Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Sisters of Pearl

English Title: Sisters of Pearl
Chinese Title: ????
Length: 28 Episodes
Genre: Pre-modern, Family
Producer: Lam Chi Wah
Scriptwriters: Suen Ho Ho and Lee Yee Wah
Cast: Jessica Hsuan, Kiki Sheung, Bowie Lam, Michael Tao, Joyce Tang, Macy Chan, Joel Chan, Savio Tsang, etc.

After the death of her husband, Chu Pik Ha (Jessica Hsuan) returns to her maiden home with her son, in a deliberate attempt to take over the family jewelry business from her big sister Chu Pik Wan (Kiki Sheung). To prevent Ha from getting too out of hand, Wan needs her matrilocal husband Ho Cheung Hing (Bowie Lam) to create trouble for her sibling. Hing does not follow her instructions, but instead secretly helps Ha tackle her problems one by one. Wan soon comes to realize that Hing has never really got over Ha. Wan's little sister Chu Pik Lam (Macy Chan) is still attending school and too young to deal with such family issues. Wan feels a profound sense of helplessness and becomes even more frustrated when So Lai Sheung (Joyce Tang) turns up suddenly claiming to be a mistress of her late father and pregnant with his baby. Out of respect for their father, the sisters agree to put Sheung up for the time being until the situation becomes clearer. Shortly thereafter, Ha discovers that Sheung is just a tool of her cousin Hung Yiu Sang (Michael Tao), who has been plotting to wage a battle of wills against the Chus.

Comments: Looks promising and dramatic! Hope it's not overdone though. The cast is great though I'm not a fan of Kiki. Should be interesting to see Jessica as an antagonist. Major fans of Joyce and Macy as well. We'll see how this goes...

Fly With Me

English Title: Fly With Me
Chinese Title: ????
Cantonese Title: Fei Neui Jing Chyun
Producer: Chik Kei Yee
Screenwriter: Chow Yuk Ming
Cast: Ada Choi, Moses Chan, Raymond Cho, Kenny Wong, Catherine Chau, Rachel Kan, Chan Hung Lit, Helen Ma, Ching Hor Wai, Yu Ji Ming, Wong Chun Tong, Yeung Ching Wa, Chan Dik Hak, Lee Ka Din, Mannor Chan, Law Mong, Queenie Chu, Xu Meng, Lily Ho, Tai Yiu Ming, Yiu Hou Jing, Ho Wai Yip, Shum Poh Yee, Kimmy Kwan, etc.
Length: 25 Episodes
Broadcast: April 19, 2010 to May 21, 2010
Genre: Modern, Superhero, Action, Comedy
Leung Hau Chi (Ada Choi), a career woman in her thirties, has all the attributes of a typical Hong Kong woman—fussy, arrogant, and easily irritated by the sight of beautiful younger ladies. She is desperate for love and has been eagerly waiting for the thrilling miracles of life. As Chi is plunged into misery and despair, something strange happens and leads to her abrupt transformation into a superwoman of charm and immense strength. Every time Chi mutates, she is equipped with extraordinary powers, through which she fights for justice and helps the weak, joyously exploring and experiencing a dazzling kaleidoscope of adventures. Along the way, she is happy to have met three nice men, namely the brave yet traditional policeman Yeung Ho Yin (Kenny Wong), the good-natured gentleman turned nouveau-riche businessman Tsu Wing Fai (Raymond Cho), and the super-talented genius Kan Ming Hin (Moses Chan). Fortuitously, Hin is in love with Chi in both her usual and mutated states, leaving her stranded on the horns of a dilemma.

It is always hard to be plain and perfect at the same time. Despite the extraordinary powers she has, Chi is unable to get out of the maze of love. How is Chi going to handle it all? What more perfect choice could there be for her?
Comments: I'm a little late in posting the series info this time, haha. Anyway, I haven't started the series so I can still give my 'initial thoughts.' The series looks lame and exaggerated (and I've heard it is). I expect top notch acting with unusual and unrealistic plot. On a side note, this has got to be the worst TVB poster ever. So cheesy!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Comparing AFOS and MR: The Characters


Although 2010 series A Fistful of Stances has gotten better as it progressed, it's hard to ignore the similarities between it and 2008's critically acclaimed and award winning (don't forget overrated) grand production Moonlight Resonance. One of the hardest similarities to ignore would be the characters. Some characters from both productions seem so alike that A Fistful of Stances seem like they based them off of Moonlight's. Some simply bear some of the same qualities and/or characteristics, while some look like they were practically plagiarized.

Yuen Qiu 's "Au Yeung Wai Lan" vs. Lee Sze Kei's "Hor Ma"

The similarities aren't exactly hard to notice. Both are caring mothers who raised big families on their own. Both have suffered much hardship including losing their husbands. They are both however tough and extremely "good" in that way TVB characters are.

Take your pick. Easy. Yuen Qiu's "Au Yeung Wei Lan." While both are very caring and kindhearted, Wei Lan comes off more realistic. Then again, maybe I'm just biased. I've never seen Lee Sze Kei as a versatile actress, and it's refreshing to see Yuen Qiu as I've never seen her in a series before. However, I'm a lot more fond of Wei Lan because of her tough qualities and talent in kung fu. I'd pick those two over Hor Ma's lousy gags anyway.

Kevin Cheng's "Koo Yu Cheung" vs. Moses Chan's "Kam Wing Ka"

Ah Cheung and Ah Ka are both the eldest brother in the family. However, in both cases, they barely act like it. The role of the eldest brother is taken over by the second brother (Ah Tong in Ah Cheung's case and Goon Ga Jai in Ah Ka's case). This is a result of both characters being 'useless.' Ah Cheung only calls himself useless because he is still new to the family and not familiar with all his family members, making him more modest and understandable. Ah Ka on the other hand initially wasted his life by getting addicted to the stock market, was irresponsible, and silly.
Take your pick. Koo Yu Cheung. While I'm not fond of the character too much, he doesn't feel as much of a waste of my time as Ah Ka was. At the least, he was more hardworking. He also didn't fall in love with a girl (like Ah Ka towards Ka-Mei) just because she was "hot." The character is likable after he puts all his anger issues aside.

Kenneth Ma's "Koo Yu Tong" vs. Raymond Lam's "Kam Wing Ho/Goon Ga Jai"

Although only the second eldest, both guys do a good job of acting as the eldest. They are the father figure of their household. They care for their family and put their family first no matter what. Lastly, both fall for the daughters of the villain.

Take your pick. Koo Yu Tong all the way! While "Goon Ga Jai" is sweet, he lacks layers. His character couldn't be any more simple, and was rather boring. In fact, Goon Ga Jai was so 'good' he was unrealistic (in the way Hor Ma also is). Meanwhile, Koo Yu Tong is intelligent despite his lack of education, clever, funny, and so much more. His character is complex and written well. He's entertaining and so much more lovable. Kenneth also had a lot more to work with than Raymond did, resulting in a fantastic performance, especially when it came down to his emotional scenes.

Natalie Tong's "Ying Ngan Ming" vs. Tavia Yeung's "Suen Ho Yuet"

The similarity is just too obvious. Ah Ngan and Ah Yuet were both adopted at a young age by kind mothers so they grew up with large families. In addition, both fell in love with their non-blood related elder brother.

Take your pick. Tie, I loved both. It's hard to come to a decision because while Ah Yuet and Ah Ngan come from the same background as well as love issues, their personalities are very contrasting. Ah Yuet is outspoken, righteous, but impulsive. Ah Ngan is more vulnerable and shy. The character of Ah Yuet was a bit overrated but Tavia is a fine actress and portrayed her very well. Meanwhile, Natalie continues to improve and I found her so lovable and sweet as the naive Ah Ngan.

Selena Li's "Wing Chi Ching" vs. Linda Chung's "Yue So Chau"

Chi Ching and Yue So Chau, despite having good hearts, struggle with having a parent that have done countless bad deeds. They find it hard to deal with their villain parent. Not only that, both fall for the son of the family their parent hate.

Take your pick. Wing Chi Ching! Let's not even relive the horrible, weak, and annoying Yue So Chau. I think most people share the same view of her (though some are more harsh than others).

Dominic Lam's Wing Tak vs. Michelle Yim's "Yan Hung"

It is inevitable that all the things Wing Tak did (murder three people) were much, much worse than what Yan Hung did. However, both share the characteristic where they are not satisfied until they completely ruin the family they hate. In both cases, the reason why they hate that specific family so much is never justified, making it come off as ridiculous. I lost track of how many times I mentally yelled to Wing Tak "Hey, you're the one who killed three of the Koo's family members. They should be the ones carrying all that unhealthy hate, not you."

Take your pick. None. Wait, maybe I should say Yan Hung just because she wasn't as 'evil.' Then again, it is easier to make a villain more evil in ancient and premodern series. Oh, whatever. Both characters are perfectly hate able.

Lee Sing Cheung's "Au Yeung Cheung" vs. Susanna Kwan's "Chung Siu Sa"

Both get excited at the sight of money. It's that simple. They're greedy and selfish. However, Ah Cheung is just a background character to make the Koo household a bit more noiser and fun. While Chung Siu Sa proved to be incredibly annoying at times, she was one of the main characters who was greatly developed.

Take your pick. Chung Siu Sa of course. Yes, she was annoying at times, but I loved the change she underwent. She had multiple layers and you could sympathize with the character. Of course, the character wouldn't be nearly as entertaining and easy to love if it weren't for the talented Susanna.

Nancy Wu's "Chow Bing Bing" vs. Kate Tsui's "Lo Ka Mei"

Chow Bing Bing is practically a complete copy of Lo Ka Mei. They both give off the impression that they are 'sweet and innocent' when they are truthfully conniving with a heart full of...envy? They have a past of messy relationships. One is an adulteress and gold digger while the other became pregnant as a teen and cruelly put her son into an orphanage (and may I add was so stupid as to get pregnant accidentally again with the same guy). As they both fall for a man, they quickly realize that the man's non blood related sister is in love with them. Even though both women don't do anything to pursue the relationship further, Chow Bing Bing and Lo Ka Mei were keen on ruining their love rival's lives.

Take your pick. Chow Bing Bing. Don't get the wrong idea, I hate both. Chow Bing Bing barely made an impact on the overall plot and merely served the purpose of coming between Koo Yu Cheung and Ah Ngan. Ka Mei however makes Moonlight Resonance go downhill with plenty of screen time and ridiculous schemes. Also, Nancy is a much better actress than Kate.

It's amusing how despite all the similarities between the characters of A Fistful of Stances have to Moonlight Resonance, I liked all the characters of Fistful more (except Au Yeung Cheung vs. Chung Siu Sa). Hey, A Fistful of Stances may have borrowed quite a bit from Moonlight Resonance, but at least they made it better!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

My Better Half Review

My Better Half returns to TVB's lighthearted and enjoyable yet forgettable type series. Unfortunately, that's all that this series is...
Characters and Performances

Maggie Cheung - "Ko Lai Sum"
Being the actress I respect most, Maggie Cheung actually treats acting as an art, an opinion not very common in artistes nowadays. She hates repeating herself, so all her roles are a challenge, unique, and different. As viewers, people trust that any series she's in will be above average. Unfortunately, both the role and the series didn't meet my expectations. Although I expected it to be good, my expectations weren't even set that high. However, Maggie still portrays Lai Sum's tough side and feminine side flawlessly. Maggie's cuteness comes off extremely natural and seems effortless. In the end, I still ponder why Maggie (who is relatively picky when accepting series) agreed to film this. (That makes her the second fa dan for me to ponder over about their comeback. I'm still scratching my head over Kenix Kwok's acceptance of the role Angie from Born Rich.)

Michael Miu - "Ching Sum"
As a capable actor, Michael M.'s not getting roles to show that. Even if he does look young for his age, I don't want to see him as a henpecked husband who sometimes acts like he's 20. Solid performance and decent amount of chemistry with Maggie despite the age difference. However, I don't think I'm pushing it by saying Michael M. hasn't had a good role since 2005's The Academy.

Michael Tse - "Ching Yee"
I think I have a thing for characters who are womanizers at first but become a loving boyfriend/husband later. Just look at my fondness for Born Rich's Topman. While the role isn't a challenge for him, the role is likable and Michael T. has amazing chemistry with Teresa Lee.

Teresa Lee - "Mau Ling Chi/Gigi"
The role is interesting and unique. A clever person chasing after nothing but money at first, she's later revealed to be a sweet, caring woman who wants love (from a man and family/friends). Unlike her rival in love Yuki, Gigi is tough, genuinely loves and cares for Ching Yee, but can take care of herself. That is why I love her so much. Teresa is adorable and full of charm. She nails the role.

On a side note, I loved the co star chemistry between Maggie, Teresa, and both Michael's. They collaborated very well and their friendship came off real. The scenes where they discuss how to make their mother (in-law) happy are sweet. It was hilarious seeing them figure out how to get a baby.

Mandy Cho - "Yau Ka Lei/Yuki"
If you are a bad actress with a bad character, there's no stopping me from hating you. Yuki is annoying, weak, and incapable of taking care of herself. Mandy shows little improvement and her performance comes off half hearted.

Derek Kwok - "Kong Sun So"
Despite claiming to go green, Kong Sun So is a dirty and sloppy person. He wants to have an affair, yet loves his wife greatly. Derek can portray any type of role, both comedic and dramatic, but this character was just a waste of his talent. There wasn't anything special. It's a bit odd Derek's role here was so small considering he's received many second lead and first supporting roles the last two years.

Mimi Lo - "Poon Lei Sin"
Although this is the third consecutive airing series in a row that Mimi's been in, my adoration for Mimi continues to increase. She has a knack for comedy and is cute and hilarious. Mimi always seems to have these crazy curly hairstyles in series (D.I.E. Again, The Beauty of the Game) but I thought this particular one fitted her and made her look very cute.

Oscar Leung - "Heung Cheuk Shek"
Oscar is cute has shown to be talented with an incredible amount of potential as an actor. He's still terribly under rated, but it appears he has high chances of grabbing the Most Improved Actor award this year. Or at least, that's what we TVB bloggers hope.

Grace Wong - "So Sin Hung"
Grace manages to stand out in the circle of new comers with her passion for the entertainment industry. She takes acting seriously, and obviously knows what she's doing. However, I expected more from her role. I would've liked to see more of her and Oscar too. Their 'getting together' was too rushed.

Zac Kao
Not only is he extremely cute, Zac has an immense amount of comedic talent. He is naturally hilarious and always manages to make me laugh. I was amused that TVB took notice of the fact he and Michael Miu look extremely alike and even had Zac play Michael's look alike. TVB, promote him!

Surprise, Surprise!

Out of nowhere, fellow actress and real life wife of Michael Miu, Jamie Chik makes a cameo in the last episode of My Better Half as a doctor sharing a scene with the cast, with her husband included of course. What a cute surprise!


The cast and acting is nearly perfect (with the exception of Mandy). As always though, acting can not save a bad script. While My Better Half isn't necessarily bad, it was only mediocre. For Maggie Cheung's comeback, it greatly disappointed. It is funny at times, but it's exaggerated and awfully silly humor. If it weren't for Maggie, and the chemistry of Michael T and Teresa, I would've given up on the series.

2 1/2 stars