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[HanCinema's Drama Review] "A Korean Odyssey" Episode 7

2018/01/21 | | Permalink

Prepare for another round of "Does he or doesn't he", as "A Korean Odyssey" continues to struggle with its lack of a main plot or any significant progress in character and world development. Episode seven is slower than usual and the creators are unfortunately back to treating the main romance as a conventional one, this time dangling the carrot of a love triangle with someone we do not even know...More

[Lily's Take] Lee Hong-ki Takes his Role Seriously in "A Korean Odyssey"

Source | 2018/01/21 | | Permalink

Lee Hong-ki's agency, FNC Entertainment, revealed behind-the-scene photos from "A Korean Odyssey" on their official webpage...More

[Lily's Take] Kim Hyun-joo Sends a Coffee Truck to Support Shin Hye-sun

Source | 2018/01/21 | | Permalink

Actress Shin Hye-sun shared fellow actress Kim Hyun-joo's thoughtful gift of a coffee truck on her official Instagram account...More

[Lily's Take] Goo Ha-ra, a Natural Born Beauty

Source | 2018/01/21 | | Permalink

Singer and an actress Goo Ha-ra proved that she is a natural born beauty...More

[Lily's Take] The Untouchable Veteran Actors of "Untouchable"

Source | 2018/01/21 | | Permalink

As the drama "Untouchable" came to an end, we must acknowledge these two veteran actors: Park Geun-hyung and Choi Jong-won...More

[Lily's Take] Hwang Jung-eum Enjoys her Vacation After Giving Birth

Source | 2018/01/21 | | Permalink

Actress Hwang Jung-eum updated the fans with her current status...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Cinema Snippets

2018/01/21 | | Permalink

KoBiz puts three of Korea's "Golden Girls" in the spotlight, Maggie Lee reviews "1987: When the Day Comes" for Variety, two of actor Ha Jung-woo's films have now surpassed 10 million admissions, and Jason Bechervaise puts together his top ten Korean films of 2017 for The Korea Times...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Food Lovers' Lane

2018/01/21 | | Permalink

Make your own sweet walnut pastry with My Korean Kitchen, The Korea Times pairs wine with Gangwon's local delights ahead of the Winter Games, these hot and comforting foods will help you forget the chill, and multi-Michelin-starred restaurant owner welcomes travellers at Incheon International's new Terminal 2...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Travel Bug Bites

2018/01/21 | | Permalink

The annual Korea Grand Sale that targets foreigners is now on, Hugh (My Korean Husband) shows Seoul to be a city that never sleeps, CBC looks at 8 things South Koreans do different, and artists unite to turn Incheon's new airport terminal into a world-class "artport"...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Culture Corner

2018/01/21 | | Permalink

Korea's long companionship with dogs charted in The Korea Times, Korea Exposé writer Juwon Park explains why cryptocurrencies means freedom from "Hell Joseon", Yonsei University graduate Suk Ji-hoon explores the history of Korea's recorded music, and do North Korean women do their makeup differently?...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Photography and Art

2018/01/21 | | Permalink

Korean nail art is now a $21 billion industry, Moon Jung-whe uses 'instant dolls' as a means of personal expression, The Korea Times interviews the illusionist/artists Yoon Dai, and could artists and architects from around the world unite to reimagine the DMZ for good?...More

[HanCinema's Photo] January 21, 2018 [2]

2018/01/21 | | Permalink

/HanCinema

Shadows fall across an icy pond in the Changdeok Palace secret garden...More

[HanCinema's Photo] January 21, 2018 [1]

2018/01/21 | | Permalink

/HanCinema

Winter trees stretch towards the sky above the walls and roofs of Changdeok Palace...More

[Orion's Drama News] Late Romantic Bloom and Motherly Crimes

2018/01/20 | | Permalink

I have finally reached a week when I can only fit about 2/3 of the news into my piece, but quality over quantity is what I live for. Well, when I manage to stop myself from rambling, that is. Today I take a look at the lovely romance of "Shall We Kiss First" and give a nice final cheer for "Mother - Drama", which is starting this upcoming week...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Argon" Episode 6

2018/01/20 | | Permalink

I have been wondering when the "Argon" team would experience a greater crisis involving the massive responsibility of reporters in life and death matters, and the series has delivered. Something very dire happens and everyone has to handle the cost. Hye-rin is trying to make do with the decision forced on her and Yeon-hwa still struggles to find her place and her own voice. Meanwhile, Baek-jin makes a very important decision...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Drama Stage - Our Place's Tasty Soybean Paste"

2018/01/20 | | Permalink

A-i (played by Yoo Eun-mi) is a precocious middle school student still coping with the death of her grandmother. By chance, A-i and her mother Jeong-hee (played by Myung Se-bin) go to a small soybean paste stew restaurant across the street from their apartment. Jeong-hee notes that the singular dish prepared by proprietor Gi-bok (played by Lee Chun-hee) is nearly identical to the one prepared by her departed mother. From there, A-i is relentless in trying to discover Gi-bok's recipe...More

[HanCinema's Drama Preview] "Mother - Drama"

2018/01/20 | | Permalink

You can love or hate the remakes of Korean drama, but they are here to stay and they have the potential to evolve into solid works of their own. Choosing a critically acclaimed Japanese drama to do an adaptation of is not an easy decision, but "Mother - Drama" has a lot going for it. Will this manage to meet the great potential it has built up so far...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "Happy Bus Day"

2018/01/20 | | Permalink

The family at the heart of "Happy Bus Day" is highly dysfunctional. I don't mean that they're quirky eccentrics, I mean that most of them simply are not fit to mingle with normal human society as we know it. Their emotions range on a spectrum from blithe apathy to psychotic overreaction. The sole sane character is Sun-young (played by Kim Sun-young-III) who tries her best to be a normal housewife but is stymied by the sheer antisocial weirdness that is the household she married into...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "Jung Il Woo, My Friend"

2018/01/20 | | Permalink

Originally Jung Il Woo went by the name of John Vincent Daly, for the entirely sensible reason that he was born and raised in rural Ohio. Most Americans of Jung Il Woo's generation only remembered Korea as a snapshot of the Korean War. Jung Il Woo was called there by religious vocation. A trained Jesuit, Jung Il Woo was just a young teacher at the then very small Sogang University. But driven to learn more about Korean culture, Jung Il woo kept embedding himself with the country's poor population, fighting alongside them against political repression...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "Madman Ok Han-heum"

2018/01/20 | | Permalink

Ok Han-heum has already been the subject of two other documentaries by director Kim Sang-cheol. So I went into "Madman Ok Han-heum" with a bit of resignation. Considering all the scandals South Korean megachurches have been embroiled in during recent years, it feels a bit crass to so heavily romanticize one of the men most instrumental to their rise. So I was very surprised to actually watch "Madman Ok Han-heum" and discover that apparently Ok Han-heum himself felt the same way. The final years of his life were filled with dire warnings to the next generation of pastors to focus on Jesus, not their own career success...More

[Lily's Take] So Yi-hyun's Adorable Daughter

Source | 2018/01/20 | | Permalink

A picture of So Yi-hyun and In Gyo-jin's daughter, In Ha-eun, was revealed...More

[Lily's Take] "Last Child" Invited to the Berlin International Film Festival

Source | 2018/01/20 | | Permalink

"Last Child" received an official invitation for the "Forum" section of the 68th Berlin International Film Festival, which will be held from February 15th to 17th...More

[Lily's Take] Lee Seung-gi and Shim Eun-kyung's "Marital Harmony" Will Finally Be Released

Source | 2018/01/20 | | Permalink

A CJ Entertainment associate revealed that movie the "Marital Harmony" confirmed its release date for February 28th...More

[Lily's Take] Xiaoguang Yu's Surprise Birthday Party for Wife Choo Ja-hyun

Source | 2018/01/20 | | Permalink

Actress Choo Ja-hyun celebrated her 40th birthday...More

[Lily's Take] Ko Hyun-jung's Generous Gifts to "Return" Staff

Source | 2018/01/20 | | Permalink

Actress Ko Hyun-jung surprised the staff of drama "Return" by gifting everyone with winter parkas and skincare products...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Argon" Episode 5

2018/01/19 | | Permalink

As the battle for the new HBC 9 o'clock news anchor becomes more and more ruthless, so do Yoo Myeong-ho's tricks. Yeon-hwa and Jong-tae go after yet another item while Geun-hwa prepares his exit. With everyone busy in the "Argon" team and a particularly nasty lawsuit targeting Kim Baek-jin, one team member is met with a very unfair and potentially career-ending decision outside of their control...More

[Orion's Daily Ramblings] Kim Ok-bin Experiences Death in "Children of a Lesser God" Teaser

2018/01/19 | | Permalink

We finally get a first proper look at the heroine of "Children of a Lesser God", Kim Dan, through a new teaser and stills. After a long wait for the cryptic "sees what should not be seen" to become clearer, the video reveals what Dan's actual superpower is. My own question would be, does it come with a very creepy notification system...More

[Orion's Daily Ramblings] Intense Highlight Reel for "Mother - Drama"

2018/01/19 | | Permalink

I knew this wouldn't be an easy watch, but you really get a feel for how challenging for the emotions and thoughts "Mother - Drama" will be when you watch this videos. There have been a few new ones released since I last checked in and one of them is a six-minute highlight revealing all the dreadful manipulation, deceit and abuse that take place to create Hye-na's (Heo Yool-I) plight...More

[Orion's Daily Ramblings] Undercover Shenanigans in New "Children of a Lesser God" Stills

2018/01/18 | | Permalink

Or at least I think that's what our hero is doing, and with Kang Ji-hwan's experience in sneaky, bold and often comedic characters getting into trouble, I assume we're in for a blast. The latest filming stills released by OCN for "Children of a Lesser God" also give us a better look at our heroine on the job and a sneak peek of our intimidating prosecutor...More

[Orion's Daily Ramblings] Jang Nara Considering "Dog, Witch, and Me"

2018/01/18 | | Permalink

Well if this isn't the weirdest and potentially cutest love triangle ever. Jang Nara is currently considering upcoming drama "Dog, Witch, and Me", which is about a blind cellist, her guide dog and the veterinarian who wants to separate them. We all know where bickering leads in Dramaland, so that's one way to start, I suppose...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "I'm Not a Robot" Episodes 27-28

2018/01/18 | | Permalink

Min-gyoo and Ji-ah just have a big romantic heart to heart explaining exactly everything that happened back when Ji-ah was pretending to be AZ3 and why. The sting of the drama's more illogical plot points is taken out a lot when we have Min-gyoo realizing just how stupid he was for not noticing the inconsistencies sooner. And it's just as sweet that Ji-ah is constantly moving to reassure Min-gyoo that no, he is not stupid, and she never thought of him as a mark...More

[Lily's Take] IU's News Interview About her Lyrics and Jonghyun

Source | 2018/01/18 | | Permalink

On the 17th, IU appeared as a guest speaker in JTBC Newsroom culture section, sharing her feelings about her 10-year career, life, and music...More

[Lily's Take] "Radio Romance" Main Cast's Romantic Character Posters

Source | 2018/01/18 | | Permalink

New drama "Radio Romance" revealed the character posters of the main cast members: Yoon Doo-joon, Kim So-hyun, Yoon Park and Yura...More

[Lily's Take] "Keys to the Heart" Afterparty with Han Ji-min and Lee Byung-hun

Source | 2018/01/18 | | Permalink

On the 17th, the "Keys to the Heart" team celebrated the release of their movie with a VIP viewing followed by an afterparty...More

[Orion's Daily Ramblings] Supporting Cast and Character Descriptions for "Misty"

2018/01/17 | | Permalink

JTBC's upcoming mystery melodrama is gathering quite the ensemble for itself and we have many additions most of you can no doubt recognize. From co-workers to sidekicks and from friends to foes, everyone around Hye-ran and Tae-wook is going to get mighty busy when the grizzly deed takes place and Hye-ran becomes suspect number one for it...More

[Orion's Daily Ramblings] Park Shin-hye Courted for New Drama by "Romantic Doctor Teacher Kim" Writer

2018/01/17 | | Permalink

In pretty big news, despite the current non-confirmation, Park Shin-hye has been reported as a possible addition to the latest upcoming series by writer Kang Eun-kyeong, known for works such as "Dalja's Spring", "Gu Family Book" and "Romantic Doctor Teacher Kim". The actress has officially responded through her agency that she has received the offer, but not a script at this point in time...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "I'm Not a Robot" Episodes 25-26

2018/01/17 | | Permalink

Min-gyoo's relapse proves to be inevitably depressing. Even after the initial shock subsides and Min-gyoo's physical condition stabilizes, further revelations about the sheer extent of Baek-gyoon's fraud only make Min-gyoo more and more cantankerous. However nice Baek-gyoon tries to be here it's hard to see him as anything but the villain here. Especially since the drama's actual villain, Yoo-cheol, is nowhere to be found...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "539 Yeonnam-dong" Episode 2

2018/01/17 | | Permalink

I-na (played by Oh Yoon-ah) is the recently arrived manager of a local chain fitness center. Soo-ri (played by Yang Jung-won) is her generally sexy subordinate yoga instructor. While the physical attractiveness of Soo-ri in the first episode was relatively subdued, the second episode turns it up so much as to be in poor taste. The production team is sending a mixed message by saying that uploading sexy pictures of Yang Jung-won on the Internet is wrong, and then giving us an entire setpiece where she moans lasciviously in response to a massage...More

[Lily's Take] Gong Yoo on the cover of Bazaar China magazine

Source | 2018/01/17 | | Permalink

Actor Gong Yoo is appearing as the cover of a Chinese fashion magazine...More

[Lily's Take] Hyoyeon, Jung Si-ah, and Hwang Shin-hye's Unexpected Friendship

Source | 2018/01/17 | | Permalink

What an odd yet stunning combination of friends we have here...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "A Korean Odyssey" Episode 6

2018/01/16 | | Permalink

Ask and you shall receive, and although "A Korean Odyssey" is still dawdling on and regurgitating a lot of its key concepts this time around, there is at least one major point of progress in the ever so shaky thing that is its main romance. Ma-wang is feeling the burn of his little tasting and we are slowly discovering some connections made by our self-centered group of supernatural misfits...More

[Orion's Daily Ramblings] Motherly Staredowns and Hye-na in Focus for "Mother - Drama"

2018/01/16 | | Permalink

We have some new promotional material from "Mother - Drama" and that includes four collages of stills and two teasers I have been very much looking forward to. The stills show us the mood behind the scenes as well as a little more about the relationships and conflicts we can expect, while the teasers feel like the creators have read my mind and delivered something I've been itching to get...More

[Orion's Daily Ramblings] The Revamped Queen and the Forever Tsundere of "Mystery Queen Season 2"

2018/01/16 | | Permalink

Our mystery darlings have new stills of them released and while it's more of what and who we know and love, the subtle upgrades are visible and most welcome. "Mystery Queen Season 2" has big shoes to fill after "Mystery Queen" and things are definitely looking mighty filling so far...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Just Between Lovers" Episode 12

2018/01/16 | | Permalink

At long last Kang-doo has come to the conclusion that he is in fact an idiot and badly underrating himself. Not only does he allow Moon-soo to start caring about him without needlessly pushing her away, Kang-doo goes even farther than that and admits that he cares about her, and wants their relationship to go back to the way it was. As in, they just make a point of seeing each other on a regular basis, sometimes with a specific goal, and other times just for fun...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Longing Heart" Episode 4

2018/01/16 | | Permalink

I've been wondering, who was Sin-woo's teacher in the original timeline? What happened to that guy? Why didn't he show up this time to take his job? It's a question that has become increasingly relevant as Sin-woo's memories differ from events in the new timeline. Although the bigger surprise is how much events don't change, or how they change in ways just minor enough that Sin-woo still mostly correctly guesses what has happened, save for a few minor details...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Jugglers" Episode 14

2018/01/16 | | Permalink

So Mr. Bong has returned to the story. Good thing I figured out Mr. Bong and Mr. Jo were two different characters already or I would have been really confused...anyway, Mr. Bong's main purpose here is to confuse me as to how the company's human resources policies are supposed to work. By what standard is a consensual romantic relationship cause for dismissal, but delegating a secretary to buy lacy underwear is not?...More

[Lily's Take] Ha Jung-woo Receives Appreciation Plaque from Korea's Defense Security Command

Source | 2018/01/16 | | Permalink

 

Because the movie "Along With the Gods: The Two Worlds" is still taking over the theaters and is about to hit 13 million viewers, Director Kim Yong-hwa and actor Ha Jung-woo received an Appreciation Plaque from Korea's Defense Security Command...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "A Korean Odyssey" Episode 5

2018/01/15 | | Permalink

Seon-mi's burdens keep multiplying, as something happens to put our previously detached Bull Demon King in a much more invested position. After the big revelation of our heroine's mission, "A Korean Odyssey" takes a step back to look at her unique connection to Oh-gong. While the nature of this fake bond has been there for us to see, it is starting to dawn on Seon-mi that her needs tend to feed a dangerous and painful delusion of closeness on her end...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Longing Heart" Episode 3

2018/01/15 | | Permalink

Na-hee (played by Jo Seung-hee) is Sin-woo's fellow teacher. Naturally, Sin-woo remembers Na-hee as a teacher from high school, and so has always been creeped out by the obvious romantic pretensions Na-hee has toward him now in adult form. I rather like this subplot, because it's the most explicit example we have of how Sin-woo's memories of people from high school are different from what these people were actually like. As Sin-woo's teacher, Na-hee had inherent dignity. As Sin-woo's colleague, she has almost none...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Jugglers" Episode 13

2018/01/15 | | Permalink

Once again "Jugglers" is able to salvage the relationship between Yoon-i and Chi-won by having them act like professional adults in the face of a bad situation. Yes, naturally Yoon-i is horrified and freaked out by the way her relationship with Chi-won has been outed. All the same, Chi-won is right there to remind her that this is not the end of the world. More importantly Chi-won is plenty willing to give Yoon-i emotional and physical space to recover, which is especially essential since a company investigation is now necessary...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Just Between Lovers" Episode 11

2018/01/15 | | Permalink

Kang-doo has been forced to acknowledge the death of someone he genuinely, deeply cared about. Kang-doo does not take the news very well, and most of this episode is just an exercise in the other characters trying their best to calm him down. Which works, sort of. After an initial violent outburst Kang-doo is quite subdued, and seems willing to accept that which was always inevitable. But one way or another, Kang-doo always twists the situation around so as to maximize the self-hatred...More

[Orion's Daily Ramblings] Go Ara, L and Sung Dong-Il Confirm "Miss Hammurabi"

2018/01/15 | | Permalink

The main cast of "Miss Hammurabi" is settled and it brings variety and reunions. The upcoming jTBC legal drama is another 100% pre-produced piece and it has finalized its main cast of Go Ara, L and Sung Dong-il as three judges. I'm not sure how the cast would work chemistry-wise outside of the reunited Go Ara and Sung Dong-il, but it does sound like a fun combination in terms of character descriptions...More

[Orion's Daily Ramblings] "Shall We Kiss First" Holds First Script Reading

2018/01/15 | | Permalink

Upcoming SBS drama "Shall We Kiss First" has released a sneak peek into its cast through script reading photos and there are many familiar faces here. The work by writer Bae Yoo-mi ("I Have a Lover", "Scandal") and director Son Jeong-hyeon ("Yeah, That's How It Is", "She Gets Married Thrice") is reported as a fun and interesting piece on disillusioned adults falling in love...More

[Lily's Take] Kim Dong-wan Pleads with Fans to Stop Visiting His Home

Source | 2018/01/15 | | Permalink

A member of the popular boy group "Shinhwa" and an actor Kim Dong-wan released his plead to the persistent fans who've been visiting his home and waiting for his attention right outside of his private property...More

[Lily's Take] Kim Min-jung, Kim Woo-bin, Go Soo Have Unpaid Wages

Source | 2018/01/15 | | Permalink

Actress Kim Min-jung's unpaid wage added fire to the news of stars not having been paid for their performances...More

[HanCinema's Box Office Review] 2018.01.12 - 2018.01.14

2018/01/15 | | Permalink

"1987" overthrows "Along With the Gods: The Two Worlds"...

"Along With the Gods: The Two Worlds", Kim Yong-hwa's adaptation of the first half of Joo Ho-min's webcomic "Singwa Hamgge", is now the fifth highest-grossing Korean film of all time. Last weekend Kim's fifth film surpassed 10 million admissions, and with the 742,417 admissions (23.69%) it claimed over this past weekend, the film has now overtaken "The Thieves"'s $87.9 million. Since its release five days before Christmas, "Along With the Gods: The Two Worlds" has accrued 12.8 million admissions or $96.9 million...More

[HanCinema Awards] Winners for the 2017 HanCinema Awards!

2018/01/14 | | Permalink

What an exciting year 2017 was and the perfect way to round it off was with your votes in the 2nd Annual HanCinema Awards. We couldn't have done it without you. Thank you!! And congratulations to all of the winners...More

[Lily's Take] Park Bo-gum Runs Errands for Hyori's Bed & Breakfast 2

Source | 2018/01/14 | | Permalink

On the 14th, pictures of the actor Park Bo-gum took over many online communities and SNS in Korea...More

[Lily's Take] Jung Yong-hwa's Blissful Time in Cuba

Source | 2018/01/14 | | Permalink

Band CNBLUE's main vocal and an actor, Jung Yong-hwa shared his peaceful day in Cuba...More

[Lily's Take] Jang Nara Explains Why She Is Not in a Relationship

Source | 2018/01/14 | | Permalink

On the 12th, actress Jang Nara appeared for a short interview and a guerrilla date with people on the street as she celebrated the end of her drama, "Go Back Couple"...More

[Lily's Take] Kim Nam-joo, Han Ga-in and Son Ye-jin Return to Drama

Source | 2018/01/14 | | Permalink

Top actresses Kim Nam-joo, Han Ga-in and Son Ye-jin confirmed their return to the drama world...More

[Lily's Take] Park Ha-sun Is Happy to Be a Mother

Source | 2018/01/14 | | Permalink

Actress Park Ha-sun has been sharing the daily joys of motherhood...More

[Lily's Take] Sung Yu-ri's 10-Year Battle for 80 Million in Unpaid Wages

Source | 2018/01/14 | | Permalink

Sung Yu-ri has not been paid for one drama appearance for ten years...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Cinema Snippets

2018/01/14 | | Permalink

The Korea Herald spies K-locations that have featured in Hollywood's dream machine, KoBiz reports on the success of female-led thrillers overseas, "A Taxi Driver" is not the first or last film to frame the socio-political conflicts of the 80s, and Dr. Kang Kim Hyewon wonders if K-film could ever be as popular as K-pop in Asia on Forbes...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Food Lovers' Lane

2018/01/14 | | Permalink

Korea's microwavable meal industry is warming up as new technologies emerge, learn how to make 'gul tteokguk' (oyster rice cake soup) on Korean Bapsang, foodie friends vlog their way through Korea's oldest traditional market, and Hahna Yoon reveals delightful "hole-in-the-wall" restaurants in Gwanghwamun Jip on Lonely Planet...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Travel Bug Bites

2018/01/14 | | Permalink

Families matter at these three winter festivals, explore Jeju Island's diverse cuisine, Vogue's Eddie Heart has 37 great reasons to put Seoul on your travel bucket list, and this may be the closest thing to the 'ultimate guide' to Seoul...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Culture Corner

2018/01/14 | | Permalink

Atlas Obscura explores the connection between kimchi-making and family bonds, Quartz reveals the darker side of Korea's play culture, Korea Exposé checks the pulse of Korea's LGBT movement, and is modern Korea really "Hell Joseon"?...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Photography and Art

2018/01/14 | | Permalink

A local blind balloon artist has his first U.S. Exhibition in Baltimore, get a look at life along the DMZ with these eerie images, photographer Ken Lee captures steamy dumpling vendors in the act, and enjoy over 50 fantastic images of Gyeongju...More

[Orion's Drama News] Stars Go Marching In

2018/01/13 | | Permalink

2018 has entered with a bang and that includes some big celebrity names returning to Dramaland for ambitious projects. We have a few such news bits this week that you can read more about and I also take a look at fresh material for "Children of a Lesser God". Between casting news, trailers and a hefty dose of stills, we have another busy week in Dramaland...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Revenge Note" Episodes 14-16

2018/01/13 | | Permalink

So this time around the victim who Goo-hee attempts to help with the titular "Revenge Note" is an old friend with whom Goo-hee had a falling out, so we get a lot of flashbacks. In flashback, Goo-hee has shorter hair which makes her look older. This isn't a huge deal or anything, it's just counter-intuitive. Also it's the same haircut Kim Hyang-gi has in "Along With the Gods: The Two Worlds" which immediately made me realize, huh, I didn't notice that was her too...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Drama Stage - Not Played"

2018/01/13 | | Permalink

In-sook (played by Won Mi-kyung) is a grandmother with a real excellent knack for geometry. Sadly, this skill set has been unexplored for most of her life, as In-sook has lived as a normal housewife. Then she gets a job as a cleaning lady for a local billiards hall. Business is slow, so In-sook practices the game while no one else is around. Before long, she's lining up excellent shots, easily hitting as many as five sides at once...More

[HanCinema Awards] Best Kiss in a Drama of 2017 - And the Winner Is......

2018/01/13 | | Permalink

The kiss. It is often the crowning glory, highlight, and turning point of a rom-com. 2017 saw many sizzling kisses and you cast your vote for your favorite...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "America Town"

2018/01/13 | | Permalink

In a small town near the demilitarized zone the economy is dictated almost entirely by the spending habits of American soldiers, an "America Town" if you will. The actual name of the town is not important because there were a lot of them back in the eighties. Some of them are still around even today. They're a bit of a wasteland really, which is unavoidable. Imagine you're a bored, lonely, depressed American soldier with a paycheck and nowhere better to go with your time off base. What would you buy?...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "Along With the Gods: The Two Worlds"

2018/01/13 | | Permalink

Ja-hong (played by Cha Tae-hyun) is a very special man. Most people who die, they just end up getting stuck in line. The unlucky ones get trapped in eternal torment. Somewhat luckier ones get clerical positions and cool magical powers. Ja-hong's guardians Kang-rim (played by Ha Jung-woo) and Seaman Mac (played by Joo Ji-hoon) get combat abilities. Deok-choon (played by Kim Hyang-gi), the newbie and the lone woman, is stuck with just information gathering abilities. They all dream of reincarnation, of once again knowing what it is like to be human. But Ja-hong? He's under consideration for a position of considerable power in the underworld. "Along With the Gods: The Two Worlds" concerns itself with the question as to why...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "Christmas in August"

2018/01/13 | | Permalink

Jeong-won (played by Han Suk-kyu) is a photographer living a quiet life far from the bustle of the city. "Christmas in August" mostly just allows Jeong-won to be happy. He loves photography. Jeong-won takes genuine joy in the perfectionist pursuit of preserving the best possible image of a person for all eternity. Jeong-won too strives to live his own life in that way, maintaining an assuredly pleasant demeanor for people to remember him by...More

[Orion's Daily Ramblings] Choi Kang-hee and Kwon Sang-woo Shoot Cuteness at Us in "Mystery Queen Season 2" Photos

2018/01/12 | | Permalink

I see your finger-heart and raise you a finger-gun, because the "Mystery Queen Season 2" One True Work-Pairing is here to make me wish I can just jump to February. KBS has released stills of Kwon Sang-woo and Choi Kang-hee during the filming of the drama's first teaser, and the finger-gun shots are a lovely extra...More

[Orion's Daily Ramblings] Kang Ji-hwan Loves his Luminol in New "Children of a Lesser God" Teaser

2018/01/12 | | Permalink

In what is a bit of a jarring tonal and stylistic shift from the first three teasers of the series and their dark fairytale appeal, "Children of a Lesser God" decides to introduce its male lead in a more standard, sleek manner. Kang Ji-hwan's detective is here to dazzle us with his IQ of 167, which is somehow not enough to stop a Dramaland cop from being careless at a crime scene...More

[Orion's Daily Ramblings] Lee Sung-kyung and Lee Sang-yoon Confirm "About Time"

2018/01/11 | | Permalink

In another case of a drama that slipped right by me, I only found out about the aforementioned "About Time" as I saw this piece of news last night. Lee Sang-yoon and Lee Sung-kyung have confirmed their roles as the leads to this romantic fantasy drama and while you may be rolling your eyes in a "not another time travel one" fashion, you may be as surprised as I was about the premise of this one...More

[Orion's Daily Ramblings] New Stills and Teasers for "Mother - Drama"

2018/01/11 | | Permalink

I love-hate it when I take my eyes away from a work for a bit and I am later met with a ton of goodies for it. "Mother - Drama" has kept busy with promotion and we got several new stills and three new teasers from the series. The elusive Hye-na (played by Heo Yool-I) is finally getting some focus, and her presence is as endearing and tragic as I expected...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "539 Yeonnam-dong" Episode 1

2018/01/11 | | Permalink

Bong-tae (played by Lee Jong-hyuk) is a cybercrimes investigator who is appearing on a cable news program to talk about his work. Bong-tae is a moderately awkward man who doesn't look or act like a cop at all, so the question is immediately begged- what could he have possibly done to warrant being put on television? Flash back to a couple of weeks earlier, when Bong-tae runs across Ryan (played by Brian Joo) busking in the park. These apparently random events are related, although it takes some time for "539 Yeonnam-dong" to explain how...More

[HanCinema Awards] Best Couple in a Drama of 2017 - And the Winner Is......

2018/01/11 | | Permalink

Which couple stole your hearts with their chemistry, partnership, and loveable relationship? You voted and let your favorite be known. It's time to reveal which pairing came out on top...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "I'm Not a Robot" Episodes 23-24

2018/01/11 | | Permalink

The bulk of episode twenty-three is actually exactly what I was hoping for when it came to a reunion with Min-gyoo and Ji-ah. Sure, the whole situation is explicitly comically contrived, but it gets them talking. And the more Min-gyoo talks, the more obvious it is that he's a lonely socially isolated man who has no idea how ridiculous he sounds discussing AZ3 with excessive childish enthusiasm. Min-gyoo really needed this - a chance to talk about AZ3 with a stranger. That really was all he wanted...More

[Orion's Daily Ramblings] First Stills and Ahn Kil-kang's Character Info for "Children of a Lesser God"

2018/01/10 | | Permalink

Two leads checking something out on a bloody mirror is not exactly a descriptive pair of stills, but it's something and "something" is all I need to grasp onto during this slow burn of a promotional campaign for "Children of a Lesser God". Kang Ji-hwan and Kim Ok-bin look great in the newly released images and yes, I know that's like saying the ocean looks wet...More

[Orion's Daily Ramblings] Son Ye-jin Confirmed for "Pretty Sister Who Buys Me Food"

2018/01/10 | | Permalink

Well, this is certainly a casting biggie! Actress Son Ye-jin makes her return to Korean drama after 5 years, and with "Pretty Sister Who Buys Me Food" being an Ahn Pan-seok work currently courting Jung Hae-in as the man who is about to receive the titular food, pretty much everyone is excited about this in some way or other...More

[HanCinema Awards] Best Drama of 2017 - And the Winner Is...

2018/01/10 | | Permalink

Competition was fierce this year for the top 16 dramas of the year. You, HanCinema readers, voted and let your voices be heard. Which drama did you pick for Best Drama of 2017?...More

[HanCinema Awards] Best Actress in a Drama of 2017 - And the Winner Is...

2018/01/10 | | Permalink

From lawyers to detectives to queens, the actresses of 2017 have taken them all on. You have chosen your favorite actress of the year and now it's time to see which lucky lady won your hearts...More

[Lily's Take] Which Actress Recently Joined the "National Mother" Celebrity List?

Source | 2018/01/10 | | Permalink

There are many actresses with a nickname of "National Mother". You may think of such as Go Doo-shim, Na Moon-hee, Kim Hye-soo, Kim Hye-ja, Kim Mi-kyung and many more...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "I'm Not a Robot" Episodes 21-22

2018/01/10 | | Permalink

So having appeared briefly in a few inconsequential scenes, Ri-el simply drops away from Min-gyoo's life disinterestedly, much like how she re-entered it. While I appreciate "I'm Not a Robot" simply abandoning a subplot it obviously had no interest in developing in the first place, the drama then makes the bad decision to focus on the two aspects of the story I liked even less than Ri-el. There's the attempt by malicious forces to steal AZ3, and everyone continuing to deceive Min-gyoo...More

[Lily's Take] What to Expect from Upcoming Drama "Radio Romance"

Source | 2018/01/10 | | Permalink

Is everyone excited for the new drama "Radio Romance" as I am?...More

[Lily's Take] Top Actresses Attend Son Ye-jin's Birthday Party

Source | 2018/01/10 | | Permalink

To celebrate their best friend's birthday, top actresses like Gong Hyo-jin, Lee Min-jung, Oh Yoon-ah, Uhm Ji-won, Song Yoon-ah, and Lee Jung-hyun came together...More

[Lily's Take] Kim Hwan-hee Graduates Middle School

Source | 2018/01/10 | | Permalink

Kim Hwan-hee, the child actress most famous for her role as Hyo-jin in the highly-praised movie "The Wailing", graduated middle school yesterday...More

[Lily's Take] Im Soo-jung Enjoys Her Time in Australia

Source | 2018/01/10 | | Permalink

Actress Im Soo-jung updated the fans on her daily life...More

[Orion's Daily Ramblings] Second Teaser and Ji Jin-hee Stills for "Misty"

2018/01/09 | | Permalink

We already know that the heroine of "Misty" will be a murder suspect, but the second teaser released for the drama shows us that things had been less than ideal even before this incident. Ko Hye-ran's (Kim Nam-joo) life may have appeared perfect to the outside world, but the cracks start to show and the facade quickly falls apart when an ex-lover re-enters her life...More

[Orion's Daily Ramblings] Kim Seo-hyung Cast in "The Great Seducer"

2018/01/09 | | Permalink

It has been a while since we enjoyed some Kim Seo-hyung goodness in "The Good Wife" and I have yet to watch "The Villainess", so I'm glad to see the actress back in action. MBC's "The Great Seducer" has not been on my radar and now that I know it is based on the novel "Dangerous  Liaisons", I am wondering how it will even work in Korean drama form...More

[HanCinema Awards] Best Historical Drama of 2017 - And the Winner Is......

2018/01/09 | | Permalink

Historical dramas of 2017 made history in the HanCinema books. You've cast your vote and determined the best of the best...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Just Between Lovers" Episode 10

2018/01/09 | | Permalink

So Na Moon-hee is in this drama. I've had trouble discussing her character mostly because she doesn't appear to have a name. But the character has always been instructive. Superficially Na Moon-hee is playing the role of wise mentor figure, and she's always dispensing unwanted yet generally correct grandmotherly advice. Yet the old woman is never talking from a position of strength. If anything, she gives off the feeling of constant regret, although it's never been clear why...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Jugglers" Episode 12

2018/01/09 | | Permalink

Secret relationships have never been a trope I particularly liked, although "Jugglers" really does take them to the next level in terms of sheer annoyance. All of the conflict is entirely because Chi-won and Yoon-i have decided to have a secret relationship for no good reason. The reason the Mr. Bong thing blew up into a scandal was because he was married. Chi-won is not married, at least not anymore. So at worst this is sexual harassment, which would be a problem for him, not her...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Longing Heart" Episode 2

2018/01/09 | | Permalink

While the first episode gave the clear impression that this was going to be the older Sin-woo's story, and that there was going to be more going on than just his attempts to drive the younger Sin-woo and Ji-soo together, so far that's pretty much the only storyline we have. We barely know anything about the other characters. So-ra (played by Dohee) is now Ji-soo's best friend, and has effectively brought her into the larger group, but the two have barely any screentime together...More

[HanCinema Awards] Best Actor in a Drama of 2017 - And the Winner Is...

2018/01/09 | | Permalink

2017 saw fantastic actors land interesting, challenging, and engaging roles. We've fallen in love with so many of their performances. You voted to let us know who you think is the best actor of 2017...More

[Orion's Daily Ramblings] Cho Seung-woo and Lee Dong-wook Join "Life"

2018/01/08 | | Permalink

Well, this is certainly sudden and exciting news. Actors Cho Seung-woo and Lee Dong-wook have joined up the newly announced jTBC drama "Life", which is by the writer of "Secret Forest", Lee Soo-yeon-I. If that's not enough to get several groups of fans hyped beyond words, I don't know what would be...More

[Orion's Daily Ramblings] Kim Nam-joo is an Impressive News Anchor in Latest "Misty" Stills

2018/01/08 | | Permalink

This woman can sure rock a suit, and going by the descriptions on character and actress alike, she can rock the role of an anchor woman as well. Kim Nam-joo hasn't been in a work since 2012 and it looks like audiences are more than eager to see her in "Misty". For yours truly, it will be a first since 2006 film "Voice of a Murderer"...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Just Between Lovers" Episode 9

2018/01/08 | | Permalink

So Kang-doo and Moon-soo appears to have broken up, or are at least fighting in such a way that they seem headed for a break-up. The actual reason for the fight is not important. This was just one of those dumb petty fights that couples get into because they have an emotionally charged moment and separate on bad terms. Then, unwilling to imply in even the vaguest way that they might have been wrong, they stubbornly refuse to make up...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Longing Heart" Episode 1

2018/01/08 | | Permalink

Sin-woo (played by Lee Jung-shin) is a high school teacher. We get a broad panorama of the town where he works, a look at his stroll to class, and finally an introduction to his students. Sin-woo's affectionate and oddly personal appraisals of the students come off as odd, even creepy, until he finally gets to Sin-woo (played by Seo Ji-hoon) who is literally just Sin-woo as a teenager. Yes, that's right, Sin-woo has time slipped back into 2007, and the first episode of "Longing Heart" explains how...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Jugglers" Episode 11

2018/01/08 | | Permalink

So I appear to have confused Mr. Bong, who was Yoon-i's boss in the first episode, with Mr. Jo (played by In Gyo-jin), who has been the antagonist since then. On one end I want to apologize for being too stupid to realize that these are two completely different characters. On the other end I'm now struggling to remember how Yoon-i even knows Mr. Jo in the first place, or why he would have ever thought she would be on his team. Well, I guess it doesn't matter...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "A Korean Odyssey" Episode 4

2018/01/08 | | Permalink

Well, I asked for a main story and for Seon-mi's purpose in it, and episode four of "A Korean Odyssey" delivers. It turns out that our heroine has a much heavier burden to bear than expected and she needs her group of merry monsters to help her carry it. Seon-mi starts bonding with the group, but the reality of Oh-gong's forced connection to her leaves her feeling lonely as a challenging future approaches...More

[Lily's Take] Jang Hee-jin Apologizes for her Comment About Lee Bo-young

Source | 2018/01/08 | | Permalink

Actress Jang Hee-jin apologized for her comment about a fellow actress Lee Bo-young...More

[Lily's Take] Lee Eun-saem Shows Off Her Many Facets in "Drama Stage - Anthology"

Source | 2018/01/08 | | Permalink

Young actress Lee Eun-saem's vibrant acting attracted the viewers in "Drama Stage - Anthology"...More

[Lily's Take] Hong Soo-ah Wants to Return to Showbiz

Source | 2018/01/08 | | Permalink

Actress Hong Soo-ah expressed her hope in coming back to the Korean showbiz...More

[HanCinema's Box Office Review] 2018.01.05 - 2018.01.07

2018/01/08 | | Permalink

Local webcomic adaptation "Along With the Gods" surpasses 10-million admissions...

Kim Yong-hwa's fun fantasy flick "Along With the Gods: The Two Worlds" has sailed past the 10 million admissions mark after its third weekend out. From 1,256 screens, down from 1,666, "Along With the Gods" (which stars Ha Jung-woo, Cha Tae-hyun, Joo Ji-hoon and Kim Hyang-gi) claimed 1.3 million admissions or 36.44% of the weekend sales. The first part of Kim's adaptation of Joo Ho-min's webcomic "Singwa Hamgge" is now on the verge of overtaking "Train to Busan" (11.5 million admissions) as the tenth highest-grossing Korean film of all time...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "A Korean Odyssey" Episode 3

2018/01/07 | | Permalink

"A Korean Odyssey" is back this week and although the messy production and the injury that was caused due to it should never be forgotten or treated lightly, it looks like enough measures have been taken to keep the related authorities pleased for now. Story-wise, we are starting to get hints about the why of it all and the role of Seon-mi's fate in it, but we also meet new characters and backstories...More

[HanCinema Awards] Best Actor in a Film for 2017 - And the Winner Is......

2018/01/07 | | Permalink

From January to December, 2017 cast an array of talented men in film who rounded out the viewing experience and helped draw us into new worlds. You've cast your vote for your favorites and now it's time to see who won...More

[HanCinema Awards] Best Actress in a Film for 2017 - And the Winner Is...

2018/01/07 | | Permalink

The year of 2017 saw a slew of amazingly talented women in leading roles in an industry that is finally warming up to powerful females. You, HanCinema readers, have made your favorites known by casting your votes...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Cinema Snippets

2018/01/07 | | Permalink

KoBiz tracks local movies about inter-Korean relations, explore Korean cinema with these 15 great romantic comedies, South Korean films feature prominently on Film School Reject's list of the best foreign films of 2017, and Christopher Weatherspoon gives us a brief overview of the country's cinema scene for the last year...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Food Lovers' Lane

2018/01/07 | | Permalink

A 77-year-old grandmother becomes a YouTube star, watch kids in Seattle try Korean food for the first time, take a slow tour through some of Korea's hottest food districts, and Gordon Ramsay doesn't hold back in the Land of the Morning Calm...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Travel Bug Bites

2018/01/07 | | Permalink

South Korea has a poop cafe, Korean Air's economy class is still among the best in the world, Channel News Asia looks at the prospect of increased winter sports tourism after the upcoming Winter Games, and Paul B (and his mom) give us a splendid and snappy overview of Korea's geography and culture...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Culture Corner

2018/01/07 | | Permalink

Get the best K-beauty advice from some of the country's top YouTubers, browse the most popular stories of last year from the hard-hitting Korea Expose, Quartz looks at the power political memes in Korea, and avoid committing these cultural faux pas...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Photography and Art

2018/01/07 | | Permalink

The last Joseon court paintings are on display in Seoul after nearly a hundred years, see snaps of one of Korea's most beloved dog breeds, photographer Ashley Crowther is interviewed by Vice about his work close to the DMZ, and this young fashion designer believes the hanbok is bringing sexy back...More

[Orion's Drama News] Teasers and Stylish Temptations

2018/01/06 | | Permalink

Take a big step into a hopefully lovely 2018 to view all the upcoming drama goodies we can enjoy for yet another year. Dramaland has gone on a promotional spree after the slow holiday season and we have a lot of new teasers for several series coming up. As I look to future dramas for my picks, I am ever so slightly tempted to watch "Misty" on my free time...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Black"

2018/01/06 | | Permalink

OCN has been so big on crime dramas, that Death himself gets one this time around. Granted, the titular hero of "Black" is only one Reaper out of many, but the series is right up his alley anyway. The series mixes fantasy, crime and romance, although that sadly proves too much by the end of things. Where does "Black" succeed and where could things have gone better? It depends on what you are looking for, but here is my take on it...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Argon" Episode 4

2018/01/06 | | Permalink

"Argon" and the show within it of the same name have a surprise guest in this episode and they tackle some topics we do not often see in Korean drama, or rather often see painted in a very consistent and one-sided way. Sadly, the drama also throws a curve-ball at us with a certain character's health and this twists Baek-jin's arm into a decision that is necessary, but will only further infuriate his enemies...More

[HanCinema Awards] Best Secondary Couple of 2017 - And the Winner Is...

2018/01/06 | | Permalink

The main couple of any drama tends to steal the romantic limelight, but every once and a while there is a magical second romance that makes hearts flutter. HanCinema readers, you voted and made your favorite secondary couple in a drama known...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Drama Stage - Anthology"

2018/01/06 | | Permalink

So-i (played by Shin Eun-soo) is, in the modern day, an English teacher for private academies. The work is degrading and generally pointless, so it's with sincere joy that So-i comes homes to open a package from family in rural Nonsan. So-i wasn't actually raised out there. She just ended up stuck in the area for awhile because of issues with her mother. All the same, So-i's happy nostalgia flashbacks revolve around the Nonsan years, which is especially interesting when we look back to see what a brat So-i was...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Revenge Note" Episodes 11-13

2018/01/06 | | Permalink

So Goo-joon's purpose has now been fully justifed to me. He is Goo-hee's terrible, evil older brother who constantly teases her yet is frustratingly difficult to get a rise out of. I liked how Goo-hee's revenge, though obviously satisfying to her, does not actually result in Goo-joon suffering on-screen. Because why would he give her the satisfaction? Goo-joon just does what terrible older brothers always do, and find more trifling ways to annoy Goo-hee that their parents will never believe because Goo-joon is oh-so-perfect...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "1987: When the Day Comes"

2018/01/06 | | Permalink

Investigator Park (played by Kim Yun-seok) is a state-sponsored Communist hunter. He doesn't play by the rules when it comes to dealing with pure evil. If Investigator Park needs to make the case, he will use whatever legal powers, violence, and intimidation necessary to force obstacles out of the way. At first glance Investigator Park may be mistaken as an agent of justice. But throughout "1987: When the Day Comes" we mostly see Investigator Park through the eyes of his victims- as a crazed psychopath who cannot be stopped and cannot be negotiated with. Which is a fitting metaphor for the South Korean dictatorship as a whole...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "The Return"

2018/01/06 | | Permalink

Far off in the rural outskirts of Ulsan, there's a simple country restaurant called "The Return" with a plaque that reads, if you drink rice wine here, your loved one will return for you. There is no magical property to the plaque or the restaurant. The proprietor Mister Byeon (played by Kim Yu-seok) just liked the sentiment in those words. But through time and tide, various lonely people have come to "The Return" inspired by its message into believing that they, too, may meet their loved ones again, given enough patience at the restaurant...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "Sermon on the Mount"

2018/01/06 | | Permalink

Director Daehae is a Buddhist nun. This may be seem counter-intuitive, given that "Sermon on the Mount" is, as the title implies, a movie about Christian theology. The runtime consists almost entirely of a bunch of seminary students sitting around in a cave casually discussing and debating various liturgy. There are frequent references to the more arcane aspects of religious belief, simplified into relatable analogies of great use to the believer and the non-believer alike...More

[HanCinema Awards] Best Scene Stealer in a Drama of 2017 - And the Winner Is...

2018/01/05 | | Permalink

Each drama has that actor or actress who, despite not being top billed, manages to steal the scene with their powerful acting. You cast your vote for your favorite scene stealer, and now it's time to see who won...More

[Orion's Daily Ramblings] Kang Ji-hwan, Kim Ok-bin and More on "Children of a Lesser God" Script Reading

2018/01/05 | | Permalink

Look at that casting goodness. Beloved actors as far as the eye can see. Sure, we're drowning in men and mostly everyone is wearing black and looking preemptively tired, but creating a work from scratch is no picnic. Jokes aside, the cast for "Children of a Lesser God" looks impressive and judging by the serious atmosphere in these images, the story looks grim...More

[Orion's Daily Ramblings] Script Reading Cuteness from "Laughter in Waikiki"

2018/01/05 | | Permalink

Upcoming guest house drama "Laughter in Waikiki" has cast the ladies to balance our its gents and now the series has also released script reading photos showing off its full main cast. One of many recent guest and share house dramas, "Laughter in Waikiki" follows three men who run such an establishment out of necessity and end up meeting interesting characters...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "I'm Not a Robot" Episodes 19-20

2018/01/04 | | Permalink

The resolution to the whole elaborate deception storyline wraps up a lot faster than I was expecting. Before even episode nineteen has finished Min-gyoo and Ji-ah have already said their goodbyes, and episode twenty largely consists of them vigorously making a new start of their lives. Deep down inside Min-gyoo and Ji-ah are still quite lonely though, having become more attached to the master robot relationship than they had ever expected...More

[Orion's Daily Ramblings] Jang Yoo-sang Cast in "Mystery Queen Season 2"

2018/01/04 | | Permalink

We have more new faces for "Mystery Queen Season 2" and this one is very fresh in my memory and one I look forward to. Jang Yoo-sang has been cast in the drama as Kim I-kyung. Despite not standing out or being very sociable, I-kyung is actually a genius. Yes, it's that word again. At least he's not also a chaebol heir. I think and hope...More

[Orion's Daily Ramblings] Main Character Information for "Drama Stage - Our Place's Tasty Soybean Paste"

2018/01/04 | | Permalink

We have another one approaching from tvN's Drama Stage series and this one-act work seems to be all about family. "Drama Stage - Our Place's Tasty Soybean Paste" has cast Myung Se-bin, Yoo Eun-mi, Lee Chun-hee and Tae Hang-ho in this hopefully heartwarming story about taking care of our own...More

[Lily's Take] Shin Se-kyung's Behind-the-scenes Dance Moves

Source | 2018/01/04 | | Permalink

"Black Knight" released a cute NG of Shin Se-kyung...More

[Orion's Daily Ramblings] Han Hye-jin and Yoon Sang-hyun Considering "Let's Watch the Sunset"

2018/01/03 | | Permalink

Well, this will certainly be one powerful pairing if it happens, and with the flood of articles practically drooling over the potential, it better. Han Hye-jin had previously been announced as a yes-maybe for the drama, but now she and Yoon Sang-hyun are still reported as considering for the role of a couple facing death and the rediscovery of their relationship...More

[HanCinema Awards] HanCinema's Top Drama Picks of 2017 - And the Winner Is...

2018/01/03 | | Permalink

Between all of the fun variations of fantasy dramas, the court dramas, the beautiful love lines, and the exciting villains, the 2017 drama offering was rich, which made choosing our favorites here at HanCinema was not easy. But we presented you with our favorite six dramas of the year and you voted for your favorites of our favorites...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "I'm Not a Robot" Episodes 17-18

2018/01/03 | | Permalink

In very short order "I'm Not a Robot" has gone from cute and charming, if ethically ill-conceived, to straight-up depressing. At one point a minor character is murdered out of nowhere, and the other characters respond by shambling listlessly. There's no longer any joy in the interactions bewteen Min-gyoo and Ji-ah. Their reunion at the end has an amazingly dour tone- they're going through the motions to try and recreate happiness that no longer exists and never can...More

[HanCinema Awards] HanCinema's Top Film Picks of 2017 - And the Winner Is...

2018/01/03 | | Permalink

HanCinema presented its picks for the best films of the year, which was both difficult and fun with the selection from 2017 to choose from...More

[Orion's Daily Ramblings] Emotionally Charged Posters and Stills for "Mother - Drama"

2018/01/03 | | Permalink

The parent-child relationship is perhaps the most crucial one in mapping one's life further into adulthood and tvN's "Mother - Drama" is diving into some complicated mother and daughter bonds. The series has released stills of the two heroines smiling while locked in a hug, and remembering the context of this relationship truly stings during such moments...More

[HanCinema Awards] Best Drama Villain of 2017 - And the Winner Is...

2018/01/03 | | Permalink

You have cast your vote and made your favorite K-drama villain of 2017 known. This person has earned your love through the creation of an excellent on-screen villain...More

[Lily's Take] "Along With the Gods: The Two Worlds" Thanks Fans For 10 Million Views

Source | 2018/01/03 | | Permalink

The movie "Along With the Gods: The Two Worlds" became the first movie with 10 million viewers in 2018...More

[Lily's Take] Uhm Hyun-kyung Overcomes Her Fear to Raise a Rescued Dog

Source | 2018/01/03 | | Permalink

Actress Uhm Hyun-kyung fear dogs so her love her her pet made made hearts a bit warmer in this cold season...More

[Lily's Take] Jung Hae-in Thanks his Fans for the Coffee Truck

Source | 2018/01/03 | | Permalink

Actor Jung Hae-in expressed his gratitude to the loyal fans who sent a coffee truck to his filming set...More

[Orion's Daily Ramblings] OCN's "Mistress" Arriving in April

2018/01/02 | | Permalink

OCN is remaking ABC's "Mistresses" and the why all over my face is truly a breathtaking sight. I have not watched the original UK series or the US remake, but one look at its description and genre makes me wonder how it fits into the OCN pool in general. A soap mystery drama about women in sordid and illicit affairs does sound right up Dramaland alley, on the other hand. Just not OCN...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Argon" Episode 3

2018/01/02 | | Permalink

With the secret plan between Baek-jin and Yeon-hwa to uncover the truth behind the Midtown Mall collapse hitting a slow point, it is time to get familiar with some other members of the "Argon" group. The two leads take on a case from Baek-jin's past that he must solve, the "ugly" and "old" lovebirds have an awkward meeting and the "Argon" underdog above Yeon-hwa gets a hefty dose of reality...More

[Orion's Daily Ramblings] First Teaser Released for "Mystery Queen Season 2"

2018/01/02 | | Permalink

You're probably sick of my excitement for this series and I feel you, but I also feel the pure, unadulterated joy that is the second season of a beloved drama, so I regret nothing! The first teaser has been released for "Mystery Queen Season 2" and while it's more of a concept one than a case of in-drama footage, it does reveal a few interesting things...More

[HanCinema Awards] Best Up-and-Coming Actor of 2017 - And the Winner Is...

2018/01/02 | | Permalink

There is bright new talent on the horizons of dramaland and you have voted for your favorites of 2017. Today we who you chose as the best up-and-coming actor...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Just Between Lovers" Episode 8

2018/01/02 | | Permalink

The literal Korean title of "Just Between Lovers" reads as the space between lovers. It's a very instructive title, because most of what we see really is just Kang-doo and Moon-soo spending time together. They don't necessarily do anything. Interpreted in a purely narrative sense Kang-doo and Moon-soo mostly just run errands. Whether or not they succeed in these errands is sort of besides the point, because no individual errand is all that important...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Jugglers" Episode 10

2018/01/02 | | Permalink

So apparently the sweet spot for Yoon-i and Chi-won is not quite actually in a relationship, since now that they're officially together, we have to endure a secret office romance storyline. That on its own would not be a problem, except that Yoon-i and Chi-won have now become mostly incompetent again. They are so bad at keeping secrets it begs the question of why they bother trying to keep secrets in the first place...More

[Lily's Take] Additional Investigation on "A Korean Odyssey"

Source | 2018/01/02 | | Permalink


The Ministry of Employment and Labor began the additional investigation on drama, "A Korean Odyssey"...More

[Lily's Take] 2PM Unites to Celebrate Ok Taecyeon's First Vacation

Source | 2018/01/02 | | Permalink

To celebrate Ok Taecyeon's first vacation from his military duty, the members of K-pop boy band 2PM had a get together...More

[Lily's Take] Actor Shin Sung-woo Has a Son

Source | 2018/01/02 | | Permalink

Actor Shin Sung-woo confirmed the birth of his first born...More

[HanCinema's Box Office Review] 2017.12.29 - 2017.12.31

2018/01/02 | | Permalink

Local hits "Along With the Gods", "1987" and "Steel Rain" secure 90% of the sales during final weekend...

The last weekend of 2017 saw another massive win for Kim Yong-hwa's "Along With the Gods: The Two Worlds", the first in a series of films adapted from Joo Ho-min's webcomic "Singwa Hamgge". Kim's fantasy drama entered the fray three days before Christmas and found massive support during its first weekend out. Its second weekend out was equally profitably: from 1,666 screens, down from 1,887, "Along With the Gods: The Two Worlds" added another 2.4 million admissions (53.73%) and has raced to become the second highest-grossing film of the year. Currently, Kim's much-anticipated film has grossed $64.2 million (8.5 million admissions)...More

[Orion's Daily Ramblings] Contemplating Drama Sequels

2018/01/01 | | Permalink

A fresh, exclusive Sedaily article reporting news of "Voice Season 2" states the return of Lee Ha-na, but not Jang Hyuk and it made me consider something; when is a sequel necessary, when is a spin-off wiser, and when should a work be left as is? This is something we rarely had to consider before when it came to Korean drama, and the implications of it are worth thinking about and discussing now...More

[Orion's Daily Ramblings] A Sneak Peek Into "Mystery Queen Season 2"

2018/01/01 | | Permalink

Two pictures credited to Kim Hyun-sook's Instagram account have surfaced from what looks like a possible poster or promotional stills making session for the cast of "Mystery Queen Season 2". It's not a lot, but it's enough to get a very desperate fan going and desperate I am. The cast looks lovely and the finger-gun is back, in front of its creator, no less...More

[HanCinema Awards] Happy New Year! Don't Forget to Cast Your Vote for Your 2017 Favorites!

2018/01/01 | | Permalink

Happy New Year, HanCinema Readers! It has been so lovely to take this journey with you through Korean film and K-drama over the course of 2017. Wonderful things have been created, talented actors both new and old have graced our screens, and, of course, a few sad things have weighed on our hearts. With the joys and sorrows of 2017, we forge into 2018. Let's see where the Korean film and K-drama adventure takes us!

Let's not forget about 2017, yet! There are still some categories still open for voting, so be sure to cast your votes...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Just Between Lovers" Episode 7

2018/01/01 | | Permalink

The person who manages Junho's makeup, as well as the person in charge of continuity, are very good at their jobs. That very specific praise is prompted by Kang-doo's facial wounds, which are always changing just slightly from scene-to-scene. They slowly heal over time, but then he gets another one. I'm surprised those specific members of the production team are able to keep the wounds so consistent. It's a thankless job that can be very easily screwed up...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Jugglers" Episode 9

2018/01/01 | | Permalink

In a surprising departure for a narrative that so far has not been taking its work seriously, "Jugglers" actually takes the ramifications of Yoon-i and Chi-won kissing and examines them in a professional context. The effect is rather ironic- Yoon-i and Chi-won are acting far more professionally now than they have been since the earliest episodes. The change is much welcomed, since it allows their romance to progress naturalistically rather than be clumsily forced by narrative turnabouts...More

[Lily's Take] New Year's Greeting from the Stars and All of Us at HanCinema

Source | 2018/01/01 | | Permalink

Goodbye 2017 and hello to 2018! As we greet this New Year with happy smiles, many of our beloved stars like Song Joong-ki and Song Hye-kyo are also sending us their New Year's greetings...More

[Lily's Take] Lee Joon and Jung So-min Are in a Relationship

Source | 2018/01/01 | | Permalink

Actor Lee Joon and actress Jung So-min have confirmed that they are dating...More

[HanCinema Awards] Best Drama OST of 2017 - And the Winner Is...

2017/12/31 | | Permalink

The music sets the tone, rouses the spirits, quickens the blood, and can trigger memory for years to come. It is now time to reveal what you picked as the Best Drama OST of 2017...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Drama Stage - Today I Grab the Tambourine Again"

2017/12/31 | | Permalink

Moon-sook (played by Park Hee-bon) is a bank teller. She doesn't have a full contract yet, but the time is fast approaching when the bank either has to offer Moon-sook a contract or just let her go. Incidentally, Moon-sook goes out with her team every month for a celebratory party at the karaoke bar. While this would be a great time to make a good impression, Moon-sook has no talent for singing. So instead, she takes tambourine classes...More

[Lily's Take] Kwak Do-won and Jung Woo-sung Meet BIGBANG

Source | 2017/12/31 | | Permalink

On January 1st, Jung Woo-sung posted two photos on his official Instagram that were full of happy smiles...More

[Lily's Take] SBS Drama Awards - Ji Sung dedicates his Grand Prize to Uhm Ki-joon

Source | 2017/12/31 | | Permalink

The winner of the 2017 SBS Drama Awards Grand Prize was Ji Sung...More

[Lily's Take] 2017 KBS Drama Awards - The 6 Best Couples

Source | 2017/12/31 | | Permalink

The year of 2017 was full of adorable couples on KBS. A total of 13 nominees were up for the Best Couple Award and the winners were chosen by audience votes on the official 2017 KBS Drama Award website...More

[Lily's Take] SBS Drama Awards - Kim Won-hae's Well-Deserved Award

Source | 2017/12/31 | | Permalink

Actor Kim Won-hae was crowned with Best Supporting Actor Award at 2017 SBS Drama Awards...More

[Lily's Take] Should JTBC Have Their Own Drama Awards?

Source | 2017/12/31 | | Permalink

I would be wonderful if JTBC had their own award ceremony at the end of the year...More

[Lily's Take] Kim Woo-bin's Handwritten Letter to Fans

Source | 2017/12/31 | | Permalink

Actor Kim Woo-bin greeted fans 7 months after news released that he had been diagnosed with nasopharyngeal cancer...More

[Lily's Take] JYJ's Kim Junsu Win Best Musical Actor Award for 4 Consecutive Years

Source | 2017/12/31 | | Permalink

Member of a boy group JYJ and musical actor, Kim Junsu, has received loved from his audiences over the past four years...More

[Lily's Take] K-pop Girl Group miss A: A Retrospective

Source | 2017/12/31 | | Permalink

Famous K-pop girl group miss A announced their disbandment after 7 years in K-pop...More

[Orion's Drama News] Killer Ratings and Returning Mysteries

2017/12/30 | | Permalink

The New Year is upon us and so are a ton of award ceremonies, but Dramaland news are bountiful. Today I take a look at the first teasers for "Misty" and "Return". I also share the casting and photo goodies brought to us by "Mystery Queen Season 2". There are a lot of promising shows coming up in 2018 and my grabby hands are ready...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "Steel Rain"

2017/12/30 | | Permalink

Cheol-woo (played by Jung Woo-sung) is a North Korean tough guy with a secret mission. Cheol-woo quickly realizes, to his horror, that the mission is being witness to a massive terrorist attack that appears to have been coordinated by an American helicopter (!) working together with rogue North Korean military forces. Unsure of who to trust as he tries to salvage the disaster, Cheol-woo's mission takes him deep south, where he ends up meeting the South Korean Cheol-woo (played by Kwak Do-won), who also works in government...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "Very Bad Moon Rising"

2017/12/30 | | Permalink

Don't be caught off guard by the opening title for "Very Bad Moon Rising"- this is indeed a Korean film, even if the starting point is a Japanese experiment. Also don't be fooled by hints that the creepy Japanese head knows what's going on. I didn't know what was going on for most of "Very Bad Moon Rising" and neither did any of the characters. Their job was just to find a random headstone located in the middle of nowhere, a task made very complicated for no good reason...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "The Heartbeat Operator"

2017/12/30 | | Permalink

Hye-eun (played by Lee Yoo-mi) is a teenager who loves Indian culture. It's not clear that Hye-eun actually understands anything about Indian culture, but she's pretty earnest about her daily morning meditation, even if it causes her to chronically be late to everything. Anyway! Hye-eun makes her way to Jeonju University, and quickly develops a huge crush on Seung-bin (played by Yoon Jeong-il), and struggles to win him over with various bad decisions...More

[HanCinema Awards] Best Film of 2017 - And the Winner Is...

2017/12/30 | | Permalink

Thanks to you, our HanCinema readers, we have had a successful HanCinema Awards. Today we begin to reveal your winners, starting with "Best Film of 2017...More

[HanCinema Awards] Only Two Days Left to Vote for Your Favorite Scene Stealer of 2017 - Vote Now!

2017/12/30 | | Permalink

Voting for Scene Stealer in a Drama closes tomorrow, December 31! Currently in the lead is "Goblin", followed by "Suspicious Partner" and "While You Were Sleeping - 2017". Be sure to get your votes in before polls close at midnight Pacific Standard Time! Your favorite movie depends on you...More

[Lily's Take] The 2017 MBC Drama Awards - In Memory of the Stars We Lost

Source | 2017/12/30 | | Permalink

MBC Drama Awards aired a special memorial video for the stars we lost in 2017...More

[Lily's Take] The 2017 MBC Drama Awards - Jo Jung-suk Comes to Hyeri's Rescue

Source | 2017/12/30 | | Permalink

At the 2017 MBC Drama Awards, the leads of the drama "Two Cops", actor Jo Jung-suk and actress Hyeri stepped up to the stage to present the Popularity Awards...More

[Orion's Daily Ramblings] Meet Heo Yool-I in the Second Teaser for "Mother - Drama"

2017/12/29 | | Permalink

We finally get a glimpse at the character of Hye-na for "Mother - Drama" and while it's not a lot to go by, it certainly makes me want to see more of the drama's second main lead. The second teaser progresses the heroine's plan from asking the little girl for her decision to acting on it. We get a repeat of the same words spoken before as their journey begins. "Can you call me mom? I will take you where nobody knows, to a place very far away". ...More

[Orion's Daily Ramblings] "Mystery Queen Season 2" Releases Script Reading Photos

2017/12/29 | | Permalink

Grab a magnifying lens and join me in face spotting, as I want to know anyone and everyone involved with "Mystery Queen Season 2". The series held its first script reading session on the 22nd of this month and my little Ori-heart is so happy to see some of these actors, new and old...More

[Lily's Take] BTOB's Yook Sung-jae Taking a Break Due to Back Injury

Source | 2017/12/29 | | Permalink

Yook Sung-jae is receiving treatment for a back injury...More

[HanCinema Awards] Only Two Days Left to Vote for Your Favorite Drama OST of 2017 - Vote Now!

2017/12/29 | | Permalink

Voting for the Best Drama OST of 2017 closes tomorrow, December 30! Currently in the lead is "Goblin", followed by "Suspicious Partner" and "While You Were Sleeping - 2017". Be sure to get your votes in before polls close at midnight Pacific Standard Time! Your favorite movie depends on you...More

[HanCinema Awards] Best Drama Kiss - Cast Your Vote!

2017/12/29 | | Permalink

It's that time, folks. We're on the last category of the 2017 HanCinema Awards and it's a sexy one: Best Kiss in a 2017 Drama. It's the moment when our couples finally express their feelings for each other in steamy form...More

[Lily's Take] HBO Sends Kim Yoo-jung a Love Call

Source | 2017/12/29 | | Permalink

Actress Kim Yoo-jung received an offer for a role in a US drama...More

[Lily's Take] Yook Sung-jae Reminds Lee Seung-gi of His Younger Self

Source | 2017/12/29 | | Permalink

Recently returned beloved actor and entertainer Lee Seung-gi shared his love for Yook Sung-jae who said Lee Seung-gi is his role model...More

[Lily's Take] Concern over "Something Happened in Bali" Remake

Source | 2017/12/29 | | Permalink

Will drama "Something Happened in Bali" be able to be successfully remade? Will it achieve the same heights as the 2004 original? Fan anticipation and concern is rising...More

[Lily's Take ] An After Party Full of Love for "While You Were Sleeping - 2017"

Source | 2017/12/29 | | Permalink

The cast of the drama "While You Were Sleeping - 2017" maintain their strong friendship after the end of the drama...More

[HanCinema Awards] Best Drama Couple - Cast Your Vote!

2017/12/28 | | Permalink

The year of 2017 has seen some wonderful couples whose chemistry is sizzling and whose relationships draw us in and make us want to cheer for their happiness and success. Now you can choose for your favorite couple of the year out of sixteen amazing pairings...More

[HanCinema Awards] Only Two Days Left to Vote for Your Favorite Film of 2017 - Vote Now!

2017/12/28 | | Permalink

Voting for the Best Film of 2017 closes tomorrow, December 29! Currently in the lead is "A Taxi Driver", followed by "The Battleship Island" and "The King". Be sure to get your votes in before polls close at midnight Pacific Standard Time! Your favorite movie depends on you...More

[Orion's Daily Ramblings] "Children of a Lesser God" Releases Juicy Character Information

2017/12/28 | | Permalink

"Children of a Lesser God" is starting to take shape and we have some goodies since the last time I talked about it. I mentioned Kang Ji-hwan's genius detective before, but it looks like his love for bragging and patronizingly explaining things to others earns him everyone's scorn. There is not a lot of new information on Kim Ok-bin's Kim Dan, but her ability to "see things" is a nice enough hook...More

[Orion's Daily Ramblings] Cryptic Teasers for "Children of a Lesser God"

2017/12/28 | | Permalink

I'm still not sure what to make of the series and some latest information along with these teasers make me wonder how much of a fantasy element there will be in "Children of a Lesser God". These are definitely not the videos I expected from another run of the mill crime show with a supernatural twist, but I'm intrigued and this means that they work...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "I'm Not A Robot" Episodes 15-16

2017/12/28 | | Permalink

Seon-hye (played by Lee Min-ji-I) is Min-gyoo's kissing coach. Also she's Ji-ah's best friend. I'd completely forgotten about that part because Seon-hye has been so prominent in the kissing coach role she hadn't been talking to Ji-ah very much lately. I bet Seon-hye's not even a real kissing coach, everyone is just pretending like she is because Baek-gyoon can't risk bringing someone they can't trust into the conspiracy, even if they have to take Ji-ah's word for it that Seon-hye is on the level...More

[HanCinema Awards] Best Drama - Cast Your Vote!

2017/12/27 | | Permalink

As we near the end of the HanCinema Awards, it's time to introduce the category of "Best Drama". Starting today, December 27th, you have until January 10th to vote for your favorite of the year's top sixteen dramas. From fantasy to time travel to thriller to court room, 2017 has delivered and now it's time to hear what you thought of the year's offerings. Results will be released for each category starting December 30th. And now, let's take a look at the nominees for "Best Drama of 2017...More

[Orion's Daily Ramblings] Couple Chemistry in "A Midsummer's Memory"

2017/12/27 | | Permalink

The ex-and-maybe-future couple of "A Midsummer's Memory" get some romantic bonding stills his week and they are screaming OTP-baiting. Knowing the premise of the drama about a lonely 37-year-old woman reuniting with her ex, I'm guessing said baiting plans to deliver...More

[Orion's Daily Ramblings] "Mystery Queen Season 2" Confirms Kim Won-hae, Min Sung-wook, Kim Min-sang-I and Kim Jong-soo

2017/12/27 | | Permalink

A cast after my own heart. After confirming Kim Tae-woo as Wan-seung's brother, "Mystery Queen Season 2" decided that we just don't have enough lovely gentlemen for the series and decided to go on an ajeossi casting spree. We're still criminally short on ladies and I ache to see some more favorites from "Mystery Queen", but I'll just enjoy all of these latest additions and hope for equal greatness on that front...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "I'm Not a Robot" Episodes 13-14

2017/12/27 | | Permalink

I had forgotten, until Min-gyoo decided to research the subject, that AZ3 "learns" how to mimic human behavior by watching movies, as well as the nerdy scientist team. This is an obviously ridiculous design feature to the point that it breaks the willing suspension of disbelief. And I'm not referring to myself. Min-gyoo is the one who starts to feel increasing doubt about the entire AZ3 project. That Baek-gyoon's team has decided to let their guard down now all of all times does not help matters...More

[Lily's Take] Song Joong-ki and Junho's Unexpected Friendship

Source | 2017/12/27 | | Permalink

Actor and 2PM member Junho shared the news of the snack truck sent by fellow actor Song Joong-ki...More

[HanCinema's Box Office Review] 2017.12.22 - 2017.12.24

2017/12/27 | | Permalink

Local webtoon adaptation steals Christmas...

Kim Yong-hwa's fantasy drama "Along With the Gods: The Two Worlds" triumphed over the Christmas weekend in Korea, and it is already the seventh highest-grossing film of the year. Kim's 5th feature claimed 61.84% of the box office pie (2.7 million admissions) from 1,884 screens, more than triple that of its closest competitor and last weekend's number one, "Steel Rain"...More

[HanCinema Awards] Best Actor in a Drama - Cast Your Vote!

2017/12/26 | | Permalink

The leading man in a drama is the left hand to a leading actress' right in dramaland. He infuses a drama with charisma, energy, sensitivity, and a deep understanding of character and plot. The year of 2017 has seen many leading man who embody these qualities, but now its time for you to choose your favorites from December 26th to January 9th...More

[Orion's Daily Ramblings] Kim Tae-woo Joins "Mystery Queen Season 2"

2017/12/26 | | Permalink

As I've been lamenting the lack of "kimtaewooness" that was "Black", Dramaland brings up Kim Tae-woo's casting in the sequel of a personal favorite of mine this year, "Mystery Queen". The actor has been cast in "Mystery Queen Season 2" and he is connected to the character of Ha Wan-seung, played by Kwon Sang-woo...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "A Korean Odyssey" Episode 2

2017/12/26 | | Permalink

The plot thickens and by that I mean the new ways in which every character here tries to backstab one another. This is the only story to speak of at the moment and while the romance is apparently getting started, we still do not know what role Seon-mi's existence as Sam Jang will play. "A Korean Odyssey" (also known as "Hwayugi) is fun in a cheesy way, but we need more story and it has to come soon...More

[Orion's Daily Ramblings] Lee Bo-young's Soo-jin in Her Element for "Mother - Drama"

2017/12/26 | | Permalink

New stills of Lee Bo-young have been released from "Mother - Drama", showing her character in her original comfort zone. Soo-jin is an expert researcher of migratory birds and while we have seen the character in her capacity as a teacher, that is only a substitute gig that the heroine is not very keen on...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Just Between Lovers" Episode 6

2017/12/26 | | Permalink

There's a common trope in a lot of romances where the male lead, in the name of defending the female lead's honor, will react violently or at least with implied violence to some form of verbal slight. "Just Between Lovers" is not satisfied with merely following genre conventions though. We get that scene here, and far from feeling at all chivalrous, the outburst is just emblematic of Kang-doo's rage issues. The moment is explicitly frightening, and it's surprising Moon-soo doesn't just ditch him right there...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Jugglers" Episode 8

2017/12/26 | | Permalink

After his humiliation at the Best Boss Awards, Chi-won is understandably upset and not in the mood to talk to Yoon-i about information she should never have known about in the first place. Unfortunately Chi-won is so understandably upset I had a very hard time empathizing with Yoon-i's position. Chi-won is Yoon-i's boss. If he doesn't want to talk to her, that's it. As a professional I would expect Yoon-i to know better...More

[Lily's Take] Lee Byung-hun Is Disappointed When People Don't Recognize Him

Source | 2017/12/26 | | Permalink

When people don't recognize him, Actor Lee Byung-hun gets disappointed...More

[HanCinema Awards] Best Actress in a Drama - Cast Your Vote!

2017/12/25 | | Permalink

Leading ladies are the heart of K-dramas. A strong actress can carry a drama from beginning to end and 2017 had more than its fair share of talented women, making it a rich year for the leading ladies. Vote for your favorite leading lady from December 25th to January 8th! Results for all categories will be released beginning on December 30th...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "A Korean Odyssey" Episode 1

2017/12/25 | | Permalink

It has been a while since the Hong sisters were in any way exciting and while "A Korean Odyssey" (also known as "Hwayugi") is not exactly wowing with its first episode, the drama presents the workings of what could be a really fun story. We have a case of every man and beastie for themselves, as we meet a lot of characters, none of them anything but self-serving and with some pretty hefty behavioral and personality issues. I pity our heroine already...More

[Orion's Daily Ramblings] Chu Hun-yub Joins Netflix's "Kingdom"

2017/12/25 | | Permalink

We still don't have a lot of information on "Kingdom" or Chu Hun-yub's newly announced inclusion, but the actor will be part of the drama about a zombie outbreak during the Joseon dynasty...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Argon" Episode 2

2017/12/25 | | Permalink

After a powerful start, "Argon" takes a little step back and an even more sombre look into how morality and principles are challenged in systems that rely on strict hierarchal rules, cronyism and a work culture of underhanded pleasantries. Yeon-hwa's own contract continues to be scrutinized, but it is our hero who has to make tough choices this time. The truth is important, but choosing strangers over loved ones is not easy...More

[Orion's Daily Ramblings] Kim Yewon and Lee Jae-kyoon Join "Fighter Choi Kang-soon"

2017/12/25 | | Permalink

I wanted more information on "Drama Stage - Fighter Choi Kang-soon" and we got some, along with the casting of Kim Yewon and Lee Jae-kyoon. The drama centers around the titular Choi Kang-soon (Kang Ye-won), an office worker with a strong sense of justice. It looks like this will be about women being treated unfairly in the workplace, so that's a very interesting and timely topic...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Just Between Lovers" Episode 5

2017/12/25 | | Permalink

Kang-doo's meltdown at the construction site, provoked by a random boot, of all things, is the first time we've ever seen Kang-doo get worked up over an emotion that's not righteous indignation. Kang-doo is legitimately scary in this scene. Additionally, as seen from the vantage point of Moon-soo, a fellow survivor with much better emotional control, Kang-doo's actions are much more difficult to justify. It turns out, guilt is the big factor...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Jugglers" Episode 7

2017/12/25 | | Permalink

Other characters are curiously oblivious to Chi-won's motives, even when he's explaining them pretty explicitly. Chi-won doesn't like it when people harass his secretary. Chi-won probably doesn't like it when any of his subordinates are harassed, really, yet Mr. Bong and Chang-soo both get extended sequences where they are confused as to why Chi-won is singling them out for rough treatment when all they did was make Yoon-i severely uncomfortable...More

[HanCinema Awards] Best Historical Drama of 2017 - Cast Your Vote!

2017/12/24 | | Permalink

The sageuk, or historical drama, is one of the earliest forms of Korean drama and the basis for what we know and love. Over the years it has evolved to include all sorts of fusion such as fantasy and time travel elements. The year of 2017 saw quite a few wonderful sageuk. Vote for your favorite of this year's historical dramas from December 24 to January 7. Results for all categories will be released starting on December 30...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Cinema Snippets

2017/12/24 | | Permalink

KoBiz's latest infographic tracks the box office success of Korea's three "Pororo" films, Pierce Conran reviews Yang Woo-seok's "Steel Rain" on Modern Korean Cinema, these were the top stories and trends in Korea's film industry in 2017, and "Steel Rain" actor Jung Woo-sung talks about his role as a North Korean official with The Korea Herald...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Food Lovers' Lane

2017/12/24 | | Permalink

Korea Expose lists their top must-eats in South Korea, My Korean Kitchen has eleven delicious suggestions for celebrating New Year in K-style, Channel News Asia explores the local delights of the three host cities ahead of the Winter Games, and get a glimpse of the largest Starbucks branch the Land of the Morning Calm has ever seen...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Travel Bug Bites

2017/12/24 | | Permalink

A promotional video from Gangwon Province reveals the stunning sights and flavours of the region, discover the pleasures of Korea's many beautiful gardens and landscapes through Lonely Planet, the government rolls out special passes just ahead of the Winter Games in February, and The Korea Times puts a new hotel in Seoul in the spotlight...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Culture Corner

2017/12/24 | | Permalink

The BBC explores how the South Korean language was designed to unify, Korea Expose looks at why South Korea became so rich, learn how American Spam become a luxury gift following the Korean War, and can South Korea learn anything from North Korea?...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Photography and Art

2017/12/24 | | Permalink

The Haslla Art World Museum Hotel is the perfect stay for vacationing art lovers, Roy Cruz captures the beautiful Naejang Mountain during autumn, a new book details the artistic adventures of Kim Miru, and see why one Spanish illustrator's K-inspired works are striking a chord with locals...More

[Orion's Drama News] Cohabitations and Holiday Creeps

2017/12/23 | | Permalink

Trends, trends, trends everywhere! As we look to the holiday season and beyond, the dramas of 2018 pop around the corner to give us a glimpse of what the first season will be like. The latest trend is share houses and we have three shows coming up with the theme. "A Korean Odyssey" premieres today as well, so I am juggling my decisions and getting into the hype. Have a great holiday and drama season, folks...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Argon" Episode 1

2017/12/23 | | Permalink

"Argon" is here to destroy any faith in mainstream journalism that you may have been holding onto while exploring workplace and hierarchy dynamics as well as the personal consequences and triumphs of a very demanding job. The series is fast-paced and so far focuses more on its leading man, but there are characters around with solid potential. Step into the daily grind of reporting...More

[HanCinema Awards] Best Actor in a Film for 2017 - Cast Your Vote! + Movie Giveaway

2017/12/23 | | Permalink

The leading men have been strong in 2017. Globetrotters and national favorites, this year has seen a variety of talent capable of helming films for years to come. Vote for your favorite leading man from December 23 to January 6. Results for all categories will release beginning December 30...More

[HanCinema Awards] Best Actress in a Film for 2017 - Cast Your Vote! + Movie Giveaway

2017/12/23 | | Permalink

Competition in 2017 between the talented leading ladies in film was fierce. From action to romance to thrillers, Korean actresses pulled out all the stops, delivering excellent performances and winning accolades domestically and abroad. You can vote from December 23 to January 6 on the nominees for Best Actress. Results for all categories will begin to release on December 30...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Drama Stage - The Picnic Day"

2017/12/23 | | Permalink

Don't be fooled by the innocuous title. "Drama Stage - The Picnic Day" is a surprisingly bleak drama wrapped up in pleasant sounding euphemisms. That much is obvious once we realize that the titular Picnic Day refers, not to actual picnics, but to a company that cleans up rooms where people have died- sometimes by natural causes, sometimes not. The main issue for most of the employees at Picnic Day is the rancid smell they have to deal with in the worst rooms...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "The Namesake"

2017/12/23 | | Permalink

Ryeon-hee (played by Lee Sang-hee-IV) is an older middle-aged woman who works the miserable night shift at a convenience store. Ryeon-hee is very cold emotionally, and her behavior hints at an unhappy backstory. But then, we can tell right away that Ryeon-hee is a North Korean defector because her name is written according to North Korean spelling conventions- it would be rendered in South Korean spelling conventions as Yeon-hee...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "Pororo, Dinosaur Island Adventure"

2017/12/23 | | Permalink

So apparently in the world of the lovable little penguin Pororo (voiced by Lee Seon), there is a dinosaur island. On its face this isn't really surprising, since Pororo's best buddy Krong (voiced by Lee Mi-ja) is a dinosaur, whose origin has never been explained. Alas, those of you hoping that "Pororo, Dinosaur Island Adventure" would be Krong's origin story will be disappointed. Although Krong has (presumably) never seen other dinosaurs before, the existence of an entire dinosaur kingdom passes without commentary...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "The Chase"

2017/12/23 | | Permalink

The South Korean suicide rate is top-heavy to the older part of the population. Elderly people in South Korea frequently suffer depression due to middling contact with their families and financial issues relating to housing controls. I bring this cultural context up because "The Chase" starts out with elderly serial murder victims being misidentified as suicides, which is kind of counter-intuitive without said context...More

[Orion's Daily Ramblings] The Disappointing Men and the Stunning Poster of "A Midsummer's Memory"

2017/12/22 | | Permalink

Oh you know I love me some good design and the poster for Choi Kang-hee's "A Midsummer's Memory" is absolutely lovely. It's not original in any way, this composition is actually pretty easy to find in works, but it really does suit a piece about a woman feeling lonely in a busy world...More

[Orion's Daily Ramblings] Ko Sung-hee and Son Seok-koo as Trouble Duo in "Mother - Drama"

2017/12/22 | | Permalink

We're expanding our look into the cast of "Mother - Drama" twofold this week, as we get stills of Ko Sung-hee ("While You Were Sleeping - 2017", "My Beautiful Bride") as Hye-na's negligent mother as well as casting information for Son Seok-koo as the mother's boyfriend...More

[HanCinema Awards] Best Secondary Drama Couples of 2017 - Cast Your Vote!

2017/12/22 | | Permalink

The main romance of a K-drama is the heart of dramaland, but luckily for us, the secondary couples can be just as winning, adorable, and squee-worthy, adding to the wonderful experience of drama-watching. Which of these couples made your hearts beat? Vote for your favorite secondary couples from December 22 to January 5! And, without further ado, let's dive into the cutest of the secondary couples of 2017...More

[Orion's Daily Ramblings] Jang Dong-gun and Park Hyung-sik's "Suits" Planning an April Premiere

2017/12/21 | | Permalink

I know many dread remakes, especially of multi-season shows, but the choo choo that is "Suits" is moving along and aiming for an April premiere. The series is looking to the timeslot after "Black Knight" and "Mystery Queen Season 2" for its upcoming home and that leaves plenty of time for casting and other news, as well as production...More

[Orion's Daily Ramblings] Kim Hyun-sook In, Oh Min-suk and Lee Da-hee Considering "Mystery Queen Season 2"

2017/12/21 | | Permalink

This is the problem with attachment, folks. It splits your thinking in two. On one hand, I'm glad that we may get fresh faces for a fresh story in "Mystery Queen Season 2". On the other, I want to see Lee Won-geun, Park Joon-geum, Ahn Kil-kang and everyone else return as the characters I love so much...More

[HanCinema Awards] Drama - Scene Stealers of 2017 - Cast Your Vote!

2017/12/21 | | Permalink

This year has been hot with amazing dramas. Strong leads and strong stories guide them. And every once and a while, a drama has something extra special: a scene stealer. A person who is so exceptional on screen that one can't help but be riveted by his or her performance. The year of 2017 has seen quite a few of these amazing actors so without further ado, let's check out the captivating nominees...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "I'm Not a Robot" Episodes 11-12

2017/12/21 | | Permalink

Obviously sincere though Min-gyoo's efforts may be toward trying to make up with Baek-gyoon's team so that he can hold on to the medical miracle that is AZ3, he still constantly fails basic social tasks. Note how Min-gyoo can't remember the names of any of Baek-gyoo's assistants. Which is fine, really, I can't remember them either. Actually I'm pretty sure we've only ever heard them referred to by ridiculous-sounding nicknames, further mitigating the severity of Min-gyoo's failure...More

[Orion's Daily Ramblings] First Heartbreaking Teaser for Lee Bo-young's "Mother - Drama"

2017/12/20 | | Permalink

The series hasn't even started and I am in the most wonderful pain over the first video look into "Mother - Drama". The teaser reveals the premise of a desperate teacher's kidnapping in the best way possible; it presents the words directed at the very child whose life is being changed, Hye-na (Heo Yool-I)...More

[Orion's Daily Ramblings] First Teaser and Lee Joon-hyuk Stills for "A Midsummer's Memory"

2017/12/20 | | Permalink

The upcoming two-episode drama "A Midsummer's Memory" has dropped its first teaser and things are looking pretty grim for our heroine's relationship prospects. Han  Yeo-reum (Choi Kang-hee) has a few men in her life and from the school sweetheart to the one rejecting commitment, I can see why she would be somewhat frustrated over her dating luck...More

[HanCinema Awards] Best Up-and-Coming Drama Actors of 2017 - Cast Your Vote!

2017/12/20 | | Permalink

Each year we see fresh new talent and young one's rise the depths of the unknown into stardom. These young ones have tackled some amazing roles in 2017 and we can't wait to see more from these rising talents...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "I'm Not a Robot" Episodes 9-10

2017/12/20 | | Permalink

So upon further consideration I really don't like Ri-el. Granted, Ri-iel doesn't have much more screentime here than she did last time, but I see now that this is more a factor of her personality than it is the screenwriting. Ri-el is just a very curt, unsentimental person by nature. After what happened last time she saw Min-gyoo, I'm a little dumbfounded that the first words out of her mouth here weren't hey, are you OK, because last time we met you looked like you were about to die...More

[Orion's Daily Ramblings] Expensive Decor and Monkey Business in "A Korean Odyssey" Character Posters

2017/12/19 | | Permalink

I wasn't planning on talking about "A Korean Odyssey" (also known as "Hwayugi") much before its premiere date, but the newly released character posters entertain me greatly. I do love me a simple, yet effective visual concept and this is what these little glimpses into the characters manage to be...More

[Orion's Daily Ramblings] Choi Kang-hee's "A Midsummer's Memory"

2017/12/19 | | Permalink

If you've missed the queen of "Mystery Queen" as much as I have, then rejoice! We get a glimpse of her in a new two-episode project before the year's end. Choi Kang-hee plays Han Yeo-reum (the name itself means midsummer), a radio show writer approaching her 40s and rediscovering love in quite an awkward setting through her currently airing show...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Just Between Lovers" Episode 4

2017/12/19 | | Permalink

After a lot of false starts Moon-soo and Kang-doo are finally starting to spend a lot more time with each other. I like how, even though "Just Between Lovers" has an obviously contrived situation designed to reunite them, it still takes a lot of prodding to get them to willingly spend time together. Moon-soo and Kang-doo are fundamentally suspicious people and more than a desire for companionship, it's burning curiousity about that song which ultimately compels Moon-soo to search Kang-doo out...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Jugglers" Episode 6

2017/12/19 | | Permalink

Chang-soo (played by Min Jin-woong) is Yoon-i's ex-boyfriend. No, he's not the ex-boyfriend that abandoned her at the hotel in the first episode. That guy was a jerk, too, but his presence would at least have presented an interesting conflict about how Yoon-i's dedication to work has had deleterious effects on her social life. His presence would have been especially relevant in light of the fake news about Yoon-i being romantically involved with Mr. Bong, since that would have given him a valid reason to break up with Yoon-i...More

[HanCinema Awards] HanCinema's Top Drama Picks of 2017 - Cast Your Vote!

2017/12/19 | | Permalink

It's been a great year for dramas and we at HanCinema have gotten to enjoy many of them. We watch, review, analyze, follow news, read your reactions, and enjoy the fruits of dramaland. During all the time we spend in dramaland, a few 2017 dramas have spoken to each of us personally. William, our resident film and drama critic; Orion, our drama reviewer, news hoarder, and daily rambler; and me, Lisa, your friendly managing editor, have all gathered to share our favorite dramas of the year. Let's check out which dramas we each picked as our top two and then we'd love to hear about yours...More

[HanCinema Awards] HanCinema's Top Film Picks - Cast Your Vote! and Movie Giveaway

2017/12/19 | | Permalink

By the end of the year there is such a colorful array of films to choose from and this year, the HanCinema staff has tackled much of what has hit the silver screen. We've chosen our favorites of the year and want to hear what yours are as well...More

[Orion's Daily Ramblings] Kim Jung-hyun, Lee Yi-Kyung and Son Seung-won Join "Laughter in Waikiki"

2017/12/18 | | Permalink

The upcoming jTBC sitcom drama about a trio of unfortunate young men running a guesthouse named "Waikiki" has finally found its aforementioned trio of unfortunates. Kim Jung-hyun, Lee Yi-kyung and Son Seung-won will be the entrepreneurs-by-force as they meet new tenants while chasing their dreams...More

[Orion's Daily Ramblings] Han Seo-jin-I Cast as Kim Ok-bin's Child Counterpart in "Children of a Lesser God"

2017/12/18 | | Permalink

It looks like "Children of a Lesser God" will be taking a little trip into our leading characters' past, as actress Han Seo-jin-I has been cast to play the young counterpart of Kim Ok-bin's detective, Kim Dan. The young actress has been in works such "Goblin", "Missing You - 2016" and the now airing "Just Between Lovers"...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Just Between Lovers" Episode 3

2017/12/18 | | Permalink

Joo-won (played by Lee Ki-woo) is the manager for operations on the big construction job that Moon-soo and Kang-doo are attached to. He's also the second male lead alternative love interest for Moon-soo. His role there is somewhat ambiguous. While Joo-won is painstakingly nice, and compassionate about any problems affecting Moon-soo directly, he never does anything especially constructive (hoho) about the foundational issues of the project. This has always been the case whether the issue has been shady financial backing or cutting corners on workplace safety...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Jugglers" Episode 5

2017/12/18 | | Permalink

Bo-yool (played by Lee Won-geun) is the boss of the sports department of the big corporation where everyone works. As usual I'm not at all sure what Bo-yool's job actually is. All I know is that he acts in a constant childish jovial manner and even has child-sized arcade cabinets in his office. Also, Jeong-ae has become his secretary, despite the obvious mismatch in their personalities. Well, actually, it would be more accurate to say that they're too well-matched, on account of their both having frivolous personalities...More

[Lily's Take] Taeyang and Min Hyo-rin To Wed

Source | 2017/12/18 | | Permalink

BIGBANG's Taeyang announced his marriage with actress Min Hyo-rin on his official Instagram account...More

[HanCinema's Box Office Review] 2017.12.15 - 2017.12.17

2017/12/18 | | Permalink

"The Last Jedi" no match for timely "Steel Rain"...

In December 2013, Yang Woo-seok's debut film "The Attorney" was released and went on to earn just over $88 million (12.1 million admissions). Now, almost exactly four years later, Yang's second feature, "Steel Rain" (starring Jung Woo-sung and Kwak Do-won), has entered the fray in front, easily outplaying the much-anticipated "Star Wars: The Last Jedi"...More

[HanCinema Awards] Best Drama Villain of 2017 - Cast Your Vote! + Poster Giveaway

2017/12/17 | | Permalink

An excellent drama villain is just as important as a winning hero or heroine. He or she helps to shape the life of a drama, reaching out and ensnaring hearts with inspired hatred, pity, and confusion. The year of 2017 saw some wonderful villains, deadly and manipulative, pitiable and terrifying, and it saw even great actors, young and old, who played them convincingly. Vote for your favorite villain from December 17 to December 31! Results for all categories will be revealed beginning December 30.

Don't forget to enter to win a "Splash Splash Love" poster at the bottom of this post...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Cinema Snippets

2017/12/17 | | Permalink

Christopher Weatherspoon looks at how successful Korean comedies are able to tickle funny bones around the world, Pierce Conran (Modern Korean Cinema) lists his top ten films of the year, KoBiz's latest infographic charts four of year's best horrors, and Soompi thinks these seven Korean films would make for wonderful dramas too...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Food Lovers' Lane

2017/12/17 | | Permalink

Holly goes beyond kimchee with her latest soup recipe, The Korea Herald has this great guide to Korean specialities found at 'tented bars' (pojangmacha), Chinese royal cuisine comes to the capital, and explore Korean Bapsang for a list of delicious vegetarian dishes you can make at home...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Travel Bug Bites

2017/12/17 | | Permalink

Hwacheon's Ice-Fishing Festival is one of the "Seven Wonders of Winter", flag these 10 Korean international festivals taking place in 2018, 10 Magazine lists Korea's top skiing and snowboarding destinations, and thousands visit the DMZ to see this "living vestige" of the Cold War era...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Culture Corner

2017/12/17 | | Permalink

Korea Expose explores some of the overarching sentiments of North Korean defectors about their new lives, learn more about North Korean culture through its soap operas, older women-younger men relationships are becoming more preferred, and why do so many couples in South Korea enjoying dressing in matching outfits?...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Photography and Art

2017/12/17 | | Permalink

Quartz reviews a new book about graphic designs in North Korea, the medal designs for the upcoming Winter Paralympics are revealed, Seoul lights up for the holiday season, and see (but don't eat) Jae Yong Kim beautiful ceramic donuts...More

[Orion's Drama News] Synthetics and Beasties

2017/12/16 | | Permalink

With the year nearly at its end, new drama concepts and trends are emerging for 2018. Artificial intelligence and science-fiction may just be getting their chance beyond romancing robots and "Alhambra: Memories of the Kingdom" certainly sounds interesting on paper. We are also one week away from the premiere of "A Korean Odyssey", so we get to enjoy a barrage of promotional goodies...More

[HanCinema's Drama Preview] "A Korean Odyssey"

2017/12/16 | | Permalink

An umbrella wielding Oh Yeon-seo is here to lead her group of merry deities to an adventure in the latest work by Hong Jeong-eun and Hong Mi-ran. "A Korean Odyssey" promises supernatural shenanigans, clashing forces and romance this December. Are the Hongs back? Really back? I sure hope so...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Drama Stage - The History of Walking Upright"

2017/12/16 | | Permalink

Mi-na (played by Kang Mina) is a normal high school student who skatesboards to school every day and has an unacknowledged crush on family friend slash local tennis star Jong-min (played by Byeon Woo-seok), who is her fellow student. Also Mi-na has the superpower to turn invisible twice a day. You would think that's the most important part of her characterization but no, "Drama Stage - The History of Walking Upright" is actually a pretty mundane high school romance with a pretty weird gimmick for no obvious reason...More

[HanCinema Awards] Best Drama OST of 2017 - Cast Your Vote!

2017/12/16 | | Permalink

Music has the power to make you recall your favorite kiss, emotional beat, character, or scene, even if you only hear a few notes of the song. That's the reason why K-drama OSTs are so important. When certain music plays, you know something is going to happen. In honor of the power of the drama OST, we bring you this newest category. You can vote for your favorites from December 16 to December 30! Results for all categories will be revealed beginning December 30...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Lookout" Episodes 15-16

2017/12/16 | | Permalink

Bo-mi takes front and center as she tries to reclaim her life. She tries to do it alone, which is how she's been living, but finds that she has people who have her back...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "Forgotten"

2017/12/16 | | Permalink

Back in 1997 Jin-seok (played by Kang Ha-neul) is a young man who leads a generally idyllic existence with his family. But lately, something seems off. It starts with the nightmares- these horrific, abstract images that feel familiar yet come out of nowhere. Then the new house itself starts to give Jin-seok the creeps, with its odd noises behind that one suspicious door. It's only a matter of time before Jin-seok's paranoia extends to consider direct human causes as well...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "Journey to My Boy"

2017/12/16 | | Permalink

Bo-hyeon (played by Kim Eun-joo-II) is a deaf interpretative dancer. She's married to Seong-rak (played by Seo Sung-gwang), a deaf gardener. For the sake of their careers, Bo-hyeon and Seong-rak entrusted their son Won-hyo (played by Lee Ro-woon) to Seong-rak's mother (played by Kim Kyeong-ae). Now that Won-hyo is old enough to be going to school, Bo-hyeon and Seong-rak feel like they can step in as parents again, but there's a pretty big problem. Won-hyo can hear, and he does not know sign language...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "Romans 8:37"

2017/12/16 | | Permalink

While "Romans 8:37" concerns itself almost exclusively with misdeeds inside a fictional South Korean megachurch it is not a movie about how Christianity is bad. In an unusual approach for the sensational exposé genre of film, "Romans 8:37" centers its revelations around Gi-seop (played by Lee Hyun-ho), a devout member of the church involved in the political battle through which the revelations emerge. For all this, Gi-seop does not lose faith. But he does waver. Oh how he ever wavers...More

[Orion's Daily Ramblings] Lee Jong-hyuk, Oh Yoon-ah, Lee Moon-shik and More for "539 Yeonnam-dong"

2017/12/15 | | Permalink

Yesterday was the day of a massive casting update for "539 Yeonnam-dong". The series has cast Lee Jong-hyuk, Go Na-eun, Choi Woo-hyuk-II and Yang Jeong-won, who will be joining Oh Yoon-ah and Lee Moon-shik. "539 Yeonnam-dong" is an episodic drama about the tenants of a share house in Yeonnam-dong. Each episode of the drama will a different story, so it looks ripe for an ensemble cast and cameos...More

[Orion's Daily Ramblings] Lee Hye-young-I Returns With "Mother - Drama" After 7 Years

2017/12/15 | | Permalink

Two new stills along with a little bit of character information have come out for the role of Lee Hye-young-I in "Mother - Drama" and I am intrigued to see how her character is handled by the creators, but also how the actress tackles her. With 36 years of acting experience on her, I have a feeling we will be in for a very interesting mother to our titular mother...More

[HanCinema Awards] Best Film of 2017 - Cast Your Vote!

2017/12/15 | | Permalink

Cinema in South Korea is busier than ever, with faces new and old and quite a few globetrotters that made notable appearances on the international scene in 2017. From December 15 to December 29 you can vote for your favorite film of 2017. Results for all categories will be revealed beginning December 30...More

[Orion's Daily Ramblings] Confusing News About Hwang Jung-eum and "Sketch - Drama"

2017/12/14 | | Permalink

There was a bit of a common kerfuffle in entertainment news yesterday, as a media outlet released news of actress Hwang Jung-eum making her much awaited return in the drama "Sketch - Drama". The actress' agency, C-JeS Entertainment, almost immediately released a statement saying that this is only one of the work offers she had received. Other news say she has declined, as far as I can tell...More

[Orion's Daily Ramblings] Park Byung-eun Joins Choi Kang-hee, Kwon Sang-woo for "Mystery Queen Season 2"

2017/12/14 | | Permalink

Bring them back! Bring them all back! Actor Park Byung-eun ("This Life Is Our First Life", "The Mayor") has been confirmed to reprise his role as Chief Inspector Woo Seong-ha for the second season of "Mystery Queen". This makes him the third confirmed name for "Mystery Queen Season 2" aside from the two leads, Choi Kang-hee and Kwon Sang-woo...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "I'm Not a Robot" Episodes 7-8

2017/12/14 | | Permalink

Ri-el (played by Hwang Seung-eon) is Min-gyoo's childhood friend and presumed alternate love interest. She has very little screentime. Her only new scene is suspiciously cut short right before she's about to say something important. So Ri-el's main contribution to the story so far is that she provokes one of Min-gyoo's attacks, which leads him into flashback mode detailing his generally horrible backstory that explains, among other things, where Min-gyoo's psychomatic skin condition comes from...More

[Orion's Daily Ramblings] Kang Ji-hwan and Kim Ok-bin Confirm "Children of a Lesser God"

2017/12/13 | | Permalink

Now this is more of an Ori-work and the casting makes me happy beyond words. Previously teased main duo for OCN's latest crime thriller have now confirmed their appearances and "Children of a Lesser God" will be with us on February 2018. The drama features two clashing personalities working together to solve crime...More

[Orion's Daily Ramblings] Joo Sang-wook Leads Drama "Grand Prince"

2017/12/13 | | Permalink

More great news for the father-to-be (congratulations!) come in the form of a much awaited confirmation. It seems that Joo Sang-wook will be gracing our screens as the titular prince for the TV Chosun drama "Grand Prince".

The character is not a happy or nice one at all, however. Despite being the Grand Prince, the man is overshadowed by his Crown Prince (set to inherit the throne) brother and his bright younger brother...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "I'm Not a Robot" Episodes 5-6

2017/12/13 | | Permalink

We still have so few characters that most of the jokes are just a variation on how Min-gyoo is too dumb to realize that Ji-ah is not a robot. Honestly, I'm surprised that I haven't gotten completely sick of that yet. Maybe it's just the way Yoo Seung-ho plays Min-gyoo so sincerely, his stupidity is actually mostly pretty believable. The things Min-gyoo believes a robot can do are just so ridiculously inconsistent, yet we can see in his warped mind that there is a consistent logic to his assumptions...More

[Orion's Daily Ramblings] "A Korean Odyssey" Drops a Ton of Promotional Goodies

2017/12/12 | | Permalink

Aside from Cha Seung-won turning into a talent show judge, we have character descriptions for many a new face from "A Korean Odyssey". Yoon Dae-sik (Jang Gwang) is a top conglomerate CEO, but his wealth does not change the fact that he is a loyal subordinate of Son Oh-gong (Lee Seung-gi) who enjoys taking care of his boss by doing household chores for him. Sung Ji-roo plays Master Soo Bo-ri, a teacher of martial arts to Oh-gong and a friend to the Bull Demon King...More

[Orion's Daily Ramblings] Ha Joon Joins "Drama Stage - The Woman Who Makes the Last Meal"

2017/12/12 | | Permalink

Actor Ha Joon ("The Outlaws", "Six Flying Dragons") has joined Jo Yeo-jung in this one-shot about a woman who cooks the last meals for death row inmates and a man who is unclear on his circumstances as one. The actor will be playing the inmate, whose mental illness causes a lapse of memory about his current situation...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Revenge Note" Episodes 8-10

2017/12/12 | | Permalink

So it turns out that Goo-joon does serve at least one important role in "Revenge Note"- he's the best friend of Cha Eun-woo. Who's Cha Eun-woo? Why, he's a singer in the boy band Astro, which happens to be the same boy band that Deok-hee and her mom (played by Park Kyung-rim) are totally obsessed with. So Deok-hee is naturally a little miffed to learn that apparently Goo-hee has pretty much always been on a first name basis with Cha Eun-woo, inspiring a fairly dramatic split...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Just Between Lovers" Episode 2

2017/12/12 | | Permalink

Director Kim Jin-won-I has this fantastic talent for creating dramatic tension in flashbacks where, logically, there should not be any dramatic tension. We know what happened in the accident and that appearances to the contrary, it did not kill either Kang-doo or Moon-soo. Of course, they know that too. They can probably tell when they're dreaming, too. That doesn't make the trauma of those memories any less real - especially not the feeling that they caused the tragedy, somehow...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Jugglers" Episode 4

2017/12/12 | | Permalink

Chi-won has this habit of quickly getting annoyed with people and promptly ending conversations before they've even really started. Narrative-wise this habit is frustrating, since it prevents Chi-won from getting involved with any kind of actual plot. But at the same time it's actually fairly refreshingly comical to watch a hero be completely immune to the villain's various schemes because the villain is such an obvious dork that listening to them at all is obviously a total waste of time...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Black" Episode 18 Final

2017/12/11 | | Permalink

The much dreaded ending of another Choi Ran-I work has come and if I can give "Black" credit for something, that would be persistence in tackling whatever it does choose to tackle until the end. We get more answers than expected in the final episode and some are highly satisfying. Others are confusing and remain as plot holes. Sadly, the ending itself undoes a lot of the good in "Black"...More

[Orion's Daily Ramblings] First Stills of Lee Bo-young in "Mother - Drama"

2017/12/11 | | Permalink

At long last, we get our first peek into the Korean remake for a beloved Japanese drama and it's amazing how simply looking at a solid actress can get one's excitement going. Lee Bo-young ("Whisper", "God's Gift - 14 Days") is pictured as the seemingly cool and collected temp school teacher, Nam Soo-jin. Despite her cold appearance, the heroine connects with a student name Hye-na...More

[Orion's Daily Ramblings] Kim Hyun-joo and Kim Kang-woo Considering "My Husband Oh Jak-doo"

2017/12/11 | | Permalink

Kim Hyun-joo ("Fantastic", "I Have a Lover") and Kim Kang-woo ("Circle", "Goodbye Mr. Black") are considering weekend drama "My Husband Oh Jak-doo", which has also been courting Han Sunhwa ("Boy and Girl From the 20th Century", "School 2017") as its lead recently. This is the kind of casting which makes a drama fan's heart flutter, although no confirmation means that we don't get to be happy yet...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Just Between Lovers" Episode 1

2017/12/11 | | Permalink

At first glance, "Just Between Lovers" is a typical romance. You've got the woman, Moon-soo (played by Won Jin-ah), who suffered through a horrible tragedy in her teen years, and now struggles to keep her family together economically and emotionally. Then you've got the man, Kang-doo (played by Junho), with a similar tragic backstory who is...wait, he's not rich? Kang-doo is just a working class construction worker who lives in constant rage about how the world is fundamentally unjust? And he hangs out in the foreigner districts...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Jugglers" Episode 3

2017/12/11 | | Permalink

Jeong-ae (played by Kang Hye-jung) is a married woman and Yoon-i's friend. Her husband recently disappeared without explanation, and it appears that he owed money to gangsters. So Jeong-ae ends up struggling to find a job. She fails at nearly every single task she attempts, mostly due to inappropriate soft-heartedness. Eventually Jeong-ae becomes a secretary. I know this because it is in her character description, which oddly enough does not mention anything about her family or gangster debts...More

[HanCinema's Box Office Review] 2017.12.08 - 2017.12.10

2017/12/11 | | Permalink

"The Swindlers", "Forgotten", and Korea's favourite little penguin take the podium...

Jang Chang-won's debut film "The Swindlers" enjoyed its third consecutive weekend at the top of the box office by claiming another 418,141 admissions, 23.84% of the sales. Since its release late last month, Jang's action drama has held off cinematic challenges both foreign and domestic to remain Korea's number one. The film stars Hyun Bin, Yoo Ji-tae, Bae Sung-woo, Park Sung-woong, Nana, and Ahn Se-ha in a story about a conman who schemes to outplay an even bigger swindler. With a total take now of $26.7 million (3.78 million admissions), "Swindlers" is the twelfth highest-grossing film of the year...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Black" Episode 17

2017/12/10 | | Permalink

Finding out the truth we have already known does not make it easier for our Reaper dearest, and 444 has a lot of deeply personal things to tackle in the penultimate episode of "Black". A lot happened on that fateful night when the children became involved with Wang Young-choon's search for the tape and coming to terms with it all, but also with some dire new information is not an easy feat...More

[HanCinema's Coverage] The Unforgettable Gala Presented by BMW Red Carpet Extravaganza

2017/12/10 | | Permalink

The 16th Annual Unforgettable Gala Presented hosted by Kore Asian Media and presented by BMW boasted all the top names on the Asian American scene from Daniel Dae Kim to Awkwafina to Ross Butler with a special appearance by Girls' Generation's Seohyun. Held at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, CA, USA on December 9, it was definitely a night to remember...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Cinema Snippets

2017/12/10 | | Permalink

Pierce Conran reviews Jeong Ji-woo's "Heart Blackened" on Modern Korean Cinema, The Hollywood Reporter reveals how Bong Joon-ho's and his team created the curious chimera in "Okja", Michelle Cho explores the borderlands between various box office successes and Korea's political climate, and the Busan gets a big boost with the opening of its new Visual Industry Center...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Food Lovers' Lane

2017/12/10 | | Permalink

My Korean Kitchen makes "tender, delicious and addictive" braised short ribs, Pete Wells reviews a new Korean ramen bar in the Big Apple, Gordon Ramsay appears on the local comedy show "Shortview", and 10 Magazine puts Seoul's top makgeolli bars in the spotlight...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Travel Bug Bites

2017/12/10 | | Permalink

10 Magazine puts eleven of Korea's ski resorts in the spotlight ahead of the upcoming Winter Games, Lonely Planet looks at LG's move to dispatch robots to Korea's airports, the Korea Herald lists various Christmas time promotions and packages, and GMA lists their must-visit places in the capital city, Seoul...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Culture Corner

2017/12/10 | | Permalink

Find out what passes for "cool" in North Korea, BBC explains why South Korea is the "ideal breeding ground for robots", "Becoming Korean" is a multi-volume work on the history and nature of Korean identity, and get a glimpse into the lives of South Korea's rich kids...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Photography and Art

2017/12/10 | | Permalink

Meet the photographer who captured Jeju's shamans, enjoy a stunning drone's-eye view of Korea's favourite island, see how a blind artist uses balloons to create unique works of art, and visit Korea's most 'deceptive' museum...More

[Orion's Drama News] Taking the Stage

2017/12/09 | | Permalink

The time has come for short dramas to shine and today I take a look at two premiering this very weekend. I also share casting news from two others as well as my hope for the future of these and perhaps full length dramas as well. I am also getting busy with dramas again, so bring on all I have time for, Dramaland...More

[HanCinema's Drama First Look] "Prison Playbook"

2017/12/09 | | Permalink

Get ready for the most exciting life in a cell and I am not being facetious here. "Prison Playbook" is slice-of-prison-life in and out, with its dangers, sorrows, joys, bonding and even a good bit of humor. I was not sure what I was signing myself up for with this, having had no experience with the creators aside from hearing of their OTP baiting in the "Answer Me" dramas. So let us take a look at how they tackle something like this...More

[HanCinema's Drama Preview] "Bad Guys : Vile City"

2017/12/09 | | Permalink

Santa Claus is not the only one coming to town this December, as our bad guys are arriving to clean it of the filth even they are too good for. "Bad Guys : Vile City" is the spin-off-slash-sequel to OCN hit drama "Bad Guys" and as much as we may miss the old cast, perhaps the latest bad boys will have something good to show for.

Premise

Prosecutor Woo Je-moon (Park Joong-hoon) is a man who cares about results more than he does about the legality of the means. He and a team of criminals selected as a new form of law enforcers take on a powerful cartel...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Drama Stage - The B Manager and the Love Letter"

2017/12/09 | | Permalink

Ga-yeong (played by Song Ji-hyo) is a slowly aging career woman who spends her free time at a carnival style shooting gallery. Ga-yeong is not actually very good at gun based carnival games, yet keeps trying to win the big prizes anyway. So right away "Drama Stage - The B Manager and the Love Letter" has a pretty good metaphor for Ga-yeong's love life. She is very bad at finding romance, yet persists in trying to do so out of sheer desperation...More

[HanCinema Awards] The 2nd Annual HanCinema Awards

2017/12/09 | | Permalink

Hello HanCinema viewers! It's that time of year again when you cast your votes for your favorites in film and drama. Welcome to the 2nd Annual HanCinema Awards!...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "Magic Hour"

2017/12/09 | | Permalink

Nam-woo (played by Park In-hwan) is an aging photographer. Time was a person could just set up shop in a nice scenic area with a camera and people would pay for the privilege of having their picture taken. But now? Kids these days with their smart phones take all the romance out of having a stranger take your picture only to be seen several weeks later in the mail. The world has changed. Nam-woo has changed. And, he's decided, it's time to end it all...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "State-authorized Textbook"

2017/12/09 | | Permalink

You might expect "State-authorized Textbook" to just be about how Park Geun-hye's government attempted to mandate a conservatively aligned national history textbook curriculum. But before the documentary can get that far, there's a lot of background material that needs to be covered. The story ends up starting, in all places, Japan, because Park Geun-hye's system of nationalized textbooks was actually based on the existing Japanese model...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "Where is your hometown?"

2017/12/09 | | Permalink

After the Japanese Occupation ended normal Koreans in difficult economic circumstances struggled to find work. With the collapse of the Japanese Empire the only stable country that was a viable location for economic migration was the Soviet Union. Then the Korean War happened, and all of a sudden, all the Koreans who had taken on temporary positions on the Kamchatka Peninsula were unable to return home. "Where is your hometown" is a documentarian explanation of their story...More

[Orion's Daily Ramblings] Lee El Rules Supreme, Lee Se-Yeong Falls Apart and Lee Hong-ki Gets the Boot In "A Korean Odyssey"

2017/12/08 | | Permalink

That would be the literal boot, because if that sole impression is anything to go by, this character will have as much pain as he will fun in "A Korean Odyssey". The drama has released stills of two characters and we start off with the aforementioned trampled top star that is P.K, also known as the Pig or Pig monster/demon. The man is played by Lee Hong-ki and I'm tempted to call him Jeremy, but I hope the Hong sisters won't rely on nostalgia for this...More

[Orion's Daily Ramblings] Kang Ye-Won Fights for Justice in "Drama Stage - Fighter Choi Kang-Soon"

2017/12/08 | | Permalink

You know, there's not enough love or subtitling given to short or one-act dramas, but perhaps efforts like CJ E&M's O'PEN Drama Stage will make this concept more mainstream one day. Some drama specials or short series have great acting, original stories and interesting plots.

Kang Ye-won has been cast as the titular heroine in the company's latest project, "Drama Stage - Fighter Choi Kang-soon", which is a story about women who fight injustice...More

[Orion's Daily Ramblings] "Misty" Holds First Script Reading

2017/12/07 | | Permalink

The romantic thriller about a woman's struggle to prove her innocence in a murder case is starting to form and we have some first stills from its script reading, held in October. "Misty" marks the highly expected return of Kim Nam-joo after her last work in 2012, so I hope that her character and the series are worth said return...More

[Orion's Daily Ramblings] Greeting "The Most Beautiful Goodbye"

2017/12/07 | | Permalink

As the drama's premiere draws near, it is time to take a few final looks at the family that will tear our hearts apart for four episodes. The drama has released new stills for all its members as well as some for a few supporting characters. Those who have experienced the original series are looking to its future. The reporter of the first piece attached to the family photos contemplates the probable differences and similarities of the two dramas...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "I'm Not a Robot" Episodes 3-4

2017/12/07 | | Permalink

So it turns out that Ji-ah is really into worthless novelties. Now don't get me wrong her older brother Jin-bae (played by Seo Dong-won) is a complete jerk and his actions are nowhere near as well justified as he seems to think they are. But there's an obvious irony to this. Ji-ah's entire life revolves around obscure useless junk and now, Ji-ah herself has become an obscure useless piece of junk, both metaphorically and literally, as the original model for and now imitated version of AZ3...More

[Orion's Daily Ramblings] Oh Yeon-Seo Wields Her Trusty Umbrella For "A Korean Odyssey"

2017/12/06 | | Permalink

After the overload of man-goods and loud fashion from "A Korean Odyssey", we finally get to meet our heroine in the form of stills. Her name is Jin Seon-mi and she runs a real estate company, but the lady's skills do not end in management and housing. Seon-mi is a human who can see demons and whose blood seems to be quite enticing to them. She also has some tricks of her own...More

[Orion's Daily Ramblings] Kim Ji-Han and Yang Jin-Sung For "Cross"

2017/12/06 | | Permalink

After the confirmation of Jeon So-min as the drama's heroine and the previously confirmed role for Yang Jin-sung, "Cross" adds Jin Yi-han to the mix along with character information on his and Yang Jin-sung's characters. Get ready for some spoiled rich kids, because Dramaland...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "I'm Not a Robot" Episodes 1-2

2017/12/06 | | Permalink

So apparently Yoo Seung-ho has gotten really, really buff since we last saw him in "Ruler: Master of the Mask". Oddly enough that's actually fairly appropriate, since in "I'm Not a Robot" he plays reclusive corporate heir Min-gyoo, who has nothing better to do in his spare time except work out and obsess over mostly fictional robots, thanks to a medical condition that makes it dangerous for him to touch people. Little does Min-gyoo realize that eccentric scientist Baek-gyoon (played by Uhm Ki-joon) and his team have built AZ3 (played by Chae Soo-bin), a fully functional android...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Black" Episode 16

2017/12/05 | | Permalink

I need a few weeks and possibly a lot of ice cream to fully process what is the most jarring and packed episode of "Black" yet. While our titular Reaper continues to struggle with his emotions and obligations as a supernatural being lying to his crush, the time has come to tackle the villain and his connection to almost all of what has happened so far. I have a lot of questions and I am not even sure what some are...More

[Orion's Daily Ramblings] "A Korean Odyssey" Piles on the Fashion Statements With Cha Seung-Won

2017/12/05 | | Permalink

I thought I had already seen the worst (or best) that "A Korean Odyssey" can throw at us with Lee Seung-gi's furry conundrum of a coat, but I forgot that Cha Seung-won is a long-time model and therefore prime material for all manner of loud fashion shenanigans. He is the Bull Demon King, after all. He can't lose face by dressing casually...More

[Orion's Daily Ramblings] A Special Bond In "The Most Beautiful Goodbye"

2017/12/05 | | Permalink

It is time to meet the heroine of the drama and to explore the different relationships she has with her family. The production has released stills of actresses Won Mi-kyung and Kim Young-ok in the roles of Kim In-hee and her mother-in-law respectively. Going by the information I am reading, theirs is a special bond which received great love from audiences in the original...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Jugglers" Episode 2

2017/12/05 | | Permalink

Chi-won (played by Choi Daniel) is an up and coming executive who is exceptionally cold to nearly everyone around him. Even the fleeting moments of kindness he has shown to an obviously distraught Yoon-i have always been performed under the attempted guise of anonymity. Chi-won is impatient for results and doesn't tolerate slacking off. So you'd think Yoon-i would be the perfect secretary for him except that "Jugglers" is still in the evading the premise stage of the story...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Lookout" Episodes 13-14

2017/12/05 | | Permalink

Closing up review season for the year with "Lookout". We get to know Bo-mi a bit more, while Kyung-soo proves his mettle, and Soo-ji continues to be a brave, headstrong, and impetuous woman. Then there is Do-han, who once seemed to have everything under control, but events are quickly slipping from his capable fingertips...More

[Orion's Daily Ramblings] First Stills of Lee Seung-Gi For "A Korean Odyssey"

2017/12/04 | | Permalink

Or as I like to call this piece, "Lee Seung-gi Wears Fur of His Enemies' Beloved Pets". "A Korean Odyssey" has certainly flaunted its stylish leads before, but this image confirms that the proof of concept teasers are pretty descriptive of the main show, at least fashion-wise...More

[Orion's Daily Ramblings] Giggly Filming Times In "Bad Guys : Vile City"

2017/12/04 | | Permalink

It is always nice to see pictures of cast and staff having fun in dramas, especially when those are known to place quite demanding physical and other strains on its members. The production of "Bad Guys : Vile City" has been non-stop promoting its impressive action scenes and those usually mean a world of ouchies for the cast and stunt doubles...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Jugglers" Episode 1

2017/12/04 | | Permalink

Yoon-i (played by Baek Jin-hee) is an exceptionally competent secretary. Unfortunately, she's just a little too competent. Her boss Mr. Bong (played by Choi Dae-chul) constantly has Yoon-i on-call, even when Yoon-i is is trying to have a cute romantic montage with her boyfriend Kyeong-joon (played by Sung Hoon). Worst of all, Yoon-i doesn't express any kind of discretion when it comes to the kinds of jobs Mr. Bong assigns her, which ends predictably poorly...More

[HanCinema's Box Office Review] 2017.12.01 - 2017.12.03

2017/12/04 | | Permalink

"Swindlers" holds the top spot and moves into the top twenty...

Writer/director Jang Chang-won's debut "Swindlers" retained the top spot and swiftly moved into the year's top twenty as its earnings swell to $21.5 million (3.05 million admissions). Over this past weekend, its second, the 117-minute action drama -- which stars Hyun Bin, Yoo Ji-tae, Bae Sung-woo, Park Sung-woong, Nana and Ahn Se-ha -- came away with 671,665 admissions (36.27%) from just over 1,000 screens nationwide (down from 1,314)...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Black" Episode 15

2017/12/03 | | Permalink

You can never really prepare yourself for some surprises, but "Black" has at least been kind enough to set so much up for itself that anyone would see the inevitable cutting of corners happen. We confirm a lot of things in this episode and some are great to find out, but we also learn of possible truths that do not seem to fit quite as imagined. The same goes for the romance, which never stood a chance...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Cinema Snippets

2017/12/03 | | Permalink

No foreseeable change to Korea's male-centric thriller formula, Marvel's "Thor: Ragnarok" and DC's "Justice League" go head to head in KoBiz's latest infographic, Pierce Conran reviews Hwang Dong-hyuk's "The Fortress" on Modern Korean Cinema, and Christopher Weatherspoon previews four of the biggest films hitting Korea's screens this month...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Food Lovers' Lane

2017/12/03 | | Permalink

Sue's latest recipe for My Korean Kitchen is coleslaw with a spicy kicker, Cheat Sheet researches the foods you won't find in stores nationwide in North Korea, Rappler has a quick guide to eating out and about in Seoul, and find out what South Korean prisoners eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Travel Bug Bites

2017/12/03 | | Permalink

A team of journalists list their favourite places to visit in Seoul, CBS puts Gangwon in the spotlight ahead of the Winter Games, Korea Expose reports on a more authentic travel experience, and 10 Magazine features information about the medical tourism company Medihealy...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Culture Corner

2017/12/03 | | Permalink

Benjamin Haas explores Korea's sexual revolution for The Guardian, a hand-illustrated children's book brings kimchi into the family, Korea Expose looks at Korea's anti-graft laws one year on, and find out what topics Koreans were rushing to read about in 2017...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Photography and Art

2017/12/03 | | Permalink

Soyoun Kim has some innovative ideas about a communal space for both North and South Koreans along the DMZ, the Blind Date art fair downplays authorship for appreciation, Vogue delights at the Couture Korea exhibition at San Francisco Asian Art Museum, and see what the new memorial and monumental park in Samcheok could look like if these winning designers get their wish...More

[Orion's Drama News] Knights, Multitaskers and Goodbyes

2017/12/02 | | Permalink

We are officially in Christmas month and this means that we can consider everything a present and feel so very coddled. Today I look at the lovely selection of diverse dramas coming out next week and share new goodies from dramas we will be seeing shortly. I am ready for my drama presents and I hope we get a lot of good shows...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Drama Stage - Assistant Manager Park's Private Life"

2017/12/02 | | Permalink

Jong-hyeok (played by Lee Joo-seung) works at a normal office job during the daytime, but in his private life, the man is a hit novelist. Jong-hyeok wants to keep these aspects of his life separate, for some reason. And right there is where "Drama Stage - Assistant Manager Park's Private Life" has its biggest problem. I don't have a clue why Jong-hyeok wants to have a secret identity. I especially don't know why he wants to work a normal office job. We learn surprisingly little about what kind of a person Jong-hyeok really is considering the sheer wackiness of the set-up...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "I Am Hopeman"

2017/12/02 | | Permalink

The main audience for "I Am Hopeman" is just Korean Presbyterian laypeople. The documentary explains what their donation money to the Cambodia Mission has been doing. It's a progress report that's been quite a long time in the making. When director Na Hyun-tae started out, the Hope School was just an elementary school. The main struggle was getting students to attend at all. The documentary ends with a graduation ceremony of their first high school class...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "Old Marine Boy"

2017/12/02 | | Permalink

Park Myeong-ho defected from North Korea to South Korea some ten years ago along with his family, a wife and two sons. The reasons for why they defected are surprisingly mundane. My favorite is when he states that his dad spent forever in the military, and he spent forever in the military, but now his sons don't have to. He says that while doing his daily intensive calisthenics workout for the sake of his job- diving and catching underwater fauna, namely octopi, off the east coast of Gangwon province...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Mad Dog" Episode 16 Final

2017/12/01 | | Permalink

All things must come to an end and the revenge of the "Mad Dog" team is finally complete. Hyeon-gi and Hong-joo do not give up easily, but we all know that the mad dogs never let go after they bite. The team fight the villains until the very last minute, but the resolution is sadly reached through the drama's bad habit of pulling its needed plot devices out of thin air...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Mad Dog" Episode 15

2017/12/01 | | Permalink

"Mad Dog" is coming to an end and this means that heroes and villains alike can stop twiddling their thumbs and being selectively obtuse. Everyone gets things done, but not done too well, because wiretapping your office when you know beforehand that a villain is visiting would just be too smart. The Dog Team are juggling battle fronts with several antagonists, but it is unsurprisingly Hyeon-gi who becomes the most dangerous...More

[Orion's Daily Ramblings] The Battle Begins in New "A Korean Odyssey" Teasers

2017/12/01 | | Permalink

Get ready for superpowers, expensive fashion and fancy settings, because "A Korean Odyssey" is all about style in its brand new teasers. Lee Seung-gi is literally hot, Cha Seung-won is channeling the snazziest of demons and Oh Yeon-seo is going to Mary Poppins the heck out of some monster-folk...More

[Orion's Daily Ramblings] Noh Hee-kyeong's "Live" Holds First Script Reading

2017/12/01 | | Permalink

We've enjoyed all manner of crime related content from Dramaland during the last few years, but "Live" brings us with it a new and less explored approach. The series is about the daily struggles and successes of a small police precinct and its staff of diverse individuals and their relationships...More

[Orion's Daily Ramblings] The Impressive Supporting Cast of "Bad Guys : Vile City"

2017/12/01 | | Permalink

I'm frankly tempted to just post the released collage of stills along with a picture of me crying happy tears, but I'll compose myself enough to say that the supporting cast of "Bad Guys : Vile City" is looking mighty badass, pardon my language. The series boasts some impressive names, many of which are also familiar movie favorites...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "The Swindlers"

2017/12/01 | | Permalink

In an odd twist for the wacky charming con artist genre of films, the opening scene of "The Swindlers" features a disturbingly large assortment of people thrown into suicidal despair as a result of a massive fraud. Ji-seong (played by Hyun Bin) is obliquely related to the scam, but most of the movie is not from his perspective. That role falls to Prosecutor Hee-soo (played by Yoo Ji-tae) who operates his own gang of con artists, and also has a connection to the huge embezzlement case...More

[Orion's Daily Ramblings] "A Korean Odyssey" Lands Netflix Deal

2017/11/30 | | Permalink

Well, there you have it, folks. Upcoming fantasy drama "A Korean Odyssey" has been picked up by Netflix for worldwide distribution. Netflix's Vice President of Content Acquisition, Rob Roy says that he is happy to bring Korean content to the world and part of said content lately have been "Argon" and "Prison Playbook"...More

[Orion's Daily Ramblings] Ryu Deok-hwan Joins Go Kyung-pyo, Ahn Jae-hong, Kim Tae-hoon and More at CL&Company

2017/11/30 | | Permalink

Ryu Deok-hwan, who is currently serving in the military, has joined a new agency and my little fan (and fangirl) heart is rejoicing over the thought of him coming back soon. The actor has joined CL&Company, where many of his former colleagues from their collective previous agency, Film It Su Da, are also working...More

[Orion's Daily Ramblings] Pre-Produced Drama "Are You Human Too" Releases First Stills

2017/11/29 | | Permalink

It's been a while since we last heard from the drama, but the production team has been hard at work. "Are You Human Too" has finally released some stills of its leads and a couple of other characters. The series was filmed between June and November of this year and it is entirely pre-produced, but also carries quite the hefty budget of 10 billion won (about 9.2 million US dollars). It is currently in post-production to add some final touches before release next year...More

[Orion's Daily Ramblings] Kim Young-ok Reprises Role for "The Most Beautiful Goodbye"

2017/11/29 | | Permalink

I haven't been looking much into the drama past its teasers and so this information is a very nice surprise for me. News has been released this week contemplating the significance of Kim Young-ok's role in "The Most Beautiful Goodbye", as she is the only cast member from the 1996 original to play the same role of the heroine's mother-in-law, who suffers from dementia...More

[Orion's Daily Ramblings] More Man-Beauty From "Bad Guys : Vile City"

2017/11/28 | | Permalink

We have more stills of precious manly goodness this week and a little bit more information on the premise of the series. Writer Han Jeong-hoon has mentioned that a key difference between the first series and "Bad Guys : Vile City" is that, while the former was about bad guys trying to reduce their sentence, the new series is about them uniting against a specific organization...More

[Orion's Daily Ramblings] Happier Times in Latest "The Most Beautiful Goodbye" Teaser

2017/11/28 | | Permalink

They say you don't know what you have until it's gone. While not always entirely true, an approaching end really is a time of reevaluation and appreciation. The latest teaser for Noh Hee-kyeong's "The Most Beautiful Goodbye" shows us the heroine with her family in what seems like the most common and mundane of tasks: making kimchi together. Yet such a moment can make the happiest of memories...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "This Life Is Our First Life" Episode 16 (Final)

2017/11/28 | | Permalink

The fuller context of Ji-ho's actions makes her look really dumb, at best, and actively sadistic at worst. How in the world was Se-hee supposed to interpret her behavior? The only justification I can come up with is that "This Life Is Our First Life" is satirizing what would actually happen in real life if one member of a couple just disappeared like that without communication. Except Ji-ho is never called out for the tangible and emotional damage her actions caused to Se-hee's life...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Boy and Girl From the 20th Century" Episodes 31-32 (Final)

2017/11/28 | | Permalink

So apparently Jin-jin's family didn't know that she was dating Ji-won? Once again I'm left scrambling trying to figure out whether the drama ever actually explicitly said that the family knew, or whether I just assumed that they knew because there was no other way for them to interpret the couple's surreptitious behavior. Why any of them would be upset at this revelation is equally unclear to me, since I was under the impression they were inviting Ji-won to dinner mainly because they saw him as good son-in-law material...More

[Orion's Daily Ramblings] "Black Knight" gets lacey in new posters

2017/11/27 | | Permalink

Hold onto your doilies, because "Black Knight" is here to remind us just how far removed from our familiar reality this story is set to be. The series has released a main poster and character posters laced with (pun intended) mystery and style...More

[Orion's Daily Ramblings] Oh Dae-hwan cast as a doctor in "Return"

2017/11/27 | | Permalink

Nothing like a good chaebol murder mystery to get one's blood flowing and SBS legal thriller "Return" sounds like the kind of drama where figurative and literal backstabbings will be quite common. The series is about a lawyer and host of a legal television show taking on a murder case which involves children of upper class families as suspects...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Boy and Girl From the 20th Century" Episodes 29-30

2017/11/27 | | Permalink

Credit given where it's due, the opening scene, with its epic kiss and then fade into the elevator scene where we last saw Jin-jin and Ji-won together was pretty good. I rather missed the young versions of those characters. Unfortunately the conclusion of the elevator scene is the last we see of them, and apparently their entire relationship. Jin-jin's parents inviting Ji-won to family dinners takes on a very different tone now that we know Chang-won and Ji-won's first encounter was a violent one...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "This Life Is Our First Life" Episode 15

2017/11/27 | | Permalink

Ji-ho is so obsessively introspective here she effectively manages to talk herself out of a relationship with Se-hee. Her behavior is dumbounding, but at the same time, really weirdly logical. I can actually kind of see screenwriter Yoon Nan-joong inserting herself into the more philosophical contours of the conversation, openly wondering why the consumnation of romantic love has to be the only acceptable narrative happy ending. That Jeong-min is, herself, an example of a woman who achieved happiness without a man only further complicates this assumption...More

[HanCinema's Box Office Review] 2017.11.23 - 2017.11.25

2017/11/27 | | Permalink

"The Swindlers" puts local films back on top; "Justice League" falters...

"The Swindlers", Jang Chang-won first solo project as director, arrived on Wednesday and dominated its first weekend out by capturing 61.85% of the sales. The 117-minute action film stars Hyun Bin, Yoo Ji-tae, Bae Sung-woo, Park Sung-woong, Nana, and Ahn Se-ha and follows a charlatan who spins a complex scheme to catch a fellow con man. From 1,313 screens, Jang's debut claimed 1.2 million admissions ($9 million), which deny DC's "Justice League" a second weekend at the top...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Black" Episode 14

2017/11/26 | | Permalink

There is so much grief on the horizon of "Black" and with our good characters closer to the main villain than ever, deaths are an expected outcome. Ha-ram's fate is no longer known or secure and our heroine's decisions over her relationship with the titular Reaper will be adding another layer of tragedy to an already sordid case. Many questions are answered, but I am greedy for more...More

[Lily's Take] What are SISTAR members Bora, Dasom, Hyolyn, and Soyou doing now?

Source | 2017/11/26 | | Permalink

SISTAR's second chapter is proving to be quite exciting The four members of the former K-pop girl group, SISTAR, have paved their owns paths over the past six months...More

[Lily's Take] The cast of "Night Light" re-united

Source | 2017/11/26 | | Permalink

Actress Lee Yo-won and UEE attended the premiere showing for Jung Hae-in"s new movie, "The Age of Blood"...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Cinema Snippets

2017/11/26 | | Permalink

Explore the "strange and unfamiliar" world of North Korean children's cartoons, Hong Sang-soo's "On the Beach at Night Alone" reviewed on The Los Angeles Times, KoBiz's latest infographic tracks the most successful documentaries in Korea compared to the United States, and Pierce Conran thinks Ma Dong-seok's performance in the sleeper hit "The Outlaws" is his best yet...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Food Lovers' Lane

2017/11/26 | | Permalink

Food & Wine tracks Seoul's 'craft cocktail renaissance', learn how to make 15 Korean foods that will impress your guests with My Korean Kitchen, Korean cooking classes for foreigners are on the rise, and did UK celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay have 'beer goggles' on when he promoted Korea's number one brew?...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Travel Bug Bites

2017/11/26 | | Permalink

Minty Clinch explores the charms of Pyeongchang ahead of the Winter Games, get a glimpse of an abandoned theme park in Seoul on Atlas Obscura, Jamsil residents support tourists with massive volunteer programme to help with translations, and a sci-fi themed promotional video for the upcoming 2018 Winter Games turns heads...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Culture Corner

2017/11/26 | | Permalink

Korean Manhwas invade North America, The New York Times explores the connection between weddings and watches in modern Korean culture, emeritus professor Kim Seong-kon reflects on the moral message in Yeon Sang-ho's "Train to Busan", and Raphael Rashid checks the pulse of Korea's LGBT community four years after a landmark ceremony...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Photography and Art

2017/11/26 | | Permalink

Photographer Han Youngsoo captured the country at the beginning of its 'age of prosperity', 10 Magazine looks at Seoul's cutest 'hype babies'/budding fashionistas, the poet Ko Un's library has been reproduced and is now on display in the capital, and browse 63 photographs of street art from all around Korea...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Black" Episode 13

2017/11/25 | | Permalink

The puzzle of the past is slowly coming together in "Black" and with Man-ho nearly cornered, the true villain behind it all should be making their grand entrance soon. Ha-ram's fate is unknown, but new clues hint at more powers than seeing the shadows of death. Many different characters and clues come together in what may not be as coincidental a twist of fate as we imagined after all...More

[Orion's Drama News] Family Bonds

2017/11/25 | | Permalink

It has been a week filled with all manner of family as this year and the beginning of the next bring us different types of works on the theme. "Miracle That We Met" is a body-swapping story of a person with two families and I am intrigued by the premise. "The Most Beautiful Goodbye" is closing in and "Mother - Drama" has my attention...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Man-Hole"

2017/11/25 | | Permalink

"Man-Hole" is not the kind of work one would expect a lot from. Having promoted itself as the wacky, comedic tale of a man who believes in the imaginary friendzone a bit too hard and seeks to undo it made it seem like a light story about a romantic man-baby. Surprisingly, the series is much more complex and it is as mixed as my feelings for it, touching upon greatness and failure alike...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "Communication and Lies"

2017/11/25 | | Permalink

The extended opening scene of "Communication and Lies" is a highly inappropriate interaction between employees of different rank at an English cram school over a sordid and sexually charged rumor. At least, that's how it feels for awhile. Then the apparent victim nonchalantly acknowledges that all of the charges being lodged against her are true. It's an out-of-nowhere reaction, related with no sense of defiance, that the immediate mystery is what kind of person would engage in such actions then respond to accusations about them in such a blasé manner...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "Heart Blackened"

2017/11/25 | | Permalink

The literal Korean title of "Heart Blackened" translates to just silence. It's a pretty accurate overall descriptor. "Heart Blackened" has several long stretches of time that pass in absolute unsettling quiet. Which of course, is also metaphorical. Mi-ra (played by Lee Soo-kyung-I) hates her new prospective stepmother Yoo-na (played by Lee Honey), and in the wake of a horrible accident, Hee-jeong (played by Park Shin-hye) is retained as an attorney to defend the last woman left standing...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "Autumn Sonata"

2017/11/25 | | Permalink

Soo-ryeon (played by BoA) is a thirty-year-old postal service worker in rural Gyeonggi Province. The most effective moments of "Autumn Sonata" tend to focus on that backdrop. Director Lim Wang-tae's imagery is so vivid it frequently feels like we can taste the fresh air. This is Soo-ryeon's ancestral home, after all, and while the endless empty scenery is at times lonely, or at least mostly filled by old people, there is also a powerful serene sense of inner peace...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Mad Dog" Episode 14

2017/11/24 | | Permalink

It is a dog eat  dog world out there and the "Mad Dog" team is going for the kill. The villains are confused and cornered, which means that they make mistakes and provide ample opportunity for our good boys and girl to get everything they need in place. It will not be an easy fight, considering the Powerful Opponents, but we know that the good ones always win in such stories...More

[Orion's Daily Ramblings] Lee Seung-gi, Cha Seung-won and Oh Yeon-seo looking great in "A Korean Odyssey" teasers

2017/11/24 | | Permalink

"A Korean Odyssey" provides a short, but powerful introduction, as we finally get to meet the three leads and learn the basics about them. Lee Seung-gi is Son Oh-gong, a troublemaker monster god. Cha Seung-won is the head of said monster gods and Oh Yeon-seo is someone with the ability to see them, which probably means that they hide their true nature from most humans...More

[Orion's Daily Ramblings] "Jugglers" releases character posters for its leads

2017/11/24 | | Permalink

The powerhouse work quartet has arrived and they bring their unique backgrounds and traits to the table. The drama opts for colorful and cheerful main posters to fit its so far whimsical and cute teasers. I could use a light rom-com right about now and workplace romances are quite timely...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Revenge Note" Episodes 5-7

2017/11/24 | | Permalink

One of the odder aspects of the "Revenge Note" application is that it doesn't seem to suffer from any meaningful restrictions. Well, all right, it does have a recharge rate, as Goo-hee discovers to her chagrin, but earlier on she straight up punches in "Zombie Club" rather than the name of any individual member and surprisingly, the application is able to accept this request. The next time Goo-hee uses the application, she uses a nickname rather than a real one, and that works too...More

[Orion's Daily Ramblings] Lee Bo-young's "Mother - Drama" Holds First Script Reading

2017/11/23 | | Permalink

Be still, my heart, as "Mother - Drama" is finally making its approach. The work is based on a Japanese series of the same title about a school teacher who kidnaps an unfortunate child in hopes of providing her with a better life away from her abusers.

I started the award-winning original a while back and I think the Korean remake is a good motivator for me to finish it, because I did not cut my time with it short due to lack of interest...More

[Orion's Daily Ramblings] "Black Knight" Reveals Its Sageuk Side in New Stills and Teaser

2017/11/23 | | Permalink

"Black Knight" brings an epic romance and mysterious characters with its new promotional material, as we get a beautiful look at Kim Rae-won and Shin Se-kyung in their sageuk outfits as well as a sneak peek into the drama's two other leading ladies...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Mad Dog" Episode 13

2017/11/23 | | Permalink

It is a time for bonding and retaliation from the "Mad Dog" team as the group of villains become too greedy and hasty for their own good. Hyeon-gi experiences betrayal and rejection while Hong-joo is about to get a taste of her own medicine. Team Good is reunited, but they need to be extra smart and extra sneaky as they go in for one final blow to take everyone down...More

[Orion's Daily Ramblings] "I'm Not a Robot" Teases Quirky Man-Battles Between Yoo Seung-ho and Uhm Ki-joon

2017/11/22 | | Permalink

"I'm Not a Robot" has released news stills of its two leading men about to enter one of the oddest love triangles and bromances I have seen. I am expecting a lot of bickering, bonding and an unhealthy dose of deceit and subterfuge over the not-robotic reality that links them...More

[Orion's Daily Ramblings] The Brain and Brawn Of "Bad Guys : Vile City"

2017/11/22 | | Permalink

The titular bad guys of "Bad Guys : Vile City" come in different forms and this week we get stills and more information for No Geon-pyeong (Kim Moo-yeol) and Jang Seong-cheol (Yang Ik-june). Each image in each collage below shows a different mood and demeanor, and forms a certain "vibe" for the characters...More

[Orion's Daily Ramblings] First Teasers for "The Most Beautiful Goodbye"

2017/11/21 | | Permalink

The goodbye no one is ever quite ready for gets beautiful and heartbreaking first teasers for the short drama remake, "The Most Beautiful Goodbye". The 4-episode series is based on a Noh Hee-kyeong original work about a mother with terminal cancer preparing for the titular goodbye to her family. The story has previously been adapted for television and film...More

[Orion's Daily Ramblings] Not-A-Robot Chae Soo-Bin Reporting for Duty

2017/11/21 | | Permalink

"I'm Not a Robot" certainly has a unique appeal and today we get to meet the titular not-a-robot in her synthetic-wannabe form. MBC has released stills of actress Chae Soo-bin in her gynoid form, colored contact lenses and all. Perhaps the scientist's concept is the eventual forming of a girl band.

The heroine is someone who ends up with a part time job pretending to be a robot and her beau is a man with a "human allergy" who falls in love with her...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Boy and Girl From the 20th Century" Episodes 27-28

2017/11/21 | | Permalink

Ho-seong (played by Kim Jung-hwa) is Jin-jin's estranged sister, and apparently the artist behind all those pictures for whom Jin-jin has been looking for a source. Ho-seong's character is another case where I've been left wondering, has there ever been any mention that Jin-jin had a sister until literally the moment she appears? Because I certainly can't remember any, which is odd considering that finding her sister is the closest thing Jin-jin has had to ongoing motivation...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "This Life Is Our First Life" Episode 14

2017/11/21 | | Permalink

Jeong-min (played by Lee Chung-ah) is Se-hee's ex-girlfriend. She's also Ji-ho's career savior, having taken it upon herself to resolve the unforunate circumstances of Ji-ho's last writing job personally. The sheer goofy elaborateness of this coincidence, along with the obvious feminist undertones, are reminiscent of screenwriter Yoon Nan-joong's previous drama "Hogu's Love"- although I may have been primed to notice this due to the appearance of a couple of easter eggs referencing that work...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Black" Episode 12

2017/11/20 | | Permalink

For all the teasing about consequences that "Black" has taken its sweet time to deliver, it sure is fast with getting to it after the latest warning. The reality of her meddling dawns on Ha-ram as she realizes the identity of the man she has saved while Black deals with his newfound sympathy. The past mysteries boil closer to the surface than ever, as Gwang-gyeon and Man-soo get on the case...More

[Orion's Daily Ramblings] New Yoo Seung-ho Stills for "I'm Not a Robot"

2017/11/20 | | Permalink

I believe "I'm Not a Robot" may be trying to tell us something about how much it loves its lead and given that he is Yoo Seung-ho, that is a pretty reasonable statement. The drama has released several stills of its main actor in the role of the leading character; a man suffering from a "human allergy"...More

[Orion's Daily Ramblings] "Mad Dog" Releases Cheerful Filming Stills

2017/11/20 | | Permalink

You had me at "Hello, Yoo Ji-tae and Woo Do-hwan", series. "Mad Dog" brings us some happy behind-the-scenes times this week. I would say it's an appropriate time for some reprieve and some happy smiles, given the latest episode's dire cliffhanger and the stampede of villains relentlessly marching over Team Good as of late...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "This Life Is Our First Life" Episode 13

2017/11/20 | | Permalink

For now, Se-hee and Ji-ho's life is mostly pleasant and domestic. In more dramatic news, it turns out that Won-seok's suggestion of breaking up with Ho-rang was not, as had been previously implied, simply the natural result of their communication breakdown being revealed in full focus by their watching an obscure art house play. That was definitely a part of it, but Won-seok had also discovered Ho-rang's horrible secret...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Boy and Girl From the 20th Century" Episodes 25-26

2017/11/20 | | Permalink

Jeong-eun (played by Shin Dong-mi) is So-ni's manager who has something most of the other characters in "Boy and Girl From the 20th Century" do not- clearly defined motivation. Jeong-eun wants everything involving So-ni's career to run smoothly. She's constantly acting as a mediary between So-ni and producers. Jeong-eun is frequently stressed because of this, but trusts So-ni's good intentions, and So-ni, for his part, does his best to reassure her that nothing is going to go wrong...More

[HanCinema's Box Office Review] 2017.11.17 - 2017.11.19

2017/11/20 | | Permalink

"Justice League" ends "Ragnarok"'s reign as foreign films continue to flourish...

Zack Snyder's much-anticipated "Justice League" brings together five of DC's front-running superheroes - Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Aquaman and Cyborg - and it didn't come cheap: costing $300 million, "Justice League" is the most expensive superhero film ever produced, and, along with "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End", the second most expensive film overall. The film was released in Korea last Wednesday and quickly overthrew Marvel's latest, "Thor: Ragnarok", at the top of the chart. From 1,308 screens, Snyder's "Justice League" came away with 47.87% of the sales, or 818,401 admissions ($6.3 million)...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Black" Episode 11

2017/11/19 | | Permalink

New chapters are opening in "Black", but none are leading to good places. Man-soo is no longer a CEO and he finds a use I welcome, but also fear. Ha-ram has to face Soo-wan's desperate advances at who she thinks is Moo-gang, but our heroine has much bigger things to worry about right around the corner. I have a lot of questions, but my anticipation is intact and the will to wait for possible answers strong...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Cinema Snippets

2017/11/19 | | Permalink

Film Stage lists director Hong Sang-soo's top ten foreign films, KoBiz's latest infographic tracks the country's most successful music films of all time, the 43rd edition of the Seoul Independent Film Festival (SIFF) has the biggest program schedule ever, and Daily NK discusses two of the top films from the recently concluded Annual North Korean Human Rights International Film Festival...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Food Lovers' Lane

2017/11/19 | | Permalink

See what America's 45th President ate during his 12-day Asia tour, Cheatsheet finds out what North Koreans love eating, My Korea Kitchen's latest recipe for Gyeran-guk takes just two steps, and a passionate vegan looks at how South Korea is slowly embracing veganism (à la "Okja")...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Travel Bug Bites

2017/11/19 | | Permalink

Museums in and around Seoul are not to be missed, 10 Magazine points out some familiar touchstones for Australians visiting Korea's capital city, Korea is slowly becoming more attractive to Muslim travellers, and South Korea's first Victorian-era greenhouse reopens to the public following renovations...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Culture Corner

2017/11/19 | | Permalink

Seoul National University professor Kim Seong-kon highlights the capacity of Korean literature and films to bring about positive change in society, the 2017 Today's Our Manhwa Award ceremony celebrates the best in this burgeoning business, 10 Magazine chats to John Bocskay about how to handle K-culture shock, and catch Hugh from My Korean Husband enjoy a new cultural space in the heart of Seoul...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Photography and Art

2017/11/19 | | Permalink

'Snarkitecture' plays on the borderlands between art and architecture with a complex 400 meter marble track in Seoul, Lonely Planet catches up with a French photographer who fell in love with Jeju's 'mermaids', Tomás Saraceno's first exhibition in Korea is inspired by the beautiful complexity of spiderwebs, and Crystal Tai explores South Korea's street style revolution...More

[Orion's Drama News] Juggling Work and Romance

2017/11/18 | | Permalink

Love is in their air and so is the bickering that comes with it, as "Jugglers" makes some giggle-worthy and endearingly embarrassing first impressions. Where would Dramaland be without its mixed genres lately, however. Today I take a little look at dramas about to premiere and offer the usual goodies. I also have some very exciting and fun news for those who enjoy the weekly ramblings of yours truly...More

[HanCinema's Drama Preview] "Prison Playbook"

2017/11/18 | | Permalink

It takes all kinds of communities to make our world and a prison one is not the kind we often imagine when hearing the word. "Prison Playbook" is brought to us by the creators of the "Answer Me/Reply" series and it is time we get acquainted to such a community through a baseball star turned criminal overnight.

Premise

Kim Je-hyeok (Park Hae-soo) is a baseball superstar who has it made. In a surprising twist, the celebrity becomes a convicted criminal and has to adjust to prison life. The series follows him as he experiences his new home and new network behind bars...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Revenge Note" Episodes 1-4

2017/11/18 | | Permalink

Goo-hee (played by Kim Hyang-gi) is a teenage girl just starting high school. That's pretty bad on its own, but a lot of factors are working against her. In the first place she has a horribly goofy name- because her surname is Ho, anytime anyone addresses Goo-hee by her full name, it sounds like they're calling her a loser (Hogu). Goo-hee's family is poor enough that she has to help at their fried chicken business to make ends meet. Then, just to make matters worse, Goo-hee's boyfriend breaks up with her...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "Room No.7"

2017/11/18 | | Permalink

Doo-sik (played by Shin Ha-kyun) owns a DVD room in a generic shopping district. Business is passable, but Doo-sik is in his forties and painfully aware that he has already wasted far too much of his life there and wants to sell. Doo-sik's employee Tae-jeong (played by Do Kyung-soo) also suffers from financial issues and is desperate for some kind of solution. Only the new guy, Chinese immigrant Han-wook (played by Kim Dong-young) is at all happy with life in South Korea...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "Becoming Who I Was"

2017/11/18 | | Permalink

Most of you have probably at least heard stories about reincarnated Buddhist monks, and how their past lives can be identified quite early in childhood. What's never really discussed, though, is what being a child reincarnation of of a major spiritual leader is actually like. In "Becoming Who I Was", we see in documentary form the daily life of one such child in a small village in Northern India. Directly, we see the contradiction of this child being incredibly wise and yet obviously...still just a child...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "The Preparation"

2017/11/18 | | Permalink

Can mentally challenged adults survive on their own? Elderly mother Ae-soon (played by Go Doo-shim), rather understandably, is skeptical of the prospect. She has had to take care of In-gyoo (played by Kim Sung-kyun) her whole life, and he never appears to have advanced beyond the mentality of a spoiled child. In "The Preparation" Ae-soon is forced, through the plot device of her own mortality, to confront the possibility that she's wrong. Really it's more of a hope, considering how awful the alternatives are...More

[Orion's Daily Ramblings] Kam Woo-sung, Kim Sun-ah and Park Si-yeon Courted for "Shall We Kiss First"

2017/11/17 | | Permalink

Romance melodrama "Shall We Kiss First" is currently courting Kam Woo-sung, Kim Sun-ah and Park Si-yeon for leading roles, making a good impression on the casting side already. No one has confirmed yet, but reviewing a work positively is an encouraging sign. This would be Kam Woo-sung's first drama in three years, following the much beloved "My Spring Days"...More

[Orion's Daily Ramblings] "Beauty Inside" Gets Korean Drama Adaptation

2017/11/17 | | Permalink

An upcoming drama based on multi-talent film "Beauty Inside" has been announced and my head is spinning trying to visualize how something like this could work in drama form. The story is about a man who changes sex, gender, nationality, age and generally form every day and the woman who falls in love with him. Aside from changing the love interest from a woman to a man for the drama, the basic concept remains the same...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Mad Dog" Episode 12

2017/11/17 | | Permalink

Noo-ri's grave injury sparks another round of regret and guilt for the "Mad Dog" team's top dog and puppy, as they go into another fit of man-angst over the lives they may endanger due to their plans. There is no time to waste on self-pity, however, as their enemies close in and a new one is born to spice things up. Noo-ri's daddy dearest is more involved than we previously suspected, you see...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Oh! Goddesses of Doll-like Beauty" Episodes 6-10 Final + Videos

2017/11/17 | | Permalink

By the time we've finally gotten a clear explanation of what the goddesses are doing in Korea in the first place, "Oh! Goddesses of Doll-like Beauty" is basically over. Put together all ten episodes feel more like a pilot for a situation comedy than they do a single coherent story. But then, from the very beginning "Oh! Goddesses of Doll-like Beauty" has been going for style over substance...More

[HanCinema's On Location] Press Conference for upcoming "Steel Rain" at Apgujeong CGV

2017/11/17 | | Permalink

Park Kyung-rim, Jung Woo-sung, Kwak Do-won and director Yang Woo-seok

On November 15th at 11:00 AM at Apgujeong CGV the press conference for "Steel Rain" opened up. The movie's an action blockbuster primed for official release on December 20th- a bit far off to think about but just the right time for the advertising push to start, since "Steel Rain" will be competing with "Along With the Gods: The Two Worlds" for the always lucrative end-of-year market going into Christmas and New Years. Directed by Yang Woo-seok, the director of "The Attorney" from a few years back, "Steel Rain" is based on his own popular webcomic of the same title and stars Jung Woo-sung and Kwak Do-won as intelligence officers in North Korea and South Korea respectively who must work together to avert a massive crisis in the wake of a North Korean coup d'état...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Mad Dog" Episode 11

2017/11/16 | | Permalink

I had been wondering when things would get deadly in "Mad Dog" and it looks like we have reached that point. Episode eleven is an odd one, because certain things which I was sure were established by now get turned upside down. Kang-woo and his dog team share the same unwavering determination and closeness, but their disorganized enemies become increasingly less tolerant of being toyed with...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "While You Were Sleeping - 2017" Final Episodes 31-32

2017/11/16 | | Permalink

Jae-chan doesn't really have much of case against Yoo-beom. Even if he can prove that Yoo-beom is lying about Joo-an having drugged him too, Joo-an is a serial killer with good reason to want Yoo-beom dead. So Yoo-beom could still claim self-defense, arguing that he was just trying to preserve his reputation with the lie. That Yoo-beom eventually ends up getting sent to life in prison for a completely different crime underscores this...More

[Orion's Daily Ramblings] "Bad Guys : Vile City" Gets 10 New Posters

2017/11/16 | | Permalink

It is a case of live fast and probably die faster for our bad boys of justice. The latest posters for "Bad Guys : Vile City" are visually pleasing and packed with character. I'm having trouble picking a favorite, but perhaps that's the point. Which probably-evil man do I look forward to more? These are the questions I ask myself on a daily basis when it comes to dramas...More

[Orion's Daily Ramblings] "Black" Extension Thoughts

2017/11/16 | | Permalink

"Extension" is a dreaded word among drama fans, but it's here and it has happened to a series I am covering and which I like, so I thought I would express my thoughts on it. As much as I fear it, I have to say that "Black" is the rare type of series which can accommodate it. I won't be giving out any spoilers here, but "Black is one wild ride...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "While You Were Sleeping - 2017" Episodes 29-30

2017/11/15 | | Permalink

Joo-an (played by Lee Eun-woo) is the true culprit behind a serial killing spree that Detective Choi and then-prosecutor Yoo-beom incorrectly pinned on an innocent man a long time ago in the backstory. The story behind these events is so incredibly potentially interesting that it was with a groan that I realized we were instead just going to get more flashbacks explaining what the deal was with that solider who went on a rampage, and how this created an unbreakable romantic bond between Jae-chan and Hong-joo somehow...More

[Lily's Take] Han Ji-min enjoys a sweet mother-daughter date

Source | 2017/11/15 | | Permalink

Actress Han Ji-min revealed a sweet photo taken with her beautiful mom...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "This Life Is Our First Life" Episode 12

2017/11/14 | | Permalink

The big climactic kiss that closed off the last episode is inevitably interrupted. I mean that not in the narrative sense, but the literal. Sooner or later any couple that is kissing must stop for some reason. From there, we segue into Ji-ho's internal monologue about how real life is different than dramas. Normally such kind of meta-narration is eye roll inducing but Ji-ho does bring up a good point...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Boy and Girl From the 20th Century" Episodes 23-24

2017/11/14 | | Permalink

So-ni is a very emotional guy. We can tell this because in nearly all of his scenes, whether its sick at home or flashbacks with his stepbrother or just casual conversation with Jin-jin, So-ni is always expressing very strong emotions. What is missing from So-ni's character is much in the way of explanation as to why he has these strong emotions in the first place. So-ni only really knows Jin-jin, after all, from the fake marriage show. Before that she was just an abstraction...More

[Lily's Take] Seo Yoo-jung apologizes for damaging cultural property

Source | 2017/11/14 | | Permalink

On the 13th, actress Seo Yoo-jung released an official apology in regards to the cultural property damage in Italy on her official Instagram account...More

[Lily's Take] "Signal 2" in the works

Source | 2017/11/14 | | Permalink

One of the most popular dramas of 2016, "Signal" is preparing for its second season that aims to air at the end of 2018...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "This Life Is Our First Life" Episode 11

2017/11/13 | | Permalink

I love how the big situation comedy induced plot twist changes almost nothing, even though all of the immediately involved characters assume that it will. While "This Life Is Our First Life" mainly concerns itself with relationships between men and women, its examination of friendships between members of the same gender are equally illuminating. For all the radical differences in personality, Se-hee/Song-goo and Ji-ho/Soo-ji have very strong friendships...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Boy and Girl From the 20th Century" Episodes 21-22

2017/11/13 | | Permalink

Now that Jin-jin and Ji-won have finally gotten together romantically, "Boy and Girl From the 20th Century" shifts to the next stage of the storyline- hiding this relationship from Jin-jin's parents. And also the paparazzi. I rather wish we'd gotten more focus on the latter one. Jin-jin has good tangible reasons to want the paparazzi to not find out about a boyfriend. But the same attitude evinced toward her parents just makes Jin-jin come off as childish...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Black" Episode 10

2017/11/13 | | Permalink

"Black" feels like a fine day at the beach, right before the wind picks up and you feel your pretty hat flying away and the sand smacking you in the eyes. It is a wild ride and it sometimes feels exhausting, but it is fun. Everything fits when you dig deep enough. Gwang-gyeon comes closer to Moo-gang's secrets while Black is about to get a revelation of his own about the true identities of Reapers. Hopefully this will not break him...More

[Lily's Take] The Shy Squad assembles - BoA, Son Hyun-joo, and Kim Sun-ah

Source | 2017/11/13 | | Permalink

Singer and an actress, BoA revealed a selfie taken with her fellow 'Natgarim (Shy)' squad members on her Instagram...More

[Lily's Take] Lee Dong-gun & Jo Yoon-hee's beautiful pregnancy photo

Source | 2017/11/13 | | Permalink

Actress Jo Yoon-hee revealed a heartwarming pregnancy photo with her husband, actor Lee Dong-gun, on her official Instagram account on the 13th...More

[HanCinema's Box Office Review] 2017.11.10 - 2017.11.12

2017/11/13 | | Permalink

"Ragnarok" rules again...

"Thor: Ragnarok" secured a third straight week at the top of the Korean box office this past weekend. Released late October, the third "Thor" film in Marvel's Cinematic Universe dislodged the local sleeper hit "The Outlaws" after Chuseok, and now, with the 465,780 admissions (25.89%) it claimed here, "Thor: Ragnarok" has banked $30.9 million (4.2 million admissions) in Korea alone. Worldwide, Taika Waititi's more comedic version of the popular Marvel franchise has grossed $650 million: currently the tenth highest-grossing film of 2017...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Black" Episode 9

2017/11/12 | | Permalink

Major story breakthroughs and a ruthlessly packed plot make episode nine of "Black" quite the exhausting, but also exhilarating ride. The big revelation we have been waiting for regarding the children's identities has dropped and as expected from this series, it complicates things further. Several identities are exposed, but sadly so is Ha-ram's impending doom to someone who can harm her. Our heroes have enemies everywhere, but romance waits for no one...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Cinema Snippets

2017/11/12 | | Permalink

Korea's top entertainment companies expand their reach as local markets saturate, KoBiz tracks how foreign sequels fared compared to their originals in a new infographic, Netflix claims the distribution rights to Jang Hang-jun's new film "Forgotten", and find out what Korea's 'thriller season' is all about with Pierce Conran...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Food Lovers' Lane

2017/11/12 | | Permalink

My Korean Kitchen makes the most popular street dish around (tteokbokki), The Korea Times visits a beautiful boutique hotel to see and taste where modernity and traditional meet, celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay is coming to promote Cars and talk about the country's beer culture, and what did U.S. President Donald Trump eat during his recent trip to Korea?...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Travel Bug Bites

2017/11/12 | | Permalink

NBC's "Destination Korea" explores The Land of Morning Calm ahead of the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang, "Descendants of the Sun" fans can visit the ex-military base used in the show, immerse yourself in new worlds at these three innovative VR cafes, and go 'beyond Seoul' with a visit to the beautiful Suwon City...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Culture Corner

2017/11/12 | | Permalink

Park Sang-seek reflects on the power of cinema to shape an empathetic world culture in the wake of the recently concluded Busan International Film Festival (BIFF), The Korea Herald explores the borderlands between the rising AI industry and K-pop, novelist Min Jin Lee examines the complex relationship between Korea and Japan, and star pet trainer Kang Hyeong-uk believes Korea's notions of what a "good dog" is needs to change...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Photography and Art

2017/11/12 | | Permalink

10 Magazine visits 4 great art museums in the capital, a new book gives a rare glimpse into the world of North Korean marketing, Soompi catches the stars on the red carpet from the 2017 Korean Popular Culture & Arts Awards, and these are South Korea's most photogenic staircases...More

[Orion's Drama News] You've Got Male

2017/11/11 | | Permalink

Dramaland's love for all manner of plots involving law enforcement is quite obvious, but boy do we have a lot of goodies about detectives, real and fake, this week. Crime and punishment is very manly lately and today I take a look at some upcoming naughty boys once more. We also have the releases of first teasers for many new dramas. Things are looking quite promising for the upcoming months...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "The Love That's Left"

2017/11/11 | | Permalink

Bong-yong (played by Sung Ji-roo) is an oafish yet lovable construction site manager with a wife and three kids. He's pushing fifty, and initially chalks up his harsh stomach pains to old age. Alas, it turns out he is suffering from cancer. From there, Bong-yong chooses to spends most of "The Love That's Left" suffering alone. The only clue the people around Bong-yong have that something is wrong is that the normally placid man now occasionally has sudden unexplained psychotic breakdowns...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "Beautiful Tomorrow"

2017/11/11 | | Permalink

I hesitate to call "Beautiful Tomorrow" a film, or even a musical film, because that implies a degree of narrative cohesion rather beyond its contents. "Beautiful Tomorrow" is really more like an extended music video featuring all the songs from Park Hyo-shin's latest album, "I Am a Dreamer". The very loose framing device for these videos is Park Hyo-shin and his music director Jung Jae-il going to Cuba and befriending a street urchin by the name of Edgar Quintero...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "Dancesport Girls"

2017/11/11 | | Permalink

Geoje Girls' Commercial High School is located in the rural outskirts of Geoje Island. Its stated purpose is to prepare students to enter the workforce. But as it happens, through the guidance of a passionate coach, an entire extracurricular DanceSport squad has formed. DanceSport is a form of competitive exhibition dancing, and apparently South Korea has a dedicated official high school DanceSport competition. I had to look all this up. "Dancesport Girls" never actually explains it...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "While You Were Sleeping - 2017" Episodes 27-28

2017/11/09 | | Permalink

Detective Choi (played by Kim Won-hae) has up until now been a minor supporting character who I had been mentally classifying as the same tier of importance as Hyang-mi. Last episode's revelations that he, too, has apparently been receiving dream prophecies has greatly improved Detective Choi's relevance. Unfortunately, none of the actual main characters are clever enough to catch on to that essential dynamic of the case, so these revelations are mainly for our benefit...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Mad Dog" Episode 10

2017/11/09 | | Permalink

It is plot twist o'clock in episode ten of "Mad Dog" and boy, is it sudden. I suppose this is the way to go when Hyeon-gi has been brought out of his villain hibernation and Hong-joo has gone off the deep end, but I cannot help this nagging feeling of being taken for a ride. Min-joon's much expected change of heart happens in the same blink of an eye and our team cannot handle it all either...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "While You Were Sleeping - 2017" Episodes 25-26

2017/11/08 | | Permalink

The only dream premonition we get this time takes the form of an episode preview. At least, that's the only way I can think of to interpret it, since it seems designed entirely for our benefit rather than that of the main characters. It's a pretty specific premonition too, one that you'd think would be easy to avert. Jae-chan and Hong-joo just need to avoid going to suspicious places in the middle of the night alone...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Mad Dog" Episode 9

2017/11/08 | | Permalink

While our "Mad Dog" team are busy sulking over unsurprising betrayal and having romantic encounters, our villains finally get a bit of focus and something to do. The group is not as disorganized as they seem, but the black box they may be in possession of is the current major goal for our heroes. With Hyeon-gi's father now announced as dead, another formidable opponent will hopefully rise to the challenge that is keeping this plot afloat...More

[Lily's Take] Minho's charm makes FLOTUS smile

Source | 2017/11/08 | | Permalink

The FLOTUS of United States of America and a Kpop star had a smiling encounter...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Boy and Girl From the 20th Century" Episodes 19-20

2017/11/07 | | Permalink

So Ji-won and Jin-jin finally figure out the intrinsic flaw in their whole pretend not to be interested in each other for no reason plan. They end up explicitly saying this in front of a third person, who naturally concludes that Ji-won should be up for a blind date with his daughter. It does, admittedly, still take until the end of episode twenty for them to finally realize that neither Jin-jin nor Ji-won wants Ji-won to date another person, but hey! At least the story's finally getting started...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "This Life Is Our First Life" Episode 10

2017/11/07 | | Permalink

The extended flashback we start out with is more relevant than it initially looks. I mean sure, it's always fun to do those moments of "how did the lead characters first meet anyway", but the whole thing is building up to Ji-ho talking about her dreams as a teenager. In the present day, of course, Soo-ji and Ho-rang have no idea what Ji-ho is talking about. So it's quite instructive to reread last episode's climactic line about Ji-ho liking her husband from Ji-ho's point of view...More

[Lily's Take] Ko Hyun-jung, confident without makeup

Source | 2017/11/07 | | Permalink

Veteran actress Ko Hyun-jung came back with a new movie, "A Tiger in Winter"...More

[Lily's Take] Han Ji-min thank the fans for the birthday gifts

Source | 2017/11/07 | | Permalink

Actress Han Ji-min expressed her appreciation towards her fans who congratulated her on her birthday...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Boy and Girl From the 20th Century" Episodes 17-18

2017/11/06 | | Permalink

Jin-jin's professional work hazards are consistently one of the more unimpressive means of generating conflict on "Boy and Girl From the 20th Century", which is saying a lot considering how challenged this drama is when it comes to developing conflict at all. I'm still wondering how exactly a can of soda can be poisoned in the first place. Does the anti-fan manufacture her own soft drinks? Or was there arsenic on the lid?...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "This Life Is Our First Life" Episode 9

2017/11/06 | | Permalink

The main thematic thrust of this episode is about how men are actually really nice and sweet and emotional. This is pretty counter-intuitive considering we start out with a big news story about the arrest of a crazy psycho stalker, but then a lot of what we see here is about demolishing the dramatic assumptions of the previous storyline. I was quite pleased to discover I was entirely wrong about a certain plot point- it would seem that I underestimated screenwriter Yoon Nan-joong.

But before we even get that far, the most of what we see is just Se-hee and Ji-ho talking to each other about the events on Dongdaemun Gate. I love how over the course of simple, comprehensive conversations they both immediately realize where the other was coming from. This leads to the odd irony of how Ji-ho understands that Se-hee's actions were motivated strictly by practicality, yet still sees the subtle touches which indicate the man really does have a kind heart...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Black" Episode 8

2017/11/06 | | Permalink

The main story of "Black" is never far behind when it comes to the individual ones in what feels like a smörgåsbord of related characters. Man-soo's rude awakening in episode seven is the focus this time around and the victim born from whatever happened in the room has to relive that night through people's judgment. Black continues to fight his emotions, but their source is starting to become clearer as we learn new things about Reapers...More

[HanCinema's Box Office Review] 2017.11.03 - 2017.11.05

2017/11/06 | | Permalink

"Ragnarok" still rules despite stiff competition from "The Bros"...

"Thor: Ragnarok" stood its ground against local writer/director Chang You-jeong's new comedy-drama, "The Bros". From 1,047 screens, down from 1,640, the seventeenth film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe added 833,949 admissions (38.31%), bringing its total tally in Korea to 3.7 million, or $28.8 million. Worldwide, from a production budget of $180 million, "Thor: Ragnarok" (starring a more comedic Chris Hemsworth) has grossed nearly half a billion dollars. Taika Waititi's "Thor" now needs another 256,000 admissions to overtake "The Fortress" (3.8 million) and enter this year's top ten...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Drama Special - Buzzcut Love"

2017/11/05 | | Permalink

Ji-yool (played by Kang Yun-jung) is a young woman who is inevitably defined by illness, because why else would she have an orange dyed buzzcut? Yet aside from the practical issues involved in occasionally needing medicine, Ji-yool consistently ignores her health condition. Instead, her initial focus is about the personal insult dealt to her by ex-boyfriend Si-woo (played by Min Jin-woong), a pharmacist who insisted their break-up was nothing personal...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Black" Episode 7

2017/11/05 | | Permalink

I never thought a series like "Black" would give me too much to think about, but we are already at the half-way mark and I could easily write three times the length of episode reviews I usually do in order to convey all of my thoughts on the drama's packed plot. We have reached a turning point in Black's humanity and things are about to get even more complicated...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Cinema Snippets

2017/11/05 | | Permalink

KoBiz put Korea's leading grandmother in the spotlight, webtoons and their adaptations are on the rise as local and international interest grows, Screen Daily talks with director Jang Hoon about his phenomenal hit "A Taxi Driver", and Christopher Weatherspoon tracks through some of the most heinous true-crime stories and their cinematic counterparts...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Food Lovers' Lane

2017/11/05 | | Permalink

Make "sweet, nutty and velvety" pumpkin porridge with My Korean Kitchen, the charity on display at the Seoul Kimchi Festival catches the BBC's eye, see why "man-made meat" is becoming popular in North Korea, and blogger Mark Wens has a great travel guide for Seoul-seeking foodies...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Travel Bug Bites

2017/11/05 | | Permalink

Lonely Planet lists Korea as one of their top travel destinations for 2018, Korea Expose explores the history of hiking in The Land of the Morning Calm, check out this great guide to the best of Busan, and read a fascinating travelogue by a Portuguese-Korean traveler...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Culture Corner

2017/11/05 | | Permalink

Bong Joon-ho's critically acclaimed "Okja" tracks Korea's growing concern for animal rights, CNN takes us inside the country's epic 'cheer culture', The Korea Herald reviews Andrew Eun-gi Kim's new book on Korean Society, and why does Kim Jong-un care about the cosmetic industry?...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Photography and Art

2017/11/05 | | Permalink

The Woosan Gallery in Daegu celebrates the works of Lee Kang-so in a new exhibition, meet the daredevil Korean photographer who takes pics from choppers, see how Seoul's first architecture biennale is shaping life in the city, and makeup artist Dain Yoon chats to Ellen about her make-up illusions...More

[Orion's Drama News] Just Keep Swimming

2017/11/04 | | Permalink

The big ol' drama machine never stops spinning and this is true throughout what has been an eventful and no doubt emotionally charged week for many. Today I look at the new goodies from "Untouchable" and "Prison Playbook" as we go into the season of manly bonding. Silly Ori gets a bit serious this week, as I close with what I feel is important for us all to remember...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Lookout"

2017/11/04 | | Permalink

Hell hath no fury like a grieving revenge drama lead and "Lookout" takes this fury very seriously. Revenge is a team effort this time around, as the series unites several characters into one group after one very evil man and his equally disturbing hellspawn. A mysterious hidden leader and a heroine with a goal fight against these forces while trying to maintain their own humanity...More

[HanCinema's BIFF Film Review] A relationship on stage becomes something much more in "Method"

2017/11/04 | | Permalink

Bang Eun-jin's "Method" is an exploration of the investment of emotion and self into art and a potent one at that. Screened at the 22nd Busan International Film Festival from October 12th to the 21st, the eighty-two minute film just released in theaters November 2nd. The intense emotional journey of seasoned method actor Jae-ha (Park Sung-woong) and reluctant idol actor Young-woo (Oh Seung-hoon) is riveting and unhinged. Yoon Seung-ah's Hee-won is what tethers the characters and the story to reality - but only just barely...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "The Bros"

2017/11/04 | | Permalink

In the rural outskirts of Andong, an old man passes away from old age while writing calligraphy. Meanwhile, his sons "The Bros" are identified. Seok-bong (played by Ma Dong-seok) is an archeologist who tells obscure stories to bored empty classrooms while waiting for his next expedition. Joo-bong (played by Lee Dong-whi) has to make a construction plan work for his company. Together, they...fight in the car and apparently run down a mysterious senile woman played by Lee Honey...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "Man of Will"

2017/11/04 | | Permalink

The real Kim Chang-soo, better known as Kim Koo, was a Korean resistance fighter against the Japanese Occupation. His history in the first half of the twentieth century in Korea is a long one that ends with his assassination in 1949 for being credible and well-liked in a time when popular leaders were murdered to insure the unpopular ones could maintain power. But none of that is relevant to "Man of Will", which focuses on the life of a twenty year old Chang-soo (played by Cho Jin-woong) surviving in a prison run by the evil wealthy collaborator Hyeong-sik (played by Song Seung-heon)...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "Tarbosaurus 3D"

2017/11/04 | | Permalink

The lead character of "Tarbosaurus 3D" is a young tarbosaurus named Speckles. While Speckles has a voiceover (Lee Yeong-seok as a child, Shin Yong-woo as an adult), none of the other dinosaurs have human voices or even names. With this, "Tarbosaurus 3D" is refreshingly free from anthropomorphization more obnoxious children's movies are more well known for. We watch Speckles from the dinosaur's point of view...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Oh! Goddesses of Doll-like Beauty" Episodes 1-5 + Videos

2017/11/03 | | Permalink

Four minor Greek goddesses have decided to chill out in South Korea for awhile. Though they are goddesses with almighty powers, they still need money in order to survive on a daily basis. Which is why the first episode of "Oh! Goddesses of Doll-like Beauty" takes place inside a pawn shop. It's up to the Goddess of Persuasion, Peitho (played by Cha Jung-won) to negotiate the best possible deal so that the goddess roommates can continue to live in their modest basement apartment...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Mad Dog" Episode 8

2017/11/02 | | Permalink

Desperate times call for desperate measures and like a puppy behind his "Mad Dog" mentor, Min-joon has his own ideas about what he can do to top Kang-woo's undercover adventures. The team close in on the secrets behind Tae-yang Insurance's policy and they paint a very well-organized and deliberate picture. Our two heroes finally form a bond and the timing is perfect, as old friendships are about to be torn apart...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "While You Were Sleeping - 2017" Episodes 23-24

2017/11/02 | | Permalink

There's a strong emotional scene where the father of the soon-to-be-dead victim cries when his son is finally taken off life support. That scene immediately made me realize that, rather than the explicitly contrived binary choice between autopsy and organ donation, "While You Were Sleeping - 2017" could have instead done a more traditional, dad doesn't want to take his son off life support because of imaginary hope that he'll wake back up. While not terribly original, such a plotline would have at least been plausible...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Mad Dog" Episode 7

2017/11/01 | | Permalink

The pilot of the tragic flight throws our leads quite the curve ball and the implications of his words come cascading down on them and the people they work with. The "Mad Dog" team has no time to lose and no intention of stopping, but neither does Min-joon. The young man attempts to go solo once more, but the game is now much bigger than his own regrets and his brother's life...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "While You Were Sleeping - 2017" Episodes 21-22

2017/11/01 | | Permalink

Last storyline, a woman with a medical condition falls at home and hits her head on the table, prompting police, doctors, and the press to assume that the delivery boy murdered her. This storyline, a man with his arm in a sling publically accuses a professor of illegal acts, and shortly thereafter falls down an elevator shaft that had to have been physically pried open with two working hands. So naturally, police, doctors, and the press all assume it was an accident...More

[HanCinema's On Site Report] Viki brings Korean and Asian content to international fans

2017/11/01 | | Permalink

Viki content development manager Courtney McLachlan

For fans of Korean and Asian content, Rakuten Viki is one of the go-to sources for content that includes, but isn't limited to, television, film, fan communities, original content, and short form content. You'll often see links in HanCinema reviews to the episodes of your favorite dramas that are licensed by Rakuten Viki for your viewing pleasure. At the 12th Asian TV Drama Conference, we got to learn more about this company and the services it provides in presentations by senior director, Moon Gyeong Min, and content development manager, Courtney McLachlan...More

[Lily's Take] Ok Taecyeon becomes a recruit trainer in the military

Source | 2017/11/01 | | Permalink

On November 1st, actor Ok Taecyeon's agency JYP Entertainment announced Ok Taecyeon's current status...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "This Life Is Our First Life" Episode 8

2017/10/31 | | Permalink

So it turns out that Bo-ram is evil. Well, technically we don't know that but those goofy evil musical cues that keep coming on every time he makes an appearance are difficult to interpret any other way. It's disappointing. Bo-ram's you only live once philosophy is a very interesting contrast to Se-hee's logical work ethic. I wouldn't have minded him turning out to be evil eventually, but the completion of his storyline abruptly kills the drama's most interesting ongoing conflict...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Boy and Girl From the 20th Century" Episodes 15-16

2017/10/31 | | Permalink

There's a scene here where Ah-reum calls Woo-seong on the phone and they talk about...how Woo-seong seems to have too much free time. Increasingly it feels like the characters in "Boy and Girl From the 20th Century" are engaged in some kind of weird bet to see who can go through the most obvious situations to ask someone on a date or be asked on a date without actually doing it. Even when we are promised dates, circumstances contrive to prevent them from happening...More

[HanCinema's Live Report] The 12th Asian TV Drama Conference - Korean drama and the world

2017/10/30 | | Permalink

From all over Asia directors, producers, writers, and industry professionals have gathered to talk about Asian drama and its place in the world market and its globalization potential. The presenters in the morning conference see great things for the expansion of drama internataionally as well as a few major obstacles. Moments ago the presentation on Korean drama and its popularity ended. Here are some highlights:...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "This Life Is Our First Life" Episode 7

2017/10/30 | | Permalink

Bok-nam (played by Kim Min-kyu-II) is the second male lead alternate love interest for Ji-ho. His arrival is, all things considered, late, but definitely worth the late. He's Se-hee's opposite in every conceivable way. Bok-nam believes in the importance of fun and only living once. Whereas Se-hee is so obsessed with being supremely logical and sensible about everything most of his deadpan dialogue comes off as an unintentional joke. I liked the bit where Se-hee even explicitly says how long it will take him to pay off the debt, as if this is a somehow sane or normal answer...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Boy and Girl From the 20th Century" Episodes 13-14

2017/10/30 | | Permalink

Between the thirteenth and fourteenth episodes, Ah-reum and Woo-seong are mid-scene on an airplane. Even knowing the dividng of drama episodes into half-hour ones was done for technhical reasons the lack of a scene stopgap in that storyline really bugged me. That was a lazy design decision. Which incidentally turn is the main problem with "Boy and Girl From the 20th Century" overall. The whole production is just really lazy...More

[Lily's Take] Lee Yoo-young learns of Kim Joo-hyuk's death

Source | 2017/10/30 | | Permalink

Actress Lee Yoo-young was in the middle of shooting the popular variety show, "Running Man", in Busan when she heard the news of boyfriend Kim Joo-hyuk's death...More

[HanCinema's Box Office Review] 2017.10.27 - 2017.10.29

2017/10/30 | | Permalink

"Ragnarok" topples "The Outlaws" with over 60% of the sales...

Marvel's latest superhero outing, "Thor: Ragnarok", the third "Thor" film, arrived in Korea last Wednesday to topple the sleeper hit "The Outlaws". From 1,639 screens around the country, "Ragnarok" claimed 1.5 million admissions ($11.8 million), or 63.7% of the weekend sales. The film stars Chris Hemsworth (as the God of Thunder himself), Tom Hiddleston (Hulk), Cate Blanchett, Idris Elba and Jeff Goldblum and has already grossed over $100 million worldwide (the film was produced for $180 million). "Thor: Ragnarok" is the seventeenth film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe...More

[Lily's Take] Kim Sejeong's aegyo melts Song Kang-ho's heart

Source | 2017/10/30 | | Permalink

Actress Kim Sejeong's ultimate aegyo melted the heart of the veteran actor Song Kang-ho...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Drama Special - Slow"

2017/10/29 | | Permalink

Ji-won (played by Kwak Dong-yeon) is a taciturn high school baseball player with hopes of continuing his career at a higher level. Taciturnity is the key word there. "Drama Special - Slow" is distinct among television dramas in that it has very little dialogue. This isn't because writer Kim Joo-man-I is employing a specific weird gimmick. It's just that Ji-won is a genuinely antisocial guy, who doesn't have any other friends on the team. An unexpected injury does not improve his popularity either...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Black" Episode 6

2017/10/29 | | Permalink

"Black" puts on its Halloween costume and nothing is scarier than the people involved with Moo-gang and Ha-ram. We have several returning faces who finally step up to take their place in this story, as Black's actions bring his new enemies as well as his target closer to him. Ha-ram struggles between two pushy bosses and her own life problems, which are about to multiply for our unfortunate heroine...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Black" Episode 5

2017/10/29 | | Permalink

The sordid past built by the very human shadows of Moojin gets a grand reveal, but there are many things in need of explanation in both layers of reality. Ha-ram is determined to save lives, but her actions may cause great problems for Black and the entirety of the underworld. Meanwhile, Gwang-gyeon's past connections lead him directly to a person with a very important role in current happenings...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Cinema Snippets

2017/10/29 | | Permalink

KoBiz examines a recent 'sleeper hit' in a new infographic, Film Journal International reviews a curious documentary musical set in North Korea, take your pick of top K-horrors this Halloween, and BIFF X online screening service is now live...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Food Lovers' Lane

2017/10/29 | | Permalink

Sue shares an updated recipe for pork bone soup on My Korean Kitchen, Forbes examines Korea's move to attract more Muslim tourists, the Korea Herald has a recipe for a "sweet, savory, and crunchy" treat from Korean Bapsang, and Hugh (My Korean Husband) takes on the Nepalese Spicy Noodle Challenge...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Travel Bug Bites

2017/10/29 | | Permalink

Duke Stewart visits the idyllic Juwangsan National Park, see how one traveller made the most of their five-day trip to Korea, High Heels and a Backpack believes Korea is an excellent choice for solo female travellers, and a French photographer captures Jeju's 'mermaids'...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Culture Corner

2017/10/29 | | Permalink

The New York Times runs into North Koreans in the Big Apple, 10 Magazine has these top suggestions for going 'cruelty-free' with K-beauty brands, Korea's cultural exports see double-digit growth, and the death of a woman sparks a public debate around pet ownership...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Photography and Art

2017/10/29 | | Permalink

The Lonely Planet features a dark reimagining of Korea's future, a top South Korean painter is charged with fraud, see Matt Hulse's award-winning "Sniper" series on North Korea, and K-fashion arrives in the United America...More

[Orion's Drama News] Family Fallout

2017/10/28 | | Permalink

The past week has been full of award ceremonies and attire rankings, but no dress is pretty enough to stop the Dramaland machine, which brings a ton of casting and other news with it. Today I take a first look at "Untouchable", a drama about brotherly angst between Jin Goo and Kim Sung-kyun. If this is "Last" all over again, I must prepare my feels...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Duel"

2017/10/28 | | Permalink

The idea of cloning is a highly controversial one and for good reason. South Korea has had its own advancement in and moral debates over it, making the lack of the topic's presence in drama fiction a surprising one. "Duel" does not really focus on the existential and other implications of human cloning, but it aims to be an action thriller experience with a related twist...More

[HanCinema's BIFF Film Review] Violence and unhappiness define Lee Hwan's Indie film "Park Hwa-young"

2017/10/28 | | Permalink

The combination of human depravity and the inability to change are what define Lee Hwan's indie film, "Park Hwa-young". Each time a moment pivotal moment blooms with a chance for change, it is stymied by the purposefully one-dimensional characters. However, even as the titular character falls deeper into trouble -- of her own volition, might I add -- there is no true sense of catharsis as the ending scene cuts short what may have been. It is that ending that makes the movie a rounded character study that is rather indulgent with human foible...More

[HanCinema's Travel Diaries] Busan's picturesque Gwanggalli Beach

2017/10/28 | | Permalink

My time in Busan wasn't only spent at the 22nd Busan International Film Festival, but also in exploring the beautiful seaside city itself. I met up with friends to wander around with camera in hand and belly empty in order to try all that Busan had to offer. One particularly lovely day we traveled to Gwangalli Beach, a beach famous for its fine sand, Gwangandaegyo Bridge, magnificent skyline, and bustling social and shopping scenes...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "RV: Resurrected Victims"

2017/10/28 | | Permalink

Seven years ago Myeong-sook (played by Kim Hae-sook) was murdered. From that day forward her son Jin-hong (played by Kim Rae-won) resolved to find justice, not only for his mother, but for everyone. Fortunately he was already a prosecutor by that time, so mostly he just became more determined to resolve criminal matters in the best interest of justice. Anyway, so Jin-hong is going about minding his own business when suddenly, he gets a phone call. Myeong-sook has come back to life- and then things take an unexpected turn for the violent...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "The Poet and The Boy"

2017/10/28 | | Permalink

For the minor creative class of the bourgeoise, life can be tough. With excessive introspection comes an excessive desire on the part of a person to justify their own existence, when their life is so humdrum and ordinary there's barely even anything to gossip about. So it is with the Poet (played by Yang Ik-june) and the Wife (played by Jeon Hye-jin-II). They got married because they were getting old. They want to have a baby because they might not be able to soon. And the Wife wants the Poet to start seriously writing poetry so that they can feel special...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "Lost to Shame"

2017/10/28 | | Permalink

Song-joon (played by Nam Yeon-woo) is a stage actor. Or at least, he wants to be a stage actor. The last time Song-joon was in a stage play was several years ago when he was still going to school. But with every reason to be pessimistic concerning future prospects, Song-joon is steadfast in his determination to score the lead role in Dark Life, a major play about a young man coming out as a transwoman...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Mad Dog" Episode 6

2017/10/27 | | Permalink

"Mad Dog" drops some big revelations in episode six and although their logic does not quite stand, they radically shift the focus of the dog team's investigations while at the same time spurring major doubts about the story we have seen so far. The team follows Min-joon as he once more goes solo, but a surprising contact brings them back together and adds a new spark to the mystery...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Single Wife" Episode 12

2017/10/27 | | Permalink

So "Single Wife" ends up concluding the logical direction it took with the previous episode that barely touched on the main conflict at all, and brings upon a final glorious comeuppance against In-hwa. I remain baffled just as much as I did last time as to what exactly happened to the premise. We had certainly received hints that In-hwa was a corporate vulture, but those barely even registered as a subplot. Now Hyo-rim and some bald guy I'm not even sure has a name have to work together to bring her dad back to stop her...More

[Lily's Take] IU's "Fight My Way" Dubbing Video Goes Viral

Source | 2017/10/27 | | Permalink

In South Korea, a certain photo editing/drama dubbing app, Kwai (click for android and here for iphone), for smartphone has become very popular recently...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "While You Were Sleeping - 2017" Episodes 19-20

2017/10/26 | | Permalink

Hyang-mi (played by Park Jin-joo) works in the prosecutor's office with Jae-chan. Her only real purpose in the story is to provide office gossip commentary on Jae-chan's career path. At least, that was her only purpose. Now, Hyang-mi has decided that Jae-chan is actually super cool and awesome. This leads to some funny scenes wherein we get to see Jae-chan express this newfound love of Jae-chan in very cute ways while Jae-chan, dork that he is, accidentally encourages her...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Mad Dog" Episode 5

2017/10/26 | | Permalink

"Mad Dog" continues to teeter between tedium and mediocrity as a chase begins to capture the unwilling shadows of the past. The chase itself may not be exciting, but episode five provides some development for supporting characters and their roles in the story, which balances the slower bits out. The friends and enemies of the "Mad Dog" team become clearer as our heroes rattle the cage...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Single Wife" Episode 11

2017/10/26 | | Permalink

So you might have noticed that I abruptly stopped writing reviews for "Single Wife" a month ago. This is because I had gone to the United States, and recent episodes of "Single Wife" could not be streamed there. Back in South Korea, I'm a bit surprised to find that the final stretch of plot feels rather abrupt. In-hwa, having mostly had a background role as the mean potential mother-in-law, is apparently responsible for all the malaise in Ra-hee and Jae-min's relationship...More

[HanCinema's Travel Diaries] Exploring a cute Busan neighborhood

2017/10/25 | | Permalink

There are so many wonderful places to explore in Busan. The famous places like the fish market and Haeundae beach are amazing. But there are also the small, quiet places. The sort of places people live and do day-to-day things. We see them all the time on our tv and computer screens. It's been pretty wonderful being able to walk those streets myself. Just be sure to put on your walking shoes because Busan is hilly...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "While You Were Sleeping - 2017" Episodes 17-18

2017/10/25 | | Permalink

Hak-yeong (played by Baek Sung-hyun) is Woo-tak's old friend, who may or may not have murdered a minor celebrity. That question remains ambiguous even if the three main leads have concluded he was not responsible. At least, that would be my interpretation if the drama was not from their point of view. I mean sure, Yoo-beom is a sneak abusing the situation for his own ends but from a non-supernatural perspective he does make perfectly legitimate points about Jae-chan's questionable judgment...More

[Lily's Take] Shin Se-kyung shows off her beauty in a traditional Korean hanbok

Source | 2017/10/25 | | Permalink

A few days ago, South Korea celebrated the National Hanbok Day (celebrating traditional Korean clothing) with the "2017 Gyeongbokgung Moonlight Hanbok Fashion Show" at the Gyeongbok Palace...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Boy and Girl From the 20th Century" Episodes 11-12

2017/10/24 | | Permalink

There's a South Korean variety show wherein celebrities pretend to marry each other. I've never really understood the appeal of this particular format. I'm kind of surprised it's still around honestly. These are the thoughts that when through my head as I watched Jin-jin and So-ni play through their roles for that show in a show. The entire concept is obviously fake from the beginning, so nestling it inside an explicitly fictional drama just manages to make everything feel even more fake...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "This Life Is Our First Life" Episode 6

2017/10/24 | | Permalink

The wedding goes through without incident. Hilariously, Se-hee and Ji-ho even manage to skip out their own reception. This wasn't pre-planned or anything, it's just that neither one of them actually needs to be there because as has been discussed frequently, the entire concept of a marriage ceremony is largely for the benefit of social appearances. The main important event that happens there is that the forced social interactions get Ho-rang and Woo-seok to cool down from their fight...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Black" Episode 4

2017/10/23 | | Permalink

For every question answered "Black" has five new ones, but episode four manages to clear some things up, at least enough to get me excited over the future of what is still a very chaotic, but nicely packed story. Following the threads of our characters' past reveals complicated and deep connections, while Black has flashbacks of a mysterious character who may play a key role...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "This Life Is Our First Life" Episode 5

2017/10/23 | | Permalink

The extent to which Se-hee and Ji-ho are smart and organized continues to impress me. I mean sure, it's really sterile and weird that Se-hee has this whole check list of things they have to do to get married, but that's just how he thinks, in terms of narrow short-term objectives in service of broader long-term goals. This, in turn, explains how and why Se-hee and Ji-ho are able to expedite the process so effectively, if only because Ji-ho is very good at following his lead...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Boy and Girl From the 20th Century" Episodes 9-10

2017/10/23 | | Permalink

So-ni (played by Lee Sang-woo) is Ji-won's stepbrother. His main purpose is the story is to give Ji-won someone to talk to that is not Jin-jin or her wacky friends, which is helpful. I rather like the banter of their bro talk, and I especially like how Ji-won and So-ni are apparently incapable of getting on each other's nerves because they are such inherently nice and pleasant people. Although then again, maybe I shouldn't be praising a lack of conflict in this drama, what with its issues on pacing...More

[HanCinema's Box Office Review] 2017.10.20 - 2017.10.22

2017/10/23 | | Permalink

"The Outlaws" fends off "Geostorm" and "Man of Will"...

Kang Yoon-Sung's "The Outlaws" retained the top spot by holding off some strong competition from the recently released American disaster film, "Geostorm". Kang's debut failed to trump "The Fortress" over Chuseok two weekends ago, but since then it has held strong as the country's film of choice. From 994 screens, down from 1,127, "The Outlaws" (Ma Dong-seok and Yoon Kye-sang) claimed another 786,049 admissions (40.56%), moving its total tally now to 4.9 million, or $36.2 million...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Black" Episode 3

2017/10/22 | | Permalink

The whimsical, yet harsh world of the dead comes to light in episode three of "Black", as we meet new Reapers and go through the events which lead our titular agent of demise into the body of Moo-gang. Ha-ram continues to work on her father's case and her ability draws in those who need to use it. The plot thickens and its rules become complicated. Will "Black" help us make sense of it all...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Drama Special - The Reason We Can't Sleep"

2017/10/22 | | Permalink

Yeong-jae (played by Im Ji-kyu) is a comics illustrator who, due to the stress of being unable to find gainful employment in his preferred profession, has taken to exercising at night to deal with his insomnia. Yoo-jeong (played by Im Se-mi) is a writer who lives in a nearby building, who is also suffering from insomnia, for the same basic reason. But Yeong-jae's exercise is so loud she decides to blame him for her sleeping problems...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Cinema Snippets

2017/10/22 | | Permalink

KoBiz's latest infographic tracks the rise in successful adaptations, BIFF's Korean Cinema Award winner is looking forward to the future of Korean cinema, The New York Times profiles "the man who put Korean cinema on the map", and Pierce Conran reveals how Korean filmmakers are standing up for comfort women...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Food Lovers' Lane

2017/10/22 | | Permalink

Make your own spicy KFC (Korean fried chicken) with My Korean Kitchen, Korea Expose looks at Korea's 'call button' culture and its history, a new tech startup uses lasers to ensure food safety, and more men are cooking up a storm in the Land of the Morning Calm...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Travel Bug Bites

2017/10/22 | | Permalink

Kyle Decker takes us on a tour of the Museum of Shamanism (part of The Korea Times' "My Seoul Story" series), a Busan native recommends you visit these places in Korea's second-largest city, Jeju Dark Tours exposes visitors to the island's bloody history, and the city of Seoul opens new underground historic spots to the public for the first time...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Culture Corner

2017/10/22 | | Permalink

Red Bull explores the evolution of Seoul's DJ culture, Korea Expose investigates the country's "war preppers", more adults are embracing the 'YOLO' lifestyle, and 10 Magazine lists ten things to keep in mind when working at a Korean company...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Photography and Art

2017/10/22 | | Permalink

Hyperallergic looks back on the life and works of abstract expressionist Po Kim, Young Sung Kim's art imitates life on a smaller scale, San Francisco's Asian Art Museum to host the largest Korean fashion event in North America, and Vogue profiles Korean rock star and trend-setter Hyuk Oh...More

[Orion's Drama News] Cooking Hacks and Prison Living

2017/10/21 | | Permalink

It seems that I always find my way back to crime-related drama content even when I am not actively looking for it and this time around I take a look at "Prison Playbook", which I had not given much attention to before. I also bring you deadly stills and teasers from "Bad Guys Season 2". May the upcoming imaginary crime pay off...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Circle"

2017/10/21 | | Permalink

The painfully small selection of science fiction works in Korean drama and the often unsuccessful and dull efforts of the industry when tackling new things made the anticipation for "Circle" quite nerve-wracking. While "Joseon X-Files - Secret Book" is a bit of a cult classic among fans, it left a lot to be desired. "Circle" chooses a different approach and it surprises in the most pleasant, satisfying of ways...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "The Fortress"

2017/10/21 | | Permalink

The time is winter 1636. King Injo (played by Park Hae-il) has to choose between recognizing the Qing Dynasty with its Mongolian overlords as the new China, or sticking to tradition and trying to maintain Joseon's dignity as a sovereign state. The Qing Dynasty would probably crush Joseon in a decisive battle, but they'd rather not waste the resources. So they just stand their army outside of the titular fortress and wait for King Injo and his people to starve to death in the miserable cold...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "The End of April"

2017/10/21 | | Permalink

Hyeon-jin (played by Park Ji-soo) is having a miserable time of life. Her job stinks. She's trying to fix that with English classes, which are incredibly dull and unlikely to be much help with her career. But worst of all, Hyeon-jin has just moved into a new apartment, in a building that seems to be falling apart. There are strange, unaccounted for sounds. And then there's that creepy wallpaper, that Hyeon-jin gets lost in sometimes, with its oddly bewitching stained pattern...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "GOGURYEO"

2017/10/21 | | Permalink

Kim Yong-ok is a professor at Hanshin University, although that rather understates the sheer power of his reputation as a historian. Kim Yong-ok did screenwriting work for "The General's Son" and "Strokes of fire" merely as a historical expert. In "GOGURYEO", Kim Yong-ok uses that expertise to narrate an extended study of the lands of the historical Goguryeo Kingdom, relating it as the true heart of the Korean people, before those hoity-toity southerners in Silla took over, and signed over most of Korean Manchuria to Chinese rule...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Mad Dog" Episode 4

2017/10/20 | | Permalink

The dog fight continues as Kang-woo and his team follow Min-joon's lead while at the same time investigating him and his potential motive. The case of Kang Eun-joo's husband clearly has foul play involved and the revelation of her past further fuels the need of the "Mad Dog" bunch for information. Meanwhile, romantic woes start to surface in the lives of leads and antagonists alike...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "While You Were Sleeping - 2017" Episodes 15-16

2017/10/19 | | Permalink

The perplexing creative decision to downplay dream prophecies in favor of flashbacks continues here. Honestly, my main takeaway so far is that the lead characters have rather shockingly bad memories, that they apparently went through all these traumatic events together as teenagers yet are incapable of recognizing one another in the modern day. It's not at all clear what these flashbacks are even building up to, given the generally vague connection to the current case...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Mad Dog" Episode 3

2017/10/19 | | Permalink

A cat and mouse game is great, but a slow burning fight between two mad dogs is not too shabby when the progress is decent. Kang-woo and his "Mad Dog" team turn Min-joon into their investigation's target; a move which the young man welcomes, even if he is met with more challenge than he anticipated. Meanwhile, a new face has surprising ties to the protagonists' past...More

[HanCinema's Travel Diaries] Navigating and using Korean subways

2017/10/19 | | Permalink

(T-money card)

If you've seen a Korean drama, film, or music video, you have most definitely seen the characters or singers in a subway. In my time here in Korea, I've explored the subways of Seoul, the capital and in the northern part of South Korea, and Busan, a port city and in the southern part of South Korea. Both are big towns with big subway systems. As a lifelong car driver, I was a bit hesitant to use public transportation. But it's much more convenient than I thought...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "While You Were Sleeping - 2017" Episodes 13-14

2017/10/18 | | Permalink

I had thought that entire stupid storyline about the fratricidal insurance fraud guy was over but for reasons unclear to me, "While You Were Sleeping - 2017" continues it. We get a better portrait of what the main characters were doing prior to the stabbing incident, and we also get to see Jae-chan take over the case from Hee-min. None of this is particularly interesting, since it's fairly impossible to imagine a person getting off from attempting to murder a police officer with witnesses...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "This Life Is Our First Life" Episode 4

2017/10/17 | | Permalink

Ho-rang (played by Kim Ga-eun-I) is Ji-ho's second best friend. Ho-rang lacks much in the way of ambition. She just wants to love her boyfriend Won-seok (played by Kim Min-seok) forever and ever. Unfortunately, their reverie is broken up by something very...technical. If you have ever had a significant other that gets angry when you try to do nice things in the wrong way or vice-versa, you'll understand the conflict in their relationship...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Boy and Girl from the 20th Century" Episodes 7-8

2017/10/17 | | Permalink

The opening title of this episode is "Christmas in August", a fairly explicit reference to the classic nineties South Korean film. So instead of thinking about the plot this time, I decided to ask myself- what's the title supposed to mean? It obviously isn't just a random pop culture reference. Viewed by that rubric, as being sort of a mystery, "Boy and Girl From the 20th Century" ends up being quite a bit more watchable, as we're fed several snippets of backstory that eventually culminate in a satisfying explanation...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Black" Episode 2

2017/10/16 | | Permalink

When "Black" started releasing its promotional materials, I was almost positive that I knew what the show would be like. Weeks later I find myself faced with copious amounts of Song Seung-heon's pixelated crotch in a series which may not quite make sense yet, but which is definitely doing new things and having fun unleashing them on us. You are weird, "Black". I kind of like that...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "This Life Is Our First Life" Episode 3

2017/10/16 | | Permalink

In a fairly effective reversal, "This Life Is Our First Life" reminds us that just because montage and thematic framing make it obvious that Ji-ho and Se-hee are soulmates doesn't mean they're at that point. Mind, I am not using the term soulmates in a particularly romantic sense. Ji-ho and Se-hee are soulmates in that they have extremely similar life philosophies. They mainly want to go through their daily lives and unmolested and then come home to rest somewhere nice...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Boy and Girl From the 20th Century" Episodes 5-6

2017/10/16 | | Permalink

The main plot of "Boy and Girl From the 20th Century" just seems to be about dating. Specifically, we're watching the kind of dating where it takes forever for anybody to make a decisive first move. At one point a character resorts to causing a fake car accident for the sole purpose of having an excuse to engage another character in conversation. I'm frequently left wondering- are these people really supposed to be in their thirties? Ji-won (played by Kim Ji-suk) should especially know better, since he's Jin-jin's love interest. These people act like teenagers...More

[HanCinema's Box Office Review] 2017.10.13 - 2017.10.15

2017/10/16 | | Permalink

"The Fortress" crumbles as "The Outlaws" seize control...

Despite being narrowly outplayed last weekend by Hwang Dong-hyuk's historical drama "The Fortress", Kang Yoon-Sung's debut film, "The Outlaws" (starring Ma Dong-seok and Yoon Kye-sang), moved decisively to the top of the chart during its second weekend out...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Black" Episode 1

2017/10/15 | | Permalink

Dramaland is no stranger to romances starting through the ice breaker of "I see dead people", but "Black" may surprise folks who have been hoping or worrying that this would be another "Goblin". I am not sure what its story will be or if it will include romance at all, but so far it involves death, bonding and a lot of vomit. Welcome to the dark, gritty yet surprisingly humorous world of "Black"...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Cinema Snippets

2017/10/15 | | Permalink

South Korea's largest film festival (BIFF) hopes to put the political woes of last year behind it, KoBiz interviews an audio artist par excellence, Pieces of Work has twenty top suggestions for K-horrors this Halloween, and can you guess which K-horror made Film School Reject's list of the most underrated horrors of this century?...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Food Lovers' Lane

2017/10/15 | | Permalink

Judy Joo believes Korean food isn't getting the recognition it deserves, Beyond Kimchee brings home a simple recipe for chicken mango stir-fry, hear from the co-founders of Vatos Urban Tacos in Seoul, and is South Korean cuisine the original 'slow food'?...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Travel Bug Bites

2017/10/15 | | Permalink

Study International lists ten reasons to get schooled in Korea at the highest level, a new mobile device gives foreigners insider information about where locals like to eat, explore the 'dark side' of Seoul with a unique tour through ZenKimchi, and the Chrysanthemum in full bloom at Jogyesa temple...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Culture Corner

2017/10/15 | | Permalink

The Korea Herald looks at the unique vocabulary of K-pop fans, a new reality show puts North Korean celebrities in the spotlight, Billboard examines how American 90s pop culture influenced the success of K-pop, and Forbes looks at the numbers after the country's longest national holiday in decades...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Photography and Art

2017/10/15 | | Permalink

A new exhibit in Seoul shows what a Pyongyang apartment looks like, Guno Park has master the art of subway drawing, Channel News Asia explores the rise in demand for North Korean works of art, and North Korean expert Nicholas Bonner demystifies the DPRK's visual culture...More

[Orion's Drama News] Bad Boys and Fake Detectives

2017/10/14 | | Permalink

After the torrential downpour of dramas on our poor time-deprived souls last week, it is time to look forward in anticipation of new shows and new adventures. This week brings us a lot of casting news as well as some goodies from "Bad Guys Season 2" and the main cast of "Doubtful Victory", a drama with a fun hidden identity premise...More

[HanCinema On Site] Relaxing, on-the-beach Haundae BIFF Village

2017/10/14 | | Permalink

The Busan International Film Festival is an event that the entire city of Busan takes part in. Outside of the dedicated complex for the activities of the film festival, several locations around the city serve as places for open talks, hand-printing, lectures, screenings, and more. One of the more picturesque locations is the BIFF Village located on the famous Haeundae Beach, a top tourist spot for the seaside city...More

[HanCinema On Site] Beautiful actress Moon So-ri's "Open Talk" with Japanese actress Miho Nakayama

2017/10/14 | | Permalink

Moon So-ri is a multi-talented woman who has most recently gained attention for the film she directed and starred in "The Running Actress". On Friday, October 13, a day made luckier by her appeareance, the director, actress, professor, and scriptwriter was joined by equally affluent Japanese actress Miho Nakayama...More

[HanCinema's Travel Diaries] Step into Busan's adorable Kakao Talk store

2017/10/14 | | Permalink

Yesterday, I had the aboslute joy of stumbling across the standalone Kakao Friends shop in Busan, which is pretty much one of the cutest places that I've ever seen...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "Radio Star" + DVD Giveaway

2017/10/14 | | Permalink

Back in 1988, Gon (played by Park Joong-hoon) was a singer at the top of his game, with national recognition. But eighteen years later, he's stuck playing songs to sparsely populated rooms. Only Gon's fans from better years remember who the guy is anymore. Them, and people who scour the tabloids for arrest reports of yesterday's old stars. Gon's long-suffering manager Min-soo (played by Ahn Sung-ki) falls into both categories, and so, it falls onto him to bring new light to Gon's life with a new, if unglamorous disc jockey job in rural Yeongwol...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "Tube" + DVD Giveaway

2017/10/14 | | Permalink

Gi-taek (played by Park Sung-min) is a terrorist who spends the opening sequence of "Tube" blowing a lot of stuff up with his team. I wasn't sure what he was doing or why he was doing it. Shoot, I wasn't actually sure who the leader of the group was even supposed to be since the whole scene was just constant gunfights and explosions and something about an important data file or whatever. Allegedly these events have something to do with the subway heist that makes up the bulk of "Tube", although even after having seen the full film I'm not so sure about that...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "To Catch a Virgin Ghost" + DVD Giveaway

2017/10/14 | | Permalink

The set-up for "To Catch a Virgin Ghost" is pretty simple. We have three factions who are after some precious diamonds. Seok-tae (played by Kwon Oh-joong) stole them. The farmers Seok-tae randomly crashes in to are smarter than they look. Lastly, Yang-i (played by Im Chang-jung) is Seok-tae's fellow gangster, and his small team of enforcers aren't leaving until they get what they came for. That synopsis isn't quite as dire as the movie is in context. Seok-tae's ridiculous fashion choices make it clear fairly quickly that the tone is intended to be comedic...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Mad Dog" Episode 2

2017/10/13 | | Permalink

Nothing makes me feel more sadistic as a viewer than that sigh of relief upon seeing characters suffer. As cruel as the reaction would be in real life, fiction needs that raw humanity in order to be interesting and eventually cathartic for what is essentially a detached spectator. "Mad Dog" was off to a shaky start, but I really like what I see this time around...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "While You Were Sleeping - 2017" Episodes 11-12

2017/10/12 | | Permalink

After the previous big lawyer storyline was resolved fairly realistically without having to go to trial, I was optimistic for writer Park Hye-ryeon's further legal plots. Unfortunately, the new case takes some massive steps backwards. First of all, the trial we see is obviously based on American jurisprudence. The notion of reasonable doubt, the 1% factor Yoo-beom keeps discussing, does not exist in South Korean law...More

[HanCinema's on Location] 22nd Busan International Film Festival 2017 Red Carpet

2017/10/12 | | Permalink

Yoona and Jang Dong-gun

Actresses, actors, and directors on the red carpet for the opening ceremony of the 22nd Busan International Film Festival 2017...More

[HanCinema's on Location] Press Conference for Moon Geun-young's "Glass Garden" at Busan Film Festival

2017/10/12 | | Permalink

Today was the opening day for the largest film festival in Asia, the 22nd Busan International Film Festival (BIFF), which spans from October 12 to October 21. HanCinema had the honor of attending the press conference for the film chosen for the opening ceremony, Korean film "Glass Garden"...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "While You Were Sleeping - 2017" Episodes 9-10

2017/10/11 | | Permalink

Now that the last major crisis has passed, Hong-joo comes off as kind of creepy. In the absence of genuine threats, she just harasses the guy at the chicken restaurant and pre-stalks Jae-chan at work. While this behavior can sometimes be cute, what we're left with is the impression that Hong-joo really needs a hobby. Or even better, a job that makes relevant use of her inherent nosiness. Cue backstory, where it's finally explained what Hong-joo's previous profession was, and why she quit...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Mad Dog" Episode 1

2017/10/11 | | Permalink

Mad dogs never let go and our pack's leader makes that obsessive and fierce nature of his clear as he leads a team of misfits into fraud-fueled adventures. If white-collar crime does not seem appealing, worry not. The drama is clearly going for very big crimes involving physical harm and death for the victims, so bring on the anger, tears and hopefully solid catharsis...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Boy and Girl From the 20th Century" Episodes 3-4

2017/10/10 | | Permalink

It's surprisingly difficult to emphathize with Jin-jin. Yes, granted, a sex tape is threatening her career. This is an unsourced sex tape, that will (and is) immediately proven to be fraudulent upon being properly sourced. So in the meantime, Jin-jin suffers bad public relations mostly because her manager Gi-bong (played by Kim Kwang-sik) is indisposed. Not that it's his fault. A late flashback shows how Gi-bong has long worked tirelessly to personally promote Jin-jin's career...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "This Life Is Our First Life" Episode 2

2017/10/10 | | Permalink

Faced with the tremendously awkward prospect of living with a member of the opposite sex which they are not especially attracted to, Se-hee and Ji-ho choose to address the situation in terms of fundamentals, rather than overthinking the whole gender issue. Ji-ho needs a quiet, clean place to focus on writing. Se-hee needs a functional roommate to help pay the bills and not destroy the apartment. They are so ideal it's obviously foolhardy for either of them to try to find an alternative elsewhere...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "This Life Is Our First Life" Episode 1

2017/10/09 | | Permalink

Ji-ho (played by Jung So-min) always hated feeling like she wasn't the priority back during childhood. While it's easy to blame her family, they're just not...malicious enough to really warrant hating. After all, her dad Jong-soo (played by Kim Byung-ok) is just a sloppy idiot. But when unexpected circumstances make Ji-ho realize that she's going to be even less appreciated than usual, that's when the woman pushing thirty realizes it's time to finally ditch the family home...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Boy and Girl From the 20th Century" Episodes 1-2

2017/10/09 | | Permalink

The opening montage of "Boy and Girl From the 20th Century" features the three protagonists growing up in the nineties with that ever present babysitter- television. The montage stops before we get to any twentieth century dramas that any of us might have heard of, but the moral lesson learned by minor celebrity Jin-jin (played by Han Ye-seul), common employee Ah-reum (played by Ryu Hyun-kyung) and aspiring lawyer Yeong-sim (played by Lee Sang-hee-II) is pretty clear. They definitely don't want to live a life of horrid married life clichés like what they saw in the dramas...More

[HanCinema's Box Office Review] 2017.10.06 - 2017.10.08

2017/10/09 | | Permalink

"The Fortress" narrowly outplays "The Outlaws" over Chuseok...

Director Hwang Dong-hyuk's Joseon-era drama "The Fortress" (based on Kim Hoon's novel) narrowly came out ahead of Kang Yoon-Sung's crime thriller "The Outlaws" during Korea's biggest national holiday, Chuseok. Both films were released on Oct. 3 and pooled from 1,226 and 1,314 screens respectively, and together they captured 60.74% of the sales...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Cinema Snippets

2017/10/08 | | Permalink

Director Gina Kim's award-winning "Bloodless" uses VR technology to depict the tragic the death of a Korean sex worker, seasoned action man Ma Dong-seok talks about his role in the recently released "The Outlaws", women directors to take the lead at the upcoming Busan International Film Festival (BIFF), and see a uniquely Korean promotional poster for Marvel's new blockbuster, "Thor: Ragnarok"...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Food Lovers' Lane

2017/10/08 | | Permalink

Make your own spicy Korean chicken stew with Sue and My Korean Kitchen, Sue goes Beyond Kimchee with a recipe for Korean-style short ribs, the need to promote authentic Korean food is stressed at the Korean Food Foundation's World Hansik Festival, and make traditional bibimbap in the beautiful city of Jeonju with Sweet and Tasty TV...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Travel Bug Bites

2017/10/08 | | Permalink

Explore K-pop, nature and history along Seoul's splendid subway system, CNN lists some of Asia's highest bars, All K-pop has six unexpected reasons South Korea is an awesome place to live in, and 10 Magazine interviews John Bocskay (author of "Cultural Shock! Korea")...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Culture Corner

2017/10/08 | | Permalink

The documentary "Alpha Go" explores AI's landmark victory against South Korean Go champion Lee Sedol, NPR wonders about the future of K-pop, foreign wives to Koreans feel the pressure during Chuseok, and where did North Korea's "sound of a barking dog" insult come from?...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Photography and Art

2017/10/08 | | Permalink

Deoksugung Palace hosts an exhibition to honor the founding of the Great Korean Empire, the "Hanbok lady" (Damyeon Lee Hye-soon) expresses concerns about how the country's traditional dress is represented and viewed, The Huffington Post profiles artist Lim Ok-sang and the evolving political climate surrounding his work, and Mina Cheon is sending USB sticks with modern art lessons somewhere over the DMZ...More

[Orion's Drama News] New Dramas Galore

2017/10/07 | | Permalink

Chuseok is always a slow news season, but Dramaland never remains quiet for long. The past week has been packed with news despite the holidays and the week ahead marks the premiere of many dramas. Today I talk about my personal picks and provide you with goodies from the fine selection of said dramas, which cover all manner of taste...More

[HanCinema's Drama Preview] "Mad Dog"

2017/10/07 | | Permalink

There is that saying about death and taxes and while action comedy "38 Revenue Collection Unit" focused on the latter, this seems to be where its core similarities to "Mad Dog" end. The upcoming drama has a dark tone and some grim content as well as a good cast, which may bring a solid story of justice to life.

Premise

Choi Kang-woo (Yoo Ji-tae) is a former detective whose new mission is to weed out those who commit fraud through his work as an insurance fraud investigator. He teams up with different characters, including a scam artist, in order to bring victims justice by any means necessary...More

[HanCinema's Drama Preview] "Black"

2017/10/07 | | Permalink

Most human beings do not find the idea of death all that attractive, but if Korean drama is good at something, that would be persistent romanticizing of anything and everything. "Black" may be another handsome Reaper, but do not let that fool you. The series looks like a potentially solid mystery ride.

Premise

A detective possessed by a Reaper (Song Seung-heon) and a woman who can predict death (Go Ara) in the form of shadows team up and try to save lives through their unique skills. The two fight against the rules of life and death as well as the consequences of their actions...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Magic School" Episodes 13-16 Final

2017/10/07 | | Permalink

The final episode of "Magic School" is mostly just an extended epilogue. This would not normally be so remarkable, save for the lack of a climax to any of the storylines in the three episodes preceding it. The closest we get is when Na-ra finally puts on the big romantic magic show for Yoo-ri, the conclusion to which is not in doubt since by that point Yoo-ri had given us an exasperated "what do I have to do to get this guy to make a pass at me?" look...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "Still and All"

2017/10/07 | | Permalink

During the Korean War, refugees from the North Korean invasion were pushed back as far as Busan. So, it became common for family members to promise to meet each other on Yeong Island, the main distinct landmark in that region. Years dragged on- some people left. Others stayed, and built up a sort of shantytown, even as the bridge to the mainland fell into disrepair. Business was eclectic. Some labored, some became fortunetellers, others became laborers. But slowly, everyone got old. "Still and All" is their story...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "No Preparation for Old Age"

2017/10/07 | | Permalink

Scumraid is a South Korean punk band that has had its music released in the American and Swedish markets. They have not, oddly enough, been released in the South Korean market, owing to the troubled relationship the South Korean public has with punk. Mostly that they act very angry and weird. Consider one scene where we see a musician at home, showing off his anime figurines to director Lee Dong-woo while his mother calls for him from the other room...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "Candle in the Wave"

2017/10/07 | | Permalink

The Gwanghwamun protests of late 2016 and early 2017 were not just about Park Geun-hye's corruption scandal. While the revelation that Park Geun-hye was in thrall to a cult leader was what sunk her presidency, a large number of people from vastly different backgrounds were all infuriated by Park Geun-hye for wildly different reasons. The protests became a sort of open mic for these grievances. "Candle in the Wave" is a tapestry that mimics the structure of the protests...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "While You Were Sleeping - 2017" Episodes 7-8

2017/10/05 | | Permalink

So Woo-tak really is a good guy after all. But how could we ever be in doubt? He has a disproportionate love of Batman. Also, Woo-tak has an adorable happy dog with an adorable happy name. And in general, as Jae-chan, Hong-joo, and the rest of us finally get to know the kind of guy Woo-tak is, he also comes off as the immature baby of the group. Even though all of them are, apparently, twenty-eight years old. I'm assuming the story takes place in early 2017, what with all the recurring snow...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Man to Man" Episode 11

2017/10/05 | | Permalink

Looking back at all that has transpired in "Man to Man" thus far, it is really just a romantic comedy built on a farcical set of procedural drama elements. Not that this is a bad thing. It makes for a humorous ride and highlights the sweetness of the romance...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "While You Were Sleeping - 2017" Episodes 5-6

2017/10/04 | | Permalink

For a side story character, So-yoon is surprisingly compelling. Observe how, while being completely sympathetic herself, So-yoon embodies both of her parent's flaws. Like her father, So-yoon is inclined to fly into a rage at other people defying her, regardless of who's at fault. Likewise, So-yoon also shares her mother's unfortunate propensity toward magical thinking. Hence, Seong-won and every other central character gets dragged into So-yoon's story, to their detriment...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Man-hole" Episode 16 (final)

2017/10/04 | | Permalink

Despite the dip below 2.0% in ratings according the Nielsen Korea, the last two episodes were actually the strongest of "Man-Hole"'s run. Pacing was brisk, characters had direction, and a few answers were delivered. Sadly, a few interesting elements were only pulled in during the last episodes, but it is what it is...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Man-hole" Episode 15

2017/10/03 | | Permalink

Insight is finally given into the inner workings of our villain, Jae-hyun, but also into Pil, who has too long just been a crazy many chasing a woman who is not quite sure she wants to be with him. It definitely feels as though the show is trying to wind up as people start mobilizing once they believe Pil is correct about Jae-hyun...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Man to Man" Episode 10

2017/10/03 | | Permalink

Now that misunderstandings and deceptions have been aired like dirty laundry on "Man to Man", it's time for the very slow making up period and adorable, petty revenge for Do-ha and Actor. A few graver moments slip in as Husband, Baek, and the other baddies scheme and plot, but those parts of the drama seem the most clunky. It is the romance and friendship Seol-woo, Do-ha, and Actor that really shines...More

[HanCinema's Box Office Review] 2017.09.29 - 2017.10.01

2017/10/02 | | Permalink

"Kingsman" sequel and local drama "I Can Speak" rule ahead of Chuseok...

Despite earning just 50,000 admissions less than its chart-topping take last weekend, Kim Hyun-seok's comedy-drama "I Can Speak" was swiftly overtaken by the foreign spy comedy "Kingsman: The Golden Circle". From a hefty 1,677 screens nationwide, Matthew Vaughn's sequel to the popular 2014 original - which he also directed and that grossed $414.4 million worldwide - has raced to 2.3 million admissions ($16.4 million), 1.5 million (64.48%) of which came from its first weekend out...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Cinema Snippets

2017/10/02 | | Permalink

KoBiz's infographic reveals the history of Korean stars who have moved behind the camera, Netflix signs its first deal for a Korean variety show, Song Soon-jin tracks the rise of Korea's push towards web content, and veteran actor Kim Yun-seok talks about his role in the much-anticipated period film "The Fortress"...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Food Lovers' Lane

2017/10/02 | | Permalink

Traditional markets come alive ahead of the country's biggest national holiday, the curious case of "Costco kimchi", make lemon and cucumber pickles at home with My Korean Kitchen, and Ro Hyo-sun takes the nation's favourite street dish to the next level...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Travel Bug Bites

2017/10/02 | | Permalink

Bike around Seoul at your leisure with Kakao Maps, Rappler lists nine exciting cultural attractions in the capital, a new cable car in Samcheok lets you "fly above the ocean", and take it easy exploring the Namwon's many historical sites...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Culture Corner

2017/10/02 | | Permalink

A new TV show probes first-time visitors about their experience, the BBC compares the difference between North and South Korea in nine charts, the country's largest studio (Studio Cube) is set to propel the K-wave into the future, and are celebrities and other stars postponing their military duties?...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Photography and Art

2017/10/02 | | Permalink

Autumn is in the air at Sangam Sky Park, 10 Magazine has three great suggestions for an interactive art experience in Seoul, artists and filmmakers seek to deepen the probe into the country's blacklisting of artists, and see how one tattooist is combining traditional aesthetics with modern art to create something special...More

[Orion's Drama News] Revenge, Regrets and Love Rekindled

2017/09/30 | | Permalink

The streak of thrilling drama news continues this week as I have promotional material for every taste and need. Revenge is a dish best served with tea and "Avengers' Social Club" has dropped quite impressive vengeful goodness. We get a better look at the surprisingly dark "Mad Dog" and I also introduce you to "Go Back Couple" and "Witch's Court". I wish I could just watch all of them...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Man-hole" Episode 14

2017/09/30 | | Permalink

Jae-hyun may not yet be outed to the world, but Pil, Soo-jin and Goo-gil see him for the monster that he is. The problem is no longer about who believes Pil's claims that Jae-hyun is a nut job; it's how to stop the nut job who everyone in the neighborhood believes...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Man-hole" Episode 13

2017/09/30 | | Permalink

Jae-hyun's true nature cannot be contained by his kind facade and his world starts to crumble. While bad for him, it's good for Pil and the gang and the good citizens of the neighborhood because Jae-hyun is a violent sociopath. Now if only the rest of the drama was as exciting as catching Jae-hyun currently is...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "I Can Speak"

2017/09/30 | | Permalink

The year is 2007. Min-jae (played by Lee Je-hoon) is a very smart young man who, for reasons we only find out later on, takes a job as a public servant speaking directly to constituents when Min-jae is very much not a people person. And at this particular office, everyone has to talk to Ok-boon (played by Na Moon-hee)- an older woman and a busybody who has made it her mission to file official complaints when mere browbeating is not enough to foster community improvement. Together they...learn English?...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "The Star Next Door"

2017/09/30 | | Permalink

 

So-eun (played by Jin Ji-hee) is a normal teenage girl who does normal teenage girl things like gossip with her friends about handsome celebrity Ji-hoon (played by Seulong). Lately, their main source of resentment is middle-aged celebrity Hye-mi (played by Han Chae-young) who has taken Ji-hoon off the market in spite of the fact that she's obviously too old for him. The twist? Apparently Hye-mi is So-eun's mother...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Magic School" Episodes 9-12

2017/09/30 | | Permalink

By this point I had been expecting "Magic School" to build up to some sort of climax. Instead, we just get more exposition. There's not even any conflict, just exposition of potential conflicts. At least, that's how I'm inclined to interpret Na-ra's tension with Yoo-ri, a woman who is not his girlfriend, and with whom he has not shared any real romantic scenes. Even the fat bespectacled guy Na-ra knows has a more clearly defined relationship than Na-ra himself does...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "Bounty Hunters" + Video

2017/09/30 | | Permalink

As counter-intuitive as this idea might sound, it really is important for the main characters in big action movies to be kind of dumb, and clearly acknowledged as such by the script. Why? Because then their failures (or even successes) can be attributed to their stupidity, which is funny even if the overall situation has serious dramatic stakes. So it is in "Bounty Hunters", where our first introduction to San (played by Lee Min-ho) features him solving a problem with epic cool fighting moves- but ultimately failing due to his own ignorance of what the problem even was in the first place...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Criminal Minds" Episode 20 (final)

2017/09/28 | | Permalink

Right away the finale for "Criminal Minds" tips its hand by accidentally pointing out the stupidity of its own premise. The suspect is in custody and there is...not actually any evidence linking him to the serial killings outside of the website, which he claims is a fan website. This is a completely plausible explanation...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "While You Were Sleeping - 2017" Episodes 3-4

2017/09/28 | | Permalink

One half of the story for these two episodes of "While You Were Sleeping - 2017" is about how a young Hong-joo first attempted to use her powers of prophecy to do good and predictably failed spectacularly. I state this explicitly because "While You Were Sleeping - 2017" itself is rather unnecessarily vague about the larger purpose of this subplot, and it's not clear to me why it was presented as a twist ending. Following early dialogue where Jae-chan suggests the possible existence of other soothsayers, I got the impression that story was contemporaneously about a new supporting character...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Criminal Minds" Episode 19

2017/09/27 | | Permalink

The final showstopper for "Criminal Minds" is an appropriate one- it looks like the drama will be closing out on an adaptation of season four episode fifteen, which centers around a copycat killer. Even the Reaper manages to get worked into all of this in a fairly satisfying way, although yikes, I'm still reminded of how the death of Gi-hyeong's wife happened way too early. Which also sums up my overall feelings. My satisfaction is directly related to how much I enjoyed the original elements...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "While You Were Sleeping - 2017" Episodes 1-2

2017/09/27 | | Permalink

The big three dramatic beats in the first two episodes of "While You Were Sleeping - 2017" all involve car crashes. While at first glance this appears to throw "While You Were Sleeping - 2017" into the most laughable genre of South Korean drama clichés, there's surprising fatalistic depth here. In the first place, the drama sets itself up to answer the difficult question of how the generally sensible Hong-joo (played by Suzy) can fully choose to trust arrogant newbie lawyer Jae-chan (played by Lee Jong-suk)...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Save Me" Episode 16 Final

2017/09/26 | | Permalink

The Boat to Salvation is a slippery devil and the time has come for a solid shake on its not-so-divine structure. All of our characters choose their alliances and enact their final wishes as our heroine marches to her salvation and our heroes steel themselves to help end this once and for all. There are no ideal endings in this world, but perhaps small victories are enough...More

[HanCinema's Box Office Review] 2017.09.22 - 2017.09.24

2017/09/25 | | Permalink

Local drama "I Can Speak" denies "Memoir of a Murderer" a third straight weekend at the top...

"I Can Speak", director Kim Hyun-seok's sixth film ("When Romance Meets Destiny", "Cyrano Agency", "C'est Si Bon"), arrived to 1,140 screens in Korea last Thursday and came out on top ahead of last weekend's number one, "Memoir of a Murderer". In "I Can Speak", Na Moon-hee plays Na Ok-boon, a hot-blooded female detective who forms an unlikely bond with a younger operative (Lee Je-hoon as Park Min-jae) who teaches her English. Kim's latest, his first feature film without a screenwriting credit, opened strong by claiming 604,139 admissions (45.98%) ahead of Korea's biggest national holiday, Chuseok...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Drama Special - Waltzing Alone"

2017/09/24 | | Permalink

Don't let the cutesy opening romantic scenes of "Drama Special - Waltzing Alone" fool you. Yes, Min-seon (played by Moon Ga-young) and Geon-hee (played by Yeo Hoe-hyun) became a couple as a consequence of their shared interest in waltzing and yes, the abbreviated version of this story involves adorable genre standards like Geon-hee impulsively catching her in a romantic pose in the face of transportation danger. But most of the content in "Drama Special - Waltzing Alone" is about the couple, now in their mid to late twenties, attempting to get normal company jobs...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Save Me" Episode 15

2017/09/24 | | Permalink

There are not enough middle fingers in the world to express how I feel about Guseonwon and this marks a job well done by "Save Me". Every open end comes together and clashes into a smörgåsbord of final week thrills as things finally veer out of control for heroes and villains alike. Death, disillusionment, camaraderie and hope form the final battle for our heroes' future...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Cinema Snippets

2017/09/24 | | Permalink

The New York Times pinpoints the addictive charms of Korean dramas and films, watch Kyungmin Woo's "devilish dark" 2014 short animation on Modern Korean Cinema, KOFIC selects the highest-grossing Korean film of the year as the country's official Oscar contender, and see just how many Korean films are on Movie Pilot's listicle of 'films that will leave you speechless'...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Food Lovers' Lane

2017/09/24 | | Permalink

Make eight of Korea's most popular street foods dishes at home with My Korean Kitchen, rest stops become serious attractions around Chuseok, Korea Expose examines the criticisms of Korea's Michelin-starred restaurants, and make great ramen with a twist with Beyond Kimchee...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Travel Bug Bites

2017/09/24 | | Permalink

These are best K-beauty products to travel with, two international chefs tour Korea to sample its culinary delights, head to Seoul for one chic vacation, and CNN lists 50 beautiful places to visit around Korea...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Culture Corner

2017/09/24 | | Permalink

ESPN showcases the struggles of female gamers in Korea's thriving e-sports scene, Forbes reviews Concept Korea's hopes and dreams at New York Fashion Week, 10 Magazine reveals some things you may not know are illegal in Korea, and the government gets behind the country's biggest national holiday with free passes and other incentives...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Photography and Art

2017/09/24 | | Permalink

The Wall Street Journal captures North Korea's 'atomic aesthetic' in their first trip to the DPRK in seven years, 10 Magazine puts ten of Korea's hottest female models in the spotlight, catch some pictures of the recent Guri Cosmos Festival to mark the change of season, and former propaganda artist shares his personal story of his escape from North Korea...More

[Orion's Drama News] Do Fear the Reaper

2017/09/23 | | Permalink

Even I cannot keep up with the torrential flow of drama news this week, but I have plenty to share and some of it is very exciting. Two dramas are premiering in the upcoming week and I take one last look at their pre-release goodies before wishing them and their viewers good luck and a good time. I also share the first glimpse into "Mad Dog" and thrilling new information about "Black". Join me for love, crime and smoke monsters...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Falsify"

2017/09/23 | | Permalink

At times it feels like Korean drama has an endless supply of Evil Rich Guy™ characters doing horrible things to brooding male heroes in the revenge genre. It would be unfair to dismiss a work like "Falsify" due to its premise and its proximity to such stories alone, however. Armed with a great cast and a quartet of interesting characters, the drama has a lot to say...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Mystery Queen"

2017/09/23 | | Permalink

If you feel burned out by the influx of brooding detectives and copious amounts of violence that Korean drama has been experiencing recently, "Mystery Queen" might just be the break you need. The series will not take you too far from that crime solving sweet-spot and a bickering, yet perfectly compatible duo of crime fighters handling neighborhood villains will give you the fun and variety the genre sometimes lacks...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Man-hole" Episode 12

2017/09/23 | | Permalink

Things are a bit of a jumbled mess in the land of "Man-Hole". Pil is stuck in the future, in 2018, with a married Soo-jin, a violent offender in the neighborhood, broken up couples, and a Seok-tae who is on the brink of discovering Pil's truth about the manhole. And yet, despite all this excitement, the drama isn't all that exciting...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Man-hole" Episode 11

2017/09/23 | | Permalink

"Man-Hole" endeavors to break from its slump, but has a hard time doing so. The mechanism of action isn't quite as solid as it once was with traveling all throughout the time line, not just from past to present. Reasons behind changes in behavior are muddied and Pil still hasn't quite grown up as much as he should...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "The Running Actress"

2017/09/23 | | Permalink

The basic premise is the same for all three individual short films contained in "The Running Actress". Moon So-ri is a fairly well known actress. The people in her life frequently comment on this. As a result, Moon So-ri is often frustrated and annoyed with them. It does not help that Moon So-ri's professional acquaintances are not always the most charming people. So frequently, we are left wondering why Moon So-ri ever wanted to be an actress at all...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "Spirits' Homecoming, Unfinished Story"

2017/09/23 | | Permalink

Compared to the original "Spirits' Homecoming", the newly edited "Spirits' Homecoming, Unfinished Story" simplifies the epic story of several girls forced to become comfort women during the Japanese Occupation of Korea to just a single one. The complicated shamanistic ritual framing device of "Spirits' Homecoming" is demoted to a thematic flourish in the ending, and is replaced with black-and-white scenes of lead actress Park Ji-hee in modern times preparing for an international comfort women remembrance event. Interspersed between these scenes are interview segments with former comfort women, who are now quite old...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "Oh! My God Returns"

2017/09/23 | | Permalink

The first scene of "Oh! My God Returns" is a documentarian clip establishing how in 1998, South Korea had to agree to austerity terms dictated by the International Monetary Fund in the wake of the East Asian Financial Crisis. Then, it's on to Ah-rong (played by Jung Yi-yun), a woman on the street desperately looking for a bathroom. She finds succor at home, where she barges in on Sang-hoon (played by Choi Sung-gook) who is still in the process of using it. That's all there is to the joke, really, and it gets repeated a lot...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Magic School" Episodes 5-8

2017/09/22 | | Permalink

The various plots in "Magic School" are at radically different levels of development. We spend a lot of time in episode five just going over more of Na-ra's backstory, which involves his classmate / love interest Yoo-ri (played by Park Gyoo-yeong) trying to get together the necessary elements for a student film. What does any of this have to do with magic? Not very much, as far as I can tell, which is why it feels so very out of place in a drama that is called "Magic School"...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Criminal Minds" Episode 18

2017/09/21 | | Permalink

Well, this was a fairly distressing storyline, albeit mostly for the intended reason of the profiled crime of serial rape being so monstrous that doing research on it makes me feel a little physically ill. "Criminal Minds" even achieves this effect without having to resort to overly gory imagery. The cold open in the couple's house cuts off before getting too graphic, and the most painful scene in the episode is when we find out how and why one of the victims committed suicide...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Single Wife" Episode 10

2017/09/21 | | Permalink

So Ra-hee and Min-hong are finally at court, and it looks like they can get the divorce finalized. It doesn't happen, obviously, and this scene is supposed to represent how Min-hong still has feelings for Ra-hee and won't give up on her so easily. This is likely to eventually contrast with how Jae-min will eventually give up on Ra-hee entirely because of her inability to come clean with him on the full situation...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Criminal Minds" Episode 17

2017/09/20 | | Permalink

The storyline starts out promisingly enough. The main points everyone initially emphasizes are just logistical ones, like how the serial killer has been sneaking into unoccupied rental properties in the first place. Where everything turns dumb is when we run into a survivor of his crimes. Cruel though it may be to write this, my first main impression of the woman was that...she was just really, really dumb. Who agrees to online sexual encounters in empty places in the middle of nowhere?...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Single Wife" Episode 9

2017/09/20 | | Permalink

Min-hong, having finally figured out what Ra-hee is up to, lapses into alcoholic depression. I mean it doesn't go on forever, just a single night as far we can tell. Then it's on to revenge. But even that is pretty light. Right at the moment I thought Min-hong was going to do something explicitly petty and mean instead he turns right around and confronts Ra-hee on how she's accepted Jae-min's marriage proposal without fully cluing him in to what's going on...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Man-hole" Episode 10

2017/09/20 | | Permalink

Although Pil is still spazzy, it is in this episode that we see that he is learning to care for more than just his own love. He cares about Jin-sook even if that caring doesn't equate to the same kind of love that she feels for him. But these two aren't the only ones who suffer from love woes and we see that love lines are still as complicated as ever...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The King Loves" Episode 39-40 Final

2017/09/19 | | Permalink

Right up until the last minute, "The King Loves" is as contrived as ever. Because of course Prince Won and Prince Lin are the only two guys who can show up to stop Song-in from finishing her off. Of course one of them gets wounded on the way, forcing the other to confront Song-in on his own. The way they're acting one would think that Song-in was a trained assassin, not a random dignitary whose entire empire collapsed overnight because the queen made an unexpected visit to the king's personal chambers...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The King Loves" Episodes 37-38

2017/09/18 | | Permalink

Prince Lin's noble, if obviously stupid gesture at the last cliffhanger ultimately succeeds in getting Prince Won to calm down, so their plot arc ends in a fairly boring reconciliation. Once again I am annoyed at just how sheerly unnecessarily this entire dispute was. Prince Lin himself apparently had enough sense to explain to Prince Won what he was doing and why - in letter form. And so once again "The King Loves" has an excuse to tell us the story through flashbacks instead of as it happens...More

[HanCinema's Box Office Review] 2017.09.15 - 2017.09.17

2017/09/18 | | Permalink

"Memoir of a Murderer" retains pole position ahead of "Baby Driver"...

The American action thriller "Baby Driver", now director Edgar Wright's highest-grossing film, failed to overtake local thriller "Memoir of a Murderer" during its first weekend out. It was a close race, but "Baby Driver"'s 338,213 admissions (22.35%) was not enough to deny Won Shin-yun's new thriller a second straight weekend at the top...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Save Me" Episode 14

2017/09/17 | | Permalink

It is a time of disillusionment for our heroes and villains alike and we know how the latter deal with it. While our infernal apostles fight for power, their instincts and observational skills are sadly impeccable. So-rin and Dong-cheol are in grave danger while Sang-mi does her best to keep up the act through thick and thin. Our saviors on the outside are ready to strike, but they are alone...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Save Me" Episode 13

2017/09/17 | | Permalink

The closer Sang-mi and her saviors get to the truth and to a semblance of victory the more alert out villains become and this creates some situations which may soon end lives. Sang-hwan finally gets somewhere with his pleas for some official support and Guseonwon's sordid past starts surfacing once more. There are things "Save Me" has not delivered, but ample suspense is not one of them...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Drama Special - You're Closer Than I Think"

2017/09/17 | | Permalink

The bookish Woo-jin (played by Lee Sang-yeob) is ditched on his wedding day by the more traditionally pretty Seo-yeon (played by Kim So-eun). The rest of the story is about Woo-jin trying to find out what happened to her. Bear in mind that since Woo-jin is not a private detective, and also has a day job, his efforts are mainly limited to making plaintive radio broadcasts for her return. Oh, and there's also that weird moment where he meets another woman (played by Im Hwa-young) who claims to be the real (?) Seo-yeon...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Cinema Snippets

2017/09/17 | | Permalink

KoBiz examines the historical truth behind four popular period films, watch the animated short "Deer Flower" for free on Modern Korean Cinema, the Busan International Film Festival (BIFF) announces its lineup for next month, and Korean films fall short fail at the 74th Venice International Film Festival...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Food Lovers' Lane

2017/09/17 | | Permalink

UberEATS set to take advantage of Seoul's connectivity, make jjolmyeon (spicy chewy noodles) with Korean Bapsang, My Korean Kitchen presents fourteen ways to eat your kimchee, and see how Seoulites responded after they tried North Korean snacks for the first time...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Travel Bug Bites

2017/09/17 | | Permalink

Lotte World Aquarium in Seoul offers visitors a stunning window on underwater life, hear why Korea's "Skygarden" succeed where others failed, an American student lists ten things that surprised them while travelling South Korea, and 10 Magazine has ten suggestions for English-speaking 'cosmetic tourists'...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Culture Corner

2017/09/17 | | Permalink

CJ E&M set to build massive 'Korean Wave' theme park, The Korea Times explores the first time Korea and Western world made contact, the majority of Koreans will be going on holiday over Chuseok, and see how one eco-friendly fashion designer is hoping to tame Korea's 'wasteful' wedding culture...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Photography and Art

2017/09/17 | | Permalink

A team of architects imagine a unified Korean bathhouse under the DMZ for peace, The Telegraph presents a series of images of North Korea by photographer Tariq Zaidi, the Gwangju Biennale 2018 announces this year's theme and curator, and see what one Korean architect with "a sense of mischief" created by the seaside...More

[Orion's Drama News] Vengeance and Deadly Premonitions

2017/09/16 | | Permalink

After last week's round up of news for romantic series, I need a little something to balance things off. Today I bring you revenge and death, although sadly not combined. "Avengers' Social Club" drops some great teasers hinting at family drama. "While You Were Sleeping - 2017" and "Black" may share the element of predicting death, but the clear differences in focused genre cover different tastes. All in all, we have a promising upcoming drama season...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "Memoir of a Murderer"

2017/09/16 | | Permalink

Byeong-soo (played by Sul Kyung-gu) is an unreliable narrator. Well, OK, literally in the context of "Memoir of a Murderer" he's an aging veterinarian who suffers from increasingly worsening symptoms of dementia. This has forced Byeong-soo to give up on his side gig of being a serial killer. That's where the unreliable narrator aspect becomes interesting. Is Byeong-soo actually a serial killer, or is the elaborate diary of his past murderous deeds just wish fulfillment about what he feels like he should have done to all those horrible people who clearly deserved to die?...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "Roman Holiday"

2017/09/16 | | Permalink

Instead of seeming like a very serious enterprise between tough hardened criminals, the opening arms deal of "Roman Holiday" comes off as comically casual. The seller is a foreign huckster, and the buyers are a trio of general nitwits, although both sides do their best to pretend to be cool and unassuming. The ensuing heist made with these weapons goes on about as clumsily, as do all the following scenes until the main characters finally arrive at "Roman Holiday", a nightclub. Or is it more a state of mind?...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "The Reservoir Game"

2017/09/16 | | Permalink

Nonghyup Bank is a major bank in South Korea, and has had a large number of powerful political allies over the previous two conservative political administrations. It was from this reputation that they were able to spearhead a big investment deal in Canada. But then something went wrong. The deal imploded, taking all the local investor money with it. Nonghyup Bank lost all of its money too, and the man running the operation skipped town...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Magic School" Episodes 1-4

2017/09/15 | | Permalink

First, for the sake of clarity, the titular "Magic School" is not for literal magic, but rather magic tricks. These places do exist in South Korea- I've seen them. Well, from the outside. Anyway, right away we have the first prospective student. Na-ra (played by Jinyoung) wants to be somewhat more interesting than a reasonably intelligent civil servant. He goes through college life wondering when he's going to get some sort of gimmick or hobby when bam! Magic! Pops out of nowhere in a scene that is funny mainly because of the supporting cast...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Somehow 18" Episodes 8-10 Final

2017/09/15 | | Permalink

The final three episodes of "Somehow 18" were rather shorter than I expected, considering how all of the middle ones had made such a point of running in two parts. "Somehow 18" had even gone to the trouble of introducing an extraneous sub-plot in the form of a romance between Kyeong-hwi's older sister and his idiot friend. But here? The conclusion is just a big date and finally, the true circumstances behind Na-bi's suicide. These were predictable, obviously, although part of the story's point is that mere predictability isn't enough to effect meaningful change...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Criminal Minds" Episode 16

2017/09/14 | | Permalink

A very good mystery hook is set up almost immediately- though lacking in any apparently obvious clues, we do know that the murderer has wacky fingers. I like this because usually, random witnesses in crime procedurals have disproportionately photo accurate memory. That the big clue is something explicitly weird and obviously noticeable tic is actually a pretty good clue, and not something a mentally ill murder suspect would necessarily even notice he was doing...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Single Wife" Episode 8

2017/09/14 | | Permalink

Once again Ra-hee tries my patience with more unnecessary antagonism. Min-hong straight up explicitly offers to finalize the divorce right away in exchange for a temporary, meaningless concession on Ra-hee's part and what does she do? Act all huffy and offended. Even bearing in mind that Min-hong has to finalize the divorce eventually, behavior like this is why he is in no hurry to do so. Who knows if Ra-hee will just be fickle and change her mind again...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Criminal Minds" Episode 15

2017/09/13 | | Permalink

So the new case actually has quite a lot going on that's fairly narratively interesting. In the first place, this is really more of a three plot story than one. We've got the investigation team first, obviously. Then there's the terrified parents. And lastly, there are the three girls trapped in the cold room. So simple variety alone keeps the story interesting. Alternately, the episode is a procedural mystery, an emotional drama, and then a horror movie...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Single Wife" Episode 7

2017/09/13 | | Permalink

So now Min-hong is working at Ra-hee's company. So, technically, all the main characters in "Single Wife" are now working at the same company. It's a good thing we get to see Min-hong's portfolio right away because in spite of this fact, no one at this company ever seems to do any actual work. Far from working, all we really see anyone doing is having concluding work dinners once work is finished...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Falsify" Episodes 31-32 Final

2017/09/13 | | Permalink

It has been a long journey for our heroes and their friends, but this is the end of the path they have chosen and the time has come for punishments to reign supreme in "Falsify". Another secret ally is revealed and several lives end, but the series maintains its usual realistic approach when contemplating the troubles of the world. This means that our heroes will always have more work ahead...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Man-hole" Episode 9

2017/09/13 | | Permalink

What "Man-Hole" lacks is depth. We are told that the characters are sincere in their feelings, but those feelings are conveyed well to the audience. Jae-hyun is the most effective character and that is only because he is a menacing figure...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The King Loves" Episodes 35-36

2017/09/12 | | Permalink

With his mother's death, Prince Won is sick and tired of everything. No more mister nice guy. Something even more messed up than usual has been going on with Prince Won's parents, and Prince Won is prepared to murder anyone stupid enough to stand in the way between him and answers. While Prince Won's change in attitude is clearly intended to be frightening, I kind of felt like fist-pumping. Finally, a character who takes the royal conspiracy seriously...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Falsify" Episodes 29-30

2017/09/12 | | Permalink

All things come to an end and this thankfully includes bad things. It is time for our heroes of "Falsify" to get some justice on behalf of those wronged and the already shaky team of villains is starting to lose its members. With the name of an elder being discovered and important decisions being made by pivotal characters, everything is ready for the finale, be it grand or realistic...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The King Loves" Episodes 33-34

2017/09/11 | | Permalink

So Prince Won has finally done what he should have done at least a dozen episodes ago, and started talking about his feelings straightforwardly since San is too obtuse to pick up on hints. Well, no, that's not true. San knows exactly what Prince Won wants, she just chooses to react in a way that makes it difficult for Prince Won to tell if she's being coy, nobly idiotic, or sincerely rejecting him. Unfortunately that trend continues here...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Save Me" Episode 12

2017/09/11 | | Permalink

The efforts of our heroine, heroes and their allies are starting to bear fruit as they inch closer to Guseonwon's shady operations and more people are starting to hear about the cult. Detective Lee stumbles upon some very suspicious connections during a case, but will he take the matter seriously this time? A personal disappointment aside, I am ready for the final stretch...More

[HanCinema's Box Office Review] 2017.09.08 - 2017.09.10

2017/09/11 | | Permalink

Local thriller "Memoir of a Murderer" and "It" edge out "The Hitman's Bodyguard"...

Won Shin-yun's "Memoir of a Murderer" and the American horror "It" claimed first and second place respectively during their first weekend out. "Memoir of a Murderer", Won Shin-yun's fifth film, stars Sul Kyung-gu as a retired serial killer suffering from memory loss who has to execute the biggest kill of his career to save his daughter. From 1,064 screens, Won Shin-yun's 118-minute thriller claimed 43.07% of the sales (899,251 admissions), or $6.6 million, dislodging last weekend's number one, "The Hitman's Bodyguard"...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Save Me" Episode 11

2017/09/10 | | Permalink

The more hopeful things get for our heroine the more twisted they get within Guseonwon. "Father" Baek's true nature and perhaps intentions are revealed along with some hidden, disturbing locations in the premises. Baek is not the only one with secrets, however. A certain Guseonwon birdie has a secret of their own. As Baek's grip tightens, our heroes need all the help they can get...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Drama Special - Let's Meet, Joo-oh"

2017/09/10 | | Permalink

An opening disclaimer makes a point of assuring us that "Drama Special - Let's Meet, Joo-oh" is a work of fiction. At first I was confused about why this needed to be stated explicitly, but the reasons for that become clear quite quickly. The year is 1937. The Japanese Occupation of Korea is at full swing. Joo-oh (played by Son Ho-jun) runs a matchmaking service and Soo-ji (played by Jo Bo-ah) is a young woman from the country trying to get her a man...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Cinema Snippets

2017/09/10 | | Permalink

Film critic/journalist Pierce Conran reviews Won Shin-yun's "Memoir of a Murderer" for Modern Korean Cinema, KoBiz explores why some hard-working actors appear in more films than others, see the performers who paired up for some of Korea's best buddy cop films, and "A Taxi Driver" is officially Korea's Oscar contender for 2018...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Food Lovers' Lane

2017/09/10 | | Permalink

Get the most out of Korea's many convenient stores with this great guide from 10 Magazine, make a fresh and spicy radish salad with My Korean Kitchen, Korea Town in LA gets a new food court with trendy new restaurants, and go Beyond Kimchee with Holly's salmon tacos...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Travel Bug Bites

2017/09/10 | | Permalink

Download these 5 apps before you arrive in Seoul, discover a unique new coffee shop on Jeju Island, Duke Stewart blogs about the stunning sights at Sindeok Beach, and hear why this expat loves spending time at the Seoul Folk Market...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Culture Corner

2017/09/10 | | Permalink

"The Accusation" contains seven short stories about life in North Korea, CJ E&M announces plans for a 1.2 billion dollar complex at Hallyuworld, find out more about Korea's largest Chinatown in Incheon, and one blogger thinks these are the best places to visit to appreciate some of Korea's fascinating history...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Photography and Art

2017/09/10 | | Permalink

South Korean tattoo artists continue to ink-sling in the shadows, see what went on at the Daegu International Bodypainting Festival this year, Cheonggyecheon catwalk showcases modern hanboks, and see Seoul's skyline as fall arrives...More

[Orion's Drama News] Nostalgia and Penny Pinching

2017/09/09 | | Permalink

Today I am feeling romantic in the traditional and contemporary sense, so I bring you a little journey to the past through new goodies on "Girls' Generation 1979". Nostalgia is sweet, but I also have goodies from three different upcoming romantic series, for those more into the lovey-dovey relationship type of sweetness. There are some exciting new promos from other dramas as well, so take a look at what I have gathered...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "The Shower"

2017/09/09 | | Permalink

At a runtime of only fifty minutes, "The Shower" is better understood not as a film in its own right but more a continuation of "The Road Called Life", the previous project by the Meditation with a Pencil animation studio, which brought together three classic works of early twentieth century Korean short stories to life with vivid animation. "The Shower" also fits that mold. It's a classic, simple story of how a boy watches a girl wash her hands in the river until one day, they go into the nature together...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "Suicide Made"

2017/09/09 | | Permalink

While famed nineties folk singer Kim Kwang-seok is indisputably famous enough to warrant a documentary just to provide an overview of his life and career, the focus in "Suicide Made" is much more streamlined. After some basic reminders of who Kim Kwang-seok is and why he's important, director Lee Sang-ho gets right into the salacious premise. The thesis is pretty simple. Kim Kwang-seok did not commit suicide, but rather, was most likely murdered by his wife...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "Baek-gu"

2017/09/09 | | Permalink

 

Once upon a time, in an obscure part of Seoul, there was a dog called Baek-gu. He came to the area as a medium-sized white puppy. He would just run around and do whatever, sticking around because there was an old man who gave him food. Then the old man went away, and by then Baek-gu was old. He became haggard and scrawny. This neighborhood was no longer the kind of place where people noticed or cared about stray dogs, not that it ever really was in the first place. So one day, Baek-gu finally died...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Somehow 18" Episodes 5-7

2017/09/08 | | Permalink

We get some badly needed insight into what is going on with Na-bi in this sampling of "Somehow 18", and right away her story comes off as far more compelling than Kyeong-hwi's. It is a tad melodramatic, granted, but Na-bi's early death had to have some sort of explanation that would inevitably be at odds with the cool girl persona she always presented around Kyeong-hwi...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Criminal Minds" Episode 14

2017/09/07 | | Permalink

It's gratifying, if horribly annoying, that the extended conclusion to the Hyeon-joon under suspicion plot ends with that all too American aggressively pro-police ending, justifying my digression last review. There was a conspiracy against Hyeon-joon, and police were involved. Yet somehow, the motives all shake out in such a way that no police officers were actually at fault. They were either tricked, or bullied into the situation by unforeseen unfair circumstances. Also one of them punches the suspect for just being too evil...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Single Wife" Episode 6

2017/09/07 | | Permalink

So dinner ends up going about as well as expected. We could already have guessed, after all, that In-hwa already hated Ra-hee without actually knowing anything about her. The whole previous marriage issue is just an excuse. It's kind of hard to blame her, considering that Jae-min was acting like he had something to be ashamed of simply by being with her in the first place and being very unnecessarily taciturn about it with his family...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Falsify" Episodes 27-28

2017/09/06 | | Permalink

With only a few episodes to go, "Falsify" enters the final stretch in our heroes' quest for the truth behind their enemies. The villains' plans are still elusive, but their choice of terrorism is revealed. While So-ra and Seok-min brave through their lack of power, Moo-yeong targets Nam Kang-myeong. The not-so-resurrected man has a strong connection to Tae-won, however and the latter has his own plans...More

[HanCinema's Event Coverage] KCON LA 2017 Concerts + Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok-joo Poster Giveaway

2017/09/06 | | Permalink

The highlight of KCON is undoubtedly the concerts where acts from South Korea perform for their international fans, specifically North American Fans. Although K-pop concerts are far more frequent in North America than they once were -- back in 2003 there were only a handful while 2017 has seen over eighty performances -- the number pales in comparison to the number of live performances by American artists, which is to be expected. But that disparity and the unique culture of K-pop fans came together to create an atmosphere not to be forgotten...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Criminal Minds" Episode 13

2017/09/06 | | Permalink

So the whole hanging plays out, just as disjointedly brutal looking as the last one. That part wasn't so surprising. More amusing was how it only occurred to Gi-hyeong at the last minute that maybe the adoptive parents of the child of serial killers would maybe not want to break that news to him on the night his biological mother is being murdered by the state. Anyway, once that's over with it's on to the next case where apparently Hyeon-joon is a suspect...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Single Wife" Episode 5

2017/09/06 | | Permalink

So Min-hong has gone missing and everyone has freaked out, going to look for him. It should come as little surprise that Min-hong himself is completely oblivious to everything that has happened. The guy just went to the mountains because he wanted some time to himself. That Min-hong should find this to be an unremarkable desire is of little surprise. Min-hong accepted Ra-hee's demand that he not go to Seoul pretty easily, so why would anyone freak out about him?...More

[HanCinema's Event Coverage] KCON LA Red Carpet + The King Loves poster giveaway

2017/09/05 | | Permalink

One of the hottest events of KCON is the red carpet that stars walk. They get up on stage, answer questions, and engage the audience. Without further ado, let's check out the shining stars on the red carpet...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The King Loves" Episodes 31-32

2017/09/05 | | Permalink

Following their escape from various royalist forces, Prince Lin and San have a romantic walk along the riverbank. I found this scene was distinctive less for its intended purpose and more because the subject of San's father come up. I was hopeful that maybe San would describe some of his personality traits, so that would humanize him and make me care more about how he died. Instead, all San talks about is how her father owned huge tracts of land...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The King Loves" Episodes 29-30

2017/09/04 | | Permalink

San has a meeting with Chzhuan Muvan Khou here that has a rather curious emphasis. At one point some sort of small...thing is deliberately placed within San's eyesight. She notices the object, then continues the discussion. We later find out that the object in question was medicine, and apparently was instantly identified as such by San at the time although to our modern eyes the object didn't look like much of anything. It is only after a brief rampage that San suddenly asks herself- why is there random important medicine in Chzhuan Muvan Khou's chambers?...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Falsify" Episodes 25-26

2017/09/04 | | Permalink

There is no easy way out of the hole our heroes have dug themselves into, but they have no time for self-pity. Nam Kang-myeong is out there and Team Good needs to get him while handling the plethora of enemies actively and viciously working against them. It took a long time for all of our heroes to come together, but they are now stronger than ever...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Save Me" Episode 10

2017/09/04 | | Permalink

As Guseonwon's grip on everyone tightens, allied forces are starting to make their move. Dong-cheol takes some drastic and dangerous measures while our doubting cult follower gains an important position of power near Sang-mi. Our heroine tries to openly resist one last time, but the moment has come for her to try other methods as the outside world chooses sides...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Man-hole" Episode 8

2017/09/04 | | Permalink

There is good and bad to every relationship and what is wrong between the couples and friends surfaces in episode 8 of "Man-Hole". Part of the reason for the reveal is that Pil has grown up throughout his time travels. He's a little less thoughtless in his actions and more considerate not only towards Soo-jin, but his friends. He still has a long way to go, but it's a start...More

[HanCinema's Box Office Review] 2017.09.01 - 2017.09.03

2017/09/04 | | Permalink

"The Hitman's Bodyguard" takes down "V.I.P" while "A Taxi Driver" backs away with millions...

Patrick Hughes' "The Hitman's Bodyguard" arrived last Thursday and despite receiving just 482 screens (the lowest of this weekend's top five), the action comedy took first place by capturing 30.82% of the sales (556,100 admissions). Interestingly, the film's script, written by Tom O'Connor, was on the 2011 'Black List', an annual survey that ranks the year's most liked films that have not been produced. "The Hitman's Bodyguard" stars Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson and has already banked $76.2 million, more than double its production budget of $30 million; in Korea, its arrival marked the return of a foreign film to the top of the pile after a reel of successful local blockbusters reigned in the month of August...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Drama Special - If We Are Seasons"

2017/09/03 | | Permalink

For the opener in this season's drama specials, KBS is playing it safe with "Drama Special - If We Are Seasons", a fairly standard no-frills nostalgic high school melodrama about Hae-rim (played by Chae Soo-bin) and the cute boys in her life- long-term friend Gi-seok (played by Jang Dong-yoon), and recent transfer student Dong-kyeong (played by Jin Young). The melodrama arrives in its own good time- but it is of little imminent concern with Drama Special - If We Are Seasons", which instead focuses on the love triangle until the melodrama finally pops up...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Save Me" Episode 9

2017/09/03 | | Permalink

No grand rescue is easy and while physical freedom is not quite here for our heroine, her outside support grants her the strength to claim herself back within her confines. The group once again clash with corruption and the political wheels of Muji are turning, leaving us guessing about the eventual moral alignment of several characters...More

[HanCinema's Event Coverage] Top 8 Things to Do at KCON, 2017 Edition + Second Beauty Bag Giveaway

2017/09/03 | | Permalink

Head to KCON and there you will always find something to do, taste, see, smell, and hear. This year saw the biggest KCON to date and part of that was due to the flurry of activity. My photographer Sara and I never experienced a moment of boredom. To help you do the same in the coming years, here is a list of the top 8 things to do at KCON...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Cinema Snippets

2017/09/03 | | Permalink

Learn where you can catch the year's hottest K-dramas online with 10 Magazine, see how long it took for these Korean blockbusters to hit 10 million admissions, the Jeju Weekly reviews Jang Hoon's "A Taxi Driver" (Song Kang-ho), and KOBIZ previews three exciting local films hitting the big screen this month...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Travel Bug Bites

2017/09/03 | | Permalink

The Korea Stripes reveals the top four UNESCO Cultural Heritage Sites in Korea, Slate visits 'Little Pyongyang' in Seoul, ultra fast Wi-Fi planned for Seoul's subway system, and The Korea Herald saunters into the up-and-coming Mangwon...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Food Lovers' Lane

2017/09/03 | | Permalink

Bong Joon-ho's "Okja" helps to raise consciousness about the suffering of animals, create kimchi fried rice with My Korean Kitchen, Holly has a cold seaweed and cucumber soup to enjoy before the end of summer, and 10 Magazine finds 10 new (and delicious) restaurants in the capital, Seoul...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Culture Corner

2017/09/03 | | Permalink

Find out what it takes to be a K-Pop star with this heartfelt story on the Village Voice, Highsnobiety investigates Korea's contentious counterfeit culture, Yes Magazine reveals how Korea's older generation is keeping their thumbs green for the future, and world leaders from the Culture Communication Forum share what makes Korea special...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Photography and Art

2017/09/03 | | Permalink

Catch some pics from this year's Daegu International Bodypainting Festival, The Guardian showcases North Korea's bold anti-America propaganda art, compare life on either side of the DMZ with this photo series on the Huffington Post, and meet two young tattooists in Seoul...More

[Orion's Drama News] Genres and Odd Romances

2017/09/02 | | Permalink

Stop your pumpkin carving (I know you are out there) and fill your time with more drama news as I take a look at more new things this week. First up is the brand new "Black" by OCN followed by a quick look at the changing landscape of the Korean drama industry. Lastly, I share the usual goodies, but not before I share news of a drama with an interesting premise...More

[HanCinema's Drama Preview] "Argon"

2017/09/02 | | Permalink

How does one find the truth in a world plagued by corruption, bad reporting, flimsy journalistic ethics and the distortion brought on by the need for speedy news and social media hype? Getting to the bottom of events is harder than ever in this day and age. "Argon" is the story of a group which fights against this.

Premise

Kim Baek-jin (Kim Joo-hyuk) is an anchor who only accepts facts. Lee Yeon-hwa (Chun Woo-hee) is a contract worker who wants to be a reporter. The two are part of the investigative show "Argon". The show prevents the distortion of the truth like the element prevents oxidation...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "V.I.P"

2017/09/02 | | Permalink

Sooner or later, in most serial killer stories, the serial killer needs to gain superpowers in order to remain a credible threat. With Gwang-il (played by Lee Jong-suk), that superpower is even dumber than usual. Gwang-il makes gratuitous messes everywhere he goes, and is easily identified as the culprit by the most trifling police work. It's only thanks to the inexplicable aid of high-ranking government officials, from North Korea to South Korea to the United States, that Gwang-il is a threat to anyone...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "Criminal Conspiracy"

2017/09/02 | | Permalink

In terms of explicit content, "Criminal Conspiracy" does not differ that much from "Seven Years-Journalism without Journalist", another documentary released earlier this year that also dealt with actions by the past two conservative South Korean governments to manipulate the news wings of MBC and KBS. There's more emphasis on personal interviews, and a broader outline emphasizing the sheer scope of actions Lee Myung-bak and Park Geun-hye tried to take. But really, the main difference is the seven months difference between when these movies were released...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "Moo-hyun, the Story of Two Cities"

2017/09/02 | | Permalink

Two years before running for President of South Korea, Roh Moo-hyun ran for a legislative district office in Busan. Roh Moo-hyun's national profile at that time was strong - he had previously represented Seoul in the legislature, and eventually took a position in then-President Kim Dae-jung's cabinet. The Busan legislative race was exhausting and demographically hopeless. We can see that in the personal footage director Jeon In-hwan collected, showing Roh Moo-hyun with a chronically hoarse voice from all the heavy campaigning. So why go to the trouble...More

[HanCinema's Event Coverage] KCON LA 2017 Tasty Eats + Beauty Bag Giveaway!

2017/09/02 | | Permalink

 

I don't know about you, but one of my favorite parts of any big event like a convention or concert or fair is the food. This year's KCON Food Street had traditional and fusion offerings of Asian cuisine that not only tasted fabulous, but looked just as polished as your favorite Hallyu stars. With over a hundred food choices curated by KTown Night Market, Hallyu fans had plenty to satisfy their food cravings. Without further ado, let's feast our eyes on the delicacies of KCON Food Street 2017...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Somehow 18" Episodes 1-4

2017/09/01 | | Permalink

Kyeong-hwi (played by Minho) is a doctor who's used to dealing with tough situations. Back when he was still in high school, Kyeong-hwi was always getting picked on, and even made a clumsy suicide attempt. Kyeong-hwi was only saved by the appearance of Na-bi (played by Lee Yoo-bi), a willful student the same age as him who encouraged Kyeong-hwi to think better of himself. Then she died, and her absence haunts Kyeong-hwi in the present even as he is now an unqualified success...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Man-hole" Episode 7

2017/08/31 | | Permalink

The affection that I'd started to build for "Man-Hole" last week has waned this week. Watching Pil and Soo-jin hem and haw over confessing their feelings to each other is getting old. Adding Jin-sook's unrequited love compounded that sentiment. What the manhole had built in terms of anticipation last week it dissipated this week...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Criminal Minds" Episode 12

2017/08/31 | | Permalink

It bugs me sometimes just how obviously "Criminal Minds" is an adaptation of an American drama. While the death penalty is still a possible legal sentence in South Korea, there's been a moratorium on it for the last twenty years. It's just not a thing that happens, certainly not to the extent that people would have political demonstrations about it. I liked how listless the extras were holding their signs. Even they had no idea how someone could have a strong opinion on the subject...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Single Wife" Episode 4

2017/08/31 | | Permalink

Ra-hee makes a serious effort to embrace the inherently campy nature of "Single Wife" by coming up with a more elaborate scheme to get rid of Min-hong than anything yet tried. What Ra-hee does is, she makes a list of all the personal habits Min-hong despises the most, and does them intentionally to try and provoke him into initiating a final break-up. It's a pretty good extended montage, hitting all the beats from obvious nasty habits everyone hates to ones peculiar to Min-hong...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Falsify" Episodes 23-24

2017/08/30 | | Permalink

The realization of their mistakes hits our Team Good like a ton of bricks and the situation gets out of control. Everyone's fingers are pointed at them, while the ghost they have been chasing takes on a very interesting form. The plans of the Elders are revealed as far more sinister than we could have imagined and Tae-won falters...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Man-hole" Episode 6

2017/08/30 | | Permalink

Episode 6 of "Man-Hole"wasn't as impactful as episode 5 was, perhaps because the change in tone had already been made. Or perhaps it was because it was more of Pil running around. What did happen was that another set of manhole rules came into play and Pil's friends witnessed the magic of the manhole...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Criminal Minds" Episode 11

2017/08/30 | | Permalink

In one of the more interesting flourishes I've seen from "Criminal Minds" to date, the recap brings up previous cases which had psychological profile elements that are relevant to the main case here. I suppose that's one way to to create implied continuity. Even if "Criminal Minds" is not always the best at objective logic, if the internal logic is sound than we can at least get a good grasp on what's going on and correctly make assumptions about certain evidentiary implications and possible character reactions, while still knowing that there are lots of other unknowns out there...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Single Wife" Episode 3

2017/08/30 | | Permalink

It's odd Min-hong is continuously the most sympathetic character when he's so nosy, and annoying, and also literally the only reason "Single Wife" has any conflict at all. Mainly it's just that Min-hong is so darn cute and well-meaning. He's not even remotely jealous or suspicious. Shoot, Min-hong isn't even upset that Ra-hee freaks out about the prospect of him touching her. As far as Min-hong is concerned, everything should be done in such a way to maximize Ra-hee's comfort and happiness...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Man-hole" Episode 5

2017/08/30 | | Permalink

Feelings are often realized when it's too late and when words and hearts can no longer be shared. This is what Pil, Soo-jin, and their friends realize in the latest reality that the manhole has wrought...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The King Loves" Episodes 27-28

2017/08/29 | | Permalink

Every time someone gets close to actually accomplishing something in "The King Loves", we can usually count on another character to swoop in and prevent anything from happening. Up until now this hasn't annoyed me so much, since the event that is prevented from happening is usually the murder of one or more important characters. But taking this episode in full summary, aside from murder, no one can come up with any particularly proactive goals....More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Falsify" Episodes 21-22

2017/08/29 | | Permalink

Our trio of justice gets closer and closer to Nam Kang-myeong, but it is a dangerous approach suspiciously approved and even encouraged by our villains. Tae-won gains the upper hand in his arrangements once more and his plans target our Team Good in a swift and ruthless manner, which the plot sadly employs a problematic approach to achieve...More

[Lily's Take] Can you guess these actors by their childhood pictures?

Source | 2017/08/29 | | Permalink

Here is the second part of the guessing game. The first part had you guessing who the actresses were by their childhood photos. This time we have the gentlemen...More

[Lily's Take] Can you guess these actresses by their childhood pictures?

Source | 2017/08/29 | | Permalink

Let's play a fun game today! So we know that childhood pictures of celebrities can be an annoying threat to certain celebrities who are mocked for having plastic surgery done. But for others, it's wonderful proof that they have always been beauties since they were young children...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The King Loves" Episodes 25-26

2017/08/28 | | Permalink

So Prince Won, Prince Lin, and San are all hanging out at Seong-hyeo's place, biding time for their next move. As usual, when the focus is on characterization, "The King Loves" actually manages to be pretty decent. San's cooking is simultaneously basic comic relief, but also holds philosophical relevance in the context of Seong-hyeo's philosophy about emotional attachments. It's a nice expansion to San's character that explains, among other things, why she has been so demure about romance...More

[HanCinema's Box Office Review] 2017.08.25 - 2017.08.27

2017/08/28 | | Permalink

Local hits "V.I.P", "A Taxi Driver" and "Midnight Runners" secure 67% of the sales...

The highest grossing film of the year -- Jang Hoon's "A Taxi Driver" (Song Kang-ho) -- was denied a fourth weekend as number one due to the arrival Park Hoon-jung's "V.I.P". Park's film (his fourth after "The Showdown", "The New World", and "The Tiger: An Old Hunter's Tale") stars Jang Dong-gun, Kim Myung-min, Park Hee-soon and Lee Jong-suk and tells the story of a North Korean killer on the run from both Koreas and Interpol. It was a close race, but Park's new crime thriller disrupted "A Taxi Driver"'s fine run by scoring 598,715 admissions (25.09%), or $4.5 million, during its opening weekend...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Save Me" Episode 8

2017/08/27 | | Permalink

After a long and arduous journey, the time has come for the heroine of "Save Me" to find some hope. Our heroes reunite and rediscover themselves as a group despite the lingering bitterness, but their actions make Father Baek more aggressive. Another part of the story has been brewing in Muji and I wonder when and how it will all connect...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Save Me" Episode 7

2017/08/27 | | Permalink

While our heroes figure out how to be heroic, Sang-mi picks herself back up and makes the decision to lead the rescue. The "Spiritual Father's" plans are revealed as more twisted and menacing than previously hinted, while Apostle Kang's past starts crawling back as she feels the pressure. You take the cake for messed up people, Muji...More

[HanCinema's Spitfire Challenge] Join these KCONers in our drama Spitfire Challenge

2017/08/27 | | Permalink

Last weekend from August 18 to August 20, my cameraman Jason Yu and I spoke to the Hallyu fans at KCON 2017 in Los Angeles. They joined us in our "Spitfire Challenge", which is when fans answer three questions without missing a beat. How would you answer the three questions...More

[HanCinema's Event Coverage] KCON 2017 LA draws record-breaking 85,000

2017/08/27 | | Permalink

Last weekend HanCinema attended KCON 2017 USA presented by Toyota in Los Angeles, which drew a record-breaking 85,000 people to the three-day event. Located at the Los Angeles Convention Center and Staples Center, KCON LA was mostly definitely chock full of activity for Hallyu lovers...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Cinema Snippets

2017/08/27 | | Permalink

Ryoo Seung-wan says "The Battleship Island" took four years to research and produce, KOBIZ's new infographic ranks the top animations of the summer, Adam Hartzell investigates the history of Korean baseball films for KoreanFilm.org, and can we expect to see more sequels of Korean films in the future?...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Food Lovers' Lane

2017/08/27 | | Permalink

Koreans develop a strong taste for British craft beer, enjoy nut free energy balls in 15 minutes with My Korean Kitchen, a North Korean defector wants to turn his tofu treats into an empire, and 10 Magazine turns to Facebook to find the hottest restaurants and bars in the capital...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Travel Bug Bites

2017/08/27 | | Permalink

10 Magazine takes the mystery out of Korea's bike-rental service, Jericho Li remembers the charm of Yongma Land in Seoul, there's still time to catch the country's biggest makgeolli festival, and be sure to pick up these unique items from the first Daiso store you find...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Culture Corner

2017/08/27 | | Permalink

Actor Jang Dong-gun opens up about his looks and life, The Korea Herald investigates racism in modern Korean culture, Koreans living in the diaspora water their roots, and America's most iconic men's magazine arrives in Korea...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Photography and Art

2017/08/27 | | Permalink

A North Korean defector/animator turns tragedy into laughs South of the DMZ, see how one K-artist is drawing inspiration from the country's history of shamanism, Joseon-era royal seals on display after being returned, and see avant garde photographs from Korean artists during the 60s and 70s...More

[Orion's Drama News] Truth and Healing

2017/08/26 | | Permalink

New week, new drama goodies, but also a small change in content. There is so much to cover out there, but spam torture is not how I roll, so today's piece and probably pieces in the foreseeable future will include upcoming drama news I find interesting. My personal take on some of them remains, of course. Today I talk about "Argon", "Hospital Ship" and a different kind of healing dramas...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "The King's Case Note"

2017/08/26 | | Permalink

If you're searching for a run-of-the-mill, Joseon-era film, look elsewhere because "The King's Case Note" is far from the usual sageuk (historical) fare. In fact, the entire 114 minutes of Moon Hyeon-seong's ("As One") Joseon-era whodunnit boasts of its own flavor (mostly of the comical sort), which manifests itself as a double-edged sword. Some of it was brilliantly executed, like the comic moments between the king and his chronicler (in a very Sherlock and Watson-esque pairing) that were laugh-out-loud funny, but the undependable pace that catered to the humor detracted from the film's cohesion...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "Midnight Runners"

2017/08/26 | | Permalink

Gi-joon (played by Park Seo-joon) is a well-meaning generally dopey kid who loves meat. Hee-yeol (played by Kang Ha-neul) is a bespectacled stiff young man who knows where the meat comes from. Together, they join the police academy...and train, is technically all they do for most of "Midnight Runners", since they're not real cops. We even get a training montage near the end, where we see them get all manly and swole for the sake of taking on the movie's final boss- crime, in the abstract...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "The Mimic"

2017/08/26 | | Permalink

In the opening scene of "The Mimic", we see an obviously agitated couple driving to...somewhere. Once they arrive, hints of the supernatural imply the worst. The later appearance of their abandoned car outside of the place they were going appears to confirm said hints. It's from here that we meet Hee-yeon (played by Yum Jung-ah), a woman who moved with her family to the countryside for health, yet is still traumatized by the disappearance of her young son...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "Write or Dance"

2017/08/26 | | Permalink

In the opening narration to "Write or Dance", Si-hyeong (played by Choi Si-hyung) explains that while he's always meeting up with women, they always end up breaking up with him because he's boring. But Si-hyeong thinks it's not that he's boring, but that the part of him they used to think was interesting has become boring to them. Why this distinction is supposed to be meaningful was not clear to me, and the ensuing five short stories of Si-hyeong meeting up with all these women one on one did not clarify matters...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Single Wife" Episode 2

2017/08/24 | | Permalink

Now that we know who Ra-hee and Min-hong are in a vacuum, it's time to piece together how exactly their relationship fell apart in such a specific way that her attempting to remarry is such a big problem. Min-hong doesn't just want to hold on to Ra-hee. He genuinely doesn't seem to understand that they broke up at all. And in all fairness, the flashbacks we get don't really come off as total dealbreakers. They do tend to make Ra-hee look selfish, which is why she's so uncomfortable having them...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Criminal Minds" Episode 10

2017/08/24 | | Permalink

As expected, with the red herring revealed it's up to the criminal profiling team to locate the true culprit, who has finally and truly gone off the deep end and is now involving herself in car chases. I remember how a few stories ago I thought there would be a gratuitous car chase and was mildly surprised that didn't happen. And I guess technically this wasn't really a car chase anyway, I just can't get past the ludicrous visual of screaming children handcuffed to their seats in daily traffic and no one noticing...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Man Who Dies to Live" Episodes 23-24 Final

2017/08/24 | | Permalink

For quite some time now, there has been a disclaimer at the beginning of every episode of "Man Who Dies to Live" apologizing for racist content that appeared in the first episode, assuring viewers that it has been retroactively effaced from MBC's video on demand services. I only recently realized that this disclaimer was also predictive. The rambling nature of the final episodes of "Man Who Dies to Live" leads me to believe that whatever the original final act was, it had to be scrapped...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Single Wife" Episode 1

2017/08/23 | | Permalink

Ra-hee (played by Uhm Hyun-kyung) has it all. She has a successful job in the furniture design industry, makes appearances on talk shows to promote herself as a hard-working woman, and a rich boyfriend  by the name of Jae-min (played by Kwak Hee-sung) who obviously likes her. Phrased that way, Ra-hee's life doesn't really sound all that impressive. But weirdly enough, that's the tone the production team has chosen for the first episode, as we wait for Ra-hee's vague happiness to be threatened by past failures...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Criminal Minds" Episode 9

2017/08/23 | | Permalink

The group dynamic of the kidnapping case this time around is slightly more interesting than usual because the team members have an actual disagreement, and the question of who is correct is left ambiguous. Up until now it's just been, the problem is presented, Gi-kyeong says what they're going to do, and Hyeon-joon comes up with an immediately accepted alternative when Gi-kyeong's initial analysis is deficient. This time, it's an open question whether or not a certain witness should be taken seriously...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Man Who Dies to Live" Episodes 21-22

2017/08/23 | | Permalink

The kidnapping storyline resolved so abruptly there's not actually all that much for "Man Who Dies to Live" to do when it comes to producing a serious climax. Count Said Faid Ali spends a lot of time just hanging out at his daughter's house, being eccentric as always, his presence being tolerated mostly just so that Ji-yeong can get some work done. The comedy is just more of the usual. It's fortunate that "Man Who Dies to Live" is so short, since we're just about at the limit when it comes to twists on Count Said Faid Ali acting like a psycho...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Bride of the Water God 2017" Episode 16 Final

2017/08/22 | | Permalink

Further exposition about So-ah's father closes out "Bride of the Water God 2017", and it's just so strange to take in. It's not that this storyline is particularly unusual or anything, it's that I can't quite recall ever having seen another drama that was so obsessed with exposition rather than payoff. The conflicts in "Bride of the Water God 2017" quite literally are solved the minute they are fully exposited, with only minimal effort being made by the actual characters to actually resolve these problems...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The King Loves" Episodes 23-24

2017/08/22 | | Permalink

The opening scene here is fairly funny. At first I was going to criticize Prince Won and Prince Lin for being dopey enough to run right past Song-in's obvious escape vehicle. Then Prince Won notices the vehicle, and then we discover that Song-in didn't even need it at all, since apparently he was acting with royal sanction. Cue yet another scene where Prince Won confronts his father, mostly wanting an explanation for why no one ever just tells him anything instead of forcing him to run around accidentally confronting official royal authorities...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Falsify" Episodes 19-20

2017/08/22 | | Permalink

Plans change and allegiances crumble as Tae-won finds himself cornered by heroes and villains alike. The man begins a mysterious game as our Team Good tries to make sense of what is going on and find more allies after So-ra's attack. A major breakthrough happens when a helpful hand from the past points Seok-min to the right direction, but Moo-yeong's involvement and personal goals may become a problem...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Falsify" Episodes 17-18

2017/08/22 | | Permalink

Heroes and villains alike are starting to get bolder with their decisions in "Falsify". Moo-yeong finally learns of a painful truth necessary for moving forward and So-ra has a close call when she pushes the villains' buttons a bit too hard. Tae-won is feeling the heat as well, reminding us that no pawn is above betrayal from their masters...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] Man-hole Episode 4

2017/08/22 | | Permalink

Bong Pil has gone down the rabbit hole - er, manhole - once again. With a new set of time travel rules piled atop the old, we have even more factors at play, including Pil's growing determination to take care of and win his woman...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] Man-hole Episode 3

2017/08/22 | | Permalink

Bong Pil may be a lazy son-of-a-gun in his original life, but he's clever enough to quickly figure out how the manhole affects his life. It's not always for the better as episode 3 proves. Rather than a lazy neighborhood bum, time travel through the manhole has changed him into a dangerous thug, feared by his friends, disowned by his family, and estranged from the woman he loves...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Bride of the Water God 2017" Episode 15

2017/08/21 | | Permalink

So Ha-baek and So-ah have finally gone off on their big car trip, and the purpose of it was to...have So-ah dish about her emotional problems relating to feelings of abandonment by her father. This much I can actually work with. It's a legitimately sad, emotional story, and I can easily see this being the final step of intimacy to be consumnated in a romantic drama, so it's all very appropriate for the penultimate episode. There's just one problem. So-ah's parental issues have never been a part of the conflict...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The King Loves" Episodes 21-22

2017/08/21 | | Permalink

Seong-hyeo (played by Uhm Hyo-sup) is San's martial arts master and ally. He also dispenses advice to the princes every so often. Like most of the characters in "The King Loves", I struggle with understanding Seong-hyeo's relevance to the main plot because as far as I can tell he doesn't have any motivation. He's the kind of guy who gives enigmatic advice like, believe in yourself and your friends...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Save Me" Episode 6

2017/08/21 | | Permalink

The world of "Save Me" may be cruel, but our fighters for justice are starting to take form. The appearance of new characters and the continued development of established ones creates suspense over who will be an enemy of our heroes and who an ally. The bigger Guseonwon gets, the more people start wondering about it...More

[HanCinema's Box Office Review] 2017.08.18 - 2017.08.20

2017/08/21 | | Permalink

"A Taxi Driver" on cruise control after Liberation Day...

Jang Hoon's "A Taxi Driver" (Song Kang-ho) -- his fourth film after "The Front Line" (2011), "Secret Reunion" (2010) and "Rough Cut" (2008) -- secured a third straight weekend at the top of the pile this past weekend by adding another 949,447 admissions (26.77%), moving its total tally now over the 10 million admissions mark. Since its release early August, "A Taxi Driver" has grossed $71.6 million, and while it is currently the most successful film of the year, it is also now the fifteenth highest-grossing film of all time in Korea behind "The Avengers: Age of Ultron" (10.49 million) and "The King and the Clown" (10.5 million)...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Save Me" Episode 5

2017/08/20 | | Permalink

"Save Me" continues to surpass my expectations and subvert tropes at every turn, as Sang-mi's world becomes more hopeless and more absurd with each passing day. The monsters of Guseonwon are starting to show their true faces as our heroine continues to push their limits, but our group of saviors is getting closer to her...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Cinema Snippets

2017/08/20 | | Permalink

KOBIZ's online screen service for the Jecheon International Music & Film Festival (JIMFF) goes live, Cho Meanjune looks at how Korean actors and actresses have fared in Hollywood blockbusters, Film School Rejects review the highest-grossing Korean film of the year ("A Taxi Driver"), and a massive theme park from Lionsgate planned for Jeju Island...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Food Lovers' Lane

2017/08/20 | | Permalink

10 Magazine visits three top Mexican restaurants in Itaewon, discover some of the best places to fill up in the capital, make a Schisandra berry punch recipe with My Korean Kitchen, and UberEats launches in Seoul...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Travel Bug Bites

2017/08/20 | | Permalink

Enjoy a night tour of Changdeokgung palace with new tour packages, 10 Magazine finds the best English-speaking hairdressers in Seoul, SOOMPI has some suggestions for K-pop and K-drama travellers, and a foreigner shares her experiences with Seoul's charm on The Korea Times...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Culture Corner

2017/08/20 | | Permalink

The Korea Herald explores Hallyu's future, The New York Times tackles the controversy surrounding Korea's so-called "comfort women", the Taekwondo World Peace Festival set to be the biggest to date, and 10 Magazine explains the history of National Liberation Day and how it's celebrated...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Photography and Art

2017/08/20 | | Permalink

See Seoul's changing face in a photo series by Gergely Szatmari, an artist creates detailed models of classic cameras to scale from paper, the first image of Joseon's "Queen Min" discovered, and Mark Edward captures life in the DPRK 60 years after the armistice...More

[Orion's Drama News] New Season Adventures

2017/08/19 | | Permalink

Our collective HanCinema eyes may be on KCON this weekend, but there is plenty of news to share from the source of this beloved Hallyu. This week I give you goodies from the dramas which will mark the upcoming change in seasons. I also briefly talk about the casting changes of "Age of Youth 2" and share new promotional material from it as well. Additionally, I bring you casting news and a video from two short youth dramas along with other news...More

[HanCinema's Drama First Look] "Man-Hole"

2017/08/19 | | Permalink

Do you ever come across a drama which is "bad", but in a good way? A drama which is a big mess, but one that is self-aware and wears its identity proudly? "Man-Hole" is this odd type of drama and whatever it lacks in production, story and character quality it makes up for in zaniness and pure, glorious fun. Perhaps we have something nice here after all...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "The Show Must Go On" + DVD Giveaway

2017/08/19 | | Permalink

In-goo (played by Song Kang-ho) is a slob of a middle-aged man who works late. This has created a lot of tension at home. In-goo's wife Mi-ryeong (played by Park Ji-young) wants In-goo to knock this off for his own health. In-goo's daughter Hee-soon (played by Kim So-eun) wants him to quit because it's humiliating to be the daughter of a gangster. Ah yes. And that's where the central irony of "The Show Must Go on" comes in. While In-goo may be a professional criminal, he is not what anyone would call cool...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "My Tutor Friend Lesson II" + DVD Giveaway

2017/08/19 | | Permalink

Junko (played by Lee Chung-ah) is a young Japanese woman of some Korean ancestry who lives in Hokkaido. She had a massive crush on Woo-seong (played by Yang Jin-woo) when he stayed at her home for awhile as an exchange student. So naturally, when it's time for Junko to go to college, she heads off to Seoul to try and find him. Junko boards at a traditional Korean guest house, where she meets Jong-man (played by Park Ki-woong) whose temperament is a tad cruder than Junko was expecting, considering everyone knows how cool and awesome Korean men are...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "Marrying the Mafia III" + DVD Giveaway

2017/08/19 | | Permalink

So it's been a year since the end of "Marrying the Mafia II", which concluded with mafia heir In-jae (played by Shin Hyun-joon) and prosecutor Jin-kyeong (played by Kim Won-hee) getting married. During that time, the bad guy of "Marrying the Mafia II", prosecutor Myeong-pil (played by Gong Hyung-jin) has been stewing in jail as he prepares to take revenge on In-jae's family, who are technically no longer criminals as they have incorporated into a legitimate business enterprise...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Criminal Minds" Episode 8

2017/08/17 | | Permalink

As murder storylines go, I must admit that insane office worker is among the more socially relevant that "Criminal Minds" could have adapted for a South Korean audience. Really, that particular psychosis is probably far more well-known in that culture than it was in the United States. This, naturally, proves to be the main overall thrust of the episode. It's less about the permanent cast and more about how Ki-tae (played by Jo Han-chul) slowly yet surely lost his marbles...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Man Who Dies to Live" Episodes 19-20

2017/08/17 | | Permalink

It's instructive how the other Ji-yeong sort of ruined things for the married Ji-yeong. Upon first meeting the other Ji-yeong, Count Said Faid Ali had assumed that his long lost daughter would be justifiedly resentful at having her father show up at such a late date. Instead, the other Ji-yeong was almost worshipful in his presence. So it is that the married Ji-yeong must now struggle with how Count Said Faid Ali is literally a jerk obsessed with money, but emotionally, can be a kind and caring older man...More

[HanCinema's Event News] #TBT KCON 2016

2017/08/17 | | Permalink

It's Throwback Thursday, which means that today is the day that we reminisce about KCON 2016. Just last year HanCinema was at the hottest Hallyu event of 2016. Let's remember the good times...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Falsify" Episodes 15-16

2017/08/16 | | Permalink

There are oodles of justice and great conflict delivered in episodes fifteen and sixteen of "Falsify", as Seok-min and Moo-yeong's master plan falls into place for a killer showdown. Seong-sik makes his decision, Daehan takes its first major hit and So-ra finally gains Moo-yeong's trust as a fellow warrior in this battle, along with another chance to clear a young man's name...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Criminal Minds" Episode 7

2017/08/16 | | Permalink

Once again, "Criminal Minds" finds a weird way to mess with the fairly transparent "murder happens right away, team investigates it" format of the American original. This time it's not one, not two, but three completely different storylines one after another without so much as a segue to cue the audience into the fact that gears have shifted. Incidentally, that name drop which started the second section really caught me off guard, because I was struggling trying to remember if we'd ever actually seen that guy before...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Man Who Dies to Live" Episodes 17-18

2017/08/16 | | Permalink

In a radical twist, Count Said Faid Ali's monologue this time indicates that, apparently, he was the villain all along? It's hard to come up with any other explanation for his stating such explicitly selfish motives. Likewise, it's a bit alarming that Ji-yeong, who has only just now realized the full scope of the elaborate conspiracy, almost immediately comes to a horribly cynical conclusion that, absent Count Said Faid Ali's internal monologue, we might have thought was unfair...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Falsify" Episodes 13-14

2017/08/15 | | Permalink

Our hero never learns and his latest drastic measures are met with a swift and ruthless response from our villains. The series reveals a new side of Tae-won, the villain we know best, but I am worried about what this revelation entails. Seok-min and So-ra have a lot of work ahead, but someone's long awaited return may help...