November 15, 2009
Kim Ha Neul stars as a Ahn Su Ji, a top-notch agent working for the Korean secret service. She used to date Lee Jae Jun (played by the very funny Kang Ji Hwan), but because of the countless lies she told for her work's sake, their relationship could not take the strain. Eventually, Jae Jun broke up with her and left Korea without giving her a chance to explain herself. Broken-hearted, Su Ji tried to forget Jae Jun and subsequently began dating someone new. But as fate would have it (as is usually the case in movies), their paths crossed again 3 years later. The way they met again is really laugh-out-loud funny. A bit slapstick, but nonetheless hilarious. I won't reveal more; no spoilers in this review.
It turns out that Jae Jun is now a rookie agent, and is trying to make the cut for the elite Harimau team (did you know? Harimau is the Malay word for tiger and also the name of the company that produced the movie). IMO, Kang Ji Hwan is perfectly cast as the bumbling agent. Whenever he makes a blunder, his facial expression has just that right mix of serious goofiness, which is totally classic. And of course, making everything even harder, now he has to keep his identity a secret from Su Ji (right when their relationship seems to be picking up again). A series of misadventures soon follow. The nightclub and amusement park scenes with the two of them on field missions had me laughing till my sides ached.
This is a highly enjoyable movie. It's silly but in a good way. Besides the leading man and lady (who have wonderful onscreen chemistry, by the way) the supporting cast is also superb. And although it's supposed to be a sort of goofball comedy, the love story between Su Ji and Jae Jun is very emotionally charged, and has more to offer than your average Hollywood romance comedy. Mostly it came down to the star power and acting chops of Kim Ha Neul and Kang Ji Hwan, who manage to pull everything off convincingly. Even the more ridiculous moments (for me it's the fencing sequences) will just make us audience go, awww. We are ready to forgive these two anything, as long as they end up together.
In the end, we all know true love will prevail. So I don't think that counts as spoiler. :) Don't expect something too deep or too clever. But you can count on having a rollicking fun ride in this movie. This is entertainment at its best. Guaranteed to make you laugh. HelloHallyu recommends it!
[Posted by mydaemon]
November 14, 2009
None of the food places caught our fancy since they are mostly the run of the mill foodcourt stalls, fastfood restaurants and the franchised Japanese restaurants. By this time, we were ready to tuck into anything that will satiate our growling tummies when we chanced upon a resturant by the name of Kobayashi Hangul.
Upon closer inspection of the restaurant's menu, we were happy to realise that it served both Korean and Japanese food. What better way to start off the evening than to have a Korean themed dinner before catching a Korean movie.
Scanning through the menu, I decided to try their barbequed chicken hotplate with kimchi set while Yupgi ordered a seafood kimchi jigae set.
November 12, 2009
November 11, 2009
If what is stated in the movie critique by the Korea Herald is true, it looks like Rain's latest big-screen offering "Ninja Assassin" will rely heavily on his star power to pull in the eyeballs when the movie is released worldwide.
Read on for the full review by the Korea Herald.
'Ninja Assassin' misses the target
Humorless, preposterous, and soaked in blood, "Ninja Assassin" turns out to be thinly-plotted schlock from a team of pedigree filmmakers who should have known better. "The day Rain did his first scene in 'Speed Racer,' the Wachowski brothers called me and said 'This guy is unbelievable. He's a natural, our dream come true.' We began to plan 'Ninja Assassin' immediately afterward," producer Joel Silver said in an earlier interview.
Unfortunately for "world star" Rain, what was to be his breakout film falls way short of what "Enter the Dragon" was for Bruce Lee. No doubt that was what the Wachowski Brothers were aiming to do by gambling on a relative unknown in the Western world.
Rain plays Raizo, one of the world's deadliest assassins trained by the Ozunu Clan - an underground band of killers that has remained hidden for generations by posing as a mythical organization.
Robbed of his childhood, Raizo is transformed into a merciless Katana-wielding killing machine. Breaking free from their mountain lair, he plans to exact revenge on the clan for killing his first love.
In his quest for revenge, he gets help from a Europol agent Mika Coretti - played by Naomi Harris - who stumbles upon a money trail connecting a slew of high profile political assassinations around the world committed by the Ozunu.
As she begins to uncover the truth behind the murders, she too, becomes their target and is saved by Raizo when assassins emerge to kill her in Berlin.
By now, plots like these have become the silver screen version of painting-by-numbers in the same manner as Tom Clancy inspired techno-thriller novels.
But the plot does have all of the makings of a straightforward pulp action thriller, as its opening set-piece suggests. In it Raizo ambushes a gang of Yakuza members, with heads and limbs severed and buckets of blood everywhere.
The level of over-the-top ultra-violence established through this opener is unfortunately juxtaposed with a serious tone devoid of much irony.
The film is not a nod to pulpy B-grade kung-fu genre of the 70s, nor is it a polished action flick geared towards a mainstream audience. Instead it's stuck in the middle ground, in an area unlikely to appeal to fans of either genre.
When production on the film was announced, anticipation was high, as it was written and produced by the makers of The Matrix trilogy, with directing duties falling on James McTiegue, the veteran director who scored both a critical hit and modest box office success with 2005's V for Vendetta.
But it seems somewhere down the line the creative vision of the producers and the director clashed without either camp realizing.
Perhaps they realized during post-production they had a potential turkey on their hands - the film's marketing has focused on Rain and the physical transformation he underwent during six months of grueling training with the stunt and fight team that trained the actors in "300."
And the result is there on the screen. The 28-year-old actor is shown sans shirt as if he's allergic to fabric except for a leather jacket.
He's ripped. His female fans will love him - as long as they don't get too squeamish from seeing all the blood.
He does a decent job with the few lines he has throughout the 98-minute running time.
The verdict is still out on whether this will be his breakthrough role and it will be interesting to see if his star power alone will be able to generate enough revenue in Asia to warrant future high-profile roles.
By Song Woong-ki
November 8, 2009
During a birthday party held for her fans, Yoon commented that she's flattered to know that some have come to see her as a guarantee to high ratings for any drama she's in. To be honest, it is not that far-fetched an idea when you consider the huge following she garnered in the hit drama series, The Princess Hours ("Goong") or Coffee Prince.
I hope this setback in the highly competitive ratings war between the Korean TV networks does not get to her as she is definitely a great actress. Frankly, she was let down by the scriptwriters in My Fair Lady.
That said, she's still showing her trademark "fighting" spirit by saying that she will strive to do even better with every stumble as long as her fans are there showing her their support.
Both Mydaemon and I are great fans of Yoon Eun Hye and we would like to let her know that we are looking forward to her next work and that we will never stop watching her productions even if the ratings are not ideal.
So keep the chin up girl! AJA!!!
October 29, 2009
A gala premiere of the My Girlfriend is an Agent, also know as Level 7 Bureaucrat, was held at the Cathay cinema last night. Both the leads, Kim Ha Neul (of On Air fame) and Kang Ji Hwan were both in Singapore for this event.
There's going to be another publicity event for the movie at the Heeren this evening at 6.30pm. Pity that I am most likely still stuck in the office. for fans of Korean dramas and movies, Heeren is the place to be this evening. Get your cameras ready as both Kim and Kang will be at the event.
We at HelloHallyu can't wait to catch it on the big-screens when the movie starts its run from 5 Nov!
October 22, 2009
While I am not much of a wine/liquor connoisseur, I know that soju holds a special place in the Korean society. Thus, I was pleasantly surprised when I happened to catch a short clip on Singapore's Channelnewsasia showing the other Korean drink - makkoli.
Distinctly different from the soju, makkoli is a cloudy white rice wine which was commonly consumed by Korean farmers after a hard day's labour. This drink is apparently good for the health and is gaining popularity amongst Koreans and further afield in Japan.
Although I have this large unopened bottle of Jinro's soju in my larder, courtesy of my recent trip to Korea, I am more than game to head down to the supermarket to get myself, a 'packet' of makkoli off the shelves. Yep, it comes in packets!
Will post about my experience with makkoli once I try it, provided that I stay sober enough to put up a post. :)
October 16, 2009
I just had to share the lyrics of the song with you as it struck a chord deep within me. Sometimes we can only understand the meaning behind certain songs after having travelled some distance in life's journey. You caa also listen to the song via the embedded Imeem widget on the sidebar. Enjoy!
Look around me, I can see my life before me
Running rings around the way it used to be
I am older now, I have more than what I wanted
But I wish that I had started long before I did
And there's so much time to make up
Everywhere you turn
Time we have wasted on the way
So much water moving
Underneath the bridge
Let the water come and carry us away
Oh when you were young, did you question all the answers
Did you envy all the dancers who had all the nerve
Look around you now, you must go for what you wanted
Look at all my friends who did and got what they deserved
And there's so much love to make up
Everywhere you turn
Love we have wasted on the way
So much water moving
Underneath the bridge
Let the water come and carry us away
Let the water come and carry us away
October 15, 2009
However, the first few episodes of My Fair Lady failed to live up to its initial hype. Granted that the sets and costumes showed that money and effort have been poured into the production, what the drama sorely lacked was originality and script.
The storyline of a poor bloke, butler Seo Dong Chan, winning the heart of a cold-hearted heiress, YEH's Kang Hye Na, is a story well told in various other dramas and movies. One would expect the scriptwriters to smash the stereotypical characters and add some twist to the story. We have not seen a hint of this after watching the first 5 to 6 episodes. True to form, the storyline followed the classic, albeit predictable, route of the pauper-princess story.
To be honest, it was kind of a drag having to go through the thin plot served to us. YEH’s well known acting capabilities were not only not put to the test. In fact, the script seems so unchallenging that YEH’s only expressions alternated between a perpetual constipated scowl and a doe-eyed teenage girl. It’s really sad since we know what she’s really capable of.
The somewhat outlandish costumes that YEH had to don, with or without her approval, can be both hilarious and appalling at the same time. Check out the chocolate inspired 'jacket' and you know what I mean.
While it is still too early to give a fair rating to this drama, our initial reactions ain’t that fantastic. That said, we sense some sort of a pick up in the plot as we near the middle portion of the drama. The only positive takeaway here is that the ‘yawn’ factor, which used to be quite high, is getting stifled.
Being fans of YEH since her Princess Hours days, we hope that My Fair Lady will turn the proverbial corner and surprise us with a great second half to the drama. So stay tuned for the final HelloHallyu review.
Taking heed of the feedback, Yupgi has gamely taken on the task of revamping the website. What you see now is the fruit of her labor. Don't you think the new template is great? Most importantly, we wanted to retain the ‘feel’ of our site, where readers instinctively know they have arrived at the site they have been visiting.
There are still some kinks to be ironed out. But we believe the new template will ensure a more pleasant experience for our readers. :)
October 6, 2009
Jang Ja yeon - A victim of the industry.The recent demise of Jang Ja Yeon seemed to have little to no effect on such abhorent practices. I really hope that it doesn't take more innocent lives of young potential stars before Korean, as a society, decides that enough is enough. Till then, we can only hope that unscrupulous agents and managers will be given their just punishments and be kept out of the industry for good.
The drama On Air is perhaps the best work out there that shows how dark the entertainment industry in Korea can be. Check out HelloHallyu's synopsis on the drama here.
You can read the full Straits Times article below.
S.Korean actresses face abuse
FOUR in 10 female entertainers in South Korea face unwanted sexual pressure, Yonhap news agency reported on Monday.
A parlimantary survey revealed that 25 per cent of them experienced unwanted physical contact, while 12.5 per cent said they had been forced or asked to perform sexual favours in return for money or a role in a TV show or film.
Earlier this year actress Jang Ja Yeon hanged herself, leaving behind a letter that claimed she was forced to perform sexual favours for powerful figures, including a TV producer and executives at Korea's top entertainment firm.
Police chose not to press charges, citing lack of evidence, but the case drew an uproar as it was not the first time such suspicions had been raised concerning the local entertainment industry.
In more extreme cases, the reputations of several female celebrities were tarnished after videos of them having sex appeared on the Internet, downloaded by millions.
Agents and managers often pressure actresses to have sex with them while being videotaped, later using it as blackmail to prevent the starlets from skipping to bigger firms offering more money after they become famous.
October 5, 2009
Opening the door, I was surprised to see that it was a DHL delivery man. The fact that it is not 'business as usual' woke me up somewhat. After signing for the delivery, which is packed in a rather large nonedescript box, I quickly told my wife that I received a delivery from DHL. This is sometime of a big deal for us since we don't normally received stuff via courier services.
Yeah, we lead normal boring lives heh.
KOREA! Yep, you are reading it right. At this point in time, my brain is really working overtime. My wife and I were wondering if our credit cards had been skimmed during our recent holiday there. We were both debating on whether to open up the box or check our credit card details online, when we noticed the sender is one "KTO, Seoul, Korea".
That's when everything clicked.
I have WON a prize in Korea Tourism Organisation's Blog Korea! Visit Korea! Blog Competition. To be honest, I can't even remember what the prizes were, but I remembered taking part in it since I wrote a post or two on my recent trip there. The nice folks at KTO must have overlooked my numerous typos and decided to award, yours sincerely, a prize.
Check out their website for the official award notice. HelloHallyu is listed at #61. Yup, we won a snazzy MP3 player.
Here's the very beautiful and generous prize from KTO. And yes, it's from Disney. :)
August 25, 2009
Putting on our aprons again after our adventure in preparing kimchi chigae some months back, we felt a tinge of excitement of the challenge in preparing the almost 'venerable' jajangmyun which is more or less customarily consumed, or should I say "slurped" up, by stars in most Korean dramas.
Shine Korea Supermarket (located at 175, Bencoolen Street, #01-10/11, Burlington Square) is well stocked with all manner of spices, condiments, and foodstuff that would make any Korean happy. It is so well stocked that I wondered why we even bothered lugging loads of Korean goodies back to Singapore from our recent trip there. Our only consolation is that the big bottle of Jinro soju that we bought for US$7 would probably cost 3 times that amount back in Singapore. :)
In the supermarket, we bought ourselves a pack of seaweed snacks, which is absolutely yummy, we also bought a box of Maxim cafe mocha sachets and a box of the black bean sauce/paste, which is the key ingredient for preparing the jajangmyun.
As our fridge are mostly well stocked with fresh greens, we are all ready to cook up a storm! Read on for the ingredients as well as the preparation method. The italian twist comes in the form of using angel hair as the noodles. And trust me, it still tastes great! :)
Jajangmyun (serves around 4
1 medium sized potato
1/2 a carrot
200-300gm of minced pork or beef
10 small fresh shitake mushrooms (can also use
the dried ones for more flavour)
Black bean paste - 2 tbsp (add another is
the taste is too bland)
Olive oil - 2 tbsp
Rice wine - 1 tbsp
Starch water (Mix of starch 2 tbsp +water 2 tbsp)
Noodles/Angel Hair (a type of spaghetti)
Rinse the pork
in cold water.
Add the pork marinating sauce onto the pork. Mix them well.
Cut the onion, potato, zucchini and carrot into small cubes.
cabbage into medium sized pieces.
1. Heat up the
2. Add some vegetable or olive oil and stir fry the onions, carrots,
mushrooms, zucchini and potato.
3. Add the minced meat and stir fry.
Add the black bean sauce, ensure all the ingredients are properly mixed with the
5. Add the starch water into the wok to thicken the
6. In a separate pot, cook the noodles.
7. Rinse the noodles in cold water.
8. Put the
noodles into a bowl or large plate.
9. Add the jajang sauce on top of the
10. Mix the sauce and the noodles well.
August 5, 2009
Since part of the filming was carried out in Singapore, perhaps their seeds of love were sown here. This sure feels like something taken out from the very dramas we love. Way to go guys!
August 2, 2009
August 1, 2009
July 30, 2009
Anyway, Oh's not the topic of this post since Park Han Byul's pretty face is captured in a photoshoot in the old military naval base - Clark, in the Philippines. Apparently the photographers were charmed by the innoncent yet sophisticated maturity. Hey, who would be lost staring into that beautiful face.
Mobile subscribers of SK and LG telecos and KTF users would be able to get these photos from 30 August. Sigh, the lucky blokes in Korea.
July 29, 2009
We are currently trying to figure out how to go around Flickr's requirement to go onto their paid 'pro' accounts or viewers will only be able to see the last 200 pictures that were posted. The Photobucket option, we hope, will be temporary. :)
July 28, 2009
Jang Geun Suk has been cast as the lead for the upcoming SBS drama series You're Beautiful. This is Jang's first drama after Beethoven's Virus in 2008. You're Beautiful is helmed by the hugely scriptwriting team - Hong sisters, who incidentally also worked on Hong Gil Dong, which Jang also starred in.
You're Beautiful will focus on the teenage idol group phenomenon. Jang plays a simple boy from the countryside who finds fame through an idol boyband. The series will premiere on SBS (Wed-Thurs) after Swallow the Sun ends its run.
July 27, 2009
This is definitely a departure of the innocent and cute roles they she has taken on in The First Shop of Coffee Prince, Princess Hours and The Man in the Vineyard. I have no doubt that she will excel in this new role and show the boys in Boys Over Flowers who's the real superstar on the small screen.