The Fallen Angel (Japanese Movie 2010)

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Movie Rating: 8/10

~Synopsis~

“No Longer Human” tells the story of a young man who has felt since childhood utterly alien from others around him. Since that time he has learned to put on a face to hide his alienation. He feels incapable of belonging to the human society, especially so by society’s refusal to take him seriously. He then follows a descent into alcohol, drugs, & suicide …

Yozo Oba (Toma Ikuta) was born into a wealthy family in Tsugaru. As a child he practiced smiling to hide his true feelings and to get along with others. His classmate Dakeichi found out about Yozo’s eccentric behavior and told others about him. But Dakeichi also told Yozo a strange prediction about his life … that he will become popular with the ladies and draw beautiful pictures.

During Yozo’s high school years he moved to Tokyo. In Tokyo he meets Horiki (Yusuke Iseya), a guy six years older than him. Horiki is known for being a player and one day drags Yozo to the Blue Flower Bar run by Madame Ritsuko (Michiyo Ookusu). At the bar there is poet Chuya Nakahara (Go Morita) who proclaims “war is brown like the color of shit”. Yozo doesn’t say anything as he takes in the environment.

Yozo starts to drink more often and starts to live the fast life like Horiki. Like Dakeichi’s prediction, Yozo also becomes popular with the ladies and always has a woman next to him. But, Yozo starts to become sick of this lifestyle.

At a cafe, Yozo meets Hisako (Shinobu Terajima) a women who lets him drink without paying. Yozo senses that Hisako feels a heavy sense of loneliness like himself. One day Yozo and Hisako attempts to kill themselves out in the Sea of Kamakura. Hisako dies, but Yozo survives. His family then takes Yozo to a sanitarium.

Excerpted from: AsianMediaWiki

I have initially put this movie on hold, since I wasn’t really ready to handle a depressing film as per the initial summary I’ve read at Avistaz but I’m glad I finally got to watch it. The movie is mostly slow and has a really complex story line. Despite that, the portrayal of the actors was top of the line, it felt realistic and they have nailed each character with so much fervor it could actually affect the way you think of the movie.

Upon watching, I feel like the main character Yozo Oba has lived such a bleak existence. He had no sense of purpose and I felt bad for him as he trudged on with his life not knowing where to go, what exactly he wants to achieve or simply not knowing how to live in happiness. Near the end of the film though, there was a glimpse of a little fulfillment and joy in his desolate life, but it didn’t actually last long. Things simply happen and life was being a bitch to him.

Music wise, it was melancholic and enough to make the film into what its tone should be but it’s not something that has wowed me enough to remember it. I’m having second thoughts on re-watching it, probably I will in the far future if I wanted to re-analyze my own life if it has indeed become as depressing as Yozo Oba.

Overall, I would suggest that if someone would decide to check this movie out simply because Ikuta Toma is their bias, think again. It’s not romantic, it’s also devoid of anything funny because this film can sap the happiness out of you like it did for me and lastly it has a heavy atmosphere all throughout its run time. That said, I’m still recommending it because it happened in real life, it is a beautiful memoir and it has fantastic actors to back it up.

Photos are not mine. Credits to the owner.
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Personal Taste (Korean Drama 2010)

Drama Rating: 8/10

Jeon Jin Ho is an architect who dreams of making it big in the industry but somehow luck wasn’t on his side or rather, he didn’t have good connections. In some kind of twisted fate, he meets the naïve Park Gae In by accident in the bus and gets accused of being a Personal Taste Ep 08.avi_002269636pervert. They didn’t know that their lives will become intertwined when Gae In, the daughter of a famous architect gets dumped by her boyfriend for her best friend Kim In Hee who was also her housemate. In these series of unfortunate events in her life, the worst of all was when her debt from the bank was nearing its due date and her co-worker robbed her of her hard earned money. Thus she started looking for a housemate to at least pay her initial debt. Coincidentally Jin Ho wanted to see the interior of the Personal Taste Ep 08.avi_002276443house that Gae In lives in which her father has designed and sneak a peek at the blueprint of the house. Therefor he asked if he could rent the room which Gae In was subletting. With a couple of misunderstanding and some urging from Lee Yeong Seon who’s Gae In’s other best friend, she allowed Jin Ho to stay in her place all the while thinking he was gay. At a certain point, things get tricky when Jin Ho starts to fall for Gae In despite her naivety, brash attitude and unwomanly ways while on the other hand Gae In is also falling for Jin Ho despite the fact that she thinks he’s gay.

This is a really hilarious drama with conflicting emotions to watch. Why? It’s so hard to believe that Lee Min Ho’s character was supposed to a homosexual and that an older man in this drama legitimately liked him with the thought of him as one. The mishaps on how he has to keep his ruse on for the entirety of the drama brought me tears of laughter. There’s the plus point for the supporting actors too, since without them, the comedy wouldn’t be as effective.

Anyways, putting that aside, there’s another reason that made me watch this: Son Ye Jin.

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Yes… the epic melodrama actress. I really wanted to see how she would fare being in a drama romcom. I’ve only seen her once in a rom-com-horror movie with Lee Min Ki, but in a drama, this was a first. I’ve always seen her in melodramatic roles but still, she totally nailed the character of Park Gae In. Though she’s gotten older and her beauty pretty much disappeared in this drama, just because her character’s personality was supposed to be tomboyish and scruffy due to her type of work which was woodcraft, I still love her to bits. Another reason I watched this drama was no other than Lee Min Ho. I know a lot of female Kdrama lovers have been into him one or another in their drama lives and truth be told I’m actually one of them for approximately 7 years ago. It’s probably because of that eye candy, the smile, the tallness, the oozing hotness and fashion sense… that’s all Lee Min Ho in this drama in which he pretends to be gay. I can’t believe he was able to pull off this character despite his manliness.

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The series was quite funny due to its main concept: guy pretends to be gay, girl accepts guy whole heartedly because of his sexual orientation but ends up falling for him and having mixed feelings because she believes he is gay, then the guy falls for the girl but can’t really love her because he’s supposed to be gay. With this as your core plot, there were a lot of things that could happen and eventually it did happen. The only downerPersonal Taste Ep 02.avi_000149516 side of this is when we get to the last 3 episodes and this becomes too serious for my taste. I was sort of disappointed on how they inserted additional conflict to the story along with a twist, when the main conflict – guy pretending to be a gay – was already interesting enough. The twist wasn’t even that strong to make an impact in the whole story line. Just to say. Also there’s the back stabber bestfriend-boyfriend drama all throughout the series which was very much annoying.

All in all, setting those disappointing factors aside, I still end up loving the drama and would recommend it whole heartedly along with the cute memorable OST to listen from.

My Girlfriend is a Gumiho (Korean Drama 2010)

Drama Rating: 10/10

Cha Dae Woong is a young mischievous man who ran away from this grandfather due to certain circumstances, in the process of his escape, he accidentally frees a Gumiho (nine-tailed fox) trapped in a painting for 500 years. It was too late when he realized what happened and in his fear, he also tried to run away from the creature which took theMy Girlfriend is a gumiho (6) form of a beautiful woman. However, he became severely injured and because the Gumiho was grateful for being set free by him, she saved his life by sharing her life force to him. After the incident, the Gumiho has stayed close by Dae Woong for the reason that she had to guard her bead – which was her life force and source of power that she had transferred to him. She also wanted to get by in the modern world and wanted to learn the ways of the people. As time passed by, no matter how annoyed Dae Woong is with the Gumiho’s constant presence, they both slowly start to fall for each other.

My Girlfriend is a gumiho (12)What I love about this drama is the prettiness of Shin Min Ah. It’s as if she doesn’t age at all or more like she keeps getting younger and younger as she grows older. If that even makes sense? Her role here is fresh and cute that I couldn’t take off my eyes on the screen because it’s too unbelievable even if she’s supposed to be a fox. Aside this, the story line is very very amusing. Episode per episode would just send you off smiling and laughing with all those hilarious moments the main characters gets into. This isn’t your My Girlfriend is a gumiho (3)typical romantic comedy where girl loves boy and boy falls for girl… it’s different because the girl is a fox and the boy is human. Then mix in different immortal beings of the world in the picture, like for example a goddess, a goblin and a human half goblin… yeah. Underworld creatures and immortals are invading the story line but it’s what makes it more interesting. Not to forget the OST, it adds to the whole concept of the drama: cuteness, hilarity and love in whatever kind of form.

Photos are not mine. Credits to the owner.

Sungkyunkwan Scandal (Korean Drama 2010)

Drama Rating: 10/10

Rating disclaimer! I have rated this 8 years ago when it aired thus I haven’t seen any outstanding saguek yet and had less to compare to. So this was rated by my younger and ignorant self who really really loved this drama.

This drama was set during the Jeoson era, wherein women are not allowed to participate in the government posts and deemed less than a man. Kim Yun Hee is a young woman who lived during this time. Though brilliant in her studies, responsible and street smart, she’s still a woman and aside that, she’s a commoner. There’s nothing her family could even boast of. Therefore she pretends to be a man just to earn more money than being a woman could. When her young brother’s illness worsens and her family is in danger of being thrown out to the streets, she took the national exam under her younger brother’s name and disguised herself as a man when she passed it. Then she meets the arrogant Lee Seon Joon who comes from a noble family and befriends him despite his personality. In Sungkyunkwan University, she becomes roommates with Seon Joon and comes across Goo Yoo Ha and Moon Jae Shin who are also nobles with odd personalities. When she gets herself involved with the three men, she learns to adapt in the all male environment and tries to desperately survive the school by hiding her true gender.

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Sungkyunkwan Scandal is some sort of a modern type sageuk drama… if that’s even a possible description for it. Why is that? It has all the elements of a modern drama but placed in a historical setting. If this was a real saguek, the story line wouldn’t make sense. Thank goodness there is a disclaimer prior to every episode that this drama is completely fictional even though they did try to relate the timeline to one of the most brilliant king in Jeoson.

Aside that, the drama will consist of a female cross dresser who gets into a lot of mishaps.  This is also one of the dramas that skyrocketed the fame of the main actors. I’m sure anyone would recognize the names I will mention: Park Min Young, Park Yoo Chun, Song Joong Ki and Yoo Ah In. They are practically big names in the industry today, so it’s very impressive to know that they have become household names in Korea today.

As for the story line, try to imagine this: throw a girl in a room of hot blooded boys but ews20100901skk02 make her dress up and pretend to be just like them. That’s exactly the concept of this drama. Then again, I have to reiterate that this is a saguek. An era where women are not given a chance to hold prominence in schools, government or royal standing unless they get married to the king, prince or nobles. If they are caught associating in high ranks like Sungkyunkwan (Joseon’s most prominent university) they get executed as an imperial order. That’s how harsh it was back then. I like how feisty the Kim Yoon Hee’s character is, because despite being a girl, she still keeps fighting forward to protect those who are important to her. Her perseverance also pulled her out of risky situations. I 6d7784efb4c35854fbac82c233929820b1769b8cwouldn’t want any actress to portray her, Min Young was able to convey her character perfectly. Lee Sun Joon on the other hand is one of my least favorite character. I was actually rooting for Moon Jae Shin who was portrayed by Yoo Ah In just because he looked manlier than Sun Joon but I knew that wasn’t going to happen. Anyway… setting that little frustration aside, Yoo Chun did hold up true to his character. Aside from being snooty and demanding, he did have the heart to protect Yoon Hee in times of trouble and despite his short comings, he had a pure heart who only wanted what’s good for Jeoson. Goo Yong Ha on the other hand is the ultimate ladies man. He likes women and they like him more in return. He’s charismatic and good looking that’s why Song Joong Ki gave skk20_029justice to this character. This is simply one of his methods to cover the actual wit that he has because despite being rich he has some secrets to uphold. Lastly, there’s Jae Shin, my favorite character next to Yoon Hee. I like how gruff looking he can be and how rough he acts. Most people see him as a lone wolf but actually, he also longs for companionship that’s why he’s pretty close to Yong Ha. Even though their personalities are polar opposites they still get along with each other pretty well. He is also the type of person who lurks around and protect people from behind the scenes, that’s why it’s so unfortunate that he gets the second lead syndrome. The guy who never gets the girl. There’s goes the deep sigh from my end.

If what I have mentioned was not interesting enough, then it’s best to drop this series. All in all, this drama is one heck of a show. With all those hot young actors to boost any pent up steam plus the fantastic OST that’s very much modern but with a taste of historical feels… it’s definitely worth the watch.

Photos are not mine. Credits to the owner.

Coffee House (Korean Drama 2010)

Synopsis:

Lee Jin Soo made it big after writing several thriller novels and establishing himself as a talented novelist. He works for Seo Eun Young, the owner of the biggest publishing company in Korea, and has a long-time friendship with her. Jin Soo has lots of fans, especially female ones, and he seems to be the perfect match for any woman… but what no one knows is that he is actually a bit weird and sarcastic, has lots of strange habits, and holds a dark secret. The one who has to cope with him and his habits is his secretary, Kang Seung Yeon, who begged him for this job to become a pro instead of the below-average girl that she really is. On top of that, there is also the return of Han Ji Won, Eun Young’s ex-fiance, whom she despises. Ji Won tries to win Eun Young back, but she has her eyes set on Jin Soo.

Excerpted from: MyDramalist

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Words from Me:

I didn’t really want to take note of this drama but it seemed unfair of me to not put my thoughts into it since I did waste 16 hours on it, which I truly regret.

The story line was pretty annoying. I don’t know what the writers were thinking when they started brewing up the plot. It had a weak start and a weak ending. It’s basically about a famous writer who can’t decide how to get on with his life and the person he truly loves. Insert a couple of supporting actors: the secretary who begged to be employed, the publisher whom he has a special history with, the guy who likes the publisher, the guy who likes the secretary, the family of the secretary… then jumble them up all together and you get a twisted romcom drama with a mix of good humor every now and then. The drama was definitely misleading, I hand that to the writers because it definitely did pent up my emotions at a certain length. However as I pushed forward to watch, I eventually had to let go of my frustration because I knew nothing was going to come out of it and the story just sucked and wasn’t my cup of tea.

Notable characters that I did like were: the main character who was portrayed by Kang Ji Wan was a superb actor, based on his drama history but the story for this series didn’t give justice to his acting skills at all. This is also one of Ham Eun Jung’s earlier dramas as she looked pretty young in here.  Then there’s the oh so pretty Park Shi Yeon and the cynical looking guy Jung Woong In who is also a veteran actor to boot. They all have these great cast so I was pretty disappointed with the delivery of this drama.

Though I would have to admit that there were times where I laughed my ass out to some scenes, that still wasn’t enough for me to go on rambling and recommending the drama. It will only be a waste of time. So I’m posting it to say that this is one of those drama’s which people should avoid watching if they are looking for a better story line that actually makes sense. I think the music was alright, but I somehow couldn’t remember it for the life of me.

PHOTOS ARE NOT MINE. CREDITS TO THE OWNER.

 

Pasta (Korean Drama 2010)

Synopsis:

Seo Yoo Kyung is an aspiring chef while Choi Hyun Wook is the head chef with a very bad personality. He hates female cooks so he tries his best to remove all women from his kitchen. However, despite everything he does, Yoo Kyung is the most resilient person he has ever met. She’s the kind of person who never gives up no matter the kind of hardship thus making him drawn to her despite his utter dislike for women.

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Words from Me:

The main story wasn’t much to begin with. Head chef falls in love with one of his co-worker who is a dimwit when it comes to cooking good pasta. The truth is, this drama could have ended at 10 episodes but the producers just had to prolong it and make the story go around in circles, like a merry go round with nothing really exciting happening on the show. They did try to make it exciting by adding good looking casts in the kitchen, but that isn’t enough for me to like it. It was predictable and just made me hungry with all the cooking they did.

pasta11_13This is the kind of drama I would watch just for the sake of finishing it. I wish I could have enjoyed it as much as other people did, but I just can’t. I have this affinity for the male lead character. He’s trying to be a complete jerk by shouting all over the place but it’s not really working. It just makes him annoying. The only redeeming character I like is the female lead. Her life alone makes the whole drama more interesting. Being the daughter of a man who owns a small Chinese restaurant and basically earns ep3_13nothing much has the gall to dream of becoming a professional chef. Without any other culinary experience, she embarked into the hellish kitchen of Le Sfera and worked as a kitchen assistant for a couple of years until finally she gets the chance to hold the pan, but then a new chef comes in and took away that opportunity just because he has an attitude and huge distaste with female chefs. Despite that, she dogged her way back into holding that precious pan she’s been aiming for and incidentally made that evil chef fall for her in the process.

The supporting casts in this drama may have been a bit helpful in making the seriesPastaE0621-30-40 more bearable because there are a couple of eye candies who entered into the drama around episode two. The original La Sfera chefs though doesn’t have that appealing look that’s pleasing in the eye. What made them seem memorable is the way they complained behind the head chef’s back none stop, they’re not even that good looking which Pasta-8made it more irritating to watch, thus making them unforgettable. There’s also the second leads who made a bit of an impact at the later half of the drama, but in my opinion we could all do without having them in the picture. I do get they are supposed to be vital in the story line however, they seem more like a filler to me since the story mainly revolved around the two main character who was always in the kitchen bickering at each other.

I have nothing against the actors because setting the drama’s story line aside, I totally love the two main leads. Lee Sun Kyun is a great actor from what I’ve seen him in the pasta10-00021dramas Coffee Prince and Triple, while Gong Hyo Jin is simply pure love. She may not be the best looking actress in Kdrama land, but believe me when I say that she’s one stunning actress when they dress her up real good. One of my favorite drama’s she’s acted in was Master’s Sun. She also usually has great chemistry with her co-stars, which is the case here in this drama. I just wish that the male lead character had a better character substance because there could be more into that head chef than trying to act as an almighty being.

There was nothing much remarkable about the OST and I wouldn’t rewatch this for the life of me because it’s a complete waste of time. I wouldn’t recommend it, but if someone is looking for a recommendation about food or kitchen settings in Kdramas, this could be one but just forget about the story line.

Photos are not mine, credits to whoever owns them.