Wednesday, December 29, 2010

2010 - A Look Back

2010 is ending in a few days. What happened in 2010 for me in entertainment? Here's a brief look back at Chinese and Taiwanese entertainment from my Chinese-Taiwanese-American perspective.

Movies


In Chinese entertainment, 2010 started with a few hold overs from 2009 in The Storm Warriors, The Treasure Hunter, and Bodyguards and Assassins. I actually liked all three films, even with all the hype.

Then the ancient era, Chinese New Years, and Valentine films came pouring in, Confucius, True Legend, 14 Blades, All's Well, Ends Well 2010, 72 Tenants of Prosperity, Hot Summer Days, and Little Big Soldier. From there, I seemed to lose interest as I was generally disappointed with the movies established in early 2010. Triple Tap and The Stool Pigeon were good movies. But I was disappointed in general overall up until October. Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame and Reign Of Assassins were excellent movies.

Zhong Guo movies that caught my eye were Go Lala Go!, Driverless, Aftershock, I Wish I Knew, Ocean Heaven, If You Are the One 2, and Let The Bullets Fly. I wish I had better things to say about them. As a whole, the movies out of Zhong Guo are getting more commercial, but the leading men are not.

In Taiwan, a little movie called Monga made its release. Other notable movies include Zoom Hunting, Au Revoir Taipei, Tears, Taipei Exchanges, Love You 10,000 Years, and Close To You. In general, there was a resurgence in Taiwan cinema in 2010 with the most releases within a year in a long time. I didn't see many, as getting a hold of them with English subs was quite difficult. I need the English Subs for when they speak Taiwanese. Good for the movies, not good for me since I only understand Mandarin.

Dramas/Series


On the Idol drama front, holdovers from 2009 included Autumn's Concerto, Hi My Sweetheart, and Momo Love. I gave up watching all three after enjoying the early episode of each. Unfortunately for me, I just didn't have the time to commit to them.

I did have time to watch The Myth and that was pretty much it.

As much as I love wuxia series, there were few this year that peaked my interest. On the idol drama front, weak year IMHO.

Music


Lots of great music came out this year in MandoPop. I picked up Da Mouth, Yanzi, Jay Chou, BearBabes, Sodagreen, Hebe, Cherry Boom, and Lara.

Faye Wong made her return to the entertainment circle! Yay!

Thoughts


I really got back into Chinese and Taiwanese entertainment in 2008 to help me improve my Mandarin. That continued into 2009. I am trying my best to pass it along to both my daughters. As 2011 is right around the corner, I just have no time. Time is my enemy. And passing along Mandarin gets harder as my daughters get older. Because my Mandarin gets worst every year. I can listen just fine. But speaking it coherently gets harder.

So, with limited time, limited skill, I press on to retain my Mandarin and pass it along. And with that interest, I will continue to follow Chinese and Taiwanese entertainment to keep on keeping on.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Victor Jih Blogs about Amazing Race 17



In a strange turn of events, I recently found a blog written by one half of the winners of Season 14 of the Amazing Race. Victor Jih! After the broadcast of the first episode, he gives a recap blog post on People.com. Awesome I say. I just wish I had found this blog while I was watching.

In hindsight, I think Victor was Kat's good luck charm. Victor and Tammy were the first Asians to become winners on The Amazing Race and than Kat follows it up with a win last week.

Amazing I say. Victor also predicts an all girl team will make the difference. From Victor's top 4 picks, three of them made it to the finals. Victor also rips Michael and KevJumba. Where I had hope, Victor already predicted the worst. You can see his recap of the first leg and the final leg.

Friday, December 17, 2010

我,19歲 - Me, 19 - Upcoming



我,19歲 (Me, 19) was released in Taipei last weekend. But I just noticed it on the new releases recently.

Seems like a modern love story about two 19 year olds with very different career paths. One is a dancer and the other is a cello player. What happens when their worlds collide. Looks like fun, but looks like a re-hash at the same time.



Thursday, December 16, 2010

Green Hornet - 青蜂俠 - Commercials



The Green Hornet (青蜂俠) commercials are starting and one recent one features the dynamic duo trying to order at a Carl's Jr. The funny thing about the commercial is that the gears labels are in Traditional Chinese. I thought it was well made and makes me want to see the movie more.

Jay has one word! "Sure". Makes it easy not to have a fobby accent.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Fast Five - 玩命關頭5 - Teaser Trailer



Fast Five (玩命關頭5) is an upcoming movie set for release on April 29, 2011 in the US. The fifth installment of The Fast and the Furious film series is again helmed by our favorite Taiwanese-American director, Justin Lin! Some alums of the 2nd installment make their return as well. But the major news recently was the addition of Dwayne Johnson, aka The Rock, as the man chasing them down.

From the trailer, you'll notice lots of the same things from the previous 4 movies in the series. Lots of cars, speed, explosions, and action.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Amazing Race 17 - Leg 12 - Finale



I caught the twelfth and final episode of the Amazing Race 17 last night. The teams make their way from Seoul Korea to my hometown of Los Angeles. From LAX, they head to the Long Beach Ports for a bungie jump. From there, they take a helicopter to the Rose Bowl. From there, they are given 3 clues to get to a studio. They have to match the greeters from each leg. After that, the finish line was at Greystone Mansion in Beverly Hills.

KevJumba and Michael . . . greeted the winners! The winners were . . . Nat and Kat! Dang, close finish and a lot of good luck. When Kat claimed that the goat head tasted like a million dollars was prophetic. These gurls gave it their all and survived the rest of the teams.





Thursday, December 9, 2010

Recent Reviews

For the past month, most of my reviews have been about American movies or Amazing Race 17. Sorry for those that look for the latest in Chinese and Taiwanese movies. You might not read my reviews, but you at least know what's been released.

There's been a drought of HK films since October and my vendor hasn't been getting Taiwanese movies with English subs. So I've been catching up on my American movies of late, as reflected by the movie reviews for the past 3-4 weeks.

I can't be certain that the reviews will increase either as I may have to take a pause from the blog again for a month or two. Some co-workers and I wanted to re-live 2000 all over again by playing Diablo 2 LOD again. Fun but a huge time sink that keeps me from my Asian entertainment!

There's been a ton of Korean stuff that I have to rent, but the last few like Mother had such bad English Subs that I couldn't continue. Mother is on Netflix now, but I haven't the time to start up the subscription. And I've been getting things from the Los Angeles public library. Free rentals!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

America's Best Dance Crew Season 6 Auditions



Another season of America's Best Dance Crew will start up again at the beginning of 2011. All of the past 5 winners have strong Asian representation with its members.

I am hoping for an all stars season where Kaba can come back and win it all.

To the producers of the show, please release the past seasons on DVD. Pretty please? =]


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Ultimate Fighter 12



The Ultimate Fighter 12 (TUF/The Ultimate Fighter: Team GSP vs. Team Koscheck) finished airing this past weekend. Being a huge martial arts fan, it would seem natural that I would dig Mixed Martial Arts (MMA). And I do. Since getting FiOS TV a year and half ago, I've become addicted to the UFC airings on Spike. From there, I found WEC on Versus and Bellator on FSN recently. The first TUF I watched was that of Rampage Jackson as a coach. That got my hooked.

This past season, a certain Asian brother was on the past season of TUF, TUF 12. Nam Phan was a semi-finalist on the show and lost a close decision on the finale. Nam seems to have a great future ahead as a 145 pounder (Featherweight).

Monday, December 6, 2010

Amazing Race 17 - Leg 11



I caught the eleventh episode of the Amazing Race 17 last night. The groups made their way to South Korea. Once there, they make their way to the DMZ. They have to raft down a stream to a hum vie and than to an US base. With headbands reveal they goto the world cup stadium. From there, they goto ice skating than an airplane than to the temple of heaven.

Michael and KevJumba are no longer in the race. Very sad. They might have been able to use their Chinese skillz in Korean. Or maybe not. Nat and Kat came in third. A couple of wrong turns did them in today. But they are one of the final three.

At the elimination station, looks like its my hometown of Los Angeles. Michael and KevJumba seem to have lots of face time. Kevin is still working his dad about not being in the final 3.



Sunday, December 5, 2010

The Twilight Saga: Eclipse - 暮光之城:蝕



The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (暮光之城:蝕) is a 2010 film. The film stars Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, and Taylor Lautner. There is a large supporting cast. The main change of cast was Bryce Dallas Howard taking over as Victoria. The movie is based on Stephenie Meyer's vampire novel of the same name.

Now that Edward wants to be around Bella, they are set to protect her from Victoria. Victoria starts to build a small army of newborn vampires to take out the Cullen's so Bella can be exposed. But before they figure this out, Bella's quest to become a vampire is explored more. The Volturi are explored a little more.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Live Free or Die Hard - 終極警探4.0



Live Free or Die Hard (終極警探4.0) is an 2007 film. The movie stars Bruce Willis and Justin Long. Maggie Q shows up as a bad guy.

Netflix summary:

John McClane (Bruce Willis) is back and badder than ever, and this time he's working for Homeland Security. He calls on the services of a young hacker (Justin Long) in his bid to stop a ring of Internet terrorists intent on taking control of America's computer infrastructure. Fear not, the information-age plot still boasts plenty of good old-fashioned gunfights, smash-ups and explosions.


This movie was pretty fun to watch. The formula from the first Die Hard is still here in skeleton form. John "freakin" McClane must stop some terrorist. The rest is a new formula. That formula is to blow as much stuff as possible in as insanely fashionable way.

If you like the first three Die Hard movies, you'll love this one.

Friday, December 3, 2010

The Twilight Saga: New Moon - 暮光之城2:新月



The Twilight Saga: New Moon (暮光之城2:新月) is a 2009 film. The film stars Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, and Taylor Lautner. This is the sequel to the 2008 film, Twilight. This movie is based on the second book of Stephenie Meyer's 2006 vampire novel of the same name.

James is now dead and his girl Victoria is out to get Bella. The Cullen's leave the area in order for Bella to have a normal life. But that proves impossible as the two are separated and miserable. During this time, Bella goes into a major depressional funk. Jacob starts to spend more time with Bella as a result. But just as things seemed to be going somewhere, Jacob exits Bella life. Bella tries to make sense of it all. Jacob's exit is a result of his ability to turn into a werewolf to protect his tribe. But Laurent and Victoria have not given up on taking out Bella. To the rescue.

This movie was a little bit of a let down from the first movie. You just had to create a love triangle. And Bella's decision to be emo and want to be a vampire move the story along. However, the reasons for not turning are compiling but don't seem to persuade the audience that its a bad thing. In the end, the whole Volturi episode turned out to be the best. I'd like to see a movie on just the Volturi. Give it to us!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Sorcerer's Apprentice - 魔法師的學徒



The Sorcerer's Apprentice (魔法師的學徒) is a 2010 film. The movie stars Nicolas Cage, Jay Baruchel, Alfred Molina, Monica Bellucci, and Teresa Palmer. The premise of the movie was based on Fantasia.

Merlin's three apprentice help keep the evil Morgana sorcerer's from taking over the earth. Fast forward to modern times and the bloodline of Merlin is found that can permanently destroy the Morganas. But this guy wasn't brought up a sorcerer. In fact, he's a major nerd. Now, its up to the last good apprentice of Merlin to teach him.

The movie was pretty fun and frustrating at the same time. I don't really have the patience to watch this, figure out my powers as it goes anymore. Personally, I think its lame that they fight it. But, good thing you have Nicholas Cage to carry it as an bass @$$ apprentice of Merlin.

Jay Baruchel gives his usual "I am a geek" and I don't deserve all this good stuff performance. However, Teresa Palmer looks too similar to the female lead in Jay's other movie, She's Out Of My League. Alice Eve and Teresa Palmer are mirror twins in a sense. Blond bombshell love interest that Jay shouldn't be ever be able to get in real life.

BTW - Monica Bellucci is still a sight to behold at 46. Still amazing after all these years. It is a major shame that she doesn't get more screen time. They should have worked a lot more flashbacks. Seriously, more screen time for Monica!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Knight And Day - 騎士出任務



Knight And Day (騎士出任務) is a 2010 film. The movie stars Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz. The movie is labeled Action Comedy.

Tom Cruise plays an super agent that's trying to keep an hi-tech battery out of the hands of of the evil guys. On a plane ride back home to Boston, Tom uses Cameron as a mule for security. But they somehow get envolved in a caper. All hell breaks loose as the agency thinks he's rouge and an arms dealer is after him.

The movie was pretty fun for the most part. You can really believe the action because it is so over the top. Because of that, you can go, ok, it can happen since reality isn't the base. Tom and Cameron actually present some chemistry and they make the movie work.

Tom is getting up there in age and can still put it down with the action. Cameron Diaz still gets leading lady roles. But both make it work.



Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Twilight - 暮光之城:無懼的愛



Twilight (暮光之城:無懼的愛) is a 2008 film. The movie stars Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson. The movie is based on Stephenie Meyer's vampire novel of the same name.

Kristen Stewart plays Isabella "Bella" Swan. Bella relocates to Forks, Washington where her father lives. Bella's mom recently remarried and they thought it best for Bella to finish out high school with her father Charlie. Bella runs into Edward Cullen, played by Robert Pattinson. Instantly, the two are in "love". As Bella tries to get closer to Edward, he tries to stay away. Eventually, when Bella is in danger, Edward is there to protect her. Eventually, Edward lets her into his life. The life of a vampire. In a baseball match, 3 vampires come by and find out the Bella is a human and that the Cullen clan wanted to protect her. In sport, the tracker of the group, James wants to kill her. Edward and clan do their all to protect her. When they get to Phoenix, Edward saves the day and kills James.

The movie was pretty straight forward. Guy and girl fall in love with each other. Bad people come. Protect weak girl. Nice formula and it worked for me. I am a sucker for vampire movies. I loved Buffy in the 1990s. And the Blade trinity movie series is one of my favorites.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Amazing Race 17 - Leg 10



I caught the tenth episode of the Amazing Race 17 last night. The groups made their way to Hong Kong (HK). Once in HK, they had to get to the Cheung Chau ferries to get to the Cheung Po Tsai Cave for a clue. They get a clue to go to Kowloon side to the Majesty Chinese Restaurant for their roadblock. The roadblock was to find a piece of fake food out of thousands of pieces. But for each piece they touch, they must eat it. After that, they must get to the Bruce Lee statue for their detour. Ding Ding and Sampan. Once completed, they would go to their pitstop at the Statue Square.

KevJumba and Michael came in . . . X! They got eliminated 3 legs ago. Sucks for them since they went to a Chinese country. Michael can prolly read, but know limited Canto. But for the most part, HK ppl know Mando and English. When I was there 10 years ago, I didn't have a problem. Nat and Kat came in first! Let's go gurls! I noticed Kat didn't use any Chinese. So, I'll assume she's not canto and or completely Americanized.

As for the rest of the groups, I like Brooke and Claire to be in the finals. And I like Jill, but not Thomas. Thomas with his "Ching Chong" quote is the worst offender on the show. Unforgivable. Let's do this doctors! Show the racist what's up!




Sunday, November 28, 2010

All About Steve - 求愛女王



All About Steve (求愛女王/關於史蒂夫的一切) is a 2009 film. The movie stars Sandra Bullock, Bradley Cooper, Thomas Haden Church, and Ken Jeong.

Sandra plays a crossword puzzle maker, Mary, for the Sac Bee who talks to much and is a little less than normal. Set on a blind date with Bradley Copper, Steve. They seem to hit it off until she starts talking. At that point, Steve make a run for it when he gets a call. An a whim, Mary makes a crossword puzzle labeled "All About Steve" and gets fired. On whim, Mary decides to stalk Steve to his assignments around the country.

The movie was pretty cute. Yupe, I said it, "cute". I've been a fan of Sandra since Demolition Man and she became among my favorites in the 1990s with her breakout role in Speed. In this movie, the 4 main guys make it work. They worked very well together.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Couples Retreat - 伴侶度假村



Couples Retreat (伴侶度假村) is a 2010 film. The film is an emsemble cast lead by Vince Vaughn. The rest of the crew include Jon Favreau, Jason Bateman, Kristen Bell, Kristin Davis, Faizon Love, and Kali Hawk. The supporting cast include Jean Reno, Peter Serafinowicz, Tasha Smith, Carlos Ponce, and Ken Jeong.

Netflix description:

Desperate to save their marriage, one couple convinces three other couples to go in on a group rate price for an island retreat designed for troubled unions. But the "mandatory therapy" brews up nothing but trouble for everyone.


This was an unexpected jewel of a movie for me. I was going in expecting it to be crude and rude. Which it was. But it was funny as heck. The couples all had their flaws and eventually get a "cure". It runs in the same vain as Hangover and Wedding Crashers.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Wedding Crashers - 婚禮終結者



Wedding Crashers (婚禮終結者) is a 2005 film. The movie stars Owen Wilson, Vince Vaughn, Rachel McAdams, and Isla Fisher. Cameos by Christopher Walken, Bradley Cooper, Jane Seymour, and Will Ferrell.

Two party animals figure out how to crash weddings and score with countless women. They finally meet their match at an huge wedding. Both find the girls they eventually settle down with. But how will it happen and can they stay together?

A crude and rude movie that will keep you entertained and laughing. The movie gets serious, but gets back to the laugh pretty soon.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Slumdog Millionaire - 貧民百萬富翁



Slumdog Millionaire (貧民百萬富翁) is a 2008 film. The movie stars Dev Patel and Freida Pinto. The movie was a box office sensational around the globe in 2008 and 2009.

Netflix summary:

After coming within one question of winning it all on the Indian version of "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?," 18-year-old Mumbai "slumdog" Jamal Malik (Dev Patel) is arrested on suspicion that he cheated his way to the top. While in custody, he regales a jaded inspector (Irfan Khan) with remarkable tales of his life on the streets and the story of the woman (Freida Pinto) he loved and lost.


The movie was a major letdown due to all the hype surrounding it. With so many facebook status updates stating this was an amazing film. I went in with high expectations and was ultimately letdown. Was the movie over hyped? Heck yes! If you don't give into the hype, would you enjoy the film? Probably.

The movie is presented in flashbacks and the storyline was actually quite gloomy. The lead characters never developed to the point that I cared for them to come out ahead. If anything, I was just waiting to see what happens.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Predators - 終極戰士團



Predators (終極戰士團) is a 2010 film. The film stars Adrien Brody and Alice Braga. The rest of the cast includes Topher Grace, Louis Ozawa Changchien, Danny Trejo, and Laurence Fishburne.

A bunch of people that know how to kill are kidnapped from Earth and sent to an alien repository. They must figure out what is going on and then learn to survive together. The group slowly figures out what's going on and starts to seek out the predators. Can they win and get back home?

The movie was surprising fun to watch. Lots of mystery and lots of action. The movie also explores the predators mythos much more. Lot's of thing were not explored, but didn't need to.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Green Hornet - 青蜂俠 New Trailer



Sony Pictures released another full trailer of the upcoming The Green Hornet (青蜂俠) movie. The trailer is a little longer and goes more in depth. The plot points are hopefully revealed in the movie and not the trailer. This trailer is quite good and hopefully it'll be a great movie.

Jay Chou's English isn't nature and it sounds super stiff. Not much different than his Mandarin in his Asian movies. So, biz as usual for Jay.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Amazing Race 17 - Leg 9



I caught the ninth episode of the Amazing Race 17 last night. I know, last week, I complained that I didn't want to continue on without KevJumba and his father, Michael. But I really wanted to see Nat and Kat win it.

So, this week, Nat and Kat came in . . . 3rd. But i think they've got a few hours to catch up with. The top 2 teams are two teams I would like to see lose. Nat and Kat for the win.

From the looks of the preview for Leg 10, they are headed to China. Too bad KevJumba and father were not able to make it there. Language could have been an advantage.





Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Last Airbender - 降世神通:最後的氣宗



The Last Airbender (降世神通:最後的氣宗) is a 2010 film. The movie was directed by M. Night Shyamalan and based on a Avatar: The Last Airbender, and Nickelodeon cartoon.

Here's the Netflix description:

In a world ravaged by the Fire nation's aggression toward the peaceful Air, Water and Earth nations, reluctant youth Aang (Noah Ringer) learns that he's an Avatar -- a rare being who can manipulate all four elements and restore peace to the planet. Now Aang must join with his pal Katara (Nicola Peltz) and other allies to fulfill his destiny. M. Night Shyamalan directs this live-action adaptation of the animated series Avatar: The Last Airbender.


The movie was not good. I had a hard time watching it. I did use to watch the carton on and off, but never wanted to devote time to it, because it was a little too childish. The movie isn't geared towards childish people, but it tries to bring in the adults as well.

The movie was notable to me for its casting of all white leads for the four main protagonist roles. It is well documented at Racebending.com.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Proposal - 愛情限時簽



The Proposal (愛情限時簽) is a 2009 film. The movie stars Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds.

Sandra Bullock plays Margaret Tate, an editor for a book publisher. Ryan Reynolds plays Andrew Paxton, Margaret's assistant. Margaret is Canadian and her visa application was not accepted. As such, the book publisher must let her go. In an effort to stay employed there, Margaret says that she is engaged to Andrew. However, Andrew does not like Margaret much. How can these two make it work?!

I watched this movie with my wife and we both enjoyed the light hearted nature of the film. You pretty much see all the highlights in the trailer, but there are a lot of little moments that get the two together at the end. Not a bad effort and made for a date night.

Friday, November 19, 2010

21 - 決勝21點



21 (決勝21點) is a 2008 film. The movie stars Jim Sturgess, Kevin Spacey, and Kate Bosworth. The supporting cast include Aaron Yoo, Liza Lapira, Jacob Pitts, and Laurence Fishburne. The movie was based on the book Bringing Down the House.

Ben is a student at MIT. Ben is great in the classroom, but not so great with paying the bills. Faced with financial odds, he agrees to join a blackjack squad. The squad is very successful in bringing down the house of various casinos. As time goes on, Ben gets a little out of hand and thats when things fall apart. How will he get his life back together.

The film was controversial in the Asian American realm because the book it was based on was of a true story. And the main protagonist were Asian American. To this day, 21 is used by Asian Americans in jokes and parodies to point to the overt racist behavior in Hollywood.

As the movie itself, is it worth watching? Yes, it was a pretty interesting subject matter, even with the human elements thrown in, it didn't detract from the main story of Ben needing money to pay bills.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

MacGruber



MacGruber is a 2010 film. The movie stars Will Forte, Kristen Wiig, Ryan Phillippe, Val Kilmer, and Maya Rudolph. The story is based on an SNL character of the same name. The SNL character is a character based off the successfully 1980s television series, MacGyver.

MacGruber has been in exile for the last 10 years, since the death of his wife. But a new treat to the US has arisen that forces the hand of an high powered General to bring him back. Once back, MacGruber tries to bring down the current villain whom is also an old villain. With the help of his late wife's best friend and a hot shot recruit out of the FBI, he seeks to take down the treat.

The movie was crude and rude. I remember MacGyver fondly and the version in SNL was way more in line with that. When you give it a whole a movie, there is a lot to fill in the blanks with. And what they did was no good. Not a successful transfer from SNL to the movies.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Street Kings - 正義悍將



Street Kings (正義悍將) is a 2008 film. The movie stars Keanu Reeves and Chris Evans. The supporting cast include Forest Whitaker and Hugh Laurie. The movie is based on James Ellroy's book, The Night Watchman.

Keanu plays an dirty cop named Tom Ludlow. Tom does the dirty work for the LAPD's top brass. However, Tom is still very loyal to his fellow men in blue. When one of them is taken out, he's set on bringing the men behind it down. Chris Evans is recruited to help him track them down. And very much like the conspiracy theory in Day Break, the dirty men are in it for the power.

The movie is very dark. You need to follow all the clues to keep up. This would be the modern equivalent of L.A. Confidential. However, the movie doesn't present as much of an entertaining story. A good movie to watch while washing dishes.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Expendables - 浴血任務



The Expendables (浴血任務) is a 2010 film. The film stars Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Randy Couture, Steve Austin, Terry Crews, and Mickey Rourke. The supporting cast includes Eric Roberts, Gisele Itié, Gary Daniels, Bruce Willis, Charisma Carpenter, and Arnold Schwarzenegger. I didn't catch this in the theaters but on DVD and had been looking forward to it since the trailer was released.



The Expendables are a group of mercenaries lead by Sylvester Stallone's Barney Ross. They start out rescuing hostages highjacked by Somali pirates. When back in the states you see a little bit of there lives and they pick up a job to take out the general running a small island in the Gulf of Mexico. It is there that the guys get a heart and try to make a difference. You guessed it, all bloody hell breaks loose when the action starts.

Very nice movie. A throwback if there ever was any. The only missing pieces where JCVD, Steven Seagal, and Bruce Leeroy. But it was a very good film. Charisma Carpenter sighting too! Watch it if you're a action film freak. You won't be disappointed.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Amazing Race 17 - Leg 8



I caught the eighth episode of the Amazing Race 17 last night. The teams made their way from Saint Petersburg to Muscat, Oman. The first road block was to rappel down some cliffs and than find a ring in oil lamps. From there they headed to their detour or Water Table or Wedding Table. The pitstop was right after that.

Michael and KevJumba came in . . . oh wait, they were eliminated last week. Why the heck am I watching still. Of the remaining 6 teams, I can only cheer for Nat and Kat! So they got 5th this week! Seems that the things that plagued them in the first 2-3 weeks are back. Getting lost and just a little bad luck. And to top it off, the 3 groups on top this week are the 3 couples I can not stand. While it was on, I could hardly watch. And to top it off, Gary and Mallory got the boot this week. How can I go on watching? I want Nat and Kat to win it all, but if that makes me have to watch the other 4 teams, I am going to have to past.

This is my last weekly update. I will have another post as the season ends to recap it. But its bye bye bye for me. Good night now!

I will still watch the elimination station for KevJumba though!





Sunday, November 14, 2010

Leap Year - 愛與痛的邊緣



Leap Year (愛與痛的邊緣) is a 2010 film. The movie stars Amy Adams and Matthew Goode. The film takes place between Boston, Wales, and Ireland.

Any Adams plays Anna Brady, a very successfully apartment stage artist. Anna has been dating Jeremy Sloane, played by Adam Scott, for four years. Anna's friend spies Jeremy coming out from a jewelry store and suggest that he's going to pop the question. To Anna's dismay, at the dinner, Jeremy only gives her ear rings. To top it off, Jeremy constant answers his phone and than leaves her at the table dejected. Anna hears an Irish tradition that if a lady proposes to her man on February 29 during the leap year, it must be accepted. Jeremy is in Dublin for a medical conference and Anna spares no time to get there. However, on her way there, due to the bad weather, the plane lands in Wales. Anna makes it via boat to Ireland, but now needs a ride to Dublin. Walking into a local tavern, she hires a taxi. However, as Anna finds out, they do things a little difference in her motherland of Ireland. The taxi driver is Matthew Goode as Declan O'Callaghan and escorts her to Dublin. Along the way, lots and lots of things do not go Anna's way. But during that time, her time with Declan has made her re-evaluate her relationship to Jeremy. When Declan succeeds in getting Anna to Dublin at her hotel. The two start on a special moment when Jeremy interrupts and proposes to her. What will Anna do?

The movie was a pretty cool romantic comedy. These are the only type of movies I get to watch with my wife these days as our time is very limited with two very active daughters. It wasn't great, but it was well made and presented a nice story. Amy Adams is instantly likable even as a frumpy American in Ireland. I did not even regonize Matthew Goode. Matthew Goode played Ozymandias in Watchmen.

Watch this movie on a date night. That's what it was made for.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Watchmen - 守護者



Watchmen (守護者) is a 2009 film. The film stars a bunch of people, but these were the main players, Jackie Earle Haley, Patrick Wilson, and Malin Åkerman. The others included Billy Crudup, Matthew Goode, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, and Carla Gugino.

The story is pretty hard to describe in words so I'll just post what Netflix has:

Zack Snyder directs this adaptation of Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons's graphic novel set in a parallel Earth in 1985, where superheroes are prohibited from using their powers despite the threat of nuclear war. When one of their number is murdered, however, the outlaw heroes -- including Dr. Manhattan (Billy Crudup), Silk Spectre (Carla Gugino), Rorschach (Jackie Earle Haley) and Nite Owl (Patrick Wilson) -- unite to defend themselves.


As a person whom read the comic version before seeing the film, it didn't matter. Because I read the comics back in the 80 while I was in High School. And back then, I wasn't into the more mature stuff like this. So, I read them, stored them away and completely forgot about it. Seriously, completely forgot. So, while I watched the movie, things started to sorta come back, but never completely. Which was a good thing. In general, the movie was standalone and I didn't have the baggage of the comics to reference.

However, the movie is pretty heavy in its subject matter and to where it was going, I didn't feel compelled to follow. In the end, I was was just "eh" about the movie. It was not bad and it certainly wasn't great. Well made film though and prolly a must watch if you're in sci-fi.

Friday, November 12, 2010

茱麗葉 - Juliets - Upcoming



茱麗葉 (Juliets) is being release in Taiwan on December 3, 2010. The movie stars Vivian Hsu and Wang Bo-Chieh. But there are 2 other story arcs.

The movie is 3 story arcs set in different decades.

Seems to be really good. I want to check it out.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Sucker Punch - Jamie Chung - Upcoming



Sucker Punch featuring Jamie Chung is an upcoming 2011 film. The film is directed by the famed director of 300 and Watchmen, Zack Snyder. The trailer looks pretty amazing.

I had seen this poster around the time of the 2010 Comicon in SD, but it was a pretty small image. The one on the WB site is huge and shows Jamie Chung in all her glory. After Grown Ups, I am a huge Jamie fan now. Her turn as Chi Chi in Dragonball was a major negative. But with Sucker Punch, I think she'll redeemed herself.


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Grown Ups - 亞當等大人



Grown Ups (亞當等大人) is a 2010 film. The film stars Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Chris Rock, David Spade, and Rob Schneider. The ladies are Salma Haye, Maria Bello, Maya Rudolph Jamie Chung, and Madison Riley.

The Cast
Adam Sandler as Lenny Feder
Kevin James as Eric Lamonsoff
Chris Rock as Kurt McKenzie
David Spade as Marcus "Higgy" Higgins
Rob Schneider as Rob Hillard
Salma Hayek Pinault as Roxanne Chase-Feder (Lenny's Wife)
Maria Bello as Sally Lamonsoff (Eric's Wife)
Maya Rudolph as Deanne McKenzie (Kurt's Wife)
Madison Riley as Jasmine Hilliard (Rob's daughter)
Jamie Chung as Amber Hilliard (Rob's daughter)
Di Quon as Rita (Nanny for Lenny's family)

The Story
30+ years ago in 1978, a group of 12 year old help their coach, Buzzer, get his lone championship. In the present time, they find out old buzzer has passed and congregate for his funeral in their old home town. Lenny is a highly successful Hollywood agent while Roxanne is a successful fashion designer. Lenny decides to rent out the old summer house for the 4th of July holiday. All 5 families head there for a grand old time. As you can guess, they have time to bond and their kids find out what its like to be with normal people and play outside. As part of this reunion, the losing team wants a rematch and they go down to the wire.

My Thoughts
Classic Sandler film. You get people that are way less than perfect and as the film goes along, they learn a little about life, than about themselves and make a change for the better, yet still being flawed still. Its worked for him in the past and it works for him now. Also part of his formula is to have some extremely good looking women. In this case, Jamie Chung stole the movie for me. Jamie is officially the hottest asian american actress of 2010. Officially.

On another note, it was great to see the late 80s and early 90s SNL crew pop up in random scenes. It was a nice ride memory lane to that era.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Masked Avengers - 叉手



Masked Avengers (叉手) is a 1981 Shaw Bros. film. The film is one of the last Venom Mob movies. The movie features three of the five venoms, Phillip Kwok, Lu Feng, and Chiang Sheng. The movie was directed by Chang Cheh.

A group of masked thieves with tridents are terrorizing people and being hired to assassinate people. They take special pleasure in torturing their prey and making off with the loot. A group of young heros teams up to take down this crime syndicate. One of their clue finders is killed on his way back to report news when he is killed. From that killing, they find clues to the small town that may house the gang. However, they can't get very far as the trident gang picks off the young bucks one by one. The help from a former member, they seek to stop the crime gang.

The movie was pretty brutal, for the majority of the film, you do see a lot of story development, but not much character development. You get more and more action due to the fact that the mystery is slowly unveiled. A must watch in my opinion for any old skool fan.


Monday, November 8, 2010

Amazing Race 17 - Leg 7



I caught the seventh episode of the Amazing Race 17 last night. They stayed in mother Russia and made their way to a circus. A detour of music or spinning plates were presented. From there, they made their way to a bridge for the next clue. They had to find a tower for a clue to the location of the next clue. From there, they made their way to the roadblock for a pin game. The pitstop awaits them after this.

Michael and KevJumba came in . . . 6th or 7th? Because Team Jumba used the taxi twice when they were not suppose to, they were incurred two 30 minute penalties and eliminated from the race. This time around, the groups were a little more ruthless with each other. Nick and Vicki are officially the "hated" team now. So, all forces to Nat and Kat FTW!

Nat and Kat kicked some major but and got first! If Nick and Vicki didn't piggie back with them, they'd prolly be in the bottom 3. I hope they get eliminated next. But that would be awkward at the elimination station.

Nat and Kat! First female team for the WIN! Nerds rule!








Sunday, November 7, 2010

櫻桃幫 - Cherry Boom - Only - Upcoming



櫻桃幫 (Cherry Boom) is releasing their third full length album, Only, next week in Taiwan. I picked up their CD, 親愛的王子(My Dear Prince), about 3 years back. I noticed how "goth" they looked on the CD cover and it was unique at the time. I picked it up and the music couldn't have been more different. The music is pretty pop with a need to rock out sometimes. From the one song I've heard from Only, looks like a similar formula again. For which I say, hook me up when it gets released. Don't expect goth or even a strong rock CD from these guys. They are pop gothers!


Saturday, November 6, 2010

DJ Doboy - Time to Trance Again



I'll have to admit that since I program a lot less now, I don't have my pulse on finding music like I did before. Recently, I've gotten into the habit of leaving the music on more often and on one of those shuffle days, Trancequility 32 came on. Within minutes, Trancequility 9 came on. It's been awhile since I've strayed away from my Vocal Edition 4. Which got me to organizing it my iTunes. Which found me listening to the stuff 100% for over a week. Which reminded of how amazing his mixes were and how proficient his output was in the early 2000s.

It's very sad that he's gone into "retirement" now and prolly won't ever be back. Life stages do that to you. It was a great run and I'll always look back at the early to mid 2000s as the DJ Doboy years. Not only were the mixes great, his tenure at DI is missed even today (DI just isn't the same anymore).

His MySpace page is still up. But it hasn't been updated since the pre-Facebook days.

Friday, November 5, 2010

初戀風暴 - The Tempests of First Love - Upcoming



初戀風暴 (The Tempests of First Love) is being released in Taiwan on November 26. The movie stars Tony Yang and Michelle Chen.

From the trailer, the two stars stalk Tony's father whom appears to be having an affair. Where that goes...its unknown. At least to me.

Looks prettying interesting and worth a watch in my book.


Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Five Venoms - Five Deadly Venoms - 五毒



The Five Venoms/Five Deadly Venoms (五毒) is a 1978 Shaw Bros. film. The film stars Kuo Chui (Phillip Kwok), Chiang Sheng, Lu Feng, Lo Mang, Sun Chien, and Wei Pei. These men would form a troupe known as the Venom Mob.

The master of the Five Venoms clan is sitting in a pot of steaming water, he yells for his student to add medicine to the pot. After the medicine is added, it is than that he realizes that death is right around the corner. At this time, the master tells the student the history of the Five Venoms clan and his previous 5 students, Centipede, Snake, Scorpion, Gecko, and Toad. But the master now has regrets to the bad things the clan has done and gives the student an assignment to dissolve the clan. But how do you find them since the students change their name and do not reveal their skillz? Well, there's an hidden treasure that the other 5 students would love to get their hands on. The student goes to the last place the master can recall about the person whom has the map. There the other students are already on the prowl to find the man with the map. They all eventually show themselves.

This is thee classic venom's movie. In many people's eyes, this could be considered the quintessential Shaw Bros. film. I think this film deserves the cult following and any positive distinctions. It has a great story. The fighting still feels fresh and cheesy. The actors did a good job. What's not to like? If you are a fan of old skool kung fu flicks. I would rate this in the top 10.

The version I watched was a version I picked up on a biz trip to Singapore a few years back. I threw it in while washing dishes the other night. I do want to check out the Dragon Dynasty version one of these for the extras.



Wednesday, November 3, 2010

家有4千金 - 4 Daughters - Broadcasting



家有4千金 (4 Daughters) started broadcast on Monday in Taiwan. The storyline looks like it'll focus on the love lives of 4 daughters and their father. The daughters are named after the four seasons and with their personalities to match. From the clips and first episode, I want to watch it all. I just hope its not one of those 80 episode series. If its within 40, I can deal with it.

If I read the credits correctly, 阿福 is the main singer of the intro song. I can't really tell if its her since its very different to her online postings.


Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Wushu - 武術



Wushu (武術) is a 2008 film out of China. The film is made completely in China but financed by HK companies. The film stars Sammo Hung, Liu Fengchao, and Wang Wenjie.

Summo Hung plays Li Hui, a teacher at t wushu school. Li's two sons aptly named Li Yi (Li number one) and Li Er (Li number two) join the school. On the first day, the two sons make friends with 3 other students and they form a new clan for Gold medal wushu winners. 10 years laters, they are the tops students in their school and have the medals to prove it. During a competition, a former student comes to visit and presents to them what life is like after school. In his case, its being a stunt double or goon in wuxia related films. But there is evil in the midst in the form of a former student of the school. They go on a mission to save the day and to win the competition while they're at it.

The movie has very low budget value. It seemed like a college student's senior project or something like that. The storyline was extra cheezy and there are just too many guys in the film to do any significant character development. Never able to dig deep, you jumped from one guy to the next. Its also unfortunate that they didn't dress the guys more distinctly. I was getting confused with who was who out there.

If you're expecting class A through C filmmaking. Pass on this. Its very low grade and expectation should be quite low.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Amazing Race 17 - Leg 6



I caught the sixth episode of the Amazing Race 17 last night. The teams had to make it via train to an airport from Norway that took them to St. Petersburg. The teams were presented a detour of music or movies. From there they moved to a field to plant some potatoes. They would finish the race at a field.

Michael and KevJumba would finish ... 3rd! So close to be first though. It's funny that they highlighted an idea from Michael being rejected as the reason they were not first. Maybe they could have been first or was it a little bit of TV magic. Well, they are still in the race!

Nat and Kat had a little luck on their side and made it to the finish line in ... 4th! No bad taxis or wrong directions. Just a little hiccup at the detour challenge. But a lot of luck too.

Gary and Mallory had a little bit of trouble this week and took a step back into 2nd last. Luckily, no one was eliminated.