Movie Reviews

This is proving to be a bigger endeavor than I thought it would, as I have seen far too many Asian films.  The hardest part will be remembering them all, and especially their actual titles so I can get the right information on them.  This will be an ongoing project just to remember the ones I have seen, so I put them in alphabetical order, since there is no way of remembering in what order I watched them.

Here is how these ratings work:

1-2 Really Didn't Like It/Very Poorly Done
3-4 Meh/Didn't Like It
5-6 Good/Liked It Ok
7-8 Great/Really Liked It
9-10 Awesome/Loved It

*The neck ratings are based on the total number of male necks in the film, how good they are, and the fashion/abuse they are subjected to within the film.



200 Pounds Beauty 미녀는 괴로워 (2006) Korean
Kim Ah Joong, Joo Jin Mo

Movie rating: 4/10     Neck score: B
I had a hard time watching this one, because the plastic surgery stuff just really grossed me out.  I loved it's message and stuff like that, but (shudder) I really couldn't handle all the crap that they did to her to make her pretty.  It's about a voice over girl who is super fat who is sad because she has a crush on this manager dude so she gets plastic surgery and goes through extensive weight loss training and comes back as a skinny, plastic, pretty girl.  It's a show about loving yourself for who you are, and not being shallow, but it's also just showing the reality that is in the kpop industry, where looks go more than talent.  Well, anyways, not my favorite show, although it did have it's moments, I guess.  It wasn't the worst fat suit I've seen either, so that is something.



Ahjussi  아저씨 (aka Man from Nowhere) (2010) Korean
Won Bin, Kim Sea Ron, Kim Hee Won, Kim Sung Oh

Movie rating: 9/10     Neck score: A
This movie is awesome!  Also super violent, but so good.  There are plenty of cringe worthy violent parts, but it's not glorying in the violence, with the whole violence for violence sake, but it is more of showing the horribleness of that situation and the crime organizations.  It's about a mysterious man (Won Bin) who runs a pawn shop in this grungy apartment complex.  This little girl named So Mi befriends him, as her mother is like a prostitute or something and definitely a drug addict, and she feels more comfortable with "Ahjussi" than at home sometimes.  When her mother gets involved with stolen drugs belonging to a group of powerful drug lords, her daughter ends up getting kidnapped, and Ahjussi has to come out of his voluntary retirement to track the bad dudes down and get the girl back before she is sold or her organs are harvested.  Since it deals with really gross subjects, such as drugs, human trafficking, and organ harvesting, it's not going to be a pretty movie, but it is so very well made.  The fight scene at the end... wow.  It leaves you like blank stare overwhelmed.  Also, since it's like a little 8 year old girl, you get pretty anxious for her safety, so it's also an super intense movie that way too.  But so good!  Also, Won Bin.  He's so hot, even when he's all gruff with the long hair.  But boy, when he cuts his hair... whew!



Architecture 101  건축학개론 (2012) Korean
Uhm Tae Woong, Han Ga In, Lee Je Hoon, Bae Suzy, Jo Jung Suk, Yoo Yeon Seok

Movie rating: 6/10     Neck score: B
A very artsy movie.  The type that is good, but also kind of boring.  Like stuff happens, but it's far between.  I don't know.  I just had to multitask during some parts because I was going to fall asleep.  I also still don't love Uhm Tae Woong.  I don't hate him anymore though, so I guess that is a step.  I did like how it was made the most.  The mosaic between the past and present was easy to follow, probably because the consistency of how they portrayed the past was nice.  Also, the house that he built her was just cool.  I want a house like that.  Way to make architects cool while portraying them pretty realistically, with the not glamorous and rich lifestyle.  Jo Jung Suk was amazing as the BF.  He definitely deserved all the awards he got for it.  His clothes were also just great.  90s amazing.



Art of Seduction 작업의 정석 (2005) Korean
Son Ye Jin, Song Il Gook

Movie rating: 5/10     Neck score: A
Ok, so this movie is ridiculous in premise, but they did a fairly good job of it, not being too nasty or over the top.  I mean, it's about two players trying to seduce each other on a dare or something.  When neither one falls for the other (as they are both seasoned players) then it becomes like a personal quest to make the other person fall for them.  I think the ending kind of ruined it a bit for me, because it was so weird, but at least it wasn't a stereotypical lame ending, it was a different sort of ending.  I just hate up in the air endings with not enough resolution.  That is just a personal preference, however.  The main couple had a lot of chemistry though, so that made it work as well.  Also that iconic sexy dance water dump scene... just made me laugh.  But it made that one episode of Running Man funnier when I got the reference.



Ashurajō no Hitomi 阿修羅城の瞳 (2005) Japanese
Ichikawa Somegoro, Miyazawa Rie, Higuchi Kanako, Watabe Atsuro

Movie rating: 4/10     Neck score: A
This film is so bad.  The best part about it is Ichikawa Somegoro, who is both amazing and very attractive.  This is a horror film, but it has super cheesy special effects.  Also the story is just weird.  It's about how the demons are trying to resurrect the demon queen, whose incarnation is now walking the earth as a young girl, without knowing who she is, and the demon hunters are trying to stop them.  Ichikawa Somegoro plays a demon hunter named Izumo who quit being a demon hunter after he accidentally killed a young girl.  He is now a kabuki actor, but gets mixed up with the demons again when he meets Tsubaki (Miyazawa Rie) and wants to help her.  There there is a bunch of messed up weirdness with the demons and the incarnation resurrection business.  The end is a bit trippy, just saying.  I guess if you like weird cheesy horror films?



Attack on the Pin-Up Boys 꽃미남 연쇄 테러사건 (2007) Korean
Kibum, Donghae, Siwon, Heechul,... all of Super Junior...

Movie rating: 6/10     Neck score: A
Pretty much just a SuJu comedy, any Elf's (SuJu fan) dream movie.  It was cheesy and hilarious, and just what I needed at the time when I watched it.  I also was super proud of myself for calling all the plot twists before they happened.  This doesn't mean that they were that predictable, since no one believed me when I announced them, I'm just that good.  But really, if you are in the mood for something super silly and full of beautiful men (and happen to be in love with Super Junior) then you might as well watch this one.  But it's definitely not a super good movie, it's just funny fan service, and that's ok.



Baby and I 아기와 나 (2008) Korean
Jang Geun Suk, Moon Mason, Song Ha Yoon 

Movie rating: 6/10     Neck score: A
A whole movie about Jang Geun Suk carrying around a baby?  Yes, please.  This was surprisingly better than I thought it would be, and not the lame, cheesy baby comedy.  It had plenty of everything: comedy, heart, tear, all that sort of stuff.  Jang Geun Suk is a good actor, no matter how cray cray I might think he is personally, and his role as bad boy high schooler suddenly becoming a father was pretty well played.  Especially when he was clueless as to which ex-girlfriend of his was the mother.  It is a bit predictable, but if you're going to be watching a movie about a baby, you've got to be ready for fluffy fluff.



The Beast and the Beauty 야수와 미녀 (2005) Korean
Ryoo Seung Bum, Shin Min Ah, Kim Kang Woo 

Movie rating: 8/10     Neck score: A
First of all, I just have to say that this was made really well.  Also, in what universe is Ryoo Seung Bum ugly?  Well, I guess he's not classically handsome, but I was totally crushing on him.  But then character makes people even hotter.  But this movie was frustrating to death, mostly because of how we related to Dong Gun (Seung Bum) in all his cowardice, bad luck, missed opportunities, and self-esteem problems.  I loved how consistently cool Hae Joo (Shin Min Ah) was, especially in how she loved him.  It's a good movie about loving the person not the face, etc.  Also, Ahn Kil Kang is just the best.  I love his comedy the best.  His character, as the 17th Dragon, was just hilarious.


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


Because I Love You 사랑하기 때문에 (2017) Korean
Cha Tae Hyun, Kim Yoo Jung, Seo Hyun Jin 

Movie rating: 7/10     Neck score: B


C'est si Bon (2015) Korean
Jung Woo, Kim Yoon Seok, Han Hyo Joo, Kim Hee Ae, Jin Goo, Jang Hyun Sung, Kang Han Neul, Jo Bok Rae

Movie rating: 7/10     Neck score: A


Chart of Love 2 神様のカルテ2 (2014) Japanese
Sakurai Sho, Fujiwara Tatsuya, Miyazaki Aoi

Movie rating: 6/10     Neck score: A+
I wish I had known this was a part 2 movie.  Now it makes so much more sense!  I was wondering why they didn't bother developing somethings, such as him and his wife's relationship.  Haha.  Now I gotta see the first one.  Doctor drama, and probably one of the better ones as it was focused on the meaning of life and what does it mean to be a doctor.  In a culture that is already overworked, doctors lose their identities as people as they become doctor machines who put work first.  Sakurai Sho is the lead, Dr. Kuriharai, a workaholic doctor who is more interested in helping people at this rural hospital than in being a famous doctor or even in taking care of himself.  He is also really hot, in a Yoochun cute type way.  He's also in the boyband Arashi, which also has Matsumoto Jun (the Hana Yori Dango dude). Then his med school friend (Fujiwara Tatsuya) moves to his hospital.  He is super hot like in a more Lee Joon Ki way.  (He's also going to be in the new Rurouni Kenshin films, as the yucky gross bad guy.  I hope we get some shots of him before he got burned and gross cause rawr.)  Only he's changed from being the super conscientious hardworking doctor to one who leaves work at six every day and can't be reached at night.  Naturally he's looked down on and misunderstood for behaving that way, but Kuriharai find out its because he has to take care of his daughter and doesn't want to become a robot who puts work before his family, like his wife chose to do.  Then then question how to balance work and family as their senior at work collapses from exhaustion and some cancer type deal.  It also talks a lot about treating patients as people, instead of business.  It's a statement on the system and working so hard that we forget to be people.  It's got a message of hope and stuff.  Plus both necks are an A+.



Chocolate ช็อคโกแลต (2008) Thai
Yanin Vismitananda, Hiroshi Abe, Pongpat, Wachirabunjong

Movie rating: 9/10     Neck score: A
So, so good!  The fighting in this... yes.  It was so intense at times because she's like twelve or fourteen, and she's fighting all these thugs... that butcher shop fight scene (shudder) was so good!  So basically it's about this girl who is autistic, who has super good reflexes and stuff, and has taught herself martial arts through watching kung fu films and the Muay Thai dojo next door to her.  She lives with her mother, who used to be a prostitute but fell in love with a Yakuza, and an adopted brother.  When she and her brother find her mother's old ledger, they decide to track down all the people who owe her money so they can pay for the mother's cancer treatment.  This opens a can of worms that leads to many different fight scenes.  This movie is pretty much just a bunch of fights, even in between it's more visual than dialogue, but it's so good.  This girl is amazing, and the choreography is so tight and well done.  Also it teaches important values of family and not hanging around bad pimp dudes.  That bad pimp dude was nasty bad.  Also, his gang of transvestites or whatever... yuck.  Anyways, it's a super cool movie.



The Commitment 동창생 (2013) Korean
Choi Seung Hyun, Han Ye Ri, Kim Yoo Jung, Yoon Je Moon

Movie rating: 8/10     Neck score: A
This movie has a lot of explosions in it.  Almost enough to say that Michael Bay had directed it.  It's about an assassin/North Korean hit man, so naturally it's going to be violent and full of deaths.  I think we lost count while trying to keep track of the body count.  At the end it just wasn't possible.  But T.O.P (Choi Seung Hyun) did a super good job being a little North Korean spy who just wants to save his little sister, and can't control his reflexes.  It had plenty of sentiment along with the explosions, and I really just wanted him and his sister to be together the whole time, even if that rarely happened because most of the movie they were apart.  Even little spies want to be real boys!  I loved it, even if it made me cry at times.



A Company Man 회사원 (2012) Korean
So Ji Sub, Lee Mi Yeon, Kwak Do Won, Kim Dong Jun

Movie rating: 8/10     Neck score: A
Another super violent but super cool film.  So Ji Sub plays a contract killer who starts to wonder what the point of his job is when he meets a single mother who might have been his childhood idol crush or something like that.  When her son is his trainie that he is supposed to kill, that's when he decides to leave the business, making himself the next target.  It is impressive in the fighting and special effects as he is hunted down by his former colleagues and betrayed, all while he is trying to protect the people that are now important to him.  The ending is just a bloodbath as he single-handed takes down the whole organization, basically charging them head on so he can move on with his life.



Confession of Murder 내가 살인범이다 (2012) Korean 
Jung Jae Young, Park Shi Hoo

Movie rating: 7/10     Neck score: A
The bad guy that wouldn't die.  Seriously.  The plot, plot twists, and all that was awesome, but the action scenes were over-the-top.  Especially the chase scenes.  They were very sensational.  They were extreme, flashy, and completely impossible.  Especially those car chase scenes where everyone magically landed on things and everything was completely perfectly timed out.  It was so over-the-top that we would laugh and make fun of it.  But the actual movie was good, with a good amount of suspense, violence, plot twists, and Park Shi Hoo's abs.  So while I laughed and rolled my eyes at the overly long chase scenes where no one ever died (especially the bad guy), I enjoyed this movie.



Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon 卧虎藏龙 (2000) Chinese
Chow Yun-fat, Michelle Yeoh, Zhang Ziyi, Chang Chen

Movie rating: 5/10     Neck score: B
I kind of hated this movie.  Not because the fighting was bad, or it wasn't well made, because the fighting was good, if you like the artsy non-realistic obviously wired action than it's good, because the plot basically just sucks.  This bitca chick decides she wants to be the best, and take revenge on people for not letting women learn stuff, so she rebels against everyone and then gets everyone killed.  I approve of letting women learn things and being equal, but this show wasn't really supporting that, because it was all about a cray cray bitca getting revenge and using the baby bitca to do her dirty work.  Plus, it's not like Michelle Yeoh's character wasn't super cool and powerful, it was just a misguided girl ruining everything.  Oh well.  Not sure why this one is the well known classic, but I would recommend Hero over this one any day.



Dragon 武俠 (2011) Chinese
Donne Yen, Kaneshiro Takeshi, Tang Wei
 
Movie rating: 7/10     Neck score: A
I love Donnie Yen.  He's my King Fu crush.  His kung fu is so beautiful.  This movie was full of it too.  Lovely, lovely fighting.  It is a little on the graphic side, but never without purpose.  It's about a detective (Kaneshiro Takeshi) who comes to this small village to investigate a bunch of bandits who tried to rob the general store, but were then killed by an ordinary village man, Liu Jinxi (Donnie Yen), in a fight to protect the shopkeeper.  As he investigates the death of one of the bandits, he figures out that they aren't ordinary bandits, and that the Liu Jinxi can't be an ordinary village man either.  It's really cool because you get to see the fight when it happens, but then we also get to see what really happened in the fight as the detective breaks it down, using the evidence, showing how Liu Jinxi is really a super skilled martial artist.  This leads to the uncovering of a larger plot involving the gang known as the 72 Demons and how Liu Jinxi is tangled up with them.  This leads to bigger fights and more plots.




The Fatal Encounter 역린 (2014) Korean
Hyun Bin, Jung Jae Yung, Jo Jung Suk, Han Ji Min

Movie rating: 7/10     Neck score: A
I was so excited for this movie, and couldn't wait until it came out and was accessible, but to be honest it was a lot more boring than I thought it was going to be.  It was still super cool and awesome, but it was definitely a sageuk, full with the court's political power plays and a lot of talking.  There were only a few moments of actual action, so even though it was super well done and intriguing, it was still hard to pay attention at times.  What makes it awesome that it was so slow moving before is that it's giving all the background information, and slowly building it up, so that when it finally breaks out and the action explodes, it's not just action, but it is meaningful and super bittersweet... but mostly just bitter.  It was a very good movie, but I wished I had known it was going to be slow moving so I could be prepared for it before I watched it, so there.  It's slow moving but awesome.  Have fun watching it. 



Finding Mr. Destiny 김종욱 찾기 (2010) Korean
Im Soo Jung, Gong Yoo

Movie rating: 7/10     Neck score: A
Gong Yoo... that's all I have to say, right?  He really made this movie.  It's about Gi Joon (Gong Yoo), who starts a business where he helps people find their first loves.  His first client is Ji Woo, who can't forget this man she met in India, but only knows his name.  The weird part is that in all her flash backs her first love is also played by Gong Yoo.  But as Gi Joon tries his hardest to find her first love, he starts to wonder if he actually wants her to find him.  It's a cute little romcom and Gong Yoo gets to play both men in it so... also there was this really steamy kiss scene that was, well, steamy.



From Vegas to Macau 賭城風雲 (2014) Chinese
Chow Yun-fat, Nicholas Tse, Chapman To, Jing Tian

Movie rating: 6/10     Neck score: B
This one is the eye roller.  It's super silly.  It's kinda like Austin Powersish in the spoof on cool gambler spy types.  Looking it up after I found that it is the fourth in a series of films about this same dude- Ken, the god of gambling- all played by Chow Yun Fat, who is pretty awesome.  It's also got Nicholas Tse, who is pretty good looking- at least an A neck.  This film is the epitome of a "vulgar film"- a phrase used for blockbuster crap as described in Personal Tailor.  It has the mass appeal.  It has ridiculous puns, a hero with fantastical powers that defy possibility who is always one step ahead of the bad guy no matter what, martial arts that are silly, cool and very crowd pleasing, lots of hot girls who are smart as well as sexy, horrible puns, tons of special effects.  It made me laugh, I loved it, but it is definitely not quality highbrow art.  It's cheesy, goofy comedy.  Best of all, it had a G-Dragon reference, which made me forgive everything else the movie threw at me.  But, probably because it was a fourth movie, it had a lot of running jokes that I didn't get.  Especially the ending.  I was like "wut?!?"  I watched the ending first and then restarted it and it made even less sense to me after I watched the whole film.  After looking it up it was a inside joke that I didn't get because I hadn't seen the earlier films... but probably still wasn't that funny.  This film is absolutely ridiculous and very, very entertaining.



Giants and Toys 巨人と玩具 (1958) Japanese
Kawaguchi Hiroshi, Nozoe Hitomi, Ito Yunosuke

Movie rating: 8/10     Neck score: B
This is classified as a business comedy, and it is heavy on the satire, but that doesn't make it any easier to watch.  It's basically as satire on Japanese business culture which sprung up after WWII, basically showing how the culture changed, exchanging bushido (or the way of the samurai) or gentlemanly business practices for the cutthroat corporate battle tactics to go all out to survive.  It's basically one young man's journey to giving up everything for his job.  He has to deal with this bad teethed tomboy model that his company discovers and uses, wanting to date but ultimately having to choose between life and work.  While it is funny in a sort of ironic way, it's more poignant than anything.


Going by the Book 바르게 살자 (2007) Korean
Jung Jae Young, Son Byung Ho, Uhm Soo Jung, Lee Young Eun, Ko Chang Seok

Movie rating: 7/10      Neck score: A



Gojira ゴジラ (1954) Japanese
Akira Takarada, Momoko Kōchi, Akihiko Hirata, Takashi Shimura

Movie rating: 8/10     Neck score: B
The one that started it all.  This is super fun to watch in context of the current situation of Japan.  In 1954, Japan was dealing with the aftermath of WWII and the a-bomb, so a film like Gojira is a natural reaction.  An ancient monster given super powers and disturbed because of the nuclear radiation.  When man messes with power like that, the world is bound to change.  Also, Gojira is just a mean little bitca, killing people because she's mad or whatever.  I've gotta say though, for 1954, the special effects were sooooo good.  That little puppet popping it's head up.  What makes it better is how the got around it by not showing it so often.  That was cool.  Also we have some self-sacrifice for the greater good, and so that little romantic pair can be happy.  That is definitely some kind of propaganda for the times.  The collective good is more important than the individual.  Anyways, I loved it, especially historically.  The soundtrack was awesome too.  I just wanted to scream GOJIRA!!! with all those peeps too.  Lessons taught: weapons of mass destruction are bad, so don't use them on people.  If there is danger of weaponization, then don't let anyone know about it.  Also, be responsible about everyone's safety by being selfless.  Not bad morals by any means, but also so delightfully 1950s Japan.



The Good, The Bad, The Weird 좋은 놈, 나쁜 놈, 이상한 (2008) Korean
Song Kang Ho, Lee Byung Hun, Jung Woo Sung

Movie rating: 7/10     Neck score: B
A sort of remake on The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly, but not really, but it still has a tiny bit of a western film feel to it.  It takes place in Mancuria during the 1930s, when this thief (the weird) finds a treasure map and becomes a target for a hit man (the bad) and a bounty hunter (the good).  Then he gets chased all around and things get more complex, and so on.  It has all the good elements of a western type film, with a train chase scene/shoot out, more shoot outs, a Mexican stand off, and all that wonderful stuff.  All the actors are really good, so it makes this film well worth watching.  Also there is plenty of comedy for all that shooting.  Maybe just as much comedy as shooting, so that's good.



Good Morning お早よう (1959) Japanese
Sada Keiji, Kuga Yoshiko, Ryū Chishū, Miyake Kuniko

Movie rating: 8/10     Neck score: C
This is a day in the life of a Tokyo suburban, from the little school boy's fart jokes and sumo wrestling obsessions, to the train commutes, to the awkwardest love story ever.  It's about a family where the two boys love to watch wrestling, but only their super liberal neighbors own a television, so they aren't allowed to go over to watch.  When the boys ask for a television, they are refused, so the older boy goes on a silent protest streak against all adults (as they all tell those white lies saying they will when they won't, etc.).  This leads to offense and misunderstandings like only a suburbia knows and it's awkwardly hilarious.  It's very heavy on the Japanese culture, which includes the fart humor, and could be hard for a general not Japanese audience to understand, however, if you are a fan of Asian culture at all, it should be a funny movie.



Hana Yori Dango Finale 花より男子Final (2008) Japanese
Matsumoto Jun, Inoue Mao, Oguri Shun, Matsuda Shota, Abe Tsuyoshi

Movie rating: 5/10     Neck score: A
Absolutely ridiculous, like all of Hana Yori Dango, but this is literally the cheesiest of them all.  But I had to finally have the happy ending, since that couple is always going to have a butt load of problems.  But this was after the evil mom finally capitulated and was welcoming Tsukushi into the family, when this super pricy tiara is stolen, and the couple has to go off in search of it themselves, because they can't let the evil mom know they lost it.  It's so ridiculous, as it's basically the final test (as if this couple hasn't been through enough) and this journey helps them get over any last problems they might have had.  As if they hadn't gone through enough.  But, let's be honest, Matsumoto Jun shirtless a couple of times makes it worth it.  That skinny hot boy.  So cheesy, but still fun to watch.



Heartbreak Library 그 남자의 책 198쪽 (2008) Korean
Lee Dong Wook, Eugene

Movie rating: 4/10     Neck score: A
This should be called "Yawn Library" because it was so boring.  The literal title is something like "Page 108 of That Man's Book" and that is a much better title, because it's a movie about a librarian who helps this man figure out how to move on when the only clue his has to his lost love is something on page 108 of some book that she loved.  I was also bothered by the blatant disregard for the code of ethics, but whatever, it was a movie.  It was slow paced and really didn't leave us with much closure at the end.  We were just like "wut?" after it was over.  So, not horrible, but so boring that it can't be good either.



Heaven's Postman 천국의 우편배달부 (2009) Korean
Kim Jaejoong, Han Hyo Joo

Movie rating: 5/10     Neck score: A
Another surprisingly boring movie.  The fault of this one was probably in how slow it moved plus the lack of background music.  But this one had a more artistic feel to it, where you were supposed to be wondering what was going on.  Jaejoong is the postman to heaven and he meets Han Hyo Joo, who is struggling with the death of her boyfriend, and they end up helping those who leave letters for their dead loved ones together, which helps each of them heal themselves.  It's about letting go of the past, but also learning to love and remember people for the good, while living the best you can in their absence.  It is cute and touching, but a little slow paced and weirdly without as much background music as normal.



Hero 英雄 (2002) Chinese
Jet Li, Tony Leung, Maggie Cheung, Chen Daoming, Zhang Ziyi, Donnie Yen 

Movie rating: 8/10     Neck score: A
Visually awesome, and with an interesting premise.  It's about a man telling the king of Qin (the kingdom that united China during the Warring States period) about his deeds as he defeated the three assassins that had sought the king's life.  The awesome part is how each retelling of the story is different, and with different color themes.  As more is revealed, changing the story, the colors change to reflect it.  It is very cinematographically and visually beautiful, and even though it's that unrealistic fighting during some of the fights, it is still awesome.  My favorite fight was the one between Jet Li and Donnie Yen (of course, I love Donnie Yen) in that outdoor chess room, in the rain, even though they "only battled in their heads"...? Wut? Okay that part is a bit silly, as is the other in the head fight over a lake where no one falls in... yep.  That happened.  But the message and theme is equally beautiful, and as stylistic as it is, that is actually the best part.  We're okay with all the weirdness because it's a stylistic choice that actually gives another layer of meaning... well I'm sure lots of people can get deep with this one, but I still enjoyed it despite all that artsy stuff that is usually not my favorite.



He Was Cool 그 놈은 멋있었다 (2004) Korean
Song Seung Heon, Jung Da Bin

Movie rating: 4/10     Neck score: A
The romance in this movie was just laughable, but the comedy was pretty okay.  It's another one of those movies that you can only watch when you're in that mood where you want something cheesy.  The best part is just the nostalgia of how he acts "so cool" and all the stupid things that go on with all that.  But really this show is just ridiculous.   But it doesn't take itself seriously either, so that's good.  The best part was how her family glided up like a ghost behind her every time she made food at night.  So great.  It's just silly high school romance stuff.  When you want to watch that sort of thing then, eh, why not?  Also Jung Woo is in it, but he's young and has all this baby fat, so he's less hot.  And Pillar (Lee Ki Woo) has a random other guy kind of part that is probably the least understandable part of the how.  But hey, it's Pillar.



Ip Man 葉問 (2008) Chinese
Donnie Yen, Simon Yam, Lynn Hung, Lam Ka Tung, Xing Yu, Hiroyuki Ikeuchi

Movie rating: 9/10     Neck score: A
My favorite kung fu movie!  I love this!  It is a dramatization of the life of Ip Man, who was one of Bruce Lee's mentors, and master of the Wing Chun style of kung fu.  It takes place during the Japanese occupation of China before WWII and is also a Chinese patriotism movie as well.  Ip Man is a wealthy man before the occupation, and is very generous and very skilled at martial arts, a little too much for his wife's tastes.  Then the occupation comes and he loses everything.  Then he takes a stand against the Japanese in order to protect his family and friends.  There are some amazing fights in this show, also some super brutal ones (such as the one where he fights ten people and there is some obvious bone breakage).  I especially love how there is both kung fu and karate.  Kiroyuki Ikeuchi has some beautiful karate too (even though I'm obviously not rooting for him as he is the bad guy) so it's just a great fight to watch.



Iron Monkey 少年黃飛鴻之鐵馬騮 (1993) Chinese
Donnie Yen, Yu Rongguang, Jean Wang, Angie Tsang, Yuen Shun-yi

Movie rating: 5/10      Neck score: A
Back in the days of cheesy Kung Fu, where they announce their special moves right before they do it! Yes!  The Sleeve of Death is probably my favorite one.  This one has a sort of Zorro/Robin Hood theme to it, because it's about a physician who is also a masked bandit Iron Monkey, who goes around stealing money from the corrupt governor to feed the poor.  Then we have another physician who is visiting, but gets caught in the attempt to catch Iron Monkey, so to prove his innocence he fights the Iron Monkey, and is an equally skilled martial artist.  Then they hold his son hostage until he can catch the Iron Monkey.  But he figures out which side he should be on.  It's got a lot about the importance of family in there too, I guess.  Boy is it cheesy, but Donnie Yen's Kung Fu is just art... sigh.  It's all good.  The son is a pretty good martial artist too, so there is plenty of comedy fight with him as well.  The bad guys are pervs, but what else is new.  This era of Kung Fu movies always went super epic and over-the-top during the fight scenes, so be ready for that.  That is fun to watch too, so... perfect.  Love their smack talk during those fights though... yep.



Jackal is Coming 자칼이 온다 (2012) Korean
Song Ji Hyo, Kim Jaejoong, Oh Dal Soo

Movie rating: 6/10     Neck score: A+
Ok, so this movie was a little hard to follow at times because it has plot twists within plot twists.  Jaejoong is an idol, complete with being chased by his creepy sesaeng fans.  The police are informed that Jaejoong is the next target for an elite hit man named Jackal.  Jaejoong escapes his manager and hides on vacation at this sketchy hotel, only to be kidnapped by this crazy girl (Song Ji Hyo) who says she's been hired to kill him, but that this is her first job as an assassin.  So we have Jaejoong being help captive and tortured by Ji Hyo, also being attacked by sesaeng fans, trying to be protected by the police detective while still being used as bait, and all that lovely jazz.  The best part is Jaejoong.  He managed his part well, perhaps because it was so true to life, but seriously, the scenes where he is trying to convince Ji Hyo that he is not the idol were hilarious.  Pretending he couldn't sing or dance, and that he didn't have abs... hahaha.  For someone who was duct-taped to a chair most of the time, he really stole the show.  Then we have action and plot twists on top of that.  Also some pretty clever humor as well.



Karate Girl KG カラテガール (2011) Japanese
Rina Takeda, Tobimatsu Hina, Tatsuya Naka, Yokoyama Kazutoshi

Movie rating: 5/10     Neck score: C
This show is good for the karate, not for the acting.  The acting is just pretty bad.  I swear the girl never made any expressions besides one (that one in the poster).  But her karate was nice.  Only one of the fights looked super choreographed, and that was because it was supposed to be the way the sisters knew they were sisters, since they used the exact same moves at the same time.  That big white guy though... Keith (one of the worst white names they could use) he was so bad... and pretty ugly too.  Yuck.  Whatever.  It's about two sisters who were torn apart when their father was killed protecting them and the legitimacy of their style of karate, which is supposed to be the ultimate defense karate.  The older sister was presumed dead as well, while the younger sister was carried off by the baddies.  So then the older sister has to figure out how to protect herself and her father's honor when the bad guys come back, or whatever.  There is a lot of fighting, some more choreographed and some more natural looking, and it was way better than I thought it would be.  It's still a cheesy little show, but I liked it way more than I thought I would.  It's much better if you love karate... legit karate, not that crap they called karate in Karate Kid.  What the heck was that supposed to be anyways?



King of Masks 变脸 (1996) Chinese
Zhu Shu, Zhou Renying, Zhao Jigang

Movie rating: 5/10     Neck score: B
Okay... that is about all I can say about this show.  There is this old grandpa who's wife died so he has no children so there is no one to pass his mask magic down to.  He then buys this kid from an illegal child market to become his heir and apprentice, but it turns out that the kid is a girl, so he names her "doggie" and lets her stay, but just as an employee.  Then she accidentally sets their house on fire and runs away, ending up getting caught by bandits and mixed up in their kidnapping scheme when she helps this plump little kidnapped boy escape.  It's all about the importance of family and equality for girls as well.  A lot of what happens is because Doggie wants to be family so bad but can't because she isn't male.  But then she proves herself more filial at the end, which is power to her, I guess.



Kwaidan 怪談 (1964) Japanese
Mikuni Rentarō, Kishi Keiko, Aratama Michiyo, Watanabe Misako, Nakadai Tatsuya

Movie rating: 8/10     Neck score: B
The title literally means ghost stories, and that basically wraps up what this movie is about.  It's a collection of short ghost stories.  I remember Hoichi the Earless way better than the others, which means I need to watch this again, but I do remember that they are all pretty good.  Weird, and little creepy too, but mostly weird I think.  They are all Japanese folk tales, and so are about strange supernatural things more than outright creepy things.  There are also a lot of historical and mythical aspects.






Late Spring 晩春 (1949) Japanese
Ryu Chishu, Hara Setsuko, Sugimura Haruko

Movie rating: 8/10     Neck score: C
I watched this for a Japanese History class that I took.  It was super interesting, and slightly on the boring side, but that is mostly due to the shomingeki genre, which is basically a form or realism that focuses on the daily lives of middle or working class people in Japan.  This story focuses on a girl and her father, and is based on the book Father and Daughter by Hirotsu Kazuo.  It's all about filial piety and the importance of families, as we have the father late in life trying to make sure that his daughter gets married so she is taken care of, while the daughter is reluctant to get married because she wants to take care of her father in his old age.  It's very sweet, but very slow moving.  However, it is a very good picture of daily life in Japan in the late 1940s, and so makes for a good cultural experience.



Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen 精武风云-陈真 (2010) Chinese
Donnie Yen, Shu Qi, Anthony Wong, Huang Bo

Movie rating: 7/10      Neck score: A
The fighting in this film is really amazing, but the story line is slightly less so.  Basically this films is a tribute to Bruce Lee, who was the original Chen Zhen (Fist of Fury).  It takes place after Chen Zhen is supposedly dead, after WWI, and is about the resistance against Japan's invasion.  So we have a little politics, war time espionage, and disguises with mustaches and silly black masked outfits (that's probably the worst part of the film.  That outfit is just silly, even if it's a reference to another film).  Some of the fight scenes are super violent, but it's super worth watching, since Donnie Yen is fighting in the style of Bruce Lee, and does a good job with it too.  As Bruce Lee was his hero, this film must have been super fun for him, even though it is fulled with all the Bruce Lee cliches, including his kitty scream.  My favorite fight is the one at the beginning, when he is fighting during WWI.  That one is awesome!


Like for Likes (2016) Korean
Lee Mi Yeon, Choi Ji Woo, Kim Joo Hyeok, Yoo Ah In, Kang Ha Neul, Esom

Movie rating: 7/10      Neck score: A



The Little House 小さいおうち (2014) Japanese
Takako Matsu, Haru Kuroki, Hidetaka Yoshioka, Satoshi Tsumabuki, Chieko Baisho, Takataro Kataoka

 Movie rating: 5/10     Neck score: C
I only got to watch the second half of this one and it was plenty.  It was basically just a film which followed the happenings of the occupants of this little house in Japan in the 1930s.  It was narrated by the girl who worked at the house as a maid up until the depression and WWII when she had to leave.  It was her memories of what happened written in her journal, being read by her nephew or great nephew or something.  It was interesting, but on the slow side.  Reading up on it later, it seems like it is much more complex and maybe I should have watched all of it.  I knew there was cheating going on, and a bit of a love triangle going on, but maybe I got it backwards.  It wasn't the housemaid jealous of the wife over the young art student, but maybe the other way around with the maid liking the wife... oh Japan.  But anyways, it's based on Based on the 2010 Naoki Prize winning novel "Chiisai Ouchi" by Kyoko Nakajima.  None of the mens in it were very hot, so that's probably what made me just watch the second half of it and not start it over.



Love 911 반창꼬 (2012) Korean
Go Soo, Han Hyo Joo, Kim Sung Oh, Ma Deong Seok, Ju An

Movie rating: 7/10     Neck score: A+
So much better than I thought it would be.  When Lizabreff described it to me, it sounded like those tragic sad sobby things.  I wasn't expecting her to be a crazy gijibe who is chasing him for ridiculous reasons at first or that it was going to be a good love/hate type romcom.  My reason for watching it was Kim Sung Oh.  That was a good reason too, because TWO SHIRTLESS SCENES!  That guy has a hot body.  So does Go Soo for that matter.  I loved the little side romance too.  I was rooting for cute, tom boy Ju An to get her Kin Sung Oh the whole time.  Go Soo totally won us over with his impossible manliness mixed with adorable cuteness.  It was like he was a total namja and a little boy at the same time.  Too much sexy cuteness.  It was pretty good at the serious parts too, the medical and fire fighter stuffs.  And no one died tragically (besides the wife at the beginning, but I was talking leads) and Kim Sung Oh was a good actor, and so was everyone else (haha) and it was way better than I thought it was going to be.  That part where all the firefighters were catching baby chicks was adorable.



Love Forecast 오늘의 연애 (2015) Korean
Lee Seung Gi, Moon Chae Won, Lee Seo Jin, Jung Joon Young

Movie rating: 8/10     Neck score: A
So much fun.  For this kind of romcom, it did a good job, I think.  Seung Gi was really good at being that ISFJ nurturer best friend who is basically her boyfriend without being her boyfriend.  The weird gray area between brother and man- the friend zone that can't be escaped from.  I love Moon Chae Won and she didn't disappoint either.  Their relationship was just perfect.  I had a hard time with my spirit animal Lee Seo Jin being a cheating jerk.  I still love him, but his character was a hypocrite.  It was just fun to watch, a lot of funny times and good moments.  Also that weird shower themed bar.  What's up with that?  But it was fun anyhow.  I liked how it was also real, with the whole messy lack of communication and relationships in general.  It was just a delight to watch.



Love On Air 원더풀 라디오 (2012) Korean
Lee Min Jung, Lee Jung Jin, Lee Kwang Soo, Kim Hae Sook, Kim Jung Tae

Movie rating: 6/10     Neck score: A+
Lee Kwang Soo!  Lee Kwang Soo!  Lee Kwang Soo!  Lee Kwang Soo!  Basically, Lee Kwang Soo made this movie.  I mean, it was ok, but just in a kind of cheesy, shmaltzy, warm fuzzies, feely movie.  It's just one sob story/feely tear jerker after the next with a heroine who internalizes everything and never sticks up for herself.  I mean, thank goodness we have Kwang Soo in the background doing amazingly funny things in a scene that would have been boring otherwise.  He was so perfect.  The fanboy turned manager with a crush on the radio show writer.  Best line of the movie: "I threw up washing my pants!"  Also, Running Man cameos from Kim Jong Kook and Kang Gary.  The soundtrack is good.  There are oldies, and feelies, and the catchy girl band song "You Are My Angel" which is basically "Dugeun Dugeun" because this is basically the movie version of Greatest Love.  I think they came out the same year even, but that was probably the drama version of this, but either way they are pretty darn similar when it comes to background set up.  The girl band that broke up because of one member covering for the other and a third one being resentful even though she is the only successful one, but then they become friends again at the end.  Oh, the end.  The end was so cheesy, ho ho ho.  It was the wooooorst!  So cheesy!  But at least Kwang Soo made it genuinely funny too, despite the cheese.  Now I have to go listen to that oldie that I love, 널 사랑하겠어.  Who doesn't love that song?  Oh, the feels!



M (2007) Korean
Kang Dong Won, Lee Yeon Hee, Gong Hyo Jin

Movie rating: 7/10     Neck score: B
What the weird.  When they say psychological thriller mystery, they mean it.  It was so hard to follow along at first.  Mostly because I didn't really pay attention to the premise as much... or the first few minutes of the film... I was so confused, until I read that it was about a writer who is paranoid, who is having problems distinguishing between reality and hallucination, and the show is a weird mosaic of dream and reality, with a lot of lighting effects, etc, then I could sit back and enjoy it more.  Really you just have to roll with it, because it's not going to make sense until the end, and even then it's not going to completely make sense because it's all a bunch of dreams and things all mashed up.  Really well done though.  I liked it, even if it confused me all the time.  My advice is to just know what you are getting yourself into before watching it, and then pay attention so you are not even more confused, but don't try too hard to make it make sense, unless you really need to dig for super deep meanings.  Those are probably better for the second time around anyways.



Marrying the Mafia 2 가문의 위기 (2005) Korean
Shin Hyun Joon, Kim Won Hee, Kim Soo Mi, Jeong Jun Ha

Movie rating: 3/10     Neck score: A
Sometimes I wonder if there is a Korean comedy film without some sort of boner humor in it.  This one was no exception, so I feel a little nasty after watching it.  The movie itself was a cheesy sort of funny, where a mafia boss falls in love, but the girl turns out to be a prosecutor, so there is comedy and drama, and reform and sacrifice and all that.  It just didn't have a whole lot of meat to it.  It was just something to watch and not super good or super bad in my opinion.  It did have some really good moments though, so... yeah.  It was just meh to me.  That could have possibly been my mood too, and who I was with (which might have been no one.  Maybe in a larger group...?



Masquerade 광해: 왕이 된 남자 (2012) Korean
Lee Byung Hun, Ryu Seung Ryong, Han Hyo Joo

Movie rating: 8/10     Neck score: A
Basically prince and the pauper with a very political take.  I watched this over Christmas break and the whole rest of the week my brother and I were saying "Jeonha!  Punish us with death!" every fifteen minutes, as it might be the most said line in the whole show.  It's about one of the most famous kings in Joseon history, and how he disappeared for like two weeks.  So the story is the king gets poisoned and so they bring in a double to play him until he can be cured.  The double is just a clown/performer, but he ends up getting involved in politics more than he should have, falls for the queen, and makes things messy while also making things a bit better.  While it's very unrealistic in resolution, besides the unlikelihood of actually having an exact doppelganger to take his place, it's a good movie.



Miss Granny 수상한 그녀 (2014) Korean
Shim Eun Kyung, Na Moon Hee, Park In Hwan, Lee Jin Wook, Jung Jinyoung

Movie rating: 7/10     Neck score: B
Surprisingly more serious than I thought it would be.  I was expecting just the funny of Shim Eun Kyung acting like a granny, which there was plenty of and it was amazing, but there were serious themes too, like feeling old and useless, the harsh life of a single mom, and stuff like that.  I think that made it more meaningful.  However, I do think that the "relationship" or "romance" with her and Lee Jin Wook was weird and lame.  I didn't really like it or get it, and was glad that it wasn't a huge part of the show, because blah.  Mostly I was rooting for Park In Hwan the whole time.  Go Mr. Park!  Also Jinyoung rocked it!  I loved him.  So it was a good mixture of interesting, weird, and funny.  I like how the theme all came back to family.  Also, the cameo at the end was the best thing ever.  I screamed with delight.



My Girlfriend is an Agent 7급 공무원 (2009) Korean
Kim Ha Neul, Kang Ji Hwan

Movie rating: 7/10     Neck score: A
Ok, so this is a ridiculous sort of funny movie, but super fun to watch.  It starts with Jae Joon (Kang Ji Hwan) breaking up with his girlfriend, Soo Ji (Kim Han Neul), over the phone as he leaves to study abroad.  She is busy on an assignment as she is a spy.  Later he returns, also an agent, but with a background in analysis.  They are both working on the same case through different angles, and end up getting thrown together not knowing what the other is doing.  Kang Ji Hwan works the comedy well, as a bumbling nerd in the field for the first time.  It's just ridiculous funniness the whole time.  I did enjoy watching it more the second time, when I watched it with a bunch of friends, since that made the laughter more contagious.  The drama Level 7 Civil Servant, starring Joo Won, was based off of this movie, but the movie is still better, I think, since it's not drawn out into 16 episodes.  It's definitely funnier.



My  Tutor Friend 2 동갑내기 과외하기 레슨 II (2007) Korean
Park Ki Woong, Lee Chung Ah

Movie rating: 7/10     Neck score: A+
I watched this one twice.  I like Park Ki Woong that much.  As silly as this movie is, it is also super fun.  We've got a Japanese exchange student coming to Korea to find her crush and renting out a room at a boarding house, which happens to be the landlord's son's room, so it's got tons of awkward humor (especially with those unfortunate guys who are just doing the wrong thing at the wrong time.  Super awkward humor) and then language humor as Ki Woong's character is constantly being called Junk Man instead of Jung Man by the Japanese girl, and as he is forced to be her Korean tutor, he teaches her all the bad words and rude phrases at first.  It's just a silly funny movie, and perfect for a goofy mood where you want to laugh.  Also perfect if you like Park Ki Woong, because he's a boxer in this one, and so he has to fight (with his shirt off) and his body is pretty fine, rawr.



My Sassy Girl 엽기적인 그녀 (2001) Korean
Cha Tae Hyun, Jun Ji Hyun

Movie rating: 7/10     Neck score: B
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!!!!



My Scary Girl 달콤, 살벌한 연인 (2006) Korean
Park Yong Woo, Choi Kang Hee

Movie rating: 3/10     Neck score: C
Like I said before, most Korean comedies have that boner/masturbation humor.  It was super awkward in this one, which is probably the biggest reason for the low rating.  Also, it's super dark humor, because the girl is a murderer... well more than just that.  She's got a very dark past which she is trying to get rid of, but she has to get rid of a few people before she can start over.  I'm always going to be suspicious of kimchi fridges after this (and Grandpa's Over Flowers Investigative Team) because that's where the bodies are always hid.  Also the ending was a little too weird for me.  I'll admit that I just didn't really understand it.  I think they were going for a more open ended "maybe" type ending, but I'm not sure.  So... very dark humor, with nasty humor too.  Yep.  Pretty much.


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


Ode To My Father 국제시장 (2014) Korean
Hwang Jung Min, Yunjin Kim, Oh Dal Su, Jung Jin Young, Jang Young Nam

Movie rating: 9/10     Neck score: B



Ong Bak 2 องค์บาก 2 (2008) Thai
Tony Jaa, Nirut Sirichanya, Sorapong Chatree, Sarunyoo Wongkrachang 

Movie rating: 7/10     Neck score: A
Muay Thai and Kung Fu equals awesome.  While it's a little hard to follow, maybe because I was attempting to multitask at the time because I was so busy, if you pay attention it's not too bad.  Also it has a cliff hanger ending that makes you think that he dies, but there is an Ong Bak 3, which I haven't gotten around to yet, so you just need to watch both.  But the fights are so good in this one.  He wrestles a crocodile at one point, which is scary and cool.  And Tony Jaa just knows so many different styles of martial arts.  Also, he's not bad to look at at all.  So the hardest parts to understand are the weird parts with like magic or something creepy that I just don't get yet.  But, like I said, I had to multitask, which doesn't really work with shows that have subtitles, so I will probably watch this again before I watch the sequel, because it's worth it.



Penny Pinchers 티끌모아 로맨스 (2011) Korean
Song Joong Ki, Han Ye Seul

Movie rating: 6/10     Neck score: A
I love Song Joong Ki, but this film is a little... strange?  Ji Woong (Song Joong Ki) is a college graduate with no job and so still lives off of his mom.  He meets Hong Sil (Han Ye Seul) who lives in the rooftop apartment across from him and is the thriftiest girl on the planet.  She lives off the small amounts of money she collects through various things she does, such as recycling and reselling things she finds while rummaging through old homes and garbage heaps.  When Ji Woong is kicked out of his apartment, he ends up living in a tent outside her house when he learns she is responsible.  She agrees to let him stay if he helps her.  It's quirky, I guess that is the word for it.  Enjoyable in it's own way.



A Perfect Match 좋은 사람 있으면 소개시켜줘 (2002) Korean
Shin Eun Kyung, Jeong Jun Ho, Kong Hyun Jin, Kim Yeo Jin

Movie rating: 4/10     Neck score: C
This is pretty much the typical romcom.  A girl who works for a dating agency, even though she has pretty much no dating life, invents a boyfriend, and then gets tangled up in a client's life.  If I remember correctly she had a perfect record and he is too hard to match up, and then she gets too involved trying to get him a dream date or something like that.  It was pretty cute, but a little predictable and on the boring side.  But not bad by any means.





Personal Tailor  私人订制 (2013) Chinese
Ge You, Bai Baihe, Li Xiaolu, Zheng Kai

Movie rating: 7/10     Neck score: B
This one was probably the best out of the four that I watched.  I actually tried to start at the beginning and watch all of it, but still missed the first part, but I still liked it.  It was better the second time though, when I actually knew what was going on.  This film reminded me a bit of Dating Agency: Cyrano or Ouran High School Host Club in the fact that it's a bunch of amazingly talent people forming a company that makes other people's lives better.  In this case Personal Tailor is a company of four people who help people live their wishes for a day, to get away from their normal lives.  They help an official prove himself incorruptible by testing him with all sorts of corrupt temptations as if he were a higher up official, let a little fishing lady live like a rich lady for a day, help a blockbuster film director find highbrow art, etc.  It is very witty and clever as well as goofy at parts, and is very tongue in cheek.  Also it leaves you with a good message.  Also the men are very good looking, even if one is old and bald.  He's like Yul Brynner classy.  But the younger guy was obviously hotter.



Please Teach Me English 영어완전정복 (2003) Korean
Lee Na Young, Jang Hyuk, Angela Kelly, Na Moon Hee

Movie rating: 7/10     Neck score: A



Project Makeover 언니가 간다 (2007) Korean
Ko So Young, Yoo Gun, Jo An, Lee Beom Soo

Movie rating: 5/10     Neck score: B
Time travel film about a 30 year old woman who goes back in time to fix her life through fixing her high school relationships.  She blames everything on her relationship with the bad boy, and tries to keep herself from making the same mistakes twice.  It actually has a pretty good message as she is able to help her present self more than her past, and it's a big learning journey.  Not an amazing film, but pretty good all things considering.  The ending is probably the cheesiest part, but that might be because you are more invested in the past boys than the present boys, so it doesn't translate as well.  However, it has some clever twists, so it was still interesting to me.  Not too bad for a time traveling romcom.



Puck! 퍽! (2016) Korean
Lee Kwang Soo, Jung Hae Kyun, Son Soo Hyun, Kwak Dong Yeon, Jo Yoon Woo

Movie rating: 8/10     Neck score: A++


Punch 완득이 (2011) Korean
Yoo Ah In, Kim Yoon Seok

Movie rating: 8/10     Neck score: A


Run Off 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


Rurouni Kenshin るろうに剣心 (2012) Japanese
Sato Takeru, Takei Emi, Aoki Munetaka, Kagawa Teruyuki, Aoi Yu

Movie rating: 8/10     Neck score: A+
Based on the popular manga Rurouni Kenshin this is a fairly good adaptation.  Having also watched the Anime, the film seems to have drawn from both the anime and the manga, but probably follows closer to the manga.  It is a little hard to follow if you aren't familiar with the story, but not so bad that you can't get what's going on if you pay attention.  It's also a lot darker than the anime as it is more realistically done.  The fighting is cool and Sato Takeru is a very handsome man.  It's about an assassin of the Meiji Restoration who has now sworn never to kill again, even using a reverse blade sword, finding himself forced to fight again to protect his new found friends and home.  It's historical, but also a bit fantasy in the fact that everyone's fighting skills are on an epic level that is pretty much impossible.  Even with the more realistic film adaptation, there is a bit of fantasy in the fighting.  But mostly, it's awesome fighting, with lots of laughter, and some romance too.  There are two sequels that came out in 2014 as well, finishing off the manga story line.



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



The Scary One, The Ghost, and I 무서운 놈과 귀신과 나 (2010) Korean
Park Ki Woong, Lee Won Jong, Kim Min Ji

Movie rating: 4/10     Neck score: B
Oh the weird things I watch for Park Ki Woong.  This is techinically a drama special, but since it's more movie length, I thought it would be better to review it here than with the dramas.  This movie is just weird.  It's supposed to be like a supernatural/horror ghost flick, but it's just weird.  It's about this gangster who is released from prison and is all the sudden being followed by the ghost of this girl.  All she does is stare at him, and lead him to a bunch of kittens.  He hires Ki Woong to figure out what the ghost wants, but since he's the only one who can see the ghost it doesn't really work.  But the ghost ends up leading the gangster to review his past and make restitution for some things, maybe.  At least figure out a bit more who he is and what he's done.  Then the end is super weird and the plot twists and mystery get solved and I'm left thinking "ok..... that's.... weird..."  That about sums it up.  Also Park Ki Woong isn't really in it that much.  It's mostly just Lee Wong Jong and that ghost.  Very slow moving.



Secretly Greatly (2013) Korean
Kim Soo Hyun, Park Ki Woong, Lee Hyun Woo

Movie rating: 7/10     Neck score: A-
My favorite thing about watching this was that one of the friends I was watching it with was so angry about the ending and voiced it very vocally.  I think the contrast from the hilarious first half to the extremely dark and violent second half was too stark for her.  She wanted it to stay light and funny.  But does that ever happen with movies about North Korean agents these days?  Anyways, it has the perfect awkward funny first half, with the three North Korean agents trying to adapt to a shanty town in Seoul.  Then, things get serious when they get caught up in some tricky politics that turns everything upside down, and things get violent, dark, and a bit confusing.  Honestly, I don't think any of us were paying attention to the important talky parts so we knew who everyone was, who was trying to kill and who was trying to save, etc.  Was Samcheonpo North or South Korean... no one paid enough attention to that part, so we had to figure it out through other means, later.  I loved it, but I also understand why others in the group hated the ending.  It makes sense.  Still, it was super well done.  I am always super impressed with Kim Soo Hyun, and this movie only increased it.  Also, that part when Choi Woo Shik suddenly popped up as the younger brother of the girl Dong Gu (Kim Soo Hyun) had a crush on was perfect, because we all screamed with delight and excitement, because we hadn't noticed that he was in it.  So, I liked it, but I do have to warn you that while it is perfect in it's hilariousness in the first half, it is also perfectly dark and violent in the second half, and doesn't pull any punches.  People are just going out of their way to protect and die for each other all over the place.



Seven Samurai 七人の侍 (1954) Japanese
Mifune Toshiro, Shimura Takashi, Tsushima Keiko

Movie rating: 9/10     Neck score: A
This is the film that they based the western classic The Magnificent Seven on.  It is almost exactly the same too, which surprised me.  I actually watched this one first, but had heard about the American Western film growing up.  This movie is awesome, but then I think Samurai are super cool.  It's about this village that is being oppressed by a bunch of bad men, so they go to look for some help and end up hiring this masterless samurai, who agrees to help them and recruits six other samurai to help.  There is a huge fight at the end and lots of people die.  It's no wonder they didn't have to change much for the western, because the premise alone is exactly the same as most westerns, except as cool as cowboys are, samurai are that much cooler.


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


Spellbound 오싹한 연애 (2011) Korean
Lee Min Ki, Son Ye Jin

Movie rating: 8/10     Neck score: A+
Min Ki with guyliner!  It's like a dream come true!  This might be one of the best horror romcoms I've ever seen, because it handled the horror and the comedy so well.  It didn't get all cheesy at the end either, well not too bad for a romcom anyway.  It reminded me of Master's Sun and other ghost dramas, but this one instead of just seeing and having to help ghosts, she is literally haunted by her schoolmate who died instead of her in the accident.  This then becomes a story about true love, and how love brings courage, as you would have to have courage to date a haunted girl.  There are some pretty creepy parts, enough to scare Lizabreff, who started watching with me soon after it started.  Like the elevator or horror part.  There were also some overly dramatic parts, such as the trapped in the water cabinet part.  I did love the not completely resolved ending over a magically solved so the ghost leaves her alone ending.  It's enough of a resolution, especially since our couple is together and loving each other, but things are not magically perfect.  Plus, we get to see Min Ki in guyliner and a sexy magician outfit.  Rawr.


Splash Splash Love 퐁당퐁당 LOVE (2015) Korean
Yoon Doo Joon, Kim Seul Gi, Jin Ki Joo, Ahn Hyo Seop, Kim Kap Soo

Movie rating: 7/10     Neck score: A


Steal My Heart 캐치미 (2013) Korean
Joo Won, Kim Ah Joong

Movie rating: 8/10     Neck score: A
At first I wasn't sure if I would be able to get into it, even with Joo Won, because the girl seemed too sneaky.  She was obviously playing him and I couldn't trust her with anything, but then I ended up loving her too, because she was so weird.  It's about a police profiler who meets his first love again while investigating a hit-and-run car crash, and then gets hopelessly entangled with her again.  Joo Won is just so good in it, and so was Kim Ah Joong.  Also I loved "good hair gloves cop," as we called him, who was just so funny.  The quirky comedy of this show was just priceless and made everything better.  Also, that scene where Joo Won unbuttons his shirt to distract that ahjumma... loved it.  This show was just a lot of fun.



The Technicians 기술자들 (2014) Korean
Kim Woo Bin, Lee Hyun Woo, Ko Chang Seok, Kim Young Chul, Lim Ju Hwan, Jo Yoon Hee

Movie rating: 6/10     Neck score: A
Pretty much a typical heist type movie.  It was good, but it wasn't amazing or anything.  Basically you watch it for who is in it and not for the actual movie, necessarily.  It was a bit confusing.  I didn't appreciate their confusing editing because it made things more confusing at times, like that bath scene where she's in the bath, but you don't know why the scene is there, but then it quickly cuts to a scene of her in the car with Woo Bin, but it's only until after that scene that you realize that it's because she's in the bath contemplating.  Yeah, that could have been better.  Also, they were really bad at explaining back stories that tell us why we should care about people... or any potential revenge wanting.  Maybe that was a lost in subtitles thing, but I feel like it was just not clearly explained.  So it was cool and well done in the action department (except Ju Hwan going around breaking arms was a bit gross, but he's bad-a so...) but story department was lacking a bit.  But I guess everything was made better by Choi Daniel's cameo.  I love Choi Daniel!


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


Twenty 스물 (2015) Korean
Kim Woo Bin, Kang Ha Neul, Lee Junho, Jung So Min, Lee Yoo Bi, Jung Joo Yeon, Min Hyo Rin

Movie rating: 8/10     Neck score: A
This movie was perfect in what it was, a movie about three immature twenty year olds who are caught at the crossroads of life, that awkward time between adolesce
nce and adulthood.  It was everything a twenty year old boy would be: nasty, sex obsessed, awkward, hopeful, stupid, and hilarious.  It had the emotional depth to match as well.  Not that it wasn't emotional or deep, but only at an appropriate level for a twenty year old, which is still deep in it's own right.  Yoo Bi stole the show, but that's not surprising, she's amazing.  That fight scene though... lol.  The movie was exactly what it was, which was awkwardly, nastily, hilariously amazing.  Definitely not for those who have a problem with the nasty, but definitely not about the nasty.  It's just bluntly honest about boys that age, and that's ok.



The Twilight Samurai たそがれ清兵衛 (2002) Japanese
Sanada Hiroyuki, Miyazawa Rie

Movie rating: 7/10     Neck score: A
A good snap of the life of a samurai right before the Meiji Restoration, when they still had the social ranking but were basically as poor as dirt, because they were bound to their lord's estate.  Iguchi Seibei (Sanada Hiroyuki) is a low ranking samurai bureaucrat who is struggling to support his senile mother and his daughters.  His childhood sweetheart returns, but he is too destitute to consider her, but ends up having to duel her ex-husband, where his fighting skills are suddenly publicly recognized.  He is then forced into other fights.  It is a realistic film with some good fighting, but even more meaningful historical context.



Very Ordinary Couple 연애의 온도 (2013) Korean
Kim Min Hee, Lee Min Ki

Movie rating: 7/10      Neck score: A
I actually really loved this movie.  I thought it was perfect in what it was.  A screenshot capture of a typical romance.  Messy, tender, boring, exciting, simple, and just how we all feel.  I liked the documentary feel to it, especially when you could clearly see how they were lying to the interviewers about how they felt.  We've all been there before.  I also liked how open ended it was.  Just like life.  Yes, it was super awkward, and painful, and completely cringe worthy at times, but that was why it was good.  People are stupid at times, especially when our feelings are on the line, and I think this movie did a good job capturing that, even if there was also a lot of sloppy drama.  Also, I just really love Lee Min Ki.



Waiting for Love 연애를 기대해 (2013) Korean
Choi Daniel, BoA, Im Siwan, Kim Ji Won

Movie rating: 6/10      Neck score: A
This movie had more potential than it used, I think.  It was a very poignant statement on dating.  The ending was just weird, and that is where most of the minus points come from.  I love Choi Daniel though... so that might be where the most plus points come from.  It's about a scene maker girl who finds out her boyfriend is cheating on her, so she makes a scene, it gets uploaded on the internet and she becomes super famous.  Then this date doctor comes to her school and she ends up signing up for texting support to help her get over her obsessive nature and find a man.  However, it's not the date doctor who is answering, it's his intern.  It makes an interesting point in face to face relationships vs. virutal (i.e. through texting) as well as how and why we have relationships.  Also what we put into relationships is what we get out, and sometimes the person who loves more is the one who wins out.  There are a lot of hard topics and plot twists that make the story more interesting.  Also everyone did a really good job acting.  I was super impressed.  I forgot that Siwan was the little nerdy dude in this one when I watched him in Triangle.  I definitely didn't hate his face in this one like I did in Triangle, so slow clap for Siwan, he is a good actor.  I think if they didn't add that weird part during the credits I might have been more ok with the ending, but I think that it was all a statement about timing as well.  You have to love the one you are with, and then it's all about timing.  When to hold on and when to let go, etc.  Or they could have added that in for all those peeps who really hated the ending... I don't know.


  
The Wandering Swordsman 游侠儿 (1970) Chinese
David Chiang, Lily Li

Movie rating: 4/10     Neck score: A
So cheesy, but fun.  Like all good Chinese martial arts movies, it's fighting is both funny and  awesome.  But this show is definitely on the comedic side, even if it has serious elements and tragedy as well.  Honor redemption usually ends in death, which makes the romance a little bit hard.  It's about this wanderer who just does whatever he wants, which usually means helping people, and then ends up getting mixed up in a robbery.  When he figures it out, he has to get revenge on the people who tricked him and restore his honor.  There is also a cute girl that he has to help as well.  The wire work is pretty obvious, but it's fun as early martial arts films go.



A Werewolf Boy 늑대소년 (2012) Korean
Song Joong Ki, Park Bo Young, Yoo Yeon Seok, Jang Young Nam

Movie rating: 9/10     Neck score: A
Omo!  This movie is amazing!  Song Joong Ki is amazing!  His portrayal of a wild, dog-like boy was perfect!  It was adorable, sad, sweet, a bit scary, and super sentimental.  I thoroughly enjoyed it.  Also Yoo Yeon Seok plays a d-bag too well.  That was weird to see as I was watching Reply 1994 about the same time so I was all "Chilbongi!  Why you being a d-bag here?"  I had an overwhelming urge to pet people's heads after watching this show.  So Park Bo Young's family moves to this house in the country, partially for her health, but also for financial reasons.  Yoo Yeon Seok's dad owns the place, and he's very dushy in his attentions to her.  Then they find this wild boy (Song Joong Ki) near their barn.  Apparently the last house owner did experiments with wolves and he seemed to be raised by wolves.  He didn't know how to talk, was filthy, and generally just acted like a wolf.  Park Bo Young hates him at first, since he's so wild, but then decides to train him like a dog and they become friends.  Then they start noticing things about him, like his super strength and protective skills.  Like all monster movies, it has the scary moments, a lot of misunderstandings, and lots of tragedy.  But boy is it well done!  The worst thing that can be said of it is the werewolf makeup job, which is not too bad, considering all things.  Aw, this movie.



Wing Chun 詠春 (1994) Chinese
Michelle Yeoh, Donnie Yen, Kingdom Yuen, Cathrine Hung

Movie rating: 6/10     Neck score: B
Back when kung fu movies were a little cheesier, this is definitely on the comedy side.  It's about the girl who founded the Wing Chun kung fu style and is definitely a girl power movie.  But it is also definitely cheesy comedy.  Wing Chun (Michelle Yeoh) took up martial arts when she was being forced to marry a jerk.  She realized that she'd either learn martial arts or be taken advantage of.  Now that she's a master and dresses as a boy no one can mistreat her or her aunt.  She then saves this young, beautiful widow from being taken advantage of and lets her stay with her.  Then her childhood sweetheart (Donnie Yen) returns looking for her.  He had left to learn martial arts in order to protect her as well.  He mistakes the widow for Wing Chun, thinking that Wing Chun is a man.  Then the bandits who wanted the widow show up, not liking that Wing Chun made them look bad.  She keeps kicking their trash until the bandit king decides he has to defeat her and then marry her.  The fighting is the funny kind, that looks cool, but is also choreographed to be funny and amazing as well.  Still, it's a fun movie to watch, even if all the men in it (with the exception of Donnie Yen's character) are perverts.



You're My Pet 너는 펫 (2011) Korean
Kim Ha Neul, Jang Geun Suk

Movie rating: 5/10     Neck score: A
What the... hahaha, this movie.  It was hilariously stupid, but I loved it and watched it twice (within one week no less.  I think I was sad that week so I needed something completely stupid to cheer me up).  This successful business lady is trying to not feel lonely, so she decides maybe to get a dog, but when her little brother asks her to let his dancer friend stay at her place for a while, she ends up letting him stay on as her "pet."  It gets really weird as she even treats him as a dog, buying him a collar and such.  He gets into it as well, and they both draw up a contract as to the rules of pet and master.  But then when she starts dating her old college crush, her "pet" starts to get jealous.  But she also gets weird problems when she doesn't know whether she sees him as a dog or a man... it's just over-the-top silliness, but I loved it.  It was the right kind of silly for that time, I guess.



 

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