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Archive for the ‘gossip’ Category

Abnormal

There might be less news in the next few days because the Ching Yeung Festival got mixed in with the Easter holiday in Hong Kong, so they’re pretty much on public holidays all the way until the 10th. What does that mean? No Thursday and Sunday numbers from mov3.com, and maybe less news from Variety Asia, so look for fairly short entries from tomorrow til next week.

- Let’s face it, my knowledge of Japanese animation and comics are quite minimal. I’ve heard of the name Tetsujin 28 here and there, including the live-action adaptation that opened when I was studying in Japan. But apparently a new Tetsujin 28 film opened this past weekend, but since it’s a relatively small production, the distributor decided to play it at one theater in Tokyo (followed by a tour around Japan, perhaps of the same print) for only a week with 5 showings a day, then decreasing to one morning and one late show a day after that. What they didn’t expect was that the film managed to attract 1291 people the first 2 days for the 133-people auditorium. At 5 shows a day, that means each show attracted 129.1 people, that’s full capacity right there. Apparently, a lot of the audience, primarily late 20-30s male who were fans of the anime, bought advanced tickets, which convinced the theatre to add matinee shows for one week. So now that it’s a hit, what now?

- As reported last week, the president of KTV, the broadcaster behind the drawn-out natto scandal, has resigned, but that only means that he’s now a director without voting rights on the board. What does that mean? It means he still gets paid, under lower salary, and with less power.

- I also mentioned a few days ago the Andy Lau fan madness saga. Anyone that wants a fairly comprehensive wrap-up and a look at the next step for the mentally unstable Yang family shouldn’t hesitate to look at the always informative EastSouthWestNorth blog. Yikes.

- After watching Love@First Note, the Gold Label-produced stinker with the equally overrated Justin Lo (that’s right, I went there), I placed Dennis Law so high up my director’s blacklist that I still can’t get myself to watch Fatal Contact yet. Then again, he did produce the Election movies, which may just mean good things for his latest producing gig - Herman Yau’s Gong Tau. But somehow I can’t help but think Twitch’s expectations for it may be a tad too high.

- New on the list of “not very good producers” is RTHK, who refused to allow Yan Yan Mak’s film “August Story” to screen at the Hong Kong International Film Festival because Mak put together the 62-minute “long version” from a 22-minute short film that RTHK commissioned her to do. At first, RTHK refused the existence of the film because Mak never received official permission to make it, then they said she can show only the 22-minute version along with 2 other films in the series of short films, and now the film festival people just flat out decided to pull it because RTHK won’t budge. With RTHK in hot waters lately, I’m not so sure if they should be making any more enemies these days.

- Am I the only that thinks the Pang Brothers should take a step back and chill? I’m already behind on 4 Pang films - Recycle, The Messengers, Diary, and Forest of Death, all of them are thrillers with maybe some horror mixed in. Do something else, guys - comedy (I know you did one of those), romance, dramas, something else other than horror, and do them slowly. Looks like I’ll be behind on a 5th one, if the film in this sales flyer is coming out anytime soon.

- I mentioned two or three days ago about Rules of Dating director Han Jae-Rim’s latest The Show Must Go On. Well, now Variety has an English review of it all the way from Hong Kong International Film Fest.

- Jackie Chan is looking for a successor that isn’t named Jaycee, and he’s looking hard. You can try too.

That’s it for today. Remember, no Hong Kong numbers for the weekend, but I can predict how the Easter box office will go tomorrow.

Alright?

Thanks to TVB, whose English channel showed the Asian Film Awards, I’m watching the TVB USA broadcast of it right now. The award, done completely in English, is hosted by actor/VJ David Wu, Hong Kong pop star Fiona Sit, and at one point, also by actress/singer Karen Mok. All three of these people speak fluent English, which I guess means they meet the most basic requirement. But while I’m sure that David Wu is a perfectly competent VJ on TV in Taiwan, he has this annoying need to end a lot of his sentences with fillers like “OK?” or “alright?” Yeah, kind of like what Quentin Tarantino does when he does interviews. While his fillers, which makes him sound like he’s speaking in a normal conversation, works better when Fiona shows up and does the co-hosting thing, his monologue skills is something left to be desired.

All in all, it’s an impressive effort, considering it’s the first time Hong Kong is in charge of a global award show like this (they’ve never done well with foreign presenters at the Hong Kong Film Awards either). It’s also great to see Professor David Bordwell get an award, Josephine Siao Fong Fong getting the only standing ovation of the night (why isn’t she in films anymore anyway? If the Hui brothers can still stage a pseudo-comeback these days, I think she’s due for another great performance), and Sandy Lam doing famous film songs in their original languages. But I think I can see a teleprompter in their future, because it’s really distracting seeing people reading into cards in their hands. It was also funny to see people sitting there not applauding (like when Andy Lau got his award, Tony Leung Chiu-Wai is caught just smiling politely when everyone else is applauding), Professor Bordwell snapping a picture of Jia Zhangke when he won his best director award, and people talking on cell phones even when the camera is on them.

So next year, get Michelle Yeoh (or at least have consistenly 2 hosts at the same time) to be the host, get everyone to at least appear to be prepared, and try to actually fill up the place with more than just idol fans and celebrities.


Watched Ridley Scott’s A Good Year last night. It’s basically an adult escapist fantasy about a rich guy, played by Russell Crowe, who inherits his deceased uncle’s beautiful French vineyard where he spent a big chunk of his childhood. He means to sell it so he can go back to his super stockbroker job in modern London, but first he has to fix it up. Considering it’s from the man who made Alien, Blade Runner, and Gladiator, A Good Year is obviously a pretty minor effort. It’s also Ridley Scott’s rare attempt at a full-on comedy; it even features the Crowe man falling into a pool of dirt and dead leaves.

The result is a very relaxed and minor effort. The whole thing, like Gordon Chan’s Okinawa Rendezvous, feels like an excuse for the cast and crew to spend a few months at a beautiful French villa. But that’s OK, because Scott has a sure handed approach on the material, making what could’ve been a mediocre “city guy learns about the simple life” story into a classy but somewhat uneven piece of filmmaking. Then again, maybe I’m predisposed to like everything Scott and Crowe do. Or it’s just nice to see Crowe not taking on heavy roles, he might just throw less things at people in real life.

Not much news out there today, but let’s try and get through this anyway.

- Japan Times has two notable reviews for the weekend - first, the latest film from the man who is supposed to be the next Miyazaki (blasphemy!!!), Makoto Shinkai’s latest: Byosoku 5 Centimeters. Second, one of the great discoveries of 2006, the high school-noir film Brick.

- The Weinstein Company’s “Dragon Dynasty” line is an attempt to make up for the cinematic crimes they’ve done to Asian movies over the years. Of course, a line of DVDs isn’t gonna make up for what they’ve done, but it’s a good step. Twitch has a look at their line-up for the rest of 2007, which includes a 2-disc edition of Hard Boiled, City of Violence, and even Fist of Legend! Took them long enough, no?

- Celebrity fandom hit a tragic note this week with the story of Yang Lijuan. She spent the last 13 years obsessing over Asian superstar Andy Lau by not having a steady job nor much of an education. Her parents loved their daughter so much that they supported this habit, even to the point of spending the family fortune to accompany her to Hong Kong to meet him. She shows up at a fan club activity, takes a picture with the man, and was sent away. However, it wasn’t enough because she wasn’t able to spend more time with the man. Out of disappointment and a strange sense of anger, the father commits suicide, leaving a letter blaming Andy Lau for not meeting his daughter.

Now the family’s out of money, and Andy Lau still won’t meet her, even though he has sent his staff to help her out any way they can. But apparently Ms. Yang’s mother has taken this opportunity to blame Andy Lau for her husband’s death and demands half a million RMB from Lau himself. How sad.

- I like Bae Doona. Even though she sometimes looks a bit like an alien, I’ve always enjoyed her performances. Korea Pop Wars has written an entry about her recently released photo album, which chronicles her travels in London. I’m actually kind of interested in the Tokyo one too.

- The date for the announcement of this year’s San Francisco International film Festival’s lineup is inching closer, and Twitch has a preview of the films that will be shown. Too bad I’m not interested in any of those films yet.

I know it ain’t much, but that’s all I got today, alright?

A new week

And a lot more news than I expected, so let’s rip through this sucker

- Before they take this thing down, check out Hollywood Elsewhere’s links to the screaming matches between Lily Tomlin and director David O. Russell on the set of I Heart Huckabees. I think Russell’s made some great works, but the guy looks like a downright asshole.

- Hong Kong Sunday numbers are up, and as expected, 300 takes the top slot. However, the grosses weren’t as high as I expected, considering that it grossed a phenomenal HK$1 million on Thursday. Instead, it made HK$1.69 million on 42 screens (a great number by any count) for a 4-day total of HK$6.47 million, including previews. Meanwhile, Ghost Rider is in second with HK$340,000 on 34 screens for a 11-day total of HK$5.76 million, The Haunted School is at HK$120,000 on 14 screens for a 4-day total of HK$480,000, and Dororo just can’t seem to get the audiences in seats by earning just HK$120,000 on 18 screens for a sad sad HK$380,000 4-day cume.

Good news for the limited releases though, as Pan’s Labyrinth draws in HK$120,000 on only 4 screens, while Ann Hui’s The Postmodern Life of My Aunt actually saw increased business with HK$100,000 on 5 screens. I knew Hong Kong audiences can’t just turn away a movie with Chow Yun Fat like that.

- The major Japanese dramas wrapped up this week, including the big three - Haken No Hinkaku (about temp office workers in Japan), Hana Yori Dango 2 (or who I mockingly called the Flower Boys), and Karei Naru Ichizoku (the big-budget rich family epic). Being a disliker of those Flower Boys and its positive word-of-mouth, I was afraid that the final episode would be higher than Karei Naru Ichizoku. But Kimura Takuya and his huge messed-up family rallied for a huge win with a 30.4% rating and a final average of a slightly disappointing 23.9 rating, while the Flower Boys did get a huge boost with a 27.9% rating for a final average of 21.7. The biggest boost, however, went to Haken No Hinkaku, who followed up its 19.9 rating for its 9th episode with a 26.0% rating for its last episode to get a 20.1% average.

The overall ratings this season are higher, since only one drama only got higher than a 20 rating average at the same season last year(while this season saw 3). But while Karei Naru Ichizoku did achieve a higher average than Kimura Takuya’s last drama Engine (I mention Kimura Takuya because he is the main draw for Karei Naru Ichizoku, considering all the posters around Tokyo has just his big face on it), but this is a man whose dramas once earned a 34.2 average (Hero in 2001), so a 23.9 rating for a big anniversary drama maybe not be so impressive.

Even a national newspaper reported on the huge ratings Karei Naru Ichizoku got, so let’s just all admit that it was pretty huge and all cheer like supportive people should.

Source: Drama News.

- The Japanese box office attendance rankings are also out, and Night at the Museum opened big at number 1, while the Doraemon movie held on a number 2. Drama adaptation Unfair the Movie opened at number 3, Happy Feet at number 4, and Deja Vu at number 5. As reliable as I can get numbers will come tomorrow, hopefully.

- Actress Ryoko Shinahara must be having a really happy week - her headlining drama Haken no Hinkaku got huge ratigns for its finale (which means let’s get her back for a sequel and stat!), and now her drama adaptation Unfair the Movie opens huge at 370 million yen, despite the drama only getting a 15.4 rating (which means Haken’s boost must’ve rolled over to Unfair too). Eiga Consultant predicts that this has gotta be pretty good omen for upcoming drama adaptations Saiyuki (a bastardization of the most beloved Chinese fairy tale ever Journey to the West) and Hero, which had a 22.8 and 34.2 average, respectively.

- After the critical failure of the last Studio Ghibli film Tales From Earthsea (which has been rumored to be Studio Ghibli officials’ way of hooking Hayao Miyazaki to come back and save the studio’s reputation by making one more film), Mr. Miyazaki’s latest project has finally been announced. According to Hoga News, it’ll be Gake No Ue no Ponyo (Ponyo on the Cliff), a story of a goldfish princess who wants to be human and a 5-year old boy. A producer said that it’s based on a time when Goro Miyazaki (Hayao’s son, and the one who directed Tales from Earthsea while detailing how horrible a father Hayao was on his blog) was 5 years old. Maybe this is Hayao’s attempt for a father-son reconciliation.

- Speaking of release dates, Stephen Chow’s latest A Hope has secured one too. Ming Pao writes this:

現在消息指電影的後期工作已基本完成,日內將送交國家電影局審查。由於電影故事溫馨講父子情,沒有敏感情節,通過審查應該沒問題,據悉已暫定暑假6月25日起在全國上映。

Current reports indicate that post-production is basically done, and it will be sent to the Bureau for Film, Radio, and Television for inspection. Since the film is touching story about love between father and son, there’s no sensitive material, it should have no problem getting through the inspection. It’s now tentatively set for a June 25th nationwide opening.

The story is something about a poor kid picking up a communicator that allows him to communicate with an alien, and the alien feel so sorry for the kid and his father (played by Stephen Chow) that it helps them out by punishing those that bully them. Sounds like good ol’ family fun indeed.

Original Chinese report is here.

- Youtube has a 5-minute trailer to the lesbian love story “Spider Lilies,” starring Taiwanese pop star Rainie Yang and Hong Kong pop star Isabella Leong. Rainie does even a nice little strip tease in the beginning. It premiered at the Berlin Film Festival, and will be shown at the Hong Kong International Film Festival as well.

- The Hong Kong Entertainment Expo is underway, and Variety Asia’s got you covered with a guide to fine dining and a guide to Hong Kong fashion shopping.

- At Hong Kong’s Asian Film Awards tonight, expect Andy Lau to get the “box office star” award. Excerpt from Ming Pao as follows:

據2005年12月舉行的「香港UA娛藝院線周年慶典頒獎禮」,劉德華的電影在香港的累積票房達17億港元,06年至今《墨攻》與《門徒》的累積票房數字為4100多萬港元。這些只是香港的票房數字,要統計劉德華的電影在亞洲區的票房數字肯定更驚人。

According to the “Hong Kong United Artist Cinemas Anniversary Awards” in December of 2005, Andy Lau’s film has grossed a total of HK$170 million. In the last one-year period, “A Battle of Wits” and “Protege” has grossed a total of over HK$41 million, and that’s just Hong Kong box office gross. Calculating the box office gross for Andy Lau’s films in Asia would come up with even more amazing numbers.

And why do people still just take Andy Lau as the next Hong Kong Chief Executive as a joke? He might just be the democratically-voted leader both China and Hong Kong can agree with.

Chinese report is here.

- Twitch’s logboy post a huge list of reviews for films he watched recently. None of them are complete, but they are another man’s opinions on some interesting Asian films that’s worth checking out.

- It’s all been reported out, but Mark Schilling wrote a comprehensive round-up of the recent Japanese health show scandal, which made the media turn against its own by leading a charge to uncover as much false data as possible.

- Twitch also has a review of the Ultimate Edition DVD of Versus. It was crazy and sometimes inspired fun, but was it really that great? Adrenaline-pumping does not a great movie made. Perhaps after the reported major tweaking, it’s now a better film. I’ll have to check this out.

- Those who were sad about Hong Kong girl group At 17’s split (I’m one of them) should rejoice, since Ming Pao has confirmed that the split is only for a half year. Ming Pao reports the following:

完成音樂會後,下半年這對好姊妹要暫時分開工作。Ellen與林一峰演出音樂劇《一期一會》,二汶則推出漫畫集,待年底再合作推出專輯。

After the concert, the sisters will have to work apart the second half of the year. Ellen will star in a musical with Chet lam, and Eman (Chet Lam’s sister) will release a comic collection. They’ll reunite to release an album at the end of the year.

Yay!

The original Chinese report is here.

Just because I’m angry enough

I’ll post one more time today. I read about this yesterday, but since it’s hit the English press, I might as well report it here.

Chinese netizens (known for their lack of reasoning and impulsive widespread actions)are attacking Zhang Ziyi for appearing in a Japanese ad for a shampoo where she displays her naked shoulders and appear to be semi-nude. She damned near showed her breasts to the French in 2046, and they attack her for showing a hell of a lot less in an ad promoting shampoo with the tagline “Asian beauty” (ASIAN, numbnuts, not Japanese beauty).

There’s a thin line between fanaticism and patriotism, and these guys just passed through it.

(Edit: Baiting of immature Chinese nationalists deleted.)

Not much of an independent spirit here

Was watching the Independent Spirit Awards, where Little Miss Sunshine bagged at least 4 awards, including best picture and best director(s) because it might just be one of the few films those people actually saw when they voted. Even though I liked it immensely, it may be the next most undeserved best picture winner if it wins the Oscar tomorrow night. Just a fair warning.

And can Sarah Silverman just start hosting every film award show from now on with no bleeping?

Anyway, slow news day, but just as important.

- Pop singer/actress/part-time musician Candy Lo has uploaded her latest song on her website. Actually, the link for the download is what the entire website is, and it’s not bad at all.

- This is why there needs to be a free flow of information on the internet: A Hong Kong blog has an expose on Hong Kong’s so-called hottest MTV director, nicknamed “Jacky” (who has done MTVs for mostly EEG artists). In an interview for Easyfinder, he talks about his MTV for Yumiko Cheng’s single “Up and Down,” which is outright copied from Goldfrapp’s Strict Machine MTV. This is a (translated) excerpt about his “creative process”

“A lot of dance songs are just pure Music Video (earlier in the article, he mentions three types of music videos - pure music videos, ones with story, and ones for advertisements), because inserting a story would just be hackneyed. I use a lot of graphics and abstract color tones to package it. The record company already decided that Yumiko would wear Chinese-style red and green clothes to dance. I felt that the clothes is like a kaleidoscope, so I found a lot of vintage toys to create that kaleidoscope effect.”

Yeah, I’m sure he’s that much of a genius.

the blog entry is here (The pictures on the left are from the Goldfrapp video while the ones on the right are of Yumiko Cheng’s)

- YTSL, a writer for the site Hong Kong Cinema: View From the Brooklyn Bridge, has posted a top 10 list for 2006 Hong Kong films on her blog here. She amazingly includes McDull the Alumni, which I’ve always contend is Hong Kong’s answer to the Monty Python films and comes even with a hell of a monologue by Jim Chim.

- Twitch has a link to the 6-and-a-half minute trailer for Takeshi Miike’s film adaptation of the game Ryu Ga Gotoku (or in American better known as Yakuza). I’m not a huge fan of Miike, but might this actually be good?

- So the panel investigating the natto TV scandal in Japan has now found even more “undesirable content” in the program from the past. Blah blah blah.

- And a final piece of news just for gossip’s sake, Daily Dumpling has a report on why the Chinese people don’t like their biggest star at the moment - Zhang Ziyi. *Gasp!* People don’t like Zhang Ziyi?! Lies, all lies!

Tomorrow, Oscar predictions, but only the major one because I’m too lazy to predict them all.

 
 
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