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Archive for the ‘actors’ Category

The Golden Rock - March 17th/18th, 2008 Edition

Thanks to Filmart here in Hong Kong, there’s a ton of news happening out there.

Oh, look, new entry on the spinoff

- Of course, the big news is the Asian Film Awards, which seems to be less sloppily delivered this year (no David Wu and Fiona Sit trading quips), even though the star wattage has now dropped to the host from that entertainment news show on TVB. Also, there are reports that the awards were only half full, and that post-award interviews with Best Actress winner Jeon Do-Yeon were somehow moved to a back alley.

Oh, of course, there were awards passed out too.

- Anyway, time for number crunching!

At the Hong Kong box office, it’s no surprise, but it’s hard to report anyway: Patrick Kong’s L for Love, L for Lies made HK$1 million from 40 screens on Sunday and made HK$3.99 million over the 4-day weekend. With the Easter holiday next weekend, this is likely going to go past the HK$10 million mark (I somehow don’t think the same target audience will decide to flock to An Empress and the Warriors). Meanwhile, the animated film Horton Hears a Who! draws HK$320,000 from the first 2 days of previews on 31 screens, One Missed Call made HK$650,000 from 17 screens over 4 days, Woody Allen’s Cassandra’s Dream made HK$99,000 from 9 screens over 4 days, and Dan in Real Life made only HK$270,000 from 10 screens over 4 days.

With holdovers, 10,000BC passed the HK$10 million mark with HK$700,000 from 45 screens on Sunday, Shamo made HK$165,000 from 20 screens(the total is wrong on the now.com page), suffering a pretty significant drop, and Juno managed to pass the HK$4 million mark on Sunday as well.

In Japan audience attendance figures, Enchanted opens at number 1 amidst a very crowded family film market. If you count the dog movie, at least half the movies on the top 10 are aimed for a family audience (and I already didn’t count The Golden Compass). That’s because it’s Spring break when schools are out until April. More when the numbers are out.

- And now, news from Filmart:

China’s government is clamping down on co-productions, but that’s OK - Asian filmmakers will simply look elsewhere.

And experts at another panel believe that there will be one integrated Asian market, and that filmmakers are not really interested in challenging China’s censorship rules.

Oh, dear: The Pang Brothers are intending their Storm Riders sequel to be the Hong Kong equivalent of the Hollywood film 300, with the entire film shot in front of digital backdrops. Still, overseas buyers seem to be eating it up, so more power to them.

Meanwhile, Namson Shi, who seems to have a part in distributing Stephen Fung’s troubled dance film Jump, says that the film has not been sent for Chinese approval, nor has there been a decision made about keeping its troubled star Edison Chen.

Hong Kong’s Big Media promised to make 100 films in their first 5 years. Hell, we should just be lucky that they’re making 10-12 this year, even if one of them will be Marriage With a Fool 2.

Japanese director Sabu is in town trying to get funding for one of his latest films, a horror-romance set in Hong Kong.

For other Filmart coverage, go over to the Variety Filmart blog.

And now, back to your regular programming

- One of the few cinemas in Japan (in fact, the biggest one) planning to show the controversial documentary Yasukuni has backed off, citing that it might cause disruptions for the building’s fellow tenants. Then blame the right-wingers, not general courtesy.

- It’s Maggie Lee’s reviews time! All three from Lee are her takes on An Empress and the Warriors, her take on Fine, Totally Fine, and also her review for the Taiwanese youth film Orz Boys.

- In addition to wrapping up its run in Hong Kong, Karei Naru Ichizoku just picked up the award for Best Drama from TVNavi Magazine. Its star Kimura Takuya (AKA. Kimutaku) also picked up Best Actor for the drama.

Kimutaku is on a bit of a streak, as his new drama Change (the one where he becomes Prime Minister of Japan) now has Madonna providing it with a theme song.

- There’s a trailer for the horror prequel Kuchisake Onna 2 (The Slit-Mouth Woman 2).

The Golden Rock - March 9th, 2008 Edition

- There’s a very interesting feature on Japan Times this weekend, which transcribes a panel discussing the Japanese war trial film Ashita He No Yuigon (Best Wishes For Tomorrow)  featuring Japan Times critic Mark Schilling and the film’s co-writer.  With two other contributors, the four discuss the impact of another war film on the Japanese, the message, and about its intents were successful.

- Yesterday we mentioned Mika Nakashima making the cover of Rolling Stone Japan, and now Oscar-nominated actress Rinko Kikuchi is on the cover of the British i-D Magazine.  She is not the first Japanese actress to appear on the cover, though: Chiaki Kuriyama made the cover back in 2004 thanks to her role in Kill Bill.

- It’s reviews time! Twitch offers a review of Kelvin Tong’s Rule #1, starring Shawn Yue and Ekin Cheng in their first official screen collaboration (they had an unofficial partnership in Shamo. You’ll know what I mean).  Then Variety’s Ronnie Schieb offers a review of Makoto Shinkai’s Five Centimeter Per Second, which I almost immediately dismissed because he dismissed the song in the film before he even bothered to understand it. Japan Times’ Mark Schilling offers a review for Gachi Boy (Wrestling with a Memory), the latest from the director of Song of the Sun. There’s also an interview featuring the director, who apparently made his actors perform their own wrestling stunts.

- Wrestling With a Memory will have its Asian premiere at the Hong Kong International Festival, and I already have a ticket to one of its showings. Not sure to what it can be credited to, but the festival is seeing an incredible 40% surge in online ticket sales from last year. Then again, after hearing horror stories of the festival’s ticketing system last year, no wonder more people decided to buy it the year the system happens to work.

- Eiga Consultant also looked at the box office performance of Wrestling with a Memory’s opening weekend. From 284 screens, the wrestling comedy/drama made 67.87 million yen, which is only 55% of another Toho + Fuji teen comedy Check It Out Yo!

Meanwhile, The Golden Compass made 550 million yen from 667 screens, which is 70% of The Chronicles of Narnia. Considering that Narnia made 6.85 billion yen, will The Golden Compass make it to 5 billion yen? Also, the ratio of the box office take for the subtitled version to the dubbed version is 53:47, which supposedly means that the film is attracting people of all demographics (in film market jargon, we say “demographics,” not “age”). Also, in case you’re wondering why the Box Office Mojo reported gross is so high, that’s because they included last weekend’s preview screenings.

- I think this would qualify as self-promotion: The Foreign Film Importer-Distributor Association of Japan will be giving its top award to Gaga Communications, who imported hits such as Babel, Earth, and the current box office topper The Golden Compass.

- Under “yet another comic going to TV” news today, the comedy comic Tokyo Ghost Trip is getting the live-action treatment.

- It’s trailers time! First, there’s the Japanese teaser for John Woo’s Battle of Red Cliff, and it still just looks really expensive, but not much else. Next is the trailer for the Mainland Chinese film Pk.com.cn, which may be the weirdest trailer I’ve seen all year. Considering that it’s from the conservative Mainland (more later), that’s kind of a good thing.

- With the National People’s Congress happening in Beijing right now (an ironic title, by the way), the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television of China are restating their rules on what movies are OK and what movies are not. In simple words: Most movies are not OK, but simple peasant stories with subtle allegories of government dictatorship will probably be. Zhang Yimou, you’re not out of work yet!

- Speaking of a filmmaker not out of work in China, Twitch has an interview with Stephen Chow and the star of his latest film CJ7.

Hayao Miyazaki spoke about his latest film Ponyo on a Cliff this week, and reading him describing the film just makes me look incredibly forward to it already. It seems like it’ll be a return to simpler fantasy tales like Totoro.

Kaiju Shakedown looks at another one of Takashi Miike’s latest films, which producer Haruki Kadokawa says is based on a novel that he read while he was in prison. Prison may be a good place to find films to adapt, but I still wouldn’t want to go there.

- Jason Gray looks at the lineup for the upcoming Nippon Connection Festival in Frankfurt, Germany. Man, that’s one hell of a lineup.

The Golden Rock - March 7th, 2008 Edition

- According to the supposed reliable Oriental Daily in Hong Kong (and in turn, The Hollywood Reporter Asia), Lust, Caution star Tang Wei has been banned from Chinese media by the government because of her role in Ang Lee’s erotic espionage thriller. Supposedly, the government wasn’t happy with Lust, Caution and is determined to bring down anyone involved in the controversial sex scenes, especially its main actress. Since this news is not confirmed (and likely will never be), we have no idea whether this is true or not. If it is so, this is a pretty sleazy thing to do even for the Chinese government. Or they must just really hate skincare products.

- Like last year’s Confession of Pain from Hong Kong, Warner Bros. has been quick to buy up this year’s big crime hit, the Korean serial killer thriller The Chaser. Also like the Confession of Pain remake, William Monahan and Leonardo DiCaprio may be involved.

- Despite the Lunar New Year and taking a majority of the market, box office gross for Korean films has once again dropped for February. This time, admissions are down 3.7% from the same period in 2007, despite the hit handball film Forever the Moment and the current hit The Chaser.

- Hot off her win at the Golden Arrow Awards, Yui Aragaki will next star as a high school bookworm who joins a one-member cheerleader team to get closer to her baseball player crush. Only in the world a movies would Yui Aragaki play a bookworm who can’t get a boyfriend.

- We reported on Chen Kaige’s biopic Mei Lanfang finishing shooting. Today, Hollywood Reporter Asia has a complete feature on the film.

That’s it for now. Have to save some for the rest of the weekend.

The Golden Rock - March 5th/6th, 2008 Edition

- In Korean box office, The Chaser took the top spot for a third week. It now has past the 3 million admission mark, and has not much signs of stopping. Meanwhile, art films and Oscar films flop. More details at Korea Pop Wars.

- It’s Oricon charts time! While the usual popsters such as News (with their 8th consecutive #1 single) and Exile top the single chart, African-American enka singer Jero managed to sell even more copies of his debut single than its first week in stores. However, because of the crowded market, he still fell one place on the chart.

On the album side, BoA sees her 6th consecutive #1 album, while a bunch of foreign acts join her in the top 10.

See the full report at Tokyograph.

- It’s also the Billboard Japan charts time! This one is a little different because the chart also adds in radio airplay to gauge a song’s popularity. As a result, Jero is all the way down at 13th place, because enka doesn’t usually get much radio play. That’s also the reason why Hikaru Utada’s latest is placed higher, because it’s on the top of the airplay chart for the second week in a row. Other than that, the charts are mostly similar.

- The always informative Eiga Consultant looks at how several films did in Japan over the weekend.

First, the latest One Piece movie opened at only 98% of the previous One Piece film, which made 900 million yen. Looks like this film will probably not get to the 1 billion yen mark either.

On the other hand, the third and latest Keroro movie outdid its previous installment and the first film by 117 and 103%, respectively.

Lastly, the war trial film Ashita He No Yuigon opened 6th place with 77.68 million yen, which is only 66% of director Takashi Koizumi’s previous film Hakase No Ashita sushiki.

- A Chinese senior official says that China cannot have a ratings system for films because it would be like “legalizing the mass production of pornographic publications.” Er…you guys won’t be allowing porn in anyway, so what’s there to worry about?

“China had yet to build a mature and orderly film market.” I think replacing “market” with “audience” would be a more accurate way of putting it.

- The Korean Film Archive managed to find a copy of the 1934 silent film The Crossroads of Youth, now known as the oldest Korean film in existence. Thankfully, 8 of the 9 reels are still in playable condition, and I sure hope it’s not the reel with twist ending.

- Chinese director Chen Kaige has wrapped up filming for his latest biopic Mei Lanfang, starring Leon Lai and Zhang Ziyi. However, the film has no expected release date or upcoming participation in any film festival.

The biggest doubts to Chinese press, on the other hand, is whether Twins member Gillian Chung, which is taking a public opinion beating in Hong Kong, will still be in the film. She plays the younger version of titular character Mei Lanfang’s second wife.

- Under “various Japanese awards” news today, Exile picked up Artist of the Year at the Japan Gold Disc Awards, unseating Koda Kumi. They also won the Album of the Year award. GReeen picked up the Best New Artist of the year award, while Hikaru Utada picked up Single of the Year with Flavor of Life, even though this fan thought it was her most mediocre hit.

Meanwhile, Yui Aragaki picked up the film prize at the 45th Golden Arrow Awards. Meanwhile, Rinko Kikichi somehow managed to pick up one of the Best Newcomer Awards, which is sad because she’s actually been in Japanese films for a few years now. Then again, they’ve been around for 45 years, so they must have credibility.

- It’s reviews by Russell Edwards time! Variety’s Russell Edwards coincidentally reviews all the films covered by the blog today: First, he reviews Chocolate, the new muay Thai action film from the director of Ong Bak. Then he reviews the documentary Iris Chang: The Rape of Nanking. Lastly, he looks at the Thai gay teen romance film The Love of Siam.

Meanwhile, Hollywood Reporter’s Maggie Lee takes a look at Stephen Chow’s CJ7, which goes on limited release this weekend in the United States.

- In related news, The Love of Siam picked up six awards at the Bangkok Critics Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Screenplay.

- Another reason to put a film in this year’s Yubari International Fantastic Film Festival: The winner of the Off-Theater competition will win 2 million yen.

- Jet Li and Jackie Chan reportedly had a hand in changing the script for their latest Hollywood film Forbidden Kingdom, changing the “traveling back in time” element to simply part of the main character’s dream. Good, that means one less movie where a foreign kid goes to China and save the world.

- In case you need another reason to see Koki Mitani’s latest film The Magic Hour, the film will feature a ton of cameos, including director Kon Ichikawa in his final film appearance.

The Golden Rock - March 4th, 2008 Edition

- It’s Japanese drama ratings time! Saito-san sees its season-low ratings, as well as One Point Gospel. The Negotiator wraps up with an OK-13.2 rating (not too far below its premiere’s 16.7 rating). Meanwhile, Honey and Clover’s freefall continues to 8.0 this past week, while Bara No Nai Hanaya managed to recover slightly with a 16.5 rating. Lost Time Life stays steady, Edison No Haha saw a pretty good boost, and Sasaki Fusai No Jingi Naki Tatakai’s ratings increase didn’t last longer than a week.

- This news was first found at Eiga Consultant. The 2005 German documentary Our Daily Bread broke attendance record during its 4-month run at one Tokyo theater. Both reports contribute the film’s success to concerns about food safety for Chinese-made food, but there’s also Japan’s tendencies to put wrong expiry dates and screws in food that added to the concern.

- Meanwhile, the controversial Bollywood epic Jodhaa Akbar has now surpassed the 1 billion rupee mark at the box office. Meanwhile, courts overturned the Madhya Pradesh government’s ban, while violent protests interrupt screenings and screenings are still blocked in some regions.

In case you want to know what the hoopla is all about, Hollywood Reporter has a review.

- Under “Edison Chen’s career freefall” news today, his latest Hong Kong film Sniper has now been pushed back to May from a planned March 29th release date. However, distributor Media Asia states that it’s because the Mainland Chinese authorities has yet to approved the film, which is necessary for all co-productions (this also means the cops win by default at the end of the film).

On a side note, distributors in Taiwan for Pang Ho-Cheung’s Trivial Matters has decided to add in the advertising that this film is Edison Chen’s final film before he announced his retirement from showbiz. This is inaccurate, since he still has Sniper and possibly Stephen Fung’s Jump.

-Poor China: The EU and the United States are always bullying the poor authoritarian country. First it was over intellectual property, and now the two political giants are going to the WTO over China’s block of foreign media agencies. China granted the Xinhua News Agency with sole discretion on giving out media license to foreign organizations, which apparently blocks out other news agencies such as Reuters and Bloomberg.

- Chinese TV and film writers, inspired by their American counterparts, met up to talk about how to protect the copyrights of their intellectual property. The thing is, unlike Hollywood writers, they’re not even looking for more money: They just want their rights protected and their work respected.

- I missed out on this a few days ago when it was on Nippon Cinema: There’s a teaser out for the sequel to the kiddie-oriented live-action adaptation of Gegege No Kitaro. It seems like they’re aiming for a more serious film this time around, but trailers have been deceptive before, so I’m being extremely cautious about this one.

-  Not only will the upcoming Japanese epic sci-fi trilogy 20th Century Boys be Japan’s highest-budgeted film ever at 6 billion yen, it’s now been announced that the film will feature a cast of 300 people. In other words, expect to see a lot of “policeman #_” when the credits come up.

- I never knew that Takashi Kitano has his own awards show, AND he gives awards to his own movies there!

- With actions being taken to help the industry and a reversal of the ban on Indian films, will Pakistani cinema slowly flourish?

-  Twitch has a link to an interview with former Ghibli studio head Suzuki Toshio, who talks a bit about Hayao Miyazaki’s upcoming Ponyo on a Cliff.

-  Believe it or not, Maggie Cheung has not appeared in a film since 2004, and she says she’s actually quite OK with that.

The Golden Rock - February 26th, 2008 Edition

Again, not much news in the world of Asian entertainment, so we’ll just keep combining box office reports with the other entries.

- Yesterday, I linked to a review of the Korean surprise hit thriller The Chaser. Looks like it actually did even better in its second weekend, making 4.4 billion won, a 23% increase from its opening weekend. It’s already gone past the million admission mark, and may even surpass current surprise hit, the handball film Forever The Moment.

Full box office report from Mark Russell’s Korea Pop Wars 

- A preview of tomorrow’s Oricon report: The first African-American enka singer Jero managed to score a 4th place debut for his first single Umiyuki. While I doubt that it sold 3.5 million copies (I bet you it’s 35,000, as 10,000 is a number value in Japanese) , it apparently sets the record for the best debut for an enka singer. His MTV really sucks, but he’s a pretty damn good singer.

- Japanese actress Yu Aoi has been on this blogger’s radar since Shunji Iwai’s Hana and Alice. However, I never realized that she’s more often seen in film than TV. That shall be no more, as now she’s set to star in her first TV drama this coming Spring.

- It’s trailers time! People say Japanese films are weird, and after watching the trailer for the double feature film Ghost Vs. Alien, I honestly cannot really defend that claim. But, hey, I wish I had thought making making a love story between a ghost and an alien too. Good thing I then watched the 60-second teaser for Mamoru Oshii’s The Sky Crawlers and everything seemed normal again.

- In more animation news, the surprise animated hit Evangelion 1.0: You Are (Not) Alone won the Animation of the Year award at the Tokyo International Anime Fair. The kicker is that the actual fair isn’t until the end of March. Thanks for ruining the surprise…you organizers.

- Lastly, Jason Gray writes about the strange recent twists in a 1981 murder in Los Angeles of a Japanese woman and how the hell it all connects to Japanese cinema. It’s a strange and fascinating read.

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.

The Golden Rock - December 16th, 2007 Edition

- I’ve been trying to post this for days - it’s the first trailer for Empress and and the Warriors, starring Donnie Yen, Kelly Chan, and Leon Lai. I’ve been suffering from big-budget period film fatigue since I saw The Warlords on Thursday so badly that I really wish a few of these things flop so we’d see something new. Then again, this will probably be a hit anyway, and we’ll probably see more big-budget martial arts flick co-produced with China for years to come, keeping famous action choreographers working. At least this one looks like it’ll be in Cantonese.

- Jason Gray checks out the Japanese indie comedy Zenzen Daijobu, starring Arakawa Yoshiyoshi, and he seems to like it. Too bad it won’t be in theaters when I’m in Japan.

- The cast list for the Stephen Chow-produced Hollywood version of Dragonball is shaping up, with Emmy Rossom having just signed on. Sorry, I still have quite a bit of doubts about whether this movie is going to work or not.

- Japan Times has an interview with Ken Watanabe, who just took a year off and is coming back out to do the Japanese narration for the documentary Planet Earth.

- Meanwhile, Twitch has an interview with Pen-ek Ratanaruang, the director of Last Life in the Universe and Ploy.

- There’s also a feature on Korean actress Kim Yun-Jin, who has hit it big in both Korea and America since her role in the series Lost.

- I’m assuming that Takeshi Kaneshiro is done with his latest film about death, because he has just signed on to star in Fiend With Twenty Faces with Takako Matsu. Kaneshiro will play a master criminal and Matsu his victim. Does that mean he’ll be playing a villain? Interesting….

- Another Japanese movie you can look forward to is Homeless Chugakusei (Homeless Middle Schooler), an autobiography by a comedian recalling his days in poverty. The book achieved one million sales within two months, which would explain why the movie was announced within three months of the book’s release.

- Apparently, Jackie Chan has finally arrived in Japan to start work on Derek Yee’s latest The Shinjuku Incident. No word, however, on when the film will start filming or how long it will take.

- Korean director Im Kwon-taek is in Dubai recieving a lifetime achievement award at the local film festival.

- In a preview of Wednesday’s report on the Oricon charts, Exile (which is just two guys singing and 4 backup dancers) announces their latest album has shipped one million copies, and has sold hundreds of thousands of those copies since its release on Wednesday.

The Golden Rock - December 12th, 2007 Edition

- Let’s start with a wrap up of this past weekend’s Japanese box office. A Tale of Mari and Three Puppies opens pretty big with 280 million yen, which is actually 118% of the opening for another hit puppy film Quills (which grossed 2.22 billion yen). Meanwhile, it’s revealed that Always 2 lost its position because it lost 39% of its business while Koizora lost only 27% of its business. However, Always 2 still has the higher gross, and Koizora is not likely to beat it.

In holdovers from last week, Beowulf dropped 41% from the last weekend, and 1 billion yen is going to be a bit of a climb. The Sanjuro remake dropped by a little less, but still suffered a loss of 38%, and will also have a tough climb to that 1 billion yen mark.

Kenta Fukasaku’s X Cross finally showed up to the box office charts, except it doesn’t look good: It’s all the way down in 14th place, despite opening on 148 screens.

- How about them Oricon charts? In summary - B’z wins again, Yui Aragaki scores an OK debut album, Keisuke Kuwata finds another reason to stay a solo artist, and DJ Ozma still has a music career? More over at Tokyograph.

- Peter Chan’s Warlords finally opens tomorrow in Hong Kong. It’s the big-budget action war epic of the season (worthy of a ticket price bump is most Hong Kong theaters, even), but Chan says he actually wanted to make a movie about something.

- Under “big celebrity news” today, Hong Kong film star Rosamund Kwan has announced that she is officially retiring from film work and will concentrate of working outside the entertainment industry. This was kind of expected, considering that her last film was all the way back in 2005, but I thought she was just taking it easy.

Sorry for the short update. This blogger is really sleepy tonight. Posting will resume as soon as possible.

The Golden Rock - November 26th, 2007 Edition

 - It’s Japanese drama ratings time! A total of 12 dramas hit their season-low ratings. They include Joshi Deka (season-high:  13.4, season-low: 7.8), Iryu 2 (season-high: 21.0, season-low: 14.1), Uta Hime (season-high: 9.8, season-low: 6.7), Dream Again (season-high: 12.9, season-low: 8.4), Hatachi No Koibito (season-high: 13.0, season-low: 6.4), and Abarenbo Mama (season-high: 15.3, season-low: 11.1).

On the other hand, Fuji dramas Galileo and SP remain fairly strong, and NTV’s Hataraki Man saw a pretty big rebound from last week’s 10.1 to this week’s 12.7. Still, things are pretty bleak overall.

All drama information can be found at Tokyograph 

-  It’s OK, Don, you did get this news first. Bayside Shakedown producer Chihiro Kameyama, who seems to be the only hitmaker for Fuji TV these days, will be teaming up with Bayside Shakedown screenwriter Ryoichi Kimizuka for a new police drama that does not have anything to do with the Bayside Shakedown series (contrary to the image on the main Variety Asia website). Dare Mo Mamotte Kurenai will star Japan’s favorite 14 year-old (fictional) mother Mirai Shida as the sister of a suspected murderer who is being protected by the cop who is also gathering evidence against her brother.

Kimizuka will be directing, his second film after the Bayside Shakedown spinoff The Suspect.

- In more Japanese drama-related news, Korean heartthrob Kwon Sang-Woo announced that he will be acting in a Japanese drama for Fuji TV that he would like to call a “Korean version of Notting Hill.” Blah.

- Peter Chan’s The Warlords is one of the biggest investments ever in the history of Chinese cinema. Turns out nearly half the damn budget went to the cast, including US$13 million for Jet Li.

- FilMeX wrapped up in Japan, and Hong Kong’s Milkyway is walking away as the big winner, with Yau Nai-Hoi’s Eye in the Sky winning the Special Jury prize and Johnnie To’s Exiled winning the audience award.

- Gong Li has taken up the lead for the Hollywood film Shanghai along with John Cusack. She’ll play some mysterious woman involved with the underworld, or something like that.

Anyway, the film will be directed by 1408’s Mikael Hafstrom and is expected to be released in 2009.

- Nothing to do with Asian entertainment, but I just thought it was kind of cool. Here’s a clip of newly elected Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd speaking Mandarin in a television interview with a Chinese TV station during his campaign. Rudd was a diplomat in China and started studying Mandarin when he was in college in the 70s.

 
 
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