Category: SE ASIAN FILMS

A Tale of Samurai Cooking A True Love Story 2013 (Review & Recap)

A Samurai Wedding

A Tale of Samurai Cooking A True Love Story 2013 (Review & Recap)

I have just watched this 2 hours Japanese film this cold Sunday afternoon/early evening here in London.  I must admit it is a perfect movie for a lazy end of the week.

There are lots of food, some samurai fighting, intrigues in the Edo period and of course a BIT of romance.  I have to point out that it was really tiny, small, minute romance.  Even the ending when they had sorted out their misunderstanding the hug was so sedate.  It was not even a full hug.  It was just a one shoulder hug between Haru and Yasonobu.

The story is that Haru ended up reluctantly marrying Yasonobu who is 4 years younger that her on the behest (pleading of Yasonabu’s father, the master cook from the Funaki Family who serves in the Kaga Domain)

Haru, played by Aya Ueto, is an excellent cook, who was orphaned  at a very early age of 12.  She was then taken in to cook for the concubine of the House of Signoria (whatever?) 🙂  She became a great favourite of the concubine and treated her more like a daughter.

During a gastronomy festival, Funaki Sensei presented the upper class with a mystery dish.  He then asked each of the diners to guess what the dish was,  Only the concubine was able to guess it correctly and she then confessed that Haru told her.

Funaki Sensei was impressed that he beg Haru to marry his son.  Haru said that she was already married though in a process of divorce.  Her husband’s family had to send her back because she was noisy and too assertive.

Funaki Sensei beg and beg and assured Haru that he will sort out the divorce. She had to marry Yasonobu to save the Funaki family.

Yasonobu, played by Kengo Kora, is a second son.  Being not the heir initially, he was more or less free to do what he wanted and he wanted to become a samurai warrior and marry the only daughter, Sayo, of the dojo.

He fell in love at first sight with Saya and hoped of marrying her and be the master of the Samurai dojo.

Unfortunately his elder brother, the heir to the Funaki culinary dynasty died in the plague.  He, therefore, had to forget Saya and continue his father’s legacy.

Saya ended up marrying Yasonobu’s best friend.

Though Yasonobu is now the heir, he was a terrible cook and rather a spoiled brat.

He was also cold to Haru.

Haru was patient and was caring and supportive to her husband.  She taught him the basics of cooking and for all it’s worth Yasonobu was quite an able apprentice.  So much so that he got promoted from the samurai school of cookery, eh???? 🙂

It was quite fraught during that time, uprisings were everywhere.

Yosonobu would have died if Haru did not take it upon herself to sabotage his mission to join a small band of men intent on assassinating the Lord of Kaga.

Yosonobu was so frustrated when he found that his bestfriend died during the failed assassination.  He blamed Haru for preventing him from joining the dead.  He was on the act of beheading Haru when his mother came up and slapped him; telling him that he was a thoughtless idiot.  He was self-centred not thinking that he was her only remaining child.

When everything has quietened a little bit, Haru packed her clothes and went. She left a letter saying that she is releasing Yosonobu from their marriage and now free to marry the woman, who he truly loves.

Haru has opened a little beach cafe (without the coffee – being the Edo period hahaha) and was contented until her next customer happened to be Yosonobu, who said that he had been looking for her and that his father advised him not to come back without her and that his mother wanted a grand-child but only if Haru was the mother.  And that he had no feelings whatsoever for Saya and likes being married to Haru.  Ahhhhhh

Haru run to his right shoulder for half a body hug.  Ahhhhh

And they happily trod on together back to the family house.

It was a cute drama.  The costumes are so lovely.  Aya Ueto was stunning with her geisha like make-up.  Kengo would have been drop-dead gorgeous if did not have that Samurai part shaved head. 🙂

Boukyaku no Sachiko (2018) – Japanese Drama Review

Boukyaku no Sachiko (2018)

Boukyaku no Sachiko (2018) – Japanese Drama Review

I just watched this drama today and was absolutely enchanted by Mitsuki Takahata all over again.

For such a young actress, she is showing so much versatility.  She was perfect as the pure and innocent overprotected Kahoko.

In Boukyaku no Sachicko, Mitsuki plays Sasaki Sachiko, who is a literary agent and very punctilious with her work.  She is much lauded for her hard work and perfectionism.  She was almost robotic with her attention to details.

Her boss and co-workers were absolutely flabbergasted when she one day announced that she was getting married.  They did not even know that she was dating.

On the day of the wedding, everything seems to run smoothly.  The groom, Shungo, is tall and slim, but his face was never shown fully and frontally.

When Sachiko went to change her western-style wedding dress for a traditional Japanese attire for the reception, she was informed by her mother that the groom was missing.

She was later handed a little note saying, “Sachiko, sorry”.

The next day, she went back to work as if nothing had happened and everything seemed normal but she was breaking down.

She was given a few days to think things through and calm down.

On her way home she happened to stop by in a ramen house where she had the most delicious miso soup and mackerel in miso sauce.  She was surprised that the delicious food made her forget about Shungo.

Good food can make one happy, even if momentarily.

This drama, which is based on a manga by Abe Jun is very enjoyable.  Hoping for the next part soonest!

Unexpectedly Yours (Filipino Movie)

Unexpectedly Yours movie poster from Star Cinema Productions

Unexpectedly Yours (Filipino Movie)

It was lovely to see Robin Padilla and Sharon Cuneta again in a movie.

These two used to be a real life couple, but that was another time as they are now both married but not to each other 🙂

In the film, their chemistry is still bubbling hot despite all the years.

Sharon is still beautiful in spite of the extra pounds.  And Robin… well Robin is Robin.  Gorgeous with that devil may care attitude and a look that is so tantalisingly sexy.  🙂 – the Bad Boy persona.

The film itself is pleasant, plenty of funny moments and lush scenery of the monied area in the the Philippines.

But storywise, it would certainly not leave you thinking about the narratives afterwards but instead makes you think how much the darling of 80s Philippine cinema, that is Sharon Cuneta, gained so much weight.  But as of writing this blog, Sharon has continued shedding the excess pounds and would certainly look different comes next movie.

I have to be honest, I was not riveted with this film.   It is extremely lightweight with not much of a story. I kept wanting to check my Facebook in the middle of it.

What is the story about?

Patricia (Sharon) had just turned 50 and menopausal but deep down still hoping to reconcile with her ex-husband, who she witnessed proposing to another much younger and thinner woman during her birthday celebration.  This incident drove her to drink.  And whilst the worse for wear, she stumbled into a stranger’s hotel room in a drunken faint.

The stranger happens to be someone who used to go to the same high school as her.  He is Cocoy (Robin) who has carried a torch for her for over 35 years, though she barely knew he existed.  Cocoy made his fortune from being a seaman.

The next time Patty saw Cocoy again after the hotel room malarkey was during his moving day to his new house, which coincidentally is next door to Patty’s house.

Patty shares her house with a rather rebellious daughter (Julia Baretto), who has an internet boyfriend from the UK.

Cocoy shares his new home with a young nephew who fancied the girl next door (Patty’s daughter).

It so happened that Patty and high school friends are organising an alumni reunion; Cocoy came to the rescue to find a last minute venue.

Cocoy has become a constant companion for Patty, who is suffering from the onset of menopause as well as work politics and assassination to her ‘out of touch’ CMO (Chief Marketing Officer) role in the  company she works for.  To top it all, her bullying mother is constantly harping about her weight, ex-husband and daughter.

In one family confrontation, she inadvertently sidelined and marginalised Cocoy role in her life.

He felt betrayed and unwanted.  He secretly decided to go back to seafaring.

With her daughter having gone to the UK to meet her boyfriend and Cocoy gone, Patty felt all alone.  And during the class reunion, she finally did a shoutout to Cocoy, who surprise, surprise, was also attending.  Happy ending for this two.

And the daughter came back from the UK, heartbroken having found out that her online boyfriend was still shagging his other girlfriend.  🙂

Yap, that is the story!  Despite the rather hackneyed script, Sharon and Robin made the film watchable.

Kimi Ni Todoke (Reaching you/From Me To You)

Kimi Ni Todoke (Reaching you/From Me To You)

This Japanese film starring Mikako Tabe and Haruma Miura is a beautiful drama based on a manga.

Mikako plays the character, Sawako Kuronuma, who with her long black hair, is feared by everyone, young and old.

They thought that she looked so much like the scary girl Sadako in The Ring.  Rumours were abound that she brings bad luck, thus she was turned into a lonesome  girl.

But Sawako is a pure, innocent and kind girl who believes in doing good things each day.

One day she noticed a boy who was looking lost.  Though she was shy, she told the boy where the school was.

The boy is Shota Kazehaya, played by Miura.  He was a very good-looking boy and quite gregarious.  He immediately noticed how lonely Kuronuma was and how industrious she was.  He made it his mission to include her into his ‘world’ more.

Eventually Sawako did develop friendships but it was a long road.

It was a lovely film, funny at times especially when the actress was made to look like Sadako of the Ring.

Totally recommend as a feel good film.

Clover (Japanese Film)

Clover

Clover is a Japanese movie starring Emi Takei who plays Saya Suzuki, an inexperienced hotel employee working under an elite boss, Susumo Tsuge played by Tadayoshi Okura, who was rather exacting and strict.

After another mistake committed by Saya (Takei) she was asked to see her boss, Susumo Tsuge, outside.  Saya begged her boss to not beat around the bush with his castigation as she is a simple stupid girl.

The boss looked at her and said “I would like you to go out with me”

This was totally unexpected that Saya wanted confirmation what was just said.  And here is where the rather sedate romance begins.

This is a Japanese film so it is not a straight forward sweet romance.  Both leads were put through the ringers after all William Shakespeare did put it “The course of true love never did run smooth.”  LOL

There were a lot of misunderstanding.  But there is a happy ending. 🙂

As background, Saya when just 14 years old eloped with a boyfriend who was about to emigrate to the US with his parents.  The young couple was found in a field of clover trying to look for the lucky four-leaf clover.  Unfortunately they were found by their family before the can find the four-leaf.

Apparently the one who found the lucky clover has to be the one to make the wish for it to come true.

Near the end of the film, Saya found a clover in a bunch of flowers.  She lost the clover, which went under a table.  She searched only to find that Susumu Tsuge (boss/boyfriend) has found it.

And they got married and lived happily ever after.  🙂

Train To Busan (Korean Zombie Film)

Train to Busan

This film is a Gong Yoo starrer.  It is a very watchable movie with lots of actions.

If you like zombie, this is the film.  Edge of seat scenes are aplenty.

Gong Yoo was very athletic in this film.  Lots of running round, lots of fighting against humans and the rabid zombies.  There are also scenes which show why humans are their own worst enemy.

This film was a box-office success and this says it all.

There have been rumours that a sequel is going to be made.  I hope Gong Yoo would reprise his role but, without giving too much away, I don’t really know how?!!!

Anyway this film is a standalone and will be enjoyed by anyone over the age of 12.

Missing (2016) – Korean Film

Missing (2016)

Missing is a South Korean film starring Gong Hyo Jin as a Chinese Korean nanny hired by a workaholic divorcee to look after her 12 month old baby daughter.  The mother is so busy with her job that she hardly spend any time with her baby or at home and to top it all, she was also in a custody battle with her doctor ex-husband.

One day she came home after another busy day at work only to find the nanny and her baby gone.  She search everywhere and found out her nanny has a very mysterious past.

This film is not at all predictable though it does have some similarities to Hollywood’s blockbustre ‘The Hand the Rock The Cradle”.  Gong Hyo Jin’s character is more complex.  You feel sympathy for her.  You wanted to forgive her because she had such a sad life.  She was a bride brought from China by an abusive husband and an intolerant mother-in-law.  She managed to get away from the family but she was already pregnant.  She had to rely on the kindness of strangers but even that is not enough as the baby got seriously ill.

This drama not only tackle prostitution, it also deals with the underworld selling of human organs.

Totally recommend this film.

One Week Friends – Japanese Film

One Week Friends

Just finished watching this Japanese movie, which stars the super kawaii Yamazaki Kento and Kawaguchi Haruna. It is a youth romance.

Haruna plays Kaori, a girl so traumatised with previous events in her life that she developed a dissociative amnesia, where she has to restart her memory every Monday.  Thus it was hard to make friends and in the end she gave up and people around her as well.

Kento plays Yuki, a rather innocent boy who is obsessed with drawing and manga.

Their first meeting was somewhat eventful.  Yuki found Kaori’s ID/library card in the library.  He thought she was pretty. He was in the process of smelling the card rather like a perv when Kaori found him. 🙂

It was the start of 2nd year when they found themselves being in the same class.  Yuki tried to make friends with Kaori but she would just decline.

But Yuki is persistent and had the brilliant idea of presenting her with a couple’s diary so she has a reference of who he was and what they had done over the weeks.  This helped a great deal and eventually they did become friends.

But before their friendship really deepens, Kaori’s past started to catch up.  The boy, Hajime, she liked during middle school transferred to her school and into her class.  He was the source of her trauma.  Their backstory was that Hajime was a popular boy and all the girls loved him. They found out Hajime was into Kaori and they started to shun her.  She was ignored and being talked about at the same time.

She was meeting Hajime one night when a group of girls prevented her.  Kaori run into a car and woke up with amnesia.

Kaori and Hajime did reunite but she has flashes of her friendship with Yuki.  In the end she chooses to be friends with him.

It was a lovely movie, it has a lot of heart.  Kento is adorable as Yuki. Haruna looks beautifully lost, sad and alone as Kaori.  Highly recommend.


My Love Story!! (Ore Monogatari!!)

My Love Story!! (Ore Monogatari!!)

This is a Japanese film.  It is some sort of ‘beauty and the beast’ love story.

It is just the cutest, sweetest and unexpected story.  A kawaii girl fell in love with a boy who could double for Shrek.  Actually he is much handsomer than Shrek. 🙂

He is Takeo, he has thick eyebrows, massive physique and the kindest of heart.

He has a best-friend, Suna, who is a storybook gorgeous and popular with girls.

During their middle school graduation, Takeo resolved to confess his love to a girl but found her confessing to Suna.

Takeo was heartbroken but reasoned that Suna is very handsome and a good guy.

When Takeo and Suna were in college, they saw a girl being harassed by a boy.  Takeo intervened. The girl was Rinko, a cute girl.

Rinko instantly fell in love with him and he with her.  But there was a misunderstanding.  Because all the girls were always go for Suna, he thought Rinko liked Suna rather than him as well.  And Rinko got upset because Takeo pushes her towards Suna all the time.

It took Suna to finally get the two together.  It is such a lovely, kilig, cute story

Suddenly Seventeen

Suddenly Seventeen

This is an engaging Chinese film. It is about a couple who have been together for ten years.  Liang Xia is now 28 years old and really wanted to get married with her boyfriend who she had been living with for 5 years.

But her boyfriend, Mao Liang, is so focused with his job and seemed to be cooling off from their relationship and even broach the subject of actually breaking up.

Heartbroken, Liang Xia wandered the street. She met a mysterious man who gave her a box of chocolate.  Upon eating one, she suddenly turned into her old 17 years old self.  Someone who was feisty, confident, artistic and carefree.  It was a new life for old life.

The chocolate has at least six hours effect and then she goes back to normal.

As she started eating more of the magic chocolate, she started to change, more confident and she also fell in love with a young boy.

This turn of event puzzled her old boyfriend.  She is no longer the clingy rather neurotic girl.

When all the chocolate had gone her transformation was complete, she is now a confident independent woman, who does not rely or expect marriage from the boyfriend, who she broke up with.

The movie ends with her gorgeous ex boyfriend running around town buck naked to get her attention.  Ahhhhh

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