Blog Archives

Something In The Rain

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Co-posted at Still Just Alison

TV drama – 16 episodes

This is the hair shirt and barbed wire pants of K-drama – if you can get through all 16 episodes, you’re a better person than me.

The first kazoo in the dramatic symphony comes early on, when our heroine, after being cruelly dumped by her boyfriend, says plaintively “Am I so unattractive?” I’m sorry sister, but no amount of baggy clothing can convince us that you don’t have men lined … (read more)

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Itaewon Class

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Co-posted at Still Just Alison

TV Series – 16 episodes

I really didn’t want to love this so much. I didn’t even want to watch it. Let me explain…

It started with a song. I’d never liked Park Seo-jun, but a friend recommended the series, so I finally watched the ad. And man, that song is powerful – in about 30 seconds it had me half-convinced I wanted to start a bar and take over the world.

So I started … (read more)

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Love In The Moonlight

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Co-posted at Still Just Alison

TV series, 18 episodes

A historical entry in the “I fell in love with my eunuch” category, lifted above the ordinary by the quality of the whole cast. Kim Yoo-Jeong plays Hong Ra-on (or Hong Sam-nom, as a male), the young woman who ends up working in the palace as a eunuch (long story), while Park Bo-gum plays crown prince Lee Yeong, heir to the Joseon throne, who becomes intrigued with Hong Sam-nom while still … (read more)

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Pandora (2016)

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Co-posted at Still Just Alison

Prepare to be gruelled. This film will take every tender feeling you possess and run them through the mincer, then stomp on the bits.

The hero of the story is Jae Hyeok, brought to life by the incredibly talented Kim Nam Gil. This is not the sex-incarnate Kim Nam Gil of Bad Guy, or the lovable doofus turned responsible doctor of Live Up To Your Name, or the arse-kicking priest of Fiery Priest. No, this … (read more)

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Parasite (2019)

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A receding hairline is not inherently creepy. I see one in the mirror daily without much thought beyond a vague wistfulness for those follicles whose usefulness is consigned to the past. But like so many little everyday details in Parasite — a packet of hot sauce, a walkie-talkie — it will be hard to look at that slowly expanding bald patch the same way again. Parasite is everyday life reflected back in one’s face with the veneer of the everyday … (read more)

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Believer (2018)

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I have said previously that film remakes are often problematic. When I first heard that Johnnie To’s crime drama Drug War (2012) was to be remade as a South Korean production, I’ll admit it wasn’t joyous news (at least it stopped Hollywood from turning it into a Bourne movie). But a good trailer and a strong cast gave me some hope. The latter wasn’t misplaced and Believer is actually an excellent crime movie. Director Lee Hae-yeong has done a great … (read more)

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The Villainess (2017)

The Villainess goes through a lot in her two hours of screen time. She goes through a lot in her first five minutes. By the opening scene’s end a few dozen men lie dead or maimed at her hand. It’s as though the audience has been dropped into the climactic endpoint of an action-revenge saga — which is precisely what it is — but as one story ends another begins and we’re along for the ride.

The craft of action … (read more)

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Assassination (2015)

Some movies opt for a mysterious title to incite audience interest, while some movies are more up front. Assassination is pretty up front. Yet there’s so much more to it than that one noun bluntly seems to state.

Director Choi Dong-hoon returns with another big-budget rollercoaster of a film, sharing many faces with his last feature The Thieves. Also similar to his previous hit is the basic structure of Assassination, with a large cast maneuvering their way to … (read more)

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