[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Hwarang" Episode 9 2017/01/18,
It is both an episode of angst and progress that greets us this week. Aro must try to come to terms with the fact that her real brother died and that Seon-woo is just a stand in. At the same time, the hwarang unintentionally become closer. The stuffs that hold it together are flimsy, but mindlessly enjoyable like most of the drama,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Hwarang" Episode 8 2017/01/16,
As the queen tries to build up the hwarang, her opponents just as quickly attempt to tear them down. Meanwhile romance flowers between the beautiful young men and women of Silla and complicates matters for those with political aims. Aro is one of those young people in love, confused by her emotions for her brother as much as she is confused by the clear indicators that he may not be who she thinks he is,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Hwarang" Episode 7 2017/01/11, "Hwarang" episode 7 explores the meaning of what it means to be king. Various points of view of presented and explained throughout the episode while the cringeworthy romance between Seon-woo and Aro continues to grow and Ji-dwi engages in a battle of will with his power-hungry mother. The struggle between factions and royal family members is nothing alien to the sageuk,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Hwarang" Episode 6 2017/01/04,
Very little plot development happened this week. It was basically an introduction into live in the Hwarang training center where class politics dictates the behavior of the boys training to be useful Hwarang. As they struggle to set a social balance, they start to see past the rigid structures that society created. However, it is just a start. Besides, there's a lot of silliness that needs to happen between plot points in "Hwarang" and we can't forgo that!,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Hwarang" Episode 5 2017/01/03, "Hwarang" is a light adventure tale that is intermingled with fauxcest, pretty boys, and lots of epic battles. It's a cross between a 2000s American rom-com film and manga reverse harem stories. Unfortunately these aspects of the drama detracted from the character development. Rather than growth, the drama focused on sensationalism. It's makes for an entertaining hour, but one without much substance.,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Hwarang" Episode 4 2016/12/27,
Episode 4 of "Hwarang" had a distinct taste of 2010's "Sungkyunkwan Scandal" with its action, sports, K-pop, beautiful boys, and the appearance of Kim Kwang-gyoo playing a similar role. These elements were present before, but came together to create some serious 2010 nostalgia. Not only do we get a major drama throw back, but we start to see how the young men who become the Hwarang relate to their parents, each other, and the political powers that be.,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Hwarang" Episode 3 2016/12/26,
Youth places limits on characters and defines many quarrels in "Hwarang". Youthfulness equates to weakness in Silla as the adults control the political landscape and pass their rivalries down to their children who can do little but act out. Each of the flower boys and Aro feel the helplessness of their age,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Hwarang" Episode 2 2016/12/21,
The second episode of "Hwarang" was much slower than the first with the action circling around the motivation for Moo-myeong's revenge driving the plot.
Moo-myeong spends most of the episode looking very handsome with even better hair and very, very distraught over the lost of his friend, the cameo from Lee Kwang-soo,...More
[USA] 14th Annual New York Korean Film Festival begins November 11 2016/11/06, Source,
The 14th Annual New York Korean Film Festival Announces Lineup for November 11th to November 13th, 2016 at the Museum of the Moving Image The Korea Society's New York Korean Film Festival returns to New York City's Museum of the Moving Image on November 11 to 13 for its yearly celebration of the best in Korean cinema.,...More
[HanCinema's Film Review] "Phantom Detective" 2016/05/21,
Director Jo Sung-hee's "Phantom Detective" is a play on the crime noir complete with anti-hero Hong Gil-dong (Lee Je-hoon), a decrepit town, deranged villains, and stylized filming that brings the world of the comic book to life. There are also two unlikely sidekicks, two little girls who rework Gil-dong's damaged psyche over the course of the film. "Phantom Detective" was released in Korea May 4, 2016 and 508,000 filmgoers (19.9%) sat down to watch a modern take of the classic Korean tale of "Hong Gil Dong,...More
Ko Ah-ra shares selfie on her birthday 2016/02/12, Source,
Actress Ko Ah-ra shed a glimpse on her recent daily life.
On February 12th, Ko Ah-ra posted a photo of herself on her personal Instagram, saying "Fans, thank you always for so much love. I wish you many blessings in the year of 2016. Please send me much support this year again. I love you. February 11th birthday",...More
[HanCinema's Film Review] "The Joseon Magician" 2016/01/09,
Hwanhee (played by Yoo Seung-ho) does stage magic. Not just any old stage magic- the slick kind. There really is something delightful about watching Hwanhee pulls balls out of nowhere, pull off convincing disappearance acts, manipulating pulley systems, and faking his death. Yoo Seung-ho really charms in this role, so it's little surprise that Hwanhee is able to catch the attention of Cheong-myeong (played by Ko Ah-ra). She's an incognito princess who resents her mandated destiny,...More
[HanCinema's Korea Joa] Lisa's Diary - SMTown Coex Artium 2015/12/19,
S.M. Entertainment is one of the triumvirate of entertainment companies along with YG Entertainment and JYP Entertainment. Some of the most famous acts in K-pop are housed under S.M. such as my personal bias SHINee as well as Girls' Generation, Super Junior, f(x), EXO, Red Velvet, BoA, and TVXQ. This list is by no means inclusive of the immensely talented acts found under the S.M. name. Many of the members have been spotted in dramas and films. And some people represented under S.M. are not musicians, but actors such as Ko Ah-ra and Kim Min-jong,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "You're Surrounded" Episode 20 (final) 2014/07/19,
"You're Surrounded" has come full circle, giving it a satisfying ending in this finale. There were many moments that mirrored the events of the first episode, and those moments carried so much more weight after the journey through the past twenty episodes. What is most satisfying is that this finale didn't feel rushed. Rather, it provided the climax for the battle between the good guys and Assemblyman Yoo, then rode the lovely denouement to the finish. The weaknesses of the finale are similar to the overall weaknesses of the show,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "You're Surrounded" Episode 19 2014/07/18,
The penultimate episode of "You're Surrounded" tied a lot of pieces together. It was a mixture of very moving, and slightly disapointing. Back stories were finally depicted in an amount of detail that should've been present ages ago. It would've given the significant happening of the episode much more impact. Much of the lack of development comes from the show's slow pace. Pace does not always dictate less storytelling, but it does require more efficient writing impart information. What this episode suffered from was a lack of buildup,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "You're Surrounded" Episode 18 2014/07/13,
And the hits just keep coming, giving this show a darker edge than before. Dae-goo struggles to come to terms with all the information he and his team dig up, and the bad guys dive deeper into moral depravity. It's baffling how much power Assemblyman Yoo has to ruin lives, take lives, and manipulate the system,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "You're Surrounded" Episode 17 2014/07/11,
"You're Surrounded" was all about the truth in episode 17. The key players are fully informed and yet their hands are tied by the system, by corruption, and by the dastardly deeds of the powerful and greedy. While the pace of this episode was decidedly slow, the amount of wonderful introspection made up for it. The episode focused on revealing the pasts of Dae-goo and Tae-il, addressing painful issues and making a few statements,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "You're Surrounded" Episode 16 2014/07/05,
This was a powerhouse episode. In fact, it was the best episode by far, both in execution and in content. It touched on the major issues of each character, moved the plot along, and packed some hard emotional punches. Yoo Ae-yun, Assemblyman Yoo's daughter and the instigator of many troubles, is at the center of everything. She is the reason behind Yoo's villainy. He has committed crimes to cover up her, but at the same time, he has allowed the action of covering up to corrupt him,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "You're Surrounded" Episode 14 2014/06/27,
It's a sad episode for the good guys of "You're Surrounded" because they lose to money, power, and an imperfect system. On the other hand, Dae-goo finally gets to kiss the girl he's been hankering after and the detective team's newest case gave him his reason. Relationships develop further although the plot stagnates a bit,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "You're Surrounded" Episode 13 2014/06/27,
"You're Surrounded" is a character driven story that makes wonderful use of the plot to bring out the best, and the worst, of the characters on screen. It addresses the situations that bring people closer and highlights the beauty in human connection. It also shows how the darker aspects of human nature can snowball into something terrible. While the plot of "You're Surrounded" is not the most inspired plot to grace the small screen, The Way It Is constructed gives clear motivations to all characters,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "You're Surrounded" Episode 12 2014/06/20,
"You're Surrounded" has a cohesiveness that is made up of its predictable elements and its wonderfully timed and portrayed character beats. Its plotline is nothing new, nor are the bad guys and their evil ways. But what makes this show unique is how it infuses its characters with humanity. There is nothing black-and-white about this show despite the fact that the world in which the characters exist is very insular and the plot relies on coincidences,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "You're Surrounded" Episode 11 2014/06/19,
This episode is about realization and understanding, or the lack thereof. Secrets are out, but they are no easier to deal with. Unlike in the past, however, the characters no longer have to deal with the hardships on their own. They have to get used to friendship, but its a heartwarming journey. When Dae-goo is severely injured by the man who killed his mother, he is hospitalized and in need of aid to perform daily functions,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "You're Surrounded" Episode 10 2014/06/14,
There was only one episode this week due to Lee Seung-gi's eye injury, but it packed a punch. The darker characters were fleshed out and all separate pieces of the big mystery that tie the main characters together are starting to come together. Pan-seok has discovered Dae-goo's identity and Cha Seung-won is brilliant as he shows the process of dealing with that discovery and the emotions that go along with it,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "You're Surrounded" Episode 9 2014/06/06,
The truth is out and although it's couched in lies, Pan-seok and Soo-seon now know Dae-goo's identity. The reveal of the truth gives the three characters some lovely turning points and allows the actors to shine. In general, "You're Surrounded" has found it's stride in delivering the messages it sets out to send. While situations that send these messages may not be tied up as realistically as they could be, they are still satisfying in their conclusions,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "You're Surrounded" Episode 8 2014/05/31,
"You're Surrounded" is now focusing on the idea that the rookies and their leaders are growing into an extended family. Within any family there is love, jealousy, fighting, misunderstanding, and secrets. Brothers fight, parents feel pride. Now that the detectives are one family, they have to suffer through growing pains. Ji Gook gets his time to deal with his issues of inferiority, rendering his tight relationship with Tae-il tense and awkward,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "You're Surrounded" Episode 7 2014/05/30,
"You're Surrounded" has made a big effort to express a message in each episode. It focuses on how people grow in different stages of life after experiencing hardships. It's not really a drama about detectives catching murderers. It's about four young people growing into their under under a leader who still has a few things to learn himself. Part of growing up is contending with the past and it's role in one's life,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "You're Surrounded" Episode 6 2014/05/26,
"You're Surrounded" has found its balance between character growth and the case of the week. Almost every member of the detective unit has been fleshed out to some extent, the two major romantic involvements have begun, and a very hopeful message is passed on in each episode.
This show focuses on growth for the detective team as a unit,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "You're Surrounded" Episode 5 2014/05/23,
The detectives in "You're Surrounded" have begun to function as a team, rookies and seasoned pros alike. They are on a case that requires complete participation and dedication to solve the death of a seven-year-old boy. This case opens old wounds, pits detective against prosecutor, and changes the dynamics of the cast.
"You're Surrounded" gave insight into the reason Pan-seok and Sa-kyung divorced. They lost a young son and couldn't recover from the guilt and blame and severe pain of such a loss. I love that the issue wasn't petty, but something hefty and chock full of great writing material. The episode's missing child case is so similar to their loss that it brings badly buried emotions and memories to the fore,...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] "You're Surrounded" Episode 3 2014/05/15,
"You're Surrounded" is much stronger when it focuses on action and weak when it tries to be funny. There are a few laugh-out-loud moments, but most of the time the humor seems forced. There is a running gag about Tae-il's beauty that constantly stops women (and men) in their tracks and has them admiring him,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "You're Surrounded" Episode 2 2014/05/11,
"You're Surrounded" is a fun show. While it has a few serious themes, most of the interest lies in the satirical social commentary and slapstick humor. The show falters when it attempts to venture into deeper explorations of characters and issues. It doesn't handle the overlap of serious and light-hearted well. Still, it's a good hour of fun Both Pan-seok and Dae-goo have a shared dark past that keep them from fully immersing themselves in the comedy that pervades the rest of the show,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "You're Surrounded" Episode 1 2014/05/08,
"You're Surrounded" started off strong, boasting of a great child cast, a fast-paced opening, and a quick, breezy introduction of all the main characters. There were two general moods: humorous, and dark. While both were well set as isolated scenes, the combination was a bit incongruous. The four rookies in the present have had a brief introduction, but not much else,...More
Ko Ah-ra these days 2014/01/21, Source, Ko Ah-ra posted on her Twitter on the 20th saying, "My recovery is like LTE thanks to you all. We have finished filming and I am always grateful". In the picture, she is wearing a one-shoulder dress and posing for the camera.
Ko Ah-ra also said, "I read every letter you gave me at the fan meet. I am so touched by the several socks I got and they helped me recover",...More
Ko Ah-ra Back in the Limelight After Decade in the Wilderness 2014/01/11, Source, Ko Ah-ra is one of those actresses who made a sensational debut then experienced a long period away from the mainstream, with her career apparently falling by the wayside. After winning over fans as the lead character in a teen drama in 2003, she picked a string of films and dramas that challenged her artistically but failed to gain any commercial success. This could have meant the end of the road for a less persistent or talented actress,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Answer Me 1994" Episode 21 Final 2013/12/28,
The camera deliberately tantalizes us this episode. It constantly feels like we're just going to be one misstep away from Na-jeong's husband being suddenly and unexpectedly revealed, but no, those little pitter patters are just the inevitable outcropping of having nonprofessional friends videotape a wedding. If nothing else, "Answer Me 1994" certainly ends the same way it started out- mocking the viewer and getting away with it because comedy.
For what it's worth, the question is resolved with a fair amount of time to go before the final true ending, and the episode hits the same hard notes it did with the apparent break-ups we had last time,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Answer Me 1994" Episode 20 2013/12/27,
Romantic separation is the byword this time around, as the relationship between Na-jeong and Rubbish is (apparently) fully severed. The scene where this gets established carries a lot of emotional punch. As we saw earlier, they never really technically broke up. It was just that their sustained interest couldn't survive Na-jeong spending extended time working overseas. They're still both clearly heavily emotionally invested in each other, but once again, they've pretty much moved on.
Something "Answer Me 1994" has done very well is using the setting of the nineties, and the limited technology therein, to establish limitations,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Answer Me 1994" Episode 19 2013/12/21,
For the most part we return back to the status quo of "Answer Me 1994" here, where we see how even though the nineties are almost behind our cast, generally their situation remains unaltered. Everybody's still living in the Seong family boarding house, though we seem to be drawing ever closer to the moment when those days will end. Binggrae and Haitai are constantly easily distracted by their girlfriends. It's cute watching them be the ones to interrupt family gatherings for once, mostly because they've always been hovering in the background,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Answer Me 1994" Episode 18 2013/12/20,
It's finally time for the main cast to become adults, with all of the general unpleasantness that entails. Haitai gets the worst of it. Finally free from the rigors of mandatory military service, he returns to normal life. And even though everybody is now two years older...very little has actually changed about his dating situation. Sure, Haitai can meet ladies, but he inevitably ends up losing them in the saddest most comical of ways. I love the despondency on his face near the end of this plotline, when Haitai just can't make up his mind whether to even try anymore,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Answer Me 1994" Episode 17 2013/12/14,
Binggrae's adventures with friends unrelated to the main cast continue. I think it's pretty clear at this point that his wallflower-like appearance in the drama isn't just an excuse of the script not having much for him to do. This is the essential part of his personality that seems to follow him everywhere. It's not the most exciting storyline, granted, but the way his plotline finally resolves is just plain adorable, and leaves a nice warm fuzzy feeling.
We're in more ambiguous territory with Na-jeong and Rubbish, whose more madcap adventures hit another apex in a bizarre flashback,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Answer Me 1994" Episode 16 2013/12/13,
We really don't get to do much with Binggrae. Of the four potential suitors, the odds that he's Na-jeong's husband are by the far the most distant. So there's typically not a whole for him to actually do. "Answer Me 1994" appears to acknowledge that this episode, giving us a storyline centered almost entirely around Binggrae where he doesn't he really do anything. His general lack of character development in itself appears to be the narrative focus.
The social event where he spends most of his time here bears a striking similarity to those earlier episodes where everybody has just got in from the country and wasn't really sure what to do yet,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Answer Me 1994" Episode 15 2013/12/07,
While last episode focused on the fuzzy, happy parts of the new relationship between Na-jeong and Rubbish, this one begins to take a more pragmatic view by showing us what their day-to-day life is in the household. I was rather curious why Na-jeong's parents didn't show up in the last episode, and the reason for that is made clear here very quickly. They have no idea that Na-jeong and Rubbish are seeing each other in a romantic light now. Or at least, they're pretending that they don't,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Answer Me 1994" Episode 14 2013/12/06,
There's a great nineties aesthetic going on throughout this episode. "Answer Me 1994", like almost any drama produced today, is ultimately a product of popular current-day writing tropes and situations. In this episode, that scenario is conversations that are both emotionally stunted and emotionally expressive, as participants try to express themselves as much as they can without risking offending the other person. The nineties music selection here is amazingly well-suited to these scenes, communicating a particular sadness and intimacy that just doesn't seem to go far enough.
Incidentally, there's another giant time jump this episode. At this rate we'll almost certainly get a cameo from the drama's predecessor. At first this might seem to be a cheat- Na-jeong and Rubbish are finally couple, and we're skipping over all of that just to watch a relationship that's several months in? But the narrative reasons for this are sound,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Answer Me 1994" Episode 13 2013/11/30,
The despair that accompanied the end of the last episode is pretty much over and done with as the drama returns back into more traditional territory. This time around the narrative structure is unusually cohesive, as a mystery is prompted at the beginning of the episode concerning Na-jeong's wedding, and a somewhat unusual event that took place there which seems inexplicable to a random outside observer. Music is involved.
And so it is with the first setpiece, a trip to the music room,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Answer Me 1994" Episode 12 2013/11/29,
Part of the advantage of "Answer Me 1994" taking place over such a long period of time (we are, at this point, definitively in 1995) is that the romantic plotting gets a lot more room to breathe. Since there's no pressure to fully resolve all the lovelines within a few months, we often get to see extended reflective scenes where characters just sort of realize that even after several months not a whole lot has really happened.
This episode contrasts this by making it quite clear that in this much time, several relevant things have happened,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Answer Me 1994" Episode 11 2013/11/23,
The theme of this episode is unrequited love. For the most part this is a self-conscious focus taken by the characters. We now have two couples who are pretty clearly in requited love now, but spending too time on them is just kind of boring. Who wants to look at happy people when it's so much more fun to just stir about sullenly in the depths of misery?
Hae-tae gets a focused personal plot for once, although it's not really a love plot so much as sheer lust,...More
Ko Ah-ra Escapes Baby Doll Image in New TV Drama 2013/11/23, Source, Ko Ah-ra is enjoying an image makeover due to her role as a tomboy in tvN's "Answer Me 1994".
In the highly popular TV drama, she stars as a university student who moves to the capital from her hometown in the southern port city of Masan, South Gyeongsang Province. "Previously, my image was more like that of a quiet and well-behaved doll, which is something I really wanted to break out of", said the 23-year-old,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Answer Me 1994" Episode 10 2013/11/16,
This episode goes for a change of scenery and a rather extreme time-skip- I know I've been complaining about how the drama seemed stuck in summertime but I didn't think it would go this far. Although it's an appropriate enough step to take- if anything has been made clear it's that our various main characters are really bad at confessing their feelings of love, so it's understandable that it takes a momentous event to actually make them step up their game. Even if it's just a holiday.
Yes, that's right- we finally get to love confessions and I have to admit, they were well worth the wait,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Answer Me 1994" Episode 9 2013/11/15,
I guess it's too late for Yoon-jin to be the main character. That's a little disappointing- I love it every time she shows up onscreen simply because Yoon-jin is such a catalyst for action. She doesn't just sit around and wait for stuff to happen- she forcefully takes the steps necessary to insure that things go her way. Or maybe that's just my own preference for slapstick- given that we already know who her husband is going to be, it's not like there's much more she can do in the actual plot.
On that front, our main characters spend the better part of this episode preoccupied with one of those magic image books. I never could figure out how those were supposed to work,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Answer Me 1994" Episode 8 2013/11/09,
It's still summertime. Not even a specific month either, just summertime in general, just like the last few episodes. The drama is treading over the same ground and I must confess it's getting a little tiring. There are only so many episodes about nothing that can be produced before the reader finally starts to wonder, hey, is anything actually going to happen or is it just going to be an endless summer?
For what it's worth, what little plot there is this time around is fairly interesting,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Answer Me 1994" Episode 7 2013/11/08,
Summer continues in 1994 as characters continue to find ways to beat the heat. I'm not an expert, but I'm going to guess that air conditioning was not yet a universal thing during this time in South Korea, given the schemes characters resort to in order to stay cool. A heat wave can bring about that kind of madness- that a person is willing to look completely ridiculous just as long as they feel well-aerated.
Well, except for Yoon-jin anyway. She never cared about appearances in the first place,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Answer Me 1994" Episode 6 2013/11/02,
The broader theme of this episode is fatherhood. Seong Dong-il is a dad to all the college-age boys living in his house- and not in the easy categories of strict dad or fun dad. He's the kind of dad who demands the very best from his surrogate sons because he knows they can deliver. Even when Seong Dong-il ends up getting more than he bargained for, there's always that same front that really emphasizes how much he cares,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Answer Me 1994" Episode 5 2013/11/01,
This episode has a lot of focus on Yoon-jin. Do-hee puts a fairly convincing spin as the girl who has no nice side, no friends, and for the most part is perfectly fine with having all her social interactions be basically hostile ones. Who here has met a person like that in real life, particularly during university? Do you think that person had a secret fuzzy personality underneath? No, of course not. Why would you?
Her character as a whole really emphasizes a lot of how this episode works, as get back to more general comedy. The opening scene is an extremely large meal,...More
Seong Dong-il in New Zealand 2013/10/27, Source, Seong Dong-il left to New Zealand for the making of the MBC TV show "Dad, Where Are You Going?" What will happen to his part in the tvN drama "Answer Me 1994"?
Apparently, his scenes have already been taken care of and filming has been done to a point where it's not a big problem,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Answer Me 1994" Episode 4 2013/10/26,
The drama continues moving in the largely emotional territory that predominated the last episode. This time, rather than dealing with immediate attachments- the issue is loss. Don't worry- nobody dies or anything this time around. It's mostly just reflection on events in the backstory. Also making an appearance is a subplot involving a night club that's not particularly impressive.
For some reason, I assumed when the nightclub first appeared that we were actually going to get to see what was inside it,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Answer Me 1994" Episode 3 2013/10/25,
There are two essential jokes this episode. One is the story of a bunch of kids on the cusp of their twenties engaging in an elaborate drinking game. Where the last one wins...respect, I guess. Second, another set of characters is driving in a car. Quite a bit of a luxury to people from rural districts who are probably old enough to remember a time when people still used horse-drawn carriages. But this inevitably runs into its own pitfalls, particularly in the untrusting world of modern-day Seoul.
The humor in these plotlines is passable. They're not terrible jokes, but this episode by and large lacks the creative dazzle of the gags in the first two episodes,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Answer Me 1994" Episode 2 2013/10/19,
The full cast comes out this episode, and the already crowded house becomes outrageously cramped. Personality clashes abound as characters are forced to share space with strangers while realizing that, for better or worse, they're all going to be stuck like this for the long term. The storyline finally gets something we can call a reasonable plot hook- and it's fairly unclear how any of the current choices are supposed to work out solely in the context of the series' 1994-centered flashback,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Answer Me 1994" Episode 1 2013/10/18,
Ah, the gay nineties. An age where everything had to be done via VHS tape, where editors everywhere had discovered and began overusing slow motion in conjunction with overwrought musical chords. When phone conversations only ever happened at home, and the ringing sound was not an ironic one. When getting to new unseen places required following complicated directions that couldn't be double-checked. When stalking celebrities required excessive effort and intelligence,...More
[HanCinema's Film Review] "Papa - Movie" 2012/07/01, Film: "Papa - Movie"
Director:Han Ji-seung ("Venus and Mars" and "Alone in Love")
Stars: Park Yong-woo, Ko Ah-ra and Son Byeong-hoReview Score: 6/10
Also try: "Hello Ghost"
I flagged this film as soon as I saw the film poster for it a few weeks before its release in Korea. It looked like such an unusual, as well as a highly unlikely film, that bravely nose dives into the, sometimes sticky, issue of multiculturalism in Korean culture. Han Ji-seung's efforts here, as something relatively new and rather bold, unfortunately did not translate into a remarkable performance at the local box office. The film received very little attention, and generally slipped under the radar in terms of admissions. A shame really, because although it's all a little to neat and tidy for my liking, the film itself offers a unique counter-narrative to mainstream Korean cinema as a light-hearted comedy that finds an uncanny middle ground between the Korean comedy genre films we all know and love, and this films irregular inclusion of suburban American culture,...More
Actress Ko Ah-ra Hopes to Inspire Viewers to Chase Dreams 2012/01/28, Source,
After playing the role of a pole vaulter in "Pacemaker", which opened in theaters recently, Ko Ah-ra appears as the teen breadwinner of a dysfunctional American family in the upcoming movie "Papa - Movie", set to open on Feb. 2.
In the film, the 22-year-old plays a girl who overcomes conflicts with her stepfather in order to protect the family of orphaned children from different ethnic backgrounds, before eventually breaking into show business,...More
Ko Ah-ra: 'Life Is Series of Challenges' 2012/01/20, Source,
Actress Ko Ah-ra, who plays the female protagonist in the movies "Pacemaker" and "Papa - Movie", is only twenty two years old, but she has already appeared in nine dramas and movies up to now. She has grown up as a mature woman like the character who becomes attracted by internal beauty rather than outward appearance in the movie "Pacemaker" from a teenage girl who has her pulse quickened by a handsome boy in the drama "Sharp 1".,...More
K-celebrities now VCR 2 2012/01/19, Source,
We all have a bond that is unbreakable and unchangeable in our lives. And it's the bond of family.
[SOV] [Interview : ] "Let's get married".
That is, unless you're in THIS family.
[SOV] [Interview : ] "We just have to pretend you're a family! Without me, you would all be in an orphanage!",...More
This Week's Cultural News VCR2 2012/01/13, Source,
[SOV] [Interview : ] "I don't think that's right. That head is too small to be mine".
[Interview : ] "This isn't yours, Mr. Kang".
[Interview : ] "Just one more time"
[Interview : ] "How long do I have to live"
[Interview : ] "You could live up to three months",...More
'Pacemaker' fetes unsung sports heroes 2012/01/04, Source,
(Above picture: Kim Myeong-min, left, in scene from "Pacemaker" / Courtesy of Cinergy)
A boy from an impoverished family with a talent for running finishes second place in a race on purpose - in order to win the box of "ramyeon" (instant noodles) given to runners-up. He grows up to become a national marathoner but he is destined to hold himself back as he did in his childhood.
A "Pacemaker" is an athlete strategically thrown into sports competitions such as marathons and swimming in order to boost the frontrunner's record. In this case, the runner must halt at the 30-kilometer mark so that his teammate can take the crown at the end of the 42.195-kilometer marathon,...More
Actress Ko Ah-ra Becomes a Pole Vaulter in Film 2012/01/03, Source, 22-Year-Old Actress Gain 5-kg Weight for Film
South Korea's gracefully beautiful actress Ko Ah-ra has turned into a track and field athlete.
The 22-year-old actress appeared in a press conference for film preview "Pacemaker" held at Lotte Cinema's theater in Seoul's Jayang-dong on Jan. 3, 2012.
In the movie directed by Kim Dal-joong she appears as a pole vaulter representing South Korea.
She said that she practed with 8-kg dumbbell to appear in the film. She also gained a weight of 5 killo grams to fit in with the character needed in the film,...More
"Pacemaker" teaser poster unveiled 2011/12/02,
Dream Capture Studios on Thursday revealed the teaser poster for its upcoming movie "Pacemaker", which stars acclaimed Korean actor Kim Myeong-min in the title role.
The poster features a full-body image of a sweaty Joo Manho (Kim Myeong-min), a marathon runner. He is pictured in the middle of the road, presumably during a marathon race at the London Olympics 2012, with one hand resting on his knee and the other on his thigh,...More
First "Pacemaker" trailer to be released end November 2011/11/24, The first teaser trailer for sports movie "Pacemaker" will be released very soon.
MM Entertainment, Kim Myeong-min's new company revealed that the award-winning actor, who plays lead character Joo Manho, recently finished recording the voice-over narration for the trailer which is expected to be released at the end of November. Korean theaters will start screening the movie on 19 January 2012,...More
"Pacemaker" back from London 2011/06/20, Source, Kim Myeong-min and the rest of the cast and crew of movie "Pacemaker" are back in Korea last Tuesday, June 14th after a week of filming in Europe's most popular filming sites, London.
Majority of the scenes that were filmed in London were part of the London 2012 Olympic marathon race where Joo Man Hoo (Kim Myeong-min) and Min Yun Ki (Choi Tae-joon) participate as representatives of the Republic of Korea,...More
Ko Ah-ra is the new face for digital camera with Kim Soo-hyeon-I 2011/05/30, Source,
Actress Ko Ah-ra is the new face for digital camera brand Canon Korea Consumer imaging, says SM Entertainment on the 31st.
Canon revealed, "Ko Ah-ra's image fits well into the 20s preference and her attraction from her various images chose her to be our new model. We believe the new model will be the catalyst for vitalizing the new compact camera market".,...More
Actors get sick while working out, 'why?' 2011/04/17, Source,
It's confusing if they are an athlete or an actor. Actors and actresses work hard to master a specific sport in a given amount of time for their roles in movies and dramas, beyond working out for their health,...More
Korea's Top Agencies Combine Their Powers 2011/04/08, Source, The largest and most successful Korean entertainment agencies representing some of the most well-known faces in Asia are coming together to form the United Asia Management (UAM).
KBS is seeking to bring about a change in the sluggish teenage program scene with its new series,...More
K-POP Goes Beyond Asia By Internet 2010/09/07, Source,
△ SM Town Concert in USA
"YouTube plays an important role in attracting fans from all around the world". -A representative of SM Entertainment
A representative of SM Entertainment (hereafter refers to SM), Kim Young Min, said, "The world's famous video-sharing website, YouTube, has played the role of an engine to attract fans from all around the world",...More
SM Entertainment profits surge in H1 2010/08/17, Source, Girls' Generation [SM Entertainment]
Top Korean talent agency SM Entertainment (SM) saw its profits soar during the first half of 2010, almost quadrupling compared to last year.
According to a press release issued by SM on Monday, the agency recorded an operating profit of 18.6 billion won during the January to June period this year, the figure surging by 385 percent from the same period in 2009,...More
"SMTOWN LIVE" concert to be six hours long, says SM 2010/08/05, Source,
Official poster for upcoming "SMTOWN LIVE" concert featuring SM artists [SM Entertainment]
The upcoming "SMTOWN LIVE '10 World Tour In Seoul" concert featuring numerous SM artists including BoA, Girls' Generation and Super Junior will be one of great scale and length.
Agency SM Entertainment (SM) announced in a press release on Thursday that the joint world tour, which includes stops in Los Angeles, Tokyo, Shanghai and other major Asian cities, will be about six hours long and feature a total of some 80 songs by the artists,...More
SM vows to create better working environment for artists 2010/07/06, Source,
From left, Girls' Generation member Yuri (Kwon Yoo-ri), National Assembly member Cho Moon-hwan, Girls' Generation member Sooyoung and SM Entertainment President Kim Young-min pose during a proclamation ceremony vowing to protect artists' rights held at Cho's office at the parliament building in Seoul, South Korea on July 6, 2010. [Han Youn-jong/Asia Economic Daily]
Major South Korean talenthouse SM Entertainment (SM), pop group Girls' Generation and National Assemblyman Cho Moon-hwan have taken action to establish a better working environment for artists in the Korean entertainment industry.
The agency on Tuesday held a proclamation ceremony at Cho's office, where they announced that SM and Cho's team will join forces to protect the rights of artists and set up a mutually beneficial contract system across the industry,...More
SM artists to embark on world tour in August 2010/07/02, Source,
Official poster of "SMTOWN LIVE '10 WORLD TOUR" [SM Entertainment]
The artists of major talenthouse SM Entertainment will go on a world tour starting mid-August, SM announced on Friday.
SM explained through a press release that their singers, including Kangta, BoA, U-Know Yunho, MaxChangmin, Super Junior, Girls' Generation, SHINee, f(x), TRAX, will take off on the "SMTOWN LIVE '10 WORLD TOUR" which kicks off at the Olympic Park in Seoul on August 21,...More
U-Know Yunho's "No Limit" DVD tops Oricon charts in Japan 2010/06/28, Source, U-Know Yunho in a scene from TV series "No Limit" [MBC]
The newly-released DVDs for MBC TV series "No Limit", starring TVXQ leader U-Know Yunho, is selling off the shelves in Japan, according to the country's Oricon charts.
According to Oricon's weekly DVD charts for television drama category, the two DVD box sets for "Limit" were the two best-selling DVDs in the country, ranking at No.1 and No.2 for the week of June 21,...More
U-Know Yunho promotes "No Limit" DVD in Japan 2010/06/28, Source,
Korean signer and actor U-Know Yunho of TVXQ [Asia Economic Daily]
Korean singer and actor U-Know Yunho of boy band TVXQ promoted his TV series "No Limit" in Japan over the weekend, visiting the country for the first time since TVXQ halted its musical activities there last April.
The singer attended a fan event to celebrate the DVD launch of MBC TV series "No Limit", held at Tokyo International Forum on June 26,...More
SM Entertainment artists perform at Shanghai Expo 2010/06/01, Source,
Pictured above: girl group f(x); below: singer Kang Ta [SM Entertainment]
Korean talenthouse SM Entertainment artists Kang Ta, BoA, Super Junior and f(x) performed at the Expo 2010 Shanghai China over the weekend.
The stars took to the stage of the 'Korea Music Festival' held at the Cultural Center of the Shanghai Expo Park in Sunday attended by 10,000 people,...More
SM Entertainment records biggest Q1 profit 2010/05/13, Source,
Korean entertainment entrepreneur Lee Soo-man of SM Entertainment [SM Entertainment]
SM Entertainment (SM) -- considered one of the top three talent agencies in Korea alongside YG and JYP Entertainment -- saw its most successful first quarter this year, recording the biggest profit the company has ever seen.
According to a press release issued by SM on Thursday, the agency recorded operating profits of 10.4 billion won from January to March this year, up an astounding 471 percent from the same period last year when the total operating profit for the entire year had been 9.3 billion won,...More
While swimming in the sea or cruising along in your car...
have you ever seen your life flash before your eyes?
How does one feel in that frantic moment?
And how does one's life change compared to life before that pivotal mo,...More
[ChanMi's star news] Kim Beom and Ko Ah-ra! 2009/01/25, Source, They are modeling as partners for a fashion brand.
The two are a same age, the good looking pair Kim BeomKo Ah-ra are modeling for Sprees Spring season!
Sprees is for the younger generation emphasizing the trends.
The theme for this shoot is 'Style Mate' for which they seem very friendly and trendy concept.,...More
[ChanMi's star news] Ko Ah-ra picked best model by Kwangjoo citizens! 2008/10/23, Source, Actress Ko Ah-ra and actor Lee Seon-gyoon has been picked the best models for this year. The two stars have attended the KAA ceremony, "2008 Korea Kwangjoo Festival- Kwangjoo Night Awards".
They have been picked because of how they present the products they model for in commercials with amiable and attractive ways. It is a picky process with 3 steps to go through to be chosen the best model in commercial films.
Ko Ah-ra has won the votes with 43.1 percent. Her innocent and bright image in commercials for,...More
A Korean culture scene is known for its rapid changes in style and trend, not to mention the impact it brings to society as a whole. While some simply come and go, others expand to others aspects such as fash,...More
South Korea's esteemed 45th Daejong (Grand Bell) Film Festival held in southern Seoul, showcased the latest local box office trends, with its stronghold of original thrillers, stylistic period pieces and experimental projects. While superstars grabbed the limelight,...More
Stars' Campus Life? Students before entertainers 2008/04/03, Source, Stars are wonderful and handsome. They seem to be fantastic inside or outside the TV. However, away from the camera, they are just normal people. Especially entertainers who go to school are simply students.
For these stars, pictures of their school life are becoming big news. The reason is becau,...More
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