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Archive for the ‘Canada’ Category

The Golden Rock - June 2nd, 2007 Edition

- Youtube/Google and record company EMI have struck a deal to place video contents on Youtube legally. Artists under the EMI label include Coldplay and David Bowie (wait, does David Bowie even make music anymore?). Universal music also has a similar deal in place with Youtube. Too bad only North American music labels have deals so far, everything else is just getting their copyrights violated.

- Meanwhile, Asian music is seeing a huge market at making their products available for mobile users, and for a very good reason. In fact, a survey says most people expect music to only be available digitally in the next few years….as long as these music will be provided in uncompressed 1400k wav files (OK, I added that last part myself).

- This weekend, two films by two major comedians in Japan opened. First, there’s Takeshi Kitano’s latest “Kantoku Banzai” (”Long Live the Director!”), which is supposed to be quite strange and alienating like Takeshis’. There’s also “Dai Nipponjin,” the directorial debut of famous comedian Hitoshi Matsumoto (he’s the bald guy that does those batsu games). There were rumors that the films are opening on the same day to allow some cross-promotion, since the two comedians seem to cross paths on TV quite often. I can’t seem to find any articles about it (though I remember I read something about that), but if you need any proof that there’s any of that happening, just look at the following clip of Hitoshi Matsumoto on the comedy show “Waratte Itomo,” where he not only talks about his Cannes experience, but also have a crew member hang posters of his own film AND Kantoku Banzai in the back. Damn it, I want both of those posters.

I also predicted that there might be some kind of box office battle this weekend between these two films. I was wrong, they’re both fairly small releases (maybe just under 100 screens?), so Pirates will probably win the weekend again.

- I wrote about the so-so box office of last weekend’s opener Shaberedomo Shaberedomo before. Turns out it’s not doing quite well. The film, a drama about Japanese stand-up comedy (except they sit down, which….I guess makes it sit-down comedy in Japan terms), stars Johnny’s Entertainment-managed group Tokio member Taichi Kokubun and is actually doing worse than films featuring other Johnny’s talents. For instance, compared to those films that opened on less than 250 screens, Shaberedomo’s 39.7 million yen opening is only 66% of Sakurai Sho’s Honey and Clover’s opening, though it did open 143% of the opening for “Nezu no Ban” (A Hardest Night), another film about Japanese comedians. In addition, its “main theater” in Ginza reported full houses all weekend. Perhaps word-of-mouth (partly from positive reviews) will give it legs at the box office.

- Japan Times also rips the ridiculous Hollywood blockbuster 300 a new one this weekend.

- I know Ryu Seung-Wan (City of Violence, Arahan, Crying Fist) is a favorite among Asian action film fans out there. After exploring contemporary films, now he’s kind of moving on to period films….except said period film will have zombies in it too.

- Joost is supposed to be the high-quality alternative to Youtube, plus legal content. I have it, but it doesn’t have much to keep me tuned in. This isn’t going to help me keep tuning in, but I think this might encourage some other people to try it. However, Joost is currently invitation-only. Still, just google “Joost invite” and you can find one easily.

- People in the UK are now lucky enough to pre-order the excellent German film The Lives on Others on DVD. I know it’s not Asian, but I like the movie.

- A few weeks ago I put up the link to a teaser for Takeshi Miike’s high school brawl film Crows Zero. Apparently, the film won’t be an all-out boys fest; it will now have approximately one female character in it. Jeez, now I’m just making the movie sound like a prison sentence with periodical conjugal visits.

- Korea Pop Wars has an amusing story about how a win in the art world is overshadowing big bad Hollywood advertising. That’s right, Shrek, you just got your big promotional plan beat down by the French.

- Canada, sit tight. You guys are getting the Election movies in theaters starting yesterday! Just don’t bring a video camera to the theater anymore. Too bad I’ll be missing the August 17th opening of Exiled on the big screen in the United States (I’ll be in Hong Kong already by then).

- Speaking of which, forget about uploading TV shows; don’t even think of trying to spread them, especially episodes of 24.

- Lastly, there are more information about Tsui Hark’s latest film Missing, which somehow has something to do with a sunken wedding ring and an underwater city.

That’s it for today, we’ll wrap up the weekend tomorrow.

Beware

Not much news today, and since I haven’t talked much about the films I’ve seen lately, this would be a good place to start.

Thanks to the Netflix streaming “Watch Now” option, I managed to check out the Japanese film “Who’s Camus Anyway?” It’s so hard to find that it’s not even available on Japanese DVD (If anyone can find one, great, but I looked through Yesasia and CDJapan and found nothing, but you can find the American DVD easily). Anyway, it’s a comedy-drama chronicling a week before the shoot of a student film. The ambitious 9-minute opening shot, which whips through a real Japanese college campus (I believe it’s Rikkyo University) introduces all the major characters - the promiscuous director, his conflicted assistant director, the new lead, the widowed professor, and members of the crew that love to talk about opening shots.

Inserting references to Camus, Death in Venice, Tarantino, and who knows how many more, you don’t exactly need to understand what the film is really about to “get” Who’s Camus Anyway. Confidently written and directed by Mitsuo Yanagimachi (I honestly thought a much younger director made this), anyone remotely interested in filmmaking would find the film interesting at just how tedious the whole process can be. Egos collide, romantic entanglements ensue, and someone’s eventually going to get hurt. Of course, those who aren’t interested might be wondering why art students are so in love with themselves, but as one of them, I can just say that’s the way it is.

It’s not much of a review, but call this a recommendation: Who’s Camus Anyway is well-written and directed enough to be entertaining, even when you can’t quite pick up every layer of the story.

- They’ve done it before, and now they’re doing it again. After the Weinsteins infamously gave up their rights to Chen Kaige’s stinker The Promise (sadly, rightfully so too), they decided to give up the outside-Asia/UK worldwide rights they got for Ong Bak 2 a year ago, except they’ll still hold North America rights. So good news: Weinstein no longer in charge of Western distribution of Ong Bak 2. Bad News: They’re still in charge of it in America.

- Looks like Hollywood is singing the tune “blame Canada” these days after Warner Bros. found that 70% of the camera-recorded pirated versions of their films come from Canada. Since then, Warner Bros. have canceled all advanced screenings of their films, and 20th Century Fox is contemplating delaying releases for major films in Canada. Believe it or not, since Canada has no laws banning recording films in cinemas, it’s now one of the major piracy nations in the world.

- On the other hand, Warner Bros. have secured a video-on-demand program deal in Hong Kong, which may or may not help combat piracy. Now let’s see whether they can make it accessible enough for people to actually take advantage of it.

- Speaking of Hong Kong and piracy, Hongkie Town reviews two reports of the same trial - the appeals hearing of the first person to be convicted of uploading films using Bittorrent. I’ll have to say, though, that the defense is really stretching why this guy might be innocent.

- Speaking of internet behavior, bloggers and forum posters beware - Your hyperlinks can get you in trouble with the law.

- I can’t believe I paid 35 bucks for this. I originally didn’t think that Ken Watanabe’s “Memories of Tomorrow” would actually get anywhere beyond Japan. Character dramas, especially those not produced by the big three - Toho, Shochiku, and Toei, don’t usually see their day outside the region. So I bought the English-subtitle-less Japanese DVD for my mother when I was in Japan, and I hoped that I can understand at least 50% of it with the subtitles on. Then they released it in Hong Kong, and now they’re even releasing it in America theatrically, thanks to Watanabe’s star power. I should be thankful that a film like this got international distribution, but what took them so damn long?

- I knew it was a pretty big hit, but who would’ve guessed that Gegege No Kitaro would actually be breaking box office records? That’s right, the film’s first full week take just over 1 billion yen is actually a record for distributor Shochiku.

- The first trailer for Benny Chan’s Invisible Targets is up, and wow. It’s not a very long clip, but it has a lot of crap blowing up, people jumping off stuff, and even has Nicholas Tse getting hit by a bus. It’ll probably have a crappy story with overacting everywhere, but this looks like a pretty promising action flick.

- Just when you think it’s out, they pull ‘em back in. After the so-so Terminator 3 promised to take the franchise to a brand-new level while also providing a satisfying yet grim end to the series, another private firm has bought the rights, intending to continue the franchise. Shall we file this under “bad idea”………

- Lastly, Korea Pop Wars looked at the Korean Film Council’s Korean film history book for you, and Mark lets you know whether you should read it or not.

 
 
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