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Archive for the ‘Central Asia’ Category

The Golden Rock - January 16th, 2008 Edition

- First, a short report on the Japanese box office numbers:

Looks like Earth’s opening was actually pretty huge. From 275 screens, the nature documentary made 349 million yen, and will definitely have no trouble hitting the 1 billion yen mark. This being a holiday weekend, no film on the top 10 except Tamagotchi took a real huge drop.  The third place opener Giniro no Season probably did not report its numbers, which threw off the top 10 a little bit, and the pseudo-Western drama The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford opens outside the top 10 with 23.7 million yen from 69 screens.

By the way, Tsubaki Sanjuro finally made 1.05 billion yen after 7 weekends. I knew you could do it, Oda-san!

dscn2223.JPG
It’s all because of the horses!

- Time for this week’s Oricon charts. On the singles side, the pop group AAA got their first number 1 single, though it only sold 25,000 copies, narrowing beating this year’s Kohaku favorite Sugimoto Masato.  On the album side, even a full week couldn’t lift Ayumi Hamasaki’s latest album back up to the top spot, letting Kobukuro maintain their number 1 for another week.

More from Tokyograph.

- Two pieces of news from Hong Kong newspapers, one with a link, and one without:

The Pang Brothers-directed Storm Riders sequel is now set to shoot next month not only with original stars Ekin Cheng and Aaron Kwok (so THAT’S why the Pangs have been casting them lately!), but also with Twin’s Charlene Choi and Nicholas Tse signed up for supporting roles. The team will go to the Cannes market in May.
(From Oriental Daily)

Screenwriter Ivy Ho is working on her directorial debut, starring Ekin Cheng and Karena Lam.
(From Apple Daily)

- Between making his new vampire flick and his big-budget collaboration with The Host director Bong Joon-Ho, Park Chan-Wook will be producing a screwball comedy named Scarlett Blush.

- Poor Korean anchorwoman Moon Ji-ae has lost her spot as anchor on the news after coming under heavy criticism for cracking up at the end of a newscast. The problem is that it followed an update on the day’s headline, about 40 people being killed in a warehouse fire.

- Lust, Caution has lost its chances at winning a best foreign film Oscar. Then again, it has plenty of company, as heavy favorites such as Diving Bell and the Butterfly, 4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days, and Persepolis all did not make the final 9-film short list.  On the other hand, Kazakhstan’s Mongol, starring Japanese actor Tadanobu Asano, did end up on the shortlist.

The Golden Rock - November 25th, 2007 Edition

 - I’ve been meaning to post this for a while: Hong Kong distributor Golden Scene uploaded the trailer for Edmond Pang Ho-Cheung’s latest Trivial Matters on Youtube. The trailer is unsubtitled, but I can tell you it includes references to ejaculation, Isabella Leung and Gillian Chung pretending they can sing like pop stars (kinda like real life), it has Shawn Yue smoking a bong, and Edison Chan pretending to speak like a rapper. In other words, it’s not really safe for work.

Just in case you need reminding, Trivial Matters is a film adaptation of 7 short stories all originally written by Pang himself. He also directed all 7 films.

- It’s reviews time! Variety has a review of Samson Chiu’s Mr. Cinema, one of the three Hong Kong handover commemoration film from this past summer.

- In case you haven’t watched any of Akira Kurosawa’s classic films, some of them are now public domain and can be downloaded legally for free. I’m somewhat embarrassed to say I have not seen Ikiru, Stray Dog, and Sugata Sanshiro.

- Han Jae Rim’s The Show Must Go On picked up the best film award at the Blue Dragon Awards. The film’s star Song Kang-Ho also picked up a best actor for playing the role of a gangster who has to balance family and his work in crime. Meanwhile, Jeon Do-Yeon picked up another best actress win for Secret Sunshine, Hur Jin-Ho picked up best director for his latest film Happiness (I can’t wait to see this), Kim Han-Min picked up best director and best screenplay for Paradise Murdered, and *gasp* Daniel Hanney picked up a best new actor award for the melodrama My Father. I guess they mean that he didn’t really act in Seducing Mr. Perfect.

Full winners list here

- Under “Pakistan sure knows how to send out conflicting signals” news today, the government has pressured the authorities in Dubai to shut down two Pakistani television news channels with no planned dates to bring them back on the air. Meanwhile, the Pakistani censor board has cleared an Indian film that will become the first Indian film to open in Pakistani theaters since the countries banned each other’s movies simply because of some financing loopholes. Yay for international co-productions!

- The Daily Yomiuri has a feature on Japanese genre director Ryuhei Kitamura’s decision to go to Hollywood. I thought it was a typo when it says his last Japanese film Lovedeath runs at three hours. Turns out it’s 160 minutes long. It doesn’t look like it deserves 160 minutes.

- The Daily Yomiuri also has a column about NHK’s efforts to boost ratings for its yearly Kohaku Variety show, including making it more concentrated on the strength of music. Wait, wasn’t the show supposed to be about the music in the first place?

In order to get to that, they have invited Akihabara-friendly idols AKB48, Shoko Nakagawa, and Leah Dizon to perform in this year’s show. Somehow I think this music strength thing is going to be a gradual change.

- Again from the Daily Yomiuri is a feature on the current state of Otaku-ism in Japan and its influence in America.

- If you’re in the area of Rotterdam around the end of January, you can get your Asian film fix at the Rotterdam Film Festival, where several Asian films are competing.

-  And if you were asking repeatedly when will someone make an inspirational movie about the game of darts, your prayers have been answered.

- Which country is affecting the growth digital TV broadcast signals? Not America. Not Japan. Not even South Korea. It’s China.

The Golden Rock - November 18th, 2007 Edition

- Courtesy of Twitch, the first real teaser for the Death Note spinoff Change the WorLd is now out with actual clips from the movie. However, it won’t be released until February 9th in Japan, so I guess it’s too early to get excited about what’s on screen. Then again, my Japanese isn’t that good.

- In “they’re getting ahead of themselves” news today, America’s Summit Entertainment bought up the remake rights for the Korean film Seven Days, about a lawyer who must save a man on death row to save her own daughter, before it even opened in Korea. Sounds like a derivative thriller only Hollywood can make, so why don’t they just make the damn thing themselves? Oh, wait….

- It’s reviews time! Japan Times’ Mark Schilling reviews the low-budget V-Cinema film Sundome, which actually managed to get play in a hip Shibuya theater.

- Grady Hendrix writes about the current media situation in Pakistan during the current government repression. Case in point: they’re still releasing the country’s exploitation gory horror film.

- The Daily Yomiuri’s weekly Teleview column bashes the hell out of flopping drama Joshi Deka and writes about the sad sad ways Japanese comedians can make money through spelling simple English.

- According to usual Tony Jaa collaborator director Prachya Pinkaew, him and the action star had a falling out, and their future collaborations have been canceled. Did Pinkaew get pissed because Jaa’s directorial debut Ong Bak 2 has even less story than Ong Bak 1?

- The MTV concert series unplugged is finally going to China. Too bad I have no idea who the hell those two first artists are, and we know that Cantopop tend to suck too much to attract that kind of talent.

- Actress Rie Miyazawa talks about her latest film with the Daily Yomiuri. Miyazawa plays a woman who works with her late husband’s apprentice to keep a small town theatre running in the 1950s after the husband’s death.

The Golden Rock - August 2nd, 2007 Edition

- Looks like another case of misreporting box office figures in Japan. The latest Pixar film Ratatouille supposedly earned about 489 million over two days this past weekend. However, what Disney didn’t report is that the actual earning is actually 360 million yen, and the rest were made during the special sneak previews last weekend. That would make the opening a bit of a disappointment, as it’s only 95% of the opening for the last Pixar film Cars. However, the word-of-mouth for the film is actually batter than Cars (at least in the States), so it might come out earning more in the long run.

- It’s official, China has decided to not let the latest Jackie Chan Hollywood star vehicle Rush Hour 3 on Chinese movies screens. There are a couple of possible reasons for this - 1) China doesn’t like the content, especially the presence of the triads. However, how can that be true when the first two films featured triad villains? 2) China simply can’t stand all these Hollywood films dominating the box office and has implemented the usual summer policy of getting rid of Hollywood films to let Chinese films have their day. 3) It just got unlucky and couldn’t be secured as one of the 20 American films allowed to be shown in Chinese theatres each year. 4) The movie sucks, and the Chinese people shouldn’t be exposed to that type of crap. I got five bucks on numbers 2 and 3.

- Meanwhile, the trade reviews are out. Hollywood Reporter’s Michael Rechtshaffen says the routine goes awfully stale, while Variety’s Robert Koehler says that the adrenaline rush just isn’t there anymore.

- Variety has a few more Asian film reviews, one for the 2007 Korean hit Voice of a Murderer, Fumihiko Sori’s Vexville, and the Thai horror film Alone, which is currently a hit at the Korean box office.

- Kabuki’s bad boy Shido Nakamura has followed the steps of Last Samurai actress Koyuki and signed with Avex. With that, he has also officially joined the cast of John Woo’s The Battle of Red Cliff, which would make this his second Chinese blockbuster after Jet Li’s Fearless.

- If you’ll indulge me another game of multiple degrees of separation, Tony Leung Chiu-wai also stars in the Battle of Red Cliff, but he originally withdrew from the film because of the fatigue he suffered after making Ang Lee’s Lust, Caution. The film, almost or already completed, will compete in the upcoming Venice Film Festival. Though the film was originally submitted as a USA-China entry because there’s where the money came from. However, it almost brewed a small controversy when the nationality was changed to Taiwan due to director Ang Lee’s nationality.

- A nation at war turns to TV soap operas, culinary shows, and idol competitions. Surprisingly, it’s not the United States.

- Japan will be the first to see a MTV-created mobile social network, which will also feature pages created by Japanese pop stars. Do we really need to be THAT connected?

- Speaking of embracing the new media, another Japanese media producer has signed a deal with Youtube to upload promo clips and various content on the video site.

- Avril Lavinge’s album has sold a million copies in Japan, making her the first foreign artist to sell more than one million copies of each of her three albums. They’ll find a record for anything in Japan, especially when it comes to music.

- Twitch has an interview with director Steven Okazaki, whose latest film is the documentary White Light/Black Rain, about the fallout of nuclear warfare including the bombings of Hiroshim and Nagasaki.

- Japanese R&B/A Capella group Gospellers is teaming up with forgotten Backstreet Boys member Howie D for their latest single. Not to be a party pooper, but I think Howie needs the Gospellers more than they need Howie.

- With the 2008 Olympics approaching in a year, China has still yet to deliver the full media freedom they promised foreign journalists there. 95% of those who responded to the survey by the Foreign Correspondents Club of China says China’s reporting conditions are not up to what they call an “international standard.”

By the way, remember to vote for our poll. The future of The Song of the Day depends on all of you.

The Golden Rock - August 2nd, 2007 Edition

- Looks like another case of misreporting box office figures in Japan. The latest Pixar film Ratatouille supposedly earned about 489 million over two days this past weekend. However, what Disney didn’t report is that the actual earning is actually 360 million yen, and the rest were made during the special sneak previews last weekend. That would make the opening a bit of a disappointment, as it’s only 95% of the opening for the last Pixar film Cars. However, the word-of-mouth for the film is actually batter than Cars (at least in the States), so it might come out earning more in the long run.

- It’s official, China has decided to not let the latest Jackie Chan Hollywood star vehicle Rush Hour 3 on Chinese movies screens. There are a couple of possible reasons for this - 1) China doesn’t like the content, especially the presence of the triads. However, how can that be true when the first two films featured triad villains? 2) China simply can’t stand all these Hollywood films dominating the box office and has implemented the usual summer policy of getting rid of Hollywood films to let Chinese films have their day. 3) It just got unlucky and couldn’t be secured as one of the 20 American films allowed to be shown in Chinese theatres each year. 4) The movie sucks, and the Chinese people shouldn’t be exposed to that type of crap. I got five bucks on numbers 2 and 3.

- Meanwhile, the trade reviews are out. Hollywood Reporter’s Michael Rechtshaffen says the routine goes awfully stale, while Variety’s Robert Koehler says that the adrenaline rush just isn’t there anymore.

- Variety has a few more Asian film reviews, one for the 2007 Korean hit Voice of a Murderer, Fumihiko Sori’s Vexville, and the Thai horror film Alone, which is currently a hit at the Korean box office.

- Kabuki’s bad boy Shido Nakamura has followed the steps of Last Samurai actress Koyuki and signed with Avex. With that, he has also officially joined the cast of John Woo’s The Battle of Red Cliff, which would make this his second Chinese blockbuster after Jet Li’s Fearless.

- If you’ll indulge me another game of multiple degrees of separation, Tony Leung Chiu-wai also stars in the Battle of Red Cliff, but he originally withdrew from the film because of the fatigue he suffered after making Ang Lee’s Lust, Caution. The film, almost or already completed, will compete in the upcoming Venice Film Festival. Though the film was originally submitted as a USA-China entry because there’s where the money came from. However, it almost brewed a small controversy when the nationality was changed to Taiwan due to director Ang Lee’s nationality.

- A nation at war turns to TV soap operas, culinary shows, and idol competitions. Surprisingly, it’s not the United States.

- Japan will be the first to see a MTV-created mobile social network, which will also feature pages created by Japanese pop stars. Do we really need to be THAT connected?

- Speaking of embracing the new media, another Japanese media producer has signed a deal with Youtube to upload promo clips and various content on the video site.

- Avril Lavinge’s album has sold a million copies in Japan, making her the first foreign artist to sell more than one million copies of each of her three albums. They’ll find a record for anything in Japan, especially when it comes to music.

- Twitch has an interview with director Steven Okazaki, whose latest film is the documentary White Light/Black Rain, about the fallout of nuclear warfare including the bombings of Hiroshim and Nagasaki.

- Japanese R&B/A Capella group Gospellers is teaming up with forgotten Backstreet Boys member Howie D for their latest single. Not to be a party pooper, but I think Howie needs the Gospellers more than they need Howie.

- With the 2008 Olympics approaching in a year, China has still yet to deliver the full media freedom they promised foreign journalists there. 95% of those who responded to the survey by the Foreign Correspondents Club of China says China’s reporting conditions are not up to what they call an “international standard.”

By the way, remember to vote for our poll. The future of The Song of the Day depends on all of you.

 
 
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