Along With The Gods: Last 49 Days (2018)

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Movie: Along With the Gods: The Last 49 Days (신과함께-인과 연)
Release Date: August 1, 2018
Runtime: 141 min.
Genre: Fantasy / Drama / Afterlife
Distributor: Lotte Entertainment
Language: Korean
Country: South Korea

Plot
The sequel to the smash hit continues from the first movie but this time revealing the stories of the 3 guardians.

Main Cast
Ha Jung Woo – Gangrim
Ju Ji Hoon – Hae Won Maek
Kim Hyang Gi – Duk Choon
Lee Jung Jae – King Yeomra
Ma Dong Seok – House God
Kim Dong Wook – Kim Su Hong
Do Kyung Soo – Won Il Byung
Lee Joon Hyuk – First Lt Park

Review
The theme of the sequel is about forgiveness. This time it’s Kim Su Hong’s turn to go through the trial. But turns out this movie is more about the story of the 3 guardians — who are they, where did they come from and how they became guardians — and not really about Suhong’s. Just like Suhong, I felt like the trial was just a convenient excuse to go through the final judgment and reveal all the twists (which were a lot!)

In the first movie, Gangrim was in Seoul and the other 2 were with Jahong. Now it’s the other way around. The 2 were in Seoul trying to find out what happened to them while Gangrim was obsessed with winning Suhong’s case. In Seoul, the storyteller was the Housegod, while Suhong was the person prodding Gangrim to tell his story. The action/effects in the underworld wasn’t as extensive as the first movie, the 2 biggest scenes were when they were at sea and the weird scene with the dinosaurs (someone’s a fan of Jurassic Park!). In Seoul, the story about the Housegod and the old man and the kid weren’t as compelling as the first movie’s story about Suhong’s death.

Suhong’s character was a little annoying so I didn’t really care much about his case. Or maybe it was because he didn’t really have a story to tell. He was just coming along with Gangrim and waiting for his trial. He didn’t really had to do anything. But I loved how perceptive he was in catching Gangrim’s real motive. Although I already predicted halfway through the story that the 3 guardians will somehow have an illfated relationship with each other, it was still shocking to find out how what it was and why they ended up being guardians. It’s almost like Goblin kdrama’s backstory without the romance. Ha Jung Woo again was amazing, Ju Ji Hoon was funny and Kim Hyang Gi was precious. Lee Jung Jae as the king was added an interesting concept.

The final reveal about Gangrim’s father was the last twist I didnt expect!! If only Gangrim knew all along!! I loved what he said:

Did the thousand years of regret feel like hell?

No. The fact that I cannot beg for his forgiveness and that I cannot be forgiven. That has been my worst hell.

This second one had more stories than the first so the scenes flipflopped from the underworld, to Seoul, to Gangrim’s story and to Hae Won Maek and Duk Choon’s story. A little long but still enjoyed every scene. Not sure if they will ever make part 3, because they wrapped up everyone’s story, but I wouldnt mind seeing the 3 guardians again!

Rating: 8.5/10

Along With The Gods: Two Worlds (2017)

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Movie: Along With the Gods: The Two Worlds (신과함께-죄와 벌)
Release Date: December 20, 2017
Runtime: 139 min.
Distributor: Lotte Entertainment
Language: Korean
Country: South Korea

Plot
This is about a fireman who died saving someone from the fire and was guided by the 3 guardians. If he is able to pass the 7 levels in 49 days then he will be reincarnated.

Main Cast
Cha Tae Hyun – Kim Ja Hong
Ha Jung Woo – Gang Rim
Ju Ji Hoon – Hae Won Maek
Kim Hyang Gi – Duk Choon
Kim Dong Wook – Kim Su Hong
Do Kyung Soo – Won Il Byung
Lee Joon Hyuk – First Lt Park
Ye Soo Jung – Kim Ja Hong’s mom

Review:
I already watched this in 2017 and rewatched it today. Mainly because I’m been binge watchinging Ha Jung Woo’s movies and also watching Cha Tae Hyun and Kim Dong Wook’s current dramas (Police University and You Are My Spring).

I loved the action and the effects. I was bawling the first time I watched this but this time around I only cried at the last level. Some of the situations maybe dramatic and emotional but it made me think and reflect about my own life. If I died and had to go through the same levels will I pass or fail?

Sometimes I feel like the levels were unfair. It’s hard to judge a person because of 1 incident in the past or when you were younger, it’s not as if Ja hong was a repeat offender. Let’s face it, every human has lied, stolen, felt greedy and jealous, had evil thoughts at some point in our lives. That doesn’t make us evil and go straight to hell, that’s what makes us human in the first place. If everyone was perfect then we will all be robots and the world will be paradise. But then what’s the point of living if it gets too boring?

i also loved the cameos of top movie stars acting as the gods in each level. This movie also had some light and funny moments, mostly from Ju Ji Hoon’s character, who reminded me of his Hyena character. I super love Ha Jung Woo, he just looks so cool the entire time with his long black coat and those eyes and voice 🥰

Now i’m off to watch the sequel. I’m looking forward to Kim Su Hong’s story (although not sure what other story there is if we already know what happened to him?)

Rating: 9/10

You Are My Spring (2021)

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Drama: You Are My Spring (너는 나의 봄)
Network: tvN
Episodes: 16
Release Date: July 5 – August 24, 2021
Runtime: Monday & Tuesday 21:00
Country: South Korea

Plot

Main Cast
Kim Dong Wook – Ju Young Do
Seo Hyun Jin – Kang Da Jeong
Nam Gyuri – Ahn Ga Young
Park Yoon – Choi Jung Min/Chae Jun

Review
I thought the title is deceiving. I was expecting a romcom but this was a healing drama about the leads with lots of traumatic experiences and a side of murder. But in the end I understood why.

After I finishing watching episode 1 I almost didn’t want to continue. The tone of the first episode was weird. It was partly mysterious with the recent murder and the flashback when Da Jeong as a young kid and her mother running away, then later Da Jeong is back in her hometown and the tone will shift to something light and romantic when the main leads had their first meet cute. I thought it was very odd and it sort of reminded me of Kim Dong Wook’s drama last year called Find Me In Your Memory. But a few weeks later, I decided to continue and actually liked the drama.

I loved the leads, both actors were perfectly casted. I laughed at the funny antics, swooned at the romantic scenes and cried at the heartbreaking moments. That rooftop scene when they broke up, that night they cosplayed, when Youngdo finally realized his first love, getting Dr Hallow and Blackfields from the machine, Youngdo in his embarrassingly slick hairstyle and outfit. I loved all of them! I wished the twins’ story was just a side plot and the story focused more on the romance and relationship between the leads, I would have rated this drama higher!

The whole murder storyline was boring and was out of place. Up the end I was still confused what really happened to Jeongmin and Ian Chase — who was who in the flashbacks in the orphanage, when they were 18 years old, and how they were able t continue to communicate all these years. I also didn’t really care for the homeless guy and his motivation for killing the twins. At some point I wanted to pause or go back to previous episodes to actually understand what happened but I couldn’t be bothered. Too bad. I like Yoon Park as Jeongmin because he was always smiling and happy vs Ian Chase who always looked troubled. But I hope he becomes happier.

I really like Kim Dong Wook. He may not be as handsome as the usual main leads like Lee Min Ho or Park Seo Jun but I find him really charming and fascinating to watch on-screen. His skin is flawless, his smile is infectious, and he just looks like a guy who is so steady and supportive that you know he would be there to protect you. And maybe that’s why he got this role. His voice is also soothing.

I also loved their group of friends and how we also got to know their story too. Except Cheoldo and the vet, i wished they explored their story more than Ian Chase one. Ji Seung Hyun was wasted here!! He was more like a side character with a one sided like for the best friend and the boxer. I wished there was more depth and growth to his character. Likewise, they always made Cheoldo looked like an annoying friend, I think he is a nice guy and deserve better treatment from his so-called friends. The boxer lady also had a potential to have a better story other than pining for the vet who doesn’t like her back.

I also loved Nam Gyuri’s portrayal of Ahn Gayoung. Her “HELLO” is so fun and catchy and her cute romance with Patrick. I thought they wouldn’t last but I’m glad they did because she really looked so happy with Patrick and Patrick looked absolutely in love with her despite the age gap and what others think. The Princess of Forever drama seem to almost look like a fun drama to watch, although the main lead didn’t look attractive enough to understand why the princess will like him (esp when the husband looked amazing).

This drama also has one of the better mother-daughter storylines where the mother was actually supportive and listened to her daughter vs the usual Kdrama mothers that screamed or whined that their daughter is unmarried, etc. The actress who plays the mom always play a mom and I find it weird because I know she is older (around 51 yo) but she is too young to have a older children (in the mid 30s) (though I think Seo Hyun Jin is playing a character much younger than her real age).

Rating: 8.25/10 (8.5 less 0.25 for the murder storyline)

Find Me In Your Memory (2020)

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Drama: Find Me in Your Memory (그 남자의 기억법)
Network: MBC
Episodes: 32
Release Date: March 18 – May 7, 2020
Runtime: Wednesday & Thursday 21:00 (35 minutes each / 2 episodes per day)
Plot
T
his is the story of a news anchor who remembers everything in his life and an actress who has forgotten a part of her memory.
Main Cast
Kim Dong Wook – Lee Jeong Hoon
Moon Ga Young – Yeo Ha Jin
Review
I didn’t have a lot of expectations for this drama, mainly because I wasn’t familiar with the main leads. I only watched moon Ga Young in Live Up to Your Name and I only watched Kim Dong Wook in Along with the Gods (and he wasn’t swoony there!). There were 2 other dramas that premiered at the same time. First is I’ll Go To You When the Weather is Fine. I don’t like Park Min Young and I have never watched Seo Kang Jun. Second is A Piece of Your Mind starring Chae Soo Bin (who i love) and Jung Hae In (who i also never watched). But somehow, the poster of Find Me In Your Memory and the plot interested me a lot and that’s why i took a chance to watch this. I don’t know if it’s due to instinct after watching Kdramas for almost 20 years but I’m so glad my instinct is right! This is an underrated gem!

I think the main thing that pulled me into watching this drama episode after episode is the amazing chemistry between the main leads. Lee Jeong Hun looked so sad and weary and Yeo Ha Jin looked so innocent and fresh that I thought they looked so well together. Of course, there were a lot of heartbreaks, crying, sadness before they finally got together, but it was worth it because it made the couple stronger and gave them the reason for being together. I didn’t expect them to separate for a few years (i thought at first it didn’t made sense, they can continue to see each other while in a LDR) but then seeing them after 2 years apart made me realized they needed time apart to heal from the past and to decide how to move forward in the future. Fans and the general public have always revelled in other people’s misery and gossips; it’s unfortunate but it’s part of our daily lives. LJH and YHJ had the right to decide what they want and who they want to be with. I think it would have been bad if LJH and YJH knew each other even when LJH was dating Seo Yeon, but since they only met and fell in love years after, for me, it was just fate, and not because they betrayed the dead best friend/girl friend. Seo yeon in heaven must be happy looking over them now.

I also loved the second lead couple – Ha Kyung and Reporter Jo. I also didn’t expect the love line between the two – i thought they were just for comic relief but happy to see their relationship blossom and remain as strong as the main lead.

There were a lot of things happening in this drama – i think in some cases, this can turn bad for the drama because then the there will be too much information and not a lot of developed characters but i’m glad to say that this drama was written well enough that all the stories were interwoven and drove the stories forward. Let’s see, we have

1. the dead girlfriend story + stalker murder which ended well

2. best friend story + finding out your dead best friend is your new boyfriend’s ex girlfriend + feeling guilty for unintentionally telling the stalker where your best friend is so she got murdered

3. Ha Jin’s stalker + finding out the stalking was copycat following what the stalker murderer did to your dead best friend

4. Ha Jin’s journey from a second lead actress hated by fans to instant stardom then falling from public grace after nosy public found out about her relationship with her dead best friend’s boyfriend then becoming a world star and finally going back to korea

5. LJH’s peculiar illness of remembeing everything + meeting someone who has forgotten a piece of her memory only to find out that forgotten memory is the memory you can’t forget

6. the heartless doctor who took advantage of his patient’s illness for his research + intentionally antagonizing the stalker + telling Hajin that LJH will never forget his dead ex so that his book isn’t ruined. and the side story between the heartless doctor and his son who happens to be LJH’s best frind and Hajin’s doctor friend.

See so many stories and yet they were so well connected and written that the drama never got boring. it jus kept me watching and wanting to find out what happens next.

Also want to take time to say that Moon Ga Young as Yeo Ha Jin was so beautiful! she was always impeccably dressed (even at home) and her hair is always perfect. I also loved the beautiful scenery, maybe because it’s spring time but the flowers were pretty and the colors were just popping out on screen.

Overall, this was a lovely melodrama. I savored the quiet moments and conversations and all the emotions the characters felt. i was seriously rooting for them in the end!

Rating: 8.5/10