January 19, 2007


Week_good_250 With Kaiju Shakedown closing up today, I am totally disappointed that I'll never know how some things will turn out.

- Will THE HOST make money in America? Magnolia's betting the farm on this one and it could go either way. The opening weekend number that'll be reported on March 12 is going to make or break a lot of upcoming movies and could either spark a feeding frenzy or put a chill on Asian genre film acquisitions for a long time to come.

- Will 2007 be the year Johnnie To goes mainstream with TRIAD ELECTION (aka ELECTION 2) coming up from Tartan and EXILED coming up from Magnolia? Or will these just be more Johnnie To movies that the American public really doesn't care about?

- Wither Tartan? A sharp-eyed reader reports that Tartan is teasing some big surprise that'll pop up on their Asian Extreme website soon. But they've got some real underperformers in their catalogue, a lot of staff have left, and there seem to be some cash flow problems. I wouldn't count them out, however, they can still turn this around.

- Wither Dragon Dynasty? I never thought I'd see the day when the Weinsteins are actually putting out a respectable line of Asian DVDs but here we are in 2007 and they've got four titles under their belt and more on the way. The line is new and it's got both weaknesses and strengths so it could go either way - to the Dark Side or the Light - and only their performance for the rest of this year will tell the tale.


January 19, 2007 at 04:52 PM in News | Permalink | Comments (22)


This is the second to last post on Kaiju Shakedown. As much as I've been the frontman for this blog, it also owes its existence to my editor, Alex Romanelli, who has fought the good fight behind the scenes, done a lot of heavy lifting that would have gotten my shirt dirty and who's built this blog with me from the ground up. Alex is moving on from Variety and I don't think it will be what he and I have always wanted it to be without both of us working on it, so I've decided to end it now rather than continue on without him.

For several years, Kaiju Shakedown has been Variety's most popular blog by some insane number that I can't even remember anymore and I want to thank everyone for participating - you've built this blog as much as I have. Thanks for all your posted comments, your links, your anonymous gossip and insider tips. You guys have made this blog what it is. I also want to send a special "thank you" to Al, Jennifer and a sharp-eyed reader in Hong Kong who have sent in more of these news items than I care to count, and Rhythm-X, RunningMan, Eliza Bennet and all the other regular posters on here.

I also want to thank everyone who sent in hate mail. I've been called un-American, anti-white, racist, anti-Christian, anti-Semitic, I've been invited to leave the country and threatened with physical harm both by anonymous weirdos and by people who work in the film industry. Thank you. I figure if folks like you don't like me, then I must be doing something right.

And so, like Godzilla and all the other kaiju, this blog looks down on the rubble strewn around its feet, picks some schoolchildren jam out from between its toes, then sadly turns and strides off majestically into the sea leaving the world of man behind as the sun rises in the distance and a synthesizer plunks out a melancholy tune.

Goodbye, and thank you. - Grady Hendrix

January 19, 2007 at 04:31 PM in News | Permalink | Comments (54)


Massive Japanese fantasy film, DORORO, has been picked up by Universal for North America. Whether they'll give it a theatrical release or it'll go straight-to-video is unknown. Release date is set for Japan on 1/27.

Watch the really gorgeous trailer and try not to wet yourself anticipating munching popcorn and seeing this on the big screen.

January 19, 2007 at 08:40 AM in News, Trailers | Permalink | Comments (4)


In an interview with MTV.com, Marky Mark says that Scorsese is mulling over the idea of a DEPARTED trilogy, just like the original INFERNAL AFFAIRS trilogy with both a prequel and a sequel. It's not definite, but apparently Scorsese is even talking to Robert DeNiro to play a role.


(Thanks to the sharp-eyed reader who sent this in)

January 19, 2007 at 08:17 AM in News | Permalink | Comments (7)

January 18, 2007


The first review of Thailan's massive historical epic, KING NARESUAN, is out and...it's not pretty.

January 18, 2007 at 11:57 AM in Film Reviews | Permalink | Comments (1)


Bodyguard 2 poster

Why did I like THE BODYGUARD? I guess, for me, the scene where Kevin Costner is leaving and Whitney Houston is so sad and then she just starts singing...oh, wait. Wrong BODYGUARD. I guess the reason I like THE BODYGUARD so much is the scene with the guy with Down's Syndrome getting hit in the head...no, I guess the reason is the scene where they make fun of Burmese people...no, I think it's the part where the bodyguard wears the wrestler's outfit in the elevator...let's face it: you can't just pick one part because the whole movie is so irredeemably stupid, but stupid in a good way.

So now it's even more exciting that BODYGUARD 2 is coming out and judging from this extended trailer it looks even stupider. In fact, as smitten as I am with the stupidity in the first movie I'm really worried that this sequel will be too stupid. Is there such a thing?

January 18, 2007 at 11:35 AM in Trailers | Permalink | Comments (0)


Angry old Chinese menChina's SARFT (State Administration of Radio Film and Television) has announced that young people rule and old people drool. They've established a fund to promote good movies and you have to be under 45 to qualify for the US$64,267 for each script that they approve. Next year you'll have to be under 40. So far, they've awarded the money to 16 young directors, including Jia Zhangke, Ning Hao and Wang Xiaoshuai. Ning Hao looks to be the first one to start shooting his fund-winning film, CRAZY RACING CAR.

The reason given for starting the fund is that China needs more sophisticated, and more creative scripts and movies. Then:

"An official of the administration said crowd-pleasing entertainment productions filled Chinese theaters, especially those directed by Zhang Yimou, Chen Kaige and Feng Xiaogang, the fifth generation of directors in China. These big-budget movies earned a lot of money rather than a good reputation because of their lack of creativity, culture and philosophy, the official said."

Ouch! That burns.

January 18, 2007 at 10:00 AM in News | Permalink | Comments (3)


Shilpa Shetty and Jade on Celebrity Big Brother

You thought you wouldn't read the recent post about Bollywood B-lister, Shilpa Shetty, on the UK's "Celebrity Big Brother". You thought, "Oh, I'm too highbrow for that trash." You figured it was just a silly TV show. WRONG. Shilpa Shetty is the catalyst for the UK to transform into full-blown CHILDREN OF MEN-style apocalypse! Right there on the cover of the Sun, one of the UK's sleazier papers, right between the tortured poetry of  "Sienna - Love Rat Torment" and "Posh - No sects please" is a massive feature on "CELEB BB: WORLD IN CRISIS"!

"Celebrity Big Brother" has everyone in a twist. Bookies have Jade at 1:50 odds to be the next contestant booted out of the house! Shilpa says "It IS racist"! Channel 4 says, "No it's not, and please don't make us cancel our failing show that's suddenly jumped up by a million viewers. Please." Effigies of the producers are being burned in the streets. The PRODUCERS! A police probe is in the works! Tony Blair is issuing statements about the show! There's even a one-armed lesbian involved and she says of Shilpa: “She is an Indian. Listen, I also called her the S-word hundreds of times but I never said it to her face."

I implore you, go read these links or when this one goes nuclear you're going to be fighting for your life over a can of beans and not even know the reason why.

January 18, 2007 at 09:40 AM in News | Permalink | Comments (3)


Korea sadKorea was so proud that they exported so many movies in 2005, grossing around US$76 million! Yay, Korea. But like over-achieving high school students, they have met difficulties in 2006 and all their dreams have turned to dust and rumor has it that it's hoarding pills and doodling nooses in its school notebooks.

The 2006 report: US$24.5 million in exports. That's a whopping 68% drop. And who's the bully responsible for all this? Japan. Japan which imported US$60.3 million worth of Korean movies in 2005 suddenly decides that it only wants US$10.4 million in 2006. So not cool.

But they did sell 12.6% more tickets in 2006 than they did in 2005 on their home turf, and they got a lot of heart, so things don't look all bad. Cheer up, Korea.

(Read the full report on Variety Asia)

January 18, 2007 at 09:20 AM in News | Permalink | Comments (0)


The shortlist for "Best Film in a Foreign Language" nominees has been announced by the Academy and the world couldn't care less. The nominees who made it this far without being voted off the island are:

Deepa Mehta's WATER

Because we only care about Asian films round here.

January 18, 2007 at 08:55 AM in News | Permalink | Comments (2)


Benny Chan, director of more "That wasn't as bad as it could have been" movies than I care to count, is all lined up to start work on his next project, INVISIBLE TARGET, which is sure to be greeted with universal half-hearted acclaim. Budgeted at US$8 million, it'll star Jaycee Chan, Shawn Yue and Nic Tse as three cops out to defeat the not-so-mysterious Ronin Gang. Andy On and Wu Jing also star.

Also: the Pang Brothers continue to make horror films.

(Thanks to Hitman for the news)

January 18, 2007 at 08:35 AM in News | Permalink | Comments (8)


Yubari International Fantastic Film Festival

When the Yubari International Fantastic Film Festival died earlier this year all the elephants in the world cried because they were so sad. But now there's news that it's back from the dead, just like Jesus! Or Dracula! Ryuganji reports that the Yubari Aid Film Festival focusing on new foreign films will announce its line-up on January 18!

January 18, 2007 at 08:14 AM in News | Permalink | Comments (0)

January 17, 2007


I know half the jokes are about their names, but I actually found Stephen Colbert's mediation in the Amitabh Bachchan/Shah Rukh Khan tussle pretty funny. Props to Colbert for giving praise to Preity Zinta and for having writers who know enough to namedrop Dilip Kumar and Raj Kapoor even if I'm not sure they even know what they're saying. See, when amateurs on "Celebrity Big Brother" make fun of Indian names it's racist. But when a professional like Stephen Colbert does it, it's funny.

(See the clip)

(Thanks to Jennifer for sending this in)

January 17, 2007 at 10:59 AM in News | Permalink | Comments (1)


Azumi MutoThe Muto's are a prominent family in Tokyo whose fortunes are founded on that most sadistic of all medicines, dentistry. Nevertheless, even dentists don't deserve what happened to them on January 3 of this year.

The family had gone off to visit relatives in Fukushima Prefecture, leaving 20-year-old Azumi and her 21-year-old brother, Yuki, home alone. Yuki was a struggling dental student who, some say, harbored incestual thoughts towards his sister. This wasn't entirely irrational since his sister, Azumi, was a serious student who had starred in a direct-to-video flick, CREAM LEMON, about a girl who has a joyous incestual relationship with her brother. But, today she was picking on Yuki for not being a very good student. Yuki snapped, battered her, drowned her, then mutilated her breasts and genitals, chopped up her body, stashed it in garbage bags, stole a pair of her panties, and went to study club. When the family returned they found their daughter's body and, according to the media, instantly suspected Yuki.

Yuki was arrested, describing his sister to investigators as "arrogant and ungrateful" but saying he was sorry he had killed her.

(You can read more about the CREAM LEMON series here)

January 17, 2007 at 10:29 AM in News | Permalink | Comments (1)


Walter Tso Tat-wah

Walter Tso Tat-wah, a longtime veteran of the Hong Kong film scene, passed away due to a stomach hemorrhage at the age of 91 on Saturday, January 13. Having appeared in around 700 movies, Tso Tat-wah was best-known for his work in wu xia films like the BUDDHA PALMS movies from the 60's and for his trademark trenchcoat and fedora in a ton detective movies. He started his own studio in 1948 (Yau Kin) and was last seen doing the bulk of his work in Shaw Brothers flicks like MY YOUNG AUNTIE and THE KILLER CONSTABLE as well as appearing in the LUCKY STARS and ACES GO PLACES series.

He eventually moved to the UK but still returned to Hong Kong from time to time to work in movies and TV. His last film was A GAMBLER'S STORY in 2001.

Full Bio

January 17, 2007 at 09:54 AM in News | Permalink | Comments (0)