TV Binge: All I Want For Love Is You (满满喜欢你, 2019)

All I Want For Love Is You (满满喜欢你, 2019)

all i want for love is you

Cast: Yu Han Liu, Zhao Hua Lu, Yin Jun Liu, Zhi Xun Xie, Yan Qing Sun, Xin Yu Han

A story full of laughs follows sanda fighter Gu Xiao Man and school genius Zuo An as they chase after love. Graduation is fast approaching for 3rd year high school student Gu Xiao Man. Unlike your average school girl, she is a sanda fighter who wins medals at the sport but not in class. Because she wants to continue to be schoolmates with her idol Zuo An, she decides to give the same effort to academics as she does to sanda. Her hard work combined with Zuo An’s efforts to be her personal teacher pays off and they get into the same university. There’s nothing sweeter than to have your crush crushing on you and their story continues on. – MyDramaList

Where to Watch with English subtitles

QUOTE/SCENE

STORY

All I Want For Love Is You is a simple love story. It starts off with neighbors where Gu Xiaoman likes her neighbor Zuo An. However, he is such a genius and she’s really just good at her martial arts that she feels like she will never be able to get his attention until one day, she accidentally rips his track pants and from then on, she catches his attention. Despite his cool exterior, he finds different ways to help her out to get to spend more time with her. However, they never truly find the timing or the courage to tell each other.

All I Want For Love Is You

All this is fairly similar plot line for these youth romance that runs from high school to university romance and following their dreams. There’s a lot of unrealistic things that happen here. That usually isn’t a problem since TV series are meant to have that magic to them that resolves issues making it hopeful and happy for the viewers as well. The story here has a good deal of fluff and it does also have some light-hearted moments. However, it does also have a lot of drama in order to create misunderstandings. There is two rivals, one who likes the girl and one who likes the guy, the former one is a lot more fun to watch than the latter.

The unique element done here that adds some fun comedic elements is that Gu Xiaoman dreams up these ancient China scenes where she plays this martial arts female hero and its all the fantasies that she has as she falls in love and then the misunderstandings which propel further into certain situations. Its a fun little mix-up to the story and gives this series a little more charm.

The story actually is fairly harmless and does a decent job at being an okay dose of light fluffy drama. The only issue that I can’t quite decide is a good or bad thing is how it decides to throw in some additional issues as the ending 2 episodes to give it a dramatic twist, which felt a little too contrived but at the same time, if that scene didn’t exist, the main female lead wouldn’t have been able to show her best acting skills throughout the entire series with a lot of depth. As of now, I’m still debating that point.

LENGTH/PACING

All I Want For Love Is You

Episodes: 32

Running at 32 episodes, there’s shouldn’t be pacing problems and yet, All I Want For Love Is You has that issue. One of the main issues is that the chase takes too long. The couple only get together after 80% of the series is done, which is absolutely crazy as it gets a little tiring and frustrating to watch them dance around their obvious feelings for each other and then go through various misunderstandings created by third parties. There is a good bit of stuff happening to these two main characters, whether its to do with school or friends or new acquaintances or love rivals and so on so forth. The question is whether its interesting enough to keep it fun. This series is aimed towards the youthful genre and usually its meant to more light and fluffy and yet this one seems to have a lot of drama and misunderstandings, making it a tad overdoing it at times. This series could easily have cut a few episodes to make a little more tight-knitted and paced better.

CHARACTERS/CHEMISTRY

All I Want For Love Is You is essentially a first love story and in many cases, finding their true love as their first love. With that said, this lies heavily not only on how the story sets up different plot points but also chemistry. Because this is a shorter series, there are less characters and pairings to look at.

Gu Xiaoman & Zuo An

all i want for love is you 3

The main couple here is Gu Xiaoman, played by Zhao Hua Lu and Zuo An played by Yu Han Lu. These two do have quite a good chemistry. Their acting skills are decent and their characters are structured to be more distant with Xiaoman being more shy but brave and Zuo An, the cooler introvert loner. Both their characters have their insecurities and their burdens which has time to develop and together, they change each other for the better. They just take  a little too long to actually get together. It builds up some good moments and they do have a decent chemistry. There’s an awkwardness between them and their first love reenactment that actually does work pretty well and the main development in character in terms of opening up definitely is in Zuo An who definitely is rather smart and sly to catch her in the most unexpected moment.

ChiYao La & Zhan Yue

all i want for love is you 5

The couple that starts off from dislike is the norm in most series. This time, its used for the secondary couple who actually are both best friends of Gu Xiaoman. These two are definitely the ones who break up the tension sometimes in the situation as they both have this silliness to them. Especially when they bicker. There are some pretty fun moments with these two. Although secondary male lead Zhan Yue, played by Yin Jun Liu, starts off as interested in childhood friend Gu Xiaoman and takes a slightly ambitious turn, the roles takes a nice turn with the help of the secondary female lead Chi Yao La, played by Yan Qing Sun. Just like the main couple, they spend most of the series as frenemies and as their friendship grows and their care for their best friend, they find motivation in each other to help each other reach their dreams together.

Love Interests: Sun Anning and Shen Chen Yang

all i want for love is you 4

Both Gu Xiaoman and Zuo An have their hurdles in their getting together. Gu Xiaoman as mentioned before starts off in high school with Zhan Yue liking her and trying to stop her from being with Zuo An (along with all the other girls who liked the school genius). However, the one who definitely made a bigger impact is Shen Chen Yang, a rather eccentric character as he has a pig as his pet but of course, also has a little deeper to his story as he hopelessly falls in love with Gu Xiaoman and of course is all quite unrequited because Gu Xiaoman only ever likes one person. He acts like the childish, attention grabbing sort of guy and a bit of a clown but has quite the character that creates an impression.

On the other hand, Zuo An’s childhood friend Sun Anning, played by Xin Yu Han, is a girl that likes him a lot and expects to be with him. Her story becomes a manipulative story of the usual variety where she acts a certain way but under that elegant and friendly exterior isn’t really what you’d expect. You can say that she does a good job because her character is very annoying and something of a mean girl with her two little minions at her side in some shots but then, she was just slightly frustrating to watch.

OVERALL

All I Want For Love Is You is a harmless series. It doesn’t do a whole lot to make itself stand out as the story itself isn’t unique enough. Its cast is young and they do decent in the chemistry department with what they have but as much as these characters are rather fluffy and lighthearted and its quite the romantic comedy style, they do add in a few dramatic twists to give it some substance. Its a fairly average viewing experience but one that will fulfill that quick dose of cute youthful romantic comedy story. It just seems to run around the chase a little too much for its own good, creating more drama than is needed and puffs itself up more than necessary. Still, they do manage some nice moments but in the long run, its not something that really is one to revisit.

Trailer
(because I can’t find any music videos)

TV Binge: Eternal Love (三生三世十里桃花, 2017)

Eternal Love (三生三世十里桃花, 2017)

Eternal Love

Cast: Mi Yang, Mark Chao, Ken Chang, Dilraba Dilmurat, Vengo Gao, Maggie Huang, Vin Zhang, Alan Yu, Lawrence Wang, Bambi Zhu, Wayne Liu

After a devastating war, the immortal tribe paid a heavy price to seal the demon lord. 70000 years later, in an attempt to re-seal the demon lord who broke free, Bai Qian was sent to the mortal realm. In the mortal world, she meets Ye Hua and falls in love with him after forgetting about her life as a goddess. Ye Hua gifts her the name of Su Su. Su Jin, who is jealous of Ye Hua’s love for Bai Qian, intentionally creates a series of misunderstanding between them and causes Bai Qian to lose her eyes. Thinking that Ye Hua has betrayed her, the devastated Bai Qian jumps off from the Zhu Xian Terrace. At her request, all her memories have been erased and she forgets Ye Hua. Hundred years later, the two meets again as deities. Another lifetime another world, Ye Hua recognizes Bai Qian but the latter remains indifferent. Three lives three worlds, her and him, are they fated to bear an entangling love? – MyDramaList

Eternal Love is currently available on Netflix (as on January 15, 2020)
You can also find it on Youtube via Croton Mega Hit Channel with English subs.
Below is the playlist:

STORY

ten miles of peach blossom

Adapted from the novel of the same name by Tang Qi and later translated, titled To The Sky Kingdom, Eternal Love aka Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms is the most watched Chinese Drama in China to date. The C-drama tells the story that spans over Three Lives, Three Worlds (as the Chinese title calls it) and as its about the love story that happens between the many trials and tribulations between Fox King’s youngest daughter Bai Qian and Nine Heaven’s Prince, Ye Hua. Their story is told over the events of the Sky Kingdom: Nine Heavens, Ghost Tribe, Kun Lun Mountains, Fox Clan and other fantasy lands as well as the mortal world. Suffice to say that, the story itself might sound a little back and forth with its focus on the three lives and three worlds for these two characters and their love stories.

eternal love baiqian

However, the story is done well that it gives room for each of the characters to grow and each love life in each world has their own depth. Plus, the supporting characters also have a good amount of entertaining filler to guide these characters. Between good and evil, love and trust, and the schemes and power balance, the story has a lot to love. It has its frustrating moments with some of the scheming characters but overall, its done really well.

LENGTH/PACING

ten miles fighting

Episodes: 58

58 episodes is the norm for a Chinese drama of this calibre. Anything set in the fantasy world and such always has the 50 or more episodes attached to it. Its something that doesn’t always work depending on what the story interpreted is. Surprisingly, while there are some small moments that feels like the plot stays or simply some characters being frustrating as times because of their stubbornness or whatever character trait (which I will talk about in the characters section below), the story does move forward.

It does so by giving it enough places to move around these fantasy worlds. Between the rigid rules of the royalties in Nine Heavens to the much more relaxed Fox Clan’s Fox Burrow  setting to the dark Ghost Tribe and the beautifully enchanting Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms owned by the Phoenix God, the story shifts from its political elements of war between good and evil to maintain peace and the romances and friendships that happen between the characters and with that, its own set of misunderstandings. There’s a decent amount of action scenes which are well-executed and the dialogue is done naturally, while giving it a good amount of space for building the chemistry between the characters.

CHARACTERS/CHEMISTRY

eternal love dilraba

If you haven’t noticed, characters and chemistry are my favorite parts of TV series and with Eternal Love and its 58 episodes and different worlds, we’re in for a ride in this section as there are some really good ones to highlight and talk about.

Bai Qian & Ye Hua
(and their 2 other lives/worlds)

eternal love 1

I’m not going to lie that its a little hard to totally figure out which romance this whole Three Lives and Three Worlds was initially for Bai Qian and Ye Hua but they do make an effort to point it out at the end which is pretty cool. There’s a lot to love about these two as their different romances each have a different sort of feeling whether its the type of love or the conflicts that happen that cause them to break apart and in the end, solidifies their love more by the end. Its the first time I’ve seen Yang Mi in this sort of role and she is so pretty in her various outfits and they match well with Mark Chao’s character in his various prince transformations. Mark Chao’s character becomes one that changes in his personality and not so much the lives prominently so its easy to quickly feel and connect with his character quickly.

Dong Hua Di Jun & Bai Feng Jiu

eternal love fengjiu dijun

While the main couple was done really well, this supporting characters of Bai Feng Jiu, the rare nine-tailed red fox niece of Bai Qian portrayed by Dilraba Dilmurat and Dong Hua Emperor Lord who is has lived so long that he has let go of emotions. These two are the focus of the sequel coming up this year. Suffice to say that they were done very well. Their romance is one that is not only fun because of Bai Feng Jiu who is a bit clumsy and naive but will do anything for love but facing Emperor Lord who seems to care but not reciprocate affections, it turns into a roller coaster of emotions that probably hits even harder than the main couple.

Li Jing

ten miles li jing

Li Jing is the second son of the Ghost Tribe Emperor and ends up taking over when his father’s war against Nine Heavens fails. He is a character that is one that isn’t very ambitious but at the same time, a rather frustratingly silly character as he constantly gets led astray by Xuan Nu, a childhood friend of Bai Qian who uses a prettier face to gain attention. Li Jing also is the first person that Bai Qian falls for romantically but due to Xuan Nu’s action, it causes them to break apart. Li Jing is not exactly a bad character. He actually fills up some of the spaces well as Xuan Nu is one of the “bad gals” who orders harm because of jealousy. Li Jing becomes a fairly tough character who stands up for peace and rights as the Ghost Tribe King and has a bit of character development that suits him well.

Bai Zhen & Zhe Yan

eternal love alan yu

I’m a huge fan of Alan Yu as an actor. There’s something very unique about him that I enjoy about him and as Bai Zhen (Alan Yu), the fourth son of the Fox King and the older brother of Bai Qian, he pops up occasionally in a very carefree and relaxed way randomly and yet him and his best friend (who seems like they have a special relationship) Zhe Yan (Ken Chang), a Phoenix Immortal both spend time together drinking peach blossom wine and playing Reversi and then randomly have arguments that makes Bai Zhen run off to his palace in the Northern Seas. These two are something of a comedic relief as well as surprisingly insightful guidance for all the characters and the myriad of dilemma.

There’s a ton of other characters that we could also talk about but I’m going to leave it at these top ones that truly appealed to me. However, one of the bad ladies in this one is the woman who loves Ye Hua called Su Jin and her role was to create a lot of the misunderstandings and misguidances that lead to a lot of the drama happening. As frustrating as her character was because she was able to get away with it because of her status, it was all merited because she was a character that had nothing to like.

OVERALL

Eternal Love is a much easier mountain to climb than expected. Other than the elements that I talked about for the story depth and the great fantasy world that is presented here with gods and fairies and spirits and a roundup of some well-written and well-developed characters, it also has some lovely visual effects. Every scene is done really nicely. Sure, some of the flowers might look a little fake in some scenes but overall, its done relatively nice for TV dramas. At the same time, as I was researching this up, the costumes are actually rather intricate with each one done by hand to show off the details for each of the characters plus all the sets were newly built to not have any replicas. Not to mention, the soundtrack here is amazing. Every song is so great that I almost wanted to share it all. Eternal Love is definitely one of the better Chinese dramas out there. Sure, its a bit long but it has enough content to make it really nice. If you watch the behind the scenes, its actually a pretty involved process between the actors and the director with how they work the script and how each scene is done. All things great for bingeworthy TV.

MAIN THEME

What’s Up 2020: Week 2

Week 2 of 2020 has wrapped up and its been a fairly crazy time. A lot of it got affected by the fact that we had some bad weather hit Montreal and the lovely suburbs that I lived had power outage for 16 hours or something which of course, took a toll on the whole movie watching and gaming elements along with one other issue. With that said, it still is pretty balanced of late. I’m trying to start 2020 with a nice start of not procrastinating any writing so taking things a little slower to allow more time to do the write-ups.

READING

Death in Smoke

  • Death in Smoke by Barbara Elle (Review)
  • The Weighing of the Heart by Paul Tudor Owen

As with any power outage, my Kindle became my best friend, especially as the cell towers seemed to also be affected. I was able to catch up on some reading and finished up The Weighing of the Heart which will be reviewed in a blog tour coming up very soon. Both of these books that I finished was pretty good. I’d have to say that The Weighing of the Heart was good because of the Egyptian mythology angle as well as a quick concise story that helped keep the pacing really good.

PLAYING

color pieceout

Currently playing: Color Pieceout, Overcooked 2 (co-op mode)

I’ve been playing Color Pieceout for a while already but never really quite talked about it because its a mobile game. Mobile Game Roundups are hitting a little stand still over at Game Warp Blog which is mostly a writer’s block for specifically game reviews. Its coming up soon but I just need to get back into the groove of things. However, Color Pieceout is a fun little game. Its free and uses coins collected during the puzzles to unlock things which makes in-app purchases unnecessary. Its animation is similar to Professor Layton and blends Match-3 puzzles with mystery cases. So much fun!

WATCHING

brokeback mountain

  • Brokeback Mountain (2007)
  • Mamma Mia! (2008 rewatch, Review)
  • Sinister (2012)
  • The Marshes (2017)

I’m not going to lie that I started a few movies but just fell asleep so I’m not adding it in like Robocop, The Raid 2 and some other one that I can’t remember right now. However, these few are those that I did finish. We are getting back into horror, not that I took that big of a break from it in the first place. The highlight of this week goes to Brokeback Mountain which is part of the Movies and Tea season. Why it gets the highlight is simply because it surprised me how much I liked it. It shouldn’t because its Oscar fodder and it comes with its talent but I liked it a lot more than I expected that I would. That’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy Sinister which was a pretty tight fight between the one to highlight. Sinister did a lot of things right and had a sequence that I absolutely loved and had some clever twists to the story.

BINGING

all i want for love is you

  • All I Want For Love Is You (2019)

Currently binging: The Circle, Who’s The Murderer 5, Ashes of Love

I took an unexpected turn and started watching All I Want For Love Is You, which wasn’t part of my list anywhere and just popped up on my feed and I was like, “Sure. Why not?” It turned out to be pretty fun overall. It had the whole teenage high school romance that went into university. There were some silly moments but it had some SERIOUS pacing issues. I’ll be getting the post done for this one and will talk more about it then. One the other hand, The Circle has one more week of their event to go before it ends. I honestly can’t wait to talk about it since there’s a lot to discuss about that and it’ll depend on how the final few episodes go. While I’ve started a new series via Netflix called Ashes of Love which was a big deal the year that it was released. I literally just started the first few episodes so hard to say how I feel about it so far.

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

What’s Up 2020: Week 1: The Start of a Decade!

2020 is finally here! As with a new year, I’ve spiced up the What’s Up banner for this year, giving it a little more depth.

The last few days of 2019 and the first few days of 2020 brought a lot of resting time and hang out with friends and such. With that, there is still some down time to get some little things done here and there. As with the beginning of the year, I do urge you to go check out last week’s announcement of 2020 plans for Tranquil Dreams in case you missed it. You can find it HERE.

READING

Death in Smoke

Currently reading: Death in Smoke

With a blog tour literally around the corner, I’m incredibly behind in reading and have been trying to catch up like a crazy person. A lot of this has to do with this Week 1 being all partying and not too much commuting so even less time to sit down and read. I’m working on getting myself a reading nook of sorts at home so that I can be away from any other distractions. However, standing at around the 30% mark as I write this weekly recap and only a mere few days that the review needs to go up, we’re looking at reading at every free moment that I have. Luckily, Death in Smoke is not too long and its been a decent read so far.

PLAYING

The Room Three

  • The Room Three (2015)

Next up: Life is Strange 2
Still playing: Undercooked 2

I love playing The Room series games. I’ve previously played the first and second game and honestly had bought The Room Three on Android and then just didn’t find the same motivation to play it until it landed on PC. Something about these games make them so great to just sit down during the holidays to play. The puzzles are definitely elevated again with so many different layers and different rooms to work with. I only finished one ending but apparently that unlocks other endings (4 endings in total) so I may go back to check it out more. In the meantime, I’m workingont he review that will go up on Game Warp blog soon (hopefully).

WATCHING

Turbo Kid

  • Geostorm (2017)
  • Turbo Kid (2015)
  • Hell Night (1981)
  • Summer of ’84 (2018 rewatch, Review)
  • The Big Sick (2017)

The husband got to do all the movie watching choices this week or the majority of it at least. I only ended up watching The Big Sick on my own as the rental was about to expire. Luckily, he picked some good ones. A lot of death and apocalypse to ring in the New Year’s for ourselves in terms of movie choices as Geostorm is a disaster film and a rather meh one then Turbo Kid is set in the future of the world as a wasteland and then an 80s slasher and then I ended up rewatching Summer of ’84 as the husband wanted to watch it after he loved Turbo Kid. I mean, its an obvious standout this week which came between Turbo Kid and The Big Sick, which both were pretty good.

BINGING

Eternal Love

  • Eternal Love (2017)

Currently watching: Who’s The Murderer 5, The Circle

Finally finished binging the entire 58 episodes of Eternal Love also known as Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms. I didn’t expect to like it as much as I did. In fact, I actually didn’t really feel like I was connecting with a lot of the characters until it hit me in the most subtle and crazy way in the last two episodes when something happened and I bawled my eyes out non-stop for 30 minutes or something. Good job, Eternal Love, good job. That’s all I have to say as I’m already working on the TV binge. The sequel is coming out sometime in Janaury so I”ll be watching that, of course especially since, the sequel follows the secondary couple here as the main couple who I loved a lot, probably more than the main two.

I guess, I should mention it that I started watching the 3 week event on Netflix called The Circle. I’m not quite sure what to make of it right now. Its supposed to be a social experiment and while I get what they are trying to do, I’m not quite sure if the purpose is well delivered with the event. I’m going to need to think about that one after I watch the next two weeks.

That’s it for this Week 1 of What’s Up 2020!
Its a new year and a new banner look!
What have you been kicking off the year reading/watching/playing/binging?

 

Happy New Year: 2019 in Review!

2019 is finally wrapped up. It was an overall okay year. Some good, some bad, some average stuff happened. I made some decisions about personal changes in habits and other general life things that I want to do in 2020 for my own sanity and sake. However, we’re all about being positive here and the blog has definitely kept me through a lot of that even if its been so long and some months are much busier than I expect.

Before I get to housekeeping the blog and 2020 plans (coming up in a later post), which should last a good few days, its time to take a moment to reflect on the blog going-ons in 2019 and take a quick look at some stats, faves, and of course successes.

2019 in Review

2019 was something of a crazy year! I covered a few film festivals: some first time ones and then watched a reviewed a ton of movies. The views had some incredibly huge growths and then also had some very low days. At so many years on, stats really is just a number but does make me wonder what makes it grow sometimes. A look at some general stats without digging too deep.

  • Total views: 57,244 (decrease from the previous year but then 2018 was the best year in blogging for me)
  • Top 5 countries reading
    • United States
    • India
    • Hong Kong SAR
    • Canada
    • United Kingdom
  • Top 5 posts written in 2019
    • TV Binge: Rush to the Dead Summer
    • TV Binge: Who’s The Murderer (Season 4)
    • TV Binge: The Inn 2 (Season 2)
    • Restaurant: Yunnan Rice Noodles
    • Announcement: Ultimate 2000s Blogathon

Definitely some interesting stats as I never realized that my TV Binges, especially for Chinese dramas and variety shows did so well. I’m just wondering who is reading them as they are definitely a slow accumulation over time. I do those mostly for my own enjoyment and not thinking that many people will read it.

2019 also has some other challenges and overviews in films and Goodreads Reading Challenges.

Goodreads Reading Challenge

  • Goodreads Reading Challenge was increased from the beginning of the year halfway, which resulted in my failing to reach the goal. I did log a book collection which was 4 books considered as 1 read. Technically I reached the goal, right? The total books read was 27 books! According to the My Year in Books 2019 from Goodreads.
    • I read 7024 pages over 27 books
    • Shortest book: The Princess and the Peacock
    • Longest book: Obsidio
    • My favorite books read in 2019 (not necessarily 2019 releases)
      • A Series of Unfortunately Events Collection: Book 10-13
      • The Dragon Head of Hong Kong: The Ava Lee Prequel
      • Obsidio
      • Always and Forever, Lara Jean
      • Hope
      • Proximity

In the reading department, I actually skewed away from a lot of what I had intended on reading at the beginning of the year probably when I did the 2019 plans. However, I did discover quite a few good reads and caught up with some reads sitting around that was way overdue.

Movies & Letterboxd

While Letterboxd’s Year in Review hasn’t come out yet, I’m going to start a little look over with the help of its stats to see how the movie watching thing was. Do note that my viewings were bloated by short film viewings but also lost some of the films that were premieres at film festivals and wasn’t listed yet but most likely forgot to go back and add them back later on.

  • Total movies watched: 249
  • Out of 249:
    • 80 films were from 2019
    • 5 Netflix Stand-up Comedy Specials
    • 3 Theatre viewings
    • 29 short films
    • 42 rewatches (including Harry Potter franchise, Evil Dead franchise)
  • Favorite 2019 movies (in no particular order – not surprisingly all festival viewings)
    • White Snake
    • Daniel Isn’t Real
    • Dead Dicks
    • Riot Girls
    • Paradise Hills
  • Favorite non-2019 movies (in no particular order)
    • Snowpiercer
    • Us and Them
    • The Hate U Give
    • Murder on the Orient Express
    • Anna and the Apocalypse

TV Binging in Review

Last thing to look at before we wrap up this much longer than expected post (causing me to change the original structure) – TV! Suffice to say that I watched a lot of Chinese dramas and variety shows. Much more than the English stuff. Its been a nice change in pace overall and there’s some really nice Chinese dramas out there, which are also getting acquired by Netflix or released as Netflix series. As I’m a ton of TV binges behind, this is where the What’s Up segment is going to help a ton in compiling this portion (although I have a clear idea of my faves already).

Top 5 TV Seasons of 2019

  • Le Coup de Foudre
  • Go Go Squid!
  • The King’s Avatar
  • River Flows To You
  • Put Your Head On My Shoulder

Honorable Mention: Love, Death + Robots; Umbrella Academy; The Brightest Star in the Sky

Overall, 2019 was a pretty decent year. I had some nice little fun successes like getting a few festival media accreditation and some rather fun little screener links offered for review. Its been rather busy starting from Montreal Comiccon in July then jumping straight to Fantasia International Film Festival, followed by a first time accreditation for Toronto After Dark Film Festival covering short films, then went on to a first time press pass for Festival du Nouveau Cinema and then finally a remote coverage for Blood in the Snow Film Festival. There was a lot of fun little movie discoveries as well as an appreciation for short films. A lot of originally planned things (from what I remembered) wasn’t all that achieved but at the same time, it went relatively smoothly.

That’s it for this 2019 in Review!
We’ll be planning out 2020 later today (or maybe tomorrow).

What’s Up 2019: Week 52

Its time for the last weekly What’s Up recap for 2019! We’ve been doing this officially in this new format for a year and its one of the segments that I truly do enjoy writing about. It not only helps me track whats going on but also let’s me remember things that I’m doing that I might have forgotten over the week..trust me, it happens.

Suffice to say with the final week ending in December included a lot of holidays…its not quite as eventful in a lot of the categories but here it is!~

READING

legends of the exiles

Currently reading: Legends of the Exiles

I tried to finish Legends of the Exiles but it just didn’t happen. I will finish it sooner rather than later but my assumption will be that other books with set dates of reviews to write might precede it. We’re reaching something that I’m not quite too fond of at the moment and its lost my motivation in reading it just for a second but I’m going to tough through it in hopes that maybe its just that moment. Its more of a pet peeve than anything.

PLAYING

overcooked 2

Currently playing: Overcooked 2

Boxing Day brought us Overcooked 2 which is fantastic because its one of the few coop games that the husband and I truly love to play together. Its currently in progress as we work through the different cooking challenges to help the Onion King fend off the UnBread. Who would have thought those words would be in a sentence, right? Its still as fun as the first one even though we are still fairly early and it still feels quite the same except with some little twists and one new mechanic (as of now).

WATCHING

Snowpiercer

  • Mickey’s Christmas Carol (rewatch, Review)
  • A Garfield Christmas Special (rewatch, Review)
  • How The Grinch Stole Christmas (rewatch, Review)
  • A Wish for Wings That Work (rewatch, Review)
  • The Princess Switch (rewatch, Review)
  • Silent Night Deadly Night 2 (1987, Review)
  • Pokemon Detective Pikachu (2019, Review)
  • Pet Sematary (2019)
  • Mean Girls 2 (2011)
  • Snowpiercer (2013)

You can tell this week overlapped Christmas as I spent Christmas morning watching all my fave Christmas specials and even snuck in The Princess Switch which is still as enjoyable as when I saw it last year and then may have figured out what next year’s sequel will be like because in this world of Netflix, I was confused about something before. We will see if I guessed right when the holiday comes by next year.

Other than that, I ended up catching up on a few 2019 movies and other 2010s movies. While Pokemon Detective Pikachu was a ton of fun, there is really no arguing that Snowpiercer is a fantastic movie that I shouldn’t have put off watching for so long because that was so awesome. Review coming up…

BINGING

brightest star in the sky

  • The Brightest Star in the Sky (2019, Review)

Currently binging: Who’s the Murderer 5, Eternal Love

The shortest list ever for TV binging this year, I think as I wrap up the year. I wrapped up The Brightest Star in the Sky and even wrote the TV binge, which is great but it is kind of a repeat viewing on my part but remains as good as the first time and probably better. Who’s the Murderer 5 is still going on and I’m still loving it. As for new TV binges right now, its Eternal Love that was a big deal in 2017 when I first started watching Chinese dramas and the sequel is coming up this year at some point so I wanted to catch up with it. It is on Netflix Canada so it makes it so much easier to watch.

That’s it for this What’s Up 2019! 
We will be moving to What’s Up 2020 next week!
With this weekly recap wrapped up, the 2019 overview and 2020 plans and (slight) changes will be up later today!

TV Binge: The Brightest Star in the Sky (夜空中最闪亮的星, 2019)

The Brightest Star in the Sky (夜空中最闪亮的星, 2019)

brightest star in the sky

Cast: Z. Tao, Janice Wu, Jun Feng Niu, Xi Yue Cao, Jin Song Wang, Lan Qin, Chloe Zhao, David Chen, Yi Ling Li, Jin Cheng Zhang, Ji Jia Liu

As singer-songwriter C-POP star, Huang Zitao plays a role of a recalcitrant idol who debuted and become famous since he was young. He deeply likes music and keeps persistent, that is similar with Huang Zi Tao. This time Yang Zhen Zhen is a newbie manager who just starts the work. Being a newbie staff, she faces various obstacles but she never gives up her music dreams. – MyDramaList

Where to watch it with English subtitles

QUOTE/SCENE

the brightest star

STORY

The best stories in dramas are those where both of the characters are made better because of the things they go through while they are pursuing their own dreams. The Brightest Star in the Sky is one of the few Chinese TV dramas that remember that the story is about two young adults who are pursuing their dreams and helping each other in the process. Their meeting was unexpected and it does feel like there is a certain coincidence to it but the central story is about the idol star Boxu Zheng (Z.Tao) trying to achieve his dream of making C-pop music so that the world can see the talent in Chinese music but his company always trying to sculpt him into something else and his struggle to find his footing and his way in the entertainment industry. At the same time, he ends up having Zhenzhen Yang (Janice Wu) as his assistant who turns to work in the music industry to find another option to still work in music while not having enough talent to perform music or become a singer.

The Brightest Star in the Sky

Their love story grows because of working together and understanding each other throughout the series. The love story is never a focal point while there are some cute moments between the two, its focus isn’t that and its what gives this story its unique angle, making it less of a forced situation but one with  more depth to grow both of these characters (as well as the supporting characters), making them easier to connect with.

LENGTH/PACING

Episodes: 44
Length of Episodes: 40 minutes

44 episodes definitely ranges on the higher end of TV series and will also suffer a little bit of dragging on. Fortunately, The Brightest Star in the Sky overcomes this for the most part. It still has some parts that linger such as a good chunk in the first quarter which is just struggling through the very frustrating love interest with Zhenzhen and Zhirui as they both tiptoe around the situation until fate just passes them by in some ways. For the most part, the drama does keep fresh new struggles and dilemmas to show up to play around with the characters and set loyalties. The most annoying bits might actually go to the actual management of the Star Entertainment with the CEO, his wife and the new VP that comes into the office and creates a somewhat fake love triangle. There are some issues here and there but luckily it remembers its focus on its two main leads and their story so when they are in the scenes, it always has a nice feeling to the scene especially as the characters develop.

CHARACTER/CHEMISTRY

The Brightest Star in the Sky

With that said, the characters in this series, whether its the main leads or the supporting characters are done fairly well. There are some typical roles like Boxu Zheng is the son of a rich businessman so his father has the typical role of being against his dreams and wants him to take over the family business while the sister stands by his side. The main family drama occurs in this level and actually is pretty fun at times to watch and also some of the more predictable elements of the story. Another element here is the character that plays a good friend of Zhenzhen, Gu Ye who ends up being the mentor to Boxu and sends him into a better training for his dreams. Gu Ye, played by Hong Kong actor Jin Cheng Zhang, is actually one of the best segments of the series throughout as it has both comedic moments but also inspirational and guidance to the younger characters.

The Brightest Star in the Sky

The second story line is the second male lead Zhirui Yu, played by Junfeng Niu who is the love interest of Zhenzhen at the beginning but also makes his sacrifices for his success in becoming a music. His character is one that is actually a bit frustrating as he always falls into this circle of bad things and of making decisions that he later seems to regrets. However, his character works best at the beginning and the ending episodes. The same goes for the girl playing Zhenzhen’s roommate and best friend, Xia Yuan (Xi Yue Cao) who ends up being quite the positive character until one little section nearing the end that makes her a bit more frustrating to watch.

brightest star 2

Finally, the main couple is the final one that probably the one that I’ve talked about the most as to how I feel about it. Boxu and Zhenzhen actually works really well together. While the series doesn’t the love in the forefront, they give it enough room to feel their natural connection to each other as soulmates and partners and lovers as their romance grows through their understanding and eventually has some really fun chemistry between the two people. Its a very positive relationship.

OVERALL

The Brightest Star in the Sky is a really well done TV series. Its plot is well-executed with its main plot being about following dreams intertwined with a romance between two young adults. Its done in a fun and comedic way for the most part but with some drama and struggle. It shows the difficulty of stardom and being an idol while in the entertainment business. At the same time, it tries to be a positive type of relationship as the two characters grow together. At the same time, where there are some by the numbers plot points, the characters are done rather well whether its the main leads or the supporting ones. The only elements that might be lacking are some of the not so well done visual effects.

MAIN THEME