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.
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Antique Bakery (Korean Movie 2008)

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Synopsis:

As an heir to the family fortune, Jin Hyuk has money, the looks, the charm, everything except finding the love of his life. So he sets up a cake shop where women are sure to come. He hires Sun Woo, a talented patisserie who had a crush on Jin Hyuk back in high school. Along with an ex-boxing champion Gi Beom and a clueless bodyguard Su Young, the four unique and handsome young men stir up the quiet neighborhood at their cake shop, Antique. Although seemingly careless and happy, each of the four men have unforgettable past that they are afraid to face, but their secrets slowly begin to unravel.

Words from Me:

The Kmovie would have been a good queer film if not for the plot. I watched the movie earlier with a friend and am not surprised as to why 1 million viewers tried to watch this film within two weeks. How could four-hot-good-looking-irresistible stars not garner these amount of fans?

In this movie, what was really interesting was how each character had their own story to tell. I’m also glad that the director and producer gave the chance for these characters to show their own side of the story. The movie is quite long, with bits of musical pieces in between that I almost thought it was going to be like a broadway musical show up to the end.

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Joo Ji-hoon (from Goong and Mawang) who played as Kim Jin Hyeok, Antique’s owner was the most complex character in the lot. He had this terrible past which he doesn’t have closure with up until he made up the Bake shop. Jin Hyeok do not actually like sweets because of an incident 20 years ago. The only way he could move on from that was to catch the person who inflicted trauma in his past but the story does not only revolve around him. There’s more…

Kim Jae-wook (from Coffee Prince) as Min Seon-woo, the gay Patisserie (my favorite character) was VERY queer, charming, hot and definitely devious when it comes to making men; straight or gay fall for him. Only Jin Hyeok is the exception for some certain reason related in the past (again). He is the only guy who is able to resist his charm thoroughly up to the present but there would be some side story between their friendship and how things work out in favor for both of them in the end.

I loved the way Jae-wook presented his character, it seemed so real and not icky to watch all. There were several kissing scenes with a guy in this movie to show how gay his character really was. What fascinated me more was that before I actually watched the movie, I have read several comments from him as to how he was able to portray the character in a realistic manner. During the filming sessions, he admitted that he was having a very hard time internalizing his gay character because in reality he wasn’t gay. What’s more interesting is how it seemed so natural on screen, you wouldn’t even think he was uncomfortable with the whole process. He was so darn convincing that I would think he was gay if I didn’t know any better.

Yoo Ah-in (Sungkyunkwan Scandal) as Patisserie apprentice Yang Ki-beom, a punk kid who wanted to eat cakes and is running away from something. The kid is an insistent worker, stubborn but has a high respect for Seon-woo and would only acknowledge him as the best Patisserie in the whole world. He also has a sweet tooth that he became the official taster for the bake-shop.

Choi Ji-ho as Nam Soo-yeong, the guy who is unbelievably stuck with Jin-hyeok. He is the son of the Kim’s house nanny and became Jin-hyeok’s body guard in the process. He may be a bit slow, and could have been affected by the charms of Seon-woo but he has a great respect and kin-ship affection (not in a gay kind of way) towards Jin-hyeok. He always sees to it that he will be able to cater the needs of his young master.

There are other characters that have their own roles, but it would be too tedious to mention them one by one. Over all the movie’s quirkiness is thanks to these four wonderful guys. They have brought the entire film to the best of its ability that even in its 109 minutes, did not once made me feel it was draggy or boring. The mixture of humor and suspense was perfect, even the soundtrack fit so well with the whole movie. There might be some several graphics that was a bit too exaggerated but the colorful atmosphere and acting took that tiny glitch away.

The movie may not show any love interest between a man and woman, but it would certainly show how people could connect deeply with each other no matter how one is scarred from the past or has a marred future. It only shows that in the end, everyone would be able to cope up with their own personal demons.

A must see movie for those who has a queer eye and a different perspective in life.

 

Chicago Typewriter (Korean Drama 2017)

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Synopsis:

Han Se Joo was a writer in his past life during the 1930s Japanese occupation of Korea. He has been reincarnated and is a bestselling author in the modern day. But Se Joo is depressed and has writer’s block that keeps him from completing his next bestseller.
Yoo Jin Oh is a talented ghostwriter who can bail Se Joo out of his predicament, but the mysterious man has a condition for his services that Se Joo may not be able to meet.
Jeon Seol is a veterinarian and book lover who runs her own delivery service. She becomes an anti-fan of the overrated Se Joo.

Excerpted from: Mydramalist

Words From Me:

I’m not a fan of the crossover between the past to present being intertwined via incarnation but the way this drama delivered that kind of plot was really interesting that’s why I watched along. However, that interest did dwindle as I passed through episode 10 when things started becoming cheesy, but it did redeem itself at around the last two episodes where everything became clearer.

This drama has its own target audience and maybe they would be up for the popularity of the actors, it did highly market the actors for me, but aside that… something just felt missing. You know that feeling when you’re watching a drama and you can’t just get enough of it? I didn’t really feel it with this one, hence I got really disappointed because I was expecting so much from it.

Aside from my above rantings here are the following elements that are worth mentioning: actors, cinematography and OST.

Let’s start with the 3 lead roles:
Yoo Ah In as Han Se Joo, I felt like he was over the top for this particular character. He could have downgraded it a bit and at least acted as how most authors really lived. It felt like he was a top actor instead of an acclaimed writer who was supposed to be eccentric, in this drama he came across as a guy straight out of a magazine who lived in Beverly Hills. Don’t get me wrong, I love the actor himself but I’m not a fan of his Se Joo character. I do admit that he has a complex role since he had to have the weight of his past character and his present one, but still… it could have been better. However, even though that’s the case for his present character, I couldn’t say the same to his past one, Seo Hui Young because he really nailed that bad ass role. I love how charismatic he was as the writer during the 1930’s and being in a covert rebellion at the same time. He was witty and stuck with his own principles. That’s the kind of character I love rooting for, the lonely-brooding kind of guy who believes he can make a difference in the world despite sacrificing himself and everyone he cares about. Nuff said. Im Soo Jung the female lead who acted as Jeon Seol/ Ryu Su Hyeon, she was a sniper in the past with the alias “Anastasia”. I definitely like the fact that she’s a strong character, not just in the past but as well in the present. She can still pick up a gun and kick ass despite her traumatic visions. The fact that in the present, she’s also an avid fan and at least knows her limitations… its makes her more amusing. As for the last character Go Kyung Pyo as Yoo Jin Oh/Shin Yul is such a charismatic guy. He also has this cool relationship going on with Yoo Ah In’s character in which they have some sort of unspoken bond. The bromance was palpable I could certainly compare to the Goblin and Grim Reaper’s relationship the Goblin Drama. Aside that, another thing that I find interesting from his character is that during the past and the present he had that appealing aura in his stature all throughout the drama. I find him both cute and endearing at the same time. Oh, and kudos to his stylist too because he dressed up oh so damn well!

The cinematography for the drama is breathtaking. I think the fact that this was shot during the spring, it made everything look so colorful and vibrant. I just loved it. Even the indoor shoot of interior was wonderful, I love how the director was able to capture those lines of books, arches of windowsill and the nook and crannies of Han Se Joo’s house. It was really pretty to look at. Lastly there’s the OST. It was memorable and did pull my heart strings at the right moment particularly during those heart-racing-revealing-moments of the show. I like how the melody can stir emotions out of me.

Overall it was interesting enough to sit down and watch through but not really something I would go on to enjoy and binge watch with in one go. I may not re-watch this again but I would recommend it to the fans of the actors and those who like the type of story with twist and turns along the way.

 

 

 

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