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Archive for the ‘humor’ Category

Hump Day

Being Wednesday, hump is being used here as a noun, not a verb.

- Let’s start with some rankings. Today it’s the Japanese Oricon (To answer a question that has never been asked, I only go over the Oricon because it’s the most widely-known easy-access general ranking in Asian music. Of course, I’m only saying that because I know Japanese and I don’t know Korean. Plus, I don’t know much about Taiwanese music anyway to go over rankings there). It was a slow week on both fronts - on the singles side, Glay leads the chart with their latest single, selling only 67,000 copies. By that number, you can tell how badly the rest of the singles are selling.

The album chart was fairly weak this week as well, with rock-pop songstress YUI taking the top spot with her second album, selling 290,000 copies. It’s also her first number 1 album, thanks to weak albums sales overall this week. Unlike the crowded album market last month, only 4 new releases found its way on the top 10, and 3 of them are ranked 5th and below.

- In case anyone still cares, Hong Kong Tuesday numbers are out. Mr. Bean still ruled the Hong Kong Easter box office, and Super Fan still flopped.

Several follow-ups from previous reported news:

- In response to Eason Chan’s comments about Ayumi Hamasaki lip-syncing part of her way through her Hong Kong concert, fans in Hong Kong have suggested they boycott Eason’s albums. Excerpt from Chinese report below:

陳奕迅(Eason)因公然指濱崎步在演唱會「咪嘴」而惹步姐迷不滿,昨日就有網友發起罷買Eason的唱片。

Eason Chan’s claim that Ayumi Hamasaki was lip-syncing at her concert has angered her fans. Yesterday, netizens were initiating boycotts of Eason’s albums.

Eason心情未受影響。但談到步姐和網友發起罷買其唱片,他就顯得很避忌,不欲多談,只強調當日接受訪問,大讚步姐是個聲色藝俱全歌手,其他事情不作回應了,免得事件愈鬧愈大。

Eason’s mood did not seemed to be affected, but when the boycott issue was brought up, he appeared wanting to avoid the issue and refused to comment. He only emphasized that during the interview, he complimented Ayumi as an all-around talented singer. He didn’t want to respond to other issues as to not blow things out of proportion.

Original Chinese report is here.

This isn’t the first time he said the wrong thing anyway. A few years ago, he said among the four Heavenly Kings of Cantopop (Leon Lai, Andy Lau, Jacky Cheung, and Aaron Kwok), he only bought Jacky’s albums, which set off another media/fan storm that eventually blew over. As one of Hong Kong’s top pop acts, I don’t think Eason has to worry about any type of boycott.

- Yesterday, I reported that the United States formally filed a complaint with the World Trade Organization about China’s rampant piracy. In response, China pretty much gives the U.S. a very gentle middle finger.

- Park Chan-Wook’s latest I’m a Cyborg But That’s OK is finally coming to DVD on April 30th. I’ll assume that a Hong Kong edition (that will be wiped out by the legions of screaming Rain fans, including those that didn’t show up for the theatrical release) is coming soon after that as well.

- I hated Kim Tae-Kyun’s A Romance of Their Own. It represented everything that was bad about Korean teen cinema - the posing, the melodrama, the tragic twist. I barely made it to the ending. Asian Cinema - While on the Road has a review of his latest, and it seems like it’s more formulaic melodrama that I would hate. Shame, I thought Volcano High was a solid film.

- On that note, Korean films seemed to have hit a slump for March, taking only 21.6% of the market. But the fact that the big picture shows that Korean films is still enjoying a 55.3% share for the year, the reports may be blowing it out of proportion a little bit. Hong Kong would kill for that kind of number, people.

- Japanese production company Nikkatsu has announced its line-up for 2007-2008. The most notable films include the cgi-animated film of popular 70s toon “Gatchaman,” to be made by Hong Kong firm Imagi and directed by Kevin Munroe, who teamed up for the recently-released TMNT. They also announced the Death Note spinoff film based on the detective character L, which will be shot later this year and distributed by Warner Bros. Japan.

- Japan Probe offers a look at what shooting on Kill Bill Volume 1 might have been like. It even offers a Quentin Tarantino impersonator that’s close enough, as far as Japanese impersonation goes.

- The Hong Kong International Film Festival is coming to an end, with the Hong Kong Film Awards on Sunday (I’ll be watching it on Sunday night on the tape-delay broadcast by the local TVB channel in San Francisco), which means Professor Bordwell is leaving. But before he leaves, he shares a ton of pictures, and even mentions this blog! Thanks, Professor, I enjoyed your coverage of the HKIFF!

Two hits, and everything else are flops

-Let’s start with those Thursday opening day numbers from Hong Kong. Following suit from America’s surprise success, 300 opened huge on Thursday with a HK$1 million from 33 screens. This will probably be one of Warner Bros’ biggest opening weekends in the region when it’s all said and done.

Too bad the same can’t be said for anything else opening, even Japanese blockbuster Dororo, which was so heavily promoted that even the rumored romancing stars showed up to Hong Kong for the premiere, opened only with HK$60,000 on 18 screens. Maybe business will pick up by the weekend, but I believe the fork is almost stuck into it already. Even cheap Hong Kong horror flick The Haunted School (produced by shitmaster Andrew Lau), which opened with HK$50,000 on 14 screens, got a higher per-screen average!

Some of the better (and I only mean that in a relative sense) openings include Hannibal Rising, which made HK$200,000 on 21 screens (look for it to get past the HK$10,000 per-screen this weekend), and Pan’s Labyrinth (which I think they should’ve opened before the Oscars) got HK$60,000 on 4 screens for the best per-screen in limited release right now. Last week’s champ Ghost Rider looks to suffer a heavy drop with only HK$ 190,000 on 34 screens.

- Speaking of hits, looks like after a string of failed foreign runs, The Host has finally become a hit in China, where it topped the box office in its opening weekend and praised by critics (it was praised by critics in the States too, so what’s with that crappy opening weekend?). Meanwhile, Variety Asia has a more solid report on its financing process and just how big of a hit it really is (for an Asian film to have a net profit of double its production cost is pretty damn amazing).

- I found a funny Youtube clip last night of a commercial featuring Kimura Takuya and Babel star Rinko Kikuchi (whose nude scenes were deemed too “sexually explicit” and cut by the Chinese censors, deeming that entire section pointless. Yay for destroying films.). Basically, the screen looks so nice that the moon on the screen was enough to turn KimuTaku into a werewolf.

- What happens when you can’t make a sequel to your hit film because your talents won’t commit? Animate them! The hit fantasy film Storm Riders is getting the sequel treatment through the magic of 2D and 3D animation. Directed by Dante Lam (who co-directed the masterpiece Beast Cops but also responsible for the huge pile of shit called The Twins Effect), it will presumably follow the natural progression of the story as set by creator Ma Wing Shing. It’ll open in 2008 (which is probably the trailer is pretty crappy so far), and there were so many mistakes in that trailer with the English narration that I don’t even have time to go into it. I just hope the final product isn’t as boring.

- Speaking of trailers, Twitch also introduces the trailer for Lovedeath, the latest by Ryuhei Kitamura (Azumi, Versus). The trailer isn’t promising more than style over substance (what is up with that stupid two-gun twirl? And what’s up with that horribly written exchange at the end where the woman offers sex? It feels like it’s written by a third-year student of Japanese), which is pretty much what I’ve expected from Kitamura after the tolerable but overlong Azumi and the style-for-style’s sake hit-and-miss Versus.

- Variety Asia, in their continuing coverage of the Hong Kong Entertainment Expo (the more I read it, the more I want to go), has posted a preview of the first ever Asian Film Awards. But why it is on a Tuesday, I have NO idea.

- Like many Hollywood actors, Oldboy’s Choi Min Sik is heading to the stage for the play The Pillowman after announcing that he would not be appearing in any more films (nooooooo!) until South Korea restores its screen quota. Sounds like it should be another intense performance.

- There are two new members to the pop collective (it’s a better name than record-company-built cute young girls pop group) Morning Musume, and they’re Chinese (dun-dun-dun!). One of them actually auditioned to be on one of those pop idols show in China, and Japan Probe has the clip. Well, we can forget about her being the one with singing skills (the judge at the end, by the way, says that she sings like a child. No kidding).

- Lastly, Variety has posted a review of The Godfather (yes, that Godfather). Of course, a review now would use words like “masterpiece” “and “classic” (which I agree with), and not words like “overlong” and “confusing.” That’s because this review was written in 1972 when the film first came out. I wonder if that critic ever changed his mind about it eventually.

Chasing the obsession, or obsessed with the chase?

“More people die on the East Bay commute than this idiot’s ever killed…”

Just came back from watching Zodiac, the latest from director David Fincher about the unsolved Zodiac serial murder case in the 1970s. I once said that if it was anything like the Korean film Memories of Murder, I’d be extremely happy. Well, I can say that it’s both like and not like Memories of Murder, but I’m extremely happy anyway, because it’s the first masterpiece of 2007.

Like Memories of Murder, Zodiac is about a real-life unsolved murder case from decades past. Specifically, a chain of murders occurred in the San Francisco Bay Area in the late 60s and early 70s. He sent a bunch of letters to different newspapers in towns where these murders took place, taunting the police and threatening to kill school children. Fincher was a child living in Marin County at the time (fairly close to where one of the murders took place), so he probably captured the period fairly well. Having lived in SF for only 14 years, I wouldn’t know much about it back then, but I even recognized some of the locations, including a glaring mistake where a scene that was supposed to be in neighboring Daly City was shot in the Sunset District. How do I know this? The local Chinese supermarket, which has only been around in the last 10 years, is placed prominently in the background. Its name? Sunset Super.

Anyway, Zodiac follows two different paths in the investigation: the police, led by Dave Toschi (brilliantly played by Mark Ruffalo), and the San Francisco Chronicle, with reporter Paul Avery and cartoonist Robert Graysmith (whose books are the source of the film). While one may expect their paths to cross and they collaborate just like a Hollywood buddy film, they rarely do and only does so when Avery becomes a distraction. The film, at 158 minutes, is a meticulous look at existing files regarding the case. Graysmith is the natural protagonist not only because he was the only person that remained obsessed until he wrote a damn book about it, but also because it’s obvious that Fincher and writer James Vanderbilt were both equally obsessed with the subject as well. It may not be as sensational or have the emotional resonance of Memories of Murder (this is where they differ), but Fincher makes up the lack of emotions with tons and tons of details. Critics have compared watching Zodiac as reading case files for 2 and a half hours. I’d say that’s half-true - reading files for 2 and a half hours is boring, and Zodiac is certainly not boring. It’s an involving look at obsession, how man can continuously gnaw at something as long as they cannot make it go away. It’s Fincher’s most mature work to date, and it’s a masterpiece. If you think you can’t sit through the 2 and a half hours in a theatre (and you will feel those 2 and a half hours, no doubt), you owe it to yourself to at least check it out on home video.

A friend said that he felt Fincher didn’t know whether Zodiac should be a thriller or a procedural because they stopped showing the murders halfway through - that’s because the Zodiac killer has only confirmed to have committed 4 murders, and three of them were shown onscreen, while quite a few of the other murders that were not shown were simply speculations.

And now, more news:

- The Death Note films are finally finding their home video release this week (rental versions have been out in Japan for the first film, though, which allowed the HK version to be released as well), and Warner Bros is shipping 500,000 copies of the two-film set on the release date. It’s not a huge launch, considering that it’s the second highest-grossing film market in the world. But since they are charging over 60 bucks for each set, and that this is the highest shipment for a domestic Japanese release in 2006, maybe it is a pretty big deal after all.

One note to correct in that story - Death Note part 1 was shown on TV in a director’s cut (which, according to an imdb poster - so take it with a grain of salt - it took out footage rather than added) before part 2’s release (it even scored an excellent 24.5 rating), part 2 was never shown on TV - NTV has no reason to since it would just take away from the video sales.

- Twitch mentions today about Rinko Kikuchi’s first Japanese film after her encounter with the Oscars in Babel. But give credit where credit is due - Ryuganji actually picked up this story a few days ago first. Judging from the description and the trailer, it doesn’t seem to be a particularly appealing film, so watch at your own risk.

- Speaking of watch it at your own risk, Palm Picture has a red-band trailer for their latest acquisition - The Glamorous Life of Sachiko Hanai. Twitch has picked up the trailer, and it’s weird as hell, just like the plot sypnosis. Do I dare go watch this?

- Anyone who has more faith in their reading Japanese than their listening can go watch Sakuran with Japanese subtitles all day this Saturday and Sunday at this theater in Tokyo. I might’ve gone, but I would have to live in Tokyo first.

- Looks like the Academy Award isn’t much of a commercial factor when the film arrives in Japan. Last year’s winning film for best actor, Capote, opened on 4 screens and eventually made 100 million yen (117 yen=$1, at least for today). Eiga Consultant analyzes the 12.1 million yen opening of this year’s winner, The Last King of Scotland, and while it did open with 200% of Capote’s opening weekend, it also opened on 12 times the screen Capote opened at, so the per-screen average is actually only 16.7% of Capote’s.

- Apparently, seeing South Korean entertainment’s boom in the last decade, Variety Asia thinks that the rest of Asia would like to do that. While I do see the point of the Singapore part, Hong Kong already has a full-grown entertainment industry that, while absorbing some of South Korea into its mainstream, is much in need of a revival more than a boom, and maybe that’s what this new government grant is for.

- The new 3D animation trend is so huge that even Hong Kong is joining in on the fun, and the person doing it is none other than Brian Tse, who carved out Hong Kong’s most famous contemporary animated franchise with McDull. According to Twitch, he’s developing a 3D animated feature about a duck liver sausage that finds out he’s a piece of poop. No kidding. At least the duck liver sausage idea is pure original HK humor.

- With increasingly successful Chinese films being funded from foreign funding, the Film Bureau realizes that they should modernize their existing government funding system. Insteading of finding government subsidies or a rich financier, an official at the Film Bureau says, “We now urgently need film producers who are politically sensitive, aesthetically sophisticated and have a flair for marketing.” Politically sensitive means communist, right?

- I mentioned about those Southern boys trying to do awesomely bad Japanese rap a while ago on this blog, and that they were putting a show in a Shibuya club. Well, their gigs already happened, and Japan Probe is awesome enough to provide a video of those Kokujin Tensai (literally means Black Person Genius, or a grammatically correct title of Black Genius). I searched on Youtube, and trust me, this is the best quality one can find of that show. Believe me, I don’t think the Japanese people who are there are laughing with them. They’re probably laughing at them. I know I would, and I’m not even Japanese!

Song of the day coming up after this entry.

A thin line between praise and criticism

Not much of a news day, but still lots of different types of news going around.

- The Chinese media watchdog (better known as the government) has set up 20 rules to the press ahead of a major meeting of communist leaders. Some of them include a ban on talking about censorship in the media (I’m sure I’m not the only one who see the irony in this), a ban on discussing the cultural revolution, and just to be redundant, any discussion about the mistakes made during the cultural revolution should not deny the accomplishments by the party or Mao Zedong.

What the fuck?

Anyway, these are nothing new to those who have seen years of this type of censorship, and details from Variety Asia are here.

- The U.S. government isn’t quite helping when they just decided to cut broadcast aid to Tibet and reduce broadcasting hours by 50%. Many of the Tibetan exiles listen to these broadcast, and now many people inside Tibet can only listen to the official Chinese radio instead.

Variety Asia report here.

- Just to show that I don’t just criticize the Chinese government (because the wrath of the Chinese internet community is, honestly, kinda scary), the same agency that impose those new media rules also decided to bring cinemas to rural areas so poor farmers in those areas can watch the latest government-approved communists lovefest. Oh, there I go again. I ought to be happier that more people get to discover the magic of movies.

Again, Variety Asia has the report.

- And don’t think I’m just talking about China, the censors in Malaysia and Indonesia has also went and banned two documentaries, although for slightly better reasons than China, I suppose.

- After the Oscar win for The Departed (it’s from Hong Kong! Not Japan, Ms. Tuttle!), Warner Bros. have apparently been suckered into buying the rights for another Andrew Lau/Alan Mak movie - Confession of Pain (I mentioned the possibility of this 2 months ago here). Just as Hollywood Reporter reports, it’s about a former police detective investigating the death of his old superior’s father-in-law, and I’m puzzled why Hollywood even needs to spend 2.75 million dollars (a figure I heard Andrew Lau’s production company is charging) for a script any post-film school screenwriting grad can write. Maybe William Monahan is so pissed about people saying how much Infernal Affairs was better, so he decided to buy a crappy script to make himself look better (even though he has an Oscar to prove himself already…)

- Meanwhile, over in Japan, I don’t have those box office numbers yet, but Eiga Consultant does round up the results of Sakuran. On just 51 screens in the Kanto area (kind of like the opening weekend for The Departed in Japan, except 68 screens), it scored 44.83 million yen (that’s roughly US$374,000 on a $1=120 yen scale), meaning about 880,000 yen per-screen, which is about $7300. Not spectacular, but still a fairly good start, considering it’s been on fairly small screens in multiplex or single-screen theaters. It’s also 125% ahead of Honey and Clover, which had a similar rollout. It’ll open on 129 screens this weekend, so expect it to climb slightly up the top 10.

- NTV, who found a lot of yen last year with the Death Note movies, has bought stakes in a comic publisher. They’ve been kind of behind on those comic adaptations (TBS has Nana, and even Asmik Ace has Honey and Clover), so maybe now they can get more rolling, but to whose joy, I have no idea.

- For those in San Francisco, Bong Joon Ho, the director of The Host and Memories of Murder (both are now two of my Korean films) will be coming here for a showing of his three films at the Clay Theater on March 5th. I won’t be able to make it personally, but I encourage everyone to catch all three films, they’re all great in their own way. Of course, I will be catching The Host when it opens here on March 9th.

Anyway, details by Twitch here.

- I’ve got some new (and not as well-written as I’d like them to be) reviews on Yesasia, and they are as follows:

Love Me Not

Ad Lib Night

Hot For Teacher (aka Sexy Teacher, aka Who Slept with Her?)

Bye June

Jacky Cheung - By Your Side

- A new rapper has popped up in the hip-hop world, and guess what? He’s black, and he raps in Japanese! That’s right, it’s Kokujin Tenzai down from the dirrrrty South. Japan Probe has an entire post on this guy, and it reports that he’ll be holding a concert in Shibuya where a ticket cost 3000 yen. Would you pay 3000 yen to see this? I wouldn’t.

Although I do have to give him credit for learning the language AND getting his buddies to rap along with him. But I don’t think he quite has the finger on how conversational Japanese works, and in the words of Crocodile Dundee himself: That isn’t Japanese rap, THIS is Japanese rap.

Plus I don’t think Japanese people appreciate hearing a foreigner bragging going to Japan and “fucking yo’ bitches” and having “Gats in the Cadillac.”

On one last note: I’ve been checking who reads this blog, and what the heck are people at Circuit City, Bank of America, and Wells Fargo doing reading this blog? Get to work, guys!

All over the map

Update’s a little late today, but that’s ok.

- Updating late enough means I caught Hong Kong’s Thursday box office numbers. Sometimes I think I need to live in Hong Kong to understand release patterns. Case in point - the Hugh Grant/Drew Barrymore romcom Music and Lyrics have been on the top 10 since Valentine’s Day. Not very good results (actually the bottom spot among the new Lunar New Year films), but still respectable. But now it’s overtaken everything except Protege and Night at the Museum to take 3rd spot on its official opening day. It earned HK$450,000 on 31 screens for a HK$3.20 million total already.

As mentioned before, Night at the Museum and Protege continue to own the box office, taking in HK$2.18 million and $1.25 million respectively. Protege seems to be showing a bit of a slowdown, but business should pick up this weekend again, and at a total of 18.02 million so far, it’ll at least reach the 25 million mark, which would make it the Hong Kong film to beat for the rest of the year. Meanwhile, It’s a Wonderful Life closes in on the HK$6 million point with HK$410,000 on 33 screens on Thursday, and Twins Mission does HK$370,000 on 26 screens to get past the HK$4 million mark.

According to today’s Oriental Daily (no link because content changes daily)Gold Label’s head honcho Paco Wong is satisfied with It’s a Wonderful Life’s mediocre performance since it’s only Ronald Cheng’s directorial debut. Right, Paco, it has nothing to do with quality at all, I’m sure.

Source: mov3.com

- Speaking of Protege, Kozo at Lovehkfilm posted his long-awaited review, and simply said: it’s good. Not great, but pretty good.

- What I want to discuss more though, is his own Lovehkfilm 2006 awards. I didn’t come up with a top 10 for 2006 because 1) it was too late by the time I came back from vacation, and 2) As a film studies major trying to finish his degree in film studies, it’s tough to catch up on new films (although this is the first year in a long time that I’ve actually caught all 5 of the Academy Awards best picture nominee. More on that on Sunday).

Anyway, agreed on most of the top 10 (only mostly because I have yet to see My Wife is a Belly Dancer, and I’m only half way through After This Our Exile). Can’t agree on bottom 10 because I’ve only seen two of those (but no Love@First Note? Too charitable, I say). Most agreed on the special award to Gold Label (”For the dubious achievement of somehow making EEG look good”), and agreed on the best overacting award. Make your own judgments from there.

- Twitch has discovered a new database for those who just can’t seem to remember the faces of those HK actors that appear in every other movie. I say they need one for Korean films….

- I love the Hong Kong International Film Festival. They get all kinds of movies that I would not be able to catch here in the States (or in the case of my experience at the HKIFF, movies I couldn’t catch during my year in Japan). Too bad I live in San Francisco, not Hong Kong.

Anyway, this year’s lineup has been announced, and it seems like there are so many films that they can’t even fit in a closing film. I have a few personal picks myself - the opening films (Eye in the Sky and I’m a Cyborg, but That’s OK), Bubble Fiction: Boom or Bust, Sakuran, Woman on the Beach, Love and Honor, and almost everything in the Hong Kong Panorama section. They even have Berlin winner Tuya’s Marriage, and a Herman Yau tribute featuring the infamous Untold Story and Ebola Syndrome. I’m not saying I want to see those two, I’m just saying they should be very interesting screenings.

- It’s been floating around for a couple of days, but I didn’t want to report it because it’s such bad news. But now it’s been confirmed by auteur Rob Cohen (excuse while I vomit) that Jet Li and Michelle Yeoh will be in The Mummy 3. Jet Li will play a head mummy of the Terracotta Army. Excuse me while I go vomit some more.

- Personal favorite Shiina Ringo has a new album out that I posted an external review for a few days ago. Better news is that it debuted at number 1 on its first day of release. I’m gonna be ordering a copy of this myself when I dig up the 30 bucks needed to buy it, but rest assured, I’m gonna love it too.

- Oops, they did it again. Another Japanese TV station has admitted to presenting false data. Same old, same old.

- Top Japanese studio Toho’s chairman Isao Matsuoka will receive the lifetime achievement award at this year’s Showest convention. How about honoring him by putting more Japanese films on American screen?

Source: Variety Asia.

- If you haven’t checked out Japander, you really should. It features Hollywood star in all kinds of Japanese commercial ranging from awesome to strange to just plain mediocre. I mention this because Japan Zone has announced that Madonna will be advertising for some new apartment complexes set to open in 2009. Other stars mentioned in the report include Jean Reno, Leonardo Dicaprio, and Ken Watanabe. I myself saw one featuring Richard Gere in a subway station in Tokyo.

- Hoga Central just announced that the blockbuster Genghis Khan: To the Ends of the Earth and Sea (just not as catchy as Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World or Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, or Norbit: From Unfunny to Plain Disgusting) has had its distribution rights sold to 60 countries, including Iraq (a film about a conqueror that wants to rule the world. hmm……). Of course, none of this is any indication that it’ll be any good.

- The Saturn Awards (Or Academy Awards for fantasy films) has recognized quite a few Asian films. For instance:

BEST INTERNATIONAL FILM

Apocalypto (Buena Vista)
The Curse of the Golden Flower (Sony Pictures Classics)
Fearless (Rogue / Focus)
The Host (Magnolia Pictures)
Letters From Iwo Jima (Warner Bros.)
Pan’s Labyrinth (Picturehouse)

BEST PERFORMANCE BY A YOUNGER ACTOR

Ko A-Sung (The Host) (Magnolia Pictures)
Ivana Baquero (Pan’s Labyrinth (Picturehouse)
Jodelle Ferland (Tideland) (ThinkFilm)
Tristan Lake Leabu (Superman Returns) (Warner Bros.)
Mitchel Tate Musso (Monster House) (Sony)
Edward Speleers (Eragon) (20th Century Fox)

BEST COSTUME

Joan Bergin (The Prestige) (Buena Vista)
Yee Chung-Man (Curse of the Golden Flower) (Sony Classics)
Penny Rose (Pirates of the Caribbean:
Dead Man’s Chest) (Buena Vista)
Judianna Makovsky (X-Men: The Last Stand) (20th Century Fox)
Nic Ede (Flyboys) (MGM)
Sammy Sheldon (V For Vendetta) (Warner Bros.)

A complete list is here

- Twitch also reports today on the societal impact of recent Korean blockbuster 200-Pound Beauty.

- Lastly, Variety has posted its
review for David Fincher’s Zodiac. It’s sounding more and more like Memories of Murder, and that’s alright with me.

Whew, that was a lot of news. That should make up for the delay.

Flying to Hollywood

It’s kind of a slow news day, so let’s talk about a bit of everything, including, yes, Hollywood.

- Aaron Eckhart, or sometimes the guy who plays the villain you love to hate, is joining the “Batman Begins” sequel “The Dark Knight,” playing Harvey Dent, or Two-Face (played by Tommy Lee Jones in Batman Forever, if I’m not mistaken). This is following Heath Ledger’s casting as The Joker, and of course, Christian Bale will return as Batman himself. The kick-ass Christopher Nolan also returns as director/co-screenwriter.

Source: Variety

- Eiga Consultant is predicting the winners of the major awards at the Japan Academy Awards this Saturday. An analysis of it and an English translation by Hoga Central is here. Personally, I think this is pretty spot-on, even though I would’ve predicted Yoji Yamada’s “Love and Honor” as winner of best picture. But then again, since Hula Girls did get chosen as Japan’s representative for the Academy Awards, the committee isn’t about to piss off that other committee by choosing any other movie.

And looking at the past history of the awards, I think the committee is too conservative to hand a best director award to “Memories of Matsuko” director Tetsuya Nakashima. I think the bigger chance goes to, of course, Yoji Yamada, whose “Twilight Samurai” swept the awards while “The Hidden Blade” didn’t. The frequency of one single film being able to sweep the awards should say something about how conservative the committee can be.

The nominees list (in Japanese) is here.

- Reviews time:

Variety posted their first review of the highly-anticipated 300. Funnier, though, is how New York Post critic Lou Lumenick links to it here.

Lumenick also links a review of the critic-proof blockbuster Ghost Rider here.

- Remember when Korean films like “A Moment to Remember” and “April Snow” scored big in Japan? “April Snow” even made more money in Japan than in its native South Korea (arigato, Yon-sama). Well, that magic’s gone away, and it went away quickly. Now CJ Entertainment is just lucky to be able to sell Park Chan-Wook’s “I’m a Cyborg, but That’s OK” to Japan. In fact, sales of Korean films to Japan has dropped by an astonishing 70%. That’s so sad that there’s no punchline to follow that up with.

Source: Variety Asia

- Finally, two humorous notes that has nothing to do with entertainment. Well, one of them kind of does.

People who’s read my review of Eason Chan’s album “What’s Going On…?” knows that I’m a huge fan of track 6 “Better Not to Meet.” Well, here’s a bittersweet version of it on youtube that laments the strengthening of the Chinese Renminbi against the Hong Kong dollar (it’s quite a serious issue in Hong Kong now. Back then, 100 Hong Kong dollars meant 140 renminbi. But now, it’s 100 Hong Kong dollar for roughly 99 renminbi.). It’s amusing and sad at the same time, really. (warning, in Chinese only)

Lastly, An anchorwoman in Hong Kong wrote a column about what true love to her means. Here is the translation. Here, however, is the original post in Chinese from a blog, where people criticize the columnist as a “typical Hong Kong woman” who expects men to give them everything. I think the best part of the post is the suggestion by the blogger, who says that if he encountered a girlfriend like that, he would follow up such “touching” words with “if my businesses fail and I would go bankrupt and crippled, would you give me back all those income that I’ve given you?”

True love? or selfishness?

 
 
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