is heading your way. Fans of Cheng Chen in North America: The Go Master is heading your way, too, but only if you have Netflix.

- On Monday, I wrote about the successful limited release performance of British film Cashback in Hong Kong. Today, Twitch offers us a trailer, as well as the original short film that led to the feature film. It actually looks pretty good.

- Toho-Towa, a major foreign film distributor in Japan, has signed up to release 14 movies for Universal, including about one film per month in 2008. I thought Universal is already trying their hand at investing Japanese films, but looks like they still need some help from one of the big three.

- Until recent years, martial arts films were actually banned from being made in China. Now that the ban has been lifted, it seems like studios are trying to catch up. Yuen Woo-Ping is rumored to be getting back into the director’s chair after years of working in major films in both Hollywood and China, and it might be a sequel to Iron Monkey starring Andy Lau. Yawn.

- Hollywood Reporter has a review of Memories of Tomorrow, starring Ken Watanabe as an Alzheimer’s patient. The film is due to be shown in different cities around America in the coming months.

- Young singer-songwriter Ayaka (whose first official single was already her first bona-fide hit) is now the first Japanese artist to have a video debut as a world premiere on the iTunes store. No big deal, you say? She’s only the third artist in the world to have such a privilege. Her new single Jewelry Day will be released on July 4th, as her first album will also be sold in 22 regions around the world after already selling over one million copies in Japan alone.

- Professor Bordwell writes about the recent wave of omnibus films, especially the Cannese 60th Anniversary anthology film To Each His Own Cinema.

- I’ve been looking forward to Shoot ‘Em Up since Jeffrey Wells wrote about its development on Hollywood Elsewhere, and now a trailer is finally up. It’s not as crazy as I thought it would be, but considering it’s just a trailer, it looks like quite a bit of fun to me already. But what the hell is a classy lady like Monica Bellucci doing in a film like this?

- Someone is suing Universal and director Judd Apatow because she believes his new hit film Knocked Up, about an up-and-coming reporter having a one-night stand that leads to an unplanned pregnancy, was obviously based on her book, about an up-and-coming reporter’s night at her engagement party that leads to an unplanned pregnancy. This one could go either way.

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