On the naughty list…

at the top?  Rain.

Who holds their only American concert (of the year? decade? who knows…) on CHRISTMAS!?   In a country filled with Christians who are busy celebrating the holiday, is a Las Vegas concert on the holiest Christian holiday really a great idea?  It kind of excludes a lot of his fans.  I know lots of his Korean fans are Christian too and are busy traveling and spending time with family.  I am very sad and angry about this.  If the rumors/loosely believable facts are true Rain has settled on this spring to start his compulsory military service, which means he’ll be out of the public eye for two years starting then.  ::sigh:: I’m just angry I can’t go and that he decided to host his concert on those two days.  (December 24, 25th.)  If YOU want to go check out ticketmaster here.  (Since when did he become “THE” Rain?)

Here he is looking deceivingly cute and innocent:   Bah! Humbug!

And speaking of military service, at least we got our Gong Yoo back!  Here:

Well done! Welcome back!That’s something to smile about!

Ninja Assassin: The Review (mild spoilers may be included)

Ok folks.  I saw the film opening day, and I was kind of disapointed that the theater I went to pushed it to a tiny side theater.  Oh’s well’s.  Here goes.

 

When you see a Wachowski brothers movie you have to expect the unexpected.  They pull out all the stops visually and sometimes things don’t make the most sense the first time around.  Unless you’re REALLY paying attention – and believe when Rain’s on screen, I’m paying attention!  First of all, this film did not let Rain stretch his acting muscles – just his physical ones. (Which, as a squeeling fan-girl I appreciated very much.)  His English is much improved over older clips and songs, I know he’s working hard and that over time his abilities will increase 10 fold.  That said, what did I think of the movie?  Man, what a bloody, bloody splash fest of a film THAT was!  Dear me.  I was prepared slightly by the local newspaper reviewer.  (“Ninja Assassin sets a new standard for film gore.”) So, I knew it was going to be bad, but not bad enough to make this non-squeemish girl cringe and try VERY hard not to look away.  I will say this, if you can make it through the opening scene, things get better and if I may say so – a bit more stylized and less, um, blech-y.  Naomie Harris was very good in her role and I liked her.  She was a good strong character who wasn’t afraid to get her hands dirty, but knew better than to just jump into the middle of a fight thinking she could help (most of the time.)  I was disapointed by how little dialogue that Rain had.  Did the directors think he couldn’t handle it, or was it part of his ninja character that he had to stay mysteriously quiet?  I’m not entirely sure.  I do know that I probably got a few dirty/quizical looks or questioning thoughts during one scene where a random henchman-like character says:  **SPOILER ALER** “He doesn’t look like a killing machine to me, He looks like he belongs in a boy band.”  OH MAN.  That almost had me on the floor rolling with laughter.  I had to cover my mouth and take deep breaths to calm down.  In the heavier fight scenes Rain wowed and proved that his 8am-5pm everyday for 9 months training paid off – in a big way.  I only spotted a few scenes that were obviously  his stunt double.  Other wise the man whooshed his way through the choreography.  I remember thinking 3/4 of the way through the movie “Poor Rick Yune!” Poor man has only one scene in which you can actual see his face, not very good for an actor that already has very few apperances in films.   I find it funny that for most of the articles about this film he was billed before Rain.  Kind of ironic if you ask me.  In all, this film really was all about the action, and it’s nearly non-stop.  I think critics are generally full of crap and they get movies wrong.  Most of them are looking for films to be artsy, realistic and have deep meanings.  In general, the public like movies that are entertaining and show them something they don’t see in daily life or have never seen before and in this sense, Ninja Assassin delivers.  I want to warn anyone who is slighly squeemish or can’t handle violence against seeing this movie.  Wait for the DVD and fast forward through the tough stuff and you’ll get to at least see Rain for a few minutes!  My final rating:  6.5/7 out of 10.

Rain

Rain worked very hard for Ninja Assassin!

If you like action/kung-fu/martial arts movies or Rain – check out Ninja Assassin!

Photo Spam #1

Rain.  Digging through some recent photos I acquired of Rain and thought I would share:

Oh, but to be a fly on the wall in the room here:

Two of my favs!

Two of my favs!

Here is promoting his new clothing line Six to Five:

Rain? Honey? PLZ stop wearing those.

Rain? Honey? PLZ stop wearing those glasses.

Ugh! I hate those glasses he wears.

Promo for the Rainism tour in Japan:

Yummy.  . .

Yummy. . .

Here’s a random shot from a soccer event he was involved in. (I just liked the colors in it.)

Goal! (?)

Goal! (?)

I told you he was all bloody!

Dark and broody - my kind of man.  Wait? What?

Dark and broody - my kind of man. Wait? What?

Great performance shot.

Nice shoes!

Nice shoes!

Here he is bringing me flowers at the end of a long day at work. I know you’re jealous, try to hold it in:

D'aww!

D'aww!

And last, but not least: Rockin’ the Hanbok:

SHO SHWWEET!

SHO SHWWEET!

Ok, got that out of my system.

Ninja Assassin: The Poster

I’m going to say that I’l have issues with this movie only because I know Rain’s going to be beat up a lot and there is a shot of him floating around out there covered in blood.  I hope he doesn’t die at the end, because that would just make me sad.  I hate movies where the main character dies at the end – don’t you?

Nice tag line....mebbe?

“Fear not the weapon, but the hand that wields it.”  Riiiiiight….

Ninja Assassin: The Trailer

OOOH.  How excited am I for this movie?!  Extraordinarily.  Rain in a US movie.  STARRING in a US movie.  OMG.  ::turns into an obnoxious fan girl::

The official link is here:

http://www.imdb.com/rg/VIDEO_PLAY/LINK//video/imdb/vi432800281/

Rain plays a ninja that has to fight the clan that raises him in order to stand up for what he believes is right.  I remember while he was filming this seeing photos of him.  He lost about 30 pounds for this role – I was glad that he went back home and plumped up after filming. My enthusiasm for this movie has died down since filming ended such a long time ago and no news of a release date came out for such a long time.  I’m not sure if it is exceptionally heavy in the special effects/computer graphics area like most of the Wachowski brother films or if it got caught up in production hell.  Hopefully it will do well in theaters.  This movie and Aladdin with the “Big B” are what I’ve been looking forward to most this year. I’ll try to post a link for that one later – I think it releases this weekend with Love Aaj Kal.  (Which I’ll be seeing this weekend~! )

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!

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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.

Xi Nian Kuai Le!

Happy Lunar New Year to everyone!  Although I didn’t have the money to truly celebrate the holiday this year, I made sure to check my horoscope and wish everyone a happy new year.

(My Zodia = The Pig)

(My Zodiac = The Pig)

In Chinese culture, the lunar new year is much more prominent.  In fact, the calendar new year is hardly noted and only some people actually celebrate it.  During new years the elders hand out lai see (red envelopes) of money to the youngsters in their family. Traditionally they also light fireworks in order to scare of bad spirits, and to welcome in good luck.  There are numerous traditions and different symbols that are followed and observed in the biggest holiday of the year.  It’s bigger than Christmas is here.

laisee2

In Korean culture it is called Seollal (설날.)  One of the most time-honored traditions of lunar new year is dressing up in a hanbok and performing Sebae; a bow of respect to their elders.  It’s rather specific, and is sometimes hard to figure out if you aren’t used to it.


Here is a clip of Rain/Bi (비) trying it out. 🙂 Hooray for silly commercials. 🙂


The Japanese celebrate with the U.S. during the calendar New Year, and one big tradition for them is to dress up in kimono and visit the local temple to pray for luck in the new year and to draw their horoscopes for the new year.  Oshogatsu is a fun time, and I’ve spent a couple of them at Morikami feeding the fish, making mochi and eating yakisoba.

Hanetsuki

Hanetsuki at Morikami

I hope no matter where you are or what your beliefs are, you can enjoy the start of this new year – if you celebrate with the moon, or follow the calendar a bright new year is upon us.