Category: Reviews

Review: Where the Camellia Blooms

Posted September 25, 2020 by Rowena in Reviews, TV Shows | 0 Comments

Where the Camellia Blooms

Male Lead: Kang Ha Neul
Female Lead: Gong Hyo Jin
Secondary Lead: Kim Ji Seok
Also Starring: Ji Yi Soo, Oh Jung Se, Yeom Hye Ran,Son Dam Bi, Kim Kang Hoon, Go Doo Shim, Lee Jung Eun
Year Released: 2020
Number of Episodes: 20
Genre: Contemporary, Drama, Romance, Romantic Comedy
Country: Korea
Where I Watched It: Netflix
Recommended By: Kang Ha Neul
Who I Watched It For: Kang Ha Neul

“When the Camellia Blooms” is the story of Oh Dong-baek, a single mother who moves to the fictional town of Ongsan and opens a bar named Camellia. Six years later, Dong-baek meets playful Yong-sik, who declares his love for her. Dong-baek does not reciprocate his love, but Yong-sik persists in wooing her. When Yong-sik’s mother finds out about this, she strongly opposes it, as Dong-baek is a single mother with a son, as well as the fact that Dong-baek’s past lover and father of her child is trying to win her back. Yong-sik eventually gets Dong-Baek to fall for him. Meanwhile, a notorious killer sets out to claim Dong-baek as his next victim, and Yong-sik protects her fiercely, doing his job as a policeman and figuring out who the killer is.

After watching Kang Ha Neul in Midnight Runners with Park Seo Jun, I wanted to watch him in something else so when I came across this show on Netflix, I loaded that bad boy up.

The story centers on the romance between Dong-baek, a single mother who just moved to the small town of Ongsan and opened a bar named Camellia, and Yong-sik, a loud mouth police officer who transfers back to his hometown after being a cop in Seoul for a while. Right off the bat, Yong-sik likes Dong-baek but she ain’t got time for him. She’s a single mother with a business to run and that keeps her more than busy. Yong-sik isn’t deterred by her rejection, he plans to run the long game and stick around, hoping that he’ll win her over eventually. On top of the romance, there’s a mystery thread running throughout the show. Dong-baek gets caught up in a serial killer’s plan when he finds out that she was in the tanning bed when he shows up at the spa to kill his last victim. She’s a loose end that needs to tie so she becomes the most important target for him.

Kang Ha-neul was a great male lead and I really enjoyed his character. It wouldn’t have taken me that long to warm up to him. He was charming and so endearing that it was hard to not root for him. Dong-baek was a lot harder for me to connect with. She was pretty cold to Yong-sik at first and I understood it and even appreciated how honest she was with him but she frustrated me a lot because I thought it took her far too long to stand up for herself. She came off really weak in the beginning and throughout most of the show that even her son was fed up with the BS. I’m glad that I stuck with it and gave her a chance to grow because she really does grow over the course of the story. She grows in character, she grows into her feelings for Yong-sik and I was really glad for that.

This was an enjoyable show for the most part but I’ve got to be honest that as much as I enjoyed the show overall, there were times in the beginning where I really struggled with the pacing of the story being told. There were episodes where long parts of the episode dragged because there was too much telling and not enough showing. I hope that makes sense because that’s the only way that I can explain it, haha. I’m still glad that I watched this show and while it wasn’t a favorite, it was still a pretty solid show. I will also mention that I thought the whole serial killer mystery was pretty weak but still, if you’re in the mood for a romantic comedy with charming characters and a male lead that will crack you up, this is a good one to check out.

Final Rating

3.25 out of 5

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Review: The King, Eternal Monarch

Posted September 23, 2020 by Rowena in Reviews, TV Shows | 0 Comments

Male Lead: Lee Min Ho
Female Lead: Kim Go Eun
Also Starring: Woo Do Hwan, Jung Eun Chae, Kim Kyung Nam,Lee Jung Jin, Kim Yong Ji, Seo Jeong Yeon, Sojin, Kwon Yul, Jeong Hyun Joon, Kang Hong Seok, Park Won Sang, Park Hoon, Kim Wook, Choi Woo Sung
Year Released: 2020
Number of Episodes: 16
Genre: Fantasy, Romance, Crime Drama
Country: Korea
Where I Watched It: Netflix
Recommended By: Kim Go Eun, Woo Do Hwan
Who I Watched It For: Kim Go Eun, Woo Do Hwan

Lee Gon mourns the tragic death of his father. Lee Lim goes on the run – and finds escape when he comes across a door to a parallel universe.

I’m not even going to front. I didn’t watch this show because of Lee Min Ho. I wanted to watch this show because of Woo Do Hwan. This guy is really good looking so watching him in another show (My first show with him was My Country: The New Age) was a must on my to-do list. I also saw that my girl Kim Go Eun aka The Goblin Bride was in this one so it was definitely going to be watched and I’m glad that I gave it a go because this reminded me of Goblin so it was a lot of fun.

So this show is a fantasy romance that takes place in a world with parallel worlds and a young King who can travel between those worlds. Lee Gon, the King of the Empire of Korea, is mourning the tragic death of his father, searching for the person who saved him on the night of his father’s murder, and plotting revenge against his father’s killer. When Lee Gon meets Jung Tae Eul, a police detective from the Republic of Korea, they come together to try to catch the bad guy and take him down once and for all. It appears that the bad guy is squatting in Tae Eul’s world so Lee Gon goes back and forth between their worlds to try to find him. It takes some time for him to get Tae Eul to trust him enough to help him. He knew immediately who she was when he first meets her but she didn’t know who he was so there was a struggle at the beginning with him trying to get close to her.

There’s a lot going on in this show and I was invested in pretty much everything. Trying to puzzle through chasing the killer down, the romance brewing between Lee Gon and Tae Eul, the going back and forth between worlds, getting to know both people from both worlds and just, you know, everything. As much as I was invested in all of those things, my favorite part of the show were these guys…

Woo Do Hwan’s portrayal of both Jo Eun Soeb and Jo Young rocked my mother freaking socks. Both of them charmed the hell out of me and it’s been weeks and weeks since I’ve seen this show and I still can’t choose a favorite. I thought Woo Do Hwan’s portrayal of the two characters was fan-freaking-tastic and I loved the hell out of both of them. I swear everything else took a back seat once these guys showed up on scene. They totally stole the show from right under both Lee Min Ho and Kim Go Eun. As great as they were, what I looked forward to the most while watching this was seeing what shenanigans Eun Soeb was going to get into and seeing his younger siblings interact with Jo Young.

The romance between Lee Gon and Tae Eul was subtle and in the background but I enjoyed seeing them come together. They complimented each other well and when we finally get to this scene, I was all about it.

Overall, the show did a great job of sucking me in with the charming cast, keeping me interested in the storyline and making me a little swoony with the romance. You can’t really ask for more in a drama so I’m a happy camper with this one. This one was definitely a good one so I recommend.

Listen to the OST

Final Rating

4 out of 5

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Review: Juror 8

Posted September 22, 2020 by Rowena in Movies, Reviews | 0 Comments

Juror 8

Male Lead: Park Hyung Sik
Also Starring:
Year Released: 2019
Genre: Family, Drama
Country: Korea
Where I Watched It: Viki
Watched It For: Park Hyung Sik

In 2008, South Korea held its first criminal trial by jury. The case presented to the court was supposed to be an easy one, as the defendant himself freely admitted to brutally murdering his mother. However, what was supposed to be a simple, open-and-shut case turns into something more, when one of the jurors, a young entrepreneur named Kwon Nam Woo (Park Hyung Sik), begins to question everything.

Without the unanimous vote of the jury, the judge, Kim Joon Gyum (Moon So Ri), is forced to re-examine the evidence and call for a new debate, to determine whether or not the defendant is guilty or not guilty.

Refusing to bow to the pressure of the majority, Kwon Nam Woo begins a thorough investigation of the case on his own. Sifting through countless investigation records, he repeatedly questions the defendant’s admission of guilt. As his investigation continues, he begins to find the evidence he needs to substantiate his doubt. Slowly joined in his search for the truth by the other jurors, Kwon Nam Woo begins to break through the majority opinion to uncover the truth and set the standard for true justice.

Based on a true story, “Juror 8” is a 2019 film directed by Hong Seung Wan.

This was an interesting movie. It features Park Hyung Sik as a down on his luck young man, trying to get his invention patented and off the ground but is having a bit of trouble with it. When he gets the jury summons, he shows up to do his civic duty and is chosen to be part of the jury on Korea’s first criminal trial by jury.

Again, the summary included above does a great job of explaining what the movie is about. Park Hyun Sik plays Kwon Nam Woo, Juror 8. In what was supposed to be an easy case with the prosecuting side already having a confession from the defendant ends up being more complicated when Juror 8 begins questioning everything. So because there wasn’t a unanimous vote, the judge was forced to re-examine the evidence and re-debate the case. That leads to Juror 8, or as I like to call him, “Fine ass Hyung Sik” to conduct his own investigation of the evidence and the case in general.

Seeing him work through the evidence and try to figure out what really happened, without much experience in doing so was interesting. He really had the guts to question the evidence because it didn’t make sense to him and he wasn’t going to vote to convict someone until he was absolutely sure that he was making the right decision. This movie was based on a true story so I think that made the overall movie that much more interesting to me because it couldn’t have been easy for Juror 8 to go against the grain the way that he did but he did and I really liked his character. The way that he was bullheaded about his vote and the way that the other jurors came around once he started proving his gut instinct right had me cheering for him so loudly by the end of the movie. Park Hyung Sik did this role justice and I completely adored him in this. This was a great movie with heart. I really enjoyed it and have every faith that anyone who reads this blog will enjoy it too. We’re a great bunch with similar tastes so yeah, I definitely recommend this one.

Final Rating

4.25 out of 5

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Review: Fight for My Way

Posted September 18, 2020 by Rowena in Reviews, TV Shows | 0 Comments

Male Lead: Park Seo Jun
Female Lead: Kim Ji Won
Secondary Lead: Ahn Jae Hong, Song Ha Yoon
Also Starring: Kim Sung Oh, Chae Dong Hyun, Pyo Ye Jin, Jin Ji Hee, Kim Ye Ryung, Son Byung Ho, Kwak Dong Yeon, Choi Woo Shik, Hwang Bo Ra, Lee Elijah, Jin Hee Kyung
Year Released: 2017
Number of Episodes: 16
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Romantic Comedy
Country: Korea
Where I Watched It: Viki
Recommended By: Park Seo Jun
Who I Watched It For: Park Seo Jun

This drama is about the youth who is not qualified for what the heartless society demands. Without backgrounds such as high education and certificates, the world tells them to focus on playing supporting roles in life. However, they all have their advantages and deserve to be the main character in their own lives. This is a story about four individuals, Dong Man, Ae Ra, Joo Man, and Sul Hee, and the dreams they are pursuing. Dong Man used to be a top athlete in taekwondo. However, his dreams of becoming a national athlete is shredded into pieces when he helplessly loses against authority and money. Choi Ae Ra has always dreamed of becoming an announcer. Although for now, she works at a department store, she continuously goes to job interviews and fights for her way. When the world turns its back on one of them, the other rushes to comfort them.

On my journey through all of Park Seo Jun’s work, I came across this show. I was pretty excited to finally get around to watching it because I haven’t seen Park Seo Jun as a not so serious dork yet. In the shows that I’ve watched, he’s played the serious, no-nonsense kind of guy so Ko Dong Man was way different from what I was used to and boy did I absolutely love Park Seo Jun as Ko Dong Man. After seeing him in Itaewon Class and What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim, seeing him in Fight for My Way was like a breath of fresh air. He plays the goofy man super well.

Fight for My Way is a best friends to lovers trope and it was such a fun show that I was so sad when I finished it. Ae Ra and Dong Man were such a delightful pair that I laughed at their bickering, I swooned with delight over how they protected each other and I fell head over heels with the two of them together. When we first meet them, they’re in school and Dong Man is at the top of his game as a taekwondo fighter. He wins his fight and is so goofy about it that he gets a slap on the back of his head from his coach. You also see a young Ae Ra and Seol Hee and that was a super fun introduction to our heroine of the show. Fast forward ten years and the gang is almost 30 years old and things are a lot different than they all thought it’d be.

Ae Ra is working at a department store and not at all happy with where her life is. Dong Man is working in a dead-end job and like Ae Ra, not happy with where his life is. After an incident from his past, he walked away from fighting and is still trying to find himself. With their 30th birthday looming, Dong Man decides to shed his fear of the past and live a life of passion. Ae Ra is inspired and decides that she too is going to go after what she really wants as well.

The secondary romance in this show follows Ae Ra and Dong Man’s friends, Seol Hee and Joo Man who are in a relationship but it’s not an ideal one. They work together so they hide their relationship from their coworkers and Joo Man’s family aren’t the biggest fans of Seol Hee so there are some simmering issues there but there’s also a female coworker that is very interested in Joo Man and that’s yet another issue that is simmering between them.

I liked that the main couple’s issues were them trying to figure out their lives while falling in love with each other. Their feelings for each other aren’t the main issue between them though it sure did take Dong Man quite a while to realize what was right in front of him for so long. I really adored the two of them coming together. They were such huge supporters of the other and seeing them hype each other up and step up for each other really got me in the feels. They were great on their own but together, they were just that much better. I adored the two of them and I was cheering for them from the jump. I loved jealous Ae Ra and I hella loved jealous Dong Man. Their fights were epic and so funny that I laughed and laughed and laughed. You can’t be cute with your boyfriend when you grew up with him and he knows everything about you. So when he knows you get gas after eating certain things, you better believe that he’s going to call you on it and seeing them learn how to be with each other, after knowing almost too much about the other was just a lot of fun.

The secondary storyline focused on the relationship between Seol Hee and Joo Man. They’re in a long term relationship and going through some growing pains together. Seol Hee is trying to do what she can to hold them together but Joo Man is distracted and not much help so Seol Hee is pretty much on her own but once she gets tired of trying to hold things down on her own, seeing Joo Man mess up and then try to make things right with her was an interesting addition to this show. I thought their problems balanced my enjoyment of the show overall because I was anxious and mad and then forgiving and hopeful for the two of them. They were great characters and fantastic friends to both Dong Man and Ae Ra.

Overall, this was a fabulously fun show with great characters and a cast of actors that really know how to deliver entertainment. I was glad to have watched this and I enjoyed everyone’s acting so much that I looked up everyone’s backlist and added all of their shows to my To Be Watched list. I can’t wait to dig into their stuff too. I definitely recommend this show if you’re looking for something fun and super cute. Trust me, you’ll want to know Dong Man for yourself. 🙂

Listen to the OST

Final Rating

4.5 out of 5

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Review: Goblin

Posted September 17, 2020 by Rowena in Reviews, TV Shows | 2 Comments

Male Lead: Gong Yoo
Female Lead: Kim Go Eun
Secondary Leads: Lee Dong Wook, Yoo In Na
Also Starring: Yook Sungjae, Hwang Seok Jeong, Go Bo Gyeol, Jo Woo Jin, Lee El, Kim So Hyun, Kim Min Jae, Park Hee Bon, Jung Hae In, Kim Byung Chul, Park Hyung Hye, Yeom Hye Ran
Year Released: 2016
Number of Episodes: 16
Genre: Fantasy, Drama, Romance
Country: Korea
Where I Watched It: Viki
Recommended By: TikTok
Watched it For: Gong Yoo, Lee Dong Wook, Kim Go Eun

Is it better to live forever or to finally be able to die? Kim Shin (Gong Yoo) is a decorated military general during the Goryeo Dynasty who is betrayed by the jealous king he served. When Kim Shin is faced with death instead of honor after fighting a mighty battle, God turns Kim Shin into a goblin instead, tasked with protecting certain people from the life of misery. But immortality is wearing on Kim Shin, and he longs to find the prophesied human bride who can set his soul free.

Kim Shin becomes accidental roommates with Wang Yeo (Lee Dong Wook), the grim reaper who ushers people’s souls into the afterlife. Kim Shin’s nephew, Yoo Deok Hwa (Yook Sungjae), is a rebellious chaebol heir whose family has been caretakers of the goblin for many generations. Ji Eun Tak (Kim Go Eun) is a high school senior whose mother was saved from an accident by Kim Shin 19 years ago, and ever since then, she has been able to communicate with the dead. Sunny (Yoo In Na), the owner of a chicken restaurant and Eun Tak’s boss, crosses path with Wang Yeo and becomes smitten with him.

Can Eun Tak be the true “goblin bride” with the power to release Kim Shin from his eternal misery? “Guardian: The Lonely and Great God”, also known as “Goblin”, is a 2016-2017 South Korean drama series directed by Lee Eung Bok. It is written by Kim Eun Sook, who also wrote the very successful dramas: “Heirs” (2013) and “Descendants of the Sun” (2016).

Oh man, this show. I wanted to see this show because I saw so many videos of people recommending it on TikTok (my For You Page is all Korean dramas, all the time) but also because my love of all things Gong Yoo demanded that I watch it. And boy am I glad that I did because holy shit balls, this show was fucking good.

This show follows our fellow Goblin, Kim Shin, who was wronged in his human life that his soul cried out in agony and vengeance. When he’s given the chance to avenge his family, he takes it. In return, he becomes an immortal Goblin who has to protect people from a life of misery. As decade after decade living as an immortal Goblin, protecting strangers from life, starts wearing on him, he starts searching for his Goblin bride. His Goblin bride is the only person that can set his soul free. He has to find her, get her to agree to be his bride so that she can pull the sword that only she can see out of his chest and end his immortality.

Nine hundred years later, he finds her and she’s in freaking high school. LOL. She’s also immature, naive, and living a hard life. Her mother died when she was just a kid and she never knew her father so she’s sent to live with her mother’s sister, who resents the hell out of having to take care of someone else’s kid. When she meets Goblin, she is immediately drawn to him. He’s a lot older than she is but they still strike up a friendship anyway. Goblin becomes a guardian like presence in Eun Tak’s life and she comes to rely on him a great deal. Along with Goblin, Eun Tak gets a Grim Reaper in her corner and together with Goblin and Goblin’s nephew, she gets a family to love and support her but it comes with a lot of work and some chaos.

There’s a lot going on in this show and I was here for it all. From Goblin’s complicated human life, to seeing the way that he spends his immortal days saving people from bad decisions and hard times, to the love that blossomed over the years with Eun Tak, to his budding bromance with the Grim Reaper, to the secondary romance between the Grim Reaper and Eun Tak’s boss, to all of Eun Tak’s ghost friends and their struggles, to the complications when everything starts falling into place and you’re left looking like…

There’s no denying that Gong Yoo is a gorgeous man and there’s also no denying the fact that I wanted to watch this show for his fine ass but though I came into this one strictly for Gong Yoo, I developed a love for Kim Go Eun, Lee Dong Wook, and everyone else. The writing on this show was fantastic and the actors did such a great job of portraying their characters in a way that made me connect with every single one of them. I was on board with everything. I cried happy tears, ugly cried sad tears but through it all, there was nothing but love. The ending had me ugly crying like it was nobody’s business and though I’m put back together before the absolute end, when we’re back in Canada, I felt it was a little rushed. Still, this show was amazing and it’s easily in my top 5 Korean Dramas of all time. I definitely, DEFINITELY recommend.

Listen to the OST

Final Rating

4.75 out of 5

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