Films

The Secret Life of Pets (2016)

Directors: Chris Renaud, Yarrow Cheney
Writers: Cinco Paul, Ken Daurio
Stars: Louis C.K., Eric Stonestreet, Kevin Hart

The quiet life of a terrier named Max is upended when his owner takes in Duke, a stray whom Max instantly dislikes.

★★★☆☆

You never go wrong with animated movies with animals in it.

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Films

Be Positive (2016)

Director: Lee Byung-heon
Writer: Lee Byung-heon
Stars: Do Kyung-soo, Chae Seo-jin, Lee David

Hwan-dong is a film major who is preparing for his graduation project as a movie director. His script wins a grand prize, but he faces difficulty after difficulty while trying to finalize the film. To solve one of his problems, he asks his ex-girlfriend Hye-jung, a popular actress, to play the main role in his production in which she agreed.

★★★✮☆

It is very refreshing to see Kyungsoo give life to a different character again. The boy shapeshifts to whatever character he needs to play.

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Films

The Boss Baby (2017)

Director: Tom McGrath
Writers: Michael McCullers, Marla Frazee (based on the book by)
Stars: Alec Baldwin, Steve Buscemi, Jimmy Kimmel

A suit-wearing, briefcase-carrying baby pairs up with his 7-year old brother to stop the dastardly plot of the CEO of Puppy Co.

★★★☆☆

It’s quite predictable, but it’s actually cute. The little kid in me enjoyed it during the flight, too.

Films

Journey to the West: The Demons Strike Back (2017)

Journey to the West: Demon Chapter (original title)

Director: Hark Tsui
Writers: Stephen Chow, Si-Cheun Lee (screenwriter)
Stars: Kris Wu, Kenny Lin, Chen Yao

A monk and his three disciples continue on their journey to battle demons.

★★✮☆☆

You’re right. I only saw this because of Kris Wu. It was a several hours flight, and the inflight TV has it so I said why not try it. And also because last time, when I was wiki-ing the top grossing Chinese movies, I remember seeing this one, or perhaps the other movie. But I thought, if it had a sequel, then there must be something in it.

Truth is, I saw this once while on a bus. And that time I felt dizzy from the scent inside the bus and this weird movie playing wasn’t helping at all. But since I’ve opened my mind to weird Chinese movies, and also because it has Kris Wu in it, so I wanted to give a try. For an inflight entertainment, it wasn’t so bad. Only Kris’ acting was.

Films

The Mermaid (2016)

Mei ren yu (original title)

Director: Stephen Chow (as Xingchi Zhou)
Writers: Hing-Ka Chan, Stephen Chow
Stars: Chao Deng, Show Lo, Yuqi Zhang

Shan, a mermaid, is sent to assassinate Xuan, a developer who threatens the ecosystem of her race, but ends up falling in love with him instead.

★★★✮☆

When I saw clip from this movie on Facebook, I thought it was really weird. I said why do Chinese like making reaaaaalllly weird films. A couple of my colleagues actually said it’s good. And because I’ve been bored out of my wits due to unemployment, I gave this movie a try, and IT WAS HILARIOUS! At least for over an hour or, it’ll make you forget your problem. It is weird, but I enjoyed its humor. I can’t tell if months of non-contact (haha) with people made me shallow, but even after seeing this movie, from time to time, I’d rewatch some of my favorite parts. I strongly recommend this movie.

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Series

Reply 1988 (2015-2016)

Eungdapara 1988

Director: Shin Won-ho
Writer: Lee Woo-jung
Stars: Lee Hye-ri, Park Bo-gum, Go Kyung-pyo, Ryu Jun-yeol, Lee Dong-hwi

Set in the year 1988, the drama revolves around five friends and their families living in the same neighborhood of Ssangmun-dong, Dobong District, Northern Seoul.

★★★✮☆

I started watching this earlier this year, but ended up stopping after 1 and a half episode because the truth is it bored me. I wanted to see it because the descriptions of the drama I read from the internet piqued my interest. It says there the drama shows the beginning of K-pop, thus I was sold. I was also curious why it gained a high rating during its airing, and I got that answer from the first episode alone. The drama probably brought a great deal of nostalgia among its viewers for its pop culture and its juxtaposition on real events. I swear I have learned so much about Korean culture and their ways after seeing this, much more than the over 10 romantic comedies I’ve seen in the past months.

Centralling on five friends living in the same neighborhood and growing knowing everything about each other, it will probably take you back to your own childhood as well, and the struggles of going to school, and growing up altogether.

Great plot, well-curated characters, superb acting, just the right mixture of drama and comedy, and a lot of life lessons.

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