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The Golden Rock - January 21st, 2008 Edition

- It’s Japanese drama ratings time! The first full week of the winter 2008 season is over, and the Shingo Katori-Yuko Takeuchi drama Bara No Nai Hanaya leads the pack with a 22.4% rating for its premiere episode. Not far behind is fellow Smap member Goro Inagaki and Koyuki’s starrer Sasaki Fusai No Jingi Naki Tatakai (Jason Gray writes about it here) with its premiere episode scoring a 17.3 rating last night. Binboman, starring Shun Oguri, also did pretty well in its first episode with a 16.5% rating.

Meanwhile, several dramas saw a rise in ratings after their premiere episode. Saito-san, which the Daily Yomiuri’s Teleview column wrote about last weekend, saw its second episode score a 17.4% rating, up from the 15.3% for its first episode. The Kenkuro Kudo-penned drama Mirai Koushi Meguru saw its second episode go up to a 10.6%, up from the 9.0% for its premiere episode.

However, other dramas took the usual fall. Last week’s big premiere The Negotiator dropped from the 16.7% for its first episode to a 13.8% for this past week, the boxing drama One-Pound Gospel dropped from 13.0% to 11.4%, and the manga adaptation Honey and Clover drops to 10% from its 12.9%-rated premiere.

All Winter 2008 drama information from Tokyograph

- The Hong Kong Film Critics Society has announced their 2007 awards, and they are not as nutty this year:

Best Picture: The Postmodern Life of My Aunt
Best Director: Ann Hui - The Postmodern Life of My Aunt
Best Screenplay: Wai Ka-Fai, Au Kin-Yee - Mad Detective
Best Actor: Tony Leung Ka-Fai - Eye in the Sky
Best Actress: Siqin Gaowa - The Postmodern Life of My Aunt
Recommended films (only 8 this year, as opposed to 10): Eye in the Sky, The Warlords, Whispers and Moans, Hooked On You, Mad Detective, Triangle, Protege, The Detective.

No Pang Ho-Cheung (no, he wasn’t even in the finalists list)? No Exodus? No Invisible Target? No Trivial Matters? At least no Wong Jing.

(courtesy of Hong Kong Film Blog)

- While the news of Johnnie To’s Sparrow heading to Berlin is not news, his assistant said that the possible English-language remake of The Red Circle is currently on hold because of the writer’s strike in America.

- While the Chinese government is admitting that the battle against piracy is a struggle, it’s interesting to read that people are downloading Hong Kong and Taiwanese television series that are usualy banned there. This means the government may be battling piracy not just because of copyright infringement, but to also keep the lid on banned materials.

- The teaser for Ping Pong director Fumihiko Sori’s Ichi, a re-imagining of the Zatoichi tale, is on the website. They’ve done something like this before, it was called Azumi, and it wasn’t that good.

- Meanwhile, the legendary Sonny Chiba has announced his first film under his new name Rindo Wachinaga. Za Toichi (The Toichi) will be about a blind moneylender. Chiba may act in the film under his acting name (as in Sonny Chiba).

- I already found this out on imdb: Ken Watanabe has signed up for his first Hollywood studio role since Letters From Iwo Jima for the vampire film Cirque du Freak. Of course, it’s probably just another supporting role with not much to do.

- Under “what the hell were they thinking?” news, an NHK crew was filming a drama when they attached a fake license plate to a background car in order to give the illusion that they are in another prefecture. However, they managed to take a break without removing the plate, and the car drove off with the fake license plate.  Always be careful with cars you’re not allowed to put fake license plates on, people.

- Thailand’s now-defunct iTV was first conceived as a fair and balance news network free of government influence. Ironically, its editorial control have now been given to the Thai military-run government after it was forced into bankruptcy.

- Meanwhile, Thai Airways stewardess are complaining about a new soap opera about air hostess that depicts immoral sexual relationships amongst stewardess and pilots. I guess the show isn’t sponsored by any major airlines then.

-  Kaiju Shakedown covers all the musicals going to South Korean stages that are based on movies. In fact, 30% of all musical on South Korean stages will be based on movies.

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