[Orion's Drama News] Mothers and Castaways 2016/12/10,
Welcome to another week of news with Orion. No, I do not speak about myself in the third person often. There's just some drama news this week which is exciting and terrifying, so I need to distance myself a little. First up we have the return of much beloved actress Lee Bo-young with two potential series. Both sound good and I would be sad if neither is. More worries spring from my new interest in "Missing 9", but time waits for no one, so the regular news are here as well,...More
[Orion's Drama News] "Man to Man" 2016/10/08,
Between ruthless weather and award ceremonies, Korea and Korean entertainment have been rather busy this past week. On the other hand, my news offerings for you today are humble, which is a nicer way of saying we are a little low on the news. This is not true if you are eager to see "Man to Man", however, because said men seem impervious to slow news,...More
Song Joong-ki in first place for 5 months in a row 2016/06/27, Source,
Song Joog-ki is in the lead for brand reputation for 5 months in a row.
According to brand reputation for advertisement models, Song Joong-ki came in 1st, Park Shin-hye 2nd and Taeyeon 3rd.
The Korean Business and Reputation Research Institute measured consumers' brand participation and communication by analyzing 41,004,104 big data of 20 advertisement models from the 24th of May 2016 to 25th of June 2016,...More
[Orion's Drama News] Rising Actresses and Consolation Cheese 2016/05/28,
Some major titles are coming our way and this week is rich with announcements. With many series approaching about younger characters, we get to experience the new wave of actresses tasked with bringing the roles of young women back in the spotlight. "Cheese in the Trap" fans are in for some odd, but potentially good news and we have script reading photos from some upcoming series along with the usual news,...More
Kind-hearted Park Hae-jin prevents injury when one of his fans falls down 2016/04/19, Source,
A heartwarming story about Park Hae-jin has been delivered from an international place as well. He touched the hearts of his fans when he embraced one of his fans, who fell down accidentally at the press conference in Singapore.
On April 18th, the Singaporean newspaper, The New Paper reported the incident that happened on April 17 during his press conference at West Coast Plaza,...More
Park Hae-jin to Feature on Chinese Stamps, Phone Cards 2016/04/19, Source, Park Hae-jin will be the first Korean actor to be featured on postage stamps and pre-paid phone cards in China, his agent said Monday.
The 100 limited-edition packs containing stamps, a phone card and a commemorative coin will go on sale in May for 698 yuan, followed by a separate release of the products in August,...More
Why Park Hae-jin has been wearing the Sewol Ferry bracelet for the last two years? 2016/04/12, Source,
It will be two year anniversary of Sewol Ferry four days later. It is not that easy to find someone wearing those yellow ribbons and badges commemorating the tragic event these days. While the tragic event has not seen the closure yet, the sorrowful emotions are fading away.
Under these circumstances, a celebrity's consistent behavior has caught our attention. He is actor Park Hae-jin. Park Hae-jin has been wearing the Sewol Ferry Bracelet to all the important public events to display his commemoration for the last two years,...More
[Orion's Drama News] Powerhouse Pairings and Another Exclusive 2016/04/02,
Spring is fun, but summer is winking at us and throwing popular pairings at our faces. We are paying attention, summer. Join me as I give you some pretty exciting casting news, more upcoming drama goodies and ramblings. Also, Jasper Cho! No, I cannot actually give him to you, but you could have your question answered by him in our upcoming exclusive interview,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Cheese in the Trap" 2016/03/12,
Like all adaptations of successful original works, "Cheese in the Trap" had been under quite a bit of scrutiny in the time leading to its airing date. Things eventually turned out well and everyone was happy. Unfortunately, everything went awry again when the controversy sprung up. The drama's troubles started way before that, however. "Cheese in the Trap" deserves to be looked at like any other work, isolated from outside production debacles and scandals. When looking at it that way, its problems begin way before the infamous ending. What do I think about said ending? Well, read on,...More
[Orion's Drama News] Death and Taxes 2016/03/05,
Welcome back to weekly drama news with writer and community manager Orion. During this week I keep piling on the upcoming drama goodies and speak about my followed shows, both of which will be regular categories here. I also address the elephant in the room (no, not me, the other one) called "Cheese in the Trap", which you will be able to read more about in my review next week,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Cheese in the Trap" Episode 16 Final 2016/03/01,
Given all the fuss about how "Cheese in the Trap" was preproduced, I'm a little surprised that the finale manages to fall into traps generally associated with the live shooting system. Characters make major decisions in the blink of an eye, critical plot information falls out of nowhere, huge life-threatening accidents terrify half the cast, and the epilogue just sort of tapers off into mundane life with no real kick. "Cheese in the Trap" is the rare drama that manages to feel too short- I feel like we're missing at least four episodes of context here,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Cheese in the Trap" Episode 15 2016/02/29,
With Seol's encouragement at his back, Jeong is finally able to make a sincere effort to not take a scorched earth policy to his enemies. This ends up not being all that helpful. Jeong's icy personality has always been the real problem rather than the way he lashes out, because Jeong has always been pretty good about only lashing out against people who deserve it. So unfortunately this potentially interesting character conflict doesn't have much hope of being resolved, given how this is the penultimate episode and all,...More
[Orion's Drama News] Controversies and Co-Productions 2016/02/27,
Hello everyone and welcome to weekly drama news with yours truly, writer and community manager Orion. In these pieces I will be recapping a few drama-related news of the previous week and speaking about my personal thoughts on them. Come chat with me in the comments and share your own opinion on these items or any news you like,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Cheese in the Trap" Episode 14 2016/02/23,
Second leads never have it easy in dramas, but In-ho knows more than most that he really is in a completely impossible position. At best all he can do now is try not to act creepy. In-ho forces Seol to acknowledge the awkwardness and makes a request that's probably more unreasonable than it sounds. His position is a pretty good argument for why it's better to just keep your mouth shut when it comes to confessing to someone you like and see on a regular basis,...More
Park Hae-jin, "'Cheese In The Trap', not about one person" 2016/02/23, Source, Park Hae-jin's post on the WM Company's official Instagram has fans talking about it.
WM Company posted something on Instagram saying, "A set is where everyone has to be noble. It's not a drama for just one person". It seems to be talking about the drama set but some fans speculate whether or not the post is talking about "Cheese in the Trap". 'One person' means that unlike the original, the drama characters are becoming vague,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Cheese in the Trap" Episode 13 2016/02/22,
In my first review for "Cheese in the Trap" I incorrectly described Seol's friend Eun-taek as being the boyfriend of her best friend Bo-ra. My assumption was presaged on how they act ridiculously flirty around each other, such that I was surprised to finally realize they weren't actually dating. Why? Well, because Bo-ra's mostly arbitrary requirements regarding possible boyfriends rule Eun-taek out. In this episode, that issue is finally realized,...More
Park Hae-jin to Celebrate a Decade in Showbiz with Fans 2016/02/19, Source,
Actor Park Hae-jin is planning a special treat for his fans to celebrate 10 years in the entertainment business. He will meet several thousand of them on April 23, though the venue has not yet been set. Park said it was his wish to stage the event to thank his fans for the undying support they have showed since he made his debut on April 1, 2006,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Cheese in the Trap" Episode 12 2016/02/16,
I struggle with trying to decide whether the Yeong-gon storyline is overdone or not. The thing is, there are people in real life who will do that- just keep doing the same action and somehow expecting different results, not realizing that certain effects are cumulative. In this case, even after getting an opportunity to smooth social relations over with fellow students who have turned very cold to Yeong-gon over his stalking behavior, Yeong-gon is still at risk of being sabotaged by an unseen enemy,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Cheese in the Trap" Episode 11 2016/02/15,
Early on Seol ends up choosing which antagonistic character to support when a fight unexpectedly breaks out. What's significant about Seol's thought process is that she could just choose not to get involved. But in the end Seol makes a moral decision to the effect that that deliberately manipulative behavior is more deserving of public censure than performing worse on the arbitrary metric of social rules,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Cheese in the Trap" Episode 10 2016/02/02,
Even though "Cheese in the Trap" was filmed completely in advance of airing, I get the impression that the editing part of the production team still messes around with the presentation. A scene from the episode nine preview only shows up now in episode ten, and the timing is much better given how the drama will be on break next week. Min-soo finally breaks down. And even after having apparently "won", Seol is not in any kind of victorious mood. There's just no cause for it, when Jeong isn't around,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Cheese in the Trap" Episode 9 2016/02/01,
We open up with a replay of the class presentations. Seol has learned her lesson, and decides that it's better for her to be a cruel jerk than risk everyone's academic prospects on Professor Kang's whims. The gambit works, as far as the classroom is concerned. Unfortunately, such smart strategizing is of less help in Seol's personal life. The same can be said of just about every other character in "Cheese in the Trap", as they take stupid actions based on logical yet flawed premises,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Cheese in the Trap" Episode 8 2016/01/26,
Min-soo (played by Yon Ji-won) used to be an apparently irrelevant background character in Seol's class, but she became more noteworthy last episode by taking the somewhat creepy step of trying to perfectly mimic Seol's personal appearance. This episode expands greatly on Min-soo's motivation. She's lonely, she wants friends, doesn't know how to get them, but Seol seems to be nice and she also has positive personality traits. Who does this remind you of?,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Cheese in the Trap" Episode 7 2016/01/25,
Yeong-gon (played by Ji Yoon-ho) is Seol's stalker. Initially he just comes off here as a somewhat vicious villainous character and after some flashbacks...well, Yeong-gon still doesn't come as particularly sympathetic. What makes these scenes awkward is that as obviously appropriate as it is for us to hate Yeong-gon, acting antagonistic doesn't really help. Yeong-gon has somewhat perversely managed to convince himself that his behavior isn't actually aggressive. So both sides of this dispute see it as based on one-sided attacks,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Cheese in the Trap" Episode 6 2016/01/19,
The opening dream sequence demonstrates a lot of the contradictions at play in "Cheese in the Trap". Seol is paranoid that there's something not quite right about Jeong, yet the fears in her imagination frequently have little if anything to do with Jeong's actual character conflicts. Jeong is sweet and thoughtful even when Seol isn't around- but only when thinking about Seol. That's because Jeong genuinely doesn't seem to like any other character in "Cheese in the Trap",...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Cheese in the Trap" Episode 5 2016/01/18,
Some very dark story elements come into play in this episode of "Cheese in the Trap". Surprising though it may seem, they don't actually have that much to do with Jeong, our oftentimes spooky first male lead, but rather In-ho, the second male lead who seems to be much more on the level. Director Lee Yoon-jeong appears to be making the point here that superficial appearances can be deceiving, and the point is well taken,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Cheese in the Trap" Episode 4 2016/01/12,
I've seen the whole "awkward first date" trope play out so many times in fiction that I'm used to it being, well, theatrical, with everything going horribly wrong. Seol and Jeong's first date is more...real-life awkward. Like, the movie they end up going to watch is a little weird, there's odd little nitpicks about pricing which they don't discuss. There's never a conversation about actual date stuff. In short, Seol and Jeong don't seem to have any idea what they're doing. Why is that?,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Cheese in the Trap" Episode 3 2016/01/11,
In-ho (played by Seo Kang-joon) is the last central character in "Cheese in the Trap", and like the other characters in this drama In-ho struggles to serve any particularly obvious purpose in the story. This is mostly because "Cheese in the Trap" is quite light in the story department, something I appreciate much better now having read the first few chapters of the webtoon. One interesting change I've noticed- in the webtoon, Jeong is noticably less creepy and suspicious. At the beginning anyway,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Cheese in the Trap" Episode 2 2016/01/05,
What a difference a mere change in tone can make...gone are the eerie, mysterious ominous musical chords that director Lee Yoon-jeong had been using to imply that Jeong is a creepy little sneak who's up to no good. Granted, Jeong still smiles like a serial killer but it's hard to be mad at a guy who's so aggressively nice. Jeong even manages to act pushy in a way that doesn't seem all that pushy by ackowledging how he's being a tad too forward,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Cheese in the Trap" Episode 1 2016/01/04,
Seol (played by Kim Go-eun-I) is a normal everyday college student, who has to deal with normal everyday college student pressures like being pressured to eat weird food, avoiding tardy penalties in class, and racing with other students to enroll in favored classes as quickly as possible. That may not sound like much in the way of conflict or excitement but then that's kind of the whole point of college- dealing with light responsibilities as long-term preparation for real ones,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Preview] "Cheese in the Trap" 2016/01/02,
The ever increasing popularity of Korean webtoons within and outside of Korea means drama adaptations of them are becoming a standard. These shows are also bringing in new genres, such as "Incomplete Life", "Last", "Awl" and more. At the same time, romance remains a drama staple and therefore a genre adapted often. "Cheese in the Trap" is tvN's latest live-action adaptation of a popular romantic webtoon.
Hong Seol (Kim Go-eun-I) is a hardworking poor student. She meets Yoo Jeong (Park Hae-jin), a senior who is a seemingly perfect and a good looking young man with a good personality. However, Yoo Jeong is also hiding a dark secret,...More
[Guest Post] Celebrating Family Outing Part 1 - The Cast 2015/07/05, Source,
Seven years ago, an ambitious reality show called Family Outing appeared on Korean TV. Hosted by "The Nation's MC" Yoo Jae-seok (most may know him only as the guy with the bowl cut in PSY's recent videos), this variety show took outdoor reality to a level that is still trying to be reached. The show ran for nearly 2 years on SBS's 'Good Sunday' and had many of the same cast and crew members from the game show X-Man. What this show offered was more than just silly games and jokes, it was a travelogue of Korean villages and offered a glimpse into the Confucian-based society unheard of in America,...More
Lee Min-ho's three-step way serving fans 2015/05/22, Source,
On May 22nd, Lee Min-ho fascinated Chinese fans with his unstinting way to serve his fans and by singing the sweet melodic songs at the '2015 Family Festival', which took place at Seoul Olympic Stadium, Jamsil, Songpa-gu, Seoul in order to celebrate the 35th anniversary of Lotte Duty Free.
The '2015 Family Festival' is held from May 22nd to 24th. Lee Min-ho, Park Hae-jin, Super Junior, Kim Beom-soo, Lee Seng-cheol, Davichi, Shinhwa, EXID, EXO, AOA and other stars will perform for the event,...More
Park Hae-jin, a romantist 2015/03/10, Source, Park Hae-jin became a romantist in the Chinese drama "Friends 2".
Park plays a plays Hae-boong, a known playboy who makes girls cry but actually a pure hearted soul who has eyes for only one person. He gives Sim-cheong everything after she's been abandoned by a man, then waits for her,...More
Park Hae-jin, seductive in bed 2015/02/23, Source, Hallyu star Park Hae-jin who is currently filming a drama in China, is in the spotlight once again for a picture which was taken in the past.
The picture is a fashion pictorial for a jean brand taken in Tokyo. Park Hae-jin seems charismartic and strong even in simple jeans and casual wear,...More
Park Hae-jin feels puzzled by false SNS accounts impersonating him 2015/01/14, Source, Park Hae-jin is feeling puzzled by his identify falsification on SNS. His agency confirmed that "He does not have any other SNS accounts than the official accounts".
Park Hae-jin's agency, WM Company said on January 14th, "Recently, we are having difficulties because false SNS accounts impersonating Park Hae-jin have been created like so many mushrooms after a rain. Park Hae-jin never uses any other accounts than the official accounts. Please be careful not to fall for the false accounts as we are still worried about any possibility for more serious damages in the future,...More
Park Hae-jin, a thrifty man 2015/01/08, Source, Behind-the-scene stills of Park Hae-jin who is in the middle of filming the Chinese drama "Friend 2" were released. They show how thrifty Park Hae-jin can be.
In the pictures of him at work in the last couple of years, there are a few things that he has beside him that can be spotted. The files and the chair that he sits on, the padding that he wears and the umbrella that he carries have been in use for about 6~7 years,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Bad Guys" 2014/12/27,
Following the format shift seen in this year's "Reset", OCN has brought us another serial drama, meaning one focusing on a main plot, rather than offering one case per episode. Much like the "Special Affairs Team TEN" series, "Bad Guys" lacks a supernatural gimmick. What this gives us is 11 episodes of pure action, a lot of character development and an intricate main plot. With all of these elements combined for optimal story richness, the only question left is whether that combination worked,...More
[HanCinema's Film Review] "Snow in Sea Breeze" 2014/12/19,
Seon-mi (played by Lee Yeong-ah) is a pharmacist with hemopoietic dysplasia. I'm not sure what exactly that is and "Snow in Sea Breeze" doesn't really make any serious effort to explain it. The point is that Seon-mi's sick, and will probably die sooner rather than later even if for the moment she's doing all right. In the meantime, though, life needs to be lived. And so she fatefully meets Sang-woo (played by Park Hae-jin), a swimming athlete whose work at the aquarium doing fun stuff like feeding penguins,...More
Hallyu's two face in China? 2014/12/14, Source,
50 million, 120 million and 200 million won per episode; this is the cost of the Korean drama publication rights in China.
The entertainment industry is smiling at the breeze of Hallyu in China. The enormous Chinese market is no doubt an attraction compared to the limited Korean market.
The more Hallyu enters the Chinese market, the dependence on Chinese capital is rising. When the breeze turns into a chilling wind, no one will know how the situation will turn out,...More
Park Hae-jin to star in Chinese drama 2014/12/03, Source, Park Hae-jin departed for China on the 30th of November as soon as "Bad Guys" was over, for the filming of his new Chinese movie. He started script reading and attended meetings for his character analysis.
"Friends" is the second sequel to the first movie which was greatly popular 3 years ago. If the first one dealt with men in their 40s, the second one deals with men in their 30s. The movie is about the friendship, dreams and love of men,...More
Park Hye-jin in "Bad Guys" 2014/09/01, Source,
Actor Park Hae-jin is coming back with a drama at the end of the year. He's become a genius psychopath named Lee Jeong-moon, in the OCN drama "Bad Guys".
Lee Jeong-moon is a IQ 180, a member of the Mensa, the youngest philosophy and mathematics genius with other titles. On top of that, he's also the youngest serial killer,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Doctor Stranger" Episode 20 (final) 2014/07/13,
The finale was everything that I wanted from "Doctor Stranger", mostly in that it was satisfying. The bad guys got their just deserts, and the lovers ended up together after many trials and tribulations. However, it makes me wish for better things from the rest of the drama that seemed to have taken a long jaunt down the rabbit hole. What was missing from the ending was the build up to it,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Doctor Stranger" Episode 19 2014/07/09,
"Doctor Stranger" has become completely erratic in its desperate attempt to remain valid and interesting. This penultimate episode was jumpy and piecemeal. But at the same time, it covered issues that should've been dealt with ages ago. In that way, it was satisfying. Almost all of the issues brewing in "Doctor Stranger" came to a head this episode. First was the relationship between Soo-hyeon and Jae-joon. He's been wrestling with what it means to be a doctor and how to deal with the delicate balance between being a doctor and exacting revenge. His character has been quite bipolar, but in this episode he was as he should've been: torn between guilt, his love for Soo-hyeon, and duty towards his parents. It was well-balanced and satisfying to see him dealing with his issues instead of blanketing them with anger,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Doctor Stranger" Episode 18 2014/07/02,
"Doctor Stranger" is on its last dregs as it heads into the final week of its run. There is a lot of action this episode, but it is anticlimactic as the build towards it has gone on far too long - it should've happened earlier. Much of the fault in this story lies in the planning in that the trajectory changes from week to week and the story has no longevity,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Doctor Stranger" Episode 17 2014/07/02,
Although "Doctor Stranger"'s plot is more convoluted than ever, and the neverending, highly unethical medical competition shows no sign of ending, there was some decent character development that followed thee character's original trajectory. It was especially nice to see Hoon return to the man he was because it makes the writing more consistent and, let's face it, he's much more pleasant this way. What made Hoon such a fascinating character in the beginning was his efforts to overcome the five years he was trapped in the North Korean medical facility performing atrocities on human lives,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Doctor Stranger" Episode 16 2014/06/26,
"Doctor Stranger" is spinning on its wheels again, using the same plot tools over and over. It also relied heavily on a relatively ineffective love triangle this episode and distorted the characters even further. It seems that the characters exist as plot tools and are no longer entities of their own. The crux of the problems in "Doctor Stranger" is the lack of consistency in all elements,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Doctor Stranger" Episode 15 2014/06/24,
"Doctor Stranger" has lost itself along the way. It began strongly. The plot had clear direction and the characters had paths to follow and things to learn. Now the show is having very serious mood swings that result in flip flopping character personalities, inconsistent plot development and an utter brutalization of morality and ethics. While some characters will inevitably have little sense of morality and ethics, for an entire cast of characters (save one) to have no concept of what is right and wrong is barely believable and hardly relatable,...More
[HanCinema's Actor Spotlight] Park Hae-jin 2014/06/21, Park Hae-jin is a serious actor who consistently practices and refines his art. He's been active on television since 2006 and has shown improvement throughout each project he has taken on. His breakout role was as the tragic villain Shin Myung-hoon in "East of Eden" after which the Chinese market took note of him and cast him in several dramas. Since then, Park has received growing recognition within and outside of South Korea that is well-deserved,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Doctor Stranger" Episode 14 2014/06/18,
That was it? After watching this episode, that's all I can say. After skirting the conspiracy for fourteen episodes, the expectations for its complexity and awesomeness were sizable. All of those expectations were deflated in under two minutes. The biggest disappointment this episode was how the writing of the conspiracy reveal, the character development, and the plot stepping stones was erratic and sloppy,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Doctor Stranger" Episode 13 2014/06/18,
Alliances shift as the overwrought hospital competition (hopefully) comes to an end. Instead of focusing on the competition and hospital politics, the shows turns a querying eye towards the connection between Hoon's past and Jae-joon's past without serving up the reason as to why Hoon is so important to the "master" plan. What the "master" plan is has yet to be revealed. All the show has given us is that Hoon is important in saving the relationship between North and South Korea. That is my biggest quibble with this show,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Doctor Stranger" Episode 12 2014/06/12,
This episode belonged to Han Jae-joon who has been barreling down his path of revenge, ignoring his conscience and the urgings of Soo-hyeon to do what is right. A case that is similar to his own past allows him to see that his single-minded revenge is turning him into Director Oh - a person who creates orphans and doesn't take responsibility for it. A person who considers the hospital's needs over a patient's needs. It's been long in coming, but the influences of Hoon and Soo-hyeon and his own past have come together and pushed Jae-joon towards what he really wants to be: a good doctor,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Doctor Stranger" Episode 11 2014/06/11,
While I personally loved episode 11 of "Doctor Stranger", from a critical standpoint it reeked of inconsistency. What I loved was how cleverly the humor was use, the odd-couple bromance between Dr. Moon and Hoon, the slapstick antics. What puzzled me was the drastic change in tone this episode had compared to the last ten. The focus of the episode was on the humor and the antics that stem from Hoon's devil-may-care attitude and Dr. Moon's negligible sense of morality,...More
[Spoiler] "Doctor Stranger" Lee Jong-suk and Park Hae-jin join hearts 2014/06/10, Source,
On the twelfth episode of "Doctor Stranger", Park Hoon (Lee Jong-suk) and Han Jae-joon (Park Hae-jin) decided to battle again with a patient whose condition worsened due to a medical accident. Park Joon suggested the winner to be the one who saves the patient. However, Oh Joon-gyu (Jeon Gook-hwan) changed the rules around because he was afraid for the truth to come out.
Park Hoon was threatened by Cha Jin-soo (Park Hae-joon) to not perform surgery if he wanted to save Song Jae-hee (Jin Se-yun). Park Hoon gave up anyway. Han Jae-joon also wanted to give up but he thought about his parents, who passed away due to a medical accident. In the end, Jae-joon put everything on the line to perform surgery,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Doctor Stranger" Episode 10 2014/06/05,
"Doctor Stranger" delivers some answers amongst a whole set of new questions. It's delving deeper into the political conspiracies while the characters become more entrenched in their issues. Jae-joon's tragic past is highlighted and Park Hae-jin is a standout as he brings Jae-joon's tortured soul to life. After Hoon wins the morally dubious surgical competition, the fallout of the losing wrecks havoc on several relationships,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Doctor Stranger" Episode 9 2014/06/04,
As "Doctor Stranger"'s tone grows more unsteady, the characters become more intriguing. Most of that can be attributed to the cast who is, as a whole, absolutely winning. The plot, however, continues to degrade into an utterly confusing mess. There are so many questions floating about that it's hard to keep track of them all. Plot complication is good, but only when there is an adequate amount of resolution. There are so many deceptions and hard-to-follow alliances that the show is getting very confusing,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Doctor Stranger" Episode 8 2014/05/28,
Questionable morality is the name of the game in this episode of "Doctor Stranger". The competition between the two surgical teams has always struck me as wrong, but it is this episode that highlights just how reprehensible it is. It also shows us that Hoon knows what it is to be a good doctor; it is innate in him. Unlike the others, he ignores politics, the competition and all of the red tape to do right by his patients. That makes him a lot of enemies. Hoon's first new enemy is Jae-joon into whom we gained insight this episode,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Doctor Stranger" Episode 7 2014/05/28,
It's time for Park Hoon to take stock of his place in life. This episode forced him to consider his path forward and take a hard look at his past. Up until now, he's skirted issues concerning himself and focused on his search for Jae-hee. Other characters have agendas for Hoon to follow, but whether he chooses to follow is his decision. He's always been a wild card. Hoon is so volatile because of how he grew up,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Doctor Stranger" Episode 6 2014/05/23,
"Doctor Stranger" doesn't fancy giving answers, only questions. Park Hoon's presence at Myung Woo University Hospital is a mattern of concern for nearly everyone, good and bad. However, the ambiguity behind each person's reasoning is yet another mystery. Jae-hee is the predominant mystery. She is clearly working with Jin-soo and "Doctor Stranger" is doing a great job of making her a very dubious character. She's oddly detached from everything as though she is running off of a spoon fed version of her life instead of her own memories. We viewers know her mostly through Hoon's eyes: a smiling, sweet, laughing woman who loved him as desperately as he loved her. She got shot for him,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Doctor Stranger" Episode 5 2014/05/20,
There is a lot about "Doctor Stranger" that requires the viewer to suspend reality and expectations. There is much more that speaks directly to the soul and makes it laugh, cry, and writhe with curiosity. The bulk of that speech is carried by the spot on performances of the cast and how the writing of each character makes them easy to relate to and understand. Now that "Doctor Stranger" has settled around Myung Woo University Hospital and the main characters have had four episodes of introduction, the story is beginning to settle into the real mystery: Jae-hee's presence in the hospital and why she is there in the first place,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Doctor Stranger" Episode 4 2014/05/15,
Jae-hee plays a bigger role this episode while still managing to remain a complete mystery. Hoon, on the other hand, continues to walk his own path, skirting the rules and following the lead of his volatile emotions. However, his walk is given pause in the face of Soo-hyeon's pain. Hoon seems intent on doing whatever it takes to find Jae-hee, including operating on a patient who is in pain and will most likely not make it,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Doctor Stranger" Episode 3 2014/05/13,
Park Hoon is a man who does what he wants when he wants to do it. That is, until his conscience in the form of his father's last words begins to nag him. His character is a strange amalgamation of characteristics that range from egotistical to sympathetic. It's as confused as he is after years of struggling. His struggles have finally brought him to Myung Woo University Hospital in Seoul, where we knew he would end up from "Doctor Stranger"'s promotional material,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Doctor Stranger" Episode 2 2014/05/07,
"Doctor Stranger" has a special way of weaving in cinematic, humorous, and moving aspects into one, powerful storyline that is neither choppy nor awkwardly put together. It's an exciting fusion of multiple elements, including a charged political storyline, while still manging to be thoroughly character driven. The first half of the drama runs much like an action flick. Park Hoon is motivated by his father's death and by the need to save his lost love. He is desperate to escape the North Korean government that traps him. During the rigorous chase through Budapest, the show includes medical, romantic, and action scenes into Hoon's long escape,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "You Came From The Stars" Episode 21 Final 2014/02/27,
The drama wastes no time getting right to the essential conflict that defines the final episode- Min-joon's departure, and the emotional turmoil that follows for Song-I. This episode as a whole is very moody and angst-stricken. Basically, all of the emotional thrust is on making a persuasive pitch to the viewer that this drama really is going to end on a sad note, with Min-joon and Song-I permanently separated.
The twist ending that finally resolves this question permanently...leaves something to desired. It's basically technobabble,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "My Love from the Star" Episode 20 2014/02/26,
It would seem that the consequences of Min-joon coming out as a mysterious entity with superpowers are rather subdued. I can't really fault the drama for taking this path, honestly, because who knows how such an event would play out in real life. Constant media coverage and interviews? Yeah, we'd definitely have that. Which I imagine would make it somewhat difficult for a shady government entity to try to snatch Min-joon up and dissect him or something. Ironically, Jae-kyoung may have actually done Min-joon a favor by exposing him in public, as opposed to a controlled room.
But if the drama doesn't really care that much about the implications of this, eh, I don't either,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "My Love from the Star" Episode 19 2014/02/20,
Just when I had forgotten why "My Love from the Star" has a murder subplot in the first place, this episode comes along to give a reminder. It exists to make Min-joon act in a ridiculous contrived way against whatever stupid transparent scheme Jae-kyoung has come up with this week. And this one really takes the cake- the only apparent purpose of the plan is to do damage to Min-joon. It doesn't actually help Jae-kyoung at all. If anything it makes Jae-kyoung's situation worse. Who the heck makes an announcement like that at a press conference?
Scratch that. What kind of benefits plan are Jae-kyoung's henchmen getting? They're literally fighting a superhero here. It's one thing to try and get ahead in life by committing murder,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "My Love from the Star" Episode 18 2014/02/19,
It's back to comedic misunderstandings and devious secrets for the Min-joon / Song-I loveline. Fortunately this time it's at least understandable why Min-joon is staying mum about the difficulties in his life. This would be a heck of a time to start worrying Song-I with problems neither of them can do much a job solving. Especially given there's only a few episodes left and we still have to wrap up all the previously existing plotlines.
Speaking of which, Hwi-kyeong is still confronting his brother,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "My Love from the Star" Episode 17 2014/02/13,
Well it's back to normal I guess. The apparent romantic development of the last episode is pretty much replaced by the usual zany antics here. I have to admit I'm a bit disappointed. Yeah a crisis point was pretty clearly identified and it's understandable that these two react badly but come on. If it seems like these two lapse back into old habits at the slightest excuse it's difficult to imagine this relationship has much of a long term future. It's all right to go back into comedy staples but at this late stage of the drama we really need to be looking into a better climax,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "My Love from the Star" Episode 16 2014/02/12,
It's all about the romance at this point as "My Love from the Star" moves into the territory of explicit love confessions. Starting now, Song-I and Min-joon are a couple. Not exactly right away, but the interplay they have with each other turns explicitly playful. It's not just a matter of context or only one person being serious / silly at a time. They're on the same wavelength now, and it heightens the contrast of some of the gags.
Note, for example, that it's no longer necessary for them to play games where the first person who makes the confession is the loser,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "My Love from the Star" Episode 15 2014/02/06,
The drama has once again entered a cool-down period. The initial emphasis is on Song-I making a recovery. Also her daddy issues. Which honestly seemed rather light. Partly this may be bad timing. "The Prime Minister and I" just made a point in its final episodes that a long absentee parent is not necessarily welcomed back with open arms unconditionally. So it's rather odd seeing the usually acerbic Song-I just kind of...accept the fact that the first time she has seen her father in years was after a near death experience.
Hwi-kyeong's dilemma is a far more interesting one,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "My Love from the Star" Episode 14 2014/02/05,
Be forewarned- most of this episode is just a flashback. Don't worry, the drama's not screwing around with you or anything. Within the first few minutes it will immediately be clear what happened after Song-I made that jump, and how Min-joon reacted to the news. You'll be waiting until the end, though, to find out what Min-joon is doing in full, which is just as well. The man spends so much time not taking the situation seriously, I really want to enjoy it when he finally snaps,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "My Love from the Star" Episode 13 2014/01/29,
I suppose Song-I's reaction to the fact that Min-joon has superpowers was probably inevitable. Song-I's a loud forceful woman and has consistently been one throughout the entire drama- so of course she's going to try to bully more information out of Min-joon. Give an inch, take an ebb or so they say- although maybe if you give a mouse a cookie would be a more modern reference? The analogy, at least, is probably more relevant.
Bear in mind that for the most part we know exactly as much about Song-I as Min-joon does, given that we were all introduced to the character at the same time. So it comes off as reckless on his part to share anything important with her,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "My Love from the Star" Episode 12 2014/01/23,
I'm beginning to think that Hwi-kyeong is the real main character here. The apparent apathy everyone else has toward the murder subplot makes a lot more sense if we look at it from his perspective. Hwi-kyeong has gotten very suspicious of his brother, yet even as his investigations bring him to more unsettling truths, Hwi-Kyeong is hesitant and reluctant to fight out in the open because, again, this is his brother. It's only slowly dawning on Hwi-Kyeong that he may be the only person in a position to stop the man. Consider the conflict this way- Hwi-kyeong is so bothered about all this he's barely even paying attention to Song-I anymore, whereas before that was his only apparent motivation,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "My Love from the Star" Episode 11 2014/01/22,
The byword for this episode is curiousity. There are lots of questions posed this time that for the most part aren't answered. But then, that's the entire point. It's easy to see how Jae-Kyoung has been able to operate for so long- even though the Lee family still goes to the trouble of having family dinners they seem to react to matters of curiousity and gossip with mild disdain. I guess they just prefer eating in stony silence.
Granted, there are reasons for people to not want to engage in such trivialities,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "My Love from the Star" Episode 10 2014/01/16,
This has to rank among the slowest moving murder plotlines I've ever seen. It needs to be emphasized- nearly every character already has all the information they need about the plotline. The only explanation for their constant hesitation and dithering is...well, because we have wacky subplots to get to. It's apparently now Song-I's goal to get Min-Joon recognition as her manager. There are also various other mishaps involved, as is to be expected in the woman's daily life.
The storyline is cute and comical, sure. But it's also horribly out of joint with the rest of the narrative. I'm not even totally sure why Min-Joon is going along with this,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "My Love from the Star" Episode 9 2014/01/15,
I have to wonder what kind of benefits Jae-Kyoung is offering to his minions. They seem rather nonplussed, not just at having received orders to commit murder, but also at the fact that their plans were foiled by what appears to be a superhero. Personally, that's the moment when I would start thinking that the pay probably isn't worth the risk. Min-Joon could execute all of these people easily if he wanted to. Note how the police are a lot less aggressive, even though they have actual legal authority and less knowledge concerning Min-Joon's true abilities. That's because they have a better sense of tactics and self-preservation. Or maybe it's just the writing- it's not like these characters are explored deeply enough for that to be clear,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "My Love from the Star" Episode 8 2014/01/09,
The disinterest Song-I and Min-Joon exhibit in regards to the murder attempts on her life has gotten rather absurd. Although, I don't know, maybe Song-I actually believes that she checked herself out of the hospital, drove off to a cliff in the middle of nowhere, and that her brakes by sheer coincidence gave out at the exact same time she regains consciousness of what's going on? I mean, it's possible. It just sounds really dumb.
If Song-I was at least under the assumption that this entire event was a dream sequence, her apathy regarding the situation would be somewhat understandable,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "My Love from the Star" Episode 7 2014/01/08,
The drama takes a turn for the repetitive here. I don't necessarily mean in terms of things that we've actually seen, though there is plenty of that. More threats, more danger, more of Min-Joon using his powers in increasingly inefficient, increasingly easy to detect to ways rather than confronting Song-I's looming enemy directly. And Song-I, too, continues to be silly and childish in a way that is really unbecoming to a woman her age,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "My Love from the Star" Episode 6 2014/01/02,
Notwithstanding the crisis point at the last cliffhanger, this episode irons itself out without too much drama or danger. Unfortunately Min-Joon doesn't seem to have learned too much from this experience. I'm sure ice-fishing with his buddy is lots of fun, but when there's a murderer running around with good reason to kill Song-I, waiting until the last minute all the time is probably unwise. Even if the man in question has time-stopping superpowers.
While Min-Joon may not have thought through the situation fully, "My Love from the Star" as a whole is clearly making a point of holding the focus on it,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "My Love from the Star" Episode 5 2014/01/01,
Up until now the characters in this drama have been almost entirely reactive. This isn't a complaint- just a sort of odd observation considering who these people are. Min-Joon has superpowers, and could choose to do practically anything- he just doesn't want to. Meanwhile, Song-I is on the top of the world as far as her career goes- yet for most of this episode she's reduced to hiding out in Min-Joon's apartment rather than going out and facing her problems.
Emotionally speaking, we get a picture of just how fragile Song-I is as she lists off a proud accomplishment to Min-Joon, and Min-Joon is later on forced to try and shield her from the worst of how her...well...lack of reaction has created a whole new host of issues,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "My Love from the Star" Episode 4 2013/12/26,
This drama's emphasis on cynicism and negativity is the main interesting hook holding all the action together. This episode runs into a slight problem, though, in that Song-I's general unlikability makes it extremely difficult to sympathize with her when she runs into a problematic situation. Her petty actions to date have been self-destructive, and hurt the people who enable her, but the damage has been relatively easy to contain. Here, someone unrelated to the main plot has been straight up murdered and Song-I is in possession of important information relevant to that event.
For whatever it's worth, the victimized woman was probably not a good person. "My Love from the Star" gets credit for not just pretending like Song-I is a singular bad apple,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "My Love from the Star" Episode 3 2013/12/25,
I'd just like to take a moment to admire Yoo Joon-sang's role here as Section Chief Yoo. Yes, it's a fairly minor role, which for the most part only relates to the characterization of one of the secondary characters. But I just love how delightfully angry he gets! Corporate culture is serious business, and look at this new guy, failing to work himself to death for the amusement of his betters. It's funny stuff, and surprisingly relevant.
Because here's the thing- "My Love from the Star" is clearly trying to make a deliberate theme out of putting unlikable characters into sympathetic situations, which kind of confuses the emotions,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "My Love from the Star" Episode 1 2013/12/18,
Min-Joon (played by Kim Soo-hyun) is an alien who seems to hate just about everything. He's not so gauche as to actually state it outright, but this is clearly someone who has seen all that there is to see of the world and is consequently completely sick of it. I'm going to guess that in his past four hundred years on Earth, Min-Joon has figured out the basics of human emotional facial expressions, and is just choosing not to use them anymore because he's just that indifferent.
His opposite number here is Song-I (played by Jeon Ji-hyeon) a woman who...you know, it's actually not as easy to pin her down,...More
Park Hae-jin in Chinese drama 2013/02/11, Source,
Actor Park Hae-jin has been cast in the Chinese drama called, "Far Away Love" as Sim Ahn according to his agency.
"Far Away Love" is directed by a famous director, comedian and actor Jusi Moo. Apparently he's been contacting Park Hae-jin ever since he saw Park's Chinese debut drama "Chen's Marriage Life",...More
Actor Park Hae-jin suspected of shirking military service 2010/11/28, Source,
Actor Park Hae-jin [10Asia]
Korean actor Park Hae-jin is embroiled in controversy after being suspected of evading Korea's two-year mandatory military service by falsely reporting of suffering from mental conditions.
Debate had been mounting since early last week after police stated they are planning to investigate into the neuropsychiatry department of a hospital in Korea's city of Daegu in the North Gyeongsang Province on charges of providing false medical reports declaring draft evaders unfit for military service,...More
Park Hae-jin to Debut as Singer in Japan 2010/10/28, Source,
Actor Park Hae-jin attended the production presentation of the Japanese drama "Shakking 2: Unmei no Houshuu" which was held at the headquarters of WOWOW broadcasting station in Tokyo on October 26, and said that he would release his debut single album entitled "Wheel of Destiny" (working title) on February 9.
He will also hold fan meetings to commemorate the release of his debut single album at the NHK Osaka Hall in Osaka on February 5 and at the CC Lemon Hall in Tokyo on February 9,...More
Jo Min-ki to hold charity photo exhibition in Japan 2010/04/08, Source,
Korean actor Jo Min-ki [Mentor Entertainment]
Korean actor Jo Min-ki will be making his official debut as a photographer by holding a special exhibition in Japan next month, according to his agency Mentor Entertainment.
The photo exhibition -- titled "Live A...Frica" -- will be held at Tokyo's Keumsan Gallery from May 7 thru May 29 and feature photographs taken by the actor, who has been visiting Africa for various charity projects since 2006,...More
Korean actor Jo Min-ki featured in Mainichi Shimbun 2009/12/28, Source,
Korean actor and activist Jo Min-ki [Mentor Entertainment]
Korean actor Jo Min-ki has been featured in a special column by Japanese daily newspaper Mainichi Shimbun, according to a press release by agency Mentor Entertainment.
Mainichi Shimbun -- one of three major daily newspapers in Japan along with Asahi Shimbun and Yomiuri Shimbun -- ran a special year-end column which profiled Jo as a prominent actor, photographer and activist in its issues published from December 22 thru December 25.,...More
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