Monthly Archives: July 2009

Frozen Flower (쌍화점) Movie

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Frozen Flower is a movie I had been on the look out for since last year mostly because I am a fan of Joo Jinmo and Song Jihyo and I thought they would look smashing together on screen. I had never seen Jo Insung act before, so he wasn’t really a pulling factor. I knew it came out in the winter last year and finally last week I got to watch the movie. As I was downloading the movie, I went to check out the discussions going on about this movie. The overwhelming majority of the comments talk about the plentiful sex scenes between SJH and JIS and the debate whether or not Hongrim, JIS’s character, loves the King (JJM, that is) or the Queen (SJH).

A little bit summary of the movie: The current King has been grooming an army of hugely talented young men as his personal defenders. These men have been devoting their lives to the palace since they were still mere boys. The leader of this army, Hongrim, happens to be the King’s lover. While the King has a beautiful Queen and more mistress, he has no apetite for women, his taste lies in men, or only Hongrim to be exact. However, due to power struggle, King needs to make an heir soon. He entrusts the job of impregnating the Queen to Hongrim, so off they romp. Queen and Hongrim, whose relationship always had a little animosity between them, become sex buddies and progress to become lovers themselves. The King finds out and he is beyond enraged.

Upon reading these comments, I got unabashedly curious about the sex scenes. Finished downloading the first part, I fast forwarded to see what the fuss was all about. True enough, the movie had a lot of romping. Starting again from the beginning, I was just intending to see the whole first part before hitting the bed since it was pretty late.

Surprisingly, I finished the first part, and instead, went to watch the second part. The movie was beautifully paced and had compelling flow to the story. I finished the whole thing that night and went to sleep at like 4am or something.

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(Too bad there wasn’t any happy moment between the three like in the above)

The Good:

Like I said, the pace was great. I’m not a big fan of period work, movies or dramas, because often it is long and rather draggy. I watched Duelist and Hwang Jini and was bored to death. Even if they were good movies, my attention span can barely stand something that is not remotely interesting. Frozen Flower, thankfully, was. The King and Hongrim’s relationship is established early on, so we get a sense just how important Hongrim is to the King, and vice versa. A brief scene in the beginning also clued us in to the fact that the Queen isn’t exactly fond of Hongrim, the man who steals her husband, and sleeps in his bed at night. But then, with many occasions of swapping of biological fluid, their chemistry starts to go off and what was hate turned into love. The buildup of the King’s rage is also well portrayed. His growing uneasiness, seeing Queen and Hongrim fucked with actual passion during the mating sessions, his suspicions at Hongrim who now has an occurring disappearing acts, and finally his blinding fury and pain upon finding out and seeing with his own eyes the Queen and Hongrim having sex outside of the mating schedule.

Acting is very good, imo. Joo Jinmo is a bundle of sex appeal and charisma. For me personally, he is one of the sexiest actors in Korea. This is why when I heard he was going to play a homosexual character, I was immediately intrigued, curious to see if he can really pull that off. Of course I don’t know if JJM himself is secretly gay or not, but let’s assume he’s straight. He pulled the King off brilliantly. Throughout the movie, I was convinced that the King is averse to women, he really only has eyes for Hongrim. He looks at Hongrim with an open affection, longing for him to return to his side, and the pain and anger at his bertrayal, his constant forgiving nature only for Hongrim, JJM was mesmerizing. This is not to say that Song Jihyo and Jo Insung did nothing, they were great too, but JJM runs the movie, he just owns it.

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The Bad:

The way the ending is executed is excellent, but the ending itself is really blah. This is one of the reasons why I’m not a fan of period work. Death is used way too liberally as an end point of the story that the meaning is now lost. I understand that in the old times, battling for lives is a common thing but because it’s been used so many freaking times, I just don’t feel the supposedly huge impact anymore. I was almost hoping that Frozen Flower would deviate from that route and instead opted for an out of place happy ending, or as happy as it can be. I enjoyed the entire movie, up until the ending. Overkill.

The argument that there are too many sex scenes is actually valid. Not in a sense of modesty or anything, but because there are too many sex scenes between Queen and Hongrim, their love is not very convincing. Lust IS very convincing on their part, but love is yet to be seen. There are very few scenes of Hongrim and Queen alone and NOT screwing. I wish they had spent more time building this aspect of Queen and Hongrim instead of throwing them to fuck like bunnies every chance they get.

Overall, I’d say it’s a 78%.

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Brilliant Legacy Concludes

Brilliant Legacy concludes brilliantly. Pun very much intended.

찬란한유산 (최종회). 2009-0726- HDTV.Xvid.Ental.avi_001822554

The ending is very Brilliant Legacy-esque. It’s done perfectly. Perfect pace, perfect conclusions, with a dash of that Brilliant Legacy magic (gosh, am I being too corny? Allow me for today!) It leaves you wanting more, but it is still a satisfyingly beautiful ending. The loose ends of the story are tied up, but not so tight that it leaves no open room for interpretation.

Take for example, the Seungmi and her mother Seunghee. They have started a new life away from the people they have hurt and deceived, but they are not completely changed either. In the last moments at the end, Seunghee displays a lack of fervor of her new life, but masked so that Seungmi is happy. Ultimately, Seunghee still mourns the money she lost, but her love for her daughter keeps her intact… for now.

Another example is Sunwoo Mom and the Chef/Butler. She finds out that Butler has been having feelings for her, and seemingly reciprocates it, but writer keeps things simple and light and open. We have yet to know if these two seasoned lovebirds will be able to make it.

Every important points are highlighted and shown, but they are also shown in the perfect amount so as to not crowd out the whole episode. Another point of view would probably say that they are done choppily, only showing a little bit of everything and while that may be valid argument, the flow of the episode is actually not compromised. The exquisite touch of virtual scissors from the editing director helps too, but in the end, it’s the believable writing that develops the ending.

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Now that the drama has ended, I can say for sure that Hwan and Eunsung are best when they are working together. Their dynamic comes in full force when they are trying to achieve a mutual goal, achieving sales level of the store, ultimately making Granny happy. I like their dates and everything, but their passion to prove themselves capable is what makes the difference. They race to the top, but they still help each other along the way. That sense of purpose, of getting something they both really want, is why they look the best working together.

I’m not saying that the dates are lacking in chemistry or anything (oh no, chemistry is alllll over the place), but sometimes, I feel that they feel a little…mundane, a little pale  in comparison to how passionate they do their work. Eunsung’s fiery self comes out a lot when working together with Hwan, but in their normal dates, Eunsung is more chill and feminine. The same thing goes with Hwan. He is driven and competitive when working with Eunsung, but again, in his normal date, he’s just…nice. These are not bad things, but I just find it more exciting to see them working together.

I was hoping that even if they had done a time jump to the future, they would show Eunsung and Hwan working together, perhaps co managing of the Soup company?

찬란한유산 (최종회). 2009-0726- HDTV.Xvid.Ental.avi_003767330

One of the things I love the most about this episode is Eunsung taking initiative. This far, while we are fully aware of Eunsung’s feelings, she has not exactly shown much to Hwan. She is a nice girl, but she’s nice to everyone. In the last few episodes, we have seen Eunsung slowly starting to show her heart and mind more clearly. It was Eunsung who asked Hwan on a date. Eunsung hugged Hwan, comforting him after his emotional confession to Granny, initiating her first body contact with Hwan. And this episode, we see Eunsung fully reciprocating Hwan’s feelings.

For one, I’m not sure if this was intended as a symbolism, but instead of Hwan crossing the street to get to Eunsung, it is Eunsung who braves the Seoul busy traffic to get to Hwan, meeting him in the middle. Not only that, she tells him to wait, wait for her as she finishes her culinary studies. Remember how this request was voiced by Hwan first several episodes back. Nice throwback.

Like in the picture above, it is Eunsung who goes up to plant a kiss on Hwan, signaling that duh, of course, she’s into him too. If the kiss on the bridge was Hwan’s, this kiss by the lake is Eunsung’s. She stole it. Eunsung even goes further a notch by whispering her declaration of love to Hwan, again, mimicking Hwan’s admission of feelings early on.  If Hwan was in doubt about what he meant to Eunsung, now he can be sure that he means the world, or at least a lot, to Eunsung.

찬란한유산 (최종회). 2009-0726- HDTV.Xvid.Ental.avi_003801731

The above picture is posted for no other reason than how gorgeous it is. Compare that to this:

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Instead of on a shaky bridge, Hwan and Eunsung are now on solid ground. Instead of being above water, a possible danger, they are by it, danger is passed. Instead of a foggy dawn, it is now a clear day. Instead of Hwan possessively, but lone, clutching Eunsung, Hwan and Eunsung are now in an embrace, arms around each other.

Instead of feelings going one sided, the feelings are now very much mutual.

So long, Brilliant Legacy. A drama I watched since the first day, but never thought it would leave such an impact. After exactly 14 weeks, 3 and a half month of awesome ride and becoming a source of smile, laughter, and tears, I am not without those in bidding you goodbye.

Let’s hope SBS relesases the DVD with decent English subtitles and lots and lots of bonus scenes.

New Korean Copyright Laws

I am not at all well versed on the new Copyright laws that start being effective tomorrow July 23 (or now in Korea), but from what I have been reading, the new law is basically:

“Thou shalt not spread your Korean culture outside of the comfort of your own house/room”

You can’t upload Korean dramas and variety shows online! Duh. You can’t post links to those online, in any blog or fan cafes. You can’t post screen captures/clips taken from Korean dramas or variety shows at all. The kicker is, you cannot post any video of yourself, be it parody, singing, reenactment, etc, if you are imitating someone from TV.

To me, the gist of this all is to basically castrate the spread of Korean culture to the outside world. MBC, KBS, and SBS are national broadcasters where every person in the country can enjoy. But it is US, who do not have the privilege of living in Korea, that will basically be deprived the most.

I’m curious, does the word Hallyu not ring any bell in the ears of the government? Hallyu allows Korean entertainment to be this popular. Hallyu does not only pertain to superstars like Bae Yongjoon, Bi, Jang Donggun, Lee Youngae, etc. No, Hallyu in essence involves everyone in the entertainment industry who has made him/herself known to the foreign public. Yoo Jaesuk is a hallyu star too, but no, he does not have DVDs or CDs or concerts abroad to promote himself as he’s mostly confined to the TV environment.

Without the uploaded videos of X-Man on YT, would people from the other hemisphere know about Kim Jongkook? Or Chae Yeon? Without those online Loveletter videos of Shinhwa, would Shinhwa have this many fans out of the country? If Shinhwa didn’t have this many fans, would those foreign fans go to Korea simply to watch their concert and therefore creating cash for Korea? If people didn’t find those We Got Married videos on Youtube, would there be this many people knowing who the heck Crown J and Seo Inyoung is?

The obvious answer is NO.

Would people know a show where celebrities tell their stories called Yashimanman? Would people know celebrities such as Kim Shinyoung, Shin Bongsun, Kang Soojung, and Jo Hyerun, whose main avenue is variety shows? The variety shows that are uploaded online, NOT for the purpose of making money, but simply for the purpose of spreading the goodness of Korean culture.

I don’t know what kind of government is controlling Korea at the moment, but this policy just has ‘shortsighted’ and ‘dumb’ spelled on its forehead. What kind of alternative are you planning to provide, dear ol government, in order to prop your entertainment industry? By increasing prices due to higher copyright power? We are in a middle of recession here. Do you think it would help? I don’t see it.

For the record, if I am asked to pay to watch my favourite Korean dramas and variety shows, I wouldn’t mind as long as it’s reasonable and service is of quality. This is not about wanting to get free goodies forever, but this is about having the channel and the alternative to enjoy Korean entertainment, especially as a foreign viewer.

Hopefully things will get resolved and common sense get through. Absolut restriction and repression will not be fruitful.

Where’s Junjin’s Seoul Concert going to be?

Yonsei fricking University is where it is gonna be.

Where was I supposed to go to school to this fall?

Yonsei fricking University is where I was going to go to.

Did I cancel?

Of course, I cancel!! *wails*

My karma isn’t the good ones, definitely NOT the fricking good ones.

Oh man, my heart literally sunk when I read the news. I was supposed to go on an exchange to Korea, at Yonsei, this September. But then I heard worrying news about the North and decided to cancel, postpone it to next March, see how things go. I had the acceptance letter and everything. Plane ticket is pretty much the only thing that still needed to be done.

What happens now? Nothing more from the north. Minwoo is having a concert. Junjin is having a concert. MC Mong, Lee Seunggi, and Eun Jiwon are going to be out with a new album respectively, thus would probably have a concert and do rounds of promotion. All I can do is simmer and curse at my total bad luck.

Excuse me while I go wallow in the corner.

Upcoming Dramas

Several dramas are preparing itself to air sometime soon. Some dramas are going to air as early as two weeks from now, while others have release dates sometime in the fall. These are some upcoming dramas that are in my radar at the moment.

1. Lady Castle/Take Care of the Lady/My Fair Lady

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Lady Castle is about a young rich girl so arrogant, so spoilt; basically girl’s personality is far from charming (think Anna Jo from Fantasy Couple). She lost her parents since she was little and she is set to inherit (of course, this is Kdrama after all) her grandfather’s company.

When I first heard of this project headlined by Yoon Eunhye sometime ago, I was just mostly interested. It has been a while since YEH is on TV for a drama, since Coffee Prince, but seeing the summary if the drama, it was just barely piquing my interest. I loved Coffee Prince, but YEH is not someone I totally trust with her acting. I saw Goong and it was painful. I managed to watch the first half hour of The Vineyard Man and didn’t want to come back. The reason I watched CP was for Gong Yoo, my first Korean crush, but YEH proved to be pretty good there, so that was good. But for me, to see a drama JUST for her, no, I’m not there yet.

However, that soon changed. Yoon Sanghyun (Queen of Housewives) was cast, and interest became anticipation. QoH was so much fun and part of it is due to YSH’s Taebong character, who was a total sweetheart with hilarious disposition. It was Jung Ilwoo (Return of Iljimae) being cast that sealed the deal. The casting took me by surprise, but I totally welcomed it. A few days ago, I heard Moon Chae Won (Brilliant Legacy) was also in the drama. And, I just found out a mere five seconds ago that Wang Sukhyun, the cutie from Speedy Scandal, is in the drama! Woohoo! Anticipation turned into pure excitement.

I am going to see this drama no matter what!

2. Iris

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Honestly, I never really took this seriously. This kind of drama, in my most humble opinion, is rarely done well in Korean dramas. True, my only references are Air City and Invisible Parachute Agent, but I’m never really drawn to this type of dramas before. Even in the western TV, I only liked Alias, but that was purely because of Michael Vartan (purrrty!). Especially, I am looking at the two ‘outliers’ in the cast, TOP and Kim Taehee.

First off, in the beginning when I heard people bashing KTH for her awful acting, I actually thought they were being too much. Sure, she might not have been the greatest actor, but she’s pretty enough to carry herself with dignity. I stuck to my opinion. That was until I saw Nine Tailed Fox and The Restless. She’s horrible, and that’s to put it lightly. Now, TOP, I have never seen him act before. He’s great rapping and everything, but his acting skills is still questionable.

So with those in mind, I wasn’t planning on waiting for Iris, even when there were better actors in the cast. But yesterday, I went and read some discussions about the drama and only then that it dawned on me. Those two were just the minority!! Lee Byunhun, Jung Joonho, and Kim Seungwoo are big names that actually associate themselves to good acting.

For now, I am interested, but probably won’t commit to watching the drama when it airs in the fall.

3. Dream

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Okay, Kimbum? Good. Lee Hoon? Great. Joo Jinmo? Even better. Choi Yeojin? OMG, yay! Son Dambi? WHA???

Son Dambi and Kimbum, I believe were the first people to get cast. Immediately upon seeing SDB’s name on the list, my interest meter crashed to the ground. I like her, her songs are very catchy. She calls herself a singer, yet her singing is just…awful. I don’t even want to know how her acting is.

But then JJM got cast, CYJ (whom I totally totally love) also got casted. My interest meter picked itself up by a tiny bit. Also, I watched Kimbum/SDB in one of those Anycall CFs and they were really cute together. Still tho, I wasn’t planning on watching it, let alone sticking with it. A few days ago, I watched the trailer and I gotta say, the trailer is far more interesting than Style (below). Great music, great narration, choppy cut scenes yes, but oh well, in general, I became more into the drama after watching the preview. There’s just a nice feel to it.

I know that JJM will be able to pull off his character nicely. He’s charismatic to boot, very sexy, and there’s just a powerful vibe in him. Kimbum can overdo his angry/emotional scenes, but he’s pretty good overall. CYJ can do no wrong in my eyes, haha. The question is whether SDB can carry herself enough or will fall completely flat.

At the moment, I’ll definitely catch the first couple of episodes to see if it’s worth sticking to.

4. Style

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Kim Hyesoo is pretty much the only one in this project that I have any semblance of like for. I saw a weee bit of Beethoven Virus and Legend and I don’t have much of an opinion about Lee Jia. Ryu Shiwon, the only time I have ever seen him on screen was his guesting in the variety show Infinity Girls with Hwangbo. He seemed great, but I have not heard any good thing about his acting.

Premise-wise, this sounds way too much like Devil Wears Prada, but because someone in Korea actually did wrote a novel veeerrry closely related to Devil Wears Prada, this drama has an excuse in saying that it is an adaptation from a Korean novel, which is not untrue. Anyways, I caught the trailer last week right after the drama Brilliant Legacy, and I can’t say that I am very interested, if at all. The trailer is actually better made than Dream, but it doesn’t have that particular pull, at least not for me. It just looks okay, and dare I say it, shallow.

I might see the first episode out of curiosity, but I’m not holding my breath. If it’s good and I like it, fine. If it turns out to be crap, oh well..

5. Tamna, The Island

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Now THIS is different.

The story is about a boy who is about to be tied down in a marriage. In his desperation, he sets off on a Dutch ship to Japan. However, storm hits..

I actually thought it might have been an adaptation from the manga One Piece, perhaps with a Korean twist, seeing as there is a guy in Korean outfit, but apparently this is a completely different manga. I was just wandering around at Soompi and saw the thread, barely any people there, but it just looked so appealing. I am pretty excited about this. It sounds so much fun and just so different from any other dramas around.

The cast is new and fresh and just so…different. For some reason, I get the same vibe from this as from Evasive Inquiry Agency, the 2007 drama with Lee Minki and Yeh Jiwon, but perhaps even more fantastical. Probably there’s a bit of Pirates of the Carribean in it too?? I don’t know, I hope so, haha.

All I know is that I am definitely tuning in for the first few episodes before deciding to continue watching or not.

Proposals Abound!

1. Lee Seunggi, Actor/Singer/Hottie Extraordinaire

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“1 Night 2 Day viewers, will you marry me?”

To a loud, resounding YES, from the entire nation and the lucky individuals around the world who get first dibs at his proposal.

HECK YEEAAAAH!! I’ll marry you, Seunggi Oppa!

Anyways, Seunggi has put up his ‘Girlfriend Wanted’ sign, it seems. For the past several episodes, the members have been teasing Seunggi (mostly Jiwon and Mong who finally revealed they were in a relationship) to get a girlfriend as Seunggi is the remaining member without a significant other (that we know of).

Kang Hodong, Kim C, and Lee Sugeun are all married, while the Seop Seop Brothers (Eun Jiwon and MC Mong) have a girlfriend. So the only one left is Seunggi.

Too bad for him, I’m not in Korea…yet. Hohoho. Wait for me, darling Seunggi!

Uhm, okay, that sounded a wee bit scary, kekeke..

2. MC Mong, Actor/Singer/Rapper/Fashionable Monkey

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Honey, I’ve got something to say to you. Would you care to listen?”

*the song ‘Will You Marry Me’ come on the speaker*

YEEEESSSSSSS, I’ll feed you banana for the rest of your life Oppa!!

Too bad this proposal is directed toward girlfriend Jo Ahmin, not for the public T____________T

MC Mong announced he had a girlfriend sometime ago. I’m not familiar with the girlfriend in question, but I know she’s also in the entertainment circuit, but I’m not sure if she’s a model or a presenter or an actress. She’s probably a new entertainer. I saw some pictures of her and she’s very pretty.

However, it’s gotta be awkward for Mong, having to do that on screen, especially since they haven’t been dating for too long. Sure, it’s entertainment, but how does JAM feel when she sees that? Kekeke.. Even MC Mong himself felt super shy after, haha..

3. Eun Ji Won, Rapper/Producer/5th Grade Mindset Eun Choding

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“Everyone else may say I’m Choding (schoolkid), but only for you, I would like to be a man.”

*Seunggi totally swoons here, lols*

“There’s something I want to say to you. Listen, okay?”

*the song ‘Will You Marry Me’ come on the speaker*

I personally don’t know what’s the deal with Jiwon’s relationship or how far it’s been. Members have been teasing about him getting married, the last couple of episodes and it might just happen. Soon? Who knows. Choding is as unpredictable as the weather here. It’s hard to know whether it’s happening or he’s just simply being quiet to avoid more rumours of the kind.

Jiwon wedding bells? Let’s be on the lookout for it.

Oh by the way, it’s just 1 Night 2 Days episode 114, hehe, it’s not a real proposal or anything.

Separation oh Separation

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Brilliant Legacy is ending in 2 weeks… T___T

After 3 months of the drama, we will have to say goodbye to Eunsung and Hwan in just 2 weeks time..

*bawls*

I want to see how things unfold, will the inheritance go to Hwan or to Eunsung? Will Eunsung reunite with her family? Will the scriptwriter finally listen to my prayers and run Evil Stepmother over with a truck? Will Seungmi get a psychiatrist? I want to know how things end and if they end well, but I will be so lost on the first weekend morning after it’s done.

What will I do with my weekend mornings? Sleep? I’ve gotten used to waking up early to watch BL live.

The last time I felt this bad was when the Ssangchu couple, Hwangbo and Kim Hyunjoong, left We Got Married. That was like December last year. It had become a habit to watch We Got Married live at that time and after the couple exited the show, it was really sad to lose one of the things you have gotten used to.

Sigh. I gotta prepare my heart for Brilliant Legacy farewell.

And yes, I am way too absorbed in this freaking drama.