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Nirvana in Fire
8 people found this review helpful
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Aug 10, 2016
  • Overall 8.5
  • Story 8.5
  • Acting/Cast 9.0
  • Music 7.0
  • Rewatch Value 6.0
Okay, so I had previously written below, in the comment section, how I just couldn't get into this drama. In fact, I put it on hold for a month at ep. 17. I didn't do that because it was bad, just that the pacing was affecting my ability to really get into this thing.

So, I finally went back to watching it. Still found it difficult, then around the mid-30ish episodes all read more hell started to break lose. I don't think it was necessarily that the pace picked up as much as it was just so much intricate stuff unfolding over and over you started to be curious how all of it was gonna play out...

AND the BROMANCE really started getting heated up. In vary ways, not just with one single pairing of dudes but MULTIPLE pairs of dudes did I start getting an underlying BL feel but in a very "beautiful and undirty" way. You're not ashamed to "ship" these guys being "BROS". You actually truly appreciate the loyalty and commitments everyone has for each other. Not to discount that there are some very strong females, but, YES, it is a FACT that in this series, pretty much most of the woman are secondary, except for how they can be "used" in a "positive" way to meet the objectives. But, you really do get excited for the bromances overall.

In the end, as I had stated, I never truly felt like I was invested in any one particular person. It's not like the outcome was anything that couldn't be easily predicted. It can, AND it should be predictable. The thing that ended up being unpredictable and surprising to me was MY actual REACTION to the end. I in no way felt like this show was making me emotional. Intrigued, curious, yes; emotion, no. YET, when it came to the last 1/2 of the LAST episode I found myself 100% in utter tears, a sobbing mess, that I couldn't even contain myself and started literally crying out loud, saying, "WHY DO I DO THIS TO MYSELF!?! I HATE THE CHINESE!" ...and I mean that with all deference attached to it...

I've watched a number of Asian dramas in the last 8 years and the fair share of them had heart-wrenching endings... BUT THERE ARE THE HANDFUL THAT ACTUALLY GOT ME TO LITERALLY SOB OUT LOUD! I've cried, but I'm not an easily emotional woman. I don't take to sobbing my heart out... and well, YES, that's exactly what this series pulled out of me, as much as I tried to remain unattached and emotionless through all 54 episodes... it still managed to squeeze that shit out of me against, what I felt, was my will. ...That's some powerful stuff right there.
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One Smile is Very Alluring
16 people found this review helpful
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Sep 25, 2016
  • Overall 6.5
  • Story 6.0
  • Acting/Cast 7.0
  • Music 7.5
  • Rewatch Value 4.0
THIS REVIEW IS ONLY BASED ON THIS MOVIE, NOT THAT OF THE ORIGINAL WORK.

***SPOILER ALERT***SPOILER ALERT***
[If you haven't read the novel, watched the TV drama version, and know nothing of the plot and do not want it spoiled for you, then read no further... if that's not you OR you don't care, read on....]

I'm not gonna break my review down by sections. My review is a juxtaposition of the read more others and how I felt it compared:

The consolidation of scenes, characters, and information in the movie version was interesting. Not horrible, but definitely not 100% true to the original story. Zhen Shao Xiang's personality being consolidated into a combo of him and Cao Guang was kind of abrupt for me. Or KO being the manager of the internet cafe?? Wasn't expecting that. ..putting Hao Mei and KO's story as filler while rolling the credits was kind of dumb. Without "context" you missed the significance of that and it just became some kind of embarrassing moment for Hao Mei. ..frankly, I think they came at this project with the idea that everyone had either read the novel or watched the TV version. There's so much missing that without knowing anything, this movie would feel incomplete.

This Wei Wei is more outgoing than she's supposed to be. That's the aspect of her character that's really important in her connection with Xiao Nai. She's pure, innocent, shy, humble, and doesn't like to draw attention to herself. In this version, she's really not that way at all. She's much more extrovert and dominant, no where near passive. If you like her better this way, it's simply personal preference, but it's not the true character of her as written in the novel. And just as this Wei Wei is more extroverted, and not so shy, this Xiao Nai is a bit more emo and less hard-to-read, badass, cutthroat who was always 2 steps ahead of everyone else.

...and bottom line, what I really want to say, the BROMANCE and the relationship between him and his "brothers" and Wei Wei was really, really, REALLY, really lacking for me int this movie version. For me, that was as important if not MORE important than the romance between Xiao Nai and Wei Wei. I loved the whole "family" feel and it just enhanced their romance all the more. In this version, I just felt wanting; I felt lacking; I was waiting for there to be more of a close feeling with Wei Wei and the "brothers" but, more than half way through they barely had anything to say to each other. It was sad.

The ending was beyond rushed. Not only did they really let us down with anytime with the "brothers" but the whole 2nd part about their company and Wei Wei and Xiao Nai becoming closer to the point of marriage was basically completely skipped over. Not fulfilling for me at all.

My Best Fangirl Moment:
~At 1:32:00, when the Chinese League of Legends team, Invictus Gaming [IG] gets interviewed by Panda TV about the "Young" company of Xiao Nai. Rookie introduces himself and the team. Rookie is one of those South Korean players that the Chinese spent loads of money to transfer to China to play. Then, from left to right, you have Zzitai[top], Kitties[support], Rain[ADC] and another South Korean player, ending with Kid [jgl]... that means obviously that Rookie is IG's midlaner.... I just simply loved this little moment in time!!
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Seven Something
2 people found this review helpful
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Oct 27, 2015
  • Overall 8.0
  • Story 7.0
  • Acting/Cast 9.0
  • Music 8.5
  • Rewatch Value 5.0
When I watched this I had no idea Nichkhun was in it. Shocked but not so shocked about the Noona Syndrome that played out. This is starting to become a really, really common theme nowadays. I could write a novel as to why I think it's so and how it goes hand in hand with the growing popularity of watching Asian dramas in the West... but I won't bore you. This last read more storyline is probably the most poignant in the movie since it's got a bit of a twist on the theme.

I didn't particularly like the 1st segment with the teenagers. Ironically, having 2 teenage boys of my own, it doesn't matter what country you are from, when it comes to social media, it does have a lot of impact and consequences my generation never dealt with before and we're parents and just as new at as they are.... so it's like the blind leading the blind. You cannot give away something you don't have so, the kids nowadays probably do tend to get lost when parents are just as moronic with the media as the kids are at it. It's a topic worth bringing up.

The 2nd segment just has good actors that I like to watch. Standard lost romance stuff, but still nice story arc to it.

OVERALL: It's not too emotionally investing and it has some food for thought. Definitely a nice relaxing entertaining diversion. Worth 2 hours on a rainy day with a cup of chamomile tea. lol....
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Koe Koi
2 people found this review helpful
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Oct 11, 2016
  • Overall 7.0
  • Story 7.0
  • Acting/Cast 8.5
  • Music 8.0
  • Rewatch Value 2.0
I'm not gonna do a drawn out review. If you read all the other comments and reviews there are many elements in which I agree....

I did like the development of the majority of characters. The acting was pretty good for this standard of drama.

I was okay with the paperbag and her acceptance of it for up to episode 10-11.... and I actually enjoyed her perspective and caring. In this regard, read more the message behind the story was well received.....

.....
....
....
....
SPOILER ALERT:

However, for all the effort put into it, I was at once stunned at Macchan's slowness to grow up. His reason for wearing the paperbag was now proof that he was always a kindhearted person almost to the point of ignoring himself for the sake of others. So, this mannerism isn't a new behavior pattern because of Yuchan. For everything she did to support him, and yes I know he supported her but in a way that goes with his character not necessarily special, I wanted him to be more willing and eager to give back to her as well.... They never even fully talked about and resolved the fact that Kaori never DID see his face yet Yuchan is left feeling he only cares for her to a point. Her love for him is stronger and she gets that strength from watching Makoto's bravery. Never have I felt a second lead be so slighted for emotional heroism in a plot. He was everything I wanted Macchan to be and never, ever fully was to me. He couldn't run after her, and every "heart-to-heart" talk was provided to him by others efforts.....
... so to not allow me to understand the meaning behind Yuchan's expressions when he finally takes of the bag left me feeling left out of the story. You wanted me to be invested in this, and then you don't even let me understand it fully. Like at one point, Yuchan almost looked disappointed, and it felt awkward because I couldn't make a discernment myself on whether it was because of his "expression [i.e. sad or nervous face] or "attractiveness".... It almost looked like she was disappointed then pulled herself together to show him she'll love him despite being unattractive. ....but that wasn't the point, and I hate being left to feel this way.... the whole point wasn't even "his voice" but the emotions BEHIND the voice. That he was forcing himself to look a certain way to please others even though his emotions didn't match it... THAT WAS THE POINT.... but instead by playing it out this way, for me, it did end up devolving into an issue over good looks versus not so good looks. I just wished they'd shown ONE expression. For me that was the meaning... being able to face the world with your true self and face.
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Rurouni Kenshin
1 people found this review helpful
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Dec 1, 2015
  • Overall 10
  • Story 10
  • Acting/Cast 10
  • Music 10
  • Rewatch Value 10
I don't grade shows very low if I can stand to watch them, BUT I also don't hand out 10s on a whim either. 10 is only for those really exceptional things that keep lingering in your mind hours, even days or weeks later. I'll start by saying, this is one of those kinds of movies.

STORY: The era and plot of this movie is perfect. The idea and message that is read more conveyed through it is moving. There is a clear path and a clear point and it is made with dramatic scenery, wonderful cinematography, and excellent martial arts sequences. Frankly, the best part about this is the martial arts and the concept of killing versus not killing. However, if you're looking for a true romance movie, you're in the wrong place. If you're in it for great acting and romantic subtlety, you'll get it in spades. If you love subtlety, then you'll understand when I say that the ending was epic.

The fact that this was produced by Time-Warner is a plus. Not to be biased, just staying factual, unless a Japanese movie is being produced by the likes of Sony Corp, the production value tends to be a tier or 2 down from the Mega-Movie producers in the USA. Those places just have instilled longtime quality personnel, longtime experience, and lots of money to spare to put value into a movie they produce. This movie is no exception to that rule.

ACTING: Straight up, you couldn't have cast people better for each role. They all fit their characters well. I have to say that Sato Takeru absolutely nails his character. Sato has the most perfect stances for each scene that shows his expertise and understanding of various jutsu. I was enthralled by it and his moves are so seemless. I haven't seen a movie so good for swordfighting in so long, it was amazing to me. His ability to subtlely use his eyes and mouth to express emotions that delineate the distance or closeness to his relationships or deeper meaning is powerful. I was able to see how much he values the concept of innocence by his shy reaction to it when he comes across it and his desire to protect the concept. Just beautiful and moving. Even though Samurai X was produced in 2012, it brought back to me essences of Liar And His Lover [2013] in that first kiss scene when she says "why are you crying" when he isn't and then the tears flow easily. I see how he perfected that by watching this movie. He is definitely a talented actor and I'm fascinated by how good he is with his marital arts at such a young age. Just mesmerizing.

MUSIC: One OK Rock - The Beginning for the closing song! Enough said! But seriously, the music is very good. It's got a classical feel to it and reminds me of the soundtrack to the anime Sword Of The Stranger yet, nothing will ever quite compare to that epic anime. I say it "feels" like it but it's no where close to the downloadable quality. What I mean is that the music doesn't distract and is impactful and plays well with the scenes being portrayed.

REWATCH VALUE: This is one movie that I will come back to time and time again. The battles scenes are just so good that I don't think I'd ever get bored of watching them. Where do you find a scene with a samurai beating up a bunch of thugs and, if you watch closely, see him take the seconds to show his respect by taking off his shoes and bowing. It's just meaningful stuff like that which you may not catch the first go around that begs for this movie to be watched multiple times.

OVERALL: Just one of those lovely badass films that's worth sinking your teeth into time and time again.
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Marriage Contract
4 people found this review helpful
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Apr 26, 2016
  • Overall 7.5
  • Story 6.0
  • Acting/Cast 9.0
  • Music 8.0
  • Rewatch Value 4.0
Lee Seo Jin acted the hell out of his part and showed up with his Big Boy Actor pants and Uee did everything in her power and limited melodrama acting experiences to rise up and meet him every step of the way. That's all you really need to know about this drama, because if you read the synopsis and summary of this drama, you know exactly what's gonna happen at the time read more it happens without fail.
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Twenty Again
2 people found this review helpful
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Nov 12, 2015
  • Overall 7.0
  • Story 7.0
  • Acting/Cast 9.0
  • Music 6.0
  • Rewatch Value 4.0
Story: I was surprised at how much I really started to dislike this drama after ep. 8. I could already predict that the lovelines would be dragged out. It was great up until this point for me. It was very humorous, insightful, and cute. The thing that started to turn me off about it was the show didn't know whether it wanted to be a romantic comedy or profound like Misaeng. I read more use that drama comparison specifically to point out that I don't need a loveline to enjoy the show, but if you're gonna give me that angle, then play it out. Watch the whole show, with each couple, and notice that the romance is really lacking and the skinship, although hugs and handholding are nice have little romantic meaning. It's usually given in the process of some misunderstanding. For a TVN production, I was very sad about this part.

The way this show was edited also bothered me. It had way too much filler for me. At least 15 minutes of each episode has flashback filler of scenes we've already watched, and the same ones over and over again and this is just for the present scenes. Then there's the flashbacks of their youth that give you a scene then next episode replays that scene and adds an additional 3-4 minutes of extend the scene to give more information. I didn't really like this style. I thought the youth scenes could have been intertwined into the present more seemlessly.

Acting: There is nothing bad I can say about the acting. The actors are topnotch and even the new comers are great. This show introduced me to lil Kim Min Jae who I was not aware of until now. Realized that he could actually dance and his acting is good for a rookie. It's no wonder he got picked up for a new drama. All the side characters/students/old friends were really good and played their parts well. I enjoyed watching them even if I didn't really like the way the story was written and directed.

Music: The music wasn't too catchy for me. This is coming from someone who downloads OST for dramas and got into k-pop this way. One of my most disappointing scenes was her dance, which could have been handled so much better even if they need to get a body double, when they cut BTS Dope into a ballad. I was like: I'm just getting my groove on and expecting her to bust out and put the moves on and they slo-mo the hip-hop? WTF? lol....

Rewatch: Watching it once you get the story gist, no need to replay. If I'd rewatch anything it would be for cute scenes from the beginning episodes. Past that, there was so many flashback repeats I rewatch the drama already while watching it the first time.

Overall: It's entertaining. I'd watch it without expecting a loveline. Like even if the drama tries to throw that aspect at you, don't bite. Watch like a Slice Of Life show and enjoying getting to know the main character and her life. Don't expect too much from her, just watch her learn, and grow... and that's why I mentioned Misaeng... If you've watched that drama, this is a lesser version of someone learning and growing. The acting in itself is worth a watch even if the plot is bi-polar.
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Choco Bank
1 people found this review helpful
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Nov 21, 2016
  • Overall 6.5
  • Story 6.0
  • Acting/Cast 7.5
  • Music 6.0
  • Rewatch Value 2.0
This was definitely a webdrama to allow Kai to debut. The actors they put around him were superb.

The story was a bit off. One minute confession, next minute denial... confusing where this was going... especially since it was so short.

Kai wasn't bad in this. He needs to work on his focus is all. He plays off of other people's emotions pretty well but he seems to find it hard doing read more it on his own. It was kinda of funny to watch, because he'd go in and out of character a lot for such short episodes. lol.. He'd be in the groove one moment, then go stone faced the next, then he'd have that 1-2 second delayed reaction, like he was thinking about how he should make his facial expression for the particular dialogue he was about to say... hahaha... It was kinda endearing, bit better than a school play or video.

With D.O.'s debut, you never questioned his acting chops. Kai, I feel, has it in him, but he just needs to work on his focus and not needing other people's acting to coax him into the vibe. For me, I felt like I wasn't watch a character but Kai literally playing a character, because, I don't know why, I started getting curious thinking, "...this guy must have had a charmed life from the beginning, because he seems to be overthinking, and reaching for how to play a person who has struggles, like he's never experienced it in his life, so he doesn't know how to convey the feeling..." lol.. I literally started to wonder if he comes from a rich family background. To start of with, until he develops his ability to act, best to put him in roles that are equal to who he is in real life. I think he'll do well in those kind of roles.
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Make A Woman Cry
1 people found this review helpful
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Jun 19, 2016
  • Overall 6.0
  • Story 4.5
  • Acting/Cast 6.5
  • Music 6.0
  • Rewatch Value 1.0
As other commentators pointed out below, this series started off so well, but around episode 18 it goes completely down hill. This show went full makjang, and it's unfortunate because it didn't really start out that way.. I mean, of course, the teacher's family is shit, but that's normal. It's the outer limits quadruple triangle, orphan, lowclass mom, women fighting over money, affairs, life threatening illness, amnesia, etc, etc. It made you read more miss the simple kids bullying and killing other kids stuff it started out with... and as a mother myself, that's not something I take lightly.

The 1st 18 episodes were great. A tough ass mom whose son died who does everything to teach the kids at the school lessons their own parents are failing to teach them, and support them to be happy and successful. But all of a sudden the focus started become more about the Family Feud that was portrayed like a Joseon Historical with princesses lying & scheming, vying for the title of Crown Prince. Every episode was just merely a flipflop of the previous one, with SIL #1 on top then SIL #2 on top... and the men acting like ghosts, except for dad who is an island unto himself. They manage about less than 10 minutes cut into 1:30 segments in each episode with the OTP walking SLLLLOOOOWWWWWLLLLLYYYY away from each other or staring at each other or opining on whether they're allowed to love each other and be happy...

Let's just say that more than 2/3rds of this show, the school children are no where to be found, the very thing that made this story great, and the whole time I'm saying to myself, "I don't give a shit about anyone's family. I just want to see her continue to help the boys at the school grow and mature, and teach the parents lessons in humanity... while knocking heads together." After the lead fell in love she was a wuss and shell of her former self... spent her time getting spoken to and treated like dirt without laying a hand on anyone, crying all the time, and walk around like she's in a comatose state. ....it's like they spent so much time on the SILs being nasty they were completely out of any ideas for their lead.

You know, it's being pulled in for 18 episodes then wrecking my mind for 22 more that pisses me off. I feel extremely cheated by these writers who seem hell bent on being sadistic with their unwillingness to give you what you want.
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Marry Me, or Not?
1 people found this review helpful
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Mar 13, 2016
  • Overall 9.5
  • Story 9.5
  • Acting/Cast 10
  • Music 9.0
  • Rewatch Value 8.5
STORY:
This story line never dragged for me. The flow and pacing was very nice. It had different stories within the main story that kept it from going off track too much and keeping it from getting boring. It stuck to a theme and I really liked that aspect. I loved the sismance in this one. The 2 female leads were paired well and their relationship to everyone else was pretty quality read more entertainment. It started off silly, got a bit serious in the middle without losing its humorous feel, and then ended with the same kind of silliness. Overall a really "feel good" series with just the right amount of angst to have a good story throughout 15 episodes. It didn't feel draggy, or rushed. It was just right.

ACTING:
Everyone acted superbly in this drama. I really did like everyone's character, even the villains. I do have to give special props to Roy's character and NOT merely because it's Roy or for fangirling or anything like that at all. His character was just like the most perfect imperfect male lead you could ever ask for in a drama. I like that he's not necessarily romantic and "for love" but learns through the process of falling in love, being let down by it, yet still never giving up on himself and being true to what he feels. It really was a quality love process... ...and it really helped that Alice and him play well off each other. They have really good chemistry, but I think I'd still like his character even if it was someone else. He's just a really, really likable guy.

MUSIC:
The music was pretty good quality. Not overpowering and interfering with the drama. Upbeat, sad, & sweet all placed at the right times.... and at least 3 songs [Linger on by Yoga Lin] [Lost Heartbeat (?????) by Power Station] [So Close (??) by Joanne Tseng] are worthy of downloading and playing on your mp3 player. ;)

REWATCH:
It's just such a feel good show with lots of great kiss scenes between Roy and Alice that after it sinks in you'll probably want to come back to see it again. There are those rare ones that are worth a rewatch. This is one of them.

OVERALL:
What can I say more than ^^^ this? I just really, really liked this drama.
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Uncontrollably Fond
0 people found this review helpful
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Oct 18, 2016
  • Overall 8.5
  • Story 8.5
  • Acting/Cast 9.5
  • Music 8.5
  • Rewatch Value 5.0
I just saw two kids grow up and become adults and with it became full-fledged actors. For all the negative comments Suzy gets about her acting, it wouldn't be warranted here.

This is a melo. If you know that, then you know what you're getting into from the start. Stop pretending you don't get it. It's all about the over-the-top concepts and dramatics. You're meant to get frustrated, cry, and get angry... read more ...a lot...

That being said, one of the most recent melos I watched was I Have A Lover, and I actually enjoyed it. With that in mind, this melo, UF, was much better than that by far. It wasn't overly frustrating. I cried just enough. It kind of felt cathartic because, from the start I knew the end, and I did enjoy knowing, so I could savor and cherish every bit of well-done acting by Woo Bin, who utterly impressed me with himself, for the 1st time I might add. If you haven't watched and are curious, this statement about Woo Bin should be enough to make you take the leap, I should think. I've never been on the Woo Bin hype train. I never found him overly attractive, and actually the first time I saw him in a show it was awkward watching him because I felt like he had a lazy eye and it would distract me from his acting [what he was saying or doing]. I never found him to be a "lacking" actor, just, you know, the typical model turned actor, playing the idol figure in the high school dramas. But this, this show right here is where he surpassed my expectations. I felt his emotions... it felt real to me.. he neither overly acted sick or cool. He had the right amount of everything at every turn....

...and not to discount Suzy, because her role was dark, but not as "meaty" as Woo Bin's role, she still played the shameless idiot who got screwed over all her life and took it in the rear, yet, somehow managed to show a immense amount of dignity caring for her love, Joon Young [Woo Bin]. I was pretty happy with it all for what a melo has to offer. ;)
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