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Archive for July, 2007

The Golden Rock Song of the Day - 7/31/2007

Today’s Song of the Day was the song that got me to actually like Hong Kong pop star Miriam Yeung’s music. It was an August trip back to Hong Kong, and this song was a single off her album of the same name. Imagine my surprise when I watched the video today and found out that it was composed by Taiwanese accoustic artist Cheer Chen, and somehow it all made sense. It’s “A Summer Story.”

The Golden Rock - July 31st, 2007 Edition

- That’s more like it - Michael Bay’s Transformers managed a huge surge in box office in Hong Kong on Sunday, making HK$4.3 million from 76 screens for a 4-day total of HK$14.05 million. Harry Potter is still very strong, with HK1.32 million on 53 screens for a 19-day total of HK$44.51 million. This one might overtake Spiderman 3 as the highest grossing of the year so far. Note that both these films had their ticket prices inflated by HK$10 (about 10-20%) due to length, which means their gross doesn’t equate to the usual attendance number.

Thanks to word-of-mouth (and no thanks to multiplexes putting in on small screens), Invisible Target hangs on for its second week, making a moderate HK$690,000 on 33 screens for a 11-day total of HK$9.5 million. Hopefully it’ll stick around for another week so I can watch it next week. Jay Chou’s Secrets had a strong preview weekend, making HK$80,000 on 6 screens with three shows each, and a weekend total of HK$150,000. This signals that Secrets has a pretty strong opening weekend coming up. Secrets also opened in China this weekend, but only scored an 8th place opening on an unknown number of screens and showings. Lastly, the weekend’s only limited release Hula Girl makes a sad HK$20,000 on 3 screens for a HK$60,000 4-day total. This is going to be gone by the weekend.

- In Japanese box office numbers, Harry Potter is reported to have dropped 66%, which is not true since Warner Bros. accounted the early weekend preview numbers into its opening week gross. If you count only the 3-day total from last weekend, the film actually lost only about 43% in business, which is pretty good for a film on 919 screens. Meanwhile, Ratatouille didn’t do too bad either, scoring the highest per-screen average on the top 10, while all the films on the top 10 suffered only moderate drops. Meanwhile, Summer Day With Coo is a victim of the case where it beat Maiko Haaaan in the number of admissions, but lost out to it when it comes to dollars and cents because kids tickets cost less.

- It seems like while the success of Hollywood films continue, other foreign films aren’t doing too well in Japan this year. However, I can think of at least 3 Hong Kong films that opened in Japan, not two - Election, Dragon Tiger Gate, and Confession of Pain. On the other hand, that decline of Korean flicks is definitely pretty painful.

- As reported yesterday, May 18 took the weekend at the box office in Korea, but only at 1.3 million admissions, not the 1.4 figure that was previously reported. The Thai horror film Alone dropped to 8th place already, but not before taking over 450,000 admissions down with it, and it seems like Ratatouille performed a little weaker than I thought it would.

- With news stacking up this year about the lack of originality in Chinese pop music (and MTV as well), an angry blogger in China has decided to devote an entire blog exposing pop songs that allegedly are copying others. The blog is here (just click on the song titles to hear the song samples), but it got the Kelly Chan song “No Reservations” wrong. It didn’t copy Britney Spears’ “Boys”, but rather Destiny Child’s “Lose My Breath”. Hell, maybe it copied both songs. Plus, Britney Spears copied herself with Slave 4 U anyway.

- The top box office winner in Thailand right now, and we only report that kind of thing when it’s a standout, is a little crossdressing comedy named Kung Fu Tootsie. You read right. Twitch has more information here.

- Kenichi Matsuyama, the rising young star of Death Note, has signed on to star in the latest film to be directed by Korean-Japanese director Yoichi Sai (who also made Blood and Bones) and written by Ping Pong and Maiko Haaaan scribe Kankuro Kudo. This could be a good follow-up to the upcoming Death Note spinoff L.

- Be careful - if you are caught pirating films in Japan, be prepared to be treated like a Yakuza member.

- The Hong Kong film blog (in Chinese) has updated its release date sidebar - new release dates include Flashpoint for August 9th, Soi Cheang’s Shamo for September 6th, and Triangle for November 1st.

- Under “that director can do that?!” news today, Taiwanese actress Shu Qi has signed up for her third Hou Hsiao-Hsien film, this time set to be a kung-fu film. How the hell is he going to pull off his legendary 10-minute-plus long takes?

- On that note, under “how the hell are they going to pull that off?!” news today, Universal has acquired the rights to remake the Japanese period actioner Shinobi, except writer/director Max Makowski (who last directed Francis Ng in One Last Dance) is planning to move the story to Hong Kong and turning the two ninja clans into rival “multinational security forces” (whatever the hell that is). Why didn’t Universal just say it’s based on Romeo and Juliet and saved themselves a couple of bucks?

- Japanese musical group Pistol Valve managed to put their U.S. debut album onto the billboard charts. Specifically, it made number 15th on the internet album chart. Good for them.

- Get ready for yet another Panasian co-production. But this is a rare one, because it’s from Singapore. Other than that, even the title suggests that it’ll be the same old stuff.

- Following the steps of Wilson Chen and Choi Ji-Woo, Korean actor/singer Ryu Si-Won will join the cast of the upcoming Japanese drama Joshi Deka alongside Yukie Nakama. Apparently, he’ll even be speaking completely in Japan, which is not a surprise since he sings in Japanese anyway.

- Ken Watanabe’s daughter Anna Watanabe is making her acting debut in the previously-mentioned TV remake of Akira Kurosawa’s High and Low. Are there any pictures of her NOT in excessive makeup?

- The Tokyo International Film Festival has a couple of changes, including the addition of a world cinema section and a section dedicated to the portrayal of Tokyo that shows it as more than just another overcrowded city.

The Golden Rock Song of the Day - 7/30/2007

After spending last week with the guys, this week we look to turn to the girls. From the great album The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, it’s my favorite Lauryn Hill song - “Ex-Factor.”

The Golden Rock - July 30th, 2007 Edition

Hong Kong box office and Korean box office charts aren’t up yet, so today’s entry is slightly shorter than usual.

- We’ll start with the Japanese audience rankings. As expected, Harry Potter stays on for another week, but suffers a pretty huge drop (a preview of things to come when the full chart comes out for tomorrow). Ratatouille, the latest film from Pixar Studios, opens at number 2, and everything down to number 7 gets bumped down. Meanwhile, the animated film Summer Days with Coo (Kappa no Coo to Natsuyasumi) opens at 8th place.

Sadly, that 8th place, 26.7 million yen opening in a crowded kids film market (Pokemon, Harry Potter, Monkey Magic, The Piano Forest) means that the film opened only at 13% of the director’s previous film.

- The full Korean box office top 10 isn’t up yet, but I can tell you that the “historical” drama May 18th, which is getting bad reviews on its accuracy but apparently getting good word-of-mouth everywhere else, is now the hit of the year. On its first weekend, it beat out Voice of a Murderer for the best opening of the year by attracting 1.45 million admissions, even beating out Ratatouille and Die Hard 4.0 for the top spot.

I asked in the Podcast that never got uploaded whether Korean films can survive the rest of the year with its upcoming slate of genre films, but looks like May 18th just saved the industry as we know it. For now.

- The Japanese elections on Sunday meant that there were no dramas on, but there were still a bunch of season lows posted this past week. The Monday 9 pm Fuji TV drama First Kiss rebounded from its disastrous second week by scoring a 15.2 rating for its third episode (roughly 9.87 million people), while Hanazakarino Kimitachihe hangs on with a 16.6 rating (10.8 million or so). Yama Onna Kabe Onna rebounded slightly to a 12.7 rating (8.24 million). The hostess drama Jotei continues to drop with a 10.9 rating for its third episode (roughly 7.1 million). Sushi Ouji, whose movie version has already been greenlit, saw a somewhat disappointing start with only an 8.8 rating (roughly 5.7 million), the lowest premiere rating for that time slot since the fall 2006 season.

- Lovehkfilm sees reviews for the Japanese tearjerker Tears For You, the relatively unknown new Francis Ng film The Closet (note: Not a film with homosexual issues), and for the Japanese romantic comedy Christmas on July 24th Avenue by yours truly.

- Twitch also has a bunch of reviews - one for the Japanese horror film The Slit-Mouthed Woman, one for Studio Ghibli’s Tales From Earthsea, and one for Wilson Yip’s actioner Flashpoint.

- There’s a rumor going around that Rush Hour 3 might be banned from China because of its “anti-Chinese elements.” The first two films belittle and make fun of the Chinese plenty, but they weren’t banned, so why now? Then again, there are plenty of reasons why China would not want to “ban” a Hollywood film now anyway.

- The lineup for the Asian Film Festival of Dallas is out. It’s no New York Asian Film Festival, but the lineup is fairly solid anyway.

- Taiwanese cinematic auteur Hou Hsiao-Hsien is set to receive the Leopard of Honor at the upcoming Locarno Film Festival, where his first French film (psss…..Cafe Lumiere wasn’t in Chinese either, Variety) Flight of the Red Balloon is set to screen.

The Golden Rock Song of the Day - 7/30/2007

After spending last week with the guys, this week we look to turn to the girls. From the great album The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, it’s my favorite Lauryn Hill song - “Ex-Factor.”

The Golden Rock - July 30th, 2007 Edition

Hong Kong box office and Korean box office charts aren’t up yet, so today’s entry is slightly shorter than usual.

- We’ll start with the Japanese audience rankings. As expected, Harry Potter stays on for another week, but suffers a pretty huge drop (a preview of things to come when the full chart comes out for tomorrow). Ratatouille, the latest film from Pixar Studios, opens at number 2, and everything down to number 7 gets bumped down. Meanwhile, the animated film Summer Days with Coo (Kappa no Coo to Natsuyasumi) opens at 8th place.

Sadly, that 8th place, 26.7 million yen opening in a crowded kids film market (Pokemon, Harry Potter, Monkey Magic, The Piano Forest) means that the film opened only at 13% of the director’s previous film.

- The full Korean box office top 10 isn’t up yet, but I can tell you that the “historical” drama May 18th, which is getting bad reviews on its accuracy but apparently getting good word-of-mouth everywhere else, is now the hit of the year. On its first weekend, it beat out Voice of a Murderer for the best opening of the year by attracting 1.45 million admissions, even beating out Ratatouille and Die Hard 4.0 for the top spot.

I asked in the Podcast that never got uploaded whether Korean films can survive the rest of the year with its upcoming slate of genre films, but looks like May 18th just saved the industry as we know it. For now.

- The Japanese elections on Sunday meant that there were no dramas on, but there were still a bunch of season lows posted this past week. The Monday 9 pm Fuji TV drama First Kiss rebounded from its disastrous second week by scoring a 15.2 rating for its third episode (roughly 9.87 million people), while Hanazakarino Kimitachihe hangs on with a 16.6 rating (10.8 million or so). Yama Onna Kabe Onna rebounded slightly to a 12.7 rating (8.24 million). The hostess drama Jotei continues to drop with a 10.9 rating for its third episode (roughly 7.1 million). Sushi Ouji, whose movie version has already been greenlit, saw a somewhat disappointing start with only an 8.8 rating (roughly 5.7 million), the lowest premiere rating for that time slot since the fall 2006 season.

- Lovehkfilm sees reviews for the Japanese tearjerker Tears For You, the relatively unknown new Francis Ng film The Closet (note: Not a film with homosexual issues), and for the Japanese romantic comedy Christmas on July 24th Avenue by yours truly.

- Twitch also has a bunch of reviews - one for the Japanese horror film The Slit-Mouthed Woman, one for Studio Ghibli’s Tales From Earthsea, and one for Wilson Yip’s actioner Flashpoint.

- There’s a rumor going around that Rush Hour 3 might be banned from China because of its “anti-Chinese elements.” The first two films belittle and make fun of the Chinese plenty, but they weren’t banned, so why now? Then again, there are plenty of reasons why China would not want to “ban” a Hollywood film now anyway.

- The lineup for the Asian Film Festival of Dallas is out. It’s no New York Asian Film Festival, but the lineup is fairly solid anyway.

- Taiwanese cinematic auteur Hou Hsiao-Hsien is set to receive the Leopard of Honor at the upcoming Locarno Film Festival, where his first French film (psss…..Cafe Lumiere wasn’t in Chinese either, Variety) Flight of the Red Balloon is set to screen.

The Golden Rock Song of the Day - 7/29/2007

Today’s song wraps up the unofficial theme of the week, which is male quick pop songs (except for the Ekin song, of course). From the album Good Job, it’s Rip Slyme with Sunset Surround. Don’t worry, unlike their latest MTV, this one is work-safe.

The Golden Rock - July 29th, 2007 Edition

I had a Podcast ready and everything, but Audacity somehow manages to fuck up my introduction (one track suddenly silenced the other one for a certain period of time, even though I didn’t ask for the silence), and now no more Podcast because I have no energy to spend hours editing it again. So last week was the final Podcast for a while, and maybe we’ll try it all over again in Hong Kong.

- The opening of a major multiplex in Tokyo started a new trend - stage show on movie screens. There’s something similar to that here in the States, broadcasting concerts on a nationwide system of cinemas. The series of stage shows, 4 in all, sold 14,000 tickets during its run, so perhaps it’s no surprise that they already sold 5000 advance tickets for their latest show in 2 days. I can understand why people outside Tokyo might need something like this, but I already imagine live stage shows being better, you know……live?

- For some reason, wasn’t the news on the box office result of the American-produced documentary Nanking much better two weeks ago? With rich people shelling out donations and theaters reducing prices to get people into the theater, I thought it was supposed to be a hit in Nanjing. However, looks like it’s suffering under the Hollywood syndrome as well, where there’s just not enough screens to go around for it.

- The battle of TV continues in Hong Kong, as Hong Kong’s biggest cable provider i-Cable has started its own record label to directly challenge freecaster TVB’s monopoly on music artists.

- Variety has a little more on the Asian films that will be featured at this year’s Venice Film Festival, including an impressive four in competition.

Asian Popcorn has more specific on one of them - the long-delayed The Sun Also Rises by Jiang Wen.

- The Sun Also Rises co-stars Jaycee Chan, who is also currently in the Hong Kong action film Invisible Targets. His father Jackie has the soon-to-be-crappy sequel Rush Hour 3, which also stars Chinese actress Zhang Jingchu, who talks about her experiences on the set.

Just to finish playing that 6 degrees of separation game, Zhang was in Protege with Daniel Wu, who was in Twins Effects 2 with Jaycee. Boo-ya!

- Jaycee was in Twins effects 2 with Charlene Choi, who was in Love on the Rocks with Louis Koo, who is in the experimental Hong Kong Cannes participant Triangle by Tsui Hark, Ringo Lam, and Johnnie To. The official website for the film is up, and according to Mov3.com, the film won’t be coming out until….November?!

- We have two reviews from the Japan Times this week to share - Mark Schilling’s review for the animated film Kappa no Coo To Natsuyasumi, and Kaori Shoji’s review for Hong Kong director Andrew Lau’s Hollywood debut The Flock. How can a film sound good and crappy at the same time? Oh, it’s by Andrew Lau, that’s why.

- In case anyone that reads this blog ever becomes an ad executive in India, you might want to be careful when you do underwear ads.

Yeah, not much news today. Doing that Podcast took a bit out of me. See you back tomorrow.

The Golden Rock Song of the Day - 7/29/2007

Today’s song wraps up the unofficial theme of the week, which is male quick pop songs (except for the Ekin song, of course). From the album Good Job, it’s Rip Slyme with Sunset Surround. Don’t worry, unlike their latest MTV, this one is work-safe.

The Golden Rock - July 29th, 2007 Edition

I had a Podcast ready and everything, but Audacity somehow manages to fuck up my introduction (one track suddenly silenced the other one for a certain period of time, even though I didn’t ask for the silence), and now no more Podcast because I have no energy to spend hours editing it again. So last week was the final Podcast for a while, and maybe we’ll try it all over again in Hong Kong.

- The opening of a major multiplex in Tokyo started a new trend - stage show on movie screens. There’s something similar to that here in the States, broadcasting concerts on a nationwide system of cinemas. The series of stage shows, 4 in all, sold 14,000 tickets during its run, so perhaps it’s no surprise that they already sold 5000 advance tickets for their latest show in 2 days. I can understand why people outside Tokyo might need something like this, but I already imagine live stage shows being better, you know……live?

- For some reason, wasn’t the news on the box office result of the American-produced documentary Nanking much better two weeks ago? With rich people shelling out donations and theaters reducing prices to get people into the theater, I thought it was supposed to be a hit in Nanjing. However, looks like it’s suffering under the Hollywood syndrome as well, where there’s just not enough screens to go around for it.

- The battle of TV continues in Hong Kong, as Hong Kong’s biggest cable provider i-Cable has started its own record label to directly challenge freecaster TVB’s monopoly on music artists.

- Variety has a little more on the Asian films that will be featured at this year’s Venice Film Festival, including an impressive four in competition.

Asian Popcorn has more specific on one of them - the long-delayed The Sun Also Rises by Jiang Wen.

- The Sun Also Rises co-stars Jaycee Chan, who is also currently in the Hong Kong action film Invisible Targets. His father Jackie has the soon-to-be-crappy sequel Rush Hour 3, which also stars Chinese actress Zhang Jingchu, who talks about her experiences on the set.

Just to finish playing that 6 degrees of separation game, Zhang was in Protege with Daniel Wu, who was in Twins Effects 2 with Jaycee. Boo-ya!

- Jaycee was in Twins effects 2 with Charlene Choi, who was in Love on the Rocks with Louis Koo, who is in the experimental Hong Kong Cannes participant Triangle by Tsui Hark, Ringo Lam, and Johnnie To. The official website for the film is up, and according to Mov3.com, the film won’t be coming out until….November?!

- We have two reviews from the Japan Times this week to share - Mark Schilling’s review for the animated film Kappa no Coo To Natsuyasumi, and Kaori Shoji’s review for Hong Kong director Andrew Lau’s Hollywood debut The Flock. How can a film sound good and crappy at the same time? Oh, it’s by Andrew Lau, that’s why.

- In case anyone that reads this blog ever becomes an ad executive in India, you might want to be careful when you do underwear ads.

Yeah, not much news today. Doing that Podcast took a bit out of me. See you back tomorrow.

 
 
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