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mm2 Entertainment announces works by Jack Neo & makers of More than Blue

  March 22, 2019  
mm2 Entertainment presented their production slate for 2019 at a press conference on March 18 at Hong Kong Filmart. The Asian film company highlighted ten works including new films by Singapore director Jack Neo and the makers of More than Blue.

More than Blue, the Taiwan remake of the same-titled Korean tearjerker, turned into a big box office hit across many regions in Asia last year. This year, director Gavin Lin and writer Hermes Lu will shoot the romantic comedy A Trip With Your Wife, which is about a terminally ill man who proposes a trip with his friend's wife whom he has long liked. Also in the popular Taiwan romance genre is a new film from Lai Meng Chieh starring Mason Lee as a lovelorn youth who gets perennially friend-zoned by his crush.

Jack Neo continues the blockbuster Long Long Time Ago series about the Singapore experience in a third installment. While the first two films traced the nation's growing pains from independence to a multi-cultural city-state, the third promises to be the most politically sensitive entry yet – the director quipped that he might not be able to come next year. Continuing the story of the representative Lim family, Not So Long Time Ago tackles the generation gap and different reactions to the policies implemented by the Singapore government from the eighties to the present day. Besides returning to star in Not So Long Time Ago, Mark Lee also directs the Hong Kong-set comedy Hell Bank Presents: Running Ghost starring Wong Yau Nam and Cecilia So.

Hong Kong singer and filmmaker Chiu Siu Hang, who found success with mm2's 2017 hit Vampire Cleanup Department, directs One Sec Champion starring singer Endy Chow as a struggling father who trains to be a professional boxer after acquiring the special ability to see one second into the future. Taiwan director Charles Sun will bring a Memory Eclipse series of five films inspired by Teresa Teng songs with a cast that includes Vivian Sung, Cheryl Yang, Kaiser Chuang, Esther Liu, JC Lin and Nikki Hsieh.

Malaysian filmmaker Teddy Chin has two new works: the music-themed family and romance drama In My Heart and the transgender-themed drama Miss Andy, which will star Ruby Lin as a Vietnamese migrant worker. Meanwhile, Malaysian director Kethsvin Chee's Hello Tapir follows a grieving young boy who goes into the forest in search of a mythical creature that eats nightmares, and Singapore director Sam Loh's horror mystery Hell Hole is about a mother and son who return as vengeful spirits.

See photos from the mm2 Entertainment Presentation on YesAsia Facebook.

Text / Sanwei

The White Storm 2: Drug Lords starring Andy Lau & Louis Koo opens in July

  March 21, 2019  
Universe Films has announced its action blockbuster The White Storm 2: Drug Lords starring Andy Lau and Louis Koo will premiere in Hong Kong in July. The cast attended a press conference on March 18 at the Hong Kong Filmart.

Directed by Herman Yau (Shock Wave), The White Storm 2: Drug Lords is a sequel to the 2013 crime thriller The White Storm starring Sean Lau, Louis Koo and Nick Cheung. The movie presents an entirely new storyline about the face-off between a drug dealer, a triad-turned-tycoon and a police superintendent. Andy Lau takes on the producer role and leads the film along with Louis Koo and Michael Miu (The Trough). The film also co-stars Karena Lam (Heaven in the Dark), Chrissie Chau (Master Z: The Ip Man Legacy), Kent Cheng (Chasing the Dragon), Carlos Chan (Happiness), Michelle Wai (77 Heartbreaks), Cherrie Ying (Poker King) and Cheung Kwok Keung (The Leakers).

During the press conference, the first official trailer of The White Storm 2: Drug Lords was revealed. A car chase scene with Andy Lau and Louis Koo inside a subway station is shown at the end of the trailer. Regarding this scene, Herman Yau explained that it sets up the two characters for a talk in a quiet place in the final scene.

Andy Lau plays tycoon Yu Shun Tin who publicly announces a $100 million bounty offer for a drug lord's head. When asked about the cast, Andy said it was a fresh combination to him. He last worked with Michael Miu, a fellow "Five Tiger" of 80s Hong Kong television, in the 2007 movie Brothers and with Louis Koo in Protégé, but the three actors have never all collaborated in the same movie before. He also shared that the team originally planned to shoot the car chase scene in a carpark, but the producers then suggested making it bigger, so they finally built a replica set of the Central MTR station.

Louis Koo takes the antagonist role of drug lord Dizang and Michael Miu plays the Chief Superintendent of the Narcotics Bureau Lam Ching Fung. Miu jokingly said that his character's job is to clean up the mess for the other two leads. Glad to reunite with Andy again and to work with Louis Koo for the first time, he humbly said that he learned a lot from the other two actors.

Karena Lam, who partners up with Andy Lau for the first time in the film, said that the actor's gentle personality made her feel very comfortable and secure. Meanwhile, Chrissie Chau confessed that she was quite scared during her first shooting for the film since it was also her first time working with Andy Lau, and the scene involved a clash between their characters.

Carlos Chan and Michelle Wai both play subordinates under Michael Miu. Chan stated that he learned a lot from Michael's experienced pistol shooting skills, while Wai thanked Miu for his warm reminders throughout the whole shoot, especially before every explosion scene.

See photos from the press conference of The White Storm 2: Drug Lords on YesAsia Facebook.

Text / Violet

Media Asia announces new films with Aaron Kwok, Sammi Cheng & Han Geng

  March 19, 2019  
Hong Kong production company Media Asia Film announced their lineup for 2019 in a star-studded presentation held at Filmart on March 18. Many actors and filmmakers were on hand to introduce their new works.

Nick Cheung and Richie Jen reunite 15 years after Breaking News in Bodies at Rest, the opening film of the 2019 Hong Kong International Film Festival. Helmed by Die Hard 2 director Renny Harlin, the crime thriller depicts the psychological game between a forensics expert, played by Cheung, and masked criminals who suddenly appear in his laboratory. Besides Jen as the leader of the intruders, the film co-stars Carlos Chan, Ron Ng, Roger Kwok and mainland Chinese actress Yang Zi from Ashes of Love.

Richie Jen is also reuniting with Summer Holiday and Marry a Rich Man partner Sammi Cheng in Fagara. The Taiwan singer-actor makes a special appearance in the Amy Cheung novel-based drama directed by Heiward Mak. Sammi Cheng stars in the film alongside Taiwan actress Megan Lai and mainland Chinese actress Li Xiaofeng, and the three even took a selfie onstage during the press conference.

Singer-actor Han Geng headlines two films for Media Asia, playing a father in one and a son in the other. In Roy Chow and Christine To's Knockout, he portrays a former boxing champion and ex-convict who returns to the ring to give strength to his ill daughter. Chow commented that he had wanted to make this film for over ten years, and finally found the right actor who could take on the boxing scenes for real. The director revealed that Han Geng received over 1,000 punches during the shooting of the film.

In Oscar-winning Japanese director Takita Yojiro's Silence of Smoke, Han Geng plays the son of Zhang Guoli. Though working with a Chinese cast for the first time, Takita felt that the topic of a father-son relationship was universal, and Zhang Guoli spoke effusively about how polite and respectful the director and crew were.

Patrick Kong's The Calling of a Bus Driver and up-and-coming filmmaker Wong Hing Fan's I'm Livin' It both take on local Hong Kong topics but with starkly different tones. Kong's comedy is about a woman who becomes a double-decker bus driver after a bad breakup. Leading actress Ivana Wong used nine months' time to get her bus driver license for the film which co-stars Philip Keung and Edmond Leung.

Produced by Soi Cheang, I'm Livin' It is about the plight of "McRefugees," people who stay overnight at 24-hour McDonald's restaurants. Shining a light on the economically displaced, the drama depicts people of different backgrounds who find a shared refuge in a fast-food restaurant. I'm Livin' It gathers the award-winning cast of Aaron Kwok, Miriam Yeung and Nina Paw as well as Alex Man, Cheung Tat Min, Cya Liu and Zeno Koo.

See photos from the Media Asia Film Presentation on YesAsia Facebook.

Text / Sanwei

Louis Koo and Raymond Lam go to prison in P Storm

  March 19, 2019  
Following Z Storm, S Storm and L Storm, David Lam's hit Hong Kong anti-corruption crime film series progresses to its fourth letter in the upcoming P Storm. Production company Er Dong Pictures revealed more details about this installment in a presentation held on March 19 at Hong Kong's Filmart.

Having already tackled issues like sports betting and financial corruption in previous entries, the fourth installment takes on another hot news topic by exploring corruption in the correctional system. Series stalwart Louis Koo returns as William Luk, an intrepid investigator of the watchdog agency ICAC, whose latest case sends him to prison undercover.

Luk's investigation target in prison is Raymond Lam in his first antagonist role. Louis Koo and Raymond Lam famously co-starred in the Hong Kong TVB classic A Step into the Past back in 2001. In a passing of the baton, the series was Koo's final TV drama and Lam's breakout vehicle. P Storm marks their first onscreen collaboration in 18 years.

Kevin Cheng, who played an investigator in the ICAC's internal monitoring unit in L Storm, reprises his character in P Storm. Other cast members include Chrissie Chau as the whistleblower, Patrick Tam as a prison warden, and Gordon Lam as a former police superintendent who was put away by Luk.

Besides P Storm, Er Dong also announced a follow-up to Wong Jing's 2009 ICAC-themed crime drama I Corrupt All Cops, tentatively titled I Corrupt All Cops 2: The Four Inspectors in Chinese. Wong, who will write, direct and produce, assured that the film will have a far larger budget than its predecessor and feature a big-name cast. More information about the film will be announced in early April.

See photos from the Er Dong Pictures Presentation on YesAsia Facebook.

Text / Sanwei

13th Asian Film Awards Winners

  March 19, 2019  
The 13th Asian Film Awards were held in Hong Kong on March 17. Kore-eda Hirokazu's Shoplifters, which swept the Japan Academy Prize earlier in the month, won Best Film and Best Music. Lee Chang Dong won his third AFA Best Director prize for the Murakami Haruki-based mystery drama Burning. The Korean auteur was also honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award. Zhang Yimou's martial arts epic Shadow went home with the most prizes: four, in the categories of Cinematography, Costume Design, Production Design and Sound.

Also fresh off a Japan Academy Prize win, Yakusho Koji won another Best Actor trophy for his performance in Shiraishi Kazuya's crime drama The Blood of Wolves. The Japanese actor was also the recipient of this year's Excellence in Asian Cinema award. Cannes winner Samal Yeslyamova was crowned Best Actress for her tour de force performance in Sergey Dvortsevoy's Ayka.

AFA regular Kara Hui won Best Supporting Actress for her role in the Hong Kong transgender drama Tracey. This is her second win in the category after 2010's At the End of Daybreak. Meanwhile, Dying to Survive's Zhang Yu triumphed in the Best Supporting Actor race. Best New Director went to Hong Kong filmmaker Oliver Chan for Still Human, and Best Newcomer to Operation Red Sea's Johnny Huang, who served as a Youth Ambassador for this year's AFA. Dante Lam's war blockbuster was also the Top-Grossing Asian Film of the Year.

Jia Zhangke took Best Screenplay for his jiang hu saga Ash is Purest White and Tsukamoto Shinya, Best Editing for his samurai drama Killing. Hong Kong crime blockbuster Project Gutenberg was recognized for Best Visual Effects.

Two special awards were given to Korean actor Park Seo Joon and actor-singer Kim Jae Joong. The former received the Rising Star Award and the latter received the Next Generation Award.

Text / Sanwei

Kurosawa Kiyoshi's Uzbekistan-set film opens in June

  March 15, 2019  
Japanese auteur Kurosawa Kiyoshi's new film To the Ends of the Earth, which was shot in Uzbekistan, will open in Japan on June 14. Featuring an original script by the writer-director, the Japan-Uzbekistan co-production was produced to mark the 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries. The film stars Maeda Atsuko, who appeared in Kurosawa's Before We Vanish and Seventh Code.

To the Ends of the Earth follows TV program reporter Hako who goes to Uzbekistan to search for a "legendary monster fish." The TV crew visits different places in the country, and in the process, Hako opens her eyes to a new world and experiences personal growth. Maeda, who started her career as a singer and member of AKB48, takes on the challenge of performing Edith Piaf's Hymn to Love for the film, including singing the song a cappella at a mountain summit in a climactic scene.

Besides Maeda, To the Ends of the Earth co-stars Sometani Shota (Foreboding), Emoto Tokio (Side Job), Kase Ryo (Outrage) and Uzbek actor Adiz Rajabov, who plays the role of local interpreter and coordinator Temur.

Text / Sanwei

Kim Yoon Seok makes directorial debut with Another Child

  March 14, 2019  
Award-winning Korean actor Kim Yoon Seok, who has starred in films like The Fortress, 1987: When the Day Comes and Dark Figure of Crime, debuts as a film director with Another Child. The veteran actor co-wrote the film with rookie screenwriter Lee Bo Ram.

Besides writing and directing, Kim Yoon Seok also plays a role in Another Child. The cast of Another Child includes Yeom Jung Ah (The Mimic), Kim So Jin (The Spy Gone North), Kim Hye Jun (After Spring) and Park Se Jin.

Another Child follows two ordinary families that are shaken by marital infidelity, and how the young daughters deal with the family crisis. Yeom Jung Ah and Kim Yoon Seok portray the parents of Juri, played by Kim Hye Jun, who discovers her father's secret affair. Her father's cheating partner Mi Hee (Kim So Jin) is the mother of her classmate Yoon Ah (Park Se Jin). The two teens fight against each other, and then come together to handle the family issue.

RedPeter Films, the production company of Train to Busan, is in charge of Another Child's production. The movie is slated to open next month in South Korea.

Text / Violet

Kore-eda Hirokazu's Shoplifters sweeps 42nd Japan Academy Prize

  March 4, 2019  
The 42nd Japan Academy Prize was held on March 1 in Tokyo. Kore-eda Hirokazu's Palme d'Or-winning human drama Shoplifters, which had led the race with 13 nominations, swept Best Film, Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Actress for Ando Sakura, Best Supporting Actress for late veteran Kiki Kirin, Best Cinematography, Best Lighting and Best Music. This marks Kore-eda's second consecutive year sweeping the top prizes following last year's win with The Third Murder.

Shiraishi Kazuya's crime drama The Blood of Wolves snagged acting prizes for leading actor Yakusho Koji and supporting actor Matsuzaka Tori, as well as technical prizes for Art Direction and Sound Recording. Ueda Shinichiro's indie zombie comedy One Cut of the Dead, which famously opens with a 37-minute long take, won Best Editing.

Hosoda Mamoru's Oscar-nominated fantasy drama Mirai won Animation of the Year while Bohemian Rhapsody was named the Best Foreign Language Film of the year.

Text / Sanwei

Thriller series Kill It starring Jang Ki Yong & Nana premieres in mid-March

  February 27, 2019  
Three years after The Good Wife, Nana makes her small-screen return in her first leading role in OCN's upcoming series Kill It. She teams up with Jang Ki Yong, who previously starred in My Mister and Come and Hug Me, in the crime action thriller.

Produced by director Nam Sung Woo (100 Days My Prince) and rookie screenwriters Son Hyun Soo and Choi Myung Jin, Kill It tells the thrilling story of a skilled killer and the detective that chases after him. Jang Ki Yong plays elite hitman Kim Soo Hyun who is an expert in all kinds of weapons. Calm and decisive, he disappears right after eliminating a target according to his master plan. He chose this path in order to find his long-lost family.

Nana takes the role of police detective Do Hyun Jin. Though she looks arrogant and cold-hearted on the outside, she actually shows compassion for those in pain and gently accepts white lies. To avenge her past lover, she starts to trace the culprit of a serial murder case.

The cast of Kill It also includes Roh Jeong Eui (Witch at Court), Ji Il Joo (Mistress), Lee Jae Won (Two Cops) and Robin Deiana (Sunny Again Tomorrow). The drama is scheduled to air its first episode on March 16 after the end of Trap.

Text / Violet

Seol Hyun, Yang Se Jong & Woo Do Hwan in new period action drama My Country

  February 20, 2019  
Almost four years after fantasy romantic drama Orange Marmalade, AOA's Kim Seol Hyun is confirmed to make a small screen comeback in JTBC's historical action drama My Country alongside rising actors Yang Se Jong and Woo Do Hwan. Yang Se Jong previously led Still 17 and Temperature of Love, while Woo Do Hwan took his first leading role in Tempted last year.

The Innocent Man director Kim Jin Won partners up with screenwriter Chae Seung Dae (The Master of Revenge) to produce My Country. Set in the late Goryeo and early Joseon dynasty, the period action series delves into the power and desires of two friends who have different beliefs over the meaning of "my country."

Yang Se Jong plays bright, righteous and uncompromising warrior Seo Hwi. Woo Do Hwan takes the role of Nam Sun Ho, who wishes to get rid of the constraints of his family and social class. Though he comes from a prestigious family, he is not accepted as a son because of his mother's background. The two characters get immersed in a misunderstanding that breaks their friendship.

Seol Hyun has been cast for the role of the smart and progressive Han Hee Jae, who foresees the fall of Goryeo dynasty. She skillfully solves problems by collecting information from various parties, even in emergency situations.

My Country is scheduled to air in the second half of 2019 after the end of 18 Moments.

Text / Violet

Sadako returns in new film by Ring director Hideo Nakata

  February 20, 2019  
Japan's most famous long-haired ghost Sadako is set to haunt theaters again in 2019 in a new namesake film. While the terrifying character has recently appeared in Hanabusa Tsutomu's Sadako 3D series and Shiraishi Koji's Sadako vs Kayako, the 2019 Sadako is helmed by Hideo Nakata, the director of the original 1998 Ring.

The new Sadako is based on Suzuki Koji's 2013 novel Tide which depicts the origin of the evil spirit. Ikeda Elaiza plays Akikawa Mayu, a psychology counselor in charge of treating a mysterious girl (newcomer Himejima Himeka) under protection who has lost her memory. Tsukamoto Takashi co-stars as Ishida Yusuke who gets involved in an incident with Mayu. Shimizu Hiroya plays Mayu's brother Kazuma, a YouTuber who invokes Sadako's curse, while Kiriyama Ren plays Mayu's hospital colleague and Tomosaka Rie, the mother of the mysterious girl.

Sadako features a screenplay by Sugihara Noriaki who also worked on Sadako 3D 2.The film opens in Japan on May 24.

Text / Sanwei

The Wandering Earth becomes 2nd biggest Chinese film of all time

  February 18, 2019  
Sci-fi blockbuster The Wandering Earth has become China's second biggest film of all time with box office receipts of 3.79 billion yuan as of February 17.

Directed by Frant Gwo (My Old Classmate), The Wandering Earth was released on February 5, Chinese New Year's Day, and faced stiff competition from Ning Hao's Crazy Alien, Stephen Chow's New King of Comedy and Han Han's Pegasus on opening day. Carried by strong reviews, the interstellar epic came from behind to emerge as the winner of the 2019 Chinese New Year box office. The Wandering Earth reached the 3 billion yuan benchmark in a record ten days, and passed Operation Red Sea's 3.65 billion yuan take on its 13th day of release.

Based on the same-titled award-winning novel by Liu Cixin, The Wandering Earth is set in a near future in which Earth must confront the perilous reality of a dying sun. To save the future of humanity, a united world government launches a massive project to gradually migrate the Earth out of the solar system, a journey that will take 2,500 years. Wu Jing, who is also an investor of the film, plays a Chinese astronaut aboard the space station that acts as the navigator for the journey. New-generation actor Qu Chuxiao (Ruyi's Royal Love in the Palace) plays his rebellious son Liu Qi, who is part of the surviving Earth population that has been moved underground. When something goes wrong with the planetary thrusters, it's up to Liu Qi and a small group of soldiers and scientists to save Earth.

The Wandering Earth now trails only Wu Jing's 2017 action film Wolf Warrior 2, which grossed 5.68 billion yuan, in China's all-time box office records.

Text / Sanwei

Wang Xiaoshuai's So Long, My Son wins two Silver Bears

  February 18, 2019  
Chinese director Wang Xiaoshuai's So Long, My Son won Best Actor and Best Actress for Wang Jingchun and Yong Mei at the 69th Berlin International Film Festival, which came to a close on February 17. The Sixth Generation filmmaker's drama spans three decades in the lives of two families linked by friendship, loss, remorse and the social and economic changes of contemporary China.

A regular of the Berlin Film Festival, Wang previously won the Grand Jury Prize in 2001 for Beijing Bicycle and Best Screenplay in 2008 for In Love We Trust. In So Long, My Son, Wang Jingchun and Yong Mei play married couple Yaojun and Liyun who lose their son to a drowning accident partially caused by their friends' son. Clocking in at over three hours, the film also co-stars Qi Xi, Du Jiang and TFBoys member Roy Wang who plays the protagonists' rebellious adopted son.

Aside from So Long, My Son, Israeli director Nadav Lapid's Synonyms won the Golden Bear for Best Film, and Germany's Angela Schanelec won Best Director for I Was at Home, But. The Grand Jury Prize went to Francois Ozon’s By The Grace of God, the Alfred Bauer Prize to Nora Fingscheidt's System Crasher, Best Screenplay to Claudio Giovannesi's Piranhas, and Outstanding Artistic Contribution to Out Stealing Horses cinematographer Rasmus Videbaek. For Short Films, Florian Fischer and Johannes Krell's Umbra took the Golden Bear and Manuel Abramovich's Blue Boy was awarded the Jury Prize. Mehmet Akif Büyükatalay's Oray received the Best First Feature Award.

Japanese director Hikari's 37 Seconds about a young woman with cerebral palsy and her coming-of-age experiences won the Panorama Audience Award (Fiction Film). Suhaib Gasmelbari's Talking About Trees received the Panorama Audience Award (Documentary) and the Glashutte Original Documentary Award.

Text / Sanwei

Jung Kyung Ho & Park Sung Woong reunite in When the Devil Calls Your Name

  February 15, 2019  
Life on Mars stars Jung Kyung Ho and Park Sung Woong are set to partner up again in the upcoming tvN series When the Devil Calls Your Name. The two actors will lead the supernatural melodrama along with rising actress Lee Seol (Less Than Evil) and Lee El (A Korean Odyssey).

When the Devil Calls Your Name is a fantasy occult melodrama produced by Circle director Min Jin Ki, Come Back Mister screenwriter Noh Hye Young and Go Nae Ri. The drama follows star composer Ha Rib, played by Jung Kyung Ho, who sold his soul to the devil in exchange for fame and success. As his contract is coming to an end, he risks his life to protect his own soul.

Park Sung Woong plays famous top actor Mo Tae Kang who is at his career peak, but nobody knows the evil that lies inside him. In fact, his real identity is the devil "Ryu" who made the deal with Ha Rib. Lee Seol stars as unpopular singer-songwriter Lee Kyung Eun whose life changes after meeting Ha Rib, while Lee El takes the role of Ha Rib's agency CEO Ji Seo Young.

When the Devil Calls Your Name is slated to air in the first half of 2019.

Text / Violet

Project Gutenberg leads 38th Hong Kong Film Awards nominations

  February 13, 2019  
Nominations for the 38th Hong Kong Film Awards were announced on February 12. Felix Chong's crime thriller Project Gutenberg leads with a staggering 17 nominations, followed by Sunny Chan's dragon boat racing drama Men on the Dragon with 11 nominations and Jun Li's transgender drama Tracey with nine nominations.

Project Gutenberg and Men on the Dragon are both nominated for Best Film and Best Director along with Fruit Chan's Three Husbands, Oliver Chan's Still Human and Dante Lam's Operation Red Sea. Men on the Dragon, Still Human, Project Gutenberg, Tracey and Ying Liang's A Family Tour are shortlisted for Best Screenplay.

Project Gutenberg scored dual Best Actor nods for Chow Yun Fat and Aaron Kwok. They will compete against two-time winner Anthony Wong (Still Human), four-time nominee Francis Ng (Men on the Dragon) and Philip Keung, who received his first ever Best Actor nomination for Tracey.

After winning Best Actress at the Hong Kong Film Critics Society Awards, Three Husbands' Chloe Maayan seeks another win against Charlene Choi (The Lady Improper), Zhang Jingchu (Project Gutenberg), Jennifer Yu (Distinction) and Crisel Consunji (Still Human) who is also nominated for Best New Performer. Jennifer Yu received additional nominations for Best Original Film Song and Best Supporting Actress for her role in Men on the Dragon. The other Supporting Actress nominees are Huang Lu (G Affairs), Jiang Luxia (Operation Red Sea), Catherine Chau (Project Gutenberg) and Kara Hui (Tracey).

Golden Horse Awards winner Ben Yuen (Tracey) will be up against Men on the Dragon's Kenny Wong and Poon Chan Leung, Sam Lee (Still Human) and Liu Kai Chi (Project Gutenberg) for Best Supporting Actor. Crisel Consunji is joined in the Best New Performer category by Lam Sen (G Affairs), Adam Pak (L Storm), Chan Charm Man (Three Husband) and TVB actress Nancy Wu (Men on the Dragon). Meanwhile, Sunny Chan, Oliver Chan, Jun Li, Lee Cheuk Pan (G Affairs) and Jeff Cheung (Agent Mr. Chan) are nominated for Best New Director.

The 38th Hong Kong Film Awards will be held on April 14, 2019.

Text / Sanwei

Okada Junichi & Yamada Ryosuke to play Shinsengumi warriors in new film

  February 11, 2019  
Okada Junichi will work again with Sekigahara director Harada Masato for the live-action film adaptation of Shiba Ryotaro's novel Moeyo Ken ("Burning Sword"). In their last collaboration, the V6 member played Sengoku-era general Ishida Mitsunari who fought against Tokugawa Ieyasu. This time he will play a 19th century warrior who fought against the Meiji Restoration.

Serialized in Shukan Bunshun from 1962 to 1964, Moeyo Ken follows the historical figure of Hijikata Toshizo, the vice-commander of the Shinsengumi police force formed by the Bakufu government in the late Edo period. Hijikata led shogunate forces in the final stand against the imperial forces of the new Meiji government during the Boshin War. Moeyo Ken was previously adapted for film in 1966 and for television in 1966, 1970 and 1990.

Moeyo Ken draws on the life and times of Hijikata and his fellow Shinsengumi leaders Kondo Isamu and Okita Soji. Suzuki Ryohei (Hentai Kamen) has been cast as Kondo Isamu, Hey! Say! JUMP member Yamada Ryosuke (Fullmetal Alchemist) as Okita Soji, and Ito Hideaki (Lesson of Evil) as Serizawa Kamo. Shibasaki Kou (Nobunaga Concerto) will play Hijikata's romantic interest Oyuki.

Moeyo Ken is expected to be released in 2020.

Text / Sanwei

The Light In Your Eyes starring Han Ji Min & Nam Joo Hyuk airs on February 11

  February 1, 2019  
JTBC's fantasy romance series The Light In Your Eyes is scheduled to premiere on February 11 after the end of Clean with Passion for Now. Starring Han Ji Min (Familiar Wife), Nam Joo Hyuk (Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo), Kim Hye Ja (Dear My Friends) and Son Ho Joon (My Secret Terrius), The Light In Your Eyes is produced by director Kim Suk Yoon and screenwriters Lee Nam Kyu and Kim Soo Jin, who last collaborated in Awl three years ago.

Adapted from the webtoon The Light In Your Eyes, the fantasy romantic comedy is about a girl with time travel ability and a boy who has lost hope in life. Han Ji Min plays the optimistic Kim Hye Ja who wishes to become an anchor. All of a sudden, she turns into a 70-year-old woman, played by Kim Hye Ja, with the ability to control time. Though she can manipulate time, she is also limited by it on many occasions.

Nam Joo Hyuk takes on the role of Lee Joon Ha, a perfect student who dreams of becoming an announcer as well. While chasing his dreams, he realizes he missed out on a lot of his youth, and becomes hopeless and despondent. Son Ho Joon plays online content creator Kim Young Soo, the goofy older brother of Han Ji Min's character.

Besides The Light In Your Eyes, Han Ji Min is also partnering up with Jung Hae In in MBC's upcoming romantic series Spring Night, which will be produced by the director and screenwriter of Something in the Rain.

Text / Violet

Park Min Young and Kim Jae Wook team up for romantic comedy Her Private Life

  January 29, 2019  
Park Min Young and Kim Jae Wook are confirmed to take the leading roles of tvN's upcoming romantic comedy series Her Private Life. Three months after the mystery thriller The Guest, Kim Jae Wook partners up with Park Min Young, who last appeared in the hit romcom series Whats's Wrong With Secretary Kim. Based on the popular web novel Noona Fan Dot Com, Her Private Life will be directed by Hong Jong Chan, the director of JTBC's Life.

Park Min Young plays Sung Deok Mi, a proficient art gallery curator who is also a dedicated fansite master for idol Si Ahn. To Deok Mi, she would rather put all her effort into fangirling rather than being in love in real life. Kim Jae Wook takes the role of the gallery's selfish and arrogant director Ryan Gold, who used to be a sensational artist. As the new director of the art gallery, he discovers the interesting dual life of his subordinate Deok Mi and develops an interest in her.

Her Private Life is scheduled to air after the end of Lee Dong Wook and Yoo In Na's Touch Your Heart.

Text / Violet

Arashi announces suspension of group activities after 2020

  January 28, 2019  
Japan's top boy band Arashi announced on January 27 that they would halt activities at the end of 2020. Shocking the Japanese music industry and fans with the announcement, the top-selling idol act indicated that they will suspend group activities after December 31, 2020.

During a press conference on January 27, the Arashi members revealed that they had been discussing the issue since June 2017 and reached the decision in 2018. Leader Ohno Satoshi opened up about his desire to stop activities, and expressed that he is interested in seeing new scenery and experiencing new things in his ordinary life. Though there are no plans for when Arashi may restart activities, Matsumoto Jun reaffirmed that the group is not disbanding, and Ninomiya Kazunari stated that, "If it's not five people, it's not Arashi."

Arashi debuted in 1999 when all five members were in their teens, and the group is currently in the midst of their 20th anniversary celebrations with Anniversary Tour 5 × 20 dates lined up till December 2019. The Johnny's group ranks among Japan's best-selling artists with over 30 million records sold, and have consistently topped the charts for the past two decades. Outside of music, the members also have highly successful careers in acting, variety programs and television hosting.

Text / Sanwei

Nishijima Hidetoshi & Uchino Seiyo play gay couple in foodie slice-of-life drama

  January 25, 2019  
Ooku and Antique Bakery creator Yoshinaga Fumi's popular manga What Did You Eat Yesterday? will be adapted into a live-action TV drama with Nishijima Hidetoshi and Uchino Seiyo playing the story's middle-aged gay couple.

Serialized in Morning since December 2017, What Did You Eat Yesterday? revolves around the dining table of a gay couple. The manga has released 14 volumes to date with sales of over five million copies.

Nishijima Hidetoshi will play Kakei Shiro, a serious and meticulous lawyer who is good at cooking. In order to save up for retirement, he commits to making his own cheap yet delicious meals every day. Uchino Seiyo plays his cohabiting partner Yabuki Kenji, a cheerful and free-spirited hair stylist. The story depicts the ordinary everyday life and meals of the couple.

The script for What Did You Eat Yesterday? is handled by Adachi Naoko (Code Blue Season 3), and the series will start airing in April in TV Tokyo's Friday late-night "Drama 24" slot.

Text / tabo
Translation / Sanwei

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