[HanCinema's Drama Review] "This Life Is Our First Life" Episode 16 (Final) 2017/11/28,
The fuller context of Ji-ho's actions makes her look really dumb, at best, and actively sadistic at worst. How in the world was Se-hee supposed to interpret her behavior? The only justification I can come up with is that "This Life Is Our First Life" is satirizing what would actually happen in real life if one member of a couple just disappeared like that without communication. Except Ji-ho is never called out for the tangible and emotional damage her actions caused to Se-hee's life,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "This Life Is Our First Life" Episode 15 2017/11/27,
Ji-ho is so obsessively introspective here she effectively manages to talk herself out of a relationship with Se-hee. Her behavior is dumbounding, but at the same time, really weirdly logical. I can actually kind of see screenwriter Yoon Nan-joong inserting herself into the more philosophical contours of the conversation, openly wondering why the consumnation of romantic love has to be the only acceptable narrative happy ending. That Jeong-min is, herself, an example of a woman who achieved happiness without a man only further complicates this assumption,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "This Life Is Our First Life" Episode 14 2017/11/21,
Jeong-min (played by Lee Chung-ah) is Se-hee's ex-girlfriend. She's also Ji-ho's career savior, having taken it upon herself to resolve the unforunate circumstances of Ji-ho's last writing job personally. The sheer goofy elaborateness of this coincidence, along with the obvious feminist undertones, are reminiscent of screenwriter Yoon Nan-joong's previous drama "Hogu's Love"- although I may have been primed to notice this due to the appearance of a couple of easter eggs referencing that work,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "This Life Is Our First Life" Episode 13 2017/11/20,
For now, Se-hee and Ji-ho's life is mostly pleasant and domestic. In more dramatic news, it turns out that Won-seok's suggestion of breaking up with Ho-rang was not, as had been previously implied, simply the natural result of their communication breakdown being revealed in full focus by their watching an obscure art house play. That was definitely a part of it, but Won-seok had also discovered Ho-rang's horrible secret,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "This Life Is Our First Life" Episode 12 2017/11/14,
The big climactic kiss that closed off the last episode is inevitably interrupted. I mean that not in the narrative sense, but the literal. Sooner or later any couple that is kissing must stop for some reason. From there, we segue into Ji-ho's internal monologue about how real life is different than dramas. Normally such kind of meta-narration is eye roll inducing but Ji-ho does bring up a good point,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "This Life Is Our First Life" Episode 11 2017/11/13,
I love how the big situation comedy induced plot twist changes almost nothing, even though all of the immediately involved characters assume that it will. While "This Life Is Our First Life" mainly concerns itself with relationships between men and women, its examination of friendships between members of the same gender are equally illuminating. For all the radical differences in personality, Se-hee/Song-goo and Ji-ho/Soo-ji have very strong friendships,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "This Life Is Our First Life" Episode 10 2017/11/07,
The extended flashback we start out with is more relevant than it initially looks. I mean sure, it's always fun to do those moments of "how did the lead characters first meet anyway", but the whole thing is building up to Ji-ho talking about her dreams as a teenager. In the present day, of course, Soo-ji and Ho-rang have no idea what Ji-ho is talking about. So it's quite instructive to reread last episode's climactic line about Ji-ho liking her husband from Ji-ho's point of view,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "This Life Is Our First Life" Episode 9 2017/11/06,
The main thematic thrust of this episode is about how men are actually really nice and sweet and emotional. This is pretty counter-intuitive considering we start out with a big news story about the arrest of a crazy psycho stalker, but then a lot of what we see here is about demolishing the dramatic assumptions of the previous storyline. I was quite pleased to discover I was entirely wrong about a certain plot point- it would seem that I underestimated screenwriter Yoon Nan-joong.
But before we even get that far, the most of what we see is just Se-hee and Ji-ho talking to each other about the events on Dongdaemun Gate. I love how over the course of simple, comprehensive conversations they both immediately realize where the other was coming from. This leads to the odd irony of how Ji-ho understands that Se-hee's actions were motivated strictly by practicality, yet still sees the subtle touches which indicate the man really does have a kind heart,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "This Life Is Our First Life" Episode 8 2017/10/31,
So it turns out that Bo-ram is evil. Well, technically we don't know that but those goofy evil musical cues that keep coming on every time he makes an appearance are difficult to interpret any other way. It's disappointing. Bo-ram's you only live once philosophy is a very interesting contrast to Se-hee's logical work ethic. I wouldn't have minded him turning out to be evil eventually, but the completion of his storyline abruptly kills the drama's most interesting ongoing conflict,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "This Life Is Our First Life" Episode 7 2017/10/30,
Bok-nam (played by Kim Min-gyoo-II) is the second male lead alternate love interest for Ji-ho. His arrival is, all things considered, late, but definitely worth the late. He's Se-hee's opposite in every conceivable way. Bok-nam believes in the importance of fun and only living once. Whereas Se-hee is so obsessed with being supremely logical and sensible about everything most of his deadpan dialogue comes off as an unintentional joke. I liked the bit where Se-hee even explicitly says how long it will take him to pay off the debt, as if this is a somehow sane or normal answer,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "This Life Is Our First Life" Episode 6 2017/10/24,
The wedding goes through without incident. Hilariously, Se-hee and Ji-ho even manage to skip out their own reception. This wasn't pre-planned or anything, it's just that neither one of them actually needs to be there because as has been discussed frequently, the entire concept of a marriage ceremony is largely for the benefit of social appearances. The main important event that happens there is that the forced social interactions get Ho-rang and Woo-seok to cool down from their fight,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "This Life Is Our First Life" Episode 5 2017/10/23,
The extent to which Se-hee and Ji-ho are smart and organized continues to impress me. I mean sure, it's really sterile and weird that Se-hee has this whole check list of things they have to do to get married, but that's just how he thinks, in terms of narrow short-term objectives in service of broader long-term goals. This, in turn, explains how and why Se-hee and Ji-ho are able to expedite the process so effectively, if only because Ji-ho is very good at following his lead,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "This Life Is Our First Life" Episode 4 2017/10/17,
Ho-rang (played by Kim Ga-eun-I) is Ji-ho's second best friend. Ho-rang lacks much in the way of ambition. She just wants to love her boyfriend Won-seok (played by Kim Min-seok) forever and ever. Unfortunately, their reverie is broken up by something very...technical. If you have ever had a significant other that gets angry when you try to do nice things in the wrong way or vice-versa, you'll understand the conflict in their relationship,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "This Life Is Our First Life" Episode 3 2017/10/16,
In a fairly effective reversal, "This Life Is Our First Life" reminds us that just because montage and thematic framing make it obvious that Ji-ho and Se-hee are soulmates doesn't mean they're at that point. Mind, I am not using the term soulmates in a particularly romantic sense. Ji-ho and Se-hee are soulmates in that they have extremely similar life philosophies. They mainly want to go through their daily lives and unmolested and then come home to rest somewhere nice,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "This Life Is Our First Life" Episode 2 2017/10/10,
Faced with the tremendously awkward prospect of living with a member of the opposite sex which they are not especially attracted to, Se-hee and Ji-ho choose to address the situation in terms of fundamentals, rather than overthinking the whole gender issue. Ji-ho needs a quiet, clean place to focus on writing. Se-hee needs a functional roommate to help pay the bills and not destroy the apartment. They are so ideal it's obviously foolhardy for either of them to try to find an alternative elsewhere,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "This Life Is Our First Life" Episode 1 2017/10/09,
Ji-ho (played by Jung So-min) always hated feeling like she wasn't the priority back during childhood. While it's easy to blame her family, they're just not...malicious enough to really warrant hating. After all, her dad Jong-soo (played by Kim Byung-ok) is just a sloppy idiot. But when unexpected circumstances make Ji-ho realize that she's going to be even less appreciated than usual, that's when the woman pushing thirty realizes it's time to finally ditch the family home,...More
[Video] Dangerous Kim Hye-soo in trailer for "Special Lady" 2017/09/27, Source,
There is no shortage of strong assassins, vigilantes, and other such women in film and television. "Special Lady" tells the story of one such woman whose talents are used for rather dirty business. The appearance of her unknown son not only puts her in danger, but him as well. I suppose all that's left is for us to join the action and watch a very dangerous mommy protect her kid,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Doctors" Episode 16 2016/08/09,
Upon further reflection the various spotlighted patients do in fact have some relation to the personal stories of the main doctors in "Doctors". It's just hard to tell because the timing is always so disjointed, and the doctors don't show any indication that the patients' stories have relevance to their own lives until pretty much the last possible minute. I was with Hye-jeong when Ji-hong was making the big announcement. Sure, I can appreciate the thought, but from Hye-jeong's perspective it really did come out of nowhere,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Descendants of the Sun" Episode 16 (final) 2016/04/14,
"Descendants of the Sun" has come to an end and that fact feels a bit surreal as well as its rating of 38.8%. Not just as a viewer, but as a reviewer. Not just as a reviewer, but as an international drama fan watching the waves that this drama has made in the world of drama, and in the world itself. This drama is more than its story. It is enveloped in a hype that is currently unparalleled. In some ways, the show is well-worth its worldwide prestige. In others, it is not. Let's break down this final review into parts,...More
Drama made to promote struggling singers 2012/01/30, Source,
Acting is a serious endeavor that doesn't just come with good looks. It definitely isn't a default occupation for those who didn't make it as singers. Yet producers of "Shut Up: Flower Boy Band", a new drama on tvN about rebellious rock star wannabes, seem to think otherwise.
The 16-episode series that starts airing at 11 p.m. today tells the story of six middle school students who form a rock band called "Ahn-gu-jeong-wha", which translates to eye candy,...More
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