Thursday, June 28, 2007

The Golden Rock - June 27th, 2007 Edition

Saw Kiss Kiss Bang Bang by Shane Black, the writer of the first Lethal Weapon film and considered the pioneer of the buddy action genre. Instead of the usual violent action flicks he has written, Black offers up a self-conscious noir comedy directed with great pacing and plenty of quotable lines (the memorable quotes section brings back a lot of good laughs). What I liked best, though, was its constant subversion of cliches. I don't want to reveal too much, it's just a bloody good time at the movies. In fact, the only reason this didn't do any better at the box office is because it was sold as an art film when it's not. Trust me, it's not. Check it out, you won't regret it.

- The Japanese record sales were fairly weak this past week. On the albums chart, Crystal Kay scores her first number 1 debut album (though I think her compilation album from 2004 debuted at number 1) with her latest All Yours, selling 51,000 copies. Zard's Golden Best compilation spends another week at number after selling another 38,000 copies, and Kick the Can Crew member MCU's second album debuts way low at 15th place, selling just over 10,000 copies. I think it's time for Kick the Can Crew to get back together now. Thing should pick up next week as Namie Amuro's new album has already sold over 40,000 copies on the first day.

The singles chart is even weaker, with the number 1 single by Gackt selling only 43,000 copies. Another Kick the Can Crew member Kreva (Kureba=Clever, get it? ha ha) gets better results by selling 19,000 copies of his latest single for a 4th place debut. Last week's number single by YUI drops to 3rd place, and it's just kind of quiet everywhere else. Next week's chart should be a battle between popular rap group Ketsumeishi and Koda Kumi, whose singles took second and first place on the first day of sale, respectively.

- As expected, Eiga Consultant has looked at the weekend performance of the Yuko Takeuchi Side Car Ni Inu (is this is a wordplay? It sounds like it's supposed to be Side Car Ni Iru), and in two Tokyo theaters, it made 4.13 million yen with an attendance of 2544 people over two days. With a total of 20 shows for the two-day weekend (5 shows a day per theater), that's only 127 people per show on two screens that hold at least 200 people, but I suppose a 2.07 million yen per-screen average is damn good.

- Variety Asia has a random box office report for this past weekend in Hong Kong (probably because of the presence of all those Hong Kong films). The only reason I mention it is that it actually introduces the early summer hit Simply Actors (a film starring Jim Chim make more than HK$5 million is a hit in my book).

- Popular actor Ken Matsudaira is heading to the stage, starring as Dracula in a musical planned to start next year. That's right, this man is the next person to play Dracula.

By the way, I have the DVD for that. Don't laugh, you try hearing it all year and not think it's awesome.

- Jet Li and Jackie Chan has come out to ask people to stop trying to ask them which one do they think is better, with Li saying that it's like coffee and tea. Well, I like tea better, so which one are you, Jet Li?

- The Toronto International Film Festival, often regarded as probably the most internationally renowned film festival in North America, has just announced their preliminary lineup for this year. Representing Asia are Naomi Kawase's The Mourning Forest, Lee Chang-Dong's Secret Sunshine, Hou Hsiao-Hsien's The Flight of the Red Balloon, and Pen-ek Ratanaruang's Ploy. Obviously missing are mainstream Asian crowdpleasers such as Exiled, The Host, and Hula Girl from last year. Then again, it's still early, so who knows?

Meanwhile, the festival's big honchos have decided to make a conscious effort to not grab attention by showing off the words "world premiere" or "North American premiere" by not inviting the films based on such labels. In fact, they won't even show off that the screening of the Elizabeth sequel really is a world premiere.

In related news, Ming Pao reported yesterday that Ang Lee's Lust, Caution will be premiering in Venice and will be released in Hong Kong late September.

- Aoi Miyazaki is going to try the pull off the ultimate actress challenge by playing two roles in Sono Toki Kare Ni Yoroshiku director Yuichiro Hirakawa's latest Kagehinata ni Saku. The film itself sounds interesting, although Hirakawa's Sono Toki Kare Ni Yoroshiku doesn't.

- Ryuganji reports that Ogigami Naoko, the director of Kamome Diner, which became a long-running independent hit in Japan, is back with a new film. Megane actually appeared as a short film on the Kamome Diner DVD, and is now given the feature film treatment. Go to Ryuganji for more info. By the way, that teaser on the website doesn't show anything.

- The slew of Nanking Massacre films is starting in July with the documentary Nanking. Apparently, the trick to get script approval in China is to be China-centric without pissing off Japan. The strangest entry is Stanley Tong's $40 million film about the massacre, which got script approval and even has Japanese money invested.

- Brian at Asian Cinema - While on the Road, who is one of the organizers for the New York Asian Film Festival, reports from the ongoing festival and writes about the various audience reactions.

- Under "what the hell?" today, Curtis "50 Cent and a bunch of gunshot wounds" Jackson is joining the cast of Righteous Kill as a drug dealer alongside Al Pacino and Robert DeNiro . Yeah, what an acting challenge that will make.

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