Sunday, March 1, 2015
Korean drama has its hits and misses in all aspects, including acting. Yet this specific aspect is rarely as prominently criticized and discussed as it has been for 'Blood'. It is important to remember that even bad flaws do not always diminish the overall quality of a work, unless they exist in a place and form which make their influence crucial. Sadly for 'Blood', its problems exist in two very important aspects of it. Its leading pair and unclear plans for the future. Is all hope lost? For a quality experience, probably. For entertainment? Not just yet.
Starting from the good, the series has its moments in terms of its visuals. There are some issues with the props, visual effects and make up department, but the overall aesthetic and atmosphere of the show are quite pleasing for the type of drama that it is. Night shots are plentiful and even the day ones have an ominous feel. The style of the show, when they get it right, fits its premise.
Full Article: [HanCinema's Drama First Look] "Blood".
Black comedy is a genre that requires an extremely delicate touch to succeed. It takes great skill to make dark topics funny and it takes even greater skill to make the characters in such stories likable. 'Villain and Widow' has its issues, mainly with its length, but it manages to not only be funny and feature some nice social commentary, but also be a work with characters that are just so easy to enjoy.
Chang-in (Han Seok-Kyu) has been looking to smuggle an antique into South Korea, but he is beaten to the piece by another man. During their meeting, Chang-in is arrested and the man falls to his death while escaping. When he gets out of jail, our villainous hero decides to rent a room from the man's widow, Yeon-joo (Kim Hye-soo) in hopes he can find the item in their house. Yeon-joo and her daughter are both a mess, giving Chang-in a run for his money.
Full Article: [HanCinema's Film Review] "Villain and Widow".
Sunday, February 22, 2015
It is a popular opinion that a well paired romantic couple is the single most important thing for romantic comedy in Korean drama. Even if everything else is bad, surely fun and cute interactions will save it. Sadly, a boat full of holes is doomed to sink, no matter how much one cheers it on. The same goes for any story and genre, including romantic comedy in film. 'The Best Romance' is a light, sometimes fun movie, but it also has a great flaw.
Kang Jae-hyeok (Lee Dong-wook) has worked hard to become a detective. Jae-hyeok suffers from aichmophobia, a fear of pointed and sharp objects, which he suppress for work. Choi Soo-jin (Hyeon Yeong) is an entertainment reporter who has gone from a fighter in college to embarrassing herself for any gossip she can score. During an unfortunate meeting, Jae-hyeok gets accidentally stabbed by Soo-jin. The two do not get along, but they have to cooperate when the cases they are on turn out to be connected.
Full Article: [HanCinema's Film Review] "The Best Romance".
It is difficult to pinpoint what gives a work a heart. Perhaps one way to look at it is that works made to entertain are about facing your audience and asking "How can I make them like me?", while works made to tell a story are about asking "How can I say something worth saying?". The latter will, if handled by talented people, reach viewers in a way being preoccupied with fleeting pleasures and manufactured investment will not. 'Hogu's Love' is so far telling a story and has made one impressive start at it.
Since the series is based on a webtoon created by the 'The Pretty Boy Next Door'-famous Yoo Hyeon-sook, it is not surprising that there is more to the premise than just a silly man meeting a haughty woman. There are some heavier issues being explored here and this means that the happy and colorful romantic comedy part is a presentation and tone, rather than the whole purpose of this series as a simple entertainment piece.
Full Article: [HanCinema's Drama First Look] "Hogu's Love".
Sunday, February 15, 2015
History and the historical genre are things usually treated with a straight face in Korean cinema and television. There are times, however, when a historical setting is merely used as a background to stories in genres for other types of audiences. Much like films 'Detective K' and 'The Grand Heist', 'I am a King' is set during the Joseon dynasty and uses parts of history to essentially tell a comedic 'The Prince and the Pauper' story.
Prince Chung-nyeong (Joo Ji-hoon) is a spoiled man without any interest in becoming the people's king. When he is chosen for the part by his father, he attempts to escape his quarters and falls on slave Deok-cheol as he jumps the outer wall. Deok-cheol, whose appearance and voice are identical to the Prince's, finds himself in the palace, as the Prince's personal guards struggle to come up with a plan on how to find the Prince and in the meantime use Deok-cheol as a stand-in.
Full Article: [HanCinema's Film Review] "I Am a King".