[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Shopping King Louis" Episode 2 2016/09/22,
Our "Shopping King Louis" falls from throne and grace as we fast forward through an apparent car accident to a now homeless and amnesiac Louis/Ji-seong. Episode two does not advance the plot much, but we get valuable interaction between our two main characters and we learn a little more about our second leads. What we learn sadly raises some concerns for me, but it is not enough to sully a lovely drama for now,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Shopping King Louis" Episode 1 2016/09/22, "Shopping King Louis" has a premise one does not expect much from. Rich man meets poor woman and understands love. It is the standard Korean romantic drama tale. Much to my surprise, the series makes a start much more contemplative and impactful than its stock premise does it justice for. Underneath all the familiar elements lies what I hope will be a story about appreciating value and finding meaning in the right places,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Preview] "Shopping King Louis" 2016/09/17,
If you missed cute romances with a good dose of amnesia and slapstick comedy in the form of physical engagement, "Shopping King Louis" is here for all your nostalgia needs. The drama could not look more cookie-cutter romance, but few will hold this against a yummy cookie, which is what the drama is being presented as. This comes with its own set of dangers, of course, but one can always hope.
Louis (Seo In-guk) is a man who believes he can have anything with money. Go Bok-sil (Nam Ji-hyeon) is a kindhearted woman who meets Louis after he ends up in a situation leading to loss of his memory and homelessness. The two find themselves living together,...More
[Orion's Drama News] In Sickness and In Inebriation 2016/08/27,
A lot of new shows are starting and many are coming up as summer comes to a close. "Drinking Alone" gives us a glimpse of its drinkers, lonely and not. Cancer-themed romantic comedy "Fantastic" will be starting soon and its promise is as undeniable as the oddity of the genre attached to its premise. "The K2" is a highly expected series and the creators know it, because they are all about the teasing. I also share other news and I have my picks for this drama season,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "38 Revenue Collection Unit" 2016/08/20,
Tax evasion might not sound exciting, but any concept can be turned into a wild and entertaining ride with the right people involved. "38 Revenue Collection Unit" chooses to tell such a story in a more dramatic form and its talented cast and crew manage it mostly well. Nevertheless, the drama sadly crumbles under the weight of some major problems at times, which makes it hard to love.
Baek Seong-il (Ma Dong-seok) is a good-natured and honorable tax collector who does his best to keep his team going and collect taxes fairly. Yang Jeong-do (Seo In-guk) is a con artist with a painful past and big plans for the future,...More
[Orion's Drama News] The Weight of Representation 2016/07/02,
It is time for some much hyped dramas to make an entrance and two of them are premiering this week. Before getting to that, however I will take a first look at "Incarnation of Jealousy" and its fresh material. I will also give my two cents on an upcoming series and its potential casting which I find highly problematic. Closing this piece are the usual upcoming drama goodies and followed shows,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Preview] "38 Revenue Collection Unit" 2016/06/11,
Due to the chosen focus of OCN and the occasional production in other stations, the crime genre has received quite a boost in the last few years. At the same time, it needs fresh core ideas to evolve, rather than quickly abandoned gimmicks. The production team behind "38 Revenue Collection Unit" chooses to focus on something not usually the main topic of crime shows, however. This summer, they bring us to the world of tax evasion,...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
[Orion's Drama News] Stars, Awards and Exports 2016/05/07,
Join me in a week of awards, casting additions and even some new drama announcements. This time around I contemplate the drama race for appeal in the Chinese market, which we all know is becoming a top priority of wannabe-popular series. I also present to you some of our links for the upcoming 52nd Baeksang Arts Awards and take a look at some of the freshly cast or confirmed actors for upcoming dramas,...More
[Orion's Drama News] Age Gaps and Noodles 2016/04/16,
I do not always pick complex subjects, but when I do, I pile them on. This week I briefly talk about disability and age gaps in upcoming dramas, although the topics deserve much more discussion than I can spare them here. You also get more promotional goodies, as we look into some dramas from the new season. I have my picks. They are many. Send help,...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
[Funcurve Review] "Remember You" 2016/02/27,
"Remember You" is an interesting mystery thriller with a captivating story told almost to perfection with great dialogue and an even better cast. This story is particularly good because it isn't built solely on the romance between our lead characters. Instead, it uses them as devices to help answer the many questions raised by the main premise of the drama - mysterious murders and how those murder cases are all connected,...More
Korean drama of the week "Master's Sun" 2015/11/26, Source,
Korean drama of the week "Master's Sun" (2013) Directed by Jin Hyeok Written by Hong Jeong-eun, Hong Mi-ran Network : SBS With So Ji-sub, Kong Hyo-jin, Seo In-guk, Kim Yoo-ri-I, Choi Jeong-woo, Kim Mi-kyeong,... 17 episodes - Wed, Thu 22:00 Synopsis The Hong Sisters, famed romantic-comedy screenwriters, flirt with horror in this unique take on opposites. Joo Joong-won (So Ji-sub) is a rapacious CEO who is only concerned about money. His secretary, Tae Gong-sil (Kong Hyo-jin) is a dark and reticent insomniac who is burdened with the ability to see ghosts. Joong-won and Gong-sil are an unlikely duo in every regard, but they share one thing in common: they are both intensely crippled personalities that need a lot of help. Can the money hungry Joong-won recognize priorities beyond the dollar sign, and can the lonely Gong-sil ever live a life without fear? Together, strange as it may be, it's possible in this unique dance between yin and yang,...More
[Photos] Seo In-guk at airport, an autumn man's charisma 2015/09/16, Source,
On September 16th, actor Seo In-guk departed from Incheon International Airport to Auckland in New Zealand to accommodate his schecule for a commercial shooting.
Seo In-guk showed off his fall fashion in a grey pullover shirt and a pair of black pants accessorized with mirror sunglasses. His charimatic look and afffectionate smiles commanded attetion,...More
Actors with 'honey vocal cord' in their 20s/30s 2015/09/14, Source,
'Honey vocal cord' as in sweet voice is an important charming appeal for actors to have.
Attractive voice highlights emotions in acting by delivering them more vividly and makes audience focus more on his acting. The young actors in his 20s and 30s with the sweet voice as well as the charming look are 'perfect guys',...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Remember You" Episode 16 Final 2015/08/11,
The essential conflict in "Remember You" boils down to feelings and logic. Hyeon is a man without feelings who struggles when memories of past events force him to come to term with feelings. The detectives, by contrast, are perfectly at ease with feelings but have always needed help when it comes to dealing with the basic logic necessary to make deductions and come up with effective plans for catching criminal perpetrators. "Remember You" is able to achieve convincing catharsis on one of these points,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Remember You" Episode 15 2015/08/10,
The conflict this episode is mainly philosophical as the resolution of last episode's cliffhanger centers around motive. It's interesting watching the characters themselves try to puzzle this information out. We've already been made privy to Joon-young's thought process- but how exactly are the other characters supposed to be able to suss this out? Ji-an's conclusions, while obviously wrong, make sense given the information that she has access to. So Ji-an ends up trying to find more information,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Remember You" Episode 14 2015/08/04,
The walls seem to be closing in on Joon-young. And yet the man himself doesn't even seem to notice what's happening. Or maybe he just doesn't care. It's hard to tell the difference. Joon-young doesn't act like a man who literally knows everything that happens at every time. Even his internal monologues have less to do with actually killing people and more to do with motivation. Which, as per usual, is totally incomprehensible yet weirdly logical at the same time,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Remember You" Episode 13 2015/08/03,
The cliffhanger from last time was naturally a fake out- although there's still plenty of high stakes danger in the opening portion. Right now Hyeon is struggling with whether he should be his normal haughty self, or give into emotions and admit that the person Hyeon cares the most about is in trouble. It's a fascinating contrast because Hyeon really is at his most effective when playing socipathic mind games. But what's the point of sociopathic mind games if there's no deep emotional hook?,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Remember You" Episode 12 2015/07/28,
How does a man who doesn't feel react when hit with emotional discoveries? The question kind of sounds like a riddle, which makes the experience of watching this episode of "Remember You" a somewhat odd one. Watching Hyeon cry is, well, a little awkward. On one level I want to criticisize Seo In-guk's performance. But then on the other end I remember that he's been perfectly capable so far as the man with the unchanging, steel cold expression,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Remember You" Episode 11 2015/07/27,
After a brief bit of flirtation establishes that no, Hyeon hasn't suffered a major personality shift just because of romantic chemistry, "Remember You" gets into some pretty serious stuff. The subtitle this episode is "birth of a monster", and the ensuing backstory is stone cold primarily because of the philosophical issues it raises. Everyone knows that abuse can turn a child into a monster, but sheer indifference?,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Remember You" Episode 10 2015/07/21,
One of the reasons why "Remember You" takes an unpredictable amount of time to get through any given case is because the difficulty the detectives have solving any given case is directly proportional to how difficult the case is. That sentence probably seemed kind of long-winded and repetitive- but for formatted drama television this is genuinely a really unusual concept. And in "Remember You", it completely messes around with any sort of expectations we can have for any given episode,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Remember You" Episode 9 2015/07/20,
The last case was apparently resolved just as quickly as it looked. This is another one of the more uneven qualities of "Remember You"- it really is impossible to tell how long any given investigation is going to last. Right away we're given more hints as to another incoming crime, and sure enough, it isn't too long before the situation heats up until we get to a cliffhanger that just gives off a portent of disaster,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Remember You" Episode 8 2015/07/14,
Hyeon isn't really in love with Ji-an just yet. We can tell because throughout the entire crisis at Ji-an's apartment, Hyeon continues to think logically and ask reasonable questions about the suspicious occurrences on their date. Naturally these questions carry over into the apparent attack- what motive could anyone have to put Ji-an in danger? And more relevantly, why would Seon-ho be nearby? It's like Hyeon says- there's never really any such thing as coincidence,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Remember You" Episode 7 2015/07/13,
The first two mysteries in "Remember You" didn't have much of an emotional catharsis, but that's not an option this time. As Hyeon himself admits in narration, his involvement in this case isn't a matter of curiousity or justice. Hyeon sees himself as the accused murderer, and is completely unwilling to acknowledge the prospect that biology is destiny. It's for this reason that Hyeon keeps making missteps. His deductive mind is as powerful as ever, but Hyeon wants a specific conclusion. And more importantly, he's admitted that to himself,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Remember You" Episode 6 2015/07/07,
Apparently enough clues have surfaced that Hyeon has bee able to identify the true culprit behind the cases we've seen to date. It certainly didn't seem that way to me, but then I'm not a genius criminal investigator. And as per Hyeon's usual disregard of proper narrative structure, his explanation of how he unraveled the mystery comes at the beginning of he episode rather than the end. The true villain begrudgingly gives Hyeon a few more inexplicable clues before making a quick getaway,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Remember You" Episode 5 2015/07/06,
Ji-an and Hyeon continue their secret investigation. This entire plotline invokes a lot of ambivalent feelings for me. On one end, it's wrong for Hyeon to hide from the police. On the other end Hyeon is fairly obviously doing this simply because it's more fun to work against the police than it is to work with them. Considering how easily bamboozled they are it's hard to blame him. Ji-an delivers a plausible explanation in a very implausible way and her co-workers still don't bother to question it,...More
The uprising of actresses older than their counterpart actor in recent dramas 2015/07/02, Source,
Dramas are full of couples where the female is older than the male. The percentage of this case has grown over the last 2~3 years and it's become a boom lately. This reflects the social change but a lack of 'variety in age range' is also seen as a cause for this.
There are currently 3~4 dramas that have 'older couples'. It's becoming a trend for mini series that represent each broadcasting station,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Remember You" Episode 4 2015/06/30,
Normally I really dislike it when a nominally sympathetic character in a story works unfailingly to prop up a lie. What makes Ji-an different in this regard is, in the first place, she knows full well that Hyeon won't cooperate if she just tells him the truth. Hyeon's willingness to be helpful is directly proportional to how much he gets to act like an uncooperative, mean-spirited jerk in the process. This is what Hyeon's personality has been like since childhood, and that's not going to change any time soon,...More
[Spoiler] 'Remember You' Seo In-guk takes off shirt to reveal his brain muscles 2015/06/30, Source,
KBS 2TV's Monday & Tuesday drama, "Remember You" revealed a still image, in which Seo In-guk revealed his tanned muscles of his broad shoulders. Seo In-guk plays Lee Hyeon, a genius profiler in the drama.
If you turn your eyes away from his perfect body, you can notice there's another man in the same space. While he came back to Korea after such a long stay in US, he does not have any friends other than the curator of the museum, close enough, in front whom he would not mind taking off his shirt. Why the two men were in the space and he took his shirt off stirs up curiosity in viewers,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Remember You" Episode 3 2015/06/29,
The culprit apparently apprehended, the police team comes up against a very serious problem- there's not much real evidence. For Hyeon that doesn't pose a problem. This isn't because Hyeon is a super detective who can pull evidence out of nowhere to bring criminals to justice. It's quite the opposite really. Hyeon's interest in crime is directly proportional to how interesting the crime is. And sadly, Hyeon simply isn't impressed by the current villain,...More
[Spoiler] 'Remember You' Seo In-guk asks Jang Nara, Who are you
On the third episode of KBS' 2TV's Monday & Tuesday drama, "Remember You", Lee Hyeon (Seo In-guk) suspected Cha Ji-an (Jang Nara).
Cha Ji-an became upset when Lee Hyeon sent an official document under her name without any permission to China to make the serial killer Yang Seong-hoon (Tae In-ho) to be charged for drug crime. However, it was because Cha Ji-an had once mentioned that she would want to separate the serial killer from the society by fair means or foul and Lee Hyeon made her wish to be accomplished for her,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Remember You" Episode 2 2015/06/23,
The chain of events that explains how Hyeon came into his present-day position as an eccentric professor are mostly clearly defined. His motivations are what's more difficult to grasp. In most dramas the death of a father and the disappearance of a younger brother would be the spur to a lifetime of seeking revenge. Yet bizarrely, Hyeon doesn't even seem to be taking these events all that personally. It's the psychology of motivation that keeps Hyeon engaged rather than any kind of emotional attachment,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Remember You" Episode 1 2015/06/22,
Hyeon (played by Seo In-guk) is a strange man who investigates unusual events just for the fun of it, and likes to mess around with people without ever changing his eerily vacant expression. Ji-an (played by Jang Nara) is a perky detective who is easily provoked by actions obviously intended to stupefy her. Together they...don't actually fight crime just yet. After a rather peculiar opener most of the runtime is dedicated to Hyeon's backstory,...More
Lim Ji-yeon's lovely legs 2015/03/26, Source, Actress Lim Ji-yeon attended the production presentation of SBS TV show "Law of the Jungle" on the 26th.
"Law of the Jungle in Indochina" is the 18th jungle survival happening in the Indochina peninsula,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The King's Face" Episode 22 2015/02/17,
In it's last episodes "The King's Face" has curled into a complex, layered show that finally holds genuine tensions that do not feel contrived. Sixteen years have passed since Gwanghae became the Crown Prince and the warring factions in the government have a lot of fodder for battle. A strong point of the episode was the fact that it brought Ga-hee's actions full circle,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The King's Face" Episode 21 2015/02/14,
King Seonjo comes face-to-face with his own demons in the form of a man he once trusted: Do-chi. Like the king, Do-chi is filled with arrogance and the idea that he is invincible. Neither are prepared for their downfalls, which makes this episode and their crash to rock bottom the most engaging thus far. Do-chi has spent years manipulating and lying to people, building up his power base and hoping to bring about change in Joseon,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The King's Face" Episode 20 2015/02/14, "The King's Face" is picking up the pace as it nears the finish line. Intentions do not necessarily lead to desired results because they are thwarted by powerful emotions like jealousy and greed. As the characters settle into their newest roles, they grow bolder and that makes the show a lot more fun. Ga-hee, in particular, was much more lively than she has ever been,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The King's Face" Episode 15 2015/02/01,
Episode 15 was, by far, the strongest episode of the drama. It brought together history, character development, and a large,exciting event that acted as an impetus for further development. That event is the reclamation of Hanyang, what is now Seoul, from the Japanese,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The King's Face" Episode 14 2015/01/25,
War has made "The King's Face" much more interesting. The characters in this seem more like cardboard cutouts than people. They have goals and go through the motions, but rarely do we see the motivating through processes or emotions behind the action. Crown Prince Gwanghae's story is riveting in its natural form and that gives this story more weight than the fictionalized plot. The life is leaving "The King's Face" despite the intrigue of war and the heroics of Gwanghae,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The King's Face" Episode 13 2015/01/20,
The Japanese have come and all the plot preparing comes together in a pointed effort to escape the wrath of the invasion. Constitutions are hardened against the horrors of war and Gwanghae is left as the de facto leader of Hanyang, Joseon's capital, as his father flees to save his own life. It is a test for everyone that shows their true colors. Gwanghae is left by King Seonjo to protect the palace and the people,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The King's Face" Episode 12 2015/01/15,
War is upon King Seonjo, his family, and his country. Just the nature of war kicks up the excitement of "The King's Face" a notch. It's a well-known story, but the spin that the production team takes is what makes it either unique or just another story. King Seonjo notoriously leaves his people and flees north to protect himself,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The King's Face" Episode 11 2015/01/08,
Pieces were forced into place in this episode of "The King's Face". It is almost the halfway mark and something large needs to happen or change - that event is a compounded national and character shift. The Japanese invasion has begun in earnest, and Ga-hee enters the palace, most likely for good. The changes are welcome. It's just that the changes felt as fluid as the Tinman's joints before Dorothy found him. The King's Face" tends to be overly dramatic,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The King's Face" Episode 10 2015/01/04,
Gwanghae is learning and growing by leaps and bounds as "The King's Face" just about hits its halfway mark. He has developed a concrete goal and political aspirations that pits him against many people, including his family. But the lessons he has learned thus far are making him more wary than the impetuous child of yore. "The King's Face" has a central focus of face reading and the idea that one cannot escape one's destiny,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The King's Face" Episode 9 2015/01/01,
Young Prince Gwanghae is learning that knowledge and a passion to help his people isn't enough to actually help them. He gets trapped in the sticky web of politics and his immobility and his immobility causes his people to suffer. He begins to truly feel the weight of his position and the heart of the cause that Ga-hee and Do-chi fight for. While "The King's Face" isn't the most effective show, this episode certainly made its points clearly and smartly,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The King's Face" Episode 8 2014/12/29, "The King's Face" is slowly shaping Joseon's next king, Prince Gwanghae, for the heavy crown he will bear. Seo In-guk is charming as the young prince who is just discovering what he wants to do with the intelligence and political power that he was born with. His skill with face-reading helps him as he navigates the murky waters of backdoor politicking. In his time exiled from the palace, Gwanghae has learned of the sordid affairs that happen beyond the palace walls that keep palace officials afloat in gold and riches and their power honed towards magnifying their riches and positions rather than helping those who need it,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The King's Face" Episode 7 2014/12/22,
This episode was all about the lovers coming back together and the circumstances that conspire to keep them apart. Although the circumstances are political, it is the love story that fuels the episode while politics takes a decided back seat. What has bothered me about Gwanghae made itself clear in this episode,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The King's Face" Episode 6 2014/12/22,
The lovers are at odds, both emotionally and in duty, which is the heart of episode 6. Around them King Seonjo whose inner battle rages between loving his son and the fact that Gwanghae is the biggest threat to his crown; and Do-chi, whose position of power causes him grave heartache. Gwanghae has lived idly in the eyes of his father and others,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The King's Face" Episode 5 2014/12/16, "The King's Face" is a rather disjointed drama. It takes the central idea that face reading is powerful enough to determine a man's destiny and tries to piece the different parts of the drama to that. The most important pieces that are tied together by face reading is that King Seonjo was not meant to be king and that Gwanghae is destined to be a great king. It puts father and son directly at odds, which is the main story played out by "The King's Face". The problems is that this main story doesn't quite have the support from the rest of the drama to make it feasible,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The King's Face" Episode 3 2014/12/04, "The King's Face" is a very visually lovely show. However, the general tone is so dramatic that it veers on seeming like a soap opera. It is not the acting, which is quite fine with the strong cast, but the direction couple with the dialogue. This tone keeps the weight of the show distant from the viewer and difficult to relate to.
This drama is romance driven,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The King's Face" Episode 2 2014/11/29,
A book can be judged by his cover, and apparently so can a king. The group searching for the new king who will bring equality to Joseon is basing its search on face reading. Because of her face, Ga-hee is searched out to be something she doesn't want to be. Because of his face, Gwanghae is an enemy of his father. In the world of "The King's Face", looks matter. In Ga-hee's case, the face reader is able to pin her for the type of woman for whom the king has been searching,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The King's Face" Episode 1 2014/11/29, "The King's Face" opened with a fast-paced, visually pleasing and plot-thin first episode. All main characters were introduced with their major qualities and quirks and physiognomy, or face reading, is given its proper place at the top of the totem pole. Based upon this opener the drama could be beautiful and vapid, or beautiful and delve deeper than what was given in this first taste.
There is no doubt that "The King's Face" is a beautiful drama,...More
[HanCinema's Idol Actors] Park Yoo-chun and Seo In-guk 2014/08/23, Park Yoo-chun
Famous idols who go into acting often share a very similar issue. The position of the roles they get is very central compared to what their skills at the time can actually handle. Park Yoo-chun showed promise straight away, by managing to carry the role of a lead in his very first work a lot better than what a lot of idols or other rookies manage,...More
The King of High School Manners 2014/06/20, Source, Seo In-guk is a very hot actor in Korea these days. His breakout performance was in "Answer to 1997" and his fans have been waiting patiently for him to nab another drama lead role ever since. Luckily, the wait is over. "The King of High School Manners" (aka High School King of Savvy, King High School of Life Conduct) is the story of Lee Min-seok, your average high school athlete who prefers to play hockey over keeping up with his academics. He is very popular among the female students at his school due to his status as the star hockey player. He's the complete opposite of his older brother, Lee Hyeong-seok, who moved to Germany 8 years ago to pursue his studies and create a very successful life for himself - at the cost of abandoning Min-seok alone in Korea,...More
'Superstar K' Singer Shines in Mediocre Sports Movie 2013/11/13, Source, Seo In-guk, who won the inaugural season of the popular audition show "Superstar K", recently made his film debut in "NO-BREATH". The movie focuses on the rivalry between two teenage swimmers as they attempt to set a record in the sport. Although it clearly targets young female moviegoers, critics have blasted the 118-minute film as being hackneyed and dull, more like a soap from the early 90s than a gripping melodrama. However, if the film has one saving grace, it would be Seo's standout performance, suggesting that the budding actor may have a bright future ahead in acting,...More
[HanCinema's Box Office Review] 2013.11.08 ~ 2013.11.10 2013/11/11,
"Thor: The Dark World" has lit up the top of the Korean box office once again, claiming 655,484 (37%) over 711 screens to advance its total tally now to just over 2 million admissions. Marvel Comic's epic sequel has already grossed $327 million, almost doubling its production budget of $170 million as comic fans, kids, and cinephiles continue to pour in to the theatres to watch Mr. Odinson save the Earth day once again. The highest local flick came in the form of Park Hong-soo's "Commitment", an action drama that tackles Korea's fractured national identity and has Choi Seung-hyeon's character torn between higher powers and those he holds dear. "Commitment" is the Park's debut feature and in it he enlisted the help of director/screenwriting Kim Soo-yeong ("Color of Woman", "Vampire Cop Ricky"). Last week no less than six Korean features found themselves in the top tier, however November's second weekend was less forgiving and forcefully ejected "Days of Wrath", "Hwayi : A Monster Boy", and "Top Star" from proceedings,...More
[HanCinema's Film Review] "No-Breath" 2013/11/01,
The promotional material for this movie proudly states that "NO-BREATH" is the first Korean film to be made entirely about serious competitive swimming. Actually, I'm not sure any country has made a movie about competitive swimming before, or at least not one I can remember offhand. It seems strange considering the elements are there. Just make it a sports movie like any other sports movie, and add copious camerawork of dashing handsome young men with their sexy chests in full focus.
In terms of those particular goals, "No Breath" accomplishes what it set out to do. The very attractive, largely male cast are able to pump out a passable coming-of-age story as two rivals duke it out to become Korea's greatest swimmer,...More
NO-BREATH 2013/11/01, Source, "NO-BREATH"
Genres: Drama and Sports
Running Time: 118 min.
Directed by: Cho Yong-sun
Starring: Lee Jong-suk, Seo In-guk, Kwon Yoo-ri
Synopsis: Won-il used to be a promising swimmer like his championship swimmer father. After his father's death from a swim competition, where he was doing his specialty called "no breathing", his mother also passes away. Losing hopes, he quits swimming for good and lives like there is no tomorrow with his easy-going attitude. When he is being dropped out of school, his father's longtime friend Jae-seok drags him to get into a physical education high school to start swimming again. There he meets his long-ago rival Woo-sang, who was always overshadowed by Won-il. His return is unwelcomed by Woo-Sang but Won-il does not care. Then there is Jae-seok's daughter, Jeong-eun who captures both Won-il and Woo-sang's hearts and reignites the rivalry between the two,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Master's Sun" Episode 17 (finale) 2013/10/07,
"Master's Sun" has completed it's run with no major snafus despite the extension. This finale was a solid bookend to the seventeen-episode run, but as a standalone episode, it was rather blasé. It tied up all loose ends and had neat, happy endings for all. The largest standing problem left to resolve in "Master's Sun" was Gong-shil's ability to see ghosts and how it would resolve. Would her ability disappear after her trip with Lee Chun-hee, or would she learn to live with it? It was an intriguing dilemma because it can be paralleled with real life. And true to real life, Gong-shil's ability did not disappear and she learned to live her life while seeing and helping ghosts. She even used the ability abroad to make money,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Master's Sun" Episode 16 2013/10/03,
"Master's Sun" has managed to power through the extension without losing too much steam. The story is rolling along, emotions are strongly felt and no character is left undeveloped. Around this time in a drama, the last few episodes, stories seem to stagnate and spin on their wheels as they wait for their finales. While "Master's Sun" was slower-paced throughout episode 16, it was full of juicy emotional development. Gong-shil is annoying in her insistence that she leave Joong-won to seek out the reason behind her ability to see ghost. However, her reasoning for wanting to leave is solid: she is terrified to hurt him again. These unilateral decisions are frustrating. There are two people in a relationship and decisions should be made after discussion,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Master's Sun" Episode 15 2013/09/28,
Tensions come to a head as Joong-won's past is finally sorted out and Gong-shil remains determined to live life independently of Joong-won. While Gong-shil wants to help him resolve the Hee-joo situation, she also is terrified to be involved with him. She doesn't want him to get hurt again. It's a decent reason to sacrifice a relationship and pretend that she doesn't care, but at the same time, noble idiocy is exasperating. The storyline involving Hee-joo's living sister is a bit pedantic. What is more interesting is the effect that the plot thread has on Joong-won, Gong-shil and Joong-won's secretary, Gwi-do. The living sister is actually the real Hee-joo and she framed her twin, Han-na, for the kidnapping,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Master's Sun" Episode 14 2013/09/26,
"Master's Sun" episode 14 is a veritable game of cat and mouse. Joong-won desperately attempts to catch avoidant Gong-shil and figure out the truth of their past relationship and the missing time in his memory. In her nobly idiotic attempt to keep him safe from her and her terrifying world, she repeatedly asks him to leave her be, but he doesn't. In fact, he is so persistent that he finally figures out how to regain his memory through a solution that seems a bit too convenient: he has to remember what he lost while he was a spirit. It would have been nice had the solution been more complicated. In any case, once Joong-won remembers, he refuses to let Gong-shil push him away anymore,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Master's Sun" Episode 13 2013/09/21,
Because of Cheosok, the autumn festival in Korea, "Master's Sun" only had one episode this week and will be extended to seventeen episodes. Extensions tend to hurt K-dramas in general. This worries me as well as the fact that there are an overabundance of K-drama tropes that came into play during this episode, which now have to be seen to their logical ends,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Master's Sun" Episode 12 2013/09/13,
The ending of this episode overshadows the rest of it: Joong-won is stabbed and killed while saving Gong-shil. Then his ghost comes to say he loves her before he disappears; Gong-shil is left sobbing on the ground. It is such a powerful and shocking ending that it's hard to recall the beauty of the Hong sisters' writing from before the death. It's even more surprising because this is the darkest path that they have ever taken in a drama. They killed the hero four episodes before the ending.,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Master's Sun" Episode 11 2013/09/12,
"Master's Sun" is one of the most refreshingly honest dramas out there. Despite the awkwardness that the characters feel, the way that the writing deals with love, relationships and emotions is forward and incredibly fun. There are weaknesses in the writing and that mostly has to do with the ghost plot threads. But the wonderful depth of the characters in the show more than makes up for it. In this episode, the ghost was the CEO of the competing mall. He his a secret for his entire life: he was a crossdresser. It's a touchy subject and like with the child abuse, the Hong sisters dealt with it quietly and tastefully. The dead CEO's son acknowledges his father's secret and accepts it, which allows his father's spirit to rest. Then he quietly hides the truth from an unaccepting society. It was a great way to bring up the subject, respect it and deal with it according to societal norms,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Master's Sun" Episode 10 2013/09/08,
Silence is the name of the game in episode 10 and it leads to a lot of misunderstandings. Rather than talk things out, the characters bottle things up and make assumptions, which leads to crossed wires, dialogue full of double entendres and moments full of intense chemistry. Joong-won has returned from China with a faux fiancée in tow. Poor Gong-shil, however, thinks the engagement is real and struggles to cope. She considers herself a burden on him and on his future, while he has no intentions of alleviating her anxiety. He instead tries to test her affections for her and seems sure that she does care for him,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Master's Sun" Episode 9 2013/09/05,
When the truth comes out it can be scary. Kang Woo learns Gong-shil's secret and it terrifies him. Joong-won figures out how he truly feels about Gong-shil and that petrifies him. While Kang Woo seems to accept the truth, Joong-won turns away from it - he gets engaged to another woman. It's a nice juxtaposition to explore between the male leads and one that can sustain through the remaining episodes. They need to choose to be courageous and accept fear and change. They have the choice to be courageous unlike Gong-shil, who is forced to face her fears everyday. Even so, the "safety zone" that Joong-won's touch provides allows Gong-shil to consider change. The truths that ghosts ask her to impart to the living no longer take priority in her life. She now chooses to help the ghosts and to start living her own life outside of fear,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Master's Sun" Episode 8 2013/08/31,
"Master's Sun" experienced a large shift in tone, which makes sense at this point in drama time. Usually episode 8 in a sixteen-episode drama brings about a big plot turn. It is also almost always one of the most unpredictable and uneven episodes in dramas because of the need to introduce the new idea that will sustain through the rest of the show. This episode was no exception. It teetered between the lame ghost-story-of-the-day, the developing romance between Joong-won and Gong-shil and focusing on unearthing the truth behind Joong-won's kidnapping,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Master's Sun" Episode 7 2013/08/30,
The Hong Sisters have a magical Touch when it comes to combining levity and gravity. This was the strongest episode by far because so much happened, and it was all clear, poignant and moved the story right along. The ghost of the day was in fact a trio of ghosts - abused and neglected children who died with a doll as their only companion. At first the ghostly trio seem to have nefarious intentions, but actuality, they are trying to band together with living children who suffer abuse so that they won't be alone. It is a beautiful thought. The doll is intensely creepy, but it has suffered along with the children and is just as battered as they are,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Master's Sun" Episode 6 2013/08/23,
The love quadrangle is in full swing and is hilariously funny in true Hong sisters fashion. They develop their characters along with the romance and the world that Gong-shil lives in through their signature witty repartee. Along with that we get a dose of horror, a lot of cute, and some wicked chemistry. The weakness of the show is still in the horror aspect, but even then they manage to make the ghost's situation highlight the beauty of the relationship the ghost left behind. This episode's ghost is a cameo from man's best friend who stayed loyal even in death to help his distraught master,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Master's Sun" Episode 5 2013/08/22,
"Master's Sun" continues to improve. The ghosts are becoming more interesting even though the way they involve themselves with Gong-shil is contrived. But the heart of the story lies with Gong-shil, Joong-won, Kang Woo and even airheaded Yi-ryeong who are developing into wonderful, zany, heartwarming characters.
Gong-shil is a constant source of amusement because she is always flirting with Joong-won and Kang Woo, but her intentions with each man are completely different. She physically needs Joong-won to live. Being with him allows her the most basic of human necessities: sleep,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Master's Sun" Episode 4 2013/08/16,
And here we have it, folks. A Hong sisters episode at its best. The story finally hit it's stride and I'm fully invested in it and the characters. Everything that I asked for in the last review was satisfied by this episode - except for the terrible ghost makeup.
Horrible makeup aside, I have to say I loved everything about this episode, including the second female lead, Tae Yi-ryung. Unlike in other shows, the second lead doesn't have an inordinate amount of power to make the female lead feel miserable. Yes, Yi-ryung makes Gong-shil feel embarrassed, but the embarrassment does not give Yi-ryung any real leverage over Gong-shil. It's a welcome change in first and second female lead dynamics,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Master's Sun" Episode 3 2013/08/15,
"Master's Sun" is a fun show despite its creepy premise. The Hong sisters are great at delivering solid, fun, and quirky characters while also making these characters loveable. Relationships having always been the Hong Sisters' strong suit. Take the infamous relationship between Ae-jung and Pil-joo from Best Love. It was based in friendship and beautifully, naturally formed. Or the fun-loving friendship between Jeremy and Mi-nam in You're Beautiful - they didn't have a ton of screen time together, but they were still memorable,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Master's Sun" Episode 2 2013/08/09,
"Master's Sun" is getting stronger and earned it's 1% increase in ratings. It's starting to find it's stride although it's not quite there yet. The Hong Sisters seem to be struggling for a tone that balances the horror with romcom and the mystery. Along with that, they are trying to juggle the pacing and exposure of guest characters and stories. There ended up being too much air time spent on the ghost-of-the-day and not enough on developing the relationships between the main characters. The ghost-of-the-day story could definitely have been cut down and still have been just as interesting and served it's purpose. Despite all that, this episode still held strong and was a fun, enjoyable watch. The ghosts showed marked improvement as well and Jin Hyeok's directorial hand was tighter and more efficient. Only one ghost had horrible makeup that made him look like Heath Ledger's Joker,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Master's Sun" Episode 1 2013/08/08,
It's that time of year again. The Hong sisters, Hong Mi-ran and Hong Jeong-eun, are back with a new drama. They are known for their witty dialogue and heartfelt characters like in popular dramas "You're Beautiful" and "The Greatest Love". This summer, along with "City Hunter"'s director Jin Hyeok, they bring us Master's Sun, a horror romcom starring Best Love's Kong Hyo-jin as Tae Gong-shil, a woman who can see terrifying ghosts and loses sleep because of them. Opposite her is the money-loving, dyslexic Joo Joong-won played by the charismatic So Ji-sub. The opening of the show immediately throws you into Gong-shil's world: dark and eerie. She walks through life feeling afraid, which is a very captivating premise. The orchestral accompaniment and creaking sound effects initially add to the mood, but then become overpowering. And then the first ghost appears and it's a CG nightmare,...More
Lee Jong-suk pleases fans with picture of abs 2013/08/07, Source, Lee Jong-suk is currently residing in the Philippines for the movie "NO-BREATH" after "I Hear Your Voice". He posted on the 7th and said, "Are you all well? The weather's nice, the views nice but why do I want to go home? I want to see my mother. I am so tired. I need to listen to "Cheer Up" by Girls' Generation".
Lee Jong-suk is wearing a swimsuit in the picture with a 'V' on his hand. Another thing that catches the eye is the fact that he has a firm ab. Fans say, "Too revealing!", "My eyes have been cleansed", "So fair and muscular" and more,...More
[Video] First Annual DramaFever Awards Winners Announced 2013/04/26, Source,
Award recipients thank fans for their support exclusively on DramaFever NEW YORK, NY [April 26, 2013] - DramaFever announced the winners of its first annual DramaFever Awards today, highlighting the best of Korean drama in 2012. Fans cast over 550,000 votes for their favorite nominees in categories ranging from Drama of the Year to Best Bromance,...More
[Guest Review] "Answer to 1997" 2012/12/30, Source,
This review I present to you as a long-promised work I promised my friend, King of Beer. He told me time and time again that this show was pure k-drama gold. After watching it not once, but three times, I set myself to writing this review. It's rather massive because, well, he were right.
"Answer to 1997" is amazing,...More
'SUPERSTAR K' RETURNS TO AMERICA SEEKING OUT THE WORLD'S BEST SINGERS FOR $500,000 COMPETITION 2012/05/31, Source, Los Angeles auditions to take place on June 9; New York auditions June 10Season Four will air LIVE on Mnet America for the first timeNEW YORK – May 30, 2012 –Mnet (www.mnetamerica.com), the first and leading national, 24/7 English-language television network in the U.S. for all things Asian cool, has announced the ultra popular singing competition show, SUPERSTAR K(SSK)will again hold auditions in America for their upcoming fourth season. The show will scour the earth for the best talent to bring back to Korea to compete for the chance to win 500,000,000 Korean Won or approximately 500,000 US Dollars along with an opportunity to perform at the Mnet Asian Music Awards and many more prizes,...More
Who will take Mnet's Superstar K3? 2011/11/10, Source,
Will it be Busker Busker or Ulala Session?
This Friday, Mnet's "Superstar K3" will decide along with fans which group will win.
With a new rule change this season, groups were allowed to enter the contest, and changed the dynamics of the popular audition show. The competition was fiercer than ever where the fans have enjoyed three months of dynamic and inspiring performances, and it's the groups that are the two finalists,...More
Korean pop stars to perform at Hallyu Dream Concert 2010/08/11, Source,
Official Hallyu Dream Festival site
Korea's hottest K-pop stars will gather in the city of Gyeong Ju in the North Gyeongsang Province next month to perform at the Hallyu Dream Concert.
Close to two dozen artists including Super Junior, 2PM, Kang Ta, 2AM, 2NE1, Se7en, 4minute, BEAST, Son Dam-bi, Kara, After School, miss A, FT Island, Choshinsung, Davichi, T-ara, MBLAQ, U-Kiss, ZE:A, Secret, Flower and Seo In-guk will take to the stage of the concert to be held on September 12 at the Gyeong Ju Citizen's Stadium as part of the two-day Hallyu Dream Festival which begins on September 10,...More
IU and CNBLUE rocks televised music shows 2010/07/05, Source,
Korean singer IU and 2AM Seulong (right), CNBLUE (left) [LOEN Entertainment/FNC Music]
Duet IU and Seulong and rock band CNBLUE took the top spot on televised music programs over the weekend of the first week of July.
IU scored her second consecutive win on KBS' Friday music show "Music Bank" with "Nagging", a collaboration with 2AM member Seulong. This week however, IU performed the song with male solo artist Seo In-guk,...More
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