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Archive for the ‘taiwan’ Category

The Golden Rock - March 2nd, 2008 Edition

- It’s Taiwan music charts time! This week on the G-Music charts, Aska Yang got its first place back after Gary Cao regained his top spot last week. Cao dropped down to 3rd place, which is still damn good after 9 weeks on the chart. Another strong performer to Joanna Wang, whose debut album is still at 2nd place after spending 7 weeks on the chart. The best-performing newcomer is the Grammy compilation album all the way down at 15th place. Other than that, sales are kind of depressing right now.

- It’s reviews time! This week from Japan Times’ Mark Schilling is Doko Ni Iku No, the first film in 22 years from cult director Yoshihiko Matsui. Also included is an interview with the director himself. Also, there’s a review of Yoji Yamada’s Kabei from Twitch reviewer The Visitor.

- The latest film from Japanese director Daisuke Tengen may be attracting lots of attention not because Tengen is the son of late legendary director Shohei Imamura, but because of its…ahem…climatic scene.

-Walking by a Hong Kong video store that sells DVDs of Mainland content will tell you the same thing Variety is about to tell you: Chinese producers are making too many TV series without the airtime to broadcast them.

- Hollywood, now seeing the spending potential of the Chinese population, have devoted more money and time to exploit entertain the Chinese audience with films about and/or filmed in China. However, as the producers of Shanghai has learned, you have to play by the government’s rules.

- One of the films opening in Japan this weekend is the drama Ashita he no Yuigon, about the trial of a Japanese B-class war criminal. The Daily Yomiuri has two articles on it - one on the writers, who had to do thorough research in order to stay objective, and one on the actors, who had to recite actual testimonies from ther real-life counterparts. What they didn’t have is an actual review of the movie.

- Japanese record companies have plenty of ways to make money of fans (one compilation, two differently colored albums, anyone?), but this one takes the cake: the record company of the pop collective AKb48 (48 members and counting) is holding a special concert, and fans only get a chance to go if they get all 44 posters that come with their latest single. Let’s do the math: 1200 yen per single, multiply by 44 copies (only if the buyer happens to get a different poster each time). That means a stupid lucky fan has to spend over 50,000 yen to see the group live. After receiving numerous complaints and possible violation of fair business practices, the record company has now canceled their plans.

The sad part is I can easily imagine a Hong Kong record company doing this, except for the canceling part.

- After finding a few new hits, Korean cinema is now doing what Hollywood does best: Hit films getting potentially unnecessary upcoming sequels include 200 Pounds Beauty, Le Grand Chef, Tezza: The High Rollers, and The Host.

-In 1985, legendary director Akira Kurosawa began filming a documentary while filming for his epic film Ran stopped because of financing problems. However, he never finished the documentary when filming for Ran resumed. Now, his son plans to complete his father’s unfinished film and release it by 2010, the 100th anniversary of the director’s birth.

- Shawn Yue has already been in 4 movies in the past 8 months (Invisible Target, Trivial Matters, Playboy Cops, Shamo), and now we can add another one to the list: Rule #1, the new horror film from Singaporean director Kelvin Tong.

- What do you get for releasing your high-profile, award-winning film with a studio head as your producer uncensored, despite getting a rating that would kill any commercial prospects? An award for freedom of expression from the theater owners who didn’t want you to do so in the first place.

- Two Chinese groups that represent Chinese musicians and songwriters are suing the Chinese search engine Baidu for allowing users to find and download songs for free through its website, thus using illegal downloads to boost its advertising revenues.

The Golden Rock - February 23rd, 2008 Edition

- It’s Taiwan music charts time! This week, sales are pretty evened out, as Gary Chaw’s album managed to take the top spot again, thanks to a new version of his album. It knocked off Aska Yang’s album from its 4-week streak at the top too. Meanwhile, only one album debuted on the top ten, and that was Koda “I’m like…really sorry” Kumi’s latest album with 2.47% of total sales.

- The Hong Kong Film Festival tickets went on sale today. This year, the festival includes several premieres from established Hong Kong directors, including Ann Hui’s The Way We Are, Lawrence Lau’s City Without Baseball, and film critic Shu Kei’s co-directed effort Coffee Or Tea. I have tickets to none of those, and yet I got tickets to 10 other films. It’s a crowded festival, indeed.

- Continuing with yesterday’s story about Shukan Bunshun’s worst films of 2007, Ryuganji has a thorough report on not only on the worst 10 list, but also the so-called best 10 list that they put together as well.

- After a serious of violent demonstrations over its historical inaccuracies, authorities in an Indian Hindu region has suspended screenings of the big-budget film Jodhaa Akbar, the latest film from the director of the Oscar-nominated Lagaan. The distributor/producer has vowed to fight the suspension.

- It’s review time! This week, Japan Times’ Mark Schilling reviews the running-themed drama Naoko, starring Juri Ueno and was mentioned earlier this week in the box office report.

- I’ve learned two things from the user-voted results of the Yahoo! Music Awards in Japan: Singing three albums’ worth of cover songs can get you Best Male Artist, and someone who had a PR disaster from being extremely rude at her own film’s premiere can still have a successful music career.

- In an effort to try and push its box office to match Kung Fu Hustle, CJ7’s distributor have lowered ticket prices to HK$45 for all general admissions at all cinemas (a general admission ticket costs anywhere from $55 to $75 in Hong Kong). That strategy isn’t going to work when the film had only so-so word-of-mouth, but good luck anyway!

The Golden Rock - February 14th, 2008 Edition

Apologies for taking an impromptu holiday from the blog. Like the rest of Hong Kong, the New Years holiday has taken a toll on this blogger. At least he’s now well-rested.

- First, legendary Japanese director Kon Ichikawa, whose career spanned 62 years and 76 films, passed away at 92 years old of pneumonia. He was still working up to last year on an installment in the omnibus film Ten Nights of Dreams. Jason Gray has an article he wrote for Screen International on his blog.

- A quick catch-up on the Hong Kong New Years box office. Here are the Lunar New Year films and how they’re doing as of yesterday (2/13). These are in order of their release dates:

CJ7 - 14 days, HK$44.6 million

Sweeney Todd - 14 days, HK$7.88 million

Enchanted - 7 days, HK$16.09 million (this has overtaken CJ7 as the number 1 film in these few days)

Kung Fu Dunk - 7 days, HK$6.78 million

L - Change the WorLd - 5 days (plus 3 days of previews), HK$5.29 million.

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (this opened on New Year’s Day on 3 screens) - 7 days, HK$430,000

The good news is that the Lunar New Year films are doing fairly well this year (even a category III musical can make almost 8 million), the better news is that not everyone ended up buying into Kung Fu Dunk, and the bad news is that it’s one of the two only Chinese films in a holiday most celebrated by Chinese people.

- Three of these films are also playing in Japan, and I’ve already reported on how well Sweeney Todd is doing there (1.67 billion yen and counting). As for L, it had a phenomenal opening during the holiday weekend, making 572 million yen from 388 screens. While this is 140% of the first Death Note film’s opening, Mr. Texas of Eiga Consultant reminds us that it was also 75% of the second Death Note film’s opening. This opening might have been helped by the fact that NTV, the film’s backing TV network, showed the two films beforehand.

However, don’t count out the medical mystery Team Batista No Eiko, which also had a strong opening weekend with 264 million yen from 284 screens. Not so lucky is the Japanese film Kids, which opened fairly weak to begin with and lost 42% of its business in its second weekend. Oh, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly also made an impressive 7.46 million yen from just 5 screens (that’s a roughly US$13,000 per-screen average). Not doing so well in limited release is Lust, Caution, which has only made 79.5 million yen after 2 weeks from 77 screens (that’s a roughly US$2,300 per-screen average each week).

With 1.78 billion yen and counting after 5 weekends (that would be a typo in Variety), the documentary Earth is now the highest-grossing documentary ever in Japan.

- Kung Fu Dunk and L also opened in Taiwan, and both had fairly strong openings. However, nothing came close to beating CJ7’s major invasion of Asia.

- It’s reviews time! From Berlin are: Derek Elley’s review of Johnnie To’s latest Sparrow, which sounds like it’s Yesterday Once More meets Throwdown.  From Variety’s Russell Edwards is a review of Yoji Yamada’s domestic hit Kabei - Our Mother. Hollywood Reporter’s Maggie Lee chimes in with her own review as well. Derek Elley also has a review of Night and Day, the latest from South Korean director Hong Sang-Soo.

- It’s also trailers time! Everything’s from Kaiju Shakedown today - a teaser for Cyborg She, the first Japanese film from My Sassy Girl director Kwak Jae-Young. I can imagine him on set telling his make-up people, “Just make the guy look like Cha Tae-Hyun!” Also, there’s a Spanish-dubbed trailer for the Pang Brother’s self-remake of Bangkok Dangerous. Yes, it looks pretty terrible, though it may just be the Spanish. Also, there’s the trailers for the indie Japanese ensemble comedy Hey Japanese! (The full name is far too long) and for Koki Mitani’s latest The Magic Hour, which looks surprisingly visually appealing.

That’s it for now, y’all.  Not completely caught up, but we’re getting there.

The Golden Rock - January 19th, 2008 Edition

- Taiwanese music charts time! This week, 7 new albums entered the top 20, pushing out quite a few albums. Amazingly, Aska Yang’s new album debuts on top with nearly 23% of total sales, followed by Wang Yue Xin taking up 6.79% of sales, and Rene Liu’s latest follows him closely at third place with 5.22%. Meanwhile, last week’s leaders Fahrenheit and Ayumi Hamasaki see huge drops to 11th place (with 1.21% of sales) and 8th place (with 1.37% of sales), respectively.

- How many movies can Kenichi Matsuyama fit in in a year? He has a supporting role in Tsubaki Sanjuro, he has the titular role in the upcoming Death Note spinoff movie L - Change the World, and Japan Times’ Mark Schilling reviews yet another film he’s in this week - Don’t Laugh at My Romance (or Hito No Sex o Warau Na), where he plays a college student in love with a woman double his age.

- Kaiju Shakedown has a link to the Zhang Yuan arrest video. To those who haven’t kept up: Chinese 6th generation director Zhang Yuan was not only arrested in his home for using drugs, his arrest was also captured on camera by a CCTV crew, and used as a story to warn people that China is taking a zero tolerance policy towards drugs ahead of the Olympics. Of course, only with a camera crew would cops start moralizing to people they arrest about using drugs.

- Courtesy of the great EastSouthWestNorth is a blog post that translates and adds to another post about the way Americans and Chinese look at Ang Lee’s Lust, Caution.

- The fall 2007 Edition Nikkan Sports Drama Grand Prix has announced its results, with Yukan Club winning 4 out of 5 awards, despite a less-than-stellar 12.6 average rating. The seasonal awards will culminate into the yearly awards, which will be in a few months. Yes, it’s award-winning, but is a drama about rich spoiled 20-somethings really worth watching?

- The blackout of foreign films in China is just about ready to end (If you don’t count the limited release of The Pursuit of Happyness), with the British film Atonement to open on February 22nd. However, the film has reportedly been edited to make it suitable for all audiences in China. What did they take out, the war?

- Twitch has a review of Feng Xiaogang’s hit film The Assembly.

The Golden Rock - January 18th, 2008 Edition

- First, a short box office report from Thursday opening day in Hong Kong, just to see how things will be over the weekend:

The J.J. Abrams-produced Cloverfield attracted a ton of audience based on its mysterious commercial. The handheld-camera-monster-flick made HK$863,000 from 36 screens and should be close to the HK$5 million mark by the end of the weekend. Surprisingly, the teen flick See You In Youtube, produced by Oxide Pang and directed by a new director plus 6 film students (Some say it’s Oxide Pang and the other 6, who cares? A student film is a student film is a student film), managed to make HK$408,194 (sorry to say 30 of those dollars are mine) from 28 screens. At third is the Hollywood romantic comedy 27 Dresses, which made just HK$227,000 from 26 screens.

Wait, there’s 3 more opening films to go: The Japanese cartoon Atashin’ichi The Movie made HK$125,000 from 27 screens, but should see its business pick up considerably over the weekend. Elizabeth: The Golden Age (which was torn apart by critics in the West, but heard good reviews around Hong Kong) made HK$78,000 from 12 screens. Lastly, Gavin Hood’s Rendition made only HK$54,000 from 16 screens. Then again, who expects a movie about torture to do well?

- The numbers for the Japanese snow sports movie Giniro No Season came out. However, Box Office Mojo got them wrong by reporting that it opened on 66 screens, when it really opened on 266 screens. As a result, the per-screen average is still a solid US$6,570, or 715,500 yen.

- The nominees for the 2nd Asian Film Awards have been announced, and it’s the Chinese-speaking films’ world, as Ang Lee’s Lust, Caution is tied with Peter Chan’s The Warlords with 6 nominations each. Rounding out the best picture nominees are the Iranian film Buddha Collapsed Out of Shame, Japan’s I Just Didn’t Do It, South Korea’s Secret Sunshine, and China’s The Sun Also Rises. I was really happy that not only did Sakuran get recognized for its art direction, but also for the score by Shiina Ringo.

Also, the awards are being held with a larger budget than last year. Why, you ask? Because there’s no writers strike in Asia, guys! They’re just lucky to get paid!

Complete list of nominees.

- Speaking of I Just Didn’t Do It, it just picked up two major awards at the Mainichi Film Awards - Best Film and Best Director (English-subtitled DVD, where art thou??!!) . However, there are some puzzling choices in there: Talk Talk Talk for Best Actor AND Best Sound?! Actor, maybe, but the movie’s DVD didn’t even have a Dolby 5.1 soundtrack!

- Despite a slow first half in 2007, Toho ended up having their most successful year ever, thanks to Always 2, Hero, A Tale of Mari and Her Three Puppies. Hell, even Tsubaki Sanjuro ended up working out.

- Andy Lau rules. He might not have been able to pay people’s salary in pizzas and online game strategies (that would be the Korean pop star that did it), but he did jump off the stage during a concert to rescue a fan getting jumped by security guards for jumping past the fence. Why? Because he’s Andy-freaking-Lau.

- Next to this here blog getting linked for the Storm Riders story (in this entry, y’all), Kaiju Shakedown also has bits of other news for you. I hope those so-called Dragonball set pictures aren’t real.

The Golden Rock - January 14th, 2008 Edition

It was a public holiday in Japan on Monday, so that means no box office reports and no TV drama ratings either. I’ll wait until tomorrow.

- Hong Kong box office was generally weak this past weekend (at least on Sunday). The top 10 films’ box office gross ranged from HK$116,000 to only HK$256,000. On top finally is Ridley Scott’s American Gangster, which made only HK$256,000 from 25 screens for an 11-day total of HK$2.8 million. However, if not for the HK$10 increase per ticket (due to running time), it would’ve lost out to National Treasure: Book of Secrets, which made HK$247,000 from 32 screens for a 25-total of HK$17.08 million.

As for opening films, Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium actually came out on top with HK$231,000 from just 11 screens for a 4-day total of HK$720,000. Meanwhile, Thursday’s winner The Deaths of Ian Stone fell all the way to 8th place with HK$166,000 from 12 screens (this is actually slightly higher than its opening day gross) for a HK$690,000 4-day total. Johnnie To’s Linger remains dead on arrival with only HK$167,000 from 22 screens with just HK$620,000 after 4 days. It may not even reach the HK$2 million mark when it’s all over.

In holdovers. Wong Kar-Wai’s My Blueberry Nights did end up passing the HK$2 million mark, making HK$201,000 from 14 screens on Sunday. After its second weekend, the road drama has made HK$2.13 million.

HK$7.8=US$1

-  The Philippine non-profit organization The Cinemalaya Foundation has picked the ten projects for a grant from the organization to help complete in time to compete at its film festival in July. The films apparently have to articulate Philippine culture, made on digital technology, and filmmakers have to have done less than 3 films.

- In case you wanted it, an English-subtitled trailer is out for Stephen Chow’s latest CJ7. The bad news? It’s dubbed in Mandarin. This is starting to bring back memories of The Magic Gourd, which is probably a bad thing.

- At least Chow tells you that this movie is going to be pushing for tears, which wouldn’t be my own definitely of “heartwarming”. But hey, he’s the one making millions of dollars, and I’m the one paying US$8,000 a year for film school, so what do I know?

But I am a critic, and I’m looking forward to CJ7 less and less now.

-  With the Chinese total box office growing by 20% in 2007, I can bet more Hong Kong filmmakers will turn to pleasing Mainland Chinese audiences to make the big bucks. However, will this lead to more artistically successful filmmakers staying in Hong Kong? In other words, will Hong Kong cinema go in the way of Taiwanese cinema?

- There’s a trailer for the new Korean comedy Radio Days, and it looks like it might be good. I emphasize “might” because dramatic elements in Korean comedies are always a bit of a wild card.

- According to Kaiju Shakedown, My Name is Fame director Lawrence Lau is making a film based on the alleged assassination attempt on Taiwanese president Chen Sui-Bian starring Simon Yam and Gordon Lam. Which conspiracy theory will it follow?

The Golden Rock - January 12th, 2008 Edition

- This week, a new music chart to cover: The Taiwan G-Music chart, which makes up the retail sales of three retail chains in Taiwan. It’s updated every Friday night, so I’ll be covering them in the weekend entries.

This week, three debuts lead the charts: The new album from Taiwanese boy band Fahrenheit gets 10% of total sales, Japanese diva Ayumi Hamasaki’s latest takes up 6.7%, and another boy band 5566’s latest album takes up 4.4% of total sales. Last week’s winner, TV-made boy band Lollipop (yes, I do have Channel V at home), drops down to 4th place this week with only 4% of total sales. Hong Kong-based Mandarin artist Khalil Fong’s first album in Taiwan actually went up one spot this week from a quiet 16th place debut last week, making up 0.92% of total sales (up from 0.84 % last week).

- The Hong Kong press is reporting today that Lust, Caution will not be going uncut in Japan. With strict laws about showing the pubic regions, Ang Lee’s erotic drama will go still out with an R-18 rating (no one under 18 admitted), despite suffering 6 cuts that include the now-infamous shot of Tony Leung and shots where pubic hair can be seen. While they don’t really kill the impact of the film (I suspect some shots will simply cut before it reaches the offending regions), it’s sad when any film cannot be shown in their entirety.

Source: Oriental Daily (no link), Apple Daily (who inexplicably link it with a story about the WGA awards. Maybe they ran out of space in the paper)

- Speaking of censorship, Lost in Beijing director Lu Yi talks about her film being banned after already suffering multiple cuts and a theatrical release.

- Japan Times’ Mark Schilling reviews Giniro No Season, the new film from the director of Umizaru: Limit of Love that probably won’t repeat the latter’s success.

-  In box office news, I want to correct my earlier report that Trivial Matters only made HK$2.37 million. A friend corrected me that it had made HK$3.33 million when it dropped out of the top 10. Also, some theaters previously showing the horror flop Yes, I Can See Dead People are now taking it off screens and replacing it back with more showings of Pang’s omnibus comedy. Hell, I didn’t even expect it to be playing after two weeks, which makes me happy that it’s enjoying good enough word-of-mouth to have such legs after the crowded Christmas market.

The Golden Rock - December 10th, 2007 Edition.

 Since we did do that minute-by-minute coverage of The Golden Horse Awards, I guess we should probably link you to the complete list of winners.

- Ahead of the award ceremony, Ang Lee also admitted that he made one important edit in the Mainland Chinese version of Lust, Caution at the request of the Chinese censors to make the heroine seem less sympathetic to Chinese traitors.

- Let’s look at the Japanese TV drama ratings. As previewed last week, Galileo dipped below 20% rating for the first time all season, though only to a 19.9 rating. It’s no disaster yet, but it’s still the lowest rating of the season, though its average rating is still at 22%. Other dramas that saw their season-lows this past week: Abarebo Mama (at 11.0), Suwan No Baka (at 6.8), Hataraki Man (which dropped ALL THE WAY to 7.9 from 13.2 the previous week), Kimpachi Sensei (at 7.1), Joshi Deka (at 7.1), Mop Girl (at 9.2), and as always - Hatachi No Koibito (at 6.4).

On a positive note, Iryu 2 is on an upswing, with its ratings going up for a second week in a row. Utahime is also climbing a slow road up, and SP is still as solid as ever with a 14.6 rating.

- As I report once in a while in my box office reports, Hong Kong theatres inflate ticket prices for films that run longer than 135-140 minutes (because it means less shows). It seems like they will be doing the same for the holiday season for films that don’t even run at that length. According to Hong Kong Film Blog, one theater is setting a policy where all ticket prices will go up by 5 dollars from the 18th to January 1st. While this theater is enacting the policy because of theater policy, another theater chain is only increasing ticket prices for the two biggest films of the season and blames the distributor for the increase. So who’s the villain? Theater chains or distributors?

- I saw Maiko Haaaan!!! at the Hong Kong Asian Film Festival and thought it was hilarious (A real review is still in the works).  However, not all of its humor will translate outside of the Japanese language (which is probably why there’s no Hong Kong distributor for it yet), Nevertheless, American distributor/champion of eccentric Japanese films Viz Pictures will be releasing the films in the United States in March.

- John Woo’s enormous and troubled epic The Battle of Red Cliff finally wrapped principal photography, though second unit photography is continuing until February. And by troubled, we mean there were rumors of deaths on the set, though producer Terence Cheng denies them.

- As the Korean Wave begins to recede, a new Japanese wave is slowly hitting the shore of Korea, as 21 films in the past 2 years were actually based on original Japanese content, much higher than the 5 produced between 2001-2005. Does it have anything to do with cramming too much into a marketplace that doesn’t have enough talents to begin with?

- Similar to the Animatrix project, Three Japanese animation house will produce several short animated films ahead of the release for that latest Batman movie, The Dark Knight.

The Golden Rock - Golden Horse Awards live report

The following is a minute-by-minute recap of the entire Golden Horse Awards as it plays on Hong Kong TV live. However, I missed the first half hour. But that’s OK - The show was over 4 hours long anyway.

8:00pm - Shit, I already missed half an hour of the awards, and the short documentary award only has two nominees.

I also don’t understand much Mandarin. Good thing the Hong Kong TV station has two on-air commentators to translate the important stuff.

8:02pm - Why is there a host standing on the side at all times?

8:06pm - That podium lady is actually interacting with the presenters. Is this a variety show?

8:08pm - These two guys have been onstage for 3 minutes, and I still don’t know what they’re presenting.

8:10pm - Best supporting actor! Which undeserving nominee will win?

8:11 pm - Tony Leung Ka-Fai wins for The Drummer/leftover footage from Election. He didn’t show up to recreate his dog-throwing scene in the film.

8:17pm - OK, I missed the Best Supporting Actress award, which went to Fan Bing-Bing for The Matrimony.

Oh shit, Kelly Chen is trying to sing classic show tunes in Chinese. Back to writing a real entry.

8:23pm - Well, that was less painful that the opening promised to be.

Whoa, a new podium lady.

8:26pm - a supermodel boasts that she’s been to Cannes a ton of times to suck up to Taiwan. zzzzzzzz…..

8:28pm - What On Earth Have I Done Wrong just picked up an international critics award.

8:35pm - These presenters seem familiar……didn’t they present the short film awards? Are they the official “not important awards” presenters?

8:36pm - OK, it’s Best Art Direction time, and it’s the first category where Lust, Caution shows up……and the awards goes to: The Detective???!!!! That means Aaron Kwok may just stand a chance.

8: 38pm - Best Makeup-Costume Design, no Hong Kong film, and Lust, Caution’s second chance…….and the award goes to: Lust, Caution, now picking up its first award of the night.

8:42pm - Best Sound Effects. Annie Liu forgets that Titanic is a disaster film and calls in a romance film. Yes, a romance film about a big-ass iceberg that kills hundreds of people.

Anyway, the award goes to: The Most Distant Course.

8:48pm - Best Editing, and Lust, Caution’s third chance…..the award goes to: The Sun Always Rises.

It seems like only half the awards actually see its recipients show up to claim the awards.

8:56pm - The Lifetime Achievement Award for Edward Yang, but ATV cuts off half of it for bad commercials?

8:57pm - Hou Hsiao-Hsien presents the award. At least he wore a suit instead of this:

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8:59pm - And ATV cuts off Hou Hsiao-Hsien to change broadcast to its English channel in order to show some band awards in the Cantonese channel. That was abrupt.

9:04pm - 4 minutes into the coverage, and a commercial break already. This is a long night.

9:08pm - OK, music awards. but we know Jay Chou isn’t going to be performing his Best Original Song nominee because he’s in Hong Kong performing right this minute.

9:09pm - Podium Lady with Feather on Head returns.

9:10pm - OK, some other Taiwanese pop singer sings Jay Chou’s song……and sings it better.

9:15pm - Holy shit, he pulled off Shu Qi’s song from Blood Brothers…..in Shu Qi’s key.

9:21pm - OK, time for the award. The Best Original Song award goes to: Jay Chou’s song for Secret. Lyricist Vincent Fang shows up for the award.

9:23pm - The award show has so many dead moments that I just finished today’s entry WHILE writing this live report.

9:25pm - Best Original Music goes to: Lust, Caution. Its second award of the night, and presented by star Tang Wei.

9:32pm - Kelly Chen returns as a presenter. Cracks jokes in Mandarin, with drum sounds and all.

9:33pm - Best Cinematography. Soi Cheang’s Shamo’s first chance, and Lust, Caution’s sixth chance. The award goes to: The Matrimony, probably a surprise win, considering cinematography was one of Lust, Caution’s strong points.

9:36pm - Kelly sticks around for Best Visual Effects as well. I hope Twins Mission doesn’t win for this.

The award goes to: Secret?! OK………….

9:39pm - All three Podium People are at the podium to show some gag video with the host performing “magic tricks.” It’s kind of funny.

9:44pm - Then they waste some more time to put on a real magic demonstration.

9:48pm - Aaron Kwok is actually there, and they just pushed up to help with the magic thing. He probably thought they were going to magically give him the Best Actor award.

9:54pm - They should’ve gone to commercial to skip the whole thing.

10:06pm - Finally back to giving out awards. Now: Best Taiwanese Filmmaker.

And the award goes to: Ang Lee, to thunderous applause.

10:13pm - Best Taiwanese film time. And the award goes to: Secret.

10:15pm - Best new actor time. Korea’s Lee Jun-Ki speaks Mandarin! Tons of young girls scream!

10:18pm - And the award goes to: Tang Wei for Lust, Caution. Who seriously expected her not to win?

10:28pm: OK, Best Original Screenplay time. Protege is the only Hong Kong film in the category. And the award goes to: Home Song Stories. Poor guy’s English acceptance speech isn’t getting the laughs he want. Actually, thanking Lust, Caution for being an adapted screenplay is pretty funny.

10:31pm: Time for Best Adapted Screenplay. This is the more competitive one, as Battle of Wits, Lust, Caution, and The Sun Always Rises are all part of this. Oh, and Shamo too. The award goes to: Lust, Caution for its 4th award of the night.

10:33pm - Holy shit, Wong Jing and Chu Ying-Ping on the same stage. It’s time for an assassination attempt by movie critics!

10:36pm - The Audience Award for Best Film - Nominees are: Getting Home, What on Earth Have I Done Wrong, Home Song Stories, Eye In the Sky, Lust, Caution. Oh, they’re the same as the Best Film category.

And the award goes to: Getting Home. Whoa. Will this be repeated when the actual Best Film award comes? Does this mean Aaron Kwok has better chances of winning? nah.

10: 51pm - Time for the major awards. I think they skip some awards in the Hong Kong broadcast for commercials. Bastards…..

10:58pm - And they switch channels again.

11:00pm - Time for Best Actor. Aaron! Aaron! Aaron! Aaron!

And the award goes to: Sandra Ng rips the envelope!!!!!!!

And Ang Lee manages to piece it back together to give it to Tony Leung Chiu-Wai for Lust, Caution. Sorry, Aaron.

11:08pm - Come on, the award is going overtime already. Get Wong Jing off the stage.

11::14pm - Best Actress time. Who’s betting on Tang Wei? Will it be another upset?

And the award goes to: Joan Chen! For Home Song Stories. Another upset indeed!

11:17pm - Two more awards left: Best Director and Best Film. Will Lust, Caution take them both, or will they both be upsets?

11:21pm - OK, Aaron, sorry you lost. Just give out the damn award already.

11:23pm - Time for Best Director. And the award goes to: Ang Lee for Lust, Caution. It’s probably a heavy favorite for best picture now.

11:33pm - Here we go, the last award of the night. And the award goes to: Lust, Caution. That would make it 7 awards total to make it the big winner of the night.

And that would wrap up the coverage. ATV screwed up by skipping some awards and also switching channels due to contractual obligations. Plus the show itself is overlong with performances and demonstrations. Still, despite some upsets, there doesn’t seem to be one that was really out there. Anyway, a complete list will be out in a few days.

The Golden Rock Box Office Report - 11/27/07

- Finally have the Sunday box office numbers from Hong Kong. The Ben Stiller Hollywood comedy The Heartbreak Kid did better than I expected, making HK$600,000 from 25 screens on Sunday, considering that advertising for the film didn’t really start until about 2 weeks ago. It has a 4-day total of HK$1.91 million. Beowulf manages to hang on to second place with HK$530,000 from 39 screens for a 11-day total of HK$6.5 million, which is OK but not spectacular. It also bumped The Kingdom down to third place with HK$390,000 from 27 screens for a HK$1.38 million 4-day total.

As expected, Tokyo Tower managed a rebound during the weekend and made HK$280,000 from 12 screens for a 11-day total of HK$2.37 million, while Bullet and Brain is nearly gone with just HK$91,000 from 20 remaining screens for a 11-day HK$2.37 million total. Even worse is The Pye-Dog, which made only close to HK$50,000 (this is rounded up already) from 19 screens for just HK$1.13 million after 11 days. And you can forget about Aubrey Lam’s Anna and Anna, which made only HK$20,000 (again, it’s been rounded up) from 5 screens for a 4-day total of……ta-da! HK$70,000.

- The Japanese box office numbers have also come in, and it shows that Always 2 took the top spot by making 2% more money than the previous week. For a film in the 4th week to do so is pretty amazing, even if it was a holiday weekend. Meanwhile, Koizora is still doing fairly well, losing less than 18% of business and moved past the 2.5 billion yen mark already. Midnight Eagle’s 185 million yen opening isn’t particularly bad, but definitely disappointing considering the expectations put on it. Even that per-screen average tells you that people just weren’t very interested in it. Next week will determine whether it’ll pass the 1 billion yen mark.

Looks like the screen count has been corrected for Zo No Senaka, so it actually lost a few more screens for this past weekend.

BONUS: Taiwanese box office:

- This is not really to show which movie is selling at number 1 or number 2 (It’s Beowulf and The Heartbreak Kid, by the way), but rather to see how Taiwanese films are doing on their home turf. 1) The youth drama Summer’s Tail had a limited release in Hong Kong and did fairly badly. It seems to be happening in Taiwan as well, where it lost 88% of its business and half of its screens in the second weekend. 2) The Most Distant Course, starring Guey Lun-Mei, opened at a moderate 7th place 4 weeks ago, but has since made only NT$2.9 million.

 
 
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