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.


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.


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.


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!


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 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.