viernes, 15 de abril de 2011

I have to confess that I have never watched a long weekend drama before this, long dramas in general exhaust me and I rarely see them through thoroughly, I'm hoping that this one will be one of the exceptions alongside Golden Bride (2007).

The premise of the story before it aired was a contradicting: one site said that it would be about two young deaf people falling in love (which made feel meh about it ), another one said that it was a about a girl pretending to be slow and a guy pretending he can hear. This last description is what convinced me to give it a try.

As for the cast, honestly I didn't know much about those playing the main characters. I could only recognize the child counterpart to Woo Ri who is the Ajusshi co-star Kim Sae Ron. The supporting cast however I know more of, mainly those in the village because I don't remember those in the uppity family much - only mom (BOF evil mom). (Maybe because I don't watch family dramas, or really weepy makjang dramas most of the time. I'm more of a mania drama maniac…hehehe)

So why am I watching this? Besides the sort of interesting quirkiness to the characters suggested by the sinopsis? Nothing other than, I don't have anything else besides 49 Days to watch. Not that 49 Days isn't a good drama, because it is, I'm loving it. But I need more K-drama in my life, I need more to obsess about other than Super Junior… because yes I admit I'm a fangirl - E.L.F. <3 … anyways… So that's kind of the reason why I now find myself watching this these days.

So What Happens:
We start out in the past- It's 1995 (wow I was 8 years old at the time myself!) We meet the Bong family that consists of: Grandma, Bong Young Kyu, and Bong Ma Roo. Bong Young Kyu is a grown up with the IQ of 70, meaning that he is slow in learning and sometimes doesn't get the nuances in speech between people. His son, who we soon learn is his adopted son, is incredibly ashamed of his handicapped father, and of his family status. Their family lives their lives based on the money that the grandmother makes selling vegetables and the money Young Kyu makes carrying sacks of stuff in the market. Bong Ma Roo wants out of this village and is therefore a very good student that has earned a scholarship from a family of chaebols.
There's also another family that is important and that's the Go Family that consists of mother Mi Sook and Little Mi Sook- she doesn't have a real name yet but she hopes to get one when Mi Sook and Young Kyu get married- she's really excited to have him as a father since they get along real well.

The scholarship that Bong Ma Roo earns is from Oh Kyung Group. The members of the family in charge of OKG are Grandpa, Mother, Father and Dong Joo. Grandpa is sick with cancer and can barely be moved out of bed, so he has his son-in-law takeover his duties. They seem like a united family when they are in their homes but once outside you notice their difference in personalities and attitudes. Mother and son are very sensitive people and take a liking to the apparently hardworking Ma Roo and defend him when the factory worker that presented him treated him like dung. The Father takes an instant dislike to Ma Roo presumably because he is poor and will 'stick' to them. The Father also is known to be the step-father not Dongjoo's biological father. That will probably play a big factor later on, especially since from the get-go we are privy to a meeting between him and a lawyer making big backstabby plans.

As it happens Dong Joo likes to wander off from his parents a lot and any moment that they don't have their attention on him he uses to escape from the boredom of the business transactions. Soon Dong Joo
Meets little Mi Sook in a school that's out for the weekend- she's not supposed to be there since she's not even a student but she goes there to play the piano. She wishes to play the piano so she could wear beautiful dresses like those pianists on TV. Dong Joo is intrigued by her and after helping her escape from the school guard by using his piano skill he tells her to come see him and gives her his address.

Ma Roo meanwhile has been helping Dongjoo's parents look for him and is surprised to find him with the little girl who will soon be his family (he hates the idea A LOT). He looks on with a distant look at the interactions between Dongjoo and Little Mi Sook.

Due to several circumstances -they both end up going out to the Cha family's home (separately) where they all see the beautiful home, and while Ma Roo is envious, Little Mi Sook is merely in awe that her friend has all these cool things! And poor Young Kyu is left in the doorway to wait… (I hated the guards, really they couldn't find any more obnoxious and rude)

There's a moment in which we all think that things will explode since Ma Roo's mother who is supposed to be dead is identified by Young Kyu and Ma Roo goes in to find out but gets only rebuffed by the woman. We know that it's her because Young Kyu can't lie at all and he'd also recognized Dong Joo's stepfather so we can be pretty sure that he's Ma Roo's real father since Shin Ae is Youn Kyu's sister. The only thing for certain right now is that the three of them really are too money conscious and will practically do anything for more. But the tension falls apart and the all end up going back home, Mi Sook with the promise of meeting Dong Joo by their tree on Sunday.

Everybody returns to their daily life. After a short scuffle with loan sharks, Mi Sook and Young Kyu marry and they all take a family picture. It's something that's supposed to show the unity in a family, but you can sense the strained family dynamics from it- Even though MiSook, Young Kyu and Little Mi Sook really look like they're happy. Mi Sook runs out because she'd forgotten that it was the meeting day with Dong Joo.

Before he leaves he tells her to practice what he's taught her on the little blow piano that he's brought her and she's overjoyed and thankful to him for giving it to her. He tries to get her to call him oppa (I know that korean guys generally are overjoyed when their girlfriend calls them that and it makes them crumple at the girl's feet- I wonder is it the same kind of kryptonite for even the little boys?)

Anyways, they're cute! He's really surprised when it turns out that she doesn't have a name, but nonetheless gives her his and then runs… she watches on quite amused. She's pretty smart and she's quick so it'll be something to watch her pretend to be slow for her father later on.

Of course all is not well in Dong Joo's family, and the Evil begins to show more and more…

Previously the grandpa had found out about his son-in-law's betrayal and had fallen in even worse health and had been sent to the hospital and told that to get out he needed PERMISSION from his son-in-law. He somehow manages to leave with the help of his servants, but he's found out by his son-in-law through a traitor.

He tries to make amendments to his will but as it happens EVIL finds him before he can hide it and rips it up. They have a struggle in which they both shout their anger at each other. However there's a witness to it: Dong Joo, he'd been trying to go to his room using his ladder that hung from the rooftop to the ground.

It's like his world crumpled in front of his very face, and the father he'd had fun with no longer existed and instead a scary villain had taken his place. Truthfully I think that that scary man had actually cared for DongJoo who trusted him without reservation and accepted him as a father (different from the grandfather whom he accuses of never trusting him, well he's just proved him to be in the right). So he's definitely not pleased with Dongjoo finding out his true nature. However the first thing he tries to do is not reason with him about what he's seen but instead he tries to get him off that dangerous ladder and to come inside, but Dong Joo's seen too much and has become scared. His foot slips and he's now falling down.

I don't know you, but such a face would haunt me for the rest of my life. Evil Guy rushes out when he fails to catch Dong Joo and calls an ambulance right away… I think that he's genuinely sorry that this has happened to Dong Joo but most of all he's hoping that if Dong Joo does wake up, he doesn't remember anything that's happened.

As it turns out Dong Joo's not dead, he's in a coma and everybody is unsure of what he'll be like when he wakes up. While he's in a coma, his family is also holding the funeral ceremony for his grandfather. While his mother goes out of the ceremony room and while she roams the hallway she catches a glimpse of her husband and Shin Ae talking about a son…and she starts putting two and two together and realizes that perhaps her husband isn't as good as she thought he was and Shin Ae wasn’t really her friend and that somehow the bad things that had happened to her family had been brought about by them two. However she's more sly than she lets on, she doesn't mention what she witnessed but slowly she starts observing them and the situation and she seems to be thinking about what to do next… but mostly she doesn't want to think about anything other than her son, who she can't live without especially now that she's finding out about the backstabbing that has occurred without her noticing.

In the village Little MiSook waits for DongJoo but doesn't lose faith in him even when he doesn't show up. Little does she know that he's fighting for his life and could end up never coming back to see her. When her mother asks her if he's good, she says that he is because he's a dummy, he's good. And because he's a dummy and good, he'll be back to see her. Hahaha, Dong Joo would have a fit if he heard her describe him as a dummy "pabo".

I know I haven't mentioned Ma Roo much, but it's because I really do dislike him. He's got no gratitude for the people who have raised him and he's so disdainful of MiSook because of her deafness that I can't find it within myself to be simpathetic to his anguish.

The only moment I found cute was when he showed signs of cracking under the sheer pressure of little MiSook's chatterbox personality. He found himself smiling without noticing, and even calling himself her oppa, even though he'd previously banned her from calling him that- He WOULD NEVER BE HER OPPA! RAWR~! Meanwhile the rest of the family is so surprised at what appears to be a more cheerful Ma Roo than they've seen in a very long while.

However it's not to last long and because of a little accident where his 'special' watch breaks he throws a hissy fit worthy of a diva queen, disregards the fact that his now stepmom gets hurt picking up the glass of the vase that also broke and just storms out all "WHY ME, WHY DO I HAVE TO SUFFER SO?" which get's him no points in my books but does get him to be a annoying little whiner with little self respect and too much of an inferiority complex to appreciate the sweet and special people that surround him.

Meanwhile EVIL man is watching from afar, feeling perhaps the first stirring of regret about leaving his son behind so that he could progress in the world alone- but I hate him it's not something I can simpathize with. I want him dead… am I too harsh? Probably… Will I change my mind? Probably NOT!

My Favourite Scenes:
These two pics are the scenes that I most liked the first one sets up the future romance and the second just shows why this father/daughter combo is just so adorable!

sábado, 9 de abril de 2011

J-Dorama: Taisetsu Na Koto wa Subete Kimi ga Oshiete Kureta

Taisetsu na Kotowa Subete Kimi ga Oshiete Kureta
I learned the Important things from You

Main Cast:
Shuji- Hamura Miura
Natsumi- Toda Erika
Hikari- Emi Takei

The Basic Plot:

A high school biology professor wakes up one day with no memory of the night before and is completely surprised with the presence of a young woman in his bed. He doesn't remember having done anything with her, but he also doesn't remember
not doing it, so he says he remembers that night and goes to school perplexed by the situation. At school he sees his pretty fiancée that he loves very much and tries to forget the incident of the morning, except that he can't for very long. As it turns out the woman was actually a high school girl in his new homeroom class. When she finds out that he's happily engaged to another teacher she changes her personality and becomes bent on breaking apart the relationship. However the relationship isn't the only thing that ends up bei
ng broken, also Shuji's life as a teacher comes to an end.

What I liked:
The flawed characters, especially Shuji. He is an adult, a teacher therefore somebody who is assumed to have it all together, to have all the answers to problems. And
if he doesn't he has all the right ways of bluffing it. He was admired as a cool teacher, a teacher who actually listened and respected his students, parents and children requested him for homeroom teacher and college counselor. But when they all find out that he slept with a student his weaknesses begin to show, he's really a flip flopper, in not wanting to hurt anybody he hurts everybody. He has to go through a whole process of self discovery to realize what was important to him all along.
I know that a lot of Hamura Miura's fans and detractors were put out by the fact that he played a much older character, however I feel that he did a good job in closing the age gap. He doesn't seem like 21 year old at all, my younger sister and her friends look much younger than he does in this movie and they are 21 also. He looks much younger usually too, but in this drama I totally didn't remember his true age, kind of reminds me of Lee Min Ho playing the much older architect in Personal Taste, I also didn't really notice the age gap, so either both of them did a good job in their acting or I'm just really bad at perceiving age...

I also loved Toda Erika's expressiveness, with just a stare, her eyes conveyed many different feelings, she didn't talk much, but she said a lot through her eyes and her body language. I really really liked the silences as much as the dialogue.

Also, at first I really disliked the 'evil' girl but even she was redeemed when she confessed the truth about what had happened, and I couldn't even muster up the same kind of dislike for her again. She turned out to be pitiful and I couldn't help but see why Shuji wanted to protect her also, because he too had problems of self-esteem and he'd wanted to perhaps not allow her to fall into the trap of belittling herself.

I also loved the prettiness of the scenery and the softness of the visuals. And though a lot of people complain that there were a lot of useless stories about the students I don't think that it's true. After all the two main adults are teachers most of their day is spent with them and not each other so of course there is going to be a lot of interactions between them. Also because Shuji is a charismatic teacher students are going to naturally flock to him for advise and mentoring and just basically try to get his attention. These things are what gave the story a reality to part from, the interactions are a part of the daily life of teachers, wouldn't it be strange for it to be a teacher drama with no students present and making everyday kind of trouble?

The storytelling was really tight, the director and the filming crew knew where they were going there wasn't a doubt about where the story was heading, so the characters didn't suffer identity crisis, they were pretty true to their characters and where the actors might have failed in expressiveness the cutting and directing helped them and the end product really was heartbreakingly tender, and love was well expressed as something that is bittersweet, that can't be all sweet because there is always pain wherever there is love. That sentiment isn't something that I completely agree with but it was conveyed well during the storytelling and directing, though I do have a bone to pick, and that's the music...

What I didn't like:

The waffling that Shuji did, how could he say he loved Natsuki and then change and say he would be Hikaru's support, and then say to Hikary, 'nope, I really don't see you as a woman so don't think that I'll stay by you always, it's only temporary.' It's better to not even give a person that loves you a glimmer of hope when you don't reciprocate, and are only with them out of duty and pity.

As I mentioned earlier this was a really delicate and soft production and it really did justice to the feeling of bittersweet love and the complicated lives adults live, as well as the fact that teenagers aren't all that simple either. However the really big bone that I'd like to pick is the music. Out of all the really talented japanese singers and musicians why did they pick a foreign pop-rocker? I absolutely disliked the overuse of Pink in the soundtrack. It's not that I don't like her, I'm a fan of Pink and I know and I've sung to all the songs in the drama before, but I just really don't think the songs fit.

They should have invested a little more on the BG music because if you want to setup a mood, why keep using songs that are not related at all? ... for example the overuse of Dear Mr. President... aah it annoyed the crap out of me... I like the song, but why is the soliloquy to the "President whom shall not be named" by Pink used whenever there are sad moments? yes it's a soft song, but it's really an angry song about the injustices done to the American people through his thoughtless policies, it's not something that's appropriate for a bittersweet lovestory...

Isn't he Pretty? I was kind of drawn in by his prettiness in this scene^^

miércoles, 6 de abril de 2011

Drama Watching Update!

Ok so I'm watching Can you hear my heart? and 49 Days...

I will hopefully be doing a small kind of recap/discussion on Can you hear my heart? every three to four eps... right now it's just started the plot is moving along quite nicely, it's going to be a heart wringer of a drama though, I can tell from just the first two episodes so if you don't like to cry don't watch it.
Can I say how much I love the kids? especially little Kim Sae Ron she is so incredibly cute and loveable in this, I'll definitely be a little sad when the kids grow up and are replaced by their older counterparts... I really love the character of the poor father, he's really all heart, and I hate it how people stop and stare and call him an idiot or a fool all the time, it breaks my heart that all he wants it's to stay together with the people he loves... it's cute how the little girl is the one that most understands and cares for him aside from his own mother... it's like they were born to be each other's family... :)
Here's a trailer for the drama for those who haven't watched it... it's really off to a good start in my opinion!

As for 49 Days... it's quite exceeded my expectations, but I won't be doing recaps since the lovely ladies at Dramabeans are doing the best job I've ever seen in recapping it so there's no point. I suggest that everybody check out the drama and if you're a bit lazy or don't have time to watch and don't mind spoilers read their awesome recaps. The reaper... is just so yummy... and the evil is not just black and white, in a sense the magical elements is managed in a better way than even hit drama Secret Garden (It's just that it's lacking in Binnie's Magic touch^^)

here's a trailer for it, for those who haven't tuned in: (If you haven't you better or you'll really be lost when people start discussing it's greatness around you!)

domingo, 3 de abril de 2011

Finding Mr. Destiny/ Looking for Kim Jong Wook - I've posted it up on WordPress!

Finding Mr. Destiny
Gong Yoo
Im Soo Young

This movie was quite an interesting look into that S. Korean ideal that is FIRST LOVE. First love is an interesting, idealized subject for many and seems like a recurring theme in the K-drama universe. There was even a 66 episode drama running from 1996-1997 on KBS2 with that name "First Love", featuring the much loved Bae Yong Joon (I'm not a great fan of him though, he seems way too stiff to me). As an American I don't always get what the importance of the first love is in the dramas I've watched, and often I end up thinking it's silly to pine for a love that has finished and gone. (Maybe I'm not romantic enough, despite my hot blooded latino-ness - lol)

Finding Mr. Destiny redefines the idea of first love and fated love a bit, as you'll see at the end.

Our characters are as different as night and day to each other at the beginning, one's a neat freak and the other's kind of a slob in her appearance. Their jobs can't be anymore different, and they don't seem to be people that would ever cross paths with each other under normal circumstances, but be it fate, coincidence or freak accident they do and they certainly do not click right away.

Our heroine , Seo Ji Woo (Im Soo Young) is currently stage director for a musical but had previously even recorded an album. She had a boyfriend that she breaks up with because she doesn't want to marry him, using the excuse that it's not a good time to marry because she is so busy- she's not ready.. blah blah blah... all the things you say when you're just not feeling it. And we find out why she's not feeling's really because she's still living in the past pining for her first love Kim Jong Wook.

Our hero, Han Gi Joon is a geeky travel agent who is not at all suited to selling travel tickets since he always ends up warning the travelers about the different types of dangers that could befall them in the country they are interested in visiting. He ends up getting fired because of that tendency. (He's incredibly earnest about telling the truth and promoting safety for his clients that it makes him just that bit more adorable)

When he gets fired he wants to create a new company but almost gets cheated out of his savings by an old classmate. During the investigation in the police department he notices how much the men were hung up on their first loves and really wanting to reconnect with them and see if their first love could be rekindled. Of course he doesn't get why the first love is so important but he realizes that there could be a wide client base for an agency that searches for first loves.

He immediately gets approval for his business and he's raring to go, but he's also financially strapped so he bums a corner of his writer brother in law's office and sets up his business. At first it seems like his business won't take off but soon he's getting calls and walk-ins... but they're not really that much of an improvement. After a series of weird potential customers Seo Ji Woo is dragged in by her father who wants her to reunite with her first love so that she could have closure and get on with her life. She's not really interested in finding him though, since she seems to provide nothing more than his name and where they met, she's actually rather recalcitrant in her cooperation. Though he's not given much to go on Gi Joon puts in a lot of effort to search for Jong Wook- at one point he bluffs his way through his old job and gets a hold of old flight lists with passenger names.

Though they are working together towards presumably the same goal of finding KJW, the two characters are constantly frustrating each other and are not all that accepting of each other. Ji Woo especially is annoyed by everything that Gi Joon is from the way he dresses to his personality which she ridicules as that of a neat freak. However when he happens to overhear her say that, she feels really low because of the kicked dog kind of look his face had before he turned around.

There's the hilarious moment where Gi Joon "confesses" that Ji Woo is his "First" without clarifying what kind of first and everybody else takes it to mean that they were dating. I have a sneaking suspicion that Gi Joon knew what effect it would have because later on when they're pouring over a document together and the cast shout's "kiss kiss!" he just kind of smirks….

Eventually he gets a list of all the Kim Jong Wooks in Korea and they start searching one by one. The people that he takes her to meet and check out are so varied it's hilarious. There's the soccer player, the plastic surgeon, a rather unclean ajusshi, and a monk... kind of makes you realize how futile it can be to search for a person among millions of others. And perhaps reinforce the idea that if it's fated to be you'll find your other half eventually when the time is right.

To find Kim Jong Wook they even went on a mountain trip to look at a potential KJW. It turned out to be a good trip that brought them closer together. Gi Joon realized that she's actually not all that brazen as she portrays herself to be and is actually quite a scared person who won't even finish the last pastry so that she doesn't forget the memory. It's not the first time that we notice this because once when she met Gi Joon's brother in law she mentioned loving his book but not knowing the ending because she wants to keep the good memory of the book and avoid reading an ending she might possibly not enjoy/like.
Gi Joon also shows his manly and his sensitive side, saying that he's quite envious of KJW since he doesn't think that he could ever be the kind of person that leaves an impression and longing in someone else for ten years. In that moment you can tell that Ji Woo has fallen for him because almost by inertia SHE approaches HIM and kisses him in the mouth. The next day is quite the study in awkward turtl-y-ness, even though they try to act like nothing was different even when it's so obvious that their perspectives on each other have changed quite drastically from their first impressions.

There are many cute and interesting moments in this movie - actually just saying that Gong Yoo is the main actor kind of marks it as a good movie because he always gives his 150% in his projects.

The idea that "First Love" is the greatest love seems to permeate throughout a lot of the K-dramas and movies, and this movie tackled it head on. Ji woo has given up living in the present because she keeps living in the past where she met a good man that she didn't grab a hold of and now can't seem to shake out of her head. Gi Joon on the other hand doesn't really get what it is about first loves that make them all that unforgettable because after what was left of his first love wasn't so much the feeling of loving that woman but the feeling of regret of not having ever confessed it so that he could move on… but he's more adapted in that sense than Ji Woo since he doesn't pine for the woman even ten years later.

As I watched the movie I found Ji Woo to be a little too timid, insecure and waffling. She doesn't read endings to books, she doesn't eat the last pastry in the bag and she doesn't follow through on her plans with KJW. Yet she still dares to pine away when it was her that decided not to go meet him. And what's worse she has made Gi Joon run around on a wild goose chase when she certainly had more information about Jong Wook than she let on. She just simply didn't want to stop living in the past.

Gi Joon isn't as insecure as he appears to be, because yes he depends on his sister, and he's using his brother in law's office because he's not financially viable without him, but he's certain on where he stands. He knows he was a coward back when he didn't confess and he knows that he likes Ji Woo now in the present, so the conflict isn't about not knowing his own feelings but of not knowing what's best for Ji Woo. Since she's been pining away for a man for ten years he's not sure she can love him as he does.

When Ji Woo finally arrives at the conclusion that she'd like to finally have an end so that she could start anew I wholeheartedly cheered. Finally! Closure is important so it's great that she decided that she would finally close that chapter in her life and start a new one even if she is about ten years late.

I loved this movie it was cute it was sweet and the characters were so flawed that they exuded the everyday man/woman vibe making it extremely relatable.