phd_travel

IMDb member since December 2009
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Reviews

Death on the Nile
(2022)

A travesty
Any Agatha Christie fan will want to check this out. But be prepared to be irritated and downright angry when comparing it to the original version.

The whole tone is dark and unpleasant not delightful and entertaining as it should be. The WW1 segment is unnecessary. The dance scene is vulgar and out of place with the times. The addition of ethnically diverse know it all characters is annoyingly woke. The film was not filmed on location and the CGI is too obvious. Why wrongly recreate the pyramids so close to the Nile? The Aswan hotel was so wrong. The boat was unrealistic. So the magic of Egypt that was a big part of the original version is missing. The casting is bad. Everyone except Armie and Gail are not appealing. Emma Mackey is no Mia Farrow. She just looks angry not unhinged. Kenneth Branagh played Poirot as scowling and unpleasant. Armie's accent was fake. Once the beautiful Gail was out it felt like the rest were just not worth watching.

All the recent remakes of Agatha Christie movies like Orient Express are far worse than the 70s and 80s movies.

They got to stop letting film makers like Kenneth ruin them.

Uncharted
(2022)

Despite major flaws it's an ok adventure.
This action adventure treasure hunt movie is OK. Not that bad but not a must watch. Some fun parts and some that felt off. Don't expect anything too ground breaking or magical.

The good points: The on location filming in Barcelona is well done. The flying pirate ships are fake but fun. It's hard to add new life to this kind of show. There are some brisk action sequences. The cinematography is ok. And it doesn't get boring or annoying. So there is entertainment value.

Faults: The actress Ali had no chemistry with Tom Holland. So the romance element was missing and that is crucial to this kind of show. Her character was so unlikeable.

Tom Holland tries hard and he is enthusiastic. Still he is nondescript looking and lacking in charisma compared to heroes of Indiana Jones, The Mummy etc. His small stature although not a fatal flaw to the movie but it does make a difference and the movie does suffer because of it. They even make a joke about how him and Mark Wahlberg's being vertically challenged.

Antonio Banderas played a rather strange villain. Don't get his motivation.

I don't regret watching it at all. Just don't expect too much.

Annarasumanara
(2022)

Too much about her, not enough about him
This 6 episode story is too much about her. Not enough about him. The ending tries to go back a little to fill in the blanks but feels rushed. Slow plot progress for the first 5 episodes. On the plus side the series starts off visually appealing. And the magic tricks are well done. The actors including Ji Chang Wook sing well enough. It's interesting at first to see how a musical series is handled. Choi Sung Eun looks slightly too old to play a high school girl. Jo Chang Wook sports long hair to seem more magician like but the style doesn't suit him and makes his face look gaunt.

Not a great series.

Operation Mincemeat
(2021)

Not as good as "The Man Who Never Was"
The Man Who Never Was, the old 1956 movie was much better in terms of focus of the story. Operation Mincemeat played up a silly romantic relationship between Montagu and Leslie played by Colin Firth and Kelly MacDonald. This was probably not true and feels contrived. The beginning is confusing because lots of mutterings with Colin Firth's mumbling hard to understand. Also Matthew McFayden's character's fuss about the dead body felt added on and trivial amidst the war.

The 50s movie had a scary Irish Nazi spy played by Stephen Boyd. That was very exciting.

Worth a watch for those interested in WW2 spy stories.

Nooni Booshige
(2019)

Unique original touching and sad
The story is totally different from other dramas. I wasn't bored at all because it's so unpredictable. If you feel confused don't worry, things come together in a well constructed and well written way. The much praised ending episodes are sad but complete and ties up things sufficiently to leave the viewer satisfied.

There are many unique things about this show. Firstly unlike the usual age swap shows instead of getting young the character gets old. So we see things from an older person's perspective. Also the love is so unique coming from an old woman towards a young man. The humor is unexpected with the brother quite amusing. This show keeps you watching till the end because it's so strange. Makes one think about life.

The cast is superb. Kim Hye Ja the veteran actress has a tough role and she does a great job. Han Ji Min is quite sweet and feisty here. Nam Joo Hyuk displays impressive range from romantic to depressed and tragic. Not a fluffy role at all.

Unforgettable series.

Bulgeundal Pureunhae
(2018)

Needed serious shortening
This over long series deals with child abuse and someone is killing the abusers. The villains are quite despicable and the kids act well. But the way the story unfolds is too slow and frustrating.

The mysteries are dragged out. But it's quite obvious after a while who the perps are. After you can guess what will happen, there isn't much excitement and there isn't a twist.

The characters are not likeable or sympathetic. The main character is not a very good or effective child counsellor. She misses everything. And the police officer spent all his time bringing down the people who were getting the bad guys. Only like Nam Gyu Ri whose character is underused.

Not a must watch.

Welcome to Wedding Hell
(2022)

Lessons for those contemplating marriage
Couples getting married need to watch this. Everyone can learn from the practical issues and real life problems like how much to spend on gifts buying a home and the ceremony and in law personalities. Feelings get hurt during the preparations and it's quite a minefield to navigate. Two likeable stars everyone knows helps make it a relatable watchable show.

If you enjoy this there is an older show from 2012 Can We Get Married? That deals with similar preparations and problems which is very entertaining and longer.

This topic is always interesting so it's worth a watch. Lots to learn as you see different points of view. Although I like both leads I am more sympathetic to the groom to be's character. She seems fussy sulky and not understanding.

Seumool
(2015)

Makes good use of each of the stars
This is a funny clever movie about 3 friends of age twenty learning about life and love. Each faces different problems with their relationships. The humor is sharp and witty. Kim Woo Bin is good as the playboy. Junho is good as the one facing family financial problems. Kang Ha Neul is the college guy who falls for the wrong woman. Some may be put off by the explicit sexual references now and then but it's a refreshing change from the too PG dramas. After all movies are where they can let loose,

Look forward to more from this director / writer.

Soundtrack #1
(2022)

Short and sweet star vehicle
If not for the star quality of the versatile and lovely Han So Hee and Park Hyung Sik, this show would have been formula and forgettable. The story isn't groundbreaking at all. But since it is them, fans will want to watch. This show is only 4 episodes so it doesn't drag. One thing I like is he didn't sacrifice his career for her. He did his thing and she did hers. Then got together when things were right. The little potential other love interests like her manager who was too old for her and his colleague were absolutely no threat at all. Little highlights are Lee Jeung Eun as mom who looks nothing like her!

Still worth a watch for fans.

Our Blues
(2022)

Insightful touching and totally charming
From the beginning this series involves the viewer in the characters. This series boasts insightful portrayals of romances and friendships that is in turns dramatic, laugh out loud funny and touching. The characters are flawed and human and their problems including financial and mental and many hardships feel real and universal. An enchanting Continental accordion soundtrack and Italian songs add to the island atmosphere. The director is good a keeping the different characters and flashbacks clear and avoiding confusion.

The cast is so perfect it's almost like the roles were written for them. The central character played by the bubbly Lee Jung Eun is lovable. Han Ji Min also looks pretty and sweet here. There are terrific appearances from Cha Seung Won who plays depressed better than any actor and Uhm Jung Hwa who is just perfect as a pretty friend. Among the male leads, Lee Byung Hun is totally convincing and the intense Kim Woo Bin makes a strong return to the small screen.

The writer of this show previously did Padam Padam, It's Okay That's Love and That Winter the Wind Blows. Those shows lost steam during the series. Our Blues has so many characters and different stories that things never drag. Also even if some issues have been done before the way the director and writer handle them in Our Blues makes them fresh and moving. This omnibus format is a welcome change from the series format to keep things interesting.

Didn't imagine a show about seafood market workers in Jeju could be so good. This is a must watch show and one of the finest K dramas ever made.

A Business Proposal
(2022)

Funny for the most part
It's not easy to sustain a comedy for too long. It's great this show is only 12 episodes so things move along. It takes lots of familiar kdrama rom com plot devices blind dates, different financial status romances and pokes fun at them. Some of the time it succeeds especially later on. Sometimes it's painful but not too often. Liked the cast including Kim Se Jeong who is lively throughout but the two personas aren't very different. Ahn Hyo Seop is better when in the second half. The secondary couple Kim Min Kyu and Seol in Ah are pretty good and she is a natural comedienne.

Worth a watch.

Dangshinui Hawooseuhelpeo
(2018)

Quite involving and deep series
This isn't a superficial series like the title may suggest. It's surprisingly sensitive story about people with trauma of different types and the characters are quite quirky and unpredictable. The house helper helps people with more than just their home messes but the underlying traumas that these messy people have. The issues are serious but aren't treated in a heavy handed manner. The series gets more involving as things go along. The first episodes need some concentration to figure out the relationships but once that is done it's fine. This is a good role for the cast members including Ha Seok Jin and Bona who are generally likeable and watchable. Especially liked Lee Min Young as the manager. I wasn't bored at all during the 16 episodes because of the many characters there is quite a lot of story for each. Along the way it is fun to learn about cleaning and tidying and it's quite relatable since there are people I know who really are messy and need help. I think many will recognise messy people they know in this show.

Twenty Five Twenty One
(2022)

Endearing performance of KTR but the story is a downer
This series isn't as good a sports series as weightlifting Fairy or Fight for My Way. There are some good points but the story isn't uplifting because the ending is depressing.

The plus points of this show are: Kim Tae Ri acts like a teen convincingly. She is in her thirties. She gives an endearing performance without getting annoying. Nam Joo hyuk's character is quite sympathetic with his financial difficulties vividly and painfully portrayed. Later on it is interesting at times to see the pov of a journalist and his struggles and how his stories hurt people.

There are some faults: The show could have been cut by a few hours. The fencing itself is boring, despite efforts to make this interesting it is a boring sport over in a flash. The main fault is the breakup. Although you know from the beginning they don't end up together it still feels like a downer the way things end. What was the point of all that happened before? It seemed arbitrary and sudden. He just suddenly wanted to work in NY. And she just couldn't work around it. Also why didn't they show who she met and married? And who he ended up with.

Deo Geim: 0shireul Hyanghayeo
(2020)

Needed serious editing
Liked the cast including Lee Yeon Hee so much I tuned in. The earlier part was involving. Giving the villain a justification is the best part of the show. But this show doesn't have enough plot for 16 episodes. So much circling around and repetitive scenes. Towards the latter third it got ludicrous. The car bombing was stupid. The non communication of crucial information was frustrating. Why must the cops stand right next to the bomb disposal team? The romantic plot was handled prudishly for 2019. The hero and heroine are so stupid sometimes I was rooting for the villain played by Im Joo Hwan. This series had an interesting premise. Would have been better at half the length.

Pachinko
(2022)

A step forward for K drama
This series sets new standards for K drama. Cinematography and production values are big budget movie quality. The Western influences in the approach and story are apparent. It has the flavour and epic sweep of a European 19th Century novel. Movies and series showing bad things Japanese people did haven't been that popular recently maybe for political reasons. So this series is remarkable for those who seem to not realise who the villains of Asia in the 20th Century actually were.

Lee Min Ho doesn't appear that much but he is totally effective in a non good guy dramatic role. Elevated beyond rom coms finally. All the cast are superb Japanese and Korean. Veteran actress Youn Yuh Jung is very touching when it counts. Kim Min Ha gives a terrifically moving performance. This is her role of a lifetime and she is luminous.

3 things I didn't like. The silly dance routine opening number. Secondly, the jumping around in time is too frequent. Sometimes it's effective to show contrast and for the narrative. Many times it isn't. Thirdly why is the first season so short? Should have hurried and did 16 straight off.

Hurry up Season 2!

House of Gucci
(2021)

Careful who you marry and don't cheat
True life murder movies are always interesting. This is engrossing from the get go. Wish there had been a bit about how she was caught at the end. Quite tragic how she split the family apart. But he also shouldn't have cheated. Both did wrong. The sets and on location filming are well done.

The actors look fine. Lady Gaga is physically suited to the role. Jared is unrecognisable. It's hard to not overdo or under do the accents. Sometimes it sounded comical. Sometimes the dialog sounded banal and over simplistic but overall it was good.

Worth a watch.

Amsal
(2015)

Confusing at first then excellent
This show starts off confusing with the many different characters and shifting alliances. But if you don't give up and wait it will become clear and it gets exciting and enjoyable. The climax is real inglorious style. Gianna Jun is fantastic.

Edeonui dongjjok
(2008)

Brilliant casting - worth the effort
The excellent cast and acting make this big budget grand saga worth the big commitment. 56 episodes may seem daunting but quite a lot of it was exciting as the story covers a sweep of history in Korea. This uses the basic premise of 2 boys switched at birth from the Steinbeck novel but most of the saga is it's own story. Gangsters and casinos and corrupt politicians are actually not far fetched. When things reach a stale point the story jumps a few years and the characters do evolve.

The beginning in the mining town with the young characters was strong and emotional with great performances from Kim Bum as the younger main character Dong Chul. Lee Mi Sook also acted superbly as the mother but her character go irritating for a lot of the show even more so than the main villain. During the second part when things move to Macau its is quite exciting and Lee Yeon Hee is quite charming and lovely. Song Seung Heon takes over as the main character and acts quite well but he has a terrible hair style at first and moustache but later it gets better. Because of it's length the story there is room for lots of characters to take front stage. The other outstanding actors are Han Ji Hye who gives a very good performance as the conflicted and damaged Ji Hyun and Park Hae Jin as the flawed Myung Hoon who shows the most character growth. Usually long dramas lag in the last third but here it doesn't. When the revelations about the switch at birth start coming to light there is quite a roller coaster of angst and emotion as each person discovers the truth and reacts in their own way. Then alliances change and the painful conflict starts between the brothers. Makes you think about what blood relationships mean.

One of the best things about this show is the casting of the switched brothers looking like their biological parents. Park Hae Jin really looks like Lee Mi Sook and Yeon Jung Hoon looks like Jo Min Ki.

There are some faults. It would have been better if some of the kidnappings beatings and frustrating things had been cut out. About 10% could have been shaved off. And it keeps strong at the end. But in the end I didn't regret the time spent watching this. They don't make epic sagas like this nowadays.

Haeuhhwa
(2016)

Beautiful haunting movie
Absolutely loved this exquisite and beautifully filmed movie set in the dangerous 40s in occupied Korea. Passion jealousy and betrayal combine to male this a mesmerising movie. The songs are haunting. Led by the beautiful Han Hyo Joo the cast is perfect. As if anyone wouldn't choose her!

Hwarang
(2016)

BORING just skip it
There is very little story in this over long costume drama about young warriors. They assembled a cast of good looking actors Park Seo Joon, Park Hyung Sik, Minho, V etc but they forgot to get a story. All they do is prance around fighting dancing, playing games. The hidden king thing just drags on too long. There is little excitement till ep 15.

Go Ara as the female lead is miscast. She made unattractive facial expressions throughout and there was zero chemistry with her costars. Neither looks like they could be in love with her. Brief highlights are Seo Ye Ji's appearances. Such star quality. Park Seo Joon does try hard and acts with intensity. Park Hyung Sik looks like a prince.

What a waste.

Teoneol
(2017)

Good premise although too long for the story
The premise about the time travel catching a killer is good and gets you involved. However after the strong start the main plot gets side tracked and the the show gets bogged down by the individual crimes. It feels like a procedural series with a different story every episode and that breaks the momentum. Not till the 7/8 episodes before the plot moves along and the connections between past and present start coming to the forefront. Then the emotional connection with the characters starts to play a part in the story. Ep 9&10 are quite exciting. Better to just have stuck to the main plot. It doesn't jump around too much in time and itbgets better later when he goes back in time again.

There is humor in the tone and some differences between the 80s and 2017. And that helps. Choi Jin Hyuk is quite good. The female lead professor is too stony faced even if it is part of the character. Should have been a 12 episode series. The last episodes are dragged out especially. Felt repetitive.

And the ending instead of all the goodbyes more time could have been spent showing how he changed things when going back for the last time.

It's a story with potential just too long with unnecessary scenes and dialog that break up the momentum.

Yumieui Sepodeul
(2021)

Entertaining insightful look at a relationship
Surprisingly involving, this modern insightful relationship drama was mostly good. The best part of this series is how it shows both sides of a relationship. The misunderstandings and inner doubts and the difference between what one is saying and thinking are clearly spelt out. The way they had to go through jealousies and financial issues is quite realistic.

The animation isn't childish but serves a purpose to cleverly illustrate the inner voices of the characters. Sometimes it goes on too long.

Kim Go Eun gives a good performance a bit like Cheese in the Trap. Ahn Bo Hyun is good to in a romantic role a 180 from Itaewon class. They are a better match than KGE and Lee Min Ho actually.

About the ending after rooting for them the whole series then it ends like that? I know there is a season 2 coming but I do want them to be together.

Gosa
(2008)

Bad direction and editing waste of a good cast
If only this show had a better director. It could have been a decent horror movie. The continuity is not good. Too much in the dark. Check this out for early work of the pretty Nam Gyu Ri and Kim Bum.

Padam Padam
(2011)

The angel is the best part
A wrongfully imprisoned man and his quest for exoneration and love is a star vehicle for Jung Woo Sung. He doesn't have too many series since he is mainly a movie star. Unfortunately series could have been much better if it had been just 16 episodes instead of 20. There were many repetitive scenes where the characters behaved in a frustratingly stubborn manner especially in the last third. In that way the series does not age well. The whole exoneration could have been sped up by a lot. And the irritating father of the girl doesn't get his just desserts after all that. It was a bit too much to have a terminal illness as well. There is too much crying and shouting even for a 2011 show.

The cast is better than the screenplay. Jung Woo Sung gives a spirited performance. He tries to act rough and uncouth but there are times when he overacts and it makes him look mentally challenged rather than just an ex con. Han Ji Min looks sweet here and her hair is beautiful. Her character got irritating in the middle but pulled through later on. Choi Tae Joon plays the son or not really since he wasn't the biological son. Don't understand the angst after all he was a big kid and could still be close to them while letting the real dad pay for school. Win win. Contrived drama there. The best part of the series is the angel played by Kim Bum. The effects with his wings and flying are magical better than anything Hollywood has done and he dieted until he looked truly angelic.

The ending is open ended. Did he get cured or is he just going to die soon? Why isn't there one more miracle?

Watch if for one of the few Jung Woo Sung series available. But be prepared for a flawed series. If only it was better written.

Love and Leashes
(2022)

PG means PG
Going into this movie it was expected this would be less explicit more romantic K version take on a 50 shades topic. And it was comic and sweeter with a message about people being allowed their own private fantasy lives and yet still be normal people. The reveal to the office felt contrived. It's good when K movies push boundaries and covers different subject matter. Don't expect too sensational a movie and it's okay. The cast is okay fairly charming for a risque topic.

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