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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Saturday, April 27, 2013

Hansel & Gretel (2007)


Country: South-Korea
Format:
movie
Genre: mystery, drama, horror
Cast: Chun Jung Myung, Eun Won Jae, Shim Eun Kyung, Jin Ji Hee, Park Hee Soon, Kim Kyeong Ik, Jang Jeong Nam, Koh Joon Hee,  Lydia Park,
Synopsis: Eun Soo makes a car accident while arguing with his pregnant girlfriend over the phone on the way to see his sick mother. He gets lost in the woods until he is found by a young girl who brings him to her family home in the deep forest. There is plenty of food, warm fireplace and 3 children are just adorable, but something seems to be off - the phone-line is down for days, mother and father from the family suddenly disappear and no matter which way Eun Soo walks, he always gets back to the "House of Happy children".
Rating: 2/5
This movie has a lot of different emotions - there are moments of comedy, depression, horror and compassion. I really liked it most of the time but the end got too lingering and depressive that it made stars fall as if there were a meteor shower.
All three child actors shined in their roles. They all were much better than the grown-up actors. Their emotions and expressions were all in right moment and it was pleasant to watch and of course at the times really spooky to watch. Eun Won Jae acts the part of Man Bok - the family's son, who seems to be the evilest of them all, because he can do almost everything with his mind. The fact that he has really short-temper makes him even scarier. At the same time, Shim Eun Kyung plays the older daughter, whose power I did not understand or did not notice much.
Young Hee is the calmest, may be due to the fact that she is said to have really weak health. I did not understand much, but it also seemed that she thought the most about other possibilities, because she plays a really important role through out the movie. The last child Jeong Sun is played by Jin Ji Hee. She is the usual cute kid with spooky hairstyle. I started to wonder how such cute and young actress was allowed to play in this movie. I literally freaked out when she was destroying another toy rabbit! Jeong Sun has the power of giving life to lifeless things like dolls (she is the one who makes your toys move around at nights)
The"so-called" main character Eun Soo has not turned out as great as they wanted, because moslty he is more like a side-character, but only with the fact that his story is retold in the movie. Chun Jung Myung's acting is another thing that tears his character down - he has through out the movie the same face expression, so you really do not get what he thinks, because there is so much happening all the time, but at the same time it feels like nothing changes.
I admit that I covered my eyes more than once because actually I  am a really big scaredy-cat when it comes to horror movies. Bu fortunately and unfortunately it is not as dreadful as I thought and hoped it will be. Like most of the horror movies connected to children has "Hansel and Gretel" a sad, pitiful and unfair background why children are making this crazy nightmare. This time it is about child abuse and raping - subject that no one likes or wants to see. (Seriously, how can this kind of people even exist? that is just way too sick!) which leads us to the annoying end too, but read about it from Spoiler review.
I really liked that they made mind and willpower into the strongest thing, because I believe too that human is possible for making everything if they just have the strong belief in it really happening. For a while, I even thought that maybe, just maybe, everything is only in someone's mind and nothing really happens, but then it got too complicated again..
Even though it was not the scariest or unpleasant movie, I will never recommend this movie to people under 13 - I think I have a life-time trauma of toy bunnies. Like with all "horror-movies" - some love it, some don't - I find it rather.. surreal and usual.
btw. There are more known fairytales made into horror movies in South-Korea.  

SPOILER review: Just a bit before the end.. there is sooooooooo long scene about one thing - dialogue between the kids and Eun Soo. He says that he must leave because he is waited and the children must move on with their lives and the children just repeat "We are not bad children. we are good children. Please, do not leave us. Stay with us! etc" and that goes on and on and on for several minutes. I do not know if they tried to fill the screen time with it but it was rather boring an depressive for the whole watching crew we had in the room. They could have made it normal and short and it would not have lost 1-2 stars. You may say I am too harsh, but it mattered to me.

Punch (2011)


Country: South-Korea
Format: movie
Genre: youth, drama
Cast: Yoo Ah Ni, Kim Yoon Seuk, Jasmine B. Lee, Park Su Young, Ahn Gil kang, Kim Sang Ho, Park Hyo Joo, Kang Byul, Kim Young Jae, Sudip Banerjee,
Synopsis: Growing up story about Do Wan Deuk who is a sophomore in high school but does not have any thoughts on future. His father is former cabaret performer with a hunchback, he does not know a thing about his mother and is only good at fighting. His views start to change when his hated and annoying home-room teacher (and almost a neighbor) Dong Jo tells him that his mom is much closer to him than he thinks and actually wants to see him. 
Rating: 2/5
This is really everyday-ish movie.. well, as everyday life as it can be, but it still is just a little slice of Do Won Deuk's life. I hope you get the point. It is based on same-named novel ("Wandeuk") by Kim Ryeo-Ryeon, but with some changes as adding Ho Jung (Dong Jo's love interest) to the movie and changing Wan Deuk's mother from Vietnamese to Filipina.
The most important part of the movie is the relationship between Wan Deuk and his teacher Dong Jo.
Like usually, teacher is trying to reach out and help his lonely student, which is something we can see in many Korean and Japanese dramas/movies. At first, Wan Deuk almost hates Dong Jo, because he is everywhere and is always putting his nose into Wan Deuk's business, but slowly the boy starts to see his teacher in another way - like when seeing Dong Jo's late-night spying on one woman; getting to know Dong Jo's relationship with immigrants and foreign labor or just realizing how Dong Jo is trying to protect him. By the end, they are almost as good friends. Of course, their dialogues are really funny and full of sarcasm, which makes the movie funny too.
I liked the movie mostly because of Wan Deuk's growing recognition of his mother. It almost made me cry, because even though she was the woman who left years ago, she was still his mother. Wan Deuk said that he had not thought about his mother at all, but I am sure that if he had, then he had hoped that she is doing fine: "why to leave them behind and still live bad life?" this thought was in another drama, but I cannot remember in which. That's why it broke my heart when Wan Deuk saw his mom's situation and her old worn-out shoes.
Other great thing about the movie is that it shows "the other side" of South-Korea - students thinking
of dropping out as I bet we all know the thing about South-Korea and finals, disabled people, the poor class, foreign labor and intercultural marriage. I think that these things give the quality to the movie and make it different from others, which also can be the reason behind enormous ticket sale to this movie in 2011, winning many awards and screenings on international film festivals around the world. We see much more "the life of rich and beautiful" or "the middle class", so it is a nice change, but as some viewers have said - some scenes look just too artificial. In addition, I think that these are things that many countries face and that way there is a moment of realisation.
Of course there is added some love-lines, which give the movie the cute touch. Hong Jo's character
was added just because director Lee Han thought that "love" is the best way how to make viewers more empathize with Dong Jo's character, because it is like finding a love after years of single and lonely life. On the other hand, Wan Deuk's and Yoon Ha's love-line shows the young sweet love, which is a part of growing up - but I really liked how they brought in the differences between girls and boys.
I am not going to talk more about characters, even though each character is really interesting and original. As I mentioned at the start, it is all about one stage of human life and you can see it in each character's story. The reason why I did not put higher rating was because there actually were not many changes in the movie's pace or unexpected twists. It just started and went with one flow giving everything I thought I will get from it and nothing more. At least, it is not depressive and does not make you angry at society.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Juui Dolittle (2010)


Country: Japan
Format: drama in 9 episodes
Genre: veterinary, friendship
Cast: Oguri Shun, Narimiya Hiroki, Inoue Mao, Fujisawa Ema, Kasahara Hideyuki, Suda Masaki, Ishizaka Koji, Kunimura Jun, guests: Masuda Takahisa, Kuninaka Ryoko, Saotame Taichi, Kaho etc
Synopsis: Tottori Kenichi (Oguri Shun) is not the friendliest person, but he is the best veterinarian in Japan. He keeps saying that veterinary is business and makes people understand the true meaning of being pet's owner. After operating Tajima Asuka's (Inoue Mao) horse, she is made to help out at the clinic to pay back for surgery.  There is also a great friend, charismatic veterinarian Hanabishi Masaru (Narimiya Hiroki) who is unable to carry out an operation.
Rating: 3/5
 I was surprised by "Juui Dolittle" - I do not know why, but I thought that it will be totally different, so it is really great that it was able to overcome my expectations. It has been in my "watch-list" ever since it aired on TBS, which is almost 2,5 years, so it was about time to finally watch it. I even remember how I kept watching their updates on official page, because they had so cute animals on the set all the time. (I am a big animal lover - I actually grew up in a farm with many animals)
Oguri Shun was really cool in it, because I think that he suits into those "tsundere" character rolls with his big growth and suitable face. Tottori Kenichi is most of the time really cold and his fees are reaaaaaalllly high, but at the same time you can see his hidden love towards animals. I also felt that his coldness is caused by other people ignorance toward their pets, because there are so many people abandoning their pets or not taking good care of them. He also has many secrets, because he is a man of few words, but I also felt that they gave us too less information about him to understand him 100%.  
Tajima Asuka is a novice in veterinary. She is really cute character, because she is not annoying or useless and she gives her best to help animals at clinic. Of course there are mistakes, but it is understandable because she has never done anything like that before. They have put in some hints on love-line between her and Tottori, but the biggest impact goes on animals. As you might think already, then you can see more Asuka's emotions than Tottori's. Another thing I thought before watching it was that she will have some kind of love-line with Hanabishi, which would have caused much jealousy, but it did not happen.  But I was most surprised by the fact that Hanabishi Masaru and Tottori were friends.. :D
I do not know why I thought they are rivals - as you can see I do not read others reviews or all synopsis' before watching. I really liked Hanabishi because he was willing to do everything in order to save animals, even though he did not perform operations himself. He was really appealing and wanted the best, but for me it all made his over-priced car funnier. He has the biggest problems and difficulties in the drama, all due to the lie about operating. He is the only veterinarian who officially acknowledges Tottori's outstanding skills and because they were university buddies he is the one person who understands Tottori, which is really cute.
From other characters I really liked Domon Junpei at first, but Domon family is the most annoying part of the drama. No matter how they all make really selfish things and manipulate with others, so they just got on my nerves. I do not like veterinarians who are out for fame and money or do not bother to make extra researches to find out pet's illness. Of course there are some annoying ones more within "costumers" and their selfish thoughts. Another thing that I did not enjoy in this drama was those fake animal capes! Some of them were tooooo fake and that was not pretty. I understand that making a drama with animals is difficult and especially in those scenes it would have been inconceivable to use living animals, but they could have done a better job with capes.
If we leave out the annoying family and fake capes, then it is a really sweet drama that makes you treasure your pets, there could have been more constant action between three main characters, because, it is said that this drama should be about main characters friendship, which I got to know after I had searched for real synopsis after watching it. Do not know how much it was about friendship and how much it was about owner-pet relationships, but I will leave it up to you to decide.