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PostPosted: Thu Mar 07, 2013 8:46 am 
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Joined: Thu May 28, 2009 7:33 am
Location: Helsinki, Finland
Confucius back in stock @ ShopThruPost.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 21, 2013 8:28 pm 
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Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 3:26 am
Location: East of Shanghai
Wondering if anyone here has seen the Chinese comedy [b]Lost in Thailand?[/b]
It came out late last year in China and was/still is a huge hit.
It's surpassed Avatar's box office receipts in China, has topped $200M in ticket sales, and is closing in on Titanic's all-time PRC record. It's a sequel to a Chinese domestic comedy Lost on Journey from 2010, using the same characters, this time on an adventure in Thailand. The humor stems from a mismatched pair -- a slick businessman and naive bumpkin -- compounded in the sequel with cultural differences between China and Thailand.
The film jumped on the mini-Thailand craze in China the past few years -- Thai vacations, restaurants, jewelry, etc. -- and has helped bump the Thailand fascination into a higher gear in 2013. Not bad for a film made for a little over $2M.

It doesn't sound that good, hasn't done well at all outside China, but I'm curious about a film that struck it BIG in China. Though of course the China market is fairly artificial, with its limits on foreign films, exclusion of certain types of films, and generally mediocre domestic offerings.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 21, 2013 11:14 pm 
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Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 2:24 pm
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It's a totally formulaic buddy/road comedy. The only reason I didn't see every development coming a mile away is because I held out unwarranted hope that it couldn't be that predictable and they were just building to something. There's some funny verbal interplay, which probably accounts for a lot of its success (just look at how ubiquitous crosstalk is on Chinese TV). But the scene that got the loudest laughs was a variant on the "aggressive massage" bit that goes all the way back to Chaplin, never mind Artists and Models. They even dredge up the old snakebite-on-the-butt routine (guess what happens next!). The Thai setting is window dressing outside the inevitable stereotypes (ladyboys, gangsters, muay thai)--there's jack about the "cultural differences between China and Thailand," except the condescending implication that Thais are basically simple, fun-loving folk. They could've set it in Yunnan or somewhere with minor tweaks. The bids for pathos/contemporary relevance are wrapped up so half-assedly they may as well have used a literal deus ex machina:

[Reveal] Spoiler:
The straight man realizes family is more important than work (whoa!!!!!!!!!!!) and simply abandons his job and the project he's working on--which has almost unprecedented potential, but who cares because FAMILY. Fortunately his wife (who's spent the past few months trying to get him to sign the divorce papers) simultaneously decides she doesn't want a divorce after all, because she's realized kids don't like it when their parents split up. Meanwhile the goofy comedy sidekick--whose entire trip to Thailand was an attempt to trick his mother into thinking he's a big success and honeymooning with a movie star--starts a popular fast-food chain and actually gets to meet the movie star in question. The whole lying-to-his-mother thing is handwaved away, even though it's the film's big third-act development.


Incidentally, Avatar is still the highest grosser of all time in China: 1.43 billion yuan vs. 1.26b for Lost in Thailand. Titanic is #2 if you include the original and 3D releases together (1.36b). Thailand holds the record for a domestic film, but the Chinese film sector is growing at such a rate that the title changes hands once or twice every year. LiT took it from last summer's Painted Skin II, Stephen Chow's new movie is within striking distance of LiT, and Jiang Wen's next movie (due out in late '13 or early '14) is all but guaranteed to beat it if nothing else does before then.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 29, 2013 5:01 pm 
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Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 3:26 am
Location: East of Shanghai
I just used the generic "cultural differences between China and Thailand" to mean a few Chinese guys go to Thailand and get in situations Chinese might think are funny. Not having seen the film I didn't want to assume it was full of dumb humor, broad stereotypes, and what I often term remedial cultural interactions. But I guess cultural interactions/clashes would capture it better.

Top 10 highest grossing films in China. Listing many of the recent Chinese domestic blockbusters.
It's a bit of a microcosm of the China economy the way gov't rules and intervention help pick winners and losers. Primarily by delaying US blockbuster releases to allow big Chinese domestic films free run with limited competition. But also there's censorship and politics behind what gets financed and approved.

It's interesting that China has a big enough domestic market that they can make some hefty profits by catering solely to Chinese without having to worry about international appeal. Apparently the investment over the past decade in modern theaters in second tier cities and tertiary markets has helped make this possible.


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 28, 2015 12:47 am 
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Joined: Thu Sep 24, 2009 4:46 pm
Apparently there is a dvd set of Jia Zhang-ke's films up for pre-order on Amazon.fr. The set includes his eight feature films up to A Touch of Sin, with documentary Dong (2006) and a documentary of the director by Walter Salles as bonus features.

I think the burning question is whether any of those earlier features get remastered, or whether they are ever gonna show up on Blu-ray.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 03, 2015 5:05 am 
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Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 2:24 pm
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I'm not too confident they'll be remastering anything when they're recycling the art from the existing standalone releases (heck, they didn't even bother creating new art for the box and just reused the Platform cover). Actually Xiao Wu and I Wish I Knew are new to DVD in France, but it looks like they're using the Spanish DVD art for the former, so I imagine it's the same source. Tony Rayns mentioned several years ago that Jia was planning a director's cut of Platform, which would be a good pretext to finally get it out on Blu, but I guess he's been busy with other things.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 31, 2016 6:57 pm 
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Joined: Thu May 28, 2009 7:33 am
Location: Helsinki, Finland
Hong Kong Film Archive has released their second DVD Colourful Youth (1966) which I'm not familiar with but appears to be quite popular. Nice looking set. And a little reminder, the price of the DVD is in Hong Kong Dollars.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 31, 2016 7:37 pm 

Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 9:11 pm
How can one order that DVD of Colourful Youth? I wonder why they don't also release it on Blu-ray. I'm not familiar with this movie, but the cover of the DVD looks nice.


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 01, 2016 4:31 am 
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Joined: Thu May 28, 2009 7:33 am
Location: Helsinki, Finland
Good question. I ordered their first release Confucius from ShopThruPost but they don't seem to carry Colourful Youth for some reason. Hopefully there is some other way to get the DVD.

The director of Confucius also did Spring in a Small Town which is available from BFI.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 02, 2016 7:15 am 
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Joined: Thu May 28, 2009 7:33 am
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If anyone owns this Blu-ray of The Monkey King (1965), how does it look like and are there any extras?


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 02, 2016 5:44 pm 
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Stay far, far away. The Blu only has the 2012 "oh shit our copyright is expiring, let's change a bunch of stuff so we can get a new one" version that's missing about 20 minutes from the original, reframes the picture from Academy to 16:9 through a combination of cropping and extending the backgrounds, replaces the music with a more "Westernized" orchestral score, and redubs the voices with a cast of contemporary celebrities. The YesAsia description ("this Blu-ray presents the movie as the complete picture the Wans always intended it to be") is so flagrantly wrong it should be illegal, unless they have some reason to believe the Wans always intended to use the voices of actors who hadn't been born yet when they made it.


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 03, 2016 6:20 am 
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Joined: Thu May 28, 2009 7:33 am
Location: Helsinki, Finland
^ Thanks for the warning. I'll definitely avoid that at all costs.

It was shown last year at the annual Helsinki Festival (held every August) at a local film theater but unfortunately I couldn't attend :(. Then again, what version was screened is another thing though.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 12, 2017 9:13 am 
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Joined: Thu May 28, 2009 7:33 am
Location: Helsinki, Finland
Zhang Yimou's Ju Dou (1990) coming to Blu later this month.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 12, 2017 10:07 am 
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Joined: Fri Aug 11, 2006 6:20 pm
Location: Worthing
The only decent version I've seen to date was 35mm, but I'll gladly keep my fingers crossed for this one.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 12, 2017 11:14 am 
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Joined: Thu Sep 24, 2009 4:46 pm
There's nothing to worry about. Japan saw this film on Blu-ray more than a year ago and the transfer was pretty good if not stellar. This Korean version will propably use that HD master, and add English subtitle to make it more accessible for global viewers.


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