Friday, February 28, 2014
I am now the proud and still a bit clueless owner of a Facebook page. While I write about things I like and dislike on this blog, I often just wish I could post a movie trailer or a photo or just a comment on a work I am interested in or actor I like.
Twitter is lovely for chatting and randomness and tumblr is mostly for funny posts, cat gifs and such. People don't comment there much either. So since I've dug right in with the rest of these platforms, I thought I might as well make a Facebook page too. Be it my own posts or interesting things I find, they will be posted there. And I will probably talk about them on Twitter too. And might blog about them. The idea is to have options and freedom.
You see, most people I add to my personal Facebook are family, friends and offline acquaintances. And I really do not have many people in my life who are interested in Korean cinema and dramas that are not online only. So this page is a place where I can post about a movie or drama and hopefully not have to hear the sound of the wind as all my contacts ignore it. But also any other things I find interesting that are somehow related to my hobbies.
So feel free to comment, like it or follow it. Or not. As I said, freedom is the idea.
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
Image credit: SBS News
Update: According to Sports Seoul and TV Report, MBC officials say her being cast is not true. So join me in flipping Sports Donga off and let me correct my post.
Lee Mi Yeon might have dropped the series and Go Ara will probably follow, since she is nearly confirmed for another drama, but 'Triangle' [트라이앵글]
This is the third time she
Still no news on Song Seung Heon and it feels a bit like he is just teasing us at the moment, since his role will probably be the most important one. Maybe now that women
Apologies, I cannot resist such comments. It is my tendency to kid about those I like. I don't like him as an actor, since he barely qualifies, but I do think he'll fit this role nicely if he does confirm.
'Triangle' is still airing as previously stated, taking up the Monday-Tuesday MBC timeslot of 'Empress Ki' in the beginning of May.
Sunday, February 23, 2014
'Cheo Yong: The Paranormal Detective ' was by far a smooth production. Having been delayed and with news of its exact release date uncertain for quite some time, there were worries over the final result. With the series having started its run on February 9th and three episodes already out, viewers can now be the judge of whether or not the delay was worth it. The fact that this drama has some key differences to OCN's usual slick and stylish offerings is what will make or break the deal for viewers, depending on what it is they like about these types of series.
'Cheo Yong: The Paranormal Detective' opens with the titular character of Yoon Cheo-yong (Oh Ji-ho) being faced with what at the moment seems like an evil spirit or demon, which takes his then partner with him as they fall off a bridge. Fast-forward 7 years and Cheo-yong is working as a small time police officer trying to live a stress-free life. Unfortunately for him, he can see ghosts and they are less than willing to leave him be. After a missing person's case he stumbles upon is found to be related with a series of disappearances, his case crosses with that of Ha Seon-woo (Oh Ji-eun), a junior he seems to have a past with. When he meets Han Na-yeong (Hyosung), the ghost of a student trapped in Seon-woo's police station, he is forced to use his ghost-seeing ability and gets dragged into the case, but also back into his own past and the main plot.
Full Article: [HanCinema's Drama First Look] "Cheo Yong: The Paranormal Detective".
In the '[HanCinema's Column] Unconventional Korean Dramas' piece, I presented some examples/suggestions of dramas which are different to the usual works found in the industry. Due to premise, genre, characterization or other elements, they are series the likes of which we do not see in Korean drama often.
Bellow you will find links to HanCinema reviews I have written for each series. In the piece previously written and linked above, you can see some basic information about their premise and a quick opinion on them. The reviews will help you get a better idea of what to expect from each work.
Full Article: [HanCinema's Column] Unconventional Korean Dramas - The Reviews.
Monday, February 17, 2014
Lee's image credit: leebumsoo.co.kr
I said there would be more news on this if Lee Beom Soo got cast and it seems I will yet again have to follow him to Drama Hell, because it just happened.
Big Bro and Little Bro are confirmed for MBC's melodrama 'Triangle' [트라이앵글], which tells the story of three brothers who reunite after having lost one another 20 years ago. The brightest of you might have already guessed Lee Beom Soo will be playing the oldest brother while Im Si Wan will be the youngest one.
Middle Bro has not been cast yet, meaning we still do not know if Song Seung Heon will be joining. Part of me is wishing he will not, since this could still be a very good melodrama with a good story and capable actors leading, but then part of me would like a good laugh à la 'Dr. Jin'. Plus, he has good chemistry with Lee Beom Soo.
Since the oldest one was surely over 20 when they got separated and the middle one was probably in his teens (if Song gets the role), I doubt there will be any misunderstandings of those two not recognizing each other, with the youngest one being the only one not in the know. Then again, the characters in 'Giant' did not recognize each other either, although one cannot blame them, since both brothers did not exactly age gracefully and the sister was too young.
It was also announced that Lee Mi Yeon has declined the role of Lee Beom Soo's love interest and it makes sense she would want to choose wisely for her return to drama after a four year absence. This sounds like a typical melodrama, so maybe the woman wants something more fresh for her comeback.
There are no news on Go Ara's decision at the moment and she is also considering SBS series 'You're Surrounded' and other projects, so we'll know soon enough.
'Triangle' will follow 'Empress Ki' when the latter ends its run in late April.
Sunday, February 16, 2014
Most of OCN's crime series are very similar in the types of protagonists they have. Both 'Vampire Prosecutor' and 'Special Affairs Team TEN' have slightly brooding tortured male leads. 'Ghost Seeing Detective Cheo Yong' also goes for a male lead with a painful past and 'The Virus' is no exception. 'God's Quiz' does have its darker main plot and painful past too, but it being within the medical as well as crime genre and its nerdy and more on the relaxed (at least on the surface) side lead is where this series differs from the rest of OCN's works.
Han Jin-woo (Ryoo Deok-hwan) is a top medical examiner who takes up a job leading an investigating medical and forensic team trying to crack mysterious disease related criminal cases. Kang Kyeong-hee (Yoon Joo-hee) is the detective in charge of the legal and investigative part of the cases and is brought in to work with the team, her personality initially clashing with Jin-woo's. As the cases progress, Han Jin-woo is shown to suffer from crippling headaches, his genius slowly revealing itself to come with some dire caveats.
Full Article: [HanCinema's Drama Review] "God's Quiz".
Casting a certain type of people in a work is a very important creative, but also marketing decision. When Korean drama is the medium, casting young pretty people tends to pique the interest of a certain type of fans. Those more into heavier entertainment could avoid a series like 'Drama Special - White Christmas' due to its main casting and those looking for said pretty people might sign up with entirely different focus and expectations. In this case, both would be wrong, as this drama special is definitely not light, neither is its most interesting element the looks of its very young and easy on the eyes cast. 'White Christmas' does what very few dramas attempt. It tries to look inwards, into its characters and people in general.
The story of 'White Christmas' takes place at a boarding high-school for the country's richest and most academically achieved students. A small group of them and a supervising PE teacher stay behind during the Christmas and New Year's break. The students remaining realize they have all received the same anonymous letter hinting to a murder taking place very soon. When an unexpected visitor stumbles across the academy, they all find themselves in an increasingly emotionally charged and potentially dangerous environment, trying to figure out the letter and keep sane and alive as old grudges and repressed anger surface.
Full Article: [HanCinema's Drama Review] "Drama Special - White Christmas".
Sunday, February 9, 2014
Every once in a while, and thankfully more and more often, a drama will come out which tries a progressive approach to the themes it handles and/or the very formula of Korean drama. In bigger or smaller ways, be it through their plot, their message, their characters or premise, they go for something new, even in the confines of a very limiting industry like the Korean drama one. 'The Prime Minister and I' went all out in being fresh, mature and endearing. Unfortunately and despite all its efforts and virtues, it eventually became a reminder that this industry rarely welcomes deviations and that drama writing is far from a polished art.
Nam Da-jeong (Yoona) is a determined and brave scandal news reporter trying to make a living and care for her father (played by Lee Han-wi), who suffers from Alzheimer's Disease. Kwon Yool (Lee Beom-soo) is the country's youngest Prime Minister candidate, who is good at his job, but struggles to raise his three children alone, after having lost his wife in a car accident 7 years ago. When Da Jeong tries to get a scoop about his life, a compromising photo of theirs is taken and twisted into a dating scandal. Eventually, the two agree to a contract marriage to save Yool's career and fulfill Da Jeong's dying father's last wish to walk her down the aisle.
Right off the bat, the premise of a new type of family being formed through a lie and the age gap between the characters, but also actors, were big topics to take on. Along with that, the political struggles of Yool and danger of their contract being exposed gave the series a very fast-paced and satisfyingly full progression. Even after certain twists later on and during its more melodramatic parts, it is not a work to keep one bored and for the most part, it delivered on the things it set out to do.
Full Article: [HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Prime Minister and I" Wrap-up.
Sunday, February 2, 2014
Korean science fiction drama. Well there is something you do not see a lot of right there. Science fiction as a genre has really not been attempted much by Korean cinema either and Korean drama is no different with this particular genre. So the fact that a series like 'Joseon X-Files - Secret Book' even exists is a bit of a Dramaland miracle, but the fact that is a mostly well-made and interesting series is an even bigger surprise. The series aired on tvN in 2010 and has two directors and eight writers.
'Joseon X-Files - Secret Book' takes place, as the name states, in the Joseon era. When the inhabitants of a village witness a bright object pass over their area, the local official who reports it is questioned for treason, since speaking of such preposterous phenomena can be seen as doubting the King's divine origins. The man questioned turns out to be the mentor of the male lead, Inspector Kim Hyeong-do (Kim Ji-hoon-I). When Hyeong-do becomes entangled in the case and sees things he is not supposed to, a secret organization lead by Ji Seung (Kim Hap-Soo) and investigating these unexplained phenomena hires him to work for them. Along with him comes his loyal aide, Jang-man (Jo Hee-bong) and a mysterious woman named Heo Yoon-i (Lim Jeong-eun), who has no recollection of her past, but extraordinary abilities and knowledge on technology and the obscure.
Full Article: [HanCinema's Drama Review] "Joseon X-Files - Secret Book".
OCN has taken a big step into the world of dramas in the last few years. Going for the crime genre with a spin and going for the multi-season format, it is trying many new things for Korean television. From "God's Quiz" to "Vampire Prosecutor" to 'Special Affairs Team TEN', the style and cinematic quality they are going for are their trademark. Futuristic dark action series 'Hero - Drama - 2012' is OCN's drama directed by Kim Hong-seon-I ('Fireworks - 2006', 'Warrior Baek Dong-soo') and written by Goo Dong-hoi ('Yaksha'). While not certain there will be a second season for this one, the series definitely remains open enough for one.
'Hero - Drama - 2012' takes place in an almost dystopian near future South Korea which is going through a great depression. The chasm between the rich and the poor has gotten bigger, corruption and crime are rampant and the poor suffer at the hands of an almost dictatorship. Kim Heuk-cheol (Yang Dong-geun) is far from a heroic type. Being the second son of the current mayor, Kim Hoon (Son Byeong-ho), he is a spoiled rich brat and a playboy, acting up in hope to get daddy's attention. After a fatal accident that takes Heuk-cheol's life, his father gives the ok to a team of scientists creating some very shady serum for him to inject his son with it and bring him back. The serum saves Heuk-cheol, but also gives him superhuman strength and self-healing abilities. As he discovers his new powers, the need for a hero in this city comes knocking.
Full Article: [HanCinema's Drama Review] "Hero - Drama - 2012".
Being a movie fan making a jump to dramas can be a daunting experience. The two are very different in many ways. From budget to tropes, from acting to directing, they are worlds apart. While there are genres even Korean films do not often touch, Korean drama is much more limited in its diversity. Sageuk, melodrama, dailies, romantic comedies, the types and formats of series are limited.
So if we look past those categories, what can we find in terms of originality in concepts and genres? This is a small list providing a few examples of dramas which, due to how they are written, presented or the genre they cover, are very different to what Korean television usually has to offer.
Directors: Jo Kyoo-ok, Kim Jeong-goo, Kong Soo-chang, You Joon-suk
Writers: Lee Kyeong-eun, Oh Nam-kyeong, Sin Joon-hyeong
Cast: Lee Se-eun, Lee Jeong-heon, Lee Yeong-jin
'Coma' is interesting both because of its genre being horror, but also its format. A mini-series of 5 episodes featuring different protagonists, all of which find themselves in the hospital where the events take place, on the same day, with their paths crossing. Through each story, the central plot is developed. Well made, scary and delivering on the mystery, this does better than even many horror movies.
Full Article: [HanCinema's Column] Unconventional Korean Dramas.