PrettyCarEye

Sort by:
Petty Romance
9 of 9 people found this review helpful
See all 8 user reviews
May 23, 2013
  • Overall 9.0
  • Story 9.0
  • Acting/Cast 10
  • Music 8.0
  • Rewatch Value 9.0
Romantic, wickedly cute and laugh out loud hilarious! Whatever you can ask for in a bona fide romantic comedy this movie totally delivered! I was NOT expecting to enjoy it so much. I started this just before going to bed last night, convinced that like most other stupid romcoms this one would bore me right to sleep. Boy was I wrong!

The laughs kept piling up 'til 2am. I had to force read more myself away from my Mac screen, and that was only because I had a super important work meeting later that morning. Otherwise I totally would have stayed up and finished it.

I usually approach romcoms with reserved disdain because a lot of times the movies in this genre are neither romantic nor funny OR they're one but not the other. What made Petty Romance great was that it's funny and romantic AT THE SAME TIME, for the entire show.

Furthermore the superb acting & cracking chemistry between the leads was awesome! They both had wonderful comedic timing and played extremely well off each other. Their interaction never felt forced or awkward, but very fluid and natural, which is not an easy feat when doing comedy.

I was never that impressed with Lee Sun Gyun in Coffee Prince, but here he brings a cavalier charm to his character that neither you nor our female lead can resist. Moreover you gotta give nuff respect to a man who has the balls (pun intended) to expose his crotch for a close up. Now don't get all bent outta shape ... he was covered (barely). Still, this is NOT a pose most male actors would jump to do, but one which Lee Sun Gyun delivered with great aplomb!

Choi Kang Hee was sweet and innocent in her role without being Moon Geun Young annoying. They both did a great job!

If I had to complain about anything, it would be what Jung Bæ did when he first met Da Rim. I mean, really? Who does that? You'll know what I mean when you see it. I could not believe him! Jeez. It made me look at him with slightly less adoration...

Anyway, Petty Romance still deserves a solid 9. Fun, fresh story (because it's not a storyline you see often) & great, great chemistry between the leads. My favourite Korean romcom yet! :-)
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No
Rich Man, Poor Woman in New York
13 of 14 people found this review helpful
See all 7 user reviews
Apr 6, 2013
  • Overall 9.0
  • Story 8.0
  • Acting/Cast 8.0
  • Music 9.0
  • Rewatch Value 7.0
The special picks up where we left off in the Season 1 finale. Toru is reinstated as President & CEO of Next Innovation; Asahina is paroled and living a simple life as a software engineer; and Makoto is a world away in Brazil, pursuing her dream of becoming a research scientist.

For one week she returns to Japan to be with Toru, who can't seem to make up his mind about what read more exactly she is to him.

I thought these two were already officially dating, albeit long distance, but turns out this is not the case. In the special they're given a chance to develop their relationship from a question mark to a period. Their journey is, of course, fraught with professional obstacles, miscommunications & Toru's eccentricities. Like with every new relationship having another person share your life, your personal space is an adjustment for both parties. But Makoto learns to ask for what she needs & Toru learns to compromise.

Sometimes I watch TV couples and think if they were real they'd never make it beyond TV land. But I feel good about this couple. I love their bicker and banter. They already seem like an old married duo.

Along the way there were moments when I wanted to blow Toru away with a shotgun. I mean how obtuse, stubborn & cantankerous can one man get? Everything worked out for the best though.

The ending was nice. Left a huge grin on my face. I even started to hate Asahina a little less. I didn't take notice of the OST before, but here it was very fitting. The theme song is actually quite beautiful.

Overall, this was a nice addition to the series. I enjoyed it more than the drama because there was more focus on the development of Toru & Makoto's relationship. Hence the 9 scoring. Not everything was as I had hoped for, but I still really, really liked it. Now I just hope they produce a season 2 because even though we got some closure on the couple's relationship their story still feels incomplete.

I'd love to see them again, juggling life, career and love, and preferably living under the same roof. But this is a Japanese series we're talking about. I won't hold my breath on that happening even if they do make a S2.

Anyway, give this a go. You can watch it without having seen S1. You'll still be able to follow. Would I re-watch? Yes. I don't know exactly when it happened, but these characters have really grown on me. I'll never get tired of seeing them together.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No
The Servant
13 of 14 people found this review helpful
See all 4 user reviews
Jan 1, 2013
  • Overall 10
  • Story 10
  • Acting/Cast 10
  • Music 7.0
  • Rewatch Value 9.0
The Servant is a retelling of popular South Korean folk tale The Story of Chunhyang, and can either be viewed as a prequel or a sequel to the 2000 film, Chunhyang.

Where the original Story of Chunhyang (and earlier film adaptations of the folk tale) tells the story of the beautiful courtesan's daughter and the handsome nobleman who falls for her, in this retelling this classic love story takes on a new read more dimension.

Bang-ja has worked in servitude to Mongryong for many years. He's satisfied with his existence until one day he encounters a woman who changes his life forever. Both master and servant fall for the beautiful Chunhyang at first sight. However, due to his lack of status, Bang-ja is convinced he doesn't stand a chance against the aristocrat, Mongryong.

I have to say this retelling of the original folk tale was quite moving to watch.

Where Chunhyang (2000) is an upbeat, pure love story with likable characters all around, The Servant is a poignant story of long-suffering and sacrifice. It puts a more mature spin on the original story, and solicits a deeper emotional investment from the viewer.

Both films are great for different reasons. In Chunhyang I loved the feel good story of young lovers discovering each other for the first time as well as the skillful direction of the film by Im Kwon-Taek. In The Servant the hero's strait journey to be with the love of his life is what touched my heart.

He was a very sympathetic, worthy, if tragic, hero, portrayed superbly by actor Kim Ju Hyuk. Though powerless & trapped by his low class Bang-ja revealed himself to be the true noble, a man of honour, wisdom & sound character who, for the sake of love, suffered through much humiliation and hardship. A number of the supporting cast put in notable performances as well, in particular Oh Dal Su's In No, Bang-ja's compatriot & mentor. The Servant was also surprisingly modern in tone and mood. It took on a somewhat tongue-in-cheek approach towards its handling of sexuality. It may seem a bit contradictory to the period in which the film is set, but it worked somehow with the overall arc of the story.

In closing, I'd say both films are well worth a watch, though it's not mandatory to see one in order to understand the other. I'm giving The Servant a 10 (as I did Chunhyang) for its story & Kim Ju Hyuk's performance. The ending was beautiful and bittersweet. Just an overall enjoyable watch that I'd recommend to everyone.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No
Season Of Good Rain
8 of 8 people found this review helpful
See all user reviews
Nov 22, 2012
  • Overall 8.0
  • Story 8.0
  • Acting/Cast 10
  • Music 7.0
  • Rewatch Value 10
Jung Woo-sung brought me to this movie and let me tell you, I wasn't disappointed. The man is a vision. But his pretty face isn't the movie's only merit. Though not the most original of scripts, it served its purpose of entertaining me for a couple of hours. It's a cute, light-hearted story about rekindling a friendship that eventually leads to love.

I enjoyed the cross cultural elements of the film. There read more was a time, in my ignorance, when I thought all East Asian cultures were more or less the same. I have since broadened my horizons, but it was still quite interesting to see that China was just as much a cultural novelty for Dong-ha, a Korean, as it would've been for me, a Westerner.

What's more interesting is that a great portion of this film is in English because Dong-ha doesn't speak Chinese and May doesn't speak Korean. I must admit it was a bit weird for me to hear them speak English so I muted the sound and simply read the subtitles. It's not that their English was poor. Actually, they were as good as anyone can speak a foreign language, but their accents were really heavy. I found that it distracted me from the emotion of the story and the performances.

I'm thankful this movie wasn’t too emotionally draining. The few times it reverted to more somber themes, those were quickly overruled by one comedic scene or another.

Dong-ha and May had mad on-screen chemistry. There were some very steamy kisses in this movie, and May was a full participant in all the action! No shocked, open-eyed reaction here. For once I can't complain about the intimacy between the characters being fake. My only wish was that those kisses were more frequent and longer! haha :)

Overall, I have very few complaints. This was a simple, but satisfying story with good, subtle performances from a pair of very attractive leads. I doubt I've ever seen Jung Woo-sung look so handsome on screen, not even in A Moment to Remember (and let’s face it, the man was pretty darn hot in that movie!). The ending was unnecessary. I would have preferred a different outcome, one that was a bit more straightforward and less open, but it didn't spoil the movie for me. It's clear that the director just wanted to be a jerk and yank our chain.

I highly recommend Season of Good Rain as the perfect date movie. It’s a light romantic drama that’ll make you reminisce about when you first met your love, give you many reasons to make out and offer you something light-hearted to debate about after it’s done. Enjoy!
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No
Woman in the Dunes
6 of 6 people found this review helpful
See all 2 user reviews
Oct 3, 2013
  • Overall 10
  • Story 10
  • Acting/Cast 10
  • Music 10
  • Rewatch Value 8.0
When I look at a picture like Woman in the Dunes I'm reminded of why I always wanted to become a filmmaker.

A magnificent piece filmmaking the picture uses visual metaphors and allegory as a form of social commentary. What exactly is its message? You decide, but there's absolutely no doubt that every piece of cinematic tool is put to the most effective use in an effort to help you decipher what read more you will.

The roles are well cast, the performances alternately heartfelt and disturbing, the story layered with symbolism and pregnant with meaning. The cinematography dazzling in its simplicity. Even more, what particularly struck me was how nature and sound became characters in their own right, enriching the film's atmosphere with a foreboding presence.

I loved the movie because it inspires me as someone who wants to make films and it provides me with entertainment that seduces my brain and leaves a catch in my breath.

This is certainly worth your time if you like your films artful and intelligent, but coincidentally it can also be consumed as mindless entertainment. If you so choose. You can choose to not look for its deeper meaning and just be caught up in the urgent passions of the film's protagonists.

Woman in the Dunes is outstanding, and gets an overall 10 from me for a story filled with impeccable nuance, skillful direction of actors, camera, space and time; and last but least how elementary tools of the craft were used to create something visually appealing and all together intellectually compelling.

Where I'm concerned this goes to show that old school filmmakers remain the true masters of cinema.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No
Five Senses of Eros
12 of 14 people found this review helpful
See all 3 user reviews
Dec 18, 2012
  • Overall 7.0
  • Story 7.0
  • Acting/Cast 7.0
  • Music 6.0
  • Rewatch Value 6.0
It's difficult to rate this "movie" because it's not really a movie in the traditional sense of the word. Rather it's a compilation of short films which explore the theme of erotic love. Two of the stories are very loosely related whilst the other 3 are independent of each other.

Some stories were better than others in both content and acting ability. The first two were quite enjoyable and philosophical. They asked read more deep, thought-provoking questions that I pondered appreciatively.

My favourite of all 5 was the 2nd story. Very poignant, but also a very sweet manifestation of (erotic) love.

The 3rd and 4th stories were a bit bizarre. Think murderous wives, blood sucking vampires and lesbian loving. I liked the 3rd story the least. Though darkly comedic in parts, I found it boring and uninspired in others. The theme of Eros was not very well conveyed, in my opinion, and the acting was off.

The 5th and final story about partner swapping could have been interesting, but the narrative was somewhat nonlinear, making it difficult to keep track of who was really boyfriend/girlfriend with who.

If I had to rate each story individually:

Story 1: 9
Story 2: 10
Story 3: 3
Story 4: 5
Story 5: 6

The average comes out to about 7 so that's my overall score for this anthology. I enjoyed it while it lasted. This movie is suitable for mature audiences, but nothing about it felt gratuitous. In fact a lot of the sexual encounters were pretty PG. I'd say it's a good date movie to watch with your long term partner, if you have one.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No
The Journals of Musan
5 of 5 people found this review helpful
See all user reviews
Aug 12, 2013
  • Overall 9.0
  • Story 9.0
  • Acting/Cast 9.0
  • Music 4.0
  • Rewatch Value 4.0
This heartbreaking, raw, gritty tale takes us into a day in the life of a North Korean defector’s struggle for survival in a brutally capitalistic Seoul.

For Seung-Chul, a quiet, unassuming, hard working, church going man, it is a world away from the derelict backwater that is his hometown of Musan in the communist North. He longs for a life of small pleasures and dignity, but faces a harsh reality he never read more saw coming.

Working for pittance amid rampant discrimination and heartless bastardry, his life reflects the dismal hopelessness faced by many escapees from the North. Nevertheless, Seung-Chul makes a brave effort to rise above his circumstances and not lose hope. But when an entire system seem to conspire against him, he finds himself in bind after bind with no reprieve in sight. And just like the stray dog he adopts for comfort and company, he’s a man without roots, unable to find his place among his own people.

An impressive debut by director Park Jung-bum who also wrote, produced and starred in the film. A filmmaker after my own heart, the movie was made in the true spirit of independent filmmaking: on a shoestring budget with borrowed equipment and a mostly amateur cast.

Whilst picture quality & Park’s shaky camera movements bear the mark of budgetary limitations, this is without a doubt a sturdy first effort. The Journals of Musan captures well a dark, unforgiving world, and will pull at your heartstrings from start to finish.

Park, as the tragic misfit that is Seung Chul, is exquisite. At first his performance came across a bit stiff, but by the end of the film I adjusted my perception. What came across as stiff was a true depiction of Seung Chul’s intinct for self-preservation in a world that would have broken him if he didn’t always have his guard up.

I really liked this movie. It’s a deep human story, based on true events. The real Seung Chul, a close friend of Park, didn’t live long enough to see his legacy materialise on screen. He died young -- from cancer -- in 2006. Really sad business.

Park has a decent future ahead of him. I’ll be looking out for his next film.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No
Love and Honor
5 of 5 people found this review helpful
See all user reviews
Apr 14, 2013
  • Overall 8.0
  • Story 8.0
  • Acting/Cast 8.0
  • Music 4.0
  • Rewatch Value 8.0
The third and final installment in Yamada Yoji's Samurai trilogy, which includes The Twilight Samurai (2002) & The Hidden Blade (2004). This review will focus on Love & Honour, but will draw upon the similarities in all three films.

Through an unfortunate twist of fate Mimura Shinnojo's life is never the same again after he discovers poison in food meant for his clan's lord. It causes a series of events that would read more rock the resolve of the strongest of men. For me, Love & Honor was the most entertaining of the 3 films. Where the other two films were slow-paced & preoccupied with portraying the mundane, everyday lives of low caste samurais Love & Honor was more fast-paced, though not by a lot, and more developed to keep the viewer wondering what would happen next.

I kept watching The Twilight Samurai and The Hidden Blade because I became attached to the characters and wanted to see what happened to them even though the pacing of their stories would have bored a less patient viewer. Love & Honor was slightly different in that the story pulled you in as much as your affection for the characters.

And let's face it, the fact that Kimura Takuya is the star of the movie makes it a worthwhile watch, but the film is anchored on it's own merit by having an engaging plot as well.

Performance wise everyone delivered. Kimura played a disabled man in this film. I'm tempted to give him high scores all around because I love the guy so much, but if I'm entirely honest his 'disability' was perhaps the weakest point in his act. I wasn't totally convinced. I've seen movies where other actors were more authentic. Having said that the lovely Mr. Kimura delivered on all other counts, with the usual charm, emotion and dedication he's known and loved for. He plays a very vulnerable character in need of tender, loving care in the movie. So for lady viewers he's bound to awaken your nurturing instincts because you just want to reach in, give him a hug & a kiss and tell him everything is going to be alright. :)

The other actors did well too. In particular the actress who played Mimura's wife.

Overall I found this movie to be more emotionally gripping than the other two, and in order of preference Love & Honor would be my first, followed by the The Twilight Samurai and then The Hidden Blade.

All three films tell the stories of low caste samurais struggling to survive. There's an element of romance in all of them, and the added bonus of all 3 films in the trilogy ending on a very satisfying note.Samurai films are almost always synonymous with death, in my experience, but another reason to love this trilogy is that they follow a different path in this regard.

Love and Honor, in particular, puts a lot more emphasis on the romance than The Twilight Samurai & The Hidden Blade. It packs a stronger emotional punch, and is thus one of the reasons the film worked so well for me.

The films are all similar in mood & tone, though L&H is slightly more upbeat than the others which felt more melancholic & dreary. The charm of these films, in my opinion, is that they're very good in portraying the not so glorious side of Samurai life. Therefore, if you're looking for a Samurai movie with the sweeping, epic battles these are not the films for you.

Here the Samurai profession is not as 'pedestalized' as it normally is in other films. Many of the Samurais featured are poor & barely earning enough to support their families. The heroes of these movies are simple men wanting simple pleasures out of life, but by their lowly status are forced to live under the thumb of brutal feudal lords. They work as Samurais not necessarily because they want to, but because they have no other choice.

I think the trilogy is well worth the watch, but if you're not given to the Japanese's affinity toward slow paced narratives then I'd say prioritize Love & Honor, if nothing else. The films are independent of each other so you won't be missing anything if you choose to watch one and not the other.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No
Happily Ever After
5 of 5 people found this review helpful
See all user reviews
Apr 9, 2013
  • Overall 9.0
  • Story 9.0
  • Acting/Cast 10
  • Music 6.0
  • Rewatch Value 10
Happily Ever After is a love story like only the Japanese can make. Calm, contemplative and quirky on the surface, thought-provoking and nuanced in its subtext. It's a story underpinned with optimisism & hope even whilst its packaging is tinged with darkness.

I loved this movie for it's many layers. Abe Hiroshi and Nakatani Miki in the lead roles offered up some stellar acting. Their performances did not disappoint at all.

For read more about two hours we're transported into the dreary, uneventful lives of Isao and Yukie, two lost souls, co-dependent, broken ... both trying to claw their way towards a better future but not knowing how. Their relationship is not the healthiest you'll ever see, but somehow they make it work, together, in all its dysfunction. There's a lot of love there, even when you're just about convinced there isn't.

I loved the strong sense of loyalty and acceptance of each other that existed between Isao and Yukie. These characters dared to show each other who they were: the rawness, the imperfections without fear of rejection or judgement. At the same time, they epitomized the saying 'can't live with you, can't live without you' so well it's beautiful.

Another thing that pulled me into this story even further was it's rich commentary on life and our need as human beings to feel a sense of purpose, acceptance and belonging. The movie argues that these are important requirements to living a contended life, happily ever after, and I tend to agree.

With all round wonderful performances and a beautiful story of new beginnings there's no way I could score this less than a 9.Moreover, Japanese happy endings are the best! They're always sweet, poignant and whimsical, just the way I like it.

NOTE: If you choose to watch this film, and I hope you do, please keep in mind that there's one final sequence AFTER the credits roll. It's one of the best scenes in the movie so you won't want to miss it! :-)
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No
Changing Partners
7 of 8 people found this review helpful
See all 2 user reviews
Sep 10, 2013
  • Overall 7.0
  • Story 7.0
  • Acting/Cast 8.0
  • Music 6.0
  • Rewatch Value 6.0
The movie had very a Allenesque quality about it (that is, similar in style to films made by Woody Allen), and since I like most Allen films Changing Partners worked really well for me. There were the crisp, clean visuals; the nicely groomed protagonists set to play against the backdrop of an upscale, sophisticated Seoul; marital discord and a darkly comedic commentary on the gamble of love. Somehow, while this story has read more been heavily explored in other films, Changing Partners offers a more palatable treatise, one that surprises you with its subtle depth.

The cast was great. In particular Lee Dong-gun in the role of the emotionally detached workaholic. Veteran actress Uhm Jung-hwa doesn’t always convince me with her efforts and this time around she almost did, but not quite. At least there were no hammy, over the top performances, from any of the cast members, to grate on the nerves. The bond that developed between the second couple stirred my emotions.

Overall a movie well worth the watch if you like sophisticated, mature dramas that make an attempt to demystify the complexity of romantic relationships.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No
My Little Bride
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
See all 18 user reviews
Oct 30, 2012
  • Overall 9.0
  • Story 9.0
  • Acting/Cast 9.0
  • Music 7.0
  • Rewatch Value 9.0
Wow, I never expected to like this movie as much as I do. What an awesome, heartwarming little film! At first I had reservations about watching it because let's face it I'm a little too grown to be watching high school movies. Moreover, I felt like I had seen a similar story in the movie Innocent Steps, which I had recently watched, and didn't want to revisit the same plot, enjoyable though read more it was.

As it turned out, this wasn't your average high school movie at all.
At its core this film is about love, loyalty and growing up. Watching it through a Westerner's eyes a lot of things took me aback (for eg, if I was Boeun's mother I'd never marry her off so soon no matter the circumstances), but upon further reflection I thought what a beautiful selfless act of love for one's family. And ... it was funny to boot!

The lead actress did an amazing job. She was just as sweet and innocent as she was in Innocent Steps, but with a little more feistiness to her character. I totally loved that about her. Her and Sangmin's bickering was so hilarious to watch. They made an awesome couple and I didn't get that creepy cradle robber feeling about their relationship as I got from watching Innocent Steps, a movie which featured the same actress playing a character who is also considerably younger than her male counterpart. (NB: In spite of this Innocent Steps was a great little movie too and this comparison should not deter you from seeing it).

In My Little Bride Sangmin and Boeun had great chemistry. I know I'm always complaining about the lack of believable physicality between characters who are supposed to be intimate with each other (for eg husband and wife) in a lot of South Korean movies, but I have to say I didn't miss it here. Setting aside the age difference, in some cases a film just works without it and this was one of them. Sangmin, Boeun's husband, was adorable in his dedication to her. I trusted that he'd never do anything she wasn't ready for and that the strong bond they'd forged during childhood would hold them together for years to come.

This is getting a high overall score from me not just because of it's re-watchability or even the great performances, but because of its beautiful portrayal of family and taking care of each other. If it's one thing I absolutely love about South Korean films, and the South Korean culture as a whole, it's this.

Highly, highly recommended!
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No
Seducing Mr. Perfect
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
See all 16 user reviews
Oct 21, 2012
  • Overall 6.0
  • Story 6.0
  • Acting/Cast 6.0
  • Music 6.0
  • Rewatch Value 6.0
I've seen this romantic comedy many times before in western cinema -- the young, handsome, arrogant CEO bosses the sweet office worker around until eventually they fall in love. Meh. This story has been done so many times all the life has been sucked out of it, but it was nice to see it played out in a new, exotic setting (I loved the look of Seoul in the background).

This was read more pure mindless entertainment with little of the substance I've come to associate with Korean films ... which is probably why I enjoyed it. After film after film with deep, heavy themes, gut-wrenching emotion, angst, heartbreak and or eminent death, I was just happy to watch something light and uplifting.

The acting was a bit cringe-worthy, especially, sorry to say, Daniel Henney's. Everyone's performance just seemed a bit forced. Maybe because of the dual use of language, English/Korean, throughout the movie? I don't know. It was definitely a bit weird for me listening to the actors speak two different languages to each other, but I get why it was done. Many times we understand a lot more of a language than we can speak it so it was a clever way for Korean audiences to get the best of both worlds, I suppose. For me, however, as a native English speaker, the speaking of Korean and English at the same time was quite jarring. But really, who cares about acting and language when you have a gorgeous man like Daniel Henney dominating your TV screen for a couple hours? I was just content to stare at him for the duration of the movie. lol

All in all, this was light and fun with a happy ending. It will not leave you with any big impressions (maybe a blessing if you watch a lot of heavy drama). You'll probably forget it a few days after you've seen it, but if you want a break from the usual gloomy fare of Korean/Asian cinema, this is it. I'd re-watch this movie if I need a Daniel Henney fix.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No
Sweet Sex and Love
8 of 10 people found this review helpful
See all 3 user reviews
May 2, 2013
  • Overall 8.0
  • Story 8.0
  • Acting/Cast 7.0
  • Music 5.0
  • Rewatch Value 7.0
Sweet Sex and Love is a far deeper movie than what meets the eye. At first you might be tempted to dismiss it as pure decadence, but allow yourself time to absorb the underlying themes and you'll be surprised to realize there actually is something of substance there. Something that tells you this isn't just a movie about two people who's got the horny. It has a message which is so subtly read more and understatedly delivered, you just might miss the message if you don't pay close attention or if you allow your own preconceived notions (that this is just softcore porn) to bias your viewing.

This is a movie about opposites attracting. Both parties jump into the relationship with gusto and are more than happy with their arrangement initially. As time goes by, though, the true natures and motives of the characters are revealed, and they begin to realize they might have bitten off more than they bargained for in starting this relationship.

Sweet Sex and Love is truly a well executed case study of how disastrous a relationship between a man and a woman can be when there's no communication of expectation on either side. When one, Sweet Sex ... or Love, is given full reign to dominate, to the neglect of the other.

I really enjoyed how the plot unfolded in this story. It's one of the better 'opposites attract' movies that I've seen in a long time. The script, the direction and the editing are all cleverly done. For once the pacing isn't slow and as grating as fingernails on chalkboard. The director deftly controls what you see, feel and experience until just the right moments. Nothing is revealed prematurely. No dialogue or sequence squandered. The narratives is very nuanced, leaving the audience to decipher much of the characters' actions and behaviour. At the same time you're taken on a journey where you're inundated with one truth for almost the entire film, until just like the characters you get the rug pulled out from under you. HARD. (No pun intended)

Certain themes that you never thought to associate with this type of film begin to surface with stark clarity and force; valuable lessons, on sweet sex ... and love, emerge. Sweet Sex represents one character & love the other, can they really coexist beyond the initial intoxicating stage of a new relationship? Everything falls into place. The title begins to make sense, the explicit internal dialogues, what you may have dismissed previously as a repetitive sex manual ... all begin to take on a whole new meaning.

Very nicely done indeed.

Certainly a good movie for audiences who enjoy a more mature exploration of the complex relationship between men and women. If there's any kind of sexy movie I love, this would be it.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No
The Relation of Face, Mind and Love
7 of 9 people found this review helpful
See all 4 user reviews
Nov 20, 2012
  • Overall 3.0
  • Story 1.0
  • Acting/Cast 6.0
  • Music 4.0
  • Rewatch Value 3.0
This movie left neither a lasting nor positive impression on me.

Basically what I disliked the most was its message that a woman's worth is determined only by her beauty.

The story, about a selfish, cocksure playboy architect who falls for an "ugly" woman due to a temporary vision impairment, was pointless and shallow. The hero was a jerk for most of the movie. He did little to endear himself to me, read more and the supposedly "ugly" heroine was anything but. I think if you're gonna make a movie about a playboy falling for an "ugly" woman don't cast a woman who looks like a supermodel, put fake buck teeth in her mouth and pass her off as ugly. That's just weird, disingenuous. Cast someone plain then at least the movie might have acquired a little authenticity, if nothing else.

I was surprised to learn that Kang Ji Hwan who I recently saw and liked in LIE TO ME was the male lead in this movie. His acting was okay, but I didn't like him in this role. There was no growth to his character. He started out being a shallow bastard who takes advantage of women and pretty much remained that way 'til the end.

I've heard a rumour that South Koreans are unusually fixated on looks. If there's any truth to that I guess this film isn't so far fetched. Nevertheless, I couldn't get over the blatant objectification of its female cast members.

I try not to judge East Asian culture through the prism of western ideals, and for the most part I don't mind that they adhere to traditional gender roles, but it's hard to suspend belief or maintain a laissez-faire attitude when certain liberties are taken. I worry about what lessons impressionable South Korean girls (and boys) will draw from this film.

I wouldn't recommend it. Watch My Little Bride instead. It's a lot sweeter, funnier and the hero is a decent guy who appreciates the heroine in all her adorable quirkiness.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No
MARS
6 of 8 people found this review helpful
See all 34 user reviews
Jul 26, 2013
  • Overall 8.0
  • Story 8.0
  • Acting/Cast 8.0
  • Music 7.0
  • Rewatch Value 8.0
I've come to expect just a little less from Taiwanese dramas in comparison to Korean & Japanese ones. Granted, haven't seen that many, but prior to MARS those that I have seen lacked a certain emotional oomph that I feel is often better delivered in shows from other parts of the region. In addition, previous Taiwanese shows I've seen had poorer production values - that is to say, poorer picture & sound read more quality, setting, production design, costume design & so on.

Can't say all of the above is true for MARS, though. While it did have a tinge of low budget TV, this is a show with a pretty solid plot & overarching storyline, even if it's a bit heavy-handed in parts. There's quite a bit of angst & melodrama, but luckily it's fairly evened out with lighter moments and a very sweet, passionate romance, so the overall mood of the show remains … less dark. I didn't feel forced to internalize too much of the drama and trauma the characters experienced. While I empathized with their struggles I escaped an onslaught of negative emotions for which I’m grateful.

I enjoyed Qui Lo's story arc a bit more than Ling's. Only because her experiences felt more relatable, like something that could happen to me or someone close to me whilst Ling's family issues were a bit more far removed from my own scope of understanding & experience.

When we first meet Qui Lo, I didn't really care for her. Her demeanour, her way of dress, her body language all screamed GRAY MOUSE. The type of heroine I can watch, probably even like, but who leaves no lasting impression on me whatsoever. Blink and she's gone from your memory like a fleeting dream. Turns out, though, that I misjudged her slightly. Yes, she's your typical Asian heroine, sweet, nurturing, a little submissive, but as the show progressed she also blossomed into a stronger, more confident version of herself. I grew to love her quite a bit. I also loved our hero, Ling (and his mullet), ever the debonair lady's man, but a character with so much depth and layers to his personality.

VERY satisfying to watch how their love for each other healed and transformed these people for the better. The way Ling pulled Qui Lo out of her shell with affection, humour and his natural charm; the way Qui Lo worked on Ling as if he were an onion, peeling away every last layer of false bravado and bullshit until she found the real Ling, the young man with the heart of gold. The young man with so much love to give.

The development of their love story is a testament to why I love the romance genre so much. Done well, the perennial effects of this wild, beautiful emotion is a powerful balm to the soul. The reason for being. These two by themselves exuded only half their true potential. But together, they became a powerful whole. Stronger as a unit and stronger individually. Isn’t that the greatest benefit of the best kind of love?

The actors delivered according to their age. Perhaps not as nuanced, not as grounded as a performance that comes with life experience, but they played well off each other. I can’t complain, the chemistry was off the charts. There was a natural flow between them, no awkwardness, no sense really they were acting. I BELIEVED they were indeed girlfriend/boyfriend & their reactions to their individual circumstances rang true for me.

Best of all, I’ve noticed that the Taiwanese are not as conservative as the Koreans and Japanese! The physical interaction between Qui Lo & Ling is perhaps the best I’ve seen so far in dramaland. There's a natural progression to their (physical) relationship. No cringe-worthy kissing, no wide-eyed, disengaged female participant, no glossing over of the characters’ sexuality! Man, nothing I dislike more than when any and all mention of sex, and oh the horror that the characters (who are adults, by jove!) may want to engage in it, is the most scandalous thing ever! LOL All I want is something natural to the environment and setting created so kudos to the Taiwanese for keeping things real!

In general, I really liked the show, esp the characters and the development of the romance. The music wasn't bad either. I tend to be more aware of the OST when the lyrics are translated as they were here. It elicited all the right emotions, esp when connected to certain scenes.

What I didn't like, and what influenced my 8 rating, is that I felt, plot wise, my level of engagement had a huge yo-yo effect. There were times when I was fully engaged because something - ANYTHING - other than two people talking in a room, happened. Other times - MOST times - the show was bogged down by too much nostalgic exposition. That is to say, characters explaining why things happened in the past over and over again. ‘Show, don’t tell’ is a basic rule of thumb in all forms of creative writing. The over abundance of expository dialogue signaled the pen of an unskilled or inexperienced screenwriter, and only served to bore me more times than not.

Another thing that rubbed me the wrong way was how women tend to be portrayed, but this is an overall complaint against Taiwanese dramas (that I’ve seen) and not solely about MARS. Catty to an extreme and willing to go to blows with other females (usually our heroine) who - by no effort of her own - has won over the affection of the hero they like. Whilst the guys, in a similar situation, deal with it in a cooler, more rational & sensible fashion. I don’t like it.

In Korean and Japanese dramas that I’ve seen the cattiness is less amplified & less mean-spirited, imo. It’s a minor thing, in the grand scheme of things, but one which never fails to niggle at the back of my mind. When all’s said and done, though, I wouldn't watch & enjoy Asian dramas as much as I do if I were a raging feminist so it’s all good!

You’ll enjoy MARS if you like romance dramas that try to be more than just mindless fluff. I am not sure to what extent certain parts of the plot worked for me, but in terms of the romance - if this is a genre you like - it will not disappoint.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No

Details

  • Last Online:

    24 minutes ago
  • Gender:

    Female
  • Location:

    in Seo Jin's arms
  • Birthday:

    December 16
  • User Type:

    Normal
  • Join Date:

    October 18, 2012

Friends view all