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Tuesday, January 10, 2017

May Who? (2015)


Also known as: May Nai Fai Raeng Froe
Country: Thai
Format: movie
Genre: school, supernatural, comedy
Cast: Sutatta Uudomsilp (Punpun), Thiti Mahayotaruk (Bank), Thanapob Leeratanakojorn (Tor), Narikun Ketprapakorn (Frung), Thanaerng Kanyawee Songmuang,
Synopsis: Pong loves to draw into his diary stories of his crush Ming.. and as a high school boy some of the drawings might be a bit more revealing than others. His school life gets changed when one day by accident he gives in the diary instead of his homework and the drawings reach Ming. While trying to get a revenge on May Nai - the girl who gave his drawings to Ming - he learns that May Nai might be the most special girl in the high school, if not in the whole universe, as she discharging electricity when her heart rate crosses 120 beats per minute.
Rating: 5/5
What is better to have as a first movie of the year than with a great Thai teenage comedy?
As it also explains in the trailer, in Thailand "May" is the most common girl's name and "May Nai" literally means "May Who". As sad as it sounds, this name describes her perfectly as she does everything to be in the background, make no great friends and just finish the school. Well, it all is actually because she has her special "ability" to discharge electricity when her heartbeat raises. It is great to see her struggle with everyday life and how much it actually affects her life as to her it is more of a curse than a special ability.
Punpun was the only cast member who was elected for the part from the start and director Chayanop Boonprakob even thought to cast totally new actors for other roles so that not everyone would be from "Hormones", but in the end, he stick to "Hormones"-generation. It is surprising for me that Punpun was the one elected, because during that time she was under suspension and she was not even allowed to attend promotions.
I would say that Pong is a bit more the main character of the movie as most of the movie is narrated by him and his thoughts. He is the nicest guy, but at the same time almost nobody notices him, making him disappear into the background. He lacks of self-confidence when it comes to having a crush and thinks that it is more suitable for him to just "like from a far" even if that means for 100% losing the girl. That's why it is great to see him learning with the time and understanding that to get a girl he actually has to make a step to say out his true feelings.
In addition, he is the best friend possible to ever have and it is surprising that despite being all the time alone before getting to know May, he is not socially awkward and finds it really easy to become great friends. Pong's character is based on movie director's teenage years, when he used to draw into his diary when he had a crush. Thithi fits into Pong's character so well as he has this cute nice-guy look. This was a movie-debut for Thithi and he even ended up taking extra drawing classes to portray his character well.
P'Fame is the most popular guy in the school - you know, the one who is handsome, good in everything he does and absolutely everybody love him. In reality, P'Fame had a crush on May Nai already before they talked for the first time. Already the fact that he ask her to join the team just as this means that he paid much more attention to her than it was shown out. It is super cute to see how he gets also flustered and nervous when things come to May Nai. Unfortunately it is not shown since when and how he noticed May Nai. It is very good to see Tor in role were he is nice popular guy as it is very different from his role in "Hormones" as Phai.
I really started to like May's parents. They like to joke around, even when some of their jokes cross the line of sanity for sure. They are caring and understandable when it comes to May and it is very heartwarming to see how easily and somehow naturally they accept Pong, even though he is THE First friend and guy to be so close with May.
Unfortunately there is not much to say about Ming. As said, she is the crush of Pong, but unfortunately it is just one-sided love. She seems caring and is the leader of the stand, but the stand is not doing good as they lack of students. In a way I wish that they had given more meat on this character, but at the same time I understand that her role was meant to be known from Pong's side of view and for the outcome of the movie, it was needed that her character is the way she is. The only reason I would have wanted to see more of her, was to see more of Frung's acting and her abilities as this role does not give much anything else to her than just a name in the cast and money in the pocket.
 Another character that I just want to mention is May The Cheerleader, who is the leader of the cheerleaders. I think that she could have had a bigger part in the movie, just so I could see Thanaerng Kanyawee Songmuang acting more. She played the part of Jane in "Hormones 2nd series" and there she was very promising actress, but unfortunately they did not give her enough screen-time nor lines to actually act.
I absolutely love the animation part in the movie. Especially good connection is that the school they are attending is Thai-Japanese school. In total it is just 10 minutes of animation, but it actually delayed the screening of the movie for 5 months.
Once again I must praise the actors great chemistry. Of course the reason comes from the fact that they all know each other from "Hormones" and basically grew up together in it.
After the movie, GTH published also a same-named comic-book that is basically a prequel to Pong's life. I also mention that this was the last movie that GTH published before going separate ways.


Monday, November 28, 2016

Summer Love (2015)


Country: South-Korea
Format: web-drama in 2 episodes (6 min per ep)
Genre: romance, youth
Cast: Lee Min Ho, Im Yoon Ah,
Synopsis: Min Ho and Yoona have been friends for years, even though most of their communication is arguing about pointless things. When Yoona is offered a chance to move abroad with another guy, Min Ho decides it is time to come clear with his true feelings.
Rating: 1/5
Let's start of with the fact that it is actually crime to call it a "drama" even for "web-drama" it is not enough. In reality we are dealing with product endorsement for InnisFree "Summer Cushion". Who are not aware then InnisFree is South-Korean natural make-up company. The price of this cushion is around 25 euros (26 dollars) on their web-store. (Seriously I would like to go to South-Korea just because of their make-up companies). 
I am a bit annoyed that it is called "Summer Love" as "summer love" has the meaning of "love that started and ended in the summer and it was just once in a life time love". So already those small facts that do not match with this title:
1) they are friends for many years making it long-time-thing and not as short as just summer
2) the story is set during the university term and it is not summer-time as it is not exam-time or close to the end of term, so it does not match with being in summer
3) the only reason for "Summer Love" becomes from the "Summer Cushion" product.

There is nothing much to say about the characters, because what kind of character introduction and development you are waiting with that time? I would like to see the same storyline as a good 12 episode drama - friends who keep nagging at each other yet everybody thinks they are or should be together. It would make a great comedy.

As advertisements have to be, the "drama" is all built-up on visuals and not have any deeper story or dialogue behind it. One last note: through out the study-night they did not drank a single sip from their drinks - are they even real people?! I know I am slow-drinker, but at least after 4 hours my cup is empty.
In the end, it is eye-candy for Lee Min Ho and Yoona's fans and good promotion for the product, but I would rather see it as commercial on a street or during commercial break on TV.
I already feel like I am going to call these kind of "web-dramas" actor's "quick-money" or "easy-money", "show your face some minutes, say few lines and wons are falling from sky" :D
Due to the shortness of the video, I will just put here the first episode for you to see.



Sunday, November 27, 2016

One LINE Romance (2014)


Also known as: Love at first LINE
Country: China
Format: mini-drama in 3 episodes (16 min per ep)
Genre: romance, music
Cast: Lee Min Ho, Bea Hayden, Kim Bo Mi, Kim Kang Hyun
Synopsis: Min Ho is famous composer who is struggling to write new songs. Ling Ling is Chinese tourist who happens to meet with Min Ho without knowing who he is. Min Ho finds his muse in Ling Ling. Despite language barriers they add each other on LINE messenger app.
Rating: 3/5
So yeah, when you know what LINE is, then you understand that it is actually an promotional mini-drama for the app. LINE is widely used in Asia and you can just ask Yanne how famous it is. The drama shows almost every possibility of LINE usage and is great promotion for it.
This drama is gorgeous by its visuals as we have two beautiful leads, amazing scenery and as interior designer I am fascinated by their houses. But the drama is also lacking in many things, starting from the depth of the story and the fact that it is very difficult to understand what they are talking, because both of the actors actually have strong accent. Most of the drama goes without much speaking and just smiling and giving looks while hearts burst out of their eyes. Even though Ling Ling actually seems more confused and embarrassed about the situations because they are unable to fluently express themselves. If you happen to see their conversations then you understand that most of the time they just send emoji's and stickers to each other. I know that in my personal chats I use a lot too, but their amount of usage is giving a threat of cancer. They both know at least that much of English to speak the basic.
Min Ho is actually rather usual character-type for Lee Min Ho, who is used to play rich boys who are used to women and for that reason act cold until they meet some sweet naive girl who makes their heart beat. Basically Lee Min Ho is running on the old skin with just being his best looking him, especially because there are not too many lines to say. Good thing is that acting or not acting, he still is convincing in his role. 
Ling Ling on the other hand is shy and more conservative. She is a huge fan of Cony and I would take you up to a challenge to count all the Cony's in the drama. If you do not know then Cony and Brown are LINE sticker characters and they happen to be in a relationship. They are as big success in Asia as is Hello Kitty. Bea Hayden is Taiwanese actress who started from modelling and you can actually see that her acting is much much less expressive compared to Lee Min Ho. Most of the time I felt that Ling Ling was overthinking everything or not thinking at all.
There are also Min Ho's manager and stylist who have "undercover love" going on, but at the same time stylist acts childish and makes unnecessary jokes that hurt Ling Ling and Min Ho.
I must say that in the end I was actually expecting Ling Ling to grab her phone and just answer something on LINE.
As it is this short drama with no depth then there is also not much to write about, so I would rather like to talk about what is waiting for them after it as this drama is just the beginning of their love story. They are going to face a lot of problems as looking from Ling Ling's baggage she did not come to stay in Korea for too long. But of course the biggest challenge is the language barrier and the fact how little they actually know each other. It might be easy to say "I am now in love with that person", but in reality it takes a lot of effort to make it work for both.
Take it from the person who is living in a foreign country and being in relationship with someone from that country and in my case we both are being able to speak great English and I at least have some level in Portuguese. But that does not change the fact that there are still difficult times - times when I wish I would be already fluent in Portuguese and could express myself without any problem. In their case, they do not speak good English and they do not understand each other's language. In addition, we have no idea what is Ling Ling doing - we just know that she is a tourist and in China spends a lot of time in her room. So in Korea, she would just become Min Ho's girlfriend and live happily ever after? I know that maybe I am taking it too far and just should finish with the drama as it ends, but isn't it good to think a bit more sometimes and see that most of the time "Happily ever after" is just the start of the real thing?
 Rumors say that there is a lot of deleted materials of the drama as we can see different scenes from stills, but we can just speculate over it. I wanted to see it just for the visuals as I stumbled on it while crawling around the Internet.