Saturday, May 31, 2014

SAT:// Lee Min Jung

Lee Min Jung 이민정 banner showing black and white editorial photo from Elle and a full length shot from for InStyle in Paris.

Lee Min Jung is the "girl next door" type. She's upbeat and positive, funny and down to earth. This is all apparent in her acting where she is delightful in comedy, but can also be quite serious and dramatic. Seen in interviews, she's much the same. Friendly and intelligent with a great sense of humor.

With the right styling Min Jung turns into a glamorous and sophisticated creature who graces the pages of magazines. It's such a contrast to the characters she plays and shows her versatility.

Birthdate: 1982 February 16
Birthplace: South Korea
Height: 167cm (5'5")
Weight: 49kg (108lbs)
Blood Type: O

Movie poster for Someone Special 아는 여자 Movie poster for Wet Dreams 2 몽정기 2 Movie poster for Moodori 무도리 Movie Poster for Pruning the Grapevine 포도나무를 베어라
Movie poster for Searching for the Elephant 펜트하우스 코끼리 Movie Poster for White Night 백야행 : 하얀 어둠 속을 걷다 Movie poster for Cyrano Agency 시라노;연애조작단 Movie poster for Wonderful Radio 원더풀 라디오

Min Jung graduated from Sungkyunkwan University with a degree in theater. In 2004, she started her career in theater performing in Jang Jin's Taxi Driver and Clumsy People. In 2007 she played Silvia in The Game of Love and Chance.

Starting out with small parts in movies, Min Jung was an extra in The Gate of Destiny (1996) and was Jin Sung's (Song Ji Hyo) ballet dance double in Wishing Stairs (2003). She played Han Yi Yeon's friend in Someone Special (2004), a second year student in Wet Dreams 2 (2005), and the suicidal Yoon Hee in the comedy, Moodori (2006).

It was also in 2006 that she met her future husband, Lee Byung Hun. But more on that later.

Min Jung played Yoon Soo Ah / Helena in the indie film, Pruning the Grapevine (2007). In 2009, as Soo Yeon in Searching for the Elephant, she got her toe sucked by Lee Sang Woo in a bubble bath. She was the wife of a sex addict and the film had many 18+ scenes, though she did not appear in any of them. That same year she portrayed corporate assistant Si Young in the mystery, White Night and won the Best New Actress award for it from the Korean Association of Film Critics. 

In 2010, Min Jung played Hee Joong in Cyrano Agency and recorded It Was You with Park Shin Hye for the OST. She won for Best New Actress and Popularity at the Grand Bell Awards, Style Icon - Movie Actress at the Style Icon Awards, Best New Actress at the Blue Dragon Film Awards, University Film Festival of Korea, and Director's Cut Awards, and a nomination at the Baeksang Art Awards.

Then in 2012, Min Jung got to show more of her musical side in Wonderful Radio aka Love On-Air where she plays a former idol turned radio host. She recorded Again and Write the Truth, and with Seo Young and Ahn Mi Na, You're My Angel for the OST.

Drama posters for Love and Sympathy 원더풀 라디오, Love Me When You Can 있을때 잘해 / 있을 때 잘해, Kimcheed Radish Cubes 깍두기, Who Are You? 누구세요 and Boys Over Flowers 꽃보다 남자.

Min Jung started off in small roles in dramas, playing Dong Woo's sister in Love and Sympathy (2005), Dong Gyu's sister in Love Me When You Can (2006), Lee Min Do in Kimcheed Radish Cubes (2007), and Young In's friend in Who Are You? (2008).

Her 2009 role as Ha Jae Kyung, Jun Pyo's spunky fiance in Boys Over Flowers catapulted her career and landed her in lead roles.

Lee Min Jung in Smile You 그대 웃어요 showing various expressions from some of her memorable scenes.

In 2009, Min Jung portrayed the quirky, moody Seo Jung In in SBS's weekend drama, Smile, You. She showed her range as a petulant rich girl who has to learn to live as a commoner when her family loses its fortune. Her comedic talents are delightful, but she also does playful, flirty, angry and physical acting incredibly well. She won the New Star Award at the SBS Drama Awards and got a nomination for Best New Actress in Television at the Baeksang Arts Awards.

Drama posters for Lunch Box 도시락, Midas 마이더스, Big 빅 and All About My Romance 내 연애의 모든것.

In 2010, Min Jung played Hee Young in Lunch Box, a one episode Sunday Drama Theater on MBC. Her 2011 performance as Lee Jung Yeon in Midas got her a nomination for Excellence at the SBS Drama Awards. She portrayed Kil Da Ran in Big (2012) and received nominations for Excellence at the KBS Drama Awards and Outstanding Korean Actress at the Seoul International Drama Awards. Though the writing for Big was a huge disappointment, the acting was superb.

Lee Min Jung in Cunning Single Lady 앙큼한 돌싱녀 in a flashback scene, in a comical hold by Joo Sang Wook, being a seductive secretary and lost in thought.

Min Jung gave a performance both touching and hilarious in her role as Na Ae Ra in Cunning Single Lady aka Sly and Single Again (2014). In a press conference she remarked that actors have more depth when portraying what they've experienced, so now that she's married, there are things that she can better tackle. She had more affection for this drama as she feels that stories of marriage carry deeper emotion with twice the happiness or sadness. 

Im Seul Ong 조동혁
Lee Sang Woo 이상우
Jung Kyung Ho 정경호
Uhm Tae Woong 엄태웅
Im Seul Ong 임슬옹
Jang Hyuk 장혁
Gong Yoo 공유
Lee Jung Jin 이정진
Shin Ha Kyun 신하균
Joo Sang Wook 주상욱

Lee Min Jung's collection of leading men is impressive. Is she the lucky one, or are they? Either way, there's a lot of chemistry here.

Lee Byung Hun 이병헌 in promo for his 2006 film Summer Story, and on Healing Camp in 2013

Getting back to her real life leading man, Jung Min dated Lee Byung Hun briefly in 2006 after they were introduced by acquaintances. He was an established top star and she was just starting out. Their public story is that they broke up due to conflicting schedules. Although if anything, their schedules were even more hectic when they met again at an award ceremony five years later and started dating again. Min Jung had come into her own with lead roles and endorsements pouring in.

Lee Byung Hun actually has a bad reputation for being a player and having a lot of fetishes. He was involved in a few serious scandals where other people's lives were drastically negatively impacted. Netizens were disappointed in Jung Min when the couple got back together, but the positive press and extravagantly sponsored wedding seems to have quieted the disapproval.

On Healing Camp, Byung Hun had all positive things to say about Jung Min. Though she's beautiful, the most important aspect in a relationship is how they communicate and understand each other. He had worried because of their 12 year age difference, but she understands him and is willing to go through everything with him.

Lee Min Jung in beauty, soju and cream cheese CFs and cosmetic packaging

Speaking of endorsements, from sweet commercials to a soju song battle and glamorous print ads, Min Jung has quite a resume that includes Pizza Hut, LG Communications, Bacchus, Omphalos, Tommy Hilfiger Denim, Make Up For Ever, SK Telecom, Sony Ericsson Xperia, Happy Point Card, SCINIC Cosmetics, Dawoo Matiz Creative, Raemian, Bestibelli, Mind Bride, 1-Day Acuvue Define, Chamisul Soju, Shinhan Life Insurance, Kolon Sport, Dove Damage Therapy Shampoo, Philadelpia Cream Cheese, Skin Food, Stonehenge Jewelry, Hankook Tire, LG Tromm, Outback Steakhouse, Care Gargle Solution and Vincis Bench.

Lee Min Jung with Jang Geun Suk 장근석 for Cartier Bague CF, and with So Ji Sub 소지섭 for Outback Steakhouse.

Min Jung's commercials also pair her up with dashing leading men including Jang Geun Suk and Jo In Sung.

Lee Min Jung as a child

Lee Min Jung shared some childhood photos of herself online. She looks much the same and has been praised for being a natural beauty.

Lee Min Jung in high school and university.

Min Jung's high school and university era photos had netizens scrutinizing her jawline and speculating about procedures she might have had. Min Jung has stated that she has not had any plastic surgery, and fans generally attribute the change in her appearance to weight loss. 

Min Jung reportedly cut her hair short for her role in Boys Over Flowers. Whatever style she sports, she is stunning.

Lee Min Jung and Lee Byung Hun's wedding photos.

Lee Min Jung and Lee Byung Hun wed on 2013 August 10 at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Seoul. It was reported to be the most lavish and expensive wedding of 2013, costing an estimated $150,000 (though one source recorded it as over $200,000) with 900 guests in attendance including many top stars.

Shin Young Kyun officiated the wedding, while Lee Bum Soo and Shin Dong Yup took shifts as MC. Musical performances included a wedding song by Park Jung Hyun, a duet by Kim Bum Soo and Park Sun Joo, and the ending song by Dynamic Duo. It's also reported that Byung Hun gave Min Jung a saxophone serenade.

Min Jung wore three dresses, one for the press conference and one for each part of her wedding. The newlyweds spent 10 private days in the Maldives for their honeymoon and started their lives together in Lee Byung Hun's Gwangju City home where his mother had been living alone.

Lee Min Jung at the piano.

The following is from Soompi forums with credit to lvalue

Family: Parents, older brother, husband Lee Byung Hun
Special Talents: Playing the piano
Hobbies: Watching movies, reading books, playing StarCraft, swimming
Ideal Man: Manly and smart, so he can guide me in the right direction.


Color: White
Movie: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Music: Everything by Jason Mraz, Geek in the Pink in particular.
Food: Kimchi jjigae and egg roll
Season: Summer
Book: The Romantic Movement, Essays In Love, Status Anxiety, etc by Alain de Botton
Movie Stars: Ethan Hawke, Christian Bale, Meryl Streep

Other Awards

2010 Korea Jewelry Awards - Ruby Award
2010 Korea Lifestyle Awards - Best Dressed Woman of the Year
2011 Baeksang Arts Awards - InStyle Fashionista Award

Lee Min Jung debuted relatively late, well into her 20's, in a youth obsessed culture. That didn't stop her from landing youthful roles, recording songs and making a name for herself. As she goes forward, she will probably be leaning more toward roles involving marriage, divorce and motherhood, but will always bring a youthful exuberance to her performances. I want to fast foward 35 years and watch her on-screen as the cool rascal grandmother, still doing physical comedy and endearing herself to audiences of all ages.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Review:// Nine: Time Travel Nine Times

Poster for Nine:  Time Travel Nine Times 나인: 아홉 번의 시간 여행 starring Lee Jin Wook 이진욱 and Jo Yoon Hee 조윤희.

Nine: Nine Travel Nine Times is extremely organized and smartly written. It has to be in order to keep track of itself as its protagonist repeatedly goes back in time to make changes. My main complaint is that it took four of its 20 episodes to set things up and get interesting. My minor complaint is that leading lady Jo Yoon Hee sported a middle school hairstyle that made it very hard to see her as part of a romantic couple. At some point I acclimated, but it took time.

Jun No Min 전노민 as Park Jung Woo and Sun Woo in a coffee shop.

Park Sun Woo (Lee Jin Wook) is an anchorman whose family is in shambles. His father died in a fire 20 years prior. Shortly after that, his mother went into a vegetative state and his brother, Park Jung Woo (Jun Noh Min), fell off track. The story is set into motion by Jung Woo, who is desperately trying to restore the family to how it once was.

Joo Min Young in front of a breathtaking view of the Himalayas.

Sun Woo travels to beautiful Nepal where coincidentally, reporter Joo Min Young is stationed. The first episode can be confusing. You see Jung Woo in one place, but he ends up in another with no explanation. It all makes perfect sense in the end, so just have faith.  Also, Sun Woo and Min Young's relationship is missing the typical push/pull tension or instant chemistry to make you care whether they're together or not. Never fear, the tension will be added in a twisted way that puts the "melo" in this drama.

In Nepal, Sun Woo acquires the means to travel back exactly 20 years, nine times, for 30 minutes each time. All changes take place in the same timeline, but instead of the previous events having never existed, history is rewritten over what has already happened before. Memories are still intact under the surface and accessible in the right circumstances.

Joo Min Young and Park Sun Woo talk over the phone in a split screen shot.

Although I'm not a big fan of the splitscreen which is used extensively throughout the series, I did manage to accept that it's a throwback effect (we do travel back 20 years - although it feels more 70s than 90s) and get used to it somewhat.

Jung Dong Hwan 정동환 as Choi Jin Chul is confronted in a television interview by Park Sun Woo.

Sun Woo always blamed Dr. Choi Jin Chul (Jung Dong Hwan) for his father's death and aims to bring him down. Jung Dong Hwan does a superb job as the villain, even in his unintentionally comical scenes. You never feel that he's at a disadvantage even though his adversary has the means to change his history.

Park Sun Woo walks down his stairs simultaneously in the present and the past in a split screen.

Sun Woo kept his family's house, even though he now lives there alone. This was an essential point, since the house itself became a means of communicating with himself. There were many scenes in which the past and the present were shown to be happening at the same time, one affecting the other. In fact the past became self actualizing in a suspenseful way.

Park Sun Woo being pursued by a killer in a car chase.

There were car chases, fight scenes, bloody altercations; enough action to keep us anxiously on our toes and open to the possibility that this might not all end well. After all, things never work out the way our hero expects them to.

Sun Woo and best friend Han Young Joon played by Lee Seung Joon 이승준.

Lee Seung Jun was perfect for the role of Sun Woo's best friend, Han Young Hoon.  He was all the right kind of supportive, worried, funny and dependable. 

Park Hyung Shik 박형식 as young Park Sun Woo talks to Lee Yi Kyung 이이경 as the young Han Young Hoon in the study room.

The younger versions of Sun Woo (Park Hyung Shik) and Young Hoon (Lee Yi Kyung) portrayed their close friendship in an equally gratifying way. The boys were proactive in trying to assure their future, and matched their present counterparts perfectly.

Min Young, Young Hoon and Jin Chul stand with shocked looks on their faces at skewed angles.

What is everyone looking at? Ah, there were a lot of funny faces in an otherwise serious drama. I just thought I'd throw some of them in here to pique your curiosity.

Choi Jin Chul watches as a man disappears into air.

The special effects used were simple, but appropriate for the drama. Imagine new memories suddenly flooding your mind as your surroundings change as a result. What would it look like? I found the production's solution to be realistic.

The young Park Sun Woo faces his 38 year old self in the mirror.

There are definitely clever and unpredictable twists and turns throughout Nine: Time Travel Nine Times. The ending felt profound and satisfying. It was a little surprising after sitting through countless flashbacks as the drama progressed, that they didn't do a flashback montage at the drama's conclusion to help explain it. People may have gotten confused, since a recall of the first episode was required to make the connection at the end. I'd suggest just watching the opening scenes again for a refresher and it will all make sense. Overall, an intelligent, suspenseful drama worth watching.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

POW:// Park Min Woo

Name: Park Min Woo
DOB: March 22, 1988
Birthplace: South Korea
Blood Type: B
Occupation: Actor

Though Park Min Woo has been in several dramas, this cutie caught my eye while in a noona romance relationship in Can We Love?

His dimples and sweet smile are just icing on the cake.

His is on Roommate, and usually paired up with Park Bom of 2NE1, forming the couple known as MinBom.

He and his roommate, Kang Seo Jun, are known as the Flower Boy Pairing/Brothers.

This hottie was also spotted in Manhattan a few weeks ago.

He is on twitter and instagram id: 1m2actor