Category: SouthEast Asian Television & Movies

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 to the lead actor, Seok -jin.  Good investment.

Radiant Office shows work culture which is universal around the world. 🙂 🙂 🙂  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.

The interns, as well as the seniors, had to continuously excel in their jobs to secure or keep permanent 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 the same night in the hospital, all three individuals 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 that she passed the interview and now going to be an intern at Hauline, 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.

Eun Ho-won, has been emboldened by her ‘illness’ that she is more confident and feisty, thinking she had really nothing to lose.

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. 🙂 🙂 🙂

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!

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 🙂

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 – a 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 – 41.  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’. 🙂 🙂 🙂

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 – sacred!

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.

I Have a Lover – Korean Melodrama

I Have a Lover – Korean Melodrama

I love this drama.  There is something about it that pulls me back time and again, so much so that I have watched it several times already.

I told my husband that I love this drama and it is my favourite one.  He did remind me that I said previously that Goblin was my favourite.  Oh yeah.

Well I have a Lover is my second favourite! 🙂

It is a melodrama of marriage, grief and infidelity.

Be prepared to watch it with a lot of hankies as it will tear your heart apart.

The story is about a aesthetically gorgeous couple in their 30s, in the peak of their career, who lost their beloved daughter.  They showed their grief differently.  The wife, Do Hae-gang, played by the stunning actress Kim Hyun Joo, was an ambitious lawyer, who was driven by her grief to focus all her attention to her career.  The husband,Choi Jin-eon, played by the debonair Ji Jin-hee, on the other hand was some sort of a professor in bio-chemistry and was more emotive, sensitive and full of angst.

He felt repelled by his wife’s look of indifference to his grief.  He, of course, found solace with one of his student, Kang Seol-ri, played by Park Han-byul.  He was attracted to her because she reminded him of how his wife was once like.

After Do Hae-gang found out about the affair, even with a broken heart, she did everything she could to get her husband back.  She confronted the young mistress, who cheekily told her that she was not having an illicit love affair with Jin-eon because they are in love.  Love came to her.

The husband was so cruel and was so infatuated with the young mistress that he begged and begged his wife for a divorce.  The wife suffered every kind of humiliation.

Despite emotional blackmail from his wife including trying to commit suicide by jumping from a bridge, Jin-eon knelt down in front of his father, (the patriarch in a typical Korean extended family) begging him piteously to throw Hae-gang out and allow a divorce.

The sight of her husband pathetically beseeching for divorce on his bended knees made Hae-gang finally realised she was defeated and signed and attached her seal to the divorce papers.  If you have not cried over a melodrama, you would on this one.  Jin-eon was so hateful.  By the way, he is obsessed with shoes and shoe laces.  Rather quirky 🙂

In a vast number of Korean dramas, amnesia seems to happen a lot.  This drama is no exception.

Jin-Eon with his young mistress went to America whilst Hae-Gang met an accident and suffered from amnesia and now goes by the name of Dokgo Yong-gi.  She was rescued and cared for by a lawyer.

Four years on, Jin Eon came back from America.  In no time, he met Dokgo/Hae-gang, a more carefree and relax woman who does not recognise him at all.

This is when the fun and romance really begin.  Jin-Eon character had a good and proper redemption.  He stalked Dokgo so lovingly and so dutifully that you forgive his past transgression.  It was very appealing to see how Hae-gang lead Jin-Eon on a merry dance.

His actions were so lovable that this drama goes to your heart and stay there.  It is therefore addicting.

I have watched the drama several times in a month and feels the love of Jin-Eon to Hae-gang.

How can one resist words like:  She was my wife, she is my wife

Another integral part to the drama was the almost subliminal way of playing the sountrack : Years.  You know as soon as it plays, there was a cute or sad moment ahead!  🙂

Love the drama so much. But mind you it has 50 episodes.  There are some side stories that you can fast-forward and still get the whole gist of the story.  It is overlong but all the same enjoyable and high addictive.

Highly recommended.

She Was Pretty Vs Pretty Li Hui Zhen

Kim Hye Jin

It is quite usual to see dramas, especially the popular ones, totally remade and adapted as their own by other countries in Asia.  A good example is a Japanese manga called Itazura na Kiss, which got a Japanese live drama called Mischievous Kiss,  remade by Korean as Playful Kiss, the Thai version is called Kiss Me.  The best version, in my opinion is the Taiwanese version starring Joe Cheng and Ariel Lin called It Started with a Kiss.  The story is the same with just a few twist here and there.

She Was Pretty Vs Pretty Li Hui Zhen

Anyway, last year I watched a Korean drama called She was Pretty starring Hwang Jung Eum and Park Seo-joon.  I enjoyed the drama very much.  It was hilarious in parts and full of pathos the next.

Li Hui Zhen

The story is about childhood friendship, (who were each other’s first love).  The girl used to be very pretty with long hair and fair face while the boy was chubby who got bullied a lot in school.  The girl used to protect him.  They got separated when the boy immigrated to the US.

15 years later he came back to Korea/China and hopeful to meet up with his childhood friend.

The boy grew up into a handsome slim guy, while the girl grew up with bad hair and skin problem in a pretty face.

On the day of their meeting the guy failed to recognise the girl.  She was so ashamed that she sent her very pretty best friend to pretend as her.  And that would be it, tieing off loose end of old friendship with the boy!

As luck would have it, the heroine started a job as an intern in a fashion magazine.  The boss happened to be the guy she once knew.

To add more confusion and drama to the story, her best friend really fell for the guy and secretly continued to meet up with him instead of the one off thing the heroine asked her to do.

There was a second lead male that brought so much of the hilarity in the drama.  He was so lovely and actually fell for the heroine even before she had her makeover.

When I heard that it was being remade by China, I was excited and looked forward to seeing it.

I started to watch it at Viki.com.  I have to say that it is watchable but not as good as the KDrama version.  Li Hui Zhen was still pretty compared to Kim Hye Jin.  But for some reason, Li Hui Zhen comes out rather as someone with mental problem, low in IQ and with the most annoying and unnatural laugh!!! Ugh!

The Chinese version is longer, almost double the Korean one, which comprised of 16 episodes.  For some reason I have finished watching 19 episodes of the Chinese one in 3 hours (so much fast-forwarding).  It also made me pine for the Korean version which I rewatched and thoroughly enjoyed again.

Best Korean Drama Original Soundtracks

still from Moonlight drawn by the Clouds

What makes a KDrama special?  In my opinion the choice of soundtrack is very important.  Heartstrings, a Park Shin Hye  & Jung Yong Hwa drama is memorable to me because of the songs.  Step step by Suran also made Jealousy Incarnate that extra special!

Here are my collection of original (official) soundtrack of Korean dramas that I have watched. Many of them 🙂  so again this list is a work in progress.

Best Korean Drama Original Soundtracks

You’ve Fallen For Me – Jung Yong Hwa, from drama Heartstrings

Because I Miss You – Jung Yong Hwa of CNBlue, from drama Heartstings

Stay With Me – corroboration of Chanyeol & Punch, from drama Goblin

Run to You – Lasse Lindh, from drama Angel Eyes

Step Step – Suran, from drama Jealousy Incarnate

Beautiful Sad – Han Soo Ji, from drama Angel Eyes

Million Roses – Comeback Madonna, from drama I am Legend

Beautiful – Crush, from drama Goblin

Hallucination – Jang Jae In ft NaShow, from dram Kill Me, Heal Me

Hush – Lasse Lindh, from drama Goblin

That Man – Hyun Bin & That Woman – Baek Ji Young, from Secret Garden

Fool – Kim Jong Kook, from The Man Living at our House (aka Sweet Stranger and Me)

Angel Eyes – Han Soo Ji – from Angel Eyes

Thumping – Kim Min Seung, from She Was Pretty

Years – Ryu, from I have a Lover

I Choose to Love You, from The Rascal Son, sung by Seo in-Guk and Park Hye Soo from Introverted Boss but the original was from the Korean singing Superstar, Hyorin

Heartbeat, Suran, from Strong Woman Do Bong Soon

Three Things I Have Left –  Baek Ah Yeon – (Angel Eyes OST)

Oriental Drama Queens

I have to say that I now have more than enough experience to give recommendations of Korean, Japanese, Taiwanese, Chinese, Filipino and Thai dramas as I have been solidly and shamelessly 🙂 watching them for so many hours each days, seven days a week.  So tired.

I have developed favourites and below are the queens of them all. Some of the ladies are included in my list of the most beautiful Oriental actress and some are not but they have so much charisma and personality that are equally admirable that come across on tv.

Films, movies and tv dramas by these ladies are watchable and became firm favourites of mine. And if you want to try watching Oriental dramas I can recommend to start with any work from these queens.

Oriental Drama Queens

Park Shin Hye

 

Park Shin Hye (Korean) was a child actress, who grew up to be a much sought after actress.  She is multi-awarded and must admit, thoroughly deserved, being such a good actress.  She starred in dramas which are amongst my favourites.

Films & Dramas:

Heartstrings

The Heirs

Pinocchio

You’re Beautiful

Flower Boys next door

Doctors

Hwang Jung-Eum

 

 

Hwang Jung-Eum is a South Korean actress and singer but I have come to know her for her acting in KDrama.  She is in this list because she is of course one of my favourite actresses.  She is a versatile actress with a tremendous range.  She can do comedy and the most tear-jerking acting.

Recommended dramas & Films:

She Was Pretty

Secret Love

Kill Me, Heal Me

Lucky Romance

 

Gong Hyo Jin

Gong Hyo Jin is in my opinion one of Koreas real Kdrama gems.  She is not one of the traditional stunningly gorgeous Korean actresses, which they industry is known for.  In fact Gong Hyo Jin can be rather plain in some scenes in her dramas.  What she has is a megawatt smile.  When she smiles, she is breathtakingly beautiful.  WOW.  She has an endearing and contagious glint in her smile which reaches up to her eyes.  Definitely one of my favourite actress.  Most dramas that was in were enjoyable and watchable.  Love her.

Films & Dramas (my recommendations)

The Greatest Love *****

Master’s Sun *****

It’s Okay, That’s Love *****

Jealousy Incarnate *****

Missing Child *****

Joe Chen

 

Joe Chen is a Taiwanese actress who has managed to break through the mainstream Chinese dramas.

I am rather partial to Joe Chen.  She is a good actress but not the greatest.  But she has tonnes of charisma and the cutest toothy smile.  Watching her dramas and movies is like watching Doris Day’s old films.

Films & Dramas (my recommendations)

Fated to love *****

Destined to love you *****

Cruel Romance ***

The Queen of SOP***

The Prince Prince who turns into a frog ***

Easy Fortune Happy Life

Stay with Me****

Jang Nara

Ha Ji Won

Eun Yoon Hye

Eun Yoon Hye is a Korean actress.  She starred in one of my most favourite kdramas with the gorgeous Gong Yoo calle Coffee Prince.

Mirei Kiritani

 

Song Ji Hyo

Song Ji Hyo is a Korean actress.  Another reliable actress, who you know will deliver the goods by starring in decently scripted dramas.

Films & Dramas (my recommendations)

A Frozen Flower (rather a daring role. lots of tasteful nudity) *****

Codename: Jackal (cute action comedy)

Goong aka Princess Hours

Emergency Couple

 

Kim Ha Neul

Choi Ji Woo

Kimberley Anne Voltemas

Song Hye Kho

 

Kim Yoo Jung

Kim Yoo Jung is a Korean actress.  She was a talented child actress who is growing better in her craft.

Films & TV dramas:

Moonlight Drawn by Clouds, this drama shows that she has outgrown her child roles.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mint Chalida Vijitvongthong

Mint is a Thai actress.

Film & Dramas (my recommendations)

Cubic ******