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The Golden Rock - January 9th, 2008 Edition

- The year’s first Oricon charts see the “Kohaku effect,” as songs there were feature in the annual musical showcase tend to enjoy a boost in sales afterwards. Only one of the top 3 singles is actually new, and the other two were favorites of this year’s show (I know, because my mother called all the way from America during my trip to ask me to pick up the Masato Sugimoto single). Even Kobukuro’s Tsubomi, which was released in March last year, saw it being boosted back up to the top 20.

The other big news of the charts is Ayumi Hamasaki’s latest album making only a second place debut behind Kobukuro’s album, though the 20,000-copy loss may be because the album was released on New Year’s day.

Report by Tokyograph

- Lust, Caution has been placed in Top Ten Hall of Shame by America’s Women Film Critics Circle. Specifically, it’s there because of its depiction of: “Adam and Eve in Old Shanghai. Female-assisted destruction of a nation while falling in love with torturer/rapist.” At least now Ang Lee can’t complain that it didn’t win anything in America.

See the rest of the winners/losers here.

Source: Apple Daily

- A random search on Youtube have led me to the final trailer for Stephen Chow’s CJ7. While the voiceover is in English, the dialogue are all Cantonese. For some reason, I’m not quite excited about this one. Maybe it’s the over-reliance on special effects, though Kung-Fu Hustle suffered from that as well.

While the January 31st release date is still set in several regions, its release date in North America has apparently been pushed back to March 7th, after it was supposed to be the first place to open it. Be happy, guys, it’s still only two months behind.

-  Continuing with reports about China’s crackdown on everything dirty (except the streets and the air), authorities reportedly confiscated 149 million magazines, discs, and other publications that were deemed pornographic.

- The Associated Press’ Min Lee gives a review for Wong Kar-Wai’s English-language debut My Blueberry Nights. I saw it today, it was OK. That’s about it.

- Manami Konishi, who I last saw in Udon, will make her singing debut with the ending theme for her latest film, Sweet Rain: Shinigami No Seido, co-starring Takeshi Kaneshiro as the God of Death (Seems like Warner Bros. Japan has found their niche!). You can hear the song in the trailer.

- Someone who attended one of the early screenings for Lawrence Lau’s new film Besieged City (his first since My Name Is Fame) submitted a review to Kaiju Shakedown. The review starts off promising (the writer gave it a standing ovation at the screening), but then ultimately decides that he/she doesn’t really like it. Ouch.

- Affected by continuing lowering record sales (yet another 17% decline this year), Hong Kong’s IFPI has decided to once again lower the standards for a gold and platinum album. What? You mean My Cup of T didn’t sell well enough to be a gold album?!

- This year’s Rotterdam Film Festival’s competition section has a fairly strong Asian presence this year, as six of the 14 competing films hail from Asia.

- With the general population continuing to grow older, Japanese television networks are slowly making their programming appeal more to an older audience while also cutting down on kids programming. Next year at Kohaku: More enka, less Johnny’s groups!

- Thai director Apichatpong Weerasethakul might have been bullied around by the Thai government last year for his film Syndromes and a Century, but no government censorship is going to keep a man down, as he has produced a short video on Youtube called Prosperity for 2008.

- Korean producers are trying to pressure the government to impose harsher penalties for piracy. Right now, the fines for intellectual property violations are apparently too low to have a lasting effect for violators, who provide illegal downloads on various internet sites.

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