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Musings on Travel, Fashion & Fun


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Movie Review - To The Fore《破风》

To the Fore 《破风》
To the Fore《破风》revolves around three young cyclists breaking into the world of competitive cycling as members of the Taiwanese Category III team Radiant, and the mental/physical trials they have to overcome in order to succeed in this endurance sport. Chou Ming (Eddie Peng 彭于晏) and Qiu Tian (Shawn Dou 窦骁) are fellow upstarts hired to be pacers, or ‘破风手’,for Korean sprinter Ji-won (Choi Si-won 崔始源) during his races.

To the Fore 《破风》
“破风“ basically refers to how pacers shield their star sprinters from winds with their bodies by riding in front of them by creating a slipstream, and navigating the sprinter into the last metres of a race, creating ideal conditions for the final burst to victory.

Eddie Peng
Chou Ming is a cocky go-getter who risks it all to get the win – to the point of beating up his teammates. The gentle Tian prefers to play it safe but struggles with his physical condition and constantly being overshadowed by his compatroits, both in race and in love when he vies for the affections of Shiyao (Wang Luodan), a once-promising track cyclist now trying to make a comeback after suffering from pulmonary embolism. All that happens test the characters’ friendship, and more importantly, show how they grow over time to excel in the sport.

To the Fore 《破风》
Filmed on location in Taiwan, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Italy, Korea and the Tengger Desert, the film merges cycling with stunning nature and urban landscapes.

To the Fore 《破风》
Even if you are not into the cycling, it would be worth watching the movie just for the amazing scenery. To the Fore 《破风》It took the director Dante Lam 林超贤 15 years to realise this movie, not surprising considering the amount of planning and budget that needed to go into making it – more than 1,000 cyclists, expensive bicycles and gear, and actors having to undergo at least 3 weeks of intensive professional training to adequately portray their roles as professional cyclists. The actors cycled over 100,000km and took 6 months to complete the movie.

To the Fore 《破风》
The movie was well-paced, with realistic heart-stopping crashes making the viewers scream each time (especially when Eddie exposed half a butt lol).

To the Fore 《破风》
Another reason to catch the movie – eye candy. :)To the Fore 《破风》
Seems that the friendly rivalry portrayed on-screen also progressing into friendship off-screen, with the actors having fun on their social platforms.

To the Fore 《破风》
The only part which didn’t really work for me was the romance between the actors – it felt awkward more than anything. It felt predictable, although I was touched by what Chou Ming did for Shiyao.

To the Fore 《破风》
Actual cycling champions Mauro Gianetti and Rui da Costa made cameos in the movie too.

To the Fore 《破风》
It seems that even the stars themselves were star-struck by their presence :)To the Fore 《破风》
Overall, I enjoyed the movie, and Dante Lam’s choice of cycling as the movie subject makes it quite unconventional (only less than 3 such movies have been made in the world). I also liked that he focused more on the supporting pacers than the usual star sprinters for the show, empathizing with their mental struggles and bringing back the point that teamwork is more important than personal glory, and not getting lost in the chasing fame.
To the Fore 《破风》To the Fore is now showing at theatres in Singapore. Go watch.

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Movie Review – TWENTY 스물《疯狂20》

TWENTY 스물

“I think your 20’s are the hardest part of life. I mean, everyone goes on about how hard it is to be a teenager, but actually I think it’s tougher to be in your 20’s because you’re expected to be a grownup and expected to earn your own living and be successful and I think you feel like a kid still.” – Nigel Cole

‘Twenty’ is a coming-of-age Korean comedy following the lives of three 20 year-old buddies with distinct personas facing different issues in life. There’s pretty raunchy humor and adult situations as truthful as it gets. Beyond the hilarity, the movie strikes a note at a time when we start wondering what we are going to do with the rest of our lives, or the burden of supporting a family suddenly falls upon our shoulders when we turn twenty. It’s a fun time to be in, when you have the luxury of making mistakes. Cos’ you have three-quarters of your life to make it right. We see how the three main characters in the movie find their ‘true calling’ as they wander through their lives at twenty.

TWENTY 스물 Korean heartthrob Kim Woo-Bin plays Chi-ho, a super-charming slacker who pursues a life of doing nothing after high school.

TWENTY 스물

His simple life that consists of breathing and seducing women (he loves boobies!) takes a turn after finally being dumped by a girl and realizing that he has a new goal in life. He is the most hilarious/ridiculous of the three, yet looks really suave most of the time. TWENTY 스물 Kang Ha-neul is by far the hottest rising star in the current Korean film scene. He plays Gyeong-jae, a boy next door character who lacks a sense of self-confidence but he turns into something completely different when he is drunk. His ultimate goal is to get a job in a global corporation until he meets an attractive senior whom he starts to follow around like a smitten puppy.

TWENTY 스물

Kang reveals his comedic talent as he gets into pretty embarrassing situations in the movie, and his character does feel close to heart like a twenty year-old you would have known.

TWENTY 스물 Popular Kpop group 2PM’s Lee Jun-ho plays Dong-woo, the most mature of the three friends who is forced to grow up quickly due to difficult family circumstances. Juggling between aspiration and reality, he works several different jobs to support his family after his father goes bankrupt. He dreams of becoming a cartoonist, which he struggles hard to give up to become a salaryman for the sake of his family.

TWENTY 스물 His budding romance with the bubbly So-hee (Lee Yu-bi), Gyeong-jae’s younger sister, is the sweetest of the three characters. So-hee is also my favourite female character in the movie. She is super funny and not afraid to relentlessly pursue Dong-woo.

TWENTY 스물 Gyeong-jae cries his heart out after being ‘jilted’ by his puppy love. How many of you can relate to that feeling?

TWENTY 스물 The boys stick by each other even when faced with adversity, in this case, putting up a hilarious slow-mo fight with the neighbourhood gangsters.

TWENTY 스물 Amidst shifting priorities, these besties learn important lessons in love and life as they muddle through their twenties. It’s an enjoyable and relatable movie to watch with friends. Apart from the eye candy casting, the down-to-earth and heartfelt stories had me thinking (hard) at what I did when I was twenty. And a smile tugged at my lips :) TWENTY 스물 opens in Singapore exclusively at Golden Village Plaza Singapura, GV Vivocity, GV Tampines and GV Yishun on 25th June.


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Triumph in the Skies 衝上雲霄 – A ‘feel-good’ movie 很‘养眼’的贺岁片

Triumph in the Skies 衝上雲霄 Movie Press ConferenceHong Kong stars Julian Cheung 張智霖 and Charmaine Sheh 佘詩曼 were recently in Singapore to promote Triumph in the Skies 衝上雲霄, a film adaptation of the highly popular Hong Kong TVB series of the same name which tells an inspirational story of the lives of a group of cabin crew and pilots.. The movie takes place a few years after the end of the second TV season.

Triumph in the Skies 衝上雲霄Directed by Wilson Yip 叶伟信 and Matt Chow 邹光, the film stars some original cast from the series such as Julian Cheung 张智霖, Francis Ng 吴镇宇, Kenneth Ma 马国明 and Elena Kong 江美儀, with the additional cast of Louis Koo, Charmaine Sheh, Amber Kuo 郭采潔 and Sammi Cheng 郑秀文. The movie mainly revolves the love stories of its main cast – a very romantic kind of love with Louis Koo with Charmaine Sheh, a crazy and heart-wrenching one with Julian Cheung and Amber Kuo, and a humorous and mature love with Francis Ng and Sammi Cheng.
 Triumph in the Skies 衝上雲霄The film starts with young pilot Branson (Louis Koo) taking over Skylette, his father’s aviation empire, only to realize his old flames Cassie (Charmaine Sheh) is a flight attendant there. Several years ago, he was forced to break up with her and move to New York to take care of his father’s business. Other than the super cool-looking actors and pretty actresses, the vintage planes and cinematography (mainly shot in England) are of worthy mention.

Triumph in the Skies 衝上雲霄Charmaine looking cool in her stewardess uniform. Did you know being a stewardess was one of her dreams?

Triumph in the Skies 衝上雲霄 Movie Press ConferenceCharmaine was all smiles sharing humorous behind-the-scene snippets at the press conference.

Triumph in the Skies 衝上雲霄Francis Ng brought much joy and sweet moments with his portrayal of Sam, the very righteous pilot who finally meets a woman who melted his heart.

Triumph in the Skies 衝上雲霄Sammi Cheng plays Francis Ng’s love interest as rocker TM who is hired by Louis Koo to promote his new airline. When asked what TM stands for, the very cool rocker offers several interesting versions. Watch it to find out what they are ;) I really love Sammi’s style in the movie, to the point I am considering shaving my eyebrow…but not the tattoos though :p

Triumph in the Skies 衝上雲霄This unlikely pair truly reinforces the famous saying that opposites attract – TM being so carefree and Sam super by-the-book. As time goes by and they get to know each other better, love blossoms in the most adventurous ways. I like their kind of romance best in the movie.

Triumph in the Skies 衝上雲霄 Movie Press ConferenceJulian Cheung’s Captain Cool character gets paired up with a looney cos-play girl Kika played by Amber Kuo. It was later revealed that Kika was suffereing from a terminal illness that the irritation of her crazy antics turned into an understanding that she is trying to live her life to the fullest while she can. Look out for the hilarious scene where Julian and her reenact characters from Harry Potter.

Triumph in the Skies 衝上雲霄My gawd. Julian is just SO SEXY. I almost screamed when the scene of him showing his six-pack came on :p

Triumph in the Skies 衝上雲霄Julian and Amber had several steamy scenes in the movie, including one where both of them clinked champagne while canoodling in a bathtub.

Triumph in the Skies 衝上雲霄 Movie Press ConferenceJulian shared that bathtub scene was shot at a low 2 degree Celsius for eight hours. Amber kept slipping down the bathtub and he had to use his legs to prop her up. “We weren’t familiar with each other at first, but after that scene, we got closer!” And when asked if he could choose onecharacter he wanted to play in the movie, he picked Sammi Cheng’s “cos’ I think it can be fun to date Francis Ng’s character.” He’s hilarious!

Triumph in the Skies 衝上雲霄 Movie Press Conference
Charmaine looking ever picture-perfect.
Triumph in the Skies 衝上雲霄 Movie Press ConferenceCandy for the eyes!

Triumph in the Skies 衝上雲霄Overall, I enjoyed Triumph in the Skies which I would term as a ‘feel-good’ movie. The love stories are tried-and-tested methods, but the delicious-looking cast managed to pull it off convincingly. I am sure fans of the TV series and the stars will be making a beeline to catch the movie during this Chinese New Year, while the rest can also watch it for the gorgeous scenery shot in England, and immerse in the sweet stories of love and hope.


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Movie – The Golden Era 黄金时代

The Golden Era 黄金时代

The Golden Era recounts the life of Xiao Hong蕭紅, one of China’s most famous modern novelists and essayists, whose lyrical works reflected progressive thinking not frequently seen during the turbulent 1930s. Directed by award-winning director Ann Hui許鞍華, the movie opens with the main character announcing the dates of her birth and death directly to the audience. The narrative style of filming was very different, with characters accounting their experience with the protagonist Xiao Hong directly to the camera.

Born into a well-off family in Manchuria as Zhang Naiying, Xiao Hong (Tang Wei湯唯, from “Lust, Caution”) experienced an unhappy childhood fraught with paternal abuse. She later brought shame to the family by avoiding an arranged marriage and running away with a married cousin to Beijing. That didn’t last, and she was left destitute in Harbin where she winds up with the man she was suppoused to marry, who also ditches her in a hotel – pregnant, penniless and saddled with a $600 debt (a huge amount during those times).

The Golden Era 黄金时代

With the hotel owner threatening to sell her to a brothel to pay the debt, Xiao Hong wrote to the journal “International Gazette”, asking the editors for help. It was her first contact with the literary circle, and when she first met Xiao Jun蕭軍 (Feng Shaofeng馮紹峰), the most significant relationship in her very short life. Their five years of intense, troubled relationship forms the main storyline of the movie. Amidst the (man’s) affairs and the literary competition between the two lovers, the final split came when Xiao Jun decides to join the fight against the Japanese despite Xiao Hong’s pleas to escape to the safer inland so she can “write in peace.” A tall order considering it was the start of the war at that time.

The Golden Era 黄金时代

Xiao Hong eventually entered into a passionless marriage with a fellow writer Duanmu Hongliang. Xiao Hong died of tuberculosis at the age of 31 in Hong Kong.

The Golden Era 黄金时代

The movie also accounts the lovers’ involvement with China’s leftist literary circles, moves from city to city as well as their friendship with the great writer Lu Xun 鲁迅whom Xiao Hong looked up as a surrogate father.

The Golden Era 黄金时代

There is so much unhappiness in Xiao Hong’s life – betrayal by numerous lovers, 2 miscarriages, paternal abuse, poverty – that a lesser being would have ended it all. One phrase that stood out for me, was her response when asked “Why do you still want to live?” – “Because there are still things which I still linger over in this world.” Perhaps it’s all these rich experiences which made her a great writer. It’s a pity the movie chose to focus on her troubled life with men, rather than elaborate on her some of her works. , so we did not really have much insight to the inner feelings of this lady whose life would make a superb Shakespearean tragedy.

Contrary to what the movie depicted, Xiao Hong’s works was less famous a writer than her lover Xiao Jun as they were considered too ideological and not congruent with the patriotic stance adopted by most of the writers at that time. Her works were only re-discovered in the peaceful times of the 1980s and now valued as one of the masterpieces in modern Chinese literature. The movie gave me a good glimpse of the Chinese literary scene at that time, and left me intrigued that I read up more about Xiao Hong after that. It was a marathon-3-hour-long, but it left me asking more questions. Maybe it’s time to pick up my very first Chinese novel.

Watch the official movie trailer.


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Movie – 痞子英雄:黎明再起 Black & White: The Dawn of Justice

Black & White: The Dawn of Justice 痞子英雄: 黎明再起

Enjoying a moment with the stars at the movie premiere of <痞子英雄:黎明升起> Black & White: The Dawn of Justice with Taiwanese actor Mark Chao (趙又廷) and Director Tsai Yueh Hsun (蔡岳勳)

Black & White: The Dawn of Justice 痞子英雄: 黎明再起

The sequel to director Tsai Yueh-hsun’s 蔡岳勳 2012 police action series Black and White: The Dawn of Assault <痞子英雄首部曲:全面開戰> continues the heroic adventures of police officer Wu Ying-xiong 吳英雄 (Mark Chao 趙又廷) to save Harbour City from mass destruction. He is joined by his witty yet arrogant new partner Chen Zhen 陳真 (Kenny Lin 林更新).
(You will still be able to enjoy this movie even if you have not caught the first movie.)

Black & White: The Dawn of Justice 痞子英雄: 黎明再起

We were all excited to meet Mark Chao, my female friends couldn’t stop gushing “So handsome, so handsome!” He’s not too bad an actor too; I have been catching his movies since his debut in Monga 艋舺.
Mark was so friendly, and he even offered a joke at the end of the short meet-and-greet.

Black & White: The Dawn of Justice 痞子英雄: 黎明再起

This must be the best-looking police squad I have ever seen lol

Black & White: The Dawn of Justice 痞子英雄: 黎明再起

The movie opens with a dramatic car chase and a series of bomb explosions which threaten to shut down the city’s main transportation nodes to the outside world.

Black & White: The Dawn of Justice 痞子英雄: 黎明再起

The two-men team of totally opposite characteristics then begrudgingly team up to uncover a plot of massive destruction masked behind the bombings – stolen military missiles,  a plot to annihilate the entire city, and a deadly virus breakout so highly contagious that it can devour the whole world in 14 days.

Black & White: The Dawn of Justice 痞子英雄: 黎明再起

All evidence of the chaos points to a supposedly defunct special army unit called the Nightwalkers—a secret assassination squad which used to serve the highest government officials. After being betrayed by their superiors, they believe that only total destruction of the city will bring with it rebirth, hence initiating Project Hay which will cut off all electricity supply and communication modes with the world, and a virus released to wipe out the entire population.

The villain of the movie is played by none other than the director Tsai Yueh-hsun himself after the original actor turned down the role. He was so convincing as a crazed criminal, I actually liked him. It would have been even more interesting if his character was beefed up a little more, showing the anguish and suffering which transformed him into his current state.

Black & White: The Dawn of Justice 痞子英雄: 黎明再起

Can the good guys save the day?

Black & White: The Dawn of Justice 痞子英雄: 黎明再起

I think only Director Tsai is the only person who can be smiling so happily with a huge explosion happening just behind him :D
The visual effects in this USD15 million production is created by top French visual effect company BUF, who has done CGI effects for movies such as Life of Pi, Thor and Avatar.

Black & White: The Dawn of Justice 痞子英雄: 黎明再起

Popular Taiwanese actress Janine Chang (張鈞甯) plays Lan Xi-ying, a forensic expert who happens to be the sister of the villian.

Black & White: The Dawn of Justice 痞子英雄: 黎明再起

Black Hawk Task Force member Huang Shih Kai 黃世楷 played by Shiou Lefthere 修杰楷. His physique was just amazing, we ogled whenever he appeared lol

Black & White: The Dawn of Justice 痞子英雄: 黎明再起

Well-known Chinese actor Huang Bo 黃渤 makes a special appearance as Xu Da-fu, a criminal who once helped Wu solve the airplane crisis and secretly ran away with his girlfriend Xiao-qing by faking death with Wu’s assistance. I enjoyed Huang Bo’s character who is very real and provided some dark humour to the movie amidst the tense situations.

Black & White: The Dawn of Justice 痞子英雄: 黎明再起

Apart from the well-known actors, there was also much eye candy in the movie who could easily fit in a fashion show.

Black & White: The Dawn of Justice 痞子英雄: 黎明再起

Jam Hsiao sang the official theme song 天敵 for the movie

Black & White: The Dawn of Justice 痞子英雄: 黎明再起

Action-movie fans would enjoy this movie, which was well-balanced with some light-hearted moments. I would have preferred that the plot was elaborated a little further, but considering that I didn’t even have time to reach for the popcorn, I did enjoy every minute of the movie.
It’s great to see an Asian action movie comparable to Hollywood movie standard, and it set me thinking what if one day the crisis in the movie did happen and we didn’t have any electricity nor communication access to the outside world? Will I be able to survive? Is mankind so absorbed with technology that we will not be able to survive without them, and worse – end up making weapons to hurt ourselves instead?

<痞子英雄:黎明再起> opens on 9 October in Singapore.
Image: Movie Official Facebook Page

Watch the official movie trailer: