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[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Snowy Road" Episode 1

2015/02/28 | | Permalink

Jong-boon (played by Kim Hyang-ki) is a young girl who idolizes Yeong-ae (played by Kim Sae-ron). Yeong-ae's not only pretty, she even gets to go to school and earn very impressive marks. In the year 1944. Which means that Yeong-ae is an implicit collaborator in the Japanese regime. Not that this ends up doing her a whole lot of good. Soon both Jong-boon and Yeong-ae are conscripted into directly helping the war effort. Yes, this is going in exactly the direction you're thinking...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Family Outing" Episode 15

2015/02/28 | | Permalink

The difference between this episode of "Family Outing" and every other episode that's dangled the threat of exposing Joon-hee's true identity is that this time the drama actually goes through with it. There's not even much of an intermediate period of hand-wringing. Joon-hee just goes, you know what, forget it. I'm sick of acting like this. I'm going to say my apologies and just leave. It's a much easier thing for her to do now that there's other things in life that Joon-hee can enjoy aside from the con...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Jing Bi-rok" Episode 5

2015/02/28 | | Permalink

It's back to political vacillation as "Jing Bi-rok" spends most of the episode having officials engage in abstract arguments about the best possible foreign policy in the current situation. Interesting, most of the discussion actually revolves around what the Chinese are doing- even though the Chinese don't actually seem to present to discuss the problem. That's kind of a bad sign- lots of mistakes have been made so far, and even that should be enough to establish that the Koreans can't move forward on their own...More

[HanCinema's Drama First Look] "Blood"

2015/02/28 | | Permalink

Korean drama has its hits and misses in all aspects, including acting. Yet this specific aspect is rarely as prominently criticized and discussed as it has been for "Blood". It is important to remember that even bad flaws do not always diminish the overall quality of a work, unless they exist in a place and form which make their influence crucial. Sadly for "Blood", its problems exist in two very important aspects of it. Its leading pair and unclear plans for the future. Is all hope lost? For a quality experience, probably. For entertainment? Not just yet...More

[HanCinema's Korea Diaries] Picturing Memory Lane #1

2015/02/28 | | Permalink

One of the lonely pleasures I discovered in Korea was getting lost: wallowing in my ignorance of the strange signs and streets around; wilfully wandering a new world and waiting for a thousand words, more or less, to appear.

On weekends, I was bound to encounter random packs of cheerful children stuffed with sweet, and/or sour, curiosity towards this particular picture-taking alien. With unadulterated honestly they'd often exclaim, whisper, wave and wonder about me...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "Empire of Lust"

2015/02/28 | | Permalink

Min-jae (played by Sin Ha-gyoon) is a military man on a mission- to keep his eye on Bang-won (played by Jang Hyeok). Well, that's technically the plot anyway. While "Empire of Lust" goes to a lot of effort to nail everything about the background narrative to a specific historical time and place...it's actually surprisingly irrelevant to anything that actually happens. The main important movements in the story are mostly the machinations of Ga-hee (played by Kang Han-na) and Jin (played by Kang Ha-neul). The motivations, typically rape...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "Ordinary Days - 2014"

2015/02/28 | | Permalink

Director Kim Sang-seok here writes and produces a film about Sang-seok (also played by Kim Sang-seok) who dreams of untangling the mysteries of his personal life by writing and producing a film. I hope you like introspective irony, because if that sentence didn't clue you in, this is pretty much the whole raison d'être of "Ordinary Days - 2014". The movie even makes a specific point of trying to confuse us about which scenes feature Sang-seok the director and which ones feature Sang-seok the actual person...More

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