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July 28, 2005


Enough babble. Here's Venice's Asian line-up for this year:

Stanley Kwan's Shanghai love story with the reportedly going-nutso Sammi Cheng, EVERLASTING REGRET.

Ang Lee's gay cowboy movie, BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN.

Park Chan-Wook's made a movie about revenge (really?) and it's here: SYMPATHY FOR LADY VENGEANCE (but which version - color or black & white?)

Peter Chan's masterful musical, PERHAPS LOVE.

The comic book movie that's eating Asia, INITIAL D.

Takashi Miike's YOKAI DAISENSO (BIG SPOOK WAR) which is supposed to be sheer insanity.


And some little old Tsui Hark movie called something like SEVEN SWORDS.

This is one of the better Asian line-ups I've seen. Hooray for Venice!

July 28, 2005 at 09:58 AM in News | Permalink | Comments (1)


except perhaps those from Hong Kong DisneylandAfter taking shark fin soup off the menu at Hong Kong Disneyland, Team Disney decided that animals might perceive this as a sign of weakness and determined that some kind of proactive animal killing was in order to teach those furry savages who's boss.

So they called in the government and had about 40-45 stray dogs rounded up from the worksite and destroyed. That'll teach 'em!

July 28, 2005 at 09:03 AM in News | Permalink | Comments (0)


Charlene Choi, of ubiquitous Hong Kong pop duo THE TWINS, in CRAZY LOVE BIG SAINTCharlene Choi, the cuter but less talented half of ubiquitous Hong Kong pop duo THE TWINS, is starring with Nic Tse in CRAZY LOVE BIG SAINT, and they made her ugly! Look at that! Just look! (and click for a larger view) Charlene can't act, she can barely sing, all she has going for her is her cuteness and now they've taken that away from her.

Charlene spent 10 whole days preparing for this role (that's an eternity in Hong Kong) and she says, "In the beginning, while I was talking [with the fake teeth], I would also be drooling, causing me to be very distressed."

I'm very distressed, too. Go look at pictures of Charlene being cute to get this horrible image out of your mind.

(Thanks to Asian Film Fanatics Forum)

July 28, 2005 at 08:58 AM in News | Permalink | Comments (3)


Tsui Hark can't stop shooting SEVEN SWORDS. Not only was his preferred cut of the 2 1/2 hour action film 4 hours long, but now he's saying that he's planning six (6) sequels. This is extremely innovative. Unlike other directors who will make many movies about different subjects and using different actors to tell different stories, Tsui Hark plans on just making the same movie over and over again until they pry his camera from his cold, dead fingers. It's like some kind of Gus Van Sant project gone horribly awry.

(Thanks to Monkey Peaches, yet again)

July 28, 2005 at 08:46 AM in News | Permalink | Comments (0)


Choiminshik_webOver on the KoreanFilm.org discussion board a fellow named Charlie (?!) says that not only will there be "...grips of shorts, short docs, features (Asian American as well as International), feature docs, music videos, animations, and experimentals" at this year's San Diego Asian Film Festival, but there will also be OLDBOY and CRYING FIST star Choi Min-Shik.

Get him to sign your slimy octopus!

July 28, 2005 at 08:28 AM in News | Permalink | Comments (0)


Peter Chan's musical, PERHAPS LOVE, may be the closing film of this year's Venice Film Festival.

What is this movie? Only the best musical ever cast: Takeshi Kaneshiro, Jacky Cheung and music by Bollywood's A.R. Rahman. Check out the official site, no English yet but some pretty pictures and a hypnotic little tune that plays over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over...

(Thanks to Monkey Peaches)

July 28, 2005 at 08:25 AM in News | Permalink | Comments (0)

July 26, 2005


BUG ME NOT received universal derision at HK FilmartAt this year's Hong Kong Filmart no film received universal derision the way BUG ME NOT received universal derision. Sporting the most obnoxious trailer ever made, and a cast of cloying computer generated bugs and teeny-bopper stars this sugary confection made everyone's teeth ache.

Isabella Leong plays Moon whose best friend is her Coochie. She meets other teens (including the Twins - aawww, cute!) who have superpowers and hang out in a playground. It turns out that "they never knew that the most magical power in the world is the love and courage inside each of us." And inside our Coochies, I'm sure.

Read a review.

Visit the horrifying official site.

Cower in terror at what man hath wrought.

July 26, 2005 at 12:21 PM in News | Permalink | Comments (0)


Asian releases continue to dribble out of mini-distributors like food from a baby's mouth. We've got PTU coming from Palm, for some reason, and PULSE is coming from Magnolia. Oh, and don't forget LEGEND OF ZU from Miramax. And didn't THE WARRIOR just die an ugly death a few weeks ago?

If you want a little more selection you could try the San Francisco Asian Film Festival (August 11 - 21) or the New York Korean Film Festival (September 2 - 11).

San Fran is offering up the colorized MUGHAL-E-AZAM, the acclaimed MONGOLIAN PING PONG and KAMIKAZE GIRLS.

NY Korean offers you MAPADO, SPIDER FOREST and THE PRESIDENT'S BARBER which is about the president's barber.

July 26, 2005 at 12:17 PM in News | Permalink | Comments (0)


Matthew Ko, the 21 year old Mr. Hong KongThe new Mr. Hong Kong was announced this week and it's...this guy?

No offense to Matthew Ko, the 21 year old winner pictured on the right, but since when was the epitome of Hong Kong mandom a pencil-necked trophy cowboy who can't dress?

Just when the Hong Kong economy was looking better, too. Along comes this guy to bring everyone down again.

July 26, 2005 at 12:13 PM in News | Permalink | Comments (1)


Daniel Battsek, the new head of MiramaxMiramax employees, meet your new dark overlord: Daniel Battsek. Read the press release welcoming him to Miramax and the Variety story.

He will be cracking the whip, "working with" Harvey and Bob Weinstein between now and their departure date on September 30, and coming up with a new slate of movies to release. What's on deck for the new Miramax? Hold onto your booties, kids: there's Ben Affleck's directorial debut! A golfing movie starring Johnny Knoxville! A new teen horror movie executive produced by Kevin Williamson (SCREAM scribe) and directed by the I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER auteur! And a Robert Redford movie! Co-starring J-Lo!

Dan and the new Miramax will be located in NYC. Please face in the direction of his office and bow in prayer at least three times a day.

July 26, 2005 at 12:12 PM in News | Permalink | Comments (0)

July 25, 2005


John Woo can't seem to actually start shooting any of the many, many, many projects he announces, and for those of us who can live without seeing his take on He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, that's not a bad thing. But his film THE BATTLE OF RED CLIFF, to be shot in Mainland China, may actually get made.

He's just announced that the cast is shaping up. So far there's Tony Leung Chiu-wai, Ken Watanabe, and Chow Yun-fat in the mix, and he's in talks right now with Andy Lau to join the picture. It seems like the HERO-fever, sparked by Zhang Yimou, continues to push big name directors into making big ol' martial arts movies. We've got Lee Myung-Se working on THE DUELIST in Korea, Chen Kaige's THE PROMISE slated for a December release, and now John Woo's THE BATTLE OF RED CLIFF.

July 25, 2005 at 12:22 PM in News | Permalink | Comments (0)


Mainland Chinese poster for SEVEN SWORDSCan there be enough news about SEVEN SWORDS, Tsui Hark's latest film? Probably so, but let's run this one into the ground.

A "Jesus Has Landed" style review in charmingly bad translation is up here at Ain't It Cool.

A pretty basic article on the film is here in the Taipei Times.

And over on the left is what looks to be the Mainland Chinese poster (click on it to see a larger version).

July 25, 2005 at 12:16 PM in News | Permalink | Comments (0)


Hong Kong's SUPER TRIO SHOW has ended, sadlyJuly 10 marked the last episode of Hong Kong's SUPER TRIO SHOW, a beloved comedy game show that ran for 10 years. Hosted by Eric Tsang, Jerry Lamb, and stuntman Chin Kar-lok (whom, I believe, replaced Jordan Chan as host) this was one of the best shows on Hong Kong TV and I'm surprised it hasn't turned up on Spike or somewhere.

Celebrities were usually the guests and they participated in some of the most ridiculous competitions ever. A personal favorite was when a white guy and a black guy were clamped in headphones and had to sing along to Cantopop only they could hear. The perplexed celebs would try to guess what songs the mush-mouthed foreigners were singing.

Eric Tsang is best know for his role as the crimelord Sam in the INFERNAL AFFAIRS movies, Chin Kar-lok was recently seen in the intense ONE NIGHT IN MONGKOK, and Jerry Lamb was a regular in the YOUNG AND DANGEROUS series.

Even for a non-Cantonese speaking viewer, this show was tremendously fun. So long, SUPER TRIO!

(Thanks to Asian Fanatics)

July 25, 2005 at 12:15 PM in News | Permalink | Comments (4)


Tadanobu Asano is looking for his Native American grandfatherNative American, that is. Apparently, Asano's grandfather was a Native American GI stationed in Japan. He had a daughter with a Japanese woman, and then went back to the States and no one's heard from him since. His daughter grew up to be Tadanobu Asano's mom, and Asano is now trying to locate his grandfather in the US. Read more here.

If you bump into him, please let Tadanobu Asano know.

(Courtesy of Asian Movie News)

July 25, 2005 at 11:55 AM in News | Permalink | Comments (0)


Cantopop King, and Hong Kong movie star, Aaron KwokCantopop King, and Hong Kong movie star, Aaron Kwok, busted out his new image during a recent HK concert. Hair care promoters gasped at the loss of a celebrity shill, but most folks are pleased as punch with Aaron's stylish new image. Of course, as Mr. Kwok approaches his 40th birthday, his bald head (which we all know is the 21st Century comb over) may have been prompted by more utilitarian reasons.

You can see the ever-sporty Aaron in Johnnie To's 2004 THROWDOWN.

(Thanks to The Star - scroll down the page for the full story)

July 25, 2005 at 11:46 AM in News | Permalink | Comments (0)

July 23, 2005


Lau Ching-wan might star in Danny Boyle's sci-fi pic SUNSHINELau Ching-wan is one of Hong Kong's best actors, but he's been MIA for a couple of years.

Now the City on Fire message boards are saying that he's turned up on the potential cast list for Danny Boyle's sci fi flick SUNSHINE, along with Ken Watanabe and THE RING's Hiroyuki Sanada.

Fun facts:
- Hiroyuki Sanada is the action star who was in such 80's Hong Kong classics as ROYAL WARRIORS and NINJA IN THE DRAGON'S DEN and sci fi fare like MESSAGE FROM SPACE.

- The movie is about a space mission to the sun, making it the first feature film to ever be based on a Polack joke.

July 23, 2005 at 08:53 AM in News | Permalink | Comments (3)


Freeze MeEgg-head film journal, SENSES OF CINEMA, just posted its latest issue which includes:

- a meditation on Japanese rape/revenge films, especially FREEZE ME

- an interview with SPIDER FOREST's Song Il-Gon

- a write-up of the Hong Kong International Film Festival (which calls 2046 "stunning"...what? sorry, I automatically fall asleep when someone says 2046)

- a report on the Singapore International Film Fest

- and coverage of the Turkish films at the International Istanbul Film Festival

July 23, 2005 at 07:45 AM in News | Permalink | Comments (0)

July 22, 2005


GeishaNicole Kidman met with Wong Kar-wai in NYC to do her costume fitting for LADY FROM SHANGHAI, set in 1930's Shanghai. Nic has an affair with a spy. It's all very glamorous. WKW is apparently doing location scouting right now. We will see this movie in 2012.

Meanwhile, a new poster is up for MEMOIRS OF A GEISHA and I'm really glad they've decided to give Zhang Ziyi blue eyes. It's a little known scientific fact, but most Japanese people had blue eyes before World War II, and then after the War they all started wearing colored contact lenses. That's the kind of amazing historical research I expect from a movie where three Chinese actresses play Japanese women (Michelle Yeoh, Gong Li and Zhang Ziyi). The pictures look pretty, but I think this is going to flop hard.

(Thanks to Monkey Peaches and click on the thumnail for a larger image)

July 22, 2005 at 08:21 AM in News | Permalink | Comments (0)


The Wu Jing message boards have the first review of Tsui Hark's SEVEN SWORDS and it's as negative as you'd expect the first reviews for this movie to be. Critics, huh? They're always complaining about something.

One thing that's weird is I didn't think the movie was being screened until Venice?

(Thanks to the Wu Jing fansite)

July 22, 2005 at 08:12 AM in Reviews | Permalink | Comments (4)


The producers of the Donnie Yen/Wu Jing/Simon Yam/Sammo Hung movie, SHA PO LANG (click here for pix and here for my review) have announced that SPL has been selected for the Toronto International Film Festival's Midnight Madness line-up programmed by the savvy Colin Geddes. The rest of the Midnight Madness line-up hasn't been announced yet. This screening will happen one month before SPL gets a November release in Asia.

(Thanks to Chelle over at the Donnie Yen Fansite)

July 22, 2005 at 08:08 AM in News | Permalink | Comments (0)


Chris Doyle's HeinekenThe tireless folks over at Twitch have posted snaps taken on the set of Pen-Ek Ratanaruang's INVISIBLE WAVES, shot by Chris Doyle and starring Tadanobu Asano.

See Asano's black eye!

Thirst for Chris Doyle's Heineken!

Wonder what it's all about!

July 22, 2005 at 07:25 AM in News | Permalink | Comments (0)

July 21, 2005


Zhang Ziyi's ID photoHas it come to this? Dozens of Mainland Chinese celebrities had their ID photos leaked onto the internet recently, and boy are they pissed. It's not as bad as last month when 600 celebs had their mobile phone numbers leaked online, and were molested by thousands of phone calls, but it's still pretty bad.

Is this what it's come to? Are online internet news sites so eager to pore over every scrap and twiddle of celebrity images that they'll even grab onto grainy ID photos and turn them over and over again in their sweaty little hands like Gollum with his ring? Have we all really sunk so low? Who wants to look at things like this? By the way: that's Zhang Ziyi on the right. You can see more of the ID photos here.

(Thanks to Hong Kong Entertainment News in Review)

July 21, 2005 at 10:46 AM in News | Permalink | Comments (0)


GodzillaSo GODZILLA FINAL WARS wasn't the last Godzilla movie?!? Now, from director Yoshimitsu Banno, the man responsible for 1977's GODZILLA VS. THE SMOG MONSTER, comes a 3-D, Imax Godzilla picture: GODZILLA 3-D TO THE MAX!

A 40 minute movie, you can check out its English language website and read about Godzilla's enemy, Deathla, hear about the urgent need to use Godzilla to send forth an environmental message once more, and learn that you'll see a return on your investment if the movie makes even US$9 million!

(Thanks to Monster Zero for the heads up)

July 21, 2005 at 10:43 AM in News | Permalink | Comments (1)


The Hong Kong celebrities are so thick on the ground over here in NYC that you practically have to push them out of your way to get on the subway.

Chris Doyle, hard-drinking cinematographer to the gods, has been holed up in a posh downtown hotel with teeny tiny rooms almost all summer working on pre-production for his new project and, rumor has it, finishing up his own second film.

Wong Kar-wai was spotted on Sunday taking in a Mets game.

And Maggie Cheung was in town as the guest of honor for the Asian American International Film Festival. The chit chat event she did at Lincoln Center got raves from everyone who attended, but it looks like her attitude towards the press hasn't changed much.

July 21, 2005 at 10:39 AM in News | Permalink | Comments (0)

July 20, 2005


SEVEN SWORDS poster artAccording to this story, Tsui Hark's SEVEN SWORDS will get a July 29 release in Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand, Taiwan and Malaysia and it's already in negotiations for a North American release. Two things:

1 - almost every movie ever made has been in discussions for a North American release at one time or another. My guess is that any potential buyer has to think about whether they want to go up against the Weinstein Brothers December release of Chen Kaige's THE PROMISE.

2 - a July 29 release in Asia beats the Venice screening date by almost a month, and seems like a really bad idea. Take a page from SPL, dudes: hanging onto a movie and keeping it out of theaters just builds anticipation, not destroys it. This early release may also kill the chance of a US theatrical release.

Read some thoughts on the SEVEN SWORDS trailer here.

(Thanks to Chelle at the Donnie Yen fansite)

July 20, 2005 at 10:54 AM in News | Permalink | Comments (0)


CRYING TIGERS, the first Thai documentary to get a wide commercial releaseCRYING TIGERS is the first Thai documentary to get a wide commercial release, and it sounds like it might be great.

Director Santi Taepanich wanted to look at how the thousands of Thais from Issan (a NorthEast province) are faring in Bangkok where many of them come to work and he interviewed hundreds of them, before narrowing his focus down to five: a wannabe comedian who works in a seafood restaurant as a human fish; a stuntman who seems to appear in Tony Jaa's upcoming TOM YUM GOONG; a female taxi driver; a struggling nightclub comedian; and a once-famous folksinger who's fallen on hard times.

The doc attracted the attention of Ba-Ram-Ewe and studio Sahamongkol (the folks who backed ONG BAK and a ton of other big name Thai releases) and they injected about US$700,000 into the doc so it could be a theatrical release. And that's when the director entered hell on earth.

The movie opens on July 21. Possibly.

July 20, 2005 at 10:51 AM in News | Permalink | Comments (2)


THE PASSION OF THE COMMUTER: a Japanese movie poster for THE PASSION OF THE CHRISTThis link sends you to larger versions of this picture: a Japanese movie poster for THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST that might be the best image ever made for a movie.

Now I want a full-on Japanese remake of THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST where Jesus is lashed with soba noodles, text messages God from the cross to ask why he's been forsaken, and the twelve disciples are Bad Badtz Maru, Hello Kitty and the entire cuddly Sanrio family.

Is there anything that the Japanese can't do better?

July 20, 2005 at 10:46 AM in News | Permalink | Comments (0)

July 19, 2005


The Ronny Yu/Yuen Wo-ping film, LEGEND OF A FIGHTER, starring Jet Li, Michelle Yeoh, Sun Li and Ngai Sing has wrappedThe Ronny Yu/Yuen Wo-ping film, LEGEND OF A FIGHTER, starring Jet Li, Michelle Yeoh, Sun Li and Ngai Sing has wrapped.

Not much to report except the movie looks like a big ol' old school brawl, and Jet Li's participation was prompted by China's high suicide rate (280,000 people killed themselves in 2003). He wants to make a movie that tells people "not to give up easily."

See WWE wrestler, Nathan Jones, use his giant disgusting muscles to put the hurt on Jet Li's skull.

(Click on the image for a larger view and thanks to Wu Jing.org for the news)

July 19, 2005 at 08:54 AM in News | Permalink | Comments (0)


Donnie Yen in a disco shirt crowning Old School Hong Kong star, Charlie YeungThe big Chinese event to launch Tsui Hark's SEVEN SWORDS didn't feature a screening of the film -- it's being held for a Venice launch on August 31st.

The event did sport Donnie Yen in a disco shirt crowning Old School Hong Kong star, Charlie Yeung, with an enormous tinfoil hat.

See the Sina pictures here and here.

(Thanks to Donnie Yen Fansite for the links)

July 19, 2005 at 08:47 AM in News | Permalink | Comments (0)


Ram Gopal Varma is producing Jijy Philip's MY WIFE'S MURDER, a flick about a husband who kills his wife and then tries to cover it up, inspired by the stories of James M. Cain. The killer husband: Anil Kapoor. I love Anil, but he's a bit like the fat Elvis of Bollywood: a much-loved, rotund icon whose personality is more powerful than his acting skills. This is his first flick with RGV productions and you can download the Realplayer trailer here.

Also, check out the other RGV produced thriller from last year, EK HASINA THI, which is every female vengeance film ever made wrapped up in one tricky package.

July 19, 2005 at 08:43 AM in News | Permalink | Comments (0)


Sony's PSP handheld gaming systemOn August 23rd OLDBOY will get its Region 1 video release from Tartan on DVD and UMD - which is the teeny little disc used by Sony PSP - the Playstation version of the Gameboy.

The DVD will have commentary from the director and DP and deleted scenes. The UMD will have the film in anamorphic widescreen and deleted scenes not available on the DVD. There doesn't seem to be a VHS release for OLDBOY.

We are in the future. And it's pretty nerdy.

July 19, 2005 at 08:36 AM in News | Permalink | Comments (0)

July 18, 2005


There's two kinds of film festivals: the kind that actually sell tickets to audiences and the kind that exist to provide hobnobbing intersections for local politicians, sponsors and film community riff raff. After the PUCHON INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL head, Kim Hong-joon, was fired he formed the REAL FANTASTIC FILM FESTIVAL. The two fests are running head-to-head and many people seem to feel that the new REAFAN is the real thing, while PIFAN is nothing more than a political event.

Read about the dueling opening weekends where it's claimed that only 70 of 900 PIFAN seats on the opening night were actually sold to the public (the rest were comps to mucketymucks) and that the cheering crowds who surrounded PIFAN's red carpet were mostly festival volunteers.

July 18, 2005 at 12:24 PM in News | Permalink | Comments (2)


Thai director, Apichatpong Weerasethakul, (TROPICAL MALADY) has announced that his next feature will be INTIMACY AND TURBULENCE, a movie dedicated to his parents and co-financed by the New Crowned Hope Project, which has commissioned six movies about the life of Mozart, to be screened in Vienna next year to celebrate Mozart's 250th Birthday.

The movies are each budgeted at under US$3 million, and they don't have to deal directly with the life of Mozart or use his music, they merely have to address his themes in a modern context.

Some of the other directors involved in the project (which will see the movies released in late 2006) are Tsai Ming-liang (WHAT TIME IS IT THERE?) and Indonesia's Garin Nugroho.

July 18, 2005 at 12:21 PM in News | Permalink | Comments (0)


Choi Ik-hwan's Voice LetterThe yo go kuei gam (girls' high school ghost story) movie trilogy that started with WHISPERING CORRIDORS, continued with MEMENTO MORI, and seemed to sputter to an end with WISHING STAIRS, has returned from the grave to give us more murder, ghosts, and mayhem in an all-girl high school. It opens this Friday.

This time out the director is Choi Ik-hwan who was an assistant director on WHISPERING CORRIDORS and the film will be called VOICE LETTER (YO GO KUEI GAM: MOKSORI). His next project is a digital film project produced by CJ Entertainment with six other Korean directors including Park Chan-Wook (OLDBOY).

Director Choi says that VOICE LETTER will concentrate more on narrative and character. And cutting people's heads off with sheet music.

July 18, 2005 at 12:19 PM in News | Permalink | Comments (1)


Daniel Wu is rumored to be joining Ge You Zhou Xun and Zhang Ziyi in YE YANHong Kong filmmakers were already in shock from the new law requiring Chinese-American actor, Daniel Wu, to appear in every single new movie, when a new bomb was unleashed: this applies to Mainland Chinese movies, as well. Wu is rumored to be joining Ge You Zhou Xun and Zhang Ziyi in YE YAN (NIGHT BANQUET).

(Thanks to Monkey Peaches)

(Click the photo to see more Wu)

July 18, 2005 at 12:14 PM in News | Permalink | Comments (1)


Chow Yun-fat gives up the Hollywood lifestyleChow Yun-fat has temporarily given up his Hollywood lifestyle of big paychecks and bad movies to shoot a Hong Kong film for director Ann Hui: THE AUNT'S POSTMODERN LIFE.

He plays a swindler who falls for one of his victims, and says he took the role because he likes Ann Hui and he hasn't played a swindler before (although he has played a thief, a gambler and a conman, but let's not be picky).

July 18, 2005 at 11:44 AM in News | Permalink | Comments (0)

July 14, 2005


Magnolia has released its so-so trailer of Kiyoshi Kurosawa's PULSE, which'll hit US screens later this summer. There's a bit of a conflict here since the trailer claims that this is a really original and innovative film, but then uses clips and editing that could come from pretty much any other Japanese horror movie. Plus, they use the term J-Horror. Is that like J-Date?

Large Quicktime Trailer

Small Quicktime Trailer

(Thanks to Twitch Film)

July 14, 2005 at 07:37 AM in News | Permalink | Comments (1)


Hong Kong actors Carina Lau and Tony Leung have been on and off for 15 years. There's been rumors of affairs, Ms. Lau has been kidnapped, it's all been a bit up and down. But following rumors that the two were married last year, it looks like they're stable for the time being.

Feel like a stalker and check out cute pics of them vacationing in Thailand.

July 14, 2005 at 07:35 AM in News | Permalink | Comments (0)


Tsui Hark's SEVEN SWORDS was tentatively announced as the opening film of the Venice Film Festival, but it needed to be approved for release by the PRC before accepting any invites. Apparently, that approval has been granted, and SEVEN SWORDS is the official opening film on August 31.

Also, it looks like Ang Lee's latest, BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN, will be in Venice as well.

July 14, 2005 at 07:33 AM in News | Permalink | Comments (0)

July 12, 2005


Tsui Hark's SEVEN SWORDSThey throw a horse.

Tsui Hark's SEVEN SWORDS is the most anticipated film of the year, and it seems to have all the hallmarks of success. But it's Tsui Hark who has wildly uneven movies in his past and whose recent movies have been pretty poor. I was worried that there were too many actors, too much focus on the nerdy super swords, and not enough good old moviemaking magic that Tsui is capable of, but seems averse to since about 1996. But the two and a half minute trailer is up over at the Donnie Yen fansite and...they throw a horse. Against my better judgement, I'm excited.

(Click the above poster to see a mega sized version)

Download the trailer.

A few other formats

(All hail to the Donnie Yen Fansite for hosting) (Edit: we helped kill DonnieYen.US's bandwidth, but luckily Twitch has taken over hosting: links above have been updated).

July 12, 2005 at 09:29 AM in News | Permalink | Comments (3)


Aamir Khan's anitcipated Bollywood epic, THE RISINGAamir Khan's anitcipated Bollywood epic, THE RISING, will be the opening film at the Locarno Film Festival, premiering on August 3 with stars Aamir Khan and Rani Mukherjee in attendance. This bodes well since Khan's super-hit LAGAAN kicked off at Locarno back in 2001.

Based on the story of Mangal Pandey a hero of the 1857 Indian Mutiny, the movie has already attracted its share of controversy from the Mangal Pandey Memorial Committee in Nagwa, Uttar Pradesh, who are annoyed that the movie was not shot in Nagwa and features an onscreen kiss. The producers expect the hubub to die out in short order.

July 12, 2005 at 09:26 AM in News | Permalink | Comments (1)

July 11, 2005


D-WAR (aka DRAGON WAR)Dragons with lasers attack ancient Korean and Los Angeles. Has there ever been a more compelling pitch? Humanity has existed for hundreds of thousands of years for this moment to arrive. Human culture has been building to this point:

D-WAR (aka DRAGON WAR) (click on the image for a kaiju sized poster)

Starring Robert Forster (JACKIE BROWN), Elizabeth Pena (THE INCREDIBLES) and Jason Behr (THE GRUDGE).

There used to be a gob-stoppingly cheesy and fun trailer up online but it's been yanked. Keep your eyes peeled on the "one and only" official website. Post-production is taking forever (of course) and the flick's slated to wow the world in early 2006.

(See some more stills and info on the CHUD.com message boards here.)

July 11, 2005 at 08:17 AM in News | Permalink | Comments (0)


Gwyneth Paltrow is so "elegant and intellectual" that she's going to be the spokesmodel for Korean clothing line BeanPole.

BeanPole markets upscale casual clothing, and Gwyneth will appear in a commercial that will air in the autumn. She's under contract for a year.

Check out more high-minded celebrities who endorse charitable causes in the West and hawk consumer products in the East over in the Japander archives.

(Thanks to Kung Fu Cult Cinema for the news)

July 11, 2005 at 08:05 AM in News | Permalink | Comments (0)


According to former Toho US head, Masaharu Ina, Sony pictures has picked up the rights to kaiju throwdown, GODZILLA FINAL WARS, which has been delighting audiences all over the country. The movie is a lot of fun, but the audience adds a lot to the experience. I'm not sure how it will play in the lonely solitude of one's living room.

Read reviews here, here and here.

(Thanks to Monster Zero)

July 11, 2005 at 08:04 AM in News | Permalink | Comments (0)


Award winning Korean director, Kim Ki-Duk, was detained at the Central Seoul Police Station under the suspicion that he was a crazy homeless person claiming to be award winning Korean director, Kim Ki-Duk.

The director went to the station to get permission to build prop guns for an upcoming film but was detained by police who were understandably confused.

"A film director taking care of such trifle details and acting like that could only lead to the suspicion that he was a homeless," said one of the mystified officers. "Even his clothes were strange, his way of speaking gibberish couldn't hide our suspicion. When we got to know it was actually Director Kim we were all shocked and surprised."

When his identity was revealed the police did the natural thing: they asked for his autograph.

(Breaking news courtesy of Twitch Film)

July 11, 2005 at 08:01 AM in News | Permalink | Comments (0)

July 08, 2005


MONGOLIAN COW SOUR YOGURT SUPER GIRLMONGOLIAN COW SOUR YOGURT SUPER GIRL is China's answer to "American Idol" and it's creating a huge sensation in the PRC, capable of drawing 210 million viewers (that's almost the entire US population). The Chengdu Region alone had 40,000 contenstants audition to appear on the show.

But who should be blamed for Chinese youth's superficial ambition?

July 8, 2005 at 12:04 PM in News | Permalink | Comments (0)


KEKEXILI could be China's bid for the foreign film OscarThere's a push from critical channels in China for the country to submit KEKEXILI as its bid for the 2005 Best Foreign Film Oscar.

The movie has done decently at the box office and has hoovered up awards all over the place. Despite being produced by Sony Pictures, it remains undistributed in the US.

Shot in Tibet, and based on a true story, the cast is mostly made up of non-actor Tibetans.

In other news, painting the bulging bellies of pregnant women is the latest reprehensible fashion trend to rear its head in China. If this isn't worthy of UN sanctions, then what is?

July 8, 2005 at 12:01 PM in News | Permalink | Comments (0)


The Hong Kong car racing flick based on a Japanese manga, and starring first-time actor and Taiwanese pop star Jay Chou, is making money like it's going out of style. In its first 10 days the flick made HK$27 million. Compare that to the sithy take of STAR WARS WHATEVER which made HK$19 million in 46 days.

This doesn't come without controversy however, and it breaks down by country.

- in Malaysia, traumatized journalists bemoan the glorification of unsafe driving which might keep kids from their god-given duty to "Get on the career fast track and make your first million."

- in Taiwan, fans think that Jay Chou is a big poopy-head for denying his former love for pop star Jolin Cai and revealing that he is now in love with beauty host, Patty Hou. Taking a page from the Tom Cruise School of Dating some disgruntled fans (which apparently includes Patty's mom) say that this is a publicity stunt for Patty's forthcoming book "Patty's About Love", which will be released in March.

- in Mainland China the press is claiming that the promoter of INITIAL D is inflating its box office takings by $12 million yuan. The promoter has struck back by claiming that INITIAL D was a special case and that normal means of accounting no longer applied. This is thought to be common practice in the US, although there's no way to prove it since studios report their own grosses, and Miramax is the only company to ever get caught with their hand in this particular cookie jar.

(Thanks to Hong Kong Entertainment News in Review)

July 8, 2005 at 10:57 AM in News | Permalink | Comments (0)

July 07, 2005


SENGOKU JIEITAI 1549 ("Samurai Commando Mission 1549") has just set a record for foreign sales, selling to 31 foreign territories (US included) thus breaking THE RING's previous record of 30 terrirtories. Unfortunately, the movie, about the Japanese Self-Defense Forces traveling back in time to fight a bunch of Samurai, doesn't sound very good.

Kadokawa has commissioned Jennie Lew Tugend, the brains behind FREE WILLY 1, 2 and 3, to oversee a "Hollywood" version of the film: a new edit, more CGI and a louder soundtrack.

Fun fact: the film is a remake of Kadokawa's big 1979 hit: SENGOKU JIEITAI (translated as "Time Slip"). The movies share the same plot, and the original was produced and marketed by convicted coke smuggler, and Hitler fan Haruki Kadokawa, the son of the founder of Kadokawa Studios who turned the studio into a hit factory with flicks like SENGOKU JIEITAI, but who almost ran it all into the ground with his hungry nose and his tendency to write classical poetry praising "Mein Kampf".

(Thanks to ScreenDaily)

July 7, 2005 at 10:43 AM in News | Permalink | Comments (0)


It's official: Chow Yun-fat is in PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN 3.

He plays a pirate. This will be the first English-language movie he's made that anyone cares about.

July 7, 2005 at 10:42 AM in News | Permalink | Comments (0)


Miramax hopes that some of that HERO ju-ju will rub off on their 3 year old Indian/British flick, THE WARRIOR, which comes out on July 15. If you go look at the trailer for the film you'll see that it's now "Presented By Anthony Minghella" the same way HERO was "Presented By Quentin Tarantino".

(note: the trailer starts off with a lame ad for a book, so don't be alarmed)

July 7, 2005 at 10:41 AM in News | Permalink | Comments (1)

July 06, 2005


poster for ARAHANRyu Seung-Wan, the director of ARAHAN and the recently-released CRYING FIST, was in New York over the weekend for the North American premiere of CRYING FIST. The movie went down well with the audience although it does lapse into a bit of occasional sentimentality that could send some folks' eyes rolling. Choi Min-Shik is, as always, just fine as a grizzled hunk of middle-aged gristle, but Ryu Seung-Beom (the director's brother, and star of ARAHAN) proves that he can actually act. Finally. Once you realize his mugging in ARAHAN is a conscious choice it makes it much more palatable.

Director Ryu looks like he's about 19 years old, and what he likes to talk about is martial arts movies. Dinner table conversation revolved around obscure Hong Kong actors from the 70's, Sonny Chiba's lineage, super-kicker Hwang Jang-Lee, and the fact that Rikidozan Mitsuhiro, the Korean wrestler who lived in Japan (and was assumed to be Japanese for a long time) was so mistrustful of people that he kept a lock on his refrigerator.

Fun fact for anyone hosting Director Ryu: at the end of a night out, if you're of a persuasive nature, he'll do a truly impressive tae kwon do demonstration wherever you happen to be. Invite this guy to your film festival and buy him a few meals. The price you pay is worth it to see his kicking skills.

Read an interview with Ryu Seung-Wan here, or a more recent one here.

Director Ryu will be at the Fantasia Film Festival on July 7 to present CRYING FIST.

July 6, 2005 at 11:12 AM in News | Permalink | Comments (1)


Which is one of the more memorable quotes from this Anthony Kaufman piece in Indiewire on the failures of the foreign language market in America.

Among the tidbits:

- Hou Hsiao-hsien's latest movie, THREE TIMES, can't find a US distributor because the asking price doesn't reflect the American market. This is pretty common: I can't tell you the number of Asian movies that a US distributor wanted but that was priced way too high for what it could potentially make in America's lousy market for foreign language films.

- A reminder that KUNG FU HUSTLE and HOUSE OF FLYING DAGGERS weren't hits, despite popular perception that they were.

- And a big "fuck you" to the critics who complain about how few foreign films are distributed in the US, courtesy of ThinkFilm's Mark Urman, who goes on to ask for foreign countries to subsidize the costs of distributing their movies in the US.

One item that doesn't get touched upon is how critical the New York Times is for New York releases of foreign language films. They're in a position to really make or break any unknown movie that opens in NYC. AUDITION did bang up business based on a single Elvis Mitchell rave a few years ago and at the New York Asian Film Festival we screened PRINCESS RACCOON about which Manohla Dargis wrote a nice two-paragraph piece in the Sunday Arts and Leisure listings. The result: two sold-out screenings. I tore every single ticket and I can tell you that 60% of that audience had not only never been to our festival before, but quite a few of them had copies of the Times article (with the theater address on it) in hand when they walked into the lobby. And none of them came back to anything in the festival.

July 6, 2005 at 11:11 AM in News | Permalink | Comments (0)


Oxide and Danny Pang have started shooting SCARECROW, their English-language debut film, sez Empire Magazine. A lot of folks would argue that every Pang Brothers film, from THE EYE and BANGKOK DANGEROUS on up, has basically been a Western movie, but those people are just bitter. Years of struggle, three EYE films, and a bunch of Thai movies that no one much cares about have elevated the Brothers Pang to the level where they can get huge, huge stars like Dylan McDermott from "The Practice" and John Corbett from "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" to headline their Hollywood venture. Which is shooting in Canada.

(Thanks to Hong Kong Entertainment News in Review)

July 6, 2005 at 11:10 AM in News | Permalink | Comments (0)


Bong Jun-Ho (MEMORIES OF MURDER) is directing his latest flick, THE HOST, starring Song Kang-Ho and Bae Doo-Na about a monster that lives in the Han River. Stills have been popping up on the internet already and they look beyond sinister. But according to some folks who know the director, he's aiming to create a black comedy, not a straight up horror film. Which is good news for fans of his previous black comedy, BARKING DOGS NEVER BITE.

July 6, 2005 at 11:09 AM in News | Permalink | Comments (0)

July 05, 2005


Tsui Hark's comeback epic, SEVEN SWORDS, was reported as having been selected to open the Venice Film Festival. Which is great, except it hasn't accepted the invite yet. According to Nansun Shi, Tsui's wife and producer, since the movie was shot in Mainland China, it needs official approval from the Mainland government before it can do anything. And it hasn't gotten that yet.

On the plus side, Boram Pictures president, Lee Joo-Ick, is a producer on SEVEN SWORDS and he says he's already made back his entire investment thanks to presold territories. On the negative side, there's been no US interest in the movie yet and folks speculate that US distributors are waiting to see how it does at Venice.

This is either going to be the movie of the year, or the disappointment of the decade.

(Thanks to DonnieYen.us)

July 5, 2005 at 11:00 AM in News | Permalink | Comments (0)


Ram Gopal VarmaRam Gopal Varma, India's most multi-talented director, has opened his latest flick, SARKAR, and reviews are coming in.

So far, reviews are mixed for this GODFATHER-esque dive into a criminal empire that gets passed from father (played by icon Amitabh Bachchan) to son (played by the Big B's real life son, Abhishek Bachchan).

July 5, 2005 at 10:56 AM in News | Permalink | Comments (0)


Yes, it's that still for 'THE HOST' againThe cast of Bong Jun-Ho's horror movie about a monster living in the Han River has been announced and it's a doozy. The two leads are Song Kang-Ho of MEMORIES OF MURDER, JSA and SYMPATHY FOR MR. VENGEANCE and Bae Doo-Na of BARKING DOGS NEVER BITE and SYMPATHY FOR MR. VENGEANCE.

Song Kang-Ho and Bae Doo-Na are my two favorite actors in Korea, so I'm as excited as a monkey on a banana farm.

Director Bong's previous films are the terrific MEMORIES OF MURDER and the tremendously underrated BARKING DOGS NEVER BITE.

You can see a photo of the cast here.

(Thanks once again to the Korean Film.org Discussion Boards)

July 5, 2005 at 10:53 AM in News | Permalink | Comments (0)


Dr. Uwe Boll, the mind behind such flops as ALONE IN THE DARK and HOUSE OF THE DEAD, is on a mission from God to turn as many lame video games into as many bad movies as possible. His ouevre has even inspired a wonderful tribute website.

Now he is working on his latest POS, the movie no one has been waiting for: DUNGEON SIEGE. Based on the video game of the same name. He claims that the $60 million epic will star Leelee Sobieski and Ron Perlman. He says it is LORD OF THE RINGS meets BRAVEHEART. He also says that it blends HERO and HOUSE OF FLYING DAGGERS. He also just hired Hong Kong's Ching Siu-tung to do the action choreography. This is the man who did the action for HERO, A CHINESE GHOST STORY and SWORDSMAN 2. This isn't some Leelee Sobieski or Ron Perlman, this is a great artist. Working on an Uwe Boll movie.

Was that your pulse pounding or just your heart exploding?

July 5, 2005 at 10:36 AM in News | Permalink | Comments (0)


Chairman Mao, not Gu YueGu Yue, one of the most popular actors to play Chairman Mao, died on the Fourth of July of heart failure.

Since 1981, Gu Yue has played the Great Leader in over 80 movies and TV shows.

(Thanks to MonkeyPeaches for this one.)

July 5, 2005 at 10:30 AM in News | Permalink | Comments (0)

July 01, 2005


Korea's Lee Myung-Se is wrapping up his period action flick THE DUELIST and there's no doubt about it: it looks gee-orgeous.

Lee Myung-Se's THE DUELIST

This one's going to give HERO a run for its money in the pretty department.

(Thanks to Darcy's Korean Film.org)

July 1, 2005 at 06:22 AM in News | Permalink | Comments (0)


Director Kang Woo-Suk (of SILMIDO) has ticked off actors Choi Min-Shik (OLDBOY, CRYING FIST) and Song Kang-Ho (JSA, MEMORIES OF MURDER) by citing them as examples of the kinds of actors whose "excessive pursuit of money" has driven up the costs of Korean films to astronomical levels. The two actors have demanded, and received , public apologies.

But the Korean Motion Pictures Producers Association has backed Director Kang's claims, saying that a small number of greedy celebrities basically run the entertainment industry and their demands have gotten out of hand. Their salaries are too high and they, and their agents, want profit-participation without risking any of their own investment in the projects.

In response, the KMPP is trying to establish a training program to make more actors to give the current crop of celebs a run for their money, they want to categorically deny any request for profit-participation from actors, and they want to standardize actor salaries across the board.

Just to keep this all in perspective, the current average cost of a Korean movie is about US$4 million. The exorbitant salaries in question? Just south of US$500,000.

You can read more about it here.

July 1, 2005 at 06:21 AM in News | Permalink | Comments (1)


The Real Fantastic Film Fest (the festival started this year by folks fired from the Puchon Fantastic Film Fest) has its English language site up and it's very strange looking. In fact, I suspect there's some kind of message hidden in those freaky blinking kids on the homepage, maybe in Morse code. But dig those Marxist sci-fi flicks, cats.

Even Chung Cho-Sin, director of the Puchon event, admits that the RealFan event has its merits:

"Well, if you want to see movie stars and film directors, you go to that anti-PiFAN event," he says. "But if you want to watch good films instead, come to us."

July 1, 2005 at 06:04 AM in News | Permalink | Comments (0)


Thai Cinema.org has a brief article that lists in titillating detail the huge number of stunt-heavy action flicks in the Thai pipeline. These include an all-kids cast martial arts movie, an action picture where wives take on their husband's mistresses, and Dan Choophong (from Panna Rittikrai's BORN TO FIGHT) starring in a Nonzee Nimibutr (NANG NAK, BAYTONG) movie called THE QUEENS OF PATTANI.

July 1, 2005 at 05:26 AM in News | Permalink | Comments (0)