Personal Taste [MBC 2010]

This is my inaugural First Impression review. So do bear with me if I stumble through some rough patches. What’s my definition of a First Impression review, and why does this review qualify as such? It’s where the reviewer is basing his or her critique on an incomplete set of information. Perhaps the reviewer intends to continue with the piece of work, and merely has a desire to share some preliminary thoughts. Or maybe the reviewer has given up on the piece of work, but feels there is some merit in sharing the rationale for the decision.

Regardless of the reason, the reviewer has provided the context up front: “I’ve only seen X amount of the work, and here are my thoughts.” I don’t believe that only reviews based on a completed viewing ought to be written, as long as the basis for the review is disclosed to the reader. You have been duly forewarned, so read on at your own peril. This is a First Impression review because I have only watched 12.5 episodes of the drama I am about to discuss.

Continue reading

Favorite Female Roles (Part 1)

Here is Part 2 of our Favorite Roles poll. Part 1 is here.

Twenty actresses and seven of their most recent or most famous roles. (They must have at least seven to qualify for this poll. Sorry, Yoon Eun-hye.) Again, in random order except for the one who reigns deservedly at the top: Korea’s first win at Cannes for Best Actress.

Continue reading

Spotlight: Episodes 1-3

Ah, Spotlight (2008), how you confound me! I do not know whether to like or dislike you, to continue watching you or to toss you out like curdled milk.

Just look at your pedigree. By the same writer of 2007’s masterpiece, White Tower. Helmed by multiple-award winner Son Ye-jin, a charismatic Ji Jin-hee, and a rock-solid veteran cast.

I was thrilled to see your cast. I thought surely you would sizzle, both in the writing and the acting. What I didn’t bargain for was your weak execution, your gimmicky embellishments, your cartoonish characters, your histrionics over the most petty issues.

Is it because the script attempts too much, trying to portray in minutiae the adrenaline-pumping atmosphere of TV news reporting so that we will not, even for a moment, think it’s a stroll in the park? Got to show the stress, the rush, the sacrifices! Is it because this drama is directed by a rookie director and his inexperience shows?

Let me attempt a coherent explanation for why I found Spotlight frustrating.

Continue reading

Delicious Proposal: Episodes 1-2

I watched Delicious Proposal (MBC, 2001) a long time ago, back in the age of the dodos when I didn’t know how to do screencaps (or was too lazy to?).  Thus, excuse the lack of scene-corresponding pics!

deliciousproposal1

This drama caught my attention for two reasons.  First, So Ji-sub!  (In a supporting role, alas.)  Second, its director was none other than Park Sung Soo, PD of Ruler of Your Own World.

deliciousproposal3

Delicious Proposal marks Son Ye-jin‘s debut and you can tell right off that this young actress is going to go places.  Even as a supporting character, her acting is natural and assured.  There are many familiar faces in the cast, including two actors (other than So Ji-sub) who now have legions of fans.  Back then they were likely still unknowns.  (Read on to find out who they are!)

Showcasing wok wizardry and rivalry, the first two episodes set the stage for this 16-episode drama.

Continue reading