- reviews - features - people - panasia - blogs - about site - contact - links - forum -
Site Features
- Asian Film Awards
- Site Recommendations

- Reader Poll Results

- The FAQ Page
support this site by shopping at
Click to visit
We do news right, not fast

Note: This blog expresses only the opinions of the blog owner,
and does not represent the opinion of any organization or blog
that is associated with The Golden Rock.

Archive for the ‘blogs’ Category

The Golden Rock - July 2nd, 2008 Edition.

- Our first and foremost jobs here at Lovehkfilm is to review movies, and we got some of those for you today. Boss Kozo has a review of Lawrence Lau/Scud’s City Without Baseball, a review of Korean hand ball flick Forever the Moment, a review of the Taiwanese film Soul of a Demon, and a review of Japanese dark comedy Funuke, Show Some Love, You Losers!. JMaruyama offers a review of Kwak Jae-Young’s Cyborg She, which he insists is a remake of Park Chan Wook’s I’m a Cyborg, but That’s OK, and that’s OK too. I myself offer a review of Don’t Laugh at My Romance and a review of cute puppy film A Tale of Mari and Three Puppies.

- It’s Japanese Oricon charts time! As expected, Arashi’s theme for the Hana Yori Dango movie debuted at the top, with an impressive 300,000+ copies sold. Shuchishin (aka the “stupid boy band”.  Really, that’s their nickname) not only survived to their second single, but also manage to sell 200,000+ copies of it. The album chart was also fairly crowded, with GReeeN!!! taking the top position for the first week of their second album, Ayaka’s 2nd following close behind, and Ketsumeishi debuting at a somewhat disappointing 3rd place. My newest idol Jero debuts at 5th with his first album.

More at Tokyograph.

- China loves Kung Fu Panda, as it has already become the most successful animated film ever in China with a box office take nearing 100 million yuan after 10 days. I don’t get that two days’ delay in Sichuan, though, which sounds more like distributor’s indecision more than anything else.

The earthquake didn’t exactly affect people’s moviegoing mood anyway, as May’s box office is up 26% from the previous year, prompting China Film Group to post a cryptic message that seem to spell either showing off or amazement.

- The Japanese news shows were all over a Wall Street Journal story this morning, which compared the rather unpopular Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda with current TV Prime Minister Kimura Takuya. Click on the first link, since going directly to the site won’t let you read the whole story.

-  Kaiju Shakedown’s Grady Hendrix looks at what’s going with The Warlords‘ western distribution ambitions, which has now dwindled down to a butchered DVD release.

- A bit late: Jason Gray offers a look by Midnight Eye’s Jasper Sharp on how Tartan UK came to meet their current fate of closing down.

- Lionsgate will be working with CJ Entertainment for Korean Wedding, aka “How Another White Man Falls in Love with Asian Girl and Finds Asian Culture Funny”.

- Taiwan may take a very significant step in continuing to improve relations with China by lifting their ban on Mainland Chinese performers, even though Taiwanese performers have been performing in the Mainland for years.

- An ad sales slump for Japanese television is causing board member of these TV stations to go from earning tons of money to earning just lots of money.

- After the success of the Ayaka-Kobukuro duet Winding Road, their record company is back for round two with another duet to be released.

The Golden Rock - June 23rd, 2008 Edition

- While the Hollywood blockbusters took over the weekend at the Hong Kong box office, the big story is the impressive performance for Johnnie To’s Sparrow. With no real box office draw (Trust me, Simon Yam is not a considered a box office draw by himself in Hong Kong), the film saw a boost over the weekend with the adult audience, making HK$800,000 from 31 screens for a 4-day weekend total of HK$2.82 million. This already nearly matches the box office total for PTU, To’s last film with such an extended shoot. As for the Hollywood films, Narnia made HK$1.01 million from 47 screens for an 18-day total of HK$22.07 million, which means it has now surpassed Iron Man and is aiming to match Indiana Jones‘ HK$26 million take in Hong Kong. At second place is The Incredible Hulk, with HK$852,000 from 33 screens for a 11-day total of HK$9.96 million. Business is proving to be a little slow, though that could be because of its relatively low screen count.

Hollywood parody flick Superhero Movie is doing much better than Meet the Spartans, with HK$582,000 from 21 screens on Sunday for a 4-day total of HK$2.11 million. As for limited releases, 21 did very well with its 2-screen release, making HK$64,000 for a 4-day total of HK$190,000. However, the Lawrence Lau co-directed film City Without Baseball did even worse over the weekend, with only HK$36,000 from 8 screens on Sunday for a 4-day total of HK$170,000. Similarly painful is Tsui Hark’s Missing, with only HK$74,000 from 15 screens and a 11-day total of HK$1.17 million. However, it supposedly managed to make nearly 10 million RMB over its opening weekend in China, making it a psuedo-hit (I emphasize psuedo because the budget is surely higher than that.).

- Still waiting for the relevant numbers from Japan and Korea. Meanwhile, Koki Mitani is still working hard to pimp his hit film The Magic Hour, which has now made 2 billion yen and attracted 1.6 million admissions, by running around 5 different theaters to do meet-and-greet sessions at 8 different shows over a course of 24 hours over the weekend (the last show being a 1:20 am show). Hong Kong film should promote themselves like that.

- A Russian film took the top prize at the Shanghai Internatonal Film Festival, while a local film took home the Jury Grand Prix and Best Actor. Taiwanese director Leste Chen also managed to win the Most Creative Award with the pitch for his latest film.

Also, Chinese director Wang Chao also managed to get enough funding to start shooting his next film at the same marketplace during the SIFF.

- Meanwhile, the New York Asian Film Festival has kicked off, with Hollywood Reporter giving it coverage for its first day. You can also keep up with the festival happenings from the Subway Cinema news blog.

- The Death Note films have won the DVD Data award in the Japanese films category. The hit comic-based films sold 260,000 copies as a set, making it the 10th best-selling DVD of 2007. Similar sales are expected for spin-off film L, coming out this week in Japan.

-  Last week, I included a link to the latest trailer for the animated version Storm Riders, and now the Hollywood Reporter reports that the film is complete and is set for a 200-screen release next month. 200 screens seem a little small, though, even for an animated film.

- The Japanese comic Kodomo no Kodomo is being brought to live-action from the director of last year’s Shindo. I saw a short teaser for this when I went to watch Yasukuni and have to say I was already a little disturbed. Now I’m even more disturbed to know that they actually did a series of comics with this story.  The Japanese name translate to “A Child’s Child”. Obviously, this isn’t a major studio-funded film.

The Golden Rock - June 20th, 2008 Edition

Will be away for the weekend again, so here we go with the news for the weekend:

- A surprising turnout at the opening day Hong Kong box office, as Johnnie To’s Sparrow managed to beat out all the major competition to take the top spot on its first day. From a modest 30 screens, the caper film made HK$527,000, and is poised to take the weekend if it sees a boost in adult audiences over the weekend. However, Narnia and The Incredible Hulk are breathing down its neck not too far back, with HK$460,000 and HK$410,000 each and looking to take up the younger audiences over the weekend.

As for the other opening films, Hollywood parody flick Superhero Movie is down at 4th place with HK$373,000 from 22 screens, and City Without Baseball only made HK$40,000 from 8 screens, despite the citywide blanket promotion and its multiple appearances in the news. Lastly, Las Vegas caper film 21 made HK$35,000 from 2 screens. More on Monday or Tuesday when the weekend numbers are out.

- Universe did the distribution for Sparrow, and news has come out that its major shareholder is apparently trying to exit the company and sell its share to another firm. No word on whether this will affect for their ongoing productions, which include the Pang Brothers’ Storm Riders sequel.

-  I literally read about this at three different places in the last 24 hours, along with coverage on daytime entertainment news yesterday. So I’ll just let them do all the talking: I’m talking about respected Japanese director Koji Yakusho making his directorial debut that’s now filming and looking for a release next year:

(in order of discovery)

Tokyograph report.

Jason Gray report

Variety Asia report.

I can’t tell if this will be serious like Tokyo Sonata or quirky like Dog in a Sidecar yet. Either way, I assume that Yakusho has picked up enough from all the directors he’s worked with to do fairly well with his debut. I hope.

- I wrote a half-paragraph review of The Magic Hour because I don’t want to give a full review of a film I only understood 60% of. So here’s a review from Japan Times’ Mark Schilling, someone who did understand the whole movie.

- China has issued the first set of licenses for over 200 sites to share streaming video over the internet, but failed to include some of the country’s biggest sites on that list.

- As the world slowly moves from analog to digital television broadcasting, the ASEAN (Association of Southeastern Asian Nation) has come together to set a unified standards for the member nations’ own transition.

- The Daily Yomiuri looks at the Chinese film The Western Trunk Line, a film about a rural village just after the end of the Cultural Revolution that picked up the Special Jury Prize at the Tokyo International Film Festival.

- The Southern All Stars managed to cram in one more high-profile single before their hiatus, which will be featured in the latest line of a cosmetics commercial.

- This week’s Televiews Column on the Daily Yomiuri covers observations on mainstream Japanese media and how they cover recent breaking news such as the Akihabara killer and the major earthquake last week. I agree - I really don’t want to know anymore about how quickly this crazy bastard managed to slice down people, and I don’t want to see anymore cameras shoved into greiving families’ faces.

- Jason Gray also covers the latest news on Takeshi Kitano’s new film with the release of the poster. Kitano as a painter? He so crazy.

The Golden Rock - June 19th, 2008

- New Lovehkfilm reviews are up. First from Boss Kozo is the Tsui Hark flop Missing, the Japanese comedy In the Pool, and the Vietnamese action film The Rebel. Then from yours truly are reviews of the Japanese comedy Fine, Totally Fine, the Japanese arthouse horror flick The Wall Man, and the Korean comedy Radio Dayz.

- It’s Japanese Oricon charts time! As expected, Glay’s latest single debuts at the top of the chart, just beating Koda Kumi’s first post-scandal single. Worth noting is the 7th place debut of DOZHI-T’s single, which is slowly creeping into Japanese media and is likely to have long-term legs like “Soba Ni Iru Yo” earlier this year. Meanwhile Kyosuke Himuro’s 20th anniversary compilation tops a quiet album chart, with Asian Kung-Fu Generation managing a 2nd place debut, and Coldplay all the way down at 5th place.

More at Tokyograph

- Mainly for record keeping, when Paramount wants to use the figure to boost their opening weekend box office: the latest Indiana Jones film had a weekend-long preview screenings in Japan on an astounding 772 screens, which include both subbed and dubbed versions. Over two days, it made a very impressive 597 million yen, which should tell you what kind of competition other films are coming up againist. Despite not opening day-and-date with the rest of the world, it’s looking at becoming the first 10 billion yen-grossing film of the year.

- An Indian entertainment conglomerate is looking to invest USD$500 million into Hollywood studio Dreamworks, which would allow the company to leave its current deal with Paramount Pictures and back to working at being an independent studio once more. This is especially important in terms of Asian entertainment news because while there have been quite a few Asia-Hollywood co-productions, this is the first time an Asian entertainment company is investing such a heavy amount of money into a major Hollywood studio.

- Kung Fu Panda had its Chinese premiere at the Shanghai International Film Festival, who decided to not allow the public in at the last minute. Attendees reportedly said liked the film and said it represented Chinese values.

Of course, there are always party poopers who want to ruin things for everyone else, although I can see why they’d be pissed about a Hollywood studio making money off two of Chinese culture’s biggest stereotypes.

- Grady Hendix over at Kaiju Shakedown also show how the Chinese media are trying to keep a nation of restricted media receivers entertained. As I mentioned on the random thoughts bar, Kelly Chan’s wedding announcement ended up in the middle of the Hong Kong news page, because I’m sure everyone in Hong Kong cares about the star of The Empress and the Warriors getting married.

-As expected, entertainment spending in the Asia-Pacfic region is currently growing the fastest, which means major markets such as Hollywood will likely continue try and break into the market in the coming years.

- Hollywood Reporter’s Maggie Lee turns in a review of Kim Jee-Woon’s The Good, the Bad, and the Weird, which is now easily my most anticipated film of the year. Yes, more so than Red Cliff.

- From Nippon Cinema is a write-up of the upcoming Gegege no Kitaro sequel, along with the latest trailer. I wouldn’t be so trusting of that trailer, though: The first film was advertised as a serious supernatural adventure as well, but it turned out to be a kids film.

- Indonesia, in a move to boost the local advetising industry, is banning all foreign-made advertisements and commercials. One foreign professional must be accompanied by three local staffs.

- Well-known Japanese novel Shayo, which was released post-World War II and examined the need for a social change in Japan at the time, is being adapted into a feature film. The question is how timely and how much of the novel’s social change environment will be retained.

- Kaiju Shakedown also looks at Asian movies going to North America, including Eye Infinity, which is actually a title closer to the Pang Bros.’ preference, since they called the third installment of the film The Eye 10 for similar purpose. Of course, then Lionsgate went all oriental but putting the Chinese characters for eye on the DVD cover, although the film’s Chinese name doesn’t have the word  “eye” in it.

- Lastly, Japanese pop star Hikaru Utada has her own way to remind everyone in Japan to tune in for the finale of the hit drama Last Friends tonight on Japanese TV. Utada sings the theme song, which you can hear pretty much everywhere these days.

(note: it’s a parody of the drama’s poster)

The Golden Rock - June 18th, 2008 Edition

- I missed out on the Hong Kong box office’s weekend gross, so let’s look at the box office tally up to Tuesday. As expected, The Incredible Hulk is still on top with a 6-day total of HK$6.45 million from 39 screens. Meanwhile, Narnia overtook The Happening over the weekend and is still at second place with HK$18.45 million after 13 days. The Happening got bumped all the way to 4th place with HK$2.97 million after 6 days. It’ll likely do better than Lady in the Water. The horror film was bumped by Sex and the City, which has earned HK$11.07 million after 13 days. Very impressive for a 2.5 hour-category III film.

Not-so-impressive is another water film, Tsui Hark’s Missing, which has only made HK$790,000 from 30 screens after 6 days. Its opening day gross didn’t even reach the HK$100,000 mark. It was just a matter of late advertising and unattractive promotional material. Plus, I hear it’s just not a very good film.

-  Also as expected, Koki Mitani’s The Magic Hour tops the Japanese box office for the second weekend in a row, losing only 25% of its phenomenal opening, despite going up against the weekend-long Indiana Jones preview screenings at pretty much every single Japanese multiplex. Everything else on the top 10 dropped over 35%, though Narnia, Aibou, and Cyborg She maintained their standings. The Taste of Fish managed to jump up in both the attendance and gross rankings, despite losing nearly 39% in business.  Dive performs rather tepidly with its 8th place opening, and Juno flops with its semi-wide release, opening at 11th place with only 22 million yen from 110 screens. On the other hand, Eastern Promises did fairly well with its 8-screen limited release.

- No Korean box office stats yet, but Variety reports that Kung Fu Panda is the fastest-earning animated film in Korean history, passing the 2 million viewer mark on its 10th day over the weekend. Meanwhile, Korean films continue their slump, with the two latest local release earning only a 7th and 9th place debut, respectively.

- Some more Shanghai Film Festival coverage: China is trying to encourage more international co-production, especially when the Chinese market is still relatively untapped, as one Chinese person goes to the movies only once every five years on average.

- Kaiju Shakedown has a link to American distributor IFC’s trailer for Johnnie To’s Mad Detective. It looks like the same exact trailer from the HK version, but there were actually some recuts in the IFC version.

- Some major news about the upcoming Astro Boy animated film by Hong Kong 3d animation house Imagi: While Warner Bros and the Weinstein Company were initially annouced as the distributor, American distributor Summit has announced that they will take over distribution is most of the world. Also, Imagi has announced the film’s voice cast, which includes Nicholas Cage and Freddy Highmore.

- There’s a new trailer for the Dante Lam, Chinese-financed animated version of the Storm Riders. By the way, the Universe-financed, Pang Brothers-director Storm Riders sequel was renamed The Storm Warriors because buyers were confused about buying a movie named Storm Riders II without seeing the first one, hence the new title.

- Japanese comedian Yuichi Kimura is making his directorial debut, a film about a money counterfeiting scheme after World War II.

- Indians prove that they can do violent protests better than the Chinese, as 70 people were arrested after they attacked MTV India’s office over a poster for their latest reality show.

- Variety’s Bonnie Schieb looks at the Japanese lesbian film Love My Life.

The Golden Rock - June 12th, 2008 Edition

- Let’s go for a little number crunching first, as usual. As reported all this week, Koki Mitani’s The Magic Hour scored a very successful 500 million yen-plus opening on 379 screens. However, Mr. Texas points out that the opening is actually only 89% of the director’s very successful The Wow-Choten Hotel. Of course, the comparison is a little unfair, as Wow-Choten is the all-time Japanese comedy champ at the box office. However, Mitani and his cast have been aggressively promoting the film, with variety show appearances, a TV airing of Wow-Choten Hotel, and even the revival of Mitani’s popular TV series Furuhata Ninzabuo, which makes the opening a bit soft for all the buzz.

Also, Mr. Texas points out that even though The Magic Hour’s opening points of a 5 billion yen-plus final gross, several recent 500 million-yen openers have been fizzling out at the 3 billion yen mark, so it all depends on the word-of-mouth for this film. I caught the film this morning, and understood enough that I’ll be offering my views on the blog later on.

Mr. Texas also looked at another one of this past weekend’s major Japanese opening, the fish market-themed The Taste of Fish. Already planned to be a yearly movie series before its release, the human drama opened with 49.28 million yen from 259 screens, and is only 73% of the opening for the last Tsurubaka Nisshi film in 2007, which is the only other ongoing yearly film series about fishing. With no television station associated with the film, looks like Shochiku doesn’t even have the tv drama option if things don’t work out.

- I can’t believe I forgot to mention this: The Academy Award-nominated epic Mongol opened in limited release all over North America this past weekend, and managed an impressive USD$26,000 per-screen average. This is surely bittersweet for distributor Picturehouse, which closed up shop three weeks ago.

- It’s reviews time! All the reviews today are by Maggie Lee of The Hollywood Reporter. First, she takes a look at the Chinese film Knitting, which played at the Cannes Critics Week. There’s also a review of Kenji Uchida’s After School, which sounds too twisty for me to understand without subtitles. Lastly, she takes a look at the Milkyway-produced PTU-spinoff TV film Tactical Unit - The Code, which marks Law Wing-Cheong’s third directorial work, not second.

- Speaking of Milkyway, Johnnie To is donating his 36 award trophies for display at the Hong Kong Film Archive. He probably ran out of room to put them at home anyway.

- Mark Schilling has two interviews on the Japan Times, both for the film Gururi No Koto (All Around Us), which went into limited release this past weekend. First, Schilling has an interview with director Ryosuke Hashiguchi, whose latest marks his first film in 6 years. Then, Schilling talks to the film’s star and Tokyo Tower author Lily Franky. I predict there will be a rave for the film on Japan Times tomorrow.

- China has overtaken Japan to be the nation with the most digital TV connection, and will account for half the digital TV households in Asia based on the large population, with India in second place. However, Japan will remain the most valuable market for pay TV in Asia, because people in China will probably keep downloading everything.

- The Indian government finally announced the National Film Awards for 2006, after numerous delays caused by censor certification and possible rigging.

- Kaiju Shakedown offers links to a bunch of Asian film trailers that I haven’t linked to before.

- The Singaporean Film Commission is starting a feature film fund for new directors. Like the film funding program in Hong Kong, the system requires the director to have a co-investor in place already, but unlike its Hong Kong counterpart, it will offer a much larger bulk of the budget, and doesn’t require the director or the producer to have experience with feature films.

- Japan has lost another film veteran, as director Kan Mukai passed away at the age of 70 on June 9th.

The Golden Rock - June 11th, 2008 Edition

- The Japanese box office numbers have come in at Box Office Mojo. As reported yesterday, Koki Mitani’s The Magic Hour made over 500 million yen this past weekend (which amounts to about 4.87 million in American dollars). I would guess the three big local openers caused everything else to lose business, but the next opener, The Taste of Fish, is all the way down at 7th place (probably at 6th place of the attendance chart because it attracted older audiences.), and Takashi Miike’s God’s Puzzle showed up all the way down at 12th place with just over 15 million yen from 198 screens.

The lowest drop in the top 10, for Kenji Uchida’s After School, was still at 35%. Even Aibou lost over 47% of its business while still managing to hang on at 3rd place, while Narnia is still doing huge business, despite losing 46% of business from the previous week. The biggest drop of the week goes to 27 Dresses, which lost a Hulk-sized 62% drop from its opening week. Ouch.

- It’s Japanese Oricon charts time! Kat-tun gets their 10th consecutive number 1 release with their latest album, and is only the 4th group to do so. Even SMAP hasn’t been able to pull that off yet. Meanwhile, GReeeN continues to hold onto their number one spot on the single chart, barely fending off challenger Tackey and Tsubasa’s theme for the drama Osen.

More at Tokyograph

- The Akihabara random stabbing case in Tokyo has caused TBS to pull an episode of their drama on Monday night because it features a street stabbing scene that may be too close to the real thing. Also, Sunday’s incident boosted NHK’s 7pm newscast on Sunday to a 21.0% rating, higher than the usual 15-18% rating that time slot gets on Sundays. This is also because NHK is probably the least sensationalist out of all the Japanese television news  media, who have jumped to label this guy as the “otaku monster” who uses his cell phone too much.

- China has began a strict registration system for Chinese citizens working for overseas media during the Olympics. The organization Reporters Without Borders is calling this Beijing’s way of restricting so-called “fixers” for oversea agencies. So how many initial promises for press freedom has the government broken by now?

- Kaiju Shakedown looks at the new low of the Korean film industry and wonders if it can be attributed to the reduction of the screen quota system last year.

- There’s still good news for Korea though, as TV drama Jewel in the Palace has become a massive hit in Hungary, scoring 30-plus% ratings.

- A new Korean film uses rotoscoping (think Waking Life and A Scanner Darkly) to not only recreate a 600-year old structure, but also to add Jennifer Aniston in the movie. That is cool, indeed.

-  With the crossover success of Koizora and other Japanese cell phone novels, you’d think that they’re only for teenagers. Apparently, housewives have plenty of time to read them too, if the content is right.

- Producers of Japanese content and hardware such as Disney, Sony, Universal, the “big three”, Sharp, among others have come together to form the Digital Entertainment Group. Together they will decide how to promote the next generation of digital entertainment. I hope that doesn’t include price regulations as well.

- Major Japanese film critic Haruo Mizuno has died at the age of 76. His influence was far and wide, including being credited with suggesting the Japan Academy Awards and commented on over 1200 films on a Japanese television program.

The Golden Rock - June 5th, 2008 Edition

- It’s Japanese Billboard charts time! Just as in the Oricon chart, GReeeN’s latest single takes the number one spots thanks to sales and radio airplay. In fact, radio airplay helped boost many artists on the Hot 100, including Usher, Misia, and Orange Range, which got boosted to 2nd place over V6’s latest. Madonna’s Miles Away, though not a released single, even got a 12th place on the Hot 100 because it’s getting airplay as the theme song to the Kimura Takuya drama CHANGE.

- The indie film Yamazakura, starring Rena Tanaka, opened on 9 screens in the Kanto area and made an impressive 8.14 million yen. This is especially impressive because at one theater in Tokyo, every seat for the 8 showings over the weekend filled up, and 70% of the audience were taking advantage of the discounts for seniors and married couples over 50. As Mr. Texas writes, with the film expanding to 20 more screens, will the film reach the top 10 of the box office charts?

- Remember the Black Eyed Peas charity concert I reported about earlier in the week? Featuring Karen Mok, the concert raised a total of USD$1 million for the earthquake relief efforts in China. Good for them.

- Do you remember the “Wong Kar-Wai vs. Raymond Wong” battle over the Yip Man movie Kaiju Shakedown earlier in the week also? According to the Wilson Yip film’s latest poster, Mandarin Films seemed to have backed off and is simply calling the film Yip Man in Chinese.

And now, Andy On is looking for the compensation that he’s still supposed to get after he was dropped from the film due to the producers’ need to fill the cast with Mainland Chinese actors (for co-production status). From the look of the producers’ luck, the film will probably get held up for 6 months by Mainland Chinese censors, and the film will flop in theaters.

- Under “Japanese celebrities break world records” news today, uber-host Monta Mino breaks the Guinness World Record for appearing on TV live for the most hours in a week that he set himself in 2006. The man hosts two lives shows a day, 6 days a week. When Regis can do this much TV, then we can call him the “Monta Mino of America”.

Meanwhile, Japanese celebrity Yusuke Kamji got on the Guinness World Record for having the most unique user on a personal blog in a day. Why hasn’t they contacted me over the record for “blog with least amount of original information”?

- The Korean Herald has an English review for the latest and the third Public Enemy film, again starring Sol Kyung-Gu. I probably should at least watch the first one.

- One of my favorite directors Kim Jee-Woon has signed up to make his English-language debut with John Woo and Terence Chang as producers. It’ll be a remake of a 1970s French classic noir about a heist going wrong.

Meanwhile, Kim’s latest The Good, The Bad, and the Weird has been selling very well after its positive reception at Cannes. However, Kim says he’s preparing two versions - an international one with more Sergio Leone references and a Korean one with “more directed at entertainment.” Sergio Leone is pretty damn entertaining to me, though.

- Toru Nakamura, in Hong Kong and Japanese theaters right now as the super-evil university dean in Shaolin Girl, just won the Yellow Ribbon Award in the film actors category. The award is presented every year as tributes to top fathers in different fields.

-  U2’s manager teared the internet a new one at a music forum here in Hong Kong, blaming internet service providers for the dwindling music business and how everyone is not sharing the money for people in the industry. Another foreigner is criticizing China! Someone boycott him!

- Meanwhile, Seoul police continue to rip their way through the city in their 100 days-long anti-piracy project, arresting people and seizing tons of pirated entertainment products.

- Major Japanese rental chain Tsutaya will begin streaming movies online for their members, creating another way for people to watch movies legally on their computer without having to go to their stores.

-  Jason Gray caught the award-winning Tokyo Sonata and provides a brief write-up.

- Korean actor Ha Jeong Woo will be starring in a Korea-Japan co-production with popular young actor Satoshi Tsumabuki. The film will be written by a Japanese writer and will have a Korean director, not unlike the romantic-drama Virgin Snow from last year.

The Golden Rock - June 1st, 2008 Edition

- Exile was the big winner at the MTV Video Music Awards Japan, picking up three awards - Best Video, Best Album, and Best Karaoke Song. Yes, Japan has an award for Best Karaoke Song.

- Twitch has a trailer for the upcoming Thai fantasy film Queens of Langkasuka.

- Under “idols!!!” news today, the Japanese 18-member group Idoling!!! is now a 17-memeber group, as one member who joined in April has already decided to retire from show business. Korea’s SM Entertainment is expanding with a new division devoted to musicals starring their artistes. Lastly, the Tokyo girl performing troupe AKB48, who also has a recording career, is expanding their performances to Nagoya after performing in Tokyo over the years.

- The Japanese extreme violence film Tokyo Gore Police will be making its premiere at the New York Asian Film Festival.

- This week’s Televiews Column on the Daily Yomiuri explores the use of the term “monsuta” on Japanese television.

- Variety has a feature on Hollywood and Japan outsourcing their animation and effects work to Hong Kong firms.

- Jason Gray shows how hard Haruki Kadokawa is trying to promote his latest producing effort God’s Puzzle.

- Sardonic Smile covers rock goddess Ringo Shiina’s 10-year history with a major record label. I include this because I’m a fan. Too bad I’ll be missing the concerts in August.

The Golden Rock - May 29th/30th, 2008 Edition

A slow news day means a shorter entry today:

- The latest Narnia movie scored a fairly huge opening in Japan this weekend, easily beating out Aibou for that number 1 spot. However, Mr. Texas at Eiga Consultant points out that the Disney-produced sequel actually opened at only 70% of the first film’s opening. As expected, the audience were spread out fairly evenly between the subbed and dubbed versions, with the subbed version getting 53% of total audiences. While the film doesn’t have any big opponents until Indy shows up on June 21st, it’s more on par to do Golden Compass numbers rather than matching the 6.88 billion yen gross of the original.

- The 2,000 seat Koma Theater, which has attracted enka shows and international stage shows, will be closing down at the end of the year along with the theater next door.

-  Aibou was scheduled to end its run on June 6th, assuming that Toei needed to make room for Takeshi Miike’s God Puzzle, but now Toei is extending its time in theaters, which is natural since it’s still at 2nd place of the box office chart this past weekend.

- Speaking of God’s Puzzle, Twitch has the film’s latest trailer.

- After Bae Yong-Joon joined the cast of the animated version of Winter Sonata, now actress Choi Ji Woo from the live-action drama is also voicing her animated counterpart.

-  For some reason, China’s CCTV has stopped airing the NBA playoffs, though reasons that can be attributed to this is that peope are in no mood to watch the NBA after the earthquake and neither of the two Chinese players in the league are actually playing in the playoffs.

- A Twitch reader sent in a review for Shaolin Girl, and the news isn’t good. I’m catching this tonight, and I’m lowering my expectations already.

- Jason Gray checks out Tokyo! in Tokyo and writes about a famous Shibuya arthouse theater in the process.

- Japan Times has a lengthy report on this year’s Cannes Film Festival.

- The Golden Rock’s favorite Japanese enka singer Jero has been spending this Spring all over the Japanese spotlight as his single remains on the Oricon charts. Now the Washington Post finally found a chance to sit down with him.

That post in Japan Probe also include his latest TV ad for a canned coffee. It’s not that great. Copyright © 2002-2018 Ross Chen