Freitag, 25. Dezember 2015

I Need Romance 2

로맨스가 필요해 2012 (I Need Romance 2012 or I Need Romance 2) is a South Korean drama series consisting of 16 episodes that aired from June 20th to August 9th 2012 on tvN.

Story: Once again the story evolves around three women in their 30's. Joo Yeol-mae and Yoon Seok-hyun have been together - more or less since they broke up and got back together - for a long time. Because of Seok-hyun pushing her away while working with Kang Na-hyun Yeol-mae meets Shin Ji-hoon, the owner of a coffee shop.
Yeol-mae's friend Seon Jae-kyung, a former model, experiences trouble when her husband claims she committed adultery and her business as well as her life itself seems to be endangered. And Woo Ji-hee breaks up with her boyfriend and somehow her new boss knows about the reasons which makes working together a lot more chaotic.

Cast: Jung Yu-mi and Lee Jin-wook as Joo Yeol-mae and Yoon Seok-hyun actually show a nice charisma on-screen. Their acting was good, and, what's most important, it actually kept my attention. I did skip very few of their scenes just because their acting and charisma was great. But also Kim Ji-seok as Shin Ji-hoon did a great job showing some cute chemistry with the female lead. Kim Ye-won as Kang Na-hyun was actually the only one in this kind of love triangle (or square?) who seemed kind of.. off to me sometimes.
Kim Ji-woo as Seon Jae-kyung is the kind of perfect self-confident woman I love to see. Sure she faces some trouble because of her affair with her assistant Han Jung-min played by In Gyo-jin after her husband Lee Jang-woo played by Gong Jung-hwan accuses her of adultery though he himself isn't a saint but with her friends she manages to go through those hardships.
Beautiful and seemingly innocent is Kang Ye-sol as Woo Ji-hee in this drama, who ends up falling for a character we have seen in the first season of I Need Romance before, Kim Tae-woo played by Heo Tae-hee. I did enjoy their awkward situations the most, this couple made me laugh harder than the others, maybe that's why I especially liked them.

Soundtrack: The soundtrack got on my nerves to be quite honest. The title, "Waru Waru" by Han Su-ji only appears at the end and what I've heard already made me decide that I am never listening to the full song. Also the song "I Could Give You Love" by Lasse Lindh appeared way too often. I don't remember any of the other songs at all, they either weren't used that often or couldn't really capture one's attention.

After all my rating is 7.5/10. It's definitely better than the first season to me but then it's not memorable enough and the soundtrack is a huge minus. The most interesting part of this drama is to actually try and figure out why Seok-hyun behaves the way he does.
If you enjoy romantic comedy with some kind of Sex and the City-theme, you would like to watch this probably.

Freitag, 18. Dezember 2015

I Need Romance

로맨스가 필요해 (I Need Romance) is a South Korean drama series that was aired from June 13th to August 2nd 2011 on tvN. It consist of 16 episodes with a duration between 40 and 45 minutes.

Story: The story is about Sun-woo In-young, a 33-year-old woman, who has been dating Kim Sung-soo for 10 years when they face a crisis. After he cheated on her for the second time, the couple breaks up but In-young can't forget Sung-soo until she starts dating Bae Sung-hyun.
In-young's best friends, Hyun-joo and Seo-yeon, both also 33 years old, both face difficulties with love at the same time: While one tries to get rid of her virginity desperately, the other has to go to court because of 'adultery' after finding out one of her countless lovers was married.

Cast: The lead 'triangle' was played by Jo Yeo-jeong as Sun-woo In-young, Kim Jung-hoon as Kim Sung-soo and Choi Jin-hyuk as Bae Sung-hyun (who left me with a serious love for his character). While their acting was well done - at least I think so - it might be mainly because of me being able to understand Bae Sung-hyun's reactions. God, how I just wanted In-young to grow the fuck up! (Sorry for using that kind of language but the character seriously got on my nerves). As for Kim Jung-hoon, his 'suffering' was nice in the end but I still hated his character. Full stop. Maybe some of you will understand after watching the drama, some might not be able to. I can deal with this.
Anyway, I happened to find the side story between Choi Yeo-jin as Park Seo-yeon, Ricky Lee Neely as Alex and Lee Kwan-hoon as Seo Joon-Yi the most entertaining part of the whole drama. Though everything 'happens' rather late, I came to not only like their acting but also the development of the characters, especially Seo-yeon who has been present for such a long time.
Also, the relationship between Kang Hyun-joo and Kim Duk-soo played by Choi Song-hyun and Kim Hyung-min was somewhat cute and amusing and Hyun-joo was definitely one of the best and funniest female characters I've ever seen in a K-Drama. Especially the wedding was such a beautiful and perfect 'scene' that I couldn't help but watch it again and again.

Soundtrack: This is once again one of the soundtracks I don't know a lot about. While I did happen to like it somewhat it was too passive, mostly in the background and I just couldn't get used to it. I have to admit that I love the song Choi Jin-hyuk performed in Ep.14 (?) but it's sadly not included in the OST so I can't really count it.

What's left after watching this drama in about 3 days.. is a rating of 6/10. Maybe I lack some kind of sensitivity, that's possible. But:
What the fuck is wrong with this woman? I don't get it. While I do see that it's important to love yourself and your dreams more than a man I wonder what would be bad about staying alone..?

That's actually the main point that bothered me. But when it comes to talking about positive aspects, let's face a fact: When the leads are making out - it IS passionate and it IS awesome to watch.
Some scenes are funny, especially those involving the two best friends.

Would I watch it again? The whole drama? No. Scenes? Yes.
Recommendation? Well, give it a shot if you like Sex and the City and/or romantic comedies. At least if you're not bothered by a female character that doesn't know what she wants you should do well.

This scene broke my heart though, I just cannot deal with this..

Freitag, 11. Dezember 2015

Blades of Blood

구르믈 버서난 달처럼 (Blades of Blood, literally Like The Moon Escaping From The Clouds) is a Korean movie that was released in April 2010.

Please notice that I might give some more spoilers than usually because - as far as I've read - some people don't quite understand the story which is why I feel that I should try to explain the historical context as well as my personal understanding/ maybe some interpretation. If you plan on watching this movie, I feel like you should stop reading right now and come back when you've seen it.

Story: The story is set in late 16th Century Korea. It's the reign of King Seonjo, at least officially, but the Korean monarchy is weakend and the King has to rely on the support of the yangban class, the gentry. Due to some internal strife, mostly between the West and the East parties, corruption and the pressure coming from the Japanese the State Joseon is even more endangered. That's why in this movie an alliance was formed, firstly to defend the population against the Japanese forces. But it becomes obvious throughout the movie that General Lee Mong-hak has other plans and wants to become the King himself. He therefore killed a man that was later condemned a traitor. Hwang Jeong-hak, a blind swordsman, knows about this. He's also there when the alliance attacks the house of the Han family. After saving the illegitimate son of the family that son, Han Kyun-Jja seeks for revenge and asks Hwang Jeong-hak to become his teacher. While searching for Lee Mong-hak they meet Baek-ji, Mong-hak's lover/ girlfriend, who simply starts following them to meet the man who left her shortly before again. It seems that Kyun-ja and Baek-ji develop feelings for each other but in the end it seems she still wants to see Mong-hak again at any cost. In the end of the movie the showdown appears to be in Seoul, called Hanyang or Hanseong in the Joseon Dynasty, at the royal palace but the King and his loyalty had already left when Mong-hak and Kyun-ja meet and the Japanese forces invade the palace later. The scene following that showdown is something I don't want to talk about too much. But the moon's playing an important role, that's why I think it's necessary to know about the literal title as well. Personally, I would guess it's something otherworldly we see mostly due to the color effects used but it all depends on how you want to interpret it.

Now I think that's a pretty detailed story summary for my standards. I honestly don't get why some people couldn't make any guesses about it. I'm not saying that they're stupid, I would never do that, but I guess they didn't pay attention because a) I think the internal strife between the political parties was obvious, b) they've been talking about the Japanese all the time, and they even mentioned a Japanese invasion and c) actually the context isn't even that important because I personally thing the movie mostly focusses on Kyun-ja's revenge.
There is one thing I have to add to those short summaries I've found though: I DO NOT think that the characters are fighting for social equality. In the Joseon dynasty, Confucianism was the main school of thought. Due to the system the people accepted their role in society, they accepted that they were born into the system. And there were two 'rules' everyone had to obey: Filial piety and loyalty towards the State. Everything that endangered the system and especially those two rules/laws was unacceptable (which led to various persecutions of Catholics about 200 years later but that's something totally different).

Cast: Let's be honest, how many of us watched that movie because of Baek Sung-hyun as Han Kyun-ja? I bet a few did, and if you do watch it because of him, you might love it. His acting in this movie shows many different emotions and shades, though I would characterize Kyun-ja actually as a mostly young and impulsive man who wants to be accepted though he doesn't belong to the yangban class (I forgot the name for illegitimate children of gentry men with their concubines, sorry).
Cha Seung-won appears as Lee Mong-hak. Though he's listed in the main cast and definitely is one of the key characters he doesn't have too much screentime compared to Baek Sung-hyun and Hwang Jung-min. Most of the time I thought his acting was emotionless and therefore a little empty - there wasn't really a cold feeling around him but simply nothing - but in the latter half of the movie there were some really good emotions included. So his acting itself was at least okay (I would need to rewatch the movie a few more times to see whether I missed out on something or not).
Hwang Jung-min appears as Hwang Jeong-hak, the blind swordman. If I didn't miss out on anything important, which I don't think happened, it was never really explained why he behaved the way he did. Why did he turn against the alliance? I mean, why exactly? Sure it's said that he somehow realized the alliance won't make the world a better place and that in the struggle for power the situation might turn out worse. Anyways, I liked his acting after all. His eyes were closed basically 95% of the time and I don't think it's that easy to film some scenes without opening ones eyes so he definitely deserves respect for that.
Lastly, we have Han Ji-hye as Baek-ji. She's beautiful and I think her acting actually fit her role well but then again I wouldn't want to discuss whether it's a major or minor role. We don't get to know that much about her after all, only that she was Lee Mong-hak's girl, he somehow left her and she wants to see him again. That's why she follows Kyun-ja and Hwang Jeong-hak later.

Soundtrack: Since this is a movie, there is basically no soundtrack like there would be for a drama. However, I did enjoy the somewhat traditional feeling of many songs included in the soundtrack, especially of those sang by Baek-ji and played on an instrument called gayageum if I remember right. The music after all did fit the scenes. Especially in the fighting scenes some people will argue it would've been better to use rock songs but please remember that this song is set in the last decade of the 16th Century and imagine a hard rock song playing. That doesn't work, guys, it's just a huge 'Nope'.

After all I've rated this movie as a 7.5/10 mainly because I felt they could've shortened some scenes and maybe used less effects in the fighting scenes. This movie focusses surely more on action than on the plot but I think it's not that bad since the main goal, the revenge, still remained and the story therefore developed. Though it is indeed a rather slow development that's being displayed.

I hope I was able to clear up some things about the setting and the plot above though, and if you have any questions about the Imjin Waeran or Hideyoshi invasions that basically start during the time where the movie is set, you can either ask me - or simply try to find the information on Google or Yahoo search.

Freitag, 4. Dezember 2015

A Company Man

<- This is the German DVD Cover. Yes, there are at least two others I've seen but I honestly love this one so I'll just stay with this.

회사원 (A Company Man) is a Korean movie that was released in 2012. In Germany it's rated 18+ which basically means.. for adults only.

Story: Ji Hyeong-do is working at a company just like many other people. But while his company seems to produce metals, he's actually a professional murderer. After working with Hoon, he gets asked to kill the young man who begs him to give money to his family. Getting to know Yoo Mi-yeon, Hoon's mother, he starts to be confronted with guilt.
After his company finds out that Hoon is still alive, Hyeong-do's hunted down by his former colleagues but still thinking about the family he tries to save them as well.

Cast: I was surprised from time to time in this movie noticing familiar faces. So of course the reason why I wanted to watch this was, mixed up with the 18+ rating, So Ji-sub as Ji Hyeong-do. He IS an awesome actor. This story was basically written for the lead character only, it's his story, and So Ji-sub is perfect for this 'badass' role what some people call it but actually the emotional side of a contract killer also works perfect for him. Lee Mi-yeon appears as Yoo Mi-yeon. While I wasn't that much a fan of her acting, I thought it was pretty decent and believable at the end of the day.
Speaking of familiar faces, Kim Dong-jun of ZE:A appears as Ra Hoon, Mi-yeon's son. I loved his character a lot as well, caring for his family, a huge resposibility, trying to make money so his mom won't need to worry anymore. The story wouldn't have worked without him either.
Others that appear are Kwak Do-won as Kwon Jong-tae, Jeon Guk-hwan as President Jeon and Lee Kyung-young as Ban Ji-hoon.

9/10 is my rating for this movie. After finishing this movie, there was this huge emptiness I rarely feel so I would argue that it is a good movie. I like it. I'm only curious where's the difference between the 'normal' and the 'uncut' versions but that's just a minor thing at the end of the day.
There were some dramatic events. Otherwise 'revenge' wouldn't make sense. The story isn't that unique, that's true, but I don't regret buying the DVD and I would definitely recommend this movie if you're
a) a fan of So Ji-sub,
b) in love with dark and atmospheric action movies,
c) a fan of fighting scenes or
d) all of the above.