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.

One More Time

Episodes: 8
       This is a Netflix original. Tan is the lead singer of an indie band. Broke and struggling to stay afloat, Tan is increasingly frustrated with his situation. He takes it out on his band mates and on his girlfriend, Da In. On October 4th, Tan experiences a change in his life as a big entertainment company offered him a spot in their company. Ditching his friends and girlfriend, he rushes to experience this new life of fame and fortune. However, when he woke up the next day, he found himself living the same day again. This continues over and over again as Tan is stuck on October 4th. 
       Tan begins to make use of the loop as he wins gambling games, flirts with multiple women in the entertainment industry, and drives fancy cars. When he decides to check on his girlfriend and friends, he understood why he was stuck in this loop. His girlfriend is fated to die every evening at 8:23 PM on October 4th. No matter what Tan does and how he tries to save her, Da In dies. This story follows Tan as he attempts to save his girlfriend from this fate and to keep their love strong.

      This was a simple mini series that reminded me of the story "Before I Fall." I loved the concept of having a day constantly on repeat as you try to find a way to fix the situation. I didn't like Tan's character at first because he was so rude and so mean to his girlfriend. It made their cute memories together seem so temporary and fake because as a viewer you know that he went from being a sweet, caring boyfriend to a man who is constantly annoyed at his girlfriend. I did not like how he constantly took his personal stress out on Da In and try to bring her down by insulting her or neglecting her.
      It made me feel a bit better when Tan begins to appreciate Da In more with each repetition of the day after he discovers her fate. It certainly was an interesting concept and I loved watching the characters interact with the young grim reaper. This isn't a drama that I'd rewatch in the future but I did enjoy the concept (although it reminded me of other books, shows, and dramas). 
      I liked the song he made for Da In in the end. It was really pretty and it fit their situation well. It was simple but I wouldn't recommend this to people to watch. But if you want something short to watch that involves concepts of time and space...then here's a mini series for you. 

Monday, August 7, 2017

Three Lives Three Worlds, Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms 三生三世十里桃花

Episodes: 58 
       This drama starts off on Kun Lun Mountain. Bai Qian is the youngest child of the Fox King and is the female monarch of Qing Qiu. She is always very sassy and naughty growing up and was thus sent to Kun Lun Mountain to become the disciple of the God of War, Mo Yuan. Disguised as a male and using the name of Si Yin, she trains for many, many years. During that time, Mo Yuan showed her great favoritism among his students and developed a strong bond with her as well. Only Mo Yuan and the second prince of the Ghost Realm, Li Jing, knew that Si Yin was a female. Si Yin and Li Jing fall for each other  during her time on Kun Lun Mountain but were separated after Li Jing betrays Si Yin's trust. A war breaks out between the Immortal Tribe and the Ghost Tribe. In an attempt to seal the Ghost Lord, Qing Cang, Mo Yuan's soul is shattered and lost. Si Yin tries many different methods to bring her teacher back to life but to no avail. She ends up bringing her teacher's body with her to Qing Qiu, hiding her teacher from the world for 70,000 years as she tries to find out a way to revive Mo Yuan and returning back to her identity of Qing Qiu's Bai Qian.
          The disciples of Kun Lun Mountain slowly dispersed over the years. Many have tried to locate where Mo Yuan and Si Yin have gone. And for 70,000 years, Li Jing spends the rest of his time wondering where Si Yin had gone to. Li Jing ends up spending the rest of the drama still longing for Si Yin while maintaining peace in the Ghost Realm and dealing with an extremely jealous wife.
         Many years later, the ghost lord tries to break free from the Dong Huang Bell where he is kept. Immediately, Bai Qian attempts to reseal the Ghost Lord but as a result, her memories and goddess identity were sealed away by the Ghost Lord and she was sent to the mortal realm to undergo a trial to become a High Goddess. In the mortal world, she meets Ye Hua. Ye Hua is the spitting image of Mo Yuan (later on revealed he is the twin of the God of War but was born later due to circumstances). Ye Hua is the Crown Prince Black Dragon of the Nine Heavens. Being the future ruler, he is extremely mature and constantly sacrifices for the benefit of others. When he becomes injured one day and is unable to return to his human form (stuck as a little dragon--but mistaken for a snake), he is taken care of by Bai Qian, who is given the new name of Su Su. Over time, the two begin to fall in love. In order to prevent a tragedy from happening that would prevent their relationship, Ye Hua attempts to fake his death while hiding Su Su from the Nine Heavens. However, his plans were eventually thwarted and Su Su was brought to the Nine Heavens for trial.
     Su Jin, who is jealous of Ye Hua's love for Su Su, intentionally creates a series of misunderstandings between them and eventually causes Su Su to lose her eyes. After giving birth to their son, Su Su jumps off the Zhu Xian Terrace in devastation of Ye Hua's "betrayal". Upon jumping from the terrace, Su Su finishes her mortal trial and returns back to her goddess status. At her request, all her memories of what happened during the time she was Su Su were erased and she forgets Ye Hua. She spends the next three hundred years enjoying herself in Qing Qiu and continuing to devote her life to find out ways to revive Mo Yuan. Ye Hua, on the other hand, holds on to the memories of Su Su for those three hundred years as he tries to create an incarnation of the woman he loved. At the same time, he devotes his love and attention to their child, Ah Li, and is constantly seeking for ways to bring back Su Su.
        Three hundred years later, the two meet again as deities at a gathering. Ye Hua recognizes Bai Qian as Su Su but she does not have any memory of him. Thus, Ye Hua begins to pursue Bai Qian for a second time to regain her affections despite the new obstacles arising. Since the beginning to the end, their fates have passed through thousands of years and through different worlds and incarnations. It truly is a story about a love that passed through three lives, three worlds, and a road of peach blossoms. 

        I heard a lot about this drama because it has been extremely popular in China and other Asian countries. I was a bit reluctant to watch this drama at first because I knew it was going to be a long series (58 episodes!!!). However, a friend of mine could not stop raving about this drama and she said it was worth the time. Thus, I decided to watch this drama and form my own opinion about it. Going into this, I had high expectations for this drama because of the many good reviews and high popularity this series had. I'm very pleased to say that this drama did not disappoint. There are pros and cons to this drama though.
         This drama is a very long drama but it is packed with romance, magic, and action. It is so beautiful and feeds into all my historical fantasy needs. The characters were so pleasant to watch and everything tied into a bigger plot. Their fashion and hair in this drama was absolutely amazing and detailed. It also had great cinematography and some very famous celebrities that acted in this drama. The plot of this drama is very complex but it was explained so well with each episode I watched. I certainly think that this is a drama that is better the second time you watch it because you understand the world more and the characters more as well. The first time watching it may be confusing to some because each scene holds a lot of details that may be crucial in later episodes. I really enjoyed the plot, the costume, and the characters in this drama. Everything was so beautiful and well-done. This drama also hit me in my feels a couple of times throughout the drama and left me in tears. It also made me laugh and blush as well. This drama made me feel a thousand different emotions which is a big reason why I enjoyed this drama.
             There were some cons as well. I felt that some of the scenes dragged or were slow when I first watched it. But when I watched it the second time, I clung on to every word because I knew they were important to the world-building and character development as the drama progresses. But for those who only watch this one time, some of the beginning episodes where Bai Qian is training as Si Yin may get boring or confusing. While the ending was very happy, there were still some things that left me unsatisfied. For instance, I wanted Bai Qian to interact with Ah Li a bit more toward the end. Especially after she regained her memories from when she was Susu. But then again, she never really truly showed affection toward Ah Li as a mother so I guess it makes sense in a way. I loved how Bai Qian and Ye Hua's story ended. But I was left with regret for Bai Feng Jiu and Di Jun's romance (despite knowing that they couldn't be together because if they did, then the entire world would become chaotic). Bai Feng Jiu was one of my favorite characters from this show and I found that her romance with Di Jun was also beautifully sad in their own way as well. I loved watching Bai Qian and Ye Hua interact as much as I loved watching Feng Jiu and Di Jun interact. They were the two couples I shipped with all my heart. It was a bit confusing when I learned how Mo Yuan and Ye Hua were twins. However, it made me feel kind of bad for Mo Yuan because he also loved Bai Qian but didn't get that love reciprocated because Bai Qian only admired him as her teacher. Instead she loved Ye Hua who just so happens to be the crown prince of the celestial heavens and also Mo Yuan's twin brother who was born later on (and who was also that golden lotus that Si Yin used to look after when she was still training on the mountain). Like I said, everything in this drama ties into the bigger plot and feeds into the fated romance between Bai Qian and Ye Hua.
        I was also a bit regretful that the princess from the Ghost Realm could not be with the Sixteenth Disciple. While I liked how the evil characters got what they deserved, I wanted Li Jing to have his own happy ending as well. I felt that his character was brought down because of Xuan Nu's actions and in the end he is left longing for what he can't have and regretting his past. But I guess this could be a good and a bad thing because this drama made the characters very real. They were all good people yet all flawed in many ways as well. The OST of this drama are also so beautiful to listen to and they fit the scenes perfectly. The lyrics are also very touching and meaningful as well.
              Either way, I enjoyed this drama. It made me cry. It made me obsessed. I would recommend this for those who enjoy historical fantasy dramas. This was a well-made drama with a complex plot and even more complex characters.

Favorite Episodes:
Episode 12-13: The scenes where Su Su and Ye Hua are spending time together and falling in love!
Episode 26: That epic scene seen in the trailer where she jumps from the skies back to being Bai Qian. This was so sad and the acting was so heartfelt ugh :(
Episode 28: Ah Li wishing his mom a happy birthday while Ye Hua wonders when he'll see her again (SO SAD AND TOUCHING)
Episode 29: Ah Li is making me cry because he is so heartbroken that Ye Hua tried to tell him that his mother wouldn't come back because the Soul-Gathering Lamp broke.
Episode 30: They meet again! & that recognition moment!! This episode is probably my favorite episode. The first scene where she purposely falls from the tree to just flirt around with Ye Hua (since she forgot her past as Susu) was so beautiful and deep. Ye Hua was wearing his heart on his sleeve and the emotions were pouring out of his eyes when he saw the love of his life in his arms again.
&& it was so nice when he finally recognized her as Susu when he saw her habitual finger tapping and how she liked to tap fans against her nose and also the scar that she got from her time as Susu which can't be erased by all means. That was such a wonderful moment for me.
Also, I love that Bai Qian keeps calling Ah Li "riceball" and how Ah Li keeps trying to get his parents together. He's such a cute child!
Episode 33: Ye Hua trying to win over Bai Qian
Episode 39: Bai Feng Jiu and Di Jun's mortal romance is so cute
Episode 41: When Bai Feng Jiu takes an arrow for Di Jun and only asks for him to remember her because she knows their mortal romance starts and ends in the mortal realm
Episode 43: When Di Jun returns back to the celestial heavens and the other princess goes down to the mortal realm to be with him but his mortal self has already deceased  and she goes "No way I just got here!" HAHAHA that was so funny
- Also, damn that kiss between Ye Hua and Bai Qian (why is Ye Hua so sexual LOL)
Episode 44: When Ye Hua says he only wants Qian Qian (once again, why is Ye Hua so sexual?)
Episode 47: The scene where Bai Qian says he doesn't have enough stamina was so cute and funny. Ah Li is such a precious child. Also, the scene where Bai Qian says that she loves Ye Hua and is willing to go forth with the marriage.
Episode 52: Bai Feng Jiu and Di Jun's love story is so sad. I felt so bad for them when she wasn't able to carve his name into the stone.
Episode 53: When Di Jun went to visit the injured Bai Feng Jiu and shows her his affection one more time before walking away (I'm still so sad that their story ended with just Di Jun saying that he would like her if his name was on the stone that lists fated couples)
Episode 56: I cried so much this episode because of Ye Hua. This episode hit me too hard.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Train to Busan (Movie)

    While I enjoy reading about apocalyptic situations, I hate zombies with a passion. I would never want to live in a world overrun by zombies because that it just terrifying to me. Thus, I've always struggled to watch shows such as The Walking Dead because I just don't like zombies. I do enjoy watching zombie movies/shows for the survival aspect and how humans deal with this new situation. This movie obviously has zombies but I've heard a lot about Train to Busan since it came out and everyone said that it was more sad and touching than scary. After watching it, I have to admit that it is true. It is very touching and sad and it made me sob at the end. It is a show about human survival and what people do in critical life situations. However, I was still scared nonetheless. 
     There weren't many jump scares in this movie. At most, it was a bit shocking whenever the zombies came toward people because they all moved at fairly fast rates. It did make me feel a bit better that the zombies only attacked based on sound and what they could see. They were not very smart with realizing that the train doors couldn't lock and they stopped banging at the door once the humans put something in the window to block the zombies' view. 
      This movie follows a man named Seok Woo who is a fund manager and a divorced, single father. He is never able to be there for his daughter, Soo An, due to constantly working. When Soo An demands that she wants to go to Busan to see her mother for her birthday, Seok Woo obliges. On the way to the station, they see many ambulances, police cars, and fire trucks speeding toward a burning building. Not thinking too much of it, they continue to the station and board the train to Busan. 
       On the train, we are then introduced to the other characters. They include a tough but loving husband Sang Hwa and his pregnant wife Seong Kyeong; a high school baseball team; a rich and selfish man named Yon Suk; elderly sisters In Gil and Jong Gil; and a traumatized homeless man who already witnessed the zombie attacks. The passengers on the train are all unaware of the current zombie outbreak as the train departs the station. They are more so unaware that a bitten young woman had run on to the train and was turning into a zombie. As the train speeds down the tracks, the fates of everyone on the train is sealed. 
       The woman turns into a zombie and attacks a train attendant. Soon the infection begins to spread throughout the train as more and more passengers turned into zombies. The survivors quickly rush into a safe train cabin. Sang Hwa tries to figure out how to lock and barricade the door when they realized that the zombies did not know how to open the door and they also would not have the urge to attack when they covered the windows. Temporarily safe, the survivors begin to figure out what was going on. They learned of the zombie outbreak through their phones and through the news broadcasts on the train televisions.  
        From there, the survivors have to struggle through many dangerous situations to try to get to safety. With no safe place to hide and with many people turning on others due to fear or feeling hopeless, everyone has to learn to use their strength, wit, and fast instincts to survive. This movie was so beautiful in showing moral compassion and strength in a time like this. It was touching and sad. It also highlighted the reason why this outbreak happened--and it just so happens (SPOILER ALERT) that Seok Woo may have been indirectly responsible for the outbreak caused by unsafe measures and leakage problems the company he funded had. 
         All in all, this was a great movie and it made me cry at the end. I would highly recommend this movie.