Ariel Lin Gets Engaged at Star-studded Banquet in Taipei

We all know how quickly fame and fortune can flee, especially in the entertainment industry with a lot of temptation and a fickle audience as consumers. That makes Ariel Lin’s reign as one of Taiwan’s top actresses and entertainers all the more impressive. She’s got both mass market popularity with her dramas and win plenty of critical acting awards for her performances (two Golden Bell Best Actresses, one for They Kiss Again and the other for In Time with You).

Her 32nd birthday was on October 29th and the date was also chosen for her star-studded engagement banquet to boyfriend non-celeb Charles Lin. In attendance was a veritable who’s who of Taiwan entertainers, including almost all her famous costars like Hu Ge, Bolin Chen, and Daniel Chan (Joe Cheng and Feng Shao Feng couldn’t make it). The engagement party had over 500 attendees (50 banquet tables worth) as Ariel and Charles got engaged in front of their elders and then celebrated with their friends and family. Continue reading

Pinocchio Unveils Second Teaser and More Lee Jong Seok Stills

Contrary to how the public sees the fictional character of Pinocchio, the K-drama version has been quite the tease with a veritable lockdown on stills and spoilers until the floodgates opened last weekend. I think it’s going to end up helping rather than hurting the drama if the final product is actually good. The undeniable fact is that a good quality drama will gloss over all pre-airing quibbles, the same way that a piece of crap drama erases any great promotional fanfare.

There are new Lee Jong Seok characters still out that remain firmly showing us the before era, not exactly a standard childhood sequence since both Lee Jong Seok and Park Shin Hye are playing their characters as high school students. Since his mop of a hairstyle is only during that period of time, and apparently is purposely done because his character is pretending to be an idiot with a low IQ, I’m fine with it. In the second video teaser there is a very stirring swirling vibe, all sunsets and piggyback rides and hair blowing in the wind. I like it even if it doesn’t tell me much. Continue reading

My Lovely Girl Episode 12 Recap

My Lovely Girl jumped the shark with episode 12. Maybe SBS did the drama a favor by preempting an episode last week so the end of this episode isn’t what the audience holds onto for an entire week. Tomorrow we’ll see the fall out from the big secret finally being revealed, but this story has officially shanked the OTP pairing by showing me a grown 30 year old man running away with his new girlfriend to keep an inconvenient truth from reaching her ears. Good one, Hyun Wook. I would rather any other trope be placed on the table than the lame running away option which we all know is basically dragging scene filler.

The ordinary uninspired parts of MLG worked up until now because there was a noticeable lack of makjang behavior. People pushed and pulled to keep some secrets and acknowledge hard truths, but always in a thoughtful way that left the main characters easy to root for. Hyun Wook has always been the runaway type as evidenced by his missing for three years stint after So Eun died, but it rankles me that he’s not learned from the past mistakes and once again repeats the same immature behavior with Se Na. Even worse is his reason, to keep her happy because once the truth comes out she’ll be hurt. That’s nonsense, she’ll be hurt but it’s not something Hyun Wook has a right to decide for her whether she should know or not. Continue reading

Korea’s Fashionable Best and Brightest Out for 2014 Style Icon Awards

The 2014 Style Icon Awards took place in Seoul yesterday and I’ll admit this whole excuse for celebs to get dressed up would have bypassed my interest but for Kim Soo Hyun winning yet another award there. I can’t believe his year of winning every single award even managed to transcend over to style and fashion categories. This recently created annual fashion award is held by Mnet and this year is in conjunction with Korean skincare brand Tony Moly.

The award celebrates influential style and fashion icons in Korean entertainment for the year and is awarded by a magical algorithm of panel selections and public voting. I say magical because at this point every since award coming out of Korea is a joke in terms of selection integrity. Check out the full list of winners below as well as the actors and actresses contingent on the red carpet. Since this was a night of style one would think all the attendees would be looking their best. Most did look eye-catching while a few were epic fails. Continue reading

Picture and Video Preview for Episode 3 of Kyou wa Kaisha Yasumimasu

Kyou wa Kaisha Yasumimasu (Today I Take the Day Off Work) is so so darling. I only wish it had an easier to digest title, it needn’t have English words in it but something shorter might be snappy. Like “Day Off!” or “Double Trouble”, LOL. One wishes we could be Hanae, currently the most enviable leading lady in dramaland as she’s sandwiched between 21 year old young hottie Yuto and 35 year old seasoned hottie Yu. The casting for the live-action adaptation is hands down one of the best I’ve watched when it comes to bringing manga characters to life. All three leads Ayase Haruka, Fukushi Sota, and Tamaki Hiroshi are more dynamic and better rendered than even the original drawn version.

That’s a rarity since most live-action castings lead to the inevitable screeching that he/she is not like the manga envisioned. Poor Matsumoto Jun got evicerated for Hana Yori Dango before it aired, and Yamamoto Yusuke still is a visual hard sell in Ouran High School Host Club even when his acting is on point. Not just the casting is better than the manga, the story line for the dorama is way more interesting and nuanced than the manga as well. This is turning out to be adaptation over source material in the best way. The picture previews are out for episode 3 and looks like Hanae and Yuto are going to dip a toe into the dating waters, all while Yu observes like a particularly smirky shark from the sidelines. I can’t wait! Continue reading

New Stills Show Hug and More Hugs Coming in My Lovely Girl Episode 12

I honestly don’t know how I’m going to get through the remaining 5 episodes of My Lovely Girl. There will indeed be five more episodes as SBS has confirmed that the drama is ending on schedule next week but next Wednesday will be broadcasting two episodes back-to-back. I was aghast at the idea of an extension episode to even out the airing length since last week one episode was preempted. There’s barely enough story line to fill the remaining time much less drag it out even more.

Thankfully this show is going to be shown as intended, and so far it has been pleasant despite being underwhelming. That might change soon if Hyun Wook does not grow a pair and tell Se Na the truth that he was So Eun’s former boyfriend. Even douchebag Jae Young is right in telling Se Na because there is no reason she shouldn’t know. No reason other than she might be upset at Hyun Wook, and god forbid that ever happens for Se Na to have a right to decide how she feels based on complete information. The only thing making me slightly upbeat is seeing the hug still between Shi Woo and Se Na above. Continue reading

Song Hye Kyo and Chen Qiao En Lead the Sprawling Cast for C-movie The Queens

There’s a new female-centric modern romance C-movie coming out called The Queens that is basically yet another girl power messy love relationships splashy offering. The Queens only came to my attention for the sprawling cast half of whom are actors and actresses I am automatically inclined to check out. Starring Song Hye Kyo (continuing her career foray in Chinese cinema), Joe Cheng, Chen Qiao En, Tony Yang, Vivian Wu, Shawn Dou, Annie Yi, and Qin Hao, the movie comes out November 7th and looks like some sort of makjang Sex and the City, or maybe an older seasoned version of Tiny Times.

It’s the directorial debut from Taiwanese entertainer Annie Yi, a former idol singer turned actress and writer who is now added director to her resume. It’s not that far-fetched considering C-actress Zhao Wei is now directing and even won awards for her directorial debut movie So Young. All the movie stills are glossy and pretty and the trailer is a tour de force of yelling, crying, preening, and making out. It’s fascinating in a train wreck way and makes me wonder why so many big names agreed to star in this hot mess. Who knows, it might actually be good and give everyone more than just eye candy to look at. Continue reading

Jang Hyuk, Im Joo Hwan, and Oh Yeon Seo Considering MBC Sageuk Shine or Go Crazy

Eeeps, this drama casting news is about as perfect as it gets., at least for the male leads. I’m still hoping the female lead side falls through and another actress I love better gets the gig. For two years MBC was on a steady stream of sageuks on Mon-Tues nights until modern cop-gambler drama Triangle arrived in that slot. Triangle was followed by Records of a Night Watchman which has now been replaced by modern legal drama Pride and Prejudice. Maybe MBC is planning to toggle sageuk-modern from now on because the drama to follow P&P will be the fantasy fusion sageuk Shine or Go Crazy. Yeah, the title is a mouthful and weird but let’s go with it.

Just like Jang Nara is going right back into a MBC drama with Mr. Back, her Fated to Love You costar Jang Hyuk is in talks to headline Shine or Go Crazy. His leading lady may be Oh Yeon Seo who just finished the highly rated MBC weekend drama Come, Jang Bori!, once again proving that MBC loves rewarding its successful weekend ladies with a subsequent prime time gig (case in point Baek Jin Hee). Sageuks are widely acknowledged as a forte genre for him (Chuno was a career altering performance) so I’m super stoked he’s considering this drama. Even more exciting? So is Im Joo Hwan, being courted as the second male lead which I don’t even have issue with since…..holy momma PARK KYU IS BACK! Continue reading

Written and Video Preview for Episode 12 of My Lovely Girl

I’m tempted to send a trans-Pacific holler to the screenwriter for My Lovely Girl and ask the lady if she’s gone mad? Sure she’s written some middle-of-the-road fare like Can We Love, Dr. Champ, and Scent of a Woman, but so far all she has to show for MLG is how utterly ordinary and placid it is. Kind of like a dim-witted but pleasant tempered cow munching cud in the field. The washed out tone of MLG alone wouldn’t give me the urge to ping her, but the written and video previews for episode 12 are giving me a raging case of the jumped shark.

Those watching know what I’m talking about, the implied action on Hyun Wook’s part to run away with Se Na from the truth coming out. Da fuq? I gave him plenty of episodes to come clean and not only is he not coming clean, he’s actively keeping the truth from Se Na now in a way that’s negating all my earlier goodwill for their relationship. If a relationship is based on one fundamental lie that would torpedo it should it come out, then that relationship is unhealthy and wrong. Period. At this point if Se Na doesn’t like Shi Woo back, I’m all for her going off and adopting a dog like Dal Bong and having a non truth-concealing puppy to raise as company. Continue reading