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Archive for August 3rd, 2007

The Golden Rock Song of the Day - 8/3/2007

My personal principle for The Song of the Day is that one artist only gets to be here once a month, so I’m filling the Shiina Ringo quota a little early in the month (yes, I do count Tokyo Jihen and Shiina Ringo as one). Nevertheless, that should go to prove how much I love this song. From her second full-length album Shoso Strip, it’s “Gibusu”

The Golden Rock - August 3rd, 2007 Edition

Today’s the day. Your favorite blogger is heading to Hong Kong tonight, so this would be the final entry for a week or two. As a result, today’s entry is a little longer than usual.

- In Hong Kong on Thursday opening day, Jay Chou’s directorial debut Secret (with a BC Magazine review here and a fluff piece/review from AP here) opens pretty well with HK$720,000 on 35 screens for a total HK$870,000 already, including previews. Rely on the teens to show up to this one, and maybe it’ll go past the HK$10 million mark. Meanwhile, Pixar’s Ratatouille, whose Hong Kong version feature the voices of Ronald Cheng, Edmond Leung, and Cecilia Cheung, opened on 35 screens for a much better HK$1.11 million.

But the winner of opening day remains Michael Bay’s Transformers, which picked up another HK$1.34 million from 63 screens for an 8-day total of HK$21.32 million. However, with the ticket price inflation, the amount of admissions is probably around the same as Ratatouille. On the Hong Kong film front, Invisible Target passed the HK$10 million mark on Tuesday. Despite some multiplexes already playing less shows each day, it still managed to make HK$310,000 on just 18 screens for a 15-day total of HK$11.23 million. Will this make it to the HK$15 million mark and beat Love is Not All Around?

- It’s a miracle! The Korean monster film D-War, which took forever for a wide release in its home Korea despite being the touted as the most expensive Korean film ever made, has grossed US$2.9 million on its opening day. According to Korea Pop Wars, its two-day total is now US$6.1 million and should reach 2-2.5 million admissions by the end of the weekend. However, despite praises for the special effects, everything else is being panned, so word-of-mouth might not be too good on this one. By the way, the official budget of the film was locked at US$35 million, though about $40 million has been spent to start up a new special effects house that did this film. I’m sure distributor Showbox is kind of breathing a sigh of relief, though they still have plenty of money to make back.

- Yawn. Japanese copyright organizations continue in their endless effort to pressure Youtube Japan to weed out copyright violators. How about they work to make legitimate content easier to access before they cut all supplies? This stuff is like drugs - you cut them off, people will do anything for a fix.

- Meanwhile, The Computer & Communication Industry Association, which includes Google and Microsoft, has lodged a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission to protest copyright holders putting misleading warnings against copyright infringement that fail to educate consumers on fair use laws. Those named in the complaint include major movie studios, Major League Baseball, the National Football League, and of course, the MPAA.

- Director Edward Yang, who recently passed away at his home in the United States, is expected to be honored at this year’s Golden Horse Awards. Is it just me, or is the claim that he’s an “American” director going to piss off some people, seeing he’s one of the pioneers of NEW TAIWAN CINEMA?

- reviews time! We have Japan Times’ review of Hideo Nakata’s Kaidan by Mark Schilling, the Variety review of the hit Korean horror film Black House by Derek Elley, and I’m partially translating the very very limited release (one theater in my old neighborhood of Kwun Tong, to be exact) Hong Kong film Bar Paradise:

First, a little background: Bar Paradise is a 2005 film directed by Wing-Lun Mak, who’s directed some low-budget DV productions. It stars Julian Cheung, Gordon Lam, Candy Yu, and Eric Tsang. The original Chinese post in full is here. The following are excerpts translated -


In design, the film seems to be made to drive audiences away. Understanding the languages in the dialogue is enough drive audiences crazy. It switches between Thai, Cantonese, and Mandarin. For instance, Even though both Candy Yu and Eric Tsang speak Cantonese in the film and understand the language, they still speak Thai; Julian Cheung and Gordon Lam switch between Mandarin, Cantonese, and Thai, even buying an electronic dictionary won’t mean you’d have the patience to understand. Want to read subtitles? There’s a large supply of wrong words, such as “doh heep” (apologize) becomes “doh hei” (the second Chinese character looks alike, but oh so utterly wrong).


As for Eric Tsang, he plays a Thai warlord politician in the performance style of the usual “Sam Han” (his character from Infernal Affairs). Candy Yu doesn’t have much screen time, but there is a strange addition in the form of a scene in which she seduces Eric Tsang in black panties. No wonder even the stock market experienced a “resurgence of profits” during its noon screening. Thankfully, no vomit appeared in the theatre.


With no effort from the plot and the actors, the film’s technique resembles a horror film, and sudden jumps to the next scene where the music don’t even match happen often. No wonder this 2005 film took this long to show up. Even the ending is incomprehensible, making the audience leave in a state of helplessness.

So in other words….this movie stinks.

- Along with the Kaidan review is Jason Gray’s interview with director Hideo Nakata, who made the original “Ring” film and is directing the Death Note spinoff L. Jason has more about the interview itself in his blog.

- Another film off the “milking the Nanking massacre for all its worth” assembly line, Simon West’s Purple Mountain, has started filming. This film is an adaptation of the controversial book “The Rape of Nanjing” by Iris Chang, and is the most expensive of the productions. West apparently wants to create the same type of impact as Steven Spielberg’s Schindler’s List.

Let’s see - Tomb Raider and Con Air vs. Indiana Jones and Saving Private Ryan. Don’t think that’ll happen.

- In a continuing lack of creativity in the world of Japanese television dramas (as is the case in television drama circles around the world), there are more comic adaptations coming to your small screens.

- Japan Times has a look at movies that deal with the atomic bombing of Hiroshima in light of the release of Steven Okazaki’s White Light/Black Rain.

- Twitch mistakenly links the website for Miki Satoshi’s latest Tenten, starring Satoshi favorite Joe Odagiri as the website for Odagiri’s directorial debut. Still, Tenten looks pretty interesting, and since the film is about two men walking across Tokyo, the advance ticket actually comes with a map of the locations they visit in the film. Now there’s a souvenir worth buying.

That’s it for now. The Golden Rock will be back in 1-2 weeks, with The Song of the Day feature continuing (wished more of you voted, though). There might be a few surprises and additions coming, so keep checking in starting next weekend. See you all on the other side of the world!

The Golden Rock Song of the Day - 8/2/2007

Today’s Song of the Day isn’t the version I like, simply because this was 1) the shorter version, and 2) the version with a more famous producing team. In fact, the other version happens to be my favorite Utada Hikaru song. Lucky I found 30 second clips of them. From the album Distance, it’s “Addicted To You.

Here are the two commercials featuring the other version of the song.

The Golden Rock - August 2nd, 2007 Edition

- Looks like another case of misreporting box office figures in Japan. The latest Pixar film Ratatouille supposedly earned about 489 million over two days this past weekend. However, what Disney didn’t report is that the actual earning is actually 360 million yen, and the rest were made during the special sneak previews last weekend. That would make the opening a bit of a disappointment, as it’s only 95% of the opening for the last Pixar film Cars. However, the word-of-mouth for the film is actually batter than Cars (at least in the States), so it might come out earning more in the long run.

- It’s official, China has decided to not let the latest Jackie Chan Hollywood star vehicle Rush Hour 3 on Chinese movies screens. There are a couple of possible reasons for this - 1) China doesn’t like the content, especially the presence of the triads. However, how can that be true when the first two films featured triad villains? 2) China simply can’t stand all these Hollywood films dominating the box office and has implemented the usual summer policy of getting rid of Hollywood films to let Chinese films have their day. 3) It just got unlucky and couldn’t be secured as one of the 20 American films allowed to be shown in Chinese theatres each year. 4) The movie sucks, and the Chinese people shouldn’t be exposed to that type of crap. I got five bucks on numbers 2 and 3.

- Meanwhile, the trade reviews are out. Hollywood Reporter’s Michael Rechtshaffen says the routine goes awfully stale, while Variety’s Robert Koehler says that the adrenaline rush just isn’t there anymore.

- Variety has a few more Asian film reviews, one for the 2007 Korean hit Voice of a Murderer, Fumihiko Sori’s Vexville, and the Thai horror film Alone, which is currently a hit at the Korean box office.

- Kabuki’s bad boy Shido Nakamura has followed the steps of Last Samurai actress Koyuki and signed with Avex. With that, he has also officially joined the cast of John Woo’s The Battle of Red Cliff, which would make this his second Chinese blockbuster after Jet Li’s Fearless.

- If you’ll indulge me another game of multiple degrees of separation, Tony Leung Chiu-wai also stars in the Battle of Red Cliff, but he originally withdrew from the film because of the fatigue he suffered after making Ang Lee’s Lust, Caution. The film, almost or already completed, will compete in the upcoming Venice Film Festival. Though the film was originally submitted as a USA-China entry because there’s where the money came from. However, it almost brewed a small controversy when the nationality was changed to Taiwan due to director Ang Lee’s nationality.

- A nation at war turns to TV soap operas, culinary shows, and idol competitions. Surprisingly, it’s not the United States.

- Japan will be the first to see a MTV-created mobile social network, which will also feature pages created by Japanese pop stars. Do we really need to be THAT connected?

- Speaking of embracing the new media, another Japanese media producer has signed a deal with Youtube to upload promo clips and various content on the video site.

- Avril Lavinge’s album has sold a million copies in Japan, making her the first foreign artist to sell more than one million copies of each of her three albums. They’ll find a record for anything in Japan, especially when it comes to music.

- Twitch has an interview with director Steven Okazaki, whose latest film is the documentary White Light/Black Rain, about the fallout of nuclear warfare including the bombings of Hiroshim and Nagasaki.

- Japanese R&B/A Capella group Gospellers is teaming up with forgotten Backstreet Boys member Howie D for their latest single. Not to be a party pooper, but I think Howie needs the Gospellers more than they need Howie.

- With the 2008 Olympics approaching in a year, China has still yet to deliver the full media freedom they promised foreign journalists there. 95% of those who responded to the survey by the Foreign Correspondents Club of China says China’s reporting conditions are not up to what they call an “international standard.”

By the way, remember to vote for our poll. The future of The Song of the Day depends on all of you. Copyright © 2002-2023 Ross Chen