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Category: Movies

5 Highest Grossing Movies in Chinese History

For decades, China was a bit of a niche market for cinema in the eyes of Hollywood, but things changed dramatically at the start of the 21st century. Chinese-made films were starting to earn big numbers at the box office domestically, with many even making their way into the west. The reverse has also been true, with Hollywood movies earning more in China starting in the 2000s.

Films from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, along with the “Transformers” and “Fast and Furious” franchises, have done extremely well in China. However, it’s some of the homegrown films that have stood out as the highest-grossing in the country’s history. Here are the five highest grossing movies in Chinese history with a little bit of background on how they came to be and how much money they pulled in.

The Battle at Lake Changjin

Sitting at the top of the list of highest-grossing films in China is “The Battle at Lake Changjin”, released in 2021 and written by Lan Xiaolong and Huang Jianxin. This film follows the dramatized events of the real-life Battle of the Chosin Reservoir in the midst of the Korean War. It had a budget of $200 million and earned a whopping $913 million worldwide, the second-highest-earning film in 2021 and the highest-earning film of all time in China. 

Wolf Warrior 2 

Released in the summer of 2017, “Wolf Warrior 2” is the second-highest-earning film of all time in China. This action-packed film is directed by Wu Jing, who also co-produced, co-wrote, and stars in the movie. The movie follows the adventures of Jing’s character Leng Feng, a Chinese soldier who doesn’t play by the rules. 

In this sequel to the first “Wolf Warrior” that came out in 2015, Feng must protect himself and those around him as he makes his way through an unknown location in Africa that’s being attacked by mercenaries and Somalian pirates. The film had a budget of $30.1 million and earned an incredible $874 million. 

Hi, Mom

“Hi, Mom” is a Chinese comedy released in February of 2021. It was written and directed by Jia Ling, who also stars in the movie. The film’s budget was $59 million and it earned $850 million, making it the third-highest-earning film in China. 

The film follows Ling’s character Jia Xiaoling transported back in time to the 1980s, twenty years prior to her mother’s fatal car accident. She does her best to befriend her mother in hopes of redeeming herself, feeling she hasn’t been a good enough daughter to her mother. She attempts to alter the course of history to give her mother a better life than she has in her future. 

Ne Zha

Ne Zha, also spelled Nezha, was released in 2019 and is the fourth highest-earning Chinese film in history and the only 3D animated film on our list. The action-packed film had a budget of $20 million and earned an astounding $742.5 million. It follows the intriguing journey of Ne Zha, born with a demonic nature from the Demon Orb, having been told he is full of good and was born of the Spirit Pearl.   

The Wandering Earth

“The Wandering Earth” is a Chinese sci-fi film released in 2019, directed by Frant Gwo. The film has a $50 million budget and earned $700 million, making it the fifth highest-earning Chinese film of all time. 

The intense sci-fi film takes place in the year 2061, when a global crisis takes place. The sun is dying and ready to form a red giant that will destroy the earth and everything that inhabits it. Scientists come up with a plan to relocate Earth to another solar system in an attempt to save it. The sequel, “The Wandering Earth 2”, was subsequently announced after the first film’s success and given a 2023 release date.

Biggest Roster Moves in Houston Rockets History

Founded in San Diego, the Rockets headed to Houston just four years after their creation and have been a staple of the NBA ever since. During that time, the Rockets have been at the forefront of some of the biggest moves in league history with Hall of Fame names coming and going over the years. What were the biggest moves for the multiple-time NBA Champions, though? Here are the five biggest roster moves in Houston Rockets history.

Drexler Comes Home

Clyde Drexler was a hometown hero for Houston after being part of Phi Slama Jama with Hakeem Olajuwon at the University of Houston. While Olajuwon played for the Rockets already, Drexler had spent his entire pro career in Portland by the 1994-95 season. About halfway through the season, the Rockets acquired Drexler (along with Tracy Murray) in exchange for Otis Thorpe and Marcelo Nicola.

Drexler ended up being the only player of real value in the trade, spending more than three seasons with the team. Drexler won the 1995 NBA Championship and a pair of All-Star Teams as he ended his career with the Rockets.

Barkley’s Bounty

Charles Barkley established himself as one of the best players of his generations when he played for the 76ers and the Suns from 1984 to 1996. The Rockets, hoping to keep their dynasty going after Michael Jordan came out of retirement, acquired Barkley for Chucky Brown, Mark Bryant, Robert Horry, and Sam Cassell.

Unfortunately, Barkley (who was already 33 years old) didn’t pan out for Houston. He averaged just 16.5 points per game, though he continued his great rebounding. Barkley also missed significant time, leading to his final season being played in 1999-2000, retiring as a Rocket.

Snagging T-Mac

Steve Francis got off to a hot start in his career, hence the nickname “Stevie Franchise” after six seasons with the Rockets and three All-Star appearances. However, Francis would be dealt along with Kelvin Cato and Cuttino Mobley after the 2003-04 season so the Rockets could acquire Tracy McGrady from the Orlando Magic (along with Reece Gaines, Juwan Howard, and Tyronn Lue).

T-Mac was an established star by that time and continued his success in Houston. Over six seasons with the Rockets, McGrady put up 22.7 points, 4.5 rebounds and 1.3 assists per game. Meanwhile, Francis didn’t stick around long in Orlando, playing just a few more seasons in the league before knee injuries forced him to retire.

Harden Comes, Harden Goes

After not getting the contract extension that he wanted with the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Rockets set out to make James Harden the centerpiece of the franchise by acquiring him in a trade. Houston also received Daequan Cook, Cole Aldrich and Lazar Hayward while giving up Kevin Martin, Jeremy Lamb, and three draft picks.

While Harden didn’t bring a title to Houston, he was still a nin-time All-Star who put up 29.6 points per game in his long career with the Rockets. Harden was then involved in another massive trade in 2021, sending him to the Brooklyn Nets as part of a four team trade that saw the Rockets acquire Victor Oladipo, Dante Exum, Rodions Kurucs, and a bevy of draft picks.

Moses Parts From Buffalo

The ABA produced a lot of great talent for the NBA after the 1976 merger. One of the biggest names at the time was Moses Malone, who was acquired by the Buffalo Braves. However, Malone would play in just two games for the now-defunct Braves, sending him to the Rockets in exchange for a pair of first round picks that would end up being Wesley Cox and Micheal Ray Richardson.

Malone became a staple for the Rockets during his six seasons with the team, turning into a perennial All-Star. In 464 games with Houston, Malone averaged 24 points, 15 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game en route to being named to the NBA’s 75th Anniversary Team.

5 Unmissable Apple TV Shows To Watch

There are a lot of streaming services these days, with almost every major entertainment company getting into the game. Still, some were surprised that Apple decided to start its own, releasing Apple TV in late 2016. Then, in 2019, Apple started creating its own unique content for the streaming service and have been growing its catalog ever since.

On top of the many movies that Apple has produced over the years, they have also gotten into creating their own short-form television shows. Drama, comedy, family programs, and more have all been covered by Apple TV, with some shows really standing out as must-watch programming and taking home prestigious awards. Out of all of the shows that Apple TV has put out thus far, here are five that you certainly don’t want to miss.

Blackbird

First airing in June of 2022, with an 8.2/10 rating on IMDB and a 93% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, “Blackbird” is quickly proving to be a must-see Apple TV exclusive. The mini-series is based on the 2010 autobiography “In With the Devil: A Fallen Hero, a Serial Killer, and a Dangerous Bargain for Redemption” by James Keene and Hillel Levin.  

The show follows prisoner Jimmy Keene, portrayed by Taron Egerton, beginning his ten-year prison sentence for dealing narcotics and possessing illegal firearms. Being a rather charismatic man, Keene is given the opportunity of a severely lessened sentence if he can gain a confession from fellow inmate and suspected serial killer Larry Hall, played by Paul Hauser.  

Ted Lasso

Even if you’re not a sports fan, “Ted Lasso” is a series you can’t miss. Jason Sudeikis plays the titular optimistic and charming American football coach. A spiteful plan to get back at her ex-husband, Rebecca Welton (played by Hannah Waddingham) gives Lasso the daunting task of coaching her English Premier League soccer team, which at first poses a problem for the inexperienced football coach.  

Determined and armed with his humorous wit, it quickly turns into a great pairing. The series’ first season was nominated for 20 Primetime Emmy awards, more than any comedy series nominated for in their first season. 

The Morning Show

Based on Brian Stelter’s book “Top of the Morning: Inside the Cutthroat World of Morning TV”, The Morning Show (also known as Morning Wars) takes a dramatized behind-the-scenes look at the personal lives of the new anchors who deliver our daily morning news.

The series showcases allegations of sexual misconduct in the workplace, identity crises, and the everyday chaos and drama typically unseen by viewers. It’s all thrown together with an incredible star studded cast with Jennifer Aniston playing Alex Levy, a lead newscaster making her way to the top following the firing of her longtime news partner Mitch Kessler, played by Steve Carrell.  

Severance 

This psychological sci-fi thriller stars Adam Scott as Lumon Industries employee Mark Scout.  Scout is promoted to lead a team of employees who have taken part in the “severance” program, in which their personal memories are separated, or severed, from their work memories. 

Over the course of the season, Scout and his colleagues begin uncovering the veil of secrecy and lies within Lumon Industries, getting closer to discovering the truth behind the company and its severance program.

Bad Sisters

Scoring an 8.3/10 rating on IMDB and a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, “Bad Sisters” has had a great start with its first season series airing in the summer of 2022.  The Irish thriller follows the investigation of the Garvey sisters, Eva, Becka, and Bibi, Grace, and Ursula after the suspicious death of Grace’s husband John Paul, providing a generous life insurance payout.  Insurance agent Thomas Claffin takes on the investigation to save his sinking business.  

5 TV Law Shows From Most To Least Realistic

Lawyers may be among the world’s most-hated professionals, but they sure make for good television. 

Whether you watch for the suspenseful courtroom scenes or tune in for a glimpse into the dramatic lives of high-powered lawyers, you’ve got your pick of programs to choose from. 

But while TV law shows may be entertaining, they’re not necessarily accurate. In fact, some people might argue that the less realistic a show is, the more fun it is to watch. 

Which begs the question: Which TV law shows reflect the truth, and which might be found guilty of misrepresentation in a court of law?

Read on for a roundup of 5 of our favorite TV shows ranked from most to least realistic.

1. Better Call Saul

If you’re not familiar with the legal profession, you may be surprised to find this Breaking Bad spinoff at the top of the list. However, insiders insist that its depiction of the legal industry is on the money thanks to storylines that are mostly accurate and believable.

Law firm partner Jordan Rothman says of Better Call Saul, “It’s hard to relate all of the instances in which the show accurately depicts the practice of law. ”

2. Law & Order

It’s not surprising that this iconic television drama has a place toward the top of this list. The original Law & Order, aired for a decade, followed by several spinoffs with varying degrees of longevity and popularity.  

Set in New York City, Law & Order portrays the law from two different perspectives: the NYPD’s investigation of a crime, and the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office’s prosecution of the case. 

In addition to its unique viewpoint, Law & Order is also well-known for something else: it’s “ripped from the headlines” plot lines inspired by real-world cases. 

3. The Practice

While its predecessor, Ally McBeal, may have been known for its unbelievable antics (dancing baby hallucinations, anyone?), The Practice is one of the more realistic television portrayals of law life. 

Following the interactions and experiences of lawyers at a Boston law firm primarily handling criminal defense cases, The Practice doesn’t just address cases from a legal standpoint that pays meticulous attention to procedure and conduct, but also from an ethical one as the lawyers often end up wrangling with their own consciences. 

Furthermore, while many legal dramas take place at large prestigious firms, The Practice presents a realistic view of a smaller, struggling firm.

4. Suits

This USA Network show begins with the unlikely premise of a college dropout genius scamming his way to a position at an elite NYC law firm. From there, it doesn’t get much more realistic.  

According to law firm Orsus Gate, Suits “presents numerous fictions about what lawyers do and how they work,” including that attorneys randomly drop into the offices of opposing counsel, the use of a few “magic words” that lead to dramatic results, and the fast-moving judicial process.

Additionally, while Suits frequently depicts attorneys pouring over case law in the firm library, the majority of legal research takes place online. 

While these falsehoods may be entertaining, they can also lead to warped perceptions and unreasonable expectations about legal procedures, according to Orsus Gate.  

5. Ally McBeal

And that brings us to the aforementioned Ally McBeal. 

While this show was a huge hit—and made Calista Flockhart a household name—when it debuted in the late 1990s, its success had nothing to do with its realistic portrayal of the law. From the super-short hemlines to week after week of outlandish cases, Ally McBeal was sensationalism at its best. 

Oddball characters like John Cage and his “wattle fetish,” fantasy sequences, insane plot lines in which lawyers go undercover, and romantic entanglements rivaling a game of musical chairs are just a few of the reasons Ally McBeal has the distinction of being the #1 least realistic law show on this list. 

5 Earth-shattering Sci Fi Movies

Science fiction motion pictures capture our imagination, partially because many of them have an element of truth to them. Many of us have let our imaginations run about the unidentified flying objects that have now been acknowledged by the U.S. military, and all those Star Trek television series technologies seem to be everyday gadgets now. Yes, Capt. Kirk used a cellphone in 1973! But perhaps the most exciting Sci-Fi movies are those with the fate of humanity on the line. In these 5 Earth-shattering Sci-Fi movies, humanity hangs in the balance.

1: Armageddon

The 1998 Sci-Fi flick earned four Academy Award nominations, and none of them involved the actors. That’s particularly funny given this action-comedy enjoys a household name cast that includes Bruce Willis, Billy Bob Thornton, Ben Affleck, Liv Tyler, Will Patton, Steve Buscemi, William Fichtner, Owen Wilson, Michael Clarke Duncan, and Peter Storage. J.J. Abrams was even involved in the screenplay.

The colorful cast of misfits is tasked with drilling a hole into an asteroid traveling at high speeds under the most dangerous conditions imaginable before it obliterates Earth. What could go wrong? Pretty much everything, which is why it was 1998’s highest-grossing film.

2: Signs

Ranked among the more underrated in the science fiction genre, M. Night Shyamalan wrote, directed, and produced, one of the most intriguing alien invasion movies, bar none. Mel Gibson stars as a preacher who lost his faith after the untimely death of his wife. Joaquin Phoenix plays his younger brother, a somewhat rudderless ex-baseball slugger helping to keep the family farm afloat and children safe from what comes next.

Enter militant aliens deploying crop signs to conduct reconnaissance missions in the 2002 thriller. Some factions see the alien presence as first contact, others as the end of days, but when the invasion begins, the former preacher, two children, and brother fight to survive. During the attack, God’s plan is revealed through telltale signs.

3: The Terminator

The 1984 film did things that made it the envy of the science fiction genre. Rather than start in the tired old post-apocalyptic future, the battle for human existence is fought in the present. The second thing the Terminator did was give the enemy of mankind a face — Arnold Schwarzenegger. The former Mr. Olympia bodybuilding champion perfected the relentless killer.

“Listen, and understand! That Terminator is out there. It can’t be bargained with. It can’t be reasoned with. It doesn’t feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And it absolutely will not stop, ever, until you are dead,” Kyle Reese (Michael Biehn) says.

The Terminator throws in a coming-of-age theme through Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton), who goes on to become one of the grittiest heroines in Sci-Fi. The Terminator sparked a franchise of courageous humans and determined cyborgs.

4: Star Trek

The 2009 Star Trek reboot and ensuing films prove to be even more interesting than the original 1970s television show that inspired six feature films. A newly-minted Starfleet officer, James T. Kirk (Chris Pine) earns his way through the academy. We learn about his heroic Starfleet captain father, who saved hundreds of lives. The personalities of Mr. Spock (Zachary Quinto), Ohura (Zoe Saldana), and Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy (Karl Urban), among others, are brilliantly re-invented.

It’s an entertaining re-imagining of the crew of the Starship Enterprise who are tasked with defeating Capt. Nero (Eric Bana), a vengeful time-traveling Romulan determined to destroy Earth by creating a black hole using red matter. The Star Trek reboot is nothing short of a rollercoaster ride.

5: War of the Worlds

The 2005 War of the Worlds movie starring Tom Cruise as Ray Ferrier revives the conspiracy theory about a real-life invasion that may have occurred in 1938. After a Halloween radio broadcast narrated by Orson Welles feigned an incursion, some believe aliens were thwarted and the incident was covered up.

Directed by Steven Spielberg, Ray Ferrier and his brother Robbie Ferrier (Justin Chatwin) embark on a harrowing journey from New Jersey to Boston to unite his family. Extraterrestrials have little difficulty harvesting humans for food. But that level of defenselessness isn’t the most Earth-shattering aspect of the recent War of the Worlds film.

5 Best War Movies

Few topics in cinema are as riveting as war movies. They offer a unique perspective on one of the most complex and intense situations humans can find themselves in. From the early days of film-making, directors have been drawn to the power and drama of war stories. Here are five of the best war movies ever made:

1:  Apocalypse Now (1979)

Set during the Vietnam War, Apocalypse Now follows Captain Willard (played by Martin Sheen) on a mission to kill Colonel Kurtz (played by Marlon Brando), who has gone rogue and set up his kingdom in the Cambodian jungle. The film is a masterclass in tension, with outstanding performances from both Sheen and Brando.

2: The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)

Set in a Japanese POW camp in Burma during World War II, The Bridge on the River Kwai tells the story of Colonel Nicholson (played by Alec Guinness), whose captors order to build a bridge that the Japanese army will use. Nicholson and his men decide to make the bridge to the best of their abilities, despite the conditions they are forced to work in.

3: Saving Private Ryan (1998)

Directed by Steven Spielberg, Saving Private Ryan tells the story of a group of soldiers who are sent into enemy territory during World War II to rescue Private Ryan (played by Matt Damon), who is the only surviving son of a family that has already lost two sons in the war. The film is notable for its graphic depiction of the D-Day landings at Normandy.

4: Platoon (1986)

Platoon is an autobiographical film about Vietnam War veteran Oliver Stone, who also directed the film. It tells the story of a group of soldiers caught in the middle of a battle between two commanding officers who must choose which one to follow. The film is brutal and unflinching in its portrayal of the horrors of war.

5: Full Metal Jacket (1987)

Full Metal Jacket is another film about the Vietnam War, this time focusing on training a group of Marines before they are sent into battle. The film follows the recruits from their first day of boot camp to their last days in Vietnam. It is a gritty and realistic portrayal of the horrors of war and its effects on those who fight in it.

Wrapping Up

War movies offer a unique and powerful perspective on one of the most complex situations humans can find themselves in.  They can be brutal and unflinching, or they can offer a more nuanced view of the complexities of war. Either way, they are always fascinating to watch.

5 Movies That Can Change the Way You Think About Life

Movies are a powerful medium for storytelling. They can take us to new places, introduce us to different people and cultures, and show us the world in a way that no other form of media can. But movies are more than just entertainment; they can also educate us about history, science, and the human experience. And sometimes, they can even change how we think about life.

Here are five movies that have had a profound impact on my thinking about life. Each one of them has something unique to offer, and I highly recommend watching them if you want to expand your worldview and see life in a new light.

1. The Shawshank Redemption (1994)

This classic film tells the story of Andy Dufresne, a man who is unjustly imprisoned for murder and spends his time in jail trying to make the best of a bad situation. I love this movie because it shows us that hope is a powerful force.

No matter how dark and difficult our circumstances may be, we can always choose to see the light at the end of the tunnel. This film is an inspiring reminder that no matter what life throws our way, we have the power to persevere.

2. Forrest Gump (1994)

Forrest Gump is a heartwarming tale about an unlikely hero who goes through life with childlike innocence and optimism. I love this movie because it reminds us to appreciate the simple things in life, and it also teaches us that Everyone has their own unique story to tell and that we should never judge someone without knowing their whole story. This film is a feel-good reminder that life is precious, and we should always cherish the moments we have with our loved ones.

3. The Dark Knight (2008)

This action-packed superhero movie is based on the comic book character Batman. I love this movie because it shows us that even the most seemingly evil people are capable of redemption.

It also teaches us that the line between right and wrong is not always so obvious as we would like to believe.. This film is a thrilling reminder that life is complex and that we should never give up on somebody, no matter how bad they seem.

4. The Hunger Games (2012)

This dystopian film is set in a future where people are forced to compete in a brutal televised competition. I like this film because it emphasizes the need for people to stand up for what they believe in.

It also teaches us that hope can still be found even in the darkest of times. This film is an action-packed reminder that we should never give up on our dreams, no matter how impossible they may seem.

5. Life Is Beautiful (1997)

This Italian film tells the story of a father who does everything he can to protect his son from the horrors of the Holocaust. I love this movie because it shows us the power of love and family and teaches us that even in the darkest of times, there is still beauty to be found in life. This film is a moving reminder that we should never give up hope, no matter how difficult things may seem.

Wrapping Up

Movies have the power to change the way we think about life. They can teach us valuable lessons, show us different perspectives, and inspire us to see the world in a new light.