Sunday, November 30, 2014
Extramarital affairs are not a happy topic for anyone involved. However, as it is a very common issue in any society, it is one worth exploring. The problem is that the nature of entertainment is to be what the word implies; entertaining. This can make it present such topics with lack of the necessary depth and respect. TvN's 'Sensible Love' or 'Valid Love' is therefore a gamble.
Jang Hee-tae (Eom Tae-woong) and Kim Il-ri (Lee Si-yeong) are a married couple who met as teacher and student. Despite Il-ri feeling like she loves her husband, she is shaken by a young man who enters her life, called Kim Joon (Lee Soo-hyeok). Il-ri finds herself in love with both men.
Full Article: [HanCinema's Drama Preview] "Sensible Love".
Shows about superheroes are not exactly common in Korean drama. When 'Blade Man' was announced, it sounded like a very silly premise and one which would likely have very little to offer aside a gimmick and romance. Surprisingly, the series did some things to be envied by others dramas and its freshness was wonderful. That is, until the usual drama problems struck. 'Blade Man' is truly odd, but not for the reasons originally assumed.
Joo Hong-bin (Lee Dong-wook) looks like a typical spoiled rich man. Having a bad relationship with his father due to him driving away Hong-bin's first love, he takes his frustrations out on others. What makes him different is that he has supernatural abilities, some of which manifest when he is upset. Son Se-dong (Sin Se-kyeong) is a game designer looking for a new job for herself and her team. She takes care of those around her and works hard to earn a living. When she is hired at Hong-bin's company, they begin to slowly bond and with her help, Hong-bin starts addressing the problems in his life.
Full Article: [HanCinema's Drama Review] "Blade Man".
Bullying is a social problem found a lot in Korean works. It is a dire topic in society in general, but especially in countries where pressure for progress and excellence over peers is high. Despite the potential to explore it, 'Days of Wrath' is more of a suspense-fueled revenge story than a work about bullying.
Joon-seok (Joo Sang-wook) lives with the trauma of being a victim of bullying in school. Now, 15 years later, he meets his bully Chang-sik (Yang Dong-geun) again. Joon-seok hopes to be recognized and have his pain acknowledged, but is instead met with contempt and neglect by Chang-sik, who does not even remember him at first. This escalates badly, until Joon-seok decides to stalk Chang-sik and pay him back for his pain.
Full Article: [HanCinema's Film Review] "Days of Wrath".
Sunday, November 23, 2014
Buddy films might just never stop being popular. Even when the work is not mainly about that pairing, it will in some ways be present. There is just something about two people bonding across their differences and frustration with each other that appeals to audiences. 'The Gifted Hands' combines a crime thriller and buddy film, but the latter function is definitely the main one.
When he fails to save a child from being murdered by a serial killer, detective Choon-dong (Kim Kang-woo) sets off to catch him on his own and save the next victim. When he looks at the crime scene, Choon-dong realizes a young mysterious graffiti artist he saw a while back had painted the crime down to every detail on a wall, before the crime was committed. The young man, called Kim Joon (Kim Beom), is revealed to have the power of psychometry, being able to see things about an object or person through touch. Choon-dong tries to enlist Joon's help to catch the serial killer and save the kidnapped child.
Full Article: [HanCinema's Film Review] "The Gifted Hands".
The way suspense thrillers involving serial killers usually go is that they build suspense over apprehending the killer or then finding them out. Sometimes the killer is revealed to the viewer early on, sometimes not, but their apprehension by the good guy or guys is the focus. 'Our Town' takes a slightly different approach, where the murders are not as much a mystery as the people behind them and what issues they are hiding.
The film takes place in a town where a serial killer is murdering female victims and displaying them in public spaces and suspended from structures by ropes. Kyeong-joo (Oh Man-seok) is a failed writer whose only lifelong and current friend is Jae-sin (Lee Seon-gyoon), the detective in charge of the killings. After a heated argument with his landlady over rent, Kyeong-joo murders her and attempts to hide her body as a victim of the killer. He then offers to help Jae-sin with solving the murders, hoping to keep his crime hidden.
Full Article: [HanCinema's Film Review] "Our Town".
Sunday, November 16, 2014
Works that tackle grim history are never an easy thing to make. But when that history and its wounds are still fresh and the sociopolitical circumstances of the events the work is based on are not just something which had its closure, handling them becomes a very daring and very serious move. '26 Years' is a story based on a comic and on the true and bloody events of the 1980 Gwangju Uprising.
The film follows five people whose lives and families were ruined during the massacre of civilians by government troops in Gwangju. Three of them are contacted by the other two and told of the their plan. To enter the home of the former president who was in charge during the incident, ask for acknowledgement of the suffering he caused and assassinate him. Him being hidden in his heavily guarded home means the group only gets one chance at their revenge and their planning and timing need to be impeccable.
Full Article: [HanCinema's Film Review] "26 Years".
As lovely as it would be to live in a world where popular entertainment is all about representation and inclusion, this is sadly not the case. Presentation matters in any industry where popularity and glamour play a part. Looks and marketability matter. Depending on the specific industry or type of work, it can sometimes be all that matters. We live in a world where gender inequality is also a reality. Men can still lead works if not strictly within the category most popular in terms of visual appeal.
However, for women, the standards in terms of being aesthetically pleasing are very narrow. That is to say, in all types of entertainment, including Korean cinema and drama, there is a very limiting beauty standard most female actresses need to adhere to in order to be considered acceptable in leading a work. Talent being all that matters is a happy thought, but it is sadly not how these industries largely function. In this piece, we are looking at two lovely actresses among the many who deserve recognition past their unconventional and not easily marketable appearance. The ladies we are looking at are singer and musical actress Park Joon-myeon and actress Lee Mi-do.
Full Article: [HanCinema's Actor Spotlight] Park Joon-myeon and Lee Mi-do.
Sunday, November 9, 2014
The mystery genre is so easy to love in film. Curiosity is a powerful thing and as long as the introduction to an unsolved puzzle grabs one's attention, they will likely stick with it, if only for the answer that lies at the end. Good mysteries keep the truth well hidden, but show just enough for the viewer to have a chance and for them to make the connection later on. Sadly, as entertaining as 'Private Eye' is, it is not a very good mystery.
The year is 1910 and the place Seoul. A medical student named Kwang-su (Ryoo Deok-hwan) is gathering corpses for research. When he discovers that he has worked on the murdered body of a politician's son and the killings continue, he enlists the help of Hong Jin-ho (Hwang Jeong-min), a detective working petty scandal cases, to find the murderer and save him from wrongful prosecution. Together, they try to beat the eager for power authorities to the killer's identity and motive.
Full Article: [HanCinema's Film Review] "Private Eye".
Sunday, November 2, 2014
OCN's crime shows have so far been mostly a combination of procedurals and a main story. This has had its good points and bad, a good one being that things never got boring with case after case, a bad one being that the main plot of things was usually too superficial and stretched out. 'Reset' focusing solely on the main story was a bold move. The question is, did it pay off? Given this was a new approach for the station, the answer would be somewhat. The show has a lot of problems, but it is a worthy attempt at what it tried to do.
Cha Woo-jin (Cheo Jeong-myeong) is a prosecutor under hypnosis therapy for two major gaps in his memory of the past. When he meets a young woman, named Eun-bi (Kim So-hyeon-I), who is involved in a murder case, he is shocked to see she looks like his first love who died 15 years ago. A string of cases related to his past surface, all controlled by a mysterious mastermind called 'X'. Woo-jin struggles to piece his memories back together, understand why he has become a target and catch the killer.
Full Article: [HanCinema's Drama Review] "Reset".
What introduction can one really give an actor like Lee Han-wi? A better question would be, who does not know Lee Han-wi. For anyone with even entry-level experience with South Korean cinema and drama, Lee is a face they have seen at least once. He has been in every type of work and role imaginable and even if not in a major one, he is memorable every single time. With a career of three decades and counting, Lee Han-wi is an entertaining and beloved veteran.
Since his debut in 1983 and especially after his career started picking up around the late 90s, Lee has been working nonstop. Having been in almost 100 works in cinema and television, the man is definitely prolific in his work. Comedy, drama, thriller, light works, dark works, secondary characters, cameos, comedic roles, villainous roles, fathers, criminals, lawyers, you name it and Lee has probably done it. Being active in his profession aside, it is the sheer dedication in each and every role and his delightful portrayal of each character that really make Lee such a joy to watch.
Full Article: [HanCinema's Actor Spotlight] Lee Han-wi.