Freitag, 30. Dezember 2016

Days With You

恋極星 (Koikyokusei; Days With You) is a Japanese movie directed by Amiy Mori and released in March 2009.

Story: Natsuki Kashiwagi lives in Sapporo, Hokkaido, and takes care of her autistic brother Daiki Kashiwagi. One day she is reunited with her childhood love Souta Funabiki who moved away to Canada when they were young. The two fall in love again but Souta suffers from a serious disease and decided to not get surgery again since the disease is always returning.

Cast: Another movie with Erika Toda in it, this time as Natsuki Kashiwagi. Her acting is really good in my opinion, she manages to portray the happiness and the hope as well as the sadness and the burden of caring for her brother alone after her fathers death well.
Kazuki Kato delivers another great character as Souta Funabiki. The way he portrayed the struggle with the disease and the hopelessness but also the will to fight for his love and his parents was portrayed well and really made me hope the best for him (and the fact that I just hate sad endings of course makes me hope for the best all the time as well).
And Ryuya Wakaba as Daiki Kashiwagi did a great job portraying the autistic younger brother. I don't know much about autism, just that there are of course different forms, and I was wondering if what he was portraying was a real form of autism but I think it fit the story well in total and did highlight the fact that he somehow needed his sister to help him.

I can't say I loved this movie but I kinda liked it so it got a 7/10 from me. It is not necessarily a movie I would rewatch even though I do love the setting and the acting a lot but the story doesn't really offer a big surprise. I honestly knew what disease they would use right when I read about a 'serious illness', it is just what usually happens in dramas and movies.
But what I have to admit is that the Japanese movie producers know how to make a heartwrenching melodramas just by using some stereotypical things.

Freitag, 23. Dezember 2016

Midnight's Girl

Yes. Yes, I know you're going to read this maybe because of Nam Tae-hyun and I will not even fully deny this but read what else I've got to say before you love or hate the drama for an idol staring in it.

0시의 그녀 (Midnight's Girl; Girl of 0AM) is a South Korean mini drama series that aired from May 04th to 14th 2015 on Naver TVCast and MBC Every1. The special thing about this drama is that the 8 episodes are only about 15 minutes long each what turns the whole drama more into a movie of two hours in total.

Story: Gong Ji-dan dreams of becoming a superstar and after failing a casting ends up taking care of a karaoke business for some time. He meets Min Se-ra, a girl who is working part-time and helps him to not only grow as a person but as a singer while she keeps an important secret to herself.

Cast: As I mentioned before Nam Tae-hyun of WINNER is in this drama as Gong Ji-dan. While his acting was not that good and he definitely should work on that if he wants to continue as an actor and idol I think it was still good he was picked for this drama because of the music. Somehow Gong Ji-dan fit him and they seemed to also have some musical things in common which I consider an important factor - the actor needs to be able to identify with the character in some way to make it better. (Does this make more sense? I don't know if anyone gets me in this point). Anyway, I still stay with: He needs to work on his performance.
Seo Min-ji actually is a lot more experienced but her acting in this short story also seemed pretty plain but it was overall an okay thing. Her character Min Se-ra is a cheerful girl who wants to help Ji-dan as good as possible which is adorable - but she behaves too cute for her age in the drama so it was a little bit difficult for me to see her like that.
This drama has also a bunch of idols included in guest appearances - for example Yerin of G-Friend and Sangdo of Topp Dogg! Okay, since they were only customers at the karaoke/noraebang it is in fact not really necessary to judge their acting since they only appeared for a few minutes but not any longer.

Son Jin-young is in this drama as a good friend of Ji-dan, Kwang Chul. He is a character that doesn't seem that bright but I have a feeling he wasn't bad person in total so it is interesting to me.

Soundtrack: The main song in and around this drama is CLC's "First Love", a cute song that in my opinion fit the total theme of this series well. It is a song I personally don't like outside of the drama much though so I can't really see it as a plus or a minus. The rest of the music in the drama is alright and supports the cute and innocent feeling this drama delivers.

After all this drama is a cute love story to watch between other dramas but nothing more - just a small 'snack' you won't take too serious about a basic, vague love story that is based more on names than on the acting itself. I don't think I wasted my time though since it is cute in some way and deserves a 6.5/10 from me.

Freitag, 16. Dezember 2016

Descendants of the Sun

태양의 후예 (Descendants of the Sun) is a popular South Korean drama series that consists of 16 episodes that aired from February 24th to April 14th 2016 on KBS2.

Story: Yoo Si-jin is a Captain in the Korean army and specifially in the special forces. He catches a thief with Sergeant Major Seo Dae-young one day and sends him to a hospital with the medical notes written on the thiefs arm. Soon they figure out Seo Dae-young's phone was stolen and go to look for the thief who is in big trouble at the moment.
Kang Mo-yeon is responsible for the patient and suspects Yoo Si-jin and Seo Dae-young of beating him up but a CCTV record shows the truth.
Because of a wound that needs to be treated Si-jin decides to drive one and a half hours to the hospital where Mo-yeon works in order to see her and get treated by her specifically.
The two of them start to date but their dates don't go well due to their jobs - emergencies just keep on happening and eventually they break up.
Si-jin is transferred to Urk for eight months with his unit. Haesung Hospital is supposed to send a medicube and doctors who volunteer.
Instead of volunteering Kang Mo-yeon is sent to Urk as the leader of the team as a punishment by the director of the hospital for personal revenge. Eventually, Si-jin and Mo-yeon meet again and work together in a country devastated because of war and starvation.

Cast: Song Joong-ki as Captain Yoo Si-jin is incredibly popular everywhere. His acting was good, he managed to balance the cute charm and the tough and loyal sides of Yoo Si-jin quite well. I personally did like his acting in this drama and think that the role suits him well.
Song Hye-kyo as Kang Mo-yeon did well, too. I personally saw her in one other drama before and was honestly not that impressed with that so I wasn't too happy about her being in this drama. But she is a good actress and she did deliver her parts nicely, especially as the professional doctor saving someone's life. (I considered her English pronounciation to be a little weird though.)
Jin Goo as Sergeant Major Seo Dae-young mainly impressed me with his strict discipline when acting in military bases. I guess he has to be my favorite character and actor in this drama because I really enjoyed watching his scenes.
Kim Ji-won as Lieutenant Yoon Myeong-ju. She is a great actress and I really liked her in this series, too. The romance between her and Seo Dae-young was really good and they did have a good chemistry on screen.
Kang Shin-il as Lieutenant General Yoon and Myeong-ju's father was for a long time the typical father in many stories you personally want to just ignore. But he changed and it made me like him a little bit more. Of course as an actor the character was portrayed well.
Other actors in this drama include (prepare for a long list): Kim Byung-chul as Colonel Park Byung-soo, Park Hoon as Sergeant Choi Woo Geun, Choi Woong as Staff Sergeant Gong Chul-ho, Ahn Bo-hyun as Sergeant Im Kwang-nam, Kim Min-suk as Private Kim Ki-bum, Lee Seung-joon as Song Sang-hyun, Seo Jung-yeon as Ha Ja-ae, Onew as Lee Chi-hun, Park Hwan-hee as Choi Min-ji and so many more that it would take me years to name all of them.

Soundtrack: When I came to Korea, the soundtrack for this drama was played all day in the Ewha shopping street, especially in spring, and I started listening to the songs before I even knew that they belonged to this drama. Some of my favorite songs are Mad Clown's and Kim Na-young's "다시 너를 (Come Again)", and K.Will's "말해! 뭐해? (Say It! What Are You Doing?)". I honestly love both songs in their own ways a lot. But also "Everytime" by EXO's Chen and Punch is a song I really came to like a lot.

I honestly did not plan to watch this drama this year. Or to review it in 2016. But after hearing about the big hype and seeing Song Joong-ki's pictures at every corner in Seoul because of this drama I think I had to find out what it was about.
I personally rated this drama as an 8/10 which might surprise some people since it is so damn popular and has so many fans.
Let's say I do get the hype but I can't really follow it. I loved the military and the medical scenes. I loved the romance between Seo Dae-young and Yoon Myeong-ju, and I really liked Song Sang-hyun's and Ha Ja-ae's story a lot. But the main story was cheesy (I like cheese but somehow.. so much cheese that you feel too full after some time).
It is far from bad but also some plot-twists especially in the end didn't do much for the story so I thought they just started dragging it. However, a bonus is that I finished this quite fast actually and didn't start to skip scenes.

Freitag, 9. Dezember 2016

Voice of a Murderer

그놈 목소리 (Voice of a Murderer) is a South Korean crime-thriller drama movie that is the fictionalized version of a real kidnapping in 1991. The movie was released in 2007.

Story: Han Kyung-bae is a famous news anchor of the 9PM news. His wife Oh Ji-sun is a Christian who tries to make their chubby Han Sang-woo lose weight. One day Sang-woo goes out to the playground and doesn't come back home. His mother tries to reach friends and family but during the night it becomes clear that Sang-woo disappeared without a trace. The kidnapper calls the father and gives clear instructions on what to do so the parents will get their son back alive. However, soon Ji-sun informs the police and a special task force is set up under detective Kim Wook-jung to find the young boy.

Cast: Sol Kyung-gu as Han Kyung-bae and Kim Nam-joo as Oh Ji-sun were really good in the roles of the parents who try to do everything to save their son. It was a realistic way of portraying desperate parents and both actors put their feelings into those roles.
Kim Young-chul as Kim Wook-jung was also really good when it came to portraying the feelings of his personal situation - for example in a trunk to always be with the father in his car - showing how much energy this case cost the police force as well. While he was of course not as emotionally involved as the parents having a child himself he did work hard to try and get the boy back.
Ko Su-hee as Cha Su-hee brought some funny aspect to this movie in parts while it still kept it's serious atmosphere. Song Young-chang as Captain No tried to keep a rather calm atmosphere around him and to give the parents some hope and safety.
Other actors in this drama include Kim Kwang-gyu, Kang Dong-won and Yoon Je-moon.

So I did like this movie in some way. The story was interesting and it is definitely not something to take lightly. It was good to watch but left a bitter taste behind. Some parts were filmed very shakily so it would've been nice to hold the camera a little more still and pay more attention to the way it was filmed. As the story, setting and acting were good I would give this a 7/10 rating.

Freitag, 2. Dezember 2016


회오리 바람 (Eighteen) is a South Korean movie directed by Jang Kun-Jae and released in February 2010. The movie has a duration of 95 minutes.

Story: Tae-hoon and Mi-jeong travel to the East Coast during their winter break to celebrate their 100th day anniversary. After coming back to Seoul problems begin to arise as Tae-hoon gets scolded for travelling and Mi-jeong's parents call Tae-hoon's parents. While Mi-jeong's parents don't want the two to meet anymore and Tae-hoon is ready to fight for his relationship, Mi-jeong simply gives in and listens to her parents.
This movie pretty much includes forbidden love, highschool times and teenagers, and of course the first love.

Cast: Seo Jun-young was in this movie the male protagonist Tae-hoon. He is stubborn and willing to fight and do all he can but it makes things even more complicated. As for the acting, it definitely wasn't his strongest role but it could've been a lot worse in my opinion. It is just that there was some exciting element missing when it came to his character and his acting. I can say pretty much the same about Lee Min-ji as Mi-jeong. I don't know much about her but I think she was a little bit boring in this situation. And so was her character who just gave in to her parents wishes and doesn't even try to stand up for herself and her wishes.
As for the other actors not many of them are known internationally. Choi Hyo-sang played Mi-jeong's aggressive and over-protective father. Which he wasn't doing too bad so I wanted to give him some credit. While the aggression the character showed towards his daughter is never what a parent should be like that I do know that some parents especially in Korea are like that.
Kwon Hyuk-Poong as Tae-hoon's father seemed more calm and understanding at least and the acting was also very much descent so he is another actor from this movie I know about.

After all I would love to tell you that this movie was good but it was more average to me. I read a review on MyDramaList and expected it to be way worse than it actually was. I feel like they put in some stuff just to make the movie longer like some accident that occurred - that didn't have any connection to the rest of the plot. The story in general could've been much shorter since they added scenes that weren't needed. But in the end I felt like I missed out on something.
In total I would say if you like stories about first love and the tragic Romeo and Juliett part, than a 6.5/10 is okay for this movie. After all it does have a story and the way it is filmed seemed very independent but gave beautiful impressions and pictures of South Korea's East Coast.