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Archive for August, 2007

Lust, Caution too lusty?

A post on Hollywood Elsewhere reported today that Ang Lee’s espionage thriller Lust, Caution has been rated NC-17 in the United States for “explicit sexuality”. That means that no children under 17 may be admitted, period. Apparently, the producer and the studio aren’t even planning to appeal the rating (which is what they usually do, because NC-17 tend to kill all commercial appeal), meaning that they know they’re guilty as charged.

With that rating in America, it’s likely that the film will receive similar ratings around the world, which means I won’t have to watch the film with a bunch of Wang Leehom fan girls. What a ballsy move by Ang Lee.

The Golden Rock Song of the Day - 8/24/07

Yesterday I had Inkpot, which Hong Kong’s People Mountain People Sea group PixelToy covers in their latest album. Today, we have an actual PixelToy song for the Song of the Day, and the wait was because I had no idea PixelToy is one word, not two. What a fan I am. From their first album The Science of Love, it’s “Try Speaking”

The Golden Rock - August 24th, 2007 Edition

- It was another active day at the Hong Kong box office on Thursday opening day. However, the bad news is that only one film actually did well. Granted, all 5 opening films got into the top 10 slots, but none of them opened on more than 30 screens. That’s why the top film was the box office flop Evan Almighty. On 29 screens, the Steve Carell-starring comedy made HK$780,000 on its opening day. Very far behind is yet another box office flop, The Invasion starring Nicole Kidman. On 28 screens, the remake of The Invasion of the Body Snatchers made just HK$360,000, doomed to repeat the same fate it did in the United States. Even the Thai horror film Alone, which I’m sure got some publicity from having its ads and trailers censored, got a better per-screen average, making HK$250,000 from 16 screens.

Now we’re down to the floppers. Not even the Wu and Woo names could get audiences to go catch Blood Brothers (I did though). On a meager 20 screens, the period action-drama made just HK$130,000. Doing a little better on the per-screen is the Japanese animated film The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, featuring the voice of pop star Janice Vidal (er…last I checked, she couldn’t even speak Cantonese properly) on 15 out of its 16 screens, made just HK$110,000. Expect one of these to do better during the weekend, and it ain’t the one I’ve seen.

As for the holdovers, Rush Hour 3 is good as dead with just HK$310,000 on 34 screens for an 8-day total of HK$5.43 million (remember Jackie Chan himself has a stake in this, as he owns the distribution rights for the Chinese-speaking regions), and Wilson Yip’s Flash Point with Donnie Yen is not looking to get to the HK$10 million mark with HK$8.28 million after 15 days. I thought it was good enough to make more, but hey, that’s just me.

- With the news yesterday about the new Japanese film database by Eiren, Jason Gray shares a few more already existing Japanese movie databases. Yay, more references to cross-check.

- China box office is on the rise, expecting to make 3 billion yuan. However, quite a big chunk of that has been from those really huge Hollywood movies, though a lot of that is expected to be from the high-profile Chinese films at the end of the year.

- It’s from those guys at Oriental Daily again, which is strange because they keep picking up the only stories that at least two other major Hong Kong newspapers don’t pick up. This time, Soi Cheang’s Dog Bite Dog has been sold to be remade in India. I’m hoping that no song and dance is involved, and that the assassin won’t be from Pakistan (props to those who get the reference).

By the way, producer Sam Leung is apparently looking to do a sequel to Dog Bite Dog with the original cast. Having watched the film, how the hell are they going to pull that off?

- In more reports from Chinese newspapers, The Pye-Dog starring Eason Chan, which has yet to get a release in Hong Kong, will be heading to three different films festivals - Stockholm International Film Festival, the Asia Oceanic Film Festival (?), and the German International Innocence Films Festival (???).

- With Takeshi Kitano’s Glory to the Filmmaker (Kantoku Banzai) heading to Venice, the organizers have decided to establish a new award, and Kitano’s getting it. The name of the award? “Glory to the Filmmaker!”

The Golden Rock Song of the Day - 8/23/2007

The idea for today’s Song of the Day came from the latest PixelToy album, where a cover of this song exists (more on this in a possible review in The Golden Gate Meets the Lion Rock). While I have no idea why there would be a song about putting ink in the ink pot, it was catchy (and clean) enough to be the official Hong Kong lottery show theme song. From the album Inkpot/Attila, it’s Ink Pot.

Lust, Caution too lusty?

A post on Hollywood Elsewhere reported today that Ang Lee’s espionage thriller Lust, Caution has been rated NC-17 in the United States for “explicit sexuality”. That means that no children under 17 may be admitted, period. Apparently, the producer and the studio aren’t even planning to appeal the rating (which is what they usually do, because NC-17 tend to kill all commercial appeal), meaning that they know they’re guilty as charged.

With that rating in America, it’s likely that the film will receive similar ratings around the world, which means I won’t have to watch the film with a bunch of Wang Leehom fan girls. What a ballsy move by Ang Lee.

The Golden Rock - August 23rd, 2007 Edition

- Jia Zhangke’s award-winning Still Life finally hit the arthouse screen of Japan. In the 204-seat theater, the film attracted 1811 people and 2.34 million yen in its opening Saturday and Sunday. With 5 shows a day, that’s 181.1 people per show, and apparently all shows on Sunday (except the last one) were sold out. I never knew Jia Zhangke had that many fans in Japan.

- Some reports are reporting that two stations under the Japanese satellite TV provider SkyPerfect TV has been ordered to pay copyright owners of some Chinese dramas because they were shown without any permission or compensation. However, those two stations are actually revealed to be China-based TV stations, not Japanese.

- Eiren, or the Motion Pictures Producers Association of Japan, have started a Japanese movie database containing information on all Japanese films made after the year 2000. Don’t worry, they’re working to make an even more complete database in the future. The only problem is that the database is in Japanese, so no luck to my fellow foreign Japanese film fans.

- the first teaser for Lee Myung-Se’s M is up, and while it looks really beautiful (shot in digital?), I’m always afraid of films that look beautiful because they turn out crappy (Natural City, anyone?).

- On the heels of the resurgence of local films in South Korea, thanks to D-War and May 18, the upcoming Sookmyeong is now the most expensive distribution deal for a Korean film to Japan this year. Don’t pop the champagne open yet, though, its US$2 million price tag is only half of what Korean films got at the height of the Korean wave in Japan.

- To complete a trifecta of Korean film news, Kaiju Shakedown introduces an overdue Korean film about cooking.

- After Wild Mama, there’s another dubiously named character-based drama coming this fall. This time it’s Mop Girl, which is about exactly what the title suggests.

- Despite being reported this week, the badly named Zhang Ziyi/Jang Dong-gun starrer Laundry Warrior has not been shooting since May because Jang is injured, and Zhang is already off shooting the new Chen Kaige movie. However, the star of Chen Kaige’s film Leon Lai is off shooting the latest Chang Siu-Tung film with Kelly Chan and Donnie Yen, so who’s where?

- Under “films we don’t really care about” today, some Asian actors has joined the cast of The Pink Panther 2, where they will most likely just play some type of Asian stereotype.

- The complete lineup for the Toronto International Film Festival is out, but it’s way too long for me to pick out what’s worth mentioning, so I’ll leave that to you all.

- Taiwanese New Wave director Edward Yang, who recently passed away, will receive the Filmmaker of the Year award at the Pusan International Film Festival. There will also be a retrospective of Yang’s films as well.

I don’t like to pimp out the new Spin-off blog, The Golden Gate Meets The Lion Rock, but I just wrote a brief review of Alexi Tan’s Blood Brothers there, so check it out.

The Golden Rock Song of the Day - 8/23/2007

The idea for today’s Song of the Day came from the latest PixelToy album, where a cover of this song exists (more on this in a possible review in The Golden Gate Meets the Lion Rock). While I have no idea why there would be a song about putting ink in the ink pot, it was catchy (and clean) enough to be the official Hong Kong lottery show theme song. From the album Inkpot/Attila, it’s Ink Pot.

The Golden Rock - August 23rd, 2007 Edition

- Jia Zhangke’s award-winning Still Life finally hit the arthouse screen of Japan. In the 204-seat theater, the film attracted 1811 people and 2.34 million yen in its opening Saturday and Sunday. With 5 shows a day, that’s 181.1 people per show, and apparently all shows on Sunday (except the last one) were sold out. I never knew Jia Zhangke had that many fans in Japan.

- Some reports are reporting that two stations under the Japanese satellite TV provider SkyPerfect TV has been ordered to pay copyright owners of some Chinese dramas because they were shown without any permission or compensation. However, those two stations are actually revealed to be China-based TV stations, not Japanese.

- Eiren, or the Motion Pictures Producers Association of Japan, have started a Japanese movie database containing information on all Japanese films made after the year 2000. Don’t worry, they’re working to make an even more complete database in the future. The only problem is that the database is in Japanese, so no luck to my fellow foreign Japanese film fans.

- the first teaser for Lee Myung-Se’s M is up, and while it looks really beautiful (shot in digital?), I’m always afraid of films that look beautiful because they turn out crappy (Natural City, anyone?).

- On the heels of the resurgence of local films in South Korea, thanks to D-War and May 18, the upcoming Sookmyeong is now the most expensive distribution deal for a Korean film to Japan this year. Don’t pop the champagne open yet, though, its US$2 million price tag is only half of what Korean films got at the height of the Korean wave in Japan.

- To complete a trifecta of Korean film news, Kaiju Shakedown introduces an overdue Korean film about cooking.

- After Wild Mama, there’s another dubiously named character-based drama coming this fall. This time it’s Mop Girl, which is about exactly what the title suggests.

- Despite being reported this week, the badly named Zhang Ziyi/Jang Dong-gun starrer Laundry Warrior has not been shooting since May because Jang is injured, and Zhang is already off shooting the new Chen Kaige movie. However, the star of Chen Kaige’s film Leon Lai is off shooting the latest Chang Siu-Tung film with Kelly Chan and Donnie Yen, so who’s where?

- Under “films we don’t really care about” today, some Asian actors has joined the cast of The Pink Panther 2, where they will most likely just play some type of Asian stereotype.

- The complete lineup for the Toronto International Film Festival is out, but it’s way too long for me to pick out what’s worth mentioning, so I’ll leave that to you all.

- Taiwanese New Wave director Edward Yang, who recently passed away, will receive the Filmmaker of the Year award at the Pusan International Film Festival. There will also be a retrospective of Yang’s films as well.

I don’t like to pimp out the new Spin-off blog, The Golden Gate Meets The Lion Rock, but I just wrote a brief review of Alexi Tan’s Blood Brothers there, so check it out.

The Golden Rock Song of the Day - 8/22/2007

Today’s Song of the Day isn’t from any album. In fact, I don’t even know who the hell sings it. But I can guarantee you that this is one of the best damn Songs of the Day ever. Not from any album, it’s the Japanese “Jack Bauer Song”.

Here is the original post from Japan Probe, which also feature translated lyrics.

The Golden Rock - August 22nd, 2007 Edition

After a slow news day comes a really busy one.

- As usual, let’s look at Japan’s Oricon charts. During a slow week for the singles chart, veteran pop star Kazumasa Oda tops the chart with his latest single, selling just over 48,000 copies. With this, Oda now has the dubious honor of being the oldest artist to have a number 1 single at 59 years and 11 months old. Meanwhile, pop group Tokio follows closely at second place with 45,000 copies of their latest single sold, and the latest million-seller Sen No Kaze Ni Natte is still on the top 10 at 6th place with another 23,000 copies sold. Expect a more active singles chart next week, with Aiko’s latest expected to take the top spot.

On the album chart, Hideaki Tokunaga (whom you might remember for giving a borderline-creepy cover of Mika Nakashima’s Yuki Na Hana) takes the number one spot with his latest cover album, selling 115,000 copies. However, the two Zard compilations (as in a way to cash in on fans’ grief by charging them double for songs they probably already have) sold a combined 175,000 copies for second and third place, respectively. Next week, expect Tokunaga to take the top spot again, but with the usual drop in sales.

- In Chinese box office, Alexi Tan’s Blood Brothers opened quite well, with its opening gross being 104% of Flash Point’s opening 2 weeks ago. Then again, Flash Point’s gross actually went up in its second week, which is not looking like it will happen to Blood Brothers. Oh, if anyone cared, Alfred Cheung Kin-Ting’s Contract Lover starring Richie Ren and Fan Bing Bing opened with one-third of Blood Brothers’ gross, although I have no idea on how many screens it opened.

- Ang Lee’s Lust, Caution continues to prepare for its invasion of arthouses around the world with yet another film festival slot, this time as the opening film at Turkey’s Eurasia Film Festival.

- I was hoping to be the first to break this, but both Kaiju Shakedown and AP News beat me to it. Anyway, according to the not-very-credible Oriental Daily in Hong Kong (still the best-selling newspaper though), Fruit Chan confirmed that he will be making “Kowloon City,” a film produced by Terence “John Woo’s right-hand man” Chang about two young martial arts students that immigrated overseas during the 50s. One of them happens to be Bruce Lee. Chan is considering a wide talent search for his Bruce Lee, and would even abandon the project if he can’t find a suitable actor for the role.

- At this year’s New York Korean Film Festival, a panel of directors and scholars will sit down and once again discuss whether the Korean Wave is dead. I’m almost sure the answer will be “no, but __________”

- Warner Brothers, who dipped into Asian film in Taiwan and Japan, will now attempt to break into the Indian market with the film Made in China. Before you think it’s a satire on Chinese exports, the film will actually take on a crappier storyline about a cook mistaken for a martial arts hero.

- After Paris Je T’aime got me all hot for omnibus films about cities, I’ve been looking very very forward to the Michel Gondry/Leos Corax/ Bong Joon-Ho omnibus “Tokyo!” Now it’s been revealed that Yu Aoi and Teruyuki Kagawa will be starring in Bong’s short, about a shut-in that falls in love with a pizza delivery girl.

- I’ve seen the trailer for Peter Chan Ho-Sun’s The Warlords at almost every movie I’ve been to so far in Hong Kong, but I somehow can’t really get too excited about it. I know, it has Andy Lau, Takeshi Kaneshiro, AND Jet Li, plus a whole lot of killin’, but I don’t know how many more big-budget period epics I can take. Looking at how mediocre Curse of the Golden Flower did around the world, I’d say even the rest of the world are kind of tired. That’s not stopping Chan from rushing to finish his film and show it somewhere to get it eligible for a best foreign film Oscar, though.

- The two winners of the Chinese film competition are going to Hollywood to meet studio executives and visit film sets. I can’t wait to buy pirated copies of their movies.

- There isn’t much details, but a live-action version of the Studio Ghibli classic Grave of the Fireflies is in the works. Like all the versions of the story, this will be adapted from the original pseudo-nonfiction novel and be very very depressing.

- I never thought it would happen, but a program by Hong Kong’s TVB actually got nominated for an international emmy award. No, it’s not for a drama, but for a news programming, which is probably what TVB is best at anyway.

- I won’t be translating the whole thing, but there’s a Chinese review of Walt Disney China’s The Magic Gourd on the Chinese movie blog (what the shit is a gourd anyway?). Essentially, the review compares the film with an educational fantasy fairy tale for children, and that it does what it intends to do effectively. Basically, it’s not all bad, it’s just….you know, for the kids.

 
 
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