Sunday, May 20, 2007

The big 200 - Just another entry

Considering that I post twice a day, it wasn't long before I hit another 100 entries. Not much has changed since back in the middle of March - readership continues to be steady, although I'd like to see it go even higher. But it's only been a month and a half, so can't really ask for much.

Tell you what, if my average readership gets up to 200 by the time of the 300th entry (which I guess is about 4 to 5 months from now), I'll give out one of those cool posters I got in Japan (I have a lot of Spiderman 3 and Star Wars Episode 3 ones to give away anyway).

Still not much new major Asian film news at Cannes. Looks like Dai Nipponjin is screening tonight, while Wilson Yip's Flashpoint and Benny Chan's Invisible Targets are screening 30-minute reels, and the Japanese animated film Vexville also get screening for possible buyers. On the other hand, it looks like Soi Cheang's Shamo has already saw its premiere (again, for buyers), and Twitch's Todd has a review. It doesn't sound too promising, but I'm watching it for the aesthetics anyway, so I still look forward to it.

Meanwhile, The Coen Brothers' (who hasn't really done anything that great, in my opinion, since The Big Lebowski, and that was good just because it's so quotable) latest No Country for Old Man is getting rave reviews from pretty much everyone. Variety calls it one of the Coens' best films. Jeffrey Wells says it's an obviously brilliant action thriller. Of course, leave it to Hollywood Reporter to be sour grapes and pan its ending, to the point that it'll affect the box office.

Michael Moore (whose films I like on a pure filmmaking point of view. I'm a liberal, but even I don't agree with some of his methods, however hilarious they can be. And whoever calls him Anti-American doesn't know how to be an American in the first place.) showed his latest documentary Sicko, an attack on the American healthcare system. Obviously, it's controversial, especially for painting a glamorized portrait of the British and French healthcare system and the sequence where he takes 9/11 workers to Cuba for treatments. Still, Variety says it's an entertaining and affecting dissection of the American healthcare industry. Hollywood Reporter thinks it still has the usual Moore oversimplification and stunts, but likes it anyway. Hell, even Jeffrey Wells said he came out teary-eyed.

There's also Boarding Gate, by Maggie Cheung's ex-husband Olivier Assayas, and it's a pseudo-Asian film because it was partly film in Hong Kong and also feature Carl Ng and Kelly Lin. Reviews are fairly negative, though, with Variety calling it limp and sleazy.

- A few weeks ago, I linked to the Japan Times review of Ahiri to Kamo no Coin Locker, which is currently playing only in Miyagi Prefecture (whose capital is Sendai) because that's where the author of the original work is from. And it seems to be doing quite well. According to Eiga Consultant, on its opening day on May 12th, the film attracted 5061 people, or 6.76 million yen on 10 screens. Considering they're probably mostly small arthouse screens, that's a pretty good per-screen average. However, its ultimate test will come when it expands into Tokyo on June 23rd. Still, hopefully this opening will attract small films to open in smaller cities first, which just doesn't happen in America.

- Speaking of Japan Times, this weekend we have a review for the sequel Pacchigi - Love and Peace, along with an interview with the film's director, who was recently called a "dickhead" for attacking the war drama "For Those We Love" for potentially brainwashing Japan teens into war lovers. They also reviewed Feng Xiaogang's critically mauled blockbuster The Banquet, which they actually liked quite a bit. There's also a feature on Wong Kar Wai's choice to cast singer Norah Jones in his film My Blueberry Nights, and an interview with Jones herself.

- Japan Probe has an interview with Christian Storm, a regular in Takeshi Miike's films who also work as his subtitler and the translation supervisor for the Japanese version of South Park.

- Chinese director Lou Ye may be banned from making films in China for 5 years, but he decided to find ways around that by shooting his next film in the Middle East, specifically Palestine territory. That must still be safer than protecting artistic integrity in Mainland China.

- Twitch reports that the website for Peter Chan Ho-Sun's Warlords is up, and it contains the teaser that was leaked online earlier. At least now you can watch it legally.

- What is it about Andy Lau that attract so much attention? Apparently, there's yet another obsessive fan doing something stupid trying to get the superstar's attention.

- A while ago I mentioned about the Seoul government offering incentives to foreign films that choose to shoot there. Now a group of producers are getting together to try and help foreign productions coordinate and scout locations, among other jobs.

That's it for now. See you in another 100 posts.

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