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Archive for October 13th, 2008

The Golden Rock - October 13th, 2008 Edition

- As I predicted, Jingle Ma’s Butterfly Lovers came back from behind over the weekend to beat Ridley Scott’s Body of Lies at the Hong Kong box office. On Sunday, the idols period flick made HK$761,079 from 36 screens for a 4-day weekend total of HK$2.67 million. Meanwhile, Body of Lies made HK$734,000 from 35 screens on Sunday for a 4-day weekend total of HK$2.6 million. While Body of Lies has one less screen and runs 20 minutes longer, it also attracts the higher-priced adult tickets, while Butterfly Lovers attracted the lower-priced student tickets, so there’s essentially no handicap for either film.

As for other openers, Woody Allen’s Vicky Cristina Barcelona did pretty well on its relatively limited release (although this is pretty wide for Woody Allen). It made HK$261,000 from 16 screens on Sunday for a 4-day weekend total of HK$890,000, which is reportedly better than Match Point already. The Hollywood rom-com My Best Friend’s Girl did slightly better during the weekend, making HK$110,000 from just 13 screens, but it still only made HK$280,000 after 4 days.

Painted Skin lost almost half of its audience over the weekend, making HK$517,000 from 30 screens on Sunday for a 11-day total (it says 19, but it’s really 11) of HK$8.28 million (minus the possibly bogus HK$350,000 gross from its “one-week run”). Connected is proving relatively long legs, making HK$382,000 from 34 screens on Sunday. After 18 days, Benny Chan’s action thriller has made HK$11.91 million. The Duchess also hangs on during its second weekend in limited release, making HK$67,000 from 6 screens for a 12-day total of HK$1.36 million. 20th Century Boys has passed the HK$6 million mark after 18 days after making HK$87,000 from 14 screens. Lastly, Mamma Mia is now at 11.56 million after 32 days, and Eagle Eye is at HK$6.14 million after 18 days.

-It’s a public holiday in Japan today, so all we have today is last week’s drama ratings. The Fall 2008 season has started, and as reported last week, Kaze no Garden is leading the pack with a 20.1% rating for its premiere episode. Yume wo Kanaeru Zou takes a big drop for its second episode, losing nearly 43% of its audience for a 4.1% rating in its second week. OL Nippon, from the writer of the successful Haken no Hinkaku, flops in its first episode with just a 8.3% rating. Fuji’s Saturday night 11pm drama fails to outdo last season’s 33-Minute Detective, but outdoes Hachi One Diver’s premiere with a 10.4% rating.

All drama synoses can be found on Tokyograph.

- Mamoru Oshii’s Sky Crawlers won big at the Sitges Film Festival, picking up 3 prizes, including the Best Motion Picture Award from the youth jury.

Also, the Korean thriller The Chaser picked up Orient Express~Casa Asia award for Best Picture, and Kim Jee-Woon’s The Good, the Bad and The Weird picked up two awards in the main competition section.

- Jason Gray reports that the new Japanese food film Flavor of Happiness has been acquired by a French distributor that will be opening it on 40 screens. That’s more than double the screens the film got for its opening weekend in Japan.

Mark Schilling of the Japan Times gave a rave for the film last week.

- Twitch has a trailer for the Mamoru Oshii-led anthology Kill~Kiru, which is essentially four action finales for four films that don’t really exist. It look like a maybe-maybe not. We’ll know how it is after it premieres at the Tokyo International Film Festival.

I found out during a random look yesterday at the Now TV movie trailer channel that there’s a trailer out for the Wong Jing-produced cheapie flick The Vampire Who Admires Me. Here it is in all its Youtube glory.

-The comedian management agency Yoshimoto Kogyo last year announced that its large cast of comedians will be directing 100 short films. Now the agency plans to start the Okinawa International Movie Festival next March, and those 100 films will be part of the program.

- Korea Pop War’s Mark Russell has seen Kim Ki Duk’s latest Dream, starring Jo Odagiri and Lee Na Young, and he posts his thoughts on the film and Kim Ki Duk in general.

- Salon Films, hot off the success of their first film Painted Skin at the Chinese box office, is now set to make nine more films. Four of the films, all English-language films, will be made with the recently established multinational Asian film fund and will be shot in China. One of the other five films will be a sequel to Eat Drink Man Woman, which doesn’t seem to have Ang Lee’s name attached…yet?

- Veteran Japanese actor Toru Minegishi, who last appeared in the acclaimed film Departures and I probably last saw him in TV drama Karei Naru Ichizoku, passed away from cancer on Saturday. He was 65.

The Golden Rock at the HKAFF - Part 1

This past weekend, this blogger spent roughly 8 hours at the movies because it’s time for the yearly Hong Kong Asian Film Festival. All the politics aside, this year’s picks were solid enough that I bought tickets to 14 films. Unfortunately, I found out that three of the four movies I saw over the weekend already have Hong Kong distributors. One even comes out this week.

Anyway, here are some brief reviews of the films I saw, sans those that I plan to write longer reviews for:

Tokyo Sonata (dir: Kiyoshi Kurosawa. Japan, 2008): I don’t really watch much horror films, which means I’ve sorely missed out on the most popular K. Kurosawa films over the years. But I fairly enjoyed Bright Future, and have been looking forward to his take of the family drama, especially after its win at Cannes. I’m happy to say that despite a dragged-out third act, it definitely didn’t disappoint. Heartbreaking but darkly comedic, this is the work of a master. A longer review possibly to come.

Accuracy of Death (dir. Masaya Kakei. Japan, 2008): This sentimental look at death and destiny would’ve been a drag to sit through without a surprisingly charming performance from Takeshi Kaneshiro and co-writer/director Masaya Kakei’s sense of humor throughout. An episodic look at how a Grim Reaper finds life through three different cases, the fantasy drama is obviously going for a very sentimental approach (I still shudder at the Japanese English title: Sweet Rain) at a grim subject. The plot twists and how these three stories end up connecting are foreshadowed about two miles away, but they get the emotional effect they’re going for. I just wanted more. I’m not sure of what, but I just wished there was more.

Crows Zero (dir. Takeshi Miike. Japan, 2007): It’s weird to see Accuracy of Death has a higher body count then this film. Takeshi Miike is another Japanese director I’ve missed out on over the years. Crows Zero marks the third complete Miike film I’ve seen (after Ichi the Killer and City of Lost Souls), and it’s by far the best and the most entertaining of the bunch. The 2-hour+ film starts off furiously and keeps the blood pumping most of the time. Miike knows how to do the tough guy thing, and does it well.  But the romantic thing with the R&B-singing is a little too awkward for a film where overgrown high school boys beat up each other in the rain. Nevertheless, it’s great fun to watch in a packed house, and it shows how good Miike can be with a budget. Bring on Crows Zero II.

Happiness (dir: Hur Jin HoKorea, 2007): Hur’s Christmas in August is an all-time favorite and one of my first exposures to Korean films. Its follow-up One Fine Spring Day remains one of my favorite depiction of a relationship. So imagine the expectations I had for his first film since April Snow, which I never finished watching for some inexplicable reason. The sights are pretty, but Hur’s attention to detail and his central relationship are not as poignant this time around, instead going for a more melodramatic approach. Still, it’s interesting to see him turning the gender bias of One Fine Spring Day completely around, putting the man at fault. By the way, the film is loooooooong, even by Hur Jin Ho standard. Perhaps a longer review eventually.

This week is 6 more movies spread out over 5 days, including Parking and Cape No. 7 from Taiwan, Herman Yau’s True Women For Sale, and Kenji Uchida’s After School on Sunday. It’s looking to be one of the best movie-going weeks all year. Unless all the movies suck, then it’ll be one of the worst.

Catch you on the other side. Copyright © 2002-2024 Ross Chen