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Archive for September, 2012

Stop the Torture!

Gaksital Episode 26.

Torture! Again! Ohnoes! Oh no, no no… not more torture! Please. No. Stop it, please!! ARGHHH!!!

Where is Amnesty International when you need them? This is torture most inhuman!

(Also… shouldn’t someone tell the torturees that they can just slip their hands out of those menacles? Hmm…)

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周杰伦! 我爱你! (sorta)

I love Jay Chou. Well, to be precise, I love his music.

Sometimes I wish he would just stick to composing and arranging, and leave the singing and performing to someone else. Jay can’t really sing live (and let’s not even talk about his acting). But I suppose if he didn’t do the whole pop idol thing, the world would be deprived of spectacles such as this and we would all be the poorer for it.

Anyway, I forgive him anything because I think his music is genius, pure pop genius.

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Nice Guy — Episode Two

Oh my word. Wow. My expectations were pretty high as I’d heard that the PD was doing great, but all the same I was blown away.

The premise and plot are still questionable. But this episode was like a master class in directing. Actors (themselves firing on all cylinders) pitched exactly, perfectly right; not so high that the drama feels hysterical, not so low that it becomes unconvincing. Pace and editing that inject suspense and interest into a story which we’ve all heard before. A stonking great soundtrack used appropriately. Interesting camera work when interesting camera work makes sense, and solid and restrained camera work when called for. It’s all so breath-takingly competent.

If you can’t stand stories about damaged people behaving badly, you still may not like this show. However, if you don’t mind darkness and angst, but like it cooked just right, this might be for you.

(Please, please Show. Please don’t go to Crazy-Town!)

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Bad fangirl, bad

I’m such a bad fangirl. I don’t really have a strong bias for any particular actor. And I won’t watch a show just because I love an actor in it.

Sometimes I feel I’m missing out. When the Queen of K-Celeb Tweeting (you know who you are!) asked me on my birthday whom she should get to tweet me birthday greetings, I was stumped. I wished I had an answer, so that I could go memorably apeshit crazy on my birthday, but I hadn’t.

I guess if I were really pushed to name a favorite K-actor, I would say Jang Hyuk. He blew me away with his tour de force in Chuno, then he broke my heart in Thank You (and made me break my rule against sympathising with alpha males). I sorta lub him. But not enough to watch more than three episodes of Midas.

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Verdict: Improbable but Arresting.

As is her habit, writer Lee Kyung Hee ratchets up the pain and damage in Episode One. The roller-coaster is dragging up its load of angst and broken dreams, and at the end of Episode One it stands poised on the pinnacle… Will it be a gratifying ride to the bottom, taking us along the ups and downs of life but eventually arriving safely at its destination, a la her Thank You? Or will it derail and smash, a la her A Love to Kill or Will It Snow for Christmas?

[non-spoilery wittering follows]

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You know that phrase that pops up as a corny K-drama confession: “Now I see you as a man / woman”? I don’t know if anything is lost in translation, and to non-Asian ears it might seem rather tame as a love confession (as opposed to “Hey, Baby, you’re hot, let’s get it on!”), but in any event I totally get it. I think it’s rather sweet, actually. And perfectly and accurately descriptive. It’s that moment when your friend or acquaintance ceases to be merely a friend or acquaintance and starts to register as an attractive, sexual being.

Answer Me 1997 is good at mapping this point in the journey; but I’m not talking about Answer Me. I’m talking about me and Lee Jun Gi.

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Dear Show…

Dear Arang and the Magistrate,

I know you’re tight on budget, but from here on do you think you could go easy on the plastic flowers, experimental bad hair, lamentable costumes and cheesy smoke machine? Please bring a little more of that delectable otherworldly imagination instead.

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