Saturday, April 30, 2011

2011 Summer Blockbuster Movies Guide

As the 2011 Summer Movie season starts here in the US, I can't help but hope to see 1 or 2 of these in the theaters. Being in the early fatherhood portion of my life, I basically watch everything on DVD/Blu-Ray now.

But these would be on the top of my list on a week by week basis.

Lakers Playoff run! (ok, it isn't movies, but it's the Lakers!)

Fast Five (玩命關頭5)

Thor (雷神索爾)

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (加勒比海盜 神鬼奇航:幽靈海)

The Hangover Part II (醉後大丈夫2)

Kung Fu Panda 2 (功夫熊貓2)

X-Men: First Class (X戰警:第一戰)

Super 8 (超級8)

Green Lantern (綠光戰警)

Cars 2 (Cars 2:世界大賽)

Transformers: Dark of the Moon (變形金剛3)

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part II (哈利波特:死神的聖物Ⅱ)

Captain America: The First Avenger (美國隊長)

Cowboys and Aliens (星際飆客)

Conan The Barbarian (蠻王柯南)

Wow. I was only going to put in 15 minutes for this post and it took me over an hour to gather all the posters and trailers. I'll probably add a few more to this list for my own historical purposes. But its turning out to be another good year in movies.

Friday, April 29, 2011

America's Best Dance Crew - Season 6 - Katy Perry Challenge

Last night was the forth episode of America's Best Dance Crew (Season 6), the Katy Perry Challenge. The remaining 7 groups battle it out for the remaining six spots. The bottom two crews were Request and Street Kingdom. After a spirited dance off, Request were let go by the judges.

In all, I liked the episode. The stand outs for me were 787 Crew, IaMmE, and Instant Noodles. Looking ahead, I may have 787 Crew and IaMmE in the finals. The third will be either Instant Noodles or ICONic Boyz. ICONic Boyz will ride a wave of good will to the finals.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Fast Five - 玩命關頭5 - Upcoming

Fast Five (玩命關頭5) is an upcoming movie set for release tomorrow 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.

The hyped event of the movie is the epic battle of brawn, wits, and muscle between Vin and The Rock. Two larger than life entertainment personalities.

I am hoping to catch the film in the theaters this time around to support Justin Lin. While the US is getting its fill of speedy cars this weekend, Asia will get its dose next weekend. Keep your eye out for it!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

消失打看 - Honey Pupu - Upcoming

消失打看 (Honey Pupu) is a 2011 film out of Taiwan. The movie stars Peggy Tseng, Prince, Lin Chen-Shi, Chiu Shen-Yi, Lin Po-shen, and Hsieh Hsin-Ying. It's set for general release in Taipei this Friday, April 29, 2011.

From the looks of the trailer and short bits from the profiles, this movie is artsy to the max. Made by designer by trade, Chen Hong-I, you can expect great visuals. As for the story, seems compelling in searching for a boyfriend. But since I haven't seen it, I will have to reserve judgment for a later date.

If you're in Taiwan, go support it!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Outrage - 極惡非道

Outrage (極惡非道) is a 2010 film out of Japan. The film stars Takeshi Kitano. Takeshi Kitano also wrote and directed the film. Kitano had not made a tradition yakuza movie in over a decade. Dubbed as his return to gangster films. The movie is set to have a sequel in 2011.

Kitano plays the head of the Otomo crime family. But he answers to the head of the larger region, who answers to the chairman of the Kanto region. Otomo is sent to cause trouble for Murase. After getting him out of the area and taking over for him, Otomo's boss wants in on more of the action. However, on the other hand, the chairman has other plans.

The movie was ridiculous in its violence and presentation of the yakuza lifestyle. Otomo was seeming in control one period and completely powerless the next. The struggle for power and money was interesting to say the least. I never knew the power pyramid to well and back stabbing your boss to move up is seen as normal.

If you like Takeshi Kitano and yakuza movies. This one is a must watch.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

神話織女 - 天涯織女 - 衣被天下 - Clothing The World - A Weaver on the Horizon

神話織女 (天涯織女/衣被天下/Weavers/Clothing The World/A Weaver on the Horizon) is a 2010 drama series out of Zhong Guo. The series stars Janine Chang, Yuan Hong, and Liu Shi Shi. The series runs a long 36 episodes (~43 minutes each). Other supporting cast members include Chang Pei Pei, Edwin Siu, Damian Lau, Tang Yi Fei, and Xu Qi Wen. The series is a fictional account of Huang Dao Po, whom is credited with helping kick start the Chinese textile industry.

The Story
The story begins with the younger Huang who is very poor and does whatever she can for her mom. The foundations of her character are set even at an early age. Huang's mom is sick and knows her days are number. The mom brings Huang to a textile store in the capital. After much suffering, Huang's mom dies and she's eventually accepted into the store as a student worker. The series flashes forward about 8-10 years and the store is having financial troubles due to the economic downturn. The Mongols are hot on the heals of taking over the country and buying expensive clothes is no longer a priority. A competition to enter the imperial palace is given to the top textile stores. Huang enters the store into the competition against her masters will. The gals get through the first 2 stages, but the last stage, they are helped by the master and lose. However, the empress likes them and brings them into the palace. In the palace, the girls along with Huang are faced with politics and succumb to it, eventually getting kicked out. After being kicked out, the girls go through another big trial and get married! The Mongols conquered the country and they make an escape to Yazhou where she learns to use cotton. After a bit of time learning cotton in Yazhou, Huang makes her way back Songjiang and helps to establish the textile industry there.

The Series
Amazing series. I didn't have high hopes for it when I first heard of it. Normally, ancient series for me are only for wuxia. The government politic seriously bore me and I avoid it with a passion. However, this one kept me captivated and on board the whole time. I really only picked it up for Janine Chang. Janine's first foray into ancient grab was awesome. Without Janine's warm smile and positive outlook, I wouldn't have been able to finish the series. And in general, all the main ladies were quite easy on the eyes which made it all the more easy to continue on.

My Thoughts
This may be my favorite ancient series of 2010 (even though I watched it in 2010). Even though it lacked the wuxia's fantasy element that draw me to ancient series, I was captivated and on board for the story to the end. Janine Chang, Liu Shi Shi, and Xu Qi Wen were the main gals and they were a doozy to watch. I didn't dislike anyone of the gals. In most series, if one gal or dood seems off or wrong, the series ends up being a chore. I would say that I spent the first 25 or so episode with my finger off the fast forward. The last 10-11 episodes, I was FFing about 25%.

The voices were in general dubbed over. Since I knew the voices of some of them, it seemed weird at first, but eventually I got use to it.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

My Belle Boss - 我的美女老板

My Belle Boss (我的美女老板) is a 2010 film out of Zhong Guo. The movie stars Peter Ho and Jing Tian. The supporting cast include Annie Wu and Waise Lee. Directed by Li Hong.

Peter Ho plays Yang, a computer game programmer looking for a job. On a strange day, he bumps into a young hipster gal. They hit it off and because good friends. Yang lands a job at a game company, but comes to find out that the boss looks like the hipster gal. When confronted, hipster gal says that it's her twin sister. Yang ends up becoming good friends with both boss and hipster gal.

This is a light romantic comedy featuring a likable lead in Peter Ho and a breath of fresh air in Jing Tian. There seemed to be chemistry between the two from the get go. I really related to Peter's role and character.

Although much of the movie plays to the obvious, the ending and outcome were not. Actually, I was a little more than confused. But the majority of the movie was light and enjoyable.

It's not artsy. It's not trying to be deep. It's trying to present a light rom-com. Just watch it if you're a Peter fan. Or watch it for the stunning Jing Tian.

Friday, April 22, 2011

America's Best Dance Crew - Season 6 -The Black Eyed Peas Challenge

Last night was the third episode of America's Best Dance Crew (Season 6), the Black Eyed Peas Challenge. The remaining 8 groups battle it out seven spots in the next round. The bottom two crews were FootworKINGz and ReQuest. After a spirited dance, FootworKINGz were let go by the judges. In general, The Black Eye Peas have some really good songs, but not all seemed for dancing styles.

The week, I began to like IaMmE and Instant Noodles more. In general, no group performed all that well, but those two caught my attention. IaMmE is a style I enjoy watching because I like robotic type movements. Instant Noodles still stayed low but the challenge of a video game allowed them to stay low again. I was disappointed in them last week, but they won me over this week.

In all, I am giving it another week since its the Katy Perry challenge. Good job guys.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Deep Gold 3D - Upcoming

Deep Gold 3D is set for release tomorrow. I can't really tell if its just the US or if its worldwide. In the LA area, I've actually heard the Deep Gold 3D commercial on KLAC 570 AM. I first new of this when they started following me on Twitter. Bizarre that ppl would want to follow me.

I am not exactly sure what this movie is about. But I can only guess that it'll be caper film with some mystery and on some boat or in the water of the coast of the Philippines. What an amazing excuse to have fly women in bikini's all movie long! And in this case, Jayme Ong! Jayme's role in the film is that of big sister to the main protagonist. So, that means screen time will be limited for her. But since her debut in Gen-X Cops, Jayme hasn't really done many more movies. I've heard of her relocation to Singapore and back to HK. Jayme has matured with time and her look itself isn't so "rave" like anymore, but more sultry. Awesome!

I am watching this film only for Jayme! Yay to Jayme's come back! I have a feeling I may have a hard time getting a DVD or Blu-ray of this film.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Flirting Scholar 2 - 唐伯虎點秋香2之四大才子

Flirting Scholar 2 (唐伯虎點秋香2之四大才子) is a 2010 film out of Zhong Guo. The movie stars Huang Xiaoming and Zhang Jingchu. Supporting cast include Richie Ren and Louis Fan. The film is a sequel to the 1993 film starting Stephen Chow.

Huang plays a rich kid who's mom wants to get him educated. Sent to a Buddhist school with a strict reputation, he rebells and falls for Zhang. Zhang is part of a gang that has taken over the school and plans on conning the residents of the city out of their money.

The film was quite a watch. Not very funny and not very well made. Huang doesn't play this part really well. Not a natural comedian at heart, Huang does try. Zhang does a good job as her role is more straight forward and doesn't really need to be funny. Zhang just needs to be beautiful.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Kung Fu Hip-Hop 2 -- 精舞門 2

Kung Fu Hip-Hop 2 (精舞門 2) is a 2010 film out of Zhong Guo. The movie stars Wilson Chen, Zhou Qiqi, Wang Zi, and Michael Tse. The movie is a non related sequel to the 2008 film.

Wilson Chen is the leader of a dance crew whom is seemingly unbeaten in its local urban circles. In its efforts to not "sell out", it refuses to join competitions or dance for money. Wilson is a dance instructor at a local dance gym and takes on a new student, Zhou Qiqi whom is there because her boyfriend told her to. Michael Tse plays Zhou's boyfriend that is both in control and manipulative. Zhou however finds escape in her new urban dancing and starts falling for Chen. Tse doesn't take lightly to this and forces his hand to show Chen his place in society. Zhou comes from money and how can Chen provide for her. Chen's group breaks up and is forced to join a competition to raise money for a member's sick mom. Let the dancing begin!

Man, I don't even know where to begin with this movie. Zhou Qiqi is amazingly beautiful. Stunning. That was worth the ride for me. Since I liked the first movie, maybe I had a little bit of higher expectation for this film. Which I shouldn't have. It was cheezy and the story was cliche all over. You knew what was going to happen a mile away. The dancing was a little better this time around. Mad prompts to the guys that can put this out and be proud. But they should keep it domestic to Zhong Guo and not let it get out.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Typhoon - 颱風

Typhoon (颱風) is a 2005 film out of Korea. The movie stars Jang Dong-gun and Lee Jung-jae. Hailed as a blockbuster back in 2005, but ended up flopping quite badly.

The summary from Netflix is pretty good:

Still seething over the killing of his family as they tried to defect from North to South Korea when he was a child, Sin (Dong-Kun Jang) schemes to nuke all of Korea. Now, naval Lt. Gang Se-jong (Jung-Jae Lee) must track Sin down before he carries out his nefarious plan. But while he can't run the risk of having personal feelings interfere with his mission, as Gang learns more about the man he seeks, he begins to feel sympathy for his plight.

The movie has pretty high production value and goes to quite a few countries. The languages in this film also go for broke. From Korean, English, Chinese, Thai, and Russian. However, the story was very very hard to follow, specifically Sin's story after he gets to Thailand and his rise to power there. The movie is in essence a cat and mouse chase triller. You're never quite sure where it will go. If you're looking for the decadence of the mid-2000s Korean film making, you don't want to skip this one.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Town - 竊盜城

The Town (竊盜城) is a 2010 film. The movie stars Ben Affleck, Rebecca Hall, Jeremy Renner, Jon Hamm, and Blake Lively. Ben Affleck also co-wrote and directed the film. The movie is based in the Boston area.

Ben Affleck plays Doug, a former semi-pro hockey player that's gone into the family business of crime. Doug is the mastermind of a few bank robberies. On one of their jobs, they take an hostage, Rebecca Hall as Claire. They drop Claire off by the river after they make their get away. But the crew feel a little uneasy about Claire and Doug stalks her to make sure she doesn't give the FBI info on them. However, Doug falls for Claire and vice versa. Things get rough when the FBI stalk Claire thinking she may be in on it. Doug also wants out of the crime business. One more job to walk away from the crew. One more big job that will set the others and himself up for a long time.

This was quite a ride. From the explanation of the city to the lives portrayed here. I was glued and couldn't get enough. The duality of Doug's role in Claire's life was also mesmerizing. The cat and mouse chase of the crew vs. the FBI had me at the edge of the seat. I may have to say that it could be one of the best films of 2010 for me. Granted that I am still waiting for many 2010 releases to make it to DVD. The Town was a triller with heart and conscious. If you grow up with crime and have others to support, how do you get out clean? How do people around you stay safe? Which made me appreciate it more as I look back on it.

When you watch it, it'll have action, suspense, and a little romance. But it's the dichotomy of life situations that did it for me.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Beauty On Duty - 美麗密令

Beauty On Duty (美麗密令) is a 2010 film out of Hong Kong. The movie stars Charlene Choi, William Chan, and Sandra Ng. But the film is a really an ensemble cast of over 10 people that contribute to the main story.

Charlene Choi is a tough nosed cop that is recruited to go undercover in a beauty pageant. Choi is there to protect the daughter of a key witness. However, the key witnesses old boss has sent killers to off the daughter. It's up to the crack staff of HK and Zhong Guo police to stop these guys and convict the bad guys.

The movie was quite bad. I was only in because I generally like Charlene and usually watch her stuff. However, this ensemble cast was not all there. The hi-jinx were all really cheesy. The gurls were all eye candy, but that was it, nothing to keep you around.

Friday, April 15, 2011

America's Best Dance Crew - Season 6 - Kesha Challenge

Last night was the second episode of America's Best Dance Crew (Season 6), the Kesha Challenge. The remaining 5 groups of 10 were introduced to us. The judges will eliminate 1 crew by determining the 4 crews that move on to next round. This week, the crews dance to songs by Ke$ha. Maybe all the crews who are of age used a bottle of jack prior to the show. They were all pretty terrible. I'll go one more week to see if its worth it. And I avoid Kesha songs for a reason. Pretty sure it contributed to some of the terrible dancing too.

It just feels like that since we're on the 6th season, the producers are trying to push an invisible envelop of new dance trends. However, these trends would never make the mainstream. Hip hop pole dancing? Really. Status Quo, PR style this time around. Come on ABDC producers! Stop trying to push lame trends on us that suck. No footworks or whatever is next, have an all stars show what brings back the best of the rest.

Mad props to Instant Noodles for representing Taiwan. The story of how they all went to the same HS, got the states for college, etc. Great inspiring story. Dang, than they started to dance. In general, pretty tame but very "low" energy. I want to pull for these guys, but I can't see them going very far. And stop with the eating noodles gestures, just way too much.

I feel like I am angry at these guys. And I am. I had such high hopes and this episode and last weeks' really let me down.

Couple of shots of KevJumba and Victor Kim in the crowd. Other then that, didn't really recognize anyone else.

I really hope the next round is better or this is Season 4 all over again

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Driverless - 無人駕駛

Driverless (無人駕駛) is a 2010 film out of Zhong Guo. The movie stars Liu Ye, Gao Yuanyuan, Li Xiaoran, and Ruby Lin. The supporting cast include Chen Jian bin, Wang Luodan, and Huang Xuan. The movie is directed by Zhang Yang. Zhang Yang says that this is the 2010 version of his 1997 film, Spicy Love Soup (愛情麻辣燙).

The movie follows 3 story arcs that have common characters. The first story is a love triangle between Liu Ye, Gao Yuanyuan, and Li Xiaoran. Liu and Li are married with a 2 year old son and they have marrital problems. Liu runs into Gao at a business presentation. They dated in college. The second story is of Ruby Lin and her pyramid scheme. Ruby is dumped and looking to get back on her feet. Ruby sucks in a depressed Chen. The third story is Wang and Huang whom play the teenage love story. Wang plays a deaf girl that has had a very shelter life, but finds friendship with an womanizing player in Huang.

Weird happenstance intertwine all three arcs. The car accident that ultimately links them all is a little underwhelming. Unless you see it, you won't know what I mean.

In all, I was sucked in to the movie because of Gao Yuanyuan, Li Xiaoran, and Ruby Lin. Three lovely ladies entering their mid 30s in spectacular fashion. If it weren't for these three ladies, I would have stopped watching. Sometimes, its not about the story as it is about the eye candy casting.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The American - 完美狙擊

The American (完美狙擊) is a 2010 film. The movie stars George Clooney and Violante Placido. The movie is based on a 1990 novel by Martin Booth called A Very Private Gentleman.

The movie starts in a very snowy Sweden in a log cabin with a scantly clad Ingrid and our main man Jack. On a walk around the area, Jack notices foot prints in the snow. Jack quickly looks for shelter and is shot at. Jack than kills the sniper, Ingrid, and another man on a nearby road. Jack heads to Rome now to meet up with his handler, Pavel. Pavel gives Jack an hide out place in another part of Italy and than another assignment. From that point on, you're brought into the life that Jack leads as an assassin for hire. Jack finds an love interest with a brothel worker, Clara. In the end, Jack wants out, but has an heavy price to pay for it.

The movie was quite a slow mover. Lots of Clooney looking here and there. The only real spark was when Clara was around and when there was muted action. Besides that, I was quite bored and trying to figure out the visual aspects of a beautifully present Italian lifestyle. A well made film, but a little boring too.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Goemon - 大盜五右衛門

Goemon (大盜五右衛門) is a 2009 film out of Japan. The movie stars Yosuke Eguchi, Takao Osawa, and Ryōko Hirosue.

Goemon is a master thief whom steals from the rich and gives to the poor. Sound familiar? However, there's more to Geomon than meets the eye. The kingdom for which they exist is undergoing some changes and Goemon gets sucked into caring when his latest object is of a government artifact. From that point, slowly but surely, Goemon's past is revealed and he goes on to save the day.

The movie was visually very grimy. Theirs a bronze tint to a lot of the movie. Air brushing seems to be on for the whole movie. Basically, its like someone decided to run a photoshop effect on every single scene. It starts to get annoying as the movie goes on. But hey, its the artistic vision of the movie. The fighting is ok. Don't expect much. The main plot is straight forward. But all the subplots and the mystery behind them start to ware me down. Not a long movie, but I was tired at the end.