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Archive for February, 2008

The Golden Rock - February 4th, 2008 Edition

- I’m sure everyone is very interested in how Stephen Chow’s CJ7 did at the Hong Kong box office. Expanding to 102 screens over the weekend, the sci-fi comedy made HK$4.2 million on Sunday for a 4-day weekend total of HK$15.82 million. Even though I expressed what seemed to be disappointment about the opening day not breaking records, I will never called a HK$15.82 million opening weekend a disappointment.

Meanwhile, the adults-only-in-Hong-Kong Hollywood musical Sweeney Todd did OK, making HK$837,000 from 35 screens on Sunday for a weekend total of HK$3 million. Of course, OK is because it’s category-III, and word probably got out quickly that it’s a full-blown musical.

- In Japanese cinema attendance, last week’s 2nd place film Flowers in the Shadow managed to hit the first place, while Yoji Yamada’s Kabei went up one place as well to 3rd place this past weekend. Meanwhile, American Gangster opens at 2nd place, Kids could only manage an opening at 6th place (what happened to that day-and-date release in Hong Kong anyway?), and the family film The Water Horse opened at 7th place. More when the numbers come out.

- The Japanese drama ratings this season are getting to be flat-out depressing, as 11 dramas managed to hit their season lows last week. Honey and Clover remains in single-digit category with a 9.5% rating, The Negotiator saw a small rebound, then drops even more into a 13.1% rating, Daisuki!! drops down to a 9.1% rating, Edison No Haha suffers the biggest drop down to a 9.1% rating after hitting its season high 12.1% rating the previous week, and the high-profile Sunday night drama Sasaki Fusai No Jingi Naki Tatakai fails to recover from its phenomenal drop and remains at a 11.6% rating in its 3rd week.

Also, the new Saturday night 11pm drama Lost Time Life opened with a 11.4% rating, which is higher than the premiere for Summer 2007 drama Life, but lower than the first drama in that time slot Liar Game.

- Edison Chen has officially released a statement apologizing for the now-infamous sex pictures scandal. He recorded a short video, speaking in English, and calling this whole incident “a strange ordeal,” as police has now narrowed down the cause to a computer repair shop who was fixing a computer that had hundreds of these images.

- Park Chan-Wook’s latest vampire flick needs a leading lady. While a director of his caliber usually wouldn’t have a problem, it is this time for him because the actresses keep turning him down due to the need for explicit sex scenes in the film. I sound shallow, but I hope Song Kang-Ho isn’t the one doing them.

- Feng Xiaogang publicly said in Hong Kong that his latest film The Assembly is supposed to be somewhat critical of the Chinese government, although he knew that he had to tone it down to avoid getting banned. Looks like that tact got him an appointment as an adviser at the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference. Guess who else got appointed? Previously-banned director Zhang Yimou, though he was previously appointed as well.

- The Korean wave is slowing down, but it’s definitely not dead, as Japan’s Avex has picked up Lee Myung-Se’s M and Hur Jur-Ho’s Happiness. Hur Jin-Ho made the highest-grossing Korean film of all time in Japan with April Snow (though the film was a disappointment in its native land), which may explain the sale.

- Japanese pop star Koda Kumi has been suspended for a month just when her new album is being released because she actually joked that she wishes her manager’s new wife give birth before 35 because that’s when ” their amniotic fluid goes rotten.” Ha…..ha?

The Golden Rock - February 2nd, 2008 Edition

The blog is taking a break tomorrow, so we’ll finish off all the news for the weekend here:

- Hot off the press is the Hong Kong Film Awards nominations. I’m waiting for the website to post the entire list, so here are the highlights:

BEST PICTURE

The Warlords
Protege
The Postmodern Life of My Aunt
Eye in the Sky
Mad Detective

BEST DIRECTOR

Peter Chan - The Warlords
Derek Yee - Protege
Ann Hui - The Postmodern Life of My Aunt
Johnnie To, Wai Ka-Fai - Mad Detective
Yau Nai-Hoi - Eye in the Sky

BEST SCREENPLAY

The screenwriting commitee of The Warlords (I can’t translate all 8 names here)
Derek Yee and 3 other screenwriters  - Protege
Li Qiang - The Postmodern Life of My Aunt
Wai Ka-Fai, Au Kin-Yee - Mad Detective
Yau Nai-Hoi, Au Kin-Yee - Eye in the Sky

BEST ACTOR

Aaron Kwok - The Detective
Jet Li - The Warlords
Andy Lau - The Warlords
Lau Ching-Wan - Mad Detective
Simon Yam - Eye in the Sky

BEST ACTRESS

Teresa Mo - Mr. Cinema
Zhang Jingchu - Protege
Siqin Gaowa - Postmodern Life of My Aunt
Rene Liu - Kidnap
Charlene Choi - Simply Actors

All in all, 13 for Warlords, 15 for Protege, 9 for The Postmodern Life of My Aunt, 8 for Mad Detective, and 7 for Eye in the Sky. That’s 24 for Peter Chan, and 15 for Milkyway. The awards will be announced on April 14th.

- Believe it or not, we’re not reporting on Edison Chen’s blog because he wrote anything about the recent photo scandal, but because there’s actually movie news on it. On the latest entry of his blog, Edison posted two pictures from Dante Lam’s latest film Sniper, due to be released on March 29th.

Meanwhile, there are word from both Oriental Daily and Apple Daily that Colombia Pictures have told Stephen Chow that they want the Chow-produced and Stephen Fung-directed dance flick starring Edison to either have its release pushed back, take out all of Edison’s scenes, or release it straight to video - all because of the scandal. Currently, the film is slated to be released on May 1st. However, remember that this is the Hong Kong press, so you never know how much of this is true.

Just the fact that they completely misread his blog is already an issue: They’ve taken the introduction that he’s had on the blog all this time and reported it as if he just wrote it yesterday. Now the headlines are: “Edison Chen fights back on his blog, saying ‘don’t hate the player, hate the game.” This is why I read 3 Hong Kong newspapers a day online to crosscheck facts.

- Japan Probe would like to introduce you to the newest foreign-Japanese star of enka. Kiyoshi Hikawa, eat your heart out!

- It’s reviews time! This week, Japan Times’ Mark Schilling reviews the made-for-cable film Tokyo Shonen (last year’s Koisuru Nichiyobi was made under the same network), and that paper’s Giovanni Fazio gives an unscathing review to Ang Lee’s Lust, Caution. Meanwhile, The Daily Yomiuri’s Ikuko Kitagawa gives a much more positive review to the erotic espionage thriller.

- The total box office of 2007 in Japan dropped slightly, as Hollywood films take the majority of the market again after last year’s win by Japanese films. By the way, 29 films went past the billion mark in gross, but only 7 of them are Japanese.

- TBS has announced that the first series to take their new Saturday night 8pm drama slot (previously filled by variety shows) will be an adaptation of the baseball comic Rookies. And TBS is planning to not follow the traditional season schedule, as the show’s planner says that they plan to adapt all 24 volumes of the comic. This may also mean that TBS can choose to cancel it anytime.

- Meanwhile, this week’s Televiews column talks about what’s on Japanese TV Friday nights, including Korean dramas, variety shows, more crappy variety shows, then a pretty good drama.

- The Japan Times has a wonderful interview with veteran director Yoji Yamada. When asked what message he would like people to take away from the film, he said this:

“…Japan made a wonderful postwar Constitution, but no amends have been made for past wrongs. In Germany, the Nazi collaborators were made to pay for what they did; in Japan, a war criminal could became prime minister, such as Nobusuke Kishi, the grandfather of our recent prime minister, Shinzo Abe. There’s something strange about that.”

- Lastly, Kaiju Shakedown has a link to the first teaser for John Woo’s The Battle of Red Cliff.

The Golden Rock - February 1st, 2008 Edition

- The big thing in Hong Kong is probably how much money did CJ7 make on its opening day. From 94 screens (out of 194), the Stephen Chow sci-fi father-and-son comedy made HK$3.03 million. It’s not record-breaking, but that’s pretty damn good considering we haven’t even hit the holidays yet. However, word-of-mouth is fairly mixed on this one (”It’s not really a Stephen Chow movie!”), so the kids will be making up the repeat business this time.

The not-so-kid-friendly Sweeney Todd, rated category-III in Hong Kong (no one under 18 admitted), opened on somewhat solid ground with HK$520,000 from 33 screens (most of them being the smaller screens of multiplexes). Obviously, we know CJ7 will win, so we’ll look at the rest of the box office on Monday.

- Meanwhile, the Associated Press review of CJ7 is pretty close to my own opinion of the film: amusing moments, but not much of a film, and a pretty bad Stephen Chow film.

- Rinko Kikuchi, who’s shot to fame with her Oscar-nominated performance in Babel, will not be seen in Yoichi Sai’s period action film The Legend of Kamui due to an injury that will leave her away from the shoot for too long. This is the second injury to a film’s major star after Kenichi Matsuyama suffered an injury that took him off the film for 3 weeks.

-  I love Johnnie To interviews, because he’s not afraid of pissing other people off, including his former employer TVB. In his latest one, he dismisses The Warlords by saying The Assassination of Ma came first and as always: TVB has been going downhill for the last 10 years. We here at The Golden Rock love you, Johnnie, even if you did have to make Linger!

By the way, that “literature director” comment is corrected translated. Perhaps a more clear translation is “a director of literature”

Tomorrow: Reviews time! And a ton of Japanese movie news. It’s kind of a quiet weekend.

 
 
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