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Watching: Secret of the Three Kingdoms 三国机密 Song on repeat: Roof on Fire 屋顶着火 - Victoria Song Qian

Kimberley Chen covers Ariana Grande on Produce 101

The Chinese version of Produce 101 创造101, a competition aimed at forming a girl group, began airing last night and this cover of Ariana Grande and Iggy Azalea’s Problem  was head and shoulders above every other group.

Kimberley Chen, Lucia Wu, and Mimi Lee  are all ethnically Chinese but born and raised in three different countries. Kimberley Chen is Australian, Mimi Lee is Thai, while Lucia Wu was born in Brazil. I don’t know the other two well, but  I’m a big fan of Kimberley Chen, and I’m psyched to see her getting more recognition on the mainland.

The other fun group performance last night was Plain Disco from what’s left of girl groups A’N’D and KOGirls.  Not sure how I feel about the show yet, but it’s always great to hear more from Kimberley!

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Gulnazar, Yang Shuo, Xu Zhengxi gorgeous in Jane Zhang OP

The opening credits for Return the World to You 归还世界给你 is quite gorgeous in every way. Jane Zhang ‘s theme song is probably one of her most contemporary theme  recently, while the cinematography makes it look more like a beautifully executed MV.

The series stars Yang Shuo, Gulnazar, Xu Zhengxi, and Wang Dong.

Cyberpunk film Dream Breaker trailer

“With hot young actors in a story about adventure, love and digital culture, this is the perfect film for China’s post-1990s generation” – Ivy Zhong, the head of the studio making this who clearly should get a PR person to sell it better.

 According to The Hollywood Reporter, the cyberpunk film by Han Yan, Dream Breaker 破梦游戏, “stars actress Chen Duling as a young woman who must fight her way through a mysterious, holographic game world designed by her late father to avenge his death. ” It co-stars Song Weilong, Tong Dawei, Cao Xiwen, and Archie Gao.

Jessie J, Coco Lee, and KZ win Singer 2018 with Bang Bang, Dragon Fist, and pipa

Jessie J, Coco Lee, and KZ Tangingan won Singer 2018 this weekend with the help of an awesome pipa arrangement of Bang Bang and Dragon Fist.  I thought this season was lackluster in general, with even Jessie J having boring song choices and arrangements, but this was easily one of the best performances of the show.

Chloé Zhao working on a sci-fi set in Northwest China

Rising director Chloé Zhao, whose award-winning The Rider (98% RT, 92% Metacritic, 4/4 Roger Ebert) is being released in theaters  beginning this weekend in North America (release schedule), told Vogue that she’s currently working on a sci-fi set in Northwest China. Based on her Jezebel interview, it sounds like it’ll be set 3000 years in the future.  

Given her experience working with  cinematographer Joshua James Richards on the plains of South Dakota, the Northwest seems to be a perfect first Chinese project for the talented director-cinematographer couple. We may have to wait, though, since she is  also working on another film set in the Indian Reservation and has a contract for a film with Frances McDormand.

Fun fact: Chloé Zhao is the step-daughter of actress/producer Song Dandan.

Wu Lei, Qin Hao, Yang Rong stars in The Lost Tomb spinoff

Glad to see more series taking advantage of China’s diverse geography for on-location shoots.

Visually the most expensive-looking The Lost Tomb series so far, Sea of Sand 沙海 released its first trailer.  The series stars Wu Lei as the protagonist, a high school’er who  becomes entangled in a suspenseful adventure after meeting Wu Xie  from The Lost Tomb series (Qin Hao). They’re joined by Yang Rong and Zhang Meng.

Review: Suddenly Seventeen

Verdict:  You would probably like it if you like chick flicks, and not if otherwise. 

A  cross between Freaky Friday and Seventeen AgainSudden Seventeen 28岁未成年 is a fun, heartwarming, albeit  cliched chick flick that surprisingly does not have a romantic message.  It’s also a monumental tribute to the beauty of Ni Ni.  

“Today is the tenth day of Summer (Ni Ni) being a perfect housewife.  Like the 3650 days before today, she got up at 7 am, had perfect hair and a perfect outfit, made breakfast, and is ready for her beau (Wallace Huo) to awake up. But today was different. She had seen a ring in his coat and he was going to propose.”

When it turns out the ring was for someone else, Summer breaks down and in the midst of her breakdown, sees an advertisement for chocolates that will make her happy again.  It turns out that a bite of the chocolate makes her … drumroll…. seventeen again.   Continue reading