Jon & Kate plus 8 - The New House

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I haven’t been watching much of Jon and Kate Plus 8 lately but I made sure to tune in last night to get a glimpse of their 1.3 million dollar McMansion that they recently purchased in Wernersville, PA. My goodness, what a huge house. It’s absolutely wonderful that the kids get to live in such a fabulous place which includes a pool and a ton of space to run around and play outside in the yard without nosy neighbors and other gawkers to worry about. But instead of being thankful and happy about the wonderful house, all we see during the episode is Kate constantly complaining about the dirt, the mess and the time it’ll take to clean up the place.

come on, get real! You mean to tell me that you can afford (OK, most likely TLC purchased the house for them) this behemoth of a house but won’t pay to get the place professionally cleaned??? aww, give me a break!

and what is up with Jon and Kate forbidding the kids from ever entering their bedroom??? A “house rule” is one thing but to tell their kids they’ll be severely punished if they ever set foot in their parents’ bedroom sounds a bit extreme if you ask me.

and you may have noticed that they didn’t broadcast a good view of the new property besides a few glimpses of the rooms, the barn and the “outhouse”. So I thought I’d post a few wideshot photos of their new Wernersville property that have been floating around the blogosphere.

the jon and kate mcmansion

Kate Gosselin quote of the day - “All mine, as far as I can see”.

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Asian Stories on DVD

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You know, I’m all for asians in cinema. Especially when there’s such a dearth of opportunities for asian actors, writers and directors in hollywood. So I was pretty excited to see an independent film turn up on Netflix featuring an all asian cast. The movie titled Asian Stories features “Heroes” cast member James Kyson Lee as a depressed Chinese-American who recently got left at the altar and now wants his best friend to kill him just to end his misery. OK, the hokey premise should have tipped me off but I gave the movie a chance. Unfortunately, the movie is just plain awful. The whole time viewing the film, I kept telling myself that it’d get better but it never did. Everything about the film including the writing, editing and acting was amateurish and awkward. Practically every joke uttered by the cast, landed with a resounding thud. and those over-the-top redneck characters that appear midway through the movie weren’t funny at all and completely unnecessary. And what’s with all the needless foul language? To me, it was a bit excessive and this is coming from a huge Quentin Tarantino fan!!! Surprisingly, this film won the audience award at the 2006 Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival but my guess is that the audience took pity on the hard working actors who had to appear in such a crappy movie.

Movie title: Asian Stories
Cast: James Kyson Lee, Lauren Kim
Director: Ron Oda
Format: Color, Widescreen, NTSC
Language: English
Studio: Cinema Epoch
DVD Release Date: September 2, 2008
Run Time: 98 minutes

Jon and Kate and Figure 8

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hey, I didn’t realize (until recently) that the production company behind Jon and Kate plus 8 is located pretty close by. The folks at Figure 8 films are the ones responsible for filming, editing and creating each episode that appears on TLC. and they’re located in Carrboro, NC which is approximately 30 minutes from where I live.
figure 8 films
It’s surprising to learn how grueling their production schedule is with the Gosselins. They are required to produce a certain number of episodes each season (currently season 3) and I think the episode count for this season is over 40 now. I don’t know the exact number but it seems awfully high especially compared to the usual 22 episode requirement for most other television shows. I can’t imagine the amount of pressure the Gosselins, the crew and the producers must be under to come up with something viewable and interesting for each episode. And seeing how uninspired the last string of episodes were, it’s becoming obvious the Gosselins (and producers) are running out of ideas. And what about the lil’ kids? They’re probably suffering from all that pressure to “perform” on camera - to look cute, to recite lines, to be energetic and presentable etc... it just seems a bit unfair for the lil’ ones. with the adults involved, I can understand since they made their own decision to produce a reality show but Mady, Cara, Alexis, Leah, Collin, Aaden, Joel and Hannah didn’t really have a say about any of this. poor kids. and you can tell already that Mady is going to have some emotional issues to deal with as she gets older.

Rumor has it that the Gosselins are moving to North Carolina to be closer to the production company. It has been reported that it’ll be a large custom built home (around 8000 sq. feet) with separate rooms and an extra kitchen specifically for the film crew. It’ll be interesting to see if the new house will be located in the Triangle area or not.

NO flicks from NetFlix this week

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man, Netflix must be having some major problems! I haven’t received any movies this week. According to their blog, the company is experiencing technical issues that are affecting all of their distribution centers nationwide. Sounds like some sort of database problem that’s crippling their whole network. Lucky for them, the Olympics are underway so there has been at least something decent to watch in the evenings this past week! :P

Here’s the latest AP news update:

Netflix shipping centers slammed by problems
Aug 15, 1:02 AM (ET) By JORDAN ROBERTSON

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Netflix Inc. (NFLX) said Thursday that major technical problems over the past three days have severely limited the number of DVDs it could send out.
The unspecified problems affected all of the Los Gatos-based company’s 55 shipping centers and marked the biggest disruption in service since Netflix launched its DVD-by-mail subscription business nine years ago.
Normal shipments from the online DVD rental leader were expected to resume on Friday, according to Netflix spokesman Steve Swasey.
The company was able to send out some discs on Wednesday, but shipped none on Tuesday and wasn’t able to ship discs for much of the day Thursday, Swasey said.
Technicians were able to resolve some of the problems and get some of the distribution centers up and running again Thursday, but were expected to have to work through the night to get the entire system functioning properly, Swasey said.
He declined to comment on the cause of the outage.
“We’re not real big on pointing fingers or attaching blame or airing this out in public,” Swasey said.
About a third of the company’s 8.4 million subscribers are currently waiting for DVDs held up by the problems. Affected customers were promised a credit to their accounts for the delay.
The glitches didn’t affect Netflix’s Web site or its service for streaming movies and television shows instantly to customers’ computers.
Previously, Netflix’s longest disruption had been in July 2007 when its Web site went down for 18 hours. The company suffered another outage in March of this year when the site was down for about 11 hours, resulting in a one-day delay in delivering DVDs.
Swasey said that was the first time Netflix was unable to deliver DVDs for an entire day.
“When we miss on that it’s a big deal,” Swasey said.
Shares in Netflix rose 68 cents, or 2.2 percent, to $31.84 Thursday.

Well, at least they’re decent enough to provide a 15% credit to all members affected by the outage.

Never Forever

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I’m a bit torn on how I feel about the movie Never Forever which features Vera Farmiga portraying a wealthy housewife married to a korean-american. Farmiga’s Sophie is a lost soul desperately wanting to make things right with her husband and his family by bearing a child for them. She hits rock bottom when she offers another korean man (Jung-Woo Ha) money to help her get pregnant. But at “rock-bottom” is where Sophie finds herself and in the end we see her re-born and re-newed. Director Gina Kim had a difficult time keeping this movie from feeling too much like a “Lifetime for Women - Movie of the Week”. In some parts especially early on, it did indeed feel like a cliche-ridden made-for-TV-movie. But in time the dynamics between Farmiga’s Sophie and Ha’s Jihah began to bring the movie up a notch or two. The director’s inexperience was apparent and several scenes felt a bit too clunky. and although I enjoyed the korean aspects that were portrayed in the movie, the korean actors (excluding Jung-Woo Ha) were horrible and definitely made the flick seem amateurish. But again, both Farmiga and Ha were spectacular in their roles. If only they had a better supporting cast and a more seasoned director.
Never Forever

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foiled again by VEOH

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A couple weeks ago the staff at VEOH decided to delete the accounts of some of the major kdrama uploaders on their site. This definitely put a damper on our weekly kdrama viewing. There aren’t any comparable alternatives online. VEOH made things SO convenient since you could simply stream a full hour episode without having to worry about downloading files and such. plus the kdrama fans on VEOH were pretty consistent in uploading current episodes immediately after being aired in korea. Since then, we’ve encountered various kdrama blogs that offer downloads of current dramas but nothing as convenient as the streaming feature on VEOH.

any kdrama fans out there know of some other good online sites?

In the past few weeks, we have been noticing though that some dramas are still surviving on VEOH but I believe it’s b/c the english titles of the dramas were translated a bit weird. ..or maybe on purpose, in order to avoid detection. I’m not exactly sure… and maybe that’s the way to go about it. Just name these dramas in a special code or something…

The Cho Show

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The Cho Show
Well, it’s great to hear that Korean stand-up pioneer Margaret Cho will be back on TV again.
Unfortunately it appears that Margaret’s new show is on VH1. You know, the network that brought us such stellar TV programs like “Flavor of Love”, “Rock of Love”, “Celebrity Rehab” and “the Surreal Life”. ugh. Good luck Margaret. “The Cho Show” will premiere on August 21st.

hhmmmm, I remember back in the day when VH1 used to show music videos

I Survived a Japanese Game Show on ABC

movies and TV, ramblings 6 Comments »

as an asian american, I’m very disappointed in ABC and the group of producers for creating a show like I Survived a Japanese Game Show. I watched the premiere episode last night and was appalled to see that the producers had resorted to cheap racist humor in the show. the show is essentially perpetuating asian stereotypes.

here’s the setup for those that haven’t seen the show (and you should be thankful for not having seen it) -
the show is basically a “mashup” of a reality show and a japanese game show. they brought over a group of Americans (a la Survivor) to Japan to participate in a “mock-japanese style game show”. the show is formatted like a reality show so the viewer gets to see everything from the participants point of view.

ABC’s offensive japanese game show

what’s offensive is that the whole show revolves around the premise that japanese people are strange..
- you’ve got the loud japanese game show host with a “funny” japanese accent.
- you’ve got the room full of “crazed” japanese audience members making a huge racket by beating on percussion instruments.
- in one segment last night they made contestants pull a rickshaw through town (you know, that oh-so-asian-ish mode of transportation!).
- and the icing on the cake - a round, short, middle-aged lady (who I guess is the house-nanny on the show) is called .. *wait-for-it* .. “mama-san”. ugh.

oh and and the producers made sure to cast japanese actors who all have those stereotypical asian accents. yeah, the show creators are real geniuses aren’t they? um, not. racists are what they are! you know, I expected more from a major television network like ABC. I thought for sure one of those network executives at the Disney “It’s a Small World” - owned company would have some common sense and not let this offensive, racist game show on the air.

two favorites on Hulu

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it always happens, doesn’t it? you’ve got cable with over a hundred channels and you still got nothin’ to watch. well, have you tried Hulu yet? you can always find something to watch on Hulu. and it’s not just short clips like on youtube. Hulu features full episodes of your favorite TV shows and even full length movies. yup, that’s right, movies. it’s like “movies on demand” except it’s free!

and check this out, here are two all time favorites of mine just in case you’re hankerin’ to watch something right now..

Mulholland Drive

The Big Lebowski

you can find more on hulu.com

My Name is Kim Sam Soon

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the wife and I had a chance to watch one of the better korean dramas out on DVD called My Lovely Sam-Soon. It’s tough choosing a korean drama to invest your time and money in when there are so many to choose from. the major korean television networks are all cranking them out like they’re mass produced on an assembly line. so what we end up having to do is sift through a lot of badly written soaps that are plagued with melodramatic cliches to find a handful of unique gems. like this one, My Lovely Sam-Soon AKA My Name is Kim Sam Soon. the striking thing about this drama is the well written dialogue along with a strong female lead that’s not your typical korean “plastic-y” beauty. Kim Sam Soon is a slightly overweight 29 year old single girl with no college degree and a troubled love life. She’s basicially a korean version of Bridget Jones. Kim Seon-Ah is terrific in the role and expertly balances the obnoxious tendency of her character with the lovable side. Like most korean dramas, the story sort of drags toward the end of the series but it’s forgivable since the characters are all so well developed. just watch the top-notch opening episode and I guarantee that you’ll be hooked.
kim sam soon

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Clone Wars headed to theaters

movies and TV 2 Comments »

clone wars
man, my kids are so thrilled to learn that the Star Wars saga will continue on with an all new TV series: The Clone Wars. Yes, I know there was an animated series done by Genndy Tartakovsky a couple years ago but this is a whole new series featuring state of the art 3-D CGI animation. The official Star Wars website announced yesterday that the Cartoon Network series will premiere a special movie version in theaters on August 15, 2008. coolness.
- check out the movie trailer at starwars.com.
- a neat behind the scenes look on the series is located here.

oh, and a copy of the above mentioned video clip has landed on youtube. I’m not sure if they got permission to do so but here it is (..watch it before it gets taken down).

recent netflix rentals

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recently viewed by yours truly..

Rocket Science - a teen high school indie film that doesn’t succumb to the teen-flick plot cliches. Jeffrey Blitz does a great job keeping it real with this coming of age flick. there’s no big climactic epiphany and no miraculous changeover from geek to hero here. what the film offers is an honest portrayal of a 15 year old struggling to find his way through his own limitations. I give it a *thumbs up*.

King of California - I enjoyed watching Evan Rachel Wood and Michael Douglas in this modern day twist to the Don Quixote story. I’m not particularly a Michael Douglas fan but he won me over with this role as an eccentric father on a quest for lost treasure. the relationship between father and daughter take center stage here and it’s really fascinating to watch as the story progresses. the ending is a bit too “hollywood” for me but the stellar acting overshadows the flaws. *thumbs up*.

Good Luck Chuck - I think movie studio marketed this movie all wrong. Most folks went into this film expecting a romantic comedy. what they got was an awkward mashup of a rom-com with a good dose of Farrelly Brothers type gross out humor. Since I’m a fan of Farrelly movies like “Dumb and Dumber” and “Something About Mary”, I sorta enjoyed the raunchy humor. I was pleasantly surprised with Dane Cook’s performance along with his sidekick buddy played by Dan Fogler. they both did a fantastic job. on the other hand, Jessica Alba didn’t do much in her role. her character could have been played by just about any other twenty something actress in hollywood. it was just too vanilla. overall, the film was a bit too clunky. just simply too hit or miss. some parts were downright funny. other parts just went nowhere. but the best part of the DVD happens to be the sex matrix. ..and that’s all I’m going to say about that. :P *no thumbs in either direction*.

Eastern Promises - absolutely phenomenal. David Cronenberg follows up his superb “History of Violence” and does even better with this gem of a movie. I loved it. it’s fantastic how Cronenberg draws the audience in using Naomi Watts’ character as she tries to find a relative of a newborn baby. and Viggo Mortensen delivers a performance of a lifetime. one would think it’d be tough to top a role like Aragon in the “Lord of the Rings” but he did with his role as a russian mobster. It’s a must see. *thumbs wwwaaayyyy aloft!!*

Extras - The Complete First Season- Since Ricky Gervais won a Golden Globe this year for his role in his HBO series, I thought I’d better check it out. I love the premise as the show focuses on the “background artists” in films and television. As a series, I thought the first season was a bit spotty in terms of genuine laughs. The episode with Kate Winslet was the only one I thought was absolutely spot-on. the rest were generally hit or miss. the DVD highlight for me was watching the Ricky Gervais outtakes. The man had a real hard time keeping a straight face during the filming of these episodes. there are a ton of blown takes because he couldn’t keep from laughing. those outtakes are priceless. funnier than the actual show! *thumbs feeling a bit ambivalent toward the whole series*

The Bourne Ultimatum - best of the whole trilogy. nothing really needs to be said here. an absolute thrill-ride from beginning to end. excellent. *thumbs up!*

Woman is the Future of Man

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Director Martin Scorsese introduces the film Woman is the Future of Man to viewers of the DVD as a great example of South Korean cinema. It’s high praise coming from the director of films like Goodfellas, The Departed and Raging Bull. But at the end of this film by korean director Hong Sang-soo, I was left wondering if I had just watched something totally different from what was described by Scorsese in his intro. Yes, I understand the director Hong’s minimalist approach to film-making but I think he was asking way too much from the audience here. The main characters are total scumbags, the dialogue is bland and the cinematography is basically of the point and shoot variety. It’s a story of 2 old friends that meet up after years apart. They get drunk, reminisce about a lost love and then set out to confront the past. the director chose to avoid any close ups of the actors. So much of the time we see the actors perform in a static “wide shot” view. now this makes it a bit tough on the viewer to connect with the characters when you can’t get a good view of their faces. also the static camera work doesn’t leave much for the viewer to look at. There’s also not much contrast between flashbacks and the present so it was a bit tough to follow at first. But the main problem was the story. There wasn’t much of one. The director just plops you into these characters lives for thirty hours or so and then ends the film. No character development, no lessons learned and no point to be taken. minimalist, indeed! the story does a quick left turn during the last quarter of the film and then just simply ends. so what are we left with? hhhmmmm, let’s see… some random flashbacks, some non-descript dialogue between the main characters, some shouting, two awkward non-sexy sex scenes, drunk-foo, blow job-foo and a film with no conclusion. Sorry, Mr. Scorsese, I think you picked the wrong Korean film to endorse. it’s two-thumbs down for me.
woman is the future of man
watch Martin Scorsese’s intro to the film on youtube

new Veggie Movie

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hello! It’s your friendly neighborhood VeggieTales Ambassador here to remind you that the brand new VeggieTales motion picture titled The Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything will be hitting the theaters this coming friday!
Pirates who don’t do anything
it’s about three friends who go out on an adventure and discover that real heroes aren’t always tall, strong and handsome … or even human for that matter…

here’s the movie trailer on youtube:

So let’s all go out and show our support for wholesome family entertainment like this one from our beloved VeggieTales gang. the industry will most likely be closely watching how this film does opening weekend to gauge if there’s a strong market for animated films (outside the Pixar/Disney realm).


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