Friday, January 31, 2014

Lee Beom Soo and Song Seung Heon Might Reunite for MBC Drama 'Triangle'

Who does not remember 'Dr. Jin'? Well, probably many, because if there is a solid enough reason for selective memory loss, this series would be it. The recent trauma caused by that might resurface for many, as Lee Beom Soo and Song Seung Heon are being asked to work together again for MBC drama 'Triangle' [트라이앵글], which will follow 'Empress Ki' when it ends in late April.

'Triangle' is about three brothers and their bromantic angst. The oldest is a cop, middle one a gangster and youngest raised into a rich family. The law, the breaking of the law, the working around the law. In a tragic separation/reunion twist, the brothers' lives clash without them knowing they are all one big unhappy family. Well if this is not a recipe for disaster makjang, I don't know what is.

Im Si Wan might be the youngest brother, completing the diverse in age, style and acting trio and making it clear they are trying to please every single person on the planet who likes men, and ladies Lee Mi Yeon and Go Ara are also asked to join. Nothing is certain at this point, but the actors are looking at the offer favorably.

Lee and Song have actually acted together before 'Dr. Jin' and their silly/bromantic chemistry is solid, so that is pretty much the only thing I can rely on for hope at the moment. They were together in 1999 series '8 Love Stories' and again in 2002 movie 'Make it Big'.

Lee has made many an actor better, but Song's anti-progress shield is strong.

'Triangle's PD will be Yoo Cheol Yong ('Poseidon', 'Swallow the Sun'). I have seen neither, so I cannot say something about him at this point. The writer will be Choi Wan Gyu ('Midas', 'IRIS', 'Swallow the Sun'). I have only watched 'IRIS' out of all his works, so I cannot say I am filled with confidence.

I find melodrama silly in general, so this is something I will not go into with the hope to be moved and shaken, although 'Giant' showed me I am open to that, if done well. But since I am not one to set myself up for disappointment, I hope that, if it does suck, it will be unintentionally hilarious like 'Dr. Jin'.

More news on this if/when Lee Beom Soo's casting is confirmed. Yes, I do not go through makjang Hell for just anyone. The actors I like and their performances are the only ones I make such sacrifices for.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Drama First Look - Generation of Youth (Age of Feeling / Inspiring Generation)

After the success of 'Bridal Mask' in 2012 and given heroic tales are always loved by people, it was only a matter of time before the idea of making a period epic with another popular celebrity was realized. While only comparable to 'Bridal Mask' for being in the same era and for the production value, so far, 'Generation of Youth' is definitely shaping up into a grand epic story of its own, presented in a fine and impressive manner.

The series is so far looking just as what one would expect from all the promotional material. There is a lot of action, breathtaking scenery, stylish visuals and an epic score, as well as a plot using typical elements of such stories. There is poverty, crime, patriotism and turmoil. There are personal stories which are tied to all of that, handling themes like love, revenge, survival and others. A period action melodrama would be the best way to describe its genre at this point.

Full Article: [HanCinema's Drama First Look] "Generation of Youth".

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Drama Review - Two Weeks

Action and suspense series have not been a frequently used genre in Korean drama, but surprisingly, they have produced some very popular works. The fact that revenge and/or melodrama are typical parts of most of them is one part that perhaps helps the genre impress, but a lot of them have also aimed for a popular cast and polished appearance, even if their plots have their issues. From 'City Hunter' to 'Bridal Mask' to the series in question here, 'Two Weeks', they all go for something different and impressive presentation.

'Two Weeks' starts with an antihero type of man. Jang Tae-san (Lee Joon-ki) is wasting his life away in a demeaning job done as a favor to the businessman and mob boss he sacrificed himself and went to jail for. Tae-san has no responsibilities or interest to have them. That is until his former girlfriend, Seo In-hye (Park Ha-seon), appears and lets him know he is a father to a little girl with leukemia, named Soo-jin, who needs a bone marrow transplant from him. While he accepts, he finds himself framed for a murder and running for his life, but also the life of his daughter.

Full Article: [HanCinema's Drama Review] "Two Weeks".

Drama Review - Evasive Inquiry Agency

Trying to describe 'Evasive Inquiry Agency' with terms or similar examples for drama fans is impossible. As rare as other types and genres are in Korean drama, this series is just on a league of its own. If one could roughly compare it to anything, it would be Scooby Doo. Mysteries, villains, four silly and endearing characters who form a group to discover the truth and hopefully cash in.

Moo-yeol, Yong-soo and Hee-kyeong are acquaintances living in the same building. A taekwondo instructor, a comic book rental store owner and a tarot medium respectively, they are living simple lives trying to make do. When they hang around a vacant detective agency in their building, a client arrives thinking they are the owners. Not being able to resist the pay, they take on the case to find her missing cat. During its search, they discover a corpse in a wall of their building's basement. With the corpse, they find a few gold pieces shaped like leafs. To add to the mystery, a young woman named Eun-jae arrives at their building and wants their assistance in solving the mystery of the corpse in the wall. Knowing there is money in it, the trio agree and the group is formed.

Full Article: [HanCinema's Drama Review] "Evasive Inquiry Agency".

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Orion's Best Of Dramas 2013

Given the limited genres in Korean drama, it is very difficult to find series when one does not like the most beloved ones among them. I am not a fan of sageuk or melodrama and dailies are not a format I want to invest in, given I do not usually like the premises and do not consider Korean drama a medium worth investing quite so much of my time in. So among rom-com, action/suspense and other mixed genres, there was really not much I personally enjoyed this year. However, the few that I did enjoy were not within the usual rom-com fluff genre I prefer to melodrama and sageuk, which means I got some much missed diversity.

So in no particular order of preference, here are the series I consider as the best of 2013. That is partially due to their overall quality and presentation and partially due to my personal taste, which is the only way one can pick favorites by.

Full Article: [HanCinema's Year in Review] Orion's Best Of Dramas 2013.

Drama Preview - Generation of Youth

'Bridal Mask' and 'Capital Scandal' are a couple of period dramas which are set during the Japanese occupation. Given that this period is packed with themes made for epic stories, it is good to see another one out so soon and hopefully more to follow. 'Generation of Youth' has a couple of worrying elements, but the fact that it is looking exciting and well-made is undeniable.


After losing his father and being accused of his death, Sin Jeong-tae finds himself becoming a street fighter in Shanghai during the 1930s. After being taken in by the father of Yoon Ok-ryeon, a young woman aspiring to be a singer, Jeong-tae falls in love with her. But Deguchi Gaya, the stepdaughter of a high ranking Japanese official, is threatening their happiness. The series portrays the struggles of people to survive, love and be free during this tumultuous period.

Full Article: [HanCinema's Drama Preview] "Generation of Youth".

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Drama Review - Who Are You

Home to series like 'Queen In-hyun's Man', 'The Pretty Boy Next Door', 'Answer Me 1994' and many more, cable network tvN has been offering some very popular and quality productions for a while now. While not as popular and admittedly not as good as some of tvN's biggest hits, we also got 'Who Are You - 2013', a series by director Jo Hyeon-tak ('Harvest Villa', 'Daemul - Big Thing') and writer Moon Ji-yeong ("Style", 'I Love Italy').

When police officer Si-on (So I-hyeon) wakes up from a 6-year coma after a botched stakeout caused her injury and her partner's death, she discovers she has brought the alarming ability to see ghosts back with her. Having no recollection of the events that lead to her injury or the people involved in her life at the time, she tries to get back to a semi-normal life as the boss at the Lost and Found police branch. Her new partner and subordinate, Geon-woo (Taecyeon) is assigned there as his punishment for a work-related error and he does not take kindly to having a boss with a questionable past and possibly no qualifications for the job. With the paranormal nudging Si-on closer to thinking there is a bigger picture about her accident that she is missing, it becomes her goal to find out about her past and her abilities.

Full Article: [HanCinema's Drama Review] "Who Are You - 2013".

Drama Review - Arang and the Magistrate

If there is one thing in common between Sin Min-ah and Lee Joon-ki as actors, it is their bold choices in genre for their dramas. Sin Min-ah's 'My Girlfriend is a Gumiho' as well as "Devil" were both unique in their own ways and Lee Joon-ki's seeming preference for the action and suspense genre in dramas brought us this year's "Two Weeks", but also works such as 'Hero - Drama' and "Time Between Dog and Wolf - Drama". 'Arang and the Magistrate', which is directed by Kim Sang-ho-I ('Fantastic Couple', 'HON - Soul') and written by Jeong Yoon-jeong ('Monstar', 'Drama Special - Terminal'), is therefore successful in its casting of actors who know how to work slightly different concepts for television.

'Arang and the Magistrate' brings the titular characters together quite early. Arang (Sin Min-ah) is a ghost who cannot remember who she was and why or how she died. Determined to find out and not move on before it, she keeps running away from Moo-yeong (Han Jeong-soo), the Grim Reaper assigned to bring her to the otherworld. Eun-oh (Lee Joon-ki) and his servant, Dol-soi (Kwon O-joong), are heading for Miryang, the city where Eun-oh's mother was last seen before she disappeared. When Arang and Moo-yeong go past him in the forest during their chase, we learn that Eun-oh can see souls. When Arang and he meet again, she discovers his ability and asks for his help. After he is unwillingly made a governor of Miryang by the superstitious officials out to stop a local curse, Eun-oh discovers Arang is carrying a hairpin identical to his mother's, which was unique. They agree to help each other, solving the mystery of Arang's life and death and perhaps finding Eun-oh's mother in the process.

Full Article: [HanCinema's Drama Review] "Arang and the Magistrate".

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