Archive for August 2009

The CUTE in Buzzer Beat: Ep 6

August 21, 2009

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I’m really liking Buzzer Beat. It’s just such relaxed lighthearted fluff. The acting is decent, it’s realistic and has some funny conversations. It’s just the thing to watch on a rainy day, or when it’s too hot to go outside. This Tuesday’s ep was especially nice, with a LOT of cuteness. Though we saw little Yamapi camwhoring this time(a phrase I picked up at crunchyroll), unless you’re a foot fetishist. This is by no means a recap. Just the things in this ep that stuck with me.

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Episode 6 starts out cute, with our meant-to-be couple continuing their hug and even with Riko falling on top of Naoki (Ooh ah Johnny boy in such a provocative pose, is that even allowed?). She’s really proactive eh? Something we’ll see later on as well. Good for her! If you give Naoki the controls I doubt anything will ever happen, being as passive as he is. I don’t dislike him though, he is kind (something he hates), but he isn’t weak. He’s not the type to fight with people, but to hear them out and really listen. In fact, all the characters in the show feel realistic to me (except that most of them are too attractive). The relationships and conversations as well and that’s what’s drawing me in.

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I have this feeling Naoki might be going back to Natsuki in the next few eps (or consider it), but I’m not sure. At least I feel Natsuki is going to work hard to get him back. I like how Natsuki is presented in the drama. It doesn’t hurt that Saki is especially pretty in this drama. She’s a bad girl and has done some wrong things, but now she has come to appreciate what she had. Having a bad boy as a boyfriend wasn’t all what she had expected it to be. Being ordered around by him and having to touch his clammy hair..yuck. I feel a dumpfest coming up. Watching her game by herself was sort of sad. You can say she deserved it, but it doesn’t mean it’s not hard on her. And it’s sad. Somehow I think she might end up with Utsunomiya, since he seems to like her, even if he says he’s over it. And he’s a nice guy like Naoki and maybe a bit more proactive, so it could work out, right?

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Meanwhile Kawasaki coach just can’t seem to let go of Riko and threads into clingy waters with his “I believe you Naoki” speech. For me, his affection for Riko went a bit fast, making it a bit hard for me to understand why a ladies man got so infatuated with a girl that didn’t even show that much interest..wait that might just be it. He’s so used to girls fawning over him, this distant “playing hard to get” kind of girl draws him immediatly. Still, when he introduces her to his parents it’s just too much. She just dumped you man, have some self respect. Besides, the only person who can make Riko happy is Riko herself. It’s not something you can make happen if she doesn’t love you. So just let her go. But ok, this is a drama.. I guess he’s not going to let go anytime soon.

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Shuuji and Mai are cuteness in a small package. They fit so well together, but don’t realize it. I love their dynamic, since Mai is obviously the dominant one and he seems like the type that doesn’t mind to be pussywhipped. So I think they could work out fine. I can totally imagine them 40 years later with Mai nagging at him to take out the garbage while he says “yes dear.” Mai is an awesome character anyway, I like everything about her except for the bun, but maybe it’ll grow on me.. or float away like the balloon it’s reminding me of.

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Mai and Riko are too funny when they are together, I really liked their relationship/boys conversation. In a lot of drama’s it’s usually that the friend is just a prop, one to give advice to the lead in times of trouble. But here Mai has her own life, own relationship issues and she can also talk about it with Riko. It’s not just a one way relationship of one friend always heaping shit onto the other or having to listen to all their troubles. You know they have each others back and that’s cool.

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Back to Riko and Naoki. I love their interactions. They encourage each other, laugh together and look good together as well. Though I feel they lack some primal/sexual attraction towards each other, their chemistry while interacting is pretty good. The last scene in the courtyard is really nice, with the random conversation about new skin and then the confession. Yeah Yamapi, why go back to being friends? You’re perfect for each other. Ok, so there’s the coach and the fact that you’ve just broken up with your girlfriend. You can still try to make things work out. Don’t give up now! Errr, well since we’ve still got enough eps to go, and a few conflicts to be resolved before that, just sit back and relax.

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The Evil Army

August 20, 2009

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What’s the use of radio braodcasting Gong Yoo-sshi? We can’t see you!
(credit: dramabeans?)

Boooh!!! Boo to the stupid military service in Korea taking all our smexy men. If waiting for Gong Yoo hasn’t been enough, now Lee Dong Wook is also taken from us. Our Wookie gone for two yrs. People like that shouldn’t be kept from the entertainment industry for so long. As stated by dramabeans, he will be enlisting on August 24th. Bring on the tissues.

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Cut my beautiful hair? I’d rather die!
(credit:KBS2/soompi)

And what about Jae Hee, Eric, Kim Rae Won, Lee Dong Gun (okay I don’t think he’s gone yet..but he will be soon), Lee Jin Wook, Jo In Sung etc etc etc.. It’s just not fair. As much as I love the young generation, doing 2 years without the late 20s/early 30s generation breaks my heart. And worse of all, the hair..the beautiful hair!

I’m not totally sure what the army service is actually good for for the stars, most of them end up in the entertainment division anyway. Well on the upside, it will be great for their muscle tone. Not that many of them need that -_-

Reasons to watch Swallow the Sun

August 17, 2009

I’ve only started watching Swallow the sun a few days ago, but I’ve found myself quite hooked. The reasons?

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(credit: SBS/Soompi)

The beginning: It all starts out flashy, showing us the nighttime scenery of Las Vegas and then to a wild car and helicopter chase in Africa. Wow! You just know they’ve brought out the big guns for this production, literaly and figuratively. But before you know it, you move back to the past, to see how all of this began. We get to see the starcrossed love between abalone diver Mi Yeon and the fugitive criminal Il Hwan. In my opinion, after seeing 11 episodes, the actors playing Mi Yeon and Il Hwan are some of the best on the show. The way they looked after IH was hauled back to the mainland was heartbreaking. It’s then that you know: Love was there.

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Visuals: This show really handles the scenery well, making the most of every location, be it the Las Vegas nightlife, or South African wildlife. Action scenes are pretty well shot, with an awesome car chase in the Nevada desert. I also like the Cirque du Soleil scenes, it makes me want to buy tickets and go see it sometimes.

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Storyline: It’s a good Kdrama storyline with all the necessary ingredients. Sure, it may be a bit predictable at time and plot holes are bound to show up, but mostly the story is interesting and fast paced. It hasn’t been boring yet.

Jung Woo: The first time I saw Ji Sung in a drama was Save the Last Dance for me (which I saw only recently). I wasn’t blown away there, but here he is kinda awesome. Maybe he’s too nice for the part, but that is also part of the charm. His cuteness (especially around Soo Hyun) makes him more likable. And his coolness becomes apparent in his fighting and snipe shooter scenes. Whoa! I would like to see some more emotional scenes though, but I’m sure those will come when he finds out all the secrets. Nothing like an identity crisis to bring out all the tears and anger. Can’t wait!

STS F4 (as displayed in the first pic): Yeah, an overused term, but when I saw somebody use it on viikii it was sort of appropriate. The 4 mercs together are awesome and funny. Hopefully none of them will die…

Women: It’s nice to see a few ambitious and smart women. The main female lead, Soo Hyun, played by Sung Yu Ri is sweet, but no angel. She’s smart, has goals and I think she could even be plotting revenge in the future. She’s not dense about people’s intentions and knows fully well what she is doing. One can only admire that. And until now I haven’t seen any particularly clingy women in the show, which makes me happy. Even Mi Ran, whom I figured would be Tae Hyuk’s clingy ex, seems to be more business orientated than love orientated. In fact, the only clingy one I’ve seen so far is Tae Hyuk (played by Lee Wan) when it comes to Soo Hyun. Moreover, we see some women who are more in touch with their sexual sides, without coming off as total skanks (in my opinion that is).

Music: The music is nice and dramatic and fit the mood of the drama most of the time. I really like the instrumental songs. Even if the songs 운명 and 목수리 by TRAX + Air are a bit overused, I still play them on my Itunes. They’re quite catchy!

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Reasons to not watch the drama

Acting performances: While most are acting decently, some are not. For an example, I can’t say I really dig the part of Jang Min Ho. I don’t really feel his cruel and vicious part, even when he throws things around. Tae Hyuk feels kind of bland to me, while he started out sexy enough. And though I love Sung Yu Ri, her acting hasn’t made any lasting impression on me yet, but I still have good hopes. The scene in Hong Gil Dong where she finds out the truth about her parents was an awesome performance on her part, so I’m hoping she will show similar emotions here. For now, she’s nice playing a cutesy but ambitious woman, but not yet memorable. The worst acting comes from the western actors. I really cringed at some scenes, for example, those with SH’s fat boss Jenny. The way she reacted after SH told her off..OMG! Or the eye bulging scene where SH caught her brest friend in bed with a man. Stupidest thing ever.

The “English”: You know you’re in trouble when you can’t understand a word they’re saying when you are supposed to actually be able to understand them. Sung Yu Ri may have the excuse of having a short tongue, but it doesn’t make her English scenes less cringeworthy. Same goes for Jackson’s (Yoo Oh Sung) lines. It’s not just flat, it’s inaudible, laughable, unprofessional. It tells me Korean schools need to improve on their English classes. I remember how my school teacher tried to hammer in the proper pronounciation (the British pronounciation, not American) at my Dutch school. I should be grateful of the proper education I’ve been given, really.. Ok, off-topic.

Since we’re only half way into the story, I shouldn’t say too much. Hopefully the story keeps its fast pacing and weaves in some nice twists. I really wonder what will happen after the Africa arc.

The latest eps are subbed on http://viikii.net

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(credit: SBS/Soompi)

The Kdrama Recipe!!

August 16, 2009

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(credit: sbs/soompi)

Here’s my recipe for the ultimate Kdrama:

1. 1 Love triangle or quartet
2. 1 Litre of tears
3. 1 Slighty stupid, naïve, poor and plain heroine
4. 1 Cold chaebol
5. 1 Clingy wannabe girlfriend
6. 1 Cheeky best friend
7. 1 Picture perfect guy
8. 1 Crazy omoni
9. 1 Snob omoni
10. 2 Short ahjusshi’s
11. 3 Loud ahjumma’s
12. 40 slaps
13. 3 Bloody Lips
14. 2 U-turns
15. 5 Minutes of excruciating English or French
16. 100 Bottles of Soju
17. 3 Kilo of kimchi
18. 1 Noraebang
19. 4 Blind dates
20. 2 Make-overs
21. 55 Pieces of kimbab
22. A pair of slippers for every character
23. A pan of pig intestines
24. Tent bar
25. 40 Packets of instant ramyeon
26. 2 Birth secrets
27. Terminal disease

Any suggestions to add to the recipe?

Partner: The End? [spoilers]

August 15, 2009

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The finale of KBS2’s Partner was divided into 2 parts, where our protagonist Tae Jo was on trial for the murder of his old friend Woo Shik. I actually liked the last case, even though I’d rather had Eun Ho and Tae Jo working together instead of one defending the other. Still, I feel this ending was rather lacking something.. Proper closure maybe?

And I don’t mean closure in the form of a kiss. Even though I like on-screen kisses,those displayed in Kdrama are usually flat and awkward. That is, unless it’s a player kissing a skanky girl, then they pump up the passion. But if it’s between the leads, it’s like they’re still in elementary school: Afraid they’ll catch each others cooties, but doing it anyway.. Ok not the point here. I really liked how they ran off holding hands. It was cute.

What peeved me was the way the case ended so abruptly and how they brought on the revelation. I don’t know, I was expecting something jawdropping, like some intricate plan by Tae Jo and grandpa to expose them through the murder trial, but it was all so very simple. I guess I was expecting too much from a drama where most of the cases were won by lack of evidence, an awkward confession by the culprit or by a very roundabout scheme from Hae Yoon. So at the end I was like: this was it? Somehow, I feel cheated.

The wrap up of everything was so quick it was over before I would say: WTF? What happens to Jae Dong and his illness? Where is attorney Han going? What will happen to Tae Jo’s hyung? Will Hae Yoon and Jin Sung ever get what they deserve? Will Soon Yi and attorney Yoon get together? I don’t dislike open endings, but here there were just too many things left unfinished for me to feel truly fulfilled. Here, I think one extra ep, or at least ten more minutes wouldn’t have been a bad option. Cos now I have this feeling of, what happens now? Knowing there probably won’t be a 2nd season.. Hmmm..

And knowing this will probably be Lee Dong Wook’s last project (apart from the movie Bean Paste I guess) before his military service, makes me even more depressed.

Story of a Man – Likes and dislikes

August 14, 2009

Story of a man is definitely one of the better Kdramas this year. That’s why I’ve decided to make a short list of the pros and cons of this intriguing drama.

Pros:
Characters – This drama holds a list of great characters, ranging from angelic to demonic. In the beginning my definite fave was Chae Do Woo, the show’s resident psychopath. The hand movements, the way he talked.. whoa. Too cool for school. Kim Kang Woo is now definitely one of my favorite actors. However, at around ep 13 or so I went over to the Kim Shin side.. Cool, funny, brave. What can one want more in a man? He really doesn’t deserve the suckfest of a life he has, but well..it’s only fiction, right? Kyung Tae was another awesome character. Park Ki Woong was really great playing somebody with autism. Furthermore, I loved his clothing style and headphones. In fact, I actually bought the white with gold one from WESC. Fangirl much? Also, I liked the females. None of them were the stereotyped damsel in distress and were more self-asserted than one usually sees in Kdramas. Even though Kyung Ah went down the wrong path, her strength was admirable. All characters were cool in their own way and I never became frustrated watching any of them.

Storyline – All the interactions between the good guys (especially between Shin and Jae Myung) were so much fun that even though it’s a pretty depressing story, it never felt too heavy. There is a bright side to everything, like friendship and new love. The financial plots were okay as well. Not too difficult nor too simplified. As most of the watchers are probably laymen when it comes to economics, business and politics, you can’t make things too complicated, but when they oversimplify it (like in some other shows I’ve been watching recently) it feels insulting. Though there might have been plotholes, I wasn’t bothered by anything in the story (except the DID part, see below). The story was interesting, funny and sad and really gave me a lot to think about.

Mental Issues/Taboos – As a clinical psychology student I was glad to see the involvement of mental disorders in a few of the characters as psychopathy, autism, dementia. Usually we don’t get to see much of people’s mental issues in drama’s, so it’s nice we get to see some examples here. After all, a lot of people in societies all over the world are struggling with a mental disorder. Another thing (though not a disorder, don’t get me wrong) is the hinted homosexuality of K. It’s definitely time to have more gay characters in dramaland (and not just in movies), after all they exist in society, they have a right to be represented in a realistic manner (so I don’t mean a one dimensional stereotypical image) and it’s nothing to be ashamed of.

Music – This drama has an awesome OST, and it it’s used well in the drama. The song of JK Kim Dong Wook – 이별은 거꾸로 흐른다 is my favorite, yeah I’m a sucker for dramatic songs. The song that I loved most however was played in ep 17, when Eun Soo and Do Woo were dining. Being a fan of opera it didn’t take me that long to figure out that this was a new rendition of Sull’aria from Nozze di Figaro and I have to say…wow. If anyone knows who made this version, please let me know.


Here’s the song in question.

Dunny T-shirts – okay this is a little dumb, but I love Kyung-Tae’s dunny t-shirts. I’m actually a sporadic collector of designer toys and have some dunnies at home, so I was like ‘cool!’when I saw the shirt (and want one for myself).

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Cons:
The multiple personality card – Please, haven’t you people seen Primal Fear? Pleading insanity with that diagnosis is highly questionable. Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) has been difficult enough to prove already, but we don’t even get to see signs of different personalities in Do Woo before ep 20. So boo to the psychological assessors and Korean justice system for believing him so easily. I mean, with some practice I could also invent a few identities. Pffshh..

Romance – For a drama that was supposed to be an action and romance drama, it was severely lacking in romance. Not that it made me dislike the drama in any way, but I was just disappointed Kim Shin’s and Eun Soo’s budding relationship had to end in such a manner. Even if it was the only way to stop all the madness.
I was happy to see all the little hints of ahjumma/sister-in-law(hyung-soo) and mafia lackey Jung Ho though. It was nice that they were (sorta) together in the end.

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All in all, it was a very good drama and it’s a shame it took me so long to finish it, but well..

Buzzer Beat

August 13, 2009

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(The cute hug scene)

I get why some people would call it dull, since it’s really just a slice-of-life story. But still I think it’s fun. It makes me think of what my life could be like if I were Japanese, pretty, talented and had a love interest like Yamapi.

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Speaking of Yamapi, it was really nice to see him crying this ep. It could just be those charcoal black eyes of him with the lightbrown hair, but somehow his facial expressions are usually set at the neutral default. Don’t get me wrong, I like him (I even bought a yamapi mobile hanger and poster when I was in Japan), but sometimes I miss passion in his acting (most obvious in the lame-ass kiss he did with Saki in ep 2 (?)). Ok that may be because of the whole JE thing, I don’t know. But really, what is wrong with some passionate smooching? The JE boys are not planning on being monks right? Honestly, they are sex symbols right? I’ve seen his naked torso numerous times now in the drama, so gimme some kiss action!

Ahem.. Naoki and Riko will probably end up together (without her developing a hearing condition and heading off for another counrty to have surgery and get engaged to another guy..*Orange Days flashback ensues*) and I hope the same will happen for Mai and Shuuji. They are cute! My only peeve is her hair though. Can somebody just pull it out of that bun? Please?

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