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EXO, BTS and Twice win top prizes at 2016 MAMA

  December 5, 2016  
The 2016 Mnet Asian Music Awards (MAMA) was held in Hong Kong on December 2. BTS, who led with six nominations, was crowned Artist of the Year and walked away with Best Dance Performance ("Blood Sweat & Tears") in the Male Group category. EXO received their fourth Album of the Year trophy from renowned Hong Kong singer Leon Lai, as well as Best Male Group for the third consecutive year and Best Asian Style Award. Fending off strong contenders EXO, BTS, GFriend and Zico, last year's Best New Female Artist winner Twice garnered Song of the Year for their mega-hit Cheer Up and was recognized as the Best Female Group.

Girls' Generation leader Tae Yeon won Best Female Artist award for the second consecutive year, while Block B leader Zico was honored with Best Male Artist for the first time. Ailee secured her fourth Best Vocal Performance Female prize with If You, and R&B singer-songwriter Crush picked up Best Vocal Performance Male with "Don't Forget" featuring Tae Yeon. Davichi reclaimed Best Vocal Performance Group with "Beside Me."

For Best Dance Performance, GFriend ("Rough") and SHINee's Tae Min ("Press Your Number") won in the Female Group and Solo categories, respectively. Two-time winner CNBLUE again triumphed in the Best Band Performance race with "You're So Fine." Defeating notable rappers including Dok2 and last year's winner San E, Show Me the Money 5 winner BewhY and runner-up C Jamm won for Best Rap Performance (Puzzle).

miss A's Suzy and EXO's Baek Hyun received Best Collaboration prize for their jazzy Dream. Prevailing over Gummy's "Moonlight Drawn by Clouds" (Love in the Moonlight) and Davichi's "This Love" (Descendants of the Sun), veteran singer Lee Juck's nostalgic "Don't Worry" from the soundtrack of Answer Me 1988 emerged as the black horse winner of the Best OST category. I.O.I and NCT 127 came out on top in the Best New Artist race, and GOT7 won the Worldwide Favorite Artist Award.

Other world-renowned artists were also recognized for their contributions. Quincy Jones was honored with the Inspired Achievement award. Timbaland, who had a special stage with Eric Nam for their new collaboration Body, was acknowledged as the Best International Producer. Best Asian Artist awards were given to outstanding Asian musicians, namely Getsunova (Thailand), Noo Phuoc Thinh (Vietnam), Isyana Sarasvati (Indonesia), JJ Lin (Singapore), Sekai no Owari (Japan) and Hua Chenyu (China). Besides the nominated artists, other performers of the night included NCT Dream, Gallant, Yoo Ah In, pianist Yiruma and Wiz Khalifa.

See photos from the MAMA press conference and red carpet on YesAsia Facebook.

Text / Pisces

53rd Golden Horse Awards Winners

  November 28, 2016  
The 53rd Golden Horse Awards were held in Taipei on November 26. Mainland Chinese director Zhang Dalei's The Summer Is Gone, a black-and-white drama about a boy's last summer vacation before entering junior high, emerged as the surprise winner, beating out I Am Not Madame Bovary, The Road to Mandalay, Soul Mate, Godspeed and Trivisa for Best Film. The film also won Best New Performer for its child star Kong Weiyi

Zhou Dongyu and Ma Sichun shared Best Leading Actress honors for their roles as close friends through the years in Soul Mate while Fan Wei was crowned Best Leading Actor for his role in the black-and-white Lao She-based drama Mr. No Problem, which also won Best Adapted Screenplay. Feng Xiaogang, who did not attend the awards ceremony last year when he won Best Actor, was on hand this year to receive the Best Director prize for I Am Not Madame Bovary.

Young Taiwan actor Austin Lin of coming-of-age drama At Café 6 edged out Paul Chun, Eric Tsang and Lam Suet to become the dark horse winner in the Best Supporting Actor category. Veteran Elaine Kam, meanwhile, earned her second Best Supporting Actress Prize after 22 years for Mad World. The Hong Kong drama about coping with mental illness also won Best New Director for Wong Chun.

Hong Kong crime drama Trivisa picked up Best Original Screenplay and Best Editing while detective comedy Chinatown Detective won Best Action Choreography and Best Makeup & Costume Design. Other technical prizes went to Crosscurrent (Best Cinematography, Best Sound Design), Mojin: The Lost Legend (Best Visual Effects) and Chung Mong Hong's Godspeed, which had led with eight nominations but got shut out of all categories except Best Art Direction. Taiwan musician Lim Giong won Best Original Film Score for the fourth time for his work on City of Jade, and Zee Avi's Arena Cahaya from Ola Bola was named the Best Original Film Song.

87-year-old Taiwan screenwriter Chang Yung Hsiang, who has written over 120 film scripts, was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award.

2016 Kohaku lineup: Utada Hikaru, KinKi Kids & Radwimps make debuts

  November 25, 2016  
Japan broadcaster NHK announced the performers for the 2016 edition of its annual Kohaku Uta Gassen New Year's Eve show on November 24. This year's lineup includes ten artists making their Kohaku debuts, five each in the red and white teams.

Diva Utada Hikaru, who sings the theme song for NHK's 2016 morning drama Toto Nee-chan, will finally appear on Kohaku for the first time. Other new performers on the red team include pop duo Puffy which celebrated their 20th anniversary this year, Nogizaka46's new sister group Keyakizaka46, enka singer Ichikawa Yukino and veteran actress Otake Shinobu.

New in the white team are Johnny's duo KinKi Kids, legendary band The Yellow Monkey which regrouped this year, alternative band Radwimps whose career reached a new high with the Your Name soundtrack, comedian-led unit Radio Fish of viral hit Perfect Human fame, and actor Kiritani Kenta whose commercial song Umi no Koe became a big hit.

Returning performers include AAA (7th appearance), AI (2nd), AKB48 (9th), Arashi (8th), Ayaka (8th), E-girls (4th), Fukuda Kohei (3rd), Fukuyama Masaharu (9th), Go Hiromi (29th), Hikawa Kiyoshi (17th), Hoshino Gen (2nd), Ikimonogakari (9th), Ishikawa Sayuri (39th), Itsuki Hiroshi (46th), Kanjani8 (5th), Kozai Kaori (19th), Matsuda Seiko (20th), miwa (4th), Miyami Hiroshi (2nd), Mizumori Kaori (14th), Nishino Kana (7th), Nogizaka46 (2nd), Perfume (9th), Sakamoto Fuyumi (28th), Sandaime J Soul Brothers (5th), Sekai no Owari (3rd), Sexy Zone (4th), Sheena Ringo (4th), Shimazu Aya (3rd), Takahashi Mariko (4th), Tendo Yoshimi (21st), Tokio (23rd), V6 (3rd), X Japan (7th), Yamauchi Keisuke (2nd) and Yuzu (7th). Notably absent from the lineup are mainstays Wada Akiko, who has appeared on the show 39 times, and SMAP which will disband at year's end.

The theme of this year's Kohaku is "Let's sing a dream." The show will be hosted by Arashi's Aiba Masaki and actress Arimura Kasumi, the lead of NHK's upcoming 2017 morning drama Hiyokko.

An annual tradition since 1951, the Kohaku Uta Gassen ("The Red and White Song Battle") features Japan's most popular musical acts (split into red and white teams) in a friendly competition that involves performing hit songs for viewer votes. The Kohaku remains one of the highest-rated television programs on Japanese television, and the preferred New Year's Eve pastime for most Japanese families. The show can also have significant impact on music sales, as certain songs would experience an increase in sales after being exposed to a nationwide audience on the show.

Text / Sanwei

Nicholas Tse & Jung Yong Hwa Cook Up a Storm in new foodie comedy

  November 24, 2016  
Since hosting the culinary show Chef Nic, Hong Kong singer-actor Nicholas Tse has impressed audiences with his creative cooking skills. The program's success has now inspired the Lunar New Year movie Cook Up a Storm about the intense rivalry between two chefs. Helmed by Raymond Yip (Phantom of the Theatre), the foodie comedy features a stellar lineup that includes Nicholas Tse himself, Ge You (Gone with the Bullets), CNBLUE member Jung Yong Hwa in his silver screen debut, Tiffany Tang (A Chinese Odyssey: Part Three), Michelle Bai (Kung Fu Jungle) and Anthony Wong (The Mobfathers).

Cook Up a Storm will be released in theaters as a 4D film that provides an innovative moviegoing experience by giving off delicious smells along with mouthwatering cooking scenes. Nicholas Tse exhibits his cooking talent as Cantonese street cook Ko Tin Ci, who runs a restaurant with his teacher Hong Qi (Ge You). In an attempt to establish his own Eastern cuisine brand, Michelin-starred chef Paul An (Jung Yong Hwa) comes to China from France and opens a restaurant with his girlfriend (Michelle Bai). The two talented chefs meet in a world-famous culinary competition where they go head to head for top honors.

Produced by Emperor Entertainment Group, Cook Up a Storm is set to open on January 28, 2017.

Text / Pisces

Liu Haoran, Huang Xiaoming and Tiffany Tang in Nirvana in Fire sequel

  November 16, 2016  
In 2015, the period drama Nirvana in Fire starring Hu Ge and Wang Kai made a huge pop culture splash as one of the most popular and acclaimed Chinese TV series of recent years. Soon after the drama's broadcast, a sequel was announced to much anticipation, and the cast has recently been unveiled. Again spearheaded by producer Hou Hongliang, directors Kong Sheng and Li Xue, and writer Hai Yan, Nirvana in Fire 2 gives way to new characters and an original story set a generation after the events of the first series.

Nirvana in Fire 2 will begin a decade after Xiao Jingyan's son ascends the throne and power struggle again breaks out in the Southern Liang dynasty. 19-year-old breakout star Liu Haoran (Chinatown Detective) takes the leading role of Xiao Pingjing, the second son of Changlin army general Xiao Tingsheng, played by veteran Sun Chun. Huang Xiaoming and Tiffany Tang make special appearances as General Xiao's oldest son Xiao Pingzhang and his wife Meng Qianxue. Other cast members include Mei Ting, Guo Jingfei, Wu Haochen, Zhang Bo and Qiao Xin from Hou Hongliang's other recent hit Ode to Joy, whose sequel is also in production.

Currently in pre-production, Nirvana in Fire 2 is expected to begin filming in December and air in 2017.

Text / Sanwei

Jung Kyung Ho & Baek Jin Hee to star in SM-produced mystery drama

  November 15, 2016  
Jung Kyung Ho (One More Happy Ending) and Baek Jin Hee ( My Daughter, Geum Sa Wol) will take the leading roles in the new MBC drama Missing Nine. Directed by Choi Byung Gil (Angry Mom and written by Han Jung Hoon (38 Revenue Collection Unit, the series unveils the secret behind a mysterious plane crash.

The mystery drama follows the conflicts between the survivors of a plane crash on an uninhabited island. Jung Kyung Ho will play former K-pop star Seo Joon Oh, a music genius who ends up becoming an entertainment reporter. Baek Jin Hee co-stars as his rookie assistant Ra Bong Hee, who plays a key role in revealing the secret behind the incident and finding the whereabouts of other missing passengers.

The crash survivors also include popular actor Choi Tae Ho (Choi Tae Joon, The Flower in Prison), Joon Oh's longtime rival since they formed idol group Dreamers; playboy Lee Yeol (EXO's Chan Yeol), a Dreamers member who successfully struck out on his own with his composing talent; and sassy top actress Ha Ji Ah (Lee Sun Bin, 38 Revenue Collection Unit) who suffers from hemolytic anemia. The drama also co-stars Yang Dong Geun (The Three Musketeers) as a prosecutor, Fiestar's Cao Lu and rookie actress Ryu Won, who debuted through Uncontrollably Fond.

Produced by SM Entertainment subsidiary SM C&C, Missing Nine is slated for release in January 2017.

Text / Pisces

Sato Takeru to star in live-action Ajin: Demi-Human film

  November 9, 2016  
Having already inspired an anime series and film trilogy over the past year, Sakurai Gamon's manga Ajin: Demi-Human is now greenlit for a live-action film adaptation directed by Motohiro Katsuyuki, the creator of the blockbuster Bayside Shakedown series. Sato Takeru, who drew widespread praise for his performance and action scenes in the Rurouni Kenshin film series, will take the leading role in the action fantasy suspense.

Serialized since 2012, Ajin: Demi-Human has accumulated a circulation of 5.4 million copies. The manga's story follows emotionally detached prodigy Nagai Kei who learns that he is an "Ajin" – an immortal human with special abilities – after surviving a car accident. The government, however, deems Ajins to be a threat and has performed cruel experiments on them. Hunted by the government, Kei gradually uncovers his own powers as he gets caught in the battle between the Ajins and the authorities. For the film adaptation, the protagonist will be changed from a high school student to a medical intern in order to better match with Sato Takeru's real age.

Ajin: Demi-Human is slated for release in 2017.

Text / Sanwei

Kim Soo Hyun challenges noir-action genre in upcoming film Real

  November 7, 2016  
Kim Soo Hyun challenges the noir-action genre in his long-anticipated new movie Real. The directorial debut of Lee Jung Sub, the screenwriter of Romantic Island and The Perfect Couple, the Korean action crime thriller is about the battle of wits between an aggressive troubleshooter and his rivals. Announced back in April 2015, Real completed shooting earlier this year.

Kim Soo Hyun takes the lead role as Jang Tae Young, an ambitious and ruthless fixer with dissociative identity disorder. His ultimate goal is to control the city by building a casino empire. Real co-stars Sung Dong Il (Proof of Innocence) as a casino mafia boss and Tae Young's major rival, Lee Kyung Young (The Great Actor) as a detective-turned-reporter, Lee Sung Min (Sori: Voice from the Heart) as a rehabilitation doctor, rising star Han Ji Eun (Miss Granny) as an up-and-coming actress, and former f(x) member Sulli (Fashion King) as rehabilitation therapist Song Yoo Hwa. It was recently revealed that singer IU and miss A's Suzy, both of whom co-starred with Kim Soo Hyun in TV dramas, also make special appearances in the film.

Real marks Chinese film company Alibaba Pictures' first foray into the Korean film industry. Korean casino operator Paradise Group as well as Kim Soo Hyun himself also invested in the film which is slated for a 2017 release.

Text / Pisces

Kimura Takuya plays cursed samurai in Blade of the Immortal adaptation

  November 7, 2016  
Kimura Takuya takes the starring role of a cursed samurai in the live-action adaptation of Samura Hiroaki's manga Blade of the Immortal. The film marks Kimura's first period role since 2006's Love and Honor in which he played a struggling blind samurai. Serialized from 1993 to 2012 in Monthly Afternoon, Blade of the Immortal follows the quest of samurai Manji who must kill 1,000 evil men in order to free himself from the curse of immortality. The ever prolific Miike Takashi directs the Tokugawa-era fantasy action thriller.

Following the announcement of the film's director and lead in August, more cast members have now been revealed. Up-and-coming teen actress Sugisaka Hana (Her Love Boils Bathwater) co-stars as Asano Rin, a young girl whose parents' death Manji pledges to help avenge, while Fukushi Shota (As the Gods Will) plays the antagonist Anotsu Kagehisa, the killer of Rin's father and the leader of a powerful and ruthless dojo. Ichihara Hayato, Toda Erika, Ichikawa Ebizo, Yamazaki Tsutomu, Tanaka Min, Kitamura Kazuki, Kuriyama Chiaki and Mitsushima Shinnosuke are also confirmed for the all-star cast.

Blade of the Immortal will be released in Japan on April 29, 2017.

Text / Sanwei

The Wailing leads 37th Blue Dragon Film Awards nominations

  November 7, 2016  
Nominations for the 37th Blue Dragon Film Awards were recently announced. Director Na Hong Jin's blockbuster suspense The Wailing leads with 11 nominations, including Best Film, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress and Best New Actress. The remaining Best Director nominees are Park Chan Wook (The Handmaiden), Kim Jee Woon (The Age of Shadows), Woo Min Ho (Inside Men) and Lee Joon Ik (Dongju: The Portrait of a Poet). Box-office hit Train to Busan, which earned nine nominations, will compete against Dongju: The Portrait of a Poet and The Age of Shadows for Best Film.

Best Actor nominations went to Kwak Do Won (The Wailing), Song Kang Ho (The Age of Shadows), Lee Byung Hun (Inside Men), Jung Woo Sung (Asura: The City of Madness) and Ha Jung Woo (The Tunnel). Kim Min Hee (The Handmaiden), Kim Hye Su (Goodbye Single), Son Ye Jin (The Last Princess), Yoon Yeo Jeong (The Bacchus Lady) and Han Ye Ri (Worst Woman) received nods for Best Actress. Though Train to Busan's Gong Yoo isn't shortlisted for Best Actor, the film scored triple nominations in the Best Supporting Actor and Actress races for Kim Eui Sung, Ma Dong Seok and Jung Yoo Mi, alongside strong contenders like Um Tae Goo (The Age of Shadows), Oh Dal Soo and Bae Doo Na (The Tunnel), Kunimura Jun and Chun Woo Hee (The Wailing), Ra Mi Ran (The Last Princess) and Park So Dam (The Priests).

For Best New Director, the nominees are Yeon Sang Ho (Train to Busan), Lee Il Hyung (A Violent Prosecutor), Jang Jae Hyun (The Priests), Yoon Ga Eun (The World of Us) and Kim Tae Gon (Goodbye Single). Park Jung Min (Dongju: The Portrait of a Poet), Lee Won Geun (The Net), Lee Sang Yoon (Insane), Ji Soo (One Way Trip) and Jo Woo Jin (Inside Men) garnered Best New Actor nods. Breakout star Kim Tae Ri (The Handmaiden) seeks her third Best New Actress trophy against Kang Ha Na (Spirits' Homecoming), Kim Hwan Hee (The Wailing), Yoon Joo (A Break Alone) and Jeong Ha Dam (Steel Flower).

The 37th Blue Dragon Film Awards will be held in Seoul on November 25.

Text / Garden
Translation / Pisces

2016 Mnet Asian Music Awards Nominations

  October 31, 2016  
Nominations for the 2016 Mnet Asian Music Awards (MAMA) were announced on October 28.

EXO, who won Best Male Group for the last two years, looks to extend their streak against Block B, BTS, iKON, Infinite and SHINee. With Girls' Generation and Sistar out of the running, GFriend, Mamamoo, Red Velvet and TWICE have the chance to win Best Female Group for the first time while Wonder Girls seek to reclaim the prize since their 2008 win. Crush and Zico are up against veterans Lim Chang, Park Hyo Shin and Psy for Best Male Artist, and Girls' Generation Tae Yeon will defend her Best Female Artist title against Ailee, Baek A Yeon, Apink's Jung Eun Ji and Lee Hi. Rookie idol groups continue to dominate the Best New Male and Female Artist categories, which feature Astro, KNK, NCT 127, Pentagon, SF9, Blackpink, Bolbbagan4, Gugudan, I.O.I and WJSN.

In the Best Vocal Performance categories, Crush ("Don't Forget"), Dean (D (Half Moon)), Eric Nam ("Good For You"), Jang Beum June ("Fallen in Love (Only With You)") and Lim Chang Jung ("The Love That I Committed") are nominated for Male Artists; Ailee ("If You"), Baek A Yeon ("So-So"), Baek Ye Rin ("Across the Universe"), Jung Eun Ji ("Hopefully Sky") and Tae Yeon ("Rain") for Female Artists; and Beast ("Ribbon"), BTOB ("Remember That"), Davichi ("Beside Me"), Mamamoo ("You're the Best") and Urban Zakapa ("I Don't Love You") for Groups.

Best Dance Performance is also divided into three categories for Male Group (BTS's "Blood, Sweat & Tears," EXO's Monster, GOT7's Hard Carry, Monsta X's "All In," Seventeen's "Pretty U" and VIXX's Fantasy), Female Group (AOA's Good Luck, GFriend's "Rough," Red Velvet's "Russian Roulette," Sistar's I Like That and Twice's Cheer Up) and Solo (HyunA's "How's This," Jun Hyo Seong's "Find Me," Luna's Free Somebody, Tae Min's Press Your Number and Tiffany's I Just Wanna Dance).

For Best Band Performance, the nominees are 10cm ("What the Spring??"), CNBLUE ("You're So Fine"), Day6 ("Letting Go"), FTIsland ("Take Me Now") and Guckkasten ("Pulse"). For Best Rap Performance, nods go to Dok2's "Illusion," Gary's "Lonely Night," Zico's "I Am You, You Are Me," San E and Mad Clown's "Sour Grapes" and Cjamm and Bewhy's "Puzzle." Mino and Bobby (Hit Me), Park Kyung and Eun Ha ("Inferiority Complex"), BoA and Beenzino ("No Matter What"), Suzy and Baek Hyun (Dream) and Eric Nam and Wendy ("Spring Love") are nominated for Best Collaboration.

Blackpink's Whistle, BTS's "Blood Sweat & Tears," Dean's bonnie & clyde, Gain's "Carnival (The Last Day)" and Wonder Girls' Why So Lonely will compete for Best Music Video. Lastly, Gummy's "Moonlight Drawn by Clouds," Davichi's "This Love" from Descendants of the Sun, Ben's "Like a Dream" from Oh Hae Young Again, Lee Juck's "Don't Worry" from Answer Me 1988 and Jang Beom June's "Reminiscence" from Signal are shortlisted for Best OST.

One of K-pop's major year-end music award shows, MAMA will be held in Hong Kong for the fifth consecutive year on December 2.

For more information and online voting, refer to MAMA's official site: http://mama.interest.me.

Text / Sanwei

Byun Yo Han & Kim Yoon Seok star in Korean remake of Guillaume Musso novel

  October 28, 2016  
Byun Yo Han (Socialphobia) and Kim Yoon Seok (The Priests) team up for the Korean remake of influential French author Guillaume Musso's bestselling novel Will You Be There. Having been sold to 22 countries since it was published in 2006, the original time-travel fantasy story revolves around a 60-year-old man who tries to save his lover from dying by teaming up with his 30-year-old self. Marriage Blue director Hong Ji Young is at the helm of the adaptation.

Surgeon Soo Hyun (Kim Yoon Seok) saves a girl during a voluntary medical service. To express his gratitude, the patient's grandfather gives Soo Hyun ten magical pills that can bring him back to the past. Knowing that he doesn't have much time due to his terminal illness, Soo Hyun takes the pills in the hope of seeing his lover Yeon Ah (Chae Seo Jin, Overman), who died in an accident. Traveling 30 years back in time, he encounters his younger self (Byun Yo Han). After learning about his future, including the death of Yeon Ah, from his older self, the young Soo Hyun decides to take charge of his own destiny.

Produced by Soo Film, the production house of The Treacherous, Will You Be There also co-stars Kim Sang Ho (Proof of Innocence), Ahn Se Ha (The Lost Choices), K-pop Star 4's Park Hye Soo and Kim Ho Jung (Revivre). The film is slated for release in Korea in December.

Text / Pisces

Writer Han Han announces cast of second directorial feature

  October 28, 2016  
One of China's most successful and influential authors, Han Han made his directorial debut in 2014 with the critically and commercially well-received road film The Continent. The writer-turned-filmmaker is now working on his sophomore effort Cheng Feng Po Lang ("Wind and Waves"), and has been gradually announcing the film's cast and crew over the past weeks.

The first actor to be announced was Deng Chao, whose own 2014 directorial debut The Breakup Guru featured a cameo by Han Han. Currently, other confirmed cast members include award-winning young actor Dong Zijian (Mountains May Depart), top television actress Zhao Liying (The Journey of Flower), Taiwan veteran King Shi Chieh (Brotherhood of Blades) and actor Ben Yu, whom Han met while working on the Surprise TV series and movie. Singer-songwriter Li Ronghao will also make his acting debut in the film.

Earlier this year in April, Han Han had announced his intention to release two films in 2017 and 2018: Tian Kong Zhi Zao ("Made in the Sky") and an adaptation of Triple Door, his 2000 debut novel that launched him to literary fame. However, he then decided to shoot Cheng Feng Po Lang first. Plot details for Cheng Feng Po Lang have not yet been revealed, but it reportedly revolves around a small-town youth who discovers an interesting side of his father that he had never known before.

Text / Sanwei

Kang Ha Neul & Jung Woo get a Retrial in new crime thriller

  October 20, 2016  
Kang Ha Neul (Dongju: The Portrait of a Poet) and Jung Woo (The Himalayas) will take the lead roles in the crowdfunded crime thriller Retrial about a teenage boy who is wrongly imprisoned for murder. Directed by Kim Tae Yoon (Another Family), the film is based on a sensational murder case that took place in 2000 and recently came into the spotlight again after a SBS news program revealed more new evidence last year.

Set in the city of Iksan, the story starts with the mysterious death of a middle-aged taxi driver. Having seen the real murderers leave the scene, Hyun Woo, played by Kang Ha Neul, becomes the sole witness of the case but he gets falsely accused as the killer. Brutally forced into confessing to the crime despite the lack of evidence, he is subsequently sentenced to ten years in jail. Jung Woo portrays passionate attorney Joon Young who volunteers for a free legal advice group where he meets Hyun Woo. After learning about Hyun Woo's story, Joon Young decides to help prove his innocence.

Apart from Kang Ha Neul and Jung Woo, Retrial also co-stars Lee Dong Hwi (Answer Me 1988) as Joon Young's friend Chang Hwan, Kim Hae Suk (The Throne) as Hyun Woo's mother Soon Im, Lee Kyung Young (The Great Actor) as a law firm representative, and Han Jae Young (A Violent Prosecutor) as the villain character Cheol Gi.

Retrial is set to open in Korea in early 2017.

Text / Pisces

A Touch of Green wins top prizes at 51st Golden Bell Awards

  October 11, 2016  
The 51st Golden Bell Awards, Taiwan's top television awards ceremony, was held in Taipei on October 8, 2016. Leading contender A Touch of Green prevailed as expected, winning six of the thirteen categories it was nominated in. The PTS period drama about the lives of air force pilots and their wives from 1945 to 1971 swept Best Television Series, Best Directing for Tsao Jui Yuan, Best Actor for Chris Wu, Best Newcomer for Cindy Lien, Best Art Direction and Best Lighting. Cheryl Yang, however, missed out on the Best Actress trophy which was awarded to Alice Ke of Marry Me, or Not?

The Best of Youth, PTS's other decade-spanning nostalgic idol drama, won Best Writing. Best Supporting Actor and Actress in a Television Series went to Baby Daddy's He Yi Hang and The Day I Lost U's Linda Liu.

In the Mini-Series/TV Movie section, CTI's Chuan Liu Zhi Dao, which had led with 11 nominations, took the top award as well as Best Directing, Best Writing, Best Actress for Ivy Yin and Best Newcomer for child actor Chen Ding Zhong. PTS "Life Story" movie Lost Daughter also garnered two acting prizes, Best Actor for Mark Lee and Best Supporting Actress for Wang Chuan, and The Black Box's Lan Wei Hua won Best Supporting Actor.

In the Variety section, Top Million Star won Best Variety Program while Super Followers' father-duo tag team of Jacky Wu and Sandy Wu won Best Variety Program Host.

Text / Sanwei

2016 Korea Drama Awards winners

  October 11, 2016  
The winners of the 2016 Korea Drama Awards were announced on October 7 in Jinju, South Korea. Kim So Yeon of Happy Home took her first Grand Prize in 22 years, beating strong contenders Song Joong Ki (Descendants of the Sun), Kim Rae Won (Doctors) and Park Shin Yang (My Lawyer, Mr. Jo). The 35-year-old actress also received This Year's Star Award.

Mega-hit Descendants of the Sun defeated Six Flying Dragons, Signal and Doctors in the Best Drama race, and garnered an Excellence Award for actor Jo Jae Yoon. Ahn Jae Hyun shared the Top Excellence Actor Award with Doctors' Jang Hyun Sung, and also won the Global Star Award for his role of a playboy plutocrat in the fantasy romance Cinderella and Four Knights. My Daughter, Geum Sa Wol scored double acting prizes for Baek Jin Hee (Top Excellence) and Park Se Young (Excellence).

Best Screenplay went to No Hee Kyung (Dear My Friends) and Kim Jin Min (Marriage Contract) was honored with Best Director. Seo Ha Joon (The Flower in Prison) picked up Best New Actor, while Kim Sae Ron was named Best New Actress for her first adult role in Mirror of the Witch. Despite getting three nominations for Ahn Jae Hong, Lee Dong Hwi and Girl's Day member Hye Ri, the Answer Me 1988 cast was shut out in the newcomer race.

Text / Pisces

SHINee's Min Ho and Ma Dong Seok put up a fierce fight in new action noir

  October 7, 2016  
SHINee's Min Ho (Canola) and Ma Dong Seok (Train to Busan) have been cast in the new movie No Way to Go (a.k.a. Derailed). The action noir marks the feature debut of director Lee Seong Tae, who is known for his short films including the 2007 The Ten-minute Break, which was invited to the Jeonju International Film Festival, Mise-en-scène Short Film Festival and Vancouver International Film Festival.

Despite its low-production budget, the indie film has garnered attention for its star casting and solid script about the life-and-death struggle between two men. Min Ho takes his first movie starring role of Jin Il, who leaves his family and becomes the leader of a group of teenage runaways that include his girlfriend Ga Young. The four friends live together like a family and earn their living by doing delivery work and selling stolen goods. Ga Young even pretends to sell her body for money, but her trick doesn't get pass karaoke owner Hyung Seok (Ma Dong Seok). She is forced into prostitution at Hyung Seok's karaoke bar and Jin Il fights to rescue her.

After its world premiere at the 21st Busan International Film Festival, No Way to Go is slated for release in Korea in February 2017.

Text / Pisces

53rd Golden Horse Awards Nominations

  October 3, 2016  
Nominations for the 53rd Golden Horse Awards were revealed on October 1. Chung Mong Hong's dark Taiwan comedy Godspeed leads with eight nominations including Best Film, Best Director, Best Supporting Actor and Best Actor for Hong Kong veteran Michael Hui. Chung Mong Hong previously won Best Director in 2010 for The Fourth Portrait.

Two relatively small films came up big with six nominations each, The Road to Mandalay and The Summer is Gone. Myanmar-born festival darling Midi Z's The Road to Mandalay, a drama about two illegal Burmese migrants in Thailand, was nominated for Best Film, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, Best Actor for Kai Ko and Best Actress for Wu Ke Xi. Mainland Chinese director Zhang Dalei's debut feature The Summer Is Gone garnered nods for Best Film, Best New Director, Best Original Screenplay and Best New Performer. The remaining Best Film contenders are Hong Kong crime thriller Trivisa, which was also nominated for Best New Director and Best Original Screenplay, and black comedy I Am Not Madame Bovary, which also garnered nominations for director Feng Xiaogang and leading actress Fan Bingbing.

Chung, Midi Z and Feng are joined in the Best Director race by Hong Kong representatives Johnnie To (Three) and Derek Tsang (Soul Mate). The latter film, a romantic drama produced by Peter Chan, also scored double Best Actress nominations for Zhou Dongyu and Ma Sichun. Taiwan actress Tiffany Hsu of horror film The Tag-Along completes the Best Actress nominations. For Best Actor, Michael Hui and Kai Ko will be competing against Tony Leung Ka Fai (Cold War 2), Jacky Cheung (Heaven in the Dark) and Fan Wei (Mr. No Problem).

Best Supporting Actor nominations go to Hong Kong veterans Paul Chun (Book of Love), Eric Tsang (Mad World) and Lam Suet (Robbery) and Taiwan actors Na Dow (Godspeed) and Austin Lin (At Café 6). Meanwhile, Wu Yanshu (Book of Love), Liu Bei (Someone to Talk to), Elaine Jin (Mad World), Sophia Li (The Tenants Downstairs) and Lu Yi Ching (Foret Debussy) are nominated in the Best Supporting Actress category. Television star Annie Chen (White Lies, Black Lies) is nominated for Best New Performer along with Tony Wu (Weeds on Fire), Chen Yu (Hang In There, Kids!), Kong Weiyi (The Summer is Gone) and Jin Ba (Soul on a String).

The 53rd Golden Horse Awards will be held in Taipei on November 26.

Text Sanwei

Miike Takashi directs live-action JoJo's Bizarre Adventure

  September 29, 2016  
The live-action adaptation of the classic best-selling manga JoJo's Bizarre Adventure was announced on September 28. Jack-of-all-trades auteur Miike Takashi, who has adapted manga like TerraFormars, As the Gods Will and The Mole Song: Undercover Agent Reiji, will direct the film based on Part 4 of Araki Hirohiko's manga series, Diamond Is Unbreakable.

Serialized from 1987 to 2004, JoJo's Bizarre Adventure follows various members of the Joestar family who all have different "Stand" super powers and their fight against supernatural adversaries. Set in 1999 Japan, the Diamond Is Unbreakable arc revolves around high school student Higashikata Josuke, the illegitimate son of Joseph Joestar, and the conflicts that ensue when many people in his hometown gain Stand abilities because of enemy meddling. Based on the first volume of Diamond Is Unbreakable, the film will star popular young actor Yamazaki Kento, who played L in the 2015 Death Note television series and the romantic hero of shojo adaptations like Wolf Girl and Black Prince, orange and No Longer Heroine.

Besides Yamazaki as Higashikata Josuke, the film's all-star cast includes Kamiki Ryunosuke as Hirose Koichi, Iseya Yusuke as Kujo Jotaro, Komatsu Nana as Yamagishi Yukako, Okada Masaki as Nijimura Keicho, Mackenyu as Nijimura Okuyasa, Yamada Takayuki as Katagiri Anjuro, Mizuki Alisa as Higashikata Tomoko, and Kunimura Jun as Higashikata Ryohei.

JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Diamond is Unbreakable is slated to open in Japan in summer 2017.

Text / Sanwei

Gong Yoo, Lee Dong Wook & Kim Go Eun in new drama by Descendants of the Sun author

  September 29, 2016  
Star screenwriter Kim Eun Sook and director Lee Eung Bok team up again after the pan-Asian hit drama Descendants of the Sun for tvN's upcoming drama Goblin. The fantasy romance stars Gong Yoo, who recently rocketed to a new career high with the box-office sensation Train to Busan, Kim Go Eun (Cheese in the Trap), Lee Dong Wook (Hotel King), Yoo In Na (One More Happy Ending) and BTOB's Yook Sung Jae (The Town: The Uninvited).

Gong Yoo will star as goblin Kim Shin, who protects souls and guides them to the afterlife. He wants to end his immortal life by marrying a human bride, and eventually walks down the aisle with high school girl Ji Eun Tak (Kim Go Eun), who always remains optimistic despite her painful life.

His cohabitant Wang Yeo (Lee Dong Wook), the Angel of Death who suffers from amnesia, also finds his love: chicken shop owner Kim Sun (Yoo In Na), a beautiful swindler with numerous admirers. Yook Sung Jae will portray Kim Shin's rebellious and troublemaking nephew Yoo Duk Hwa, the eldest grandson of a wealthy family that has served as the retainer of the goblin family for generations. Rising teen stars Kim So Hyun and Kwak Dong Yeon will appear in cameo roles as the Queen and young Wang Yeo, respectively.

Goblin begins shooting in September in Canada and is set to start airing on tvN in December.

Text / Pisces

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