Weekly Roundup // 10-7-18

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It’s like throwing darts at a dartboard and hoping one will stick with my sporadic posting. I’m sorry it’s been over a month since my last post, but let’s start the week with a few links and videos, shall we?

NEWS

-New(ish) JDramas!

We finally have some new jdramas to watch on DramaFever, both being released this month. Black Leather Notebook was just released this past Friday, and Wise and Foolish will be released on the 12th. Both dramas were released last year, but at least it’s something. As a lover of jdramas, but not wanting to watch them on sketchy sites, I’ll take whatever I can get.

-God’s Quiz Teasers

I’m so excited for this fifth season, which starts in the beginning of November taking over The Guest’s spot. It’s an OCN show, so it’s going to be hard to find but it’s one that I can’t miss. The first four seasons are on Netflix if you haven’t seen them. The show is a procedural, and if you loved shows like Bones or Castle, this is right up your alley.

-Epik High Parts from YG

I’ve been a fan of Epik High for a while, and hope that this decision helps them continue to be successful in the future

-Solji is Back!

Ok, so this is slightly old news, but Solji is back with EXID and it makes me so happy. I’m unapologetically a huge fan of her, and she has been dealing with health issues for the past two years causing her to sit out of activities with the group. I was worried she wouldn’t be able to come back, but not only is she participating in recording she’s also doing promotions.

-Namie Amuro Retires

Namie Amuro has been around for such a long time, that it’s crazy to think that she is actually retiring.

-The Rose Comeback

If you haven’t listened to any of the Rose’s music you are missing out. I love their voices, and their newest song is worth a listen.

-Jackson is Great

To highlight some great humans in the kpop world, Jackson of GOT7 defended a fan who was holding an umbrella for him when a photographer pushed the girl because she was blocking his shot.

-YG Future Strategy Office

This show is FANTASTIC. If you are any bit a fan of YG go watch it now.

VIDEOS

YoungSaeng just released a new Japanese single, After the Rain

I’m in the middle of watching a Taiwanese drama called Love Myself or You, and the lead, Jasper Liu, is adorable. I found out he plays guitar in an indie band called Morning Call that is really great.

Amber is going on tour here in the States, and just released some more new music and it’s just fantastic. I’ve been loving all the music she’s been putting out lately.

I’m kind of in love with Tiffany’s new song.

And finally, those SuJu boys just won’t stop and are gearing up for a new comeback. Here’s their newest song, Animals.

Weekly Roundup // 8-26-18

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Listen. I know it's been two months since I've written anything and I'm very sorry. I'm back at work, and I am going to do my best to find a good schedule to stick with this site because even though it might not seem like it, I really enjoy it and want it to grow more than just a couple of posts. If you really want to know what's going on with me, I am most active on Twitter and it's the best way to know what I'm doing and what I'm watching, but am hopeful that I can stop procrastinating and write more.

I figured to get back into the swing of things I would bring back the Weekly Roundup posts. They were fun to do because it made me focus more on what's going on besides just watching shows or listening to music. Obviously a lot has happened in the past couple of months that I can't talk about it all nor remember any of it (I'm old, leave me alone) so here are a couple of news bits and pieces in the past week or so that I wanted to talk about.

NEWS

-Park Bom in the Studio

I still haven't gotten over 2NE1 going away and I am so excited about this. I need Park Bom back in my life, and it looks like my prayers have been answered. I'm hoping that with this we get to see her more, because if you have watched any of the old interviews or 2NE1 TV you know how crazy awesome this girl is.

-Korean Military Rules

I admit that I really don't keep up with a lot of the non-entertainment news coming out of South Korea, so even though I'm aware when someone leaves to fulfill their service that is the extent of my knowledge on the rules and regulations. Thankfully I have really awesome friends doing the work for me! Check out Drama Current's explanation of the new rules with military service that can effect males in the entertainment system and the way their year shapes up. This is especially important because it's leading to some very sudden shake ups in productions and entire groups being forced into fulfilling their service much sooner than expected.

-Yoon Doojoon Enlistment

This is one of the biggest (and most recent) effects the new military rules have created. Yoon Doojoon has been forced to enlist immediately (as in 2 days ago), even though he is currently in production as the lead in the drama Let's Eat 3. The production has been forced to shorten the show from 16 to 14 episodes to account for his sudden absence.

-BoA 18th Anniversary

If we are being technical about things, BoA is the reason I got into KPop. Granted, it was her Japanese music that brought me to her (I loved Inuyasha in high school and "Every Heart" was my belting out loud song). Congrats on 18 years in the industry! If you don't know much about her, you should really read up on her influence on Korean popular music as it is now. She had a significant impact on the popularity and spread of Korean music especially in other parts of Asia.

-Hyuna/E'dwan Drama

You know how when you are little and you do something bad, your parents will tell you that it's bad and teach you that so you don't do it again? Then you'd go to school and there would be that one kid in class that it was obvious that they didn't have the same upbringing so they didn't know what was right from wrong. When you don't teach people properly they feel that they have superiority over anything they don't agree with. The outcome in this instance is people being kicked out of a group.

-Crazy Rich Asians Sequel

Not really drama related, but congrats on the team for CRA! This is phenomenal, and as a white person who is trying to be conscious in promoting and putting my money towards the groups that are underrepresented I'm happy to see this news and am hopeful that not only will this create change in how Asians are represented in Western media but other underrepresented groups.

-Kim Jung Hyun

Kim Jung Hyun has stepped down from his role in the drama Time due to health concerns. I am not watching Time, but know that it must be hard on the viewers as they still have half the show left but I think that this is the best decision for him and hope that his health issues improve.

VIDEOS

I loved SISTAR and am really loving everything that Hyolyn is putting out since going solo. As a side note, her backup dances are not only talented but I love that they are so diverse. This song is also super catchy and a great summer song.

I have been gently nudged into the land of Taiwanese dramas and I'm afraid I'm not going to turn back. I've been watching Behind Your Smile and while I'm enjoying the drama, I'm obsessed with the opening song by Shi Shi. Good thing, since I hear it every 20 minutes in the show.

And lastly, what kind of Super Junior D&E fan would I be if I didn't make you watch their newest song?

Look out later this week for an updated currently watching list!

Weekly Roundup // 7-1-18

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I can't believe that it is already July!

My summer is wrapping up this month, and to finish off this month with a bang I have decided to do a massive drama marathon. I am going to watch as many dramas as I possibly can, and also catch up on my watchlist - hopefully. I'm sporadic and jump around a bit but my main goal is to watch as much as I can and focus on that.

Now, onto the news stories of the week that I thought were interesting!

Kim Hyun Joong Drama Casting

Last week I talked about how KHJ resigned with Key East and this week we get news that he has been offered lead in a new fantasy/romance drama. I don't know how to feel about this, I just keep thinking about how Sungmin from Super Junior was ousted from participating in the newest activies with the group just because he got married, and yet...

Ashley Choi Solo Debut

I'm a long time fan of Ladies Code, and when I saw this article I was excited. I loved all of Sojung's solo stuff from early this year and am excited to hear Ashley's. Ladies Code is so deserving of more love and attention. They had to go through such a tough time for a while, but they are all so talented and put out really great music.

Alter Boys Cast

Most probably don't know this, but I work in theatre and when I get to talk about that and Korean entertainment I'm excited. I'm assuming this Japanese version is from the musical of the same name and features a list of people that I already love, especially Yesung from Super Junior and Chansung from 2PM.

Mr. Sunshine on Neflix

The drama Mr. Sunshine will be premiering this month on Netflix, and will be airing at a normal simulcast with Korea here in the States. I probably won't watch the show, but this is huge considering Netflix has a great record of snagging dramas and then waiting till they are already to complete to put them up (I'm looking at you, Age of Youth Season 2 and Pretty Noona Who Buys Me Food).

One Piece Joining Soccer Fans

After the Senegal/Japan game some fans came together through their mutual love of the Anime, One Piece. I just love this so much, I love when people come together through their love of something.

Utada Hikaru New Album

Utada Hikaru released her newest album, Hatsukoi, this week and it's just as amazing as I expected it to be. I've been a fan of her since high school (and that was a really long time ago) and get excited when I see new music from her!

Debunking Factory KPOP Article

This is a great and interesting read for everyone to read about the KPOP industry and invalidating others because we latch on to one story about the industry and how females are portrayed (and their subsequent real contributions are overshadowed)

Wooyoung Enlistment

All my 2PM boys are leaving :(

Jung So Min and Lee Min Ki Cameo

They are going to be in Secretary Kim! Ahhhhh!

Videos of the Week:

I love SHINee and their new stuff is just so great. They just released their newest MV for "Our Page" and it's great.

Also, the Epik High/Sekai No Owari collab is out!

I can't leave without sharing Amber's new collab on Justin Park's new song "XL Uber"

Summer Friday Movie Nights: Red Carpet

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Okay, listen. I had dreams to be a consistent human being and write one of these movie reviews every Friday, but apparently I’m not good at those things so here we are after not posting last week with a new review. It’s been a week since watching this one, so while it isn’t super fresh in my mind I might miss some things that I could have expanded upon. I try to jot down notes while watching things, but even in the best situations I miss stuff.

Today’s movie is Red Carpet - 레드카펫
Release Date: 2014
Director: Park Bum Soo
Starring: Yoon Kye Sang and Koh Joon Hee
Genre: Romantic Comedy
Platform: Netflix

Director/writer Jung Woo has dreams of producing his works in the film industry, but ends up working for porn films to pay the bills and to stay in the field while he tries to find his way in. Eun Soo is a former child actress who is trying to find her way back into the world of acting away from her former self. The two meet one night and develop a relationship.

Non-spoiler review: When going into the film, I didn’t expect it to turn into the movie that it was and was surprised how much I ended up enjoying it. The movie’s premise is simple: it’s about finding what you love to do and not letting the world’s assumptions tell you that you aren’t worthy of having your voice heard just because you went about it a different way. It has some funny moments, and a great supporting cast of quirky characters and I overall enjoyed it.

Now onto the more in-depth spoiler filled review!

There is one reason, and one reason only that I decided upon this specific movie when I was searching for a movie to watch: I saw Chansung from 2PM in the thumbnail.

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I am a weak person and sometimes I only pick things because it has a Kpop Idol I like in it. If you think you can outgrow some things, I’m here to tell you friends it doesn’t matter what age you are. You can revert back to a 13 year old in an instant. However I am pleasantly surprised to have actually given this one a shot, because I came to like the movie much more than I ever would have if I had gone by the synopsis or even the very few reviews that are out there. The movie is admittedly a little silly, and has it’s moments that aren’t the best, but has such a great heart and message that I just really got into it. It also has Yoon Kye Sang from g.o.d in it. Double the idols!

The two leads meet because of the good old “renter-got-both-our money-for-the-same-place-and-bailed” switch. I should say at this point in the review: this film is pretty good at subtly smashing the assumptions you make based on things that are happening, and also within the world of that characters itself. This scene kind of kicks off that by playing up a standard trope right off the bat so that you are forced into an assumption of how things are going to play out. The two became close as she learns he is a screenwriter and enjoys his work, and he starts to fall for her as he learns that she is a pretty decent actress (they also have to do that share the same place thing for a while, so that kind of helps with the tension). They share a night together, and she ends up getting a gig after all of his coaching.

She goes to give him a gift as a thank you, but ends up visiting him while he’s shooting. She doesn’t know he’s shooting, nor does she even know he works in the porn industry, and assumes he’s cheating on her. She leaves him there, without saying a word and without him even knowing that she showed up. I kind of love this plot point as it relates to the assumptions theme in the movie. She leaves because she thinks he’s cheating on her. When she leaves you realize that the porn director - who one might assume is fine with one night stands because of what he does for living - is pretty devastated by it. Assumptions!

The second act of the movie is spent with him slowly crumbling, while she’s flourishing. She gets her break, while he starts to slip out of the sight of what he really wants to do. He stops trying to find someone who will take his script, and while we had seen previously that working in porn and the fallouts of that wasn’t too hard on him, the negatives start to hinder his ability to continue his journey of his dream. He finally gets the courage to meet her again, and she agrees. While they meet at a coffee shop it is only then that she finally learns that he works in porn because her director for her current film (drama? I can’t remember. Thing she’s acting in) is at the same place.

At this point, you the viewer might assume that she might be disgusted by this revelation of news. Or decide that she can’t be seen with him because it will ruin her reputation as an actress and that its going to become the new obstacle of the movie…but that’s not the case. She actually doesn’t care all that much finding out what he does for a living. If anything, it just makes her finally realize what was actually happening the day she left, and she’s ok with it. Oh, if people would just talk then we wouldn’t have these assumptions! They form a friendship again, and she agrees to work on his film, the one he’s been writing, because she believes in his work. She goes into this knowing what it can do to her career and the way that she is perceived, but she believes enough in him and his work that she doesn’t care. For her, she’s never actually cared about those things.

There is a scene where Jung Woo is at Eun Soo’s agency to talk about what they are going to do with the bad press that’s coming out after she’s been spotted working on this movie with a porn director. Jung Woo is having a hard time, as he knows that because of who he is Eun Soo is getting the negative outcome. As Jung Woo is leaving, there is a painting behind him. It is of three people, nude from behind. It’s abstract enough to be a little less visible, but still clear enough to know what it is. The blocking played really well with what they were trying to accomplish for this movie. Here he was, the porn director who’s work is deemed morally wrong and not artistic, in the same room as this other work of nudity in a different medium that is fine and acceptable art.

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The movie ends how you kind of expect: the movie they are working on is finally finished and ends up getting picked up at a tiny film festival where the reaction to it is positive and genuine. Eun Soo leaves a major film festival to visit the small one and Eun Soo and Jung Woo are finally together.

I didn’t talk about them, and don’t really have the time, but I do want to touch quickly on the minor characters in the movie. I’m a sucker for good minor characters. I love an array of background characters that aren’t just there to hold up the mains but to have their own life and heart and this movie has that. You genuinely start to love this group of colleagues that have become friends. Their roots all tied to the porn industry gives the laughs, but they really hone into the insight of people being made to feel bad about themselves. We see this in the fight scene at the bar where the girls are reduced down to just beings the patrons think they can grope; but you also see the rise of them becoming their own and defending who they are as people and standing up for each other. They fight for and support Jung Woo’s vision of his movie. I really loved them. They were quirky and fun and really added to the movie.

One of the things that I dislike most of the time about dramas, or really any entertainment for that matter, is the use of overplayed tropes. They are used as a crutch. A way to get the viewer into the script with familiarity, and a way to write something a little bit easier with those prompts. I understand why they are done, and I’m not one to hate something because they happen to be used, but sometimes they can be exhausting when you just want something a little bit different than you expected. This movie kind of took me on that journey. Albeit, it still has it’s tropes and the ending is very predictable, I really enjoyed seeing the movie start to pick up on these overused plots and were aware and ever so slightly change them to something you may not have expected. In a way, that was my own assumption of the movie on whole when I started to watch it: I assumed the movie about a porn director would be campy and cheap humor and in the end it wasn’t about that. In fact it had very little to do with that. It was about people who were being ostracized because they were doing something they loved in a different way than society assumed they should be doing. And in the end, I really liked what this film did to focus on assumptions that are made, and I loved that they went about it in such an off-the-wall way of telling that story. This movie isn’t going to be for everyone, and has it’s share of campy and not so great writing and acting, but in the end the movie had heart. It was funny and enjoyable…and isn’t that what a movie should be?

Here's the trailer if you are interested. I couldn't find an English sub, but I think you can pick up on things fairly easily:

Weekly Roundup // 6-25-18

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I'm trying to get better at a schedule with posts, but I'm terrible with that sort of thing and it's been going slow. I still have a month left of my summer vacation (aka, off-contract at work) and so I'm hoping by the time I go back I have a better schedule and am not missing weeks of not posting things, so please bare with me.

I've been really impressed with the people who are on top of current events in Hallyuland, and I thought it would be fun to have a weekly post where I write about some of the things I saw during the week that I wanted to discuss more, and in turn make myself know more of what's going on, so each week I'll try to do a round up of some of the stories that I saw and comment more about them. I'll never be able to have the dedication to be so on top of current events, but I think it will be a fun exercise (and show you more about what interests me).

Let's get started!

-God's Quiz Season Five

I just heard about it this news through the newest Kchat Jjigae podcast, and I need to discuss it. I'm currently in the middle of season four of the show and have a love/hate relationship with the show. I really loved it the first two seasons, it's the type of show I normally lean towards, but season three threw me off with it's betrayal of characters and turned into a super campy mess that was terribly written. Season four is trying to make up, but the supporting characters aren't where they were in the first seasons. I have mixed feelings about having a season five purely because of that reason, and can only work if they don't do what they did in season three and definitely if Ryu Deok Hwan isn't in it (he's not confirmed to be in the show yet).

-Epik High/Sekai no Owari Collab!

I found out about this last night and may have freaked out slightly. I am a HUGE Sekai no Owari and this just feels like a dream. And while I'm not a super fan of Epik High, they are great and am beyond excited how this collab is going to turn out.

-G Dragon Treatment

I'm not really into looking into these "scandals" because there is more to care about in life if someone got a private bedroom or not, but when I saw this secondary article I just felt disgusted. This highlights the reason why someone as big as G-Dragon needs to have a private room because someone felt the need to describe every little speck on his body to send to his girlfriend who then put it online. I don't care who you are, that's disgusting behavior and scary. Also, what about the soldier who did this? If he doesn't get any repercussions from this, isn't that special treatment?

-Bad Boy in English at KCON NY

This past weekend was KCON NY (and Vidcon!) and I'm slightly sad that I couldn't go so I've been finding everyone's post on it, and stumbled upon this one about Red Velvet singing Bad Boy in English, which I think is a really great move on the team for them to do that and I really liked it. I'm always a fan when entertainers are tuned into their audience and play to that.

-Super Junior on Good Day NY

In other KCON-kinda-related news, Super Junior was on the New York morning show Good Day New York. Does anyone else get super excited to see Korean entertainment on American shows? Because I do, especially groups that I'm a fan of. My age is showing, but I get so proud of them doing well and winning over new audiences.

-Kim Hyun Joong Renews Contract

I will forever and always originally be a Triple S. I love SS501 to this day, they are my Korean Backstreet Boys and there is something about your first group that you fell in love with that will stick with you forever so I'm always looking for more information from the boys. While my love has wavered from Hyun Joong because of probably obvious reasons, I still peek to see what's going on. I still am waiting for a reunion once Kim Hyung Jun gets out of military, at least with the other four.

-Yunho Return to Home Alone

Home Alone is one of my favorite variety/reality shows and I loved Yunho the last time he was on the show (and how different he was from Changmin) so I'm excited he's returning.

And to end this post here are two videos that I feel you need to see:

I'm not a fan of NCT 127, I literally can't even tell you if I've actually listened to any of their songs, but this video they did with BuzzFeed is just too adorable not to share.

I'm sure everyone has seen it by now, but this behind the scenes video of the cast and crew watching some of the cringy moments of What's Wrong with Secretary Kim is probably the best thing I've seen all week.

Five Reasons Why I Love...What's Wrong with Secretary Kim

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As I try to fill the void in between new episodes, I thought I would talk about the really-great-fantastic-show that is What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim. As of writing this, there are only four episodes out and while things could change as the series progresses, these are some of the key things that has made me fall in love with the show so far.

Excellent character writing.

If you need to know anything about me in terms of written stories I am 100% a character driven viewer. I live for character development and complex characters that show what it’s really like to be a human but still portrays what the specific character projects to others. I can not stand when writers make their characters do something that they would never do to move the plot around. With TV, I’m a bit more lenient since there are time constraints for scripts, but I won’t let everything pass.

Secretary Kim has some really brilliant character writing. How could you fall in love with an over the top narcissist without that writing? We see Young Joon as an arrogant narcissist, to the point that by all accounts you should hate him but as the character progresses and we see him interact with different characters (along with finding out more of his backstory) he changes and we see how his negatives aren’t as terrible as they are on paper.

A strong female lead that is not only smart and capable, but human.

Oh, the drama trope of the female lead being incapable of doing some things or over the top annoying and still being labeled as a “strong female lead” is something that annoys me. Mi So is anything but that. She is good at her job, she has proven this in several points in the series where she will take charge of a situation to change the outcome into a positive without much thought. She is sweet, kind, and patient with the new secretary she is helping train and is genuine about what she does. She’s not showy, she doesn’t expect attention or accolades for the things that she does at work, and she still is grounded knowing what she wants in life. She also doesn’t see what other see: Mi So is constantly talking about how she is not the best secretary, even though we see through her actions that she is more than qualified in her position. She is all-around a genuinely strong female lead.

A mother who isn’t a jerk.

The moment Secretary Kim and the mother came into the same shot during the show I was sure that she would make some off-handed comment. And then she didn’t. I don’t know if this will continue, or if at this moment she is only doing this because of her wanting Mi So to marry her son, but it’s so nice to not have the evil mother-in-law trope.

Well written campiness.

I very much dislike campiness. I know what you are thinking, I actively seek asian dramas as my source of entertainment and it’s one of the most common types of genre there. I get it - it was really hard for me in high school trying to find an anime that I liked, and not being able to watch the ones all my other friends did because they were just too much for me. Or end up forcing myself to watch one and hating every second (I’m looking at you, Fushigi Yugi) but Secretary Kim is a ray of sunshine. The writing helps ground the campiness. It’s there for added comedy and to help facilitate the other characters interactions with the main two. I don’t cringe when I watch it, I just enjoy it - which is how that campiness needs to be executed for me to not drop the series.

Well acted.

I think one of the most important things that an actor needs to be able to pull off to convince me that they are the character they are portraying is being able to keep up with little nuances that we as human’s have that aren’t necessarily things we realize or notice. If they are done too flashy or too stiff, it can come off as a disservice to the character and throw off the whole vibe and tone of the scene. Park Seo Joon’s acting subtly shows how Young Joon is slowly falling in love with Mi So through small looks and tone paces and is not forced. Park Min Young’s portrayal of the confidence that Mi So has while around coworkers, but switching it off to do the things she needs to and her life afterwork is not jarring and she’s able to keep Secretary Kim and Mi So’s traits the same. These subtle things help create characters that are more developed and rounded.

Honorable Mentions

-The new Secretary Kim is (so far) not conniving or mean. There is no ulterior motives with her.
-Great minor characters who provide a lot of the comic relief.
-When the older brother asks for her number, Mi So just types random numbers just to make him think she was actually adding her number
-Mi So’s older sisters are genuinely apologetic that she helped their education and their family’s debt.
-Park Seo Joon broody shower scenes. I mean. Yes.
-Mi So is quitting to find herself, and in turn making sure she’s the star of her life.

Summer Friday Movie Nights: Sunny

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It’s Friday, so lets talk about another movie!

Today’s movie is Sunny - 써니
Release Date: 2011
Director: Kang Hyung Chul
Starring: The cast is pretty large, check out this link for the list
Genre: Comedy Drama
Platform: DramaFever

Sunny is about a woman (Im Na Mi) who finds her old school friend (Ha Chun Hwa) while visiting her mother in the hospital. After finding out that Chun Hwa is suffering from end-stage cancer, Na Mi helps carry out the wishes of Chun Hwa to find their old group of school friends (who call themselves Sunny) before she passes. The story focuses on the current day lives of the 7 girls, and their past selves in school during the ’80s.

My quick non-spoiler review: This is one of Korea’s top grossing movies, and it is really easy to see why. The small bits of story of what happened during their school days and where the girls ended up was set up really well. It has some really great funny moments that are just meant more to make you feel good, and how you felt with your friends in school before life gets in the way. If you like the movie Now and Then this has the same sort of feel, and I think you’d like it.

Read more for a more in-depth spoiler filled review!

I originally picked this movie to watch purely because it was always on the top lists of movies to watch, and figured that if I was going to watch a Korean movie that watching from the top movies was the most useful. I didn’t know much about the movie itself besides the small snippet that I had read, so I went into the movie not knowing much

Sunny is Korea’s version of the movie Now and Then. I really love the format of seeing people in the present time, and showing them in the past. Especially in aspects like this where the characters are middle aged, and the past is from when they are in high school. It’s always more interesting when it’s a time period that I haven’t experienced, and with Sunny being Korean it was nice to see the snippets of what life was like for a high school female in ‘80s Korea.

Unlike Now and Then, there isn’t a huge event that the story is circulating around, just a glimpse of the girls as a group and where their lives had eventually taken them. They all shar one common theme: they weren’t doing what their younger selves had wished for. Chun Hwa had a sense of that (especially when she saw Na Mi), and that is why she persisted that she needed to bring back together the group, even at the last stages of her life. Throughout the movie during the flashbacks you see her in the leadership role and she played that till the end.

As I said, there really aren’t many events to talk about, although the part where the group goes to beat up Na Mi’s daughters bullies was probably one of my favorite scenes in the movie. It was funny, and worked with what had already been established with the group dynamic when they were younger (as they were constantly getting into fights). The moments in the cop car were hilarious and felt genuine. It reminded me of when I got together with friends when younger and how it was just about having fun with each other. I loved that it had that moment with some of the group as they are older, especially when they hadn’t been together for such a long time, that they were able to come together and click like nothing happened.
Another scene that I loved, and have to mention just because, is the scene where Na Mi is giving her mother the handbag and all the other patients in the room are watching a drama (you see them watching the same drama in a previous scene as well). The whole room is so into the drama, that when the major trope happens everyone erupts with anger. It was a funny little scene that was just perfect.

I would have liked a little more look into the character of Su Ji, as she was always brought up in ways that made it seem like there would be something more. I was worried at the end that she wasn’t going to show up, so I was happy that she was there and didn’t mind her coming in at the very last minute and the movie ending, but I felt her character just had more depth to her. I loved the moments we had with Su Ji and Na Mi, but it just felt like something was missing. Especially when you find out through the investigator that she was the one that was hard to find. Why was that? Even those that were really down on their luck and basically had no where to live they were able to find. It didn’t break the movie for me, but it did leave me with some questions.

In the end, the movie is pretty simple. There isn’t super ground breaking events that happen that are outrageous or keep you on the edge of your seat, but I think it serves the movie well. The cast is so huge, considering the group has 7 in it, that you can’t focus too much on one person because it feels like you are missing out on the others. I loved that really in the end, nothing groundbreaking happened: It was just a group of friends finally getting back together after years and reminiscing about what they were and coming together where they are. The simplicity of that was what made the movie. When we are younger, we spend most of our time with friends not doing much anyways, and we still perceived it as a fun time. I think the movie really tried to hone in on that aspect of relationships with friends.

This is a great movie, and I highly recommend it if you are looking for a good movie to watch that will make you laugh out loud and want to call your friends.

First Impression: Are You Human Too?

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Disclaimer: If you haven’t seen the first two episodes of the show, there will be spoilers for those in this review. Also, understand that my opinions can change of characters and plots as the show progresses forward. This is just a first impression, not the end all be all of if I like the show or not and my overall opinion of it once the show ends.

Release Date: Started June 4 2018
Episode #: 18 (released every Mon and Wed)
Platform: DramaFever
Director: Cha Young Hoon
Writer: Jo Jung Joo
Starring: Seo Kang Joon, Kong Seung Yeon
Genre: Romance/Sci Fi/Android

I haven’t been watching dramas that much this past week, I tend to do that sometimes especially after doing a major marathon of a specific show, which for me was Something in the Rain. I don’t normally watch that much melodrama, and bingeing it made me just want to spend some days catching up on variety shows that I have missed, and watching other things not Korean (sometimes it’s nice not to have to read everything!).  So today I decided to catch up on some of my currently watching list, specifically those shows that I knew had higher potential for me to be spoiled once they were aired, and landed on Are You Human Too as it had just premiered last night. I wasn’t going to pick up the series, but I was intrigued and after seeing the thousandth ad for it I decided to watch it.

And I’m hooked.

I’ve never really been drawn to the android/robot theme. The only other show that I’ve watched that falls into that (excluding anime where I’m 100% into the meccas) was I’m Not a Robot. Which is in the category only slightly, so I’m going to say that this is probably my first true drama with an android theme.

I was pleasantly surprised by the first two episodes, and how the premise is set up. I’m always for a woman in a high position and super smart, especially one who also embodies compassion and empathy and Oh Ro Ra - Shin’s mother - is perfect. The little snippet we see in the very beginning with her and Shin during her presentation is adorable and I fell instantly in love with the character. The little things she specifically programmed into the robot version of her son are so sweet and great and naturally set up a really nice plot device that can help the character going forward with the series. Shin was great, both human and robot version of himself. Going to the Czech Republic to find his mother after all those years, the robot version noticing that he’s being followed and in danger and immediately responding to it was great.

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I also like the set up of the grandfather that we’ve already gotten. Although there is not much known to him - powerful rich guy who (maybe?) killed his son and stole his grandson from his mother is pretty cliched and kind of expected, but their was a nice added element to his character as you find out he is showing signs of developing Alzheimer's. I’m really excited to see how this is going to be played moving forward and where it will take that character. It’s a different angle and I love when dramas throw you off from the normal plot devices.

Of course there is other corruption not just with the family (because what show with a powerful and rich family doesn’t have that?), but also the staff around him with Jong Gil being the one to set up the hit on Shin. I’m interested to see how it plays out with his relationship with his daughter, Ye Na, as she is set to marry Shin and seems to actually like him as opposed to just doing it for the money. I’m not normally one to like the second female lead or really care much for them, but compared to what we have for the first lead (So Bong) I actually like her. I kind of hope there is more to her leading up.

Speaking of the female lead…I just. I want to like her, but I don’t. At all. I want to say that it’s just the first two episodes so she’s acting this way because of that, but I just don’t know. I’m holding my breath that she will get better. I mean, it’s going to be really hard for me to watch this series without wanting to skip through any part that she is speaking if she stays this way, but she is stereotypically the female lead we always get: supposed to be outgoing and strong but is just annoying and there for the male lead to save. I know, this is a drama with romance so that needs to be there. I just want better.

There are a few other characters that are minor at this point that I don’t want to talk much about but am interested in what they will be as the episodes move on. David, the boyfriend of Ro Ra and I guess a scientist as well, is interesting because there really isn’t much known and seems to be someone that may or may not have a greater impact moving on. I also am really interested in Young Hoon, the secretary of human Shin and how he’ll play out.

I’m sure I’m missing more on things that I want to talk about, and probably could add a lot more (will the human Shin ever wake from the coma? Will we see snake tattoo hit man again?), but I’ll leave it at that and maybe add to it in a longer review of the series once it’s finished. I am looking forward to the next episodes and to see how the show will progress.

Summer Friday Movie Nights: Spellbound

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I had two goals this summer, and one of them was to watch more movies and thought it would be fun to have a series this summer where I review a movie every Friday. Coincidentally, this is my first review on the site!


Today’s movie is Spellbound - 오싹한 연애 (also known as My Girlfriend Can See Ghosts)
Release Date: 2011
Director: Hwang In Ho
Starring: Son Ye Jin and Lee Min Ki
Genre: Romantic Comedy

Jo Goo (Lee Min Ki) is a street magician who notices Yeo Ri (Son Ye Jin) in the crowd during a performance and is drawn to her because of how miserable she looks. He decides to approach her, and develops a horror themed magic show because of their interactions that is successful and he hires her to help with the trick. Trying to get to know her, Jo Goo finally gets Yeo Ri to attend a team dinner. She gets drunk, and the next day doesn’t show up to work. Jo Goo calls her to find out what’s wrong and is worried when during the phone call he hears a weird sound. He goes to check up on her and then learns that she can see ghost is and is constantly haunted by the ghost of a dead friend.

My quick non-spoiler review: Even though this movie had it’s downfalls with rushed storyline and lacking plots that could be developed a little better, I liked it and would definitely recommend it to anyone who is looking for a cute romantic comedy. Or if you are a fan of Son Ye Jin and Lee Min Ki, because they are adorable together. It’s also just a fun rom-com to watch when you have a free moment. Sometimes its fun to watch something that you don’t have to invest a lot into, and this is the movie.

Read more for a more in-depth spoiler filled review...

Coming off of a binge of Pretty Noona Who Buys Me Food and an accidental start of a re-watch of Because This is my First Life (I can’t help it, that show is just so good!), I knew when I was searching through the movies list on DramaFever and saw Spellbound that I was going to have to add it to my watch list. I’m really glad I did, because the movie was cute and a great way to spend my Friday afternoon. I really love the two leads, and it was fun being able to see them in roles so drastically different than the shows that I had watched recently with them, it made the movie more enjoyable.

The movie itself isn’t the best, but in that way that it’s still enjoyable. It wasn’t horrible by any means, it just wasn’t something I would say has the best writing or run to tell people. It’s one of those romantic comedies that you see while you’re scrolling through TV guide on the weekend and you end up stopping to watch and stay for the end.

There were some parts of the movie that jumped around too much, in an effort to get everything they wanted out of the story in the movie’s timeline. This made the main storyline of why Yeo Ri’s character was so actively pursued by the ghost of her dead friend feel rushed and not thought out. I wanted more from the storyline, especially because the entire time I kept on questioning why she was so mad and not more mad at say the paramedic who first responded, or the bus driver. When we finally got the explanation it just didn't live up to a ghost so bent on destroying this girl’s life to the point of actively trying to kill the person she loves.

There was also a lot of question about the fact that despite the title, and what they implied in every synopsis I read, everyone could see the ghosts - not just her. I thought going in that it was supposed to be a special thing for her, and then eventually Jo Goo’s character comes to be able to (maybe because of being a magician or maybe ghosts make themselves known to specific people). That aspect of the plot just didn’t make sense, and was a little weird.

I really wish that we had more time to spend with the relationship between Jo Goo and Yeo Ri. What was shown was so great, and I loved it (the ending when he’s telling her that he’s scared but then what she must be going through is even worse, ugh!). It just was so rushed from their first meeting, to him adorably trying to find her a boyfriend, to him actually falling in love with her despite of the fact that everyone around her had been effected negatively being close with her because of the ghost. I think this movie would have been better as a episodic drama, so that those story lines really could develop in more than just a two hour block.

And speaking of other relationships, the relationship between her friend and the writer was really sweet. I wanted more from that as well, there just wasn’t time to add that. I liked the banter they had, and the self aware dialogue they have about what makes a relationship in dramas. It was a lot of fun, and even though the three really spent most of their friendship on the phone they played off each other really well.

If you’ve seen the movie, what did you think of it? I’m sure I’m missing more, lets discuss it in the comments.

Currently Watching - May '18

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As I said in my last post, I’m currently watching the most amount of dramas/variety shows at once than I ever have (thanks to being off-contract at work and no money coming in for me to actually live a social life) so I figured I would talk about them. Note: this list does not include the shows I have started and have no want to continue watching them.

This part is all about the dramas!

Quiz From God (Season 4) - 신의 퀴즈
I loved the first two seasons of this show: the amount of stronger females in the top leadership positions, the cross between Bones/Castle, a crime procedural: love. I had started this a very long time ago, and told myself that this summer was the summer that I was going to finish it…and then season three happened. I am about 6 episodes into the fourth and last season and even getting to look at Dong-hae isn’t helping it.

Black - 블랙
I have an off and on relationship with this show, it has it’s moments where it is really awesome and I liked the journey it was taking me on, but there are just too many moments where it was lagging to the point that I haven’t picked it up in a while. I am strongly leaning towards Go Ara’s character being the reason, whether it be the way it’s written or the way she is acting, its just too much. But Kim Tae-woo is incredible and I love every part he’s in.

Sketch - 스케치
This is currently airing, and is the only reason it’s stopping me from marathoning it. It’s a crime procedural with an sci-fi element starring Rain. What more could I ask for? Maybe a lead girl with the “gift” who doesn’t get herself in trouble so that the cute boy will save her but for a moral objective? Yes please!

Live - 라이브
Another crime show…and I am now realizing that there is a current pattern in my watch list. This is a first for me, because even though I love a crime procedural (the only American shows I watch are those: Criminal Minds, NCIS, CSI…) I usually go for the romance dramas. This one is fun because it’s a look into the Korean police force that I have no knowledge of.

Miss Panda and Mr Hedgehog - 판다양과 고슴도치
I confess, I like Dong-hae. It’s cute, but not the best so it’s my when I’m bored show.

Miss Hammurabi - 미스함무라비
Honestly, I might give up on this series. I started to like it, but I’m starting to really not like Go Ara’s character. It’s a little too unlikeable for someone who is supposed to be the moral character. I understand that I haven’t watched enough to really solidify my opinion, but I have no want to pick it up now, but I’ll keep it up to let the queue of eps fill up (maybe I don’t like Go Ara?)

Come and Hug Me - 이리와 안아줘
It is surprising how good this show is. It’s 100% a show I would marathon if it wasn’t currently airing.

Flower Boy Next Door - 이웃집 꽃미남
I randomly started this show and then five episodes passed and here we are.

Neon Genesis Evangelion (anime) - 新世紀エヴァンゲリオン
This is a rewatch of the series, but on my old blog I had thought it would be fun to do a rewatch of it since it’s been such a long time since I’ve watched it and I had this grand idea of writing about it, but that hasn’t happened. But I’m still watching it randomly.

Violet Evergarden (anime) - ヴァイオレット・エヴァーガーデン
I don’t watch anime much any more, but it’s so easy to watch them nowadays that I dabble every once in a while. Netflix suggested this, and it’s really beautiful and I found it interesting.

Love Affairs in the Afternoon - 昼顔 - 平日午後3時の恋人たち
Currently the only J-drama I’m watching. It’s good, but I dropped it a while ago but do plan to finish it. I’ll probably end up doing it when I’ve caught up with the rest of this list.

I will try to keep the Currently Watching page up to date, so check there for the most recent list

Currently Watching - Variety/Reality Shows

I am currently watching the most amount of dramas/variety shows at once than I ever have (thanks to being off-contract at work and no money coming in for me to actually live a social life) so I figured I would talk about them. Since this is probably going to be a long post as it’s the first one I’ll break it up into two parts.

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Let’s talk about the variety/non-drama shows I watch!

Home Alone - 나 혼자 산다
Probably my favorite show on air at this moment. I know it’s not entirely true, but I feel like it has genuine quality to it that most other reality shows don’t have. I also really love seeing what other peoples houses look like. I really in love with the current host lineup, I think they all play off each other really well.

Running Man - 런닝맨
I am a long time fan of Running Man. I’ve been watching it since I started watching dramas, and will stick with it until they end the show. It has its ups and downs but I genuinely laugh out loud at every episode. I also have found that most of my non-book Korean learning is greatly contributed to this show.

Happy Together - 해피투게더
I enjoy this show, although I do like the older episodes in the sauna with some of the other hosts, but it’s still a solid show especially if you want a talk show where you can see more about idols and actors geared to an older audience.

Return of Superman - 슈퍼맨이 돌아왔다
This show I tend to skip if I don’t have time and not feel bad, but it is a cute show. The kids are adorable. This is one of my learning shows because of how much of the conversation is interactions with kids so the dialogue is easier to learn the language with.

Busted! - 범인은 바로 너
Busted! is pretty campy, but fun. It’s kind of set up to be scripted in a way that a murder mystery party you would throw would be, but still has some obvious non-scripted moments. I love Lee Kwang-soo and Yoo Jae-suk; they are both really great at variety timing and use each other to that benefit and the benefit of the show when the other less experienced characters can’t move the story along. The guest characters really make this show, and it’s a lot of fun if you are already a fan of variety/comedy shows.

Hyori’s Homestay - 효리네 민박
I’m a long time Lee Hyori fan (I’ve actually liked her/Fin.K.L since high school) so there was really no reason for me not to watch this show.

Honorable Mentions:
Men on a Mission/Knowing Brothers - 아는 형님
My Little Old Boy - 미운 우리 새끼
2 Days 1 Night - 1박 2일
Weekly Idol - 주간 아이돌

I will probably not update my variety shows list in following posts unless something changes but they can always be found on my Currently Watching page

hi.

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This is just a temporary intro post to welcome you to my blog!

I'm smack in the mix of putting together things, so it might look different from one day to the next while I sort out things, and content scarce, but I promise you can look forward to more posts all about Korean (and sometimes Japanese) dramas and variety shows :)

So grab a glass of wine (or tea, I'm not picky) and enjoy

Oh, and happy National Wine Day