Sunday, February 22, 2015

Movie Review - The Best Romance

It is a popular opinion that a well paired romantic couple is the single most important thing for romantic comedy in Korean drama. Even if everything else is bad, surely fun and cute interactions will save it. Sadly, a boat full of holes is doomed to sink, no matter how much one cheers it on. The same goes for any story and genre, including romantic comedy in film. 'The Best Romance' is a light, sometimes fun movie, but it also has a great flaw.

Kang Jae-hyeok (Lee Dong-wook) has worked hard to become a detective. Jae-hyeok suffers from aichmophobia, a fear of pointed and sharp objects, which he suppress for work. Choi Soo-jin (Hyeon Yeong) is an entertainment reporter who has gone from a fighter in college to embarrassing herself for any gossip she can score. During an unfortunate meeting, Jae-hyeok gets accidentally stabbed by Soo-jin. The two do not get along, but they have to cooperate when the cases they are on turn out to be connected.

Full Article: [HanCinema's Film Review] "The Best Romance".

Drama First Look - Ho Goo's Love

It is difficult to pinpoint what gives a work a heart. Perhaps one way to look at it is that works made to entertain are about facing your audience and asking "How can I make them like me?", while works made to tell a story are about asking "How can I say something worth saying?". The latter will, if handled by talented people, reach viewers in a way being preoccupied with fleeting pleasures and manufactured investment will not. 'Hogu's Love' is so far telling a story and has made one impressive start at it.

Since the series is based on a webtoon created by the 'The Pretty Boy Next Door'-famous Yoo Hyeon-sook, it is not surprising that there is more to the premise than just a silly man meeting a haughty woman. There are some heavier issues being explored here and this means that the happy and colorful romantic comedy part is a presentation and tone, rather than the whole purpose of this series as a simple entertainment piece.

Full Article: [HanCinema's Drama First Look] "Hogu's Love".

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Movie Review - I Am a King

History and the historical genre are things usually treated with a straight face in Korean cinema and television. There are times, however, when a historical setting is merely used as a background to stories in genres for other types of audiences. Much like films 'Detective K' and 'The Grand Heist', 'I am a King' is set during the Joseon dynasty and uses parts of history to essentially tell a comedic 'The Prince and the Pauper' story.

Prince Chung-nyeong (Joo Ji-hoon) is a spoiled man without any interest in becoming the people's king. When he is chosen for the part by his father, he attempts to escape his quarters and falls on slave Deok-cheol as he jumps the outer wall. Deok-cheol, whose appearance and voice are identical to the Prince's, finds himself in the palace, as the Prince's personal guards struggle to come up with a plan on how to find the Prince and in the meantime use Deok-cheol as a stand-in.

Full Article: [HanCinema's Film Review] "I Am a King".

Drama Preview - Blood

The thematic shift for dramas is already happening and the new topic is vampirism. An interesting topic, certainly and one which has done well for Korean television before, most recently and notably through OCN's 'Vampire Prosecutor' series. 'Blood' is being brought to viewers by KBS2 and there are certainly a few less than promising elements about it, but also some encouraging ones. For better or for worse, it is kicking off the vampire trend.


Park Ji-sang (Ahn Jae-hyeon) is a vampire trying to live without harming people. Surely a challenging task, as he works at a hospital as a surgeon, attempting to save lives rather than take them. The series follows his struggle with his peculiar nature, romantic involvement with fellow doctor Yoo Ri-ta (Koo Hye-seon) and his confrontation with doctor Lee Jae-wook (Ji Jin-hee).

Full Article: [HanCinema's Drama Preview] "Blood".

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Drama Preview - Ho Goo's Love

TvN has made a beloved genre out of its light and youthful romantic comedies. They have humor, likable young and older stars, good production value and they offer all the things viewers love about the pure version of these dramas. 'Hogu's Love' follows the same formula of upbeat quirkiness, but switches enough things around to potentially be quite a little unique show of its own.


Kang Ho-goo (Choi Woo-sik) is a silly and cheerful man who has been trying to pass his civil service exam for years. Do Do-hee (UEE) is very different from Ho-goo, a swimming champion with a graceful look, but mean temperament. Ho-goo finds himself a complete fool in love for Do-hee and their complicated romance begins.

Full Article: [HanCinema's Drama Preview] "Hogu's Love".

Drama Review - Valid Love

There are many things which can be deal breakers in drama. Mistakes are made due to lack of focus, direction or sometimes care and mistakes are made due to the restrictions and pitfalls of the medium. 'Sensible Love' has problems with its plot and was ultimately betrayed by its length. A disappointing failure to reach its full potential, the series nonetheless has some great things to show. Whether those are worth the process depends on the person watching.

Jang Hee-tae (Eom Tae-woong) and Kim Il-ri (Lee Si-yeong) have been involved since they were a teacher and student. After a short crush and a long separation, the two reunite and become a couple who swiftly get married. Life is not easy for them and their families, but they make do. That is until Il-ri finds herself working with a young man called Kim Joon (Lee Soo-hyeok) and starts feeling attracted to him. The three struggle with the situation and Il-ri is faced with the consequences of her actions and some tough decisions.

Full Article: [HanCinema's Drama Review] "Sensible Love".

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Drama First Look - Hyde, Jekyll and I

'Hyde, Jekyll and I' is the latest series in the recent mental illness trend. While it opened with some potential for a clearer focus and character exploration, it sadly soon found itself struggling with slow pacing, lacking plot progression and characterization and an overall underwhelming presentation. If this is just a slow burn, it might turn out for the best, but it has not delivered in terms of initial excitement.

The first thing that sets the series apart from most can be found in its style. It is the almost dream-like visuals and world. The setting is very small, going between a few locations and making the story feel as if it is happening in its own little universe. Obviously, having a circus and a Christmas theme seems to be mainly for pretty visuals, but it occasionally has good use in the storytelling and characterization. In fact, it is the directing which offers more to certain scenes than the writing.

Full Article: [HanCinema's Drama First Look] "Hyde, Jekyll and I".

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