Sunday Lists: Nicholas Tse Roles, Ranked

nicholas tse

Nicholas Tse is one of my personal favorite Hong Kong celebrities. While he has moved into the mainland China space to expand his diverse talents, he is one that has definitely grown since the start of his career in the last 90s until now. Being renowned for having multiple talents, his musical talent being the one that lead my path to cross with his career. He has been in TV series and as you will see, many movies which starts off being more the bad boy/high school student roles but eventually falling into more and more action crime thriller variety with roles that have more and more depth and set in a variety of time periods and backdrops, making his work almost as diverse as his talents and titles.

This list will be updated gradually as I catch up with the movies that I haven’t seen.

Guo Zhui – The Bullet Vanishes (2012) Review

the bullet vanishes

Senior Station Officer – Ho Wing-Sam – As The Lights Goes Out (2014)

As the Light Goes Out

Ah Si – Bodyguards and Assassins (2009)

Bodyguards and Assassins

Jack – Gen-X Cops (1998)

gen-x cops

Man Yeung – The Viral Factor (2012)

The Viral Factor

Tong Fei – Beast Stalker (2008)

beast stalker

Detective Chan Chun – Invisible Target (2007)

Invisible Target

Frank Cheng Siu-fung – New Police Story (2004)

New Police Story

Stone – My Schoolmate the Barbarian (2001)

My Schoolmate the Barbarian

Chiu – 2002 (2001)

2002

Smokey – Half Cigarette (1999)
Sword Hua – A Man Called Hero (1999)
Knife/Ho Nam – Comic King (2001)
Tiger Wong – Dragon Tiger Gate (2006)
Maojie – Goddess of Mercy (2003)
Cheung Wai-Kit – Moving Targets (2004)
Tsao Man – Shaolin (2011)
Fred/Howard – Old Master Qi 2001 (2001)
Chan Ho-Nam – Young & Dangerous: The Prequel (1998)
Tyler – Time & Tide (2000)
McDull,the Alumni (2006)
Chang Ho Fung – Demi-Haunted (2002)
Cock Head – Enter the Phoenix (2004)

Can’t Remember or Haven’t Seen

Xiao Ming – Mirror (1999)
Shao Nu Dang (1999)
Ferrari – Da Ying Jia (2000)
Kit – 12 Nights (2000)
Fung – Tiramisu (2002)
Waiter – The Medallion (2003)
Wuhuan – The Promise (2005)
Tripitaka – A Chinese Tall Story (2005)
Nicholas – Rob-B-Hood (2006)
Bu Jing-Yun (voice) – Storm Rider Clash of the Evils (2008)
Heart – The Storm Warriors (2009)
Ah Wai – Hot Summer Days (2010)
Ghost Jr. – Stool Pigeon (2010)
Young Master – Treasure Inn (2011)
Nicholas Tse – The Midas Touch (2013)
Zhao Yongyuan – But Always (2014)
Ma Chi-kin – 12 Golden Ducks (2015)
Hu Yan Dazang – The Spirit of Swords (2015)
I Love That Crazy Little Thing (2016)
John Ma – Heartfall Arises (2016)
Gao Tian Ci – Cook Up a Storm (2017)
Lei Tao – Air Strike (2018)

Have you seen any films of Nicholas Tse?
If so, which do you like?
Share them in the comments below.

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TV Binge: Who’s The Murderer 明星大侦探4 (Season 4, 2018)

Who’s The Murderer (Season 4, 2018)
明星大侦探4

Cast: He Jiong, Benny Sa, Angel Wang, Bai Jing Ting, Emma Wu, Liu Haoran, Zhang Ruo Yun, Wei Da Xun, Justin, Seven Tan

No. of Episodes: 13

**With that said, instead of the poster, I added in the full playlist of the series. Its backwards to scroll to the second last video to see episode 1 and turn on the CC for English subtitles.**

Let’s start off right away that I have never seen Who’s The Murderer Season 1 to 3. Its only been since last year in July that I started getting into the TV series/dramas & variety shows from China. With that said, after watching The Chamber of Secrets Escape (Review), Who’s a Murderer was even more up my alley. The best part is that it had these twists and turns in their stories and the investigations was cool. Plus, the set and stories they always did added intrigue but also a lot of logic and problem solving and analytical sort of thinking. It relied especially in the final episode on (what I believe) an unscripted way to twist and turn throughout the situation for the murderer to not be discovered with whatever tactics they can use. Who’s the Murderer is a lot like an elaborate version of this party game called Wink Murder or Killer (whatever you call it, I’m not too sure…) but instead of a circle, it adds in these Clue elements and sometimes, escape room elements.

One great element of this is its setting. They build these fantastic sets as a backdrop for each of their things. Sure, its mostly just rooms mildly divided in some cases to show the different characters and their rooms. The structure of the game is also quite good. The first part is establishing and discovering the “body”, then introduction of the characters and their timeline, the first collective search, the first collective analysis, the detective’s solo (secret) vote on who’s the murderer, the second round of collective search, 1 on 1 with detective, final collective analysis and final vote for everyone and then the reveal whether they successfully voted the murderer to go to “jail”. Its usually the search and the analysis that makes for a lot of fun moments. The other part of this which is great especially being a variety show (and something China does particularly well) is the focus on society and how each of these stories focus on some element of society and people whether its relationships, idols, love, families in regards to revenge, trust, loyalty, etc and how a lot of these cases sprouted from an extreme negative thought or self-preservation or whatnot and they reflect on these cases at the end.

who's the murderer

As for the cast here, there are a few regulars and then every episode has some guests that only pop in to participate. He Jiong is a super popular and talented host for Happy Camp and an array of variety shows in China, prominently on Hunan TV so since that is mostly where I watch variety shows, I’ve grown to really appreciate him and in this, he is really talented especially when he is the “killer” he can almost always avoid being caught. The other is Benny Sa who I’ve never seen in anything before but he is also quite comedic and very analytical but sometimes has this silliness to his theories and guesses. The younger semi-regulars is one of the reason that I started this and that is Bai JingTing who I first saw in a TV drama (which I haven’t written up yet) and through this I’ve known a few other semi-regulars that I honestly really like a lot too.

who's the murderer 4

There is a lot of after editing on these shows and probably a lot is cut out of the whole episode but there is a great post-editing effect for it to make it very mysterious and suspicious. A lot of the mysteries have a lot of twists and the character have their own depth. It also brings up a lot of questions on right and wrong and morals and ethics. For a variety game show style, it definitely has more depth than most. Plus a lot of times, it also gives the audience watching an outlet to analyze the case with what they have found and always reveal at the end whether they found the evidence that solidifies who the “murderer” is. The first two episodes and the final episodes are the most awesome ones. Its nice to see how they incorporate some spinoff on popular movie backdrops as well as different genres such as time travel elements and whatnot. Its a very colorful show to say the least and while there are a few little stumbles and some episodes are slightly more predictable (which is a rare occasion), its one that, I would assume, has gone through  a lot of polish and it shows because its highly entertaining and really fun to get involved to make your own guesses while watching it. I like that element of it the most as it becomes very immersive.

Le Festival G.: Perles & Paddock (Montreal, Canada)

Le Festival G., Griffintown Gourmand Gastronomique, is a new food festival held from March 7 to 17th. As a replacement for this month’s Battle of Ingredients that was cancelled last minute due to all kinds of different things going on, we decided to give this new food festival a go. One of our friends wanted to try out Perles & Paddock after being rather impressed with their menu so after a lot of hard hurdles to get a reservation, we finally managed to get one via their online system. Peculiar, right? Take that as a good or bad thing as you wish, but just our suggestion, try online instead of reserving by phone.

There was an option of 3 menus: Brunch (which we obviously didn’t fit because we went for dinner and was unavailable); 5 a 7 Happy Hour or Table d’hote Menu. I’m not going to go into detail about it all however we all chose the Table d’Hote Menu except for the little one who got the Happy Hour menu.

Table d’Hote Menu includes a choice of two cocktails, 3 oysters, 3 choices of tasting dishes and a dessert. ($42)

Happy Hour Menu includes a choice of two cocktails, 6 oysters or 3 cheese plate, 1 choice of tasting dish ($17)

Cocktails

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Left to right: Cirka Gin Cocktail, Prosecco & Mocktail

We had a half and half experience here. A few of us took the festival special cocktail which is made by a Quebec gin (if I remember correctly). I had a sip of it and it tasted a bit like grass but that might be the matcha powder sprinkled on top. The second one and what I took was the Prosecco champagne which is a little on the more acidic dry side of the spectrum. Its not horrible but not my first choice. My fantastic Battle of Ingredients co-host and friend Phoebe had the mocktail due to personal reasons.

Starters

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Oysters

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3 Cheese Plate

I didn’t have any of these. The little one got the 3 cheese plate. Phoebe, my husband and I all didn’t eat the oysters for our individual reasons and passed it on to our friends.

Tasting Dishes

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Arctic Char

I’m going to start with my own choices which are the first three here. I started with the Arctic Char which was really good. It is paired with Enoki and Daikon and kaffir broth. Its all very delicious.

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Braised Endives

The second one was the braised endives with a very acidic citrus sort of thing going on. I like the endives and the grapefruit but whatever other citrus was going on here was a bit much for me personally.

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Lamb

The lamb was done really nicely. It had a lot of the lamb taste to it. The pickled vegetables were also done really well. There is a nice balance to it and the sauce here is good as well.

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Broccoli

My husband choice the Arctic char, braised endives and this broccoli plate. He actually liked this one the best. He liked how the broccoli was prepared and the whole deal with the egg breaking and mixing up with the elements here worked well together (his words paraphrased).

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Duck Tataki

I can’t remember what everyone else got but I know that Phoebe chose this as one of hers. Not sure how she feels about it exactly. I was interested to see how this tasted thought because it uses argousier, which is called sea berries or sea buckthorn, something I had never tasted before.

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I’m sure that I left out some tasting dishes and then I can’t remember which one this dish was but I still wanted to add it in.

Desserts

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Pamplemousse confit

The lactose free dessert option was this Grapefruit confit. I think they deserve kudos for have a lactose free choice and its one that is pretty good as well. With the whole confit thing, it has this little citrus treasure wrapped around the sorbet. Its pretty good. I’m not huge on grapefruit so that was more a personal preference because my husband liked this quite a bit.

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Mousse a la Noisette

So, missing one dessert choice in the pictures and didn’t ask how anyone thought about this one. It certainly looks really good.

Overall Dining Experience

Perles and Paddock offered us a pretty nice dining experience. The restaurant decor is beautiful. The ambiance is also quite comfortable. There is a stable theme here from the bathrooms to the logo to the setup of the area and hallways. Its pretty unique. The waitress who served us was very nice and offered us a lot of patience and helped us clear things up. At the same time, there was a lot of people serving up the food that gave us descriptions of what we’re eating. We did have a few little hiccups throughout the meal but they were fixed immediately or compensated for in another format. These things show respect for their customers and their dining experience. The only difficulty and mixed messages we got was the reservation process and trying to get a clear answer on allergen free menu items and such.

What’s Up Week 11: TV Binging Through Staycation

Welcome to Week 11 of What’s Up! This week has been a little bit mixed. Some things happened more than others. Its what happens when I spend a lot of time having time off. I’m going to be super honest that I have massive TV binge tendancies that started the earliest so it is my best destressor. So, no doubt its a huge part of what I do when I go on staycation (regardless of the backlog).

READING

two sisters of borneo

  • The Two Sisters of Borneo by Ian Hamilton (Review)

Currently reading: Obsidio

I am focusing on getting back to book series that I have put down. Finishing The sixth installment of Ava Lee series, The Two Sisters of Borneo, was a great reading experience. Still a pageturner series, which is always great. While I have the next book released which was the prequel to the series (odd, right?), I decided to go back to The Illuminae Files final book in the trilogy, Obisido. I loved the first two books so much that I just couldn’t resist. I’m still fairly early in the reading for Obsidio but the book tends to go pretty quickly due to its immersiveness.

PLAYING

  • Candies ‘n Curses
  • Liar!
  • Mortal Kombat X

I went lazy on gaming this staycation. Probably shouldn’t because well, we do have a game to review but I didn’t end up starting it until late. Prioritizing things that probably could have been pushed later in the schedule. Oh well, what’s done is done. I did a lot of mobile gaming. To be accurate, I played Liar! which is a visual novel sort of game which I’ll talk about in the next Mobile Games Roundup and went back to play Candies ‘n Curses that I talked up in the last Mobile Games Roundup (HERE) and also went back to polish some MKX skills. There’s not a whole lot to talk about there.

WATCHING

a monster calls

  • A Monster Calls
  • Battleship

Movie watching has definitely slowed down and I’ve hinted it enough. I did need a little break from it after the immense blogathon and marathon craze. It will pick up after I get through some piled up backlog, which should bring forth at least 2 more double features. With that said, the highlight movie (not that we had a lot to choose from) is A Monster Calls. I had a few issues with pacing for it but there is a lot of style and visuals to it and a nice twist to it all that I appreciated more and more as I watched further into the story. As for Battleship, I’ll talk about it when I do the double feature when we get there in a few weeks.

BINGING

queer eye

  • The Big Family Cooking Showdown (Season 2, 2019)
  • Queer Eye (Season 3, 2019)

Currently binging: My Amazing Boyfriend 2, The Singer 2019, Mr. Swimmer, My Little One 2

The currently watching (that I haven’t discussed too much of in the last two weeks) has been pretty good. Some of them are nearing their final episodes. There is 8 more episodes of My Amazing Boyfriend 2 to go, 2 to 3 more episodes of The Singer 2019 and probably the same for My Little One 2. As for Mr. Swimmer, everything is out but I’ve slowed down as the drama has intensified but I’m about 10 episodes  more to go to wrap that up. As for what I did finish, I binged some newer shows (which I’ve prioritized TV binges on…or trying to) and that’s The Big Family Cooking Showdown Season 2 and Queen Eye Season 3.  The latter was almost a one day binge and that is just because its so awesome.

That’s it for this week’s What’s Up!
What have you been reading/watching/binging/playing?

Double Feature: A Quiet Place (2018) & Bird Box (2018)

This double feature is incredibly late. I saw these quite early this year. I always meant to pair these two together. While A Quiet Place and Birdbox are quite different, they both rely on honing into one sense and that is a fantastic angle that had me intrigued right from the moment I first saw any trailers for it, plus they both have leading ladies that I liked a lot as well.

Let’s check it out!

A Quiet Place (2018)

a quiet place

Director: John Krasinski

Cast: John Krasinski, Emily Blunt, Millicent Simmonds, Noah Jupe, Cade Woodward

In a post-apocalyptic world, a family is forced to live in silence while hiding from monsters with ultra-sensitive hearing. – IMDB

A Quiet Place is one those movies that are incredibly interesting in terms of the premise. Its an intense thriller because of the use of the silence and the meticulousness of the little details of how this family lives. The strength of the film has a lot to do with the quiet and the mysterious control of the monsters here. It also has to do with the script and the characters and how they each grow throughout the film to see what place they each have. There is no doubt that Emily Blunt and John Krasinski bring a lot to the film however, who does stand out is Millicent Simmonds and the emphasis on the relationship of her with her parents especially the journey she has as she lives with this guilt and these abilities. The best parts are the hunt and the genuine feeling of survival and the stakes in play.

However, there is one thing  that I can’t get past for this film. It has to do with the basis of this film of how the situation managed to get to the dangerous state that it is and that is Emily Blunt’s character’s pregnant state. Very different from it being a situation that happened before the danger arrived, this happened while knowing the risks of it. With that said, this doesn’t align with the whole mentality of what this family we see has tried to achieve the entire time. That is a plot hole in my opinion and something that feels contrived. Aside from that though, because as the movie intensifies, its easy to ignore and accept the situation at hand and it delivers on a lot of levels. Seeing as this is John Krasinski’s debut directorial effort, this is a solid piece.

The only thing that I’ve had on my mind (which still I wonder on) is that while the movie relies on silence, there is a prominent soundtrack that sometimes is less than subtle. It makes me wonder whether it would have achieved more with less soundtrack and more focus on the quiet. Its something that bothered me also when I saw The VVitch (review).

Bird Box (2018)

bird box

Director: Susanne Bier

Cast: Sandra Bullock, Trevante Rhodes, John Malkovich, Vivien Lyra Blair, Julian Edwards, Sarah Paulson, Jacki Weaver, Rosa Salazar, Danielle Macdonald, BD Wong

Five years after an ominous unseen presence drives most of society to suicide, a mother and her two children make a desperate bid to reach safety. – IMDB

Bird Box is a really nice example of how the big Hollywood can take in a sophisticated filmmaking efforts that Netflix has to offer. There are things that don’t always make sense and it has its moments that aren’t quite as refined but this post-apocalyptic world and the world-building and the survival and character developing is all such a huge part of what makes Bird Box shine above all those imperfections. In some ways, there are  a lot of parallels to A Quiet Place but somehow Bird Box works better in that aspect because it starts in a situation that was made out of necessity. The structure of how the story is told makes a contribution to its success and effectiveness. All the way from why Sandra Bullock’s character changes over the course and seeing the need to find salvation to her two kids who she calls Girl and Boy and remains nameless throughout the film. The history of it makes it work because it helps build up the different elements of the invisible danger outside.

Sandra Bullock is an awesome actress and she takes on this role so well. A lot of credit has to go with the character being written really well. There’s a lot of great actors in here which creates a lot of layers to the story itself, making it a more psychological experience and a human nature sort of deal. There’s a more self-preserved character that is more grounded to the reality of the post-apocalypse played brilliantly by John Malkovich and a fairly shorter role of BD Wong and then, a great performance playing opposite Sandra Bullock by Trevante Rhodes that we first saw in Moonlight (review).

Bird Box stands out to me the most because of its tension. Its psychological aspects especially because the whole nature of the villain or outside factor that attacks civilization is about that as well. There are a lot of little details and reveals in the story that make it work. In some ways, there are elements that remind me of 28 Days Later and having the sense of hearing becoming a central sense works here also.

That’s it for this double feature!
Have you seen A Quiet Place & Bird Box?

The Two Sisters of Borneo (Ava Lee #6) by Ian Hamilton

If you missed the reviews on the previous novels in this series, you can check out these links:

The Water Rat of Wanchai
The Disciple of Las Vegas
The Wild Beasts of Wuhan
The Red Pole of Macau
The Scottish Banker of Surabaya

The Two Sisters of Borneo
(Ava Lee #6)

By: Ian Hamilton

two sisters of borneo

Ava has been in Hong Kong looking after Uncle. She has also set up an investment company with May Ling Wong and her sister-in-law, Amanda Yee. One of their first investments — a furniture company owned by two sisters in Kota Kinabalu, Borneo — runs into immediate problems with a Dutch customer. Ava goes to the Netherlands to investigate, but her life is threatened when she is confronted by a gang of local thugs in Borneo. Out of the shadows comes a mysterious man from Shanghai – IMDB

One of my favorite series ever and one of the most random discoveries that was a pleasant surprise is diving into the Ava Lee series. I picked up the first book of the series, The Water Rat of Wanchai because of its Hong Kong location title. Six books in now and almost 4 years since I read the 5th book, I have a lot of catching up to do but the most important thing is that, the world is still so amazing to jump into. The best thing about this book series is the whole commitment of being fairly self-contained. The investigation in question may have characters from previous books but they always have sufficient information to make sure they are outlined enough even without knowing about the previous books.

Over the course of the books (and I urge you to start this series from the beginning), Ava Lee has developed a lot and still has a lot of room for it. Its really nice especially in The Two Sisters of Borneo because it hits close to home both with her personal issues but also with the investigation she dives into showing us that Ava Lee is very much a tough woman but also vulnerable in her own way as well making her very human and keeps adding new elements and twists to her forensic accounting skills. While I love the self-contained aspects of these books, the other characters have also grown and as we get to know Ava’s family and friends more, they become these staple characters and have built at this point to something that can be described as the first phase over with in the Ava Lee series at the end of this one. To me, that is a pretty smart move because it will give it a whole new dynamic but I won’t say how to avoid any spoilers.

I am getting ahead of myself to lets reel it back in. The Two Sisters of Borneo brings us to yet another exotic Asian location paired with a European location as well. Ava meets some interesting people to say the least. It is no doubt there is always a great plan at play. The best part of these mysteries is that while we can see the game at play, there is always a fairly surprising twist. In this case, it was a bit more obvious (for me) however, the whole process was still a page-turner. Its always the big reveal that has an eye-opening experience and how Ava chooses to approach the mastermind to retrieve the compensation or return of wealth that makes it even more intriguing. There’s a whole array of different people that seem like they will get another chance to come back as Ava Lee steps further into what I’d say is a phase two to the series. While a lot of foundation as already been done, there is a real sense of a second build in foundation here to get ready for more great mysteries to come.

Goodfood Recap #35

goodfood

We took a little break from the normal cooking so managed to order in 2 boxes this month for Goodfood. We’re definitely enjoying it while it lasts because if I remember correctly, we will be skip for the next month or so. This box has been some really interesting meals and to be honest, I saw most of them as being fairly successful.

Mushroom Dan Dan Noodles
with Yu Choy

Mushroom Dan Dan Noodles

The last Dan Dan Noodles weren’t awesome. I’m going to be honest that they weren’t but this one tastes fantastic. The two types of mushrooms used and the yu choy as the veggie base with the noodles and the sauce all turned out so great. I really enjoyed this noodle bowl a lot.

Skillet-Roasted Chicken Thighs
with Meyer Lemon, Zucchini & Olives over Zesty Quinoa

Skillet-roasted chicken thighs

We rarely cook with quinoa unless its for one of these boxes so its always refreshing to eat it. Its something that I have thought about incorporating more into our lives outside of these meal boxes. This meal was pretty good in general. Chicken thighs are always super tasty to eat but then my biggest issue with it was the olives and that is based on preference as I don’t like olives but my husband loved this because he loves them and loves everything else about it.

Coconut Chicken & Sweet Potato Stew
with Roasted Brussel Sprouts

Coconut Chicken Stew

So..this meal was considered somewhat of a fail on my part. I’m not sure if I just didn’t follow the recipe properly or the recipe didn’t quite work with my appliances but this meal took about 3 times its estimated time. Usually for me, if there’s more cooking involved, it might take almost double the estimated time. It tastes pretty good and stews are always very comforting to eat. The idea of coconut milk base and then having carrots and sweet potatoes is really nice as well. It just was an incredibly long time to cook..oddly.

Pork Chops
with Homemade Maple-Bacon Jam, Sauteed Bok Choy over Spinach Rice

pork chops

Welcome the star of this box. This meal is amazing! For one, the maple bacon jam is awesome. Literally, the best thing I’ve made from these boxes. Then the pork chops turned out good and paired with the jam is delicious. I like the spice blend that was mixed with the rice and the spinach. Then there’s the bok choy which always was great. I love this meal so much.

That’s it for this recap!
It was a pretty solid batch of meals.
It should be a month or so before we get another one of these boxes.
Just because of selection and time conflicts.