Tag: Netflix

Review: Signal

Posted March 30, 2021 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Signal

Starring: Lee Je Hoon, Kim Hye Soo, Jo Jin Woong
Year Released: 2016
Number of Episodes: 16
Genre: Contemporary, Crime, Drama, Suspense, Time Travel
Country: Korea
Where I Watched It: Netflix
Recommended By: Mood Browse

Fifteen years ago, a young girl was kidnapped on the way from school, and Park Hae Yeong, who was an elementary school student at that time, witnessed the crime. A few days later, the girl was found dead, and the police were not able to find the culprit. As time went by, Hae Yeong started distrusting the police.

Fifteen years later, Hae Yeong is now a police officer and criminal profiler. One day, he finds a walkie-talkie that allows him to get in contact with Detective Lee Jae Han who is in the past. Police officers Hae Yeong, Jae Han, and Cha So Hyun then set out on a journey to solve cold cases.
I found this drama while I was browsing through Netflix. I’ve seen the woman actress in this show around so I stopped to check the summary out. I was sold after reading the summary but I didn’t immediately start it. I’m a little annoyed with myself that I waited for a while to get to it but I’m glad that I watched it because from beginning to end, I was invested in all of it.

There were parts that were pretty slow in terms of engaging me (the viewer) but overall, this was a really interesting drama that did a good job of telling Park Hae Yeong’s life story.

Let’s break this show down, shall we?
Main Lead: Park Hae Yeong
Actor: Lee Je Hoon
Social Media: Website | Instagram

Park Hae Yeong is the victim of a wrongful arrest though he wasn’t the actual person that was arrested. His older brother was accused of rape and was let down by the entire local police department because of course, his older brother was innocent but because their family wasn’t as rich as the real culprit, Park Hae Yeong’s older brother paid for a crime that wasn’t his. Park Sun Woo (Hae Yeong’s older brother) was one of the good guys. He was a great older brother to Hae Yeong and he cared about his family, his friends, and his future. He was helping Hae Yeong bring his grades up and in the process of helping a girl study as well.

What happens to Sun Woo makes a huge impression on Hae Yeong and as Hae Yeong pieces his own investigation into his brother’s case when he’s older and a cold case profiler, things really heat up. He discovers a walkie-talkie that communicates with an officer from the past. A detective that could possibly help him find out what really happened to his brother. Maybe if they worked together, they can right some wrongs and get some things right. Hae Yeong’s story is a huge part of the show and I thought Lee Je Hoon’s portrayal of Park Hae Yeong was probably my favorite part of this show. Lee Je Hoon has some serious acting chops and I felt everything he felt throughout this entire show. Hae Yeong’s story is an emotional one and though I didn’t get the ending that I wanted for him, I was still satisfied and would LOVE a second season.

I really enjoyed the character growth from child to man for Park Hae Yeong. He had every reason to turn to gangs and a life of crime with his experience with cops and yet he grew into a man of the law with a clear conscience of what was right and wrong. Did he always get things right? Not at all. But he learned from every experience and used the experiences to be a better person.
Main Lead: Cha Soo Hyun
Actor: Kim Hye Soo

Cha Soo Hyun was the first female police officer in her department and though she seems aloof and completely reserved, she is fair and a good senior to Park Hae Yeong. Professionally, she tried to do what was right even when it was hard. Personally, there were times when I wanted to smack this woman upside her head. Did I understand where she was coming from when she would pop off in the middle of a case because Park Hae Yeong seemed to know an awful lot about the only man she’s ever loved that disappeared years ago? Of course! Did I want her to put her feelings away and get the bad guys before grilling Hae Yeong? YES!

Even with all of that madness, I still really liked her character and I thought Kim Hye Soo really did Cha Soo Hyun’s character justice. She acted her tail off and it’s really hard to do that when you’re playing an aloof and cold character that isn’t really any of that. I liked how smart she was and how loyal she was. She was good at a lot of things and seeing her as both a fresh rookie cop who was unsure of herself, her worth as a police officer, and then a strong and fiercely determined detective was fantastic. She played both parts well and I was rooting for her to find her man throughout the entire show.
Main Lead: Lee Jae Han
Actor: Jo Jin Woong

Holy cow did I like this guy. Lee Jae Han was such a compelling character that fought the good fight even when he had every cause not to believe the weirdo on the other line of the walkie-talkie. Seeing him fight against his very own bosses to bring justice to those wronged by the police force, the exact police force that is supposed to protect the victims made me love him to pieces.

His story was another emotional one because his personal life took a back seat to his professional one and it was hard on everyone around him. From his father to the woman he was starting to like and his friends, he missed out on a lot trying to right the wrongs that just kept right on coming to his front door. I wanted so much to see this guy in the end and we were left with a big ol’ question mark with everything but even without a solid ending with a solid wrap-up of all the things, I still really enjoyed learning about Lee Jae Han. My heart for him when he tried to get to Sun Woo before it was too late, freaking body falling apart but getting to Sun Woo was more important than his stab wound and that was just one of the many reasons that I loved this guy. He didn’t know how to give up and when he didn’t get things right, he was so remorseful that it hurt my heart and made me cheer for him and Hae Yeong even more. Gah, so good.
The Cast
There are a lot of familiar faces that make up the rest of the cast of Signal and I enjoyed seeing them all again. These two guys are probably my favorite familiar faces and the most memorable of the bunch, outside of the villains. I also really liked the guy that played Park Sung Woo. As I said, there are a lot of familiar faces and that’s probably my favorite thing about k-dramas. There are side characters that pop up in every single k-drama and it’s always a treat to see a cast with great chemistry. This wasn’t the kind of show that showcases strong friendships but we got a strong team that really comes together as the show progresses and I was here for Hae Yeong and Soo Hyun’s team.
The Story
So Signal is about a detective from 1989 and a cold case profiler in 2015 working together through a magical walkie-talkie to solve and prevent crimes from happening. Solving them in 2015 helps prevent them in 1989 and through trial and error, Lee Jae Han, the detective from 1989, and Park Hae Yeong, the cold case profiler from 2015 figure out what went wrong and how to fix them in their own times. The concept behind the show is was initially drew me to watching it and I’m glad that I did because the actors really brought this story to life. It totally made sense to me that there was a magical walkie-talkie helping a man from the 80’s help a man from 2015 solve crime and beat the bad guys.

I also thought that the cases that they worked on together were interesting. From the kidnapping case to the rape case, to every other case, each story really stood out and had me thinking about them long after I turned the final episode off. These characters really go through it personally and professionally and they had to overcome so much to get to that end. There were times where I had to walk away from the TV because what was happening was too much for me and my blood pressure but I will say that the villains played their roles really well in this one because I hated their asses so much.

Overall, there were moments when certain characters and cases made my blood boil but I’m glad that I stuck with this show because it was a solid suspense drama and the time through walkie-talkie business was one of the highlights of the show for me. I love the friendship that blossomed between Lee Jae Han and Park Hae Yeong. I thought the way that their friendship grew and grew with each case that they worked on was just so stinkin’ great.
The OST
Final Rating

4 out of 5

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Review: The Start Up

Posted March 16, 2021 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: The Start UpStart Up
Starring: Nam Joo-Hyuk, Bae Suzy, Kim Sun-Ho
Year Released: 2020
Number of Episodes: 16
Recommended By: Nam Joo-Hyuk
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
Format: Online Stream
Source: Netflix
three-half-stars

Needing to make $90k to open her own business, Seo Dal-Mi drops out of a university and takes up part-time work. She dreams of becoming someone like Steve Jobs.

Nam Do-San is the founder of Samsan Tech. He is excellent with mathematics. He started Samsan Tech two years ago, but the company is not doing well. Somehow, Nam Do-San becomes Seo Dal-Mi’s first love. They cheer each others start and growth.

Summary Credit

I used to binge watch all of the k-dramas that I watched so they had to have all of the episodes released before I’d dig into them but that’s completely changed these days. I watched this show as they released the episodes every week and I enjoyed the ride for the most part. There were parts in the show that I thought dragged a bit and though I liked the main male lead (I actually watched this show BECAUSE I liked him), I thought he was less interesting than the second lead. Did I want the second lead to get the girl? No, not at all…but just like the male lead, I thought the second lead was more interesting than the main girl too.

I’m going to break down my thoughts about this show by categories and then I’ll sum everything up in the end. Let’s get started, shall we?
Main Male Lead: Nam Do San
Actor: Nam Joo Hyuk

I really enjoyed Nam Joo Hyuk in Weightlifting Fairy, Kim Bok Joo so I was excited to see him in something new. Unfortunately, his character, Nam Joo Hyuk, didn’t completely win me over the way that his last character did. I liked him fine, I liked his story, I liked how hard he worked for his company and for his friends but after all was said and done, his character just isn’t one that will stick with me.

I wish I could say that I was invested in his character journey throughout the entire show but while I was interested in him as a character, I was rooting for him to win the girl, and I liked the guy that played his Dad, his character journey didn’t grab me the way that others did. That’s not a knock on him, as I felt that way about the entire show.

I did like the relationship between him and his friends. The loyalty that they shared between the three of them was nice. I’m always a fan of great support groups and Nam Do San had a great support system. I did like how he stepped up for a complete stranger and then fell in love with her but all of that wasn’t enough for me to enjoy the rest of his journey.

Main Female Lead: So Dal Mi
Actress: Bae Suzy

I haven’t watched very many shows with Bae Suzy at the lead but I do enjoy her as an actress. She was one of the very few things that I liked about the k-drama, Big and her character in this show showed a lot of promise. I thought So Dal Mi was a pretty solid female lead. Her story made me cry from time to time. I loved the relationship she had with her father and it made me sad that she never got that fried chicken he went out to get. But I love the woman that she grew up to be and I hella loved her relationship with her halmeoni. The whole sibling rivalry thing was probably the weakest part of Dal Mi’s journey but I did like the character growth that we saw in her sister.

Suzy played her role in this one really well. I thought she did a great job of bringing So Dal Mi’s character to life and there were so many times that I connected with what she was feeling throughout the show. I became a fan of hers during this show and I look forward to seeing her in more things.
Second Lead: Han Ji Pyeong
Actor: Kim Seon Ho

This is the first thing that I’ve ever seen this actor in and I was hooked on his story the most. I never once thought that he should end up with the female lead though. He was a jerk to all of them and though I understood why, I still didn’t care for that. I loved the guy that Dal Mi’s halmeoni saw in him but more often than not, I wanted to smack him upside his head. However, his story was what I was most interested in from beginning to end. I think his story made me cry the most and I was rooting for him to get the peace he deserved and so desperately needed.

I never really rooted for him to get with Dal Mi though. My guy had three years to shoot his shot and he waited until Do San came back from the US to do it? Too little, too late buddy but I’m glad to see that he found a new cause that gave his life some purpose.

I did like this guy and am looking forward to following his career from here on out. Kim Seon Ho blew up my IG feed while The Start Up was releasing new episodes so I hope he gets a first lead role soon.
The Supporting Cast
I’ve only seen one of these guys in anything else and I was delighted to see Yoo Su Bin in this one. This team was a highlight for me. I loved the secondary romance between the two teammates and I loved the bond that Nam Do San had with his two besties. The way that Do San tried to fix everything and be there for everyone made the way that they all had his back and had faith in him made me love them all the more. They were the perfect mix of smart, strong, funny, and loyal that hits all of my happy spots so I really liked all of these guys.
The Story
This story started off strong. I was really invested in everything and everyone right off the bat. The pacing started out strong and then sizzled through the middle, only to drag in the end. There were a lot of things that I didn’t care for (the actual start up stuff was my least favorite thing in the whole show) but overall, I kept watching every single episode so I couldn’t have hated it that much. It was a great way to spend a few hours and I did enjoy it overall, it just wasn’t my favorite but I discovered some new to me actors and actresses so I’m happy with that.
Final Rating

3.5 out of 5

three-half-stars

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Review: Record of Youth

Posted January 26, 2021 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Record of YouthRecord of Youth
Starring: Park Bo Gum, Park So Dam, Byeon Woo Seok
Year Released: 2020
Number of Episodes: 16
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
Format: Online Stream
Source: Netflix
three-half-stars

This is a drama about the growth record of young people who strive to achieve their dreams and love without despair in a generation where dreams have become a luxury and the passionate record of young people who beeline for their dreams in their own way, presenting excitement and empathy.

Sa Hye Joon is smart and handsome. He is a nice guy and a popular model, but what he really wants is to become an actor. He has auditioned for many acting roles, but hasn’t found success yet. Unfortunately, Sa Hye Joon doesn’t have much presence as an actor. Meanwhile, Ahn Jung Ha works as a make up artist. Bright and cheerful on the outside but lonely on the inside, Jung Ha takes out her stress and frustrations by fan-girling over idols.

Summary Credit

This drama started out with a lot of promise. I was really enjoying everything that was happening in the first half of the show. I was enjoying it so much that heading into the second half of the season brought about some anxiety as I just knew that the other shoe was going to drop and everything was going to go up in flames. I was right that everything was going to change in the second part of the season but I was less invested in what was happening in the second half.

So this show follows two best friends who are both actors and a makeup artist who is fiercely independent and a huge fangirl over the main male lead, Sa Hye-Jun (Park Bo Gum). Sa Hye-Jun is a twenty-something-year-old actor and model who is looking for his huge break. He’s a struggling actor, working multiple part-time jobs to support himself and seems to only get the crumbs from his much more successful, and rich best friend, Won Hae-Hyo. The story follows the both of them as they struggle, Hye-Jun struggled with staying true to himself and to his beliefs in the harsh world of entertainment, and Won Hae-Hyo struggles with being in the shadow of Hye-Jun’s spotlight for the first time. He’s not used to coming in second behind Hye-Jun in anything and realizing the truth about every job he’s ever gotten, every follower he’s got on social media bites him in the ass so they both struggle with being jealous of what the other has.

When Ahn Jeong-Ha comes onto the scene, she’s proud to be a fangirl for Hye-Jun because he’s everything she hoped that he would be before she met him. When they became friends and they flirted their way into a relationship, I was so invested in their relationship and in their lives apart from each other. They were interesting characters who didn’t have it easy but were optimistic that eventually if they worked hard enough, their efforts would pay off. They understood each other better than anyone else in their lives and seeing them grow to care for each other on a more personal level was a lot of fun.

I really enjoyed a lot of what this show had going on. The relationship between Hye-Jun and his grandfather was a good one. The relationship between Hye-Jun and his two best friends even though they were all idiots at different points in the show. I liked the friendship that sparked between Ahn Jeong-Ha and Hye-Jun’s manager was another fun friendship that was enjoyable. I liked that they all had their own struggles that they were dealing with but were still there for one another when it was needed. I liked that their friendships weren’t perfect but they were trying to be good people and when things fell apart, that was where I was left feeling confused AF. I didn’t understand what drove Jeong-Ha to do a lot of the things that she did, where Hye-Jun was concerned. It felt out of place, and character with what she felt and acted throughout the entire first part of the show.

A lot of the issues that Hye-Jun suffered through with his family, his friends, and then with the work stuff didn’t make sense to me. Like Hye-Jun’s Dad. What in the bleeping hell was his problem? He acted like Hye-Jun was irresponsible. The boy was damn near killing himself working so many different part-time jobs so that his parents didn’t have to support him and his acting jobs, but that didn’t stop his Dad from bitching at him for breathing. The way that the Dad’s lopsided support system worked got on my hot damn nerves because Hye-Jun was paying for crimes that were not his to begin with. I was glad that the Mom supported him and loved him through everything. But the Dad and the brother got on my hot damn nerves. The Dad eventually wins me over but even until the end, the brother annoyed the shit out of me.

Overall, the acting was good and the story was a solid one but the second half didn’t capture enough to keep me in love with what was happening to the characters and I just thought the second part of the season was weaker than the first. So it had a strong start but the end left a lot to be desired and I’m not used to that with the k-dramas that I’ve watched so far. I really finished the last episode looking like this…


Because, honestly, WTF kind of ending was that? It left a lot to be desired and I’m not a fan of those, leave it up to the consumer to figure out on their own BS. Tell me what the heck happens to them and leave no detail spared, please. So he comes back, sees that she’s wearing his shoes and …that’s it? Nope, didn’t like that shit. At all but I didn’t hate it enough to give this drama less than 3 stars so the strong start really saved this one for me.

I became a big fan of Park Bo Gum, Park So Dam, and Byeong Woo Seok so I’ll be on the lookout for more of their stuff for sure. Oh and another really big highlight for me was the Park Seo Jun cameo. OMG, every time he came on the screen, I was Hye-Jun’s manager. Haha, she was great and Park Seo Jun was fan-freaking-tastic too. I always love seeing him on my screen. So yeah, those were great and if the ending had matched the strong start, I would have given this one a higher grade but oh well…life’s not perfect.

Final Rating


3.75 out of 5
Listen to the OST

My favorite song from this drama was 나의 시간은 (Every Second). Every time that it played during the show, I was already teary-eyed or smiling super big. It was such a great song.
three-half-stars

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Review: It’s Okay to Not Be Okay

Posted January 5, 2021 by Rowena in Reviews, TV Shows | 2 Comments

Review: It’s Okay to Not Be OkayIt's Okay to Not Be Okay
Starring: Kim Soo Hyun, Seo Ye Ji
Year Released: 2020
Number of Episodes: 16
Recommended By: Nobody
Genres: Comedy, Drama, Romance
Format: Online Stream
Source: Netflix
Buy It: Amazon
five-stars

A story about a man employed in a psychiatric ward and a woman with an antisocial personality disorder, who is a popular writer of children's books. The drama tells the story of Moon Kang Tae, a community health worker at a psychiatric ward who doesn't have time for love and Go Moon Young, a successful children's book author who suffers from an antisocial personality disorder and has never known love. After meeting one another, the two slowly begin to heal each other's emotional wounds.

This drama was the first one that I watched while it was releasing episodes each week. I was so used to binge-watching all of the k-dramas that I watched so having to wait a week between episodes took some getting used to (I was so spoiled) but oh my holy shit (in Jungkook’s voice), this show was so stinkin’ good. Like, one of my top shows of 2020 good.

This show was a lot darker than I’m used to but I was here for every single thing that went down. In the beginning, I was super confused about just what was going on and why we were supposed to root for a freaking crazy lady but once I was all caught up and not confused anymore, I was all the way in. I was Team Moon Young all the way. I ugly cried through every single episode from like the third episode on.

This story follows Ko Moon Young, Moon Gang Tae, and Moon Sang Tae as they finally deal with old wounds and work to overcome a dark past. Gang Tae has grown up taking care of his autistic older brother Sang Tae. After their mother died when Gang Tae was twelve years old, he and Sang Tae have lived on their own. They’ve moved from place to place, trying to stay out of the system and stay together. For so long, it’s been just the two of them but when they come across a girl from their past, Ko Moon Young, she worms her way into their lives and starts wrecking Gang Tae’s carefully crafted life. He works and then he goes home and takes care of his older brother. He doesn’t have any time for anything more but Moon Young is making him want things he hasn’t let himself think about or want ever. He’s all filled up with responsibility and he’s been holding all of those day-to-day burdens for him and his brother for so long, he is not willing to add another person to his life to care about. Staying away from Moon Young proves to be difficult because for the first time ever, he wants a life just for himself.

The romance between Gang Tae and Moon Young was such a hard one to get through because just when they were finding happiness, something would happen that would yank Gang Tae back to reality and every single time that it happened, it was so much harder for him to readjust. He went from feeling nothing and living his life for everyone else to feeling strongly for a girl that is part of the dark past that he is running from. Gang Tae was the very reason that I ugly cried my way through this show. Every time he was yanked back to reality, my heart broke for him. Every time he smiled, something bad happened and because of that, he stopped smiling. So with Moon Young coming into his life and showing him what he could never have, makes him mad. He’s mad at her for making him feel, he’s mad at his Mom for dying, he’s mad at Sang Tae for not being able to take care of himself and he’s mad at himself for feeling the way that he feels where Sang Tae is concerned.

There was a lot going on and I thought that every single part of this story was handled well. The character development between each character was well written and the romance between Gang Tae and Moon Young was handled so well and don’t even get me started on the relationship that blossomed between Sang Tae and Moon Young. They were at the top of my favorite parts of this show. With how dark this show was, there was still a surprising amount of humor throughout. At least for me. I cackled just as loud as I ugly cried. Each episode felt like a season finale where I was blown away time and time again. This show was extremely well written in my opinion and the cast did such a fantastic job of bringing their characters to life. I enjoyed every aspect of this show and can’t recommend it enough. This show was damn good and I highly recommend it. Just…chef’s kiss.
Final Grade

5 out of 5

five-stars

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Review: The Witch: Part 1, The Subversion

Posted October 6, 2020 by Rowena in Movies, Reviews | 0 Comments

The Witch: Part 1, The Subversion

Starring: Kim Da Mi, Choi Woo Shik, Go Min Si, Jo Min Soo, Park Hee Soon, Kim Byeong Ok, Choi Jeong Wook, Jung Da Eun, Jeong Ye Jin, Tae Won Kwon
Year Released: 2018
Genre: Action, Mystery
Country: Korea
Where I Watched It: Netflix
Watched It For: Kim Da Mi

When she was young, Ja-yoon escaped from a government facility, but lost all her memory. 10 years later, when she appears on a nationally televised competition to win money for her family, her life is turned upside down by faces from her past.
I watched this movie when I saw that my girl Kim Da Mi from Itaewon Class starred in it. I’m super glad that I did watch this movie because Yi Seo was badass in this. She played this part so well that I was super impressed throughout the entire movie. From beginning to end, she just flat out rocked. When she shows up at that farm, all bloodied and scared til the end, when she’s sitting in that house and with no kind of expression, threatening the girl that steps up to kill her, I was impressed.

So this movie is about a young girl named Ja Yoon who was taken in by an older couple when she shows up on their farm, bloodied and bruised and scared out of her pants. Out of the kindness of their hearts, they take her in and they raise as their own. Ten years later, she in high school, and in order to help her parents with their failing farm, she enters a singing contest that the winner will win 500 million won. Once she starts singing on the show, weird things start happening. Weird things like strange guys showing up on the train and scaring the pants off her friend and asking her the weirdest questions, and a group of people including the guy from the train, showing up in her town and telling her to run home to her parents and making her do just that. Then there were the thug-like men who showed up and tried to take her from the singing competition and when she wakes up in the middle of the night to a house full of people that are trying to harm her family, her internal instincts kick in and she turns into freaking Black Widow on crack…and better.

The movie just kept getting better and better with all of these twists and turns and I thought that Kim Da Mi was the bomb in this. I loved her as Yi Seo in Itaewon Class because I thought that she was a total bad-ass but she’s just as bad-ass in this movie so I really think that she plays these bad-ass characters really well. I’m a great big fan of her so far and I’m looking forward to seeing more of her stuff.

I also liked seeing Choi Woo Shik as the villain in this one. I became a fan of his while watching Parasite and really enjoyed seeing him be a bad guy in this movie. He really played that part well because I wanted to kick his nuts every time that he came onto the screen and that fight scene between him and my girl Da Mi was bloody fantastic. The ending to this movie was pretty abrupt and I’m wondering if there’s more to this story that we have yet to see and I hope that’s the case because I’m interested in seeing that. All in all, this was a pretty fab action movie that I enjoyed a great deal. I recommend it for sure.

Final Rating

4.25 out of 5

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