[Korean Film Review] Chilling Romance, 오싹한 연애 (2011)

Our ghoul was a little more sinister than depicted here.

***contains spoilers***

Direction and screenplay by : Hwang In-ho
Main Cast: Son Ye-jin, Lee Min-ki, Park Cheol-min, Kim Hyeon-sook

Street magician Ma Jo-gu (Lee Min-ki) happens upon a sullen young woman in the crowd while performing tricks one night. Compelled by her sombre aura he follows her as she walks away, when it appears that she has some supernatural energy following her. Thinking that he will be able to use her to reinvent his act and make money through an exorcism magic act he employs her. Unbeknownst to him, she is a medium for the dead.

This medium is our protagonist Kang Yeo-ri (Son Ye-jin) who is forced to live a solitary life due to a particular spirit terrorizing her and those in her life.  Yeo-ri’s been forced to live this life since her teenage years after an accident made her heart stop and was given the ability to perceive dead souls after she was revived and so is awkward around her colleagues and refuses to join workplace socials. Jo-gu imposes himself on her and their relationship grows as does his experiences with her ghoulish companions.  Some are benign, seeking her out to solve their murders or save the lives of their loved ones. The ghost terrorizing her, Joo-hee, has a particular relationship with Yeo-ri and is hellbent on driving potential suitors away (a surprise cameo by the attractive Lee Hyun Jin which I very much appreciated). Jo-gu however cannot seem to stay away from Yeo-ri as his attraction to her grows even when continuously confronted by an increasingly menacing Joo-hee.

A romantic-comedy at its core with the compulsory airport confrontation, the horror element offers a fresh premise to the saturated genre. Son Ye Jin and Lee Min Ki bring enough talent and comedic timing to ground this film in reality- as realistic as love budding amongst a haunting can be.  In lesser hands this premise could have been a train wreck. Son brings innocence to Yeo-ri that makes her endearing and Lee shows great comedic timing throughout the film.  There are some genuinely hilarious moments- Jo-gu’s daydream during a coffee date drew big laughs. There are also some frightening and suspenseful scenes reminding us that Chilling Romance is more than just a romance film. The ending credits was hilarious, be sure to watch it. If there’s anything negative to say about the film it is its length. At an hour and 53 minutes, the film seems to reach its climax at an earlier point in the film, only to have the film resolve its issues much later. I’m not sure if it was intentional or the way the film was edited but there was a break in continuity and tone that was unnecessary in the film but managed to produce a laugh.

TtoT Rating: 8.25/10

[BEDA] Blog Every Day In April: Day 15 – Best Live Singer, Female

Bear with me as today’s post is youtube video-heavy with three female singers. Today’s post is another easy one as this singer has blown the competition out of the water in her short time in the Korean pop industry.  That she is Wheesung’s protege pretty much sums it up:

Ailee is a revelation! Honourable mention to my other two favourite singers with immense talent- Younha who is criminally underrated:

And Hyorin who received the attention she deserved after her appearance on Immortal Song 2:

My favourite performance of hers. So beautiful:

[Korean Drama Review] Twelve Men in a Year, 일년에 열두 남자 (2012)

Director: Oh Jong-Rok

Writer: Hwang Jo-Yoon

Network: tvN

Episodes: 16

Main Cast: Yoon Jin Seo, Go Jun Hui, On Joo Wan

**contains spoilers**

Our protagonist Na Mi Roo, writer and editor of a women’s magazine, is forced to take on a sex column  in order to keep her job when the original writer whom she is responsible for goes rogue. Fresh from her breakup from her only boyfriend Cha Jin Oh, Mi Roo uses this new opportunity to meet men and in the process learn about her own sexuality, much to the dismay of Jin Oh. Guided by best friend Park Tanya, Mi Roo dates men according to their zodiac signs in order to write the column each month while keeping her identity a secret for the column under the pseudonym Sophia.

Some serious eye candy in this drama. Was much appreciated.

What started off as a smart and sexy drama veered off into familiar kdrama territory when jealous girlfriends and violent ex-girlfriends were thrown into the mix. When the ex-girlfriend of the Aries man threatens to and nearly assaults Mi Roo in order to keep her away from him, she later claims that she did it in order to protect Mi Roo from the sleazeball’s ways which made no sense and was thrown into the plot to create tension where it wasn’t needed as Mi Roo was already uncomfortable with Aries’ advances and was working her way up to a confrontation with him on her own.

I also had an issue with the way the series ended with the main characters ending up with people they didn’t really care about, with our protagonist ending up with a man who she could not stand in the first half of the last episode. Had they explored this pairing throughout the series, it would have made more sense, but the series focused her feelings for her ex-boyfriend and so seeing that story arc end abruptly in the last episode made no sense. The only thing that seemed to be rooted in any logic in this drama were Jin Oh’s lingering feelings for Mi Roo and his confusion between holding on to a past that may have a future, or a future prospect that involved more than love. On Joo Wan portrays Jin Oh in a way that caused  me to empathize with him, even when he seemed to choose his best interests over the feelings of the women in his life.

Cha Jin Oh (On Joo Wan)

A redeeming factor was the friendship between Mi Roo and Tanya who teach each other to examine their misconceptions about love, romance and sexuality. We see some great moments between the two, as Tanya manages to have Mi Roo’s back, and call shenanigans when needed.

There is nothing like the love from a great friend.

What attracted me to this drama initially besides the premise was that the main actress had a look that was unconventional as producers seem to love the long-haired, doe-eyed look. I did enjoy watching this drama, loved it in the beginning, but with Jin Oh’s new love interest added to the mix it all went downhill from there. Twelve Men in a Year, I lament at the thought of what you could have been.

TtoT Rating: 6 / 10

Writer Hwang Jo Yoon must be a MBLAQ fan boy: two main characters are named after the boys!

[BEDA] Blog Every Day In April: Day 14 – Best Live Singer, Male

Kpop is filled with singers who can do anything but sing but there are a handful who have voices that move the soul. I can think of about eight idols who have amazing voices but since its my blog I am taking this opportunity to write about my ultimate bias (and by ultimate I mean no one comes close to him in my mind, even though in reality there are singers who are technically on par with him):

                                  

Kim Junsu’s voice has the ability to move you to tears with its beautiful tone and  ability to convey emotions. His voice is unique and I just can’t get enough of it:

His voice is akin to a religious experience. Here is a live performance of my favourite DBSK song. This is pretty much perfection right here. Trying not to cry:

Runners up: 4Men’s Shin Yong Jae, 2AM’s Changmin, SHINee’s Jonghyun & Onew, BIGBANG’s Daesung, Super Junior’s Kyuhyun

[BEDA] Blog Every Day In April: Day 13 – Idol Least Likely to Remember the Events of the Night Before

South Korea is known for its drinking culture where copious amounts of soju and other alcoholic beverages are consumed by many and is a important aspect of social life. The same cannot be said about idols as their images are strictly managed in order to present innocence and youth to appeal to the masses.

Enter GD&TOP, the rapping sub-unit of idol group BIGBANG, who are more mature in age and image than the average kpop group. G-Dragon (GD), BIGBANG’s front man, songwriter and producer was involved in a marijuana scandal  last year. A drug test was administered  and the tests came back positive but the idol was not charged for any offence. G-Dragon admitted to smoking marijuana, but claimed that he consumed it accidentally:

(sorry I could not find the video with english subtitles)

Even though I am a fan, I can’t help but think that this story doesn’t pan out. Cigarette smoke and marijuana smell different, and G-Dragon claiming that he couldn’t remember clearly but that a stranger handed it to him and he didn’t want to be rude so he smoked it sounds like a bit of a stretch. Since he claims to have been too drunk to remember clearly there is not much to go on beyond that, but I’m still calling shenanigans.

He did pen the track High High afterall:

He does look like he’d be a lot of fun to party with.

[BEDA] Blog Every Day In April: Day 12 – Idol Most Likely To Be Mistaken For A Mortal

Korean groups are usually comprised of large numbers of idols, usually five and all the way up to thirteen in one group. With so many members vying for attention, it’s easy for some to go unnoticed and be mistaken for a mortal. This is especially the case for today’s idol since he has to share the spotlight with not one but three genetically superior human beings, one of whom easily owns one of the best visages in an industry full of beautiful people (an perhaps one of the best bodies).

While his small stature and unassuming looks may fool most of us, he has proven himself as the talent of B2ST:

Runner up: BIGBANG’s Kang Daesung

[BEDA] Blog Every Day In April: Day 11 – Idol Most Likely To Trip Over Air

Other than a wardrobe malfunction, tripping in front of fans is probably the most embarrassing thing that could happen to a performer. While variety show gold, tripping on stage is generally hard to watch and I always wonder how they manage to go unscathed and continue as if nothing had happened a moment before.

For today’s post two idols (well I’m not sure if one is an idol any more but he is a first-generation idol) take the prize of Idol Most Likely To Trip Over Air. Gravity genuinely has it out for these two since they manage to spend more time on the ground than upright.

This idol’s 선배  has been giving him a run for his money with his new variety program Shinhwa Broadcast, where he cannot seem to make peace with gravity, but Shinee’s Onew is well known for tripping everywhere whether he’s doing it for entertainment purposes or not. He falls so often that it’s been dubbed 온유 상태, or the Onew Condition (the term fans refer to encompasses his overall cuteness, 애교, and general awkwardness):

I’ve got a different kind of 온유 상태:

This first generation idol, my second choice, can’t seem to stop spilling over on his variety show Shinhwa Broadcast. I found Minwoo cute before but he became 1000 times cuter after witnessing what I dub 민우 상태:

  

  

(gifs: kpopcorngifs)

And some more Onew, because it is just too hilarious. This is probably the reason why I am crazy over him (besides his amazing voice):

 

God, I love this man.

(gifs: fareencheolyong)

%d bloggers like this: