I Saw the Devil – K movie 2010

10 12 2012

I Saw the Devil was a violent thrill ride.  I_Saw_The_Devil_previewA serious revenge film not for the faint of heart and not recommended for a younger audience.  This movie is what I expected Chaser to be.  I loved Chaser, but it was – not sure this is the right word, but slow.  I Saw the Devil is like a roller coaster.  It makes that slow, pit of your stomach climb and then speeds through to the end.  Relentless and seriously sick, one scene in particular will keep me from watching this ever again, but Lee Byung Hun, of Iris, was amazing and Choi Min Sik, legend of films like OldBoy and Lady Vengence, was so authentic, he would scare me to meet in person.  I was going to add a trailer, but I think they all give too much away, so if you decide to watch it, do it without any trailers first.

Warrior’s way 2010 – American film starring Jang Dong Gun

4 12 2011

An American Korean hybrid film. Basically bombed at the box office and got terrible reviews, but I went into this film not knowing any of that and thoroughly enjoyed myself.   I seriously can’t believe audiences weren’t thrilled with this film.  Fun story, moved at a good pace and had lots of interesting actors.  It co-starred Kate Bosworth, who I love … especially her two different colored eyes.  The effects were awesome and though I’ve never seen Jang Dong Gun before, what is not to love.  Beyond sexy… could his hair look any better…

Whateva… Three big thumbs up, loved it.  Can’t wait to lust over Jang Dong Gun’s hair in the future.


Here’s a trailer of my very favorite scene in the movie… again could JDG’s hair look better…, please leave a comment if you agree or disagree. Thanks!

Jewel in the Palace – 2003

12 08 2011

I’m not really sure what made me start this.  I guess I just wanted to watch something that had a huge following and huge ratings.  This had both and after 54 episodes I can see why.  The cooking and medical stuff really interested me as well.  It gave me lots to think about and I wonder why medical professionals today don’t spend more time on the pulse.

This historical drama was just a really interesting story.  Touching and inspiring it had a ton of heart.  At times it reminded me of an American soap opera with all the eye movement and side way glances, but I loved every soapy minute.

Lee Young Ae stars as Jang Geum and she alone is worth watching.  I absolutely love her!  I knew her from the movie Lady Vengeance which is the third in the trilogy by director Park Chan-Wook.  This trilogy also includes Oldboy.  If you haven’t seen either of these films you are missing out.  Dark and violent, but they will leave an impact. 

This series is light on romance, but the romance it does have is really poignant.  Ji Jin Hee of Dong Yi, was excellent here and I loved seeing him outside of the Dong Yi role (couldn’t take him being a stupid sentimentalist anymore).

As an interesting side note, 3 of the actresses from Be Strong Geum Soon were in this.

Well, this is definitely worth watching and I would give it an 8 out of 10.  Good writing, good acting, and kept my interest over a long run.

What Happened in Bali – 2004 & Dirty Carnival 2006

13 06 2011

Something Happened in Bali, also known as What happened in Bali stars the lead from Secret Garden Ha Ji Won.  I think I would have liked her more in Secret Garden if I had seen this series first, but maybe because I have seen her in that it helped me like her so much in this.  I loved Ha Ji Won in WHIB, she was plucky, spirited and I could relate to her attraction to both men.

This series also stars Jo In Sung, who I recently saw in Dirty Carnival or Mean Street, a movie that was really awesome BTW.   Jo In Sung made that film and in similar fashion his presence here was unspeakable.  He moves the screen with every scene he is in.  He isn’t afraid to show every emotion with skilled acting.  His charisma is like a drug and gives me the same feeling I had toward Lee Min Ho in BOFs.  Jo In Sung displays that same unbridled passion and I can’t help but swoon.

So Ji Sub plays Kang In Wook, though I’ve never seen him before, he was very, very nice to look at and hope to see him in future shows.  Kang In Wook always kept me guessing and was a much more layered character than I originally expected.  Though he often didn’t speak much, he conveyed so much through his slight facial expressions and I felt for him.

Park Ye Jin rounds out the fourth lead as Choi Young Joo and for several episodes I kept wondering where I knew her name from.  I looked up her list of films and none really rang a bell for me – yet her name seemed so familiar.  I finally made the connection that she was one of the family members on the variety show Family Outing.  She was so different here that it took me quite a while to make the connection, but seeing her in this makes seeing her in Family Outing lots more fun.  As a side note, Family Outing is a show I just continue to watch and enjoy as I know more Korean celebs it just gets funnier and funnier.

Overall this show has a slower pace, it can even get a little one note at times, but it also has some amazing chemistry and really made me feel more for the characters than I have in a long time.  I think it is entirely worth the slow moments and the gut wrenching ending.  If you haven’t seen it -watch it, if you have lets chat about it…

I really loved all four leads for different reasons and related to each one and where they were coming from.  For the longest time, I really found a charm to both lead men and wasn’t sure which way things were going to go or who would eventually couple with who.  After the first episode I thought maybe Jae Min and In Wook were going to fight over Young Joo.  It kept you guessing and the writers would just start to show a spark between two of the characters and then they would go the other way with the other two characters.  The first 10 episodes just bounced me around like a shoe in a dryer.  I mean it in a good way because as much as you hate it, you also loved the back and forth. But by the tenth episode I was craving more. Even in hindsight you realize  that Soo Jung and Jae Min were falling in love, but they didn’t really let you totally know.  Even when she was preparing dinner for Jae Min she was thinking of In Wook, but when she was with In Wook she would be drawn to Jae Min.

I don’t have too many complaints about this series, mostly superficial things mostly related to the fact I am watching this 7 years after its release.  My biggest complaint would be that they could have cut out a bit of the back and forth to develop relationships, or better put, to let the viewer enjoy the relationship with Jae Min and Soo Jung, but I know they didn’t want to reveal too much too early either.  The second big complaint would be the weird fashion choices from everyone, but a stand out was Jae Min’s fashion…. His outfits left me wondering if flares were  “in” in Korea in 2004.  In general he just had some really weird, ugly clothing… the jean sports jacket.  ugh! I also felt bad for Young Joo and they never gave her a break.  It would have been nice to see her atleast turn vengefully on Jae Min too and walk away with her pride.

What really worked in this series was the incredible acting of all the leads with a particular nod to Jo In Sung.  I also loved the heat and chemistry between Jae Min and Soo Jung, even though they really didn’t have many physical scenes, just a few kisses, man they were hot not even in the actual on screen action, but you could just feel the heat between them and the heaviness if your chest.  I was telling one of my friends what is wrong with me… Between two guys, both cute, one stoic, but kind, the other wealthy, crazy, abusive with a tendency for psychotic behavior and I am all about the crazy… jeeesh what does that say about women?  or worse yet, me??

If you want to long, hurt, or just feel …than I suggest you try this series, if you aren’t into it by the 3rd or 4th episode you can give it up, but I just loved it.  It is the first series in a long time to crack into my TOP 10 of all time best K dramas.  If you haven’t checked out my list it is in the tab for Best of … lists.  or here is the link…  https://kormerica.wordpress.com/best-of-lists/…. actually it came dangerously close to cracking the top 5.  Although I think someone is about to get bumped because I am 8 episodes in on Greatest Love and am totally loving it!!! Doh!

The ending was a little hard to swallow.  I loved the conversation between In Wook and Soo Jung, loved it, loved it, loved it, but then just boom, boom.  I just wanted to go back a few minutes and tell Jae Min to figure it out.  Of course she loved him, couldn’t he feel it too.  argh!  Heartwrenching.  I just didn’t want it to end, but I guess in the end how was it ever going to be alright between them anyway.   I leave this series, a huge fan of Jo In Sung, he just made this series for me.  I know I mentioned that he actually reminds me of my feeling toward Lee Min Ho, just a different age group and they use the same passion and intensity to draw you in. They aren’t afraid to go for unattractive to be at their most attractive. The thing I am most excited for is that he, Jo In Sung, was just released from the military and to say that I can’t wait to see him in his next project is a huge understatment!!! argh!!! can’t wait to see him in something new.  Overall grade: A-

Trailer for Dirty Carnival…

Mother – K Movie – 2009

5 04 2011

Starring Kim Hye Ja, the Queen from Goong.  Obviously that series didn’t even scratch the surface of what Kim Hye Ja has to offer as an actress.  She is amazing in the role as the Mother a truly Oscar worthy performance.  The son, Do Joon is played by Won Bin.  Won Bin was amazing as I could never really figure out if Do Joon was slow, or just strange, or what he was.  He played the character to perfection, never breaking, never did you even see a glimmer of who the actor really is, he was completely the character to much eerie effect.  I haven’t seen Won Bin in any other series or movie, but have obviously seen the cute commercials he is in with Shin Min Ah and he is so far from this character, I never would have linked the two.  Bong Joon Ho directed the film and though I haven’t seen any of his other much tauted works he is obviously extremely talented.  Some of the imagery and the overall tone of the film were exquisite.  One scene showed two cherry tomatoes rolling around a plate that totally unsettled me.  The film is a perfect balance of credibility and a balance between the simple and the complex.  I never felt sure of myself or of anything the entire time I watched it. With incredible depth, cinematography, acting, tone… I could go on and on…  This film is a good representation of some of the most exquisite elements that seem so unique to Korean film.   Jin Goo as Jin Tae was also amazing (per norm, I love a bad boy) , and the cops, one of them was from IRIS, Yun Je Mun.

Basically I can’t believe this lost out to Thirst for the Academy Award selection.  Great film for those that like the Korean film or just enjoy great film making.

Rating:  9 out of 10.

Trailer for Mother..

Heaven’s Postman 2009/2010

26 03 2011

Wow!  Where to start on this movie.  First thing is that I went in with low expectations.  Han Hyo Joo (from Shining Inheritance, Dong Yi and Il Jimae)  is always very cute and happy, but I’ve never been overly impressed with her.    Hero Jaejoong (of TVXQ or DBSK fame) is playing the male lead.  I’ve never seen him act before and like many musicians turned actors, I had low expectations.

But, I was more than pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this film, due in part to some amazing supporting actors.  This piece featured two of my absolute favorites.  Shin Goo from ROYOW and Thank You was as usual – Amazing.  The other was Kim Chang Won of White Tower, Il Jimae, Coffee Prince and Queen of Reversals.  I love this actor, he just always does such a quality job and there is no shortage here in this piece.

Though there were times I was lost with the story and things weren’t clear why or what was happening, but by the end you get it.  I thought it was a very moving story and very beautifully shot.  But (here it comes ladies) the most beautiful thing of all was Jae Joong.

Yes, I’ve heard the hype about him, but other than the occasional MV, I really haven’t seen much on him.  I knew he was good looking going into this, but really and no hate mail please, there are lots of idols I could definitely skip, no big deal.  So Jae Joong was a pleasant surprise.  Yes, he was a bit over coiffed for my taste but frankly I am beginning to understand that K taste run toward over coiffed men.   He was a bit wooden at times, but also showed some really credible emotion at key plot points.  Here’s the real kicker, I loved his voice, gorgeous, sandy, breathy voice.  Okay, I admit it, I am now a Hero fan.  Their kiss was not even super hot, but he looked so manly and comfortable kissing her, I couldn’t help but fall for him, I will be adding him to my Best K drama Kiss list posted on my Best of …. lists page. Overall this wasn’t ground breaking, but I did really like it and loved getting to know Jae Joong.  Grade 8.5  out of 10.  Mostly a lower grade because the story was a bit incohesive, but that might have been lost in translation.  I am very curious to know what others thought of this drama, so kindly leave comments below.  Thanks!

Time (Shi Gan)– K Movie 2006

6 02 2011

Seh-hee and Ji-woo have dated for two years.  Though in love, Seh-hee begins to feel the passion fade when her lover is sexually excited by the thought of sleeping with another woman.  She leaves one day and goes to the plastic surgeon.  So if you’ve seen it you know what happens… basically I have loved some of Kim Ki-duk’s work.  Kim Ki-duk is the director and has also done 3-Iron & Spring, Summer, Winter, Fall…and Spring.  He is known for quiet deep works and this though a completely different topic and feel does move in that same way.  Amazing imagery along the way and the use of the sculpture garden made me want to quit my job and become a sculptor.  The mask scene still creeps me out and this terrible twisting of love was painful to watch.


On many levels I think I am still processing the film, it is hard to even write about because it is so complex in my mind.


I would recommend this to fans of Kim Ki-duk’s work, but not to those interested in Korean movies.  It is a bit harsh for beginners.  I would give it a 6 out of 10.


As a side question, why is it that in the series male/female relationships are dealt with like it is the 1950’s, but in films the characters are much more promiscuous and lacking the social constructs that are so prevalent in series?


Movie – Untold Scandal 2003

12 12 2010

This film stars Lee Mi Sook, Bae Yong Joon known from Winter Sonata (which I haven’t yet seen)  and Jeon Do Yeon.  This is the Korean version of the films Dangerous Liaisons, Cruel Intentions and Valmont.  The Koreans did a few different things in their version, mainly the relationship of brother-in-law between the main characters.  Definitely an adult film, obviously for anyone familiar with the other versions, it is about lust, revenge and love.  I liked the relationship between Jo Won and Lady Jung.  They had some really great acting and chemistry, but I didn’t feel the chemistry between Madam Jo and Jo Woon.  I enjoyed the Korean version, but it pales in comparison to D L, the powerhouse of John Malkovich and Glenn Close is just ridiculous.  Malkovich telling Michelle Pfeiffer that he won’t see her anymore just was so filled with emotion and pain.  I guess I would suggest anyone who enjoyed the Korean version of this but hasn’t seen Dangerous Liaisons to definitely check it out, but if you’ve already been tainted by the much stronger version of DL, I would probably skip this.