Category: Films & Television

My Secret Romance – KDrama Review

My Secret Romance – KDrama Review

This romance is so engaging because both lead actors are gorgeous, especially the male lead. I say shirt off all the time, if you please. ūüôā Though he is my number one in my best suited list. He has a lovely body which muscles in the right places! ūüôā

Anyway the drama is about a romance that developed from a one-night stand between a rather uptight woman with a happy-go-lucky chaebol.

The girl was rather uptight because her mother used to be a star of top shelf films, the semi-porn ones. She was horrendously bullied when she was in middle school because of this.

The guy is a chaebol, who was ‘abandoned’ by his mother, who he misses so much. ¬†Because of this abandonment issue, he found it hard to settle down, whether with work or with women.

Not until he (Cha Jin-Wook) met Lee Yoo-Mi. ¬†They had a one-night stand in a convertible overlooking the sea, which was pretty sexy. ¬†ūüôā

Fast forward three years later.

Cha Jin Wook is now an active director in his father’s company. ¬†His innovative design of men’s underwear had gone stratospheric that their company’s growth was due to effort. ¬†He is now a serious salaried man.

Yoo-Mi, is now a nutritionist who happened to get hired by Jin Wook’s company.

He first spied her one day by the elevator and that is how their budding romance started.  He never forgot her.

In the background there is a cute little boy, who is supposed to be her brother.  But I reckon it was a child borne out of their one night together.

Episode 8 was slated to be shown last Tuesday but for some reason, it did not.  I was gutted because I have really grown to like this drama.  It is tender, romantic and cute with likeable cast.

Anyway the reason why episode 8 was not shown was due to South Korean’s presidential election. ¬†I wonder who won?!!!

Can’t wait for Monday and Tuesday for the next episodes?

Father Is Strange – KDrama Review

Father Is Strange – KDrama Review


I have to confess I am totally addicted to Korean dramas now. But then again there are so many good dramas that keep your mind riveted. Like for instance, this drama called Father Is Strange.

This is a family drama which is shown during the weekend – Saturday and Sunday.

It comprises of 50 episodes; as of writing, episode 18 had been shown.

So far, it has been a rollicking fun; all the actors had done their respective roles justice.

The story is about a close-knit family with a son and three daughters. Out of the blue a man, who used to be a KPop idol and now turned actor, came to see the patriarch of the family, who runs a restaurant. He blurted out that he was his son.  Imagine the mayhem this would bring to the family!

The first two episodes introduced the characters.  The mother and father are a loving, hard-working couple, very down to earth.

The eldest son is a bit of a no-hoper.  Though a gentle giant, he had spent years studying and revising for his civil servant exam, which he regularly fails.  However he is reliable and loving son and brother, if rather dopey.

The eldest daughter is Hye-Young, a very beautiful, intelligent, sophisticated lawyer, who gets what she wants. Or does she wants including secretly living with her boyfriend, an act which is still frowned upon by Korean society.

The middle daughter and presumably the real star of the drama is Mi Young.  She suffers from self-doubt and lack of confidence, having been a victim of bullying when she was in middle school.  She was obese and was bullied for it.  Despite having lost the excess weight, she is still rather shy and retiring but has moments of bravados.

The youngest daughter is Ra Young, she is an extrovert shopaholic, despite not earning much.  She falls in and out of love.

The drama deals with relationship within the family, extended family, boyfriends, girlfriends, retirement, work, etc.

What I like about this drama is that, so far, there are no annoying characters that would turn you off.   There are some nastiness but it is required to fully develop the characters, as opposed to just trying to add drama to a drama series.


Update:

Scenes by actor Ahn made me rather tearful.  You can feel his loneliness in a house full of indifferent people.

Heard It Through The Grapevine – KDrama Classic

Heard as a Rumour

Heard It Through The Grapevine – KDrama Classic

This drama is a real classic. ¬†I would go so far as to say that ¬†had the esteemed BBC made a Korean drama, this classic would have been it. ¬†It is comparable to BBC’s world classics.

It is a comedy of manners.  It satirises the perceived nobility of the upper crust.

It is just the funniest drama I have seen in ages.

A real treat!

Radiant Office, KDrama Review

Radiant Office (Jachebalgwang Opiseu)

“Life is a series of blockings and openings.”
– Eun Ho-won

This drama has been consistently enjoyable.

Radiant Office, KDrama Review

Jachebalgwang Opiseu

I started watching this Korean series after having just seen two dramas: Drinking Solo and Something About 1%. ¬†Both dramas starred Ha Seok-jin. ¬†I enjoyed both dramas tremendously, so I invested more viewing hours on this new one having put my faith on the lead actor, Seok -jin. ¬†Good investment. ūüôā

Radiant Office shows work culture which is universal around the world. ūüôā ūüôā ūüôā ¬†How the newbies had to kowtow to their seniors. ¬†They had to find their wings and develop thicker skin pronto in order to survive.

Why the drama is called Radiant Office?  I can only hazard a guess.

I think, interns, as well as the seniors, had to continuously excel in their jobs to secure or keep permanent positions.

Employees must radiate competence and cheerfulness to be deserving of their positions.

Anyway the story is about three interns who started working at Hauline, in its furniture division.  The interns have something in common, they were all treated for attempted suicide in the same hospital at the same time by an emergency doctor, who happens to be a chaebol, being the second son of the owner of Hauline.

At that same night in the hospital, all three individuals inadvertently heard a rather alarming post-suicide prognosis that one of them has a terminal illness and not much long to live, probably 6 months max.

The three did not wait to find out who was actually had the illness.

That same night, Eun Ho-won, one of the three, played by Go Ah-sung, got a text message that she passed the interview and now going to be an intern at Hauline.  Finally a result after rejections totalling to 101 job applications.

The next time the three met again was at Hauline as interns competing for a single permanent position. By that time the other two male interns had gone back in the hospital for a good check-up.  By power of deduction, it must be Eun Ho Won, who had not gone for a check up yet, who is the ill one.

Eun Ho-won, has been emboldened by her ‘illness’ that she is more confident and feisty, thinking she had really nothing to lose. ¬†Often she would blurt out the machinations and the ails within the sales and marketing departments, contravening office politics. ūüôā

The actors are amazing in portraying their respective roles.

This is a 16-episodes series and would finish next week.  What a shame.  I am going to miss it.

It is a drama-comedy.  Highly recommended.

Man to Man – KDrama Review

Man to Man – KDrama Review

A new Korean drama has just started airing on 21 April 2017, replacing the super cutésie Strong Woman Do Bong Soon.

I have looked forward to the new drama after I saw a trailer starring ¬†Park Hae-Jin, a gorgeous clean cut Korean actor, who I first saw in the drama Cheese in the Trap. ¬†He was so good with his role that I’ve been watching his other dramas.

He is currently starring in Man to Man.  Two episodes of the series has been released.  But I am still not really hooked.  Not because of Park Hae-Jin was lacking!  He is still very good, in fact he is maturing into a very fine actor.

But there is something about the drama that is rather off putting, at the moment.

It is the lead actress, Kim Min-Jung; her character is too full on, that you want to strangle her or even banish her from the show.  It is how they made up poor Kim MIn-Jung.   The actress is pretty but she was made to look very androgynous with her full lips and enormous big eyes highlighted by her severe fringe, she looked like not a cuddly but rather a ferocious bush baby.  She has so many scenes where she is annoyingly stalking either one of the main actors. I just wanted her to go away!

I noticed that the best scenes were the interactions between the two male leads and therefore, the female lead is really redundant.

Anyway the drama series is about a popular action star Yeo Woon-Gwang played by Park Sung-Woong, who was being used by a government agency as a cover for a secret agent Kim Sul-Woo played by Park Hae Jin, for undercover work.

Park Hae Jin, looked so cool in the beginning of the drama, where he was a member of an elite team; as sharp shooter, he saved a little girl from a terrorist but got court marshalled for insubordination.

Just for Park Hae-Jin, ¬†I will persevere to watch a few more episodes before I give a final verdict of continuing to the end or not. ūüôā ūüôā ūüôā

Update:

25 April 2017, I opened Netflix and found Man to Man as being shown but sadly as an instalment just like normal series on telly!

More updates:

I tried watching episode 3 but fast-forwarded a great deal of the drama. ¬†It is just not catching my attention. ¬†ūüôā Episode 4 has also been released, at least a couple of days ago, and I am still undecided whether to watch it or not.

Probably, I’ll just let it pile up and watch the whole series in one lump.

I heard that Man to Man garnered the highest first episode rating in JTBC history. ¬†The trailer for the show was really thrilling. ¬†ūüôā And starts Park Hae Jin.

But after the first episode, apparently there was a sharp drop in the ratings.

Sadly they might not be able to remedy the situation by making the characters, especially that of the lead actress to be more viewer friendly because the whole series was pre-packaged or it had been completed before it aired on television.

It is really important to introduce the characters  and allow development of empathy during the first episode, otherwise viewers lose interest despite good story.

Queen of Mystery – 2017 KDrama Review

Queen of Mystery

Queen of Mystery – 2017 KDrama Review

There seems to be a bit of a lull as far as Korean dramas are concerned. ¬† Of course there are still plenty to watch but nothing really that exciting that you can’t wait for the next instalment of the series to come by. ¬†Some of the dramas are alright but most, you can leave to pile up and wait for the whole drama to conclude and then binge-watch them all in a day (with lots of fast-forwarding) or over a weekend.

There are of course a few that are so watchable that you are left wanting for more.  One of these dramas was the Queen of mystery.

Based on the four episodes shown so far, the story is about a woman,Yoo Seol-Ok (played by Choi Gang-Hee), who is somewhat strangulated by her day to day responsibilities towards her rather onerous husband’s family. ¬†She doesn’t really get much support from her husband either, who is busy being a prosecutor, which is a very hectic and busy job. ¬†Her mother-in-law, though not too nasty so far, is very demanding. ¬†There is also a rather wily sister-in-law.

To get away from the humdrum of her rather slavish life, she would hole herself in a secret room in her best friend’s restaurant. ¬†She made a little office, where she created her own library ¬†of information on murders, mischiefs, misdemeanours and everything else.

With keen, logical and didactic mind, she developed an excellent observational capabilities, so much so that she started going out on her own investigating crimes within her locality.

Her abilities did not go unnoticed; before too long a still rookie lieutenant of the police force started consulting her with minor crimes, which she solved with 100% accuracy.

An experienced but rather maverick police officer, Ha Wan-Seung (played by the gorgeous Kwon Sang-Woo) was transferred to her local police station and did not like her involvement with the police.  He basically told her to go home and look after her house; cook for her husband.  Solving crime is not for bored housewives.

Of course, with all the initiating forces coming together, Ha Wan-Seung started to think that the ajumma (an aged or mature married woman) can be of use in an investigation after a seemingly ordinary burglary turned into a murder as the ajumma rightly predicted.

The chemistry between the leads is good.  You can see them working together and could lead to a possible romance.

Little hints have been given that her husband is known in the police force as being single, he is also working away from home all the time.

I can’t wait to see how this drama develops. ¬†It ticks all the boxes of a good drama, so far. ¬†I do love a bit of action and of course I would never say NO to a bit of romance. either ūüôā

Ghost in the Shell – Movie Review

Major

Ghost in the Shell – Movie Review

We started the week by going to the movies.  The movie of our choice was Ghost in the Shell starring Scarlet Johannson, a very capable American actress (I still remember her in the Horse Whisperer as a child actress).

The film has a tinge of that excellent iconic film, Blade Runner of the early 80s, starring Harrison Ford and Sean Young as well as that heart-thumping performance of that excellent actor, Rutger Hauer.  It has that apocalyptic feel to it.

The story was based on a Japanese manga, of the same title, thus some unfounded controversies have surfaced. ¬†The selection of Scarlet to play the Major is a typified Hollywood whitewashing in the eyes of a few. ¬†Apparently whitewashing is when a white actor is cast to play a role of ‘historical’ non-white’ which is deemed rather racist.

I can think of a few Oriental actresses that would have made a good Major, Korean Han Ji Won for one.  However the film was made especially for world cinema goers and because it is fast-paced there are so much to see, too much goings on; reading subtitles or listening to heavily accented actors delivering their lines would definitely be a challenge and may detract viewers from fully enjoying the film in a cinema, where there is no access to rewind button. LOL

Asians are perplexed about this issue.  The Japanese audience did not mind, in fact they were expecting an A-list Hollywood star to play the role for worldwide audience.

Being from the Orient myself, I did not have any problems with the casting of Scarlet.  It was me who proposed to Peter to go and see the film as soon as we saw the trailer a few months back. I still remember how good Scarlet was in Lucy.

It is those pc brigade and pressure groups, who are stirring it up, thereby influencing prospective audience and fans into altogether not going to see the film, thereby missing a good movie.

I believe this controversy has affected the movie a lot and thus there were news that the film had flopped in the box office.

This is sad as the film is rather good.  Scarlet did very well playing Major.  And the story is a good hokum to tell. A very plausible scenario that could happen in the future.

Ghost in the shell is about the rise of technology.  So much so that some scientists working for Hanka Robotics, presumably based in Japan, started experimenting on creating human robots as weapons.

There were pockets of activists and bloggers working against the excessive  technology that is being implemented.

The irony was that these activists¬†against technology were carted off to the lab and experimented on one by one until No 99 was the one deemed ‘perfect’. ¬†Number 99 had the brain of the activist Motoko Kusanagi¬†encased in a perfect mechanical body. ¬†Motoko had been completely brain-washed and told that she was Major Mira Killian, working against terrorism.

Motoko or rather Major in her new guise had become a killing machine.

As I said the film is fast-paced and thrilling, worth a watch even for just the sheer ingenuity of the SFX and CGI.

In the end if we allow such pressure and over political correctness to influence movies and entertainment, the movie industry will be run aground.

Let us not be sheep corralled in PC machinations.

Strong Woman Do Bong Soon – KDrama

Strong Woman Do Bong Soon – KDrama

Do Bong Soon, 27 years old, has a super power.  She is very strong.  The source of her extraordinary strength came from her maternal side of the family.  The power is limited by righteousness. Her grandma has still got hers, her mom lost hers because she used her strength to bully people for money. Bong Soon got it in spade.  The grandmother hoped to instil to Bong Soon to use her power to do good only.

Do Bong Soon lives in Dobong-don in Dobong-gu, where a serial kidnapper is in operation.

This Korean drama is so cute, saccharine-sweet most of the time because the three leading characters are so aesthetically perfect.  There is romance overload Рa love triangle, comedy as well as tense moments due a serial kidnapper on the loose.

Park Hyung Sik plays¬†Ahn Min-hyuk, a CEO of Ainsoft, who witnessed Do Bong Soon’s (played by Park Bo-young) amazing strength first hand. ¬†He found Bong Soon’s sassy attitude sexy and rather alluring. At that time he was being plagued by a blackmailer. ¬†He needed a bodyguard and who better to hire than the superwoman, Bong Soon.

Bong Soon has been in love with Gook Du (played by the gorgeous, Ji Soo),  a police office in the violent crime division since they where in middle school.  Gook Du however had a girlfriend, thus treated Bong Soon like a rather annoying, scatterbrain younger sister.

As the drama progressed, Bong Soon found herself being attracted to Min-hyuk, who pursues her relentlessly. ¬†She finally reliased that ‘crush’ has an expiry date, which was rather bad news for Gook Du, who happened to break up with his girlfriend and acknowledges that he felt more for Bong Soon more than he realised. But he was a tad too late. ¬†He did tell her the there was always something amiss with their ‘timing’.

Just another two whole weeks for this drama.  I am missing it already.

Heartbeat by Suran Official soundtrack

Destined to Love You – Chinese Drama

Destined to Love You

Destined to Love You – Chinese Drama

This drama is very underrated.   Destined to Love You has the potential to be popular internationally, if not globally, if only all the episodes are given an English subtitles, allowing wider audience to enjoy it fully.

It has the charm comparable to those massively loved British Carry On films, sophisticated intelligence of the Monty Python and satirical comedy of Mel Brooks, The Producers.

The drama is a corroboration of China, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

I fell in love with Destined to Love You the moment I saw the first episode.  It was so engaging. I wanted to see more.

There were great chemistry between the love triangle played beautifully by Chen Qiao En (aka Joe chen), Jia Nia Liang and Bosco Wong.   The chemistry was such that you would be happy that anyone of the two leading men will get the girl (Joe Chen).

Apparently Jia Nia Liang really wanted to make the drama that he willingly had his pay cut.  He was so good on the drama.  You just fall in love with his antics which are sometimes excruciatingly funny. I have never laughed so much watching a tv program.

Below is a synopsis I cut and pasted. ¬†I just could not put into words what the story is all about from my own point of me; there just too many ‘choice’ scenes that I would like to include and therefore would probably curtail your enjoyment if I give too much away.

Qian Bao Bao is on the run from creditors with her sick mother. She meets Xiao Han on the train, who offers her hope for curing her mother. But when an assassination attempt results in Xiao Han falling off the train, Bao Bao feels she has no choice but to take her place. Thus she assumes the role of a psychology instructor at a prestigious military school, and becomes entangled in a in a love triangle and some dangerous politics while trying to hide her true identity.

Please Chinese translator, kindly complete the rest of the subtitles for the dramas, please, please, please!

Dramacool needs translation from episode 22 Р41.  Please

 

 

Happy Home – Korean Melodrama

L-R: Lee Pil-mo, Kim So-Yeon & Lee Sang-woo

 

Happy Home – Korean Melodrama


I watched this melodrama’s all 51 episodes (75 minutes per episode) over two days (I did fast-forward a bit). It was two days of almost non-stop crying. ¬†Sometimes it was not just free falling tears but actually sobbing. ¬†Hu hu hu.

Happy Home is anything but a happy home. The family is so dysfunctional, you’ll thank your lucky star yours is ‘normal’. ūüôā ūüôā ūüôā

The actors were all magnificent, including the young cast/children but I particularly like Lee Pil-mo, who played Yoo Hyun-gi, the husband of the eldest child of the Bong family.  He was perfectly matched by the elegantly beautiful Kim So-yeon who played Bong Hae-ryung, the eldest child of the Bong family.  Most of their scenes were emotional rollercoaster. Lee Pil-mo with his controlled acting and often well groomed in three-piece suit spoke to the heart.  I actually like him better than Lee Sang Woo, though he is also gorgeous.

As a brief synopsis the story is about the Bong family who opened a Chinese restaurant.  Bong Sam-bong the family patriarch and his wife had 3 children, twins Bong Hae-ryung & Bong Man-ho and a younger daughter, Bong Hae-won.  The Bong family is a nuclear family, where generations of relatives live and eat together.  They bicker and sometimes do each other harm but they pull together when need be.

Bong Hae-ryung was married to Yoo Hyun-gi, happily at first but after the death of their much loved son, her life became a living nightmare, tortured by her sadistic mother-in-law and largely ignored by husband who became remote and secretive. ¬†For five years after the death of her son, she was alone in her guilty grief as she blamed herself for her son’s accident.

She found her mother-in-law’s secretary kissing her husband in their study and this was the final straw that drove her away, out of the house and marriage.

The character of the philandering husband gets interesting.  He was cheating but he was absolutely furious with his mistress.   They had an understanding that they do not conduct any hanky-panky in the house.  His house is for his wife alone, where he sleeps and where he eats Рsacred!

After a time, Bong Hae-ryung had a romance with another gorgeous man, Lee Sang Woo who played Seo Ji-geon.  The romance was so sweet.  After she finally had her divorce, she got engaged and eventually held some sort of marriage ceremony with Seo- Ji-geon.  But this ended too soon as she found out that her ex-husband had only months to live due to a malignant brain tumour.

Her ex begged her to return to him for 3 months,  she did because she felt sorry for him when she found him, looking lost and forlorn, waiting in the rain for their son outside his school.  Apparently one of the symptoms of his illness was temporary amnesia.

I easily cry at melodrama but this drama was something else!  It is a cryfest! I mostly cried for the husband as he had a sad back-story.

A story that you will remember for a long time.  Highly recommend it.