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July 31, 2006


Su Chao-pin's SILK There's another trailer up online for Su Chao-pin's SILK, the horror movie from the writer of Taiwan's hit horror flick DOUBLE VISION.

Ignore the horrifying Mr. Movie Mouth voiceover and soak up the trippy visuals instead.

Although SILK was largely ignored at Cannes this year, don't forget that, as the sharp-eyed reader who sent in the trailer link pointed out, so did ELECTION and DOUBLE VISION (and CITY OF VIOLENCE for that matter). All is not lost. There could still be a good movie in there somewhere.

July 31, 2006 at 01:49 PM in News | Permalink | Comments (2)


Hollywood Elsewhere is reporting that Warner Brothers chose to turn down an invite to screen THE DEPARTED at the Toronto International Film Festival. With an October release date and Scorsese's name attached it would look like going to Toronto would be a no-brainer but for some reason the flick won't go to our neighbors to the north. Is the studio worried? Do they think their product is no good? Or are they planning a different marketing strategy, one that doesn't involve industry buzz, festival acclaim and good word of mouth?

Watching the lard-fisted trailer (did someone randomly drop in those music tracks after it was cut?), this INFERNAL AFFAIRS remake looks like a decent action/cop movie but no patch on the original.

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

July 31, 2006 at 12:23 PM in News | Permalink | Comments (15)


It's been a lousy couple of years for film festivals with budget cuts, administrative setbacks and a host of tiny monsters making life miserable. Tokyo's Fantastic Film Festival died a dog's death recently and now Yubari is gone and Locarno ain't feeling too good.

The Yubari International Fantastic Film Festival has been running since 1990, showing great heaps of horror and sci fi from Japan and elsewhere and while it was a b-list festival it was definitely much loved and a real destination for a lot of people. But the local government is basically bankrupt and so they had to make new priorities and a fantastic film festival wasn't one of them. They provided well over half the money for the fest each year and without it... well, goodbye, Yubari.

Now Marco Solari, the president of the Locarno International Film Festival, is getting down in the dumps about his festival's future:

"For the first time I have real budgetary worries...I pose the question to everyone, to the politicians, business and culture: Do you want this festival? It is not a question that they should give us a present. The prerequisites for a good festival which can hold its own internationally are there. But this festival must be financed."

There are a million little things going wrong at Locarno this year: a hotel they relied on has been turned into luxury condos, they have to house guests in a nearby town, operating costs are up, too many people accepted invites to this year's festival, Swatch withdrew as a sponsor and they are facing their 60th anniversary Jubilee celebration next year. The festival cost US$7.9 million this year and without financing it will have to cut back and restructure next year, which Solari fears will take it out of the running as a major European festival.

Locarno festival

July 31, 2006 at 11:37 AM in News | Permalink | Comments (0)


Veniceupdate1_web A sharp-eyed reader sends in a few Venice Film Festival updates today:

- EXILED is not finished. Johnnie To's latest film was selected for Venice based on one hour of footage he submitted to the selection committee. Media Asia says he's still hard at work wrapping post production on the film up.

- Jackie Chan will be one of the award presenters in Venice. Sadly, the baby from ROB-B-HOOD will not attend the festival, citing previous engagements.

Veniceupdate2_web - Michi, over on HogaCentral, provides some more details about Otomo's live action MUSHISHI. Apparently it's already been shot (three months of shooting starting in August 2005) and is in postproduction. There was no fanfare around the shoot, but it's gaining attention after being selected for Venice, and is scheduled to be released in Spring 2007. The writer of the original manga has seen the film and says, "It struck me with a fresh surprise to see this new world, in which Director Otomo depicts the people of this fictitious profession."

- the English title of Tsai Ming-liang's movie is I DON'T WANT TO SLEEP ALONE. It's his Mozart-inspired entry in New Crowned Hope, the Mozart festival Vienna is hosting in 2006 that's being created by Peter Sellars. Also part of Venice and of New Crowned Hope is Apichatpong Weerasethakul's new film SYNDROMES AND A CENTURY. Both movies are repped by Fortissimo.

July 31, 2006 at 09:57 AM in News | Permalink | Comments (1)


That was fast. Michi at HogaCentral reports that the Fuji TV food comedy, UDON, wrapped on July 27 and will be released in Japan on August 26, 2006.

July 31, 2006 at 09:17 AM in News | Permalink | Comments (0)


Wilson Yip's SHA PO LANG aka KILL ZONEWhen the Weinstein Company announced that their first Dragon Dynasty disc would be SHA PO LANG there was good news and bad news. The bad news was that it had been retitled KILL ZONE and sported some incredibly korny kung fu kover art. But the good news was that it was going to be a two-disc set which would include a veritable treasure trove of special features including:

- Commentary with Donnie Yen and Hong Kong Expert Bey Logan
- Born to be Bad: Interview with Martial Arts Legend Sammo Hung
- First Amongst Equals: Featurette with Star and Action Director Donnie Yen
- Echoes of Darkness: Interview with co-star Simon Yam
- A Dragon Rising: Interview with SPL villain Jackie Wu
- A Man Apart: Interview with Director Wilson Yip
- Never Seen Before Footage
- SPL Making Of Documentary
- Breaking News: Footage from Hong Kong Press Conference for launch of SPL
- Trailer Gallery
- Master in Motion: Martial Arts demonstration by Wu Shu impressario Jacki Wu

Despite calling Wu Jing an "impresario" that's a pretty impressive list. But now Screaming Mimi has sent in an email she received from HKflix and here it is:

Valued Customers-
Thanks for your pre-order of the new "SPL" ("Killzone") DVD at HKFlix.com! We are writing to inform you of some changes that have been made to this DVD since you made your purchase. We were notified of these changes today by the manufacturer:

1. The main audio commentary track may or may not include Donnie Yen.
But it will still feature Bey Logan as previously advertised.

2. The "Never Seen Before Footage" feature has been cancelled.

3. The "Breaking News: Footage from Hong Kong Press Conference" feature has been cancelled.

4. The "Martial Arts Demonstration By Jackie Wu" feature has been cancelled.

5. The following two new "Anatomy Of A Scene" Featurettes have been
a) "Alleycats" (With optional commentary by action director, Donnie Yen, and Bey Logan)
b) "Challenge of the Masters"

Both featurettes are supposed to have optional audio commentary by Donnie Yen AND Bey Logan, but this is subject to change.

The artwork will also be changed, and will be updated on our site within the next few days. All the other features previously advertised are still correct."

I'm sure everyone is breathing a sigh of relief that they're still getting the Bey Logan commentary.

July 31, 2006 at 08:01 AM in News | Permalink | Comments (9)

July 28, 2006


Amitabh Bachchan's 1978 DON

The next big Shah Rukh Khan movie will be DON, a remake of the funkalicious 1978 Amitabh Bachchan movie, DON. If you haven't seen the original DON please do yourself a favor and go out and buy a copy post haste. There's an easy-to-find all-region, English-subtitled DVD and while the middle hour gets a little baggy and saggy (too many tightrope walkers) the opening hour and the finale are all wall-to-wall shag carpets, liquid eyeliner deployed by the gallon, and a gangster so cruel he kills a man because he hates his shoes. And the credits sequence is, quite possibly, the biggest slab of waka-waka 70's joycore this side of DISCO DANCER. So who has the cooler poster? The Shah Rukh Khan DON? Or the Amitabh Bachchan DON?

(And go check out a million other poster designs for the 1978 DON over on the Hot Spot)

Shah Rukh Khan's DON remake

July 28, 2006 at 04:15 AM in News | Permalink | Comments (72)


If you don't know who Mani Ratnam is then you've been slacking. Bollywood's most political director he's made amazing musicals about the communal riots, suicide bombers, political kidnappings, and the Tamil Tigers. I can't tell you how many Westerners have gotten into Bollywood because they saw his exquisite, take-no-prisoners, scorched earth musical DIL SE, about a guy who falls (kinda obsessively) in love with a female suicide bomber.

His next film is GURU, set for a November 2006 release. Starring Abhishek Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai, with music by the inimitable A.R. Rahman and lyrics by Gulzar (the lyrics king). It's been shooting in Turkey and is now settled back in India and no one is quite sure what the story is. They're pretty sure there's some 1960's component to it, but people are saying it's either a look at the entire life of a young couple, or that Abhishek plays a soldier in the 1857 Mutiny, or that it's the life story of textile baron Dhirubhai Ambani. See, confusion reigns. But have faith in Mani. If anyone can deliver, it's him.

July 28, 2006 at 01:26 AM in News | Permalink | Comments (2)

July 27, 2006


A sharp-eyed reader just sent in an update on a story that appeared here a while back. Japan's legendary animator, Katsuhiro Otomo was slated to direct a live action feature version of MUSHISHI a metaphysical horror anime about a guy in turn-of-the-century Japan who can see anti-human, invisible organisms called Mushishi. Not much has been heard since, but now the cast is being announced and so far we've got Jo Odagiri in the lead role, with Esumi Makiko (PISTOL OPERA) and Yu Aoi (HANA & ALICE, MEMORIES OF MATSUKO) also starring.

July 27, 2006 at 02:04 PM in News | Permalink | Comments (1)


Sir Run Run Shaw Sir Run Run Shaw - the big cheese of the Shaw Brothers - is in the hospital.

The papers say he's doing fine and will get better.

Sources close to the family say that that's not the case and that things don't look good.

July 27, 2006 at 12:38 PM in News | Permalink | Comments (6)


Elisha Cuthbert, the Canadian who plays Kim Bauer on 24 and who co-starred with Paris Hilton in HOUSE OF WAX, is in "final talks" to take the Jeon Ji-Hyun role in the remake of MY SASSY GIRL. The movie's logline appears in Variety as:

"Cuthbert would play a reckless, brazen girl who turns the life of a small-town guy from the Midwest upside down. Production is scheduled to start Oct. 16 in Gotham."

Oy vey. MY SASSY GIRL seemed to be such a product of Korean movies and culture, and such a delicate mix of melodrama and knockabout comedy, that I have a hard time imagining the things that made it work translating to this remake, but you never know. I promise not to judge it until at least November.

July 27, 2006 at 11:55 AM in News | Permalink | Comments (3)


Venice's Golden Lion It's in Italian, and I don't speak Italian, but here's the Asian line-up of this year's Venice Film Festival and the whole festival is a doozy:

In Competition
PAPRIKA - Satoishi Kon's new animated film
MUSHISHI - this is weird. Here's Katsuhiro Otomo's live action movie that only just announced its cast. Is it further along than we've been informed?
EXILED - directed by Johnnie To.
HEI YANQUAN - Tsai Ming-liang's latest movie
SANG SATTAWAT - the latest from Apichatopong Weerasethakul.

Out of Competition
THE BANQUET - we all know what this is. Zhang Ziyi. Yuen Wo-ping.
TALES OF EARTHSEA - the Studio Ghibli film.

Out of Competition Midnight
ROB B HOOD - Jackie Chan's latest is in Venice. Apparently the confusion was over whether it was going to be the opening film or not. Not whether it was going to be there at all.
SAKEBI - a new movie from Kiyoshi Kurosawa starring Koji Yakusho and Jo Odagiri.
JAKPAE - a new flick from action ace Ryu Seung-Wan.

KOOROGI - a new Shinji Aoyama flick.
TAIYANG YU - a film from Ho Yu-hang
MABEI SHANG DE FATING -  Liu Je's new flick
OPERA JAWA - from Indonesia's Garin Nugroho. I don't think it's an opera about jawas. Star Wars fans: stand down.

Horizons Documentary
DONG - Jia Zhangke doing a documentary?


And Park Chan-Wook's on the jury. Anyone wanna send me to Venice?

Also, anyone who knows more about these titles, feel free to chime in. It looks like Gu Changwei didn't finish his movie in time to be included, unfortunately.

(Thanks to everyone who sent in info)

July 27, 2006 at 10:32 AM in News | Permalink | Comments (12)


Jung Doo-Hong Hong Kong has Yuen Wo-ping. Thailand has Panna Ritthikrai. And Korea has Jung Doo-Hong, who founded the Seoul Action School and has provided the action choreography for the best of the best movies. He appeared onscreen with Ryu Seung-Wan in CITY OF VIOLENCE and now he's coming to NYC to make LJ Films' first English-language movie, COMEBACK. LJ says that Korea's level of production now outstrips the Korean market and that the US B-movie market may actually be more lucrative than the entire Korean market put together. So they've set up an office in the US and are putting up around $3 million to shoot COMEBACK.

Jason Yee will star, and the movie sees him play a cop who's going after gangs in Chinatown and who gets framed for something or other and has to go to Korea to beat some people up and clear his name. I go to Chinatown a lot and the only crime I see is spitting in public and overpriced souvenirs being fobbed off on tourists, but then again it's quite possible I missed something.

It's set for completion in 2007 and the first draft of the script has been finished. I wonder if the Weinstein Company will be involved? They seem to have a taste for Asian action movies and a love of bargains so this could be right up their alley.

July 27, 2006 at 10:00 AM in News | Permalink | Comments (3)

July 26, 2006


Roger Horta sends in this photographic evidence that SPL will continue to change names the way I change my socks, which I do only when traveling to a foreign country. In Spain, the SHA PO LANG DVD bears the name DUELO DE DRAGONES which in English, surprisingly, does not mean "Where is the place to wait for the bus?" but "Dragons Duel".


July 26, 2006 at 01:18 PM in News | Permalink | Comments (7)


Kim Ki-Duk's TIME

What Korean movie has been sold to more countries than Bong Joon-Ho's THE HOST? Kim Ki-Duk's TIME, of course. At Cannes it sold to 15 territories, and then after appearing at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival it sold to 9 more for a total of 24 territories, which is more than Bong's film. Of course, THE HOST has been sold to North America and TIME hasn't, which seems to be par for the course now as Kim's SAMARITAN GIRL and THE BOW didn't sell to North America either.

Now TIME is playing at the Toronto International Film Festival which means it'll sell to even more territories. Not bad for a flick that cost $1 million to make and which, to my knowledge, doesn't even have a Korean release date in its future.

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

July 26, 2006 at 10:41 AM in News | Permalink | Comments (3)


Jonathan Lee and Drunk Jackie Chan

Poor Jackie. If blogs like this one would only leave him alone his drunken grandstanding at Jonathan Lee's concert would quickly fade into obscurity and he could get on with his life. Unfortunately, people like me keep doing things like posting links to an English-subtitled video of Chan's entire "I'm so drunk" song and dance cycle. I like to justify my actions by saying that I'm doing it for Jones.

(But I'm not the only one at fault. Blame Al. He sent the link. He started it.)

July 26, 2006 at 08:35 AM in News | Permalink | Comments (3)


The Toronto International Film Festival has just announced its Midnight Madness line-up which is heavy on the horror and light on the Asia. But the crown jewel is the North American premiere of Bong Joon-Ho's THE HOST. It's a year in Toronto that's easy on the Asia so this easily qualifies as the best Asian film at Toronto 2006.

July 26, 2006 at 07:47 AM in News | Permalink | Comments (0)

July 25, 2006


IRON TRIANGLE Tsui Hark's been hard at work shooting IRON TRIANGLE and photos from the set are starting to pop up online. Simon Yam, Sun Honglei and Louis Koo look wet and dirty. Simon Yam tells a bad joke, Sun Honglei tries to find him a chair, Louis Koo says "I don't know this guy."

You can read more about filming over on Louis Koo's blog. Between taking care of some drama with his Singapore fan club (and going "to Singapore for propaganda"), staying out of the heat (no sun bathing!) and resolving some "technical problems about acting" he's been in a food stall with Simon Yam shooting IRON TRIANGLE.

(Check Monkeypeaches for more stills)

July 25, 2006 at 01:14 PM in News | Permalink | Comments (0)


In all the angst over the whole "Weinstein brothers remake SEVEN SAMURAI with Donnie Yen and Zhang Ziyi" story, which jumped off the internet and into real life, another Akira Kurosawa remake slipped under the fence. Kadokawa is planning a SANJURO remake starring BAYSIDE SHAKEDOWN's Yuji Oda in the Toshiro Mifune role. The cast of SANJURO is currently learning how to hack and slash and shooting is expected to start in September for a 2007 release. Morita Yoshimitsu (THE MAMIYA BROTHERS) will direct.

And Kadokawa also has the remake rights for YOJIMBO.

(Thanks to Ryuganji)

July 25, 2006 at 12:06 PM in News | Permalink | Comments (3)


TOHO - the Japanese studio has 10 films in 2006 that have broken the 1 billion yen barrier (about US$8.5 million) which is the "blockbuster" mark for a Japanese film. These include MEMORIES OF MATSUKO, UMIZARU 2, DORAEMON, CRAYON SHINCHAN, STORMY NIGHT, SUITE DREAMS (aka HOTEL ECSTASY), TRICK 2, STAR REFORMERS, and CHEKERATCHO.

THE HOST - advance tickets were on sale for the July 27th opening of Bong Joon-Ho's monster movie, THE HOST, and they sold out in 30 minutes. That's all the advance tickets. On about 100 screens. Totally gone in 30 minutes.

METROSEXUAL - the Thai comedy from Yongyoot Thongkongtoon of IRON LADIES opened to a decent 5 million baht (about US$131,000) on its opening day last Thursday. Distributor GTH has its fingers crossed that it'll make back its US$1.2 million budget theatrically since they need a hit right now after their Laotian soccer movie, LUCKY LOSERS, was protested by the Laotian government and they now need to either scrap it or remake it. You can read a review of METROSEXUAL here.

JAPAN SINKS - the remake of the 1970's disaster movie, THE SINKING OF JAPAN, opened to almost 1 billion yen on its first weekend (actually 981 million yen) and it looks set to hit the 8-10 billion yen mark during its run. This is despite some pretty lackluster reviews.

July 25, 2006 at 10:09 AM in News | Permalink | Comments (1)

July 24, 2006


KFC uses 'Seven Swords' in Chinese promos

The delicious seven herbs and spices in the Colonel's secret recipe for Kentucky Fried Chicken are loved by everyone, around the world, without exception. But now, some Chinese people who are concerned about their "culture" and their "traditions" are kicking up a stink! How dare they! But before the Colonel puts the royal smackdown on these dissidents, let's hear their side of the story.

In the interests of serving China some real food rather than the ridiculous diet of "rice", "vegetables" and "meat that is not chicken", KFC introduced the delectable cumin seed BBQ chicken burger. And to do so, they used a "Seven Swords of Mt. Tian" based on the character designs from Tsui Hark's recent not-so-hit movie, SEVEN SWORDS. Using the catchphrase "When the Master comes down the mountain, something important must be happening under the heavens," KFC portrayed an ascetic, vegetarian, Taoist monk who feeds the cumin seed BBQ chicken burger to some swordsmen, one of whom is also a vegetarian. KFC also has an online game based around the same theme, declaring, "The seven swords are ready to come down Tianshan to stop the chaos.  While the six swords are ready to go, the youngest swordsman did not want to go.  What will make him come down the mountain?" I bet it's a delicious cumin seed BBQ chicken burger!

The ad caused a mini-outcry in China. Even the Chinese Taoist Association doesn't like the ad (declaring it "rubbish") and KFC has adopted a wall of silence, responding to all queries with, "Cumin seed BBQ chicken burger was a limited period promotional item.  The promotion period is over, including the relevant television advertisements.  Thank you for your attention."

All I can say is: why don't we all just simmer down and enjoy a yummy cumin seed BBQ chicken burger?

(Thanks to EastSouthWestNorth)

July 24, 2006 at 04:58 PM in News | Permalink | Comments (0)


The Venice line-up slowly emerges, like an elephant approaching us across a foggy marsh.

Taiwan's DO OVER by Cheng Yu-chieh has been invited to Critic's Week (I don't know anything except it's described as "an ensemble drama"). Gu Changwei's film is in a rush to get finished in time for Venice. According to his assistant, Gu is racing to finish it in time and he wouldn't be racing if he didn't think he stood a chance.

Jackie Chan's ROB-B-HOOD was invited to screen out of competition. But Jackie turned down the invitation. Apparently he'd rather stay home and play with the new Jones. I miss the old Jones but Jackie has already forgotten about Jones. Jones' Clubhouse, the number one site for Jones news, seems to be closed. Jones has only been missing for a week. He could still come back!

July 24, 2006 at 01:40 PM in News | Permalink | Comments (2)


Wilson Yip's SHA PO LANG aka KILL ZONEIn 2005, Tony Jaa (whose real name is Panom Yeerum) made a movie called TOM YUM GOONG. It's now playing all over the world, but everywhere it goes it seems to get a different name. In the US it's going to be called (Tony Jaa is) THE PROTECTOR. In Europe I've seen it under the name HONOR OF THE DRAGON. And now, in the UK, it's being called WARRIOR KING.

Sort of like the way Wilson Yip's SHA PO LANG was called SPL or SHA PO LANG pretty much everywhere until it arrived in America and at immigration had to change its name to KILL ZONE.

And speaking of Wilson Yip, his DRAGON TIGER GATE is set to open this weekend in Hong Kong, and reviews are already starting to show up online. SHA PO LANG did exceedingly well for a Category III movie and with its big budget, more family friendly rating, and two major stars in the lead (Nic Tse and Shawn Yue) it looks like it might make a big sack of cash at the box office. Hell, it's already in the Guinness Book of World Records for having the world's largest punching bag. The sky's the limit now!

July 24, 2006 at 12:28 PM in News | Permalink | Comments (15)


A sharp-eyed reader reports that CURSE OF THE GOLDEN FLOWER is showing up with a December 22, 2006 release date over on Box Office Mojo? Is it real? Could Santa be bringing us all a new Zhang Yimou movie for Kwanza this year?

July 24, 2006 at 11:59 AM in News | Permalink | Comments (0)


Johnnie To's restaurantDo you like red wine? Do you like cigars? Are you someone who finds manly men awash in red wine and sucking on cigars attractive? Then Johnnie To's got a place for you! Hong Kong's number one working director has just opened a restaurant in the little city that never sleeps, specializing in cigars and red wine. And look, there's Lam Suet (and is that Francis Ng?) drinking red wine and probably about to enjoy a cigar. You can see more pictures (including Lau Ching-wan not enjoying red wine) over here.

(Thanks to the sharp-eyed reader who put down his cigar long enough to send this in)

July 24, 2006 at 11:25 AM in News | Permalink | Comments (0)

July 21, 2006


YouTube has a good-looking trailer/music video for Ning Hao's hit comedy, CRAZY STONE, and it actually looks like a good movie.

(Thanks to Danwei for pointing this out)

July 21, 2006 at 01:27 PM in Trailers | Permalink | Comments (0)


"They don't like the feel of cold hard steel on their butts," says a Japanese teacher, explaining why many of his students won't use his school's unheated toilet seats. But the greater problem is that "most of these boys simply have no idea how men are supposed to dispose of their bodily wastes," he says, lamenting that too much pampering is raising a generation of men who can't use a urinal, don't flush, and will only "go" on a fancy toilet.

Someone who does like the feel of cold hard steel on his butt is this cab driver, caught on video beating the tar out of a passenger who upchucked in the back of his cab. The passenger retaliates by hugging the cab driver tightly and pulling down his pants.

You'll feel like upchucking when you hear the new plans of Bruce Lee's family to drag a little more cash out of Lee's death. Brother, Robert Lee, says he and his sibs plan to release a book this November and then a movie showing people the "real" Bruce Lee. Stephen Shin will direct and Robert, Peter, Agnes and Phoebe Lee will all participate. Didn't Betty Ting-pei do this already?

Andy Lau squeezes Miriam Yeung's breast The big question is whether the Li'l Lees will squeeze money out of Bruce's corpse as hard as Andy Lau is squeezing Miriam Yeung's right breast in this photo? And how unhappy do Miriam's breasts make Andy? Look at his face - this is a man doing what a man must do. In an attempt to keep Andy happy and comfortable, Joey Yung reveals that she's lost weight recently and is now an A-cup.

Joey's cup-size isn't the only thing lost in Hong Kong, it turns out that Jackie actually did lose Jones, his dog, right before he got drunk and embarrassed himself at Jonathan Lee's concert. Maybe Jones had the good sense to run away in order to avoid having his ears stretched, but I think what really happened is that Jackie got rid of Jones and replaced him with this younger and softer Jones. Damn you, Jackie. Damn you all to hell.

July 21, 2006 at 01:25 PM in News | Permalink | Comments (7)

July 20, 2006


MIAMI VICE posterIt's definitely not as bad as I thought it would be. I'm talking, of course, about Michael Mann's MIAMI VICE remake which stars the odd trio of Jamie Foxx, Colin Farrell and Gong Li. The shoot was troubled, Colin was hiding gallons of hard liquor in his stomach and also possibly mountains of narcotics in his nose, Gong Li looked silly in the photos and plus, come on, it's MIAMI VICE.

But I'll tell you a secret.

I love MIAMI VICE. A lot. When I was growing up it was the coolest thing I'd ever seen - its heavy MTV playlist rotation, its scalding neon, its kewl attitude...it blew my eyelids right off. I remember in the third or so season there was an episode where Sonny was busting up a snuff film ring and then he found out that the girl who was set to be the star victim in the next movie was doing it voluntarily because she had a terminal illness and wanted to send the money back to her family. Frustrated, Sonny broke up the producer's house with a baseball bat and then stalked off down a dark, neon-smeared alley, sunk in a funk of moral relativity. This blew my young mind. How could something this good be on television?

And it had cool music. And no one had socks. And, in a world of pretty television people, Edward James Olmos' crater face was downright shocking, and to an acne-smeared teenager it was a warning: your skin really could get that bad for the rest of your life if you picked at it. This was heavy stuff.

So here comes Michael Mann's MIAMI VICE feature film and it's such a completely faithful remake of the TV show that it's a failure as a movie. The whole two hour and twenty minute movie feels like Episode Three in Season Two of a great new VICE revamp. Unfortunately, that makes it a weak movie. Jamie Foxx might be good, but I couldn't tell because like the TV show, Tubbs is second fiddle. Maybe third. Colin Farrell does a spot-on Don Johnson imitation and his hair looks like Johnson's signature 'do if it had run away off his head, spent some time living off the grid in a jungle, and then come back years later looking like sasquatch.

Gong LiAnd Gong Li? She's fine - she fits in perfectly with the rogue's gallery of able supporting actors. She looks good, and with her make-up scraped off she looks younger than she's looked in a while. Her Spanish sounds great, but her English gets a little stiff at times. And apparently one of the woes of being an international drug lord is that you can't buy clothes that fit. In one scene you see her bra and it's cutting into her back like a razor blade going through a marshmallow. And in a lot of the scenes she's obviously wearing a girdle and there's the occasional skirt that won't zip up all the way. But, you know, the wages of sin, I guess. Later, after she's been liberated by Sonny's love she's allowed to wear some more casual, loosely-fitting outfits but by that point she and Colin are cooing to each other in sexy talk which is kind of tough to take.

Gong Li and Colin FarrellNow, Gong Li can dance, which surprised me, but she still can't add a lick of dignity or feeling to a scene where she does Colin Farrell in the back of an SUV and then gazes into his eyes and purrs, "Hola, chico." And her tough woman dialogue ("I know where to find the best mojito.") sounds like the worst TV writing ever. But as long as the movie lets her be a middle-aged, single, Hong Kong investment banker type who's into money and maybe some mullet action, she turns in some good work.

MIAMI VICE always had great guest stars, and Gong Li joins the ranks of Wesley Snipes, Willie Nelson and Julia Roberts in MIAMI VICE's great guest stars gallery and she acquits herself just fine. But overall this flick is hurting for three reasons: 1) no story, 2) no sense of humor, 3) no theme song. I expected to hear the good o'l MIAMI VICE theme song blaring out like there was no tomorrow, at least once. But nope, never happened. You do get "In the Air Tonight" over the closing credits but otherwise: no pop hits + no theme song + no awesome clothes = no fun.

July 20, 2006 at 10:18 AM in Film Reviews | Permalink | Comments (21)


Mark ChengMark Cheng, a familiar face from 90's Hong Kong movies, is the rugged leading man who was always just a little too weird to become a movie star. Instead he wound up playing a series of colorful and intense bad guys and romantic rivals, culminating in his hilariously cool as ice role in ELECTION 2 as a super-efficient triad enforcer with a running meter in his head.

Now it turns out that he's in THE ROGUE, the new movie from Jet Li. Mark's busy opening his restaurants (called "Flame") in Malaysia but he took some time out to reveal that he was in Canada getting kicked in the face for THE ROGUE and that it'll come out in 2007. This info isn't even in IMDB yet!

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

July 20, 2006 at 07:40 AM in News | Permalink | Comments (2)

July 19, 2006


In the middle of a blah review of the new Japanese disaster remake, THE SINKING OF JAPAN (which gives the film two yawns out of four), there suddenly pops up some offensive fun facts from EVERYONE OTHER THAN JAPAN SINKS, the parody film made by Minoru Kawasaki (CALAMARI WRESTLER and BEETLE, THE HORN KING). Apparently when the foreign leaders all come to Japan they're bummed out and hang around in bars drinking, the big movie stars can't get work and there's something called the GAT (Gaijin Attack Team) that shows them what's what. As the reviewer says:

"It's most likely that foreigners will be outraged at this terrible film. It's amazing that it was even made. But as absurd as the film may be, it's uncanny. It certainly lingered with me longer than its counterpart, "Nihon Chinbotsu."

July 19, 2006 at 11:34 AM in News | Permalink | Comments (2)


Everyone's trying to game the Venice Film Festival's line-up and a sharp-eyed reader is translating and sending in the news that's making it into the Chinese language press.

- Ann Hui has submitted her Chow Yun-fat film, THE AUNT'S POSTMODERN LIFE to the selection committee.

- Gu Changwei (PEACOCK) seems to think his latest movie won't be ready in time for submission

- Johnnie To is in a position to submit both EXILED and THE SPARROW (his pickpocket flick) to Venice, but although Screendaily reports that both movies are wrapped, the Chinese press says both are still shooting. This is pretty typical of To: he shoots so many movies at the same time that it's difficult to know if one if done yet or not.

July 19, 2006 at 10:30 AM in News | Permalink | Comments (1)

July 18, 2006


Thank goodness Little Sam likes to take walks around Hong Kong. While trotting around the city a few days ago he chanced upon this alternate - and much better - poster for DOG BITE DOG and snapped a shot of it that he's allowed me to put up online. Thanks, Little Sam. This is one of the best movie posters I've seen in a while.


July 18, 2006 at 11:26 AM in News | Permalink | Comments (6)


Stephen Chow, who makes movies far too slowly for my taste, has announced that KUNG FU HUSTLE 2 is on hold (thank goodness) while he goes into production on A HOPE, his sci-fi movie. The flick is set to start shooting in August in China's Ningbo and Chow has revealed the plot. He'll play an astronaut who lands on another planet and, with the help of a robot, he develops a father-son relationship with a young alien. This could be horrible, and it certainly gives me the heebie jeebies just hearing about it, but Chow has forged gold out of lesser concepts than this (although you still can't convince me that 60 MILLION DOLLAR MAN was good) so he earns the benefit of my doubt.

July 18, 2006 at 08:35 AM in News | Permalink | Comments (9)

July 17, 2006


The biggest story about the Chinese film industry story in the recent issue of Variety is the fact that it's a big story. Taking up the cover of the magazine, the article (attributed to "Variety Staff") talks about recent 15-car Hollywood pile-ups on the road to China. Citing the yanking of the DA VINCI CODE at the height of its run, the delay of MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: 3 and the fact that it's unknown whether PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN 2 will hit Chinese screens, the Variety Staff goes on to wonder if China is intentionally trying to undermine Hollywood movies playing in China in order to increase the box office of Chinese film.


I think most Chinese film industry watchers feel that China is for Chinese films first and foremost, and that SARFT (State Administration of Film, Television and Radio) is interested in pushing Chinese films before anything else. The article's key paragraph:

"While most individual instances of release difficulties for foreign movies can be attributed to plausible explanations, taken together the list of complaints looks to some like the manifestation of a policy to suppress Hollywood's B.O. in China."

Things have reached the point where the Motion Picture Association - always eager to try anything that'll help crack the Chinese market and that annoying "20 foreign films per year" cap - has commisioned an internal report to examine what's been going on. And while I don't think there's any god-given right to have your movie industry be an open market, China is a member of the WTO and as such they could face a suit regarding "restraint of trade" which could possibly be devastating and force China to either have their markets forced open on someone else's time table, or they would have to withdraw from the WTO.

But, again, there's not a huge story here - I'm sure the MPAA commissions internal studies like most of us have hot dinners. But the fact that Variety is putting this on the cover means that something around this story has probably been changing recently and while there may not be one specific news item to peg the story to, things are heating up. Developments are almost certain.

July 17, 2006 at 01:52 PM in News | Permalink | Comments (1)


There's a name for the much-rumored three-director Hong Kong film coming out later this year: IRON TRIANGLE. Monkeypeaches is reporting the plot of this US$5 million film directed by Tsui Hark, Ringo Lam and Johnnie To. With Louis Koo and Simon Yam set to participate, each director will take a 30 minute chunk of the film and try to flummox the guy coming after them.

Tsui Hark will take the beginning, which is about a bunch of guys kvetching about money troubles and getting approached by a mysterious stranger who gives them a treasure map. Ringo Lam will take the middle, and Johnnie To will take the end. They're starting to shoot by the end of July and they'll combine the footage later and it's no accident as to who's taking what part. Apparently each director is working to their acknowledged strength: Hong Kong film biz folks think that Tsui Hark kicks off in style, while Ringo Lam is great at amping up the plot twists and drama and that Johnnie To is always a good finisher.

Sun Honglei (the General in SEVEN SWORDS) and Kelly Lin are also set to star.

July 17, 2006 at 12:36 PM in News | Permalink | Comments (2)


Nakamura Shido Anyone who saw PING PONG will remember Nakamura Shido, who plays Dragon the bald-headed ping pong technician able to grind opponents into carbon dust with little to no effort. Shido pops up frequently in Japanese film - and he's in the upcoming Jet Li movie, FEARLESS - but he's most famous as a kabuki actor, a trendy young guy whose image brought a gust of hip to what's generally considered a musty artform.

Now he's too hip to handle after being arrested for running a red light and driving under the influence. He also had a pretty young woman in the car with him - despite being married - but he claims that they're "just friends."

Shido has already held his mandatory "I'm so sorry" press conference and things could go either way: depending on what happens next they'll either keep on hounding him, or the cameras will pack up and go home. Whatever happens, he's already been hit in the pocket book, having had to step down from the NHK series, HAGETAKA, which is set to hit the airwaves in September.

July 17, 2006 at 11:29 AM in News | Permalink | Comments (3)


Imawano Kiyoshiro Japanese hard rocker, Imawano Kiyoshiro, was admitted to the hospital over the weekend with cancer of the larynx.

Kiyoshiro is best known as "Richard" the all-singing, all-dancing black sheep from the House of Windsor in Takashi Miike's HAPPINESS OF THE KATAKURIS, and he also appeared last year in Miike's GREAT YOKAI WAR.

His distinctive croak has the ability to peel itself off a soundtrack and attach itself to your ears and once you've heard it you'll never forget it and can spot it within two seconds flat.

Here's hoping he'll be up and singing again in no time.

July 17, 2006 at 10:01 AM in News | Permalink | Comments (0)

July 14, 2006


It looks like we were wrong yesterday about FEARLESS coming out on August 4. Although the FEARLESS website says that Jet Li's latest flick will be released on 8/4, the film's publicist says it's being released on September 22nd, and there's another official website (an even more official official website) that lists the release as Sept. 22. Which now puts it in the position of coming after The Weinstein Company's release of THE PROTECTOR (aka TOM YUM GOONG).

July 14, 2006 at 03:01 PM in News | Permalink | Comments (0)


official DOG BITE DOG poster Good news for folks who wanted to see DOG BITE DOG but were a little worried that the production company, Sameway, might not have the clout to get it into the more popular theaters.

A sharp-eyed reader sends in the link to the official site and it says that Golden Harvest is releasing DOG BITE DOG and if anyone has the clout to get it into the best theaters it's Golden Harvest. They've got distribution muscle to spare.

And look, there's the official DOG BITE DOG poster, too.

July 14, 2006 at 01:04 AM in News | Permalink | Comments (3)

July 13, 2006


Rogue Pictures has scheduled their now-annual Jet Li release, FEARLESS, for August 4 and they've re-titled it: JET LI'S FEARLESS. Which is either a contraction or a possessive, I'm not sure which.

Now the Weinstein Company is unleashing TOM YUM GOONG in US theaters on August 25th (this is the shortened, international version) which is awful soon to do a big press push, but nicely scheduled to take advantage of any coattails FEARLESS generates. Not to be outdone, it looks like the title/tagline they're working with is TONY JAA IS THE PROTECTOR.

July 13, 2006 at 04:18 PM in News | Permalink | Comments (7)


It's not much to go on, but Wisit Sasanatieng (TEARS OF THE BLACK TIGER, CITIZEN DOG) has so many projects up in the air right now that I'm grabbing onto any solid ground I can find. A while back it was announced that he has a new movie coming from Five Star Entertainment which was a horror flick being written by one of the writers of ART OF THE DEVIL 2. Five Star was rattling the cup for cash in Cannes and now their website has a new clue about the movie:

THE UNSEEABLE: October 2006


Wisit Sasanatieng's THE UNSEEABLE

July 13, 2006 at 02:10 PM in News | Permalink | Comments (0)


Drunk Jackie Chan Ming Pao is reporting that Jackie Chan, drunk as a skunk, climbed onto the stage in the middle of a Jonathan Lee concert and demanded that Lee sing a duet with him. Jackie had been a guest performer at the Sunday night show, but no one had told him that this was now the Monday night show. And no one let him know that there actually was a musical director, either, because Chan tried to conduct the band himself leading to a long, painful interval while he stopped and restarted the music several times.

The audience, who were there for Lee (an extremely popular Taiwanese singer/songwriter), passed the time by heckling Jackie who took offense and began to insult them from onstage. Jackie then helpfully explained that he was drunk.

Several local papers have published accounts of the incident, and here's a rough version of what happened in all its cringe-worthy detail.

Jonathan Lee and Drunk Jackie Chan Towards the end of the show, Jackie climbed onstage and graciously informed the audience of his condition. "I rarely show up at this kind of occasion drunk, but tonight I'm really drunk." Then he started things off on the right foot by telling the audience, "Diu lei lo mei," which means, roughly, "F--- your mother." "Oh, damn," he said. "I just swore."

Jackie went on to say that he had just been out drinking with 20 Japanese friends. "What did I say? I can't quite remember. Damn, I'm really drunk...I have to apologize." He bowed to the audience. "I apologize to everybody. I shouldn't be onstage drunk. But I know that if I made a fool of myself you guys will be happy, so I'd rather make a fool of myself."

Things seemed to be back on track - Jackie's drunk but sorry, he knows what people want to see - and he sung two songs. But he still wouldn't get off the stage. He tried to sing a third song. Some audience members began to shout, "Go home," "Shut up," and "Very irritating." Jackie ignored them, but he couldn't take it when Jonathan Lee looked at his watch. "Why are you looking at the watch? I'll pay [for the fines] if the show runs over. Why do you look at your watch all the time?"

The band began to play. Wrong.

"Shut up!" Jackie shouted. "You play music only when I tell you to! Now we sing 'True Heart Hero' [Chun Sum Ying Hung]"

Jackie tried to act like a conductor but the keyboardist started playing.

"How arrogant! I haven't even started to count one, two, three! Where do you come from?"

He began to sing but the audience started booing. Jackie finished the song and apologized again. "We thank Jonathan for coming to MY concert. I've disturbed your show. Thanks to Jonathan for letting me come on to the stage. There was a crazy man out here."

Journalists jumped Jackie on his way out of the venue. "I'm really ashamed of myself," he said. "I'm so sorry." Although the next day, Jackie denied he was drunk the previous night. Tell that to Jonathan Lee, who wound up having to pay HK$40,000 in overtime charges to the venue. Or Jackie's oft-criticized son, Jaycee Fong, who said he was embarrassed. "I hope this will not happen again," Jaycee cringed. And tell that to the Hong Kong Tourism Board who made Jackie their ambassador years ago and spent all of the next few days trying to get in touch with Jackie's management to discuss the incident.

According to some fans, this isn't the first time Jackie has revealed his inner stage-hog. During a Dandelion concert some folks say he also jumped onstage, also apparently under the influence. But there is an explanation. There's word floating around that over last weekend Jackie lost his dog. Oh dear god no. Not Jones.

(Thanks to Jennifer for ringing the "Celebrity Misbehavior" alarm)

July 13, 2006 at 09:36 AM in News | Permalink | Comments (8)

July 11, 2006


Ning Hao, director of MONGOLIAN PING PONG, has apparently woken up from his artistic nap for his black comedy, CRAZY STONE. He said he wanted to invent a new style of Chinese comedy and he's succeeded: the movie has been the number one Chinese movie of the first half of 2006, and in its second week it actually increased its business by 100% rather than falling off by 50% as is common.

Most impressively, the movie hasn't been pirated. No copies are available on the streets and none are available for download. Are Chinese pirates getting patriotic? Is it even true?

July 11, 2006 at 01:00 PM in News | Permalink | Comments (2)


Korean actor, Bae Young-Jun, (aka Yonsama) is so popular in Japan that middle-aged housewives beat each other to death just to get a whiff of his sweat. But now his popularity becomes...more popular? Korean film, APRIL SNOW, by Hur Jin-Ho and starring Yonsama, made so much money when it was released in Japan that they had to open a second mint. Now, the Director's Cut of APRIL SNOW is set to come out on September 9 and advance tickets have just gone on sale (July 7 was T-day).

The crowds were so large that the ticket sellers just gave up and opened two hours early. The sales were in the 9,000 ticket range. This set the record for largest first day sale for advanced tickets ever for any movie in Japan. Tours were arranged for people who wanted to come in from out of town and buy advanced ticekts. Five housewives were so excited that they set their hair on fire and ran through downtown Osaka screaming, "Yonsama! We greatly respect your acting!" Rumors fly that the moon is carving itself into a giant statue of Yonsama's head.

But the real loser in all of this is a dejected Jay Chandrasekhar who wonders why this kind of hoopla didn't greet the premiere of his Unrated Director's Cut of THE DUKES OF HAZZARD. Sometimes, life just isn't fair.

July 11, 2006 at 11:55 AM in News | Permalink | Comments (2)


DEMASHITAA! POWERPUFF GIRLS Z Powerpuff Girls! Taken from American TV and excitingly reverse engineered by shifty Japanese scientists in top anime lab! They were supercute but now...it is kind of sexy. Before: their legs were lumpy psuedopods. After: shapely young woman's legs. This is exciting! This is disturbing! Disturbing and exciting? No! It is DEMASHITAA! POWERPUFF GIRLS Z, the latest incarnation of the Powerpuff Girls...now in 3-D anime and on Japanese TV. Look at this trailer! There is Mojo Jojo...but he looks like real monkey.

Sigh. I love this world.

(Thank you Jennifer Young. You bring the news!)

July 11, 2006 at 10:17 AM in News | Permalink | Comments (2)

July 10, 2006


The confusingly-titled new movie from the INFERNAL AFFAIRS team, starring Tony Leung and Takeshi Kaneshiro, revealed its confusing plot in yesterday's press conference and, less confusingly, they revealed that Shu Qi and Chapman To have joined the cast. Monkeypeaches posted the plot description and I'm going to reprint it here so you can get all the convolutions, but go to good ol' Monkeypeaches for photos and more info on the film:

          "Leung Chiu-Wai plays a senior police officer Lau and Takeshi Kaneshiro plays an alcoholic private detective Yau, who was once a cop working under Lau's supervision. Have been maintaining a mentor / protege relationship for many years, Lau and Yau are both involved in the investigation of a murder of an entire family, which is somehow connected to the past of Lau and Yau. Xu Jinglei plays Lau's new wife, who is unwillingly used by her husband for some plot and Shu Qi plays a woman having some unusual relationship with Yau."

July 10, 2006 at 04:50 PM in News | Permalink | Comments (4)


Japan's Prime Minister Koizumi does Elvis

Did anyone not see this picture of Japan's Prime Minister Koizumi - he of the five fingered shuffle and the deep love of Elvis - visiting Graceland with President Bush and a couple of Presley spawn? Bush says he took Koizumi to Graceland to thank him for his unwavering support of the US. Koizumi says he went to Graceland to rock out - look at him go!

And, apparently, he even sang a few lines from the King, starting with "Wise men say/Only fools rush in..." a coded message? Subtle commentary on American foreign policy? And did he mean to exclude the rest of the line "But I can't help/Falling in love with you." ? Is Koizumi trying to say that the invasion of Iraq was because Bush is in love with Saddam Hussein and wanted him all for himself? Is the Iraq War really an affair of the heart?

We'll never really know for sure, but one thing we do know is that when Bush turned 60, Nintendo was there with its claws out. Their gift for the President of the United States? A Nintendo DS Lite and a copy of Brain Age: Train Your Brain in Minutes a Day. They suggest the President use it on Air Force One to train his brain.

(Thanks to the Mutant Frog Travelogue)

July 10, 2006 at 11:45 AM in News | Permalink | Comments (1)


Eddie Murphy in Coming to AmericaA sharp-eyed reader sends in this link to Sina.com, China's massive internet portal (like Yahoo! only in Chinese) which carries a quote from the producer of Zhang Yimou's CURSE OF THE GOLDEN FLOWER. Said producer, Zhang Weiping, says CURSE will be released in the US in December - as if Santa brought it.

Sony Pictures Classic has picked up the rights to the movie and so they seem like the best bet to release the flick in North America although they may license it to some smaller label when the time comes. It'll be interesting to see the treatment it gets after Sony's experience with HOUSE OF FLYING DAGGERS - will they still do a huge roll-out? Will it be in the New York Film Festival?

Whatever happens, I'm looking forward to seeing Chow Yun-fat and Gong Li on the big screen again. ANNA AND THE KING and MIAMI VICE just aren't enough for me.

July 10, 2006 at 10:35 AM in News | Permalink | Comments (3)


Variety is reporting that the Tokyo International Fantastic Film Festival (aka Tokyo Fanta) is shutting down. While the festival's director states that this is "temporary" and that the fest is merely "reassessing its purposes and goals" this is the first time this has happened in its 21 year history. Devoted to horror, fantasy and action films the festival offers around 20 features each year as well as shorts.

In today's celebrity and sale driven film festival climate fests like Tokyo Fanta have a limited place. Audiences may love them, directors and production companies may like them a lot, but sponsors stay away. They want red carpets and Naomi Watts with their big logo in the background, not a packed house screening FUNKY FOREST: THE FIRST CONTACT. It's a tough world out there, and I've got sympathy for anyone running a festival like this and having to make some hard decisions.

July 10, 2006 at 10:02 AM in News | Permalink | Comments (0)

July 07, 2006


Korean action Following on the lowkey success of CITY OF VIOLENCE (and, possibly, the HD success MY SCARY GIRL) in Korea, CJ Entertainment has announced that they've partnered with Nabi Pictures and the Seoul Action School to produce a series of low budget, HD action pics. Budgeted at about US$1 million each, there will be 5 in production or development by the end of this year and they will all be directed by young directors, including one helmed by Korea's greatest action choreographer (and the star of CITY OF VIOLENCE) Jeong Du-Hong.

Having a low budget, genre-driven side of the industry is something that has served the American film biz and the Japanese film biz exceedingly well. Let's hope Korea can manufacture something from whole cloth that's just as exciting as what Roger Corman did back in the day, or as Japan's V-cinema did in the 90's and their exploitation cinema did in the 60's and 70's.

July 7, 2006 at 01:49 PM in News | Permalink | Comments (0)


Bong Joon-Ho had his Korean press screening of THE HOST around the Fourth of July and posts continue to spray out like spittle and hit the internet with a sizzle. You can read some insta-reactions over on Korean Film.org's discussion board and you can read a longer, less specific, sort of vague article about the experience on Scribblings of the Metropolitan.

Some fun facts: 1500 monster designs were rejected before director Bong settled on the current one. And Paul Lazar (SILENCE OF THE LAMBS, LORENZO'S OIL) has a small role in the movie.

You'll also see raves tossed around for Bong's first movie, BARKING DOGS NEVER BITE (sometimes called FLANDER'S DOG). I strongly recommend that anyone with any interest in Bong's work check it out. You can read a longer review here or buy a copy here.

July 7, 2006 at 12:58 PM in News | Permalink | Comments (0)


Feng Xiaogang's martial arts HAMLET adaptation, THE BANQUET, looks set to premiere at the Venice Film Festival (out of competition) and is one of the most anticipated movies of the year.

Thank god the Chinese press is covering what really matters: the lonely crusade by Zhang's body double to get her name on the film. Shao Xiaoshan says that she was one of three Zhang Ziyi stand-ins and that her job was to do Zhang's nude scenes. She's miffed that she has received no credit in the movie and, further, that her work is going unnoticed. Speaking on her blog:

"I gave my body to the audience. I don't care whether my name is on the credits but I just want to tell the public that I did the nude scenes."

The Chongqing Evening News said that someone from the Huayi Brothers production company called Shao and threatened her after her statement went public and told her she had to tell people she wasn't Zhang's body double. But the chairman of the Huayi Brothers denies the phone call and says that Shao is promoting herself on the back of the movie and how could she know she's not in the credits anyways since the movie hasn't been shown to the public?

The story is developing.

July 7, 2006 at 12:28 PM in News | Permalink | Comments (2)


Toronto International Film Festival programming is slipping out all over as different companies announce their participation before the festival makes its official press statement.

The first film to go under the wire as a selection: Takashi Miike's BIG BANG LOVE, JUVENILE A.

Thanks, Shochiku!

July 7, 2006 at 10:20 AM in News | Permalink | Comments (0)


Soi Cheang's DOG BITE DOG

Soi Cheang's DOG BITE DOG has been given a release date - 8/17/06 - and a rating - Category III - in Hong Kong. It's going to be about 109 minutes long. The cast will include Edison Chen, Sam Lee and Lam Suet.

And look for a Soi Cheang interview on this site early next week.

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

July 7, 2006 at 09:49 AM in News | Permalink | Comments (3)

July 06, 2006


News? Rumor? Both? Does it matter anymore? So someone is saying that the SPY HUNTER and HE-MAN projects, which once had John Woo attached, are dead as disco. But then other folks are coming along and saying "Not so!" and that John Woo is merely no longer attached but that doesn't mean the projects are dead, just less marketable.

And check out what happened to that Zhang Ziyi/SEVEN SAMURAI remake tidbit from a while back. It recently popped up in last week's Entertainment Weekly. Either it's true, or this is the internet's reality and we all just live in it.

July 6, 2006 at 01:12 PM in News | Permalink | Comments (0)


Simon Yam Simon Yam was supposedly taking a role in Olivier Assayas' new movie, BOARDING GATE, but he has just turned it down. Assayas had thought he could shoot BG in Hong Kong so Yam could work on two movies at once, but he couldn't find the right kind of river in the HKSAR and so he'll have to shoot elsewhere and Yam said "bye bye" to the project.

What could keep Yam out of Western arthouses? A role in the JIGSAW project, the three-part film directed by Johnnie To, Ringo Lam and Tsui Hark which looks like it's set to roll into production soon.

And he's not the only one eager to work with To. Lau Ching-wan has started coughing up the info about his new Johnnie To movie, which is supposedly his first serious movie with Milkyway in a long time. He says that he'll have some kind of mental illness in the movie, and he'll have a "normal" and a "fat" look in the film, but less like Andy Lau in LOVE ON A DIET and more like Tom Hanks in CASTAWAY.

And, finally, you can head over here to see pics from the ELECTION 2 premiere at Cannes. Look at all them penguin suits!

(Thanks to a sharp-eyed reader for the translations and info)

July 6, 2006 at 11:07 AM in News | Permalink | Comments (1)


Li Shaohong, who directed the absolutely stunning BAOBER IN LOVE, has just wrapped production on her horror/suspense flick, THE DOOR.

Starring Chen Kun the film was shot in Chongqing, and judging by the poster it's going to be as visually striking as BAOBER.

Li plans to work with a Hong Kong composer on the score, and this is her first feature film in 3 years (since BAOBER, in fact). Based on the web novel, DIVERGENCE, the script was written by Simon Sun, a USC grad, but I can't find much about the plot anywhere.

Li Shaohong's THE DOOR

July 6, 2006 at 08:57 AM in News | Permalink | Comments (5)


Publicity pics for Zhang Yimou's CURSE OF THE GOLDEN FLOWER are hitting the web, and you can see all of these courtesy of MonkeyPeaches. Check out the cast member asleep in the picture in the upper left-hand corner, and I really like the pic immediately below it where Chow Yun-fat is wearing his Big Pimpin' face while Gong Li seems annoyed over having dropped some candy down the front of her dress.


July 6, 2006 at 08:26 AM in News | Permalink | Comments (8)

July 05, 2006


A sharp-eyed reader sends in this double whammy for SHA PO LANG. Not only does it look like it's going straight to DVD in the US via the Weinstein's Dragon Dynasty label (street date, Sept 12) but it also looks like it's going straight-to-DVD in France as well, courtesy of Pathe's Angel Star Asian DVD line. I think the street date is October. France is probably one of the most important territories for foreign films and since it's going straight-to-DVD there it will probably go straight-to-DVD everywhere.

So, the SHA PO LANG story? Goes to Toronto, everyone gets excited, gets picked up by Weinsteins, gets invited to about a million film festivals, turns down every invitation, and goes straight-to-DVD. That's showbiz!

Also, it looks like Image has picked up the rights to the Pang Brothers' RE-CYCLE, DIARY and FOREST OF DEATH, which means that despite their good box office back in Hong Kong (RE-CYCLE looks to have taken in about HK$4 million over its opening weekend), these flicks will go straight-to-DVD in the US.


July 5, 2006 at 12:20 PM in News | Permalink | Comments (7)


Corey Yuen's latest movie, DOA: DEAD OR ALIVE, has its official site up, complete with a trailer (and more trailers are here) and judging by what I've seen this movie looks bad enough to be good.

- Devon Aoki (daughter of Rocky Aoki, who brought Benihana's to the world) in the cast

- Eric Roberts and Robin Shou in the cast

- five girls with samurai swords (the Asian, the Cowgirl, the ninja, the All-American girl, and the Cameron Diaz)

- a fight on a yacht

- a bra kung fu scene

- scenes set in the Build-Your-Own-Asian-Movie funpak: bamboo forest, ancient temple, wide staircase lined with fluttering banners.

Has Corey Yuen turned into Andy Sidaris? And, more importantly, can he turn back?

July 5, 2006 at 11:50 AM in News, Trailers | Permalink | Comments (3)


Tony Leung Chiu-wai and Takeshi Kaneshiro are starring together in CONFESSION OF PAIN the new film from the INFERNAL AFFAIRS/INITIAL D duo of Alan Mak and Andrew Lau. Set in Hong Kong, the movie has two conflicting plots and three conflicting titles. Media Asia says that Tony Leung and the two directors are working on a movie called BEHIND THE SIN about a guy who helps a friend investigate his father-in-law's death, while Andrew Lau said he was working on a movie called THE WOUNDED CITY with Leung Chiu-wai playing a bad cop working with a drug lord and Takeshi Kaneshiro playing a good cop out to bust him. Monkeypeaches speculates that they are in fact the same movie.

And that there's a poster for CONFESSION OF PAIN, another title for the Leung/Kaneshiro film which, interestingly enough, isn't showing the Hong Kong skyline even though the flick is supposedly set there. Lazy artwork, or a clue?


July 5, 2006 at 10:42 AM in News | Permalink | Comments (1)


I'm back and Kaiju Shakedown is back in business with daily posts about totally irrelevant things that actually don't matter in the great scheme of things but seem awfully important at the time.

July 5, 2006 at 10:21 AM in News | Permalink | Comments (1)