[Orion's Drama News] Romance, Youth and Talent 2016/07/16,
Promotion has started for "Cinderella and the Four Knights" and I share the goodies that have been released. I also talk about the importance of shows like "Age of Youth" and share news and media from it. You might want to sit down for this next one, because I reveal a shocking truth, which is that actors actually act. This world-changing revelation is followed by the usual drama news and personal drama picks,...More
[Spoiler] 'Unkind Women' Song Jae-rim and Lee Han-na go on a date in library
On the March 25th episode of KBS's "Unkind Women", Ma-ri (Lee Ha-na) and Roo-oh (Song Jae-rim) met in a library. Roo-oh came back after he finished working as a gumdo referee and sent a text message to Ma-ri, "My tie looked the best probably because you tied it for me" and "I'd like to buy you food for it.
The two promised to see each other in a library later. Roo-oh arrived at the library early and was looking at Ma-ri from distance. Roo-oh, whose heart was already throbbing, approached Ma-ri while he was covering his face with newspaper and sat in front of her. He started playing with Ma-ri's feet under the desk,...More
Another scandal surrounding "We Just Got Married" 2015/02/10, Source, It seemed all calm when suddenly MBC TV show "We Just Got Married" caused another fuss, unwelcome to both the viewers and the cast. The thin line between imaginary and real life presented by the show has finally snapped. Despite the fact that Oh Yeon-seo went through hell in 2013 with Lee Jang-woo while she was on the show with Lee Joon, it's happened again and the sincerity of the show is being questioned.
Yoo-ra from Girl's Day and Song Jae-rim, Hong Jong-hyun and Kim So-eun, After School member Nana and Son Ho-joon have all been mentioned as people involved in the scandals. Hong Jong-hyun put out a statement right away and moved on. However, Kim So-eun was spotted with Son Ho-joon and had to go back and forth impreciseness and denial. When the media wouldn't live it down, producer Seon Hye-yoon stepped forward and said, "I have checked with her in person that they are just friends". Kim So-eun's management only then came forward to say, "They are just friends",...More
Kim Ji-suk to star in "Unkind Women" 2015/01/14, Source, Kim Ji-suk is starring in the drama "Unkind Women" as Lee Doo-jin. He is an announcer who is known for his background, family wealth, good personality and perfection which also got him the job without much difficulty.
Not only that, he is good looking, confident and smart. He is responsible for getting Jeong Ma-ri (Lee Ha-na) fired from her teaching job and slowly falls in love with her. He comes into conflict with his step brother Lee Roo-oh (Song Jae-rim),...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Idle Mermaid" Episode 10 Final 2014/10/09,
The good news is that the drama ends about as well as expected given the circumstances. The bad news is...well, that's a pretty darning caveat on its own isn't it? There's nothing particularly awful about this episode, it's just that everything is very explicitly rushed. An entire romantic plotline is formed, developed, and resolved over the course of a single montage. Kind of the entire point of having a television romantic comedy is that we actually get to see this stuff unfold.
The drama also never revolves an essential mystery revolving Ha-ni's character- why she isn't more careful about water. I'm just saying, if my legs were going to turn into a tailfin if touched by water under any circumstances, I'd make a point of scoping out every possible situation that could somehow involve water and make sure to avoid them,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Idle Mermaid" Episode 9 2014/10/02,
The real shocker this episode has nothing to do with the story, but rather the production run. Apparently "The Idle Mermaid" is ending next week at a total of ten episodes. And no, this most certainly was not pre-planned. Up until last episode we'd been getting a countdown timer to how many days remain before Ha-ni faces her ultimate fate. That timer is absent this time. I suspect this downsizing of dramas is a corporate decision by tvN, as "Golden Tower" was also abruptly cancelled, with yesterday's episode simply being a clip show review.
All right, that's enough as far as gossip goes. How does this episode do in terms of merit? Well...somewhat ambiguously, to be honest. The retreat continues as the main characters attempt to come up with a new pitch,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Idle Mermaid" Episode 8 2014/09/25,
This episode ends with a major misunderstanding being cleared up. Well, technically two, but the first one is more important and it's essential you know right away that "The Idle Mermaid" isn't going to make its characters wallow in artificial confusion indefinitely. I actually disliked most of the episode because I thought the drama was just running around in circles stirring up conflict arbitrarily through the use of random happenstance,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Idle Mermaid" Episode 7 2014/09/18,
I hope you weren't expecting this episode to have much in the way of plot progress, because there really isn't any. We open up with Ha-ni and Si-kyeong misunderstanding each other because of Jin-ah's scheme, and for the entire runtime this is never cleared up. Technically the storyline reason for this is that Ha-ni has to go visit a special guest star. It's not clear to me whether there was supposed to any storyline significance to this meeting or if it was just killing time for the sake of jokes. All I know is that I didn't laugh.
The writing has gotten sloppy. It's obvious that we're supposed to be transitioning now to making the possibility of a romance between Ha-ni and Hyeon-myeong a serious one, but it's also just as obvious that Hyeon-myeong isn't much of a character in the first place, at least for this kind of storyline,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Idle Mermaid" Episode 6 2014/09/11,
The drama runs into some tonal problems here, as the comedy doesn't really work that well with the story as presented. For the most part "The Idle Mermaid" has been sympathetic to the plight of the unemployed, then we get an opening joke that seems to be poking fun at how lazy jobless bachelors are. This goes down especially bad because even in the same episode those very same issues of self-worth come up again as more progress is made on the permanent employment front.
The writing here is really all over the place and doesn't actually seem to be leading anywhere specific, which makes the humor difficult to properly gauge. In a drama like "Golden Tower",...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Idle Mermaid" Episode 5 2014/09/04,
Si-kyeong's complete lack of clear characterization has at this point become a running gag. Pay attention to how he responds to questions or statements this episode. Pretty much every time he regards new information quizzically, like someone has just asked him to solve a mystery. It's genuinely really difficult to tell how much of the ongoing situation the guy understands, even though he's obviously smart enough to be a famous chef,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Idle Mermaid" Episode 4 2014/08/28,
I've been pretty patient about the drama's slow pacing up until now but this episode really pushes the limit. Yes, we do make a fair bit of plot progress by the end. The trouble is that in the meantime an inordinate amount of time is spent on build-ups and deliveries to plot points I honestly don't really care about. Isn't this supposed to be a romantic comedy? Ergo, there should be a lot of romantic bits mixed in with the comedy, especially given this is literally a life-and-death situation?
The most effective humor here turns to be of the platonic irrelevant variety. Try as I might, for example, it's pretty hard to picture Ahn Kil-kang as a mermaid, even when the drama goes to the trouble of showing him in full costume,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Idle Mermaid" Episode 3 2014/08/21,
Apparently the drama is still setting up the premise. Which isn't as strange as it sounds really- it's just that most adaptations of the original story just assume that we all know how everything works. It's actually very much to the credit of "The Idle Mermaid" that the question is posed- what exactly is true love anyway? Yeah we're supposed to know it when we see it, sure. That's really not much help to anyone who has no idea what the experience is like.
The question is resolved mostly convincingly by the end of the episode, mainly through the help of obvious personality changes,...More
[HanCinema's Film News] New Korean Films Inbound… 2014/08/16, K-Films Coming Soon:
★★★★ "Tunnel 3D": The opening of a new resort turns into a nightmarish experience for a group of friends who find themselves trapped in a nearby coalmine. (08/20)
★★★★ "Welcome": An old romance is rekindled amidst personal tragedy as two old friends rediscover and support each other through their losses. (08/21)
★★★★ "The King of Jokgu": A college clown gains fame when his jokgu (a cross between volleyball and soccer) skills are revealed. The university then holds a jokgu competition and he and his team put it all on the line. (08/21)
★★ "The Story of Ong-nyeo": Joseon's sexiest woman gets driven into the mountains where she awaits her perfect match to find her.
★★★★ "The Road Called Life": An omnibus film containing various short stories from Korea's leading modern literature writers Kim Yu-jong, Lee Hyo-seok and Hyun Jin-geon. (08/21)
★★★★★ "My Ordinary Love Story": A young woman finds hope through a serendipitous encounter, but is this 'seventh' man everything he appears to be? (08/21),...More
[KDrama.com Spotlight] "The Idle Mermaid" - First Impressions 2014/08/15, Source,
TvN has decided to try something new - a new time slot that is. Rather than their usual Monday/Tuesday, Friday/Saturday primetime drama slots, their newest drama "The Idle Mermaid" is airing only once a week on Thursday evenings. Described by TvN as the Korean Little Mermaid, there was some eyebrow raising by drama fans at the rather unorthodox genre. There was even more eyebrow raising when TvN announced that members of Saturday Night Live Korea would also be joining the cast. Add heartthrob actors Song Jae-rim, Jo Bo-ah, and On Joo-wan and drama fans were intrigued,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Idle Mermaid" Episode 2 2014/08/14,
Apparently we're still stuck setting up the premise, although in all fairness this is mostly Ha-ni's fault. Ma-nyeo (played by Ahn Kil-kang) tried to warn her, and explain how exactly the magic worked, but Ha-ni just had to be a dumb impulsive teenager. I do like the Ma-nyeo character here- the sea witch gets a bad wrap in most adaptations. In the original story she just provides a service. "The Idle Mermaid" does an excellent job recognizing the fact that even if Ma-nyeon facilitated Ha-ni's bad decision making, the situation is clearly her fault, not his,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Idle Mermaid" Episode 1 2014/08/07,
The Little Mermaid fairytale was not at all romantic, Disney's protestations notwithstanding. It's a pretty bleak story about how an excessively romantic attitude regarding love is an unrewarding process that will probably backfire horribly and either result in you dying or transformed into a spirit. Yeah, it's a pretty weird story. And "The Idle Mermaid" quickly establishes itself in a similar vein by making it clear right away that our main character is not a good person (or mermaid, whatever), but rather a childish, immature teenage girl,...More
[HanCinema's Film Review] "Tunnel 3D" 2014/07/25,
I kept wondering throughout "Tunnel 3D" whether this film was inspired by some sort of real life incident. It's not that the movie is realistic in any way, don't get me wrong. It's just that the characters keep going on about how they need to make the the tunnel a monument to remember something and I'm just thinking, remember what? Was there some major tunnel related accident in South Korea in recent years that I hadn't heard about?,...More
Fusion horror 2014/06/02, Source,
The breaking down of genre is also influencing horror flicks. The answer to the horror crisis is crossing over, which is beyond making the audience scared and surprised.
- Mellow and horror "Mourning Grave""Mourning Grave", which is being released next month, has a little bit of youthful romance in it. In-soo is a boy who has the gift of being able to see ghosts but has left his hometown after seeing his dead friend. He struggles with a ghost girl to fight against the 'masked ghost' that is terrorizing the school,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] Nail Shop Paris Episode 10 (Final) 2013/07/03,
When writing a drama with a limited number of episodes, pacing is paramount. If information is revealed too early, it's difficult to draw out the suspense. If information is revealed too late, the audience is left confused. The latter is what happened in "Nail Shop Paris". There was a very important reveal in the last half of the episode that should've been made known by at least episode 5 to make it believable and a well-integrated plot point. Yeo-joo is a half-gumiho. On top of that, she and her father were abandoned by her mother when she was a baby. On top of THAT, her mother is none other than the lady boss who hired her. Oh, and by the way, Alex is a half-gumiho, too,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] Nail Shop Paris Episode 9 2013/07/02,
This episode was all about parallels. Yeo-joo's complicated love life was likened to that of her flirtatious roommate's and to the characters in her gumiho story. Kei's desperation to hold on to Yeo-joo's was compared to a nail shop customer's dire need to win Yeo-joo's affections. While all of the comparisons were clumsily done, they made their point; they made the characters think about and reflect on their actions and their situations. Yeo-joo has to deal with her burgeoning feelings for Kei and her lingering attachment to Alex; she does it badly. She kisses Alex, then proceeds to date Kei in earnest to try and forget about Alex,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] Nail Shop Paris Episode 8 2013/06/30,
Episode 8 of "Nail Shop Paris" was a mangled mess of emotions for the manicurists. Everyone is dancing around Yeo-joo's identity and our leads are both pining for her. The problem client of the day seems to only be there to push the main cast into positions necessary for the progression of the story. This episode deals with the social pecking order of mothers and children in school,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] Nail Shop Paris Episode 7 2013/06/29,
Focus shifted back to our main characters this week and it was a good thing. I'd actually prefer if the customer-of-the-week format was done away with entirely. I just want to see hot men fall in love with Yeo-joo. But that doesn't happen. Instead, the "Nail Shop Paris" team of underqualified psychotherapists takes on new troubled souls: a dating older couple. The couple is struggling with the woman's sudden mental illness. Alex takes a quick peek at her nails and has her draw on paper and then correctly diagnoses a serious disease. Again, I take issue with how easily mental and physical diseases are diagnosed by amateurs, but let's just go with it because the old couple is really adorable,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] Nail Shop Paris Episode 6 2013/06/27,
The Nail Shop Paris team of invasive people have done it again. They've saved a person in time to be home for dinner. I really don't know how they can solve people's life problems so quickly. It must be magic. Or, illogical. This week's illogic focuses on a girl who has a crush on her female best friend. The Nail Shop Paris team of mostly men help her to confess and come to terms with her one-sided love - in a matter of days. If only real problems worked out that way. If only I could go to a nail salon full of sizzling hot male manicurists who could solve my problems by looking at my nails,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] Nail Shop Paris Episode 5 2013/06/21,
"Nail Shop Paris" has fallen again. It suffers from a predictable plotline, clunky writing, and badly handled character development. Despite the predictability, it lacks consistency. Story elements change on whims, making it difficult to relate to the characters and become invested in the plot. Last episode was much more engaging because of it's focus on the relationship between Kei and Yeo-joo.
Oh yes, I forgot to mention something very important,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] Nail Shop Paris Episode 4 2013/06/19,
"Nail Shop Paris" is back on track. While this episode wasn't amazing, it was much stronger than the first three. The focus rested on the main characters and their development rather than on the problem of the day. Alex (Jeon Ji-hoo) knows two of the people that the "Nail Shop Paris" team of superheros endeavors to help. That personal connection made it much easier to invest in the story and the character development. The production team also gave Kei (Song Jae-rim) a lot more screentime, which is brilliant because he always ups the ante - he is the strongest actor in the cast,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] Nail Shop Paris Episode 3 2013/06/17,
It's official. This show has gone from campy to absolutely nuts. Now we have a ghost to contend with and he isn't just any ghost: he's a, um, sexually needy ghost. His needs are haunting his ex-girlfriend who is a new customer at Nail Shop Paris. Former medical student Alex notices that the customer's hands aren't looking good and deduces that she is having too much sex. Please take a moment to digest that while I laugh. And laugh. And continue to laugh. Moving on. His worry is shared by Jin who becomes strangely subdued in this woman's presence. Later, she passes out in the street and is found by a female shaman who is none other than Jin's mother,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] Nail Shop Paris Episode 2 2013/06/13,
If I had to use a word to describe "Nail Shop Paris", "depth" would not be it. Perhaps quick or feel-good or breezy. It's kind of like a Sailor Moon episode: good guys face bad guys; good guys work together to rehabilitate bad guys; bad guys come to see that they are wrong; then, everyone holds hands and skips off into the sunset. Now, I'm not saying that this rather thin storyline is a bad thing, but if one is looking for depth and intrigue in a drama, I don't think they're going to find it here,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] Nail Shop Paris Episode 1 2013/06/12,
"Nail Shop Paris" is a ten episode rom-com by "Manny"'s writer/director pair, Seong Min-ji and Park Soo-cheol. The first episode is cute and breezy, a perfect fit for the MBC Queen network, a channel geared towards women. The show runs like an anime: quick plot setup and immediate, detailed character introductions. It throws us into a world full of pretty boys, nail art and the boys' adoring female clientele. Minutes into the episode, we meet our heroine, writer Hong Yeo-joo (Park Gyoo-ri-I) who has been accused of plagiarism and is desperate for a new story to save her good name as a writer,...More
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