KDrama Classic Spotlight: Goong “Princess Hours”

 

This is one of those dramas that I watched a few times in a year for my own traditional kdrama celebration, and if I’m under major emotional stress, typically another failed relationship or when  my favorite basketball team didn’t get the championship again.  

Crown Prince Lee Shin and Crown Princess Chae-gyung’s love story is the typical I-was-not-meaning-to-fall-for-you-but-I-fell-anyway romance.  You will love how the marriage for convenience and ancestor’s promise to marry their future descendants paved the way to one of Korea’s most endeared romance tale of young love.

The first episodes introduced us to the characters and prepared us to switch and familiarize ourselves between modern times and palace life.  Chae-gyung is your usual high school girl and her fate changes when due to financial problems she succumbed to an arranged marriage to Korea’s modern time Crown Prince for her to save her family from financial problems.  Lee Shin who was rejected when he proposed to his girlfriend Min Hyo-rin agreed to the marriage talk which originated from his late grandfather’s wish to marry his descendant to the descendant of a palace worker who saved his life, who turned out to be Chae-gyung’s grandfather.  On their wedding day, Hyo-rin was trying to reach her ballerina dream, changed her intention and realized too late that she wanted Lee Shin more than anything in her life.   

Chae-gyung entered the Palace and proceeded with her princess training while she often bickered with Lee Shin.  Eventually though and without realizing it, she soon found herself falling in love with him, which she tried to restrict because she knew he liked Hyo-rin.  The second male lead completing the love quadrangle is Prince Yul, who was Prince Shin’s cousin, and who eventually grew fond of the princess.  He was supposed to become the Crown Prince if not for the death of his father.

The main conflicts I say would be the  how the lead couples had the difficulty of admitting their teue feelings to each other and the quest to prove who really deserved the throne per Yul’s mother’s obsession.  

What I loved here is I saw how the loved progressed from nothing at all to “I want you to be always beside me” kind of adoration.  They matured as the romance grew, and they grew as the romance matured.  The heart-felt lines were superbly delivered and left me feeling the pain and the bliss at that moment.

There were a few lag time and scenes that were not really necessary and were just there to fill up the minutes, but like a package, it’s so pretty outside, you have to take time to unwrap it and feel happy at what a beautiful gift it was.  It’s the same thing with Goong, it slowly moves, but then it will leave you breathless in depicting a stunning and heartfelt love picture.

 

I still get heart flutters on that scene after Lee Shin’s Thailand escapade with the ex-gf when the princess confronted the ex and she fainted and then Lee Shin carried her and nursed her back to life.  And that love admittance back hug scene after the fire conflict… I remembered how I was holding my teddy bear’s hand and swaying it like crazy because I was so elated that at last they finally  realized they loved each other for real.  *giggles

 

 

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 of 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.  -jediprincess♡♡♡

 

 

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.  

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2015 KDramas You Might Have Missed

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Just in case you did not see them, I want to share you the delights for the past year as 2016 is already waning.  Now I was not able to monitor last year’s drama the way I did this year, so most of it I was able to finish up to the first half of 2016.

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HEALER (Dec 2014 – Feb 2015)

GENRES:  Drama, Romance, Comedy, Action, Suspense

As a night courier serving privy and expensive tasks, Healer’s routine life changed after his encounter with a woman connected to the death of his father.  What made me like the drama a lot is how the storytelling was focused and neatly tied up without room to uncalled for sub plots.  It moved engrossingly while uncovering the link of the main characters in the past and their children in the present time.

The story’s main conflict focused on peeling the truth behind the lead couple’s fathers’ death while journeying on their fated love.  It aligned to Healer’s character strength to propel the excitement while he did his gripping missions… circled on Young Shin’s character as the focal tug-of-war battle between the Moon brothers’ villain and hero complicated relationship and surged high to the my-father-might-have-killed-your-father-but-i-promise-i-love-you-and-i-will-protect-you love plot of the main leads. Healer justified the superb writing with how the characters went passionately driven to bring out a scintillating storytelling.

While a lot progressed in the story, it never missed it steps in binding the romance, the back story and the conflicts together.  It made use of the parallel plot about upright journalists in presenting the same events of the characters in the past and the present.

There were small problems that were laid along the way to boost the main conflict of how the protagonists will bring justice to their fathers’ death by ruining the villains through innovative news broadcast.  In this crime-romantic-drama-thriller premise, the story got so intoxicating because it assimilated Healer’s Promethean skills and heartfelt media coverage to battle the conscience-less power players of the country.  When your cast is smart and the writing is nifty, there’s no way the notes will not be hit.  That is the case for Healer.  I would also like to commend how I enjoyed Healer’s theme music on its placement in the drama and how the villains even with their old personas masterfully made the lives of the heroes hard by utilizing their vile ways.  

Healer is one of the best dramas you should include in your list if you haven’t seen it yet.  It has a brilliant premise about a one-of-a-kind hero who chose to disconnect from the society, but accidentally grew attachment to a woman who drew him out of his hibernation.  The drama quaintly linked the furtive relationship of the characters while building up the plot’s climax and romance to perfection.  It is so addictive, stimulating and amusing — and that one drama you can sit on with family, friends and even your lover.

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Punch (Nov 2014 – Dec 2015) 

GENRES:  Drama, Legal

Awed and at the edge of my seat every episode’s finishing kick, I can’t help but wondered how brilliant the writer of this story by bringing out a drama where heroes and villains don’t waste time out-manipulating each other to secure the highest possible position befitting to their greed and wickedness.  With a dying man as a lead hero in charge to intellectually brawl with his superiors in the Prosecutor’s office, the stake was always at the highest as the people involved raced to protect their families, reputations and personal ambitions.

Punch is a literal badass with its scintillating and intelligent writing.  It was full of surprises that will make the viewers grab their hair out of frustration.  I wondered how much hate the writer might have stored in himself to motivate him to write a chronicle that was able to maintain a level of grit all throughout his depiction of the corrupt Korean Prosecutors Office.

I thought why the drama was titled Punch, and after finishing, it really lived to that name because every episode was a combat spectacle in cleverness and wiliness .  Punch is a story of a dying prosecutor in his quest to clean up the corrupt high officials of the office he belongs to.  His strategic thinking defied the power his superiors used when he was on a spree to reveal their evil doings.  It was a hard and frustrating battle but he managed to expose the truth before his passing.

What viewers would love about Park Jung Hwan is his ability to bounce back from the oppression even with nothing on his hand to fight off the huge power and walls his superiors built to hinder his outrage.  It’s your classic underdog story but very well polished in a Mafia grit kind of way.  They made phonecalls, afternoon tea and eating jajangmyun so thrilling in my eyes.  hahaha

The antagonists displayed impossible levels of wickedness that even when they got what they deserved at the closing chapter I was still fuming on the inside.  There’s no fleeting romantic interlude in this drama but it is filled with family love and lessons about choosing the right decisions in your lives.    If you want a dose of serious themed dramas, this one is for you.  The thrill and the pace will surely shoot up your mind and will make you crave for some more.

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Kill Me, Heal Me (Jan 2015 – Mar 2015)

GENRES:  Romance, Comedy

The complexity of the multiple personality disorder fused with the fated but hindered romance of the main couple has made me ruminative deducting the precepts of the story premise of this smartly and quirkily written korean drama.  I knew it was all about trauma and I was happy that there was no extreme sacrificial bordering to stupidity acts done by the main leads in avoiding their destined love.

Overall I like the ambitious writing of this drama.  It was meticulous in inserting the conflict of the story, although it came to a point when it became too detailed dragging the denouement which they could have used in a few romantic notes in the penultimate episodes of the story.

The sending off of Do Hyun’s characters warmed my heart especially that of Perry Park and Se Gi scenes.  I don’t know the extent of this psychiatric condition, but I liked that it was explained well how each characters emerged.  It was like Voldemort’s horcruxes in a positive way.  *chuckles  Typically kdramas with chaebol power struggle plot involved unreasonable conspiracies and surprises so I think since the multiple personality is the carrying story conflict, it was good that it didn’t dwell on the money-filled but problematic chaebol world.

Beautiful in its strongest points and faint weaknesses, this is a perfect drama that will leave you happy and intrigued.

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A Girl Who Sees Smells/Sensory Couple (April 2015 – May 2015)

GENRE:  Drama, Romance, Suspense, Supernatural

Welcome to the psychopath chase where gripping episode endings build up to a long stretch of sweet annoyance and anticipation to a quaintly written story where the characters boarded on a race to outwit each other and the cost of each wrong judgment equates to starting points of a never-ending labyrinth.

Escaping from the man who murdered her parents, Choi Eun Seol woke up losing her memory and was given another identity by the detective handling a famous serial killer case.  Choi Eun Seol became Oh Cho Rim and along with her new life is her ability to know the smell of people through her eyes.

It was that brilliantly executed plot of the protagonists’ taking advantage of the killer’s inability to remember faces and the latter’s resilience in orchestrating evil ploys that drew my appreciation all throughout.   There were no unnecessary hassles and side stories written to confuse or to lengthen the narration.  The plot was very clear on its premise and has always headed to the direction of uncovering clues without making the protagonists appear dumb.  It sailed to a direction of making the viewers go along with the process of pinning the vile psychopath to admit to his crime against the usual dragging guess-the-killer story. 

The mushy sweetness here and there, the steady writing, the oneness of the cast and the deviation from the usual kdrama plot stereotypes had me resurrected from my gym induced hiatus to break my kdrama/movie review dry spell.  It is a buoyant romcom drama served with a balanced mixture of thrill, comic kicks and romance that I would highly recommend for when you plan a kdrama getaway.

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Producers (May 2015 – June 2015)

GENRE:  Drama, Comedy, Friendship, Romance

The mixture of the inside production world of variety shows and the characters’ stories were nicely blended but it was the diversity and chemistry of the characters pierced my kdramaaddict heart.

For people expecting Kim Soo Hyun being captured in romantic moments, you won’t expect it in this drama so be prepared.  Nevertheless I think for legit kdrama followers you will get what you bargain for in this drama.  It’s how we root for Alice in Wonderland and love seeking Disney princesses all at the same time.  “Producers” came up in a very interesting format incorporating the variety show world in a drama attack.  To achieve that you have to even out the laughter you get from the variety show and the valuable content you should give to the audience.

And I immensely enjoyed the lessons focused in every episode which were derived from the variety program production world.  It gave meaningful life lessons and pointed out the challenges and limitations of human nature.  When joined together the four main leads were a delightful watch, even in their personal struggles.

Seung Chan is a reminder of any person who was trying to find his niche in the corporate scene regardless if the motivation is absurd, like in his case to follow his first love.  He is a reminder of the extent on how much we can persevere and how trying a shot on everything is better than being coward to take a chance on it.  Ye Jin is a reminder of how even a person with the coldest exterior has a warm spot hidden in her.  Of a person who would be patiently waiting for the love she yearned for than waste her time to nonsense.  Joon Mo is a reflection of those times when we built our character through standing firm with our principles and defying the norms for change to happen.  Cindy represented each one of us in our highest peak, when we hit a slump, and when we bounce back from it.

As I religiously watch 2D1N, I easily grasped the intentions and love the executions all throughout.  True, I might have wished for more love screentime but it superbly fed me stories that I have been on at some point of my life.  The engrossing 12 episodes will leave you lessons that basic self-help books have already vaguely discussed.  A breather from rom-com and melodramas, Producers will strip any work related stress you are having if you give it a chance.

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Beloved Eun Dong (May 2015 – July 2015)

GENRES:  Romance, Melodrama

I haven’t completed my full review on this drama yet, but this is one of my favorite romance stories for 2015.  I love how the narrative approached me like I was sent back to when I was in High School reading those first love stories that made my heart giddy-ish and warm.  

“Beloved Eun Dong” chronicled the love tale between a top actor who found the only girl he loved in his life when she took a job as a ghost writer for the book he wanted to publish in search of his one great love.  He learned that Eun Dong lost her memory and was already married with a child to a former baseball player who met an accident and was saddled in a wheelchair.   While writing Hyun Soo’s story, flashes of familiarity and memories hit Eun Dong and eventually triggered her memory back.  But claiming the love that was deprived of them by her adopted father and husband was no easy task as they faced the controversy of Eun Dong being married legally.  To make the matter worse, Eun Dong revealed that her son is Hyun Soo’s, but his son is already attached to the father he was with while growing up.

Divided in 3 parts, Eun Dong and Hyun Soo’s story moved steady from that sweet young love to the complicated re-owning of the divested romance in a way where I was so affected by the enduring commitment of Hyun Soo to love only one woman in his life.  I have never seen someone like him in kdramaland.  I mean most of the boys surely did love their girls the best way they can, but his story with her left my heart on a painful twinge.  Having a villain that was wheelchair bound and acted selfish because of love has had me on a dilemma if I will hate or understand his pain.

This drama will remind you of your greatest love and will prove to you how love is meant to be when you work for it to happen.

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Mask (May 2015 – July 2015)

GENRES:  Melodrama, Romance, Revenge

For once I got to see a melodrama with a rich family cast not going all war with excessive evil plots to claim the rein of a company, but doing it within the members as what I perceived the rich and famous should have done in reality.  “Mask” having dysfunctional characters will entice you by how much it deconstructed the main leads’ motivations, frailties and hair-pulling moments on what they are willing to give because of greed, vengeance and sacrificial love.
Swerving from the musty weep fest trademark of melodrama, “Mask” raised its fight club banner through lies, devious plots, and ruthless counter attacks for reasons of being blindly in love and the thirst to achieve a payback.

We have a solid cast who rose up to the occasion and gave meaningful portrayals to the very best of the wicked side and better versions of their characters.  What drew me most about “Mask” is the impeccable showing of the four main leads linked by painful love, betrayal and blood ties.  The supporting leads’ love story though not hitting a poignant and meaningful commitment in the end was messy and created a lingering impact of that definitive question on how much can someone go in the name of love.  I like how Ji Sook transitioned her image from a total push-over to a woman who knows her worth.  Her character as a focal point of the story pushed the problem in a coherent challenge where the surrounding people balanced out the struggle between the good and the evil.

I enjoyed the theatrics and the melodrama clichés because “Mask” in its entirety was not sporadically sketched and was focused to the penultimate closure.  I like it when dramas are overbearing because there’s an established premise to support it, and that was the case for “Mask”.  I got affected on the heavy scenes, but they did not overwhelm me with exhausting episode weep runs.

If you want a serious k-drama watch, then this will fill your craving.  The romance, the intrigue, the annoyance, the power plays were well-conceived and executed leaving a sense of fulfilment if you will sit on it for a binge.  I even prepared myself with some tissue rolls for the tear party because it was Su Ae and Joo Ji Hoon, but I was put at the edge of my seat because I was cheering earnestly for Ji Sook and how she found her niche and defied her old self to emancipate herself in the villain’s grip and be with the man she loved without secrets and lies.

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Oh My Ghost (July 2015 – August 2015)

GENRES:  Romance, Comedy, Supernatural

Bright, Cheerful and Feel Good have always been the after effect of an episode dose of Oh My Ghostess for me.  Supernatural plot is a make or break deal in kdramas.  It needs to be flaunting when the plot needs it, and it needs to see reasons when you over expose it.

I like the richness of the father-daughter filial love in the story as it literally transcended the after life.  I like how cheeky and sweet Sun Woo was at the same time, his reactions were adorable.  I like how Park Bo Young was able to differentiate Na Bong Sun and Shin Soon Ae’s characters to fit in with the way the actual Soon Ae was playing in the story.  I like how the rom-com elements fused well with the metaphysical plot of the story by  making the love leads face their issues straight on and seeing the reasons right away.  Every main character in this drama has his own story that the love line was not the main thing that got me hooked with it.  It was how each character’s story along with the conflicts that entwined them brought the love story closer and concluded the conflicts neatly.

It was the most consistent romantic-comedy for 2015, yes even with the slight tragic plot.  The chemistry of the love couple was impeccable that all the followers of this drama would agree how Bong Sun and  Sun Woo made our heart fluttered with their bipolar-disorder-misguided-romance.  It’s hard not to drum your feet on your bed and grin when Sun Woo went to his usual i’m-the-man antics and Bong Sun’s pesky man cravings guided by Soon Ae.

If you are needing a love elixir to boost your already blooming relationship of if you just want a perfect rom-com drama getaway, this one is for you.

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Yong Pal (Aug 2015 – Oct 2015)

GENRES:  Drama, Romance, Suspense, Medical

Quick-paced and great on cliff-hangers, Yong Pal was almost perfect but it faintly lost balance on its finishing kick.

Yong Pal enticed me with its exciting premise of a Prince charming doctor who saved an heiress in distress medically forced to be on coma by her half-brother who wanted the helm of the big company her father left for her.

Conspiracies and power struggles are fundamental elements necessary to build up a strong melodrama. The heroine has had her fair share of defiance and strength which made her an interesting character. She had a superb interaction with the lead man though I would have wanted some more sweet moments for them after all the predicaments they had. The hero was oh so cool on the onset of the story but his sparkle diminished after the second half when the story’s focus shifted on Yeo Jin. True, he was instrumental all throughout but there were moments when the heroine overshadowed him which I found weird because the drama was titled after him so I was expecting that Yeo Jin’s story is secondary only to his.

I think the conclusion was a useless do-over of the main conflict. It should have ended when she ascended to her position and had all the villains get their sad endings. But the over extension with the same scenario of her being destroyed and by something related to medicine again was a useless move. She already had her redemption so it would have been nice to see her and Tae Hyun just enjoying an uncomplicated life which they both yearned to have.

As a whole I still like the story because it maneuvered with rising excitement as the drama unfolds. It also stuck in the power struggle conflict and the protagonists and villains moved well to the direction of annoying and outwitting each other. The characters were less frills and full of grit. The narrative was simple and yet rich with emotions. Feisty and flowing, all that was missing was a fitting ending.

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She Was Pretty (Sept 2015 – Nov 2015)

GENRES:  Romance, Comedy

I would consider two themes evident for 2015 in kdramaland… friendship-turned-romance and redeeming-a-woman’s-old-glow.   These two were present in the recently concluded love tale of childhood friends turned sweethearts who lost contact for a long while and met again at different expectations and fears more than 20 years after.

“She Was Pretty” was your typical rom-com drama tailored to make you feel giddy and warm. It will excite you while the story unfolds but it’s not something that you will keep dearly in your heart like the rom-com classics.  The characters were all amusing in their own right, but I gave Choi Si Won, the biggest applause among the cast for his perfect rendering of the quirky second male lead character. While Park Seo Joon is beautiful and Hwang Jung Eum is at her usual best although with slight hyperactivity, they were able to present a love couple you will root for.

The conflict’s lightness was an affirmative note in the story as it worked on the characters’ connection and sticking on their rational thinking come what may. I felt a bit of annoyance toward Ha Ri, but she beautifully redeemed herself by confronting Hye Jin to stop shielding her from the pain and accept the happiness that she deserved.  Neatly narrated, the always encouraging vibe of the heroine carried on sincere lessons about how much pain and understanding you can give to salvage a friendship that is more than a family and how much we have to give it to ourselves the limitless opportunities and love that fate won’t give us right away. Hye Jin just like our usual rom-com lead girls pursued love and dreams the best way she can by not sacrificing the happiness that she can create on her own. With her perfect hero who wanted to support her all the way with her personal bucket list, I witnessed a romance that is soon fading in our generation that is being supportive to our lover’s personal goals while maintaining a relationship dependent to a genuine love and unwavering commitment.

Next to chocolates, honeyed and heart-warming kdrama romcoms can help you survive melancholia and routine weekends. Uncomplicated with its romantic approach, Hye Jin and Sung Joon’s love story will surely hit your love veins.

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Bubblegum (Oct 2015 – Dec 2015)

GENRE:  Drama, Romance, Comedy, Family

I think out of all friendship-turned-romance dramas this year, Ri Hwan and Haeng Ah’s story in Bubblegum is perfect for 30-ish working people who struggled and are struggling to keep up on the sad truth that dealing with a broken heart and learning to accept a new love have different approaches as you age along.   It was such an enamoring narrative that drew strength from the free spirited and natural on screen connection of the lead couple.

It is sadly evident that the conflicts raised in the story were not tied up neatly. It was like probably hoping that Lee Dong Wook princey face can fade away the misses of the drama. It came very strong with how the characters communicated intrepidly and genuinely but fell short because of the wayward movement of the story.  It was a case where the beautiful characters were not justified by a well written fiction.

Although it got derailed on the closing episodes and the mom-doesn’t-want-us-to-be-together was misplaced and later on forgotten, I have enjoyed the heartfelt confrontations, the peaceful conversations and the life and love realizations. It was a consoling chronicle until the mom-got-Alzheimer’s plot, and less that annoying cliché, it would have been a perfect melodrama as a whole.  It did end up warm and happy for the love birds but the writing was not polished. It was ardent but somehow all over the place. If not for the unfeigned portrayals of the lead couple, I would have given up on it. But because it had me hooked on fast to cheer for the literal written on the stars love for Haeng Ah and Ri Hwan and the blossoming of the romance from the friendship tested through time, I sent them off with a smile on my face. Bubblegum is not a solid offering but it will keep you calm and comforted.

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Because it’s the first time (OCt 2015 – Nov 2015)

GENRES:  Romance, Comedy, Youth, Drama

Everything about this drama screams about the kind of friendship, worries and love confusions we had in our early 20’s.  The story was narrated unadorned but the characters were limned delightfully.

Tae Oh, Song Yi, Ji Ahn, Ga In and Hoon are five childhood friends who have relied to each another while battling the challenges of braving the world where they are expected  to face failures  and not warranted to give up on it.   The age when they have the freedom not to rationalize loving someone, but are restricted to chase their personal dreams because they either doubt themselves or they are forced to go against their will by their families. 

These hinged friends experienced life cruelties from their own families and unfortunate events, but they have managed  to shelter one another and gave strength to overcome their battles.  The story moved in presenting their usual bickerings and fun times and hit the conflict of Tae Oh finally waking up to the truth that he loved his girl best friend even when he finally got his dream girl.  No spices.  No heaviness.  Just culminating to the main lead’s decision to let go of his one sided first love. 

Yes I wish it would have been longer but given the simplicity of the  plot, it wouldn’t give a justified stretch.  It was a nice watch while you are on it, but won’t leave a lingering impact after. But if you want a short, feel-good 20’s drama that you can finish in one sitting on a weekend or when u want to feel distracted, “Because It’s The First Time” would serve the purpose of entertaining you.  Sweet and upbeat… I’m sure this friendship story will make you remember those blithe days of being wild, young and free.

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Oh My Venus (Nov 2015 – Jan 2015)

GENRE:  Romance, Comedy

Forget the grueling gym workout, home yoga sessions and sadness inducing diet plans… Just allot 2 hours in 2 days watching Oh My Venus and you will miraculously lose 10 lbs in 2 weeks. It’s true. No hidden agendas, no diet pills, and no aggravating body pains. Sign up for a 14-day trial period at Coach John Kim’s Venus boot camp and see for yourself what the rest of the women who tried the program have been talking about. *chuckles  Seriously now, if they want a solution to the alarming woes of women struggling to keep up with their weight, they should hire So Ji Sub oppa to be their personal trainer and the world will be a better place. *giggles

Oh My Venus went to the typical Korean drama rom-com milieu of a rich heir who fell in love with a normal girl but with a fitness program twist. Kang Joo Eun was a feisty Korean lawyer with a steady long-time boyfriend. She was living a calm life and the only concern she has was her weight loss struggle.  She used to be the high school boys’ dream in her hometown Daegu, but life’s complications took over and she failed maintaining her goddess self. She eventually lost her boyfriend to an old chubby law school friend who managed to discard her old fat self.

But seriously, I already outgrew the over-used rich guy-normal girl love story setting, but for the lightness and the girly-drooling moments, I would forgive the shallow conflict of this drama. Oh well and because anything is forgivable with So Ji Sub oppa in it.  But it would have been nice if they push it to Joo Eun’s initial dream to recover her old Venus self. Putting that Young Ho’s family’s company problem conflict was a bit awkward for the plot. It was not fitting.  Since they presented Young Ho’s broken self, I think they should have followed that lead.  There’s a lot of emotional struggles for couples in their 30’s because most tend to not unpack their baggages so they could have circled in their plot.  They could have lengthened Joo Eun’s rally to win Young Ho’s rich family to make the drama even more sassier and feel good.  But anyway, I got what I bargained for, if not for Joo Eun and Young Ho’s chemistry I would have really pouted.

I want to commend on the show’s drive to encourage women with weight worries to lighten up and push themselves to be even more disciplined in following their fitness programs as it would be a propelling force to reclaim their confidence and to live a robust life.  If you can get a supportive partner/boyfriend with that then you are definitely on the right track.  With ample cutesy love scenes and charming on screen adorable couple, this rom-com offering will wear out a week’s work stress. If you want an uncomplicated blithe and feel good love drama, this will definitely satisfy your craving. Add So Ji Sub on the side, and boy it’s definitely a winner all throughout.

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Reply 1988 (Nov 2015 – Jan 2015)

GENRES:  Romance, Comedy, Family, Friendship

They say that as you age along, you get more sentimental as you look back on what has happened in your life. Sitting on this neighborhood drama set between 1988 – 1995 made me reminisce the good old days of endearing family love and friendship full of memories and laughter. “Answer me 1988” pays homage to the irreplaceable bliss of being young – of our young dreams and our young love. It gives you a trip to memory lane when technology hasn’t taken over the world yet— when friends meet up at a house to watch movies, to eat and to chat and when romance comes true by heartfelt love declarations, stolen kisses and warm hugs.  Hands down to the extent of the research and the meticulously vibrant writing that were fused together to bring up a chronicle that warms the heart and lingers in one’s mind. The setting, side stories and the cast ensemble will make the viewers feel like stepping to a time-warping machine and bringing out the best memories we could ever have in our lives.

One of the many things I loved in this show was the genuine on-screen bond of the cast giving life in the best possible imagination of the sketched characters in the story. There was no passerby among the cast. All have contributed to an almost perfect depiction of how uncomplicated life then. With neighbors living up to become a functioning support group with their fellow parents whose dreams were mainly directed to the well-being of their children and of children who were pressured to chase their dreams so as to make their parents proud. That is definitely not the case today with the internet controlling human interaction. People will choose to just browse on the superficial social media status of their family and friends than to take time to catch up with them in person.  Another wonderful feature evident to all Reply-dramas would be the building up of the romance which has been fixed in presenting a love triangle and would always break the viewers’ hearts as they want both guys to get the same girl they were chasing. I was Team Taek-i all throughout. Who wouldn’t fall for Taek-i’s puppy face? I just really go for cute nerds who are clueless in life but advances strong when the situation required them to go for their one great love and Taek-i rose to the occasion by waiting for the right time and seizing the moment without looking back. Jung–hwan had his fair share of sweet moments capping up with that heartbreaking love proposal practice which Duk-seon never realized to be what really was in Jung Hwan’s heart.

But the one great love lesson learned from JungHwan-Dukseon-Taek love triangle is to not blame timing or fate for your one great love to happen. Taek-i braved the odds and defied a 20 year friendship and sealed every love he had for Dukseon in a heart-stopping kiss because he wanted to know right at that moment if there is just not a chance but if love was really there for both of them. It’s not just knowing that love is there, it is being in absolute certainty that both of you feel the same way.  I only have the very best things to say for the neighborhood I grew fond watching, for the childhood buddies who defined lifetime friendship and for the sincere love that bloomed from the purest friendship and memories.  Reply 1988 was a great spectacle to seal K-drama parade of 2015 and I can only hope that the writer won’t get tired of delving on nostalgic premise like this.

Reply 1988 is on my top 3 dramas for 2015 because of its brilliant use of sweet melancholia and sending the followers back to their very own youth, like it did to me. It made me want to pay a short visit to the street I grew up with and reminisce the times when I hang out with my childhood friends to play traditional local games. It made me glad that most of my precious memories were not digitally induced as is the case of the youth nowadays. And it reminded me to still go for the purest romance I can ever have that won’t make use much of the world- wide web and social media.  The ever present humor, the love stories and the amazing neighborhood are surely a quick relief for life stress. Reply 1988 is a strip of mementos any person with a euphoric youth can relate to. I strongly vouch for this drama if you have a weekend to spare.

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and the Pink Lightsaber goes too… (Abby’s 2012 Korean Drama Picks) Part 2 of My Year-end Korean Drama Review

Last year, I started on looking back and giving my hard-earned thank you’s for these dramas and characters I really liked.  I never thought of a name, just your regular, year-end awards something, and then since my world wide web name calls for it, I guess I would have to acquiesce.  This will be my First Pink Lightsaber year-end appreciation day.  Let’s roll in my 2012 DRAMA FAVORITES.

PS:  My Basis for Choosing… Well, let’s just say if I will be asked about these dramas in 2 or 5 years, I will still remember everything about them.

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♥  HISTORY OF THE SALARYMAN – I watched Yoo Bang and Yeo Chi just as I was running out of time this year, and the splendid story and cheeky characters has earned an applaud from me.  This is the most DARING and the SNAPPIEST Drama this year.

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♥ OPERATION PROPOSAL – No matter how many times Baek Ho made me joined him in his “renovatio spree”, I remained faithful and intertwined in this I-realized-too-late-I-love-you-please-give-me-a-chance-to-prove-we-are-meant-to-be-kind-of-love.  This is the most TIME-DEFYING Romance Drama this year for me.

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♥  A GENTLEMAN”S DIGNITY – This blow-up F4 swept me off my feet with their unmatched friendship and opening anecdotes.  The wit, humor and love maturity was ever present until its culmination.  This is the Most FULFILLING Romance Drama and the Best Ensemble Cast this year.

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♥ GHOST – Riveting and Stimulating, GHOST was able to put me on an addictive level while stalking it.  This is the Most THRILLING and SMARTLY WRITTEN drama this year.

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♥ FAITH – Although slowly-paced the lingering effect of the romance, the villains and the story itself won my heart in a slow but surely and no looking back manner.  This is the Most HEARTFELT ROMANCE drama this year.

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♥  QUEEN IN HYUN’S MAN – Drawing a well-pieced plot and nailing the best time-traveling trick from the time voyaging drama pack this year, Queen In Hyun’s Man Abby’s Man was an exceptional love yarn that made me giddy-ish, girly-ish and princess-ish.  This is the Most MEMORABLE and SUPERBLY WRITTEN Romance this year.

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♥ FIVE FINGERS – I felt like I was in a trance while my usual romantic self enjoyed my favorite dysfunctional family ever. Five Fingers has managed to surprise me with the retaliation battle among the characters.  This is the Most FEISTY drama and the Most WELL-ACTED Drama this year.

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♥  ANSWER ME, 1997 – Nostalgic and a sure humor pill, Answer Me, 1997 sent me back to memory lane reliving the sweet feel of falling in love for the first time.  This is the Most CHEERFUL Romance Drama this year.

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♥  KING 2 HEARTS – The situation that brought Hang Ah and her Prince took a “now or never approach” and elevated to a strong commitment because of the efficiency of the villain.  This is the Most POLISHED Drama this year.

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♥ ROOFTOP PRINCE – Addictive and very pleasant to watch, my Joseon Beatles replica made me root for them throughout the story.  Park Ha, Prince Lee Gak and the 3 Adorable sidekicks have given me so many laughter and induced plenty of love sighs.  This is the Most REFRESHING Romance Drama this year.

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♥ THE MOON THAT EMBRACES THE SUN – It was a bracing romance that played and won over fate.  It was not that perfect but was very persistent in what it was trying to achieve.  This is the Most FATED and FULFILLING Romance this year.

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♥ GAKSITAL – A bromance defying all bromance invented… Gaksital stripped me of my feminine lines and has made me at the end of my seat because of its thrilling pace, engrossing mise-en-scene and resonating characters.  This is the BEST WRITTEN and DIRECTED drama this year.

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And Now Here’s to the Winners of Pink Lightsaber

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FAVORITE SUPPORTING MALE ACTORS

Eun Shi-kyung in King 2 Hearts

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Jo Eun Sung in I do, I do

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FAVORITE FEMALE SUPPORTING ACTRESSES

Kim Dong Ah in Wild Romance

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Im Me Ah Ri in A Gentleman’s Dignity

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BEST SCENE-STEALER CHARACTERS

The Three Musketeers of Prince Lee Gak in Rooftop Prince

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HALL-OF-FAMER-CHARACTERS

Kim Bong Gu in King 2 Hearts

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Chae Young Ra in Five Fingers

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FAVORITE KICK-ASS CHARACTERS

Kim Woo Hyun in Ghost

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Baek Yeo Chi in History of the Salaryman

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FAVORITE FEEL-GOOD CHARACTER

Arang in Arang and the Magistrate

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Kang San in May Queen

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FAVORITE BLUSH-INDUCING CHARACTER

Jung Jae Hyuk in Fashion King

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Lee Ja Ha in King 2 Hearts

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FAVORITE CUDDLY BEAR CHARACTER

Park Moo Yul in Wild Romance

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FAVORITE LOVE-YOU-HATE-YOU CHARACTER

Kim Kyung Tak in Dr. Jin

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Yoo In Ha in Five Fingers

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Shunji Kimura in Gaksital

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FAVORITE LEAD MAN KISSER

Seo Joon in Love Rain

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Kim Boong Do in Queen In Hyun’s Man

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FAVORITE I-WANT-TO-SEE-YOU-IN-MY-DREAMS-CHARACTER

Choi Young in Faith

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BEST FIGHT SCENES

Gaksital

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FAVORITE BROMANCE

Shunji and Kang-to in Bridal Mask

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F4 in A Gentleman’s Dignity

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Kenji and Kang-to in Gaksital

FAVORITE ROM-COM COUPLES

Park Ha and Lee Gak in Rooftop Prince

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Sung Shi Won and Yoon Yoon Jae in Answer Me, 1997

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FAVORITE UNYIELDING ROMANCE

Kang Baek Ho to Ham Yi Seul in Operation Proposal

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Choi Young and Yoo Eun Soo in Faith

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FAVORITE PICTURE PERFECT ROMANCE

So Yi Soo and Kim Do Jin in A Gentleman’s Dignity

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Choi Hee Jin and Kim Boong Do in Queen In Hyun’s Man

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FAVORITE VILLAINS

Jo Hyun Min in Ghost

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Ki Chul in Faith

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FAVORITE STORY

Queen In Hyun’s Man

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FAVORITE SCREENPLAY

A Gentleman’s Dignity

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BEST EDITING

King 2 Hearts

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FAVORITE ENSEMBLE CAST

A Gentleman’s Dignity

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Five Fingers

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BEST IN CINEMATOGRAPHY

Love Rain

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BEST DIRECTING

Queen In Hyun’s Man

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King 2 Hearts

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FAVORITE DRAMA

Queen In Hyun’s Man

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Gaksital

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FAVORITE CHOCOLATEY-SWEET DRAMA

A Gentleman’s Dignity

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FAVORITE TEARS-AND-BLISS DRAMA

Five Fingers

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FAVORITE PERIOD DRAMA

Faith

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FAVORITE TIME TRAVELING DRAMA

Queen In Hyun’s Man

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Operation Proposal

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FAVORITE TEAR INDUCING CHARACTER

Yoo Ji Ho in Five Fingers

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Eun Shi Kyung in King 2 Hearts

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FAVORITE SEE-HOW-MUCH-I-LOVE-YOU-SCENE

The Skin-care Gifts to Hang Ah in King 2 Hearts

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The Beach Painting Gift to Park Ha in Rooftop Prince

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FAVORITE COTTON-CANDY DARLING SCENE

Lee Tae Sung painting Go So Ra’s finger nails in Haeundae Lovers

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FAVORITE DRAMA ONE LINER

“I’ve never felt this way before” in Haeundae Lovers

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BEST KISS

Love Rain Fountain Kiss

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Queen In Hyun’s Man Neck-tie-tip-toe Kiss

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BEST LOVE DECLARATION SCENE

Jo Eun Sung stethoscope Will you marry me? scene in I Do I Do

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Ki-Joong and Dong-Bi’s Common Law Marriage Scene in Can We Get Married

Can We Get Married Han Groo Kim Young Kwang

BEST FINALE EPISODE

King 2 Hearts

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Ghost

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FAVORITE LEAD ACTRESS

Kim Hang Ah in King 2 Hearts

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Chun Hae Joo in May Queen

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FAVORITE LEAD ACTOR

Kang Ma Ru in Innocent Man

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Lee Kang To in Gaksital

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FAVORITE DRAMA CHARACTERS

General Choi Young in Faith

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Kim Boong Do in Queen In Hyun’s Man

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Sung Shi Won in Answer Me, 1997

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It was so hard deciding on what I should pick, but I will stick to my simple rating rule.  My final stop for this year-end review, I’m hoping to accomplish before the year literally say goodbye.  

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Feisty Five Fingers

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When you have your protagonist, villains, counter-villains living inside the same roof scheming on how they can make each other suffer and retaliating at the same time, you get the best drama ensembles acting wise.  I present you Five Fingers – a story of a dysfunctional family that burned each episode with intense unlimited angst thrown at each other in a battle where money is thicker than blood and first love.

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Chae Young Rang was a once a famous pianist who married a chaebol, Yoo Man Se, whose business focused on the music industry specifically in making grand pianos.   To secure a lavish life, Young Rang’s mother forced her daughter to marry Yoo Man Se, who harbored deep adoration to her although her heart belonged to another man but when Yoo Man Se learned of her infidelity, he made their marriage life enclosed in the memory of his wife’s being unfaithful. 

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Young Rang performed her duty as a good mother to their son and a daughter-in-law to Yoo Man Se’s mother.  She let go of her husband’s womanizing around as arguing about it would sent them back to the nightmare of how their marriage started.   Then one day, Yoo Man Se brought a young boy, Ji Ho, in the house claiming that he was his son.  Young Rang and her son Yoo In Ha were totally opposing the idea but acquiesced because it was what Yoo Man Se commanded.

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Yoo In Ha at a very young age was already considered skillful in playing the piano, but Yoo Ji Hoo surprised them with his innate ability and soon enough he became a piano prodigy.  Then one night, Young Rang learned of Yoo Man Se’s will which was favoring Yoo Ji Ho, they engaged in a heated argument not realizing that grandmother who was suffering from Alzheimer’s has lit some candles that accidentally caused a fire in the house.  Young Rang hit a hard object at Yoo Man Se and when she realized the house was on fire, she rushed to look for her son.  Prior to that In Ha gave his jacket to his older brother, so she was in horrified shock when she realized she saved Yoo Man Se’s son.  Meanwhile grandmother rushed to look for the man who was selling pancakes that she loved to help rescue her son, but he was caught up on fire and also died.

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Young Rang pinned the man her mother-in-law called for help as the main culprit in the crime, and in his death his grieving family vowed to avenge their father’s death.  In Ha took a lot of damage from the fire, he recuperated but one of his little finger cannot function anymore.

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Years later In Ha who kept a cold heart towards her mother came back from his living abroad and was welcomed by Ji Ho.  Young Rang tried to win his son’s heart and got to her long-running plan of claiming Boo Sung Group.  Clueless on her adopted mother’s hidden agenda, it was a big blow to Ji Ho when he realized how vile and selfish the woman who raised him was.  Ji Ho also reunited with his childhood friend Hong Da Mi, who turned out to be the daughter of the man her mother put the blame on in the fire accident, the underlying rage of Da Mi’s family caused a memorable once upon a time between Ji Ho and Da Mi, but a painful ever-after when they both became aware that they are modern-day Juliet and Romeo.

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Now Young Rang’s first love, Elvin Kim, was also set to take revenge on her drew a premeditated plan to Young Rang’s downfall using Da Mi’s brother to be his right hand.  Da Mi’s family needed a proof which was under Young rang’s possession and at no cause just to clear their father’s name they wanted to get it to make Young Rang pay for her evil manipulations.  Ji Ho who never understood his father’s dying words not to trust his mother was consumed by rage towards the unfairness of the world and the woman he really took as his mother.   Da Mi’s brother met up with Young Rang to offer a final admit-your-sins but In Ha got in the way, and in protecting his mother engaged in a brawl and knocked out Da Mi’s brother.  Ji Ho came to rescue him, but was almost framed to the crime he didn’t commit. 

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A year after, Ji Ho returned to play the piano for his younger brother’s engagement party, and when a rogue rushed to stab Young Rang, Ji Ho took the knife.  His heroic show raised positive feedbacks from the press and because his reputation has been damaged by her mother and brother’s doings, he was set to go Vito Corleone to his family.

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The main conflict centered on a horrible case of Oedipus complex.  The mother and brothers whose grudges elevated and paced in a dangerous manner made this mellow drama so compelling to watch.  It was overflowing with dark tones, and yet it was heartbreakingly beautiful.  The characters were all driven, the story was full of surprises and wicked impulses.

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Five Fingers was strong in balancing the protagonist and the villains.  It didn’t make the protagonist so annoying.  While Ji Ho maintained his meekness, he was also quick in comprehending the situation he was set to.  He counter-punched simultaneously whilst his so-called family threw a jab at him.  The last episodes were a workload for me as I ended up shedding tears while sharing Ji Ho’s pain. 

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Young Rang’s character was brilliantly conceived, such a strong persona and I’m thankful that the retribution they created was not forced and was just complementing her image in the series.  She went from pretentious to persevering to full of pride and yes even to Lady-Voldemort.  But her pernicious ways requited when a forgotten birth secret emerged to trouble her conflicting self.  When the mother-and-sons-love-triangle was salvaged by her blindness, I loved that she remained restrained and true to her character.  She knew how demonic she has been and she didn’t take a shortcut in cleaning his conscience.  She isolated herself consistent to how she has been dealing with the people around her all her life.

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Yoo In Ha who felt an intruder got all the things in his life was also well represented that I really pitied how his character moved in the dark side because he can’t beat his older brother who was not even in the mood to compete with him.  The love triangle between In Ha, Ji Ho and Da Mi span since they were young, forgotten through the years but emerged again when they met as adults latched the turning point to In Ha’s character making him support his mother in their villainous acts of overthrowing the son whom they thought brought all the misery in their lives.

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The main lead on the good side, Ji Ho, forced me to a weep fest on the finale episodes as frame after frame he was frustrated, crying and not knowing how to deal with the last minute revelation he got about his birth secret.  I loved him when he was a nice guy, loved him more when he initiated payback time, but I was completely drawn to him when he hit the highest notes finally subduing his mother and brother, but deciding to forgive them because “they are still his family”.

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I love the villains in this drama, alive and not.  The last minute conflict where they pulled Yoo Man Se’s premeditated-in-case-I-might-die revenge took the story in a different angle.  How can you accept your birth mother who pretended to be your mother because his being your mother would secure her and her son a fortune she so really wanted? (whew! There’s a lot of mother there)  Even at the end Young Rang’s heart was holding back and won’t admit her  shortcomings even if Ji Ho displayed his forgiving filial piety. 

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The romantic injections supported and enhanced the struggle that tied Young Rang and Yoo Man Se as well as Ji Ho and Da Mi.  A really-can’t-be-together relationship  worked in the plot, and I’m glad the writers didn’t waver in thinking of giving them the love in the end.  As for the open-ended solution to close the drama, my Mr. Hyde-self really thought that Young rang falling off the cliff because she took all the time she can to finally break the walls she built between her and Ji Ho was just fair.  I know she was sincere in redeeming herself, so if I setteled to the idea of her dying that would be fine, if hse lived that would have been fine as well.  But I doubt she did and what mattered was she was able to glue the broken relationship of her sons and forgave herself to the life she lived.

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I can’t find fault on how they executed the streaming of the narrative, but Hanna unnie pointed out that she was looking for the link between the opening montages to the conclusion.  It’s either it was an opening to introduce a not so good relationship of a son and his mother or they forgot about it because of so much rage and emotional uproar they conjured all throughout.

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I vouched that this was the best tears and bliss drama I saw this year.  Everything was in coherence to the main theme, the actors pushed their limit in the scenes they were required to step up and not quivering at the same time on the middling notes.  It propelled a lot of emotions in me – impossibility, nostalgia, fondness, fury, remorse, and forgiveness.  Full of flavors and sentiments, fiery Five Fingers will be my favorite mellow drama for 2012. 

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best korean romantic films

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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 reference, you can also see it all in my Korean Movie Recap Page.

I have rated it A(for Amazing), B+(for Breathtaking), B(for Beautiful), C+(for Cliche but Charming), C(for Crazy but Tolerable) D(for Disappointing), F(for Forget it).   I added additional tips for your reference.  My recent entries would be on a yearly basis from now on so the most recent dramas would be on the first entries.

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

 

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♥ My Sassy girl (2001) – If you haven’t watched this love pill, then you haven’t watched a really good rom-com movie.  Needless to say, this is one of my favorite love films.  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

MY SASSY GIRL MOVIE RECAP

GENRE:  Romantic Comedy       GRADE:  A

 

♥ 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

IL MARE MOVIE RECAP

GENRE:  Romance, Fantasy     GRADE:  B

♥ 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.

DADDY LONG LEGS MOVIE RECAP

GENRE:  Romance     GRADE:  B

♥ 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

MY LITTLE BRIDE MOVIE RECAP

GENRE:  Romantic Comedy     GRADE:  B+

♥ 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

DAISY MOVIE RECAP

GENRE:  Romance, Espionage, Melodrama     GRADE:  A

♥ 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:  C+

♥ 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

THE CLASSIC MOVIE RECAP

GENRE:  Romance, Melodrama     GRADE:  A

♥ 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

♥ 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

♥ 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.

GENRE:  Romance     GRADE:  B+

♥ 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. 

GENRE:  Romance, Melodrama     GRADE:  B+

♥ 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+

♥ 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:  C+

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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:  B

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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.

100 DAYS WITH MR. ARROGANT

GENRE:  Romantic Comedy     GRADE:  B+

♥ He was Cool (2004) – A cheerful high school student clumsily left a message on the school website in response to the school bully’s post. She was then stalked by the school bully since then. 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+

♥ 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. 

GENRE:  Romantic Comedy     GRADE:  B+

♥ 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:  B

♥ 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:  C+

♥ 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:  C+

♥ 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+

♥ 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

♥ 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:  C+

♥ 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:  C+

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♥ Someone Special (2004) – A really feel good rom-com perfect for your weekend movie binge. Extraordinarily sweet and appealing.

SOMEONE SPECIAL MOVIE RECAP

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, Family, Youth     GRADE:  C+

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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 initially mean to her. 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, Musical     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

♥ 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.

A MOMENT TO REMEMBER MOVIE RECAP

GENRE:  Romance, Melodrama     GRADE:  A

♥ 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:  C+

♥ 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:   B

♥ 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:  C+

♥ 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

♥ 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

♥ 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:  C+

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

GENRE:  Romantic Comedy      GRADE:  C+

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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:  C+

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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:  C+

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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:  C+

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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:  C+

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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 got engrossed with it, but when it ended I was talking to the dvd player to tell me if it was 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:  D

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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 afford to have.

GENRE:  Romantic Comedy, Light Action     GRADE:  C+

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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: B+

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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)Nice 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:  C+

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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:   C+

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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:  C+


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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.  Contemplative, 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:  C+

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♥ The Recipe (2010)It was a pretty and engaging story telling.  Splendid and impressive shifting of the storyline and I was also intrigued by how that stew tasted after the movie.  

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:  B+

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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:  B

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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:  B

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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:  B+

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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. 

HEAVEN’S POSTMAN MOVIE RECAP

GENRE:  Romance, Fantasy     GRADE:  B+

 

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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:   C+

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:  C+

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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.

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:  C+

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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.

COME RAIN, COME SHINE QUICK RECAP

GENRE:  Romance     GRADE:  B

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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:  C+

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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 

HELLO GHOST MOVIE RECAP

GENRE:  Family, Comedy, Fantasy     GRADE:  A

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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:   C+

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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:  B+

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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:  C+

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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, Legal, Crime     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. 

THE CHASER QUICK SUMMARY

GENRE:  Thriller, Drama     GRADE:  B+

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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:  C+

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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:  C+

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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:  C

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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, Drama     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.

ONCE IN A SUMMER QUICK MOVIE REVIEW

GENRE:  Romance     GRADE:  B+

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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:  B+

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.

SPELLBOUND aka Chilling Romance Movie Musings

GENRE:  Romance, Fantasy thriller      GRADE:  C+

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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.

PUNCH MOVIE RECAP

GENRE:  Drama, Family     GRADE:  B+

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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:  B+

 

 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-mystery 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:  C+

  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:  C

 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. 

PAINED QUICK MOVIE MUSINGS

GENRE:  Romance, Melodrama     GRADE:  B

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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:  B

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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.  

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:  B+

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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:  C

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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:  C+

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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:  B+

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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:  C+

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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, Comedy, Drama    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, Adult      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.

THE WAY HOME (2002) QUICK MOVIE MUSINGS

GENRE:  MeloDrama, Family     GRADE:  A

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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

THE GRAND HEIST KOREAN MOVIE RECAP

GENRE:  Adventure, Heist      GRADE:  B+

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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, Comedy     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.

A Werewolf Boy Quick Recap

GENRE:  Romance, Fantasy     GRADE:  A

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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.

Hearty Paws Quick Review

GENRE:  Drama, Family     GRADE:  B

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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:  C+

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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.

Love 911 Quick Recap

GENRE:  Romantic Comedy     GRADE:  B+

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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.

Confession of Murder Movie Recap

GENRE:  Action, Thriller  GRADE:  B+

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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.

How To Use Guys With Secret Tips Quick recap

GENRE:  Romantic Comedy    GRADE:  C

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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, Drama     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  B+

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, Melodrama     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:  C+

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:  C+

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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:  C+

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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, Family         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:  C+

THE CHRONICLE OF A BLOOD MERCHANT MOVIE REVIEW

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♥ The Crown “Sado” (2015) – From the moment the film opened to the agonizing and poignant scene of the king who ordered his son to death by imprisoning him inside a rice crate, I was rendered confused on what I will learn and who I will blame on the ill-fated life of Crown Prince Sado.  *chuckles  The director achieved a well-executed story-telling even when he started on a climactic point while traversing the past life of the main characters.  It was a brilliant switching of character thoughts and development while unraveling the conflicts and the plot of the film.  It was an exchange of point of views that were equally battled out making the protagonist turn to being an antagonist and vice versa.

Albeit the despondent tone, for me it did not mar the ruminative effect of the film.  It was definitely meaning to present the inconsolable truth about the depth of a parental and filial love.  In the case of the main characters in the narrative, it was an unfortunate conflict that was not resolved both in real life and the film.

GENRE:  Drama, Period     GRADE:  B

THE THRONE MOVIE REVIEW

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♥ Assassination (2015) – Maybe because I like history that’s why I have patience with period and war films.  Plus the fact that the plot covered espionage and and it was top billed by acclaimed South Korean actors, those are enough reasons why I enjoyed the swift moving and easy to  follow historical movie based on the happenings of Korean  Independent movement in the Japanese occupation period.  The story and screenplay were not complicatedly conceived which is good because the film was mostly filled with gun fights and action scenes.  But even with the brawling binge, the conversations of the cast flowed naturally in the story explaining what was happening and where it was going.  That’s what I first notice, the narration was neat and straight to the point without diminishing the thrill of the plot.

The conclusion was half-sad and half-resolved as the conflict culminated to the freedom army completing their task although losing the hired assassins who helped out in the spur of the moment for that cause.  It’s not typical to get happy  endings with all your main characters intact on the closing curtains in action films, but at least the closure satisfied the decently written story.

GENRE:  Drama, Period     GRADE:  B+

ASSASSINATION MOVIE REVIEW

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♥ The Last Princess (2016) – I felt like a hundred dementors attacked me after watching this movie.  It was so poignant and sad that it halted my korean movie binge watch plan.  Nevertheless if you are a fan of period drama, you would appreciate the melancholic narrative of the fate of the last Joseon princess.

GENRE:  Drama, Period     GRADE:  B

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♥ Train to Busan (2016) – It was an exhaustingly superb zombie apocalypse thriller movie. Train to Busan lived up to its South Korean box office hype as it propelled a simple zombies-chasing-people-on-board-a-train premise, to a gripping thrill and excitement from start to finish.  While the protagonists were fighting to survive, the movie experience were putting me and my friends on a rollercoaster ride of uphill emotions and omg screams.  

I was all cheering for the heroes in escaping the brutal attack of the walking corpses while hating the villain dying in a manner he did not deserve.  I refrain from watching suspense films because I hate stupid fictional characters, but kudos to the main cast they were all good holding and keeping the cliff-hanging scenes of the story.  If there was one wish I would have wanted was for the main hero to have survived because it was really sad that after what they went through, he still did not live.  But as it is an armageddon movie type, tragedy is expected and at any rate it was a fulfilling narrative that I was happy to see in the big screen.
 
Though the zombies were not scary looking for me, the placements as the main conflict in the story all throughout has had me at the brink of my seat everytime obstacles were thrown to the main characters.  The zombies were so quick in their movements complementing the fast pace trajectory of the story which in turn made the narrative so addictively enthralling.
 
If you are up for a thriller then you should not miss this wickedly conceived spectacle.   I promise you heart raising moments and varying emotions that would keep your interest on erratic movements as you feel like racing along with the characters in  steering clear of the attacking zombies.
GENRE:  Thriller, Drama     GRADE:  B
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♥ Time Renegades (2016) – Though the movie felt like Back to the Future with me sans the fluid narratice execution and witty humor, it did not make me feel good after.  I applaud the strong portrayals of the main leads as it was kinda expected of them to deliver.  Actually it took me three days to finally be done watching the movie.  It was not that bad, but it just did not enthrall me.  The switches from past and present and the clues used from the timelines struggled because the connecting links I felt were easy to predict.  Given that it played on alternating timetables, the pushes and surprises I felt should have been done furtively and distinctly like how Nine Times Travel was done.Nevertheless I still recommend the movie if you are up for a supernatural and time defying romance.  It might have not hit my love movie palate but who knows you might like the ride?  

GENRE: Supernatural, Romance, Thriller     GRADE:  C

TIME RENEGADES QUICK REVIEW

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