[HanCinema's Drama Review] "My Secret Romance" Episode 13 Final 2017/05/30,
As expected, the sweet flashbacks continue as "My Secret Romance" slowly but surely moves toward its happy ending. There is a bump in there as Yoo-mi decides to briefly abandon Jin-wook for reasons that aren't all that clear, but not to worry. Nothing beats the power of flashbacks. I expect excessive use of flashbacks also makes it easier on the production company, which doesn't have to spend as much money filming actual new scenes,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "My Secret Romance" Episode 12 2017/05/29,
Yoo-mi heads back to the beachhead where this all began, and Ji-wook follows her, as the penultimate episode mostly focuses on nostalgia. And it really is nostalgia- I remember the first episode, and I also remember that it had a radically different tone than what the flashbacks here are pretending. Yoo-mi and Ji-wook were perpetually grumpy, and only bond at all because they were both extremely drunk,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "My Secret Romance" Episode 11 2017/05/23,
As expected, Jin-wook and Yoo-mi continue to be generally sad as they try very hard to pretend like they don't miss each other. Jin-wook, being the man, is of course the first to snap and realize that of course he loves Yoo-mi and needs her very much. But various contrivances pop up to insure that Jin-wook misunderstands what Yoo-mi is doing, until finally, a disaster comes up that's big enough to force Jin-wook to do something,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "My Secret Romance" Episode 10 2017/05/22,
I was expecting the big dramatic event that would force the rift between Jin-wook and Yoo-mi to be related to Dae-bok's meddling. But surprisingly, that all gets resolved in a single scene. An exceptionally long scene where Dae-bok and Mi-hee somehow manage to have a big fight without either of them clearly explaining what exactly it is they're fighting about. So yeah, that was pretty funny, although once the miscommunications are over with, Jin-wook and Yoo-mi proceed to spend the rest of the episode in dramatic angst,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "My Secret Romance" Episode 9 2017/05/16,
I was so caught up with how Dae-bok would interpret the existence of Dong-goo (played by Joo Sang-hyeok) it never even occurred to me that Jin-wook would also be inclined to the same interpretation. And honestly, Yoo-mi is so comically mum on the whole mum issue there were moments this episode where even I was wondering- have Mi-hee and Yoo-mi ever actually explicitly stated who Dong-goo is relative to them, or have we just been assuming? These characters are so bad at communicating it's hard to tell,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "My Secret Romance" Episode 8 2017/05/15,
Everything Jin-wook does in the pool with Yoo-mi was taking things a bit too far. It's hard to hate him too much, though, since everyone knows full well that Jin-wook is taking things too far, yet they just can't bring themselves to hate him. It would be nice if we had more people's word to take for it than just Yoo-mi's. Recall that Woo-jin's softened demeanor toward Jin-wook is entirely a result of Jin-wook's actions during the timeskip,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "My Secret Romance" Episode 7 2017/05/08,
One of Yoo-mi's more comforting qualities is her sincere desire to be helpful. At least, that's the sense I got from the odd scene where Jin-wook contrives a work-related reason for him to cook dinner for Yoo-mi, and Yoo-mi simply looks at the entire situation like it was an actual job and not merely a thinly veiled excuse for Jin-wook to spend time with her. Although I suppose it helps that Jin-wook himself probably believes his own ridiculous excuses,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "My Secret Romance" Episode 6 2017/05/02,
It turns out Yoo-mi has one impressive quality that Jin-wook is unlikely to find anywhere else. She's good at apologizing. The irony, of course, is that Yoo-mi hasn't done anything wrong in regards to Jin-wook or his relationships. All the same, at the slightest indication that she has made either Jin-wook or Hye-ri uncomfortable, Yoo-mi demurs. And of course, Jin-wook is left in an even worse mood than usual as a result,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "My Secret Romance" Episode 5 2017/05/01,
Increasingly "My Secret Romance" is getting into a holding pattern, where Jin-wook just acts generally inexplicably grumpy and is unsatisfied that his bad mood results in bad experiences. It's definite regression from the cool version of his character that we saw immediately post timeskip. Jin-wook does seem kind of cool, though, when he's rebuffing Hye-ri in about the most explicit possible terms and Hye-ri proves herself completely incapable of understanding his iciness,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "My Secret Romance" Episode 4 2017/04/25,
In a mildly intriguing plot twist, we discover that Jin-wook's constant pestering of Yoo-mi is less schoolboy crush and more his acting out feelings of harsh resentment for the terrible lie Yoo-mi told him three years ago. You may be wondering what possible offensive lie Yoo-mi could have told Jin-wook in the context of a one night stand and, well, it's actually a pretty convincing one in terms of offending Jin-wook. Although Jin-wook does come off as rather petty for caring about it,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "My Secret Romance" Episode 3 2017/04/24,
So even though we saw Yoo-mi fantasizing about meeting Jin-wook by chance again last episode, this time, Yoo-mi is doing everything she can to avoid the reality of the situation. Which makes sense. Let's recall that, three years ago, Jin-wook was kind of a jerk, and that they were both just a tad drunk. So it's easy to empathize with Yoo-mi viewing Jin-wook's dictatorial demands here as being part and parcel of a mean personality rather than an overbearing effort on his part to be cute,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "My Secret Romance" Episode 2 2017/04/18,
In a somewhat perplexing plot twist, right after the recap of the one night stand, there's a three year time skip and all of a sudden Jin-wook and Yoo-mi seem like completely different characters. Far from being the playboy we last saw, Jin-wook is now taking his corporate responsibilities very seriously. Yoo-mi has picked herself up emotionally and shows remarkable dexterity as a cafeteria chef. About the only commonality they have is their shared wistfulness about meeting that one special person three years ago,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "My Secret Romance" Episode 1 2017/04/17,
Jin-wook (played by Sung Hoon) is a playboy and a bit of a jerk. The first we see of the guy, he takes over a party and then walks back his sexiness with a rather ridiculous sounding excuse. As mean and selfish as Jin-wook seems at first glance, we do find out by the end that the excuse is actually evidence of Jin-wook's secret good side. Which is fortunate, since up until that point, we frequently see Jin-wook get in trouble for stuff that's not actually his fault, yet never does he seem all that sympathetic,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Something About 1% - 2016" Episode 16 - Final 2016/11/24,
At long last, through all their trials and tribulations, Jae-in and Da-hyeon are together and inseparable. It should come as little surprise that Da-hyeon's parents are the only real remaining obstacle, mainly because they're the only ones who haven't gotten a chance to participate in the plot yet. But even that doesn't last long, because Jae-in is not joking at all when it comes to sheer determination- even when it requires he do something rather out of character,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Something About 1% - 2016" Episodes 14-15 2016/11/23,
With the main antagonistic presence in "Something About 1% - 2016" shunted out of the picture, all that remains is the question of Jae-in and Da-hyeon completing the terms of their contract and permanently separating. Why is it necessary for them to separate, given that they have obviously grown into working mutual affection during the contract's duration? Well, mostly because Jae-in and Da-hyeon are equally stupidly stubborn when it comes to talking about their feelings,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Something About 1% - 2016" Episodes 10-11 2016/11/09,
The core plot of "Something About 1% - 2016" is a tad hard to follow, so the complications that come up in these two episodes are more legal technicalities than they are dynamic plot movements. Truthfully, I've never seen much point in discussing the characters aside from Jae-in and Da-hyeon because that's all they really ever do is provide structural roadblocks and misunderstandings that temporarily keep the main couple separated. The threat is never really all that convincing, and at times feels contrived,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Something About 1% - 2016" Episodes 8-9 2016/11/02,
I rather like the interpersonal dynamic between Jae-in and Da-hyeon. Even when they're just hanging around on a date there's this almost perfect blend of teasing with genuine affection that translates into cute flirting, even if neither of them really think of themselves as being flirts. Jae-in, of course, does pick the best possible moments to come up with a spontaneous kiss, but for the most part, he's satisfied just being around Da-hyeon and suitably grumpy whenever she's not available for some reason,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Something About 1% - 2016" Episodes 6-7 2016/10/26,
Jae-in and Da-hyeon are constantly pushing at each other's boundaries. Generally speaking they do this for the sake of being belligerent. Da-hyeon's weird insistence on being sexy at the start, for example, has little to do with an actual desire on her part to feel sexy and everything to do with intentionally and borderline maliciously teasing Jae-in's expectations, as a sort of contrarianism. It's surprisingly easy to sympathize with Jae-in even as he acts somewhat misogynist,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Something About 1% - 2016" Episodes 4-5 2016/10/19,
Jae-in is a bit of a jerk, and oddly enough, I'm actually mostly all right with that. Mainly this is just a matter of the guy not being all that malicious. Jae-in treats Da-hyeon the same way he treats most people in his life, and at minimum this does give him some credit for consistency. There's an odd sort of philosophical quality to Jae-in's conversations with Da-hyeon, where they're talking about the abstract quantity of dating rather than each other,...More
[HanCinema's Film Review + Video] "Real Fiction": Inert experiment or deep drama? 2014/10/25,
"Real Fiction" (2000) is a gritty experimental film of sorts, arguably embryonic entertainment that purposefully tinkers with the art of filmmaking with debatable results. The film was reportedly shot in 200 minutes (cut to 84) and contains an interesting mix of formal framing and dirtied handheld footage. It may not be entirely convincing in both plot and purpose, but this compact and nihilistic nugget is still worth watching to see what happens when Kim Ki-duk (alongside Kang Cheol-woo) throws caution to the wind,...More
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