Park Shin Hye fans rejoiced! Another drama at last! And one in the “Flower Boy” series, to boot! What fun! And with Yoon Shi Yoon? Bonus! I was right there with the rest of the crowd, fan-girling at the thought of another Flower Boy drama and excited to see Park Shin Hye in action again. The results were definitely entertaining and well worth the time spent watching, but I will admit to a few disappointments as well.
Storyline/Synopsis: My rating 7/10
The story revolves around Go Dok Mi (Park Shin Hye) who, after a traumatic school experience, becomes agoraphobic (afraid to venture outside the home.) She has shut herself off from the world physically and emotionally. Her next door neighbor, Oh Jin Rok (Kim Ji Hoon), a webtoon artist is completely obsessed and in love with this mysterious woman next door. Go Dok Mi, however, has developed a voyeuristic attachment to the man in the building across from her – and ends up meeting his younger brother, Enrique Geum (Yoon Shi Yoon), who decides to draw her out of her shell – literally and figuratively.
Script/Acting: My rating 7/10
First the bad news: While conceptually, the script idea is not bad, I found it problematic that Park Shin Hye’s character was able to overcome a long-standing, deeply-rooted mental illness with so little trouble. The transformation was so unrealistic that it became a distraction, and detracted from the dramatic confrontations in later episodes. It also seemed rather improbable that the two men, Oh Jin Rok and especially the vibrant Enrique Geum, would be so attracted to the dour, gloomy, agoraphobic Go Dok Mi. Yes, you argue, but Park Shin Hye is so pretty! I agree, but in the drama she dresses all frumpy, and her hair is unkempt, no makeup, no attempt to be attractive whatsoever. Far-fetched, I say!
The good news: If you can get past the implausibility of the mental-illness thing, and ignore resultant inconsistencies in the character of Go Dok Mi, the drama was well acted and entertaining. The character of Enrique Geum was especially appealing and was, in my humble opinion, the bright shiny spot that made the whole drama worth watching. His character was sweet, goofy, loveable, energetic, caring and completely charismatic. I mean, just check out the panda dance:
Kim Ji Hoon’s character was also well played – a webtoon artist with a mysterious past, sweet, awkward, shy. The rapport between the two men was an interesting study of contrasting styles and ideals. And every good drama needs a nemesis. Park Soo Jin played it up as the haughty, scheming Cha Do Hwi. This is an actress who plays so many different personas so well! She does hateful brat really well!
Cinematography: My rating 8/10
The sound and visuals were well-done throughout. There were fun special effects scattered throughout the drama, especially related to the webtooning. It was also nice to see filming done in a location that hasn’t been used over and over again in other dramas! The main buildings (apartments) were unfamiliar to me. Wow!
Music: My rating 8/10
There are some really nice ballads here – definitely iPod worthy! (At least, they’re going on mine, to be sure.
“Wish It Was You” Lee Jung http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YLlQS5zJZFU
Sweet!: “I Want to Date You” Yoon Shi Yoon http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2yza-0dn1u8
Love this one, too: “Talkin’ Bout Love” J Rabbit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WOJRAdJASiE
“Pitch Black” Park Shin Hye
“You Wake Me Up” Kim Seul Ki http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IG7HM0BNUlQ
Overall Charisma: My rating 7/10
There were so many good character in this drama that it is definitely worth seeing. I am disappointed that writer decided to deal with the mental health issue in such an off-hand manner, and feel they would have been so much better off not trying to create those implications with the character at all. Ah well. I still enjoyed it. It was still fun. It’s worth it just to see the quirky people and the fun antics. I’ll probably watch it again.
An overview of top songs from this year so far and at April’s upcoming releases.
Unbelievable, it’s already 4 months into the New Year! At the start of each year, I always anticipate what kind of music will be released and after last year’s success for Kpop I am even more thrilled to hear what’s to come. So far this year, we’ve already seen many great music releases that I am eager to update my iPod with.
The year started right with SNSD’s ‘I Got a Boy’, their first Korean single in over a year. They broke free from their usual girly and innocent concept and instead showed a mature, hip-hop style. While the song may not appeal to everyone’s tastes with its dynamic sounds and verses which reminded me quite like a musical, it was very visually appealing and the choreography was more complex.
One of my favorite soloists currently is the young and great Lee Hi with her song ‘It’s Over’. This jazz-style song is completely addicting and unlike typical pop songs today. I definitely predict that this 16 year old talent will have a long successful career and contribute great music to Kpop. If great vocals from a solo singer and a soulful sound aren’t your taste, then you just can’t deny the video of this song is entertaining with the adorable dancing bear.
Boy group Infinite finally returns with their recently released song ‘Man in Love’. Trying something new from their usual cool and edgy style, they finally cave into the cute concept. Infinite from the get-go has always had such charismatic looks and a unique quality which I think this song delivers. What I enjoy most about them is that even if this is a different concept from their previous songs such as ‘The Chaser’, it doesn’t seem out of place and maintains their distinctive style. Occasionally when a group modifies their style to maintain
the appeal of fans, they seem to lose the quality which we love about them and appear as just a product being rebranded and sold. This on the other hand just has that “Infinite” feel to it.
Amongst all the songs from these past couple months, I’d have to say my personal favorite so far is from hip-hop trio MFBTY (My Fans Better Than Yours) and their song ‘Sweet Dream’. I’ve always been in love with collaborations, trios and duos such as Infinite H or TaeTiSeo because they have the opportunity to experiment and delve into other styles. This collaboration features hip hop masters Yoon Mi Rae, Tiger JK, and Bizzy in this upbeat song which is certainly not to be defined as Kpop. As someone who enjoys listening to a variety of genres, I recommend this song to anyone interested in broadening their Korean musical tastes, and especially looking into each of these artists’s solo work. ‘Sweet Dream’ is definitely a song I’d like to blast while cruising around with friends over the summer!
Expected to make a comeback to the music scene within this month is Psy, who has diligently been working on his next song to prove he isn’t a one hit wonder in the American market. People all around the world are anticipating his next song with the hopes that it will be on par with the success he garnered from ‘Gangnam Style’. Other artists who are reported to be returning this month are 2pm, with their long-awaited comeback since nearly two years ago, EXO, SECRET, 4Minute, and Shinhwa, who will be releasing a new album for their 15th anniversary.
Check out this fun collaborative video and you tell me!
Thanks, Dani, for the heads up on this one!
OK, so the Soju DramaQueen has been here for some time now, but my secret identity has been kept a tightly held secret – until now! Cadawley is actually – The Soju DramaQueen. To celebrate, check out the new video!
It’s an addiction, pure and simple. <grin> So what is it about Korean dramas that makes them so danged addictive?
- The standard for romance is very, very different in Korean drama verses American drama. (And when I refer to ‘drama’ it encompasses Romantic Comedy, Historical Drama, Action Drama, etc.) In American films romance is no longer sweet. It moves fast. We go from ‘Hey, there’s a cute girl’ to sleeping with her in under 30 minutes. Korean drama focuses on building the relationship slowly, usually with very divergent characters. Building up to the first hug is huge – and it’s followed by a shy “I like you” which is pretty much equivalent to the way Americans throw around “I love you”. Saying “I love you” in a K-Drama is akin to a marriage proposal. The first kiss is usually a small peck on the cheek or the forehead. And a first kiss is a huge deal, as is your first love. Korean dramas are extremely romantic.
- Korean dramas are conservative. If you’re looking for hot sex on film, go someplace else ‘cause it’s not going to be in a K-drama. That said, these K-dramas can get really steamy. Remember back in the day when things were left to your imagination? (OK, you young things may have no idea what I’m talking about…) Some dramas do a fantastic job of ‘suggesting’ what’s about to happen and then allowing you to let your imagination run wild (until the next episode! Lol) OK, there are some real epic fails, too, but we can talk about those later. <g> All in all, it is a marvelously refreshing venue.
- Unlike American ‘soaps’ which go on for years, K-dramas average 16-20 hour-long episodes which seems to be an ideal length of time to really develop a story line and characters and come to a satisfying conclusion. A few have second seasons, but not always with the same cast of characters.
- The acting is incredibly good. I have been pleasantly surprised by the quality of acting I have seen. Honestly, I was expecting something cheesy – like American soap operas – but no! These are high quality dramas! Think of them more as extended movies. Sets and costuming are usually really excellent as well. Some of the cinematography I have seen is outstanding. Music production is one of the best features – most have excellent music, using top stars, much of which can be found online – iTunes is carrying more every day!
- Insight into another culture: For non-Koreans (like me) it’s very cool learning so much about Korea and it’s history and customs. I am even picking up some Korean. We eat Korean food and have even made our own Kimchi. We have a favorite Korean restaurants we frequent. We go to Korean concerts. Heck, I’m even working for a Korean newspaper now. How cool is that?
Our first impression of an art museum is quiet galleries, serious, meditative visitors and paintings and sculpture carefully roped off from prying hands. Get ready for a whole new experience, because the San Diego Museum of Art is host to the United States premiere of Miquel Navarro’s “Beneath the Moon II: Journey through the City”, a hands-on, interactive artwork on display through the end of April.
“Journey Through the City” is not your average work of art. Filling an entire, newly remodeled room in the museum, guests are greeted with the sounds of laughter, giggles, murmuring voices, and the clinks and clanks of 1000 pieces of zinc and iron. The urge to fall to the floor and grab the metallic chunks, ranging in size from 2”x2” to foot-long lengths is irresistible. Children and adults alike enjoy creatively placing the oddly shaped pieces around few large fixed metallic objects that serve as focal points for beginning the building projects.
“Beneath the Moon II: Journey through the City”, was commissioned in 1994 by the Centre Pompidou in Paris, France and has been traveling the world since. Miquel Navarro was fascinated with changing urban landscapes and urban renewal. The pieces for this game/artwork came from the deconstruction of an earlier sculpture entitled “Beneath the Moon II.” The purpose of the art/game is manifold: to explore the concepts of creating a city, to consider the ideas of urban planning and transportation and to engage with others. Aside from the deeper meaning, though, the artwork is just, plain fun!
The new gallery, situated directly across from the gallery Gift shop is free and open to the public. While The Museum itself has a fee for admittance, this exhibit is free of charge and people are encouraged to come and interact with exhibit any time during Museum hours. (See below). Free, educator-led, drop-in workshops occur every Saturday and Sunday afternoon from 1:00pm – 3:30pm and 3:30pm – 5:00pm.
For more information, please visit:
Sunday noon to 5:00 p.m.
Monday 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Tuesday 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Thursday 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Friday 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Saturday 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
The Museum also hosts Family Drop-In Days every Sunday from 1:00-3:00p.m. Each week in The Studio families will explore a new art, play games, earn prizes and participate in docent-led tours. Free with Museum admission. Don’t forget to meet “Arty”, the new children’s mascot for the Museum of Art!