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[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

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "My Secret Hotel" Episode 14

2014/10/07 | | Permalink

So Hae-yeong finally seems to be making some significant character development. Unfortunately, this character development basically involves him realizing that he's been a bit of a pig about bullying Sang-hyo into keeping up the whole marriage facade, but the marriage facade itself is the only reason these two ever have any reason to spend time together, so of course she has to talk him into keeping it up just a little while longer...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Secret Door" Episode 5

2014/10/07 | | Permalink

What makes "Secret Door" such a rich drama is how is plays up both sides of every situation and every relationship. A murder mystery that could've been solved in two episodes span five as people insert themselves into the investigation, using it to achieve their own ends. It is not only an investigation, but a political vehicle. Or the relationship between father and son. King Yeongjo loves his son as a father, but as a king he sees Seon as a threat. It's a rich dichotomy that keeps the world of "Secret Door" full of intrigue.

The twisted relationship between father and son is a favorite part of the show...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Night Watchman's Journal" Episode 19

2014/10/06 | | Permalink

Once again noble stupidity rules the day. It's not great but it's at least better than regular stupidity, since the characters do have reasons for lying to each other. Even if the reasons aren't very good, there's at least a long term deliberate effort here that shows they're thinking about the possible consequences of their actions. Now if only they could go into actual fights with that kind of mind-set...given that we've already clearly established that Sadam can't be easily killed even by a group, it's inexplicable why characters take shots at him alone this time around...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "My Secret Hotel" Episode 13

2014/10/06 | | Permalink

This episode is so heavily wrapped up in the question of Sang-hyo's love triangle it's often difficult to remember that technically there's supposed to be a lot of other stuff going on. The titular hotel itself feels less like an actual important location as it does that place where Sang-hyo goes to work. And also some people died there. Whoever the killer is I rather doubt the revelation will be an impressive one, given how much focus is given to Sang-hyo's wacky comedic antics...More

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