Tuesday, June 13, 2017

262. Baek Hee is Back 백희가 돌아왔다 (2016) Korean

Kang Ye Won, Jin Ji Hee, Kim Sung Oh, Choi Dae Chul, In Gyo Jin, Choi Philip

Drama Rating: 9/10     Neck Score: A+

I've been waiting for this to be subbed for forever!  Ever since I heard about it coming.  But, since it was a drama special, it took a little while.  I'm not sure when it actually got subbed, but as soon as I saw that it was, I had to binge watch the whole thing.  It's only 4 episodes, so that is not a huge deal, but I was going to do it no matter what.  Because I love Kim Sung Oh.  So.  Much.

It has kind of a Mama Mia theme, as we have the mom and daughter and then three potential fathers.  The daughter, naturally, decides to figure out which one was her father, since they were all obviously acting so obvious.

It's about that, of course, but it really is about the mother and daughter's relationship.  When it starts out, with the family moving back to the island after so many years, they have a really bad relationship.  The daughter is in full rebellion, and the mom is fed up.  She is also hiding what she considers her dark past, so that she seems refined and proper.  The daughter thinks she is the worst, not knowing that they are really, really similar.  From the streaks in the hair to being little thugs.  The mom even changed her name, going by So Hee, so that when the daughter, Ok Hee, hears all about the legendary Baek Hee, she has no idea it's her mom.

Then she gets annoyed/amused when all the ajhussi in the town start being too nosy and kind to her, and she decides to get the most out of it.  It also is good for her, because she is starved for that kind of fatherly love, that she was never able to have growing up.  But it also helps her to learn more about her mother, now that the past gets revealed.  As if she could hide anything on an island that size.

I loved everything about this show.  From the plot, to the three stooges/fathers, to the lovely 90s past scenes, to the small town island feel.  I especially loved Kim Sung Oh.  He was so attractive in those plaid button ups over the tees with the sleeves rolled up, and his captain hat and aviators, and especially as he was such a cute, protective, nice guy.  Totally my style.

It's short.  It's cute.  It's funny.  It's heartwarming.  It gave me all the feels and I was giggling happily by the end.  Also, my phone is now full of Kim Sung Oh screenshots, so I could die happy now...

260. The King of Romance 如朕親臨 (2016) Taiwanese

Lego Lee, Cindy Lien, Gabriel Lan, Serena Fang, Ricie Fun

Drama Rating: 7/10     Neck Score: A

This was completely not what I expected.  All of the synopses made it sound way more about reincarnation.  I wouldn't have minded seeing more of that either, but it really didn't need it, since that wasn't really what it was about.  It was about fate, but not in that way, necessarily.  I was surprised how into it I got, considering it seemed pretty typical.  She was the typical try hard candy character, and he was the gruff tsundere.  But I did like the twists they put in to keep it from just being that.  At least they set up the misunderstandings so they were a little bit believable.  He didn't think she was a stalker until it was suggested to him, after lots of awkward encounters.  She only thought he was a pyeontae because of an unfortunate overhearing of a slang term.  Yeah, it was pretty typical, but isn't that why we like it?

I did really like how they both had their careers.  While she was a hard working chef, we also got to see that she had her problems.  Her complacent attitude about her work or anything in life.  She was like the opposite of a perfectionist, where just good enough was good enough.  Almost right, and so on.  For a workaholic like her, that was an interesting combo.  It was like she was obsessed with working, but had lost her ambition and drive for improvement or perfection.

He was overly blunt, which is a typical trait for a male lead, but we also clearly got to see from the beginning that he was wearing a mask.  He was the cool, smart doctor, who said things too harshly, but he was also a softie.  We could tell that he cared about his patients, even when he seemed too gruff with them, as he would continue to take care of them off of work, or after his part was done.  He was an OB/GYN because he loved children and wanted to ensure their healthy and safe delivery into the world.  That's adorable.

I did say it was all about fate.  Gao Bing Bing, our female lead, is the romantic type who believes in reincarnation, and is waiting for her seventh lover, who she has dreams about from her previous lives.  Sometimes a soldier, sometimes and emperor, etc.  Wang Nuo, our male lead, is a doctor who believes in science.  They are first internet gaming friends who happen to be called Romeo and Juliet.  Then when they meet in real life, of course they don't like each other.  She thinks her fated match is her pastry chef teacher, Bruce Li (hahaha).  Wang Nuo thinks she is just annoying, especially since she doesn't take care of herself.  They meet in real life first as he steals her bike parking spot, and then as he is randomly her gynecologist.  Haha, she ran away as soon as he said she needed an internal check up.  Then he becomes her landlord... and so on.

I loved how their relationship grew.  From hating each other, to tolerating, to becoming friends, to falling in love, it was lovely to watch.  Especially as they were always on a different page, but somehow on the same page.  As they said in the show, they were on the same page of fate, or something like that.  Also, I love Lego Lee.  His acting is good.  He is especially good at crying.  He does this little lip tremble that is so good!  Also, he might be one of the only guys to snort up his snot while crying, and I appreciate that.  That's real crying there.  There were also some twists that I jokingly said would happen, then when it really did I shouted "omo, omo, daebak!" really loud because I had headphones on.  A plot twist that suddenly made everything make sense, but made that bitca first love girl go crazy.

The worst part about it was the drama at the end seemed a little forced.  All of the dramatic parts were super dramatic, that is just how most Taiwanese dramas work.  I got sick of that childhood friend/first love girl.  I wished there had been more to the second romance couple.  I don't know why she needed to break up with him just to figure out her feelings, etc.  Little things like that.  Mostly I just loved it, and especially the main couple.  They were cute, especially since they were mostly best friends, but also cute lovers.  His confession though.  Aw!

This is really long... I must have liked it... a lot.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Feast of Dramas: First Look at the Early Summer Lineup 2017

I tend to watch pretty much every drama that is being subbed at the time.  I'm just one of those people.  Usually have at least six going at once.  Lately it's been with my besties Lizabreff and Curdy, which is fun.  I'm a finisher, so I will usually just finish all of them no matter what.  Most of that time it's not too bad either, some better than others.  It's not often that you get a feast of what appears to be the good ones.


It usually happens once a year, at the start of summer vacation.  Normally the good dramas with be scattered around all year, but right as school gets out, I swear they cram as many exciting, good dramas together at once so that we don't even know how we're going to finish all of them.  It happens, rarely, but it's happening to me right now.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

253. Chicago Typewriter 시카고 타자기 (2017) Korean

Yoo Ah In, Im Soo Jung, Go Kyung Pyo, Kwak Si Yang

Drama Rating: 8/10     Neck Score: A+

Ghost ghostwriters and memories of the past life rolled into a beautiful story about friendship and forgiveness?  Yeah, I liked it.  It was hilarious, sweet, and sad.  Those last two episodes were so cry.  I loved how everyone changed and grew.  It was a rocky start at first because everyone had some much growing to do at first.  But once the ghost came and the bromance began, it was beautiful.  I loved the structure, as we slowly learned what happened in the past as they themselves remembered it.  With puzzle pieces falling into place until we have the full picture, which was also beautiful and tear inducing, and made us all the more in love with Yoo Ah In.  Man, they were all killing it with their acting.  All of them.  Go Kyung Pyo and Im Soo Jung as well.  Flip, they all made me laugh and cry.  I do have to say that it was hard getting used to Yoo Ah In's fade at first.  It wasn't our favorite.  But we sure did like his past hair, even if it was a wig.  It was wonderful and super sexy.

I was actually super impressed with Cordon (Kwak Si Yang) in the end too.  He was just crazy at first, and an annoying interloper in the love line type deal, but then he was really good at being very evil.  He was a good villain, and I was impressed.  The kind of villain you love to hate.

Other people who were amazing includes Turtle Ahjussi, or Jo Woo Jin, who played the publisher.  I loved him, and his clothes, and his little fussing tantrums.  He was awesome.  I also loved the best friend, played by Yang Jin Sang.  Shout out to her too.  Really it was just a great cast, with a great story, and a super great love story.  It was tragic and sweet in the past, and just plain adorable and sweet in the present.  And the bromance was the same.  Sad, sweet, adorable.  Check!  Loved it.  It was an addicting, solid, wonderful drama.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Korean Movie Night: Sori: Voice From the Heart 로봇, 소리 (2016) Korean

Lee Sung Min, Shim Eun Kyung, Lee Ha Nui, Lee Hee Joon, Kim Won Hae, Chae Soo Bin

Movie rating: 7/10     Neck score: B

Lizabreff summed it up nicely when she said that if it had been anyone with less acting chops than Lee Sung Min, this movie might not have worked.  It would have been superbly campy and not the sweet tear jerker it was.  Lee Sung Min was amazing as a man who has lost his daughter and doesn't believe she was killed in the subway fire like everyone else keeps telling him.  During his crazy search to find her, he finds a crashed surveillance satellite that can trace calls and phone records.  It also has an attitude.  Shim Eun Kyung did an awesome job with the satellite robot's voice, making it sound very robot AI, but also have such character and personality.

He join forces with the robot and goes in search of his daughter, based on phone records and GPS locations.  Naturally, since this was an NSA surveillance satellite, they don't want it falling in the wrong hands, so we've got some bad English speaking actors.  We also have the NIS and KARI involved too.  Lee Ha Nui is the KARI employee, and she is awesome.  Her English was awesome too.  At first, based on the friction between her and Lee Hee Joon, the NIS agent, we were like "couple?" but then he was just a tool, so we were glad that didn't happen.  Ew.  So, it definitely had an agenda.  It was very anti-surveillance and pro-personal privacy protection.  No one seemed to have a good opinion about the NSA.  The NIS wasn't very favorable either, for that matter.  They definitely made a statement about the issues about privacy in the digital age, as well as corruption based on the power of having the sort of information that would be stored in such a remarkable surveillance satellite.

So it's going to put you through all the emotions.  I described it to my brother as "a tear jerker, but funny" and that is true.  The robot is so sassy, and Lee Sung Min is great and a little crazy.  Ryu Jun Yeol's bit part was funny.  That wig, haha.  Then all the crying parts.  It's good.  But really, it is a silly concept, so it could have been so bad so easily, but it wasn't.  It was a funny tear jerker and it was good.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

257. Queen of Mystery 추리의 여왕 (2017) Korean

Choi Gang Hee, Kwon Sang Woo, Lee Won Keun, Shin Hyun Bin, Kim Hyun Sook

Drama Rating: 6/10     Neck Score: A

I liked it enough to binge watch it over the weekend, but was left unsatisfied by the ending.  It was like it wanted to be too much, and in the end was rushed and too open ended.  I liked it when it was just two stubborn detectives, one a cop and the other an ahjumma, but when they tried to make it a romance it fell a bit flat.  They definitely had something, but it wasn't the romantic kind of love, so I was glad that they left that as open as the rest of the end.  It was pleading to be at least a 20 episoder, or have a sequal season, but it was neither of those things either.

They had plenty of cases where they built up the characters and developed relationships.  They also hinted at a bigger mystery of what happened to his first love and what happened to her parents, but they didn't really start tying it all together and giving us any information on that until way too late in the show.  The last two episodes were way too rushed and almost felt like a totally different drama.  It made the last episode so draggy, because I knew it was ending, but it was acting like it had 4 more episodes to go.  This made it both draggy and rushed as they crammed all they could in, and then left it open, saying they solved that much of it, but it's not over yet.  Duh duh duhhhhhhh.

Lame.

I knew they were going to try for a romance, but I kept being conflicted about wanting to.  I saw him liking her, but I thought it would be ridiculous for her to like him back, especially when she was married.  They also didn't do a good enough job making her husband unlikable.  I don't cotton to cheating and having couples get divorced so the OTP can be together, so the only way to make that work would be to have him be a complete evil jerk, or have their marriage be over right at the beginning, before any main couple relationship could start.  They did neither.  The husband was only human and an idiot, and it was clear that he loved her (although he probably loved himself a little more).  He could also just be weak and ambitious.  None of those are quite enough to lead to cheating or a divorce, but maybe a fight and some repenting are in order.  It was ambiguous whether any cheating actually happened, so I could never completely hate him.  That's just my opinion.  I was torn a lot because the main couple does have a good chemistry, but not necessarily romantic.  Friends is fine.  It's almost a bromance.  Although the real bromance is steamier.

I did love Sissy Cute Neck's (I'm sorry, that Phantom nickname will never go away) relationships.  He had a puppy crush on his "teacher" and an awkward bromance with the male lead, who loved to tease him.  It was great.  I loved the couple pajamas parts.

I really think they didn't use the main plot enough.  The second female lead was barely in it.  I would have loved to see more Jang Do Jang, and to know much sooner why our detective was so obsessed with catching him.  So many things could have been better.  It was ok as it was, but ultimately disappointing.

What was not disappointing, because Ahn Kil Kang is never disappointing, was the side characters and secondary romance.  I was hoping that was going to go down from the start.  Yes!  Other than that, it was decently creepy at parts.  I loved the creepy use of that Rose of Sharon song, it did its job well, but as for well written and ending, the drama stalled and putted across the finish line.

Friday, May 26, 2017

251. Tunnel 터널 (2017) Korean

Choi Jin Hyuk, Yoon Hyun Min, Lee Yoo Young, Jo Hee Bong

Drama Rating: 8/10     Neck Score: A

I usually just like OCN dramas and this was no exception.  It was great.  I loved all the characters.  The bromances between all of our violent crimes team, and especially between our leads (Meat Head/86 and Fish Bangs FTW!).  So good!  I loved the girl who was, besides that one lapse of logic they made her have so she could be vulnerable enough for the plot to move on (it was super stupid), super smart and bad-a.  I loved her relationships with our bromance too.  I loved how suspenseful it was at times, although some of N's scenes made me have to scream in a pillow because we were watching them at midnight and I didn't want to see bad things happening to my secret secret Vixx bias.  (Screaming spoilers into pillow- you cannot hear them).  All of the men were very cool, and attractive.  Love me some Fish Bangs... and Choi Jin Hyuk... and Kang Ki Young... and N.... so many to love!  And it was some of the better police work I have seen in a drama about police in a while.  It was like they actually did stuff, and not just visiting the crime scenes.  They all pulled their own weight and we saw them do stuff.  Although I don't know why they always have to be so obsessed with getting a confession.  Just indict him!  I did have some concerns with some of the things that they decided to just gloss over.  It was a time travel drama, about a cop from 1986 jumping forward to 2017, but they didn't bother much with the typical time travel stuff, like the butterfly effect, etc. because he stayed most of the time in the future, without much changing the past, etc.  I guess if he is from the past that makes more sense, but his return is bound to change things in the future, but they don't really bother much with it.  Everything they did in the drama could be negated, but whatever, we don't have to see that, and the drama was really good so it doesn't matter.