Criminal Minds (Korean): Some thoughts

Police procedurals have always attracted me. I like the repetitions, the flow and the predictability. I’ve been a fan of Criminal Minds since way back because I am interested in profiling and mainly because I have a huge crush on Matthew Gray-Gubler.

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When the news came out that there will be a Korean remake, I was excited to see how they will pattern it to the culture without removing the essence of the show. I tried not to compare when I first watched but it’s really difficult. The first episode is almost a complete copy of the first case of the original. It would have been okay for me, however, the profiling felt a bit forced. It was as if they just picked technical terms and they just got lucky with finding their unsub. The process of breaking down the case got overlooked. I will admit that I watched it for Lee Joon-gi and not for the cases but even his hotness can’t cover up for what this show is lacking.

I am still contemplating on dropping it. LOL

Train to Busan: My Take

Zombie flicks are fun to watch. Especially with a large group. I love hearing the gasps, the sighs and the screaming. My friends and I watched the first few episodes of TWD together and it was one of our most fun gatherings to date. 

Train to Busan was a trending topic about two weeks ago. Even non-Korean novela fans recommended the movie. Joining the bandwagon, my friends and I watched it together. And it was one heck of an experience!

I have never cursed for a long time but I never thought I would use President Duterte’s favorite expression again. I have expected tears because of what I heard, so I thought I wouldn’t cry as much but my tears still flowed.

The movie was able to give characters that we care about. The protagonists have relationships that many could relate to (father-daughter, siblings, young lovers, husband-wife). They make the audience root for them. The villain is really hateful that killing him off seems not enough. A good beating and more torture would be more satisfying. 

The zombies are scarier. I think it’s unfair that they are that strong and fast. They’re dead already! They should have no more source of energy. The rate of infection is also insane! 

All in all, Train to Busan is a good watch. It is exciting, touching, and entertaining. I would love to watch it again.

This is just me fangirling but Gong Yoo looked really cool and handsome even when bloody and grimy.

I would just have to mention that with such a small and important role, Shim Eun-kyung was a scene stealer. I still get goosebumps at the thought of her transformation.

But hands up to Kim Soo-ahn. She is the heart of this movie.

Twenty Again – My Two Cents

It was a December almost ten years ago.

I had that impulsive desire to have a henna tattoo on my arm because I don’t have the courage to get inked for real. I proudly showed it to a friend and she bugged me to go to the same place so she could get hers. I was feeling kinda lazy and I don’t want to walk so I asked her why in the world she wants to have one. Her husband won’t like it and it’s not really a good example to her four kids. She said,

“So that at least, I could tell myself, that I did not miss out on things like that.”

I am not a touchy person, and even if we are close, I am not the type to hold a hand or give someone a hug. I wanted to hug her that moment to say I understand but I couldn’t bring myself to do that. So without a word, I accompanied her and she had her temporary tattoo on her hand.

She got pregnant at eighteen and got married in the same year. She had one kid after another, being young and all. She was not able to finish college and her life revolved around the kids and her husband. Nine years into the marriage, the husband asked for a separation, saying they are not of the same level. I wanted to kill the guy when I heard that. WTF?! If she hadn’t married him and she hadn’t got stuck in that household being treated like a slave, preparing his meals, taking care of his kids, washing his clothes – she could’ve explored the world and would’ve been ten times higher than whatever level he’s bragging about.

I thought of her every time I watch “Twenty Again.” Unlike Ha No Ra, my friend did not go back to college and she let go of the man easily. Though there was no first love to come sweeping her off her feet, she had found a way to make up for all the lost time.

Ha No Ra got pregnant at a young age; she abandoned her dreams of being a dancer and focused on her husband and son. Her husband asked for divorce twenty years after saying he can no longer talk to her (which is akin to not being of the same level). She thought that educating herself will be the solution. Husband and son were opposed to the idea and she almost gave in until she received a false cancer diagnosis. Thinking that she is dying, she began making her bucket list. She attended university secretly. She faced a lot of hurdles – hiding from her family, being an outcast and being bullied by a professor who is, unknown to her, has been in love with her since high school.

More than the love story, what made me love this drama is Ha No Ra’s development. I loved how she was able to find that lost time, how she improved herself and made herself better.

Choi Ji woo proved once more why she is a K-Drama royalty. I have seen her way back and all I can remember is how much she cried during in Stairway to Heaven and Winter Sonata. This drama showed her in a new light (at least for me).  There was less crying and more fun moments and everytime she makes an achievement, I just felt the need to slow clap.

Twenty Again is an inspiring drama that showed us that it is never really too late to discover oneself and be better. I feel sad for saying goodbye.

Oh My Ghost! – My Take

Oh My Ghost is one of those dramas that made me feel sad when it ended. The ending was satisfying but I feel like I will miss the characters. It was like the feeling I usually have every end of the school year. I witness how kids bloom in front of my eyes then without really being aware of it, it was time to set them out to the real world.

The Plot: Na Bong-sun (Park Bo-young) is a timid girl who has the ability to see ghosts. One day, she was possessed by an outgoing ghost Shin Soon-ae (Kim Seul-gi). Suddenly she turned into this outspoken, man crazy woman much to the surprise of her co-workers especially her long-time crush Chef Kang Sung-woo (Jo Jung-seok).

I may be looking at it through graduation goggles right now but this is what I would call a solid drama. There was a balance of funny and touching moments. The storytelling was well done, the characters were really unforgettable and the actors were great.

Kim Seul-gi has shown her good comedic timing and equally good dramatic skills. I never really thought much of Jo jung-seok but he made me fall for Chef specially that part when he was so torn upon finding out that he had been falling for someone else. Im Joo-hwan was very effective as a cold-blooded killer with the innocent, boyish smile in front of everyone and having that evil glint in his eye once he is alone. He give me shivers when he nonchalantly killed someone.

And… Park bo-young, I just love, love, love her so much. It was remarkable how she was able to switch from the thousand-words-a-minute Soon-ae to the timid Bong-sun. One can really tell without further explanations if she was possessed or not, I may not have developed this concern for Na bong-sun had she been played by a lesser actress.

The supporting cast also deserved to be mentioned. From the wacky cooks, to the crazy mom and the lovable shaman – it wouldn’t be as much fun if it weren’t for them. Eun-hee, Dad, and Kyung-mo were also vital.

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It was a fun-filled sixteen episodes. I wish there were more dramas like this. Now my problem is I am back to asking, “What should I watch next?”

Random Muttering 7/9/2015: Floods, First Impressions: “Death Note” and “Oh My Ghost!”

It’s the typhoon season once again and while I welcome the lower temperature and the vacation due to class suspensions, I am a bit edgy due to waters rising. Last I checked the Marikina River is down to 13.9 m so I can relax a little. I have been checking the nearby drainage since last night because in my experience, once the water reaches the road, wait a few minutes and it will be inside our house. Darn climate change!

Just watched the first episode of “Death Note.” I must say I’m impressed, it was worth the hype. The thing is my only background on this was the 2006 movie. Compared to that, I have more sympathy for Light Yagami in this series. Perhaps because there were more motivations for his character that was shown unlike in the movie where I thought he was just this conceited kid who thinks he knows better. Masataka Kubota keeps impressing me – the facial expressions, the gestures. Kento Yamazaki as L is doing a great job and many fans (including myself) are raving about his performance. I love the manliner, the hair could have been better but he’s still hot. I can’t wait for the next episode!

I also began watching “Oh My Ghost!” starring no less than Park Bo-young (who IMO, is one of the best actresses of her generation along with Shim Eun-kyung). She made me care for the boring Na Bong-sun and she made me laugh as Shin Soo-ae.

Should I start watching “Game of Thrones”? I am four years late. hmmm…

Warm and Cozy (KDrama 2015) – Brief Thoughts

I have never given up on “Warm and Cozy” simply for the love of its leads. While it’s true that the writing was not what most fans (like me) expected from the Hong Sisters, it was not bad. I’ve watched and dropped worse ones. Kang So-ra and Yoo Yeon-seok were enough for me; I have a new addition to my favorite Korean actors and actresses. The last two epiodes had me cheering and going gooey. I don’t normally ship couples but I really want these two to be together in real life. Like in most Korean dramas, the kiss scenes are the highlights. Though this may not be the best drama I’ve watched this year, this is one of the best kiss scenes I’ve seen.

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When Yoo Yeon-seok looks at you this way, wouldn’t it be enough to give it your all?

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“Warm and Cozy” is aptly titled. It was an easy watch, a nice walk in the park on a breezy, peaceful afternoon.

Currently Watching: Bits and Pieces of Asian Dramas

Most drama watchers will agree that after watching a good series, the next problem will be what to watch next. There are seasons that nothing seems good and there are seasons when everything seems worth checking out. I recently started watching a few Korean, Japanese and Taiwanese series and here are some of my midway thoughts and first impressions.

Korean Dramas

1. Divorce Lawyers in Love
After “Marriage, Not Dating” I wanted to see more of Yeon Woo-jin, thus I checked this out. He stars opposite Cho Yeo-Jong. She was a feisty divorce lawyer and he was her office manager and things happened so their situations were reversed. A strong woman and a nice guy dynamic, it got me watching. However, the chemistry between the leads seems to go on and off. Sometimes it’s there, sometimes it’s not.

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2. Warm and Cozy
A Hong Sisters’ drama which stars two promising young actors, how could I resist? Previously titled Jeju Island Gatsby, the first two episodes are still hazy but basically the plot is about two young people from the city who will try to live and settle in Jeju Island. Since it’s the team that made “The Greatest Love,” I am sure it will be good.

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3. The Producers

Gong Hyo-jin, Cha Tae-hyun and Kim Soo-Hyun – I’m sold! I don’t even care what it will be about because the cast was enough. The good part is, it’s also entertaining and interesting. GHJ and CTH are veteran PD’s of the variety department of KBS while KSH is a rookie PD. It is presented mockumentary style ala “The Office.”

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Japanese Dramas
1. Fuben na Benriya

I really, really miss Masaki Okada so I had to check this out. I kinda feel dumb because I don’t get what this show is trying to say and I feel shallow for LOLing at almost every scene. My favorite is the one in the hospital. When the leads found a guy frozen in the snow wearing Jun’s jacket, they brought him to the hospital. When they heard he is safe, everyone started cheering. A nurse came out to shush them, they stopped then continued to cheer without voices and I was ROTFL. The absurdity of the situations just got me cracking and I can’t stop watching.

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2. Tenno no Ryoriban

Takeru Satoh plays the role of Tokuzo Akiyama, a restless young man who would later become the Emperor’s chef. All those yummy looking food are making me hungry, though the focus is of course on Akiyama’s journey. Toshiko (Haru Kuroki), Akiyama’s wife, is my favorite character so far.

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Taiwanese Drama

1. In Time, With You
And since my all time favorite Korean actress, Ha Ji-won, will be doing a remake of this Taiwanese Drama, I also checked out “In Time with You” which aired in Taiwan in 2011. It stars Ariel Lin (It Started with a Kiss 1 and 2) and Bolin Chen, who I only remembered from two Japanese films “Sugar and Spice” and “All About Love.” It has only 13 episodes which run for about an hour and a half. I am getting a little impatient and fighting the urge to skip to the ending. It’s a story of two people who friend-zoned each other even if everyone around them sees that they are perfect for one another. Even they see it, but both deny having feelings and even made a bet who will get married first before they reach thirty-five. So far, I like the character dynamics. The plot is something many modern-day singles can relate to.

itwy1I am crossing my fingers that all these series will turn out good and I wouldn’t have to drop anything in the middle. And I sincerely hope that there will be more promising and interesting ones to come. =)