August 29th, 2007
- 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.