Friday, March 16, 2007


Just came back from a showing of The Host. Even though I already have the HK DVD, I wanted to pop in my 7 bucks to Magnolia for having the balls to bring the film over here and distributing it. However, I have a huge huge gripe: I'm not sure if it was a bad print (which can't be because the film was made last year), a bad theater, or a combination of both, but the audio was absolutely horrible in the theater. The trailers were played at a good volume, but when the movie started, the volume was toned down by notches, and the sound field was reversed (what happens on the left sounds like it's from the right, and vice versa). And I'm guessing they couldn't turn up the volume anyway because whenever the movie gets loud, the audio cracks like a kung-fu movie from the 80s. I got better audio from my headphones on DVD than from the big screen, and that's sad, because a horror movie like The Host deserves much better.

Props to Magnolia for giving away posters at the theater lobby, though.

Saw Hans Canosa's Conversations with Other Women on DVD. It's essentially a talky two-character drama about how two old flames reunite at a wedding, talk about old times, have sex, and regret, regret, regret. What's so special about that, you say? The entire movie is done on split screen; so instead of cutting to different angles to capture emotions, the two screens show both actors at the same time, allowing them to be in the moment. It also allows little stylistic touches, like going to flashbacks or scenes the characters imagine on one screen while showing the current happening on the other. It's a gimmick that sometimes seems too stylish for style's sake, and most of the time it works.

Naturally, the performances are great, especially when the camera is literally on these two the entire time, and the script, while not groundbreaking, is fluid and clever enough to sustain all 85 minutes without being boring (but that's only because I like talky scripts). However, it has that bit of contrivance where the characters hide a little too much for the big reveal towards the end, so the structure of the dialogue itself just doesn't seem quite convincing at points. But overall it's an interesting film worth checking out.

- Utada Hikaru's Flavor of Life single tops the Oricon chart for the second week in a row with about 140k sold. It's now the 14th best-selling Utada Hikaru single ever, and poised to climb further up in the coming weeks. On the album side, Exile's latest album (don't let the cover art fool you, they are definitely not that hardcore. They sing mostly ballads, for crying out loud!) sold 300k for first place, Ayumi Hamasaki's duel best-of albums take 2nd and 3rd, respectively. Interesting thing is that every album from 4th place all the way down to 12th place are all new albums. Next week should also be interesting as Mr. Children, Koda Kumi, and Mika Nakashima threw in their new albums into the mix, and Mr. Children is currently
winning by a mile.

- the Death Note DVD set i talked about yesterday made the top spot on its first day of release in Japan, although there are no numbers to go with that figure as to how much of those shipped were sold.

- Speaking of DVD, Derek Yee's Protege is finally coming to DVD on April 4th, courtesy of Deltamac. No technical specs yet, but probably the usual Dolby Digital/DTS treatment, and I'm keeping my fingers crossed for a Derek Yee-Peter Chan commentary.

- The Hong Kong Entertainment Expo is just about to get started, and the major event is Filmart, where international distributors take their films and hopefully sell it for international distribution. Even though it's next week, Variety Asia's already got two reports: Five films that could make a splash (including Kim Jee Woon's latest, which I absolutely can't wait to see), and Filmart's new status as an important pre-Cannes film market.

- Sammi Cheng is back in the spotlight starting in May with 4 concerts in Hong Kong. Apparently fans are so hungry for tickets that 12,000 early bird tickets offered to a certain credit card's users were wiped out within a day. Kozo, you buy your ticket yet?

The original Chinese news source is here.

- A blog on all things Japan uncovered an interesting Japanese independent film that is nationalist, but not in that right-wing way. Sounds interesting on paper, but it looks a bit boring.

- Lastly, Twitch has new behind-the-scenes footage for the latest Wilson Yip-Donnie Yen (SPL, Dragon Tiger Gate) collaboration Flash Point (it's a better title than Killzone), starring Donnie Yen and Louis Koo. Looks good so far, now let's just make it be better than Dragon Tiger Gate, yeah?


Radicalpatriot said...

Fair assessment. Theaters have to do better on these things or they will lose all of us to DVDs on computers.

GoldenRockProductions said...

I have no idea whether you're being sarcastic or not, but it would be an extremely sad day when I can get a better presentation of a film from a 20-inch monitor than the big screen.

Don't get me wrong, it was great to see The Host on a big screen, but the Stonestown Twin in San Francisco just isn't a very good place to see it.