My HanCinema | Sign up, Why ? Your E-mail   Password    Auto| Help
HanCinema :: The Korean Movie and Drama Database, discover the South Korean cinema and drama diversity Contact HanCinema HanCinema on TwitterFaceBook HanCinema PageHanCinema on Twitter
NewsLetter DailyWeekly

HanCinema's Korean Blog - Korea's Diary, Pictures, Reviews

Attention You're reading the news with potential spoilers, make them spoiler free, dismiss

[HanCinema's Digest] Travel Bug Bites

2017/02/19 | | Permalink

The New York Times talks about Korea's "Olympian Winter Moment", 10 Magazine has some great tips for solo travelers, read how one blogger got the most out of her five-day trip to Seoul, and visit some "outrageous" museums next time you're in town...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Culture Corner

2017/02/19 | | Permalink

Find out why you might want to stay paying attention to K-pop (if you aren't already), fashion designer Carolina Herrera reimagines the hanbok, learn more about North Korea's history of foreign assassinations and kidnappings, and 10 Magazine looks at how South Korea celebrates love with various special days throughout the year...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Photography and Art

2017/02/19 | | Permalink

Korea's Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism gets behind "Concept Korea" at New York Fashion Week, learn more about the rise in popularity of Korea's "monochrome" movement, Do Ho Suh creates "fabric architecture" of his past homes, and The Korea Times interviews the president of The Korea National University of Arts (K-Arts)...More

[HanCinema's Drama Preview] "Strong Woman Do Bong-soon"

2017/02/18 | | Permalink

I cannot count the times when fiction mistakenly believes a "strong woman" character means someone who behaves in a traditionally masculine manner, swears and hits people. "Strong Woman Do Bong-soon" is clearly not of the same opinion, taking a different approach by giving us a heroine who seems as feminine as she does deadly.

Premise

Do Bong-soon (Park Bo-young) is a woman with super-human strength. She is hired as a bodyguard to a temperamental rich man called Ahn Min-hyeok (Hyung Sik). When they become involved in a serial murder case, the two end up cohabitating with Bong-soon's crush, detective In Gook-doo (Ji Soo) for protection...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "My Little Brother"

2017/02/18 | | Permalink

Seong-ho (played by Jeong Man-sik), Soo-kyeong (played by Lee Yo-won), Joo-mi (played by Esom) and Nak-i (played by Jeong Joon-won) are the brothers and sisters of a rural family that spans several decades. They all live in the city now, plying their various trades- Seong-ho is a daycare driver, Soo-kyeong works in journalism, and Joo-mi struggles with various forms of retail work. Nak-i has no profession, being a late-born child, and upon the death of their father the other siblings awkwardly work together to figure out what to do with him...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "Misbehavior"

2017/02/18 | | Permalink

Hyo-joo (played by Kim Ha-neul) is a smart, in-charge woman who has...nothing. Really. Hyo-joo is only just barely on the tenure track at the high school where she teaches chemistry. She also has a terrible boyfriend, Sang-woo (played by Lee Hee-joon), who appears to have wandered in from a Hong Sang-soo film. Adding insult to injury, Hyo-joo is forced to compete with Hye-yeong (played by Yoo In-young), a pretty, friendly, sweet, professionally incompetent woman with disproportionately cool boyfriend Jong-chan (played by Lee Ki-woo). And that's before teenage dance prodigy Jae-ha (played by Lee Won-geun) gets involved...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "Turning Mecard W: The Revival of Black Mirror"

2017/02/18 | | Permalink

The opening scene of "Turning Mecard W: The Revival of Black Mirror" makes a point of emphasizing to us the backstory of Black Mirror. It was a bad transforming toy robot that had to be sealed into some alternate universe by a good transforming toy robot. Then after the prologue is over he comes back into the real world somehow in rabbit mascot form, handing out mind control mirrors to unsuspecting children. So you see kids, the moral of the story is, don't accept cool mirrors as presents from suspicious rabbits...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Missing 9" Episode 10

2017/02/17 | | Permalink

More dead ends and bitter developments take place in episode ten of "Missing 9" as everyone's favorite idol psychopath somehow becomes the most powerful person in Korea and China. The survivors are being hunted and Bong-hee's allies keep dramatically shrinking in numbers. Unfortunately the episode completely drops the ball in some aspects, making its otherwise tense plot unsatisfying...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Three Color Fantasy - Vivid Romance" Episodes 1-2

2017/02/16 | | Permalink

In-seong (played by Yoon Si-yoon) is a cheerful young man trying to make the best of a bad employment situation and get a decent job. Unfortunately the universe likes to play cruel jokes on In-seong. Soon In-seong is without a job apartment or girlfriend. This leaves In-seong with little choice except to go along with the scheme of his best friend Ji-seob (played Kang Ki-yeong), which is to agree to be a medical test subject for a quick and easy payout...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Saimdang: Light's Diary" Episode 8

2017/02/16 | | Permalink

The two main genres at the forefront this episode are soap opera and parent teacher association meetings. I have to admit that the latter concept is rather...unique, in that I never in a million years expected that I would be reviewing a historical Korean drama that focused on parents talking to other parents and teachers about their children's academic performance. In context, though, it's more of the usual disappointments since Saimdang herself has, as usual, only an indirect role...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Saimdang: Light's Diary" Episode 7

2017/02/15 | | Permalink

Near the end of this episode, there's a brief, lovely little scene where Saimdang takes her family out to nature and uses her powers of artistic description to help them understand natural beauty. This scene is noteworthy for how horribly out of place it is. In between Lee Gyeom's detective work, Saimdang's domestic problems, and greater political struggles, there's precious little time spent actually discussing art and poetry. Which is pretty jarring considering that the whole reason Saimdang is famous is because she's an artist and a poet...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Missing 9" Episode 9

2017/02/15 | | Permalink

It is time to clench body parts and remember to take deep breaths, because episode nine of "Missing 9" piles on the tension and urgency. A boat has noticed the survivors and with a storm approaching, the clock is ticking. In the present, Bong-hee and Tae-yeong hit a dead end. Just as Bong-hee starts to feel hopeless, news about the fate of two more survivors surfaces...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Rebel: Thief Who Stole the People" Episode 6

2017/02/14 | | Permalink

As Gil-dong goes about his happy-go-lucky merchant life, Amogae soon finds himself on the wrong end of the deal. Which seemed sort of inevitable. Amogae is, after all, a con artist who has enemies, and really failed to appreciate the extent to which his act of mercy could backfire. Honestly, it was kind of a dumb move for Amogae to let the poor woman wander about on her own when only a single mistake on her completely amateurish part was necessary to bring about disaster...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Voice" Episode 3

2017/02/14 | | Permalink

"Voice" is still centered around the intrigue of the episode's case. Through the case Kwon-joo proves her acute hearing skills to Jin-hyeok, but he's still a tough man to convince. Not much screen time is spent on his difficulties digesting the connection between them and their tortuous past, but the cliffhanger jerk's the story forward....More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Voice" Episode 4

2017/02/14 | | Permalink

For the brave souls on the "Golden Time" emergency responder team, the time of standing safely in the emergency call room is over. Sometimes emergencies catch them while they're in the field or in transit, which puts them in the line of danger. Will the fledgling team be able to work together when one of their own is taken by a kid who is all kinds of crazy?...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Rebel: Thief Who Stole the People" Episode 5

2017/02/13 | | Permalink

Gil-dong has taken Amogae's precautions too much to heart. He's just goofing around like a secondary character rather than the hero. Amogae, oddly enough, seems to be trying to avoid being the main character, even though his decisions drove all the action for the first four episodes. That's how we get to the main dramatic climax and aftermath here, which is just Amogae getting involved in a gang war while Gil-dong watches on helplessly...More

[HanCinema's Box Office Review]

2017/02/13 | | Permalink

"Fabricated City" ends "Confidential Assignment"'s three-week run at the top...

After three weeks as Korea's number, Kim Seong-hoon-III's action film "Confidential Assignment" was supplanted at the top of the chart by a new local entry over the second weekend of February; Kim's sophomore feature added 543,401 admissions (22.9%) during its fourth week out, moving its total tally now to 7.2 million ($51.6 million), but it was not enough for country's highest-grossing film of the year to secure a fourth-straight weekend at the top of the pile...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Cinema Snippets

2017/02/12 | | Permalink

Arts Desk reviews the DVD version of Na Hong-jin's "The Wailing", discover the long-standing relationship between South Korea cinema and the Berlin International Film Festival, Pierce Conran shares his thoughts on Lee Joon-ik's tenth film about Korea under Japanese occupation, and KoBiz's latest infographic reveals the common thread running through three of Korea's most recent successes...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Food Lovers' Lane

2017/02/12 | | Permalink

10 Magazine explores Korea's ' real ' Chinatown with an eye on authenticity, My Korean Kitchen shows us how to make a popular fish-shaped snack, the Korean Times puts Korean fine dining in the spotlight, and these three side dishes will take just 15 minutes or less...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Travel Bug Bites

2017/02/12 | | Permalink

Travel to and through Korea using "nontraditional" means, 10 Magazine has a guide to some of Korea's most popular royal sites, don't miss out on these 35 dishes on your travels, and Pokemon Go-getters flock to capture temple creatures...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Culture Corner

2017/02/12 | | Permalink

10 Magazine features one of South Korea's most controversial books on "comfort women", The Korea Times zooms in on Korean webtoons and the themes driving them, Yuval Noah Harari believes artificial intelligence could hinder reunification, and CNN explores the country's ski culure ahead of next year's Winter Games...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Photography and Art

2017/02/12 | | Permalink

A South Korean artist pokes fun at the country's hectic office culture through a satirical cartoon series, get to know Korea's booming coffee culture through 'latte art', Pyeongchang holds art biennale ahead of the 2018 Winter Games, and catch a glimpse of what a holiday in the 'hermit kingdom' looks likes...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Romantic Doctor Teacher Kim"

2017/02/11 | | Permalink

"Romantic Doctor Teacher Kim" might sound like another round of hospital romance, but the deceptively titled series is a bit quirkier than you would expect. A human drama at its core, the story looks at the humanity in medicine and the ethical implications of it as a business. At the same time, the drama has trouble living up to that original potential, so let us look at it in more detail...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "The King"

2017/02/11 | | Permalink

So you know that scene where the hero is about to start cleansing the world of evil, then the villain pops up and offers vast power for him to instead assist the forces of evil in ruling the universe? In "The King", that hero is low-born prosecutor Tae-soo (played by Jo In-Seong). That villain is high-ranking special prosecutor Kang-sik (played by Jo In-Seong). The scene happens early on, the twist being that Tae-soo accepts the offer, then proceeds to spend the rest of the movie as a largely passive observer...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "Garak Market Revolution"

2017/02/11 | | Permalink

Doo-soo (played by Jung Du-won) is a college graduate who made the strategic decision to work as a teamster at the Garak market in southeast Seoul. The reasoning being, that teamsters get money right now. And being in office interview purgatory is, well, not a good time. While Doo-soo does not have an especially favorable contract, he unexpectedly gains an opportunity to better his position in life through his expertise in the game of Korean chess...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "Don't Worry"

2017/02/11 | | Permalink

In the first episode of "Don't Worry" wild child Hyeon-joon (played by Lee Si-hoo), desperate to resolve a bad situation, enlists the aid of taxi driver Choon-gil (played by Jeong Ji-soon) to chase down his tormentor. Alas, this was a poor move on Hyeon-joon's part, as Choon-gil is a bit of an idiot. And that includes when it comes to romance, as Choon-gil fantasizes about the young, vibrant Hyeon-joon. This gets to be especially inappropriate as Hyeon-joon grows increasingly agitated with Choon-gil throughout the night. Lucky thing they're both gay...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Missing 9" Episode 8

2017/02/10 | | Permalink

At the rate Tae-ho plans murders it is quite fortunate that "Missing 9" should more realistically be called "Missing Many". The deadly star has some strong media play abilities and he is determined to get Bong-hee. One more survivor returns, but they are not exactly helpful. With the investigative committee still clutching at its new narrative, Bong-hee is left with only her fierce determination and Tae-yeong as her weapons...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Hwarang" Episode 16

2017/02/10 | | Permalink

A turning point has come after a long episode of brooding, low spirits, and contemplation. The hwarang each must decide their own fates and whether or not they will walk the paths expected of them or forge their own. Ji-dwi has an especially hard time coming to terms with the throne with the brave actions of Seon-woo highlighting his low self-esteem and feelings of incompetence....More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Missing 9" Episode 7

2017/02/09 | | Permalink

Tae-ho is busy plotting in the present as much as he was in the past and new hints point to a bloody history for the star long before the island incidents. The investigators are torn between whose story is more convenient to publicize while our tour through the island group's fate brings a new person with a lot of valuable information to the camp. Tae-ho's cover back in the past is in danger and he becomes desperate...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Saimdang: Light's Diary" Episode 6

2017/02/09 | | Permalink

Dramatic romantic opening notwithstanding, "Saimdang: Light's Diary" continues with its dual stories. Lee Gyeom tries to accomplish stuff at the governmental level, while Saimdang tries to maintain a basic standard of living at her home. Ah, this is...you know, one of the criticisms of putting Saimdang on Korean currency is that her role in Korean history has not been a terribly proactive one. I'm kind of baffled as to why "Saimdang: Light's Diary" is choosing to highlight this...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Three Color Fantasy - The Stars in Space" Episodes 5-6

2017/02/09 | | Permalink

Early on we're left with the usual high concept theatrical kiss that "Three Color Fantasy - The Stars In Space" relishes- emphasis on the visceral beauty rather than the central point. But the closing episodes of "Three Color Fantasy - The Stars In Space" quickly take on a very moribund tone as backstory closes in explaining how all the characters, even the hitherto irrelevant ones are tied in to this situation together. That situation being, the closing inevitability of death...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Hwarang" Episode 15

2017/02/08 | | Permalink

The deceit has be wrought. Crown Prince Chang of Baekje believe Seon-woo to be king and the battle is fought to determine whether Baekje and Silla forge an alliance or go to war. Ji-dwi watches with frustration, shame, and a feeling of helplessness....More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Saimdang: Light's Diary" Episode 5

2017/02/08 | | Permalink

Lee Gyeom and Saimdang have tragically separated, off to live their own lives. That is, until the cliffhanger, when by fate they finally happen to meet again...and you know, that's the main issue I have with "Saimdang: Light's Diary". Considering that the framing device is literally academic research, one would think this drama would be more interested in the historical record. But no, rather than get exposition of Saimdang's life and accomplishments, we have to watch her suffer for not being with her one true love...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Hwarang" Episode 14

2017/02/08 | | Permalink

It is Silla versus Baekje in a historical tension brought to life. The hwarang and Princess Sook-myeong must forge peace with The Restless Baekje crown prince who lacks for neither intelligence or insidious intentions. It is time for Silla's royalty to step up and take charge of their destinies as well as the fate of their people. Will they stand tall or will they crumble?...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Rebel: Thief Who Stole the People" Episode 4

2017/02/07 | | Permalink

His name finally cleared, Amogae now heads out into the wilderness to become...the leader of an organized criminal enterprise. The morality in "Rebel: Thief Who Stole the People" really is completely topsy-turvy. It took me awhile to fully appreciate last episode that hey, Amogae is trying to get away with cold-blooded murder, and it's only the overall messed up nature of the situation that makes him sympathetic. Note how the widow seemed to have been angling for petty spite rather than justified revenge...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Rebel: Thief Who Stole the People" Episode 3

2017/02/06 | | Permalink

Incredible though it may seem, Amogae has not actually lost faith in the justice of the legal system just yet. That's especially impressive considering how he spends most of this episode languishing in jail, suffering from the effects of torture. There certainly is a disconnect between what "justice" means depending on how well-connected a person is. It's almost as if the powers that be aren't actually interested in following the rule of law at all, and have to be shamed into doing so through public outrage...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Hwarang" Episode 13

2017/02/06 | | Permalink

Training is finished for the hwarang as they are sent on their first mission. It is so dangerous that their lives cannot be guarenteed -- they are to go to Baekje on a peacekeeping mission. Historically there were extreme tensions between Silla and Baekje and King Jinheung (who we currently know as Ji-dwi) was responsible for forging relations between the two kingdoms and further expanding Silla territory. But the men of "Hwarang" are not yet there. First a meeting of the two kingdoms must be had, which is where the hwarang are headed.

Queen Ji-so's hand is forced by the ministers who want to confront the nearby kingdom of Baekje...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Hwarang" Episode 12

2017/02/06 | | Permalink

Tensions are high as the hwarang speculate who among them is the king of Silla -- the long hidden king about home many rumors of flown, few of them kind. The astute young men guess the king is either Ji-dwi or Seon-woo, although inclinations lean towards the stoic Seon-woo.

Seon-woo does little to deter the rumor mill and the scheming queen taps into it in order to protect her son...More

[HanCinema's Box Office Review] 2017.02.03 ~ 2017.02.05

2017/02/06 | | Permalink

"Arrival" lands in third; "Confidential Assignment" and "The King" remain unmoved...

"Arrival", an American adaptation of Ted Chiang's 1998 short story, "Story of Your Life", was the highest new entry this week, but the 298,665 admissions (13.05%) it claimed was not enough to prevent two local flicks from scoring another big one-two finish...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "Confidential Assignment"

2017/02/04 | | Permalink

Cheol-ryeong (played by Hyeon Bin) is a good North Korean officer who plays by the spirit of the rules. That is, until he fails to heed the literal words of commander Gi-seong (played by Kim Joo-hyeok), and ends up stuck in a disastrous firefight. Although that situation was rather preventable. Why is it that the good guys in the movies always give up their guns in a Mexican standoff? I mean yeah it's an obvious cinematic device, but in the real world no one ever does that for some fairly predictable reasons...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "Obedience"

2017/02/04 | | Permalink

In Uganda and Syria, unstable political situations fomented by the likes of the Lord's Resistance Army and ISIS have created a more-or-less permanent underclass of refugees who have been driven from their homes and have little hope except for what they glean from charity. Politicians frequently prove less than adept at solving these problems, so the task often falls to missionaries to try and bring hope to these people...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "Weekends"

2017/02/04 | | Permalink

All I knew about gay men's choirs before watching "Weekends" was that they are like straight choirs, except populated entirely by gay men. And after watching "Weekends"...my opinion is unchanged. G_Voice is indeed a normal choir composed entirely of gay men. If you want to know how the only gay men's choir in Korea operates, "Weekends" is unlikely to surprise you. Which may be a good thing, since I imagine director Lee Dong-ha-III's principle goal here was to make gay people look normal...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Cinema Snippets

2017/02/04 | | Permalink

Disney to distribute its first Korean film, Film Journal International reviews "The King", KoBiz's latest infographic looks at Lunar New Year winners past and present, and Marvel's "Black Panther" set to shoot a massive chase scene in "the city of film"...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Food Lovers' Lane

2017/02/04 | | Permalink

Expat restauranteurs thrive in Korea, My Korean Kitchen makes 'good kimchi', find out what food is best for foreigners to give them an authentic cultural experience, and Sue lists her top ten kitchen essentials for K-cooking...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Travel Bug Bites

2017/02/04 | | Permalink

The Korea Herald highlights some of the country's best upcoming festivals and events, the annual Korea Sale gets underway, enjoy 'black gold' in Korea's coffee capital, and check out ten of Korea's most beautiful travel destinations...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Culture Corner

2017/02/04 | | Permalink

Comic Con to invade Seoul in August, Koreans' genetic roots revealed, UNESCO considering 7 Buddhist temples for World Heritage status, and North Korea launches a 'charm offensive' though animation...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Photography and Art

2017/02/04 | | Permalink

Rare images of Korea under Japanese occupation discovered at an American auction, a young South Korean fashion designer makes the final cut for the upcoming Hyères International Fashion and Photography Festival, explore North and South Korea in a photo series by Adlan Mansri, and the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism apologises for blacklisting thousands of artists...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Missing 9" Episode 6

2017/02/02 | | Permalink

With one crisis averted another one takes its place, as there is apparently no rest for the wicked and also Bong-hee. Her memories paint a picture of Tae-ho playing Whack-A-Survivor on the island and it feels like the body count will only keep rising. Relationships of the past change forever and more survivors pop up in the present, which means we will have other perspectives to consider in the future...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Missing 9" Episode 5

2017/02/02 | | Permalink

If you feel that "Missing 9" has not really been delivering on the despair and tensions, episode five says hi. It also says that people are going to die and then graciously delivers on that promise. In the past, Tae-ho is an unhinged terror. In the present, Tae-yeong is an unhinged brother looking for answers. So have a seat, grab a pillow and enjoy the episode, preferably before reading about it...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Three Color Fantasy - The Stars in Space" Episodes 3-4

2017/02/02 | | Permalink

So Byeol-i has a physical body again, and promptly uses it to stalk Woo Joo. This ends up going better for than her than would seem logical. The story in "Three Color Fantasy - The Stars In Space" is easy enough to parse from Byeol-i's perspective. She's a sad lonely girl who happens to be dead, and relishes the chance to live out her dream once, if only once, before going on to something more permanent...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Saimdang: Light's Diary" Episode 4

2017/02/02 | | Permalink

We get to watch Saimdang and Lee Gyum's love story implode rather fantastically for the majority of this episode. In general I don't mind the whole tragic doomed love cliché, but here it comes off as rather weak. More than ever I find myself wondering which of these events are based on actual historical record and which are sheer dramatic embellishment. If Saimdang actually married another guy because her parents were making a socio-political decision, I would have much rather seen that...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Saimdang: Light's Diary" Episode 3

2017/02/01 | | Permalink

An extended flashback sums up the general mess of Ji-yoon's current situation, and why it has led to her having gazebo chats with Sang-hyeon (played by Yang Se-jong). Incidentally, Yang Se-jong also plays the young Lee Gyum in flashback, and once the recap is over with we are once again treated to the generally adorable romance between Lee Gyum and Saimdang. Oddly enough this storyline is no less sweet simply because we know it can't possibly end well...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Rebel: Thief Who Stole the People" Episode 2

2017/01/31 | | Permalink

So apparently "Rebel: Thief Who Stole the People" is still in the basic exposition stage. That's the only explanation I can come up with for why it's taking so long for Gil-dong to grow up and become a major force to be reckoned with. To date Amogae (played by Kim Sang-joong) is the main lower class character showing any kind of agency. Now granted, while Amogae is Gil-dong's father, Hong Gil-dong is the legendary historical figure who's headlining the drama...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Solomon's Perjury" Episode 12 Final

2017/01/30 | | Permalink

The truth is out and it is as depressing and simultaneously empowering as truth often is. "Solomon's Perjury" has tried tackling big topics in the life of teenagers, adults and humanity in general in just twelve episodes. This means that certain things feel inevitably rushed and underdeveloped. Even so, the final episode does the best it can to wrap up this long and arduous battle...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Rebel: Thief Who Stole the People" Episode 1

2017/01/30 | | Permalink

At the start of "Rebel: Thief Who Stole the People" Gil-dong (played by Yoon Gyoon-sang) has rather made a mess of things. The specifics of how he got to that point are as yet unclear but long story short the Korean army is busting down his doorstep and Gil-dong is such an annoyance that King Yeonsangun himself (played by Kim Ji-seok-I in person) appears to berate the folk hero in person. From there, it's time for flashback mode as we see how the situation managed to escalate...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Solomon's Perjury" Episode 11

2017/01/30 | | Permalink

The penultimate episode of "Solomon's Perjury" brings a sense of deflation, because it reminds us that reality is rarely as neat and rewarding as fiction. The show's take on authority and morality is nearly fully formed and everything is ready to come to light. It will hurt many, but the truth always does. That is because it gives us control and therefore responsibility for our faults...More

[HanCinema's Box Office Review] 2017.01.27 - 2017.01.29

2017/01/30 | | Permalink

Local buddy cop film gains momentum to overthrow "The King"...

Kim Seong-hoon-III's "Confidential Assignment" (formally known as "Cooperation") received a screen boost for its second weekend out that helped bump it up one place to pole position. Last weekend, Kim's sophomore film – after "My Little Hero" (2006) – entered in second with 845,971 admissions (27.2%) from 976 screens behind "The King"'s 1.3 million admissions (42.85%); in week two, "Confidential Assignment" (starring Hyeon Bin and Yoo Hae-jin) had 1,379 screens from which to pool and added another 1,9 million (46.1%), moving its total tally now to 3.77 million ($26.57 million)...More

[HanCinema's Drama First Look] "Voice"

2017/01/28 | | Permalink

OCN continues its efforts for stronger main plots and new concepts, which includes getting past their love of gimmicks and turning them into fleshed out stories. "Voice" once again combines detective work and heinous crime cases, but this time it takes its more dramatic twist seriously. Enter a broken cop and what I can only describe as a superheroine out to get them bad guys through the latter's special ability...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Ruby Ruby Love"

2017/01/28 | | Permalink

Ruby (played by Seohyun) is the kind of woman who's perfectly pretty in a normal conventional way yet is paralyzed by shyness into hiding in her room all the time and wearing giant cute glasses. This lifestyle is enabled by Ruby's profession. As a freelance jewelry designer, Ruby relies on her best friend Won-seok (played by Lee Cheol-woo) to convey important information to the outside world. But upon receiving official recognition from the somewhat important Ji-seok (played by Lee Yi-kyung), Ruby must rely on magical powers to break out of her shell...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "Tazza: The High Rollers" + DVD Giveaway

2017/01/28 | | Permalink

Once, long ago, Go-ni (played by Cho Seung-woo) lost a lot of his family's money. This was through the classic Korean gambling game of Flower War, which is played with Japanese hanafuda cards. Anyway, Go-ni makes the logical decision to gamble harder, eventually becoming a powerful expert in the field of gambling cheating, always looking for the next big score. Through "Tazza: The High Rollers", Go-ni chases big scores again and again and again...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "A Bloody Aria" + DVD Giveaway

2017/01/28 | | Permalink

Married opera professor Yeong-seon (played by Lee Byung-joon) is having a leisurely drive with former student In-jeong (played by Cha Ye-ryeon), making a few misguided attempts to impress her. It isn't long before we learn that Yeong-seon is a complete jerk, and actually kind of monstrous even. So it's with a sense of gratification that Yeong-seon ends up getting waylaid in the middle of nowhere, and forced to make conversation with various rural Korean rednecks...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "The Wig" + DVD Giveaway

2017/01/28 | | Permalink

Soo-hyeon (played by Chae Min-seo) is dying of leukemia and struggles to find the motivation to do much of anything anymore. So her sister Ji-hyeon (played by Yoo Sun) comes up with the bright idea of buying Soo-hyeon a wig as a means to boost self-esteem. It actually ends up working save for one inevitable problem. "The Wig" is in fact a monstrous ghost that exists in this world only to settle a debt owed for a past life of misery...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Cinema Snippets

2017/01/28 | | Permalink

KoBiz's latest infographic shows directors who have returned after a lengthy hiatus, the Korean press select "The Wailing" as the best film of 2016, Na Hong-jin's latest to be adapted by Scott Free Productions, and Movie Pilot has ten films to introduce you to Korean cinema...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Food Lovers' Lane

2017/01/28 | | Permalink

Get a look at one of Seoul's hottest new fusion restaurants, an unusual cooking show has contestants making dishes from the popular World of Warcraft game, CJ CheilJedang aims to rule the global dumpling market, and Beyond Kimchee shows us how to make Korean beef stew...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Travel Bug Bites

2017/01/28 | | Permalink

Learn all about Korea's many hot springs, the (super) train to Busan will now take just half an hour, take note of these travel hacks to save money in Korea, and a new smart card for tourists makes it even easier for visitors to get around...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Culture Corner

2017/01/28 | | Permalink

Hear how K-pop is enjoyed over the DMZ from a defector, Han Kang's latest novel "Human Acts" gets released, check out these eight Hollywood celebrities who love K-pop, and is Korea's work culture as hectic as Japan's?...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Photography and Art

2017/01/28 | | Permalink

A statue of a woman outside a Japanese consul sparks controversy, Jun Joon-hyuk will be Korea's first ballerino to join Britain's Royal Ballet, Seoulistic lists 13 "unique" museums in Korea, and get a glimpse into Korea's labour landscape through the lens of industry insider Park Jin-hee...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Missing 9" Episode 4

2017/01/27 | | Permalink

Our "Missing 9" may no longer be entirely missing, but episode four reveals that they were not nine to begin with. So-hee may be unreliable, but at least part of her experiences may be true, as a certain someone starts plotting something wicked. The big revelation about So-hee's death takes place, although if there is anything "Missing 9" has taught me it is that truth is subjective...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Hwarang" Episode 11

2017/01/27 | | Permalink

Love and conspiracy are in full bloom in this week's episode of "Hwarang". Those opposed to the queen and current royal family chip away at the secrets that protect Ji-dwi and his mother while Seon-woo and Aro revel in their new love.

I did not much like the romance before, but with the air cleared, the main couple is endearing and brimming with chemistry....More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Hwarang" Episode 10

2017/01/27 | | Permalink

The kiss finally happened and it was less creepy and more satisfying than I anticipated. It was the result of an explosion of emotion based in relief and pent-up desire. While the romance reached an emotional pinnacle, Ji-dwi firmly grasps at his throne, challenging his power-hungry mother for his rightful place....More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Legend of the Blue Sea" Episode 20 (final)

2017/01/27 | | Permalink

"The Legend of the Blue Sea" has come to and end after battling murderers, life on land, greed, lies, and the differences between merfolk and humans. Some of it was a very adorable ride and some of it was wanting. Let's take a look back at the twenty episodes of this romantic tale and the finale before we say our final goodbyes....More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Saimdang: Light's Diary" Episode 2

2017/01/26 | | Permalink

We start out with brief, generally boring academic politics. Thankfully "Saimdang: Light's Diary" quickly gives up on this exposition and it's right to what we're all waiting for- the introduction of Saimdang (played by Park Hye-soo). Of course, for now she's still just a kid. Saimdang is spunky, what with trying to climb walls, but the young woman is smarter than she looks. Saimdang has a keen eye for the arts that soon gets cultivated as she spends time with Lee Gyum...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Saimdang: Light's Diary" Episode 1

2017/01/26 | | Permalink

Long ago, the famed painter Lee Gyum (played by Song Seung-heon) was in Renaissance-era Italy. What exactly he was doing there is not yet entirely clear. Art professor Ji-yoon (played by Lee Young-ae) aims to find out, although the road there is a tad circuitous. Ji-yoon is trapped between a bad professional situation and a swiftly degrading household. Neither are her fault. Ji-yoon just had the bad luck of getting involved with unscrupulous men...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Three Color Fantasy - The Stars in Space" Episodes 1-2

2017/01/26 | | Permalink

One day, Byeol-i (played by Ji Woo) was just walking to school as usual rocking out to tunes with her discman and then...well, long story short it's the present day now, and Byeol-i has a new, generally unpleasant job. She's able to avoid the worst of it, though, by fantasizing about Woo Joo (played by Suho), a pop star with loyal devoted fans. There's just one problem. Woo Joo is very depressed. And not in a sad way, in a very curt and brash "why don't I just end it all" kind of way...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Missing 9" Episode 3

2017/01/25 | | Permalink

Reunions and new acquaintances take place in episode three of "Missing 9" and things take a turn for the deadly when a killer is revealed among the survivors. Tae-yeong reaches out to Bong-hee as her memories begin to show her gruesome images and bring a mysterious anxiety to the surface. One thing is clear; nature is not the only element of threat found on that island...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Night Light" Episode 20 Final

2017/01/24 | | Permalink

Of all the flaws that have dominated "Night Light", by far the most glaring is just that no one ever seems to do anything. The few times this drama manages to pull off anything approaching excitement is when action is involved. Usually courtesy of Tak, who gets all the fight scenes. But by and large, the characters are content to just talk about stuff they're going to do rather than actually do anything remotely flashy...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Legend of the Blue Sea" Episode 19

2017/01/24 | | Permalink

The penultimate episode of "The Legend of the Blue Sea" clearly asks the questions that have been brewing over the past three months. Can Cheong remain on land? Will Ji-hyeon find redemption? Will Nam-doo capitalize on Cheong's mermaid identity? All these and more are addressed with a few kisses thrown in for good measure....More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Night Light" Episode 19

2017/01/23 | | Permalink

With I-kyeong having thoroughly humiliated the previous villain into complete irrelevance, it's difficult to take the few remaining bad guys in "Night Light" all that seriously. Even all the rumblings about a possible spy are largely undercut by the fact that I-kyeong herself barely seems to care about the potential danger, and the problem goes away just as soon as she decides to put some actual effort into solving it. Se-jin, meanwhile, has learned to just accept that this is who I-kyeong is...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Solomon's Perjury" Episode 10

2017/01/23 | | Permalink

With Woo-hyeok out of the picture and hopefully reflecting on his life, the trial is left at a standstill. The core team decide to persevere, as new evidence reveals a figure running away from the school at the time of So-woo's death. Meanwhile Kyeong-moon tries his best to block the trial and this puts pressure on Ji-hoon, whose identity and secrets are being discovered by more and more people around him...More

[HanCinema's Box Office Review] 2017.01.20 ~ 2017.01.22

2017/01/23 | | Permalink

Local films "The King" and "Confidential Assignment" capture 70% of the sales...

Han Jae-rim's new film, "The King" (starring Jo In-Seong, Jeong Woo-seong and Bae Seong-woo), and Kim Jeong-hoon-III's sophomore feature, "Confidential Assignment" (with Hyeon Bin and Yoo Hae-jin), entered the chart and secured a one-two finish for the home team...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Solomon's Perjury" Episode 9

2017/01/22 | | Permalink

Things get emotional in episode nine of "Solomon's Perjury" as we dive deeper into the relationships and pain of different characters. Woo-hyeok makes a bold decision which initiates his biggest challenge of morality yet and the truth about his own part in So-woo's death is revealed. Ji-hoon's identity is being questioned and his past with Kyeong-moon is revealed to us with unknown intent...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Goblin" Episode 16 Final

2017/01/21 | | Permalink

And so "Goblin" ends on a mostly pleasant note. Once Kim Sin went and died without actually dying it was pretty impossible to take any stated conflict in this drama seriously anymore, so the ensuing contortions necessary to get us the happy engaged couple of Kim Sin and Eun-tak don't bother me so much. Even the as-usual railroaded nature of the not-romance between the Grim Reaper and Sunny isn't much of an issue anymore. Nor, for that matter, do I care all that much about the rules regarding magical memory attention being rewritten yet again...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Goblin" Episode 15

2017/01/21 | | Permalink

So the recap this time is just the Goblin's full death scene from episode thirteen. Admittedly, it looks pretty great. The fading away to light particles was a nice touch, and the acting truly heartfelt. For all the flaws "Goblin" has a complete story, the direction is pretty consistently top-notch. But there are limits to how far the occasional excellent scene can go. Aesthetic excellence notwithstanding, I'm at a bit of a loss as to why "Goblin" is reminding us of Kim Sin's death when he didn't actually die...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "My Son" + DVD Giveaway

2017/01/21 | | Permalink

Once, long ago, Kang-sik (played by Cha Seung-won) committed a horrible crime. Ever since that day, he has lingered in prison, mostly dead on the inside, with no hope or expectation of mercy or forgiveness. Realizing Kang-sik is not a threat to anyone in this state, prison authorities grant Kang-sik a single day to go home. There he finds an old woman (played by Kim Ji-yeong) and a young student (played by Ryoo Deok-hwan) who are supposed to be family yet feel, in reality, like hopeless distant strangers...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "Old Miss Diary - Movie" + DVD Giveaway

2017/01/21 | | Permalink

Neurotic Mi-ja (played by Ye Ji-won) is in her thirties and badly wanting a boyfriend. Hyeon-woo (played by Ji Hyeon-woo) is younger, attractive, and available, mostly because he happens to be physically present at Mi-ja's new job. That's the faint outline of a plot around which "Old Miss Diary - Movie" surrounds itself. Really the whole project is mostly an excuse for the cast and crew of "Old Miss Diary - Drama" to do an abridged version of the situation comedy. Which is just as well. Who has time to watch two hundred and thirty two episodes of anything these days?...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "Don't Tell Papa" + DVD Giveaway

2017/01/21 | | Permalink

Cho-won (played by a ten-year old Yoo Seung-ho) was conceived under auspicious circumstances. Immature high school student Cheol-soo (played by Jung Woong-in, who being in his thirties doesn't look like a high school student at all) and tough-as-nails bombshell Ae-rang (played by Chae Min-seo) hooked up. Thanks to questionable decision-making on both their parts, Cho-won is, in the present day, being raised in the nightclub where Cheol-soo works as an emcee...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Cinema Snippets

2017/01/21 | | Permalink

"The Handmaiden" and "Train to Busan" lead the way ahead of the Asian Film Awards in March, KoBiz explores the rise of web fiction adaptations, Movie Pilot gets political with K-cinema, and Asian Movie Pulse lists six Korean films to get excited about this year...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Food Lovers' Lane

2017/01/21 | | Permalink

Travelers Today lists some 'strange' Korean foods to try, Simon Cockerell shares his experience of North Korean cuisine for the Decan Chronicle, learn how to make dakgaejang with Korea Bapsang, and the Korea Herald visits Green Table in Gangnum...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Travel Bug Bites

2017/01/21 | | Permalink

February is a budget-friendly time to visit Korea, Naver is using AI to offer tailored travel recommendations, a record number of tourists visited Korean palaces in 2016, and check out Carolyn's tips after her first trip to Seoul...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Culture Corner

2017/01/21 | | Permalink

The Corea Image Institute honours the country's top cultural ambassadors, KBS World explores how Korea is preparing for the fourth industrial revolution with AI, discover what cosmetic surgery procedures are the most popular in Korea, and consider renting your own beautiful hanbok next time you're in town...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Photography and Art

2017/01/21 | | Permalink

The New York Times reports on the mass censorship of thousands of artists, Korea's most sought-after male model holds his first art exhibition, start exploring contemporary Korean photography with these five talents, and check out Korea's answer to the London's Madame Tussauds...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Goblin" Episode 14

2017/01/20 | | Permalink

So even though a really big point has been made about how the Goblin will die if the sword is ever pulled out, apparently by "die" what everyone actually meant was "get sent to icy purgatory for several years". This will end his suffering somehow. The logic of this rather escapes me, since being an immortal God in modern Seoul would seem to be a great deal more enjoyable than wandering the desert, and the Goblin ends up back there anyway except that no one remembers who he is...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Legend of the Blue Sea" Episode 18

2017/01/20 | | Permalink

Episode 18 of "The Legend of the Blue Sea" crams everything into one very tumultuous episode. Joon-jae reels from his father's death. Arrests are made. Accusations are cast. Past incarnations are revealed. Fate swings a heavy fist...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Voice" Episode 2

2017/01/20 | | Permalink

"Voice" definitely relies most on the wrenching of emotions to hook its audience and the highly emotional moments are definitely where it is strongest. It sinks its airtime into the sensational whether it be a current case or an angry Jang Hyeok...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Missing 9" Episode 2

2017/01/19 | | Permalink

Relief, despair, frustration and every other imaginable entry in the gamut of human emotion is felt by our stranded duo of idol and stylist, as Bong-hee manages to regain the part of her memories taking place immediately after the crash. Survival is the name of the game and Joon-oh is just not very good at it. Meanwhile, a body is washed ashore in the present and the mystery of what happened on the island becomes more complicated...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Naked Fireman" Episode 4

2017/01/19 | | Permalink

The bookends for the final episode of "Naked Fireman" communicate the emotional core of the drama. Why did Cheol-soo become a fireman anyway? Why is he always so determined to risk his own life to help others? Within reason of course. I really like how "Naked Fireman" demonstrates that in the real world, even a brave heroic man like Cheol-soo very sensibly backs down and is generally pliant when faced with a gun...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Naked Fireman" Episode 3

2017/01/19 | | Permalink

With the true villain unveiled, we know now that "Naked Fireman" is, in the end, a thriller. But, as is usually crucial, the characters themselves are not aware of this. Jin-ah is baffled by the extent to which Cheol-soo does not resemble the terrifying man in her memory, and slowly starts to piece together the inconsistency of memories. Unfortunately the process is slow, and it simply does not occur to Jin-ah that if not the man with the birthmark, the culprit would have to be someone frighteningly close...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Missing 9" Episode 1

2017/01/19 | | Permalink

"Missing 9" starts out with a bang, that is, the sound of an exploding plane engine. Episode one starts us off four months after the crash and it provides our witness, who claims total loss of her memories after the painful event. The episode then introduces us to the diverse cast of characters, their basic relationships and a little backstory before diving, quite literally, into the dire situation at hand...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Romantic Doctor Teacher Kim" Special

2017/01/18 | | Permalink

Episode twenty-one of "Romantic Doctor Teacher Kim" has been called a prequel, then a special. It turns out that it actually picks up right after the official last one in terms of its timeline. The episode does explore the past a little, but it is more of an extended farewell with Kim Hye-soo as a guest and with the series making a last return to its roots...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Naked Fireman" Episode 2

2017/01/18 | | Permalink

With more flashbacks of the mysterious arson incident it soon becomes clear that yes, Cheol-soo is indeed the man (or at the time, idiot teenager) who Jin-ah briefly brushed paths with on that horrible day. But as usual, Cheol-soo's relatively demure behavior in the modern day complicates Jin-ah's narrative of his villainy. Cheol-soo is still stuck in his adorable little romantic comedy world, performing only noble chivalric deeds when in the presence of a lady...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Voice" Episode 1

2017/01/18 | | Permalink

"Voice" has begun and despite some bizarre pacing and trying a little to hard, it was entertaining. Brought to us by director Kim Hong-seon ("Pied Piper", "Liar Game", "Warrior Baek Dong-soo") and writer Ma Jin-won ("Save the Last Dance for Me", "Speed"), the drama skews to the dark and dramatic. While the first episode has pinged my curiosity, I can't say it is anything unusual for the genre or for OCN.

Jang Hyeok as Moo Jin-hyeok overacts as a detective who loses his wife to a brutal murder and subsequently falls apart...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Hwarang" Episode 9

2017/01/18 | | Permalink

It is both an episode of angst and progress that greets us this week. Aro must try to come to terms with the fact that her real brother died and that Seon-woo is just a stand in. At the same time, the hwarang unintentionally become closer. The stuffs that hold it together are flimsy, but mindlessly enjoyable like most of the drama...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Night Light" Episode 18

2017/01/17 | | Permalink

In a somewhat refreshing change of pace Se-jin actually ends up working against I-kyeong instead of against her. That Se-jin's original plan would go so poorly was predictable. That the story itself would end up acknowledging this is much more surprising, and we appear to be going into the final stretch of episodes with I-kyeong as a genuinely sympathetic character. This nice, even as it calls unfortunate attention to the fact that so much of "Night Light" up until now has been a complete waste of time that didn't work in service to this point...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Romantic Doctor Teacher Kim" Episode 20 Final

2017/01/17 | | Permalink

The end of the main story has arrived in "Romantic Doctor Teacher Kim" and while some of its choices are smart, it mostly feels like a rushed conclusion to topics which needed a little more. On the other hand, if you have been looking forward to a fist fight between Yoon-wan and Teacher Kim, you can scratch that off your wishlist. All in all, the ending provides what it reasonably could quite well...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Night Light" Episode 17

2017/01/16 | | Permalink

I never would have thought, during the early episodes of "Night Light", that I-kyeong was going to emerge as the most sympathetic character. The thing is, she's already won. I-kyeong is just making normal business deals now. Yet Se-jin and Gun-woo still hover in the background wanting to bring her down for...some reason. Se-jin's attempts at backroom deals here are a lot shadier than anything I-kyeong has done in recent memory, so it's hard to want her to succeed...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Solomon's Perjury" Episode 8

2017/01/16 | | Permalink

A lot of pain and abuse is revealed as the past comes closer to the surface. Violence generates more violence and Seo-yeon believes showing that is important for everyone involved. Crucial information about the last person believed to have spoken with So-woo is discovered by the prosecution while Ji-hoon and Kyeong-moon's involvement is starting to become a little clearer...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Hwarang" Episode 8

2017/01/16 | | Permalink

As the queen tries to build up the hwarang, her opponents just as quickly attempt to tear them down. Meanwhile romance flowers between the beautiful young men and women of Silla and complicates matters for those with political aims.

Aro is one of those young people in love, confused by her emotions for her brother as much as she is confused by the clear indicators that he may not be who she thinks he is...More

[HanCinema's Box Office Review] 2017.01.13 ~ 2017.01.15

2017/01/16 | | Permalink

Japan's highest-grossing anime retains pole position...

Makoto Shinkai's romantic fantasy "Your Name" is now the highest-grossing Japanese anime in history having recently overtaken Hayao Miyazaki's classic, "Spirited Away" (2001). Shinkai's critical acclaimed masterpiece entered the Korean market January 4 and became the first Japanese anime to enter in pole position in over a decade. During its second weekend out, "Your Name" added another 739,079 admissions (30%) and moved its total tally in Korea now to 2.4 million ($17.2 million). Worldwide, "Your Name" has grossed $290 million, enough to overtake "Spirited Away"'s $289 million...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Solomon's Perjury" Episode 7

2017/01/15 | | Permalink

Episode seven of "Solomon's Perjury" is all about perspective. The truth is always observed subjectively by each of us and one person's truth might not be another's. The trial gains new and important witnesses, Ji-hoon continues to succeed in his manipulation, but Seo-yeon sadly continues letting her convictions and speculation blind her. A new, mysterious figure emerges as a presence in So-woo's life around the time of his death...More

[HanCinema's Drama Preview] "Missing 9"

2017/01/14 | | Permalink

"How about we take a few pampered celebrities with big egos and put them in the same group", thought the production of "Missing 9". "Now how about we throw them and regular folks into one of the toughest survival environments", they continued. Well, what we get is hopefully an original story full of raw humanity and suspense.

Premise

The only witness of a terrible incident describes her story. She and eight other people from the same entertainment agency went through a plane crash and became stranded on an island. The witness and one mysterious corpse are all that is left to help untangle the mystery of everyone's fate...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "Flying Boys" + DVD Giveaway

2017/01/14 | | Permalink

Min-jae (played by Yoon Kye-sang), Chang-seob (played by On Joo-wan), and Dong-wan (played by Lee Joon-ki) are three high school students who struggle with normal high school problems, like the desire not to get beat up every day, get into a good school, and have fun in general. As movie protagonists go they're actually relatively nebbish. Min-jae in particular is a giant weenie, yet he is also the main character, always struggling to find the courage to talk to local cool girl Soo-jin (played by Kim Min-jeong)...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "Mission Possible: Kidnapping Granny K" + DVD Giveaway

2017/01/14 | | Permalink

For various morbid reasons, Do-beom (played by Kang Sung-jin), Geun-yeong (played by Yoo Hae-jin) and Jong-man (played by Yoo Gun) have been unable to make anything of themselves in life. They have to resort to petty crime in the meager hopes of recovering from their misfortunes. It is from here that they arbitrarily decide to kidnap famed restaurant personality Soon-boon (played by Nah Moon-hee) who has her own problems in life, mainly centering around ungrateful children. "Mission Possible: Kidnapping Granny K" is the story of their unlikely team-up...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "Cracked Eggs and Noodles" + DVD Giveaway

2017/01/14 | | Permalink

When we're first introduced to Dae-gyoo (played by Im Chang-jeong), the man is rather...uncouth. As in, Dae-gyoo is telling a woman about how the person he hates more than anyone else in the world is his father, as implicit justification for his handing over a small sum of money to be used for, well, presumably some sort of procedure that would prevent Dae-gyoo from becoming a father. Then he meets In-kwon (played by Lee In-seong), a generally obnoxious child who soon proves to be Dae-gyoo's nemesis as they travel Jeolla province, somewhat inconveniently, without a car...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Cinema Snippets

2017/01/14 | | Permalink

Korea's "City of Film" gets a serious cash injection, Justin Lowe reviews Jo Eui-seok's "Master", Netflix's first Korean original series will be web comic, and for the first time in over a decade a Japanese anime has topped Korea's charts...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Food Lovers' Lane

2017/01/14 | | Permalink

Check out the most popular recipes of 2016 from My Korean Kitchen, the Economist explores South Korea's food-show craze with an eye on men in the kitchen, soju prices are at a record level, and hear how many are feeling the pinch from the steep rise in egg prices...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Travel Bug Bites

2017/01/14 | | Permalink

Explore some of the wintery wonders around Pyeongchang, find out if studying in South Korea is for you, 10 Magazine visits the historic city of Namwom, and how friendly is Seoul to book lovers?...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Culture Corner

2017/01/14 | | Permalink

Idols stars sign up to promote K-culture for a new online class, Kim Yuna's ice skates deemed a cultural assist ahead of the Winter Games, Comic Con is coming to Seoul in August, and why are more South Koreans choosing to drink alone?...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Photography and Art

2017/01/14 | | Permalink

Playboy will get its own Korean edition in June, the Korea Times puts the works of Ryu Kyung-chai in the spotlight, check out a photoblog from a new food tour, and stay up to date with the rise of modern Korean art through the country's National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Goblin" Episode 13

2017/01/13 | | Permalink

So apparently the Grim Reaper has been breaking rules this entire time regarding unnecessary memory manipulation, so it's up to the Grim Reaper investigation team to suitably punish him. As it turns out this is all just a thinly veiled excuse to allow the Grim Reaper to fill in the remaining gaps in the flashback story, although at this point we can pretty easily guess what happens. So much blood spilled, for so little apparent purpose. Kind of like how "Goblin" is with ink...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Legend of the Blue Sea" Episode 17

2017/01/13 | | Permalink

1

Episode 17 dives into the heart of the issues between our main couple and into the dastardly deeds of Ji-hyeon's mother. It even tackles the relationship between Joon-jae's father, although it's too little too late....More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Naked Fireman" Episode 1

2017/01/12 | | Permalink

Jin-ah (played by Jeong In-seon) is an artist undergoing therapy for a traumatic arson case some ten years ago. Through this process, Jin-ah has been able to unearth memories of a distinctive wound on the body of the presumed perpetrator, who she saw before and after the crime had been committed. Meanwhile, Cheol-soo (played by Lee Joon-hyeok) is a goofy fireman with a disfigurement identical to the one Jin-ah remembers. But for the most part he lives in a happy-go-lucky comic world filled with locker room banter and generally annoying people who don't like to be rescued...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok-joo" Episode 16 Final

2017/01/11 | | Permalink

And now, for a final tension-free conflict in "Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok-joo". Not that I'm complaining. There's a nice sense of constancy in how Bok-joo and Joon-hyeong can never get into a fight so serious it can actually really break them. Even at her most doubtful Bok-joo is more teasing of Joon-hyeong than she ever is genuinely mad at the guy. Besides, it's all for a good cause. Joon-hyeong's collusion with Bok-joo's dad and uncle was a nice way of getting the generally psychotic Chang-geol to accept Joon-hyeong without necessitating a serious personality clash...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Legend of the Blue Sea" Episode 16

2017/01/11 | | Permalink

Joon-jae's mother did not get hit by a car. Instead we get a very satisfying reunion of mother and son that results in mutual sleuthing into Ji-hyeon's mother and her shadowy past. This plot thread took up the bulk of the hour with very little interference by Cheong's and Joon-jae's romance....More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Hwarang" Episode 7

2017/01/11 | | Permalink

"Hwarang" episode 7 explores the meaning of what it means to be king. Various points of view of presented and explained throughout the episode while the cringeworthy romance between Seon-woo and Aro continues to grow and Ji-dwi engages in a battle of will with his power-hungry mother.

The struggle between factions and royal family members is nothing alien to the sageuk...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Romantic Doctor Teacher Kim" Episode 19

2017/01/10 | | Permalink

Hurray for a fresh and interesting twist which fixes some of the mistakes of episode eighteen. "Romantic Doctor Teacher Kim" has pulled these before and it is good to see it do the same near the end, especially after the previous few shaky episodes and their erratic character developments. As Dong-joo comes to terms with his new information about the past, Doldam prepares for one last fight with the relentlessly shameless Yoon-wan...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Romantic Doctor Teacher Kim" Episode 18

2017/01/10 | | Permalink

With Chairman Sin still unconscious and his daughter, Hyeon-jeong still being manipulated by Yoon-wan Doldam's future is put in grave danger. Reporter Oh is still looking into Teacher Kim's life as Boo Yong-joo and some secrets of the past are revealed, which cause great tension. They also temporarily sacrifice a character to the altar of plot progression, making the transition to the next episode crucial...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Night Light" Episode 16

2017/01/10 | | Permalink

I realized, near the end of this episode, that part of the reason why "Night Light" is so boring is that the production team is very bad at figuring out terms of scale. When the early episodes play with Russian Roulette and violent hostage situations, the tension is real and powerful. People get mad and offended for good reason. Whereas here...a simple police investigation is treated like some sort of huge betrayal, when there's little indication of meaningful long term consequences...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Night Light" Episode 15

2017/01/09 | | Permalink

Once again, "Night Light" delivers on the goods with...more elongated scenes of I-kyeong discussing business plans with characters who at this point are only really borderline antagonistic. Even when the story moves to a crisis involving the medical security of a hospitalized old man, it's really hard to feel sorry for anyone. I-kyeong doesn't play nice, but she does play fair. Why do Se-jin and Gun-woo feel compelled to interfere with that, just because they're not into the whole cutthroat businessperson jam?...More

[HanCinema's Box Office Review] 2017.01.06 ~ 2017.01.08

2017/01/09 | | Permalink

Japanese anime "Your Name" enters in pole position...

For the first time in over a decade, a Japanese anime has entered at the top of the South Korean box office. Makoto Shinkai's fantasy romance anime "Your Name" (based on Shinkai's own novel of the same name) officially opened on Wednesday after becoming the second-highest grossing anime film in Japan late last year where it banked over $288 million (Hayao Miyazaki's "Spirited Away", the highest-grossing anime, sits on $289 million). From 944 screens, "Your Name" captured 31.3% of the sales (832,040 admissions) to dislodge last weekend's number one, Jo Eui-seok's crime flick "Master"...More

[HanCinema Awards] Conclusion of the First Annual HanCinema Awards

2017/01/08 | | Permalink

The First Annual HanCinema Awards has concluded successfully thank to you, HanCinema Readers! With over half a million votes in fifteen categories, you let your voices be heard and we couldn't be more pleased! Thank you so much for joining us on this great adventure into film and drama!...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Solomon's Perjury" Episode 6

2017/01/08 | | Permalink

It is truly a happy day when my biggest complaint about an episode is that it provides too much solid material to fit into my desired review length. Episode six of "Solomon's Perjury" is chock-full of new revelations, new suspects, rising tensions, great character development and all other manner of goodies. Seo-yeon takes her biggest step as a prosecutor yet and she will need all of her strength to handle the current chaos...More

[HanCinema's Drama Preview] "Voice"

2017/01/07 | | Permalink

Dramaland geniuses are rarely useful ones, but OCN likes to make its characters work for their special snowflake award. The latest ability is a keen sense of hearing which will crack a case and catch a murderer. The task of "Voice" now is to rise above gimmicks and create a suspenseful story with a twist that matters.

Premise

Two people whose lives have been touched by a serial killer work together in order to catch him. One is a tough and relentless former detective skilled in action, the other is an intelligent officer who works at an emergency call center and has a heightened sense of hearing...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Goblin" Episode 12

2017/01/07 | | Permalink

In the originally broadcast form on Korean television, this episode of "Goblin" contains a helpful recap explaining the major events from the previous episode. These are some help when it comes to major plot points, like how memories of past lives can be restored by touching a Grim Reaper (?), and also how New Year's Eve festivities have been driving the major emotional events lately. This does admittedly make for a fairly romantic backdrop, limited though it may be when romance is a subordinate concern to plot. Which is once again, all this past life stuff...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Solomon's Perjury" Episode 5

2017/01/07 | | Permalink

Despite Jeong-guk High School's attempts to stop it, the first day of the trial has arrived. New and unpredictable players join this very serious game and there are several obstacles for the prosecution and defense to overcome. Joo-ri still refuses to join and Woo-hyeok cannot control his temper. All eyes are on the students as new truths come to light. Meanwhile, Ji-hoon's involvement becomes deeper...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Seven First Kisses" Episodes 5-8

2017/01/07 | | Permalink

So whoever's responsible for uploading "Seven First Kisses" only hired translators for the first seven episodes. Which means if you want to watch the individual endings or the Lee Min-ho segment, you'll have to go in blind. Well, then again it's the same general joke for all of them. Title notwithstanding there is no actual kissing in this drama. Also Lee Min-ho is a travel writer. Kai is Soo-jin's former student. Taecyeon is the passionate, rebellious heir of a major corporation. And Lee Jong-suk is pretty much just himself...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Sound of Your Heart" Episode 5 (TV Version)

2017/01/07 | | Permalink

Episodes thirteen, fourteen, fifteen, and sixteen couple up with the last two new TV stories to close out "The Sound of Your Heart". Joon gets a bit more attention than usual- one of the new stories revolves around him completely, as he misinterprets an announcement in a foreign hotel and quickly drives everyone else into an insane fruitless frenzy in the process. Poor Joon. The guy just wants to be a hero, but in the end, even his own family can't stand him...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "Happiness" + DVD Giveaway

2017/01/07 | | Permalink

In a colorful yet emotionally dank apartment, Yeong-soo (played by Hwang Jeong-min) ponders the general uselessness of his life as he prepares to move into a sanatorium to receive treatment for his various addictions. That's where he meets Eun-hee (played by Im Soo-jeong), a woman who is more terminally ill, yet has decent enough health that she has begun acting as a stabilizing force for the various other patients. Gradually, they fall in love, pondering life outside the sanatorium...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "Like a Virgin" + DVD Giveaway

2017/01/07 | | Permalink

Dong-goo (played by Ryoo Deok-hwan) is a pudgy yet strong teenage boy who idolizes Madonna and eagerly looks forward to the day when he's able to scrape enough money together to afford gender reassignment surgery. Dong-goo discovers that there's quite a bit of scholarship money to be had by competing in traditional Korean wrestling (씨름), which involves participants trying to lift each other up by the belt and knocking them down to the ground. Hm, yes, if nothing else "Like A Virgin" certainly gets points for its rather creative premise...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "A Cruel Attendance" + DVD Giveaway

2017/01/07 | | Permalink

Dong-cheol (played by Kim Soo-ro) and Man-ho (played by Lee Sun-kyun) are a couple of regular blokes resorting to increasingly desperate measures to try and pay off the interest to White Head (played by Kim Byeong-ok), a sinister loan shark who demands payment be exactly on time. Eventually, in their desperation, Dong-cheol and Man-ho kidnap obnoxious teenage girl Tae-hee (played by Ko Eun-ah) as part of an unnecessarily complicated and ill-advised plan to pay off their debts...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Cinema Snippets

2017/01/07 | | Permalink

Variety reports on South Korea's box office figures for 2016, film critic Pierce Conran (Modern Korean Cinema) picks his top 15 film for last year, enjoy classic Korean films thanks to new Blu-rays and KOFA's VOD service, and read professional reviews of Korean films released in 2016 with Darcy Paquet and Kyu Hyun Kim...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Food Lovers' Lane

2017/01/07 | | Permalink

My Korean Kitchens shares 10 popular New Years dishes, two grandmas talk about their shared love of dumplings, Samsung unveils a new high-tech refrigerator, and get your octopus on with Maangchi...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Travel Bug Bites

2017/01/07 | | Permalink

Learn more about Korea's new themed travel packages, a record number of tourists visited Korea in 2016, discover what festivals made Korea's "premier festival" list, and Forbes lists Korea as one of their top money-saving destinations...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Culture Corner

2017/01/07 | | Permalink

China keeps warming up to the K-Wave, My Korean Husband documents a rare celebrity encounter of the K-pop kind, Arirang Radio teaches us about some new Korean buzzwords, and K-content continues to stream across the DMZ...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Photography and Art

2017/01/07 | | Permalink

Korean archaeologists examine ancient art in southern Telangana, a new art exhibition in Seoul explores "Urban Gastronomy", Michael Hurt shares his passion for street fashion and politics, and a South African artist visits Korea and comes back with some beautiful pictures of "Land Art"...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Goblin" Episode 11

2017/01/06 | | Permalink

Watching "Goblin" is a lot like watching a dream. I don't mean that in a good way. I mean that while the transitions make sense on a scene by scene basis, every time I try to step back and figure out what's happening, I get a little lost trying to figure out how and why the characters got to where they are. The Grim Reaper and Sunny have a more intense relationship now that they don't actually know each other (?), and I'm pretty much with Sunny on how weirdly and inexplicably overbearing the Goblin is this episode...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Legend of the Blue Sea" Episode 15

2017/01/06 | | Permalink

At last our main couple is on the same page. Cheong can be honest with Joon-jae about who she is and where she came from and feel comfortable with the fact that he loves her. While these two are growing closer, the villains are inching their way towards evil.

While Ji-hyeon does become violent this episode, he is so deflated by a scolding from Dae-yeong that he loses all potency as a villain...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok-joo" Episode 15

2017/01/05 | | Permalink

Jeong-yeon (played by Yoon Yoo-sun) is Joon-hyeong's absentee biological mother. We don't know why she abandoned Joon-hyeong, and we still don't really at the end of this episode. Jeong-yeon's meeting with Joon-hyeong is dominated by awkward albeit optimistic small talk with more concilatory undertones. The inevitable crisis comes when Joon-hyeong discovers the ulterior motive for Jeong-yeon's unannounced visit to Korea, which naturally had nothing to do with him...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Hwarang" Episode 6

2017/01/04 | | Permalink

Very little plot development happened this week. It was basically an introduction into live in the Hwarang training center where class politics dictates the behavior of the boys training to be useful Hwarang. As they struggle to set a social balance, they start to see past the rigid structures that society created. However, it is just a start. Besides, there's a lot of silliness that needs to happen between plot points in "Hwarang" and we can't forgo that!...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok-joo" Episode 14

2017/01/04 | | Permalink

As far as secret relationships go Bok-joo and Joon-hyeong have better excuses than most. Athletes with pretensions of competing on the international level aren't supposed to dally around with romantic partners- their workout schedule is too intense. Of course in the immediate sense Bok-joo and Joon-hyeong only care about not having friends and family tease them. That's where most of the conflict and comedy come from this time around...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Legend of the Blue Sea" Episode 14

2017/01/04 | | Permalink

After a pre-empted episode last week, episode 14 tore into this week at full force with heavy plot and character development. There were a few awkward changes, but for the most part, it was one of the most interesting episodes to date.

Part of what made it interesting was the change in Ji-hyeon's character...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Romantic Doctor Teacher Kim" Episode 17

2017/01/03 | | Permalink

Somebody give Yoon-wan a mustache to twirl and a cat to pet, because he is reaching high levels of cartoon villainy. The man is getting desperate and more dangerous. A nosy reporter with shady intentions shakes Teacher Kim while Woon-yeong finally gets a chance to shine as his top doctor's story comes to light and his future is endangered by everyone's favorite person to hate...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Hwarang" Episode 5

2017/01/03 | | Permalink

"Hwarang" is a light adventure tale that is intermingled with fauxcest, pretty boys, and lots of epic battles. It's a cross between a 2000s American rom-com film and manga reverse harem stories. Unfortunately these aspects of the drama detracted from the character development. Rather than growth, the drama focused on sensationalism. It's makes for an entertaining hour, but one without much substance....More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Romantic Doctor Teacher Kim" Episode 16

2017/01/03 | | Permalink

As we reach the final episodes of the series, things get unsurprisingly fast paced and dire. The Doldam crew for Chairman Shin's surgery is doing their best to cut down on time while Yoon-wan tries to use the inevitable surgery as a means of asserting his position and destroying Teacher Kim. With time and aggressive hospital politics against them, the crew prepares for their biggest surgery yet...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Night Light" Episode 14

2017/01/03 | | Permalink

Enough of I-kyeong's plan has been brought into operation that we can finally get exposition of her motivation without potentially ruining it. I-kyeong, though, has not been fighting for the reasons we had assumed. It's hard to tell whether the truth is better or worse than what we've assumed. On one end the lack of emotion in I-kyeong's decision making process makes her pliable to reason. But then where does that leave Se-jin and Gun-woo, whose only arguments have ever really been emotional ones?...More

[HanCinema Awards] Best Kiss - And the Winner Is...

2017/01/02 | | Permalink

There were so many amazing kisses in 2016 to make us melt and swoon. It's time to see which of the couples had your favorite kiss! Thank you so much for helping to make the First Annual HanCinema Awards a success....More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Night Light" Episode 13

2017/01/02 | | Permalink

An unexpected snag comes up to interfere with I-kyeong's plans. To the credit of writer Han Ji-hoon, I-kyeong doesn't respond with the increasingly annoying cliché of "I anticipated your every move". I-kyeong is genuinely surprised to meet resistance. But she expresses only the most minimum concern and never drops the poker face for a second. I-kyeong has to consider whether she has the right counters to the situation, and alter the plan accordingly if necessary. In the end, this is just business after all...More

[HanCinema's Box Office Review] 2016.12.30 ~ 2017.01.01

2017/01/02 | | Permalink

"Master" marches into 2017 over "Rouge One"...

After an impressive opening over Christmas weekend, Jo Eui-seok's crime thriller "Master" (starring Lee Byung-hun, Gang Dong-won and Kim Woo-bin) – Jo's fourth film after "Cold Eyes", "The World of Silence" and "Make It Big" – remained atop the chart by attracting 1.3 million admissions (44%). Despite a small cut in screens, which dipped from 1,501 to 1,261, and the arrival of "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story", "Master" managed to carry its success forward into 2017 and move its total tally now to 5.4 million ($36.5 million)...More

[HanCinema Awards] Best Drama - And the Winner Is...

2017/01/01 | | Permalink

Dramas give viewers so much so anticipate, enjoy, hope for, ship, and more. You have voted for your favorite and it's time to see what you chose! Thank you so much for helping to make the First Annual HanCinema Awards a success....More

[HanCinema Awards] Best Film - And the Winner Is...

2017/01/01 | | Permalink

Korean cinema is creative, beautiful, and adventurous. You have voted for your favorite of the silver screen nominees and it is time to reveal the results. Thank you so much for voting and making the First Annual HanCinema Awards a success!...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Goblin" Episode 10

2016/12/31 | | Permalink

The Goblin can live only if Eun-tak dies, and vice-versa. Lest we get too invested in that potential plot hook, "Goblin" instead takes a huge chunk of time explaining the Goblin's back story, from when he was still Kim Sin. Interestingly, these flashbacks have almost nothing to do with Kim Sin directly, the focus instead being placed squarely on other characters whose poor decisions led to the rather unnecessary massacre we saw way back in the first episode...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "Mr. Handy" + DVD Giveaway

2016/12/31 | | Permalink

Hye-jin (played by Uhm Jung-hwa) is a tough dentist who knows how to negotiate her way upward through life. Well, at least that's what she thinks. One bad career decision later and Hye-jin is scheming how to best pad her resume on the way to a viable long-term position. And this is how she meets Doo-sik (played by Kim Joo-hyeok), the titular "Mr. Handy" who exists for the sole purpose of solving various problems in a small maritime town. For a fee, of course...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "A Wacky Switch" + DVD Giveaway

2016/12/31 | | Permalink

Dong-hwa (played by Jeong Joon-ho) is following his dream in life to be a famous writer. Unfortunately Dong-hwa can't write for snot. Once family, friends and fate have conspired to make Dong-hwa surrender what little of his pitiful pride remains, the man reluctantly takes on a job as ghostwriter for Man-cheol (played by Son Chang-min), who has led a fairly interesting life. We start to see "A Wacky Switch" take place as it becomes clear these two have talents the other would find useful...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "Father and Son: The Story of Mencius" + DVD Giveaway

2016/12/31 | | Permalink

In the cutthroat world of South Korean education, success goes to those who can score an apartment in a gentrified area with good schools. So it is with fishmonger Man-soo (played by Jo Jae-hyeon), who following the story of Mencius, drags his son Sa-seong (played by Lee In-I) to Seoul in the hopes of getting him a better education. Alas, Sa-seong would rather just sing songs and hang out with local bad girl Hyeon-jeong (played by So I-hyeon), whose own father figure Kang-doo (played by Son Chang-min) brought her to Seoul with the same gambit in mind...More

[HanCinema Awards] Best Couple in a Drama - And the Winner Is...

2016/12/31 | | Permalink

The couples that powered 2016's romantic inertia with their sweet interactions received your votes. It was a fierce competition and now it's time to reveal the winning couple. Thank you so much for helping to make the First Annual HanCinema Awards a success....More

[HanCinema Awards] Best Ahjussi/Ahjumma Actor - And the Winner Is...

2016/12/31 | | Permalink

Experience is a season that flavors our ahjumma and ahjussi actors with deep insight that manifests in their acting. You have voted for your favorite of these amazing actors and now it's time to tally up the count. Thank you for making the First Annual HanCinema Awards a success!...More

[HanCinema Awards] Best Villain in a Drama - And the Winner Is...

2016/12/30 | | Permalink

Without a good villain, the hero has no one to battle! You have cast your vote for your favorite evil and now it's time to find out who won! Thank you so much for joining us and making the First Annual HanCinema Awards a success!...More

[HanCinema Awards] Best Sageuk - And the Winner Is... (and Giveaway!!!!)

2016/12/30 | | Permalink

The battle of the sageuks was fierce, but you made your choice known with your votes! Thank you so much for making the First Annual HanCinema Awards a success! We couldn't have done it without you....More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Goblin" Episode 9

2016/12/30 | | Permalink

A pivot is attempted here to move "Goblin" from a generally strange comedic drama to a more serious one. The results are mixed. To be honest I sort of forgot that Eun-tak didn't know the Goblin would die if she pulled the sword out. I kind of assumed that Eun-tak knew that taking the sword out would do something serious at least. Then again the characters in "Goblin" are not that competent when it comes to speculating as to the results of their actions...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Sound of Your Heart" (TV Version) Episode 4

2016/12/30 | | Permalink

When I first saw episodes seventeen and eighteen of "The Sound of Your Heart", I did not notice that Seok intentionally comes up with a prank to fulfill the letter of his promise to the twins (played by Kim Jong-kook), even when an out is offered. Seok really is pretty dumb isn't he? How does he keep coming up with ways to make the situation worse? Although I suppose it's more impressive that Seok's plans only succeed just long enough to fill an entire episode with gags...More

[HanCinema Awards] Scene Stealer - And the Winner Is... (and Giveaway!!!!)

2016/12/29 | | Permalink

Occasionally, there is an actor who blows us away with the power and intensity of his or her acting. These talented people are the "Scene Stealers", the people we can't help but watch when they are on screen. You have voted for your favorite and it's time to reveal who you chose! Thank you for joining us and helping to make the First Annual HanCinema Awards a success!...More

[HanCinema Awards] Best Webtoon Adaptation - And the Winner Is...

2016/12/29 | | Permalink

Webtoons have exploded in popularity in the past few years and it only makes sense for drama to tap into the creativity of the authors. Webtoon adaptations have been extremely successful and you, HanCinema readers, have voted for your favorite. Thank you so much for helping us to make the First Annual HanCinema Awards succesful. We couldn't have done it without you!...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Legend of the Blue Sea" Episode 13

2016/12/29 | | Permalink

Joon-jae and Cheong grow closer, flirting like mad and coping with Cheong's attempt to learn about love via the internet. As they are sealed in their blissful bubble of romantic happiness, Dae-yeong and Ji-hyeon's mother continue their nefarious ways and are sadly joined by another...More

[HanCinema Awards] Best Foreign Actor - And the Winner Is...

2016/12/28 | | Permalink

Korean drama has opened its arms to foreign actors and you have voted for your favorite of these international talents. Thank you so much for contributing to the success of the First Annual HanCinema Awards....More

[HanCinema Awards] Best Up-and-Coming Actor - And the Winner Is...

2016/12/28 | | Permalink

The budding K-drama talents have definitely impressed in 2016 and you have voted for your favorite Up-and-Coming Actor. Thank you so much for joining us and making the First Annual HanCinema Awards a success!...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok-joo" Episode 13

2016/12/28 | | Permalink

Si-ho has finally achieved the difficult task of completing a character arc- no mean feat considering the poor girl's psychosis is largely a result of her not having any decent social interaction. Still, the humility does her good. At various times Si-ho has hated both Bok-joo and Joon-hyeong for their "betrayal", but ultimately she's just relieved to be alive and largely unhated. That Si-ho makes Bok-joo angrier by accident than she ever did on purpose provides a useful segue into the next conflict...More

[HanCinema Awards] Best Actress in a Drama - And the Winner Is...

2016/12/27 | | Permalink

For the past two weeks you all have voted for who you, HanCinema Readers, have supported as the "Best Actress in Drama". Today it's time to reveal who you have chosen as your favorite leading lady. We thank you so much for being a part of the First Annual HanCinema Awards and for making it a success. ...More

[HanCinema Awards] Best Actor in a Drama - And the Winner Is...

2016/12/27 | | Permalink

Today is the day to reveal two fierce categories. The first of those is "Best Actor in a Drama. Six of the hottest actors on Korean and international television vied for your votes. HanCinema thanks you for your support and for joining for the First Annual HanCinema Awards....More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Night Light" Episode 12

2016/12/27 | | Permalink

Now that Se-jin and Gun-woo have teamed up that sad, sparsely decorated office is...still pretty sad and sparsely decorated actually. In spite of the fact that they're the main characters, Se-jin and Gun-woo have almost no convincing drive. They're barely even slowing I-kyeong down. These two are so hilariously ineffective that at one point I-kyeong bails them out of trouble for the sole purpose of insuring that everyone's attention is diverted in the right direction without getting hung up on subplots...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Hwarang" Episode 4

2016/12/27 | | Permalink

Episode 4 of "Hwarang" had a distinct taste of 2010's "Sungkyunkwan Scandal" with its action, sports, K-pop, beautiful boys, and the appearance of Kim Kwang-gyoo playing a similar role. These elements were present before, but came together to create some serious 2010 nostalgia. Not only do we get a major drama throw back, but we start to see how the young men who become the Hwarang relate to their parents, each other, and the political powers that be....More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Romantic Doctor Teacher Kim" Episode 15

2016/12/27 | | Permalink

Gone are the days of exploring difficult matters of hospital ethics and injecting social commentary into subplots. "Romantic Doctor Teacher Kim" has become comfortable with its romance and its political power games, so much that there is little to distinguish it from any other similar drama at this point. Our villain is back and meddling, our new character has no real function in the plot yet and the story is gearing up for a big battle...More

[HanCinema Awards] Best Actor in a Film - And the Winner Is...

2016/12/26 | | Permalink

Welcome to the final week of the First Annual HanCinema Awards. After two weeks of voting, the first of the results are in! HanCinema thanks all of you readers for joining in and making this successful! We couldn't have done it without you, so enjoy all these fine gentlemen of Korean cinema....More

[HanCinema Awards] Best Actress in a Film - And the Winner Is...

2016/12/26 | | Permalink


It is the final week of the exciting First Annual HanCinema Awards! The ladies of Korean cinema have received your votes and the results are in! Thank you so much for voting and giving these wonderful actresses your votes. HanCinema couldn't have done this without you....More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Night Light" Episode 11

2016/12/26 | | Permalink

The tone takes a turn for the somewhat mundane here as I-kyeong uses business acumen to further drive a rift between the various members of the Park family without their really having any idea what's going on. The tendency of characters to underestimate I-kyeong is one of the finer subtle plot points in "Night Light". One reason it's so easy is because I-kyeong doesn't really have any kind of decisive victory to claim credit for. That makes them think they can come out on top of the double cross later on...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Hwarang" Episode 3

2016/12/26 | | Permalink

Youth places limits on characters and defines many quarrels in "Hwarang". Youthfulness equates to weakness in Silla as the adults control the political landscape and pass their rivalries down to their children who can do little but act out.

Each of the flower boys and Aro feel the helplessness of their age...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Solomon's Perjury" Episode 4

2016/12/26 | | Permalink

Things get dangerous as news of the trial shakes every party involved. The court group are racing against time and the Jeong-guk foundation's scheming, which pushes them to put more pressure on Joo-ri and Woo-hyeok. After news of the trial spreads, a mysterious figure commits a crime and complicates the situation. Seo-yeon is faced with tough decisions and an increasing amount of uncontrollable participants...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Solomon's Perjury" Episode 3

2016/12/26 | | Permalink

It feels as if the closer we get to Ji-hoon the more confusing his motivation becomes. I have guesses, but the important thing for now is that he acts as a catalyst to get the trial going. Seo-yeon faces a great challenge, but with her faithful friends by her side and her determination intact, our heroine is not someone to be taken lightly. The Jeong-guk foundation seems aware of that as well...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Entourage" Episode 16 Final

2016/12/25 | | Permalink

The end of "Entourage" is here and it brings the convenience of an equus ex machina and a time jump. Yeong-bin has escaped to Busan without the group for some alone time while everyone back in Seoul is trying to handle the fallout and get the star and Ho-jin to make up. Eun-gap in particular becomes closer to the boys than ever and provides some valuable advice to Ho-jin...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Entourage" Episode 15

2016/12/25 | | Permalink

We are almost at the end of "Entourage", but it oddly feels like a beginning. Episode fifteen gives me the feeling that this season was perhaps meant as the first step on our characters' journey toward self-improvement, simply because of how little they have been developed and how late into the plot that development seems to accelerate. So let us see what we have here...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Cinema Snippets

2016/12/25 | | Permalink

K-music films are on the rise, The Korea Times looks back at Gong Yoo's amazing year on the silver screen, Park Chan-wook voted among the top directors of the year in America, and KoBiz's latest infographic reveals how local films fared at the box office in 2016...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Food Lovers' Lane

2016/12/25 | | Permalink

Learn how to make kimchi dumplings with My Korean Kitchen, the Korea Times interviews another Michelin-starred Chef, discover a traditional delicacy from Jeju Island, and Kimchimari has the perfect seasonal K-snack for the holidays...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Travel Bug Bites

2016/12/25 | | Permalink

Diarise these upcoming festivals and events from the Korea Herald, 10 reasons why Korea should be on your travel itinerary in 2017, it's never too earlier to start planning for your favourite K-festivals, and Duke Stewart captures Gyeongju...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Culture Corner

2016/12/25 | | Permalink

10 Magazine reveals 10 strange Korean superstitions, the BBC explores the cultural inertia leading to the recent political unrest, 3D print your own Korean cultural heritage objects, and the "Korean Schindler" honoured with a statue in Seoul...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Photography and Art

2016/12/25 | | Permalink

Learn more about North Korea's love of moving pictures, Gustav Klimt's media art is on view in Seoul until March 2017, resurfaced concerns over the authenticity of another Korean artist's work, and keep an eye on these young Korean photographers...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Goblin" Episode 8

2016/12/24 | | Permalink

The latest adventure between the Goblin and Eun-tak has resulted in massive property damage and multiple witnesses to obviously impossible superhuman feats. So naturally, the only valid response to this is...a highly elaborate and not terribly convincing cover-up, because the production team doesn't actually care about the worldbuilding except to the extent it can be used to justify wacky special effects. That's "Goblin" for you...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Sound of Your Heart" (TV Version) Episode 3

2016/12/24 | | Permalink

New material starts us out here, as Seok takes Ae-bong to meet his family, although matters take a turn for the weird when Cheol-wang's generally awful dad jokes inspire him to a task that soon manages to overwhelm the rest of his family with sheer obnoxiousness. Then, improbably good timing results in chaos for everyone else in the neighborhood too. Except the pregnant woman. I guess she ends up doing all right...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Birth of a Married Woman" Episodes 8-10

2016/12/24 | | Permalink

With the preparations firmly in place all there is for Yeong-hee and Cheol-soo to do now is actually get married. Surprisingly, the final steps of the process aren't actually all that intricate or difficult. I suppose this is the main advantage of the South Korean pseudo-Western wedding format. Is it impersonal? Sure. But with all the complicated planning that has to go into making a wedding happen, it can be reassuring to leave the actual ceremony to professionals who pull it off several times a week...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Love for a Thousand More" Episodes 8-10

2016/12/24 | | Permalink

In becoming closer to Joon-woo, Mi-jo has realized the terrible truth that she has a very personal connection to the young man. This brings up all sorts of philosophical questions about what responsibilities an immortal woman owes to society at large, or to her friends. We're also left wondering what fears Mi-jo may legitimately have about the world around her in light of all this. Alas, "Love for a Thousand More" only ends up addressing the decidedly less interesting romantic angle of all this...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "Forbidden Quest" + DVD Giveaway

2016/12/24 | | Permalink

In Joseon, erotica is banned, and can only be obtained in illegal markets. Incidentally, Yoon-seo (played by Han Seok-Kyu) is a royal inspector who is a total weenie and also a dishonor to his family. Close proximity to official tough guy Gwang-heon (played by Lee Beom-soo) can only do so much. But a chance encounter with the erotica market slowly leads Yoon-seo on to the path of manly self-confidence, casually tossing aside lowly deocrum that he may better lust for Queen Jeong-bin (played by Kim Min-jeong)...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "Le Grand Chef" + DVD Giveaway

2016/12/24 | | Permalink

Seong-chan (played by Kim Kang-woo) was once the up-and-coming chef in an exceptionally prestigious Korean restaurant. One horrible accident later, and he instead puts his talents to use procuring high quality ingredients either for neighborhood locals or, when the situation calls for it, high level dignitaries. But then I'm getting into backstory from the comic book. As far as "Le Grand Chef" is concerned, Seong-chan's main goal is to become the victor in a national cooking competition, establishing himself as the true inheritor of a legendary cooking master long defeated by the Japanese Occupation...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "Runaway From Home" + DVD Giveaway

2016/12/24 | | Permalink

Seong-hee (played by Ji Jin-hee) is a music critic who's a bit of a snobbish jerk. Observe how he requests a divorce from his wife Yeong-sin (played by Kim Yeo-jin) in a public context, and is then hilariously upended by her own inconsiderate plans ahead of time that Seong-hee failed to properly acknowledge. A pity Seong-hee's not as smart as he thinks. So it is that Seong-hee must team up with his best friend Dong-min (played by Yang Ik-joon), who as Yeong-sin's ex-boyfriend, has a few leads...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Goblin" Episode 7

2016/12/23 | | Permalink

So even though Eun-tak can see the sword for some reason she can't touch it, which leaves the plot of "Goblin" at an impasse, save for all the warm fuzzies prompted at the last cliffhanger. Once more the drama presents us with an unfortunate dilemma. Do we act annoyed because all of the magical rules seem to be made up as they go along, or do we allow ourselves to be wrapped up in the inherent prettiness of frozen snowfall?...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok-joo" Episode 12

2016/12/22 | | Permalink

As a strict continuation of the last episode this installment of "Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok-joo" is fairly fun. Joon-hyeong makes good use of his cheat sheet to try and get closer to Bok-joo. Note how Bok-joo herself seems completely oblivious to all of this, having apparently managed to forget her own list in short order. Which does admittedly explain why she went to the trouble of writing it down in the first place. Poor Bok-joo. She's filled with cuteness, yet almost entirely lacking in common sense...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Legend of the Blue Sea" Episode 12

2016/12/22 | | Permalink

"The Legend of the Blue Sea" is digging into the heart of the conflict, joining the past and present and their parallel happenings. Ma Dae-yeong and his Joseon incarnation are finally beginning to feel dangerous as they directly affect the well-being of Cheong and starry-eyed suitor.

For the first time, the presence of a murderer has felt scary and for the first time the show has really made use of Seong Dong-il as an actor....More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Legend of the Blue Sea" Episode 11

2016/12/21 | | Permalink

The key to episode 11 of "The Legend of the Blue Sea" is listening. Joon-jae can hear Cheong's mermaid voice although she doesn't realize that he can, which leads to many insights on his part. He starts to really listen to what she speaks and is attentive to what she does in order to really be there for her. It can be excessive, but it does allow Lee Min-ho to be ridiculously adorable....More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Seven First Kisses" Episodes 1-4

2016/12/21 | | Permalink

Soo-jin (played by Lee Cho-hee) works at the Lotte Duty Free store and laments having hit her twenty-fifth birthday without ever having received a first kiss. Then Choi Ji-woo pops up with a magical solution to Soo-jin's dilemma. This ends up involving the seven male models who represent the Lotte Duty Free Store- Lee Joon-ki, Park Hae-jin, and Ji Chang-wook feature in this set of episodes. Kai, Taecyeon, Lee Jong-suk, and Lee Min-ho will appear later on. For contractual reasons, no doubt...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Romantic Doctor Teacher Kim" Episode 14

2016/12/21 | | Permalink

Love is in the air in episode fourteen of "Romantic Doctor Teacher Kim", which is a far better thing to have airborne than MERS. The crisis is resolved and Seo-jeong has to make some decisions on her feelings. In-beom's bluff is called and Teacher Kim gives the young man some honest advice. The episode brings back familiar faces, but it also adds a new mysterious figure and probable enemy of Doldam and Teacher Kim...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Hwarang" Episode 2

2016/12/21 | | Permalink

The second episode of "Hwarang" was much slower than the first with the action circling around the motivation for Moo-myeong's revenge driving the plot.

Moo-myeong spends most of the episode looking very handsome with even better hair and very, very distraught over the lost of his friend, the cameo from Lee Kwang-soo...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok-joo" Episode 11

2016/12/21 | | Permalink

Bok-joo's rebound ends up going a lot more cheerfully than I was expecting. Aside from the whole dream of being a champion weightlifter, Bok-joo has plenty of other ambitions in life, too. She's just never had the time for them, and mer mood perks up considerably upon having gotten the opportunity to try something new. Bok-joo's athletic ability is no less diminished either, since one such new interest involves putting her weightlifting skills to good practical use...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Solomon's Perjury" Episode 2

2016/12/20 | | Permalink

The plot thickens in a delightfully twisted way in episode two of "Solomon's Perjury" as we discover there is more to the witness than meets the eye. The press becomes involved and now the parents are distrusting the school and the police. A mysterious online figure named the Jeong-guk Sentinel resurfaces in the school and Ji-hoon's role in all of this becomes more complicated...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Hwarang" Episode 1

2016/12/20 | | Permalink

"Hwarang" is in every way as fun and lively as it was promoted to be. There is a touch of gravity to even out the levity and many of the flower boys have been introduced. Director Yoon Seong-sik ("Bridal Mask", "Lee Soon-sin is the Best", "The King's Face") delivers fresh cinematography while drama special writer Park Eun-yeong-I definitely has a touch for trendy dialogue and writing.

Park Seo-joon is charming as Moo-myeong is as charming as always with a touch of comedic...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Night Light" Episode 10

2016/12/20 | | Permalink

Moo-sam (played by Lee Jae-yong-I) is the new acting chairman of the Park family's conglomerate, and it is with her political maneuvering to make this possible that I-kyeong has finally managed to advance major substantative change in the high level corporate power dynamics of "Night Light". Moo-il (played by Jeong Han-yong), the former chairman and Gun-woo's father, is down but not out. And it looks like I-kyeong is counting on it...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Romantic Doctor Teacher Kim" Episode 13

2016/12/19 | | Permalink

Episode thirteen of "Romantic Doctor Teacher Kim" tackles the highly dangerous MERS and the responsibility medical care professionals carry in such potential outbreak situations. Sadly, the episode also uses this serious topic to kick its romance into a forced high gear through the heavy hand of danger. Doldam is in major trouble and someone I thought we knew makes a horrible decision and betrays a colleague...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Night Light" Episode 9

2016/12/19 | | Permalink

I-kyeong's plan somewhat manages to come into focus this episode, and to the drama's credit it is a mostly logical escalation of all we've seen I-kyeong do so far. Rather than act in an apparently decisive manner, I-kyeong intends to needle all the antagonistic presences into going after each other. Considering how many of them are genuinely horrible people, all I-kyeong is really doing is conspiring to get them into the same room and destroy each other. Then, presumably, I-kyeong will pick up all the pieces...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Solomon's Perjury" Episode 1

2016/12/19 | | Permalink

"Solomon's Perjury" wastes no time, as we dive right in to the death of the young student and the impact it has on everyone around him. Suspects are abundant and so are accomplices and victims. Episode one takes its time in introducing our main characters, their personalities and their families. There are a lot of nuanced roles here and the mystery is off to a very good and exciting start...More

[HanCinema's Box Office Review] 2016.12.16 ~ 2016.12.18

2016/12/19 | | Permalink

"Pandora" retains pole position in the aftermath of political unrest...

Park Jeong-woo's thriller "Pandora" retained pole position during its second weekend out by capturing 42.8% of the sales; the film, Park's fourth after "Dance With The Wind", "Big Bang", and "Deranged", added a million admissions to move its total tally now to 3.1 million, or $20.9 million. The film's release is timely given the recent political unrest in the country, which led Maggie Lee, Variety's Chief Asia Film Critic, to write that, "Korean audiences will surely wonder how the lines between parody, fiction, and reality are blurred"....More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Entourage" Episode 14

2016/12/18 | | Permalink

The torture never ends when working with Yeong-bin and his two most trusted people are starting to realize it. Ho-jin's work is getting harder and the things he has to do for it risk his weighing heavily on his conscience. While Joon and Turtle are off having awkward romances, Eun-gap and Ho-jin bear the weight of Yeong-bin's decisions and the time has come for the young man to face them...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Goblin" Episode 6

2016/12/17 | | Permalink

So in what context would a person ever say "Welcome to Quebec"? That's the kind of thing a person might say at the airport, greeting someone who just got into the country. But at a restaurant? And why English rather than French? Although really, I should probably just be grateful that the production team managed to find a foreign actor who could say a simple line without screwing it up somehow...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Shopping King Louis"

2016/12/17 | | Permalink

The romantic comedy genre is a place of comfort for audiences. It is a place where a couple can be happy and with few problems, but also one where life is easier for everyone. Romantic comedy has had its ups and downs in Korean drama, and the industry's love for the melodramatic has been an issue. "Shopping King Louis" is a series which aims for genre purity...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Entourage" Episode 13

2016/12/17 | | Permalink

"Im Hwa-soo" is finally in pre-production, but the troubles of Yeong-bin and his "Entourage" do not end there, as they need to work with the film's peculiar director, who even surpasses Yeong-bin in flimsy behavior. Meanwhile Eun-gap tries to gather up more actors for his agency, but he worries over a notorious playboy's condition to have Joy as his manager. That is when Idea's CEO enters and threatens the group's working life once more...More

[HanCinema Awards] Best Kiss in a Drama

2016/12/17 | | Permalink

The turning point and highlight of many-a-drama is the kiss. If we're lucky, there are more than one. But a kiss defines the boiling point of a K-drama relationship and is a beautiful thing to watch. There were many fine kisses in 2016. Vote for your favorite from December 17 to December 24. The results will be announced the last week of 2016!...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Sound of Your Heart" (TV Version) Episode 2

2016/12/17 | | Permalink

This repackaging of the web drama contains episodes nine, ten, eleven and twelve along with two new stories (four equivalent episodes). The first is a parody of "The New World" wherein Seok and his father engage in an elaborate gang scheme revolving around the high stakes world of...fried chicken restaurants. The second concerns Jeong-kwon's obsession with a man who is coincidentally wearing her husband's olde time outfit, while apparently cheating on her...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Love for a Thousand More" Episodes 5-7

2016/12/17 | | Permalink

Joon-woo is starting to warm up to Mi-jo. That she gave him useful advice is the main immediate factor facilitating the thaw in their relationship. Joon-woo is still as generally clueless as ever, though, unaware that Yeon-ji (played by Kim Hee-jeong-I) has been petitioning for some romance with him yet never makes any kind of headway. Meanwhile, Hyeong-sik (played by Kim Jin-woo-III), reacts to the ongoing situation with four character Chinese proverbs. Which is a good gimmick, albeit one that's pretty much impossible to translate into English...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Birth of a Married Woman" Episodes 5-7

2016/12/17 | | Permalink

For whatever reason this week's episodes of "Birth of a Married Woman are much shorter than the first ones. The general themes remain well intact. First it's discussions of wedding dresses. And I have to admit, it did not occur to me that there was such sheer variety in the different kinds of wedding dresses available. But alas, I am a man so like Cheol-soo, I don't have that great an emotional reaction to wedding dresses, instead eschewing emotional reactions for generally boring practicality...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "Shinsukki Blues" + DVD Giveaway

2016/12/17 | | Permalink

Seok-gi (played by Lee Jong-hyuk) is a hot shot lawyer who's a bit of an arrogant jerk. Seok-gi is the kind of guy who thinks he has friends because people are polite to him, and therefore, why bother making new friends? Consider how upon receiving a birthday present from Jin-yeong (played by Kim Hyeon-joo), Seok-gi never stops to wonder why no one else gives him birthday presents. Then, Seok-gi meets the other Seok-gi (played by Lee Jong-hyuk) and, well, that's where life starts to get weird...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "Mister Socrates" + DVD Giveaway

2016/12/17 | | Permalink

Dong-hyeok (played by Kim Rae-won) is a common street thug who is more skilled than most when it comes to the fine art of using physical intimidation and coercion to make other such hooligans do what he wants. Alas, all fun times must inevitably come to an end, and so Dong-hyeok comes under the tutelage of a nefarious criminal enterprise whose primary objective is to...force Dong-hyeok to get a decent education. Through physical intimidation and coercion, when necessary...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "Big Bang" + DVD Giveaway

2016/12/17 | | Permalink

An ordinary man by the name of Man-su (played by Kam Woo-seong)  makes his living as an office worker and even in free time has a very extreme aversion to risk. Alas, the modern world does not look kindly upon people who play it safe. Few social crimes are worse than being a person who does not have fun. After his initial outburst of civil disobedience Man-su meets ne'er do well Cheul-gone (played by Kim Soo-ro) and then, well, things just get progressively worse and worse...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Cinema Snippets

2016/12/17 | | Permalink

Pierce Conran explores the rise of K-comedies, Variety's Chief Asia Film Critic reviews Park Jeong-woo's "Pandora", Movie Pilot puts Cheon Woo-hee in the spotlight, and KoBiz looks back at the award-winning films of 2016...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Food Lovers' Lane

2016/12/17 | | Permalink

My Korean Kitchen dishes up dessert, a kimchi master shares his love, explore Seoul's oldest restaurants with Seoulistic, and discover twenty shades of Korean drinks with CNN Travel...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Travel Bug Bites

2016/12/17 | | Permalink

Look out for Korea's new super train, 10 Magazine has your winter in Korea covered, get refreshed and focused at this amazing high-end spa, and see some of Seoul's attractions and architecture through designers' eyes...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Culture Corner

2016/12/17 | | Permalink

The New York Times lists "Vegetarian" as one of their top books of the year, CICI announces Korea's best cultural ambassadors, My Korean Husband get their hanbok on, and watch France 24's feature on South Korea's K-pop phenomenon...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Photography and Art

2016/12/17 | | Permalink

Earn that Instagrammy by snapping up Korea's best views, Style tracks the rise of Korea's monochrome movement, watch a documentary that explores North Korea's love of 3D photographs, and a Korean professor releases a new book on contemporary South Korean art...More

[HanCinema Awards] Best Drama

2016/12/16 | | Permalink

The year of 2016 brought a whole lot of awesome to television and this list of nominees is the creme of the crop. From December 16 to December 23 you can vote for your favorite drama of the year. Results will be revealed during the last week of 2016!...More

[HanCinema Awards] Best Film

2016/12/16 | | Permalink

The year of 2016 brought the world some brilliant Korean cinema that was daring, inspiring, and bold. Not only did film make a splash in Korean, but it traversed across oceans to reach welcoming audiences. From December 16 to December 23 you can vote for your favorite film of the year. Results will be revealed during the last week of 2016!...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Goblin" Episode 5

2016/12/16 | | Permalink

So the absence of names for the lead characters finally becomes an issue. Eun-tak seems to have only just now figured out that "Goblin" is just a nickname she came up with. I'm not sure he even actually is a goblin, come to think of it. Meanwhile Sunny (played by Yoo In-na) is in the awkward position of being the Grim Reaper's love interest yet they can't have even the most rudimentary of conversations. So naturally, their scenes go nowhere, much as Eun-tak's part-time job as Sunny's sole employee at a chronically empty restaurant also go nowhere...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Legend of the Blue Sea" Episode 10

2016/12/16 | | Permalink

Cheong's presence amongst the humans is causing quite a stir along with Dam-ryeong's clever intervention in Joon-jae's life. Around the couple, people are starting to cotton on that things aren't quite as they should be as the mermaid's otherworldly nature becomes more evident....More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Justice Team" Episodes 3-4 Final

2016/12/16 | | Permalink

The second, and apparently final, case of "Justice Team" involves two small children who are clearly experiencing some form of physical abuse yet are completely unwilling to finger the only apparent suspect responsible for their injures- their father. Once again no obvious hard evidence presents itself. For awhile all the team really has to go on is circumstantial evidence. Then, by sheer dumb luck, they get exactly what's necessary to present a case and lock up the bad guy...More

[HanCinema Awards] Best Ahjumma/Ahjussi Actor in a Drama - Cast Your Vote!

2016/12/15 | | Permalink

There are incredibly talented older actors in drama who deserve a chance to shine. They play the mothers, fathers, politicians, and bosses that we hate to love and love to hate. When we're lucky, they headline dramas and use their years of experience to deliver powerful performances. From December 16 to December 23 vote for your favorite ahjumma and ahjussi actors in drama....More

[HanCinema Awards] Best Couple in a Drama - Cast Your Vote!

2016/12/15 | | Permalink

A drama that can make its audience root for a couple, ship the couple, love the couple, cry with the couple, and laugh with the couple is a strong drama indeed. Romance is a huge driving factor in K-drama and it is only right to take a look at the best K-drama couples of 2016. From December 15 to December 22 vote for your favorite drama couple!...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok-joo" Episode 10

2016/12/15 | | Permalink

Following an epic victory that should have been the high point of Bok-joo's life to date, instead she slips into an apparently hopeless funk. The exact cause of Bok-joo's state of depression is not so relevant as its apparently being insoluble . Even Joon-hyeong's normally peppey personality can't solve the problem, so this fairly downbeat episode of "Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok-joo" ends the only way it can- with the drama having finally gained some clear and somewhat alarming conflicts...More

[HanCinema Awards] Best Sageuk Drama - Cast Your Vote!

2016/12/14 | | Permalink

Sageuks, or Korean historical dramas, are a staple of Korean television. They reimagine the history of the Korean people, bringing kings and generals to life and allowing viewers immerse themselves in the rich backdrop of Korea's past. From December 14 to December 21 you can vote for your favorite Joseon-era drama....More

[HanCinema Awards] Best Villain in a Drama - Cast Your Vote!

2016/12/14 | | Permalink

No drama is complete without a twisted bad guy or gal slinking around the story and messing things up for our heroes and heroines. This year has had more than its fair share of amazing villains and from December 14 to December 21 you can vote for your favorite!...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Romantic Doctor Teacher Kim" Episode 12

2016/12/14 | | Permalink

The battle between the two hospitals rages on and Dong-joo finds himself in another dilemma over his latest patient. Things only become worse when a past mistake makes a haunting return and bares Dong-joo's shame for everyone to see. Different people give the young doctor their opinion and try to push him toward the right decision while Teacher Kim chooses to once again observe and respect his pupils' personal decisions...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Justice Team" Episodes 1-2

2016/12/14 | | Permalink

In the city of Goyang, crimes involving family, women, or children are handled by Min-hyeok (played by Han Sang-jin), the head of an investigative team responsible for official inquiries into such matters. These kinds of crimes tend to be fairly lurid- and yet "Justice Team" is a surprisingly down-to-earth drama about the technical details involved with criminal prosecution. The actual case at the center of the first two episodes isn't even particularly racy, being more of a sexual assault case than explicit rape...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok-joo" Episode 9

2016/12/14 | | Permalink

Bok-joo has humiliated herself for the last time. Well no, not really, that's just what it feels like because there is no humiliation in the world worse than being outed as a liar in front of the person you have a crush on. The weird part is that Jae-i is genuinely completely indifferent to Bok-joo's bizarre behavior. The terror on Bok-joo's face is just so telling- the poor girl simply can't grasp the idea that an attractive man could be impressed by the fact that she is an ace weightlifter...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Legend of the Blue Sea" Episode 9

2016/12/14 | | Permalink

Sometimes all a man needs in life is the steadfast presence of someone who doesn't leave when the going gets tough. For Joon-jae, a man who was abandoned by his family in his youth, the unwavering devotion of mermaid Cheong gives him the strength to get through the tough times....More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Romantic Doctor Teacher Kim" Episode 11

2016/12/13 | | Permalink

There is little peace to be found for Doldam Hospital ever since the new staff arrived, and things keep escalating for the worse. A very delicate situation forms when the military becomes involved with a patient and Seo-jeong faces the threat of a lawsuit by the family of the DUI perpetrator. Meanwhile Teacher Kim tries to keep everything under control and observe how his two most trusted pupils react to the power games...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Night Light" Episode 8

2016/12/13 | | Permalink

Tak (played by Jeong Hae-in) works for I-kyeong's crew as the general errand guy- driving, fights, what have you. He gets annoyed enough this episode to briefly take his fortunes elsewhere, as I-kyeong's vaguely antagonistic behavior has been starting to frustrate him. Tak is the character I empathize with the most at this point, because I too would rather be doing something else right this moment instead of trying to keep track of "Night Light"'s glacial pacing...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Man In My House" Episode 16 Final

2016/12/13 | | Permalink

I like the music in "The Man In My House". Well, the happy stuff anyway. When Na-ri and Nan-gil are being cute with each other, the sound design is a lot of what helps prevent the scenes from feeling actively confrontational, which really, they are a lot of the time. Compared to when they flirt and when they really fight, the main difference in tone with the Na-ri/Nan-gil relationship is decided by the musical cues. My preference has always been for the comedic ones, because the dramatic scenes just drag...More

[HanCinema Awards] Scene Stealers - Cast Your Vote!

2016/12/12 | | Permalink

In every drama there is that one actor who keeps us riveted whenever they come on screen. That actor is a "scene stealer" and worthy of note. From December 13 to December 20 you can vote for the actor who keeps you coming back for more!...More

[HanCinema Awards] Best Webtoon Adaptation - Cast Your Vote!

2016/12/12 | | Permalink

Webtoon adaptations are becoming more and more popular with 2016 delivering one of the strongest and most prolific years yet. From December 13 to December 20 you can vote for your favorite webtoon adaptation!...More

[HanCinema Awards] Best Foreign Actor - Cast Your Vote!

2016/12/12 | | Permalink

 

More and more foreign faces grace the film and drama world in Korea. Actors from all over the globe take roles in drama and film and are getting recognition for it in Korea. From December 12 to December 19 you can vote for your favorite foreign actors!...More

[HanCinema Awards] Best Up-and-Coming Actor - Cast Your Vote!

2016/12/12 | | Permalink

There are always new faces in drama and 2016 delivered with loads of talent. From December 12 to December 19 you can vote for your favorite up-and-coming actors. After you vote, don't forget to enter the giveaway for Hallyu-themed buttons!...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Night Light" Episode 7

2016/12/12 | | Permalink

And so, once again, I-kyeong's elaborate plan...doesn't really start just yet. We're still in the phase of manipulations so incredibly subtle it's impossible to guess what I-kyeong is trying to do in the short term, let alone the long. The woman has a pretty insane sense of patience. I-kyeong wants the job done right or she doesn't want it done at all- hence the (hopefully) final test where I-kyeong determines just how much resolve Se-jin has in the face of impossible odds...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Man In My House" Episode 15

2016/12/12 | | Permalink

Seong-gyoo (played by Noh Yeong-gook) is Na-ri's long time absentee father who has for some nefarious reason chosen to try and re-enter Na-ri's life. Na-ri, as is typical, responds to Seong-gyoo's intrusion with sensible mistrust. Na-ri will hear Seong-gyoo out and even help him as necessary but in the end, she's not changing any serious decisions just because of Seong-gyoo's weak politicking. That's part of the trouble with having such a sensible heroine- Na-ri evades danger before it even happens, making for a less than exciting drama...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "My Wife is Having an Affair" Episode 9

2016/12/12 | | Permalink

Coming full circle is the theme of this episode of "My Wife is Having and Affair". Soo-yeon has to suffer the consequences of living along, social stigma at work, and the emotional repercussion of cheating. Yoon-gi is finding it difficult to keep up with his many affairs. And Hyeon-woo, despite being the wronged party also sees how his actions contributed to the unhappy marriage.

With all of the aftereffects of cheating reaping their results, the different plot threads begin to get juicier...More

[HanCinema's Box Office Review] 2016.12.09 ~ 2016.12.11

2016/12/12 | | Permalink

"Pandora"'s box office run starts strong...

In the aftermath of the country's political unrest, Park Jeong-woo's thrilling disaster film, "Pandora", entered the fray and shot straight to pole position by capturing 45.5% of the box office pie. The film, Park's fourth after "Dance With The Wind" (2004), "Big Bang" (2007" and "Deranged" (2012), sold 1.1 million admissions across 1,166 screens to dislodge last weekend's number one, Kwon Soo-kyeong's family drama "My Annoying Brother"...More

[HanCinema Awards] Best Actress in a Drama - Cast Your Vote!

2016/12/11 | | Permalink

The leading ladies of 2016 have been strong, giving us excellent performances that make us laugh, cry, and cheer. Most importantly, these women have proven that the actresses of Hallyu are leaders in their art!...More

[HanCinema Awards] Best Actor in a Drama - Cast Your Vote!

2016/12/11 | | Permalink

This year has been a powerhouse year for good drama and for its leading men. Young actors shot to stardom. Some made comebacks after returning from the military. Others continue on a glorious climb upwards on the Hallyu walk of fame....More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Entourage" Episode 12

2016/12/11 | | Permalink

Careers are booming in episode twelve of "Entourage", but Joon's has become the most stable one. After a dare, Turtle accepts a job as his manager, but the new star has tough mentoring to give. Meanwhile Eun-gap tries to help Yeong-bin while the latter continues doubting his choice to leave his agent. Ok-ja is relentless and I have a feeling we have yet to see how far she can go in order to win...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Cinema Snippets

2016/12/11 | | Permalink

"King of Prism" breaks Korea's record for the longest-running Japanese anime, The Quint lists must-see Korean films for newbies, LA Film Critics honor Park Chan-wook's "The Handmaiden", and see the rookie actors and actresses that burst onto the K-cinema scene this year...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Food Lovers' Lane

2016/12/11 | | Permalink

Discover the difference between North and South Korea's love for kimchi, My Korean Kitchen shows us how to make a delicious noodle soup, the vlogging couple behind My Korean Husband try spicy pig's feet, and the Korean Herald wants you to help you make Korean food at home...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Travel Bug Bites

2016/12/11 | | Permalink

Make new friends with Airbnb in Korea, know a little about Korean culture before you head over, The Korea Herald shines the light of some great upcoming events and festivals, and a new railway company can take you from Seoul to Busan in less than 2 hours...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Culture Corner

2016/12/11 | | Permalink

See how one artist is challenging some of the more oppressive aspects of Korean culture, Jeju's haenyeo divers may be the last of their kind, Pyeongchang is warming up for the Winter Games in 2018, and see the award-winning translators that are helping to grow Korea's exciting literally scene...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Photography and Art

2016/12/11 | | Permalink

Korean minimalism is on the rise, Christies lists five contemporary Korean artists that have made an impact since the 90s, black feminism meets traditional Korean dress on the streets, and see how the art of writing is making a comeback in Korea...More

[HanCinema Awards] Best Actress in a Film - Cast Your Vote!

2016/12/10 | | Permalink

The women in film have had a phenomenal year, representing South Korean cinema in festivals all over the world. From December 10 to December 17 you can vote for your favorite actresses. Results will be announced the last week of 2016...More

[HanCinema Awards] Best Actor in a Film - Cast Your Vote!

2016/12/10 | | Permalink

The first vote of the HanCinema Awards is here: Best Actor in a Film! Voting will be open from December 10 to December 17 and results will be out the last week of 2016!...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Entourage" Episode 11

2016/12/10 | | Permalink

Yeong-bin is going through another break up, but this time it is with Eun-gap as his agent. Episode eleven of "Entourage" is all about how the two men cope with the end of a long partnership, with Eun-gap obviously being the one shaken more. As Yeong-bin goes between potential agents and Eun-gap deals with his loss, Joon has his own little crisis when his manhood endangers his variety show filming...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Goblin" Episode 4

2016/12/10 | | Permalink

Of all the weird unexplained elements in "Goblin", the one I most consistenly get hung up on is how director Lee Eung-bok is able to pull off such radical scene transitions without creating any tonal whiplash. One minute the Goblin is calm and cool as usual, unwilling to let on to Eun-tak that he is in the slightest bit surprised by what she does or does not know. The next minute, the Goblin is breathing heavily in front of his mortal enemy, the Grim Reaper, because girls are scary...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Birth of a Married Woman" Episodes 1-4

2016/12/10 | | Permalink

Yeong-hee (played by Yoon Seung-ah) is pushing thirty and starting to feel old- after all, isn't everyone supposed to be married by that point? Then, like a champ, her longtime boyfriend Cheol-soo (played by Lee Joon-hyeok) casually broaches a completely serious proposition of marriage, and so the planning begins. With it, Yeong-hee and Cheol-soo both work to answer that all too critical question- what exactly is involved with planning a wedding anyway?...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Love for a Thousand More" Episodes 1-4

2016/12/10 | | Permalink

Mi-jo (played by Hwang Seung-eon) is an immortal fortuneteller. Mi-jo has lived through many indignities through life- mostly in the form of being interrupted right before she's about to start a hearty meal. But her latest problem is the loud hip-hop crew living in the apartment upstairs from her. Joon-woo (played by Kang Seung-yoon) leads this crew. While generally taciturn, Joon-woo has odd moments of seeming to recognize Mi-jo- perhaps as a matter of destiny?...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "The Houseguest and My Mother" + DVD Giveaway

2016/12/10 | | Permalink

Duk-geun (played by Jeong Joon-ho) is a low-level crook who chances upon a fantastic opportunity when an old woman comes to his office requesting the services of a private investigator. Meanwhile, Ok-hee (played by Ko Eun-ah) is a teenage girl who deals with the usual teenage girl problems of trouble with peers and an embarrassing mother, Hye-ju (played by Kim Won-hee), who looks young enough to be Ok-hee's sister. Well, at least that's what it says in the script. Kim Won-hee was thirty five when "The Houseguest and My Mother" came out, but her character is supposed to look under thiry...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "Changing Partners" + DVD Giveaway

2016/12/10 | | Permalink

Yoo-na (played by Uhm Jung-hwa) is a generally cranky fashion consultant with a laidback upbeat hotelier husband by the name of Min-jae (played by Park Yong-woo). By chance, they meet a younger couple. Yeong-joon (played by Lee Dong-geon) is a rude businessman with a reputation for accomplishment whereas his wife So-yeo (played by Han Chae-young) works with lighting, and enjoys the small beauties in life. If you thought these couples are mismatched, worry not. Before long the couples themselves also see the irony, and go about the process of "Changing Partners"...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "Underground Rendez-vous" + DVD Giveaway

2016/12/10 | | Permalink

Following the Japanese surrender in World War II, American and Soviet forces, for geopolitical reasons that didn't make much sense even at the time, created an arbitrary demarcation line splitting the Korean peninsula into two pieces. Overnight, people from nearby villages, family members even, were not allowed to contact each other. "Underground Rendez-vous" has a promising start with this set-up then quickly moves all the focus to a romance between luckless traveler Yeong-tan (played by Im Chang-jeong) and local woman Seon-mi (played by Park Jin-hee)...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Goblin" Episode 3

2016/12/09 | | Permalink

Upon further consideration I've decided that "Goblin" really is, in fact, mostly just a drama about the Goblin and the Grim Reaper sniping at each other pettily like an old married couple for the rest of eternity. If their eternal life is punishment for some awful misdeed, I would say it is working as intended. Neither the Goblin nor the Grim Reaper have any apparent reason for existing save for to meddle in each other's lives...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Sound of Your Heart" (TV Version) Episode 1

2016/12/09 | | Permalink

For technical reasons quite beyond me, "The Sound of Your Heart" has ceased being a web drama and is now being aired in repackaged form on late night Korean television. The first episode comprises what would be eight webtoon episodes. Aside from editing differences, the first, second, seventh and eighth episodes are more or less the same. The introduction to Seok, his idiot family, and Ae-bong- are largely unchanged. The new stories focus more on characterization than comedic situations...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok-joo" Episode 8

2016/12/08 | | Permalink

Bok-joo has made her peace with her stupid idea to get close to Jae-i by pretending to be a cello player. Yet Si-ho ends up being the one who provokes the situation further, in spite of the fact that she is obviously wrong. Even more blatantly, Bok-joo could easily wallop Si-ho in a fight, yet Si-ho continues to lash out. Once again I find myself pitying Si-ho more than I do hating her. If the sad young woman had any friends she might be a tad less psychotic...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Legend of the Blue Sea" Episode 8

2016/12/08 | | Permalink

The parallels between past and present grow greater as Joon-jae experiences flashbacks of his previous life. Parallels don't just run between past and present, but between characters. In many ways such comparisons are useful, but in this drama they are belabored. That is the great downfall of this otherwise adorable drama, it overuses plot points and cute character traits until they lose their sparkle.

Joon-jae's and Cheong's past romance, while sweet, doesn't have the insistence necessary to carry this story forward...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Romantic Doctor Teacher Kim" Episode 10

2016/12/07 | | Permalink

We have reached the midpoint of "Romantic Doctor Teacher Kim" and our hospital staff has to bond and work as one more tightly than ever. Seo-jeong is back in action and she is reminded of the pain doctors have to deal with when it comes to life and death while Dong-joo and In-beom learn how to work together. This appears to be part of Teacher Kim's plan, which we will surely know more about soon...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok-joo" Episode 7

2016/12/07 | | Permalink

Bok-joo's comeuppance ends up being pretty harsh. But looking at this situation from the outside it's hard to be too angry at her authority figures. Bok-joo's childish dalliance with Jae-i's clinic is, to the people who support Bok-joo's dreams, a slap in the face. How can Bok-joo be so obviously passionate about being a world-class weightlifter, yet take part in a dieting program completely at odds with that goal?...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Legend of the Blue Sea" Episode 7

2016/12/07 | | Permalink

As the events of the present play out to mirror the past, our present day love birds fall more in love with each other via a very handy tool: jealousy. To help Cheong best utilize that tool is none other than Jo Jeong-seok who just recently finished starring in a show about jealousy, "Incarnation of Jealousy"...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Romantic Doctor Teacher Kim" Episode 9

2016/12/06 | | Permalink

Doldam Hospital becomes malpractice central in episode nine of "Romantic Doctor Teacher Kim" as its first big battle with Geodae reaches its climax. Seo-jeong decides to take responsibility for the mess and hands in her resignation, which sparks a journey to bring her back. Teacher Kim has his hands tied by the investigative team and Dr. Song proves useless as the particularly harsh day arrives...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Night Light" Episode 6

2016/12/06 | | Permalink

At the end of this episode I had an annoying moment of realization. Technically the story hasn't actually started yet. We're still in the set-up. I-kyeong is still "training" Se-jin who, true to form, is slow to adjust when past actions catch up to her and the younger woman is completely unsure as to the extent she can or should lie. Nothing turns out too badly but ultimately all we've learned is another important aspect of the backdrop- the rules can change, if temporarily, provided enough money changes hands...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Man In My House" Episode 14

2016/12/06 | | Permalink

The gangster plotline is resolved very quickly. Well, allegedly anyway. Na-ri does make some pretty good points when it comes to Nan-gil's extracurricular activities. It's not just that the guy disappears- the real issue is that Nan-gil consistently does so without explanation, so Na-ri doesn't have a clue how dangerous the overall situation really is. Granted, Na-ri being so out of the loop on the main plot in general is one of the more annoying issues that has plagued "The Man In My House" lately...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Woman with a Suitcase" Episode 14

2016/12/06 | | Permalink

The action is high in episode 14 of "Woman with a Suitcase" as guns and egos become the weapons of choice. While things are happening and the episode is fast-paced, the emotional intensity is not reflective of the activity.

The least surprising but most important happening of the episode is the Hye-joo finally went off the deep end...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Man In My House" Episode 13

2016/12/05 | | Permalink

Having solved a problem with some fairly gratutitous violence, Nan-gil quickly goes back to...sulking. It's hard to believe that for the first half of "The Man In My House" Nan-gil was the guy with the ridiculous upbeat attitude, never much caring how much he irritated the people around him so long as it was in the name of love. Not just with Na-ri, but with every other character too Nan-gil is frustratingly non-communicative and generally incapable of participating in genuine large-scale collaborative efforts...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Night Light" Episode 5

2016/12/05 | | Permalink

After a fairly dramatic cliffhanger "Night Light" fails to deliver on much of that promise this episode. The general personalities of its characters do not gain any new dimensions here. Even the big central scheme ends up being fairly lackluster, since all it really amounts to is Se-jin acting cool and confident thanks to the afterglow from I-kyeong's aura. While that's all well and good, Se-jin was able to do plenty of that before she ever even met I-kyeong...More

[HanCinema's Box Office Review] 2016.12.02 ~ 2016.12.04

2016/12/05 | | Permalink

Local comedy "My Annoying Brother" rises to the top amid protests...

Kwon Soo-kyeong's family comedy "My Annoying Brother" captured 30% of the box office sales to push its total tally now past the 2 million mark. The film, Kwon's second after "Barefoot Ki-bong", added 597,954 admissions from 831 screens and has now grossed $14.4 million (2.1 million admissions) since its release late last month. That means it has surpassed the 1.9 million admissions Kwon's debut film attracted back in 2006...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Entourage" Episode 10

2016/12/04 | | Permalink

Yeong-bin and his "Entourage" have been through a lot lately and so they depart to Jeju for a little reprieve and a little tourist promotion on behalf of the drama. Joon and Turtle meet an interesting woman, to put it mildly and end up in trouble as usual. Meanwhile Idea's CEO Jo has a few things to say about Yeong-bin turning his back on their production and she pushes Eun-gap to a decision which may cost him his star...More

[HanCinema Awards] The First Annual HanCinema Awards

2016/12/03 | | Permalink

After an amazing year, it's about time to take stock of what has come our way in the world Korean entertainment. Vetted directors and actors have churned out great new work. New talent has ventured forth to try their hands on the small and Silver screens. Some of our favorite idols have crossed over from behind a mic to tackle being behind a camera. All this and more has filled the exciting timeline of 2016 in dramaland and filmland and the HanCinema staff wants to hear what you thought it, HanCinema Readers! Join us as we we explore categories such as "Best Drama", "Best Kiss", "Scene Stealer" and more!...More

[HanCinema's Drama Preview] "Solomon's Perjury"

2016/12/03 | | Permalink

Korean drama is not too big on the mystery genre or youth series, which means that "Solomon's Perjury" is a combination worth checking out. The series sports a cast of age-appropriate rookies in a story which will paint a less than cheerful holiday season and hopefully provide meaty content through it.

Premise

When a junior high student falls to his death, the authorities and school consider it a suicide. After receiving a tip off that the case is a murder, one student decides to lead a school trial and crack the case, going against the school's wishes for a clear wrap up of the incident...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Goblin" Episode 2

2016/12/03 | | Permalink

And so Eun-tak's magical journey of being the Goblin's bride takes her to the mystical far-off country of...Canada. Specifically, Quebec. That's, uh, that's a new one. Which pretty much marks my reaction to every scene transition in "Goblin"- they all encompass very strange ideas that are neither funny, dramatic, or even especially creative. While watching "Goblin" I frequently ask questions like, why does this drama exist? Who is the intended audience?...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Entourage" Episode 9

2016/12/03 | | Permalink

Yeong-bin is going through a major crisis and being the spoiled man-baby that he is, he drags everyone down with him. His friends and agent try to understand while making the best out of the situation, but his participation in the film and his career are in danger. In light of these events, Joon feels even more pressure about succeeding with his new variety show gig and helping out...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "Mapado 2" + DVD Giveaway

2016/12/03 | | Permalink

Choong-soo (played by Lee Moon-sik), always on the lookout for a big pay-off, takes on a job to locate the first love of the dying Chairman Park (played by Joo Hyun). As it happens, this mystery woman is located in the same general area as the foul-mouthed grannies from the first "Mapado" movie. And so "Mapado 2" begins, less with a promise of actually getting to the story and more rehashing the same jokes which made the first "Mapado" such a fan favorite...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "Wet Dreams 2" + DVD Giveaway

2016/12/03 | | Permalink

Bong-goo (played by Lee Ji-hoon) is an attractive teacher with a horrible secret...whenever he becomes sufficiently sexually aroused, Bong-goo farts. But for this obvious flaw, Bong-goo is still chased by a bevy of girls at his new school, who are determined to make him fart. As obviously stupid as this premise is "Wet Dreams 2" manages the bizarre mistake of making itself harder to watch via character development...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "Marrying the Mafia II" + DVD Giveaway

2016/12/03 | | Permalink

In Seoul, In-jae (played by Shin Hyeon-joon) and Jin-kyeong (played by Kim Won-hee) are middle-aged working professionals who are not...always perfectly successful in their immediate career goals, but have overall bright futures. After meeting in circumstances too hilariously contrived for me to want to ruin, they start to date. They they inevitably run into a glaring problem- In-jae is the heir to an organized crime organization, while Jin-kyeong is a public prosecutor. What will become of them?...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Cinema Snippets

2016/12/03 | | Permalink

The Indian Express interviews Im Kwon-taek about his career and thoughts on Bollywood, see how the recent protests in Korea have impacted the nation's dream machine, Lee Kyoung-mi talks about some of the challenges female filmmakers face, and Kim Hyung-seok explores the trend of fantasy in modern Korean cinema...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Food Lovers' Lane

2016/12/03 | | Permalink

My Korean Kitchen has a delicious treat for mushroom lovers, the Korea Times lays out some options for where to eat in Seoul this Christmas, Holly from Beyond Kimchee shows us how to make pork wraps, and warm up your winner with a hearty bulgogi stew from Maangchi...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Travel Bug Bites

2016/12/03 | | Permalink

Busan recognised as Korea's top incentive tourism destination, 10 Magazine has some tips to help you get over your homesick this holiday season, get to know Naver Maps and take advantage of Korea's awesome public transport system, and see Korea's romantic side with some lovely suggestions for travelling couples...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Culture Corner

2016/12/03 | | Permalink

Vanity Fair showcases some of the country's top literary gems, 10 Magazine turns up the heat on Korea's stance on climate change, the Korean Wave is still riding high, and does living in Korea change the way you speak?...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Photography and Art

2016/12/03 | | Permalink

Kim Soo-ja's participatory installation exhibition is on view in Seoul until Feb, see how one grandfather is using Instagram to bring his family together, North Korean defector and singer Han Oak Jeong talks artistic freedom, and an abstract piece by Kim Whan-ki sets a new record for Korean artwork...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Goblin" Episode 1

2016/12/02 | | Permalink

Kim Sin (played by Gong Yoo) was once a mighty warrior in olden times. Then he made a series of bad decisions and became the "Goblin", a godlike being who occasionally makes friends but more typically just ends up killing bad dudes with the same generally indifferent and impersonal attitude he had toward mowing down enemies in battle. That's a good attitude to have since the first episode is filled with death to a frankly comical extent. The Grim Reaper (played by Lee Dong-wook) evidently has his work cut out for him...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Sound of Your Heart" Episodes 15-20

2016/12/02 | | Permalink

Seok is convinced that his webtoon, "The Sound of Your Heart", is an obscure failure that no one has heard of. Even ignoring the inherently strong sense of humor in the writing, the idea that no one has heard of "The Sound of Your Heart" is an obvious relic of these early stories. All the same, I love the self-deprecating vanity, especially when it inevitably results in Seok and his family inevitably acting like lunatics...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Legend of the Blue Sea" Episode 6

2016/12/01 | | Permalink

"The Legend of the Blue Sea" takes the thread of fate and closely links past with present. The trials and tribulations of the past repeat themselves in the present. The love story does the same. While the story unfolds, the mermaid Cheong struggles through human life and Joon-jae falls more in love with her.

Most of Lee Min-ho's role in this episode was to make Joon-jae a lovesick conman...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok-joo" Episode 6

2016/12/01 | | Permalink

A brief sad look at Joon-hyeong's past gives us a good look at his personality- like the swimmer, always looking forward to the end of the race, doing his best to ignore distractions along the way. Si-ho likewise is the ideal rythmic gymnast, obsessed with perfection and kicking herself over every possible error, unwilling to tolerate the slightest setback. And Bok-joo...doesn't really have anything comparable actually. Weightlifters generally eat a lot, but Bok-joo spends most of this episode fighting against even that destiny...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok-joo" Episode 5

2016/11/30 | | Permalink

Bok-joo has been caught in a silly pointless lie. being a generally supercilious teenager, Bok-joo then does the natural thing, and simply tries to bury herself in ever more complicated layers of deceit so she can have those sweet, sweet moments of lovey-doveyness with Jae-i. While Jae-i is handsome, he's also surprisingly dumb. I like how Joon-hyeong figures out what's going on almost immediately because really, what other logical explanation can there be for Bok-joo's behavior?...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Legend of the Blue Sea" Episode 5

2016/11/30 | | Permalink

While "The Legend of the Blue Sea" is very cute, rather on the funny side, and the chemistry between Jeon Ji-hyeon and Lee Min-ho is magical, it has spiraled into a silly drama that resembles romantic fluff. Not that romantic fluff is bad. It's just that I expected more from the writer of "My Love from the Star" and "Producer".

But for what it was worth, the episode was entertaining...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Romantic Doctor Teacher Kim" Episode 8

2016/11/29 | | Permalink

"Romantic Doctor Teacher Kim" pulls a fast one on us and creates a situation which helps it make a wonderful return to the things that matter, the things that make it interesting and the things that need consideration in the world of healing. The episode explores the conflict between what a doctor feels is right and what they know is fair...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Romantic Doctor Teacher Kim" Episode 7

2016/11/29 | | Permalink

The battle between Geodae and Doldam is as vicious as expected and I fear these conflicts may be our new reality. Gone are the days of a tight-knit group of medical rejects fighting for patients with Dong-joo's whining as the only hindrance. If power games are not enough excitement for you, how about a hostage situation? Yes, cliche gangsters are everything a medical show needs...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Night Light" Episode 4

2016/11/29 | | Permalink

We finally get some detail into Gun-woo (played by Jin Goo). Technically he's I-kyeong's love interest and rival, although that's a very misleading way to describe his character. The main obvious reason for this is that I-kyeong is stone cold and mean to everyone. She was like that even in flashback. But Gun-woo is the antithesis to I-kyeong in other ways too. He thinks constructively. Moreso in flashback, obviously. In the present day, though, Gun-woo hates the game more than he does any of the players...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Man In My House" Episode 12

2016/11/29 | | Permalink

Na-ri and Nan-gil continue to sulk. This is so disconnected from their own relationship and most of the story I actually had trouble remembering why they were so upset with each other, when the big event that caused the rift was just last episode. Now, there is the usual interference from the gangsters. Although at this point it's a wonder anyone pays attention to those guys at all. They're not even trying to hide their obvious agenda anymore, so why should anyone listen to them?...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Night Light" Episode 3

2016/11/28 | | Permalink

While the literal plot is I-kyeong educating Se-jin on the finer points of what exactly is this concept we call "money", metaphorically, there's a frequently educational tinge to the presentation of "Night Light". Writer Han Ji-hoon seems to be speaking to us more than he is telling a story- and the lessons are valuable. Time and again we see that what makes the rich people in this drama powerful is precisely that they do not throw their weight around unless they absolutely have to...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Man In My House" Episode 11

2016/11/28 | | Permalink

The extended context for last episode's cliffhanger teases hope that perhaps Nan-gil and Na-ri actually discussed what she would do at trial directly. Unfortunately, that moment never comes. Nan-gil and Na-ri dance around the question of what their long-term future is going to look like, then proceed to spend the rest of the episode pretending not to care about each other while other characters try and pick up the slack...More

[HanCinema's Box Office Review] 2016.11.25 ~ 2016.11.27

2016/11/28 | | Permalink

"Fantastic Beasts" holds out against "My Annoying Brother"...

The British-American fantasy flick "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them" narrowly maintained pole position over Kwon Soo-kyeong's incoming family comedy, "My Annoying Brother". Last weekend J.K. Rowling's adaptation of her own work appeared and captured 68% of the sales (1.4 million admissions), and during its second week out this Harry Potter spin-off added another 895,990 stubs (45%) to bring its bottom line now to $24.7 million (3.4 million admissions). Worldwide, this week's number one has grossed $473.7 million...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Entourage" Episode 8

2016/11/27 | | Permalink

Well, it took half a series for "Entourage" to provide relatable content and it mostly comes from Eun-gap and Cho Jin-woong's performance, but I will take any comfort at this point. Our prickly agent goes through a big change and his top actor has relationship woes. Ho-jin has his hands full between dating and Yeong-bin's scandal and Joon goes through an identity crisis, so it is chaos all around...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "Seven Days" + DVD Giveaway

2016/11/26 | | Permalink

Ji-yeon (played by Kim Yoon-jin) is an ace attorney who is also a loving, if somewhat busy mother. Then, for "Seven Days", Ji-yeon is forced to search the world upside-down to solve an intense high-action mystery that has nothing to do with her. And it all happens so fast. One scene it's happy smiles and the next it's vehicular action then emotional wailing then clandestine meetings with rabid dogs and chase scenes and mental institutions and wow, you can just feel the adrenaline right now through the words of this review can't you?...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "Black House" + DVD Giveaway

2016/11/26 | | Permalink

Joon-oh (played by Hwang Jeong-min) is an insurance agent still reeling from childhood trauma. At home life with his girlfriend Mi-na (played by Kim Seo-hyeong) is pretty much all right, but alas, Joon-oh is kind of dumb and fails to properly take to heart the first rule of insurance claim adjusting- never tells clients details about your actual life. Although admittedly, whoever drafted that rule probably did not anticipate that the company's insurance agents would go through the procession of body horror that is the "Black House"...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "Voice of a Murderer" + DVD Giveaway

2016/11/26 | | Permalink

The time is the early nineties. Kyeong-bae (played by Seol Kyeong-gu) is a national news anchor who lives a busy, albeit largely unremarkable life with his wife Ji-seon (played by Kim Nam-joo) as they suss out generally boring domestic problems. This is all thrown into an uproar with the intrusion of a mysterious phone call from That Guy (voiced by Gang Dong-won), who makes vague unsubstantiated threats. Really, after a certain point, it seems like That Guy is just a bit of a sadistic jerk...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Cinema Snippets

2016/11/26 | | Permalink

Hangul Cinema's podcast reflects on "Memories of Murder", Kobiz presents the highest-grossing Korean films in America, Im Kwon-taek honoured in India, and the Guardian reviews Yeon Sang-ho's zombie blockbuster...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Food Lovers' Lane

2016/11/26 | | Permalink

My Korean Kitchen shows us how to make yuzu dressing, Korean girls try American TV dinners for the first time, feast your eyes on an all traditional Korean buffet, and 10 Magazine has 10 dishes to help warm up your winter...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Travel Bug Bites

2016/11/26 | | Permalink

National Geographic recognises Korea's coolness, 10 Magazine lists the best winter activities, explore the secret side of Seoul with insight from locals, and see how Korea is helping to make Muslims feel welcome...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Culture Corner

2016/11/26 | | Permalink

South Korea and Nepal bond by flying high together, the Diplomat tackles corruption in Korean culture, take note of Korea's national holidays for 2017, and the Korea Herald discusses the past, present and future of alcohol in Korea...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Photography and Art

2016/11/26 | | Permalink

A street performer hits the streets to help raise awareness for Korea's LGBT community, further arrests made in connection to the Lee Ufan forgery scandal, Lester Jone's captures daily life on Korea's streets in his new travel gallery, and 10 Magazine highlights the country's impressive architecture...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Entourage" Episode 7

2016/11/25 | | Permalink

Yeong-bin continues to be careless and irresponsible with his career and now So-hee joins in on the behavior giving everyone a headache. Joon and Turtle get themselves in trouble as usual, but they briefly reflect on their situation and life circumstances as well. Meanwhile Eun-gap tries to warn Ho-jin about the possible scandal Yeong-bin's secret dating can cause while still stressing over co-president Kang's shady movements in their company...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Legend of the Blue Sea" Episode 4

2016/11/24 | | Permalink

"The Legend of the Blue Sea" isn't an overly complex story. Unlike "My Love from the Star" it is a a little light on deeper plot development. The action moves forward as does the romance, but this drama seems more about light enjoyment (despite heavy subject matter) than serious plot exploration. There is nothing wrong with such a drama. In fact, it's welcome, especially when Jeon Ji-hyeon and her penchant for comedy are involved.

That said, Jeon Ji-hyeon and her spot on comedic acting can't save a lack of clean direction...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok-joo" Episode 4

2016/11/24 | | Permalink

Now flush with cash Bok-joo begins her ill-advised plan to try and get Jae-i to like her by providing him with money. I'm just relieved we know that Jae-i is genuinely a nice guy who has no clue what Bok-joo's actual incomprehensible motives are. In a way it's sad watching Bok-joo make herself suffer so much for the sake of an obviously unrequited crush. And yet Bok-joo is so awash in comedic tension it never really feels like we're laughing at Bok-joo- just empathizing with how yes, we too have been that stupid at times in life...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Something About 1% - 2016" Episode 16 - Final

2016/11/24 | | Permalink

At long last, through all their trials and tribulations, Jae-in and Da-hyeon are together and inseparable. It should come as little surprise that Da-hyeon's parents are the only real remaining obstacle, mainly because they're the only ones who haven't gotten a chance to participate in the plot yet. But even that doesn't last long, because Jae-in is not joking at all when it comes to sheer determination- even when it requires he do something rather out of character...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Legend of the Blue Sea" Episode 3

2016/11/23 | | Permalink

No matter how much the mermaid tries to stay away from her Joon-jae, fate in this tightly woven fabric of fantasy always leads him to her, or she to him. Oftentimes convenient coincidences are the product of lazy writing. In "The Legend of the Blue Sea" it tells the story of two lovers who fate transcends time and circumstance. Not only is it romantic, but it's fun, cool, and full of the opportunity for Jeon Ji-hyeon to time and time again prove herself the genius comedienne that she is.

Episode 3 is comprised of three plot threads during three periods of time in our main characters' lives or the lives of their incarnations...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok-joo" Episode 3

2016/11/23 | | Permalink

Jae-i (played by Lee Jae-yoon-I) is Joon-hyeong's handsomer and more accomplished elder brother, who works as a physical therapist. Bok-joo engages Jae-i in conversation by bringing up...an Argentenian soccer player. OK, OK, Bok-joo's an idiot, we already knew that. But Jae-i's reaction is what's most telling. While Lee Jae-yoon-I's main screen presence here is as a figment of Bok-joo's imagination, interestingly enough, the real Jae-i too is touched simply by the fact that someone asked him a personal question for once...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Something About 1% - 2016" Episodes 14-15

2016/11/23 | | Permalink

With the main antagonistic presence in "Something About 1% - 2016" shunted out of the picture, all that remains is the question of Jae-in and Da-hyeon completing the terms of their contract and permanently separating. Why is it necessary for them to separate, given that they have obviously grown into working mutual affection during the contract's duration? Well, mostly because Jae-in and Da-hyeon are equally stupidly stubborn when it comes to talking about their feelings...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Romantic Doctor Teacher Kim" Episode 6

2016/11/22 | | Permalink

Episode six of "Romantic Doctor Teacher Kim" brings big changes. Teacher Kim's plans are still not entirely clear, but his personal demons start to show as Yoon-wan closes in on the hospital. The Teacher and Dong-joo become so busy with their personal plans and persistent enemies that they irresponsibly leave the hospital at the same time, forcing Myeong-sim, Seo-jeong and the staff to take desperate measures...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Man In My House" Episode 10

2016/11/22 | | Permalink

After the big confrontation we find out the evidence is ambiguous and unreliable. So Na-ri and Nan-gil stop caring and discuss a more pressing matter- if the bad guys' plan involves annulling Nan-gil's marriage to Na-ri's mother, is that good since it means Na-ri is no longer dating her stepfather? It's times like this that "The Man In My House" feels like two completely different plots. One has a gangster conspiracy. The other is a bog standard romance...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Night Light" Episode 2

2016/11/22 | | Permalink

Se-jin is pretty well-seduced by the glamorous cool promised through I-kyeong's slick in-charge attitude. Of course, this predictably goes badly because really, if the job was so easy I-kyeong would have just done it herself. So what we're left is a tense and frightening hostage situation as Se-jin desperately tries to negotiate herself out of certain disaster. I-kyeong's hilariously blasé reaction to the entire sordid affair is, unsurprisingly, pretty enraging. At least until Se-jin gets back to her normal job...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Romantic Doctor Teacher Kim" Episode 5

2016/11/21 | | Permalink

Teacher Kim's past is finally revealed and his enemies close in on Doldam Hospital. Dong-joo becomes determined to learn from his unwilling mentor, but takes on more than he can handle to impress and follow him. Seo-jeong tries her best at her new job, but her routine is shaken by a surprising fan whose motives are still a mystery and whose involvement is worrisome...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "My Wife is Having an Affair" Episode 8

2016/11/21 | | Permalink

This episode of "My Wife Is Having an Affair" is about timing and about support. A lot of mishaps come because of untapped opportunities, but those who choose to decide and move forward reap the rewards of doing so.

The clearest case of accepting and moving on is Joon-yeong...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Man In My House" Episode 9

2016/11/21 | | Permalink

Even when the story's not moving forward in "The Man In My House", it's easy to get overwhelmed by the sheer quantity of character relationships. Weirdly enough, these tend to be centered around pretty much everyone who is not Na-ri, who remains largely oblivious to everything that happens around her. We find out this is a longstanding condition, since apparently important information regarding Na-ri's father was withheld from her because...yeah, I can't come up with any satisfactory reason...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Night Light" Episode 1

2016/11/21 | | Permalink

I-kyeong (played by Lee Yo-won) is a brutally tough businesswoman. Se-jin (played by UEE) is a street tough who's good at business. Together they...have an antagonistic countenance as part and parcel of an ominous flashforward before the action rewinds to a week earlier. It's fairly evident that "Night Light" is planning to toss us into the middle of a high-stakes upper class financial war, but as of yet, the exact motivations of its characters are left unclear...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "My Wife is Having an Affair" Episode 7

2016/11/21 | | Permalink

Emotions are unveiled as guilt takes hold of Soo-yeon and renders her paralyzed. Hyeon-woo is still unable to shake his anger at her, but he's starting to think more about his role in their marriage. The other characters are starting to face problems and changes of their own and with that, we finally delve into the knitty gritty of "My Wife Is Having an Affair".

Perhaps the most important development of this episode is that Soo-yeon is thinking about her affair, her family, and how they should function in the future...More

[HanCinema's Box Office Review] 2016.11.11 ~ 2016.11.13

2016/11/21 | | Permalink

J.K. Rowling's screenwriting debut summons the masses with magic...

David Yates's fantasy flick "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them" arrived in Korea last Wednesday and dethroned a weary "Doctor Strange" at the top of the pile. For the past three weeks, Marvel's mind-bending spectacle has been riding high in the Land of the Morning Calm, but this new magical storm from Warner Bros. Pictures has sent the doctor down a few notches by summoning plenty fresh feet to Korea's big screens...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Entourage" Episode 6

2016/11/20 | | Permalink

Yeong-bin, his entourage and the entire production of his film have to deal with the aftermath of the star's confession to So-hee as he goes back into one of his moodswings defined by lack of professionalism. There is more tension between him and Ho-jin as the latter tries to handle the mess. Meanwhile Joon lands a role, but feels overpowered by a child actor, who also happens to be dating a furious Eun-gap's daughter...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Woman with a Suitcase" Episode 12

2016/11/20 | | Permalink

No sooner than Geum-joo passes her first exam and is well on her road to being a lawyer than she is given the huge challenge of defending Bok-geo, investigating Min-ah's case, and learning the huge difference between being a brilliant woman behind the scenes and one who stands up in a court room.

Although the legal aspect of the show is exciting, it is also somewhat contrived...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Woman with a Suitcase" Episode 13

2016/11/20 | | Permalink

The battle between Golden Tree and Oh Sung escalates to new highs. Hye-joo completely crosses over to the dark side, Bok-geo is convicted, and Geum-joo is forced to choose between her career and safety and defending those she has sworn to protect.

More intriguing than Geum-joo this episode is Hye-joo, who has completely fallen off the deep end with the pressures put on her by Oh Sung...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The K2"

2016/11/19 | | Permalink

Writer Jang Hyeok-rin enjoyed great success with drama "Yong Pal", but the work was an incredible mess in terms of overall quality and especially writing. Armed with a cable station and more time to work with, the writer makes a return with "The K2". The action and suspense series is a definite improvement from the disaster called "Yong Pal", but is that enough to call it good...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "My Wife is Having an Affair" Episode 5

2016/11/19 | | Permalink

For the first time, we get to peek into Soo-yeon's mind and witness her heartfelt reaction to how her affair has hurt her family. Oblivious to her pain, Hyeon-woo stews in his and begins to boil over, spreading his misery to those around him. The other characters experience their own relationship pain and joys that all add witty commentary to the central conceit.

It is Soo-yeon who was the most intriguing of all...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "My Wife is Having and Affair" Episode 6

2016/11/19 | | Permalink

"My Wife Is Having an Affair" delves past the shock of the revelation and explores the aftereffects of cheating. Hyeon-woo and Soo-yeon still haven't had a real conversation and it is making for a lot of pent up anger and even more misunderstanding. As always, it's hard to blame Hyeon-woo as the one who was betrayed, but his word choice is absolutely poisonous when speaking with Soo-yeon.

She seems to want to right the wrongs she's made, especially after the wife of her affair confronts her with "What you did wasn't romance. It was wronging a family....More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Sound of Your Heart" Episodes 9-14

2016/11/19 | | Permalink

Bong-i (played by Jeong So-min) is Seok's soon-to-be-girlfriend and eventual wife. For the ninth and tenth episodes of "The Sound of Your Heart", though, the drama explores their existing relationship and backstory. It should come as little surprise that Seok's memory of their first encounter is...inaccurate. But as usual "The Sound of Your Heart" brilliantly blends subtle clichés with explicit visual gags, resulting in constantly shifting expectations that create some pretty incredible laughs...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "The Table"

2016/11/19 | | Permalink

Every time two people go to a cafe to have a chat, there is always that one element that's all too easy to forget- "The Table", on which they put their coffee. It is from the vantage point of "The Table" that we are treated to four vignettes where Jung Yu-mi, Jeong Eun-chae, Han Ye-ri, and Im Soo-jeong are left awkwardly negotiating what they want in life from boyfriends past and present who know surprisingly little about their women...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "The Office"

2016/11/19 | | Permalink

Byeong-gook (played by Bae Seong-woo) is a normal manager at a normal company who one day inexplicably comes home and does something rather awful. Detective Jong-hoon (played by Park Sung-woong) stakes out Byeong-gook's office in the hopes of sussing out a motive. Unfortunately, everyone is rather unhelpful in giving useful answers to his questions save for intern Mi-rye (played by Ko Ah-seong), an intern who is not terribly popular with her co-workers for ill-defined social reasons...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "You Call It Passion"

2016/11/19 | | Permalink

Ra-hee (played by Park Bo-young) is a rookie reporter in the entertainment press. Jae-gwan (played by Jeong Jae-yeong) is her exceptionally tough editor, constantly barking orders at Ra-hee to make sure she gets the job done right. Together, they do important investigative journalism...about celebrities. Yes, the stakes in "You Call It Passion" are relatively low, and the eventual movement of the plot toward an exposé about a false accusation doesn't really do much to up the ante...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "The Summer in Ibaraki"

2016/11/19 | | Permalink

In Japan there is a massive countrywide cultural performance competition for high school students. Ethnically Korean Japanese schools also participate, although their definition of cultural performance differs somewhat from those of their Japanese peers. Kunkuk High School, located in Osaka, has an especially intensive program, and have consequently been chosen to represent Osaka in the thirty-fifth annual competition. "The Summer in Ibaraki" is their story...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Cinema Snippets

2016/11/19 | | Permalink

Kobiz highlights films with leading ladies in their new infographic, Netflix scoops up the distribution rights for the disaster film "Pandora", hear what production designer Jang Geun-young has to say about his latest work after returning to the industry, and Paul Quinn talks about a Korean classic on his podcast...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Food Lovers' Lane

2016/11/19 | | Permalink

My Korean Kitchen shows us how to make one of Korea's most popular drinks, a grandmother's makgeolli business is booming, Korean cooking shows are on the rise, and will Michelin's new restaurant guide help uphold the integrity of Korean food?...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Travel Bug Bites

2016/11/19 | | Permalink

10 Magazine gives us 10 great reasons to visit a Korean bath house, Seoul Searching puts Sinsa-dong in the spotlight from a girl's perspective, find out what one traveller will miss the most about South Korea, and The Wandering Soles share their bucket list of things to see and do in Korea...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Culture Corner

2016/11/19 | | Permalink

ESPN probes Korea's intense gaming culture, see how child actors are groomed for the film and television industry, 10 Magazine tackles issues Korean-Americans face, and Koreans are rushing to read up on America's next president...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Photography and Art

2016/11/19 | | Permalink

Korea Exposed casts a critical gaze on the country's fashion scene, discover photographer Soomin Ham and the personal events/objects that inspired her, the Apollo considers the state of Korean art in the west, and catch some amazing pictures of the protests in Seoul...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Entourage" Episode 5

2016/11/18 | | Permalink

"Entourage" continues to move forward in its slice-of-life way and this time things get more personal than business and industry related. Yeong-bin has a problem with Kang Ha-neul possibly working with So-hee in their film and Eun-gap is about to be stabbed in the back by his mentor. Meanwhile Joon and Turtle continue to be Joon and Turtle, living a life of immaturity and blaming it on bad luck...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok-joo" Episode 2

2016/11/17 | | Permalink

While I certainly wasn't expecting "Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok-joo" to get to the romance right away, I also wasn't expecting Joon-hyeong to sabotage his relationship with Bok-joo quite so spectacularly. His attempts to be cute and endearing fail miserably because Joon-hyeong somehow does not understand what words mean. What makes this even funnier is that initially there seems to be merit to Bok-joo's assumption that Joon-hyeong is a jerk but no, further exposition makes it clear that Joon-hyeong really is just that stupid...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Legend of the Blue Sea" Episode 2

2016/11/17 | | Permalink

"The Legend of the Blue Sea" is starting out strong, beating its pre-produced predecessor "Descendants of the Sun" in ratings. Although the story still hasn't proceeded very far, the dialogue is charming, wittily delivered, and the ten minute long chase scenes are overflowing with Jeon Ji-hyeon's irresistible energy.

Romance blooms quickly in this drama, growing during fights with thugs, interspecies culture clashes, and all sorts of mermaid badassery...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Legend of the Blue Sea" Episode 1

2016/11/16 | | Permalink

Although not the most original K-drama opening in dramaland, "The Legend of the Blue Sea" established some good background on the characters, the plot, and the zany treats that are in store for us. Jeon Ji-hyeon is just as funny and charming as we expected her to be with another Park Ji-eun-penned drama. Park wrote the 2013 sensation "My Love from the Star" that also starred Jeon as a quirky, strong female lead. This episode boasted of some awesome fish-out-of-water antics (pun-intended) and plenty of swoony Lee Min-ho scenes. Welcome back to dramaland, Lee Min-ho.

Director Jin Hyeok ("City Hunter", "Doctor Stranger") still loves his camera filters and special effects although this time they're a little far-fetched...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Incarnation of Jealousy" Episode 24 (final)

2016/11/16 | | Permalink

"Incarnation of Jealousy" concludes on a bright, quirky note, just as it started. All characters but one receive a bright ending and a satisfying conclusion regardless of their development over the course of the drama. Jo Jeong-seok carried it from beginning to end and was most definitely his career-defining scene-stealing self.

Let's start with the little people...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Romantic Doctor Teacher Kim" Episode 4

2016/11/16 | | Permalink

The plot thickens in "Romantic Doctor Teacher Kim" and we learn more about the titular character's evening activities. Teacher Kim seems to have big plans and they are related to our antagonist after all. Meanwhile tensions in Doldam Hospital rise with Seo-jeong's case being handled and the relationship between Teacher Kim and Dong-joo reaching a boiling point...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok-joo" Episode 1

2016/11/16 | | Permalink

Bok-joo (played by Lee Seong-kyeong) is a college-aged weightlifter. Why, of all people, would anyone hire Lee Seong-kyeong for such a role..? Well whatever the questionable reasoning, Lee Seong-kyeong does at least mostly look like a weightlifter, even if it's largely done through a butch haircut and clothes that disguise her build. All the same I can't help but find it ironically funny that Lee Seong-kyeong as Bok-joo spends most of the episode fighting rythmic gymnasts of all people...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Something About 1% - 2016" Episode 12-13

2016/11/16 | | Permalink

The villains of "Something About 1% - 2016" very quickly come up and then equally quickly fall down in this somewhat anticlimactic pair of episodes. It's times like this I have to remember that, as a relatively faithful remake of a drama from thirteen years ago, "Something About 1% - 2016" is something of a relic. The plots and concepts are not all that well-refined, and veer really close to some fairly disturbing territory without the proper tone to match...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Man In My House" Episode 8

2016/11/15 | | Permalink

My opinion regarding "The Man In My House" has slowly but steadily trended toward lukewarm. The drama is not terrible by any stretch of the imagination, but it's inescapable at this point how the story moves at a glacial pace to little apparent effect. The few clear villains in the property development scheme make spare appearances. And when one does show up at the cliffhanger, it's to deliver a horrifically contrived coincidence that would be laughable except that I do still have some sympathy for these characters...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Incarnation of Jealousy" Episode 23

2016/11/15 | | Permalink

It is evident that at this point, at the penultimate episode, that "Incarnation of Jealousy" is going to forgo finishing out most of the smaller plot threads and will instead focus on the very interesting growth trajectory of Hwa-sin. For the sake of his character's exploration we forsake Jeong-won, blaze through Na-ri's growth, but watching Jo Jeong-seok pick through Hwa-sin's psyche is worth it.

After revealing his deepest secrets on live television, Hwa-sin has finally come to terms with his disease and the fact that he is no less of a man for it...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Romantic Doctor Teacher Kim" Episode 3

2016/11/14 | | Permalink

Oh boy, Dong-joo's journey back from the self-absorbed pity party he is throwing for himself is going to be a long one after all. Our spoiled antihero continues to place his own emotions and needs first, but Teacher Kim will have none of it. Seo-jeong wakes up, but an equally honest treatment from their mentor awaits her. Dong-joo has no time to reflect, as the ER floods with patients and he must make an important decision...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Man In My House" Episode 7

2016/11/14 | | Permalink

Does Nan-gil like Na-ri? That's been phrased as the huge dramatic question lately, yet as is often the case, Na-ri instead seems to be projecting her own ambiguous feelings on to Nan-gil. Of course, it helps that Nan-gil's answers are similarly cryptic, implying dramatic changes in Na-ri's personality that neither we nor Nan-gil actually know about because we've only seen Na-ri in a fairly limited context. There's only one way to resolve this problem. By going on a date...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Entourage" Episode 4

2016/11/14 | | Permalink

Yeong-bin takes one step forward and two steps back with his work choices, sending Ho-jin and Eun-gap into a blind panic and race to handle two different "battle fronts" at the same time. The group is also getting mixed messages from their desired production, causing their business to stall. Meanwhile, Joon buys into a fortune teller's words a bit too much and ends up suffering because of it...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Entourage" Episode 3

2016/11/14 | | Permalink

"Entourage" might be tanking in the ratings, but at least the series is focusing on the juicy bits after its premiere episodes and by juicy bits I mean industry shenanigans. If you have been wondering why casting news often get so messy and confusing, episode three offers a little glimpse into the complicated game of role assignment and business deals. We also get some humanity out of our cartoon characters, so not all hope is lost...More

[HanCinema's Box Office Review] 2016.11.11 ~ 2016.11.13

2016/11/14 | | Permalink

"Doctor Strange" becomes the second-highest grossing foreign film of the year...

Marvel's latest blockbuster "Doctor Strange" retained pole position and claimed its third weekend at the top of Korea's box office. Director Scott Derrickson's cinematic wizardry (riding Marvel's marvellous momentum) added another 548,520 admissions (38.9%) to its Korean cause to become the tenth highest-grossing film of the year with 4.8 million admissions ($36.3 million)...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Shopping King Louis" Episode 16 Final

2016/11/13 | | Permalink

"Shopping King Louis" chooses nostalgia and sweetness to wrap up its run. Everyone moves on, many find new goals and hope in life and many look back to what they have lost and gained throughout this story. As I mentioned last time, however, the episode is not really necessary and neither are some of its choices...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The K2" Episode 16 Final

2016/11/13 | | Permalink

The finale is here and "The K2" ends with a bang, meaning the bang of Seong-won's unwisely picked bomb. The USB drive keeps changing hands, the truth of Uhm Hye-rin's death is revealed directly to Ahn-na by Yoo-jin herself and Je-ha tries his best to salvage the situation and save as many as he can from Seong-won's poor choice of partners...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Shopping King Louis" Episode 15

2016/11/12 | | Permalink

Episode fifteen of "Shopping King Louis" wraps up all major plot points of the series, it gives us redemption, fulfillment and sweet goodbyes. Bok-sil's kidnapping is resolved quickly and in a quite comedic manner while Seon-goo's time has come and his true nature is revealed to us. The series remains faithful to its tone and resistance to clichés, making this wrap up cathartic, but it also raises the question of why we need another episode...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Sound of Your Heart" Episodes 1-8

2016/11/12 | | Permalink

The very first scene in the very first episode of "The Sound of Your Heart" is a weird meta-joke, and comic writer Seok (played by Lee Gwang-soo) relishes the opportunity to laugh at us for having expected anything less from the live-action adaptation of his famed long-running webtoon. Seok in general seems to be a big fan of petty childish pranks, which backfire as often as not. Fortunately they also tend to be exceptionally funny...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "Come, Together"

2016/11/12 | | Permalink

Beom-goo (played by Im Hyeong-gook) is a father who faces poor prospects for work. Mi-yeong (played by Lee Hye-eun) is a mother whose own job, while relatively successful, has an unfortunately large degree of vicious backbiting. Han-na (played by Chae Bin) is their daughter, who's currently trying to get into a good college and stressing out very severely over the prospect that she may once again live another year as a ronin. Of course, given the model her parents set, what's so great about joining the modern economy anyway?...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "Stay With Me"

2016/11/12 | | Permalink

I-seop (played by Jang Yoo-sang) is a smart, well-behaved high school student who's a bit of a crybaby. So it comes as little surprise that he doesn't have any friends. That is, until he starts talking to Ha-yoon (played by Ha Yoon-kyeong), a classmate who lacks prospects in life, so she mostly just lounges around a cramped apartment with a bunch of other street urchins as they ponder the latest money-making scam. Not that they're very good at that kind of thing. They're just idiot teenagers in the end...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Cinema Snippets

2016/11/12 | | Permalink

The Hollywood Reporter reveals the nominees for the upcoming Blue Dragon Film Awards, get an inside look at North Korea's dream machine like never before, Screen Daily takes a look at the highest-grossing Korean film of the year, and actor Yoo Hae-jin takes the lead in his biggest film to date...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Food Lovers' Lane

2016/11/12 | | Permalink

Find the best salad bars in Seoul with 10 Magazine, Seoul gets its first Michelin food guide, see what it's like to eat at a North Korean restaurant in Vietnam, and My Korean Kitchen has some simple steps for making tofu kimchi...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Travel Bug Bites

2016/11/12 | | Permalink

NomadVentura explores one of Korea's most historic cities, travel cheaply in Korea with Bucket List, 10 Magazine has some wholesome advice for happy travelling, and fill up in Korea without breaking the bank with Goats on the Road...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Culture Corner

2016/11/12 | | Permalink

CNN sets out to discover what it is about South Korea culture that helps to produce such world-class golfers, My Korean Husband hit the town for their first Halloween celebrations, High Heels and a Backpack gets critical of South Korea's beauty culture, and do South Korea's scientists need a new creative culture?...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Photography and Art

2016/11/12 | | Permalink

See some of the amazing creations from "BricKorea", Devin Levinson captures Seoul's fantastic fashion scene, K-art is on the rise, and take a look at a beautiful cafe/restaurant in Gyeonggi-do that brings in light by intelligent design...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The K2" Episode 15

2016/11/11 | | Permalink

If there is one good thing I can say about the messy plot writing of "The K2" at the moment is that it at least goes all out on grand concepts and this is currently the bomb. No, this is not the idiom indicating superiority and greatness, but the actual bomb Seong-won borrowed from a shady source in order to stupidly wave in front of a woman who eats grabby hands for breakfast and currently holds a powerful tool hostage...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "My Wife is Having an Affair" Episode 4

2016/11/11 | | Permalink

"My Wife Is Having an Affair" is a drama that organically moves forward. Each character as a role that centers around some aspect of having an affair whether it be the cheated upon, the cheater, the observer, the divorced-due-to-an-affair, and so on. The internet community fills out the emotional and thought landscape of Hyeon-woo's trying journey. And through it all, we still don't know what his wife, Soo-yeon, feels. This purposeful withholding of her character's thoughts adds an unbelievable amount of tension.

Several times were are on the brink of breaking into Soo-yeon's thought process, but the show chooses to not yet divulge her reasoning for cheating or her feelings...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Incarnation of Jealousy" Episode 22

2016/11/11 | | Permalink

This episode was 100% about Hwa-sin and Jo Jeong-seok as Hwa-sin tries to absorb the fact that he is impotent. He also struggles to come to terms with his masculinity in a heart-breaking way that culminates in one of the rawest, truest moments in the entire drama. The other characters fall into second place behind him. Na-ri is supportive, but nothing sensational. Jeong-won is barely present. The reporter mothers have a few cute interactions together, but nothing more. It is truly all about Hwa-sin.

He wonders if having breast cancer and being impotent makes him less of a man, which is a sad reversal of the question that many female cancer victims ask themselves...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Woman with a Suitcase" Episode 11

2016/11/11 | | Permalink

"Woman with a Suitcase" has reached a climax in its happenings. Bok-geo has been ensnared in Oh Sung's trap, which throws Golden Tree (and Geum-joo) into a tizzy. It also draws out the best in the two men who have been fighting foolishly over Geum-joo - it's about time.

Bok-geo is framed for murder and the case against him is scarily solid...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Shopping King Louis" Episode 14

2016/11/10 | | Permalink

"Shopping King Louis" has been a series heavy on the simple and loving moments with outrageous plot points in-between. Now that the series has united its couple, their families and friends, there is not much to do in order to generate a change in pace through conflict. Episode fourteen is mostly just another day in life. That is until the need for conflict catches up, since the show is longer than it needs to be...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Road to the Airport" Episode 16 Final

2016/11/10 | | Permalink

The airport, throughout "Road to the Airport" has been the drama's most consistently powerful yet understated metaphor. Think about it. Why do you go the airport? Because you want to go somewhere else. Everyone in this drama is always jumping on airplanes at a moment's notice precisely because their lives are inherently transient and changing, yet these constant renegotiations are never satisfying. Everyone just ends up trying to leave again out of boredom...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Road to the Airport" Episode 15

2016/11/09 | | Permalink

The big fight between Soo-ah and Jin-seok ends up not happening (for now) due to people being at the wrong place at the wrong time. Where "Road to the Airport" gets to especially puzzling territory, though, is how this seems to work out for the better. Sure, Jin-seok briefly terrorizes Hyo-eun, and throughout the episode is motivated primarily by petty spite caused by Soo-ah's emotional affair with Do-woo. Yet by the end, he has actually managed to come up with a much better long-term plan than Soo-ah did, for all the wrong reasons...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Something About 1% - 2016" Episodes 10-11

2016/11/09 | | Permalink

The core plot of "Something About 1% - 2016" is a tad hard to follow, so the complications that come up in these two episodes are more legal technicalities than they are dynamic plot movements. Truthfully, I've never seen much point in discussing the characters aside from Jae-in and Da-hyeon because that's all they really ever do is provide structural roadblocks and misunderstandings that temporarily keep the main couple separated. The threat is never really all that convincing, and at times feels contrived...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Romantic Doctor Teacher Kim" Episode 2

2016/11/09 | | Permalink

Romantic male lead and viewers alike get a hefty dose of disillusionment in episode two of "Romantic Doctor Teacher Kim", as it reminds us that it takes more for romance than one person who wants a mate. The time is five years later and Dong-joo has been reassigned to the small hospital of a rural area after being used by his peers. That is when he reunites with Seo-jeong and meets our titular character...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Romantic Doctor Teacher Kim" Episode 1

2016/11/08 | | Permalink

Are you tired of romantic shows which hold the kiss hostage until the end? Getting sick of last minute forced drama? Have you had enough of slow burn love? Then "Romantic Doctor Teacher Kim" is here to save the day! We get forced kisses, forced drama, forced trucks of doom and other manner of over the top goodness right off the bat. What? This is not a romantic soap opera, you say? Oh... Well then we need to have a talk...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Man In My House" Episode 6

2016/11/08 | | Permalink

It's fascinating how "The Man In My House" can spend so much time having its characters repostulate complicated theories of each other's motivation while still having them be so incredibly ignorant of basic character relationships. Part of this is by design. Right now only Deok-bong knows what the relationship is between Na-ri and Nan-gil, and even if Nan-gil is loud and proud of the connection, Na-ri wants to hide it. Why? Because information is power, and thus needs to be hoarded...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Man In My House" Episode 5

2016/11/07 | | Permalink

Right away the great mystery behind Nan-gil's motivation is fully cleared up- and it ends up being really, really corny. Weirder than that it's actually kind of oddly consistent. Considering how outspoken Nan-gil has been around Na-ri it initially seems completely inconsistent that he's maintained a comical and borderline creepy lifelong obsession with Na-ri. Yet it does make sense because of course Nan-gil has never seen Na-ri as a person but as a metaphorical representation of the family Nan-gil could have if he's a good little boy...More

[HanCinema's Box Office Review] 2016.11.04 ~ 2016.11.06

2016/11/07 | | Permalink

"Doctor Strange" and "Luck.Key" capture 83% of the box office pie...

Marvel's "Doctor Strange" retained pole position by attracting another million admissions (58.6%) during its second weekend out in Korea. The film's first weekend saw 1.6 million filmgoers flock to its screens (63%), and with this weekend's take included, the film's totally tally swelled to 3.9 million ($30.4 million). Worldwide, Scott Derrickson's "Doctor Strange" has grossed $325.4 million having been produced for an estimated $165 million...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Entourage" Episode 2

2016/11/06 | | Permalink

With episode one of "Entourage" being "no way but up" levels of unsatisfying, what we get from episode two qualifies as improvement. The series still plays like a work for teen-minded men of the "dudebro" variety, which is odd to see in an industry mostly aimed at women. Warming up to the characters in episode one is a challenge, since everyone is so juvenile and obnoxious. Thankfully, episode two somewhat begins to address this...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "My Wife is Having an Affair" Episode 3

2016/11/06 | | Permalink

The adulterous content of "My Wife Is Having an Affair" is hard to stomach, but the way the show pieces together the different ways that affairs affect families, friends, individuals, and communities is very clever. Production is very focused on camera storytelling, on letting the frames comment on Hyeon-woo's emotions. Dialogue and scenes of different instances and interpretations of the effects of affairs compound to make large statements. Although I find the subject matter hard to watch, it is the storytelling that makes it much easier to watch.

Perhaps the most clever part of the story is how situations are layered and paralleled...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Woman with a Suitcase" Episode 10

2016/11/06 | | Permalink

This drama is hard to truly understand because on one hand, it celebrates Geum-joo as an independent, fierce, smart woman. On the other, Beok-geo acts like a self-entitled man as he pushes her around every episode - and she likes it. The only times he is nice to her is when she's asleep. Otherwise he's picking on her in a most juvenile fashion. This does not, in any way, support the fact that women deserved to be treated as people and not as objects to be played with. Aside from this, the rest of the episode centers around an overly simplistic chaebol family feud that is not interesting in the least.

The one thing that Beok-geo does that redeems him is that he supports Geum-joo as she studies for her test...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Incarnation of Jealousy" Episode 21

2016/11/06 | | Permalink

I feel like "Incarnation of Jealousy" has waited twenty-one episodes to finally touch upon the issues that it did in this latest episode. They dig deep into the hearts of our characters, passed the childish bickering, love triangle jealousies, and insecurities.

Hwa-sin has the biggest breakthrough...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The K2" Episode 14

2016/11/06 | | Permalink

Je-ha is out of commission during episode fourteen of "The K2" and you would think that he is secretly the President, because everything collapses around him. All of our antagonists gather like panicked, hungry vultures over our hero and the new plot device USB, new obstacles appear and Ahn-na is left temporarily exposed, alone and defenseless against Yoo-jin and her desire to see Ahn-na gone...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Cinema Snippets

2016/11/06 | | Permalink

The New Yorker tackles Park Chan-wook's "The Handmaiden", KoBiz's new infographic highlights films based on artists' lives, Al Jazeera examines our fascination for the walking dead, and get an insider's take on what happened at the 15th Pyongyang International Film Festival...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Food Lovers' Lane

2016/11/06 | | Permalink

My Korean Kitchen shows us how to make Korean-style oyster pancakes, experience Gwangjang Market's 'pancake alley', Fair Dinkum Traveller lists their top 5 favourite Korean foods, and Zen Kimchi busts some myths surrounding Korean food...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Travel Bug Bites

2016/11/06 | | Permalink

Stay up to date with news of some of the best festivals in Korea with The Korea Herald, High Heels and a Backpack shares what they love about Korea, explore some of Korea's many incredible hiking trails, and Live Learn Venture runs through 30 things you may not have known about The Land of the Morning Calm...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Culture Corner

2016/11/06 | | Permalink

My Korean Husband talk about Halloween in Korea, discover the dark side of Korea's intense gaming culture, iTech Post shares some the hottest Korean celebrities on Instagram, and UNESCO recommends that Korea's "Haenyeo" culture be recognised as an Intangible Heritage...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Photography and Art

2016/11/06 | | Permalink

See what local designers strutted their stuff at Seoul Fashion Week, Hyperallergic covers a recent exhibition in Seoul, The Culture Trip highlights 10 contemporary Korean artists to take note of, and did you see T.O.P. help Sotheby's break records at an auction in Hong Kong?...More

[HanCinema's Drama Preview] "Romantic Doctor Teacher Kim"

2016/11/05 | | Permalink

There are fans of romancing in the non-romantic genres and then there are those who wish to see stories without OTPs, but good dramas can be found on both sides. "Romantic Doctor Teacher Kim" is still a mystery in terms of where it belongs as a genre, but perhaps it can find its own identity.

Premise

Two doctors who work for selfish reasons, one for rivalry and the other for recognition, meet an oddball mentor and through their experiences with him rediscover the humanity in medicine...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "Missing You - 2016"

2016/11/05 | | Permalink

Gi-beom (played by Kim Seong-oh) is an alleged serial killer who receives the relatively light sentence of fifteen years on account of the fact that there's only proof he committed one murder, off the word of an apparently anonymous informant. The first step to tolerating "Missing You - 2016" is to not get hung up on legal technicalities. This is the kind of movie where a random unremarkable thug is apparently immune to prosecution since he's never been caught committing murder on videotape, all other evidence being either magically nonexistent or inadmissable...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "The Knitting Club"

2016/11/05 | | Permalink

Have you ever been looking for more social interaction in life, and decided that hey, why not make a social group with your co-workers? And what if over the process of crocheting together, you talk about the kind of workplace you want to see? Say you want to do it in a more sustainable way. Or that you want more labor rights. Or that you just want to be more well-rounded people in general. All of this builds on itself until one day, you've got enough material for a documentary? That what "The Knitting Club" is all about...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "Waiting For The Snow"

2016/11/05 | | Permalink

Seon-woo (played by Lee Hyo-rim) is a teenage girl who does teenage girl stuff like...talk to her girlfriends. Smoke cigarettes. Get s a job. Occassionally enjoying the presence of a man while for the most part hating men because they're creeps. Seong-gook (played by Bae Jin-man) is a spaz (in the medical sense of the term) who does normal stuff like walk places. Eat dinner. Drink alcohol. Work at a convenience store located inside the subway station. Eventually, Seon-woo and Seong-gook meet...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The K2" Episode 13

2016/11/04 | | Permalink

The time has come when our antagonists' masks give way to reveal the ugly faces underneath in episode thirteen of "The K2". Everyone falls into a trap designed by our villain, Yoo-jin and she has big plans for those involved. The episode confirms some things for Je-ha, Ahn-na and us, bringing us closer to the final battle with the several enemies our heroes have to deal with...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Entourage" Episode 1

2016/11/04 | | Permalink

Prepare for glamour, man-angst and a lot of male genitalia jokes as "Entourage" makes its grand entrance. The series is off to a loud start and as much as I would want to say that this is a good thing, episode one makes for rather weak first impressions. The series seems a little too eager to sell debauchery and flair, but at least its hinted human elements are promising...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Road to the Airport" Episode 14

2016/11/03 | | Permalink

Hye-won coming to terms with the end of her marriage to Do-woo is relatively easy to manage. As is explicitly mentioned here, Annie's death alone was more than enough impetus to force their break-up, and Soo-ah is blameless except to the extent she helped to stave off an otherwise inevitable depression on Do-woo's part. But where does that leave Soo-ah when it comes to her own marriage, which is slowly disintegrating as she attempts to prevent Jin-seok from realizing what's going on?...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Shopping King Louis" Episode 13

2016/11/03 | | Permalink

Everything is happy and festive for our lovebirds and their extended family. Bok-nam is getting tutored, Il-soon finds meaning in life through her new friends and love is in their air for several pairings, including our OTP. Even so, the threat of the past and Seon-goo looms above this happiness and the time has come for the drama's writer to prove their confidence in a story which has so far been delightful...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Shopping King Louis" Episode 12

2016/11/02 | | Permalink

I have expressed my wish to see Bok-nam punished for his naughtiness before, but now Bok-sil needs to include Louis/Ji-seong in her disciplinary action. I am glad that nothing important is going wrong, however and I have to admit that there is some adorableness in Ji-seong's grand plans. The cat of the Bok-nam variety is out of the bag and things start falling into place and getting ready for the finale...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Road to the Airport" Episode 13

2016/11/02 | | Permalink

Now that the big mysteries and dramatic revelations have all been cleared up, "Road to the Airport" is left asking the basic question of "now what?". It's easy to forget that, as generally unhelpful as they have been in the role of spouse, Jin-seok and Hye-won are not aware of what's been going on with Do-woo and Soo-ah, even if they have suspicions. Both of them have reason to believe there is hope for reconciliation, even if they are also both badly underestimating the extent to which their generally non-responsive demeanors have poisoned that well...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Something About 1% - 2016" Episodes 8-9

2016/11/02 | | Permalink

I rather like the interpersonal dynamic between Jae-in and Da-hyeon. Even when they're just hanging around on a date there's this almost perfect blend of teasing with genuine affection that translates into cute flirting, even if neither of them really think of themselves as being flirts. Jae-in, of course, does pick the best possible moments to come up with a spontaneous kiss, but for the most part, he's satisfied just being around Da-hyeon and suitably grumpy whenever she's not available for some reason...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Man In My House" Episode 4

2016/11/01 | | Permalink

Intriguing parallelisms are the order of the day in this episode of "The Man In My House". First up- what does a proper woman do when a man is too drunk to even walk? Na-ri, for all her obvious enmity with Nan-gil, does manage to do the initially decent thing and only gets up to sneaky stuff later on. Meanwhile, Yeo-joo continues to try and maliciously sabotage Dong-jin's life. I'd feel sorry for him except, you know, the cheating. Exactly what quality of woman was he expecting would agree to cheat on her co-worker?...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Scarlet Heart: Ryeo" Episode 20 Final

2016/11/01 | | Permalink

At long last, Soo has left the palace. From there she...hangs out at a new house for awhile, enjoys some flashbacks, and then dies while King Gwangjong sulks like a grumpy teenager. Hilariously bad communication brings everything to an unnecessarily tragic end. Last-minute revelations end up affecting pretty much nothing, since the extended epilogue is just more flashbacks set to sad music. In short, this is about everything we could have reasonably expected from the finale of "Scarlet Heart: Ryeo"...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Man In My House" Episode 3

2016/10/31 | | Permalink

Every so often Nan-gil has a very dangerous scene. We see the tattoos, we see what the guy's like when he's mad, and all of a sudden it seems like all of Na-ri's worst conspiracy theories have been validated. Then there's most of the rest of the drama, where Nan-gil acts like a bit of a clumsy goof, and doesn't even seem remotely dangerous. That's the essential contradiction at play in "The Man In My House". Which one is the real Nan-gil?...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Scarlet Heart: Ryeo" Episode 19

2016/10/31 | | Permalink

Soo is really upset at King Gwangjong for killing people, apparently having forgotten that King Gwangjong was killing people all the time even back when he was still Prince So. One flashback even goes to the trouble of reminding us that Soo herself was at one point fairly freaked out about Prince So's stone cold demeanor. What's more, apparently everyone's high opinion of Soo's random utterances were enough to permanently poison the well against Prince So and make all this bad stuff inevitable. Somehow...More

[HanCinema's Box Office Review]

2016/10/31 | | Permalink

Marvel's "Doctor Strange" arrives and thrives

Marvel's fourteenth film, "Doctor Strange", arrived last Wednesday and shot straight to the top of the chart by capturing 63.4% of the box office pie. The film, directed by Scott Derrickson, had a massive 1,500 screens from which to pool and attracted 1.6 million admissions ($12.9 million) to dislodged Lee Gye-byeok's comedy drama "Luck.Key" as the country's film of choice...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The K2" Episode 12

2016/10/30 | | Permalink

I am intrigued and confused by episode twelve of "The K2", but I call that an improvement after a boring time lately. A major attack against Yoo-jin is launched by brother dearest, Je-ha gets a major Cloud Nine promotion and Yoo-jin opens up about Hye-rin's death. It is this last part which confuses me, but at this point I will take anything I can get in terms of forward movement...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The K2" Episode 11

2016/10/30 | | Permalink

The attempt to kill Gwan-soo fails and Je-ha finds himself trapped with his target and unable to kill him. Tough negotiations begin and Je-ha manages to get out and at the same time form a powerful, but false alliance. Our hero returns to his lady, but things are still falling apart around them. Yoo-jin has reached a breaking point and physical violence from Se-joon which pushes her off the edge...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "My Wife is Having an Affair" Episode 2

2016/10/30 | | Permalink

Hyeon-woo is spiraling through his emotions and he's doing it fast. The situations around him reflect his pain and the editing of this show is so finely done that small interjections of humor don't detract from the severity of Hyeon-woo's pain. "My Wife Is Having an Affair" is still keeping Soo-yeon shrouded in mystery, skewing the viewers' perspective to that of Hyeon-woo's.

What I like most about this show is that it frames scene transitions and character introductions in such unique ways...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "My Wife is Having and Affair" Episode 1

2016/10/30 | | Permalink

"My Wife Is Having an Affair" starring the man with the amazing voice, Lee Sun-kyun as Do Hyeon-woo, and Running Man favorite Song Ji-hyo as Jeong Soo-yeon, began on jTBC this week and it started off strong. The drama, based on 2007 Japanese drama "Konshu Sbuma ga Uwaki Shimasu", and directed by Kim Seok-yoon ("Awl", "I Live in Cheongdam-dong") is the story of a man who discovers that his wife is planning on having an affair. The drama will follow his struggles as he turns to an online community to save his marriage and his family. While the premise is rather bleak, the first episode sketches out an intriguing plot and a very relatable leading man, Do Hyeon-woo.

The drama is supposed to be a healing drama punctuated with comedy, which is a little dubious...More

[HanCinema's Drama Preview] "Entourage"

2016/10/29 | | Permalink

We do not know whether remakes of North American series will become a lasting part of Korean drama, but with interest increasing between the entertainment of both countries, it is probably not something which will stop soon. TvN had a good run with "The Good Wife" and now the channel and studio return with "Entourage".

Premise

The series depicts a young actor's rise to fame as he navigates the world of entertainment after being scouted by an agent determined to make him into a star. He is joined in this adventure by his friends, who get to experience a new world as the actor gains popularity...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Incarnation of Jealousy" Episode 20

2016/10/29 | | Permalink

It is finally in episode 20 when we see how much Hwa-sin has grown up and how much growing up Na-ri still has to do. But all of this is part of relationships and moving through life and we see it most clearly in the growing romantic relationship between Hwa-sin and Na-ri.

Hwa-sin and Na-ri officially begin to date in this episode and it's as cute as audiences hoped for...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "How to Break up with My Cat"

2016/10/29 | | Permalink

Na-bi (played by Seo Joon-yeong) is an apprentice sushi chef who since childhood has had the special ability to see into the souls of cats. While Na-bi does not himself currently own a cat, this ability becomes immediately relevant to daily life when a woman named Jeong (played by Park Gyoo-ri-I) moves in next door, bringing a cat with her. And so begins the romance between these three- man, woman, and cat...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "For the End of Time"

2016/10/29 | | Permalink

Nineteenth century Korea, remotely located as it was relative to the rest of the world, was not the subject of much work from missionaries. That changed, though, as Catholic conversion literature made its way from China to Korea, inspiring devoutness and martyrdom among the local population. Whe the Catholic Church learned of these clandestine activities, it sent French priests to the Korean peninsula in the hopes of teaching its accidental converts how to pray correctly- even as it doomed many of these same French priests to inevitable martyrdom, "For the End of Time"...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "Malice"

2016/10/29 | | Permalink

Ga-in (played by Hong Soo-ah) is a woman with reasonably good fashion sense who can pass for some level of happiness. But in reality Ga-in has a miserable job and is on the lookout for something new. It's from here that Ga-in randomly stumbles upon her old friend Eun-jeong (played by Lim Seong-eon) and grows to admire the woman's more sincerely happy life with husband Woo-jin (played by Yang Myeong-hoon) and daughter Seo-ah (played by Kim Ha-yoo). But then, was Ga-in's encounter with Eun-jeong really mere coincidence?...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Cinema Snippets

2016/10/29 | | Permalink

KoBiz brings us all the winners from Korea's oldest film awards, Darcy Paquet showcases the directorial debuts from BIFF on his website, film professionals can now take advantage of KoBiz's online screening service, and are there enough "interesting female personas" in modern Korean cinema?...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Food Lovers' Lane

2016/10/29 | | Permalink

My Korean Kitchen pickles carrots and radishes in a flash, explore what street food is on offer in Myeongdong at night, The Culture Trip lists some top Korean dishes you won't won't to miss, and 10 Magazine features traditional Korean hangover dishes to help you recover...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Travel Bug Bites

2016/10/29 | | Permalink

Hit Korea's snowy slopes with 10 Magazine, read one expat's heartfelt reflections of his time in South Korea, Skyscanner has some sound advice for those travelling to Korea for the first time, and find out 10 things about the Land of the Morning Calm one traveller won't miss...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Culture Corner

2016/10/29 | | Permalink

Meet the edgy fashionistas who caused a stir at Seoul Fashion Week, My Korean Husband addresses some of the weird comments they've received, The Anthrotorian explores the history of Hangul, and high-tech peeping Toms invade Korea's public spaces...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Photography and Art

2016/10/29 | | Permalink

A new law aims to curb counterfeit art in Korea, Vivienne Chow explains Asia's photography boom, The Culture Trip has 15 fashion-conscious Instagramers to follow, and catch Bernard Pras's Hangeul-inspired installation art in Seoul until November 6...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Shopping King Louis" Episode 11

2016/10/27 | | Permalink

Despite my humble credentials as a reviewer, I always try to remain professional when handling work in this capacity. I am but a flawed human being like any other, however, so please allow me another moment of weakness... Bok-nam, you little s**t! Now that this is over with, hello. Please join me for another lovely episode of "Shopping King Louis", home to cuteness, entertainment and questionable fashion choices...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Road to the Airport" Episode 12

2016/10/27 | | Permalink

Motivation is the most ambiguous watchword at play in "Road to the Airport". On first glance it seems like Soo-ah is just ignoring her feelings. But really, what's actually going on is that Soo-ah is torn between the blatant contradiction in her wanting Do-woo while still having a basically comfortable and familiar life. Soo-ah has spent much of her adult life making a very self-conscious effort to avoid upheavel. It takes a lot of thought for her to arrive to the end of a difficult decision...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Shopping King Louis" Episode 10

2016/10/27 | | Permalink

I am someone who does not condone violence in real life and outside the scope of self defense, but someone needs to hit Bok-nam hard when he reappears and I know he will. Meanwhile we have hit the dark patch in our story as Bok-sil tries to shield Ji-seong from an awful piece of news. Enter scheduled breakup angst, although it is done with as little drama as possible...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Incarnation of Jealousy" Episode 19

2016/10/27 | | Permalink

The incarnation of jealousy has manifested in Na-ri in this episode, bringing the title into fruition. Not only that, but jealousy shows up in different relationships all over the drama and makes for quite the heated hour. The wily emotion makes its rounds and spices up the episode for the better. The show has felt a little clunky as of late and it's finally picking up the pace...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Woman with a Suitcase" Episode 9

2016/10/27 | | Permalink

Episode 10 of "Woman with a Suitcase" has been pre-empted because of baseball season so we only get episode 9 this week. However, it's a powerful episode where we see Geum-joo grasping at a second chance in life. The case that landed her in jail and reset her life to be more difficult resurfaces and gives her chances she never thought she'd see again.

The first chance she takes is trying to mend the relationship with her sister...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Road to the Airport" Episode 11

2016/10/26 | | Permalink

The same visual idea that director Kim Cheol-gyoo use to bring Seoul to life is equally as firmly on display in Jeju, as we're treated to longing sad visages of a landscape that by and large is just a gigantic coastline bounded by a road. That's the one part of Jeju tourism that never shows up in the ads- how inevitably you're going to spend a lot of time on thus bus traveling on obscure roads. Nothing is quite so awful as being stranded that far out. Unless you're Soo-ah, and need the moment of serenity...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Something About 1% - 2016" Episodes 6-7

2016/10/26 | | Permalink

Jae-in and Da-hyeon are constantly pushing at each other's boundaries. Generally speaking they do this for the sake of being belligerent. Da-hyeon's weird insistence on being sexy at the start, for example, has little to do with an actual desire on her part to feel sexy and everything to do with intentionally and borderline maliciously teasing Jae-in's expectations, as a sort of contrarianism. It's surprisingly easy to sympathize with Jae-in even as he acts somewhat misogynist...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Man In My House" Episode 2

2016/10/25 | | Permalink

Nan-gil (played by Kim Young-kwang) is a restauranteur who is also Na-ri's...father? That can't be right. He's younger than she is. And also Na-ri has never met Nan-gil even though he claims to have been married to Na-ri's mother. Even more perplexing, Nan-gil is somehow privy to multiple in-jokes only known to Na-ri and her mother, which leaves the baffled Na-ri wondering whether Nan-gil is who he says he is or if this isn't just some sort of elaborate scam...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Drinking Alone" Episode 16 Final

2016/10/25 | | Permalink

It's rather fitting that the relationship between Jeong-seok and Ha-na ends in much the same way that it began- with the two alleged leads making little meaningful contact with each other. It's rather telling how the romantic callbacks for these two kept referring to the same small batch of scenes, many of which were only a couple of episodes ago. Their love story is one with rather little cause, which makes it difficult to celebrate...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Scarlet Heart: Ryeo" Episode 18

2016/10/25 | | Permalink

Apparently Goryeo is still in chaos even as Prince So has fully stepped in to his role as King Gwangjong. Yet rather than explore the potentially interesting political crisis "Scarlet Heart: Ryeo" instead devotes most of its runtime to the slow, agonizing death of two of its minor characters. Why does it take so long for anyone to die in this drama? I wouldn't generally mind this so much except that, as was the case with Prince Eun and Soon-deok, neither of these characters was all that well-developed in the first place...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Man In My House" Episode 1

2016/10/24 | | Permalink

Na-ri (played by Soo-ae) is a senior flight attendant for whom life appears to be decent. Sure there's always the occasional jerk on the plane who needs to be dealt with, but Na-ri is a real trooper for her co-workers, even the somewhat ethically dubious Yeo-joo (played by Jo Bo-ah). Na-ri's boyfriend Dong-jin (played by Kim Ji-hoon-I) is clearly committed to her, and Na-ri has a good relationship with her family. Until the timeskip anyway...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Drinking Alone" Episode 15

2016/10/24 | | Permalink

At long last "Drinking Alone" has hit the point of serious self-reflection on the part of its characters- although for me this is too little too late. The grand output of Jeong-seok and Ha-na's relationship consits of a couple of decent dates at the tail end of Jeong-seok acting like a jerk. The way he keeps talking about "quality" is, I think, supposed to be cute but all it ever does is remind me how generally mean-spirited the man is...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Scarlet Heart: Ryeo" Episode 17

2016/10/24 | | Permalink

It's the end for King Jeongjong, as the former Prince Yo melts down over...his mom I guess? I'm really not being sarcastic when I discuss how the elder brother has just straight up stolen his younger brother's character arc. It's kind of hard to feel sorry for King Jeongjong, though, when up until now he's just done explicitly evil stuff in pursuit of the throne and it's only now all of a sudden that the guy's starting to question why this was such a big priority...More

[HanCinema's Box Office Review] 2016.10.21 ~ 2016.10.23

2016/10/24 | | Permalink

"Lucky.Key" retains pole position after screen boost despite "Inferno"...

Lee Gye-byeok's drama "Luck.Key" gained a few more screens during its second week out and retained pole position by adding another 1.4 million admissions (66%) to its total tally. Since its release mid-October, "Luck.Key" has banked $4.3 million (4.3 million admissions) and so moves to number ten in the country's list of highest-grossing films of the year...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The K2" Episode 10

2016/10/23 | | Permalink

Hope is often a punishing concept in Dramaland. The appearance of Seong-won as a possible antagonistic force gave me hope in light of a passive and lacking in focus Gwam-soo. Seong-won has sadly proven but an instigator of temporary drama. The series is at a point where it struggles to find a lifeline, be it in the form of forced romance and angst, unnecessarily extended scenes and dead-end conflicts...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Incarnation of Jealousy" Episode 18

2016/10/23 | | Permalink

Cohabitation has come to a boiling point in episode 18 of "Incarnation of Jealousy". Emotions run high as Na-ri dates both Hwa-sin and Jeong-won. Add to the mix a belatedly active second lead, Anchor Hong Hye-won (Seo Ji-hye), and we have quite the sizzling episode.

Hye-won has been in the drama for a while, putting moves on Hwa-sin and flirting like the seductress that she is...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Woman with a Suitcase" Episode 8

2016/10/23 | | Permalink

Episode 8 of "Woman with a Suitcase" bravely tackled a very difficult subject: homosexuality. It treated the character in the episode with respect and touched upon the issue in an honest way. Of course, as a drama on a public station it couldn't challenge societal precepts, but I'm glad that the social commentary was made.

The backdrop for the episode was the case of the week, which focused on a murder revolving around the homosexual relationship of a prominent citizen...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Fantastic" Episode 16 Final

2016/10/22 | | Permalink

So-hye continues to be sick. While "Fantastic" is fairly ambivalent about So-hye's exact fate for some time, it's the same basic holding pattern the drama has had ever since So-hye had to be hospitalized. All there really is to do anymore is look at the various relationships between the main characters, and admire the depth and strength of their social bonds. Even when it leads to somewhat humorous scenes like So-hye and Hae-seong one-upping each other in the prior sacrifice department...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The K2" Episode 9

2016/10/22 | | Permalink

If Gwan-soo has not met your quota for constant giggling annoyance, Seong-won proudly takes it upon himself to do so in episode nine of "The K2". Yoo-jin's "brother dearest" gives everyone a scare with Ahn-na and injures a frantic Yoo-jin's authority over her staff. The romance leads to a secret confession and probably a fair amount of tears to come as the antagonists tighten their grip on Ahn-na...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Incarnation of Jealousy" Episode 17

2016/10/22 | | Permalink

"Incarnation of Jealousy" revolves around complex triangles and quadrangles of emotions that will be nearly impossible to resolve. Situations mirror each other in that choices must be made to move out of limbo, but those choices aren't easy.

Before we jump into the choices being made, let's cover a touchier subject: sexual tension...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "Press"

2016/10/22 | | Permalink

After twenty years in prison Yeong-il (played by Jin Yong-wook) has been released into the freedom of the outside world. This "freedom" largely consists in Yeong-il going to work everyday, operating a press machine to create flat metal surfaces for industrial use. Yeong-il's makes a hobby of trying to fix one old pressing machine in particular, which while old and somewhat dangerous, is still largely functional. The device is difficult to repair largely because it's from a bygone era. So, too, is Yeong-il's inability to adjust to the world...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "No Tomorrow"

2016/10/22 | | Permalink

Hye-ri (played by Park Hyo-joo) is an investigative reporter and Seok-hoon (played by Lee Hyeon-wook) is her cameraman. Together they just sort of wander around the Korean countryside arbitrarily looking for news stories. Circumstantial evidence pointing to a business operation run by slave labor leads Hye-ri and Seok-hoon to a salt farm located on an isolated island, whose mentally infirm residents lead credence to the rumors. From there, it's a matter of collecting evidence and notifying the police. Or is it really that simple?...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "A Violent Prosecutor"

2016/10/22 | | Permalink

Jae-wook (played by Hwang Jeong-min) is "A Violent Prosecutor" who doesn't play by the rules. I mean really, the guy straight up tortures suspects, and locks them in cold rooms overnight hands bound. It's kind of a mixed message considering how the main villain, Jong-gil (played by Lee Sung-min) is an explicitly corrupt public official who eventually makes a run for government. Meanwhile, Chi-won (played by Gang Dong-won) is a petty con artist who, having been caught, ends up striking a deal with Jae-wook to use their powers for good rather than evil...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Cinema Snippets

2016/10/22 | | Permalink

Local independent films honoured at BIFF, KOBIZ's latest infographic puts Busan in the spotlight, Justin Lowe reviews Kim Seong-su's "Asura: The City of Madness" for the Hollywood Reporter, and learn about the history behind Korea's 'old Seoul' and the films that captured it...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Food Lovers' Lane

2016/10/22 | | Permalink

My Korean Kitchen has simple steps for making Korean-style BBQ ribs, The Korea Herald reveals what baseball fans enjoying putting down during a game, 10 Magazine shows us what unique dishes to track down in Jeju, and what does a South African think about South Korean food?...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Travel Bug Bites

2016/10/22 | | Permalink

Check in with the Korea Herald to hear about upcoming cultural events, discover where to go in Seoul for the best beauty treatments, 10 Magazine puts the top hot springs in the spotlight, and find out what's happening around town with The Korea Times...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Culture Corner

2016/10/22 | | Permalink

The New York Times looks at how K-pop has infiltrated Korea's army culture, My Korean Husband's latest video takes your questions and tackles K-pop rivalries, the Korea Herald sounds off on Korea's chanting at sports events, and was Samsung's Note 7 a product of the country's "ppalli-ppalli" culture?...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Photography and Art

2016/10/22 | | Permalink

Catch Jeju's incredible "sea women" in a series of stunning images, the National Museum of Korea sheds light on the urbanisation of the Joseon dynasty, British photographer Nick Knight has his first exhibition in Korea, and enjoy some low-key snaps of Korea's tattoo culture...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Fantastic" Episode 15

2016/10/21 | | Permalink

And now, Seol's in-laws move to force some last minute conflict in a predictably abortive attempt to scuttle a happy ending. Jin-sook's plan is pretty dumb. Really, So-hye should have mentioned the extortion attempt back when she was at the police station. Besides that even if it's not technically a breach of contract nobody going to want to work with Jin-sook when the best case scenario is that she's an idiot who keeps important information in a non-secure phone...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Shopping King Louis" Episode 9

2016/10/20 | | Permalink

Grab your nearest pillow, plushie, pet or child and prepare for a lot of toe-curling sweetness as our duo becomes a couple. Ji-seong navigates the world of the rich with his attachment to his new life intact. Seon-goo and Ma-ri are probably in need of anxiety medication and Bok-nam's possible fate threatens with dark times ahead. Our adorable pair need all the strength they can get...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Road to the Airport" Episode 10

2016/10/20 | | Permalink

The vicious circle of rationalization takes hold in this episode of "Road to the Airport"- and I was surprised to find that it actually motivates Soo-ah and Do-woo to make constructive long-term decisions rather than destructive ones. Major confrontations force them to realize that there are few things in life they genuinely care about at this point. All the same, given the general enmity Soo-ah and Do-woo feel toward their current spouses, they're making the tactically sensible decision not to try and solve their problems with more romantic love...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Something About 1% - 2016" Episodes 4-5

2016/10/19 | | Permalink

Jae-in is a bit of a jerk, and oddly enough, I'm actually mostly all right with that. Mainly this is just a matter of the guy not being all that malicious. Jae-in treats Da-hyeon the same way he treats most people in his life, and at minimum this does give him some credit for consistency. There's an odd sort of philosophical quality to Jae-in's conversations with Da-hyeon, where they're talking about the abstract quantity of dating rather than each other...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Road to the Airport" Episode 9

2016/10/19 | | Permalink

Right away Soo-ah acts impulsively this episode...for the sake of Hyo-eun. This caught me a little off-guard. After last episode I had thought inattention to Hyo-eun was being built up as a potential pratfall to Soo-ah's increasing intimacy with Do-woo but no, apparently Soo-ah is just as self-aware of the obvious life lessons flying around "Road to the Airport" as the rest of us and is capable of making important life decisions accordingly...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Shopping King Louis" Episode 8

2016/10/19 | | Permalink

Things take a turn for the romantic in episode eight of "Shopping King Louis" as our leads return to their not-so-cozy apartment following the successful capturing of the local serial killer. Louis/Ji-seong starts climbing up the ladder of life and makes some money, which gives him the confidence to approach Bok-sil. With the drama now at its eighth episode, dark times will be ahead, but perhaps this one can manage them...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Woman with a Suitcase" Episode 7

2016/10/19 | | Permalink

"Woman with a Suitcase" is losing it's steam the more it goes along. The root of the problem is the lack of chemistry between the leads and the looseness with which the main intrigue is treated. There is so much potential buried within the premise, but after seven episodes the show still hasn't found its stride.

The biggest lack is the relationship between Bok-geo and Geum-joo...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Scarlet Heart: Ryeo" Episode 16

2016/10/18 | | Permalink

The last we saw of Prince Eun and Soon-deok they were in a no-win certain-to-die situation. This has not improved as Soo's prophecy predictably comes to pass, and for the rest of the runtime everyone just mopes around about this all upset. While I liked Prince Eun and Soon-deok well enough, it's a little off-putting how in death they are apparently far more important as characters than they ever were in life. I'm still a little lost as to how they ended up becoming the lynchpin to Prince Yo's final ascension to power as King Jeongjong...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Woman with a Suitcase" Episode 6

2016/10/18 | | Permalink

The Golden Tree legal family is starting to learn to work as a team and the only person who feels removed is Bok-geo. His jealousy over Geum-joo's attentions and his secrecy about his old case have inserted a wall between him and the others. That's okay, though. We got enough wonderful material coursing through the veins of this show to take us a long way.

One aspect of the show I am not enjoying, although I do love it for the most part, is the very dominant Bok-geo flirtation with Geum-joo...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Drinking Alone" Episode 14

2016/10/18 | | Permalink

Generally speaking "Drinking Alone", has been pretty clear that Jeong-seok is not the most likable guy on a personal level. But time and again, the typical Jeong-seok just leaves me thinking, this guy is a jerk. No one likes him, for good reason. That by the end of this episode someone has finally gotten the courage to say that to Jeong-seok's face does not change how "Drinking Alone" is mostly an exploration of how Jeong-seok is a jerk who rarely ever gets punished for his behavior...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Incarnation of Jealousy" Episode 16

2016/10/18 | | Permalink

"Incarnation of Jealousy" has become a battle of the jealous in a very literal sense. Jeong-woo and Hwa-sin have not stopped fighting over Na-ri's attentions despite her explicit plea for them to stop. Most of the episode is dealing with the trios antics and a few big, long-awaited reveals.

The back and forth between the best friends is becoming wearisome, especially because Na-ri is not happy about it...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Drinking Alone" Episode 13

2016/10/17 | | Permalink

At this point "Drinking Alone" is making a deliberate concerted effort to portray its characters in about as negative a light as possible. I can think of no other reason why Jeong-seok starts off his relationship with Ha-na by being a weird control freak, engages in some weird stalking of her, and then the episode concludes as if Jeong-seok has learned a serious life lesson. To most people this is just the bare minimum standard of being a decent partner...More

[HanCinema's Box Office Review] 2016.10.14 ~ 2016.10.16

2016/10/17 | | Permalink

"Lucky.Key" opens its account and scores...

Lee Gye-byeok's sophomore film, "Lucky.Key", was officially released on Thursday and shot to the top by capturing 68.2% of the box office pie. Lee's drama, which stars Yoo Hae-jin, Lee Joon and Jo Yoon-hee, attracted 1.6 million filmgoers from 1,158 screens to dislodge Tim Burton's dark fantasy flick from pole position...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The K2" Episode 8

2016/10/16 | | Permalink

Je-has is a man on a mission and while he and the writer still seem undecided on what it is, at least our hero gets things done and thinks reasonably. Episode eight presents a big turning point in the story. Ahn-na has great work ahead of her and she is not as fragile or as immature as others think, which means Yoo-jin is now the one at a disadvantage...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Incarnation of Jealousy" Episode 15

2016/10/16 | | Permalink

"Incarnation of Jealousy" is in full blown "jealousy and turmoil" mode with breakups, fights, tears, and irrational drinking, heartbroken leads. There is also quite a hilarious cameo by Lee Sun-kyun that rounds out the episode quite nicely. Before we get to that delightful tidbit, let's review the rest of the episode.

After Na-ri cheats on both Hwa-sin and Jeong-won, she breaks up with both of them by telling them the truth, feeling horribly...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Woman with a Suitcase" Episode 5

2016/10/16 | | Permalink

Working in the legal profession has always been important to Geum-joo. She's good at it, and she finds it fulfilling. But events as of late have made her question her work's role in her life and how it fits in. Mix that together with Bok-geo's burgeoning feelings for her and his secrets, and with Seok-woo's likability and we have one entertaining show.

Seok-woo has joined Golden Tree and the romantic triangle is starting to heat up...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Cinema Snippets

2016/10/16 | | Permalink

Asian Film Festival puts the best that BIFF has to offer in the spotlight, KOBIZ's latest infographic highlights the top indie films of 2016, Variety sits down with BIFF's director to talk about the turmoil, and Variety explores the challenges of crowdfunding in Korea...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Travel Bug Bites

2016/10/16 | | Permalink

21 photos to inspire you to visit the Land of the Morning Calm, the Lonely Planet puts Jeonju in the spotlight, discover what cultural events are happening later this year with the Korea Herald, and the Telegraph wonders what it's like being a tourist in the world's most secretive state: the DPRK...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Food Lovers' Lane

2016/10/16 | | Permalink

My Korean Kitchen helps us make a delicious and nutritious noodle stir fry, hear what Korea's 'philosopher chef' has to say about eating and living well, Zen Kimchi puts local franchises in the spotlight, and the Best Ever Food Review Show explores the palatability of pupa on Korea's streets....More

[HanCinema's Digest] Culture Corner

2016/10/16 | | Permalink

My Korean Husband gives us an inside look at life in Seoul, learn how Korea's online feminist are making waves, get some tips for navigating Korea's business culture, and can you fall in love with a culture that's not your own?...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Photography and Art

2016/10/16 | | Permalink

Citizens in Seoul venture out to identify praiseworthy pieces of street art, check out these great spots in Busan to snap up a storm, a British sculpture discusses Korea's maturing art identity, and learn more about how issues of art censorship disputed the country's biggest film festival...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Fantastic" Episode 14

2016/10/15 | | Permalink

On one end I'm somewhat annoyed that the situation regarding Joon-gi continues to be stretched for time when it appeared to have largely been concluded last episode. But then again, isn't that what melodrama has always been about- stretching the pain out for as long as possible? It's a sensible strategy really, because death is at its most especially unpleasant when it lasts for a really long time. And even after that, grief is a factor...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "Luck.Key"

2016/10/15 | | Permalink

Hyeong-wook (played by Yoo Hae-jin) is a cool, stylish, skilled man whose work is violent in nature and of generally dubious legality. Jae-seong (played by Lee Joon) has very different plans in life- he's chronically out of money, and not doing so hot career-wise either. One random mishap at the bathhouse, though, ends up wildly reversing the fortunes of these men. All of a sudden both have to make sense of a wildly different life situation in "Luck.Key", a remake of the Japanese comedy film Key of Life...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "Woojoo's Christmas"

2016/10/15 | | Permalink

Three different women, all named Woo-joo, exist in about the same continuum when it comes to life choices. The thirty-something Woo-joo (played by Kim Ji-soo) is an entrepreneurial mother, who has given up a life centered around aesthetic appreciation for the sake of something more stable. The twenty-something Woo-joo (played by Heo Yi-jae) is debating how deep she wants to go into more romantic life goals, now that she better knows the emotional impracticalities. The teenage Woo-joo (played by Yoon So-mi) is also oddly hesitant about following her dreams, even though she's just starting out...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "Spy Nation"

2016/10/15 | | Permalink

Official South Korean state propaganda when it comes to North Korean defectors is pretty straightforward. South Korea is the obviously superior country, ergo, any and all North Koreans can and should flee here at the first possible opportunity. In reality the lower-class conditions North Korean defectors are stuck with in South Korea are often so bad as to make North Korea seem nicer by comparison. "Spy Nation" delves into an even more bizarre potential problem for would-be defectors- the tendency of the South Korean National Intelligence Service (NIS) to use illegal measures to try and bully defectors into confessing that they're spies...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Fantastic" Episode 13

2016/10/14 | | Permalink

The focus on So-hye's weirdly melodramatic disease symptoms is removed here for the sake of instead focusing on Joon-gi's more traditionally tragic melodramatic disease symptoms. The results are about what might be expected. The acting is unavoidably corny as the emphasis is instead placed on the inherent empathy of the situation. Friends don't like it when other friends are in for a bad time. Even if Hae-seong hates letting go of So-hye for even a moment, well, Joon-gi is a bro. And that's what bros are good for...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The K2" Episode 7

2016/10/14 | | Permalink

Episode seven of "The K2" is not very plot-heavy, but the relationship between Ahn-na and her father is explored, which has been a long time coming. We also learn more about Yoo-jin and Ahn-na's characters, how they feel about each other and how they have been shaped by their attachment to Se-joon. Je-ha's role is shaping into that of an observer and a disruptor of the messed up reality everyone has accepted for so long...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Shopping King Louis" Episode 7

2016/10/14 | | Permalink

The rooftop incident initiates an investigation and Joong-won's troubles multiply when he takes both Louis/Ji-seong and Bok-sil in. The two men start realizing the love triangle they are in, which of course leads to love rival hijinks. The rooftop incident and Ji-seong's patch-covered run grant him temporary television exposure and finally bring his presence to light for his family. I see all kinds of excitement in our future...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Road to the Airport" Episode 8

2016/10/13 | | Permalink

It's impressive how quickly "Road to the Airport" has gone from making Soo-ah and Do-woo's situation look romantic to making it look like a horribly bad idea. Soo-ah is, by nature, such a forthright person that she simply lacks the proper energy necessary to maintain any kind of romantic affair. It's a weird contrast to Jin-seok, whose main natural resistance to extramarital entanglements is his tendency to get bored very quickly with silly women who want to get entangled with married men...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Road to the Airport" Episode 7

2016/10/12 | | Permalink

As Do-woo has to deal with the fallout from a second funeral, I do find myself wondering whether "Road to the Airport" is taking matters a bit far in the whole "make Do-woo sad" department. In order to maintain sympathy for the lead characters as they edge into an affair, Do-woo really has to break down completely with regards to emotional support. Given how unresponsive Hye-won was when it came to her own daughter, it's little surprise the woman is similarly unhelpful with the death of her mother-in-law...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Shopping King Louis" Episode 6

2016/10/12 | | Permalink

Our adorable duo get to spend some time apart and re-evaluate their relationship when Joong-won steps in and kicks the romantic shenanigans up a notch. Ma-ri steps up her antagonist game, but the people looking for Louis/Ji-seong will not rest either. Meanwhile, Bok-sil discovers some valuable information about Bok-nam and detective Nam makes progress in finding Ji-seong's roots. A dangerous figure stalks our couple's home, causing a suspenseful event...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Something About 1% - 2016" Episodes 2-3

2016/10/12 | | Permalink

...So apparently, even though the first episode of "Something About 1% - 2016" was pretty close to an hour, subsequent episodes appear to be only thirty minutes. This requires a change of strategy when it comes to reviews, since a single episode lacks enough content for a full review. But it also requires more managed expectations. "Something About 1% - 2016" is aiming fairly low in the narrative storytelling department...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Scarlet Heart: Ryeo" Episode 15

2016/10/11 | | Permalink

Now that he's become King Jengjong, the royalist formerly known as Prince Yo immediately makes a point of taking out all potential threats to his rule. Which in all fairness sounds pretty reasonable. Consider that the last two kings fell victim to assassination attempts largely because they weren't paying careful attention to immediate domestic threats. Granted that threat was Prince Yo himself, but even so, he's clearly not a very popular guy right now...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Incarnation of Jealousy" Episode 14

2016/10/11 | | Permalink

Episode 14 of "Incarnation of Jealousy" is jammed full of raw emotions. Na-ri rallies and proves what she is made of at work while with Hwa-sin she emotionally crumples. Hwa-sin is more certain than ever about what he wants, and it isn't what he thought it would be. Jeong-won is painfully caught in the middle, wanting something that his mother doesn't support and that he ultimately can't have: Na-ri...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Drinking Alone" Episode 12

2016/10/11 | | Permalink

Jeong-seok has finally come to understand that he's a pretty big jerk. This is sort of acceptable. Jeong-seok then goes straight from that realization to stalking Ha-na. This is...not really acceptable. I'm just not a big fan of sexual harassment, is the thing here, and given how Ha-na does not have access to Jeong-seok's thought process, that's pretty much the only reasonable interpretation of his behavior...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Scarlet Heart: Ryeo" Episode 14

2016/10/10 | | Permalink

At least a year has passed since the previous episode of "Scarlet Heat: Ryeo", as it is now the second year in the reign of King Hyejong (played by Kim San-ho). I never felt much need to discuss King Hyejong back when he was just the crown prince, and unfortunately, his new regal title is of no help in making the character any more important. King Hyejong has a few scenes of pointless paranoia, makes a very bizarre demand of Prince So, then inevitably falls victim to the machinations of Prince Yo...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Drinking Alone" Episode 11

2016/10/10 | | Permalink

...I was kind of expecting by this point in "Drinking Alone" that some effort would have been made to make Jeong-seok's character sympthetic. It wouldn't even have to be full on sympathy. I would be satisfied if he was at least making progress toward becoming a better person but if anything Jeong-seok's behavior has gotten worse. As the bathroom scene demonstrates, Jeong-seok is willing to make a greater effort to be a jerk than would be necessary to fulfill the standards of basic decency...More

[HanCinema's Box Office Review] 2016.10.07 ~ 2016.10.09

2016/10/10 | | Permalink

Tim Burton's "Miss Peregrine" and "Breathe" trump "The City of Madness"...

It's been weeks since a foreign film topped the charts in Korea, but after entering the fray in second place last week, Tim Burton's dark fantasy drama, "Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children" (starring Eva Green), managed to top the charts with 660,702 admissions (35.3%). Last weekend, Burton's latest, which is based on Ransom Riggs' 2011 novel of the same name, entered in second place with 23.5% of the sales from 810 screens, but an increase in screens to just under 900 helped propel the film to the top as its total tally in Korea moves to 1.9 million ($14.6 million)...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The K2" Episode 6

2016/10/09 | | Permalink

Korean dramas often make me wonder if there is a ghost writer involved and I get this feeling a lot with "The K2". We are showered in heavy subjects, great drama and layered characters, but then it all disappears with one ridiculous element, such as magical smooches which take away the swelling of severe allergic reactions. The good news is, episode six of "The K2" delivers more of the former than the latter, making it almost an hour well spent...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Cinema Snippets

2016/10/09 | | Permalink

Korea Portal explores why Kim Jee-woon's latest film is a unique addition to his filmography, Slash Film flags two South Korean films from the recently concluded Fantastic Fest in Austin, Pierce Conran tracks the appearance of trains in modern Korean cinema, and catch all the winners from the 2016 edition of the DMZ Korean International Documentary Film Festival...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Food Lovers' Lane

2016/10/09 | | Permalink

My Korean Kitchen shows us how to prepare a popular sweet and sour side dish, Al Jazeera explores Korea's love of food in a short documentary, learn where and what to eat from one blogger's food adventures, and discover thirteen delicious vegan dishes...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Travel Bug Bites

2016/10/09 | | Permalink

Lonely Planet looks at the best slopes to hit in Korea, read all about a nature-loving travel blogger's two week trip, see why the village that brought us bibimbap is one of the best travel destinations in Asia, and explore Korea's "hidden gem" that's tucked away in the mountains...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Culture Corner

2016/10/09 | | Permalink

The Korean Herald explores how a new law has drastically changed Korea's dining scene, K-cultural fans in New Zealand gear up for a month-long Korean festival, read why Indonesians are falling in love with all things Korean, and avoid any cultural shocks with Mindful Banter Travel...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Photography and Art

2016/10/09 | | Permalink

South Korea's largest art fair is coming soon to Seoul, enjoy a captured moment from the UN's multimedia archives from 1950, Street Art Utopia has an extensive collective of Korean street art to marvel at, and see some of the beautiful creations of a florist qua tattoo artist...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Fantastic" Episode 12

2016/10/08 | | Permalink

So-hye has a form of brain cancer. Up until now I never really thought that the specific kind of cancer So-hye has was ever going to be all that important, since its usefulness as a plot device was in the generic way disease forced So-hye to reconsider her life. Well, here, So-hye ends up coming down with symptoms that I'm pretty sure are completely made up. So what we're left with is a woman in her thirties suddenly turning into a character from a very different kind of melodrama...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The K2" Episode 5

2016/10/08 | | Permalink

"The K2" was off to quite a worrying start, but the drama has now settled in to its routine. Said routine includes some very nasty people and some generally nice people all mixed up in the former's power games. Yoo-jin gets a hefty dose of her reality when the time comes to claim her company's shares, our CCTV romance is taking its sweet time forming and the drama seems to have found a balance in its tone and flow...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "The Net"

2016/10/08 | | Permalink

In rural North Korea Cheol-woo (played by Ryoo Seung-beom) is a fairly unremarkable fisherman who lives with his wife and daughter. Cheol-woo has to cross a checkpoint every day to go to work because he lives perilously close to the Demilitarized Zone. Far from having especially tight security, the North Korean border fence is actually fairly ramshackle, and because Cheol-woo knows the guards personally, they are hesitant to follow strict policy when an accident forces Cheol-woo's boat adrift. And there starts Cheol-woo's unfortunate journey to South Korea's modernland...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "A Reason to Live"

2016/10/08 | | Permalink

Da-hye (played by Song Hye-kyo) lives happily with her boyfriend Sang-woo (played by Ki Tae-yeong). A freakish turn of events separates the couple. Da-hye deals with the trauma by trying to forgive the person responsible for what happened to Sang-woo, although this process turns out to be surprisingly unsatisfying and pointless. That much is a fairly accurate description of "A Reason to Live" as a whole. Some of its ideas are good, but almost nothing of consequence is done with them...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "Actresses"

2016/10/08 | | Permalink

Yoon Yeo-jeong, Lee Mi-sook, Ko Hyun-jung, Choi Ji-woo, Kim Min-hee, and Kim Ok-bin all play...themselves, in "Actresses", who are also all somewhat confusingly given credit as screenwriters. This is because director Lee Jae-yong intentionally produced "Actresses" without a script. Which makes sense. The whole raison d'être of the film is to answer a hypothetical "what-if" situation. Specifically, what if all these famous actresses had to get together for a photo shoot. What would they talk about?...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Fantastic" Episode 11

2016/10/07 | | Permalink

A disproportionate amount of the action in "Fantastic" takes place in the hospital. Granted the entire premise is that So-hye has a (possibly not) terminal illness, but matters do take a turn for the slightly silly when both leading men also end up needing medical care for completely unrelated problems. Then they have silly hospital-related adventures together as they bond, and aw, who doesn't love some good male bonding on-screen?...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Woman with a Suitcase" Episode 4

2016/10/07 | | Permalink

"Woman with a Suitcase" is moving right along. Nothing loses steam as the episodes plow forward. Characters' backgrounds have bits and pieces revealed. Those same characters grow, however painfully. The case of the episode is interesting and full of fun twists and moral dilemmas that everyone tackles in different ways. What a refreshingly mature and fun drama this is.

Perhaps the only downside to the drama is Bok-geo's very dominant personality and his penchant for abusing his legal powers over Geum-joo...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Shopping King Louis" Episode 5

2016/10/07 | | Permalink

This week sadly brings us only one episode and one major cliffhanger, but things move forward in "Shopping King Louis". Our titular character has secret enemies and helpers, he makes progress as a person and our romance finally has proper sparks going. We also get to know more about Bok-sil's life and fears. The budding romance brings budding rivalry, as Joong-won and Louis/Ji-seong begin the battle for Bok-sil's affection...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Road to the Airport" Episode 6

2016/10/06 | | Permalink

There's a very great look, near the beginning of this episode, on Do-woo's face. What's he looking at? The reaction on Soo-ah's face as she takes in another good look at scenery. Ever since Annied died this is something that has been missing from Do-woo's life- someone who likes looking at things simply for the sake of looking at things. As an architect Do-woo is a strong appreciator of aesthetic. So it's with a keen sense of irony that he comes to realize no one else in his life pays attention to that stuff...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Incarnation of Jealousy" Episode 13

2016/10/06 | | Permalink

As truths come to light, those who learn them and share them are forced to reckon with them. Love and dating and how they interact with the career paths of our character are the focus this episode. Social hierarchies dictate the moves of some characters, and squish the dreams of others. All throughout, love weaves its tendrils and keeps a vice-like grip on her victims.

Jeong-won's mother, a powerful figure in broadcasting, has decided Jeong-won should not date Na-ri and only date the woman of her choosing...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Something About 1% - 2016" Episode 1

2016/10/05 | | Permalink

Jae-in (played by Ha Seok-jin) is a hotel manager who is very well-tuned to making sure he is running the best high-class hotel possible. Jae-in is less accomodating to his staff, or people in general really. Through complicated legal shenanigans Jae-in's eccentric grandfather Gyoo-cheol (played by Joo Jin-mo-I) tries to bully Jae-in into marrying ordinary schoolteacher Da-hyeon (played by Jeon So-min), for silly reasons...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Road to the Airport" Episode 5

2016/10/05 | | Permalink

Once more we're left to stark contrasts about how Soo-ah and Hye-won react to grief. Well, really, we don't actually know if Hye-won is reacting to grief, something else, or just a combination of all these factors. What we do know is that Hye-won is legitimately acting really weird, and Do-woo is increasingly bothered by her attempts to straight-up expunge Annie's existence from all living memory. Observe how her attempt at seduction is just...very awkward...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Woman with a Suitcase" Episode 3

2016/10/05 | | Permalink

There is something that is so wonderfully introspective and real about "Woman with a Suitcase". It is rooted in the fact that Geum-joo is a delightful human being, a powerhouse paralegal, and confident, but also a little closed off to the opinions of others because she's lost sight of her sense of justice. It is Seok-woo who reminds her of the humanity inherent in the law and Bok-geo who gives her the means with which to practice it. These elements come together to form a great drama.

In this episode, Geum-joo is in fine form...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Scarlet Heart: Ryeo" Episode 13

2016/10/04 | | Permalink

A wide-angle camera shot better explains the cliffhanger for the last episode and...apparently Woo-hee was nowhere near King Taejo? What's more, the monarch had other more immediately pressing problems in the whole "staying alive" department, so that leaves Woo-hee's entire storyline as being completely pointless with no pay-off. Even so, other characters have to devote energy to saving Woo-hee, because Soo likes her, even though we don't actually know how or why Woo-hee and Soo are friends...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Cinderella and the Four Knights" Episode 16 (final)

2016/10/04 | | Permalink

"Cinderella and the Four Knights" was an adorable ride from beginning to end. Our Cinderella and her Kang cousins went through a lot, learned a lot, and grew a lot closer throughout the sixteen episodes. Ha-won got her prince, and the other prince's got their happy endings. The ride wasn't a smooth one, but it was very enjoyable.

This show's largest flaw was a lack of follow through...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Drinking Alone" Episode 10

2016/10/04 | | Permalink

This far in I'm honestly a little surprised at how much I don't like most of the characters in "Drinking Alone". To write that I dislike them is probably a little harsh, but all the same, I can't come up with any good reason for Jeong-seok and Ha-na to be together. Shoot, I can't think of any good reason for Jeong-seok to be together with anyone. Does he seriously need to obsess about quality every waking moment? That was never a charming personality trait in the first place, and now it's just plain annoying...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Scarlet Heart: Ryeo" Episode 12

2016/10/03 | | Permalink

Last episode's actions were so intense that apparently the entire cast needed to take a yearlong break. It's times like this I wish "Scarlet Heart: Ryeo" was more clear about how much time has progressed in general. Of course Prince So and Prince Wook are still pining for Soo, but all the same, when nearly every character action in "Scarlet Heart: Ryeo" is a careful calculation based on a long-term plan, how Soo fits into that is pretty essential information...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Drinking Alone" Episode 9

2016/10/03 | | Permalink

Jin-i gets a good chance for positive characterization quite quickly, as she's the one who has to wrangle a distraught drunken Ha-na somewhere the younger woman can sober up. Incidentally, I'm surprised Jin-i hooked up with her boyfriend at a motel when she has such a nice apartment. I'm less surprised that Jin-i and Ha-na's silly plan leads to an equally silly and comedic situation but what can I say, I'm a sucker for decent slapstick...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Incarnation of Jealousy" Episode 12

2016/10/03 | | Permalink

"Incarnation of Jealousy" is more than a love story; it's a story of friendship. Nothing made that clearer than this episode. Jeong-won and Hwa-sin are so endearing in their friendship that I wish we had more of them throughout the drama. The romance is compelling, but not in the way their friendship is.

Even when fighting pangs of sharp jealousy, the two gentlemen are more concerned about whether or not they're still friends than who won the fight...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Woman with a Suitcase" Episode 2

2016/10/03 | | Permalink

"Woman with a Suitcase" wastes no time in moving past introductions and getting to the heart of the show: the alliances and the battles that Geum-joo has to forge and wage along her long road up. Ma-seok gets more than a few minutes of screen time and we see Geum-joo's telltale smarts and tenacity carry her through her transition back into the real world.

After serving a year of jail time, Geum-joo comes back to divorce papers, no home, and no money...More

[HanCinema's Box Office Review] 2016.09.30 ~ 2016.10.02

2016/10/03 | | Permalink

"The Age of Shadows" falls to "The City of Madness"...

Kim Seong-su's fourth film, "Asura: The City of Madness", arrived at the end of last month and has risen to the top of Korea's box office during the first weekend of October. The film, which stars Jeong Woo-seong, Hwang Jeong-min, Joo Ji-hoon and Kwak Do-won, captured 43.8% of the box office pie (1 million admissions from 1,278 screens) to claim the top spot from last weekend's winner, Korea's official Oscar submission, "The Age of Shadows"...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Incarnation of Jealousy" Episode 11

2016/10/02 | | Permalink

Hwa-sin wants to act on his feelings, but his conscience and his friendship with Jeong-won prevents him. His desire to be honest with his friends causes plenty of problems. Mix that together with the two moms vying for Ppalgang's attention, awkward love trios sprinkled throughout, and broadcast station politics and we have one exciting episode...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Cinderella and the Four Knights" Episode 15

2016/10/02 | | Permalink

All conflicts come to a head in this penultimate episode of "Cinderella and the Four Knights". Hyun-min finally starts to push himself to be something besides passive; Ha-won is forced to reckon with her situation; the Kang cousins come together to save something important to them. Even Yoon-seong is not what he seems.

By this point, Ji-woon has changed the most due to Ha-won's presence...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Woman with a Suitcase" Episode 1

2016/10/02 | | Permalink

"Woman with a Suitcase" is the story of a woman who has it all: brains, beauty, knowledge, tenacity, and a keen intuition. All she's missing is the society's seal of approval the test results to catapult her into a position of respect. This first episode is her story and how she, her sister, and those around her deal in the very tricky business of the law and the people who seek to manipulate to their will.

Kwon Eum-mi (Gapdong) is no stranger to penning procedurals or mystery, and has set up quite the story...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The K2" Episode 4

2016/10/02 | | Permalink

Je-ha's encounter with someone who has wronged him in the past motivates him into accepting the job as a JSS bodyguard. Our hero has to fight through the dislike and distrust of other members as he begins his work, which is none other than keeping an eye on Ahn-na. Meanwhile Yoo-jin and Gwan-soo have the most polite confrontation over their hostilities. We get new characters, shower fights and a lightness in tone as we move into the main story...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Fantastic" Episode 10

2016/10/01 | | Permalink

With So-hye out of the hospital, "Fantastic" enters into a fairly predictable holding pattern. Obviously Hae-seong is quite pleased to have her around again, and this is a significant booster to his mood. But the sacrifice dynamic has been reversed in a possibly more risky direction. Even doing his own stunts Hae-seong isn't in that much physical danger. So-hye, however, knows full well that her health is at risk, and has to make a conscious effort to ignore that...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The K2" Episode 3

2016/10/01 | | Permalink

The man we will now know as Je-ha is in quite a dire situation in episode three of "The K2" and he will need all the help he can get in a world of monsters. After rescuing Yoo-jin from a mysterious attack and clearly affecting her emotionally, he finds himself offered a job as her bodyguard. Meanwhile the vultures gather around the injured Yoo-jin, ready to gloat and capitalize on the event for their political gain...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "A Break Alone"

2016/10/01 | | Permalink

Gang-jae (played by Park Hyeok-kwon) is trapped in the closet. That's not a metaphor for his being gay, I mean he's literally trapped in the closet and it's quite some time before "A Break Alone" gets around to explaining the context for this initial dark, incomprehensible scene. That context though, soon proves to be generally depressing. Gang-jae is one of those married men who, for no particularly good reason, becomes obsessed with a nearby sexually attractive woman...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "Asura: The City of Madness"

2016/10/01 | | Permalink

Former cop Do-kyeong (played by Jeong Woo-seong) lays out the basic theme of "Asura: The City of Madness" pretty clearly in the opening narration panorama above his local wasteland. People are terrible. And we should hate them all. Every last one. Especially Sung-bae (played by Hwang Jeong-min), the crooked mayor who Do-kyeong works for on account of needing the money. All right, then, what about the anti-corruption unit, led by Cha-in (played by Kwak Do-won)? Never mind, he's just as savage as Sung-bae. Maybe action rookie Seon-mo (played by Joo Ji-hoon) can inspire some optimism? Ha ha, no...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "Breathing Underwater"

2016/10/01 | | Permalink

The most immediately striking feature of "Breathing Underwater" is how it's a nature documentary where the predators are humans. Observe the beautiful underwater sequences where black-garbed women divers in Jeju masterfully swim through vibrant underwater ecosystems, only to grab or stab prey animals and then come to the surface, putting the defeated creatures in bright floating containers. If you've ever wondered where South Korea's ridiculous variety in seafood comes from, well, the women divers have a lot to do with that...More

[HanCinema's Korea Diaries] "Epilogue"

2016/10/01 | | Permalink

So first of all, if you're looking for a list of everywhere I've been to on this trip, just scroll down to the bottom and you can find links to all the Korea Diaries I've written this year. I'm going to remain in South Korea until mid-October, but for the moment we feel this is enough writing about the more obscure parts of the country...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Cinema Snippets

2016/10/01 | | Permalink

Pierce Conran goes through the impressive lineup for the 11th London Korean Film Festival, NPR looks at the fascinating history behind Korea's first cinema couple, KOBIZ reveals the country's favourite films over Chuseok in their latest infographic, and the Los Angeles Times reviews Korea's official Oscar submission: "The Age of Shadows"...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Food Lovers' Lane

2016/10/01 | | Permalink

Jamie Oliver kicks off his new "Superfood" series with some Korean spice on a volcanic island, The Korea Times explores the rise of craft beer and its effects on local tastes, see what snack was trending in Korea over Chuseok and how you can make it yourself with My Korean Kitchen, and hear how the chairwoman of the Korean Food Foundation wants to keep refining Korean cuisine with the times...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Travel Bug Bites

2016/10/01 | | Permalink

Discover Korea during the winter months ahead of the upcoming 2018 Winter Olympics, follow a biker crew as they ride from Busan to Seoul, read about Changdeokgung Palace and its "Secret Garden", and Pacific Holiday puts South Korea in the spotlight...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Culture Corner

2016/10/01 | | Permalink

Explore three of Seoul's most popular districts with Nom Adventure, Changdong is on its way to becoming the new K-pop "Mecca", Seoul Design Week gives us a taste of the near future, and get to know more about Korea's million-dollar gaming industry...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Photography and Art

2016/10/01 | | Permalink

Sun Mu turns North Korean propaganda on its head, enjoys some beautiful photographs of the deserted grounds from the Yeosu Expo, see one daring photographer's definition of a self-portrait, and The Culture Trip has ten contemporary Korean artists you really should get to know...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Fantastic" Episode 9

2016/09/30 | | Permalink

It all starts out fun and games- the usual romantic hijinx as So-hye prepares to go into more serious treatment and Hae-seong simply reassures her. But the main plot quickly turns troublesome as Hae-seong is threatened by a scandal. To be honest it's kind of a silly scandal. The closest analog I can think of is what happened with Gary awhile back, and that was so obviously unverified Gary's agency didn't even respond to it until the guy in the video asked them to, because as a Gary fan he was deeply hurt by the idea that someone would use his tattoo to defame Gary...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Shopping King Louis" Episode 4

2016/09/30 | | Permalink

Like a puppy waiting for the mail person, I am always excited by the possibility that a drama will avoid repetitive plot devices and major drops in quality. Much like said puppies, I also sadly set my expectations too high for the eventual pay off. "Shopping King Louis" is still a delightful show, but we are now introduced to certain familiar and frustrating concepts. I am not panicking just yet, however, as I also see its good sides persevere...More

[HanCinema's Korea Diaries] "Icheon" August 17th-19th

2016/09/30 | | Permalink

Looking back on this Korea Diaries project, what's always struck me as the most interesting landmarks are not the special tourist sites, but the very normal physical locations where people go in and out doing their daily business. Like this completely unremarkable narrow covered market. When I think about imminently coming back to the United States, it's weird to think that I'm not going to be able to see these anymore...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Road to the Airport" Episode 4

2016/09/29 | | Permalink

While It's tempting to just write Hye-won off as being evil, I have trouble doing so because Hye-won's situation is very complex. And besides that, no one especially wants to confront a grieving mother, especially Do-woo, who is not Annie's biological father. But even if Hye-won's failings as a mother are defendable, her failures as a wife most certainly are not. Scene by scene, Do-woo continues to suffer and Hye-won simply obliviously refuses to so much as acknowledge him...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Shopping King Louis" Episode 3

2016/09/29 | | Permalink

"Shopping King Louis" falls back into old habits in episode three, as our poor duo settle into their new home and start making money. A new character enters Ji-seong's and Bok-sil's life, the lady of the house gets a big promotion and things move forward with our plot as Ji-seong slowly starts to remember fragments of his life. Meanwhile, Ma-ri questions her sighting of Ji-seong and so does her father, who is hiding a not-so-secret truth...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Road to the Airport" Episode 3

2016/09/28 | | Permalink

Initially it was easy to peg Jin-seok as being exactly the kind of man who would have an extramarital affair. Yet I wasn't sure why. Jin-seok is a tad brusque, but aside from obviously high self-esteem there's nothing in his attitude that makes adultery seem all that inevitable. As we see this episode, that much really is enough. The very fact that Jin-seok seems so attractive, and obviously enjoys the presence of attractive women, is enough to draw attractive women to him...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Cinderella and the Four Knights" Episode 14

2016/09/28 | | Permalink

Truths and lies whittle away at the happiness of our main characters, but not as much as the failing health of CEO Gramps. His lack of consciousness is a trigger for many to try to usurp power including his new wife, those in his company, and potentially our Kang cousins.

First, the CEO's wife digs her claws into the company and into Yoon-seong in order to attain her goals: money and power...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Cinderella and the Four Knights" Episode 13

2016/09/28 | | Permalink

The adorable manifestations of a mutually shared love never last long and that between Ji-woon and Ha-won lasts the length of this episode before its conclusion promises big changes on all fronts.

Ha-won has quite conveniently forgotten her contract with CEO Gramps that contains the "no dating" clause, and now it comes back to get her...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Incarnation of Jealousy" Episode 10

2016/09/28 | | Permalink

Jealousy blooms in full force and begins to inform bigger decisions for Hwa-sin than just his stalker-like tendencies. His emotions grow larger and more powerful than his ego and can no longer be ignored or excused away. As Hwa-sin gets a handle on his feelings, Jeong-won and Na-ri are growing closer through time spent together, earnest conversation, and rather adorable interactions...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Scarlet Heart: Ryeo" Episode 11

2016/09/27 | | Permalink

Prince So's solution to the assassination plot against his brother was, as we see recapped at the beginning of this episode, rather needlessly dangerous. It was only through sheer force of will that Prince So was able to prevent an immediate crisis from breaking out. The actions of the other actors in the carnival of Goryeo politics render that sacrifice meaningless anyway, even if for another day, Prince So is able to save his brother. But is this really a sustainable plan?...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Drinking Alone" Episode 8

2016/09/27 | | Permalink

Jeong-seok's dinner of choice has been getting incrementally more social. The nuances are a bit hard to explain but that food he's eating at the beginning this episode is generally intended to be eaten by multiple people, and we can see this reflected in the environs of the restaurant, which is very crowded and loud. Headphones or not Jeong-seok is out of his milleu. This is all a very effective symbolic representation of his warming up to Ha-na...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Scarlet Heart: Ryeo" Episode 10

2016/09/26 | | Permalink

There's some good use of close-ups here as we can see Prince So's make-up is slowly wearing off. It's a good metaphor- Prince So is somewhat less vicious with Soo's influence, and it's unmistakable how the more we see of the scar, the more it seems like Prince So is turning back to rage and hatred. Even Prince So himself is surprisingly cognizant of just how scary he is, and how this can be off-putting to Soo...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Drinking Alone" Episode 7

2016/09/26 | | Permalink

The main particularly interesting aspect to Jeong-seok's character is the complicated way he drinks alcohol by himself, but "Drinking Alone" keeps undermining this by making him act weirdly lovey-dovey. What's worse is that Myeong, in additiion to being really nice, apparently has some pretty amazing abs. Surprisingly enough that scene isn't just eye candy. It's also a lead-up to a fairly impressive joke...More

[HanCinema's Box Office Review] 2016.09.23 ~ 2016.09.25

2016/09/26 | | Permalink

Korea's Oscar submission approaches 7 million admissions...

The last weekend of September was a relatively subdued affair, but the country's official Oscar submissions, Kim Jee-woon's "The Age of Shadows", was still able to secure pole position by capturing 38.6% of the box office pie. From the 1,105 screens allocated, "The Age of Shadows" recorded 459,046 admissions (38.6%) which moved its bottom line now to just under 7 million (6.8 million admissions/$51 million)...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The K2" Episode 2

2016/09/25 | | Permalink

The action thankfully calms down in episode two of "The K2" and the necessary emotional stakes to give it meaning are added. The music is still an issue, but it sees some improvement as well. Either that or I am getting used to it, which is sad as much as it is convenient. The episode delivers a little exposition and characterization, which is also welcome. It is still not a show I would call good at the moment, but we are getting somewhere...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Fantastic" Episode 8

2016/09/24 | | Permalink

A brief flashback fills us in on the question of how much Hae-seong knows, and also when he knew about it. It's noteworthy how just because Hae-seong is discretionary with the information he has doesn't necessarily mean that So-hye is happy with all the implications. While on the surface level it can seem rewarding to be dealing with a stand-up guy like Hae-seong, on the deeper level it can seem rather unfair if one and only one partner is making noble sacrifices...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "Showdown"

2016/09/24 | | Permalink

Kang-ho (played by Lee Jeong-jin) and Poong-ho (played by Lee Joo-seung) are brothers who have always fought. Not in the general normal way brothers fight, but in actual straight-up fistfights. Kang-ho has usefully parlayed this skill into becoming an action movie detective, which is like a regular detective except they get into a lot more massive Hong Kong style action sequences. Through the mysterious disappearance of an Indonesian immigrant, the brothers run across Jae-hee (played by Oh Ji-ho), a wealthy businessman who beats people into disability and/or death mostly just for the fun of it...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "Moonlight Palace"

2016/09/24 | | Permalink

Joo-ri (voiced by Kim Seo-young) is a young girl participating in a simple traditional children's play at Changdeok Palace. On the approach of adolescence, Joo-ri is of course mortified by the prospect of her parents coming to watch and embarrass her. Yet paradoxically, Joo-ri also dreams of dancing in the spotlight herself- this is the first of many wonderful animated fantasty sequences from director Kim Hyun-ju-I, and these only increase in prominence as a chance encounter thrusts Joo-ri into the spirit realm, with all the joys and danger that experience entails...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "Dear Grandma"

2016/09/24 | | Permalink

One fairly disconcerting day, director Lee So-hyun learned that her grandmother had tried to commit suicide. If that opening line sounds morose and out of nowhere, well, just imagine how it felt to Lee So-hyun. Throughout "Dear Grandma", Lee So-hyun tries to capture her grandmother's unique and somewhat anachronistic personality which is constantly rather at odds with the documentary's premise. Far from seeming at all suicidal, the main character in "Dear Grandma" is oddly sarcastically acerbic...More

[HanCinema's Korea Diaries] "Jecheon" August 15th-16th

2016/09/24 | | Permalink

As this will be my last article this year about visiting South Korean film festivals firsthand, I'd like to take this opportunity to salute the volunteers. Any film festival you go to, odds are volunteers are doing most of the work, bless their souls, and they can always be easily identified by their matching t-shirts. The ones at Jecheon were especially exuberant. This is no small accomplishment, given the excruciating weather, even when it came to just having casual fun...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Cinema Snippets

2016/09/24 | | Permalink

See how South Korean horrors "reclaims the occult", Hangul Celluloid reviews Korea's highest-grossing film of the year, Korea gets its first mountain-themed film festival, and explore the history of Korean animation at the Animation Museum in Chuncheon...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Food Lovers' Lane

2016/09/24 | | Permalink

Beyond Kimchee has 6 beef stir-fry recipes to tuck into, Buzzfeed highlights 15 awesome street-side dishes to sample on Korea's streets, NPR explores why Gangnam's Shake Shack is still so popular, and enjoy one blogger's short and sweet review of Wiki Cafe in Seoul...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Travel Bug Bites

2016/09/24 | | Permalink

The biggest K-pop festival is coming soon to Busan, 10 Magazine hits seven museums in one day with their trusty Discovery Seoul Pass, read one travel bloggers experience of Seoul's eastern mountains in fall, and enjoy the beauty of Korea's landscapes and countryside by taking the train...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Culture Corner

2016/09/24 | | Permalink

Learn more about Korea's drinking culture with 10 Magazine, the BBC examines K-pop's influence on the world's stage, Variety shows us how China-Korea relations are strengthening, and find out what a North Korean thinks about all the information that finds its way to citizens over the DMZ...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Photography and Art

2016/09/24 | | Permalink

CNN reveals 15 stunning "architectural wonders" around Seoul, Artsy reports on the "Five Buddhas" paintings that were removed from Korea over 40 years ago, discover the abstract works of Choi Wook-kyung, and catch the "Old & New" exhibition at the Ginseng Art Museum...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The K2" Episode 1

2016/09/23 | | Permalink

"The K2" has promised heavy action and episode one delivers on that promise. The series starts off with a bang, continues with a bang and ends with one, which unfortunately creates a very underwhelming premiere episode. At the same time, we have some basic character introductions and some interesting people involved in what looks like a messy, sad, dark fate between them. This is not exactly fun for the whole family, but it may turn out well...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Fantastic" Episode 7

2016/09/23 | | Permalink

Mi-seon (played by Kim Jae-hwa) is the third best friend of So-hye and Seol- the one who everyone has to call when they're in trouble. Mi-seon never really has any plotlines of her own, she's just a useful shoulder to cry on. Consequently, her character offers some much needed perspective when it comes to difficult questions like, am I happy, and should I do such-and-such risky behavior considering the possible trade-offs?...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Incarnation of Jealousy" Episode 8

2016/09/23 | | Permalink

This episode was Hwa-sin's and the struggles he faces between his unwanted feelings for Na-ri, and the implications of having breast cancer. Surrounding his plight is Ppalgang's sad situation and all the people rotating around her like planets around a sun.

What I love most about this show is how deeply it is layered...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Incarnation of Jealousy" Episode 9

2016/09/23 | | Permalink

Last week's episode left us with a very emotionally confused Hwa-sin, but he finds himself trapped even deeper into an emotional mire he doesn't know how to extricate himself from. Around him Jeong-won and Na-ri deal with the problems that come their way while he watches with pain in his eyes. The decisions he makes are indicative of how much he's grown over the past five weeks; and also of how much his jealousy has grown.

We know that Hwa-sin has it hard...More

[HanCinema's Korea Diaries] "Jecheon" August 13th-14th

2016/09/23 | | Permalink

Outside of the giant flashy ampitheater venues, most of the musical action at the Jecheon International Music and Film Festival took place at this simple outdoor sidewalk area near the local Megabox. People filtered in and out of this area mostly at random, in between film screenings and the like. Jecheon is murderously hot at this time of year, to the point I'm surprised anyone willingly performed at all...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Shopping King Louis" Episode 2

2016/09/22 | | Permalink

Our "Shopping King Louis" falls from throne and grace as we fast forward through an apparent car accident to a now homeless and amnesiac Louis/Ji-seong. Episode two does not advance the plot much, but we get valuable interaction between our two main characters and we learn a little more about our second leads. What we learn sadly raises some concerns for me, but it is not enough to sully a lovely drama for now...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Road to the Airport" Episode 2

2016/09/22 | | Permalink

Hye-won (played by Jang Hee-jin) is Do-woo's wife and Annie's mother. In the aftermath of what happened to Annie, Hye-won's behavior is...odd. She doesn't really act like a grieving mother. Everyone grieves in a different way, and this is why Do-woo doesn't push hard on this point, but the scenes we see which Do-woo does not clearly imply that Hye-won's actions are suspicious. Soo-ah's husband Jin-seok (played by Sin Seong-rok) similarly does not see eye-to-eye with his loved one on what to do, although their situation is admittedly far less extreme...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Shopping King Louis" Episode 1

2016/09/22 | | Permalink

"Shopping King Louis" has a premise one does not expect much from. Rich man meets poor woman and understands love. It is the standard Korean romantic drama tale. Much to my surprise, the series makes a start much more contemplative and impactful than its stock premise does it justice for. Underneath all the familiar elements lies what I hope will be a story about appreciating value and finding meaning in the right places...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Cinderella and the Four Knights" Episode 12

2016/09/22 | | Permalink

There was a lot of progress in episode 12 and we have Ha-won and Ji-woon to thank, but especially Ha-won. The traits that the CEO hired her for came through for her again: her faith and tenacity. Her influence causes a waterfall effect in the behavior of the Kang cousins, making them problem solve and take charge of their own lives.

As Ha-won deals with her own problems, although she wants someone to lean on, she proceeds to take care of things on her own...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Road to the Airport" Episode 1

2016/09/21 | | Permalink

Soo-ah (played by Kim Ha-neul) is a flight attendant. This is not a profession well-suited for family life, but through technology, Soo-ah tries to maintain a close relationship to her daughter Hyo-eun (played by Kim Hwan-hee), who goes to an international school in Malaysia. There, Hyo-eun shares a room with her best friend Annie (played by Park Seo-yeon), who in turn stays in touch with her architect father Do-woo (played by Lee Sang-yoon) through the use of technology...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Cinderella and the Four Knights" Episode 11

2016/09/21 | | Permalink

As anticipated, Hye-ji moving into Sky House causes problems, especially because her passive aggressive behavior towards Ha-won is rather viperous. The Kang cousins have trouble adjusting to her presence and the awkwardness makes Ha-won not only feel self-conscious, but lonely for the first time since she entered Sky House. That loneliness is such an interesting twist in her story...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Scarlet Heart: Ryeo" Episode 9

2016/09/20 | | Permalink

As usual Prince So doesn't have that much screentime. But continuing the trend from last episode, "Scarlet Heart: Ryeo" very effectively manages to drive up the tension by making nearly everything the other characters do be a reaction to Prince So. While poor Prince So himself is fairly oblivious to most of what's going on, it's very easy to see what brings on his bad moods. Even when Prince So does good, people are too terrified over his very existence to act all that grateful...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Drinking Alone" Episode 6

2016/09/20 | | Permalink

Jeong-seok continues to leave me less-as-impressed as a character. It's not that he's a bad guy, or especially unlikable. The problem is he almost never actually does anything. Jeong-seok is, by his own life's plan, excessively passive, and he's also so successful that Ha-na can't even really approach him. This makes for a terribly unsatisfying romance, especially when more immediately pressing crises come up like Ha-na's inevitable embarrassing collapse on camera...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Scarlet Heart: Ryeo" Episode 8

2016/09/19 | | Permalink

The soundtrack in "Scarlet Heart: Ryeo" is really anachronistic, to the point it even manages to overshadow Soo. I'm not saying everything has to be traditional Korean musical instruments all the time. It's just a little off-putting when we're watching a traditional Goryeo ritual with everyone acting like standard characters in a classical costume drama, but then a modern pop song shows up and all of a sudden the immersion is ruined...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Drinking Alone" Episode 5

2016/09/19 | | Permalink

A harder turn toward serious romance this episode sours me somewhat on "Drinking Alone". It's mainly an issue of Jeong-seok being too ridiculously passive to be plausible as a romantic lead. What's more, Ha-na is such a cipher I'm actually hard-pressed to see why Jeong-seok should like her romantically at all. Now, Myeong, he has a very good reason to like Ha-na. She's his teacher. What more reason does he need?...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Cinderella and the Four Knights" Episode 10

2016/09/19 | | Permalink

Feelings are starting to escalate to a point of high tension because there is still a lot of denial even more deception running amuck. Tricksters lurk around those with money, and those with money are dealing with problems of their own. Luckily for us, our heroine is forthcoming with most things besides the emotions she doesn't quite understand.

Ha-won chases after Ji-woon in the best way she knows how: with a mixture of third grade antics and brutal honesty...More

[HanCinema's Box Office Review] 2016.09.16 ~ 2016.09.18

2016/09/19 | | Permalink

"The Age of Shadows" looms large in the wake of the Chuseok festivities...

Kim Jee-woon's historical action flick, "The Age of Shadows", Korea's official submission to the Oscars, retained pole position over the weekend and moved its total tally passed the 6 million admissions mark. South Korea recently celebrated one of its biggest national holidays, the harvest festival Chuseok, and over 2 million filmgoers (38.6%) came out to see Song Kang-ho, Gong Yoo, and Han Ji-min feature in Kim's latest outing. Last weekend, "The Age of Shadows" captured 41% of the box office pie, and with the weekend's admissions added, the film's new bottom line pushes it to number seven in the list of the country's highest-grossing films...More

[HanCinema's Drama First Look] "Fantastic"

2016/09/18 | | Permalink

Terminal illness is a common and very old theme in Korean drama, but like everything else rich with melodramatic potential, it has often been subjected to shallow and cheap treatment. Love for tears and tension over love for meaning is less common these days, however and so we see productions which make the effort to treat serious topics with more respect. It is too early for me to say "Fantastic" is such a production, but it is on the right path...More

[HanCinema's Feature] Local Popularity of Independent Korean Films (Part 2)

2016/09/17 | | Permalink

The top two most popular independent Korean films of all time are documentaries. "Old Partner", a 2008 film which dealt with an old rural man and his working cow, nearly hit three million admissions. "My Love, Don't Cross That River", a 2014 film about an elderly couple who have been together for several decades, nearly hit five million admissions. But it's worth noting that documentaries about old rural people do not necessarily always make bank, regardless of how good they are. Consider "With or Without You", about an elderly woman living with a retarded woman who she bought several decades ago for her husband to impregnate with a son after their own sons unexpectedly and tragically died. That one only got close to thirty thousand...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Fantastic" Episode 6

2016/09/17 | | Permalink

While Jong-gi clearly skirts the line of medical ethics, all of his actions are very clearly in line with trying to calm So-hye down and see herself as a person whose life has value. It's very noteworthy how Jong-gi has gotten So-hye to go from mental breakdown in earlier episodes to participating in a support group this episode. The support group scene is wonderful, by the way, precisely because it really gets at how the mental toll of illness is just as bad as the physical, and how it really helps just to get positive encouragement from peers...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Cinderella and the Four Knights" Episode 9

2016/09/17 | | Permalink

Love is in the air and with that love comes jealousy and complicated love lines. In a story as cute as this one those love lines aren't heinously annoying - just a tad annoying. The pairings of the Kang cousins and Ha-won are charming, and I like how Yoon-seong is slowly being integrated into the texture.

Ha-won hurts herself this episode, which inspires a lot of reverse harem servitude and stirs up a lot of feelings...More

[HanCinema's Drama Preview] "The K2"

2016/09/17 | | Permalink

It is time for romance, political intrigue and action in tvN's "The K2", a drama which has a promising premise, even if not yet a clear story. The series has been releasing action and drama packed teasers. The cast looks good and everything else does as well, but I will be brutally honest in saying that writer Jang Hyeok-rin of "Yong Pal" has a lot to prove with this.

Premise

Kim Je-ha (Ji Chang-wook) is a bodyguard who is hired by Choi Yoo-jin (Song Yoon-ah), the ambitious wife of presidential candidate Jang Se-joon (Jo Seong-ha) for protection. Ko Ahn-na (Yoona) is Se-joon's illegitimate daughter and she lives her life as a shut in...More

[HanCinema's Drama Preview] "Shopping King Louis"

2016/09/17 | | Permalink

If you missed cute romances with a good dose of amnesia and slapstick comedy in the form of physical engagement, "Shopping King Louis" is here for all your nostalgia needs. The drama could not look more cookie-cutter romance, but few will hold this against a yummy cookie, which is what the drama is being presented as. This comes with its own set of dangers, of course, but one can always hope.

Premise

Louis (Seo In-guk) is a man who believes he can have anything with money. Go Bok-sil (Nam Ji-hyeon) is a kindhearted woman who meets Louis after he ends up in a situation leading to loss of his memory and homelessness. The two find themselves living together...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "The Witness"

2016/09/17 | | Permalink

Shaoxing (played by Yang Mi) is studying to be a police officer. A disastrous accident involving family disables Shaoxing to an extent that people constantly underestimate her. But ultimately Shaoxing really just underestimates herself. A chance encounter with evil, however, makes Shaoxing into "The Witness" with all the information necessary to bring down a notorious criminal. Assuming she can survive that long anyway...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "Hide Behind the Sun"

2016/09/17 | | Permalink

The homeless and generally dispossessed population in South Korea doesn't get all that much attention. In all fairness they don't really get that much attention anywhere, since acknowledging the existence of a homeless population is detrimental to any country's self-image. Moreover, what spotlight there is rarely ever falls on the dispossessed people themselves, but rather the organizations which try to help them, and what they want potential donors to see...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "Wish"

2016/09/17 | | Permalink

Jjang-goo (played by Jeong Woo) is a normal high school student who wants to be something special, like a high school delinquent. The circumstances are perfect- this being the nineties, there's still a very corporal bent to the South Korean educational system, and Jjang-goo's school already has a local gang. The problem is, this gang doesn't actually do anything except generic masculine posturing. And Jjang-goo is such an unremarkable student he can barely even do that right...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Incarnation of Jealousy" Episode 7

2016/09/17 | | Permalink

Episode 7 of "Incarnation of Jealousy" is about doing wrong and the consequences of doing so. Will our characters right their wrongs? Pout about the outcomes? Ignore the advice of those closest to them? Ignore their own feelings? In this episode, it's a little bit of everything.

Let's start with an unusual character, Ppalgang. She is an important character in that she is the center around which many people rotate...More

[HanCinema's Korea Diaries] "Jecheon" August 11th-12th

2016/09/17 | | Permalink

Old film posters make fairly frequent appearances at South Korean movie theaters, especially the independent ones. Granted, the Megabox in Jecheon is not strictly speaking an independent movie theater, but it used to be, and why bother taking down such neat decorations located so inconveniently close to the ceiling? These are all American movie posters, of course, but it's striking how much they resemble their South Korean counterparts, right down to the Chinese characters...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Cinema Snippets

2016/09/17 | | Permalink

CNN lists seven spectacular K-horrors, Pierce Conran explores how foreign filmmakers and companies are shaping Korean content, KOBIZ interviews Moon Yong-chan about his location scouting skills for Park Dae-min's "Seondal: The Man Who Sells the River", and The Washington Post speaks to a North Korean defector about his cartoons and comedy moving forward...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Food Lovers' Lane

2016/09/17 | | Permalink

The 'horror' of dining alone in Korea is being exorcised, My Korean Kitchens wows us with a bulgogi-based dish, My Korean Husband explores convenience store lunch boxes, and is the "Gyeondyo bar" Korea's secret weapon against hangovers?...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Travel Bug Bites

2016/09/17 | | Permalink

K-culture exports are keeping the Korea Tourism Organisation on its toes, get the most out of your trip to the beautiful Jeju Island, explore Changdeokgung's Secret Garden, and the Hoengseong Hanu Festival takes full advantage of one Korea's most beloved seasons...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Culture Corner

2016/09/17 | | Permalink

Big Date reveals how K-culture has spread from Asia to North America, All K-pop puts Korea's gay community in the spotlight, hear what it's like being a teenager in North Korea, and cultural leaders gather to discuss the spread of culture across national boundaries...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Photography and Art

2016/09/17 | | Permalink

'Concept Korea' brings the Wave to New York Fashion Week, catch a peek of daily life in North Korea, Observer Culture gets political at the 11th Annual Gwangju Biennale, and see why North Korean defectors were asked to draw a picture of their homes for Ik-Joong Kang's "Floating Dream" project...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Fantastic" Episode 5

2016/09/16 | | Permalink

Joon-gi (played by Kim Tae-hoon) is So-hye's doctor. Given that So-hye is dying, that's a very awkward position to be in. While Joon-gi obviously wants So-hye to get better, So-hye's problems are just as much mental as they are physical at this point. In So-hye's general desperation to find some last minute meaning in life, she has been willing to latch onto any kind of validation possible- even if it means an obviously unethical relationship with her own physician...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Uncontrollably Fond" Episode 20 (final)

2016/09/15 | | Permalink

It is an episode of goodbyes as one life comes to an end and others continue on after having loved and learned. The end of this story is the start of others, but the end doesn't mean that its true meaning does not persist. That is what Joon-young means to those he loves and to those who love him. His life was short, but his memory lasts in the hearts of those who cherished him. In that way, the ending of "Uncontrollably Fond" was beautiful. In others, it was rather puzzling...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Incarnation of Jealousy" Episode 6

2016/09/15 | | Permalink

Each episode of "Incarnation of Jealousy" has a gimmick and something to give it weight. This episode's weighted subject matter sends the genre into black comedy and gives Hwa-sin a great amount of screen time to work out his personal issues.

Whereas last episode made use of fart jokes as a vehicle to talk about the hefty effect of cancer on one's life, to provide a lot of humor, and to have Na-ri bond with Jeong-woo, this episode's funny schtick centered around brassieres...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Incarnation of Jealousy" Episode 5

2016/09/15 | | Permalink

The relationship between Hwa-sin and Na-ri is just so utterly delightful that it carries the entire show on its back. They are both quirky adults stumbling through life and battling the obstacles as best they can. On their journey they are joined by a great host of characters who fill out the story very nicely, especially on the comedy side. The hilarity keeps taking me by surprise, and I absolutely love it...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "W" Episode 16 Final

2016/09/14 | | Permalink

It's uncanny how "W" closes out with an exploration of loss and withdrawl that has less to do with what's happening in the actual story and more to do with how we, as viewers, come to terms with the reality of the story finally ending. Make no mistake- Yeon-joo is almost entirely a passive observer here. And whether or not Yeon-joo gets a happy ending, she is leaving us in much the same way that Cheol is leaving her. The epilogue can't really change that...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Scarlet Heart: Ryeo" Episode 7

2016/09/13 | | Permalink

Soo begins her adjustment to palace life under the harsh eye of Lady Oh (played by Woo Hee-jin). It's hard to feel sorry for Soo because while aspects of her new life are obviously unpleasant, they're also fairly unremarkable considering this is Goryeo. You know, none of the other maids get to have pick me ups in the form of handsome princes chasing them around every few scenes. Although I'll admit getting mad at Soo for giving immediate medical attention to the man angrily demanding immediate medical attention was kind of silly...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Uncontrollably Fond" Episode 19

2016/09/13 | | Permalink

Episode 19 is when we begin to say goodbye to Joon-young. His loved ones are coming to terms with his very near mortality and the results of his campaign to clear Eul's name. The results are an acute attack of moral conscience for many of the characters and a tearful denouement.

Joon-young has completed his revenge on Eul's part and starts to sit back to live out his remaining days...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Drinking Alone" Episode 4

2016/09/13 | | Permalink

The main problem with Jeong-seok repeating his proper drinking rules all the time is that it becomes easier to see the flaws in his thinking. Jeong-seok's happiness appears to be entirely dependent on other people not showing up and annoying him. So he has to live like a hermit, except that Jeong-seok's job literally just involves talking to people and his hobby necessitates going out to public places. And even at home Myeong is hanging around being an annoying little brother...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Drinking Alone" Episode 3

2016/09/12 | | Permalink

Ha-na (played by Park Ha-seon) is the obvious foil to Jeong-seok. Whereas Jeong-seok is an antisocial jerk who is nonetheless high on the respect chain in the teaching profession, Ha-na is the exact opposite. She lacks much in the way of authority or reputation, and is in point of fact not much older than the students she's supposed to be instructing. If Jeong-seok is a reminder of how our betters can be rude and snooty, Ha-na shows us that simply having a title does not necessarily make a person competent...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Scarlet Heart: Ryeo" Episode 6

2016/09/12 | | Permalink

I'm having trouble grasping how much time has progressed in "Scarlet Heart: Ryeo". Last episode had all this beautiful winter scenery and yet this episode there's...none? Does that mean that Soo has been in Goryeo for several months? Because it sure doesn't feel like it's been that long. Mainly this is a consequence of the story having slowed to a crawl, as politics take a backseat to everything revolving around Soo for no good reason...More

[HanCinema's Box Office Review] 2016.09.09 ~ 2016.09.11

2016/09/12 | | Permalink

Korea's official Oscar submission wows local audiences...

After a month-long run as Korea's number one, Kim Seong-hun's action thriller "Tunnel" (Ha Jeong-woo, Bae Doona, Oh Dal-soo) was finally dethroned over the weekend following the release of a string of new films. The most successful of which came in the form of Kim Jee-woon's latest, "The Age of Shadows": Korea's official submissions to next year's Oscars...More

[HanCinema's Feature] Local Popularity of Independent Korean Film (Part 1)

2016/09/10 | | Permalink

I promised to discuss crowdfunding this week, I know, but Willa Schitz had a really good question in the comments section last week that I felt warranted a full explanation. Here's her post, the first part being a quote from last week's article-...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Fantastic" Episode 4

2016/09/10 | | Permalink

The production team continues with the very wise decision to be more about drama than forced comedy. We see this episode even more clearly that Hae-seong, as utterly obnoxious as he can be given the opportunity, is really just looking for the chance to be a good guy. It's uncanny how well Hae-seong is able to compose himself during action scenes. While ostensibly acting is the actual important part of his job, note how Hae-seong does not appear to be using a stunt double. That's dedication which can't easily be faked...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Good Wife"

2016/09/10 | | Permalink

Drama remakes of North American shows seem to be on the rise lately and there are as many expectations as there are worries. Summarizing multi-season shows into less than twenty episodes is not an easy task and there are many differences to consider. As someone who has not seen the original series, I look at "The Good Wife" as an independent work with its own strengths and flaws...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Wanted"

2016/09/10 | | Permalink

"Wanted" is a show which made big promises about its realism before release. This is a powerful statement for fiction and an industry so liberal with its bending of reality. The idea of combining a suspense thriller about a kidnapping with a twisted reality show is a solid one and the series does surprisingly well in some aspects. It is also held back by safe choices in others...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "The Age of Shadows"

2016/09/10 | | Permalink

The time is 1923. Jeong-chool (played by Song Kang-ho) is a Korean man turned Japanese crimefighter. Unlucky for him, the main criminals the Japanese are chasing happen to be nationalist Korean terrorists, led by Woo-jin (played by Gong Yoo). Oddly enough Gye-soon (played by Han Ji-min) is the more identifiable leader, less because she's important and more because as the token woman Gye-soon stands out more obviously. Ditto the foreign guy, who has few lines and even less apparent motivation but who's noticeable because everyone has to talk to him in English...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "The Map Against the World"

2016/09/10 | | Permalink

The time is the nineteenth century. Jeong-ho (played by Cha Seung-won) is obsessed with the abstract concept of maps. This is a very necessary personality attribute considering the time in which he lived. Back before satellites the only way to make a halfway decent map was by traveling in person to whatever physical location you want to make a map of and taking detailed notes. Even in a small country like Korea, this is a very time-consuming task. Lucky thing there's so much beautiful scenery to keep the task engaging...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "Bringing Tibet Home"

2016/09/10 | | Permalink

Tenzing Rigdol is a Tibetan artist who lives in New York. Way back in 2011, following the death of his father, Tenzing Rigdol decided to construct an art installation made of Tibetan soil in India. The task proved to be more difficult than expected. Smuggling a few water bottles of Tibetan soil across the border, that's one thing, but Tenzing Rigdol needed much, much more than that...More

[HanCinema's Korea Diaries] "Yeongwol" August 8th-10th

2016/09/10 | | Permalink

Jeongdongjin is the terminus of a rural railroad line that stretches to, among other places, Jecheon in the north-center part of the country, which as it happens was the next film festival I needed to go to. Sadly, there aren't a lot of places along the way. Or so I thought. From the very beginning Yeongwol was a very distinctive location. Observe the giant spooky bridge at three in the morning. Not that it's much more crowded during the daytime...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Cinema Snippets

2016/09/10 | | Permalink

"Train to Busan" is a harsh critique of modern Korean society, Kim Jee-woon's new film "The Age of Shadows" is Korea's official Oscar submission, watch a 2D animation by Yoodowon on the power and purpose of blinds, and KOBIZ's latest infographic features some of the country's most famous films about ghosts...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Food Lovers' Lane

2016/09/10 | | Permalink

Going Somewhere Slowly gives us the low-down on Korean street food, read about one blogger's experience of finding food in Seoul, the BBC explores why Spam is so popular, and get to know more about Seoul and its culinary delights with a great guide from Migrationology...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Travel Bug Bites

2016/09/10 | | Permalink

Lonely Planet gives 10 reasons why Jeonju should be your next travel destination, hear more about one teacher's experience of finding a job in South Korea, Living Nomads highlights some of the country's biggest shopping attractions, and would you stay a night or two in a luxury liner that didn't go anywhere?...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Culture Corner

2016/09/10 | | Permalink

Vlogging couple My Korean Husband share their thoughts on life in Seoul as an interracial couple, see what happen in Suwon when the major banned cars for a month, discover how South Koreans handle their hangovers, and how are foreigners influencing Korean culture from the inside?...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Photography and Art

2016/09/10 | | Permalink

Enjoy some beautiful landscape paintings from Yeong-A Yeo, Korea's biggest media art show is now on, pop art and political satire collide on the streets of Busan, and see how architects are redesigning rural homes through "idea-driven" design practices...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Fantastic" Episode 3

2016/09/09 | | Permalink

There's some badly needed sympathetic characterization for So-hye and Hae-seong this episode as they respond to the aftermath of the big kiss at the last cliffhanger. In contrast to the normal romantic comedy implications of that trope, "Fantastic" instead gets into the issues of self-worth that provoked So-hye and Hae-seong into acting that way. So-hye has, of course, been in a generally rotten mood since getting her bad medical prognosis. Hae-seong, however, has really bad insecurities when it comes to his lack of acting talent...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Cinderella and the Four Knights" Episode 8

2016/09/09 | | Permalink

Well, I just have to say it. This show is ridiculously cute. Jeong Il-woo brought out the aegyo and Ha-won manages to soften up the Kang family and friends even more with her honesty and sincerity. Again, the episode really focuses on Hyun-min and his introspection, but it also focuses on relationship development and tossing in a few more obstacles for our heroes to surmount.

The utterly horrible step-mother and step-sister are still scheming to hurt Ha-won as much as possible and plan to foist Ha-won off on a man who may or may not be her biological father...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Cinderella and the Four Knights" Episode 7

2016/09/09 | | Permalink

"Cinderella and the Four Knights" has a surprising amount of depth for its premise, reverse harem co-habitation set-up, and episodic focus on missions to solve. What follows through and really touches people is the way the boys deal with their issues. Ha-won helps the boys while also receiving something she's been lacking for many years: acceptance and love...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "W" Episode 15

2016/09/08 | | Permalink

Even though there's not all that much physical violence this episode the morbidity is pretty strong. As the main characters find themselves with increasingly little ability to change the webtoon world they become more and more resigned to fate. Well, Cheol and Seong-moo do anyway. Yeon-joo, having largely managed to recover from her near fatal bullet wound, is determined to keep trying to make an effort to shoot for a happy ending...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "W" Episode 14

2016/09/07 | | Permalink

At this point "W" is in a stage of kind of being an epilogue but not quite. Yeon-joo is in the hospital, and everyone is of course worrying about how that's going to work out. However, another more nagging question yet remains. I'm not referring to the worldbuilding aspect of "W", but rather how all these silly webtoon antics have consistently resulted in people actually getting killed. Watching characters seriously react to the prospect of a loved one dying puts all of this in sharp perspective...More

[HanCinema's Beauty Review] YesStyle's Korean Beauty Box Review

Source | 2016/09/07 | | Permalink

Receiving the YesStyle Korean Beauty Box was such an exciting opportunity given to HanCinema. It had ten hot beauty projects for us to review and we tried them all! There were a few particular favorites amongst all the goodies. HanCinema made a video review and below you can read more on this TL;DR! Prices shown reflect yesstyle.com pricing! Good to note: YesStyle ships almost everywhere and within 24-hours. Top-quality, fast beauty. Aw, yeah!...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Drinking Alone" Episode 2

2016/09/06 | | Permalink

Now that the basic shock of the premise has worn off "Drinking Alone" isn't quite as interesting as it was initially, although there are still plenty of moderately engaging bits. The production team appears to be sticking with the format of framing each episode around Jeong-seok pointedly enjoying his quiet peaceful meals. This is more a point of comparison than it is a matter of plot, because the absurdly stressful situations that pop up at work really are best dealt with via silent time alone...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Scarlet Heart: Ryeo" Episode 5

2016/09/06 | | Permalink

Lady Hae (played by Park Si-eun) is Prince Wook's wife. She doesn't really do anything, I just thought it was worth acknowledging her existence since it puts Prince Wook in a fairly unusual situation as second lead. Normally we feel sorry for him getting the short end of the stick in a love triangle, since he's always such a nice guy, but hey! When Soo inevitably breaks Prince Woo's heart, he still has his wife, and she's really nice too...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Uncontrollably Fond" Episode 18

2016/09/06 | | Permalink

"Uncontrollably Fond" has pulled out all the stops. Rich people who care nothing for others. Trucks that come out of nowhere to obliterate people. Sad breakups. Tearful confessions. Late stage cancer. You name it; it's on this table. It's an excitedly lead into this last week, but I wish there had be more of the little things. More character development. More subtle play on emotion. Less dramatic camera panning. Fewer wildly used melodramatic elements...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Incarnation of Jealousy" Episode 4

2016/09/06 | | Permalink

What is beautiful about "Incarnation of Jealousy" is how it explores very real issues and still manages to be engaging, funny, and heartwarming. Even though I dislike Hwa-sin's behavior, I empathize with his plight. Even though I think Na-ri does wrong, I still root for her. It is the flaws of the characters, in their histories, and in their present decisions that make the characters and the stories relatable...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Drinking Alone" Episode 1

2016/09/05 | | Permalink

Jeong-seok (played by Ha Seok-jin) is an educational lecturer of wide repute. He despises people. And bizarre though this may seem, "Drinking Alone" does not seem terribly interested in disagreeing with him. When Jeong-seok describes how wonderfully ideal it is to spend an evening drinking by oneself, there's a real Yoon Doo-joon quality to how absolutely devoted Jeong-seok is to this idea of good food and liquor. It's just that, in stark contrast to Dae-yeong of "Let's Eat", Jeong-seok does not believe this is a sentiment that can or should be shared...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Scarlet Heart: Ryeo" Episode 4

2016/09/05 | | Permalink

Empress Yoon (played by Park Ji-yeong) is the closest thing Prince So has to a parental figure. Unlucky for him, she's a huge jerk. After his murderous rampage last episode I never thought I'd feel sorry for Prince So but, well, this episode does a surprisingly good job humanizing the guy. We can see that his generally vile behavior is, twisted though it may seem, really just a desperate if inevitably doomed to fail effort on his part to gain some level of normal emotional satisfaction...More

[HanCinema's Box Office Review] 2016.09.02 ~ 2016.09.04

2016/09/05 | | Permalink

"Tunnel" eyes 7 million admissions...

"Tunnel", Kim Seong-hun's adaptation of So Jae-won's novel, is still leading the pack and remains unmoved as Korea's film of choice. Released early in the second week of August, Kim's third film (after "A Hard Day" and "How the Lack of Love Affects Two Men") has managed to fend off its cinematic rivals to claim its fourth straight week at the top of the charts. 344,729 admissions were added to the "Tunnel"'s total tally during the first week of September which brings the film's bottom line now to 6.9 million admissions, making it the fourth highest-grossing film released in Korea this year...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Fantastic" Episode 2

2016/09/03 | | Permalink

Seol (played by Park Si-yeon) is So-hye's old friend, and a bit of a wreck. Literally, even, considering the last episode's cliffhanger, and the woman's precarious life situation isn't much better. We very quickly go from Seol giving standard reassurances to So-hye to seeing her get in a huge fight with her current partner to even bigger existential crises as violence and base hostility quickly become the order of the day...More

[HanCinema's Feature] "The Korean Audience"

2016/09/03 | | Permalink

Last week I discussed the South Korean film industry in broad perspective. As is often the case with markets, it's oeasy to lose track of the human element. Historically domestic Korean films have struggled at the box office and needed government quotes to stay even. Yet today they're pretty much at parity with foreign releases with relatively little government support. They're doing especially splendidly this year. As of this writing two of the top three spots and seven of the top ten are all Korean films. This change has obviously been affected by Korean audiences being more interested in Korean movies as of late. But why?...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "DETOUR"

2016/09/03 | | Permalink

Joong-pil (played by Sin Ha-gyoon), Soo-tak (played by Park Hee-soon), and Eun-dong (played by Oh Man-seok) are three close college friends who unexpectedly reunite quite later in life upon some unexpected news. Their life positions are in varying states of malaise. Eun-dong has a semi-famous job but he's kind of bored. Joong-pil has a decent job but he's fixated on a long finished romance. Soo-tak has no job at all and is contemplating suicide. The solution to all of these problems is, of course, a trip to Jeju Island...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "The Queen of Crime"

2016/09/03 | | Permalink

Mi-kyeong (played by Park Ji-yeong) is a meddling mother. She's able to mind her own business now that her son Ik-soo (played by Kim Dae-hyeon-I) is safely away in Seoul studying for exams, but a strange incident at Mi-kyeong's own residence soon sends Mi-kyeong packing off to find out what Ik-soo is up to. No matter how much Ik-soo resists her presence, Mi-kyeong is unwilling to leave until she finds someone who can be brought up on criminal charges for something. She is "The Queen of Crime" after all...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "The Island of Shadows"

2016/09/03 | | Permalink

Not to be confused with "Shadow Island", "The Island of Shadows" does offer a similar perspective about a seemingly random, obscure part of the South Korean landscape- it too, a portrait of the Yeongdo district in Busan. But where "Shadow Island" was a fictional depiction of the malaise of an urban wasteland, "The Island of Shadows" is a documentary that deals with hope in the midst of darkness- it's the story of the Hanjin shipyard worker's union...More

[HanCinema's Korea Diaries] "Jeongdongjin" August 5th-7th

2016/09/03 | | Permalink

I came to Jeongdongjin, a region in the southeasternmost part of Gangneung's city limits, for the Jeongdongjin Independent Film Festival (JIFF). About the last thing I was expecting to see was Kawsay, the native Ecuadoran band featured in "El Condor Pasa - 2014", hanging around outside the local train station doing street performances and selling their various wares. It was a pretty dumbfounding moment, realizing that they do in fact wander the Korean countryside at random. Well, seemingly at random. They have a Korean manager and I presume they do at least get invitations rather than just showing up unannounced...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Cinema Snippets

2016/09/03 | | Permalink

South Korea's advanced cinematic technologies reach Wales, Short List explores North Korea's fascination with moving images, Taste of Cinema has 20 South Korean thrillers you won't to miss, and visit Darcy Paquet's website on Korean films for the best reviews and insight around...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Food Lovers' Lane

2016/09/03 | | Permalink

My Korean Kitchens shows us how to make sticky honey soy chicken drumsticks, The Daily Meal lists some of the essential ingredients used in Korean cooking, discover how kimchi can help chefs innovate, and learn more about the food culture on the other side of the DMZ from a man who spent 14 years eating there...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Travel Bug Bites

2016/09/03 | | Permalink

Discover seven more reasons why South Korea should be on your travel itinerary, The Korea Herald shares some exciting events happening around the country later this year, beat the Korean heat by visiting an "Ice Museum", and Christine Lyer visits three Korea cities and shares her magical experiences...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Culture Corner

2016/09/03 | | Permalink

South Korea's drinking cultural favoring quality over quantity, a North Korean defector shares his story in the fight for hearts and minds, the South Korean government encourages its citizens to make more babies, and what will Asia's "cultural Olympics" really look like?...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Photography and Art

2016/09/03 | | Permalink

Kim Ran talks about how art and diplomacy can come together, get a sobering glimpse into life as a young artist in Korea, artists in Seoul hope to save a high-rise complex from development, and celebrate the works of Yoo Youngkuk at the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Fantastic" Episode 1

2016/09/02 | | Permalink

So-hye (played by Kim Hyeon-joo) is a drama writer. Her sense of confidence and competence is well-displayed metaphorically in the opening action scene of "Fantastic". To succeed in the cutthroat world of drama production, So-hye has had to be the best of the best. But no matter how good she is, every so often So-hye has to rely on the help of such disreputable persons as Hae-song (played by Joo Sang-wook). A handsome and arrogant actor, to date the only notion we have that Hae-song may be a good person is the man's genuine love toward his grandmother...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "W" Episode 13

2016/09/01 | | Permalink

Cheol's two reactions to the discovery that his world is a webtoon are completely opposite of one another. This is entirely a matter of context. The first Cheol discovered the existence of the "Real" world through standard deductions as a part of his normal everyday work, and the revelation destroyed him. This Cheol hit absolute rock bottom, to the point of contemplating suicide- so the existence of a "Real" world to him was a form of salvation...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Uncontrollably Fond" Episode 17

2016/09/01 | | Permalink

Joon-yeong's memory starts falter due to his cancer and he seems to realize his mortality and becomes even bolder in his plans to set everything in Eul's life right. In fact, he becomes downright reckless, revealing dangerous truths, challenging those with terrifying amounts of power. The path he has chosen causes pain to others and himself, and I can't say watching him self-destruct is pleasant in any way, shape, or form...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Incarnation of Jealousy" Episode 3

2016/09/01 | | Permalink

"Incarnation of Jealousy" has taken on the idea of identity and how that is shaped whether it be by gender, career, or social status. Both Na-ri and Hwa-sin suffer identity crises on a strangely parallel journey as they try to redefine themselves after a period of hardship.

Hwa-sin's dilemma mirrors one that many women with cancer of the breast and reproductive organs suffer...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "W" Episode 12

2016/08/31 | | Permalink

For once, an episode of "W" ends without a shocking revelation prompting an intense cliffhanger. To date director Jeong Dae-yoon has done a very good job keeping the excitement quotient so high that the general craziness of the overall proceedings has never been in question. But this time, with Cheol focused as he is on life in the "Real" world, rather than his revenge fantasy, well, the more magical aspects of the story are more difficult to ignore...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Cinderella and the Four Knights" Episode 6

2016/08/31 | | Permalink

Now that it has been established that Ha-won is an important person in the Kang family we get to see how the boys go out of their way to protect her when school-aged kids turn mean, and when jealousy incites terrible behavior. As of yet, the Kang cousins haven't yet gone head to head romantically, but a declaration from one of them makes such an occurrence a bit difficult. The perfect stuffs of K-drama.

The step-family has stepped in to meddle with Ha-won's life...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Cinderella and the Four Knights" Episode 5

2016/08/31 | | Permalink

Love is in the air and it is Ha-won's earnest desire for the Kang cousins to live well that really touches them and makes their hearts flutter. Not only is she working for their benefit, but she also draws very clear lines with them, speaking her mind and keeping it real. This is a quality not found in the cousins' parents, grandfather, or any other people in their lives - its a winning quality that keeps their attention and makes it difficult to follow the "no dating" rule...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Bring It On, Ghost" Episode 16 Final

2016/08/30 | | Permalink

The true ending to the huge fight is a slight improvement to what closed out the last episode, since it at least involves proper use of the artifact. But overall I still felt a pretty strong general sense of emptiness at the close of "Bring It On, Ghost". A few sympathetic encounters with his mother can't change the fact that Hye-seong did some pretty horribly evil things, spiritual posession or not...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Scarlet Heart: Ryeo" Episode 3

2016/08/30 | | Permalink

At first, it seems like it's finally starting to dawn on Soo that Goryeo is a pretty vicious world. Then the danger passes and she's mostly back to her normal happy-go-lucky self, even if the neck scar is a constant reminder as to what will happen if she steps out of line again. The attitude is actually rather oddly appropriate- everyone else in Goryeo has to deal with the prospect of death on a constant basis, but if they worried about that twenty four seven there'd be no time for sexy bath parties...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Scarlet Heart: Ryeo" Episode 2

2016/08/30 | | Permalink

The pacing in "Scarlet Heart: Ryeo" really is top notch. While I still psychologically recognize the obvious discordance between the political powerplay scenes and Soo's vastly more simplistic interpretation of plot, the tones are quite well balanced. We go from one to the other without any real sense of whiplash. Prince So is an uncommunicative jerk with his brothers, and he's also an uncommunicative jerk with Soo. But in both cases Prince So is also the main guy who's all about getting things done even if it means his hands get dirty in the process...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Scarlet Heart: Ryeo" Episode 1

2016/08/29 | | Permalink

Soo (played by IU) is a woman in the modern world with relationship problems. She also quickly gets into the unfortunate situation of being in close proximity to a child who cannot swim yet somehow manages to make his way into improbably deep water without anyone noticing. From there, Soo is plunged into the Goryeo era, where the King's many children, in addition to having sexy baths together, also engage in major political plots. Prince Wook (played by Kang Ha-neul) is the clear heir apparent while Prince So (played by Lee Joon-ki) has a chronically bad attitude due to childhood trauma...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Bring It On, Ghost" Episode 15

2016/08/29 | | Permalink

At long last, Myeong-cheol has explained the plot to Bong-pal so that it is here, in the fifteenth episode of a sixteen episode drama, that the main character finally learns that the villain even exists. Writer Lee Dae-il-I is also fairly liberated- he no longer has to come up with convoluted explanations for how Hye-seong is able to commit such horrible crimes without anyone noticing. Lucky thing his plan of hanging out with Hyeon-ji until her memory relapse actually worked...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Good Wife" Episode 16 Final

2016/08/29 | | Permalink

Joong-won and Hye-kyeong engage Tae-joon and his team in a final battle which tests everyone's character and most of all Joong-won's. It also tests his relationship with Hye-kyeong as well as her own resolve and confidence. The ending of "The Good Wife" is not what many will expect and the teasing for a possible second season is clear. Unfortunately, the series fails to make that teasing appropriate for its story thus far...More

[HanCinema's Box Office Review] 2016.08.26 ~ 2016.08.28

2016/08/29 | | Permalink

The "Tunnel" enjoys its third weekend at the top of the pile...

Kim Seong-hun's action thriller "Tunnel" enjoyed a third straight weekend at the top of Korean box office this past weekend by attracting 665,351 admissions (20.8%). "Tunnel", Kim's third film after "A Hard Day" (2013) and "How the Lack of Love Affects Two Men" (2006), is based on So Jae-won's novel of the same name and stars Ha Jeong-woo, Bae Doona and Oh Dal-soo. The film has sold 6.2 million admissions and is currently the sixth highest-grossing film released in Korea this year...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Incarnation of Jealousy" Episode 2

2016/08/28 | | Permalink

The tone of "Incarnation of Jealousy" continues to be unusual as the drama takes on workplace romance and employee issues, themes of family, and humor that seamlessly flows in and out of the serious.

Lee Mi-sook as Gye Seong-sook and Park Ji-yeong as Bang Ja-yeong are part of what make the constant shift in tone so successful...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Uncontrollably Fond" Episode 16

2016/08/28 | | Permalink

"Uncontrollably Fond" is heading into its last two weeks and with that comes revelations for our main characters. Joon-young's cancer is discovered by Eul, but their relationship woes do not dissipate with that knowledge. There are others still in the dark, and even more people battling for power with blades of knowledge and money.

The most fully developed character is Eul...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Good Wife" Episode 15

2016/08/27 | | Permalink

We are almost at the end of "The Good Wife", which looks like it will be a typical fight against an antagonist we have been expecting to take on the part for a long time. Tae-joon is determined to destroy Joong-won and while Hye-kyeong is happy with her decision, she faces problems at work in addition to Tae-joon's wrath. As we approach the final hour, the show's good and bad points become more pronounced...More

[HanCinema's Drama Preview] "Fantastic"

2016/08/27 | | Permalink

"Terminal illness" and "comedy" do not exactly seem to match outside of the black comedy genre, yet Dramaland keeps trying to make it happen. Unfortunately, it usually fails. Even so, "Fantastic" is another drama which promises laughs and fluffy romance, along with great female friendship and other interesting concepts. The series does have promise and if it succeeds where many others have failed, it will be a pleasant surprise...More

[HanCinema's Feature] "An Overview of the Korean Film Industry"

2016/08/27 | | Permalink

To understand what the South Korean film industry is first you need to understand what film industries are in general. They are, in short, profitable enterprises designed to make money. That's a decidedly unglamorous description of a field that prides itself on making "art", but it's the cold hard truth. Hollywood, as a concept, only exists because a century ago the United States had a large, growing market for films. This made it possible for scale escalation and big budget movies. Most other countries with strong domestic film industries (India, Japan, and increasingly China) have the same advantage. Their domestic markets are so large it's easy to recoup production expenses...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "Super Origin"

2016/08/27 | | Permalink

Director Back Seung-kee of "Super Virgin", while making that movie, read a lot of magazine articles about the origin of human life and decided he could make a low budget movie about that. I'm not being facetious. This is literally what happens for the first several scenes of "Super Origin". It's like Back Seung-kee knew full well it was a really stupid idea but having managed to receive funding, well, would you pass up the chance to do location shooting in Thailand and Nepal?...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "Bling"

2016/08/27 | | Permalink

In the future humans have dedicated robotic companions to assist them with every possible task. In the case of the hero and villain of "Bling", that task is to make an excessively gaudy marriage proposal. And that right there, is where "Bling" starts to go wrong. So wrong, in fact, that the robotic companions themselves constantly comment on how their assigned task is really stupid, and the villain's robot eventually goes into a full on mental breakdown because he's that sick of the actual plot...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "Kai - Animation"

2016/08/27 | | Permalink

Imagine a beautifully animated fairy tale world that takes its visual inspiration from the steppes of Mongolia. From there, take the basic tropes in fairy tales and rearrange them somewhat. Villagers are nomadic by necessity to escape the harshness of winter, which takes on the physical form of a witch. Incapable of creation, the witch takes advantage of a disaster to claim possession of a lost child. She maintains power over this child less through her ice magic and more through emotional manipulation...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Cinema Snippets

2016/08/27 | | Permalink

North Korea slams "Operation Chromite" as anti-Pyongyang propaganda, KOBIZ talks to director Lee Kyoung-mi talks about her second feature ("The Truth Beneath"), 'Ragin Ronan' reviews Korea's biggest film of the year on YouTube, and is North Korea the perfect place to shoot a science fiction film?...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Food Lovers' Lane

2016/08/27 | | Permalink

A North Korean becomes the first defector "Master Chef", learn how to make spicy pork bulgogi with My Korea Kitchen, Robin Ha's cookbook combines recipes with her love of comics, and cook your favourite South Korean dishes at home with "Our Korean Kitchen"...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Travel Bug Bites

2016/08/27 | | Permalink

The Korea Herald gives us a heads up on some of the latest art and entertainment events, Travel Dave shares experiences of traveling around Seoul, Ellie investigates how easy it is for vegans in South Korea to fill up, and Hannah Hickok goes on a "beauty hunt" around Seoul...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Culture Corner

2016/08/27 | | Permalink

Take a look forward to the PyeongChang Winter Olympics, see how spicy cabbage helped power the Korean Wave, My Korean Husband shares some intercultural confessions, and is enough Korean literature being translated?...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Photography and Art

2016/08/27 | | Permalink

Artsy speaks to a B.G. Kuhn about curating an exhibition on contemporary North Korean art, see one artist's stunning paintings of traditional Korea, a veteran South Korean sports photography is honoured, and enjoy some symmetrical and powerful photographs of Korea's many bridges...More

[HanCinema's Korea Diaries] "Gangneung" August 1st-4th

2016/08/26 | | Permalink

Taking pictures with random objects is a bit of a tourist tradition in South Korea. For all I know it's like that everywhere, but this is the only place I've seen it so much firsthand. While I'm pretty sure this thing is just some random abstract art piece at the front of Gyeongpo Beach (경포대), as far as most people are concerned, it's a photo opportunity...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Incarnation of Jealousy" Episode 1

2016/08/25 | | Permalink

After the massive disputes over where "Incarnation of Jealousy" would live, it has finally found its home in SBS and has begun its twenty-four episode run in quite a lively fashion. Jo Jeong-seok and Lee Hwa-sin and Kong Hyo-jin as Pyo Na-ri already have amazing chemistry together and I appreciate having two veterans in main roles. The drama wastes no time in laying down the groundwork for the drama's tone, characters, and competitive broadcasting environment...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "W" Episode 11

2016/08/25 | | Permalink

The "Real" world in "W" is starting to resemble a horror story. Granted, all there really is to worry about is Seong-moo's freaky make-up and the whole hands popping through computer screens issue, but even that is more than enough to get across that the situation is legitimately scary. Even if, as Yeon-joo quickly discovers, these are actually relatively easy problems to overcome as long as she keeps her wits about her...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "W" Episode 10

2016/08/24 | | Permalink

The production team in "W" is able to get quite a bit of mileage out of just looking at scenes from a new angle. It helps that the most dynamic scenes in "W" are so crazy and out there they're no less shocking the second time around. Even so, those of you wondering just how it is that the villain got so powerful there's a surprisingly convincing logistical explanation for that. It's little wonder that we didn't think of it, since Seong-moo forgot too and he's the one who writes this stuff...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Uncontrollably Fond" Episode 15

2016/08/24 | | Permalink

The major focus of the drama has been on the push and pull between Joon-young and Eul and that focus detracts greatly from the other supposedly large conflicts floating about. Those conflicts could potentially give rise to interesting explorations of the darker side of humanity so often highlighted in melodrama. Unfortunately, "Uncontrollably Fond" falls short of fulfilling those conflicts....More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Bring It On, Ghost" Episode 14

2016/08/23 | | Permalink

I rather like "Bring It On, Ghost" when it's just about Bong-pal and Hyeon-ji hanging out trying to get the hang of the hold ghost fighting process. This episode helpfully reminds us that Hyeon-ji is by no means a helpless damsel- we've seen plenty of pictures of her in a Tae Kwon Do uniform, it's just never occurred to her that there might be a practical application to these abilities. It's also nice how Hyeon-ji inspires Bong-pal to do fun stuff like may use of Taecyeon's other job talents, and she's impressed by his sincerity...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Doctors" Episode 20 Final

2016/08/23 | | Permalink

Myeong-hoon (played by Eom Hyo-seob) has been the main antagonist of "Doctors". His character has been so thinly drawn I've never seen much point in discussing him, although in this, the final episode, I don't really have much choice. Practically the entire runtime is dedicated to Myeong-hoon getting sick and having to beg for forgiveness from Hye-jeong, not for any tangible reason, but because being at death's door Myeong-hoon's mood has taken a turn for the repentant...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Doctors" Episode 19

2016/08/22 | | Permalink

And at last we appear to have come to the real point of "Doctors"- that Hye-jeong is beautiful and perfect and everything should go her way just because. By the end of this episode we're about as close to an absolute happy ending for everyone possible without the matter being completely improbable. All the bad people get sick, and all the sick good people are well on their way to a clean recovery. Even Seo-woo gets moved to the sympathetic column, mostly for reluctantly deciding to hate her dad...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Doctors" Episode 18

2016/08/22 | | Permalink

It remains unclear the extent to which Hye-jeong's obsession with revenge is supposed to be seen as sympathetic for not. It doesn't help that Hye-jeong manages to stupidly implicate herself almost immediately in a clear unambiguous threat. Later explained context doesn't really help the situation. Co-workers aren't supposed to use that kind of language with each other no matter how much enmity there may be...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Bring It On, Ghost" Episode 13

2016/08/22 | | Permalink

As "Bring It On, Ghost" inches ever closer to the climax the various supporting characters have to awkwardly move in order to discover what viewers learned a long time ago- that Hye-seong is a very bad man who is not to be trusted. It bears repeating. Watching Myeong-cheol, Cheon-sang, Im-ran, and the detectives uncover clues would be a lot more engaging if this wasn't just stuff we already knew. Actual new information would be nice...More

[HanCinema's Box Office Review] 2016.08.19 ~ 2016.08.21

2016/08/22 | | Permalink

Local literary adaptations take the top spots...

Kim Seong-hun's action thriller "Tunnel" retained the top spot over the weekend and moved its total admissions count now to over 5 million. "Tunnel", based on So Jae-won's novel of the same name, was released on 10 August and shot to number one during its first weekend out with almost 2 million admissions. The foot traffic has tapered off since last weekend, but Kim's claustrophobic thriller was still able to maintain a clear lead by attracting more than double the stubs of its nearest competitor, another local literary adaptation...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Good Wife" Episode 14

2016/08/21 | | Permalink

Episode fourteen of "The Good Wife" has Hye-kyeong make the most important decision about her current situation. Before that, we have a reappearance by lawyer Son Dong-wook and his brazen ways. Hye-kyeong and her family get a scare when Seo-yeon disappears, which also shows Dan and Joong-won where their place in Hye-kyeong's life is right now. Tae-joon is determined to destroy Joong-won, so things are about to get bad...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Cinderella and the Four Knights" Episode 4

2016/08/21 | | Permalink

The mission continues as Ha-won tries to get the three cousins to sit down for a meal. It proves a challenge as each cousin's wounds prevents him from giving the Kang family a chance. Ha-won eventually figures out that she has to get to know them in order to try and bring them closer together. In the process, they get to know her as well. It's not the smoothest "getting-to-know-you" that ever was, but that's what gives this show it's conflict.

The three cousins are showing interest in her...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Good Wife" Episode 13

2016/08/21 | | Permalink

Hye-kyeong's brother, Kim Sae-byeok makes a surprise visit in episode thirteen of "The Good Wife" and brings things to light with his presence, including Hye-kyeong's feelings about her situation. Tae-joon lets Ji-hoon know why he is living separately and the boy struggles with the information. Meanwhile, Joon-ho is back and working with Tae-joon in a case which pits them against Hye-kyeong and where the person she is defending looks guilty...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Cinderella and the Four Knights" Episode 3

2016/08/21 | | Permalink

This is the episode where Ha-won and the three princes of Sky House are thrown together and forced to get used to each other by sheer proximity, and because of a mission passed down by CEO Kang. The princes flesh out their stereotypes, but still are not much more than their textbook definition. Where progress is made is in how Ha-won slowly learns about each prince. "Cinderella and the Four Knights" still very much seems like a live action shoujo/girl-aged manga, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. It's light-hearted, cute, and is a great way to pass the time.

A character I haven't given much attention to is Yoon-sung, CEO Kang's right-hand man who executes his will and attempts to help Ha-won manage the rogue cousins...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "38 Revenue Collection Unit"

2016/08/20 | | Permalink

Tax evasion might not sound exciting, but any concept can be turned into a wild and entertaining ride with the right people involved. "38 Revenue Collection Unit" chooses to tell such a story in a more dramatic form and its talented cast and crew manage it mostly well. Nevertheless, the drama sadly crumbles under the weight of some major problems at times, which makes it hard to love.

Baek Seong-il (Ma Dong-seok) is a good-natured and honorable tax collector who does his best to keep his team going and collect taxes fairly. Yang Jeong-do (Seo In-guk) is a con artist with a painful past and big plans for the future...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "Run-Off"

2016/08/20 | | Permalink

The year is 2002. Don't tell director Kim Jong-hyeon that, though- minimal effort is made at having "Run-off" actually look like 2002. Anachronisms in the set design include Angry Birds and cell phones capable of producing usable video. Anyway, the plot. Dae-woong (played by Oh Dal-soo) is putting together an ice hockey team for the 2003 Asian Games. Chief among the recruits is North Korean defector Ji-won (played by Soo-ae). The team undergoes rigorous bonding and training in the hopes of pulling off an inspiring victory...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "Power Battle Watchcar: Blazing Race"

2016/08/20 | | Permalink

In a world not too different than our own, people do not own pets, but rather semi-sentient miniature cars. As "Power Battle Watchcar: Blazing Race" is based on a franchise aimed squarely at children, these miniature cars are inevitably used to engage in high stakes tournament style combat showdowns between middle school students, who do also do normal middle school student stuff like obsess over romantic crushes...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "The Scent of Love"

2016/08/20 | | Permalink

While on the subway young college student In-ha (played by Park Hae-il) witnesses a curious sight- Hee-jae (played by the late Jang Jin-yeong) takes the lead in getting a passed out drunkard to sit up, so a pregnant woman can sit down. It's an act of kindness that's striking precisely because Hee-jae isn't expecting any kind of reward for her good deed. Her sole motivation is a desire to be a decent human being who takes a stand for moral principle no matter how uncomfortable or even dangerous the situation may be. Hee-jae's chrysanthemum scent is, to In-ha, "The Scent of Love"...More

[HanCinema's Korea Diaries] "Gangneung" July 28th-31st

2016/08/20 | | Permalink

On the northeastern coast of South Korea lies Gangneung. Though not heavily populated, Gangneung is easily reachable from most bus terminals in South Korea by virtue of its proximity to the ocean. I went to Gangneung in anticipation of the Jeongdongjin outdoor film festival and my time in the city was marked by constant ceaseless wandering, Sure there's a pretty big beach, but by and large the center Gangneung is your standard urban area. And at this time of year it's murderously hot even at night...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Cinema Snippets

2016/08/20 | | Permalink

The Hollywood Reporter picks actor Lee Byung-hun's brain in New York, KOBIZ's new infographic puts "Train to Busan"'s success into perspective, discover five modern Korean films that play at your heartstrings, and did you know works of romance were once banned in North Korea?...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Food Lovers' Lane

2016/08/20 | | Permalink

Judy Joo talks about her book on Korean cooking ("Korean Food Made Simple"), discover why North Korea has better beer and why that's changing, My Korean Kitchen has an easy recipe for making delicious honey citron tea, and are insects and worms coming soon to a Korean menu near you?...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Travel Bug Bites

2016/08/20 | | Permalink

Discover two "outrageous" attractions in Korea tourists can't get enough of, take a look inside Korea's massive "Taekwondo Town", The Discovery Seoul Pass will ensure you get the most bang for your buck in Seoul, and Adventure Korea makes it easy for visitors to have the time of their lives...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Culture Corner

2016/08/20 | | Permalink

My Korean Husband shows us the funny side of cultural differences and relationships in a cute webcomic, Next Shark digs deeper into the history behind one of Korea's most popular surnames, find out more about the wonderful and influential world of K-pop, and The Korea Times highlights the difference in perspective when it comes to the country's socio-economic future...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Photography and Art

2016/08/20 | | Permalink

Hear how artist Haegue Yang is passionately unconventional in her approach to her work-life, The Korea Herald has a packed arts and entertainment calendar to diarise, learn more about the history of pottery in Korea, and photographer Lee Myoung-ho captures space-time his own way...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Wanted" Episode 16 Final

2016/08/19 | | Permalink

Hye-in, Seung-in and his team as well as the "Wanted" production crew prepare for one last show and one last effort to get Ham Tae-seob and SG Group for their wrongdoings. Joon-goo goes into a search for the nurse who might have Dr. Kim Bong-joon's research on the harmful nature of SG's germicide. This has been a long struggle and none have suffered more than SG's victims, who offer their support in this final show...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Uncontrollably Fond" Episode 14

2016/08/19 | | Permalink

This episode really touches on the plays of power. Money buys power. Health allows one to wield power. Friendship helps to guide power. Connections manipulate power. These concepts are neither new to the show or to the workings of society, but they are highlighted in ways that force the characters to act. Most of the same ol' shenanigans continue throughout this episode and leave me with little to talk about.

Joon-young waffles between living by his standards of guilt, or by the pull of his love for Eul...More

[HanCinema's Korea Diaries] "Bucheon" July 26th-27th

2016/08/19 | | Permalink

I first saw festival director Park Jae-dong on the Busan red carpet. At the time I was baffled as to why such an important person was wearing a Batman costume. That question was cleared up at the opening ceremony for the Bucheon International Comics Festival (부천국제만화축제). The Batman costume is actually a kind of prop intended to imply that Park Jae-dong has supernatural powers which, among other things, allow him to give commands to a gigantic animatronic robot. Ceremony mingled with the weird as the program jumped between robot skits and award ceremonies...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "W" Episode 9

2016/08/18 | | Permalink

My main takeaway from "W" at this point is that good writing is hard. Much like the last time Cheol tried to "solve" the problems created by Seong-woo's inability to finish the story in a convincing, compelling fashion, this time too we're left with a resolution that's just kind of...blech. In a lot of ways this is a problem with the serial detective format in general. If the main character devotes all of his energy to solving episodic crimes with no progression in the main plot, it's pretty inevitable that the final personal backstory case is going to be a letdown...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Uncontrollably Fond" Episode 13

2016/08/18 | | Permalink

"Uncontrollably Fond" has one goal: keep the tension high. Two major secrets are fueling that tension, the truth about Joon-young's health and the truth surrounding his birth. All other tensions stem from that and other similar secrets. Scenes and action wades through problems caused by these secrets while Eul remains a plucky heroine despite Joon-young's treatment of her.

Eul is convinced that Joon-young still loves her, and she would be right...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "W" Episode 8

2016/08/17 | | Permalink

The shrouded static villain is weirdly sympathetic in a way, because its entire existence is the arbitrary creation of a Godlike figure who never bothered to impart any meaningful personality traits onto his creation. I can't help but see this character as being the personification of fan rage. Sure, we've only been watching "W" for seven episodes, but the in-universe fanbase has been waiting years only to be suddenly told that plot arc isn't going to end because now the story's a romance...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Wanted" Episode 15

2016/08/17 | | Permalink

The penultimate episode of "Wanted" takes a look at the past and Ham Tae-yeong's involvement in the SG Group conspiracy. A lot of questions are answered and Hye-in discovers the reason why she carries some responsibility. This revelation feels rather unconvincing and certain important things remain unknown, but will hopefully be resolved in the finale. Joon-goo's tape might be the last piece of the puzzle and Dong-wook is the man who can assemble it...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Bring It On, Ghost" Episode 12

2016/08/16 | | Permalink

A major pivot takes "Bring It On, Ghost" away from ghost fighting as the dramatic emphasis shifts to when and how Hyeon-ji will recover her memories. For Bong-pal the course of action is a simple one- of course he loves her, and is infinitely relieved to discover that Hyeon-ji was in a coma all along. It does take an irritatingly long time for Bong-pal to actually find out what's going on with Hyeon-ji, but the scenes we get when that finally happens are fairly sweet...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Cinderella and the Four Knights" Episode 2

2016/08/16 | | Permalink

"Cinderella and the Four Knights"'s second episode is more introduction because we need to get Cinderella into the palace. In order to do that, the story beats to the ground with birth secrets, money woes, and contentious interactions with the three Kang cousins of Sky House. The cousins have no easy go at things either as their CEO Chaebol Granddaddy uses his money to buy their obedience. This is most likely going to be a theme and I have a feeling Cinderella will not only change the hearts of the cousins, but of their grandfather as well...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Cinderella and the Four Knights" Episode 1

2016/08/16 | | Permalink

Pre-produced, manhwa-based "Cinderella and the Four Knights" is everything one would expect out of a fairytale inspired drama. It's a mix of the classic Cinderella, a bit of hardworking Candy, and a whole lot of typical drama tropes with chaebol grandfather's, monster inheritances, some fine acting, and some mediocre acting.

I come at this drama not having read the source material, the manhwa by Baek Myo begun in 2011. HanCinema readers, if you have, please chime in and let me know what you think!...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Bring It On, Ghost" Episode 11

2016/08/15 | | Permalink

As expected, Hyeon-ji is not able to escape from Bong-pal for all that long. Actually Hyeon-ji isn't very good at avoiding Hye-seong either, which is especially silly since at least Bong-pal can guess where Hyeon-ji might be hiding. Hye-seong has quickly turned into the big sour point of "Bring It On, Ghost" for me. He's a villain that succeeds, not through being powerful or competent, but by being the beneficiary of dumb luck and some very disturbingly disinterested bystanders...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Doctors" Episode 17

2016/08/15 | | Permalink

Right away we get a reasonably full and clear explanation of just what happened to Hye-jeong's grandmother in surgery so long ago. The outcome of this scene left me a little confused. The surgical team screwed up. That much has never been in doubt. But they reacted poorly in the face of an unanticipated situation. While such failures are bad, they're also fairly inevitable. Doctors are only human after all. This is something Hye-jeong herself knows all too well, what with being put under disciplinary review for having committed a different kind of error...More

[HanCinema's Box Office Review] 2016.08.12 ~ 2016.08.14

2016/08/15 | | Permalink

"Tunnel" dethrones "The Last Princess" and takes the crown...

Kim Seong-hun's action thriller "Tunnel" arrived last week and managed to capture 40% of box office pie and dislodge "The Last Princess" at the top of the pile. Last weekend Heo Jin-ho's historical melodrama (aka "Princess Deokhye") attracted 1.1 million filmgoers across 964 screens to take pole position; despite following that good opening with another 966,862 admissions here (21%), which moved its total tally now to 3.5 million ($25.6 million), Heo's latest was forced into second place after the "Tunnel" arrived on the scene and attracted 1.8 million admissions ($13.8 million) from 1,091 screens...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Good Wife" Episode 12

2016/08/14 | | Permalink

Hye-kyeong's problems never seem to end and now she has the additional one of her monster-in-law meddling and trying to turn her children against their mother. Hye-kyeong seeks legal advice about the situation and decides to address it personally as well. Dan finally reveals her feelings and thoughts before taking drastic steps to address her current situation. Tae-joon starts investigating Joong-won and Hye-kyeong makes a decision about her relationship with both men...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Good Wife" Episode 11

2016/08/14 | | Permalink

The new information Hye-kyeong has been given proves to be just the thing to shake her back into placing her family and herself first. She has no time to deal with Dan yet, as she needs to explain the current situation to her children. Hye-kyeong's resolve and composure are further tested when she meets a formidable opponent in court and push her to a choice which might lead her astray...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Uncontrollably Fond" Episode 12

2016/08/13 | | Permalink

Some secrets find their way to the surface, but rather than bringing relief, they create more tension and send other secrets further into hiding. All four of our romantic leads are experiencing loads of pain in the form of betrayal, heartache, and the physical as they become aware of each other and are forced into very awkward confontations.

The intrigue of "Uncontrollably Fond" lies in intricate web of lies and relationships...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "The Last Princess"

2016/08/13 | | Permalink

The year is 1962. Jang-han (played by Park Hae-il) is working as a reporter in South Korea, having managed to survive the last fifty-odd years of brutal repression. With the normalization of relations with Japan, Jang-han is at long last able to investigate what happened to his childhood friend Princess Deokhye (played by Son Ye-jin). The last survivor of the Joseon dynasty, Princess Deokhye suffered the worst fate possible for royal blood- she had to watch helplessly as her country was destroyed...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "Tunnel"

2016/08/13 | | Permalink

Jeong-soo (played by Ha Jeong-woo) is a normal husband and father who briefly gets waylaid by bad service at a gas station. Little does Jeong-soo realize that he is in a movie called "Tunnel", and that irony of ironies, bad service at the gas station probably ended up saving Jeong-soo's life in the form of an extra free bottle of water. Once trapped in the "Tunnel", all of a sudden every random object that happened to be in Jeong-soo's car takes on disproportionate importance...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "Mr. Cowper" and "The Best Director" and "Where Mermaids Go"

2016/08/13 | | Permalink

"Mr. Cowper"

So apparently there was this doctor named William Cowper for whom several important parts of the human anatomy are named- principally the Cowper glands, and also Cowper's fluid, which is pre-ejaculate fluid. Why someone would want to name pre-ejaculate fluid after themselves is quite beyond me. Anyway, In-ae (played by Lee You-young) is convinced that she's pregnant. Her boyfriend Min-goo (played by Jang Won-hyeong) is not taking the situation seriously, in part due to his childish personality, but also because Cowper's fluid tends to have a very low sperm count...More

[HanCinema's Korea Diaries] "Bucheon" July 24th-25th

2016/08/13 | | Permalink

The Bucheon B-boy International Championships (부천 세계 비보이 대회) were held from July 22nd to July 24th this year, overlapping with the early part of the Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival. They were also conveniently located right next to one of the screening venues, at Bucheon Station (부천역). Alas, I was not able to figure this out until the last day. That much is a real shame, because how often does a person get the chance to watched masked violinists breakdance the night away?...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Cinema Snippets

2016/08/13 | | Permalink

Kim Ki-duk takes on God and war in his first Chinese-language film, Jason Bechervaise reviews Lee Jae-han's "Operation Chromite" for Screen Daily, The Hollywood Reporter gives us some context for Lee's latest wartime blockbuster, and find out what films have grossed the most this year with KOBIZ...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Food Lovers' Lane

2016/08/13 | | Permalink

A travel blogger hits the markets in Seoul in search of the capital's best street food, My Korean Kitchen has steps for making a simple sausage snack, see what Korea's athletes are eating in Sao Paulo, and learn to make Korean food with a cute comic book...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Travel Bug Bites

2016/08/13 | | Permalink

Explore some of Korea's stunning parks, find out why Suwon is attracting more and more tourists, Trazy has the inside track on traveling by train in Korea, and Alexa Villano takes us inside one of Korea's quirkier cafes...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Culture Corner

2016/08/13 | | Permalink

See how the (soft-) power of Korea's popular cultural helps drive the Korean Wave, organizations campaign to stem the country's smoking culture, hear what it's like to be a Muslim in Korea, and learn how Korea's drinking culture is also an important part of building personal and professional relationships...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Photography and Art

2016/08/13 | | Permalink

In Korea you can get a photorealistic figurine made of yourself, The Creators Projects features illustrator/Instagrammer Lee Kyutae, hit the streets of Busan to discover some the city's brilliant street art, and The Korea Times covers Kim Soo-ja's tactile exhibition at the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Seoul...More

[HanCinema's Korea Diaries] "Bucheon" July 22nd-23rd

2016/08/12 | | Permalink

In South Korea, at least, mid-large size film festivals are usually accompanied by a lot of concerts. Initially I was puzzled by this emphasis, but as I've been to more and more of these film festivals I've come to appreciate the sheer exhilaration of the crowd whenever a band passionately takes to the stage for the sole purpose of rocking out. This particular band, by the way, is Romantic Punch, who so far as I can tell are pretty obsessive about their road trips...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Uncontrollably Fond" Episode 11

2016/08/11 | | Permalink

This episode focused on the mother's: Joon-young's mother and Ji-tae's mother. While the majority of the hour was spent on dredging up the past and repeating mistakes that should've been learned from, we clearly see the motivations behind some characters that remained opaque until now.

Highlighting the weaknesses that have plagued Joon-young's mother's character, this episode finally delved into the reasoning behind her poor treatment of her son...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "W" Episode 7

2016/08/10 | | Permalink

A disproportionate amount of energy in "W" is spent on writer Song Jae-jeong justifying her own story. Well, technically Yeon-joo is the one rationalizing why Cheol's story needs to continue, but the script in "W" constantly feels like Song Jae-jeong laying out her own scriptwriting process bare for us all to see. And yes, Kang Cho-yun is in fact a real person who really did compete at the Olympics once upon a time. Wherever Kang Cho-yun is today, I imagine she's rather bewildered that her name has come up in pop culture now all of a sudden...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Doctors" Episode 16

2016/08/09 | | Permalink

Upon further reflection the various spotlighted patients do in fact have some relation to the personal stories of the main doctors in "Doctors". It's just hard to tell because the timing is always so disjointed, and the doctors don't show any indication that the patients' stories have relevance to their own lives until pretty much the last possible minute. I was with Hye-jeong when Ji-hong was making the big announcement. Sure, I can appreciate the thought, but from Hye-jeong's perspective it really did come out of nowhere...More

[HanCinema's Event Coverage] KCON LA 2016 Saturday Concert Review + Poster Giveaway

2016/08/09 |