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The Golden Rock - September 8th, 2007 Edition

- Reviews for this year’s Venice surprise film - Johnnie To’s Mad Detective starring Lau Ching-Wan - are out from the two big trade papers. Variety’s Derek Elley calls it a neat idea that doesn’t quite hit the bull’s eye, and that it’s a rewrite or two away from achieving the rigor of a To movie. On the other hand, Hollywood Reporter’s Ray Bennett, who can’t seem to spell “Johnnie” right, is a lot kinder, calling it concise and artful.

- Sony is changing their focus, putting more emphasis on foreign films when they realized that these foreign films don’t need investors, but rather a widespread distribution network that Sony can offer.

- Takashi Miike’s latest Sukiyaki Western Django had its screening at Venice. However, responses from journalists and festival audiences are quite different. Sorry, guys, I can’t get excited about a Takashi Miike film as some of you may do.

- Leah Dizon is really starting to get huge not just in Japan (forget the fact that her last single didn’t sell much), but in the rest of Asia as well. Her debut album, which will no doubt feature lots of easy-to-sing song with carefully pronounced Japanese, will be released simultaneously in 9 countries. However, I doubt a number of her fans are fans because of her singing. I suspect this might have something to do with it.

- It saw a screening at Venice, and it opens this weekend at home: Japan Times’s March Schilling has a review of Shinji Aoyama’s latest Sad Vacation, which supposedly wraps up a Kita Kyushu Saga. Along with that, Japan Times also has an interview with Aoyama himself. In addition, it’s been out for a while, but there’s also a review of the documentary The Cats of Mirikitani.

- Twitch has a review of Ang Lee’s Lust, Caution from Toronto, calling it the most disappointing film at the festival so far. Ouch.

- By the way, Jacky Cheung is singing the theme song for Lust, Caution, presumably before he got sick and canceled his concerts

- The Singapore-based Asian Film Archive is getting a donation of 90 Malaysian classic films that will be restored and archived (but of course. That’s what an archive is for).

- They never succeed, but they keep trying: a Hong Kong-based sports media company has signed a deal to broadcast National Football League (American football) games across Asia. This comes after several hurdles to bring NFL outside the United States, including the postponement of an exhibition game in China and the closure of the NFL European League.

- They’re outsourcing everything to India these days. Even Sony is outsourcing the production of their direct-to-video sequel to the animated film Open Season to India and New Mexico (that’s in America, not Mexico).

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