Tuesday, September 19, 2017

273. Nightmare Teacher 악몽선생 (2016) Korean

Uhm Ki Joon, Kim So Hyun, Lee Min Hyuk, Seo Shin Ae

Drama Rating: 7/10     Neck Score: A

After the lameness of Golden Cross, I needed to see my Grumpy Cat (Uhm Ki Joon) in something more worthy of his greatness.  What better than a webdrama where he is a teacher who is making his students live their nightmares so he can steal their souls and teach them life lessons?  Answer, lots of things, but this was also a good option.  It was actually not too bad for a webdrama.  It wasn't that creepy, sadly, and it was very moralistic and stuff, but I still liked it.  It was done in serial format, with a new kid with a new problem every two episodes.  Some of the mini story arcs were more relatable than others, which really helped with the quality or enjoyability of the story arc.  Lizabreff couldn't get into the story about the overachiever student who studied until he lost his memory of anything else, while I cared less about the girl who wanted to look perfect and be the prettiest so she went all Dorian Gray on us.  Although I liked the Dorian Gray part of it.  We also both struggled with the lonely, dreamer girl who dreamed herself a boy friend and a stalker.  Why would you want the stalker?  He turned out only slightly less scary than the boyfriend actually.  While her stupidity was the worst, I loved that one the best because it was probably the creepiest one.  The end was almost the creepiest, which I was excited for, but it stayed pretty tame and not horrific like I wanted.  Oh well.  It was very moralizing and we all learned a lesson.  The end.  The important part was that Uhm Ki Joon was amazing and I loved him, as he just stood there, being awesome and leading the kids to their doom... haha.  It was a good drama to appreciate him in, and that's what I needed, so it was perfect.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

K-Con LA 2017 Final Day: Wrapping Up the Trip

Is it ridiculous that most of our adventures of our last day took place outside of K-Con?  We were trying to find someplace, and our information was wrong.  That day was the huge exception, and even though we went to 3 different places, we ended up not finding what we were looking for.  But we did get a sort of tour of different parts of LA because of that.  Saw some different views and some residential areas.  It was nice, I guess.  But it meant that we got less K-Con time.

But a good thing happened after the wild goose chase we went on.  When we got to our sketchy under the parking lot parking, some girls were just leaving.  Seeing our wrist bands, they offered us their parking they had bought, because they were leaving already.  So we got free parking!  #blessings #kconersunite

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

269. Golden Cross 골든 크로스 (2014) Korean

Kim Kang Woo Lee Si Young, Uhm Ki Joon, Han Eun Jung, Jung Bo Suk

Drama Rating: 3/10     Neck Score: A+++

Let's take a guy with a normal family who has struggled a bit because they are as good as they are normal, even though they fight and stuff and don't get why they have to suffer when they are good, and then let's ruin their lives completely just to give us the premise of this show: a secret chaebol organization that steps all over normal people for their greedy, economic controlling power.  There, we have the set up for a perfectly normal revenge drama.  Prosecutor in training, who also happens to be a former Taekwondo star, whose family struggles because of his super upright, honest banker dad, losing everything when his said upright, honest dad is framed for murdering his little sister.  It's obviously set up so this prosecutor will go on a holy rampage and take this secret organization down with his smart brain and snazzy taekwondo skills.  His crush is both the villain's daughter and the prosecutor of his father's case, that's going to lead to a bit of drama, exciting!  Typical revenge melodrama, right?  Well, let's take this typically set up plot and logical progression and do the opposite of everything logical.  That equals this show.  I was so disappointed.

Friday, September 1, 2017

267. Sound of Your Heart 마음의 소리 (2016) Korean

Lee Kwang Soo, Kim Dae Myung, Jung So Min, Kim Byung Ok, Kim Mi Kyung

Drama Rating: 9/10     Neck Score: A

I was so sad when I couldn't find this anywhere, because you all know how much I love Kwang Soo.  He is my #1 actor who rivals even GD in my heart.  I had to watch him be Cho Seok, because I also am 100% in love with Sound of Your Heart and have read everything that has been translated on Line Webtoon.  Sadly that is just a fraction of what there actually is, sniff.  Basically, there is a certain laugh that I have reserved just for Sound of Your Heart.  Lizabreff knows only one thing can make me laugh like that, so she knows what I'm reading.  This show was the same.  I laughed so hard!  I think it did a good job capturing the right feeling.  Their actor choice was perfect for all of them.  Every new person introduced I was like "Yeah!  They're perfect for it!"  It was delightful.  Even before we found it on Netflix and were just watching random clips on YouTube, I was just laughing.  They did a good job.  It's a slightly different experience when the naked/bathroom humor comes in, cuz it's live action vs just the drawings.  You realize just how tall and skinny Kwang Soo is when he's streaking through the city with his bare legs and censored blur.  It was hilarious.  I loved it.  I also like how they managed to keep the webtoon feel to it, while also connecting them into a somewhat cohesive story, with some character growth and some tied in themes.  It brought it all back in for a good ending to the series, so we didn't get left hanging.  It was well done.  Highly recommended.  I want there to be more seasons.  All the seasons in the world!  More Sound of Your Heart!  More Kwang Soo!  Hurray!

262. Father is Strange 아버지가 이상해 (2017) Korean

Kim Young Chul,  Kim Hae Sook, Lee Joon,  Jung So Min, Lee Yoo Ri, Ryu Soo Young, Min Jin Woong, Lee Mi Do, Ryu Hwa Young, Ahn Hyo Seop

Drama Rating: 8/10     Neck Score: A+

I love a good 50 episode family drama, and that is exactly what this was.  So many wonderful characters that you can just grow to love, because you have all the time in the world.  I love it because you can take time to develop characters fully and let relationships build naturally.  This usually makes me way more invested in all the characters and all the relationships to the point where I'm crying and giggling at any wedding or big event near the end.  This was no exception.

The plot of this was a bit interesting, since it is focused on a family with three strong minded girls who all take after their strong minded mother, and then the one older brother who takes after the easygoing sweet father.  However there are, of course, family secrets- practically birth secrets here- when an idol turned actor shows up looking for his father who happens to be the dad of this family.  This is potentially bad because the main OTP is clearly this actor (Lee Joon) and his manager, who is the third child in the family (Jung So Min).  But they let us slowly unravel the secrets until all the crap hits the fan and it's all dramatic, and all that.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

K-Con Concert Day: Trip Day Three

The day that we're all waiting for, Saturday, the day that we'd go to all our artist engagements and eventually the concert.  We would have loved to have gone to both concert days, but that was a lot of money for groups that we had less investment in.  We're not made of money.

We like those groups, but we LOVE Vixx and Super Junior.  Let's be honest, I also love Girl's Day.  So it worked out that they were all going to be a part of the Saturday Concert.  We had to prepare well, because this day was going to be an all day thing.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

270. I Order You 당신을 주문합니다 (2015) Korean

Jung Yoon Ho, Kim Ga Eun, Jang Seung Jo, Baek Jung Won, Jo Yoon Woo 

Drama Rating: 5/10     Neck Score: A-

I never thought I'd live to see Yunho out acting anyone, but he was way better than our female lead in this.  He wasn't amazing or anything, but he was decent.  The show was just fluffy, but that is what we wanted.  Nothing better than a web drama when you want fluffy, because they can't afford to waste time on anything, although they still managed to do it.  We burned through the first like 12 episodes in one night, and let me tell you they were the best episodes, full of her falling in love with his face and cooking over and over, and him falling in love with the way she appreciated his food, over and over.  He was on the teasey side, which was generally cute.  He could also be a bit of a butt.  She was generally smart and nice, although she was not great at acting.  The flowerboy coworkers were the best.  It was literally The Flowerboy (who is in all the flower boy dramas) and this tall oppa that we liked.  He was smiley.  Also, her younger brother is pretty cute and awesome too.  Just saying.  The second male lead was a cutie too, I called him Diddy Kitty (like the Diddy Kong of Kitty- aka Kim Jae Joong) because he looked a lot like Kitty.  This, of course lead to much TVXQ jokes.

The last four episodes were needlessly dramatic and mopey and since we saved these for the next day, we were even less able to pay attention while the shiz hit the fan and the girl literally became the worst person in the world.  She was even worse than the last minute bitca they added.  So it ended.  Like I said, fluff.  But while it was mostly enjoyable, it had way more drama then say Wednesday at 3:30, which is a comparable web drama full of fluffy Beanie.  So, this is still good if you want a bunch of cheesy fluff and happen to like Yunho (which I not so secretly do now, how did this happen!?!?!) but be warned, it is also ridiculous and mopey in spots.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Korean Movie Night: Battleship Island 군함도 (2017) Korean

Hwang Jung Min, So Ji Sub, Song Joong Ki, Lee Jung Hyun, Kim Su An

Movie rating: 7/10     Neck score: A+

This was definitely set up as a wartime/survival/underdog movie.  We have a bunch of Koreans forced into a labor camp on a coal island off of Nagasaki.  Tricked and then forced into slave labor.  So naturally, since this is a WWII movie, the Japanese are going to be super demonized.  Just letting you know.  They're basically the worst in this.  Not just kicking the puppies, they're outright killing the puppies.  The other worst is that it's a fight to survive in this camp, so Koreans are turning on Koreans, especially the ones who kiss up to the Japanese to get favorable treatment.

So we're following a musician (Hwang Jung Min) and his band, and his daughter (Kim Su Ah), who get forced into going, along with a boatload of "drafted soldiers" and a bunch of women who were brought to "help".  They're just trying to survive, but even with their letter of recommendation, they are forced into the camp.  So Ji Sub is one of the drafted.  He's a gangster with authority issues.  He starts a fight on the boat over, and has an awesome run in with Lee Jung Hyun who is basically boss and can hold her own, which is great because she can help protect the daughter, who's like 10, but is still separated out with all the women.  They all get forced into the coal mine labor camp, forced slavery or indenture, since they force them into debt along with everything else they do to them.  Once in the camp, it's basically just survival.

It's funny because this one was a lot more action packed, but because of that it felt less harsh than the brutality that was in A Taxi Driver.  There was plenty of violence and fighting, but it was the kind we were used to?  Not all of it, just in general.  There was still plenty of shuddery violent scenes, and anxious ones, such as the bathhouse fight, which was awesome as it was scary because fighting almost naked in a bathhouse, so in and out of the bathtubs.  But that was the way to do a bathhouse fight (cough cough The K2 cough cough).  As they were coal mining all the time, there was plenty of almost naked men, which could go both ways depending on who the man was.

I always felt the most anxious for the daughter the whole time, because she was just a kid and had to face some pretty nasty stuff, but that's the reality of that time, so they weren't pulling too many punches.  It's a good thing that she was super smart along with everyone else, or there is no knowing what could have happened.  Shudder.  It was a little bit like Life is Beautiful, the Italian Holocaust movie, if you've seen that, but much more action packed and a whole lot less tear jerking, which is not to say that it isn't tear jerking, because it's a Korean movie, but nothing makes me cry like Life is Beautiful.

I kind of like how ambiguous Song Joong Ki's character is.  I'll just leave it at that.  He's special forces, but what is his mission?  Duh duh duhhhhhhh.  That's one of the things I liked about everyone.  They're all on their own side, which might be the same side, if they could figure it out, but the number one objective for everyone is survival, and then they have to figure out how and with whom, etc.  I liked it a lot.  I probably liked A Taxi Driver more, because it was more sentimental, but I did like both.  I'd recommend it just for that cool three screen deal.  I'm not a fan of 3D, so this was a much cooler alternative for me.  I felt very surrounded, which was awesome in those mine scenes.

Day Two: First Official Day of K-Con LA 2017

So starts day two of our K-Con adventure, this one is focused on exploring, since we had some flexibility.  It started later, so we got there later, and miraculously missed all the traffic.  Our hotel was farther from the convention center, but still situated so that we would miss the bad traffic if we left at the right time.

No one died while I drove in LA.  In fact, I was once again pleasantly surprised at how decently everyone was driving, not that I loved the traffic, it was just more predictable than freeway traffic where I'm from.  People know how to merge a bit better, haha.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Korean Movie Night: A Taxi Driver 택시 운전사 (2017) Korean

Song Kang Ho, Thomas Kretschmann, Yoo Hae Jin, Ryu Jun Yeol, Park Hyuk Kwon

Movie rating: 9/10     Neck score: B

I guess this wasn't really a movie night, because we went to see this at 11:15am.  But I'll count it anyway.  Omo, seeing it in a theater is just another experience.  It was us and a bunch of halabeoji and halmeoni, and we were definitely feeling outnumbered.  The halabeoji sitting next to Lizabreff was probably texting his friends that he was sitting next to three weird white girls.  We also had random people talking in Korean in the middle of the movie, probably louder than they thought.

It was so good!  It made us feel all the emotions, it did such a good job of taking us back to 1980, and seeing all the different sides of the issues.  I also love that they got a German actor who could actually act, in German and English, and it was just great.  We felt all the emotions.  From sweet to sickening, to outright tears (of course).  It's funny because we saw Battleship Island as well, which is much more action packed, but the brutal police/military violence of this one was some how more horrifying.  There was no discrimination in who they beat, it was awful.

With such a heavy topic as the Gwangju massacre, it was nice that they were able to add some sweet moments, and some comedy, bringing out the humanity and the love, which of course made the awful terror and brutal violence all the worse, as well as all the sacrifices of the people for their friends and colleagues that much more touching and tear jerking.

We got to see them all grow as well.  Each of the characters has a story.  Our taxi driver Kim Man Seob (Song Kang Ho), who is just a working man trying to support his daughter, whose seen a lot and doesn't really want to get involved.  He is such a tender hearted man who is trying to be tough and mercenary, who doesn't want to rock the boat to protect himself and his family.  He ends up taking a German reporter named Peter to Gwangju, which is blocked off by the military because of rioting.  Peter knows what to expect to a certain extent, and Man Seob to a different extent, because the government is falsifying reports about the riots, but he knows his people.  They end up getting help from a local taxi driver, reporter, and college student, who of course all have stories that make us love them as well.

So there is a lot of everything.  laughter, tears, military brutality, rioting, saving, and you just feel everything right there with them, because they did a really good job of giving a face to these people, so we know who they are, what they felt, and why they did what they did.  I cried a lot and laughed a lot, and it was so, so, so, good.  I am super happy that I got this chance to be in LA when it was in theaters, so I could watch it.  Absolutely no regrets, it was awesome.  I highly recommend it.

K-Con LA 2017: Day One of the Trip

My one vacation this summer was K-Con, and though it was ridiculously expensive to go, and the most inconvenient time to go (I work at a university and the first day of school was the Monday after K-Con.  Did I also mention I'm in charge of training all the new hires?), I do no regret going at all.  I normally get super drained and traumatized after going to conventions full of people and too many people, and spending too much money.  As far as I know this was not the case this year, and I had a really good time.  From horror stories I heard from years past (2014 to be exact) this year seems pretty decently organized, and I'm glad.

Because this was a longer vacation, with four days to cover, I'm just going to give you a play by play of each day and tell you everything we did and what we ate and everything.  So here is Day One of My K-Con LA 2017 trip with Lizabreff and Curdy.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Korean Movie Night: 19 나의 19세 (2009) Korean

TOP, Seungri, Huh E Jae

Movie rating: 6/10     Neck rating: A-

We've been meaning to watch this show for ages because TOP and Seungri.  It's the typical coming of age movie with a twist, because it's about three 19 year old kids who are suspected of killing this girl.  They panic and run, and are naturally forced to come to terms with themselves and grow up.  TOP is a bit of a punk, who of course dreams of being a rapper, but is a loser in his family.  Seungri is a little rich boy who can't even talk to girls and is pushed around by his parents.  Huh E Jae was a poor girl whose mom was dying and so she dropped out if school.  They all had ties to the girl and had to come to terms with how they could have helped her, but didn't, so they weren't blameless.  It's got coming of age oozing out of it.  Seungri was so cute being an awkward kid.  Also, I loved how Big Bang promoting it is, and I could just watch TOP rapping all day, so I loved that it was super Big Bangy.  It was cheesy and dramatic, but pretty funny and fun to watch.  So good, if you like Big Bang.  PS, that minus is for TOP's bad hair.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Korean Movie Night: My Sassy Girl 엽기적인 그녀 (2001) Korean

Cha Tae Hyun, Jun Ji Hyun

Movie rating: 8/10     Neck score: A

We had another movie night, but rather than watching something new to us all, Lizabreff and I decided to show Curdy the classic My Sassy Girl.  It's probably the third or fourth time that we've both seen it, and it was interesting to see the different perspectives.  If it was funnier the second time, it definitely was the third as well.  It was also interesting to see Curdy's reactions, as a relatively new viewer.  It is a show you need to pay attention to right through to the end.  So, I will share my initial review and then add my later thoughts.

First review:

Wow, that was a really long butt scene, Cha Tae Hyun.  Just saying.  There is a reason why this show is famous.  It's good.  Like funny, ridiculous, and completely setting stereotypes for years to come.  I feel like all the tropes came from this, but since this one was first, it is better.  I love how many times it tricked us.  Like, setting it up to make you think a million years had passed when it was maybe one.  Also the irony of the punch line.  Also, Cha Tae Hyun was perfect for his role, as was Jun Ji Hyun.  They deserved to become famous from this, because they both did a good job.  Basically this is the kind of movie that leaves you grinning at the end.  Although I am glad I saw it way after I started watching K-dramas, because it was that much funnier because of that.  Lizabreff watched it way before me, when she was still a noob, and she said it was way funnier to her the second time.  But by that time it was like watching it for the first time anyway.  Because you have to understand Korean dating culture a bit, and the humor.  Also, you will see all the cameos of baby peeps you love.  PD Joo!!!!

Second Time Additions:

I pretty much stand by the first review, because seriously guys, it is a great movie.  I love how much more I am able catch the second or third time around.  The subtle clues behind her inexplicable behavior, the subtle humor in the different situations, and even just the humor in general, when you understand the dating culture, etc.  Curdy, seeing it for the first time, took everything at face value and was slightly horrified at the abuse that Cha Tae Hyun's character went through as they sort of dated.  This is nice, watching it the first time, especially if you understand more of the jokes.  It is supposed to be ridiculous, because we don't understand the motivations of the characters.  We only know what Cha Tae Hyun knows, and he thinks she is crazy with what he knows, but he still helps her and falls for her, and then when the pieces fall together it's cute.  Watching it multiple times gives you the advantage of noticing the little things that give it away, the little clues.  Anyway, it's just a really fun and great movie, and there is def totes a reason that it is a classic.  Done.  PD Joo!

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

266. Ode to Joy 2 欢乐颂 2 (2017) Chinese

Liu Tao, Jiang Xin, Wang Zi Wen, Yang Zi, Bridgette Qiao Xin

Drama Rating: 7/10     Neck Score: A

As a continuation of the same story, this one definitely had a darker tone.  It was especially noticeable as I started this one immediately after finishing the last season, because even the filter was much darker.  Also, it went back from the seemingly happy ending implied at the end of season one, and showed that things were much more complicated than they seemed.  People who we thought were getting along weren't yet, and people we thought got back together still had stuff to work on first.  That was confusing, but maybe if I had had a year to wait like everyone who watched them on time, then it might not have been as stark a difference.  It definitely focused on the darker, more complicated sides of everyone's issues.  I actually liked it more for that.

As always, I love how raw and imperfect everyone is.  They are so human and flawed, but that's why it is so nice to see them take care of each other and grow.  Making mistakes, making the same mistake over and over, taking responsibility for their decisions, whether good or bad.  The focus is still on the girls and their personal growth and not necessarily just their romance, although I feel like that was a larger portion of this one, since the relationships all reached new levels in this one.

Can I just say how much I love Bao?  I might have started this whole show, both seasons, because of the spoiler clips I saw of Andie and Bao, which totally explains why I was having none of Bofu... that old Mr. Wei guy who looked 50.  He just wanted to "fix" Andie, while Bao just thought Andie was the best thing ever and already too good for him.  What a difference.  I also just loved the teasing little way he wormed his way into her life and into her heart.  His sexy little dimples!  So unabashedly awesome for her.

As always, Xiao Qu was my favorite little demon, and I liked how she grew in this one.  We saw a much more vulnerable side of her in this season.  She matured a lot, and her relationship with all the girls on the 22nd floor grew a lot as well.  They were on good terms more often.  I did, of course, appreciate how her and Dr. Zhao's relationship took off, became serious, went through the wringer and ended up adorable.  It was a good arch for both of them.

I was really impressed with Ying Ying as she probably grew the most from season one to the end of this season, she really progressed from being immature and complacent, to being a strong power woman who stands up for herself in love and manages a store.  She went through a lot of rocky in between.  I'm not sure how I went from liking her IT boy, to hating him, to liking him again.  I guess I was able to understand their progression as well.

Guan Guan definitely made some improvement as well as she became a more active participant in her own life, as well as these stories.  Darn it, if I didn't relate to her the most this time around, because she was dealing with things I have to deal with daily.  She is just the cutest.

Fan, man slow clap for her.  She really took some big steps in all aspects of her life.  She made me cry the most, but she also grew the most.  Her family drama and personal drama, as always, was dramatic, but she actually progressed this time, instead of just leaning on her man.  She started improving herself and realized that she has to become independent as a person if she is going to be in a happy relationship. She started taking the power woman steps too, and I was so, so proud of her.

So much growth and so much drama.  I really love how this show, in both seasons, is about women.  Normal women who are learning to support themselves and each other.  This is about their growth and mistakes, and success too.  I love that, and I am going to miss watching my girls everyday.  Wah.  I miss them already!

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

250. The Perfect Match 極品絕配 (2017) Taiwanese

Chris Wu, Ivy Shao, Ben Wu, Xiao Man, Nylon Chen

Drama Rating: 5/10     Neck Score: A+

This started out really cute and fun, but like most dramas, it got really weird half way in.  Well, actually it started out so cheesy that I couldn't even watch it at first and I had to give it a second chance.  But for Chris Wu and his amazing chin, I did.  It got better for a bit, and then it got crazy.  The typical build of a Taiwanese drama seems to be a series of short but ever increasing dramatic episodes that just build up until you don't even remember how the show started.  Each problem gets resolved quickly enough that you don't hate it too much, but each problem is more ridiculous than the last until you are just watching it to see how the crazy will end.  Fall In Love With Me is the most extreme example of this.  The Perfect Match was no where near as bad, but certainly went full circle in crazy.

**Probably too many SPOILERS ahead, but these are really just how the plot goes.  You can still watch and enjoy if you're into this kind of crazy.**

Friday, July 28, 2017

260. The Best Hit 최고의 한방 (2017) Korean

Yoon Si Yoon, Lee Se Young, Kim Min Jae, Cha Tae Hyun, Yoon Son Ha

Drama Rating: 6/10     Neck Score: A

This show had so much potential.  But it was all over the place.  I think it took too much on itself and then couldn't follow through.  There were so many wonderful characters and situations, but it ended up being just typical and slapped together at the end.  It's a lower middle on my range of disappointment vs. liking of the four dramas early summer dramas we watched together.

It was a weird but interesting premise to start off with.  It started with Ji Hoon (Kim Min Jae) narrating it, so we though his part in the plot would remain important.  In fact Yoo Hyun Jae (Yoon Si Yoon) wasn't introduced in the first few episodes, except at the very end.  There were so many plots that were supposed to be tied together, I wished they had all stayed that important.  I wanted to see way more Bo Hee and Kwang Jae.  I was always down for more Grandpa and Granddaughter stuff too.  Instead, they focused on the love triangle between father and son in a super awkward and lopsided way that was reminiscent of Reply 1988, meaning it gave Lizabreff some Jung Hwan Syndrome.  Well, I guess it was a modified second lead syndrome, because they focused so much on Ji Hoon being in love with Woo Seung while Hyun Jae was falling in love with modern technology, that she ended up shipping them too much.  It's easy to forget the three accidental kisses in one episode at the beginning because they were way too comical to be believed.  The problem was they didn't balance or pace the show well so we didn't know who to root for.  Even I (a die hard Yoon Si Yoon Fan- team Hyun Jae the whole time) would have been fine if Ji Hoon had won, because of how unbalanced the love story was.  The real OTP was Hyun Jae and his phone.  Or even just the BroTP- Hyun Jae and Kwang Jae.

There were so many plots that I wanted to see more of that just fizzled out.  Bo Hee's quest to reenter the entertainment field and her devotion to Hyun Jae (her baby daddy).  Kwang Jae's long time love for Bo Hee, which could have been a pretty funny "love triangle" since 93 Hyun Jae was pre-baby daddy Hyun Jae.  Even Ji Hoon wanting to be an idol sort of fizzled out of importance when all of the sudden it became completely and only about the main couple.  It all went down hill when Woo Seung moved out and Hyun Jae started working at Star Punch.... well not completely, it was still fun and cute.  I loved all the interactions between Hyun Jae and Young Jae.  Him always using his office, etc.  That is just when the focus really got skewed.  It seemed like they sacrificed the purity of the story to the rating gods and turned it into a blase romcom (not that Yoonie in love will ever be blase, he's the cutest thing in all creation).

I just wanted there to be way more focus on Hyun Jae and why he was there, where the money went, and why he did what he did in 93, what happened in 94, and why he disappeared and died.  They managed to cover all of that, but with way less focus and screen time than I wanted.  Kind of rushed it.  Although the meeting of 93 and 94 might have been my favorite thing ever.  Hyun Jae and Hyun Jae is a beautiful thing.  They were the same person, yet not, because they had had different experiences, separate from each other.  Was that too much of a spoiler?  It was a tiny spoiler.  I don't regret that though, because this show doesn't make that much sense the way it jumps around and forgets to update you on people and stuff.  It was almost as bad as a 50 episoder that only had 16 episodes, except it would have been way too draggy if it had been longer.... unless they suddenly wrote it better and gave plenty of time for all the story lines and characters and didn't try to confuse us as to who the OTP was, etc.

So this wasn't as gross of a disappointment as Lookout was (still angry and crying, what the heck!) for me anyway.  Maybe Lizabreff feels differently, as a Team Ji Hoon Girl, but it was definitely not all it could have been, and that's sad.  At least it was still funny and cute until the end, even if it didn't make as much sense.  You all know I would watch any show for Yoon Si Yoon no matter what anyway (literally have a post dedicated to that...)  So points for casting my Yoonie?  JK, I will also watch anything for Cha Tae Hyun and Kim Min Jae too... so great cast, interesting premise, and writing.... wth?

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Korean Movie Night: Hyung, aka My Annoying Brother, 형 (2016) Korean

Jo Jung Suk, Do Kyung Soo, Park Shin Hye

Movie rating: 8/10     Neck score: A

Can I just say that the genres assigned to Korean movies are all lies?  They say it's a comedy, and then you're crying by the end.  Such liars!  Well, I guess that's why this one is labelled a comedy drama, which seems like a walking contradiction, but trust me, it does it and does it well.  The situation itself is both comedic and sad, as it is about a conman (Jo Jung Suk) who uses his younger brother's sudden blindness as an excuse to get out on parole.  To make matters worse, his younger brother (Do Kyung Soo) was a judo athlete training for the Olympics when the injury happened.  Talk about depressing right there, but then there is the conman comedic element that makes it also weirdly funny.  It's just a mix of lots of emotions.  Plus you have some of my favorite actors.  I have always had nothing but praise for both of these boys, and their brotherly chemistry is the best.  Bromance between real brothers is the best.  I love seeing families coming together.  I was super impressed with Kyung Soo's ability to act blind.  I believed it.  I also loved how they look enough alike to be half brothers.   They were just great.  Park Shin Hye was... okay.  Like usual.  I liked the pace of the story, as well as the comedy.  The timing was pretty great.  Then the emotions!  Wah!  So many emotions!  All the emotions in the world!  I think I might have felt them all!  Haha, maybe an exaggeration, but hey, I am obsessed with these boys.  Jo Jung Suk makes me feel things.  It was definitely a good one that I would recommend watching, especially if you happen to love these boys as much as I do.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

265. Ode to Joy 欢乐颂 (2016) Chinese

Liu Tao, Jiang Xin, Wang Zi Wen, Yang Zi, Bridgette Qiao Xin

Drama Rating: 7/10     Neck Score: A

I started on this late, as I saw everyone tweeting about season 2, but I had been planning on watching it since back when I watched When a Snail Falls in Love.  But it was better than I thought it would be, because it is a girl power show.  The show is about the girls and not necessarily about the romance.  It takes forever for them to introduce the men, and I love it.  It totally passes the Bechdel Test as it certainly has more than two women in it and they all talk to each other about things besides men.  Not that they don't talk about men, they certainly do that too, but that is not necessarily what the show is about.  It is about their friendships, family, struggles, growth, and also about love.

It is about five women who live on the 22nd floor of the Ode to Joy apartment building.  Three of them are roommates renting the middle apartment.  The other two own the apartments on either end.  Each comes from a very different background and each has a very different personality.  I found myself relating to Andie and Xiao Qu the most, but I still related and loved them all.  I related to Andie's logical frankness, and Xiao Qu's not caring and saying/doing whatever she wants attitude.  I see myself in Guan Guan as I overwork myself and never actually try to get in a relationship.  I'm definitely Ying Ying when she is pulling those faces and bouncing off the walls to cheer people up.  I related the least to Fan Jie, as she's a drama queen, but I still can see myself being the mother hen advice giver all the same.  And who isn't a little materialistic, huh?  Basically what I'm saying is that I loved them all and I cared about them all.

I also loved how it addressed issues that women face in general and especially in China.  Issues such as male/son favoritism, marriage over careers, materialism, and cyber bullying, as well as other general problems such as whistle blowing, becoming a full time employee, blind dates, adoption, and mental illness.  This also meant that I was going to get super angry that these situations existed and that our girls had to struggle through them.  I practically screamed every time that Fan's family was on screen.  They're the worst!

It was definitely not a perfect drama.  It is prone to be over dramatic, and the need for a narrator to tell us the inner thoughts of our girls was a bit silly.  I was a bit wary of how they talked about mental illness and how big a deal it was.  But overall I just loved it and was super excited for season two, which I started the minute I had finished season one.  That was weird.  Talk about change in tone and filters.  But if you are looking for a good girl show (not a perfect one, but still progressive) then I do recommend this one.

255. Suspicious Partner 수상한 파트너 (2017) Korean

Ji Chang Wook, Nam Ji Hyun, Choi Tae Joon, Nara

Drama Rating: 7/10     Neck Score: A+

Okay!  Here we have a solid middle candidate for how well we liked the four early summer dramas we watched together.  While this one started off fairly solid, it had problems in the middle.  I also really wanted to know how DF got that the plot was about a murderer with amnesia, because that didn't happen until way later and not enough for it to be the main plot point.  It was confusing (how did they know!?!).  The first couple of episodes, setting up the premise of her being framed for murder, were great.  The draggy part in the middle where Bong Hee's favorite line was "나 때문에!" and running away from Ji Wook... not so great.  It got old really fast.  Which was sad, because as a character she was the the best at first, but she became the worst by the end.

You know who was the best the entire time?  MANTIS!  I am pretty in love with Dong Ha.  He is a pretty amazing actor.  From Last to Chief Kim, he's proven he can be anyone and show such emotion with such subtle expressions.  This one was no exception.  How could he such a sympathetic and complicated person AGAIN?!?  He was what I watched for as soon as he came on, especially when the times got draggy.

Another surprise favorite was Choi Tae Joon, who was so annoying in Missing Nine, but so great in this.  I love this actor, but his character as murderous Tae Ho was a little much, but he was just an adorable loving puppy in this one, and from his fake annoying laugh to his actual good advice, he was the best.  I did think his story got a little shafted, but since I loved him, I forgave it.

Oh, and obviously Ji Chang Wook was unreasonably hot, cute and gave the best cuddle hugs.

The good part was that the ending totally made up for the slowness in the middle.  It wrapped up well, and with a decent twist, and then gave us a good denouement that was just cute and perfect after all the craziness.  It was a nice change, after some other dramas left us with a sour taste and ridiculous ending (still crying over Lookout).  This is a decently cute and fun murder romcom.  It's hard to do, but in the end, I guess it worked out, if you can forgive the middle stupidity.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

257. Fight My Way 쌈 마이웨이 (2017) Korean

Park Seo Joon, Kim Ji Won, Ahn Jae Hong, Song Ha Yoon

Drama Rating: 8/10     Neck Score: A

I would have to say that this one probably wins the prize of being consistently good and the best ending out of our four dramas we watched together.  It never got too bad, and the ending was really cute.  I was probably the most satisfied with this one's resolution.  It also had a good ending that didn't involve stereotypes such as weddings, etc.  It also had a lot of shirtless Park Seo Joon, so bonus points.

The part I loved the best about this one was the characters.  They were just the best.  I loved seeing them grow as they figured out what they wanted in life, both in their careers and romantically.  We started off with expectations, and we were met with some surprises, which was nice.  It was funny, and hard, and relateable, all the things.  There were some characters that we liked more than others.  Joo Man just needed to be punched in the face a lot sooner than he was.  Baked Potato (Seol Hee) was just the cutest, but I loved her when she put her foot down the best.  Ae Ra and Dong Man were probably one of my favorite OTPs of all time.  Like seriously, they were the best.  I especially just loved Ae Ra so much!  But Coach-nim was obviously my favorite character.  (I LOVE Kim Sung Oh!)  But that ex-girlfriend bitca could have just not existed.  I was over her before she first came on the scene.  However my hatred of her probably made the scene where she lost that much better, but I didn't like how she had to help fix things in the end.  Probably the worst part of the ending, in my opinion.  She just was the worst.

I loved that it was fairly equally about the four friends, and that it wasn't just about relationship problems, but about life problems.  No one was completely right and no one completely wrong.  It was messy and had to be worked out.  Overall it was funny and cute and a bit motivating too.  Plus, Kim Sung Oh in a tanktop, serving soondae.  Um, yes!

258. Lookout 파수꾼 (2017) Korean

Lee Si Young, Kim Young Kwang, Kim Tae Hoon, Kim Seul Gi, Kim Ki Bum

Drama Rating: 6/10     Neck Score: A++

Of the four dramas that Lizabreff, Curdy and I were watching together, this one was my favorite.  It has it all.  An amazing bad-a female lead, a shady morally ambiguous secret male lead, awesome hackers who are the best (separate and together), some really hateable bad guys, and an unrealistically attractive priest.  I was so invested.  And it stay consistently good most of the time, until the very end, where all the sudden no one acted like themselves and they were all tricked by everything they should have seen through and it was embarrassingly bad.  It turned into a blame session where everyone wanted to take the blame and we started chanting "나 때문에!" to the tune of War of Hormones by BTS in that part where they are blaming women and hormones for the way they are.  So yeah, what a disappointment.  It was bitter, it was hard.  I loved this show so much and it betrayed me at the last minute.  It was like they gave up in the last two episodes and just slapped something together.  I didn't mind how they wrapped everything up in the end, I just hated how it got to that point.

It makes it hard because now I feel like I can't recommend it to anyone, because I would have to say "it's amazing until the last two episodes and then it really sucks" kind of like Reply 1988.  But in all fairness, it still deserves some love for those first 14 episodes (or 28, since they are doing those new short episodes).  It was a great revenge, crime drama with a puppet master, bad prosecutors, crazy wildcard police detectives gone rogue, and a wonderful bromance and romance.  Also, Kim Young Kwang's hair deserves an award.  As does his suits.  He is so despicable, yet so likable too.  And I just loved Lee Si Young with all my little heart!  She's a freaking goddess!  And my Ki Bum and Seul Gi were just so precious and perfect!  Best OTP ever!  It was also really weird seeing Kim Tae Hoon being so righteous.  He usually doesn't get to play roles like that often.  Bah!  It was so good until they ruined it at the end!   So, yeah.  I'm a little upset that my favorite ended up last in the ending department.  Boooooo!

263. Wednesday at 3:30 수요일 오후 3시 30분 (2017) Korean

Hong Bin, Jin Ki Joo, Ahn Bo Hyun, Cha Jung Won

Drama Rating: 5/10     Neck Score: A+

Hong Bin!  I've missed you so!  You're so delightfully cute and bad at acting.  Delightfully so.  He just makes me giggle whenever he's on screen.  Especially if he is supposed to be serious or whatever.  This show was pretty awful and ridiculous.  But we still 100% binge watched it and loved it because of our Beanie.  His character was supposed to be sassy, which was hilarious, because he couldn't really be sassy to that girl.  He's too much of a muffin, really.  It was so awkward the way the show was written, but it was also to unbearably cute that we just went along with it.  All the adorable dates right at 3:30.  Man, I wish I had a Beanie to take me out every Wednesday at 3:30, and a job that would let me just take off every week for like an hour, NBD.  Man, that thunderstorm holding hands over the puppy scene though, hahaha.  It just made us laugh out loud the whole way through.  It was very enjoyable, but not because it was good, just because it was cute and fluffy and we all love our Hong Bin.  I'm sure the rest of Vixx didn't let him live this down, except they were also probably jealous that he got to kiss that noona.  I do have to say that the second leads were pretty lame.  We called them Discount Zhoumi and Discount Kim So Eun.  They were both pretty lame and manipulative.  I did like the second second female lead, who was dating the second male lead.  She was actually pretty cool for a change.  Anyway, if you want a short fluffy thing, this is it.  If you want actual good acting/writing/drama this is definitely not it.  But for 10 short episodes, you might as well.  Its less than the length of a movie, and barely any commitment at all.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

264. Circle: Two Worlds Connected 써클 : 이어진 두 세계 (2017) Korean

Yeo Jin Goo, Kong Seung Yeon, An Woo Yeon, Kim Kang Woo, Lee Ki Kwang

Drama Rating: 9.5/10     Neck Score: A+

Omofreakingosh!  So good!  I loved it so much!  Moral and ethical dilemmas!  Aliens!  Conspiracy theories!  Neuroscience!  So much good stuff!  Including our future world detective's fine neck!  So much to love in this show!  It's also only 12 episodes, so there is no rooms for dragging, and it never does.  We have a lovely parallel plot between what is happening in 2017 and what is happening in 2037, and the two connected stories only build off of each other, rather than spoiling the other.  We find out things about the same time, as the two stories are really connected.  It was super clever of them.  We have so many ethical and moral dilemmas, such as the purpose of memories.  Are they like cancer cells that are hurting us even though they are part of life?  Or are they the things that make us who we are?  So many possibilities.  I literally burned through the episodes as fast as I could (because I started after it finished), which actually was a moderate pace because there is so much mind blowing content that I did need to take it at a reasonable pace so my head wouldn't literally explode, except that was also hard, because I needed to know what was going to happen next like right away!  Soooooo gooooood!  It was the kind that you don't find very often.  A little golden nugget of goodness.  I recommend to all!  LOVED IT!  I want to tell you all the things I loved about it, but I also don't want to give you any spoilers because that really would ruin this one.  Suspense and surprise are the best with this one.  Let your brain work hard to figure out the mysteries with both worlds.  But I will tell you some things I did like.

I loved both twins.  I just thought they were great.  I actually loved all the police, which is weird, right?  I especially loved our main future world detective, who's neck was so fine I had to comment on it once a day.  Mmm that jawline though.  I loved the plot and the mystery.  I actually loved the bad guys too, because in true K-Drama fashion, it was full of moral ambiguity and you could relate to and understand them all, even if you thought they were wrong or bad for how they were trying to achieve their dreams.

So basically I loved everything?

Monday, June 26, 2017

Korean Movie Night: Scandal Makers 과속스캔들 (2008) Korean

Cha Tae Hyun, Park Bo Young, Wang Seok Hyeon, Im Ji Kyu, Hwang Woo Seul Hye

Movie rating: 8/10     Neck score: A

I can't believe I ignored this one because the name sounded weird for so long!  It was so good!  It took me looking up something random and noticing who was in it.  I think I was looking up something up about Cha Tae Hyun and then I noticed that he was in this movie, and then I saw that Park Bo Young was also in it, and I got super excited to watch it and maybe watched clips of it on YouTube before even telling Lizabreff and Curdy that we needed to watch it.  It's so funny!  Naturally everyone did a great job, because I loved all the actors in it.

So it's about a celebrity in his 30s who finds out he has a kid in her 20s who has a 6 year old kid.  So overnight he becomes a 35 year old grandfather.  It's all about him growing up and them becoming a family, as well as following dreams, and generally becoming better people.  That kid is also adorable.  I loved his grin as he greeted people which then was abruptly wiped to a straight face when the greeting was done.  Every time.  It was wonderful.

It was just a great movie, although somewhat predictable, like most movies of this genre are.  You know they are probably going to be a happy family by the end, choosing family over fame or whatever, so it's more about the journey than a surprise.  It was really good.  It was edited really clever to make it funnier, especially in the time lapse montage scenes.  They were just all really good at bringing out the humor of the script really well, so that we could get all the right emotions through out the show.  I really liked it.  It was great for a cute and funny family movie.

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.


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.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

221. Moonlight Drawn By Clouds 구르미 그린 달빛 (2016) Korean

Park Bo Gum, Kim Yoo Jung, Jung Jin Young, Chae Soo Bin, Kwak Dong Yeon

Drama Rating: 7/10     Neck Score: A

And yet another tale of Lizabreff and I not finishing a drama right away because of reasons that weren't really reasons.  Once again we were watching too many dramas at once, and we sacrificed this one so we could finish the others.  Of course, like always, we stopped right before it got good again.  It was getting boring and we couldn't handle it.  We weren't ready for all the crap that was inevitably going to happen after episode 12, so we just stopped before 13.  It probably didn't deserve that, since it was by far a better drama than most the other ones we actually finished at the time, which I gave much lower ratings (cough cough Moon Jun Ki ahem Cinderella and the Four Knights cough cough).  I think it was too many sageuks for Lizabreff.  She'll be the first to admit they are not her thing, and as soon as they get slow she struggles.  I think that was partially what happened, plus the other sageuks, and it was just too much.

So, I ended up just finishing it alone, much later.  It took me no time at all too, which makes this whole story pathetic.  In like two or three days I finished the remaining 6 episodes.  Why was that so hard?  I was super into it too.  Nothing was hard to watch, it was all just normal good sageuk.  Not even the bad kind, the normal good kind.  I do have to say that the last episode was not good.  It did not measure up to the quality of the rest of the drama, which is often the case with any given drama.  However, this erred on the side of being too happy and gooey.  No way any of that was possible.  It was like they just threw all reality out the window and made every happy ending fantasy come true.  It was cheesy and bad.  Sorry that I actually wanted Bo Gum to die?  Not because I hate him, I love him. But I thought a tragic ending would have been nice.  It's not like that historical figure didn't die young.  Apparently he did, so what was that ending?  Spoilers, he doesn't die.  Sorry.  I know it was based off of a novel, but not having read it, all I had was the historic context, but I probably should have just left that part alone.  Then the cheesiness could have prevailed.  But I guess it did make an obvious point about what the title was about in the end, tying everything up with a nice big bow, the end, everything is great.

So, it wasn't a bad drama by any means, and I can see why it was so popular, although maybe not agreeing to that whole extent.  It wasn't amazing or anything, just good.  The acting was stellar through out, although I will say that Yoo Jung looks young for her age and Bo Gum looks exactly his age, so no one but Dong Yeon looked 18.  I liked to point out all the age gap romance scenes, which annoyed everyone else, mwahaha.  It does have all those sageuk tropes, with the girl dressed as a guy, but it was fresh in the execution.  At least what she had to go through to be a eunich was interesting.  I loved the bromance the best.  Kim Hyung and the prince were my OTP.  Wah, that scene at the end when Kim Hyung... wah!!!!!!  I liked how the second female lead was nice the whole time and liked Jin Young just all the time, even when he was being annoying.  His ending was super weird and unnecessary, but whatever.  At least he got lots of pretty clothes.  Lots of pretty men in pretty clothes all around!  Yay!

Friday, May 19, 2017

254. Drinking Solo 혼술남녀 (2016) Korean

Ha Seok Jin, Park Ha Sun, Hwang Woo Seul Hye, Min Jin Woong, Kim Won Hae, Gong Myung, Key, Jung Chae Yeon, Kim Dong Young

Drama Rating: 7/10     Neck Score: A

I started this for Key, straight up.  I had heard good things.  I don't remember why I didn't watch it when it came out.  I remember Lizabreff was really excited for it, but we just never got around to watching it.  Which is weird.  But then I started watching it without her, which is also weird.  But that's what happened.  I was not disappointed.  Ki Bum was the best part of the whole show.  Di ro ri!  I'm pretty sure he's my spirit animal.  I mean, I guess Ha Seok Jin was a bonus... JK, I loved everyone in this whole show.  There was no one that I didn't like, and that was the beauty of it.  It was about people.  Flawed people who are dealing with a lot of crap.  We have the exam school teachers, who all have their own struggles, and the students, who are living under the cloud of the civil service exams and having to study all day every day.  So everyday someone is going to be drinking solo, for some reason, good or bad.  Or Ha Seok Jin will just drink solo every day because he's high quality trash and it's his time of "healing."  The show is basically advocating alcohol, but trying to also promote healthy drinking habits.  Really, I was all about those "high quality" snacks during all those drinking scenes.  They made me so hungry and jealous.  I loved how the characters all developed well and how I cared about everyone's story.  I was shipping everyone, even if I knew they were bound to be alone, because they were the second male lead.  Everyone had their times of being sad, but it usually wasn't stupid, it was realistic.  Only sometimes it was stupid.  Then everyone ended fairly happy, which is also good.  It was a good ending, although the last episode was so long that I am dead tired now because I stayed up too late to finish it.  It was a little slow paced, but there were a lot of loose ends to tie in the last episode.  I felt like they gave all the other characters besides the main couple more time to resolve, but since I loved them all that only seemed slightly weird.  They were trying to leave it open, I know, but it was a bit too open maybe?  I don't know.  It was still good, just too long for after midnight.  This noona is getting too old for that.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Korean Movie Night: Run Off (Take Off 2) 국가대표 2 (2016) Korean

Soo Ae, Oh Dal Su, Oh Yeon Seo, Ha Jae Suk, Kim Seul Gi, Kim Ye Won, Jin Ji Hee, Park So Dam, Cho Jin Woong

Movie rating: 7/10     Neck score: A

If you know me, you know I don't like sports movies.  Even if my favorite sport (to play on my computer) happens to be hockey.  This was one of my favorite sports movies.  Maybe it was because I loved all these actresses, maybe because it was funny and heart breaking, but it did a good job.  It had all the classic underdog tropes, but it handled them well.  A group of misfits are brought together to make a national women's hockey team.  Of course they are given all the crappiest equipment, hand me downs from the guys teams, and the moldy rink, etc.  We have a North Korean defector, a kicked out speed skater, a figure skater, an 8th grader, a field hockey ahjumma, and an office worker.  Naturally, they don't get along at first.  Then there are training montages, them coming together, sticking it to the man and not giving up.  Then there are intense games that are somewhat predictable, but not so bad.  It's realistic, until we get to the drama parts where everyone is panting and hitting walls and we see less of the game and more of their "pain."  Not surprised that they have the only foul play done by the Japanese... yeah... that....  Anyway, it is about sisterhood, friendship, and representing your country, and not about some of the things that sports movies are about.  I love that the only men in it are the coach and the bureaucrats.  And like family and stuff, but there is no romance in it at all, which is the best, because no one needs romance in a sports movie.  That just ruins things.  So this wasn't ruined by that.  It became about families, whether it be the North Korean and her little sister, the coach and his son, or the fact that the team becomes a family.  It was cute and good.  It was also way more hilarious that I thought it was going to be, but considering the cast we shouldn't be surprised (I'm looking at you, Seul Gi!).  It was also much more tender and moving than I thought it would be, so overall, I was pleasantly surprised.