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Archive for July 25th, 2007

The Golden Rock Song of the Day - 7/25/2007

Today’s Song of the Day is an attempt to continue the summer motif, and to I guess continue this week’s unofficial theme of male pop songs. From the album Amazing dream, it’s Aaron Kwok’s Summer Aloha:

Honestly, I don’t know what’s sadder: the fact that I like singing this at Karaoke, or the fact that I bought the album way back when. That would make a good poll.

The Golden Rock - July 25th, 2007 Edition

- Starting with those Oricon charts, both the singles and album charts saw very good sales this past week. On the singles side, Ayumi Hamasaki’s latest (which features a short film co-starring Hong Kong actor Shawn Yu in the more expensive version) scored a huge debut, selling 110,000 copies for an easy first place finish. This is Hamasaki’s 9th consecutive year of having a number 1 single, which ties the record set by Akina Nakamori throughout the 1980s. Actually, in the rest of the top 10, there’s only one single that’s not new on the chart, and that is Erika (as in Sawajiri)’s debut single, which sold another 18,800 copies in its third week. A little unlucky on the charts this week are Porno Graffiti and Orange Range, whose latest both hit chart-topping numbers (90,000 and 64,000 copies, respectively), but ended up at 2nd and 3rd place instead. In fact, looking at the daily charts, next week’s predicted winner Morning Musume isn’t even likely to sell more than 80,000 copies of their latest, although Ai Otsuka is following close behind to fight for that top spot.

- In the equally busy albums chart, another Johnny’s Jimusho group KinKi Kids wins the top spot, selling 301,000 copies of their latest album. Far far behind is American band Sum 41 (holy shit, they’re still around?), who sold 62,000 copies of their latest album a week ahead of the American release. Amazingly, hip-rock band (that’s a made-up genre by yours truly) Greeeen’s debut album continues to hang on at 3rd place, while Namie Amuro’s latest (which, in a shameless plug, I reviewed recently) also remains consistent at 4th place. According to the daily charts, the two Orange Range compilations is expected to win the upcoming week, with Canadian-Japanese band Monkey Majik’s latest album right behind them.

- I don’t mean to trash the Japanese blockbuster film Monkey Magic so consistently, but bad news just keeps coming in one after another, so I can’t help but report it. According to this blog post linked by Eiga Consultant, Monkey Magic suffered a huge loss not only due to the arrival of Harry Potter, but also because the film has earned horrible word-of-mouth, with comments like “childish” and “unnecessary” being thrown around on the internet. Also, the excessive television appearances by star Shingo Katori has led audiences to be fed up with his attempt to promote the film. With a budget of 3 billion yen (mostly spent on advertising and CGI), no wonder Fuji TV needs a 5.9 billion yen gross.

By the way, I’m going on this by my barely-intermediate Japanese knowledge, so feel free to correct me.

- Speaking of mis-reporting, there are reasons why I don’t look at Mainland Chinese websites for movie news. First, I don’t read simplified Chinese (at least not good enough to translate), and second, I have a personal vendetta against one particular English site (coughcrienglishcough). Now a case of misreporting rumors has been added to that list of reason. According to Hong Kong’s Ming Pao’s entertainment columnist, who is possibly screenwriter Chan Hing-Ka, a rumor from a Mainland China website reported that Ken Watanabe and Hideaki Takizawa has joined the cast of Derek Yee’s The Shinjuku Incident. The rumor was spread quickly, prompting Yee to come out and denied it. Excerpt from the Chinese article translated here:



The entertainment industry is a very sensitive one. If an actor reads a report about a film casting another actor, only to see him/herself also invited afterwards, then they might see themselves as “scraps.” That means he/she only got invited to join a film because another actor turned it down.

Managers/agents show special care into these kind of reports. Don’t think that Japanese agencies don’t look at Chinese/Hong Kong/Taiwanese news; they are actually quite clear on it, and once such report comes out, they would immediately verify it.


Once, a local director reported collaborating with a Japanese actor too early. Once the report came out, the actor’s agency called to verify on the same, and the internet wasn’t even as popular at the time as it is today.


Some media would post certain rumors without verification. Sometimes, a call or two can verify the news, but they don’t do it anyway. As the fake news spread gradually farther, it would concurrently cause more and more harm to those involved.

Of course, this isn’t the only fake report spreading around these days. After reports of Stephen Chow signing on to play Kato in the Green Hornet, Chow’s management came out the next day to deny it, even though the original post only says the film’s writer would LIKE to Chow for the role.

Don’t worry, The Golden Rock always strive to report the most accurate and verified news on Asian entertainment with the most bias a hypocrite like me can give out. Why do you think it takes me 2 hours a day to write an entry? Nevertheless, corrections to any possibly misreported stories are welcomed.

- Shinji Aoyama’s latest Sad Vacation is going to Venice. However, it will not be in competition, but in the Orizzonti sidebar section instead.

- Those in Hong Kong take note: Taiwanese superstar Jay Chou’s directorial debut Secrets is having sneak previews this coming weekend. Just get your tickets early, they’re getting snapped up fast. Oh, and Jay Chou will be at two of those shows on Sunday, which seem to be sold out by now anyway (that would be the seating charts filled with red you see in the post).

- Joel Schumacher, who has been blamed for single-handedly screwing up the Batman franchise once upon a time, is in talks to direct the remake of Johnnie To’s action flick Breaking News. I enjoyed Tigerland and Phone Booth (another thriller set in limited space and time compression), so this might turn out OK.

- Malaysian major bookstore chains, in protest of grocery superstore slashing book prices, boycotted the latest Harry Potter book. Of course, the bookstores have ended the ban because the “customers are the ones would suffer.” 1) Can’t they just go to the grocery superstores to buy the book at a lower price anyway? and 2) Am I the only who find an irony in huge bookstore chains protesting cheaper book prices when these chains were once responsible for putting mom-and-pop bookstores out of business with their lower prices?

- The nominees for the Seoul Television Festival is out, and one drama’s nomination seems a little absurd to me. The Japanese comic adaptation-Taiwanese drama Hanazakarino Kimitachihe, which is seeing its own Japanese adaption on TV right now, was apparently nominated because the judges thought the drama’s style was fresh, which is weird considering it’s an adaption of established work. Then again, I’m just picky against idol dramas.

- Speaking of bad TV dramas, Japan’s own foreigners’ rights crusader Arudou Debito is up in arms about a clip from the popular drama Hana Yori Dango 2, in which the only African American presence in the show happen to come in the form of only criminals. While I’m not as angry as he is (American dramas do the same to minorities - remember the first episode of Heroes?), this only goes to show that bad TV is universal. And this was the top-rated/top satisfaction/most illegally-downloaded drama of that season, people.

- This is the perfect follow-up. NHK is planning a three-part drama special about an international romance that blossoms between a Korean man and a Japanese woman. Um…they already did this a few years ago, guys. I know, I saw it. It wasn’t that good.

- Before everyone else, namely Hollywood, blames China for selling all this pirated movies, China would like to let you know that the technology came from everyone else! Yes, we knew that China is not exactly the most technologically innovative country in the world.

- From the Japanese trailer blog comes a trailer for the film Grow (Guro), about a high school boy who runs into three ghostly mentors before his death and learns to…well, grow.

- If anyone out there thought those “Hong Kong handover commemoration films” were a good idea, get ready for “2008 Chinese Olympic commemoration films!” According to this blog post, the first one up is “The Romance of the Pheonix,” starring Aaron Kwok and directed by Clifton Ko. I’ll probably be watching this anyway just because I’m a completist.

- Right on time for the 60th anniversary of its independence, there will be a 6-day long showcase of Indian culture in LA come mid-August. The focus is said to be on Indian cinema, which means I’m sure there will be some awesome dancing involved.

- Variety’s Derek Elley has a review of Takeshii Miike’s latest theatrical release from a few months ago - the video game adaptation Ryu Ga Gotoku, better known in the states as just Yakuza.

- Lastly, but certainly not last, German actor Ulrich Muehe, who starred as a conflicted agent for the East Germany secret police in the brilliant The Lives of Others, has passed away at the age of 54.

A Poll For All

As much as I enjoy sharing a song everyday, Youtube sadly does not contain every single song I like (nor does it contain every single song you like). I figured I should take advantage of the polls feature and throw this question out there - Should the Song of the Day feature continue even after the upcoming hiatus? A simple yes or no would do (though if you feel like adding more, a comment or an e-mail would be nice too). Look on your right for that poll.

The poll ends at midnight, August 4th Hong Kong time (that’s 9 am August 3rd San Francisco time, and 5 pm GMT August 3rd).

Here’s a little video to encourage you all to vote (not for this guy, though)

The Golden Rock Song of the Day - 7/24/2007

Continuing with the quality boyish pop songs motif from yesterday, today we have a song from Japanese pop duo Chemistry’s 2005 album Fo(U)r. It’s Almost In Love.

The Golden Rock - July 24th, 2007 Edition

- The numbers for the Japanese box office is out from Box Office Mojo, but just as Warner Bros. has done in the past, it seems like they’re over-reporting their gross again. Box Office Mojo reports that the film made 2.27 billion yen, including supposedly 2.05 billion yen over the two-day period of July 21-22 because it opened on a Friday. Now, those who read Eiga Consultant (i.e., me) know that just ain’t true, because Potter made 1.12 billion yen from three days of previews last week (cue WB spokesperson - “Our wizardry will fight any typhoon that comes our way.”), so Potter actually made just roughly over 1.1 billion yen. While the gross after the first weekend beats the previous film, hence making it the highest-opening Harry Potter film, the 2-day gross is actually only 84% of the previous film. Then again, why am I painting a movie that opened with over 1.1 billion yen as disappointing anyway? It’s the misreporting that pisses me off more.

In the rest of the top 10, Pokemon suffers the largest drop of 50%, while Monkey Magic’s near-40% drop isn’t boding well for those early estimates, and even Indie dark comedy hit Kisaragi somehow made it to the top 10, thanks to the convenient omission of the Anpanman movie from the Box Office Mojo charts.

- I feel like I’m just repeating myself in saying that foreign films have yet again dominated the South Korean box office. There’s a bright spot, though - a Thai horror movie has managed to score 295,000 admissions to the 4th place of the top 10. I’ll let Mark Russell at Korea Pop Wars do the work again.

- Speaking of Mr. Russell, there’s an interview by him with Jeong Tae-Song, the head of Korean blockbuster distributor Showbox. A little disappointing, however, that Jeong couldn’t dish out more explanation towards his company’s actions, including why it pulled out of Kim Ji-Woon’s The Good, The Bad, and the Weird.

- Don’t worry, Korean cinema, Japanese distributors are still buying your movies.

- There’s word out there that Andy Lau is signing on to star in the remake of the 1967 version of a Better Tomorrow, which inspired the John Woo classic. Don’t mistaken this for the Big Media-backed Another Better Tomorrow. In other news surrounding the film, Stephen Fung is in talks to direct, I assume after he finishes the Stephen Chow-produced Jump.

- And who stars in Jump? None other than Hong Kong’s handsomest and richest bad boy Edison Chen. Over the years, he’s had his run-ins with the paparazzi and the generally unfriendly Hong Kong print press. On his blog, he finally decided to fight back and snap a couple of pictures of his tormentors. Of course, I wouldn’t be as stupid as to tell people to “piss or spit in they food” (jeez, thanks for promoting the stereotypes of bad Asian English), but I’m mildly entertained by this. The blog post even ended up on Oriental Daily’s Entertainment page’s top story (probably because the photographers in the blog post aren’t theirs), but you know the reporting isn’t going to be fair and balanced….just like this blog.

Is it just me, or isn’t it kind of ironic that he asks people to support the “underground” when he’s always pimping out mainstream hip-hop fashion and artists from Japan and the States?

- Everyone watch out, Andrew Lau is directing again! At least he usually goes away in just two hours when he’s making movies, but now he’s making a television series.

- A subsidiary of Japanese public broadcaster NHK has taken getting copyrights a little too seriously by registering the trademark of the name for a drama they haven’t even started showing yet. By trademarking the name, they want to collect 3% from each business that wants to use the name in the future. And they wonder why youths don’t respect intellectual property.

- There’s another review for the Hong Kong action film Invisible Target by Benny Chan.

- EastSouthWestNorth wants to remind everyone that there’s no active censorship in Hong Kong. Perhaps I’ve been a little rash in my opinions, when I’m really just mad at the lack of flexibility and common sense on the part of the Television and Entertainment Licensing Authority of Hong Kong when classifying “indecent” material.

- I swear I thought that AZN Television, the American cable network targeted towards an Asian American audience, was all but dead, especially when there’s no more new original programming coming out. But perhaps they’re not quite going away for a while after all.

- Lastly, as a matter of personal interest, the trailer for the new Wes Anderson film The Darjeeling Limited is out. I’m a big fan, so I’m already looking forward to this even before the trailer’s out.

A Poll For All

As much as I enjoy sharing a song everyday, Youtube sadly does not contain every single song I like (nor does it contain every single song you like). I figured I should take advantage of the polls feature and throw this question out there - Should the Song of the Day feature continue even after the upcoming hiatus? A simple yes or no would do (though if you feel like adding more, a comment or an e-mail would be nice too). Look on your right for that poll.

The poll ends at midnight, August 4th Hong Kong time (that’s 9 am August 3rd San Francisco time, and 5 pm GMT August 3rd).

Here’s a little video to encourage you all to vote (not for this guy, though) Copyright © 2002-2024 Ross Chen