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  • Last Online: Dec 23, 2018
  • Gender: Female
  • Location: Italy
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  • Birthday: November 20
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  • Join Date: April 8, 2011

amrita828

Italy

amrita828

Italy
Completed
Meteor Garden II
15 people found this review helpful
May 8, 2011
31 of 31 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 7.0
Story 7.0
Acting/Cast 7.0
Music 6.0
Rewatch Value 6.0
The only way to enjoy this is by erasing from your memory manga, anime, Japanese or Korean live-actions and simply watch this drama as though it were a completely new story, only with faces you've already seen and names already heard.



The constant comparisons won't help; on the contrary, they'll spoil the fun. All in all, I DID enjoy this second season of Meteor Garden. The acting of all has improved tremendously, and so are photography, direction and characterization.



Meizuo and Ximen's side stories are addressed and completed, something I thought was sadly lacking elsewhere. Shan Cai grows into a truly likable character and the second female lead is, for once, a delicious person, instead of the usual viper-like, scheming character. So refreshing! Honestly, I've had enough of girls portrayed as if they were incapable of true friendhip or generosity and who seem to live only to target the guy of their dreams. In this sense, this second season is way more romantic and realistic than many other adaptations.



It has some dragging parts, mostly when the whole plot is compared in length to the pretty rushed ending, but as a counterpart to this, some details are truly satisfying (I can't elaborate this unless I spoil the end).



Overall, I am convinced this drama is much better than what's usually expected and deserves a try.

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Completed
Cruel City
37 people found this review helpful
May 21, 2015
20 of 20 episodes seen
Completed 5
Overall 9.0
Story 7.5
Acting/Cast 10
Music 10
Rewatch Value 7.0
This is the kind of drama which deserves the highest possible marks in terms of directing, acting and soundtrack. The reason why I'm "only" giving it a 9, is because despite its high level of tension and the splendid typecasting of some characters, it took me an unreasonable amount of time to warm up to it and when I finally did, my brain was already complaining loudly. Admittedly, Jung Kyung Ho and his superb impersonation of a sensual and tormented Doc's Son DID capture my heart and other parts of my body very early on but, clearly, they can't be used to write a review.

I understand where this plot wants to go, and I even appreciated – to some extent - the never-ending shifts of most characters from one side to the other, when not somewhere in between. However, it gets a little surreal in the long run, to the point that the unpredictable becomes predictable: once you know nothing is as it seems, you're prepared to think the opposite of what they want you to think – hence seeing through the smoke curtain. Therefore, if it weren't for the heartthrobbing Paksa Adil and all the scenes he's in bar none, this drama would be a sequel of police actions going askew either because some corrupted high power butts in or because they are as incospicuous as a baobab tree in the desert. Not to mention the nth old, or fat, or old and fat villain sitting on some baroque chair and acting like a lunatic buddha ordering this or that killing. I need to confess: at times I yawned. And why do the powerful and corrupted always meet at Japanese restaurants? Does sashimi embody the "raw" quality of the Korean politics?

Unfortunately, there's no way to explain the faults of this plot without spoiling it. Suffice to know that I stopped watching it for the plot and just went for the way scenes were shot and acted. Now, if it were possible to rate direction and cinematography in particular, it would be a completely different story, since the drama is visually and technically impeccable. Attention to details, colouring and the use of light – or lack thereof - all are spot on and intensely evocative. I found many of the characters extremely interesting, constantly fluctuating between dark and shade – light is completely absent here – and the acting by Kim Yoo Mi and Choi Moo Sung impressed me no end. Kim Yoo Mi in particular gives life to an amazing character, extremely stubborn as a "boss" and wonderfully human as a woman. My liking of her character is all due to her acting, because, let's face it, the poor actress's actions consist mostly on moving from an armchair to a sofa with a glass of whisky in her beautifully manicured hand. It's therefore the subtle changes of her face that tell her story.

As for Jung Kyung Ho's, it'd deserve a review on its own, so mesmerizing it was. His character is the best written one: you can peel off layer after layer and there's still something to find. The actor's take of it, suavely ruthless and gracefully tormented, makes his Doc's Son into one of those unforgettable characters who are going to stay with you for a very long time. Without him, this drama would be nothing more than a morbid, blurred photograph of an improbable criminal world. His onscreen chemistry with Nam Gyu Ri and his "putative family" is palpable and great to watch, but then again, I think this actor would have great chemistry with a tree trunk, if needed.

On the opposite side of the spectrum there's Ji Hyeong Min, the super cop who got so much on my nerves I want to forget him with all my might. He goes from being as likable as an ingrown nail to suddenly grasping the situation to no avail whatsoever. Truth be told, the whole police force – the official one, that is – could have heavily contributed to the comic if this drama had a comic intention, which it doesn't. The level of corruption and the number of undercovers borders on ridicule.

The soundtrack is classy, powerful, always appropriate. In short, marvelous.

I am not going to rewatch this drama any time soon, if ever. Intense but frustrating, it is the kind of experience which leaves me with a bitter taste in my mouth, since the ultimate meaning of it seems to be that justice is a mere word, a utopia for philosophers and dreamers. I have no doubt this is so in real life too, but at least when dealing with the world of fiction, I'd rather be deceived.

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Completed
Piece
17 people found this review helpful
May 6, 2013
13 of 13 episodes seen
Completed 2
Overall 8.0
Story 9.0
Acting/Cast 8.0
Music 10
Rewatch Value 7.0
My feelings towards this drama are definitely mixed. Until a couple of episodes before the final I was ready to throw rational judgment out of the window and give it a 10, so enthralled I was by it.
It had the best potential of all: the ability to create some unforgettable characters. And it truly managed to do so in the beginning, combining a good plot with some seriously beautiful moments, a good dose of weirdness which I'm partial to and great chemistry between the characters.

However, as it sometimes happens with drama crushes, at some point my love deflated. I can't even pinpoint the main reason for this change of heart. It may be the fact that the more I neared the end of it, the more I predicted almost every turn, or because some details became repetitive - and in a drama whose episodes are so short, there's not so much time to lose on the nth flashback. Most likely, I had been waiting for a characters' arc which never truly came, leaving me with that unpleasant feeling you get when, after waiting for hours for an icecream, you finally start eating it and it falls on the floor.

It is, however, a drama fully worth of the time spent on it. As I said, I watched the first 9 episodes with no interruption and a passion I had almost forgotten I possess. While the acting ability of all is not stellar, they certainly compensate with beautiful close-up shots and an amazing collective alchemy among the whole cast.

The music is terrific and perfectly chosen for each scene. I suspect it is partly responsible for my blind love for this drama.

I may rewatch this drama in the future. Not for the plot but for the pleasure of watching these young actors again.

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Completed
Moon Embracing the Sun
25 people found this review helpful
Oct 11, 2014
20 of 20 episodes seen
Completed 7
Overall 10
Story 9.5
Acting/Cast 10
Music 10
Rewatch Value 10
I have shied well away from Korean historical dramas since I started watching Asian shows. I did try out a few in the past and by the end of a couple of episodes at best I was bored to death, mighty frustrated, totally confused or an unpleasant combination of the three.
Why I decided to watch The Moon/Sun is a long story which I'm kindly going to spare you. Suffice to know, 20 minutes in and I was hooked. This review is therefore dedicated to viewers who, like me, have never been fond of the genre.

Captivated by the details of folklore scattered throughout this drama, I decided to read up on their historical dependability. I so found out that the Saeguks of the past were all based upon true facts derived from Joseon annals, while the newer productions often deviate from this norm, by either introducing a few fictional facts on a documented background (fusion Saeguks) or creating a fantasy world in terms of characters, plot, even costumes. The Moon embracing the Sun falls into the latter category, so if what you look for is a lesson on how royalty lived in the Joseon era, you'd better forget this drama. This isn't a perfect Saeguk by far, possibly not a perfect drama either. It is, however, a perfect fairytale and in this light I believe it fully deserves the high marks many of us awarded it and the success it attained in Korea.
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The fairytale elements are all there from the very beginning. Prepare yourself for a journey into magic, undying love, friendship, betrayal, hate, tears, laughter, curses and so on and so forth. A childlike approach to the viewing is needed, lest you want to spend your time wondering at its credibility or lack thereof. And because a work of fiction should never be judged outside its narrative context, it is undeniable this story works, and works well. Now that I have completed it, I fully understand the complains of those who wished for a different epilogue for some of the characters, but personally I was prepared to face losses and would go as far as to say they were a necessity induced by the premises of this story.

I won't spend too many words on the acting. Everybody has sang praises for the teenagers' cast, which I second. Nevertheless, the adult cast was outstanding, Han Ga In included – it was truly hard to surpass the grace, beauty and artless charm of the 13 year old Yeom Woo. Han Ga In didn't steal my heart at first but sneaked into it with steadfast progression. She has one of the most pleasant voices I know. I was literally mesmerized by Kim Soo Hyun, but I won't lie: I have a hard time separating my hormonal reaction to my logical thinking, when it comes to him. Whatever the case, he gave life to a multilayered, unforgettable character.
I'd love to talk in detail about each and every endearing character – see on top the Eunuch and Wun – but I fear this is becoming long enough.

I thought the transition from children to adults was marvellously made, and not surprisingly my very favourite scene is the 8 years jump, both on a visual as well as an emotional and symbolic level.
There have been times when I wished they had made use of more open-space sets, but not only I have not enough experience in period dramas to know whether this is often the case, but following what I wrote before, the enclosed setting works well in creating a sort of fantasy bubble out of time and reality.
Little visual details made my day, and I have no qualms in declaring this drama displays the most beautiful letter ever shown on screen.

A huge part of this drama emotional impact is played by the music. Mainly instrumental and with lovely insertions of traditional instruments such as zithers, harps and lutes, it would be perfectly fit for a grand period movie. Notable mention for the minor key pieces, especially 'Like Petals, Like Flames', 'The Sorrow Song of Love' and the enchanting 'Butterfly Dance'. They all play on the viewer's emotion and are wonderfully suggestive of the scene they soundtrack.

As for re-watch value… I am toying with the idea of starting afresh next week. I suppose this says it all.

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Completed
Stand Up!!
25 people found this review helpful
Apr 9, 2011
11 of 11 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 8.0
Story 8.0
Acting/Cast 9.0
Music 7.0
Rewatch Value 9.0
The aptest adjective to describe this drama, in my opinion, is "surprising".



The plot is a surprise because it never goes in the direction one expected it to. Don't be fooled by an apparently superficial beginning: nothing in Stand Up!! is what it seems.



The cast is a surprise, because despite the very young age of the main leads, the acting is brilliant and gives the viewer a glimpse to the type of actors those young people would become.



The script is a surprise, as it deals with ordinary occurrences, teens fixations and the relationship between teens and adults in a sweet, mostly hilarious way.



You'll find yourself laughing out loud, giggling and, at times, remembering with a smile.

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Completed
Shut Up: Flower Boy Band
22 people found this review helpful
Aug 10, 2012
16 of 16 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 9.0
Story 9.0
Acting/Cast 10
Music 10
Rewatch Value 9.0
I've had this drama in my plan to watch list for quite some time, and I'm now wondering why I didn't pick it up before. It managed to draw me out of an annoying drama slump, which is in itself an achievement.
No doubt it's the best music related drama I've seen. It is so in terms of execution, direction, acting and, last but not least, music. I'm writing this review while listening to "Wake up" full volume.

What makes Shut up flower boy band stand out in the forest of decent to mediocre music dramas, is the incredibly heart-warming portrayal of friendship.
The story is not built upon a particularly eventful plot and I'd go as far as to say that the plot is irrelevant. It is so because what truly captured me as a viewer isn't the storyline, but the collection of unforgettable moments among friends, so perfectly caught by the cameras. There is an alchemy among these young people that is palpable and powerful, sweet and touching, unique and memorable. This is a love story through and through: love for music and romantic love too, but most of all love for friends.
It's also a glimpse on how the music business works, and the picture isn't pretty. Emblematic of its inconsistencies, is the fact that the moment the members of eye candy are given a new, more polished look, is the same moment the seeds of their division are planted. Make rock conform to the business rules and you destroy its intrinsic nature.

Much credit goes to direction and acting. The first is… daring. I appreciated the lack of gloss very much: this is a story about 6 eye candies - in name and fact - however the direction does little to make them look so, focusing on the picture of them as one "body", moving swiftly from one to the other and standing still on tiny details. The result is surprising, as it makes the viewer truly feel for them, instead of being simply captivated by their looks.

The acting is admirable: artless and believable. The last time I've watched such a display of genuine friendship and chemistry among a group of people was in Coffee Prince.
Let me add how adorable the female heroine is. Soo Ah is brave, sweet and honest, without becoming the saint victim I've learned to dislike in so many dramas. She adds a touch of feminine delicacy the drama would otherwise lack.

The music? Brilliant. After so much pop, of which I am no fan, hearing a rock ost was a breath of fresh air. Incredibly well chosen, perfectly executed and just as well used throughout the show.

Highly recommended.

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Completed
I Need Romance
16 people found this review helpful
Aug 7, 2011
16 of 16 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 8.0
Story 9.0
Acting/Cast 10
Music 8.0
Rewatch Value 9.0
What a wonderfully refreshing drama!



Everything about it marks a shift from the usual Korean pattern: plot, lines, direction, editing, photography, ending.

I was hesitant at first because I read too many compare it to Sex & The City - not my cup of tea. But I soon found out that, although the premises are similar - three friends experiencing and openly discussing their love and sexual lives - the general feel of it is completely different. Less stress on glamour and a lot more on internal struggles and doubts, all spiced up with a clever sense of humour and surprisingly GOOD kisses.



I watched the whole show with a big grin on my face. It felt so much like my real friends and I meeting at a bar and talking about ourselves, gossiping about men and their idiosincracy, it was amazing. I love Korean dramas for their exotic touch, situations I would never experience myself because they are culturally too different from my reality; but this drama managed to depict "universal" characters and situations. It felt real, albeit comedic, and as a woman I identified with all of them, on one level or another.

And it's impossible to watch it without talking about it. "What would you do?", "who would you chose?", "did she make the right decision?". All questions one is almost compelled to discuss with someone.



Direction is refreshing too. I thought the use of captures, or episode stills was a very clever choice: expressions are encapsulated in a moment in time and stored away, like a photo album.



The pace is fast and the music soundtracks it with hilarious cohesion.



Overall, a funny, realistic, well characterized drama, which I recommend to every adult. It may not appeal to younger viewers; as for inappropriate scenes, I saw none, but keep in mind I speak as a European.

The final message of this drama is: cherish yourself and your true friends, they won't let you down.

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Completed
Strawberry on the Shortcake
16 people found this review helpful
May 26, 2011
10 of 10 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 9.0
Story 8.0
Acting/Cast 10
Music 9.0
Rewatch Value 9.0
I watched this drama following the recommendation of a friend, whose judgment in terms of good dramas I've come to trust completely. And, not surprisingly, I loved it.

It's not well known, possibly because it's not studded with the usual idols fangirls swoon about. Sad, because it is wonderfully acted and incredibly original, from the surprising beginning to the absolutely unexpected ending. The pace is slow, which can deter some, but I personally found it perfect, with the exception of a couple of instances by the middle. The symbolism of it captivated me from minute one, and I think this is the most fitting title of a drama ever.

This dorama is a collection of memorable lines and even more unforgettable characters.
Takizawa Hideaki and Fukada Kyoko do a splendid job in portraying their characters: the first leads the viewer where he wants, once liking him, another time hating him, then again fearing him or feel compassion; she, on the other hand, is either love or hate. I usually am deeply annoyed by girly girls all cuteness, pink and seeming candour, but she is so artless, even in her machinations, that I found her adorable. This is not a pretty girl playing cute: cute is her essence, and even in her apparent silliness, there's an unexpected depth of thought.

But who really did it for me are the secondary characters, played by Yosuke Kubozuka and Uchiyama Rina. Terrific acting skills and wonderful character development by both. Not that I doubted it: I still have to see Kubozuka playing a part without doing an outstanding job. And Uchiyama is downright brilliant in this.

The music is another very strong point. Without being a fan of Abba myself, I thought the soundtrack was chosen with sense and logic. I like it when single music pieces identify a single character, to the point you know who's going to be portrayed even though you close your eyes.

In conclusion: I watched this thanks to a Perfect recommendation; I hope to be able to pass on a little of that with my review.

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Completed
Tree With Deep Roots
13 people found this review helpful
Feb 7, 2015
24 of 24 episodes seen
Completed 5
Overall 10
Story 10
Acting/Cast 10
Music 7.0
Rewatch Value 7.0
There are a few topics one doesn't talk about at social gatherings. One of them is language. I myself have tried a few times but, in front of a pizza and coke, people are ready to talk about almost everything except their means of expression. Language is used, not pondered upon, unless one wants to be labelled the smart aleck of the party and be thrown out with the half-eaten pizza. Why? Because our mother tongue is perceived as a given, a common possession whose technicalities are learnt and then put into practice by everyone, well or not so well. We live in a society where illiteracy is almost unheard-of and have therefore forgotten how huge a power is held by simple education. This is exactly what Tree With Deep Roots is about: the power of knowledge.

So this drama is, first and foremost, very brave: it takes a topic generally considered yawn inducing - and conceited - and builds upon it one of the cleverest, suspenseful plot I've had the fortune to watch. Because the topic intrigued me, I approached this drama expecting to be intellectually swept away. What I wasn't prepared for, was to have my feelings deeply involved too. This drama is clever, yes, but it's emotionally intense and moving too.
Truth be told, in the beginning I was so confused by the trillion characters, names all sounding the same and genealogy tree that for a moment I thought I had suddenly become an idiot. Should you happen to experience the same, please don't despair: this is like a pile of jigsaw puzzle tiles thrown at you all at once that you start putting together. Once you have glimpsed the main picture, the rest follows on its own. I haven't found a single dull moment in the 24 episodes. I enjoyed the sometimes long political dialogues and didn't want to miss a word. I enjoyed the steadfast growth of each character and the relationship between them all, the marvelous setting, the wuxia-like sword fights.

Mostly, I enjoyed the portrayal of a great King, which naturally leads me to the acting. Among the brilliant performances of all, Han Seok Kyu shines his own light. I was sad to see Song Jong Ki go, as he delivers a great act of a young and fearful king who grows a backbone, but it's his older version I came to love, admire and enjoy the most. Second in my personal enjoyment chart is, hear hear, So Yi/Dam. By general consensus, a female character is considered strong when she opposes the rules, or when she can kick and fight. So Yi's strength, however, is in the brain, which she uses to comply with the rules, instead of opposing them. Shin Se Kyung embodies intelligence and courage in a very calm and effective way. Loved her to bits. Our third lead is the bridge between the passionate vision of a King and the idealism of the woman he loves. His common sense and simple views on life are a paramount addition to the dynamic and while he undergoes a major change throughout the drama, he stays consistent to his nature till the very end.

A character/actors review would be incomplete without the villains. There are moments when you may question who the villains really are. Their motives aren't wrong in the grand scheme of things, but idealism alone won't win a war and their methods go from arguable to unacceptable, mixed as they are with political greed, blind loyalty or personal grudge. Kudos to all the actors, though, for making me love to hate them.

I don't think the music is the strong trait of this drama. It has a few instrumental pieces and a couple of songs which are neither a disturbance nor a feeling magnifier. I must admit, however, that a couple of pieces are quite haunting, as I found myself humming a tone or two while doing totally unrelated things. Whether this is because they were used too often or because they were good, I don't know.

I've long debated about the re-watch value. I don't see myself sitting through the whole drama again in the near future, mostly because a well crafted thriller lingers in the memory much longer than a simpler plot. Ironically, its high quality makes this into a one-time experience. Which doesn't mean I won't go back to it when a considerable time has lapsed. It's an intense journey I recommend to everyone who's ready to invest a good dose of concentration in a drama.

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Completed
Healer
36 people found this review helpful
Feb 28, 2015
20 of 20 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 10
Story 10
Acting/Cast 10
Music 9.5
Rewatch Value 10
At first, I didn't want to write a review for Healer. Many good reviews here mirror my sentiments exactly, and I hate to be redundant for no reason. However, after having watched the entire drama twice in the space of 2 weeks - yes, sue me - and triggered by some comments on this very page, I now believe this little gem deserves as much love as it's getting.

While telling an interesting story, Healer manages to do brilliantly what most fictional works should and sometimes fail to do: create 4-dimentional characters, believable persona whose growth and mutual interaction reach the heart of the viewer. When characterization is so strong, the plot twists - whatever they are - fall to the background, becoming a mean to an end. In this sense, it doesn't matter how many times the same plot subject has been used in a drama: what matters is how this same subject pertains to the journey of the characters. The reason why I was constantly on the edge of my seat while watching Healer, is not because I wondered what was going to happen next, but because I was eager to know how each character would react to a certain event. Will she give up? Will he fall apart? Will that one lie, speak the truth, run away, face the challenge, cry, laugh, rejoice? What would I do, in their shoes?
And every single time I feared the ominous K-drama tropes would sneak into the narration with the usual noble idiocy, nth misunderstanding, petty jealousy or envious triangles, these characters surprised me and made me extremely happy for NOT conforming.
Someone here called this drama "a breath of fresh air" and I couldn't agree more.

This story, while simple on the surface, hides a few, much deeper and more complex subjects. One over all, the roles of adults and how their choices can make the lives of children a living hell. K dramas have accustomed us to adults who abandon their children, or abuse them, dictate them, mold them to their will, silence them. In the best of scenarios, they over protect them. This drama, on the other hand, gives out a different message: adults should give their children the means to fight their own battles, their own way. The same could be said about women, who are the true strong point of this drama. I wish I could write an essay on Young Shin and Ahjumma, but don't worry, I'll spare you the boredom, Suffice to say, true courage and strength are not in the fists.

Healer is also a love story. A sweet, realistic, heart wrenching and heartwarming love story made of little, endearing details. It's the encounter of a young man with a tough shell and a vulnerable soul and a young woman with a fragile body and a brave, unwavering heart. They are so natural together, watching them is a pleasure. I think I fell irremediably in love with them as a couple. I ascribe it to the acting, but also to the brave script, which for once depicts 2 young adults who admits they are attracted to each other physically as well as emotionally. I do not expect a drama to show me anything happening under the sheets, but I'm a little weary of tons of dramas where the girl is shocked by the mere hands touching and calls for a trial. Guess what, Young Shin and Jung Hoo are human!

I've read somewhere this drama had a very low budget, so low that they had to film lots of scenes in a rush and couldn't afford complicated special effects. I grew even fonder of it because of this and wish viewer would stop comparing this show to others which had a lot more money to work with. All the actors give out the impression of truly believing in what they are doing, that's possibly why there's a collective, tangible alchemy keeping the whole cast together. As for the music, I admit at not having liked a particular song in the beginning, but because it was so fitting to the story told, I ended up loving it too. The instrumental pieces were perfect.

As I said, I've already watched this twice. When I reached the end the first time, I felt the urge to go see again how it all began and how it all unfolded. When it comes to dramas I like, I am a serial second watcher and go in search of that lost detail I've overlooked before. I think Healer lends itself very well to multiple watching, because even when you already know the outcome, the journey there still has so much enjoyment to give.

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Love in the Moonlight
78 people found this review helpful
Mar 24, 2017
18 of 18 episodes seen
Completed 12
Overall 7.0
Story 6.5
Acting/Cast 8.5
Music 5.0
Rewatch Value 6.0
So, what have I just watched?
In a nutshell, a saeguk for kids. Take a Disney film, split it into several episodes, dress the characters in hanboks and you have this drama. It mimics The Moon embracing the Sun - without ever nearing its intriguing plot or romance - in almost every aspect except for the detail of a girl dressed as a man despite the fact that she could never in a trillion years be mistaken for a man. To keep the parallel, we could say this is a fluffy rom-com dressed up as a Saeguk.

The romance is so cheesy I welcomed the politics with a sigh of relief. Everything happens too soon and... too much, depriving my otherwise romantic heart of the needed suspense and, yes, what I consider a must for romance: trepidation. I can't say I am an expert in historical dramas, but the little I know is that almost everything the two main characters do and say here is totally implausible: stroll hand in hand in the palace courts without anyone seeing them? Right. This is just one example out of dozens unlikely - no, impossible - situations. Unlike other reviewers here, I believe the second half of this drama to be a lot better than the first, with at least some plot developments, albeit rushed, at times.

The real saving grace of the show is Park Bo Goum. He clearly is talented and a pleasure to watch. His character is too good to be true, but well played out and multifaceted. On the other hand, I was a little disappointed in Kim Yoo Jung's performance. I know she's very young and has a lot of potential, but she didn't manage to make me feel a thing. By some camera angles, it was clear she wasn't looking at her partner when supposed to do so, and the result was kind of ridiculous. Her character is neither particularly brave, nor very strong or intelligent, so what's left in the end is a super nice crown prince who falls madly in love with a sweet pretty thing because she's a sweet pretty thing. I even came to prefer the appointed crown princess, she was refreshingly spunky.

The music is a collection of pop songs fit for everything and nothing. See above for the age target.

In conclusion, this drama had some real potential, even when the plot twists are predictable, but the final package is fluffy at best. Can be marathoned through for an overdose of lovey-dovey chirping.

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Chungking Express
12 people found this review helpful
Apr 13, 2011
Completed 0
Overall 8.0
Story 7.0
Acting/Cast 9.0
Music 8.0
Rewatch Value 8.0
I'm a huge fan of Wong Kar-Wai. He's not a simple story teller, but a director capable of using the cinematographic media to its fullest. His movies are estetically beautiful, their silences as poignant and thought-provoking as the often minimal lines.



Hong Kong Express is no exception. The acting is, not surprisingly, brilliant. Tony Leung in particular delivers his nonchalant, ironical and obsessed cop to perfection. To Kaneshiro the honour of the best line in the movie.

The director often uses a tecnique called step-framing, in which a character is frozen in time while the world around him or her moves at incredible speed. The viewer is therefore often deceived as to the real chronology of events.



So, this is a movie about love, but it's most of all a story of solitude, like those frozen characters, who are as lonely in a metropole as little ants in a moltitude of insects.



I gave it a 8 because I need to spare the 10 for "In the Mood for Love", possibly Kar-Wai's masterpiece so far.

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Don Quixote
17 people found this review helpful
Oct 13, 2011
11 of 11 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 9.0
Story 9.0
Acting/Cast 10
Music 9.0
Rewatch Value 9.0
Why are you reading my review when you could be better spending your time watching this show?

If you are reading, it means you're hesitant: please don't be. Don Quixote is a fantastic watch, wonderfully acted, well directed, full of sweetness and serious issues treated with a light touch which is neither shallow nor melodramatic.

But most of all, you will laugh. A lot. Loud.



Yes, I'm a fan of Matsuda Shota and started watching because of him. I had been waiting for his next drama with a passion after Liar Game and prepared myself to be swept away by his very natural charm - and looks, I won't deny it.

He did not disappoint me one bit. He's outstanding: infuriating but incredibly sweet, hilarious but bossy, dense but clever in a very down-to-earth way and just as crazy as the famous hero created by the pen of Cervantes.

But a Don Quixote review would be incomplete and totally unfair without including Sancho Panza in it, brilliantly portrayed here by Katsumi Takahashi. As the synopsis explains, there's a soul switch involved in this drama, so that we see the two actors suddenly changing attitude, accent, facial expressions. The attentive viewer won't fail to recognize the ability of these two actors to wear the clothes of the other. The result is comic and endearing. Takahashi and Matsuda form an unforgettable duo.

All the secondary characters do a splendid job. The Yakuza's family is so improbable you can't help but laugh out loud and all the staff of the child consultation centre grows in depth and characterization.

And then there's the children. Japanese have a true knack of telling children stories, in my opinion. The fact that these kids are all incredibly cute and most of the time talented helps.



I loved the music too. It's in Spanish, as required by the title, and the contrast between the Spanish sunny rhythm and the Japanese architecture and landscapes is so sharp it's brilliant. I also loved the open credit tune with the children drawings, I thought it was a very cute touch.



I will rewatch this drama. Soon enough. I will marathon a second time through it and no doubt be left with the same huge grin on my face.

Highly recommended.

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Completed
Sungkyunkwan Scandal
14 people found this review helpful
Oct 28, 2014
20 of 20 episodes seen
Completed 3
Overall 8.5
Story 7.5
Acting/Cast 8.5
Music 6.0
Rewatch Value 8.0
You're Beautiful meets Boys Over Flowers in 1790 Joseon.

My review could very well end here, and you'd get the gist. Nevertheless, a simple comparison would be unfair towards this drama and decisively too flattering towards the other two.
There are at least 3 reasons to prefer Sungkyunkwan Scandal (after 4 years I've finally learnt to write this title) to other gender/bender, flowery boys scenarios:

1. The female heroine is intelligent! How refreshing. Not only she has a well working brain, but she doesn't let anyone trample all over her. Her goal in life is more edifying than simply get the guy. In this sense, SKK is way more modern than many K-dramas set in today Asia.

2. Directly related to the above, the flower boys are actually nice people! They overcome prejudice, value friendship and don't go around grabbing the girl's wrist at every turn.

3. Everyone is MUCH better dressed. I'd say colours and costumes are a huge part of this drama's charm.

This said, the drama is not flawless. I believe its main weakness lies in the way conflicts are resolved. While highly interesting and thought-provoking issues are raised - gender equality, homosexuality, eastern vs. western philosophy (Confucius vs. Socrates), the power of knowledge and others, they aren't in any way resolved and at times are very superficially concluded. Mind you, not that a tv-show could ever give us the answers to such essential questions, but even in the enclosed world of the narration some plot threads should have had a conclusion but didn't. We are left to wonder when and how the packet has been so prettily wrapped.

Also, the pace is uneven. The drama is somehow divided in groups of episodes, each developing and in a way closing: the entrance, the tournament, the scandal, the treasure hunt etc. The love story is charming in the beginning, drags in the middle and gets very charming again by the end. I wish they had shortened the angst - which works very well for the male lead who's facing a true conflict, but makes the female suddenly annoying - and given more space to their delightful romantic banter. Even the ending could have been better elaborated and conclusive, had they cut short on the middle anguish.

All in all, however, this is a lovely, funny, feel-good watch. The acting is fine enough, since it has no pretence of greatness. Don't expect stellar performances, they are all a little stony at times, but they look young and pretty, so one is ready to forgive them.
Not surprisingly, my very favourite character here - Yeorim - is also the best acted one. I've sit through the whole drama waiting to see what he would say next and what new outfit he would wear.

Music is, for me, the true sore spot. I appreciated the insertion of modern rhythm on a period setting because the drama is meant to be "timeless". The instrumental pieces are nice, albeit forgettable. The "lover song", on the other hand, got so much on my nerves, my watching partner and I retorted to muting the sound whenever it played (and it played every single time our lovey-dovey pair was together). Have you ever tried watching a kiss in complete silence? Well, don't try: it's terribly awkward, proof that the right music makes up for 50% of the emotion. Since we couldn't have romance+music at the same time, we hummed a tune ourselves.

This review comes after a second watch. I had seen this drama back in 2011, but was distracted by other things at the time and basically couldn't remember a thing. Watching it in good company was a funny and entertaining experience I am ready to recommend.

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Completed
The Art of Seduction
24 people found this review helpful
Mar 24, 2012
Completed 0
Overall 5.0
Story 5.0
Acting/Cast 7.0
Music 5.0
Rewatch Value 1.0
For a moment there I was hesitant whether I should express my feelings frankly or filter them for the sake of diplomacy and respect for those who liked it. In the end, I decided for complete honesty, and for this I apologize in advance.

What an utterly stupid movie.
The premises are interesting enough: two "love swindlers" meet, and their carefully planned arts of seduction are put to the test by the experience of the other. Up to this point, everything's fine: two very good looking people are thrown into some funny situations, keeping the viewer entertained for the duration of… a quarter of an hour.
After that, all the inconsistency of this plot come to the surface. This should be a romantic comedy, but where is the romance? Unless we are to think that beauty were the one and only prerogative to love and be loved, there is absolutely nothing likable about those two. They are cynical, spoiled, prejudiced and irritating. If you expect a character development, a little something to make you empathise with one of them or both, you'll be disappointed. There is no characterization whatsoever here: why are these two disillusioned? No idea. Are they going to change, feel deeper, be taught some valuable lesson by the encounter? No.
All we see is 2 handsome people displaying all their weapons, from beginning to end. The point of a romantic comedy is to satisfy the comedic and the romance. In this movie, the comedic is repetitive and the romance non existent, since who cares about two bad people who stay bad?

I suppose the acting saves the day. Son Ye Jin is unusually feisty and plays her role very well, given the little material she was given to work with. This was my first time watching Song Il Gook on screen, but I know he's played serious roles before, so I guess he did a good job too in portraying a funnier character. Since there is no true soul in this movie though, I can't imagine they had to work hard on identifying with their characters.

Music… can't remember, I'm afraid.

No way I'm ever going to rewatch this movie, I'd rather have my foot be hit with a hammer.

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