[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Strong Family" Episodes 19-20 2017/04/24,
Cheon-il is a good guy. One of the big riddles of "Strong Family" is that most of the time, Cheon-il has no idea how or why he is being a good guy. Sometimes the expectation game is not his fault- as is seen with the opening conflict, sometimes the more obviously beloved behavior of other people is what makes Ra-yeon start to overthink things. Elsewhere, Cheon-il's determination to see the worst of life is his biggest weakness. Poor Cheon-il. He just doesn't know how to read a room,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Strong Family" Episodes 17-18 2017/04/17,
For the first time, Cheon-il uses his tracksuit for its intended purpose- as workout clothes, in anticipation of the big company athletic competition which he ends up taking far, far too aggressively. I was a little disappointed that Cheon-il's training montage is just general athletics. It would have made for a much funnier overall joke if Cheon-il had been taking mixed martial arts lessons and his performance on the field was a result of his mis-applying those skills in the wrong context,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Strong Family" Episodes 15-16 2017/04/10,
The two main conflicts this time are, for episode fifteen, the question of how to best spend vacation time, and for episode sixteen, the question of how to deal with incrementally chaotic financial situations. As is usually the case for "Strong Family", the conflicts are defined by their relatively minor scope. These are the sorts of issues normal families have to deal with on a regular basis, so the problems are quite easy to discuss,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Strong Family" Episodes 13-14 2017/04/03,
A lot of the story in "Strong Family" is very low key. I know that the central plot of the thirteenth episode was Ra-yeon trying and inevitably becoming frustrated with her attempts to fit in to a more high class mom clique. I also know that the central plot of the fourteenth episode was Cheon-il's rather creepy fixation with the person who lives upstairs and generally irritates Ra-yeon with constant cigarette smoke. Beyond that, though, what we have are a lot of very small plots with frustratingly little development,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Strong Family" Episodes 11-12 2017/03/27,
After a couple of fairly strong episodes last week about lost dreams and obsessing over the teenage daughter's boyfriend, "Strong Family" is on weaker footing here with a storyline about annoying relatives refusing to leave the house because they're too busy gambling and annoying interns not knowing when to be quiet and stop pestering the regular employees. Or I don't know, maybe it's just me that thinks this is weaker ground, since I've never had to deal with those specific problems personally,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Strong Family" Episodes 9-10 2017/03/20,
One factor of "Strong Family" that I rather like is the way it takes on people's imaginations. See, we are limited by personal experience. So when Ra-yeon runs across an old friend by chance, she starts thinking about bygone dreams from past years. Such dreams are inevitably painted in a fairly fantastical light. We're inclined to think of acting in terms of the polished final product we see on screen, not the rather monotonous and perfection focused process that goes into it,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Strong Family" Episodes 7-8 2017/03/13,
I've been coming to accept that "Strong Family" is rather hopelessly mundane. It's just a story about an idiot dad who's always trying to desperately to be cool and failing, in various degrees. But it's because Cheon-il is always making that effort that he's an easy guy to root for. It's also still reasonably amusing how Cheon-il does occassionally manage to solve problems by accident, or says stuff so stupid that it wraps all the way around to being funny again,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Strong Family" Episodes 5-6 2017/03/06,
Baek-il (played by Bae Yoo-ram) is Cheon-il's brother, who around the house wears a matching, and equally ridiculous looking blue tracksuit to match Cheon-il's red one. Don't get too used to him though. Baek-il is an obvious temporary guest star, there to remind us about the importance of having dreams, even unambitious ones, in your early thirties. Which does thematically tie into the overall idea of "Strong Family", which is that you can extraordinary simply by being extremely ordinary,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Strong Family" Episodes 3-4 2017/02/27,
The direction in "Strong Family" is fairly unusual for a situation comedy. Observe how the camerawork is always in close quarters. We're always getting a clear look a the expressions of the various characters, yet never a clear overall glance of the rooms that they're in. The lack of emphasis on set design is odd considering the production team keeps reminding us that there's a fourth wall- by having characters talk directly at us,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Strong Family" Episodes 1-2 2017/02/20,
Late night situation comedies are apparently all the rage these days, which is where "Strong Family" comes from. It's a fairly standard set-up. There's the dad, Cheol-il (played by Park Hyeok-kwon). He had ambition once, but now sits around the house in a goofy red tracksuit on his days off. There's the mom, Ra-yeon (played by Park Seon-yeong), who struggles to feel pretty in an ugly world. There's the daughter, Ik-hee (played by Kim Ji-min) who desperately wishes she was special. And that's what they all fight against. The encroaching dread of normalcy,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Mask" Episode 6 2015/07/05,
There was a lot of development in episode 6 of "Mask". It was all for the better. We got to see inside the hearts of many of the characters and that shaped all the elements that had the potential to be overly dramatic into effective plot moments. The most important aspect of the episode was that we got to see past the veils of many of the characters,...More
[Spoiler] 'Mask' Yeon Jeong-hoon has been monitoring the couple's private life
On the 6th episode of SBS Wednesday & Thursday drama, "Mask", it showed how Min Seok-hoon (Yeon Jeong-hoon) had been monitoring the private life of Choi Min-woo (Joo Ji-hoon) and Byeon Jisook (Seo Eun-ha played by Soo-ae) couple.
Byeon Jisook felt guilty because she had ignored her younger brother, Byeon Ji-hyeok (Hoya) when the two had encountered. When Byeon Jisook was looking into her wardrobe, she felt ashamed of herself all of sudden, She said, "I'm not sure if I deserve all these clothes". Choi Min-woo, who misunderstood the relationship of the two, exploded in jealousy and he made a mess with all of the clothes out of the wardrobe,...More
[HanCinema's Film Review] "GROW: Infinite's Real Youth Life" 2014/12/26,
In 2013, Infinite went on a grand world tour. And I guess because these guys are pretty much on camera all the time, apparently there was enough random backstage footage lying around that director Kim Jin-soo-II was able to splice together a full documentary, complete with interviews from the band members. Collected in a large number of mostly unrelated vignettes, "GROW: Infinite's Real Youth Life" tells the story of what Infinite is like when they're not performing,...More
[HanCinema's Film News] New Korean Films Inbound... 2014/11/29, K-Films Coming Soon:★★★ "Highway Stars": A documentary that follows the world's first Buddhist jazz band, the "Udambara", during the 1970s. (12/04)
★★★ "Five Eagle Brothers": A comedy about five brothers in the village of Duksoori who are famous for their sibling rivalry. (12/04)
★★★★ "Seasons Romance": A chapterized drama that depicts the lives of men, woman, and then their romantic synthesis. (12/04)
★★★★ "My Sister": A music student visiting his sister in Seoul finds her dead. It looks like suicide, but the more he and the detective dig, the more shocking and heartbreaking her death becomes. (12/04)
★★★ "GROW: Infinite's Real Youth Life": The K-pop group "Infinite" share their experiences on tour, as well as the things they've kept bottled up during their rise to fame. (12/04)
★★★ "The Hospice": A chilling documentary that reveals how the patients, their family, and staff members of a hospice handle death and the void it creates. (12/04),...More
[Video] First Annual DramaFever Awards Winners Announced 2013/04/26, Source,
Award recipients thank fans for their support exclusively on DramaFever NEW YORK, NY [April 26, 2013] - DramaFever announced the winners of its first annual DramaFever Awards today, highlighting the best of Korean drama in 2012. Fans cast over 550,000 votes for their favorite nominees in categories ranging from Drama of the Year to Best Bromance,...More
[Guest Review] "Answer to 1997" 2012/12/30, Source,
This review I present to you as a long-promised work I promised my friend, King of Beer. He told me time and time again that this show was pure k-drama gold. After watching it not once, but three times, I set myself to writing this review. It's rather massive because, well, he were right.
"Answer to 1997" is amazing,...More
'SUPERSTAR K' RETURNS TO AMERICA SEEKING OUT THE WORLD'S BEST SINGERS FOR $500,000 COMPETITION 2012/05/31, Source, Los Angeles auditions to take place on June 9; New York auditions June 10Season Four will air LIVE on Mnet America for the first timeNEW YORK – May 30, 2012 –Mnet (www.mnetamerica.com), the first and leading national, 24/7 English-language television network in the U.S. for all things Asian cool, has announced the ultra popular singing competition show, SUPERSTAR K(SSK)will again hold auditions in America for their upcoming fourth season. The show will scour the earth for the best talent to bring back to Korea to compete for the chance to win 500,000,000 Korean Won or approximately 500,000 US Dollars along with an opportunity to perform at the Mnet Asian Music Awards and many more prizes,...More
INFINITE - New Hallyu Idols 2011/10/29, Source,
Lot and lot of new groups are being called "new Hallyu" or "the future of Hallyu", but only time will tell which ones can actually make it. I was hesitant to write about any of them, not too sure if I write about a craze that will not live long. But the group I am going to introduce today has few distinctive traits that set them apart from others. This may become their undoing, but at the same time this may be their strongest asset.
The group consists of 7 members: Kim Seonggyu, Jang Dongwu, Nam Wuhyeon, Lee Howon (Hoya), Lee Seongyeol, Kim Myeongsu (L), and Lee Seongjong. They are managed by Woollim Entertainment, the same label of Epic High and Nell. Yes, I guess, that would be the first trait that sets them apart. Neither of those groups is typical Kpop, although Epic High is highly (nomen-omen) popular,...More
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