Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The Golden Rock - May 28th, 2007 Edition

As I wrote yesterday, I revisited the Iwo Jima saga by Clint Eastwood for Memorial Day in the United States. But except for my point that one should watch Letters From Iwo Jima before Flags of Our Fathers, I couldn't write anything beyond that.

Anyway, my reasoning for the reverse order is simple chronological order: Letters takes place before and over the course of the battle of Iwo Jima, and at least half of Flags takes place after the battle. Since one is likely to suffer battle fatigue by the end of Letters, the fragmentary nature of Flags (which shows the battle using flashback moments) would work more effectively. In fact, if one looks closely, the scene transitions towards the end of Letters is similar to the first half an hour or so of Flags. Beyond those sections, Eastwood doesn't use the fade-out approach as often, almost as if he wanted both films to work as one. Either way, even though Eastwood's work doesn't bring anything new to the genre, I think it's still a monumental achievement, and it will hopefully be seen as that down the line.

- Feeling a little deja vu again, as I'm reporting another huge worldwide weekend for another huge blockbuster sequel. That's right, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End has broken a few records around the world at some of the places that this blog covers. Starting in North America, Pirates broke the Memorial Day weekend record set by X3: The Last Stand (another 3rd edition of a blockbuster franchise).

According to a link at Korea Pop Wars, it also broke the global 6-day opening record set by Spiderman 3 (just read that complicated explanation to see how it works), even though it didn't win the 3-day weekend record. But it didn't break the best opening weekend record in Korea set by The Host, taking in 2.71 million admissions since it opened on Wednesday on a crazy 900 screens. Oh, Secret Sunshine had a pretty good opening too, plus a Japanese film crossed the 100,000 admission mark. Go read all about it.

- Back in the beginning of the month, Spiderman 3 made HK$28.6 after 6 days on over 120 screens in Hong Kong. It might not have beaten its opening day record (and in fairness, both films opened on public holidays), but Pirates might its pace by making HK$20.33 million after 4 days, including HK$4.62 million from 121 screens on Sunday alone. We'll know by Wednesday when the 6-day gross comes out, but with 8.3 million to go in 2 days, the best Pirates can do seems to be matching Spidey, not beating it. Of course, note that Pirates tickets in HK cost HK$5 more than Spiderman 3, so if the same amount of people go watch it, then its gross would naturally be higher than Spiderman.

(reference: US$1=HK$7.8)

- In Japan, Pirates ruled at number 1, as expected. But all I gots right now is the ranking (that's an intentional mistake, by the way, unlike the many typos I make in this blog), so more number crunching tomorrow.

- Very sad news also coming from Japan. Izumi Sakai, the lead singer of the pop group Zard passed away yesterday after an accidental fall. She was 40 years old.

- In Japanese drama ratings, We see Operation Love climbing from a 16.9 to 17.4, solidifying its status as this season's top drama. Sadly, Joudan Janai went further down from a 11.7 to a season low of 10.7. Sexy Voice and Robo saw its 2nd episode replayed because its 7th episode is too close for comfort after a police-involved shooting last week, and the rerun got only a 6.0 rating. Aya Ueto's Hotelier (based on the Korean drama) is seeing an up trend with a 9.3 this week, same as Liar Game, which has seen its ratings go up for a 4th week with 12.0 rating.

All Japanese drama information here.

- After its win at the Cannes Film Festival, Variety finally has a review of Naomi Kawase's The Mourning Forest. Reviewer Russell Edwards says its ambitions are undercut by conveniently underarticulated affections, and won't reach far beyond festivals and European arthouse audiences.

Meanwhile, Jason Gray updated his previous about with a few more words about the film and its upcoming limited release in Japan.

Eiga Consultant questions its commercial prospects. While The Mourning Forest is set for a 5-screen limited release nationwide, its success in Cannes may push it to become a small indie success like "The Seagull Diner." However, it's also going to be broadcast on the pay satellite channel for NHK in HD on May 29th, 3 weeks before its theatrical release.

- James Maruyama provides a review for the independent Japanese film "I am Nipponjin," about a Japanese-American girl finding out the ways of her culture. Apparently, it's better than it sounds.

- r@sardonicsmile has a look at the Hong Kong band scene, which include a clip of the documentary on my favorite HK rap group LMF. However, if you're in a Cantonese-speaking work environment, the language is not work-safe.

- Jason Gray also reports that Martin Scorsese may be filming Silence, his adaptation of the novel on 17th century Japan, in Japan after all.

- Before moving on L, the spinoff for Death Note, Hideo Nakata finished his horror flick Kaidan. Twitch has the full theatrical trailer up. Am I the only one that thinks the Ayumi Hamasaki theme song is really out of place?

- Meanwhile, Yukihiko Tsutsumi, the director of Memories of Tomorrow and Trick, has signed up for yet another comic adaptation.

- Twitch is reporting some rumor from Hong Kong's Oriental Daily (and we know how reliable Hong Kong entertainment news are) that Chow might take up a non-comedic role in a war film as part of his deal with Sony Pictures.

As kind of a related note, a Hong Kong entertainment reporter reported that Chow Yun-Fat is rumored to take a role in a kung-fu take on the Snow White story with Disney. I am not even joking, and I'm not being sarcastic. I heard this with my own ears.

- Under "no one really asked for this" today, Jackie Chan is joining George Foreman is a campaign to sell the George Foreman Grill in Asia. I'm not gonna bite.

- Twitch has a first look at Mathieu Kassovitz's latest film Babylon AD, starring Vin "I should've starred in 300" Diesel and Michelle Yeoh. It's not even real footage, but rather behind-the-scenes stuff. Still, it's actually looking pretty good.

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