DO SO LA SI FA!

zoneprositeZONE PRO SITE: THE MOVEABLE FEAST 总铺师:移动大厨 (2013)
4 out of 5 stars

Caught this movie on a whim and it really surprised me with its laughs and heart. Well, two other reasons include all the delectable food featured and Tony Yang! I just wished they could air the movie in its original Hokkien language because some of the dubbing did Tony Yang’s voice a great injustice!

Anyway, this movie revolves around the dying culture of ‘ban doh’ (辦桌) which describes mobile chefs who whip up dinner banquets featuring traditional Taiwanese dishes. Xiao Wan (Lin Mei Hsiu) hopes to recreates her father’s dishes to fulfill an old couple’s wish of a traditional banquet and take part in the ‘ban doh’ competition. There is quite a nice backstory about the legends of ‘ban doh’ and also a running gag about this lady and her legendary fried bee hoon.

Nothing makes a girl happier than laughter, food and hotties. Plus, the song that Tony Yang keeps singing is damn funny!

STAY DURING THE CREDITS FOR HILARIOUS OUTTAKES and a cameo by Rhydian Vaughan!

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THE BLACKSMITH

MWTIFTHE MAN WITH THE IRON FISTS (2012)
4 out of 5 stars

This genre-mashup takes place in 19th century China, where various clans are fighting each other and among themselves to get their hands on a large shipment of gold from the governor. Revenge is thrown into the mix when the leader of the Lion Clan is murdered.

Jack Knife: I always bring a gun to a knife fight.

Lucy Liu was the main draw of the movie – she absolutely kicks ass in anything and she does not disappoint in here. When you watch a martial arts film like this, there’s bound to be lots of Asian faces and you get to see them work their kungfu! I was also impressed with Byron Mann (Arrow) and Rick Yune. I also spotted Osric Chau (Supernatural) as the blacksmith’s assistant – pity he didn’t have any lines! The brothel, Pink Blossom, also serves to be more than a location of Oriental beauties with Madam Blossom (Lucy Liu) in charge.

After watching this, I realized that rap goes really well with martial arts. Now, that’s an odd combination. With Greg Nicotero (The Walking Dead) serving as the key special effects makeup supervisor, you can be guaranteed lots of awesome body parts and juices spewing in their glory.

SHARING THE PASTURE

wolfsheep1南方小羊牧场 WHEN A WOLF FALLS IN LOVE WITH A SHEEP (2012)
3 out of 5 stars

When A Wolf Falls In Love With A Sheep is a quirky story set in Nanyang Street, Taipei where students flock there to mug for their exams. Tung (Kai Ko) is looking for his (ex-)girlfriend and works in a photocopy shop to pass his time. He spots a comic about a sheep, drawn by Yang (Chien Man-shu) in one of the test papers and he responds by adding his sketch of a wolf and it becomes a hit with the students who take the test.

I won’t say this is a love story about the two leads because this film isn’t just about them. There are themes of waiting – whether it was waiting for something to end or waiting for a sign before the characters realized they need to move on. Yang counts to 100 to decide on matters before she finally moves on. It need not be a big step, because a small step counts too.

wolfsheep2

The backstory of other supporting characters are interesting too and I liked the one about the fried rice seller most. The cartoon of the sheep and the wolf actually has a life of its own and the ending, though not affirmative, is rather hopeful. I like hopeful endings.

BITTERNESS IS SELF-INFLICTED

女朋友*男朋友 GF*BF (2012)
3 and a half out of 5 stars

Three best friends experiencing life against the changing political backdrop of Taiwan. The thing is, they are in love with one another but not with each other. Aaron loves Mabel, Mabel loves Liam but Liam loves Aaron.

Gwei Lun Mei plays Mabel with a lot of gusto and I guess that’s why Aaron is in love with her. I mean, I watch her shave her head and I want to fall in love with her too. She puts herself out there and even as an adult, she’s still as strong though her choices may be questionable. And I guess, like Mabel, we know when we have to let something go.

The three characters all make questionable choices and I guess that’s life because you cannot have the best of both worlds. Love does not equate to happiness or wealth and our conscience has to pay when we want more.  This isn’t a typical love story but it was quite refreshing to see it in such a light.

HAPPINESS IS NEAR YOU

犀利人妻 最終回 THE FIERCE WIFE: FINAL EPISODE (2012)
3 and a half out of 5 stars

You know a TV show has made it big when it ends up on the big screen.

An Zhen (Sonia Sui) and Rui Fan (James Wen) were happily married until her cousin, Wei En, becomes the third party. The couple divorce and An Zhen relies on Tian Wei (Chris Wang), who helps her gain back her confidence and become an independent successful woman. Now, four years later, An Zhen is still single and yearns for love but has reservations about entering a new relationship with Tian Wei. On the other hand, her daughter wants her a complete family with Rui Fan.

So, the big question is: who will An Zhen choose?

I didn’t exactly watch the entire series but I know enough to watch the “final episode”. Well, if you look at Sonia Sui, you must be thinking Rui Fan must be off his rocker to ditch such a beautiful wife. But then, if they were still married, she wouldn’t have picked herself up and learnt the importance of being independent so that her world wouldn’t crumble if, for example, her husband left her. It’s a cruel, vicious cycle.

Filled with lots of laughs from the supporting cast, non-followers of the series can also have a good time watching!

ONE, TWO, BUCKLE MY SHOE

THE WOLF CHILDREN AME AND YUKI (2012)
4 out of 5 stars

This is a story of Hana, who meets and falls in love with a Wolf Man, who is the only surviving descendant of the Japanese wolf. They have two children, Yuki and Ame, both of whom are wolf children. After an accident that kills the Wolf Man, she moves to the countryside to raise her children.

This movie was directed by Mamoru Hosoda, the mind behind The Girl Who Leapt Through Time and Summer Wars. I watched it because I heard rave reviews about this plus it was shown exclusively at Filmgarde Cinemas – something about exclusivity just draws people in, doesn’t it?

First of all, Yuki and Ame are really cute! One’s more outgoing while the other’s more shy and when they lose their temper, they change into their wolf forms. One thing about these transformations is that they still keep their human speech abilities so that means they still speak Japanese!

But the main theme was whether Yuki and Ame wanted to be wolves or humans. While Yuki showed lots of potential as a wolf – she helped her mother gather a healthy harvest of crops by “marking their territory”, Ame was more introverted and preferred city life. As the movie progresses, you can decide for yourself if they want to be wolf or human. And the inner romantic in me likes the story of Yuki and Shohei!

GUARDIAN ANGELS

OSSAKHAN YEONAE (CHILLING ROMANCE/MY GIRLFRIEND CAN SEE GHOSTS) (2011)
– 3 out of 5 stars

Seriously, with a title like that, I wasn’t even planning on watching at all… until I saw Son Ye-Jin!

Son Ye-Hin plays Yeo-ri, who can see ghosts after a near-death experience and isolates herself because those close to her are terrorized by a ghost that follows her. Her quiet demeanor attracts the attention of street magician, Jo-goo, and together they create a horror magic show that is popular among the masses. Jo-goo begins to fall for Yeo-ri but he has to overcome a supernatural barrier in order to be with her. Can he survive it?

The ghosts that Yeo-ri sees aren’t actually that scary and Yeo-ri was actually helping them. But the one that follows Yeo-ri around is another story. Even so, there are many laugh-out-loud moments such as Jo-goo’s first encounter or whenever Yeo-ri gets drunk and demonstrates the power of her strong hands. Like all Korean movie, even this unconventional horror-romantic comedy, it still made me cry.

Yeo-ri: You think I’m lonely. I’m perfectly fine! It’s fine hanging out by myself. I can play online games and write tweets. I have 100 followers!