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Showing posts with label korea. Show all posts
Showing posts with label korea. Show all posts

Nov 19, 2009

November 19, 2009

KOREAN DRAMA: TAKE CARE OF YOUNG LADY


Korea Casts:
Jung Il Woo, Yoon Eun Hye, Yoon Sang Hyun
Description:

Of the high-rolling top 'hot celebrities' of the wealthy upper class in Korea's high society, Kang Hye Na (Hena) is the one desired by the men, feared and hated by the women. Being the only successor to the largest conglomerate company, Kang-san Group, Kang Hena has both the looks and the background. She is the owner of the ‘Lady Castle’ and lives a ‘princess-like’ life with her servants.

Until one day, out of pure coincidence, she comes across Suh Dong Chan who turns her life upside down. Not only does he make her do community service, he even kidnapped her... and now he's the new household manager!!! Even after stepping on him, crushing him and biting him, he still doesn't run away. She may have finally met her match...

Credits: smr05@YEHouse-soompi
November 19, 2009

KOREAN DRAMA: LOVING YOU A THOUSAND TIMES




Korea Casts:
Go Eun Mi , Jung Gyu Woon , Kil Yong Woo, Kim Heechul, Lee Hwi Hyang, Lee Soo Kyung, Ryu Jin
Description:

Baek Jae Hoon and his wife, Lee Sun Young, desperately try to conceive a child but are unsuccessful. They turn to their last option, surrogacy, and this is where Go Eun Nim comes in. She is their surrogate mother carrying their child but things become complicated when she later falls in love with Jae Hoon's younger brother, Kang Ho.

Oct 23, 2009

October 23, 2009

KOREAN DRAMA: THE QUEEN SNOW


Title:The Snow Queen
Also known as: Noon Eui Yeo Wang
Genre: Romance, Drama
Episodes: 16
Broadcast Network: KBS2

Synopsis

A boxer who was previously a genius, and a rich girl who has a serious illness. Despite appearing not to have any connection, they are similar. Nothing can melt their heart of ice. What is the sunlight that can melt their frozen heart? If the answer is love, is it too cliche? Tae Woong`s love (Hyun Bin) melted the heart of the ice princess, Bo Ra (Sung Yu Ri).

Description:

The opening starts with the introduction of a genius. At 17, Tae Woong (Hyun Bin) meets two people who will later become people he loves. One becomes his best friend and the other, his love.

The guy he meets is Kim Jeong Kyu Lee Sun Ho also classified as a genius, and though at first they did not get along, they soon set aside their differences and became best friends. Jeong Kyu tells Tae Woong about a girl he admires and promises to introduce him to her. When Tae Woong asks him why Jeong Kyu won't ask the girl out himself, Jeong Kyu says that he doesn't have time if he wants to win the award in math for the Nobel Peace Prize; his dad's dream and his.

Tae Woong meets a little girl being bullied by older girls for her money and saves her. The girl develops a crush on him and gives him her beeper for future contact. She later contacts him and he finds out that she was running away from home, and for a day the two run away together to an amusement park. She gets into a cab to go home but reminds Tae Woong that he never found out her name.

Later on, Tae Woong and Jeong Kyu both enter an international math Olympiad that Jeong Kyu and his father want to win badly. When Tae Woong wins, Jeong Kyu commits suicide.

The following tragic events soon took its toll on the rest of Tae Woong's life, and forgets about ever set a date to meet the little girl. Then, for 8 years he struggled to carry on with his life.

At 25, Tae Woong is now a third class boxer and in unexpected events, finds Bo Ra (Sung Yu Ri), the little girl he once knew.

The tale continues into the world of the cold-hearted Bo Ra and it is only Tae Woong that could possibly melt her heart. It slowly unfolds many secrets along the way and the past is soon to be made right again. With the help of Tae Woong's love, Bo Ra learns to find happiness within herself, and in return, Tae Woong comes into terms with his past.

Although this winter will be very cold and scary, winter is not the end of the seasons, but the beginning of the hope for a greater love.

Cast

Hyun Bin as Han Tae Woong
Sung Yu Ri as Kim Bo Ra
Im Ju Hwan as Suh Gun Woo
Yoo In Young as Lee Seung Ri
Kim Tae Hyun as Choi Chong Shik
Kim Hak Jin as Ahn Sang Ho
Ko Doo Shim as Park Yeong Ok (Tae Woong’s mother)
Chun Ho Jin as Bo Ra’s father
Lee Sun Ho (not Andy from Shinhwa) as Kim Jeong Kyu
Go Ju Yun as young Kim Bo Ra
Ahn Gyu Ryun

Production Credits

Screenplay: Kim Eun Hee, Yoon Eun Gyeong
Producer: Lee Hyeong Min

Oct 16, 2009

October 16, 2009

ALL ABOUT EVE


Nicole Jin/Sun Mi (Chae Rim) is a lovely college student who lives with her middle class widowed father. She has a happy childhood with her sort-of-boyfriend Woo Jin (Han Jae Suk). Life changes radically for Sun Mi when her father decides to support Young Mi Huh (Kim So Yeon), a beautiful girl the same age as Sun Mi.

Young Mi suddenly becomes an orphan when her father, an alcoholic who frequently abused her, dies in an accident while working for Mr. Jin/Sun Mi's father's construction company. Young Mi has grown up in poverty, but she is not a humble person. She's arrogant, greedy and full of resentment. She envies Sun Mi for all she is and has, even Woo Jin's love.

Young Mi becomes Sun Mi's rival in every aspect of her life. First, Young Mi steals Woo Jin from Sun Mi, then tries to take over her job at a very important TV network and finally puts her eyes on Sun Mi's new boyfriend, Hyong Chul (Jang Dong Gun) one of the network's top executives, whom Sun Mi met during a trip to London. But Hyong Chul's love for Sun Mi is stronger than Young Mi's estimation. Meanwhile Woo Jin suffers of a broken heart as Young Mi makes his life miserable and finally dumps him so she can chase Hyong Chul.

The climax of the plot comes when a former lover of Young Mi appears and threatens to reveal her deepest secret should she not return to him: a dark past as a prostitute. Since the mischievous gangster did not succeed in his attempts, he decides to kill Young Mi. Woo Jin dies while saving her life. However, all of Young Mi's treachery is exposed and she attempts to commit suicide, but her efforts are frustrated when she is found unconscious by a group of nuns on the shore of the Han River. When Young Mi wakes up she suffers amnesia and has lost almost all memory of her past.

The drama ends with a happy reconciliation between Young Mi and Sun Mi, who cries beside Young Mi asking forgiveness for the misunderstanding between them since they met. Finally Hyong Chul swears eternal love and proposes to Sun Mi right in the middle of a street.

Jul 22, 2009

July 22, 2009

SUCCESS STORY OF A BRIGHT GIRL


Success Story of a Bright Girl (2002, SBS drama special)

In a year dominated by long dramas like Yain Shidae and Mermaid Girl, it was refreshing to see this little romantic comedy make its way to the top spots, and make its star one of the biggest attractions in Korean entertainment. Before this series, Jang Nara was a moderately popular singer in search of her first big hit. Fast forward almost a year, and here we are, with the country in full Jang Nara syndrome, with her records hitting record sales, and film offers piling up (she got a record 300 million won for her role in 'Oh! Happy Day' which is hitting theaters soon). Also, her father (stage actor Jang Myun-gyo a.k.a. Ju Oh-sung) has benefited tremendously from his daughter's success, recently being cast in 'Les Miserables.'

Yang-soon (Jang Nara) is a simple girl living in the countryside with her grandmother. She dreams of saving a prince from harm with her martial arts, and living happily with him ever after. Han Gi-tae (Jang Hyuk) is the president of a successful makeup company. He's the classic silver spoon case: spoiled, arrogant, taking everything for granted. His world changes when he accidentally falls in Yang-soon's bathtub (I'm not kidding you). It won't be her first meeting with Gi-tae, because she's forced to move to Seoul to work as a maid. Guess who will be her new boss?

Yang-soon's first contact with city life doesn't begin well. She's bullied at school, and doesn't connect with Na-hee (Han Eun-jung), Gi-tae's girlfriend. Thankfully, she also makes new friends. Seok-gu (Yoon Tae-young) seems attracted to her, and his sister Bo-bae (Chu Ja-hyun) actually becomes her best friend. But, even more surprising, Gi-tae seems to slowly warm up to her. When his career completely changes thanks to rival Joon-tae (Ryu Soo-young) and his father's behind the scenes intrigues, his outlook on life and Yang-soon's personality evolves. She's now the one who's actively trying to help him start his life from scratch, and make a better future for himself.

Yes, it all sounds terribly predictable, but don't worry. Bright Girl smartly takes its paper-thin plot and develops it around the characters, instead of shameless manipulation and/or ultra-convoluted plot developments. This might just be the funniest drama I've seen all year, because it never takes itself seriously. This positively affects the more dramatic portions of the series, so that they become actually touching. Also, while the characters are broad caricatures and follow the dichotomy of the genre, they're treated with such a lighthearted approach that it's hard to not be charmed by Jang Nara and company.

Displaying a quite impressive Chungcheong-do accent (at least from a non-native speaker's p.o.v.), she makes Yang-soon emerge from the walking cliche she seems at the beginning. Her stubborn insistence on only calling Gi-tae 'ajusshi' instead of 'oppa,' up till the end. Her devotion to her parents (no matter how often they get in trouble), and her manners perfectly convey her country girl upbringing, never mocking it (think of it as an affectionate tribute). Jang Nara might not be a great actress, but she has an addictive personality, a tremendous energy and screen presence which is evident from the first episode. Her chemistry with Jang Hyuk couldn't be better. He overacts a little too much, but most of the time that turns into laughter, too.

Bright Girl also benefits from good supporting performances. Kwon Hae-yo is always a pleasure to watch, no matter how small his roles are. He might just be the most underrated character actor working in Korea today. Yoon Tae-young and Chu Ja-hyun also make their characters likable and a little more realistic than the paper thin plot seemed to allow. Yang-soon's parents are a riot, and while Han Eun-jung shows little else other than her beauty, Ryu Soo-young is surprisingly effective as Joon-tae. His latest movie appearance in Summertime consisted of pretending to masturbate and having sex with Kim Ji-hyun, so that probably made his job in this series much easier to digest.

Despite the obvious flaws (this is not exactly an unconventional and terribly creative series), Bright Girl is really fun to watch. The characters are well developed and the performances very good. The manipulation never bothers, and it has a quick pace which will help even the most skeptic casual fan. In short, one of the funniest, most charming miniseries of the year. (Review by V. "X" Naldi)




Successful Story of a Bright Girl ("Myeongnyang sonyeo seonggonggi"). Alternative title: "Joyful Girl's Success Story." 16 episodes. Written by Lee Hee-myung. Produced by Jang Ki-hong. Starring Jang Nara, Jang Hyuk, Han Eun-jung, Ryu Su-young, Yoon Tae-young, Chu Ja-hyun. Aired on SBS in Korea from March 13 - May 2, 2002 on Wednesday and Thursday nights at 9:55. Official website (in Korean): click here. Available on DVD from Bitwin in Korea (no subtitles) and from PMP in Malaysia (English, Chinese, and Malay subtitles). Also available on VCD from Mei Ah in Hong Kong (Chinese subtitles).
July 22, 2009

WINTER SONATA


Winter Sonata (2002, KBS miniseries)

Another masterpiece by Korea's revered director, Yoon Suk-ho, Winter Sonata is the second installment of his famous four season series, the previous being Autumn Fairy Tale and the latest, Scent of Summer. Like its predecessor, Autumn Fairy Tale, Winter Sonata has a huge following in many parts of Asia, including Hong Kong, Taiwan, China, Japan and Southeast Asia. Its two leading stars, Bae Yong-jun (Untold Scandal) and Choi Ji-woo also gained international fame because of the series.

Bae Yong-jun takes up the role of Kang Joon-sang, an illegitimate child whose mother is an accomplished pianist. Due to his parental background, he is an introvert who does not like to interact with people, and often does not take the initiative to express himself. Even though his mother has told him his father is dead, as a child, Joon-sang believes that he is still alive. Hence, when he becomes older, he decides to return to his mother's hometown, where his parents were lovers, in a bid to look for his biological father.

Joon-sang then transfers to the high school where Yoo-jin (Choi Ji-woo) studies. A couple of entertaining anecdotes then happen between the two protagonists and through these incidents, they grow to like each other. However, as Joon-sang investigates, he realizes that his biological father might be Yoo-jin's late father. Flustered by his new findings, he decides to leave. However, as he decides to rush to see Yoo-jin for one last time, he is knocked down by a car...

Meanwhile, as the rest of his schoolmates including Yoo-jin think that he is dead after the accident, he is in fact alive, but he has lost his memory. In a bid to let him lead a happier life, his mother decides to erase his previous memories and give him new memories with a new identity, Lee Min-hyung.

The show than fast forwards 10 years later, as Joon-sang and Yoo-jin have both grown up. Joon-sang returns as Min-hyung and as Chae-rin's boyfriend (Chae-rin was Yoo-jin and Joon-sang's classmate in high school, but later went to France for further studies). During this time, Yoo-jin was about to get engaged to her childhood playmate Sang-hyuk, played by up-and-coming actor Park Yong-ha. However, due to a twist of fate, Joon-sang and Yoo-jin meet again and become attracted to each other once more. As the fate of the four intertwines, the show goes on to tell of the enthralling love story between Joon-sang and Yoo-jin.

Winter Sonata is a captivating story. The chemistry between Bae Yong-jun and Choi Ji-woo is terrific. In fact, many people were so impressed by them that rumours surfaced that they were a real-life couple. Bae Yong-jun certainly impressed many with his gripping performance of Joon-sang and Min-hyung. This could be said to be his breakthrough drama, as it was through this show that he shot to great fame. Choi Ji-woo also proves herself as an A-list actress with her overwhelming performance as Yoo-jin. One of her scenes which enthralled me was when she was confronting Joon-sang, urging him not to fire an old worker. The feeling of urgency then topped 100%.

As for the supporting leads, Park Sol-mi did a good impersonation of Chae-rin. Park Yong-ha did fairly well, but acting alongside veteran actors Bae Yong-jun and Choi Ji-woo, he clearly showed his inexperience in this field. Finally, it would be almost unjust to leave Kim Hae-sook out of the picture. Acting as Yoo-jin's mother, her performance as the Korean "ajumma" added flavour and colour throughout the whole show.

Again, Yoon Suk-ho has proven himself as one of Korea's best drama tellers. With an impressive portfolio, many audience members certainly do look forward to his subsequent dramas. Winter Sonata is an original love story. It's definitely not-to-be-missed! (Review by Kit Lim)




Winter Sonata ("Gyeoul yeonga"). Alternative titles: "Winter Love Song" or "Winter Ballad." 20 episodes. Written by Kim Eun-hee and Yoon Eun-kyung. Produced by Yoon Suk-ho. Starring Bae Yong-jun, Choi Ji-woo, Park Yong-ha, Park Sol-mi, Lee Hye-eun, Ryu Seung-soo, and Kim Hye-sook. First aired on KBS2 in Korea from January 14 - March 19, 2002 on Monday and Tuesday nights at 9:50pm. Official website (in Korean): click here. Available on DVD from KBS Media in Korea in both English-subtitled and unsubtitled versions.
July 22, 2009

AUTUMN FAIRY TALE


Autumn Fairy Tale (2000, KBS miniseries)

Autumn Fairy Tale was a major hit in 2000, directed by critically-acclaimed director Yoon Suk-ho. This series was so popular that it not only propelled the three leads -- Song Seung-hun, Song Hye-gyo and Won Bin -- to stardom, it also helped Korea to become a popular tourist destination for many Asians. In fact, this was also the first series to really showcase Korean dramas internationally.

Some might find the storyline to be pretty sentimental, as it tells the story of an undying love between two siblings, although they are not related by blood. Song Seung-un is Jun-suh, and Song Hye-gyo is Eun-suh, who grew up together as siblings for fourteen years. Due to a traffic accident, Eun-suh is hospitalized and requires a blood transfusion. It is then that the parents of the two children realize that Eun-suh is not their biological daughter. As Eun-suh's father probes into the matter, he found out that two female infants were born in the same hospital the day Eun-suh was born. After much investigation, Eun-suh's parents find that their biological daughter is Eun-suh's classmate and rival, Shin-ae, who had suffered through a much tougher life. Shin-ae hates Eun-suh for possessing a much better material life. Also, while Eun-suh grew up with her parents' and Jun-suh's love, Shin-ae grew up with a rather uncouth mother and a very abusive brother.

When the truth is revealed, emotions overwhelm Eun-suh, and being the kind-hearted girl, she choses to return to her biological mother. Shin-ae, played by child actress Lee Ae-jung, leaves with Jun-suh and her biological family for America and stays there for nine years. The show than fast forwards nine years later, as Jun Suh returns to Korea with his fiancee. Jun-suh is reunited with Eun-suh, but alas, Jun-suh's best friend, played by up-coming actor Won Bin also falls in love with her. As the story moves on, Eun-suh and Jun-suh face many obstacles which pull at viewers' hearts...

When this show was broadcast on TV, the love story between Jun-suh and Eun-suh was deemed by many as incest, although they were not biological siblings. Song Seung-hun is charistmatic as Jun-suh -- I personally felt that he portrayed the role of Jun-suh quite well. Song Hye-gyo's portrayal of Eun-suh was also compelling. It was impressive to see her tearing up so naturally in the drama's many heart wrenching moments. The supporting leads, Won Bin (Taegukgi) and Han Chae-young (Bet On My Disco), who played the grown-up Shin-ae, also complemented the two leads well. However, I thought Han Chae-young was a little underused in the show. Despite the general thumbs up performance of the leads, the most impressive performance comes from the child actors. The teenage Jun-suh was played by child actor Choi Woo-hyuk and the teenage Eun-suh, played by Moon Geun-young (A Tale of Two Sisters). Despite the fact that Moon Geun-young was only 12 or 13 when she played the role of Eun-suh, she shows her caliber as one of the best actresses around. Choi Woo-hyuk also impresses the audience with his good acting skills.

With a good plot and great performance by the cast, Autumn Fairy Tale proves to you why it has such a huge following. Overall, this series is worth your every minute spent watching it. (Review by Kit Lim)




Autumn Fairy Tale ("Gaeul donghwa"). Alternative titles: "Endless Love" or "Autumn Tale". 16 episodes. Written by Oh Su-yeon. Produced by Yoon Suk-ho. Starring Song Seung-hun, Song Hae-gyo, Won Bin, Han Na-na, Han Chae-young, Choi Woo-hyuk, Moon Geun-young, Lee Ae-jung. First aired on KBS in Korea in Autumn 2000. Official website (in Korean): click here. Available on DVD from KBS Media in Korea (no subtitles) and from MPEG Video in Malaysia (English, Chinese, and Malay subtitles).
July 22, 2009

THE SUMMER SCENT


Summer Scent (2003, KBS miniseries)


I finally finished watching Summer Scent. Don't misunderstand me. I am not implying that Summer Scent is such an unbearable show to watch that I have to force myself to watch it. It's just the feeling of relief you get when the drama finally comes to an end.

Summer Scent threads along the same vine as its predecessors: Autumn Fairy Tale and Winter Sonata. Narrating the story of two lovers and their tribulations, it certainly follows the directing style of Yoon Suk-ho, who also directed the previous two dramas.

In this drama, PD Yoon is reunited with actor Song Seung-hun (Calla, Ice Rain), who also acted in Autumn Fairy Tale. Perhaps it was the previous chemistry which they had build-up together in the previous drama, Song Seung-hun could grasp the PD's requirements and expectations, and thus played the role of Yoo Min Woo well. Song Ye-jin (The Classic, Crazy First Love), in her fifth role in dramas and movies, also showed that she has grown up to become a more mature actress since her debut in 2001 in Delicious Proposal.

Song Seung-hun plays the role of Yoo Min Woo, an architect who lost his first love, Eun Hye (played by actress Shin Ae) in a traffic accident on the day of their wedding. Ever since that freak accident, he believed that he would never be able to fall in love again, until he met Shim Hye Won, whose personality bears a striking resemblance to his first love. However, like how most Korean dramas go, their meeting was not immediate, but rather coincidental in the mountains three years later. What made this story complicated was the fact that Hye Won, who used to be a sickly child with a heart problem, had a heart transplant with, gasp! Eun Hye's heart!

The complications do not end here. The story also threads on a sideline, where the lovers find it tough to maintain their love since Hye Won was already attached to Park Jung Jae (played by actor Ryu Jin), a charismatic eligible bachelor. Making things worse, Jung Jae's younger sister Jung Ah (played by actress Han Ji-hye) who is also best friends with Hye Won, is in love with Min Woo...

Just looking at the relationships alone, one can pretty much tell that it's a messed-up entanglement. What stands out in this show also is the beautiful scenery and lovely soundtrack. Using Calla Resort and the tea fields as a backdrop, one can't help but to admire the beautiful scenery too. An avid classical music lover myself, it was exhilarating to hear Schbert's famous Serenade been played in the background. Besides Serenade, the soundtrack also boasts a couple of great songs that went well along with the scenes in the show.

As for the performance of the supporting cast, Ryu Jin put up a good performance. Portraying a composed, sensitive new age guy, he has clearly done a good rendition of what is required of his role. Han Ji-hye was impressive in her debut performance too. She is natural in her acting. Perhaps this could be the reason as to the success of her latest comedy-drama, Narang 18 Seh.

Summer Scent is a good drama to watch. But compared to Autumn Fairy Tale and Winter Sonata, I personally felt that this was the least exciting of all. Perhaps this could be attributed to the slow start-up pace of the drama. However, the audience can expect a more tense atmosphere with each episode. The plot has its pretty ridiculous moments as well, especially the heart-thumping moments, which I felt were pretty preposterous. (Review by Kit Lim)




Summer Scent ("Yeoreum hyanggi"). 20 episodes. Written by Choi Ho-yeon. Produced by Yoon Suk-ho. Starring Song Seung-heon, Son Ye-jin, Ryu Jin, Han Ji-hye, Shin Ae, Jo Eun-sook, Ahn Jung-hoon, Kim Hae-sook, Kim Yong-gun. Aired on KBS in Korea from July 7 - September 9, 2003 on Monday & Tuesday nights at 9:55pm. Official website (in Korean): click here. Available on DVD from KBS in Korea with English subtitles.