Thursday, January 31, 2013

Korean Dramas 2012 - The Good

Kdramas 2012

This really was an interesting kdrama year, for me. Everything that was a hit and that I liked, I liked a lot. And I mean a lot. On the other hand, whatever made me angry, made me Hulk-out completely. Despite the repetition of themes such as time travel and body swapping, we had quite a good variety of shows. There is one thing about this year which acted as a blessing and a curse in Korean television. People aimed for freshness. This means that we had those capable of it and allowed to carry it out, who did excellent works, and those who simply bit on more than they could chew. And spat it out in our faces.

As you would expect of me, I will praise and attack fairly and without mercy.

I bring you The Good, The Bad, The Out of Date and finally The Best Of, as well as one special (although hardly honorable) mention. The Out of Date dramas are the ones I watched this year, that were not made in 2012. They were in my 2012, however, so they will be included in this list of mini-reviews.

Let's start with The Good. Click on the titles for more info.

Friday, January 25, 2013

'IRIS 2' - Second Teaser and Casting News

IRIS2 Cast Update

They will just keep coming now and as the days go by. We have a new teaser video for 'IRIS 2' looking fabulous and some casting news too. Jung Seok Won (Haeundae Lovers) and Yoon So Yi (Arahan) have joined the party and so has Sung Dong Il.

Jung will be a special appearance as the young version of Baek San, one of IRIS' top members and main villain during season 1 (there's a bigger player in town this time). Yoon will be playing a well-educated South Korean woman who is brainwashed by the North when she meets Lee Beom Soo's character, Joong Won. She then becomes a spy for the North. Sung Dong Il will be present for a couple of episodes or so.

Kim Seung Woo is also confirmed for good now, although considering the lack of coverage, it means his will be more of a special appearance.

There is filming currently being done in Akita, Japan and we're bound to have more images and videos coming out soon. Enjoy the teaser and I'll be back for more.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

'Incarnation of Money' - Greatness Bellow the Radar?

Incarnation of Money

A while ago I heard news of a new drama coming out this year, by the director and writers of 'Giant' and 'History of the Salaryman'. I heard the drama would be called 'Incarnation of Money' and star Kang Ji Hwan and Hwang Jeong Eum, with the addition of Park Sang Min and Yoon Yong Hyeon later. And that is all...

The international fan community and the major English-language news websites have mostly been silent about it. Insert the obvious question here. Why?

I am struggling to understand why any series by Yoo In Sik, Jang Yeong Cheol and Jung Kyeong Soon would seem to fly so low under the radar, especially when it's featuring such known actors and actresses. I would think that a team who has had two commercially successful, well-received and loved series would get more buzz about their latest project. Is it that this isn't being promoted domestically either, or have the English-speaking sites gotten lazy? And if this silence is domestic as well, why? I would hate to think Kang Ji Hwan's legal troubles are used as an excuse to not promote it and to not promote a series by people with such a track record is preposterous in general.

I hope SBS will treat this series well, because the release date is February 2nd and I'm still not seeing much effort to psych people up here. I know the ever awesome PD/writer trio can handle anything thrown at them, but I hope they are given room to be wonderful.

So, info here. The drama stars Kang Ji Hwan as someone who was apparently ruined by money. Money and how dirty it is being the central idea of this and given that the teaser sets a serious tone while this is being pegged as a comedy, we can expect more its-own-genre goodness. And frankly, good people, Yoo, Jang and Jung tackling the corruption of South Korea? With this cast? What's not to like, really? They've done it before, they've rocked at it, I'm sold.

I will snoop around for more images and information about it and post more things soon. There are a few behind the scenes videos on Youtube, but I avoid spoilery things, so go search for "돈의 화신" if you want to see them.

For now, here is a Facebook fanpage and the teaser. Enjoy.

Kang Dong Won - News Update

High Cut 5

So here are some updated news about Kang Dong Won's future in projects.

- 'Band of Thieves' is now confirmed and will start filming this March, with Kang Dong Won playing a noble man's son who is also the son of a concubine. I sincerely hope he's not like Kyung Tak of 'Dr. Jin', because I barely made it through that one without wanting to bash his head in. Then again, Kang Dong Won will be a villain, so bashing his head in is quite the appropriate emotion for audiences to have.

- Our tall, dark and creepy also did quite a nice pictorial for 'High Cut', directed by the awesome Lee Myung Se. He also gave them an interview Hangukdrama was kind enough to translate. Here are Part 1.1 and Part 1.2 of the interview and you can see a lot of the photos at Couch Kimchi. Here are my favorites.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

'How to Use Guys with Secret Tips' - Lee Si Yeong is Back


Lee Si Yeong is back and she's bringing a whole lot of hurt with her. Funny hurt, directed at her co-star, once again. I can't help but cringe when I see her hit fellow actors in movies and dramas. I know she's not a boxing machine 24/7, but she somehow makes it look like it would really hurt. I feel sorry for those who receive that. For a moment. Then I want them to get beat up more, because it's hilarious!

The lady is back with a rom-com movie called 'How to Use Guys with Secret Tips'. Still in her ugly duckling 'Wild Romance' vibe, Lee Si Yeong is playing a woman (Choi Bona) who does not date much and seems to have completely given up on her looks and man-attracting techniques.

Bona then finds a book and tape by some self-proclaiming love guru, played by the awesome Park Yeong Gyu, who has very detailed advice on how to get men. She follows them and surprisingly enough, they work. They work on many guys, one of them being our male lead, top hallyu star Lee Seong Jae, played by Oh Jeong Se.

It seems this is the first big movie for director Lee Won Seok and I'm looking forward to seeing how it goes. The movie also stars Kim Jung Tae and Lee Won Jong.

The poster is creeping me out and needs to be changed, but the trailer is just priceless and has me very excited for this!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

'IRIS 2' - Two New Posters

I call these two fresh 'IRIS 2' posters The Couch and The Plane and here are short descriptions of my brain activity as I viewed them.

IRIS2 - The Couch

The Couch: Why is Lee Da Hae dressed as a secretary and not a field agent? Why is Lee Joon sitting on the floor? Did Yoon Doo Joon do it so we can see him or did Lee Beom Soo shove him off to make room for his enormous charisma? Why is the shot framed by bare legs? Is Im Soo Hyang sitting on a bar stool in the naughty corner for being a villain? Jang Hyuk has the best suit. Lee Beom Soo looks badass. His suit is very 50s mafia. His hair looks cool. Im Soo Hyang's shirt is awesome. Why are they all dressed for a leather cocktail party and sitting in an empty rundown factory?

IRIS2 - The 

The Plane: Forget "guy calmly walks away from explosion" movie and game covers. They're going all out here, with "group calmly walks away from two explosions". Lee Beom Soo looks cool, but his coolness was apparently too big for his jacket. Why is Oh Yeon Soo still in a cocktail dress? This time, the shot is framed by idols. So the women and idols are there for showing skin and framing shots? I hope this doesn't describe the series itself as well. Jang Hyuk still has the best clothes. They're trying to make up for the hair. Is Lee Joon's character always constipated? Why are they getting so overzealous with photoshopping?

Overall, I think I would have preferred a nice middle ground from these. They look like the cast of a funeral office career drama in The Couch and The Plane is too busy and could only be trying harder if they were all carrying oversized weaponry. I know I'm over-thinking things again, but so should the designer.

If I do shut my brain off though, which I am still hoping will not be a requirement to watch this series, then the posters are cool and fun and pretty and all that jazz.

I'm still pumped for February 13 though. Bring it on!

Friday, January 18, 2013

'IRIS 2' - New Teaser Out

The closer we get to the release date, the more I hope to see the promotional effort for this speed up. It has been doing well so far, with everyone from the channel to Taewon Entertainment (producing the show) to the actors' agencies and mock Twitter character accounts all working together to psych soon-to-be viewers up.

The latest addition, a very short, but sweet teaser. Sweet as in lots of action, not lots of romance, which I am very happy about. I hope the romance aspect is toned down this time and not turned into a complete joke. That does not mean I'm not on board for a little adventure in the romance department as well, but 'IRIS' got so sobby and soapy, that it did not match the tone of the rest of the series.

But anyway, I'm babbling and you want the goodies.

Here is the clip, found on Soompi Forums. 'IRIS 2' starts on February 13th on KBS.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

'IRIS 2' - Guns, Cars, Moobs and Stars

IRIS 2 Poster

As I already explained in my 'IRIS' - A Short Review post, I had issues with Season 1. It tried doing too much and did most of it poorly, letting what could have been an epic action series end up a mediocre "another soapy attempt" one.

Now we're up for Round 2 with the sequel, 'IRIS 2', taking place three years after the end of the first series and following a new NSS team as they take on the evil global organization IRIS yet again. We have some of the original cast returning, mainly the secondary characters and also the main villain of the first season, who was revealed to be only a tool for the real villain, whom they plan to shed some light on this time around.

First things first, let me make this clear. I didn't even care to watch 'IRIS'. It was after hearing news of Lee Beom Soo being cast here that I decided to watch the first series. It turned out to be a bittersweet experience, as I saw some potential being murdered by several problems, which I sincerely hope won't still be present.

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