Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Review: Shine or Go Crazy

Shine or Go Crazy is a 24-episode fictionalized historical drama depicting King Gwangjong's rise to power. Wang Soo (Jang Hyuk) is banished to the mountains as a child because of a prophecy foretelling his bringing bloodshed to the palace. Shin Yool (Oh Yeon Seo) is a princess of Balhae who is also a victim of prophecy, as she is fated to become the light for a country not her own. She barely escapes with her life, to be secretly raised by a palace maid and warrior. The two meet under unusual circumstances that will link their destinies and bring the prophecies to fruition.

The Good:  Though the pacing was ponderous, the storyline was rich with romance, comedy and political intrigue, entertaining gender bending, and a poignant love triangle as well. There were enough twists in the plot where it wasn't entirely predictable, which made up for a less than exciting pace. The drama had an excellent cast of characters. Each had their own motives, and it was interesting to see how allies could become enemies and vice versa, Although there was a definite antagonist, it was clear that each "side" was doing what they thought best, especially in light of Wang Soo's rather radical intentions for that point in history.

The Bad:  As I said, the pacing was ponderous, and there were about four episodes in the middle that absolutely dragged. Despite this, the finale seemed a bit rushed and choppy in the way it wrapped things up, even leaving a loose end. And while I did not mind the actual ending, the way it came about was entirely unsatisfactory as it was inconsistent with the lead characters' behavior up until that point.

Shine or Go Crazy is based on the 2014 web novel, Bitnageona Michigeona by Hyun Go Woon. It received an average AGB Nielsen rating of 11.3% nationwide and 14.4% in Seoul which reflects how entertaining and memorable it was. With some improvements to the writing, it could have been great.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Happy Birthday February Week 4!


Choi Daniel
Choi Jung Hoon
Jang Hang Sun
Jung Han Yong
Kim Chang Wan


Hong Eun Taek
Hwang Jae Won
Jun (LC9)
Jung Chan
Kamenashi Kazuya (KAT-TUN)
Kevin (ZE:A)
Kim Jong Seo


Kim Kyu Jong (SS501)
Kim Seung Woo


Choi Sung Jo
Daeryong (Tasty)
Kim Young Chul
Kim Young Jae
Oh Hee Joon
Park Jung Min
Rocky (ASTRO)
Soryong (Tasty)


Changsub (BtoB)
Joo Jin Mo
Moon Hyuk
Oh Jung Se
Oh Kwang Suk (BIGSTAR)


Choi Jin Young
Ji Sung
Kim Eung Suk
Kim Ho Won
Kiu (K-Much)
Yoon Dong Hwan
Lee Min Sung (Monday Kiz)
Lee Sang Jong
Ricky (Teen Top)
Song Yong Shik


Choi Tae Hwan
Dongmin (CHAOS)
Jung Chan Woo
Park Chul Ho


Jang Hee Woong

Monday, February 15, 2016

Happy Birthday February Week 3!


A-In (N.O.M)
Cha Kwang Soo
Jin Tae Hyun
Jung Hwan
Kim Kang Hyun
Oh Sang Jun
Park Jong Kwan
Park Shi Hoo
Park Yong Soo
Raehwan (Big Star)
Ravi (VIXX)
Suh Kyung Suk
Yoon Jong Hoon
Yunyoung (A-JAX)


Choi Ro Woon
Eric (Shinhwa)
Eric Moon
Heo Kyung Hwan
Kim Jung Hak
Kim Soo Hyun
Kim Won Joon
Oh Jong Hyuk (Click-B)
Seo Young Joo


Lee Byung Hoon
Lee Se Chang
Lee Seung Hyung
Seo Seung Man
Shin Dong Yup


Jo Sang Ki
Kim Jae Won
Moon Ji Yoon
Seokmin (Seventeen)
Shim Chang Min (DBSK)
Song Jae Rim
Vernon (Seventeen)


Choi Woo Je
Inseok (SHU-I)
J-Hope (BTS)
Jung Min Jin
Lee Chung Hee
Lee Hyung Chul
Yoon Hee Suk


Jang Ki Ha
Lee Kyun
Son Ji Chang
Suk In Suk


Kang Ha Neul
Lee Tae Hwan
Nam Young Jin
Ryu Jongn Won
Tae Hwang
Yongki (N.O.M)

Monday, February 8, 2016

Review:// The Secret Message

The Secret Message is an 18 episode web drama about two strangers dealing with heartbreak. Woo Hyun (Choi Seung Hyun) is a Korean man in Japan, filming a documentary about love while he comes to terms with a recent breakup. Haruka (Ueno Juri) is a Japanese woman in Korea studying interpretive dance, while dealing with emotional scars. They meet by chance via text and have a profound affect on each other.

The drama was filmed beautifully in a way that enhanced the pensive and often melancholy mood of the production. The story unfolded at a gentle pace, exposing each character's issues in a relatable fashion. Its serious tone paired with quirky humor gave this series an "art film" feel, however, it was not unconventional or symbolic enough to fulfill the criteria of such.

Overall, I'd say it's worth watching if you are inclined toward the cast. Otherwise, it's like a rainy day or a blue mood that concludes on a disappointing note. Many people will not understand the ending that is meant to be clever and dramatic. Instead it was a bit silly, and could be resolved given a little time.

Happy Birthday February Week 2!


Im Seung Dae
Minwoo (100%)
Nam Woo Hyun
Noh Tae Yub
Onestar (Monday Kriz)
Seo Min Woo
Seyoung (Cross Gene)
Uhm Sung Mo
Woohyun (Infinite)
Ye Hak Young
Yoon Hyung (iKON)


Choi Jin Hyuk
G:amma (AlphaBAT)
Hong Hak Pyo
Hong Kyung Min
Moon Joon Young (ZE:A)


Ha Suk Jin
Han Young Kwang
Rokhyun (100%)
Sangho (Snuper)


Chan (Seventeen)
Hwang Chan Sung (2PM)
Jun Kwang Ryul
Kang Kyung Joon
Kim Dong Joon (ZE:A)
Kim Ji Wan
Kim Young Joon
Lee Seung Joon
Moon Chun Shik


Cho Sueng Woo
Donghyun (Boyfriend)
Jung Hwan Gyu
Kim Eung Soo
Kim In Tae
Kim San Ho
Kim Se Joon
Won Ki Joon


Lee Sang Woo
Park Hee Soon
Park Ki Woong


Cream (M.I.B.)
Kim Soo Hyun
Kim Sung Min
Sung Hoon

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Review:// She Was Pretty

She Was Pretty is a romantic comedy about childhood friends who got separated and experienced a reversal of fortunes before reuniting as adults. Kim Hye Jin (Hwang Jung Eum) was a pretty, popular girl who took the chubby Ji Sung Joon (Park Seo Joon) under her wing. After his family immigrated to the United States, her family went bankrupt and they lost touch with each other. Now Sung Joon has returned to Korea as a successful editor, while Hye Jin is still trying to find permanent employment. Due to a misunderstanding, she feels the need to hide her identity from Sung Joon, but fate has made it impossible to avoid him.

The Good:  This is a feel good comedy that retains enough tension to make it worthwhile. There are wonderfully excruciating scenes, fan service in the way of bromance, womance and the classic shower scene, and a good balance of injury and redemption. 

Our four leads all gave endearing performances. Although Hwang Jung Eum seems to play every role she gets in the same exaggerated way, this one actually warranted her acting style, and her physical comedy was very much an asset.

Choi Shi Won shed his pretty boy image for a rugged, manly look. His portrayal of the zany reporter (and Second Leading Man), Kim Shin Hyuk, was over the top, but in an appropriate way. However, he also brought a sensitivity to the role that was heartbreaking.

Alongside these more extreme characters, Park Seo Joon's hot/cold/funny and Go Joon Hee's sweet and conflicted performances interplayed well which created a compelling chemistry among all four of them. This was a perfect tonic for those feeling sorry for Park Seo Joon's character in Kill Me, Heal Me.

The Bad:  The chaotic state of Kim Hye Jin was unbelievable to the point where it took me out of the story a bit at first. She had been refined and feminine as a child, but turned into a tomboyish woman with no sense of style whatsoever, with the vague explanation that she had been through hard times. Even if I accepted that her personality had completely changed, the fact that her stylish best friend and roommate had not given her a makeover so that she could pass a job interview was puzzling to me.

The pacing faltered going into the second half, which would ordinarily make me think that the season should have been shortened by a few episodes. Although it wasn't to that point, I wish they had spent less time on all the extraneous happy scenes involving the main couple, and spent a little more time fleshing out the subplots for the side characters.

The drama's flaws didn't detract too much from its entertainment value, though, which was reflected in its ratings which averaged 13.4% nationwide, and 14.7% in Seoul (AGB Nielsen).

Awards:  Hwang Jung Eum and Park Seo Joon won in several categories at the 2015 MBC Drama Awards including Top 10 Stars, Popularity, and Excellence Actor and Actress in a Miniseries. Hwang Jung Eum also won the PD Award. Additionally, Hwang Suk Jung was named Best Supporting Actress in a Miniseries, Yang Han Yeol received the Best Child Actor Award, and Jo Sung Hee won Writer of the Year. 

Monday, February 1, 2016

Happy Birthday February Week 1!


Minho (SHU-I)
Na Do Kyun (History)


P.O. (Block B)


Hong Suk Chun
Kim Joon (T-Max)
Kyuhyun (Super Junior)
Xero (Topp Dogg)
Yoo Jung Suk


Park Sang Hyun
Yejun (F.CUZ)


Goo Won
Kim ji Soo
Lee Sung Jin (NRG)
Oh Wook Chul
Park Gun Tae
Ryu Ji Sun


Chung Lim
Do Ki Suk
Jongup (B.A.P)
Jung Yoon Ho (TVXQ)
Kang Ji Sub
Kim Kook Jin


Jinhwan (iKON)
Joo Yong Man
Lee Joon (MBLAQ)