Movie Review: Dear Ex (谁先爱上他的)

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I was quite surprised when I first saw the trailer for Dear Ex popping up onto my Netflix page. More from the fact that Netflix is endorsing more “indie” Asian films that don’t happen to call into the category of “coming-of-age romance” (though they should seriously buy over You’re The Apple Of My Eye). The trailer sucked me in and I was so looking forward to watching the film. And I’m glad it didn’t disappoint. 


The lives of three people converge when a man dies and puts his male lover as the inheritor of his insurance money, leaving his wife and his son to grief his loss and fight for their rights to the money as well as their place in a dead man’s life.


The film is an exploration of grief and marriage, posing the question of, “who is the rightful partner? The legal one, or the one the heart longs for?” It’s an interesting dynamic considering the 小三 (slang for ‘mistress’) is in fact a 小王 (male version of the mistress). A twist from the usual wife vs concubine narrative that has plagued Asian screens. The story, told from the perspective of the son, portrays the characters in their ugly, unlikeable selves – including the son himself.

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Review: Secrets In The Hot Spring (切小金家的旅館)

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Xiao Jin is a 20 year old delinquent high schooler who gets a call from his grandparents and returns to the old family spa hotel with his friends, Lu Qun and Little Princess, only to find out that the hotel is haunted.


Taiwan seems to be on a roll for “youth films” with films like Boyfriend, GirlfriendYou’re The Apple of My Eye and Our Times that every time I see a “youth movie” from Taiwan I’m almost tempted to lap it up. Of course, I’ve experienced many, MANY disappointments where I cringed at another dumb slapstick classroom humour and shallow characters dangling their legs as while looking out into the far off horizon.

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Terrace House: Opening New Doors

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Six people come together to live in the same house as they pursue romance and their individual dreams while learning to cope with each other and find deep friendships. Inbetween scenes is a group of celebrity panelist attempting to provide sometimes funny and sometimes insightful commentaries.

I have never been a fan of reality TV shows, known for their penchant to create drama and document the ugliest of people (think Bachelor In Paradise *shudders*) but Terrace House really hooked me in from the first episode. And it’s great for someone like me who’s a huge fan of Japan and it’s culture, to be able to learn more about the culture in Japan. Opening New Doors is the latest season in the Terrace House franchise but it was the first one that I happened to chance upon – though I’m glad I did. (I’m on Aloha State at the moment and I’m already missing the group from Opening New Doors).

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Cars and a huge, beautiful house is provided as six strangers come together to live with hopes of finding romance. What a dream. I’ve seen bits and pieces of Boys & Girls In The City as well as Aloha State but Opening New Doors has the best accomodation so far, which is to be expected since it is the latest season.

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Japanese Film Festival 2018 – Flash Review on Three Films

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Last weekend I got to catch three films from this year’s Japanese Film Festival, and despite the 30-minute drive up on three different days to catch three different films, I can safely say that I have no regrets. JFF is the combination of two things that I love, Japan and films. It was a struggle having to limit myself to three films (movie tickets in Australia aren’t cheap) since there were quite a few that I wanted to watch (The Crime That Binds, The Blood of Wolves, Tampopo) but I’m glad I at least got to catch some of the films this year.  That said, here’s my quick take on the three films that I watched – The 8-year Engagement, Ramen Shop and Yakiniku Dragon.

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First Impressions – Story of Yanxi Palace (延禧攻略)Ep. 1 – 10

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Story of Yanxi Palace had been making its rounds on my social media with posts written in Chinese (which I gave up trying to read)and even memes that are clearly inspired by the show. I had been anticipating the release of Ruyi’s Royal Love In The Palace and while waiting the series to finish airing, I decided to give Story of Yanxi Palace a go.

The opening is reminiscent of old Hong Kong period dramas that I grew up watching as a kid, not the whole thing but just that last sequence.

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Review: Narratage (ナラタージュ)

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Izumi Kudo agrees to return to her high school to help out the drama club at the request of her old high school teacher and object of her unrequited love. She returns to the club to find her feelings still strong and struggles to move on from her first love but it seems Hayama-sensei harbours the same mixed feelings for Kudo.

Adapted from the novel of the same name by Rio Shimamoto, the film starts of poignant, poetic and beautifully-shot, evoking feelings of nostalgia and the innocence of an unrequited high school love. Yet despite its high poduction value, the film seems to perpetuate some disturbing messages relating to the forbidden romance between teachers and their students that makes me rethink the value of the film.

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Review: Todome No Kiss (トドメの接吻)

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I first chanced upon Todome No Kiss through Kmuse’s first impressions post on Dramas With A Side Of Kimchi and the I was intrigued by the plot and fresh concept of the show. Not to mention I’ve been looking for a good J-dorama to get me back into the world of doramas which have always held a special place in my heart and Todome No Kiss was exactly the drama I was looking for.

Dojima Otaro (Yamazaki Kento) doesn’t believe in love and instead makes money his one true goal, in the form of heiress, Namiki Mikoto (Yuko Araki) who is worth 10 billion. But his dreams get disrupted when he is kissed by a mysterious woman and dies. Only to wake up 7 days in the past.

I seemed to have developed a habit of reimagining plots then getting disappointed when the plot isn’t what I had imagined. I had initially thought the reason why Otaro was being kissed by Saiko (Kadowaki Mugi) was a threat to make him change a new leaf and treat the women better. (I have no idea where I got that idea from lol) But turns out the reason for the deadly kisses are actually more innocent than that. Not that I’m complaining.


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