Freitag, 30. September 2016

Kang Koo's Story

강구 이야기 (Kang Koo's Story) is a South Korean drama special that was aired on March 29th and March 30th 2014 on SBS.

Story: Kyung-tae is considered a good-for-nothing gangster and goes to Kanggu, a place at the coast. After a friend of his died, he wants to take care of his friend's older sister Moon-sook and her son Kang-koo. As the story goes, Kyung-tae falls in love with Moon-sook and also becomes closer to Kang-koo but there are two problems - the two of them don't know that his friend and Moon-sook's brother, Jung-soo, died and Moon-sook is sick..

Cast: Lee Dong-wook as Kyung-tae showed a huge variety of emotions in this drama, at least this was my personal feeling. I liked his acting as well as his character after all though it wasn't a kind of character one would expect in a series dealing with "gangsters".
Park Joo-mi as Yang Moon-sook was nice to watch in this movie as well. She seemed to soft in some parts I think, for a strong woman who's working even though she's sick and who raised a child mostly on her own it's just that it didn't work that well.
Shin Dong-woo as Kang-koo was just the perfect son. His acting was good, the way his character changed was portrayed in a nice way and in general his acting seemed stable. Regarding the fact he's one of these "child actors" (he was like 15/16 when this was filmed) he's definitely an actor to look out for in the coming years.

Soundtrack: The soundtrack supported this drama perfectly! The only problem about this soundtrack is that basically no one knows all of the songs that were included and I couldn't find any information on that! Grrrrr..

In general I gave this drama special a 6.5/10 rating solely because I did have some.. too melodramatic aspects. It's not that much my style but I still enjoyed watching it after all. The scenery is incredibly beautiful in this drama so if you want to see some wonderful places in South Korea, this drama might also be to your liking.

Recommended if you like sweet but sad love stories and not that much blood!

Freitag, 23. September 2016

My Tutor Friend 2

동갑내기 과외하기 레슨 II (My Tutor Friend: Lesson 2) is a South Korean movie directed by Kim Ho-jung and Ji Kil-woong and was released on April 19th 2007.

Story: Junko Kitano is an exchange student from Japan who plans to study in Korea to find Woo-sung and learn the Korean language. She lives in a guesthouse in which the friendly owner is cooking for his son and the tenants. At some point she finds out that the room she rented is actually the room of the owner, Heo Jong-man. She plans on leaving the guesthouse but Jong-man's father offers her a package deal - he makes Jong-man teach Junko Korean. Since Jong-man doesn't want to tutor the exchange student, he gets her into a lot of trouble and the two start fighting each other..

Cast: Lee Chung-ah is in this movie as Kitano Junko. I openly admit that my Japanese is not that good so I don't know how good she was at Japanese but acting as if she's at a beginner level when it comes to speaking her own language seems kind of difficult to me. Of course it is her job as an actress but I found it believable (I even checked whether she was Korean-Japanese mixed or something). Park Ki-woong as Heo Jong-man was also really nice to watch, someone working hard because of a sad past. He's a talented actor and his acting in this movie in general was good though I sometimes felt it was overdone - but then again it was supposed to be a comedy.
Jong-man's father Heo Ha-ryong was played by Lee Young-ha and I really loved this kind of father-son-relationship. It was some chaos but it was somehow cute and that's what actually makes things more interesting and somewhat more realistic (though not all parents occasionally insult their children in playful ways I guess).

After all this movie is more realistic than the first one though it is not always a good idea to travel to another country to find someone you loved.
A 7.5/10 rating seems to work well in my opinion. The movie is funny but does have it's serious moments so sometimes it loses some of it's strength but it's still pretty much alright.

Recommended to Rom-com fans and of course fans of the lead actors!

Freitag, 16. September 2016

My Tutor Friend

동갑내기 과외하기 (My Tutor Friend) is a South Korean movie directed by Kim Kyeong-hyeong and released on February 7th 2013.

Story: Choi Su-wan is a sophomore in college who has to work to pay her tuition fees after her father lost his job and opened a chicken restaurant with her mother. Tutoring is a difficult job since most of the students are more interested in female features. After quitting another job, her mom gets angry and makes it clear that Su-wan has to work. A rich friend of her mother asks her to tutor her son, Kim Ji-hoon, who's 21 years old but still a high school student. Ji-hoon, being well-known for causing trouble, is not interested in studying but his father wants him to graduate. Though Ji-hoon's behavior drives her crazy, she can't lose this job again and decides to teach him some manners..

Cast: Kim Ha-neul as Choi Su-wan was basically born for her role. In some parts, her character reminded me of Jan-di in the drama Boys Over Flowers and I love that kind of confident characters who know how to defend themselves if it is needed. She was really good in this movie.
Kwon Sang-woo as Kim Ji-hoon was also really good. I loved the way he portrayed a rebellious character but I don't think it was necessary to make him as a character that "stupid". It was okay but not necessary - after all that's the writers' fault and not about the actor.
I couldn't do anything but admire how beautiful Kim Ji-woo was a Ho-kyung but she was this typical type of Mary Sue-character. The movie didn't really need her in my honest opinion. The acting was a little childish though but I guess that might be because of the movie being a little older. Gong Yoo as Lee Joon-soo, the high school boss, actually made this movie a little more funny. A funny character and strong acting were the strong comical part this series had.

This movie got a 8/10 rating from me because it is funny and cute but does have it's serious moments. It has the chance of maybe becoming one of my favorite romance movies in Korea. Yes, they could've made it a little shorter again (why do I have the feeling Korean movies are generally longer than US or German movies?!) but it's not like the movie really turned out boring. Not even in parts.

Recommended to all the rom-com fans who don't mind watching some older movies!

Freitag, 9. September 2016


말아톤 (Marathon) is a South Korean movie directed by Jeong Yoon-chul and was released in January 2005. The movie is based on the real story of Bae Hyeong-jin and was the 4th most attended movie in South Korea in 2005.

Story: Yoon Cho-won is a young man with autism who's living with his mother and his younger brother Jung-won. His brother is sometimes jealous because of the attention Cho-won gets from their mother even though he learned to live with his disability in a society that doesn't deal with disabilities openly. The only way for Cho-won to find real joy and release is running. After placing third in a race his mother decides to hire a coach to train him for a marathon - and Cho-won's dream is to break the record.

Cast: Yoon Cho-won was played by Cho Seung-woo in this movie. His portrayal of an autistic character was realistic and therefore excellent. Also, Kim Mi-sook as Kyung-sook, Cho-won's mother, delivered an excellent performance. It seems these actors really did some serious research on the issues a family with an autistic child experiences.
Lee Ki-young as Coach Son Jung-wook represented a part of society in fact. As a character he didn't know how to deal with autism at first and he slowly learned about the disability and how to handle an autistic athlete. Though he was a minor character, his growth was impressive.
And Baek Sung-hyun is in this movie as Yoon Jung-won. While he didn't have that much screentime, his acting was stable - a jealous but also caring brother. Of course this might not have been his best role but it was good after all.

In the end my rating for this movie is 6/10 not because of the acting but it's simply a movie showing the life of a family. It's rather slow-paced, the story in itself is interesting but it was too long in some parts so it turned out to be a little boring with the duration of roughly two hours.

Freitag, 2. September 2016

Orange Marmalade

오렌지 마말레이드 (Orange Marmalade) is a South Korean drama series based on a webtoon that aired from May 15th to July 24th 2015 on KBS2.

Story: In a fictional world, vampires and humans coexist in the same society. However, vampires are still discriminated against so they have to hide their true identity. Baek Ma-ri is a high school student who had to move with her family after being found out a few times already. After moving again, she becomes more careful so she won't need to transfer to another school again. In school she meets Jung Jae-min who hates vampires because of past events involving his mother. Jo Ah-ra who has a crush on Jae-min creates some difficult situations for Ma-ri while she's getting closer to Jae-min. Shortly after that, Han Shi-hoo transfers to the same school. Since he remembers Ma-ri from his childhood, he recognizes her in a tough situation and decides to help her out a few more times.

Cast: The cast and the acting in general is okay. Yeo Jin-goo did a good job as Jung Jae-min though I felt like sometimes he was too cold - something was missing in his expression. Kim Seol-hyun in general did have similar issues as Baek Ma-ri. She seemed too stiff but overall her performance in this drama was okay, nothing especially good or bad either.
Lee Jong-hyun as Han Shi-hoo simply delivered. Now I am not biased but I liked his acting and I liked his character - probably these factors are basically the same but I'm not really sure how to describe it. When the first highschool part ended, I was frustrated because I just thought they couldn't do that to him. Jo Ah-ra played by Gil Eun-hye was someone on the other hand I hated at first but came to like during the "past events" part. Her character in itself was understandable but the change from liking one person to just accepting without doing anything was faster than I expected but then again that's what I liked about her.
A rather unknown actress, but I loved Oh Kyung-min as Choi Soo-ri in this series. Sure she did have some of her insecure moments but she's definitely an actress I should look out for.
Lastly, I need to mention Song Jong-ho as teacher Han Yoon-jae and Lee Il-hwa as Kang Min-ha. While I personally liked Han Yoon-jae more that might be because he was in more scenes - a caring teacher always trying to support his students. Kang Min-ha, Jae-min's mother, was a respectable person, too. She didn't try to force her son into seeing her. She just accepted his wishes though it was obvious how glad she was when he finally met her again.

OST: There were basically two songs included in the soundtrack I sincerely loved and still love. One of them is "끌리는 여자 (Attracted Woman)" by Monsta X's Kihyun and Jooheon. It's a beautiful and light song that captured the atmosphere in quite a few of the scenes, not some overly dramatic sad love song. And then there's Hwanhee's "아프다 (Heartbreaking)", the kind of rather sad but beautiful songs performed by a great vocalist.

In total this drama received a 7/10 rating from me. The first few episodes were okay, the parts playing in back in the Joseon Dynasty were awesome (I loved that, they could've turned that into another drama..) and the last high school part was also nice but nothing too special. The ending was a rather open one but did not leave too many questions. It's something short and fun to watch and plays with tropes while I did see some critical ideas in this drama as well. (E.g. bullying someone because he/she is different.)
Something short, light and nice to enjoy between melodramas I'd say~.