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Archive for June 22nd, 2007

The Golden Rock Song of the Day - 6/22/2007

Today’s song of the day comes a bit out of a missed opportunity. I recently found out that Brett Anderson, the lead singer of one of my favorite band Suede, is going to Hong Kong on the 14th to perform a concert. I would have been in Hong Kong for about 10 days already, but certain factors mean I’m going to have to miss out, which is regrettable because the ad states that he’ll be singing old Suede songs. Anyway, today’s song is from Suede’s 1996 album Coming Up. It’s Trash.

The Golden Rock - June 22nd, 2007 Edition

Just checked out Steven Soderbergh’s latest attempt to emulate the good old days, better known as Ocean’s Thirteen. This second sequel to the original (itself a remake) takes the series back to its American stylistic roots after he veered into French New Wave territory with the last film. I always have fun watching Soderbergh’s mainstream (note mainstream) works because he would so blatantly recall a classic cinematic style as homage that it’s always a film student’s joy watching them (French New Wave? Check. 40s Warner Bros. black and white? Check. 60s Rat Pack romp? Check). This time, it’s the breezy 50s color comedies mixed with the best of 70s commercial filmmaking.

I honestly don’t remember enjoying Ocean’s Eleven much (I remember kind of liking it while watching it, but never really seeing a reason to go back to it ever), and I might’ve been the only person who had a load of fun with Ocean’s Twelve (exactly because of the tongue-in-cheek European film style, though the breakdancing thing was a bit much). With that said, I had a blast again with Ocean’s Thirteen, though this time they really up the disbelief ante. I can buy that the plan ends up going completely different than the plan they had spend the first two acts discussing, I can buy they can manage all that gadgetry, but I had a bit of trouble buying the earthquake bit. But who cares about logic when Soderbergh is upping the visual flair again with his “I so miss the 70s” camerawork and the oozing star chemistry throughout? It’s Al Pacino! It’s Brad Pitt! It’s George Clooney! It’s Matt Damon…..seducing Ellen Barkin! I don’t think I have to mention anymore. Unlike Pirates of the Caribbean (the only other huge third-movie I’ve seen this year), this series knows what breezy Hollywood entertainment ought to be, and it ends up delivering more by being less serious.

- It’s time for those Thursday Hong Kong opening day numbers. Today, we have three movies breaking into the market - Milkyway Production’s Eye in the Sky, directed by screenwriter Yau Nai-Hoi, David Fincher’s Zodiac, and the surprise American hit comedy Wild Hogs. Eye in the Sky didn’t do very well during 5 nights of previews this past weekend, and only made HK$230,000 on 28 screens on its official first day. Up to now, Eye in the Sky has made HK$570,000. As an adult-oriented and male-oriented thriller, business might pick up during the weekend, but I don’t see this making more than HK$2 million. Meanwhile, Zodiac picks up only HK$110,000 on 11 screens, even with its inflated ticket price (140 minutes and more=inflated ticket price), and Wild Hogs breaks down on arrival with only HK$40,000 on 7 screens.

Meanwhile, Fantasy Four is looking to lead the weekend again with HK$590,000 on 50 screens on Thursday, bringing its 8-day total to HK$12.37 million (theaterowners happy, HK film producers not so happy). The summer’s first HK film hit Simply Actors, starring Jim Chim and Charlene Choi, expands by two screens and makes HK$450,000 on 31 screens for a 3-day total of HK$2.2 million. It won’t hit the $1 million mark on daily box office this weekend, but I expect it to hit the $5 million mark after Sunday. Theaterowners are already giving up on Mr. Cinema and Kidnap, as they are still on 20-something screens, but only playing one to three shows a day. On Thursday, they made HK$150,000 and HK$50,000 for totals of HK$2.06 million and HK$1.73 million, respectively. Oh, and Norbit made another HK$30,000 on 9 screens for a 15-day total of HK$2.34 million.


- Why did I mention Norbit? Because Eiga Consultant reports that it just went straight-to-DVD in Japan! Eddie Murphy comedies have always done badly in Japan, with 4 of his last 6 films (the other 2 being The Haunted Mansion and Dreamgirls) making less than 300 million yen (that’s less than US$3 million). Its title in Japanese? Mad Fat Wife (Maddo Fatto Wifu). No kidding.

- Technically, the Daily Yomiuri just scored the first official major review of Live Free or Die Hard (Die Hard 4.0 in Japan, a title I like a lot more) since it’s the first place in the world to show it. Reviewer Julian Satterthwaite says that it’s highly entertaining, but also grows increasingly ridiculous as it rolls along. It actually officially opens next Saturday, but has a full day of previews today in a ton of theaters.

If you can’t wait until next week to go watch it (and there are less of you out there than I think, as it’s not tracking very spectacularly in the United States, probably due to its PG-13 rating. Explanation: the first three films have been rated-R, suggesting the 4th film has been watered down in violence and foul language), Twitch has a link to 8 minutes of it.

- Variety, on the other hand, has one of the first reviews of Michael Bay’s Transformers. Big bad robots, lots of explosions, and unnecessary human subplots. Sounds like a blockbuster sci-fi movie to me.

- The entertainment industry doesn’t just like to bully people in America for piracy, they like to bully the rest of the world too. A court in China has ruled for a U.S. industry group in a lawsuit, ordering a Chinese firm to pay 4 major U.S. studios for copyright violation. Looks like it’ll be a long time before Hollywood knows what “if you can’t beat them, join them” means, especially that they know this ruling doesn’t really do much to stop things.

- David Strathairn, a great character actor who’s done some great work (especially in George Clooney’s Good Night and Good Luck), has just been casted in the Hollywood remake of the Korean horror film A Tale of Two Sisters. I’m slightly looking more forward to it now. It starts shooting next month.

- Looks like Erika Sawajiri is heading to a recording career after all, as I just found her first music video under the name “Erika” on Youtube today. With that weak vocal and generic melody, it’s not really Song of the Day material (then again, you can argue against a ton of choice I’ve made…).

- The silly box office battle between Spiderman 3 and Pirates of the Caribbean 3 is coming to an end, as a definite winner is pretty much set.

- Andrew Lau has hooked up with the Weinsteins to produce three films under his new production company. Lau and Weinstein - now that’s a formula for crappy commercial films. Honestly, I can’t ever get excited about neither Lau or Weinstein’s Asian stuff, so just go to the link to read more. Copyright © 2002-2018 Ross Chen