National Day Film Round-Up

Abominable is the first animated film available with Chinese dubs across all theaters in the U.S.

The themes of this National Day week-long break are unsurprisingly patriotism and surprisingly Mount Everest. Here’s the slate of films trying to beat Ne Zha and The Wandering Earth‘s record-breaking numbers this year. All four are available in limited theaters in the U.S. and Canada (and probably New Zealand and Australia).

Abominable, the love letter to Chinese scenery that’s the first film from Pearl Studio, a venture between DreamWorks Animation, China Media Capital, and the Shanghai Media Group. I’ve seen it in English and definitely recommend it. The main characters are very shippable in an Asian drama way, and the imagery is super imaginative.

Note that if you’re in the U.S., you can watch the film with Chinese dubs in theaters by using the Theater Ears app.
Voice actors: Chloe Bennet, Albert Tsai, Tenzing Norgay Trainor in English; Zhang Zifeng, Arthur Chen Feiyu, Wan Qian, Cai Qin in Chinese

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M.I.C. Jianci, Li Xiangxiang head Tiny Times the Musical

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Can you guess who’s who?

It’s ridiculous how good-looking even the musical cast for Guo Jingming‘s  Time Times is.

The male cast features M.I.C. Jianci, Chinese Idol winner Li Xiangxiang, singer Li Weifeng (Coke Lee), BangBangTang ex-member Wu Sixian, lead of Jin Sha the musical Zhang Qiyuan, China is Listening Third Place Ayunga (he’s my bet for Gongming),  and Chinese Idol contestant Zhang Jie. H.I.T.’s Duan Huangwei will also be in this.

Female leads include Nan Quan Mama‘s Lara, Super Girl Pan Chen (the first actual Shanghainese to play a Tiny Times lead),  and a bunch of Chinese Idol  contestants like Liu Sihan.

Oh, and they also with you a Happy Chinese New Year:

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Oh, Chinese Idol is over and we have a winner

Chinese Idol, Li Xiangxiang.
Chinese Idol, Li Xiangxiang. (Prepare yourself for a angst-ridden piece of writing).

Chinese Idol 中国梦之声 debuted as one of the most promising reality singing contests of 2013, but suffered from poor formatting during its live performance rounds and everybody lost interest as abruptly as this opening sentence.

Sunday’s three-hour finale, which featured performances from the Idol judges (including a bearded Huang Xiaoming), Show Luo 罗志祥, and international guest star Lionel Richie, saw Li Xiangxiang 李祥祥 upset heavy favourite “Goddess” Yangjima 央吉玛 to become the first Chinese Idol.
Li Xiangxiang, who is kind of handsome but probably not handsome enough to justify his being called handsome so many times on the show, will sign a recording deal with Universal Music Group as part of his winnings. Runner-up Yangjima, an ethnic Monpa folk singer from Tibet who is not actually a real goddess, is also expected to score a record deal in the Idol aftermath.

And if you thought that this reality TV singing contest would only have two finalists in the grand finale, well, you’d be wrong. Entirely reasonable in your assumption, but wrong. At the beginning of the episode, six singers were still in contention for the Idol crown. (more…)