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  1. SUPER FLY (Japan Version) SUPER FLY (Japan Version) EXILE THE SECOND
    Super funky
    February 23, 2017 Picked By Sanwei See all this editor's picks
    EXILE THE SECOND made a strong return last year with a trilogy of singles and the launch of a nationwide arena tour, and it looks like the group is carrying forth the EXILE TRIBE dance music mantle this year as well with the consecutive releases of the single Super Fly and album Born to be Wild. THE SECOND delivers a super infectious and upbeat dance jam in Super Fly. Written and co-composed by Shokichi, the exuberant song has you nodding along in no time with addictive beats and cheeky lyrics in the opening rap verse, but the real fun is in the playful funk arrangement, the brass-underlined bridge and the catchy dance-out chorus. In comparison to their forcefully cool urban EDM tracks,... [read more]
  2. Loveaholic Vol.1 Loveaholic Vol.1 C AllStar (Singer)
    A new approach to an old theme
    February 22, 2017 Picked By Pisces See all this editor's picks
    C AllStar came to prominence with the romantic and touching ballad "Love Stairs," but the quartet is better known for their socially relevant music style. Before going on hiatus, they launch an unexpected love-themed album for their farewell project Loveaholic featuring five different love stories. In the 90s, many Cantopop songs were covers of Japanese music. Featuring a classical and electric guitar duet, the retro R&B number "Moment of Love" (Track 1) recalls those golden days of Cantopop music. Apart from the melody, the old-school J-pop vibe is also reflected in the brief interlude on piano and saxophone, a common style of music arrangement in the 90s. The romantic mood is well... [read more]
  3. Zion.T - OO Zion.T - OO Zion.T
    A jazzy lO-Ok at Zion.T's world
    February 16, 2017 Picked By Pisces See all this editor's picks
    From the eccentric and wild Babay to the retro Miss Kim to the moving "Yanghwa Bridge," Zion.T's quirky and offbeat R&B vibe varies from theme to theme. One thing that doesn't change is his simplistic style and addictive rhythms. Since joining YG Entertainment's sub-label The Black Label last year, he has turned to hip-hop and even became a judge on the popular rap competition Show Me the Money 5. Despite concerns that he would go mainstream after signing with his new agency, the singer-songwriter eases the worries by displaying his creative independence in the album OO, a refreshing jazz/hip-hop fusion about his unique worldview. Kicking off with a film rolling sound, the lead-off track... [read more]
  4. Ten Years (2015) (Blu-ray) (Hong Kong Version) Ten Years (2015) (Blu-ray) (Hong Kong Version) Liu Kai Chi (Actor) | Chen Bao Hua (Actor) | Ng Siu Hin (Actor) | Catherine Chau (Actor)
    Predicting the worst, hoping for the best
    February 10, 2017 Picked By Pisces See all this editor's picks
    As conflicts between Hong Kong and Mainland China intensify, voices calling for Hong Kong autonomy have escalated in the city. Five young directors envisage the dystopian future of a Beijing-controlled Hong Kong ten years later in the indie omnibus Ten Years, which addresses different social concerns including national security legislation, cultural preservation, marginalization of Cantonese and sovereignty. Directed by Kwok Zune, "Extra" unveils the dark secret behind the legislation of a National Security Law from the perspectives of two unimportant gangsters – an Indian (Peter Chan) and a Mainland immigrant (Courtney Wu Zerisawa) who are paid to launch a false attack to stoke panic and... [read more]
  5. The Monkey King 2 (2016) (Blu-ray) (Hong Kong Version) The Monkey King 2 (2016) (Blu-ray) (Hong Kong Version) Aaron Kwok (Actor) | Gong Li (Actor) | Xiao Shen Yang (Actor) | William Feng (Actor)
    White Bone Demon vs. Monkey King
    February 9, 2017 Picked By Sanwei See all this editor's picks
    It's hard to keep track of all the blockbuster Journey to the West movies coming out lately. In 2016, we had The Monkey King 2 and A Chinese Odyssey Part 3, and the year before that Surprise and Monkey King: Hero is Back. This Chinese New Year, Stephen Chow's Journey to the West: The Demons Strike Back and Wang Baoqiang's Journey to the West-inspired Buddies in India opened the same day, while Derek Kwok's The Tales of Wukong will arrive this summer, possibly launching another movie franchise. With so many Monkey Kings flying around, the installment that I'll be measuring newer adaptations against is last year's The Monkey King 2. The first film of Soi Cheang's series, 2014's The Monkey... [read more]
  6. miss A: Suzy Mini Album Vol. 1 - Yes? No? miss A: Suzy Mini Album Vol. 1 - Yes? No? Bae Suzy (miss A)
    An artistic portrayal of love
    January 26, 2017 Picked By Pisces See all this editor's picks
    Since her touching performance of "Winter Child" in the hit drama Dream High, Suzy has been known for her warm vocals which are rarely shown in miss A's songs. Last year, the singer-actress deviated from her group's chic style and ventured into jazz through the successful duet Dream with EXO's Baek Hyun. Making her solo debut, Suzy strays away from the mainstream even further with her first mini-album Yes? No?, an atmospheric release delving into the inner world of a young woman struggling with love. The title track Yes No Maybe (Track 2) is the only dance number in this ballad-driven album, but it still goes well with the album's hazy theme. The upbeat Britpop song is full of strong... [read more]
  7. Godzilla Resurgence (4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray) (4-Disc Special Edition) (Japan Version) Godzilla Resurgence (4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray) (4-Disc Special Edition) (Japan Version) Anno Hideaki (Director) | Hasegawa Hiroki | Takenouchi Yutaka | Ishihara Satomi
    Monster bureaucracy movie
    January 25, 2017 Picked By Sanwei See all this editor's picks
    When I first learned that Anno Hideaki was directing the new Godzilla, my reaction was to question why he was doing anything other than finishing the long overdue Rebuild of Evangelion series. Now I hope he makes Godzilla films forever. Though Godzilla graced Hollywood screens fairly recently in Gareth Edwards's 2014 feature, Shin Godzilla, or Godzilla Resurgence, is the first Japanese Godzilla film in over a decade. Narratively speaking, Anno's take follows a familiar formula: an unidentified giant creature appears, warnings go unheeded, Tokyo gets trampled, humanity eventually pulls together from the burning fires of destruction to fight the monster. However, before the government can... [read more]
  8. Block B: Park Kyung Mini Album Vol. 1 - Notebook Block B: Park Kyung Mini Album Vol. 1 - Notebook Park Kyung (Block B)
    Mainstream idol, indie vibe
    January 24, 2017 Picked By Pisces See all this editor's picks
    Over the past two decades, the K-pop scene has been dominated by idol groups, though the early to mid-2000s was the golden era of solo acts with big names like BoA and Rain. Now, we're seeing the gradual emergence of an era of idol soloists–an era in which notable members from idol groups pursue solo careers. As extensions of the groups they belong to, solo idol singers usually follow their groups' concepts. However, Block B's Park Kyung takes a new music route completely different from his group's tough hip-hop style in his solo debut Notebook. Notebook is a love diary recording the different emotions of a romantic relationship. The love tale begins with "Ordinary Love" (Track 1), a smooth... [read more]
  9. If Cats Disappeared from the World (2016) (Blu-ray) (English Subtitled) (Hong Kong Version) If Cats Disappeared from the World (2016) (Blu-ray) (English Subtitled) (Hong Kong Version) Satoh Takeru (Actor) | Miyazaki Aoi (Actor) | Ishii Anna (Actor) | Hamada Gaku (Actor)
    If Movies Disappeared from the World
    January 20, 2017 Picked By Sanwei See all this editor's picks
    I'm a simple person: I see cat, I watch. Nagai Akira's If Cats Disappeared from the World, however, is not about cats. Cute kitties – named Cabbage and Lettuce – do appear in the film, but the hypothetical scenario presented in the title serves to broach the not-so-cute topic of death and to reflect on the value of life. Based on Kawamura Genki's best-selling novel, the film gets into the mind of a mild-mannered postman suddenly confronted with news of his impending death. Save for the fact that he's played by Sato Takeru, the protagonist is a remarkably common and relatable figure, an alone but not necessarily lonely young postman who quietly goes about his work, feeds his cat, watches a... [read more]
  10. I Mini Album Vol. 1 - I Dream I Mini Album Vol. 1 - I Dream i
    A dreamy pop debut
    January 20, 2017 Picked By Pisces See all this editor's picks
    To appeal to the widest range of audience, Korean entertainment agencies tend to promote idol groups rather than soloists. Members from idol groups or well-known contestants from singing competitions like K-pop Star and Superstar K usually have a better change at solo careers. Solo singers without an already established fandom are hard to launch in Korea unless they are backed by large agencies. However, rising company WM Entertainment, which houses B1A4 and Oh My Girl, confidently introduces its first soloist Cha Yoon Ji with the stage name "I." Though known as the younger sister of B1A4's Baro, I proves that she is able to stand alone as a unique artist not because of her brother's fame,... [read more]
  11. Novoland: The Castle in the Sky (2016) (DVD) (Ep. 1-28) (End) (China Version) Novoland: The Castle in the Sky (2016) (DVD) (Ep. 1-28) (End) (China Version) Liu Chang (Actor) | Zhang Ruo Yun (Actor) | Guan Xiao Tong (Actor) | Ju Jing Yi (Actor)
    The rare China costume fantasy with good editing
    January 16, 2017 Picked By Sanwei See all this editor's picks
    Novoland: The Castle in the Sky was roundly ripped by Chinese netizens upon arrival for its acquired-taste aesthetics, like distracting circle lens, and for being yet another lusciously fake-looking period fantasy with archetype characters in a saturated market (it premiered the same week as Ice Fantasy). For those who stick around for a few more episodes, however, the reviews also come around, because Castle in the Sky turns out to be one of the rare examples of the genre that succeeds on tight directing and editing. Set in Novoland (an imaginary ancient China with its own universe and mythology created, shared and developed by different writers), Castle in the Sky focuses on the conflict... [read more]
  12. WJSN (Cosmic Girls) Mini Album Vol.3 - From. WJSN WJSN (Cosmic Girls) Mini Album Vol.3 - From. WJSN WJSN (Cosmic Girls)
    A new cosmic power
    January 13, 2017 Picked By Pisces See all this editor's picks
    Like many other girl groups, Cosmic Girls debuted with a cute concept. However, this common style didn't help them stand out. They soon found a new direction and successfully created their signature cosmic vibe with "Secret" in their second mini-album. Rather than simply following the newly established style, the thirteen-member group gives a fresh sound by blending their typical cuteness and the mature tone of "Secret" for their third mini-album From. WJSN. Kicking off with a refreshing synth opening reminiscent of their debut song MoMoMo, the title number "I Wish" (Track 1) may disappoint those who expect something as amazing as "Secret." However, the beautifully crafted pre-chorus and... [read more]
  13. The Menu (2016) (Blu-ray) (Hong Kong Version) The Menu (2016) (Blu-ray) (Hong Kong Version) Gregory Wong (Actor) | Kate Yeung (Actor) | Catherine Chau (Actor) | Ng Man Tat (Actor)
    Rewriting the rules of journalism
    December 30, 2016 Picked By Sanwei See all this editor's picks
    I haven't watched the HKTV series that spawned the feature film version of The Menu either, so don't let that dissuade from watching the movie. Set after the events of the TV drama, The Menu: The Movie is a sequel, but prior knowledge is not required as the investigative crime drama straightforwardly plops the viewer right into the hustling world of Hong Kong news with Smart Post's small tenacious team of journalists. We learn immediately that Smart Post's original photographer and chief editor are no longer with the team through flashbacks to the TV series, and that editor Fong Ying (Catherine Chau) is now the interim chief and writer Mallory (Kate Yeung) has switched to the photo... [read more]
  14. Seoul Station (DVD) (Korea Version) Seoul Station (DVD) (Korea Version) Yeon Sang Ho (Director) | Shim Eun Kyung | Lee Joon | Ryu Seung Ryong
    People are scarier than zombies
    December 8, 2016 Picked By Sanwei See all this editor's picks
    With Train to Busan, arthouse animation darling Yeon Sang Ho proved resoundingly that not only is he perfectly capable of directing mainstream and live-action cinema, he's almost too good at hitting all the required action and emotional notes for commercial success. Meanwhile, Seoul Station, the animated companion piece to Train to Busan, still bears all the bleak, incisive markers that make it seem so unlikely that Yeon could be a ten-million-admissions blockbuster director. Made before Train to Busan but released after, Seoul Station depicts the beginning of the zombie virus outbreak. While Train is bright, glossy and attractive even as it's hurling full speed into gory zombie apocalypse,... [read more]
  15. Unmei no I Love You (SINGLE+DVD) (First Press Limited Edition) (Japan Version) Unmei no I Love You (SINGLE+DVD) (First Press Limited Edition) (Japan Version) chay
    Retro pop sounds
    December 1, 2016 Picked By Sanwei See all this editor's picks
    Since her debut, singer-songwriter chay has often integrated retro elements and stylings into her hearty, guitar-strumming ballads and pop numbers. She completely embraces the retro pop sound for her charming new single Unmei no I Love You ("Fated I Love You"). Co-written by chay, the sweet title track is actually a wedding gift for her sister. Accordingly, the lyrics drip with happy thoughts and blessings for that special day and destined love. The wedding song's joyous message is matched by its fun Motown-style melody by Koichi Tabo who has produced and composed chay's last few singles. The song lightly channels Motown sound with its distinctly catchy chord structure and the use of... [read more]
  16. Imperfections (Regular Version) Imperfections (Regular Version) Ellen Loo (Singer)
    Embracing imperfections
    November 30, 2016 Picked By Pisces See all this editor's picks
    Last year, at17's Ellen Loo shared her long journey of recovery from bipolar disorder in the album Pillow Talk. Walking out of the darkness, the singer-songwriter demonstrates her optimistic worldview in the album Imperfections. Featuring energetic guitar riffs, the album's first plug "Not Far Enough" (Track 1) further cements her indie rock style. Along with the hopeful lyrics "Adventure is the plot that I need / Just embark on adventures and see me getting far," the song best shows her determination in developing her career as an independent artist. To match her cheerful lyrics, Ellen adapted the slow R&B-style "Our Crowns" (Track 2) composed by Khalil Fong into an upbeat pop rock jam... [read more]
  17. Happiness (2016) (DVD) (Hong Kong Version) Happiness (2016) (DVD) (Hong Kong Version) Carlos Chan (Actor) | Kara Hui (Actor) | Siu Yam Yam (Actor) | Liu Ya Se (Actor)
    Watch it for Kara Hui
    November 29, 2016 Picked By Sanwei See all this editor's picks
    Screenwriter Andy Lo Yiu Fai's first solo directorial feature Happiness depicts the makeshift familial bond that develops between an angry young man and his landlord, an absentminded older woman with early signs of dementia. Though it has the kind of synopsis that seemingly sets the audience up for big tearjerking moments and life lessons, the film takes a subtler, less weepy route, and is all the better for it. Carlos Chan plays Yuk, a young cook who moves from China to Hong Kong after losing his mother. A flawed but fundamentally decent guy, the temperamental Yuk treats his girlfriend terribly one moment, and takes the time to help out a stranger on the street another moment. After... [read more]
  18. If Cats Disappeared from the World (Blu-ray) (Deluxe Edition) (Japan Version) If Cats Disappeared from the World (Blu-ray) (Deluxe Edition) (Japan Version) Miyazaki Aoi (Actor) | Satoh Takeru (Actor) | Okuno Eita (Actor) | Hamada Gaku (Actor)
    If Movies Disappeared from the World
    November 24, 2016 Picked By Sanwei See all this editor's picks
    I'm a simple person: I see cat, I watch. Nagai Akira's If Cats Disappeared from the World, however, is not about cats. Cute kitties – named Cabbage and Lettuce – do appear in the film, but the hypothetical scenario presented in the title serves to broach the not-so-cute topic of death and to reflect on the value of life. Based on Kawamura Genki's best-selling novel, the film gets into the mind of a mild-mannered postman suddenly confronted with news of his impending death. Save for the fact that he's played by Sato Takeru, the protagonist is a remarkably common and relatable figure, an alone but not necessarily lonely young postman who quietly goes about his work, feeds his cat, watches a... [read more]
  19. People Like Us (HQCD) People Like Us (HQCD) Eman Lam (Singer)
    Jazzing up Hong Kong music
    November 22, 2016 Picked By Pisces See all this editor's picks
    Jazz, which is now considered to be a more serious and classy music form, has become a marginalized genre since the rise of popular genres like pop, R&B, rock and hip-hop. Many Chinese pop singers do turn to jazz to add a touch of class to their music but only a few succeed in riding the rhythm. Through the highly acclaimed albums Eman Lam and On the Go, at17's Eman Lam has established her own distinctive jazzy groove while retaining a Cantopop style. Continuing the jazz pop vibe of her previous albums, People Like Us talks about different moments in life, including self-acknowledgement, sexuality, love and regret. The album starts with the most important moment in one's journey of growth:... [read more]
  20. Angry Mom (2015) (DVD) (Ep. 1-16) (End) (Chinese & English Subtitled) (MBC TV Drama) (Singapore Version) Angry Mom (2015) (DVD) (Ep. 1-16) (End) (Chinese & English Subtitled) (MBC TV Drama) (Singapore Version) Kim Hee Sun (Actor) | Kim Yoo Jung (Actor) | Ji Hyun Woo (Actor) | Baro (B1A4)
    Angry Mom knows best
    November 11, 2016 Picked By Sanwei See all this editor's picks
    Don't be thrown off by the cute title logo and the side-tickling sight of Kim Hee Sun striking a sassy pose in a schoolgirl uniform and running pants. Angry Mom may look like a riotous comedy but it goes to some very dark places. MBC's 2015 series does provide many laughs and mishaps through its narrative gimmick of a concerned mother going back to high school undercover to protect her bullied daughter. Though suspension of disbelief is needed to believe that Kim Hee Sun could pass for a teenager, the nineties drama queen is never less than awesome as the titular angry mom Kang Ja, who channels her former teen delinquent self into staring down authorities, putting bullies in their place and... [read more]
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