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Archive for the ‘gossip’ Category

The Golden Rock - November 14th, 2008 Edition

Sorry for the extended break. Here’s a weekend edition to tie you over.

- 7 movies were released yesterday in Hong Kong for a very crowded box office charts - two wide releases (over 20 screens), and five limited releases. The best performer is Tsui Siu-Ming’s “everyone-stunning” martial arts epic Champions, which ironically did not get first place. Instead, it made a somewhat surprising HK$425,000 from 36 screens (surprising because everyone I talked to was wondering why I even bothered), and is looking to top HK$2 million over the weekend, behind Quantum of Solace.

Even more surprising is the 3D horror film Scar, which opened only on eight screens, but made HK$393,000 on opening day. Worth noting is that ticket prices are almost doubled because of the 3D format, but the opening remains impressive for a limited release.

The Coen Brothers’ Burn After Reading, which got just about no promotion before its opening, opened on 20 screens with HK$156,000. The American indie film Bella opened on 8 screens and made an OK HK$70,000. It’ll likely get a boost from the adult audience over the weekend. On the other hand, no boost can help the dance film Make it Happen, which made just HK$27,800 from 17 screens. The distributor should’ve probably gotten a clue when it got sent straight to DVD in America. Lastly, Death Defying Acts opened on 4 screens and made HK$25,000.

Takashi Miike’s Crows Zero quietly opened on one screen, and naturally did not make it to the top 10. More on Monday when the numbers are out.

- Wong Jing was all over Hong Kong’s newspapers today. China’s Affluence Pictures, which Wong owns 10% of and was previously called the Wong Jing Film Workshop, lost a lawsuit over My Kung Fu Sweetheart because the company released the film’s VCD in China only seven days after the theatrical release, as opposed to the 15 stated in their contract with the investors.

- It’s trailers time! First up is Sion Sono’s seemingly whacked out “pure love” epic Love Exposure. I’m not just calling it whacked because of what’s in the trailer, but also because the movie runs a crazy 237 minutes. It’s even a selling point in the trailer!

Next is the first trailer for John Woo’s Red Cliff Part II, which I hope will be two and a half hours of money shots after Part I nicely set up the stakes (though the film itself is somewhat underwhelming). The release date is now set on January 15th, 2009 in Hong Kong, which means it’ll go up against Hayao Miyazaki’s Ponyo on a Cliff by the Sea and Vincent Kuk’s All’s Well That Ends Well 2009. It’s going to be an interesting Lunar New Year.

Lastly, Youtube has the full trailer for Ryoichi Kimizuka’s Nobody to Watch Over Me, which won the Best Screenplay Award at the Montreal World Film Festival. This movie is also worth noting because Kimizuka is the man who penned the Bayside Shakedown TV drama, its two ultra-hit films, and the one underwhelming spin-off.

- After several high-profile PR blunders, the Chinese Ministry of Culture announces that it will punish artists who lip-sync to replace singing at public events. One of these high-profile blunders was the use of a cuter young girl at the Olympic opening ceremony when an unnamed senior government official deemed the original singer “too ugly”.

- Meanwhile, a different Chinese government department, the State Authority of Radio, Film, and Television, took Hong Kong’s Alan Mak/Felix Chong’s Lady Cop and Papa Crook and cut over 10 minutes out of it after a certain section of the film feature gangsters getting out of Mainland China unharmed and unarrested. Because you know, there are no gangsters in China. The oft-delayed film will now open in Hong Kong on January 1st, on the same day as Chen Kaige’s Forever Enthralled. No word which version of the film will be shown in Hong Kong.

- In Thailand, audiences will be able to celebrate Christmas with Tony Jaa, as the troubled Ong Bak 2 is almost completed and set to be released in Thailand on December 5th. After Japanese and American distributors pulled their distribution deals in light of the production troubles, it’s now time for producers to go on heavy-duty damage control.

The Golden Rock - October 10th, 2008 Edition

- It’s looking like it’ll be a quiet weekend at the Hong Kong box office. Especially disappointing is the opening day for Jingle Ma’s Butterfly Lovers, which opened on 36 screens with a HK$389,280 take. But it’s only at second place, because Ridley Scott’s Body of Lies not only opened on less screens (33) with less showings (it runs 20 minutes longer), but it also made HK$389,419, beating it by HK$139, which is roughly two tickets. Talking about a close one.

Butterfly Lovers does have two things going for it: 1) It appeals more to younger audiences, which means it probably sold more student tickets at a lower price. 2) The young idol chasers will likely flock to this over the weekend when they’re out of school. So I expect this to get a bigger boost over the weekend than Body of Lies.

As for the other opening films, Woody Allen’s Vicky Cristina Barcelona opened on 16 screens and made just under HK$106,000, and the Hollywood comedy My Best Friend’s Girl opened on 12 screens for just a take of HK$28,000. More on Monday with the weekend numbers.

- Box office gross for this year’s week-long National Day holiday in China is up 220%(!) from the same period last year. This year, it’s thanks to the RMB100 million+ 7-day take of Painted Skin (which has now made RMB 170 million in total), the RMB 21.6 million take for Connected during the same period), as well as Journey to the Center of the Earth’s RMB 21 million take.

- The new Japanese drama Kaze no Garden, which features actor Ken Ogata in his last role before passing away last week, scored a tremendous 20.1% premiere this past week.

- Tokyograph has unveiled its comprehensive guide to the Fall 2008 season Japanese dramas, and there are quite a few interesting ones this season. Fall seasons tend to do much better than the summer seasons, so hopefully ratings report will be more interesting to do this time around.

- Even though Warner Bros. has not done very well recently in Japan with either its Hollywood productions (The Dark Knight, Speed Racer, Nights in Rodanthe) nor its Japan productions (Sky Crawlers, Sushi Ouji, Sweet Rain), it still plans to boost local productions in the country.

- One of WB Japan’s upcoming releases is Ichi, director Fumihiko Sori’s take on the Zatoichi legend using a female lead, and Twitch has an advance review of it.

- Believe it or not, there’s actually been odds on Japanese author Haruki Murakami winning the Nobel Literature Prize since 2006, even though he’s missed out on it for 3 years running now.

- I’ll be watching three movies at the Hong Kong Asian Film Festival tomorrow, and I’ll be offering short thoughts for at least two of the films. In its 5th edition, the HKAFF has become Hong Kong’s second biggest film festival. However, this year is also looking to be the most controversial year ever.

Still, it should be all about the movies. That’s what I care about, and that’s where I’ll be tomorrow. See you all on Sunday.

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 - May 25th, 2008 Edition

- It’s Taiwanese music charts time! Energy member Milk Yeh’s debut album could only muster a 2nd place debut behind Jesse McCartney’s album with 2.9% of total sales. The slow sales gave Victor Wong and Kenji Wu a chance to climb back up on the chart. Coco Lee’s relevance in Chinese pop may’ve just been proven, as her latest compilation could only get a debut at 11th place with just 0.86% of total sales. Khalil Fong also made it back into the top 20 at 17th place with 0.7% of total sales.

- Congratulations to Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s Tokyo Sonata, which picked up the Un Certain Regard Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival. NHK News is already all over this.

- It’s reviews time! First up is Derek Elley’s review for Kim Jee-Woon’s The Good, The Bad, and the Weird. I can’t wait to watch this now. Mark Schilling of Japan Times also has a review of a film I’m anticipating - Kenji Uchida’s After School, his follow-up to the smart A Stranger of Mine.

- The Daily Yomiuri’s Televiews column looks at the ratings for the some of the dramas this season, as well as a brief review for Kimura Takuya’s CHANGE.

- Instead of paying for that expensive making-of DVD for Aoi Miyazaki’s latest film, now you can just catch clips of them at theatres, one clip at a time until its release in February.

- According to a research on the media, the American cable news networks have been giving less coverage of the Asian disasters than viewers demand. However, I watch CNN International here in Hong Kong, and the amount coverage has actually been quite balanced, with news getting fairly equal time, other than the live shows from the American CNN, of course.

- After a drama and two hit movies on deep-sea divers, there will be a Japanese drama on doctors who rescue people on helicopters. With a slate of promising young actors (plus a boy band member), the drama is coming this summer.

- I forgot to include the several deals that Fortissimo was also able to get at Cannes, which includes oversea distribution for Tokyo Sonata and Ashes of Time Redux.

- Japan takes successful adaptation one step further. After the film and TV drama versions of Ima, Ai Ni Yukimasu (Be With You), the tearjerker fantasy novel is now coming back as an audio drama. The news also mentions that a Hollywood remake starring Jennifer Garner is in the works. Actually, I can see her in the Yuko Takeuchi role.

- Twitch has an English-subtitled trailer for Go Shibata’s acclaimed Late Bloomer, which has been picked up for North American release by the up-and-coming Tidepoint Pictures.

- Apparently, Zhang Ziyi is quite upset that a group of people in Cannes doesn’t know much about China earthquake, accusing them of not knowing what’s going on on Earth. In related news, Zhang Ziyi doesn’t know how to spell “hypocrisy”.

The Golden Rock - May 1st/May 2nd, 2008 Edition

- It was a public holiday in Hong Kong on Thursday opening day, so the box office gross were fairly high.Iron Man, which opened on April 30th here, had a pretty big May Day with HK$2.6 million from 57 screens for a 2-day total of HK$4.09 million. It should have no problem with hitting that HK$10 million mark by the end of the weekend. Another film with an impressive per-screen average is the period drama The Other Boleyn Girl, which made HK$254,000 from just 6 screens on its opening day. There’s also the Japanese film Mari and Her Three Puppies, which made HK$772,000 from 22 screens (with only one playing the original Japanese version). Wong Jing’s latest My Wife is a Gambling Maestro got past the HK$10,000 per-screen average as well with HK$371,000 from 27 screens on opening day. Hell, even crocodile thriller Rogue made HK$73,000 from 7 screens. Sadly, Lawrence Lau’s Besieged City made only HK$38,000 from 6 screens.

- It’s Oricon charts time! Korean boy band TVXQ’s latest single debuts on top yet again, with male trio Shuchishin staying at 2nd place. Meanwhile, Arashi’a latest album tops the albums chart, with Bennie K’s compilation debuting far behind at 2nd place.

More over at Tokyograph.

- On the heels of L For Love, L For Lies‘ success, writer/director Patrick Kong is already shooting his next film, though with the cast of Alice Tzeng and Andy On instead of Stephy Tang and Alex Fong Lik-Sun. Is he trying to move into auteur territory here?

- In related news, Stephy Tang has just started work on her latest film, a Chan Hing-Ka-directed comedy in which she plays an underwear inspector. The film also features Ronald Cheng, Andy On (the man’s got a lot of work lately), and the Shine Boys. Didn’t Chan Hing-Ka already make a comedy about underwear?

- Japanese newspaper Nikkan Sports have been revealing the winners for their yearly drama Grand Prix all week. Here are the winners:

Best Drama: Yukan Club
Best Actor: Jin Nakaishi - Yukan Club
Best Actress: Maki Horikita - Hanazakari no Kimitachi e
Best Supporting Actor: Shuichi Nakatsu - Hanazakari no Kimitachi e
Best Supporting Actress: Yu Kashii - Yukan Club

Be sure to remember that the winners were voted by the general public, and both these dramas feature popular idols. This means the result may not reflect the true quality of these shows.

- Organizers at the Cannes Film Festival have announced Blindness, the latest from City of God director Fernando Meirelles, as the opening film. This marks the first time a Japanese film has been selected as the opening film at Cannes because the film is actually a co-production between Brazilian, Canadian, and Japanese production companies. It also features Japanese actors Yoshino Kimura and Yusuke Iseya. Jason Gray has more details about the co-production deal.

- Under “various Korean film news” today, Twitch has a teaser for King and the Clown director Lee Jun-i’s latest Sunny, about a Korean woman who joins the entertainment troupe to find her husband fighting in the Vietnam War. Meanwhile, a Korean dance group will join the production of the latest Hollywood teen-oriented dance movie Hype Nation, with 60% of the film to be shot in South Korea. Tezza director Choi Dong-Hoon is now working on a big-budget superhero film. Lastly (because it’s only somewhat related), the horribly-titled multi-national martial arts film Laundry Warriors has wrapped filming.

- Emperor Motion Pictures hasn’t really had it hit in a while, so I’m just wondering, where did they get the money to finance in a major Hollywood production?

- In a recent visit to The University of Southern California, Chinese director Feng Xiaogang talks about how much he hated Forbidden Kingdom. These are his words translated (original Chinese text from Apple Daily):

“The film’s story itself is already problematic. It’s a mess. I just couldn’t keep watching. I don’t know why it’s doing so well at the American box office. I would not dumb down something to simply please the American audience. ”

I didn’t like the film either, but dyamn!

The Golden Rock - April 23rd, 2008 Edition

No, Gabriel, I’m not in Udine with Kozo. I’ve just been too busy to write

- And since I missed the Sunday box office on, this week’s Hong Kong weekend box office report comes from the Hong Kong Film blog. Muay Thai action film Chocolate retained its lead with a boost, making HK$710,000 from 33 screens for a 4-day weekend total of HK$2.25 million. With The Forbidden Kingdom opening next week to fill the action gap, Chocolate may not have a chance in passing the HK$5 million mark. Meanwhile, Run Papa Run overtook Street Kings‘ 2nd place opening with HK$550,000 from 28 screens thanks to good word-of-mouth (but those last 10 damn minutes…). After 2 weekends, Sylvia Chang’s comedy-drama has made HK$5.34 million. Three Kingdoms is still in the game with HK$420,000 from 37 screens for an 18-day total of HK$16.28 million. This proves that yes, Hong Kong people will watching anything with Andy Lau. Lastly, the idols-filled Love is Elsewhere didn’t get that huge boost over the weekend with only HK$340,000 from 27 screens on Sunday for a weekend total of HK$1.26 million.

In foreign films, Street Kings did only OK with HK$542,000 from 29 screens and a weekend total of HK$1.81 million. Rambo has already made HK$3.14 million after 11 days, despite the category III rating and the lack of box office appeal for Stallone movies in Hong Kong. We Own the Night lost the “Hollywood cop dramas” battle hands-down with only HK$33,000 from 4 screens for a 4-day total of about HK$130,000.

- In Japanese box office attendance figures, the latest Conan the Detective film is at the top, as expected. Crayon Shin-Chan’s latest is right behind it, while Lions For Lambs opened at 4th place. The TV drama adaptation film Sushi Ouji (greenlit before the drama was even aired) opened only at 6th place, which must’ve been a disappointment to Warner Bros. Japan. More when the numbers come out.

- Not much excitement from the Korean box office, except that Three Kingdoms is inching slowly towards that one million admissions mark. Oh, hi, The Chaser, you’re still around. Good for you.

More at Korea Pop Wars.

- Time for Japanese drama ratings! The big news is the third installment of Gokusen premiering at 26.4%, which is almost a full point higher than the premiere of the last installment. Meanwhile, Last Friends recovered slightly from its disappointing premiere episode with a 15.9% rating. I think it has something to do with either Masami Nagasawa getting beat up, or Juri Ueno giving her a long peck on the lips. This week’s disappointing premiere is probably Ryoki teki na Kanojo, aka the Japanese drama remake of the Korean film My Sassy Girl. Despite the popularity of the original and starring popular SMAP member Tsuyoshi Kusanagi, the comedy only scored a 13.5% rating in its prime Sunday night spot. Lastly, I predict this season’s freefall drama to be Muri Na Renai, which lost 30% of its audience in its second week. It was a little creepy to begin with anyway.

Info on this season’s Japanese dramas on Tokyograph

- The all-powerful State Administration of Radio, Film, and Television is planning to continue reforms through changes in the market. Hey, how about working on getting movies like Summer Palace and Lost in Beijing unbanned first?

- Apparently, Hong Kong pop duo Twins member Gillian “So naive, so foolish” Chung has been cut out of Chen Kaige’s latest film. Co-star Sun Honglei was quoted as saying that Ah Gil has not been in the right shape to work ever since “Sexy Photos Gate” broke. Don’t worry, we got a bit of Edison in this here post too.

- Jason Gray writes about the three possible Japanese candidates this year at the Cannes Film Festival, all of them I am now looking forward to immensely. I hope I can catch Kore-eda’s film when I’m in Japan in June and actually come out understanding at least a portion of it (with it being un-subtitled and all).

- Japanese film distributor Gaga Usen was slowly becoming one of the big boys with foreign acquisition such as Earth and The Golden Compass making some money in Japan. However, they weren’t enough to keep it alive, and now Gaga will no longer be involved in film production or distribution, presumably after they release their planned slate. No longer Gaga for Japanese films, indeed.

- (via Japan Probe) There’s a trailer out for the animated version of Winter Sonata. Can anyone confirm that Yon-Sama was actually say nice things, or did he just say “What the hell am I doing here again” for a minute and a half in Korean.

- Also, viz Ryuganji’s awesome news feed is the teaser trailer for Detroit Metal City, which looks………..metally?

- Argo, the distributor for the controversial Japanese documentary Yasukuni, has finally found 8 theaters nationwide that found some balls to show the film starting in early May.

- There’s a teaser out for mega-sized Japanese blockbuster 20th Century Boys, but it fulfills the definition of a teaser extremely well, as in it only teases.

- Under “the stupidest thing you will see on TV over the next 3 years” news today, Japanese TV stations may have a warning across the screens of their programs starting from July telling people that they are watching their programs in analog.

- If you want to make movies in Korea, be sure to watch out for CJ Entertainment head Kim Soo-Jung - he’s literally the most powerful man in the Korean film industry right now.

- There’s a second teaser out for the second Gegege no Kitaro film. They really are trying to sell this as more than the kids film the first installment was. I really hope that’s true, but it probably isn’t.

- Who would’ve thunk that the top-grossing Canadian-English film this month is a documentary about a dam in China without even a trailer as part of its advertising campaign?

- Japanese band B’z will be releasing two compilations albums this year to rip off their fans celebrate their 20th anniversary.

- Hey, I told you there will be Edison Chen in this entry.

The Golden Rock - February 25th, 2008 Edition

Not much news happening today (I don’t think the Oscars have anything to do with it…right?), so let’s combine everything together.

- In Hong Kong box office, Enchanted seemed to have taken the weekend again, making HK$810,000 from 35 screens for an 18-day total of HK$25.98 million. I still think 30 million is still in its reach. Last week’s opener Jumper is in second place with HK$627,000 from 38 screens on Sunday for a 11-day total of 9.93 million, just shy of HK$10 million. The Hollywood horror film The Mist did fairly well, with HK$500,000 from 25 screens for a 4-day weekend total of HK$1.69 million. The other major opener Vantage Point, made only HK$315,000 from 30 screens for a 4-day total of HK$1.16 million.
The Oscar nominees did extremely well the day before the big ceremony: Juno made HK$325,000 from just 12 screens, while best picture winner No Country For Old Men made HK$230,000 from 7 screens. The two films have made HK$1.09 million and HK$650,000, respectively. No idea on There Will Be Blood, as it was only on 3 screens showing it only 3 times a day, which means it wouldn’t have made the top 10.

CJ7 has crossed the HK$50 million mark, but grosses are still going the natural way, despite the ticket price cuts mentioned over the weekend.  On Sunday, the Stephen Chow film made HK$388,000 from 35 screens. After 25 days, it has made HK$50.61 million and will probably not even hit HK$55 million.

-  With no major releases, 8 of the top 10 films from last week’s Japan attendance figures remained at the same places. Only Flowers in the Shadow and Elizabeth: The Golden Age switched places at 3rd and 5th places.

- Someone catch the falling Japanese drama ratings. This week, the Monday 9pm Fuji drama Bara No Nai Hanaya falls to its season-low of 16.2% rating, while Honey And Clover has yet to see its ratings actually rise, hitting another low at 8.3%. Even reliable hit Aibou hit its season low of 14.7% after hitting its season high last week. However, somewhat good news for Sasaki Fusai No Jingi Naki Tatakai, whose ratings have finally gone up to 9.9% from 8.9 % last week.

- China’s education authorities is launching a test program that will include Peking Opera as a compulsory part of music education. This is to encourage a more traditional form of culture. What, you mean Jay Chou and Leehom Wang putting erhu in their songs don’t count?

- Shamo hasn’t even opened yet (though it’s been done for almost10 months), and director Soi Cheang already has a new movie on his hands. This time, it’s Assassins, a movie with Louis Koo and Richie Jen as members of a group of assassins that need to team together to save their friend. Give the man a teeny bopper comedy to do or something, he needs to lighten up.

- Korea Pop War’s Mark Russell offers a brief review of the current hit film in Korea, the serial killer thriller The Chaser.

- Under “aggressive director news that didn’t make it to the Associated Press” today, Japanese director Koichiro Yamashita was arrested over the weekend for getting drunk and attacking a poor convenience store clerk who was busy verbally attacking another customer. If you remember fondly, Hong Kong director Ringo Lam was arrested last week for fighting with a neighbor over something about a bucket and a parking space.

The Golden Rock - February 21st, 2008 Edition

- Edison Chen has returned to Hong Kong alive and limbs intact. Oh, he also apologized many times and says he quits Hong Kong entertainment. However, he didn’t say whether he’ll give up his career in Hollywood as well.

Here’s the video

The always-informative EastSouthWestNorth reports on the always-controversial Television and Entertainment Licensing Authority’s way of classifying the photos (they were classified because they were subsequently published partially in Hong Kong magazines and for the courts to determine whether the police had a case against those who uploaded the photos). While showing private parts can be considered “obscene,” it’s hard to believe that one adjudicator actually believed that Bobo Chan and Edison Chen’s tongues ought to be blacked out.

- Time for Japanese box office numbers: L: Change The World is still rocking the Japanese box office, despite losing a higher-than-usual 41% of its business (in all fairness, it had a huge opening weekend, so a huge drop was inevitable). The Glorious Team Batista lost 35%, retaining a second place finish. With screen count and gross reported, Elizabeth: The Golden Age’s opening isn’t all that impressive after all. With nothing big opening until The Golden Compass on March 1st, expect L to continue its rule on the box office.

By the way, if you’re wondering what Naoko is, it’s the new sports drama starring Juri Ueno. Check out a trailer here.

- In Korean box office, Jumper took the number one spot as expected (it’s not a very good movie, but it wasn’t that bad), and the low-budget thriller The Chaser (which actually got a 500-screen release, that’s even more than Jumper) opened not too far behind at second place. More from Mark Russell at Korea Pop Wars.

- It’s Oricon charts time! On the singles chart, Porno Graffiti has the number 1 single, doing much better than the film the single is the theme song to. On the albums chart, M-Flo’s latest compilation barely debuts on top. More from Tokyograph.

By the way, Jero, Japan’s first Black enka singer (as introduced by Japan Probe), released his first single 2 days ago, and it has already gone up to 6th place on its second day. Seriously, he’s not that bad of a singer, just never make an MTV like that again.

And Japanese pop duo Kobukuro’s Tsubomi is now the most downloaded cell phone ringtone of a Japanese pop song ever.

- The Hong Kong Film Development Fund, which pours government money up to 40% of an approved film’s budget, has given money to its first two films. The first is the latest McDull film, and the second is Claustrophobia, Ivy Ho’s directorial debut starring Ekin Cheng and Karena Lam that was previously reported on this blog. Apparently, Claustrophobia was approved despite its artsy premise because of those involved.

-  With the program for the Hong Kong International Festival announced, the organizers have announced that Japanese directors Yoji Yamada and Yuya Ishii will be getting honors at the Asian Film Awards.

- Kaiju Shakedown looks at how China is slowly losing grip of its media and people by trying to grip harder ahead of the Olympics.

-  Continuing with Japan’s “let’s make movies out of songs” trend, Liar Game star Erika Toda will star in a short drama based on a Monkey Majik song that will be distributed online. It’s part of a series of such films from Fuji TV.

- The poster for the third (and reportedly the last) Patrick Kong-Stephy Tang-Alex Fong Lik-Sun film L for Love, L for Lies is out, and it’s…Okinawa Rendezvous?!  Ready for it or not, it’s coming out on March 13th.

- Warner Bros. and Leonardo DiCaprio’s production company has announced they will remake the famous Japanese comic Akira into two live-action films. Apparently, the remake will stick to the original comic rather than the classic animated film.

- Variety’s Russell Edwards has a review for the anticipated low-budget ultraviolent cult film Machine Girl.

- Under “Hong Kong gossip not really worth reporting globally” news today, Hong Kong director Ringo Lam was arrested for getting into a fight with his neighbor, who may or may not have thrown a bucket at his car. Obviously, this neighbor didn’t see what Ringo Lam did to Kelly Lin in his section of Triangle.

The Golden Rock - February 4th, 2008 Edition

- I’m sure everyone is very interested in how Stephen Chow’s CJ7 did at the Hong Kong box office. Expanding to 102 screens over the weekend, the sci-fi comedy made HK$4.2 million on Sunday for a 4-day weekend total of HK$15.82 million. Even though I expressed what seemed to be disappointment about the opening day not breaking records, I will never called a HK$15.82 million opening weekend a disappointment.

Meanwhile, the adults-only-in-Hong-Kong Hollywood musical Sweeney Todd did OK, making HK$837,000 from 35 screens on Sunday for a weekend total of HK$3 million. Of course, OK is because it’s category-III, and word probably got out quickly that it’s a full-blown musical.

- In Japanese cinema attendance, last week’s 2nd place film Flowers in the Shadow managed to hit the first place, while Yoji Yamada’s Kabei went up one place as well to 3rd place this past weekend. Meanwhile, American Gangster opens at 2nd place, Kids could only manage an opening at 6th place (what happened to that day-and-date release in Hong Kong anyway?), and the family film The Water Horse opened at 7th place. More when the numbers come out.

- The Japanese drama ratings this season are getting to be flat-out depressing, as 11 dramas managed to hit their season lows last week. Honey and Clover remains in single-digit category with a 9.5% rating, The Negotiator saw a small rebound, then drops even more into a 13.1% rating, Daisuki!! drops down to a 9.1% rating, Edison No Haha suffers the biggest drop down to a 9.1% rating after hitting its season high 12.1% rating the previous week, and the high-profile Sunday night drama Sasaki Fusai No Jingi Naki Tatakai fails to recover from its phenomenal drop and remains at a 11.6% rating in its 3rd week.

Also, the new Saturday night 11pm drama Lost Time Life opened with a 11.4% rating, which is higher than the premiere for Summer 2007 drama Life, but lower than the first drama in that time slot Liar Game.

- Edison Chen has officially released a statement apologizing for the now-infamous sex pictures scandal. He recorded a short video, speaking in English, and calling this whole incident “a strange ordeal,” as police has now narrowed down the cause to a computer repair shop who was fixing a computer that had hundreds of these images.

- Park Chan-Wook’s latest vampire flick needs a leading lady. While a director of his caliber usually wouldn’t have a problem, it is this time for him because the actresses keep turning him down due to the need for explicit sex scenes in the film. I sound shallow, but I hope Song Kang-Ho isn’t the one doing them.

- Feng Xiaogang publicly said in Hong Kong that his latest film The Assembly is supposed to be somewhat critical of the Chinese government, although he knew that he had to tone it down to avoid getting banned. Looks like that tact got him an appointment as an adviser at the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference. Guess who else got appointed? Previously-banned director Zhang Yimou, though he was previously appointed as well.

- The Korean wave is slowing down, but it’s definitely not dead, as Japan’s Avex has picked up Lee Myung-Se’s M and Hur Jur-Ho’s Happiness. Hur Jin-Ho made the highest-grossing Korean film of all time in Japan with April Snow (though the film was a disappointment in its native land), which may explain the sale.

- Japanese pop star Koda Kumi has been suspended for a month just when her new album is being released because she actually joked that she wishes her manager’s new wife give birth before 35 because that’s when ” their amniotic fluid goes rotten.” Ha…..ha?

The Golden Rock - February 2nd, 2008 Edition

The blog is taking a break tomorrow, so we’ll finish off all the news for the weekend here:

- Hot off the press is the Hong Kong Film Awards nominations. I’m waiting for the website to post the entire list, so here are the highlights:


The Warlords
The Postmodern Life of My Aunt
Eye in the Sky
Mad Detective


Peter Chan - The Warlords
Derek Yee - Protege
Ann Hui - The Postmodern Life of My Aunt
Johnnie To, Wai Ka-Fai - Mad Detective
Yau Nai-Hoi - Eye in the Sky


The screenwriting commitee of The Warlords (I can’t translate all 8 names here)
Derek Yee and 3 other screenwriters  - Protege
Li Qiang - The Postmodern Life of My Aunt
Wai Ka-Fai, Au Kin-Yee - Mad Detective
Yau Nai-Hoi, Au Kin-Yee - Eye in the Sky


Aaron Kwok - The Detective
Jet Li - The Warlords
Andy Lau - The Warlords
Lau Ching-Wan - Mad Detective
Simon Yam - Eye in the Sky


Teresa Mo - Mr. Cinema
Zhang Jingchu - Protege
Siqin Gaowa - Postmodern Life of My Aunt
Rene Liu - Kidnap
Charlene Choi - Simply Actors

All in all, 13 for Warlords, 15 for Protege, 9 for The Postmodern Life of My Aunt, 8 for Mad Detective, and 7 for Eye in the Sky. That’s 24 for Peter Chan, and 15 for Milkyway. The awards will be announced on April 14th.

- Believe it or not, we’re not reporting on Edison Chen’s blog because he wrote anything about the recent photo scandal, but because there’s actually movie news on it. On the latest entry of his blog, Edison posted two pictures from Dante Lam’s latest film Sniper, due to be released on March 29th.

Meanwhile, there are word from both Oriental Daily and Apple Daily that Colombia Pictures have told Stephen Chow that they want the Chow-produced and Stephen Fung-directed dance flick starring Edison to either have its release pushed back, take out all of Edison’s scenes, or release it straight to video - all because of the scandal. Currently, the film is slated to be released on May 1st. However, remember that this is the Hong Kong press, so you never know how much of this is true.

Just the fact that they completely misread his blog is already an issue: They’ve taken the introduction that he’s had on the blog all this time and reported it as if he just wrote it yesterday. Now the headlines are: “Edison Chen fights back on his blog, saying ‘don’t hate the player, hate the game.” This is why I read 3 Hong Kong newspapers a day online to crosscheck facts.

- Japan Probe would like to introduce you to the newest foreign-Japanese star of enka. Kiyoshi Hikawa, eat your heart out!

- It’s reviews time! This week, Japan Times’ Mark Schilling reviews the made-for-cable film Tokyo Shonen (last year’s Koisuru Nichiyobi was made under the same network), and that paper’s Giovanni Fazio gives an unscathing review to Ang Lee’s Lust, Caution. Meanwhile, The Daily Yomiuri’s Ikuko Kitagawa gives a much more positive review to the erotic espionage thriller.

- The total box office of 2007 in Japan dropped slightly, as Hollywood films take the majority of the market again after last year’s win by Japanese films. By the way, 29 films went past the billion mark in gross, but only 7 of them are Japanese.

- TBS has announced that the first series to take their new Saturday night 8pm drama slot (previously filled by variety shows) will be an adaptation of the baseball comic Rookies. And TBS is planning to not follow the traditional season schedule, as the show’s planner says that they plan to adapt all 24 volumes of the comic. This may also mean that TBS can choose to cancel it anytime.

- Meanwhile, this week’s Televiews column talks about what’s on Japanese TV Friday nights, including Korean dramas, variety shows, more crappy variety shows, then a pretty good drama.

- The Japan Times has a wonderful interview with veteran director Yoji Yamada. When asked what message he would like people to take away from the film, he said this:

“…Japan made a wonderful postwar Constitution, but no amends have been made for past wrongs. In Germany, the Nazi collaborators were made to pay for what they did; in Japan, a war criminal could became prime minister, such as Nobusuke Kishi, the grandfather of our recent prime minister, Shinzo Abe. There’s something strange about that.”

- Lastly, Kaiju Shakedown has a link to the first teaser for John Woo’s The Battle of Red Cliff. Copyright © 2002-2024 Ross Chen