Friday, November 17, 2017

Pretty Li Hui Zhen

Episodes: 40
This is the Chinese remake of the Korean drama "She Was Pretty." The story follows a woman named Li Hui Zhen who is clumsy, messy, and unlucky in life. As a child, she was very beautiful but after her family went through bankruptcy, it took a toll on her physical appearance greatly as she struggled to support herself and help her family. One day her childhood friend Bai Hao Yu comes back to China and attempts to find Li Hui Zhen. When Li Hui Zhen saw that the childhood "fatty" friend became an extremely attractive and successful man, she suddenly felt ashamed of her current state. Hoping to leave only beautiful memories and impressions of herself with Bai Hao Yu, she asks her stylish and attractive best friend, Xia Qiao, to take her place. At first, it was supposed to be a white lie where Xia Qiao meets him and then tells him she's going to study abroad so they can't meet in the future. However, things get complicated when Xia Qiao becomes touched by Bai Hao Yu's love and when Li Hui Zhen gets an internship at the company Immortal only to find that Bai Hao Yu is her new boss. As Hui Zhen continues to try to hide her true identity, she has constant interactions with a fellow coworker Lin Yi Mu who is interested in her and with Bao Hao Yu who constantly berates her for incompetence. 

    I actually enjoyed watching this drama because it was fun, light-hearted, and also fairly realistic. I love watching characters who are all good at heart but struggle internally with their moral compasses. It is also refreshing to watch characters manage to balance life, romance, and their careers. The support everyone showed one another and the constant idea of having to work for what you want was constantly seen throughout the drama. The main reason I enjoyed this drama was probably because it made me want to be a better person and work harder for the things that I want.
     I also love the friendships in this drama. Every decision and action the characters made, no matter how selfish, were all somewhat rooted in good intentions. It was hard for me to hate anyone in this drama and I heard that the friendships in this drama felt more realistic in comparison to the Korean version. There are many people who really like the Korean version and I have not watched it yet. However, I did enjoy this drama despite many complaining about the similarities, differences, and character/plot changes.
      This drama gave me a severe case of second-lead-syndrome. I really couldn't see the first male lead be the actual love interest. He was so biased toward Li Hui Zhen and I didn't like how he could treat someone like trash the moment he finds out they aren't Li Hui Zhen. Throughout the entire drama, the redeeming point for him was that he fell in love with Li Hui Zhen without knowing that she was his childhood sweetheart. However, it doesn't change the fact that he treated her poorly before that and it doesn't change the way he treated Xia Qiao after finding out she had been lying to him about her being Li Hui Zhen. I loved Lin Yi Mu because he treated Hui Zhen well from the beginning and liked her for who she was, not how she looked and not because of what her identity meant to him.

Favorite episodes:
- All of the scenes with Hui Zhen and Xia Qiao being close friends because they are actually friendship goals and it's actually fairly realistic to how a lot of girls love/treat their best friends.
Ep 15: Bai Hao Yu following Hui Zhen because he starts piecing things together
Ep 24: Wasn't that spectacular of an episode but this was when Hui Zhen gets a transformation
Ep 26: Lin Yi Mu went out and bought Hui Zhen a bag and he shopped for days just for her. I found this so sweet and at this point I was already suffering from second-lead-syndrome hard.
Ep 31: Bai Hao Yu drinks one glass and passes out. It's so comedic.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Once Upon A Time (Three Lives Three Worlds, Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms) (Movie)


       For those who have seen my previous post about the drama version of this, you will know that I loved the complex plot and characters. I absolutely love the story behind Three Lives, Three Worlds and would recommend that drama to anyone who wants to get into a new historical-fantasy drama. So when I heard about the movie version, I was excited to see it and I finally got around to it! This movie was actually not bad but I would definitely not recommend this to people who do not know the story of Three Lives, Three Worlds. I would only recommend you watch this after watching the drama so you can understand the plot. When I first watched the drama, despite all the details and extra episodes that allowed me to catch on, I was still confused every now and then. This movie obviously had to cut down on a lot and improvise scenes to fit in with the scenario and I feel like if you watch this before knowing the story, you'll be left very confused and staring at all the gaps in the story.
       This was very beautiful still and I thought the actors and actresses in this movie were gorgeous (they had some of my favorite people on the cast -- Liu Yi Fei and Yang Yang). They did a great job conveying their emotions and were very professional in their acting. However, despite loving the actors, I still preferred the drama version more. Mostly because 1) It was the first one I watched, 2) it had more details to the story I love the most, 3) the ending was way more satisfying and on a happier note (the movie was more of a cliffhanger left for you to imagine what happens next--but would be very confusing if you didn't understand what was going on with Mo Yuan and Ye Hua looking alike).

The King's Woman

Episodes: 48
       Gongsun Li (aka Li Er) is the granddaughter of the military commander Gongsun Yu. Taught how to fight at a young age, Li Er grows up with the other disciples of her grandfather. Eventually, she falls in love with one of the boys she grew up training with. However, their romance is not as simple as they would have hoped it to be. When Li Er was a little girl, she meets and rescues the young Ying Zheng from assassins. Ying Zheng forever held that childhood memory to heart and when he coincidentally runs into Li Er again, he uses his power and authority to make her his. In a world of revenge, romance, passion, and politics, the characters slowly weave the threads of their fate  together as they navigate through obstacles with caution and emotion. 

        I enjoyed this drama for the most part but I also had problems with it as well. I felt that the beginning of this drama kind of dragged and there were a lot of times you have to sit through information dumps or story buildups/political buildups. However, as the drama went on, it started picking up and you start enjoying the characters a lot more because of their distinct personalities, life goals, and dilemmas. At the end, however, the characters that you come to like (the emperor in particular) seems to change and become filled with rage and trust issues. For both the audience and for Li Er, it was like having the rose glasses removed on the "improved" Ying Zheng. While I didn't like how inconsistent and shady the characters felt toward the end (where's the loyalty? where's the trust? you can't trust anyone!!), I did feel the ending was perfect. Many people hated the ending because it was unsatisfying and depressing. However, I expected this kind of end and I actually couldn't see it ending in any other way. At that point, happily ever after truly did feel impossible. 
          I loved the cast because they all did a great job playing their roles. Dilraba Dilmurat is such a gorgeous woman and I've seen a few of her previous dramas already. This is the first drama I'm watching where she is the main lead and I believe she did a fairly good job (although the voice pairing in some crying scenes and stuff did not do her justice). Vin Zhang is also very attractive. It was certainly nice to see these two actors work together after appearing as side characters in Three Lives Three Worlds. Out of the three love interests that Li Er had in this drama, I preferred Han Shen over everyone (and he wasn't even the second lead! He was the third lead!). I feel like Han Shen truly loved Li Er for who she is and was willing to sacrifice all that he wants or has to keep her happy and safe. The emperor's true feelings toward the end of the drama showed that he didn't wholeheartedly love, trust, and support Li Er. He was good at acting like he did when he was actually filled with jealousy over the fact that Li Er loved Jing Ke before him and had a child with Jing Ke. As for Jing Ke, his inability to sacrifice the goal of revenge and assassinating the king for Li Er's needs of a quiet lifestyle show how incompatible they would've been in the long run. His reaction and anger toward Li Er after being lied to about Tian Ming being the Emperor's son also said a lot about his character. Both the emperor and Jing Ke loved Li Er for what she meant to them and what she did for them---but none of them ever considered what they could do for Li Er that is actually what she wants. Han Shen, on the other hand, risked his life time and time again to protect Li Er from harm's way. He supported all of Li Er's decisions and risked his life for her child regardless of whose child it was. At the same time, he was always worrying about Li Er's safety and happiness above all things. Even at the very end, it was still about what more he could do for Li Er and how to protect her child, Tian Ming. I loved Han Shen the most out of the three men and I was very sad about it the entire drama whenever he was there for her as she focused on either the emperor or Jing Ke. 
        The OST of this drama was also very beautiful. I don't know the name of it yet (I will update when I do find out), but there is a very sad-feeling song sung by a woman and it is my absolute favorite song so far. 

Favorite Episodes:
Ep 10: Feeding dates
Ep 22: The King watched her sleep and comforted her from her nightmare all gently.
Ep 23: When she accepted the kiss
Ep 48: epic last episode (may be disappointing to some but I enjoyed it)

(There were also a lot of other scenes I enjoyed but I didn't list them out so this will have to do :) )

Thursday, October 5, 2017

The Beauty Inside (Movie)

       This movie was very strange and I don't really know how to feel about it. It had a cute ending and there were some good actors featured in this movie. However, the plot and romance didn't strike me as that interesting. It certainly had a good concept but I feel like the execution may have been a bit poor and not very realistic. This movie is about a man named Woo Jin who suffers from a condition in which he will always wake up as someone completely different--sometimes an attractive man, sometimes an old man, sometimes a woman, and sometimes even a foreigner. Falling in love and forming long-term relationships with anyone is difficult for him. However, one day, he comes across a beautiful woman named Yi Soo and he reveals his secret to her in hopes of them working out. After taking some time to accept the situation, she eventually accepts it and falls in love with him. Every day she wakes up to a different person and every day she must realize that she may never know who he is the next day. Eventually, Yi Soo's mental health is severely strained by the relationship and Woo Jin's constantly changing physical identity. This movie shows what it is to fall in love with a person for who they are and not what they look like. It also shows how their relationship was hard for Yi Soo because she never knows which person it is she loves because she can't identify his personality based on one's outer appearance. 
       While this movie was cute and had a cute ending, I did feel a bit upset about how they didn't dive deeper into how they are going to have others accept their relationship. How do they explain this to the people around Yi Soo? How are they going to work out? Is there any way to stop this weird thing? The movie sort of ends on a note of them figuring it out and working it out with the situation. But I couldn't help but feel like it is only a matter of time before more complications come up when people around Yi Soo question who her boyfriend is, when Yi Soo once again struggles with who he is and what she feels, and so forth. 

Friday, September 1, 2017

The Eternal Love

Episodes: 24
        Qu Tan Er is the second daughter of the Qu family and is in love with the First Prince, Mo Yi Huai. But instead of marrying the love of her life, she is being forced to marry Mo Yi Huai's younger brother, Mo Lian Cheng, the eighth prince of the Dong Yue Kingdom. Unwilling to accept her fate, Qu Tan Er attempts to commit suicide. When she wakes up, she finds out that another soul is also taking residence in her body along with her's. This other person is the modern day Xiao Tan.
       From the modern times, Xiao Tan is the complete opposite of Tan Er. Qu Tan Er is everything a lady ought to be during the time--quiet, reserved, and obedient. Xiao Tan, on the other hand, is loud, boisterous, strong, and assertive. As she tries to find her way back to modern times, she has to learn to deal with Qu Tan Er's family and her relationships with the princes as well. At the same time, the two girls have to learn to live with one another. Whenever one of the girls tells a lie, the other personality would take over. Things get complicated as Xiao Tan falls in love with Mo Lian Cheng while Qu Tan Er is still hopelessly in love with Mo Yi Huai.

     This drama was so lighthearted and comedic. It was funny, romantic, and it had me hooked from the first episode. I binge watched this drama while it was still airing and I loved it. There are definitely scenes where it is a bit fake or a bit childish. Xiao Tan's personality was sometimes a bit obnoxious as well but she was definitely more interesting and funnier as the story went on. The plot is not the strongest, in my opinion. However, this drama held a unique charm to itself that made it more and more interesting.
    The concept behind this drama was also so funny and interesting to me. I certainly enjoyed Modern Xiao Tan's interactions with the eighth prince more than the actual Qu Tan Er's interactions with the first prince. Qu Tan Er is everything a noblewoman would've been like in historical times but with a modern Xiao Tan to compare and contrast to, she is very boring. While Qu Tan Er and the first prince had a love story going on as well, I often looked forward to Xiao Tan and eighth prince's scenes. I even loved watching Xiao Tan act out on behalf of Qu Tan Er because I found Qu Tan Er too quiet, too weak, and too sad to do anything to change her situation.
         I loved watching Xiao Tan bicker with the eighth prince, befriend her servant, and fight back to those who tried to bully her. While Qu Tan Er would've accepted being hit by her family and bullied by concubines, Xiao Tan is the complete opposite as she fights back and defends herself in her own way. It was very refreshing to watch. There were times that I wished Xiao Tan would've been a bit more reserved because she tends to be always loud and always doing something far from ladylike. I wanted her to try to fit into the historical times the way Ruo Xi did in Bubujingxin. That being said, this drama did remind me of BBJX/Ryeo because of the concept of a modern soul put into a past incarnation of herself. However, the interesting twist in this drama is that the actual soul of the body is still present. I loved watching the personalities switch on and off whenever they lie.
         I wish the plot revolved more around the personality concept and the souls concept. I felt that it would've been interesting to watch how the two love stories progressed, how the interactions played a role in politics and at home, and so forth. I thought the magic and fantasy concept that was going on in this drama was a bit confusing and also a bit weird. I was especially disappointed with the last few episodes where they focused on the magical aspect of the story and it made me feel like I was watching a completely separate drama. The ending was alright but it felt like such a different world from the world we started falling in love with the characters in. I was a bit disappointed with the last few episodes and the ending but I still think that this drama  is worth a watch simply for the relationship and funny moments in the beginning and in between.
          The OSTs are very pretty and I really enjoyed listening to the lyrics. The actors in this drama are also fairly new and although their acting wasn't perfect or the best, I still enjoyed watching them. The eighth prince did a good job portraying a warm, caring prince to the woman he loves. I look forward to more of their work in the future as they continue to improve as actors and actresses. 

Favorite Episodes:
 Episode 3: I love how the 8th prince thinks shes playing mind games and scheming so he's trying to figure her out. Also the kiss at the last scene!!
Episode 4: When he tries to get her to push away the princess by kissing her but she doesn't play along. And then he helps tend to her wounds :)
When she was showing him her old scars and he kept saying he didn't see them because he was looking at her and not at her scars.
Episode 5: It's so funny when she fights with the other concubines.
The scene where the servant had to try to translate modern slang was so funny.
Episode 6: I love the interactions between Xiao Tan and 8th prince & that kiss
Episode 7: 8th prince is so good to her, I'm in love with his character
Episode 8: 8th prince was so happy when she yelled at the 1st prince. It was so cute.
Also: "Anyone who hurts you will become my enemy."
And I couldn't stop laughing at the part where they encountered assassins and the 8th prince ran with Xiao Tan while telling her "I'm their target." It was so funny when she said "If you're they're target, why are you dragging me?" and proceeded to argue with him while running from the assassins.
Episode 9: "I won't ever let you go again."
-when Xiao Tan finds out she's the only woman he's been with (despite having concubines)
Episode 10: 8th prince protecting Xiao Tan
Episode 11: 8th prince taking care of her
Episode 20: The scene where she's giving birth and said that in the next life she's going to make the 8th prince give birth. And he willing said he'd switch with her.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Noble, My Love

Episodes: 20
    Lee Kang Hoon is a wealthy and attractive heir to one of the world's largest companies. After escaping an attempting kidnapping, Kang Hoon finds himself at the animal hospital owned by the veterinarian Yoon Seo. Yoon Seo tends to his injuries that night and Kang Hoon finds himself fascinated by her sweet nature and character. He ends up offering her a loan to open up her own veterinary practice in a better location in exchange she would have to play her part in a contract relationship. The two begin to fall in love and the story begins to unfold. 

      This drama was not that impressive to me. It felt a bit cliche and the acting was a bit amateur. It wasn't believable and the chemistry between the actors seemed a bit off. There was nothing in this drama that gave it it's own charm, in my opinion. There were many times that I wanted to stop watching this drama in the first five episodes because it felt off, uninteresting, and forced. It did get better as the episodes went on but simply because the story will always eventually grow on you but it was such a struggle to force myself into this particular drama world.
      A reason why this drama wasn't that interesting to me was that the main male lead didn't have much of a build up to the way he acts toward Yoon Seo. It felt like he got injured, she helped him, and suddenly he was interested in her. Thankfully he was also rich and handsome and that qualified him to be the main lead. There was no in between and no character build up for him. I liked the girl slightly more simply because they gave her some backstory, but even so, it wasn't enough for me to love these characters and feel for their story. It was too cliche. Spirited, struggling female bumps heads with rich, attractive male who helps her and fights for her throughout the entire drama.
       Seen too many well-done dramas of this sort to truly appreciate this one. Would not watch again and would not recommend this to my close friends. But feel free to watch it (after all, to each their own). I did hear about this drama from a girl friend who really liked it. 

Favorite Episodes:
Episode 3: When Kang Hoon goes to visit her but because he's so out of touch with his feelings and stuff, he creepily acts like a stalker
Episode 6: The short interactions between Yoon Seo and Manager Kim were so cute, funny, and friendly
Episode 7: When Kang Hoon helps out at the lunch meeting Yoon Seo had with all those catty women. And he said: "From now on, don't see such mean friends." Like thank you! Why was she even meeting those snooty women to begin with?
Episode 10: That kiss haha
Episode 12: That kiss
Episode 14: Yoon Seo getting scared of the thunder

Thursday, August 10, 2017

The First Half of My Life 我的前半生

Episodes: 42
      Luo Zi Jun thought she was set for life after marrying Chen Jun Sheng. Everything she wanted, she got. Zi Jun spends the day waiting for her husband to return from work while being a devoted housewife and mother. However, one day, that happy life ends when her husband suddenly files for divorce and leaves her. Zi Jun's life completely changes as she is unprepared to face the world as a single mother. Thus, she turns to her best friend Tang Jing and her long time boyfriend, He Han, for emotional support. He Han has always looks down on the life Zi Jun has led as a rich, spoiled housewife. He is a successful businessman and Tang Jing is a career-focused woman. The two help Zi Jun get back on her feet, get back into the work face, and strengthen herself up. As time passes, He Han slowly starts to develop feelings for Zi Jun. This is a story about empowering women and also brings up many controversial issues in life such as cheating, divorce, child custody, and facing single life once more.

         This drama is very real to life. However, the beginning of this drama annoyed me greatly. I hate it when people are not loyal to their girlfriend/boyfriend/spouse. It was such a struggle for me to watch Zi Jun try to be a loving wife to Chen Jun Sheng while he was cheating on her with Ling Ling. I hated how they all played Zi Jun for a fool by giving her a false sense of security while slowly pulling the rug from under her feet. Zi Jun's character development shines a lot of light into the societal standards women are put against. Her inability to work or be an active member of society is greatly due to the fact that her husband told her to stay at home and become a devoted housewife and mother for years. She follows him willingly and does everything in her power to be the perfect housewife he returns home to every day. Yet despite all this, he falls for a woman that is exactly the opposite of his wife--she's not as pretty, not as young, and definitely more career oriented than Zi Jun--and with the change of taste for women, he dumps Zi Jun leaving her behind like a fish out of water. 
        This is a very good drama and many middle aged women really love watching this drama. I feel as though this drama is a little above my age because it was hard for me to fully connect with the situations that were happening. It had a lot to do with life during your mid-30s with divorce and finding your way back into the workforce. However, the acting was phenomenal and I did enjoy how all the relationships and interactions are very human. This drama is extremely raw and it really pulls you into the shoes of every character in this show. This drama was fairly depressing in the beginning but as I continued watching, the episodes got increasingly better (the acting as well).
        Very well-done, beautiful, raw, and empowering drama. It truly shows off the good and bad in life, marriage, and careers.

Favorite Episodes:
Episode 9: I loved watching Zi Jun finally yell at Chen Jun Sheng when he was requesting child custody over their son. Her anger was so palpable.
Episode 14: When He Han helps Zi Jun out via text message when she's talking to Ling Ling
Episode 17: It irks me so much that a family is just split like this because of the divorce. It is pretty sad watching how it affects the child.
-The scene in the rain where she's running with Ping Er while her own husband is taking care of someone else's child.
Episode 22: That business rivalry Tang Jin has--you go, girl!
Episode 27: He Han picking Zi Jun up in the rain
Episode 32: He Han and Zi Jun's acting is no joke.
Episode 35: Ling Ling is so annoying...
Episode 39: Zi Jun's mom is always a busybody and nagging everyone. But she does it all out of love...just like a mother does. This is such a sad episode.