Freitag, 30. Dezember 2016

Days With You

恋極星 (Koikyokusei; Days With You) is a Japanese movie directed by Amiy Mori and released in March 2009.

Story: Natsuki Kashiwagi lives in Sapporo, Hokkaido, and takes care of her autistic brother Daiki Kashiwagi. One day she is reunited with her childhood love Souta Funabiki who moved away to Canada when they were young. The two fall in love again but Souta suffers from a serious disease and decided to not get surgery again since the disease is always returning.

Cast: Another movie with Erika Toda in it, this time as Natsuki Kashiwagi. Her acting is really good in my opinion, she manages to portray the happiness and the hope as well as the sadness and the burden of caring for her brother alone after her fathers death well.
Kazuki Kato delivers another great character as Souta Funabiki. The way he portrayed the struggle with the disease and the hopelessness but also the will to fight for his love and his parents was portrayed well and really made me hope the best for him (and the fact that I just hate sad endings of course makes me hope for the best all the time as well).
And Ryuya Wakaba as Daiki Kashiwagi did a great job portraying the autistic younger brother. I don't know much about autism, just that there are of course different forms, and I was wondering if what he was portraying was a real form of autism but I think it fit the story well in total and did highlight the fact that he somehow needed his sister to help him.

I can't say I loved this movie but I kinda liked it so it got a 7/10 from me. It is not necessarily a movie I would rewatch even though I do love the setting and the acting a lot but the story doesn't really offer a big surprise. I honestly knew what disease they would use right when I read about a 'serious illness', it is just what usually happens in dramas and movies.
But what I have to admit is that the Japanese movie producers know how to make a heartwrenching melodramas just by using some stereotypical things.

Freitag, 23. Dezember 2016

Midnight's Girl

Yes. Yes, I know you're going to read this maybe because of Nam Tae-hyun and I will not even fully deny this but read what else I've got to say before you love or hate the drama for an idol staring in it.

0시의 그녀 (Midnight's Girl; Girl of 0AM) is a South Korean mini drama series that aired from May 04th to 14th 2015 on Naver TVCast and MBC Every1. The special thing about this drama is that the 8 episodes are only about 15 minutes long each what turns the whole drama more into a movie of two hours in total.

Story: Gong Ji-dan dreams of becoming a superstar and after failing a casting ends up taking care of a karaoke business for some time. He meets Min Se-ra, a girl who is working part-time and helps him to not only grow as a person but as a singer while she keeps an important secret to herself.

Cast: As I mentioned before Nam Tae-hyun of WINNER is in this drama as Gong Ji-dan. While his acting was not that good and he definitely should work on that if he wants to continue as an actor and idol I think it was still good he was picked for this drama because of the music. Somehow Gong Ji-dan fit him and they seemed to also have some musical things in common which I consider an important factor - the actor needs to be able to identify with the character in some way to make it better. (Does this make more sense? I don't know if anyone gets me in this point). Anyway, I still stay with: He needs to work on his performance.
Seo Min-ji actually is a lot more experienced but her acting in this short story also seemed pretty plain but it was overall an okay thing. Her character Min Se-ra is a cheerful girl who wants to help Ji-dan as good as possible which is adorable - but she behaves too cute for her age in the drama so it was a little bit difficult for me to see her like that.
This drama has also a bunch of idols included in guest appearances - for example Yerin of G-Friend and Sangdo of Topp Dogg! Okay, since they were only customers at the karaoke/noraebang it is in fact not really necessary to judge their acting since they only appeared for a few minutes but not any longer.

Son Jin-young is in this drama as a good friend of Ji-dan, Kwang Chul. He is a character that doesn't seem that bright but I have a feeling he wasn't bad person in total so it is interesting to me.

Soundtrack: The main song in and around this drama is CLC's "First Love", a cute song that in my opinion fit the total theme of this series well. It is a song I personally don't like outside of the drama much though so I can't really see it as a plus or a minus. The rest of the music in the drama is alright and supports the cute and innocent feeling this drama delivers.

After all this drama is a cute love story to watch between other dramas but nothing more - just a small 'snack' you won't take too serious about a basic, vague love story that is based more on names than on the acting itself. I don't think I wasted my time though since it is cute in some way and deserves a 6.5/10 from me.

Freitag, 16. Dezember 2016

Descendants of the Sun

태양의 후예 (Descendants of the Sun) is a popular South Korean drama series that consists of 16 episodes that aired from February 24th to April 14th 2016 on KBS2.

Story: Yoo Si-jin is a Captain in the Korean army and specifially in the special forces. He catches a thief with Sergeant Major Seo Dae-young one day and sends him to a hospital with the medical notes written on the thiefs arm. Soon they figure out Seo Dae-young's phone was stolen and go to look for the thief who is in big trouble at the moment.
Kang Mo-yeon is responsible for the patient and suspects Yoo Si-jin and Seo Dae-young of beating him up but a CCTV record shows the truth.
Because of a wound that needs to be treated Si-jin decides to drive one and a half hours to the hospital where Mo-yeon works in order to see her and get treated by her specifically.
The two of them start to date but their dates don't go well due to their jobs - emergencies just keep on happening and eventually they break up.
Si-jin is transferred to Urk for eight months with his unit. Haesung Hospital is supposed to send a medicube and doctors who volunteer.
Instead of volunteering Kang Mo-yeon is sent to Urk as the leader of the team as a punishment by the director of the hospital for personal revenge. Eventually, Si-jin and Mo-yeon meet again and work together in a country devastated because of war and starvation.

Cast: Song Joong-ki as Captain Yoo Si-jin is incredibly popular everywhere. His acting was good, he managed to balance the cute charm and the tough and loyal sides of Yoo Si-jin quite well. I personally did like his acting in this drama and think that the role suits him well.
Song Hye-kyo as Kang Mo-yeon did well, too. I personally saw her in one other drama before and was honestly not that impressed with that so I wasn't too happy about her being in this drama. But she is a good actress and she did deliver her parts nicely, especially as the professional doctor saving someone's life. (I considered her English pronounciation to be a little weird though.)
Jin Goo as Sergeant Major Seo Dae-young mainly impressed me with his strict discipline when acting in military bases. I guess he has to be my favorite character and actor in this drama because I really enjoyed watching his scenes.
Kim Ji-won as Lieutenant Yoon Myeong-ju. She is a great actress and I really liked her in this series, too. The romance between her and Seo Dae-young was really good and they did have a good chemistry on screen.
Kang Shin-il as Lieutenant General Yoon and Myeong-ju's father was for a long time the typical father in many stories you personally want to just ignore. But he changed and it made me like him a little bit more. Of course as an actor the character was portrayed well.
Other actors in this drama include (prepare for a long list): Kim Byung-chul as Colonel Park Byung-soo, Park Hoon as Sergeant Choi Woo Geun, Choi Woong as Staff Sergeant Gong Chul-ho, Ahn Bo-hyun as Sergeant Im Kwang-nam, Kim Min-suk as Private Kim Ki-bum, Lee Seung-joon as Song Sang-hyun, Seo Jung-yeon as Ha Ja-ae, Onew as Lee Chi-hun, Park Hwan-hee as Choi Min-ji and so many more that it would take me years to name all of them.

Soundtrack: When I came to Korea, the soundtrack for this drama was played all day in the Ewha shopping street, especially in spring, and I started listening to the songs before I even knew that they belonged to this drama. Some of my favorite songs are Mad Clown's and Kim Na-young's "다시 너를 (Come Again)", and K.Will's "말해! 뭐해? (Say It! What Are You Doing?)". I honestly love both songs in their own ways a lot. But also "Everytime" by EXO's Chen and Punch is a song I really came to like a lot.

I honestly did not plan to watch this drama this year. Or to review it in 2016. But after hearing about the big hype and seeing Song Joong-ki's pictures at every corner in Seoul because of this drama I think I had to find out what it was about.
I personally rated this drama as an 8/10 which might surprise some people since it is so damn popular and has so many fans.
Let's say I do get the hype but I can't really follow it. I loved the military and the medical scenes. I loved the romance between Seo Dae-young and Yoon Myeong-ju, and I really liked Song Sang-hyun's and Ha Ja-ae's story a lot. But the main story was cheesy (I like cheese but somehow.. so much cheese that you feel too full after some time).
It is far from bad but also some plot-twists especially in the end didn't do much for the story so I thought they just started dragging it. However, a bonus is that I finished this quite fast actually and didn't start to skip scenes.

Freitag, 9. Dezember 2016

Voice of a Murderer

그놈 목소리 (Voice of a Murderer) is a South Korean crime-thriller drama movie that is the fictionalized version of a real kidnapping in 1991. The movie was released in 2007.

Story: Han Kyung-bae is a famous news anchor of the 9PM news. His wife Oh Ji-sun is a Christian who tries to make their chubby Han Sang-woo lose weight. One day Sang-woo goes out to the playground and doesn't come back home. His mother tries to reach friends and family but during the night it becomes clear that Sang-woo disappeared without a trace. The kidnapper calls the father and gives clear instructions on what to do so the parents will get their son back alive. However, soon Ji-sun informs the police and a special task force is set up under detective Kim Wook-jung to find the young boy.

Cast: Sol Kyung-gu as Han Kyung-bae and Kim Nam-joo as Oh Ji-sun were really good in the roles of the parents who try to do everything to save their son. It was a realistic way of portraying desperate parents and both actors put their feelings into those roles.
Kim Young-chul as Kim Wook-jung was also really good when it came to portraying the feelings of his personal situation - for example in a trunk to always be with the father in his car - showing how much energy this case cost the police force as well. While he was of course not as emotionally involved as the parents having a child himself he did work hard to try and get the boy back.
Ko Su-hee as Cha Su-hee brought some funny aspect to this movie in parts while it still kept it's serious atmosphere. Song Young-chang as Captain No tried to keep a rather calm atmosphere around him and to give the parents some hope and safety.
Other actors in this drama include Kim Kwang-gyu, Kang Dong-won and Yoon Je-moon.

So I did like this movie in some way. The story was interesting and it is definitely not something to take lightly. It was good to watch but left a bitter taste behind. Some parts were filmed very shakily so it would've been nice to hold the camera a little more still and pay more attention to the way it was filmed. As the story, setting and acting were good I would give this a 7/10 rating.

Freitag, 2. Dezember 2016


회오리 바람 (Eighteen) is a South Korean movie directed by Jang Kun-Jae and released in February 2010. The movie has a duration of 95 minutes.

Story: Tae-hoon and Mi-jeong travel to the East Coast during their winter break to celebrate their 100th day anniversary. After coming back to Seoul problems begin to arise as Tae-hoon gets scolded for travelling and Mi-jeong's parents call Tae-hoon's parents. While Mi-jeong's parents don't want the two to meet anymore and Tae-hoon is ready to fight for his relationship, Mi-jeong simply gives in and listens to her parents.
This movie pretty much includes forbidden love, highschool times and teenagers, and of course the first love.

Cast: Seo Jun-young was in this movie the male protagonist Tae-hoon. He is stubborn and willing to fight and do all he can but it makes things even more complicated. As for the acting, it definitely wasn't his strongest role but it could've been a lot worse in my opinion. It is just that there was some exciting element missing when it came to his character and his acting. I can say pretty much the same about Lee Min-ji as Mi-jeong. I don't know much about her but I think she was a little bit boring in this situation. And so was her character who just gave in to her parents wishes and doesn't even try to stand up for herself and her wishes.
As for the other actors not many of them are known internationally. Choi Hyo-sang played Mi-jeong's aggressive and over-protective father. Which he wasn't doing too bad so I wanted to give him some credit. While the aggression the character showed towards his daughter is never what a parent should be like that I do know that some parents especially in Korea are like that.
Kwon Hyuk-Poong as Tae-hoon's father seemed more calm and understanding at least and the acting was also very much descent so he is another actor from this movie I know about.

After all I would love to tell you that this movie was good but it was more average to me. I read a review on MyDramaList and expected it to be way worse than it actually was. I feel like they put in some stuff just to make the movie longer like some accident that occurred - that didn't have any connection to the rest of the plot. The story in general could've been much shorter since they added scenes that weren't needed. But in the end I felt like I missed out on something.
In total I would say if you like stories about first love and the tragic Romeo and Juliett part, than a 6.5/10 is okay for this movie. After all it does have a story and the way it is filmed seemed very independent but gave beautiful impressions and pictures of South Korea's East Coast.

Freitag, 25. November 2016


리셋 (Reset) is a South Korean drama series that aired 10 episodes on OCN from August 24th to October 26th 2014.

Story: Cha Woo-jin is a prosecutor who lost his first love Seung-hee because she became the victim of a crime. After that he devoted himself to violent crime cases and tends to solve them with the help of a special hypnosis. Being able to get the criminals to tell the full and true story that way his success rate is quite high.
The female high school student Jo Eun-bi becomes involved in one of his cases. She reminds Woo-jin of Seung-hee and he decides to protect her and prove her innocence together with Section Chief Han and Officer Ko.

Cast: Chun Jung-Myung as Cha Woo-jin is a character that is so typical for OCN dramas that I can't do anything but like him a lot. The charismatic strong male lead with good intentions fighting evil while he himself has a dark past he just wants to forget. The acting was really good, he did portray the very rational parts just as good as the parts of the character that were lead by his emotions. Kim So-hyun portrayed both, Jo Eun-bi and Choi Seung-hee, in this drama. As the clear female lead it is somewhat unclear what exactly her relationship is with Cha Woo-jin since they have a good chemistry but a huge age difference that would complicate things and makes me believe that chemistry was intended but not as much as there was.
Park Won-sang as Officer Ko was a good friend to Cha Woo-jin and helped him protecting Eun-bi even when one of his rather illegal secrets was revealed and it almost got him killed. The acting of a character that knew he did wrong but still works for the state and the prosecutors' office impressed me a bit to be honest and he definitely brought the character to life and offered good views to understand him.
Shin Eun-jung as Section Chief Han is a female who doesn't have any children. And the way she starts to interact with Eun-bi after some time makes one feel like they are mother and daughter and in that way they do have a great chemistry in this familiar way. Again as a character with personal issues I think Shin Eun-jung was able to portray her character well.
Song Ha-yoon deserves an honorable mention as Choi Yoon-hee. The younger sister of Seung-hee who fell for Woo-jin and can't let go even though he told her 15 years later that he still couldn't let go of her sister. A tragic and sad story for her but eventually the acting was good, too, so it did not bring anyone down.

Soundtrack: The soundtrack in this one was good but not that outstanding. As usual also there isn't a quite huge OST so that makes things a little more difficult to judge. Anyway, it is not a bad point.

So in total I rated this one as a 9/10. The only things I can criticize are some minor issues for me.
It doesn't really make sense they always go out to investigate alone - which is the reason for most of the dangerous incidents I would say.
The soundtrack was okay but it could've been better. However, it is not really a deal breaker for me.
The last point is the fact that Eun-bi's character changed a little bit too fast in certain aspects. Of course they didn't have much time which is why I'm willing to forgive this but it is something I'm thinking about.
Recommend this to crime and thriller fans who are not too much into ghosts/vampires but can handle people hypnotizing each other.

Freitag, 18. November 2016

Jeon Woo Chi: The Taoist Wizard

전우치 (Jeon Woo Chi) is a South Korean movie directed by Choi Dong-hoon released in 2009.

Story: The movie begins in the Chosun dynasty where a young wizard named Jeon Woo Chi, his friend and helper, three Taoist wizards, a king and evil goblins all are after a prophetic pipe. While trying to get the pipe Jeon Woo Chi becomes framed for a crime he didn't commit and ends up sealed into an ancient scroll.
In 2009 evil goblins start appearing all over Korea again and the retired Taoist wizards are called to help. They release Jeon Woo Chi and his friend and servant from the scroll to help them and save the world. In modern Korea, however, women and sightseeing become far more interesting to Jeon Woo Chi.

Cast: So the main character Jeon Woo Chi was played by Kang Dong-won. I haven't seen him in many works I think but in this one his acting was good - just the character was a little bit ridiculous and weird which is probably not really surprising.
Yoo Hae-jin as Chorangyi, the servant, friend and actual dog of Woo Chi, was hilarious in his own way. The acting was so funny that I really came to like him as a character and the actor itself.
Lim Soo-jung as Seo In-kyung turned out to be one of the less memorable characters. I would love to tell all of you more about the character and the acting but I cannot say much about it. It wasn't bad but not good so more like an average not really outstanding person.
Kim Yun-seok as Hwadam was just the perfect villain to me though. I think I was a little bit scared but it wasn't too bad so I'm still alive.
Other actors in this movie include Baek Yoon-sik, Joo Jin-mo, Kim Sang-ho and Song Young-chang.

After all I can say that a 7.5/10 is not really a bad rating for this movie. Logic aside, it was fun and included impressive martial arts-scenes. On the other hand it really lacked that one thing - logic. Yes, even fantasy usually includes some.
However, for a movie night with about 200 exchange students it is a fun and light watch and nothing too serious.
I recommend it if you're interested in fantasy and martial arts as a short pleasure but nothing more, I don't think it would be more to most people.

Freitag, 11. November 2016

Rough Play

배우는 배우다 (Rough Play; An Actor is an Actor) is a South Korean movie directed by Shin Youn-shick and released in 2013.

Story: Oh Young is a young actor who suddenly becomes very popular but his character changes due to his fame. He starts to work with a group of gangsters and gets involved in scandals which not only almost destroys his career but also could get him killed at some point.

Cast: Oh Young was played by Lee Joon whom I personally consider a good actor nowadays. In this movie his performance within a performance is good, and that deserves some attention in my opinion.
Seo Bum-suk as Kim Jang-ho was the manager who started the spiral in this movie. While I'm not totally sure about his intentions anymore the acting was totally fine.
Seo Young-hee as Oh Yeon-hee was barely memorable in any way to me. Not because her acting was bad but I'm not lying when I say I really don't quite remember her character in this movie which is.. a little bit weird since she was important.
Ma Dong-seok is in one of the character types he can play well in this movie - a gangster boss just somehow seems to fit him well so I remember him a lot better than some other actors.
Other actors in this movie include Kang Shin-hyo, Yang Dong-geun, Oh Gwang-rok and Kim Hyung-jun.
In total I think the cast delivered a performance I would rate as 'okay' - some did better than others, can't deny that, some were hardly memorable and again others just seemed to be there.

In the end this movie left me a little bit wondering about... everything?
What was the purpose of the sexual scenes? Yeah, it showed that Oh Young lost it a little bit after being successful but it wasn't necessary at all I think. I guess they just added that to make fangirls watch it.
The beginning and the end were a little bit chaotic and confusing. I was guessing it might be some infinite loop of events but I don't quite know what to think about it.
What happened to all the other characters in the end? There were so many characters that just disappeared without any explanation at all.
So the story is okay. So is the movie but I definitely had higher expectations so maybe that's why my rating is only a 6/10 and I probably won't watch it again.

Freitag, 4. November 2016

Vampire Detective

I bet some of my regular readers have been waiting for this and totally saw this review coming up this year. While I actually finished this drama back in June or July, I just placed the review in November because I already had too much stuff planned and written before.

뱀파이어 탐정 (Vampire Detective; Vampire Personal Investigator) is a South Korean drama series that consists of 12 episodes that were aired on OCN from March 27th to June 12th every Sunday.

Story: Yoon San has a police/military background but ends up working as a private investigator with Yoon Goo-hyung after some tragic events. One day he gets involved in a case that changes his life completely and gets him turned into a vampire while looking for Han Gyeo-wool's brother. Han Gyeo-wool joins the team to find out what exactly happened to her brother and so they solve different cases. Doctor Hwang and the nurse Se-ra offer the medical support when needed and support them with connections as well, while Detective Park delivers information based on the data the police collected on certain people or incidents before.

Cast: I think a reason why many people ended up watching this drama is or was Lee Joon as Yoon San. His acting was really good in this series and I believe that he is doing way better as an actor than he was back in his idol days. Also his role in a crime series seems to work well with him in general so while I was a little bit skeptical in the beginning I did enjoy his acting in this series.
Yoon Goo-hyung played by Oh Jung-se got me shaking my head from time to time. His methods are not the common ones and he's not the brightest light around but it works somehow - and he cares for San a lot. The acting itself was good enough to get me into the story and to sympathize with him, especially in one of the episodes that shows a deeper side of his character (I think it was episode 6 but I don't remember that clearly). The actor(s) (since there was Oh Hee-joon as the younger Goo-hyung in that one episode) did a good job portraying the character in his different ways and it all fit together somehow.
Lee Se-Young as Han Gyeo-wool was outstanding in my honest opinion. Very smart and a rebel she represented the kind of female characters I really like in dramas and movies. She is willing to fight and her sarcastic nature makes it even better to watch. As for the acting Lee Se-young definitely delivered a great piece of work and made her character become real.
I was a little bit surprised when I saw that Jei (Kim Jin-hee) of FIESTAR is in this drama. She was the exact opposite of Han Gyeo-wool as Se-ra. Quite honestly I would say she played a pretty but dumb nurse that was mainly in this drama for being able to sympathize with others and to appeal to the male audience. As of now I'm still not sure what to think about idols in OCN dramas since I personally love the idols they choose but hate most of the (female) characters those girls play. Her acting wasn't too bad - she portrayed the dumb but pretty female perfectly. Actually so good that I'm seriously hoping she's a lot smarter in real life.
Kim Ki-moo played Doctor Hwang, a character that just seems to be around for some minor stuff in the beginning as well but not only turns out to be a good friend but also gets his time to show the depth of the character and the behind story. I was quite impressed by the acting and the story build around the character so I couldn't help but appreciate the fact he was part of this drama.
An Se-ha really had a minor role in this movie though. Detective Park mainly eats and delivers information which is important but somehow his role lacked something. The acting also brought a comedic aspect to the series which was a great thing to losen up the atmosphere at times.
Since this already got too long I just want to say that Lee Chung-ah was in this drama as Yo-na, a character that still makes me thing about certain issues. Kim Yoon-hye as Jung Yoo-jin did her part but I think she lacked chemistry with San even though there was something supposed to be. And Jo Bok-Rae as Kang Tae-woo managed to become one of the male character I hate the most - out of all dramas I watched.

Soundtrack: I wish I could tell you more about this but everything is explained by: it's OCN. They are so good in supporting a dark atmosphere with music that I usually love each and every soundtrack. As for this one, I didn't listen to the titles specifically but I can tell that it is a good soundtrack as usual.

So how did I rate this? 8/10. Now many people might wonder why after all the positive stuff I said which is totally legit and I will gladly talk about my reasons for not rating it as good as other people would expect.
One part, even though a really weak reason, is the fact that I'm still mad at OCN. If they don't deliver a damn good series instead of finally finishing the other dramas they have with a last season I do think that it is something I do unconsciously.
I do know OCN can do better than they did with this series. After all I had a hard time finishing this not because it was uninteresting. But once I stopped watching it for a few days I had to force myself to continue - and then watched at least two or three episodes in a row. But it still made watching this drama a little bit more difficult than others.
A whole episode consisted pretty much of past events. It was just too much at once. Having parts of this spread throughout the series would've helped a little bit and the viewer would not have seen everything at least two to three times in this series.
The reason for the whole chaos in my opinion also was pretty much a personal thing that makes people do a lot of stupid stuff but come on - they couldn't come up with anything deeper but it can all be brought down to jealousy?
And in the end the chemistry between Yoon San and Jung Yoo-jin was almost non-existent for me - I think there was way better chemistry between San and Gyeo-wool so I don't quite get it..

After all OCN this one isn't bad BUT OCN does have more exciting and better series. This is by far not bad though and definitely worth a watch even though the vampire-part didn't add much to the story in my opinion.

Freitag, 28. Oktober 2016


혼 (Soul, also known as Possessed) is a South Korean drama series that aired on MBC from August 5th to September 3rd 2009. The series consists of 10 episodes with a duration of approximately 1 hour and 5 minutes.

Story: Ha-na and Doo-na are sisters but one day Doo-na dies a terrible death and her sister cannot safe her. Her ghost comes back to take revenge and possesses her sisters body - the main problem is that not only Doo-na can possess her sister but also other ghosts. Ha-na rarely remembers what happens when ghosts, or souls, take over her body. One day criminal psychologist Shin Ryu becomes involved and soon he's one of the few who can actually help Ha-na but a tragedy in his past and a chance to take revenge might make things even worse.

Cast: Lee Seo-jin is really good as Shin Ryu. I liked his acting overall even though I found his character a little difficult to understand I just really thought he was an interesting character. As for Im Ju-eun as Yoon Ha-na I think they just solved the puzzle too fast to keep her character interesting for a long time. The possessed acting was a little weird but good in the end so there's nothing I can really complain about.
T-ARA's Park Ji-yeon as Yoon Doo-na was good but neither the best nor the worst character. Since this was one of her first roles in a series I think she might have improved a lot as an actress but I also think she wasn't one of the main characters regarding her screen time in this drama. Now this could be discussed of course.
And also Supernova's Park Geon-il is in this drama as Jung Shi-woo. He has some characteristics of a typical second male lead but at some point I feel like he's more extreme when it comes to protecting and helping Ha-na no matter what. At some point the innocent high school kid seems to be obsessed with the idea of doing anything for Ha-na. The acting was pretty good but again he seemed a little too insane sometimes.
And of course I need to mention Kim Gab-soo as Baek Do-shik whom I wanted to see punished until the very end. Now I don't know whether that worked or not but I still have hope. Somehow.
Other actors in this series include Yoo Yun-suk as Baek Joong-chan, Lee Jin as Lee Hye-won and Kim Sung-ryung as Ha-na's and Doo-na's mother.

Soundtrack: Personally I enjoyed how the music created the atmosphere at times so I think there's nothing to complain about. The number of songs that were actually sung by some K-music artists is pretty low though, there's only one song Yangpa performed so if you prefer soundtracks with more songs that are actually sung this might not be that much to your liking.

Overall I think this drama is solid for fans of unusual K-dramas that aren't all lovey-dovey. A 7/10 rating from me just because it failed to deliver the "horror" but that might only be me. And that's okay since me reviews are also based on my personal opinion. It's worth watching though and I might consider rewatching it at some point.

Freitag, 21. Oktober 2016

The Target

표적 (The Target) is a South Korean movie that was released in 2014. The movie directed by Director Chang has a runtime of 98 minutes and is a remake of the French movie Point Blank.

Story: Baek Yeo-hoon is followed by men in the beginning and gets into an accident. Ending up in a hospital, Lee Tae-joon becomes his doctor. Soon Lee's wife is kidnapped and he needs to get Baek Yeo-hoon out of the hospital to safe his pregnant wife. Through this crime Yeo-hoon and Tae-joon find themselves in the middle of police officers working for their own benefits.

Cast: Lee Jin-wook is in this movie (again~? I feel like I've been watching a lot of his works lately) as Lee Tae-joon. His performance in this movie was quite good though his character was the type of character I usually like, more like a too unrational person.
Ryu Seung-ryong was a more interesting character to me. While at first his intentions are pretty unclear, this is exactly what makes the character as interesting as it is. A sad family story in the background, he tries to protect his brother Sung-hoon who suffers from the Tourette syndrome played by Jin Goo. Yoo Jun-sang as Chief  Detective Song also did a good job in my opinion though I think it's natural to not really like his character. In general it was believable though.
And there's Jo Yeo-jeong as Tae-joon's wife Hee-joo, a psychiatrist, who really seems to live up to her role. I enjoyed seeing her in this movie a lot.

Soundtrack: Nothing was off, everything was where it had to be - that's literally all I can say about this. It's definitely a nice action soundtrack.

Please note that I did not watch the original movie. Therefore, I cannot compare this movie to the French original.
In general this movie was good, a 7,5/10 rating is still pretty nice regarding the fact that the story wasn't mind-blowing. It's a story that's quite common. The acting and soundtrack were good though and the story wasn't boring either so I will forget about some flaws.

Recommended to fans of action movies!

Freitag, 14. Oktober 2016

Perfect Partner

완벽한 파트너  (Perfect Partner, also known as My Secret Partner) is a South Korean comedy adult movie directed by Park Hyun-soo and released in 2011.

Story: Joon-suk is a screenwriter who needs new inspiration and gets into an affair with a young female writer, Yeon-hee, who lacks some creativity. Yeon-hee's mom Hee-sook is a cook researcher looking for new ides since she is just recycling old recipes. Her student, Min-soo, Joon-suk's son, is full of new ideas and willing to try a lot of those. These two also find a way of helping each other.

Cast: Kim Young-ho as Joon-suk was a little bit.. ridiculous in my opinion. He is not the type of adult or teacher you meet or see often so it makes him funny but at the same time a little bit annoying in my honest opinion. The acting is nothing especially outstanding but also not really bad, honestly just something you expect from an actor.
Kim Hye-sun as Hee-sook on the other hand seems to be a somehow strict adult who also knows exactly what she wants. She is a strong woman and that is portrayed well in this movie. In the beginning she might seem a little too cold to be taking serious but personally I consider her character to be one of the most realistic in some aspect
Kim San-ho was doing a good job as Min-soo. He seems a little bit naive in this movie but actually that as well as some interesting situations he got himself into and the fight with Hee-sook's actual assistant makes him even more funny. Personally I would say that his performance was the best in this movie.
Yoon Chae-yi as Yeon-hee showed a solid performance as well but sometimes there was something I felt she lacked. I cannot really explain what it is so I just hope others who watched the movie understand what I mean.. in the end it wasn't that bad though.

Soundtrack: I can't say much about the soundtrack but it did what it should've done for me - it supported the humorous aspects well but not so much the serious parts so it is neither bad nor incredibly good.

After all my rating for this movie is a 8.5/10 even though I can criticize many parts of it. The story is actually basic in many aspects, and the cross relationships between parent/teacher and the other persons child was a bit confusing at first and honestly didn't do much for the story - except for the last scene, which is still very much in my memory but didn't explain anything clearly and didn't last for too long either.
The comedy part of this movie was great! As for the adult part (yes, I'm talking about sex scenes) I wonder if it was necessary. It wasn't too much but the story would've worked without it most of the time, too.
And sometimes, just sometimes, I wanted to punch the characters for being stupid and not thinking stuff through carefully but I guess this is a problem within the comedy genre anyways.
I recommend this movie to.. comedy fans who are clearly 18+/19+, it's not really a movie to watch with your family or your child so don't think I didn't warn you.

Freitag, 7. Oktober 2016

The Three Musketeers

삼총사 (The Three Musketeers) is a South Korean drama series that aired from August 17th to November 2nd 2014 every Sunday on tvN. The drama consists of 12 episodes with a duration ~65 minutes.

Story: The story is set in 17th Century Joseon and evolves around Crown Prince Sohyun and his guards Heo Seung-po and Ahn Min-seo as well as Park Dal-hyang, a young man who came from Gangwondo to take the military examination and find his first love. Even on his first day Park Dal-hyang meets the three men who introduce themselves as the "Three Musketeers" and soon he finds himself within a political conflict.

Cast: In the very first place we have Lee Jin-wook as Crown Prince Sohyun. While I don't really understand why his character is the way he just... is I kinda like this rebellious royal thing. It makes his character somehow special since he's not what one would expect. However, in some moments I couldn't really feel the acting, I just noticed that it wasn't real from time to time and I don't know if that's because of the actor or because of the writing. Yang Dong-geun as Heo Seung-po is the son of General Heo and one of the men the prince grew up with. He loves gambling and alcohol and usually is pretty calm about being sent to prison for some time. The acting in general worked with the character and the background. He shows a great loyalty towards the crown prince. The same works for Ahn Min-seo played by Jung Hae-in. Definitely an actor I will look out for in the future! Ahn Min-seo is a rather loyal and smart character and seems to be more pure since he comes from a religious background. The acting connected with the character himself made this character one of my favorites.
Jung Yong-hwa took over Park Dal-hyang's part. Solid acting? Well, his character was a little stubborn and sometimes childish, led by emotions but that's Park Dal-hyang's innocent, childish charm. So for a main character he was actually quite nice to watch and did cause some trouble from time to time. Seo Hyun-jin as the Crown Princess Kang Yoon-seo/ Kang Bin was one of the characters I somehow liked - and at the same time didn't. She's loyal and a horrible liar - and exactly these traits get her into huge trouble while the King tries to find out what's going on. Her acting was nice though her character was really stupid from time to time.
Of course there does have to be a bad witch in a series like this (though she's not exactly a witch but you get where I'm coming from). At some point I was literally waiting for her to just die. Though Mi-ryung/Hyang-sun played by Yoo In-young was beautiful and the obsessed acting was pretty much what I expected. A character you start to hate but one also likes to find out more about why she behaves the way she does.
Other actors in this drama include Kim Myung-soo as King Injo, Jeon Noh-min as Choi Myung-gil, Park Young-kyu as Kim Ja-jum and Kim Sung-min as Yong Gol-dae.

Soundtrack: I personally found the soundtrack to be pretty good. I LOVED the song "All For One" by NOXX and DinDin a lot though I thought they played the song too loud in the drama - it wasn't in the background anymore. The other songs seemed more subtle in a way but then again nothing can compare to a rock song as music played while fighting (at least that's where I saw it in my imagination when I first listened to it).

SO how am I going to rate this drama? 8.5/10 for a solid drama that's somewhat based on Alexandre Dumas' The Three Musketeers but in a Korean background.
I liked it. It's sometimes too funny for a serious historical drama but I think that's what they intended to do and it was nice the way it was. They ended it with an open ending though because there were supposed to be three seasons - tvN cancelled the other two.
A beautifully filmed drama and good acting in general with an interesting story but the last parts were rushed while other things were dragged a little.

I'd consider this drama as highly recommendable though! So give it a try.

Freitag, 30. September 2016

Kang Koo's Story

강구 이야기 (Kang Koo's Story) is a South Korean drama special that was aired on March 29th and March 30th 2014 on SBS.

Story: Kyung-tae is considered a good-for-nothing gangster and goes to Kanggu, a place at the coast. After a friend of his died, he wants to take care of his friend's older sister Moon-sook and her son Kang-koo. As the story goes, Kyung-tae falls in love with Moon-sook and also becomes closer to Kang-koo but there are two problems - the two of them don't know that his friend and Moon-sook's brother, Jung-soo, died and Moon-sook is sick..

Cast: Lee Dong-wook as Kyung-tae showed a huge variety of emotions in this drama, at least this was my personal feeling. I liked his acting as well as his character after all though it wasn't a kind of character one would expect in a series dealing with "gangsters".
Park Joo-mi as Yang Moon-sook was nice to watch in this movie as well. She seemed to soft in some parts I think, for a strong woman who's working even though she's sick and who raised a child mostly on her own it's just that it didn't work that well.
Shin Dong-woo as Kang-koo was just the perfect son. His acting was good, the way his character changed was portrayed in a nice way and in general his acting seemed stable. Regarding the fact he's one of these "child actors" (he was like 15/16 when this was filmed) he's definitely an actor to look out for in the coming years.

Soundtrack: The soundtrack supported this drama perfectly! The only problem about this soundtrack is that basically no one knows all of the songs that were included and I couldn't find any information on that! Grrrrr..

In general I gave this drama special a 6.5/10 rating solely because I did have some.. too melodramatic aspects. It's not that much my style but I still enjoyed watching it after all. The scenery is incredibly beautiful in this drama so if you want to see some wonderful places in South Korea, this drama might also be to your liking.

Recommended if you like sweet but sad love stories and not that much blood!

Freitag, 23. September 2016

My Tutor Friend 2

동갑내기 과외하기 레슨 II (My Tutor Friend: Lesson 2) is a South Korean movie directed by Kim Ho-jung and Ji Kil-woong and was released on April 19th 2007.

Story: Junko Kitano is an exchange student from Japan who plans to study in Korea to find Woo-sung and learn the Korean language. She lives in a guesthouse in which the friendly owner is cooking for his son and the tenants. At some point she finds out that the room she rented is actually the room of the owner, Heo Jong-man. She plans on leaving the guesthouse but Jong-man's father offers her a package deal - he makes Jong-man teach Junko Korean. Since Jong-man doesn't want to tutor the exchange student, he gets her into a lot of trouble and the two start fighting each other..

Cast: Lee Chung-ah is in this movie as Kitano Junko. I openly admit that my Japanese is not that good so I don't know how good she was at Japanese but acting as if she's at a beginner level when it comes to speaking her own language seems kind of difficult to me. Of course it is her job as an actress but I found it believable (I even checked whether she was Korean-Japanese mixed or something). Park Ki-woong as Heo Jong-man was also really nice to watch, someone working hard because of a sad past. He's a talented actor and his acting in this movie in general was good though I sometimes felt it was overdone - but then again it was supposed to be a comedy.
Jong-man's father Heo Ha-ryong was played by Lee Young-ha and I really loved this kind of father-son-relationship. It was some chaos but it was somehow cute and that's what actually makes things more interesting and somewhat more realistic (though not all parents occasionally insult their children in playful ways I guess).

After all this movie is more realistic than the first one though it is not always a good idea to travel to another country to find someone you loved.
A 7.5/10 rating seems to work well in my opinion. The movie is funny but does have it's serious moments so sometimes it loses some of it's strength but it's still pretty much alright.

Recommended to Rom-com fans and of course fans of the lead actors!

Freitag, 16. September 2016

My Tutor Friend

동갑내기 과외하기 (My Tutor Friend) is a South Korean movie directed by Kim Kyeong-hyeong and released on February 7th 2013.

Story: Choi Su-wan is a sophomore in college who has to work to pay her tuition fees after her father lost his job and opened a chicken restaurant with her mother. Tutoring is a difficult job since most of the students are more interested in female features. After quitting another job, her mom gets angry and makes it clear that Su-wan has to work. A rich friend of her mother asks her to tutor her son, Kim Ji-hoon, who's 21 years old but still a high school student. Ji-hoon, being well-known for causing trouble, is not interested in studying but his father wants him to graduate. Though Ji-hoon's behavior drives her crazy, she can't lose this job again and decides to teach him some manners..

Cast: Kim Ha-neul as Choi Su-wan was basically born for her role. In some parts, her character reminded me of Jan-di in the drama Boys Over Flowers and I love that kind of confident characters who know how to defend themselves if it is needed. She was really good in this movie.
Kwon Sang-woo as Kim Ji-hoon was also really good. I loved the way he portrayed a rebellious character but I don't think it was necessary to make him as a character that "stupid". It was okay but not necessary - after all that's the writers' fault and not about the actor.
I couldn't do anything but admire how beautiful Kim Ji-woo was a Ho-kyung but she was this typical type of Mary Sue-character. The movie didn't really need her in my honest opinion. The acting was a little childish though but I guess that might be because of the movie being a little older. Gong Yoo as Lee Joon-soo, the high school boss, actually made this movie a little more funny. A funny character and strong acting were the strong comical part this series had.

This movie got a 8/10 rating from me because it is funny and cute but does have it's serious moments. It has the chance of maybe becoming one of my favorite romance movies in Korea. Yes, they could've made it a little shorter again (why do I have the feeling Korean movies are generally longer than US or German movies?!) but it's not like the movie really turned out boring. Not even in parts.

Recommended to all the rom-com fans who don't mind watching some older movies!

Freitag, 9. September 2016


말아톤 (Marathon) is a South Korean movie directed by Jeong Yoon-chul and was released in January 2005. The movie is based on the real story of Bae Hyeong-jin and was the 4th most attended movie in South Korea in 2005.

Story: Yoon Cho-won is a young man with autism who's living with his mother and his younger brother Jung-won. His brother is sometimes jealous because of the attention Cho-won gets from their mother even though he learned to live with his disability in a society that doesn't deal with disabilities openly. The only way for Cho-won to find real joy and release is running. After placing third in a race his mother decides to hire a coach to train him for a marathon - and Cho-won's dream is to break the record.

Cast: Yoon Cho-won was played by Cho Seung-woo in this movie. His portrayal of an autistic character was realistic and therefore excellent. Also, Kim Mi-sook as Kyung-sook, Cho-won's mother, delivered an excellent performance. It seems these actors really did some serious research on the issues a family with an autistic child experiences.
Lee Ki-young as Coach Son Jung-wook represented a part of society in fact. As a character he didn't know how to deal with autism at first and he slowly learned about the disability and how to handle an autistic athlete. Though he was a minor character, his growth was impressive.
And Baek Sung-hyun is in this movie as Yoon Jung-won. While he didn't have that much screentime, his acting was stable - a jealous but also caring brother. Of course this might not have been his best role but it was good after all.

In the end my rating for this movie is 6/10 not because of the acting but it's simply a movie showing the life of a family. It's rather slow-paced, the story in itself is interesting but it was too long in some parts so it turned out to be a little boring with the duration of roughly two hours.

Freitag, 2. September 2016

Orange Marmalade

오렌지 마말레이드 (Orange Marmalade) is a South Korean drama series based on a webtoon that aired from May 15th to July 24th 2015 on KBS2.

Story: In a fictional world, vampires and humans coexist in the same society. However, vampires are still discriminated against so they have to hide their true identity. Baek Ma-ri is a high school student who had to move with her family after being found out a few times already. After moving again, she becomes more careful so she won't need to transfer to another school again. In school she meets Jung Jae-min who hates vampires because of past events involving his mother. Jo Ah-ra who has a crush on Jae-min creates some difficult situations for Ma-ri while she's getting closer to Jae-min. Shortly after that, Han Shi-hoo transfers to the same school. Since he remembers Ma-ri from his childhood, he recognizes her in a tough situation and decides to help her out a few more times.

Cast: The cast and the acting in general is okay. Yeo Jin-goo did a good job as Jung Jae-min though I felt like sometimes he was too cold - something was missing in his expression. Kim Seol-hyun in general did have similar issues as Baek Ma-ri. She seemed too stiff but overall her performance in this drama was okay, nothing especially good or bad either.
Lee Jong-hyun as Han Shi-hoo simply delivered. Now I am not biased but I liked his acting and I liked his character - probably these factors are basically the same but I'm not really sure how to describe it. When the first highschool part ended, I was frustrated because I just thought they couldn't do that to him. Jo Ah-ra played by Gil Eun-hye was someone on the other hand I hated at first but came to like during the "past events" part. Her character in itself was understandable but the change from liking one person to just accepting without doing anything was faster than I expected but then again that's what I liked about her.
A rather unknown actress, but I loved Oh Kyung-min as Choi Soo-ri in this series. Sure she did have some of her insecure moments but she's definitely an actress I should look out for.
Lastly, I need to mention Song Jong-ho as teacher Han Yoon-jae and Lee Il-hwa as Kang Min-ha. While I personally liked Han Yoon-jae more that might be because he was in more scenes - a caring teacher always trying to support his students. Kang Min-ha, Jae-min's mother, was a respectable person, too. She didn't try to force her son into seeing her. She just accepted his wishes though it was obvious how glad she was when he finally met her again.

OST: There were basically two songs included in the soundtrack I sincerely loved and still love. One of them is "끌리는 여자 (Attracted Woman)" by Monsta X's Kihyun and Jooheon. It's a beautiful and light song that captured the atmosphere in quite a few of the scenes, not some overly dramatic sad love song. And then there's Hwanhee's "아프다 (Heartbreaking)", the kind of rather sad but beautiful songs performed by a great vocalist.

In total this drama received a 7/10 rating from me. The first few episodes were okay, the parts playing in back in the Joseon Dynasty were awesome (I loved that, they could've turned that into another drama..) and the last high school part was also nice but nothing too special. The ending was a rather open one but did not leave too many questions. It's something short and fun to watch and plays with tropes while I did see some critical ideas in this drama as well. (E.g. bullying someone because he/she is different.)
Something short, light and nice to enjoy between melodramas I'd say~.