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Archive for the ‘Thailand’ Category

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 - 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 - July 27th, 2008 Edition

- It’s Taiwanese music charts time! On the G-Music General Chart this week, Jam Hsiao takes the top stop again as Christine Fan’s compilation slips down to 3rd place. Wilber Pan’s latest compilation couldn’t beat the talent show contestant, debuting at 2nd place withjust under 5% of total sales.

- More on the awards at Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival - Local hit thriller The Chaser picks up three awards, including the festival’s top prize. Meanwhile, Japanese gore film Tokyo Gore Police and Korean horror film Hansen and Gretel. As mentioned in yesterday’s entry, Ekin Cheng and Shawn Yue shared the Best Actor Award.

- Also, the Pia Film Festival, which showcases feature films by new talents, has wrapped up in Japan, and Jason Gray writes a short report about the films at the festival. I managed to review two of last year’s major winners in the past year, and I hope I’ll have the chance to catch a few of this year’s Pia winning films as well.

- It’s reviews time! From Japan Times we have a review of Ryoichi Hiroki’s Your Friends from Mark Schilling and a review of the controversial Summer Palace from Giovanni Fazio. From Hollywood Reporter we have Maggie Lee’s reviews of the Singaporean film 18 Grams of Love, the Japanese gore flick Tokyo Gore Police, and the Thai film Dream Team.

- And this week’s Televiews column on the Daily Yomiuri looks at the excessive amount of comedians on Japanese TV and a bunch of made-for-TV movies just before the Olympics.

- The baseball drama Rookies wrapped up last night. But with its impressively steady ratings and positive word-of-mouth, do you really expect TBS to simply let it go away? Of course not!

- Another non-surprise is the police drama Aibou being brought back again for a 7th season. The film version of the drama was the top-grossing film in Japan for the first half of 2008, and its spinoff film is coming next year. With 6 seasons that run 6 months at a time, this is one show I will never have the time to catch up on.

- With The Forbidden Kingdom opening this weekend in Japan, the Daily Yomiuri speaks to director Rob Minkoff about the challenge of working with both Jet Li and Jackie Chan. I wonder how he feels about both stars essentially not being very proud of the film.

- Twitch looks at the Korean independent action film Spare, which looks to offer some hardcore action captured on DV.

- Following in the footsteps of Warner Bros. and Sony, Hollywood studio Paramount will be creating their own worldwide distribution/production division and work on distributing films in Asia themselves. They’re already working with producer Taka Ichise (The Ring films) on a remake of Ghost. Wait, which Ghost?

The Golden Rock - July 7th, 2008 Edition

- With Will Smith’s Hancock getting thrown into the mix, three Hollywood films took up a bulk of the Hong Kong box office over this past weekend. As expected, the superhero comedy took the top spot with HK$2.97 million from 58 screens on Sunday for a 4-day total of $HK10 million. Kung Fu Panda wasn’t far behind, either, with HK$2.43 million from 60 screens for a 11-day total of HK$19.45 million. Wanted is down at third place with HK$1.19 million from 41 screens for an impressive 11-day total of HK$17.43 million. This far outdoes Universal’s previous release, The Incredible Hulk, which has made only HK$12.02 million after 25 days.

Nim’s Island, which didn’t have a very impressive opening day on Thursday, saw a siginificant boost from the family business, making HK$206,000 from 19 screens. It doesn’t sound very good, but that’s more than double the opening day gross. After 4 days, the adventure film has made HK$600,000. The French film Ensemble is also still doing very good limited release business, making HK$44,000 from 4 screens on Sunday, and has since made HK$600,000 after 11 days.

-  In Japanese box office attendance figures, (insert adjective here) Hana Yori Dango Final tops the box office again, with Indiana Jones remaining in second place as well. The newsroom film Climber’s High managed to hit third place, while Speed Racer repeats its fate seen around the world with only a 5th place opening. They tried. More when the numbers come out.

- The new Summer 2008 Japanese drama season has started, and the number one show so far (by a mile) is Code Blue, the medical drama about lots of unbelievable pretty people aseembled into one team of helicopter doctors. On Thursday night, it scored a 21.2% rating, making it the highest number for a Summer drama at the Thursday 10 pm slot, and the 7th highest in the time slot’s history since it Fuji started showing dramas then in 1984. Meanwhile, the over-sensational Monster Parents (I saw the premiere episode in Japan. More on its sensational advertising in the future) premiered with a respectable 14.2% rating, especially when Muri Na Renai had that slot last season. This season’s Japanese remake of a Korean source material, Maou, debut with a 14% rating, which is not bad considering its Friday night slot. Doing not as well on the same night is the lottery drama Loto 6 de 3 Oku 2 Senmanen Ateta Otoko with ex-GTO Takashi Sorimachi, as it debut with a 12.4% rating. It wasn’t a very good show either. The latest drama with Beach Boys co-star Yotaka Takenouchi, the medical drama Tomorrow, did much better than Ryoteki Na Kanojo with its premiere episode, scoring a 16.8% rating.

Go to Tokyograph to see the description of Summer 2008 dramas.

As for Spring 2008 dramas still on air, CHANGE took a slight drop to under 20% again, and becoming less and less likely to beat Gokusen in the season average. Rookies has a very loyal fanbase, as its ratings continue to hover around 14-15%, and Hachi-One Diver got a big boost to a 9.4% for its 9th episode after the previous episode got only a 6.9% rating.

- John Woo’s Red Cliff is finally being unveiled this weekend throughout Asia, as its 140-minute part 1 will open in Hong Kong, China, Korea, and Taiwan this Thursday.

However, Korea will be getting a shorter version of the film, with distributor Showbox cutting 9 minutes of the film with Woo’s permission (though not necessarily blessings). If the film was so damn meaningful, then why cut even one minute of it?

- Meanwhile, Kaiju Shakedown looks at the slate of super patriotic Chinese films that will probably never sell at film markets around the world.

- A little late, but Jason Gray has posted what is probably the first English-language reaction to the potentially creepy Kodomo no Kodomo (”A Child’s Child”), and apparently it’s really not that bad.

- The Thai government is planning to attract more foreign productions with tax breaks that should come into effect next year. Currently, three high-profile films - one of them Hong Kong - are shooting there.

- The Korean brotherhood classic Friend is coming to television, with original director Kwak Kyung-Taek said to be including new stories that were not included in the original film. Still being written, the drama plans to be on TV early next year.

- Herman Yau, fresh off his latest gangland flick, is already starting work on a new film. This time, the film will be more in the vein of his 2007 film Whispers and Moans. About Hong Kong prostitutes, the film stars 80s-90s pop star Prudence Lau, Anthony Wong, Race Wong, and DJ Sammy. The current Chinese title of the flick directly translate to “I Don’t Sell My Body, I Only Sell my Uterus”.

- According to a producer at Milkyway, Johnnie To has considerably slowed down on productions and will not be following his usual schedule of 2-3 films a year after Sparrow.

The Golden Rock - June 16th, 2008 Edition

Back from a short weekend trip, but will be heading out for a day trip to Tokyo tomorrow.  Don’t worry, I’ll make it up somehow.

Anyway, it’s too early for box office numbers, although numbers from Hong Kong last Friday suggest that the new Incredible Hulk will do moderate business, with Narnia being bumped to second place. More on Wednesday.

- It’s Japanese drama ratings time! The Spring 2008 drama is finally coming to a close in the next several weeks (except for CHANGE, which is in the middle right now). The real success this season has been the controversial Last Friends, which premiered with only a  13.9% rating.  However, its hot topic subject matters (Domestic violence! Gender crisis!) helped lift it to a season-high 20.9% rating for its second-to-last episode this  past week. However, Fuji executives are probably still sweating over CHANGE, which saw the second consecutive week of under-20% rating, although it did rebound slightly. I know a few readers out there have been wondering why I keep calling it a disappointment, despite its second place standing. However, imagine a TV drama starring Andy Lau getting beat in the ratings by a drama starring Stephy Tang. A Kimura Takuya drama is usually the top drama of the season, and I think it might’ve been hurt by the secrecy-filled promotional campaign and the extremely late start. Then again, maybe Japanese people really don’t care so much about political dramas.

Actually, ratings leader Gokusen suffered a huge drop for this week’s episode, losing to CHANGE and Last Friends with only a season-low 17.6% rating. If I remember correctly, the second installment of the drama never dipped below 20% during its  run in 2005. However, since all the dramas on Saturday and Sunday took a dip from the previous week, there’s a small chance that the major earthquake in the Northeast area of the main island might have affected television viewership. The most affected drama has to be Ryoteki Na Kanojo (It doesn’t translate to My Sassy Girl, but it’s what it is), which has not yet become the lowest drama in average ratings, but broke the 6.0 rating mark with a 5.9% rating for this week’s episode. Meanwhile, the drama with that dubious honor, Muri Na Renai, dropped again to a 6.3% rating ahead of its final episode.

Dramas that got their season-high ratings this week (and has not been mentioned) are Hokaben, Shin Kasouken no Onna, Shichi Nin no Onna Bengoshi with 9.6%, 17.1%, and 11.7%. Other than Gokusen and Ryoteki Na Kanojo, no other drama saw season-low ratings this week. Lastly, Friday night 11 pm TV Asahi drama Kimi Wa Hannin janai yo ne? wrapped up with a 9.4% rating for its final episode and an 8.9% average for the season.

- The Shanghai International Film Festival has started, with Hollywood Reporter Asia providing full coverage. However, it’s opening has not been the smoothest. First, organizers had to go for a more subdued approach to the opening after the Sichuan Earthquake. Then the press screening of the opening film had to be canceled because the print didn’t arrive. However, things are still pretty promising, with two foreign films getting their premieres. This is a big deal because the SIFF didn’t have a world premiere until 2006.

Also, going smoothly at the same time is the Shanghai Television Festival, where TV writers from Hollywood came together in a forum and presented an exhibition on editing.

- Meanwhile, the troubled Bangkok International Film Festival has finally set a date for this year’s edition, and will partly overlap the Thailand Entertainment Expo.

- Japanese animation director Kunio Kato picked up the top prize at the Annecy International Animated Film Festival, which is known as the “Cannes of animation”. The 12-minute film also picked up the Junior Jury Award under the short film section.

- After the success of The Magic Gourd in China (and pretty much nowhere else), Disney is getting ready to release their second film aimed squarely at the Chinese market. Coincidentally, the film, now in post-production, is about pandas and shot in the earthquake-affected Sichuan Province. Don’t be surprise if they reshoot to make it a disaster movie.

- The so-called “New Queen of S&M” in Japanese cinema is suffering a bit of a setback, with magazines featuring her pictures actually selling less, while her latest film is a dud in limited release. Mark Schilling of Japan Times reviewed the film earlier this month.

- Another Japanese drama sequel is on the way next season, as summer 2007 drama Sono Otoko, Fukushocho is coming back for a second round this summer.

See you all back at the same time, same page on Wednesday.

The Golden Rock - June 13th, 2008 Edition

I’m going away for the weekend, so this is either a compressed weekend entry, or I may be able to cram in one more on Sunday night.

- The Japanese government, with their aggressive policy towards the coming switch to total digital broadcasting, will provide poor households with digital TV tuners so they can continue watching TV after July, 2011. Hey, I’m too poor to buy a digital TV, too, but I’m in no rush if it just means 3 more TVB channels.

- I can’t say that I’m well-versed in American 80s culture, but I know enough to ask who the hell asked for this?

- The Thai film ratings system, which is completely pointless in the fact that the government can still cut films, is being delayed for a few months as details are still being worked out.

- I expected Japan Times’ Mark Schilling to give a review for Gururi no Koto after two interviews for the filmmaker and the lead actor was on the Japan Times yesterday. But instead, he turns in a review for Takashi Miike’s flop God’s Puzzle. Even Japanese multiplexes are quickly reducing the number of showings after only a week.

- A Chinese internet music distributor is taking their lawsuit against search engine Baidu all the way to an American court, as their first lawsuit is still pending in China. A search engine that allows users to find illegally uploaded music, Baidu has been the target of attacks from the music industry. However, a 2006 case brought by Western companies lost, while this distributor’s lawsuit has been in limbo for almost a year.

- A Malaysia film production company is making their first big venture into Hollywood with Deadline, a low-budget thriller about a screenwriter in an abandoned house.

- Meanwhile, a Japanese talent agency is expanding into film production by taking over everything from production to distribution for a new film. Talent agencies have a huge role in Asian entertainment, and can be a well-known label (even to the general public) that helps a aspiring idol to stardom. Think Johnny’s in Japan (though their artists are scattered in different record labels), EEG or Gold Label in Hong Kong, and SM in Korea.

The Moscow International Film Festival will be giving Takeshi Kitano a Lifetime Achievement Award in its latest edition. Cool.

The Golden Rock - May 7th, 2008 Edition

- It’s Japanese drama ratings time! Muri Na Renai (the drama about the 60-year-old man in love with a woman 25 years younger) continues its freefall with a drop to 6.9% rating in the previous episode (we’ll talk about the latest episode next week(. Meanwhile, the Yu Aoi-led drama Osen drops quite a bit in its second week to an 8.7% rating. Last Friends continues to perform strongly, as its ratings went up to a 15.9% again for its 4th episode. However, it’s still the third installment of Gokusen that’s winning the season, though its ratings fell again for the second week in a row, now down to a 23.3%, although the Golden Week holidays may have something to do with it. Another freefalling drama to watch out for is Ryokiteki na Kanojo (aka the drama adaptation of Korean film My Sassy Girl), whose rating dropped by another 2.8% to only an 8.7% for its third episode.

Japanese drama info at Tokyograph.

- It’s Japan music charts time! On the Oricon charts, Koichi Domoto, under the name of his character in the movie Sushi Ouji got the number one single. Shuchishin (what is the big deal with these guys?) continue their stand at #2, beating all the other new releases of the week.

Meanwhile, Madonna topped the album charts with her latest album, as the other new release, the Sushi Ouji soundtrack barely got on the chart.

More at Tokyograph.

Meanwhile, the more comprehensive Billboard Japan 100 charts put British artist Leona Lewis’s “Bleeding Love” at the top and Hata Motohiro at 2nd place, with the latter due to radio play. Since the Billboard charts have different criteria such as radio play and surveying possibly a different number of stores, it’s interesting to see the different ways of gauging musical popularity.

Also, Thelma Aoyama’s hit single “Soba Ni Iru Ne” is now the top single of 2008…so far.

- No Japanese box office numbers yet, but different reports are coming in about Aibou’s phenomenal opening. Over the 5-day holiday weekend, the drama adaptation already racked up over 1.2 billion yen, and its attendance figures is at 150% of YAMATO’s opening, although I don’t think YAMATO opened on an extended weekend such as this.

report from Tokyograph.

report from Variety Asia.

- Hollywood Reporter’s Maggie Lee has a review of Daniel Lee’s Three Kingdoms - Resurrection of the Dragon. What, no mention of Maggie Q’s “when my men battle, I rock the ancient guitar” routine?

- The troubled Bangkok Film Festival is back this year, but it’s now been shifted from July to September, and it will probably be part of the new Bangkok Entertainment Expo, modeled after the successful Hong Kong Entertainment Expo.

- Question: How the hell do you pull off a concept single with “vivid” as a concept?

- Grady Hendrix looks at what’s wrong with Korean films this year just from looking at the trailer for The Legendary Libido.

- Under “your daily Edison Chen news” today, actor/director Stephen Fung confirmed that his latest film Jump is currently stuck in limbo while awaiting approval from China’s SARFT. Also, he said that he did not cut one frame of Edison’s role in the film.

- Lastly, Nippon Cinema gives us a look at just how hard it is to promote a blockbuster film in Japan these days.

-

The Golden Rock - May 6th, 2008 Edition

Japan is at the tail end of its Golden Week holiday, so no Japanese drama numbers yet.

- However, we do have the Japan box office attendance figures for Saturday and Sunday (the “weekend” in Japanese box office terms since Saturday is opening day), and popular drama-now-movie Aibou (aka Partners The Movie) is at the top as expected. Meanwhile, 10,000 B.C. fell to 5th place already, Shaolin Girl hangs on at 3rd (despite poor English-language reviews), and Conan also hangs on by falling only to second place. Believe it or not, the only film that didn’t fall in placing is Nicholas Cage’s sci-fi thriller Next, which stayed at 8th place.

- Twitch also has the Korean attendance figures for the past weekend. Iron Man has already passed the 1 million mark, not including the Monday holiday. Also, The Legendary Libido attracts only 181,000 admissions, while the French action film Taken has already reached 1.7 million admissions.

- Kaiju Shakedown brings to our attention to the Kankuro Kudo-penned, so-crazy-it-might-be-good stage show Metal Macbeth. Its cast actually features Takako Matsu, who is actually quite an accomplished stage actress in addition to her success on TV dramas. Do I dare spend 6800 yen on a 210-minute stage with no subtitle at all on DVD?

- Twitch offers us the full-length trailer for the Japanese action film Chameleon, which I hope won’t have as much slow-mo hair moments as Donnie Yen movies often do. Actually, the behind the scenes video of star Tatsuya Fujiwara doing stunts were more interesting than the trailer.

There’s also a trailer for Kami ga Kari, the latest film from director Minoru Kawasaki, better known for cult favorites such as Crab Goalkeeper, Calamari Wrestler, and Everything but Japan Sinks. It seems to be a more mature film about…a magical stylist?

- Ahead of the release of his latest film, director M. Night Shyamalan will be receiving the Padma Shri, one of India’s highest civilian honors.

- It’s Cannes Film Market news time! First, Variety takes a look at the films Japanese studios will be taking to the market, including the second film by Kenji Uchida (Stranger of Mine) and Mamoru Oshii’s The Sky Crawlers.

Also, the Thai-Singapore-Hong Kong co-produced horror film The Coffin will be premiering at the market. The film stars Hong Kong-based actress Karen Mok and has a Thai-based director.

- Bollywood, after remaking plenty of overseas films without buying any rights, are now talking with Warner Bros. about buying the rights to remake The Wedding Crashers.

- Remember a few months ago, Yuen Wo-Ping wanted to train people to kick ass? It may be for the film Iron Mask, the supposed sequel to Iron Monkey that will star Louis Koo and Shawn Yue that will start shooting in July.

- Lastly, I give you all the Stephen Colbert-Rain dance-off:

Remember, guys. It’s all played for laughs.

The Golden Rock - April 23rd, 2008 Edition

No, Gabriel, I’m not in Udine with Kozo. I’ve just been too busy to write

- And since I missed the Sunday box office on now.com, this week’s Hong Kong weekend box office report comes from the Hong Kong Film blog. Muay Thai action film Chocolate retained its lead with a boost, making HK$710,000 from 33 screens for a 4-day weekend total of HK$2.25 million. With The Forbidden Kingdom opening next week to fill the action gap, Chocolate may not have a chance in passing the HK$5 million mark. Meanwhile, Run Papa Run overtook Street Kings‘ 2nd place opening with HK$550,000 from 28 screens thanks to good word-of-mouth (but those last 10 damn minutes…). After 2 weekends, Sylvia Chang’s comedy-drama has made HK$5.34 million. Three Kingdoms is still in the game with HK$420,000 from 37 screens for an 18-day total of HK$16.28 million. This proves that yes, Hong Kong people will watching anything with Andy Lau. Lastly, the idols-filled Love is Elsewhere didn’t get that huge boost over the weekend with only HK$340,000 from 27 screens on Sunday for a weekend total of HK$1.26 million.

In foreign films, Street Kings did only OK with HK$542,000 from 29 screens and a weekend total of HK$1.81 million. Rambo has already made HK$3.14 million after 11 days, despite the category III rating and the lack of box office appeal for Stallone movies in Hong Kong. We Own the Night lost the “Hollywood cop dramas” battle hands-down with only HK$33,000 from 4 screens for a 4-day total of about HK$130,000.

- In Japanese box office attendance figures, the latest Conan the Detective film is at the top, as expected. Crayon Shin-Chan’s latest is right behind it, while Lions For Lambs opened at 4th place. The TV drama adaptation film Sushi Ouji (greenlit before the drama was even aired) opened only at 6th place, which must’ve been a disappointment to Warner Bros. Japan. More when the numbers come out.

- Not much excitement from the Korean box office, except that Three Kingdoms is inching slowly towards that one million admissions mark. Oh, hi, The Chaser, you’re still around. Good for you.

More at Korea Pop Wars.

- Time for Japanese drama ratings! The big news is the third installment of Gokusen premiering at 26.4%, which is almost a full point higher than the premiere of the last installment. Meanwhile, Last Friends recovered slightly from its disappointing premiere episode with a 15.9% rating. I think it has something to do with either Masami Nagasawa getting beat up, or Juri Ueno giving her a long peck on the lips. This week’s disappointing premiere is probably Ryoki teki na Kanojo, aka the Japanese drama remake of the Korean film My Sassy Girl. Despite the popularity of the original and starring popular SMAP member Tsuyoshi Kusanagi, the comedy only scored a 13.5% rating in its prime Sunday night spot. Lastly, I predict this season’s freefall drama to be Muri Na Renai, which lost 30% of its audience in its second week. It was a little creepy to begin with anyway.

Info on this season’s Japanese dramas on Tokyograph

- The all-powerful State Administration of Radio, Film, and Television is planning to continue reforms through changes in the market. Hey, how about working on getting movies like Summer Palace and Lost in Beijing unbanned first?

- Apparently, Hong Kong pop duo Twins member Gillian “So naive, so foolish” Chung has been cut out of Chen Kaige’s latest film. Co-star Sun Honglei was quoted as saying that Ah Gil has not been in the right shape to work ever since “Sexy Photos Gate” broke. Don’t worry, we got a bit of Edison in this here post too.

- Jason Gray writes about the three possible Japanese candidates this year at the Cannes Film Festival, all of them I am now looking forward to immensely. I hope I can catch Kore-eda’s film when I’m in Japan in June and actually come out understanding at least a portion of it (with it being un-subtitled and all).

- Japanese film distributor Gaga Usen was slowly becoming one of the big boys with foreign acquisition such as Earth and The Golden Compass making some money in Japan. However, they weren’t enough to keep it alive, and now Gaga will no longer be involved in film production or distribution, presumably after they release their planned slate. No longer Gaga for Japanese films, indeed.

- (via Japan Probe) There’s a trailer out for the animated version of Winter Sonata. Can anyone confirm that Yon-Sama was actually say nice things, or did he just say “What the hell am I doing here again” for a minute and a half in Korean.

- Also, viz Ryuganji’s awesome news feed is the teaser trailer for Detroit Metal City, which looks………..metally?

- Argo, the distributor for the controversial Japanese documentary Yasukuni, has finally found 8 theaters nationwide that found some balls to show the film starting in early May.

- There’s a teaser out for mega-sized Japanese blockbuster 20th Century Boys, but it fulfills the definition of a teaser extremely well, as in it only teases.

- Under “the stupidest thing you will see on TV over the next 3 years” news today, Japanese TV stations may have a warning across the screens of their programs starting from July telling people that they are watching their programs in analog.

- If you want to make movies in Korea, be sure to watch out for CJ Entertainment head Kim Soo-Jung - he’s literally the most powerful man in the Korean film industry right now.

- There’s a second teaser out for the second Gegege no Kitaro film. They really are trying to sell this as more than the kids film the first installment was. I really hope that’s true, but it probably isn’t.

- Who would’ve thunk that the top-grossing Canadian-English film this month is a documentary about a dam in China without even a trailer as part of its advertising campaign?

- Japanese band B’z will be releasing two compilations albums this year to rip off their fans celebrate their 20th anniversary.

- Hey, I told you there will be Edison Chen in this entry.

The Golden Rock - April 12th, 2008 Edition

Was just watching the Hong Kong Film Awards on (delayed broadcast) TV. I haven’t tallied everything because I missed over an hour of it, but I can report that The Warlords took most of the major awards, including Best Picture, Best Actor (Yes, Jet Li is now a bona-fide actor.), Best Director. In fact, Peter Chan was the big winner, with wins for Protege as well (including one for Andy Lau as Best Supporting Actor. Sorry, Nick Cheung). Meanwhile, it’s “time to hand the torch to the young ‘uns” night at Milkyway, with Eye in the Sky taking 2 of Milkyway’s 3 awards. Also: Love Is Not All Around: 1. Exodus: 0 More when the reports come out.

- It’s Taiwanese music charts time! Kenji Wu’s latest album spends another week at the top, while the highest ranked “new release” is Khalil Fong’s Hong Kong concert, which was released along with his debut album as well. Oh, the reason that Jordan Chan debuted all the way at 20th place is because his album was released a day before the cut-off date for the charts. Expect him to be at a much higher place next week.

- It’s also reviews time! Variety’s Dennis Harvey has an early review of The Forbidden Kingdom with Jet “Best Actor” Li and Jackie “I’m gonna be a serious actor to take that award next year” Chan. Japan Times’ Mark Schilling has a review of the kids-and-parents-friendly film Chesuto, which he wasn’t too thrilled about. From BC Magazine review Yvonne Teh are her reviews of Chow Yun-Fat and Michelle Yeoh’s latest acting effort Escape From Huang Shi (Children of Huang Shi sounds better in that self-important way, though) and the Daniel Lee MTV-style epic extravaganza Three Kingdoms. The magazine also offers reviews of Sylvia Chang’s Run Papa Run by James Marsh and the Muay Thai action flick Chocolate by Brian “Asian Cinema - While On the Road” Naas.

- Just to show that some people do what I do better than I do, Ryuganji has a entry filled with useful snippets of recent Japanese cinema news.

- New Korean film producer Motion 101 is now headed for closure - before it even got started on its first project. Is the Korean film industry doing that bad, or was it just bad management?

- Takeshi Kitano has revealed his latest film Achilles and the Tortoise - another self-referential film about the making of art. Apparently, now Kitano has his own “trilogy”

- This week’s Televiews column on the Daily Yomiuri looks at new baseball drama Battery and the latest installment of the long-running drama Wataru Seken wa Oni Bakari. Oh, the writer also manage to work in a reference to Takashii Miike Cell Phone Detective, which only scored a 3.8% rating for its premiere (though it did only premiere on TV Tokyo, or is that a National network now?)

- Lastly, Jason Gray discovers another promising young filmmaker with an excellent debut feature at the Nippon Connection Film Festival in Germany.

 
 
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