[HanCinema's Box Office Review] 2016.04.29 ~ 2016.05.01 2016/05/02,
Marvel's "Civil War" takes no prisoners...
Marvel Studios' much-anticipated "Captain America: Civil War" arrived in Korea last Wednesday and over the weekend this blockbuster was the only game in town. The film was allocated an incredible 1,990 screens and attracted 2.7 million filmgoers for a whopping 90.5% of the box office pie. Already "Civil War" has amassed 3.9 million admissions in Korea alone ($28.7 million), and globally Marvel's latest superhero flick has banked over $200 million. Western superhero films are very popular the world over, and Korea is no exception, and its dominance over the weekend left very little for the rest of fray to fight over,...More
[HanCinema's Film Review] "Insane" 2016/04/23,
Nam-soo (played by Lee Sang-yoon) is a producer working for a late night horror show that involves ghosts. Not real ghosts, just actors in ghost make-up. Nam-soo is irritated by the low prestige nature of this work, and quickly takes up the track of investigative journalism when a freak discovery at a shooting location begs a lot of important questions. This trail ends up leading to a mental patient (played by Kang Ye-won) who is identified in hospital records as Soo-ah. The extent to which any of these records are accurate, well, that's part of the mystery,...More
[HanCinema's Box Office Review] 2016.04.08 ~ 2016.04.10 2016/04/11,
Local thriller "Insane" comes out on top as DC's heroes free fall...
The aftermath of "Batman v Superman" has not been kind to DC's crossover collision as admissions counts continue to drop despite the film's initial hype and massive fanbase. Last weekend the bombastic action of DC's latest enjoyed its second weekend out atop the Korean box office, but week three for Zack Snyder's superhero film was incredibly underwhelming,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Twenty Again" Episode 16 (Final) 2016/01/16,
Despite my annoyance with "Twenty Again", this finale did a lot of explaining and brought the drama to a satisfying close. No-ra figured out how she wanted to live her life, Hyeon-seok let her do it, and Woo-cheol figured out how to chase his dreams without stepping on others to do it. The other characters also came full circle,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Twenty Again" Episode 15 2016/01/16,
I admit to being baffled by episode 15 of "Twenty Again". I just don't understand what No-ra is thinking. After all the romantic back and forth, and after how hard she's worked, it's difficult to fathom why she chose the path she did. Since the beginning, No-ra has worked towards figuring out who she is,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Twenty Again" Episode 14 2016/01/10, "Twenty Again" hasn't been the fastest paced drama in the lineup. A lot of what has come to pass could've been trimmed down to move more quickly. But, we've finally arrived at the meaty romantic bits and where Woo-cheol and his mistress get their just desserts. Woo-cheol and his mistress have been playing a dangerous game, cheating behind No-ra's back and expecting everything to work out in their favor,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Twenty Again" Episode 13 2016/01/10,
Episode 13 of "Twenty Again" focuses on realization, mostly on Woo-cheol's part. For nearly the entirety of his relationship with No-ra he has tried to mold her and their life to cater to his lofty career aspirations. Although his conscience pricked at him, he catered to his needs and hurt No-ra and his son on his path to achieving his goals. When Woo-cheol and No-ra met, he went out of his way to care for her and impress her,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Twenty Again" Episode 12 2016/01/09,
Our main characters were twenty once, but it was a long time ago. Some of the powerful, virulent emotions that overtake youngsters have begun to plague the grown "adults" of "Twenty Again". No-ra hasn't felt the flutterings of a crush in twenty years. Woo-cheol hasn't felt intrigued by his wife in just as long. Hyeon-seok is reliving the love from his youth. These youthful emotions overtake the adults quickly, and they almost flounder save for the fact that their experience tempers them,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Twenty Again" Episode 11 2016/01/01,
No-ra's journey thus far has been about growing up, exploring her independence, and rediscovering her passion from her youth. Although Hyeon-seok has had eyes only for her, it has not been the same for her. She's had the changes in her life, but her difficulties at home to deal with. Only now does a bright new romance occur to her as she discovers her burgeoning attraction for puppy-faced Hyeon-seok. It comes as a surprise to her when physical attraction hits her over the head,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Twenty Again" Episode 10 2016/01/01,
This is an episode of empowerment and realization for No-ra. She's experiencing what it's like to be a appreciated woman, a friend, and mother. She has always coasted through life in the background and has been undervalued by her family. But now she's changing that herself and proving herself a strong, viable woman. As she opens up, Hyeon-seok, Woo-cheol, and her son, Min-soo, all respond differently,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Twenty Again" Episode 8 2016/01/01,
The halfway point of "Twenty Again" is here and rather than a huge physical battle, we've come to the apex of a high-tension set of emotions. It's also where the characters begin to see No-ra for who she truly is, unfettered by the emotional shackles Woo-cheol gave her years ago.
It is not only No-ra that we begin to see more clearly, but Hyeon-seok as well,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Twenty Again" Episode 7 2015/12/12,
No-ra has finally grown a spine. She may not know exactly what she wants out of life, but she knows she wants to live it to its fullest and won't let Woo-cheol hinder her any further. Hyeon-seok, on the other hand, is a different story. When he and No-ra are around each other they revert to teenagerhood and fight like children with crushes – much like her Son Min-soo. We're almost to the halfway point and there should be some sort of shift in plot coming our way next episode,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Twenty Again" Episode 6 2015/12/06,
Twenty Again doesn't let anything fester for long – that is both its charm and its strength. The truth about No-ra's health is exposed, but not before we get an episode that is both fun and introspective. Each character gets to do a bit more soul searching. Or, in Woo-cheol's case, he slowly begins to learn that No-ra is no longer the complacent puppet wife that she was for the past twenty years. No-ra's inner twenty-year-old emerges in full force as she rebels against her husband and her life as it once was,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Twenty Again" Episode 5 2015/11/29,
The beauty of "Twenty Again" is that is never dwells on any single plot point for too long. It doesn't belabor the usual tropes. It grows as quickly as No-ra does as she learns more about herself from her new adventures as well as from the ever-attentive and temperamental Hyeon-seok
What makes this show good is not just a well-drawn out heroine with a clear path to walk, but also that those around her need to learn a few things themselves,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Twenty Again" Episode 4 2015/11/15,
Each episode feels like a fresh beginning in "Twenty Again" as the main characters experience new revelations that kickstart the hour. Newly armed with the (false) knowledge that No-ra is dying, Hyeon-seok decides to encourage and help her the way that she had done for him when he was a high schooler. No-ra, on the other hand, has a second chance at life with the realization that she does not have cancer and she's going to live. Ironically, the situation brings them closer because it softens Hyeon-seok and makes him more receptive to No-ra, while she opens up to the possibility of truly living her life. It's a situation that brings them both back to their twenty-year-old selves, sweet, eager, full-of-life, and ready to get living,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Twenty Again" Episode 3 2015/11/15,
The third episode finds childhood friends Hyeon-seok and No-ra still feeling each other out after having experiencing life separately for twenty years without maintaining their friendship. Life has changed them, but that doesn't stop Hyeon-seok from suffering intense curiosity at the secrecy No-ra displays upon their sudden reintroduction to one another. And No-ra, she is realizing that she's been living in a bubble as life has passed her by. It's not just the difficulties that she experiences as an older student, but the fact that she's never really been able to interact with others and watch the world grow. She's only watched her son grow up and her husband grow apart from her. That husband, Woo-cheol, is in love with another woman, and the couple is suited in personality and temperament save for the fact that he's still married,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Twenty Again" Episode 2 2015/11/01,
The pettiness of childhood has infiltrated the hearts and minds of No-ra, Hyeon-seok, Woo-cheol, and every other adult in "Twenty Again". It emphasizes the point that no matter how old a person may be, a twenty-year-old still lives inside her and can manifest at any time. Society makes it harder for someone older to behave like that twenty-year-old, but it happens nonetheless. The back story of No-ra's and Hyeon-seok's high school relationship is given and although much has changed in the twenty years since they last met, there is still something that remains: Hyeon-seok's feelings for her,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Liar Game" Episode 12 2014/11/25,
Well, "Liar Game" does at least manage to explain why the story took a sudden turn for bizarre conspiracies- we have to find out next season. Normally that's a pretty lousy cop out, especially since it's not clear whether they'll actually make another season, but it does explain why Woo-jin and Do-yeong's backstory has suddenly become so important. They're only one part of a much larger universe,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Liar Game" Episode 11 2014/11/24,
The good news is that all the games this time around are fairly easy to understand. The bad news is they're so easy to understand that "Liar Game" really has to contrive the situation in order to plausibly get Do-yeong to come out ahead. He's not really succeeding based on the power of his bluffs so much as he is by apparently understanding the structure of the game and the way the odds are defined much better than any other character. It's somewhat plausible, but it does tend to make our main characters look like chumps,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Liar Game" Episode 10 2014/11/18,
You've probably figured out the writing pattern by now- after the major cliffhanger, Woo-jin reveals how he identified the plan of his rivals and how he managed to pull off a countermove to expose the truth behind the situation. And in fact, his deduction makes perfect sense. In fact, it's so obvious I feel kind of dumb for not noticing it myself. "Liar Game" has done such a good job showing off the apparent superhuman abilities of its characters that it's easy to forget how, at the end of the day, they are just normal people,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Liar Game" Episode 9 2014/11/17,
The opening is just more general doubt and uncertainty about who anyone should really trust, and all that. Don't expect any obvious clues about what the deal is with Do-yeong. I can get why "Liar Game" doesn't want to give too much information out at once, but really, this late in the drama we really need something a little more substantial. While the chat between Woo-jin and Dal-goo is somewhat informative, too much time here is spent on mostly meaningless conversations,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Liar Game" Episode 8 2014/11/11,
After Woo-jin has revealed his gambit for making victory not so impossible after all, a twist pops up that threatens a reasonably interesting political allegory. What happens if you take power only to discover that the situation is not what it seems? This idea is mostly scuttled, though, because the main group immediately sets up a council to figure out what happened. Such are the advantages of a team that operates under a genuine assumption of trust,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Liar Game" Episode 7 2014/11/10,
The first part of this episode deals with Woo-jin teaming up with Dal-goo to gain an advantage in the overall game. The exact mechanics of this are, unfortunately, a little bit difficult to fully parse because we're not told the rules for the fourth round until after Dal-goo has already been through the ringer. Given that the stakes are everything in "Liar Game", a failure to clearly define them does a lot of damage in terms of keeping the drama interesting,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Liar Game" Episode 6 2014/11/04,
Making sense of the rules in "Liar Game" can sometimes get to be a bit difficult, which is a problem in a story where the entire dramatic impetus is about characters who try to achieve victory by bending the rules. Even the social element here is a bit unnerving. Granted, the entire point of the lead characters' scheme involves secret discussions, but surely the other players are keeping track of each other's movements. It's not like they have anything else to do,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Liar Game" Episode 5 2014/11/03,
Probably the main lingering question from last episode was how Jamie is supposed to remain a credible threat when, to date, she's the only real antagonist. While her contingency plan managed to get Jamie to the next round, the fact remains that she's obviously untrustworthy and it's impossible to imagine why anyone would want to deal with her. The woman is, among other things, just really mean and unpleasant to be around,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Liar Game" Episode 4 2014/10/28,
While "Liar Game" can't really overcome the basic silliness of the Keynesian Beauty Contest which makes up the second round, it certainly tries. There's all sorts of backstabbing and double-dealing that's actually fairly compelling. For the most part everyone here is a complete stranger. So figuring out who to trust and who not to trust pretty much boils down to paying close attention to what any individual wants (or doesn't want) us to see,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Liar Game" Episode 3 2014/10/27,
I really like the "Liar Game" show-within-a-show. Everything about it just looks so amazingly cool and slick. While the exposition so far has mostly been annoying, this episode actually makes the worldbuilding fairly compelling by actually showing us the stuff they put on television to explain everything to the audience. I actually feel kind of guilty because while this is an obviously rad game show it's also kind of evil and cruel in that the losers are saddled with enormous debts. This is probably supposed to be part of the point,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Liar Game" Episode 2 2014/10/21,
At times the pacing in "Liar Game" is irritatingly slow- it takes a full two episodes for us to establish Woo-jin's motives, as well as clarify that he and Da-jeong are going to be going through this game show right until the end. I know it's a genre convention that the rough sallow lead character has to initially refuse a team-up with the optimistic one, but there's really no good reason for all of this to take so long, not when there's other more interesting material to get into,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Liar Game" Episode 1 2014/10/21,
Woo-jin (played by Lee Sang-yoon) appears to live by a creed of general paranoia. Da-jeong (played by Kim So-eun) is mostly kind and trusting, although she's not an idiot. These two get together to...well, we don't actually get to that part. The actual team-up isn't going to happen until next episode, and the relationship between these two characters isn't really established at all. So far the drama has dedicated most of its energy to presenting itself as a very curious riddle,...More
Lee Sang-yoon to star in tvN "Liar Game" 2014/09/11, Source,
Actor Lee Sang-yoon is looking through the new tvN drama "Liar Game" script and negotiations are being made.
"Liar Game" is based on an original by Kaitani Sinobu, a character who is too honest for his own good joining a game, which will reward him with money if he wins, but it will put him debt if he loses. It was created as a drama in Japan in 2007 and season 2 was made in 2009,...More
[HanCinema's Film Review] "Santa Barbara" 2014/09/05,
Jeong-woo (played by Lee Sang-yoon) works as an independent freelance music writer. Conventionally speaking this would make him cool, except that we see what work is actually like for Jeong-woo and, well, it's kind of dorky. It involves lots of phone calls, moving around boring local areas and arguing over the ridiculous motivations that need to be discussed ad nauseum with his clients. He doesn't have much of a social life, either, so naturally Jeong-woo soon takes an interest in the attractive Soo-kyeong (played by Yoon Jin-seo), who he meets, like everyone else Jeong-woo meets, through work meetings,...More
Lee Sang-yoon to Make Film Debut 2014/06/19, Source,
Actor Lee Sang-yoon is making the move from TV to film. He will play a romantic music director in his debut film "Santa Barbara". The actor, who has won the hearts of many fans with an intellectual, gentlemanly image, will play a character who puts romance and love before anything else in life,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Goddess of Fire Jeongi" Episode 29 2013/10/21,
What little tension "Goddess Of Fire Jeongi" had created with the Japanese presence in episode 28 was drained by the sudden change in focus on Jung's birth father Kang-chun. It would've been better had the episode intertwined the bloodline reveal and the Japanese invasion storylines to keep the momentum going. Instead, the entire episode focused on her discovering a secret that the viewers have known since episode one and it seemed like one big, hour-long, lame afterthought,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Goddess of Fire Jeongi" Episode 28 2013/10/16,
Let's talk history quickly before we get into this review because the show doesn't lay it down properly by itself. The Ministry of Culture supports the funding for "Goddess Of Fire Jeongi" because ceramics hold a very important place in Korean, and indeed, in East Asian history. It was a national resource in Joseon and was prized as a sign of affluence and wealth by the Ming Dynasty (ancient China) and by Japan. Japan coveted Joseon's porcelain and kidnapped ceramicists, which will eventually be the fate of Yoo Jung, the heroine of "Goddess Of Fire Jeongi". The historical figure she is based on, Baek Pa-sun, was kidnapped and forced to create in Japan. She, along with the other kidnapped ceramicists, grew Japan's porcelain culture while Joseon's deteriorated because of the lost of its most masterful talents. It was a huge event in Korean history, especially since Japanese invasion continued to affect it into the 20th century. With all of this said, I'm extremely disappointed by "Goddess Of Fire Jeongi". It failed to establish the hefty importance of ceramics in Joseon,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Goddess of Fire Jeongi" Episode 27 2013/10/10,
The tensions that the writer has attempted to build for twenty-seven episodes came to a minor head when the king sentences Yook-do to death. This spurs a desperate attempt from his father, Kang-chun, to save his life and Kang-chun's efforts result in many past conflicts in the drama coming to light. "Goddess Of Fire Jeongi" tried to set up many of the issues that came up this episode: Hwa-ryung versus Jung; Imhae versus Gwanghae; Kang-chun's fatherly love versus his strong sense of self-preservation; love versus duty. There is so much good material to explore, but it's been badly developed and therefore when the writer tries to make these issues come to a head and create tensions, the resulting drama is impotent and ineffective,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Goddess of Fire Jeongi" Episode 26 2013/10/07,
"Goddess Of Fire Jeongi" is now truly a revenge story. The high stakes have made it exciting and have given the drama what it lacked: focus. Jung has transformed into a single-minded woman who is willing to risk a man's life to attain her goal. She is also willing to harm loved ones. This is quite a different Jung than the one we met in the beginning, but pain and suffering can turn people into ugly creatures. This is the first time that "Goddess Of Fire Jeongi" has used ceramics in a truly effective way. Jung suggested a ceramics competition,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Goddess of Fire Jeongi" Episode 25 2013/10/02,
After a week's hiatus due to Moon Geun-young's eye injury, "Goddess Of Fire Jeongi" returns with a darker tone. The shift in Jung's attitude from being eternally optimistic to destructive revenge is welcome. She is convinced that the path she has chosen is the correct one despite the fact that it may hurt people she cares about. It's the best plot device the show has going for it. The romance is turning stale. Hwa-ryung's revenge is turning stale. Even Tae-do's formerly adorable puppy-like devotion to Jung is turning stale. The story needs Jung's breakdown and it has finally happened twenty-five episodes into a thirty-two episode drama,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Goddess of Fire Jeongi" Episode 23 2013/09/18,
This episode deflated any hopes I had at the end of episode 22. Then it rushed through some big reveals and stopped on a most peculiar episode ending. With nine episodes left, I can't realistically hope for improved story pacing, but it is still the one thing that would greatly improve the drama as a whole. The clever political trap Royal Consort Inbin set was sprung and cast aside in minutes by Prince Gwanghae's clever explanations and the king's gullibility. While Gwanghae is the prince who is most fit to wear the crown, it is completely unrealistic for his earnestness to move the very selfish and insecure king into pardoning him,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Goddess of Fire Jeongi" Episode 22 2013/09/12,
This episode had the most interesting political plot thus far. It was well executed, didn't seem to be a string of lucky coincidences and really put Gwanghae and Jung into tough situations that cannot be figured out with a mere clever, single-step solution. Royal Consort Inbin and her followers devised a way to frame Gwanghae of being disloyal to the king. While they'd tried on several occasions to plan something similar, those plans only had a single step and were ineffective. This time there were several intricate pieces to the plan that truly seemed insulting to the prideful king. Each piece was feasible, and therefore believable, and when they came together, they really did put Gwanghae in a tough spot,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Goddess of Fire Jeongi" Episode 21 2013/09/11,
There are powerful emotions at play that could potentially up the stakes in "Goddess Of Fire Jeongi": jealousy and anger. Both are two of the most unpredictable emotional states and could potentially make some great conflict. The chances that the show will capitalize on that potential are slim to none and despite the futility of it, I will hope that the show will improve,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Goddess of Fire Jeongi" Episode 20 2013/09/05,
"Goddess Of Fire Jeongi" is not getting better. The plot remains overly simplistic; the villains are caricatures with single-minded motivations; the acting is excessive. Elements of the story change to suit the situation so there is no consistency in the characters or plot. The problem-of-the-day in this episodes is an extension of the last: wooden bowls are causing a stomach illness in Joseon. The three princes are tasked to find the solution. Of course, Gwanghae meets up with Jung and discovers that ceramic bowls stop the illness because they do not foster fungus like the wooden bowls,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Goddess of Fire Jeongi" Episode 19 2013/09/04,
Jung was kicked out of Punwon Kiln because of her blindness and the change of environment was one of the best moves the writer has made thus far. It removed Jung temporarily from politics and allowed her creative freedom. Even more than that, it allowed her to live without pretense and with no stress. It fits her established personality better. The way she came to be a ceramicist outside of Punwon Kiln, however, is the most frustrating aspect of the episode. Jung's eyesight is cured by a miracle. The story is already simplified to the most basic of storylines so the introduction of a miracle is just an unneeded panacea that borders on the ridiculous. It makes it seem like the writer didn't know how to cure Jung quickly enough to get her doing ceramics again. But The Miracle was unneeded. It would've been fine to have a short time jump that shows her living blind and slowly recovering. Suffering is a great tool for character growth and change,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Goddess of Fire Jeongi" Episode 18 2013/08/28,
"Goddess Of Fire Jeongi" had an opportunity to strengthen its story and wasted it. The fact that Jung is Eul-dam's daughter angers Kang-chun, but it also foils a lot of political plans. Instead of using this fact to create some tense political intrigue and beefing up the drama, the writer slaps together all the themes highlighted in the story thus far and attempts to make a point: perseverance is key to success. It is a nice message, but it is so clumsily delivered that it has no poignancy. Jung has been fighting Kang-chun's and the Punwon Kiln's beliefs that women cannot be ceramicists. Kang-chun planted gun powder to cause a kiln accident and make it seem like Jung's bad luck as a woman,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Goddess of Fire Jeongi" Episode 17 2013/08/28,
Life and death stakes always create more tension and those stakes are exactly what this show needed. Kang-chun has discovered Jung's true identity and has made plans to kill her like he killed her father, Yoo Eul-dam. It's predictable, but the exasperatingly long reveal of the truth is finally over and watching the players make their moves is somewhat interesting. Hwa-ryung, Jung's childhood friend, has succumbed to her jealousy of Jung. She has made it her goal to beat Jung and will do anything to accomplish it. Hwa-ryung has always been a plot pawn, but this new turn is tiresome,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Goddess of Fire Jeongi" Episode 16 2013/08/22,
Second lead vengeance finally came into play this episode and it wasn't pretty. In fact, it was completely unwelcome although I expected it to happen since the first episode. Hwa-ryeong tells villain Kang-chun Jung's identity in order to exact revenge on Jung for "taking everything that Hwa-ryeong wants". What this means is that due to factors that are out of Jung's control, Hwa-ryeong is punishing her. It is just another horrible way for the writer to create problems for Jung. There are enough problems inherent in her social and political situation without throwing in second lead meddling. It's one of my least favorite plot devices. The only positive result of this is that Kang-chun now knows that Jung is his mortal enemy Yoo Eul-dam's daughter,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Goddess of Fire Jeongi" Episode 15 2013/08/20,
As "Goddess Of Fire Jeongi" nears the middle of its run, it has yet to settle into a pace that will make it last for the long haul. It is still highly episodic and unclear about where it wants to lead its audience. The only aspect of the story that is sure is the romance. There are people who are attracted to each other and who have to struggle to overcome socio-political barriers in order to love. Other than that, Jung wants to become a ceramicist and the show gives us nothing about why that is important in the long run. Instead, it is haphazardly tying that to the political struggle in the palace between the three princes by using Punwon Kiln and ceramics as the battlegrounds and ammunition,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Goddess of Fire Jeongi" Episode 13 2013/08/13,
"Goddess Of Fire Jeongi" will never keep you on your toes. It makes it very obvious what problem the entire cast will deal with next. Early this episode Jung promised to keep her identity a secret from Kang-chun and by the end, he'd figured out who she was because she was foolish enough to talk about her creative father and then use her real family name. That said, this episode had some semi-juicy character development and character tensions that centered around Gwanghae. He finally doesn't cave around Jung and stops following her around like a lovesick puppy. He acts on his anger at her and it's a good thing in terms of plot and realism,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Goddess of Fire Jeongi" Episode 12 2013/08/08,
This episode was all about Jung and Gwanghae's growing relationship. Other events were incidental like the Ming envoy accepting expensive Joseon relics as bribes and getting caught or Kang-chun forbidding to trade with Hwa-ryeong's trading company unless she quits. These characters and "subplots" seem to only exist to support Jung and Gwanghae's romance. I quote "subplots" because they're not even independent plot threads. They're half-mutated alien creatures that minimally resemble a subplot. Early on in the episode when speaking with Prince Shin-sung, Gwanghae accidentally discovers Tae-do's real name and recognizes it. (He had been calling Tae-do "Bodyguard" until that point.) Gwanghae immediately realizes that the woman he met in Punwon Kiln is Jung acting under a new identity: Tae-pyung,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Goddess of Fire Jeongi" Episode 11 2013/08/07,
This episode really delivered some powerful character developments for Tae-do who attempted to make some headway with Jung, despite the contrived plot elements that got in the way. However, it allowed Kim Beom to take the helm and carry the episode. He makes this drama interesting where it would otherwise be boring. His portrayal of Tae-do's devotion to Jung is pure and passionate. Tae-do carries the intensity of his love for Jung into the other parts of his life. The interactions he has with Gwanghae, Hwa-ryeong and everyone else crackle with the electricity of his strength of character. It's drama gold. Unfortunately for the rest of the drama, it is unable to keep up with Kim Beom's performance. The plot is linear,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Goddess of Fire Jeongi" Episode 10 2013/08/01,
"Goddess Of Fire Jeongi" likes to center each episode around an object of contention. And by center, I mean that everything and everyone in the entire episode eats, sleeps and breathes that object. While I understand that the show is about a ceramicist and there will be a lot of focus on ceramics, pottery and goods, revolving the welfare of Joseon around a teacup is too much. But let's go with it because we're not getting anything else,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Goddess of Fire Jeongi" Episode 9 2013/07/31,
"Goddess Of Fire Jeongi" continues to plod along as it has been: predictably and with very little excitement. This episode centers around another ceramic piece. Not only does every plot point hinge upon it, but the political welfare of Joseon hinges upon it as well. It's wearisome and this lack of complexity in the story and the characters drags the drama down. There is no novelty, no fresh twist. All stories in books and scripts are based on variations of a basic few. What makes them different is the presentation and "Goddess Of Fire Jeongi"'s presentation is nothing new: A foreign threat issues a pottery challenge and Joseon must comply. Along the way, Jung is determined to do the right thing and help out. She gets thrown together with Gwanghae who subsequently discovers that she is a girl. Sounds like every other cross-dressing drama out there,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Goddess of Fire Jeongi" Episode 8 2013/07/25,
Boatloads of things happen in this episode and none of them are surprising. And yet, the show continues to be interesting. It has mostly to do with pacing. Relationships grow quickly. Problems are zippily created and encompass nearly the entire cast. There is always an underlying tension - it's too bad that it's obvious how each tension will resolve. Our heroine Jung finally learns the true identity of our hero Gwanghae, but he is still oblivious to the fact that she is his childhood love. No one from her past has recognized her straight away; that, and she's posing as a man,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Goddess of Fire Jeongi" Episode 7 2013/07/24,
This show is a fun and entertaining watch. It is made to be enjoyed in the moment and is a good way to pass time. The formulaic plot lines, dialogue and characters are both its strengths and its weaknesses. There is no need to think or strain while watching - the hour breezes by. However, for a reviewer looking for substance and intrigue, "Goddess Of Fire Jeongi" is sorely lacking. Episode 7 consisted of a ceramic pot ruining the day; Imhae causing trouble and blaming it on Gwanghae; Royal Consort Inbin trying to seat her son on the throne by using Kang-chul; Jung getting in trouble and either Tae-do or Gwanghae saving her,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Goddess of Fire Jeongi" Episode 6 2013/07/18,
"Goddess Of Fire Jeongi" is moseying right along. It gives us tons of cute. It gives us some political intrigue. It gives us a few solid relationships. These things save it from being pedantic because this predictable plotline needs some saving. Not one scene held surprise because the outcome was obvious. However, the acting and the adorable character relationships keep the show together. Rather than fight over a jar, this time the royal consort Inbin and her minions wage war against Prince Gwanghae over a jade belt. It's always something. Jar, jade belt. Po-tay-toh, po-tah-toh. The bad guys win this round: Gwanghae is demoted from head of the Punwon Kiln to second in command,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Goddess of Fire Jeongi" Episode 5 2013/07/16,
The adult cast makes its appearance and it was worth the wait. While the child cast was good, it lacked nuance. They said and did all the right things, but the characters were not living, breathing people. They were young actors going through the motions. When the adults came on screen, it was a breath of fresh air. Jung, Tae-do, and Imhae became living, breathing people who were easy to watch. Only young No Yeong-hak really matched his adult counterpart, Lee Sang-yoon, in bringing Prince Gwanghae to life. The transition between them was the most fluid,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Goddess of Fire Jeongi" Episode 4 2013/07/15,
This episode also centered around a jar; two, in fact. But there was a lot more motion to the storyline, the politics and the character development, which made it much more enjoyable to watch. Our heroine is finally pushed towards her calling and the hero starts to truly feel the weight of his royal status. King Taejo's jar has been broken, fixed and presented to the king as of the jar-centric events last episode. But villain Kang-chun's righteous son, Yook-do (Oh Seung-yoon), admits that the jar was broken - a treasonous action. What follows is the bad guys' attempt to get rid of Gwanghae via treason jar and the king's attempts to save him by placing the blame on Eul-dam. It is the beginning of Jung's transformation into the artist that made history,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Goddess Of Fire Jeongi" Episode 3 2013/07/11,
This episode was about a jar. No, I'm not kidding. From beginning to end, there was not one scene that did not revolve around this jar. And guess what: it's coming back next episode, too. Why would the production team spend an entire episode on a jar? The only conclusion I can fathom is to show that Jung is so awesomely talented that she can fix an ancestral jar. But doesn't history already tell us that? Admittedly, the episode is not just about the jar,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Goddess Of Fire Jeongi" Episode 2 2013/07/08,
After sifting through the over-simplified, yet messily executed political situation, I found the second episode of "Goddess Of Fire Jeongi" more interesting than the first. As with the first episode, the scenes with the young actors are the most enjoyable to watch. They're the most emotionally poignant. But, the politics bogged the rest of the episode down - it took a while to sift through the mire. The political fieldin this story is a well-known one: princes compete for the crown, supported by different political factions. The fight for power is full of underhanded tactics and deception. In the case of the "Goddess Of Fire Jeongi", the Queen's faction supports her biological son, the youngest prince, and try to get him named as heir apparent,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Goddess Of Fire Jeongi" Episode 1 2013/07/06,
MBC's newest drama, "Goddess Of Fire Jeongi", is of the paint-by-numbers variety. While this isn't a bad way to open up a show, it's very safe, I was hoping for something attention grabbing. I was excited to watch because of the stellar casting and because it was written by Kwon Soon-gyoo, who also wrote the powerhouse drama, "Warrior Baek Dong-soo". But until the child cast appeared about halfway through this first episode, the show was intensely dull, despite its cinematic beauty and the lovely soundtrack. The political mechanizations and the family history could have been cut down to five minutes and still contain all the information necessary,...More
Recently Announced Budding Romances 2011/06/01, Source,
It's only the first day of June, the month that "officially" marks the summer season. And already two Korean celebrity romances have surfaced, taking over entertainment sites by storm.
Both sides of popular singer Bae Ji-young and actor Jeong Seok-won have admitted to an ongoing romance. Baek's WS Entertainment stated through press releases, "It's true that the two are involved in a romantic relationship. They were introduced through mutual friends last year in July and have maintained a good industry senior-industry junior (sunbae to hoobae) relationship until early January this year when they decided to take things further",...More
Kim Hye-soo will "not feel inch of regret" over "Home Sweet Home" 2010/10/22, Source,
From left, actresses Kim Hye-soo and and Hwang Sin-hye talk during a press conference for MBC TV seires "Home Sweet Home" at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Seoul, South Korea on October 19, 2019. [MBC]
"The three are friends who spent their childhoods together. Yoon-hee (Hwang Sin-hye) and Jin-suh (Kim Hye-soo) have talked a lot since they were young. And Sang-hyun (Sin Seong-woo) is the first love to both female characters but Jin-suh marries him, taking away Yoon-hee's only man. That is why it becomes Yoon-hee's goal to beat Jin-suh", Kim Hye-soo explained of the story to upcoming MBC TV series "Home Sweet Home". The four actors gathered at the press conference for "Home Sweet Home" on Tuesday had definite characters -- from Kim Hye-soo the eloquent speaker who would add on descriptions, to explain what she feels to Sin Seong-woo who slowly spoke of only what he need to, to Hwang Sin-hye who with an innocent expression explained the surprise and excitement she felt when she received the script for the show, to Lee Sang-yoon who seemed a bit nervous being amongst his senior actors. But as soon as they were asked how they came to star in the show, as if promised, they became busy praising the script. Below are excerpts from the press conference,...More
[INTERVIEW] Actor Song Chang-ee - Part 2 2010/04/22, Source,
Actor Song Chang-ee [Lee Jin-hyuk/10Asia] 10: Tae-sup is a very quiet character. He isn't loud and doesn't say what is unnecessary but it's impressive to see how you depict his emotions so delicately through your eyes or expressions.Song Chang-ee: I think a lot about the situation that is laid out in the script and why that situation is occuring. For example, when Tae-sup becomes flustered running into his uncle after he parts with Kyung-soo in front of his house but hears that his grandfather had been sick, I have to instinctively act surprised. When he is with his mother, he'll clash and get angry with her but suddenly smile for her too, and sometimes he will just brush past Ho-sup (played by Lee Sang-yoon) but also quarrel with him. It's important to show the subtle changes a character's emotions undergo depending on who he or she is with and under what circumstances, but I think it's even more so in the case of Tae-sup. It might not be caught on camera that well sometimes because the changes are so subtle, but it's fun expressing those details,...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
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my first time seeing you in a drama
called I Love You Don't Cry and
you're very funny as hyeon woo!
love your dimples!
Hello Lee Sang Yoon..... I'm Wendy
from Thailand. This is my first time to
comment on your page. I just knew this
page and it made me interested in it
'cos I can communicate with U and
know your works....
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