Shao Xiaoshan, a Chinese woman who claims to have done nude scenes for Zhang Ziyi in the upcoming martial arts Hamlet adaption ‘the Banquet,’ has uncloaked herself.:
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 reports do not state how well-matched the bodies of the three stand-ins are to Zhang, who has a very renowned figure on the mainland. The state-controlled Xinhua news agency has noted that the Oscar-nominated actress is well known for her flat bosom and fat bottom,
Technorati Tags: asia, china, east asia, northeast asia
After endless demands from Western embassies and industry groups, China is seriously cracking down on film pirates…
Oops, our mistake, China is actually cracking down on a pirate film. “Pirates of the Caribbean 2: Dead Man’s’ Chest” has been banned from the big screen due to depictions of cannibalism.:
SHANGHAI (XFN-ASIA) - The Walt Disney Co movie ‘Pirates of the Caribbean 2: Dead Man’s Chest’ has been banned from cinemas in China because it depicts people eating human flesh, the Shanghai Daily reported citing a cinema company official.
‘The movie didn’t get the approval of the state authority,’ an official from Shanghai United Cinema Lines, the city’s movie chain, told the newspaper.
The official, who declined to be named, told the paper the main reason it failed to secure approval was the scenes of cannibalism in the movie.
The scenes are a key part of the movie’s plot and cannot be easily changed or cut, the paper said.
In spite of the ‘Arrr’ rating, pirated copies of the film should still be widely available.
Technorati Tags: asia, censorship, china, east asia, pirates
While there have been several reverences to the parallels between Superman and Jesus in the new Bryan Singer film, AsiaPundit was unaware of previously existing claims that the hero is based on the Hindu deity Hanuman.
Manish points to this passage in .:
So what do you think is India’s connection to probably the most popular super-hero the world has ever seen? Word is that, that the original creators Joe Shuster and Jerry Siegel were inspired from none other than the Indian mythological hero Hanuman and that is how Superman got his flying powers. But that is not all; India too has had her share of the ‘Man of Steel’.
The taken from the 1978 Indian Superman film, a clip of which is available here (tedious, but with a great ’special effect’ near the end).
Technorati Tags: asia, india, playboy, south asia
Simon yesterday offered some commentary on the Motion Picture Association’s latest report on DVD piracy, and specifically its claims about piracy in China.:
“Piracy cost filmmakers US$2.7 billion (HK$21.06 billion) last year, with domestic firms shouldering more than half those losses, according to a study commissioned by a trade group representing the major Hollywood studios. China’s film industry lost US$1.5 billion in revenue to piracy, while US studios lost US$565 million, according to data released Monday by the Motion Picture Association…Some 93 percent of all movie sales in China were of pirated versions of films, according to the latest study.”
Who’s to blame here? Is it the average Chinese worker, who earns maybe 5,000 yuan a year and can either buy a copy for 5 yuan or the original for 10 times as much? Is it China’s government, who’s domestic industry and creativity suffers far more from piracy than Hollywood? Or is it the outdated business and pricing models of foreign companies in the Chinese market?
AsiaPundit is less inclined to support the thesis that movie piracy in China is price driven and would argue that the problem is based on censorship, heavy regulation and a lack of legal channels for distribution. Pirates are on every street corner, but the only legal outlets for sales are inefficient state-owned shops or big-box retailers such as Carrefour. While the pirates can carry everything, the legitimate outlets can only sell the very slim selection of Chinese Communist Party-approved content that is available.
For that reason, AsiaPundit generally welcomes piracy in China. It would challenge a person’s sanity to only have access to CCP-approved material for viewing.
AP expects that many of the most-heard voices complaining about China’s piracy problems are also consumers of pirated products. AP would wager that the vast majority of local American and European chambers of commerce members, Western journalists, local employees of MPAA-affilated companies and even CCP party cadres all buy pirated DVDs or rob television signals trough illegal sattelite dishes and descramblers.
If the MPAA wanted to see less piracy in China it should be challenging the state’s restrictive policies on content. There are many Chinese and expatriates who would buy quality original DVDs if they were easily available, even if they were significantly more expensive than pirated product.
Variety’s Asian cinema blog, Kaiju Shakedown, offers a post today that makes the same point.
“But, as we all know, these numbers regarding China are completely bogus anyways. Because most MPAA member movies can’t be sold in China so they have no loss. China only allows 20 foreign films to be imported each year, and usually 14 - 16 of these are from MPAA members. So what the MPA is talking about in this report isn’t “profits lost to pirates in China” but “profits lost to closed markets in China”.
Technorati Tags: asia, censorship, china, east asia, piracy, northeast asia
For relaxing times, make it Suntory time. Akira Kurosawa and Francis Ford Coppola relax with Suntory. .:
Technorati Tags: asia, east asia, japan, northeast asia, Kurosawa
In this 1942 cartoon Superman takes on and defeats ‘Japoteurs’ seeking to steal the giant bomber.:
In our more enlightened age, superheros are generally no longer used for propaganda. Batman will soon be going after al Qaida, but Superman generally avoids conflicts with other nations.
Generally, but not always. In the 2003 Superman Giant Super Special, a series of short stories that were reprinted by Singapore’s Gotham Comics, the Man of Steel takes on the People’s Liberation Army, twice saving the fictional mountain nation of Bhutran from an invasion.
Bhutran seems very much like T!bet - although there are some noticeable differences. For instance, the he Da..lai Lama’s equivalent, the Rhana Bhutra, has a daughter (with whom Superman enjoys such activities as sharing a hot tub).
And, also unlike T!bet, Bhutran is never invaded. The PLA do attempt an invasion but Superman, in his own words, “gave the communists something they haven’t had in a long time … the fear of God!.”
Technorati Tags: asia, china, east asia, japan, northeast asia, superman
Although Shanghai has been attracting scores of Western filmmakers, the city is unlikely to become the Hollywood of the East, due in part to overly sensitive authorities.
Danwei notes that Tom Cruise’s latest may not hit the screens in China after it offended Shanghai’s sensibilities by showing commonplace things such as drying laundry.:
The much-anticipated film “Mission: Impossible III” may be kept out of China for “tarnishing the image of Shanghai,” Shanghai-based newspaper Xinmin Evening News reported over the weekend.
With 20 percent of its scenes shot in China, the action-thriller starring Tom Cruise has been expected to achieve box office success here.
Cruise shot part of the film in Shanghai last year, and his Shanghai press conference attracted nearly 100 reporters from different media.
The film could well have offended the Shanghai authorities. In the film, when Cruise stepped into the metropolis, he saw rags and underwear drying outdoors in side streets, rather than views of Shanghai’s shining skyscrapers. Shanghai’s image was further tarnished by the film’s awkward and slow-moving “Shanghai police,” according to the Xinmin Evening News.
Industry insiders told the Xinmin Evening News the authorities were yet to make a decision on allowing the film into the mainland. The film’s import has been delayed indefinitely, industry insiders said, adding that the ban was probably caused by the “negative Shanghai image.”
In other Shanghai movie news, AsiaPundit picked up the new DVD of a film shot largely in the city: UltraViolet, starring Milla Jovovich. If you can stop staring at Ms Jovovich’s midriff, you will note the Pearl Tower and Jinmao Building in the background.:
In spite of the generally hot Jovovich, the film was thoroughly unwatchable. This review at IMBD sums up the film quite well.:
I had hopes for this movie based on the trailer, but it turned out to be one of the worst I’ve ever seen.
The special effects range from mediocre to kinda cool, but the plot is too sketchy and absurd to justify their existence. Milla Jovovich’s hair and jacket change colors for no discernible reason throughout the film. I think the pretty colors are supposed to distract us from the incoherent script, but it doesn’t work…
If you appreciate Milla Jovovich’s body, it might be possible to enjoy this film by renting the DVD and watching it with the sound off and your techno MP3 collection blaring in the background while you do something productive, like picking the gunk out from beneath your toenails. Or you could spare yourself the pain and just get The Fifth Element instead.
Shanghai’s architecture, in spite of the city being “Ground Zero in the Blood War being waged between humans and her kind in what’s left of Shanghai,” looked good. That would please authorities.
Still, we can be thankful that the film will likely offend local sensibilities enough that Mainland residents will never have to endure it on the silver screen. The film is set in the future where apparently Shanghai is ruled by Laowai, something that would surely upset the CCP. As well, the only Chinese in the film are a group of hybrid vampire gangsters called the Blood Chinois - all of whom are killed by the protagonist.
AsiaPundit recommends avoiding UltraViolet at any cost. Although the ‘Shanghai-curbside Special Edition DVD‘ does offer some interesting subtitles that actually improve the dialogue.
UPDATE: A reader has informed us that the leader of the Blood Chinois was played by Vietnamese American actor Duc Luu — which means that there were no major roles by Chinese actors or nationals. Given the wretchedness of the film, that shouldn’t upset them.
Technorati Tags: asia, censorship, china, east asia, northeast asia
AsiaPundit is a fan of Joss Whedon, but the latest rumored venture sounds disturbing.:
Remember when the big story was about Lindsay Lohan as Wonder Woman? Well, now keep the director, and the actress, but change the movie title, and you have Lindsay Lohan as Sailor Moon.
That’s right,, according to , Japanese anime magazine Animage is reporting that Fox has acquired the film rights to Sailor Moon, and they want Joss Whedon (currently writing and directing Wonder Woman) to direct, and of course, they want Lindsay Lohan to star.
I think this is spurious at best, but only time will tell. I’m not sure if people are still fans of Sailor Moon, except as a source of sexual fantasy, but I’m sure whatever fanboys there are out there are probably not happy. Then again, I’ve always thought Lindsay Lohan had a particularly cartoonish look to her.
(via Brian David Phillips)
Technorati Tags: asia, japan, northeast asia, whedon, sailor moon
For a truly impossible mission, try getting a big-budget Hollywood movie simultaneously released in China.:
M:I:3, the last best hope for Tom Crusie to regains some public credibility, thought it was doing all the right things. It shot in China for over a month, it’s an official co-production, the script was submitted for - and received - approval, and China Films receives a credit. But despite the fact that THE DA VINCI CODE is getting a day and date release in China, M:I:3 is being pushed back to July. A black-out for foreign releases from June 10 - July 11 has been put into place, and M:I:3 had already been pushed from May to June to make way for DA VINCI.
There are no big Chinese productions to be protected during this period, and the producers of M:I:3 are gutted since this 10 week pushback means that piracy will eat up almost all their potential profits in China. Some sources are saying that the depiction of a crime at the start of the movie that the Public Security Bureau doesn’t know about casts Chinese law enforcement in a bad light, but we all know the real reason for the delay: China just likes to mess around and freak everybody out. No one tells China what to do!
Technorati Tags: asia, china, east asia, mi3, northeast asia
While much attention is given to peasant protest in China, with reports generally musing about a threat to the central government, mob violence in India does not get as much coverage. Perhaps that’s because the causes of it are often far more mundane. AsiaPundit can understand resorting to violence when property is seized, but this is incomprehensible.
Via India Uncut:
First, some idiots in Bangalore start rioting because a film-star they like is dead. Immense destruction of property takes place, a policeman is beaten to death, others also die in the violence. A psychiatrist gives soundbytes about this is “a deviant way of expressing love and affection” and “a kind of competitive destruction.”(This link via Richa.)
More at Dateline Bombay:
Yet, its the same city where thousands of youth, among others have taken to the streets following actor Raj Kumar’s demise. Pictures of mob violence are streaming in. The contrast between the engineers working in glass towers on cutting edge technology projects and the mayhem on the streets couldn’t be starker. At last count, four people including a policeman were dead. The policeman was killed by mob.
The 77-year-old Rajkumar gave up acting almost a decade ago. Its tough to believe that the youth pelting stones at policemen across the city today watched too many of his films, if any. None of the television images showed them to be grieving. Instead their faces showed the thrill one usually associates with the satisfaction of inflicting damage on the establishment. Many were performing for the cameras,leaping with joy.
Major IT companies including Microsoft, Infosys and Wipro have shut down their offices. Not really out of choice, considering that the option would be to see their beautiful campuses wrecked or the glass facades shattered. That happened anyway. The government is leading with a two-day state holiday that began yesterday.
Technorati Tags: asia, india, rajkumar, south asia
Via Sparkplugged, news that Japanese filmgoers will soon be treated to smell-o-vision.:
TOKYO — A theater audience in Japan will be sniffing their noses at a new Hollywood adventure film when it opens here this month.
A new service from a major telecommunications company, NTT Communications Corp., will synchronize seven different smells to parts of “The New World,” starring Colin Farrell.
A floral scent accompanies a love scene, while a mix of peppermint and rosemary is emitted during a tear-jerking scene. Joy is a citrus mix of orange and grapefruit, while anger is enhanced by a herb-like concoction.
The smells come from machines under the seats in the back rows of two movie theaters, which create different fragrances by controlling the mix of oils stored in the machines, company spokeswoman Akiko Suzaki said Wednesday.
While the new technology is a welcome advance over previous attempts at blending film with scent, the chosen odors seem more appropriate for an aromatherapy session than an adventure movie.
AsiaPundit hopes that future attempts at smell-o-vision would be better integrated with the plot and setting: the scent of cigars for the Untouchables, perfume for Scent of a Woman, and, of course, napalm for Apocalypse Now.
Technorati Tags: asia, east asia, japan, northeast asia
The Dark Lord of the Sith is not faring well in Asia, getting bested twice by Tokyo’s Finest.
While in Malaysia Darth becomes a towel rack.:
Once I was the most feared man in the Galactic Empire.
I ruled the Imperial Army with an iron fist.
I was an evil and ruthless war criminal.
A mass murderer.
Now, I’m nothing more than a towel holder.
And Darth Made-in-China is long gone, after being sold on December 22.
Technorati Tags: asia, china, east asia, japan, malaysia, northeast asia, darth, southeast asia
Via 3 Yen, witness Gal-Sone.:
The name “Gal-sone” is a play on the Japanese katakana word “gal” (ギャル) means young woman who dresses provocatively in the “gal style” and “sone” which is typical sumo name ending. In this case, the longish (runtime: 09:21) YouTube video in Japanese shows “Gal-sone” constantly adjusting her makeup while sucking up 22 bowls of Okinawa noodles.
Last weekend in Shanghai, China hosted a conference on protecting intellectual property officials and signed the Shanghai Initiative on intellectual property protection.
Hundreds of law enforcement officers, as well as representatives from WIPO and Interpol were in town for two dull days of lectures and possibly a couple of nights of video karaoke (using non-pirated discs, we hope).
By pure coincidence, Shanghai authorities cracked down on two pirated DVD outlets that cater largely to foreigners.:
We’re not sure if the cops just really wanted a cup of coffee or if there is some new law that prohibits fake DVDs being sold at ridiculously expensive prices. We are a little late in getting to this — we were enjoying the nice weekend weather — but it was reported over the weekend that authorities in Changning District fined two “coffee clubs” on Wednesday for selling pirated DVDs:
AsiaPundit has visited the Ka De Club for research purposes (hoping to do some research on the complete second season of Battlestar Galactica, if you must know). AP will note that the coffee shop did carry a better selection of DVDs than the average street-stall vendors.
Also by pure coincidence, the authorities shut down the on-line version of the Xiangyang Market, which like its brick-and-mortar counterpart was selling fake products. Fons points to this item:
SHANGHAI, CHINA — Shanghai authorities have shut down an online store named for a downtown market notorious for selling counterfeit products.
The Chinese-language Web site, http://www.xymarket.cn, had advertised counterfeit products similar to those found in Xiangyang Road market, an open-air bazaar popular among tourists for its wide selection of bargain-priced, “name brand” t-shirts, shoes, coats and other items.
Visitors to the Web site on Friday received an error message saying it was “either nonexistent or closed down.”
By pure coincidence, Friday was also the start of the intellectual property conference.
Strangely, AsiaPundit hasn’t seen this large a crackdown on counterfeit products since hundreds of overseas guests from the entertainment industry were in town for the Shanghai Film Festival.
(photo stolen from China Daily)
Technorati Tags: asia, northeast asia, china, piracy, shanghai
As well as pick on Yahoo! day, today is also Ultraman’s birthday.:
In celebration of Ultraman’s 40th birthday, a news conference was held on March 28th. The highlight of the conference was not just to show off the latest incarnation of Ultraman, Ultraman Mebius, but to reunite the entire Ultraman family.
Everyone looks good in a tux.
Technorati Tags: asia, east asia, japan, northeast asia, ultraman
AsiaPundit’s would apply the usual disclaimer “this is not porn this is pop culture,” but upon consideration AP has decided that this actually is porn - and the videos are clearly not worksafe.:
Trailer about “the inspiration for Kill Bill”, Female Yakuza Tale + Sex and Fury trailers, and The Pinky Violence Collection, Japanese sexploitation movies from the ’70s.
Technorati Tags: asia, east asia, japan, northeast asia, yakuza
This has been blogged extensively elsewhere last week, but for those who haven’t seen it AP is pleased to present .:
Google video is unavailable in China, but the site can be viewed through proxy.
Via Variety’s Asian film blog Kaiju Shakedown, a fascinating look at Malaysia’s censors at work.:
No one really plans on becoming a movie censor. Maggie (not her real name) left Malaysia to attend graduate school in the U.K. She returned to Malaysia to become a university professor but unable to find work she wound up at one of Malaysia’s few private television companies, sitting in a windowless room and watching movies. She’s not the official in-house censor, but her job is to make sure that Muslims in these films are not shown doing “haram” things: drinking, smoking, or encountering pork products. She has generated hundreds of pages of notes that read: “Scene in which the Koran is discussed in relation to belief in the supernatural needs to be further looked into.” When she started she was promised some training, but a year later none has materialized. It’s just her and a VCR locked away in a tiny office.
This is an entirely voluntary project by her television network, which wants to preemptively remove anything that might upset government agencies. This kind of self-imposed sensitivity is crucial in Muslim-majority, multi-ethnic Malaysia, but, at times, it can seem a bit over-zealous. If a movie shows a Muslim girl walking into a restaurant with roast pork hanging in the window the scene is cut in order to avoid offending Muslims.
Technorati Tags: asia, censorship, east asia, malaysia, southeast asia
Jeff in Korea is hosting a hilarious US-produced video explaining why Asian women dig white guys:
And Chinese viewers should appreciate how Indian guys have it worse.
Technorati Tags: asia, china, east asia, india, yellow fever, japan, korea, northeast asia, south asia, southeast asia
Who censored Roger Rabbit? The Communist Party of China!
China’s ancient culture has outlasted famine, Mongol hordes, the British Empire, opium wars and Japanese militarism.
So why is Beijing scared of Tinky Wink?
That’s the member of U.K. kids’ favorite Teletubbies, which aroused the ire of televangelist Jerry Falwell. Now the animated gang has fallen afoul of Communist China–although not for the preacher’s reasons.
See, Teletubbies is a mixed media show, in that it blends cartoons with live action. And that melange is now officially banned by Beijing.
The People’s Republic of China has declared verboten TV shows and movies that blend hand or computer drawings with breathing human actors, in a drive to nurture home-grown animators–and perhaps wean the nation off of foreign cartoons.
AsiaPundit doesn’t care about Tinky Wink - but surely a regime is most wretched if it bans Jessica Rabbit.
This is what AsiaPundit means when he says content-related businesses in China are at risk from political and regulatory whims.
AP was out for dinner and drinks with some fellow hacks last weekend and the Google issue was discussed. AsiaPundit mentioned that he would question any attempt to set up a content business here, noting how poorly News Corp had fared in spite of abiding by requests from authorities that it censor the BBC and not publish a biography by former Hong Kong governor Chris Patten.
A colleague agreed and said: "that’s China!‘
For more on the cartoon ban, Imagethief has some comments on the banning of ""so-called cartoons."
GZ expat notes some of the toons’ that will be banned.
Simon reveals the real reason for the ban.
Technorati Tags: asia, censorship, china, east asia, cartoons, northeast asia
Following up the popular DIY subtitles for Japanese commercials, here’s DIY Bollywood subtitles.:
Technorati Tags: asia, india, south asia
From Asian Sex Gazette:
Cinemagoers in Singapore will be allowed to watch gay cowboy romance Brokeback Mountain without censorship from Friday.
The Guardian reported that despite the island’s strict homosexuality laws and definition of gay sex as gross indecency, film fans over 21 will be able to watch the highly acclaimed movie.
Some groups see this as a sign of loosening censorship in the country and a part of Singapore’s efforts to promote itself as an Asian centre for media, culture and arts.
Granted, only over-21s will be able to watch it in cinemas and promotional material will carry a consumer advisory saying "mature theme, sexual scenes", but some are already hailing the move as a sign of loosening censorship in the notoriously tightly controlled city state.
Brokeback Mountain is the favourite for Academy Award success next month with eight nominations in all the major categories.
Homosexuals face a maximum of two years in prison for gay sex in Singapore.
The film has already been banned in China and Malaysia.
Although the state has backtracked on some of the ‘pro-gay‘ policies of former Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong since Mini Lee has taken the reigns, Singapore has not prosecuted anyone for consensual homosexuality in AsiaPundit’s memory. It’s not quite gay-friendly, but hardly repressive.
The move to allow an Oscar-nominated movie is hardly opening up, it is in line with Singapore’s existing ratings system (putting it in the same category as Kill Bill 2).
That Singapore will allow citizens to view the movie in cinemas is only proper - they would have less chance of seeing it elsewhere. Singapore has very strict anti-piracy laws and could not rely on pirated copies as easily as their Chinese and Malaysian neighbors (Brokeback and the banned Geisha are widely available on almost every Shanghai street corner. And, as the above photo illustrates, also Moscow.)
Technorati Tags: asia, brokeback, east asia, singapore, southeast asia
That is correct, ladies and gentlemen, Bollywood is remaking Fight Club. Apparently the 1999 original version did not have enough muscial scenes for the Indian audiance’s taste.
Trailer 1 - "Rule #1. You break it, you buy it."
Trailer 2 - "Rule #2. Thank you, come again."
Muscial scene 1 - Rain stage in a crowded club where memebers of the fight club dance around a stripper pole, what is that all about?
Muscial scene 2 - Man and woman dance (or dry humping) to the music on the beach, then camera cuts to Fight Club poster.
Musical scene 3 - Esteban clones dance behind the female lead, and she sings "you gotta go fight them".
Muscial scene 4 - With the background looks like came straight out of "The Sound of Music", a young couple shares a song on top of a mountain and log stacks?!
Technorati Tags: india, south asia, asia, fight club
Sorry, that title should have been the diminishing returns of Japan’s horror.:
What if Takashi Shimizu (JU-ON, THE GRUDGE) released a movie and nobody came? That’s exactly what happened with last week’s release of his new movie REINCARNATION (RINNE). A relatively well-reviewed flick, even Variety said that "Local and international success look certain…" but then…psyche! The movie came out and made 98 million yen, 45% of what ONE MISSED CALL grossed.
But that’s just part of the pattern of declining J-horror revenues in Japan. RING 2 and the American remake of THE RING both grossed big, and ONE MISSED CALL did pretty well but every other J-horror flick, including the Hollywood remakes, have made less and less money. Nick Rucka gives a nice recap of the history of Japanese horror movies and looks at the creative deadend this particular trend has reached over on Midnight Eye, and Hoga Central provides a handy graph that charts the declining fortunes of the J-horror wave.
J-horror has been yesterday’s news for a while but now it might just be dead enough that producers stop wringing its corpse for a few more cents.
Technorati Tags: asia, east asia, japan, northeast asia
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Mao: The Unknown Story - by Jung Chang and Jon Halliday:
A controversial and damning biography of the Helmsman.
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