phd_travel

IMDb member since December 2009
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Reviews

Hiteumaen
(2020)

Runs out of steam
The action comedy is about an agent who fakes his own death to live a normal life as a comic artist. There are some laughs but the story gets a little tired towards the end. Even with the fighting. The characters aren't endearing. Too many almost deaths.

Nothing new to the action comedy genre.

New Year Blues
(2021)

The Argentina part was the best
At first it is confusing sorting out the different couples. Later things come together. The stalker part wasn't that interesting. Then there was the Chinese bride and the lost in translation thing. The best was the couple in Argentina. Could have been a series on its own like The Package - same actress. The international element is nice.

OK but each segment felt a bit hastily put together.

Yashiknamnyeo
(2020)

Too serious
Personal Taste is a much better show with a similar premise. PT was funny and romantic. Pretending to be gay and then falling in love. Sweet Munchies failed to have any funny situations that such a set up provides. Also the romance felt half baked. Jung il woo has a rather blank face in this show. Just sad looking. The actress is a little annoying. The fashion designer closeted gay was a strange choice not very expressive and too stiff. He was good as a bad guy in World. But here he looks bland.

One nice part of the story is the reaction to his not being gay was quite understanding.

Night in Paradise
(2020)

Well directed
Surprisingly watchable this gangster movie is above the usual standard. I had become disappointed by the genre where the movies were full of angst and depressing and the action felt meaningless. This movie is a notch above. You get drawn in to the characters and I like the 2 leading characters. They were both damaged people - a gangster on the run and a terminally ill gangster's niece. Atmospheric cinematography on Jeju.

Uhm Tae Goo is convincing and realistic not a super hero. Jeon Yeo Bin is likeable here. I found her annoying in Vincenzo because of the failed attempt at comedy. But here you are on her side and she doesn't overact.

The fight and chase sequences are well directed - clear and exciting. The car chase and escape are tense. The fight in the farm is brutal. Surprisingly even though it may seem a downer that the hero dies first and why did he go there to get killed but wait there is a big shoot out that makes you feel okay about things. A happy ending isn't in the cards but it's acceptable.

Be warned there is a lot of violence and shooting and stabbing but it is not sickening or gratuitous somehow.

I don't really enjoy violent gangster movies but this good for what it is.

Sanglyusahoe
(2018)

Glossy but ultimately fizzles
Glossy looking look at a couple dealing with corruption on the way up. The man is an aspiring congressman who comes into contact with some crooked bad money people. She works in an art gallery and gets involved in some shady price inflation thing. They both have affairs he with some aide and she with an artist. They both have ambitions but later decide to expose everything after she is blackmailed with a sex tape. No character here is a sympathetic one so when they do the right thing it doesn't feel meaningful. The filming is glossy and polished. There even are scenes in Europe. The nudity is rather gross rather than anything else. Maybe it's meant to be.

The cast is full of familiar faces. They mostly suit their roles. Park Hae Il is fine as the congressman and Soo Ae looks hard enough as the gallery person. Lee Jin Wook plays the artist and Kim Kang Woo a gangster crook.

Not enough substance in this movie - it felt like a portion of a drama about corruption in high places but nicely filmed. The ending should have had some special twist. Not a must watch.

Geuhae yeoreum
(2006)

Beautiful film but don't get the ending
Beautifully filmed movie about an old love in the idyllic countryside between a young dissident and a girl whose father was a communist. LBH and SA act well. Crackdown on dissent leads to brief imprisonment. Don't get why she left him at the end.

Je8ileui Bam
(2021)

Disappointing - didn't like the way the plot unfolded
I was eagerly anticipating this movie because it features the lovely Kim You Jung and Nam Da Reum who are both wonderful young actors. But KYJ doesn't get to express much except a stony stare with her hair covering so much of her face. She also doesn't say much. NDR gets more of a role and he is good as the monk with an innocent pure face. The vow of silence was also annoying. But the story wasn't well told and it's hard to follow. The premise unfolded in a way that the structure of the possession passing on was revealed too little too late. The set up should have been explained clearly from the beginning and how it related to the individuals in the story and then the horror would have more tension for each character. Instead I couldn't figure out what was going on until till the latter part. The POV should have been more from KYJ's point of view. For a horror there isn't much and I get this is more of a possession thriller. So the aftermath is shown. Rather unusually this movie felt inferior to the average horror.

About the ending. It felt incomplete. He just killed the exorcist and then returned the thing to the desert without any consequences?

Jiltooui Hwashin
(2016)

Too long and repetitive
This 24 episode drama should have been 16 at most. The length caused many repetitive boring scenes.

The cancer part is interesting not just because it highlights breast cancer and the treatment but uniquely so from a male patient's point of view. The other topic of this show is jealousy and that is funny for a little while but it gets old after a while. Gong Jyo Jin and Jo Jung Suk are fun as quirky characters in other shows but to watch them as the main couple is hard after a while because they aren't attractive enough as romantic leads. It doesn't make much sense why Go Kyung Pyo's character a handsome wealthy man would be so in love with her. She hardly seems worthy of being the object of their affection to such an extent. The side jealousy story of the two older women fighting for the girl is funny at first then boring.

The inner workings of news announcers is shown. Not that easy to read the news as it appears.

For CLOY fans it may be of interest to see the stunningly beautiful Seo Ji Hye and Kim Jung Hyun in supporting roles. She is so under used in this drama. It is strange how the men are fighting for Gon Hyo Jin who isn't that pretty when there is this goddess on the side.

The ending is complete. I don't understand anyone could love this series.

Nain: Ahob Beonui Shikan Yeohaeng
(2013)

Concentrate it's quite involving but the ending....
This fantasy time travel show is very involving and quite entertaining. There is lots of jumping in time between the 2 main times 1992/3 and 2012/3. But it is clearly defined so that isn't confusing. Even with concentration though I did not get some parts. Quite a brain teaser. Fans of Memories of Alhambra will find this interesting since it is by the same weiter and there are some similarities with the same best friend actor and the exotic setting this time in Nepal.

The time travel concept is easy to grasp - light an incense stick and travel back for half an hour exactly 20 years back. The effect of changing the future is more complex and fascinating to watch each time. It's often a very exciting and a complicated but sometimes rewarding and sometimes frustrating experience. A tragic family tragedy and forbidden romance are all incorporated nicely. The intricate story is quite a feat of imagination and writing that is until the ending but more about that later.

The cast: Lee Jin Wook and Park Hyung Shik are a nicely matched older and younger versions of the main character. Both are likeable actors. Jo Yoon Hee as the female lead looks pretty when she is made up but here she is too often tomboyish with that bad hairstyle the romance feels lacking. There are many scenes I feel her face wasn't expressive enough and her crying feels repetitive. Not worthy of a love that transcends time.

The ending. After 20 episodes they end with this strange ending that is open to interpretation. The writer did that in Alhambra too. But Alhambra was unfinished. This is just plain irritating. Why on earth didn't she just end things properly? Did he live on? I think so. Reading other views on blogs and reviews everyone has their own opinion so it's not helpful. If things had ended in a nice neat clear way I would have though this one of the best K dramas dealing with fantasy but I just felt confused and betrayed by the ending. The writer did it to me again!

Neo-eui kyeol-hoon-sik
(2018)

Lacking in chemistry and the story is a bit of a downer
This is an attempt to show a bittersweet realistic story about a first love that doesn't work out. But there are problems with the movie that make it not good.

The 2 leads are not a good match for each other. They are fine in other roles like PBY in Strong Woman has perfect chemistry with PHS. In this movie it isn't just the height difference but the personalities don't match as well. He looks a bit old for the role when he was playing a student. I don't like her playing sad too.

The story is depressing. Why does he love her so much? The ups and downs are I guess an attempt to be realistic. Getting injured for her is frustrating. When they got together it wasn't romantic. The way they broke up is sad but real. The ultimate message about how to let go of the first love isn't uplifting just depressing. So why watch a movie like this?

Neon Naege Banhaesseo
(2011)

Showcase for musical talents of Jung Yong Hwa and Park Shin Hye
Anyone who watched and enjoyed You're Beautiful will want to check out this light college rom com with lots of singing. The songs are tuneful and sung by the actors. The songs are repeated too many times though. Members of CN Blue like Kang Min Hyuk gets to show his skill as a drummer and lead singer Jung Yong Hwa gets to showcase his multi talents. Park Shin Hye doesn't have a very strong voice but her charm is in full force in this series.

The weakness is in some dated plot elements to create drama. The obstacles are a little bit contrived like grandpa's opposition and the pushy mother cancelling the whole performance because her daughter can't sing. The scandal of the hotel is okay though - quite in fitting with the plot. I didn't like the obstacle in the last 2 episodes about his injury. It felt frustrating and stupid. But that is typical of some K dramas from 10 years ago.

Jinsimi Dadda
(2019)

Pleasantly entertaining
Enjoyable and pleasant rom com. Surprisingly even though there is nothing too groundbreaking in the subject matter it managed to entertain for 16 episodes. The cast is likeable and the characters are mostly nice people for a change. There isn't a reliance on frustrating love triangles, misunderstandings or in law disapprovals that plague earlier K drama shows. The humor is simple but effective and avoids silliness. A couple of fairly interesting crimes keep the story going.

Lee Dong Wook acts quite well as the lawyer who is clueless about dating. The man bangs make him look strange though. Yoo In Ah isn't the most beautiful actress out there but she plays the character of an actress working as a secretary in a law firm with sweetness charm and avoids being annoying even when she is acting cute. The 2 are in their late 30s and you would think the cute actions might be silly but somehow it's funny. The supporting cast is okay as well.

If you need to recover from a makjang drama or something too serious then this is a good one.

Keu Namjaui Chak 198Jjeuk
(2008)

Simple story with nice leads in early days
This is a simple story nicely told with 2 watchable leads. Eugene is a sweet and natural actress and plays a librarian. Lee Dong Wook plays a chef who had trouble coping with a loss of his girlfriend. As a coping mechanism he behaves like she is alive and goes to the library to look up a page 198 in many books. Just a little trauma to deal with. Not much angst for a change.

Ok but not a must watchz.

Loosideu deurim
(2017)

Didn't quite get it
Somehow I didn't get the whole premise of how all that stuff could happen by going into dreams. If you can get past that then there are some Hollywood quality effects of destruction and stuff. Go Soo is a convincing actor and looks concerned enough as he searches for his son by going into the dreams that can be shared. It's a modern show and not too long just didn't feel much for the characters because the whole set up didn't convince.

Hanoi Bride
(2005)

Insightful Korean Vietnamese romance movie
This movies packs what could have been a short series into a movie. Things move quickly so there is no frustrating dragginess that affects many 16 episode series. On location filming in Vietnam Hanoi and Halong Bay and in Korea in Bosung Tea fields is pretty. The topic of Korean men and their relationships with Vietnamese women is quite insightful and it is handled with realistic humor too. The actress doesn't look or sound too Vietnamese. But it doesn't matter that much. Lee Dong Wook acts quite well as the doctor who falls for a Vietnamese interpreter. They even throw in some parental disapproval and romantic entanglements and misunderstandings. Things get sorted out quickly enough. Worth a watch.

Guga-ui Seo
(2013)

The most exciting costume drama
Hands down to date in 2021 this is the most enjoyable well written and directed and superbly exciting historical K drama. Unlike many costume dramas it doesn't lose steam or get bogged down in repetitive palace intrigue. There is a wonderful blend of mythical creatures, a strong love story with plenty of romantic beautifully filmed magical scenes and songs sung by the actors, and meaningful and exciting fighting action not just filler action. The story starts off strongly with the romance of the parents of the main character played by Lee Yeon Hee and Choi Jin Hyuk who is a scene stealer here and later on. Later on the younger crowd takes over and they are appealing and charming. Lee Seung Gi has the personality that is so likeable he shows why he gets so many roles over handsomer actors. His transformations are good not Twilight over the top. Suzy Bae is just so sweet and feisty - never annoying. What a star. The supporting cast is good to with early roles of Sung Joon and Yoo Yeon Seok.

Even if you think you might be bored with costume dramas this one is different from those before or after.

Sweet & Sour
(2021)

Slick and quite clever
This slick contemporary movie is quite engrossing. A couple fall in love and then they drift out of love because of work and physical exhaustion. He starts working with a new colleague. It's hard to discuss this show without the time twist at the end which I thought was quite clever but the viewer needs to keep up at the end. When you look back it does make sense, It's just an expectation of a cliche that made the viewer assume certain things and it's good how things played out. Realistic instead of fantasy. The cast is well chosen. Krystal and Jang Ki Yong are convincing as smart looking modern career young people. Chae Soo Bin is right for the role as nurse. I liked it.

Onli yoo
(2005)

Starts strong but drags in the second half
The start is good with fast moving story and on location filming in Vicenza and Venice. The leads are attractive too. The little love child is cute. Later on things move back to Korea but a little too fast. Since they were all the way in Italy couldn't they have filmed more there?

The last third is repetitive beyond belief and at least 4 episodes could have been cut. Also the fanatical behaviour of the secondary leads is too obsessive and repetitive even by early 2000s K drama standards. Also why the sister was like that baffles me. Started to get irritated with the heroine for frustrating behaviour.

The ending is complete but rushed. Could have spent a few more minutes happy and resolving the other characters in a more pleasant way.

49 Il
(2011)

Amazingly well written story that refreshingly goes against some cliches
The story is a marvel of construction and it is amazing how everything fits in and is explained without plot holes. Once you accept the basic premise of borrowing the body all the scenes and dialogue make sense and the complex situations and characters come together logically and seamlessly. It takes concentration to remember who knows what when but it pays off.

Nam Gyu Ri is pretty and expressive and suits the optimistic girl Ji Hyun perfectly. The lead actor Jo Hyun Jae is quite passionate and convincing. The villains played by the stunningly beautiful Seo Ji Hye and the usually good guy Bae Soo Bin are well thought out and sympathetically handled. They are so likeable usually in other roles that it was not easy at first accepting them as the antagonists but this is what made the show so balanced. I love the way that the less financially well off people aren't made to be the good ones and the wealthier ones are not the bad ones. In this way the series doesn't fall into cliches that plague some K dramas. It is realistic that sometimes the wealthier person has good intentions but the recipient of the help is jealous instead of appreciative. This is a fact and should be shown more often.

Lee Yo Won does a good job differentiating her 2 characters the depressed self and the one occupied by Ji Hyun. As a bonus the Scheduler Jung Il Woo is quite memorable and his side story is poignant. The ending is realistic as far as a show like this can get with a nice little twist. Although some may have hoped for a more fairy tale ending.

One of the best written K dramas out there.

Gwimul
(2021)

Overrated heavy going and confusing
The story is unnecessarily confusing. Best screenplay? It jumbles up the time sequence for no good reason. The acting is one dimensional. Shin Ha Kyun smiles inappropriately and that is supposed to be great acting? Too much is filmed in the dark. Same morose tone for too long. The 2 heroes are so uninteresting as characters and so unlikeable. In contrast to the better K dramas the villains here are just defined by their crimes and don't have any justification. The plot doesn't have that much to it. They could have fit the whole story in 12 episodes if they left out unnecessary scenes and lengthy repeats at the start of each episode. Best series? IOTNBO was so much better more original and more enjoyable. As a crime show Flower of Evil was way more involving and 10 times more exciting. The Baeksang awards got it wrong this year.

Skip this heavy going boring dud.

Recalled
(2021)

Good story - Seo Ye Ji is a great actress
A woman wakes up with amnesia. As flashes of memory come back she starts to suspect her husband. It may seem this set up has been done before. But then there is a twist that even seasoned movie goers might not expect and explains things well. If the viewer finds it confusing at first just concentrate to distinguish flashbacks from the present. Because the twist is good the latter half is quite good too unlike other shows where things fall off after the twist. Here it becomes involving emotionally in a uniquely Korean way.

Seo Ye Ji is beautiful and does the vulnerable thing well. She is different in different roles. Completely different vibe from It's Okay. I guess she acted so well in It's Okay people confused her for her character. This movie is extra poignant because of the absurd scandal that hit Seo Ye Ji around the premiere. Really hope this isn't her swan song. She is so beautiful and talented. She must come back.

Je-bbang-wang Kim-tak-goo
(2010)

Quite a heartwarming show if too long
There is a heartwarming message about goodness in this series that borders on preachy but still is palatable. Lots of baking and you will probably want to eat some bread after this. The series is longer than it should be by maybe 5 episodes and there are some not exactly painful but unnecessary scenes. Some serious plot holes too - like why didn't this person just do this or say that. Too many tears and crying by the men of this series. A few too many setbacks and sufferings and missed connections.

The series starts off quite strongly with the illegitimate thing and all and the kids act for about 5 or 6 episodes but they are quite good. Later when they grow up the baking thing comes and the competition is a bit draggy. The way the romances don't dominate the story. When the romance plays out isn't cliched - it's quite unexpected and the secondary romance about damaged people is actually more interesting.

Here is a chance to see some future stars in their first breakout roles. Yoon Shi Yoon gives a winning performance that makes him likeable even when he could be irritatingly frustrating and he does act well in the touching moments. Joo Won has to glare and scowl a lot and he does it quite well. It's a pity Lee Young-ah didn't look very attractive here. Eugene Kim is stunningly beautiful.

If the series had been shorter and the bad parts edited out it would have been better. Still it's easy to see why it was such a hit.

Deobeulpaeti
(2021)

Not enough connection between the characters
Wasn't a lot of connection between the two main characters. He did his sports training and she did her TV career stuff. But they didn't do much together. Didn't seem like a love story - just a story of 2 people doing their own things. He looks convincing in his part as does she. It felt a bit pointless though.

Noble, My Love
(2015)

Harmless but it's nothing special
If you don't expect too much for a web series then this is alright. Lame at times and totally predictable it isn't offensive. Sung Hoon looks the part of CEO. She looks quite pretty but makes too many scowling faces. The brother is quite funny. Some 50 shades jokes fall flat because their romance is so tame.

Soosanghan Pateuneo
(2017)

Some good parts but loses steam
The blend of comedy and murder thriller makes things watchable at least for the first two thirds. Ji Chang Wook and Nam Ji Hyun are cute together. She is likeable until she gets frustrating later on. He looks quite refined as a prosecutor. Later on after they hook up the romance back and forth becomes irritating and frustrating and the murder itself is more interesting. The serial killer is actually more fascinating than you would think initially and is suitably scary when necessary. Kwon Nara and Choi Jin Tae are the secondary leads who are both quite okay to watch. The series drags towards the latter part. The mysteries about the deaths take a long time to reveal - if things had been explained earlier it would have been better. 16 episodes would have sufficed. Then the irritating parts could have been left out.

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