[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Jang Yeong-sil - Drama" Episode 24 Final 2016/03/26,
Throughout all his trials and tribulations, Yeong-sil has remained a surprisingly good sport. There's good reason for this. As bad as jail might be, Yeong-sil at least has his sketchbook, which gives him a chance to think over matters of science. That's always good for a nice matter of calm, even if this time, Yeong-sil's friends can't help him. There's just disgrace and corporal punishment, while Yeong-sil sulks and starts to hate the world,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Jang Yeong-sil - Drama" Episode 23 2016/03/20,
Yeong-sil struggles with another of the usual engineering problems for his current clock design as he works on a deadline. In an ideal world, this is all Yeong-sil would have to worry about. But in "Jang Yeong-sil - Drama", the scientist ends up being forced to think in terms of geopolitical questions. This time around, after deciding that they find Yeong-sil's super diorama clock to be more cool than morally offensive, the Chinese attempt to poach him as their own scientist,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Jang Yeong-sil - Drama" Episode 22 2016/03/19,
Once again, Yeong-sil lounges around just in the peripheral issue of major political questions, this time out on the frontier. Nothing immediately important happens. There ends up being a timeskip following a somewhat anticlimactic death scare for King Sejong, leading me to believe that "Jang Yeong-sil - Drama" focuses on certain historical incidents more out of obligation than because of actual relevancy,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Jang Yeong-sil - Drama" Episode 21 2016/03/13,
I don't really feel that bad for Hee-ji considering how often he manages to get embroiled in life-or-death situations, and then proceeds to enravel all the nearby characters in those same crises. Aside from how generally dangerous Hee-ji is as a friend, he has this bad habit of sucking the oxygen out of the room with his own mostly irrelevant storylines. There's a great montage here that's pretty much a greatest hits collection of Hee-ji either being a jerk or being interrupted by a conspiracy whenever he tries to act a little more senxible for a change,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Jang Yeong-sil - Drama" Episode 20 2016/03/12,
Hee-ji struggles with whether to honor his love for science or his love of not being threatened with murder by his political allies. It's taken awhile, but I think I'm finally appreciating Hee-ji as a sort of tragic character who debates which side is the right side for the sake of progress. I wonder whether the historical Hee-ji actually had to deal with problems anything like this, but whatever. I'm partially relieved if only to learn that for the most part the various characters in "Jang Yeong-sil - Drama" are in fact based on real people, what with the brief credits scene,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Jang Yeong-sil - Drama" Episode 19 2016/03/06,
Eight months later, Yeong-sil is making decent progress on his scientific endeavors. Hee-ji, though, he just skulks at home having flashbacks of past fire-related incidents, grumbling about the obvious superiority of Yeong-sil and, I kid you not, projecting his weird fixation issues on a makeshift Joseon-era mannequin. It bears repeating. In terms of personality and inner conflict, Hee-ji is the real main character of "Jang Yeong-sil - Drama". Hee-ji is the one always making difficult decisions while Yeong-sil just tries to think of a better way to build a clock,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Jang Yeong-sil - Drama" Episode 18 2016/03/05,
Hee-ji suffers from his usual character conflict here. Yeong-sil is such a genius, Hee-ji feels eternally incompetent, so Hee-ji must struggle between his love of science and his desire to burn things. Again with the fire! Forget about clocks, King Sejong really needs to do something about public services. One of these days someone is going to try to burn something important, and at that point, he's going to wish there was a fire brigade to deal with the problem,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Jang Yeong-sil - Drama" Episode 17 2016/02/28,
While this episode certainly has its share of ominous brooding when it comes to authority figures of dubious reputation, fortunately, for the most part no one actually tries to cash in on the threats. Yeong-sil presents a simple, easily understood alternate scientific theory, and from there it's just a matter of put up or shut up. Good clock design can only get a man so far when the amount of possible elaboration is such that a near infinite variety of models is possible,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Jang Yeong-sil - Drama" Episode 16 2016/02/27,
Hee-ji belatedly feels some guilt here about jealously trying to use violence to drive Yeong-sil out of the field of science. It's lucky Hee-ji didn't go all the way, even if he was technically operating at the behest of a conspiracy. I continue to find the scientific conspiracies the most baffling part of "Jang Yeong-sil - Drama". They don't even have hired goons or anything, the bad guys are perfectly fine with beating people up in broad daylight while still wearing their fancy clothes. Eggheads have never been so scary,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Jang Yeong-sil - Drama" Episode 15 2016/02/21,
Now that Yeong-sil is apparently dead, all anyone can seem to talk about is what a great smart guy he was. Which is awkward, considering that the principal men involved in the assassination attempt on the poor scientist still have their government positions, and just can't seem to escape the fact that even in death Yeong-sil is way smarter than they are. "Jang Yeong-sil - Drama" has the kind of villains who seem pathetic even when they win, because their competence begins and ends with cloak and dagger conspiracies,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Jang Yeong-sil - Drama" Episode 14 2016/02/20,
This episode opens up with Yeong-sil and his science buddies admiring the stars and pondering over the mysteries of the universe as Jang Yeong-sil's scientific bagpipe music plays in the background. It's a capstone to a whirlwind of successful research, and I really hate these scenes because they mostly just remind me of the story that "Jang Yeong-sil - Drama" could be telling, except that now it's time for the requisite unnecessary violence on the part of science-hating extremists,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Jang Yeong-sil - Drama" Episode 13 2016/02/14,
A major scene in the early part of this episode does a good job explaining the contradictions of "Jang Yeong-sil - Drama" as a whole. We start out with Yeong-sil working, idly wondering about the political situation but mostly just puzzled as to why his current astronomical calculations aren't working. Then a bunch of aristocratic bullies show up and force a physical confrontation. Wrestling moves are involved. At long last Yeong-sil inadvertently comes up with a breakthrough and rushes back to inform his team,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Jang Yeong-sil - Drama" Episode 12 2016/02/13,
Yeong-sil has learned a valuable lesson from the constant apparently unnecessary attempts on his life. While it's great that Yeong-sil has managed to gain an official scientific position within the Joseon, nobody likes him. The other scientists don't really have a good reason for doing so, but that's besides the point. Pecking orders aren't based on logic. Up until now science has been a means of social advancement in Korea, and King Sejong can't change that overnight,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Jang Yeong-sil - Drama" Episode 11 2016/02/06,
After a large scale and mostly unnecessary swordfight the Chinese portion of "Jang Yeong-sil - Drama" concludes, as usual leaving me asking the wrong kind of questions. Is anybody else noticing the irony here? Song Il-gook is in an action-heavy drama, as a guy who logically does not know how to fight and spends most his time in the action sequences chronically dodging hits? When even the token woman picks up a sword and starts hacking away I have to wonder whether "Jang Yeong-sil - Drama" would make more sense if it just ignored logic entirely and made Yeong-sil a kung fu scientist. For all we know, he might have been one,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Jang Yeong-sil - Drama" Episode 10 2016/01/31,
Hee-ji (played by Lee Ji-hoon) is the actual main character of "Jang Yeong-sil - Drama" at the moment, on account of the fact that he's the only Korean character who actually has any idea what's going on in the Chinese portion of the story. I feel like I'm constantly repeating myself on this point but...why exactly is Yeong-sil the main character when he doesn't know what's going on, no one wants to tell him what's going on, and it doesn't even seem to matter whether or not he knows what's going on?,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Jang Yeong-sil - Drama" Episode 9 2016/01/30,
Having finally managed to escape the cutthroat environment of Korean politics, so that he can study astronomy in China, Yeong-sil at long last manages to arrive in China to discover that...there are also violent bureaocratic elements at play in Chinese astronomy. And much as was the case in Korea, Yeong-sil has only the faintest awareness of what's going on. He just expresses surprise and curiousity regarding a few novel scientific devices, and proceeds to stumble clumsily into more random death plots and sword fights,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Jang Yeong-sil - Drama" Episode 8 2016/01/24,
The extended opening of this episode is simply a direct continuation of the cliffhanger from last time. Yeong-sil is stuck in a noose, reliant entirely on the whims of the weather to confirm whether or not his heretical scientific theory is true and thus, can release Yeong-sil from the risk of death. For all of King Taejong's established authoritatiran attitude I'm still at a bit of a loss as to why he takes these issues to such a ridiculous extreme. It's almost like King Taejong takes issues of bad science personally,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Jang Yeong-sil - Drama" Episode 7 2016/01/23,
I'm increasingly getting the sense that "Jang Yeong-sil - Drama" is less about the actual titular scientist and more about the political struggles that were necessary for King Sejong to manage the important reforms that marked his reign. It's clear that several of the events we see in major focus were actual real historical watermarks in King Sejong's early career (he's still not actually King yet). Although this is mostly a hypothesis on my part since once again Jeong-sil has very little screentime in his own story compared to other characters who aren't very good at staying alive in difficult historical times,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Jang Yeong-sil - Drama" Episode 5 2016/01/16,
After a weird opening setpiece where Yeong-sil's personal problems and the greater political situation randomly come into violent agreement, we get a few interesting scenes of Yeong-sil trying to make a go of life with palace scientists. Yeong-sil ends up making enemies by stupidly expressing his opinion and then backing it up with factual evidence. That's a really big problem in a scientific infrastructure where qualifications are considered more relevant than facts,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Jang Yeong-sil - Drama" Episode 4 2016/01/10,
Yeong-sil continues to struggle with authority this episode, as the climax involves him getting into a violent altercation with an official and eventually using the power of science to spring an elaborate trap. As good as Song Il-gook is at action scenes, I can't help but find it a tad absurd how "Jang Yeong-sil - Drama" is apparently taking the position that Yeong-sil could have or should have used his scientific abilities to win fights. That much sounds like a running sketch idea for a late night comedy program,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Jang Yeong-sil - Drama" Episode 3 2016/01/09,
Like most historical persons from the early Joseon period, we don't actually know very much about the life of the real Jang Yeong-sil- so a lot of the story ends up having to be completely made up. I didn't mind this so much in the first two episodes of "Jang Yeong-sil - Drama", since by and large these were just kid Yeong-sil having adventures with science. And there's elements of that here too, as the production team gets into fifteen century clocks. Suffice to say, accurate timekeeping was much more difficult back before everything was digitized,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Jang Yeong-sil - Drama" Episode 2 2016/01/03,
As much as Yeong-sil loves science one fact is unassailable- his cultural background is unimpressive. So while other better pedigreed kids in the family study all day, Yeong-sil has to do hard labor and wait until nighttime to do science, which is fortunate because this episode Yeong-sil decides to learn everything he can about the moon. In this case "Jang Yeong-sil - Drama" takes an unusual approach to the scientific method by using it to explain wrong science- specifically, geocentrism,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Jang Yeong-sil - Drama" Episode 1 2016/01/02,
Yeong-sil (played by Song Il-gook) first appears as a decrepit old man moving across a vast field for one purpose- to view an eclipse. While the action soon moves into flashback mode eclipses remain an important plot point. While technically irrelevant to daily life, knowing when and how an eclipse will happen is a sure sign of scientific advancement. Under New Joseon, currently led by King Taejong (played by Kim Young-cheol), science is a pretty big deal,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Drama Special - The Wind Blows to the Hope" 2015/03/20,
The opening is stylish enough. The scene is a prison bus, and the inmates are clearly up to no good. We can see them messing around furtively with their hands, and then all chaos breaks loose. Director Kim Yong-soon-I sets up a marvelous single shot camera take, where we somehow pan around the entire bus, getting only vague snippets of the action until in one, final explosive moment, victory is achieved via a loud popping sound,...More
[HanCinema's Film Review] "The Con Artists" 2015/01/16,
Ji-hyeok (played by Kim Woo-bin) is a master thief, relying on technical skills to steal valuables and replace them with forgeries right under peoples' noses. Inevitably he gets entrapped by President Jo (played by Kim Young-cheol) and is forced to commit a master heist. Emphasis on "inevitably". "The Con Artists" takes its sweet time actually getting Ji-hyeok and President Jo into the same room together. So much time is spent on building the characters up that the actual grand heist itself barely takes a few scenes to completely finish,...More
[HanCinema's Box Office Review] 2015.01.02 ~ 2015.01.04 2015/01/05, Local drama starts the year out right…
The first week of the new year saw Yoon Je-kyoon's "Ode to My Father" retain pole position, making it three weeks in a row for this touching war drama. The film, which depicts modern Korean history through a story of a Korean War refugee and his fragmented family, easily topped the table with 1.6M admissions (42.2%) and so advanced its total tally now to 7M ($54.4M). It survived the Christmas crowds with cheer, and has managed to carrying itself profitably into the New Year,...More
[HanCinema's Film Review] "My Father" 2014/05/30,
James Parker (played by Daniel Henney) is in a similar position to many other internationally adopted Koreans. He wants to find out what happened to his birth parents. From the beginning "My Father" does a good job establishing the ambiguity of this goal. The first thing his adoptive family does is worry, and his sister, also adopted from Korea, points out that James may not like what he finds. A father on death row? Yeah, that's trouble.
"My Father" is in the strange place of seeming too preposterous and melodramatic to be plausible, yet as the credits sequence clearly illustrates, the basic outline of events here was in fact based on a true story,...More
"The Full Sun", 3 observation points 2014/02/05, Source,
The new KBS 2TV drama "The Full Sun" has revealed its 3 observation points.
First, it's the fancy scale. The first part of the drama starts off in Thailand. Based in the beaches of a hotel, the Bangkok Jewelry fair and the garden set of jewelry brand Bel Lafair are ready for viewing, and following are chasing action scenes and gun shooting scenes,...More
THN's Korean Cinema Style Week 4: Kim Jee-woon - A Bittersweet Life 2012/12/15, Source,
With Gangnam Style destroying the charts the world over, we will soon see a second wave of the Korean invasion taking place. Three of South Koreas most commercially successful and critically acclaimed directors have their English language debuts set for next year. Kim Jee-woon ("THE LAST STAND"), Park Chan-wook ("STOKER"), and Bong Joon-ho ("Snowpiercer") have already proved themselves in their homeland, and here at THN we are taking a look back over their past efforts. Starting with the films of Kim Jee-woon, join us each week over the course of the next few months as we explore The Land Of The Morning Calm.Director:Kim Jee-woonYear: 2005
Cast: Lee Byeong-hyeon, Kim Young-cheol, Sin Min-ah, Hwang Jeong-min, Jin Goo,
Plot: Sun Woo is an enforcer at a top hotel. He must also run errands for his gangland boss, one of which is to spy on his boss' young lover. When Sun Woo listens to his heart and doesn't follow orders, his world falls apart around him.
Yet another genre hop for Kim Jee-woon, sees the director applying his talents to the gangster genre. As you can imagine, "A Bittersweet Life" is often lost in the sea of Korean revenge dramas, but stands out due to the way Kim crafts each individual frame with the care of an artist truly enjoying his craft. There are also those snippets of unexpected humour that may seem absurd upon reflection, but create an aura of realism at the time,...More
"Iris 2" to be Directed by Pyo Min-soo 2012/09/23, Source,
Director Pyo Min-soo is going to take control of "IRIS 2".
Pyo created the dramas, "Lie", "Full House", "Worlds Within" and others, earning himself the Baek Sang Grand Prize, Rookie Prize, the best drama chosen by the year 2000 media reporters, the best program chosen by viewers and more. He has been impressing people with his unique imagery and emotions so far but this time will take on the task of a spy action blockbuster drama,...More
Impact of English on late Joseon 2012/01/07, Source,
A group photo of King Gojong's envoys to the United States including Lee Wan-yong, second from left in the front row, in 1887. Lee was a pro-Japanese minister who was trained at a royal English school founded by King Gojong. / Korea Times
By Do Je-hae Korea is a nation obsessed with English. It is an important tool for promotion at workplaces and some universities such as Pohang University of Science and Technology (POSTECH) are adopting it as the official language in the office and on campus,...More
Moon Chae-won: 'Impressions of 'The Princess' Man' Still Lingers in My Mind' 2011/10/25, Source,
Actress Moon Chae-won, who had played the female protagonist -- the daughter of Soo Yang Dae Goon named Lee Se Ryung -- in the KBS drama "The Princess' Man" that recently finished airing, said, "I personally liked the happy ending of the drama even though I also thought it must have had a strong impact with a tragic ending. People tend to expect vicarious satisfaction from watching a drama (laugh). I was very much satisfied with the idea that I could deliver a message of hope to the viewers". She had obtained love after experiencing many troubles and difficulties in the drama, and her happiness seemed to have revived again. Moon Chae-won (25) was highly praised by the viewers for her excellent acting in "The Princess' Man" by playing the character who falls in tragic love with the son of Kim Jong Seo named Seung Yoo (Park Si-hoo) in the drama,...More
Reality TV gets a spin as stars challenge skating, dancing 2011/06/07, Source,
Krystal of f(x) in "Kiss and Cry"
By Kwon Mee-yoo
Stars are being kept busy. They have to prove their singing ability on MBC's "I Am a Singer" and hone their vocal skills on tvN's "Operastar 2011". Now, two new shows bring celebrities into the professional fields of skating and dance.
Riding the popularity of figure skating queen Kim Yu-na, SBS started airing "Kiss and Cry" on May 22, bringing singers and actors to the ice rink. The broadcaster created a small skating rink at its production center in Goyang, Gyeonggi Province, to shoot the show,...More
The opening ceremony for this event will be held on the outdoor stage, in front of Ichae Shopping Mall, with participation of celebrities including,...More
[YEAR-END REVIEW] Celebrity suicides shock the nation in 2008 2008/12/23, Source, A string of celebrity suicides in 2008 has sent shockwaves across the nation, gripping devout fans and raising fears of copycat suicides. The suicide of an iconic actress this year has also provoked political bickering over whether to penalize cyberspace libel.
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