Huang Bo, Zhou Xun star in Cao Baoping’s new film

Crossing the Sea of Anger 涉过愤怒的海 is the third film in director Cao Baoping’s Burning Hearts 灼心 series, and stars Huang Bo (Crazy Alien) as a fisherman who finds out his daughter was murdered while studying in Japan. Meanwhile Li Miaomiao, the victim’s boyfriend and biggest suspect, has avoided persecution by returning to China with the help of his parents.

In Laohuang’s original novel, the protagonist is a man determined to avenge his daughter, though the film will focus more on family, reconciliation and redemption. Zhou Xun (Last Letter) and Zu Feng (The Mask) costar.

Review: Forever Young is a poignant love letter to the world

 I cried three times in the process of editing this review. This sweepingly beautiful but simple ode to Tsinghua University is a tear-jerker for all seasons.

Set against one of the most stunning visuals of the year, Forever Young 无问西东 tells its simple tales with an incredibly romantic lens that makes it difficult not to admire.  Director Li Fangfang (Heaven Eternal, Love Everlasting) always manages to play my emotions just right to evoke all my emotions for the world she captures.

The film from centers around four loosely connected stories of six characters (played by Wang Leehom, Zhang Ziyi, Chang Chen, Huang Xiaoming, Tie Zheng, and Chen Chusheng) facing their true selves through making difficult choices, from scary ones like life-and-death decisions to the even scarier decision of picking a college major. Continue reading

Promo Round-up: Game of Hunting

Hu Ge’s most anticipated drama since the end of Nirvana in Fire in 2015Game of Hunting follows protagonist Zheng Qiudong’s journey from an idealistic entrepreneur to a skilled headhunter.

However, the path is far from smooth – his business fails after Bai Liqin’s (Zu Feng) death, and the teaser suggests he also spends time in prison after being betrayed by girlfriend (Jian Renzi). Thankfully Qiudong befriends wise inmate Liu Liangti (cameo by Sun Honglei), who points him in the right direction after he is released. The 45 episode drama begins airing tonight.

Drama opening theme (I’m intrigued by all the symbolism):

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Hu Ge’s Game of Hunting begins in new trailer

Hu Ge’s new drama Game of Hunting 猎场 (previously translated as Hunting Ground) is finally going to see the light of day after a lengthy legal dispute between the production company and broadcasters Hunan TV and LeTV, and has released an official trailer ahead of its premiere in the third quarter of the year.

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Review: Ode to Joy Season I

As Ode to Joy II  欢乐颂 2 is geared up for release, here’s a review of season 1 of the hit series from 2016.

Witty dialogue and a cast of memorable characters make Ode to Joy one of the most fun sit-coms in a while.  Unfortunately, the  series is often dogged down by attempts to shift to a melodrama that makes the ff button a necessary friend.

The series focuses around the unlikely friendship between five women who share a floor in an apartment complex in Shanghai. There’s Andi (An Di?), the business professional with a fear of human touch, Qu Xiaoxiao, the heiress fighting  for the family inheritance,  Fan Shengmei, the gold-digger with an entitled family, Qiu Yingying, the happy-go-lucky college grad,  and Guan Ju’er, the ordinary white-collared girl who has never said no in her life.

Coming from a misogynistic rural  family, Fan Shengmei (Jiang Xin) is vain, self-centered, but also righteous and protective. She would lie to help out a friend, but also to save face. The first lets her befriend the women in the apartment complex, but the second gets her in trouble  as she falls for men who use her vanity to play her.  When she falls in love with a  man faked his own wealth to date her, she is caught between love and vanity.  Imperfect, complex, and sharp-tongued, Fan’s characterization is perfect.

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For the Holy Guiguzi releases uber long trailer

… and we have a winner for the most spoiler-y trailer of all time…

For the Holy Guiguzi, starring Duan Yihong, Qi Wei, Zu Feng, Xu Qiwen, Ni Dahong, Zhang Zhizhong, Wei Zhen, and Cecilia Yip, has recently dropped a really long trailer. It’s so long it comes in parts… really… with English subs.  Don’t ask me why the third one only lasts 1 second…

Long Trailer: 1, 2, 3, 4

 

 

Fools of love trailer for Ode to Joy

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Get used to seeing this pair, because they’re going to be collaborating for two more seasons of Ode to Joy and at least one of detective series When a Snail Falls in Love 如果蜗牛有爱情.

First of all, I’m kind of impressed by their use of English songs in the two trailers so far. Hopefully this bodes well for their rather large OST (all the girls and maybe Wang Kai have their own song). Second, can everyone but maybe Jiang Xin please get a new stylist? There is absolutely nothing young and hip about any of Wang Kai’s outfits.

I still think Ode to Joy 欢乐颂  could be ground-breaking in being a female-centric modern drama that isn’t solely-focused on romance (despite this trailer),  so I have high hopes for this series. I like the end message of the trailer, if anything else.  All the leads have signed up for season 2 and 3 for this drama, so that should indicate the script is really good (or they were emotionally blackmailed).

The series has been pushed back for an April 18th release, and still stars Liu Tao, Jiang Xin, Yang Zi,  Wang Ziwen, Qiao Xin, Zu Feng, Yang Shuo, Zhang Lu,  Wang Kai, Jin Dongand Zhang Xiaoqian,

What’s airing, Spring 2016

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A selected list of airing times for dramas to air this spring.  Everything is subject to change. Which ones are you looking forward to?

Stars to release include Liu Tao, Jiang Xin, Dilraba, Wang KaiHu Ge, Liu Shishi, Zhang RuoyunHuang Xuan, Zhang Meng,William Chan, Jerry YanIm Yoona, Godfrey Gao, Yan YIkuan, Yang Le, Tang Yixin, Zheng Kai, Jin Dong, Wan Qian, Zu Feng, etc.

2016 Spring Airing Times

The Love of Happiness 因为爱情有幸福 , February  24
Featuring: William Chan, Tang Yixin  (They dubbed themselves! Even William Chan with his major Cantonese accent!)

Because of Love 因为爱, February 28
Featuring: Jerry Yan, Hai Lu Continue reading

Sisterhood of Ode to Joy looking fabulous in trailer

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So much talent, looks, and personality in one trailer!

This trailer is actually so much better than I expected it to be! Everyone’s on point with their characters, and the trailer looks both fun and dramatic.

So here’s our Ode to Joy  欢乐颂, set to air on April 17, introducing the adorable  residents  of 2201 and the males in their lives,  Liu Tao, Jiang XinYang Zi,  Wang Ziwen, Qiao Xin, Zu Feng,  Yang Shuo, Zhang Lu,  Wang Kai, Jin Dongand Zhang Xiaoqian,

P.S. Wang Ziwen said that for all of her scenes with Wang Kai, pretty much if the two can’t come up a way to make their scene cute, they’ll just make out, so expect lots of cuteness from the pair.

Jiang Xin, Liu Tao are bff’s in Ode to Joy

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Who knew? Female bff’s who don’t cat-fight over some guy exists in Chinese dramas.

But you know who aren’t besties in this show? Jin Dong and Wang Kai. Having the two of them being in a show and not having a single scene together is almost as cruel as having Idina Menzel be in a musical and not have a song (I know, it’s been 8 years).

Known for producing dozens of amazing male leads in every show, Shandong TV and co. (The Disguiser, Nirvana in Fire, All Quiet in Peking) is unfortunately one of the worst in their ability to write good female roles. Usually if you’re a female character in one of their dramas, you’ll be lucky if your IQ is above 80 or if your life revolves around anything other than a male. If you’re both, then you are probably an antagonist.  Ode To Joy 欢乐颂  is hoping to change that as their first drama with a predominantly female leading cast.  Introducing the sisterhood that is Liu Tao, Jiang Xin, Yang Zi,  Wang Ziwen, and Qiao Xin.   Opposite them are Zu FengJin Dong,  Wang Kai,  Zhang Lu, Zhang Xiaoqian and a mysterious male lead (rumored to be Luo Jin) who better be really amazing for anyone to pick him over Zu Feng and Jin Dong.

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Going against the common trend of one strong woman, one girl-next-door, and one boyish friend, Ode to Joy features at least three independent women who all have their own love interests (that do not intersect).

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