Trot Lovers: Same Story, Different Tune

I was actually excited for this new drama, mainly because of Jung Eun Ji playing the lead role. Unfortunately, Trot Lovers didn’t live up to my expectations. That’s not to say that it’s bad, just rather ordinary. There was nothing in the first two episodes that captured my attention or impressed me.

In terms of actors, Eun Ji does not disappoint as the feisty female lead. Though it’s a little weird to hear her without the Busan accent. Ji Hyun Woo is perfectly fine as the obnoxious celebrity character. This is my first time seeing him act, but so far he seems okay. Despite what others have said, I did not feel much chemistry between the two leads, though hopefully that will change as they get closer. Shin Sung Rok was a surprising treat in this show. The last time I saw him he was a psycho, smirking villain, so to see him as the slightly spacey character Geun Woo is hilarious. Overall, I have nothing to complain about in terms of the actors’ performances.

The part that irked me was that the story felt like a mesh of all the different kdramas I’ve already seen. It’s a little reminiscent of Dream High, especially when it comes to the music aspects and the family situation. Obviously, both of the female leads work towards becoming singers. The father in both has left after racking up a huge debt, and they’re forced into different circumstances to pay it off. There is also the celebrity character who falls down on hard times and has to accept lesser work, à la You Who Came from the Stars. Then of course there is the horribly overused cliché in kdramaland, the poor girl/rich manboy couple. I’m sure you could find comparisons with half of the music dramas out there, too.

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Kdrama Review: Witch’s Romance (2014)

Title: Witch’s Romance
Episodes: 16
Duration: 60 min.
Aired: Apr 14, 2014 to Jun 10, 2014
Cast: Uhm Jung Hwa, Park Seo Joon, Han Jae Suk
Genre: Comedy, Romance

The Synopsis: Ban Ji Yeon is a single 39 year-old woman. She works as a reporter and is very enthusiastic about her work. So much so that she is often called a “witch” at work. She doesn’t believe in true love, because of her past experience when her boyfriend disappeared prior to their wedding. Yoon Dong Ha is 25 year-old young man who runs a small errand center with his friend. He looks like a happy guy, but he lost his girlfriend by an accident. Sparks fly when Ji Yeon and Dong Ha meet, and despite the age difference, they find a lot in common with each other, including their scarred hearts.

The Review: My love for this drama is strong. It is the one of the cutest, sweetest stories I have come across in dramaland. A lot of this has to do with the very strong execution. As I outlined in my previous post, Witch’s Romance relies on a large number of kdrama clichés. It doesn’t get caught up in these rom-com staples, though, and instead uses them as a means to bring these two wonderful characters closer together. Anyway, let’s be honest here, you don’t watch a romantic comedy for a unique, or even realistic, story. The adorable cheesiness of Witch’s Romance is actually one of its main draws. However, it does, thankfully, avoid the usual plethora of misunderstandings and drawn out storylines typical to kdramas.

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High School King of Savvy: Episode 4 Review

HSKoS EP 4 - tense

Four episodes into Savvy and the characters are just as fun, wacky, and heartwarming. Min Suk’s friends find out about his double identity and he bribes them with some company credit card shopping time. Jin Woo gets treated harshly by his father and the tension between him and Min Suk rises. The company freaks out when one of their projects is leaked, leading them to begin an investigation on their own employees. Lastly, Min Suk proves he is loyal to his team and will stand up for what he believes in.

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High School King of Savvy: Episode 3 Review

HSKoS EP 3 -Tired

Min Suk takes on the responsibilities of an ace hockey player and a company Director. He scores goals and dominates presentations. Jin Woo gets his project stolen from him and is showing second-lead style hate towards Min Suk. Meanwhile, the school friends start getting even more suspicious and Soo Young continues to deal with her Jin Woo-induced depression. A solid, funny episode that gives us lots of awkwardness, comedy, and heart.

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Korean Movie Review: The Thieves (2012)

Title: The Thieves
Duration: 2 hr. 19 min
Release Date: Jul 25, 2012
Director: Choi Dong Hoon
Cast: Kim Yoon Suk, Kim Hye Soo, Lee Jung Jae, Jeon Ji Hyun, Kim Hae Sook, Kim Soo Hyun, Yam Simon
Genre: Thriller, Crime

The Synopsis: Popie, Yenicall, Chewingum and Zampano are a team of professional thieves in South Korea. After they score a valuable antique vase, they hear from Macao Park in which he proposes a highly lucrative new job in Macau. In Hong Kong, a separate crew waits for the Korean thieves. When the Hong Kong and Korean teams finally meet, tension rises immediately between the two groups. Macao Park then enters the meeting and lays out the plan. Their goal is to steal the “Tear of Sun” diamond. The diamond itself is currently in the possession of ruthless criminal Wei Yong. Furthermore, the diamond is stashed safely in the suite room of a Macau casino & resort. Macao Park also lays another bombshell. He can easily sell the “Tear of Sun” diamond for $20 million dollars. Now the two teams work together in what will surely turn out to be the heist of their lives, but the 10 thieves all have their own agendas.

The Review: I am a huge fan of heist movies, so I was looking forward to watching The Thieves. It’s directed by Choi Dong Hoon and was incredibly successful in South Korea. The film follows a group of Korean thieves that team up with a group from Hong Kong, and together they plan to steal a diamond that’s being held in a casino. It’s a slick and glossy production that spans multiple international locations. They don’t shy away from using different languages which was nice to see. It is a lot like the Oceans movies, but with a slightly darker and grittier tone. It’s highly entertaining, exciting, and action-packed.

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K-Pop Picks: “Good Luck” by BEAST

BEAST is finally back with a music video for their new single, “Good Luck.” I am loving this new release; it is full of incredible vocals, choreography, and visuals. The song itself is more electronic, but with some really nice instrumental sounds. I especially liked the classical music elements in the beginning of the music video and in the song. The chorus part, “Good luck, baby, Good luck to you,” is catchy, and I love the peace-out dance move that accompanies it. It’s a visually appealing music video, with dark, underground sets contrasted with colorful stages full of neon signs and flashing lights. While their last release, “Shadow,” was good, it didn’t impress me. “Good Luck” is everything that I love about BEAST: powerful vocals, challenging choreography, and a stellar single.


Thoughts and Obsessions: Doctor Stranger & You’re All Surrounded Improve + Rookies Take Over My Life

First off, it’s been a particularly good week in Korean drama. I am extremely pleased with the new direction Doctor Stranger is going in. Hoon has finally gotten rid of his god-awful perm and is starting to see the faults in Jae Hee (his blind faith was really starting to irritate me). The brewing bromance between him and Jae Joon is also a very welcome addition, even if it’s already heading towards troubled waters. Jae Joon himself has lost much of his angst and instead is starting to show us his compassionate, caring side. I’m still rooting for Soo Hyun and Hoon, even though it’s looking like they won’t be endgame.

Overall it’s become a lot more character-based, with less of the confusing political agendas. Thankfully they seem to have learned from the viewer reactions. They have finally started revealing the Prime Minister’s grand plan, and the motivations behind the characters’ decisions are starting to make sense. I was about to give up on this drama, but the last few episodes have brought me back in. Unfortunately, they have restarted the highly unethical hospital competitions. Oh well, you can’t have everything.

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