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Stephen Chow's Mermaid breaks box office recordsFebruary 12, 2016
On February 11, its fourth day of release, Mermaid became the fastest Chinese film to break the one billion yuan benchmark. Previous record-holder Lost in Hong Kong took six and a half days to reach one billion yen last year. At its current pace, Mermaid is all but certain to make China's all-time list; the only question is at what spot. Monster Hunt is currently the biggest Chinese film of all time with box office grosses of 2.4 billion, followed by Lost in Hong Kong and Mojin: The Lost Legend at 1.6 billion. Chow's previous film Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons ranks sixth at 1.25 billion. In Hong Kong, Mermaid also set a Chinese film opening day record with box office receipts of HK$5.56 million, displacing Chow's own Kung Fu Hustle record.
Besides its robust ticket sales, Mermaid has also garnered largely positive reviews from audiences and critics. Chow's modern-day retelling of The Little Mermaid revolves around an innocent young mermaid sent out by the merpeople to seduce and assassinate the rich businessman whose sea reclamation project is destroying their home and well-being. In the process, they fall in love instead. Starring Lin Yun, Deng Chao, Show Luo and Kitty Zhang, the magical tale is filled with Chow's signature nonsensical humor and strong environmental themes.
Text / Sanwei
10th Asian Film Awards NominationsFebruary 4, 2016
Jia Zhangke, who won Best Director in 2007 for Still Life, netted four nominations for his latest Mountains May Depart including Best Film, Best Director, Best Screenplay and Best Actress for his wife and muse Zhao Tao. Other Best Film nods went to Sanjay Leela's Bajirao Mastani, Hashiguchi Ryosuke's Three Stories of Love, Guan Hu's Mr. Six and Ryoo Seung Wan's Veteran. Guan and Ryoo were also nominated for Best Director along with Kore-eda Hirokazu (Our Little Sister).
Following his win at the Golden Horse Awards, "Mr. Six" Feng Xiaogang is nominated for Best Actor again with Donnie Yen (Ip Man 3), Nagase Masatoshi (An), Lee Byung Hun (Inside Men) and John Arcilla (Heneral Luna). In the Best Actress category, Shu Qi and Zhao Tao are joined by Ayase Haruka (Our Little Sister), Kim Hye Su (Coin Locker Girl) and Golden Horse winner Karena Lam (Zinnia Flower).
Michael Ning (Port of Call), Max Zhang (Ip Man 3), Asano Tadanobu (Journey to the Shore), Oh Dal Soo (Assassination) and Cheng Jen Shuo (Thanatos, Drunk) are nominated for Best Supporting Actor, while Zhou Yun (The Assassin), Tsuchiya Anna (Gonin Saga), Cherry Ngan (Mojin - The Lost Legend), Ueno Juri (The Beauty Inside) and Park So Dam (The Priests) are nominated for Best Supporting Actress. Nominations for Best Newcomer went to Vicky Kauhal (Masaan), Jessie Li (Port of Call), Fujino Ryoko (Solomon's Perjury), AOA's Kim Seol Hyun (Gangnam Blues), Lee Hong Chi (Thanatos, Drunk) and Waruntorn Paonil (Snap).
The 10th Asian Film Awards will be held in Macau on March 17, 2016.
Text / Sanwei
Port of Call leads 35th Hong Kong Film Awards nominationsFebruary 2, 2016
Tsui Hark's period action adventure The Taking of Tiger Mountain follows right behind with 11 nominations including Best Film, Best Director and Best Actor for Tony Leung Ka Fai. The remaining contenders for Best Film are Wilson Yip's period actioner Ip Man 3, which received eight nominations, Adrian Kwan's Little Big Master, the highest-grossing Hong Kong film of 2015, and talked-about indie Ten Years, an omnibus feature imagining the state of Hong Kong in 2025.
The Best Actor shortlist gathers a heavyweight lineup with Aaron Kwok and Tony Leung joined by Andy Lau (Lost and Love), Jacky Cheung (Heaven in the Dark) and Nick Cheung whose directorial effort Keeper of Darkness garnered six nominations in total. For Best Actress, newcomer Jessie Li will be competing against five-time nominee Tang Wei (A Tale of Three Cities), two-time winner Sylvia Chang (Office), one-time winner Miriam Yeung (Little Big Master) and six-time nominee Karena Lam (Heaven in the Dark), who was recently crowned Best Actress at the Golden Horse Awards. Derek Yee (I Am Somebody) joins Philip Yung, Tsui Hark, Wilson Yip and Adrian Kwan in the Best Director race.
Action star Max Zhang, who won Best Supporting Actor in 2014 for The Grandmaster, scores double nominations this year for SPL 2: A Time of Consequences and Ip Man 3. Louis Cheung (Keeper of Darkness) and Andrew Lam (Full Strike) round out the Supporting Actor nominations. For Best Supporting Actress, Elaine Jin is joined by Qin Hailu (A Tale of Three Cities), Anna Ng (Little Big Master), Janice Man (Helios) and Angelica Lee (Murmur of the Hearts).
The 35th Hong Kong Film Awards will be held on April 3, 2016.
Text / Sanwei
EXO & Big Bang win Grand Prizes at 30th Golden Disc AwardsJanuary 22, 2016
APink, BEAST, BTS, CNBLUE, EXO, SHINee, f(x), Jong Hyun, Super Junior and VIXX all received Album Awards, while Digital Album Awards went to AOA, Big Bang, EXID, Girls' Generation, Kyu Hyun, Park Jin Young, Red Velvet, Sistar, Tae Yeon and Zion.T. Big Bang and Tae Yeon were named the Best Male and Female Artists, Jung Yong Hwa the Best Vocal Solo Artist, and BTOB the Best Vocal Group. SHINee and EXO also picked up Golden Disc Popularity Awards
In the genre categories, San E was awarded for Best R&B/Hip-Hop and Hyuoh for Best Rock Band. For rookies, iKON, GFriend, Seventeen and Twice won the New Artist Awards and Monsta X received a Next Generation Award.
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Ryoo Seung Wan's new film to star Hwang Jung Min, So Ji Sub & Song Joong KiJanuary 20, 2016
Set during the Japanese occupation period, Battleship Island will tell the story of 400 Korean coal workers imprisoned on Hashima and their attempt to escape the island. Teaming up again with Ryoo after Veteran, Hwang Jung Min plays a hotel bandmaster who decides to go to Japan in hopes of keeping his daughter safe, but gets tricked and ends up at Hashima Island. So Ji Sub plays a top streetfighter whose short temper frequently raises trouble on Hashima. Song Joong Ki, in his first film role since completing his military service, plays a freedom fighter who infiltrates Hashima in order to find fellow resistance fighters.
Battleship Island is slated for an early 2017 release.
Text / Sanwei
Port of Call wins Best Film at 22nd Hong Kong Film Critics Society AwardsJanuary 20, 2016
Veteran filmmaker Tsui Hark won Best Director for the first time for the period action adventure Taking of Tiger Mountain, while Sylvia Chang's drama Murmur of the Hearts was recognized for Best Screenplay.
Besides Port of Call, seven other films were shortlisted as Recommended Films by the HKFCS: The Taking of Tiger Mountain, Murmur of the Hearts, indie omnibus Ten Years, action thriller SPL 2: A Time For Consequences, Johnnie To's workplace musical Office, Nick Cheung's sophomore horror Keeper of Darkness and Adam Wong's nostalgic drama She Remembers, He Forgets.
Text / Sanwei
TVB series Line Walker to be adapted into filmJanuary 14, 2016
One of TVB's biggest productions of 2014, Line Walker revolved around five undercover cops and their dealings with triads, the drug trade and corruption. A hit with audiences, the series was the big winner of TVB's 2014 TV Awards Presentation, netting Best Drama, Best Actress and My Favorite Female Television Character for Charmaine Sheh, and My Favorite Male Television Character for Hui Siu Hung. The film version of Line Walker will continue the battle between good and evil, and explore the ambiguous roles and loyalties of undercover officers.
Slated for a 2016 release, Line Walker the movie will begin shooting in Brazil in February.
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Translation / Sanwei
Lord of Shanghai wins Best Drama at 2015 TVB Anniversary AwardsDecember 14, 2015
Nancy Wu beat out Ghost of Relativity co-star Kristal Tin to win Best Actress for the first time in her 16-year career. Tin, however, did win My Favorite Female Television Character for her role as Suen Shuk Mui. My Favorite Male Television Character went to pirate drama Captain of Destiny's Ruco Chan, who had already won Best Actor prizes in Singapore and Malaysia for his role as Prince Man Ho.
Best Supporting Actor and Supporting Actress were awarded to Captain of Destiny's Elaine Yao and Lord of Shanghai's Wai Kai Hung, while Captain of Destiny's Tony Hung and Grace Chan won Most Improved Actor and Actress. Jinny Ng won Most Popular Drama Theme Song for the second year in a row with her The Empress of China ending theme "Secret of the Tears." In the variety categories DoDo Goes Shopping won for Best Variety Program and Big Big World 2 for Best Infotainment Program. Sunday Songbird hosts Liza Wang, Adam Cheng and Jerry Lamb were named the Best Television Presenters.
This year, TVB added an award for Most Popular Classic Drama which went to The Greed of Man, the 1992 financial crime thriller starring Adam Cheng that generated high ratings and buzz during its late-night rerun earlier in the year. Veteran host and funnyman Nat Chan was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award.
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Big Bang and EXO take top prizes at 2015 MAMADecember 3, 2015
Girls' Generation reclaimed the Best Female Group award and leader Tae Yeon won Best Female Artist for her solo debut effort. Veteran Park Jin Young fended off younger contenders to win Best Male Artist. He also won a Best Producer award in the Professional Awards category, and his new girl group Twice snagged Best New Female Artist. Meanwhile, YG Entertainment's hot-topic boy band iKON won Best New Male Artist.
Ailee won Best Vocal Performance Female for the third consecutive year with "Mind Your Own Business" while Zion. T won Best Vocal Performance Male with "Eat." The breakout R&B artist also received the Best Collaboration & Unit prize for his collaboration track "Just" with Crush. For Best Dance Performance, HyunA ("Roll Deep), Red Velvet (Ice Cream Cake) and SHINee (View) won in the Solo, Female Group and Male Group categories, respectively. San E won for Best Rap Performance (Me You), and CNBLUE for Best Band Performance (Cinderella). BTS received the 2015 MAMA World Performer award and f(x), the Global Fans Choice for Female Artists.
The Worldwide Inspiration Award was specially given to British electronic pop legends Pet Shop Boys, who performed a special stage with f(x). Per tradition, MAMA also gave Best Asian Artist awards to acts around Asia including Potato (Thailand), Dong Nhi (Vietnam), Ran (Indonesia), Stefanie Sun (Singapore), AKB48 (Japan) and Taiwan diva Jolin Tsai, who also performed on the show. Besides the nominated artists, other performers of the night included 2NE1, Superstar K7 winner Kevin Oh, rappers Basick, Lil Boi, Yezi, Truedy and Jessi from Mnet's Unpretty Rapstar and Show Me the Money programs, and PSY who also served as the host of the show.
Text / Sanwei
Yoo Ah In and Lee Jung Hyun win at 36th Blue Dragon Film AwardsNovember 27, 2015
Yoo Ah In beat out co-star Song Kang Ho to win his first Best Actor prize for his performance as the tragic Crown Prince Sado in Lee Joon Ik's The Throne. The historical drama also won Best Supporting Actress for Jeon Hye Jin and bagged technical prizes for Best Cinematography, Best Music and Best Technical Award. Singer-turned-actress Lee Jung Hyun triumphed over Jeon Ji Hyun, Jeon Do Yeon, Kim Hye Su and Han Hyo Ju and tearfully accepted the Best Actress prize for her dark turn in the indie drama Alice in Earnestland.
Oh Dal Soo followed the Daejong Film Awards with another Supporting Actor trophy for his performance in Yoon Je Kyun's blockbuster melodrama Ode to My Father, which was also recognized for Best Art Direction. Best Screenplay went to the legal drama The Unfair, and Best Editing to The Beauty Inside.
Indie drama Set Me Free scored double wins for Best New Director Kim Tae Yong and Best New Actor Choi Woo Sik, who came out on top in a star-studded category that included Lee Min Ho, Park Seo Joon, Kang Ha Neul and Byun Yo Han. Lee Young Young won Best New Actress for her performance in the period thriller The Treacherous. Lee Min Ho, Park Bo Young, Park Seo Joon and AOA's Kim Seol Hyun received the Popularity Awards.
Text / Sanwei
52nd Golden Horse Award WinnersNovember 25, 2015
The Assassin's leading lady Shu Qi lost out on Best Actress to Karena Lam for Zinnia Flower, with the film being the actress's first after a long hiatus. This was Lam's first Golden Horse Award since winning both Best New Performer and Best Supporting Actress for July Rhapsody 13 years ago. With this win, Lam also became the first actress in Golden Horse history to achieve the trifecta of Best New Performer, Best Supporting Actress and Best Actress. Director-turned-actor Feng Xiaogang emerged as the dark horse of the Best Actor category, defeating two-time Best Actor Award winner Aaron Kwok (Port of Call) and Deng Chao (The Dead End) with his role as an aging gangster in Mr. Six.
Chang Tso Chi's Thanatos, Drunk also had a big night, winning Best Original Music, Best Film Editing, Best New Performer (Hong Chi Lee) and Best Supporting Actress (Lu Xuefeng). Best Original Screenplay went to Mainland director Jia Zhangke for Mountains May Depart, Best Adapted Screenplay to Pema Tseden for Tharlo, Best Supporting Actor to Michael Ning for Port of Call and Best New Director to Bi Gan for Kaili Blues.
Other notable winners include Johnnie To's Office in Best Art Direction and Tsui Hark's The Taking of Tiger Mountain in Best Visual Effects. This year's Lifetime Achievement Award went to actress and singer Li Li Hua, who received her trophy from her Qin Xianglian co-star Jackie Chan.
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Ode to My Father sweeps 52nd Daejong Film AwardsNovember 23, 2015
Jeon Ji Hyun, who could not attend due to her pregnancy, won Best Actress for her role as a sharp-shooting freedom fighter in Choi Dong Hoon's period thriller Assassination, while veteran Kim Hae Suk won Best Supporting Actress for the historical drama The Throne. Both actress awards represented the sole wins for their respective films, which had entered the race as among the leading contenders. Ryoo Seung Wan's action thriller Veteran was completely shut out.
Television superstar Lee Min Ho picked up Best New Actor for his first leading film Gangnam Blues. Late Spring's Lee Yoo Young was named Best New Actress and Baek Jong Yeol, Best New Director for The Beauty Inside. The Royal Tailor (Best Costume Design and Art Direction), The Tenor Lirico Spinto (Best Music) and The Silenced (Best Lighting) received technical awards.
Kim Soo Hyun and Kong Hyo Jin, who recently co-starred in the TV drama Producers, won the Popularity Awards, though neither had films in the past year. Chinese stars Gao Yuanyaun and Sun Honglei received special awards for Best Foreign Actors. Director Chung Chang Hwa and veteran actor Yoon Il Bong were recognized with Lifetime Achievement Awards.
This year's Daejong Film Awards was noticeably lacking in stars and riddled with controversy. The awards organizer came under fire after earlier stating that only those who attended the ceremony would be able to win, but later retracted the decision when all the Best Actor and Actress nominees announced they could not attend.
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Arimura Kasumi and Kora Kengo star in Fuji TV getsuku dramaNovember 20, 2015
The drama follows six young adults who leave their hometowns to try to make their lives in Tokyo. Among them are Sugihara On (Arimura Kasumi) and Soda Neri (Kora Kengo). On has lived in Hokkaido with her adoptive parents since her mother died. Despite a tumultuous childhood, she maintains an optimistic outlook on life, a trait that is severely challenged when her indebted parents reveal their plan to marry her off to a man 20 years her senior. Neri is a working-class boy from Fukushima. He's lived with his grandfather all his life and wants nothing more than to buy a piece of land for both of them to farm and live on. After On and Neri meet by chance in Hokkaido, they each decide to go to Tokyo to pursue their dreams. As they try to get their bearings in the big city, they start to grow closer and closer.
To be directed by Namiki Michiko (Matrimonial Chaos), the drama will begin filming in November and air in January 2016.
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Kiritani Mirei takes on lead role in Sumika Sumire dramaNovember 20, 2015
Born into a strict family of flower growers, Kasaragi Sumi has never been allowed to make friends, and has spent her entire life taking care of her grandmother, father and mother. Before she knows it, she's turned 65, and still has never known love. One day, the cat demon Rei appears in front of her and grants her a wish. After telling Rei that she wants to experience life as a young woman, her body reverts back to that of her 20-year-old self, allowing her to start her life anew as a modern college student.
To be written by Furuya Kazinao (Ouroboros) and directed by Imai Kazuhisa (Team Batista series), Sumika Sumire will air on Asahi TV starting January 2016.
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Japanese adaptation of Kazuo Ishiguro's Never Let Me Go announces castNovember 20, 2015
When Hoshina Kyoko, a student at a secluded boarding school, witnesses her classmate Doi Tomohiko being bullied, she steps forward to help, despite fellow student Sakai Miwa's warning for her to stay out of the conflict. After this episode, the three begin to develop a close friendship, one that remains strong when they enter adulthood. However, the now grown-up trio find their relationship growing increasingly complicated when both Kyoko (Ayase Haruka) and Miwa (Mizukawa Asami) develop feelings for Tomohiko (Miura Haruma). All the while, the anticipation of their looming "destiny" weighs heavily on their minds.
Never Let Me Go will be scripted by Morishita Keiko (The Emperor's Cook) and will begin filming in December. The drama is set to air on TBS in January 2016.
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Assassination leads 2015 Blue Dragon Film Award nominationsNovember 11, 2015
Ryoo Seung Wan's crime thriller Veteran and Lee Joon Ik's royal saga The Throne follow closely behind with ten nominations each, including Best Film, Best Director and Best Screenplay. Veteran received Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor nominations for Hwang Jung Min and Yu Hae Jin, while The Throne scored double Best Actor nominations for leads Song Kang Ho and Yoo Ah In. Yoon Je Kyun's sentimental blockbuster Ode to My Father and Kwak Kyung Taek's crime mystery The Classified File round out the nominations for Best Film and Best Director, and Jung Jae Young takes the final spot in the Best Actor shortlist for his performance in Hong Sang Soo's Right Now, Wrong Then.
Jeon Ji Hyun is joined by Kim Hye Su (Coin Locker Girl), Lee Jung Hyun (Alice in Earnestland), Jeon Do Yeon (Shameless) and Han Hyo Ju (The Beauty Inside) in the Best Actress race. For Best Supporting Actor, besides Jo Jin Woong and Yu Hae Jin, Bae Sung Soo (Office), Oh Dal Soo (Ode to My Father) and Lee Kyung Young (The Unfair) are also nominated while Best Supporting Actress nods go to Ra Mi Ran (Ode to My Father), Moon Jung Hee (Cart), Jang Young Nam (The Classified File), Jeon Hye Jin (The Throne) and Jin Kyung (Veteran).
The Best New Actor race is sure to draw eyes with Korean Wave superstar Lee Min Ho (Gangnam Blues) and four popular up-and-coming actors – Kang Ha Neul (Twenty), Park Seo Joon (Chronicles of Evil), Byun Yo Han (Socialphobia) and Choi Woo Sik (Set Me Free) – in the running. AOA's Kim Seol Hyun (Gangnam Blues), Lee Yoo Bi (Twenty), Kwon So Hyun (Madonna), Park So Dam (The Silenced) and Lee Yoo Young (The Treacherous) are nominated for Best New Actress, and Kim Sung Je (The Unfair), Kim Tae Yong (Set Me Free), Lee Byeong Hun (Twenty), Han Jun Hee (Coin Locker Girl) and Hong Seok Jae (Socialphobia) are nominated for Best New Director.
The 36th Blue Dragon Film Awards will be held on November 26 in Seoul.
Text / Sanwei