June 30th, 2007
- I’m obliged to start every entry with some box office news, and this one is no exception. Remember a month and a half ago I mentioned about the success of the indie film Ahini to Kamo No Coin Locker’s limited release in Sendai (Tokyo Times review)? The film has been playing in one Tokyo theater since last weekend, and it’s a genuine hit. In its first weekend, the film made 3.68 million yen, attracting 2192 admissions total. Even last-minute added late shows were completely full in the 232-people theater. Good for them.
- Also playing at the same theater is the haunting documentary The Bridge, which examines why people commit suicide through the examination of several people who jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge. I’ve seen parts of the film when it played on the Independent Film Channel, and anyone looking for shocking footage of people jumping (the crew shot the sides of the bridge for an entire year) will be disappointed because it’s really more about the effects of depression through interviews with friends and family. Anyway, Japan Times has a review of it, as well as an interview with filmmaker Eric Steel.
- Japan Times also has a review of the animated omnibus film Genius Party, featuring seven animated films from established talents not named Miyazaki, Otomo, and Oshii. I’m not going to pretend I know anything about it, so I’ll let Japan Times do that for me.
Lastly, Japan Times also has a review of Kichitaro Negishi’s Side Car Ni Inu starring Yuko Takeuchi.
- Then The Daily Yomiuri reviews the deceptively j-horror-looking thriller Kissho Tennyo, which features a really creepy-looking Anne Suzuki. Click on 予告編 to see the trailer.
- Legendary Hong Kong comic actor Michael Hui, who made a comeback of sorts with Joe Ma’s Three of a Kind (would his cameo in Fantasia count as the start of his comeback?) is making his first film since 1992’s The Magic Touch this October. He openly praised Miriam Yeung, Louis Koo, and Lau Ching-Wan for their comedic skills, though he has not expressed any wish to cast them. As long as it’s better than the immensely disappointing Three of a Kind, I’ll show up.
- The first Hong Kong film to be in the HD-format war (HD-DVD vs. Blu-Ray) is……[drum rolls]Infernal Affairs, and it’s coming on Blu-Ray. I’m sure the film will look nice, but I remember through my subsequent visits on DVD that aurally it’s just really unnecessarily loud.
- Man, those Japanese really know how to sell a movie. Their website for the disappointing Confession of Pain is up, and the url is www.drywhisky.com (trust me, you’ll get it when you see the movie). Hell, they even make the trailer look better than the Hong Kong one by incorporating actual music from the film….well, except for that ridiculous theme song by Ayumi Hamasaki. But the movie is partly funded by Avex (Hamasaki’s record company), so whatever. Man, that trailer actually make me want to see the movie.
- Oh, no, China doesn’t want porn on its internet!!!! No “unpatriotic words,” no foreign news source, and now no porn? Soon they’re going to be able to make a list of what they DO allow on the internet.
- In addition to Tokyograph’s Summer 2007 drama preview, Daily Yomiuri has their own preview of the upcoming season, and they don’t just write about dramas. Did you know Billy “Tae Bo” Blanks is now a hit in Japan?
- Lastly, but very certainly not the least, Shinji Nakae, most famous in recent years as the narrator for the Japanese variety program Trivia No Izumi (Fountain of Trivia), has passed away at the age of 73. His narration, to me, was the perfect match for the silly deadpan humor of the show, and he will be very much missed.