January 19, 2009

Red Cliff II And Other East Asian Movie News

The East Asian film industry has been pretty quiet lately. But there are still some interesting news tidbits.

1. As expected, John Woo's Red Cliff 2 - the just released second instalment of the two-part epic based on the Chinese classic Romance Of The Three Kingdoms - has been doing exceptionally well in the box-offices in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan. The movie earned over US$14 million in just five days in Mainland China (incredible!). At this pace, it may become the highest grossing Chinese language movie of all time.

2. Japanese movie Departures (Okuribito) is the only Asian movie to make it to the semi-finalist stage for the Best Foreign Film Award at the upcoming 81st Annual Academy Awards. The final nominee list of five movies will be announced on January 22nd. Starring Masahiro Motoki and Ryoko Hirosue, the movie about the unique Japanese custom of "encoffining", has already won awards at various international film festivals including the Grand Prix des Amériques at the 2008 Montreal World Film Festival. You can find the trailer for the movie at the official site here. Good luck to Departures!

Update 22 January 2009: Departures has made it to the nominee list for Best Foreign Language Film at the upcoming Oscars! See the full list of nominated films here.

3. Donnie Yen's actioner Ip Man - based on the life and times of the legendary kungfu master who founded the Wing Chun school of martial arts - has punched his way to the top of the box-office in China, Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia. Here is the short clip of the fight sequence where Ip Man fights ten karate black belts on YouTube. Great action, but like a lot of other fight sequences where the hero dispatches a whole bunch of lesser thugs in less than 5 minutes, you have to wonder why the bad guy fighters somehow always seem to look like they are waiting in line to fight the hero one-by-one... Wouldn't their chances improve tremendously if they all attack at the same time? hmmm...

4. Feng Xiaogang's romantic comedy If You Are The One (Fei Cheng Wu Rao) starring the sultry Shu Qi and acclaimed character actor Ge You has been a surprise box-office hit in Mainland China. It has already overtaken Red Cliff Part 1 in box-office takings and is still going strong now.

5. Japan's very own big-budget screen version of the pandemic disaster movie genre titled simply Pandamic (Kansen Rettou) has just topped the Japanese box-office over the last weekend, which just goes to show that disaster/epidemic type movies are still very much in demand.

6. Keanu Reeves will take on the role of Spike in a Hollywood adaptation of the popular anime series Cowboy Bebop. Err i don't know about you but I feel that Keanu Reeves who excels in playing powerful but rather expressionless god-like characters (e.g. Neo in the Matrix) does not seem all that suited to play the role of the free-spirited space cowboy Spike...

More movie news next time.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ip_Man_(film), http://www.eonline.com/uberblog/b79405_keanu_saddles_up_cowboy_bebop.html, http://www.variety.com/article/VR1117998388.html?categoryid=2429&cs=1, http://varietyasiaonline.com/content/view/7837/1/, http://www.screendaily.com/ScreenDailyArticle.aspx?intStoryID=42758&Category=, http://www.variety.com/article/VR1117998705.html?categoryId=19&cs=1

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