Sunday, June 21, 2009

My Tutor Friend - best newbie intro

No kidding.

Most of the time when newbies are interested in Korean cinema, I usually recommend My Tutor Friend and had success every time!!

Last year, on July 28th, I blogged about this movie. Nope, I haven't changed my mind yet. Still love it lots till this day.

I re-watched it again. I will never get tired of this movie!

The only sad thing is Kwon Sang Woo is the first hottie who I loved. I watched most all of his movies. The sad part is now I'm loving the side-kick supporting guy, Gong Yoo more now :(

For those who have never seen the movie, watch the trailer below

Monday, June 15, 2009

Kdrama - Iljimae (2008)

Synopsis - DAddicts
Photos - DAddicts & Sevenses

Set during the Joseon Dynasty, Yong acted as a hooligan in the marketplace by day but at night he was a thief who robbed corrupted government officials to give to the poor. After each robbery he left behind a painting depicting a plum tree branch to make his mark and was thus named Iljimae. His main purpose was not so much to rob but to search for the owner of a specially designed sword which he saw as a child was used to kill his father, a loyal subject of the emperor. Eun Chae is a government official's daughter who despite her upbringing has a lot of empathy towards the poor. She met Iljimae by chance and couldn't help admiring him for what he stood for even though she had never seen his face.

Since I am a Lee Jun Ki fan, I've been waiting for this drama to be released. Besides that reason, the synopsis is very interesting. The trailers to the drama had martial arts. This looks like a case of a Korean Robin Hood on the lose!
Lee Jun Ki is one of the Korean actors who I will watch almost anything in. Honestly, when I first saw him in My Girl, I was not impress with his looks. With his femine looks, I was turned off. However, his character and acting made up for that. Then when I saw him in Time Between Dog and Wolf, I was so in love with him. He's just toooooo adorable!!! Just like in Time Between Dog and Wolf, he was just as charming. I was very excited to see Lee Jun Ki as Iljimae. Lee Jun Ki's character goes through different name changes throughout the drama. Not only is he the masked Iljimae, he grew up with the name, Kyum , and later is known as Yong.
I've never seen anything with Park Shi Ho so I was curious to see him. I find him good looking and having a nice body. His character is very intense, which makes me fall for him. He goes through so much and gets confused with who he is. Ironically, his character's name is Shi Ho, just like his real name. Growing up as a beggar then realizing he has noble bloodline, never once did he have it easy.
Han Hyo Joo plays the beautiful Eun Chan. With such a kind heart, who wouldn't fall in love with her? Even though she is born into a rich noble family, she never lets that overshadow who she is. Since childhood, she has loved Kyum and believes he is dead. Her half "brother" Shi Hoo secretly is in love with her. She does show sympathy towards him since he was raised as a beggar. Fasinated by Iljimae, she starts to fall for him.
Lee Young Ah plays Bong Soon. As a child, she has been traumatize with everyone in her family being killed. By chance, she meets Hyum twice when they were younger. However, they got separated. When meeting each other again 13 years later, Hyum is now Yong. Yong and Bong Soon have a love/hate relationship. The cute, sassy, loud-mouth Bong Soon is witty and manipulative. Later she learns who Yong is and falls for him.

Watching the first episode and 15 minutes into it, I saw Iljimae and then him unmasking himself and Lee Jun Ki! Yah, I was so excited. Then there are flashbacks of his character as a child. So now I will get to see how he became Iljimae.

Towards the end of the second episode, you get to see Lee Jun Ki again. I waited and waited and waited....when is he going to be Iljimae? When is it going to happen?

Disappointing....I have no problem with the script introducing his life before he decided to be Iljimae. My problem is how long it took to show him as Iljimae.

Come on, this drama has 20 episodes!! You wait until halfway to finally show this? There were so many lose and unnecessary pot holes in the story. To make it worse, the dvds I have had awful, very awful English subs! My kids and I were watching them and they were so confuse with what was going on!!!

Honestly, I am tired of the "sibling" love. Creepy to me. Half siblings having feelings for each other. Even if they're not related, they've grown up in the same household and/or same parents and having those feelings. I think I'm going to pass on Kdramas for now. Still love Kmovies though. In conclusion, yes, Iljimae is very disappointing. Sad cause it looked promising but didn't follow through.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Kdrama - One Fine Day (2006)

Synopsis - Drama Wiki
Photos - Google

After Seo Haneul (Sung Yu Ri) lost her mother in a fire, she was later adopted by a wealthy family and experienced a life of many twists and turns. Seo Gun's (Gong Yoo) father had married an unwed mother, thus making Seo Haneul his sister in the eyes of the law. After their parents passed away, Seo Haneul was adopted by a wealthy chairman of a large organization who has also became a gangster. Upon using Haneul to extort money, Seo Gun and Haneul slowly fall in love with each other.

Wait a minute? Why did I watch One Fine Day? The next Kdrama I suppose to be watching was going to be Iljimae. Instead I chose to watch One Fine Day. Gong Yoo. That's the main reason. Since he's currently serving in the military right now, I was missing him for some reason. Plus I found him looking extra yummy from the movie stillls and YouTube links I saw before.

When watching the first episode, I was hooked. I couldn't wait to find out what was going to happen next. However, I was let down with the middle episodes. Overall, the drama is worth watching. But -- a huuuuuge big but!!!! -- storylines of love triangles and "sibling" love are so overplayed in Kdramas. That's what made me say NO to watching them in the first place. Slowly but surely, my friends tried to get me to watch Kdramas. I need more Kdramas that is similar to A Time Between Dog and Wolf and My Name is Kim Sam Soon. Iljimae definitely fits that description. Instead I was too focused on Yoo Gun's good looks and overlooked it. Another drama that has been recommended to me is Green Rose.

Another problem I have with Kdramas is with so many episodes, there is some level of suspense built in. However, in the last episode -- it's alwayas the LAST episode -- I feel it's rushed. You'll see so many months or days that have passed, you see nothing. Then all of a sudden, that person is waiting for the other person all those years with NO contact.

Sung Yu Ri has natural beauty and is adorable. Her character highlights that and emphasizes her obedience and love for being adopted. She yearns for her real brother to find her as he promised. I have never seen her in any other movies or drama and was quite astonished to find out she was part of the once-then girl groupie, F.I.N.K.L -- Lee Hyori rocks!

Lee Yeon Hee is in love with Gong Yoo's character. He has been living with her family since he was a child. She has a heart condition and her heart only belongs to him. Never did I realize that Lee Yeon was the same girl in A Millionaire's First Love. She is too cute and I love her character.

Nam Goong Min plays Sung Yu Ri's boss, also known as "team leader." He is the kind of guy who you want to take home to your parents cause he's very understanding and loving. But for some reason, you just try to love him but you can't.

Yoo Ha Joon plays a creepy character. He is the "brother" of Sung Yu Ri and is obsess with her. Interesting enough, a tidbit - rumor that they are/or were actually a couple in real life.

Maybe I'm impatient and that's why I prefer movies over dramas anyday! For me, Korean movies are the best in the Asian industry. Nevertheless, One Fine Day is worth watching for the Gong Yoo's acting, hot bod, and loveable character. Everyone acts very natural in the drama. Just like friends and family members, as much as they will annoy you, you will still love them no matter what. That's how I felt with every character in the drama.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Kmovie - My Mighty Princess (2008)

Synopis & Photos - Asianmedia

Kang So-hwi, a beautiful martial arts prodigy, is about to embark on a journey into adulthood. But her journey is like no other. Her super-human strength and martial arts prowess scares away her fellow undergrads and even the boy she has fallen for. Devastated, So-hwi decides to give up martial arts and takes a different path. Her father, a martial artist himself, is afraid of losing an heiress to the family’s martial artistry, and missions So-hwi’s old buddy Ilyoung to persuade her to stay in the field. Meanwhile, the evil Heuk-bong provokes a war to conquer the martial arts world with the legendary Fine Blade he stole in the past, killing every swordsman one after another. So-hwi’s father comes to a showdown with Heuk-bong, but the battle leaves him fatally injured. On the brink of her father’s death, So-hwi picks up a sword again with a burning desire for revenge.

I have to admit. I wanted to see this movie because of the hottie - Yoo Gun (which can be spelled in so many ways!! I've seen U Gun & Yu Geon too) Although I've only seen him in photos, I wanted to see him act. Yes, he's that hot. My taste in men are definitely "different," lol. What I mean is most metrosexual-looking guys just don't do it for me. That's why it's so hard for me to find a lot of Asian guys, "hot" only by pictures. Most of them, I fall for when I watch them in movies. Yes, I know. It's funny since I'm Asian myself and so is my husband. However, Asian is such a broad term since there are so many Asian countries. But most people think of Asian cinema just for Hong Kong, Japanease, or Korean movies.

My Mighty Princess was long in the making. It took two years for it to finally be released. I'm not sure of the delay because honestly, I'm not that familar with Asian cinema. Most online sites that I try to get updated information on is not shown in English. Therefore, I rely on a lot of fan sites that provides translations. The cinema that I'm most familar with is Indian cinema, which I put so much effort blogging about it with screen caps. I grew up watching Indian cinema, mostly Bollywood. Even though I grew up with some Hong Kong films, such as the Shaw Brothers, it was Bollywood that won me over. Several years ago, I got into Korean cinema.

Sin Min Ah is just too adorable!! She reminds me a little bit of the famous Hong Kong actress, Vicki Zhao, in some angles. Already saw her in Madeleine and adore her. Her character in the movie just wants to live a normal life. She falls in love but her father wants her to continue her martial arts. Not only is she skilled and talented, she is very strong and can only stop the evil villian from destroying what her father and his friends have.

On Joo Wan. I swear you look like the famous Kpop singer and actor, Bi aka Rain. Looking forward to watching more movies of you cause you are just too cute. His character was a goofy, kind-hearted, sweet, caring guy who knew maritial arts -- I have a soft spot for guys who can kick ass. He played the childhood friend who grew up with Sin Min Ah's character. But they have not seen each other in many years. He accepted her father's propsoal to get her back into martial arts.

Yoo Gun is one of the hottest Korean actors ever to me. He is the college hockey player and the love interest of Sin Min Ah. She follows him everywhere like a puppy dog. But his heart is for an older police woman. When I saw that, I just wanted to say, "hey, I'm older than you, follow me!!!" He appeared more in the beginning of the movie playing hockey, chasing the older woman, and riding his motorcycle, but towards the end, he wasn't shown much. Next time, I want more Yoo Gun.

My kids and I watched My Mighty Princess last night and absolutely adored it. Now, I'm not going to lie and say that it is the best movie or whatso. It is very entertaining. I will watch it again for the many comedic parts. Storyline is interesting and kept us glued to the screen. We love martial arts. The only downfall is the ending.

OST is awesome!! My favorite song is "Unfade" by Baechigi f/ AG. The rest of the OST is the following:

"Because I'm a Man" - MC Mong
"Earth, Wind, Tears" - Tree Bicycle
"Past Luv" - 45 RPM
"Unfade" - Baechigi f/ AG

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Kmovie - My Father (2007)

Synopsis - Wiki
Photos - Wiki & Google

The movie, which is based on a true story, is about an adopted son who is searching for his biological parents in South Korea. During his search he meets his real father, a condemned murderer on death row. Daniel Henney plays the lead role of James, who works as a volunteer in the United States armed forces in Korea. He asks questions of why his father is on death row and finds out things that he always wanted to know. Then he finds more and more truths unravel about his father and his life.

The release of the movie inspired controversy because the family of the father's victims did not support its production. In its first week on release it topped the South Korean box office sales charts

Most movies that are inspired or based on true stories are usually good. No difference with My Father. Just hearing about the story sparked my interest in the movie. If I liked the movie, then I would do more research about it as well.

Daniel Henney is one good looking guy. He is so hot and I was happy to see him in a Hollywood movie, Wolverine, even though it wasn't a lead role. Although I have seen him in My Name is Kim Sam Soon and Seducing Mr Perfect, I'm not a fan of his acting. No matter how good looking an actor is, I will not give him full props just cause I think he's hot.

In My Father, Daniel has improved his acting. Some may argue that it wasn't a hard role to play. Regardless, I was happy to see him do more acting. Not being able to speak Korean does hurt him a bit, but how can he complain when he's still getting offers? He's hot, that's it.

Kim Yeong-cheol is the one who steals the show. He was great and remembered him in A Bittersweet Life.

Definitely worth a watch! Now, you may not enjoy it as much as me. It's because I love movies with realistic aspects. Not just sappy love stories or romantic comedies.

Kmovie - Heartbreak Library (2008)

Synopsis & Photos - Hancinema

Eun-soo, a librarian watches for book vandalism that currently happens in the library. One day, she catches Jun-oh tearing off certain page of books. Eun-soo accuses him of vandalism but soon discovers the complex story behind his actions. Jun-oh’s girlfriend suddenly leaves him with only a mysterious note. “Look up page 198”. Jun-oh’s girlfriend was a bibliophile and she checked out books regularly at the library. Jun-oh goes to the library and tears out page 198 from every book he comes in touch. As Eun-soo has just broken up, she gives him an advice saying that he has to let her go if she really meant it. However, looking at Jun-oh torn apart by his love, Eun-soo starts to help him decipher the messages on page 198 of all the books.

Originally, I remember this film being titled Page 198 of that Man’s Book. However, of course, most Korean film and/or drama title have literal meanings and different titles if releasing in the USA or so. Being the LDW (Lee Dong Wook) fan that I am, I was unable to wait for this movie. For me, it is hard to find legit DVDs with English subtitles of Asian cinema where I live. Who ever thought that would be a problem in Atlanta? There are lots of Asian shops but most do not rent out movies and/or have DVDs with English subtitles. There goes my luck. Fortunately, I have a few friends who sends me Asian movies when they can. Thank you!

Usually I don't let over-excitement for a movie disappoint me. I just go with the flow. However, that's not the case with Heartbreak Library. Overall, it was a very very very slow movie and was very disappointing. Nothing to do with any acting, just the storyline.

LDW is my favorite Korean actor. He is hot and can act. But I felt he was underused in the movie. It really didn't matter who played Jun-oh because even a newbie could have done the role. Okay, maybe that was a bit harsh since his crying scenes is definitely put me to tears. Other than that, he and Eugene look amazing together.

Eugene is so naturally beautiful. Although I like her as a singer, I've never seen her act. Loved her character. Sassy yet loveable. Looking forward to seeing more of her in the future.

In all, even though LDW and Eugene look good together on screen. There was not enough chemistry with the two. I didn't see much of a "love" story with them. The movie actually was rushed to show what kind of person Jun-oh is/was. Once you learn that, you want to see what is going on with him, Eun-soo wanting to help him out because he's not the bad guy she thought he was. You never got to see Jun-oh and Eun-soo as a couple. Next time, could I please get more of LDW and Eugene in a romantic movie together? Thanks.