KDrama Classic Spotlight: The First Shop of Coffee Prince

Hail to the grandmother of kdramas with cross-dressing heroines.  This is a follow up hit for Yoon Eun Hye and the drama that made me look at Gong Yoo as an oppa. *wink “Coffee Prince” developed in a feel good manner where the lead man battled out the possibility of his affection to a fellow guy not knowing that the heroine was a real woman in disguise.

Coffee Prince cemented my growing fondness towards Yoon Eun Hye.  *giggles  I liked her in Goong, and I like her even more here.  The music was so refreshing and the cast interaction was also dynamic.  

It was something new when it was aired hence the rave because we saw an unconventional romance between a strong-willed heroine who has to pretend she was a man  to secure a job in a coffee shop for her family.  

The scenes where Gong Yoo was trying to reconcile his feelings with a guy come what may were hilariously interpreted and will definitely put a smile on your face.  It was so cute that Gong Yoo’s character disregarded everything and was okay to admit that he could possibly be a homosexual due to his growing feelings on his pretending-to-be-a-man lead girl.

This cross-dressing heroine and coffee shop owner’s love ride slayed the ratings with the unique premise on how their romance was imagined.  It is also one of those dramas where the lead man was presented as someone who wanted to fulfill his woman’s dreams first because that’s one the best definitions of love a man can gift her woman.

This is a must-watch grandpa classic that will not lose its appeal even after a few years from go by.  How the love grew between the lead characters was simply laid and yet so affecting and definitive.  If you are currently having a bitter heart because of a failed relationship it can surely disarm you and walk you through appreciating love again.

dear Goblin, saranghae.

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1.  Hello  breathtaking cinematography!
2.  Gong Yoo oppa in long mane and warrior clothing is hot.
3.  Thank kdramagod we don’t linger much on the backstory.
4.  That is a fiery red scarf.
5.  If the Grim Reaper with kissable lips will escort me to after life, I will gladly oblige.
6.  The gutsy heroine had me at that cheery love declaration.
7.  Autumn in Canada is pretty.
8.  Cohabitation with two hot guys with supernatural powers is such an intoxicating kdrama plot.
9.  Goblin and Grim Reaper struggling with smartphone is epic.
10.  Goblin ruminating on the pros and cons of loving his bride is hilariously cute.
11.  I’ve got to give it to Lee Dong Wook for bringing out the Grim Reaper’s adorable character.
12.  Goblin and Grim Reaper is the best bromance ever.
13.  Seriously, that villain is creepy.
14.  All the pieces are laid out, it breaks my heart on the ill-fated love of Wang Yeo and the Queen.
15.  *sob This Wang Yeo – Kim Shin reveal drained my tears.
16.  Hail to the second leads and to that emotional kiss-me-forget-me scene.
17.  Wow!  Just wow!  That Episode 13 is like a full movie in acting and plot scale magnitude.
18.  True love rules!  Yay for Eun Tak summoning Goblin back from limbo.
19.  Just as how I love the pain, forgiveness and reconciliation between Goblin and Grim Reaper, I was sad to see Reaper voyage to his next life.
20.  How many times are you going to make me cry?  Why did she have to die?
21.  Dear Goblin, it’s me Abby.  I’m here for you, I still have three lives in case your bride will take time to reincarnate.
22.  I wish Sunny and Grim Reaper’s future lives linger more, but it’s the drama’s last episode.
23.  I think any girl wishes now to have a summoning power to the man they love.
24.  Oh there you are Ji Eun Tak, yes Maam, you are the one and only Goblin’s bride.
25.  Goodbye Goblin!  *saranghae

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Arguably the best korean drama that aired for 2016, “Goblin” affirmed my kdrama fan girl spirit with its addictive pace, perceptive characters, detailed back story and the exciting race to its closure.  I was at constant awe at how the yarning of the folklore and supernatural mise en scene fit so perfectly placed in the modern setting.  The cast portraying a whole new chimeric world that I want to be a part of moved through the story seamlessly alternating a wistful and lively performance that burrowed straight to my kdramaaddict heart. *chuckles

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Cursed to immortality, a Goryeo warrior captain lived for 9 centuries waiting for his bride that will vanquish the jinx laid by a deity.  He finally meets his bride who has the ability to see ghost and has been aware of her status through the metaphysical grapevine gossips she heard through the years.  Goblin fell in love with her in the process and she is all willing to wield the sword stuck on his chest not knowing that by doing so, it will make him vanish.  Their romance bloomed fully, but they had to face the villain responsible for Goblin’s immortal fate.  Goblin used the stuck sword to finally kill the ghost fiend and was transported to a limbo clear of his initial curse, but trapped and had to journey for years to be with his bride again.  10 years later, Eun Tak who has always been bothered by missing pieces she felt in her heart but lost in her memories, summoned Goblin back to her world through her honest and painful longing.  Goblin worked on winning her back and her memories of him were retrieved and they finally tied the knot.  Just as they had a taste of the love they so bravely fought, Eun Tak who has lived a borrowed life faced death when she sacrificed herself to save a bus loaded with school children.  Years after, Eun Tak was reincarnated on her second life and sought the man she vowed she will only love for the rest of their lifetimes.

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The summary does not justify all that happened in the story as the cast were intricately connected through their past and present lives.  What made Goblin such a novelty for a love story with transcendental element is how it neatly blended the mystical notes and sensible realities to propel the narrative without losing focus and as simply told as it can be.  The drama made me yearn a romantic interlude with men like Goblin or Grim Reaper.  I was on a long moony phase struck with the impact of the characters who fervidly brought life to their sketched personas.

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 Goblin marked all the bullet points of a lingering story eventhough the metaphysical milieu was very tricky. Although set on a melancholic tone, the dynamics of the cast and the lively humor cushioned the viewers so well given its inevitable tragic scenario ending.  At times there are moments when it was languid, but it was necessary for the built up of the character connections to make the climactic conflict confrontation solid and stunning.

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Breathtaking – Goblin has always been beautifully done from its cinematography, storyline and character portrayals.  The writer did a lot of impossible tweaks and conceived an intricate realm and made sure that she will succeed on the labyrinth she has set for her story.  With actors embracing their roles so well, the exquisite tale of a man searching for the woman to end his immortality curse established a memory that kdramaland followers will still love in the future.

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There are a lot of things to rave about “Goblin”, but I feel like Gong Yoo and Lee Dong Wook’s stellar chemistry in their very own bromantic world was what kept me in love with this drama as a whole.  Sure the love lines for the main and second leads were notable, but the supernatural boys swept me off my feet with how they kept up with human induced emotional conflicts that their powers can’t resolve.  Kim Go Eun and Yoo In Na were both amazing in their roles and a great support to the main character’s chronicle.  The heartrending love rides these foursome sojourned yielded a memorable impact due to the efficient layering of the reincarnation plot.

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Goblin explored the boundless creativity of Korean culture through writer Kim Eun Sook’s sweet story manipulation.  See for yourself why this drama raised a cult following.

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KDrama Bucket Listing: The Best Fan-service Korean Drama Romcoms

This new project of mine is a useful guide since you have decided to join the kdramaaddict community.  Kdramaworld has been running for quite a while so I’ll share you the dramas that you need to complete and you might have missed along the way.

Since we are celebrating the love month, let’s commence this bucket listing activity with trendy romantic comedy dramas.  These stories are typically what initiated your kdrama cravings.

The sighs, the swoons, the squeals, the hot flushes, the involuntary parting of our lips on the kiss scenes, the hot oppas, the we-wish-we-can-be-the-leadgirl-moments… There are a lot of reasons why we love these kind of dramas. Most of the dramas in this list are runaway hits, others have sweet chemistry between the main leads. These are love pills that we can watch over and over again every year, and yet we don’t get tired of it. These are my favorite fan service romcoms, what’s on your list?

 

♥My Name is Kim Sam Soon  (Hyun Bin and Kim Sun Ah)

Sam Soon’s love adventure gave hope to girls with weight insecurities that they can still snatch the man of their dreams as not all men are blinded by pretty faces and hot bodies.  *chuckles

This is where I first met Hyun Bin oppa and I fell in love with his then chubby cheeks. *lol  I was on my early 20’s when this was aired, and I was not hooked at that time.  But when I watched it in my late 20’s, I was able to appreciate it more because the heroine’s sentiments appealed to me probably because I was at the stage of my life when I endured love frustrations and experienced being blissfully in love.

This is my first dose of contract relationship and it endeared me a lot as it left a love lesson that no matter how extremely different a man and a woman is, spending time together and getting to know each other in the process would warrant a leap of romantic emotion that can result to a sweet love declaration.

 

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♥ Full House (Rain and Song Hye Gyo)

The modern Cinderella story of an aspiring scriptwriter and a famous actor who were forced to cohabitate when the former’s friends sold the house she inherited from her father.  We get a contract marriage plot in this love story which pushed the romance between a man and a woman who seemed unlikely to fall in love with each other.

The bickering scenes and the eventual falling in love were the strongest points of Full House.  The feel good premise still make me pick this drama when I don’t have anything on my plate to watch.  

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♥ Princess Hours (Joo Ji Hoon and Yoon Eun Hye)

Any princess story appeals to most girls right away.  With a distant and yet secretly warm prince portrayed nicely by Joo Ji Hoon oppa, I can’t help but love the nines on the clouds of high when I was watching Lee Shin and Chae Kyung’s royal love story.

My pillows suffered a lot from strangulation on the emotional and heart fluttering scenes.  Actually Goong had mostly melodramatic tones, but it was neutralized by the lead girl’s vibrant presence and optimism to survive in the arranged marriage she was forced to take for the sake of her family.

This is one youth drama you should not miss as it is one of the kdrama staple classics.

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♥ My Girl (Lee Dong Wook and Lee Da Hae)

I know right?  Contracts are often part of kdrama plots.  For “My Girl”, we have a business conglomerate heir hiring a con-woman to pretend as his long-lost cousin to appease his ill grandfather, but ended up trapped in the lie they created when they started falling in love with each other.

The strong second leads supported well the romantic development by playing well the annoying ex-girlfriend and the how-could-you-not-love-him second lead man.

“My Girl” had a consistently addictive run and nicely done closure credit it to the bubbly heroine and her chemistry with the workaholic lead man chaebol.  

I think this is where I first saw that lead-man-following-drunk-lead-girl scene which became a guaranteed cute scene on rom-coms.

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♥ The First Shop of Coffee Prince (Gong Yoo and Yoon Eun Hye)

This cross-dressing heroine and coffee shop owner’s love ride slayed the ratings with the unique premise on how their romance was imagined.  

It was so cute when Gong Yoo’s character disregarded everything and was okay to admit that he could possibly be a homosexual due to his growing feelings on his pretending-to-be-a-man lead girl.

Coffee Prince’s ending was also sweet as it wrap up with how the lead man let go of his girl for the mean time to pursue her own dreams.  This is a must-watch grandpa classic that will not lose its appeal even after a few decades from now.

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♥ Boys Over Flowers (Lee Min Ho and Gu Hye Sun)

Almost Paradise… Yay!  This is Lee Min Ho’s breakthrough performance that swept hallyuland like a storm during its run.  Finally adapting the famous Japanese manga, the Korean version gave a pretty depiction of the rich-boy-poor-girl love story by projecting an elaborated presentation of the wealth disparity of the main love couple.  Sprinkling it with the flower boy bromance and their side love stories cemented a victorious run for this youth drama.

“Boys over Flowers” is a great initiating drama to welcome you in kdramaland.  It is feel-good, buoyant and everything sweet perfect on movie marathon sessions and rainy days.

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♥ My Girlfriend is a Gumiho (Shin Min Ah and Lee Seung Gi)

Fusing Korean folklore to a modern lovestory was notched perfectly by chilsung cider addicted Mi Ho and her action star wanna-be lead guy.  When a nine-tailed fox was released from a painting she was imprusoned to, she sealed a deal with a free spirited guy who does not have any dream but to become an action star.

The arresting face and portrayal of Shin Min Ah made Mi Ho one of my all-time favorite kdrama characters.  Hong sisters blended the supernatural and folklore premise in this drama in an innovative approach to complement the modern setting.

This is where I first saw the reversal of roles for the lead couple.  The always curious heroine took charge in taking care of her lead man in the most part of the story.  

The quirky interaction of the lead couple until reaching the eventual love zone was something you would root for while you are watching the narrative.

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♥ You’re Beautiful (Jang Geun Seuk and Park Shin Hye)

When her twin brother met an accident, Go Mi Nyu, a nun-to-be was forced to assume her brother’s identity  (Go Mi Nam) who was posed to join a famous boyband.  Having spent most of her time in the convent Mi Nam worked hard to adapt in a new world of cohabiting with her fellow band members.

There are a lot to love about ANJELL and the main lead couple.  The second lead also made an impressive showing to shake the official love pairing.

“You’re Beautiful” was brimming with witty humor and sweet scenes which propelled its run to a strong fanbase.  I think this is also was the start of me stalking Hong sisters dramas.

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♥ You’ve Fallen For Me (Park SHin Hye and Jung Yong Hwa)

This youth drama set in a Music school was the fulfilment of the second love pairing that we did not get from “You’re Beautiful”.  The refreshing tone and the campus romance drew smiles and sigh in me as Lee Shin suited up to his campus hearthrob role effortlessly and effectively.  

The music, the youthful vibe, the college setting dates endeared this drama to me.  Maybe because it just went free flowing and did not exert effort in placing overly conceived central conflict.  “You’ve Fallen For Me” is light and comforting perfect for your stoic days.

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♥ Discovery of Love (Eric Moon and Jung Yu Mi)

Now this was not as popular as the rest of the dramas in this list, but it belonged to my all-time favorite love dramas because of its superb screenplay and storytelling.

Yeorum is a furniture maker who was caught between her present boyfriend and her first love.  “Discovery of Love” took an ingenious path to uncover the woes and inhibitions of a woman in confronting love confusions that involved weighing down the amount of pain and love you are prepared to invest in a relationship.

You will thank me later after you watch it.

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♥ Another Oh Hae Young (Eric Moon and Seo Hyun Jin)

Yes I think I can declare that I stalk Eric oppa’s dramas as he mostly pick interestingly done projects.

Another Oh Hae Young was the best romance drama for 2016 banking on its realistic approach on the frustrations and bliss of trusting the love willingly given to someone only to be disappointed for not reciprocating it well.

The hot kisses, the brave heroine and the weird journey on how fate intertwined the love couples were some of the things you would love in this drama.

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♥ Legend of the Blue Sea (Lee Min Ho and Jun Ji Hyun)

Freshly caught from the kdrama sea, this mermaid-conman romance gave us laugh fits and heart-fluttering moments.  The love-fueled-mind-reading ability of Heo Joon Jae was a favorite twist of mine in this drama.  I got a lot of laugh trips from those scenes.

The writing was almost perfect except from that last episode auto pilot ending.  Nevertheless, “Legend of the Blue Sea” will surely warm your heart with the overflowing love vibes sketched in past and present timelines with reincarnation plot on the side.

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♥ The Greatest Love (Cha Seung Won and Gong Hyo Jin)

When a top actor, Dokko Jin got entangled to a third-rate actress, a hilarious romance ensues as he battled out his emotions only to succumb to it when an equally adorable traditional doctor wields his intention to be with the lead girl.

This is the third Hong sisters entry on my list and the trademark smart humor on the writing was evident.  I loved Cha Seung Won in City Hall and even more in his overconfident character in this story.  Gong Hyo Jin as always brings out any character given to her.  Her submissive and kind attitude neutralized Dokko Jin’s strong persona and forced him to become a better person worthy to accept and give love.

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♥ Rooftop Prince (Park Yoo Chun and Han Ji Min)

Time-traveling and a clueless Joseon prince who was transported to modern times made me a happy camper on its weekly run  because of the Prince and his warriors hilarious adjustments to technology powered way of living.

The romance was an added bonus, but when I look back it is really the cute bromance that sealed this drama in my kdrama memory compartment.

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♥ Flowerboy Ramyun Shop (Jung Il Woo and Lee Chung Ah)

Dear drama, you know you got me at Jung Il Woo.  

“Flower boy ramyun shop” checked the romcom essentials of cohabitation, mean love triangle, and rich boy poor girl love line.  The adorable chasing of the lead man to win the heroine’s heart was crazily sweet and in turn secured Jung Il Woo a spot inside my heart.  *chuckles

 

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♥ The Lonely Shining Goblin (Gong Yoo, Lee Dong Wook and Kim Go Eun 

You have two wonderful love pairings to indulge on and an extra equally sweet bromance for dessert.  What more can you ask for?

Drawn in folklore and chimeric premise, consider Goblin as a karmic prize for kdramaaddicts’ loyal following.  The polished storytelling and amazing cast portrayal nailed a quintessential drama that you can share with your grandchildren in the future.

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♥ Reply 1997 (Seo In Gook and Jung Eun Ji)

I chose the first story from the Reply Franchise as it gave an impressive showing of a first love story as well as friendship turned romance narrative.  Nostalgic in its projection, “Reply 1997” will give anyone a trip back to those wistful memories of their young, unrequited love.

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♥ The Master’s Sun (So Ji Sub and Gong Hyo Jin)

My final Hong sisters drama on the list went to a spooky millieu and was successful in doing so.  A ghost-seeing woman has been burdened by her ability all her life.  When she finally bumped with the person who can shield her from the compelling ghost request she keeps getting with and without her warrant, she stuck by the prickly rich department store owner and soon after developed a relationship with him.

“Master’s Sun” exhibited the usual comedic and romantic writing brilliance of the Hong sisters.  I meant to watch this before because of So Ji Sub oppa and I got more than I asked for.

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♥ Queen In Hyun’s Man (Ji Hyun Woo and Yoo Inna)

Abby’s Man aka Queen In Hyun’s Man stirred an excitement in me due to its avant-garde story of a time traveling Joseon scholar who utilized his talisman powered time-space wrinkling ability to hide in the present time while brewing his next moves on fulfiling his duty to the deposed Joseon Queen. 

An actress helped him to adapt to contemporary living and they eventually fell in love with each other.  “Queen In Hyun’s Man” was hip and fun and affirmed that my decision to eat kdramas for breakfast was valid.  *chuckles  

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♥ Healer (Ji Chang Wook and Park Min Young)

“Healer” put me on my longest kdrama character crush.  It was so severe that I watched all Ji Chang Wook dramas even the ones that were not worth watching.  That’s how much impact the drama gave me.  

The love progression was steady and engaging in this drama and you bet I was in dreamy land after that Healer hideout kissing binge.  “Healer” is the fulfilment of any adult woman’s ideal man.  

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♥ Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo (Lee Sung Kyung and Nam Joo Hyuk)

Credit the cast for their commitment to this coming of age drama.  It created an international cult following especially on the teens and the early-twenties.  “Weightlifting Fairy” was my first and last kdrama binge for 2016.  I initially had reservations if I will put it on my plate, but one night when I don’t have anything scheduled to watch anymore, I took it and was uncaring if I wake up the entire village with my laughter festival. 

This is the drama I will make my daughter watch when she goes to college so she can have an idea of the perfect college boyfriend.  *wink

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♥ Oh My Venus (So Ji Sub and Shin Min Ah)

There were a lot of sighs, swoons, melting moments and heart-stopping arrests when I watched coach-nim and Daegu beauty realized their love potential through a weight loss program.

To reclaim her goddess body, a woman sought the help of a famous weight loss coach to carry on with her project.  He was initially adamant about it, but she trapped him by threatening how she will reveal his identity to the world if he does not agree.  

“Oh My Venus” oozed with sweet, steamy scenes that will tickle your heart and imagination.  If you are on a weightloss program, watch this so coach-nim can inspire you.

 

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♥ Descendants of the Sun (Song Joong Ki and Song Hye Gyo)

Suave and prettily written, Captain Yoo Si Jin won my heart in his cool depiction of a military elite officer who got the girl he dreamt of even when their careers inhibit them to spend quality time with each other.

Thanks to Song-Song couple’s right on the dot chemistry, they were able to pull off a breathtaking lovestory that will be forever loved by many like me.

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♥ Something About 1% 2016 (Ha Suk Jin and Jeon So Min)

Cropping unnecessary scenes and light on its conflict, Something About 1 Percent is the exact description of a fan-service drama.

Jae In and Da Hyun’s love story progressed in an addictive pace through their sweet kisses.  It is a big, pink bubblewrap drama that will comfort you when you want to be alone after a break-up.

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♥ Oh My Ghost (Jo Jung Seok and Park Bo Young)

A virgin ghost hosted on a meek woman’s body to get a formal passport to afterlife.  The ghost helped the timid girl worked on the crush she harbored on the Chef of the restaurant she was working.  Chef-nim mistook the sudden changes in her personality as a psychological disorder and tried to help on but nurtured emotional feelings in the process.

“Oh My Ghost” was a quirky watch that will give you laugh fit and enough knee-weakening scenes to feed your love cravings.

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♥ It’s okay, this is love (Jo In Sung and Gong Hyo Jin)

Kdramaland has displayed refreshing love stories through the years and it keeps getting better.   The love story between a famous writer with some psychological issues and a psychiatrist was a runaway hit for me in 2014.  And not just because of Jo In Sung oppa, but due to the cast that you can’t help but fall in love.

It’s okay, this is love fulfilled the promise of a lingering chronicle of ardent love.  It may not appeal to tweens and young women but I’m sure that women in their 30’s will appreciate it a lot.

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♥ Fated to Love You (Jang Hyuk and Jang Na Ra)

When I look back on this drama, I can’t help but remember Jang Hyuk oppa’s outrageous laugh.  hahaha

“Fated to love you” tells the story of a one night stand that brought together an unlikely to fall in love couple.  Left with no choice they got married, but misunderstandings  and losing their baby separated them unfortunately.  Years after fate brought them together again and they finally get the validation that they have always been meant to be.

This is probably my favorite Jang Na Ra drama because it achieved a balanced story of how relationships have reasons why they are not meant to be at a particular moment.

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♥ A Gentleman’s Dignity (Jang Dong Gun and Kim Ha Neul)

Before the Goblin-GrimReaper Bromance, the brotherhood in this drama was my most favorite.  The snappy storyline and side love stories were some of the reasons why I picked this drama.  This is one of the earlier dramas from Goblin/DOTS writer so you will get an idea on how she has really worked on her skills over the years.

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♥ My Princess (Song Sung Heon and Kim Tae Hee)

The long lost last princess of Korea was found and to prepare her for her royal duties, the grandson of a rich family who nurtured the princess family wealth prepped her up in facing her new responsibilities.  Think Princess Diaries + Pretty Woman.

This is the first bribe I got from both the actors to notice them and they were successful in forming a cheery love story.

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♥ Myungwol the Spy (Eric Moon and Han Ye Seul)

A serving of a North Korean spy who got entangled emotionally with a South Korean top actor needed nothing else to convince me in watching it.

This is one hilarious romcom spectacle you should not miss.

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♥ Personal Taste (Lee Min Ho and Son Ye Jin)

The cute twist of the heroine misconceiving her lead man to be homosexual plus the cohabitation ride that slowly but surely built up the romance, this is the drama that secured Lee Min Ho a slot on my radar as I enjoyed their story immensely.

There are a lot of love and life lessons for women to learn on this drama as Gae In provided her insights on how focusing on personal dreams should come first before frustrations.

A must watch Lee Min Ho drama to add on your plate if you have just recently started liking him.

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♥ Secret Garden (Hyun Bin and Ha Ji Won)

This body-swapping stunt woman and chaebol love story exceeded everyone’s expectations in nailing an experimental supernatural love story.  

I swear that curl up sweet scene still make my heart flutters.  *chuckles  “Secret Garden” showed a reversal of gender roles as we are given a heroine with unfazed attitude who fell in love with a rich man who did everything to make her love him.

Now that I remember the “rain twist”.  There’s something about rain that makes it a staple twist in kdrama stories as projected in Goblin, My GF is a Gumiho and Secret Garden.  Anyway, I loved Hyun Bin here more than his stint in Samsoon probably because I am more inclined to like unusually imagined story premise.

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♥ Sungkyunkwan Scandal (Park Yoo Chun, Park Min Young and Yoo Ah In)

For me “Sungkyunkwan Scandal” is still my best pick for both school and youth drama even when the drama is set in Joseon era.  If you are curious why then take some time off and spend time with these scholar flower boys plus the cross dressing heroine.

If you liked the recent Moonlight Drawn by the Clouds, the missing nudges on that drama were effortlessly notched in Sungkyunkwan Scandal.

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♥ W:  Two Worlds (Lee Jong Suk and Han Hyo Joo)

“W” strode a scintillating first half but fell short on the labyrinth and depth of the ambitious plot the writer conceived.  Nonetheless, Kang Chul sweetly haunted my weak heart as he romanced his lady love.

Kang Chul is everyone’s dream guy and more.  If you want to forget a recent relationship set back feel free to enter the worlds of Kang Chul.

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♥ You From Another Star (Jun Ji Hyun and Kim Soo Hyun)

Since my favorite actress headlined this drama, it was already a given that I secured a spot for my busy time to watch it simultaneously as it aired.  In 2015, I let kdramas conclude first before I delve on them.  I had to break it because I trusted the girl who brought me to Hallyuland that she was up for a brilliant project.  She did not prove me wrong and I was on high savoring the beautiful alien and top actress love story that served as a lesson to current kdrama actresses roster to learn how rom-com should be done.  Kim Soo Hyun was a bonus like equivalent to $1 Million dollars.  The impeccable chemistry of the lead couple surged a memorable love story that would appeal to anyone.

“You From Another Star” is still my all time top pick for the Best Romcom Drama ever produced in kdramaland.  

youfromanotherstar

 

not BIG enough

I will have to include a “worst ending category” on my year-end summary, and I really hope that I won’t see another closure like this, well come to think of it, it was not even an ending.

But really BIG?  What happened to the ending?  It was so flat and it didn’t really end.  You got all the watchers who dragged themselves to finish the drama really disappointed.  I stayed even when I was dozing the first 6 episodes, I said Gong Yoo oppa can make it up for it, and hope that halfway I’ll see a light… you obliged and I was close to buying the soul switching-secret siblings who were vitro fertilization twins born years apart and who fell in love with the same girl who was all confused and weak throughout the drama.

It took me 7 episodes to settle in the groove and I was perturbingly holding my emotions on the get going of the series because it was not hitting on my love niche.  It was so different… it felt so different if you are a Hong sisters fan.  They are my favorite kdrama writers, they gave me My Girl, Gumiho, Greatest Love, Dokko Jin and You’re Beautiful , so it really got me staring at the ceiling face palmed after I ended watching it.

Kang Kyung Joon and So Yoon Jae got into an accident and putting up the former in a coma as the latter survived.  But the sort of magical accident switched their souls thus making the 18-year old rowdy teenager inside a 30-year old doctor’s body.  Before the accident, So Yoon Jae was supposed to meet his fiancée Gil Da Ran who was all mopey and unsure if her fiancé really loves her.  She was also Kang Kyung Joon’s teacher.  When Kyung Joon woke up in Yoon Jae’s body he was forced to deal with a life that has a connection to him and experience loving for the first time a woman who was waiting for her beloved to come back.   It was then revealed that the body he was thriving was in fact his long lost fraternal twin brother but they were born years apart.  Yoon Jae needed an operation when he was young to survive and the only solution was to produce another sibling.  Through vitro fertilization Kyung Joon was carried by Kang Hee Soo, who was also their father’s first love.  The brother’s weren’t aware of each other’s existence until they fatedly meet again and this time Yoon Jae did the saving.

With the supernatural, time travelling and impossible stories I have seen this year, I was not surprised with how they wove the miracle conceived brothers.  I was not perplexed but I won’t applaud it.  I was groping what the main conflict they were trying to arrive… was it Gil Da Ran’s emotion and who-i-really-love-analyzation?  Was it Kyung Joon’s why did my long lost family forsake me questions?  They presented a love story and didn’t give a decent ever after?

I was waiting for Yoon Jae to come back and answer the million dollar question.  I was rooting for him, yes even in comma, because I thought that it was really their love story and his little brother was just someone who will make them realize each other’s worth, but it diverted 360 degrees forcing a May-December love affair that looked good but didn’t feel right.

BIG was half-baked story wise, and you can barely feel its romance because it was not meant to be.  Signature Hong sisters’ humor went in every now and then, but nothing much special like how they used to insert it.  To be honest I didn’t like how indecisive and somewhat faltering GIl Da Ran was and that’s maybe the reason why even if KKJ paraded the most adorable teenager trapped in a full grown man’s body I was not left fascinated nor interested on how their love has progressed.

Yoon Jae was a character they should have built up more, he could have been an equalizer… well actually, he was the runaway hit I was expecting.  It will be interesting to see how love will be realized if they let him give a fight, but making Gil Da Ran struggled to let go and sacrifice love in a circumstance where the love triangle was not achieved, it definitely didn’t hit the love drive.

I didn’t like the love story period.  I didn’t like how the characters went to play their part but failed to salvage the drama potentials.  BIG was “not big enough” to have held on my diverted self.  It made me crawl on my way to finish it.  It made me wonder if some evil spirits took over the Hong sisters’ body.  It made me sad that Gong Yoo oppa was all pretty and hot and funny there, but I won’t remember everything about it.

I hauled myself to get through it.  I went to 5 stages of grief to let go of it.  I ended up feeling lost, empty and not in love after seeing it, that being said you have to love Gong Yoo and the Hong sisters soooo much to finish it. 

P.S  I love Jang Ma Ri and the music… but that’s just it.

 

 

Mr. D’s Comments

Hmmm, well then, lets just say, Imagine this….. You get the best writers, take on some amazing acting talent, veteran and new and you throw it all together and create a drama, oh did i mention you decided to not bother finishing the story!!!!

Had amazing potential, great chemistry between So Yoon Jae (kkj) & Gil Da Ran and Ma Ri’s sheer determination to get what she wanted was great.
 If there isn’t a special (additional) episode i will feel hard done by after waiting every week for the english subbed version.

The sisters have what i am rather upset to say, their first failure in my opinion, lets just hope its a momentary dip in their, up to now, unblemished record.

Mr Ð

Flight KD2012: Korean Drama Parade 2012

Hail to the year of time traveling, super natural, smoking hot lead men, equally steamy second lead men and a lot more awesomeness waiting to be unveiled. 

I was upfront Flight KD2012, and so far half-way to the year I’m much enjoying my stay here .  There are some in the list I didn’t include because…

a.  I don’t like it for reasons I don’t know either 

b.  I found the storyline not worthy of my time and

c.  I’m not a fan of the actors or the production team

P.S  My annual drama picks will be reserved for the year end so this will just be to keep up with the so far amazing 2012KDrama ride.

♥ Wild Romance (Jan-Mar) ♥

Dear Wild Romance,

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways…

It was one hell of a sweet, wild ride, and although the romance manifested itself in the latter part, I found this drama charming and endearing. I will miss the humor, the bickering and the adorable geek and geeker second leads, more than that I will miss Dong Wook oppa in his childish but still melting hot prince-like self. I will miss the heartfelt, true-about-love sweeping lines and the simple and yet vibrant attitude of the drama itself. This is how to open my KDramaLand stay for this year. No clingy hopelessly vulnerable ex-gf of the main male lead. check. (although the ex-gf here, even at the end still can’t figure out her character I’ll just let it pass, she didn’t ruin the drama anyhow).

With amusing deutero-couple in their amazing wit, extraordinary relationship and erotic fantasies. check. A villain who sent me to annoyance but redeemed herself in the end because she threw the-best-who-do-you-choose-to-love-on-the-spot-situational-quizbee in the KDrama History. check. One of the best episodes I’ve seen and I hope I can justify it in recap well. check. This was another memorable love story full of fun, transparency, understanding and realization that love is choosing to make a change with your feelings to the point of even defying fate. check. This is a love tale you won’t overlook and will make you appreciate love even more.

When a baseball star got an anti-fan for a bodyguard, a series of unfortunate events will certainly be eventual and a sure delightful to watch. Thus Eun-jae and Moo-yul’s literal evolution I didn’t hesitate to be bought by. The story is simple taking care of the baseball superstar who has been hindering your favorite baseball team to claim a championship under its belt. With side dishes of ex-robotic gf, a psychopath and the breezy supporting cast, the story unfolded and left me wondering on how it was able to creep inside me in an addictive kind of way.

This deviated from the usual male domineering “I’ll protect the girl” kind of thing as I marveled on how Eun-jae candidly grace the TV screen. And while she took charge, she manifested her cute girly side when Aphrodite forcedly gave her girdle to the bodyguard who in time fell for Moo-yul’s devilish but adorable charm.

It has a simple scriptwriting, it was not that super neat, in fact there were some frustrating notes. It was nothing fancy but I love that they were able to inject crisp and fresh ideas. A few oh-so-worth-it quotes here and then and the danger of leaning to “the habit of assuming when it doubt with someone’s love” was presented in a piercing my love veins approach. The thriller mode was predictable all along but ajumma was able to pull off a gripping climax posing as a puppet master blinded by her out of place love for Moo-yul.

To be honest, I felt like I’m Paris while I’m trying to decide on my take about this drama. But like Paris, because I have a soft side on everything “love” even if Wild Romance was not barbie-like pretty, I loved it.

My recapping this drama is so far still a work-in-progress, and given my now extremely limited time, I just hope that in time I will be able to finish it. *super keeping my fingers crossed

And although this will not be the best drama of ‘em all for 2012, without a mirror to ask for, I would still say that this is one of my favorites this year.

♥ The Moon That Embraces The Sun  (Jan-Mar) ♥

How’s that for a title huh?

This has long been overdue, guess the push came to the thought of having four darlings currently airing and I might lose myself if I let my musings pile up to the size f a skyscraper.

My motivation for watching this drama is of course Jung Il Woo, and I’m gonna spoil a little but I hate his character’s closure here. Well come on,he didn’t get the girl and you let him die… that’s my boyfriend over there trying to be a man for the love of his life, and a brother to a King who sometimes forget he is a King.

*deep breath calming myself now, I’m sorry I got carried away.

This drama opens the year with a grand fireworks display. The ratings stay up even if there were times that I was wishing for it to speed up. But the production team sure know when they should wake you up when you are about to doze off so I remain positively raving.

The young love which blooms and defied time, reasons, and political issues are what makes the production applauded I believe. The strong and consistent character portrayals, supernatural seasonings, family issues and brotherly love cemented the viewers’ loyalty I say…

Set in the traditional Joseon era, the Crown Prince fought for the love of his life against the pressure of the position he held being manipulated by his grandmother who was intent in keeping the Royal line under her family. Just as he got to get the girl of his dreams, an evil plot through shamanic ability was disposed to kill the princess-to-be. The woman who put up the fake death took care of the princess who lost her memory after being traumatized waking up inside the wooden box.

Years later their paths crossed again, and what the mind can’t remember for the lead girl, was felt strongly by the King.

I like that the villains annoyed me to a hilt and made me scold the King when I felt he was not realizing he has actually the power to use as a King, but since he was really caught in between a not so good eventual outcome for the people he was protecting and the evil ploys of the head queen, I let his state of being caught off guard pass, and just prayed hard to heal his brother’s pain.

The second leads I can’t really complain much. They have justified whatever their roles require to help the story spinning.

The series as a whole was creatively conceived, but I won’t say I’m all praises to it compared to what I felt with the recent sageuks I saw (Tree with Deep Root and The Princess Man). It was euphoric on its strong notes and contemplating on its sad tones.

My verdict? This is a drama full of love and anguish, but you will eventually CHERISH it.

♥ DREAM HIGH 2 (Jan-Mar)

in progress and wondering if I will still finish it… it just felt  like a lousy mess and no amount of ice cream can encourage my appetite to go on.

♥ History of the Salaryman (Jan-Mar) ♥

And I’m back to modern-day living!  I halted finishing this drama that was aired in the beginning of the year and it spited me sweetly, giving me a lesson to finish all the dramas on time next year.  Looks like my “Fabulous Four” will become LUCKIEST SEVEN after all.  *wink

History of the Salaryman was a very intelligent story of people moving around the corporate world.  The recent World Wars would fail in comparison to the forming and disbanding of alliances in this drama as they race to who will snatch the contest for “the most ambitious of ‘em all”.

Playing on deceit, out-foxing and counter-scourging, I say this is the Most DARING and the SNAPPIEST Korean Drama for 2012.

 

In his quest to make a line of sight to his life, Yoo Bang hit the jackpot when he got the chance to be employed at ChunHa, a huge conglomerate, what he was not aware of was that he was set up to become a mole by the rival company who was determined to take down the company to ashes.  Just as he realized the situation, he was framed for the murder of the son of the Chunha Group’s chairman along with Baek Yeo-chi, the grand-daughter of the chairman who harbored hatred towards her uncle whom she knew was the reason for her parents’ death.  Yeo-chi and Yoo Bang joined their hands together and was able to clear their names with the help of Cha Woo Hee, an analyst for a “miracle drug” who was thwarted by the murdered executive after she stole the drug for them.  Accidentally though she put the medicine on Yoo Bang’s bag  and upon learning of its rsurrection, he and Yeo-chi used it as a weapon to get back on track and save the company for a threat of investors pulling out their support.

The mastermind of the rival company Choi Hang Woo held a grudge towards Chairman Jin Si Hwang whom he blamed for the death of his father who spent his youth in helping to build ChunHa group.  To avenge his mentor, a high executive in ChunHa posing as a spy to carry out their evil plan, Hang Woo shifted his movement with executive Bum Jung’s encouragement to be motivated on his mentor’s death.  The High Executives here are all so shifty and feeds on power I tell you that I have my suspicion radar on because they tend to switch places and loyalty overnight.

So Choi Hang Woo moved to ChunHwa and it’s time to battle out the position for the Vice President left behind by the murdered chairman’s son.  The chairman held a contest and two of the teams were able to sort out a plan involving one of the company’s factories.  Yeo-chi was moved under Hang-woo’s wing and they were up to wiping out the company.  They were able to secure bidders for their project with the help of an infamous gang lord who is also known to have good reputation in the Chinese market while Yoo-bang with executive Jang Ryang were up to restructuring the company.  In the end though Hang-woo and his team won the fight but Yoo-bang secured an ace which he will be using on his Yoo-bang-strikes-back-plan.

A blood sugar monitor was in the process of being constructed in the company but because of a missing blueprint that was stolen by Hang-woo’s jack-of-all-trade-boy-Friday Han-shin it was not completed.  Yoo-bang holding on to his gut feel was able to secure a capital to start his business and set the ball rolling for them.  Han-shin joined his camp and from him they were able to retrieve the blueprint of the blood sugar meter product that sparked his return to the scene.  ChunHa disputed and moved to stop the product by claiming it was first conceived in the company premises and stole the product information to file for a patent, so a contest was the solution to close the contention.  Team Yoo-bang copied exactly the product look of ChunHa to give them a dose of their own medicine.  On the day of the contest Yoo-bang who has made Han-shin spied his old master switched the product container and after the judging which was won by ChunHa he stopped the short lived Hang-woo happiness and pointed out that the product was switched revealing their company’s initial on the product cover.  Team Yoo-bang emerged victorious and has also mended a once broken relationship with Chairman Jin who lent them money through Jang Ryang’s investment company.

While all these guys were playing the out-smarting game, they didn’t notice an evil queen emerging on the side lines.  Executive Secretary Mo Ga Bi, whom Chairman Jin trusted the most, has changed the amount of insulin medication, and on the day that the chairman asked her to help writing the will.  After drafting the will, he tested her true colors, and when she stepped out to get him water he read what Mo Ga Bi wrote bequeathing all his shares to her instead of his grand-daughter, Yeo-chi.  In his furious self, he suffered an attack and the evil secretary left him to die.

 

The heiress lost her fortune as Mo Ga Bi claimed the Chairwoman position and the final bout for Yoo-Bang and Yeo-chi to oust the deranged Mo Ga Bi was a no easy task to conquer.

 

Divided in three parts, the three conflicts each quarter was an enthralling and exciting watch and I was like watching poker match as the defendants lay down their cards, one after the other, better than the last.  I like it when villains are smart and not just evil, and I liked it more that the main leads are not just smart but cheeky.

That girl Yeo-chi was a revelation, she was so superbly played I was enjoying her the same way as I enjoyed Dokko Jin.  Yoo-bang’s street smart abilities has also proven that good education cannot assure someone that he can also be good in strategy.  It was a character ensembles where there was no weak link thus bringing about a fluid and crisp movement of the actors in the story.

The corporate world is such a big, dangerous world and what this drama achieved was to present a miniature version of it that will leave life lessons that we always reap what we sow and that greed has two sides, when you became passionate in doing good you’ll earn a reward, but when you overwhelmed yourself with things you did not work hard, you’ll face your downfall.

The outwitting deals in kdramaland keeps getting better and I’m a happy camper because of it.  With the most vivacious cast for this year, and a story well plotted with no loose ends left hanging, it would be a waste not to see the story of the Salaryman.

A consistent gripping drive culminating to a fulfilling kick-ass who’s the boss now finale? — History of the Salaryman is a stimulating watch that will taunt you while leaving you inspired at the same time.  -jediprincess

 

♥ Feast of the gods (Feb-May)

haven’t started yet…

♥ Take Care of us, Captain (Jan-Mar)

halfway and I’m meaning to go back soon…

♥ Shut up Flowerboy Band (Jan-Mar)

don’t know when I will be starting on it…

♥ What’s Up? (Dec-Feb) ♥

last 6 episodes…

♥ Padam… Padam (Dec-Feb)

almost there last CD coming up!

Operation Proposal (Feb-Mar) ♥

Once upon a time there was a man who lacked confidence in declaring his love to the woman he loved since they were young so the girl was left no choice but to accept another man’s love.  Realizing too late that he let go of his one great love, the man cried and a bored time conductor was moved by his lamentation over losing the woman she cherished most.  So he was given a magical potion to drink and a weird renovation incantation to say for him to go back to the past to correct the wrong choices he made in his life and make room for the love he thought was meant for him and his girl.

Operation Proposal was sweetly and richly narrated that even if I went to a lot of time travelling this year, I enjoyed it so much.  I love how they moved the romance from young childish love to a taking time to realize kind of love to a love that didn’t understand reasons but felt what’s important and to a love that was meant to have and to give… 

Kang Baek Ho and Ham Yi Seul met when they were in grade school.  Baek Ho’s father died when he was young and his mother rarely do her duties so Yi Seul has been his rock while growing up.  Yi Seul kept her best friend in her heart as Baek Ho harbored the same hidden feeling, but she got tired of waiting and decided to marry another man.  After her wedding, Kang Baek Ho read Yi Seul’s “Ilikeyou” letter and cried like he has never cried before because of the pain of losing his everything sank deeply in his heart immobilizing his system.  Then a man handed him a handkerchief and introduced himself as a Time Conductor, he gave him a chance to time travel to make things right.  He did a lot of time wrinkling and was able to claim his almost losing of his baseball career but everytime he got back to the present time Yi Seul was still bound to be married.  In his desperate attempts to change the past it brought about a final blow in the present causing Yi Seul’s death and to alter what happened he begged the Time Conductor for a last chance to time warp even if it means not being able to see the Time Conductor who turned out to be his father.  He was able to save Yi Seul from the accident but woke up with a selective amnesia remembering all but Yi Seul.  On her wedding day, Kang Baek Ho’s final attempt to declare his love was played which was done prior to the accident, Yi Seul runaway and found the man she has loved all her life in their elementary school room waiting.  She introduced herself again to him.  After a house party Yi Seul and Baek Ho was again locked in Baek Ho’s small room, Yi Seul hummed the song Baek Ho liked to hear and she offered to teach it to him.  When Yi Seul woke up the next day, Baek Ho left a note for her to go to the playground.  He asked her to tell him about the letter she wrote when they were in 9th grade, but she refused so he narrated all that was in the letter.  With his memory back, and taking all the chances to be with the woman he loved, the girl who has waited all her life and the boy who regret what he could have done threw themselves at each other’s arms.

I lost count of how many times he went back and forth to correct something in the past to avoid the eventual wedding of the woman he loved, but I was so fond of Kang Baek Ho that even when I was tugging my hair because he can’t do it right when it came to expressing how he felt… I still gave him a chance… actually he’s the only person I’ve given myriad of chances to prove his love, and it paid off…  it was such a fetching feeling to be with him in his rollercoaster ride to be with someone who has been with him all his life… to finally own what other people may say to be love written on the stars. 

The fantasy element fusing to the reality was layered in such a way that you don’t question the magic pull they put in the drama.  In the latter episodes I was also begging for more chances of going back to the past because like most of the people around him Kang Baek Ho grew fond in my heart. All throughout I was feeling what the lead girl was — “there’s this man I’ve loved all my life, I’ve sent signals for him to realize that I like him, but he’s so clueless about it.”  Being a lady-in-waiting, I was able to relate to what she was feeling… it’s hard to be in a situation when you love someone all your life, and in that long span both of you are groping if there will be a romantic future that you can both share. 

There were a lot of love situations tackled in this drama but it all goes down to two main points:  How far you are going to wait for someone for them to realized your worth and that you are waiting?  And being brave to fall in love and discarding the what-if’s and saying it at the very moment you are feeling it.  I’ve seen a lot of beautiful love stories this year but Operation proposal took me from blushing to crying to understanding that in love someone can run to you that’s why he might have let you wait.

The time-space continuum voyages of Baek Ho was an endearing journey full of twist, oh no’s and romance.  It was a refreshing feel to have a conflict that was not evil motivated that’s why I loved the supernatural spike in this drama.  The lead character was competing with himself – with his past self for that matter and his forebearance endured his painstaking drive to be with the girl he loved.

The pacing and the timing were injected smoothly in the movement of the time wrinkling happening in the drama.  It was neatly done that I didn’t lose interest in it.  If you are looking for a complete romance drama with a magical side dish – Operation Proposal would serve the purpose.  It will be one of my favorites this year and in the brink of making it to my Best 7 while I’m just waiting for I Miss You and May Queen’s conclusion.  – jediprincess ^_^

 

♥ Syndrome (Feb-Apr) ♥

Twelve Men in a Year (Feb-Apr) ♥

haven’t started anything yet…

Love Rain (Mar-May) ♥

In a love intertwining tale that involved the main leads parents’ unfated first love interlude, Seo Joon and Jung Hana have struggled to forget their feelings for each other to give way to their parents’ unfinished romance (Seo In-ha and Kim Yoon-hee).

A famous photographer, Seo Joon bumped with Jung Ha Na when he was in Japan for a photo-shoot, her mobile phone accidentally slipped on his jacket so she was left no choice but to trail him to get the device back. Wanting to get a scenery inspiration for a project he’s working, he got an idea after watching something on Hana’s phone, and from watching the “Diamond Snow” their romance started to unfold. Hana who was shortly disappointed after learning her crush was engaged was rescued back by Joon who was also confused on how he started to like her. Eventually with Seo Joon’s sweet moves Hana and I were swept off our feet by him. But then his father’s undying first love was revealed so he had to let her go even if it pains him, because her mother was his father’s first love. Hana who was heavily smitten didn’t want to surrender on their love and when she eventually learned of the reason why he turned his back on her, she made a choice to have her mother be happy again even it broke her heart.

Flashback to In-ha and Yoon-hee’s love affair. The two met when they were in college, In-ha was literally in love at first sight when he saw Yoon-hee for the first time. In 3 seconds his world changed but his bestfriend also fell from the same girl. Their friendship circle included another girl who will be Seo Joon’s future mom and quasi-villain. It was a pathetic kind of love for her all along not being able to get the love of the man she has loved all her life.

It’s comforting to have light villains for this drama, well after a parade of annoying opposing people, this drama was a breather. She’s still annoying but you will understand why. Love can make people not see reasons and will claim their personal love afflictions as justification to spite those who hindered in their love quest. Having said that, it’s very true on Joon’s mother and she going Miranda on her ex-husband and Hana’s meek and overly patient mother with the old couple just letting her do it her style was at some point tiring, and yet I don’t have a choice but accept it because it goes with the plot.

It was a “first love” drama festival that made me wept plenty of tears. I always cry when the lead man is left no choice but to hurt the lead girl for some reason I don’t understand. The director really made the scenes in such a way that it will hit your emotions.

This is leaning in the feminine side, if Fashion King is masculine and full of angst; Love Rain is your typical sweet submissive girl.

I liked that this drama has only one conflict – how to defy your parents’ love to get your one true love… I know what barrier they will have to break and I was excited on how they would be able to overcome it.

So the eventual Joon’s mom ‘s disapproval was already expected, that supporting problem was already expected but when they clung on the sickness conflict in the end to sustain the “you-can’t-be-together” hindrance in the storyline, it made the drama even simpler, and I didn’t like it. There’s just more to problems than sickness. I bet Romeo and Juliet didn’t like it either.

I got my closure when Hana claimed Seo Joon again… that “I want to be with you” scene was done so bravely sweet, I would want it to happen to me someday. There were a lot of romantic scenes in this drama, heartfelt if I may say… and hitting straight to my heart.

I loved that Hana is vulnerable and loved it more when she’s defiant. I loved that Joon is sensitive and loved it more whenever he assumed that lead man character you can’t help but drool with.

Love Rain… less the oldies’ side love story turned eventual conflict you made me smile and somehow you let romance rain… You are relaxing and very eye-pleasing to watch… you may not be the best romance drama yet so far this year, there’s a lot of opportunities to insert romantic interludes and took out unnecessary story arc… but hey, I did took time watching you… and for that I blame it to your sweet and simple love take.

Coming from the director who gave the “season dramas” (Autumn in my Heart and the rest of the bunch), you are worth the hype even if some of the adorable scenes I already saw from other dramas. What stood out in this drama was the beautiful cinematography as what the director’s trademark is and of course this is Jang Geun Seok’s way of bouncing back to my boyfriends’ list after the disappointing ride with Mary. You are soothing and serene… a nice watch when you want some time to be alone. ^_^

♥ The Equator Man (Mar-May) ♥

The outwitting game and the friendship that fell but found back its footing were some of the reasons why I gave a shot on this drama.  In a vengeance thriving and friendship betraying world, I was left moved and appalled.


 
We started with small town friends Jang-il and Sun-woo who became brainy and brawny besties after the latter helped the former in his father’s loan sharks trouble.  In a twist of fate, Jang-il father’s was forced to be an accomplice to Sun-woo’s father’s demise after Jin No-shik, an old friend of Sun-woo’s dad, beat and strangled him till he passed out.  Jang-il’s father was promised by Jin No Shik of helping him to send his son to study in the city so out of his dream to provide a better future for his son he agreed to the dirty deed, but Sun-woo’s father rose back to unconsciousness and instead of helping and being blinded on the help offered to him, Jang-il’s father hung Sun-woo’s father to death.  Sun-woo was convinced his father did not commit suicide and after scraping evidence to appeal to the case, Jang-il learned of his father’s involvement to the crime.  He begged his friend not to pursue the appeal but determined to get justice for his father, Sun-woo dismissed his friend’s request.  To protect his father and in his selfishness to claim a better life forcedly laid to them, Jang-il hit his friend at the back of his head and pushed him to the cliff.  Sun-woo regained consciousness after being in coma for a while but lost his eyesight.  With the help of his late father’s friend, Sun-woo’s life changed, and as he regained his eyesight he was also posed to seek justice on his father’s death and to face the people who betrayed him.

 
Uhm Tae Woong has certainly acted his part well and showed various facets of his character from being devil-may-care-youngster, loving son, reliable friend, vulnerable blind, strong-willed man, smooth romantic and power player.  Seeing how he used his wit and persisitence as he held his grudges and goodness at the same time was no easy task given what Sun-woo had been through in the drama.  Here I got to that reality of always understanding the motivation of people to betray you.  What possible reason would someone have to turn his back on you and how will you forgive that act and understand his reason for doing that.  


Jang-il”s character was hard to digest, it was cold, and distant and dangerously ambitious.  I liked that prosecutor oppa (whom I’m lazy to google the Korean name) was able to fill in the shoes of that persona.  His ambitions drowned him but I liked that at the end he felt human acknowledging that he did what he had because he is his father’s son.  

This was a classic father-and-son love relationship spectacle.  A lot of faces of family attachment were shown… good and vile.
As for the ladies in the story, they supported well but their acting were mediocre… the main female lead was even on a stagnant acting note all the while, but then again the drama focused on the friendship so it doesn’t really matter.  The men really took the load to secure a strong story and a gripping ending.

Equator Man commenced on a dark vibe.  I sat on it because I want to know how everything will turn out fine.  I won’t say that it’s a great drama because I’ve seen a lot underdog bouncing back from the unfairness of life stories, instead I will say that it’s a decent watch, but something that you can see when you don’t have something to watch on priority list.

If it involves your family or a romantic attachment with someone no matter who is right or wrong, you will always be left to choose to turn your back on a friend…(felt familiar to me) That’s human nature and that’s what the Equator Man focused on in a drama fest where ironically the main leads are men. That’s what this got me hooked, it was thriving on emotions but not a weep fest. It was solid and steady and has never derailed throughout the series. This gave a different meaning to the word “Bromance”. Serious and stellar, this is a delight for its amazingly woven human struggle plot and friendship affirming vibe.

♥ The King 2 Hearts (Mar – May) ♥

Or so I think.  I’m having a princess moment yet again here.

King 2 Hearts was staged in a quasi-utopian Korean world where the North and South Koreans are sort of in peaceful communicating terms.  The current monarch Lee Jae King is pushing for dream unification but has to face barriers from opposing regions as well as big corporation.  His first step to attain his goal is a joint participation of officers from the two regions to the upcoming World Officer Championship (WOC), a tactical-military-team-game participated by countries acclaimed for their military service.  To spice up things, the King decided to include his prince brother Lee Jae Ha to the joint training for the upcoming event to his refusal given his easy-go-lucky and bum nature.  But because his luxurious life was the bargaining point, he was left no choice but to succumb to his hyung’s order.

His future lead girl is a North Korean general’s daughter, Kim Hang Ah, is a trained assassins specializing in bombs.  Her martial prowess is over the top that even men in her field evaded her.   Hang Ah’s line of work has been a liability in her search of ever-after as the men set up with her can’t bear her strong nature.  In desperation she agreed to participate as Northies’ delegate for WOC when her commanding officer stated an offer she can’t resist – that is to give her a man of her choice.

Soon the forced prince and the love seeker lady soldier meet up and start on a wrong foot when the training commenced as their culture differences become evident.  The slacking prince is causing delays to the enhancement program so the Northies use their commanding presence to make him focus to what they are intending to do, but his devilish side picks up fast and is able to reverse the situation by targeting Hang Ah’s yearning for a man she can love.  He plays with what she trusted to him and wounded her vulnerability.  They settle their dispute by treadmill running, and when they are in the brink of giving up, they are commanded not to halt because of a bomb planted inside the treadmill.  Drained with sweat and exhaustion the bomb squad successfully disarmed the weapon and the cat-and-mouse couple in time engaged in do-i-like-you-or-not- game.  The eventual love came to pass but they have to deal with the sporadic wrath of a psychopath-billionaire-evil-than-Voldy Bong-gu as well as the literal line that separates them.

King2hearts has always been polished, calculated but never failing to entice and push me to my assumed outcomes. That being said, what I applaud about this drama is how it seems predictable but will prove the viewers otherwise. But I would have wanted a different closure for Bong-gu… I could think of a lot of possible evil ways to end him because I was closed to calling the Criminal Minds team to help the North and South pin him down because of so much annoyance. Seriously I think they are now tired of having the male leads fought over the lead girl, so they are killing the second lead now… give way to the new face of the second-lead syndrome… It was a perfect Korean drama for the second quarter, all criteria were met… began well and ended with conviction. King 2 Hearts you are officially nominated on my Best Korean Drama this year.

I would also like to add Rich’s take on King 2 Hearts.  He is my newest dongsaeng.  I also just watched the end of King 2 Hearts, all im going to say is the last episodes really messed up what i thought was going to happen but still a fitting end, being able to watch as Hang Ah & Jae Ha’s relationship build throughout all the obvious pressure against it was great, also seeing Jae Ha develop and mature throughout the series was great to watch, from a sniveling childlike man to an all-powerful king, oh and if you want a perfect insane villain, look no further than the actor Yoon Je Moon, he is also in a tree with deep roots, plays the evil guy amazingly well, Amazing drama, time well worth spending to watch =)

Probably going to end up being my favorite drama of 2012.  (I won’t bet on that Rich, I said that to Moon that Embraces the Sun, and there they go gave me King 2 Hearts.  *wink)

♥ Fashion King (Mar – May) ♥

Opening the goodbye spree for the second quarter KDrama finale week is Fashion King.  I’ll try to separate my personal forever feelings for Yoo Ah In as much as I can so kdramagod, help me be.

Fashion King kicked off in a darth vader-ish tone… It was dark, cunning, treacherous and hindered.  It takes the realistic tone, no fancy playing and leaning to character driven conflict.

Dongdaemun’s market’s Fashion King is Kang Young-gul.  Witty, cheerful, smoking hot and talented he runs an RTW factory and is constantly in trouble with gangsters and loanshark.  He bumped with Lee Ga Young after the latter was cast off by a lady boss designer who raised her up when her parents faced their untimely demise.  She started working as a designer at Young-gul’s factory and when he learned of her scholarship for a Fashion school in New York, he scraped some bucks to send her to work on her talent.  But when she reached New York, she was informed that she was cut in the program because they received a response letter from her declining the program.  Meanwhile, Young-gul faced money problems and was forced to isolate himself but then ended into trouble and was donned an escaped criminal.  By virtue of kdrama magic, he was swayed to New York and was reunited with Ga-young who was helped by chaebol Fashion Empire CEO Jung Jae-hyuk to get back to the program.  To earn a living he sold jackets in the streets and it was there that a famous designer noticed his skill.  The designer liked Young-gul’s sample items and decided to buy his talent.  Just as lady luck was finally smiling with Young-gul and Ga-young, the unnecessary envious daughter of the designer who cast away Ga-young spilled the beans with the police and held and held Young-gul back to be jailed in Korea.  A period of suffering ensued as our lead couple yet again struggled in their lives while they were separated.   I’m wondering why they didn’t title this Suffering King.  Young-gul got out of prison and searched for Ga-young again.  He rescued her to the evil designer and they headed to start their dream back.

The usual fight-for-the-lead-girl was presented in the story in an annoying kind of painful way.   It was the girl who secretly loved the man who doesn’t want to love anymore because he has long lost faith on it and with the pathetic and shrewd Jae-hyuk between them, I have long set my mind that they could not possibly get to a point of loving each other happily and comfortably.

True to my words it was a sad ending, sadder than the Autumn in My Heart ending.  I was hoping that with all that painstaking and half-cooked victories, in the end it will be inevitable for the deprived lead couple to be blissful and at peace, but then again if that will be the case it will break the dark tone of the story.  You already have Vader so why did I u get Voldy for reinforcement? I want to blame it on the korean drama ending syndrome but my mind thinks otherwise. I know the closure has to be sad because the story tone is dark and cunning… and a happy ending won’t fit in.

 

But why a disheartening death?!  You could have just let him live alone planting crops in the suburb or be blind. You could have traveled back to Joseon era and get King Suyang to spite those loansharks… or had Young-gul on a shower scene for the entire finale episode for a mind blowing closure, yet you remained firm and snob.

The angst that the series has been carrying around the whole time I thought would be transformed to something light that sprout out of the bravery and forebearance of the lead characters, but it did not.  It disappointed me, yes.  But it is what was expected to happen.

It has been a long ride.  What I will miss about Fashion King is its straightforwardness and strong vibe.  It’s your typical underdog story and it gave us the reality that underdogs sometimes no matter how hard they tried, they will remain suppressed and bound by their limitations.

Fashion King had a lot of weak points and loopholes.   There were a couple of dozing episodes and it was predictable, but kept escaping from it because they thought of a different way out plan than what would have been normally done.   If not for the immersion of the actors to their characters the drama would have been a failure for me.  I stayed with it because of Yoo Ah In mainly, but more than that would be its maturity and the transparent feel.   It thrived on my emotions.  It stood there tapping on my emotions annoying me, making me feel giddy, making me sigh and making me anticipate.

 

Compared with the rest of the second quarter kdrama bunch, what set apart this fashion world themed production was its fixed conflict of power manipulation and struggle that was concluded in a heart-wrenching fashion.  It’s a drama I won’t recommend to watch right away, but I will recommend to someone if he wants some time alone. 

My verdict?   Watch.  Go with the flow.  Drool at Lee Je-hoo and forget he’s evil ways.  Munch Kang Young-gul as much as you can.  Be prepared for the ending.

♥ Rooftop Prince (Mar – May) ♥

Dear Rooftop Prince,

Can you time-travel again and go straight to my room?

So here’s my official Rooftop Prince ramblings… *sniff *sniff

Joseon Era –  All was doing well with Prince Yi-gak.   The empire is smooth sailing and he enjoys afternoon walks with his princess and riddle games with his sister-in-law.  Until a morning of surprise when the Crown Princess laid dead on the lake.  Determined to catch the culprit on the Princess’ death, he gathered 3 of the most useful Joseon men he could find and off they go to uncover the mystery. 

In their pursuit to unveil the cause of the Princess’ death, they were transported 300 years after to modern Korea and landed to Park Ha’s rooftop house.  From there the real adventure began.  They have to face the difference brought about by the time and villains with equally pathetic motivations who failed miserably to their evilness act.  I guess they didn’t complete Voldemort’s workshop. 

The finale episodes were heartbreaking for me, but I at least got the closure I deserved.  I’m particularly stern with this drama but the refreshing soul won me over.  So even if I have to absorb a lot partuclarly in the last episode, I have no regrets.  Bu-yong eating all those persimmons because of her secret love to the Prince, who has the right to argue?!  

   

This was the first drama I saw with reincarnation plot in full swing (memory searching… really no other drama with reincarnation plot yet).  The adorable 3 Musketeers were a bundle of bliss, a sight to behold, a manna from Heaven.  The laughter I got from their modern transformation supplied enough happiness pills to cover the recent job nausea I’m getting at work. 

The cute lead couple exhibited on screen chemistry.  Lead couple for rom-coms has a tendency to be so tiring to watch if they get either super-insensitivity attack or overly-loving complex.  Yi Gak and Park Ha were smooth as a couple.  The romance was not rushed, and with that love-transcending-time premise, excuse me Romeo and Juliet here’s the couple to beat.

It was not your perfect drama technical and script wise… in fact there were a few labyrinth-bound story plots and out of place conflicts, but then again the sweet moments and the laughter were all so worth it, so you would hardly notice the lapses…  It’s that love tale that I don’t want to end and I can’t get enough of, and the reincarnation storyline somewhat helped me to move on…

Well actually Tom oppa was praying that Prince Yi Gak gets reincarnated, I yearn the same but I’m wishing he will end up straight to my room, if that will not happen, let he be reincarnated as a cat and lose his way until he is left no choice but to agree to be with me.  *giggles 

Tom Oppa and I will miss the squabbling blockhead couple and their loyal power ranger ducklings… Heck we will even miss the one-sided villain who can’t even kill a mobile phone or his same confused facial expression all throughout the series.  I wonder what’s wrong with him not being able to successfully execute his vile prowess.  Is it him or the writer of the story?

I begged that the drama will not end.  Honestly, I felt that they could still have made it longer.  It made me feel so insatiable watching it.  Rooftop Prince is breezy, blithe and beautiful…  It’s my rom-com of choice so far this year.  ^_^

♥ Queen In-Hyun’s Man (Apr-June) ♥

It’s over and done but Queen In Hyun’s Man Abby’s Man has left me insatiable.

This year you are my best drama yet so far…  ^_^  Your drive to bring your viewers to your spontaneous romance binge whilst holding the reign to an incessantly bewitching plot was quenchless and I thank kdramagod for that.

Joining the KDramaLand time pilgrimage cortege this year is Queen In Hyun’s Man Abby’s Man.  Making me forget the recently concluded dramas who were all beautiful and gorgeous was a feat so worthy of this fusion presentation that has oppugned the nitpicker side of me.   I love the unconventional as my excessively diverted self can normally hold on because it’s just important and not because it’s what I really wanted, but disarming me each and every episode with your deviant drama pulls and going maverick to what I was predicting had me grab my tarot card to check if my seer abilities need a refresher.

Let’s meet Kim Boong Do aka Abby’s Man, a quick-witted scholar trusted by King Suk-jong who was working on the reinstatement of the deposed Queen In-hyun in Joseon era.  His apparent goal has had him earned the ire of the opposing faction engaging him to life threatening dangers thrown by the evil perpetrators.  His big heart has obtained him loyal people and one of those faithfuls, Yoonwol, gave him a talisman for his protection.  In one of his life attempts, the talisman took him 300 years after to modern times and meet the perky TV actress, Choi Hee-jin playing the TV role of Queen In-hyun at present time. 

The time-trek causing talisman has a catch though it will permit its power only when the owner is in grave danger, and its loyalty can be swayed by either Boong-do to where the amulet was prayed for and given, Yoon-wol – whose yearning to protect and make her master achieve happiness had the talisman’s power binding, or to the head-monk who created the paper periapt and initiated its mojo.   Boong-do’s nimble self easily perceived the sort of magic he has acquired and used is at his advantage to resolve the Joseon circa conflicts alongside exploring the advancement of a different time and falling in love for the first time with He–jin.   With his keen mind, he was able to maximize the time and resolved the discordance in his era, but the same power he has with time will endanger his own personal bliss.

I was somewhere either reading or wide eyed sleeping when they showered sticking attention ability, and with so much watching done over the years, I rarely get to watch something that has bragged straight to my face on how exceptional it was… and that ladies and gentlemen was notched satisfyingly by Queen In Hyun’s Man Abby’s Man.

I just so love how it deviated from the typical KDrama conflict norms of unresolved unfinished love issues, family problems, useless vengeance driven characters, personal exhausting battles and all those other tiring fillings they would insert to make the spectators just go with the flow.  Apparently though, I ain’t gonna go with something unless it is worth clinging to.

I have this habit of focusing on camera movements when I’m watching something, in short I’m particular to editing, so given the time-voyaging premise of the story, I was amazed on how the production team worked on the smooth transitions.  It was playing at past and present ends without losing the spontaneity and fluidity of the story.  The writer whom I will be stalking from now on was a delightfully mischievous conceiver who got down to the nitty-gritty of the screenplay and pulling off the conflicts and its deliverance in a make-sense and you-got-me-there kind of vibe.  Quintessential writing, editing and directing.  period.

The love couple stood by each other side well.  They were so steadily moving and claiming their love with the right elements, right reasons and right intentions.  The era difference trouble having neatly done was conveyed sweetly sending me most of the time to the World’s Giddy-est Girl” moment.  Hee-jin corresponded to Boong-do’s character in a mischievous-kiss-note but even better.  I like that she’s all set to go for her happiness and the man she loves regardless of the mystical and time restraints surrounding them.  She knew it was a crazy love on the onset but because she understood that it happened for a reason, she went Jack Sparrow and bravely plunge.  Her candidness was complementing well with Boong-do’s serious and smart views in life providing us romantic moments that made me remember all those precious love memories I had in my life.  As for Kim Boong-do, he had me at being smart and for being a clueless player.  He made me forget about chaebols and funny guys.  He’s that man I’m hoping real life will be able to give me, well not necessarily the time travelling part though.  *wink  His cleverness and his character took the drama at an addictive level that even when I’m stuffed, I’m still subconsciously craving.  Considering that I was not that familiar with the main leads I have found myself deeply immersed in their time and talisman defying romance.

Queen In Hyun’s Man has managed to outwit me and convincingly swayed me with what story drive I imagined to be achieved… He was playfully smiling at me in a “and you thought you had me figured out abby” kind of way.  With the time travelling and fantasy parade in the KDramaLand, he has managed to surprise all the players with his neat time transitions enabling a consistent and enticingly appealing plot.  Rarely would you remember equally the story and the characters, but with Queen In Hyun’s Man, the characters synchronized well with the story and strangely the characters would be able to stand alone as the story retain its brilliance and vice versa.

It was a supernatural and reality love drama at its best and is a romance story that is so worth my time and even curing my recently running emotional-limbo-bound-self.   It definitely deserved a slot in my hall-of-famers.  Yes it did!

P.S  I love you Kim Boong-do.  I’m now off to get a talisman to claim you.  ^_^

♥ The Marriage Plot (Apr – June ) ♥

♥ BIG (June – Aug) ♥

I will have to include a “worst ending category” on my year-end summary, and I really hope that I won’t see another closure like this, well come to think of it, it was not even an ending.

But really BIG?  What happened to the ending?  It was so flat and it didn’t really end.  You got all the watchers who dragged themselves to finish the drama really disappointed.  I stayed even when I was dozing the first 6 episodes, I said Gong Yoo oppa can make it up for it, and hope that halfway I’ll see a light… you obliged and I was close to buying the soul switching-secret siblings who were vitro fertilization twins born years apart and who fell in love with the same girl who was all confused and weak throughout the drama.

It took me 7 episodes to settle in the groove and I was perturbingly holding my emotions on the get going of the series because it was not hitting on my love niche.  It was so different… it felt so different if you are a Hong sisters fan.  They are my favorite kdrama writers, they gave me My Girl, Gumiho, Greatest Love, Dokko Jin and You’re Beautiful , so it really got me staring at the ceiling face palmed after I ended watching it.

Kang Kyung Joon and So Yoon Jae got into an accident and putting up the former in a coma as the latter survived.  But the sort of magical accident switched their souls thus making the 18-year old rowdy teenager inside a 30-year old doctor’s body.  Before the accident, So Yoon Jae was supposed to meet his fiancée Gil Da Ran who was all mopey and unsure if her fiancé really loves her.  She was also Kang Kyung Joon’s teacher.  When Kyung Joon woke up in Yoon Jae’s body he was forced to deal with a life that has a connection to him and experience loving for the first time a woman who was waiting for her beloved to come back.   It was then revealed that the body he was thriving was in fact his long lost fraternal twin brother but they were born years apart.  Yoon Jae needed an operation when he was young to survive and the only solution was to produce another sibling.  Through vitro fertilization Kyung Joon was carried by Kang Hee Soo, who was also their father’s first love.  The brother’s weren’t aware of each other’s existence until they fatedly meet again and this time Yoon Jae did the saving.

With the supernatural, time travelling and impossible stories I have seen this year, I was not surprised with how they wove the miracle conceived brothers.  I was not perplexed but I won’t applaud it.  I was groping what the main conflict they were trying to arrive… was it Gil Da Ran’s emotion and who-i-really-love-analyzation?  Was it Kyung Joon’s why did my long lost family forsake me questions?  They presented a love story and didn’t give a decent ever after?

I was waiting for Yoon Jae to come back and answer the million dollar question.  I was rooting for him, yes even in comma, because I thought that it was really their love story and his little brother was just someone who will make them realize each other’s worth, but it diverted 360 degrees forcing a May-December love affair that looked good but didn’t feel right.

BIG was half-baked story wise, and you can barely feel its romance because it was not meant to be.  Signature Hong sisters’ humor went in every now and then, but nothing much special like how they used to insert it.  To be honest I didn’t like how indecisive and somewhat faltering GIl Da Ran was and that’s maybe the reason why even if KKJ paraded the most adorable teenager trapped in a full grown man’s body I was not left fascinated nor interested on how their love has progressed.

Yoon Jae was a character they should have built up more, he could have been an equalizer… well actually, he was the runaway hit I was expecting.  It will be interesting to see how love will be realized if they let him give a fight, but making Gil Da Ran struggled to let go and sacrifice love in a circumstance where the love triangle was not achieved, it definitely didn’t hit the love drive.

I didn’t like the love story period.  I didn’t like how the characters went to play their part but failed to salvage the drama potentials.  BIG was “not big enough” to have held on my diverted self.  It made me crawl on my way to finish it.  It made me wonder if some evil spirits took over the Hong sisters’ body.  It made me sad that Gong Yoo oppa was all pretty and hot and funny there, but I won’t remember everything about it.

I hauled myself to get through it.  I went to 5 stages of grief to let go of it.  I ended up feeling lost, empty and not in love after seeing it, that being said you have to love Gong Yoo and the Hong sisters soooo much to finish it. 

P.S  I love Jang Ma Ri and the music… but that’s just it.

Mr. D’s Comments

Hmmm, well then, lets just say, Imagine this….. You get the best writers, take on some amazing acting talent, veteran and new and you throw it all together and create a drama, oh did i mention you decided to not bother finishing the story!!!!

Had amazing potential, great chemistry between So Yoon Jae (kkj) & Gil Da Ran and Ma Ri’s sheer determination to get what she wanted was great.
 If there isn’t a special (additional) episode i will feel hard done by after waiting every week for the english subbed version.

The sisters have what i am rather upset to say, their first failure in my opinion, lets just hope its a momentary dip in their, up to now, unblemished record.

Mr Ð

♥ Bridal Mask (May – Aug) ♥

I don’t know why I can’t finish it…

♥ I do, I do (May – July ) ♥

So what do you do when you are happy living alone with a powerful job and you suddenly got knocked up by a man you never thought of having? 

I do I do was very endearing to watch and for people like me whose emotional involvement can be swayed by our love of our independence, it was a sweet somewhat reality bites nudge. 

A successful shoe designer in a devil-wears-prada-persona lives a very comfortable life but thriving up to the inversely proportional love and work success idea.  She had a one night stand with a man younger than her who in the future ended up working in the shoe company where she also was designing.

As the baby grew up in her tummy and so was the realization that the one night that accidentally started it all happened for a reason.

The 7th episode where he drunkenly declared her claiming his virginity in the police station sent me to a laughter spree and the park brainstorming scene was my favorite.

 

I suffered the second-lead-syndrome all throughout.  How can I not love Dr. Jo In Sung.   That stethoscope-will-you-marry-me scene made me sweetly sigh more than Tae Kang’s song production wedding proposal. 

It was a smooth flowing 16 episodes with the right insertions of peevish soon to be mom who struggled a lot with her emotions and equally disarming male leads whose love runneth over and yet the woman they are wanting to have it don’t know how to reciprocate.  It occasionally have made me asked what I’m going to do if I’m on those situations.   (I bet I will sleep *giggles)  Will I be firm like her?  Will I falter to be rescued?  Will I let fate decide what’s next to happen.

I will just overlook the get married or leave the company taunt by the witch as well as the villainous small deeds to make the lead girl flounder as I deemed Ji An’s personal issues to be the stressor and driving force of the drama, and how she overcame it was the fulfillment.

Ji An presented women with power jobs and how they trudge to decide commiting themselves in a relationship as well as taking the responsibility to become a mother.  Ji An wo confuses romantic relationship to her passion for the craft she worked so hard was able to sustain the pressure in her gracious vulnerability and fierce convictions.  The spotlight was on her and she delivered.

I did love the boys here.  They were both worth having in their own ways but at some point both of them displayed vehement adoration that would go either way.  A person loved by someone would always feel grateful about it even if he can’t return it, but you have to know when to stop and when it’s enough.  The main male lead I understand was still lacking maturity in so many ways that he didn’t win me over right away.  I expected him to show an overnight “ownership”, it did but not so very firm.  An age difference in a relationship doesn’t matter if you know how to claim that person…  If you settle to insecurities that you are still lacking and you have nothing to offer to that someone then you will lose. 

 

It was a character driven film and I liked that it concluded with Ji An’s arising to accept fully the decision she was apprehensive before… that is to be a mother and to be in someone’s arms.

I say this is a passing drama, nice to watch when you are doing it, but is forgettable.   It was a story of a love that you can almost have, but you can’t have because life intervenes and throws in circumstances were you have to decide if it really matters.  But if you did bravely choose, you’ll learn that an ALMOST LOVE is one of the sweetest love… you can have and you will have.

♥ Time Slip Dr. Jin (May – Aug ) ♥

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 Chaser (May – July) ♥

no DVD yet… *pout!

♥ GHOST (May – Aug) ♥

There were no guns triggered… no swords drawn… it was a battle between heroes and villains equipped with digital powers. It was an enthralling power game that involved, system hacking, all-knowing CCTV cameras, secret bugging, and heroes and villains almost equally genius to take one step ahead of each other.

 

Ghost/Phantom broke my love drama binge 360 degrees and I was left dumbstruck and on a cliff hanging state all throughout the series. I was like in a trampoline were I was bouncing up and down without the rush hitting the bottom level.

 

I knew how powerful technological breakthroughs are, and seeing it in detail made me yearn to have the best hacker in the world as a boyfriend. *giggles

 

Park Gi Yong and Kim Woo Hyun were bestfriends when they entered the police academy. But when Park Gi Young in his curious playful self used a virus to steal in random emails in the academy, he accidentally retrieved an email about a chaebol group involvement to public funds slush. He confronted Woo-hyun’s father who was then a high-ranked police officer, but was left to be silent about his discovery. His faith in the academy wavered and left his friend and his once dream to become a police.

 

Years later Kim Woo Hyun emerged as the leader of the cyberspace police investigation team. When a rising actress was found dead, the team connected her apparent death to the hacker they were tailing – Hades. Woo-hyun successfully tracked Hades and was surprised to see his old friend. Gi Young explained that he didn’t kill the actress and was able to escape his friend in that encounter.

 

He tried to look for links to find proof to what happened to the actress only to find out a video where he saw his friend and an old man dying after drinking a poisoned wine. He confronted Woo Hyun about what he saw and in exchange of principles and truth, they were halted by a big explosion causing Woo Hyun’s death. Gi Young survived and with the help of Woo Hyun’s girlfriday, Yoo Kang Mi, he assumed his identity in a quest to reveal and avenge the demise of his best friend.

 

Ghost/Phantom will hold your interest in a very gripping fashion. The cunning powerplays and counter measures were ever present to the story as it progressed. The brilliantly done ending emancipated the withheld secrets that were carefully and nifty hidden so as to achieve a closure befitting of this cyberworld investigating drama classic.

 Be prepared to be stimulated and trust me there will be no give-aways here… so you cannot defocus less you will be lost to the story.

 

The right amount of wit and the exemplary plot pulled a lot of “omg-they-really-can-hack-that-moments” in me… I knew technological advancements are dangerous if used for evil reasons, but the extent of how it can be destructive in our digital world was scary worth of 10 Voldemorts.

 

The showdown between the shrewd villain operating in a Lord Sith kind of persona and the computer geek Gi Young was like a chess game… and they have utilized their pawns to their advantage very well — that being said I love the villain here because to the very end he was cunningly and smartly vile, but of course the main character along with the cyberworld investigating team rocked big time in a thrilling sprint overcoming the dead ends.

 

The race on who gets to maneuver efficiently the power of the computers will earn the opposing team an instant digital karma so all the while, the villains and heroes have worked double time to raise the bar in outwitting one another.

 

If you want a breather from rom-coms, this cyber crime drama should be on your list. The dexterous cast and perceptive plot will take you all the way to an exciting oblivion where you will feel like you are also part of this buffed cyberspace police officers. –jediprincess ^_^

♥ A Gentleman’s Dignity (May – Aug) ♥

From the production team that brought Secret Garden, City Hall and Lovers in Paris comes an addictive, relationship contemplating rom-com drama in a Sex and the City male version vibe.  The quirky and engaging cast and the quaint story made me a doper of the best F4, blow up middle-aged-hotties F4, that graced the kdramaland.

These quadruplet 40+ men grew up as friends since Highschool and nurtured their friendship since then.  The morning breakfast forums, the constant cover ups to survive the feisty wife, the one-sided love, the mischievous-kiss-may-december-love-affair, the now-we-break-up-tomorrow-we’ll-get-back relationship, the opening hilarious anecdotes, the sweetest, heart-wrenching love declarations and love-believe-me’s, and the bromance were some of the reasons why this would be my “MUST-WATCH ROMANCE DRAMA” this year.

Every episode was humor and wit overload.  Each character can stand alone and has his own remembering note.  All throughout there was never a dull moment.  It was exceptionally comic when the four main leads do their antics and so heartfelt when the scenes require them to tap on their emotions.

The female leads have played their part so well complementing the different personas of the four princes.

Kim Do Jin and So Yi Seo

The smooth alpha playboy who vowed not to be married because he can’t love only one woman in his life met his match alongside two declarations of love that were not meant for him.  Do-jin oppa was a classic example of an alpha-playboy and has won me over with how he can assess when he needed to be a knight in a shining armor, and when he can disregard someone because she already stepped on his mark as a man.  The one-sided love that eventually became two-sided was a fetching tale and a reminder that love just happens, and it will change you and your life overnight.

Choi Yoon and Im Me Ah Ri

The you-and-me-against-my-brother-who-is-your-bestfriend love affair was worth the wait when they eventually claimed what was rightfully theirs.  It was a long ride and if not for Me Ah Ri’s persistent and lovable bratty princess attitude, I would have been annoyed, but what made their tandem charming was her non-restrained “i-love-you-you-belong-to-me” attitude which warmed the cold widowed snd friendship bound heart of Yoon oppa.

Lee Jung Rok and Park Min Sook

They are my favorite husband-and-wife this year so far.  The playboy-of-them-all who occasionally hides his wedding ring when there’s a hot girl in a meter radius has always made me laugh big time whenever he faces his wife in a My-Wife-is-a-Gangster mode.  Jung Rok oppa was the stimulus of most of the laughter in this drama and how his friends would cover up for his womanizing was so fun to watch.  I would have wished for more of their marriage cute quarrels but I deem they have the most out of their screen time to be remembered well.

Im Tae San and Hong Se Ra

Tae San oppa was your typical good boy playboy… he plays but he knows when to stop.  He was ever reliable, nice and protective.  His relationship with a woman who was afraid of settling down and their love fights along the way presented what most middle-age relationship are… leading to marriage or forever single life.  Their pairing up solidified the main love plot, in fact the characters they played were the tying knot of the drama.

A Gentleman’s Dignity’s cast achieved a chemistry that was able to sustain and balance four love stories tied by love and friendship.   At first I was crossed between Yoon oppa and Do Jin oppa but then eventually I became too greedy I vouched for the whole set.   It was laid unpretentiously, realistically and happily.   So there if you want to make a drama in a real world setting, you have to put real life events, if you play with supernatural, you have to make sure that you will take care of all the lose-ends, and will not leave your audience in an annoying jaw-dropping moment.  (*BIG I still hate you).

For a woman’s perspective, I never thought I would enjoy this so much and I felt that even if Jang Dong Gun was the main attraction among the boys, having them all together were the strongest points of the drama.  All four of them were a big pile of mirth and love. 

They say life begins at 40, and these men who were friends since Highschool rocked it.  Having their own stable life, they have to balance personal, family and relationship issues while maintaining the best bromance I’ve seen so far.

The conflicts mainly focused on their finding and keeping love.  Do jin and Yi Soo depicted how sweet a one-sided love can be when it became two-sided.  Yoon and Me Ah Ri defied friendship and age to hold on to each other.  Tae San and Se Ra had a rough ride before they finally realized they belong to each other.  Jung Rok and Min Sook defeated jealousies and discovered that you sometimes have to lose love so that you can find it again. 

 The 20 hours I spent with this drama has made a very jumping on the air happy girl.   The only thing that hindered me from liking Do Jin oppa and eventually erasing Kim Boong-do in my heart is because he looked like a boy I used to date.  *giggles

I have very positive feelings towards this drama.  All those minor so-what-situational-supporting-conflict I just disregarded because the story and the characters have such reverberating resonance that has made me reflect on how I’ve been dealing with my own relationship and commitment issues.  Come to think of it, they made this to make you remember how vulnerable and how defiant you can come after because of love.  This will definitely make it to my top 3 this year.  So I only have one slot left to give.   Come on kdramas indulge me.  –jedipincess ^_^

 

QUOTES:

 

If you’re not going to sleep with me, don’t flirt.

You do not bait a fish that was already caught.

You forgot a man, with another man.

All break-ups done for another person do not make sense to the person who loved more.

By nature, a man’s first love is always beautiful.

Do you know what words a man can’t say after “iloveyou”?  “I’m sorry.”

Why don’t you let your emotions lead you?  Or the alcohol lead you… or let me lead you?

Do you know how it feels to have someone yesterday and then “you wish you have her” the next day?

♥ Answer Me, 1997 (July-Sept) ♥

Coming from a Neal Caffrey movie marathon, Answer Me 1997 sprinted all the way to my heart with its vibrant characters, nostalgic premise, fan girl foolish escapades, friendship we all have at some point and we still have at the moment and of course the crazy first love.  

TVN offered another late year delight like what they did in Flower Boy Ramyun Shop.  It was suave, witty and comic, the kind of what I want for an ideal love.  I know nothing of the actors in this drama and surprisingly, they have hooked my very elusive heart.

Kdramaland was all out and has maximized the use of time element in the dramas this year, and this time for Answer Me 1997, it was nostalgic… I sighed, cried and laughed out loud as I joined the characters in their younger years memory delving.  Nothing magical, mythical and supernatural, just a pure trip down to the moments everyone watching can totally relate.  Spicing the flashback element, the drama will be switching from present to the later part of the ‘90’s showcasing the trademark of that generation where tamagotchi, flip top phones and the rest of the ancestors of the modern technology in their conceiving stage.

A group of high school friends sat down for a sweet reunion and reminisce their High School life.  The story mainly evolved to best buddies Yoon-Jae and Shi-won in their quirky friendship progressing to a secret love and turning to a first love that ripened at the right time.

Shi-won has made me look so prim and proper when I saw how she maneuvered her fan girl antics.  From idol stalking to product buying to blood shedding to fan meet camping… she took it all, and she took it in her bossy and feisty style Miranda Priestley cannot afford to do.  Her addiction has made the people around her forcedly support her in her quest to be close to her celebrity crush.  While she’s doing her craziness, their High School life in the year 1997 was narrated.  Yoon-jae who has been beside Shi-won has realized that his being protective towards his childhood friend was the result of cupid’s predestined meant-to-be-arrow, but because his brother who has devoted his life to him after their parents passed away liked the same girl, he gave up his first love.  Before they move to university life, he emotionally confessed his feelings and vowed to forget all the love and all the friendship they shared to move on with his life.  At that same night Yoon-jae’s brother also declared his intention to be together with his first love’s little sister but Shi-won rejected him because she realized too late the love that has been with her all her life.

Years later they met again, and in her all business let’s not talk about the details attitude, Shi-won got straight to the point and tried to claim the offer she last denied.  


Watching how the love entanglements unfolded in this drama hit home in me and made me really pensive at the time when I was not shielding myself because of love.


The familiar feeling of first love if given another chance could become a “fated love”.  I finished the drama in one sitting, that’s how engrossing and fetching the story was.  It was just there sharing a wonderful friendship and love story without hassles and annoying conflicts but the emotions were resonating and striking at the memory veins that it will make you recollect the good old times when you first passionately and recklessly fell in love.

The charming screenplay and story have brought out the best of the newbie artists.  The novelty and evasion from the drama rom-com clichés has made the plot a winner.  It was like reading a predictable book… you know what’s going to happen but how they made it happen was sweet, comic, beautiful and realistic so you stayed fondly watching them.  The story will grow on you without you realizing it.

This is a wistful memoir of that point in time that we first fell in love… and when you finish the story, you might wonder what if you tried to go back.
“The reason why first love is always special is because you kept the memories… because you can never go back”.  Answer Me 1997 will prove this quote otherwise. -jediprincess

♥ Haeundae Lovers (Aug-Sept) ♥

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.

 

♥ Innocent Man (Sept-Nov) ♥

Dear kdramagod,

Thank you for giving me my Sungkyunkwan boys in the dramaland this year.  Seeing Song Joong Ki in his devilish playboy charm and kissable lips was the sole reason why I remained faithful watching this drama.  Please give him another one in the future, his potentials are really brimming.

Last quarter in the kdramaland is a melodrama short stop where vengeance, money-tug-of-war, misplaced love primarily span the main ingredients to watch out. 

Tutututut…. I neither liked nor hated Innocent Man, I loved Kang Ma Ru so much, but the story was not able to engross me…  I’ve been there in that kind of story a lot of times, the only novelty was that the main character was given the ability to hold both the yin and yang torches and rescue the people around him, and he did the rescuing unfavorable to him.  He wants a one-man show in becoming the best sacrificial lamb ever. 

This is the story of Harry potter’s twin brother – “THE BOY WHO LOVED”  *chuckles

Kang Ma Ru, a bright young aspiring doctor has been a caring brother to his sickly sister.  He is your nice, intelligent guy in flesh and blood whom every girl’s mother wants her daughter to marry someday.  He cherished Han Jae Hee, a girl from their neighborhood who has been living in a dysfunctional family that has treated her like garbage all her life.   Ma Ru dreamt of a future with her, but she dreamt a different future for her.  Working as a junior reporter, Han Jae Hee met a man for a big scoop that will put a business conglomerate, Taesan group, to a scandal, but she accidentally killed the man.  Kang Ma Ru clouded by the idea that the girl he loved more than her younger sister will be behind the bars lost all the wit he has and took the murder blame to save Han Jae-Hee. 

Years after, Han Jae Hee became the wife of Taesan group’s CEO as Kang Ma Ru after imprisonment became an expert player and did every job he can to provide for his sister’s medical expenses.   Their paths crossed again and to spite the woman he was jailed for but forgot everything about him after, he made her stepdaughter, Seo Eun Gi,  fall in love with him.  Seo Eun-gi was caught in Ma Ru’s trap and while she’s also battling her position in the company, she learned of the man she love’s past relationship with her step mother.  Eun-gi asked Ma Ru and the latter confirmed the truth she found out.  They parted ways after throwing icy “that’s what you get when you fall blindedly in love” confrontation but she shifted back her driving to hit Kang Ma Ru’s approaching car.  That was a hell hath no fury when a woman got scorned move, and I know I’m weird but I loved that scene. 

After a year, Eun-gi who suffered brain damage from the accident has most of her memory loss so she was hidden by her secretary and her lawyer out of loyalty and guilt to his father and their company.  To protect the company from Jae-hee and her right hand’s evil clutches, (I forgot the name of the right hand because he looked so weird in poker face),  Kang Ma Ru re-entered her life to assist her in regaining her memory.   As Ma Ru feared the day when Eun-gi gets her memory back, he began to realize that a person doesn’t love once only in his lifetime.  And as Han Jae Hee’s greed chastised her because I think the people in hell hasn’t invented yet a place for her, she realized that she was wrong turning her back to the man she loved.  In the end, Han Jae Hee redeemed herself and confessed all of the sins she’s done together with her right-hand accomplice and they were put in prison for 7 years.  Kang Ma Ru survived a brain surgery, studied abroad and put up a small private clinic in the neighborhood he grew up with.  It was hinted that he lost his memory after the surgery and he also narrated how he prayed fervently for another chance in life and another chance to be in an ordinary love.  (Well I’m yours for the taking baby!)  *wink 

Kang Ma Ru was a memorable character this year, Joong-ki oppa was able to justify the facets of the many characters he had and was forced to have.  He was decisive and can kick asses when he needed to.  He didn’t throw a fit when the world was unfriendly to him as long as he got to protect the people that mattered to him.  How his character evolved I think most of people can relate.  He was unyielding and never backing out to what he believed, but his weakness was his embracing to his inner hero self to shield the people he cherished.

Seo Eun-gi in her tough front was fierce but she failed to disengage her feisty self most of the time in her showdowns with Han Jae Hee, the latter still made her looked like a strong-woman-wanna-be-heiress.  But what I liked about her is her willingness to abandon herself all because of love.  She was not scared to admit it and her love declaration to my battered Ma Ru was one of my favorite scenes in the drama.  When she got to the amnesia part I was paying that they might pull a supernatural trick because I really hated that part when she was in it, so when she got it all back, I was hoping for her former feisty self reprisal to beat all the odds and help Ma Ru together but instead they gave us that cut to 7 years after ending.

How Ma Ru and Eun-gi arrived to the point of they both love each other and there will be no turning back was strengthened by the conspiracies and deceit that surrounded before and after the actual falling in love part, but when they were supposed to be together to finally claim and own it, they were able to achieve it but it was lacking because of the time constraint, so it was salvaged by the narration, which was prettily written, but after all they’ve been through, they deserved some happily loving each other scenes, near the sea or in a beautiful garden maybe. 

Han Jae Hee and her 3-man-sometimes-2 minion were not my favorite villains this year, they were better than Tae-suk and Se-na from Rooftop prince who can’t kill a cellphone but failing to attend Voldemort’s workshop perhaps was the reason why the evil ways they released didn’t have a finishing kick.  They also  have that same facial expressions they carried whenever they cast off their dark moves and whenever they are cornered in those few paybacks they got from the main leads. 

After catching the viewers in a web full of deceit, hatred, annoyance, angst, and the rest of the negative vibes they can think of they settled to a bright, happy ending.   My take on the ending was fair but considering the dark tone set in the story all throughout, I would have preferred a retribution deserving to the characters. The redeeming ending  for Han Jae Hee realizing too late her being ambitious didn’t leave her happy after all was I think not matching her style.  I love it when “yin” prevails, but I didn’t like how they placed it in the concluding episodes – “okay sleep now tomorrow morning everything will be alright.”  She went as far as killing someone, letting someone took the blame on it, and then suddenly because she apologized and ready to be jailed, we have to forgive her because of it.  It just didn’t make any sense for me.  Actually that’s what I learned from Jerry Yan hubby.  There’s no such thing as I’m sorry.

Innocent Man was able to bring out an excellent protagonist, even with unequal footing and at times annoying goodness, he still managed to bounce back from the evil doings the villains shot at him.  On that note, I didn’t like that all of the players are on the same level but the retaliation for the protagonists was snail-like when the villains weren’t that even scary compared to the bad guys I’ve seen in the past.  In short, Ma Ru’s support team was not efficient enough to make the story worth remembering for me.  Even if you have a star player on your team, he still need some help. 

It was an unreasonable one sided love after one sided love after another one sided love that my love veins pulsated in irritation.  Much to what they were trying to arrive at how the story would progress and which love will be affirmed, it formed a lame basis and futile attempts owing to the unlimited blackmailing disposed all over.  Injecting that memory loss plot was a very dangerous thing to do, and I say it was an unnecessary move.  Closing the deceit plot and resurrecting it again by causing an amnesia trick just lengthened the strife which has been won by the bad guys since the onset of the story.  Had they made the protagonists more valiant and understanding in dealing at the stones thrown at them it would have been more rounded, instead of clinging to the amnesia cliché and the lead girl who I had a love-you-hate-you-relationship when she was strong and stubborn and meek and vulnerable. 

A quarter left through the drama, I was screaming “Give her memory back! or I will go straight to the prosecutor’s office!”  There are just so much intentions going on but no meaning to what they are trying to do.  It started intense, wavered relentlessly, gasped some strong punches in the last quarter, and ended safe… no apologies for the viewers they annoyed and put up to cursing mode because the story and the characters moving around it seemed to be having their own business and was not aware that they are supposed to play their part, out play their enemies and declared what they should have been.  If I dissect the drama, it was just a story of man who loved the wrong woman, became cold and distant, met another woman and fell in love again.  But they have to go all the way to the scenes borrowed from previous dramas, the weak villains, chaebol group managing rights and the memory loss.  It was just another love and goodness will conquer kind of thing but they made it so dragging and tiring to munch at. 

But then again even after all my incessant whining which I really limited, I’m not a fan nor did I dislike “Innocent Man”.  It was safe to a point that I liked so much the texture of the main lead’s character Kang Ma Ru, but I won’t vouch for how they contemplated on the movement of the story.  I liked that it gave us a feeling of relying that there’s always another day to hope and believe in life even if you’ve gone through days of tears, pain and sacrifice. -jediprincess

 

♥ Arang and the Magistrate (Aug-Oct)  ♥

Once upon a time IlJimae was playing solitaire… feisty Gumiho got bored by it she taunted him to play poker instead.  This basically explained what happened to Arang and the Magistrate 20-episode stride.  It was like an Amazing Race where ghosts, Jade Emperor, humans, Hades, Grim Reaper and Heavenly-Fairy-turned-she-Voldemort mounted their moves to the slowly set pit stops and finally arrived at a momentous conclusion that sort of apologized for the dallying first half of the series.

 

In search of his mother, Kim Eun Oh, a son of a notable government official went to Miryang, but was halted of his main objective when a wandering ghost, Arang pleaded for him to help her seek justice for her death.  The magistrates who were supposed to be leading the town died of unknown reasons which were comically revealed to be because of Arang’s pestering of them to find the truth about her demise but technically the town was being reigned by a tyrant – Lord Choi.

 

Resigned to the idea that he will not help the feisty ghost, he ended up obliging after learning that it could uncover the trail to his goal of finding his mother when he saw the hair pin he last gave his mother worn by Arang.  Kim Eun Oh used his position as magistrate to investigate about Arang’s death and has done improvements in running the town where people were bound to the fright Lord Choi has brought them about.

 

The new magistrate soon learned Arang’s previous life’s identity who turned out to be the previous magistrate’s daughter Lee Seo Rim.  She was supposed to be engaged to Lord Choi’s adopted son Joo-wal but she went missing and was believed to have eloped with a low born man.  Eun-oh and his men stumbled on Seo-rim’s cadaver one day and when Arang learned of his ill-fated death she bargained with the Jade Emperor of the injustice she got.  With the help of the shaman she devised a way to personally visit the Jade emperor by trapping the Grim Reaper – the Angel of Death and forcing him to accompany her to the Jade Emperor.  She got what she wanted and was given a chance by the Jade Emperor to live for 3 full moons and has to find out the truth about her death, if she will fail to do so, she will be sent to the deepest recesses of hell.

 

So then Arang became human again and helped Eun-oh to track the mysterious cause of her death and the connection of her mother to her.  The magistrate also soon fell in love with her but knowing her short lived pardon to stay she can’t return the favour even if she was feeling the same way.  Joo-wal was also smitten by Arang, but was forced not to pursue it because of him serving his adopted aunt who was in reality the magistrate’s mother but was possessed by a fallen heaven fairy – Moo-yeon.

 

Moo-yeon was also revealed to be the Grim Reaper’s sister who harboured secret love towards her brother.  In her discontentment of things she cannot do because of heavenly status, she escaped Jade Emperor’s realm and possessed human bodies to survive on earth.   Only Moo-yeong aka Grim Reaper can stop Moo-yeon with her vile powers but his attempts has not been successful so he asked Eun-oh to help him, who was torn in choosing his mother and the woman he loved.

 

In the end, Eun-oh and Grim Reaper defeated Moo-yeon and was able to save Eun-oh’s mother’s soul.  Together with Arang, they embarked on her assignment to seek who killed her, and in doing so, he also learned of the truth that his life was also borrowed from the Jade Emperor.  It was revealed that Lee Seo Rim gave her life to protect Joo-wal and in the end Joo-wal became a Grim Reaper and Kim Eun Oh and Arang were reincarnated to continue on their fated love.

 

 

The one-sided love of the magistrate, the too-late-reciprocated-and-realized-love-for-Joo-Wal-to-Lee-Seo-Rim/Arang, and the restricted-by-full-moon-love-of-Arang-to-the-magistrate illustrated a heart piercing and yet understanding kind of love that I greatly appreciated because for a change, I saw characters not ending up twisted because of the love they so wanted to have.  Instead, they respected whatever emotions they are feeling and they are getting, and for that reason I found the romance in this drama compelling.  Whatever they said about “letting love go, and if it returns, it was meant for you” was achieved by the main players of the love entanglement.

 

It was an incessant shower of disappointing sighs as I groped my way to finish Arang and the Magistrate.  Halfway through the drama, it was still bland and bleak with a plot not coherent to the characters or shall I say, the characters were all good but the story moves in literally a mysterious way, that I ended up mystified and wanting to know why it kept withholding the covert truths indispensable to the movement of the plot.  But then alas! On the 13th episode it became lucky and started showing signs of promise.

 

 

Although Arang and the Magistrate showed languid episode movements, it sustained a convincing closure that has made it escaped a drama disappointment tag.  The main characters vibrant portrayals attributed to my not giving up on the drama, that being said, it helped that there are not that much characters to munch, and them being effective to their personas has helped the drama survive its slow-footed premise.

 

It has a light villain shock so the thrill and driving point relied on the main characters’ do or die choices.  The myriad nexus of the story arcs and the paranormal conflicts crept blindly relying on a climactic conflict that salvaged the slow evolving drama.  The casper-ish elements catenated the central theme which focused on the yin-yang-yearnings of the human heart. 

 

Arang and the Magistrate was able to evade an almost drama fury on my end.  It was a safe drama, period.  It goes down to the point of how you manage to end something, no matter how unsure and average the narration of the story was, as long as you give a decent ending that would suffice.  I really applaud the characters… I liked the concept but how they thread on the bridge to get to the other side could have been better if they wove a straight yarn and minimize the holding back of what should have happened.  I was able to predict what will happen eventually, but I stayed with it because the dragging storyline in the first half was compensated by the fast-paced-surprise-after-surprise second half.  Had they made it consistent it would have felt better considering the stellar performance of the cast and the richness manipulation of the folklore from where the story was derived.

 Safe, fun and feisty, I still recommend this as a Korean drama to watch this year.  -jediprincess

♥ To The Beautiful You (Aug-Oct)  ♥

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.

♥ Faith (Aug-Oct)  ♥

Dear Lee Min Ho,

You are god’s gift to women.  If we can bottle you up, we will be free from mood swings, heartaches and all the rest of unexplained emotions men rarely understand.  Seriously, like every close-up shot zoomed in your newest drama drew ohs and ahhs from me.  We are really meant to be!  *giggles

I will be having a hard time on my year-end drama ratings and the reason for that would be because of this beautiful warrior and modern doctor love story set in the latter part of Korean history’s Goryeo period.  I love this drama not because of Lee Min Ho *lightning strikes*… *giggles nah, but seriously there’s a lot of excellent dramas shown this year but Faith was a complete package that I felt so Jerry Maguire-ish all throughout my drama stalking.

It was not as polished and calculated as City Hunter or Ghost, in fact it was sort of slow moving but it was moving to a direction where it was making the viewers joined the drama production… cheering for them, feeling each of the character’s pain, engrossed with the happy moments and frustrated with the inability to end the villains vile ways.  To make it simple, Faith was successful in establishing a connection that will not make it forgettable.

Choi Young, the strong and steamy hot Woodalchi warrior was a General serving the Goryeo King.  His last mission before embarking to his dream of becoming a bummer was to escort the new King and his queen that was held hostage by the Yuan Empire.  The opposing forces tried as much as they can to have the King not reach the palace.  They were unsuccessful with their intention but were able to harm the queen.  Should the queen die, Goryeo will be facing Sauron’s eye because the queen was a Mongolian Yuan empire princess so the King desperate to find a cure to salvage the wounded queen resorted to an urban legend of a famous doctor who just suddenly disappeared.  He commanded the General, Choi Young of the Royal family’s elite soldiers to go to the Heaven’s Door to bring the doctor. 

Choi Young bravely went to the portal and what they thought to be a heavenly place turned out to be modern day Gangnam city in Korea where he found Yoo Eun Soo, a plastic surgeon.  Not realizing and buying the craziness of the whole deal I guess, the general grabbed the doctor to Goryeo period to fulfill the King’s command with a promise that he will return the abducted doctor.

But complications arose when the news of a doctor from heaven swept the Kingdom, the wily Prince Gi Cheol, who has sworn brothers and sisters with supernatural abilities wanted Yoo Eun Soo for his invincibility dreams.

The major conflicts were mainly divided to the political assertions and the save-the-doctor-struggle in the winding part of the drama.  The main character Choi Young, weary but bound to his responsibility to the king was always resolved in prioritizing him, and it has pained him that he cannot protect the love of his life.  When his inability to wield his sword struck in the home stretch I was so worried that they may not get an ever-after, so when he went back to his nothing-fazes-me attitude and went Kenshin Himura to all the people who has been blocking the road to happiness with his woman, I just told myself that it’s really not a bad idea to be single as long as this man will always be there on the TV screen.

The time-travelling doctor was the source of zest and held the magical twist in the story.  At the latter part I enjoyed immensely the sweet nothings and the lines she shared with Choi Young, but it doesn’t erased the fact that Lee Min Ho has now proven that he can carry a drama by himself.  In all fairness Eun-soo was able to give justice to the general-in-the-black-and-grey-armor with her vibrant attitude.  She was strong and serene at the same time and avoided the lead girl theatrics of always wanting to be rescued, instead her steadfast love patiently found its way to the man of her life.

Eun-soo who was actually the wandering doctor they were really looking for on the onset of the series has travelled through time in the hopes of fulfilling her fated love with Choi Young.  She lost her way many times, and in her sojourns prior to her eventual meeting of Choi Young has left clues for her future self which she was not aware of on the presumed present time. 

Assimilating the action plot with the supernatural spices and decorating it with folklore, having a band of villains equipped with mojos and x-men powers, a sassy and bubbly modern day doctor that was lost cutely to a new kind of living she was forced to live and of course the Thor-ish General who made my Kenshin Himura looked so inferior… were the essentials that made this drama such an enthralling TV experience.  The provocative plot matches the annoying villain assaults and the firm, arresting retaliation of the underdogs.  I know that goodness will prevail in the end, and I’m so looking forward to how the protagonists will take their final stand considering how smooth the pounces were of the bad guys.

This year most of the things in kdramaland involved paranormal activities and strongly portrayed characters.  A k-drama-addict like me was preoccupied year long because of these devastating beauties I uncovered.  Having Lee Min Ho in this drama really triggered my adoration, but more than that it was really the effective way of how the drama sweetly chained my easily bored self by presenting an astonishing picture of a balanced treatment between the characters and the story itself.  The story was there to make the characters shine as the characters made the story span.

Our lead couple Choi Young and Eun Soo came from different time and extremely different personalities, but they have nailed their romantic scenes so perfectly…  the loving gazes, the watching each other while asleep, the cheeky arguments, the no-matter-what-I’ll-protect-you-assurances and the love that was fated to happen was a convincing and fetching depiction of love that can surpass reasons and beyond reasons.

A drama moving through governance contention and draped by the traditional settings normally sets a serious tone, but how the heroes and the villains pulled the tricks on their sleeves eased out the ambiance to set an immersing watch.

The baddies who were at a fight-club mood all the time has brought out the best of the protagonists.  They had a firm atmosphere that never wavered its proportion all throughout even at those times when the narrative was at a billowing pace after the first 4 episodes of setting the mood of the story.

Faith is a remarkably premeditated tale where notwithstanding the consistent dawdling and sageuk clichés it successfully notched the path where it was directing the audience – hope, holding on faith and happiness.  Faith’s ability to balance the transcendent elemental nonsense was plausible and cohering to how it mounted to the story’s peak.

The back to the future arc linked the primary message and the title of the drama – FAITH.  Every essence of it and how a person should have faith to claim the love he deserves.  “Was I lacking of my yearning to see him or was I lacking faith?”  This was a very strong line I remembered and has pierced directly to my romantic veins. 

For people who expect an ending with a kiss to seal it, the closing scene might looked “that’s it?”, but the meaningful smile of the two people who fell in love by defying time and never giving up on their love even if the time played with them has OFFICIALLY made FAITH my KOREAN DRAMA THIS YEAR.

 

♥ May Queen (Aug-Dec)  ♥

 

♥ Ohlala Spouses (Oct-Nov)  ♥

♥ Five Fingers (Aug-Nov) ♥

best korean romantic films

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Blame my long running inability to like someone, because it caused me to get hooked to this romance videos. This hobby of mine is making me believe that somewhere out there “he” is living, too lazy to look for me… *giggles So for my friends whose hearts are broken, wants to be broken, and pretending to be broken, these are romantic pills that can entertain you and keep your thoughts away…

I still have a handful to watch and review. I’m into romance genre if you will notice. I prefer feel good romance movies, so don’t look for historical or overly hyped films here.

For the ratings please see my Korean Movie ratings page and for quick ratings I graded it A+, A,  (for outstanding, lingering and original stories), B+, B (for well-done, feel-good movies), C (for mediocrely-done and easily forgotten films) D (for disappointing) F (for Forget It).   I also included the genre types for your reference.

Initially this is just a page for Korean romantic films, but I’ve added some films that are not really romantic so that you can check whether to watch it or not.  

I have included long recaps and short movie summaries for your perusal, you can also see it all in my Korean Movie Recap Page.

*wink  – for my personal favorites.

 

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♥ My Sassy girl (2001) – If you haven’t watched this movie, then you haven’t watched a really good romance movie.  Needless to say, this is one of my favorite love films.  Captivating, vibrant and worth watching…  A perfect date movie… A girl who has some past love issues was saved by a cheerful young man when she almost got caught by a train.  Fate played with them and the boy slowly became fond of her and decided that he would heal whatever that pain she has.  If I can marry someone like Gyeon-woo, I’ll be damn happy.  *wink

GENRE:  Romantic Comedy       GRADE:  A+

 

MY SASSY GIRL MOVIE RECAP

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♥ Il Mare (2000) – Hollywood made a remake of this movie (The Lake house), but still I prefer how Koreans did it. A man and a woman engaged in a romance as they exchanged love letters and leaving it inside a mail box.  Time element executed perfectly.  Addictive and deeply touching love movie. *wink

GENRE:  Romance, Fantasy     GRADE:  A

IL MARE MOVIE RECAP

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♥ Daddy Long Legs (2005) Ha Ji Won played a role of a radio scriptwriter who was always dreaming of meeting the guy who helped her pay her tuition in college.  She accidentally bumped into emails that tells about a girl’s long time admiration over a guy.  She finally had a chance to meet her daddy-long-legs and there she learned that it was his younger brother who asked him to do all the things for her.  She also learned that it was her daddy-long -legs who wrote those emails, however he switched his gender when he was writing the emails. Daddy-long-legs lost all his memories including that of the girl’s because he was dying and he asked his brother to make the girl happy once he lost his memory.  You’ll never get tired of watching it. Amazingly sweet and mesmerizing. *wink

GENRE:  Romance     GRADE:  A

DADDY LONG LEGS MOVIE RECAP

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♥ My Little Bride (2004) – An ordinary high school girl who worries about grades and has a crush on her school’s baseball team ace was forced to marry a guy out of her grandfather’s wish. Her being young and the I-am-a-married-high-school-girl made this movie so charming.  Dandy, cheerful, playful, this film will let you remember that feeling you have on the first person you ever had a crush on. *wink

GENRE:  Romantic Comedy     GRADE:  A

MY LITTLE BRIDE MOVIE RECAP

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♥ Daisy (2006) – I like how Jun Ji Hyun reinvents herself as an actress, that’s why I love all her films.  Set in Netherlands, Ji Hyun played the role of a street painter that will become the love interest of a secret service agent and a professional hitman.  Thrilling, lingering, and romantic elements were put in splendidly fine. *wink

GENRE:  Romance, Espionage, Melodrama     GRADE:  A+

DAISY MOVIE RECAP

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♥ Humming (2008) – This is good for those who are in currently a long-running relationship. The lead actor was quite tired of the relationship with her GF.  He was about to leave for Alaska to avoid her, but she met an accident and fell into a coma. He starts remembering the relationship he had with her while nursing her back to health. Will he discover the love he has never realized?  Passionate, a bit tear jerker with a twist that you may or may not like.

GENRE:  Romance, Melodrama     GRADE:  B

♥ The Classic (2003) – A perfectly film captured unsurpassed romance.  This film will make you think about flowers, summer walks and pure love.   True to its title, it is an epic love movie that you can tell your grandchildren and be giddyish and at the same time nostalgic about it.

A young woman accidentally bumped on her mother’s love story and she got deeply engaged with it.  The parallelism from the characters of switching timelines was well portrayed and there was just so much love in the air.*wink

GENRE:  Romance, Melodrama     GRADE:  A+

THE CLASSIC MOVIE RECAP

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♥ My BF is Type B (2005) – Nice girl meets a temperamental guy. Go figure what it would be like.  Girls always fall for bad guys and it’s always been a mystery why. Lively, witty and mesmerizing… A sweet love that turns sweeter at every scene.  ^_^

GENRE:  Romantic Comedy     GRADE:  B

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♥ Heartbreak Library (2008) – Not really a romance movie for the lead actors.  It was more of feeling the pain of someone who lost his one great love.  An unconventional love movie that focus on the downside of being in love.  Strikingly fresh and very charming at the same time. ^_^

GENRE:  Melodrama, Romance     GRADE:  B+

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♥ My Wife Got Married (2008) – Full of mischief and kink, this is one sexy film crazily perceived and executed spontaneously making it gratifying to watch even with the slight carnal insinuations.  Son Ye Jin was a player who hates marriage until she met a guy who showed her that it’s possible to enjoy being committed.  Then she kinda like the idea being married so she asked her husband if she can have a marriage spree.  Her submissive husband agreed and off they engaged to a kind of marriage you won’t think would happen in real life.  Playful and mischievously flirty. *wink

GENRE:  Romance     GRADE:  A

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♥ A Millionaire’s First Love (2006) – Hyun Bin was a millionaire’s heir but in order for him to have his fortune, his dead granny forced him to finish High School in the suburb. There he discovered the past that he erased in his mind, and the truth that money can’t save the life of the girl he loves.  Bewitchingly passionate and might leave some tears in your eyes.  *wink

GENRE:  Romance, Melodrama     GRADE:  A

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♥ Windstruck (2004) – They said it was a sort of like the prequel to My Sassy Girl, but I say otherwise.  It is a sad film about a woman who was given help to move on by the man she loved even when he is already in the after life.  Kwak Jae Young’s open-ended fantasy element made the movie an inspiring spectacle even with the movie’s grieving premise.   ^_^

GENRE:  Romance, Melodrama     GRADE:  B+

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♥ My Tutor Friend 1 (2003) – A lazy school boy meets the tutor he would never dream to have. The Sweet bickerings and a proof that people can accidentally be in love is what made this sweet flick captivating to watch.

 GENRE:  Romantic Comedy     GRADE:  B+

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♥ My Tutor Friend 2 (2006) – A touching story of two completely different students from two completely different worlds who fell in love with each other.  Donning the original “tutor friend” plot, an exchanged student from Japan went to Seoul and stayed in a guest house where she met her Hangeul Class tutor and eventually fell in love with him.  A lot of jinks and some slapstick comedy from the supporting cast here and there.  Even with the cliches it was still charming.

GENRE:  Romantic Comedy     GRADE:  A

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♥ 100 Days with Mr. Arrogant (2004) – After dumping her boyfriend just before their 100 day anniversary, Ha Young met a college guy when she accidentally kicked a can that hit him in the face and caused him to scratch his pricey Lexus car. He demanded she paid him $3000 on the spot and wrote up an “Enslavement Agreement” for her in order to pay for the damage to his car.   She got into a nightmarish slave life for 100 days, cleaning his house, running his errands, doing his homework and cleaning his car. Ooops.. I almost told the whole story so I have to halt it… Upbeat, enchanting and one of my favorites. *wink

GENRE:  Romantic Comedy     GRADE:  A

100 DAYS WITH MR. ARROGANT

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♥ He was Cool (2004) – A cheerful high school student clumsily left a message on the school website to reply to the school bully’s post. She was then stalked by the school bully and while trying to evade him she accidentally kissed him after she jumped in the school’s back wall.  It was a classic are-we-in-love-mutually love game that bounce gorgeously when the couple realized that they were meant to be together.

GENRE:  Romantic Comedy     GRADE:  B+

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♥ Romance of their own/A Wolf’s temptation (2004)–  Two hot guys fought for a sweet naive, girl.  (I swear you would want to trade places with the girl on this movie.)  It’s your proverbial teenage sweet and angsty torn between two lovers romance with a heartbreaking twist that will make  you cry.  The story really took time to explain fully the narrative and even with a trite conflict, it was concluded neatly in the end.  Tender, passionate and love-affirming, that romance movie you need along with a blanket and hot chocolate drink on a cold rainy day. *wink

GENRE:  Romantic Comedy     GRADE:  A

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♥ My Girl and I (2005) – A heartwarming story about true love and happiness.  A guy returned to his hometown after ten years to attend a reunion with his high school friends.  In his return, he also remembered the sad story of his one great first love.  Nostalgic and will crawl in your emotions as it triggers those furtive bittersweet recollections we had with our own failed first love.

GENRE:  Romance, Melodrama     GRADE:  A

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♥ Unstoppable Marriage (2007) – Sweet and easy-going girl who grew up in a normal middle-class household with a strict and traditional father met willful plastic surgeon who was born into a wealthy family, and has the ego to match his income. Their two worlds collided quite literally when they met through a paragliding accident. It’s a classic case of opposites attract as they fight, falter, and fall in love, but their incompatible families are determined to break them apart.  

GENRE:  Romance, Family     GRADE:  B

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♥ Seducing Mr. Perfect (2006) – The lead girl was a believer in true love and has always been very dedicated to her current boyfriend.  However, men always break up with her. Distracted by the latest break-up, she bumped into a car and a man stepped out of it who turned out to be her new boss.  He has very clear ideas about a relationship and love.  He believed that relationship a game of power and she sought advice from him, as she doesn’t want to get dumped again.  But the lessons turned to adorations and they had to survive their preconceived love notions and reluctance.

GENRE:  Romance     GRADE:  B+

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♥ Jenny and Juno (2005) – The plot centered on the relationship of a 15-year-old couple, Jenny and Juno who met in school, fell in love and ended up in a teenage pregnancy.  When Jenny discovered that she was pregnant, she and Juno decided against having an abortion, and opted for parenthood instead.  They tried to conceal the pregnancy from their families for as long as possible, but the truth was revealed eventually, and their parents did not approve of it initially.  But their love to the unborn child made them stronger even with the weight of the problem they had to tackle at their very young age.  This is a nice educational film for high school students to remind them of the harsh realities when you got knocked up at a young age.

GENRE:  Romance, Melodrama     GRADE:  B+

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♥ Speedy Scandal (2008) – This upbeat delight is an amazing movie treat for a family or friendly getaway.  As a self-confessed Cha Tae Hyun fan, the signature amusing humor in most of his films kicked wild and sassy all through the ending easing a work week stress if you will watch it. 

Ham Hyun Soo works as a local radio celebrity and is a playboy on the side.  His world was changed upside down when a young girl approached him and claimed to be her long lost daughter along with her son.  An instant-father-and-a-young-grandfather, this family made the movie time so worthwhile as they worked on the new family they were put into while adjusting to the invasion of their personal spaces in the most adorable way.

To protect his public image and maintain his womanizing around, Hyun Soo hid his new family’s identity, but having gotten his stubbornness, her daughter Jae In even joined his radio show for indie singers raking in a great following from the audience.  Eventually the awkwardness subsided, and Hyun Soo realized how his daughter and grandson mattered dearly in his life.

Even when I’m writing these thoughts now, I can’t help but smile remembering the quirky family set up in this flick.  Go grab some popcorn and chips and wallow on the cuteness of this family movie. *wink


GENRE:  Family, Romance     GRADE:  A+

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♥ She’s On Duty (2005) – Gong Yoo and Kim Sun Ah were secret agents who played High Schoolers for their police. Perky, funny and never a dull moment  with the lead characters.  Although romance was slightly hinted because of the crime catching premise, it was a cheery and balanced flick of action and romance.  ^_^

GENRE:  Romance, Light Espionage     GRADE:  B+

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♥ My Girlfriend is An Agent (2007) – Kim Ha Neul always brings something new from her sleeves.  Unaware of their secret agent identities, a couple got entangled to stop an organized crime group in releasing a bio-chemical weapon.  This was the movie where marked Kang Ji Hwan oppa to hang out with me some time.  With trust issues and career responsibilities between them, the couple journeyed to how far can their love sustain their attachment.

GENRE:  Romantic Comedy, Light Action     GRADE:  B+

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♥ Someone Special (2004) – This is REALLY a nice watch. The movie you will force that special someone to watch with you before you decide to tie the knot… *giggles *wink

GENRE:  Romantic Comedy     GRADE:  A+

SOMEONE SPECIAL MOVIE RECAP

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♥ Baby and I (2008) – Jang Geun Suk played the role of a young High School student from a well-off family who loves to brawl and a typical mischief maker.  His easy-go-lucky life will stop when he got a surprise basket of a baby with a note suggesting that he’s the father.  From there he started his young father adventure trying to give the best life he can provide for his instant son.

GENRE:  Drama, Light Comedy     GRADE:  B

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♥ Doremifasolasido (2008) – an engaging, nostalgic and heart-tugging teen movie about a girl who fell in love with the guy who was first mean to him.  They slowly began to fall in love, but a person from the girl’s past who was also connected to her boyfriend will force them to choose between love and friendship. ^_^

GENRE:  Romance, Friendship     GRADE:  B+

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♥ Antique Bakery (2008) – The lively characters sprawled a stimulating run.  You’ll love how this movie will hook you without you realizing it.  Joo Ji Hoon played the role of a bakery owner who was once abducted when he was a child and was set to capture his abductor through his baking skills. The cheery interaction of the cast and their hot selves cushioned the thrilling conflict in this sweet and suspense flick that is worth missing your weekend sleep binge.

GENRE:   Friendship, Thriller     GRADE:  B+

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♥ A Moment To Remember (2004) – A couple striving to keep up their relationship against the struggle with the wife’s Alzheimer’s disease.  It is a love story of a devoted husband who stayed with her wife even when she was slowly forgetting that he happened in her life. Poignant, deeply moving, and I cried buckets of tears here. *wink

GENRE:  Romance, Melodrama     GRADE:  A+

A MOMENT TO REMEMBER MOVIE RECAP

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♥ The Beast and the Beauty (2005) – Enticing and pleasing, with a lead actor you can’t help but be fond of.  A not so handsome guy created a different look of him to her blind gf, when the girl was able to see again, he struggled to fight for his one true love.

GENRE:  Romantic Comedy     GRADE:  B+

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♥ Babo (2008) – Classic Cha Tae Hyun, he doesn’t fail to amuse me.  Ha Ji Won was at her usual best.  A story of a mentally challenged man whose optimism in life will move you to tears. Full of love and so heartwarming, prepare some tissue if you will embark on it. *wink

GENRE:  Melodrama, Family      GRADE:   A+

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♥ Almost Love (2006) – A typical love story of two people who overlooked how they felt toward each other because of the fear that it may just complicate their friendship.  The bubbly couple will make you laugh with their constant bickerings.

GENRE:  Romantic Comedy     GRADE:  B+

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♥ Perfect Couple (2007) – I like Lee Dong Wook, that’s why I watched all his projects.  It’s a love story set behind police curtains and an eccentric phobia.  Although messy, the characters were fun so I just convinced myself I have to bear with it.  There were a lot of dragging points so prepare to struggle finishing  the story.

GENRE:  Romance, Light Action     GRADE:   C

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♥ Changing Partners (2007) –  A quadrangle romance of misplaced love.  Sexy and seductive but lacking in substance and story.

GENRE:  Romance (w/ scenes not for minors GRADE:  C

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♥ Too Beautiful To Lie (2004) This is one of my Kim Ha Neul’s favorite portrayals.  Here she played the role of a woman with an excellent deceiving ability who was imprisoned but was able to get a parole to attend to her sister’s wedding. 

Cupid played with her heart and she met a country bumpkin with whom she settled to a false relationship arrangement.  Comic cast and fetching love built up, this is one buoyant story to feed your romcom movie night.  ^_^

GENRE:  Romantic Comedy, Family     GRADE:  B+


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♥ Marrying a School Girl (2004) – The weird storyline put me on a mind-boggling realization if I enjoyed it or not, but I can remember the story so at least, the movie made an impact.  A sporadic love tale fused with impossible supernatural seasoning premise that didn’t help propel the story at all.

GENRE:  Romantic Comedy, Fantasy      GRADE:   D

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♥ Ride Away (2008) –  Slow moving in the beginning but I was affected in the end.  A relationship surrounded by dreams, being hopeful, and always not failing to trust in love and how it can lead you to happily live.  

GENRE:  Melodrama, Romance     GRADE:  C

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♥ My Mighty Princess (2008) Fun, exciting and entertaining.   A quirky martial-arts-with-supernatural-spike-love-story that will capture you in so many ways.

GENRE:  Fantasy, Light Action, Romance     GRADE:  B+

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♥ The Art of Seduction (2005) – Amusing, playful, and refreshing. A mischievous tale of a seducer and a seductress who got eventually a dose of their own medicines.

GENRE:  Romantic Comedy      GRADE:  B+

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♥ Frozen Flower (2008) – I didn’t know what it was before I watched it I promise, but because I’m midway on the movie when I realized that the explicit scenes were pouring, I just ended up finishing and prayed for my unexpected first dose of erotic period film. Nevertheless, less the sex scenes, if you’ll look at the love story itself, it was realistic and saddening.  The King’s royal guard and lover was forced to sleep with the Queen to bear an heir to the throne and protect the Goryeo empire.  The royal guard’s heart was swayed leading to an illicit consensual affair with the Queen.  This period film is thought-provoking and broke my heart after the agonizing betrayal culmination.

GENRE:  Historical, Romance, R18     GRADE:   B+

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♥ Lover’s Concerto (2002) – Stellar acting and beautifully written script.  Tied with friendship, secret adoration and almost love, this is a little charmer that will fill you up with rose petals.  Two sickly bff’s fell in love with the same guy.  This is a touching tale of friendship and finding love and losing it in the end and of a fated love but an unfortunate chance to claim it. *wink

GENRE:  Friendship, Romance     GRADE:  A+

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♥ Love so Divine (2004) – This is my favorite Kwon Sang Wo movie.  A seminarian meets a charming girl who will let him choose between God and love.  It’s like the feeling of eating your comfort food after beng stranded in a heavy traffic.  ^_^

GENRE:  Romantic Comedy     GRADE:  B+

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♥ Hello Schoolgirl (2008) – Reminiscent of a May-December love affair, this arresting love tale is filled with smiles and heart flutters.  

GENRE:  Romantic Comedy     GRADE:  B+

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♥ The Naked Kitchen (2009) – A dangerous love triangle filled with excitement, addictive attachment and stolen bliss.  The Naked Kitchen presents a married woman confronted with staying faithful to her husband or daring to stir up her monotonous life with a dangerous flame.

GENRE:  Romance (w/ light adult scenes)     GRADE:  B+

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♥ 2 Faces of my girlfriend (2007) – Falling in love with a person with an on-off character, this stunningly funny movie was nicely done and will let you throw laugh fits because of the dorky lead man who finally got the chance of his dream girl only to find out that there is another girl inside her.  

GENRE:  Romantic Comedy     GRADE:  B+

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Love Impossible aka Love of North and South (2003) – A love story blossomed between a North and South Korean… will it work out?  It’s not really a movie that will leave an impression, but it’s not boring either.  Take it because it was one of Jo In Sung oppa’s earliest films but don’t expect a lot.

GENRE:  Romantic Comedy, Family     GRADE:  B+

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Romantic Island  (2008) – I watched it because I got curious that it was shot in my country.  But there’s nothing much to watch and you will forget it easily overtime.  

GENRE:  Romance     GRADE:  D

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♥ White Valentine (1999) I almost fell in it, but when it ended I was talking to the dvd player to tell me if it’s really the end. I was left there between the limbo, absorbing what happened and convincing myself that if there was any consolation it was a Jun Ji Hyun movie.

GENRE:  Romance, Melodrama      GRADE:  C

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♥ Madeleine (2002) – The prudent lets-date storyline between old friends who met again on the age where they are supposed to be dating was  strangely touching as the couple played their characters so well.  Nothing fancy just pure display of how twenties date kind of movie.

GENRE:  Romance, Melodrama     GRADE:  B+

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♥ Spy Girl (2004) – Predictable, light, sometimes amusing, sometimes annoying.  If not for Gong Yoo, I would have not stayed afloat.  A North Korean spy got involved in a romance she can’t have.

GENRE:  Romantic Comedy, Light Action     GRADE:  B+

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♥ Doremifasolasido – a nice teen movie. a pure, heart tugging teen romance film.

♥ 200 Pounds Beauty (2006) – Brave, sunny and worth watching with your friends.  A voice talent who has weight problems worked hard to emerge sexy and fit.  She became prettier and avenged her broken heart. This hell-hath-no-fury-when-a-used-to-be-fat-girl-turned-sexy-now chick flick is an ecouraging film for women trying to cope up with their self esteem.  Flashes of romance here and there, the love fulfilment was sweetly achieved even with the intentional revenge. ^_^

GENRE:  Romance     GRADE: A

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♥Insadong Scandal (2009) – It explored the world of Korean art forgery and treachery.  Strong at parading well portrayed characters as Kim Rae Won was at his usual best.

GENRE:  Drama      GRADE: B+

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26 Years Diary (2006) – Sad and moving with ear-pleasing music… Not extravagant but worth your time… This is a true story.  ^_^

GENRE:  Romance, Melodrama     GRADE:  B+

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Virgin Snow (2007)Nicely done depiction of the feeling of falling in love for the first time.   Great chemistry between the lead couple.  A Korean boy fell for a Japanese girl regardless of their language barrier.  The blossoming love was cut short though because of some misunderstandings.  They met again and proved that when love is true it will find its way no matter what.

GENRE:  Romance     GRADE:  B+

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..ing (2003) –  A young woman secluded herself to her own world because of her frail body and deformed hand, but she met a photographer  who helped her step outside of her protective bubble.  Tear-jerker, but worth your time… simply narratec, but not dragging… ^_^

GENRE:  Romance, Melodrama     GRADE:  B+

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♥ Crazy First Love (2003) Endearing, nostalgic, and a classic I’ll-be-what-you-want-me-to-be-to-prove-how-much-I-love-you love story.  It will remind us of the foolishness we all did when we first fell in love.

GENRE:  Romantic Comedy     GRADE:  B

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Now and Forever (2006)Trite and at times romantic, sweet but not falling apart.  A rich young man who can easily lure girls with his smooth ways fell in love for the first time with a cheerful but dying woman.  Yes sir, another sad romantic movie.  ^_^

GENRE:  Romance, Melodrama     GRADE: B+

 

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Finding Mr. Destiny (2010)Worth your rest day if you are going to watch it.  It gives that first-love-why-can’t-i-forget-you and maybe-it’s-time-to-move-on vibe. “The first love doesn’t necessarily mean the first person.”  ^_^

GENRE:  Romance     GRADE:   B+

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♥ Summer Whispers (2007) – It won’t linger, feel good when you are watching it, but you’ll forget it when you sleep… Your typical love-is-just-beside-you-all-along movie.

GENRE:  Romance     GRADE: C

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♥ The Warrior’s Way (2010)Okay I’m guilty that I watched it because Jang Dong Gun is hot and because the producers were those who produced LOTR, but it didn’t give me the beat nor the depth.  The fight scenes were okay, but at the end of it, I should have picked a different movie to burn my film time.

GENRE:  Action/Samurai     GRADE:  D

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♥ Surprise Party (2002) Funny with a cute twist.  It will take a few minutes to hook you but will catch you surely.  When her father disapproved of her boyfriend who was set to arrive in the country, Mir Yung asked her bestfriend Ha Young to delay her boyfriend’s visit.  Ha Young went to comic spectacles to buy time for her bestfriend, but ended up feeling confused on realizing that she was liking her bestfriend’s boyfriend.

GENRE:  Romantic Comedy, Friendship     GRADE:  B+


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♥ Grand Prix (2010) – I watched it because of Kim Tae Hee, but I should have not.  Well it gave me a glimpse of the horse-racing world, but still I didn’t like how they wove the story.  It’s just all over and plain and nothing much to ponder about.

GENRE:  Drama, Sports     GRADE:   F

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♥I’m a Cyborg but that’s okay (2006) How do I put what I felt for this eccentric little munchkin?  Well for a change it’s something new for me to have watched a unique love story of intellectually challenged couple, nonetheless, it crept in my heart slowly and surely.

GENRE:  Romance  GRADE:  B+

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♥ S-Diary (2004) I was not familiar with Kim Sun Ah yet when I first watched this movie.  I re-watched it, and I guess at my age right now, I can sort of relate.  Contemplating, sassy and engaging, a charmer that will poke your heart if you are single at this moment and wanting to break free from it.

GENRE:  Romance     GRADE:  B+

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♥ The Recipe (2010)It was a pretty and engaging story telling.  Splendid and impressive shifting of the storyline and seriously I was also intrigued by how that stew tasted after the movie.  I guess I’ll try it some other time with my Korean friends.

GENRE:  Drama, Romance     GRADE:  B+

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♥ Petty Romance (2010) – I like Lee Seon Kyun, but I was really stoic the whole time I was watching this flick.  I just felt that the romantic elements were not properly placed.  There were some playful memories but you see the premise was so catchy, and they failed unfortunately to nail it.  There was just a nudge missing.  It was a nice storyline of a man and a woman who made an agreement to help each other out in competing for an adult manhwa contest.  They didn’t hit it well initially but they got entangled to their mutual growing fondness eventually.

GENRE:  Romantic Comedy     GRADE:  D

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♥ Love Phobia (2006) – So I finally got the chance to watch this movie without interruptions.  Who wouldn’t fall for this pretty?  I was so fond of the lead couples when they were children and loved them even more when they grew up.  So sweet and worth remembering.  Watched it with my mom, and she loved it.  It’s a  charmingly woven love story, and although it will make you cry in the end, I’m pretty sure it will be one of those love movies you will highly recommend.  *wink

GENRE:  Romantic Comedy     GRADE:  A

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Dasepo Naughty Girls (2006) – I watched it because of Kim Ok Bin. It’s a novelty because it’s the first K-musical movie I saw, I don’t know if there are any other out there produced though.  Fresh, fun and flirty but it did not leave an after-effect to me.

GENRE:  Musical, School, Romance     GRADE:  C

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♥ Love me Not (2006) – Tamper the concept of love for a never-been-into-romance-blind-heiress, and feel the pain even more after doing that.  I like that it presented the dark facet of love for a change because we normally get the ever-after kind.  It depicted misplaced trust and love. 

GENRE:  Romance, Melodrama     GRADE:  B

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♥ Closer to Heaven (2009) Closer to Heaven was a very painful and yet love-affirming romance between a dying man who wants to live, and a woman who makes a living when a person dies.  Ji-soo was twice divorced because of her job as a she-undertaker, the love that was deprived of her, she fully realized when she met Jong-woo who will eventually die because of Lou Gehrig’s disease. This was a lovestory that will make you realize how blessed you are in a relationship because there are those who really want to love one another all the days of their lives but they have to battle death for it.

A perfectly portrayed and a moving story of understanding the pain that comes when loving someone and loving someone when you are in pain.  With solid acting from Kim Myung Min and Ha Ji Won, this will touch your heart and will make you cry. Quintessential yet saddening, poignant and affecting… ^_^

GENRE:  Romance, Melodrama      GRADE:  A

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♥ Maundy Thursday (2006) – A brave and agonizingly sweet love film in a “suppressed setting”.  It is a romance of a convicted murderer with an emotionally disturbed woman at a wrong place and time with the right intentions and love.  How love affirming this can be? ^_^

GENRE:  Romance, Melodrama     GRADE:  A

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♥ Cyrano Dating Agency (2010) –  I really love the casting for this movie, but this is really mediocre, and heaven knows I tried to connect with it but it really failed to engage me.  The only thing I will remember would be the bubble gum scenes, but as a whole it was not plain but it’s far from amazing.

GENRE:  Romantic Comedy     GRADE:  C

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The Man From Nowhere “ajussi” (2010) So I finally sat down to Korea’s top grossing film of 2010, and it blew me away.  This was a different kind of love you will see, the kind of love that sprang from almost losing hope that you can find love again.  Won Bin and the girl’s performance will stir up something inside you.  I’m very picky when it comes to action films, and I was proven wrong when I took time to munch this high octane beauty.  Excuse me city hunter, I think I equally like you and ajusshi.  *giggles *wink

GENRE:  Action, Drama     GRADE:  A+

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♥ Jeonwoochi (2009)–  Superb visual effects, a nice watch with your little nieces or nephew, action-packed in a Jumper-meets-inception-meets Harry Potter kind of way. Undeniably worth killing your time…

GENRE:  Fantasy, Adventure, Family     GRADE:  A

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Heaven’s Postman (Postman to Heaven) 2009 A very pretty and serene love story of moving on from the pain of a broken heart.  This was a breather from the recent k-movies I got a copy of and I tried to watch.  It has a very simple storytelling but with completeness that will touch the side of your heart that was once broken, and that was able to bounce again because of not giving up to the idea of finding love.  It’s one of my favorites from the movies of 2009.  *wink

GENRE:  Romance, Fantasy     GRADE:  A+

 

HEAVEN’S POSTMAN MOVIE RECAP

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♥ White Night (2009)- Thrilling and will get you interested and involved at every scene, although I have slight issues with the pacing.  Your multi-tasking skills will come in handy because shifting time elements were happening throughout the story.  You will learn how dark and twisted a person can be all because of an emotional trauma and love. 

Yo-han and Mi-ho/Lee Jia were victims of a dark past.  When Yo-han’s father was murdered, it left them intertwined with police investigations, murders, deceit and a hope of brighter future for them. 

I watched it after watching Criminal Minds so I have to infuse myself with true love vibes after and got my Sungkyunkwan Scandal CD. 

A film realizing how sad you can be by being consumed over a sin you have to do at that right moment but will not justify the evil act you took.  

GENRE:  Drama, Thriller     GRADE:  B+

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♥ The Day Before (2009) – I was watching it for 20 minutes and I still didn’t know what was happening… The subtitles aren’t doing any cartwheel act so I was wondering if it will lead me somewhere. There was a glimmer of magic tricks, sex and infidelity… then someone killed someone, someone surrendered, someone got imprisoned, someone got sick, and someone escaped prison.  Go figure!  Then a faint ray of light emerged, and the story suddenly happened, after another 10 minutes it became pitch black.  I have a soft spot for Kim Nam Gil, but the movie was really dull, everywhere and boring.  It has such a feeble storyline and an exhausting acting but still not sufficient enough for you to hate it.

It is a love story between a fugitive and a woman with a haunting past who started having a connection amidst their emotional baggage and damaged existence.

GENRE:  Romance, Drama     GRADE:  F

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♥ Secret Love (2010) – I’m beginning to declare this month as “infidelity month” *giggles as I have been watching a lot of love triangle even square love movies.  After coming out of “The Day Before” I took this movie and I was thinking what I’ve done wrong lately that’s why life is giving me confusing Korean movie pills.

But it was short-lived like 10 minutes to be exact because the story picked up its bearing, and with the hot actor I was left uncomplaining and drooling. 

A woman has to deal with the hardship of taking care of his husband who was in vegetative state.  Her husband’s brother helped her coping up, and eventually they engaged in an affair.  But her husband woke up and the three got entangled to the “who-deserved-to-be-together-game”.

Bold, brave and beautiful.  

GENRE:  Romance (w/ adult scenes)   GRADE:   B+

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♥ Maybe aka Rabbit and Lizard (2010) – Slow paced, not so good and you don’t know what’s really going on.  If not for Jang Hyuk I wouldn’t have finished it.  The right intention to capture the watcher was there, but the execution was lost somewhere.  I can’t remember any lingering scene.   The acting was there but the story wasn’t.  Didn’t like it and it’s disappointing.  *pout

A man with a rare heart condition met a woman who was searching for her past and they sort of fall in love. 

GENRE:  Drama      GRADE:  D

 

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April  Snow (2005) – I’ll make this simple but firm… the film was sad, slow-paced and the proverbial melodrama, but it did not make me cry.  The premise of the story should make your mind and heart stir undeniable pain if it happens to you, but I remained poker hearted, and I even watched it in the dead of the night.  It lacked emotion it should have.

A man and a woman met in a hospital and discovered that their spouses were together in a car accident.  They soon learned that their spouses were having an illicit affair but they still decided to take care of them.  They soon got entangled in a relationship while they were nursing the angst and disappointment they felt after realizing their spouses’ betrayals.  It was a relationship that will never work out given the circumstances of what brought them closer together but they gamble on it anyway.

The man’s wife woke up but the woman’s husband died.  In the end the woman, opted to leave and start a new life, as the man ended his marriage and commence a new life too.

The conclusion was not a happy ending, but I like how it ended.  Although their love for each other can suffice for them to choose to be together, if that love was never good enough for them to begin with, settling to keep that love close in their hearts while giving up on it was an act of really knowing how to love.

GENRE:  Romance, Melodrama     GRADE:  C

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♥ Meet the In-laws aka Clash of the Families (2011) – A usual rom-com but not enough for me to adore it and place it before my hall-of-famers.  I love the dorky male lead, he’s what make the movie cute I think.  Nevertheless, it is sweet, light and at times hilarious.

The main conflict lies from modern-day Romeo&Juliet whose families came from the opposing regions thus their romance will not be permissible.  The man tried to win the girl’s family’s approval more so of her dad who despises anything with Seoul molecular content. They will struggle to fight for their eventual marriage amidst their opposing families.

Worth your afternoon break, but I doubt if it will be listed as one of your favorites.

GENRE:  Romantic Comedy     GRADE:  B+


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♥ Oh My God 2 (2009) – It is your typical rom-com drama with a dying girl conflict. Surprisingly even if there’s nothing spectacular, I found it sweet maybe because the death conflict was revealed at the latter part of the film. 

The conflict was placed safe, but the quirky and defined characters filled up everything that’s missing in the story. I would have wanted a happy ending for them but I took how the movie parted with me.  It gave me a good while it last kind of feel.  I was taken by the guy’s own way of trying to make lady happy, and d taxi convertible scene will be what I will remember most about the movie.
Im Jung-hwan was a taxi company heir whose expertise is to splurge money on branded items.  Her mother tried teaching him a lesson so he ended up driving one if their taxis.  When Eun-ji forced him to take her somewhere, it led to a trip orchestrated by Eun-ji’s liking after he lost her ring he forced to take from her when she cant pay for the taxi fare.

Eun-ji got him doing things he didn’t normally engage with as they slowly connected to each other.  But Eun-ji was dying so she snapped back to reality and accepted that the miracle she’s waiting was not another chance of her living again, but the precious memories with Jung-hwan in her last days.

GENRE:  Romantic Comedy, Melodrama     GRADE:  B+

 

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♥ You’re My Pet (2011) – This is my opening recap spectaclefor 2012 and it sure pulled out some effort considering I watched, captured screen and do the recap via online streaming.  Full of wacky and endearing moments, I will give up all my wealth if they will auction a pet like that in EBAY.

It’s a sort of a plain love film, you know where the story is heading but it was not complicated that’s why you will stay with it anyway.  It was light, adorable and super-ish.  Jang Geun Seok made my heart turn 360 degrees because of his cuteness and sassyness… Now that I think of, it gives you the my-sassy-girl-ish vibe but the Gyeon-woo counterpart was mischievous and complaining, but not in a bad kind of way.

You want to see your favorite actors not so much acting sometimes and this is what this movie brought I guess.  It was candid and captivating.  Not bad for my opening salvo this year.  ^_^

GENRE:  Romantic Comedy     GRADE:   B+

YOU’RE MY PET MOVIE RECAP

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♥ Shotgun Love (2011) – Mr. Nice Guy, Sang yeol, has been loving pretty woman, So-yeon, from his work place.  They posed as a couple for a Food Advertisement TV program.   So-yeon is in a relationship with the PD of the show, and when he got her pregnant, she refused to give up the child.  They broke up and one night, she asked Sang-yeol to see her.  She left him drunk afterwards, but he caught up on her when he saw her standing sadly in the side walk facing Han river.  The next day he woke up naked in a motel room and thought that something happened between them.

So-yeon’s friend suggested to use Sang-yeol’s impression that they slept together, thus they ended up in an instant marriage of wackiness, lightning chicken, perky homosexuals, malfunctioning toilet and love realizations. 

But the fun was cut off when the vile ex-lover of So-yeon revealed to Sang-yeol the truth about her pregnancy, and realizing he was made a fool he parted ways with So-yeon.

The main lead was such an adorable dork here, he pulled out the character so well, and although nothing much is happening in the story and you know right away where it will be heading, it was still a fun watch and entertaining.  A comic relief considering its befitting plot, nevertheless it was still amusing and entrancing.

GENRE:  Romance, Comedy     GRADE:  B

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♥ A Season of Good Rain (2009) – Yes of course Jung Woo-sung was the basis why I watched it, and as always he sent me to dreamy land, but my presence of mind snapped me back to reality.  It was a beautiful love story, the solid portrayal was there, but the connection of the lead couple was missing. 

Dong-ha and May met when they were studying abroad, when he was on a business trip in May’s hometown, he met her and reminisced the good old days.  The love they hid and kept for one another was resurrected, but they are both restricted by their personal emotions.

It was not a bad love movie but it was part-boring-quarter-nothing-much-happening-kind-of-film.  The love story happened only in like two or three days but how it slowly moved felt years for me. 

GENRE:  Romance     GRADE:  D

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♥ Sunflower (2006) – I was browsing on my Korean movie DVD’s when I saw this movie, it was Kim Rae Won oppa starring in the role that’s why I got it, but I never had a chance to see it because I thought it was an action film, well sort of..

It was a deeply immersing story of a man struggling to start a new life after being imprisoned for a while.  His love for the family who embraced and accepted him despite of his dark past was overwhelming but the past he is so wanting to depart from kept coming back and no matter how he tried to keep his ground and not go back to his vile ways, he was challenged unfairly by fate.

I cried buckets of tears here and I really liked how the director orchestrated the story from the small sweet details and the heavy scenes.  The cast ensembles deserved applause, I don’t normally go for tear-jerker-slice-of-life but I was so drawn in Tae-sik’s life.

This will be one of my favorites.  *wink

GENRE:  Drama, Light Action     GRADE:  A+

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My Scary Girl (2006) Park Yong-woo is a 30-year old man who has yet to experience first love, and when he did the bliss, the kiss, the romance and a secret were all there.

I loved how Choi Kang-hee acted her role in Protect the Boss, but with the two movies of her that I saw, I was not won by her portrayals, but I do like the geeky lead man here, well anyone geek is good for me you see.

The conflict for me was just crazy – your first love is a sweet murderer… I don’t know, have they brought out how their love will be stronger despite their personal indifferences, it would have been different I think. 

So I don’t like this movie, no matter how adorable Yong-woo was.  Miyane.

GENRE:  Romantic Comedy    GRADE:  D

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The Wedding Dress a touching movie of love between a mother and the daughter. Well a mother’s love has always been there when the first sign of life happened to us, and sometimes we tend to forget it and get annoyed over things mothers normally do to us because it’s their nature.

This was a deeply moving story and will make you hug your mom after, I did (omma was beside me when I was watching it), I don’t know if you will, I hope you will.

This is quite a weep fest as you can feel the mother-daughter connection of the lead characters.  This is best served if you’ll watch it with your mom.

GENRE:  Melodrama, Family     GRADE:  B+

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Come Rain, Come Shine (2011) – The break up theme, the sad tone and the slow pacing are evident throughout the story.  It is such an emotion driven film that if the actors won’t portray their ends well, you won’t feel it, but they did a great job touching my tear nerves.

When you have to share your last day with someone you used to love, and probably someone you still love, how would you react on it?  How would you throw the memories and accept the fact that the love was not really meant to go on?  These questions sum up what this painfully break up movie was about.

GENRE:  Romance     GRADE:  A

COME RAIN, COME SHINE QUICK RECAP

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♥ Champ (2011) – This is my second horse-racing-themed movie, and I kept my fingers crossed that I will not be disappointed.  It started slowly but it sort of won me over at the end.  I have loved Cha Tae Hyun in all his movies, and this might not have been a very strong performance for him compared to his previous works, but I liked it nonetheless.

A famous horse jockey hit a slump after he met an accident and lost his wife.  He found his way again when he met a sort of hard to rein horse.  Their connection brought him back to the horse racing world and gave another hope in his life, but it was interrupted when he became blind.

There were a few points in the movie that were nailed perfectly.  The water scene when the horse jockey and the horse first created their connection was full of warmth.  The competition scenes were shot splendidly, and the tear-jerker scenes of the daughter deserved a decent applause.

So aside from the heavy and well portrayed scenes, the story itself is a typical human interest movie.  The strength of the movie came from the characters, but nothing spectacular or lingering.  It will touch your heart, make you cry and make you laugh, but you will easily forget it when you watch another movie.  It felt like a sticky sweet kiss from your favorite niece or nephew, but not the kind of kiss where you would want something more.

GENRE:  Family, Sports, Comedy     GRADE:  B

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Hello Ghost (2010) – Tae Hyun oppa once again showed his exceptional acting ability on this comical-sixth-sense movie.  His shifting from different characters is one of the reasons why he’s one of my favorite actors.  I was close to going to Hogwarts Forbidden Forest to attempt to retrieve the Resurrection Stone for the perky family to live through.   I have to watch Tae-Hyun oppa’s Sad Movie, next week.  He has made me cry twice already this week.

Sang-man has been living all alone, and because he has no reason to live, he has been resorting to suicide, but he was rescued from his attempts.  After another unsuccessful trying, he met new friends, and for the first time in his life, he will not be alone as he meets up new friends imported from after-world.   The quest of fulfilling his dead friends’ bucket wishes will be the only guarantee that they will leave him, so off they set to do those wishes as they teach him how to enjoy and value life.

This is an amazingly done supernatural family movie that you will enjoy watching with your family.  The twist won me over willingly and no questions asked.  It was just the perfect icing on the cake. 

The cast ensembles did their respective job in keeping up with the sunny vibe and upbeat tone throughout the movie.  *wink 

GENRE:  Family, Comedy, Fantasy     GRADE:  A+

HELLO GHOST MOVIE RECAP

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♥ MY GF is a Cyborg (2008) –  This is gonna be hard for me because most of Kwak Jae-yong’s movie I really like, but there’s always an exception, not that I didn’t find this flick appealing, but it did not leave a very strong impact on me compared with his previous films.  I’m coming to terms that Director Kwak Jae-yong, either has had his fair share of heartaches or he’s still waiting for his first love to come because his film pattern always involve ever-after future or present time element story insert.  In this film, the time element was presented intricately and will give you a very pretty climax.

A cyborg girl from the future travels to the present time to spend time with Jiro- the man in the future destined to create her.  This is a beautiful story equally enchanting like that of ET and Elliot with literally a twist of time and fate. 

I felt that the lead girl really stood out in the entirety of the movie, the main lead is adorable but our robot princess was fabulous.  It started with the poignant meeting of two people from different time, crawled steadily through the middle of the film and kicked a very nice climax at the end.  I liked that the story focused on how the character’s emotions grow (well technically, that of the girl revealed super late in the future) and how they evolved in the story as the story evolved around them too.  What I found missing is the spike of a typical rom-com movie, that limbo-like feeling of being in between the character’s love while devouring the duration of the movie.  While the characters connected strongly with each other, they weren’t able to touch my romantic nerves, and the last time I checked, I no longer have faulty romantic veins.

This is sweet and satisfying, and although I didn’t like it so very much I still recommend that you watch this movie because in its own right, it’s a real beauty. 

GENRE:  Romance, Fantasy     GRADE:  B+

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♥ My Black Mini Dress (2011) – A friendship tale of four ladies and their challenges as they face the real world.  It is a story of the frustrations of not being able to conjure in reality what you have dreamt, and getting by with it with a little help from your friends and yourself.

It made me miss my girlfriends, I sent them “iluvu” messages after watching it.  *wink 

Most girls can relate to the story of these ladies.  I did, maybe because I was also stuck with the job I was not expecting to have, and maybe because when I and my girls grew up, our priorities changed as our problems became harder.  What I got from this movie was a “friendship check”… a reminder to find some time and catch up with them and see how they have been. 

This was a simply laid movie with minimal light tones.  Not all the characters were strongly portrayed though, that’s I guess what I can fail in this movie.  They presented the struggles of each character and had it solved because of their friendship.  Their own personal struggles were not dealt with accordingly.  At some point it’s really plain and dragging but you have to finish it to realize that there’s an after-effect.   

It is not a perfect friendship movie, but it’s laid back and a few perky notes is enough for you to consider hanging out with these women.

GENRE:  Friendship, Drama     GRADE:   B

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♥ Lost and Found (2008) – If you are looking for an endearing and vibrant rom-com movie night with your boyfriend, this darling will delight you.  It’s ever moving and no dull moment.  From the feisty main female lead, the cholatey sweet lead man and the oozingly hot second male lead, this is a kind of Christmas gift you’d promise you’ll open on Christmas day, but when no one is looking out, you’ll sneak to see what it is.

Ji-ho has liked Min-woo since High School.  As her luck ran out with her current job, she bumped with her crush again when she was hit by his car while chasing the snatcher who took her bag.  She took that chance to pretend that she can’t remember anything to fulfill her 10-year dream of spending time with her crush.

But her neighbor-friend-who-secretly-loves-her, Dong-shik spoiled her staying at Min-woo’s house and brought her home while she still firmly held on her supposed amnesia.

She finally got Min-woo’s attention but Dong-shik was also determined to win the girl he has loved all her life.

This is about realizing the right love for you and chasing the romance no matter how long it will take.

GENRE:  Romantic Comedy     GRADE:  A

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Sad Movie (2005) – So finally I was able to watch this star-studded movie.  Due to my attention problems, I like it more if there are fewer characters, but I don’t think it harmed the movie by having a lot of people moving in it.  But the stories of the characters here I believe could have stood alone, if it were made to individual flicks.  I think Hollywood had been doing those 4-in-one-intertwining-life-and-love-movies, and I’m not really a fan.

At any rate, this is a movie full of love, and I’m planning to put up a separation agency too, but I’ll be princess cupid, I’ll handle not just break ups but love second chances too.

Back to the movie… this is about a motherly love and a little boy’s love to his dying mom… a man’s love to a woman but is hindered because he can’t seem to find a stable life… a Snowhite mascot and theme park painter’s extraordinary sweet romance… and a lovestory between a fireman and a woman…

I think they titled it sad movie because of the sad endings, but regardless, you’ll stick to the film’s conclusion.  It’s not that spectacular considering the cast ensemble, but I did like the no complications, flowing narration of the film.  It’s best watched in the afternoon while the wind plays with the foliage behind your windows.  This is saddeningly disarming and calmingly good. 

GENRE:  Romance, Melodrama     GRADE:  B+

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Please Teach Me English (2003) –  When government public officials weren’t able to address a foreigner’s electric bill concern, they decided to spin a bottle to determine who will study English to avoid being tested under the same situation again.  The lucky girl who was picked was Young-ju and from there her goal to learn English language coincided with feeling her first ever love who turned out to be the playboy salesman whose drive to study English came from his dream to meet his sister who was adopted abroad.  The conflict rose when Young-ju felt that her first romance was just one-sided, but then again the player Mun-su realized her worth in the end.

This one is cheerful and dandy and one of those mushy train scene endings which will pull a sweet sigh from you no matter how much you hold it in.  I now officially like Lee Na-Young as most of the movies I’ve watched of her well are prettily done.  She’s like the female version of Cha Tae-hyun oppa for me.

This is your prototype rom-com movie.

GENRE:  Romantic Comedy  GRADE:  B

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♥ Sex is Zero (2002) – Delving in the exploits and adventures of college life, this has interesting characters, sporadic acts and memory reminder of the good ole days of adult learning.

This for me is the saddest yet sweetest fall back person love story.  I think cupid’s arrows were really unfair.  It only shoots to people with mutual feelings to each other.  If it has special features of making a one-sided love be two-sided, the world will be a better place.

Hilariously presented the yin and yang of college life… those bad choices, the sticky friendship, the thrilling relationships, the dead ends and the coming out of it.  Eun-hyo (Ha Ji Won) played the character of a college girl who engaged in a relationship with a man not worthy of it, and who was adored by another man she doesn’t love.

I have mixed feelings on this movie, it was fun to watch, even engaging at the time you are watching it, but now when I look back it didn’t form an attachment to me considering it is a Ha Ji Won movie.  It was good while it last, but there was no after taste from it.

GENRE:  Romance, Comedy, School      GRADE:  C

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♥ My Wife is a Gangster (2001) – In order to please her dying long lost sister, ladyboss gangster Eun-jin embarked in a husband hunting adventure, and settled with a good-hearted man Soo-il who was not aware of her kick-ass identity.

I won’t say I didn’t like the movie, the premise is interesting… a kind-hearted man marrying a strong mafia-ish woman, but it will just give you a satisfactory feel.  The fight scenes were neutral and it fit the presentation of the story, if the action sequences were more than beyond it could have totally wiped out the emotion of the film.

Mediocre, sometimes messy, mischievously enjoyable and with a couple of comic acts that will put a grin in your face.

GENRE:  Comedy, Light Gangster, Romance     GRADE:  B

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♥ The Client (2011) – A courtroom thriller that probed on a case of a husband allegedly murdering his wife.

The battle of wits and evidences and the suspense filled investigation will inevitably cause you to stick your attention to the end of the movie.   Just when I accepted the closure and bought the defense’ argument, the end revelation put a cunning smile on my face.

Well done, well played and well ended. 

GENRE:  Drama, Thriller     GRADE:  B+

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The Chaser (2008) – I’ll call it a Criminal Minds episode set in the big screen.  It has successfully laid the requirements for a thrilling serial killer movie.  My only issue though is that I was not left anticipating with the whole psychopath interrogating, tracking and killing.  I felt that the main man tracing the killer’s steps can stand alone, and that the whole police questioning was a useless sequence.  Not that I like it with more bloodbath, but it’s one of those things where you wished the police will only come after the big event.  Nevertheless, I will still recommend for you to watch this movie. 

GENRE:  Thriller, Drama     GRADE:  B+

THE CHASER QUICK SUMMARY

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Fly High (2006) – This is yet another dying girl movie… Yeah, I’m already spoiling it on my first sentence. 

Min-hyuk met his first love in the most awkward place where love can spring – the rest room, and when he confirmed the first surge of romance in his body, he did all he can to win the girl’s heart.  But since the girl is dying she has no choice but not to reciprocate.  She left for further treatment abroad and came back after two years, not successful and just waiting for the expected death. 

Min-hyuk stayed her loving boyfriend until she rested in peace.  He’s so teddy-bear-ish and that man you’d hope to have as your first romance.

I did find the male lead’s performance well and heartfelt but I have some issues with the female lead because there were some emotions that were not displayed at scenes that were most important to be presented.  It’s supposed to be a sad movie, but my heart was not moved, nor did I cry.

A few heart flutters here and there, but if you have watched the classic love films, you will find it mediocre.

GENRE:  Romance, Melodrama     GRADE:  C

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Miss Gold digger (2007) –  Min-soo cultivates love.  I remember that All about Anna movie when I saw this perky flick.  She playfully flirted with three men, a smart-potential-prosecutor; a rich-romantic-business man; and a young-talented-rapper.  But her search for the perfect lover gave her a dose of her own medicine and she will realize that love is something you do not plan but you let it happen.

After her brat moment in Myungwol the Spy, I really enjoyed Han Ye-seul’s performance in this love searching/waiting/affirming movie.  Her lead man is already on my stalker list.  He’s not that oozingly hot, but he has this air of being dangerous. 

This is charming, playful and feisty… will give you a Carrie Bradshaw vibe, a bit tamer though… enjoyable and a nice watch with your girlfriends or even your boyfriend. 

GENRE:  Romantic Comedy     GRADE:  B+

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♥ The Housemaid (2010) – Dark, twisted romance where character motivations were clearly defined.  A sexy thriller worth your Saturday night.

Eun-yi works as a househelp in a rich household.  Her primary concern is taking care of the daughter of the eccentric couple.  She engaged in an illicit affair with the father of the household, and when she got pregnant, she was forced to give up the baby. 

The chandelier hanging bursting in fire ending scene, and the amazing hot body of Jae-jun oppa made this melo-drama sizzling and strangely likeable regardless of its gloomy tone. 

GENRE:  DRAMA, TRAGEDY     GRADE:  B

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♥Frivolous Wife (2008) – It was like putting Lee-shin inside a snow globe and staring at its serene picture.  It has high and low notes but it’s fun and the baseball hottie from My Little Bride grew up to what I expected him of, a fine handsome man.

Yeon-soo is god’s gift to men, she’s rich, pretty and an only daughter of a land magnate.  When she finally meets her match, she defies her life and moves to live with Jeon-do, a descendant from a traditional family.  She learns to adapt her role as a granddaughter in law the best way she can, and ends up claiming the ever after she so wanted.

I laughed for a minute in the scene when she is already comfortable with the housework and volunteered on cleaning the soy sauce jars, she chants happily and then when she saw the hundreds of jars, my laughter erupts big time.

Considering I don’t know much of the actors, I did enjoy the movie, well I’m partly blaming my recently fondness over sageuk dramas, but it’s really a nice movie to watch.  Simply adorable.

GENRE:  Romantic Comedy     GRADE:  B+

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♥ The case of Itaewon Homicide (2009) – This suspense picture is mediocre and forgettable.  Jang Geun Seok is hot, therefore I stared at him faithfully even if he played on his dark tone in this movie.  This is just one of those passing films that you will watch if you don’t want to read the book or you want a live adaptation of a web story you read.

A young college student unfortunately was murdered by someone he hasn’t met for the first time.  The prosecutor office embarked on an investigation to prove the suspects guilty, but they have to deal with contradicting testimonies and law technicalities.   In the end though justice was not served rightly.

This movie was based on a true story.  I found the portrayals lacking except for Prosecutor Park.  I was pulling the yarn for the film credits to appear because I don’t like how it was so predictable and plain.

GENRE:  DRAMA, THRILLER       GRADE:  C

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♥ The Good The Bad and the Weird (2008) – A Korean bandit, an assassin and a bounty hunter in Western vibe set in Manchurian backdrop.  This film is cool, amusing and engrossing.  The ass kicking fight scenes, Song Kang Ho’s classic self, Lee Byung Hun’s quick abs showcase and my currently running adoration for Jung Woo Sung are some of the reasons why I enjoyed this beauty, but more than that are the excellent fight visuals, the fluidity of the story and how the main leads live up to their existing hype and bear the best that they can to nail an amazing action picture that even a woman like me enjoyed so much.

GENRE:  Action, Adventure, Comedy     GRADE:  B+

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♥ Natalie (2010)– Whoa!  The movie kicks off and it was all steamy sex right there and then.  It was yet another love misplaced story.  I don’t know why we girls have at some point in our life has to fall for the wrong guy, if not entirely wrong, it’s a man who will realize too late our worth.

Either enjoy or don’t mind the sizzling sex scenes and delve to the nature of the story… The eccentric passion of the lead actor, the woman who fell for the wrong man, and the man who loved a girl who can’t love him back.

GENRE:  Romance, R18       GRADE:  B

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♥ Loveholic (2009) – A bored housewife was seduced by her husband’s friend, the husband engaged in an affair with his wife’s friend… what a string connected love quadrangle.  There’s nothing much going except the infidelity.  The excuses they all have for being unfaithful are their own struggles on how they can’t be happy.  It was an incomplete closure and I felt that the cheating motivations were poorly depicted. The love scenes are not that much steamy, oh well maybe because I watched Natalie first.  Watch at your own risk… tutututut…  watch it when you’re about to sleep.

GENRE:  Romance w/ adult content     GRADE:  C

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♥ The Uninvited (2003) – Seeing Jun Ji-hyun in a psychological thriller was something new, and come to think of it she has that distinct crying face.  It was a plainly laid suspense movie.  Actually I didn’t feel any goose bumps at all.  The shamanic abilities, the little ghost girls and the court case presented I felt were not fitting perfectly.  It felt like putting a magnet and placing something metallic around it but no attraction will eventually happen.  It was supposed to scare my thoughts but I’m afraid it did not.

A man was seeing the ghosts of two girls he encountered on a train one night and they always sat on a table bought by his fiancée.  He can’t seem to dismiss them until he met a woman who can also see them.  The woman helped him uncover the previous life he had as he got entangled with the past he tried to forget and the woman’s frailties and secrets.

It was not scintillatingly freaky so it’s a good warm up if you are on a Korean thriller spree.  It was not that bad, it’s just that it was too easy to understand and will not leave you haunted and thinking.

GENRE:  Horror     GRADE:  C

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Quick (2011) –  I was not expecting much on this movie, hell I didn’t even do a background check which I normally do, but it held me drooling on it the whole time without any rest room break. 

It was a biker movie, and on that note I was really like uttering ancient chants that it won’t bore me.  So when the action-packed motorbike scene begins, the stunts and the speed blew me away.

Gi Su (Lee Min Ki) is a legendary fast biker who works as the errand guy for his friend’s courier service.  In one of his messenger job, he got pop star Ah Rom as his customer and asked him to drive her for their scheduled performance.  Little did they know that someone plot a bomb on Gi Su’s helmet and Ah-rom insisted on wearing the helmet so they got caught up following a bomber-slash-creepy-guy to bring packages meaning to blow up the receivers.  The catch is they can’t part beyond 10 meters or the helmet will explode so they set to follow “big brother’s orders”.

 Here’s a movie you can enjoy with your boyfriend, not so much romance but definitely entrancing and exciting. 

GENRE:  Action, Comedy     GRADE:  B+

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Once In A Summer (2006) – It is one of the sweetest “summer love” movie I’ve seen unfortunately though they didn’t get their ever after.  Lee Byung Hun translates to the man you won’t regret committing infidelity if you are currently in a relationship.  He’s just so manly in an I-want-to-throw-myself-in-your-arms-kind-of-way.  Su-Ae has such an expressive eyes and her blithe nature in this love movie complemented the endearing character of Byung-hun oppa.  Lee Byung Hun mostly did action films so it was a breather when he suited up the role for this romcom delight.

A felicity filled tale that will leave you fetching and at the same time agonizing.  It was a sweet melancholic movie of finding love and holding on to it even if it has long been gone.

GENRE:  Romance     GRADE:  A

ONCE IN A SUMMER QUICK MOVIE REVIEW

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♥ Welcome to Dongmakgol (2005)It definitely live up to my expectations and the critics’ rave.  This is a warm action/war film narrated stunningly through the characters who buoyantly brought life to the simple and yet arresting storyline.  All elements synchronized to create a masterpiece that thrived on human emotions.
In the middle of Korean war, soldiers from North and South ended up in a remote village.  A US navy captain was also stranded there and to retrieve him the US force have planned to release a bomb to Dongmakgol.  In their stay to the village, they develop connection to the people and be friends with one another.
I love how the movie wad richly narrated, and although it has a sad ending, I felt that it didn’t make the movie less appealing.  Full of heart and beautifully done.  The climactic ending was a sight to behold, be sad and be pondered about.

GENRE:  Light Action, Drama, Comedy     GRADE:  A

Spellbound aka Chilling Romance (2011) – I bet they were just counting on Son Ye Jin and Lee Min Ki’s star power to pull this off.  Nothing much special about it, typical, and the movie just passed by.  I felt that the chemistry was there but the story was not.

Kang Yu-ri has literally an emotional scary baggage.  She sees dead people.  Her sixth sense ability has saddled her to be accustomed in living alone and avoiding human contact.  But things change when a street magician Ma Jo-goo entered her life, and soon enough they both are aware of the budding romance between them, but they have to defy a grumpy ghost who was Yu-ri’s ex bestfriend Joo-hee, but died in an accident they were both together. 

I will say the talents were wasted here, and if not for the screen presence of the lead couple, the viewer won’t stay afloat.  It was like a denouement all the time, the problem was there, but there was no “what now”?

I’m sure you’ll grab another movie after, and when you doze off, there’s no trace in your memory that the movie happened.  It was enchanting when it’s on the light notes, but the conflict and the plot didn’t justify what could have been a something new romance.  Nevertheless, it’s still a must to watch if you’re a fan of both the lead actors, like me.

GENRE:  Romance, Fantasy thriller      GRADE:  B

SPELLBOUND aka Chilling Romance Movie Musings

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♥ PUNCH (2011) – I am aware that women from poor countries sometimes have no choice but to marry for convenience, and I’m lucky I was able to get another option aside from that.  This movie is invoking, and I appreciate that they did not stoop down to immigrants, but instead emphasized on presenting the viewers what a strong person they are to live in a foreign land to survive.  

To put up the essence of the movie without giving any aspersions is something the filmmaker should be proud of.

The main actors Wan-deuk and Dong-jo set a new kind of bromance, that  bickers amusingly but accidentally brought out the best of one another.

This was a blithe tale of accepting who you are and what extent you can be by embracing the life you did not choose but fought hard to decide the best shot on it.

GENRE:  Drama, Family     GRADE:  A

PUNCH MOVIE RECAP

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 Harmony (2010) – Not since The Longest Yard did I enjoy a prison-set film.  This movie warmed my heart and made me even prouder being a daughter, a sister and a woman.

Each woman in the story contributed to an emotion fest offering that lingered in my thoughts and erupted tears in my eyes as the film worked on the personal struggles and victories of the characters.  

GENRE:  Melodrama, Family, Friendship     GRADE:  A+

 

 A Reason To Live (2011) – I didn’t like the movie.  I don’t know what part in my sense of feeling it was trying to get through, but I totally just felt nothing while watching it. 
 
I can’t point out its strength nor discuss its weakness.  If you are a Song Hye Gyo fan, you can watch it, and just remind yourself that she gave you full house and worlds within, if not… pick something else.

GENRE:  Drama      GRADE:  F

 Detective K (2011) – Move over Sherlock Holmes… Here comes Detective K. 
 
Set in Joseon era, be amused with the clever detective and his side kick as they unfold the truth behind the King’s enemies.
 
With impeccable wit and comic timing, this comedy-mistery film will make you feel dandy, lively and entertained.

GENRE:  Action, Adventure     GRADE:  B+

Innocent Steps (2005) -This sweet dance movie was an emotion pond. It made me feel warm, giddyish, frustrated, disappointed, annoyed, sad, appeased and then eventually blissful.
 
The fake marriage, dance moves and the simple yet sure love launched a well deserved love sigh from me.
 
P.S  I love the footprints practice dance floor. 

GENRE:  Romance, Dance     GRADE:  B+

  The Relation of Face, Mind and Love (2009) – I was expecting a lot I must admit because it was Kang Ji Hwan oppa and Lee Ji Ah, but then again I have to charge this to experience because the strong beginning wasn’t able to sustain a story worth keeping.

Kang Tae Pung is a famous architect who had a car accident but his car life-saving bag was able to save him causing minor injury that is “temporary visual impairment”.   So he sort of saw ugly things beautiful and beautiful things ugly.   He then met Wang So-jung, a cheerful-not-so-pretty lady but because of his eye problems she appeared to be his long lost dream girl.  So they then engaged to a whirlwind romance and when his vision went back to reality, her fairytale dream also ended. 

There’s not much love spell and I wondered how Ji Hwan oppa and Ji Ah unni must have felt after their finished film.   It was not ugly but it was just free flowing to somewhere you wouldn’t want to follow.  *yawn

GENRE:  Romantic Comedy      GRADE:  D

Villain and Widow (2010) – Kim Hye-su and Han Su-kyung teamed up in this awkward sometimes funny cohabitation of a conman and a widow saddled with money issues.

Kim Hye Su played the role of a widow who rented the second floor of her house to Han Su Kyung to help in their financial problem.  Han Su Kyung meanwhile took advantage of the lease offer to find a famous tea cup of antique importance that is sought after by a chaebol heir who was in the brink of losing his value to his family and the only thing that could salvage him to stay afloat was that china teacup.  So the villain was summoned to retrieve it and thus he embarked on an I-am-a-writer-scheme to try and look for the elusive teacup which the widow’s husband hid in the house. 

A little cute romance here and there and a scattered shower of humor every now and then were some of the reasons why I finished the movie.  To be honest it was not really that much interesting, but the main leads interaction was fun to watch.  It sort of bland most of the time but it has still managed not to go to the brink of boring-ness.  The good times are mainly when the lead couple did their sort of sweet moments and adult bickering.  Well anyway, it was still a comic watch regardless. 

GENRE:  Comedy      GRADE:  B

 Pained (2011) – This is the first time I saw Kwon Sang Woo as an actor, he felt so human to me that I stayed in the duration of the movie.
 
This was told with no frills attached and in its all natural beauty that I found it sad and yet bracing. 

GENRE:  Romance, Melodrama     GRADE:  A

PAINED QUICK MOVIE MUSINGS

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♥ Sector 7 (2011) – I didn’t see it in 3D but graphics and visual effects wise it felt the same level with Hollywood “beat-the-monster” films.  Hmmmm it was your typical Anaconda vibe flick, the humans thrive on their wit to survive and defeat the monster but they were unsuccessful except Ha Ji Won unni. 

For a thriller I stayed calm and comfy on my bed watching it so it didn’t really boost the fear factor side of me.  I already have foreseen the outcome of the villain so I’ll give this movie an average score for the effects and Ji Won unni’s stunts.  As a rule, thrillers should never be predictable, the viewers should always be on an anticipating ride, and that I didn’t achieve in watching this movie.

GENRE:  Sci-fi, Action     GRADE:  C

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♥ Never Ending Story (2012) – In tradition of the death bound conflict on Korean love stories, this charming movie was able to balance the premise and have it set to both the lead couple’s having after life bargains.
 
Oh Song Kyung worked at a bank and has lived her life planned into the smallest details, but what she did not prepare for was a malady that came instantly in her life.  She met Kang Dong Joo who was her exact opposite.  He lives a spontaneous life and never failing to lose hope that he’ll win the lottery someday. The two met because both of them were diagnosed at the same hospital and soon they embark on a bucket list fulfillment that involves funeral preparations for Song Kyung and lottery station hunts for Dong Joo.

 
What this movie achieved was setting a sad note to a brighter perception. It was a film about death but the lively scenes and characters have pulled a different take on life’s passing. The love couple were adorable and swung an Edward-Bella pull worthy of your smile and sigh.
I love that it was so natural and that they first slept together inside a coffin and never ending to a traditional bed. 

A carefree movie I would definitely recommend.  This was a romance charmer that will raise mirth one moment and then tug your heart at another time.  Watching it made me not expect outcomes or predict what will happen because the conflict surged up when it commenced, but I was left watching them as they have a good time alongside the struggle with their inevitable death.
It was simply done but happily narrated, and that made it hit home in me.
Radiant and resonating, this is a must watch darling.  *wink

GENRE:  Romantic Comedy      GRADE:  A+

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♥ Always (2011) – And I finally got the chance to spend an afternoon full of loving vibes.  I received lots of raves about this movie and I must agree to the warm response “Always” has received.  It made me miss the feeling of being in love, and I was left smiling, calmed and inspired as I immersed myself in a love story between two people who found love in their vulnerabilities.

Im Jung Hwa was saddled with temporary blindness after surviving from a car accident that killed her parents.  She works as a customer service representative over the phone and has lived her life in full swing optimism despite of her disability.

Jang Chul-min was a former boxer who after quitting the profession settled to being a merciless bounty hunter, but in one of his bounty mission he found motivation to start his life in good faith again. 

Little by little fondness grew between them, with a life he was never proud of and nothing much to offer, Chul-min mustered whatever he has and took responsibility of a blind woman’s heart.

“Always” broke the romantic dry spell I’ve been having for a while now.  It played with the cutesies, the sweetness, the laidback and the contentment feel of a love movie.

On a distracting note, and I mean it to be really utmost distracting… So Ji Sub in his rough, untidy look was a sight to behold, and the short showcase of his abs was a manna from heaven.

The last movie I liked was Postman to Heaven which was also a movie of Han Hyo Joo.  Playing a sweet, optimist blind Han Hyo-joo connected to her lead man so well that the blue ray screen emanating love swept the romantic side of me.

Seeing the love grew, saddled, steadied, lost and fulfilled was I think the reason why it created huge admiration.  It was an ever after not of a prince and a princess, but by two people whose hearts can love each other with their eyes closed.

GENRE:  Romance     GRADE:  A

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♥ Penny Pinchers aka Many a Little Romance (2011) – I’m getting interesting love couple combination making my special day today worthy of slumping on my bed and making my heart and eyes happy.

 Hong-sil has an addiction to save money after bankruptcy hit her family causing her mother’s death and her father losing himself to gambling. If I get to adapt her saving strategy, I bet I will get a lot from it. So she lives a lonely life until she meets Ji-woong who struggled in getting himself a regular job. She taught him the trick of her trade and we get kmovieland’s first ever penny pincher couple.

 It was not a movie full of awesome love vibes but I was able to finish it without complaint. I think I liked it because the treatment of how their love was realized was because they trusted each other and they are both willing to sacrifice and appreciate each other’s worth.

You will find that “the boy did the impossible to make the girl happy” will now be always a resident element in a Korean romantic movie.

 A mixture of fun, friendship, forced cohabitation, saving money crash course, some cute no money involved dating ideas and a lead couple that were both fitting in their roles. Penny pincher is a stress reliever after a week’s work.

GENRE:  Romantic Comedy      GRADE:  B+

 

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♥ The Crucible (2011) – The crucible touched a very delicate issue and I’m thankful that such eye opening film like this was produced.

An art teacher moved to another city to accept a post in a school for special children. What he was not prepared for was the reality that his visually and hearing impaired students who haven’t even had their families to take care of them were violated mercilessly by their own teachers and the headmaster.

 It’s a rage inducing towards the evilness of the world kind of film. But whenever power was wrongfully used, hope and faith will always find its way to protect the weak.

 A moving, inspiring and a reality biting spectacle not worth missing.

GENRE:  Drama     GRADE:  B+

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♥ Love Fiction (2011) – A fiction writer fell in love with a bizaare girl and has to flounder with her infamous history with boys, hairy armpit and heedless actions.
While I enjoyed most of it, I felt detached after watching it.  It has an interesting  lead couple who was able to justify the characters and the love conflict they were playing, but it doesn’t have the romantic appeal that will make you think of it when you sleep at night.

Interestingly done but mediocre… Feel good and funny but forgettable.

GENRE:  Romantic Comedy     GRADE:  B

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♥ Dancing Queen (2012) – I honestly didn’t enjoy watching this dream-finding-dream-realization movie.  When the movie ended, I just sighed and said “okaaayyyy”.  It did well in the box office that’s why I was curious, and then curiousity killed me badly. haha

The lead couple were childhood neighbors and met again in college.  They got married and has been living a simple life but when opportunity to pick up their forgotten dreams opened, they seized it.  But then eventually they both hindered their dream decisions. Uhm Jung-hwa hid her joining a girl group while her husband was campaigning for the city mayor office, and when it was revealed it damaged her husband’s dream.

So the movie wants to impart that not all opportunities knock once, and if they knock again, we have to claim it.  It touched on the giving-up-dreams-because-of-marriage issues which the society normally overlooked especially on the woman’s side. It was inspiring and easily narrated.  For a woman, it pointed on how much you can give to stand beside your man when you have your own dreams he doesn’t realize.

It felt good, it looked nice but I was not drawn by it.

GENRE:  Romance, Dance, Drama     GRADE:  B

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♥ Introduction to Architecture aka Architecture 101 (2012) – Architecture 101 was another first-love movie… cute, sweet and nostalgic, but it failed to indulge me.

A woman traced her first love to make him fulfill his promise of making her dream house.  They met in college when the woman took an architecture introductory class.  Because they live in the same town, they do activities together relating to their class.  They were both unaware of each other’s love feeling, and they were able to confess their love when it was too late because the lost love cannot salvage the present they have now.


It was another sad first-love film, and I liked seeing the 2012 kdrama actors in a sort of reunion in this production.
The flashbacks kept me afloat as it drove love to melancholy.  So what do you do when you have another chance you have kept for a long while?  That’s the question this movie asked.

GENRE:  Romance, Melodrama     GRADE:  B

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♥ Wonderful Radio (2012) – Although it’s a nice and refreshing film, I felt that the love was missing.  Well it was not really a romance movie even with the kiss scene at the end, it was character driven and much as I want to relate with her, there were some critical scenes I found lacking.
 
A radio dj hosts a program “Wonderful Radio” which has a segment where civilians can impart their message to someone and sing a song after.  She used to be a member of a famous girl group and is wanting to get back to the music scene.  She clashes with the program director at first but they eventually hit the right note and became closer.
 
The conflict supporting the conflict I didn’t like.  I didn’t like what their problem was at all.  If it was a love movie then they should have sprinkled it with a couple romance, and no, a kiss scene at the end doesn’t qualify for it to be called a romantic movie.  The villains didn’t annoy me and the story was there but the characters were disconnected.  This movie somehow looked like big love drama but in radio world setting.  It was a fair watch but I was not amused by it.

GENRE:  Romance     GRADE:  C

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♥ Sunny (2011) – This is one of the best friendship movies I’ve seen in my life.  It made me dig back memories I’ve shared with my high school girl friends.

A reflective film that will make you stop and think for a while to wonder and reminisce one of the best days of your life.  It made me cry and happy at the same time.

A dedicated mother and wife accidentally bumped with her dying high school friend and from there they relive the old times while looking for the rest of their circle of friendship.  Told in shifting time, the film beautifully captured the depth of friendship built with trust and respect.

This is a movie that will make you love your friends even more.  An appreciative story that tells how a friendship stays regardless of reasons and changes after all those times.

 GENRE:  Drama, Friendship     GRADE:  A

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♥ More Than Blue (2009) – More than blue less the falling in love and dying part made me yearn to have a boy bestfriend. A film so tender and heartfelt, it will give you that sweet regret feeling as you sleep. The dearest melancholic I-secretly-love-my-bestfriend-movie I have ever seen.

K and Cream were both orphans who decided to live together and become besties, but fate will eventually take K because he has leukemia. As he secretly love his bestfriend he wished that someone will take care of her when he’s gone. Unbeknownst to him Cream accidentally learned of his condition and in an effort to make him happy she fulfilled his dream of her getting married.

Kwon Sang Woo has given me two lovely films so far.

What I love about this movie is the transparency of the characters, it’s as if I’m staring at my neighbor’s life because they acted so naturally good and painfully remembering.

The sad ending was really sadder than sadness but how it concluded was clearly satisfying.

GENRE:  Romance, Melodrama     GRADE:  A

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♥ Blind (2011)– A fairly done thriller about a woman who became blinded after a car accident. She lost her brother and also failed to go back to the police academy. In an unfortunate twist of event she will be marked by a serial killer and will be able to survive and free herself of the long running guilt she felt after losing her brother in the accident.

Any movie with an adorable dog wins my heart over, and Seul-ki, the guide dog here made me cry.

 It was a suspense filled movie that drew strength from the main character’s vulnerability.

 GENRE:  Drama, Thriller     GRADE:  B+

 

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♥ M (2008) – I had a hard time digesting the movie. I can’t sway my grasshopper-ish attention span because the movie was so attention seeking. The crisp and avant-garde cinematography was jaw dropping and I’m all praises to the editing.

 A fiction writer Min-woo flounders with his job and a girl who kept visiting his imagination. It brought him to leave his sanity and caused rift to his real life marriage. In between the reality and his mentally indisposed self, it was revealed that the girl was his first love.

 The story was not in a hurried pace, and yet I really mustered all the focus I can get to be immersed on it. It’s the kind of movie a film professor should have his students watch because of how superb it was done technically complementing an unconventional plot

 It’s a sad first love movie that was presented incorporating subconscious yearnings and realms of the imagination that kept our deepest longings.

 What I loved about it was the conflict done in modern vibe and mind boggling way but never leaving the sweet and painful narrative of losing your first love… thinking you are over the memories… and finding yourself haunted and affected by it because you haven’t truly given up on it.

GENRE:  Psychological Drama     GRADE:  B+

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♥ The Restless (2006) – A supernatural fest that reminded me of Sword of Truth and Lord of the Rings. Superior visual effects, rolling action scenes throughout and Joong Woo Sung oppa are the reasons why I liked the movie. There’s not much of a plot really and even gasping, gripping or jaw-dropping moment… They relied on their flamboyant visuals at the very least.

Set in Midheaven, a place where people who died stays to wait for their reincarnation to happen.. a demon slayer who was formerly the chief of an elite ghost slayer was transported to the place.  He chanced upon So Hwa,  a member of the governing circle of the midlands. So Hwa looked exactly Yi Gwak’s lover (Yonhwa) who was burned by the townspeople because of the belief that she has supernatural abilities.

Yi Gwak has to stand in between the woman he loved and lost and his fellow soldiers who all died on earth after pursuing a rebellion. He further learned that their deaths were intentional as they seek to defy the heavens and change the world. So Hwa held a powerful stone that they needed to claim their victory, so Yi Gwak traded his life to protect her and hope that he will meet her again.

If you are up for supernatural adventure then you can try this one, but don’t expect much chimeric after effect when you are done watching.

GENRE:  Fantasy, Adventure, Romance     GRADE:  B

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♥ Standing Sleeping Tree (2009) – The story of a dying firefighter as he takes on the road about his condition. Being a father, a husband and a friend, the film dealt with the point of view of a person facing death as he settles his affair while feeling the pain of leaving his family and life.

There hasn’t been any manual invented to guide you when you are bound to leave someone and it’s against your will.  That being said this movie evokes that feeling of hopelessness and being being hopeful at the same time.

Although nothing spectacular is in store in this movie, it will not make you hit the stop button. It’s a sad and an easy watch. It’s actually like coming from a book and narrated as it is.  I want to be nice but there’s nothing much going on this movie.

GENRE:  Melodrama      GRADE:  C

 

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♥The Scent (2012) – Following a suspension because of an adultery claim, Detective Kang Sun-woo temporarily ran a secret investigation company that specializes in adultery cases.  One of her clients dragged him to a motel where she claimed to have her husband with another girl, but he woke up and saw his client killed and his supposed husband was also murdered in the adjacent room.  The husband’s mistress was in shock, and because the situation will go bad against him who was at the wrong place and time, he dragged the corpse and buried it.  When he learned that the girl was the real wife of the murdered husband, the detective will investigate a case in which he was unluckily framed up.

It was at first interesting.  Kim So Yeon’s multiple personality went from the vulnerable wife to insufferable tease and nothing-fazes me persona, but there’s not much substance, depth and retribution in her character.  There were some thrilling chases, boggling concepts, but there was no climax.  A little sex scenes here and there, and Kim So yeon’s nude parts will kept hold of a man’s interest.

It was not a real good deal, but it’ still worth watching.  The suspense will suffice for me to give it a mediocre rating. 

GENRE:  Thriller, Mystery w/ adult content     GRADE:  C

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♥ Bunt (2006) – 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.

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.

GENRE:  Family    GRADE:  A+

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BUNT KOREAN MOVIE QUICK MUSINGS

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♥ The Concubine (2012) – Not for minors – an obsessive kind of love set in Joseon era where a King’s besetting passion over his brother’s concubine caused him his death.  I found the mature scenes well acted, with a lot of emotion presented is what I mean.  It’s supposed to be focusing on the concubine character but I say the King’s character marked more than in me than her.   I found the explicit scenes not that offending, but then again, still minors can’t watch it.  A middling kind of movie in my ratings. 

GENRE:  Drama, Romance R18      GRADE:  B

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♥ All About my Wife (2012) With constant humor and zest all throughout, this movie about a man with a very outspoken wife who decided to hire a Casanova in the hopes of making her leave him because he doesn’t know how to tell her that he’s wanting his freedom back had a very great potential in the idea it was trying to act, but it failed giving a strong ending punch.  It feels good and a few quirky scenes here and there but then again it lacked an after taste.  If you are a fan of Im Soo Jung, she was able to entertain me in and redefined the word “nagger wife” in a whole new level.  Her two lead men  were able to support her, but there weren’t much depth plot wise.  It was a rom-com but the romance was slightly baked.  

GENRE:  Romantic Comedy      GRADE: B

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♥ Dittto (2000) – A story of a woman who has to throw away her love because she and her best friend fell in love with the same man.  So-eun has been loving Dong-hee for a while.  When she was stalking him outside of their classroom, she used an old radio to be her alibi to cover up what she has been doing.  The old radio has some mojo though and from there she met Ji In who was a man from the future.  They became talking diaries to each other separated by time.  When they realized that they were in fact living in different eras, So-eun learned that the man she was talking to will be the future son of Sun-mi, her best friend and Dong-hee.  Ji In visited his parents’ country house and from there he knew of So-eun and his father’s interrupted love.   He was able to track So-eun in the present time, and learned the truth that she gave way for her parent’s love.

This movie felt Il Mare-ish but using a radio this time for the time element.  Steady and okay for me, this is sweet, sad and nostalgic. 

GENRE:  Romance, Fantasy      GRADE:  B

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♥ The Thieves (2012) – Blame White Collar and my love for Neal Caffrey because it made this star-studded movie not that appealing to me.  I finished it.  It was good, I liked it, but a typical heist film.  Nothing much spectacular, and I really think it’s overrated.  This time I’ll give it to Hollywood’s Oceans. 

GENRE:  Heist, Adventure      GRADE:  C

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♥ Miss Conspirator (2012) – A certified agoraphobic, a woman was entangled between gangsters and police in their drugs and money deal.  Because of the conflict she was accidentally put into, she decided to step up and throw away her old self and from then she transformed into an overnight female negotiator.

There’s nothing much to watch really. Skip it.   

GENRE:  Action (tssss idk what genre to put)      GRADE:  F

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♥ Jackal Is Coming (2012) – A Hallyu Star was supposed to be meeting his rich ajumma sugar mom but experienced a series of unfortunate events meaning to kill him in the hotel he was saying.  Sometimes cute, sometimes fun, sometimes dallying around.  But because of Jaejoong oppa’s trimmed abs I’ll give it a higher notch.  *giggles  Among the sort of action movie I saw lately, I liked this more than the rest.

GENRE:  Action, Comedy     GRADE:  C

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♥ Helpless (2012) – A couple was supposed to be meeting the man’s family for their incoming wedding’s blessing, but after a phone call the woman run away and left her fiancé.  Then it was revealed that the woman he was intending to marry was actually using another person’s identity.   His brother friend helped him uncover even more about her past and revealed the sad and abusive past she had that made her a monster in killing a person and assuming their identity.  In the end after a frustrating battle of the main actor to the reality that he actually loved someone he really don’t know well, he still let go of her in her fated and dreadful closure.

Since I have been stalking Criminal Minds for quite some time now, the psychopath girl here and the chase to get her was predictable on my part.  If truth be told they were withholding the essentials until the end when it’s very easy to infer what will happen next.  Safe considering the promised suspense premise but great acting for the lead man in presenting the pain of not knowing what to do in something that you can’t understand.

GENRE:  Romance, Thriller, Mystery      GRADE:  C

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♥ Highway Star (2007) – If not for Cha Tae Hyun oppa, I would have not stayed until the curtains closed…

Dreaming to become a rock star, Bong-pil was a back up for a trot singer, he got invited for a solo album only to find out that he has to perform trot as well.  Story passing, nothing much happening but not that bad-feeling. 

GENRE:  Comedy, Musical      GRADE:  C

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Venus and Mars (2007) – Incessant love quarrels, relationship non-sense, and totally weird couple… This was a dark love story I struggled to finish the ending.  The A-list actors weren’t able to salvage the twisted love movie at all maybe because they were busy fighting all the time, and the mellow-romantic surge came up probably late at the same time..  Divorced because of indifference, the short-lived marriage turned into a nightmare after the couple’s temper wont concede to one another.  A case of love gone crazy… hmmp!  Thanks to that pendulum-sweet-scene, it made me forget the many pout scenes from the movie. 

GENRE:  Strange Romance      GRADE:  D

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♥ The Way Home (2002) – Once in a while you get to sit with a simple story about love that doesn’t involve romantic feelings, and you will feel so happy and moved after spending time watching it. 

Sang-woo (played by little boy Yoo Seung-ho) was left by his mother in an old village to settle some financial problems they have.  Raised in the city he was not accustomed with the plain living in the old village and was disrespectful and a brat with his old grandmother.  Little by little though he became closer to her and when his mother returned for him it sent me to 60 weeping seconds as I grew attached of their relationship.

This is a perfect movie to watch with your grandmother if you have one.  So touching and heart-stirring in its simplicity and yet the emotion surge you will get while watching it was so compelling and family bond affirming.  This is a story of a grandmother’s unconditional love to her grandson and whosoever watched it will certainly feel good after and restrospect a little if he’s being rude to his grandma.  This will be added to my favorite movie list.  *wink

GENRE:  MeloDrama, Family     GRADE:  A+

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THE WAY HOME (2002) QUICK MOVIE MUSINGS

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♥ The Grand Heist (2012) – Set in the era with so many technological limitations, The Grand Heist will mock at those heist films you have already seen.  Overflowing with humor and showcasing a smooth sailing story, this movie will leave a smile on your face after watching it.

Modern heist films normally brag about the tricks and the smarts they utilized to get their score, this production is no different but it was made even so much better.  It’s not a precious diamond or a pricey antiquated work of art in spotlight to be pinched but ICE.  Why ICE?  Because at that time it was a very indispensable commodity.  How a band of thieves execute their premeditated plan to procure a tantamount ice stock and transport it to another storage is for you to watch (or read on my blog).  *wink

This fusion period movie was well mixed and well done.  I promise you

cuteness and humor.  I promised you it’s gonna be worth your time. *wink

GENRE:  Adventure, Heist      GRADE:  A

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THE GRAND HEIST KOREAN MOVIE RECAP

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♥ My Love (2007) – I call it “waiting for love” movie as the characters involved in a web of liking someone hopelessly even if it was hurting them in the process.  It’s a good thing that two of the couples in this quadruple romance story were able to get their happy ending.  It was a nice watch but not that momentous.  The main love story started very strong and adorable and I really sighed and got sad when their love became a tragedy.  The supporting love couples were not plain but something you have seen if you have been watching kdramaland for a long time.  Even if Jung Il Woo was there, it didn’t salvage my wondering on what that somewhat-4-in-one-love-movie was trying to achieve.  The romance stories involved a man with his “hug me”campaign who returned to Korea after 5 years and was hoping to be reunited with his ex-girlfriend who promised to wait for him and to call him on the day of solar eclipse, she called, but she failed to wait any longer and delivered him the news that she got married.  Then there’s a girl who has been liking someone who liked another girl, she eventually got her chance to be closer to him, and soon he eventually liked her back.  Working in an ad agency, a woman loved a man who was imprisoned by the memory of his death wife, after so much showing away, she eventually found a way to his heart.  Lastly, a train operator recounted his memories of the woman he met in a subway.  It could have been a romance overload but humor spikes and funny moments were added to balance the red notes in this love movie.   Sad, sweet, sassy and sunny.

GENRE:  Romance     GRADE:  B+

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♥ A Werewolf Boy (2012)I initially feared that this movie could go overrated considering the familiar plot and stellar main leads but I’m so happy to have chanced upon a very beautiful, unconventional, heartwarming first love movie. The last time I felt it was with the film “The Classic” and I couldn’t be any happier witnessing a young love that was not bound to happen but felt so right.

GENRE:  Romance, Fantasy     GRADE:  A+

A Werewolf Boy Quick Recap

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♥ Hearty Paws (2006) – Another tear-jerker dog movie, Hearty Paws will promise a lot of smiles. The simple and quick to predict storyline was overshadowed by the relationship of Hearty, the dog and his master. Sad and yet sweet, a heartwarming film for the whole family to watch.

GENRE:  Drama, Family     GRADE:  B+

Hearty Paws Quick Review

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♥ Plum Blossom (2000) – This erotic film I watched only because of Kim Rae Won.  One of his earliest films it tackled a man’s point of view when it comes to romance and exploring himself to how he separates love emotions to sexual connection.  I will give a fair rating because it managed to tell the story along with the intimate scenes.  The intimate scenes didn’t overpower the essence and narrative of the main character in the movie.

GENRE:  Drama, Romance, Erotica     GRADE:  C

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♥ COUPLES (2011)A good man trying to please his gold digger friend, a gold digger who’s true love was a thug, a thug who want to change his ways for the love of his gold digger girlfriend, a woman who met the man in the wrong situation and intention, a sort of detective who fell in love with his bestfriend’s gold digger fiancée…  oh yes!  This is even better than the Hunger Games.

It was snail moving at first, but how the situations were displayed and connected were nicely done.  Forgettable but pleasing when you are watching it, but I do love the happy ending.

This is a love tale told from flashbacks and cute side stories.  Regardless of not having that prolonged feeling, it did fairly in my Hunger-games inspired heart this week.

GENRE:     Romantic Comedy     GRADE:  B

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♥  Love 911 (2012) – Most love stories tell an evident 100% love from its onset, that being said I liked how the adoration build up in this movie. It was not “impossible instant”, but “I know where you’ve been” kind of love. I liked that the man was wounded this time, and the woman did the chasing to make the man fall for her and to heal his broken heart. It was a reversal of romantic roles that exuded understanding and maturity in handling love replies.

GENRE:  Romantic Comedy     GRADE:  A

Love 911 Quick Recap

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♥ Confession of Murder (2012) I was on the edge of my seat on the chase-the-killer-fight scenes of this movie, and until now, I still can’t accept that I wasn’t able to deduce the ending twist of this movie.  *pout  I thought when the “who’s the real killer conflict” was raised there will be a showdown between them, but there wasn’t.  Years of watching Dexter and Criminal Minds, I thought I have all of it figured out when it comes to socio and psychopaths, but this movie surprisingly amazed and amused me.  Well hidden, director… Well Done!   Nifty written and cleanly executed… this was such a riveting delight and will be one of my favorites for the 2012 movies.

 

GENRE:  Action, Thriller  GRADE:  A

Confession of Murder Movie Recap

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♥ How To Use Guys With Secret tips (2013) – It was a sleek directing and editing, that’s what you will really notice about this film, considering that the plot was not a novelty, the director was able to make it so appealing because of how it was narrated.

I love the idea of how the lead couple “fell in love”, against their personality differences and going beyond their comfort zones, but I hated that they acted stupid on the course of falling in love.

I would give a fair rating on this film because I really found the editing cute and appetizing, but don’t account on a lingering effect, because you won’t find it.

GENRE:  Romantic Comedy    GRADE:  C

How To Use Guys With Secret Tips Quick recap

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 ♥ 5 Senses of Eros (2009) – 5 short love stories made up this film… I enjoyed 2 out of the 5 films but the rest of the 3 films I didn’t like, it may appeal to its target audience though, but I didn’t like the last 3 . “His Concern” was in a Before Sunrise movie vibe, and I enjoyed the screenplay. “Me, I’m here” was a sad love tale of a devoted husband who will have to deal with the passing of his wife.. The first two and the 5th movie are what I liked. “The 33rd Man” tells about a newbie actress who got acting lessons from a veteran actress who turned out to be a vampire. They ate the film director afterwards… That’s why I didn’t liked it. “In the end is my beginning” A woman discovered her husband was sleeping with her high school friend after they got involved in a car accident and the man died. The friend in guilt promised her life to atone for her sins. This started out well, but concluded weak… I would have wanted a clean ending. “Believe in the Moment” was about 3 college pairs who changed partners for 24 hours. It was cute and reckoning. 

This was not an inter-connected characters flick, so you’ll get like Bertie Botts different love beans. The entire movie experience was good and this is for one time watching only.

GENRE:  Romance     GRADE:  C

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♥ My PS Partner (2012) – My PS partner is an example of another vibrant love movie I would strongly recommend to watch. It has a subtle indie appeal with a very smart screenplay. It went to the love trap cliche but the upbeat development of the romance plus the organic feel of witnessing what relationship in late-20’s-early-30’s was about were depicted amusingly, realistically and candidly. I gave it a 5 star rating and a space on my kmovie favorites because of how it has minimal mature content but was able to balance and even heightened the romantic essence, the seamless humor and the responsive chemistry between the main leads in the movie. Sweetly impudent, My PS Partner made me feel so wanting to be in love after watching it, and not the knight-in-the-shining-armour-cinderella-rose-petals kind of way but the wearing-his-oversized-shirt-singing-while-he-plays-the-guitar kind of love. 

GENRE:  Romantic Comedy w/ minimal adult content   GRADE  A+

My PS Partner Movie Recap

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♥ Christmas in August (1998) – Highly praised for its earnest characters and endearing yet bound to fade love, “Christmas in August” made me really want to consider the idea of really reciprocating love out of all the romantic and single life movies I’ve seen so far.I have prepared myself that it could be a dragging narrative since it is already a 15-year old movie but the fetching capturing of the scenes showing vibrant emotions is a must watch for film majors and critics.

Jung-woon is a middle-aged photographer who lives with his father, while he is trying to prepare himself to his eventual death, he meets a woman who will be giving him the best moments and smiles of his routine life.

It is a sad film, but it won’t make you cry. It does have though a lingering effect to reflect and ponder about things, life, romance and and your relationship to people you cared for. It may not appeal to people who prefers a fast paced, idealistic or dream-like love stories and it may not be as stunning as the recent korean romance films, but it is one of the most sincere pictures I have ever seen in my life.

GENRE:  Romance, Family     GRADE:  B

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♥ Late Autumn (2011) – It was a strong performance from the lead actress and an amusing rendition by Hyun Bin oppa.  Imprisoned after killing her husband, a woman was given a reprieve to attend to her mother’s funeral.  She met a runaway gigolo in a bus and their unexpected connection would be an eventual momentous memory in their not so meaningful life so far.  As a self-confessed sucker for accidental and impossible love, the saddening thought of an is-this-person-worth-it-kind-of-love transcended in this movie.  Between a two damaged people, the ease on how they converged and the pain of their love situation made my heart think and my heart sad.  This won’t appeal straight to the emotions but after a while when you contemplate of what the movie was about.  An imperfect couple and imperfect romance but was a perfect realistic movie for me.

GENRE:  Romance     GRADE:  B+

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♥ The Neighbors (2012) – After a psychopath murdered a little girl in the neighborhood, he saw another girl who looked exactly like the girl he killed.  He marked the young girl as his last target before he moved from that apartment but his secret was realized by the people in the neighborhood who were adamant to reveal his identity.

It was a neatly drawn and simply explained to-catch-or-not-the-killer movie.  I have nothing much to complain about but I won’t say it was that Criminal Minds amazing.

GENRE:  Suspense Drama     GRADE:  B

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♥ The Taste of Money (2012) – Blunt on the intimate scenes but the characters and story were not in synchrony.  This film depicted the frustrating life of the rich and powerful.  I saw something like this in The Housemaid so it was not really an inviting movie experience for me.  It centered to infidelity issues and forced relationship participated by members of an affluent family.  It moved in that direction without hitting any viable lessons to provide to the onlookers.  A waste of talented actors and a waste of my time.

GENRE:  Drama with adult scenes     GRADE:  D

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♥ Masquerade/Gwanghae (2012) – Living up to its box office success and strong cast ensembles, Gwanghae/Masquerade presented an astonishing story filled with amusing characters, and perfectly inserted humor that has balanced the serious tone of a sageuk movie.

Masquerade tells the story of an ordinary clown who sat on the King’s throne when he fell unconscious due to political attacks to poison him.  The clown in a freak coincidence looked exactly like the King conspired with the King’s right hand to pose as the nation’s leader to avoid a serious political conflict if the current King’s condition will be revealed.   In his short stint assuming the King’s identity, the poser was quick to uptake in dealing with the anomalies and unreasonable battles he has to go through as the father of the nation, and in doing so his rational thinking and good heart has affected the people around him who were unaware that they were not serving the real King.

What made this movie appealing to me was the exemplary portrayals of the cast and the funny Joseon monarchy customs.  Yes, I really giggled at the idea of having the King’s servants watched him poop.  Lee Byung Hun oppa won me over in both his comic and serious personas, although the comedic side was more lingering to me. 

The film nailed the poignant scenes seamlessly.   Although not understanding at first the risk of acquiescing to be a King impostor, when he grasped the urgency and importance of the position he was baby-sitting, his simple-mindedness and his leaning to what’s best for his people decided most of pending concerns the unconscious King can’t even resolve.

If you want to see a Korean period film in binding mixture of quaint characters and staid storyline with delightful inflections, Gwanghae will be a perfect pick for you.  This character-driven story albeit the sleek Joseon setting was narrated in an easy to understand fashion that first time watchers will not be lost following its conclusion.

GENRE:  Period Film, Drama     GRADE:  A

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♥ Miracle in Cell No. 7 (2013) – I promise you a heart-warming tale that will make you smile and cry.  I promise you a movie experience that you will remember. 

This daddy-daughter-love film was a heart-wrenching picture that sent me to tear-land.  With its simple and yet meaningful theme of a father’s love to her daughter and a daughter’s appreciation to his loving father, I really thanked the stars for giving me such a captivating movie brimming with resonating filial love.

Miracle in Cell No. 7 Movie Musings

Genre:  Family, comedy, melodrama     GRADE A+

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♥ Try To Remember  (2009)- When he was cut from his job due to business needs, Eun-kyong was invited to do a teaching stint in the suburb where he stayed in the house of Kim family whose daughter, In-woo, was his fellow employee.

Both of them have recurring dreams dating from Joseon period. They soon became comfortable with each other but an urgent business in Seoul had Eun-kyong leave Andong. He finally rested his case on his ex-girlfriend who will be getting married and gave his consent as his mother’s guardian for organ donation when she dies.

He returned to Andong but In-woo who has been sick since the day she was born was brought to the hospital. He soon discovered her scrapbook diary narrating her secret adoration towards him. He rushed to visit her but got into an accident that took his life.

It was revealed that they were lovers 400 years ago. They were reincarnated in the present time in reversing their roles from the past. In-woo was the man who protected the daughter of a traitor but died because of sickness as Eun-kyong was the woman who grieved over her husband’s death and left a love letter that was excavated in the present time.

There’s really nothing much to brag, my synopsis from above says it all about this movie. For a deja vu or reincarnation plot themed movie, it lacked connecting scenes of the present and the past. The flashes from the past was explained in the end but I already know what has been going except for the reversed reincarnation trick. It was not ugly but it’s not worth your time.

GENRE:  Romance     GRADE:  C

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For Horowitz – A piano teacher who was struggling financially ended up with a troublesome kid whom she discovered as a piano prodigy.  She taught the kid patiently but she has to let him go as financial constraints drowned her and to make a future for him in the world that she also used to dream of.  Touching but not that affecting, I still prefer Bunt and The Way Home.

GENRE:  Drama     GRADE:  C

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 ♥ Very Ordinary Couple (2013) – A workplace relationship movie gone bad with hints of crazy Venus and Mars flick.  It culminated in we-are-meant-to-be-happy-together note, but the path going there and how it was narrated, I didn’t enjoy.  It felt like the movie was in confusion on acting on the emotions or focusing on the conflict.  It ended without me being immersed on it.  Not ugly, not plain but the chemistry, biology, physics and all the sciences needed to conspire a romance based film were out of focus and most of the time missing in action.

I took a deep breath after I was done watching the movie, but I really wasn’t able to connect.  There was a couple who fell in love, broke up and then got back together.  It was aiming I think to ask the question “Will you get back with your ex-lover if he slept with another person?”. The love couple answered it in the end by staying together but it felt like they just covered it with the lead man throwing a fit when he remembers his girl slept with another man and on cue, the man will be in the scene to accept his beatings.

It was not appealing for me but if you really like Lee Min Ki, maybe you can just focus on his face when it becomes boring.

GENRE:  Romantic Comedy     GRADE: D

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♥ The Berlin File (2013) – A polished action-spy film worthy of your weekend night, The Berlin File’s resonating characters, continuous fiery scene shiftings and the well-blended weaving of the story parading amazing action scenes which didn’t drown the organic essence of the film were some of the reasons why I really enjoyed it.  While I want an action movie to be really brimming of skin rips, blood spatters and gun shots, it’s definitely a bonus if I get a nice story and a resolved conflict.

GENRE:  Action, Thriller, Espionage     GRADE:  B+

The Berlin File Movie Musings

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♥ Secretly, Greatly (2013)Secretly, Greatly stormed Korean Box Office big time, and I can only agree why.

A covert elite team of North Korean spies were sent to South Korea for future orders from the Republic.  Comrade Captain Won Ryu Hwan took in the role of a village idiot Dong-gu while observing and waiting for the orders from the North.  After two years, he was reunited with fellow 5446 corps Captain Rhee Hae-rang who was ordered to become a Korean rock star as well as Rhee Hae-jin who hero-worshipped Ryu-hwan and was disguised as a high school student.

It was narrated with no complications and ended splendidly and in a heart-wrenching fashion.  I would have wished for a happy ending but given the serious tone set, I accepted and got my closure even if it was painful.

It’s rare for an action movie to remember the heart of the characters more than the brawl scenes, but in Secretly, Greatly, I was totally immersed on the story and yearnings of these soldier-brothers.

GENRE:  Action, Espionage   GRADE:  B+

Secretly, Greatly KMovie Musings

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♥ My Little Hero (2013) – I was moved to tears and felt happy after witnessing this engaging film of a man who has made his dream come true by making a young man reach his dreams too.  Simply narrated and a story full of heart, this heartwarming movie was a surprise birthday gift for me today.  Best watched with your nieces or nephews, this is a family drama with the right amount of tears, music dreams, humor, friendship and happiness that your heart will surely remember.

GENRE:  Drama, Family, Musical  GRADE:  B

My Little Hero KMovie Musings

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♥ The Face Reader (2013) – It took me 5 days to finish watching this movie because there’s really nothing to watch… overrated and most of the time boring. It tells about a used-to-be nobleman who can read people’s character and destiny by looking at their faces. To provide a better future for his limping son who set foot on his journey to become a minister, he and his brother in law agreed to try their luck at a courtesan house and drew a contract to read people’s faces. After his help in solving a murder case, he was summoned to help in reading which people have the positive faces who can work in the government. He eventually sided with Kim Jeong Seok by giving advises to the young King during the famous power struggle contest in Korean history against the evil Prince Suyang, but in the end was outmaneuvered by the Prince’ cunning mind and ended up having his son killed after Suyang eradicated his arch enemy and his men.

GENRE:  Period, Drama    GRADE:  C

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♥ Commitment (2013) – A North Korean spy infiltrating South Korea is a pitch I consider done deal everytime for me, and when you have T.O.P and his snappy mixed fighter moves not to mention his piercingly hot eyes and drowning voice, I ended up drooling and elsewhere dreaming about him. And I am not even a kpop fan, but he was really amazing into that cold and gritty espionage stance all throughout.

GENRE:  Action, Drama, Espionage     GRADE:  B+

Commitment Quick Movie Recap

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♥ Blood and Ties (2013) – What if the loving and kind father you is not really what he seems he is? “Blood and Ties” raised disturbing thoughts in me after watching it for the reason that the killer was drawn in a very positive character. A very effective role that really strengthened the depth of how the heroine resolved the conflict because it was a really perplexing decision to cut ties with a person who has been good to you because he did something evil to another person. It has a spontaneous plot but unpredictable characters and that has made me so engaged in watching it. Provocative, bewildering and steady.

GENRE:  Suspense, Drama     GRADE:  B

Blood and Ties Quick Movie Recap

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♥ Cold Eyes (2013) – Trailing a smart robbery gang, a special police unit has to rely on their guts and wit to pin down the thieves who work clean without a trace and is always one step ahead of them in executing their crime. It is your usual cop drama, nothing much new that you haven’t seen from crime dramas, but worth your time to watch. Jung Woo Sung as the villain made it all the more exciting. A mixture of cunning and quaint villain and a heroine equipped with photographic memory handy in chasing the lead of a notorious gang, this is a fast paced thriller that will engage you from start to its ending.

GENRE:  Suspense, Action, Cop and Crime     GRADE:  B

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♥ Thread of Lies (2013 ) – I saw “Thread of Lies” today, a heartfelt film that talks about school bullying. Cheon-ji, a young lady in Middle school committed suicide because of depression from the unfair treatment she is getting from her classmates specifically from the only friend she has who talks behind her back. Just when she finally became closer to another classmate who shared happy moments with her in their secret away, her new friend who holds grudges towards her irresponsible father learned that her father was dating Cheon-ji’s mother which her teenager heart can handle so she threw it to Cheon-ji’s already ripping heart. Cheon-ji can’t no longer bear the emotional stress she was getting while keeping it to herself. And in those times when she wanted to reach out to her stoic sister and busy mother, her family failed to notice how she is failing to succumb in the depression. There was no visible suicide note left but Cheon-ji’s sister and her mother soon was able to piece out the reason for her departure. They found notes attached to the end of Cheon-ji’s knitting yarns revealing the reason for her eventual death.

I can’t put myself on a parent’s shoes but this movie is a good wake up call to parents to start talking about their children about their friends at school. High school life is mostly spent with friends and it’s hard for teenagers to open up when they are having emotional torture because of peer pressure. The movie touched also how bullies have their own wounds that they can’t handle hence they are throwing it to people who accepts their evil doings. What alarmed me after seeing this film was how people have difficulties understanding each other’s pain. Is it the bully’s fault that someone let himself to be bullied? Is it the family’s bully’s fault for not raising up their child well? I myself admittedly have bad thoughts about someone when someone really gets to my nerves, but I’m so far successful in just keeping it to myself and letting my memory forget that I ever have those thoughts. But there are people who can’t handle it, and in the age of social networking, cyber bullying is a more pressing issue, because people tend to feed negative ideas from other people’s pathetic and nonsense rants over the world wide web. I think for parents trying to know their children’s closest friends is a good way to check if he is in a functioning circle of friendship. Making sure that having open communication with their fears, woes and things that make your children happy is a must too.

 GENRE:  Drama, Family with slight Mystery hints     GRADE:  B

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♥ Steal My Heart (2013) – Steal My Heart is a case of rom-com imbalance where the comical moments sprinted a lot that it left the romance somehow behind. Nonetheless it was still sweet and engrossing as the overload of quirky police officer hiding his con artist first love under the nose of the Police Department he belonged to was filled with hilarious events and cotton candy flashbacks. Famed for his profiling ability, a police officer was on a quest to get a promotion, only if he gets the hit-and-run driver who bumped the infamous serial killer their police department has been stalking for a long while. When he cornered the culprit, he discovered it to be her long lost ex-girlfriend who disappeared just when he was about to propose marriage.

Blinded by love he swallowed the reality that she is a skilled pincher who has stolen quite impressive hard to steal items and is on the police chase list. He has to deal with her quaint one-woman heist ability and possibly compromising his career for being an accomplice to her crimes.

Steal My Heart is not a boring watch because the comic kicks were ever present, but it was not a romcom you will take another serving for when u don’t have something to watch in the future. It was a good romantic treat while it lasted. Feel good, fun and frolicsome.

GENRE: Romantic Comedy     GRADE:  B

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♥ Plan Man (2014) – Suffering from obsessive-compulsive personality disorder, a neat freak man who works in a library meets a messy indie artist who changed his life 360 degrees. Not being able to lead a normal life because of his excessive drive to follow rules he set for himself, he resorted to conniving with an aspiring singer who is a friend of his crush to give a shot in his new found feeling of romance. She has made him do things he doesn’t normally do and when their duo tried out for a reality singing competition, both their pasts were revealed which lead to both of them understanding more fully each other and eventually falling in love as well.

Although the romance kicked in at the latter part of the story, I enjoyed this movie immensely because Jung Jae-young oppa played his role in a very amusing way and because I have a penchant for adorable nerds. *giggles This says a lot about how you can fall for someone who is your exact opposite and how much you are willing to change so you can adapt in a world where you and your loved one can compromise. I also like how you feel positive and smiling after watching it.

GENRE:  Romantic Comedy     GRADE:  B+

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♥ Hot Young Bloods (2014) – This really narrated the story about hot blooded youth set in the 80’s. Boiling hot that half of the story just involved brawls and bullyings. kkk I like period movie productions because I get to be transported back to the time when I was not yet born or too young to remember. And in this movie the only feel good thing I remembered is how I was able to have that “they-were-like-that-in-those-times” thoughts.

It was not as affecting and enchanting as “A Werewolf Boy”, and most of the time it was lacking of engaging elements. It spiked up a little in the dying minutes, but overall it was not as engrossing as I hope it would be. The potential of a nostalgic youth film was there but it lacked comic inserts and spotlight scenes that would make the viewers relate to the characters, or just even reminisce those reckless days they also had when they were young. Fairly done, but a movie you will just easily forget.

GENRE:  Youth, Drama, Romance     GRADE:  B-

Hot Young Bloods Quick Movie Recap

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♥ Innocent Thing (2014) – A film in the premise of “to-sir-with-love” gone crazy obsession between a High School girl with her PE teacher which failed miserably in establishing solid threading of the narrative to its climax. If truth be told, all I can remember is how pitiful the character is and how it was a waste of Jang Hyuk oppa’s talent since there were not much venue in the duration of the movie to showcase his emotions.

When the film hit the supposed to be thrilling part of the love struck student who started killing people around her obsession, I gave up and hated that I wasted my time with it. They were intending for a subtle progression from the onset, I say they should have incorporated her evil ways all throughout and make him subdue it strongly too. If you have enjoyed Jang Hyuk in his Lee Gun persona, it would be a waste if you follow up with this movie.

GENRE:  Drama, Romance, Sort of Thriller     GRADE:  C

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 ♥ The Pirates (2014) – Failing to notch a polished recipe for an action-adventure film, I would give “The Pirates” a mediocre rating because of its shallow storyline. It could be easily overlooked given the riveting fight scenes and the amusing characters that have played their roles to the fullest, but I really felt something inadequate when the movie ended. Sailing to a dallying pace when it begins, it laid down the pirate members and mountain marauders who were in the quest to claim the bounty offered after Joseon envoys lost the Imperial Seal bequeathed by the Chinese Ming Dynasty to a big whale which swallowed it. Halfway through the movie, the alliances, the old grudges and the conflicts were set into motion pushing the film to a moderately swift movement while throwing bordering-slapstick-funny-anyway comical reliefs.

GENRE:  Action, Adventure  GRADE:  B

The Pirates Quick Movie Review

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♥ The Admiral:  Roaring Currents (2014) – I didn’t expect I would feel good after my movie experience with Admiral Lee Soon Shin and his men. I think the film director impeccably established his character as a great strategist and commander but still able to show his frailties as a human. It was a kind of film where bravery and patriotism were able to outweigh the shown violence and evilness in the movie hence it gave me a generally positive feeling. Definitely living up to its hype, I found myself succumbing to the movie’s electrifying current and enjoying every moment of it.

GENRE:  Action, Drama     GRADE:  A+

The Admiral Roaring Currents Quick Review

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♥ Miss Granny (2014) – Just like when she thought she has lived her life to the fullest by raising his son to become a well-known educator, granny Oh Mal Soon faced a sad reality that all her efforts to become a loving mother and grandmother will be eventually overlooked with her strained relationship to her daughter-in-law who got sick due to mom-in-law-stress-related-issue. The doctor advised a time away from granny and she inadvertently heard the family meeting between her son and his children. Sad about the impending decision for her to be brought to a retirement home, she ended up at a mysterious photo studio which magically transformed her back to when she was 20 years old. She took advantage of the fountain of youth given to her to rediscover herself and do the things she has been longing to do but wasn’t able to because life didn’t give it to her the first time. Quirky and fun this is a movie that will ask you what you might have done differently in your life if you were given a chance. Although filled with funny moments, this movie gave me a nostalgic feel of wanting to just relive some of the best memories in my 20’s and yes I feel like I’m already 50 when I’m just 30-ish. Easy to follow and light to digest, Miss Granny is best watched with family and friends.

GENRE:  Family, Comedy  GRADE:  B+

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♥ Obsessed (2014) – It is your typical cheating husband to a naïve, unhappy married wife movie… not much story, a lot of sex. The end.

GENRE:  Erotic, Drama, Romance    GRADE:  C

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♥ My Brilliant Life (2014) – This is by far the only Song Hye Gyo movie that I enjoyed. It was heart-warming, simple and a nice family movie. Although sad, the drama is not scattered and most of the time evoking. A young couple raising their child with a rare disease have to confront the sad reality that the child who changed their fate is bound to leave them permanently. It talks about the importance of family and the magical bond that every parents and their children have. Engaging, no complications just pure narration of a loving family story.

GENRE:  Family, Drama     GRADE:  B+

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♥ Cart (2014) – Cart is a movie I won’t show to omma because it will induce a long story-telling with bits of labor law lessons she gained from being a Union officer and a National Women’s Rights organization member. I have a vague memory of going to those labor strikes they did when I was young but it was not as oppressing as what was depicted in the movie.
Cart tells about the painstaking battle of a supermarket laborers’ union who were illegally dismissed by the company they have worked hard to serve with while the main characters dealt with their own family problems.
It is a movie that encourages social awareness to the rights that we have as employees that we sometimes overlook because big companies have a way of bending rules and most of the time would always choose profit over people.
Cart is not a weekend movie you can enjoy after a week-long stress filled work, though thought-provoking and emotionally written, I think it will be more appropriate for students to watch for them to get a glimpse of the real world.
GENRE:  Drama          GRADE:  B
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♥ C’est si Bon (2015) –  There’s just something sincerely sweet when turning screen pages of love stories that were  set when romance was not digitally induced and when couples actually talk and share kisses because they reached that loving point through shared memories of being together all the time.

C’est si Bon tells the story of a famous acoustic music hall in 1970’s Seoul, South Korea where free spirited singers were applauded by its vibrant 20’s audience.  Two already famous singers Song Chang Sik and Yoon Hyung Joo were joined by Oh Geun Tae and together formed C’est si Bon trio which became a favorite act of the music lounge patrons.

I love the guitar-based music and songs in this period love and friendship film.  It was calming and inducing of ardent memories we tend to recall  in bittersweet  bliss.  It made me exhaust what online resources can give me to listen to Twin Folio’s  music.  It moved me to a realization that I dig love movies with a lead man who does  everything stupid he can all for his  first love.  *wink

I don’t know if being in my 30’s have caused me to be fond of period stories these days, but staged in 70’s era the costume and production design were done superbly solidifying my dream wedding in 60’s and 70’s theme.  Haha  With enough humor and wit and uncomplicated  narration, I enjoyed the cheerful  vibe of the movie all throughout and felt sad on the heart-wrenching scenes.

For some lucky ones they would end up with a happy-ever-after, but for some loving the person with all their heart is the closest they can get to be with their one great love.  I give you C’est si Bon if you want a solitary and quiet movie me time filled with love.

GENRE:  Romance, Musical, Friendship     GRADE: B+

Cest si Bon KMovie Quick Review

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♥ The Beauty Inside (2015) – Love they say is felt from our hearts  and nurtured by the memories.  In this heartfelt and innovative romance movie, you would feel good on how a sincere adoration can know no boundaries and believe a seemingly impossible love.

Skilled in woodwork and furniture making, Kim Woo Jin has been living in shadows because of his rare situation.  He wakes up to a different body each time he sleeps.  He has managed to live through his strange misfortune until he fell in love with Yi Soo.  And in his earnest heart, he braved the love odds, and in time won the understanding heart of Yi Soo who loves the beauty she sees inside him.  She has courageously loved the changing face of Woo Jin regardless if he’s a man or a woman, young or old, local or foreign.

But the uncertainty of their relationship emerged and Woo Jin was left no choice but to go away in order for Yi Soo not to hurt herself because of her strange love affair with him.  In time, both came to terms how their lives don’t go anywhere and has been despondent since they fell apart.  Recognizing the artistic value of a foreign furniture maker Yi Soo went to chase the hermit-ing love of her life and promised her future to him even if he kept pushing her away.

Great editing and amazing love story.  The chronicling of the bizaare love for Woo Jin and Yi Soo will be encouraging to those who have doubts in their current relationships.  It teaches the value of faith that everything will work out for as long as both hearts dance to the same rhythm of love.  It is a reminder that it is not a person’s physical attributes that would sustain a couple’s love but the memories and the quiet moments when we feel in our hearts that we are loved.

GENRE:  Romance, Romcom     GRADE:  B+

The Beauty Inside Korean Movie Quick Review

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♥  The Chronicle of a Blood Merchant (2015) – I have watched a lot of what-i-did-for-love movies, but nothing has prepared me to the lead guy willing to sell his blood just so he can marry the girl of his dreams.  *chuckles  Crafted in a traditional post Korean war background, the family featured in the film will leave you affirming realizations on love, family and life.  I guarantee you will love the hero of the story in his bold ways, idiot times and fatally sweet acts.

GENRE:  Drama, Romance, Family     GRADE:  B

THE CHRONICLE OF A BLOOD MERCHANT MOVIE REVIEW