News Links - 12/19/08

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News Links - 12/19/08

Postby dleedlee » Fri Dec 19, 2008 3:10 pm

Stephen Chow no longer buzzing to be "Green Hornet" helmer
Creative differences cited

Shaolin Popey child star Kok Siu-Man grows up
Reunites with costar Sik Siu-Lung in Taipei
Sik Siu-Lung recently graduated from high school in NY

John Savage costars with Ge You in Zhen Zhong's Gasp
Kelly Lin, Chen Bo-Lin, Liu Hua round out cast

Lin Chi-ling's voice dubbed over for "Red Cliff II" ... bb342.html

Sweet 'Ponyo' a Visual Delight
"Ponyo on the Cliff" ... 36325.html

All's Well Ends Well 2009 cast at Macao Venetian
Raymond Wong and Sandra Ng
Louis Koo and Shen Lijun?
Image ... 2510.shtml (more)

Miao Miao heading to Berlin Film Festival
Asian pics make Berlin youth draw
Lala's Gun and Miao Miao join Mei Lanfang/Forever Enthralled at Berlin

Lady Cop & Papa Crook
A woman lead makes all the difference in Felix Chong and Alan Mak’s new film ... flict.html

Ip Man
To many Wing Chun master Ip Man was a great role model. But not to the director of his film biography.
And short interview with Ip Man's son Ip Chun ... 20war.html

Ip Man ... 20man.html
If You Are The One ... 20one.html
Forever Enthralled ... alled.html
Desires of the Heart ... heart.html
Legendary Assassins ... assin.html
All About Women ... women.html
Tokyo! ... okyo!.html

What's in a remake: what happens when a Korean horror film goes Hollywood?
The Uninvited vs A Tale of Two Sisters ... mes-Korean

Is the world ready for Cicakman?
Cicakman 2: Planet Hitam (Black Planet)
WHATEVER you may have to say about a common housepest being the basis for a superhero, the numbers don't lie.

Malaysian film Cicakman was a surprise hit in 2006 when it raked in almost RM6 million ($2.5 million) at the Malaysian box office. It collected $60,000 at the Singapore box office.

The sequel, Cicakman 2: Planet Hitam (Black Planet), opened last Thursday in Singapore, Malaysia and Brunei.

Its director, former boybander Yusry Abdul Halim, 35, believes it will top the record-breaking achievements of the first film.

For a start, he's aiming at the international film festival circuit.

Cicakman 2 had its world debut in October at the 13th Pusan International Film Festival, heading a list of Asian superhero flicks as part of a special programme at the festival. Other movies featured include India's Krrish, Thailand's Mercury Man, the Philippines' Lastikman and Japan's Gekko Kamen.

In the Cicakman films, the Gotham-like city of Metrofulus gains a superhero when a slacker lab technician (Malaysian comedian Saiful Apek) accidentally drinks coffee contaminated by a virus-infected gecko and turns into Cicakman.

His nemesis is Professor Klon (Aznil Nawawi), responsible for infecting the people of Metrofulus with viruses in the first film.

In Cicakman 2, the superhero battles Klon again as the evil scientist tries to control the world's water supply.

The movie also stars Fasha Sandha, Sharifah Amani and Tamara Bleszynski.

Said Yusry in a phone interview from Brunei, where he was promoting the sequel along with Saiful: 'It was kind of strange for us, because we never thought we'd debut a Cicakman film at a film festival.

'I think it's the first time superhero movies are making their debut at a festival. 'I didn't expect anyone to turn up, because it was an 11am screening. But it was a full house! That was very encouraging.'

Yusry said he is also glad to move past the Spider-Man and Batman comparisons that plagued the first film.

Instead, he claimed that the international audience showed great interest in his movie.

How did he do it?

The main thing he was asked: How did he make a blockbuster action film with only three people working on the computer-generated imagery (CGI)?

Said Yusry: 'That's what most people seemed to be impressed with.

'Everyone's so used to Hollywood movies where huge teams of people work on their special effects. So some of the Americans I'd met were very, very encouraging with regards to the quality of what they saw in Cicakman.'

That is why Yusry and his producer brother Norman are exploring the idea of taking the film to more markets.

It will open in Indonesia next month and talks are underway for the film to reach markets in Thailand, Vietnam, the Philippines, Korea and the US through home video or television.

He said he is excited to get the movie out to even more places, especially Western markets, but he'll have to wait to see how the film performs at the box office in the region.

It raked in over $540,000 in its opening weekend in Singapore, Malaysia and Brunei.

In comparison, the first Cicakman took in over $830,000 in its first week in Singapore, Malaysia and Brunei.

Yusry acknowledged that the 'current economic climate' may make it difficult for the film to achieve the 'one million tickets' he is aiming for.

But that may not be the only reason.

Reviews of the movie have been dismal.

The Straits Times called it 'an invaluable how-not-to guide' for superhero flicks, while comments on blogs and forums have been discouraging.

One online blogger even sniped: 'It's so dumb, it's actually funny.'

Berita Harian, however, said the plot was fresh and the movie is saved by Saiful's charisma.

This is precisely the sentiment Yusry hopes more people will bring to the film.

Of the negative reviews, Yusry appeared blase: 'You can never please everyone. I just hope people come in with an open mind.'

He said his only concern as the director was to focus on making the film bigger and better.

But he did listen to feedback from fans and critics about the first film and decided to up the sequel's visuals.

$62,000 costume

This meant devoting a large part of the production to creating CGI for the film as well as spending over RM150,000 ($62,000) on the Cicakman costume.

Most of the money, he said, went to making body moulds for the three people who had to don the suit - lead actor Saiful, his double and his stuntman.

As a result, the sequel's budget increased to RM2.5million, compared to just over RM1.5 million for the first movie.

In addition, Yusry and his special effects team of two, devoted seven months to the CGI, making sure it was an improvement on the first film's effects.

Student Nurmaya Musa, 19, told The New Paper that while she appreciated the film's ambition - she noted a few nods to action scenes from The Matrix trilogy - she felt that the film was 'too much CGI, not enough story'.

'I think it's great that Yusry managed to make the film look good, even with a small team and on a budget, but a more engaging story would have been nice too,' she said.

So will there be a third movie in the pipeline?

Yusry cautioned against speaking too soon, saying: 'Of course we'd love to do another one, but we'll have to see how this one does.

'The thing with these kinds of movies is that they always have to be bigger and better. Or else, what's the point?' ... 68,00.html?

Ballistic - 319 assassination staging on the silver screen ... bb342.html

Radio program
China's Love Films
Chinese Romantic Films
Songs from Love Films

Malaysia: Lesbian kiss sets tongues wagging in Histeria ... index_html

Wayne Lai on winning TVB's "Best Supporting Actor" award ... 10304.html

Sony: Edison Is 'God' To Young Trend Followers
Edison Chen promoting new winter line of clothing
Younger brother Kevin running the business while Edison in exile
Accepts interview to talk about CLOT
Image ... 556/1.html

Fiona Sit and long rumored boyfriend Jaycee Chan
Shawn Yue
Image ... 526568.htm
Joan Lin resurfaces to help promote son Jaycee Chan
Will write lyrics for new song
Image ... 583/1.html

Zhang Ziyi most beautiful person in China ... 343d7.html

Taiwan Pop Stop
Panty liners, knickerless and how to turn down a marriage proposal ... 2003431519

Patrick Lee profiled
CEO of and cofounder of

Rock Records expands reach in China ... cd9a5c2299

Lee-hom Wang Talks to CNN about Conductorial Debut

A Scandal-Triggered Marriage
Hong Kong actress Vivian Chow is going to marry her disloyal beau Joe Nieh
Image ... 414/1.html
Speculation arises from one mainland pundit that Joe Nieh-Zhang Mao affair a publicity stunt to boost Vivian Chow's farewell concert.
Report that the couple is in poor financial circumstances due to Joe's debts and Vivian small income due to being
partially retired. Miffty just a pawn used by Ni Zhen. ... 497/1.html

Whale Song
Wilson Tsang’s new album links the ocean’s largest cetaceans with the soul of modern man. ... uency.html

HK gov't "dissatisfied" with ATV debacle
ATV faces Legco probe as station infighting rages ... con_type=1

Man wins case vs "human flesh search engine" ... sment_life

Triad attack suspected in minibus torchings ... con_type=3

Girl caught in adoption tug-of-war adjusting to new life in China ... index.html

Pet lovers protest cats on the menu in China ... at_protest
Last edited by dleedlee on Fri Dec 19, 2008 8:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Gaijin84 » Fri Dec 19, 2008 5:46 pm

Louis Koo needs to cut back on the bronzer... jeez! :shock:
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Postby Brian Thibodeau » Fri Dec 19, 2008 7:27 pm

What's in a remake: what happens when a Korean horror film goes Hollywood?
The Univited vs A Tale of Two Sisters ... mes-Korean

This clown lists three reasons, why the remake will automatically be superior, based solely on comparing the trailer for the U.S. remake to the entire original film:

1) A More Concrete Narrative: The original film is somewhat challenging to put together. Two viewings were required for me to put this film together in any sort of cohesive way. There is a twist part way through the film which throws many earlier events into question and the film is split between multiple perspectives, making a clear understanding of events difficult. Just from the trailer for the remake, I feel like I have 95% of the story.

2) The stepmother: In the remake Anna believes that her stepmother has killed another family and has found evidence to support this. In the Korean film, the sisters gain some small evidence toward the end of the film, but it never fully materializes.

3)The Ghosts: In the remake, several of the ghosts are people that Anna believes the stepmother murdered and are supposedly there to warn her. In the original, they are undifferentiated ghosts. The fact that they have no identities means that they have no clear motivations in the story. They aren't trying to warn the sisters and while their presence helps reveal truths, we never know whether this is their goal; they are simply there. Possibly the agents of revenge, or something else...

She also reveals quite plainly that she didn't "get" the original at all. Ghosts? WHAT ghosts? I suspect she was too distracted (or dim?) to figure out the Korean film in one sitting, so because SHE needed a second one, the "concrete narrative" of the remake will be better by default. :roll:

If the remake has actual ghosts (and "victims" of the stepmother--sheeesh!), then it's clearly been dumbed down. I hope this won't be the case, but I'll be waiting to rent the DVD to find out anyway.
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Postby Gaijin84 » Fri Dec 19, 2008 9:18 pm

did you post that comment in response? If so, nicely put.
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Postby ewaffle » Sat Dec 20, 2008 7:05 am

Just from the trailer for the remake, I feel like I have 95% of the story.

Always a sign of a superior cinematic product.
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Postby Brian Thibodeau » Sat Dec 20, 2008 7:29 am

Gaijin84 wrote:did you post that comment in response? If so, nicely put.

:oops: Couldn't resist. Sadly, she's not the first person I've encountered who completely misread the "ghosts" in the original film. It will be laughable if the U.S. version makes them "real" in some way or other, although I'm sure Ms. Ianni will find that just soooo much more original . . . :roll:

And if I'm not mistaken, the comment has been removed! Guess she'll tolerate no dissenters to her crackpot cinema scholarship! :lol: Dig this chick's bio from the same site:

Lydia Ianni watched Vertigo at 12 and her life has never been the same. She has received a B.A. and M.A. in Film Studies and has worked at a variety of Film festivals. She plans to return to school to study East Asian Film in the near future.

Perhaps she should start with a third viewing of A TALE OF TWO SISTERS so she knows what the hell it's about.

EDIT: the more of her columns I read, the more I realize Linda Ianni is only a few steps removed from The Onion's Jackie Harvey

ewaffle wrote:
Just from the trailer for the remake, I feel like I have 95% of the story.

Always a sign of a superior cinematic product.

Sadly, the numbers of those like her are legion these days. :(
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