I’ve never played the Mafia party game and I think I should. The rule is as follow: Get 8-20 people together, assign a player with a secret mafia identity, have the mafia kill an innocent person in the darkness of night (eyes closed). When day breaks (eyes open), the surviving innocents are to name the mafia’s true identity. The game ends when the players ID the right killer or when the mafia finishes killing all the players. It seems like alot of fun.
If only our ex-friends had finished playing the Mafia game when they were in high school, then they wouldn’t have to resume the game ten years later with Xinyi being honest-to-goodness dead and not fake dead. And now, with another friend joining her corpse rank, the need to find the killer is more urgent than ever.
If we make it out of here alive, I’m going to make some changes to my life.
As “all-is-well” facade begins to disintegrate, paranoia takes hold. And fear tends to bring out the worse in people.
Spoiler ahead. Read at your own risk. Continue reading
Okay… So the decade old high school scandal wasn’t what killed Xinyi. Her death was an accident. What a relief!
Or, is it?
While I was wrong about the killer and the motive, the intent to silence her still stands. And the cover up afterwards was anything but accidental.
Liar, liar, pants on fire. And our liar was the next to die.
Spoiler ahead. Read at your own risk. Continue reading
I like my dramas light and smart. I generally avoid “human drama” because it is always depressing, upsetting, torturous, and worst of all, it makes me question why I am even born to this dirty, selfish earth. If I had to watch a drama that revels in the darkness of human nature, I choose one that is presented with black humor. In which case, I don’t know why I am watching Q series’ Close Your Eyes Before It’s Dark (天黑請閉眼). It is so heavy even their laughter seemed loaded. Except it promises a good murder mystery. At least, I hope it is.
High school is a cesspool of shallow friendship filled with jealousy and lies. The problem is that time washes away the hurtful feelings and people look back on those “good old days” with rosy filter. High school reunion, therefore, is a reality check. And what better way to do so than being trapped in a mountain with a dead ex-friend?
Our 8 high school classmates didn’t part ways with hugs and kisses. Their last days together was filled with accusations, tears, and bawls. Who leaked Hong Xiaotong and Lan Yicong’s intimate pictures by posting them all over the school? Who stole his phone with the pictures on it? Why hadn’t he delete those pictures when she asked him? Who was to blame for branding her the school slut? According to a secret text message, our organizer Bai Xinyi might have discovered the person behind the scandal.
And that may be the reason she is stuffed in a luggage and discarded in an illegal garbage dump site. Or, maybe not.
Candle in the Tomb (鬼吹灯之精绝古城) follows a recently retired army man on dangerous tomb raiding adventures through snowy mountain of Kunlun to desert of Xinjiang. Zombies, ghosts, critters, 80s hairstyles, quotations from Chairman Mao, you name it, we got it.
I have reasons to believe this show passed the stringent Chinese censorship unscathed solely on their strategic placement of Mao and Deng. No self-respecting CC bureaucrat would take a scissor to a show that quotes the little red book and displays a healthy respect for local officials who voluntarily surrender ancient treasures to the government. We, the audience, understand perfectly the show is in no way mocking the establishment. And, it is most definitely not doing verbal eye rolling every time the characters express their patriotism to the motherland.
Now that we got the disclaimer out of the way, we can move on to the show itself.
To truly appreciate the show, one must watch the first 5 episodes in one sitting. The first 2 episodes build up your tolerance for crime against fashion and political brainwashing. The 3rd episode introduces you to the eeriness reserved for places devoid of human activity. The 4th episode scares you into turning on all the lights. I did not scream when I watched the scene-that-shall-not-be-named. At most, I yelped then politely invited my mom to watch the rest of the episode with me. The 5th episode brings you back to the wonderful land of open space and bright sunlight.
For the scene-that-shall-not-be-named, I will not post any picture or give any description because that is the only thing in horror films that unnerves me. A survey on weibo showed most viewers chose that scene as the “most memorable” scene in the first 6 episodes. You will not miss it when you see it.
Moving on… Continue reading
Bonus episode of The Ferry Man (灵魂摆渡) has everything I love: Murder mystery, supernatural, reincarnation, and enough creepiness to give me the goose bumps. Our amnesiac ferryman’s obsession with doleful college student Xia Dongqing is a running joke/mystery on the show. The reason is finally revealed in the episode “Magnificent (风华绝代).”
Almost a hundred years ago, our ferryman Zhao Li was experiencing a major case of depression. Since he couldn’t die (being a living dead and all), he decided that blindness was his next best option. The less of the despicable world he had to see the better. Then he met Ajin, a young soldier going off to war. Although the soldier was terrified of dying, he optimistically saw a better future for those he left behind. Our ferryman decided right then and there that the young man was his salvation, the bright spot in his dark, despairing existence. He could not let the soldier die.
While he could keep the man from being dead, it was not the same as being alive. His quest to restore Ajin to his living state brought the ferryman to a supernatural black market where he found a rare object that could show him a way. The object, in the form of a woman, had lost part of her memory. Her owner was dead and, for inexplicable reason, she couldn’t remember how that happened (this is particularly vexing because she is the personification of “wisdom and knowledge”). She asked the ferryman to solve the mystery in exchange for the information he desired.
I’m not going to lie, A Good Day (美好年代) is slow to start and the characters can be obnoxious at times. And the title should be change to “Tomboy and her four guy friends and her extraordinary bad luck with mobile phones.” But the show grew on me, and now I miss my Little BS Tigers, which consisted of tomboy Wen Xiaoquang, jock Jiang Xinyuan, contraband dealer Wu Boqi, and introvert Gu Junpeng. If I had friends like them, I would want my childhood to last forever too. Why grow up when you can have carefree crazy fun all the time? I feel you, Xiaoguang.
There is a friendship called “GuangYuan.” It happens when two people form a telepathic connection after being joined at the hip since forever. They always know when the other friend needs to be told they are dumber than a doornail, and in some extreme cases, a serious butt kick.
With the introduction of beautiful Jiang Annie, exchange student Ji Jie, boy-crazy Bao Linlin, the Little BS Tigers say goodbye to childhood as they experience their first love, first jealousy and first heartbreak. And a painful lesson on the difference between what they think they want and what they really want.
If we measure team spirit by the amount of teasing that goes on, then our team has no shortage of it. Detective Lin Tao is the captain of jest, medical assistant Li Dabao is his lieutenant, and medical examiner Qin Ming is the thickhead who misses all the jokes.
Dr. Qin: Change into a presentable outfit. That is an order.
Tao/Dabao: That’s an order.
Lin Tao is tall, handsome, and manly. So long as he is not being mischievous, comical, and wisecracking. He takes his job seriously and his work facetiously. Life is too short to be humorless.
Instead of chasing after a perp into a dirty furnace, he tells the reinforcement to bring over starter fluids. All that running in the open air sure do makes a man feel chilly. He wants to build a fire to get warm and toasty. The perp surrenders himself right away.