Sunday, January 25, 2015
Prime time dramas have a hard task to perform. They need a genre like any story, but they also need to be profitable. With a system where failure to reach a certain quota of success has immediate effects on the fate of a show, taking risks with it is not something many are willing to do. 'Mister Baek' had a lot of potential and heart, but trying to cling on to progress without a solid focus sullied it.
Choi Go-bong (Sin Ha-gyoon) is a 71-year-old man with very little tolerance for pretty much anything. Having built his company through hard work and leaving no room for personal time, he has become a bitter and cold old man. Choi Dae-han (Lee Joon), his son, has no interest in the company and his family is only close to him for power. After meeting Eun Ha-soo (Jang Nara), an employee at his hotel, Go-bong gets into an accident that turns him young again. He sets off to make the best of this second chance.
Full Article: [HanCinema's Drama Review] "Mister Baek".
Sunday, January 18, 2015
Having a character with seven personalities means there is plenty of room to keep things interesting. 'Kill Me, Heal Me' could be focusing on this unfortunate male lead's plight, playing up its strength. Ji Seong is doing good so far after all. At the moment, however, the show seems determined to shove as much as possible, however silly, into its plot and the question is, when will it be enough?
The series is definitely entertaining for the time being. There is so much going on, both related to the main story and not, there are many characters, there is mystery and the two leads are easy to sympathize with. Do-hyeon's (Ji Seong) pain as he gradually loses himself is definitely the biggest source for emotional investment. Ri-jin (Hwang Jeong-eum) is no damsel and she is easy to like, when she can stop screaming.
Full Article: [HanCinema's Drama First Look] "Kill Me, Heal Me".
Into the race of mental disorders we go and 'Heart to Heart' sure started with a lot of enthusiasm. With 'Kill Me, Heal Me' off to an insane and loud start and 'Hyde, Jekyll and I' still incoming, this one takes a more understated, but quite human approach. The first two episodes gave us quite a lot for an introduction and we are now venturing into the thick of it.
The drama does not offer any easy solutions and this makes it interesting. A lot happens in these episodes, some of it quite serious, but mostly just very intriguing. In that sense, the show feels more like a gift you are asked to meticulously unwrap than a Jack in the box, which pops out and leaves nothing further to be discovered. It relies on the viewer wanting to dive into the world and characters.
Full Article: [HanCinema's Drama First Look] "Heart to Heart".
KBS2 might be a station the efforts in creativity of which often feel sabotaged from within, but it cannot be said that it does not at least give creators opportunities to air shows that do not exactly sound like the most marketable type. Espionage-family hybrid drama 'Spy - Drama' has made its entrance and it is not what most probably expected. At the moment, this is a very good thing.
The first notable thing about the drama is how it resists the temptation of big action sequences and relying on its spy elements alone to capture its viewers. Most works use action to make what is on the screen entertaining, but characterization and plot progression are often sacrificed in the process. This drama instead keeps a good balance between spy work and family, making it feel subtle, story-focused and for the most part realistic.
Full Article: [HanCinema's Drama First Look] "Spy - Drama".
Last, but not least in this season's psychiatric race comes 'Hyde, Jekyll and I'. The series marks Hyeon Bin's return to drama since 2010 hit 'Secret Garden' and viewer expectations are sky high. With a typical Korean drama outrageous premise and a popular talented star, very little can go wrong, at least entertainment-wise. Whether it will actually be good is not easy to assess at this point.
Goo Seo-jin (Hyeon Bin) has two personalities. One is a cold and Hyde-like director of a theme park and the other a Jekyll-like kind and sweet person. Jang Ha-na (Han Ji-min) is the master of a circus featured in the theme park. When Seo-jin's cruel personality decides to discontinue their contract, the two, or rather three meet.
Full Article: [HanCinema's Drama Preview] "Hyde, Jekyll and I".
Sunday, January 11, 2015
Like any other entertainment industry, the Korean drama one is changing with the times. For most, this change feels quite slow and it is to be expected. Big changes happen in time. But there are always works and decisions that spark those changes or at least offer an alternative which others can choose to follow. 'Incomplete Life' a.k.a 'Misaeng' is such a work. Far removed from the usual structure and tropes, this series turns an important page for this entertainment.
Jang Geu-rae (Im Si Wan) has managed to land a job as an intern at a trading company. He works at a sales team under Oh Sang-sik (Lee Sung-min), a man who is originally less than thrilled to have an untrained newbie in his team. Geu-rae's inexperience and lack of educational qualifications soon remind him of how hard working life is. Through his time with the company, the series follows his progress and the lives of his fellow workers and main characters as they struggle to survive and succeed in a demanding workplace.
Full Article: [HanCinema's Drama Review] "Incomplete Life".
South Korean cinema has its share of heavier topics and darker films. However, those who just want to relax and have some fun with lighter material are not neglected. 'JEON WOO CHI : The Taoist Wizard' is a pure action comedy and with its star-studded cast and good production value, it is a work with one goal alone; entertainment.
The story begins 500 years ago, in the Joseon Dynasty. A group of goblins imprisoned in a cave manage to escape and steal the powerful pipe played by their guardian to keep them dormant . Jeon Woo-chi (Kang Dong-won), a disrespectful wizard apprentice is falsely accused by the Taoist wizards in charge of protecting the world as having murdered his master and is imprisoned by them in a painting. 500 years later, the wizards have to seek his help to save everyone.
Full Article: [HanCinema's Film Review] "Jeon Woo Chi: The Taoist Wizard".
A desirable appearance and star appeal are things that feed one's popularity. For young male South Korean actors, the fastest way to fame is often through the female audience's hearts and the marketability they gain from them. However, this is not always as good as it sounds. Attractive stars usually have to work twice as hard for their acting to be seen above their looks and it does not always happen. Kang Dong-won has successfully gone from a simple heartthrob to someone valued for his talent.
Kang made his debut through a second lead role in the 2003 drama 'The Funny Wild Girl', most commonly known as 'Country Princess'. His drama career was rather short-lived, ending with 2004 drama 'Magic', as he felt the drama filming system was too stressful and content often too melodramatic. His movie debut was in 2004 film 'Too Beautiful to Lie' as its male lead, but it was his role in the movie 'Temptation of Wolves' which garnered him great attention. It was in 2004 when Kang switched gears and started evolving into the actor he is today.
Full Article: [HanCinema's Actor Spotlight] Kang Dong-won.
Sunday, January 4, 2015
It is the season for disorders in Dramaland and cable wants a piece of that popular pie. 'Heart to Heart' does not go down the personality disorder way, but it is still within the medical romance genre. Helmed by PD Lee Yoon-jeong of 'Coffee Prince' and 'Triple' and written by their writer, Lee Jeong-ah, 'Heart to Heart' has a difficult task to complete and big expectations to meet.
Cha Hong-do (Choi Kang-hee) is a woman suffering from social anxiety disorder and uncontrollable blushing. After losing her grandmother and only close human contact, she ventures out into the world and disguises herself as an elderly woman to seek employment. It is then when she meets Go I-seok (Cheon Jeong-myeong), a psychiatrist who is the only one Hong-do does not blush in front of, but also one suffering from a trauma of his own.
Full Article: [HanCinema's Drama Preview] "Heart to Heart".
KBS2 has a unique talent, if it can be called that. It chooses some very original premises to give timeslots to and sometimes, those do really well in developing into very refreshing shows. That is until something goes wrong and these shows end up horrible disappointments, which does seem to happen often to this network lately. 'Spy - Drama' is about to fight a big battle with its timeslot, audience and channel and it needs all the luck it can get.
Park Hye-rim (Bae Jong-ok) and Kim Seon-woo (Kim Jae-joong) look like an ordinary mother and son in a loving family. However, Seon-woo is an agent for the National Intelligence Service and Hye-rim is a former North Korean spy. When North agent Hwang Gi-cheol (Yoo Oh-seong) discovers Hye-rim is alive, the paths of her and her son clash.
Full Article: [HanCinema's Drama Preview] "Spy - Drama".
Do you remember the good "old" days when a simple painful past or angst-producing trauma used to be enough to satisfy the "man-pain" quota in series? Well say goodbye to that this season, because one man's pain cannot compare to that of several, especially when conveniently packed for easy consumption. 'Kill Me, Heal Me' is another in the recent line or mental disorder dramas and it has a pretty ambitious story with a lot going on.
Cha Do-hyeon (Ji Seong) is a man suffering from dissociative identity disorder, otherwise known as multiple personality disorder. Struggling with seven other selves, he is secretly treated by Oh Ri-jin (Hwang Jeong-eum), a first year resident of psychiatry suffering from bipolar disorder.
Full Article: [HanCinema's Drama Preview] "Kill Me, Heal Me".