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Friday, September 30, 2011

River of Wine, summarised, sort of...

Episode 24 and 25 back to back and I am in total shock it is over! 25 episodes and not a minute longer. It just seems such a rush. This series took 11 episodes to build a momentum and it went into super speed in the last 3 episodes and suddenly episode 25 villain is dead so easily! Can't TVB have given it 1 more episode to end properly? Ep 25 is all about tears. I choked at the scene where the aunt told a drunken Chi Chun "Since you came back, have you ever done one thing right? Think about it, tell yourself honestly, have you?" and Chi Chun knew he never did. That scene where Ching Yiu and Ching Hong and mom and Chi Chun, mom begging Ching Yiu to reveal where he hid that secret book of the rebels and I tell you, most of the time Bowie seem like walking in a daze, he is still good but I feel something is missing and suddenly that scene he woke up and he cried very he knelt and cried "Mother please forgive your unfillial son!" and I tell you, guaranteed some tears abound. And Chi Chun confessing his guilt, etc. I still hate him, would have wished to see his comeuppance more but he really loved Chi Ching. Like that evil official who really love his daughter. I am still in shock it is over. The drowning scene kinda anti climax, like an after thought but leading up to that was very touching even if rushed. As usual, Nancy Sit certainly almost killed the show for me. Her acting is god awful. I suppose I will attempt to write a review for this. Let me gather my thoughts first.

Episode 23 I think. And I so hate Chi Chun!!!!! The way he treated 3rd mom, the way he called her names, cut her hair, chased her down the street, treating her like some fugitive, and the way he treated the Leungs, I can understand Madam Leung asking Ching Yiu "Why do you still help him? I may be selfish or thoughtless to say this, but you're a Leung. You go around helping that Sung kid, who doesn't even appreciate your help, and yet your own blood brother, he is in trouble and you paid no attention to him at all!". TRUE!!! Poor 3rd mom!! I am so happy.. oh dear until now I still didn't get her name, Sire Ma played the role, anyway she slapped him very hard! Good! Even Chi Ching said "I don't have this kind of brother!". I so wait the day this Chi Chun falls down flat on his face! Poor 3rd mom. Anyway she should leave Kau Kwong. She should avoid those scandals, live elsewhere whilst Ching Yiu finishes his duty, and when things settle down Ching Yiu will go find her. Her staying in Kau Kwong is gonna lead to the ultimate tragedy. However one very badly written part; how eager Ching Hong help those rebels/dissidents of the Qing empire to escape to HK. Very reckless. OH I HATE CHI CHUN!! By the way, Nancy Sit should consider slapping herself. She is absolutely terrible in this series. What a load of nonsensical overdramatic performance.


Re my post here.  There is an obvious lack of promotion for River of Wine by TVB, and definitely lack of chatter amongst netizens for a variety of reasons. Since I am watching this series real time, and I am very happy I did unless the ending screws it up for me. The themesong for once is not  butchered and I find myself chasing this series. I think I will blog about it more. The story can be confusing, I was very confused at first with the trailer when everybody seems to be siblings to somebody. So here is my little summary to help those who are just watching which at the time of this post is Ep 19. I didn't pay attention for the first 4 episodes so I may have a few mistakes here and there;

Set towards the end of the Qing Dynasty period (since Cixi, westerners were mentioned), this series follows the fortunes of 2 families, one surnamed Sung and the other Leung. Leung came from a poor background whilst Sung is the largest wine brewery of the area filled with other breweries as well. Their lives would not have any connection if not for one life changing decision; 20 years ago, Leung family whose breadwinner (the father) has died, leaving a widow (Wai Lan), 2 elder sons (Ching Yiu and Ching Hong) and 2 daughters (Sau Man and Sau Yin). Ching Yiu was much older than the rest and his younger brother looks up to him. He works for the Sung family brewery and was doing well and looked well upon by the Master Sung Ting Tin. Life was very hard for the Leung family. Meanwhile Sung family if I am correct has 2 children, one son (Chi Chun) and one younger daughter (Chi Ching) and wives, one of whom is 3rd mother, Ting Ka Pik who has an older brother and a father. One day the entire family went for a boat cruise when it capsized. Chi Chun's mother died trying to save him, the rest drowned whilst Ching Yiu risking his own life jumped into the freezing water and saved Chi Ching. Master Sung became very sick and depressed over the deaths of I believe 8 family members and no heir as Chi Chun couldn't be found. Chi Chun was 7 at that time, Chi Ching was 5. Master Sung was worried for the welfare of his family and wine brewery and he became very impressed with Ching Yiu's ability to run the business efficiently, decided to take Ching Yiu as his own son to inherit the business. The deal was Ching Yiu is to take care of the business, find Chi Ching a husband who will marry into the Sung family and thereafter have children named Sung and thus the business will  be returned to the real Sung. Moreover he is needed to protect the women in the Sung family and the fortune against greedy uncles. Of course Leung family objected, but Ching Yiu decided to accept the offer for the sake of the family (here I am a bit confused; Mrs Leung said she never took a penny from the Sung family so I wonder did Ching Yiu helped them financially?) and Ching Hong saw Ching Yiu breaking the family jade and left, and he became very bitter over his brother's decision, thinking his brother was greedy for the Sung fortune. The grandfather certainly thought so.

20 years on, the business is still doing well, but Mrs Leung could not openly call Ching Yiu her son, and Ching Yiu could not openly call her mother. They had to avoid one another. Chi Ching didn't know the truth until some time later. Ching Hong was still as bitter but as he discovered more and more of his brother's life at the Sung through Chi Ching (who at first disliked him, but later became friends), he saw his brother in a different light. Chi Ching herself was always on Ching Yiu's side, grateful she has such a wonderful brother who was always very concerned about her. That is because Chi Ching has a disability; one leg shorter than the other, and despite her family wealth and reputation, no man wanted to marry her and she became more and more of a hermit until she met Ching Hong when she was running away and encountered many life changing obstacles and she finally accepted her disability. Meanwhile life in the Sung for Ching Yiu was never smooth sailing. He had to deal with greedy uncles who would always use the fact that he saw his real mother as indication of Ching Yiu's real family wanting to cheat the Sung of their money. He had to deal with the business and in one particular one greedy official who runs the valley, Tsang Kin Leung who was so incensed with Ching Yiu's refusal to bribe him anymore than he proved to be his biggest nemesis. And then there's Ching Hong opening a wine brewery and thus scandal ensued but to Ching Yiu, he encouraged the competition. He is also in love with his 3rd mom, Ka Pik who clearly likes him as much as they together dealt with the problems they face.

All was well until the return of the prodigal son, Chi Chun. Chi Chun didn't die; he was in fact rescued by a couple who runs a performing circus and life was very hard for him. He was starved, beaten, abused and lied to that his entire family has died; until he chanced upon Chi Ching's bamboo momento and he recognised that it was by him for his beloved sister. He ran away but encountered many problems, and met with another starving girl who turns out to be the daughter of Tsang Kin Leung. She was angry with her father marrying so many times and hurting her mother who died that she ran away and since she didn't have money for food, was starving. There was a kinship between them 2 and Chi Chun fell for her. He was brought to her father who found a weapon against Ching Yiu and ensured he was accepted back to Sung family; no one believed him. Ka Pik's brother and father threw him into the river, he nearly drowned, even Chi Ching refused to believe him until Ching Yiu asked a simple question of where the 7 year old Chi Chun hid Chi Ching's hairpin and he actually found it and everyone finally realised he was indeed Chi Chun. However Chi Chun was unhappy he suddenly had an older brother and everyone seemed to listen to him. Ching Yiu planned to return the brewery to Chi Chun when he is ready but he has to work his way up, which displeased Chi Chun who felt he lost 20 years. After being manipulated by Official Tsang and greedy uncles, he was convinced Ching Yiu refused to return the brewery to him. He began to do little things that built up to bigger things, which resulted in the death of Ka Pik's father, Ka Pik leaving to leave in a monastery, and in the end destroy his relationship with his beloved sister, Chi Ching when he let Ching Hong marry her when Ching Hong and Ching Yiu knew it would be so that he could takeover Ching Hong's blooming wine brewery and yet he didn't realise where he had done wrong.

And I have stopped here. I am sure my prediction is, he will do more destruction that will result into more misfortune for Ching Yiu before he finally will be pushed to the ground by those he thinks are treating him well when they were not. 

I hope it ends well. Chi Chun can be saved. It is those old men who misled him. But I wonder, to what cost? Things are getting interesting! I wished I had done an Episodic Thoughts on this one! Like I said, this is more Golden Faith than Country Spirit. And it is also a lot like that series I can't remember the title but had Mui Siu Wai and Marianne Chan in it.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Updates - Reviews

Bet you never thought you will see this post title eh? I am surprised myself how long I have not looked at the Reviews page, more so Taiwanese series reviews. But thanks to Bridget Au with her 2 new updates, all in Taiwanese series reviews page;

Happy reading.

When I was googling for poster, these 2 series happens to have rather risque kissing scenes. So idol dramas these days have moved from the girl running towards the guy to now girl and guy tumbling to bed? Just shows how long I have not seen Taiwanese series. And it can't be an idol drama if the idols are shown having... sex! Wouldn't the fangirls go Noooooooooooooooooooo and such? Or has fangirls of idol groups nowadays changed as well? I am getting old.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

A slideshow

Just a slideshow I made with the pictures I took whilst in Tokyo, Yokohama and Kamakura featuring my travel mate, Fuku-Kat to one of my most favourite songs. The pretty lady you will see in the video was my travel mate. Hope you enjoy it.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Linda oh Linda

I am being bombarded with Linda Chung every day. Once for Ghost Writer where she did well and looking very pretty and the other River of Wine where she did exceptionally well and looking really really pretty. I think I have just become her fan.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

TVB's River of Wine

Again I am posting about River of Wine. I have ASTRO On Demand and am finally watching something current. Up to ep 16 and I must say I am enjoying this series. The acting is mostly solid, the characters are mostly well written, love the themesong, and love Linda Chung who with this series should be a serious contender for the Best Actress thing. Bowie is great too although his character is seriously badly developed all of a sudden. How come this series so little news? Everyone is talking about Men With No Shadows or Lives On Omision when River of Wine to me is more entertaining. Certainly nothing silly. In fact Lee Ka Sing should win something. He was terribly awesome in this as the useless younger brother of 3rd mother. Wished I did an Episodic Thoughts on this. But a funny thing. I was watching Ep 15, where things were serious and Nancy had to defend Bowie in front of her father in law. I was then interrupted, and then I resumed watching and the tone I noticed was much lighter, happier and again Nancy had to defend Bowie in front of her father in law. I was like poor woman having to repeat herself when I was checking the time on the machine and realised I was watching Episode 1!!! It struck me that Ep 1 and Ep 15's dialogue is almost the same!! That was so funny. Anyway I went back to Ep 15 where it ended, had to wait the next repeat and rewatch until I realise "Eh! My machine can record!!" which I did for Ep 16 when ep 16 was repeated at the same time. I am confused with ASTRO on Demand but terribly happy I could catch this series. Fantastic although the age thing is all off. I would love to see Steven in Bowie's role for someone slightly younger to explain the timeline but since this is Bowie's last series with TVB (correct?) I am just happy I could bid farewell to him by seeing him do what he does best.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Andy Whitfield [RIP]

This is depressing. I don't really watch Spartacus but I heard of Andy Whitfield and his battle with non-Hodgkin lymphoma. I only knew at that time it was cancer and a very aggressive one. So young. I feel rather sad, whole day watching 911 memorials and now this. RIP. You can read the news here.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Can't Buy Me Love

You know my disdain for Can't Buy Me Love series, but since watching some episodes, I still hated it but it has some redeeming factor. I still hate it because the plot just destroys who we thought as gentleman who turns out to be traitors, the whole every sentence must rhyme was so darn annoying, the whole let's clap together, and the whole BTROC settings and villains come and go sort of nonsense. The good thing is I really enjoyed Kenneth Ma's part of the story, especially his parents where they wear matching dress (the mother's outer layer's rim always matches the fathers outer layer whilst his rim's outer layer always matches her outer lawyer sort of fabric coordination) and their very touching scene where he tearfully talked to his mother when she knew he wasn't her son. I feel that was such a good scene, and Kenneth Ma can really cry. He has always been able to cry anyway. I was surprised how good Fala is at comedic situation, she actually is really funny when she has to be. I like Linda, but there's a bit of OTT acting whilst I was very surprised by Raymond Wong's facial expressions as he was rather funny especially when he was so lovesick over Linda. I was also surprised how little the series is about Charmaine and Moses. I didn't find Charmaine funny at all, but later on in dramatic scenes, I find her graceful when she quieted down. As usual, her performance just doesn't quite is the whole package. Moses has almost everyone saying how he sucked. I disagree. I think comedy is his forte and those scenes where 3 brothers were at feud was genuinely funny and Moses' facial expressions in certain scene was apt. I find him funny as the rather useless husband with a good heart. He seems keener in here than in that  series as Ting Bak Fu where his heart was clearly somewhere else. Didn't enjoy Susanna Kwan, didn't enjoy Selena much, Louis Yuen was ok but his character is annoying. The rest are either annoying or just not important enough to comment. I am curious as to what happened to the bitchy 1st princess (Sharon)? Where is her husband? Whilst I think Kara's villain was interesting, she was rather petty. And I hated all those BTROC - Kam Ling flash flash on eyes moments. Annoying!!

Now, who is that young man who plays the supposedly generous benefactor who saved Linda but in the end is sigh... a traitor? Because his acting is actually rather good.

Perfume - Polyrhythm

I saw Cars 2 twice and loved it each time! Whatever the naysayers say, I find Cars 2 very imaginative and very enjoyable. The best is of course admittedly the soundtrack with some very catchy tunes. I was surprised in the Tokyo segment to hear Perfume's song in the background, and it suits the scene. The song is Polyrhythm and whatever my sentiments is with the excessive use of autotune, they are in the end a I suppose you call them technopop? Anyway autotune or not, what I like about Perfume is their image; that is they have very beautiful legs, which they flaunt with short pants and short skirts but their dancing is never lewd. I find them classy and I love the way they dance and yes they can dance! They do move nonstop in their performances BUT I don't find the dancing getting in the way of the song. In fact I find the dancing very enjoyable, as if part of the song itself. There can never be Perfume standing still, or Perfume without autotune? The Korean counterparts however could dance up a storm BUT move too much that takes away the enjoyment from the music. I find their dancing distracting and by the end of the song, annoying. Anyway I can't hear the audio but by the title, I think I am posting the right MV!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Your choice...

My friend recently ask me and my other friends a question which I thought didn't mean much until the answer was revealed. It is silly, but kinda true. So I ask you now, if you're not from Malaysia, just imagine your local currency. Question is this; you walk one streets and stumbled upon some money. How much would the amount be before you think you will pick it up. Now, forget trickery, forget conman, just assume it is real money, no con involved. Choose 1 answer only.

(a) RM10
(b) RM1000
(c) RM100
(d) any amount (big or small, doesn't matter)

I will reveal answer after you choose one.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

TVB's River Of Wine

I am excited. Just saw a bit of preview of TVB's latest offering, River of Wine which comes with a rather unconventional Chinese title. Of course as usual preview shows too much but after the 1st episode and some more previews, my feelings are as follows:-

1. This could be Bowie's last TVB series, to which he will probably return 3 years later so better watch!
2. Why is Sunny Chan in all those angry passionate loud characters these days?
3. Eh where is Steven Ma? Oops wrong series. That will be Ghost Writer, but same people (almost)
4. Love the title
5. Looks exciting but Pierre Ngo as the almost bad guy again? 
6. I was so confused as to who is the sister who is the brother until Sunny Chan himself explained the plot and I went I see!I see!
7. Isn't this Golden Faith but in olden days? You know...

An adopted son (Gallen-Bowie) who is giving and kind must do everything to protect his adopted family's business whilst protect his own adopted younger brother (Raymond Lam - Pierre Ngo) who is irritating and goes against his own adopted brother but at the same time but balance his loyalty and love for his real younger brother as well (Deric Wan-Sunny)

Mind you, Golden Faith has one of the best ensemble acting ever. Everytime I feel my dislike for Myolie rising, I remember her in Golden Faith. Everytime I feel like slapping Ray, I remember him in his pre idol days in that series.

My only not happy casting moment is the actress who plays Bowie's wife who has one single expression and I can't decide if she is good or bad, Nancy Sit with her "Uh, I uh beg uh you uh please uh uh" way of speaking her lines. However I like Linda Chung and she is paired with Sunny which is new.

Very excited. Hopefully can watch after that ASTRO guy comes and install that ASTRO on Demand. Seriously I find such family dramas rather interesting, nothing about sex or triads or those clapping hands, just poor Bowie looking like the world is on his shoulders and him going about saving everybody.

I already miss him.

Friday, September 2, 2011

I will see you when I see you!

I haven't written a proper review since I have written a proper one. I was just lazy to check, and I did checked and the last review proper was for the Korean series, Oh My Lady and the last full Episodic Thoughts was A Fistful Of Stances which I enjoyed immensely. I am not sure if you're wondering but if you're wondering whether have I been writing any, my answer is an honest yes. I did. Started, stopped, and unable to continue, probably because I had no great urge to write a proper one. I can't even write an opinion, albeit a full one. So what has changed?

I have been spending an increasing amount of time with my other blog, All About Fukuyama Masaharu, updating, writing, posting, opining, etc that I haven't had much urge to write reviews. I also haven't watched much series from start till to the end and my policy is if I haven't watched at least more than half the series, I won't write a proper review. My old readers enjoyed the critique and some on the plot summary, both of which requires me to watch the series proper properly. My memory is not as good as it used to be, my typing is  not as fast and frankly everytime I tapped my fingers on the keyboard, I just suddenly realise I have nothing much to opine about. I have always wanted to be short and sweet in the past but ended up writing pages and pages but now I am short but not quite as sweet. My sarcasm hasn't left me, I just don't feel the urge, need, want to be just that. The fans have changed too. 

In the past, my reviews will get red arrows but all is fair. Nowadays I notice the younger fans can't tolerate criticism of their favourite stars, no matter how carefully you word a sentence, no matter how you explain it, when they see anything negative, they will come out in droves and just use every of your word to call you anti someone or a hater. I used to believe being a hater and a ... well a fan of someone shows the equal two sides of affection; love to adore, love to hate. Hate to me is a strong word but in fandom, it is a fair word because hate extends to why you feel a strong dislike for this star. After all entertainment world is about love and hate. No one star can't be possibly loved equally by all and no one star can be so universally hated, not even the likes of Edison Chen. I know how the fans feel; I am a major fan of someone who himself has his fair share of haters or rather those who do not care anything about him. But amongst fans we too have our own criticism of our own favourite idol. We don't let things get to us so simply, we will laugh it off if we can, if we can't, we explain, and move on.

So moving on is an artform in fandom. When do you stop defending your own statements and move on? When you feel you're hounded out of the forum? The art of moving on is a simple act of ignoring the others. But can you do that? After a while you have to even if you can't. You can't let bytes after bytes being wasted on not really a losing war but an infinite war. Whatever you say, you won't change their minds, whatever they say, they won't change yours. But basic rule is if you feel an urge to criticise someone, don't do it in their fan forum. If you read any criticism out if fan forum and in some general forum, it is fair game. The right to opine extends to both sides; not just those who posts positive comments, but also to the negative comments. I have no patience for positively glowing remarks and I don't have patience either for overly negative remarks but I always have time and patience for constructive ones, whether positive or negative. Constructive means a well thought of opinion that is well written, well justified, well summarised and posted at a proper forum. 

I often go to K-pop news site and the way the fans support their idols is amazing. It is not wholly positive but rather everything their idol does, they see whatever he or she do as something so amazing that it must be publicised. Like how a star falls and pick himself up and he is described as gentleman and brave. I don't see how qualifies as gentleman and brave but looking at the environment, it is better not to opine that statement and just move on.

My reviews have often invited comments, whether positive and negative and I appreciated both. I suppose I appreciate that someone cares enough to read and give comments. And that was what kept me going. But I suppose my lack of updates (or at the time of posting this post, complete the layout) drove many readers away. I am still here, but just not here here.

Will I continue to write reviews? Frankly at this point you can say I have stopped completely. I am as always on the lookout to find an interesting series to write episodic thoughts but a review I understand now takes more dedication. It is simple to recap and opine but it is quite difficult to summarise, recap and opine. Somehow whilst Episodic Thoughts is more hectic, I find reviews more difficult to write these days.

How do I write a review? How do I begin and make sure I end it? My opinion is completed even before I typed and thereafter I will lose my interest in actually writing them. Is this called a writer's block?

Not having written a proper review for some time, I find myself able to join the discussions and just opine. It is just so easy. I suppose I like being "easy" these days.

I hope to find that one series that will give me that urge again, whether it is from HK or Taiwan or Korea or China but so far, it is easier to just sit down and watch and then forget everything. I haven't seen a series I hate with  a passion that I could write a thesis on it nor have I seen one that I love with such ferocity that I knew I had to write and write and write. Well, there is 1 I hate with a passion but that will be 1 year from now.

So I apologise for my lack of updates; if you're here for reviews, I am sorry to say, there are no new ones but there are plenty of older ones. iIf you're here to check up on me, thank you for your concern, I am alive and well but darn lazy.

I have however one "review" proper to write; recollections of my trip to Tokyo, Japan. I did write a semi review in my other blog, but that was from the concert angle. As for the trip itself, well, I am eager and am formulating how to write. And I will complete the layout.

And yes, I was once asked how do I write my reviews. I don't just sit and type; whilst most was spontaneous but a larger part of the contents were formed in my head; in my mind I have already  completed my review when I began to type; how to divide by topics, how to subdivide to make my points clearer, how to start and certainly how to end. Maybe that is why I am not writing anything new; my way is now too complicated, too tiring, too ambitious. Perhaps I should just write spontaneously, forget about summarising the plot. Take a relaxed attitude. In fact I have been doing that for my last few reviews, copying entire plot summary from elsewhere and just write my comments. But my comments will still have long summaries. Maybe it is time to ditch my method and just go with whatever I want to express. It may sound careless or messy but rest assured, my opinion is still somewhere in there, I hope.

But until I find that series for me to experiment my new approach, again I apologise for the lack of new reviews or even updates. There are still many more amateur reviewers, I don't feel a need to write anything new as you can find the same information elsewhere. Let me be lazy for a little while more. But if I get too lazy, if it is too long, do give me a shout if you care to.

One of my most favourite author, Stephen King always calls his readers "the constant readers". I love his personal approach, the way he addresses his constant readers as if he is addressing each and every one of them specifically. I will not "ciplak" from him but I will do this;

To dear YOU, thank you for (still) dropping by. If you just stumbled in, hello there! Whoever it may be, for whatever reason you're here, I shall end this post which is with regards to reviews in this blog with the words "I will see you when I see you".

Thank you for reading.