ANNOUNCEMENTS

20 MOVIES in 1 month challenge: 17/20

Next reviews: 30+ Single on Sale, Okja, Bloody Monday S1, Heroine Shikkaku, The Beauty inside, Terra Formars, Ayashii Kanojo, Secret Message, Vancouver's Asahi, Onmyuji ~The Yin Yang master~, Onmyouji II, Hajimari no uta, Dive to the future, The professor and his beloved equation, The Commitment, Maison Ikkouku 1,2; Very ordinary couple; Rurouni kenshin ~Kyoto inferno~, Attack on titan 1,2; I have to but new shoes; Blackboard 1,3; Beyond the memories; Gangnam blues;

Currently watching: Bloody Monday S2, Karei naru spy, Brilliant Legacy

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Friday, December 30, 2011

Ranma 1/2 (2011)


Country: Japan
Genre: comedy, martial arts, romance
Format: Live-action movie
Cast: Aragaki Yui, Kaku Kento, Natsuna, Furuta Arata, Namase Katsuhisa, Hasegawa Kyoko, Nishiyama Maki, Tanihara Shosuke, Nagayama Kento, Kanai Yuta, Tayama Ryosei, 
Synopsis: Made after Takahashi Rumiko same-named manga/anime. Tendo family's dojo is in danger as their last follower quits. Right at that time the family head Tendo Soun receives a postcard from his old friend Saotome Genma, which says that he is bringing his son Ranma to Tokyo. Years ago Soun and Genma made a promise that their children will marry each other in order to inherit the dojo's. However there is a big "BUT" - while training in China, Ranma and Genma fell into Jusenkyo's springs, which now make then transform when their head get wet. Genma turns into Panda with cold water and Ranma into girl. Even though they turn back with hot water, Ranma wants to find a secret spring, which will make him 100% man again for ever and that spring is said to be in Tendo's hold.
Rating: 4/5
I am not a big fan of live-actions as usually they tend to fail at making them and I "Ranma 1/2" my favorite anime ever. I did not hold my expectations high, so the movie actually surprised me. Once again, if someone is to make live-action, please let Japanese do it (because USA live-action of "Dragon Ball" is the worst thing ever!!!!!).
Ranma was played by Kaku Kento. After seeing his martial art skills I understand why he was picked. He made all the moves himself. He was a little bit too skinny from face, but it is not the actor's fault that I imagine Ranma a little bit chubbier from face. I love how Kaku Kento nailed Ranma's attitude and personality. Ranma has rude speaking and uses rude expressions, many times he is full of himself and his so-called "pride" loses its meaning in certain circumstances.
Natsuna in Ranko (Female Ranma) role was on the top. It was enjoying to see how there were similarities to Kaku Kento's face-expressions. Natsuna acting was great. She looked exactly how she supposed to be and she was able to give right attitude to Ranko. I do not think she did her fighting for her, but it seemed that they used a stunt (just be the way the shootings were made).
Most doubts I had for Aragaki Yui. I have seen many dramas by her, so I did not believe that she could pull it off, but she took me by surprise. She was perfect for the role, maybe she had a little bit too feminine and less tom-boyish attitude, but it is forgivable as most of the scenes needed her to be more emotional. I did not liked that they made her to do kendo, Tendo's dojo was just for "anything goes with" martial arts (cannot explain it) with kicks, blocking, jumps etc, not for kendo. I liked that they portrayed AkanaxRanma relationship really well. It was cute and exactly as in manga/anime.
From other characters I most enjoyed Nabiki, because with her attitude it was a great idea to put her into host club and that made seducing Ranma for her own good more funnier. Easily said Nabiki is the daughter who will sell even her own family for certain amount of money. Also believable were Soun and Genma. I did not like the fact that they had made Kasumi's cooking skills to fun - as every time the it took hours for her to finish cooking. Actually she was a great cook, but it was good that they showed how naive Kasumi was.
I understand why they put Kuno's character in it, but I do not understand Gosunkugi role, because he is one of the most unimportant characters! They changed Sasuke's role with Gosunkugi, those fail spying were Sasuke's thing, not Gosunkugi's. Well, Kanai Yuta made a great work as Gosunkugi, especially by appearance. Same goes to Nagayama Kento who made Kuno look hot - in manga/anime he more is just masculine.
The authors of the movie (director, scriptwriter etc) have said that they wanted to make the movie like it is another OVA of anime, so that is the reason why they put in the new villain. I did not like the new villain as he was.. fail? I have nothing against drag queens, but it was a little over the board for me. It was amazing how much drag queens there were! On the other hand, Ranma 1/2 has always had weird, extra-ordinary characters, who have weird reasons for their actions. As they made it as a OVA it does not disturb that they do not have some reaaaaalllly important characters as Ryoga, Shampoo and Ukyo. They do mention Happosai, but in the girls locker room it would have been fun to see him. 
More than everything, I liked that they had put into script some legendary must-needed things like body-comparing, Ranma's first kiss (actually it was another male character who stole his first kiss in the manga), Akane's hair, awkward moments between Akane and Ranma and there even is a hint to Ryoga's joke. ah! one fail what the filmmakers did, is that the computer tricks are horrible. Maybe they did not have enough budget for it, but I find that most live-actions suck at computer effects. The story itself was as great as it would have been written by Takahashi Rumiko herself, but I believe that Yoshihiro Izumi made a great research before writing the script.
I know that for all Ranma 1/2 fans it is a must-see movie and even if you do not know anything about it, the movie itself is so easy to understand. All actors have made a great job to bring out their characters.

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This is my last review in this year. I made some look-ups and found out that during the year 2011 I watched 14 dramas (+3 as I watched both seasons of "Code Blue" and rewatched "Yankee-kun to Megane-chan" and "Nobuta wo Produce") and 26 movies (+6 if you count rewatching) = in total 40 Asian mediaworks (49 all together). I would like to say that I try to watch more and write reviews faster next year, but I cannot. I hope you understand me when I say that I am going to have university entrance exams and high school finals in spring. Hope you all enjoyed last year and HAPPY NEW YEAR TO EVERYBODY!!!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

I am Sam (2007)


Also known as: I am your teacher
Country: South-Korea
Genre: school, romance
Format: drama, 16 episodes
Cast: Park Min Young, Yang Dong  Geun, TOP, Lee Min Ho, Son Tae Young, Ryan, Park Jae Jung, Park Chae Kyung, Park Joon Gyu, Jo Hyang Ki,
Synopsis: Yoo Eun Byul is the daughter of a hot-tempered mob leader. Jang Yi San is an incompetent homeroom teacher for the class 8-3 (known for its rude and wild students)  at Myung Moon High high school. Jang Yi San is ordered to teach Yoo Eun Byul for 5 million won while living together underneath the same roof. Soon love, friendship, money and lies pile up into a rather unique mix of comedy and romance.
Rating: 2/5
It took me a lot of time to actually finish it! At first I saw cropped version, where 1 hour episodes where made into half an hour episodes - do you believe how confusing it was?! Well after watching half episodes I searched the real ones. Warning - It is pretty much student-teacher love, but they do not have any inappropriate scenes in it. Maybe people who have had the same kind experience connect to it, but for me it was veeeeery far theme. (My school's male teachers are all too old and too married)
The main character Yoo Eun Byul is the misery and the happiness of the drama. She is the reason why everything goes wrong and why everything goes right again. Even though she is a 18/19 and wants to be independent, grown-up, she is without-exaggeration childish, manipulative, spoiled and selfish. It seems like she thinks up the relationship in her head and truly believes it. At first it is hard to understand, why she falls in love with the teacher - you can see it from the first episode that she is attached to him - later they have tried to explain this affection, but I find it pretty shallow. On the other hand, she has some great moments too - like after messing everything up-side-down for her own fun, she takes the responsibility and tries to make it all good again. She is loyal to her friends and does not let anyone to bring her down. Park Min Young is very beautiful actress too. However, in the end, I tended too hate Eun Byul more than love - her actions might be cute, but she was irrational in my point of view.
Sam aka Jang Yi San was a great teacher - like I have said there are teachers who are great humans, but suck at teaching and vice versa - Jang Yi San was the one who sucked at personality, but was veeery great teacher. He stood up for his students and thought for their future, that's why he deserved the respect from students. Yet all his awesomeness and coolness is only for some minutes on screen and all the other time he is suffering from some mental-disease (saying that he is a country-boy is not an excuse!!!! -.- I feel insulted if someone says so). In the end of the 12th episode he is the coolest, but it was only for that moment - before that and after that I was hoping that he would get a bullet from Mr.Kim. Even though Jang Yi San was literally banned from personal life as he must "treat Eun Byul like his own daughter" (-.-), he had almost-fiancee miss Shin So Ji. They looked actually cute together as they where similarly shy, but you know that two same kind charges do not fit together - in reality the main reason was Jang Yi San's on-going stupid lies and the fact that every time when something was wrong with Eun Byul he totally forgot So Ji's existence!!!
Shin So Ji was the art-teacher and she continued to wait for him and forgave him his mistakes. It is said that the actress Son Tae Young wore a wig for this drama - yeah, luckily! I liked this hair only when she had curled them. You might think that she had a great patience, but she had her times - when she went to Mr.Hottie nr.1 aka Love Doctor Ji Sun Hoo. (I would have taken him right away =P)  Mostly they were drink-buddies as Ji Sun Hoo always took So Ji back to her home after listening for hours how she cursed Jang Yi San. Of course he falls for her, but I like that they kept his personality simple and gentelman-ic (?). One of the beautiful things he says is "People cry 70 litres of tears in their lifetime, if you have cried your litres, I will cry the rest of your tears for you". Well that's romantic!!! not how 18 year old girl is waiting for a drunk 28 year old man to come home... You cannot make unromantic love romantic with love song and shooting settings.
The "Family" of Eun Byul... Her dad is crazy in every single way, but he is the first one to discover Eun Byul's feelings.. and after that he is crazy/stupid again. It seems like they do not learn anything! He is not strict when he needs to be and he is wrong-headed in things where he has no right to be. Mr. Kim is another hot male character in the drama - he is the best man of Eun Byul's father, the one who is in charge of the dirty-work and communication with authorities and Eun Byul's future-fiance. There is Ms. Hong too who is like a big sister for Eun Byul, even though she has no sisters. She helps her a lot and seems to be the only one from Mafia, who truly cares about Eun Byul's happiness. (Until the end I hoped that Ms. Hong and Mr. Kim will find each other, but you better do not start to wish for it, it is useless) 
8-3 class is epic! I admit that I would like to be in this class (maybe I even have this kind of class, but opposite of them we only get praised by teachers). They are so unique and every one of them has something special in them.
From side-characters the most important are Min Sa Kang and Chae Moo Shin (Yay! for TOP as he was the reason why I wanted to see it in the first place -.-). They were mostly left out from other class, but in some way they got friends with Eun Byul. TOP will stay being the pearl of the drama in the end (*_*). (I try to stop being enchanted by his face). I hate the detective in the drama, because he induced Moo Shin in every single way. Moo Shin was known for "never losing a fight", although he did not use violence until he found that somebody had crossed the line. Both Min Sa Kang and Moo Shin are very loyal and suffered from the cruel reality of life's dark side. I love that they have so many "awkward" moments xD
Many people know this drama thanks to another great, and now one of the most famous Korean actors Lee Min Ho! Like you can see from my list it was the first drama I have seen from him (I am the worst - I know it! XD) His character Heo Mo Se, Moses, does not have much screen time and as a man he sucks xD Moses is charming, most famous guy at school (and headmaster's son), yet he is total chicken, stupid and hmm-hmm-hmm (watch the end of the drama and you'll know what I mean) I started to understand why Lee Min Ho has so many fans - he is charming and a great actor (but he must impress me with "Boys over flowers" as I do not fan his look there)
It is all for you to decide if you want to watch it or not. I had my way to come over it and watch it until the end (I was able to live without any barf bag, but I cannot guarantee it for you) They did not do anything illegal, but I know the real-life love stories between student and teacher, which actually are romantic, but this drama seemed just too irrational and their so called love was barely a puppy-love from the girl side and teacher had more like brotherly-affection. Sorry, I forgot that I should say good things about it - It has romantic scenes with other characters, there are funny scenes and even  some down-to-earth scenes. It is made after manga, but their super-cool-I-want-to-have school uniforms are from another manga (yeah, those uniforms were the second reason I wanted to watch it). My true-favourite scene was in the end of the 16th episode - well 10 to 15 minutes before the real end of the drama. It showed their lives 4 years later after Eun Byul's graduating. You can read somethings about it from Spoiler-review...

SPOILER-review! For those who just want to know the end without starting to watch it or having no more nerves to continue watching, so to not be surprised if you do not understand everything. First of all Ms.Hong and Mr. Kim do not get together. Mr.Kim leaves the Mafia after Eun Byul as flied to USA, becomes international lawyer and is about to marry, while Ms. Hong has stayed by boss. Moses is in the army-service and is married to Da Bin (one of his loyal fans and the leader of 3 Bins) and they are about to have a second baby. One Bin is famous model/actress and the third one is poetess who is going to Oxford. So Ji dumped Jang Ji Sun and is kind of in love with Sun Hoo, who came back to continue his work as school-doctor. Yay! for one dream-couple for finding each other. Jang Ji San is still a teacher and has not lost any part of his body (Damn, why mr. Kim has a kind heart??? -.-), he is still waiting for Eun Byul to return. Finally she comes back and they live happily ever after (I am not a fan of this couple). Finally my favourites! Min Sa Kang becomes a art teacher and goes to her old-school for practise. Moo Shin and his friend are in important detective company (did not understand, but maybe they are the founders of it)   and the same old detective wants Moo Shin to recruit in forces. and *drums* for MinXChae couple-fans they pretty much are together! (at least it seemed so)  In short way this is the end of the drama - I actually cannot remember anything else from drama contents as all my written-down remarks are about how I hate one or other character, how hot are TOP, Ryan, Lee Min Ho and Park Jae Jung and how NOT-ROMANTIC is this teacher-student love. Wish you luck with watching this!^^ 

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Party wa owatta (2011)


Country: Japan
Genre: romance, fantasy, life
Format: keitai-drama in 5 or 6 episodes, later made into movie for cinemas
Cast: Naka Riisa, Koide Keisuke, Narimiya Hiroki, Nakayama Kento, Takaoka Sousuke, Hayashi Kento, 
Synopsis: Asakura Toake (Naka Riisa) is a mangaka, whose recent mangas lack of romance. Her friend Takeo dragges her to Onikawa Norihiko's (Koide Keisuke) party - a famous young mangaka, who had just sold 1 million copies of his most famous manga. Asakura sees 4 different men, who make her imagination run.
Rating: 5/5
I so love Naka Riisa. I believe she is my favourite actress - she is just so talented. It is kinda hard drama to review, but I´ll try my best. Toake is one of a kind =D I love her dress and heels so much, but it was clearly seen that Toake was not used to wear high heels (Naka Riisa knows how to walk in high heels actually, that's why she had to walk like she halts) Her imagination is actually all based on logical assumptions, but I like that she draws so quickly and clearly her manuscripts. Onikawa Norihiko (Koide Keisuke) seemed like a selfish, narcissistic bastard. From this point I´ll go with the review as it happens in drama...
"Painted desire" - Here the male-lead is Narimiya Hiroki! (Another favourite actor!) I soooooooo love NarixNaka pairing - they have a great on-screen and off-screen chemistry. Well, Togawa Yuubi is an artist, whose paintings are ahead of his time.  In some way I liked his paintings, but I would not buy them in any cost. It looked like he used the "bad colors", there are one green color and blue (violet) which are called "poison colors". He had so much colors, but he still used only those.
I really wish them good luck with getting that painting off from the clothes and skin - as oil-paint is not soluble in water. Last year I took oil-painting classes so I know it =D Oil-paint just wants strong solvent and time xD (In my first class I tried to wash a spot of green paint of my hands and I ended up with being covered by this paint, so my teacher had to clean my hands as I was unable to touch anything xD) Yeah, playing with expensive colors can be romantic and sweet in movies, but in reality it is foolish thing to do - use acrylic colors instead =D Toake is Yuubi's girlfriend in this episode and she is pushing his back to try new things, but more than Yuubi, Toake is sacrificing her everything. It has an amazing punch-line in the end and even bigger when Toake comes back to reality and Yuubi turns into Yoshinori. 
"Breaking-up desire" - Over-emotional Musashi, who cries about everything. The korean movie they are watching is "Someday, somewhere, I love you", but I cannot find out if it truly exists or not. Still the movie looks epic for me.  Naka Riisa looks even more beautiful in it! I think that Musashi is too manipulative and a real cry-baby. For Gyoza sake, be a man!!  I would to dump a guy like that too, but I wonder why she ever started to date him, when they were this different. I think that she should have talked more, but she thought that Musashi tries to change her or loves the image of Toake which he has had in his head. I liked how they actually changed during the episode and actually started to understand each other more. The toe-scene was disgusting O.o One fact about Hakone - they really sell those eggs that add 7 years to your life, but they sell 5 eggs in one pack. XD
"Dying desire" - it was so scary! I did not see the love-line in it, but it was interesting and I loved how the scenes were made. When she starts to sing this song, at first it is funny, but later it turns scary too! It made me want to know the end faster, but some scenes reminded me USA movie "The house of wax". People, who have seen it know what I mean. It is true that it is not a good idea to be too curious as curiosity can kill. I actually knew the reality of this episode since the start. The man did not have name in it.
"Holding desire" - In three first episodes, Toake was the normal and sweet one, but in it  - I think that Toake has some serious mental issues. It remind "Kimi wa Petto" as she took the man to her house. I wonder if there would be any woman in the world who would take some totally stranger man from the street to her apartment/ house and wash him and starts to live with him? (I understand if it is some kind of ikemen as Jang Geun Suk or Matsuyama Jun, but Hayashi Kento with that long hair looked like a beggar). One more thing - never lie to a person, who has amnesia!  It is not a smart thing to do as most of the times the amnesia goes by after time. It looked like Toake wanted to make him her life-sized doll even though Hayashi Kento really looks like one O.o  At some points it was too scary!
"Desire and regrets" - it was fuuuking funny! From one moment I was like "WHAT THE RAMEN??! Vamipire? Hitting trucks? What IS IT??!!". Well my sister told me "Koide Keisuke is the hottest vampire I have ever seen - "Twilight - you suck!" xD Well it is true, as this episode seemed to parody all vampire-movies which were so popular.  It was very theatrical - I had a feeling that I was watching a filmed theatre performance. The dance was the most epic ever! I actually knew from the start why Toake really thought this way xD
The real end of the movie was amazing =) It made me think of what was real in this movie and what was not as sometimes the imagination can surpass the reality. The nub in the end was scary too XD
The movie is a mix of all movies, that's why it has all emotions and moods. It should really suit for everybody and it has truly amazing cast.