My Mighty Princess

((summary taken from azntv))

무림여대생 / Murim yeodaesaeng

Hailing from a celebrated martial arts family, So Hui (Shin Min Ah) is the darling of the martial arts community with her superhuman strength and high-flying prowess. But being a martial arts prodigy isn't much help when it comes to getting handsome brooding hockey player Jun Mo (Yoo Gun) to notice her.

Much to the dismay of her father (Choi Jae Seong) and longtime friend Il Young (Ohn Joo Wan), So Hui decides to quit martial arts and join the college hockey team. While So Hui's pining after Jun Mo who's pining after an older woman, fighting breaks out in the martial arts community as a decades-long conflict comes to a head. So Hui may be the only person who can subdue the evil Black Tiger and solve the mystery surrounding the strife.

My Sassy Girl director Kwak Jae Yong strikes again with the delightful romantic action comedy. Taking Kwak's sassy-heroine formula to another level with Hong Kong-style wirework, My Mighty Princess delivers action, laughter, and pure popcorn entertainment.

Directed by: Jae-young Kwak
Cast: Min-a Shin, Ju-wan On, Geon Yu


Yi San (77 Episodes)

EPISODE 01-77

((summary taken from wikipedia))

이산-정조대왕 (李祘-正祖大王) / Yi San - King Jeong Jo


Yi San dramatizes the life of Korea's King Jeong Jo, the 22nd ruler of the Joeson Dynasty. Jeong Jo is remembered in Korean history for his sympathy with the plight of the common man.

It begins in Jeong Jo's early years, when he befriends two children working in the Palace (Sung Song Yeon and Dae Su). However, due to corruption in the government, the two are expelled from their positions and forced to flee.

Years later, they are finally reunited with Jeong Jo, whose position as Crown Prince is constantly being threatened by palace intrigue. As for his love life: Jeong Jo falls in love with his childhood friend Song Yeon, who is the daughter of a deceased artist, and not of noble birth.

While the show does deviate from the historical record in a number of ways, it's representation of court life during the Joseon Dynasty appears to be based on contemporary sources.

Cast: Lee Seo Jin, Han Ji Min, Park Eun Hye, Lee Jong Soo, Lee Soon Jae, Kyun Mi Ri, Sung Hyun Ah, Kim Yeo Jin, Lee Ip Sae, Ji Sang Ryul
Directed by: Kim Geun-Hong, Lee Byeong-Hoon


Save The Green Planet!

((summary taken from azntv))
지구를지켜라! /Jigureul Jikyeora!


Byung-Gu is an ordinary young man living in Korea. He believes that all of the earth's social ills are the evil doings of aliens who are intent on destroying the world. That's why he knows that unless he can meet the prince from Andromeda before the total lunar eclipse, planet earth will be in grave danger.
In order to meet the prince, he must find an extraterrestrial living on earth.

So Byung-Gu kidnaps the most logical suspect, KANG Man-Shik, the president and CEO of Yoojae Chemical Company. Thus starts the battle between Byung-Gu, who's trying to uncover a secret alien plot to destroy the earth and CEO Kang Man-Shik, who thinks Byung-Gu's nuts and is trying desperately to escape. Will Byung-Gu save the green planet? Or will the aliens or the detectives hot on his trail, triumph first?

This was the directorial debut of Jang Jun-Hwan, who also wrote the film. It was nominated for eight awards and won seven of them (wikipedia).

Cast:
Shin Ha-Kyun, Baek Yun-shik, Hwang Jeong-min, Lee Jae-yong
Directed by: Jang Jun-Hwan


Death Bell

((summary taken from azntv))
고死 : 피의 중간고사 / Gosa

A chi-chi private high school, which actively encourages cutthroat competition among the student body by, for instance, publicly displaying their exam score rankings, selects twenty elite members and organizes a boot camp of sorts, to prepare for an international student exchange event.

To their chagrin, the students, including rebellious heroine Ina (the singer Nam Gyu-ri), her timid best buddette Myong-hyo (Son Yeo-eun) and her wannabe-boyfriend Hyun (the sit-com idol Kim Beom), and the teachers, uptight English teacher So-young (Yoon Jeong-hee, TV's Happy Woman) and popular Korean instructor Chang-wook (Lee Beom-soo, City of Violence) find themselves stuck inside the school. Somebody is kidnapping students one by one, in the order of their midterm score ranks, and killing them. The gruesome ways in which they die are broadcast via the school AV system: the only way to prevent the hideous murders is to find correct solutions to the culprit's "exam questions" in time.

Cast: Lee Beom-Su, Yun Jeong-Hee, Nam Gyu-Ri, Kim Beom
Director: Director Chang

Kids

((summary taken from azntv))
KIDS

On the outside, tough scrapyard worker Takeo (Tamaki Hiroshi) seems to have nothing in common with the innocent, almost childlike Asato (Koike Teppei), but both are lonely souls bearing dark pasts. Crossing paths by chance, Takeo, Asato, and shy diner waitress Shiho (Kuriyama Chiaki) strike up an unlikely friendship, making life in their dead-end hometown a bit more bearable. Asato was born with special powers that prove to be both his blessing and his curse: he has the ability to transfer other people's wounds to his own body.

He can't help but try to heal those around him, including Takeo and Shiho, but his powers come at a painful cost. Asato's powers tore apart his family years ago and continue to tear at him in the present. With Asato determined to hurt himself to help others, Takeo may be the only one who can save his friend.

Otsuichi's works are known for their acute depictions of pain and loneliness, and Kids again hits the heart with the story of three friends walking a long and lonely road of suffering and healing.
Cast: Teppei Koike, Hiroshi Tamaki, Yuki Saito, Shigeru Izumiya
Directed by: Tatsuya Hagishima


Hansel and Gretel

((summary taken from jdramas at livejournal))

헨젤과 그레텔

A children's beloved fairy tale takes a bizarre and frightening twist in Hansel and Gretel, a blood-spatting fantasy horror from award-winning director Lim Pil Seong. In the classic folk tale, the two young protagonists happily find their way back home after pushing the evil witch into the burning furnace. But beneath its happy telling lies the disturbing truth that traces roots back to one of history's darkest times when poverty forced many parents to abandon their kids...

While on his way to reunite with his long-lost mother, Eun Soo runs into an accident and loses consciousness. Waking up in the middle of a dark forest, he meets a red-cloaked girl who guides him to her eerie-looking house where he meets her strange family. Though it's quite obvious that there are no contacts with the outside world, the house is somehow always filled with toys, sweets, and other unimaginable goodies. Eun Soo soon learns there is no way out of the forest and a few days later, he notices that the children are bringing in more grown-ups from the woods..
Cast: Chun Jung Myung, Eun Won-Jae, Sim Eun-Kyeong, Jim Ji-Hee
Directed by: Lim Pil-Seong

Beautiful (아름답다)

((summary by me))

아름답다 / Arumdabda

Everyone wants to be beautiful, don't they?

Some go to extremes with unhealthy diets and plastic surgery; others worship and emulate models, read beauty and fashion magazines, and spend money at salons in order to be beautiful. Yet few really consider the darker side of such an obsession. Sometimes beauty isn't as wonderful as it's made out to be... and it doesn't always lead to 'happily ever after'.

Jeon Jae-Hong explores this darker concept of beauty in his feature film debut, Beautiful (Kim Ki-Duk wrote the original story and produced). Instead of showing us a woman striving for beauty, we're shown a protagonist who is already the epitome of what many women wish to become. Eun Young is a natural beauty: Young girls look up to her, men desire her, woman wish to be her. She seems to lack nothing, and is admired by many.

But as Eun Young discovers... beauty has its price.

Cast: Cha Su-Yeon, Lee Chun-Hee
Directed by: Jeon Jae-Hong
Warning: this movie contains disturbing images, nudity, and violence. So don't say I didn't warn you!!

Do Re Mi Fa So La Ti Do

((summary from Wikipedia, edited by me))

도레미파솔라시도

Jung-won is a high school student who works several part time jobs. One day while working at an amusement park, she is continuously harassed by a boy who keeps making fun of her dragon costume... upset, Jung-won pours soda on him and storms off.

Soon after, she sees that same boy, who's name is Eun Gye, moving into the house next door. Eun Gye is the lead singer/guitarist in a band called Do Re Mi Fa So La Ti Do, and threatens to tell Jung-won’s parents that she works several part time jobs unless she agrees to carry his guitar for a week.

Jung-won and Eun-Gye quickly develop feelings for each other, and the two become a couple. But soon after that, Jung-won meets Hee-won, a familiar person from her past, who is Eun-Gye's best friend and a member in his band. Jung-won and Hee-won had a falling out 10 years ago, and Hee-won stopped talking to her completely. Now Hee-won admits that he still likes Jung-won, and Jung-won finds herself torn between her friendship to Hee-won and her love for Eun-Gye.

Cast: Jang Geun-Suk, Cha Ye-Ryun, Jung Eui-Chul
Directed by: Kang Geon-Hyang


Alone


((summary taken from AsianMediaWiki))

Pim is a young Thai woman living in Korea with her husband Wee. At her birthday a friend reads her fortune with a deck of cards and informs her that there is happy news! Something she has lost will soon return to her! But some lost things are better off staying lost. You see, Pim moved to Korea partially to escape the guilt of being the surviving half of a pair of conjoined twins. Her sister Ploy died after separation, a separation that Pim insisted on largely because she was in love with Wee and the guilt of choosing her husband over her sister and her sister’s resulting death has plagued her ever since. Much as she would prefer to avoid it, however, Pim soon has no choice but to return to her childhood home when her mother is felled by a stroke and – sure enough – it isn’t long before the spirit of her dead sister begins to angrily intrude upon her life.


Love Phobia

((summary taken from asianmediawiki.com))

Cho Seung Woo (Marathon, The Classic) and Gang Hye Jung (Welcome To Dongmakgol, Old Boy) star in this curious romantic drama that spans decades. One sunny day, a young boy named Jo Kang meets a curious young girl, dressed in a bright yellow raincoat. Jo Kang instantly becomes friends with Ari, and falls instantly in love with the beautiful but rather strange young girl - only for her to one day disappear! The story jumps to ten years later, and Jo Kang is now in high school. One day, completely out of the blue, Ari contacts him and asks to meet again. Although they have not seen each other in a decade, they have a wonderful time together, and the love between them begins to grow once more. But then, Ari disappears once more, leaving Jo Kang devastated. Can Jo Kang track down his true love? Will he ever discover why Ari keeps disappearing? Will he be able to do anything about it? All will be revealed in the tender story of Love Phobia.


The Cut / Cadaver

((summary taken from asianmediawiki.com))

 In a cold dark shaded anatomy classn room, 6 student prosectors are taking part in anatomy class Sun-hwa, Ki-bum, Joong-suk, Eun-joo, Ji-young and Kyung-min are smart medical college freshmen in the same anatomy class. Sun-hwa smart and confident; Ki-bum born to be a team leader full of confidence, Joong-suk son a hospital owner; Kyung-min too weak to be a doctor; Ji-young sexy and haughty but poor at study, Eun-joo studious nerd. They are competing with each other to be the best surgeon, but are strongly tied with fellowship as a team. In the first class, they try to suppress their fear and approach the cadaver that is waiting for them…. The first meeting with a deadly beautiful cadaver, and their nightmare begins. The cadaver is assigned to them, right after the first class. They suffer from ghosts and hallucinations. After several accidents and death of some team members, they start to realize something horrible is coming for them. They do their best to survive and find one clue: these accidents all have something to do with the female cadaver.


Capital Scandal (16 Episodes)

(EPISODE 01-16)

((summary taken from dramawiki))

This drama is set in the 1930's when Korea was under the rule of Japan. Na Yeo Kyeong was the owner of a book store and she was also a freedom fighter. Seon Woo Wan was the playboy son of a rich family and he became involved in the independence movement through a bet with his co-workers to win Na Yeo Kyeong's heart. His father paid for the education of his worker's son, Lee Soo Hyeon, and was disappointed to find him working for the Security Branch of the Japanese government. Cha Song Joo was a famous gisaeng who ran a high class brothel.


Muoi: The Legend of A Portrait

((summary taken from AsianMediaWiki))

 Yoon-hee, a novelist, desperately seeks for a new story and that’s when she hears from Seo-yeon, her friend in Vietnam, a very tempting story about a legend of Muoi’s portrait. A long time grudge makes Yoon-hee hesitate to go to Vietnam to meet Seo-yeon. However, fascinated by sources of the portrait Seo-yeon incessantly sends her, Yoon-hee heads for Vietnam to unveil a century-long legend of the portrait. Yoon-hee is stunned by Seo-yeon’s dazzling look never seen before but is readily welcomed by her friend. As Yoon-hee unveils the mystery of Muoi, Vietnam, seemingly an exotic place, turns into a setting of a living nightmare, and the secret of Muoi in buried as if never to be revealed.


Love So Divine

((summary taken from AsianMediaWiki))

A young priest falls in love with a chic young woman! Not the typical plot for a romantic comedy (especially by Western standards), this one finds a young Catholic priest having a difficult time choosing between his religious calling and the charms of a sexy parishioner. Yu (Kwon) is a serious young man who has always worked towards his life ambition... to serve God as a Catholic priest. When he gets assigned to a small church in rural Korea, Kyu meets the Pastor's niece, Bong-Hee who has just come back from the United States... You know what happens next.


Secret


((summary taken from AsianMediaWiki))

Lun (Jay Chou) lives with his father, Chiu (Anthony Wong), the music teacher of Tamkang Secondary School. Both of them are very good at music and piano. This is the first day Lun admitted to Tamkang Secondary School. When he walks through the campus with his classmates, a mysterious piano solo draws his attention. He follows the song and finds that an ethereal girl is playing piano in the old music room.

The piano girl is Yu (Guey Lun-Mei), one of Lun's classmates. She is always late for school and hence sits next to Lun at the back row. The two become intimate friends and spend a lot of time together. "What's the melody you played the first day we met?" asked Lun, "That's my secret." Yu whispered in his ear.

As the graduation day approaches, Yu decides to tell Lun her secret...


Prince Turns to Frog (30 Episodes)

(EPISODE 01-30)

((summary taken from azntv))

  Prince Who Turns To Frog / 王子變青蛙 / Wang Zi Bian Qing Wa

The fairy tale goes... After the princess kissed the frog, it turned into a handsome prince and they lived happily ever after...

Yeah...right.

When you visit a little town called Guan Mei, you may meet Ye Tian-Yu (Chen Qiao En). At first glance, she may seem as a shameless, money-grubbing, deceiving little schemer. And when you meet her family at their little grocery store called "Qian Lai Ye" (Money c'mon in), you will find the shameless, money-grubbing, deceiving little schemer trait runs in the family. But, please don't prejudge them. They are actually very kind-hearted townsfolk, as Shan Jun-Hao (Ming Dao) finds out when he gets involved in a mysterious car accident and loses his memory.

Okay, fine. The accident is not so accidental.

Shan Jun-Hao is a general manger of Senwell Hotel, in which his family owns 60% of the shares. His cold-hearted, cut-throat management style pisses quite a lot of people inside and outside of the hotel. So on the day of his engagement to his childhood friend, Fan Yun-Xi (Zhao Hong Qiao), he gets kidnapped. Not someone who takes it lying down, he fights for the control of the kidnapping car. The car crushes into a side railing and falls down a cliff. Luckily, he survives the crash and manages to climb back up onto the highway. Unfortunely, he is immediately hit by an oncoming car and knocked unconscious.

And, who hit him? A little hint: The guilty party takes him home, finds out his memory is lost (Hence, not remembering who he is, and most importantly, not remembering she hit him), and recruits him to work in her family grocery store.


Whispering Corridors

Ahh, the movie that started it all. Normally, I probably would have been blown away by the unique and awesome-ness of this movie... but seeing as how I watched this entire series backwards, I was less impressed with this one as I was with most of the sequels it spawned.

The power of this particular horror movie, however, is the fact that it eventually ends up making sense. So often, in these type of movies, the ending is ambiguous or confusing, or just plain stupid. Here it is neither. The twist is actually pretty creative, and hard to figure out... especially since the director tries a lot of different things in order to make sure it comes off as a surprise. And there are enough moments (though there could always be more) that had me jumping in my seat. The girls at this school (as opposed to, say, Memento Mori) are actually interesting and broad enough to keep the viewers interest. None of them come off as carbon copies of the others, and seem very... normal. Typical high schoolers you could find in just about any school.

And again, we are shown very evil, almost sadistic teachers, which almost seems to be a theme in this particular series. If this is the way Korean schools were/are run, then something definitely needs to be done... no wonder so many dead-students come back as ghosts... heck, I'd be pissed too!

And yet... I still wasn't overly impressed with it. I had very high expectations going in which may have ruined it for me... and some of the effects were cheesy and overly-common by today's horror-movie standards. But if you normally get scared easily, and go into this one not expecting much, then you may actually end up liking it a lot. It's a decent horror movie (and not just because of the ghost-killings) so I can see why it inspired many others of this genre... but in the end, it's semi-forgettable, and has trouble measuring up to its sequels. At least in my opinion... which, again, doesn't say much.

My Rating:

Whispering Corridors 2: Memento Mori

I have to say… honestly, this was my least favorite out of all the movies in this series. It was a decent watch, but as far as terror/horror/chills went, it was extremely low. For once, it seems they were more interested in developing/explaining the story, than making a movie that’s scary—and frankly, the story wasn’t even that interesting. It was confusing and hard to follow (like all of these usually are, lol) and the motivation for the girl haunting the school was really lame.

I honestly don’t have much to say about this movie: it wasn’t scary, the story was boring, and there were many unlikable characters—(what kind of teachers do they have at this school, anyway?!)—and there’s only one death throughout the whole thing! And despite an interesting premise (I LOVE the idea of the haunted diary) they didn’t use it to its full potential. They focused on the story behind the diary rather than letting the diary unleash horror and mayhem on the students at this school. And one student has it throughout the entire movie, obsessing over it… I wish it would have been passed around, and affected everyone. SOOO disappointing!!!

To give it credit, it does try to tackle an interesting topic that I’m not used to seeing in Korean film—homosexual relationships between female students at an all-girls school. And they portrayed it in an interesting (if not overly disturbing way). But because of this obsessed focus, there was no real, genuine horror… and that’s supposed to be this movie’s staple! This movie would have worked as an independent drama or even a romance... but as a horror movie, I'm sad to say, it just didn't succeed.

I just didn’t find this scary in the least. The third movie in this series was WAY better.

(Though, on another note: it was fun seeing the lead actress from Hello, My Teacher and Let’s Go to School Sang-Doo as a teenager. Plus, I found it funny how her character was known for having a HUGE/unnatural crush on her teacher… which, interestingly enough, is basically how Hello, My Teacher starts, lol. Also, (imo) she looks way better with long hair!)

My Rating:

The Bad Guy

Wow. I’m really not sure what I was expected to take away from this movie. How brutal, twisted, and ugly love can be? Something like that? Whatever the message, I guess I’m an idiot because I had trouble seeing it. And if that was the only message… well, I already knew all that… I certainly didn’t need to watch a girl becoming an unwilling prostitution in order to understand such a thing.

It was hard and disturbing to watch… and I’m afraid I had trouble understanding the motivations for both the main character and the college-girl-turned-hooker… especially towards the end. They were both full of contradictions, so I wasn’t sure which part of their personalities I could believe was ‘real’—if any facets of them were. Perhaps that’s where the two-way mirror comes in—playing with the idea that nobody really knows who they are—that we only see what we want to see. And of course there had to be something about reflections in there—like, when they broke the mirror together, our sense of reality was shifted or reversed, and we were shown an alternate reality where they were happy being ‘bad’—or being bad was ‘good’.

Haha, yeah, I know it’s a HUGE stretch. Plus it sounds shallow and stupid… but my mind is like mush right now... but at least trying to find meaning where there is none, is fun, right?! ;)

The play on the photographs, however, was really intriguing and interesting… especially the way he superimposed the main characters face using the mirror. And the woman with the red dress was a strong visual: I have little doubt in my mind they were headed down the same path as her. After all, no story like this could possibly end happily, right?

…Right???

What it comes down to though, is that I’m not really sure what I should be taking away from this movie—what I should feel.

Disgusted? Angry? Annoyed? Disturbed? Pity?

Well, at least it got me thinking and questioning things… that’s a vast improvement over my initial reaction. But I still think it was lacking something: I wasn’t blown away like with Crocodile or 3 Iron. But I guess the film wasn’t too “bad”… (haha, yay for crappy puns). In fact, the more I think about it, the more I think there’s more to the plot than my simple mind is able to comprehend.

At least I hope there is… otherwise, this was nothing but a glorified porno with an abundance of mirror motifs. =P

My Rating: