There’s apparently some concern at Sony/Columbia about Rob Marshall’s Memoirs of a Geisha (Columbia, 12.9), a pricey period drama and a presumed Oscar contender (in the costume and production design categories, at least). The story is about how a young girl (Zhang Ziyi) “transcends” her fishing-village roots and becomes one of Japan’s most celebrated geishas. Research has apparently indicated that the exotic story elements (the film is set in Japan in the 1930s and ’40s) aren’t being understood and/or absorbed as clearly as Sony would like, so Cold Mountain director Anthony Minghella has been brought in to write some voice-over narration. Adding narration to a film isn’t an absolute guarantee that the movie isn’t telling its story well enough on its own terms, but let’s face it — it usually means trouble. Then again, it could mean that the test audiences who’ve seen it are perhaps a tad too provincial and could use a bit more schoolin’ about other cultures. I have to be honest and say I’ve never been very hot about seeing this film. I could go on and on, but tracking the intrigues of a Japanese hottie who makes her way up the ladder by providing sexual excitement for rich guys…I don’t know.