Jumong or Chumong K drama 2006

23 10 2010

I am apparently stuck in 2006.  Just finished Jumong and already started Playful Kiss and Goong (which was also released in 2006).  But let’s stay on track…

Jumong is a sweeping historical drama and one for a fan of the genre not to be missed.

What was good!

1.  The lead actors and many of the supporting actors were excellent.

Song Il Guk(Kuk) who plays Jumong is awesome.  He did a nice job aging through the project.

Han Hye Jin, formerly of Be Strong Geum Soon, was wonderful as the female lead.

Song Ji Hyo, who plays Jumong’s wife was also very good, she is also in Goong so 2006 was a busy year for this girl.

2.  The sweeping historical story was interesting and frustrating and kept me yelling (in my head) at the characters.  I could have used some more Hae MoSu because his character drew you in and held you and basically he was (spoiler alert) blind and dead before I was ready for him to go.  His scenes with Lady Yuhwa were the most romantic of the series.  I also hated and loved Emperor Kumwa.  For those of you who have already seen this series you know what I mean.  I was so ticked at him for being a wuss and not just choosing to stand with Jumong.  I hated him for killing Lady YuhWa and letting Tae So get away with killing Hae MoSu.  Argh!!! But in the end I felt so much compassion for him and cried when he died.

What wasn’t as good…

1.  Won Ki Joon, or Prince YounPo.  I hate to say this because I did like him, but he should be in American soaps for sure.  He used that singular “something” smells bad expression so much I couldn’t help but laugh.  Totally reminded me of Joey in Friends when he talks about his method acting.  And truthfully I got bored of Tae So being somewhat one note as well.

2.  I don’t know if it is even fair to say this, but it is long… really, really long.  It felt like 4 seasons or chapters and really a viewer could stop at any one of those points and watch something lighter and then come back to it, but I didn’t know that and I think at some point around episode 50-60 it started feeling long.  There were definite times when it dragged or too much set up, but you always knew it was bringing you somewhere else.

3.  Biggest Complaint – No Romance!!! As I mentioned before the scenes between Hae Mo Su and Lady Yuhwa were as hot as it got and that wasn’t enough for me.  Especially when you consider the hot poster shot between JuMong and So Suh No which is part of what got me interested in the series.  But there wasn’t much chemistry really shown between them.  More in the beginning, but I would have liked to see them with some tension and chemistry.

Park Kyoung Hway played Bu Bun No, one of the soldiers who switches from Puro to Tamul Army and I swear he is Lee Seo Jin (the lead from Lovers) twin brother.  When he first appeared I had to look it up to find out if Lee Seo Jin was in this.  Does anyone else think they are secret twins?  or is it just me?

Overall this was a great series, I would highly recommend it to any historical drama lovers!  The story does suck you in and you spend so much time with the characters that you get really frustrated and emotionally moved by them.  I give this an A-, the minus because it can drag, some soap opera acting and not enough romance.

I know this is a short commentary for such a long series, but really there is no way to really tackle this series without just watching it, but I welcome any comments to open discussion on the series.


Lovers – K drama 2006

4 10 2010

Sorry I have been MIA for awhile.  I am currently watching Jumong, at ep 51 right now.

But to Lovers… hmmm, well….



My first impressions were not so good… I’m not into the super beefy build of lead male (Lee Seo Jin) and I wasn’t really attracted to Kim Jung Eun the female lead either.  The 2nd man on the show though is the Music exec from You’re Beautiful, Jung Chan.

I’m in ep 5 and though I wasn’t sure in the beginning and of course, I don’t know where this is headed, but this feels like it has a lot of potential.  I really liked how Mi Joo (Kim Jung Eun) already told Sae Young (Jung Chan) that she wouldn’t see him because she didn’t want to get involved between the two of them.  So far it has my attention.

I’m to ep 17 and unfortunately I am over the lead actress, her eyes bug me and geez could they be more watery.  She hardly actually cries, they just pool in her eyes.  Weird… just really weird, take for example Kim Kyu Ri as Park Yu Jin, she is beautiful – doesn’t have weird eyes and when she cries the tears actually fall naturally out of her eyes.  I actually really liked her in this series.  Speaking of like… the male lead (Lee Seo Jin) has actually grown on me and I didn’t think that was possible.  But overall this late in the series, I am wishing it was 16 episodes or maybe 12 considering the parts that I cared about or was interested in could have been wrapped up in 12 episodes.

Okay, so I finished the series, I think the last ep was a blur, I just wasn’t interested anymore, I didn’t even care if they got together.  Totally wishing that Kang Jae would go back to Yu Jin, atleast she is pretty when she cries.

Grade C-

Gossip – So the two leads, Lee Seo Jin and Kim Jung Eun dated after the filming for approx 2 yrs.  This is just from var sources and rumors, so not official, but here goes what I heard.  Basically Lee Seo Jin called her out of the blue one day and broke up with her.  Then Kim Jung Eun got on some talk show and said that it was like taking a bullet, she didn’t see it coming at all and was really upset.  Lee Seo Jin went to China or somewhere for several months and then came back.   Rumors that he broke up with her because his mother didn’t approve, but who knows.  Seems like the sentiment is that many Koreans are upset with Lee Seo Jin, but frankly I’m glad he is moving on.  Pretty crying is essential for a long term relationship. Ha!

Beethoven Virus 2008

29 08 2010

Beethoven Virus starring Kim Myung Min, Jang Geun Suk, and Lee Ji Ah

A different type of series, more about the story as a whole, and less relationship based.  If you love Classical music or any of the leads this is probably worth watching.  Kim Myung Min was amazing as the lead and his performance excellent.   The series undulated for me in the sense that it would build and then wrap up and then start again, build, and wrap up.  I was  disappointed with the ending, as it left a ton hanging.  I was so glad to see Kim Myung Min and he commands the screen when he wants -that was the best part of this series and fun to watch.

Ep. 7 had a good “almost kiss” and by episode 9 I was ready to take up the violin and join an orchestra.  Unfortunately, this series didn’t come to more of a peak for me.  I loved the feel of the world this series created and was really into it for awhile, but it just never got going beyond the middle of the series.

Though I loved Jang Geun Suk in You’re Beautiful and though I casually like him in Beethoven’s Virus, I would hardly notice him in comparison to Kim Myung Min.  It is weird to see how much he paled in any scene to Kim Myung Min.  KMM’s Kang Gun Woo was so powerful and perfect.  He actually reminds me a lot of the role Jang Geun Suk played in You’re Beautiful and anyone would by lying to say JGS didn’t take some inspiration from KMM for YB.   Basically hard and arrogant on the outside, yet warm and yummy inside.  It has been said that Kim Myung Min created a sensation in Korea referred to as Kang Ma Eh Syndrome and earned him fresh acclaim from critics and viewers.  I can believe that and will definitely look forward to seeing him in a different role in future (*update – just started White Tower and am enjoying KMM in the role of a surgeon).

Here are my complaints –

  1. Jan Geun Suk’s Kang Gun Woo started out distant, was not friendly or warm.  But as the series went on he was a total pussy cat.  This seemed like a pretty big inconsistency.  I can’t believe he would ever reject Du Ru Mi in the beginning if you look at his character through the rest of the series.
  2. No payoff – (spoiler alert) Basically there was no big payoff romantically or a showdown between the Gun Woo’s.  Yes, we saw the transformation of Maestro Kang Gun Woo and his performance as I have said repeatedly was amazing, but he never really gave us a payoff with Du Ru Mi, Gun Woo or “the little orchestra that could”.  The scene in the studio where she is laying on the floor was nice, but he didn’t really admit his feelings for her.  This was a bummer, I really liked when he had that moment with Young Kang Gun Woo and hugged him, but they left me hanging with Du Ru Mi she was still losing her hearing and she wasn’t getting any love from the Maestro.. wtf?
  3. Once again I was unfortunately disappointed with the ending.  Though I get the deeper meaning that no matter the adversity the love of the music is the greater purpose, but still I am left feeling like I missed the main course.  I kept thinking that the whole series would lead up to something big that never came. Other than Maestro’s transformation everyone was left in limbo.

So I would give this a grade of B- only because Kim Myung Min’s performance outweighed everything else about this.

Please leave a comment if you have any thoughts on the ending or why in general K dramas often have disappointing endings or if I am just missing something I didn’t get.  Thank you!

Personal Taste – Ep 12 – 16 & romantic clip

18 08 2010

Personal Taste – Continued…

Episode 12- 15.  Wow, after a slow episode or two 12 13 14, 15 really ramped everything up.  With the exception of episode 13, which did little to further the plot, but was choc full of little romantic moments.  Episode 13 is not to be missed, I would gladly have whipped cream on my nose (and I hate stuff on my nose) for a lean over the table like that.

I wasn’t sure if this was the right role for Lee Min Ho post Boys over Flowers, but I am really enjoying him.  The role is quiet, but I love him in a more mature role.  The relationship between Jin Ho and Gae In is finally feeling real and authentic.

Episode 16 – Okay, I love that this drama is more adult and went a little farther with the relationship and implied a more adult level of physical contact between Jin Ho and Gae In, but the actual scene seemed a little awkward.  They are kissing and then it switches to a view of them sitting across from each other and him taking her strap off her shoulder.  Just didn’t seem to flow.  Just leave it with the kiss or make it more natural.  I guess it is a split decision because I hate being frustrated when they show no physical relationship between the characters, but I would have preferred them to make it sweet or sexy, not awkward.

Okay- they redeemed themselves with the morning after scene.  Gorgeous scene with them sitting in front of the glass wall and enjoying coffee together.  The words, the feel, the quiet intimacy they have between each other is what I have most enjoyed in this series.

Unfortunately – from there it just feels like the writers took a checklist and wrapped up each story, it felt rushed.  I always want a series to end with a kiss, but actually I didn’t really feel that way here, I was satisfied that they were together and the world was good.

Lee Min Ho is just so good looking, he isn’t too pretty boy, too effeminate, too masculine, too beyond, there is something “obtainable” about his look that makes him even more appealing.  I can’t wait for his next project, I just want more.  He definitely has his own acting style, at times he can seem a bit wooden, but I think that will improve with time.  It will be interesting to watch and see what type of role he takes next, but I think this was a good choice.  It wasn’t a huge stretch from an everyday man and it wasn’t extremely different than Gu Jun Pyo, but different enough in a good way.  I especially liked that he felt older and seemed comfortable transitioning from a teen heartthrob to a man.

Loved the Gai In Weather Forecast, so cute, clever and well done.  I do have to leave a comment that there is an underlying message that you have to sleep with your boyfriend to keep him, but I guess we will overlook that because frankly, who wouldn’t sleep with Jin Ho/Lee Min Ho/Gu Jun Pyo?  Enough said.

Overall I liked the drama but didn’t love it.  I never felt so compelled to start the next episode that it bothered my sleeping pattern, but I enjoyed spending 16 hours with Lee Min Ho and the rest of the cast.  They were enjoyable.  Final score: 7 of 10.

I forgot to give props to Jung Sung Hwa as No Sang Joon, he was an absolute scene stealer.

Credit to Shane Huey for vid

Bad Couple 2007- kdrama starring Shin Eun Gyung & Ryu Soo Young

18 08 2010

Bad Couple –

So I started this series on a recommendation, but I didn’t really like the first few episodes.  I didn’t really like either of the leads (Shin Eun Gyung and Ryu Soo Young)  and the supporting cast was okay, but nothing special.  It picked up about ep 6 with one of the other couples, that interested me for awhile, but overall I can’t recommend this series.  I was bored quite a bit throughout and for awhile, just watched to see what happened to the Doc, his mistress and his wife.  But unfortunately even that story line fizzled after a short while.  Dang Ja or Shin Eun Gyung did grow on me, but it just moved too slow.  The one thing that was really great was the ending, I really liked that they gave us a window into several years later.  Really nice wrap up.

Dislikes:  Predictable and slow.  The leads lacked chemistry, though they seemed comfortable with each other.  Nothing changed for Dang Ja, as far as her responsibilities as a first born wife, so I don’t really think she had the right to go back after Prof Choi.  If she was finally willing to give up her career for her baby and to give her baby a father and family than the series did a poor job or showing that.  I also wished for a more dynamic story with the Doc and his wife.  They could have gone lots of ways there, but it was very predictable and in the end really didn’t get love for many years.

Likes:  The traditional way of life shown by Prof Choi’s family.  The ending, enjoyed the fast forward to wrap up the series, felt very complete.

Grade: D+, didn’t fail in every way, but wasn’t much worth watching either.  So if you are interested in any of the cast, it wasn’t terrible, just nothing here worth really mentioning either and the pace was off.

Pasta 2010 – K Drama starring Lee Seon Gyun and Gong Hyo Jin

13 08 2010

Pasta –

Kim Jae Wook of Coffee Prince

Fun and light…. Starring Lee Seon Gyun (of Coffee Prince) and Gong Hyo Jin (of Ruler OYOW and Thank You).  Lee Seon Gyun is an uncommon leading man, but man he has a killer voice and he was great playing this arrogant ass.  He seemed right at home.  I also really liked how natural the relationship was portrayed by both leads.  It felt real, minus a lack of serious physical chemistry.  Gong Hyo Jin is really good in everything I’ve seen her in.  She is an everyday girl too and an uncommon lead that pulls it off perfectly.  I would consider her an equivalent to a Jennifer Aniston here in the states.  Quirky, but likable.  The story never strayed too far off base on some unrelated tangent, which I was so glad.  The only noted weird scenes were the obvious throw ins to profile No Min Woo, who is incredibly hot.  But seriously, 2 shirtless scenes and a totally unnecessary drum scene (the three Italian chefs were from a band called Trax).

No Min Woo of Pasta

No Min Woo reminded me of Kim Jae Wook from Coffee Prince.  Seriously, I totally thought that was Jae Wook right up until the end.  But on closer inspection, I’ll take Jae Wook.

Kim Tae-Ho, was totally hot… ummm, can’t wait to see him again.

Kim Tae Ho

Okay, now that we got the hot cast out of the way… I really liked this series, it was cohesive and fun.  Comfortable, because the leads know they like each other fairly early on.  There wasn’t the usual struggle to get together which was a pleasant change.  I also appreciated that Lee Ha-nui as Oh Sae Young (the other female chef and former Miss Korea) wasn’t playing dirty in the arena of love.  Alex who played Kim San, is better known as the singer for Clazziquai (the OST for Sam Soon).  He also was super lovable on We Got Married, but he was excellent here and meshed well with the rest of the cast.

So here are the criticisms… It didn’t have a ton of heat, hardly even a kiss scene and considering this was a drama for a slightly older crowd, ya know.  The hottest of those was in Ep 2 when Hyun Wook kissed Sae Young in a flashback scene.  No freezer kiss for our two leads, seriously?  This was an unfortunate oversight.  I was waiting for that every time they were in there.  I always complain about this, but I think there could have been more competition between the 1st and 2nd man.  Kim San did a good job talking like he was going to do something, but in reality he didn’t make a strong move.

Overall:  Good series – 8 out of 10.


Iljimae – Kdrama 2008

31 07 2010

Just started Il Ji Mae and though I have read it has a slow start, I really liked the first episode.  Feels like a lot of set up, but I was intrigued by all the characters and can’t wait to see what happens!

Okay – a week later, I finished it and it was really good.  Lite on romance, heavy on action.  Lee Joon Ki was awesome!  Actually all of the cast was great!

This was the first historical series I have watched and though I was very hesitant (like you don’t know how much I really didn’t want to watch the historical stuff), I really liked it.  Maybe because I have watched so many relationship type series, but if was refreshing to have this be very light on romance and to just enjoy the story.  All the actors were great, especially Il Ja Mae’s fathers.  I also loved Ahn Kil Kang as Kong He (the monk­) he was so great, I just wanted to give him a big hug.  Il Ja Mae’s mother, Kim Sung Ryung  (adoptive mother) was played by the mom from You’re Beautiful and she is beautiful… seriously gorgeous even in this.

Han Hyo Joo as Eun Chae was bland.  I liked her in Shining Inheritance and she is also in Dong Yi, which I just started, but she was just so so in this series – she never pulled me in to root for her, I actually rooted for Bong soon more because she was more engaging in comparison.

Park Shi Hoo played Shi Hoo (Il Ja Mae’s half brother) and I wish they would have developed the story between them more.  I also would have liked it if they would have come together more in the end, but it was okay.  Park Shi Hoo is so cute, he was the great eye candy in What Planet are You From? and I was glad to see him here, he just finished Prosecutor Princess, so I am looking forward to seeing him in that. 

I would recommend this series as long as you fall into one of 3 categories:

1.  If you aren’t a big romance fan or as a break from the romance type series

2.  If you are looking to start a series to enjoy with a guy, he would enjoy the action.

3.  Or if you are a fan of Lee Joon Ki, he was awesome.

Overall rating: B

Good series, but not particularly memorable

I have conquered my hesitancy over historical dramas and I just started Dong Yi, which has been great so far, but 50 episodes, wow… I’ve never committed to such a long series but I’ll let you know if it’s worth it.