[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Love for a Thousand More" Episodes 8-10 2016/12/24,
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 Drama Review] "Love for a Thousand More" Episodes 5-7 2016/12/17,
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-jung-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] "Love for a Thousand More" Episodes 1-4 2016/12/10,
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 Drama Review] "Who Are You - School 2015" Episode 15 2015/06/15,
The story moves somewhat sedately here, as the emphasis is on making peace and moving on. Pretty much every character relationship that has had any conflict at all is resolved except for So-yeong's vendetta. And that's really just gotten tiring at this point. It's exactly like her dad says- she needs to shut up and stop initiating conflict. So-yeong still hasn't figured out that nobody actually cares whether or not she's right. And given Eun-byeol's behavior, it seems likely that the twins weren't actually planning on keeping this secret forever anyway,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Who Are You - School 2015" Episode 14 2015/06/09,
It's hard to imagine what "Who Are You - School 2015" was like without Eun-byeol's presence. She's just such a fascinating duality with Eun-bi. Seeing the way Eun-byeol reacts to any daily inconvenience it's rather inescapable that the young woman has strong aggressive tendencies. To some extent this is good- Eun-byeol doesn't need a knight in shining armor like Eun-bi did. She can solve problems quite effectively on her own. Yet this makes Eun-byeol a very unsatisfying person to know on a personal level, because she is so independent it's nearly impossible to help her,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Who Are You - School 2015" Episode 13 2015/06/08,
The explanation behind Eun-byeol's disappearance is both more simple and more complicated than what I was expecting. This is mainly a function of a few plot holes in Eun-byeol's plan which may or may not be addressed. Overall it's not really a big deal. The important, quickly established information is simply that the main plot has been resolved, so how are the characters supposed to deal with the aftermath?,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Who Are You - School 2015" Episode 12 2015/06/02,
The mystery regarding what happened at Eun-byeon's school a year ago is mostly cleared up. Rather anticlimactically, I might add. After all that build-up I was expecting some sort of elaborate conspiracy. In all fairness, the situation itself was so low-stated it's easy to see why psychological terror was the only real direction for the situation to go. The tragedy wasn't the result of a bullying so much as it was the failure to properly make a check-up,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Who Are You - School 2015" Episode 11 2015/06/01,
As it turns out, I-an is still dealing with the consequences of his dramatic decision to protect Eun-bi. It turns out that the swimming team wasn't just background noise- "Who Are You - School 2015" correctly notes that even in an individualist team like swimming, proper camaraderie is a pretty big deal. I-an hasn't just ruined his own athletic inspirations for the near future- he's also wrecked the relays. I-an's story is a cold reflection of how even noble actions can reverberate negative consequences,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Who Are You - School 2015" Episode 10 2015/05/26,
As was to be expected, So-yeong's plan to get back into everyone's good graces fails miserably. What So-yeong constantly fails to realize is that it's not circumstance which is causing her to be bullied- So-yeong's own attitude is what's causing the problem. And exposing the existence of Eun-bi does her no favors. To the contrary, up until now Eun-bi's strange behavior around So-yeong has made all the classmates suspicious. Now that So-yeong has provided an explanation, it's only that much more difficult for anyone to sympathize with her,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Who Are You - School 2015" Episode 9 2015/05/25,
The tone this episode is a fairly somber one as Eun-bi and I-an come to grips with the fact that Eun-byeon is most likely dead. I write "most likely" because technically speaking we don't actually know that Eun-byeon's remains are the ones that were cremated. We don't even know how they were identified,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Who Are You - School 2015" Episode 8 2015/05/19,
In a somewhat surprising twist, it would appear that the main potential victim of Eun-bi being exposed is not Eun-bi herself, but rather I-an. His normally static character arc comes into sharp relief here as I-an deliberately chooses to believe that Eun-bi is Eun-byeon, regardless of how much of his experiences with her post-amnesia simply don't add up. Right when I was wondering if I-an ever had this much fun on dates with the real Eun-byeon, a flashback helpfully pops up to tell us that no, he did not,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Who Are You - School 2015" Episode 7 2015/05/18,
The cliffhanger this episode and the cliffhanger from last episode are more-or-less the same. But "Who Are You - School 2015" doesn't quite fall into repetition because these repeated plot points establish something very important- that the drama's conceit isn't really sustainable. Even if So-yeong appears to have been subdued, the fact that Eun-bi can't recover Eun-byeon's memories means that this ruse can't go on forever however much Eun-bi and her new mother want it to,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Who Are You - School 2015" Episode 6 2015/05/12,
The conflict between Eun-bi and So-yeong remains unresolved. In the first place, there's not actually very much So-yeong can do- her usual shtick of physical intimidation doesn't work without the surrounding cult of personality. People can and will question So-yeong's behavior, since they haven't grown accustomed to it. Evidence is another matter- while So-yeong does find better proof for her conspiracy theory, she's still hamstrung by the fact that there's no way for her to explain how it was acquired,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Who Are You - School 2015" Episode 5 2015/05/11,
So-yeong (played by Cho Soo-hyang) was Eun-bi's tormentor in the past and appears to have come back to haunt Eun-bi in her guise as Eun-byeol. It's difficult to get a good read on what So-yeong wants- this episode definitely implies, though it does not state outright, that the real reason for So-yeong's transfer is that she was expelled from her last school after Eun-bi's apparent suicide exposed a plethora of disturbing bullying behavior. One would think that such revelations would have made the girl a bit more reflective,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Who Are You - School 2015" Episode 4 2015/05/05,
This episode mostly takes a shift toward premise building. Something of an odd narrative direction given that this is the fourth episode, but "Who Are You - School 2015" makes good use of it. Once Eun-bi figures out what has happened, all that's left for her and Mi-kyeong to do is admit that there isn't actually going to be a happy resolution after all. Now they have to return to their real, mostly heartbroken lives,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Who Are You - School 2015" Episode 3 2015/05/04,
It turns out that there is bullying at Eun-byeol's school- but it's so subtle that even after watching this episode I'm not sure to what extent it technically exists. The story of Yeong-eun (played by Kim Bo-ra) is very instructive in this regard. As it turns out she was the recipient not so much of the explicit bullying that Eun-bi suffered from, but of the rather more crippling loneliness of simply being ignored altogether,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Who Are You - School 2015" Episode 2 2015/04/28,
Somewhat disappointingly, this episode uses the plot device of amnesia to mostly avoid tackling the issues established about Eun-bi's character last episode. Now, obviously, given all the trouble "Who Are You - School 2015" went to to set up a rather mysterious premise, we're going to get back to all this at some point. For the moment though the drama goes in a mostly generic direction as Eun-bi tries to get a grasp of her new surroundings,...More
[HanCinema's Busan International Film Festival Movie Review] "Han River" 2014/10/17,
The homeless tramps in "Han River" are not fountains of peerless wisdom, initial appearances to the contrary. After the initial suicide jump dilemma is resolved mostly satisfactorily the movie proceeds to treat us to various scenes of these characters bumming around not doing anything particularly useful. Indeed, for all the feigned joviality on display here the tone is actually a pretty depressing one,...More
Kim Hee-jung-I in lead role of "Han River Blues" 2014/03/20, Source, Kim Hee-jung-I starring in the movie "Han River Blues" as Maria, a girl who ran away from home.
"Han River Blues" is about a priest who lived for the sake of other people, trying to commit suicide because of a woman whom he loved. Along the way he meets a homeless man named Oh Jang-hyo, a runaway girl from home called Maria, and Choo-ja, a man turned woman,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Greatest Thing in the World" Episode 1 2013/09/19,
The first distinctive image we're treated to in this drama is of a father discovering that his teenage daughter is pregnant in a remarkably surreal absurd way, punctuated by stock music and sound effects that really hit just how stupid this guy feels for not figuring it out sooner. It's a generally serious moment that's totally wrecked by the way the drama's editing conspires to turn the whole incident into the butt end of a joke. And I have to admit, I laughed,...More
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