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The Golden Rock Best of the Week, Part 1 - September 15th, 2007

You may say I took a “break” in blogging this past week, but I was certainly not in a relaxing mood. In fact, it’s more like a “I have no time to blog” week for me. Nevertheless, I’m back now, and posts will continue next week (despite at least 6 short film shoots coming up), and let’s let things get back to normalcy around here. That means a ton of news here and a ton of complaining in the spin-off.

Instead of just going over the news of the weekend. The following are some of the most notable news of the week:

- In Oscar submission news around Asia, South Korea has decided to submit Lee Chang-Dong’s Secret Sunshine as its representative to compete for the best foreign film award at the Academy Awards. Meanwhile, Japan has decided to submit Masayuki Suo’s mainstream successful I Just Didn’t Do It for its best picture nominee, as opposed to Naomi Kawase’s artsy The Mourning Forest. I haven’t seen any of these films, but in terms of award pedigrees, it seems like Secret Sunshine has a better chance of making it.

- It’s reviews time! Lovehkfilm has a review of Pang Ho-Cheung’s dark comedy-drama Exodus and Carol Lai Miu-Suet’s long overdue The Third Eye. Meanwhile, Twitch has a somewhat inexplicably positive review of Alexi Tan’s Blood Brothers (1930s China looks like it only consisted of 5 sets, for crying out loud) and a pretty positive review of Johnnie To/Wai Ka-Fai’s Mad Detective.

As for festival reviews, Variety has one from Toronto for Takashii Miike’s Sukiyaki Western Django, while Hollywood Reporter has one from Toronto for Pang Ho-Cheung’s Exodus (However, I disagree that Pang has been striving for seriousness that hard. Beyond Our Ken has a pretty mean serious streak beneath it, and Isabella has a surprising amount of comedy as well.)

Oh, Hollywood Reporter also has a review for the Korean blockbuster D-Wars, which they dared to open on wide release this weekend in North America. Why didn’t they submit this for best foreign film instead?

- Speaking of Toronto, seems like this year’s best performers are not your usual Western-oriented festival fodder, but rather Asian films. However, it seems like reviews are not out yet for many of these Asian films, so how successful are they exactly?

- Two bad news for the Japanese entertainment world - not only has video sales fallen for the 4th year in a row (probably with some type of correlation with the fact that prices for Japanese home videos have risen), Japanese films have lost to Hollywood films pretty badly this past summer. It’s pretty sad when Monkey Magic is your best performer of the summer.

- While Europeans continue to complain complain complain about piracy problems in China (valid, but honestly very redundant), Taiwanese law enforcers have taken down two peer-to-peer site in a week, pissing off many Taiwanese youths who want free entertainment, I’m sure.

- John Woo’s turbulent shoot of the epic Red Cliff is slated to end on time next month. However, the film(s) still have a long way to go, as it hasn’t found an American distributor yet, who will have to pay a hefty price to help Woo and Co. make back that US$80 million investment. I hope someone doesn’t screw up and lose all the footage while doing the special effects.

Part II, with box office reports and all, tomorrow.

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