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Archive for the ‘India’ Category

The Golden Rock - August 24th, 2007 Edition

- It was another active day at the Hong Kong box office on Thursday opening day. However, the bad news is that only one film actually did well. Granted, all 5 opening films got into the top 10 slots, but none of them opened on more than 30 screens. That’s why the top film was the box office flop Evan Almighty. On 29 screens, the Steve Carell-starring comedy made HK$780,000 on its opening day. Very far behind is yet another box office flop, The Invasion starring Nicole Kidman. On 28 screens, the remake of The Invasion of the Body Snatchers made just HK$360,000, doomed to repeat the same fate it did in the United States. Even the Thai horror film Alone, which I’m sure got some publicity from having its ads and trailers censored, got a better per-screen average, making HK$250,000 from 16 screens.

Now we’re down to the floppers. Not even the Wu and Woo names could get audiences to go catch Blood Brothers (I did though). On a meager 20 screens, the period action-drama made just HK$130,000. Doing a little better on the per-screen is the Japanese animated film The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, featuring the voice of pop star Janice Vidal (er…last I checked, she couldn’t even speak Cantonese properly) on 15 out of its 16 screens, made just HK$110,000. Expect one of these to do better during the weekend, and it ain’t the one I’ve seen.

As for the holdovers, Rush Hour 3 is good as dead with just HK$310,000 on 34 screens for an 8-day total of HK$5.43 million (remember Jackie Chan himself has a stake in this, as he owns the distribution rights for the Chinese-speaking regions), and Wilson Yip’s Flash Point with Donnie Yen is not looking to get to the HK$10 million mark with HK$8.28 million after 15 days. I thought it was good enough to make more, but hey, that’s just me.

- With the news yesterday about the new Japanese film database by Eiren, Jason Gray shares a few more already existing Japanese movie databases. Yay, more references to cross-check.

- China box office is on the rise, expecting to make 3 billion yuan. However, quite a big chunk of that has been from those really huge Hollywood movies, though a lot of that is expected to be from the high-profile Chinese films at the end of the year.

- It’s from those guys at Oriental Daily again, which is strange because they keep picking up the only stories that at least two other major Hong Kong newspapers don’t pick up. This time, Soi Cheang’s Dog Bite Dog has been sold to be remade in India. I’m hoping that no song and dance is involved, and that the assassin won’t be from Pakistan (props to those who get the reference).

By the way, producer Sam Leung is apparently looking to do a sequel to Dog Bite Dog with the original cast. Having watched the film, how the hell are they going to pull that off?

- In more reports from Chinese newspapers, The Pye-Dog starring Eason Chan, which has yet to get a release in Hong Kong, will be heading to three different films festivals - Stockholm International Film Festival, the Asia Oceanic Film Festival (?), and the German International Innocence Films Festival (???).

- With Takeshi Kitano’s Glory to the Filmmaker (Kantoku Banzai) heading to Venice, the organizers have decided to establish a new award, and Kitano’s getting it. The name of the award? “Glory to the Filmmaker!”

The Golden Rock - August 20th, 2007 Edition.

If you haven’t noticed the link section by now, I now officially announce the opening of The Golden Gate Meets The Lion Rock. As I wrote in the first post, this spin-off blog is a result of a realization that the daily The Golden Rock entries are getting way too long. I will move all movie reviews and general Hong Kong observations into that blog, so expect reviews of some of the films I’ve seen here in Hong Kong and probably better pictures. Either way, it’ll be fun.

- If these stats are right, it was a pretty busy Sunday at the Hong Kong box office. Pixar’s Ratatouille pulled a surprising victory over Jackie Chan’s Rush Hour 3, making HK$1.07 million on 33 screens, passing the HK$20 million mark after 18 days. While Rush Hour 3 won Thursday, its weekend bump wasn’t enough, making only HK$1 million on Sunday for a 4-day weekend total of just HK$3.52 million. Then again, a few people at the screening I went to (out of a meager 15 or so) seemed to have enjoy it. Maybe they were high. The other opening film of the weekend, Walt Disney China’s The Magic Gourd, rebounded from its weak Thursday opening for a Sunday gross of HK$310,000 from 16 screens for a 4-day total of HK$840,000, ensuring that the film will indeed pass the HK$1 million mark. I walked by one of the theaters showing it on Sunday, and the monitor showed that the film was actually at at least 80-85% capacity, so I’m not surprised it did so well that day.

As for returning films, The Simpsons Movie leads the pack with HK$700,000 on 36 screens for an 11-day total of HK$8.07 million. It should pass the HK$10 million mark this coming week, especially for a cartoon that I’ve never seen shown on HK television (is it on HK television? Let me know). The Bourne Ultimatum managed to retain some word-of-mouth and rebounded on Sunday with HK$550,000 on 30 screens for a HK$6.88 million 11-day total. Another action film getting word-of-mouth but still being pushed out is Wilson Yip’s Flash Point (which I will review on the spin-off). Screens are dwindling down, and a lot of exhibitors are only showing this three times or less a day, but it still made HK$460,000 on 28 screens for a 11-day total of HK$7.35 million.

- Holy shit, this D-War thing is getting crazy. After its third weekend, the dragon-in-LA blockbuster has now accumulated 7.45 million admissions and is now the 7th biggest film of all time in Korea. the “historical” film May 18 ain’t doing so bad, either, with over 6 million admissions already. With Korean films taking the top 4 spots this weekend, does that mean local films are making a comeback, or just a weakening Hollywood lineup?

- We won’t have any numbers for Japan until tomorrow, but admission rankings shows Harry Potter overtaking Ocean’s 13 to become number 1 again. Under “disappointing openings” today, Fumihiko Sori’s Vexville opens at 9th place.

- In a brief roundup of drama ratings, Papa To Musume No Nanakakan wrapped up on Sunday with a 14.5 rating after scoring a season-low 11.9 rating last week. In the end, the Freaky Friday-clone scored an OK-average of 13.9, making it the 4th highest-rated drama of the season if things hold up. Meanwhile, the highest-rated drama of the season title was between First Kiss and Hana Zagari no Kimitachi he, but both are suffering from season-low ratings. Actually, everything is suffering from falling ratings, but Hana happened to have started high enough to stay on top.

Lastly, Sushi Ouji, the drama that had such high expectations that a movie was greenlit before the drama even began airing, has fallen to a 5.9 rating in its 4th week after premiering it with an 8.8. Who do they exactly expect to see the movie now?

- Wow. Sonny Chiba’s directorial debut is set to be released this Friday, and I had no idea. Oyaji stars Sonny Chiba as a loving father who dies in a family that ends up tearing his family apart. However, he suddenly returns the life, and I guess kicks a lot of ass with a shovel. It’ll only play in one Tokyo theater for one show a night, but it actually looks pretty good. Hell, I’ll buy an advance ticket just for that lighter.

And yes, I realize from the trailer that Chiba is only co-directing it, but I would guess that applies to scenes he’s not in, so that makes it a pretty big deal.

- Vietnamese-French director Tran Ahn Hung (Cyclo) is working on a new film, and it actually features a pretty major Panasian cast. I know Josh Harnett isn’t anything exciting, but it also features Shawn Yu (an actor I’m coming to like more and more), Lee Byung-Heon, and Japanese drama king Kimura Takuya. The story doesn’t sound that good, but I can’t help but hope for the best.

- And they wonder why Hong Kong people can’t accept Mainland Chinese movies. The chairman of China Film Group was reported saying that China needs more films that promote nationalism and are “ethically inspiring.” The quote that pissed me off the most? “‘The reality of this country’s economic reforms is that the country, the race, is prospering…There can’t be anyone who makes fun of it. People who do either have ulterior motives or they’re mentally challenged’” He really sounds like an American right-winger when he says that; maybe he should move to the American South and let the people who know what they’re doing (i.e. the filmmakers) do their jobs.

- Hell, even Jet Li is pissed at the way movies work in China. After attempting to make movies with positive messages that still fail to get into China, Li is speaking out about his annoyances.

- In a related note, Zhang Ziyi will star in a movie called Laundry Warriors.

- The US trailer for Johnnie To’s Exiled is up from Magnolia Pictures, and they sure make it look better than your usual Hong Kong action film trailer. Still, what’s up with all the shots of the girl in her underwear? Those are all from the same scene.

- The India film industry not-so-politely ask you all to stop calling their film industry Bollywood. And I politely ask them to stop remaking movies and just add sing-and-dance scenes into it.

- They’re so in love! While Wilson Yip’s next film is a co-directing effort that puts Donnie Yen as a horror-action hero, they’re already working on their film after that. What’s scary is that Yen will play Wisely, a legendary modern literary character that one can compare as the Sherlock Holmes of Hong Kong - but with supernatural aspects. In case you don’t know, the last Wisely movie was Wesley’s Mysterious Files. Now I know what kind of expectations to put on this.

- There’s a review for one of this year’s major Japanese drama adaptation films Unfair: The Movie. Caution, it does contain some spoilers, including one major plot twist.

- Chinese audiences are in love with contrived reality, as the reality gimmick show Wife Swap is a hit. And yet they’re not allowed to watch Chow Yun-Fat play a Singaporean.

- This remains unconfirmed, but Pang Ho-Cheung, whose award-nominated Exodus is coming out next month, will be producing with Chapman To on a new film after the critical success of Isabella, the first film under their production company. This new film will make up 8 stories of different genres (all to be directed by Pang?) and its initial cast list include Chapman To himself, Edison Chen, Shawn Yue, Isabella Leung, and Gillian Chung.

Source: Oriental Daily.

The Golden Rock - August 20th, 2007 Edition.

If you haven’t noticed the link section by now, I now officially announce the opening of The Golden Gate Meets The Lion Rock. As I wrote in the first post, this spin-off blog is a result of a realization that the daily The Golden Rock entries are getting way too long. I will move all movie reviews and general Hong Kong observations into that blog, so expect reviews of some of the films I’ve seen here in Hong Kong and probably better pictures. Either way, it’ll be fun.

- If these stats are right, it was a pretty busy Sunday at the Hong Kong box office. Pixar’s Ratatouille pulled a surprising victory over Jackie Chan’s Rush Hour 3, making HK$1.07 million on 33 screens, passing the HK$20 million mark after 18 days. While Rush Hour 3 won Thursday, its weekend bump wasn’t enough, making only HK$1 million on Sunday for a 4-day weekend total of just HK$3.52 million. Then again, a few people at the screening I went to (out of a meager 15 or so) seemed to have enjoy it. Maybe they were high. The other opening film of the weekend, Walt Disney China’s The Magic Gourd, rebounded from its weak Thursday opening for a Sunday gross of HK$310,000 from 16 screens for a 4-day total of HK$840,000, ensuring that the film will indeed pass the HK$1 million mark. I walked by one of the theaters showing it on Sunday, and the monitor showed that the film was actually at at least 80-85% capacity, so I’m not surprised it did so well that day.

As for returning films, The Simpsons Movie leads the pack with HK$700,000 on 36 screens for an 11-day total of HK$8.07 million. It should pass the HK$10 million mark this coming week, especially for a cartoon that I’ve never seen shown on HK television (is it on HK television? Let me know). The Bourne Ultimatum managed to retain some word-of-mouth and rebounded on Sunday with HK$550,000 on 30 screens for a HK$6.88 million 11-day total. Another action film getting word-of-mouth but still being pushed out is Wilson Yip’s Flash Point (which I will review on the spin-off). Screens are dwindling down, and a lot of exhibitors are only showing this three times or less a day, but it still made HK$460,000 on 28 screens for a 11-day total of HK$7.35 million.

- Holy shit, this D-War thing is getting crazy. After its third weekend, the dragon-in-LA blockbuster has now accumulated 7.45 million admissions and is now the 7th biggest film of all time in Korea. the “historical” film May 18 ain’t doing so bad, either, with over 6 million admissions already. With Korean films taking the top 4 spots this weekend, does that mean local films are making a comeback, or just a weakening Hollywood lineup?

- We won’t have any numbers for Japan until tomorrow, but admission rankings shows Harry Potter overtaking Ocean’s 13 to become number 1 again. Under “disappointing openings” today, Fumihiko Sori’s Vexville opens at 9th place.

- In a brief roundup of drama ratings, Papa To Musume No Nanakakan wrapped up on Sunday with a 14.5 rating after scoring a season-low 11.9 rating last week. In the end, the Freaky Friday-clone scored an OK-average of 13.9, making it the 4th highest-rated drama of the season if things hold up. Meanwhile, the highest-rated drama of the season title was between First Kiss and Hana Zagari no Kimitachi he, but both are suffering from season-low ratings. Actually, everything is suffering from falling ratings, but Hana happened to have started high enough to stay on top.

Lastly, Sushi Ouji, the drama that had such high expectations that a movie was greenlit before the drama even began airing, has fallen to a 5.9 rating in its 4th week after premiering it with an 8.8. Who do they exactly expect to see the movie now?

- Wow. Sonny Chiba’s directorial debut is set to be released this Friday, and I had no idea. Oyaji stars Sonny Chiba as a loving father who dies in a family that ends up tearing his family apart. However, he suddenly returns the life, and I guess kicks a lot of ass with a shovel. It’ll only play in one Tokyo theater for one show a night, but it actually looks pretty good. Hell, I’ll buy an advance ticket just for that lighter.

And yes, I realize from the trailer that Chiba is only co-directing it, but I would guess that applies to scenes he’s not in, so that makes it a pretty big deal.

- Vietnamese-French director Tran Ahn Hung (Cyclo) is working on a new film, and it actually features a pretty major Panasian cast. I know Josh Harnett isn’t anything exciting, but it also features Shawn Yu (an actor I’m coming to like more and more), Lee Byung-Heon, and Japanese drama king Kimura Takuya. The story doesn’t sound that good, but I can’t help but hope for the best.

- And they wonder why Hong Kong people can’t accept Mainland Chinese movies. The chairman of China Film Group was reported saying that China needs more films that promote nationalism and are “ethically inspiring.” The quote that pissed me off the most? “‘The reality of this country’s economic reforms is that the country, the race, is prospering…There can’t be anyone who makes fun of it. People who do either have ulterior motives or they’re mentally challenged’” He really sounds like an American right-winger when he says that; maybe he should move to the American South and let the people who know what they’re doing (i.e. the filmmakers) do their jobs.

- Hell, even Jet Li is pissed at the way movies work in China. After attempting to make movies with positive messages that still fail to get into China, Li is speaking out about his annoyances.

- In a related note, Zhang Ziyi will star in a movie called Laundry Warriors.

- The US trailer for Johnnie To’s Exiled is up from Magnolia Pictures, and they sure make it look better than your usual Hong Kong action film trailer. Still, what’s up with all the shots of the girl in her underwear? Those are all from the same scene.

- The India film industry not-so-politely ask you all to stop calling their film industry Bollywood. And I politely ask them to stop remaking movies and just add sing-and-dance scenes into it.

- They’re so in love! While Wilson Yip’s next film is a co-directing effort that puts Donnie Yen as a horror-action hero, they’re already working on their film after that. What’s scary is that Yen will play Wisely, a legendary modern literary character that one can compare as the Sherlock Holmes of Hong Kong - but with supernatural aspects. In case you don’t know, the last Wisely movie was Wesley’s Mysterious Files. Now I know what kind of expectations to put on this.

- There’s a review for one of this year’s major Japanese drama adaptation films Unfair: The Movie. Caution, it does contain some spoilers, including one major plot twist.

- Chinese audiences are in love with contrived reality, as the reality gimmick show Wife Swap is a hit. And yet they’re not allowed to watch Chow Yun-Fat play a Singaporean.

- This remains unconfirmed, but Pang Ho-Cheung, whose award-nominated Exodus is coming out next month, will be producing with Chapman To on a new film after the critical success of Isabella, the first film under their production company. This new film will make up 8 stories of different genres (all to be directed by Pang?) and its initial cast list include Chapman To himself, Edison Chen, Shawn Yue, Isabella Leung, and Gillian Chung.

Source: Oriental Daily.

The Golden Rock - July 29th, 2007 Edition

I had a Podcast ready and everything, but Audacity somehow manages to fuck up my introduction (one track suddenly silenced the other one for a certain period of time, even though I didn’t ask for the silence), and now no more Podcast because I have no energy to spend hours editing it again. So last week was the final Podcast for a while, and maybe we’ll try it all over again in Hong Kong.

- The opening of a major multiplex in Tokyo started a new trend - stage show on movie screens. There’s something similar to that here in the States, broadcasting concerts on a nationwide system of cinemas. The series of stage shows, 4 in all, sold 14,000 tickets during its run, so perhaps it’s no surprise that they already sold 5000 advance tickets for their latest show in 2 days. I can understand why people outside Tokyo might need something like this, but I already imagine live stage shows being better, you know……live?

- For some reason, wasn’t the news on the box office result of the American-produced documentary Nanking much better two weeks ago? With rich people shelling out donations and theaters reducing prices to get people into the theater, I thought it was supposed to be a hit in Nanjing. However, looks like it’s suffering under the Hollywood syndrome as well, where there’s just not enough screens to go around for it.

- The battle of TV continues in Hong Kong, as Hong Kong’s biggest cable provider i-Cable has started its own record label to directly challenge freecaster TVB’s monopoly on music artists.

- Variety has a little more on the Asian films that will be featured at this year’s Venice Film Festival, including an impressive four in competition.

Asian Popcorn has more specific on one of them - the long-delayed The Sun Also Rises by Jiang Wen.

- The Sun Also Rises co-stars Jaycee Chan, who is also currently in the Hong Kong action film Invisible Targets. His father Jackie has the soon-to-be-crappy sequel Rush Hour 3, which also stars Chinese actress Zhang Jingchu, who talks about her experiences on the set.

Just to finish playing that 6 degrees of separation game, Zhang was in Protege with Daniel Wu, who was in Twins Effects 2 with Jaycee. Boo-ya!

- Jaycee was in Twins effects 2 with Charlene Choi, who was in Love on the Rocks with Louis Koo, who is in the experimental Hong Kong Cannes participant Triangle by Tsui Hark, Ringo Lam, and Johnnie To. The official website for the film is up, and according to Mov3.com, the film won’t be coming out until….November?!

- We have two reviews from the Japan Times this week to share - Mark Schilling’s review for the animated film Kappa no Coo To Natsuyasumi, and Kaori Shoji’s review for Hong Kong director Andrew Lau’s Hollywood debut The Flock. How can a film sound good and crappy at the same time? Oh, it’s by Andrew Lau, that’s why.

- In case anyone that reads this blog ever becomes an ad executive in India, you might want to be careful when you do underwear ads.

Yeah, not much news today. Doing that Podcast took a bit out of me. See you back tomorrow.

The Golden Rock - July 29th, 2007 Edition

I had a Podcast ready and everything, but Audacity somehow manages to fuck up my introduction (one track suddenly silenced the other one for a certain period of time, even though I didn’t ask for the silence), and now no more Podcast because I have no energy to spend hours editing it again. So last week was the final Podcast for a while, and maybe we’ll try it all over again in Hong Kong.

- The opening of a major multiplex in Tokyo started a new trend - stage show on movie screens. There’s something similar to that here in the States, broadcasting concerts on a nationwide system of cinemas. The series of stage shows, 4 in all, sold 14,000 tickets during its run, so perhaps it’s no surprise that they already sold 5000 advance tickets for their latest show in 2 days. I can understand why people outside Tokyo might need something like this, but I already imagine live stage shows being better, you know……live?

- For some reason, wasn’t the news on the box office result of the American-produced documentary Nanking much better two weeks ago? With rich people shelling out donations and theaters reducing prices to get people into the theater, I thought it was supposed to be a hit in Nanjing. However, looks like it’s suffering under the Hollywood syndrome as well, where there’s just not enough screens to go around for it.

- The battle of TV continues in Hong Kong, as Hong Kong’s biggest cable provider i-Cable has started its own record label to directly challenge freecaster TVB’s monopoly on music artists.

- Variety has a little more on the Asian films that will be featured at this year’s Venice Film Festival, including an impressive four in competition.

Asian Popcorn has more specific on one of them - the long-delayed The Sun Also Rises by Jiang Wen.

- The Sun Also Rises co-stars Jaycee Chan, who is also currently in the Hong Kong action film Invisible Targets. His father Jackie has the soon-to-be-crappy sequel Rush Hour 3, which also stars Chinese actress Zhang Jingchu, who talks about her experiences on the set.

Just to finish playing that 6 degrees of separation game, Zhang was in Protege with Daniel Wu, who was in Twins Effects 2 with Jaycee. Boo-ya!

- Jaycee was in Twins effects 2 with Charlene Choi, who was in Love on the Rocks with Louis Koo, who is in the experimental Hong Kong Cannes participant Triangle by Tsui Hark, Ringo Lam, and Johnnie To. The official website for the film is up, and according to Mov3.com, the film won’t be coming out until….November?!

- We have two reviews from the Japan Times this week to share - Mark Schilling’s review for the animated film Kappa no Coo To Natsuyasumi, and Kaori Shoji’s review for Hong Kong director Andrew Lau’s Hollywood debut The Flock. How can a film sound good and crappy at the same time? Oh, it’s by Andrew Lau, that’s why.

- In case anyone that reads this blog ever becomes an ad executive in India, you might want to be careful when you do underwear ads.

Yeah, not much news today. Doing that Podcast took a bit out of me. See you back tomorrow.

The Golden Rock - July 25th, 2007 Edition

- Starting with those Oricon charts, both the singles and album charts saw very good sales this past week. On the singles side, Ayumi Hamasaki’s latest (which features a short film co-starring Hong Kong actor Shawn Yu in the more expensive version) scored a huge debut, selling 110,000 copies for an easy first place finish. This is Hamasaki’s 9th consecutive year of having a number 1 single, which ties the record set by Akina Nakamori throughout the 1980s. Actually, in the rest of the top 10, there’s only one single that’s not new on the chart, and that is Erika (as in Sawajiri)’s debut single, which sold another 18,800 copies in its third week. A little unlucky on the charts this week are Porno Graffiti and Orange Range, whose latest both hit chart-topping numbers (90,000 and 64,000 copies, respectively), but ended up at 2nd and 3rd place instead. In fact, looking at the daily charts, next week’s predicted winner Morning Musume isn’t even likely to sell more than 80,000 copies of their latest, although Ai Otsuka is following close behind to fight for that top spot.

- In the equally busy albums chart, another Johnny’s Jimusho group KinKi Kids wins the top spot, selling 301,000 copies of their latest album. Far far behind is American band Sum 41 (holy shit, they’re still around?), who sold 62,000 copies of their latest album a week ahead of the American release. Amazingly, hip-rock band (that’s a made-up genre by yours truly) Greeeen’s debut album continues to hang on at 3rd place, while Namie Amuro’s latest (which, in a shameless plug, I reviewed recently) also remains consistent at 4th place. According to the daily charts, the two Orange Range compilations is expected to win the upcoming week, with Canadian-Japanese band Monkey Majik’s latest album right behind them.

- I don’t mean to trash the Japanese blockbuster film Monkey Magic so consistently, but bad news just keeps coming in one after another, so I can’t help but report it. According to this blog post linked by Eiga Consultant, Monkey Magic suffered a huge loss not only due to the arrival of Harry Potter, but also because the film has earned horrible word-of-mouth, with comments like “childish” and “unnecessary” being thrown around on the internet. Also, the excessive television appearances by star Shingo Katori has led audiences to be fed up with his attempt to promote the film. With a budget of 3 billion yen (mostly spent on advertising and CGI), no wonder Fuji TV needs a 5.9 billion yen gross.

By the way, I’m going on this by my barely-intermediate Japanese knowledge, so feel free to correct me.

- Speaking of mis-reporting, there are reasons why I don’t look at Mainland Chinese websites for movie news. First, I don’t read simplified Chinese (at least not good enough to translate), and second, I have a personal vendetta against one particular English site (coughcrienglishcough). Now a case of misreporting rumors has been added to that list of reason. According to Hong Kong’s Ming Pao’s entertainment columnist, who is possibly screenwriter Chan Hing-Ka, a rumor from a Mainland China website reported that Ken Watanabe and Hideaki Takizawa has joined the cast of Derek Yee’s The Shinjuku Incident. The rumor was spread quickly, prompting Yee to come out and denied it. Excerpt from the Chinese article translated here:

娛樂圈這一行很敏感,演員如看到報道指某部電影打算找某位演員主演,後來自己又被邀請,很易聯想到自己是「執二攤」,即有其他演員在自己之前推掉角色,所以才輪到自己。

經理人公司特別在乎這方面的報道,別以為日本經理人公司不會留意中、港、台新聞,他們是很清楚的,只要一有相關報道出來,他們會立即四出查證。

The entertainment industry is a very sensitive one. If an actor reads a report about a film casting another actor, only to see him/herself also invited afterwards, then they might see themselves as “scraps.” That means he/she only got invited to join a film because another actor turned it down.

Managers/agents show special care into these kind of reports. Don’t think that Japanese agencies don’t look at Chinese/Hong Kong/Taiwanese news; they are actually quite clear on it, and once such report comes out, they would immediately verify it.

試過有一位本地導演太早公布了與某日本演員合作的事,報道一出,其經理人公司當日就有電話打來查詢,那時互聯網還沒有現在般流行。

Once, a local director reported collaborating with a Japanese actor too early. Once the report came out, the actor’s agency called to verify on the same, and the internet wasn’t even as popular at the time as it is today.

某些傳媒在未經查證之下,會把網上的傳聞照搬過來,其實有時只需打一、兩個電話就可以求證,偏偏就不去做,假消息愈傳愈開,給當事人造成的困擾和傷害也愈來愈大。

Some media would post certain rumors without verification. Sometimes, a call or two can verify the news, but they don’t do it anyway. As the fake news spread gradually farther, it would concurrently cause more and more harm to those involved.

Of course, this isn’t the only fake report spreading around these days. After reports of Stephen Chow signing on to play Kato in the Green Hornet, Chow’s management came out the next day to deny it, even though the original post only says the film’s writer would LIKE to Chow for the role.

Don’t worry, The Golden Rock always strive to report the most accurate and verified news on Asian entertainment with the most bias a hypocrite like me can give out. Why do you think it takes me 2 hours a day to write an entry? Nevertheless, corrections to any possibly misreported stories are welcomed.

- Shinji Aoyama’s latest Sad Vacation is going to Venice. However, it will not be in competition, but in the Orizzonti sidebar section instead.

- Those in Hong Kong take note: Taiwanese superstar Jay Chou’s directorial debut Secrets is having sneak previews this coming weekend. Just get your tickets early, they’re getting snapped up fast. Oh, and Jay Chou will be at two of those shows on Sunday, which seem to be sold out by now anyway (that would be the seating charts filled with red you see in the post).

- Joel Schumacher, who has been blamed for single-handedly screwing up the Batman franchise once upon a time, is in talks to direct the remake of Johnnie To’s action flick Breaking News. I enjoyed Tigerland and Phone Booth (another thriller set in limited space and time compression), so this might turn out OK.

- Malaysian major bookstore chains, in protest of grocery superstore slashing book prices, boycotted the latest Harry Potter book. Of course, the bookstores have ended the ban because the “customers are the ones would suffer.” 1) Can’t they just go to the grocery superstores to buy the book at a lower price anyway? and 2) Am I the only who find an irony in huge bookstore chains protesting cheaper book prices when these chains were once responsible for putting mom-and-pop bookstores out of business with their lower prices?

- The nominees for the Seoul Television Festival is out, and one drama’s nomination seems a little absurd to me. The Japanese comic adaptation-Taiwanese drama Hanazakarino Kimitachihe, which is seeing its own Japanese adaption on TV right now, was apparently nominated because the judges thought the drama’s style was fresh, which is weird considering it’s an adaption of established work. Then again, I’m just picky against idol dramas.

- Speaking of bad TV dramas, Japan’s own foreigners’ rights crusader Arudou Debito is up in arms about a clip from the popular drama Hana Yori Dango 2, in which the only African American presence in the show happen to come in the form of only criminals. While I’m not as angry as he is (American dramas do the same to minorities - remember the first episode of Heroes?), this only goes to show that bad TV is universal. And this was the top-rated/top satisfaction/most illegally-downloaded drama of that season, people.

- This is the perfect follow-up. NHK is planning a three-part drama special about an international romance that blossoms between a Korean man and a Japanese woman. Um…they already did this a few years ago, guys. I know, I saw it. It wasn’t that good.

- Before everyone else, namely Hollywood, blames China for selling all this pirated movies, China would like to let you know that the technology came from everyone else! Yes, we knew that China is not exactly the most technologically innovative country in the world.

- From the Japanese trailer blog comes a trailer for the film Grow (Guro), about a high school boy who runs into three ghostly mentors before his death and learns to…well, grow.

- If anyone out there thought those “Hong Kong handover commemoration films” were a good idea, get ready for “2008 Chinese Olympic commemoration films!” According to this blog post, the first one up is “The Romance of the Pheonix,” starring Aaron Kwok and directed by Clifton Ko. I’ll probably be watching this anyway just because I’m a completist.

- Right on time for the 60th anniversary of its independence, there will be a 6-day long showcase of Indian culture in LA come mid-August. The focus is said to be on Indian cinema, which means I’m sure there will be some awesome dancing involved.

- Variety’s Derek Elley has a review of Takeshii Miike’s latest theatrical release from a few months ago - the video game adaptation Ryu Ga Gotoku, better known in the states as just Yakuza.

- Lastly, but certainly not last, German actor Ulrich Muehe, who starred as a conflicted agent for the East Germany secret police in the brilliant The Lives of Others, has passed away at the age of 54.

The Golden Rock - July 25th, 2007 Edition

- Starting with those Oricon charts, both the singles and album charts saw very good sales this past week. On the singles side, Ayumi Hamasaki’s latest (which features a short film co-starring Hong Kong actor Shawn Yu in the more expensive version) scored a huge debut, selling 110,000 copies for an easy first place finish. This is Hamasaki’s 9th consecutive year of having a number 1 single, which ties the record set by Akina Nakamori throughout the 1980s. Actually, in the rest of the top 10, there’s only one single that’s not new on the chart, and that is Erika (as in Sawajiri)’s debut single, which sold another 18,800 copies in its third week. A little unlucky on the charts this week are Porno Graffiti and Orange Range, whose latest both hit chart-topping numbers (90,000 and 64,000 copies, respectively), but ended up at 2nd and 3rd place instead. In fact, looking at the daily charts, next week’s predicted winner Morning Musume isn’t even likely to sell more than 80,000 copies of their latest, although Ai Otsuka is following close behind to fight for that top spot.

- In the equally busy albums chart, another Johnny’s Jimusho group KinKi Kids wins the top spot, selling 301,000 copies of their latest album. Far far behind is American band Sum 41 (holy shit, they’re still around?), who sold 62,000 copies of their latest album a week ahead of the American release. Amazingly, hip-rock band (that’s a made-up genre by yours truly) Greeeen’s debut album continues to hang on at 3rd place, while Namie Amuro’s latest (which, in a shameless plug, I reviewed recently) also remains consistent at 4th place. According to the daily charts, the two Orange Range compilations is expected to win the upcoming week, with Canadian-Japanese band Monkey Majik’s latest album right behind them.

- I don’t mean to trash the Japanese blockbuster film Monkey Magic so consistently, but bad news just keeps coming in one after another, so I can’t help but report it. According to this blog post linked by Eiga Consultant, Monkey Magic suffered a huge loss not only due to the arrival of Harry Potter, but also because the film has earned horrible word-of-mouth, with comments like “childish” and “unnecessary” being thrown around on the internet. Also, the excessive television appearances by star Shingo Katori has led audiences to be fed up with his attempt to promote the film. With a budget of 3 billion yen (mostly spent on advertising and CGI), no wonder Fuji TV needs a 5.9 billion yen gross.

By the way, I’m going on this by my barely-intermediate Japanese knowledge, so feel free to correct me.

- Speaking of mis-reporting, there are reasons why I don’t look at Mainland Chinese websites for movie news. First, I don’t read simplified Chinese (at least not good enough to translate), and second, I have a personal vendetta against one particular English site (coughcrienglishcough). Now a case of misreporting rumors has been added to that list of reason. According to Hong Kong’s Ming Pao’s entertainment columnist, who is possibly screenwriter Chan Hing-Ka, a rumor from a Mainland China website reported that Ken Watanabe and Hideaki Takizawa has joined the cast of Derek Yee’s The Shinjuku Incident. The rumor was spread quickly, prompting Yee to come out and denied it. Excerpt from the Chinese article translated here:

娛樂圈這一行很敏感,演員如看到報道指某部電影打算找某位演員主演,後來自己又被邀請,很易聯想到自己是「執二攤」,即有其他演員在自己之前推掉角色,所以才輪到自己。

經理人公司特別在乎這方面的報道,別以為日本經理人公司不會留意中、港、台新聞,他們是很清楚的,只要一有相關報道出來,他們會立即四出查證。

The entertainment industry is a very sensitive one. If an actor reads a report about a film casting another actor, only to see him/herself also invited afterwards, then they might see themselves as “scraps.” That means he/she only got invited to join a film because another actor turned it down.

Managers/agents show special care into these kind of reports. Don’t think that Japanese agencies don’t look at Chinese/Hong Kong/Taiwanese news; they are actually quite clear on it, and once such report comes out, they would immediately verify it.

試過有一位本地導演太早公布了與某日本演員合作的事,報道一出,其經理人公司當日就有電話打來查詢,那時互聯網還沒有現在般流行。

Once, a local director reported collaborating with a Japanese actor too early. Once the report came out, the actor’s agency called to verify on the same, and the internet wasn’t even as popular at the time as it is today.

某些傳媒在未經查證之下,會把網上的傳聞照搬過來,其實有時只需打一、兩個電話就可以求證,偏偏就不去做,假消息愈傳愈開,給當事人造成的困擾和傷害也愈來愈大。

Some media would post certain rumors without verification. Sometimes, a call or two can verify the news, but they don’t do it anyway. As the fake news spread gradually farther, it would concurrently cause more and more harm to those involved.

Of course, this isn’t the only fake report spreading around these days. After reports of Stephen Chow signing on to play Kato in the Green Hornet, Chow’s management came out the next day to deny it, even though the original post only says the film’s writer would LIKE to Chow for the role.

Don’t worry, The Golden Rock always strive to report the most accurate and verified news on Asian entertainment with the most bias a hypocrite like me can give out. Why do you think it takes me 2 hours a day to write an entry? Nevertheless, corrections to any possibly misreported stories are welcomed.

- Shinji Aoyama’s latest Sad Vacation is going to Venice. However, it will not be in competition, but in the Orizzonti sidebar section instead.

- Those in Hong Kong take note: Taiwanese superstar Jay Chou’s directorial debut Secrets is having sneak previews this coming weekend. Just get your tickets early, they’re getting snapped up fast. Oh, and Jay Chou will be at two of those shows on Sunday, which seem to be sold out by now anyway (that would be the seating charts filled with red you see in the post).

- Joel Schumacher, who has been blamed for single-handedly screwing up the Batman franchise once upon a time, is in talks to direct the remake of Johnnie To’s action flick Breaking News. I enjoyed Tigerland and Phone Booth (another thriller set in limited space and time compression), so this might turn out OK.

- Malaysian major bookstore chains, in protest of grocery superstore slashing book prices, boycotted the latest Harry Potter book. Of course, the bookstores have ended the ban because the “customers are the ones would suffer.” 1) Can’t they just go to the grocery superstores to buy the book at a lower price anyway? and 2) Am I the only who find an irony in huge bookstore chains protesting cheaper book prices when these chains were once responsible for putting mom-and-pop bookstores out of business with their lower prices?

- The nominees for the Seoul Television Festival is out, and one drama’s nomination seems a little absurd to me. The Japanese comic adaptation-Taiwanese drama Hanazakarino Kimitachihe, which is seeing its own Japanese adaption on TV right now, was apparently nominated because the judges thought the drama’s style was fresh, which is weird considering it’s an adaption of established work. Then again, I’m just picky against idol dramas.

- Speaking of bad TV dramas, Japan’s own foreigners’ rights crusader Arudou Debito is up in arms about a clip from the popular drama Hana Yori Dango 2, in which the only African American presence in the show happen to come in the form of only criminals. While I’m not as angry as he is (American dramas do the same to minorities - remember the first episode of Heroes?), this only goes to show that bad TV is universal. And this was the top-rated/top satisfaction/most illegally-downloaded drama of that season, people.

- This is the perfect follow-up. NHK is planning a three-part drama special about an international romance that blossoms between a Korean man and a Japanese woman. Um…they already did this a few years ago, guys. I know, I saw it. It wasn’t that good.

- Before everyone else, namely Hollywood, blames China for selling all this pirated movies, China would like to let you know that the technology came from everyone else! Yes, we knew that China is not exactly the most technologically innovative country in the world.

- From the Japanese trailer blog comes a trailer for the film Grow (Guro), about a high school boy who runs into three ghostly mentors before his death and learns to…well, grow.

- If anyone out there thought those “Hong Kong handover commemoration films” were a good idea, get ready for “2008 Chinese Olympic commemoration films!” According to this blog post, the first one up is “The Romance of the Pheonix,” starring Aaron Kwok and directed by Clifton Ko. I’ll probably be watching this anyway just because I’m a completist.

- Right on time for the 60th anniversary of its independence, there will be a 6-day long showcase of Indian culture in LA come mid-August. The focus is said to be on Indian cinema, which means I’m sure there will be some awesome dancing involved.

- Variety’s Derek Elley has a review of Takeshii Miike’s latest theatrical release from a few months ago - the video game adaptation Ryu Ga Gotoku, better known in the states as just Yakuza.

- Lastly, but certainly not last, German actor Ulrich Muehe, who starred as a conflicted agent for the East Germany secret police in the brilliant The Lives of Others, has passed away at the age of 54.

The Golden Rock - July 5th, 2007 Edition

- Director Satoshi Miki’s The Insects Unlisted in the Encyclopedia (review by Japan Times, and more info from Ryuganji) first got attention because it’s Oscar nominated actress Rinko Kikuchi’s first post-Oscar role (more on her later). But as the release date approached, the film picked up attention due to its director. Miki Satoshi got his start on TV doing variety shows. While he made his film debut in 2005, he went back to TV, writing and directing the cult favorite drama Jikou Keisatsu. At least it was popular enough to bring it back for a second run this past Spring season, and it became the most “satisfying” drama of the season (trust me, those rankings held up throughout the season, although the ranking came from right after its start). The popularity of the show has now come to explain the film’s relative success at one Tokyo theater. Opening on June 23rd, the opening day drew 772 admissions and grossed 1.19 million yen(4 shows a day, with a capacity of 218). For the entire week, it drew 2842 admissions, grossing 4.17 million yen at that theater alone. Even though it’s nowhere near full capacity, this is still better than Miki’s debut film Into the Pool.

- In addition to Insects, Rinko Kikuchi also stars in a new “web movie” for a popular cosmetics brand. However, the idea itself is better than the actual film, and try not to let Rinko’s hair distract you too much.

- In “Who cares Hollywood hasn’t sold us the rights yet?” news today, China’s Zonbo Media is going ahead with production for the Chinese version of the American series Prison Break, except 1) The production company states that it has nothing to do with the hit Fox series, and 2) Fox has denied ever selling the rights to China, even though Zonbo Media said they bought it. Huh…..

- The Bangkok International Film Festival, who hit yet another snag when the government took away its opening film Persepolis to maintain friendly relations with Iran and stave off the Muslim insurgency, decided to put in the Children of Glory as its new opening film. Apparently it’s about “the bloodiest water polo match in history.” What?

- Kenji Uchida, who made a brilliant debut with Unmei Janai Hito (Stranger of Mine), is moving on up with his follow-up film After School, about a teacher who searches for her childhood friend with a private detective. Just started shooting last week, the film has 7 times the budget of Stranger of Mine, though it’s still at a fairly small 180 million yen.

- The first Kansai Film Festival is starting late next month. Don’t worry, you don’t have to make a film about the Kansai region to get in, you just have to be a foreign director making a film in or about Japan.

- In DVD news today, Twitch announces the pre-order for the South Korean sleeper hit Paradise Murdered, and the Hong Kong editions for Japanese films Retribution and Studio Ghibli’s Tales from Earthsea.

- I should have seen this coming. Fuji Television, who managed to milk the novel Tokyo Tower for all its worth by making a made-for-TV movie, a 11-episode drama, and a hit movie, is now bringing the 11 billion yen-hit family drama Bizan(review by Hollywood Reporter) to TV. Starring Takako Tokiwa, Bizan the mini-series will start shooting at the end of the month with no broadcasting date set.

- The South Korean theatre chain Megabox just opened its first multiplex in China, and plans to open two more in Bejing. Sorry, I’m just a nerd for theatre openings everywhere.

- Associated Press’s entertainment writer Min Lee reviews the new Milkyway thriller Eye in the Sky.

- The Cinefan festival in India is putting a focus on Japanese and Arabic films this year, including a tribute to director Kenji Mizoguchi.

- I posted a long time ago that even Japanese music tend to copy each other, but I couldn’t even find the songs. Now I have - check out Porno Graffiti’s Sister, Undergraph’s Tsubasa, and BoA’s Everlasting. I posted these in the order of the release - one copies the same musical pattern, and the other copies the chorus of another. All three were pop hits, and all three are kind of crappy. Then again, the point is that it happens everywhere.

The Golden Rock - June 28th, 2007 Edition

- Michael Bay’s Transformers have started its rampage around the world in South Korea, where it has seen the best advanced ticket sales so far this year. People seem to love it too. One dubious section in the report regarding the spokesperson of distributor CJ Entertainment:

“‘Movies that do well in South Korea tend to do well in other parts of Asia,’ Kim said, attributing the trend in part to the growing popularity of South Korean movies, TV dramas and music across the region.

‘A movie’s popularity in Asia seems to be affected by its popularity in South Korea,’ she said. ‘In that sense, South Korea has emerged as an important movie market in Asia in recent years.’”

Right, that’s why someone wrote this article. And that’s why Japan has been hosting huge Hollywood world premieres all summer, including the Harry Potter premiere just yesterday.

Meanwhile, Hollywood Reporter just put up their review today (I don’t know why Variety had their review up so early when there’s an embargo on it until today/tomorrow Asia time), and critic Kirk Honeycutt says right out that it’s an extravaganza rather than overwrought excess. I might actually pay to see a Michael Bay movie….well, matinee price, at the most. I only paid US$4 to see The Island.

For more Hollywood news, we’ll be looking at the opening for Die Hard 4 in North America and Asia tomorrow.

- Lovehkfilm updates with a review of Hong Kong’s first summer hit Simply Actors (which, pardon my pun, simply doesn’t sound that good. It also sound like Chan Hing-Ka’s overloaded hit-or-miss comedic trend continues). There’s also a review for Waiting in the Dark, by Daisuke Tengan (the son/screenwriter for legendary director Shohei Imamura) and starring Taiwanese actor Wilson Chen. There’s also a review for the Korean film A Day for an Affair written by yours truly, and I can confess here that yes, I totally mean that it’s watchable.

- As Lovehkfilm reported, Barbara Wong’s Wonder Women has been chosen as the “official handover anniversary film. It opens next week, and a trailer is on the website. It doesn’t really show much, and it’s not subtitled.

- Keita Motohashi’s Tobo Kusotawake, about two misfits who go off on an aimless adventure, is going to the Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival in Korea. There’s not even an official website for the film yet, but you can read the director’s blog, who reports the film will open in limited release in October.

- I don’t know what the Macao Studio City will be like, but at least I know it’ll have a Playboy Mansion. That means more places for girls like her to go to (don’t worry, link is work-safe…unless you’re an animals rights activist).

- The only Bollywood film I’ve ever seen is Lagaan, the 4-hour epic about Indian farmers playing crickets to beat their oppressive English landlord, and it’s better than it sounds. Anyway, it’s finally coming in a super-duper special edition DVD, and if you have a few hours to spare, I highly recommend it.

- I always complain about how Japanese entertainment producers are so protective about their work and always work too slow to distribute them. Turns out a government advisory panel agrees with me and wants some of those protective rights pulled for easier distribution of content. I would like to think that what I write here makes a difference, but I know it doesn’t. At least someone finally came out and did something.

- But which government isn’t letting uncut movies in? The Chinese! A blogger writes about a possible reason why some Chinese people end up buying pirated works - to see how Chow Yun-Fat vilifies Chinese people. Note that the link is a translation of the original Chinese entry from last week.

- I think it’s been pretty widely reported that Martin Scorsese is working on adapting the Japanese novel Silence, about the persecution of Catholics in 16th century Japan. Apparently, it’s actually a “remake” of the 1971 film by Masahiro Shinoda, and now the Shinoda film is finally coming to the States soon.

- Jason Gray has more about Shaolin Shojo, the Stephen Chow-approved Japanese spin-off of Shaolin Soccer that will move the action to Lacrosse and have a better-looking protagonist.

- Twitch has some more reviews from the New York Asian Film Festival, including the director’s cut of After This, Our Exile.

The Golden Rock - June 12th, 2007 Edition

- The somewhat incomplete Japanese box office numbers are in. I say incomplete because either Kantoku Banzai has fallen below 15th place, or Office Kitano has flat out decided not to report its grosses anymore, and the opening weekend of 300 is not as spectacular as the numbers report. Box Office Mojo reports that 300 made about US$3.4 million, or 415 million yen. But the total indicates that it included the previous week’s previews into its total gross, which means that as Eiga Consultant reports, 300 made 330 million yen, or roughly US$2.71 million with a per-screen average of US$5,995. Of course, that still makes a very impressive opening, and it’s still 209% of Sin City’s opening, but it’s still overshadowed by Pirates of the Caribbean.

Unlike most of the world, Pirates is actually enjoying a very healthy long-term run, dropping just 20% from the previous week for another 941 million yen. After three weekends, Pirates has already made almost 6.2 billion yen, and will pass Spiderman 3’s gross mid-week. Still, Spidey 3 has already surpassed the previous movie’s gross, and as indicated by its slow 25-30% drop, it should end up making just a little more than the first film, too.

Everywhere else on the top 10 looks pretty stable, with only the Hollywood flick Shooter seeing a considerable drop. Even Dai Nipponjin survived its lackluster word-of-mouth, losing only about 28% of its business (Knocked Up lost more than that in its second weekend, and it’s an audience favorite). In a one-theater limited release, Mel Gibson’s Apocalypto made a promising 1.8 million yen. It’ll go on wide release this coming weekend. NOTE: It will not feature English subtitles.

- Speaking of Pirates of the Caribbean, the notorious Chinese censors have approved the third film to play in Chinese theaters. However, they banned the first two movies (which are kind of crucial to understand the third one, no?), and they cut out half of Chow Yun-Fat’s scenes. Now people are not only utterly confused, they even lost much of the their main reason for buying a ticket to watch it in theaters. Disney is wasting their money, this one is pretty likely to flop in China.

- In Thailand, director Pen-ek Ratanaruang’s Ploy opened only modestly. However, its first weekend gross has already surpassed the total domestic gross of his last film, Invisible Waves. For a filmmaker associated with the words “arthouse cinema,” I would say that’s pretty good.

- I have honestly seen very few Japanese films that actually have original screenplays. Many of them are adapted from novels (so much that I took a whole class of Japanese films adapted from novels), comics, video games, or continuation of TV dramas. Then again, a bulk of Hollywood films is made the same way. However, Ryuganji points out that it’s getting a little out of hand these days in Japan.

- Elizabeth Banks has signed on to play the young stepmother role in the American remake of A Tale of Two Sisters. I liked her in The 40-Year-Old Virgin, but like all American remakes of Asian films, I remain very very skeptical about this.

- China is getting ready to fight back at the United States after they filed two cases against China with the World Trade Organization. However, with the complaint, China is now less likely to open up its film market any quicker just to get on Hollywood’s nerves.

On the other hand, the EU is warning that it will “go to trade war” with China if they don’t improve cracking down on piracy. Who needs who more these days anyway? You try stopping a billion people from making pirated versions of your overpriced goods.

- Meanwhile, Hong Kong seems to have a thing or two to complain about Japan too. TV Asahi showed its made-for-TV biopic of Asian superstar Teresa Tang on June 2nd, which was shown simultaneously in Hong Kong as well. Since Tang did spend a huge chunk of her career in Hong Kong, the Hong Kong press would naturally put how the Japanese portray Hong Kong under a lot of scrutiny. As a result, Ming Pao had a field day pointing out how much the show screwed up:

1) The movie starts in 1973, when a Japanese talent manager discovered Tang in Hong Kong still under British colonial rule. Yet, the Hong Kong Special Administraive Region flag was seen at the location, instead of the colonial flag.
2) In the scenes that take place during the 80s, the Bank of China Tower (built in 1989) and the International Finance Center (built in 2003) were seen in the background from the Peak.
3) The Murray House was not restored in Stanley, where Tang lived, until 1998. However, it appeared in the film’s 80s scenes as well.

There are a bunch of other nitpicks in that report as well. While I can’t blame Ming Pao for nitpicking (”ha ha! Japanese TV crews suck just as much!”), TV Asahi just didn’t have the money to reproduce all these historical locations with cgi. Plus, it’s not like Hong Kong productions are very good at conveying foreign locations either.

- Disney has signed a deal with an Indian studio to produce several computer-animated features aimed for the region. No word on whether Disney will ever plan to release these films outside the region.

- Ryuganji also has news on upcoming and ongoing projects from Miki Satoshi, all of them starring Joe Odagiri. He also adds on another upcoming Odagiri project as well. It’s all a little complicated, you should go read it yourself, since Joe Odagiri may soon be the male version of Erika Sawajiri. These Japanese stars just never rest.

- Andy Lau really is the hardest working man in Chinese entertainment: When he’s done filming Daniel Lee’s historical epic this month, he’ll do a cameo for a Focus Films production that he’s investing in, then an album and concert tour. All by the end of the year.

- Considering that the film will be entirely in English, it’s so surprise that there’s an English website up for Takeshi Miike’s Sukiyaki Western Django. However, the trailer remains on the original website, so just go to Twitch instead of getting confused.

Jason Gray also reports that Quentin Tarantino showed up in Japan at the end of the shoot to film his cameo, which would explain why he was not in the trailer and why he showed up at the wrap-up ceremony.

- Do we really need an Asian version of Oprah? Apparently someone thought so.

- Lastly, Tokyograph left a comment yesterday with more about Tea Fight, starring Erika Toda. They had this to say:

“About “Tea Fight” - there actually is a director named, but I know nothing about Taiwanese or Chinese names. The Japanese form is ワン・イェミン, which seems to be something like Wang Ye-Ming, but the closest I could find is an actor. The article says the person was an assistant director for “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,” but none of the credits I could find (imdb or elsewhere) match the name.

Here’s what another article said about the story (roughly): “The father runs an old tea shop, and he closes shop after his wife dies from what he believes to be a ‘tea curse.’ Through the internet, the daughter finds out about a legendary tea and travels to Taiwan in search of it. The father then follows her, concerned that it may be a trap by Taiwanese tea-makers.” There’s also mention of Taiwanese mafia being involved in the story somehow.”

I can’t seem to find the name through various variations on that name either. But still, that’s more than helpful. Thanks!

 
 
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