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Monthly Archives: October 2012

I will be updating the kmovie list this weekend.  Please bear with me, I struggled finishing Arang and the Magistrate, that’s why.  Faith will be on my weekend date as well… I will miss Choi Young a lot.  I’m looking forward to the last quarter kdrama spree and hoping that before the year ends I’m done with the rest of my drama home works.  ^_^

Happy Halloween! 

If Hogwarts has “Hall of Prophecy” I have my very own “Hall of Abby”… This is where I placed my drama hall-of-famers… drama pills that can resurrect me from unnecessary melancholy or can clear my decision-making ability when it comes to love surfing. 

I present you “Sungkyunkwan Scandal” – the drama that changed my belief that sageuk presentations are not fun.  A bromance-filled tale incorporating a touch of traditional Korean history and way of living made the series so riveting, you will find yourself insatiable with the charm it has cast upon you… 

  The person you will love after your first love is like Sungkyunkwan for me.  I can’t help but love this drama each episode I was watching.  It was so engrossing and full of love.  Having F4-like drama aired in the past few years, I say SKKS in its own right deserved so much applause.  Our F4 scholars made me so in love for a while and even now I still am in love with Geol Ah. 

This is where I suffered the most mind-boggling Second-Lead-Man syndrome, in the end the second-lead prevailed.  I’m just a girl… I’m weak… and a stubborn Yoo Ah In, who can transform to a night-Robinhood-lazy-by-day-Rebel and not to add that he’s really knight-in-shining-armor hot… what am I supposed to do?  Even by just standing there, he’s really making me sigh and wishing and hoping and making me think of a lot of things I can do with him and loving him.  I get so engrossed when I talk of Moon Jae Shin, who wouldn’t?  Not that the lead man was not appealing.   He was, he suited perfectly in the love entanglement, I just have a thing for “bad guys” you see they love deeper and you always remember how they loved.

Sungkyunkwan Scandal was a Hana Kimi-Boys-Over-Flower-fusion set in the Joseon era.  Bearing the weight of being the bread winner of her family after her father’s death and because her younger brother was sickly, Kim Yeon-hee has assumed her sick brother’s identity and has been working as a scribe in a book store.   

When financial constraint hit their family, she temporarily choked her personal convictions, and agreed to sit on the entrance exam on behalf of an aspiring Sungkyunkwan student, but another aspiring upright Sungkyunkwan scholar learned of her intentions and moved by her interesting character, he managed to have her entered the school which was then exclusive for boys.  From then her adventures in making a stand and enforcing “girl power” while hiding her true identity has stirred an addictive story full of love, determination and friendship.

This is a kind of school life every girl wished for, having three gorgeous men as your friends and even two fighting for your heart.  Despite the political strain conflict, what I loved most on Sungkyunkwan was that it was full of optimism and the bravery of the characters stood alone making each of their portrayals worth remembering.   

Yoon-hee’s warm, clever and pleasant personality has earned her a niche in the school and has made her friends with the rebel senior students Jae-shin and his rich-trendsetter-bestfriend  Goo Yong-ha.  These four completed one of the most quirkiest-you-can’t-help-but-swoon-quartet I have ever gazed on.

Together with the all-knowing-debonair Goo Yong Ha, reliable-strong willed Moon Jae-shin and determination induced and smart-ish Lee Sun Joon, they will help the King in his quest to build a nation that will value the nurturing of potentials of each individual as well as the equality of each person that was not evident at that time.

 

The heart fluttering inducing moments set in a not so modern way got me swooning and giddy-ish I would have made a boyfriend right there and then around that time because of so much love vibes I got from the adorable lead couple and the one-sided romance of Jae-shin. 

This is the perkiest period drama I’ve seen so far, if I may add it’s also oozing with vibrancy and resonance.  Considering the setting was in traditional times, they were able to execute love melting and love sighing scene while studying in the library, getting stranded inside a wooden elevator, and all the rest of those happy moments shared by the Sungkyunkwan Scholars. 

The romantic scenes laid were all heart blowing and amazingly done considering its sageuk premise.  The drama gave epic romantic scenes, REALLY EPIC… the kind of sweet love scenes that when you tell your friends, you get transported back to the moment where you were actually watching it. *promise  With its feel good romance in a traditional times premise, this has been one of my favorites and a drama I always recommend.  I was wanting to tell the story but I’m going to defeat that purpose because this is really a darling to spend your time on.  This is a kdrama addiction trigger that might catch you… consider you’re forewarned.  -jediprincess

 

I was beaming and smiling and was so amused while watching this endearing father-and-son movie.  A heartwarming film full of a father’s love to his good-natured but feeble-minded child and a friendship so sweet, it will make you reminisce your childhood memories.

Dong-gu has been the resident water boy of his class.  He loves doing it even if his classmates constantly make fun of him.  His being half-witted was discussed to his father by his teacher and the principal, but his father still refused to enroll him at a school for special children mainly because Dong-gu is used to following routines, and going to that school has been part of that routine.

Annoyed by Dong-gu’s being simple-minded, his class partner put a frog inside the water kettle, not realizing what has happened, his teacher scolded him and from then on, a water dispenser replaced Dong-gu’s favorite water kettle.

I didn’t realize I was already crying when Dong-gu confronted the water dispenser.  Angry at something who has taken out the only thing that is making him recognized by his classmates, he threw punches at it for hurting his young heart.

While little Dong-gu is having a hard time at school, his father was also facing a predicament because their house which was pawned when Dong-gu’s mother was sick 5 years ago will be taken away from them soon if they won’t be able to raise a money to claim it back.

Then one day, Dong-gu saw a baseball player holding a water kettle, his slow-witted brain processed a miraculous idea and found himself imposing as the new water boy of the baseball team.   When one of the players quitted his position, the coach made Dong-gu one of his players.  The next day Dong-gu attended his class wearing his baseball uniform, and were teased by his classmates who can’t believe that a no-brainer would understand the concept of baseball, but his class partner has had enough of their classmates making fun of Dong-gu, so he stood up for him and from then he threw away the hesitations of taking in a slow person as a friend, and started to be Dong-gu’s bestfriend.

While having the problems of securing the possession of their house, Dong-gu’s father was also suspected of having a cancer.  The coach was also on pressure because of their upcoming game and Dong-gu who can’t still hit the ball was almost cut out from the team if not for his best friend stepping in to take responsibility of coaching him. 

Dong-gu tends to close his eyes when the ball approaches so he can’t hit it, but then one day while he was playing with the raindrops, his best friend got an idea.

He taught him the concept of “BUNT” in baseball.  This is a baseball technique where the hitter taps the ball so it would roll a short distance and would advance the base runners.  They kept practicing it in the hopes that it will be of great use in their upcoming match.

Then came Dong-gu’s first baseball game…  It was a fairly played game, and as the players and coaches feel the pressure, our little Dong-gu was still clueless of what’s happening.  Their team was behind a point in the closing inning, and when the player before Dong-gu refused to hit because he was not feeling well, the coach begged him to just hit it one more time.  In the end, he didn’t hit the pitches which put the next batter, our Dong-gu on position.  Dong-gu failed to hit the first two pitches, and while his coach-best-friend encouraged him… and in slow-climaxing-moment, the last ball was pitched, and Dong-gu tapped the bat to it and ran as much as he can.  With base runners realizing what the little hero has done they were able to reach home base and emerged victorious over their competitors.

At the closing scenes, Dong-gu was seen walking and using the baseball bases as his guide to reach their new home.  His father was also cleared from cancer and the father and son lived happily ever after.

Bunt was certainly a gladdening and encouraging movie experience.  Full of inspiring and beautiful lessons about parenthood, friendship and believing in yourself.   Even the humor was edifying, and you will just find yourself immersed in the story, cheering for Dong-gu… cheering for everything that will make him happy.

To The Beautiful You – this will be the 3rd adaptation of the Japanese shojo manga “Hana Kimi” and my favorite of ‘em all I say.. Well Koreans have this knack on doing their adaptation even better than the original.  I think Apple will agree on that. *chuckles

So given its quite familiar story, two adaptations Kdrama viewers can compare it with, I was just expecting how the following of the plot and turn of events will make me feel good, and I was not prepared it will hit me really good that my teenager self from 10 years ago assumed herself and was kicking her legs, giggling endlessly and hugging her pillow so tight in every surge of romantic scenes.

I was in constant tug-of-war between Eun-gyul and Tae-joon that I deviced a “who-abby-really-likes” scoresheet to break the sweet confusion.

Eun-gyul was your typical funny and thoughtful guy… the guy the writer would claim to be the main lead girl’s soulmate because it also breaks her heart that he will not be chosen.

Tae-joon, the distant-hot-you-can’t-help-but-drool-with descendant of Darcy and was a fictional fulfillment of every teenager girl’s dream boy.  He has had my love security blanket stripped while he showered me with romantic meteors in his smooth suave ways. 

Now the lead girl, Jae Hee whose stubborn hair has resurrected Helen of Troy in her body as cute boys lined up to win her heart subconsciously and knowingly. The typical vulnerable and warm lead girl who sometimes struggle with her understanding of the way things move around her.  She thrives on self-sacrificing but her being clueless spins most of the romance moments in the drama.

Any drama with a clingy girl who can’t grasp and digest that the boy he likes doesn’t like her always irritate me.  I just can’t stand girls who thrive with their insecurities in real life and even in kdramaland.


So the story simply goes like this… Jae-hee was a fan of a high-jump athlete Tae-joon.  He was the person who inspired her to come out of her shell when she was discriminated at school being a foreign student.  Tae-joon met an accident, lost his mother and lost his passion as an athlete so Jae-hee disguised herself as a boy to enter the same school Tae-joon was studying and imposed herself to be his resident encouragement-human-pill.

In a twist of cupid luck she ended up sharing the same dorm room with him and little by little she has crawled inside his lonely-angsty-secluded-self.

Jae-hee’s life in a male-infested school was such a refreshing dose of young love that you will find yourself reminiscing the first time you fell in love. Unbeknownst to Jae Hee, Tae-joon learned of her identity secret, and when he was able to define the strong fondness he felt towards her, a clingy-assuming-girlfriend, daddy issues and Eun Gyul’s one sided love would shake their teenager romance.

This is another teenage love drama at its best… no worries, just purely cuteness, sassiness and first love vibes. I will miss Eun-gyul’s social media shout-outs and weird mind wanderings, Jae-hee’s radiant smile and pure heart, and Tae-joon’s… well everything about him.  *giggles

Candid and totally charming, To the Beautiful You will promise you smiles and refreshing feel.  If you are looking for something serious or evil induced story, then you won’t find it here.  Everything about it was lightly done even the conflicts.  Simply laid, progressed smoothly and stopping at a happy ever-after note… this drama will be one of my favorite among the rom-coms this year.

 

HISTORICAL BACKGROUND:  Time Slip Dr. Jin fused with the reign of King Gojong, the last monarch of Joseon dynasty in the latter part of Joseon era.  It touched the waning 60-year wielding of power of the Andong Kim clan that was obliterated by Prince Lee Ha-Eung who served as a Regent of Joseon after his young son emerged as the new King.  It also plunged on the persecution of the Catholic Faith that was initiated by the French Missionaries which also led to the French Invasion of Ganghwa Island – Korea’s first war with Western power.

And yes, I have that Historical Background something now.  *wink  I’m beginning to think I could pass for a Korean History teacher, after dissecting all the tales of antiquities relating to the period dramas I’ve seen lately.  I’m not complaining, a little research helps in assimilating the plot.  I struggled in finishing this drama, as Dr. Jin really took time to have all the pieces fall together.   Most of the episodes were open-ended, switching from the blending of the medical plot, the political dissensions and the paranormal insertions, which in my unbiased opinion was a no-nonsense attempt to present a different blend of sageuk drama.

Jin Hyuk is a brilliant neuro-surgeon who is all business with his profession of saving lives.  After successfully removing an embryonic tissue inside a patient’s head, a supernatural surge will change his future.  He was planning to propose to his girlfriend Yoo Mi Na one day, but they engaged to a heated argument because Dr. Jin refused to operate on a patient who was already dead.   She walked away and got into a car accident putting her in a comatose state.

Meanwhile, a patient gathered medical supplies from the hospital storage.  He took the fetus which was stored inside a jar and was about to escape but Dr. Jin saw him and recognizing the voice which kept calling his subconscious mind, he tried to confront who he was.  The patient disregarded him and was about to jump from the rooftop but Dr. Jin tried to stop him, grabbed the medical bag but the patient was able to throw the embryo.  And it doesn’t make sense why he jumped to get hold of the embryo jar, but he did, then the embryo jar suddenly dispersed unearthly light and transported him back to the Joseon times where the police was currently chasing a group of native bandits.  Running for his life, he almost fell on a cliff but a man was able to save him, Prince Lee Ha-eung.    

Thought to be a part of the rebel bandits, a bounty for Dr. Jin’s head was issued by the police the next day so he has no other choice but to stick with the wily Prince.  While he’s trying to comprehend the tesseract joke played on him, he saw a woman, Hong Young-Rae, who looked exactly like Mi Na. 

Prince Lee Ha-eung pawned Dr. Jin to settle his debts with a notorious gang lord.  While the gang lord was eating though, there was a blockage in his air passage and instead of following the prince’ advice for him to escape, his doctor instinct kicked in to save the gang lord’s life.

On another pursuit of the police for the local bandits, the doctor who has a knack of being at the wrong place and at the wrong time bumped with a wounded man who turned out to be Young rae’s brother,  Yong Hwi, who was the secret leader of the local bandits. 

He performed a surgery on him but upon learning that Dr. Jin was on a “wanted list”, Young-rae sent their servant to notify the police of the “wanted person’s whereabouts”.  Not realizing the repercussion of what she has done her being grateful after saving her brother’s life can do no good as the police took the doctor for interrogation.  He was on the verge of the punishment, but was saved when the Left Minister lost his consciousness.  He performed another surgery to revive the minister and was waived of the crime accused of him.

From then on, his medical knowledge has been of great use to a country that hasn’t reached the advancement of modern medicine.  He improvised treatment that doesn’t have a cure yet at that time.   As he get on with helping out on illness that was thought to be incurable and as he carried out complex surgeries that has saved people on the brink of death,  the political faction strife was taking its toll to the country. 

Through Dr. Jin’s medical miracles, Prince Lee Ha-eung was able to go a step closer to the mother of the King, and from there, Lee Ha-eung’s son secured an adoption from the reigning King and eventually became the young King of the nation, but being minor, his father became the Regent of the Nation and administered new policies and trapped the head of the leading faction Andong Kim clan in his hope of building a better Joseon.  It was a no easy task defeating the seat of power but with proper drawing of the necessary cards, Lee Ha-Eung was able to strip the dominion that has been suffocating the nation for a long time.

The metaphysical aspect of the storyline was at first nebulous but it was a feat they were able to overcome at the end even if they explained it on the tail episode and in just 30 minutes.  (Well at least, they did, BIG did not) The multiple identities of the characters time travelling to an alter universe but coinciding with a time from the past made me so bewildered if not for my Fringe TV experience knowledge where everything is possibly impossible. 

Dr. Jin thought that his wrinkling of the time would be of help in saving his dying girlfriend from the world he left, but the time-travelling gisaeng, Choong Hoon warned him that his meddling with people that were supposed not to be saved will dig a depth to the mystery he was undertaking and could have worsen his chance of going back to the present time, but in the end, they pulled a parallel universe yarn which explained that his time travelling identities loved him so much, they find ways of putting his life to perspective by getting him trapped at a different time where your other person was at the same time living and still somehow connected with you – a trick they used with Mi Na and Young-rae.  Thus it equated to having the girls going to near death experience, and if one can be saved, the other will survive too ergo, before he warped back, his attempt to save the wounded Young-rae made it possible for Mi Na to live in the present time.  In the end, his alter universe escapade has saved the woman of his life.  Choong Hoon revealed to him that he was taken by time so his life can be saved… it was an unfathomable question for me… save from what? And in the end I came to a conclusion that losing someone you love is also a form of death – a kind of death that will not be healed no matter how time passes by. 

The ending epiphany talk with Lee Ha-eung at least tied the loose end of the merging of two different eras, but I hated how they sent back Dr. Jin to the real world!  Well, duh? Stabbing a man in the middle of the war and letting him fall of a cliff was a lame time warp move.   I deduced the connection of the runaway patient, the embryo and the headache attack when Dr. jin operated on his yet another soul living in the Joseon time, so when they swerved to the culminating Dr. jin realization that he was in fact that runaway patient, and that the fetus tumor was actually taken from him, I said “okay, make use of your multiple identities, time and space continuum plot every way you can and wherever you want!“  *pout

They really struggled in keeping hold of their paranormal twist, it was not that polished that it could either make or break the viewers understanding, if you are Fringe-bound like me, then you’ll be able to grasp it, if not, most likely you will be lost.

The main characters Dr. Jin and Lee Ha-eung were the focal point of the narrative.  While I have learned to like Song Seung-heon oppa, I still am going to wait for the best drama he will be making.  Lee Beom Soo was amazing in Salaryman, he was still the same here, so I look forward to seeing him again in the future.  Kim Jae-joong oppa made me tugged at my hair, he lost me with his super lost self and inability to have his loyalty in place… his character has the worst filial piety ever, but I still love him.  Park Min-young was still at her best, come to think of it, she really does suit well in classical themed dramas.

In the tradition of period dramas, the death of the main characters, the daring moves of the villains and the counter-attack of the underdogs, the double-crossing and last minute betrayals kept hold of the sageuk feel.  The bromance and the supernatural-defying romance were also present and spun the major conflicts of the story.  It was flowing and got there without minding the bridge.  Albeit the craziness and lapses, it was still a good watch for me, but incomparable to sageuk classics.

 

 

 

 

 

The hotel-tug-of-war, the quirkiest-quasi-mafia-ish-fisherman family I have ever laid my eyes on, the stubborn-quick-to-anger-but-adorably-handsome-prosecutor, and the love story that was brought about by a criminal chase and one after another jumping into wrong conclusions were reasons enough to enjoy this light drama from the writer of one of my last year’s favorite — City Hunter.
 
 
Go So Ra and her uncles have been conquering the waters of Busan on their quest to pay off all their debts and to reclaim the Haeundae Hotel that her father founded but was taken away by a gangster rebellion initiated by his father’s second in command, Yang Man Ho.


 
Yang Man Ho, the man who snatched the hotel was dying and wanted to see his long lost son for the last time and a star scar would be the key to finding him.
 
Lee Tae Sung knows nothing only but to please his father who adopted him from the orphanage when he was young.  All his life has been channeled into succumbing to what his father commanded him, that including his fixed marriage to a daughter of a rich family.

 
Through these people, a love was fated to happen with a Romeo and Juliet background between a prosecutor and a fisherwoman-princess.


 
After failed attempts to catch a notorious con-man, Go Joong Shik, who has a lot of crime medals to brag about, Tae Sung was determined to seize him to appease his father’s disappointment and to prove his worth to the prosecutors’ office who are doubting his capabilities and who hasn’t had a smooth relationship with him because of his being egoistic.  

The slimy Joong-shik narrowly escaped his encounter with Tae-sung on a pier brawl so their team last chance was to locate him through Joong-shik’s girlfriend.  Go So Ra went to a night club where her cousin was said to be working, and to bail her out of the club, the boss wanted her to pose as a geisha and dance.  In the same night club, Tae-sung was preparing for the operation, and mistakenly thought So-ra was their secret mole.  “I’ve never felt this way before” – Tae-sung kept telling So-ra this line puzzling her while being annoyed at his insistence.  As So-ra found her way to escape the night club, Tae-sung who almost caught Joong-shik inadvertently let him slip away and in his fading consciousness saw Joong-shik on board So-ra’s truck which happened because she bumped at him while he was running away and while she and her cousin were in a hurry to get out of the place.

Even after just getting off his wedding day, he set off to Busan to look for So-ra as he thought she was Joong-shik’s girlfriend.  He worked his way to So Ra’s family in the hopes of getting a lead and when he finally traced him, the villain assumed his cat-like existence and won over their fight leaving him drowned in the water, but was luckily revived by So Ra’s family who has been thinking he was the culprit who took all their fish catch which was earlier sold by her cousin.


 
Lee Tae Sung woke up but due to a head damage, he can’t recall his identity. On the same hospital room, he was revived, Yang Man Ho was not aware that his long lost son was sharing a room with him. 


 
While battling amnesia, Tae Sung was taken in by Sora’s family as his family and wife thought him to be dead because of a car accident.

As Tae-sung/Nam-hae got used to ocean life, he has learned to rely on the only person in the world who can be there from him, and more than him realizing his vulnerability, his amnesia made him aware to listen to his heart more.

To save So-ra’s face when her groom ranaway, Tae-sung bravely marched down the aisle to assume a knight in a shining armor role, but in a twist of long standing Haeundae gangster fate, it was revealed formally that Tae-sung in deed was the long lost son of Go family’s arch nemesis Yang Man Ho.  But eventually Tae-sung and So-ra submitted to the mutual emotions they were both feeling and formed a plan to reclaim the hotel So-ra has been dreaming to have in the past 10 years. 

And just as their love story became crystal clear and freed from their father issues, Choi Joon Hyuk who harbored a one-sided love with So-ra did his chess move when he learned of Tae-sung’s real identity and revealed it to him in an off-guard-coming-out-of-amnesia-torn-between-two-lovers deal.

 

When Tae-sung’s memory resurfaced, to protect So-ra to the claws of power his father and his wife have, he left Seoul and buried his hours to his prosecutor job, and I’m happy that in a hurried pace, this drama made him bounced back so fast to come to terms with his daddy issues by blurting all the things he has wanted to say and also to confront the wife he has never loved not minding the guilt she was pressing on to him.

My favorite scene was surprisingly that one liner who has started their love story.  When Tae-sung told So-ra “I’ve never felt this way before”, with all his memory back and all the series of events that happened between them… and with all the love he was able to realized because of her, I smiled that I got lucky chancing upon this sweet love tale.


 
This drama totally deviated from the supernatural-time-travelling trend this year to settle to a realistic love narrative that built up so perfectly I was almost falling in love at the same time as the couple was feeling it… amnesia plot and all that off-beat elements, I ended up appreciating it.

It stayed on low key but was consistent with the romance and mirth all throughout.  So I guess the City Hunter writer was not a fluke at all, she was a real thing.  I liked that they gave the couple love hindering conflicts and made them so strong with their convictions to overcome it.  They took one step back and then 10 steps forward to claim what is rightfully theirs.

It was swift and well-paced.  It was predictable and yet so fun to watch.  Amidst the 3rd quarter drama, Haeundae Lovers was not that conspicuous, underrated if I may say, and the irony of it is that it has the biggest heart so far from what I’ve seen… tapping on love, family and friendship in an uncomplicated and stirring way of defining life’s real moments.

Just like the serene ocean background setting, Haeundae Lovers was an endearing, calming drama that will drown a stressful week.  I am sure right now that it will certainly not be one of the best this year, but at least it didn’t disappoint me at all and was always making me smile while I am watching it.

 

the piles of dramas to watch has reached a point higher than me…  i’m not complaining… and is sooo very happy.  ^_^

 

 

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