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Suda Masaki & Komatsu Nana to star in romance film ItoJune 14, 2019
The film Ito revolves around protagonists Takahashi Ren and Sonoda Aoi who were both born in 1989, the first year of the Heisei era. Over 18 years' time, the two meet, part and meet again as they grow from teenaged sweethearts to 31-year-old adults at the end of the Heisei era. Written by Hayashi Tamio (The Eternal Zero), the story conveys both the changes of the protagonists' relationship and the changes of the Heisei era. Zeze Takahisa, who is known for acclaimed works like 64 and Heaven's Story, will direct the film which will be set in Hokkaido, Tokyo, Okinawa and Singapore.
Nakajima Miyuki's frequently covered power ballad Ito was originally written in 1992 for a wedding and included in the album East Asia. It was released again on a single in 1998 when it was used as a theme song for the TV drama When the Saints Go Marching In.
Shooting for Ito will take place this year from July to September and in the winter. The film will be released in Japan in 2020.
Text / Sanwei
Lu Han and Leo Wu team up for CrossFire web dramaJune 13, 2019
Developed by Korea's Smilegate in 2007, CrossFire is the most played game in the world with over 600 million registered users. The tactical first-person shooter is especially popular in China, where it was released by Tencent Games. The youth action series based on the game revolves around two young men from different time periods who meet on the same game map.
Lu Han plays Xiao Feng, a down-and-out gamer in the year 2008, and Leo Wu plays Lu Xiaobei in 2018. Though initially suspicious of each other, the two grow and develop camaraderie as they each build up tactical teams and assist each other on the field. The stars described their characters as "soulmates."
CrossFire is helmed by Derek Hui, the director of the film This Is Not What I Expected. Besides the two leads, Dai Luwa, Liu Shuailiang and Pan Meiye are also in the cast.
Text / Sanwei
Son Ye Jin and Hyun Bin reunite in upcoming tvN series Emergency Love LandingMay 29, 2019
Screenwriter Park Ji Eun, who wrote award-winning dramas like My Husband Got a Family, My Love from the Star and Legend of the Blue Sea, collaborates with director Lee Jung Hyo (Romance is a Bonus Book) to produce Emergency Love Landing. The plot follows Yoon Se Ri, played by Son Ye Jin, who is a heiress who accidentally lands in North Korea while paragliding. North Korean military officer Ri Jung Hyuk (Hyun Bin) encounters and protects the heiress and they soon fall in love.
Emergency Love Landing is scheduled to air in the second half of 2019.
Text / Violet
Bong Joon Ho's Parasite wins Palme d'OrMay 27, 2019
Known for dark, unconventional films with strong social themes like Okja, Snowpiercer and The Host, Boon Joon Ho again takes on class, wealth and social inequity in Parasite. The award-winning work follows a poor and cunning family of four who maneuver their way into employment with a well-to-do family. Bong Joon Ho regular Song Kang Ho, Jang Hye Jin, Choi Woo Sik (Okja) and Park So Dam (Priests) form the family of four while Lee Seon Gyun (Take Point) and Jo Yeo Jeong (The Servant) are the well-heeled targets of their deception.
Aside from Parasite, Mati Diop's Atlantics took the Grand Prix and Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne won Best Director for Young Ahmed. Antonio Banderas (Pain and Glory) and Emily Beecham (Little Joe) were awarded Best Actor and Best Actress, respectively, and Celine Sciamma, Best Screenplay for Portrait of a Lady on Fire. Ladij Ly's Les Miserables and Juliano Dornelles and Kleber Mendoca Filho's Bacurau shared the Jury Prize. The Distance Between the Sky and Us by Vasilis Kekatos won the Short Film Palme d'Or, and Elia Suleiman's It Must Be Heaven received a Special Mention.
Fresh off its win at Cannes, Parasite opens theatrically in South Korea this week on May 30.
Text / Sanwei
Ann Hui adapts Eileen Chang novella for new filmMay 23, 2019
Golden Horse-winning actress Ma Sichun (Soul Mate) and Eddie Peng, who appeared in Hui's last film Our Time Will Come, star in the period melodrama along with a cast that includes Yu Feihong, Ning Chang, Fan Wei, Isabella Leong, Bai Bing, Paul Chun, Zhang Jianing and Yin Fang. The film boasts an equally strong lineup behind the scenes with cinematography by Christopher Doyle, costume design by Wada Emi, art direction by Zhao Hai, sound direction by Tu Duu Chih, and editing by Eric Kwong.
Love After Love revolves around heroine Ge Weilong who travels from Shanghai to Hong Kong to pursue schooling. She ends up getting used by her aunt to lure men and gradually loses sight of herself. Later, Ge becomes attracted to playboy Qiao and sells her soul to enter high society. However, she is cruelly tossed to the side when she is no longer of value to Qiao and her aunt.
Text / Sanwei
Lee Min Ho and Kim Go Eun pair up for Kim Eun Sook's The King: The Eternal MonarchMay 20, 2019
Set in parallel worlds, The King: The Eternal Monarch conveys a fantasy romance story between two people and how they help each other out in different worlds. Lee Min Ho plays the rational and sensible emperor Lee Gon. Meanwhile, Kim Go Eun takes two very different roles in the drama – detective Jung Tae Eul in the modern world and criminal Luna in the historical world. She saves lives and protects her love in her role as a detective.
The King: The Eternal Monarch is slated to air in the first half of 2020.
Text / Violet
Jolin Tsai and Sandy Lam lead 30th Golden Melody Awards nominationsMay 16, 2019
The divas will both compete for Best Female Mandarin Singer alongside Shi Shi (Shi's Journey), Yoyo Sham (Nothing is Under Control) and Eve Ai (Fade to Exist), the winner of the award in 2017. Besides Jolin's "Womxnly" and Sandy's "Core," the nominees for Song of the Year include Chthonic and Denise Ho's "Millennia's Faith Undone," Eason Chan's "To Be Together," S.H.E.'s "Seventeen," Jonathan Lee's "Newly Written Old Song" and EggPlantEgg's "Waves Wandering."
Breakout hip-hop rookie ØZI received six nominations with his debut album ØZI: The Album including Best New Artist. He will go head to head with Eli Hsieh (Where Are We Going?), Leo Wang (Wu Bing Singing, Yo Chin Soothing), Eve Ai (Fade to Exist) and Shi Shi (She's Journey) for Best Mandarin Album. ØZI, Eli Hsieh and Leo Wang are also shortlisted in the Best Male Mandarin Singer category along with Kowen Ko (Songs of the Bards) and Li Ronghao (Ear).
Moreover, Li Ronghao was nominated in the Best Composition category for Karen Mok's "Growing Fond of You," and will join Cheer Chen ("Hurt," Sofa Sea), Eve Ai (Forever Young, Fade to Exist), Tanya Chua ("The Will," Kisses for the World) and Enno Cheng ("Jade," Jade) in the race. Song Dongye, the winner of last year's Best Lyrics award, looks to win the prize again, this time going up against renowned songwriters Freddy Lim, Bobby Chen, Xiao Han and Jonathan Lee.
Legendary rock bands Tizzy Bac (Him) and Chthonic (Battlefield of Asura) are joined by PUMPKINney Fan Club (Alter Ego), Sunset Rollercoaster (Cassa Nova), Flesh Juicer (Fairy Tales of Ocean Deep), Won Fu (Love Songs) and Bisiu Group (King Of Light) in the Best Band competition. MJ116 (Zou Tiao, DON), who won Best Vocal Group last year, seeks a second consecutive win. The hip-hop group will compete against The Chairs (Lovely Sunday), Vast & Hazy (I'm Not OK), O-Kai Singers (Some People Say) and HighCC (HighCC). Apart from ØZI and Bisiu Group, Evangeline (Wilder), Karencici (Sha Yan) and Lexie Liu (2029) are also contenders for this year's Best New Artist.
For Taiwanese music, the nominations of Best Taiwanese Album went to Chthonic's Battlefields of Asura, Joey Chiang's Snails, Nana Lee's Tsa-bóo gín-á, Emily Kuan's Jazz's Good!, Ardor Huang's Warming a Pot of Youth to Drink, Dwagie's Darknet and Samland's Forgotten West. The nominees are all up for Best Female Taiwanese Singer or Best Male Taiwanese Singer as well.
The 30th Golden Melody Awards ceremony will be held on June 29 at the Taipei Arena.
Text / Garden
Translation / Violet
Qin Lan, Godfrey Gao and Wang Ziyi star in romantic drama We Are All AloneMay 16, 2019
Based on the same-titled novel written by Wei Zai, We Are All Alone follows the work and life of entertainment agent Mo Xiangwan. Portrayed by Qin Lan, Mo Xiangwan makes a breakthrough and finds her career purpose after experiencing highs and lows in the workplace. Godfrey Gao stars as lawyer Mo Bei who is seen as a double-edged sword in the entertainment industry. Wang Ziyi takes the role of a rookie artist trained by Mo Xiangwan at her agency, while Wang Yaoqing plays an entrepreneur who significantly influences Mo Xiangwan on her career path.
The cast of We Are All Alone also includes Wang Ziteng (Yan Shi Fan), Peng Bo (Far Away Love), Yi Heng (I Got You), Wang Jingyan (My Robot Boyfriend) and Xin Ning (Song of Phoenix).
Text / Violet
Live-action Tokyo Ghoul returns with sequel in JulyMay 6, 2019
Star Kubota Masataka returns as college student Kaneki Ken who turned into a half-ghoul and got drawn into the conflicts between the human and ghoul worlds. Yamamoto Maika (Sunny: Our Hearts Beat Together) takes over the role of heroine Kirishima Toka previously played by Shimizu Fumika. Matsuda Shota (Initiation Love) plays the antagonist Tsukiyama Shu, a gourmet ghoul who develops an abnormal attachment to Kaneki.
Model Maggy makes her film debut as a popular model whose beautiful odd eye draws the notice of Tsukiyama. Other new cast members include Kang Ji Young (Assassination Classroom), Mori Nana (Mr. Hiiragi's Homeroom) and Kiryu Mai (Lying to Mom). Shiraishi Shunya, Sakurada Hiyori, Suzuki Nobuyuki, Ogasawara Kai, Murai Kunio, Yanagi Shuntaro and Bando Minosuke from the first film also all reprise their roles.
Co-directed by Kawasaki Takuya and Hiramaki Kazuhiko, Tokyo Ghoul S opens in Japan on July 19.
Text / Sanwei
Non makes silver screen comeback in play adaptationMay 3, 2019
Created by playwright Mizutani Ryuji, LaSalle Ishii and Komiya Takayasu, the Hoshikuzu no Machi series about a struggling choral group began in 1994 with Hoshikuzu no Machi: Yamada Osamu to Haronaitsu Monogatari. The seventh installment of the play, Hoshikuzu no Machi: Kanketsu-hen, was staged in 2016. The film adaptation will be directed by Sugiyama Yasukazu (Something Like, Something Like It) and written by Mizutani.
Non will play the film's heroine who runs a pub with her mother in the Tohoku countryside. To realize her singing dreams, she strives to join the Hello Night choral group. Like in the stage version, Komiya Takayasu will play Yamada Osamu and LaSalle Ishii, Taihei Saburo, Watanabe Tetsu, Denden and Arizono Yoshiki play Hello Night members. Sugawara Daikichi and Toda Keiko will also appear in the film.
Hoshikuzu no Machi begins filming in early May and will be released in Japan in 2020.
Text / Sanwei
Kim Hye Ja and Jung Woo Sung win Grand Prize at 55th Baeksang Arts AwardsMay 2, 2019
The Spy Gone North prevailed in the Best Film category, and lead actor Lee Sung Min walked away with his sixth Best Actor award. Miss Baek was another big winner with Han Ji Min bringing home her eighth Best Actress prize for her impressive performance in the film. Rookie director Lee Ji Won was recognized as Best New Director for her first feature and Kwon So Hyun triumphed in the Best Supporting Actress race.
Musical drama Swing Kids' director Kang Hyung Chul was awarded Best Director while crime thriller Dark Figure of Crime was given the Best Screenplay award. The late Kim Joo Hyuk completed his Best Supporting Actor collection with a third win for his posthumous work Believer. Best New Actor and Actress awards went to On Your Wedding Day's Kim Young Kwang and Svaha: The Sixth Finger's Lee Jae In, respectively. The Technical Award was presented to Burning's cinematographer Hong Kyung Pyo.
In the TV Section, JTBC megahit SKY Castle garnered four awards in total, including Best Director for Jo Hyun Tak and Best Actress for Yeom Jung Ah. Kim Byung Chul received his first Best Supporting Actor prize while newcomer Kim Hye Yoon won Best New Actress.
tvN's My Mister and JTBC's Dazzling followed with two awards each. My Mister was named Best Drama and writer Park Hae Young received the Best Screenplay award. Besides veteran Kim Hye Ja, Dazzling's Lee Jung Eun also got her first TV drama award, Best Supporting Actress. Mr. Sunshine's Lee Byung Hun collected another Best Actor trophy at Baeksang nine years after Iris.
Rising actor Jang Ki Yong picked up the Best New Actor award for his first leading role in Come and Hug Me. Memories of the Alhambra's special effects director Park Sung Jin received the Technical Award. The V Live Popularity Awards went to D.O. (Swing Kids) and IU (My Mister).
Text / Violet
Twice regains title of highest first-week girl group album sales with Fancy YouApril 30, 2019
According to the Hanteo Chart, Twice set a new record with sales of 151,051 copies for Fancy You in the first week of release. The nine-member girl group regains the #1 spot of highest first-week sales among girl groups in merely one month. They are followed by BLACKPINK's Kill This Love, which was released on the same day as Twice's Fancy You. BLACKPINK also recorded their best first-week album sales by selling 146,094 copies.
Apart from ranking first on girl group album charts, Twice also became the first girl group to exceed 150,000 album sales in their first week in Korea.
Text / Violet
Song Seung Heon and Lee Sun Bin partner up for new tvN drama The Great ShowApril 25, 2019
Song Seung Heon plays Wi Dae Han, a witty and charming lawmaker-turned-politician who dreams of a righteous society. However, the political newcomer's successful career flops in the blink of an eye because of some strangers – an 18-year-old girl who claims to be his daughter and her three siblings. Lee Sun Bin takes the role of TV program writer Jung Soo Hyun who can't stand injustice. Her life turns upside down after moving into the same neighborhood as Wi Dae Han, who was her senior in university.
The cast of The Great Show also includes Roh Jeong Eui (Witch at Court), Im Ju Hwan (The Bride of Habaek), Park Ha Na (Mysterious Personal Shopper) and Son Byung Ho (Room No. 9). The drama is slated to air in the second half of 2019.
Text / Violet
Project Gutenberg wins top prizes at 38th Hong Kong Film AwardsApril 15, 2019
Still Human, a drama about the bond between a middle-aged wheelchair user and a domestic helper, followed with three wins. The film garnered Anthony Wong his third HKFA Best Actor prize, as well as Best New Director for Oliver Chan and Best New Actor for Crisel Consunji. Dante Lam's war action blockbuster Operation Red Sea also picked up three prizes in the Action Choreography, Sound Design and Visual Effects categories.
After her win at the Hong Kong Film Critics Society Awards, Three Husbands' Chloe Maayan won Best Actress again for her brave performance in the final installment of Fruit Chan's "Prostitute Trilogy." Transgender drama Tracey took both the Best Supporting Actor and Actress prizes for Ben Yuen and Kara Hui. Dragon boat racing drama Men on the Dragon won the music prizes, Best Original Film Score and Film Song. Wen Muye's blockbuster Dying to Survive was named the Best Film from Mainland and Taiwan.
Patrick Tse, one of Hong Kong's greatest stars of the 60s and 70s, was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award. The 82-year-old actor, who is also the father of Nicholas Tse, boasts a filmography of over 300 works spanning over six decades. Veteran stunt actor Lau Wan was this year's recipient of the Professional Achievement Award.
Text / Sanwei
Shinkai Makoto and Radwimps collaborate for new filmApril 12, 2019
Shinkai's first film since the staggering success of Your Name, Weathering With You is a love story about a boy and a girl whose destinies are connected and upturned in a time when the weather has gone awry. High school student Hodaka moves from a remote island to Tokyo, but life is lonely and difficult for the broke youth. He finds a job working for a strange occult magazine. Soon after, it begins to rain every day. One day, in a corner of the busy and crowded city, he meets a girl named Hina who has the mysterious ability to make the skies clear.
Weathering With You opens in Japan on July 19.
Text / Sanwei
Fan Chengcheng & Cheng Xiao star in Chinese period fantasy seriesApril 10, 2019
Ling Yu marks the acting debut of Fan Chengcheng, who is a member of the groups Nine Percent and NEX7 and the younger brother of Fan Bingbing. It is the second acting project for WJSN member Cheng Xiao after the as-yet-unaired period series Tian Xing Zhi Lu. Both signed to Yuehua Entertainment, the two previously appeared together on the competition program Idol Producer for which Fan Chengcheng was a contestant and Cheng Xiao a mentor.
Ni Changtian's popular online novel series begins its story 30,000 years ago when the self-proclaimed war gods of the Botian tribe invaded and defeated the other tribes of the land. For centuries, the enslaved tribes lived in the shadow of the cruel and war-mongering Botian until the day they grabbed the chance to fight back and expelled the Botian. 30,000 years later, when the story of Botian has long become just an old legend, an amnesiac youth with Botian blood appears, his powers waiting to be awakened. Fan Chengcheng plays the young hero Qin Lie who embarks on a journey of adventure and growth. Cheng Xiao plays Qin Lie's childhood sweetheart Ling Yushi, who is of the Yingmi tribe.
Text / Sanwei
Burning, Mr. Sunshine & SKY Castle lead 55th Baeksang Arts Awards nominationsApril 10, 2019
Mr. Sunshine and SKY Castle will compete for Best Drama and Best Screenplay alongside My Mister, Dazzling and Children of Nobody. Lee Eung Bok (Mr. Sunshine) and Jo Hyun Tak (SKY Castle) are shortlisted in the Best Director category along with the directors of Dazzling, My Mister and Memories of the Alhambra.
Kim Tae Ri (Mr. Sunshine), who was nominated as Best Actress in the Film section last year, received her first Baeksang Best TV Actress nomination together with IU (My Mister). The two actresses will go head to head with veteran Kim Hye Ja (Dazzling) and SKY Castle's Kim Seo Hyung and Yeom Jung Ah. Nine years after winning Best TV Actor at the 46th Baeksang Arts Awards, Lee Byung Hun (Mr. Sunshine) is again up for the prize. The rest of the Best Actor contenders include Kim Nam Gil (The Fiery Priest), Yeo Jin Gu (The Crowned Clown), Lee Seon Gyun (My Mister) and Hyun Bin (Memories of the Alhambra).
Mr. Sunshine's Yoo Yeon Seok and Dazzling's Son Ho Jun are in the Best Supporting Actor race with SKY Castle breakout Kim Byung Chul, Bae Sung Woo (Live) and Kim Sang Kyung (The Crowned Clown). Nominations for Best Supporting Actress go to Kim Min Jung (Mr. Sunshine), Oh Nara (My Mister), Yoon Se Ah (SKY Castle), Lee Da Hee (The Beauty Inside) and Lee Jung Eun (Dazzling).
For rookie actors, Kwon Nara (My Mister), Kim Hye Yoon (SKY Castle), Lee Seol (Less Than Evil), Jang Ki Yong (Come and Hug Me), Wi Ha Joon (Romance is a Bonus Book), Son Seok Goo (Matrimonial Chaos) and Park Hoon (Memories of the Alhambra) are among the notable nominees in the Best New Actor and Best New Actress categories.
In the Film section, auteur Lee Chang Dong's Burning was nominated in six categories, while drama Miss Baek and spy thriller The Spy Gone North follow with five nominations each. The three frontrunners are all nominated for Best Film along with Svaha: The Sixth Finger and crime drama Dark Figure of Crime. Miss Baek, The Spy Gone North and Dark Figure of Crime are also in the running for Best Screenplay with Innocent Witness and blockbuster comedy Extreme Job.
Lee Chang Dong (Burning) and Yoon Jong Bin (The Spy Gone North) are joined by Kang Hyung Chul (Swing Kids), Lee Hae Young (Believer) and Jang Jae Hyun (Svaha: The Sixth Finger) in the Best Director competition. Lee Seok Geun (On Your Wedding Day), Lee Ji Won (Miss Baek), Lee Jong Eon (Birthday), Kim Eui Seok (After My Death) and Shin Dong Seok (Last Child) are shortlisted for Best New Director.
The stars of Extreme Job – Ryu Seung Ryong, Jin Seon Kyu, Honey Lee and Gong Myung – all received nominations. Ryu Seung Ryong is up against Yoo Ah In (Burning), Lee Sung Min (The Spy Gone North), Jung Woo Sung (Innocent Witness) and Ju Ji Hoon (Dark Figure of Crime) for Best Actor. Meanwhile, the Best Actress nominees are Kim Hye Su (Default), Kim Hee Ae (Herstory), Blue Dragon Best Actress winner Han Ji Min (Miss Baek), Kim Hyang Gi (Innocent Witness) and Ko Ah Sung (A Resistance).
Believer received dual nominations in the Best Supporting Actor race for Park Hae Joon and the late Kim Joo Hyuk, who will be pitted against Steven Yeun (Burning), Jo Woo Jin (The Drug King) and Jin Seon Kyu. Meanwhile, Honey Lee, Jin Seo Yeon (Believer), Jo Min Su (The Witch: Part 1. The Subversion), Yeom Hye Ran (Innocent Witness) and Kwon So Hyun (Miss Baek) will compete for the Best Supporting Actress trophy.
Besides being nominated in the TV section, Son Seok Gu (Hit-and-Run Squad) receives a second Best New Actor nod in Film alongside popular TV stars Gong Myung (Extreme Job), Kim Young Kwang (On Your Wedding Day) and Nam Joo Hyuk (The Great Battle) as well as Kim Min Ho (Swing Kids). Kim Da Mi from The Witch: Part 1. The Subversion, who has already won seven newcomer awards, will aim for her eighth Best New Actress trophy. The other contenders are Jeon Jong Seo (Burning), Lee Jae In (Svaha: The Sixth Finger), Lee Joo Young (Believer) and Jeon Yeo Bin (After My Death).
The 55th Baeksang Arts Awards will be held on May 1. The ceremony will be hosted by Park Bo Gum, Bae Suzy and Shin Dong Yup.
Text / Violet
IZ*ONE sets first-week sale records for girl groupsApril 9, 2019
According to Hanteo Chart, IZ*ONE sold a total of 132,109 copies of HEART*IZ in the first week, which surpassed the record formerly owned by Twice's 2017 release Twicetagram with sales of 129,691 copies. Twice's Yes or Yes follows with 118,280 copies sold in 2018.
Previously, IZ*ONE's first mini-album COLOR*IZ hit the highest first week sales for a girl group debut album in Korea. Their Japanese debut single, Suki to Iwasetai, also set first-day sales records on the Oricon chart among K-pop girl groups.
Text / Violet
My Fellow Citizens starring Choi Si Won and Lee Yoo Young airs in AprilMarch 27, 2019
Jugglers director Kim Jung Hyun collaborates with Squad 38 screenwriter Han Jeong Hoon for the first time to produce My Fellow Citizens. It follows a skilled conman who somehow marries a police detective. He accidentally gets immersed in a case that leads to him running for the National Assembly.
Choi Si Won plays the experienced swindler Yang Jung Guk who hails from a family of con artists. One day, while his victim is chasing him, he hits a thief by accident and suddenly becomes a national hero. Lee Yoo Young takes the role of Kim Mi Young, a police detective who all of a sudden becomes the wife of a politician because of Jung Guk. The two characters hide their real identities from each other until Mi Young reveals the truth on their wedding day. Kim Min Jung stars as Park Hoo Ja, the daughter of an infamous loan shark who is a victim of Jung Guk's fraud.
My Fellow Citizens is scheduled to air in the Monday-Tuesday timeslot after the end of My Lawyer, Mr. Jo 2: Crime and Punishment.
Text / Violet