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Archive for September, 2007

The Golden Rock - September 17th, 2007 Edition

It’s still Sunday in the states, and Asian films didn’t win anything in Toronto, so there’s just not that much news out there today:

- Apparently there is such a thing called “sex radio” in China. At least, radio shows that talk about sex. However, I will never be able to find out what they’re like, because they just got banned. I really wanted to know about the “efficacy of certain drugs for sex” too.

- Yutaka Takenouchi, whom I always believed to be a cooler version of Takashi Sorimachi, is returning to film after he was in Calmi Cuori Appassionati 6 years ago. This time it’s an adaptation of the story “Wenny Has Wings,” about how a tragic accident strains the bond of a family. I was really hoping he would just lighten up and do a comedy.

- After Hong Kong-based Max Makowski works on the ill-advised remake of Shinobi (the one that will be about Hong Kong triads instead of ninja clans), he will help revive the 70s television series Kung Fu for film after Allen and Albert Hughes (these guys haven’t really worked for a while) decided to take on another project. Please don’t tell me this one will involve triads too - just because you’re based in Hong Kong doesn’t mean it always have to be about triads.

- It’s more French than Asian, but Variety’s Ronnie Scheib has a review of the French film Plum rain, about a stage director who goes to Japan to oversee his play being performed there. That in itself makes it worthwhile of the blog.

- If you’re in Spain in October, be sure to check out the Sitges film festival. This year, you would apparently get to see Dai Nipponjin, Vexville, and Sukuiyaki Western Django, among other films.
- How can Toho simply let people take their most acclaimed films get into the hands of pirates? A Tokyo court has now ordered a company to halt production on their Kurosawa collection. Er….doesn’t that mean it’s time for Toho to release relaible and cheap DVDs of Kurosawa films?

The Golden Rock Box Office Report - 9/17/07

I was going to do one of these last night, but since it was close to the end of the weekend, might as well just do the weekend box office today.

- Hong Kong box office was pretty quiet on Sunday, with the Hollywood horror flick 1408 leading the pack with HK$590,000 from 27 screens. Considering it’s just John Cusack, and that a Japanese film with a similar name opened last weekend, this is a really impressive gross. After 4 days, the Weinstein company film has made HK$2.18 million. At second place wit ha so-so HK$450,000 from 33 screens is Pang Ho-Cheung’s Exodus. Probably helped by Friday’s headlines about the film’s curse words (category III-worthy Cantonese curse words in a category II-B film?!), the audience-unfriendly black comedy has made HK$1.55 million after 4 days.

With a better per-screen average is the Hollywood comedy I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry. It also made HK$450,000, but from 27 screens. Staying pretty close behind is the Jet Li b-grade action flick War/Rouge Assassin, which made HK$430,000 from 29 screens, and a 4-day total of HK$1.46 million. For some reason, the other weekend opener - Tokyo Friends, starring J-pop star Otsuka Ai - did not get into the top 10. Anyone know how it did?

In holdover, Hollywood musical Hairspray is still strong in the per-screen average department, making HK$290,000 from 17 screens for a 11-day total of HK$2.95 million, which is not bad, considering that its daily average has more than HK$10,000 per-screen. Lastly, score another disappointment for Hong Kong films, as Carol Lai’s teen horror film Naraka 19 made only HK$50,000 from 16 screens for a 11-day total of HK$1.85 million. Ouch for Ah Gil and co.

HK$7.8=US$1

- In South Korean box office, The Bourne Ultimatum came out on top with an OK-485,000 admissions. It’s also pretty amazing to see 7 Korean films taking the top 10 slots, with D-War and May 18 still hanging on that top 10. However, apparently two of those Korean films are looking to be flops.

-Speaking of Korean films, Dragon Wars, aka D-War, is now the highest-grossing Korean film in the US after getting a 2000-screen release this past weekend (how an independent company managed to book that many screens is beyond me). It’s in 4th place, but it only managed to make US$5.3 million for a US$2,363 per-screen average, which is not very good. However, it seems like a Korean newspaper has already managed to make it sound like good news (courtesy of Asian Popcorn)

It was a public holiday in Japan today, so expect numbers to not come in until tomorrow or Wednesday.

The Golden Rock Song of the Day - 9/15/2007

Thanks, Youtube, for letting me use a side track for today’s Song of the Day. It evokes the funky 70s R&B ballad (or it might be 90s, I don’t kn0w), and try not to ridicule me for this, because it’s a pretty damn good song if you give it a try. From the album FutureSex/LoveSounds, it’s Justin Timberlake’s “All Over Again (Another Song)”.

With these Youtube videos now online, don’t be surprised if I pick another side track from this album

The Golden Rock Best of the Week part 2 - September 16th, 2007

Continuing from yesterday, the following is a compilation of some of the more notable news of the past week.

- It’s reviews time! Part 2! Twitch has a some reviews from Toronto, including the match-up of the Japanese comedians (yawn….), Jiang Wen’s The Sun Also Rises. Also, they have a review of Ryo Nakajima’s This Word of Ours, which I also hold a copy of as well and will review as soon as I can. Meanwhile, we have more reviews of Takashi Miike’s Sukiyaki Western Django, one by Japan Times’ Mark Schilling, and another one by Jason Gray. Lastly, there’s a short review of Edmond Pang Ho-Cheung’s Exodus from the Associated Press.

- The mega-expensive Korean drama Guardian Gods, starring Bae Yong-Joon, premiered in Korea with a very solid 20.4 rating. Then, according to Korea Pop Wars, it even got boosted to a 26.9 rating on nights 2 and 3. It’s not quite indicative of how the rest of the show will be, but it seems pretty clearly that Yong-sama’s spirit lives on.

- Shamo, Soi Cheang’s follow-up to Dog Bite Dog, was apparently done all the way back in May (at least done enough to go to Cannes). However, it has yet to see a release date, despite already getting a category II-B for “strong violence and sexual content” all the way back in May. I’ve been told that it’s not very good (please note that I’m understating this very much), so could that have something to do with it?

- What IS the big deal about this damn thing? Disney’s straight-to-TV movie High School Musical 2 not only broke records for American cable TV, it also broke Disney Channel records in Singapore and Malaysia. It was also the highest-rated program on pay TV in Hong Kong during its premiere.

- On the heels of the international drama awards in Korea, Japan is holding their first International Drama Festival as part of Cofesta (The Japan Contents Festival).

- Several major foreign networks have just been ok’d to broadcast in China, but not only are they not really bragging yet, they are only in hotels with more than 3 stars and home of non-Chinese nationals. And forget the fact that they’re being illegally watched by millions of people anyway.

- For some reason, Michelle Yeoh will be receiving the French Legion of Honor, the highest award for a civilian, and she’ll be receiving in in Malaysian capital Kuala Lampur. What did she ever do for France?

- In production news, Singapore’s Kelvin Tong is shooting his latest film with Ekin Cheng and Shawn Yue in Hong Kong right now. No word on whether Ekin Cheng plans to act or just be wooden throughout the shoot.

The Golden Rock Song of the Day - 9/15/2007

Thanks, Youtube, for letting me use a side track for today’s Song of the Day. It evokes the funky 70s R&B ballad (or it might be 90s, I don’t kn0w), and try not to ridicule me for this, because it’s a pretty damn good song if you give it a try. From the album FutureSex/LoveSounds, it’s Justin Timberlake’s “All Over Again (Another Song)”.

With these Youtube videos now online, don’t be surprised if I pick another side track from this album

The Golden Rock Best of the Week part 2 - September 16th, 2007

Continuing from yesterday, the following is a compilation of some of the more notable news of the past week.

- It’s reviews time! Part 2! Twitch has a some reviews from Toronto, including the match-up of the Japanese comedians (yawn….), Jiang Wen’s The Sun Also Rises. Also, they have a review of Ryo Nakajima’s This Word of Ours, which I also hold a copy of as well and will review as soon as I can. Meanwhile, we have more reviews of Takashi Miike’s Sukiyaki Western Django, one by Japan Times’ Mark Schilling, and another one by Jason Gray. Lastly, there’s a short review of Edmond Pang Ho-Cheung’s Exodus from the Associated Press.

- The mega-expensive Korean drama Guardian Gods, starring Bae Yong-Joon, premiered in Korea with a very solid 20.4 rating. Then, according to Korea Pop Wars, it even got boosted to a 26.9 rating on nights 2 and 3. It’s not quite indicative of how the rest of the show will be, but it seems pretty clearly that Yong-sama’s spirit lives on.

- Shamo, Soi Cheang’s follow-up to Dog Bite Dog, was apparently done all the way back in May (at least done enough to go to Cannes). However, it has yet to see a release date, despite already getting a category II-B for “strong violence and sexual content” all the way back in May. I’ve been told that it’s not very good (please note that I’m understating this very much), so could that have something to do with it?

- What IS the big deal about this damn thing? Disney’s straight-to-TV movie High School Musical 2 not only broke records for American cable TV, it also broke Disney Channel records in Singapore and Malaysia. It was also the highest-rated program on pay TV in Hong Kong during its premiere.

- On the heels of the international drama awards in Korea, Japan is holding their first International Drama Festival as part of Cofesta (The Japan Contents Festival).

- Several major foreign networks have just been ok’d to broadcast in China, but not only are they not really bragging yet, they are only in hotels with more than 3 stars and home of non-Chinese nationals. And forget the fact that they’re being illegally watched by millions of people anyway.

- For some reason, Michelle Yeoh will be receiving the French Legion of Honor, the highest award for a civilian, and she’ll be receiving in in Malaysian capital Kuala Lampur. What did she ever do for France?

- In production news, Singapore’s Kelvin Tong is shooting his latest film with Ekin Cheng and Shawn Yue in Hong Kong right now. No word on whether Ekin Cheng plans to act or just be wooden throughout the shoot.

The Golden Rock Song of the Day - 9/15/2007

Yes, I did review it, but that doesn’t mean I can’t pick a song from it for The Song of the Day. One particular moment in the song actually gave me a short film idea the other day, so it’s good enough to be picked today. From Against the Sun, it’s Stephanie Sun’s “Unforgettable.”

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.

The Golden Rock Song of the Day - 9/15/2007

Yes, I did review it, but that doesn’t mean I can’t pick a song from it for The Song of the Day. One particular moment in the song actually gave me a short film idea the other day, so it’s good enough to be picked today. From Against the Sun, it’s Stephanie Sun’s “Unforgettable.”

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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