Movie Review: Shadow (Cmovie, 2018)

A dying army commander, an indolent emperor, a man trapped in servitude and a plot to take back a kingdom’s lost territory. This is the core of the move Shadow, which sees director, Zhang Yimou, reuniting with his House of Flying Daggers cinematographer, Zhao Xiaoding, for another visually enticing, as well as intriguing, film. I’d read a lot of great things about this movie and when I saw that it was posted to LeTV’s official YouTube page, I had to watch it.

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Discussion Post: What did you think of the Age of Legends finale and series?

Since I did a Review post for Age of Legends as the show was starting up, I thought I’d add a Discussion Post now that the series finished up this week. Judging from various comments and chats I’ve seen, it seems like there were quite a few of you watching it who didn’t realise anyone else was and others who were thinking of watching, but weren’t sure if you should commit the time. I really enjoyed it, but wanted to see what you thought about it.

So what did you think of the show? What did you like about it? What did you wish had been done better? Would you recommend it for others and why? Is William Chan the next big action star? How did you like his work on this series compared to his past work? Are you looking forward to his next series, Dancing in the Storm? Who else stood out for you in this series?

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Series Review: Chinese Variety Shows

Along with being a C-drama and C-movie fan, I also enjoy quite a few Chinese variety shows as well. Most of these shows involve celebrities competing against one another or facing some interesting, sometimes potentially embarrassing, situations. Rather than reviewing them individually, I thought I’d give an overview of a selection of the shows that I am currently enjoying or have started checking out. Hopefully you’ll find something here that you may enjoy.

For non-Mandarin speakers, most of these series are not subtitled, but there are some that you can still enjoy despite the language barrier.

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Series Review: Age of Legends (Cdrama, 2018)

Age of Legends is a crime drama about scheming drug lords, the police who try to catch them and, caught in the middle, a man trying to remember the last eight years of his life. Revenge, secret identities, murder plots and really bad karaoke abound in this drama which is careful to balance the love story with the story of a man who aspires to be a Chinese Pablo Escobar.

This is the first modern C-drama in a while that’s really impressed me. Despite some rather melodramatic episodes, overall the first 19 episodes have been pretty fun and exciting for me. And after having watched some dramas this year where actors I’ve loved in other shows have underwhelmed me in more recent series, I was really happy to see William Chan and Sandra Ma’s characters actually engage me and keep me interested.

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Discussion Post: What do you think of Bloody Romance’s Finale?

Looks like the dark horse of our summer dramas line-up is Li Yi Tong’s Bloody Romance. I have read so many good words that I’m ready to jump into the wagon; you know, when time permits! But since I did a discussion post for first impression, I thought it’s fair to make one when the series wraps up, which it did yesterday.

Give a review of the series fellow fans, what you like/dislike, what worked for/against, acting, ost, etc.

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Movie Review: Detective Dee: The Four Heavenly Kings (Cmovie, 2018)

Mark Chao, Kenny Lin Gengxin and William Feng Shaofeng reprise their roles as the crime-solving trio from Young Detective Dee: Rise of the Sea Dragon in this sequel, directed by Tsui Hark (who is quickly becoming my favorite Chinese director). Joining them are Sandra Ma (“Oh My General”) and Ethan Ruan (“Legend of Fuyao”) in this mystery involving magicians, sorcery and an Empress eager for power. It’s a fun, summer flick with laughs and plenty of action.

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Movie Review: Animal World (Cmovie, 2018)

Animal World (动物世界) reunites the OTP from “Sparrow”, Li Yi Feng and Zhou Dong Yu, and also features Michael Douglas (Ant-Man) as a mysterious loan shark. Based on a Japanese manga called Kaiji: The Ultimate Gambler, this movie is a live action version of part 1 of the manga about a man forced to participate in a bizarre betting game on board a ship to get out of debt. Despite the frenetic trailers and what appears to be some visual influences from Deadpool, it’s actually more of a drama about how money or a lack of it can challenge people’s morals and motivations.

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