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Hey! Little Bones Review

Well, I don’t know what to say about this movie so it will be a short review.

Storyline

Little BonesHey! Little Bones (嘿!小骨头) is a movie released in 2020 and is a demon style comedy fantasy drama. It was difficult to assess what the movie was really about so I will paste what other websites are saying:

He is the lover of the unknown demon in a previous life! In order to recover the lost memory of the female devil, the demon explores the way from a white bone demon to a devil and makes her girlhood reappear.

Crew

I didn’t recognize any of the cast with the possible exception of Lam Chi Chung (林子聰; 林子聪) who I swear I’ve seen in something else but can’t quite figure out where.

The main cast was Tan Xin Zer (陈信喆) who played the demon Zha Ling Kong and Zhao Yue (赵粤) who played Little Bones (Jia Lan). It seems they put Zhao Yue as a support role but to me, she seemed to be a co-main character.

Review

Oh gosh, it was awful. Was it a children’s film? Then I would see a bit of cheekiness that really was for a more adult-orientated audience. Then, maybe I thought it was a particularly cultural comedy that I didn’t tune into being a foreigner. Some of the special effects were ok. The acting was loud and over the top. The storyline was pretty difficult to follow, maybe because they were speaking too fast to keep pace with. I don’t usually find a film that I can’t appreciate some of it but looks like I found one now. Even though I can’t even rate it don’t let me put you off watching it, however, I wouldn’t recommend you pay for it as you might be kicking yourself afterwards.

Trailer

2020-11-23T22:59:46+00:0023 November 2020|Review|0 Comments

The End of Trump

The vulgar Donald Trump has finally been beaten in the US 2020 election by Joe Biden, and here is a personal perspective on the matter.

Why We Left The USA

Trump was the catalyst that made us leave the US. There was a whole bunch of reasons more specifically around access to health care. Even under the Obama era the Affordable Health Care Act workflow of buying insurance was completely insane and then having access to reasonably priced treatment was near impossible. Then incompetent companies like Kaiser compounded by homophobic doctors and a broken administrative system, I had enough. Health care I knew would become less accessible and more expensive under Trump.

The Past Four Years

The Trump administration has been surrounded by scandal and corruption even when putting aside the man’s bullying narcissistic attitude. His attitude and laziness have done untold damage to the US and the world even when you look at just a few subjects:

  1. COVID19 Pandemic
  2. Climate Change
  3. Immigration
  4. Unemployment
  5. Economy for the Rich
  6. Racism/Black Lives Matter/Equality/LGBTQ

He had promised to be an LGBTQ-friendly President, of course, I wasn’t fooled but many were.  The Human Rights Campaign listed some of the legislative attacks on our community. Many were worried about how far he would have gone in his second term such as banning same-sex marriage now he has Yes people working for him in the Supreme Court.

This has been a very stressful and trying time for our friends and family in the US, each day you never know what Trump is going to do next to take their human rights or opportunities away and back to a medieval era.

Trump is claiming that there were many illegal votes in the election and he has won, not Biden, but his attempts to take that through the court has failed, he has nothing to back those claims up as usual. He will torture people until the moment he has gone but it’s not long now, maybe this is a good opportunity to push for the criminal justice system to process him after January 20th, he must have his days in court to face his criminal activities. I wouldn’t be surprised when Biden and Harris take office they will discover some scary trails to what he has been up to.

Trump Vest

Best Things About Trump

Making fun of him including the artwork people have created to attack him. If you ignore Trump he has won, he will walk all over people, best is to continue to undermine his every move. It seems that countries have learned to make fun of him too, including China of all places. He is larger than life buffoon that harms so many peoples lives, all you can do is attack him.

Characters like the Baby Trump balloon will never be forgotten. He’s association with Prep H, spray tanning his face, tiny hands, word salad, having to hold a bottle with two hands and more will go down in history as much as his failures and totally bonkers attitude. One of my caricatures of Trump to the right.

Summary

What a sad and horrible person Trump is but everyone has to look forward to better days ahead and the focus on fixing what he has broken but also take themselves forward into a better chapter of the American dream (not a nightmare). My biggest concern is Climate Change, being next door to someone who doesn’t believe it exists is extremely dangerous, I hope Biden and Harris have an extremely aggressive strategy to save the planet.

2020-11-18T00:29:54+00:0018 November 2020|USA|0 Comments

Staycation Movie Review

Like many other films, Staycation is another movie I just stumbled across but didn’t know a lot about until we started watching it.

StaycationStoryline

NOTE: SPOILERS AHEAD

A couple’s 15th anniversary, Fai and his wife, they go on vacation to the same place he proposed to her 15 years ago. It is also the 70th birthday of Fai’s father as well. The whole family goes along. The vacation is at a holiday camp where they have to compete with other families. This is a Hong Kong movie in Cantonese.

Crew

I recognized some of the actors in this movie, not by name but just seeing their face. Evidently they are all well-known comedians from Hong Kong.

Johnson Lee Si-jit played Fai. He acted and directed this movie. I don’t know much about the actor but he was also known for Citizen King, a rip off of Citizen Cane.

Yuk-Wah So played Fai’s wife. It looks as though she has had a long and distinguished career but hasn’t done any acting jobs since this movie.

Review

Well, where do I start, I don’t really know what to say.

The film was zany, wild and weird. Dodo birds. Flying saucers. What next? It was acted very well and I’m sure they did their best with a difficult script. If I was being generous I could say there were some touching moments. The movie is for an adult audience but at times it just got a bit creepy. I’ve not seen any Hong Kong Comedy film like this before. If I was being generous I would give it 1 out of 5. I would recommend giving it a miss unless you really want to find out what a bizarre Hong Kong movie looks like.

Trailer

2020-11-17T04:36:26+00:0017 November 2020|Review|0 Comments

Aozora Cut Review

Aozora CutAozora Cut (アオゾラカット) was one of those shows I just stumbled across, didn’t know anything about but thought I would watch anyway.

Storyline

Kawamura Shouta returns home to Japan, from Paris, to attend his mother’s funeral. He comes from a family of hairdressers and after beauty school decided to move to France rather than stay with the family business due to historical conflicts. Returning home he has to face up to the family issues he left behind.

Crew

The short movie starred two actors I am very familiar with from Ossan’s Love.

Hayashi Kento (はやし けんと) plays Shouta extremely well. The actor’s had many roles in different shows and in this one gets to, surprisingly, test his English Language skills. I am not sure if he speaks English but he does a pretty decent job.

Yoshida Kotaro (よしだ こうたろう;Yoshida) plays Goro, the father, and is a veteran of the acting world with many performances in his resume including stage, TV and movies. He was of course very good in this show too.

Japan Academy Award winner Dobashi Akihiro (どばし あきひろ) was the screenwriter on the show.

Review

Anything that Hayashi Kento appears in does tend to be on the cute and this show is no exception. There are many little twists and turns to surprise the audience. It wasn’t a big-budget film, more like a low budget on-screen play that would work well on stage, but was very well executed. I haven’t seen many review’s of the show and the ones I have seems to be negative, don’t let them spoil your enjoyment of it, I do recommend it. If you are a fan of any of the above actors it is a must-see.

2020-11-09T06:13:03+00:009 November 2020|Review|0 Comments

To Live Movie Review

We never heard of this film before, it was recommended by someone in Shanghai that I have been communicating with.  I am pleased he mentioned it to us.

Storyline

To LiveThe film was made in 1994. It centre’s on a family and how they cope with events in China between the 1940s to 1970s.

The family themselves go through gambling addiction, going from rich to poor, surviving off doing menial work, forced into nationalist and communist armies, and coping with political turmoil.

Actors

I have to admit I have never heard of any of the actors from the film.

  • Gong Lie (鞏俐) plays Jia Zhen. Gong is a Chinese-born Singaporean, well-known it seems, makes movies once in a while, not on a year by year basis. I understand she had a role in the Disney Mulan film.
  • Ge You (葛优) plays Fu Gui. He is a very acclaimed actor with a career going back to 1989. He is a native of Beijing.

Review

I’ve not seen a bad review of the film, and most award it very high ratings.

It was a very engaging and thought-provoking film which views the period of China from a different perspective that many may not have heard about. It must have been a tough period There was some humour in it but certainly wasn’t really a comedy as such as one disaster after another had befallen the family. It was interesting to see how the family adapted to the environment that they were given, although I’m not sure people in the west could have accepted that form of autocracy. I guess they had no choice.

The acting was very convincing, I can see how the actors put everything into their roles. The sets were very well built. The only period during the movie where they had an opportunity to show off any cinematography skills was during the war scenes, very well done, will a cast of a couple of hundred I assume – didn’t look like CGI.

Since the film was recommended to me by a Chinese person I wonder if they consider it a classic? It was certainly memorable and I would pass on the recommendation to other people. There is one distressing scene in the movie so I would give it a slight health warning, maybe for over 18s only. I would rate it 4/5. Due to the nature of the film, I would not want to see it again.

Trailer

2020-10-29T04:08:56+00:0029 October 2020|Review|0 Comments

My Paparotti Film Review

My Paparotti is a 2013 South Korean film based on the true story of an Opera singer who was involved in gangs. I’ve been wanting to watch this film for a long time and this past weekend finally found the time to enjoy it.

Storyline

During his youth, Kim Ho-Joong was involved in gangs but thanks to his grandmother, who looked after him, developed a deep interest and talent in Opera music. The film is about his struggle to choose between gang life or receive an education to take him to the heights of fame in the Opera world assisted by his eccentric teacher.

Actors

There were two main actors in the cast who played their roles brilliantly.

  • Lee Je Hoon (이제훈) played Jang Ho. He was born in 1984 and already has an impressive movie career. I hadn’t seen any of his work before but he clearly put a lot of effort into this important role.
  • Han Seok Kyu (한석규) played the teacher Sang Jin, they couldn’t have chosen a better actor for this role who is known to have a very unique style.

Review

As usual, the film had an average rating on Internet Movie Database, however, on Asian sites it was rated much higher. I am in agreement with the Asian sites.

There was a great mix of humour, drama and action that kept me engaged throughout the film. The acting was really good, excellent chemistry between the main cast, they did an excellent job with the roles they had. It was very believable that Lee Je Hoon was singing but obviously wasn’t. It was definetly the actors that made this film so believeable.

I am not sure how close the film was to the true story of Kim Ho-Joong but it did interest me to find out more about the singer, listen to his songs, and wonder what he is working on now. Recent “gossip press” about him was disappointing and diverted my attention away from it, I just want to remember the positives.

Absolutely a 5/5 for the movie, a must watch.

Trailer

The Real Kim Ho-Joong

This is a video of the real Kim Ho-Joong, sharing his talent on stage. There are many videos on YouTube worth discovering and enjoying.

2020-10-14T20:58:10+00:0014 October 2020|Review|0 Comments

Microsoft Customer Service Experience

MS OutlookIn previous jobs, I needed to have more contact with Microsoft than I do now and it was an extremely painful process, but we are talking quite some time ago. Have they improved? Well, based on the experience I had today, they haven’t much.

What Happened

I updated Office for Mac from 16.41 to 16.42. When opening Outlook a prompt appeared to switch to the “New Outlook”, I thought cool, that sounds great until then it told me none of my POP3 accounts would be compatible. What? POP3 accounts not compatible in an email program? Is Microsoft out of their minds?

So, I hit cancel and tried to search for information on their website.  I searched, and searched, and searched. Nothing could be found.  Eventually, I decided to contact Live Chat.

Live Chat Experience

Firstly, Live Chat is not compatible with Firefox so I had to switch to Chrome. It’s most likely Firefox’s security protocols.

I asked the question of the technician and had not heard of the issue, they wanted to troubleshoot my computer. So, they did remote access despite my better judgement. Finally, towards the end, they told me POP3 wasn’t supported in “New Outlook” as yet.

Summary

Starting the chat was painful, that almost took 10 minutes in itself. My query was picked up within 2 minutes but had to go through the account verification process.

The technician didn’t seem to know that POP3 wasn’t supported in the initial 25 minutes of the chat and had to waste my time fiddling with my computer and going back/forth with non-sense. It was a painful process but got the answer eventually which really could have been answered within 2 minutes.

I tweeted my experience and pleased that the product manager from the Outlook for Mac team picked that up, so at least I know my feedback went to the right person. Sometimes social media does work out better than contacting support.

2020-10-13T23:14:40+00:0013 October 2020|Customer Service|0 Comments

Mulan 2009 Review

MulanDisney has recently released its own version of a real-life Mulan film which has come under heavy criticism globally creating a Boycott Mulan movement.

There are various reasons why they are boycotting the movie, which I can’t be bothered to get into here, but as the film makes it’s way around the world the more calls there are for boycotting it. Chinese State Media slammed it and it hasn’t been too successful there. It’s about to be released in South Korea and there are calls to boycott it there.

I saw some discussion about a Mulan movie that was made in 2009 so we decided to check that out.

About The Film

I guess everyone knows the story of Mulan, where Hua Mulan goes into the army to replace her ailing Father as a female disguised as a male, and rising up the ranks to become a commanding officer.

I recognised some of the cast instantly, most notably:

  • Vicki Zhao (赵薇) who played Mulan. She was previously in the two Red Cliff movies both of which were awesome.
  • Aloys Chen (陳坤) who played Wen Tai. He was previously in The Rise of Phoenixes, a Chinese drama on Netflix.
  • Hu Jun (胡军) who played Men Du. We previously watched him in the first season of Ever Night.

So, a really impressive cast list.

Review of the Film

Some western review sites gave it an average rating but Chinese sites gave it around 8+ out of 10.  I agree more with the Chinese rating.

The acting was really good, you just can’t go wrong with the cast they had chosen. I believe they made the film what it was.

I thought the film was very well done, it was darker and grittier than I had thought it would be. There was some violence which I didn’t enjoy but closed my eyes during those bits. There are usually many strong female characters in Chinese films but this was done particularly well where Mulan was trying to deal with the emotional impact of the horrors of war and the loss of her love interest (allegedly).

The cinematography was quite well done, especially portraying the vast number of soldiers and the wide-open spaces.

I wasn’t too keen on the ending of this movie. I haven’t seen any other Mulan films and maybe this is what happens but had preferred something else.

So, I would rate this film a 4/5. I can’t compare it against the Disney version but at least this one not being made by Hollywood it would portray Chinese culture in a much fairer way.

2020-09-16T17:57:57+00:0016 September 2020|Film|0 Comments

Review Ever Night Season Two

Ever Night is a popular Chinese television series made by Tencent. The first season aired towards the end of 2018 and the second season started airing in January 2020. I understand it is a three-part book called Nightfall.

Note this review contains spoilers.

Storyline

A family is massacred and Ning Que escapes managing to survive on the run and then one day discovers a young girl called Sang Sang who he swears to protect no matter what. Later on, it is discovered that Sang Sang is actually the reincarnation of mysterious Yong Ye who, upon her return, is supposed to wreak havoc on the world ie nightfall.

About The Series

The first series contained a total of 60 episodes, not unusual for a Chinese drama, but series two much less, 43 episodes. Numerous actors did not sign up for series two as they went on to star in other productions, most notably Arthur Chen who played Ning Que. In season two Dylan Wang played the character much to the excitement of his fans, he is a well-known actor, singer and model. Dylan Wang became most famous internationally for his role in Meteor Garden (this can be seen on Netflix). Yang Chaoyue reprised her role as Sang Sang in season two.

Review

For us, Arthur Chen was more suitable for the role of Ning Que than Dylan Wang. Dylan did a fantastic job, it’s really difficult to take over a role that another actor had started. Arthur went onto do Legend of Awakening which we are currently watching.  Some of the other replacement actors included the Emporer and his daughter, both characters had changed significantly as a result. The show was still watchable though and we tried not to let it bother us too much.

Season Two was much more fast-paced than the previous one, I wonder if this was because they condensed the show into 43 episodes only. However, the action sequences and special effects were top-notch.

There were many shocks during the series and many of the characters in the Tang Dynasty were killed. This seems to be the case with Chinese television and cinema, the characters you fall in love with the most they are not frightened of knocking off.

If I was in charge of making the series I would want to explore some of the relationships and characters that didn’t have enough attention in the first season, such as those in the Academy.

I’m not sure who did the translation for the series but there were quite a few discrepancies, luckily I can speak some Mandarin to notice what they are.  That seems to be the case in many Chinese series, in Mandarin they refer to the character by their title ie Teacher but it’s translated as Sage or their name.

The final 2-3 episodes were a bit odd, in parts I didn’t really understand what was going on until it suddenly twigged then I am doubting myself if I got it right. I’ve seen some other chat online about how confused they were. Maybe we’ll find out in season three.

Just prior to COVID they were at the stage of choosing cast members for season three but I’ve heard nothing since. I’m not sure what they are filming in China right now, lots of companies were affected by the virus and some smaller ones went bankrupt. So, we’ll continue to hope for it’s return soon.

2020-09-03T23:10:52+00:002 September 2020|Television|0 Comments

How To Avoid US Election Silly Season

Unfortunately, it’s pretty impossible to avoid US election silly season no matter where you are in the world but there are ways of filtering it out a little.

They say that election campaigning actually being the day of or day after their inauguration, while I’m not sure that this has been true in the past it certainly feels like since 2016. I really have more important things to do than being sucked into US chaos.

So, here is how I am avoiding the US right now.

News

It’s important to know what’s going on in the news but that doesn’t have to be US focused all the time, there are more things happening than what that supposed “superpower” is doing.

The main way I see news is through RSS feeds. Many news websites still have them even though they don’t advertise them. Often you can paste a URL into an RSS reader and it will self-discover the feeds.  I have feeds set up for the BBC, Canadian newspapers and TV news, local news from the UK and so much more.  Some RSS readers have options to display just the headline or the first two lines of the articles as well.

So, which RSS reader do I choose? Actually I switch between a couple but here is a list of ones which are pretty good:

News Blur has a limit until you have to move to a subscription model but it does have apps. I prefer the interface and multiple view options that Netvibes offers.

This is a brilliant video by Chris Were on News Blur:

Television News

It’s not so easy to avoid the US watching television news, where ever you are in the world channels seem to have a blind fascination with the country. There are ways to trim that content down though.

First, don’t watch US cable TV news channels like CNN, Fox and MSNBC, much of their content isn’t really news but editorials with a never-ending supply of so-called experts interspersed with adverts to cure Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

Secondly, avoid international stations that target the US market. I am thinking of BBC World News and Russia Today, both of which package their content with US news as a priority. I do enjoy BBC World News but I really want to hear more news from home, the UK, or at an international level.

Thirdly, consider watching TV news that broadcasts live online from channels outside the US, such as:

There are also many other news streaming services within and outside of YouTube.

Radio

Remember this: No radio station is local anymore. It used to be the case many, including myself, would buy a Shortwave radio to listen to broadcasts from overseas. Many of the stations were run by governments though which for me put fears of being fed propaganda.

These days many radio stations will stream their service online. For me this has opened up a whole new world of news and cultural entertainment especially as Canadian radio has a typical US style of broadcasting intermixed with hundreds of adverts which doesn’t make them at all listenable.  It would take me forever to list all of my the stations I enjoy listening to but simply doing performing a internet search can find a great selection to suit anybodies interest.

I highly recommend signing up for a free account at TuneIn who pool many radio station feeds on their site.

Twitter

As every Twitter user can testify to there is a flood of politically charged content on this platform right now, the majority of it is angry and offensive. So there are ways to filter out some of the vulgarities but there is no way to make it go away for good.

1. Avoid the platform altogether. I believe there are many who are taking this strategy at least until the election is over. This is most likely not an option for some people as they use Twitter for marketing or even an income source.

2. Place those you follow into lists then view them in Tweetdeck or Hootsuite. Those in lists may never speak about politics, for example, comic shops or companies.

3. Unfollow users who constantly talk about politics. I know many who do this from the time they get up to the time they go to sleep.

4. Mute accounts until the elections are over. You can still go to their accounts and see their content but it will not cram up your main timeline.

5. Mute words and phrases. You can go to town with this feature and it partly does work although sometimes you will see a placeholder in the timeline where you content doesn’t appear.  See video below on how to achieve this.

TEDx

This TEDx talk is quite good and to quote John Noonan verbatim “people now digest news to validate their own thoughts”. There is so much anger out there it frightens me off contributing to social media platforms but I try to focus on subjects that are either jovial or informative. Unfortunately, everyone wants to say their piece on politics so the less chance there is that people will find my content unless they are specifically interested in that subject.

2020-08-27T21:49:53+00:0027 August 2020|USA|0 Comments