Sunday, October 31, 2010

背著你跳舞 - Dancing Without You - Upcoming

背著你跳舞 (Dancing Without You) was released in Taiwan this weekend. The movie stars Vivian Hsu and Tony Yang. The film is directed by Robin Lee.

Tony Yang plays an excentric UFO chaser who rescue's Vivian Hsu from an suicide attempt. They form a bond and what seems to turn into a love story.

I'll be keeping my eyes out for this movie when it gets to DVD here in Los Angeles.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Girl$ - 囡囡

Girl$ (囡囡) is a 2010 film out of Hong Kong. The movie stars Bonnie Xian, Michalle Wai, Venus Wong, and Una Lin. The movie is based entirely in Hong Kong and explores a different aspect of prostitution, online date matching.

The Cast
Bonnie Xian - Ronnie
Venus Wong - Gucci
Michelle Wai - Icy
Una Lin - Lin

The story of 4 gals that get into prostitution. Ronnie is a rich girl who's parents are out of the country and looks to fill her loniness with a paid date. Gucci wants a purse really badly and is willing to sell her virginity to get it. Icy wants to buy her useless boyfriend a new computer. Lin is looking for love through paid dates. All four of these girls have problems. They are willing to sell themselves to obtain their goals. in 2 of the cases, money is not the issue. With the other two cases, it is to obtain material possessions. You see them at their high point and at their low points.

The movie was pretty disturbing. It's a trend that seems to be a reflection of lack of family values within the society. A recent LA Times article highlights something similar in China, "For some Chinese college students, sex is a business opportunity". In Japan, enjo kosai has been around for quite some time. And enjo kosai has spread to other countries as well.

With two daughters, it breaks my heart to know that these women would consider this acceptable. In the movie, there seems to be little interaction between the ladies and their parents. If you remember the 1995 films, Kids, you'll also notice a real lack of adult or mature interaction in their lives. It can be societies fault for this, but it starts at home and their parents.

I was actually surprised at the amount of sexual content and nudity considering the director does not have a history of this.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame - 通天神探 狄仁傑 - 狄仁傑之通天帝國

Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame (通天神探狄仁傑/狄仁傑之通天帝國) is a 2010 film out of Hong Kong. The movies stars Andy Lau, Li Bing Bing, Carina Lau, and Tony Leung Ka Fai. Tsui Hark plays both producer and director. The movie is based on China's first and only female Empress Wu Zetian. Detective Dee was a high official during that time.

We Zetian is on the eve of announcing to the world that she's the boss of China! To show off, a 60 story statue is being built. When some mysterious deaths start, the queen sends for Dee to solve the mystery. Dee than starts on a deep exploration of the area around the kingdom to find the answers. But as the clues start to add up, they are thwarted and ambushed quite often. Do not fret as Detective Dee is on the case.

This was a pretty amazing film. The CG was pretty good for a HK produced film. More importantly, the story of mystery and historical doom kept me on the ride. Andy puts on a masterful performance that I think will deserve award type recognition. The story was wrapped in intrigue and mystery. The exact type of movie that keeps me engaged and thinking.

A must see for you wuxia fans as well.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

She's Out of My League - 辣妹愛宅男

She's Out of My League (辣妹愛宅男) is a 2010 movie out of the US. The movie stars Jay Baruchel and Alice Eve.

Jay plays a TSA agent that is on a losing streak. A losing streak in life. Alice Eve plays a event planner that bumps into Jay at the airport and loses her phone there. They meet up so Jay can return the phone. From there, a very unlikely friendship starts. And you guess it from reading the title of the movie, Alice is hot and Jay is average. They start a relationship that oddly enough is not based on sex. It actually based on their inability of have it. Nice wrinkle. Throw in you cast of misfit friends that give you bad advice to some that are good.

I liked the movie. It was not great, but enjoyable. It got my mind off things for a bit. The story wasn't all that compelling, but I was still entertained. If you're a fan of films like knocked up or superbad, its a similar type movie.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

13th Asian Moon Festival at Puente Hills Mall, CA

I got the chance to attend the 13th Asian Moon Festival at Puente Hills Mall this year. It was a 2 day event organized by the Yes Marketing Group. I was able to attend the 1st day and got there around lunch. I had my oldest daughter with me so it was hard to get around with a stroller.

I got a few "small bits" from a couple of vendors including Stinky Tofu, grilled pork/squid sausage and green onion pie. Even picked up a $1 Thai Ice Tea.

The crowd was smaller than last years. I didn't feel like I had to deal with people as much this year.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

District 9 - 第九禁區

District 9 (第九禁區) is a 2009 film out of South Africa. The star of the movie is Sharlto Copley. The movie had the backing of Peter Jackson.

Aliens have come and inhabited a special district in Johannesburg, South Africa. The aliens are now living in slums and the humans want to relocate them out of Johannesburg. A special taskforce is sent to relocate them and Sharlto Copley as Wikus van de Merwe is the leader.

If I reveal more of the plot, it will give it away. So I stop there.

The movie was a trip. The concepts of humanity vs. alien can be directly translated into race relations on earth.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Amazing Race 17 - Leg 5

I caught the fifth episode of the Amazing Race 17 last night. They went from Sweden to Norway. The first task was to find the border to get the first clue. From there, the team that decided to do the fast forward would have to eat half the meat from a cooked sheep head. The others teams had to repel down and up a bridge for a clue. After that, they were presented a detour, bike or boat. After the detour, they had to find their way to the pit stop.

Michael and son, KevJumba came in ... 4th again! They could have been 2nd if they had did the more physical detour task and if they didn't get lost going to the pitstop. Nat and Kat didn't get lost, they didn't stumble and came in first, with the help of the fast forward! Gary and Mallory came in second again.

For the teams at the end, I can't really say I like them much. They have all shown moments of great dislike. This week, the two gals that called TeamJumba, "the azns" got the boot. Very nice. And they continued their sore loser status at the elimination station with very little class. They better stick to volleyball.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Prince of Persia:The Sands of Time - 波斯王子:時之刃

Prince of Persia:The Sands of Time (波斯王子:時之刃) is a 2010 out of the US. The movie stars Jake Gyllenhaal and Gemma Arterton. The supporting cast include Ben Kingsley and Alfred Molina. The movie is based on a popular video game of the same name.

(Plot summary from Netflix, sorry, didn't feel like summarizing this movie)

Jake Gyllenhaal stars as Prince Dastan, who pairs with spunky Princess Tamina (Gemma Arterton) to keep the Sands of Time -- a mystical dagger that gives its holder control over the flow of time -- from falling into the wrong hands and putting the world in peril. Mike Newell directs this sweeping live-action adventure based on the popular video game series, co-starring Ben Kingsley and Alfred Molina.

The movie was just "eh". Nothing special and nothing lost if you skip this. Gemma Arterton looked a little weird in this movie. Not like how she looked in Quantum of Solace and the most recent Clash of the Titans.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Daybreakers - 血世紀

Daybreakers (血世紀) is a 2010 science fiction vampire film. The movie stars Ethan Hawk and Willem Dafoe. Supporting cast include Sam Neil and Claudia Karvan. The movie is mostly Australian. The film was filmed in Australia as well as the filmmakers.

In the future, vampires are the ruling class and humans are hunted and farmed for their blood. Ethan Hawke as Edward Dalton is a scientist for the largest human farming corporation. Edward is trying to find a alternative to human blood for the vampires. One night, Edward gets into a near miss accident with a SUV of humans. Instead of turning them in, he leads the human hunters on another trail. One of those people that he lets get away is Claudia Karvan as Audrey Bennett, part of a human resistance. They recruit Edward into their resistance. Willem Dafoe as Lionel "Elvis" Cormac is part of that resistance.

The movie was pretty awesome. The science fiction aspect of it was reminecent of Hawks Gattaca movie. But this one was for vampires and vampires are not zombie like creatures that have no soul. The blood alternative take was quite intriguing as well.

If you're a fan of science fiction, this one is a must see. Vampire only lovers will want to skip this.

Friday, October 22, 2010

The Kung Fu Dream - The Karate Kid - 功夫夢

The Karate Kid (The Kung Fu Dream/功夫夢) is a 2010 film starring Jaden Smith and Jackie Chan. The film is a revamp of the iconic 1984 film that starred Ralph Macchio and the late Pat Morita. The movie is based in Detroit and with the majority, in Beijing, China.

The Cast
Jaden Smith - Dre Parker - The Kung Fu Kid
Jackie Chan - Mr. Han - The Kung Fu teacher
Taraji P. Henson - Sherry Parker - Dre's mother
Zhenwei Wang - Cheng - The Bully
Yu Rongguang - Master Li - The Bully's Master
Wen Wen Han - Mei Ying - Dre's crush

The Story
Dre, a twelve year old, moves to Beijing, China with his mom. Dre befriends a blond dood in his building and they play some pick up ball at a park adjacent to his apartment building. Mei Ying is also at the park studying her music notes and catches the attention of Dre. Dre gets up the courage to talk to her and starts to impress her. Cheng enters the picture and beats up Dre pretty bad, leaving him with a black eye as a souvenir. The next day, at school, Dre bumps into both Mei Ying and Cheng again. This time, things get worst as he's bullied even more. Dre starts to avoid Cheng and his cohorts. One day, Dre is chased down and beaten badly before Han steps in to rescue him. The next day, the two go to make amends with Cheng at his school. However, Master Li wants to challenge Han on the spot. Han suggest that they settle the score at an upcoming Kung Fu tournament. From that point on, Dre spends everyday training with Han. As a learning experience, Han takes Dre to Wudang Mountains. It is there that Dre sees a women have a stare down with a cobra. Back in Beijing, Mei Ying and Dre become closer and closer and eventually kiss at a festival. On the day before Mei Ying recital, Dre leads her to cut school for a day to relax. They travel around to various places in Beijing. Mei Ying's recital has been changed to the current day and she is picked up and shuttled back to school. The results of her recital were not reveals or I just don't remember. But her parents force her to cut off her friendship with Dre. Dre finds out about Han's wife and son on the anniversary of their death. Dre helps Han to find reason to move on. They continue to train for the tournament. Mei Ying shows up during the day of the tournament to cheer on Dre. What do you think happens from here on out? ^_^

My Thoughts
The movie was actually pretty enjoyable. It was a pleasant surprise because the original one from 1984 and its sequel in 1986 have this special place in my heart, as it presented asians on screen when there were very little representation. It hasn't gotten much better 25 years later, but its still a reminder. In this case, dood is in China. China! The story featured twelve year olds having the hots for each other and that freaked me out. Because my daughters are not that far off from that. Urgh.

The settings and the use of landmarks in Beijing and Wudong Shan were pretty amazing. I though it was great to see how ex-pats can function in China. They did have to use a little karate as Dre was trying to learn it when Han comes to fix his door knob.

In all, this is a movie I'll have to watch with my daughter(s) someday. I think this version is slightly more editable than the 80s versions for her.

BTW - got this as a $1 rental at a Red Box.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Ong Bak 3 - 拳霸終極篇

Ong Bak 3 (拳霸終極篇) is a 2010 film out of Thailand. The movie stars international martial arts superstar Tony Jaa. The movie is a sequel to Ong Bak 2. The first Ong Bak is unrelated.

The movie takes place right after Tien is captured at the end of the previous film. Tien is tortured and badly injured. Tien's hands, wrist, knees, and legs are all damaged from the torture. On the eve of his beheading, he is taken to a village where they bring him back to life. Tien gets back to health and is driven by bad people to fight again. Pretty easy plot to follow.

This movie was a major disappointment. Where the first 2 Ong Bak films focused on action and sher power of Tony Jaa, this installment dives into dark magic and curses. It was quite puzzling to see all this magic mumble jumble. If this kind of magic was around, why wait until the 3rd to use it. Lame. The fighting wasn't up to pair vs. the second installment.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Dear Friend - The Ghost - 靈

Dear Friend (The Ghost/) is a 2004 horror film out of Korea. The film stars Kim Ha-neul, Ryu Jin, and Nam Sang-mi.

Kim Ha-neul plays Min Ji-won, an amnesiac sophomore sociology major at an university. Ryu Jin plays Park Jin-ho, a recent college student after 2 years of military service. Ji-won starts to see things and tries to confide in Jin-ho with no resolve. The ghost in Ji-won's dreams and conscience starts to increase in activity and kills off her high school buddies. will the ghost get Ji-won before she figures it out?

This movie was hard to watch because it employed all the stupid scare tactics used at an Knott's Scary Farm type deal. Lot's of off screen hands, hair a la The Ring, music to try to make you jump. Fortunately for this film, the story behind it was actually pretty interesting. As the main protagonist loses her memory and tries to regain it. In the process of trying to regain her memories, the mystery of the ghost seems to get closer to resolution.

The main appeal of the movie for me was primarily because of Kim Ha-neul. If she were not in this film, I would surely have passed. The story was interesting, but had so many major holes that I was scratching my head a lot. But the screen lit up with Kim Ha-neul around. Having a fresh faced Nam Sang-mi wasn't a bad choice either.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Eight-Diagram Pole Fighter --五郎八卦棍

Eight-Diagram Pole Fighter (五郎八卦棍) is a 1983 Shaw Bros. film. The film stars Gordon Liu and Alexander Fu. The film was also Alexander Fu's last as he dead in a car accident during the filming.

The Yang family of men defend against the Mongols. But only 3 survive, the 4th, 5th, and 6th brothers. The 5th brother played by Gordon Liu decides to become a monk. The 6th brother, played by Alexander Fu, goes crazy and hides out back at home. But the majority of the film focuses on the 5th brother and his development of the Eight-Diagram Yang pole fighting system. 5th brother initially tries to join a monastery, but is rejected due to his reasons. But he refused to leave and eventually learns there. When 5th brother finds out about a kidnapped sister, he goes to her rescue. Will 5th brother be able to exact his revenge.

The movie was pretty standard Shaw Bros. You have a formula that works sometimes and some that work well. In this case, it was one that worked well as the story was very engaging. The Yang family of men and women have had many series based on them in Chinese wuxia circles. So, you know that they will use spears and be very patriotic towards defending their country.

The movie poster is so weird due to its huge Alexander Fu face. Because the movie's real protagonist is Gordon Liu.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Amazing Race 17 - Leg 4

I caught the fourth episode of the Amazing Race 17 last night. They stayed in Ghana to help paint the school. They eventually had to make their way to Kiruna Sweden to the Ice Palace. KevJumba and dad had to do a speed bump, 10 minutes on some ice chairs. Pretty easy bump this early in the race. Once they got to the palace, they had to find some dogs to sled and than to a train station. Where they have a detour. Sleds or beds. Than they have to get to the Norwegian border.

KevJumba and dad were... 4th! Nat and Kat were 1st! Gary and Mallory were 2nd.

This episode, the physical aspect really kept KevJumba and dad from first. On the detour, they opted for the longer tasks because a 2 minute course would have caused trouble for Michael. Nat and Kat! These two ladies seem to get into trouble on all their tasks, but they came out on top today!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

A Bittersweet Life - 不悔

A Bittersweet Life (不悔) is a 2005 film out of Korea. The movie stars Lee Byung-hun. Supporting cast include Shin Min-a and Eric Mun.

Lee Byung-hun plays an enforcer for President Kang, named Sunwoo. Kang asked Sunwoo to tail his current girlfriend, Haesoo, played by Shin-Min-a. In the process of tailing Haesoo, Sunwoo actually sends time with her too. When Sunwoo finds that Haesoo is unfaithful to Kang, instead of killing them, he lets them free. Kang knows better and then sets out to torture and kill Sunwoo. But Sunwoo escapes and starts on a revenge mission.

The movie was quite bloody and very one note. Lee had a pretty similar expression for the majority of the film. Serious or mad. The violence was in full effect and very brutal, a la Pulp Fiction style. But there were themes in the movie that I didn't quite get. I don't know if its because I don't have that context. In any case, I can see why this movie got so much hype in 2005. Lee also received quite a few award nomination for this movie role. Having watched so many HK and Japanese gangster flick, a good Korean one is a nice change of pace.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

阿福 - YouTube cover artist

There are a lot of cover artist on YouTube. Search for any song you might like that's popular and you got quite a few people covering it. Some are good and some suck. For the most part, most are forgettable. I shared one of my favorites a few months back in Afraid of Everest aka Singindork888 and aozorafantasii.

Recently, a Taiwanese lady covered one of my favorite songs of all time, Bizarre Love Triangle. However, she credits it as Frente who covered it from New Order. The New Order version brings back fond memories of growing up in the 80s. When the Frente version came out while I was in college, it seemed to spark the New Wave cover trend of the 90s. Because, 80s new wave is awesome.

Anyways, back to the cover artist named 阿福 (Ah Fu). 阿福's rendition of BLT was way too short at just around 2 minutes. I would have liked another minute. But the Frente version was shorter than the New Order version, so, I can understand it. But 阿福's rendition is one of my favorites from the YouTube cover artist around. And for good measure, the "fobbiness" of her English made the song super cute too. Which reminds me of my 2 year old that has a Fob accent when she speaks English. My five year grew out of that phase when she started pre-school and started speaking English regularly.

阿福, good luck and please post more covers along with OG ones. Below are some more clips from her.

Friday, October 15, 2010

陽陽 - Yang Yang

陽陽 (Yang Yang) is a 2009 film out of Taiwan. The movie stars Sandrine Pinna. Supporting cast include Bryant Chang, Huang Chien-Wei, and He Si-Hui.

Sandra Pinna plays Yang Yang, a high school track student. The film starts with Yang Yang's mother getting married to her high school track coach. The coach also has a daughter of the same age, Xiao-Ru, and they move into the same house. Xiao-Ru's boyfriend Shawn likes Yang Yang more and gets a one time intimate exchange. Yang Yang doesn't want to rock the boat at home and is very cold to Shawn's advances after. Xiao-Ru finds out and adds steroids to Yang Yang's water before a competition. Yang Yang is disqualified and leaves her home for a life in the entertainment. Yang is no ordinary teenage Taiwanese high school student. Yang is half-french and that brings her special attention. Specifically in the Taiwanese entertainment industry.

The movie was all over the place and the gorilla film footage was dizzying at times. The themes of the film was of the struggle of a mixed race person in Taiwan. People have automatic assumptions when they meet them. Here in LA, a mixed race person is very common. So it may be no big deal here, but still a big deal in Taiwan. The ABC factor was huge in the 90s and 00s. Recently, the novelty of ABCs in Taiwan has started to ware out. Because its so common in the entertainment industry now vs. 10 to 20 years ago.

Should you watch the movie? Yes if you like to see a slice of life Taiwan life and how mixed race interaction is. No if you're looking for an enjoyable ride. The movie was a downer and the decisions for the characters were a little perplexing.


Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Good, The Bad, The Weird - 神偷:獵人:斷指客

The Good, The Bad, The Weird (神偷:獵人:斷指客) is a 2008 film out of Korea. The film stars Song Kang-ho, Lee Byung-hun, and Jung Woo-sung. The movie is based in Manchuria.

The Cast
Song Kang-ho - Yoon Tae-goo (The Weird)
Lee Byung-hun - Park Chang-yi (The Bad)
Jung Woo-sung - Park Do-won (The Good)

A map to a secret treasure from the Ming Dynasty has surfaced and is being sold to the Japanese by a Korean high official. However, the high official wants to double cross the buyer by stealing it back via his own bandits, Park Chang-Yi. On the train where the map is delivered to the Japanese buyer, a train robbery is in full effect. The robbery is carried out by Yoon Tea-goo, a bumbling thief that shows some signs of skill. Tea-goo inadvertently steals the map. Park Chang-Yi starts to carry out his double steal, but finds that the map is stolen. Park Do-won is a bounty hunter on the trail of both Chang-yi and Tae-goo as both have bounty rewards. But Do-won is set on taking in Chang-yi and getting the map as he's promised a handsome reward from the Korean Independence army. A cat and mouse chase ensues when they leave the train. Do-won and Tae-goo form a uneasy pairing to find the treasure. But they have 3 gangs on their tail, the Japanese army, the Mongolian bandits, and Chang-yi.

This movie was pretty crazy and exciting at the same time. The action was a little hard to believe for most of the movie. But it didn't detract from the main point of the movie. This is the first Korean western I've seen and it was a doozy. The three guys do give a pretty good performance. Worth a watch and worth the wait.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Clan of the White Lotus - Fist of the White Lotus - 洪文定三破白蓮教

Clan of the White Lotus (洪文定三破白蓮教) is a 1980 Shaw Bros. martial arts film. The film stars Lo Lieu and Gordon Liu. Supporting cast include Kara Hui and Yeung Jing-Jing. This movie is a sequel to "Executioners From Shaolin".

Gordon Liu plays Hung Wei Ting. The government says that shaolin disciples can go back to normal life. However, its just a ploy to shake them out so they can be eliminated. Hung saves Mei from death, but vows revenge on another Lotus Clan master. However, Hung's kung fu isn't good enough and he is defeated. But Hung doesn't give up, he spends time researching other styles in an effort to defeat the Lotus Clan master. Will he have success?

This movie is one of the late classics. You can see that the kung fu is still old skool, but with some wire work. But in general, its straight up fighting for fighting sake. You have to create a story so they can fight. What better reason than revenge?

Not great and just average.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

劍雨 - Reign Of Assassins

劍雨 (Reign Of Assassins) is a 2010 film. The film is a joint production of companies from China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. The film stars Michelle Yeoh and Jung Woo-sung. The supporting cast include Wang Xueqi, Barbie Hsu, Shawn Yue, Leon Dai, Kelly Lin, and Pace Wu. The movie is directed by Su Chao-pin. Parts of the movie were co-directed by John Woo.

The Cast
Michelle Yeoh as Zeng Ching
Jung Woo-sung as Jiang Ah-sheng
Wang Xueqi as The Wheel King
Barbie Hsu as Zhan Qiang
Shawn Yue as Lei Bin
Leon Dai as The Magician
Pace Wu as Kongdong Blue Sword
Kelly Lin as Drizzle
Chin Shih-Chieh as Doctor Li
Calvin Li as Wisdom
Angeles Woo - Eater Bear (John Woo's Daughter)
Jiang Yiyan - Lei Bin's Wife

The Story
A monk from India masters the highest level of martial arts. His remains are cut in half and a prized possession. If you have his body, you can also learn the highest forms of martial arts. Because of this, theres a scramble to get it whenever a rumor is confirmed. The Dark Stone gang is a group of assassins that blackmail people with power. When the upper half the monk's body appears, they go after it. In the heat of the battle, Drizzle of the Dark Stone gang takes off with the remains and disappears. Drizzle meets up with a soon to be monk in Wisdom. Wisdom tries to calm the evil in Drizzle and shows her flaws in her technique. However, Drizzle falls for Wisdom and kills him. Devastated, Drizzle gets a face lift and is now Zeng Ching, a fabrics merchant. Zeng eventually marries again to a absent minded foot guy named Ah Sheng. However, peace doesn't last long as the Zeng is found and forced to deal with the past she wants to leave behind.

My Thoughts
This was a amazing wuxia swordplay film. It contained all the elements that I crave. A mystery, martial arts that impress. A strong cast of characters to flank the main characters. Character development is exposed in fragments for the bit players, but mainly reserved for the main stars.

The movie featured plenty of characters. According to Michelle Yeoh's website film page, there could have been more characters, but it does not seem like there was enough time to explore them all. Here's to hoping that this develops into a wuxia drama in the future.

Pace Wu makes only a very brief appearance but her beauty stole the show during that time. Pace also ditches the makeup, but still looked amazing.

I was a little afraid that it couldn't live up to the hype, but it was a great film. I do have problems with the casting, but that can't be helped if you follow the $$.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Amazing Race 17 - Leg 3

I caught the third episode of the Amazing Race 17 last night. The stayed in Ghana for the episode. They had to find a boxing academy and do some things, than get to a supply depot and deliver supplies to a school, where they had to place Ghana in the right place on a map. After that, they where given a detour to do a language or activity.

Kevin and Michael didn't have the best taxis nor the best of luck. On two of the activities, they had to change course. And they finished last. LAST! But wait! This leg was not an elimination round! What?! That's right, they have to do a speed bump next week, but who knows. They might still be in this.

Last week, I was high on Brook, but I totally dislike her now. They totally dissed Kevin. So lame since it wasn't even a crucial point. But I did get on the Gary & Mallory bandwagon now. This father and daughter pair look like they can kick butt.

Nat & Kat don't seem like they have a lot of luck. Taxis getting lost, taxis breaking down, getting lost, etc.

I want to hate Connor & Jonathan, but those fools blew away everyone in leg 3. Starting in sixth place, they were clam and collected and had the help of Samson on their side.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Terry Lin - Smooth Operator

Terry Lin is a Smooth Operator. I recently came upon his choreographed moves to an Elva song. I must have watched a couple of times in a role and I have it on in the background a lot lately just for the heck of it. Nice tune and some smooth moves.

I likes the dance moves and these guys can put it down. Keep it up Terry Lin.

The one thing you'll totally missed from the Elva MV is the great footwork.

The Elva video:

Saturday, October 9, 2010

A Chinese Fortune - Everybody In The World Has A Story

I recently came across this news bit "A Chinese Fortune - Everybody In The World Has A Story". Steve Hartman has a series called Everybody In The World Has A Story. In the linked YouTube video, Steve Hartman lands in Chengdu, China. Steve takes a phone book and picks a telephone number and they interview whoever is on the other side.

The story of Xiao Hua Yu and her lucky bag factory is a great story about the way all countries run. When a business opportunity is presented and is recognized, it can be capitalized upon. In this case, its recyclable bags.

A great story that presents a nice slice of life.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen - 精武風雲:陳真

Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen (精武風雲:陳真) is a 2010 film out of Hong Kong. The movie stars Donnie Yen, Shu Qi, Huang Bo, and Anthony Wong. The movie is directed by famed director Andrew Lau. Donnie Yen pulls double duty as the action director. The supporting cast includes Shawn Yue and Huo Si Yan. The story is based in Shanghai and France.

The movie is based on the Chen Zhen character of the Bruce Lee Fist of Fury movie. This movie is a continuation of the wuxia series that starred Donnie back in the 90s. The movie starts in France as Chen Zhen and his troupe are trying to make it out of the battle zone to go home. Chen Zhen gives his "dog tag" to a fellow solider for good luck. However, that solider is the one that bites the dust. Chen Zhen does some crazy stuff to end the battle. Back in Shanghai, Chen Zhen is looking for support from notable Chinese businessmen and scholars. Chen Zhen doubles as a night club socialite. By night, he's out fighting the Japanese who have a list of 100 people that they've targeted to kill. Will Chen Zhen win like in the previous Fist of Fury?

If you've seen the recent Donnie movies, this is along the same lines. A storyline that contains that Chinese people are not worthless if they stick together. That theme is strong in this movie again. I wonder if this trend will continue or we'll look back on this era with fondness and cheesiness. In anycase, was the movie any good? Yes, it was well made and presented a passionate story. But the formula seemed played out to me. Still an enjoyable film if you haven't seen a Donnie film recently, since you won't know the formula. You'll also really need to know the Bruce Lee version well.

The Chen Zhen character has become a "super-hero" character and Donnie plays that up in this film. Started by Bruce Lee, honed by Jet Lee, expanded upon by Donnie. Chen Zhen lives on!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

渺渺 - Miao Miao

渺渺 (Miao Miao) is a 2008 film out of Taiwan. The movie stars Alice Ke and Sandrine Pinna. The supporting cast include Fan Chih-Wei and Chris Wu.

Set in modern day Taipei, Miao Miao returns to Taipei as an exchange student from Japan. Xiao Ai is a the leader of the school's baking club and recruits Miao Miao. One day, while looking for a bake shop, Miao Miao wanders into a CD store. As luck would have it, Miao Miao takes an interest in the CD store. However, the CD store owner is pretty cold and rude to the world around him. Miao Miao and Ai continue to be closer friends and seek to get the attention of the CD store owner, Chen Fei. However, Fei isn't interested in Miao Miao. How will they overcome this dilemma?

The movie was pretty short and to the point. The views of Taipei made me miss it as I was watching. From the public transport to the hustle and bustle of the city that is absent in suburban Los Angeles. What I was shocked to find out as the trailers left absent was the gay theme. I don't know about you, but too many movies out of Taiwan deal with this. Especially the ones from the early to mid 2000s. Recent trending is no longer this way.

Sandrine Pinna and Alice Ke have contrasting personalities and thus, acting in the film. Ai is loud and proud! Miao Miao is more reserved and pretty shy in general. A solid watch for the most part. But not a must watch for Taiwan cinema.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

I recently discovered The site looks like a student web project from the 90s, but the info is top notch. You're not going to get a lot of info, but the its enough for those of us that just need to know the year and country that these films came from.

The site also doesn't contain the most up to date materials. What lead me to the site was my research on "Chengdu, I Love You". I was under the impression that Gao Yuanyuan was in the movie. I didn't know that the movie was originally conceived as a 3 story arc movie. And that each arc would be helmed by a major Asian director. The story for Gao was broken out into its own feature length movie, Season of Good Rain. Gao's no longer in Chengdu, I Love You. As least, that's what my research tells me, since I haven't been able to locate a copy of Chengdu, I Love You.

In any case, the site only listed the pre-production data and didn't update it as it changed. Which is the case for Wikipedia as well sometimes.

What I do like about the site is that it breaks up the movies into years and has an actual "poster" of it. That poster is invaluable to me since names are translated sometimes and not directly used.

This is just another tool I'll add to my arsenal to look for movies and to do my write ups!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Next Iron Chef - Season Three - Ming Tsai

The Next Iron Chef (Season Three) was on a couple of nights ago. I usually don't like these type of shows because they play up the drama elements. That's also the main reason I never got into Top Chef. Too much drama. I would rather them to focus on the cooking like on Chopped and The Iron Chef. But Season Three caught my attention when I saw that Ming Tsai was one of the contestants. That puzzled me. I wasn't sure why he was there as Ming Tsai has had a long running cooking show and beat an Iron Chef. I would think an Iron Chef tag would be offered to him. But I guess that we got to get the drama on.

And the drama elements really turned me off as it went on. Having the chefs rip each other and than try to look good was annoying. The judges are always a mixed basket. You really are at their mercy because they determine who moves on.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Amazing Race 17 - Leg 2

I caught the second episode of the Amazing Race 17 last night. The teams flew to Ghana for some fun times. They had to find a monument, than get to a marketplace for a road block to sell $15 cedi worth of sunglasses. They make their way to another task to either install an antenna or transport a coffin to get the Leg 2 check point.

Kevin and Michael did show some signs that they maybe able to get to the finals as they placed 3rd. However, it didn't seem like the anyone would buy sunglasses from Michael. Gangster pulled a fast one and got his $15. Nat and Kat however, didn't fare so well with selling sunglasses. Kat was the last to $15 cedi. However, they didn't finish last, but close to it.

This week presented someone that I will cheer on after the two teams I will follow. Brook! Lady is crazy and I am on her bandwagon now. Brook really kept me engaged.

In general, one of the better legs I can remember.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Cyborg She - 我的機械人女友

Cyborg She (我的機械人女友) is a 2008 film out of Japan. The movie stars Haruka Ayase and Keisuke Koide.

Koide plays Jirou, a college student that seems very lonely. Jirou buys himself a present on his own birthday in 2007 and bumps into a girl in a Cyber suit. She tracks him to a restaurant and they have a fun night out together. But at the end of the night, the girl disappears in a flash of light in a tunnel. Fast forward a year and Jirou is again celebrating his birthday alone in 2008. But a Cyber suit girl shows up again and saves him. The girl is a cyborg and sent to protect Jirou from the future. Jirou develops feelings for the Cyborg, but things don't go well.

The movie was really a hard watch. Jirou wasn't that likable of a guy. Jirou was kind hearted, but generally a normal person that I would find no interest in. But the story revolves around him and the cyborg. Which never hooked me. Maybe that's why it took so long to watch it. I'd pass if I were you.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Forever The Moment - Our Finest Hour - 我們人生中最棒的瞬間

Forever The Moment (Our Finest Hour/我們人生中最棒的瞬間) is a 2008 film out of Korea. The film stars Moon So-ri, Kim Jung-eun, and Uhm Tae-woong. The story is loosely based on the women's handball team that competed at the 2004 Summer Olympics.

The Korean team has had success with the women's team since the 1984 Olympics. But the 2000 team failed to medal. The team put together for the 2004 olympics will seemingly go the same way. The coach and team members get ready for the Olympics, but a mixture of new members and old members cause tension. The politics of coaching also enter the picture. But the story is mainly about the team members that have dedicated their lives to athletics and specially handball. Their struggles away from the game and how their country treats them.

The movie did well at the Korean box office and was on my radar in 2008. But it never made it here to the US that year. I totally forgot about it and ran across it recently at my rental place. I've been a fan of Kim Jung-eun since her starring role in Marrying the Mafia years ago. It was good to see her in a movie again. This was the second athletics themed Korean I've watched recently and the pride that the country has for it. Unfortunately, the movies present a pride that is not returned in creating a standard of living for them. But their success will hopefully build for future generations. Hopefully these movies will bring action.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Zhang Tie Quan - 張鐵泉 Makes US MMA Debut

Zhang Tie Quan (張鐵泉) is an MMA fighter from China. Zhang made his US MMA debut at WEC 51 with a win. With the win and future success in the WEC, Zhang can lead the way for a new crop of MMA fighters from China. There are plenty of smaller MMA organizations in Asia, but none of them have the breadth of resources or caliber of fighters you see in today's five major MMA organizations (UFC/WEC/Strikeforce/Bellator/DREAM). MMA is a world sport and started like one in the 90s. It's growth is huge in the US because of the $$. But other countries will start to catch on soon. Good luck to the Chinese fighters coming over. Hope they'll experience the kind of success of Japanese fighters like Gomi & Okami and Korean fighters like Akiyama and Dong Hyun Kim.