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Archive for July, 2007

The Golden Rock Song of the Day - 7/23/2007

Today’s Song of the Day blasts back to an era when wardrobe like the one in the video(s) are still acceptable. From Japanese most modest-looking pop star, and can be found on his 2004 compilation, it’s Noriyuki Makihara’s Mou Koi Nante Shi Nai.

Then, found on any Leon Lai compilation such as this one, it’s his classic cover “My Love.”

Why, yes, that IS Anita Yuen.

The Golden Rock - July 23rd, 2007 Edition

- After what’s been a somewhat disappointing summer for Hong Kong cinema, there’s finally some good news to report. According to the Sunday numbers from Hong Kong, Benny Chan’s actioner Invisible Target made an impressive HK$1.31 million on just 36 screens (and it’s been sent off to the smaller screens in almost all the multiplexes it’s playing in thanks to Harry Potter). After 4 days, the Nicholas Tse-Shawn Yu-Jaycee Chan starrer has made HK$4.6 million and word-of-mouth may bring it to the HK$10 million mark, which has become a sad sad standard for success.

Meanwhile, Harry Potter did actually win Sunday, making HK$3.1 million on 83 screens (see what I mean about Invisible Target getting shafted?) for a 12-day total of HK$37.03 million. Now that it’ll be passing the HK$40 million mark in a day or two, let’s start looking towards 50 mil, which I’m sure no one will be surprised about. Meanwhile, the Japanese animated film Keroro 2 (which apparently is only out on a Cantonese dub in theatres?!) makes HK$790,000 on 28 screens, many of them not playing it past 5 pm, for the 4-day total of HK$2.32 million.

From Hollywood, the Nicholas Cage sci-fi thriller Next makes HK$220,000 on just 15 screens for HK$780,000 after 4 days, and Quentin Tarantino’s talky Death Proof director’s cut makes just another HK$60,000 on 5 screens for a 4-day total of just HK$300,000. I’m not surprised that more visually exciting Planet Terror will end up doing better, especially when Tarantino’s self-indulgent talk about grindhouse movies won’t translate quite well in Chinese.

US$1=HK$7.8

- This week, Lovehkfilm has a review of the aforementioned Invisible Target, the straight-to-video (at least in America) stinker Kung Fu Fighter, the Singaporean comedy Just Follow Law by Jack Neo, the Japanese blockbuster sequel Limit of Love: Umizaru, Korean-Japanese filmmaker Sai Yoichi’s Korean debut Soo, and the Shunji Iwai-directed documentary Filmful Life (with the last two by yours truly).

- In Japan audience rankings, who honestly didn’t expect Harry Potter to take the weekend? That bumps everything down a spot, except for 300, which gets bumped off of the top 10 along with Zodiac by the animated film The Piano Forest.

- In the Chinese city of Nanjing, the American-made documentary Nanking is a hit, with theaters lowering ticket prices and donors pouring money to make sure as many people get to see it as possible. Anyone see an agenda in Chinese people making a Chinese government-approved documentary a hit?

- Time for endless analysis of Japanese drama ratings. Fuji’s big Monday drama First Kiss gets a Joudan Janai-sized drop from a promising 19.7 rating (about 12.8 million) the first week straight down to a 13.2 (about 8.6 million) for its second week. The “Taiwan got them first, now we’re taking them back” comic adaptation dramas Hana Zakari No Kimi Tachi He and Yamada Taro Monogatari saw one fall slightly and the other got a bit of a bump. Hana lost about 200,000 viewers, while Yamada gained about 400,000 viewers. Don’t worry, they’re on different nights and different time slots anyway.

Meanwhile, the critical favorite/Freaky Friday-ripoff Papa To Musume No Nanakakan got a season high of 14.1 rating (roughly 9.15 million), and Fuji’s experimental Saturday 11pm time slot drama Life hangs on with a 10.9 (7.1 million), which is the same as last week. Oh, and Yama Onna Kabe Onna continues its slow drop to a 12.1 rating (7.9 million viewers) this week for its third episode.

As always, all the information for this season’s drama can be found on Tokyograph.

- After the earlier reported Joey Yung=Mandy Moore MTV discovery, netizens have found yet another MTV by the same director that seems to be derived from an original Japanese source. Except unlike the Joey Yung incident, where EEG and Yung herself seem to simply ignore the complaints, the Taiwanese pop star actually released a statement within hours acknowledging the complaints. Then her manager released his own statement, apologizing and stating that he has asked video play to stop immediately. And then after all of that does the director finally apologize, saying that he did watch YUI’s MTV as a learning tool, but didn’t intend to copy. However, he has not acknowledged copying Mandy Moore’s video.

Nevertheless, this is worth mentioning because the star knows that it’s not her fault, but at least she took the effort to clear her name and apologize, unlike the EEG/Gold Label attitude, where they use “coincidence” as the ultimate excuse for everything.

- That was fast. Milkyway screenwriter Yau Nai-Hoi’s directorial debut Eye in the Sky literally just left theaters this past weekend, and a DVD has already been announced for August 4th.

- playwright-screenwriter-sometimes-director Koki Mitani is back with a new film after the ensemble hit The Uchoten Hotel (a great comedy, by the way). This time it’s a darker piece about a gang thug who brings in an actor to pretend to be an assassin when he can’t find a real one. Apparently he’s promising three laughs a minute (at least that means it won’t run too long like Uchoten Hotel did). Sanspo also does some over-reporting and predicts it might make 12 billion yen based on the Mitani’s films’ box office pattern. Please fuck off with that kind of stuff already.

- Speaking of “what the fuck?” The Los Angeles Times is reporting that Hong Kong comedy legend Stephen Chow will play Kato in the Green Hornet movie alongside…….Seth Rogan?! Who the hell put together that dartboard?

Thankfully, a closer look shows that the news is from an LA Times blog that reports Seth Rogan WANTS Stephen Chow for Kato. Chow has NOT officially signed on. In fact, he probably hasn’t even been pitched the idea yet.

- Oh, my bad. The controversial Bangkok International Film Festival got under way last Thursday, but hasn’t really seen much clear success in attendance.

- Speaking of festivals, the Toronto Film Festival has announced most of its midnight madness lineup, which includes Wilson Yip’s Flashpoint and Hitoshi Matsumoto’s Dai Nipponjin.

- Lastly, Hollywood Reporter gives brief reviews of Shinya Tsukamoto’s Nightmare Detective and Lee Sang-Il’s Japanese Academy Award winner Hula Girl.

The Golden Rock Podcast - 7/22/2007

This week ended up being longer, despite having less news. Sorry if it gets back to boring from last week’s shorter entry.

The 4th Golden Rock Podcast - 7/22/2007 (right click—>save as. 96 kbps MP3. 16.2 mb. 22:29)

This week’s theme song: DJ Shadow - Mongrel Meets Its Maker

This week on the Podcast:

- Preview screenings for Hollywood films in Asia - are they really needed?
—–> Why the hell do I care about box office so much?

- the Hong Kong Television and Entertainment Licensing Council saga. How does that affect The Golden Rock?

- the LOSERS and WINNERS of the week.

Please do enjoy, and keep sending those comments in. Thanks for listening!

The Golden Rock Song of the Day - 7/22/2007

I’m just finally finishing up the Yakuza Papers series by Kinji Fukasaku, and I can’t get that damn hummable theme song out of my head, even though it’s not available on CD, as far as I know. Today’s Song of the day, therefore, can only be a cover of it by the Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra.

The Golden Rock - July 22nd, 2007 Edition

Yet another Podcast done, will be up in a little bit.

- Perhaps the Korean Wave hasn’t quite disappeared in Japan, as the drama Maundy Sunday opened last weekend on 7 screens in Japan, grossing 8.7 million yen over three days for a not-too-bad per-screen average of 1.24 million yen. The most promising news about that opening is actually the fact that word-of-mouth is so good that audiences are buying up the pamphlets at the theatres after they watched the film, with more than 30% sold from each theatre. This means people might be showing the pamphlets to other people, driving a healthy final gross in the long run. Then again, best we don’t get all excited over the results of just one film.

US $1=121 yen

- The final satisfaction ranking for last season’s Japanese television drama is out, and as expected, Kaetta Kita Jikou Keisatsu and Liar Game take the top two top spots. The biggest news, however, is that only 6 dramas got a satisfaction rate of over 70%, showing how crappy dramas were this past season.

- Speaking of TV dramas, the Daily Yomiuri has reviews for a few more of the dramas this season, this time focusing on the female-oriented dramas such as the politically incorrect Yama Onna Kabe Onna.

- EastSouthWestNorth translate a post explaining why Hong Kong’s Television and Entertainment Licensing Authroity is destined to fail now that it’s under so much scrutiny.

- Japan’s public broadcaster NHK is planning to put their programs online….but only for people who pay their mandatory subscription fee. 1) Shouldn’t NHK hold the rights to all the shows, and 2) How will they be able to tell who’s paying the fee or not?

- Proving that there is not such thing as double jeopardy in China, Chinese search engine site Baidu has been sued yet again for the same crime by another company. The popular search engine was once sued by record companies for providing links to illegal downloads of music, and now it has been sued for the same thing by another record company. If four internationally-renowned record companies couldn’t win, what makes this company think it would?

- How can Japanese films, even blockbuster films, manage to come in at such a low budget? Simple, according to produce Taka Ichise - just underpay everyone.

- As a amateur music critic, I know i shouldn’t indulge in having an idol and all, but I admit it - despite my criticisms for her recent work, J-pop artist Hikaru Utada is my idol, which is why I am pretty happy to know that she has been voted as Japan’s favorite artist once again after a few years off the popularity wagon. Too bad it was due to her most mediocre single ever released.

- Korea Pop War’s Mark Russell has a review of the new big Korean film May 18, which is one of the few final hopes for Korean cinema this summer amid the Hollywood invasion.

- Carol Lai’s Hong Kong horror film Naraka 19 was originally slated to open on August 2nd, only to get pushed back to September…except that there was an ad up in an Hong Kong subway station stating that it’ll be out in August. Nevertheless, promotion is fully under way, and even promotional activities such as cast appearances are stating its delayed September release. It will also have a screening at the summer edition of the Hong Kong International Film Festival days before its release.

- The Pia Film Festival in Japan, known for launching many young talents, has wrapped successfully, with one particularly warped tale of bullying and terrorism standing out.

- Lastly, file this under “movie ideas that i have no interest in” today from Japan. Yes, yet another time-traveling romance.

The Golden Rock Podcast - 7/22/2007

This week ended up being longer, despite having less news. Sorry if it gets back to boring from last week’s shorter entry.

The 4th Golden Rock Podcast - 7/22/2007 (right click—>save as. 96 kbps MP3. 16.2 mb. 22:29)

This week’s theme song: DJ Shadow - Mongrel Meets Its Maker

This week on the Podcast:

- Preview screenings for Hollywood films in Asia - are they really needed?
—–> Why the hell do I care about box office so much?

- the Hong Kong Television and Entertainment Licensing Council saga. How does that affect The Golden Rock?

- the LOSERS and WINNERS of the week.

Please do enjoy, and keep sending those comments in. Thanks for listening!

The Golden Rock Song of the Day - 7/22/2007

I’m just finally finishing up the Yakuza Papers series by Kinji Fukasaku, and I can’t get that damn hummable theme song out of my head, even though it’s not available on CD, as far as I know. Today’s Song of the day, therefore, can only be a cover of it by the Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra.

The Golden Rock - July 22nd, 2007 Edition

Yet another Podcast done, will be up in a little bit.

- Perhaps the Korean Wave hasn’t quite disappeared in Japan, as the drama Maundy Sunday opened last weekend on 7 screens in Japan, grossing 8.7 million yen over three days for a not-too-bad per-screen average of 1.24 million yen. The most promising news about that opening is actually the fact that word-of-mouth is so good that audiences are buying up the pamphlets at the theatres after they watched the film, with more than 30% sold from each theatre. This means people might be showing the pamphlets to other people, driving a healthy final gross in the long run. Then again, best we don’t get all excited over the results of just one film.

US $1=121 yen

- The final satisfaction ranking for last season’s Japanese television drama is out, and as expected, Kaetta Kita Jikou Keisatsu and Liar Game take the top two top spots. The biggest news, however, is that only 6 dramas got a satisfaction rate of over 70%, showing how crappy dramas were this past season.

- Speaking of TV dramas, the Daily Yomiuri has reviews for a few more of the dramas this season, this time focusing on the female-oriented dramas such as the politically incorrect Yama Onna Kabe Onna.

- EastSouthWestNorth translate a post explaining why Hong Kong’s Television and Entertainment Licensing Authroity is destined to fail now that it’s under so much scrutiny.

- Japan’s public broadcaster NHK is planning to put their programs online….but only for people who pay their mandatory subscription fee. 1) Shouldn’t NHK hold the rights to all the shows, and 2) How will they be able to tell who’s paying the fee or not?

- Proving that there is not such thing as double jeopardy in China, Chinese search engine site Baidu has been sued yet again for the same crime by another company. The popular search engine was once sued by record companies for providing links to illegal downloads of music, and now it has been sued for the same thing by another record company. If four internationally-renowned record companies couldn’t win, what makes this company think it would?

- How can Japanese films, even blockbuster films, manage to come in at such a low budget? Simple, according to produce Taka Ichise - just underpay everyone.

- As a amateur music critic, I know i shouldn’t indulge in having an idol and all, but I admit it - despite my criticisms for her recent work, J-pop artist Hikaru Utada is my idol, which is why I am pretty happy to know that she has been voted as Japan’s favorite artist once again after a few years off the popularity wagon. Too bad it was due to her most mediocre single ever released.

- Korea Pop War’s Mark Russell has a review of the new big Korean film May 18, which is one of the few final hopes for Korean cinema this summer amid the Hollywood invasion.

- Carol Lai’s Hong Kong horror film Naraka 19 was originally slated to open on August 2nd, only to get pushed back to September…except that there was an ad up in an Hong Kong subway station stating that it’ll be out in August. Nevertheless, promotion is fully under way, and even promotional activities such as cast appearances are stating its delayed September release. It will also have a screening at the summer edition of the Hong Kong International Film Festival days before its release.

- The Pia Film Festival in Japan, known for launching many young talents, has wrapped successfully, with one particularly warped tale of bullying and terrorism standing out.

- Lastly, file this under “movie ideas that i have no interest in” today from Japan. Yes, yet another time-traveling romance.

The Golden Rock Song of the Day - 7/21/2007

I picked something groovy for the Song of the Day today. It needs little introduction, and there’s little to say because people talk very little about this track from that particular album. From Daft Punk’s 2001 album Discovery, it’s Something About Us.

The Golden Rock - July 21st, 2007 Edition

- Monkey Magic and Pokemon better watch out in Japan this weekend, because Harry Potter has officially landed and is set wipe out everything in its way. Just last weekend, Potter managed to make 1.17 billion yen (US$1=121 yen, at least as of today) from three days of previews. That shatters the three-day preview record previously set by Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest, which made 940 million yen during its 3-day previews. Looks like that 5.9 billion yen mark Fuji TV wants for Monkey Magic is looking tougher and tougher.

- The latest Harry Potter film is actually one of the reviews this weekend from Japan Times, whose Giovanni Fazio gives it a positive review. Meanwhile, Japan Times’ Mark Schilling reviews Nobuhiro Yamashita’s latest Tennen Kokkeko (You read right, this is already Yamashita’s second release of the year), which actually looks likes Yamashita’s back to its Linda Linda Linda youth movie roots (click on 予告 for trailers). From Kaori Shoji comes a review of Gus Van Sant’s 1984 directorial debut Mala Noche, which is playing once a night at a Tokyo theater.

- Then the Daily Yomiuri reviews Kishu Izushi’s “trilogy” film Lazurus. All three parts are currently playing at one Tokyo theater for another week. It’s pretty amazing that the credits on the poster show that this 200-minute trilogy is partly made by a committee of students.

- The saga with Hong Kong’s Television and Entertainment Licensing Authority continues after it was widely criticized by even mainstream newspaper for gripping their iron fist at the Hong Kong book fair. Now the head has come out and does what every salaried worker doesn’t want their managers to do: blame the little guys. More on this ongoing saga on the podcast tomorrow.

- Leon Lai and Zhang Ziyi are talking about the preparations they’re making to star in Chen Kaige’s latest film Mei Lanfang. One of them is applying a lot of hand cream before sleep, which I’m sure Leon does from time to time anyway.

- The Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival has just wrapped up, although its closing ceremonies and awards were handed out on Thursday. Korea Pop Wars has a small wrap-up of the festival, which is going down as one of the best in years.

- I didn’t know this was considered news - Taiwan television is actually churning out Japanese comic adaptations for dramas quicker than Japan. Sadly, Japan has caught on with those annoying-looking teen dramas.

- Speaking of Japanese dramas, last season’s ratings winner Proposal Daisakusen got a complete sweep at the Nikkan Sports Spring drama poll, including an overwhelming win for best drama and best actor. The surprise is that the two most popular dramas according to the Oricon satisfaction rankings - Liar Game and Kaette Kita Jikou Keisatsu - only got 4th and 5th place. Oh well, it’s not like they actually win any prize.

- Yet another copying incident with a Hong Kong pop star - Joey Yung’s latest MTV for her song “On Your Left and Right” has been revealed to be eerily similar (as in almost identical) to the Mandy Moore MTV Extraordinary (I didn’t know Mandy Moore is still singing, and I live in her target market). If this is true, this wouldn’t be Yung’s fault anyway, but it can’t be reflecting too well on her character after the “pirated wardrobe” incident earlier in the year. Click on the links next to the pictures to see the respective MTVs.

Still plenty of news coming tomorrow, as well as the Podcast. Sorry for the delays in replying to your comments, they should all be replied to by now.

 
 
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