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I Hear Your Voice
45 people found this review helpful
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Jun 25, 2015
  • Overall 10
  • Story 10
  • Acting/Cast 10
  • Music 10
  • Rewatch Value 10
In general I have favorites, but I never pick A favorite. Whether it's books, movies, colors, shows, or dramas. Yet as I kept getting farther and farther into I Hear Your Voice I knew it was knocking every dramas I had have watched out. Knock out! Before IHYV even ended I had put it in my number one spot for favorite dramas. And to be honest it's going to take one heck read more of a dramas to out do IHYV. Which amazes me.

Up front I am going to say I have no problem with an older woman having romance with a younger guy. True he's younger, in high school, but that doesn't even become a factor as there's a love triangle. Our leading lady is in fact in love with someone else. There's time jumps. So people calm down. (Plus, I've seen dramas TV and movies with the younger GIRL still being in high school. Heck one was in Junior High.) Oh, and what a love triangle indeed. It's one that shows you why it's used so heavily. Because when done right it's pure emotional torture. And you love every second of it. Especially when you've picked a team, you're still torn as to who the lead should end up with!

The writing and story of IHYV is exceptional. Many things that could have been too much for the drama weren't an issue. With Soo Ha actually being a leading man, the young one, and being able to read minds I was nervous. However, it felt so natural and realistic. True there were a few inconstancies, but it was never a real problem. Mixed in with the love story, the court cases, and so forth it was a well utilized and realized fantasy element. Don't worry about it feeling like a fantasy though, because IHYV is a genre fusion blend. The kind only great writing like this can pull off!

Great writing. I said that a lot in my episode reviews, and I meant it. Every aspect of the story is thought out. Everything ties in, nothing is wasted. Which means there are NO fillers. Amnesia, perfect fit for the story. Only enhanced things. That's how you use it other dramas! Time jumps, flawless. In fact the second to last episode does some fancy and adrenaline inducing time jumps/flashbacks that will leave viewers in awe. The cases and law used IHYV is clearly looked into. Sometimes I thought they had slipped, but after looking it up and waiting for the next episode I was just jumping the gun. (So even though it IS a drama, there is a very solid foundation for it.)

The acting here is impeccable! Especially when accompanied by such solid writing. Every character develops throughout the show. Ones that viewers may have expected to loath become human. The ice queen Prosecutor Seo actually became a favorite of mine. The writers even make one of the most chilling villains into a human. Understanding his motives after being scared, and hating him, for so long is well done. All of the actors have earned my respect here. The emotions I felt where so intense.

Jang Hye Sung is one of the most well developed female characters that I've had the pleasure of watching in a drama. Sure at times it bothered me how she wouldn't learn her lessons. That it would take many repeated times before she would see the light! I got frustrated many a time. However, she was real. I could relate and when she did develop it was amazing to watch. As she realized that she should chose to make herself how she wanted. That life is too precious to be hung up on dark emotions and regret.

Both male leads are amazing. Soo Ha and Cha have both earned top places in my heart. Both are fantastic people. And like with all the characters watching them develop is a treat. Even more so since they both have amazing chemistry with Hye Sung. What a lucky girl!

The music is fantastic! Probably one of my all time favorite OST! It's so different and unique and I love that they went there for it. Because it fits IHYV perfectly. It was so much a part of the show that without it a lot of the moments and feelings may have been lost.

Forget what you've heard about I Hear Your Voice. Forget that synopsis!! Everyone should try this out. There's a reason why there was so much buzz around it. Go in with positive thoughts. It's a wonderful genre fusion. Don't worry about people calling it a fantasy. The mind reading aspect of Soo Ha is very realistic and so well done that it never hinders the story. (If you don't like fantasy.) The courtroom triumphs and struggles are amazing. Not only does it show the negative side of the law, but the positive. How laws that save a murderer can also be turned around and used to save the innocent. The acting here is a amazing! Not to mention how well the characters are realized and developed. Some might start out as stereotypes, but they quickly develop into actual people!! I Hear Your Voice will probably be cemented as a fan favorite . . . forever. I know it will always be one of mine. The message(s) is beautiful. The emotions are intense. But this is a dramas that despite the darkness, you will always feel warm and fuzzy. Best of all the ending is perfection. And yeah, I ended it feeling warm and fuzzy. Here's hoping this great team behind I Hear Your Voice will make more amazing shows.

Thank you. I know my review can't do this show justice.
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Age of Youth
5 people found this review helpful
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Feb 6, 2017
  • Overall 10
  • Story 9.0
  • Acting/Cast 10
  • Music 9.0
  • Rewatch Value 10
Age of Youth is yet another fabulous drama that proves that 2016 was an amazing year for dramas. Also, it's another drama that proves that K-dramas are starting to progress in new directions. Directions I want to keep going. The common mistake going into Age of Youth is that this is a carefree comedy, and a story we've seen before to make viewers laugh at the hijinks of youth.

Instead what we read more get is pretty serious, one of the closet slice of life dramas I've seen. Oh, don't get me wrong they're are plenty of laughs! Warm hearted moments and hijinks of youth indeed. All balanced out by the realities of life. This is a story of 5 girls ranging in ages in their twenties—though more early—and they're struggles to deal with life. For me I found something in each girl to sympathize with. They're all different, but I understood and could relate. The drama starts out with showing Eun Jae first coming to college and the hard ship of something new. The fear and soon realizing that the other girls have struggles. Sometimes one episode focuses more on one character, but each girl has a story to tell with where they are in life.

I will admit that I liked it starting off as a simple slice of life drama following the every day ordinary girls on their journeys. Of course we had to have something more drama worthy and the girls ended up all having be secrets that need to be revealed. Each girls past and secret had very strong and important messages. Sometimes subtle others a bit heavy handed. Addressing ones' self worth and what you need to do to live for yourself. A bigger overlay is that one girl claims to be able to see ghosts and this sets off how the other girls secrets slowly begin to come to light. The question of whether this girl can actually see ghosts is fun to ponder about.

One thing that bothered me is that the more outgoing and in your face girl could never find a man. I really wonder if this is such a problem for this type of personality in Korea? Here I know they're usually the ones to get dates first. At least in my neck of the woods. That aside I think the writer did a great job of taking the “usual” suspects for female characters and making them real. Totally relatable.

More realistic is that these girls do start out as strangers. They don't always like each other, but in the end become friends. Even realizing that they've lived together for sometime and really don't always know each other. The friendships that grew are amazing, and I love the womance between many of the characters. I also loved the older woman who owned the apartment they were renting. I love how she looked out for them and silently supported them from the sidelines. She didn't judge.

However, I think that the most important message is that no one is normal. We're all weird and the events of our lives are what make us who we are. Age of Youth delivers an ending that gives us closure, but I do feel like it leaves their lives moving forward. Forward enough for a season 2 please! With it only running 12 episodes I do feel like a few things got cut out or rushed a tad to fit it in. I'm sure they didn't know if the show would catch on. I still applaud the writers for not wasting a moment and creating a well paced work. The music, cinematography, and writing was all brilliant. Most importantly that each girl was wonderful in their own way, even if certain traits my have grated on nerves. That's what made them more real and relatable. In the future I know I'll be revisiting my girlfriends again from Age of Youth.
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20 people found this review helpful
See all 179 user reviews
Feb 28, 2016
  • Overall 10
  • Story 10
  • Acting/Cast 10
  • Music 10
  • Rewatch Value 10
Healer was one heck of a drama! Who knew it would happen so fast! I found another great drama, greater or on par to I Hear Your Voice. For the sake of my sanity, I'm just going to say I now have two favorite dramas. I Hear Your Voice and now Healer! Safe to say Healer was a, "Knock out!"

Fair warning you need to pay attention to the first two episodes! read more The story moves so fast you need to keep an eye out for names. There's two storylines going on. The present, and the past. Which are interwoven throughout the drama.The first two episodes do this cool overlay affect so that the younger versions of the older present day characters can be recognized. It's just a bit rough at first but the rest is masterfully done. Healer moves at an incredible pace and never leaves any room for slow episodes. No fillers here!

I found out that Healer was written by the same person who wrote Faith! Song Ji-Na is her name, and the lists of dramas is long. I've only watched Faith, so I don't know what her past writing is like. However, this is definitely cleaner and even better than Faith. (Judging from the ratings on MDL Healer is one of her top rated shows.)

The best part is that Healer is huge on characters and their developments. It balanced the present day characters so well. Seeing everyone's backstories revealed each time was awesome. Everything isn't revealed at once. Letting you truly get to know the characters and personalities. The slow reveal of the past was perfect and the flashbacks never bogged down the storyline. I wanted to know what happened in the past, and for the first time I was actually bummed when the snippet of the past was over. It was all written in such away to give Healer an excellent mystery. Not to mention that side characters--whether villains, comedic reliefs, henchman, and good guys--weren't just left to being stereotypes. Sometimes they only got small backstories or character development, but it always worked. Some key characters I loved were Min Ja an amazing, Kpop fan who happened to be Healer's hacker and boss. Oh, and the "Lackey" girl who helps Healer out. Yeong Shin's father and "Uncle". There are so many more, but this is already getting long.

The plot was great. Everyone had a role to play. Moon Shik was an excellent villain. He wasn't fully black and white. He was delusional about the things he did, and would do. The whole cast of villains are that way. It was refreshing to see how everyone could be a puppet if they let it happen. To see the mystery play out and see this elaborate game being played between the Elder and Healer. Bravo. I'm being very vague, but I think that's important going into this show. Just know that it's an action, comedy, thriller, romance, and mystery! (Plenty of mysteries.)

Healer was great. At times he made questionable decisions, but that happens in dramas. The important part was I could see why he did it. Ji Chang Wook as Jung Hoo, AKA Healer, was perfection. He donned the role so well. From playing the professional Healer, to himself as Jung Hoo, quirky Bong Soo, and whom ever he needed to be. The Night Courierr concept was so much fun! I loved that he decided he needed to discover himself when he "woke up". He wasn't just some brooding male love interest. In fact, he made me smile a lot. He was polite and thoughtful. Treated his leading lady right.

Speaking of Yeong Shin the leading lady! I actually got a lot of warnings about needing to give her about 2 episodes before I'd like her. Not in my case. I loved Yeong Shin immediately! She was a fun, confident, and perky character. Sure she gets to be a damsel, but that happens with dramas. What I could believe was the situations. Yeong Shin is a fighter and she's strong. It could have been annoying that violence makes her have panic attacks, leaving her unable to breath. But with her background it fit perfectly. Even with the lightness of the show Yeong Shin's past in the foster care system was tragic and heart wrenching. I enjoyed seeing how all of these things made her into such an amazing person. If something stresses/scares her she thinks about it and dances it off. I mean she goes out and gets it done! Whether it's a news big story that the "Man" will try to punish her for. Or going out and getting her man. I mean she says this to the man she loves:

"If you send me away . . . you'll cry forever."

Jung Hoo and Yeong Shin have the best chemistry ever! Not only that but they're believable. The whole romance. What I love is there unwavering faith in each other once they get to know each other. Jung Hoo wants Yeong Shin to ask questions, to know him. Most importantly they don't let things go unsaid. Jung Hoo and Yeong Shin are one of my all time favorite couples. Not to mention that they get real, sexy kisses. Oh, and some skinship. (Which I will not spoil. Just know that it is there.) These two had the most amazing morning after and I rewatched it so many times. These two are so comfortable with each other, everything feels natural. There's this scene where Jung Hoo talks about what will happen when he reveals himself to Yeong Shin. He knows how she will react, and never doubts that she will accept him. It was amazing, and they both know each other so well that they can do that. But they're still getting to know each other. Watching them originally fall in love is beautiful. Watching them learn more about each other and fall in love just ruined me.

On to other things now.

Was the music good? Heck yeah! I bought the soundtrack at episode 8. Without even listening to the album previews!! Or finishing the drama.

I didn't really address it but everyone's acting was on point. One of the villains, the butler who smirks, was a little anime at times. Smirking and cover his slyness with a hand! Between this amazing script and the talent of the cast everything packed a punch.

Healer should be a dark story, but the writing creates this perfect balance. Dramatic dirty politics and secret organizations! The shocking murder of a friend, suicide, lost children, and plenty of lies! A moving romance! Plenty of laughs and great humor. There's so much going on and it amazes me how well it's all balanced. Don't be nervous about this being dark. I spent most of my time riding adrenaline rushes from the amazing action scenes, romance, and humorous moments to ever feel bogged down. Don't get me wrong Healer will also wrench your heart and put you through the ringer. When this drama is over you'll be going "Again! Again!" (No really I flirted with the idea of starting it up right after the last episode.)
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Missing 9
16 people found this review helpful
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13 days ago
  • Overall 2.0
  • Story 2.0
  • Acting/Cast 8.0
  • Music 3.0
  • Rewatch Value 1.0
The reality is that Missing 9 was amazing for me, well the first 9 episodes. It's crazy episode 10 was such a huge turning point that it killed the drama from there on. I could see in episode 8 and 9 that things were mellowing out to be predictable, but I could have never guessed that the story would become a mockery of the first 9 episodes. The reality is I built read more this drama up in my mind—expectations—and the first 9 episodes were so great for me that I had the utmost confidence that it could win out and pull off a fabulous drama.

I have now discovered that when a romantic drama that seems typical becomes stagnant and a trope it sucks. However, when a drama that is unique and has so much promise does it's like a knife to the gut. I became so ticked off with the last 7 episodes that there is no redemption for this drama. Maybe it's my fault for reading so much into the drama and expecting awesomeness. Everything I thought meant something was stupid. Such as the color scheme of beige switching to vibrant colors, it's never fully addressed though there is a turning point in the drama. I actually wonder if the writer had somewhere to go, but someone on the side was like no make this an average and underwhelming murder mystery.

That's right. It all boiled down to a murder mystery that happened years before this plane crash. Which is perfectly fine. Except that the drama treated it's viewers like we were dumb and couldn't figure it out right away. So the last 5 episodes are all “What really happened?” and I had guessed it around episode 5 if not sooner. Sighs. So let me tell you it was boring.

Not to mention that the killer apparently “accidentally” did it, but it was someone else who pushed him over the edge. Somehow meaning that the 4 murders he committed on the island where, okay? No really. He gets a happy ending painting with his friends. DESPITE THE FACT THAT HE MALICIOUSLY KILLED PEOPLE. Murdering his own friend and continued to try to kill people until the end.

The true awesomeness of Missing 9 is in the first 9 episodes. (Holy drama! Did this drama curse itself?) Was the dual storytelling of the timeline of the plane crash, the past of the idols, and the present in which the one survivor is trying to piece her memory together. Somehow Missing 9 found this perfect balance of psychological thriller and horror, with humor. I loved it. Characters who were clearly annoying stereotypes became well developed on the island. I truly believe that if the writing hadn't given up on itself that the idea of solving the old murder from before would have been enough to deliver this drama. Yet the last 7 episodes tossed all of the character development and commonsense out the window. Then continued to shoot it up as it sped by in the getaway car to abandon the storyline that the writer clearly didn't know how to wrap up.

Normally I do a rating scale of my average rating per episode which is actually 5/10 for Missing 9. The first 9 episodes are at 8/10 rating, and the last 7 episodes 2/10 (to be honest right on the verge of 1/10). So I look at the 5/10 average episode rating and compare to the numbers I put in for MDL's rating scale (which is 3/10) and figure it out from there. (Yes, I put a lot of though into how I rate.) To be quite honest I am so tempted to go back and lower all my episode ratings on the first 9 because I now realize that the show's story goes no where. Yet, I can't because those first 9 were awesome for me and despite the story losing itself it deserves it. (Though I'm still bitter.)

When the writing was good the actors were amazing. YES, even the idols did a magical job. They balanced fear and humor well in the first 9 episodes. It's not their fault their characters became tacky in the last half, they acted what was created. The music was all right, though I can't really remember it right now.

In the end this was another drama that I had high hopes for and faith that the writer wouldn't give up on the story in the latter episodes because it didn't know how to end. Part of the problem is I had too much faith and believed in it. That the first half of the show was truly amazing. Yet, the last 7 episodes were so utterly painful that it killed Missing 9. I will never rewatch this drama again, and I will think back on it with absolute and utter dejection. In a move I normally don't make I am rating this completely on feeling. If I went by my normal system I'd pick between 3/10 to 5/10. (Which is why I wrote that huge paragraph on my rating system above so you could get an idea.) However, the last part of this drama ruined everything. It made characters that started out annoying and grew into pretty awesome characters, annoying again. I couldn't stand characters that I loved from the beginning. Not to mention that the female lead was so awesome and then just turned into a damsel at the end. *Sighs* Everything hinged on a clearly obvious plot line. In then end this drama transformed into a painful drama memory that I wish I could forget.
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Vampire Prosecutor
13 people found this review helpful
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Jul 27, 2013
  • Overall 8.0
  • Story 8.0
  • Acting/Cast 10
  • Music 9.0
  • Rewatch Value 10
With a mix of an excellent prosecution drama, humor, character development, and vampires VP was a blast. Despite my reservations.

There are some fatal flaws. Especially with the mythology. Meaning there really is no hardcore mythology behind it. In fact, I'm not even sure if the vampires know anything. It's very muddled. There are so many unanswered questions as to why Min has his powers. Are they vampire standard or unique to read more each one, and so on. Despite all that there's a reason it is the most talked about 2012 K-drama.

Every actor did a wonderful job and I was completely caught up in their performances. Lee Won Jong is always a pleasure to watch and I love the way he portrays Detective Hwang.

For me the selling point of VP is not that there are vampires here. (And yes I'm a huge vampire nut!) This is an excellent prosecutor show and I loved the episode cases and the overall arc mystery of the show. Well done.
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The Thieves
13 people found this review helpful
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Nov 30, 2013
  • Overall 9.0
  • Story 10
  • Acting/Cast 9.0
  • Music 8.0
  • Rewatch Value 10
There's been a lot of comparing this to Oceans Eleven, which is actually a show I never liked and couldn't get through. However, I had to watch it after a friend stated it was more like the Korean version of The Italian Job. Which made me think of witty humor, clever heists, and cool characters.

This was an excellent crime thriller! Probably one of the better titles I've seen in a while. read more In fact, I'm going to be bold enough to say that this is what I've been waiting for to come out of Hollywood. Sure it was a bit of a slow begining, but it ended up being a really smart and slick korean version of The Italian Job--completely stands on its own. Really enjoyable and I got into it and loved all the sub plots.

All the actors are enjoyable to watch and it was hard realizing that The Thieves wasn't afraid to kill them off. This is an adrenaline rush of revenge, redemption, laughs, and cool thieving. Truly-totally-awesome fun movie!

If you're any type of foreign film fan, you've got to try this! There's some romantic elements, but for the most part it's all about the mystery, dazzle, and--poof--the heist. There are many layers to The Thieves and you're going to want to pay attention. Because when you think it's all over, it's not.
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12 people found this review helpful
See all 54 user reviews
Sep 13, 2013
  • Overall 10
  • Story 10
  • Acting/Cast 10
  • Music 9.0
  • Rewatch Value 10
Chilling Romance (AKA Spellbound, which is the name I found it under) easily tops my "Korean Movies You Have to Watch!" list. No really!. It blends horror elements, comedy, romance, and a decent plot to make a unique story. Reading the synopsis made me roll my eyes, but the movie cover can't be be ignored. It shows off exactly what Chilling Romance has to offer!!

Now a street magician tracking down a read more woman who gives off the "presence of a ghost" didn't thrill me at first. Yet, watching Lee Min Ki in just those first few moments had me hooked. This was my first time viewing anything featuring him and I loved him in the roll of the main lead, Ma Jo Goo. Thankfully the writers didn't make a standard rich brat as the male lead--though he is indeed rich and a wee bit of a brat--and Min Ki's acting is great enough to make the character even more dynamic. Of course I'm not forgetting about the other cast members. Min Ki and Ye Jin have wonderful chemistry. The romance was hilarous and quite a few times I was laughing too hard I couldn't breath! What I love the most is that Yoo Ri and Jo Goo have a pretty decent relationship and the kisses aren't awkward! Thank you for real kissing.

The remaining cast really makes this movie even more. What I love is that everyone just accepts that Yoo Ri is being haunted. Yoo Ri's girlfriends are my favorite supporting characters. The advice they give to Yoo Ri is priceless! They both think they know so much, but . . . well of course they don't!

The story kept me entertained and I never felt the annoyance about being able to predict the plot. The reason behind Yoo Ri's haunting is really interesting and as a bit of the mystery is revealed I was captivated. It was nice jumping out of my seat from being spooked, while laughing at the antics. The perfect genre blend that any K-drama viewer will love.
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Love O2O
10 people found this review helpful
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Sep 18, 2016
  • Overall 8.0
  • Story 8.0
  • Acting/Cast 8.0
  • Music 7.0
  • Rewatch Value 7.0
The gimmick of Love O2O is that the romance follows the male lead falling in love with the female lead at first sight. The twist is that he fell in love watching her play an online game. They're both gamers and he pursues her in the game! Strangely enough it never felt like a gimmick and Love O2O was so refreshing in the aspect that despite part of the story happening in read more the fantasy game it was very down to earth. One of the most realistic dramas that I have had the pleasure to watch. The drama lived on the merits of it's great storytelling and characters. Making it an easy viewing experience. One that I spent most of the time with a happy smile on my face. Not to mention that cliffhangers really aren't a term I would use for the end of each episode. Instead viewers are compelled to watch for love the drama without being strung along.

Love O2O gave me a break from the tiring tropes of K-dramaland. Wei Wei and Xiao Nai seem like stereotypical leads for dramaland. Xiao Nai is the perfect and aloof male lead who seems so cold. Wei Wei . . . actually I haven't run into her character that much. She's the school's second beauty, only because of some shady stuff did she lose first, and she is used to getting confessed to a lot. Just like the male lead. She's smart and confidant. Able to handle and make her own decisions. While it seems silly that Xiao Nai falls in love with her and asks her to marry him in the game, they quickly discover each others personalities. Leading to an unshakeable trust between the two and being able to know each other so well that others' schemes can't shake their relationship. They talk immediately about issues and don't hide anything.

Xiao Nai is up front that he knew who she truly was and that he persude her. Instead of hiding it and having some stupid misunderstanding. In fact, between the leads the “misunderstandings” that usual drive me nuts in most dramas aren't present. Because they COMMUNICATE!

The leads aren't the only ones well developed. The side cast is so well done. Xiao Nai's bros are so awesome and the way they interacted left no doubt of their friendship in my mind. In fact, I was almost moved to tears at one point. What was even better was Wei Wei's friendship with her dorm mates, especially her best friend Er Xi. Now female friendships in K-dramas are something that either get benched or don't exist. Normally it's the female lead against all the other evil female characters. That's one thing I've found I like about Chinese dramas, and especially about Love O2O. Each female friend stood out. While Er Xi may be the overly cute and excitable type, I had no doubt of the friendship between her and Wei Wei. Even their fight and eventual makeup felt authentic. Watching them together was just as enjoyable as watching Xiao Nai and Wei Wei fall in love.

The parents of both characters weren't present all that much, but when they were there I bought it and loved that they had personalities. Many scenes of them meeting the parents and their reactions to their children where wonderful. I enjoyed that the villains and love rivals that where present didn't always stay conniving people. In fact, the “villains” grew and felt remorse. Reflecting on their life and actions.

That said I was slightly disappointed about Hao Mei (one of Xiao Nai's bros, AKA Mr. Beauty) and KO. Their relationship fascinated me from the get go. It was basically bromance at first sight, and I was convinced something more for KO as he hacked Hao Mei's computer. Then began to stalk and insert himself into Hao Mei's life. Before the time jump KO “back doors” (don't get dirty on me) his way into living with Hao Mei. Then they're never mentioned in the time jump what happened between the two. Er Xi and her love interest are at least given a bit of time, I felt cheated out of a very interesting story. In truth I probably never could have gotten enough of Hao Mei and KO. At least I'll always have the lovely image of KO in that suit.

I feel odd saying this but I actually found that the actor doing the aloof and cold Xiao Nai brought so much warmth to his character. I feel odd because I thought Wei Wei ended up feeling colder. It could be a big part of the director wanting to emphasize that Wei Wei changed Xiao Nai into a warm blooded male and that she was shy. However, Xiao Nai—actor Yang Yang—blew my mind with his intense kissing techniques. While Wei Wei was pretty much cold through out. I think the blurred affects were done to make Wei Wei seem passionate in the later kissing scenes. However, I never thought Wei Wei's actress did that great a job. She swooned well and did the embarrassed face stuff well. But it was often the same facial expressions over and over to convey things. Every once in a while I felt like she really fell into the role, but it never lasted long.

Er Xi's actress did a wonderful job and I loved the energy she brought. The other girls were great, but I felt like the males of Love O2O did the best. They interacted well together. I debated about giving the acting a 7 due to Wei Wei feeling really awkward at times, but I couldn't do it to everyone else.

Yang Yang gets a 10 for his skills in bringing Xiao Nai to life. Oh, my gosh. Some of his facial expressions slayed me. Especially when Wei Wei bit him . . . then the scene helping her dress for a wedding . . . and so many other bits!

The visuals for when the characters are the game characters were brilliant! They felt like a game and looked stunning. From the scenery to the wardrobes. There was an awkward instant where they used CGI to create a mall scene, but I bet they did it to lower costs on shutting the place down for the scene. Other than that Love O2O is a beautifully shot drama.

The music was fun and I liked how some of the sounds simulated old video game noises. While I'm not the biggest gamer I do know somethings. The music fit the drama well and had a fun light style to it. Nothing to brag about though.

This was fun and unique enough that in a couple of years I'm sure I will want to experience it all over again! Whimsical and lighthearted dramas are so hard to come by. How could I say know to smiling for 30 episodes?

Overall I think Love O2O is the perfect thing to chase away the K-drama blues. Or at least wash the stereotypes and drama tropes out of your mind. Also, a great place to introduce yourself to Chinese dramas. This isn't my first C-drama, but I've had great luck so far and Love O2O is only building my love more for them. There pacing is great and there's no dragging. Only a few slightly slower plot points such as the business world of gaming and competition against other business. (AKA a little corporate espionage drama.) Not enough to ruin it though. The cast of character are wonderful and it's not just about the romance of Wei Wie and Xiao Nai. Both the friendships of the girls and bros are wonderful and I loved that just as much as the official romance. Love O2O was a satisfying viewing experience and wrapped up nicely. It's a fun and unique time all around, and despite it all remained a very realistic drama.
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To The Beautiful You
11 people found this review helpful
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May 27, 2014
  • Overall 7.5
  • Story 7.5
  • Acting/Cast 7.5
  • Music 10
  • Rewatch Value 9.0
“If such thing as a miracle exists, then it’s another name for hard work.” or "A miracle is just another name for hardwork." - Tae Joon / To The Beautiful You (Depending on who translated it.)

For a reincarnation of Hana-Kimi I have to admit I was worried about pacing. The manga was too long winded for me and I actually never bothered reading the final two or three volumes because I read more knew how it would end and I found the whole thing tiring. Ironically when I started To the Beautiful You I didn't even realize that it was Hana-Kimi. Which is a good thing because at 16 episodes it is the longest version of the tale yet! Immediately I was drawn into the story and by the time I realized what I was watching, I didn't care. Nope, I was having fun. And in the end the pacing worked out perfectly. Giving every storyline it's time to develop and not turning valuable viewing time into an endless repeat.

To the Beautiful You is for the most part a feel good rom-com. It's not deep. Again, for the most part. This is easy viewing that simply makes you smile. Mission accomplished! That said the writers truly delivered on Cha Eun Gyeol. The instant I met him, it was love! As the story progressed and he becomes conflicted over his love for Goo Jae Hee, my heart went crazy. And maybe melted in a few poignant moments. Actor Lee Hyun Woo was amazing, and made me a loyal fan. Especially the moment when he decides love concurs all, even the boundaries on what society–and himself–might still find as a forbidden love. These are the kind of romances I live for.

Viewers will either love this or dislike. If you can separate this as a new take on a "classic", you'll do fine. If not, you know you'll be angry because this is not faithful. There's plenty of fan service moments for Shinee fans as Choi Min Ho really separates himself as good eye candy away from the band. If nothing else watch this show for the most epic paint ball fight! Assassin Choi Min Ho anyone? The show is plenty of laughs and I'll probably be visiting it just for good times, and when I need to reexperience the epicness of Goo Jae Hee. (Goo Jae Hee, the other reason this show needs to be watched. Let's be honest.)
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Dear My Friends
10 people found this review helpful
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Jul 4, 2016
  • Overall 9.0
  • Story 9.0
  • Acting/Cast 10
  • Music 10
  • Rewatch Value 7.0
When I heard about a drama that would be coming in 2016 about the twilight youths of some life long friends I was intrigued. Then I found out it was written by No Hee-Kyung. She wrote such dramas as “It's Okay, That's Love”, “The Winter the Wind Blows”, and many more. With that kind of backing I waited patiently. The stellar cast was revealed and I knew this was going to be read more something powerful.

Sometimes the simple truths of life are the most riveting. I won't lie and say there weren't some drama tropes present. There were, but isn't life what these tropes are based off of? There was a story line about episode 4 that turned out to be a horribly bad joke, and that's really my only complaint. Because even that bad joke had you reflecting on life.

The power of this storyline is the view from the point of view of the parents and we also get glimpses of what the kids are thinking. The parents understand what the kids are thinking because they've live it all. They've been there. Many truths are revealed on both sides. Parents are aware their children are too busy living their lives. Children can't understand that their parents won't be there forever. Small, but powerful truths make up this story.

The age differences also kept the story fresh, though the youngest person was 40 for one of the main roles. It's not only refreshing to see this type of story on the drama scene, but to actually have older actors having such well developed roles. It can be tiring seeing older actors as nothing but one dimensional parents, or filler roles. You know where an older person is expected to be, or they have a young person play an advanced age.

The focus of the story stays on the older cast even though the 40 year old, daughter is telling it as she writes her book. It's probably why I felt like her love story could have used a little more development and time. Especially in episode 15 (where I felt the pacing was off). However, that means the other character's story lines are amazing. When we finally learn about everyone’s past and present circumstances I loved it. I don't want to spoil anything, but there's many truths that I loved seeing present in this drama. (Yeah, I'm all about truths.) The writing stays on top of all of those lead character's stories and no one is left out. It was perfect.

The cast was everything I had hoped for and more. Of course they're all seasoned veterans to acting, all to their own varying degrees. So it's no surprise that these ladies and gentleman delivered brilliant performances. The chemistry was fabulous and I could believe that these woman have been friends since preschool age. They've stayed in each others' lives.

The music was fantastic! The styles and variety of sounds all fit somehow and were brilliant. From songs for the characters, to a general feel good vibe that brought a smile to my face every time. It was very unique and I appreciated that. I loved that one song had this big bopper tune to fit the resident “playboy”. I have a niggling suspicion that he may have even sang it.

There are so many layers to this drama. It's definitely not a typical one and I hope this inspires better roles for seniors. For writers to realize that older actors are loved, and a great drama would have those characters having pivotal roles. Oh, I'd rewatch this. Just so I could see the amazing friendships and reality of these characters again. I loved how well the writing balanced the fun, humor, and warm hearted nature of the story/characters with the sad truth of age and life. It was beautiful and I thank writer No Hee-Kyung for taking me on it.
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Il Mare
9 people found this review helpful
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Dec 7, 2013
  • Overall 8.0
  • Story 10
  • Acting/Cast 8.0
  • Music 6.0
  • Rewatch Value 6.0
Il Mare is a title I've been putting off for a really long time. It was one of the many Korean movies that fans of dramas had recommended. Plus, as soon as I found out that The Lake House (an American movie) was a remake of this one it sealed the deal. The problem was despite how much I loved the US version of it, the story is slow. Both movies are read more about 1 hr and 30 odd minutes. However, the way the story is told it goes by slow. This is a first time that I actually prefer the US remake over an original. But not by much.

Il Mare is not a romantic comedy. In fact, I don't think I cracked a smile the whole movie. No parts were humorous--though I'm sure some might laugh at one or two of them. Which is probably what contributes to why the movie feels slow. The movie feels monotone. Monochromatic. Mono . . . well you get it. It's got one speed and feeling throughout the whole thing. (The US version had many flavors and is probably the only reason I like it just a tad more.)

This is a classic romantic film. It's sweet, and the time travel aspect is handled beautifully. Some might find it strange that the time travel is never really figured out, or that the characters don't truly question it. Probably that wonderment and belief is what makes these two such wonderful characters, and why they're love can happen.

In the end I think Il Mare is a one of a kind love story. Time travel romances have always been one of my favorites, and Il Mare's story easily stands on its own. Keep in mind you're going to want to watch this when you have patience. This is for a cold winter, or rainy, night that you're just planning to have a glass of wine and stay warm on the inside and out.
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New Police Story
2 people found this review helpful
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Jan 30, 2017
  • Overall 8.0
  • Story 8.0
  • Acting/Cast 8.0
  • Music 5.0
  • Rewatch Value 8.0
Okay, okay maybe some nostalgia is showing in my rating. However, I don't care. Old school action movies like this are my bread and butter. Especially series. Lethal Weapon, Die Hard, and of course the Police Story franchises! Sure they all of their issues. Especially where female characters are concerned.

At this point I can't remember which Police Story got me into the franchise. (Pretty sure it was number 1 or 2.) read more However, I remember New Police Story with the fondness. Not only for feeding my love of this series and Jackie! But for introducing me to full blown man candy obsession (AKA Asian dream boat) through Tse Necholas as Frank. Wowza!

That aside it also brought the franchise on pare to the level of the current action movies world wide at the time. The graphics were decent enough, but it ruled over the practical effects making it a real treat as stunt doubles and cheap computer effects become more prolific in American stuff. (Practical effects are where it's at if you didn't notice my franchises of choice.)

The story may be over the top, but at least it tried! Don't you miss that? When action movies knew they were clichés, but still always tried for something new and unique!!?

Now I will address the female side characters sins of the action movie that, while I ignored them, need to be addressed. The female lead's love interest was a damsel, it is balanced out by herself sacrificing . . . but she's there to be a hostage. The police girl is cute and fun--yes I enjoyed her. But she's in the role of computer tech nerd . . . that doesn't get to do much. The villainess lead is of course the weak link and there to show us just how evil the main villain is. I was so disappointed by how and where her character ended up.

That said it's a ton of fun! The hero becomes the underdog and has to go up against the world. Of course despite everyone blaming him and breaking his pride, they truly support him. The action is Jackie great and as always I love seeing the bloopers at the end. (When that glass case fell on him prematurely I couldn't believe it. If his costar hadn't caught it things could have gone really bad.) A typical plot, but with fun new hijinks.

The plot has holes. Jackie's character was a bit unsympathetic to how he treated his fiancée. Plus, rich gamer kids? That's something different for villains! I applaud the writers for trying to make the dastardly villain have a backstory and relatability. Attempting to address physical and psychological abuse. It's affects on a person. Not to mention that moving little backstory and character connection.

That said the music didn't do much for me except the song in the credits. Visually it's great for its time. I have and will be rewatching this again.

Overall if you love classic action movies this is a great place to start. Technically you don't have to be familiar with the franchise because this has nothing to do with the first 4 movies. (As technically the 4th one as supposed to be part of the franchise.) Jackie plays a new character from the original. No longer is the Police Story comedic action. This one brought it into the era with grit and angst. I miss original concepts and ideas, but this was still brilliant. Jackie and his costars to great stunt work! The shots are ambitious and I'm impressed by the director. They couldn't bring May or the original concept back, so they took a risk. It paid off big time! Yeah!
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My Sassy Girl
10 people found this review helpful
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Jul 26, 2013
  • Overall 6.0
  • Story 7.0
  • Acting/Cast 7.0
  • Music 8.0
  • Rewatch Value 1.0
There's been plenty of great stuff said about this movie. When K-drama fans recommend movies to newbies My Sassy Girl is at the top of the pile. No really. Every recommendation I was given had Sassy Girl in the top 1-5 positions without fail.

So I'm a little bummed that I'm probably one of the few people who felt underwhelmed and thought the movie was overrated. The sassy girl that the movie read more clearly evolves around was the main sticky point for me. Honestly I didn't like her, she was like a bully and the way she treated the poor sob who found her drunk on a train. That's not to say I didn't get a tons of laughs out of this movie.

The saving point for me is that My Sassy Girl is a great story about getting over loss and heartbreak, and being able to move on. The idea that when things are destined to be that time and fate will pull things together.

Any drama fan should watch this and I don't regret it at all. It's a classic.
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3 people found this review helpful
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Nov 23, 2016
  • Overall 10
  • Story 10
  • Acting/Cast 10
  • Music 8.0
  • Rewatch Value 10
It's been a wonderful year for dramas. Especially Korean. There's been some ambitious shows that have truly broken barriers for the stereotypes of K-dramas and the stories they “usually” tell. K-dramas have been slowly advancing and doing unique concepts and actually (to me) trying more year by year. That's not to say there haven't been the usual stuff that makes me weep as it gains more popularity over better written works. (Examples read more being Doctors and Beautiful Gong Shim—which started out strong and then self destructed—to Cinderella and the Four Knights and Love in the Moonlight, there's more but these where kind of my big disappointments.) Signal quickly gained hype and popularity—normally a warning sign for me. Upon finally caving and watching it—especially after finding out it was inspired by one of my favorite movies Frequency—it quickly became apparent that this show was beyond worthy of all the hype. In fact, it was soooooo good that I feel unworthy.

No really. I savored this thing. I started watching May 19, 2016 and dragged it out until November 10, 2016. Yes, Signal was so good that I did find myself binge watching episodes numerous times, but it was so fabulously wonderful that I would gain control of myself control so that I could savor.

The writing. Oh, my gosh the writing! Never have I given (especially now that I've got my rating scale down) a first episode a 10. Ever. Not even my favorite shows like Healer, Faith, I Hear Your voice, and etcetera. They've always had to work to lead up to that 10 rating. Signal nailed it on the first episode and I still have no words to describe that absolute bliss that accompanied such heights of writing. I don't think I'll ever be able to explain it. Though here is what I titled my episode one review: "One of the best first episodes I've ever seen."

The writer perfectly balanced the small arcs of crime cases to the larger arcs. We're introduced to the concept of these walkie-talkies (aka radios) connecting two cops through time. Using a seemingly inconsequential kidnapping case to pull them together and start them working together. There are some real life events pulled in and given their own twists. Most known is the famous Hwaseong serial murders, which I had heard would be the focus way back when word of the initial concept had dropped. So I was a bit baffled as to where the show would go, and stay strong, without the case. The writer is so confidant and amazing that the arc of the Hwaseong serial murders is epic! Holly cow amazing, but the other cases and the bigger arcs never falter after. In fact, the big arcs—sorry guys I'm trying not to spoil a thing especially if you haven't seen Frequency—are never far away. They're constantly being hinted and developed. So by the time its the forefront and focus of the show I was practically foaming at the mouth.

Even better is that the actions of the characters have consequences. Big ones. Even if they're willing and strong enough to try and change the past, lives are altered in the present and past. People who lived before die, others who died lived. Would that have happened if they hadn't intervened? There are many scary moments when you don't know if things will actually be changed, and moments of hope when you pray that they will be.

The actors did a wonderful job. Hands down some of the best acting I have seen in a drama and the proof of their abilities is in how many dramas these actors have landed since Signal. Performances by the leads and supporting characters never faltered. Their interactions are so real. Even the guest roles to play the victims and criminals did flawless work. If you asked me about any of the characters I'd probably have nothing but praise for them, even if it was the old lady collecting card board and garbage in one scene. All three leads did such an amazing job that I don't have words for them. They're just awesome.

The set designer and wardrobe/makeup people hit it on point. You didn't need the years flashed across the screen to know whether you were in the present day or the past. It was so consistent that I hope Signal wins tons of awards for that alone.

The music is well done and I really love the opening OST for the drama—even if it smacks heavily of another shows OST from America. Hey, it fit Signal perfectly. I thought the OST was well done and fit the show well. A nice balance for a show that spanned two time periods.

Signal's biggest ambition is that addresses the corruption of not just cops, but society. Addressing that those with power and money do get away with things, but if the people stay true and never give up justice can be served. There's many other topic addressed here as well. The blaming of rape victims, the emotions of the criminal and the victim. The consequences of actions and many more ideas.

The emotional impact and cleverness of the Signal still astounds me looking back and I made sure before I even finished it that I owned it for future rewatching. Director Kim Won-Suk truly surprised me, and I look forward to future dramas. Writer Kim Eun-Hee is officially on my stalk list! Future dramas will be a must and I've already started looking into the older ones. Overall I would say that Signal is a drama everyone should see. Especially if you've been starved for something that isn't just another stereotypical K-drama. Even if you are one who only likes the stereotypical drama fodder, try this! Because Signal is not only one of the best dramas I've seen, it's one of the best TV shows I've seen.

My review/words will never be adequate enough to describe or praise Signal. But I had to try.
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Sungkyunkwan Scandal
7 people found this review helpful
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Nov 30, 2014
  • Overall 9.0
  • Story 8.5
  • Acting/Cast 10
  • Music 10
  • Rewatch Value 10
Best. Ending. Ever. No really! It feels like one of those normal rushed-wrap-every-thing-up-in-15-minutes, but if you pay close attention when the jump to the future happens viewers are given all the important details. So watch it carefully, and maybe rewatch it if you missed. It's nice to have such a nice ending. While I do enjoy open endings it's nice to have a "closed" one that lets viewers know what has happened read more to their beloved characters. (The the resolution was a tad . . . too easy.)

Now that I've gone over the ending, I have to say starting Sungkyunkwan Scandal didn't go well for me. I tried starting it twice, and only got about 30 min into it. Then I gave up. Finally a year later after someone told me it was the best gender bender ever, I decided to try again. However, the most important thing was that this time I went in knowing this is a romance. A romantic comedy. The thing was when I had started it up I had only watched serious historicals, so Sungkyunkwan Scandal kind of blindsided me.

After I got two episode 2 on my third attempt at watching, I was finally swept off my feet. Finally! I was ready for the blend of gender bender, comedy, political intrigue, romance, and historical bundled in the best package ever. With a cute little bow on top! So if you have issues just push for episode 2.

Right up front I'm going to have to say it: It's not accurate or realistic!

Gasp, that's right! But we're drama viewers, we know this. It's part of the charm. To be honest SS does a fairly good job reminding viewers that Kim Yoon Hee (called Kim Yoon Shik most of the show) in this time period could be killed for impersonating a man. Yes, there are some unrealistic aspects and some stupid moves by Yoon Hee that could have gotten her dead fast. However, this is a light romantic comedy and it stays that way. But it still shows the oppression of caste systems, sexism, the importance of knowledge and the power of learning, and even tosses in the hope of a brighter society. It puts in so many amazing messages with it's heart warming romance and gender bending hijinks.

There are 3 males for fans to drool over. I loved that not all of the males were in love with Yoon Hee. Better yet, there are bromances! It's so sweet watching friendships budding between the scholars. The romance is crafted enough that the build up is perfect. No one just suddenly falls in love with someone. Characters fall in love with the actions and personalities of their significant other. It's so refreshing. For once despite my love for the "third wheel" in the love triangle, the main love interest was so well crafted (and human!) that I fell in love with right along with Yoon Hee.

What's more is not everyone knows right away that Yoon Hee is a girl. Even better is that the main love interest doesn't know that she's a girl for quite a while. He even starts to accept that he's in love with a boy. Which moved me to no end. That's always been a weakness: love that transcends everything.

Of course there are some issues with Sungkyunkwan Scandal, there always are with dramas. (Which is funny that I saw some complaints about it from viewers.) Yoon Hee is an amazing female lead. While some of her actions contradiction her smarts, she's still amazing and it was so nice coming across her. It helps that that all the other elements are excellent! Even if characters aren't leads they're all so interesting and the multiple plot lines are wonderfully done. Side romances, dirty deeds, and political drama it's a fantastic blend. At no point did any of the episodes turn into fillers. The writers did an excellent job. The soundtrack is well worth the buy. Basically Sungkyunkwan Scandal is the perfect combination. It's no wonder this is such a popular show with fans.

In the end I know I'll be rewatching this again. Solid comfort food.
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