February 11, 2009

MBC Drama - Spotlight

MBC's drama Spotlight is the single reason for the rather low number of posts in HelloHallyu. Caught the first two episodes on Starhub's VV Drama channel as it is currently screening every Saturday from 10.30pm to 12.30am. However, the thought of religiously recording all the episodes helped convince me that it'd be a better deal just to pick up the DVD set.

For those keen to purchase a copy of the drama, HelloHallyu strongly encourage readers not to purchase the Innoformmedia version, which is set we bought. The reason is simple. Instead of the original 16 episodes produced by MBC, the DVDs contained 22 (45 minute) episodes.

We can only guess that this was done so that the drama can be screened for TV viewers in an 1 hour programme slot, in whichever part of the world, with an ample 15 minutes of advertisements thrown in. As a result of this commercial, and in our opinion, a thoroughly irresponsible decision, the episodes are now somewhat truncated, often ending, and starting, at the most awkward of scenes. The poor editing work really marred our enjoyment of this drama.

Now for the good part, of which has totally nothing to do with Innoformmedia.

Spotlight revolves around the work carried out by reporters/journalists which goes into the production of the news programme we see on our TVs. It is really interesting to know that what the news anchor reads out for 2 minutes of air-time on the news programme involves hours, or even weeks, of hard work put in by the reporters working behind the scenes in obtaining the news.

(Source: MBC)
Son Ye Yin, playing the character of rookie reporter Seo Woo Jin, once again shows us why she is one of the best actresses around in the Korean entertainment circles. The ease with which Son Ye Jin slips into a role and bring it to life is already worth the 20-odd bucks which I paid for the DVDs. The way she conveys her character's emotions, be it via body language or facial cues, are so natural that it was difficult to tell that she's actually acting a role in a drama. It was a treat to see Son displaying the full range of her acting skills.

(Source: MBC)
Opposite Son is Ji Jin Hee who stars as Oh Tae Seok the mentor of Seo Woo Jin. While Ji Jin Hee provided the 'suave factor' which is required for this role, his rather stiff acting was a disappointment. Son Ye Jin's good performance failed to make up for the total lack of chemistry between the characters. On most occasions, we are left wondering what are the thoughts of Ji Jin Hee's character he looks at Son Ye Jin. It is almost impossible to decipher since he wears a rather expressionless, and somewhat pained, look most of the time.

We are almost at the last episode, and truth be told, we can barely tell if there's anything going on between Seo Woo Jin and Oh Tae Seok. So, the verdict is still out, for us here, on whether Seo and Oh ended up together.

In summary, Spotlight is a drama that attempts to give everyone a peek into the production of the news we see on TV. It revolves around the constant challenge between the journalistic belief of objective reporting versus the government stance on "public good". To be honest, I always believe that the public has the right to know the truth about their government's dealings, good and bad. After all, the government is voted to safeguard the rights of the citizens not perpetuate its reign, which all too many governments have come to think as a divine right conferred on them once voted into office. The drama has left me more convinced about the need to preserve the journalistic integrity of our media, be it traditional or new.

I (Teddy) give Spotlight a rating of 6.5 out of 10. The plot and content was good. However, the scriptwriter should have done a better job in fleshing out all the characters.

Related Post
Pictures - MBC's Spotlight

February 8, 2009

Lee Young Ae Voted as most beautiful Korean actress in Japan

(Source: Chosun Ilbo)

Lee Young Ae has come out tops in a recent survey by Japanese internet service provider "Livedoor" on the most beautiful Korean actress. The votes were no doubt swayed by Lee's popularity following the screening of "A Jewel in the Palace" there in 2006. There are rumours that Lee is in talks about the possible production to a sequal to the above drama. Looks like a second hallyu wave will hit the world in the near future. Do watch this space for updates on this.

Related post:
Timeless Beauty - Lee Young Ae

February 4, 2009

Kim Ah Joong's new short film "Gift"

After a hiatus of 3 years, the '200 pound beauty' Kim Ah Joong is back with the production of a short film by the title of "Gift". Co-starring with alongside her is Jung Woo Sung, one of the first male Korean actors I have come to know after viewing the movie - A Moment to Remember. Kim Ah Joong will take on an unconventional role, playing character that betrays her organisation.

February 1, 2009

Happy Seollal!

While we might be a teeny weeny late, HelloHallyu would still like to wish all readers a Happy Seollal!

Here's YEH greeting everyone a Happy Lunar New Year
(Source: Cyworld)

Rain to star in Discovery Programme - Hip Korea

Rain showing the world what's Hip about Korea.
(Source: Chosun.com)

The Hallyu wave is now sweeping into Discovery Channel with Rain appearing on the documentary "Hip Korea".

Here's the latest update on this from the Korean Times.

Korean top star Rain will appear on Discovery, the world-renowned cable channel, J.Tune Entertainment announced Friday.

Documentary ``Hip Korea'' will focus on Korea's pop culture and introduce the singer as its frontrunner. His agency stated that the documentary is to air in various countries from Jan 31, starting first in Australia and New Zealand and then Asia.

The Hip Korea crew filmed the star for six months, and the documentary reveals his down-to-earth lifestyle, including clips of Rain casually conversing with his close friend, entertainer Kim Jae-dong about his innermost feelings over a drink and reminiscing his departed mother at her crypt.

The documentary has interviews with stars who have worked with the singer in the past, including Steven Colbert, who had a dance battle with the star on his show "The Colbert Report,'' and actress Susan Sarandon, who co-starred with Rain in the movie "Speed Racer.''

"Hip Korea'' is to air in all regions in Asia, including Korea, on Feb. 23.