[HanCinema's Box Office Review] 2016.08.19 ~ 2016.08.21 2016/08/22,
Local literary adaptations take the top spots...
Kim Seong-hoon's action thriller "Tunnel" retained the top spot over the weekend and moved its total admissions count now to over 5 million. "Tunnel", based on So Jae-won's novel of the same name, was released on 10 August and shot to number one during its first weekend out with almost 2 million admissions. The foot traffic has tapered off since last weekend, but Kim's claustrophobic thriller was still able to maintain a clear lead by attracting more than double the stubs of its nearest competitor, another local literary adaptation,...More
[HanCinema's Film Review] "Run-Off" 2016/08/20,
The year is 2002. Don't tell director Kim Jong-hyeon that, though- minimal effort is made at having "Run-off" actually look like 2002. Anachronisms in the set design include Angry Birds and cell phones capable of producing usable video. Anyway, the plot. Dae-woong (played by Oh Dal-soo) is putting together an ice hockey team for the 2003 Asian Games. Chief among the recruits is North Korean defector Ji-won (played by Soo-ae). The team undergoes rigorous bonding and training in the hopes of pulling off an inspiring victory,...More
[HanCinema's Box Office Review] 2016.08.12 ~ 2016.08.14 2016/08/15, "Tunnel" dethrones "The Last Princess" and takes the crown...
Kim Seong-hoon's action thriller "Tunnel" arrived last week and managed to capture 40% of box office pie and dislodge "The Last Princess" at the top of the pile. Last weekend Heo Jin-ho's historical melodrama (aka "Princess Deokhye") attracted 1.1 million filmgoers across 964 screens to take pole position; despite following that good opening with another 966,862 admissions here (21%), which moved its total tally now to 3.5 million ($25.6 million), Heo's latest was forced into second place after the "Tunnel" arrived on the scene and attracted 1.8 million admissions ($13.8 million) from 1,091 screens,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Please Come Back, Mister" 2016/04/23,
Korean dramas making abrupt changes is something audiences have grown used to, but one of the latest variations of this bad habit has been radically changing a drama's presentation and tone from the cheerful to the melodramatic very early on. "Please Come Back, Mister" felt like such a refreshing change to that. The drama does a lot of things well. Unfortunately, it also makes so many big mistakes that it ultimately ruins a lot of the good it had previously managed to build,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Please Come Back, Mister" Episode 16 Final 2016/04/14,
This is it, the final confrontation, where among other things, the full background behind Gi-tak's death is confirmed. After the rather goofy way Yeong-soo died I have to admit I never really considered the idea that Gi-tak's death was anything more complicated than what it looked like- a high speed chase gone wrong. That notion seemed bolstered by how Gi-tak himself lost interest in searching for his real killer fairly quickly. Yet in the end, Gi-tak is forced to decide whether he's willing to break the revenge rule or not,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Please Come Back, Mister" Episode 15 2016/04/14,
I find that watching "Please Come Back, Mister" without a sense of context tends to be instructive for getting a feel of the drama. As per the last cliffhanger, there was a big car accident and Yeong-soo, rather than do the sensible thing and go to the hospital, stumbles around through sheer force of will to his intended destination. One might think from that much that there was a serious romance going on between him and Da-hye, rather than the deliberately ambiguous mess we actually ended up with. And then Gi-tak shows up using the cute "dearest spouse" form of personal address,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Please Come Back, Mister" Episode 14 2016/04/07,
Gi-tak is dangled in front of the fire like a damsel in distress here, and while he's not quite exactly a damsel, the fact that Gi-tak looks like a damsel does make matters somewhat awkward. The sexual tension between him and former gangster buddy Ji-hoon has always been noticeable, and there's some pretty unsettling transgender questions at play here. When you like the woman you like because she reminds you of a guy, and is in fact simply that same guy in a woman's body, does that make you gay?,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Please Come Back, Mister" Episode 13 2016/04/06,
It turns out that Han-na was just trying to see her real dad, Yeong-soo, all along, in typical chidlike uncertainty. The payoff for all that extended running around ends up being more tender scenes as Yeong-soo tries to do right by his family and with a little supernatural help, is able to comfort them somewhat about the fact that he's dead. It's all kind of sweet, actually, albeit somewhat annoying since there's not much left in the way of plot progression,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Please Come Back, Mister" Episode 12 2016/03/31,
So, it turns out that Hong-nan is not just some random identity that Gi-tak made up to explain how his new female body could know so much about Gi-tak's life. Hong-nan is, in fact, Gi-tak's actual estranged sister from childhood, and by sheer dumb coincidence, it turns out that Da-hye is the real Hong-nan. If you're wondering why this revelation is important, well, keep wondering. All "Please Come Back, Mister" does with this new information is set up a few tender scenes,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Please Come Back, Mister" Episode 10 2016/03/24,
Da-hye finally directly addresses the creepiness inherent in Yeong-soo's position of trying to constantly hit on a widow. While this doesn't smooth over all the ethical problems involved in Yeong-soo's behavior, I'm grateful that "Please Come Back, Mister" is at least acknowledging the very uncomfortable position in which Da-hye has been put. Some self-awareness can go a long way to making a problematic story seem more harmless and less deserving of over-analysis,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Please Come Back, Mister" Episode 9 2016/03/23,
Yeong-soo really does not appear to have thought through the ramifications of his trying to romance Da-hye in Hae-joon's body. Da-hye is a grieving widow. It would be a little disconcerting if she was actually into Hae-joon's attempts at sexual harassment. Compared to Hae-joon, Ji-hoon's come-ons are fairly tactful. After all we've seen him do, I never expected Ji-hoon would come out looking like the better man this episode. Naturally, it helps that even if Yeong-soo succeeds, Da-hye would just be heartbroken again since Hae-joon will have to disappear without explanation, lest Yeong-soo break the rules,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Please Come Back, Mister" Episode 8 2016/03/17,
Yeong-soo and Gi-tak had a pretty successful run last episode in terms of accomplishing their goals. The problem that brings up is, if they've already mostly accomplished what they needed to do, then why are they bothering to stick around in the world of the living? Yeong-soo and Gi-tak will have to go back sooner or later. And until then they're at risk of breaking one of Maya's rules- a penalty which is finally elucidated and which Yeong-soo and Gi-tak will have to struggle to avoid enacting,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Please Come Back, Mister" Episode 7 2016/03/16,
It turns out that Ji-hoon really is somewhat villainous. At first I was wondering whether "Please Come Back, Mister" was doing the whole thing where the turncoat you know is worse than the explicitly evil bad guys, but no, as it turns out, the explicitly evil bad guys are still pretty explicitly evil. This is somewhat impressive considering how a lot of their villainy is by accident. When it comes to I-yeon's crooked relative by marriage Hyeok (played by Park Min-woo), I doubt we'd even care about his gangster problems except that Gi-tak mnaged to get sucked into that situation somehow,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Please Come Back, Mister" Episode 6 2016/03/10,
Yeong-soo continues the mission here to harass his wife and co-worker regarding a perceived romantic entanglement between the two. When it comes to Ji-hoon (played by Yoon Park), I can almost be all right with it, because Ji-hoon is definitely up to something suspicious. But Da-hye is a grieving widow working in a department store that may have murdered her husband. Doesn't the woman have enough to deal with? Is this really the time for abusive pep talks? Even bearing in mind that Yeong-soo has friendly moments too they don't cancel out his often terrifying disposition,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Please Come Back, Mister" Episode 5 2016/03/09,
For their superficially wildly different personalities, Yeong-soo and Gi-tak have one thing in common- they're both prone to jumping to wild outrageous conclusions based on limited evidence. Come to think of it they even acted this way back in the first episode, when they were still alive. It just didn't come off as quite so ridiculous back then because Kim In-kwon looks like a pathetic guy who can be intimidated, and Kim Soo-ro looks like an ultra-masculine man who is not to be trifled with. Rain and Oh Yeon-seo, by contrast, look like they should have some shred of classy dignity,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Please Come Back, Mister" Episode 4 2016/03/03,
First, the good news. It would appear that the epilogue segments which involve Yeong-soo's Rain doppleganger getting railroaded so as to avoid interference with the main plot will in fact be a recurring feature in "Please Come Back, Mister". There's just something so delightfully sadistic about watching this poor man deal with constant artifically induced crises. Especially since it gives him almost as many excuses to take his shirt off as it does for Yeong-soo,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Please Come Back, Mister" Episode 2 2016/02/25,
Maya (played by Ra Mi-ran) is the individual in charge of sending dead people back to the world of living temporarily. She's frustrated by how Yeong-soo and Gi-tak have interrupted her planned vacation, and warns these two that the reliving process is a fairly unsatisfying one with many arbitrary rules. Following that Maya nonetheless plops Yeong-soo in the body of Hae-joon (played by Rain), and Gi-tak in the body of Hong-nan (played by Oh Yeon-seo),...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Please Come Back, Mister" Episode 1 2016/02/24,
Yeong-soo (played by Kim In-kwon) is a nebbish department store manager who belatedly realizes his bad night was in fact much worse than just a drunk blackout. He soon meets up with Gi-tak (played by Kim Soo-ro), an ex-convict turned chef who is now in the same mortal predicament. Together they...flash back to the days right before the opener, because as this is the first episode, "Please Come Back, Mister" has to explain its premise and more importantly, why we as viewers should care,...More
Another scandal surrounding "We Just Got Married" 2015/02/10, Source, It seemed all calm when suddenly MBC TV show "We Just Got Married" caused another fuss, unwelcome to both the viewers and the cast. The thin line between imaginary and real life presented by the show has finally snapped. Despite the fact that Oh Yeon-seo went through hell in 2013 with Lee Jang-woo while she was on the show with Lee Joon, it's happened again and the sincerity of the show is being questioned.
Yoo-ra from Girl's Day and Song Jae-rim, Hong Jong-hyeon and Kim So-eun, After School member Nana and Son Ho-joon have all been mentioned as people involved in the scandals. Hong Jong-hyeon put out a statement right away and moved on. However, Kim So-eun was spotted with Son Ho-joon and had to go back and forth impreciseness and denial. When the media wouldn't live it down, producer Seon Hye-yoon stepped forward and said, "I have checked with her in person that they are just friends". Kim So-eun's management only then came forward to say, "They are just friends",...More
Oh Yeon-seo Basks in TV Drama's Success 2014/09/07, Source,
Actress Oh Yeon-seo is enjoying the sweetest moment since her debut in show business about a decade ago with the success of MBC weekend drama "Jang Bo-ri Is Here!", in which she plays a starring role. It was big challenge for Oh to portray a young woman speaking a distinctive local dialect from Jeolla Province in southwest Korea, especially when she was born and raised in South Gyeongsang Province, which has a totally different dialect,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Medical Top Team" Episode 20 (Final) 2013/12/25,
At long last, "Medical Top Team" has waded through its twenty episodes and reached a conclusion. It did not need twenty episodes to reach the all-too-happy ending, which was illogical albeit heartwarming.
The strongest part of the show was its medical aspect. The medicine was always clear with explanations given either in subtitles or verbally by the doctors,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Medical Top team" Episode 18 2013/12/15,
When desperation for ratings sinks in, a show will stop at nothing to gain viewer interest. In the case of "Medical Top Team", the production team decided to be as extreme as possible and make two major characters become ill. Other major characters are suffering from personality transplants. Joo-young and the assistant director are very different from how they were when the show began and it's not a good thing. Joo-young has made a pretty drastic shift from the woman she was when the show began,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Medical Top Team" Episode 17 2013/12/12,
This episode had more heart than the entire series put together thus far. Yes, dramatics were involved, but the stiffest of characters came alive under duress and I'm wondering why these dramatics hadn't happened earlier. Seung-jae's mother is very ill and that affects the entire cast of characters no matter their relations with one another. It draws the "Medical Top Team" back together, breaks Seung-jae's hard exterior and makes a human being out of the assistant director,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Medical Top Team" Episode 16 2013/12/07,
This episode both improved in some ways and deteriorated in some ways. Put those two together, and we have a stagnating show. It really began to go downhill when Ba-wi left the show. Now it's left with insecure doctors, weak romance, too little humor and too much politics. It's saving grace is now the chemistry between the minor characters such as neurologist Jeong Hoon-min and radiologist Bae Sang-gyu. Their odd couple bromance is refreshing and heartfelt. Dr. Jo (Park Won-sang) can be grouped together with them,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Medical Top Team" Episode 15 2013/12/06,
"Medical Top Team" continues to stagnate despite the ever present political tensions and interpersonal issues. It's disappointing because there is potential in the cast, crew and script, but that potential is left unfulfilled.
The biggest gap is between the brilliance of the actors and the chemistry that they have. The cast is strong in talent, immaculate with line delivery and can express worlds with their eyes. However, the chemistry between most of the actors, like Jeong Ryeo-won and Joo Ji-hoon, is lukewarm at best. It's not just romantic chemistry, it's platonic chemistry as well. Although the actors are on screen together, there is no spark of intensity,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Medical Top Team" Episode 14 2013/11/27,
"Medical Top Team" is getting very preachy and it's spokesperson is Tae-shin. It's taking good and bad, ideal and real, and makes a very clear division between the two. It excludes all grey area, which just makes the drama seem unrealistic and difficult to relate to.
Despite the fact that all the elements in "Medical Top Team" are strong, relatable, and relevant, it is now a stodgy drama. It spends most of it's time having the main characters huff, and puff, and posture rather than sit down and have meaningful conversations like the adults that they are,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Medical Top Team" Episode 13 2013/11/25,
There was only so long that "Medical Top Team" could hold out before the idealistic few separated from those who are more practically minded. This causes some much needed character building within and outside of the hospital. Unfortunately, the politics still bog down the show because they are just plain boring. They are boring because the villains that mess with the political machine are boring. They are also boring because the real villain is the political machine itself. It's intangible and impossible to pity,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Medical Top Team" Episode 12 2013/11/19,
"Medical Top Team" is beginning to lose its vigor. The characters are starting to become cogs in the political machine and character development is stagnating. The most interesting part of the show is now the minor stories that inject some humanity into the show. The rest is a slew of political games that are not interesting in the least because they are, in essence, a long string of tug-o-war games with no end in sight,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Medical Top Team" Episode 11 2013/11/18,
Another wrench is thrown into the works of the "Medical Top Team". At least it seems like a wrench with all of the sneering and posturing amongst the uppity-ups. The optimist in me still thinks that this wrench maybe be a valuable tool for Seung-jae to use to get his Top Team into a safe zone, but that may just be optimism talking,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Medical Top Team" Episode 8 2013/11/05,
The fight between Seung-jae and the assistant director is in full swing. Each is hoping to curry favor with the emotionally unforgiving chairman. They are an interesting pair, Seung-jae and the assistant director, because she is what he may become in thirty years: jaded and unhappy. She seeks money and power to try and win the affection and respect that she never got from her negligent father-in-law or cheating husband. The assistant director's decision to focus on treating wealthy clients is one that Seung-jae, Joo-young and all of the other doctors have to consider,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Medical Top Team" Episode 7 2013/11/04,
This episode was a tad bipolar in that part of it was a fuzzy, warm-feeling ending for Ba-wi and part of it was a tense political battle that had no respite. That bipolarity, however, reflects the general theme running through the show: idealism versus realism. Tae-shin represents idealism. He believes in making decision"Medical Top Team" solely based on what is best for the patient. The Seung-jae's father, the chairman of the hospital, is the representative of realism. The hospital is run using enormous amounts of donor money and those donors must be appeased. Sometimes that appeasement comes at the cost of patient care,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Medical Top Team" Episode 6 2013/10/29,
This episode was exactly what I asked of "Medical Top Team" in my last review: introspection, heavy character development plus the dramatic tension from the medical dilemmas. Tae-shin has to contend with himself, his worry for Ba-wi, his deep panic because of past conditioning and the limitations of being human. Seung-jae is still battling his illegitimate son issues and fighting his aunt, the assistant director, for power and favor from his father. And both he and Joo-young are struggling to balance their desires to help patients with the need to play the political game,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Medical Top Team" Episode 5 2013/10/29,
While I really appreciated the intense drama of the first four episodes with dangerous operations and sick patients and hospital politics, it is all starting to be too much. Dramatics are good and well, but only if they are interspersed with other elements like episode three did so nicely. There are a few moments of quiet introspection, but they weren't powerful enough to balance out the intensity of the medical scenes. What I initially liked about "Medical Top Team" was its ability to blend the medical with character development. There was much less character development in this episode, which meant there was a lot less substance,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Medical Top Team" Episode 4 2013/10/23,
"Medical Top Team" has a filmlike finesse to the quality of its shots, dramatic timing and music selection that make it a pleasure to watch. It focuses on the small beats that give insight into the characters hearts. It isn't overly indulgent in emotional dialogue and instead relies on camera storytelling and clever verbal interactions,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Medical Top Team" Episode 3 2013/10/22,
This is a medical drama done right. It doesn't just throw out high-falutin' medical terms and insert tense situations just to force viewer interest. No, it manages to develop characters who feel real, infuse political tensions, and create life-and-death stakes in a world that is engaging and believable,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Medical Top Team" Episode 2 2013/10/14,
"Medical Top Team" is still setting up. The actual "Medical Top Team" is in the formation process and the candidates are a point of contention in the story. While the initial set-up in earlier episodes of K-drama is usually tedious, "Medical Top Team" tempers that tedium with juicy character development. It explores the fundamental ways in which doctors approach medicine. Some do it to preserve their pride; some to make money; others to help patients. It's exploring being a human in a medical setting rather than being a "medical" drama,...More
Ji Seong VS Kwon Sang-woo VS Lee Min-ho 2013/09/25, Source,
A new battle has begun between the three broadcasting companies now that Chuseok is over. Fierce new dramas take over Wednesday and Thursday nights with different genres.
The first drama to be mentioned is the KBs 2TV drama "Secrets".
"Secrets" was pre-sold to Japan, China, Vietnam, Cambodia and other Asian countries even before it was shown in Korea and it tells the story of a man who falls in love with the woman who kills his lover,...More
[HanCinema's Film Review] "Green Days: Dinosaur and I" 2013/03/01,
Yi-rang (voiced by Park Sin-hye) is a young high school student who's feeling a collapse in motivation after losing in a high school relay race. She isn't, in most respects, that different than any other teenage girl. Yi-rang is obsessed with the American movie "Love Story" which plays in her local theater, and all the other ideals of adolescent love that go along with it. At the same time, she realizes it's kind of a silly idea, as teenage girls often do when they're trying to define their personality in terms of uniqueness,...More
Lee Joon's confessions, Understanding VS Thoughtless 2013/01/23, Source, MBLAQLee Joon's post on his fan café is bringing about many responses.
Under the name of Lee Joon, he posted on the 23rd, "Am I a robot? Who am I doing this for..? I've had it to here and I have a mind of my own. Has anyone apologized truly? I feel bad for tricking someone obviously and I can't lie when it's clear because I am a human",...More
Oh Yeon-seo is cute in earmuffs 2012/12/10, Source,
Actress Oh Yeon-seo took a picture with cute earmuffs and posted it on her Me Today saying, "Good night everyone and be careful not to catch a cold".
She is wearing a hooded shirt and putting out her lips at the camera. She is wearing an earmuff seems big enough to cover the whole of her head,...More
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