[Funcurve Review] "Moorim School" 2016/05/28,
"Moorim School" is a fantasy action drama centered around an enigmatic school hidden from the world and students with powers unbeknownst to themselves. As the students try to make sense of peculiar incidents happening at the school, they uncover secrets about the school and about themselves. I haven't had too much exposure to this genre of drama, so I was quite interested initially. Unfortunately, the execution was a huge let down. Due to a poorly written plot, inadequate special effects, and subpar acting, the drama failed to get a passing grade in my books,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Moorim School" Episode 16 (final) 2016/03/08,
"Moorim School" ended its run with a flurry of bow-tied ends, a good amount of confusion, and plenty of good feels. A happy ending was bestowed upon all characters, deserving or not. The Chintamani found a predictable end. Friendship and faith in oneself was the message that had to be dictated because it most certainly hadn't been shown. While all the characters received a happy ending, the way that the happy ending was achieved was, to be quite frank, completely nonsensical,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Moorim School" Episode 15 2016/03/07,
It's episode 15 for "Moorim School" with one more episode to go. The search for the Chintamani is an all out race to the finish. Most of the secrets hidden within the school and the hearts of its inhabitants have been made public. Chi-ang's father manipulated him into the enemy of the school and Si-woo discovers his true role in all of this. Chae Yoon, Si-woo and Seon-ah's father gets to jump in and play a bigger role as well,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Moorim School" Episode 14 2016/03/01,
I'm still trying to sort through what just happened in "Moorim School"'s episode 14. The plot was relatively straightforward, but I have no idea what the show is trying to tell me about the characters. I thought a while of how to analyze this and this is what I've come up with: Chi-ang is supposed to be divided by his loyalty as a son to his morally-impaired father and by his love for his friends who have seen him (according to exposition) through thick and thin. We're shown a montage of him with Si-woo compiled mostly of their first days together,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Moorim School" Episode 13 2016/02/29,
All of the clunky mechanizations of "Moorim School" have cobbled themselves together to reveal several truths and leave our characters reeling. The school is in utter chaos as per the bad guys' nefarious plans. The kids are struggling to come to terms with the revelations and they are not yet ready to reach out for help and comfort. While the individual brooding and thinking and crying is actually well-deserved, the sequence of events that lead up to these depressing activities is awkwardly formed,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Moorim School" Episode 12 2016/02/23,
The truth is what drives episode 12 of "Moorim School". The students are driven by their individual motivations to prepare and compete in the school's competition, but the for the main four, the truth behind the actions of adults and behind their pasts are the real driving force. Chi-ang is the most exposed in this quest for truth, which is a relief after too many episodes of silent brooding and staring that was difficult to read and interpret,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Moorim School" Episode 11 2016/02/22,
"Moorim School" episode 11 is all about looking within to find the answers. There is a big competition going on and everyone is vying to win, but winning isn't the answer. To attain the keys to the Chintamani is the outward goal, but the true teachers at the Moorim School want their students to find strength within to protect those dear to them. Si-woo is struggling to control a rare power that he possesses,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Moorim School" Episode 9 2016/02/16,
"Moorim School" is back after a pause for the celebration of Lunar New Year. After the midway point it's starting to jump into why the kids are at the school and what roles they have to play. It's not just about a love triangle, but about the road they will pave for themselves despite the pressures of adults. Chi-ang's father has been sketched to be a leading bad guy and this episode outlines the potential for Chi-ang to follow in his footsteps,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Moorim School" Episode 8 2016/02/07,
"Moorim School" is getting heavy into the mystery of who Si-woo and Seon-ah and why they are important to the bad guys. Moreover, it is purposefully vague on who those bad guys may be. Is it the kindly Dean Hwang who watches over his students? Is it the blatantly obvious father of Chi-ang? Maybe it's a combination thereof. In any case, the drama is much more stimulating than it was for the first six episodes. Perhaps it is because the drama was cut down by four episodes and the action needs to be pushed along. This is the pace the drama should've been moving at. The main intrigue is the building question of what the Chintamani is, why people want it, and what the main characters have to do with it and its retrieval,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Moorim School" Episode 7 2016/02/01,
Episode 7 of "Moorim School" is the strongest episode by far. There was major character development and in the mystery that has only been hinted at before. A breath of fresh air has touched this drama and blown it away from the painful setup that characterized the first six episodes. While the teachers and Yeop-jeong could use much more development, Chi-ang, Ha-o, and the mysterious coma man, Chae Yoon, saw some honest-to-goodness screentime,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Moorim School" Episode 6 2016/01/26,
The manga-like storyline continues as each step of the plotline is detailed by teacher-fueled narrative. Romance buds and builds, pasts bubble up from pained psyches, and the students and teachers face a very, very strange exam season. Let's begin by dissecting the midterm exams,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Moorim School" Episode 5 2016/01/26,
"Moorim School" should be cut down to forty-five minute episodes so that the filler material isn't so oppressive. The way the show struggles, the recent disputes between the producers, JS Pictures, and the broadcasting station, KBS, come as no surprise. There is so much recap material scattered throughout the episode that it drags and the ratings reflect that. But between the elongated brooding moments and the flashbacks there are a few tasty morsels to gnaw on. The martial arts aspect of the school hasn't been played up, however this episode finally made use of it and it was extremely cool,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Moorim School" Episode 4 2016/01/26,
This episode was all about the building of friendship. Chi-ang and Si-woo look past their massive prides and see the good in each other. The kids at school learn via guilt that their treatment of the boys was cruel and uncalled for. And under all of that "Moorim School" continues to plod along pedantically. The show spoon feeds emotions to its audience rather than create situations that can wrench them from viewers,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Moorim School" Episode 3 2016/01/23,
It finally hit me in episode 3. "Moorim School" reminds me of a Taiwanese drama mashed together with a manga adaptation. It's not meant to be taken too seriously and with that thought in mind the show becomes more fun to watch. It becomes an episodic adventure of enemies turned allies and how those around them learn to accept them despite their blatant personality failings. Those two enemies, Chi-ang and Si-woo, are both egotistical young men whose intense personal circumstances have shaped their prickly exteriors and isolated them from socialization typical of their age,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Moorim School" Episode 2 2016/01/16,
"Moorim School" episode 2 plays out like a typical school drama with bullies, puppy love, competition, and burgeoning hopes and dreams and comes in with a shaky Nielsen rating of 4%. It is heavily laden with character stereotypes and a predictable plotline. But what it does have going for it is the inclusion of the international cast and the promise of intrigue. The elements of mystery surround Si-woo's past and mystical abilities, Chi-ang's family issues, and the story behind Moorim itself,...More
[Spoiler] 'Moorim School' Hong Bin confesses his love to Seo Ye-ji 2016/01/12, Source,
On the second episode of KBS 2TV's Monday & Tuesday drama, 'Moorim School', Wang Chi-ang (Hong Bin) confessed his love to Soon-deok (Seo Ye-ji) in such a cheesy way, which delivered much laughter to drama fans.
On this day, Wang Chi-ang searched around to find Soon-deok. When he spotted Soon-deok preparing fish for breakfast meal, Wang Chi-ang told her, "You don't have to do things like this any longer. I'm tell my father to hire cleaning ladies and chef and all for you",...More
[HanCinema's Film Review] "Another Way" 2015/12/19,
The central recurring visual in "Another Way" is frozen water. When winter gets cold enough, you can cross on foot and save a little time at the risk of sudden quick death by hypothermia should the ice get thin. The risk seems excessive, but to a depressed person with no real reason to live, the threat is meaningless. That's what life is like for Soo-wan (played by Kim Jae-wook) and Jeong-won (played by Seo Ye-ji). They want to give up, and will take any excuse they can get to accomplish this- even suicide,...More
[HanCinema's Film Review] "Circle of Atonement" 2015/11/07,
Gi-jeong (played by Choe Yu-ri) is a little girl with barely any perception of her rather discouraging birthright. Gi-jeong's father Ji-cheol (played by Lim Hyeong-joon) is an ex-con who is not doing a very good job of rehabilitating into society. The situation slowly and methodically gets messier until finally, one timeskip away Gi-jeong has turned into Jeong-hyeon (played by Kim Yoo-jeong), a teenage girl with thankfully little memory of how she came to have a completely different name and family. For awhile anyway,...More
[BIFF] 'Best dressed' Son Ye-jin VS 'Worst dressed' Ha Ji-won 2015/10/01, Source,
The rain and wind didn't stop the Red Carpet from happening.
The 20th Busan International Film Festival Red Carpet opening event was held on the 1st.
Long dresses were seen everywhere and nude tones in particular too. The wind helped in making the actresses look like goddesses,...More
Posters for "Last" revealed 2015/07/14, Source, The second poster and character posters of the new JTBC drama "Last" has been revealed.
Unlike the first poster, the second poster features all five of the main characters in the drama,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Drama Festival - Fitting" 2014/12/07,
Kyeong-hee (played by Seo Ye-ji) starts work in a tailor shop to support her family, but with a clear eye toward a future where they're all able to ascend to the educated genteel class. An obstacle appears in the form of Seong-hyeon (played by Heo Jeong-do). He also has ambitions. The man has an excellent eye for design. His plan for success, rather than ride the hopeful seventies breeze of modernized prosperity, is simply to become the best tailor he can be,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Night Watchman's Journal" Episode 24 2014/10/21,
The drama ends unpredictably, mostly because all of the elements that make up the climactic battle and resolution hadn't been adequately foreshadowed. A significant part of the fight against the dragon ends up taking place in the spirit realm of all places. What is the spirit realm anyway? Everybody's always heading into it for one reason or another but aside from the occasional mock fight there's no obvious reason for the place to exist,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Night Watchman's Journal" Episode 23 2014/10/20,
This time Sadam's new power comes in the form of the ability to dominate the mind of security guards and force them to fight one another. Also he apparently has the ability to prevent anyone from commenting on this once the mental domination is over. It's been well established by now that nobody in the palace cares about random violent deaths, but even in that backdrop the inability of anyone to so much as point out the fact that Sadam is obviously some kind of evil wizard takes on pretty ridiculous proportions here. By the end of the episode he's practically reenacted the evil ritual that set the whole drama off while the entire royal court watches without comment,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Night Watchman's Journal" Episode 22 2014/10/14,
And in the end, it looks like everything is going to hinge on a magic oboe. Strangely this is not the most ridiculous plot development to show up in "The Night Watchman's Journal". Really, it's not even close to high-ranking. I was somewhat annoyed that most of our information about the oboe came from a msin character's flashback, making it yet another result of information that's been withheld from the audience for no good reason. But at least it's easy enough to understand why the oboe is important.
Anyway, as far as pre-existing plot threads go, Do-ha has to be rescued. And once again, the closest thing anyone has to a guard in this drama is just a sturdy door,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Night Watchman's Journal" Episode 21 2014/10/13,
Sadam gains yet another power this episode- the ability to teleport faraway people to other faraway places. I'm assuming that the faraway part is an important part of the skill, since there have been plenty of times up until now where he could have used this power to get nearby people away from him. But really, the man's long term plans are so inscrutable it's impossible to tell whether his long range thinking has any kind of basis in logic.
As for the heroes, well, it's been another mostly unsuccessful day,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Night Watchman's Journal" Episode 20 2014/10/07,
The main characters are still having a lot of trouble with the whole work as a team thing. It should be really obvious by now that they accomplish a lot more through mutual cooperation than they do by just going it alone. For what it's worth, at least this time the success the villains have in cornering the main characters makes a bit more sense. These are actively, deliberately designed traps that the heroes can't reasonably be expected to predict. They could do a better job reactively, but at least the failures make sense.
One of the few highlights in this drama are the action scenes, mostly by virtue of the fact that they involve a decent understanding of battle logistics. I like Do-ha's whip. As presented it's not actually a violently weapon. Rather, she just uses it either to disarm or immobilize enemies, which is actually really important when ghost possessions are the main problem the characters are dealing with on a frequent basis,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Night Watchman's Journal" Episode 19 2014/10/06,
Once again noble stupidity rules the day. It's not great but it's at least better than regular stupidity, since the characters do have reasons for lying to each other. Even if the reasons aren't very good, there's at least a long term deliberate effort here that shows they're thinking about the possible consequences of their actions. Now if only they could go into actual fights with that kind of mind-set...given that we've already clearly established that Sadam can't be easily killed even by a group, it's inexplicable why characters take shots at him alone this time around,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Night Watchman's Journal" Episode 18 2014/09/30,
At this point it's hard to come to any reasonable conclusion about the characters in "The Night Watchman's Journal" save that they're all really, really dumb. So there are two Do-ha's, and the ghost detector is broken. Not only do the other leads fail to identify the fake Do-ha (apparently simply asking her personal questions was considered unreasonable) they don't bother to keep either Do-ha under guard. The results are predictable and stupid.
This wouldn't be so agitating except that the fake Do-ha doesn't act like the real Do-ha at all. She's very forward, sneaky, and winsome. These words that have never at any point defined the real Do-ha's personality,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Night Watchman's Journal" Episode 17 2014/09/29,
Apparently Sadam has the power to create evil clones from ghost toupees. Just when I think his abilities can't get any more bizarrely weird "The Night Watchman's Journal" finds more ways to make his wizardry absurd even in the context of magic ghost hunting. For what it's worth, I didn't actually mind the trick he pulled earlier on. It's nice to finally get the question clearly answered of why the heroes don't just murder him outright, although again, considering how many enemies he has with access to assassins I'm surprised this is the first time it's happened.
Speaking of assassins, that's apparently the new plot hook, although of the many attempts made here only one actually succeeds,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Night Watchman's Journal" Episode 16 2014/09/23,
There's an actual story here, surprisingly enough. As usual it's pretty easy to point out the general inconsistencies. One would think that given the main characters have a ghost detecting machine, a guy whose entire job is a lifetime of experience of dealing with ghosts, and three actual ghosts with nothing better to do than stand guard at all hours, it would be pretty difficult to demonically possess one of the main characters. Still, one of these prevention devices does eventually work, even if it takes the whole episode.
The trajectory of the story here is actually a pretty passable one,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Night Watchman's Journal" Episode 15 2014/09/22,
Sadam doesn't make much of an appearance here as "The Night Watchman's Journal" seems to be running an experiment to see how long this drama can move on without any kind of flashy actual villainous interference. It figures, really. Before it was all, let's kill people at random and start fires with magical ghost fires, but now that there's actually someone around paying attention to that stuff the action is mostly restricted to giant ghost congregations and passive combat.
The trouble is giant ghost congregations aren't really an action so much as they are just this thing that kind of exists, and it's hard to be all that impressed by something that pretty much just amounts to the casting director finding lots of extras, dressing them up in Joseon era clothing, and then have them all stand around looking at stuff,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Night Watchman's Journal" Episode 14 2014/09/16,
I liked the shocked expression and reactions Sadam goes into here, realizing that someone is actually fighting him on the whole sneaky ghost business. Given everything that's happened up until now it's understandable that the man is fairly perplexed. It's also understandable that his own counter-initiatives to take down the main characters prove less than inspiring,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Night Watchman's Journal" Episode 13 2014/09/15,
The early part of this episode doesn't even bother focusing on the heroes at all. It's just Sadam's wacky schemes and all the other villainous or semi-villainous characters are trailing behind in his wake, either impotently watching him do spooky evil stuff or impotently fuming about the fact that they can't stop him from doing spooky evil stuff. For quite some time it certainly seems that the writers have decided they don't actually have anything interesting for the heroes to do so, well, let's focus on the characters with actual motivation.
Then something amazing happens,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Night Watchman's Journal" Episode 12 2014/09/09,
The alleged main characters in this drama barely ever actually do anything. At first I thought it was just the usual poor writing, but this episode manages to almost become interesting when Sang-hyeon just decides, you know, maybe we should actually be proactive about the whole ghosts skulking in the night murdering innocent people thing. His efforts aren't terribly successful but at least the guy's trying. Story of his life really,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Night Watchman's Journal" Episode 11 2014/09/08,
At this point I'm genuinely not sure whether "The Night Watchman's Journal" is actually improving in terms of storytelling or whether I'm just relieved that the action isn't as bad and inexplicable as it used to be. They're still the nagging problem of a lack of build-up. On an episode to episode basis it seems like most of what we see could easily be skipped. One plot twist in particular should have come up some time ago,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Night Watchman's Journal" Episode 10 2014/09/03,
The drama seems to have finally decided that it's time for the lead characters to actually make an active effort to do stuff. Their goals aren't really very clearly defined, and Do-ha pretty much disappears, but hey, it's something. There's fights this episode! The good guys and bad guys are facing off against each other instead of messing around with this constant infighting, so at least we have an actual conflict to pay heed to now.
The storyline's also relatively easy to follow, as Sadam's techniques become more clearly defined. There's blowback to the lousy way he's been operating so far, and his efforts at a counterattack meet some form of resistance,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Night Watchman's Journal" Episode 9 2014/09/02,
Well, apparently the whole thing with the fire ghosts was just an elaborate excuse to have the characters do a fight and rescue in the fire. This episode Sadam is right to using a whole new weapon- ghost assassinations. No, not like before, when he had a ghost kill someone. No, now he's having ghosts or spirits possess people, making them kill other people, making more ghosts, which go in a jar for some reason I'm not even going to bother trying to suss out.
I'd like to care about this, I really would. The problem is even our actual main characters don't seem to be particularly interested in what Sadam's doing,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Night Watchman's Journal" Episode 8 2014/08/26,
This episode nearly, very very nearly, almost manages to be some decent historical ghost busting action. Part of it is just anticipation. Now that Lee-rin has the titular journal, presumably rules are going to get established about how the ghosts work and it will be up to the team to counter the Ghastly influence. That certainly seems to be the direction "The Night Watchman's Journal" appears to be going- a specific point is made of the fact that the ghost causing all the trouble this time has a specific etymological name. Alas, any such action will have to wait until next time, as the drama once again decides to just force everything to spin around in a circle as the heroes run around helter skelter with very little idea of what they're supposed to do when they finally reach the objective,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Night Watchman's Journal" Episode 7 2014/08/25,
This drama's really obsessed with having its characters run into each other by coincidence. My best guess as to why is because the writers are still really determined to not have all the characters cooperate just yet, although there really isn't any good reason for this. It's painfully obvious at this point that they're all facing the same enemy. Fortunately they do manage to figure this out by the end of the episode, so from this point forward we're probably not dealing with that specific plot thread.
Other important revelations include us finding out what Do-ha's bracelet is for and why it was so important she get it back,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Night Watchman's Journal" Episode 6 2014/08/19,
Do-ha is treated rudely by nearly every single person she meets. This isn't for any rational reason, like her ridiculous outfit. On multiple occasions this episode she saves other characters for practically no reason at all. Yes, Do-ha does have the sort of distant hope that maybe they'll help her out, but for the most part it's just, Do-ha acts nice and helpful, and the other person responds by telling her to bugger off. Sadam was more thoughtful and considerate to Do-ha than any of the people she's actually supposed to be working with.
"The Night Watchman's Journal" is really taking this whole bit about stalling the plot way too far,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Night Watchman's Journal" Episode 5 2014/08/18,
This episode opens up with Lee Rin again trying to avoid ghosts. I'll admit there is some humor to be had in the sheer extremity of his efforts. At the same time, it's extremely aggravating that the characters in "The Night Watchman's Journal" are making such a strong effort to avoid actually doing anything. It's hard to have a drama about ghosts when a substantial portion of the cast refuses to acknowledge that ghosts exist and interrupt the characters that can see them.
Trying to keep track of character knowledge writ large is also getting to be a pretty big headache,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Night Watchman's Journal" Episode 4 2014/08/12,
Well the tone is at least consistent now. The king's still crazy, but since super dark and evil stuff isn't happening the ghost related antics go down a lot better. In all honesty these jokes still aren't particularly funny. Mostly they just highlight the essential problem with the character of Lee Rin (played by Jeong Il-woo). He doesn't have much motivation beyond just not wanting to be harassed by ghosts. If Lee Rin wasn't such a jerk his situation would probably come off as sympathetic,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Night Watchman's Journal" Episode 3 2014/08/11,
And now the drama transitions into action comedy. This would probably come off a lot better except that the beginning of this episode is still dealing with Hae-jong's insanity, and the transition is an awkward one. One minute we're going from an insane rampage and mass executions, then the next it's wacky ghost adventures. In the exact same episode "The Night Watchman's Journal" uses the fact that most people can't see ghosts both to demonstrate insanity and also to make jokes,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Night Watchman's Journal" Episode 2 2014/08/05,
Well, the last preview was pretty misleading. In the first place, we still don't get to see the grown-up versions of the kids. All the better since these kids are really cute, even if they spend most the episode enduring tragic childhood stuff. The simple fact of the matter is the children can't do anything yet- they're too small and powerless,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Night Watchman's Journal" Episode 1 2014/08/04,
The episode starts out on the positive end, giving a basic explanation of the mystical magical universe our characters inhabit. Then we move on to the most adorable party- a bunch of children wearing small little kid hanboks and playing around just having such a wonderful time. They're so cute! I know it's not going to last since next episode they'll turn into adults. I just really wish someone would make an actual drama about kids in the Joseon era playing games wearing those adorable little costumes,...More
Starlet Seo Ye-ji Admits She's Far from Flamboyant 2014/06/14, Source,
People don't seem able to take their eyes off young starlet Seo Ye-ji, who has captivated viewers with her acting prowess, natural charm and physical beauty despite her lack of experience in the world of TV soaps. The 25-year-old debuted as a starring actress in cable channel tvN's sitcom "Potato Star", which has just finished airing. She has all the makings of a future star,...More
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