[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Drama Special - The Brother's Summer" 2015/08/28,
Dong-gil (played by Choi Kwon-soo) lives with his father Gook-jin (played by an unusually not-scary looking Yoo Oh-sung). There's no mother in the picture- but there is a younger brother Yeong-gil (played by Park Isaiah). As you might have guessed by the name- Yeong-gil isn't quite Korean. Sure, he speaks Korean, and has a Korean name. But it's obvious to everyone who looks at Yeong-gil that he's the son of an African-American soldier. A frustrated Dong-gil works out his frustrations by getting involved in dance, with Seo Taiji as his idol,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Spy - Drama" 2015/03/14,
The Korean drama industry is going through a period of change in the content, format and genres of its productions. KBS2 now seems determined to use its newly created Friday drama timeslot for experimenting with these elements. 'Spy - Drama' was promoted as a blend of a family and a spy show, two different and challenging to connect types. The series ultimately fails in this, but it does not fail as a whole,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Spy - Drama" Episode 16 Final 2015/03/06,
The crescendo of the conflict is, like the previous episode, a fairly easy to understand affair. The characters here fight to hold on to any possible advantage they can find at any given moment. When the first stage of Gi-cheol's plan goes wrong, it takes quite a bit of quick-shooting and hot-headed negotiation before the scene finally ends with one character taking a prop from a previous scene out of nowhere. Unfortunately for Gi-cheol, keeping track of everything that's going on at once is pretty hard,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Spy - Drama" Episode 15 2015/03/06,
As the shootout indicates, the time for negotiation is over. Seon-woo being, of course, the doof that he is, attempts to further negotiate anyway, and the results are predictably bad. Right to the end both he and Hye-rim are determined to make sacrifices for each other, and right to the end Gi-cheol takes advantage of this fact to make sure all his enemies are more focused on ethical discussion than they are the actual long-term goal,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Spy - Drama" Episode 14 2015/02/27,
I don't feel comfortable calling the pacing in "Spy - Drama" bad because it tends to be really unusual. The episodes are twenty minutes shorter than the standard for the format, and they also air back-to-back. Be that as it may, this episode got to be really long and tiring, mainly because we had to run around in circles with motivation cross-checks before finally getting to the big confrontation of the cliffhanger, where all the various spy faction manage to coalesce into a single location,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Spy - Drama" Episode 13 2015/02/27,
Seon-woo is his usual fumbling self here, making threats he knows he can't deliver on while handcuffed to a woman he knows full well will split at the first opportunity. It's surprising then, that Gi-cheol is the one who manages to come off as not really in control here. The strain of having to juggle so many moving pieces is getting to the man. Hye-rim even manages to get a late stab at his psyche- although overall I'm afraid she doesn't have that much to do,...More
[HanCinema's Film Review] "Shoot Me in the Heart" 2015/02/14,
Soo-myeong (played by Yeo Jin-goo) is a sad, disturbed young man who's being sent to a mental institution for his own protection. Seung-min (played by Lee Min-ki)...well, it's some time into "Shoot Me in the Heart" before it's made completely clear whether Seung-min is actually crazy. Seung-min claims to be the victim of some sort of elaborate conspiracy. A single phone call is all Seung-min needs to produce someone who can vouch for his sanity. Of course, that's just what a crazy person would say, and we can't listen to crazy people. It's not like a sane person would react violently if they were forcibly restrained in a mental institution,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Spy - Drama" Episode 12 2015/02/13,
The story pivots away from family somewhat and back to action. Yoon-jin, contrary to the other characters in "Spy - Drama" has dedicated almost all of her energy to trying to escape the spy world. So it should come as little surprise that there was a bit more going on in the last episode's cliffhanger than was implied. In the immediate sense this is interesting because of the way it affects the spy interplay. In the melodramatic sense, though, I liked the exploration of the Seon-woo / Yoon-jin relationship better,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Spy - Drama" Episode 11 2015/02/13,
All this time later and the good guys still can't get their act together. Seon-woo and Hye-rim come so, so close to actually getting on the same page and swapping notes on what's going on- but both are determined to go it alone for the sake of sacrifice. Note particularly the scene where Hye-rim chases after Seon-woo- this is very nearly a parallel of when Woo-seok did the same with Hye-rim, but ultimately, Seon-woo and Hye-rim are too heavily locked into the spy mindset to take their emotional relationship all the way,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Spy - Drama" Episode 10 2015/02/06,
The focus still remains on Seon-woo, although perhaps not quite as emotionally. The episode is bookended by confrontations with Gi-cheol, and it's surprising how unintimidating Gi-cheol seems when faced by Seon-woo, even though the older spy acts the same with Seon-woo as he does with everyone else. The chief problem is that Gi-cheol is used to dealing with people who can be reasoned with. Seon-woo, as much as he tries to hide it, is pretty clearly freaked out about everything he's learned,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Spy - Drama" Episode 9 2015/02/06,
Seon-woo slowly starts to build up a case implicating his mother as a spy, as well as the entire conspiracy she's apparently involved in. The pacing is still pretty on-track, though, partially because "Spy - Drama" episodes are short, but also due to the larger theme of emotional conflict. Almost all the evidence pointing to Hye-rim is circumstantial- enough so that Seon-woo could choose not to believe it if that was what he wanted to do,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Spy - Drama" Episode 8 2015/01/30,
Disappointingly, most of this episode is just a dinner party with too many spies. It seems like everyone has come to Hye-rim's home with a rather convoluted agenda in mind, and at times it's difficult to sort this out from self-parody. Really, what's most remarkable here is that more characters aren't found out. Then again, everyone is so determined to make sure that nobody else knows they're a spy to wonder what exactly everybody else is doing,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Spy - Drama" Episode 7 2015/01/30,
Almost the entirity of the focus this episode is on Yoon-jin- specifically, her motivation. Surprisingly enough this isn't just a simple clichéd case of the seductress spy falling in love with her mark. Yoon-jin has, in fact, been using her true personality for pretty much the entire time we've seen her on screen. And finding out that this is all legitimate really underscores the woman's true character conflict- circumstance has forced Yoon-jin into being a spy when this entire attitude runs completely contrary to her personality,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Spy - Drama" Episode 6 2015/01/23,
It's another episode of conversations this time- interesting conversations, for what that's worth. Hye-rim's snooping into Yoon-jin's backstory finally comes up with some concrete plot points, and further cements the status of "Spy - Drama" as a story about negotiation, character relationships, and information management. The cumulative effect is an odd one. These are the spy games of a John le Carre novel fused with the social elements of a melodrama,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Spy - Drama" Episode 5 2015/01/23,
Everyone has screwed up, and now they have to face the consequences for that. Interestingly, even Gi-cheol has to make an apology. While it remains unclear what the greater plan is for Gi-cheol or his bosses, the lethargic pace at which the drama is moving isn't putting him in a much better mood than anyone else. He even apparently gets serious with Hye-rim this time. But once more, he loosens his grip at the last minute,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Spy - Drama" Episode 4 2015/01/16,
Storyline progress is mostly slow here. Certain facts became obvious to us as viewers last episode, and it's only through continued exposure that the characters themselves are able to figure this out. Hye-rim remains determined to try and save Seon-woo without actually explaining to him what's going on, and predictably only really succeeds in uncovering details of her son's healthy personal life. Apparently Seon-woo's strategy to avoid blackmail is to not have any dark secrets he can be blackmailed over,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Spy - Drama" Episode 3 2015/01/16,
Apparently the emphasis "Spy - Drama" has put on romance was deliberately in the service of the story. This is in fact a battle between the power of spying and the power of love. A battle which so far love is mostly losing. While Hye-rim and Woo-seok are perfectly capable of communicating with each other, in terms of the spy world their success here is pretty limited. At best, they can manage a negotiation,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Spy - Drama" Episode 2 2015/01/09,
Gi-cheol (played masterfully by Yoo Oh-sung) is exactly the bolt of energy "Spy - Drama" needed. From the man's very first confrontation with Hye-rim, it's obvious that Gi-cheol means business. Gi-cheol knows that he's operating from a superior ethical and tactical position, and milks these advantages for all they're worth. The man's just so deliciously smug- he even manages to make the old facial deformity trope feel fresh,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Spy - Drama" Episode 1 2015/01/09,
The set design for "Spy - Drama" feels kind of...off. Take the very first scene. It took me a minute to figure out this event was taking place in China. But even after that point the place just looked kind of oddly dirty and clean at the same time. No litter or trash or graffiti anywhere. And yet it was exactly the kind of random dingy alley where you'd expect sneaky spy antics to go down. Perhaps this unsettling cleanness was part of the point, given how we soon see the entire situation was staged,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Preview] "Spy - Drama" 2015/01/03,
KBS2 has a unique talent, if it can be called that. It chooses some very original premises to give timeslots to and sometimes, those do really well in developing into very refreshing shows. That is until something goes wrong and these shows end up horrible disappointments, which does seem to happen often to this network lately. 'Spy - Drama' is about to fight a big battle with its timeslot, audience and channel and it needs all the luck it can get,...More
[HanCinema's Hall of Fame Review] "Friends 2": Return to Ruin? 2014/06/14, In the Spotlight this Week:Kwak Gyeong-taek's "Friends 2"...
As the credits rolled on Kwak Gyeong-taek's "Friends 2" I was, perhaps unjustifiably, reminded of a quote by Orson Welles, that "if you want a happy ending, that depends, of course, on where you stop your story". Now while Kwak's 2001 blockbuster "Friend" can't be accused of having ended 'happily', the film itself was indeed a great story well told; one that immediately elevated itself into the history books as a modern Korean classic. But it was its story that ended happily, in record-breaking royalties, and proclaimed Kwak as an attuned talent with a flair for character-driven drama and tragedy-but a film that perhaps should've been allowed to rest in piece, not pieces,...More
[HanCinema's Film Review] "Friends 2" 2013/11/22,
The film opens with up with a bit from the original "Friend". As if the title weren't enough, "Friends 2" makes a point of insisting that it is part of a legacy. But this isn't some sort of happy triumphant return to the silver screen for a storied franchise. "Friends 2" seems utterly determined to remind its audience that if there was any hope or sense of recovery from the end of the first movie, this is information that has long since fallen by the wayside. It's especially unknown for the new generation of gangsters who appear here.
This is the main problem with the film as a whole, though, is that it spends so much time in flashback providing context for everything that there's little in the present day storyline to grab onto,...More
[HanCinema's Film News] New Korean Films Inbound... 2013/11/09, K-Films Coming Soon:
★★★★★ "Friends 2": A young gangster unknowingly befriends his father's killer but starts to suspect the connection.(11/14)
★★★★ "Dead End": A shamed producer heads out to film ginseng diggers but gets more than he bargained for.(11/14)
★★★ "Ingtoogi": After getting humiliated online, Tae-goo learns to fight in order to get revenge in the real world. (11/14)
★★ "Black Gospel": Korea's only gospel choir heads to Harlem to see if they have what it takes. (11/14)
★★★★ "Red Vacance Black Wedding 2": An obsessed creep refuses to take a hint when his love interest turns him down. (11/14)
★★★★ "The Five": A woman goes to extreme measures to enact revenge against her family's killer. (11/14)
★★★ "Beautiful Child": A story about a Korean missionary who charges through the rupture of natives and white people. (11/14)
★★★ "Kid Cast Away 2013": A young girl gets stranded on a South Pacific Island with her dog, but the two are not alone for long. (11/14),...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Drama Special - Witch" 2013/10/23,
What makes this drama interesting isn't so much its actual objective quality, but the unusual context of having a Joseon-era action storyline set in the single hour Drama Special format. In a typical historical drama featuring swordfights and intense equestrian action, there's a lot of stretching of the political material to justify these encounters, mainly because there's only so many fights to the death you can have before a story hits self-parody,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Drama Special - Mother's Island" 2013/08/28,
The ghost in this horror drama is a little cliched. Not that there's anything wrong with that- sure, this type of straight-haired, pale-faced, creaky jointed crawling has been done a lot of times already, but there's a reason for that. The effect works. As a family is terrorized on a visit to the rural island where their mother lives, the terror they suffer begs a lot of questions. Such as, why is the ghost brutalizing everyone?
The answer obviously has something to do with the poor state of familial relations,...More
[HanCinema's Film Review] Korean Weekend Box Office 2012.11.23 ~ 2012.11.25 2012/11/25, HanCinema's Korean Box Office Review (2012.11.23 ~ 2012.11.25)
"Breaking Dawn: Part 2" once again struggle to surpass Jo Sung-hee's popular fantasy drama "A Werewolf Boy" as the battle for supernatural supremacy continued at the box office. "A Werewolf Boy" claimed some 550 880 admissions, and only narrowly dodged the big Hollywood hit which itself claimed 468, 965. Still admissions were lower this week with both these two powerhouses attracting half of what the weekend of the 24th bestowed upon them. Jo Sung-hee's film is also on the verge of overtaking "The Dark Knight Rises" as the fourth highest grossing film released in Korea this year. The latest Batman scored 6,396,528 admissions and currently "A Werewolf Boy" has stormed to 6,015,700 since its release at the end of last month,...More
Actor Ko Joo-won cast in upcoming series "Kim Soo Ro" 2010/04/19, Source,
Korean actor Ko Joo-won [Asia Economic Daily]
Korean actor Ko Joo-won has been tapped to star in upcoming MBC weekend series "Kim Soo Ro", according to Ko's agency Open-World Entertainment on Monday.
Open-World announced through a press release that Ko will be playing the role of King Ijinashi, the first king of state Daegaya, a major chiefdom of the Gaya confederacy during the Korean Three Kingdoms period.
Ijinashi was in constant battle against King Su-ro, the founder and ruler of the state of Geumgwan Gaya in the 5th century, to be played by actor Ji Sung,...More
Ji Sung to star in new TV series "Kim Soo Ro" 2010/03/05, Source,
Korean actor Ji Sung [Namoo Actors]
Korean actor Ji Sung has been set to star in a 20 billion won blockbuster TV series titled "Kim Soo Ro", according to his agency Namoo Actors.
Namoo announced Thursday that the actor has been cast to play the lead role in the upcoming MBC drama, playing the historic figure Kim Su-ro who founded and ruled the state of Geumgwan Gaya in the 5th century.,...More
Movies to Watch in 2010 2009/12/07, Source, The film industry is already preparing for next year. Many renowned filmmakers have returned to Korea to produce movies about war and sequels to hit movies.
[ChanMi's drama news] "Swallow the Sun" in risk? 2009/07/06, Source, Ji Sung and Sung Yu-ri are in the new SBS Wednesday Thursday drama, "Swallow the Sun".
The filming in LA has been finished and on the way back to Korea, 4 staff members are found to have symptoms of the Swine Flu! This has become the emergency issue regarding the staff members.
The airing of the episodes have not been changed, however, they are taking precautions in health for all members of the drama staff.
The 4 staff with the flu symptoms will be treated in the hospital for a week.,...More
Which will it be _ teenage love and friendship, or the real, yet humorous lives of ruthless lawyers? Television fans will now have the chance to explore the two different worlds with the new dramas "Friends, Our Story" on MBC and,...More
Amid the ongoing search for catchy, stylish, attractive ideas for local dramas, many drama-makers have turned to themes that have already been seen to be popular. Movie-based dramas are no longer new, but the,...More
Young and glamorous stars in a typical "Cinderella-like" love story that have spurred hallyu, or the Korean Wave, are struggling to hold onto the viewers. Instead, soap operas targeting the older crowd, especially the "ajumma", a,...More
'Friend' 2006/03/21, Source, A touching tale of four high school friends from the southern port city of Busan
Film stars attract audience to drama 2005/10/31, Source, Daehangno in downtown Seoul, often dubbed the "Korean Broadway", has recently repositioned itself as a retraining center for film stars who want to polish their acting chops.
Among them are those who have come back to their roots, such as,...More
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