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

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

單身男女 / Daan gyun naam yu

Don't Go Breaking My Heart
 


2011 Hong Kong movie that stars Daniel Wu and Louis Koo, who meet the same woman at about the same time.

Louis' character is a big-shot trader working in a glass building as the CEO of an exchange, and she happens to work in another, glass structure that overlooks his office.

She's recently been dumped by a third man (Terrence Yin), and on a crowded tram, she is forced to not only stare at his pregnant fiance, but he insults her in front of the crowd as well as taking his girlfriend's side.

Louis' character happens to pull up alongside the tram in his fancy sports car, and he notices the un-pleasantries taking place aboard the street car, so when she gets off at the earliest stop, he tries to follow but loses her.

Daniel's character is a wastrel drinking in broad daylight on the streets of Hong Kong when he sees the woman walking into traffic, yet even drunk, he manages to save her from getting killed.

Louis' character is a loveable playboy whose true intentions are difficult to gauge, much less trust even if it is your own instinct.

Daniel's character, on the other hand, as loser-type as he seems, is obviously the better man with a heart of gold who is actually an architect, but when he realized his first, great success might not be top-able, he went into a tailspin and lost it all.

After meeting her, though, and when he suggests she take all of her boyfriends things, sell them, and then spend the money before the day ends, she challenges him to do something similar, like go home, sober up, and create the next, great masterpiece.

He takes what she suggests to heart, and a week later, he returns to where they first met, wanting to show off his latest idea - but, she never shows up as promised.

She's become involved with Louis' character, and it isn't until three years later that she meets Daniel's character again.

I can't say any more about this story, but I really enjoyed it, and I'm thankful as EVER that at least Hong Kong and Taiwan are in the mood to make intelligent, MATURE, and provocative type stuff like this.

SO welcome the change from teen-tween-immature angst BS that has glutted the market!

第36個故事 / Di 36 Ge Gu Shi


Taipei Exchange

         


2010 Taiwanese movie about sisters with opposite personalities, and neither of them have their mother's acerbic nature, who decide to open a 'Starbucks' type place.

The elder sister has brains and loves to bake, so she assumes the hot items on the menu will include her pastries and the coffee - making her wealthy.

The younger sister is no-nonsense and carefree, but when it comes to business, she takes things serious and sets out to promote the new cafe, hoping to meet a lot of interesting people.

What starts out as a typical business venture turns into something entirely unique and that has ZERO to do with making a profit, the silence is golden at times, the characters are totally believable, and there is even a little romance thrown in the mix.

I really enjoyed this '...out of the way' and un-ordinary story, and I think you will, too.

Monday, July 18, 2011

ギフト / Gift

GIFT


1997 11-episode, Fuji-TV comedy/thriller of sorts that starred (drumroll please) Kimura Takuya as Yukio/Takehiro - a hot dude with long, sexy hair he wears back in a ponytail while delivering things to clients, and then when the job is done, he removes the band to let the glorious mane fly free ^^;

I couldn't find a decent image of this drama to post here, so I found a pic of him from around that time period (he looks pretty much that way in the show).

At the start, the theme song took me by surprise when I heard Bryan Ferry & Roxy Music doing Tokyo Joe - nice touch!

But, then I began to resent the way, too long intro ten minutes into every episode but the last.
Also had viewing issues with this one at aznv.tv, which forced me to risk a computer virus having to watch this at disgustingly scary dramacrazy.net.

Pop-up paradise that website, and ad-laden to the hilt, too!

Every five, danged minutes (your movie will appear in 30, 29, 28 ...)

EF YOU!

I hate having to abandon aznv.tv, but for KimuTaku, I'll do anything  (*^.^*)

Anyway, if you haven't seen this one, or you've forgotten what it was about after all these years (LOL) - the story begins when a woman who's just stolen billions from some research facility is tracking down her boyfriend, who appears to have absconded with the loot.

When she arrives at his place, she follows a trail of blood to his room, opens a closet door, and out falls a naked and badly beaten (damn, that guys got amazing skin, huh?) Yukio, who now has amnesia and can't remember anything about his past, including his own name.

She takes him in and gives him the delivery job, all the while hoping he'll get his memory back and tell her where her long-lost lover has run away to, but 3 years pass where Yukio can't recall a thing still.

Each episode has him delivering a new and interesting item to a new and interesting character, but it isn't until the very end that we realize what each of those encounters is supposed to mean to Takehiro (his real name).

Someone at aznv.tv wrote a totally snarky comment about this being Japans sleazy way of offering soft-core to Take-kun's adoring fans, and as per usual, I couldn't DISagree more.

Yes, he was shown in black briefs and falling out of that closet numerous times, but c'mon now - do you honestly believe that was ALL they were trying to convey?

Grow up and get a life.

I know it's old news, and I know everyone is like WAY over him now, but ....... I LOVE THIS GUY!

Still haven't heard him sing, yet, though.

Anyway, Yukio eventually gains back his memory, and it isn't pretty what he discovers about his past, but the ending is a good one!

Here's a brief article I found while searching for a decent image of the drama, and I think you'll get a kick out of what he has to say.
Takuya Kimura
Written by Jack Herbert
The sexiest man in Asia
Takuya Kimura Actor/singer/TV star Takuya Kimura, popularly known as "Kimutaku", is a member of pop-group SMAP and Japan's biggest male star. He is regularly voted Asia's best-looking man and is a major sex-symbol in Asian gay culture.

However, he is an atypical heart-throb. In his frequent acting roles, he performs his own stunts, which hospitalised him after he fell onto some rocks in 1998.

The hysteria surrounding him might be dangerous, especially given his talent for "bad-boy" roles. His use of a butterfly knife in 1997 TV drama 'The Gift' allegedly prompted a spate of copycat attacks by disaffected teenage fans on teachers and other students.

Despite a macho image (by idol standards), he seems to have a curious fascination with cosmetics, which frequently feature in his TV commercials. He's also rumoured to carrying a bag of make-up at all times, and wear platform shoes to compensate for his teeny (167cm) stature.

In 2000, he married singer Shizuka Kudo, to the dismay of millions of Japanese girls (and a slightly smaller number of Japanese men). They have 2 children.

10年先も君に恋して / Juunen Saki mo Kimi ni Koishite


I'll Love You in 10 Years



2010 NHK, 6-episode rom/com drama that stars Ueto Aya as Onozawa Rika, a single editor who is good at her job but clueless about things like ai.

As an example, one of her clients is a popular romance novelist who has an obvious thing for her, yet she has no notion or even a hint of a vibe coming from across the cafe table they always share when discussing his latest projects.

Then, she happens upon a mysterious man wearing a trench coat, a hat, and in dark sunglasses, whom she first assumes is a hentai stalker (because they're EVERYWHERE in Japan!), but it turns out he is from ten years into the future, and he's there to prevent her from meeting HIM.

Cutey fails, though, and Rika ends up meeting her future husband - a nerdy type science buff going on 30 and still in college doing research on a silly elevator to the heavens project.

Uchino Masaaki as Maruyama Hiroshi gave me the impression he was Hideaki Ito's older brother in horn rimmed glasses much of the time, and I appreciated that, thank you very much!

While Rika is trying to make headway with young Hiroshi, ten-years-later Hiroshi keeps popping up to dissuade her until she eventually discovers the truth about the budding relationship and how awful things turn out for them later on.

I'm sorry, but I must interject at this point ........ ten years isn't THAT much time to make one so completely unrecognizable that for at least four of the six episodes Rika keeps fighting the guy and refuses to believe what he's trying to convey.

30 to 40 is like saying 'next year' in the facial recognition department.

Funnier still, is how these dramas ALWAYS portray children growing up, and twenty years later, they INSTANTLY recognize one another.

Now, THAT is a stretch more than a mere ten years between 30 and 40.

Anyway ~ Hiroshi loves Rika very much, but their marriage goes south when she quits her dream job so he can pursue his career; which takes them to Detroit of all places, and then on to Germany and so-forth.

He becomes famous, wealthy, and popular while she struggles to maintain some semblance of dignity as his faithful shadow while growing to resent the fact that she gave up everything for him and ended up with nothing.

It's the whole point of the story, and Rika fights her future husband every step of the way, too, insisting that love will triumph over adversity, and that with patience and understanding, they'll work things out.

I really, HoNTo Ni loved this storyline!

The ratings over there say otherwise, though. :(

오! 마이 레이디 / Oh! My Lady





2010 SBS comedy/romance drama that starred Choi Si won as Sung Min woo (a Super Junior dude) as a stuck-up, popular actor who can't act, but because he can sing and has a tight bod, the fans adore him even if no one else does.

I kept getting a Daniel Henney vibe for the first, few episodes, which made me laugh (and wonder if he was chuckling about it, too) - but, then things began to get serious and I forgot all about said hunk who can't sing, is making an effort to improve his acting, and has a delicious bod.

Anyway, as all Korean dramas go, this is yet, another Cinderella fairytale thing where rich, snob GUY bumps into poor, forlorn girl who is supposedly unattractive, mousy, but with tons of character NO dude can ignore ... they meet, they quarrel, they meet again, quarrel some more ..............

She is a 30+ divorcee with a child she can't support anymore, so until she gets back on her feet, she dumps the daughter off at no-account ex-husbands place and ventures forth into the world of (get this) Hallyu.

She had a rich friend doctor (married, but we never see her husband - as usual), who does what she can to help out.

She can't, even find work through a temp agency, but SOMEHOW, she winds up at the office of an uppity man obsessed with (of all things) musicals.

He hasn't had any success over the years and is heavily in debt, but that hasn't stopped him from continuing to try, so if she wants to work there, she has to get mega-star Min woo to be the lead in his latest play.

"Sure, no problem!"

See, a chance encounter before this dream job came about WITH aforementioned actor meant that she could easily slip inside his hotel room, hand over the contract, and insist that he sign so she can get her daughter back.

(She was his cleaning lady for an entire, twenty minutes when something came up and she had to run out - leaving an iron on a shirt he intended to wear to an autograph session that afternoon).

She also knows that he has a HUGE, Korean actor secret to hide, so she holds that one over his head, forcing him to give in via blackmail.

In exchange for his services, he demands that she return as his housemaid and take full responsibility for the HUGE Korean actor secret so that he can carry on with his flamboyant lifestyle - no worries.

She agrees, and for a ton of episodes we watch as they slowly start to acquire feelings for one another yet hold them back for such & such reasons until the very end, when all hell breaks loose, the secret is out, and Min woo falls from grace.

Personally, I can't imagine being allowed to act the way Korean fans do.

They're the ones who put these guys up on pedestals NO ONE other than God can justify, and yet when their idol does something 'human', they get all pissy and throw eggs in complete and understandable, mature fashion.

HER attitude, though, prevented me from tuning out with a loud groan, and some of her sentiment rang true of my own ~ which ended up feeling kinda creepy, I must say.


Yes, the actor is partially responsible since he signs contracts that include clauses about 'behavior' and 'norm' being just this side of impossible to pull off, but there you go ~ I mean, is it really such a wonder when 'humans' who pretend to be 'gods' end up falling from grace?

Silly, silly garbage.

What saved this one for me was Choi Si won and his beautiful-ness ^^ to include a great head of hair, sexy eyes, a slammin' bod, and interesting acting ability.


I know I've said this before about other actors, but I can't help myself sometimes, and this was one of them ... when I first saw him on the screen, he gave off a Takeshi Kaneshiro vibe like you wouldn't BELIEVE!

The lead actress (Chae rim as Yoon Gae hwa) did a great job, too, as did her no-account ex, the stuffy man who strove for perfection in the performing arts department, and even Min woo's Kkangpae agent.

The ratings for this over there weren't, too shabby, either, and a majority of the votes at aznv.tv gave it a 5.

I reserved the coveted, fifth star on account of the fact I'm sick & tired of the same-old, same-old from Korea, and I want something new, something different, something exciting and so, totally unexpected that it knocks me off my feet!

And, I want So Ji sub to be the leading man starring alongside Kim Nam jin, too.

내 사랑 팥쥐 / Nae Sarang Patjwi




My Love Patzzi



2002 MBC Drama that starred Kim Rae won as Kim Hyun sung, a young zoologist hopeful working the summer at the American equivalent of a theme park that also has a zoo and banquet facilities.

He meets a girl who started work there after losing a teaching position at a local pre-school, and from there the sparks begin to fly.

Yes, it's an oldie, so you can expect there to be a love triangle, unnatural hatred among 'friends', and the ubiquitous bitch there to spoil things until the last, few frames of the show.

Oh, and there is even the medical malady thrown in the mix as well.

According to someone at wiki-drama:
"Patjwi (pat-jwi) is the name of a Korean folk tale character. It is also romanized as Patji and Patzzi."

According to Dictionary.com:

pat·sy[pat-see] –noun, plural -sies. Slang.
1. a person who is easily swindled, deceived, coerced, persuaded, etc.; sucker.
2. a person upon whom the blame for something falls; scapegoat; fall guy.
3. a person who is the object of a joke, ridicule, or the like.

There is no, such word as patzzi in the English language, so I'd have to read up on Korean folklore to get the message, unless  that's someone's weird way of spelling what the English term is, who knows.

Jang Na ra as Yang Song yi is that 'patsy' in this drama since it's her 'friend' who constantly sets her up for the latest fall.

Kim Jae won as Kang Seung joon is the son of the park owner (naturally) - and, naturally, he falls for our Song yi instead of for the rich, pretty girl (Hong Eun hee as Eun Hee won) who hates Song yi for whatever reason.

Both girls knew Hyun sung in elementary school, and they both had a crush on him (as did all the other, little girls at the school), and when Hee won tells Song yi to go for it, she does so with vigor when Hee won suddenly butts in and takes him away ~ thus the constant rift between the now sworn enemies.

Now that they're adults, Hee won thinks that Hyun sung, while handsome and dashing, isn't cut out to be her likely mate since he's not going anywhere financially - but, Hyun sung still thinks that Song yi is a jerk and he continues to pursue the snobby chick while putting down Song yi.

Now, to finally exact her revenge on Hee won, Song yi gets it in her head to muck up the works inside a brand new parade train in the hopes that Hee won will be blamed.

Bad turns to worse when that train is taken for an early spin by the park owner's son, the electric works start to spark and then smoke - and then the whole, expensive machine is ablaze.

Stunned but valiant, Song yi rushes to the aid of the unconscious rich guy, drags him out of the flames, and when he finally opens his eyes, she begs him to forgive her before running away.

Seung joon falls for Song yi, but guilt prevents her from returning the favor just then, and when Hyun sung finds out what a bitch Hee won is, he turns his attention toward Song yi while Hee won does whatever it takes to get Song yi out of the picture so she'll have a clear shot at Seung joon.

For a majority of the ten episodes, we watch as Hee won works her evil magic on Song yi, Song yi falls for Seung joon at about the same time our Hyun sung falls for her, and then when Seung joon learns the truth about the train debacle, it's tissue time for the viewer.

The ending received mixed reviews at aznv.tv, and I think I know why, but it wasn't as bad as some led me to believe, that's for sure.