Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Good Posters (And Bad or Weird)

Here are a couple of early posters for Kim Jee-woon's THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE WEIRD. I would say that the images are good, the cut lines are somewhere between bad and weird (or at least clumsy). Enjoy.

In case the posters are too small for you to read well, they say:
Poster #1 - Never be sure who is good, bad or weird in 1930s Manchuria
Poster #2 - A man who was too proud to be bad
Poster #3 - A man who desired too much to be good
Poster #4 - A man who was too wacky to be good or bad

Monday, May 28, 2007

Korea Weekend Box Office - May 25-26

We have a new champion for the title of biggest ever opening in Korea. Kind of. PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN 3: AT WORLD'S END sold 2.71 million tickets since it opened on May 23, good for about $19.6 million.

The previous champ, THE HOST, opened to 2.63 million admissions and about $17.5 million. However, POTC:AWE (okay, PIRATES is easier) got the benefit of a longer opening, hitting screens on Wednesday and then getting a holiday Thursday. Just to compare, PIRATES 3 in Seoul, Friday to Sunday, had 474,500 admissions. THE HOST had 540,000.

But that is academic. As far as the studios are concerned, an opening can begin Wednesday, so it all counts. Congratulations PIRATES 3, you can collect your prize at the door.

Want more data? I have got oodles. PIRATES 3 had the biggest percentage of the box office ever, accounting for 71.3% of all tickets sold last weekend. And its 912 screens is just ridiculous (nearly half the screens in all of Korea): easily a record. In fact, Korea was nearly PIRATES 3's most successful non-USA opening in the world.
Worldwide - $205.5 million
UK - $25.8M
Korea - $19.6M
France - $16.7M
Germany - $16.9M
Japan - $15.7M
Russia at $13.7M
(Figures courtesy Deadline Hollywood).

Lee Chang-dong's SECRET SUNSHINE won a much more interesting prize than just bags of money at the box office -- it picked up the Best Actress Award at Cannes, for the lead Jeon Do-yeon. This is the first time for a Korean actor to win the top prize at one of the three major European film festivals (Cannes, Berlin, Venice) since Kang Soo-yeon won at Venice for THE SURROGATE WOMB, way back in 1987 (although Moon So-ri did win the Marcello Mastroianni Award for best newcomer at Venice in 2002 for another Lee Chang-dong film, OASIS).

Anyhow, SECRET SUNSHINE opened at No. 2, with 350,000 admissions nationwide. Much better than Lee's OASIS did was back in the summer of 2002, which opened with 200,800 admissions. OASIS eventually pulled in about 1.2 million admissions when its run finished, about two months later. The Korean film market is a very different place than it was back then, but I still hope SECRET SUNSHINE does well.

No. 3 for SPIDER-MAN 3. Of course PIRATES 3 was going to devastate its numbers, but, wow, what a one-week drop. From 627 screens around the nation to just 290 ("just" 290), and a 75% drop in admissions. I am sure SHREK 3 will do much the same to PIRATES 3.

In fourth we have the first Korean horror film of the summer, THE EVIL TWIN (a revival of THE LEGENDARY TOWN television series).

The Japanese film TEARS FOR YOU made it over 100,000 admissions, a fairly rare occurrence for Japanese films. Good for TEARS.

MARIE ANTOINETTE made the top 10, despite appearing in just two theaters. In general, PIRATES gutted the rest of the top-10 this week.

This WeekTitle........................................Release DateScreens NationwideWeekend Attendance (Seoul only)Total Attendance
1.Pirates of the Caribbean 3: At World's End5.23912474,5002,713,300
2.Secret Sunshine5.2326673,300350,000
3.Spider-Man 35.0129031,1004,830,100
4.The Evil Twin5.2320229,700240,400
6.Unstoppable Marriage5.1023821,4001,135,100
7.Tears for You5.17553,000111,300
9.Marie Antoinette5.2321,4005,900
10.The Reaping4.19181,200705,600
(Source: Film2.0)

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Calling All Artists...

I just received a rather interesting email from the very cool art gallery Alseorim. Located in Bukcheon Hanok Village, Alseorim in a new gallery that is housed within a beautiful restored hanok. Just a great setting.

Alseorim is looking for foreign artists who would want to participate in an exhibition there. This particular exhibition will be held in November, but the folks at Alseorim will be having an initial meeting for anyone interested on May 30. If you are interested (or know someone interested), the gallery can be contacted at

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Live Music in Tokyo

I am a little late, but I just read a really interesting post at Ken's Japan Live blog about the Tokyo underground scene. Ken's blog is always a fun read and a good way to learn about Japanese music. I wish I had half his energy and dedication to the local live scene here in Seoul (not to mention half as many interesting bands). One of these days, I am going to put together a listing of the coming concerts in Seoul...

Friday, May 25, 2007

The Secret's Out, and Other Random Notes

  • The first reviews of Lee Chang-dong's SECRET SUNSHINE are in. And they are quite positive. Kirk Honeycutt at The Hollywood Reporter gave the film an extremely glowing review, while Derek Elley at Variety was generally supportive, praising Jeon Do-yeon a lot, but also thinking the end was long and unfocused.
    (NOTE: Edited to fix my crappy writing. I is writer, so I writes good).

  • A very good story about Lee Chang-dong and SECRET SUNSHINE here at the International Herald-Tribune. Most exciting for me, the story confirms my long-held suspicion that PEPPERMINT CANDY was inspired by a Harold Pinter play. I was sure Pinter wrote a play with a similar structure (going backwards in time), but I could never remember the name. Now I know -- BETRAYAL.

  • Reuters also has a story on SECRET SUNSHINE. Yet more praise for Jeon Do-yeon. Dare we hope for a best actress award for her?

  • Depressing news about Korean movies at Cannes. Not sure what I think of that article, though. Of course pre-sales are down -- most of the films that pre-sold well in the past were complete dogs. I guess Korean filmmakers lost a lot of trust in the international marketplace, and now buyers want to see what they are getting before committing resources to any project. But when those good projects do come out, then the buyers will be back.

  • PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: AT WORLD'S END is about as muddled as POTC: DEAD MAN'S CHEST. Not as inventive, more action, and equally long and dragging. Too bad neither film was able to catch lightning in a bottle the way POTC: CURSE OF THE BLACK PEARL did. That first PIRATES film is still one of my favorite Hollywood action films of the last 10 years. Great writers' commentary track on the DVD, too.

  • The convenience store near my house just started selling cans of Guinness beer. This makes me very happy.
  • Monday, May 21, 2007

    Korea Weekend Box Office - May 18-20

    SPIDER-MAN 3 was on top again this week (raising its total take to $31.4 million), no great surprise there. But it is definitely losing steam, now accounting for 31.9% of the box office. Two films are closing the gap, with over 22% of admissions each.

    SHREK 3 does not open until June (to sync with the local school schedule), so that behemoth did not challenge Spidey here last weekend... But PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN 3: WORLD'S END should provide strong competition when it opens Wednesday.

    In the meantime, No. 2 was UNSTOPPABLE MARRIAGE again, with 0% dropoff from last weekend (at least in Seoul). That is right, it sold 86,700 tickets in its opening weekend in Seoul and the exact same last weekend. That is rather impressive, and good counter-programming by Lotte Entertainment (its distributor).

    After the strong showing by Ken Watanabe's MEMORIES OF TOMORROW a week ago, I was surprised to see another Japanese film, TEARS FOR YOU, do much better this weekend. Over 89,000 admissions already (about $600,000). In fact, in just three days, it lapped MEMORIES OF TOMORROW (now with 83,000 admissions). TEARS FOR YOU was something of a surprise hit last fall in Japan, earning just over $30 million there, making it the ninth biggest Japanese movie of 2006.

    This WeekTitle........................................Release DateScreens NationwideWeekend Attendance (Seoul only)Total Attendance
    1.Spider-Man 35.01627122,5004,577,000
    2.Unstoppable Marriage5.1031586,7001.008,500
    4.Tears for You5.1713626,60089,200
    5.Paradise Murdered4.1219613,8002,244,100
    6.My Son5.0123511,300478,300
    8.Sorrow Even up in Heaven5.178310,00029,200
    9.The Reaping4.19757,800697,700
    10.Memories of Tomorrow5.10957,10083,000
    (Source: Film2.0)

    Actually, MEMORIES OF TOMORROW was in 11th, according to the official KOBIS chart. But the No. 10 film was not really a film at all, it was some sort of promotional event for the On Style cable TV station. I guess FILM 2.0 does not count such things.

    BREATH, Kim Ki-duk's latest film, was waaaaaay down in 31st. It is one of the films in competition at Cannes, and so far it has gotten pretty good reviews in THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER and VARIETY, although not enough to register on Rotten Tomatoes or Metacritic (as I write this, anyhow).

    The other Korean film in competition at Cannes, SECRET SUNSHINE, does not open in Korea until Wednesday.

    Friday, May 18, 2007

    Korea Poop Wars

    As a member of the press (well, kind of), I find myself on all sorts of mailing and emailing lists. Some are quite helpful, some are less so, and some are just sort of odd.

    So I open my mailbox a few days ago, and what do I find? TOILET WORLD #1 (meaning the first issue, not an issue dedicated to number one-ing). They even have a website, handily available in Korean, Spanish, French and Arabic.

    The World Toilet Association, that newsletter tells me, grew out of the Korea Toilet Association, which was founded in 1999. The newsletter features a Q&A with toilet ambassador Jeffery D. Jones (on page 10, although the About Jones section at the end is nearly as large as the interview) and a related AP article by Burt Herman (page 11).

    Although the urge to make dumb jokes is high (toilet humor), the WTA points out the 2.6 billion people in the world are without access to adequate toilet facilities, which is a direct contributor to several nasty infectious diseases.

    (Coincidentally, Korea is also home to one of the more important groups tackling those very diseases, the International Vaccine Institute, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary later this year. A great group, that is really making a difference around the developing world. Believe me, you do NOT want to catch Shigella ever).

    Anyhow, if you would like to learn more about toilet culture, the WTA is having its inaugural general assembly meeting at the COEX Convention Center in Seoul on Nov. 21-25.

    Tuesday, May 15, 2007

    Playing and Arting Around

    Apparently publishing books of your photography, travels, fashion and whatnot has become something of a trend, at least among some of Korea's more interesting celebrities. First came Bae Doona with her book LONDON PLAY. And now the singer Lee Sang-eun has written the book "ART & PLAY."

    Last night was the book launch for ART & PLAY, over in the Hongik University area. The official event was at some basement club, and was incredibly crowded and hot, so I made only a quick appearance, then ran to the unofficial after party at my friend's bar.

    Lee Sang-eun is one of Korea's more interesting singers, in my humble opinion. Like so many before her, she won a talent contest when she was just 18 and quickly became a big pop star. However, some time in her 20s, Sang-eun decided that she was not interested in being a dumb pop plaything and got out of the game. Instead she started writing her own songs, traveling around the world, and being the generally eclectic person that she is.

    What made last night so much fun for me was that her book is in large part about her friends, most of whom were at the party. Many of the pictures in her book were also taken at the after-party bar. So looking around and talking to people, it was almost like living the book, or being in a tableau vivant, or something like that.

    Anyhow, Sang-eun is gone already... back to Japan, where she is recording her newest album with some famous Japanese producer whose name I have already forgotten. But I imagine her new album will be out before too long.

    ART & PLAY is being published by a pretty small company, M&K Books. But with Sang-eun now signed to Ssamnet, hopefully we will be seeing more of her and her book.

    UPDATE: I looked around Sang-eun's website and found out that she is recording at Kaneda Studio in Okinawa. Okay then.

    Korea Weekend Box Office - May 11-13

    An interesting week for seeing the difference between local blockbusters and foreign blockbusters in South Korea. SPIDER-MAN 3 had another strong week on top of the box office, accounting for an impressive 57.1% of all admissions, bringing its two-week total to 3.9 million admissions, or about $26 million. Very impressive.

    Compare that to THE HOST. Sure, SPIDER-MAN 3's opening weekend was comparable to THE HOST's. But at the end of THE HOST's second weekend, it had taken in 6.7 million admissions. That is 72% MORE than SPIDER-MAN 3. On around 150-200 fewer screens, too.

    The moral is, Hollywood can open films in Korea as big as any Korean hit, but the box office power of Korean films comes from their staying power and their ability to draw big outside of Seoul. Remember, it was not that long ago that TERMINATOR 3 set an opening weekend record in Korea (then just a wimpy 1 million admissions), but it was not even on the year's top 10.

    In No. 2 this weekend was that comedy UNSTOPPABLE MARRIAGE, about a meeting of the nightmare in-laws-to-be. PARADISE MURDERED is still chugging along in third, a month after it was released.

    Fifth spot is more interesting, with the opening of Yukihiko Tsutsumi's MEMORIES OF TOMORROW. Ken Watanabe won a Japan Academy Award for his role as an advertising agent diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease (Russell Edwards wrote a good review here). 45,000 is pretty good for a Japanese melodrama (last year, only one Japanese movie had more than 100,000 admissions, a level MoT should reach) (that was THE SINKING OF JAPAN, which had around 250,000).

    The Hong Kong action film DRAGON TIGER GATE opened down in eighth, with just 8,800 admissions in Seoul. However it was more popular in the rest of Korea, with its 51,000 admissions beating MEMORIES OF TOMORROW. Last year, only one Hong Kong film beat 100,000 admissions, Jackie Chan's ROB-B-HOOD (108,000 admissions).

    This WeekTitle........................................Release DateScreens NationwideWeekend Attendance (Seoul only)Total Attendance
    1.Spider-Man 35.01745259,6003,894,000
    2.Unstoppable Marriage5.1030086,700409,700
    3.Paradise Murdered4.1223124,3002,142,600
    4.My Son5.0125719,700398,700
    5.Memories of Tomorrow5.1010018,00045,300
    7.The Reaping4.199712,400652,200
    8.Dragon Tiger Gate5.101438,80051,900
    10.Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles4.261052,900186,400
    (Source: Film2.0)

    Saturday, May 12, 2007

    All by Myself (Don't Wanna Bi)

    So, Rain (aka, "Bi") has walked away from JYP Entertainment (you can read the Chosun Ilbo's take on the matter here). It was an amicable parting, with Park Jin-young and Rain remaining on good terms (from what I am hearing from a very good source... not just PR spin). Rain is in Europe at the moment, and in the middle of a really busy tour, so I doubt we will be hearing much in the way of news any time soon.

    Of course, Rain is good friends with Jang Dong-gun, so joining Jang's management company, M Star Entertainment, is a possibility. But has his own personal support team to take care of business, so signing up with new management is not too terribly pressing. Oh who knows? And, more importantly, who cares?

    The more significant part of the Rain story, imho, is what was not mentioned in the Chosun Ilbo story -- that Rain is more interested in acting these days than singing. That is in part because Korea's music industry is such a mess, you cannot make much money here anymore (except from product endorsements, and Rain already has plenty of those). And, as the Chosun story did mention, he has not exactly been lighting up the Korean charts for a while. But I think the major issue is that Rain just enjoys acting more, and would like to be a movie star.

    (Sorry if the pictures disappoints, but I was not in the mood to look at anyone's abs this morning).

    UPDATE: Sorry I nearly missed this, but Rain was called out by Stephen Colbert on The Colbert Report on Thursday. We even get to see Stephen Colbert singing in his own Korean music video. Summary of the show is here. Too funny.

    Thursday, May 10, 2007

    Film History by KOFIC

    The Korean Film Council just published KOREAN CINEMA: FROM ORIGINS TO RENAISSANCE, a history of movies in Korea, from 1897-ish to the present. Anyhow, you can download the entire book, chapter by chapter.

    (Btw, it was a pain the butt finding that URL, in KOFIC's all-frames website. If the link does not work, go to, and click on "Publications," and then "Korean Film History.")

    While I appreciate KOFIC taking the effort to put out a work like that, I must say I found it somewhat disappointing (or at least the parts I have checked out so far). It really is the same old, typical history of Korean film, concentrating on the same old topics, while ignoring some pretty significant, newer research -- for example, Brian Yecies' work on the success of Hollywood in Korea in the 1920s and 30s.

    One problem is that the book is basically a translation of a Korean book. The Korean academic writing style is often quite exasperating, especially for people not very well versed in the subject at hand -- oodles of statistics and names and jargon, but not much narrative or overarching ideas. Think of the muddled signs you come across at the entrance to Korea's national parks and major historical sites, but going on for a hundred or so pages.

    Also, since the book has no index, its use as a scholarly reference is rather limited, too.

    Basically, it reads a lot like a more accessible version of Lee Young-il's THE HISTORY OF KOREAN CINEMA.

    Anyhow, while I complain, I am currently struggling to write my own book (and not a terribly successful struggle), so I have some sympathy with anyone who just gets a project finished. So thanks to KOFIC for continuing to publish more information about the local movie industry.

    Monday, May 07, 2007

    Korea Weekend Box Office - May 4-6

    Reminding me once again why I am not a gambler, SPIDER-MAN 3 way outstripped my predictions with a monster opening -- the second-biggest opening ever, next to THE HOST. Yeah, like most of the world, the Spider-Man juggernaut stormed through South Korea last week, smashing all sorts of box office records.

    SPIDEY3 opened on 617 screens on Tuesday, pulling in $3.4 million on that day alone (that is the biggest opening day ever in Korea, at least according to Sony Pictures). By the weekend, its screen count had soared to a record 816. 816! In a country with only a little over 1,800 screens. Wow. By the time the first week was done, S3 had earned about $18.3 million.

    Other records Sony is claiming include biggest one day attendance, at 825,000, and second-biggest opening week ever, at 2.56 million admissions (just below THE HOST's 2.64 million).

    S3 accounted for 69.7% of all ticket sales, just a smidgen below THE HOST's opening weekend of 69.8%.

    Great box office, however, is about sustaining. The amazing thing about THE HOST was not just its opening, but the fact that it did nearly the same business in its second weekend, at 67.5%. Will SPIDER-MAN 3 sustain? Probably not. Foreign films tend not to have as strong legs as domestic films in Korea. And I think S3's mediocrity will keep away repeat viewers.

    But, as I have said, I would not bet money on my precog abilities.

    (FYI, according to Film 2.0, TAEGUKGI opened at 63.2% and SILMIDO a more modest 40%. THE KING AND THE CLOWN opened at just 23%, but did not peak until its third weekend, at 41%.)

    There were a few non-Spidery movies, believe it or not. MY SON opened in (distant) second. PARADISE MURDERED is at No. 3.

    Further down the chart gets more interesting. After four weekends, MEMORIES OF MATSUKO finally made the top-10 list, landing in ninth (on just five screens around the nation). And Im Kwon-taek's BEYOND THE YEARS made a reappearance, down in tenth.

    This WeekTitle........................................Release DateScreens NationwideWeekend Attendance (Seoul only)Total Attendance
    1.Spider-Man 35.01816460,1792,559,902
    2.My Son5.0129847,568256,595
    3.Paradise Murdered4.1225541,1352,000,332
    4.The Reaping4.1912228,000577,500
    7.Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles4.2621218,595164,860
    8.My Tutor Friend 24.191335,000528,000
    9.Memories of Matsuko4.1251,86919,547
    10.Beyond the Years4.12121,858138,045

    (Source: Film2.0)
  • And another reminder that I am no Kreskin -- I just saw the latest SOPRANOS episode. I think we can safely ignore my prediction for that show, too. Sigh.

    UPDATE: A very strange error is sweeping the world. It started in Variety, and has been picked up by Nikki Finke:
    In Korea, SM3 did three times the business of the previous record holder (Korean film The Host) and bested the previous-best Hollywood film (Warner's The Matrix Reloaded) by more than four times.

    Which is, of course, blatantly wrong. No idea what happened at Variety (maybe someone confused admissions and revenue?), but hopefully people will correct that error before it becomes commonly accepted "fact."

    UPDATE 2: My mistake. The error was made by Sony Pictures, then reprinted by all the trades and Nikki Finke and others. Sorry for casting aspersions on the nice people at Variety (especially since The Hollywood Reporter made the same mistake).

    Really, though, how could no one catch that? "three times the business of the previous record holder"? THREE TIMES! Could that be remotely possible? Really a mistake that should have been caught somewhere in the editorial chain.
  • Sunday, May 06, 2007

    Sopranos' Last Aria

    Okay, since people seem to be giving their SOPRANOS finale predictions these days, I suppose I'll weigh in with my random guesses. (I will try to keep spoilers to a minimum, and even then I will write them in white, so you can skip them).

    Since we returned from hiatus, for the second half of season 6, we have seen four very different episodes. Some people on the Internet have described this as a curtain call, others say it is just bad writing. Some people think Tony will die in the end, either by Carmilla or Janice. My theory is a little different. (And here come my spoilers, in invisible text... highlight to read).

    I think what is happening now is that we are seeing the total alienation of Tony from his friends, from his insular little world. Episode 13, he fought with Bobby (and scared the hell out of Janice). Episode 14 he fought with Christopher, Episode 15 was Paulie, and Episode 16 was Hesh.

    So when trouble really hits the fan in the final couple of episodes (and I assume this will mean the Feds finally getting RICO on Tony), I think Tony will find himself without allies. Maybe his friends will even turn on him outright.

    His back against the walls, his friends turned hostile, his life over, Tony will do the unthinkable -- he will turn snitch. Not, of course, on the family (which would be unthinkable). Instead, he will offer information on potential terrorists in New Jersey/New York to the Feds in exchange for a new life.

    The big question, to me, is whether Tony will have one last, mega-therapy session with Dr. Melfi. Certainly in traditional dramas, that is the kind of climax one would expect. But THE SOPRANOS have been fairly unconventional during most of their run, and series creator David Chase seems to dislike the artificial therapy breakthrough.

    (And if the invisible spoiler protection does not work on RSS feeds or other platforms or whatever, I apologize).
    Oh, back in the world of Korean-related subjects.... the Miro Space movie theater (in downtown Seoul, beside the Seoul History Museum) is having a couple of interesting Korean films with English subtitles. Right now, it is showing Kim Tae-shik's RIDING WITH MY WIFE'S LOVER, and beginning on May 10 it will be showing TEXTURE OF SKIN, by Korea's top animator Lee Sung-gang (in a surprising animation-free project).

    Miro is a pretty funky building with some decent restaurants. Its Korean site is here.

    Friday, May 04, 2007

    Sexing Up Korean Cinema

    Amusing word on John Cameron Mitchell's movie SHORTBUS, as it tries to make it to Korea. "Shortbus" is a very sexually frank and graphic film about a group of New Yorkers with a variety of sexual/relationship problems -- a couple's counselor who has never had an orgasm, a gay couple who has seemingly lost the spark after five years together, a distressed bondage queen, and more.

    Independent distributor Sponge was supposed to import the film, but was stopped by the Korea Media Ratings Board (KMRB). Two times. The first time, Sponge presented the original film in all its "glory," the second time with blurred mosaics covering all the problem areas. But both times the KMRB gave the movie an adults-only "Restricted" rating -- and as you may know, to get the Restricted rating in Korea means, in effect, that you are banned. There is only one movie theater in the entire country that can show Restricted movies, and that is way down in Gwangju.

    Turns out, however, there is a loophole to this rule. If you show movies as part of a film festival that has been sanctioned by the Korea Film Council and the KMRB, then anything goes. And Sponge has a little film festival of sorts about to kick off -- the Cine Hue festival. Cine Hue runs May 10-16 in its Jongno theater, than May 17-23 at its Apgujeong theater. So they added SHORTBUS to the festival line-up, and voila.

    I am not sure how often SHORTBUS will run in that schedule (the new Sponge House website wreaks havoc on my web browsers... just a Flash mess), although I do believe it will kick off on May 10 at 9pm.

    And, even more fun, Mitchell himself should be on hand for one screening, perhaps around May 25. He is coming to Korea for a stage version of HEDWIG (always popular in Korea), and so should do some SHORTBUS-related publicity while he is here.

    Anyhow, yes, the film is very sexual (and some of the performances are a little amateurish), but it is also very good. For all its artifice and shock, I found SHORTBUS extremely real and engaging. If you can handle seeing sex on screen (and I know some people cannot), then I recommend SHORTBUS very highly.

    (Kudos to Wouter and Michael at Fortissimo Films for supporting a movie like this).

    Tuesday, May 01, 2007

    The Craptacular Spider-Lame

    Okay, I am not a big fan of people (often on the web) who endlessly and cruelly pile on the insults and witty put-downs on movies they dislike. However, if I were such a person, I would be insulting and putting down SPIDER-MAN 3. Wow, it was bad.

    I just watched it (it made its debut a few days early in this part of the world), and I was so disappointed. It was basically a two-hour talkathon soap opera, with a 15-minute action finish. Now, if the talky stuff was well-done and interesting, I would have been fine with it. But S3 was no Eric Rohmer film. Or a Tarantino. Or anything. It was comic-book deep (and I don't mean Alan Moore), with endless cliches and silly melodrama.

    As for the action, we had three villains this time, which was way too much for this movie. There just was not enough screen time to introduce each villain, show his origin, and create a personal conflict with Spider-Man.

    Despite the excess of super-powered characters, there was surprisingly little action. And most of that action was completely random and disjointed, not organic to the flow of the film at all. But after 100 minutes, we were still sitting through endless exposition and platitudes and nonsense. My friend and I were crazy bored.

    Basically, S3 feels like the studio had two or three ideas floating around and no one could decide which one to use, so they used them all.

    Anyhow, I am dramatically downgrading my estimates on how well SPIDER-MAN 3 will do. Doubtlessly it will have a big opening, but it is going to crash hard and fast, especially once SHREK 3 is released in a couple of weeks. Here is Korea, I think it should still get around 1.5 million or 1.7 million admissions by the end of Sunday. But I doubt the film will pass 4 million. Definitely not pass 5 million.

    Ugh. What a disappointment.