Posted in movies

The Princess and the Matchmaker (2018)

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Profile
Movie: The Princess and the Matchmaker (궁합)
Release Date: February 28, 2018
Runtime: 110 min.
Genre: Period / Romantic-Comedy
Distributor: CJ Entertainment
Country: South Korea

Plot
Princess Songhwa (Shim Eun-Kyung) refuses her fate of marrying someone who matches her marital harmony. There are 4 men on her future husband list with different fate signs. Refusing her fate, she decides to leave the palace and find her husband by herself.

Seo Do-Yoon (Lee Seung-Gi) is a person who interprets marital harmony signs. He is very skilled at his craft and, consequently, selected as the one to read the marital harmony signs between Princess Songhwa and the 4 men on her husband list.

Cast
Lee Seung Gi – Seo Do Yoon
Shim Eun Kyung – Princess Songhwa
Yeon Woo Jin – Yoon Shi Kyung
Kang Min Hyuk – Kang Whi
Choi Woo Sik – Nam Chi Ho

Review
I watched it after i found that that Lee Seung Gi is coming to Manila for a fanmeeting. I’m not a big fan of LSG but i find that i always end up watching his dramas/movies/shows. On the other hand, I only know Shim Eun Kyung because of Miss Granny and i actually feel like her character and mannerisms are similar to Miss Granny. I guess it’s the actress’ style where she speaks loud or make witty retorts. (kind of like how Park Bo Young annoys me with her tiny cute voice)

I liked the first half the the movie when Princess was trying to meet the 4 husbands to be. They were hilarious and the love/hate between the princess and Seo Do yoon was funny. You just know they will end up together. But then the second half of the movie got dark and too rushed. Yeon Woo Jin is handsome but he is really good at being and looking evil. The movie didn’t really explain why the consort or Shi Kyung were colluding (are they lovers? i wasn’t sure what their relationship was).

But i did like the ending and how they were able to find a good way to resolve the story that makes sense during that period and still have the princess and a normal guy together. i think this is Lee Seung Gi’s first movie after he got out of the army and he wasn’t that cute here (he didn’t wear makeup and his face looked dark and rough). and this kind of helped me make up my mind that i’m not going to LSG’s fan meeting (boohoo!) I realized i’m not really a fan and i may not have a good time watching. (but if i get free tix i will go haha or if my friend who is a big LSG fan will go, i might accompany her to watch).

Posted in kdrama

the best hit (2017)

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Drama: The Best Hit (최고의 한방)
Network: KBS2
Episodes: 32
Release Date: June 2 – July 22, 2017
Runtime: Fridays & Saturdays 23:00 (35 minutes each / 2 episodes per day)
Country: South Korea

Plot
In the year 1993, pop idol Yoo Hyun-Jae accidentally travels through time to 2017. Discovering that he mysteriously disappears in 1994 and is presumed dead, he begins to investigate into the reason for his disappearance while trying to adjust to life in the future. Meanwhile, Lee Ji-Hoon is an aspiring musician and is secretly enrolled as an idol trainee at Star Punch Entertainment. Ji-hoon struggles to hide this from his parents, who believe he has been studying for his civil service exams.

Main Cast
Yoon Shi-yoon as Yoo Hyun-jae
Lee Se-young as Choi Woo-seung
Kim Min-jae as Lee Ji-hoon
Cha Tae-hyun as Lee Gwang-jae

Review

I started watching the first episode without reading the synopsis so I was surprised that this was a time traveling series. The first part was very interesting – Hyun Jae from 1993 time travels to 2017 and he finds out he disappeared in 1994. He tries to find Lee Gwang Jae and when he does, he realizes the one of the kids who rescued him as actually his son. The rest of the series shows his bond with Gwang jae and his family, old time girlfriend Bo Hee, new romance with Woo seung and finding out what actually happened to him.

I had a great time watching the show (took me less than a week to consume all 32 episodes!!). I think it took too long to set up the show – Hyun Jae spent so many episodes doing nothing and just waiting at the rooftop – It was only when he decided to take action that things started moving along. And halfway through the show I realized that the whole time travel and his mysterious disappearance wasn’t the key point of the show, it was more on making new friends and changing from an arrogant and selfish popstar to a sweet and thoughtful friend, father, boyfriend – hence the slow pacing at the didn’t matter as much anymore. Plus, i had a great time watching Hyun Jae’s 90s fashion style and being so shocked at all the amazing gadgets.

Lots of romance did took centerstage in the middle of the series, which i didn’t mind because he was so sweet and had great chemistry with Woo seung. I like that they started out bickering and fighting but then later falling in love and supporting each other. I loved how Hyun Jae was attentive and just knew what to give and do with Woo Seung – and i think that is why he got the girl over Jihoon. I dont think that the only reason that Woo Seung didn’t return Jihoon’s love is that she doesn’t want to lose his friendship, i think she really doesn’t thing of him as a man. Besides, even if Jihoon and Wooseung had been childhood friends, he didn’t seem to understand Woo seung as much as Hyun Jae did.

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As for Hyun Jae and Ji hoon’s relationship, it was strange that they became father-son-friends and I could underestand why Jihoon was angry at him at first. He didn’t know he was his dad, he just saw him as the guy that is stealing his love from him. They eventually made up and while they’re not in the real father-son relationship like Jihoon and Gwang Jae has, it was good enough that became mentor-mentee. and it’s nice to see Jihoon having 2 dads that he can depend on.

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Gwang Jae and Hyun Jae – i loved this team – i wish they had more interactions and more fun scenes. Gwang Jae seems so serious and carried the entire family’s weight on his shoulders. I’m glad they made up too and i loved the ending when they said to grow old together (though of course Gwang Jae will die earlier since Hyun Jae’s body is still 20 years younger than Gwang Jae).

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Something i wished had a better resolution  was Young Jae and Hyun Jae’s friendship. They were a team even for a short while. Even though Young Jae did take advantage of Hyun Jae by using his songs, he did think Hyun Jae was dead anyways. It wasn’t enough that young Jae could just pay him and Hyun Jae continually talk down on him and do anything he wants, I wished Hyun Jae sincerely apologized for treating Young Jae like crap when they were younger. They had a short talk where Young Jae even cried that he was never taken seriously and he was betrayed when Hyun Jae just upped and left him with all their money, but it helped more that the scene wasn’t taken seriously. Hyun Jae just said, really, didn’t realize that, I’m sorry then that was it. While eventually Young Jae was nicer to them, they could have collaborated and Hyun Jae helping him in some of his songs.

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I really felt the whole Bo Hee and Hyun Jae loveline was strange – and i guess it’s because we met Hyun Jae in 1993 when he barely knew Bo Hee so it didn’t made sense that they were secretly dating and even had a son. So when exactly did they start to date?? and technically he left her and their son when he knew he was dying – and now that Hyun Jae knew what really happened, i wished they could have had a better talk. Was it wise to really not tell Bo Hee that he was the real Hyun Jae and just let her think he just looked like him? at least she would have known that Hyun Jae loved her and it wasn’t a waste to wait for him. Though I think it wouldn’t have mattered because by then she already loves Gwang jae and i am sure Bo Hee can answer all of the outstanding questions like how they started dating, im guess she never knew he was sick, even though we saw the 1994 Hyun Jae was so sickly (more on him below). I also liked the relationship between Gwang Jae and Bo Hee, it may not be passionate, but this is a relationship that you know will last a long time.

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Grandpa and Malsook were a sweet addition to the family. I loved their cute scenes together. Malsook was so cute – even though it was weird that she had a boyfriend  and was thinking of love at such a young age. i thought 1993 Grandpa was a jerk but he has since mellowed down. I felt so sad seeing him when he got lost and he hallucinated and talked to his daughter and Gwang Jae finding him in the police station. and I love Grandpa’s fighting spirit! i believe that he can overcome his illness!

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and speaking of illness — probably the most WTF moment in the show is finding out what happened to Hyun Jae. i will say it again. WTF. that storyline came out of nowhere and didn’t really make a lot of sense. there are a lot of unexplained timeline and it’s mostly because the whole trying to find answers started too late in the series (probably almost episode 24 or 25). So arrogant Hyun Jae left the agency, took everything and went away. we still dont know what happened for almost a year. then we find out he was actually sick.. so does that mean he knew he was sick so he left with the money for treatment? or did he leave because he was arrogant then later on found out he was sick and undergone treatment? and i still dont understand how the 1993 Hyun Jae can go to 2017 and “split” his body and meet the 1994 Hyun Jae? that also didn’t make sense. like he became two persons – in one of the episodes, Gwang Jae said to Hyun Jae (or was it the other way  hearound) that he had to go back or else the future will be changed. so did go back and didn’t change anything (mostly because 1994 HJ didn’t want to) but then how can 1993/2017 HJ came back alive – so i guess that really meant that he became two persons. And his 1994 disappeared, looks like it’was because 2017 HJ took 94 HJ to the rooftop and 94 HJ never showed up anymore – he either dead or lived a private life. It was surreal seeing 2017 and 1994 HJ talking to each other. and kudos to Yoon Shi Yoon -such a great actor – i was amazed that he can play 1 character but totally different from each other – it was like watching two different actors.

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Finally, another lost opportunity is MJ. at first i thought he was a jerk, but he turned out to be a really nice guy. I’m happy he had the courage to tell everyone that he didn’t write the songs. But then nothing happend to him in the end. he moved to World Entertainment but was just taking a break. i was hoping by the end of the show he would have written a song and released it and redeem himself but all he did was wait for Hyun Jae. also, i thought Hyun Jae and MJ were so similar to each other – i was even hoping that he was his actual son, not Jihoon.

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Well, we eventually found out that Jihoon was  as talented as his father – and i would have loved to see him on stage with MC Drill – they only showed the two heading to the crowd and not the performance. and what’s up with Hyeri? i also thought Jihoon and Hyeri would get together in the end but that didn’t happen too.

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As for Woo seung, i loved that she had her own romance (after her pathetic ex boyfriend). I thought she was just so so during the first part and it was a bit unbelievable why 3 hot guys would like her – she wasn’t that great, very clumsy, always needed help, etc. but the actress was super pretty and sincere and that is why the guys probably fell for her. Honestly, i was ok if Hyun Jae died in the show and Woo Seung and MJ got together in the end. I thought the two were also cute. and i love how the 4 of them ended up being really good friends.

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But of course, i would prefer alive Hyun Jae than dead Hyun Jae. I think he was the best part of the show. I loved how his character really changed and became mature. and I was so happy that he eventually found the family that he so longed for. and the intro was right – he was like a man from the future – he was ahead of his time and probably that’s why he was so at ease with living in the 21st century. He adapted to his surroundings, was very smart and thoughtful. However what i wished we had more of? it looked like Jay 2 only had 1 hit song (Tell Me), they won their first Golden Cup and he disappeared yet he was remembered by everyone 20 years from now. they should have made me super popular to be more believable. And i wished they could have shown more (rather than tell) how musically good he was! We only got to see him write/produce a few songs – i wish they had more and i wished that he got credited for MJ’s songs. Young Jae could have said it was Hyun Jae’s unreleased songs and gave him the proper farewell and credit for his fans’s sake (since everyone else thinks he died).

And Hyun Jae’s so hot .. whether he was the 1993 version or the  2017 version.

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I admit, the show had a few flaws but overall, i loved it! i wish there is a season 2 because i’m not yet ready to say goodbye to the whole gang! Dabong!!!!

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So cute that they actually showed the music video for Tell Me.

And they even performed it in Music Bank. lol.

Posted in kdrama

군함도 (Battleship Island)

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Hi! It’s been a while since I wrote my last entry on this blog. Today it’s gonna be my take on the movie “군함도” (Battleship Island). I’ll skip the synopsis part as maandoe already gave you a brief synopsis of the story. For this entry I will keep it short and simple (and trying my best not to give out any spoilers for those who would like to watch it in the cinemas).

 

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First off, the main characters for the movie is Lee Kang-Ok (portrayed by Hwang Jung-min) and Lee So-Hee (portrayed by Kim Su-An). Song Joong Ki and So Jisub portray as the supporting characters in the movie.

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Speaking of the supporting characters, I think So Jisub’s character (Choi Chilsung) is more established in the movie. He was seen as a leader material since the start of their trip to the dreaded island. He will fight for what he believes and for the sake of his fellow koreans stuck in the island. The relationship of Choi Chilsung and Oh Mal-Nyeon (portrayed by Lee Jung-Hyun) was well told in the movie. Starting from a rough start then they were seen as a couple for some parts of the movie.

 

Song Joong Ki’s character came from nowhere. He was in the island for one specific purpose: to retrieve an important person. He might be poster boy for the movie but I think his character was not well built in the movie.

 

Overall, I can say that the cinematics was really awesome. Taking advantage of the huge set really does pay off especially during the climax of the scene. Story wise, I would agree with maandoe that it could have been better. I guess we’ll just have to blame the editors for it. I hope they release a director’s cut of this movie.

The movie has successfully narrated how koreans suffered at the hands of the Japanese Imperial Army during the World War II. This movie has everything there is to it, Action, Drama, Suspense, Nationalism, Brotherhood and the never ending successful formula of a father’s love for her daughter.

If you are going to ask me if I recommend this movie? Yes, if you want to see a movie with awesome cinematography. Storywise, I think the story of “71 Under the Fire” is far more better.

 

Hope you enjoyed my review and I do hope you enjoy the movie in a cinema near you!

Posted in movies

Battleship Island (2017) movie review

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Movie: The Battleship Island (Goonhamdo / 군함도)
Director: Ryoo Seung-Wan
Release Date: July 26, 2017
Runtime: 132 min.
Genre: Period-1940 / Action / Island
Distributor: CJ Entertainment
Language: Korean
Country: South Korea

Plot
During the Japanese colonial era, roughly 400 Korean people, who were forced onto Battleship Island to mine for coal, attempt to escape.

Lee Kang-Ok (Hwang Jung-Min) is a bandmaster at Kyungsung Hotel. He decides to go to Japan to protect his daughter, but he is drafted into Battleship Island by force, being deceived by talk to send him to Japan. On Battleship Island, he does anything to protect his daughter.

Choi Chil-Sung (So Ji-Sub) is the top fighter in Kyungsung (old name of “Seoul”). He makes troubles on Battleship Island, but he has a warm heart.

Park Moo-Young (Song Joong-Ki) belongs to the Korean Independence group. He sneaks onto Battleship Island to rescue a member of the independence group.

Movie Review: (by maandoe)

If you don’t think too much about historical accuracy or analyze the whole movie, this is an interesting movie to watch. The movie was visually stunning and seemed to look too real and authentic, like you were transported back to that time and place. The images were at times shocking and brutal, showing the harsh conditions and treatment that the Koreans in the island faced during the war against the cold and calculating Japanese. There were a lot of gruesome deaths and a lot of tears – showing the sickening and heartwrenching impact of war to everyone – from the men, women and child(ren). Some of the scenes were hard to watch but my eyes stayed glued to the screen and never got bored. The entire cast was good – not just the key characters – but even the side characters and the rest of the actors/actresses showed passion in their acting (most likely because the theme/topic felt too close to home).

So now I’m home and in front of the computer (and away from the beautiful face and tormenting eyes of So Ji Sub – lol!), how did i really find the movie? I think for the most part it was great – it had all the possible themes for a war movie – action (fighting and deaths), drama (tears, love), nationalism, a little bit romance, betrayal, good vs evil, we will survive and escape together, but there were times it was uneven. I will try not to post too much spoilers but I felt like there was a giant shift in the storyline on the third act. Before coming into the movie my expectation was that the movie was about Koreans trying to escape the island but halfway through the movie there were no plans of escaping at all. Instead I watch as Park Moo Yung (who came out of nowhere) secretly plot and plan to help Yoon escape – apologies but I’m not familiar with Korean histroy during this time – so I thought maybe they will let him escape and Yoon will change the “war” and help liberate the Koreans from the Japanese. His plan failed ( i actually like the huge twist in the story) ) as well as the rest of the story moving forward. I thought it was a pretty strong plot but when it didn’t happen, the writers, didn’t know what to do or how to move the plot along suddenly, we see Park Moo Yung change his mind (maybe because he briefly interacted with Sohee?) and started helping them get out of the island when he heard that everyone will be killed. and so the exodus (and the main act) started. I thought that was a huge shift of story that didn’t really make that much sense but it had to happen. Also, the mood/tone of the movie was uneven – at times they were happy and playing light jazz music and father/daughter bonding, at times it was brutal with all the guns, broken bones, blood, fighting. I guess the movie tried to put some lighter tone at some parts of the movie so that it doesn’t feel too heavy for the audience – most of the time it works but other times it was hard to think that they could still be happy when they were in that situation already – or maybe that’s the human spirit showing – how resilient people are.

As for the characters, there were a lot of them and I felt it was too bad that they could not give all the characters justice and chance to shine. I think definitely Hwang Jung Min was the main character and actor in this movie (even though it was mostly Song Joongki who got the most media exposure – i think they were trying to woo International audience). He had great chemistry with Kim Suan (who plays Sohee). I loved all their scenes together and I could really feel the love and partnership they have. I think their characters were more developed than the rest because we know where they worked before, how they got to the camp and why they had to get out of there (because of the kid!). Suan is a great young actress, who can cry on cue and make these cute faces that you really want her to live. But i find that her character was a little too much like her character in Train to Busan – almost the same storyline, she is running away with her father and trying not to get killed by the zombies/Japanese – same heartbreaking crying face (which i think the director was exploiting too much – especially at the last scene) to elicit sympathy from the audience. I’m a fan of Song Joongki but i thought his character (Park Moo Yung) was flat – we see him getting orders from when he was somewhere in the desert to get Yoon out but we dont know how he got into the island. He just magically appeared in one scene and stayed there for the rest of the movie. We don’t know his background (except for saying he trained with the US, etc), why he needed to be there (it seemed like he was just taking orders but didn’t really care about the rest of the people in the island). That’s why it was hard for me to root for him – i felt like he was just put in the movie as eye candy, huge draw in the box office, and to have a “hero” who helps the bumbling musician and kid and the rest of the people get out of the island. Certainly we dont expect Kang-ok to lead the team since as the movie has shown, he wasn’t a fighter – he was a musician who used his brains and connections to get ahead. He did have a heart though, which i didn’t see much from Moo Yung until the very end. Lee Jung Hyun was also underused – she was the only female lead actress but she wasn’t utilized that effectively. Yes, she did fight the Japanese men but I wish she was the force that can unite the ladies in the island – i was expecting her to become the lead captain of the comfort women who will retaliate against the Japanese and rally all the girls to fight or carry stuff, etc but most of the time her scene was with So Ji sub’s character. Which is another plot that was under developed. The chemistry and sexual tension between the two was so strong but movie didn’t capitalize much on it until the end, when they were side by side trying to keep each other alive.

And to the last character – Choi Chilsung – I thought he was a very interesting character and was actually the real hero in this movie. As soon as he came into the island, he was very tough and strong – he answered to no one. One of my favorites scenes were actually all with him – the first one was the bathroom fight with the team captain. Early on you will see why he’s the hero – on the outside you would think he is just a gangster who wants the power to lead the Koreans there, but actually i thought he would rather take the lead than to see another a**hole Korean treating them badly. At least he can keep everyone in line and protect them in case the Japanese tried to do something to them. In the second half of the movie, So Ji Sub almost became secondary to Moo Yung and Gang ok because of the plot – which i found weird because looking at the dynamics of the team, he led the team, he had the trust the loyalty of the men, but MY and GO didn’t even think of soliciting his help to accomplish their goal. When the Japanese killed a schoolgirl to setup Chilsung – he stepped up so that the other Koreans will not get harmed – i though that was another leadership quality he possessed. He took care of his men by sacrificing himself even if he did nothing wrong. and we see that it took fruit became when the whole-we-have-to-get-out-of-here plan was hatched, his men took the time to get him out of the locked room – if it were any poor leader, the men would have left him there to die. Another leadership quality and why i think he is the real hero? while MY and GO planned to leave the island with the others, he decided to stay – not because he didn’t want to leave, but because someone had to stay to fight the Japanese so they can freely escape. That’s why i feel like his character wasn’t developed too well – From the trailers and the write ups, his character was supposed to be a gangster and was meant to be the brawny but dumb guy and we dont know anything else about him. Was he famous in Seoul? was he the main gangster in Seoul? was he rich? why did he end up in the camp? if he was powerful in Seoul, he surely could have bought the Japanese and not get stuck there so why is he there? And is there really a gangster that has a heart of gold? He protected the Koreans in the island, he protected Mallyeon from getting too much raped. He stopped the fight during lunch and the bathroom. I thought his character and Mallyeon’s character should have had a bigger screentime because they were fighting for something – they were fighting for their country and they were tired of the abuses they faced. So i’m a little disappointed. the last scene where both of them were fighting til the very end. plus the cinematic no audio scene was awesome. CS was not able to keep his promises but at least he made good with one (you’ll know it when you watch the movie).

So overall, i liked the movie even though i thought the story could have been better. Will i watch it again? I probably would. I wish they can actually do a prequel of So Ji Sub’s character’s life before the movie.