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[HanCinema's Drama Review] "High School - Love On" Episode 11

2014/10/10 | | Permalink

The drama moves into another holding pattern here of relatively little actually happening, as characters get angry at each other without really bothering to explain why. Not that I begrudge them for this- if adults can engage in this kind of childish bickering, of course high school students can too. The central bone of contention is Seul-bi. Interestingly Seul-bi is evasive here. It's not that she dislikes her love interests so much that they have no idea who Seul-bi really is. Nor, for that matter, does she. A visit ends up being made for Seul-bi to get a grasp on the new rules of her existence...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Secret Door" Episode 6

2014/10/10 | | Permalink

"Secret Door" is such a well-rounded show. It incorporates historical elements, moving character beats, intense character development, intricate background music, and beautiful cinematography to create a thickly textured plot fabric. We gain insight into the complex character that is King Yeongjo and into the very strictly structured palace life and politics that prevent royalty from having any kind of normal relationship.

The precarious position of "king" is what keeps Yeongjo in a state of constant fear...More

[HanCinema's Busan International Film Festival Movie Review] "Venus Talk"

2014/10/10 | | Permalink

The three leading ladies of "Venus Talk" are friends with one common interest that I can suss out- they all enjoy sex, but are ambivalent on the subject of men. It's a sympathetic enough topic with no particularly impressive solution, so they deal with the problem the best way any of us can- with jokes. And sure enough, "Venus Talk" gets quite a bit of mileage just out of sheer novelty value. Take Sin-hye (played by Uhm Jung-hwa). She's disgusted at the piggish behavior of the director with whom she has a secret romantic workplace relationship, and vents out her frustration by demanding he do a better job with close up bikini shots...More

[HanCinema's Busan International Film Festival Movie Review] "Hill of Freedom"

2014/10/10 | | Permalink

Worldwide today English is frequently used as the lingua franca among educated gentry from different countries. Do love the irony of the fact that apparently we had to borrow that term from the Italian. Anyway, while this means there's quite a few people in the world who can speak English, relatively few of them can actually speak it well, and an even greater portion end up using the language stiffly, awkwardly, and repetitively in execution, resulting in conversations that sound, well, a mite bit odd...More

[HanCinema's Busan International Film Festival Movie Review] "One on One"

2014/10/10 | | Permalink

The seven Shadows who drive all of the action in "One by One" are a diverse lot, united only by their desire to avenge a brutal, senseless murder that's mostly been covered up because the entire incident is a massive embarassment to the government that instigated it. And even this isn't a particularly unified desire. As we see more and more of their home lives, it soon becomes clear that whatever the Shadows are lashing out against, it's mostly incidental to the moral outrage they feel about a young woman being brutally murdered for no apparent reason...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Idle Mermaid" Episode 10 Final

2014/10/09 | | Permalink

The good news is that the drama ends about as well as expected given the circumstances. The bad news is...well, that's a pretty darning caveat on its own isn't it? There's nothing particularly awful about this episode, it's just that everything is very explicitly rushed. An entire romantic plotline is formed, developed, and resolved over the course of a single montage. Kind of the entire point of having a television romantic comedy is that we actually get to see this stuff unfold.

The drama also never revolves an essential mystery revolving Ha-ni's character- why she isn't more careful about water. I'm just saying, if my legs were going to turn into a tailfin if touched by water under any circumstances, I'd make a point of scoping out every possible situation that could somehow involve water and make sure to avoid them...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Night Watchman's Journal" Episode 20

2014/10/07 | | Permalink

The main characters are still having a lot of trouble with the whole work as a team thing. It should be really obvious by now that they accomplish a lot more through mutual cooperation than they do by just going it alone. For what it's worth, at least this time the success the villains have in cornering the main characters makes a bit more sense. These are actively, deliberately designed traps that the heroes can't reasonably be expected to predict. They could do a better job reactively, but at least the failures make sense.

One of the few highlights in this drama are the action scenes, mostly by virtue of the fact that they involve a decent understanding of battle logistics. I like Do-ha's whip. As presented it's not actually a violently weapon. Rather, she just uses it either to disarm or immobilize enemies, which is actually really important when ghost possessions are the main problem the characters are dealing with on a frequent basis...More

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