Reviews Archive

I was inspired to make my own list after viewing Sevenses’ awesome one. Like her, I’m also going to add and edit as I go along, so don’t expect it to be finished… ever. Taking requests!

Currently watching: IRIS, Schemes of a Beauty

NOTE: Titles in bold have been newly added.

DRAMAS

Chinese:

  • 18 Springs: Beautiful and heartrending. This is a wonderful and painful plot wrapped in great execution. Brilliant acting from every actor (especially the elder sister) as well as breakout filming technique. Highly recommended. 9/10
  • Bei Ping Wang Shi (北平往事): Han Xue was amazing. The others were not (well, maybe with the exception of her brother/ex-boyfriend). Did I mention the many, many deaths and Japanese/Chinese angst? And yes, it’s THAT kind of plot. 7.5/10
  • Chinese Paladdin: Hate Crystal Liu. Hu Ge looks creepy with that little ponytail. I know he’s trying to be cool, but that hairstyle and that era does not go together. 6/10
  • Flying Daggers: Cool, collected assassin with cheeky rogue. Hmm… Oh! And his dad killed hers so she’s seeking revenge? Yes, please! Great lead characters, although Ruby could have used some more emotionat times (cool and collected gets quite ho hum after a while). 8.5/10
  • Heavenly Sword and Dragon Sabre (2003): I hated the female lead. She pretty much ruined it for me. And why does Wu Jing have so many adoring girlfriends? In our time we might call it cheating… But then again, they are aware of each others’ presences. Polygamy! But it’s Jing Yong, so you should have expected it really. 3/10
  • Legend of the Condor Heroes (2008): Pretty good if we overlook the weird CGI and constant stupidity from Guo Jing. Lots of filler episodes and a little draggy. Also, be prepared for many alterations from the original wuxia novel (in terms of dying methods and general portrayal of “evil” characters). Huang Rong was quite annoying. 7/10
  • Mei Gui Jiang Hu (玫瑰江湖): Well, I love Sun Fei Fei (even if she was the evil villain of the story). I couldn’t stand Qi Luo. She has three acting faces, I swear. Also, they killed Mu Sheng’s character (figuratively speaking). I grieved. 7.5/10
  • My Bratty Princess: Why are there so many koreans in a supposed Chinese drama? 4/10
  • Pearl Princess: Zi Wei’s voice just never matches quite so for me. But I admire the gorgeous outfits. Sigh. Oh, how I wish I could wear such clothes nowadays and still be considered sane. Romance side – plenty. Kung Fu side – not so much. But it’s always good for a rainy day and if you’re in the mood to laugh hysterically at times. 5.5/10
  • Romance in the Rain: Lots of rain scenes (well, I guess it is Romance in the RAIN) and lots of crying. I adored Ruby and Alec in this series, but everything else was a little unbearable. Also, the blood looks like tomato puree. 5/10
  • Tian Long Ba Bu (天龍八步): Good until Ah Zhu dies. Then it just gets annoying. Oh, and I hate Crystal Liu. Tried not to, but failed miserably. 7/10
  • Schemes of a Beauty:
  • Tian Wai Fei Xian (天外飛仙): When Hu Ge was spitting out blood, he looked like he wore lipstick. But other than that, I enjoyed this (once again, overlooking the terrible CGI). The fairies wore pretty clothes (and I’m still uncomfortable with the translation of 仙女 to fairy). Interesting plot to say the least. 7/10
  • Yang Men Hu Jiang (楊門戶將): First of all, Alec Su rocks his ponytail. Second of all, Chae Rim looks like a sulky panda… and not one of those cute ones either. Girl, stop invading Chinese dramas please. On the upside, battle scenes are filmed quite well. 6/10
Japanese:
  • 1 Litre of Tears: Too draggy. Not filmed exceptionally well. I didn’t shed a tear (like I was supposed to). But I watched it for the Nishikido Ryo. He made it worth it (sometimes). Read full review here. 4/10
  • Gokusen: Matsujun was good in this drama. Yankumi annoyed the hell out of me. I dislike her tracksuit. The episodes are too repetitive and I got bored very soon. Also, I wish everytime I loosened my hair from my ponytail it wouldn’t have a dent in it. Watch if in the mood to laugh and diss. 3/10
  • Gokusen 2: Ditto above. Same story, different victims actors. 3/10
  • Hana Kimi: This drama was strong on the funny, but weak on the touching. At times it was downright cheesy. Nakatsu made everything worth watching. He completely stole the show. Read full review here. 6/10
  • Hana Yori Dango: Funny, lively, addicting. Also contains Matsuda Shota. What’s not to love? Oh yes, Matsujun *shudder*. Sadly, his interpretation of Domyouji was riddled with exasperating stupidity and crude humor. Read full review here. 6/10
  • Hana Yori Dango Returns: Hmm… Mao’s nose job was rather… interesting. Again, Matsujun got on my nerves and I wished Tsukushi would end up with Rui. 6.5/10
  • Koizora: WARNING! DISGUSTING PILE OF CRAP ALERT! AVOID AT ALL COSTS! 0/10
  • Kurosagi: I like YamaPi, but he’s very… dead? Dude, get your acting together! On the other hand, I liked Maki. She’s just awesome in general (sans weird suit skirts). Again, episodes became rather repetitive (I swindle to avenge my psycho dad! I am good at it! I swindle other swindelrs successfully by end of episode and say “Maido Ari!). 5.5/10
  • Liar Game: Funnily enough, I really enjoyed this. I watched for the Matsuda Shota, but got a lot more. Deep psychology everywhere and Toda Erika was pretty good in her portrayal of the pure-hearted, innocent girl. 7/10
  • Nobuta wo Produce: Exceptional and great with drunk YamaPi aplenty and beautiful acting all around. I laughed very hard. Lighting effects are a bit… orange-y. But that’s okay. We didn’t need to know that. 6.5/10
  • Ryusei no Kizuna: Again, I watched it for the Nishikido Ryo. The balance between humor and REVENGE didn’t work very well. But it’s okay. I like the theme song. Nino was absolutely awesome. 6.5/10
Korean:
  • Boys Before Flowers: Ridiculous mess that got me thoroughly addicted (though God knows why). I only realized its many flaws after the hype was over. Oh, and the writer of ‘Almost Paradise’ deserves to be shot (and maybe Goo Hye Sun too). On the other hand, Lee Min Ho was ridiculously awesome. He thoroughly deserves the break-out award. Watch for SoEulmates. Read full review here. 6.5/10
  • Full House: Bi is ugly but rather good at acting, surprisingly. Nice chemistry between the leads, but started cheesing off in the last few episodes. Yes, I do have something against “I love you! I love you! It’s taken me so many bloody episodes to realise this! Let’s be together and eat ice cream for the remainder of our lives!” Read full review here. 6/10
  • Goong (Princess Hours): Although it’s been a while, Goong is definitely considered one of the most popular korean dramas of all time. I found it fresh and amusing. The concept of a monarchy in modern day Korea is very new and I loved watching it. But, after each episode, I would almost suddenly wake up and realise there is nothing meaningful about the drama itself. It is so entertaining, but turns my mind into useless slush. In retrospect: good in the moment, unsatisfactory in the passing. Don’t get me wrong, I do like it. The actors were so lovely to watch (Prince Shin! Prince Yul!) and there were beautiful moments (sometimes). I just didn’t feel in awe, merely mildly engaged. 6.5/10
  • Iljimae: Lee Jun Ki was superbly pretteh. Also, good plot but bad planning and really comical costumes on Iljimae’s part. Awkward chemistry between Lee Jun Ki and Han Hyo Joo. Bong Soon was funny on occasions but just plain ol’ annoying on others. But Yongi kicked ass. Read full review here. 7.5/10
  • IRIS:
  • My Girl: Annoying female lead but serious male eye candy (LJK! LDW!). Secondary female lead resembles Chae Rim. Funny plot, good soundtrack. It’s bearable if you close an eye to the serious overacting and typical kdrama cliches. Read full review here. 5/10
  • Shining Inheritance: Good girl changes bad boy for good. A plot can only be recycled so many times. But, evil stepmother was EVIL. Was a source of great amusement for me. Surprisingly, I liked Seung Mi (even though she reverted to the antagonist side after a while). Last few episodes are outstanding. Read full review here. 7/10
  • The 1st Shop of Coffee Prince: Absolutely stunning. Watch it for many things: the lighthearted filming, the amazing acting (from every single person there), the beautiful shots, Gong Yoo, Yoon Eun Hye, the plot, the laughter, the tears, the emotion. God, I could rattle on all day. The only thing I’m a little iffy about is the ending. It was too long and seemed quite draggy. But I adore the Coffee Princes. It was so lovely to watch. If you haven’t seen it yet, I command you to. Go on, shoo! 9.5/10
  • You’re Beautiful: Jeremy was too adorable. From his voice to his hair to his face… He’s the first asian I’ve seen that looks insanely good with blonde hair (props!). Park Shin Hye was brilliant as a novice nun turned cross-dressing boy star. And then there was Jang Geun Suk – need I say more? Best Hong sisters’ work yet! 8.5/10
Taiwanese:
  • Black & White: Amazing, amazing, amazing. Extremely pretty explosions and wonderful acting from the main leads. Well planned writing and well planned ideas. Pi Zi and Ying Xiong rocked it. Wonderful, wonderful fight and gun scenes. The story really heated up towards the end. I love it. Read the full review here. 9/10
  • Devil Beside Me: A huge hit in Taiwan, but not my personal cup of tea. Stepsibling incest doesn’t appeal greatly to me. Also, Mike’s hair is ugly. Get a haircut, dude! 4/10
  • Hi, My Sweetheart: Started off quite amusing. Then it got better. Then it plunged and died in a deep dreary hell of television fails. Three words: UGLY MUSHROOM CUT. Rainie as the bad girl was unconvincing and Show was just bad all around. 3/10
  • It Started With a Kiss: Fresh, witty, appealing. I definitely liked this. Zhi Shu could have used a little more acting, but I guess sitting around looking cool has its limits. With 30 (or was it 31?) episodes, it’s a bit on the long side, but I’ll forgive because it was so damn entertaining. Watch for laughs and general happiness. Read full review here. 7/10
  • Love or Bread: Good couple. Wasted with a crappy script. I just didn’t feel the crude humor was necessary. Strange lines and annoying secondary male lead. But if you must, watch it for Ariel and Joe. Read full review here. 4/10
  • Mean Girl Ah Chu: Really hard to follow (well, for me) because too many characters did too much at once. The characters weren’t believeable and they bastardized wuxia culture at the very beginning. Not recmmended unless you feel like wasting hard drive space and skipping over five sixths of the series. 2/10
  • Miss No Good: I can’t even bring myself to talk about this. Another AVOID AT ALL COSTS. 0/10
  • They Kiss Again: Sequel to ‘It Started With a Kiss’. Not as good as the prequel, but still holds its own. I liked some scenes, but others not so much. The fact that they changed Yu Shu upset me a little, but couldn’t be helped. I just wish they chose someone that could actually act. On the other hand, Joe’s acting improves! 6.5/10
  • Time Story: Funny and memorable. Just a bit on the long side (50 episodes) so plot does drag sometimes. But if you endure the bad parts, the good ones are certainly worth it. Props to Phoebe Huang (Mrs. Sun). She stole the show. 7/10
  • ToGetHer: No. People who attempt to go near this show, be warned of over-reactions, cheap laughs, and awkward chemistry. 2/10
  • Why Why Love: I liked Rainie and Mike. There was some really good acting and touching scenes, but others were pretty meh. The quality is quite inconsistent. Jiang Xiao Nan gets on my nerves and Kingone as the chivalrous side man has been done before. But in the end, I liked it. This drama made me cry (yes, yes, mock my shallowness) eight consecutive times when I first watched it. Read full review here. 6.5/10

Movies

  • 100 Days With Mr. Arrogant: Mounds upon mounds of overeacting and shouting. But the storyline’s original and quite enteratining. It’s definitely quite cute, but not quite so well explored in areas of acting. 6.5/10
  • 200 Pound Beauty: I thoroughly enjoyed this movie. What humor! What acting! What chemistry! And besides, it gave me the chance to drool over Joo Jin Mo (ahh…). I was a little uncomfortable with the message it was trying to send, though. I am a feminist through and through, and even though the movie was supposed to be light and fun, the message is very weighty. They shouldn’t have treated it so uncaringly. 8/10
  • Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Lee Ang! My favorite director! And, okay, so all the different dialects (Michelle Yeoh – Malaysian, Chow Yun Fat – Cantonese, Zhang Ziyi – Mainland China, Chang Chen – Taiwanese) were quite… interesting, but breathtaking filming and the best wuxia fighting onscreen I have ever seen. 9/10
  • Deathnote: Why does L look like a raccon? And why is Light not blonde? These are the questions I’d like to be answered. Also, the whole atmosphere was very wriggly – I really didn’t like it. But I enjoyed Erika Toda with her zany portrayal of Misa-Misa. 5/10
  • Departures: Beautiful, stunning filmography. I was completely blown away by the profound depth and thorough, careful execution. Gorgeous execution, amazing acting, stunning music (what else can we expect from Joe Hisaishi?). Absolutely lovely. 10/10
  • Hana Yori Dango Finale: They shouldn’t milk this cash cow any further! What strange scenes I encountered… Like Makino punching a bear (??), Rui getting dressed as a priest (??) and the whole plot being a sham (????). Also, everyone of the F4 got weird haircuts. 4/10
  • I Like it Hot: I’ll come straight out and admit that I watched it for the Kim Bum. Personally, I thought he did a great job as his portrayal, but he’s not the main character. I like the juxtaposition of three women at different stages of their physical and romantic lives. The acting is a little disappointing for me, but the quirky plot makes up for it. 7.5/10
  • Koizora: OH. MY. GOD. Somebody shoot me now. If it weren’t for Miura Haruma, I wouldn’t go near this with a ten-foot pole. 1/10
  • Kurosagi: I was so CHEATED out of my Yamaki moments. What, did the directors forget to give Maki some screentime or what? Either way, I was so pissed at the lack of their interaction that it just soured the whole mood for me. 7/10
  • My Wife Got Married: What a mundane plot! I was pleasantly surprised at the lighthearted filming. Nice acting from the main leads. I’m just a little iffy with the music placement – seemed a little awkward in most occasions. 7.5/10
  • The Banquet: Uhh… Let’s just say I didn’t really get it. I mean, maybe I wasn’t concentrating enough or not artistically inclined at all, but Hamlet is much more preferable to watch. All quibbles aside, this was a yummy visual masterpiece. I loved the color. 6/10
  • Sophie’s Revenge: My very first manga styled movie! And I loved it! I’ve probably watched this, like, sixteen times now. It’s so funny, so new, so interesting! And the characters all integrate with each other so well. Besides, I was bedazzled by Peter Ho’s kindness, caringness, smileyness, awesomeness in general (and wondered for the umpteenth time where I can find a guy like that). And then there’s So Ji Sub (droooooooooooool). 9/10
  • The Forbidden Kingdom: I hate this. I HATE this. First off, as stated above, I am not a big fan of Crystal Liu. Also, do they not find it weird that this is a wuxia movie  set in China and yet everyone is speaking English to accomodate the clueless Hollywood audiences? And as if it were not bad enough, the english made me wince too. I just: hate the storyline, hate the actors (okay, not Jet Li, and maybe not Jackie Chan) and hate the whole damn mess. 1.5/10
Planning to watch:
– City Hall
– Liar Game 2
– Time of Dog and Wolf
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