Stuck In My Head

I can’t get two songs out of my head lately.  Eien by BoA and Come Back to Me by Utada.  If these two songs are any indication I am going to immensely enjoy their upcoming releases.  Although, from reading a few things, Utada herself is worried that they can reach the deadline for the release the company has declared.  I read her official Myspace blog page and she has great confidence in this album and I am hoping that Come Back to Me is the first of many great songs off of the album.  While Eien isn’t one of the songs BoA is releasing here, it is nice to connect to her singles again.  I haven’t really liked some of her releases lately.  But I can’t seem to get these two songs out of my head.  I’m including a link for the video of Eien so you can enjoy too.  If I ever get enough traffic on the site I plan on upgrading and then using the internal server to upload music and videos for you, but for now, here is what I can provide:

Click Here!~


I’d have included the video from Come Back to Me, however it is still in the final editing stage and hasn’t been released yet.  When it is I’ll do my best to share it.  For now, give your radio stations a call and request the song – it’s released here in the states, so it should have the opportunity to get air time.  Let’s get Utada on the top the charts!  I tried to upload the HQ version of the video I had to a file hosting site but it got rejected for copyright infringement. 😦 Sorry to have to use someone elses!  Hopefully they will realise that they get publicity this way someday instead of taking everything away.  It’s the only way a lot of people around the world can actually stay fans of all kinds of stars.  And that’s all I’m going to say because it will turn into a long rant when all I meant to say was that I really liked these two songs!

Korean Movie Review: My Mighty Princess

I was surprised at how much I liked this movie.  It was released after 2 years of post-production and reviews said that it didn’t live up to the hype.  I try my best to go into movies without expectations, that way I’m not disapointed at all.  So, this was an amazing find for me.  If you have any general interest in qi-gong / gong-fu movies you will love this movie.  It’s unusual to find non-Chinese versions of gong-fu movies; and this is a great example of one.  It is also from the writer/director of several hit Korean movies; Kwak Jae0-Yong who created the movies Windstruck and My Sassy Girl, among other hit romantic movies.

Climbing trees while drunk is fun!

Note: Climbing trees while drunk is fun!

So-Hwi is a young college student who had been trained in charyeok by her parents as a child.  Now, as an adult, she has become embarassed by her abnormal strength and decides to quit in order to appear as a “normal” girl in front of her crush; hockey player Joon-Mo.  After joining the hockey club as a team manager/skate blade sharpener she endears herself to the rest of the team with the very talents she tries desperately to hide.  (Namely, her strength in fighting off other team’s and her high tolerance of alcohol.) After a small amount of time passes however,  her childhood friend Il-Yeong appears at her school asking her to return to the world of martial arts.  On the outside, it appears that Il-Yeong simply wants her to re-join him so that his dad will buy him a motorcycle, but after awhile it becomes evident that he has more serious and darker motives.  Despite his co-ercing Il-Yeong cannot get So-Hwi to take up the sword again and it is only after  So-Hwi’s father is attacked and left im-mobile in the hospital that she works hard to perfect the technique her mother left behind and seek revenge.


Ugh, now that the annoying synopsis is over on to my (silly? girlish?) review.  I loved every moment of this movie.  I suppose that the fact it is a culmination of many interests of mine helped.  I love gong-fu movies, romantic comedies, Korean boys and strong female characters.  This movie also had a strong message about the importance of family, which is something that a lot of families in the US need to learn.

Cuz we all just fly to school...

Cuz we all just fly to school...

I was kind of on the “eh” line during the first part of the film.  I think there were a few parts of the movie that were a little loose and confusing.   The opening fight sequence was poorly edited into the film and I almost wondered if I was watching the wrong film.  I will admit that my opinion really started to turn around in the second half of the movie.  It was a slow start and somewhat confusing, but the second half has a lot of information and pulls everything together.

I'd be smiling too.

I'd be smiling too.

Yes, I would be smiling too if I were surrounded by a dozen or so (cute!) Korean hockey players.  Omo..

So-Hwi really can’t stand it when another team beats up on her friends and Joon-Mo and ends up accidentally letting her true nature shine through.

Take THAT!

Take THAT!

really...

really...

Then she immediately repents and tries to play it off.



Really! It's her!

Really! It's her!

This is the scene that really turned me into a fan, of both My Mighty Princess and On Joo-Wan.  He was so silly, but adorable even while fighting off dozens of goons (In order save the man his love interest like more than him, might I add.)


*squish!*

*squish!*

During this scene, we learn a lot, and find out that Il-Yeong isn’t quite as naive, silly and shallow as he leads us to believe. Although…

Tightie whities are SO not cute.

Tightie whities are SO not cute.

Even the ajumma doesn’t think so.  Hehe.  I love the fact that he just barely notices that she is in the room after tossing his clothes in the washer.  I am left wondering why in the world he’s doing this in the first place – why doesn’t he go home?  In all, this is a FUN movie.  There is no really deep meaning and I think that after all the hype and delay in releasing it just disappointed Korean viewers.  A lot of their movies tend to have deeper intelectual themes and are very often depressing at the end.  Not this one, just go and have a fun ride and enjoy the silly, gong-fu based movie that has won over my heart.  There are serious moments like these though:

(T__T)

(T__T)

OR:

(>u<)

(>u<)


A final thought: WHO in the WORLD makes THIS face to kiss the man of their dreams???!!!

Seriously

Seriously

I made to many screen-caps for this movie.  Many of them of On Joo-Wan’s face, which I combined in my previous post.  Enjoy!



I was re-born last night.

Into an On Joo-Wan fan.  I watched My Mighty Princess and I thoroughly enjoyed it and was overwhelmingly taken in by On Joo-Wan.  I adore him.  (I also love the fact that I’m lucky enough to fall for someone older than me for once; even if it is only 20 days older…)  I was mostly struck by his versatility.  He was vulnerable, adorable, charming and tormented all in a short period of time.  I know that the movie was supposed to be about So-Hui and her struggle to be normal, but in all that struggling I fell head over heals with the show stealer that is On Joo-Wan.  Why isn’t he in a lot of dramas and getting tons of attention?  I don’t understand this.  My next post will be an actual review of this movie.  But, for now, here is lot’s of Joo-Wan! 🙂

The many faces of On Joo-Wan (Ilyeong)

The many faces of On Joo-Wan (Ilyeong)

They’re coming.

One of the most exciting things for me is when Asian artists get exposure in the United States.  This year is looking to be very big for lots of people.  First of all, one of my first Asian musicians I ever listened to is finally getting her “US debut.”  BoA is releasing an English-language album in March.  The album is supposed to be called Look Who’s Talking and will contain 11 tracks.  The best part is that they are all new songs, not just translated versions of her old songs.  If pre-release track listings are to be believed there will be only one of those and it’s Girls On Top.  I find that simply translating a song into English is nice, but doesn’t always work well and they have problems sounding well blended.  One example is the recent release of Rain’s single Rainism into several languages.  It sounds like he is struggling instead of singing effortlessly like he does in Korean.  Even his Japanese version’s of Rainism and Love Story sound forced where his full-length Japanese album sounds great.  The first single to be released off of BoA’s album is Eat You Up, which takes BoA away from her previous “sweet” image.  In the Korean version of the video (which marketed better than the one produced for US release) she is seen wearing hip-hop style clothing and dancing with a lot of force in a harder hip-hop style than a lot of her pop routines.  The lyrics are more suggesttive than a most of her other songs too, “I’ll eat you up boy, so yum, yu-uum..” I like it, and I think that the majority of people that are in the demographic she will be trying to reach will like it too.  I look forward to the release and it’s going to the first actual CD I will buy in the store this year.  (I don’t know how many I actually purchased in a store last year, maybe a few?) The album releases in several versions in Japan (Best&USA is the Japanese title) on March 18, with an expected United States release of the 17th.

BoA - Best&USA (Japanese release)

BoA - Best&USA (Japanese release)

Second on the block, (or actually first if you consider the expected Japanese release date of this one is March 14th) is Utada.  One of the other pop princesses of Japan, is trying her hand in the US market again.  After her second US release of Exodus (which had mediocre results in the US, but was a hit in Japan) she’s coming back with a new album titled This Is The One.  I’m hoping it’s better than Exodus. (I hope no die-hard Utada fans throw things at me for saying this.)  I think Exodus was a bad album.  There were a few songs on it that I thought were catchy, but the lyrics and style were so different from her normal songs that it was hard for me to get into the album.  I didn’t listen to it nearly as often as her other albums.  The lyrics from Easy Breezy always make me giggle, and I’m never sure why. “You’re easy breezy, and I’m Japan-ezy” was kind of ridiculous to me.  I guess the album and I just never clicked.  I think that Utada takes chances and puts herself into her music, which I respect tremendously, (especially considering the mass over-production of most Asian acts.) so I try not to judge too much.  In fact, I’ll have to take another listen to refresh my memory.  I’m excited to hear what she comes up with on This Is The One.

Single #1 - Come Back To Me

Single #1 - Come Back To Me

Third on my list of exciting people to see this year is Daniel Henny.  Daniel is a US citizen of Korean decent who was born in Michigin and is working in Korea. (we were practically neighbors! j/k – I lived in Minnesota.) He has his first United States movie releasing (again, it’s an expected release date, lots of things change!) on May 1st.  He is playing David North aka: Agent Zero in the movie X-Men Origins: Wolverine.  I’m excited to see him on the big screen and look forward to seeing him play opposite of Hugh Jackman.  If you haven’t seen him in anything check him out in My Father, Seducing Mr. Perfect, and My Name is Kim Sam-Soon. While he doesn’t have the greatest command over the Korean language, the populous loves him anyway and they have been writing most of his dialogue in English.  His official website is easy to navigate and has regular updates in English too!

)

Daniel! Yay, sexy cop-man. 🙂

Last, but most absolutely not least (he’s my favorite celebrity!) is Rain.  He has been busy with his most recent album release Rainism. With concerts, fan meetings, tv performances and video shootings it’s always a surprise to me that he doesn’t collapse from exaustion.  Coming up sometime this spring is the release of Ninja Assassin. His second Hollywood movie with the Wachowski brothers (the other was Speed Racer in case you were living under a rock.)  is slated for a release the first quarter of 2009.  It’s been pushed around – probably in part of Rain’s busy schedule – originally slated for a January release and then last I heard, a release due sometime in March.  No new news on the date of the movie, but from production stills it looks to be pretty action packed.  I’m also assuming that it’s pretty graphic heavy (it can’t be nearly as much as Speed Racer!)since it wrapped up filming earlier last year and still doesn’t have a preview.  There hasn’t been much mention of his English language album releasing in the US lately.  I’ll bet he has his plate full for now and is probably strengthening his English before he makes the big leap.

Training for the film in Berlin.

Training for the film in Berlin.

Don’t think I forgot to mention Se7en debuting in the US, but his album has no tentative date despite the leak of several songs onto the internet already. There was a lot of hype and promotion done last year, but there has been a lack of news on his release.

Japanese CD Review: Gackt – Ghost (Single 2009)

After almost a year “off”, Gackt has been launching himself back into his music with two consecutive releases.   The release of Jesus in November (2008) sparked controversy and caused a ripple among fans.  I, for one, have no issues with the song.  If they would bother to listen to or find translations of the lyrics, they would understand the true meaning of the song.  In it, Gackt plays the inner voice begging for help from Jesus to give him salvation and save him from himself.  The video is dark and graphic depicting a man attempting to commit suicide and follows the deeper meaning of the song.

We are given another treat this month, with the follow-up single Ghost. It has returned Gackt to his hard rock roots and reminds me of some of his songs of the album Crescent. The song opens with the sounds of machinery and pulls the listener into the song with a hypnotic rhythm that entices them to listen further.  The song strengthens with the addition of guitars and a strong bass beat.  The lyrics are similar in theme to Jesus and in them “Gackt” pleads to be destroyed, claiming to be a imbomination of God.

It may sound dark and sinister, and may be, unless you find out that both songs were inspired by Terminator: The Sarah Connor Cronicles.  So, in truth, it is a monster that should be destroyed.  You can check out the video to see his tie-in for yourself.  I was actually pretty shocked to see Gackt DANCING!

I enjoy Ghost a lot and am reminded of older Gackt songs that I love to listen to even today.  Don’t get me wrong, Love Letter and No ni saku hana no Youni have their place in the world (and in my playlist/heart) but I prefer the darker and deeper side of Gackt’s music.

So, I give this the big 5 out of 5.

Gackt - GhostOh, and if you want to read a perfect review of it follow this link.

Indian Movie Review: Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge


How do I give you a quick summary of what this movie is about?  I’ll try my very best.

Simran Singh (Kajol) is a very homely* and tradition bound girl.  While still dreaming of falling in love, her father receives a letter from his friend in India requesting that their promise to marry their children be fulfilled now that they have come of age. Now that her wedding is imminent Simran asks to go on a month long tour of Europe with her friends; as a last hurrah before marriage.  Knowing that she will be with all girls, and after she promises that she will be a good girl, her father agrees.

At the same time we are introduced to Raj Malhotra, a college flunkee who’s main goal in life seems to be experiencing all he can and enjoying it along the way.  After his father; Dharamvir Malhotra (Anupam Kher) praises him for keeping up the family tradition of failure, he agrees to let Raj take  a train tour of Europe.

So, our hero and heroine meet while rushing to catch the train.  After a few weeks together traveling and experiencing a taste of true freedom, Raj and Simran part, only to realize they are in love with one another.

Immediately Simran tells her mother (Farida Jalal) that she is in love, while her father; Chaudrey Baldev Singh (Amrish Puri) overhears and in his rage hustles the entire family off to India to complete Simran’s marriage to Kuljeet.  Raj realizes his love for her and is encouraged by his father to chase her off and not return until she is his bride.  Raj is too late, and must travel to India in search for his love and win over a stubborn father.

One of many train-chasing moments in DDLJ

One of many train-chasing moments in DDLJ

I try not to go into movies with too many expectations; that way they can’t let me down, and there is always the chance to blow me away.  This one pretty much blew me away.  I knew to expect something good when a few of the reviews I had read said that this was a “classic” and that it “redefined romance for young Indians.” (Thanks to Neflix for that last one.)  While the average viewer on Netflix gave this one a “3.9”  I had to give it a full 5.  Follow along for my reasons.

1) Zara Sa Jhoom Loom Main

Swimming Time!

Swimming Time!


I LOVE this picturization.  It was fun to see the girl as the one who loses control and then manage to scare the guy a little with her drunken escapades.  Raj just looked dumb-founded when Simran started to shimmy and shake.

WatchOutRaj

I think that the chemistry between Shahrukh Khan and Kajol is undeniable and astounding. The way that Kajol kicks her feet whenever she’s picked up and dances away only to be picked up again is pure entertainment.

NoTouchy

And Again..

And Again..

This picturization has become one of my favorites, climbing up there with Chaiyya Chaiyya and Dhoom Taana.  They’ll all be ones I’m sure to watch over and over again.

2) Raj

I adore this character.  (Apparently so do a lot of other people because I constantly read about Shahrukh playing or not playing “the Raj character” in most of his movies and different reviews)  I love the fact that despite his playboy exterior he is a gentleman at heart and would never really do anything uncouth.  Case in point:

ddlj-imnotscum-im-hindustani

)

How amazing. 🙂

Add all that he goes through for Simran in the second half of the film and you pretty much have the perfect man.  (Hunting, cooing at pigeons with his future in-law, dancing at the engagement, getting in to fist-fights and more!)

Also, the fact that you can pin-point the moment he falls in love with her:

Wah!

Wah!

3) Anupam Kher

This uncle-ji is my favorite.  I thought he was amazing here.  He always touches my heart in every role I’ve seen him take on, I can perfectly imagine what he would be like as a father in real life.

Beanie!

Beanie!

4)This scene/line:

Pathways.

Pathways.

Son, at every turn in life, you’ll find two roads.  One right, one wrong.  The wrong route will be easy, it will draw you.  But the right path with be hard, with lots of hazards, a lot many troubles.  On the wrong road, initially, you might find success, happiness, but in the end, you will lose.  Upon the right path, initially you may trip at every step, you may face hazards, difficulties, but…in the end you will always win.

This line struck a major chord in my and applied very aptly to a decision I’m making in my personal life.  It was like karma or a sign from above when he said this and it just made sense.

Not to mention the squishy dil moment afterwards.

D'aww!

D'aww!

In all, this movie was very touching.  I could really feel what the film-makers were trying to convey throughout the movie and I empathized with the characters along the way.  If, for some reason you have not already seen this one, I would highly recommend it.  5 of 5!


*I’m strictly using the non-US version of this word here.  Homely in many countries comes to mind people (aka: women) who are down to earth, follow traditions, take care of the household and are generally quite complacent.  Not the definition of homely where it just means ugly.