[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Ex-Girlfriends' Club" 2015/08/01,
Breakups are not exactly a fun time for most people, yet they become the topic of romantic comedy very frequently in fiction. This approach in a rom-com context might not be so frequent in Korean drama, but there have been works which went there, such as 'Sly and Single Again' and 'Emergency Couple'. TvN's 'Ex-Girlfriends' Club' handles the consequences of breakups in the present. The approach has potential, but this particular series, while entertaining, does not make the best of it,...More
[HanCinema's Drama First Look] "Ex-Girlfriends' Club" 2015/05/23,
Love triangles, squares and other manner of romantic geometry are a staple of Korean drama. They have a set of tropes that go with them and they entertain people when done well. For a series which would under normal drama circumstances be a love pentagon, however, 'Ex-Girlfriends' Club' breaks the mold in the type of dynamics found between the characters. This is an interesting enough feature to speak of and will perhaps become the show's strength down the road,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Preview] "Ex-Girlfriends' Club" 2015/05/02,
Romantic comedy in Korean drama most often deals with budding relationships. The draw is the idea that two strangers meet, fall in love and this love is what entertains viewers. Even if those characters are connected in their childhood or by fate, which are popular tropes. However, some shows also deal with love beyond the original attraction and also rekindled love. 'Ex-Girlfriends' Club' appears to belong in the latter category,...More
Song Ji-hyo in Bali 2014/05/07, Source,
Actress Song Ji-hyo had a photo shoot in Bali for the fashion magazine Grazia. The pictorial is based in a resort in Bali, themed as chic and sexy.
Song is wearing simple colored dresses or a checked shirt with matching white pants,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Emergency Couple" Episode 21 Final 2014/04/05,
In the first episode of "Emergency Couple" a specific point was made of the fact that the emergency room is a terrible place for relationships, and the interns were distraught at what the experience was going to do to their social lives. I bring this up now to note that there was almost no evidence of this throughout the drama's run. The doctors have consistently had an inordinate amount of conveniently timed social meetings with each other, and this episode is no different.
The fundamentals are strong, as usual. In terms of the romantic comedy genre "Emergency Couple" continues to hit all the right notes, having moments that are cute and funny,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Emergency Couple" Episode 20 2014/04/04,
The main conflict this episode is over the prospect of Jin-hee and Chang-min going to a movie. It's about as high stakes as it sounds, and the tension is oddly lacking for a penultimate episode. The movie is "Elegant Lies" by the way. It's difficult to guess how we're supposed to relate the story of that particular film to the proceedings here. I guess they're both about appreciating the things you love in life before they're gone forever?
It's as good a theme as any really, but none of the characters in "Emergency Couple" are in any immediate danger of leaving,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Emergency Couple" Episode 19 2014/03/29,
This episode is devoted to Chang-min's hands. It's pretty much exactly as dirty as it sounds too. The humor in "Emergency Couple" can get crude sometimes, but it helps a lot that ithe drama's heart is in the right place, even if Chang-min is not very good at finding Jin-hee's. The same brand of cheesiness as usual, then. But now that I can empathize with the leads the general tone comes off a lot better
I do think Chang-min and Jin-hee have learned a little bit from their ordeals,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Emergency Couple" Episode 18 2014/03/28,
The loveline between Jin-hee and Chang-min is getting to be a little corny. Sure, it's sweet at times, but the dialogue strains itself with all the cliches. An attentive viewer will note that the dynamic between these two has been completely reversed from what it was earlier. Now instead of Chang-min trying to persuade a skeptical Jin-hee, an enlivened Jin-hee is trying to convince Chang-min that they can start again.
I do like that the characters themselves acknowledge the breadth of the cliches at this point,...More
[Hancinema's Drama Review] "Emergency Couple" Episode 17 2014/03/22,
The opening of this episode extends the basic morose sequence we had last time, as the fallout from Tae-seok's stay in the hospital is finalized, and the consequences come into effect. There isn't much more going on here than there was in the last episode. "Emergency Couple" is in the awkward place of trying to wring drama out of a character we don't actually know all that much about. The best that can be hoped for is interesting character interactions- but everyone acts about the way we'd expect them to at this point.
Much more interesting material abounds as the episode continues its discussions of the divorce themes,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Emergency Couple" Episode 16 2014/03/21,
Almost the entirity of this episode is built around the drama of whether or not Chang-min's father is going to survive his stay at the hospital. The ability of this conflict to inspire any kind of real tension is greatly damaged by how long the action goes on- there are multiple false starts that end up inconclusive. Also I'd have a much easier time caring about this person if the drama actually explored his character in much detail. Oh Tae-seok is played by the always excellent Kang Shin-il but that's about all that's going on here,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Emergency Couple" Episode 15 2014/03/15,
I'm pretty sure that real hospitals have policies against ex-patients making repeat visits for social purposes. Especially if those ex-patients are bearing gifts, or trying to make administrative requests. Obviously, "Emergency Couple" is not dealing with a real hospital, but this disconnect between life and drama shows really badly in episodes like this. It establishes all too clearly that the drama is creating conflict artificially, and the ensuing outbursts are just painful to watch. Also it makes the poor baby cry. And just when I'd been admiring how good an actor that baby is, too,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Emergency Couple" Episode 14 2014/03/14,
The drama gets a much needed boost in the characterization department with the appearance of patients. No, not plot devices which exist solely to demonstrate the medical abilities of the main cast, which is all we've seen so far. Actual people. Specifically, a little boy who has self-worth issues thanks to a lack of parents, and a priest who's rather crabby about young people these days and the lack of respect they show to the institution of marriage.
The relevance of these scenes is indirect, obviously, and I doubt we're going to see either of these people ever again,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Emergency Couple" Episode 13 2014/03/08,
...And now it would seem "Emergency Couple" has moved on to boilerplate romantic drama territory. There's not really much in the way of jokes anymore. The only particularly funny one this time around is a bit of simple wordplay. I actually really wanted to know more about that guy who was brought into the hospital. How many job-related accidents can a person in that profession have that necessitate going to the emergency room?
But no, the doctoring this time around is terribly casual, almost blase really,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Emergency Couple" Episode 12 2014/03/07,
So I...guess this is just a romantic comedy now? That's about the only way I can interpret the events of this episode. Chang-min appears to have just about completely forgotten the events that led up to his divorce. Jin-hee seems to have some vague memory of what happened, and is certainly putting up more resistance to the idea. But no matter how I try to cut it, "Emergency Couple" is definitely trying to make a case that these two works together as a couple,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Emergency Couple" Episode 11 2014/03/01,
Well, the drama's finally come up with something for Ji-hye to do- Ji-hye, the ex-girlfriend doctor of Cheon-soo, in case you've forgotten. Weird factoid for today- Choi Yeo-jin, the actress playing Ji-hye, is actually younger than Song Ji-hyo, who plays Jin-hee. I'm not sure whether this age difference is also intended to be reflected in the characters, but in any event, the fact that Ji-hye can only be in her mid-thirties at the most makes her new plot thread all the stranger.
Here's what we've know about Ji-hye up until now,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Emergency Couple" Episode 10 2014/02/28,
Poor Jin-hee. It's never a particularly fun time when mooching relatives, having burned all their other bridges some way or another, force themselves on a household using "but think of the baby!" as an excuse. I like the frustration the early portion of this episode gives off. Of course Jin-hee's mad but she can't be that mad. It's not like her younger sister, younger sister's husband, and baby are awful people or anything. They're just messy idiots.
Not much is really done with that focus this time around though. For the most part the emphasis is on that simple expression- what do you care? Chang-min is suddenly taking every hypothetical romantic infraction against Jin-hee bizarrely personally,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Emergency Couple" Episode 9 2014/02/22,
The main conflict this time is kind of dumb. However, it's dumb mainly because the original storytelling device itself is also dumb. Yes, "Emergency Couple" has finally forced its main characters to question the logic of their pretending to be strangers. Pretty good timing too. This kind of plotting goes down much easier on the edge of jokes than it would on the end of a serious dramatic conflict.
Case in point- the whole thing with the baby. It's hard to tell whether the baby is really dying as opposed to just crying,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Emergency Couple" Episode 8 2014/02/21,
The drama appears to have finally settled on a consistent tone- light romantic comedy drama. The emphasis is now on how Jin-hee and Chang-min react to specific, clearly defined situations rather than their just generally overreacting to everything. "Emergency Couple" is now actively pushing the Jin-hee / Cheon-soo loveline, and the tonal shift is coming at the best possible time. The romance simply wouldn't be plausible if Jin-hee was acting the same way she did in previous episodes. Here the scenes, and the related flashbacks to scenes in previous episodes, come off as cute,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Emergency Couple" Episode 7 2014/02/14,
Jin-hee has, as usual, gotten herself into a big unnecessary mess by overreacting. What makes the opening of this episode different, though, is that she actually faces meaningful consequences. Of course her sister makes a clean getaway. And of course the people who actually run the club have no interest in helping Jin-hee track her down. That's not even getting into the general embarassment factor. Yes, Jin-hee has good reason to be mad- that doesn't excuse her failure to act diplomatically though.
I'm not sure how but this mess of an event goes a long way to helping rehabilitate the characterization,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Emergency Couple" Episode 6 2014/02/08,
We get more exposure of the supporting cast than usual here, and I find that as characters, the other interns tend to be a lot more tolerable than our two leads. They just have a much better sense of restraint. This episode one of them does a lot of talking with Chang-min's mom. And that's all it is, just talking. As horribly unreasonable and unlikable as Chang-min's mother has been throughout the drama, it's totally possible to get her to be cooperative just by being polite and non standoffish.
It's too bad Jin-hee is having such trouble with this restraint,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Emergency Couple" Episode 5 2014/02/07,
I really hope "Emergency Couple" just up and ditches the whole Jin-hee and Chang-min are pretending to be complete strangers angle. The misunderstandings it creates among their co-workers are much worse than whatever benefits they think they're reaping by not having to acknowledge each other publically. And the downsides of this should be really obvious by now, given how much time they have to spend negotiating with each other in private over random trivialities.
What's most puzzling to me about this drama is how little time anyone spends actually doing their job,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Emergency Couple" Episode 4 2014/02/01,
Cheon-soo (played by Lee Pil-mo) is the mean superior in this drama. His main shtick is being extremely unnecessarily harsh on the interns, or really anyone who needs it, in order to establish that it is really super important for everyone to take this job as seriously as possible. Lee Pil-mo does good work here, and there's nothing wrong with the character directly. The problem is that every other character in this drama is of such questionable competence that most of the time I find myself wondering why Cheon-soo never follows through on his threats,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Emergency Couple" Episode 3 2014/01/31,
...And so we get right into the sexual tension. Honestly this storyline development is a fairly annoying one. Remember that until the last episode, none of these characters had ever met each other in a working environment before. And for the most part no one did much work in that second episode either. We're still very much in the early phase of the drama where people are still feeling each other out.
And the immediate conclusion we get about why Jin-hee works so hard to save Chang-min's life is that she likes him,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Emergency Couple" Episode 2 2014/01/25,
The perspective shifts this time around from Chang-min to Jin-hee. Jin-hee has broken the cardinal rule of pretty much any social relationship ever- make a good first impression. In retrospect it probably would have been a better idea for her to show up late with a doctor's note rather than stumble out into the middle of the introduction still wearing her dirty clothes from last night. Not just Chang-min, but all of the other interns are icy toward Jin-hee, probably because they don't think she'll be around that long,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Emergency Couple" Episode 1 2014/01/24,
What most immediately jumps out about the lead characters in "Emergency Couple" is that they're not particularly likable. They're not unlikable, exactly, but from the very beginning there's a sort of seething resentment and aggression that's rather unsettling. Chang-min (played by Choi Jin-hyeok) is trying to push product. Jin-hee (played by Song Ji-hyo) is trying to avoid conflict. Neither character is particularly good at what they do. This leads to a spectacular breakdown where they inevitably vent their frustrations on the one person who they can most easily hurt- each other,...More
[HanCinema's Film Review] "Some" 2013/04/19,
A drug deal has gone bad, and local gangsters find themselves unexpectedly pursued by big-name mafiosos from Busan. The police, spearheaded by detective Seong-Ju (played by Ko Soo), must reach deeper and deeper into an investigation that consists mainly of lots of driving. And throughout all of this, traffic reporter Yu-Jin (played by Song Ji-hyo) is having unsettling visions, as if she has lived this day before,...More
[HanCinema's Film Review] Korean Weekend Box Office 2012.11.16 ~ 2012.11.18
2012/11/18, HanCinema's Korean Box Office Review (2012.11.16 ~ 2012.11.18)
Despite its fanatical global following the much anticipated "Breaking Dawn: Part II" was not able to outdo Jo Sung-hee's "A Werewolf Boy" as the top seed this past weekend. An extremely tight race saw Sung-hee earn its third weekend at the top with 901,841 admissions (34.4%), helped along with 678 screenings around the country. Bill Condon's vampire and werewolf sensation was tantalizingly close to jumping straight to the top, but was forced to settle for second as it entered the chart with 880,696 (34.6%) admissions. In addition to this clash of mythological love tales, this week saw the start of another Korean film in the form of Bae Hyeong-joon's "Jackal is Coming", as well as an interesting new horror called "Sinister" by the American director Scott Derrickson,...More
Song Ji-hyo: 'I Become Very Competitive Both in Acting and Entertaining' 2012/02/29, Source,
Actress Song Ji-hyo (31), who is gaining huge popularity for her appearance on the entertainment program "Running Man", is one of the most popular stars these days. Her straightforward appearance is one of the most important reasons why the SBS TV variety program "Running Man" is gaining popularity, recording over 20 percent viewer ratings.
She is an actress, but she never emphasizes her appearance and presents genuine and friendly behavior every time on the program, which definitely contributes to her popularity. There is another reason she is popular,...More
The Dark Side of Korean Drama - Part 1 2011/12/17,
It's no big mystery, by now, that celebrities are having it rough in Korea. Singers and actors alike. These problems are also present in the kpop industry, but others are better equipped to talk about those than I. So I will be focusing on actors for this article, especially those who work in television. A tough place to be, for an artist. I will also talk about these issues in general, as well as in relation to the actors.
The problems with television are indeed many and they all have their reasons, their guilty parties and their own impact on the lives of the people they touch. They also have ways to be dealt with and people who can do that. People with power to effect change and improve both actors' lives and the industry as well. But I will talk a bit about the major problems in this post. The working conditions, the issue of quality, censorship and playing it safe and the spoiled and cruel audience,...More
Song Ji-hyo In Hospital Due To Exhaustion 2011/09/19, Source,
Actress Song Ji-hyo has been checked into the hospital for a sudden fatigue spell.
According to her reps on September 19th, Song has been in and out of the hospital for the past few days in between shootings. After an all-nighter of shooting on the 17th, her health had deteriorated and she needed to be checked into the hospital on the morning of the 18th. There doctors recommended for her to spend the rest of the day resting there, however she left to continue her shooting schedule,...More
JYJ To Release Comeback Song Teaser September 6th 2011/09/06, Source,
Trio JYJ will be soon making a domestic comeback!
According to the group's agency, their music video teaser for their soon-to-be-released song "In Heaven" will be released through JYJ's official homepage on September 6th. This will kick start their activities in Korea,...More
Actresses' graduation pictures, who looks the best? 2011/08/29, Source,
A post about the actresses' graduation pictures is an issue.
A combined picture of several actresses' graduation pictures was posted online recently under the title, "The best graduation pictures of those who were outstanding in the past as well".,...More
Popular 'Running Man' Television Show Brings Back Childhood Memories 2011/02/16, Source,
Do you recall playing tag with your friends back in childhood? Do you remember the moments of thrill before shouting "FREEZE!"? Now I think back, 'where' was not the big question, but 'with who' was. 'Running Man' is a show which relates to those childhood memories, and enables the audience to sympathize with the child-like humor generated from watching the show'.Running Man' is the first segment of Weekend entertainment show 'Love Sunday!' The program was first aired on June 27, 2010, replacing ex-popular TV series 'Family Outing 2'. Yoo Jae-seok, much-celebrated host, firmly stands at the center and leads a group of celebrities through various missions and games,...More
Kang Ho-dong scores grand prize at SBS Entertainment Awards 2010/12/31, Source,
Kang Ho-dong [Asia Economic Daily]
Korean entertainer Kang Ho-dong scored the grand prize at the year-end SBS Entertainment Awards, held at SBS' Open Hall on Thursday. Kang was given the top honor for his role as the emcee for popular SBS variety shows "Steel Heart" and "Star King", making it his fifth grand prize win during a year-end show,...More
[INTERVIEW] "High Kick Through The Roof" Actress Yoo In-na 2010/03/19, Source, "I was chosen? Thank you so much", is was what Yoo In-na said after receiving news she was selected as our next interviewee. The public have started to become curious about her, not just because of her role in MBC sitcom "High Kick Through The Roof", but because they are curious to find out more about this actress whose popularity has been increasing. She had been in training under her agency YG Entertainment for over a year to make her acting debut at the not-so-young age of 27 so we asked her the recent change in her life means to her.
Actress Yoo In-na [Lee Jin-hyuk/10Asia]
10: Your popularity right now is uncomparably high from when you first made your debut. Do you get treated differently for that? Boy band 2AM said their meals have changed since reaching No.1 on music programs,...More
Body Exposure of Actors – how much? 2008/04/10, Source, The exposure of actresses in Korean movies has been a hot issue. Everyone wondered how much women expose themselves and if they acted without fear according to their role.
Now, the interest is to the exposure of actors. As much as the female body is beautiful, the male body is too. In promotions,...More
Various origins of female stars… 'Miss Korea' group falters 2008/03/13, Source, On a breezy spring day in March 2008, the entertainment investigation team of Sports Khan sensed an emergency. The argument between female stars about their influence has become fierce, almost to the point of battle. Accordingly, under the supervision of Detective Choi, the entertainment investigati,...More
U.S. Remakes "Sex is Zero" 2007/12/17, Source, Korean student sex comedy "Sex is Zero" will be remade by the studio Poststar2Finish in the U.S.; Popstar2Finish is known for its television series CSI. The two parties are still negotiating about the,...More
While the "American Pie" trilogy cooked up a stir in the United States, Korea had its own version of a witlessly wholesome sex comedy, "Sex is Zero" (2002). It's alwa,...More
'Sex is Zero 2' sticks to toilet and bawdy humor 2007/12/03, Source, Sex comedy is not a familiar genre with Korean audiences, many of whom regard themselves as somewhat conservative, or deadly super-duper conservative. But "Sex is Zero", released in 2002, changed that conventional wisdom.
The toilet-humor-filled sex-or-die comedy pulled in a respectable 4.2 milli,...More
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