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January 19, 2007


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

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

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

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

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

Bongprotest_250- Thailand? Korea? Both countries had a moment in the sun when they thought they were invincible but have fallen into shadow. Thailand thought it was going to mint money with Tony Jaa and it did mint money, only not as much as they anticipated. Industry infighting and a laughable film festival threw mud on what was left of their self-esteem. Korea made tons of cash in 2005 but in 2006 it discovered that success was a double-edged sword. The film quota system has been cut again, exports have dropped, and local producers complain that management companies hold too much power and certain movies have a monopoly on screens, keeping smaller movies from competing. So what does 2007 hold for them?

- Will Japan keep on keeping on in '07? Japan had a record year in '06 and now it just remains to be seen if this is an anomaly, or if the sudden, massive popularity of Japanese movies is the real dizzle fo shizzle or was it just some kind of crazy bump in the road.

- Will DYNAMITE WARRIOR really be released by Magnolia in Summer '07?

Sperm_250 - Is THE SPERM actually going to be good?

- What about THE BODYGUARD 2?

- Is PROTEGE going to be just another TRAFFIC knock-off?

- Will Shilpa Shetty win "Celebrity Big Brother"?

- Will another celebrity get drunk at Jackie's concert in Vegas and crawl up onstage and sing with him?

- Where's Jones?

- Is MAIKO HAAAN as annoying as it looks or is it secretly a work of genius?

- Will Bollywood start making movies I like again?

- Will CI MA be more like COMRADES: ALMOST A LOVE STORY or more like PERHAPS LOVE?

Cat - Will either of these two posts ever die? Or will Malaysian film fans and Indian film fans keep posting comments and keep this blog alive forever, like the Flying Dutchman?

- Will we ever find out who ate that Japanese lady's toes?

And lest we forget...

- Eric Tsang is Crouching Tiger, Hidden Bacon


- Andy Lau is on your toilet

Andy Lau Celebrity Endorsed Toilet

- Scary, bicycle-riding, phallus devil man.

scary, bicycle-riding, phallus devil man

January 19, 2007 at 04:52 PM in News | Permalink | Comments (24)


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

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

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

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

Goodbye, and thank you. - Grady Hendrix

January 19, 2007 at 04:31 PM in News | Permalink | Comments (56)


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

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

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


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


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

January 19, 2007 at 08:17 AM in News | Permalink | Comments (8)

January 18, 2007


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

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


Bodyguard 2 poster

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

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

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


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

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

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

Ouch! That burns.

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


Shilpa Shetty and Jade on Celebrity Big Brother

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

(Read the full report on Variety Asia)

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


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

Deepa Mehta's WATER

Because we only care about Asian films round here.

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


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

Also: the Pang Brothers continue to make horror films.

(Thanks to Hitman for the news)

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


Yubari International Fantastic Film Festival

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

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

January 17, 2007


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

(See the clip)

(Thanks to Jennifer for sending this in)

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


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

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

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

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

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


Walter Tso Tat-wah

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

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

Full Bio

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


STARFISH HOTELTrailers are everywhere today!

John Williams, a Welshman who directs Japanese movies, has a new flick, STARFISH HOTEL, coming out and the trailer looks gorgeous. The synopsis sounds like a Haruki Murakami novel, and the billowing red drapes look like TWIN PEAKS, and there is a disconcerting glimpse of that DONNIE DARKO bunny, but it's got a lush spookiness all its own. And, of course, Akira Emoto.
(View the trailer)
(read the synopsis)

Twitch has posted a nice teaser trailer for Kiyoshi Kurosawa's RETRIBUTION and although I swore that I'd never watch another Asian horror movie featuring a dead girl with long black hair, let alone a Japanese horror movie featuring a dead girl with long black hair, this looks really good. And it's Kiyoshi Kurosawa who's never been one to just recycle the same-old, same-old. It's playing NYC soon.

And finally, THE HOST, has debuted a new trailer over at MSN. Compare it to the original trailer and you can see that they're really trying to zoom in on a way to make this movie work for American audiences. No Korean dialogue in the second trailer, hardly any reveals of the monster, and they place it firmly in the foreign arthouse movie camp with its shots of family fun and goofy Italian seaside music at the start. It's certainly a more interesting trailer and it feels far truer to the movie. Let's see if it pays off on March 9 when THE HOST opens. There's a lot riding on how THE HOST does - if it flops or underperforms I think you're going to see a lot less interest in Asian genre movies being picked up for distribution for a while, and that would be a real shame.

January 17, 2007 at 09:34 AM in Trailers | Permalink | Comments (1)



So what did foreign films make that opened in New York over this four-day MLK weekend? Well, you had two to choose from. One was TEARS OF THE BLACK TIGER, opening at Film Forum and the other was GURU opening at the ImaginAsian. TEARS is the fave of Western critics right now, getting well-deserved praise from pretty much every single media outlet there is. GURU is the biggest Bollywood film of the year starring two of India's hottest actors and receiving little to no Western press. Both movies opened on one screen. It's the Western critical establishment versus Bollywood stars. Who's got the juice?

Bollywood stars.

TEARS made a very respectable $7,954.

But GURU made $25,139.

You can't fight the power of the paparazzi...especially the Bollywood paparazzi.

(As for DVD sales, I fully expect TEARS to clean up while GURU is probably already being pirated and DVD sales will most likely be only so-so)

January 17, 2007 at 09:13 AM in News | Permalink | Comments (0)

January 16, 2007


Pang ho-cheung

He didn't only have a rough time casting his actors, Pang Ho-cheung also lost his backing from Media Asia for his latest movie. The official reason from a Media Asia spokesman:

"It is because the changing of this project's production scale.  Having Sammi Cheng would make this movie become a major movie; it wouldn't be reasonable for that budget without Sammi Cheng."

Filmko is currently producing the film. You can see more set photos here.

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

January 16, 2007 at 10:23 AM in News | Permalink | Comments (3)


Beggar scam

For anyone who ever swished by a panhandler in Hong Kong without a second thought, Apple Daily has done an in-depth investigation and revealed that they're part of a begging guild so don't feel bad. Apparently there's a group made up of three women and one man who recruit old women in Hunan in groups of ten, bring them to Hong Kong on three month tourist visas, and house them in a dorm in Yau Ma Tei. They're tossed out on the streets at select locations every day with food, water and a mattress and they beg, closely monitored by their handlers. They make about HK$300/day, fork over HK$20 for rent, keep 30% of the money and give 70% to their handlers. After three months, a new batch is brought over.

Forget panhandling. What they really need is Stephen Chow, King of Beggars, to transform them into a fighting force.

(Thanks to EastSouthWestNorth for the translation)

January 16, 2007 at 09:52 AM in News | Permalink | Comments (1)

January 15, 2007


Stills are starting to leak off the set of the American remake of Korean box office hit MY SASSY GIRL. First, a shot from the original starring Jeon Ji-Hyun. Second, similar shot starring HOUSE OF WAX/24 starlette Elisha Cuthbert. You be the judge.

My Sassy Girl

My Sassy Girl remake

January 15, 2007 at 03:47 PM in News | Permalink | Comments (11)


Avant Hong Kong director, Pang Ho-cheung, has received massive attention for his high-concept comedies like I SHOOT, YOU SHOOT (an out-of-work director and hitman team up for a personalized assassination service), MEN SUDDENLY IN BLACK (action spoof of wives vs. husbands) and ISABELLA (corrupt cop discovers he has illegitimate daughter) and now he's getting ready to shoot his new flick (written by the inimitable GC Goo Bi) about a guy who starts to suspect that all women want to kill their husbands. However: casting.

Originally it was going to be Eking Cheng and Cecilia Cheung starring, but they both pulled out. Then Pang cast Anthony Wong and Sammi Cheng but Cheng pulled out for unknown reasons. Rumor has it that she thought the script made no sense. Pang's official reason is the rather catty "I wanted someone younger for the role." Now Simon Yam and Annie Liu are set to star.

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

January 15, 2007 at 12:21 PM in News | Permalink | Comments (4)


Big time B-list Bollywood actress, Shilpa Shetty, has been on Channel 4's Celebrity Big Brother and no one told me?!? Now she's rumored to be one of the contenders for the final two and I had to find out from a Chinese website? Which also told me that she's been wooing 61-year-old Dirk Benedict (Face from The A-Team) on the show?

"Although I can't pronounce her name, which is a hindrance, I've been flirting with her," says Benedict.

Shetty was paid more than anyone else on the show (around half a million US dollars) in order to suck in the South Asian audience since producers didn't think that Jermaine Jackson, Ken Russell and Leo Sayer probably wouldn't appeal to this particular demographic which is increasingly valuable and vital in the UK.

See Shilpa go toe to toe with Jade Goody a previous Big Brother contestant and having the presence of mind to say, "This may be good TV but I don't want to do this."

Still...Dirk Benedict. He's looking awful...strange in these episodes.

January 15, 2007 at 11:46 AM in News | Permalink | Comments (4)


See? The paparazzi was right again. Amitabh Bachchan, proud papa of Bollywood star Abhishek Bachchan, spilled the beans to the press on January 14th after the roka (engagement) ceremony at bride-to-be Aishwarya Rai's house. Abhishek and Aishwarya are currently starring together in the inexplicably well-reviewed GURU right now (which is the biggest onscreen celebration of polyester since SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER) and they're going to also be starring in several upcoming films together including Ram Gopal Varma's sequel to his hit crime flick, SARKAR, and a new movie produced by the unstoppable Karah Johar in 2007. Beyond that they're intent on driving the paparazzi crazy by acting like their impending nuptials are no big deal.

(See the Times Square premiere of GURU with Aish and Abhishek in da house)

January 15, 2007 at 11:23 AM in News | Permalink | Comments (0)


MAIKO HAAAAN is the new movie from Japan's ace oddball writer and director, Kudo Kankuro (writer of: GO, PING PONG, ZEBRAMAN; director of: YAJI AND KITA: THE MIDNIGHT PILGRIMS) and it's all about geisha and baseball and you can see the first teaser for the film over here on Twitch. Some people think Kudo is nothing but empty kookiness, others find his movies exhausting and all over the place, I like to think of them as temporary brain transplants from another dimension. Which isn't to say that this teaser fills me with unholy dread.

(Full plot synopsis and more info on MAIKO HAAAN)

January 15, 2007 at 10:53 AM in Trailers | Permalink | Comments (1)


Jackie ChanSet your watches for February 13th because that's when Jackie Chan will be doing a big Las Vegas performance at the Aladdin. He's part of some oddly-spelt event called FU-SION and he'll be appearing with A-mei, Shin Band, some of the SUPERGIRLS (from China's version of "American Idol") and Liberace. But will he provide as much entertaiment as he did in his last concert appearance?

January 15, 2007 at 10:09 AM in News | Permalink | Comments (2)

January 12, 2007


Seven Swords key artSo I was talking to Brian White (name drop) over at Dragon Dynasty and telling him that I thought SEVEN SWORDS was the best disc they'd put out to date when he said, "Then why'd you give it such a bad review?"


I didn't think it was a bad review, but when I went back and read my KILLZONE/SHA PO LANG review I realized that it was far more positive than the one I gave SEVEN SWORDS. So let me clarify:

SEVEN SWORDS is the best disc from Dragon Dynasty to date. The deleted scenes and the long interviews with the actors and Tsui Hark are exclusive to the disc and they're really valuable if you like the movie.

However, I don't like the movie. I am actually still broken up over SEVEN SWORDS because it's such a missed opportunity - unlimited resources and this is what my favorite director in the world came up with? I weep into my oatmeal.

And that audio commentary...I don't want to pick on Bey more than necessary but I hope the next time he records one of these he remembers that no cares what the white guy has to say.

But those issues aside, it's the best thing these folks have done so far.

January 12, 2007 at 12:49 PM in DVD Reviews | Permalink | Comments (12)


Louis Koo blogs

A sharp-eyed reader sends in news that Louis Koo now has a second blog to go along with his first one. The first blog continues to be updated and you get the occasional juicy detail, such as word from the SHA PO LANG 2 set that his onscreen house just got blown up.

But the new blog is more photo heavy and here's some excerpts:

"The filming of IRON TRIANGLE is close to the end.  Due to the term of the rented location, we have to film days and nights these few days.  The shooting location is quite faraway and open, the afternoon weather is a bit hot, so it's quite tough to work under these conditions."

"If possible, I wish I could turn into Darth Vader."

"Yesterday when I went to buy the rice roll, I was picked pocket by a bastard and had even broken my leg while I was chasing him."

Then there're his collections. Holy cow! Louis Koo is a nerd? I'm loving him more and more. Keep blogging, man!

January 12, 2007 at 12:20 PM in News | Permalink | Comments (1)


Jet Li has a blog Seriously. He does. Listen to him on his new blog:

"I'm just like a newborn baby's father with no idea how to raise the child...So let's raise it together.

Together we can raise this child. I think I am the father.

Let's start from the first day. From today's blog we will start to nurture this child. I hope this child one day can walk, run, and jump! What do you think? Do you agree? I'll leave this for you to think about today."

Whoa. Jet Li is my baby daddy? I generally prefer taller men, but okay.

Actually he's talking about his foundation, The One Foundation, which sort of sounds creepy like some kind of global domination religion from a 70's movie, but is actually the relief organization he's founded with the Red Cross and that he flogs mercilessly on his new blog that he's writing during the filming of CI MA.

A lot of the blog is about how cold it is on the set, getting snacks from Takeshi Kaneshiro, and what a bad actor he thinks he is. Read it. And maybe make a donation too. It's kind of sweet that Jet Li wants to snuggle up to all of us this way.

January 12, 2007 at 11:56 AM in News | Permalink | Comments (1)


Yesterday the new Mani Ratnam film, GURU, starring two of the biggest stars in the Bollywood firmament - Abhishek Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai - made its international debut in Toronto at the Elgin theater where riot police were ready for the millions of fans who probably showed up. No reports on the event itself, but pre-event publicity reveals organizers getting the watery-kneed feeling that they may have bitten off more than they could chew.

If you're in NYC today, then swarm the AMC Empire 25 at some point this evening where it's rumored Aishwarya Rai, Abhishek Bachchan, director Mani Ratnam and composer, A.R. Rahman, are all lined up to put in a special appearance.

If only GURU was a better movie. Here's my review. But then again, I expect to be blown away every time I go in theaters.

(And on a very different note: I just caught PAN'S LABYRINTH and CHILDREN OF MEN and I have to eat some crow and admit that they were both really good. I've really been sick of all the boring movies critics championed in their year-end lists but these two really made me feel like the $452 I spent on tickets wasn't a waste of money.)

(Thanks to Al for the news)

Guru poster

January 12, 2007 at 11:36 AM in News | Permalink | Comments (2)


Artforum The Host What's the point of a blog if you can't disseminate a little unsubstantiated gossip?

This year we're seeing a slew of Asian films get wide releases from Magnolia and Tartan. So what're they up to?

Rumor has it that Magnolia is trying all different kinds of campaigns for THE HOST as they zero in on a way to sell it. As THE HOST bombs in this country, or does better than expected in that country, all hands race around on the deck of the good ship Magnolia trying to figure out how to anticipate problems in the US and how to get around them. On the good side, promotion for the movie started before Christmas and if I could get my new camera phone to work I could post pictures of HOST posters that have been blanketing my neighborhood. And did anyone else check out the latest issue of Artforum? I check it out every month - you know, for all the art - but this month's issue features a massive piece on Bong Joon-Ho written by Gary Indiana.

As for Tartan, they're still getting ready for their release of TRIAD ELECTION, but more employees left at the end of last year and things don't look great for them internally from everything I'm hearing. They're still on track for an April 25 release of TRIAD ELECTION but it just came out in France and while it drew a respectable 1,473 on opening day, this comes out to a per screen average of 264. A far cry from ELECTION's opening weekend per screen average of 2794. Let's see if it's just a slow start or if interested has dropped off this much. If it did, then all hail Tartan for their decision to release just one ELECTION in the US rather than both of them. But strong reviews in France for TRIAD ELECTION may still make a difference.

Also, a bunch of DVDs are coming up from them. There is an exceptionally good cover for TO SIR WITH LOVE, now renamed BLOODY REUNION. Here's the cover for THE BOW and here's the cover for BLOODY TIES.

January 12, 2007 at 11:15 AM in News | Permalink | Comments (1)

January 11, 2007



Um, DREAMGIRLS like totally sucks, okay? And it's not even the crotch-dampening, awesome musical find of 2006 that critics want you to believe it is. This isn't my opinion, it's science. Because I've seen the best musical out of 2006, COLMA: THE MUSICAL. Rough as sandpaper, shot on video, occasionally clunky, a bit too long, so low budget it's through the floor, this is still the best musical of last year and when I finally have a real top ten list from last year (give me another month or two) it's definitely going to be on there. Which I'm sure will be a very exciting moment for the director.

A small slice of post-high school malaise about three kids living in the San Francisco suburb of Colma, which has a higher population of residents buried in the local cemetary than there are roaming the streets, this flick has won a bunch of indie fest awards and it's as long on attitude as it is short on plot. Three friends - Billy, Rodel and Maribel - are hanging out, filling dead end job positions, crashing college parties, buying fake IDs and generally taking up space and trying to figure out what to do with their lives.

There's bad news in the plot department which wears out its welcome and gets too draggy in the second half, and the score is way too synthesizer heavy. But the good news is that this is a movie that actually feels like something that's worth your while. The film's discovery is H.P. Mendoza, who plays Rodel, wrote the music and lyrics, and the script. He's the closest I've heard to Cole Porter or Stephin Merritt - a gifted lyricist with an ear for a turn of phrase and the ability to write a song that's specific in the details but anyone can relate to it.

There's a song scored for a car alarm, a Hulk Hogan look-a-like singing an ode to love that begins:

The ancients say that cupid shot his arrows through the air
Indiscriminately just shooting his arrows everywhere
If I saw an infant with wings just randomly dealing death about
Well I'd kick that baby's ass
Then tear his wings right out

This isn't a perfect movie, the flaws almost balance the virtues, but it's a fresh, funny, unexpected flick that makes almost every musical out from Hollywood in the last few years (and let's throw in Bollywood's output as well) look like lead-footed dinosaurs. And I shut off the DVD humming the songs, and that's something I haven't done in a long time.

You can buy the soundtrack here.
You can read more about H.P. Mendoza here.

If you want to check out the album here's what I recommend:
"Colma Stays" the 4:39 version (not the reprise) for full-on cleverness assault.
"Things Will Get Better" for emo fist-pumping.
"One Day (Part One)" for the most annoying car alarm accompaniment ever.
"Goodbye Stupid" for the lyrics
"Crazy Like Me" for total teenaged mope rock majesty.

You can watch the trailer below: (which gives you a pretty good idea of its flaws).

January 11, 2007 at 08:29 AM in Film Reviews | Permalink | Comments (6)

January 10, 2007


Seven Swords key artSo here comes the SEVEN SWORDS DVD from the Weinstein Company's Dragon Dynasty label and right there on the spine is the number 4. I have to admit it, out of nowhere the Weinsteins have suddenly assembled a DVD imprint like a housing development that springs up overnight. The covers look a little too straight-to-video for me, but the design is consistent between all four titles, they show a lot of range for a martial arts line (three modern movies, one classic; three Hong Kong movies, one Thai) and each disc comes with respectable extras. No "Animated Menus!" listed as an extra, no "Star Bios!". Each disc has pros and cons but more often than not the pros far outweigh the cons, especially in the case of SHA PO LANG (aka KILLZONE) and POLICE STORY (not enough insightful extras, but at least the movie is out on an official Region 1 disc). And now they've gone and done a two disc version of Tsui Hark's SEVEN SWORDS.

My feelings on this movie are so mixed they may as well be a margarita. Produced with what looks like an unlimited budget, crammed with good-looking actors, action designed by Lau Kar-leung with assists from Xiong Xin-xin, Tung Wai and Donnie Yen, and with Tsui Hark at the helm of an evergreen story (basically THE SEVEN SAMURAI) this flick is custom designed to make me excited in a "Not suitable for children" way. So viewing this exhausting, two-and-a-half hour movie with its choppy storyline and shallow characters was a comedown of epic proportions. You can read my original review, but rewatching it again there were two things that leapt to mind. The first was that the action was far better than I originally thought. Watch the movie without expectations and most of the action cracks along, flowing like a river, with some neat character bits and camera tricks bobbing around. The other thing I noticed was that the characterizations were even shallower than I had originally believed. This production was such an epic that pulling it off at all was a well nigh impossible feat, so perhaps it's too much to expect Tsui to pull it off well.

Seven Swords

But you're here to read about the disc: is it tasty, does it blow, what's on it? This is as definitive an edition of SEVEN SWORDS as we're going to get until someone releases the 4 hour version. It seems to have the "Making of" and "Behind the Scenes" material ported over from the Hong Kong discs and they're terrific. I wish someone had edited them into one, massive, behind-the-scenes look at the film but they have plenty of behind-the-scenes glimpses of the production with some nice looks at the wirework and camera rigs that were used to pull off the special effects and a lot of shots of the actors and crew suffering for their art. There's also an exhaustive interview with Tsui Hark, running 45 minutes, where he just talks. And talks. And talks. His English is great and he rabbits on about anything you could possibly want to know. There're interviews with a few other people from the film but who cares? This is Tsui Hark's show.

The two best special features are the audio commentary and the deleted and extended scenes - but one of them was so depressing that I would rather be consumed by wild weasels than sit through it again. The deleted and extended scenes aren't available anywhere else. From what I understand, Tsui Hark provided them for this DVD and they are:

- Master Fu Stealing the Tags
- Master Fu's Night Fight in Village (extended)
- Attack on the Village
- Great Hall Battle (extended)
- Chu's Great Hall Battle (alternate version)
- Death of Luzhu
- Final Fight Scene (alternate version)

Running a few minutes each, these are MOS (the score plays over them) but the picture looks good. They haven't been digitally fixed so you can see which weapons were CGI and the wires are still visible, but they're really interesting glimpses at how Tsui Hark does what he's best at doing: taking his footage and assembling it and re-assembling it like a jigsaw puzzle. I wish there had been some context for why these assemblies didn't work, or why they were cut, but they're a nice addition and unique to this release.

Seven Swords

Then there's the audio commentary with Tsui Hark and Bey Logan. I haven't heard a Tsui Hark audio commentary before but he was great here, full of stories, philosophies, and context for what he was trying to do and what came across onscreen. He's surprisingly undefensive, and critical of his own work. Between this and his interview you can see the movie he had in his head and how much better it might have been than what wound up onscreen.

But there's a problem. See, I talk a lot and in 2007 I've resolved to talk less and interrupt other people only when absolutely necessary. Please, dear God, someone force Bey Logan to make this resolution. I like Bey and I think his heart's in the right place, but he needs to stop talking because his fannish gushing sinks this commentary. On more than one occasion, Tsui Hark starts a story and is interrupted within seconds by Bey Logan reacting to something he sees onscreen. Once Tsui Hark starts talking about how the great battle in the hall where we're introduced to the seven swordsmen for the first time is a major disappointment for him and Bey interrupts to say how some shot is his favorite in the movie. We never get the rest of Tsui's story. In another sequence, Tsui Hark starts to talk about how hard it was to direct Donnie Yen but before you can hear any juicy details, that he seems happy to spill, Bey interrupts him to comment on a camera movement. Why was it hard to direct Donnie? We'll never know. It's exhausting, it's frustrating, and it happens over and over again.

By the end of the commentary Bey is talking on and on, reacting to things onscreen with genuine enthusiasm but not a lot of behind-the-scene knowledge, and Tsui is giving monosyllabic replies punctuated by bursts of conversation that soon get hijacked by Bey and driven down dead end roads.

I love Tsui Hark. I think he's one of the 20th Century's Great Directors (see?) and the idea of him providing audio commentaries for his films is the kind of idea that makes me sweaty and feverish. But this audio commentary was so frustrating that I gave up on it and that's too bad. There's a lot of good information here, but Bey does it a disservice. I'm sorry to go on and on about this but I was so frustrated by this that I just can't shut up about it.

Seven Swords

FINAL VERDICT - this is a good version of the film, with a lot of nice one-on-one material with Tsui Hark and most of the worthwhile behind-the-scenes material ported over from the HK disc. The deleted scenes are terrific, and the only disappointment is the audio commentary which features too much of the interviewer and not enough of the interviewee.

January 10, 2007 at 10:36 AM in DVD Reviews | Permalink | Comments (11)


The Protector key artI'm not a big fan of Tony Jaa's TOM YUM GOONG and somehow THE PROTECTOR was even worse. The idea of watching it again hurts my soul and makes black water drip out my ears. So Running Man, a frequent commentator here, has taken pity on me and done a deep, technical, comprehensive, exhaustive review of the disc, comparing it to all other versions of the movie in existence now or in the future.

Go read it and please try not to think about how many brain cells he lost by exposing himself to the toxic fumes radiating off this disc.

January 10, 2007 at 09:19 AM in DVD Reviews | Permalink | Comments (7)

January 09, 2007


Angry Chinese men Even though this blog took its Xmas hiatus to get pumped full of the blood of young children so that it can continue to lurch forward in 2007, Chinese people didn't stop getting angry at each other.

Shanghai people were miffed at Ang Lee that his Eileen Chang flick, LUST, CAUTION (starring Tony Leung Chiu-wai, newcomer Tang Wei and Leehom Wang) shut down the traffic in their fair city and caused numerous jams. "Sorry," Ang says. Then he headed back to Shanghai for another month of shooting.

Jia Zhangke is mad that longtime Zhang Yimou producer, Zhang Weiping, is mad that he won the Golden Lion at Venice for his flick, STILL LIFE. Weiping told a newspaper that the voting was rigged because the head of the Venice festival, Marco Muller, was an investor in STILL LIFE. Jia wrote an open letter to Weiping saying, "I hope Mr. Zhang will provide evidence to prove that Marco Muller is an investor in STILL LIFE. Your comment has already harmed my reputation and I'm considering resorting to legal procedures."

Angrychinese1 Zhang Yimou finds criticism of CURSE OF THE GOLDEN FLOWER "laughable" especially now that CURSE has beaten CONFESSION OF PAIN at the box office. It wasn't really a fair contest since CURSE was booked into three times the number of screens as CONFESSION even though exhibitors were reporting 95% of the seats available for CONFESSION were sold, and that they had to scramble at the last minute to add a few screens. Nevertheless, CURSE made US6.4 million over the weekend versus CONFESSION's US$3.08 million. This took CURSE to a year-end total of US$24.73 million. But people like Jia Zhangke and others have criticised the move by the industry to make nothing but gargantuan, period martial arts flicks. Zhang Yimou responds by blaming China for this problem. He says that overseas, arthouse movies and big budget movies are distributed through different channels. "You don't see the anger toward big-budget films overseas. There are specialized art-house movie theater networks ... Every genre has its own rules. There isn't a question of who dominates. There isn't a question of survival or mutual exclusiveness."

Huo Yuanjia's grandson is angry that he lost his defamation suit against FEARLESS. The legendary martial artist's last remaining descendant had sued Jet Li and the studio for producing FEARLESS which he said was a libelous and defamatory depiction of his granddad. Not so, said the judge, who felt the wind and found nothing libelous or defamatory in the movie, ruling for the defendants. Grandson is considering an appeal.

Not angry yet, but potentially angry down the road, are the families of Jackie Chan and Chow Yun-fat. After the miscarriage of his daughter, Chow says he and his wife have no further plans to have children and that he's leaving his entire estate to charity after his death. He and his wife are currently speaking to a lawyer to make it so. Jackie also says he'll donate half of his estate to charity after his death. Expect lawsuits.

January 9, 2007 at 12:27 PM in News | Permalink | Comments (1)


Stephen Chow and Edison Chen Caught unawares by the paparazzi. A secret 8pm meeting. Stephen Chow and Edison Chen. They meet to discuss a dance movie with Chow producing and writing the screenplay. Rumor has it that Edison has been offered the lead role by Chow. Nothing firm yet. Let's see what Edison has to say on his blog:

"industry people pray also
pray we dun take too much of ya money away hahahahha"

I don't even know what he's talking about. I am "old".

January 9, 2007 at 12:05 PM in News | Permalink | Comments (10)


Simon Yam is on the cover of Cahiers du CinemaTaking time out from eating unpasteurized cheese and soaking up the Provencial sun, a certain reader who is obsessively keeping tabs on the fate of ELECTION 1 and 2 in France sends in his latest update. And ELECTION looks like it's beating out all comers with opening weekend admissions of 16764 for a per screen average of 2794, the highest for the weekend.

Said reader then whips out some chart action to show that this is a way better turnout than most Asian movies that have played France. Here's their opening weekend numbers for comparison:

OLDBOY - 1164 (Paris) , 535 (all around France)
LADY VENGEANCE  - 974 (Paris), 384 (all around France)
THREE TIMES  - 1577 (Paris), 758 (all around France)
NOBODY KNOWS - 1700 (Paris), 1080 (all around France)
SHANGHAI DREAMS  - 656 (Paris) , 593 (all around France)
BREAKING NEWS -  2102 (Paris) , 497 (all around France)
PTU - 737 (Paris) , 338 (all around France)
THE MISSION - 1028 (Paris) , 391 (all around France)

That's depressing in a lot of different ways. I'm always going to be staggered at just how few people actually buy tickets for Asian movies overseas.

January 9, 2007 at 11:46 AM in News | Permalink | Comments (3)


A sharp-eyed reader sends in this link proving beyond the shadow of a doubt that not only will Shinji Aoyama's CRICKETS and Yang Heng's BETELNUT be playing up at the Walter Reade theater, but Kiyoshi Kurosawa's RETRIBUTION will be playing in Film Comment Selects.

January 9, 2007 at 11:26 AM in News | Permalink | Comments (0)


Simon Yam With CURSE OF THE GOLDEN FLOWER and INITIAL D under his belt, Jay Chou has decided that he's actually really more of a director. SECRETS THAT CAN'T BE SPOKEN, budgeted at US$1.25 million is currently underway with Chou directing and starring. The story is based on tales of his hot and sweaty high school romances...well, his publicist calls them his "love affairs" but if it's high school they're more like his clueless scrumping. Guey Lun-mei and an unknown actress play the recipients of the scrump, while Anthony Wong plays his dad a la INITIAL D. Then, in March, Jay will fly to Shanghai to star in the live action version of the basketball manga, SLAM DUNK.

But watch out Jay Chou! By the time you finish your third film, Simon Yam will be nipping at your heels. In a recent interview, Yam announced that once he finishes his five current projects (Pang Ho-cheung's new movie, TRIANGLE, the PTU tv series, SHA PO LANG 2, and THE SPARROW) he's going to be making an American movie and then he wants to direct. Sometime in 2009.

January 9, 2007 at 11:06 AM in News | Permalink | Comments (5)


At least it's not about revenge. After having his fanny paddled for making I'M A CYBORG (BUT THAT'S OKAY) Park Chan-Wook has announced that his next movie will be his vampire flick, BATS. No details are available, although Hitman on the KFC Boards says that it is also being called EVIL LIVE. I can't think of which name is worse - expect them to change.

(Here's the original article, with the Park news way at the bottom after listing of a whole slew of new projects coming from Hur Jin-Ho and others)

January 9, 2007 at 10:46 AM in News | Permalink | Comments (2)

January 08, 2007


Stupid ninjas. You can't stop Chuck Norris with guns.

Chuck Norris Marvel comic

January 8, 2007 at 11:38 AM in News | Permalink | Comments (6)


internet pinata Joey Yung At Commercial Radio Hong Kong's Award show, Joey Yung earned the nickname "Roast Swan Lake" for her "Swan Lake" looking tutu ensemble, roundly mocked on the internet. But mockery turned to flat-out derision when it turned out the dress was a knock-off of a Viktor & Rolf dress. Yung claimed she'd seen it and been inspired to have her own made and said that next time she'll be smarter and won't copy it exactly. But still, the issue remains, a Hong Kong celeb is pirating intellectual property and refuses to apologize.

According to EastSouthWestNorth she's now an internet pinata.

(You can see the original dress here)

January 8, 2007 at 10:57 AM in News | Permalink | Comments (4)


JACKIE CHAN: KILLJOY The latest installment of Jackie Chan's RUSH HOUR 3 blog is a pre-Christmas post and man is this guy a grump. He goes in to work and the hairstylists are giving each other presents. “The happiest moment is when you first open your present. After you open them, you probably won’t use them and will probably put them away," Jackie says to them.

Then there's the terrible condition of the garbage cans: "For a while, next to every garbage can, a little container was attached for recycling. Now that container isn’t there anymore and nobody seems to have noticed. How can we recycle when there are no recycling containers?"

He even manages to make me feel sorry for Brett Ratner. "When I went to Brett’s trailer today, I saw that he had thrown away two barely used envelopes. I was really upset and told him to recycle. I grabbed him, punched him (lightly) and told him not to waste paper."

Then the crew has the temerity to give him Christmas presents, inspiring one of the most depressing monologues I've ever read.

"I really can’t use most of the things people give me. I thank them but can I really eat another box of candy or chocolate? Should I eat a whole box by myself?...Why did someone buy me socks when I already wear my own custom designed socks? Why did someone buy me wine when I have my own label? Why did someone buy me a tie when I never wear ties unless it’s for my character in a film?"

Merry Christmas to you, too, Jackie.

January 8, 2007 at 10:33 AM in News | Permalink | Comments (4)



It's true! The paparazzi was right. Everyone who denied it was a liar. Black is white and up is down. Happy Monday.

January 8, 2007 at 10:07 AM in News | Permalink | Comments (9)


Wisekwai has a month-by-month rundown of all the Thai flicks hitting screens in the Land of Smiles in 2007. There's a new movie from Pen-ek Ratanaruang, the spermatic monster flick SPERM in March, KING NARESUAN in January, and THE BODYGUARD 2 in February. This is the sequel to Mum Jokmok's Stephen Chow-esque comedy action flick THE BODYGUARD which was bizarre but a lot of fun. You can see the teaser trailer here. Kong Rithdee also gives the lowdown on a bunch of upcoming Thai movies as well.

January 8, 2007 at 09:44 AM in News | Permalink | Comments (0)

January 05, 2007


Ballets are eternal. Who didn't have to sit through the Nutcracker over the holidays with its 50's Balanchine choreography? But why don't dance companies do something that might get real people into seats? Like ballets featuring "Rifle Drill", "Grenade Practice" and descriptions like "Her eyes aflame with hatred, she will wreck this man-beast's lair at the first chance." Bring back China's "The Red Detachment of Women" - after you browse this photo essay on this Cultural Revolution ballet you're gonna want to see the whole thing.


January 5, 2007 at 10:55 AM in News | Permalink | Comments (0)


Hong Kong's first drive-in theater I'm tired of words today. I just want to look at pretty pictures.

Check out this slick pic of Hong Kong's first drive-in theater.

You can see a larger version and read more about how it all works over here.

January 5, 2007 at 10:28 AM in News | Permalink | Comments (7)


One of the nice things about this blog is that I don't have to write about news that I think is boring. So go elsewhere to read about Berlin's competition line-up, because that puts me to sleep. But if you want to stay here, then let your eyes feed on this promo image from Lee Myung-Se's ghost story, M.

(originally posted by Hitman on the KFC forums)


January 5, 2007 at 10:04 AM in News | Permalink | Comments (3)


A sharp eyed reader is keeping close tabs on the fate of ELECTION in France, and after opening on 6 Parisian screens, the news looks good so far. The first-day, per/screen attendance average to date is 506. Compare that to the Parisian first-day, per/screen average of A GOOD YEAR (201), HOLLYWOODLAND (318), BREAKING NEWS (385) and PTU (121).

Related, CONFESSION OF PAIN is going to open in France on March 28 of this year.

January 5, 2007 at 09:34 AM in News | Permalink | Comments (0)


Chen Kaige has tried to make every kind of movie since the major international success of FAREWELL, MY CONCUBINE but he's been greeted with poor box office, critical derision, public parody, and accusations of eco-insensitivity at every turn. So, finally, he's going back to a happy place and his next flick will be a bio-pic of Cantonese Opera star, Mei Lan-fang. Shooting mostly on a set, production will begin in May. Leon Lai and Leehom Wong are rumored to be up for the part of Mei.

January 5, 2007 at 09:14 AM in News | Permalink | Comments (2)

January 04, 2007


The Hong Kong Asian Financing Forum has just announced their new raft of titles - films seeking funding at the upcoming Hong Kong Film Mart. These are the folks who helped get projects like DRAGON TIGER GATE, ONE FINE SPRING DAY, UNTOLD SCANDAL, THE WAYWARD CLOUD and INVISIBLE WAVES off the ground. Not all these projects will see the light of day, many of the most interesting ones will never be heard from again, but some of them will emerge from the primordial slime of film financing and splat onto screens at some point later in their evolutionary cycle.

Clara Law and Mabel Cheung, two blasts from Hong Kong's past, are here with THE MESSENGER and ROMANCE OF THE THREE KINGDOMS: RED ROSE AND WHITE ROSE. Hong Kong artsy box office champ Pang Ho-cheung has NOW SHOWING. Kore-eda is present with NIGHT-FRAGRANT FLOWER which finds a companion piece in Brian Tse's WEE WEE THE POOP. Zhang Yuan = ONE NIGHT IN BEIJING. Lou Ye = THE LAST HOUR (hey, wasn't he banned from making movies in China for 5 years?). UNTOLD SCANDAL's E J-yong weighs in with HOMECOMING. And Kim Ji-Won's THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE WEIRD pokes up its funky head.

(Read the full list)

January 4, 2007 at 10:20 AM in News | Permalink | Comments (0)


Four little reviews today:

Marc Schilling and Tokiko Oba give TEKKON KINKREET rave reviews in their respective publications.

Wisekwai lauds DYNAMITE WARRIOR.

And LoveHKfilm pans CONFESSION OF PAIN even though everyone in it is really good-looking. Jealous.

January 4, 2007 at 09:48 AM in Film Reviews | Permalink | Comments (0)


I could care less about THE TRANSFORMERS movie. I'll probably see it but it's not something I'm spending a lot of time thinking about right now. Nevertheless, look at Steven Spielberg and Michael Bay speaking phonetic Japanese. I like the moment when the Michael Bay-bot is switched on in the first shot and goes from scary looking big corpse to Animatronic Abe Lincoln with relaxed hair. And then Spielberg gets all freaked out and does a little double take, "What's Michaeil Bay doing here? I directed MUNICH."

They crazy.

January 4, 2007 at 09:21 AM in Trailers | Permalink | Comments (0)


Simon Yam is on the cover of Cahiers du Cinema So the Brits didn't like ELECTION, and Tartan won't release ELECTION in the US (instead releasing ELECTION 2 only and calling it TRIAD ELECTION) but the French have made a living of appreciating the fine things like Euro Disney and they really appreciate ELECTION 1 and 2. Look at this snazzy trailer they've cooked up for it. If you read French, cast your eye over these glowing reviews. Look at all those stars! These are more stars for the movie than BATTLE ROYALE or A BITTERSWEET LIFE. Sacre bleu!

ELECTION opened in France yesterday. ELECTION 2 opens on January 10. The reviews are good. The trailer is good. Simon Yam is on the cover of Cahiers du Cinema. Frankly, I smell a big pile of francs.

(Thanks to the sharp-eyed reader who braves the complicated grammar and pronunciation of the French language to put together all this news)

January 4, 2007 at 08:55 AM in News | Permalink | Comments (6)


CONFESSION OF PAIN Andrew Lau, co-director of INFERNAL AFFAIRS, says that he's disappointed in the way THE DEPARTED turned out. "It loses the spirit of my original movie," he moans. That didn't stop him from quickly cashing the $1.75 million check his company got for the remake rights. Now he says that several US companies have approached him about selling the remake rights to his new, poorly-reviewed movie CONFESSION OF PAIN, and maybe directing the remake himself. But he's holding out for $1.75 million for this one and he says he already has a US film he'll be directing in Hollywood with a Western cast starting in June.

Didn't he already direct an English-language movie in Hollywood? Didn't it star Richard Gere? Wasn't it called THE FLOCK? Oh, right. It's been indefinitely delayed.

(Uh oh! Another bad review for CONFESSION OF PAIN. Okay, okay. Andrew will sell it to you for $1.55 million.)

January 4, 2007 at 08:25 AM in News | Permalink | Comments (3)

January 03, 2007


Everyone's releasing DVDs these days, even video distributors like Genius. Mostly they've been sticking to bottom-of-the-barrel J-horror flicks, but now they're upping their game to bring the well-received Korean gangster flick BLOODY TIE to US video store shelves on February 20.

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

January 3, 2007 at 09:22 AM in News | Permalink | Comments (3)


The Bow

Tartan has been busily picking up movies all through the end of last year, despite what looked like major staff cutbacks. Street dates are appearing, thanks to a sharp-eyed reader, and there's a good side and a bad side.

Fortunately, Tartan is releasing the respectable Thai horror flick, SHUTTER, on March 27. And they're releasing the totally disreputable Korean slasher flick TO SIR, WITH LOVE retitled as BLOODY REUNION on March 13.

Unfortunately, they're releasing Kim Ki-Duk's THE BOW straight-to-video. No theatrical release for you, Director Kim. That'll learn you to think you'll get more respect overseas than you do in Korea. The street date for THE BOW is March 27.

January 3, 2007 at 08:40 AM in News | Permalink | Comments (1)


While we've all been on vacation, chewing undigestible flesh and drinking gruesome amounts of corn liquor, the Weinstein Company's Asian DVD label, Dragon Dynasty, hasn't been sleeping. They have been on the treadmill, working out and getting in shape, and they've got more releases lined up than you've had Yuletide hangovers.

First up, the INFERNAL AFFAIRS box set. This is all three IA movies in one sleek little package emblazoned very cleverly with "The Motion Picture Trilogy that inspired 'The Departed'". No details are available beyond a $39.99 price point, and a February 13th release date. (Full cover art here).

On February 13 there will also be a reissue of a Collector's Edition of POLICE STORY 2 with a pull quote from Brett Ratner on the rather anonymous looking cover.

Seven Swords key artOn January 16, however, there's another double shot of Dragon Dynasty with the release of a two-disc SEVEN SWORDS and a two-disc THE PROTECTOR. The specs are as follows:

Running Time:
                     153 minutes
MPAA Rating:
                         English and Mandarin
                              English and Spanish
                                English 5.1, Mandarin 5.1 and DTS

- 7 Deleted Scenes
- Audio commentary with Bey Logan and Tsui Hark
- "Making of" featurette
- Four "Behind the Scenes" featurettes
- Storyboard gallery
- Trailers and TV spots
- Interviews with Tsui Hark, Donnie Yen,  Zhang Jing-chu, and Duncan Lai

The Protector key art THE PROTECTOR
Running Time:
                     83 minutes
MPAA Rating:                       R
Languages:                          English and English/Thai
Subtitles:                              English and Spanish
Sound:                                   5.1 and DTS

- Audio commentary with Bey Logan
- "Making of" featurette called "No Wires Attached"
- "Making Tony Jaa" featurette (I'm not sure what this means. Is he bionic?)
- Director's Guided Tour
- TOM YUM GOONG "Making of" featurette
- Theatrical Trailer



January 3, 2007 at 08:11 AM in News | Permalink | Comments (17)