Posted in movies

Crazy Romance (2019)

Movie: Crazy Romance (가장 보통의 연애)
Release Date: October 2, 2019
Runtime: 109 min.
Genre: Romantic-Comedy / Drama / Office
Production Company: Zip Cinema
Distributor: Next Entertainment World
Country: South Korea

Review:
Gong Hyo Jin is the queen of romcom! 😊 I love how natural she always looks and even though she is not the conventional beauties like Song Hye Kyo or Jun Ji Hyun, she has a magnetic presence on screen. I also like Kim Rae Won when he’s doing romance or romcoms. Supposedly the literal translation of this movie is “The Most Ordinary Romance” and I think it is more appropriate than “Crazy”.

There’s nothing crazy about the movie, just 2 adults who came out of failed relationships, had misunderstandings and gradually (or grudgingly) fell in love. I like it because it felt real.

The only thing I didnt like was there were too many drunk scenes that I was also confused like them if what they were saying were sincere or it was the liquor talking. But i think from the very start they already noticed each other, and felt the same pull, that’s why even heartbroken they couldnt stay away.

Rating: 8.5/10

Posted in kdrama

When Camellia Blooms (2019)

When_the_Camellia_Blooms

Profile
Drama: When the Camellia Blooms (동백꽃 필 무렵)
Network: KBS2
Episodes: 40
Release Date: September 18 – November 21, 2019
Runtime: Weds. & Thurs. 22:00
Plot
Dong-Baek is a single mother who moved to a small town of Ongsan 8 years ago. She has 1 child and she runs the neighborhood bar called Camellia. The neighbors don’t like her except for one mother, who became her best friend. One day, her best friend’s son, Yong Sik moves back to Ongsan and immediately falls in love with Dong Baek. Yong Sik finds out that there was a series of murders a few years ago in Ongsan and DB seems to be the new target.
Main Cast
Gong Hyo Jin – Dong Baek
Kang Ha-neul – Hwang Yongsik
Kim Ji Suk – Kang Jong Ryeol
Review
I couldn’t decide what this drama was — at times it was a sweet noona romance, other times it became a really heavy drama about mothers and the strained relationships between their children, and another side where there’s a chilling murderer on the loose. I think trying to mix these 3 plots somehow brought down the drama since I kept switching from one emotion to another.
Sweet noona romance
To be honest, at first i didn’t like Yongsik, not because he was a country bumpkin, but i thought he was too naive for Dong Baek, and sometimes too possessive. I didn’t like how he gets whenever he sees Jong Ryeol. I think Jong Ryeol has every right to get to know his son and Yong Shik has no right to tell him to leave and never come back. But a few episodes later, i decided that Yong shik is a nice guy and maybe it’s DB who doesn’t deserve him. Her character is so inconsistent i dont know sometimes what Yongsik saw in her. She just kept crying and crying and crying. Then she will suddenly become brave. it’s the first time I didn’t like the main lead at all. She has a lot of hurt, i know, from being abandoned by her mother and feeling unloved by Jong Ryeol, to raising her kid alone (which is another story) so she is mostly shy and self conscious and intimidated. I like the overall growth in her character by the end of the show, but I still didn’t like her that much.
I think the drama could have handled the Jong Ryeol/Dong Baek/Pilgu storyline a little bit better. I loved the writing and all the scenes and lines between DB and JR, DB and Pilgu, esp. JR and Pilgu. First of all, DB should not have deprived Pilgu from knowing his own father and for not telling JR about his son. She just decided to leave him when she was pregnant and raised her on his own. and Now that JR found out and is trying to help, she won’t even accept the help! I thought she was such a selfish girl. I know how much sacrifice she went through but she did it all on her own. She kept saying Pilgu is her child and not JR but it takes two to tango. I think JR is a nice guy (took some time for him to grow up) but he was willing to face his responsibilities once he is there. I didn’t like that in the end, JR just became a “bank account” to DB and Pilgu and he never got the chance to have a real father-son relationship with Pilgu. On the other hand, I understand how much Pilgu hated JR but DB should have told him the truth — that JR didn’t know about him that’s why he was never there. I think Pilgu would have somehow softened his heart against JR had he known that.
Heavy drama about mother-daughter relationships
This is the reason why it took me almost 3 weeks to finish the drama. Not only were the episodes dragging and boring, the drama was so heavy it was hard to watch 2 episodes each night. The recurring theme here was motherhood and the plight of single mothers- as shown with DB-Pilgu, Yong Sik and his mom, Jessica and her mom, DB and her mom, DB-YS’s mom, Lawyer and mom in law. Except for Pilgu and Yong shik, the daughters are messed up. I can’t say that the mothers are successful given that their daughters/sons have a lot of emotional baggage. I love that this drama showed different types of relationships — most of them felt real and complex that even though it’s so hard to watch them fight all the time, it was so compelling that i just kept watching and hoping they all have their happy endings.  I love to hate all the characters — they are all so flawed but that’s also what makes them really good characters. Especially the relationship between DB and her mom. Wow. I can’t even like DB’s mom at all and that episode 19 where we see everything that happened in the past to her almost dying – i honestly didn’t care about the episode at all. I still didn’t like her (and kudos to the actress who played her so well).
Murder storyline
At first it was intriguing. Episode 1 opens up with finding a body in a lake and it’s obviously not DB. Early on we somehow knew it was Hyang Mi, but to get to how Hyang Mi was killed, who killed her, who is Joker just took soooo long it was anti-climactic. imagine, the cops finally finding out Hyang Mi’s body only in episode 16. Seriously. The pacing was so excruciatingly slow because they were also focusing on the other storylines that someone in episode 17 i didn’t care anymore who was Joker and if they never found Hyang Mi. Likewise, the reveal of who Joker is and his motive to do so was also LAME. We already know who it was half way into the drama but they just had to put a small ineffective twist in episode 18. Speaking of Hyang Mi, i can’t say i really liked her. She was too weird — blackmailing the people around her that even if i found out the story behind her life (her brother, her past, etc) still did not make me like her a little bit. But she didn’t deserve to die horribly.
Other characters
Gyu Tae and the lawyer wife were annoying. Gyu Tae was sleazy and yucky. Lawyer wife just assumed too much without even evidence or thinking. But they deserve each other and was actually glad they got back together.
I actually thought JR and Jessica will really get divorced because I never felt like they really loved each other at all but surprisingly they were still together at the end. I like that they both grew up and they’re growing together and their relationship is getting better. I didn’t like Jessica but I think she will be a great mom once she accepts herself completely.
Ongsan
Given the chance, i wouldn’t want to live in Ongsan. The neighbors are nosy and judgemental. We find out in the latter episodes that some people knew something about the murder 5 years ago but no one stepped forward and they all kept quiet because they were busy covering their own butts. They continued to bully DB. They didn’t care at all when Hyang Mi disappeared. They only became “united” and “friendlier” in the end when DB’s mom almost died, and when they found Joker and the last episode where DB was finally included as part of the community.
Overall, this was an okay drama for me, good to watch once because of the brilliant acting by the entire cast, the beautiful shots and the lovely soundtrack and the fantastic writing. But this is too heavy and dragging for a repeat.
Rating: 7 / 10
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Posted in kdrama

[throwback] It’s Okay, That’s Love (2014)

 

 

Thought i will do a throwback drama every month. So to start the year right, i’m choosing It’s Okay, That’s Love as my throwback drama for January 2018.

Drama: It’s Ok, This is Love (괜찮아, 사랑이야)
Network: SBS
Episodes: 16
Release Date: July 23 – September 11, 2014
Runtime: Wed. & Thu. 21:55

Plot
Jang Jae-Yeol is a mystery writer and radio DJ. Ji Hae-Soo is going through her first year fellowship in psychiatry at a University Hospital. After she meets Jang Jae-Yeol, both their lives go through big changes.

Main Cast                                                                                                                                              Jo In-sung as Jang Jae-yeol
Gong Hyo-jin as Ji Hae-soo
Sung Dong-il as Jo Dong-min
Lee Kwang-soo as Park Soo-kwang
Jin Kyung as Lee Young-jin

Background

Through more than 15 years that I have watched and love watching korean dramas, i have tended to shy away from the more melodramatic dramas, especially if they involve a lot of tears and death. and it’s usually because watching kdramas has been my way of escaping from reality even for a few hours a week, and destressing from the hectic work. i don’t want to feel to overwhelmed with emotions when all i want is some light hearted comedy and romance. occasionally i do watch heavy dramas but i have always selected the trendy dramas. one of my key resolutions this year in terms of watching dramas is to watch more mature dramas – not that it means watching less trendy shows – just adding more variety in the shows that i’m watching. So as a start, i chose this drama in Netflix.

I have not watched Jo In Sung in a long time — I will always remember his as that cute guy in the New Nonstop show whose girlfriend is Park Kyung Rim. (yes that’s shows how old i am and how long ago i started watching). I do watch his movies from time to time but it’s been so long since i’ve actually sat down and stared at his beautiful face for 16 episodes. On the other hand, i think i have watched a majority of Hyo Jin’s dramas. She is not the prettiest Korean actress out there, but i love that she has this charisma when she’s on screen, she has great chemistry with all her male costars, her acting is so natural and raw, and she just looks good in every thing she wears. i also loved the costars – Sung Dong Il, Lee Kwang Soo and Jin Kyung – i wassur that there will be a lot of laughs and heartaches with these 3.

Review

After watching episode 1, i actually thought hard if i should continue watching or not. and it’s mainly because i didn’t like Hae soo because she annoyed me. On the other hand, I instantly liked Jae yeol. The story felt off for me and i wasn’t sure what i was getting into. I also didn’t read the plot or any spoilers so I had no idea what this show was all about (or how it would break me to pieces later on). But the scenary and cinematography was clean and gorgeous, and the soundtrack felt so light, as if i’m on the beach relaxing that i tried watching episode 2 a week later and never looked back.

There were a lot of things that i liked about the show. The biggest part is Hae Soo and Jae Yeol’s relationship. i really didn’t like them together at first. i thought they were too wrong for each other. and not episode after episode as i watched their scenes together i find that they were just right for each other. they understood each other without demanding too much. they can fight and give all that they can, but they can also say sorry, compromise and laugh at it later. i also loved how they’re both independent hard working professionals who gave each other their own space when needed but are always in touch.

I also loved the whole group together. their friendship felt so real and relatable. they may nag at each other, fight, say hurtful things but at the end of the day, they will be there to support each other and sit down and have a laugh together. it’s the people you can be mean to, who can tell you honestly thoughts when if it hurts, are the best people to be with. it’s the people you can count on and know they have your back. But they are all crazy weirdos too and i’m sure my friends have our own crazies too.

What else do i love? The hospital case studies. we have lots of dramas about cops, doctors and surgeries, school, ghosts, but i dont think there has been a show about psychologists. it was very interesting for me to hear about the cases. there has been so much taboo about mental disorder and mental health. i for one admit, that i still need to read up on this topic and be more sympathetic. and i’m sure a lot of people too. but the topics and how they treat the patients made me realize that this is a big issue and mental health needs to be understood more.

And more than the case studies, each person’s relationships and stories were also very interesting. we see Hae soo’s mom have an affair with another man to cope with her handicapped husband. This has made Hae soo have a sexual problem. Then the 2 divorced couple still trying to stay friends despite their past. One guy with Tourette system and a young troublemaker. Two brothers at odds because of the mother and the stepfather. One mother with disassociation. there were too many storylines but everything just gelled together and hooked me.

The first half felt oh so happy and light but at the same time I felt uneasy because I can see Jae Yeol getting worse and I was scared to see the day he spiral and fall, and that’s what happened in the second half of the drama. I felt so sad seeing Jae yeol in the hospital and seeing his friends trying to help him but could only wait until Jae Yeol help himself. The second half was not an easy watch. i felt heavy after every episode that i had to stop after one episode and watch the next one a few days later. I was also curious to see how they will resolve the conflict. Of course this is a korean drama. I know Jae yeol and Hae soo will be together in the end. I loved that scene when Jae yeol finally confronted his hallucination and bid goodbye. I loved the scene where Jaebum finally finds out the truth about how his own brother betrayed him and how he interacted with his mom after. I think her mom’s disassociation was never addressed though, like they just let her be in her bubble. I guess it really wont do any good if they reveal it to her now. and at least she started going to counselling with Jaebum.

I actually also thought that the two ex married couple will get together in the end, there was just so much sizzling chemistry between them i thought at the last that they will just grab each other and kiss. but no they didn’t. they ended up talking about what happened, with the girl apologizing and accepting responsibility for their failed relationship.

As for Soo Kwang’s relationship i also liked how it went from one sided to the bratty young girl falling in love with the mature guy, and also changing her ways to be better. my only problem is the age gap. im not exactly sure how old Soo Kwang is, but i thought he was already in his late 20s so being in a relationship with a college student feels wrong.

Overall i loved this drama. I didn’t expected it so that’s what makes it all better. i also loved the soundtrack. credits to the uploaders below.

Little Sun’s “Sunboat”

“Hero”by Family of the Year

Kae Sun’s “Ship and the Globe

the korean songs were also nice. like Love Fiction by Ülala Session

Chen’s Best Luck

and of course this beautiful duet by Crush and Punch called “Sleepless Night”