Category Archives: Reviews

I Need Romance 3 – A Review

The third installment of the I Need Romance series ended this week.  I will be sad to see this particular storyline go.   I’m a sucker for narration.  I love to hear what people are thinking.   This is part of why I love reading so much.  Screenwriter  Jung Hyun Jung has really outdone themselves with this one.  The I Need Romance series have always been popular for their higher level of intimacy and relationship development.   While still really clean by American standards, for those Kdrama viewers who want real kiss scenes with some heat, this series delivers.

The story line follows a group of people in their 20’s and 30’s who work for a home shopping channel.   In the midst of trying to be successful at their jobs they cope with falling in and out of love,  betrayals and unexpected surprises.

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Joo Wan , played by Sung Joon,  is a music producer who has been in love with the daughter of his nanny his whole life. Do to his mother moving to the States, he lost contact with Shin Joo Yun, nicknamed “Shing Shing” and has returned 17 years later for professional and personal reasons.   When he left, Shing Shing was warm, kind and his whole world.  On his return, he is less than pleased with the emotional state of the girl he’s never forgotten.

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Shin Joo Yun, played by Kim So Yun,  is a  merchadise director for a home shopping channel.  She’s tough, focused, very good at her job and trusts absolutely nobody.   She was six years old when Wan came into her life and she was forced to help her mother take care of him.  She nicked named him “Sweet Potato” because she thought he was an ugly baby.   When our story starts, she is expecting her current boyfriend to propose to her and his way of “checking her feelings” leaves her cold and rejected.

When our Hero and Heroine meet for the first time,  she doesn’t recognize Wan for who he is.  He’s going by the American name of Allen Joo and while she finds him cute, he is confused and disturbed by her cold personality toward others.  He immediately starts his campaign to re-enter her life and she falls for him, however, he hasn’t yet told her who he really is.   When she finally finds out who he is… then the hard work begins.

3 other couples round out our cast.    We have the couple who is just starting out, the friends with benefits couple and the “I regret breaking up with you” couple.   To say that life doesn’t go as planned for any of our four couples is putting it mildly.

Noona romances are always fun to see for me.   Not because I have any particular cougar tendencies but because Korea is very structured in their personal relationships.  They have strong standards for manners between age groups, social classes,  and work relationships.   So to see the occasional series that challenges the status quo  is always fun.  Reading commentaries by local readers tend to be funny when certain situations outside the norm are presented.   The twenty year age gap between our main couple in The Prime Minister and I was another one where people may have felt uncomfortable.   I tend to forget ages when I’m watching these things.   The characters are usually such a good fit that I forget to care that there is something slightly taboo about the situation.

Being fantasy,  the writer tries to give us as many happy endings as she can and there was a realism to the 4 outcomes.  Not everybody lived happily ever after but those that did, it made sense for.  Those who did not, it also wasn’t farfetched why it didn’t work out.

Each episode explored a different dating idea.  The pros and cons of dating within that idea.   I thought this was imaginative and creative.  Without feeling campy, each idea was represented well in the natural lives of our characters.   As a single woman whose been divorced for ten years,  I really connected with the commentary that followed the actors.  The lessons learned, the thoughts remembered.  Loving someone  is not easy, sometimes brutal, but so worth the effort to figure out.

This was a really good romantic drama.  I think you will enjoy watching it.

I will leave you with my favorite quote from the whole thing.

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New Blogger and Drama Club post 3

I’ve invited my friend Taleena who is one of my two partner’s in crime for the Bride of the Century Drama Club to join me here making posts on this blog.  She’ll bring some fun content as she talks about her interests as a result of her love of kdramas.  Where my love tends to influence my music choices, she loves the food.   She is an ajumma just like me and will make her own introductions.

And our 3rd post for Bride of the Century is now up, so here’s our review of Episode 3.

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If you click on the picture, you’ll notice big brother looking stunned in the background.

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So Much Fun

This week saw myself so busy I could hardly think straight.   I feel like a zombie, I’m so tired, but I wanted to get these links up before I passed out as tomorrow starts our second week as the Bride of the Century Drama Club.  I had so much fun with Firnlambe and Taleena.  For several days as we dealt with trying to meet our deadlines even though the computer decided to not accept uploaded images, or recognize that we were authorized to post on it.   We laughed and cried so much this week and I haven’t had so much fun in a long time.  I loved being able to spend several days talking about what we liked and didn’t in this new drama.  I just don’t get that with my normal circle of friends.  I need more kdrama addict friends!  lol!

So here we go, if you’re already on Dramafever then these are old news to you, but I’m still sharing.

Part 1      Part 2

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Bride of the Century Ep. 1 and 2

Episodes 1 and 2  both aired this week and our Drama Club has submitted our reviews to DF and now its my turn for my own personal commentary on this weeks shows.

A devious ghost, feisty women and a man cold enough to get his own winter storm name from the weather channel make up this newest dish for our drama addictions.  I personally was excited to see it because I just wanted to see Jeremy play a jerk.   Thankfully Lee Hong Ki is very good and I quickly fell into character with him.  Yang Jin Sung plays our “look alike” female heroines who are different as night and day.   I was excited to see Jin Sung again because I enjoyed her performance in City Hunter as a bodyguard at Blue House.  She was still kicking butt here and that was fun.  She does an outstanding job playing both characters  of  Yi Kyung/Doo Rim.  2 episodes in and I couldn’t see the resemblance.  She moves and talks so differently that I have no problem buying that its too different people.

I was happy to find out the ghost story was real.   The Ghost makes quite a few appearances in the first episode.  She kills her first victim,  sets up to have Doo Rim rescue her from drowning and then “gifts” her with a  “lucky bracelet” to help her find true love.   Lucky…..yeah right.  She intimidates a psychic and follows our Hero to work.   Whatever the reason, this Ghost clearly has an agenda and has some personal preferences in how this plays out.  I guess if you are going to get to take the soul of the first wife of each first born son you’d get picky, too.

Yi Kyung really gets the raw end of the stick and I don’t blame her one wit for taking off and running away.   She gets treated like a puppet, used, abused and then gets derision heaped all over her.  We have the jealous friend/secretary/childhood sweetheart who just makes matters worse .   Loveless business marriage….woohoo…what every little girl dreams of.   Right?  No?  Yeah… me neither.

Doo Rim is Yi Kyung’s poorer, no relation look alike.  Forced into pretending to be Yi Kyung courtesy of a bad business associate and her dying grandmother who needs surgery,  Doo Rim  submits to temporarily pretending to be the missing girl.   Little does she realize our Ghost has now put her exactly where she wants her.

While the curse is always there, nobody wants to talk about it because, hey….who would sell…”cough cough”…marry their daughter into THAT family?   There is an ongoing debate between the staff and various family members on whether the rumors are true or not.   Thankfully, we the audience aren’t left in the dark….

Our second episode  really lets the comedy play.    We have magically appearing bracelets,  fights with dishonest Ajummas,  stumbles that lead to kisses,  love triangles and through it all we have our cold hero Kang Joo trying to chase off  our fake Yi Kyung (Doo Rim) by acting all alpha male over her.   Doo Rim isn’t’ having any of that, of course and she lets him know it.   I love it when the women aren’t wilting flowers.  At one point, our catty friend confesses to Kang Joo where Doo Rim can hear it and while they didn’t know she was there,  Doo Rim could care less.  After all, its not her wedding.   Kang Joo even tries to bring it up later and she just ignores him.   She was more worried about the cat she was holding then Kang Joo’s need to either absolve himself or cause a problem.

No thanks, I’m not interested in your love triangle, I’ll be over here thank you.  lol

Our Ghost, while not making as many appearances, still shows her influence by getting Doo Rim, not once but TWICE  to trip and fall on our cold hero leading to compromised positions and unwanted kisses.   Seeing Kang Joo covered in matches was priceless.

So far,  this drama has me intrigued and I’m enjoying the underplay.   I’m also going to have a lot of fun talking and playing with Taleena and Firnlambe.

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Cute Movie Reviews

I’m going to review 3 movies I’ve seen recently on You Tube.

MY MIGHTY PRINCESS

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Shin Min-a plays So-hwi, a girl who is a martial arts prodigy who has a very large crush on Joon-mo, kid in red hat played by Yoo Gun, who is a star on the college hockey team.  On Joo-wan plays Il-yeong, who grew up with So-hwi and is also great at martial arts and is her best friend.

The basic idea of the movie is that So-hwi gets tired of being the super strong martial arts freak at her school.  Its made worse by her crush on a boy on the hockey team.  She abandons her martial arts to chase after the boy she likes and her father, who is also a martial arts master bribes her friend ll-yeong to bring her back into the family business.  II-yeong, who wants the bribe of a motorcycle goes to her school and pesters her trying to get her to change her mind.

This movie I found to be cute and silly but strangely bi-polar.   It starts out with a romantic introduction, then switches to a mediocre school crush movie and then ends with an amazing conclusion that ties to the movie’s opening.  The movie is so different in the middle that I forgot the introduction until we get to the final fight scene.   There is a supernatural element involved in the story that is the only consistent thread tying the whole movie together, which is a good thing because otherwise it would be a really stupid movie.   I loved the twist at the end, it tore my heart a little because I really came to like the character involved, but its why I ended up really liking the movie.   Its definitely a B-movie,  but its still enjoyable to watch.

My Little Bride

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Bo-Eun (Moon Geun-Young) is an ordinary high school girl who worries about SAT’s and has a crush on her school’s baseball team ace, named Jung-Woo (Park Jin-Woo). One day, Bo-Eun’s grandfather orders her to marry Sang-Min (Kim Rae-Won). When they were very young, Bo-Eun’s and Sang-Min’s grandfathers had promised that they would become in-laws. Despite their opposition, they are forced to marry because of the strong influence of Bo-Eun’s grandfather. Bo-Eun’s undercover married life begins: She pretends that she doesn’t have a husband and starts dating Jung-Woo. Bo-Eun believes that she can manage both men and live a double life. Everything goes smoothly until Sang-Min visits Bo-Eun’s school as a student teacher… (thank you wikipedia)

This is a cute film.  Just adorable.   If your looking for something silly and sweet to watch, this is a good choice.   When I first saw it, my eye brows raised at a high schooler marrying a college age kid, but at no time is Sang-min creepy towards her.  He never forgets that she is still a kid and that this is a forced marriage to placate their grandfather whom both love.   In fact, when he discovers her crush on the other boy, he patiently and quietly lets her continue dating the other boy.   His quiet love for her is a warm, tender thread throughout the whole movie.   Rae-won and Geun-young  show off why they are favorites in the kdrama world and with good reason.

100 DAYS WITH MR. ARROGANT

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Another fun pair to watch.

After being dumped by her boyfriend just before their 100 day anniversary, Ha-Young (Ha Ji-Won), meets a college guy named Hyung-Joon (Kim Jae-Won) when she accidentally kicks a can that hits him in the face and causes him to scratch his Lexus. He demands she pay him $3000 on the spot. What follows is a slave contract to pay back the owing amount, however,  after much hassle, she finds out that it only cost $10 dollars to fix.  She then proceeds to let him have it.  To get revenge and to keep her under his thumb, he then shows up as her tutor.  More hi-jinks ensue and before they know it, they find that they don’t hate each other like they thought.

Jae-won tends to play more mellow characters and so it was fun watching him be a jerk in this.  Ji-won is one of my favorite actresses because she always kicks butt.  Even if her character is stupid, they still can kick butt.  She doesn’t do helpless well and thank goodness. I don’t get the helpless act in women.  Yes, I’ve seen the results and I know guys really go for it, but both of my parents would have killed me if me or my sisters had ever been that way.  lol

This movie has a very satisfying romantic ending and a funny comedy vignette afterwards.  So, if you’re in the mood for a feisty romantic comedy, this is a good one.

There is a lot of eye candy in these three movies.   All 4 men are handsome  and all 3 ladies are not wilting flowers.

 

 

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The Prime Minister and I

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I just finished watching this drama and really loved it.

Synopsis:   At 42 years old, Kwon Yul (Lee Beom-soo) is South Korea’s youngest prime minister ever. On top of his reputation of being an honest man of the utmost integrity, he’s also a widower who raises his three children alone. But what the public doesn’t know is that despite his perfect image, Yul is actually a struggling father devoid of even the most basic of parenting skills. Nam Da-jung (Im Yoona) is a journalist who resorts to writing for a trashy tabloid to support her ailing father, but when she chases Prime Minister Kwon for a lucrative exposé, she ends up scooping a whole lot more than she bargained for and the two end up in a contract marriage. (thank you Wikipedia)

That’s your basic plot line of this romantic comedy.  Many dramas call themselves romantic comedies and don’t have enough comedy.  This one has plenty, but they are careful with its use and use it to great effect to lighten up otherwise overly serious characters.

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The character of Kwon Yul is that of a stuffed shirt.  He’s autocratic, stiff,  runs his home more in a military fashion then with warmth.  You can tell he loves his kids but he has no idea how to give them the warmth that they would get from their mother, who has passed away.  He’s trying hard to be straight in the crooked world of politics and has at his side a rabidly loyal aid, played by Chae Jung-An,  who he’s known most of his life.  He’s a character that you could easily dislike at first.  In fact, you probably won’t like him until the first comedy bit happens.  This is where the comedy is used to such great effect.  All the comedy happens as imagination vignettes.  One character is thinking “oh what could happen if I do this….”   And its crazy fun.   Beom-Soo really gets to play both sides of the coin for this character because he has these moments to make the character fun so you can like him.  Without these moments, you wouldn’t watch a Lead character that is so pedantic.

Yoona gets to play our sweet but tough Da-Jung.  She’s a bit of a clutz, goofy and sincere, but she doesn’t back down.  I often have a hard time liking the female lead character in dramas for the first couple of episodes because the trend is to show a girl for whom life just isn’t working and she’s annoying.   It often takes a couple of episodes to let her calm down and just tell the story and THEN she’s good.   You don’t get that too much with Da-Jung.  She is not annoying, you love her quickly and since we start the drama with her starting her story, you’re already in her corner.   I fell in love with Yoona’s spunk when she did Love Rain, so I was happy to see her again and knew I would enjoy watching her.   Da- Jung is a brave character who just wants to make her father happy who is dying of Alzheimers and a tumor.

Yoon Si-Yoon plays our second male lead Kang In-Ho.  He’s Yul’s Chief of Staff who has a huge crush on Da-Jung.   He falls for her first and if it wasn’t for the bizarre circumstances of the plot,  the audience knows they would have ended up together.  It adds a bittersweet touch to his already sad character story.   His brother lies in a vegetable state and we learn early that In-Ho is intent on getting revenge on the person who made his brother that way.   It was nice to see Si-Yoon play a second lead character.   He’s such a great actor that he claimed lead roles very early.   Most of us know him from Baker King and then fell for his endearing character Enrique in Flower boy next door.  He has been the lead in a couple other dramas and so he’s used to holding his own.  This fares him well in this drama because Beom-Soo is so commanding of the screen as Yul that only strong actors can stand next to him and still shine.

Chae Jung-An and Ryu Jin play the loyal aid Seo Hye-Joo and Yul’s brother in law and fellow ministry official Park Joon-Ki.    Hye-Joo is has known both Yul and Joon-Ki since they were kids and has been in love with Yul since then.  She has stayed by his side through all the ups and downs and is frustrated that she can’t take her place at his side.  Joon-Ki on the other hand hates Yul, who he blames for his sister’s death. He is also jealous of him because he’s been in love with Hye-Joo since they were kids and she turned him down flat in her preference for Yul.   He works to undermine  Yul’s position as Prime Minister any way that he can.

I really liked this drama.  It had a great blend of story and comedy in the right places.  It did not go in the direction I was expecting and I’m so glad for that because I didn’t want to see good characters get destroyed.   The ending is well thought out and sweet.    Some other reviewers felt like it was rushed but I thought it was appropriate.   I was surprised how often I saw commentators upset by the difference in the ages of our two leads, about 15 years difference, but I thought it worked well once the story got going.   That never bothered me.  I also didn’t realize that I was already acquainted with Beom-Soo as an actor.  I had thought this was my first exposure to him until I found out I had already watched him in Dr. Jin.  Did not recognize him at all.   I’ve gone back to re-watch Dr. Jin just to watch Beom-Soo.

Over all, this is a really good drama with a serious story line interspersed with light moments to keep the story fun and engaging.

 

 

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A Werewolf Boy

 

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When I found this movie on Netflix, I had just finished watching SungKyunKwan Scandal.  Having thoroughly enjoyed the 4 actors who make up the main cast  of that drama (review coming later) I was keen to see what else they had been up to.  Song Joong-Ki, who you see in the picture above,  is an excellent actor and I was curious about a movie that described itself as a supernatural love story.

Soon-Yi is sitting at a breakfast table with her children and grandchildren when she gets a call from Korea.  Surprised by whatever she is told over the phone, she informs her family that she has to go back to Korea.  Once there, she meets up with her granddaughter and goes to a property that she used to live on when she was a girl.  The movie then goes back in time as Soon-Yi remembers moving to the property as a girl with her mother and little sister.  Helped by a spoiled rich brat who considers Soon-Yi his, their family soon settles into their new home.  While there, they discover a young man living as a wild animal on the property.   Cautious and starving,  he allows the family to take him in and care for him.   He can’t speak, has no manners and acts no different then any dog.  Soon-Yi is at first repulsed by this ill mannered mongrel but soon warms up to him when she realizes that he possesses a gentle nature and is willing to learn.   Ji-Tae, the rich brat with an inferiority complex, views this new male in the household as a threat to his claim on Soon-Yi as it becomes apparent that she prefers the mongrel to his money and said mongrel will protect his new family against him.  Jealous and angry, Ji-Tae starts causing trouble for the family which brings out the boy’s protective instincts with unintended consequences.

Park Bo-Young plays young Soon-Yi  beautifully.  Yoo Yeon-Seok plays our rich brat and I was surprised to see him in this film.  I had just watched him in Gu Family Book where he played a more loving character and so to see him cold and jealous was a hoot to see.  Joong-Ki performance as our werewolf boy was amazing.   You have no problem buying that he is a child brought up as an animal with animal instincts.  From his eyes to his body language, he completely sells the character of Chul-Soo.

The pace of the movie is very good.  The romance between Soon-Yi and Chul-Soo is understated but very real.  You feel the bond between them in every glance and the body language is unreal.  My only beef with the movie comes with the ending, which in typical Asian movie fashion is on the vague side.  I’m not sure why they feel the need to obscure endings, but it seems to be a cultural thing since its so wide spread.  However, the love and longing of Chul-Soo  infects every moment of the movie with heart and you are right there with him, even if the story is technically told from Soon-Yi’s perspective.

If you like a warm love story that has a mild supernatural element, great story telling and a cast that is easy on the eyes, then this is for you.  Nothing is graphic so its safe for all audiences.  As for myself?  I’ve seen this movie several times since I discovered it last year.  On a scale of 1 to 5, I give this movie a 4 because I prefer more concrete endings.

 

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