The Queen of Asian Drama is Back with more Irreverent Reviews and Snarky Commentary.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

싱글파파는 열애중 / Single Papa in Love

This was the first Korean drama that I've watched in awhile.

Since AZN went off the air back in April, I've watched nothing but Japanese dramas online, along with a few Korean & Japanese movies. Korean dramas tend to run on, and the average has about 20 episodes to get through. When you have to record something on television, you're limited to an hour a day. When you can watch all, 20 episodes in one sitting ...

I tried that with Tropical Nights in December, and though it was a great drama, it took me nearly three days to watch from beginning to end, and I felt emotionally and physically drained afterward. Discipline is the key, and I fail every time.

Anyway, Single Papa in Love stars Oh Ji-ho as Kang Pung-ho.
He's gorgeous.
And though I've collected his images for years now, SPIL was the very first Korean drama that I saw him act in!
I always worry that my hot guys are going to disappoint or embarrass me with their awful acting (case in point ~ Daniel Henney).
Oh Ji-ho is great, and I'm interested in seeing more of what he's done now.

SPIL is about a young man, Kang Pung-ho (Oh Ji-ho) that gets his college sweetheart Yoon So-yi (Kang Sung-yun) pregnant, and she turns out to be a snob with lofty dreams who abandons him & their infant son to pursue her career as a concert pianist.
As luck (and Korean dramas) goes, Kang meets a girl, Jeon Ha-ri (Heo Yi-jae), who is already dating another guy, and she's also the daughter of the fiancée of Kang Pun-ho's ex-wife, Yoon So-yi.

Pung-ho's son, Kang San (Ahn Do-gyu), could have ruined this for me, but thankfully, he didn't act overly sappy or sweet.
Kang San was actually adorable, and I especially enjoyed the fact that a seven-year-old had to be the mother while his father acted like a little boy. Little Kang-san gets sick, and he ends up in the hospital.
He thinks that his mother is dead, and because his father is attracted to Ha-ri, it becomes inevitable that he runs into his ex, So-yi.
The complications don't end there, and it wasn't until more than 3/4 of the way through this drama that I began to understand and accept Pung-ho's personality.

Noona Ha-ri's original boyfriend, Min Hyun-ki was played by Im Ju-hwan, and he's actually kind a cute!
I liked his character as the take-for-granted boyfriend and doctor-in-training young man that begins to realize his true feelings for Ha-ri AFTER she falls so deeply in love with Pung-ho.
He's very young, and he had a bit-part, but it was obvious (to me) that he took what he did seriously, which showed each time he appeared on screen.

I made fun of this when I critiqued MiSa, and I'll do it again here with SPIL.
Oh Ji-ho is a physically fit, masculine guy. He doesn't belong in Korea the same way that Ito Hideaki doesn't belong in Japan, and Takeshi Kaneshiro doesn't belong in Taiwan.
They are three, distinct gentlemen that would blend in MUCH better alongside a Hollywood beauty than the Asian thirteen-year-old's that are considered to be grown women.

In one scene, Pung-ho asks Ha-ri what she'd like to do for an entire day. He knows that he has to dump her for the sake of his son, so he decides he's going to have one, last fling before he walks away. She tells him what she'd like to do, and this is their first, official date. When he picks her up that weekend, she is wearing a t-shirt with a cartoon-character girl's face on it, puckering up for a kiss. She hands him an identical t-shirt, with a cartoon-character boy that is also puckering up in the opposite direction. The look on Oh's face is PRICELESS, and when he told her that it was STUPID ... I clapped and cheered!

THANK YOU! I don't want to be the only person in the world who thinks that stuff like that is GAY, and I'm tired of the childish, immature antics of Asian folk, too.

Anyway ... nothing in life or about it is ever going to be perfect, let alone make much sense, and at least I'm not alone in thinking that Asian MEN are wasted on clueless, foolish Asian girls.
Then again, it may not be so much the YOUTH of those nations that are to blame. Manga started the craze, and Anime ran with it, so I guess it stands to reason that the directors, writers, and producers of Asian dramas would follow suit in managing to convince an entire generation of hapless souls that the PEDOPHILE look is somehow IN and appealing.

Single Papa in Love was a good drama, and I look forward to watching more of Oh Ji-ho's work!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Umizaru: Evolution

I'm so happy to know that there is a 3rd Umizaru!

Hurricanes occur in America every year, and a majority of the time, those weather systems do not affect us here in the north. This year, all that changed and I think this was the rainiest week on record. With nowhere to go on such a dismal weekend, I stayed home and watched Asian dramas online.

I started with Umizaru (Sea Monkey) which was a movie. It captivated me enough to make me want to watch the sequel, Umizaru: Evolution (an 11 episode drama).
The movie was awesome, and the drama was incredible.

Evolution went in depth with the original movie, and it was SO exciting to watch Ito Hideaki work alongside Toru Nakmura!! Two, hot guys, baring their chests for a majority of the time, and I got to stare at them in awe.

In Evolution, Ito returns as Senzaki Daisuke, the likable good-guy who is older by a few years, but no, less naive or determined to do the right thing at all cost. He lost his 'buddy' in the movie, and then he teams up with Nakamura in Evolution.

Nakamura plays Ikezawa Masaki, an aloof, private guy that seems to have a chip on his shoulder, but it turns out he's actually quite shy and afraid of failure. Nakamura is cool by every definition of the slang term, and Ito is simply amazing to look at, so to see the two of them acting together made me a very, happy woman!

Evolution had the same, seamless storyline as the movie, and the writers gave you enough time to breathe before something else nail-biting occurred, which is always appreciated by someone as naturally anxious as me. There were funny moments, shocking moments, sad moments, and happy moments ~ which makes for the perfect blend imho!

His wife calls him Ma-ku, and he wants to die. So cute!

I plan to watch Umizaru: Limit of Love next, but I already intend to order the movie and Evolution dvds. I think my mom will enjoy this as much as I have, so I'd like to share it with her.

The theme song, Ocean, will probably be in my head for a long time.

This theme song was really pretty ~ and it helped to bring the tears on during the sadder moments.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

My Father - Ma-i Pa-deo - 마이 파더

This is funny:
Premiere Magazine’s 3rd Rising Star Awards recognized the talent of actor Daniel Henney (“My Father”) at a Busan hotel Saturday, at the 12th Pusan International Film Festival (PIFF). The private ceremony was very intimate, with close friends presenting prizes to awardees. Premiere Magazine chooses among works from the past two years, taking into account its artistic merit, popularity, influence, and brand power, as well as input from online polls.
“This is a very special award. It’s for acting, it’s an acting award,” said Daniel Henney, who gave a moving performance as a Korean adoptee in “My Father,” a breakthrough role that showed he’s more than just a pretty face.

So, I guess that finally answers my question about whether or not Ajushi Henney knows that he can't act.

I just watched My Father, and guess what people? Oppa Henney CAN act now! Well, to put it into better context, his acting has IMPROVED with this film.

My Father is based on a true story about a Korean adoptee from the States who joins the Army in order to be stationed in Korea, so that he can search for his birth parents.

I know, I didn't get that part, either ... but it must be possible to request where you are stationed when you join up now?

Anyway, they used more unknown American actors that can't act, so that might be why Oppa Henney shone so brightly in this flick, now that I think about it!

His character (James) goes to Korea, and he befriends a Korean that speaks relatively good English (Konglish actually, as do a majority of the people that interact with James throughout this flick), who also helps him to search for his biological parents. James ends up on a local television show that actually specializes in helping people to find lost loved ones(?)

It's interesting to note here the following about Oppa Henney: Daniel Henney Digs Into Own Life for New Movie. “I will try hard to use my personal experience of living in the U.S. to play James, who has lived his life feeling estranged as an adopted child,” Henney said.

(an aside: Although Henney is a certified heartthrob in Korea and amongst worldwide Korean pop culture fans, he is still a relative newcomer to the entertainment industry, starting only three years ago in 2005. A 6'2" American from Michigan (father is British American, mother is Korean American)

So, what is the need to try and be as American as he can, if that's what he is already?

Back to the movie

A prisoner on death row claims to be his father, and he even has a picture of James as an infant. They get to know one another, but we never, actually find out much about his real mother.

I'm curious to know why Koreans refer to tuberculosis as asthma?

My Father is a good movie, and it's not at ALL like anything I've ever seen from that country, either ... which was a welcome and refreshing change from the sappy, sweet norm. I don't know why, or even how, but Asians have a knack for telling a story unlike anything that Hollywood could ever dream of charging us $20 a head to see. From the very start of a movie or drama, the writers manage to suck you in and keep you riveted for the duration, and I adore this!

I adore aboh Henney, too.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Roger Federer Wins 2008 U.S. Open!

NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 09: Roger Federer the 2008 US Open Tennis Champion poses with his trophy on a viewing deck at the Empire State Building on September 9, 2008 in New York City. (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images for the USTA)

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Warlords (2007)

Tóu Míng Zhuàng

This bloody piece of work stars Andy Lau, Jet Li, and Takeshi Kaneshiro. Leading up to it's premiere, this dark and dismal flick garnered much in the way of anticipatory excitement in Asia and abroad, but I have no idea about what occurred afterward.

It's the story of a soldier who survives a bloody battle, and after he wanders into a filthy and desolate encampment, he manages to encourage the men to follow him into battle against his foe.

Jet Li is that soldier, and he not only cried, but he behaved like a naughty boy when he had sex with & fell in love with Andy Lau's common law wife!!!

Andy's character was the only one that stayed true to form, because Takeshi Kaneshiro's character was even more far-removed than Li's! Li portrayed a bad boy (for a welcome change, and now that he's too old for it to matter anymore), but Tak's character was ... well, he was insane, to put it mildly.

Such a refreshing change, and yet the movie was far, too brutal for me to actually enjoy. I'm sure the writers & directors kept to the script & tried to portray reality as best as they could, but ... ugh. I think I took a hot shower after it was over.

Andy's so cool, Tak is so hot, and Li is ... well, he's someone I don't think I know anymore! And, don't get me wrong, because I think it's great when actors can step outside themselves like this and shock the hell out of their fans! You need to watch the movie in order to understand where my confusion & unenthusiastic review stems from.

It was good, but in a depressing & bone-chilling sort of way that I'm not, too fond of. The acting was superb, and the storyline was quite interesting. It's just that Warlords is probably the exact opposite of Hero, and maybe that's where my depressed emotions lie.

Umizaru (2004)

Sea Monkeys

In the first half of this movie, I was laughing my ass off, and in the last half, I had tears in my eyes.

This line will probably stick with me for awhile, too: "Two tank with 30 bars...40 meters underwater. What do you plan to do?"

This one, too: "I had sex with a sea monkey?"

Um ... I wish I could say that I had!!!

I watched this because it starred Ito Hideaki, whom you all know by now is my FAVORITE Japanese actor. He joins a group of coast guard rookies (14 in all) in the hopes of graduating as a search/rescue member.

So many bared BUTTS in this flick!! Niiiice!

The scenery was beautiful, especially the sunset scenes, and I'll always appreciate the way that Japanese film-makers stick to reality when making movies. It's so, NOT Hollywood, no wonder I'm addicted to these things!!

There is a sequel to Sea Monkeys, (Umizaru II, Evolution), and it stars Ito AND Toru Nakamura!!! Can't wait to watch that one, too!

Besides Ito, there were three, other hot guys in this flick, but I can't find ANY legit information on them OR Umizaru 2004! The mistakes in cyberspace can boggle the mind sometimes.

Umizari was worth watching, so rent it or watch it online, like I did.

He's so Ke Ai!


Monday, September 01, 2008

Can't Live Without Robbery / 도둑맞곤 못살아

This was FUNNY!!!

What a refreshing change to see my love-interest in something besides a dark, dismal drama with a predictable, unhappy ending! He actually smiled a few times, too!

Robbery came out back in 2002, and I'm just now getting around to watching it thanks to Crunchyroll. I still need to see Glass Slipper, Law Firm, We Are Dating Now, Delicious Proposal, and Models.

The movie (also known as Steal it if You Can, The Thief Maker, or Dodookmatgo Motsala) stars So Ji-sub as Choi Kang-jo, a wealthy, playboy business tycoon whose hobby it is to break into people's houses for the thrill, and not to take anything of value.

Park Sang-myun as Ko Sang-tae, the unhappy and clueless husband/father who married a wealthy woman and lives in a fancy house in a deserted area of Seoul that is generally used for military practice. (Dinosaur eggs were discovered on the property, so Ko's dream of an upper-class neighborhood went up in smoke once his home was built).

Song Seon-mi as Mari, his beautiful wife who lacks taste buds, so she can't cook.

Anyway, Robbery is a good flick if you like nonsense and So Ji-sup! He targets the lone mansion outside the big city, and he succeeds in breaking in several times. He tastes Mari's food and chokes, but the unusual flavors of her pig's ear sushi intrigue him, so he sends her an email asking for another sample dish.

Ko Sang-tae meanwhile is determined to catch the burglar, so he enrolls in a Tae Kwon-do class, and that (imho) was the best part of the whole movie. There were scenes in that part that had me rotf to the point where I had to worry about my neighbors next door & below me (I live in an apartment with very, thin walls).

Yes,Asia says that their DVDs are out-of-stock and that they don't make it anymore, which is too bad. I wouldn't mind watching it again, and again on a cold, dreary night in the dead of winter, or when I'm bored, or with my mother, whom I think would enjoy Can't Live!

I said that I would watch anything that stars SO, and I didn't expect to see anything outside the ordinary when I decided to give this flick a try. I'm glad that I watched it, and I'll bet you will be, too.