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Archive for the ‘news’ Category

The Golden Rock - October 13th, 2008 Edition

- As I predicted, Jingle Ma’s Butterfly Lovers came back from behind over the weekend to beat Ridley Scott’s Body of Lies at the Hong Kong box office. On Sunday, the idols period flick made HK$761,079 from 36 screens for a 4-day weekend total of HK$2.67 million. Meanwhile, Body of Lies made HK$734,000 from 35 screens on Sunday for a 4-day weekend total of HK$2.6 million. While Body of Lies has one less screen and runs 20 minutes longer, it also attracts the higher-priced adult tickets, while Butterfly Lovers attracted the lower-priced student tickets, so there’s essentially no handicap for either film.

As for other openers, Woody Allen’s Vicky Cristina Barcelona did pretty well on its relatively limited release (although this is pretty wide for Woody Allen). It made HK$261,000 from 16 screens on Sunday for a 4-day weekend total of HK$890,000, which is reportedly better than Match Point already. The Hollywood rom-com My Best Friend’s Girl did slightly better during the weekend, making HK$110,000 from just 13 screens, but it still only made HK$280,000 after 4 days.

Painted Skin lost almost half of its audience over the weekend, making HK$517,000 from 30 screens on Sunday for a 11-day total (it says 19, but it’s really 11) of HK$8.28 million (minus the possibly bogus HK$350,000 gross from its “one-week run”). Connected is proving relatively long legs, making HK$382,000 from 34 screens on Sunday. After 18 days, Benny Chan’s action thriller has made HK$11.91 million. The Duchess also hangs on during its second weekend in limited release, making HK$67,000 from 6 screens for a 12-day total of HK$1.36 million. 20th Century Boys has passed the HK$6 million mark after 18 days after making HK$87,000 from 14 screens. Lastly, Mamma Mia is now at 11.56 million after 32 days, and Eagle Eye is at HK$6.14 million after 18 days.

-It’s a public holiday in Japan today, so all we have today is last week’s drama ratings. The Fall 2008 season has started, and as reported last week, Kaze no Garden is leading the pack with a 20.1% rating for its premiere episode. Yume wo Kanaeru Zou takes a big drop for its second episode, losing nearly 43% of its audience for a 4.1% rating in its second week. OL Nippon, from the writer of the successful Haken no Hinkaku, flops in its first episode with just a 8.3% rating. Fuji’s Saturday night 11pm drama fails to outdo last season’s 33-Minute Detective, but outdoes Hachi One Diver’s premiere with a 10.4% rating.

All drama synoses can be found on Tokyograph.

- Mamoru Oshii’s Sky Crawlers won big at the Sitges Film Festival, picking up 3 prizes, including the Best Motion Picture Award from the youth jury.

Also, the Korean thriller The Chaser picked up Orient Express~Casa Asia award for Best Picture, and Kim Jee-Woon’s The Good, the Bad and The Weird picked up two awards in the main competition section.

- Jason Gray reports that the new Japanese food film Flavor of Happiness has been acquired by a French distributor that will be opening it on 40 screens. That’s more than double the screens the film got for its opening weekend in Japan.

Mark Schilling of the Japan Times gave a rave for the film last week.

- Twitch has a trailer for the Mamoru Oshii-led anthology Kill~Kiru, which is essentially four action finales for four films that don’t really exist. It look like a maybe-maybe not. We’ll know how it is after it premieres at the Tokyo International Film Festival.

I found out during a random look yesterday at the Now TV movie trailer channel that there’s a trailer out for the Wong Jing-produced cheapie flick The Vampire Who Admires Me. Here it is in all its Youtube glory.

-The comedian management agency Yoshimoto Kogyo last year announced that its large cast of comedians will be directing 100 short films. Now the agency plans to start the Okinawa International Movie Festival next March, and those 100 films will be part of the program.

- Korea Pop War’s Mark Russell has seen Kim Ki Duk’s latest Dream, starring Jo Odagiri and Lee Na Young, and he posts his thoughts on the film and Kim Ki Duk in general.

- Salon Films, hot off the success of their first film Painted Skin at the Chinese box office, is now set to make nine more films. Four of the films, all English-language films, will be made with the recently established multinational Asian film fund and will be shot in China. One of the other five films will be a sequel to Eat Drink Man Woman, which doesn’t seem to have Ang Lee’s name attached…yet?

- Veteran Japanese actor Toru Minegishi, who last appeared in the acclaimed film Departures and I probably last saw him in TV drama Karei Naru Ichizoku, passed away from cancer on Saturday. He was 65.

The Golden Rock - October 10th, 2008 Edition

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Golden Rock - September 28th, 2008 Edition

I don’t try to pretend that I know everything about every Asian country’s film industry. One of the industries that I don’t know so much about is Thailand’s, which is why I’ve added a new blog to the blogroll to fill the void. Wisekwai’s Thai Film Journal is an oft-updated blog that has excellent information about that Thai film industry that often doesn’t get reported here, mostly because of a lack of knowledge on my part. This is one of resources that I will be linking more to the future, but for the most comprehensive English-language resources on the Thai film industry, this is a blog worth checking out daily.

- Five films entered Hong Kong box office charts on Thursday opening day, with four of them major wide releases. Connected, director Benny Chan’s Hong Kong remake of the Hollywood film Cellular, opened on top with HK$546,000 from 40 screens, and should easily pass the HK$3 million mark by the end of the weekend. Depending on word-of-mouth, the action thriller should end up with over HK$10 million, and may even have a chance at matching Invisible Target’s HK$13 million+ take. It’ll make all its money back in China anyway.

The Japanese comic adaptation 20th Century Boys opened on 32 screens with less showings because of its 142-minute running (but saw a ticket price inflation to make up for it. It ended up making HK$371,000, and saw a lower per-screen average than Connected. It might hit the HK$2 million mark by the end of the weekend, and it definitely won’t do as well as the Death Note films, which were also produced by NTV in Japan. Hollywood thriller Eagle Eye didn’t do that well, either, with only HK$360,000 from 38 screens on opening day.

Quite appropriately named is The Disaster Movie. With a gross of HK$90,000 from 21 screens, the result is no less than a disaster. Not doing so well either is the Korean blockbuster thriller The Chaser, which made just HK$16,000 from 5 screens on opening day. More on Monday when the weekend numbers are out.

- The Chinese film industry continues to expand this year, with Chinese films’ grosses for the first eight months of the year up 31% from the same time period last year. The shocker: Kung Fu Dunk is one of the three films that make up 40% of the total gross for local films. I guess word-of-mouth doesn’t have as big of an effect as one might think.

- Under “Bangkok International Film Festival” news today, Wise Kwai looks at the festival so far, including why head juror Eric Khoo had to leave the festival early. Meanwhile, Brian over at Asian Cinema - While on the Road has short reviews of the films he’s seen so far.

- Also, Taiwan’s Golden Horse Festival has just unveiled two new non-competition sections, which will bring high-profile films such as Clint Eastwood’s latest Changeling and Masayuki Suo’s I Just Didn’t Do It to the festival in November. If time allows, The Golden Rock will once again live-blog the awards as it’s playing on TV come December 6th.

- It’s reviews time! Japan Time’s Mark Schilling gives a rave for Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s Tokyo Sonata, which I’ll be watching at the Hong Kong Asian Film Festival. On the other hand, The Daily Yomiuri’s Ikuko Kitagawa doesn’t seem to like “the pregnant 11-year old movie” Kodomo no Kodomo so much.

- Grady Hendrix at Kaiju Shakedown rounds up all the wacky happenings in the world of Asian cinema this week.

- EEG has finally jumped on damage control over the delay of Derek Yee’s The Shinjuku Incident, which is said to feature Jackie Chan in his first purely dramatic role. The film was supposed to be released this month, but rumors have been going around that China’s censorship authority is keeping the film in limbo, resulting in its delay. Instead, EEG says that it’s still in post-production and won’t be ready until the first quarter of 2009. I expect them to push this out for Lunar New Year, a popular time slot for Jackie Chan films. At least in Hong Kong.

- Chinese 5th Generation director Tian Zhuangzhuang slightly bored me with his last film The Go Master. Now, he’s upping the good-looking people factor for the guys by casting Maggie Q for his new period action film. Didn’t he learn anything from watching Three Kingdoms?

- Nippon Cinema is back with the full-length trailer for Swing Girls director Shinobu Yaguchi’s latest film Happy Flight. I trust the actual film to be better than the trailer.

This week’s Televiews column on the Daily Yomiuri looks at long-running reality shows departing the airwaves on Japanese TV.

- According to the Hong Kong Film Blog (who got their information from today’s Oriental Daily - not always the most trustworthy source of news), Emperor Motion Pictures may be asking Louis Koo, Barbie Hsu, and director Benny Chan to reunite for a romantic comedy after the success of Connected. Maybe she’ll be less annoying in a romantic comedy lead than as a damsel in distress.

The Golden Rock - September 24th, 2008 Edition

- Let’s first do a quick catch-up of Hong Kong box office numbers. Among the opening films, Adam Sandler’s You Don’t Mess With the Zohan leads the pack (must be a first for an Adam Sandler film in Hong Kong), making HK$3.38 million from 31 screens after 6 days. Surprisingly, Forbidden Legend: Sex and Chopsticks is doing surprisingly well, making HK$1.49 million from 20 screens after 5 days. That means on average, the film surpassed the HK$10,000 average everyday since it opened. Bottle Shock is all the way down there with just HK$120,000 from 4 screens after 6 days.

As for other films, Mamma Mia is at HK$7.99 million after 13 days, 4BIA is at HK$3.68 million after 13 days, and still on 26 screens. 10 Promises With My Dog has made HK$3.4 million after 13 days, which is only half of what A Tale of Mari and Three Puppies made half a year ago.

- It’s Jpaanese Oricon charts time! Yet another compilation has arrived to bump Ayumi Hamasaki’s latest compilation off the #1 spot on the albums chart. This time, it’s B’z second compilation album of the year, selling a phenomenal 400,000+ copies in its first week.

On the singles chart, boy group V6’s latest debut on top, while Angela Aki’s latest debuts at 3rd place.

More at Tokyograph

- It’s trailers time! All of them are from Twitch today. First it’s the trailer for the Japanese comedy GS Wonderland, about the 60s boom of the so-called “Group Sound”. Then it’s the trailer for Shinya Tsukamoto’s Nightmare Detective 2, and I have no idea what the hell is going on in it either. Lastly, it’s the second trailer for the Korean romantic comedy My Wife Got Married, starring Son Ye Jin, who still looks fake when she’s trying to do the sexy thing.

- Under “directors taking on new projects” news today, Voice of a Murderer and You Are My Sunshine director Park Jin Pyo is directing from his own script for Flower Man, about a man with Lou Gehrig’s Disease and a woman funeral home director. The more surprising news today is producer/ex-convict Haruki Kadokawa taking on his first directing job in eleven years for the thriller The Laughing Cop. Kadokawa has had a string of flops lately as producer for God’s Puzzle, Genghis Khan: To the Ends of the Earth and Sea, and even the Tsubaki Sanjuro remake didn’t do nearly as well as hoped. And of course, he mentioned prison again at the press conference.

- According to the Hong Kong Film Blog, the producers of the Hong Kong-China produced fantasy flick Painted Skin are trying to pull a fast one on the Academy Award committee after being picked as Hong Kong’s representative for Best Foreign Film. The rules stipulates that for a film to qualify at the awards, it must play for at least 7 days in the home region before October 1st. However, all the ads around the city say that the film doesn’t open until October 2nd. The blog did some investigation, and found that one theater has a listing on the newspaper saying that it is showing the film, but instead of stating the showtimes, it only says “5 shows a day”. The theater’s website doesn’t even have such a listing.

When the blogger showed up to the theaters, the showtimes list actually has Painted Skin’s showtimes on it, but the blogger couldn’t even buy a ticket for it, with the staff saying that the film doesn’t open until the 2nd. Also, the theater’s showtimes listing for the following two days also have Painted Skin on it, but simply lists the film as “sold-out”. Essentially, what’s happening here is the producers have somehow found a loophole and simply put up a guise that the film is undergoing a qualifing run without actually letting people see the film.

Again, the original blog post in Chinese

- Japan’s NTV will be using 33 songs by legendary pop band Southern All Stars as the basis for a series of short 10-minute dramas, with the broadcasting date and format yet to be confirmed. Most of these ideas just sound really bad at first, and yet the networks somehow pull it off. I hope that’ll be the case here. Still, they must be running out of ideas if they need to use 33 songs.

- Director Junji Sakamoto, whose child-prostitution film Children of the Dark was barred from screening at the Bangkok International Film Festival a few days ago, held a press conference on the festival’s opening day to protest the festival’s decision.

- Under “foreign distribution” news today, Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s Tokyo Sonata has been picked up for North American distribution, and is set to open in 2009. I’m not holding my breath, though. Meanwhile, the American remake of the Korean romantic comedy classic My Sassy Girl will be getting a theatrical release in Korea in late October. The film went direct-to-DVD even in its native America.

- Mika Nakashima is taking on a rare TV drama role this coming season. I hope she won’t just be playing another variation of Nana.

- The American-financed animated film Astro Boy, worth noting here because it’s being produced by Hong Kong’s Imagi Studios, now has a release of October 23rd….That’s October 23rd, 2009.

The Golden Rock - September 8th, 2008 Edition

- Guess who just won the weekend box office in Hong Kong again? For the 4th weekend in a row, Journey to the Center of the Earth takes the top spot, making HK$816,000 from 34 screens on Sunday (again, much of it from the higher-priced 3D showings) for a 25-day total of HK$30.92 million. Brendan Frasier is now the most bankable star in Hong Kong this year, with his two films making a total of HK$68 million and counting in Hong Kong.

This means that the Pang Brothers’ remake of Bangkok Dangerous got bumped down to second place, making almost HK$520,000 from 34 screens for a 4-day weekend total of just HK$1.85 million. The film will likely finish on par with the brothers’ recent efforts at around HK$5-6 million. The other only opener that made it to the top 10 is the horror film The Strangers, which made HK$103,000 from 15 screens for a 4-day weekend total of HK$390,000.  According to the Hong Kong Film blog, the three Hong Kong-based films - The Luckiest Man, A Decade of Love, and Rule #1 - made 4-day weekend totals of HK$96,000, HK$80,000, and HK$78,000 from 12, 11, and 5 screens, respectively. The award-winning Rule #1 can be said to be the most successful one, because it’s only play on 5 screens, and at least two of those screens only play the film once a day at 11:45pm.

As for holdovers, Rec barely hangs in there for its second weekend, making HK$295,000 from 28 screens on Sunday for a 11-day total of HK$4.85 million. Cyborg She is showing surprising legs in its third weekend, still making HK$204,000 from 16 screens for an 18-day total of HK$4.47 million. Not hanging in so well are Hana Yori Dango Final, which made just HK$76,000 from 14 screens (with a reduced amount of a screenings) for a 11-day total of HK$1.18 million, and Partick Kong’s Forgive and Forget, which made just HK$59,000 from 22 screens (also with reduced amount of screenings) for a 11-day total of HK$1.53 million.

- In Japan cinema attendance chart, 20th Century Boys have come back from behind for a boost to 1st place in its second weekend, with Ponyo taking 2nd place and Hancock dropping all the way to 3rd place. Sex and the City also got a boost up to 5th place, which shows that it’s got staying power, even if it’s only limited to the urban areas. Nim’s Island debuts at 6th place, while Goo Goo the Cat shows that cats are just not as popular as dogs in the cinema with an 8th place debut.

- In an amazing turn of events, the Taiwanese Academy Awards representative Cape No. 7 saw a boost of 77% in box office gross for its second weekend, and has thankfully now surpassed Kung Fu Dunk as the highest-grossing local film in Taiwan.

- That was quick: Some Summer 2008 dramas are already wrapping up their runs, though the drama ratings aren’t getting any better. First, Sono Otoko, Fukushocho ended with a barely above-average 11.9% rating for its last episode and a season average rating of 11.8%. That’s considerably lower than the 13.5% average of the first series. Yottsu no Uso takes an early ending with only 9 episodes, wrapping up with an above-average 9.6% rating for its final episode and a 9.3% season average. The Takashi Sorimachi-starring flop Loto 6 de 3 Oku 2 Senmanen Ateta Otoko ended up with only a 6.4% rating for its final episode and an embarrassing 6.5% season average. It’s about to be the flop of the season, because Koizora has boosted its season average to 6.4% because of a season-high 7.6% rating for this week’s episode.

Tomorrow wrapped up with an OK-14.1% rating final episode for a season average of 12.6%. Right now, it’s looking to be one of the better-performing dramas of the season, behind Taiyou to Umi no Kyoushitsu (14.1% rating for this week’s episode), Yasuko to Kenji (dropping to a 13% this week after a one-week hiatus), and Code Blue (down to a below-average 14.9% rating for its second-to-last episode). Getting close to the end of the season apparently isn’t energizing the ratings battle any, with only Koizora reaching its season high this week.

All drama information can be found at Tokyograph.

- With its screening at the Toronto Film Festival, the beatdown of the Yu Wai Lik’s Hong Kong co-production Plastic City continues. This time, it’s jury member Johnnie To’s turn to do the beating, quoted by Apple Daily: “I think director Yu Wai Lik has yet to finish making the film. Great cinematography cannot make up the film’s whole.”  He also said that he does not agree with the jury’s pick for Best Actor and the Golden Lion, saying that the Turkish film Milk and Russia’s Paper Soldiers should taken those awards, respectively.

Jury president Wim Wenders also lament that there’s a rule set by the festival that the Golden Lion-winning film cannot also win Best Actor, which explains why Mickey Rourke didn’t pick up Best Actor for The Wrestler, despite being the heavy favorite. When the Japanese press asked Wenders why Ponyo didn’t pick up any prizes, Wenders simply said that he lost sleep over Ponyo because he likes the film very much. He also said that in order to prove their love for Ponyo, the jury members will be singing the theme song for the rest of their lives.

Original story by Apple Daily.

- Variety also cover the snubbing of Asian films at this year’s Venice Film Festival.

- As for Plastic City, its sales company has confirmed that they will work with the filmmakers to recut the film after its screenings at Venice and Toronto. The company blames the rushed post-production process for the film’s bad word-of-mouth and urge potential buyers to wait for the new cut.

- In Toronto, Momoru Oshii’s The Sky Crawlers was acquired by Sony for distribution in North America, Latin America, Australia, and New Zealand. Strangely, Warner Bros. Japan was a major distributor of the film in its native Japan, although Sony actually acquired the rights directly from the film’s production company.

- Korean director Choi Dong Hoon has gotten a hell of a cast in hopes for a third consecutive hit after The Big Swindle and Tezza: The High Rollers. This time, he’ll bring a historical figure into modern times as a superhero from the past fighting supernatural figures.

- Perhaps not as exciting to some people is the official announcement of Utada Hikaru’s second English album, which is now slated for a seond half 2008 release. Actually, I’m kind of excited. But that’s only because I’m a fan that kind of liked her first English album.

- Some Japanese content makers have decided to embrace the internet video format, uploading their own content either on Youtube, or on their own company’s video site. Of course, I must point out that while GyaO allows foreign users to register, they actually do not allow computers from non-Japanese IP address to view their contents, which, for the lack of a better word, sucks.

- Twitch offers up approximately ten seconds from the upcoming animated film Gatchaman, produced by Hong Kong’s Imagi Studios.

- Lastly, Kaiju Shakedown reports that after the failed Azn Television in America, the other Asian-American network ImaginAsian is looking at layoffs after a new CEO took over.  This goes to show that mainstream America just doesn’t care.

The Golden Rock - September 6th, 2008 Edition

- It’s review time! With the Venice Film Festival wrapping up and the Toronto Film Festival just starting, the trade paper film critics are going to be very busy, which also means more review links popping up here on The Golden Rock. First from the Japan Times is Mark Schilling’s review of the award-winning drama Okuribito (or Departures).

From Variety is a trifecta of Japanese film reviews.  From Dennis Harvey is a review for Kenji Uchida’s After School and a review for Koki Mitani’s crowdpleasing The Magic Hour. From the mysterious “Variety Staff” is the review for Mamoru Oshii’s The Sky Crawlers.

From Hollywood Reporter’s Maggie Lee is a review of the wonderful All Around Us and also her take on Hirokazu Kore-eda’s Still Walking.

- Forget about the animation competition going on at Venice. Both Japanese animated films in competition are going home with prizes at the digital cinema competition.

- The Toronto Film Festival has barely started, and sales for Asian film are already starting. I don’t remember Toronto being acquisition-heavy festival, but we’ll keep track of things here.

- After last year’s pop song-inspired Signs of Love, TBS will produce a 3-part drama, with each part inspired by a Mariya Takeuchi song. As expected, the drama will be shown just after the release of her latest compilation album. What a coincidence!

Korean president Lee Myung Bak continues his promised deregulation of media by annoucing a series of proposals that will encourage more media congolmerate through the softening of ownership laws and an increase in the budget for cultural promotion, with the former a likely point of contention with naysayers.

- After Taiwan quickly chose its representative at the Oscars this year, Singapore has also made its choice, sending Eric Khoo’s My Magic to the Academy Awards after it represented the nation at this year’s Cannes Film Festival.

- This week’s Teleview column on the Daily Yomiuri takes a digression into CNN’s coverage of the Democratic and Republican Conventions (um….I don’t think Wolf Blitzer makes any editorial calls. His producer does.). But before that is a brief mention of Edo “GU~~~” Harumi’s 110km marathon at last weekend’s NTV 24-hour telethon.

- And just to show that anyone can make up a TV drama nowadays, TV Asahi is putting together a TV movie featuring three stories by three celebrities.

That’s it for the weekend! See you on Monday.

The Golden Rock - September 3rd, 2008 Edition

- Eiga Consultant reports more on the opening of 20th Century Boys. As previously reported, the film made 625 million yen from 310 screens, which is actually 114% of the opening for Always 2. This explains why Toho is expecting it to make 5 billion yen, but that depends on whether the comic adaptation attracts a demographic as wide as the family-friendly nostalgic tearjerker and has a similarly good word-of-mouth.

Mr. Texas reports that 57.5% of audiences ranged from age 16-29, which means this may not have the widespread appeal of Always, but he also reports that only 28.5% of the audience cites the comic as the primary reason for going to see the film, which means the film isn’t just attracting the comic’s fans.

- It’s Japanese Oricon charts time! Namie Amuro takes the album chart for the 5th week in a row with her latest compilation. It’s now the best-selling album of 2008, as well as the first female artist album to hold the charts for 5 weeks since Akina Nakamori did it with her 1983 compilation. Amuro’s holdis also attributed to a weak album market, which even saw the mix album by Exile’s DJ MAKIDAI score a number 3 debut.

Meanwhile, KinKi Kids score their 27th consecutive number one single, pushing L’Arc~en~Ciel’s latest single down to second place.

More from Tokyograph

- It’s reviews time! Variety’s Ronnie Sceib looks at the French film Inju: The Beast, which is loosely based on the work of Japanese author Edogawa Rampo. Meanwhile, Eddie Cockrell reviews the Japanese film Departures (or Okuribito), which won the top prize at the World Film Festival Montreal.

- The media apparently loves bad news, which would explain why Hong Kong’s Apple Daily is still covering the fallout from the bad reception for the Hong Kong co-production film Plastic City at the Venice Film Festival. Today’s report points out that while many films received bad reviews, Plastic City is leading the way with the lowest score for a competition film from the panel of 10 critics in the festival’s daily newsletter.  Ouch.

-  In Thailand, where a declaration of a state of emergency usually means the army would engage in a media crackdown, the media is breathing a sigh of relief that the army has chosen to not take sides.

- Looking beyond that, Kaiju Shakedown’s Grady Hendrix looks at similar things happening in different places around the world.

- The Future Film Festival, not taking place until next January, has already announced that they will have a tribute to Japanese horror master Nobuo Nakagawa, whom has been credited for one of the pioneers for Japanese horror.

-  Under “documentary” news today, Nippon Cinema writes about a new documentary that follows a Chinese school in Japan’s Yokohama, wherethe country’s biggest Chinatown is located. Also, Ryuganji writes about Hirozaku Kore-eda’s next film, which will be a documentary following musician Cocoo at her home Okinawa.

The Golden Rock - September 2nd, 2008 Edition

- It’s Korean box office time! Strangely, two of the top ten films this weekend are not supposed to open until this week, but preview screenings for them were counted in the box office gross this weekend anyway. One of them is the Korean period epic The Divine Weapon, which attracted 230,000 admissions from the two days of preview screenings alone. Meanwhile, The Dark Knight tops the chart for another week, while The Good, the Bad, and the Weird is officially the biggest film of the 2008 Summer.

More over at Korea Pop Wars.

-  (Via Jason Gray’s blog) Jason Gray writes on Screen Daily about the grosses of 20th Century Boys‘ and Hancock’s opening weekend. Actually, the reason why Hancock sits on the top of the box office chart is because Sony has taken the liberty of including last weekend’s preview screening grosses, which means 20th Century Boys probably won both weekend grosses and per-screen average (625 million yen from a surprisingly small 310 screens). Also, Toho now expects the first film to make over 5 billion yen, which certainly bodes well for parts II and III, considering all three films cost a total of 6 billion yen to make.

- It’s review time! From Twitch are reviews of 20th Century Boys, the Korean film A Man Who Was Superman, and Rian Johnson’s The Brothers Bloom, which is here because Rinko Kikuchi has a supporting role.

From Variety is Derek Elley’s review for the Chinese film Perfect Life, which was a surprise film at the Venice Film Festival.

- Speaking of the super-efficient Yukihiko Tsutsumi, Nippon Cinema has the latest clips for his November release Maroboshi no Yamataikoku.

- Under “awards” news today, two Japanese films have taken major prizes at the World Film Festival Montreal. Meanwhile, Taiwan has already picked Cape No. 7 to be its representative at the Academy Awards this year. Not much hope for their output for the next 3 months already?

- Hong kong director Pang Ho-Cheung goes to his second Asian film market of the year, joining 31 other directors to the Tokyo Project Gathering in late October to pitch his latest project.

- Korean studio Chungeorshm, who had a major hit with The Host, will next produce the big-budget action film 29 Years, which has a surprisingly heavy political and historical tone for a typical blockbuster.

The Golden Rock - August 30th, 2008 Edition

- Very sudden news out of Japan yesterday. Young Japanese award-winning actor Yuya Yagira was rushed to the hospital yesterday after an apparent suicide attempt involving lots of pills. Yagira bursted onto the Japanese film scene by becoming the youngest winner of the Best Actor award at the Cannes Film Festival for Nobody Knows.

- It’s reviews time! Variety’s Jordan Mintzer has the first review of the Pang Brothers’ self-remake of Bangkok Dangerous, starring Nicholas Cage and his bad hair. From Venice are reviews of Takeshi Kitano’s Achilles and the Tortoise, first from Variety critic Derek Elley, then from Hollywood Reporter’s Ray Bennett. From Japan Times is Mark Schilling’s review of Toshio Lee’s Detroit Metal City, starring Kenichi Matsuyama. Also from Derek Elley is the review for Kelvin Tong’s Rule #1, which earned Ekin Cheng and Shawn Yue surely their first Best Actor awards.

- Meanwhile, the Pangs talk to the Hollywood Reporter, telling them that they actually prefer the Hollywood way of systematic filmmaking as opposed to the quick improvisational style of Hong Kong films.

- Jason Gray reports from director Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s appearance at the Foreign Correspondants’ Club of Japan for his award-winning film Tokyo Sonata.

- Nippon Cinema has the first trailer for the Takeshi Kaneshiro starring vehicle K-20. Turns out he’s not the villain - he’s just accused of being one. Looks like some old-fashioned adventure fun.

- Major Japanese network TBS will be offering pay-per-view office through their broadband TV service. The first major offering will be TBS’ latest film, which will be available online even before the film hits theaters.

- Users of iTunes China can rejoices, as the music downloading program has been unblocked by the Chinese authorities. The Songs for Tibet album, however, is now missing, and netizens are getting all irate, screaming for more boycotting and banning.

-I missed out on reporting the Tony Jaa-Ong Bak 2 mess because of work, but now I can finally get a mention in: Tony Jaa has returned to the film, but only as an actor. Word is that Jaa’s mentor and Born to Fight director Panna Rittikrai will be taking over the director’s chair to finish the film.

- This week’s Televiews column looks at Japan’s coverage of the Olympics. With incompetent interviewers and unbearable media pressure on athletes, it sounds like Japan didn’t do all that much better than Hong Kong television’s immature and one-sided coverage.

The Golden Rock - August 26th, 2008 Edition

- It’s reviews time! First from Boss Kozo (working a bit of overtime because I couldn’t find time to attend the film festival) are reviews of the omnibus film A Decade of Love, the Taiwan-Japan co-production Tea Fight (I hate Vic Chou for being able to do that with Erika Toda), and the animation hit Evangelion:1.0 You Are (Not) Alone. From a man called Sanjuro are reviews of the Korean sci-fi film Yesterday and the classic martial arts film The One-Armed Swordsman.

From Variety are two reviews by Derek Elley, one for Kwak Jae-Young’s Cyborg She (which I saw today but wasn’t fully satisfied with) and the Japanese omnibus flick Eat and Run: 6 Beautiful Grifters.

- Nippon Cinema has a trailer for a little psuedo-autobiographical indie film named Umeda Yuko no Kokuhaku, the feature film debut of a 19-year old Tokyo Visual Arts College graduate. It certainly looks less film school and more confident than a usual post-school film.

- Guess which is more important to the Chinese government: Supressing freedom of speech, or supressing illegal downloads?

- Marvel Entertainment is reportedly working with Japanese animation house Madhouse for four separate series that will reimagine Marvel superheroes for the Japanese market. No word on which heroes will be part of said reimagining.

- This counts as The Golden Rock news because Michelle Yeoh is in the movie. Too bad this is an interview in which Babylon AD’s director pretty much calls his own film complete shit.

- Under “he’s that famous?!” news today, Bae Yong-Joon (known as Yon-Sama in Japan) will be opening the second branch of his own restaurant in Tokyo after the first one has been deemed a success.

 
 
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