Freitag, 31. März 2017

The Housemaid

하녀 (The Housemaid) is a South Korean movie that was directed by Im Sang-soo and released in 2010. It is a remake of Kim Ki-young's movie "The Housemaid" that was released in 1960.

Story: Lee Eun-yi starts to work as a maid in the house of a rich family. Her task mainly is to take care of the daughter Nami but also do the housework and cook together with Byeong-sik, a woman who has been working for the family for a long time.
On a family trip Eun-yi gets into an affair with Hoon, the son of a rich family and her boss, who is married to Hae-ra. Hae-ra is pregnant with twins.
Soon Byeong-sik finds out that Eun-yi is pregnant with Hoon's child and tells Hae-ra's mother about it. So the women in the family are trying to get rid of the dark secret.

Cast: Jeon Do-yeon as Lee Eun-yi is the main character in this movie. While her acting was good I also think just by her looks she reminded me of what I would imagine a nanny to look like. Except for a few moments of definitely overdone acting she was good in this movie.
Lee Jung-jae as Hoon is the son of a rich family who always got what he wanted when he wanted it. The acting was good, too, but in some way his character confused me a bit in the end. Anyway, I think it was not about the acting itself but the character.
Hae-ra was played by Seo Woo and I think her acting was too flat. There were some emotions missing in the daily stuff, not only when acting like a jealous wife. So personally I didn't believe in the relationship between Hae-ra and Hoon because of her acting.
Park Ji-young as Hae-ra's mother has a similar problem in my opinion but it is not about a lack of emotions shown. It is more or less a too ruthless way of behavior her character showed and while I was able to believe her acting in that way the interactions with the family members were a little bit strange.
Lastly, Yoon Yeo-jeong as Byeong-sik seems cold and hard as stone but showed a nice change in character especially towards Eun-yi. I personally really think she is a good actress in these type of roles - she seems to become something like a mother or aunt and portrayed that change well.

I saw some really bad reviews of this movie because, yes, it is slow paced. Yes, the story itself is kinda obvious and some people don't even see a story (I don't know how though?). Yes, the ending really is ridiculous and totally influenced my rating but I'm not sure if it happened that way because of the original version from 1960.
However, I gave this movie a 5.5/10 for everything. While it did lack in aspects and definitely does not deserve the genre tags "thriller" and "suspense" it is a good, classical drama/melodrama and if you like those kind of movies you should go for it.

BE WARNED though since this movie has some nudity. So I would say watch it if you think you don't mind sexual scenes.

Freitag, 24. März 2017

71: Into the Fire

포화속으로 (71: Into the Fire) is a South Korean movie based on a real historic event during the Korean war directed by John H. Lee and released in 2010.

Story: The movie starts with Oh Jung-beom being ordered around to deliver supplies to soldiers in need in Yeongdeok. The town is attacked by North Korean soldiers and Jung-beom is saved my Lieutenant Kim Jun-seop who dies to save the student soldier. Full of guilt Jung-beom manages to get to Pohang with another unit of the South Korean army that established a base camp in a girls middle school. As the troops leave to fight at the Nakdong river 71 student-soldiers, most of whom never used a gun before, are left at the middle school to defend the minor strategic point. Kang Suk-dae makes Jung-beom the leader of the student-soldiers because he is one of three of the group who has some combat experience.
One day they are on patrol and get under fire. The feared 766th division of the North Korean army is attacking the group of students. The get an ultimatum to either rise a white flag or the school will be attacked by the division.
After reporting their encounters with the North Korean soldiers, Kang Suk-dae continously asks the commander of the forces at Nakdong river to send support to the school and shortly before the North Koreans attack he leaves with his soldiers for the school to save the students.

Cast: There was not one actor in this movie whom I didn't believe his role. I think they all put their heart and soul into this production and it is visible. T.O.P as Oh Jung-beom was doing especially well in the beginning being the traumtised students. Since he has to take the lead later on it shows that his acting is strong in this movie, the transformation to a leader of the student-soldiers is portrayed well.
Kwon Sang-woo as Gu Kap-jo was really good in his rebellious acting and it seemed as if I saw him before in this role. I don't know if he often plays those rebel characters but it was really good. Kim Seung-woo as Kang Suk-dae was good, too. He seemed sincerely worried about the soldiers on a human basis much more like a father character that doesn't want to see his children die because he had to leave them alone.
Cha Seung-won as Park Mu-rang, the leader of the North Korean division, was a good antagonist. While I personally think his character was sometimes a little bit too careless about orders (I don't think the North Korean military would like that much) it still worked well with the story and totally was not a problem with his acting.
Of course as this is a movie about the Korean war there are lots and lots of actors and I can't name them all but other actors in this movie include Kim Yoon-sung as Poong-chun, Yoon Seung-hoon as Hwang Chang-woo, Kim Hye-seong as Yong-man, Kim Dong-bum as Jae-seon and Shin Hyeon-tak as Dal-yeong.

I personally loved this movie in its real and historic tragedy for portraying the reality of war. Especially the Korean war is a topic I know much about and that is therefore a special topic to me. It is one of the wars where brothers could have happened to fight against each other because of different ideologies or just living places. I had to rate this movie with a 10/10 and also added it to the list of my favorite movies (I'm not a movie person so there aren't that many though..)
I highly recommend this movie if you are interested in Korean history.

Freitag, 17. März 2017

Be Arrogant

도도하라 (Be Arrogant, Be Proud) is a South Korean drama series that was aired on SBS Plus from October 27th to November 24th 2014.

Story: Hong Ha-ra is a bright, energetic and sweet girl working as a tour guide for Chinese tourists who happens to send her boyfriend 5000$ one day. After that he disappears and took all her deposit money. One day she has to move out of her room but doesn't have anywhere to go. The only place she can think of is the house of her boyfriend's sister Do Ra-hee. It turns out that her boyfriend Noh Cheol has been in a relationship with the woman he always called his sister for more than 6 years but she doesn't know where he currently is either. To make money the two women start an online business called Dodohara. When Cheol appears again the three of them live together in the house and get into a complicated relationship based on friendship and love.

Cast: Okay, so at least there are some familiar faces in this drama, let me be happy about this! At first there is Shin So-yul as Do Ra-hee. I honestly enjoyed seeing her in this role, the hot temper was great with her acting and I really liked it how she was not the typical female character in a drama.
On another corner of this love triangle we have Kim Ah-young better known as Yura of Girls Day. I think she did well in the cheerful part but also managed to show the more serious emotions and the temper she developed living with Ra-hee and Cheol.
Yoo Min-kyu as Noh Cheol was another familiar face in this drama. I personally think the flower boy role suits him but something about his character and his indecisive acting didn't really click for me. Maybe it was the way his character was written between those two women but it might have also been his acting.
Go Se-won as himself was the only actor in the cast that appeared frequently that I was not familiar with. I think his acting seemed a little bit less expressive than I would've expected in some parts of this drama and maybe that is his style of acting I didn't quite enjoy in this drama.

Soundtrack: I don't know much about the OST (again) but then again I'm pretty sure it wasn't bad or I would remember that part at least. It's just nothing I would listen to outside of the drama either so somewhere around average.

After all I rated this drama as a 7.5/10. I didn't have high expectations to be honest and that made this drama probably better than it actually was. Such a short drama with 10 episodes and 20 minutes per episode doesn't leave much space for character development but the humor and the way the characters dealt with problems was interesting.
It delivered a solid story line and three entirely different characters who somehow ended up living together and have to sort out their personal lives while earning money. It might not be the best drama ever but if you have some spare time and are looking for something short to watch this drama is not the worst choice.

Freitag, 10. März 2017

Surplus Princess

잉여공주 (Surplus Princess) is a South Korean drama series consisting of 10 episodes that aired on tvN from August 7th to October 9th 2014.

Story: Aileen is the 18th mermaid princess and has a crush on Kwon Shi-kyung. She wants to become a human and steals a potion from An Ma-nyeo. The big problem after drinking the portion is - that she has to find true love within 100 days or she will die or, more correctly, disappear without a trace.
She moves into the "Surplus house" and her new housemates are all unemployed job seekers who experience various difficulties together. Trying to hide her real identity Aileen, going by the name Kim Ha-ni,  tries to gets closer to Shi-kyung not only because of her feelings but also to save her life.

Cast: Another drama on this blog with Jo Bo-ah, in this case as Kim Ha-ni or Aileen. I really like her as an actress but I have a feeling the very bright and cheerful (and somehow stupid) character didn't really suit her well. Also the helplessness in some scenes just didn't feel right.
Ohn Joo-wan as Lee Hyun-myung definitely did an awesome job acting in this drama as the hero always around to save the damsel in mistress. Definitely a very likeable and sweet character but somehow his relationship with Jin-ah in the beginning just made him seem too weak.
Chef Kwon Shi-kyung was played by Song Jae-rim and I think he did a very good job regarding the disease (you will find out more about this when watching the drama but it is not thaaaat bad). For a male lead in a rom-com drama he was actually very nice and charming.
Park Ji-soo as Yoon Jin-ah probably became my most hated character in the drama. The acting was really good and I really enjoyed hating her character a lot. I'm just going to mention the second-female-lead-syndrome and I guess many of you actually understand what I mean.
Kim Seul-gi as Ahn Hye-young was just brilliant in my opinion. I really love her as an actress by now, her singing in this drama was also nice and she was weird at first but turned out so supportive. The character was well played and I don't know what else I should say.
Nam Joo-hyuk as Big was the youngest person in the sharehouse. His character was acted well, too, but I feel like sometimes it lacked some depth in writing or acting, I don't know what is the reason but it was just my impression.
Ahn Kil-kang as An Ma-nyeo had the weird darkness that totally didn't fit the drama this much and that is 100% about the writing. The acting was nice and fit the actor but I personally liked the less mysterious parts of him a little better and thought that it works better with this drama.
Other actors in this drama include Jin Hee-kyung, Kim Min-kyo, Kim Jae-hwa and Lee Sun-kyu.

Soundtrack: I don't know how they did it but a lot of songs that were not the OST for this drama were played. However, sometimes it was just not the right timing and sometimes the songs were a little out of place for me but in total I would say they supported the light and humorous atmosphere.

My rating of this drama is a simple 5.5/10.
The reason is simple: I was so close to dropping this drama during the first episodes. Somewhere in episode 4 or 5 it became bearable and I didn't want to kill the main character anymore (yaaay). Still the humor in this drama was so flat in the first episodes that I could just sit here, shake my head and hope the writer stopped taking whatever he or she took while writing the first episodes. If a drama has 10 episodes and I would rate the first 4 episodes as a 0 or maybe 1 of 10 something is seriously off.
However, as I said it became bearable and even enjoyable even though some of the jokes were still stupid but maybe I just got used to it.
The idea itself wasn't bad, it kinda reminds me of the little mermaid, but also has it's differences.
Oh, and what is still in my mind is the ending. I'm not sure if I like it or not but.. it is refreshing but something I would wish for in any drama with those annoying and rude male leads..
I wouldn't really recommend this to anyone, honestly, unless this is totally your kind of humor but.. you know the risk and don't say I didn't warn you.

Freitag, 3. März 2017

Killer K

소녀 K (Little Girl K, Killer K) is a South Korean short drama series described by channel CGV as a TV movie consisting of 3 episodes. It aired on CGV from August 27th to September 10th 2011.

Story: Cha Yeon-jin is a highschool student who was taught various martial arts starting from her childhood. One day she meets her friends at the port and in a shooting where many people get killed she and police officer Choi Tae-young are the only survivors.
In the same night, Yeon-jin's mother disappears and the young girl who got suspended from school tries to find and save her with the help of Yoo Sung-ho, an old friend of her mother.
Two years later, Yeon-jin is supposedly dead and sneaked into SS1 to get revenge. Going by the name Kim So-yeon she is a professional killer taking out those who are working against the company. Chief Min Ji-young took care of and trained her during the past years which gives Yeon-jin professionalism even though she wants to stop working for the company.

Cast: This drama was the first role for singer-songwriter Han Groo as Cha Yeon-jin and it was just a badass but also multidimensional character that her acting was awesome for a debut.
Kim Jung-tae as Yoo Sung-ho was also very good as a protective father-character. I would've wished to know more about his background though, and why exactly he decided to leave SS1 back in the days.
Baek Do-bin as Choi Tae-young gave it some comedious feeling which was just nice and refreshing to watch in a series that is 95% based on action (what I'm totally in for though).
Park Hyo-joo as Min Ji-young was definitely also a character that was so badass in so many ways. The acting was great but I would've loved to know more about the character and why she started working for the company.
Kim Roe-ha as Jang Se-wook was just annoying me so much. The acting was great but I was hoping for someone to at least make him shut up.. Probably not a character you will be able to stand if you like religion as much as I do.

Soundtrack: Oh, the soundtrack.. a very difficult thing. I loved the music they used but of course there aren't many songs you can listen to to remember this drama since it is only short and the OST literally consists of two parts. However, the instrumental music was good and I really enjoyed it.

In total I rated this drama as a 8/10. It is packed with action and an independent female lead, it was interesting and also included some lighter scenes like highschool lovey-dovey but it also had dark moments. While I personally really enjoyed the story I couldn't stand Jang Se-wook and was close to turning off the sound.
Another problem about this series was the lack of background information. It wouldn't have been that hard to give some more information in one or two lines. Oh, and making the mother that stupid (yes, she's worried about her child but runs into a trap) was just unnecessary. So it could've been better but that still doesn't mean it is bad.

That was me in highschool every single day when I was finally allowed to go home!