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.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Korean Movie Night: The Beauty Inside 뷰티 인사이드 (2015) Korean

Han Hyo Joo, Park Seo Joon, Juri Ueno, Lee Jin Wook, Lee Dong Wook, Go Ah Sung, Yoo Yeon Seok, Lee Dong Hwi 

Movie rating: 7/10     Neck score: A

It's hard to know who to put down as "starring" in this, besides Han Hyo Joo and Lee Dong Hwi, because there are tons of people who play Woo Jin, our main character, because this is a movie about a man who changes bodies every time he wakes up.  He doesn't just change his face, but who he is completely.  He can become a woman, a child, a grandmother, anyone, every time he wakes up.  So I've listed some of the people who played him during pivotal moments.  I didn't particularly like the actual love story plot as much as I loved the execution of the premise.  It was a very interesting concept in the fact that we never knew what Woo Jin used to look like, so everyone who played Woo Jin was Woo Jin.  So really there was no starring role beside Han Hyo Joo.  It was really good how each of them played him, because they were all him, but also had their own twist.  You could always tell it was Woo Jin, which was fantastic.  I also really liked how it dealt with the trauma it would have on the people around him.  He felt sorry for himself, but then he was forced to look at the effects it had on his mom, his friend, and his girlfriend.  It was very interesting, and also very awkward at times.  It just has some inherently awkward situations, like when he was a girl or a kid, or a grandma.  But I think even the awkwardness was handled well, so it became an interesting story, full of emotions and perspectives.  On the whole, it was good.

248. Radiant Office 자체발광 오피스 (2017) Korean

Go Ah Sung, Ha Seok Jin, Kim Dong Wook, Lee Dong Hwi, Hoya

Drama Rating: 8/10     Neck Score: A

I don't normally love office dramas this much, because they are usually about chaebols and office politics.  This one has more of a Misaeng vibe to it, however, which means its about the peons instead.  The office workers.  The interns.  Only they were contract workers instead.  Three of them.  They met in the emergency room when they had all tried to kill themselves, each for their own version of "life is so hard it sucks."  Then they all ran from the hospital, since none of them could pay their fees, and since that moment, they are buddies for life.  To the point where they laugh and cry for each other.  They are some of the most adorable friends ever.  I loved how raw and messy all of the relationships.  Even the people you hated were relatable at times.  Ha Seok Jin was great.  He was so awkward.  It was great to see her perception of him change, but also him just change as he realizes that he can change.  It was a super cute romance too.  Very organic and slow building.  It was a cute, normal person romance.  All the romances were.  All the relationships were.  All the people were.  Messy, but lovable.  I loved Bender (Oh Dae Hwan).  He was so annoying, and it was hilarious.  We loved to hate him, but couldn't really hate him, because we loved him.  The embodiment of every annoying, brown-nosing, power trippy sunbae office worker.  He was my favorite, as he usually is, but really I just loved everyone.  Except that Dr. Seo.  He was the worst, and I didn't want him to be redeemed or anything at the end.  Nope.  He was annoying.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Korean Movie Night: Train to Busan 부산행 (2016) Korean

Gong Yoo, Ma Dong Seok, Jung Yu Mi, Kim Su An, Kim Eui Sung, Choi Woo Shik, Ahn So Hee

Movie rating: 8/10     Neck score: A

I watched this one a while ago with my older sister and her husband.  He is a filmmaker and a zombie enthusiast, so I had to.  He actually bought it and watched it before I could even set up the movie night.  He loved it, so some of his opinions will be shared here as well.

This is one of the most heart filled zombie movies I have seen (I haven't seen that many, but my brother-in-law has, and he said the same thing).  While being gross and violent as all zombie movies must be, it isn't gratuitous violence, it is more about the story and the horror.  And it's plenty intense, because we have little kids and pregnant ladies in the mix, and you just can't help but be more worried about them.  Plus we have the claustrophobic terror of being in the confined space of the train.

The zombies themselves were very interesting, a good mix of body acting, gross make up, and probably some CGI.  But they were really good.  The contortion plus the movements was different and great.  It made it super weird, creepy, and just cool.

One thing that my brother-in-law really liked was the depth to all the characters.  While we had the classic horror film collection of characters, they each had their own depth and were humanized so that we felt things for all of them, even that rich selfish jerk.  We got to see their growth, such as Gong Yoo's character going from worst dad to best dad, or Choi Woo Shik who was too cool/awkward to admit he likes the girl, to becoming a hero to protect her.  Or "dad of the year" Teddy Bear Ma Dong Seok.  He was the best.  Just the very, very best.

Naturally the whole theme was about being united and helping each other and sacrifice.  The only people who survived were ones protected by sacrifice and love.  I would say it was intense over scary, and full of love and emotions.  It also touched on responsibility, and the bitterness of selfishness.

The campiest part was the deer at the beginning.

Korean Movie Night: No Tears for the Dead 우는 남자 (2014) Korean

Jang Dong Gun, Kim Min Hee, Brian Tee, Kim Hee Won, Kim Jun Seong 

Movie rating: 7/10     Neck score: A

I don't know why I keep forgetting that I watch these movies, or at least forgetting to review them.  It must be because it's a one time commitment of like 2ish hours, versus like 16+ hours and weeks of dedication.  But anyway, I do like watching movies too, and so I'll have to just keep remembering all the movies I've watched so I can review them, so you all can decide whether or not to watch them... or just enjoy reading my thoughts if you've already watched them.

So, No Tears for the Dead.  A very bloody action film.  My little brother showed it to my older sister and I, so it was like a different kind of movie night.  It has lots of swears.  It has lots of violence.  It's pretty darn cool.  It also has Byun Yo Han in it for like two seconds.  Just long enough for me to shout his name and get excited before it was over.  Oh.  It's ok, we've got Jang Dong Gun being bad-a.  We're good.

It's about an assassin who starts to question whether he wants to remain as an assassin when his last job goes a little south.  He is ordered to clean up his mess and bump off the wife of the man he just killed as well.  There is a lot of him pretending to follow orders, then not following orders, and former buddies being mad that he's not following orders because now they have to kill him.  So he's got to protect himself while he protects this woman, and all that jazz.  It's pretty compelling.

The bad guys are total d-bags.  I don't want to be violent, but they made me want to be violent because they were mean and gross.  Kind of like how we hated the Ahjussi baddies.  Like their deaths are super justified.  So it has kind of a Die Hard meets Bourne Identity meets Ahjussi vibe to it, and I liked that.  There were lots of conflicting emotions, especially since it was about the conflicting emotions of this poor hardened killer, this assassin who is super good at his job, but just a helpless little boy at heart.  Much tears.  So besides it being super violent and full of subtitle swears and not subtitle swears (in English too, since the bad guys were like Korean American- you've been warned) it was a tear jerker, really.  Very interesting and super cool.  The action was very cool.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

252. Across the Ocean to See You 漂洋过海来看你 (2017) Chinese

Zhu Ya Wen, Wang Li Kun, Ye Qing, Denny Huang, Wang Yan Lin, Gao Yang

Drama Rating: 6/10     Neck Score: B

This show gets full marks for a super great OTP, but it has some serious flaws along with it.  Such as how ridiculous some of the makjang was.  I started it because the main dude looked absolutely adorable, and he was.  He's the perfect combo of goofy and manly, comedic and sexy.  I loved watching their relationship develop.  But there were plenty of other relationships in the show that I didn't care so much about... just kidding, only one.  I liked the little brother/little sister relationship, especially since we got to see them grow and mature as well.  Tang Guoguo was absolutely annoying at the start, but was great by the end.  I hated her when she was being immature and chasing after our main guy, Zheng Chu, but loved her when she was being pursued by our main girl, Su Mang's little brother Su Chang.  The couple, or rather love triangle, that I didn't care for the most was the best friend and his harem of sisters.  It caused all the worst parts of the drama... well besides the cancer aunt who was super dubbed.  Cancer is just never cool.  Anyway, this Tang Ming guy was so wishy washy and rebellious that he really caused all these problems.  Can't just tell the bitca no, because he didn't want to hurt her, but really not clearly rejecting someone hurts more in the end, which is kind of where this side plot went.  To the ultimate end, filled with way too much crying and regret.  It was way dramatic and extreme most of the time.  But when he and the right sister were being cute together, it was adorable, but most of the time it was misunderstandings and him being a chicken butt.  Super lame.  Way too much time spent on that love triangle.  Then there is the cancer aunt.  She was so hateful to me at first that I would 10 sec skip passed her scenes.  But by the end, she is literally one of the only people doing anything right, making sure the couple gets back together (after tearing them apart).  It was ridiculous.  Really.  It got super contrived at the end, which is not a far stretch, because the whole basis is contrived, but the relationships were all fairly organic at first, that the little magical wrap up at the end was silly.  Well, the whole last third of the show was people trying to talk them into getting back together before harsh lessons has to do the trick.  How many lives full of regret do you have to see before you make sure you don't have the same regrets, Su Mang and Zheng Chu?  Well, apart from the episodes at the end dedicated to too much drama and crying, I liked this show.  It was the sort that I couldn't stop watching and pretty much turned on every time I had a minute to spare.  That why I could burn through all 44 episodes in like a week and a half.  It was definitely crack.  That main couple gave me all the feels!  Squeals.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Korean Movie Night: Punch 완득이 (2011) Korean

Yoo Ah In, Kim Yoon Seok

Movie rating: 8/10     Neck score: A

This was the perfect time to watch this movie, which I had been meaning to watch for a while, because it helped Curdy get passed her Yoo Ah In thing.  She started out watching Six Flying Dragons with me, but it was too much for her, as she was still too new to dramas for a 50 episode sageuk, and she hated Yoo Ah In as Lee Bang Won.  She was starting to like him in Chicago Typewriter, but now fully loves him, because he is adorable in this movie.  She says his hair helped a lot, since it wasn't that CT fade.

Anyway, Punch is a slice of life, coming of age type movie.  It was very understated at times, and just generally as quirky and awkward as a high schooler with a non-traditional family is.  He has a temper, especially when people insult his hunchback father or stuttering uncle, so he punches people.  He has a tsundere teacher who is looking out for him, even though it looks like he is just using him at times.  He has a neighbor who cusses all the time, especially when they're being loud.

It is just a great little film about a boy reaching that turning point of his life and the things that happened to turn his life.  It's pretty funny, but at a pace where if you are not paying attention you might miss something.  Everything just kind of happens, no matter how weird it is if you actually thing about it, so it seems normal, and then it hits you and you laugh hard.  One of my favorite scenes is just solid cussing for like 2-3 minutes over where a car was parked and slashing tires, you know the petty sort of arguments neighbors get into.  It was hilarious.  Awkward high school romance.  The bluntness of teenagers.  Families and their ups and downs.  It was all good.

It also deals with a lot of good topics like the economic state of disabled people, immigration and immigrant workers, multicultural relationships, families, schools and university exams, neighborhoods, lots of things like that.  It did it in a non-preachy way, just a down to earth way that made you actually pay attention.  It really liked it.