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Archive for August, 2007

The Golden Rock - August 31st, 2007 Edition

- The reviews for Ang Lee’s Lust, Caution is out, and the two big Hollywood trade papers are not too kind to it. Variety’s Derek Elley say that it’s a two and a half-hour period drama that’s a long haul for relatively little returns, and Hollywood Reporter’s Ray Bennett says the film has long period of boredom relieved by moments of extremely heightened excitement. Honestly, I never expected Ang Lee to pull off an espionage thriller, and it seems like he didn’t here. Are there any actually any good reviews to earn the film the reported “standing ovation” it got?

- We know that Hollywood is no good at adapting games, but what about the Japanese? The popular Nintendo DS game “Professor Layton and the Curious Village” will be turned into a movie, and the game is just the first in a trilogy too.

-Twitch has more on the shooting progress of Hong Sang-Soo’s Night and Day in France. If you remember, Hong is actually looking for volunteers to appear as extra, but you should probably be in France and speak Korean and/or French.

- Johnnie To is getting to be an even harder-working man than Andy Lau. Not only did he just bring The Mad Detective (probably not named The Detective anymore because Aaron Kwok’s The Detective is coming), he also wrapped up the Mainland Chinese romance Linger, finishing up The Sparrow (another one of the Johnnie To films made on a Wong Kar-Wai schedule), the remake of the French film The Red Circle, AND now he’s going to produce a trilogy of films about tomb-raiding. I am almost sure they will suck less that those Tomb Raider movies.

- Speaking of Mad Detective, Kaiju Shakedown has a few more stills from the film. Looks like vintage To to me.

- Japan finally passes a law making camcording movies in movie theaters illegal. How come those annoying MPA people didn’t go and push for it more. And why didn’t the US go and make a complaint about that with the World Trade Organization?

The Golden Rock Box Office Report - 8/31/2007

Today’s only box office report is that of Hong Kong’s Thursday opening day. 7 films opened yesterday, with 3 of them I would consider as wide releases. Among them, the best performer was the teen thriller Disturbia (which didn’t get much promotion here). From 24 screens, the Rear Window-in-shitty-teen-rock-music made HK$230,000 for second place. The next one on the list is a bit of a surprise. Alfred Cheung’s Mainland-targeted Contract Lover (review soon in the spin-off) managed to make HK$220,000 from 26 screens, considering that the show I went to last night only had 12 people (and the group I saw it with made up 7 of them). Next on 20 screens is the Korean puppy drama Hearty Paws, which opened with just HK$120,000. This is also a little surprising because puppy films tend to do very well in Hong Kong.

As for the limited releases (I would consider 15 screens and under a limited release, by the way), only one made it to the top 10. The American torture porn Captivity made only HK$60,000 on 14 screens. The other 3 films - La Vie En Rose (2 screens), Renaissance (1 screen), and The Number 23 (1 screen) - naturally didn’t make it into the top 10.

US$1=HK$7.8

- I mentioned that Sicko opened at only about 10% of Fahrenheit 911, but I didn’t take into account that Fahrenheit had a wider opening. In fact, Sicko’s opening was actually 134% of the opening for Bowling for Columbine.

The Golden Rock - August 31st, 2007 Edition

- The reviews for Ang Lee’s Lust, Caution is out, and the two big Hollywood trade papers are not too kind to it. Variety’s Derek Elley say that it’s a two and a half-hour period drama that’s a long haul for relatively little returns, and Hollywood Reporter’s Ray Bennett says the film has long period of boredom relieved by moments of extremely heightened excitement. Honestly, I never expected Ang Lee to pull off an espionage thriller, and it seems like he didn’t here. Are there any actually any good reviews to earn the film the reported “standing ovation” it got?

- We know that Hollywood is no good at adapting games, but what about the Japanese? The popular Nintendo DS game “Professor Layton and the Curious Village” will be turned into a movie, and the game is just the first in a trilogy too.

-Twitch has more on the shooting progress of Hong Sang-Soo’s Night and Day in France. If you remember, Hong is actually looking for volunteers to appear as extra, but you should probably be in France and speak Korean and/or French.

- Johnnie To is getting to be an even harder-working man than Andy Lau. Not only did he just bring The Mad Detective (probably not named The Detective anymore because Aaron Kwok’s The Detective is coming), he also wrapped up the Mainland Chinese romance Linger, finishing up The Sparrow (another one of the Johnnie To films made on a Wong Kar-Wai schedule), the remake of the French film The Red Circle, AND now he’s going to produce a trilogy of films about tomb-raiding. I am almost sure they will suck less that those Tomb Raider movies.

- Speaking of Mad Detective, Kaiju Shakedown has a few more stills from the film. Looks like vintage To to me.

- Japan finally passes a law making camcording movies in movie theaters illegal. How come those annoying MPA people didn’t go and push for it more. And why didn’t the US go and make a complaint about that with the World Trade Organization?

The Golden Rock Box Office Report - 8/31/2007

Today’s only box office report is that of Hong Kong’s Thursday opening day. 7 films opened yesterday, with 3 of them I would consider as wide releases. Among them, the best performer was the teen thriller Disturbia (which didn’t get much promotion here). From 24 screens, the Rear Window-in-shitty-teen-rock-music made HK$230,000 for second place. The next one on the list is a bit of a surprise. Alfred Cheung’s Mainland-targeted Contract Lover (review soon in the spin-off) managed to make HK$220,000 from 26 screens, considering that the show I went to last night only had 12 people (and the group I saw it with made up 7 of them). Next on 20 screens is the Korean puppy drama Hearty Paws, which opened with just HK$120,000. This is also a little surprising because puppy films tend to do very well in Hong Kong.

As for the limited releases (I would consider 15 screens and under a limited release, by the way), only one made it to the top 10. The American torture porn Captivity made only HK$60,000 on 14 screens. The other 3 films - La Vie En Rose (2 screens), Renaissance (1 screen), and The Number 23 (1 screen) - naturally didn’t make it into the top 10.

US$1=HK$7.8

- I mentioned that Sicko opened at only about 10% of Fahrenheit 911, but I didn’t take into account that Fahrenheit had a wider opening. In fact, Sicko’s opening was actually 134% of the opening for Bowling for Columbine.

The Golden Rock Song of the Day - 8/30/2007

Ah-ha, I haven’t used a Suede song since two months ago, so it’s just about time to use one again. From the album Head Music, it’s one of my favorite Suede songs - “Everything Will Flow.”

The Golden Rock - August 30th, 2007 Edition

Call me lazy, call me tired, or just call it plain Thursday syndrome, but there’s again not all that much news out there.

- Everyone is trying to break into that China market, and the only way is co-produce them with China, and the only way to do that is to get Chinese government approval. The first successful Australian production to pull this off will be Roger Spottiswoode’s The Children of Huang Shi, co-starring Chow Yun-Fat and Michelle Yeoh. In traditional ethnographic gaze, the film will be about a British journalist who team up with an Austrlian nurse to rescue Chinese children oppressed by the Japanese during World War II.

- The Hong Kong Asian Film Festival (smaller than the Hong Kong International Film Festival and a different organizer) will feature some pretty huge films this year, including Ang Lee’s Lust Caution (which is opening the festival), Lee Chang-Dong’s Secret Sunshine, Jiang Wen’s The Sun Also Rises, and Jia Zhangke’s Useless.

- Speaking of Ang Lee’s Lust, Caution, Lee said that while his film did get the most restrictive rating the American censors could give (NC-17 - no one under 17 may be admitted), he hopes to use it to change perceptions about the rating itself. While I would like to see Lee pull that off, I doubt it would be an Asian espionage triller that will do it. An NC-17 itself means that it won’t reach beyond the urban areas because newspapers won’t even advertise them, and theaterowners are too conservative to show them.

On the other hand, category-III films (no one under 18 may be admitted) are able to get wide advertising and theater bookings here in Hong Kong. And yet, society is somewhat more conservative. What’s the deal here?

- This all sounds a little complicated (it’s easy to get broadband TV here in Hong Kong, but how do you do it in the states, where all kinds of infrastructure problems can prevent it), but there is now a new way to get Asian programming into your American homes, thanks to (for once) American Chinese video content distributor Tai Seng.

- Jason Gray continues to try to spread word-of-mouth for the Pia festival winning film This World of Ours. I just requested for a copy of the film with the director Ryo Nakajima, so I’ll be checking it out and hopefully help him spread word. Why? Because I believe in good karma, especially for an aspiring director like myself.

- About freaking time. NHK chairman actually asks at a committee meeting to reduce license fee by 10%. That way, corrupted producers will have less money to pocket.

- Remember that “Sing this song and you’ll die” movie with the creative advertising? Densen Uta opened this past weekend in Japan on 106 screens and managed to make only 31.21 million yen, outside of the top 10. That opening is only 74% of the opening for the last teen girl-infected horror film Ghost Train.

The Golden Rock Song of the Day - 8/30/2007

Ah-ha, I haven’t used a Suede song since two months ago, so it’s just about time to use one again. From the album Head Music, it’s one of my favorite Suede songs - “Everything Will Flow.”

The Golden Rock - August 30th, 2007 Edition

Call me lazy, call me tired, or just call it plain Thursday syndrome, but there’s again not all that much news out there.

- Everyone is trying to break into that China market, and the only way is co-produce them with China, and the only way to do that is to get Chinese government approval. The first successful Australian production to pull this off will be Roger Spottiswoode’s The Children of Huang Shi, co-starring Chow Yun-Fat and Michelle Yeoh. In traditional ethnographic gaze, the film will be about a British journalist who team up with an Austrlian nurse to rescue Chinese children oppressed by the Japanese during World War II.

- The Hong Kong Asian Film Festival (smaller than the Hong Kong International Film Festival and a different organizer) will feature some pretty huge films this year, including Ang Lee’s Lust Caution (which is opening the festival), Lee Chang-Dong’s Secret Sunshine, Jiang Wen’s The Sun Also Rises, and Jia Zhangke’s Useless.

- Speaking of Ang Lee’s Lust, Caution, Lee said that while his film did get the most restrictive rating the American censors could give (NC-17 - no one under 17 may be admitted), he hopes to use it to change perceptions about the rating itself. While I would like to see Lee pull that off, I doubt it would be an Asian espionage triller that will do it. An NC-17 itself means that it won’t reach beyond the urban areas because newspapers won’t even advertise them, and theaterowners are too conservative to show them.

On the other hand, category-III films (no one under 18 may be admitted) are able to get wide advertising and theater bookings here in Hong Kong. And yet, society is somewhat more conservative. What’s the deal here?

- This all sounds a little complicated (it’s easy to get broadband TV here in Hong Kong, but how do you do it in the states, where all kinds of infrastructure problems can prevent it), but there is now a new way to get Asian programming into your American homes, thanks to (for once) American Chinese video content distributor Tai Seng.

- Jason Gray continues to try to spread word-of-mouth for the Pia festival winning film This World of Ours. I just requested for a copy of the film with the director Ryo Nakajima, so I’ll be checking it out and hopefully help him spread word. Why? Because I believe in good karma, especially for an aspiring director like myself.

- About freaking time. NHK chairman actually asks at a committee meeting to reduce license fee by 10%. That way, corrupted producers will have less money to pocket.

- Remember that “Sing this song and you’ll die” movie with the creative advertising? Densen Uta opened this past weekend in Japan on 106 screens and managed to make only 31.21 million yen, outside of the top 10. That opening is only 74% of the opening for the last teen girl-infected horror film Ghost Train.

The Golden Rock Song of the Day - 8/29/2007

Today’s song is a blast from my early university past. He was one of the more promising R&B singer from Taiwan that just isn’t doing so well anymore, but this single, one of his first, was a long-time favorite at the Karaoke for me. From his first album, it’s the title song “3 AM”

The Golden Rock - August 29th, 2007 Edition

- Suddenly the Hong Kong film slate this year just got a lot more packed, with new films by Johnnie To, Pang Ho-Cheung, Derek Chiu Sung-Kei, and now the Pang Brothers have a new film coming next month. Starring Aaron Kwok and directed by Oxide Pang, who last made the OK Diary, The Detective looks like it might be more darkly humorous in the vein of Leave Me Alone, and also marks the first major role by Kwok since his best actor win with After This, Our Exile.

- There’s a trailer for Jia Zhangke’s latest documentary Useless, which follows a piece of cloth from the Chinese factory to the catwalks of Paris. The trailer only covers the factory section, but it looks pretty interesting.

- Someone told me before that Japanese pop diva Ayumi Hamasaki actually vowed to her fans that she would never write English lyrics in her songs (although she’s used plenty of English song titles). And I noticed that it was true until last year’s Bold and Delicious. However, I would only call it half-English because unless she means something very dirty, Bold and Delicious doesn’t really make a bit of fucking sense.

Despite Hamasaki going all English and foreign, apparently Japanese music are using less foreign language in their lyrics these days, seeing a reversal back to more Japanese lyrics. I personally haven’t seen a reversal of that trend, but I’m a selective J-pop listener, so what do I know?

- Speaking of J-pop, it’s time for those Oricon charts. On the fairly active singles chart, the latest Keisuke Kuwata single, the theme song for the film Tengoku De Kimi ni Aetara, debuts at number 1 with 93,000 copies sold. Meanwhile, Aiko is not too far behind with her latest, selling 76,000 copies for second place. Mika Nakashima is further behind at 3rd place with her latest single after selling 56,000 copies. Lastly, Tokyo Jihen’s latest only sold under 33,000 copies for a 5th place debut. Next week, expect L’Arc~en~ciel’s latest to take the top spot, and Utada Hikaru’s latest (which I again don’t think is all that great) won’t have a chance at the top spot.

On the album chart, Hideaki Tokunaga’s cover album not only holds the number 1 spot, losing only 30% of sales, the other two cover albums also saw a sales boost to 13th and 16th places, respectively. Other than that, the album chart was pretty quiet, with Sukima Switch still selling a lot of their latest album. Next week, look for Ketsumeishi’s latest album to do really really well.

- Everyone wins! The Seoul Drama Award gave away its awards to dramas from China, Japan, AND Korea. Hell, even the UK’s Prime Suspect won an award. Wait a minute, is “A Dwarf Launches a Small Ball” the same thing as “A Ball Shot By a Midget?” It can’t be!

- Turns out Hong Kong’s TVB (who make some of the most popular mediocre TV dramas in the world) got even more nominations at the International Emmy Awards, this time they’re for acting.

- Under “Oh, silly China!” news today, turns out Charlene Choi’s character in the Hong Kong comedy Simply Actors has been changed for its upcoming Mainland Chinese release. While in the original version, she plays a softcore porn actress from the Mainland, she’ll be an actress that specializes in bad movies with some regional dialect of Mandarin. Apparently, even Choi herself doesn’t mind, saying that she’s not qualified to make softcore porn. Just give it a few more years, Charlene…

- Korean auteur Hong Sang-Soo is looking for extras to act in his latest film. The catch? You should probably be living in France to do it, since he’s shooting there.

- Heroes actor/whiz kid Masi Oka (whose interview in better-than-when-he’s-acting Japanese is here) says that Lost actually paved the way for Asian-American actors in American television. There WAS Sammo Hung’s Martial Law, but I think he’s actually right that it took this long.

- A few days ago, I said to take the news of Peter Chan Ho-Sun’s latest film “Deng Dai” with a grain of salt, but I guess it’s OK to trust it now that Variety Asia is reporting it.

- I didn’t mean for this news to be last, but Feng Xiaogang’s average-looking war flick The Assembly will be opening the Pusan film festival next month. Isn’t this not even set to come out until Lunar New Year? Still, props to Feng for not taking the easy way with making some World War II film, instead focusing on the Chinese civil war.

 
 
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