[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Marriage Contract" Episode 16 Final 2016/04/24,
The balance between inevitable tragedy and familial contentment is rather off as the ending to "Marriage Contract" is frustratingly open-ended. It's not even ambiguous or anything- most of the conflicts are straight up left unresolved, and there's no epilogue. Just a recap of what's happened. For a sense of perspective, the last we see of Seong-gook, he's randomly throwing things. We don't get to see what happened to Jeong-hoon at all,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Marriage Contract" Episode 15 2016/04/23,
There's this real magnetic quality we get from Lee Seo-jin and UEE. No matter how bad the situation gets, no matter how obvious it is that this story will have a tragic ending, as long as Ji-hoon and Hye-soo are together, they will not give up. "Marriage Contract" is their story of sheer determination. It hits all the harder because we've seen Ji-hoon and Hye-soo alone and know that absent positive reenforcement they struggle to achieve the simplest tasks,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Marriage Contract" Episode 14 2016/04/17,
Ji-hoon has been beset by small annoyances for most of "Marriage Contract"'s run. In the early stages Hye-soo and Eun-seong were a major part of these annoyances, but they at least meant well. Now, with a better understanding of the warmth of Hye-soo's spirit, Ji-hoon has finally asked himself whether it's worth dealing with a family that puts such disproportionate effort into trying to cut each other down. From there, the story is a question of how, no matter the diagnosis, for the moment Ji-hoon would rather spend every possible moment with Hye-soo and Eun-seong,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Marriage Contract" Episode 13 2016/04/16,
Now that he knows the details of Hye-soo's medical condition, Ji-hoon has also discovered a compromise to constantly pining over an apparently uninterested Hye-soo. He will let her go just as soon as there's some assurance Hye-soo will survive her nearly terminal illness. It's exactly the psychological focus that Ji-hoon needs. Deep down Ji-hoon feels emotional gratitude to Hye-soo, and as a man with lots of money, does not consider a basic financial reward to be proper recompense,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Marriage Contract" Episode 12 2016/04/10,
While I've liked the melodramatic love story in "Marriage Contract", the drama has about reached the point where it's gotten a tad repetitive. This episode marks the second straight one where Hye-soo spends nearly the entirity of the runtime simply turning Ji-hoon down without explanation. Even granting that Hye-soo has her reasons, it takes such an extended slog for the dynamic to change with new information that by the end I mostly felt exhausted,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Marriage Contract" Episode 11 2016/04/09,
Much as he's smarting from Hye-soo's rejection, Ji-hoon is still dealing with too many problems with regard to his mother to take in the insult all at once. He's suspicious of Hye-soo's motives, but absent concrete evidence, Ji-hoon is hesitant to respond too strongly. Well, evidence or affection anyway. It's pretty hard to escape how brightly Ji-hoon lights upon being reminded of Eun-seong and her kitties in nearby proximity,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Marriage Contract" Episode 10 2016/04/03,
Whether Hye-soo had a financial motive in latching on to Ji-hoon as she did last episode is a debatable point. What is clear, though, is that Hye-soo's no fool. Whatever her personal feelings are, the idea that she's after Ji-hoon for his money is a legitimate one. And honestly, Hye-soo does need money. The debt collectors may be gone, but right now, Hye-soo still needs to provide for Eun-seong's future. That means getting the expensive medical treatment Hye-soo needs by whatever means necessary,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Marriage Contract" Episode 9 2016/04/02,
Mi-ran's escape is short-lived- as it turns out, Ji-hoon has a very good idea of where she's planning to go. Really, there's only one place Mi-ran can go, feeling so humiliated and ashamed about the sacrifices her son is willing to make. Mi-ran goes to see her parents- to whom her own filial loyalty was less than inspiring. In practice and form, Ji-hoon ends up taking a much needed break from the dysfunction of his family to try and enjoy some time with his mother. Hye-soo and Eun-seong tag along to help,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Marriage Contract" Episode 8 2016/03/27,
Now that Seong-gook has a good idea of what Ii-hoon is doing, the older man feels that it's necessary to create order and force Ji-hoon to make proper personal sacrifices for the greater good. This, of course, is complete nonsense, but Ji-hoon lacks the force of will necessary to really fight about this point. After all, provided it's possible that Ji-hoon can have everything he wants, isn't that close enough to happiness?,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Marriage Contract" Episode 7 2016/03/26, Right away another secret is exposed- Hye-soo is sick. While Hye-soo is not sick in such a way as to be an impediment to Mi-ran's surgery, the hospital scene and the trip home gives Ji-hoon an excellent chance to be sensitive and caring in a way we haven't really seen yet- to Hye-soo. Bit by bit he's seeing her less as a financial instrument and more as a person who deserves to be treated with decency and respect, if only because Hye-soo is all alone. She needs somebody,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Marriage Contract" Episode 6 2016/03/20,
Hye-soo isn't really anywhere near actually doing the transplant surgery yet and she's already constantly getting exposed. This is an aspect of the pacing in "Marriage Contract" I rather appreciate. I was expecting the surgery would be rushed and the drama would be about everything after that. Instead it looks like we're in the opposite situation- the tension is based on whether or not the liver transplant surgery will happen at all. Which makes sense, because doctors try not to rush this kind of thing if it can be avoided,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Marriage Contract" Episode 5 2016/03/19,
The thaw between Ji-hoon and Eun-seong continues. Whether Ji-hoon is actually a good person at heart remains a metter of debate, but in short order Hye-soo lays out several compelling arguments for why the guy at least deserves a chance. However incidental his motivation may have been, Ji-hoon did a huge favor for Hye-soo and her daughter. What's more, he clearly appreciates the sacrifice Hye-soo is willing to make for the sake of Mi-ran. So, too, does Mi-ran appreciate the degree to which Ji-hoon and Hye-soo want the older woman to remain alive,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Marriage Contract" Episode 4 2016/03/13,
While Ji-hoon has done a diligent job of preparing every possible angle of his fake marriage story, ultimately, it's unsurprising to see that the most basic questions are the ones that easily trip him up. Ji-hoon struggles with the question of how to make a proper effort. What ultimately moves Ji-hoon to the right direction is unexpectedly realizing he has something in common with Eun-Seong. Both are fiercely protective of their mothers,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Marriage Contract" Episode 3 2016/03/12,
The relationship between Ji-hoon and Hye-soo remains icy. They don't like each other very much, and it's easy to see why. Ji-hoon legitimately has trouble so much as processing Hye-soo's motivation, which is suitably ironic given that he himself is motivated entirely by motherly love. It's just that in Ji-hoon's eyes, saving Mi-ran is more a goal he should be striving for than one of emotional merit. Ji-hoon's pointed verbal attack against Mi-ran at the end really stings in part because he's right. The situation is in fact her fault. Mi-ran is a hard character to pity,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Marriage Contract" Episode 2 2016/03/06,
My mistake- Ji-hoon isn't really a chef, he just runs the restaurant. Kind of. Ji-hoon's best friend Ho-joon (played by Kim Kwang-kyu) manages the restaurant on a day by day basis, so Ji-hoon is more the money guy. The lack of official responsibility on Ji-hoon's part probably has a lot to do with his brooding attitude. The man evidently loves music- consider the excellent ambience. Yet with nothing else in life to focus on, Ji-hoon can only stare helplessly at the face of his mother's imminent death. And how Ji-hoon, like his mother, has given up on having people to care about,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Marriage Contract" Episode 1 2016/03/05,
Ji-hoon (played by Lee Seo-jin) is a handsome high-tier chef in his late thirties, and heir to a decent family fortune. While Ji-hoon is an eminently eligible bachelor he's not that interested in relationships because, well, Ji-hoon doesn't really want much in life except what he already has. What's more, Ji-hoon can be paranoid when it comes to that stuff. That is what ends igniting his to date antagonistic interactions with Hye-soo (played by UEE), a widowed young mother with financial troubles,...More
[HanCinema's Film Review] "The Night of the Prophet" 2014/08/01,
Yeo-joo (played by Lee Mi-so) works at a call center offering up help to those who need it. On paper, she is extremely good at her job. In reality, though, it soon becomes clear that there's a darker element behind Yeo-joo's work that is less than noble. When her boss marvels at how Yeo-joo has been able to stay active for so long in a job with a high burnout rate, Yeo-joo knows that in part this is because she is somewhat lacking in the empathy department, owing to a traumatic childhood incident,...More
[HanCinema's Film Review] "Romance Joe" 2014/01/31,
The first thing to understand about "Romance Joe" is that it has six different layers. Technically the main character is Seo-dam (played by Kim Dong-hyeon-III), who is relating the story of Director Lee (played by Jo Han-chul), who is relating the story of the teashop girl (played by Shin Dong-mi) who is relating the story of the older Joe (played by Kim Young-pil) who is relating the story of the younger version of Joe (played by Lee David) who is relating the story of Cho-hee (played by Lee Chae-eun). There's also a kid thrown in the middle somewhere with his own story outside of that line. So it might actually be seven different layers, depending on how you define layers,...More
Yeonghwa: Korean Film Today at the MoMA 2011/09/16, Source, Yeonghwa: Korean Film Today will start on Sept. 22 and last through Oct. 2.
This year, we are pleased to welcome back Lim Soon-rye, South Korea's most highly regarded female filmmaker, to The Korea Society for the Opening Night's screening of "Rolling Home with a Bull" (2010), which follows a young man's forlorn life as a failed poet and unemployed bachelor who winds up taking an unexpected journey throughout the country with his father's cvherished bull and making a series of peculiar run-ins.
This year's Yeonghwa series will also have a special focus on director Jeon Kyu-hwan, whose Town Trilogy films--"Mozart Town" (2008), "Animal Town" (2009) and "Dance Town" (2010)-examines various human lives that exist in Seoul's urban landscape, including those of an African laborer, a Russian exchange student, a reformed pedophile, a North Korean defector, and a dejected print-shop owner. Jeon's Town Trilogy critiques the "town" of Seoul from a sociological auteur's perspective,...More
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