Sleeping or Waking (Japanese Film Review & Summary)

Japanese Film 2018


Sleeping or Waking (Japanese Film Review & Summary)

Sleeping or Waking poster

  • Aka: Asako I & II
  • Genre: Romance, Drama, Mystery
  • Date Released: 2018
  • Origin: Based on a novel by Tomoka Shibasaki called Netemo Sametemo
  • Film: 119 minutes


  • Masahiro Higashide as Baku & Ryohei
  • Erika Karata as Asako
  • Koji Seto as Kushihashi
  • Rio Yamashita as Maya
  • Sairi Itoh as Haruyo
  • Daichi Watanabe as Okazaki

This drama was entered at the 71st Cannes Film Festival.  It has that arty look as well as the feel for Cannes.

Anyway, the story is pretty interesting but a bit draggy in some parts, which actually the arty bits.

Asako first met Baku at a photo gallery.  She was entranced by the look of Baku, despite him looking unkempt.

They were both leaving the gallery when some children released some firecrackers which surprised both Baku and Asako.

They looked at each other and they began to kiss.  And that was the start of their romance.

It was a very sensual, erotic relationship.  They were once riding a motorcycle which crashed.  They looked as if they were hurt but they reached for one another and started kissing, much to the surprise of their rescuers and onlookers.

As much as Asako was enjoying being with Baku, her friend Haruyo, continuedly warned her to be careful of Baku because he was bad news.

But Asako was in love until one day Baku just disappeared.

Two years later, Asako is now working in Tokyo in a coffee shop.  In front of their shop was an office building where Ryohei works as a regular salaryman.

Asako was collecting the coffee kettles and mugs when she saw Baku’s double.  She double takes and asked the man if he was Baku.

He said he is not from the zoo.  After they finally understood one another Asako found out that he was Ryohei.

At first, Asako tried to keep her distance from Ryohei but he was persistent to know her.  Until he said he likes her.

Asako was charmed.  But looks like she likes him because of his resemblance to Baku.

Before long, Asako had moved in with Ryohei.  They were quite happy together with their cat, Chintan.

Asako and Ryohei were shopping together when they had a chance encounter with Haruyo.  Haruyo was surprised how Ryohei looks so much like Baku.

Haruyo quickly told Asako that she was happy for her because Ryohei seems such a good man.  She also said that Baku is back, pointing to a billboard where a well-groomed Baku was modelling.

Asako was surprised as she had not noticed it before.

Asako and Ryohei invited Haruyo to dinner at their house.  There Haruyo met Maya and Kushihashi.

The girls were having a friendly chat while the boys were outside.

Their conversation led to the new star, Baku.  Asako had to confess that she used to date Baku.

Maya asked if she was going to tell Ryohei, which Haruyo said she mustn’t.

But Asako doesn’t want any secrets from Ryohei, so she told him and Ryohei was cool about it.  He said that he had known for a while that she must have dated Baku because of her reaction to him, when they first met.

Asako was so relieved.

Ryohei was being sent to the countryside by his work and he asked Asako to move  with him and get married.

Asako happily accepted and loved the new house they were going to move in.

They were being given a dinner farewell party by their friends and in walked Baku.

He said he had returned as he had promised her.

Baku then left with Asako.  Ryohei was devastated.

Baku and Asako droved for a while but Asako quickly realised that Baku is hardworked and that all along she loves Ryohei.

She asked Baku to leave her as she will return to Ryohei.

Baku agreed.

Asako returned to Ryohei but he was not happy to see her.  Everyone was telling her that he will not forgive her for running off with another man.

But someone also told her to do everything she can to stay with the one that really matters to her.

She went back to Ryohei and explained that what she did to him was unforgivable so she was not even going to apologise.  But she just wanted to stay by his side forever.

Ahhh, Ryohei finally allowed her to get inside the house but told her that he will never trust her again.


Making Family (Chinese/South Korean Movie Review & Summary)

South Korean/Chinese Collaboration 2016

Making Family (Chinese/South Korean Movie Review & Summary)

Making Family poster

  • Genre: Family, Long-lost Father, Business
  • Date Released: 2016
  • Origin: South Korea & China collaboration movie
  • Film: 100 minutes


  • Kim Ha-nuel as Go Mi Yeon
  • Aarif Rahman as Zhao Liyan
  • Moon Mason as Go Tae Bong


This is quite watchable.  Kim Ha Nuel is beautiful as a fresh face Go Mi Yeon, who is career minded.

She used to live in America with her boyfriend who died in an accident living her alone and pregnant.

But her misfortune only continued because before long she miscarried her baby.

Alone in America, she suddenly felt the need for a baby, which she can love so completely.

Zhao Liyan at that time as in America and studying arts.  He had a best friend who was strapped for cash and would enter any money-making drive in a heartbeat.

One of these lucrative enterprises was to donate sperms.

Unfortunately, during the clinic appointment, his friend had a hangover so he begged Zhao Liyan to pretend as him and do the business of donating his sperms.

Zhao Liyan would not agree at first but in the end, he took pity of his friend.

Ten years later…

A nine-year-old boy was sitting in front of his mother OB-Gyn doctor and asking all questions about how he was conceived and who was his father.

Even when it was explained to him that his father was just an anonymous donor, the boy continued to question the doctor, who had been in-love with Mi-Yeon, more of the donor’s whereabouts.

As the boy, Tae Bong, was not getting any joy, he distracted the doctor and plugged in his hacking device into the doctor’s computer.

The young boy was a genius.  He got all the information he wanted and went about locating the donor.

Tae Bong went to an apartment and found the donor, but he knew instinctively that he was not his father.

Somehow the boy found the address of the real donor.

The intrepid Tae Bong packed his bag and was ready with his passport.  (Where did he get the money?  Did he steal his mother’s credit card/s)

He went to the airport was on board the plane to China.

The doctor called Mi Yeon about  Tae Bong and when she turned up at the clinic, the supposed donor was with the doctor.  The man explained that her son came to see him.

Anyway, Mi Yeon immediately knew that her precocious son had done something.  As soon as she got home, she saw his little note.

She flew to China.

Tae Bong was so resourceful for a nine-year-old, he was able to find where Tae Bong lived.  He knocked and introduced himself to his unsuspecting father.

He threw the boy out.

The boy slept on the flat’s veranda.  When he woke up he just saw his father living in his motorbike.

He gave chase, while his mother was just getting to the apartment herself.

The father was so surprised by the boy following him that he was destructed and had an accident.  He ended up in the hospital, where the boy patiently waited for him to be treated.

When they left the hospital, the boy was still sticking to Zhao Liyang like a glue.  So he took him to the police station and left him there.

Meanwhile Mi Yeon was told by the neighbours that Zhao Liyang was the son of a hotellier.

Mi Yeon went to the hotel and created such as scene screaming for her son and Zhao Liyang.  Zhao Liyang’s father had a talk with Mi Yeon and confirmed that Zhao Liyang was the father of her son.

The person most ecstatic about a new member of the Zhao family was the Liyang’s grandmother.

She took matters into her own hand when Zhao Liyang finally arrived.  Zhao Liyang said that he left the boy with the police.

Zhao Liyang and Mi Yeon immediately went the police and therefore missed their son’s escape and return to the flat.

The grandmother found the boy at the doorsteps and she looked after the boy while the parents were out.

Anyway, when they had finally met up, Liyang’s father ordered that his son should take the Mi Yeon and her son for the next morning flight back to South Korea.

The three were in the airport but all the seats in every airline had been taken and there is a waiting period of three days for the next available flight.

Mi Yeon and son had to go back to the hotel.

At that moment, the grandmother had decided that the family should have a family bonding in their old ancestral home.  She invited Mi-Yeon and her son to go with them.

Mi Yeon was reluctant at first but the grandmother had a quick word with her saying that now that her son had met his father, it would not just end like that.  It would be better for the father and son to know each other a little bit more.

They did have a good time and Mi Yeon and Liyang surprisingly got along well.

But Liyang’s father was still suspicious of the Mi Yeon and her son.

The grandmother had tired herself so much that she collapsed and ended in the hospital.

The father then insisted that Mi Yeon and her son leave for South Korea asap, which they did.

Behind the scene, Liyang has had a pending case against plagiarising his exhibition from another artist.

The case was heard by the court and it was found that it was the other artist who copied Liyang’s work after Liyang’s father testified.

Mi Yeon and Tae Bong are now back in South Korea and to normal life.

Tae Bong had a choir presentation for parents and who would suddenly walk in.

Liyang appeared.  All three are all smiles…

It was a very watchable film, quite fast-paced and interesting.

Mr Pride Vs Miss Prejudice (Chinese Movie Review & Summary)

Chinese Film 2017

Mr Pride Vs Miss Prejudice (Chinese Movie Review & Summary)

Mr Pride & Miss Prejudice poster

  • Genre: Romance
  • Date Released: 2017
  • Origin: China
  • Film: 108 minutes


This is definitely a weekend treat.

So watch this space for the summary and review.





Forever Young (Chinese Movie Review & Summary)

Chinese Film 2015

Forever Young (Chinese Movie Review & Summary)

Forever Young poster

  • Genre: Youth, College, Performing Arts, Tragedy, Romance, Dance, Ballet, Music, Band
  • Date Released: 2015
  • Origin: China; Film


  • Li Yifeng as Xu Nuo
  • Zhang Huiwen as Yan Xi
  • Jiang Jinfu as An Di
  • Wei Daxun as Zhang Zaichang
  • Calvin Tu as Kang Jian
  • Zhang Yuxi as Xia Jingjing
  • Li Xin’ai as Gao Mei Xue
  • Song Yi as Shen Jiamao
  • Leon Zhang as Wei Ge
  • Chai Ge
  • Wang Youshuo
  • Coco Lee
  • Liu Haoran as University Radio DJ & host


Youtube is a wonderful thing.  Global movies and dramas are widely available in this platform.  Some are subbed in English.

I found this film today and currently watching it.

The film is full of eye candies and that is a major plus.  The pacing of the movie is a tad slow but all the same it is quite watchable and enjoyable.

I thought at first the story revolved around a friendship of four girls, Yanxi, Jingjing, Mei Xue and Jiamo.  These four girls were roommates and had been the bestest of friends for four years.  They shared the ultimate goal of going to Paris Opera Ballet (POB) after graduation.

Their friendship was put to the test when one by one their result of their application to POB started arriving.

Yanxi found out that her three friends had decided that they would not really like to go to POB.  Yanxi was aggressively annoyed with her friends telling them that it was a betrayal to their life-long dreams.  It looks likes their friendship was in fragments.

Her friends were out in town looking for a present for her coming birthday when she called them to go to rehearsal for their end of term, ‘Dream Night’ where they will be performing the Dance of the Cygnets.

Jingjing, Mei Xue and Jiamo were on their way back via an unlicensed taxi when it crashed into a lorry killing all the passengers instantly.

Woah, did not expect that.

Anyway, Yanxi was guilt-ridden that she contemplated drowning herself but she heard the voices of her friends telling her to live and fulfil her dreams to the best that she can.  They also wanted her to do the Dream Night.

Yanxi was determined to put on a show on Dream Night and practised like someone possessed, thus ending breaking a leg.

Her devoted boyfriend, Xu Nuo cared for her and was doing everything he can to make her promise to the departed girls come happen.

Xu Nou is a very talented musician.  He was the lead vocalist by a band comprising of his three best friends.

His friends grew pretty close to YanXi’s friends as well so they were very sad with the passing of the three girls.

With YanXi recuperating in the hospital, Xu Nou started dividing his time with visiting her, his studies and later on his dancing.

As it would now be impossible for Yanxi to perform the Dance of the Cygnets, Xu Nou took it upon himself to make it happened – somehow, even if he had to do it himself.

And he did with his three friends after much convincing.

The journey towards achieving their goal did not come easy.

As the days starting rolling into the day of the Dream Night, stress took hold of the friends.  They realised that they had been spending all their time rehearsing a dance while they have completely packed in their musical careers.

The last straw was Wei Ge trying to weigh in by attempting to recruit Xunou to join his band rather than stay with XuNou’s own inept band.

Wei Ge wrote a song for XuNou and he wanted him to sing it.  They had a mini session singing the song together.  XuNou did not know that it was recorded in given to the university DJ to play on air which then overheard by his own band and created such a ruckous that the limping YanXi overheard.

The fight escalated when An Di could not hold back his simmering anger which included YanXi.  He blurted out that she will not going to Paris Opera Ballet as her application was rejected.

YanXi was utterly and thoroughly humiliated.

She sought a break up from XuNou.

XuNou is now at the end of his tether.  Luckily Ms Han, the dance teacher told him to continue the ballet dance himself.

He was strumming his guitar and humming a song he composed which was overheard by Wei Ge.  Again he tried to recruit him.

Then came the day, Dream Night day.

Xunou was frustratingly trying to tie in the laces of his tutu which he can’t really reach.

Suddenly behind him, were his three best friends already dressed in their own tutu.

They gave a standing ovation performance.  They started it with the Dance of the Cygnets in their tutu and then they had a quick chance of a more musculine outfit and gave the Dance of the Cygnets a more contemporary version.

YanXi was overwhelmed with happiness as she saw each of friends in the tutu’ed male dancers.

YanXi and XuNou reconciled. Awwww





Fall In Love At First Kiss (Chinese Movie Review & Summary)

Chinese Film 2019

Fall In Love At First Kiss (Chinese Movie Review & Summary)

Love at First Kiss poster

  • Genre: Romance, Youth, Rich Boy, Poor Girl, Flower Boy
  • Release Date: 14 February 2019
  • Origin: Chinese Movie Version; Reboot of Mischievous Kiss, It Started with a Kiss, Playful Kill, Itzura Na Kiss, Kiss Me


I have seen all the versions of this manga both the films and dramas,

I love them all as each version has a slight difference but the framework is all there, the same thing with this movie.

Yuang Qian Xin is a fairly ordinary girl but as cute as a button and has the tenacity to get what she wanted and she wanted Jian Shi Zhu from the first moment that she saw him which ended accidentally in some sort of a kiss.

From then on, she was in love.

She can’t keep the feeling all to herself and encouraged by her friend to confess to the most popular, best looking with a 200 IQ of their school, she sought Shi Zhu to officially tell him how she feels by way of a love note which she presented to him.

Shi-Zhu refused the letter and Qian Xin ended up embarrassed as the school had monitor their aborted love confession.

Anyway, Qian Xin would have probably gotten over him after such humiliation.  But as her luck would have it, their rickety house can’t hold much longer and completely collapsed on the ground.

Qian Xin’s father had an affluent best friend who he has not seen in years but had warmly welcomed him and Qian Xin to live at his house.

There his wife was very happy to have them be part of the family.

Qian Xin was giver her own room and had happily displayed all her photos of her crush, Shi Zhu.  She even had a full-size figure of him printed on her duvet.  She was settling for the night when she heard a rather familiar voice.  It was, of course, Shi Zhu who was the first son of the family.

Shi Zhu’s mother tried to throw them together.  The mother is not as bad as the other version.  She is not so in your face but she had taken Qian Xin under her wing.

Shi Zhu though had given her conditions to adhere to.  She must never tell anyone that they know each other, that they live at the same house and never ever approach him at school.

Qian Xin was feeling more in love with Shi Zhu to the point that she has become rather annoyingly clingy.  She was stalking him most of the time.

Shi Zhu belonged to the highest section of their year.  He was in Class A while Qian Xin was in Class F.

Shi Zhu had a classmate who he was closed to and would probably become his girlfriend if  Qian Xin did not happen.  But then again, Qian Xin has a close male friend as well, who Shi Zhu would be jealous of once in a while.

Shi Zhu did put Qian Xin under a lot of humiliating circumstances that even her father advised her to give up.  Probably they were not really fated.  Qian Xin understood what her father meant and agreed that they should really move out.

A few months later, Qian Xin was giving patients in a hospital the scare of their lives.  She is now studying to become a nurse and she was rather incompetent, totally lacking confidence in taking a blood test.

She noticed a text in her mobile that Shi Zhu will give a talk at the auditorium.  She got curious and went to see.  She promised herself that she will as quiet as a mouse,  she’ll just take a peep.

When she opened the door, there was only one person inside.  He was standing in the middle of the aisle.  It was of course Shi Zhu.

After some pleasantries, Shi Zhu asked to marry her,

The request was so random that Qian Xin said that they have never even dated.  They only had ever shared three kisses.

“Four”, he corrected and said that being married to her is the only way that they can always be together because she is only ever allowed to fall in love and stay in love with him.


It is a pretty cute film with gorgeous leads.  It ticks all the boxes of the  versions despite this film being only over two hours.



Monstrum (South Korean Movie Review & Summary)

South Korean Film

Monstrum (South Korean Movie Review & Summary)


Monstrum poster

  • Genre: Horror, period drama, Action, thriller
  • Date Released: September 2019
  • Origin: South Korea


  • Kim Myung-min as Yun-kyum
  • Kim In-kwon as Sung-han
  • Lee Hye-ri as Myung
  • Choi Woo-shik as Hur
  • Park Hee-soon as King Jungjong
  • Lee Moon-young as Sim Woon
  • Park Sung-woong as Jin-yong
  • Lee Kyu-bok as Mo-gae


Review & Summary

This movie was apparently based on real event which happened in 1527, Joseon Period, during the reign of King Jungjong.  There was a monster in the palace so he had to move out for a while.

Anyway, the movie started during the early days of the reign of King JungJong.  He was a very weak ruler.  He was more of a figurehead and the ministers were abusing their roles, issuing orders by themselves.  One of the orders was to completely annihilate a village where there was a plague.

Everyone was killed, men, women, and children except a little girl who was protectively held by her dead mother.

General Yun Kyum could not believe the massacre that happened.  He picked the girl up and went to the king during a morning court meeting and reported what had happened and that he would not allow the girl to be killed.

Some of the young ministers vouched for his good behavior and therefore he escaped the death penalty.  However, he was stripped of his position and the king had announced that Yun Kyum must never show his face in the palace ever again.

Yun Kyum left his trusted sword and walked out with the little girl safely in his arms.

Seven years later, the little girl, Myung, had grown into an able archer and a feisty young lady.  She lives with her ‘father’ Yun Kyum and uncle Sung Han in the remotest place by the mountain.  They live mostly on vegetables and fish.  Lately, they have noticed that animals have drastically reduced in number.

Though there were only three of them, they were happy and content.

One day, out of the blue a young scholar, Hur, from the palace came to see Yun Kyum.  He said that he was sent by the king who wanted to see Yun Kyum.

The king then suddenly appeared and had told Yun Kyum that there was another plague in the country but that was not the real problem. There were rumors that there was a monster that had been killing the people faster than the plague itself.

The king formally apologised to Yun Kyum and told him that he was the only one he trusts.  The king wants him to take up his sword again and investigate whether the monster does exist.

As it was an order by the king, Yun Kyum had to obey.  With Sung Han and Myung, he went back to the capital.

They have started investigating the scene of a recent massacre.  What they found out was that it was man-made rather than by a monster.

But there were more incidents and witnesses were swearing that they saw the monster.

With Yun Kyum, Sung Han, Myung, and Hur, they led the hunt for the monster.  They found some ordinary people who volunteered and some who were conscripted to join the hunt. The government military led by General Jin Yong escorted them.

While deep in the mountain, General Jin Yong attacked the volunteers who were working with his army.  He killed every single one.

Yun Kyum with Heo found a strange enormous animal footprint. which they thought they should investigate some more. But Jing Yong and his men corralled them.  He was about to execute them when out of nowhere a gargantuan animal came bouncing in, ravaging anyone it got near to.

Myung and Hur fell into the cliff.  Yun Kyum and Sung Han went to look for them.  They found the two in the lair of the monster.

Strangely there was a random old man in the lair and told them to douche themselves with the sticky liquid from a small puddle.  Apparently, the smell from the liquid prevents the sight-challenged monsters from being aware of them.  He can’t see them but it has a keen hearing.

The monster had just had its fill of a cannibalistic dinner when it fell asleep.

They each tried to get into a cave but the monster woke up.

They run farther into the cave but the monster followed agilely.  They ended up falling into a ravine and straight into a canal leading to the palace.

Not one of them knew of this underground part of the palace.  But the random old man did.  He was one of the engineers of the underground animal laboratory.  Apparently, the previous emperor has a hobby of collecting the fiercest, strangest animals that could be found around the world.  He then encouraged procreation to create the fiercest most dangerous yet.

When the emperor died, the Prime Minister found out about the laboratory and had the animals killed except for the cute and cuddly looking black dog that the old man led to the gateway into the mountains.

It seems the animal grew so huge and ferocious.

While the four and the old man were trying to terminate the monster, the Prime Minister and General Jung Yong were staging a coup to overthrow King Jingjong.

At the last minute, the monster appeared much to the surprise of the Prime Minister who admitted that he made up the whole monster thing.

Yun Kyung managed to get the king to safety by asking guards who were still faithful to the king to guard him.

From this time on, the monster was almost unstoppable.  Until all the palace archers and men with hooks worked together to stop the monster.  They were able to stop it for a while but the Prime Minister ordered not to kill it as he will use it for the press release and parade it in the village for the people to see.

He spoke too soon because the monster found renewed vigor and got away from its shackles.  It did it worse and fatally injured the nasty Prime Minister.

Meanwhile, Yun Kyum had an idea of bringing the monster back into the animal lab and blow it to pieces.  So he tasked Sung Han and Hur to find explosives and bring them to the lab.

He then tried to make the monster to follow him into the lab.

What he did not know was that it was rather chaotic in the lab as General Jin Yong was trying to halt Sung Han and Hur from strategically arranging the explosives.

Thank goodness Myung appeared and with her prowess in archery got General Jin Yong in the chest saving Hur,.

Finally, the monster was in the lab and they lit the wicks of the explosive but they had gone off when the monster stumped on them.

Yun Kyum ushered the three out and locked himself in the lab to blow the explosives himself.  Sung Han was sorrowful and Myung was absolutely devastated by her father’s suicide mission.

They saw the huge explosion and they were grieving.

As soon as it was safe to get back into the lab among the debris, Myung went to look for her father.  She was resigned that he died but she saw a rope leading to a hole into the floorboards.  She went to see it with the help of the villagers who came with them.  There under the floorboards, Yun Kyum was unconscious but the excited scream of Myung woke him up.

The King moved out of the palace for three years to ensure that the monster was truly gone.

Three years later, Yun Kyum retired from the army and was going back with Sung Han to their cabin in the mountain leaving Myung to Hur in the capital.

He was rather sad to leave his daughter behind.

Hung San, strangely only now asked how Yun Kyum got away from the monster.  Yun Kyum said that it was through simple engineering using the already in place ropes in pulleys.

The film is a bit predictable but having said that it was enjoyable to watch because the action was in good cadence.  Once the monster appeared which was fairly early on, the thrill was there in spade, all the way through.

The cast is a good selection of leading actors,  Hyeri was so pretty with her minimal make-up and good acting as well.

I also love the title because the animal is actually created as a monster through human manipulation of its DNA.  The real monsters are the people. who would massacre a whole village without much thought?  That is monstrous.