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Archive for the ‘interview’ Category

The Golden Rock - November 3rd, 2007 Edition

- Time for some news on Johnnie To/Wai Ka-Fai’s latest collaboration Mad Detective. First of all, Hong Kong’s Oriental Daily reported that the category-III crime drama has secured a November 29th release date opposite Danny Pang’s In Love with the Dead.

There’s also a trailer that’s finally up. Those mirror shots are pretty impressive.

- During the box office report, I reported that the Japanese sequel Always 2 is opening this weekend, and Japan Times’ Mark Schilling has a review of it. Looks like the conclusion is “strictly for fans.”

- Meanwhile, Mr. Schilling also has a feature about the Japanese Eyes section of last week’s Tokyo International Film Festival, while Philip Brasor shares his thoughts on the films he saw.

- Fuji’s 3rd Saturday 11pm drama SP premieres tonight in Japan, and Ryuganji reports that a movie version will probably be greenlit. Then again, the drama IS directed by the director of Bayside Shakedown and written by an award-winning author, so it might be good enough to warrant one. But will the ratings be any good to warrant one?

- Just a day after I wrote about my pessimism towards Andrew Lau’s latest big-budget project, Hollywood Reporter has an interview with the unofficial spokesperson for directors with ADD Andrew Lau himself.

The Golden Rock - October 20th, 2007 Edition

The Tokyo International Film Festival is officially underway, with the action film Midnight Eagle premiering tonight. Variety’s already got their people on the job:

- Festival head Tsuguhiko Kadokawa says that he would like the Tokyo fest to become one of the big four film festivals, alongside Berlin, Venice, and Cannes. It probably helps that it’s part of a 40-day content festival that will overtake Hong Kong’s Filmart in terms of sheer size.

- Also part of both the film festival and the CoFesta (exclamation marks optional) is the Tiffcom. Slightly less ambitious than Kadokawa, Tiffcom would just like to be bigger than Filmart, which may happen if it isn’t programmed so close to the Asian Film Market in Pusan.

- Another major event is CoFesta is the Akihabara Enta Matsuri, where otakus can get their otaku on after catching a movie at the Tokyo Film Festival. I myself would rather stay at the film festival.

Now, we move over to the Daily Yomiuri for their coverage:

- Fest head Kadokawa also says as long as Japan is the second largest market in the world (note: that’s only for Hollywood films, and that’s because of how much Japan charges for a movie ticket), Tokyo will always be the center of Asia for films. I could argue that, but this entry’s getting long.

- Meanwhile, programming director Kazuo Kuroi talks about the films for the competition section this year. He said there’s only one Japanese film because the submissions “lack depth,” whatever the hell that means.

Now, your regular news:

- The Daily Yomiuri reviews director/writer/actor Suzuki Matsuo’s latest Welcome to the Quiet Room. I have my reservations after watching the manic Koi No Mon.

- Meanwhile, Japan Time’s Mark Schilling reviews the animated film sequel Appleseed: Ex-Machina, which is actually produced by John Woo.

- The Daily Yomiuri also has an interview with Appleseed director Shinji Aramaki, who complains that Hayao Miyazaki should be more proud of his Oscar (for Spirited Away).

The Golden Rock - October 18th, 2007 Edition

Three slow news days automatically add up to a slow news week in general. That means shorter entries. Expect short weekend entries if this keeps up. I may just post something in the spin-off instead.

- Lust, Caution’s chances at the Oscars has just decreased by quite a bit, as the Academy Awards foreign films committee disqualifies Ang Lee’s erotic drama as the Taiwanese entry because it’s not Taiwan enough. Essentially, the main gripe is that it doesn’t have enough Taiwanese involvement. That must suck for Lee, seeing that his Chinese movie for westerners, also known as Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, manages to win best foreign film, while his Chinese movie for Chinese people gets disqualified.

Taiwan will submit Island Etude in its place.

- In another blow to the film (this ought to be the unofficial Lust, Caution blog), Chinese censors have apparently yet to screen the Mainland Chinese-safe version of the film, which means its November 1st opening date may get pushed further back. Meanwhile, pirated copies have finally gotten online, which may hurt the big chunk of change the film expected to make from the region.

- Meanwhile, Twitch has another update for the latest omnibus-film-in-a-city film Tokyo!. Apparently, Korean director Bong Joon-Ho’s section is done filming, with Michel Gondry’s getting ready to shoot later in the month. No idea when third director Leos Carax will be filming his, though.

Original Tokyograph story.

- Poor Twitch contributor Blake only got two questions with Park Chan-Wook because what was supposed to be a one-on-one interview became a roundtable with people asking about ridiculous rumors such as whether Park took a 5-year break to train being an astronaut. At least now you know he’s making a bat film for his next project.

- DVDTalk has a review for the American DVD of Kazuaki Kiriya’s Casshern, which boasts a so-called “director’s cut” that’s 25 minute shorter than the original Japanese cut. According to some poster on imdb, the DVD is missing not only scene selections, but the subtitles are also off-sync, and important bits are cut out.

- It’s no news, but Japan’s DVD market is still suffering, as sales for the first half year are down 2% from the same period last year.

The Golden Rock - October 16th, 2007 Edition.

There are days like these where there are so little news, I just decide to combine all the entries together.

- The numbers for the Japanese box office came out, and the rankings are pretty much the same as the admission rankings. However, what the rankings don’t tell you is what a quiet week it was. In fact, only one film made more than 100 million yen (number 1 film Hero), and the rest of the holdovers all saw fairly significant drops. Yes, that includes Closed Note, which is supposed to be doing pretty well, but actually doesn’t look to make that 1.5 billion yen mark Toho is setting.

Signs of Love (based on those Dreams Come True songs) actually lost only 25% of its audience in its second week, which is pretty typical in the pure love genre. It should wrap up with about 800 million yen. Not all that impressive, but it is what it is.

- Thanks to the success of Hero, Japanese distributor Toho is having their best September ever, which means expect more TV dramas going to a big screen near you in Japan.

- Two sites reported on the Sushi Ouji movie, so I’ll just use both links. Essentially, the drama that was the second worst-performer in the primetime ratings in the summer 2007 drama season (average 7.5 rating) was announced to have its own movie before the drama even began its broadcast. But now, TV Asahi has Warner Bros. Japan behind them and is planning to release it during next year’s Golden Week. They’re probably hoping for fans of the two stars’ respective boy groups to show up.

Tokyograph report.

Variety Asia report.

- The only reason I saved up this report was because I thought it was Tsai as in Tsai Chin.

Turns out it’s Jolin Tsai that’s doing a duet with Kylie Minogue in the Asian edition of her latest album. Actually, it would be so much more interesting if Tsai Chin, the songstress who brought us this, do a duet with Kylie Minogue, but that’s just what I think.

- Variety’s Richard Kuiper has a review for the highly successful Japanese animated film Evangelion 1.0: You Are (Not) Alone.

- The Associated Press has an interview with Joan Chen, who’s been in the spotlight of recent Chinese cinema with her roles in Lust, Caution and The Sun Also Rises.

- Asian films are the big winners at this year’s Sitges Film Festival in Catalonia, including wins for Park Chan-Wook’s “I’m a Cyborg, But That’s OK” and even Takashi Miike’s Sukiyaki Western Django.

- The first still for the Pan-Asian film Blood: The Last Vampire, starring Gianna “Sassy Girl” Jun is up. Todd Brown says yes, I say no, thank you.

An interview with Ryo Nakajima, the director of This World of Ours

Photo courtesy of Peija Films.

Recently, I raved about a small Japanese independent film named This World Of Ours on Lovehkfilm after I received a copy of the film from its director Ryo Nakajima and enjoyed it thoroughly. Through our e-mail correspondence, Nakajima-san also graciously agreed to an e-mail interview for The Golden Rock. This is the result. Please note that English is not Nakajima-san’s first language, and that none of his answers have been edited from his email replies.

Answers are in bold.

1) Please tell the world about yourself - your background, your life,
etc..

I am an only child. My parents brought up me with loving care.
i was a spoiled child.
My world was very small.

I began working on the screenplay when I was 19 going 20 ; at the
time, I was a hikikomorin which means I was socially withdrawn and
never left the house.

I could not find my place in life, and through days of doing nothing,
because emotionally cornered.
I decided to make a film back then because I felt a strong desire “
to connect with somebody and break out of my own shell”.

2) Why did you name the character acted by Okutsu Satoshi as Ryo
Nakajima? Does he represent your personality/thoughts the most?

I was asked this Question in Vancouver.
Ryo is not me. He is Dark Hero for me .
It represent that I want to be Dark Hero.
Hiroki represent my personality / thoughts most.

3) Has your views of the world, specifically of Japanese society,
changed since the making of the film?

No.
Now our surroundings changes more hopeless ( environmental
pollution,uncertainty over the course of the economy, inconvenience
of he mind and the body and so on)
I am having difficulty in breathing in my life.
But I found a ray of hope.
That is to develop rapport with somebody.
for example ,I and you have communication through the movie.

4) Some reviewers have compared your film to those of Shunji Iwai.
How do you feel about that? And what are some of your cinematic
influences, both foreign and Japanese?

The honor is more than I deserve.

In Japan , Most young people like my movie, But most adults feel
unpleasant. They said it is full of Violence and ill.
So far ,some of foreign people like my movie. I have posted about
25~30 DVD.
5 people mailed me and liked it.

(regarding cinematic influence)

Lars von Trier and Fernando Meirelles(city of god)
They are the best directors for me

5) You mentioned on your website that you ran into many obstacles
during production, what were some of them specifically? And how did
the cast and crew help you overcome them?

Mr Taniguchi, main actor, played Hiroki, was stabbed with knife by
madness man.
The shooting was adjourned until he recoverd.
Fortunately he got smoothly better, and his passion to make this
movie became even stronger since he overcame his own death.
It also strengthened the bonds of all the casts and staffs, and the
story that young people fell into the attraction of destruction in
despair changed into the one that they struggle to reach for hopes.

6) You didn’t have introduction of two of your stars - Hata Arisa and
Okutsu Satoshi - on the website. Who are they, and will they continue
to act in the future?

They quit to be an actor and actress. Now Okutsu is married. He is
working on Hospital. Hata is fickle girl. Now She wants to be a
singer. She takes lessons twice a week.
I want them to became good actor and actress. But it cannot be helped.

7) I read recently that you were hired by a major Japanese production
company. Do you plan to continue making films about tough topics like
those you explored in your film, or will it be time to explore new
directions?

I got a job in Star Dust Pictures.  It is difficult to make
Tough topics movie in Star Dust Pictures.
But I have a strategy. At first I make a typical a popular movie. If
I make an enormous profit on that movie, I will have an increasingly
powerful voice within the company in the future. Then I make a movie
whatever I want.
I wish I can do it.

8) Are you already working on first film under Star Dust Pictures? If
so, can you give any information about it?

Now I am taking part in the Film of Miki Nakatani.
She is actress ,「Memories of Masuko」so on. She is trying
to make her own film.
I am her assistant.

Again, I would like to thank director Ryo Nakajima for his candid answers. I wish him all the best with his future endeavors. Please do find out more about the film at its official website.

The Golden Rock - October 10th, 2007 Edition

- It’s Oricon charts time! As expected, B’z tops the single chart with their latest, selling 180,000 copies to make it their 40th consecutive number-one single. This also puts them above SMAP as their 41st consecutive single in the top 10. Meanwhile, Dreams Come True scores a number-two debut on the same week as the film based on their songs open this past weekend. The new single sold more than 81,000 copies, which would’ve earned it a number 1 spot on any other week. Lastly, Mika Nakashima’s latest could muster only a 5th place debut with 13,600 copies sold. If the daily charts hold up, expect L’Arc~En~Ciel’s latest to top the charts next week.

On the album chart, two compilations topped the chart. Yuki’s compilation is far and away the number 1 album with 180,000 copies sold. Far far behind is Yuzu’s compilation, which sold 95,500 copies. Last week’s winner Ai Otsuka’s album (this one’s for you, Tokyograph) drops to 3rd place with a still-pretty-strong sales of 66,000 copies, and last week’s second place album, the latest from Shiina Ringo’s Tokyo Jihen, tumbles to 5th place with just 26,700 copies sold. As for daily rankings, Spitz’s latest album should take the top spot if they hold up through the week.

Today in Pusan Film Festival news:

- Director Peter Greenaway would like you to know that cinema has been dead since 1983. Yeah, I saw his 1999 film 8 1/2 women - it wasn’t much of a movie indeed.

- The Hollywood Reporter critics report on the critical and audience reactions for some of the films at the festival.

- Variety also has their own report, but concentrating more on the Asian Film Market rather than the films themselves.

- It’s festival reviews time! From Pusan comes Russell Edward’s review of Isao Yukisada’s Into the Faraway Sky and Derek Elley’s review of Takashi Miike’s Crows: Episode 0, which seems to be the talk of the town so far.

- This year marks the first ChinaBizCamp, where Chinese film industry professionals teach Korean audiences how to sell their movies in a market that restricts foreign films imports to 20 a year and where piracy is rampant partly because of said laws.

- There’s an interview with director Lee Chang-Dong, who is currently a jury member on the New Currents section. His award-winning Secret Sunshine is opening in Hong Kong today.

- Lastly, J-Pitch, where Japanese producers try to sell ideas to foreign investors, took its show on the road to Pusan this year with three presentations. At least two of them sound promising. No, I’m not telling you which two.

Back to a short version of your regular news:

- Remember I mentioned in a previous entry that Takashi Miike’s Sukiyaki Western Django is being criticized for featuring a character hung on a Shintoist gate? Twitch has the offending image that’s now been deleted from all the promotional materials. It’s in the movie anyway, people.

- After weeks of secrecy, China has revealed that they submitted the carefully calculated war drama The Knot as their pick for a nomination for best foreign film at the Academy Awards. For weeks, there were speculations that China would also pick Lust, Caution (Taiwan’s entry) after Peter Chan announced that The Warlords won’t be ready on time.

- Good for him. Feng Xiaogang says openly that he hopes to shed the propaganda image of recent Chinese war films with his latest The Assembly. However, it still features an ending fit for both government and audiences.

- Lastly, there’s a teaser for Daniel Lee’s Three Kingdom: Resurrection of the Dragon, starring Andy Lau and Maggie Q (wtf?). Honestly, it’s always been hard to get me excited about a Daniel Lee film, even one with Andy Lau.

The Golden Rock - October 7th, 2007 Edition

More coverage of other people’s coverage of the Pusan Film Festival:

- I mentioned that New Taiwan Cinema filmmaker Edward Yang’s films are getting a retrospective in Pusan. I was wrong. He’s actually getting a posthumous Filmmaker of the Year award.

- Variety, meanwhile, has two new reviews from the festival - a rave by Derek Elley for the hit Japanese drama adaptation Hero, and a review by Russell Edwards for the Taiwanese coming-of-age film Summer’s Tail.

- Meanwhile, the attendance at this year’s Pusan film market may be around the same, but it seems like the decline in Korea’s film industry, not to mention Japan’s own Content Festival still underway, does seem to have an effect this year.

- Lastly, there’s an interview with David Shin, the head of Korea’s CJ Entertainment.

Now back to our regular coverage of the news:

- Fuji’s Saturday 11pm drama Life wins the satisfaction poll conducted by Oricon. Last season, the time slot’s first drama Liar Game won second place with an even higher score than Life, proving that putting edgier dramas there may equal to success. However, people don’t seem very excited about SP, this coming season’s drama in that time slot.

- In light of the Olympics next year, there will probably be a lot of “ethically inspiring” sports films coming out of China. There are already two basketball movies. In fact, someone should make a movie out of this, it’ll be called Olympic Fever Gone Wild.

- It may not be the final image, but Hong Kong animation firm Imagi’s Astro Boy is looking pretty good.

- Lastly, it seems like someone is trying to submit Lust, Caution as their region’s official representative for the best foreign film award at the Academy Awards, but China and Taiwan can’t seem to decide. Then again, Taiwan followed the rules and played the film for 7 days before submitting it, China didn’t. You snooze, you lose.

The Golden Rock - October 6th, 2007 Edition

- Continuing our coverage of other people’s coverage of the Pusan Film Festival, Hollywood Reporter has an interview with John Woo’s producer Terence Chang, who’s in the town for a screening of Lion Rock Picture’s latest producing effort Blood Brothers. According to him, the disappointing film noir-wannabe was “well-received” in Venice and that “a lot of foreign people really appreciate the film.” You know, I always just use the “quite loved in Europe” thing as a joke, I didn’t think that would really happen, especially to a movie like Blood Brothers.

- Of course, if Hollywood Reporter has interviews, Variety has to have them too. So they have an interview with festival director Kim Dong-Ho, although a portion of the interview is devoted to Korean food and when he would be hanging out at the bars.

- While America’s film censorship body MPAA considers giving films with scenes of smoking an automatic rated R (restricted - no one under 17 admitted without parent or guardian), the Chinese government are actually listening to public complaints and will be asking TV/film producers to cut down on “unnecessary” smoking scenes. However, since there are no laws banning smoking, the request obviously simple remains a request.

- There’s a first teaser for the officially approved sequel/spinoff for Shaolin Soccer. Moving the action to the Lacrosse field, Shaolin Girl stars Kou Shibasaki as the titular character, it’s directed by Bayside Shakedown director Katsuyuki Motohiro, and will even feature cameos by some of Stephen Chow’s favorites. It looks pretty silly (OK, I get that the ball is going fast by the intense flame), but I have faith in Motohiro to deliver something watchable.

- It’s reviews time! Japan Times’ Mark Schilling has a review for the new Yoshimitsu Morita film (I presume he made this before the Sanjuro remake) Southbound.

That’s it for the day. Time for this blogger to get some much-needed sleep.

The Golden Rock - September 22nd, 2007 Edition

The Golden Rock just finished his first short film in Hong Kong yesterday, so we decided to take a little break yesterday. Plus, there’s just not enough news to spread out over three days anyway.

- After last reporting that the US-based Viz Media picked up the two Death Note movies, they have also announced that they picked up the film festival-favorite/weirdfest Funky Forest.

In a related note, Grady Hendrix also has an interview with Manami Iiboshi, the Director of Marketing for Viz Pictures, who mentions that Viz is actually building their own arthouse theater is San Francisco to push their Japanese live-action film acquisitions.

- It’s not a first in terms of film, but I guess it’s a first for him. Korean actor Kim Rae Won will be starring in his first Japanese film alongside Japanese actress Mirai Yamamoto. As always, it’s yet another love story between characters whom I presume to be Korean and Japanese, and hey, you won’t have to wait long: the filming already took place this past Spring.

- Two more Asian countries decide on what film to submit to compete for the Academy Awards for the best foreign film - Singapore will send the hit musical 881, while the Philippines will send Donsol, which has won awards at several film festivals.

- This weekend, the Japan Times’ Mark Schilling has a review of Naoko Ogigami’s Megane, her long-awaited follow-up to the indie hit The Seagull Diner.

That’s it for today, but look for a long-awaited entry in the spin-off

The Golden Rock - September 8th, 2007 Edition

- Reviews for this year’s Venice surprise film - Johnnie To’s Mad Detective starring Lau Ching-Wan - are out from the two big trade papers. Variety’s Derek Elley calls it a neat idea that doesn’t quite hit the bull’s eye, and that it’s a rewrite or two away from achieving the rigor of a To movie. On the other hand, Hollywood Reporter’s Ray Bennett, who can’t seem to spell “Johnnie” right, is a lot kinder, calling it concise and artful.

- Sony is changing their focus, putting more emphasis on foreign films when they realized that these foreign films don’t need investors, but rather a widespread distribution network that Sony can offer.

- Takashi Miike’s latest Sukiyaki Western Django had its screening at Venice. However, responses from journalists and festival audiences are quite different. Sorry, guys, I can’t get excited about a Takashi Miike film as some of you may do.

- Leah Dizon is really starting to get huge not just in Japan (forget the fact that her last single didn’t sell much), but in the rest of Asia as well. Her debut album, which will no doubt feature lots of easy-to-sing song with carefully pronounced Japanese, will be released simultaneously in 9 countries. However, I doubt a number of her fans are fans because of her singing. I suspect this might have something to do with it.

- It saw a screening at Venice, and it opens this weekend at home: Japan Times’s March Schilling has a review of Shinji Aoyama’s latest Sad Vacation, which supposedly wraps up a Kita Kyushu Saga. Along with that, Japan Times also has an interview with Aoyama himself. In addition, it’s been out for a while, but there’s also a review of the documentary The Cats of Mirikitani.

- Twitch has a review of Ang Lee’s Lust, Caution from Toronto, calling it the most disappointing film at the festival so far. Ouch.

- By the way, Jacky Cheung is singing the theme song for Lust, Caution, presumably before he got sick and canceled his concerts

- The Singapore-based Asian Film Archive is getting a donation of 90 Malaysian classic films that will be restored and archived (but of course. That’s what an archive is for).

- They never succeed, but they keep trying: a Hong Kong-based sports media company has signed a deal to broadcast National Football League (American football) games across Asia. This comes after several hurdles to bring NFL outside the United States, including the postponement of an exhibition game in China and the closure of the NFL European League.

- They’re outsourcing everything to India these days. Even Sony is outsourcing the production of their direct-to-video sequel to the animated film Open Season to India and New Mexico (that’s in America, not Mexico).

 
 
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