Bolin Chen and Son Ye Jin Embark on Mysterious Jeju Romance in Korean-Chinese Rom-com Movie

The Chinese-Korean collaborations continue unabated, which feels even more up my alley since I was watching and writing about Korean and Chinese entertainment starting way back when rarely the twain shall meet. Not sure how I actually feel about it in terms of output quality but even the worst starting efforts have the potential to improve. Up next is a mega collaboration from both the production and star pairing stand point. Award-winning Taiwanese actor Bolin Chen is going to romance award-winning Korean goddess Son Ye Jin for an upcoming rom-com movie set in Jeju.

While both Son Ye Jin and Bolin Chen can do dark intense roles in their sleep, I much prefer their comedic efforts since those roles and stories are much more watchable. I probably do one thriller watch for every ten rom-com offerings. The movie is tentatively titled Bad Guy Don’t Bother Me (壞蛋別惹我) and tells the story of the funny and unexpected romance that springs up when a Chinese guy visits Jeju and encounters a mysterious Korean woman. That’s all the synopsis given so far, which would be alarming other than I would watch Bolin Chen read from a phone book so even the flimsiest storyboard is worth a shot if he’s in it. Continue reading

Blood Presents First OTP Meeting Stills and New Action Teaser

Now that the January K-drama premieres are done it’s fully onwards to February and the splashiest (flashiest?) on the plate to be served is indisputably Blood. Will it be all style with no substance? Teasers and promos might look that way but there remains the possibility that the production of Good Doctor knows what it’s doing and picked the ideal leads in Ahn Jae Hyun, Gu Hye Sun, and Ji Jin Hee. I actually found the premise of Korean vampire doctors pretty absurd when it was first announced, while the casting has only magnified the first impression.

The drama released a two-fer this week, new stills showing the meeting of the romantic star-crossed human-vampire lovers at the hospital plus a new teaser that shows all three leads as well as sneak peeks at action scenes from the actual drama rather than just moody auteur character preening. I still can’t take it seriously when the teaser starts off with Ahn Jae Hyun licking blood and saying in his hilarious Kor-glish “I am a Pampire.” The OTP stills also scream unni-dongsaeng. The good stuff is hooking my curiosity to check out the drama for the backstory of where the vampires came from and what their dealio is. Continue reading

Kim Jae Won Joins MBC Epic Sageuk Alongside Cha Seung Won and Lee Yeon Hee

Yay for a shining light of drama casting news to wrap up January on an upbeat note. I thought casting was complete for the leads of the upcoming MBC epic 50-episode sageuk Princess Jeongmyung (Splendid Politics) after signing on Cha Seung Won and Lee Yeon Hee with a side of pretty boy Seo Kang Joon playing the princess love interest. In this case it’s not marginalizing the older actor since Cha Seung Won and Lee Yeon Hee can’t exactly have a love line what with him playing the antagonist crown usurper Gwanghaegun (Lee Hon) while she’s his half-sister Princess Jeongmyung. Joseon incest NOT!

Now the cast has upped the star quotient another level with the addition of yet another leading man in Kim Jae Won. Wooooo! It’ll be his first drama since 2013’s MBC weekend melo Scandal: That Shocking and Immoral Incident and his first sageuk in nearly 10 years since Hwang Jin Yi. He’ll be playing future King Injo, the 16th Joseon King, which makes him the nephew to Gwanghaegun and Princess Jeongmyung. Thank god prolific patriarch King Seonjo had dozens of kids all spread out in age so it’s plausible that grandson Lee Jong (future King Injo) can be the same ages as the older generation. This cast is looking so yummy with talent and/or looks I can’t even! Continue reading

Hyde, Jekyll, Me Episode 4 Recap

Watching Hyde, Jekyll, Me invokes some new drama watching angles for me. I’m normally a rabid OTP shipper and rarely has there been a drama that has hooked me completely which didn’t have a super swoony central romance. That makes this a rarity where I’m shipping Hyun Bin with himself. It’s not hard since Han Ji Min’s acting and character is soooooo insanely dull. Partly her own fault and partly the character as written, she is supposed to be the “trigger” for the narrative but functions more like a flip on light switch and all I see is the bling bling lights that is Binnie’s smile as Robin or Seo Jin’s glower. Not to say the central pairing can’t win me over later on but four episodes in it’s still not working.

What does work is how this drama is approaching the mental illness dissociative identity disorder topic. It’s not delving into it as much as presenting Seo Jin-Robin really like a superhero and his real life alter ego. Except in this case the daily life cold chaebol is the real identity and the superhero smiley guy the hidden side that threatens the façade of normalcy. It doesn’t hurt that Seo Jin and Robin bicker like twins with different personalities, except they do it via video messages and hand drawn notes and leaving each other with messes to clean up made by the other person. I’m also really curious about what happened 5 years ago to lead to protocol 19 and Robin’s disappearance. Those bits work well while the rest continue to serve as non-intrusive filler. Continue reading

Yeon Woo Jin and Jo Yeo Jung Confirmed for Weekend Drama Divorce Lawyer in Love

It’s a done deal for SBS‘s next weekend drama Divorce Lawyer in Love. The drama has confirmed the casting of Yeon Woo Jin and Jeo Yeo Jung as the titular leads in what is being described as a fun bickering rom-com. I certainly do love those, except I’m conditioned like a Pavlovian dog now not to immediately believe what the production claims the drama is about, with too many so-called fun bickering rom-coms ending up anything but that. With that said, I’ll still give this one the benefit of the doubt because I do like the two leads very much.

It’ll be Jo Yeo Jung’s first drama in 3 years since Haeundae Lovers whereas Yeon Woo Jin is striking while the iron is still hot off his well-received performance in the rom-com Marriage Not Dating. He really is amazing as a rom-com leading man, with the emphasis on delivering the requisite comedy even at his own expense. Same goes for Jo Yeo Jung who gets more attention for her serious and sultry movie star career and less for her spot-on comic timing and very approachable and warm leading lady aura. Joining the two leads will be perpetual second lead Wang Ji Won who I am still trying to figure out how I feel about her other than always disliking the character she plays. Continue reading

C-drama Billion Dollar Heirs Releases Hilarious and Self-deprecating Slappy First Teaser

China might have a new drama industry to mine – copying popular K-dramas and making a ridiculous parody out of it. There was the absurd but fun Heirs From Another Star, but even before that project got off the ground there was already Billion Dollar Heirs in the making. To be fair to producer Li Shao Hong, her heirs-centric drama synopsis was submitted to SARFT for approval last June long before K-drama Heirs with Lee Min Ho and Park Shin Hye premiered so it’s hard to accuse her of copying K-Heirs.

It’s still good timing for her that Heirs ended up being so buzzed about because now any drama about a bunch of rich handsome heirs is sure to get carry over buzz. Billion Dollar Heirs stars Choi Si Won of Super Junior, C-actor Yu Xiao Tong, K-actress Hong Soo Ah, and C-actress Kan Qing Zi doing a two guys-two girls love quadrangle set in the world of lost heirs coming back to vy for the family inheritance in the midst of corporate battles and elder generation unresolved conflict. Continue reading

Lee Sung Kyung is Stunning in Glorious Bridal Gowns for Singles Magazine

As far as small screen debuts go, model-turned-actress Lee Sung Kyung couldn’t have picked a more ideal drama last year than It’s Okay, It’s Love. She was surrounded by amazingly talented sunbaes giving it their all in acting out a truly difficult but rewarding story, allowing her the room to do her small part with more reassurance. Unfortunately her character was mostly irritating even if she also had her own mental health issues, and compared to the debut of D.O. in the same drama then as newbies she totally got overshadowed by his intensity and more fascinating character. That leaves the jury still out for me on Lee Sung Kyung, but the upside is she didn’t suck at all in her first role and gave off a unique and natural aura in her acting. I find her looks really eye-catching in a good way, both warm and sharp at the same time with an impish vibe. She’s in the pages of Singles magazine modeling a slew of bridal attire that are envy-inducing in how she pulls it off. Continue reading

Jung Il Woo Showers Taiwan Fans with Copious Affection at His Third Fan Meeting

I suggest Jung Il Woo think long and hard about his next acting project. Two seriously bad K-dramas in a row with Golden Rainbow and Records of a Night Watchman are taxing my affection for him and I’m sad when that happens. I haven’t liked him in a drama since his second lead turn in The Moon Embraces the Sun, where I liked his character and performance more than overacting like his royal robes were on fire male lead Kim Soo Hyun. But I have to dig way back to 2011 and 49 Days for a genuine role that I loved in his Scheduler.

Hopefully he’ll end his MBC exclusive and go back to SBS for something different and more challenging than the silliness he’s been outputting recently. His devoted fans likely don’t care and for certain his Taiwanese fans welcomed him with open arms last week for his fourth visit to the island and third official fan meeting there. I think he chatted with good friend Lee Min Ho before he left, how else to explain him delivering the same effusive fan service Min Ho-sshi showered his fans with during the recent showcase for his upcoming movie. LOL, he definitely made a lot of ladies happy. Continue reading

Hyde, Jekyll, Me Episode 3 Recap

The third episode of Hyde, Jekyll, Me is a charm, fitting that old adage but likely not much help with kickstarting this drama into gaining traction with the audience. If only the first two episodes were sliced of useless too-long scenes and this episode’s much needed narrative information dump happened last week. The drama still has plenty of kinks to get out but the great leap forward improvement in quality in this episode is a sigh of relief for me. It helps my already made decision to recap it so I’m not left trying to squeeze words out for a total bore, and it might be improvement enough to launch more discussion fodder. The story really did get majorly interesting all of a sudden, and with that both leads finally start coming to life beyond just looking pretty onscreen.

The drama got lots of buzz early on around news that Hyun Bin was paid some ridiculous salary for his drama comeback. Star salaries aren’t tied to screen time, but if it was then the salary was clearly earned this time for Binnie. He’s basically carrying 80% of the entire drama in both screen time and narrative importance and delivering masterfully at both. Getting both of his characters into the drama title now feels not enough, it’s a Me, Myself, and I situation where the viewer needs to be a fan of Binnie otherwise this drama is going to get tiresome staring at his face all the time. In terms of reveals, we find out Robins’s backstory and the nemesis gets a face and a name in this episode, answering some questions about the current missing person mystery as well as Seo Jin’s big question of why Robin is back. Continue reading