[HanCinema's Film Review] "Train to Busan" 2016/08/06,
The first zombie to show up in "Train to Busan" comes from a rather unexpected place, and is creepy in a way zombies seldom are, although in retrospect the idea is so obvious it's a wonder no one thought of it sooner. That's the general prevading sentiment behind "Train to Busan". By cutting out the usual pointless worldbuilding and focusing on a small group of relatable characters in a disaster situation, writer/director Yeon Sang-ho creates an astonishingly powerful piece of film. "Train to Busan" is both thrilling in the traditional action blockbuster sense as well as thought-provoking in the "what would you do?" vein,...More
A Stranger in My House! Yoo Hyeon-sook once again gets a Live-Action Drama! 2016/07/16,
Image: SpottoonYoo Hyeon-sook, the Queen of Korean Dramas, will now get her third new live-action drama, inspired by her webtoon, 'A Stranger in My House', which is a completed comedy webtoon consisting of a total of 60 episodes.
"Back to her hometown after her mother's death, Nari meets her new 'step' dad, who she never knew about, and he's younger than her! Things go out of hand as they start living together but with an unexpected help of her new 'dad' there develops a bond that is stronger than anything",...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Hogu's Love" 2015/04/18,
The rise of cable television has also marked the increase in freedom of expression for drama creators. Especially paid channels which are not freely available to the public can handle topics which might be considered "morally harmful" for public television networks and therefore be censored more strictly. 'Hogu's Love' is a series which features a lot of major societal taboo topics and combined with tvN's signature romantic comedy style, it explores them in a refreshing and heartfelt manner,...More
Choi Woo-sik, "I enjoyed the intimacy with Seulong" 2015/04/08, Source, "Hogu's Love" dealt with sensitive matters in society such as single mothers, homosexuality and rape. Choi Woo-sik even worried about the scenario in which Do Do-hee (played by UEE) gets raped and has a baby.
"I wondered how the viewers would take it in. The writer and producer also worried a lot about this part. It was shocking for me too. I was also worried about how Ho-goo would accept this truth about Do-hee",...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Hogu's Love" Episode 16 Final 2015/03/31,
It should come as little surprise that for the final episode "Hogu's Love" goes for the obnoxious sitcom antics that have characterized the bulk of the drama's run rather than the emotional heart that's been far more lacking lately. The first segment of the episode is devoted to the immensely creepy plan by Hogu and friends to get him back together with Do-hee. Seriously? It's supposed to be reassuring that they deliberately trick Do-hee into thinking she's a homewrecker?,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Hogu's Love" Episode 15 2015/03/30,
The obnoxious narrative dip into melodrama "Hogu's Love" has taken over the last several episodes is justified here by...another narrative dip into melodrama that's supposed to explain Do-hee's motivation, but really just served to remind me how she's a complete cipher. For a character to behave irrationally isn't necessarily bad- there's irrational people in real life too. But these problems exist on a basic scriptwriting level too, and mainly just emphasize the way this story is deliberately designed to serve a certain point. That point being that rape babies are a gift from god,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Hogu's Love" Episode 14 2015/03/24,
The episode opens up with two important clarifications to two relatively important tertiary characters. While it's nice for matters to be made transparent, I can't help but continue to feel irritated that almost all of the energy in "Hogu's Love" is dedicated to having characters explain things to each other. This is especially true given that the big plot twist this time isn't even that relevant. We could have learned the true circumstances of Do-hee's pregnancy several episodes ago, and it would have changed absolutely nothing save that there would have been more time to actually build up the romance that's threatened by the cliffhanger,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Hogu's Love" Episode 13 2015/03/23,
Apparently Do-hee has always had a problem with refusing to clarify misunderstandings for no good reason. While this is still a terribly annoying character trait, "Hogu's Love" does get credit here for finally treating it as a bad thing. The emotional climax of this episode features Hogu giving Do-hee a serious piece of his mind. And while Hogu does inevitably feel bad for being such a jerk, Do-hee really did need the wake-up call. Saying "you didn't ask" isn't an acceptable justification when Do-hee responds to most questions with either misleading obfuscations or indignant bullying (usually it's both),...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Hogu's Love" Episode 12 2015/03/17,
The mystery behind the parentage of Do-hee's baby is mostly unveiled, and with that the narrative function of her character can now be easily identified. Do-hee is a melodrama protagonist. She's a basically good person who has run into some outrageous misfortunes. Do-hee is trying to do the right thing even if her self-confidence is trying. It would appear that all of the scenes we've seen so far of Do-hee's emotional vulnerability were not the woman acknowledging her own flaws, but rather Do-hee just being too hard on herself in the face of emotional crises,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Hogu's Love" Episode 11 2015/03/16,
The opening of this episode is in a completely serious mode. Hogu has figured out how Do-hee located the adoptive parents, and promptly calls her out for believing in an obvious scam. It's a fairly strong scene. Do-hee's forced to come to terms with her own hopelessly wishful thinking, and Hogu is attacked for having such a high emotional stake in a situation that really doesn't concern him. Then, in a scene so short you'll miss it by blinking, they get the baby back,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Hogu's Love" Episode 10 2015/03/10,
Now that Kang-cheol has been all but definitively cleared in terms of not being the baby's father, I'm increasingly unsure what purpose he's actually supposed to be serving in the story. Most of this episode is just comedic hijinx at Kang-cheol's obvious expense. If he was the father I could call this just desserts. As stands, though, "Hogu's Love" is just acting kind of mean. Contrary to what was implied earlier on it looks like Kang-cheol is only involved with this case at all because he, too, has an unresolved emotional attachment to the baby's real father,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Hogu's Love" Episode 9 2015/03/09,
I've gone from loving this drama to hating it to now just being kind of continually perplexed. And this is pretty much entirely because of Do-hee. I keep wondering what exactly she would have done if Hogu hadn't bullied his way into helping her. Do-hee acts, in several scenes quite explicitly, like other people should just help her for no apparent reason. Her apologies especially come off as rather hollow, mainly because Do-hee has to struggle to even remember she's supposed to apologize in the first place,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Hogu's Love" Episode 8 2015/03/03,
This time "Hogu's Love" tries to hit the middle ground between the absurdity of last episode and the profundity of the drama's opening sets. The effect is somewhat mixed, mostly because this episode is filler. One character learns an essential part of the story background- and that's really about it. Do-hee has a huge emotional epiphany at the end, but it's not completely clear why,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Hogu's Love" Episode 7 2015/03/02,
My last review for "Hogu's Love" was a bit harsh. It's not that I think my opinion was wrong so much as my expectations were probably unfair. First and foremost, "Hogu's Love" is a comedy. While the drama does have its moments of emotional tenderness those aren't the main selling point. As if to provide a pointed reminder of this fact, the entire first half of this episode is just Kang-cheol in apparently irrelevant flashback mode,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Hogu's Love" Episode 6 2015/02/24,
The good news is that we find out Do-hee's motivation for keeping the baby. The bad news is that her motivation is horrifically naive and idealistic magical thinking. The worst news is that "Hogu's Love" is expecting us to think that Do-hee has somehow made a noble choice. Do-hee opens up about her reasons to the one character most likely to call her out on being selfish and short-sighted- and he fails to do so. To the contrary, this man agrees to help Do-hee when only a few scenes prior he'd been wailing in agony because Do-hee really, truly has managed to make a huge mess of everything for more people than she could possibly know,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Hogu's Love" Episode 5 2015/02/23,
As per the format we've seen thus far, Hogu starts out all happy-go-lucky, elated by recent events, until the reality of Do-hee brings him down a peg. Up until now I haven't minded Do-hee's unlikability so much because it seemed like we were going to get some character growth. But...I have to admit that after this episode, I have my doubts. In the first place it's a bit annoying that the big insult ends up being both unintentional and illogical. I eat those snacks all the time, and they cool down pretty fast,...More
[HanCinema's Drama First Look] "Hogu's Love" 2015/02/21,
It is difficult to pinpoint what gives a work a heart. Perhaps one way to look at it is that works made to entertain are about facing your audience and asking "How can I make them like me?", while works made to tell a story are about asking "How can I say something worth saying?". The latter will, if handled by talented people, reach viewers in a way being preoccupied with fleeting pleasures and manufactured investment will not. 'Hogu's Love' is so far telling a story and has made one impressive start at it,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Hogu's Love" Episode 4 2015/02/17,
To date, the obvious explanation for Do-hee's reckless decision to bring a child into the world is that she just wanted a salve for her own loneliness. Hogu inadvertently discovers here that her motivation is actually quite different- and even more sad. Up until now I thought that Do-hee at least understood she was unhappy, but the poor woman hasn't even figured out that much. No wonder the episode ends with Hogu's pathetic sobbing,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Hogu's Love" Episode 3 2015/02/16,
We open up with the exciting hook from the cliffhanger. Then it's straight to Hogu losing his marbles after a violent altercation at the squid shop. Very tantalizing, "Hogu's Love"- avoiding the interesting material to mess around in flashbacks (and flashbacks in flashbacks), just whetting viewer interest all the more for some actual exposition regarding the relationship between Hogu and Do-hee. Well, I can forgive that actually, for two reasons. In the first place, the framing device sets up a lot of funny jokes,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Hogu's Love" Episode 2 2015/02/10,
There's not really much to explain about Do-hee. The woman has cruised through most of her life by using confidence and competence to intimidate people into following her orders. That's why she's so outrageously attractive to men. So it should come as little surprise that her ex-boyfriend Kang-cheol (played by Seulong) shares most of Do-hee's personality traits. That romance probably seemed like a much better idea before they realized a relationship can only have one dictator. And even that's one too many,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Hogu's Love" Episode 1 2015/02/09,
Do-hee (played by UEE) is a professional swimmer in a real grumpy mood. We don't find out why she's in a grumpy mood until near the end of the episode, because amazingly, the advertising team behind "Hogu's Love" has managed to hide an essential part of the premise. In retrospect it actually manages to seem pretty obvious, but all the same, watch this episode ignorant if at all possible,...More
Lee Si-eon in "Hogu's Love" 2015/02/08, Source, Lee Si-eon in the new tvN drama "Hogu's Love", is concentrating on his script in a car. He's sporting a hairstyle that will soon be the Sin Chae-yeong look.
Lee Si-eon's role of Sin Chae-yeong is a cartoon genius from heaven who debuted with a band and has been in first place for everything such as number of hits, comments and star reviews. However, he's like a fool in real life and doesn't know anything about romance,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Preview] "Hogu's Love" 2015/02/07,
TvN has made a beloved genre out of its light and youthful romantic comedies. They have humor, likable young and older stars, good production value and they offer all the things viewers love about the pure version of these dramas. 'Hogu's Love' follows the same formula of upbeat quirkiness, but switches enough things around to potentially be quite a little unique show of its own,...More
[HanCinema's Film News] New Korean Films Inbound... 2014/11/08, K-Films Coming Soon:
★★★★ "Set Me Free": A seventeen-year-old boy who grew up in a youth centre dreams of living a model life, but is angered when his father comes by to dump his sibling with him. (11/13)
★★★★ "Cart": A story of the things that happen to a non-contract employee at a supermarket after he is wrongfully dismissed and decides to stand up for it. (11/13)
★★★★ "A Dream of Iron": A visceral documentary that looks back on Korea's history of modernisation and the economic changes that occurred under President Park Jung-hee. (11/13)
★★★★ "The Youth": An omnibus film featuring five shorts about youthfulness, violence, and insensitivity by a variety of young directors. (11/13),...More
[HanCinema's Busan International Film Festival Movie Review] "Set Me Free" 2014/10/12,
Yeong-jae (Choi Woo-sik) is seventeen, and he's not actually an orphan. His parents, though they now live separately, are alive and well and Yeong-jae even has a younger brother who idolizes him. To most people this doesn't sound like the kind of familial situation that necessitates Yeong-jae live in a group home. But what's worse than that is Yeong-jae himself knows this, and as part of his constant urge to survive, he plays up his repentance and fear at every possible opportunity to keep from getting kicked out,...More
[HanCinema's Actor Spotlight] Choi Woo-sik 2014/08/30,
Dramaland is always looking for stars. Whether new ones it tries to elevate to that status or already existing ones with the power to bring audiences, popularity trumps all when it comes to the Korean drama industry. Choi Woo-sik does not have the qualities the industry likes for its stars, but he has made his career so far by being someone who always manages to entertain, even if his roles are secondary. Often on the geeky or comic relief side, but not limited to it, his characters shape a likable image and capture the attention of those watching,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Fated to Love You" Episode 10 2014/08/11,
Circumstances take a turn for the worst for the blissfully happy married couple. Although they are Happy Together, it is the world that refuses to leave them to their own devices. If it did, this wouldn't be quite as dramatic a drama. What is beautiful about this main coupling is the genuine affection between them,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Fated to Love You" Episode 3 2014/07/27,
"Fated to Love You" gets cuter by the episode. What makes it so fun is the mix of the serious and the goofy ways the characters deal with problems. The Korean drama's take also is more concise than the original, shortening some of the drawn out sequences that Taiwanese dramas prefer. This gives the show a brisk pace that suits the startling discoveries made this episode. What adds to the urgency of the pace is that the fun Geon/Mi-young pairing is not only full of chemistry, but that they are on opposite sides of a political battle,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "You're Surrounded" Episode 4 2014/05/16,
Episode 4 of "You're Surrounded" was a pleasant surprise. The pacing was excellent and the balance between the comedy, the detective work, and the character development was much improved from the past three episodes. If the rest of the show settles this nicely, "You're Surrounded" can be a great show. One of the strongest points of the episode was using the situations the rookies found themselves to highlight their growth while simultaneously forcing them to either become real detectives, or literally die. The growing process begins with the heavy fallout of the stabbing from the last episode,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Special Affairs Team TEN" (Seasons 1 and 2) 2014/03/29,
OCN's dive into the crime genre has produced a few solid shows over the last few years. Since all of them are within the investigative and crime genre, their premises are what the channel relies on to entice viewers and freshen things up. Although mostly no more than gimmicks, these features do bring another dimension to crime fighting. Han Jin Woo's fight with his past and himself ("God's Quiz"), Min Tae-yeon and his larger-than-life vampirism ("Vampire Prosecutor") etc. "Special Affairs Team TEN" is ironically not 'special' in any way. There is no real gimmick here. What this drama relies on instead is a more realistic and cold approach to crime,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Drama Festival - Save Wang Jo-Hyeon" 2013/11/14,
This drama makes a deliberate decision to cloak itself in the aura of the nineties. In short time both a very fat television and loads of VHS tapes make an appearance. These objects make for a cute few moments of nostalgia-based jokes, but it isn't long before we find out what these items actually represent in the story. Joong-Sik (played by Choi Woo-sik) is basically a child. This is forgivable, since he can't be much older than a teenager. Regardless, he still has to grow up and learn that the reality of the world isn't the fantasy he sees in television shows,...More
Korean drama of the week "The Rooftop Prince" 2012/09/27, Source,
Korean drama of the week "The Rooftop Prince" (2012) Directed by Sin Yoon-seob Written by Lee Hee-myeong Network : SBS With Micky Yoochun, Han Ji-min, Lee Tae-seong, Jeong Yoo-mi, Lee Min-ho-I, Choi Woo-sik,... 20 episodes - Wed, Thu 21:55 Synopsis Tae-mu returns to Korea alone, claiming that his cousin and future heir of the company, Tae-yong, had gone missing. Meanwhile, Kang's personal assistant Se-na runs into her long-lost step-sister Bak-ha for the first time in 20 years at her step-father's funeral. Two years after Tae-yong went missing in New York, four men dressed in Chosun era garments, fall onto Bak-ha's delivery truck. Homeless and having nowhere to go, the four men decide to stick with Bak-ha One of them claims that he is the Crown Prince of Chosun. One day, Crown Prince Yi Gak sees Bak-ha's step-sister Se-na who is the spitting image of his late Crown Princess,...More
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