Lovers of the Red Sky (2021)

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Drama: Lovers of the Red Sky (홍천기)
Network: SBS
Episodes: 16
Release Date: August 30 – October 26, 2021
Runtime: Mon & Tue 22:00
Language: Korean
Country: South Korea

Plot
This fantasy sageuk is about King Seongjo looking for a divine painter to seal the Devil in the king’s portrait while a blind scholar plots revenge on the king and everyone who ruined his family 20 years ago.

Main Cast
Kim Yoo Jung – Hong Cheon Gi
Ahn Hyo Seop – Ha Ram
Gong Myung – Prince Yang Myeong
Kwak Si Yang – Prince Joo Hyang

Review
I didn’t realize when I started watching that this is a fantasy drama but episodes 1 and 2 were interesting and I loved the actors who played the younger versions of Haram and Cheon Gi, the background story was enough to get invested in the couple.

I loved the paintings, it was so amazing that simple brushes can make these fantastic masterpieces. I did take big brush and small brush calligraphy when I was in school so I know how to feels like to write using these brushes. It is hard and my penmanship was bad so I can’t imagine having to actually draw these kinds of paintings. The best episodes were the painting competition, although it was still unbelievable that a young inexperienced painter can win against everyone else when her butterfly painting was not even that great to be honest.

I loved the Baekyu Painters Society and how they always had Cheongi’s back, esp her two painter friends. And the friendship between Haram, Prince Yang Myeong and Cheon Gi.

The story got messy and a lot of things were unexplained. More than halfway and I still didn’t get the reason for the ring, or why they need to seal the devil inside the painting (because the drama said so), how Cheon Gi is the divine painter (when it turns out without Hwacha’s power her painting was useless so what was the point?), why Joohyang was still alive when his body is supposedly rotting away, the king knew all about Haram’s plan and never told him the truth (rendering his whole life’s revenge plot unnecessary). And the whole nonsense about Haram’s grandfather. And what about Maehyang and her mysterious hatred against the royal family? It was never revealed. The whole showdown with the devil, Samsin and Ho Ryeong was also anti-climactic. Even the death of Haram’s bodyguard wasn’t that memorable.

The ending kind of redeemed the entire story since they get their happy ever after, but still don’t understand why they decided to live in an area so faraway from the city. The last scene between the two princes, at first I though the story is incomplete, now thinking back I guess they are trying to say that life goes on.

Haram was also blind for 20 years but he is extraordinarily aware of his surroundings that he doesn’t look blind at all! He looks straight at the person he is talking to, he fights against the soldiers when blind, he can interpret the stars without seeing them. It was too weird.

Rating: 7/10 (i should give a lower rating but the four leads were so pretty)

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)

So I Married The Anti-Fan (2021)

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Drama: So I Married The Anti-Fan
Network: Naver TVCast
Episodes: 16
Air Dates: Apr 30, 2021 – Jun 19, 2021
Runtimes: Friday and Saturday
Country: South Korea

Plot
Whojoon is a top star and he mistakenly thought that Geun Young is a fan/stalker. Geun Young, who is actually a reporter, got so angry and threw her high heel on Whojoon’s head. The video became viral and she was dubbed as Whojoon’s anti-fan and got fired from her job. A TV PD decided to cast Who Joon and Geun Young in a reality show where a top star and an anti-fan tries to get along.

Main Cast
Choi Tae Joon – Who Joon
Choi Soo Young – Lee Geun Young
Hwang Chan Sung – Jae Joon
Han Ji An – Oh In Hyung

Review
Here is the podcast link if you prefer to listen:

I love love stories where one is a celebrity so reading the synopsis alone I was interested to watch this. Turns out, this is one of the best surprises this year! I really didn’t expect to love this as much as I did!

At the start, Whojoon was just ok for me. He seemed two-faced, super nice in public but a jerk in real life. I really could feel Geun Young’s anger at Whojoon. I instantly liked Geun Young and felt bad that she kept getting embarrassed and humiliated by Whojoon, his fans and the media. But i think it was also partly her fault and her rash actions that put her on that spot.

The show got 100x better when the couple started “living” together and getting to know each other. The more you hate the more you love right? I think Whojoon and Geun Young were perfect for each other. They’ve come a long way from being bitter enemies to lovers and it was worth the wait. I savored each and every scene they were in together. I loved how they can have a good laugh with each other and be comfortable talking about their past and issues. I especially loved how they discussed their relationship as adults. Whojoon is a big celebrity and kudos to Geun Young for understand that part of his life and not pressuring him to reveal their relationship or to choose her over his career. That Whojoon didn’t ghost her and told her he will fix his issues first and he will come back to her. That Geun Young waited for him and didn’t lose faith in him.

Geun Young’s parents were also funny especially the dad.

Just a little bit more on Whojoon. I am definitely nominating him as Kdrama boyfriend of the year! He was cool and smooth with his lines and subtle actions. It is so funny and charming that I also fell in love with him. I didn’t like Taejoon in Suspicious Partner but he was so cute here, I can’t resist him! Whojoon has a way of being loveable without sounding like an arrogant narcissist. And when he put down is public face, we see the real Whojoon who is a sweet and sincere guy.

The main reason I didn’t rate this higher is because I didn’t like JJ and Inhyung. The entire time I ignored JJ’s rants and punchy face because I know he will make up with Whojoon in the latter half. But I can’t stand Inhyung. She was lonely, I get that. But she decided to choose JJ over Whojoon. I don’t know if she cheated on him, or if she was still in love with Whojoon all this time, or did she really love JJ. But i felt like she always blamed others for her life. Like she is a damsel in distress that needs help from the boys. JJ is definitely terrible at stopping her career and I get her desperation, but having a secret phone with the no. of your ex boyfriend that your current boyfriend hates was totally wrong. I think Inhyung never showed that she loved JJ or that she chose JJ, that’s why JJ always felt insecure and jealous of Whojoon (plus the betrayal). The nonstop fight between JJ and Inhyung was also repetitive and tiring. I wanted Inhyung to die or go far away and leave the two guys alone. I also felt relieved when JJ lost his voice LOL.

The last episode felt rushed. Instead of the multiple flashbacks i wished they spent more time completing the little plotholes. Like what happened to Whojoon during the time he was away? Where did he go? (back to Alaska? with his mom?) How long was he gone? Also, I would have been happy with Whojoon publicly admitting his relationship with Geunyoung, coz the proposal was too fast. But still overall enjoyed their happy ending. “it’s not Yama (punk), it’s You are My All (YAMA) 😍”

I also loved the OST. Unfortunately I missed the deadline to buy through the Makestar funding project. huhu. I hope they make more copies because I know 2 people willing to buy the OST album!

One last bit, I also loved Manager Jihyang 🥰🥰 He is so handsome and patient with Whojoon. He protected him from JJ, Inhyung, the CEO. I didn’t know if Whojoon went back to Shooting Star after paying for CEO’s loans, or did he put up his own one man agency and Jihyang is the CEO/President though that’s what I imagined.

Rating: 8.75/10 (9 minus 0.25 for JJ Inhyung)

Sweet and Sour (2021)

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Movie: Sweet & Sour (새콤달콤)
Release Date: June 4, 2021
Runtime: 102 min.
Distributor: Netflix

Plot
This movie depicts the struggles of couples in a long distance relationship.

Main Cast
Chae Soo Bin – Jung Da Eun
Jang Ki Yong – Jang Hyeok
Krystal Jung – Han Bo Yeong

Review:
I think a lot of people didn’t like this movie because of the last 10 mins when they showed the twist. I actually liked it. Even though I was expecting a happy ending for the couple, I was also fine with how the movie ended. Sweet and Sour indeed. I thought it was very realistic.

The couple started sweet (as in any relationship) but when Hyeok was transferred to Seoul, trouble started. I think both of them tried their best to maintain their relationship but they were both tired, overworked, pressured and lonely. They started blaming and resenting each other rather than talk about it or make time when they’re together. Da Eun was lonely and met a guy who was nice and would do anything for her. Hyeok met a girl who was beside him and understand his work. I also felt like Da Eun was the first who started to cheat. When she accused Hyeok of having an affair with Bo Yeong, that’s when Hyeok did it.

In the airport scene, I thought Da Eun would not push through with the trip and run after Hyeok, but it didn’t happen. But, I think it wasn’t a bad choice. What I didn’t like is how Hyeok, after realizing he loves Da Eun after all and came running to the airport, found out she was already with another guy, and instead of fighting for her, he went back to Bo Yeong and tried to propose to her as a second choice. But Bo Yeong is also leaving and he ends up alone. Oh well, he made his choice and must suffer with the consequences.

I don’t know if months later, will Da Eun still be with Lee Jang Hyeok? Will Hyeok date another girl? Or will they both end up with each other again? We will never know.

Rating: 8.5/10