July 28, 2007

Watched the final episode of Flowers for My Life with Mydaemon earlier in the week. We were unsure of what to expect since this drama is so "un-stereotypical" of Korean dramas. Just like the real world, Flowers for My Life unfolds in a orderly yet chaotic way reminisence of our daily lives.

The realistic yet fluid way of storytelling meant that the series is likely to end "happily" with Hosang (Cha Tae Hyun) surviving his pancreatic cancer (with a 98% fatality rate) or "less happily" with the passing of Hosang. However, the wonderful part of this series is that despite our hope for Hosang to survive against the odds, we are already at peace for an alternative ending.

Why should I be contented with a less than fairy-tale ending?

Simply because the director and scriptwriter have both done a good, if not great, job in telling a story of how a dying man and his love learn to understand that death is no obstacle to love and that a life lived is indeed a life fully experienced.

This drama is about the meaning of what it is to be truly alive. My lack of vocabluary do great injustice to the sensitive and rich manner in which the story for Flowers for My Life was told.
I highly recommend this series to anyone who is handling a difficult situation where a loved one is sick as well as those who wants a wake up call to the daily drone which we call life. Do be prepared for a roller-coaster ride of emotions as moments of joy will be interspersed with moments of grief and sadness. Do not be too worried that you will be left an emotional wreck at the end of the drama as all emotional aspects of the drama was handled in a highly sensitive manner.

Everything that happened in the drama happened for a reason. Expect no fluff and superficiality associated with most other Korean dramas. This is a drama about 'humanity' from the beginning to the end. I have no regrets about the accidental manner with which I stumbled across this drama while channel surfing a month or two back. Guess this is one of life's little surprises and ongoing lessons for me.

Watch this as it is even better than Alone in Love - a drama which is also highly rated.

July 14, 2007

Poll results out

Goong won the top position in our previous Readers' Choice for favourite K-drama.

My Name is Kim Sam Soon was a distant second, with The Snow Queen right on its heels.

So I've put up a new poll - check out the sidebar. :) This is a new Blogger page element. I hope it works. Cheers, and have fun voting.

July 11, 2007

First Shop of Coffee Prince Tops Viewer Charts in Korea

The First Shop of Coffee Prince has taken the national top spot in TV ratings on the Monday/Tuesdays prime time drama slots. On 9 Jul, Coffee Prince garnered a whopping 18.2% viewership while rival SBS' rival drama Catch A Kang Nam Mother came in a close second with credible 15% viewership rating.

Sigh, reading about how good the drama is can be really painful. Will have to make do with what I get over at KBS World for now. Thankfully, Flowers for My Life and Scandal in Old Seoul are pretty good dramas. Actually, having yet to view the Coffee Prince, I have to say that Flowers for My Life is by far the best Korean drama I have seen so far. Next week will be an important week as the final 3 episodes will be screened. It will be a bittersweet moment to finally know what fate has in store for Hosang (Cha Tae Hyun) and Hana (Kang Hye Keong). Going by what I have seen so far, I am sure the scriptwriter has planned a wonderful way of ending the series.

July 7, 2007

The King and I

Today we saw The King and the Clown on DVD. The movie was apparently the top grossing film of 2005 in Korea. Described as taboo-breaking and revolutionary, it chronicles the lives of 2 talented clowns who perform bawdy street plays and end up performing for the tyrannical King Yonsan of Korea's Chosun dynasty.

[Source: Filmbrain]

Although this is generally quite an interesting film, I won't describe it as groundbreaking. It reminds me too much of Farewell My Concubine. One of the clowns is aggressive and masculine (Kam Woo Seong), the other effeminate and demure (Lee Joon Ki). The two share a close, extraordinary bond - the exact nature of which was only alluded to, never fully clarified, in the film. The despotic King Yonsan (Jeong Jin Yeong) is basically portrayed as a basketcase with a troubled childhood and a big appetite for adult entertainment.

I liked it much less than I expected to, given all the rave reviews I'd heard about. But it's still an eye-opener into the traditional folk culture of ancient Korea and, well, the sad lives of the lower classes of society in those days.

I wonder what is it with this King Yonsan. A lot of movies/dramas seem to be about him. Was he a pivotal character in Korean history? If I'm not wrong, the overthrowing of this king also provided the background to Daejanggum's story. If there's anyone out there who knows their Korean history, please enlighten me.

A new SBS 50-episoder coming up, "King and I" (also known as "King and Me"), is also set in the same era. But the focus is on a loyal eunuch (to be played by Oh Man Seok of Vineyard Man fame!) who served a series of kings, among them the infamous King Yonsan. As a matter of fact, this eunuch character also played quite a key role in The King and The Clown. I'm sure the political intrigues of the new SBS drama is something to look out for.

Oh yes, and Lady Han of Daejanggum is going to be in it too. :)

"Hi, remember me?"

July 5, 2007

Korean Star all Suited Up for New SBS Drama

Read in Chosun Ilbo that one of the hunkiest, well I think he is, Korean male stars is donning a fat suit for an upcoming drama. This brings back memories of other stars, both global and regional - Asia, who had donned fat suits before.

See the pictures below. Do they ring a bell? People, no peeping at the source! It will take away the fun of guessing who these stars are. :)

Fat Suited Girl: Who is she?

(Source: themakeupgallery)

Fat Suited Hunk 1: Who is he?

(Source: acdrifter.com)


(Source: http://www.sbs.co.kr/)

Fat Suited Girl
Here's the answers. Fat suited girl is none other than Gwyneth Paltrow. She donned the suit in the 2001 movie - Shallow Hal. The make-up artists sure did a good job in transforming this stunningly elegant and beautiful actress into the unrecognisable girl in the picture above.

Fat Suited Hunk 1
This should be easy. Perhaps more so for fans in Asia. He's an Asia and global star whose face has appeared on the silver screens all over the world. Hint: Think House of the Flying Daggers.

Fat Suited Hunk 1 is none other than Hong Kong's very own heart-throb - Andy Lau. Frankly, I think Hong Kong's make-up artists, for the movie Love On a Diet, did a so-so job for Andy's fat suit. It is pretty obvious that they "allowed" him to maintain some of this natural good looks despite slopping tons of make-up and rubber on his face. Guess they did not want to "uglify" him too much. Compared Andy's fat suit with that of our Korean hunk of the day.

So did anyone get it right?

The Korean Star in Fat Suit
Readers who guessed Oh Ji Ho is correct! Yup, he's the hunk who played the character Chul Soo, the male lead with the chiseled looks and sculpted body in the Fantasy Couple. Oh Ji Ho dons the fat suit for the upcoming SBS drama Butcher Oh Soo Jung. Read more of this drama in this thread in soompi's forum (you gotta be a member to log in though), loads of pictures showing how he transformed from the hunk we know him to be into the huge guy you see in the picture above.

Here's more selected photos of Oh Ji Ho in the fat suit. :)

(Source: http://www.sbs.co.kr/)

(Source: chosun.com)

(Source: HanCinema)

July 4, 2007

Flowers for my life, bagus!

This is a great show. Sensitive, funny, heartwarming. It's way too underrated. The lead actress Kang Hye Jeong reminds me of Cecilia Cheung. The prettier and more innocent version. We're now at episode 10. While I can't wait for it to finish, I know I'll feel a little twinge of sadness when it ends. Watch out for my review.

July 3, 2007

Tough being a K-drama Fan

Holding a full-time job and maintaining 2 blogs ain't easy. Heck, it's actually pretty tough. It takes a lot of commitment, a huge dose of interest, and loads of energy to write new posts on those dramas that I am watching, things that are happening in the Korean entertainment scene, while at the same time, keeping my friends cued on what's happening in my life in another blog. I take my hat off to bloggers behind Dramabeans and Popseoul for keeping their blogs so updated and interesting.

Hardships aside, I am absolutely enjoying this hectic schedule!

Being Connected with Life
Since starting HelloHallyu, I feel a renewed sense of being alive and actually knowing what I want to do in life. Everything I do, or want to do now, has a reason. Although this blog would seem superficial to many, to me, it is a manifestation of a passion to do something I like, and to do it well. Yes! I am passionate about K-dramas and sharing this passion and interest with like-minded, and yet to be converted, fans in the blogosphere.

Overcoming the "I don't feel like blogging syndrome" after a hard day's work
Some days I feel so dog tired after work, and cooking dinner, yah I wear the chef's hat at home, that it takes a mighty effort just to switch on the PC to update HelloHallyu and Fieldmarshal (my other blog). However, once the PC boots up, my mind would naturally perk up as it knows it is going to get a huge dose of fun - in reading other K-drama blogs and latest news on the Korean entertainment scene.

Top of my reading list would be the blogs and information websites listed under the "You've Been Hallyued" section (check it out!). The listed blogs are selected for providing real (as in personal and heartfelt) and interesting musings by writers who are genuinely into Korean entertainment. The news and network websites provides invaluable resources and information on the latest drama that each network is currently producing, although some tend to be a tad slow in releasing news via their "global" sites.

WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get)
After having filled my brain with interesting news and drama reviews, I would sit down and mull about the stuff I will post in HelloHallyu. This is always the trickiest part for me. I am always, and I mean all the time, torn between quickly putting up something short and fun, but somewhat lacking substance, or do I write something more thoughtful, which means spending a lot more time writing and editing. I am glad to say that I would always go for the latter option. So what you see is what I truly feel at the moment of writing.

Having said so much, I have to confess that my previous efforts to write a summary/short review for each episode of the dramas which I am currently watching is sadly not sustainable. Therefore, I have decided to write the reviews once I have watched all 16 episodes of the dramas, since most K-dramas are 16-parters. So do look out for my, or Yupgi's (my wife hehe), reviews for Fantasy Couple, Flowers for My Life, and the soon to be screened Scandal in the Old Seoul.

Think I have outdone myself today. Do enjoy yourself while you are here!

July 1, 2007

1 Day to First Shop of Coffee Prince

One more day to go before our lucky Korean friends get to catch First Shop of Coffee Prince on MBC! Guess I will have to contend myself with the preview clip, yay, on the First Shop of Coffee Prince's official website. Check it out. It's really cool. A pity I have yet to start my Korean language lessons. Guess looking at the pictures in the website is a fitting consolation.