Sunday, September 27, 2015

Drama Review: White Christmas


A series of deaths, including murder and suicide, take place over eight days in a private, elite high school deep in the mountains, with the students cut off from the outside world and in highly volatile and unstable emotional conditions. The drama deals with the question of whether evil is organic or environmental, and the potential for adolescents to be extremely empathetic as well as equally cruel.


Deep in the mountains of Gangwon, the private, elite Soo-sin High School is attended by the top 1% of students in the country. Their stellar marks are the result of constant pressure and a strict punishment system, to the point where students avoid any activities outside of studying. It is in this atmosphere that seven students and a teacher remain at school for the winter break, joined by Kim Yo-han (Kim Sang-kyung), a psychiatrist who was forced to take shelter with them after he was injured in a car accident nearby. Stranded from heavy snow, they spend eight days together ― from Christmas Eve to New Year's Day.

Park Mu-yeol (Baek Sung-hyun) is an honor student who chooses to remain in school during the winter break after receiving an abusive letter. Jo Young-jae (Kim Young-kwang) is a detested bully who attacks other people to hide his inferiority complex. Yoon Soo (Lee Soo-hyuk) is a disturbed, but rich student fronting a rock band. Yoon Eun-sung (Esom) was once a popular girl in school before having a sudden change of personality.

At a time when everyone else is celebrating the holidays, the students realize that the anonymous letters they each received were not the result of a harmless prank; there is a murderer in their midst. A question lies unspoken: Are monsters created, or are humans born monsters? - source taken from Wikipedia

Drama Queen thoughts 

I have heard of this popular Mystery-thriller Korean drama and was looking forward to watching the hot and hunky model-actors in the show. Yes, the drama made headline because of its impressive, intriguing and creative story line, jam pack with a bunch of rookie actors. Other than the above strength of this drama, i am also impressed with the character development of all the characters in this drama. One thing to take note is that ALL the actors had their own moments to shine in their own ways. The theme of each episode was well matched with the focus of each story the writers were trying to convey.White Christmas is definitely one of my favorite Korean drama of all times and i am going to tell you why when i do a drama recap of the drama in my next post. Despite having 8 episodes in total, the story was well pace and there is never a dull moment in the drama special. Here is an introduction to the characters in the drama:

Lee Soo Hyuk as Yoon Soo

Character: Cool, weird, Troubled

Yoon Soo was born in a rich family. His father is one of the associates of the school, having spend lots of money to get his only son into the private school. He had a bad childhood which left him emotionally unstable. Therefore, he took drugs to relief his pain and to escape the "monster in the corner," Most of the time, he was seen hiding in a corner with his headphone on his ears. He has aspired to be a musician and eventually escape from this school but an unexpected incident caused his dream to burst into bubbles. Lee Soo Hyuk is one hot model with a "blank" expression. His character in the drama is mainly starring blankly without much dialogue. The moment that he shined in his acting skills is when he slipped into depression and struggled with his "inner demon".

Hong Jong-Hyun as Lee Jae-Kyu

Character: Quiet, pleasant

Lee Jae-Kyu is a meek and pleasant teenager that does not seem to have any enemies. He enrolled into this school as a replacement after another student left the school. He is a quiet person that apparently seem to be harmless and is always following orders from anyone that is in control at that moment. (Yo-Han, Mireu, Choi Chi Hoon, Moo Yul).  Most of the time, he simply blended into the background, being rather unnoticeable. Somehow, i feel hat Jae Kyu seem to be hiding something about himself. I have a feeling that this person is not as simple as we see. Hong Jong-Hyun nailed the role in the drama with his subtle facial expression and and a sudden expressive of emotions in one of the scene. 

Baek Sung-Hyun as Park Mu-yeol

Character: Upright, heroic

Park Moo-Yul is a hardworking student who is very intelligent but could never surpass Choi Chi Hoon. His father is a doctor and his mother sacrificed herself to save him when he was a child. As a result, he felt indebted to his mother and tried his best to live his life but was burdened by the fact that he caused his mother death. Baek Sung-Hyun did well in his leading role as the heroic Park Moo Yul. He shined in the scene where his struggled with himself to save Choi Chi Hoon or leave him to die, since he had always been secretly jealous of Chi Hoon and hated him to the core for stealing his thunder.

Sang Joon as Choi Chi Hoon

Character: Intelligent, cool, calm, aloof

Choi Chi Hoon is a genius that always achieve the first place in school.  He live in his own world pretty much like Yoon Soo and he apparently does not recognize or remembers his fellow classmates. There is a reason why he does not associate much with others and he does not show his emotion easily. Later on in the episode it is known that he is unable to be in touch with his feelings, to put it simply is that he has a lack of emotion because of the way his brain function. I love Sang Joon in this role as Choi Chi Hoon. He is so cool and calm in every situation, there seem to be nothing he could not accomplish! 

Kwak Joon Wook as Yang Kang-Mo

Character: Observer, Inferior complex

Yang Kang-Mo is hearing impaired and he enjoys photography using his camera. He looked suspicious and creepy sometimes. There were other times when he came across as sensitive and mysterious, keeping to himself most of the time. Behind that smile, he seem to have some inferiority complex and he chose to be an "outsider" sitting on the fence to view the things that happens around him. I am pleased with his character development towards the end of the series. Talking about his growth, i am a little surprised that he has decided to be a participant in a situation rather than being a "camera". 

Kim Woo Bin as Kang Mireu

Character: Fearless, daredevil, Smart

I can't seem to think of any actor that is able to portray Kang Mireu as well as Kim Woo Bin does. Yes, I love the different layers of this character. Kim Woo Bin have great screen presence and has a bad ass attitude, I like his smile and his every single gesture make his character very charismatic and attractive. Kang Miireu represented one of the alpha male  among the other two (Choi Chi Hoon and Park Moo Yul). 

Kim Young Kwang as Jo Young Jae

Character: Coward, bully, violent, self-centered

Jo Young Jae is the least favorite character among all the boys in my opinion. He is a coward that puts on a brave front, while resorting to violence to protect himself. He refused to let people know about his insecurity and he only bullies people who are weaker than him. We clearly sees that he does not dare to touch the alpha males in the group and was afraid of them. After he revealed his childhood memories about his abusive and overbearing mum, i can understand why Young Jae is confused about moral values. I sympathize with him, having been brought up in such an environment where he learn to be self centered and is unable to tell what is right and wrong. It is true that Jo Young Jae is not a bad person, he is only too weak. 

Esom as Yoo Eun Sung

Character: Cold, distant

Yoo Eun Sung used to be a cheerful and bright girl in high school. She became cold and distant after her mother affair with the chauffeur. Not only that, she encountered another blow when Moo Yul broke up with her.  She even entertained the thoughts of committing suicide and fortunately survived. I do not have much comment on Esom, except that she did moderately well in her role and is fortunate enough to work with those hot model-actors on this film. 

Kim Sang Kyung as Kim Yo Han

Character: Evil, twisted, manipulative

Kim Yo Han is a serial killer and is a  psycho who tried to be God by executing those people that he deem unworthy to live in this world. He is a very manipulative person that has lost his morale compass along the way in his life, I had always suspected this mysterious person and my intuition is right after all. I supposed Yo-Han is also a good psychologist, having help the students to solve their personal issue. His question about monster is created or was nurtured leave us pondering about this subject too. 

Friday, September 11, 2015

WGM Rooftop couple: Hong Jong Hyun and Kim Yura

Why I love this onscreen couple? The reason why I root for this virtual marriage is because of their fabulous chemistry. I have great interest in their interaction since they met each other in the first episode. I wonder how their "relationship"  will progress since they have opposite personality which created a great contrast between them. How to melt our "impenetrable" ice prince heart? Ulsan Princess Yura has also shown us her irresistible charm in We Got Married. Now if only their marriage is real! That must be the most beautiful fairy tale story ever. :)

1) Gentleman Vs Sweet lady

Yes, Hong Jong Hyun is a gentleman and he always show this cool image onscreen. Although he has never do anything in particular romantic such as opening the car door for his lady, he did treat Yura tenderly like what a gentleman does for a girl. I love it when Hong Jong Hyun took this sweet couple picture together with his wife. On the other hand, Yura is also an understanding wife despite her child-like personality. She did not blame Jong Hyun for missing the Bali trip due to Jong Hyun busy schedule. In addition, she treated Jong Hyun very well such as cooking for him and buying gifts for her virtual husband. 

2) Hot Vs Sexy 

Hong Jong Hyun is a professional model, but he has lost his composure when faced with our cutie pie Yura. Who can resist this charming young lady? I love how nervous and shy Hong Jong Hyun felt during the photo shot. Yura even heard his heartbeat racing while lying down on Jiong oppa. What a lovely couple! I love their wedding pictorial book and Yura shorts is really quite short, i am sure Hong model has been trying hard to concentrate in front of the camera. 

3) Handiwork Vs Drawing

Both of them may be in total contrast in term of personality wise, however there were some things which they are similar. For example, Yura is gifted in drawing and I was impressed with the stretch of her husband. On the other hand, Jjiong oppa is good with his hands, making an easel board for his Ahyoungie. It is good that they admire each other talent and skills, i am sure they do learn more about building a relationship during this period of time in We Got Married. Love is in the air! 

4) Push Vs Pull

Hong Jong Hyun seem to have more dating experience than Yura. It is very obvious that Yura like Jong Hyun very much, whereas Jong Hyun does not give much attention or reaction as compared to Yura. However, Jong Hyun is actually slowly warming up and observing Yura during this period of time. They did a little push and pull in this relationship. Most of the time, Yura took the initiative to get closer but Jong Hyun seem willing to obliges to Yura wish. As long as the wish is reasonable, Jong Hyun will follow Yura lead. It is funny how Jong Hyun play the dominance part in their "relationship" but reluctantly give in to his young and cute wife. Many times during the interview, Jong Hyun praised Yura for being cute. Undeniably, they like each other as a partner in We Got Married. 

5) Impenetrable prince Vs Bubbly princess 

I noticed that Hong Jong Hyun may look cool and distant to people especially strangers, but he often smiled and even sneak a peek at Yura every now and then. He often look at Yura adoringly despite being inexpressive. Yura had accomplished her mission which is to break the wall between them. Her contagious laughter, expressive nature, aegyo and pure innocence is her charm. Being around someone like her who has high energy and is approachable definitely makes the people around them happy and comfortable. They seem to find their ideal type in each other. 

6) Oppa Vs Dongseung 

Hong Jong Hyun had mentioned that Yura look too young for him. His friends also revealed that he used to date girls that are of the same age or older than him. I heard that the reason being his unwillingness to "babysit" someone. It seems like he is reluctant to take care of his girlfriend. However, he seem to naturally takes care of Yura in We Got Married and he even claimed that he does not dislike it. Yura said that Jjiong oppa is like a father to her, he must be good in taking care of our clumsy princess. Been described as a "father" figure must sounds weird and funny to Jong Hyun but I am sure it feels good to be praised by his wife. Yura may have some childish behavior but she is so bright and lovable. I am sure Jiong oppa is happy to spend time with his lovely Dongseung. 

7) Introvert Vs Extrovert 

Hong Jong Hyun is shy and quiet, whereas Yura is friendly and talkative. Their character complement each other perfectly  and make their pairing so interesting. I observed that Jong Hyun often smile at Yura and enjoys listening to her. He remembers many things about Yura during their interaction. For instance, Yura mentioned that she cannot hold on to something for long and she is choosy about foods. Her favorite food is actually beef. It is kind of sweet that Jong Hyun surprisingly take note of these small details. On the other hand, Yura is also very sporting and does whatever her Jjiong oppa request her to do. 

8) Dog Vs Cat

They are different like dog and cat. However, they look so good together visually. Hong Jong Hyun has a dog named Haerong and Yura has a cat at home. Yes, their character resemble their pets too. Yura is the sexy and cute kitten and Jong Hyun is like a playful dog that enjoys teasing Yura. Their relationship is like a comfortable friendship with an opening for romance. Remember Yura mentioned that Jong Hyun look like her cat? Therefore it is true that people who are in love resemble each other. On the other hand, Yura is like a cute puppy during the pool side scene, paddling like a dog trying to swim.

9) Deep thinker Vs Pure innocence 

Hong Jong Hyun is a deep thinker. Most of the time, he look so serious and cautious. However, I think he has transformed and change into a more cheerful person now. Ahyoungie has indeed make him loosen up and smile more as compared to their awkward first time meeting at MBC Station. Yura on the other hand is very straightforward in expressing herself but she has been more calm whenever she is together with her Jjiong oppa. 

10) Competitive Vs Competitive 

Despite being as different as night and day, there is something similar about them and that that is having the same competitive spirit. If there is game to win prizes, this cute couple will definitely try their best to win. Remember the pepero game which shocked everyone? That is the cute thing about this couple. There are numerous time when this couple showed that they wanted to win in games. I like how fast the couple was made to connect and to rush things a little for us viewers to watch their progression through missions and mini games. Getting married within meeting each other for the first time and spending just two hours? They must have broke the record for getting married the fastest in We Got Married history. Good Job to the program director! Well if only Jjionah couple has more segments and episodes, to feed my greedy heart. Anyway, i am pleased to hear that this couple will continue to contact each other after they parted ways in We Got Married.

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

DramaQueen pick: Tearjerker Japanese flims

1) One litre of tears

Plot: This drama is based on the real-life struggles of a 15-year-old girl named Aya who suffered from an incurable disease, but lived life to the fullest until her death at 25. The script is based on the diary Aya kept writing until she could no longer hold a pen. The book that later followed, entitled, One litre of tears has sold over 1.1 million copies in Japan alone.

Fifteen-year-old Ikeuchi Aya is an ordinary girl, soon to be high school student and daughter of a family who works at a shop that makes tofu. As time passes, unusual things start happening to Aya. She begins falling down often and walking strangely. Her mother Shioka, takes Aya to see the doctor, and he informs Shioka that Aya has - spinocerebellar degeneration a rare disease where the cerebellum of the brain gradually deteriorates to the point where the victim cannot walk, speak, write, or eat. A cruel disease, as it does not affect the mind.

Drama review: Based on a real story, Aya lived a tough life which we can't even imagine! Although the love story was added into the story line, it was never the main focus of the drama. Aya never had a chance to fall in love, let alone live a normal life. I cried while watching the show as it was like witnessing the disease slowly ate up Aya. However, Aya optimism and her determination to live on demand respect from everyone. Who can live a life like Aya? I cannot imagine myself in that condition and insisted to write a journal which eventually published as a book. 

2) Love Letter

Plot: Hiroko Watanabe (Miho Nakayama) lives in Kobe. Her fiancé, Itsuki Fujii, was tragically killed in a mountaineering accident. One day Hiroko finds Itsuki’s old school yearbook, from the time he lived in Otaru, Hokkaido. She finds an address in the book. She writes a letter and sends it to that address.

Itsuki Fujii (Miho Kakayama) lives in Otaru. She receives the letter a few days later: “Dear Itsuki Fujii. How Are you? I am fine. Hiroko Watanabe.” She is a little disturbed by the letter, but decides to write back.

Hiroko is astonished when she receives a reply. She goes to discuss it with Shigeru Akiba. When her fiance Itsuki was alive, Shigeru and Itsuki were mountaineering partners. After Itsuki’s death, Shigeru thought very seriously of marrying Hiroko. But the memory of Itsuki was a barrier between them. Soon, Hiroko discovers that the reply came from her fiance's classmate and namesake, Istuki Fujii, a woman. The two women begin a strange correspondence.

Movie review: This Japan film was beautifully shot considering that it was a 1995 box office hit movie. I like the calmness and the sentimental feeling of this movie. The last few minutes of the film had me in tears and reaching out for tissues. I was sniffing when I saw the part where Takashi Kashiwabara stood behind the window curtain. A beautiful life was lost due to that freak incident. The big revelation towards the end, stirred up all my emotions and I can empathize her heart break. The moral of the story is to confess your feeling before it is too late. There is a bitter taste of regret after the movie ended. 

3) Kamisama, Mou Sukoshi Dake (God, give me more time) 

Plot: A touching love story about a girl Kano Masaki (Fukada) who contracted HIV after selling her body in order to earn money for the concert of a famous composer Ishikawa Keigo (Kaneshiro). After the concert, Keigo saw Masaki chasing after his van. She was drenched, and thus Keigo took her to his apartment, where they spent the night. 

Drama review: This Jdrama is a tragic story since the beginning. I don't understand why Masaki chose to sell her body at the first place. Some people said that she deserved it for she is too naive. However, she had suffered the consequences and she regretted her decision. Get ready for some tissues as you watch this drama, you would sympathize with her situation. This drama actually brought to light about HIV awareness and the danger of casual sex. Will true love overcome all the adversity?

4) Mother

Plot: Matsuyuki plays the part of Nao Suzuhara, an elementary school teacher. When she realizes that one of the female students is receiving abuse from her mother, Nao's maternal instincts kick in, and she impulsively decides to bring the girl into her own care. Serving as a substitute mother, Nao takes the child on a trip from Hokkaido to Tokyo, and the two experience various events together along the way.

Drama Review: The little girl deserve so much sympathy. She is so good in conveying emotions through expressions! I am very impressed with this talented young actress. The story line is so touching that makes me want to hug her tightly and tell her everything will be alright. Those moments where the child desperate and helpless Cries for Nao to kidnap her again ended with me tearing up. 

5) Sky of love (Koizura)

Plot: During her freshman year in high school, Mika Tahara loses her cell phone, but later finds it in the school library with the help of an unknown caller. Throughout the summer, Mika and the mysterious caller continue to communicate, and agree to meet each other once school starts again. The caller turns out to be Hiro, a delinquent-like boy that Mika is initially afraid of, who shows proof of his identity as the caller with a photo of the sky on his cellular phone.

From her friends and through her first sexual encounter with Hiro, Mika learns that he had a girlfriend named Saki. Although Hiro reassures her that he broke up with her, Saki, who still is in love with Hiro, holds a vendetta against Mika and hires a group of men to rape her. The horrific encounter ends with Hiro and his older sister Minako punishing both the men and Saki, but Mika continues to be harassed at school when Saki spreads rumors about her. Hiro protects Mika from all of the bullying advances, but she assures him that she's not frightened from being with him.

Mika later becomes pregnant after she and Hiro consummate in the school library. Hiro is thrilled by the news and both of them gain Hiro's parents' permission to raise the child together, although Mika's parents disapprove of the action. Despite this, Mika is determined to have the baby. After an altercation with Saki, the baby's birth ends in a miscarriage. Despaired, Mika and Hiro build a grave for their baby and promise each other to come visit the memorial yearly on the day of the baby's death.

Drama review: This is not a tragic movie at the first glance, however the story soon focus on all the misfortune events that will eventually unfolds some secrets and heartaches. I cried when Hiro passed away due to illness when everything looks more positive for the couple. Sadly, life can be so fragile and depressing. Haruma Miura shines in this drama acting as the unpredictable, depressed and wild Hiro.

6) Byakuyako

Plot: 19 years ago (1972), a pawnshop owner was killed in Osaka. Several suspects were identified. However, the case remained unsolved due to lack of decisive evidence. Since then, Ryoji Kirihara, the son of the victim and Yukiho Karasawa, the daughter of one of the suspects seemed to have walked on separate paths of life. However, mysterious and vicious crimes kept on happening around the two of them. This is an epic story about two persons who lost their conscientiousness from a tragedy.

Drama Review: Byakuyako is another tragic drama with a dark story line. However, the drama is too depressing and the story focus on self defense to manipulation and psychological problems between the main characters. This is a psychological thriller drama that explore about hurts, manipulation and hatred. Be prepared for some mind blowing downward spiral story development later on in the story.