[HanCinema's Film Review] "The Prison" 2017/04/08,
The year is 1995. Yoo-geon (played by Kim Rae-won) is a bad dude- so bad, he even gets a special color nametag on his prison jumpsuit. Soon after arrival Yoo-geon manages to get into a fight with top dog Chang-gil (played by Sin Seong-rok), who is also a bad dude that does not know the meaning of surrender. Once the baddest dude in the room has been established, it's then on to the baddest dude in the whole prison, Ik-ho (played by Han Seok-Kyu) who takes the meaning of the term "bad dude" to a whole another level,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Road to the Airport" Episode 16 Final 2016/11/10,
The airport, throughout "Road to the Airport" has been the drama's most consistently powerful yet understated metaphor. Think about it. Why do you go the airport? Because you want to go somewhere else. Everyone in this drama is always jumping on airplanes at a moment's notice precisely because their lives are inherently transient and changing, yet these constant renegotiations are never satisfying. Everyone just ends up trying to leave again out of boredom,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Road to the Airport" Episode 15 2016/11/09,
The big fight between Soo-ah and Jin-seok ends up not happening (for now) due to people being at the wrong place at the wrong time. Where "Road to the Airport" gets to especially puzzling territory, though, is how this seems to work out for the better. Sure, Jin-seok briefly terrorizes Hyo-eun, and throughout the episode is motivated primarily by petty spite caused by Soo-ah's emotional affair with Do-woo. Yet by the end, he has actually managed to come up with a much better long-term plan than Soo-ah did, for all the wrong reasons,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Road to the Airport" Episode 14 2016/11/03,
Hye-won coming to terms with the end of her marriage to Do-woo is relatively easy to manage. As is explicitly mentioned here, Annie's death alone was more than enough impetus to force their break-up, and Soo-ah is blameless except to the extent she helped to stave off an otherwise inevitable depression on Do-woo's part. But where does that leave Soo-ah when it comes to her own marriage, which is slowly disintegrating as she attempts to prevent Jin-seok from realizing what's going on?,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Road to the Airport" Episode 13 2016/11/02,
Now that the big mysteries and dramatic revelations have all been cleared up, "Road to the Airport" is left asking the basic question of "now what?". It's easy to forget that, as generally unhelpful as they have been in the role of spouse, Jin-seok and Hye-won are not aware of what's been going on with Do-woo and Soo-ah, even if they have suspicions. Both of them have reason to believe there is hope for reconciliation, even if they are also both badly underestimating the extent to which their generally non-responsive demeanors have poisoned that well,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Road to the Airport" Episode 12 2016/10/27,
Motivation is the most ambiguous watchword at play in "Road to the Airport". On first glance it seems like Soo-ah is just ignoring her feelings. But really, what's actually going on is that Soo-ah is torn between the blatant contradiction in her wanting Do-woo while still having a basically comfortable and familiar life. Soo-ah has spent much of her adult life making a very self-conscious effort to avoid upheavel. It takes a lot of thought for her to arrive to the end of a difficult decision,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Road to the Airport" Episode 11 2016/10/26,
The same visual idea that director Kim Cheol-gyoo use to bring Seoul to life is equally as firmly on display in Jeju, as we're treated to longing sad visages of a landscape that by and large is just a gigantic coastline bounded by a road. That's the one part of Jeju tourism that never shows up in the ads- how inevitably you're going to spend a lot of time on thus bus traveling on obscure roads. Nothing is quite so awful as being stranded that far out. Unless you're Soo-ah, and need the moment of serenity,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Road to the Airport" Episode 10 2016/10/20,
The vicious circle of rationalization takes hold in this episode of "Road to the Airport"- and I was surprised to find that it actually motivates Soo-ah and Do-woo to make constructive long-term decisions rather than destructive ones. Major confrontations force them to realize that there are few things in life they genuinely care about at this point. All the same, given the general enmity Soo-ah and Do-woo feel toward their current spouses, they're making the tactically sensible decision not to try and solve their problems with more romantic love,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Road to the Airport" Episode 9 2016/10/19,
Right away Soo-ah acts impulsively this episode...for the sake of Hyo-eun. This caught me a little off-guard. After last episode I had thought inattention to Hyo-eun was being built up as a potential pratfall to Soo-ah's increasing intimacy with Do-woo but no, apparently Soo-ah is just as self-aware of the obvious life lessons flying around "Road to the Airport" as the rest of us and is capable of making important life decisions accordingly,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Road to the Airport" Episode 8 2016/10/13,
It's impressive how quickly "Road to the Airport" has gone from making Soo-ah and Do-woo's situation look romantic to making it look like a horribly bad idea. Soo-ah is, by nature, such a forthright person that she simply lacks the proper energy necessary to maintain any kind of romantic affair. It's a weird contrast to Jin-seok, whose main natural resistance to extramarital entanglements is his tendency to get bored very quickly with silly women who want to get entangled with married men,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Road to the Airport" Episode 7 2016/10/12,
As Do-woo has to deal with the fallout from a second funeral, I do find myself wondering whether "Road to the Airport" is taking matters a bit far in the whole "make Do-woo sad" department. In order to maintain sympathy for the lead characters as they edge into an affair, Do-woo really has to break down completely with regards to emotional support. Given how unresponsive Hye-won was when it came to her own daughter, it's little surprise the woman is similarly unhelpful with the death of her mother-in-law,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Road to the Airport" Episode 6 2016/10/06,
There's a very great look, near the beginning of this episode, on Do-woo's face. What's he looking at? The reaction on Soo-ah's face as she takes in another good look at scenery. Ever since Annied died this is something that has been missing from Do-woo's life- someone who likes looking at things simply for the sake of looking at things. As an architect Do-woo is a strong appreciator of aesthetic. So it's with a keen sense of irony that he comes to realize no one else in his life pays attention to that stuff,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Road to the Airport" Episode 5 2016/10/05,
Once more we're left to stark contrasts about how Soo-ah and Hye-won react to grief. Well, really, we don't actually know if Hye-won is reacting to grief, something else, or just a combination of all these factors. What we do know is that Hye-won is legitimately acting really weird, and Do-woo is increasingly bothered by her attempts to straight-up expunge Annie's existence from all living memory. Observe how her attempt at seduction is just...very awkward,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Road to the Airport" Episode 4 2016/09/29,
While It's tempting to just write Hye-won off as being evil, I have trouble doing so because Hye-won's situation is very complex. And besides that, no one especially wants to confront a grieving mother, especially Do-woo, who is not Annie's biological father. But even if Hye-won's failings as a mother are defendable, her failures as a wife most certainly are not. Scene by scene, Do-woo continues to suffer and Hye-won simply obliviously refuses to so much as acknowledge him,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Road to the Airport" Episode 3 2016/09/28,
Initially it was easy to peg Jin-seok as being exactly the kind of man who would have an extramarital affair. Yet I wasn't sure why. Jin-seok is a tad brusque, but aside from obviously high self-esteem there's nothing in his attitude that makes adultery seem all that inevitable. As we see this episode, that much really is enough. The very fact that Jin-seok seems so attractive, and obviously enjoys the presence of attractive women, is enough to draw attractive women to him,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Road to the Airport" Episode 2 2016/09/22,
Hye-won (played by Jang Hee-jin) is Do-woo's wife and Annie's mother. In the aftermath of what happened to Annie, Hye-won's behavior is...odd. She doesn't really act like a grieving mother. Everyone grieves in a different way, and this is why Do-woo doesn't push hard on this point, but the scenes we see which Do-woo does not clearly imply that Hye-won's actions are suspicious. Soo-ah's husband Jin-seok (played by Sin Seong-rok) similarly does not see eye-to-eye with his loved one on what to do, although their situation is admittedly far less extreme,...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 Drama Review] "Liar Game" Episode 12 2014/11/25,
Well, "Liar Game" does at least manage to explain why the story took a sudden turn for bizarre conspiracies- we have to find out next season. Normally that's a pretty lousy cop out, especially since it's not clear whether they'll actually make another season, but it does explain why Woo-jin and Do-yeong's backstory has suddenly become so important. They're only one part of a much larger universe,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Liar Game" Episode 11 2014/11/24,
The good news is that all the games this time around are fairly easy to understand. The bad news is they're so easy to understand that "Liar Game" really has to contrive the situation in order to plausibly get Do-yeong to come out ahead. He's not really succeeding based on the power of his bluffs so much as he is by apparently understanding the structure of the game and the way the odds are defined much better than any other character. It's somewhat plausible, but it does tend to make our main characters look like chumps,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Liar Game" Episode 10 2014/11/18,
You've probably figured out the writing pattern by now- after the major cliffhanger, Woo-jin reveals how he identified the plan of his rivals and how he managed to pull off a countermove to expose the truth behind the situation. And in fact, his deduction makes perfect sense. In fact, it's so obvious I feel kind of dumb for not noticing it myself. "Liar Game" has done such a good job showing off the apparent superhuman abilities of its characters that it's easy to forget how, at the end of the day, they are just normal people,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Liar Game" Episode 9 2014/11/17,
The opening is just more general doubt and uncertainty about who anyone should really trust, and all that. Don't expect any obvious clues about what the deal is with Do-yeong. I can get why "Liar Game" doesn't want to give too much information out at once, but really, this late in the drama we really need something a little more substantial. While the chat between Woo-jin and Dal-goo is somewhat informative, too much time here is spent on mostly meaningless conversations,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Liar Game" Episode 8 2014/11/11,
After Woo-jin has revealed his gambit for making victory not so impossible after all, a twist pops up that threatens a reasonably interesting political allegory. What happens if you take power only to discover that the situation is not what it seems? This idea is mostly scuttled, though, because the main group immediately sets up a council to figure out what happened. Such are the advantages of a team that operates under a genuine assumption of trust,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Liar Game" Episode 7 2014/11/10,
The first part of this episode deals with Woo-jin teaming up with Dal-goo to gain an advantage in the overall game. The exact mechanics of this are, unfortunately, a little bit difficult to fully parse because we're not told the rules for the fourth round until after Dal-goo has already been through the ringer. Given that the stakes are everything in "Liar Game", a failure to clearly define them does a lot of damage in terms of keeping the drama interesting,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Liar Game" Episode 6 2014/11/04,
Making sense of the rules in "Liar Game" can sometimes get to be a bit difficult, which is a problem in a story where the entire dramatic impetus is about characters who try to achieve victory by bending the rules. Even the social element here is a bit unnerving. Granted, the entire point of the lead characters' scheme involves secret discussions, but surely the other players are keeping track of each other's movements. It's not like they have anything else to do,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Liar Game" Episode 5 2014/11/03,
Probably the main lingering question from last episode was how Jamie is supposed to remain a credible threat when, to date, she's the only real antagonist. While her contingency plan managed to get Jamie to the next round, the fact remains that she's obviously untrustworthy and it's impossible to imagine why anyone would want to deal with her. The woman is, among other things, just really mean and unpleasant to be around,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Liar Game" Episode 4 2014/10/28,
While "Liar Game" can't really overcome the basic silliness of the Keynesian Beauty Contest which makes up the second round, it certainly tries. There's all sorts of backstabbing and double-dealing that's actually fairly compelling. For the most part everyone here is a complete stranger. So figuring out who to trust and who not to trust pretty much boils down to paying close attention to what any individual wants (or doesn't want) us to see,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Liar Game" Episode 3 2014/10/27,
I really like the "Liar Game" show-within-a-show. Everything about it just looks so amazingly cool and slick. While the exposition so far has mostly been annoying, this episode actually makes the worldbuilding fairly compelling by actually showing us the stuff they put on television to explain everything to the audience. I actually feel kind of guilty because while this is an obviously rad game show it's also kind of evil and cruel in that the losers are saddled with enormous debts. This is probably supposed to be part of the point,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Liar Game" Episode 2 2014/10/21,
At times the pacing in "Liar Game" is irritatingly slow- it takes a full two episodes for us to establish Woo-jin's motives, as well as clarify that he and Da-jeong are going to be going through this game show right until the end. I know it's a genre convention that the rough sallow lead character has to initially refuse a team-up with the optimistic one, but there's really no good reason for all of this to take so long, not when there's other more interesting material to get into,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Liar Game" Episode 1 2014/10/21,
Woo-jin (played by Lee Sang-yoon) appears to live by a creed of general paranoia. Da-jeong (played by Kim So-eun) is mostly kind and trusting, although she's not an idiot. These two get together to...well, we don't actually get to that part. The actual team-up isn't going to happen until next episode, and the relationship between these two characters isn't really established at all. So far the drama has dedicated most of its energy to presenting itself as a very curious riddle,...More
[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 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
Jeong portrays patriot Ahn's humanity on stage 2010/12/24, Source,
A scene from the musical " Hero ", which portrays patriotic icon Ahn Jung-geun (played by Jeong Seong-hwa, center) in a humanistic light. The production will travel to the United States next year. / Courtesy of Acom International
By Kwon Mee-yoo
Jeong Seong-hwa has independence activisit Ahn Jung-geun down pat - down to the trademark moustache. The 35-year-old portrays the national icon in the homegrown musical " Hero ", which seeks to share the patriot's life with an international audience next year,...More
[ChanMi's movie news] "Murder River" starring Sin Seong-rok 2010/09/08, Source,
Actor Sin Seong-rok said that on the scene of rape and murder, he had to act thinking that he is Korea's representative to show emotion of hate.
The press meeting for the film has been held. His role is of a man who seeks revenge for his older sister who had been killed with a beer bottle and a parasol by an American soldier stationed in Korea,...More
[PREVIEW] Musical "Monte Cristo" 2010/04/22, Source,
Cast and crew of musical "Monte Cristo" pose during a photo session of a press conference on April 21, 2010. [Lee Jin-hyuk/10Asia]
Musical "Monte Cristo"CastRyu Jung-hanㆍUhm Ki-joonㆍSin Seong-rok (role of Edmond/Monte Cristo), Ok Joo-hyunㆍCha Ji-yeon (role of Mercedes), Choi Min-cheolㆍCho Hwee (role of Mondego), Jang Dae-woong (role of prosecutor Villefort), Jo Won-heeㆍLee Yong-geun (role of priest Faria), Kim Seung-daeㆍJeon Dong-suck (role of Albert) In one line Kind-hearted sailor Edmond, who knew about nothing else but the sea, is born as a new man who seeks revenge after a friend and prosecutor who get him jailed for 14 years. Run April 21 to June 13, 2010 at the Universal Arts Center,...More
The musical"The Count of Monte Cristo", the newest work from world-renowned composer Frank Wildhorn, will be staged in Korea for the first time with a star-studded cast. Celebrated musical stars,...More
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