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Archive for the ‘France’ Category

The Golden Rock - May 27th, 2007 Edition

Cannes finally comes to a close, meaning that those who don’t really care can now rest easy. Of course, if all goes well, we’ll doing it all over again for Venice and Toronto later this year.

On the general awards front, the Romanian film “4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days” won the Palme D’or, Julian Schnabel won best director for “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly,” Gus Van Sant won the special 60th Anniversary Award for “Paranoid Park,” Fatih Akin won the best screenplay award for “The Edge of Heaven,” and Konstantin Lavronenko won best actor for the Russian film “The Banishment.”

On the Asian films front, Naomi Kawase’s “The Mourning Forest,” which screened on the last full day of screening in competition, won the Grand Prix (which is like a glorified 2nd place award). Variety and Hollywood Reporter critics usually don’t work on weekends (even during Cannes, apparently), so there are no reviews from them yet. However, we do have a review from Screen International’s Lee Marshall, who calls the film one of great emotional impact with a vision that is equal to Terrence Malick. Meanwhile, Mike D’Angelo has a short review on ScreenGrab, and he didn’t like it as much (it’s a short review, just scroll down. Thanks to Green Cine for the link).

Also, Jeon Do-Yeon won the best actress award for Lee Dong-Chang’s “Secret Sunshine,” which ups the awards count for Asian films in competition to two this year. Then again, the competition seems pretty heavy this year, so Asia should be glad that it represented itself quite well.

- Moving on, Danny Boyle’s Sunshine, which has unfortunately not been doing very well anywhere it’s playing so far (it has open in most major territories in the world and has only made US$27 million). Now, Fox has moved up the North American release to July 20th from its second release date in September. This might be a good move, since it’s only going against John Travolta in drag (courtesy of The Movie Blog) and the new Adam Sandler comedy, which just got the R kiss of death from the MPAA.

- Everybody is finishing up their trilogies in recent years, from Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s “Death Trilogy” to Gus Van Sant’s…..other “Death Trilogy” (apparently death at the hands of stranger is what he calls it) to Park Chan-Wook’s “Revenge Trilogy. Apparently, even Takeshi Kitano has been doing a trilogy from “Takeshis’” to “Kantoku Banzai!”. Now he’s planning to finish up this “self-exploratory trilogy” with a movie about the life of an artist from success to ruin that will feature his own paintings. Parallel to Kitano’s own directorial career is still unknown, depending on the reviews for “Kantoku Banzai!”.

- Japanese studio Toei and America’s Colombia Music are teaming up to make a series of short films for TV, DVD, and internet that will hopefully somehow lift sales by crossing CDs with DVDs. Their first film is called Metal Samurai. Good idea? Bad idea?

- Argentina and China are working on a deal to build a studio complex in Argentina. In addition, there are talks under way that would allow Chinese and Argentinean co-productions and other cinematic goodies.

- There’s a pretty ho-hum poster out for Feng Xiaogang’s The Assembly. Am I the only one that’s no really excited about this?

- There’s a law in China that bans all materials that deal with the supernatural. Films and books that deal with the supernatural are often banned, though there are ways around it, as evident in the recent thriller The Matrimony. The latest victim of this ban is the popular Japanese comic/animated series/films Death Note. Authorities in China finally got off their asses and seized over 2400 copies of the comic and 360 copies of what is probably the animated series or the films on compact discs. Thanks to the popularity of the comic, kids are also buying up the mock version of the Death Notebook (In Japanese, the word for notebook is “no-to,” or just “note.” So Death Note actually means Death Notebook), freaking out other kids by writing their names in it. Now that’s just plain mean.

- Since we were on the subject of law, Japan has finally passed a legislation in its parliament that bans the video recording of film in movie theaters. The fines are pretty heavy too, so think twice before bringing in that camera for the Death Note spinoff movie; keeping up your otaku cred isn’t worth that much.

- Oh, there’s also a teaser poster for Kim Ji-Woon’s The Good, the Bad, and the Weird, currently in production. What the hell is that thing Song Kang-Ho is wearing?

- Since this is the summer of the sequels, Professor David Bordwell wrote about a virtual roundtable he had that discussed the possible merits of sequels in his blog.

Off to finish the second part of Clint Eastwood’s Iwo Jima saga. Yup, that means a feature tomorrow, right on time for Memorial Day.

More of the same

Two notable films (at least for me) premiered at Cannes - the big Hollywood blockbuster Ocean’s Thirteen and Lee Chang-Dong’s Secret Sunshine.

While many people didn’t like Ocean’s Twelve, I really liked the fun French New Wave spirit Soderbergh was trying to express. He knows that it was an excuse for everyone to just go on vacation in Europe, and pretty much shot it that way. It might’ve seemed like film snobbery (People seriously thought I was bullshitting with the French New Wave thing), but I liked it nevertheless. Anyway, The gang returns for more of the same in Ocean’s Thirteen, although I expect Soderbergh turning down the genre homage by quite a bit. Anyway, seems like critics are liking it more, with Hollywood Reporter calling it spirited and engaging, while Variety calls it as smooth as a good mojito and as stylish as an Armani suit. Alright, I’ll bite.

Meanwhile, Lee Chang-Dong’s Secret Sunshine, starring Jeon Do-Yeon and Sang Kang-Ho, is also getting some pretty good reviews as well. Variety says Jeon’s performance is finely detailed while the film fails to dramatized in cinematic terms, LunaPark6 is praising it, and Hollywood Reporter calls it a brave and unsettling film with outstanding performances.

The Singaporean film Pleasure Factory, about prostitutes in Singapore, was shown at the Un Certain Regard, but Variety hated it, saying that it makes the “dreadful” Herman Yau film “Whispers and Moans” look like a narrative masterpiece by comparison. Ouch.

Who else other than the director of Pleasure Factory not having such a good time? The coordinators for the booth representing Korean films this year. Apparently, they are just not having much luck at all at Cannes, marking a down trend in the Korean market for the first time in years.

But nevertheless, studios seem to be opting to buy films from independent studios rather than making them themselves, even though some independent studios aren’t biting what the big guys have to offer.

As Cannes starts to get to the end, it’s about time to decide who gets the Palme D’or. In many instance, the jury doesn’t quite agree with the critics’ choices, but the critics can’t even agree among themselves this year.

The MPA is singing the same tune at a different concert hall, this time at Cannes.

On to your regular programming:

- Mark Schilling has written an obituary for director Kei Kumai, who passed away on Wednesday morning Japan time.

- Twitch has an advance review of Ryuhei Kitamura’s Lovedeath. Reviewer James Maruyama calls it high on style and action, but low on story or invention. Sounds like typical Kitamura to me.

- LoveHKFilm also has some new reviews, including last week’s openers in Hong Kong - Herman Yau’s Gong Tau and The Matrimony, starring Leon Lai and Rene Liu. On the Panasian side, there’s also the Japanese films Midnight Sun, Strawberry Shortcakes, and Hou Hsiao-Hsien’s Ozu tribute Cafe Lumiere.

Out of those, I’ve only seen Cafe Lumiere, and if i haven ever been to Tokyo, I would’ve been bored to death by it. But for some reason(most likely in that I’m a bit of a transportation nerd), I really liked how Hou Hsiao-Hsien captured Tokyo in such a naturalistic fashion. It’s not really a crazy city. In fact, despite its sheer size, the city is rather serene when you leave its busiest districts, and that’s what Hou managed to capture. Also, I was in a Japanese cinema class at the time, and I was actually looking for recurring Ozu themes throughout the film, which made it even more interesting. Plus, it was fun playing “what’s that train” and “which train station is that” throughout the film. However, I expect everyone else to be pretty bored.

- Good to see the Japanese government embracing the technology, with a government panel now encouraging webcast of television content without requiring getting permission from all rights holders, as long as royalties are paid.

This leads me to a short rant. Recently, I signed up for a Japanese video service named Gyao, which is by the Usen Group and basically provides streaming video service for free. Unlike websites like Veoh and Crunchyroll (no link for you!) basically allow users to upload and watch films for free and illegally, this one is actually 100% legal and free, paying for itself through advertising. It has films, music videos, dramas, basically everything users wanted when they go to sites like Youtube. I was signed up and ready to watch (I knew something was fishy when they asked for my Japanese zip code, though. I used the zip code of someone I know), then the service won’t let me watch it, limiting it to Japanese computers only.

Obviously, I understand that it’s a matter of copyrights when foreign films or films sold to foreign distributors are involved, but this just shows how much the studio cares about exposure versus pure profit. Who cares who watches their movies when they got money from their foreign deals all lined up? This disdain for international audiences by Japanese distributors are why copyrights for their shows are infringed all the time. This is why sites like Crunchyroll and Veoh pop up, while the Japanese authorities moan and whine about how foreigners are stealing their copyright. Mind you, I’m not going to start downloading Japanese movies without paying my dues, but I think they brought it onto themselves.

- Director Naomi Kawase’s “The Mourning Forest” hasn’t even premiered at Cannes yet, and she’s already announced her next film, which will be released next summer. You have to give Asian directors some credit; even the best ones work amazingly fast.

- Remember three weeks ago, when Spiderman 3 broke all kinds of records with humongous screen counts and what have you? That seems so long ago, doesn’t it? Well, the new Pirates of the Caribbean movie is opening, and sounds like it’ll be more of the same - breaking screen counts, box office records, and the blah blah blah. In Japan, Eiga Consultant is predicting the three ways it can go - the V way, as shown by the Lord of the Rings and Spiderman franchise in Japan (High gross for first installment, dips the second, and jumps back up in the third), the “yama” way, as shown by the Matrix and Mission: Impossible franchise (increased gross for the second film, then dipping on the last film), or the descent way, shown by the Harry Potter franchise and the Star Wars prequels (this one doesn’t need explaining).

Considering that the Pirates franchise saw its first film make 6.8 billion yen to 10 billion yen for its sequel, it’s safe to say that the descent way is out of the question. But with a 2-hour-and-48-minute length and the big Japanese comedy battle next week (Dai Nipponjin vs. Kantoku Banzai), don’t be surprised if it goes the Yama way.

- A movie that I guess can work as counter-programming is the latest Zero Woman film, which F-ed Gaijin introduces. Here’s the trailer to the new film, but beware: it is NOT work-safe.

- Here’s kind of an interesting idea for a new film. The Korean-Canadian co-production “Anti-Hero” introduces a world where everybody has some kind of unique power (where are they going to think of 6 billion different unique powers?) except for the protagonist. Doesn’t that make him unique in the first place?

- Japanese poet Shuntaro Tanikawa is directing his first film, and it’s apparently shot with a still camera. Is he trying to emulate Hou Hsiao-Hsien?

Bit of everything

Since there isn’t a lot of new from Cannes, we’ll just do it the way we always do it around here.

- First, some news out of Hong Kong in a follow-up to the Chinese University of Hong Kong newspaper scandal. After the news broke out that the student newspaper was slapped with an interim category II rating (ruling it as indecent), Ming Pao Daily reprinted the page on one of their Sunday issues in an attempt to show what the hoopla’s about. After receiving more complaints, the TELA has also given that issue an interim classification of category II. Meanwhile, a survey was also done with over 1000 people about the CUHK newspaper, and to further complicate the definition of obscene, the general public seemed to have been offended by the CUHK newspaper.

Besides the obvious problem stated by EastSouthWestSouth, that most of those people haven’t even read the page themselves because the law won’t allow anyone to reprint it, what about the issue of target audience? The newspaper is not produced nor distributed for the general public, but rather just a small number of people that goes to Chinese University. Some people say that students might bring it back home, where kids can get to it. Then it’s the student’s fault for laying a sex page around the house, not the fault of the editors. Until then, only the students of CUHK should have the right to decide what they can or cannot read.

This is a frustrating situation, because people who have no business in denouncing a newspaper is doing so, and there’s such a hypocrisy going on in the media that I’m surprised no one is pointing it out. This is the Oriental Daily “Male Extreme Section.” It comes out once a week, and it contains articles about how prostitution is a natural thing in society, a column about a woman’s experience with a younger man, a guide to having sex during the summer heat, among other things that would not be very acceptable in a mainstream newspaper. So why hasn’t these people been fined week after week?

Same reason why Easyfinder has managed to survive week after week of exploiting female celebrities: It’s titillating. The contents in the sex pages of mainstream newspapers are meant to encourage people to feel sexual desire, which is why they are often sensational and written in casual Chinese. Though Easyfinder is now closing after years of public pressure, it only got into trouble because of clear acts that are illegal (such as violating Gillian Chung’s privacy by printing the pictures of her changing). Other than that, no one points out that it’s been nothing more than a trashy tabloid that’s meant to entertain.

On the other hand, the CUHK newspaper forces people to face their hidden fantasies, and it pretty much presents the same thing the other mainstream newspapers write about. As for the questionnaire problem, it doesn’t even encourage such behavior, nor is it even meant to be taken seriously. Look at the choices: There are four relatively short answers and an extended mock answer that’s just played for laughs. Hell, for the question about whether readers thought about bestiality, the closest thing to a “yes” choice is the mock answer. Maybe it’s in poor taste, but I don’t see anything particularly obscene about it, as long it’s not encouraging people to engage in such behavior, and that’s my conservative side talking already.

Anyway, on to regular news already.

- Legendary Japanese director Kei Kumai passed away on Wednesday morning Japan time.

- It’s time for the Japanese Oricon charts. On the singles side, Keisuke Kuwata’s latest single “Will It be Sunny Tomorrow,” also the theme song for popular drama Operation Love, debuts at number 1 with 167,000 copies sold. The single also marks his first solo effort in 5 years, and his 5th consecutive number 1 as a solo artist. The debut breaks the record for the consecutive number of number 1 debuts for a solo effort from a band member. Meanwhile, Exile’s latest debuts at a weak number 3 spot with only 89,000 copies sold as the singles market continues to weaken over time. Next week, expect boy band V6’s new single to rule the charts, only to see a huge drop off afterwards.

On the album chart, Linkin Park debuts at number 1 with 150,000 copies sold, while Maroon 5 debuts at the number 3, selling 64,000 copies. The biggest news is the new album by Tsuyoshi Nagabuchi, who is also starring in Kenta Fukasaku’s latest film, debuted only at number 4 with 61,000 copies sold. If the daily rankings hold up, then we should see Japanese albums ruling the charts again.

- Anyone that’s looking to watch Sexy Voice and Robo episode 7 online (I’m not, but I’m just saying) can forget it - NTV pulled the episode after an incident last week where an ex-Yakuza holed up in an apartment shot and killed a police officer during the stand-off. They also have no plans to air the episode yet, as they’ll just skip straight to episode 8 next week.

- Last weekend, the distributor for the independent film sequel Pacchigi - Love and Peace predicted that its gross would past the 1 billion mark based on the opening day of the first film. And it’s true, Love and Peace did indeed open at 150% of the first film, except the distributor didn’t take into account that the first film played to strong word-of-mouth for 22 weeks. Considering that the opening was also only 59% of last year’s indie hit Hula Girl, perhaps expectation is a little high.

- On the other hand, Indies are now all the rage in North America as a form of counter-programming.

- Reviews from Cannes time. The latest film by Thai director Pen-ek Ratanaruang (Invisible Waves, Last Life in the Universe) Ploy premiered as part of the Director’s Fortnight. Variety didn’t really like it, saying that it made the slow Invisible Waves look like a rapid approaching tsunami in comparison (that was a pun in bad taste, I say). On the other hand, Twitch likes it a lot, calling it beautiful, thought, and mediative.

- The Edge of Heaven, the new film by Fatih Akin, the director of the great “Head-On” (the film, not the product), is competing in Cannes. Looks like both Variety and Hollywood Reporter liked it. Variety calls it utterly assured and profoundly moving, while Hollywood Reporter calls it intricate and moving. I’m looking forward to it already.

- There have been clips of Sammi Cheng’s Hong Kong concert on Youtube, prompting the record company to ask Youtube to take it off the site. Problem is that these are just badly recorded clips from cell phones of digital cameras, so why start some petty copyrights fight to give up some promotion for the concert DVD?

- The Korean film I’m anticipating the most right now is probably Kim Ji-Woon’s The Good, The Bad, and the Weird, and it was recently sold to France in a 6-figure deal. Good for them.

- Dave’s Trailer Page has a link to a pretty good trailer for the fabulous Paris Je T’aime. I have the Hong Kong all-region DVD, but I urge everyone to give this a try in the theaters. Trust me, it’ll appeal to a wide audience better than the arthouse ones, except for a few of the shorts.

- Chow Yun-Fat wants to take on romantic or dramatic lead roles in Hollywood. At least he’ll do better than Jackie Chan, who pretty much said the same thing a year or two ago. But….but…what about Hong Kong??

- Apparently someone used a digital camera or something and bootlegged some footage from the reel for Feng Xiaogang’s The Assembly from the Cannes Film Festival. It looks technically accomplished, with huge explosions and whatnot, but Feng Xiaogang is first and foremost a commercial filmmaker. And honestly, the battle scenes look like they were taken straight out of Taeguki, which took its battle scenes out of Saving Private Ryan.

- Who says that playing video games ruins your mind? Well, maybe in America, but in Japan, the Nintendo DS is actually being used effectively to learn English.

- Oh, there’s another positive review for the new Pirates of the Caribbean movie, though right now it’s only at 50% fresh at Rotten Tomatoes. I still can’t get over the 2 hours and 48 minutes length myself.

- China is not just looking to Hong Kong for co-production. Those promiscuous bastards are looking all over the world.

- Isabella Leung is going to Hollywood. The star of…Isabella is set to play Michelle Yeoh’s daughter in The Mummy 3, also known as “the latest way to fuck up Chinese culture for worldwide consumption.” Stop taking our people down with you, Hollywood.

- Cannes isn’t even over yet, and the Venice Film Festival is already announcing that Robert Zemekis’ latest film, the 3D Beowulf (can he just go back to doing live-action films already?), will be opening the festival. Also, Ang Lee and Paul Thomas Anderson’s latest films also have a pretty good chance of showing up there as well.

Moving ahead

The big Cannes screening this past day was the director’s cut of Quentin Tarantino’s self-indulgent Death Proof. Essentially, the new cut extends the film by about 20 minutes with two major scenes - the missing reel with the lap dance, and a scene where Stuntman Mike (played by Kurt Russell) actually meets the girls in the second half. Variety likes it even more than the theatrical cut, saying that now the film benefits from the additional details in the second half. And I guess Hollywood Reporter doesn’t really have much of a problem with it either, which probably means that the director’s cut is pretty much a longer version of the same film. On the other hand, Jeffrey Wells, who actually liked the Grindhouse cut of Death Proof, is indirectly slamming it all of a sudden. Lastly, the Risky Biz blog by Hollywood Reporter has more on the press conference.

This didn’t happen yesterday, but someone uploaded footage from Hitoshi Matsumoto’s introduction of his film Dai Nipponjin at the Cannes premiere.

Hollywood Reporter critics Ray Bennett and Kirk Honeycott talk about the critical reception to the Cannes Festival films so far, including a reprieve for the panned-opening film My Blueberry Nights.

Meanwhile, there have been quite a few business deals made in Cannes:

Martin Scorsese, with other directors from around the world such as Wong Kar-Wai, Walter Salles, Alfonso Cuaron, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, and Stephen Frears, have started the World Cinema Foundation, which is committed to restoring and preserving old neglected films.

Meanwhile, the Independent Film Channel (IFC) picked up the North American rights for Cannes front-runner “4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days,” among other films.

Colombia Films, owned by Sony, has signed a production deal with Stephen Chow’s production company Star Overseas. The first film under the deal is the Stephen Fung-directing effort Jump, starring Hong Kong’s spoiled bad boy Edison Chen. This doesn’t seem like a surprising decision, considering that Sony handled the distribution for Kung Fu Hustle and will do the same for Chow’s latest A Hope.

In the past few years, Korean films have hit it big in Japan, with huge distribution deals being made at film festivals around the world. Seems like the tables have turned, with Korean distributors now buying up Japanese films for their market after their recent relative success.

Yet another film investment fund has now established. A3 International will produce films with Korean, Chinese, and Japanese films in the mid-budget range. No films have been announced under the fund yet.

Now back to regular programming:

- Speaking of launching funds, the Pusan International Film Festival has also launched a film fund for Asian filmmakers. But there’s a catch - the fund is for documentaries.

- Numbers from the Japanese box office ranking this past weekend are in. As I mentioned yesterday, only two films penetrated the top 10, with the other 8 remaining films staying at the same place as last week. And most impressive is that none of the remaining films dropped by more than 30% from last week’s gross. Even Spiderman 3, which has been suffering pretty big falls around the world, dropped only 24% after losing only 21 screens.

- Eiga Consultant analyzes the 10th place opening for Will Farrell’s Stranger Than Fiction. He basically compares Farrell to Adam Sandler, another American comedy actor who has a huge following at home, but whose films fail to perform in Japan. At 26 million yen, the Stranger Than Fiction opening is only 17% of Bewitched’s opening in Japan, but it’s also 113% of Click. I doubt that Japanese people buy Farrell’s type of humor anyway.

- There were a few Asian films on the North American box office as well, excluding Shrek 3, which was co-directed by an Asian. Sad news is they’re at the 101st and 102nd place. The two films are Triad Election (which moved on to a San Francisco engagement this week with almost no fanfare) and Ken Watanabe’s Memories of Tomorrow, which also opened with pretty much no advance word at all.

- Following in the footsteps of Variety Asia, Hollywood Reporter has recently decided to expand their coverage into Asia with new offices in Hong Kong and Beijing. Good for them.

- I guess it’s pretty important for some people. Variety has the first major review of the latest Pirates of the Caribbean movie, and it seems to be more of the same. I’ll probably go watch it, as soon as I get myself to go catch Spiderman 3.

- New York Post critic Lou Lumenick warns that Evan Almighty, now officially the most expensive comedy ever made, might not be any good. Come to think of it, I’ve never heard of a good comedy that runs under 90 minutes.

- Yesterday, I reported that the winner of the Shanghai International Film Festival will be allowed to see a release in China without worrying about import quotas. And now, here are the official selections.

- EastSouthWestNorth has a link to an English TVB-produced special about The Society For Truth and Light, a conservative group in Hong Kong that is very much on the opposing side against the Chinese University of Hong Kong student newspaper controversy, and is a strong opponent against laws that outlaw discrimination of “sexual minorities” (that would mean the gays). The focus of the program is that they have recently been teaching a human rights course to schoolteachers. My favorite quote about the course: “If you think your time is valuable, don’t try to join this course.” Sounds like a quote ready for print.

- Japan must really love Richard Gere. After being featured in several ads in Japan and dancing with former Prime Minister Koizumi, now he’s taking part in one of Japan’s most beloved pet stories. That’s right, Richard Gere has signed on to star and produce “Hachiko: A Dog’s Story,” playing the role of the professor owner who meets a tragic end. At least Japanese distributor Shochiku has its hands in it, or Japanese audiences might be crying foul.

- Korea, you guys are getting an Universal Studios theme park. I guess there’s no need to go to Osaka anymore, huh?

- I’m sure many people know that there’s such thing as a news agenda, which means news producers has an agenda in putting what they think is the most important story early in the newscast. This, I believe, is the reason why perhaps such agendas may be a little misguided sometimes. If you look at the top left corner, this news came on 12 minutes into the newscast. Are there actually less important news out there then a Civet running around in a TV station, or is it just to show the Japanese police’s lack of priority in solving crimes?

Yawn

The Cannes Film Festival has been going on for about 6 days now, which means it’s time for a bit of roundup. Variety says that the festival has been pretty mellow so far, with the Coen Brothers’ “No Country of Old Men” and the grim drama “4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days” as the frontrunners for the Palme D’or.

On the other hand, the Cannes market has been very healthy, with the North American rights for Wilson Yip’s “Flash Point” already sold.

I posted a link to Twitch’s review of the film “Dai Nipponjin,” which had its premiere on Saturday. Already there are distributors from ten different countries hoping to snatch up the film, which means we can see oversea releases pretty soon.

Kim Ki-Duk’s Breath, starring Chang Chen, is getting pretty good word-of-mouth as an in competition film. It’s also attracting quite a few buyers at the market as well.

- As expected, Spiderman 3 crossed the HK$50 million mark on Sunday in Hong Kong. The sequel made another HK$1.8 million on 65 screens, and has now made HK$50.73 million after 20 days of release. Of course, next weekend sees the opening of the third Pirates of the Caribbean movie, so it should die down right about then all around the world.

As for other films, the Korean blockbuster 200-Pound Beauty perked up by quite a bit, making HK$500,000 on 21 screens for a 4-day total of HK1.48 million. Herman Yau’s Gong Tau and Whispers and Moans (both category III, meaning no one under 18 can be admitted) made HK$210,000 and HK$70,000 on 25 and 5 screens, respectively. Gong Tau has now made HK$1.3 million after 6 days plus previews, while Whispers and Moans (which Twitch just recently reviewed as well) has made HK$360,000 after 4 days. Leon Lai-starrer The Matrimony made only HK$50,000 on 15 screens, while Audrey Tautou-starrer Priceless actually saw an increase in business with HK$150,000 on 7 screens.

(For reference: US$1=HK$7.8)

- In Japan, the latest box office ranking shows that most of the film on the top 10 last week stayed where they are, except in two spots - the sequel Pacchigi - Love and Peace lands on 7th place, while the Will Farrell-starrer Stranger Than Fiction lands on 10th. More numbers tomorrow.

- In South Korea, Spiderman again led the pack, but it’s counter-programming film Unstoppable Marriage that’s taking the spotlight. Also, Japanese films are suddenly performing really well there, with Memories of Tomorrow’s strong opening last week and the surprising 4th place opening for the pop-song-inspired “Tears For You.”

- This week’s Japan drama ratings are doing a bit better(See here for all the drama introductions), with Proposal Daisakusen, Sexy Voice and Robo, Bambino, and quite a few more dramas seeing higher ratings. Proposal Daisakusen is pulling its lead with a 16.6 rating average to be the current leader with no other drama close by. On the other hand, Yuji Oda’s Joudan Janai freefalls from its stable 14 rating range the last two weeks to a disastrous 11.7 this week, marking the drama’s lowest rating yet. This season just isn’t much for dramas.

- When India is a huge movie industry with production number matching Hollywood, it’s natural that they would start making movies of similar scale, right? And it’s also no surprise that Indian producers would eventually put their money into Hollywood.

- In fact, now Bollywood filmmakers are beginning to stray from the traditional formula, meaning less songs or different formulas. Apparently it’s a pretty huge deal if a 107-minute movie only has one song.

- On the other hand, Chinese producers are still hanging on to the martial arts/period epic formula to make money (with the somewhat disappointing showing of The Banquet and Curse of the Golden Flower, I was hoping it’s starting to end), and here is another example. Honestly, I haven’t been so indifferent to a huge Chinese period epic since…A Battle of Wits. Maybe it’s an Andy Lau thing.

- Some Westerner wants to do a biopic of Mao Tse-Tung, and he’s looking for the Chinese government approval to get production support. “This is a very positive portrayal of Mao,” the producer said. That’s Chairman Mao to you, foreign devil.

- Jason Gray has seen Takeshi Kitano’s “Kantoku Banzai,” but has sworn to secrecy. So good luck trying to decipher his response, completely done in Japanese smiley faces.

- How can you get your movie into China without having to worry about blackout dates and import quota? Engage in an artistic battle royale with your fellow filmmakers at the Shanghai International Film Festival, and you shall get your wish.

- What i love about the English stations of the two free broadcasters in Hong Kong - TVB and ATV - is that they would show Japanese dramas every week. It’s a good alternative to the same old melodramatic series on the Chinese channels, and they even sometimes pick pretty good American dramas too. This is all thanks to a flexible schedule, which means not having to worry about TV seasons or sweeps.

- The Stephen Chow-approved Japanese spinoff of Shaolin Soccer “Shaolin Girl,” has started shooting for a while, and apparently there’s a blog on its website, although I have no idea who’s writing it. It has already written about shooting the cameos by a couple of the Shaolin Soccer guys.

In. Over. Head.

The Cannes Film Festival rolls on, as Twitch now officially has reviews to the more interesting films at the festival. At least interesting to this blog.

They now have probably the first English review to Hitoshi Matsumoto’s “Dai Nipponjin,” which sounds hilarious, and also the first English review to the animated film “Vexville” by Ping Pong director Fumihiko Sori, which sounds interesting, even though I’m not a big fan of animation.

Variety, on the other hand, reviews the omnibus “To Each His Own Cinema,” comprised of 33 3-minute films by directors who have gained recognition at Cannes over the years, including Wong Kai-Wai, Tsai Ming-Liang, Takeshi Kitano, Zhang Yimou, Chen Kaige, and Hou Hsaio-Hsien. Out of all the films by Asian filmmakers, the review only mentions two - Zhang Yimou and Takeshi Kitano - at short lengths.

Chinese director Li Yang’s Blind Mountain was also shown in competition after Chinese censors forced Yang to make 20 cuts just to let it be allowed to travel overseas. Hollywood Reporter likes it, calling it a moving drama that retains enormous social impact, despite the cuts. Meanwhile, Variety didn’t like it, undermining the film as one that is low on drama and originality and high on deja vu.

There are also a few Japanese films that already opened in Japan, but saw its premiere in Cannes and their first reviews from Variety. One is For Those We Love, the controversial war drama that have been criticized as glorifying war before it even opened. The other is I Just Didn’t Do it by Shall We Dance director Masayuki Suo, about a man accused of molesting a young girl on the train and is forced to go through the tedious Japanese legal system.

- For Those We Love is so controversial that it’s even a target in the new Japanese film Pacchigi - Love and Peace, where one of its characters, a Japanese national of Korean heritage, becomes an actress who sees her big chance through a role in a nationalist film about kamikazes. Love and Peace, considered an independent film because it’s not distributed by “the big three,” opened on Saturday on 184 screens (as opposed to the original, which opened on 100 and expanded to 300 eventually), and the distributor is already expecting the film to make the 1 billion yen mark (considered the mark of success in Japanese box office).

- Shanghai, surely still not very happy that Disney chose Hong Kong over them (or seeing how it turned out, maybe they got over it already), will get their consolation by getting an MGM Studio World….except it’s not a theme park, but rather an indoor complex with all types of entertainment, ranging from a cinema to a nightclub. Well, I would rather get one of those than Disneyland, but that’s just me.

- Hong Kong seems like a perfectly free society…until they start enforcing laws you didn’t even know exists. A 14-year-old blogger was recently arrested because he blogs about his life in the triads. In Hong Kong, it’s illegal to even profess or claim to assist in “the management of a triad society.” Looks like Ekin Cheng has a long jail sentence ahead of him, then.

- Under “bad taste but nice try” today, the Japan censorship board has rejected the Japanese title for the mockumentary Death of a President, which supposed a world in which George W. Bush is assassinated. The rejected title? “The Assassination of Bush.” That automatically takes away any chance of me making a movie named “The Assassination of Lincoln,” then.

- Wow, what took so long? The Japanese government has finally decided to offer multiple incentives, including the allowing film to be limited-liability partnership and offering grants to multi-national co-productions, to help the film industry. Hong Kong government can offer $38.5 million, and Japan can only offer 16? Hmm….

- Jackie Chan and Jet Li are currently filming The Forbidden Kingdom, another attempt to bastardize the Journey to the West story to Western audiences. Jackie recently posted on his blog about his fight scene with Jet Li, which sounds good and all, but the movie still sounds crappy to me.

- After Paris Je T’aime (which is in American theaters now, and I highly recommend it), its producers has gotten quite a lineup for its follow up New York Je T’aime, including Oldboy’s Park Chan-Wook, Mira Nair, Zach Braff, and Allen and Albert Hughes. Sounds good to me.

- Remember Happy Male Voice, the revamped version of the talent show Super Girl in China? Apparently, people are quitting due all kinds of dark music industry stuff.

- It’s been a long time since a Gordon Chan movie made me excited (sadly, the last one was A.D. 2000, which was not worth the excitement). And this one continues the streak.

Instead of The Song of the Day today, it’ll be a special feature on the current Hong Kong hoopla about the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

The big 200 - Just another entry

Considering that I post twice a day, it wasn’t long before I hit another 100 entries. Not much has changed since back in the middle of March - readership continues to be steady, although I’d like to see it go even higher. But it’s only been a month and a half, so can’t really ask for much.

Tell you what, if my average readership gets up to 200 by the time of the 300th entry (which I guess is about 4 to 5 months from now), I’ll give out one of those cool posters I got in Japan (I have a lot of Spiderman 3 and Star Wars Episode 3 ones to give away anyway).

Still not much new major Asian film news at Cannes. Looks like Dai Nipponjin is screening tonight, while Wilson Yip’s Flashpoint and Benny Chan’s Invisible Targets are screening 30-minute reels, and the Japanese animated film Vexville also get screening for possible buyers. On the other hand, it looks like Soi Cheang’s Shamo has already saw its premiere (again, for buyers), and Twitch’s Todd has a review. It doesn’t sound too promising, but I’m watching it for the aesthetics anyway, so I still look forward to it.

Meanwhile, The Coen Brothers’ (who hasn’t really done anything that great, in my opinion, since The Big Lebowski, and that was good just because it’s so quotable) latest No Country for Old Man is getting rave reviews from pretty much everyone. Variety calls it one of the Coens’ best films. Jeffrey Wells says it’s an obviously brilliant action thriller. Of course, leave it to Hollywood Reporter to be sour grapes and pan its ending, to the point that it’ll affect the box office.

Michael Moore (whose films I like on a pure filmmaking point of view. I’m a liberal, but even I don’t agree with some of his methods, however hilarious they can be. And whoever calls him Anti-American doesn’t know how to be an American in the first place.) showed his latest documentary Sicko, an attack on the American healthcare system. Obviously, it’s controversial, especially for painting a glamorized portrait of the British and French healthcare system and the sequence where he takes 9/11 workers to Cuba for treatments. Still, Variety says it’s an entertaining and affecting dissection of the American healthcare industry. Hollywood Reporter thinks it still has the usual Moore oversimplification and stunts, but likes it anyway. Hell, even Jeffrey Wells said he came out teary-eyed.

There’s also Boarding Gate, by Maggie Cheung’s ex-husband Olivier Assayas, and it’s a pseudo-Asian film because it was partly film in Hong Kong and also feature Carl Ng and Kelly Lin. Reviews are fairly negative, though, with Variety calling it limp and sleazy.

- A few weeks ago, I linked to the Japan Times review of Ahiri to Kamo no Coin Locker, which is currently playing only in Miyagi Prefecture (whose capital is Sendai) because that’s where the author of the original work is from. And it seems to be doing quite well. According to Eiga Consultant, on its opening day on May 12th, the film attracted 5061 people, or 6.76 million yen on 10 screens. Considering they’re probably mostly small arthouse screens, that’s a pretty good per-screen average. However, its ultimate test will come when it expands into Tokyo on June 23rd. Still, hopefully this opening will attract small films to open in smaller cities first, which just doesn’t happen in America.

- Speaking of Japan Times, this weekend we have a review for the sequel Pacchigi - Love and Peace, along with an interview with the film’s director, who was recently called a “dickhead” for attacking the war drama “For Those We Love” for potentially brainwashing Japan teens into war lovers. They also reviewed Feng Xiaogang’s critically mauled blockbuster The Banquet, which they actually liked quite a bit. There’s also a feature on Wong Kar Wai’s choice to cast singer Norah Jones in his film My Blueberry Nights, and an interview with Jones herself.

- Japan Probe has an interview with Christian Storm, a regular in Takeshi Miike’s films who also work as his subtitler and the translation supervisor for the Japanese version of South Park.

- Chinese director Lou Ye may be banned from making films in China for 5 years, but he decided to find ways around that by shooting his next film in the Middle East, specifically Palestine territory. That must still be safer than protecting artistic integrity in Mainland China.

- Twitch reports that the website for Peter Chan Ho-Sun’s Warlords is up, and it contains the teaser that was leaked online earlier. At least now you can watch it legally.

- What is it about Andy Lau that attract so much attention? Apparently, there’s yet another obsessive fan doing something stupid trying to get the superstar’s attention.

- A while ago I mentioned about the Seoul government offering incentives to foreign films that choose to shoot there. Now a group of producers are getting together to try and help foreign productions coordinate and scout locations, among other jobs.

That’s it for now. See you in another 100 posts.

Differing opinions

As the Cannes Film Festival gets its gears rolling, the fallout from the chilly reception of opening film My Blueberry Nights continues.

Well, perhaps not so much fallout. I’ll leave to the Hollywood Reporter to talk about that.

Premieres of works by major Asian directors continue, as the Tsui Hark/Ringo Lam/Johnnie To collaboration “serial film” Triangle and Taiwanese filmmaker Hou Hsiao-Hsien’s The Flight of the Red Balloon both received their premieres out of competition, with reviews coming in already.

Variety kind of likes Triangle, noting that “Lam and To come off most successfully, while Tsui’s material seems unnecessarily complex and fussy.” Sounds like typical Tsui Hark stuff to me.

Hollywood Reporter pretty much hated it, calling it “an inedible mess where ingredients war with one another and no one has paid any attention to the poor fellow who must consume the meal.”

As for Hou’s “Flight of the Red Balloon,” I swear that I saw a Hollywood Reporter pan on it earlier in the morning that’s no longer on the site. On the other hand, Variety sees it as business as usual for Hou, whose penchant for medium long takes has divided audiences for years.

- With Lee Chang-Dong’s latest Secret Sunshine in competition at Cannes, the Korean Film Council has published an English book on the director, which is free for download on their website.

On to other news:

- The Korean film wave is slowly on its death rattle in Japan, so now they’re trying to incorporate Japanese elements. Such is the cast with the film “Virgin Snow,” which stars Korean actor Lee Jun-Gi and Japanese actress Aoi Miyazaki. According to Eiga Consultant, the film opened with 30.2 million yen, which is good enough for a 9th place at the rankings. That’s only 26% of Miyazaki’s previous film “Tada Kimi Wo Aishitteru” and 95% of The King and the Clown’s opening in Japan. However, Box Office Mojo’s ranking shows that it opened on 9 screens….with only $25,352, which is only 3.04 million yen. Did the Mojo leave a zero out, or did Eiga Consultant added a zero in? I myself trust the rankings from Japan.

- Variety finally catches on with how Japan uses classy ads to attract audiences into small arthouse films. The key: appeal to young hip Tokyo girls.

It’s that kind of thinking that managed to create such a kick-ass poster for Election, although I doubt that it’ll appeal to any girls. That’s my carpet in the background, by the way.

- I don’t usually try to plug Yesasia directly, though they’re great enough to actually put up what I write. This is really more of a plug for the Sakuran DVD, which is coming out on August 3rd with English subtitles.

- Under “shitty movie wannabe” today, we finally have the trailer for Jet Li’s latest “War,” originally named “Rogue.” As much as I like Jason Statham AND Jet Li together again after “The One” (Oy vey….), I agree with Twitch: it looks pretty shitty.

- I still haven’t seen Dennis Law’s Fatal Contact yet, thanks to the traumatic experiences that were Marriage with a Fool and Love @ First Note. Anyway, the Weinsteins have just bought the North American rights to it, and since the title is so derivative already, I don’t think they even have to rename it.

- Remember a few months ago when everyone expected the worst when Edison Chen was meeting with Stephen Chow on a collaboration project? Turns out that project is actually Stephen Fung’s latest film about dancing. Edison Chen is starring, in a role where he can probably just play the spoiled hip-hop boy he is in real life, and Chow is probably producing. Just read the original Chinese report that mentions it.

- I was going to write a review of Matsuo Suzuki’s Otakus in Love (Koi No Mon) a few years ago, but I found it so crazy and overloaded with excess silliness that I didn’t know how to quite approach it. It was simply too much of what it had for its own good. Anyway, Suzuki’s latest Welcome to the Quiet Room (which seems to be based on his own novel) has a teaser on its website.

- Sony may be (barely) making big bucks with Spiderman 3, but its Playstation 3 is sinking the company fast. Because of the Playstation 3 (which I still believe is being released way too ahead of its time), Sony is now operating at a US$573 million loss. I’ll buy one eventually, I’m sure, but I just don’t see it happening this decade.

- Breathe slowly. Robert De Niro and Al Pacino had just signed on to a film where they’ll spend 90-95% of their screen time together. I don’t even care if the movie’s going to be crappy, or that the two have been making crappy movies (De Niro WAY moreso than Pacino), it’s finally happening, baby.

- Chen Kaige is going back to the well that brought him international fame. Somewhat reminiscent of Farewell My Concubine, Chen’s latest film is the biopic Mei Lan-fang, about the famous Peking Opera singer of the same name. Good news: The film will cost half of what The Promise cost. Bad news: Leon Lai is in the starring role.

- China is beginning to soften their stance against bloggers, stopping their campaign for mandatory registration of real names for all Chinese bloggers. Instead, they’ll just “encourage” blogging companies to do so. Blogger doesn’t have my real name, does it…..?

Blueberries everywhere

As both a fan of Wong Kar-Wai and the writer of an Asian entertainment blog, it’s hard to avoid report extensively about the debut of My Blueberry Nights, Wong Kar Wai’s opening film at the Cannes Film Festival. But I realize today that it’s hard to report it as well because of the negative reviews rolling in. I mean, it’s no The Da Vinci Code or anything, but the word-of-mouth is actually somewhat similar to 2046 in 2004.

Before the reviews, there are quite a few features on the man, and he provides some interesting insights while remaining somewhat ambiguous at the same time:

Dialogue: Wong Kar-Wai

Wong Unveils “Blueberry Nights.”

Wong’s Schedule is Too Busy for “Lady” (This would be in reference to “The Lady From Shanghai,” which is supposed to star Nicole Kidman)

Wong Keeps His Favorite in Project House (About the talent agency branch of his Jet Tone Pictures)

Wong Kar Wai: Advertising Director? (Here is his latest ad starring Clive Owen.)

And now: The reviews:

Variety calls it a film whose “ambitions and accomplishments remain modest to the extreme”

The Hollywood Reporter kind of likes it, but says it’s unlikely to “move beyond the arthouses in North America.”

Cinematical thinks the film looks beautiful, but thinks the film is full of moments that “you would rather see than hear.” (That would a reference to Wong’s penchant for voiceover, similar to 2046).

The Independent thinks the characters’ emotional agony comes close to being “tiresome chick-flick naval-gazing,” but thinks the film “looks ravishing” and “has a great soundtrack.”

The Guardian gives it 2 stars out of 5 and thinks it’s full of “false notes.”

Jeffrey Wells says it’s so groan-inducing that he leaned forward a lot, often with his hands covering his face.

Well, like I said, at least it’s no The Da Vinci Code.

- In more WKW related news, Sony Pictures Classics has picked up the North American rights to “Ashes of Time Redux,” the complete reworking of Wong’s 1994 martial arts film that has long been considering his most controversial film. It also remains the only WKW film I have not seen. The film is expected to come out at the end of the year.

- From potentially good movies to potentially very crappy movie, Emperor Motion Picture (associated with the infamous EEG record company) has secured the international rights of “Kung Fu Dunk,” (That title is already screaming at me to stay away) formerly known as “Slam Dunk.” Starring Jay Chou and Charlene Choi of Twins, the film is directed Kevin Chu Yin-Ping, who also directed the masterpieces Shaolin Popey 1 & 2. Those films are considered gems in Europe.

- Takeshii Miike, in addition to his “Sukiyaki Western” film “Django,” also has the comic adaptation Crows Zero, which apparently features a lot of schoolboys fighting each other. Cool. Twitch has the link to the website, which includes a teaser trailer.

- After watching Hot Fuzz, I realized that it’s going to be hard to watch another big Hollywood action flick again. One of those films that Hot Fuzz targeted was Point Break, starring Keanu Reeves (his acting is apparently considered a gem in Europe too) and Patrick “Dirty Dancing” Swayze. That film saw Keanu Reeves playing an undercover agent who infiltrates a group of surfers/bank robbers. Now, 16 years later, the original writer of the film is working on a sequel. Why is it in this blog, you ask? Because Point Break 2 is going to be set in Southeast Asia, and is mostly financed by Asian firms.

- Oh, yeah, there are the Oricon ranking in Japan too. This week on the singles chart, the new single by B’z ruled the charts as expected, selling 152,000 copies. Even though this is the 39th consecutive number 1 single for the band, the bigger news this week in the singles chart is the debut of enka star Kiyoshi Hikawa’s two singles at second and third place. Apparently, Hikawa is the first solo male singer in 26 years to have two of the top three singles, and the first enka singer is 34 years…probably when enka was actually still considered as pop music. Next week, the Keisuke Kawata single, which was our Song of the Day on May 7th, is expected to get the number one spot since it debuted at number 1 yesterday.

On the album charts, Mr. Children’s B-side album debuts at number 1 with 281,000 copies sold, which is far weaker than the sales of their previous album “Home.” Of course, the difference is that “Home” was an album of new tracks, while B-side is just a compilation album of companion tracks on past singles. No other Japanese albums debuted on the top 10 this past week. Sad. What’s sadder is Linkin Park’s new album looks to be ruling the charts next week. Very sad.

- Japan, the Grindhouse movies by Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodridguez are officially coming your way in the fall, although I have never heard of this BMS company.

- With the benchmark being set at 2 million viewers for a Korean film to have considered broken even (This is considering that Shiri was considered record-breaking back in 1999 when it crossed the 1 million viewer mark), Korean film productions are now looking to cut costs.

- The Asian Television Awards is now allowing Australian and New Zealand productions to be considered for awards. Last time I checked, Australia was its own continent, wasn’t it?

Calm before the storm

- In less than 24 hours, the Cannes Film Festival will open with Wong Kar-Wai’s English feature debut My Blueberry Nights. I’m not going to be in France, and as an example of positive thinking, I don’t think I’ll ever be at the Cannes Film Festival. Nevertheless, I will try and keep track of the Asian films playing and selling there over the next 12 days.

The Hollywood Reporter has a roundup of the Asian presence at Cannes this year(not including the marketplace).

- The promotion for opening film My Blueberry Nights is getting out there. I found a promotional kit floating online that offers some beautiful stills(link is .pdf), and Twitch has the poster, which for some inexplicable reason places star Norah Jones in the little corner.

- Tsui Hark, Ringo Lam, and Johnnie To’s Triangle is no slouch either, as Twitch has also found the film’s own promotional kit online. It’s definitely worth a look.

- Enough with festival stuff for now, let’s get to some box office.

Variety Asia reports that the Tokyo governor Shintaro Ishihara-penned war drama “For Those We Love” opened pretty big this weekend, when that’s actually not really the case. Eiga Consultant reports that the film actually opened a lot weaker than similar war films. Compared to “Otoko Tachi No Yamato,” which opened on less screens, “For Those We Love” made only 53% of its opening in December 2005. When compared to “Letters From Iwo Jima,” which Ishihara panned to make his own film sound better, the opening is only 37% of Iwo Jima’s. Both films opened around the same year-end period and had similar final gross. At least it might make back its budget.

- In other Japanese box office news, seems like Gegege no Kitaro is now poised to be the highest-grossing film in the “Yokai” genre(I guess mythical creatures would be the best way to translate that).

- In Japanese drama ratings, it stabilized slightly after the Golden Week holiday in Japan.

See here for all drama information.

Proposal Daisakuen (also known as Operation Love) regains its footing for its 4th episode with a 16.4 rating. As you can see, the rating for this week’s episode even went up (more on that next week). It’s now currently the highest-rated drama this season.

Looks like Sexy Voice and Robo found a fan base, as the ratings are now floating around the 7.0 range for 3 weeks now. We’ll see if that happens for the 4th week later tonight when the Tuesday ratings are up.

The biggest disappointment of the season Joudan Janai! (which sounds like it would fit right in as an American sitcom) also seem to have found a fan base, as the ratings are now staying around the 14.0 range. Considering that Yuji Oda’s last TV Drama Last Christmas had a 21.5 average, this does not bode well for Yuji Oda’s future career in TV.

The Oricon website has compiled a ranking of the satisfaction rate for the current dramas. So far, it’s the returning drama Kaette Kita Jikou Keisatsu, followed by the comic adaptation Liar Game, and Operation Love in 3rd place. Sexy Voice and Robo and Joudan Janai are at 8th and 9th place, respectively.

- Korea Pop Wars has a pretty thorough analysis of Korea’s box office this past weekend. Spiderman 3 continues to reign, but it’s not reigning very well - the opening boom was there, but staying power simply isn’t. This actually gave a chance for Asian films to perform pretty well at the box office.

- In today’s “bad idea” file, director Kirk Wong is possibly casting his remake of the classic Hong Kong martial arts film “Five Deadly Venoms” with Jay Chou, Edison Chen, and Maggie Q. I haven’t seen the original, and I’m already dreading this.

- This weekend, 7 films will try and bring down Spiderman 3, including two of the Herman Yau films I mentioned yesterday. Another one of them is the Mainland Chinese thriller “The Matrimony,” starring Leon Lai and Rene Liu. Variety already has a review.

- In case anyone cares, Universal Studios Japan in Osaka is finally making money.

- The MPA is launching a new anti-piracy campaign in Asia with new trailers in theatres. Which makes me wonder whether those trailers in America with the explosion expert talking about how hard he worked for the movies worked in the first place, when every opinion I’ve read of it has been overwhelmingly negative? And what makes them think that the guilt mentality is going to work?

- In other stupid media tactics, the New York Post talks about how American broadcasters are trying to keep viewers tuned in during commercials. I have to say I had no idea what was going on in that Fox cab driver thing, but it sure was annoying.

 
 
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