HanCinema Film Review: Time Renegades

24 04 2016


Time Renegades the time-travel film from Director Kwak Jae-Yong (Daisy, My Sassy Girl) came in number one its opening weekend and for good reason. It was a slick piece that balanced the two worlds it depicted and the relationship between dream-tied strangers realistically and with plenty of suspense. It premiered in South Korea on April 13, 2016, and had its North American release by CJ E&M on April 22, 2016.

The plot centers around two seemingly disparate storylines set in 1983 and 2015 that become intertwined by fate, murder, and love. Nothing about this premise is unusual – save for its execution. The uncanny parallels between the lives and love stories of 1983’s Ji-Hwan (Jo Jeong-seok) and Yoon-jeong (Im Soo-jeong), and Geon-woo (Lee Jin-wook) and So-eun (Im Soo-jeong) are highlighted by Director Kwan’s trademark ability to juxtapose scenes with elegant cuts, filtered shots, and keen sense of camera story telling.

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HanCinema Review: Jackpot Episode 4

6 04 2016


Episode 4 of Jackpot saw some marked improvement in structure and intrigue, but the ratings don’t reflect that. It dropped below Neighborhood Lawyer Jo Deul-ho‘s 11.3% to a single-digit 9.5%. Perhaps it’s the unexpected slapstick humor that threw viewers off. However what grabbed me was the sense of family scattered throughout the hour.

Dae-gil and his father and adopted grandfather are a rather silly trio. This silliness seems to be the directorial style. It’s found in both Man-geum’s and Dae-gil’s characters and doesn’t very well show off what Lee Moon-sik and Jang Geun-seok can do. These slapstick moments step aside for ones with more gravity in them, and we finally take a peek at the Jang Geun-seok we’ve been waiting years for. I’m glad to see him throw himself so thoroughly into a role even if I don’t care for the over-exaggerated nature of the comedy.

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HanCinema Review: Jackpot Episode 3

5 04 2016


Jackpot is still on top of the Monday/Tuesday pack coming in at 11.6%. The appearance of the long awaited Jang Geun-seok can’t have hurt the rating, but it was Lee Moon-sik who really stole the show. After the hustle and bustle of the first few episodes, his character settles down and really allows the actor to shine.

Character actors like Lee Moon-sik are often relegated to a similar role from drama to drama and “Jackpot” is no different for Lee. However, there are moments where his character’s fatherly pride shines through, or his love for his former wife softens him. It is in those small moments that Lee proves his acting chops. He is more than goofy faces and trouble making. He’s an actor possessed of many onscreen skills. He even managed to redeem the rather repugnant Baek Man-geum who came around and learned to be a father no matter the circumstance. It wasn’t the writing, but the look of utter devotion on Lee’s face that convinced me.

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Join me in Interviewing Jasper Cho!

3 04 2016


Man, I love my job sometimes. See that man in that picture? HanCinema and I get to interview him.

And guess what?

YOU have a chance to as well. If you want to ask an interview question of Jasper Cho/Cho Tae-gwan/조태관, the very handsome man who plays Dr. Daniel in Descendants of the Sun, click the link below and leave your name, location, and a question for Jasper Cho. Two very lucky fans will have their question answered by Jasper himself.

Click here to ask him your question!

HanCinema Review: Descendents of the Sun Episode 12

2 04 2016


Descendants of the Sun is a master at sparking emotion. No matter how illogical the plot may become, the emotional barometer is insanely high. This must be why Nielsen Korean is clocking this drama at 33% for episode 12, a whole 1.1% higher than last night’s episode. Wow. It is the human element that “Descendants of the Sun” is really learning to master that makes is so addictive – for me and the rest of the world.

Before I go any further I have to say, “Oh my gosh, the feels!” This show delivers in every way. Sure, the situations are ridiculously absurd. Who can disarm a bomb by shooting it? Yoo Si-jin can! He can also take on several armed men without a single military or civilian casualty. But with that said, the entire montage was pregnant with poignant tension that was due very much to the gifted Song Joong-ki. Billions of people all over the world are fans of his for a reason. Many actors are handsome. Few can manipulate a camera frame with a twitch of a facial muscle and a well-placed tear. Song Joong-ki can. He did. Multiple times.

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HanCinema Review: Descendents of the Sun Episode 11

30 03 2016


Descendants of the Sun tries to pack in a lot of action by having our heroes face weapons trafficking, plagues, gun standoffs, earthquakes, kidnapping, and politics. No matter what happens, this show seems destined to best itself – and it did. It came 0.3% higher than the last episode at 31.9%. More than anything, however, it was the acting in this episode by our leads that made it worthy of that rating.

Jin Goo proved his mettle as his expressed Dae-yeong’s worry for Myeong-joo with previously unparalleled intensity. It was his version of the Song Joong-ki intensity that made the Nice Guy and A Werewolf Boy star so famous. The man truly deserves his many CF offers and his place in the sun along with the rest of the “Descendants of the Sun” cast. Not to mention that Song Joong-ki brings back the stare that made him a chilling Ma-ru in “Nice Guy”.

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HanCinema Review: Jackpot Episode 2

29 03 2016


Jackpot is once again the highest rated of the new shows at 12.2% for episode 2. From the outside, the drama is all glitz and glitter: beautiful choreography, stunning naturescapes, keen camera storytelling. But its insides are messier: jumpy character sketches, repetitive themes, and illogical schemes. These may work themselves out with time as many introductory episodes can lack clarity in the rush to introduce the drama.

This drama is going the way of most sageuk, or historical dramas, in that it is focusing on the backstory of the main characters before it delivers the handsome leads in their fullest glory##. We may not see Jang Geun-seok and Yeo Jin-goo for another episode or two yet. But we are getting a lot of Lee Moon-sik as the pathetic Baek Man-geum. Man-geum is not a likeable character in the least. He’s a grovelling, erratic, and disgusting human being. Played by any other actor, it would be impossible to empathize with him. Luckily, they casted Lee who brings out the best in this repulsive man and who managed to make me feel sorry for him at certain points. Gambling is indeed an illness, but it doesn’t make throwing one’s baby over a waterfall any less horrifying.

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