Finished When My Love Blooms……

And, unfortunately, I cannot recommend it. It’s a story that we’ve seen many times, and was too nicely wrapped up in a neat little package. The whole “ kumbaya” theme just doesn’t work for me anymore. People are allowed to get away with cruelty and real crimes and come out without realistic accountability——at least in my book. The story of young love lost and found seemed so promising, but the flashbacks turned out to be endless and every moment in the lives of our young lovers was re-lived in someway as adults. It just became more and more unbelievable even though I typically love love, no matter how the leads make it happen.

The most realistic thing in this drama, for me, was when the hero’s wife said to our heroine, “ If I’d known that there was someone like you in his life, I wouldn’t have chased him. She’d finally come to the realization that their’s was a love that she couldn’t compete with no matter how much effort she exerted good or bad. I also got tired of everyone telling our heroine how beautiful she was. Like why did that matter? Even if she were uglier than a blobfish, our hero would’ve loved her anyway. It just all got trite and monotonous with no where exciting to go…….Oh well…..

While in search of “Mature love”

I landed on “When my love blooms,” the story of young love that lost its way, and twenty years later, we’ll find out if our over 40 ex’s can pick up where they left off. He is still married with a son, but recently released from a 4 yr prison stint that I get the impression was because of his rich wife’s family’s business dealings. She also has a son, but is divorced from her rich ex, and is making ends meet through her piano playing—— she plays quite beautifully. Both of their sons attend rich people’s boarding school, but her son is teased because everyone knows he’s there on a scholarship and is “poor” by their standards. An altercation between the boys leads to the ex’s meeting up again. Their story is also told in flashbacks via their college years.

I really like Lee Bo Young, ( female lead) who I’ve seen in more than a few dramas, and who is married to Ji Sung, but Yoon Ji Tae, (male lead) I only remember from the drama “ Healer,” although his resume is quite impressive!

Looking forward to some “grown up” love, lol! Will keep you posted! Btw, has anyone seen this drama???

Nirvana in Fire…finally!

I know how much this drama was loved by Robin and Yolette and lots of others too. I’ve always wanted to watch it but just never got anywhere with it,..well I just came across a site which was preparing to do a group watch and realized that this was my opportunity. I think it’s probably a drama which needs lots of input…so best watched in company..I look forward to learning the details regarding the characters and any other analysis which is sure to happen..since it’s that kind of drama…looking forward to it…now..I will have to figure out who is who quickly…lol!!!

Cafe con Aroma 2021

Not sure how much they can update this classic, but I will put forth the energy to give it a try. Have not watched a Colombian novela in ages, or a novela, as we’ve known them, period. Can this one renew my interest? Guess I’ll just have to wait and see…….

Miss you guys…..sigh……

Oh Master?

I was all excited and looking forward to the latest Lee Min Ki drama…the drama itself didn’t excite me really because it sounds an awful lot like his previous one..but hey..I’ll watch him in anything really,…Silly me..I expected it to be readily available but the only place that I’ve found it is on iQIY and only with the VIP subscription.. Would you know if anyone else will be streaming it? Disappointed..after patiently waiting..

A Man and a Woman

So, while still in movie mode, checked out Gong Yoo and Jeon Do Yeon, in the 2016 movie “A Man and a Woman.” These two have special needs children, her a son, and him a daughter, and they meet in Finland, while dropping their children off to a bus trip to a special needs camp. Both are guarded, but highly protective of their children, so they decide to go to the camp themselves for piece of mind. When they reach their destination, they feel better and go off to share a meal. A snow storm ensues, and they spend the night, in separate rooms of course, until the storm blows over.

The next morning, they decide to take a walk, (the snow has stopped) and they end up in a small spa house in the woods. You can tell that both have been dealing with a lot where their children are concerned, and later we find out that there’s more to the story whereas they are both married to spouses with other issues. They end up making love, and part ways.

Eight months later, they meet again in Korea, and the love affair takes off. It almost seems “desperate” and “stalkerish” on Gong Yoo’s part, but as they get in deeper and deeper, the feelings are reciprocated on the heroine’s part too. They eventually want to take off together, but both are too committed to their children, and their marital situations as well. The sadness in their eyes and their beings, as realization of their situations set in more and more broke my heart for them. Worth the watch though, cause Gong Yoo is always worth it to me, lol. Also nice to see Jeon and Yoon Se Ah (aka “Ghost”) from LIP share the screen again…..

Mr Queen..I miss you already!

I have to share with you guys that I absolutely enjoyed this drama..it’s one of those dramas where you feel enveloped by the world that the characters live in and that you can just sit back and enjoy the ride…

Mr. Queen: The Bamboo Forest (2021) - MyDramaList

I started watching because I’m a sucker for those back in time body swap dramas but I stayed because it was just so much fun! I was familiar with both actors..I like her but here I think she brought her best performance so far..it’s great when actors have the chance to stretch themselves and portray two characters in the same drama and here one of the characters was that she play a man with all his mannerisms in a woman’s body..not any woman..a Josean Queen to boot!! And as for him..again..I liked him well enough in Crash Landing on You but I wasn’t besotted.Here I think he portrayed the king so well and gave him a share of charm, integrity and intelligence that I will always consider it his signature performance…unless a better one comes along..I just loved these two together. They possessed great chemistry together..and he joins the other greats in that he’s got one of the sexiest voices too! Since this was played for comedy you can imagine all the hijinks that takes place as she tries to get back “home” to the future..leaving the palace totally confused at this new side of her previously meek character..loved all the side characters too..(not the usual political rivals as much of course but the court ladies and chefs were awesome)..but mainly the burning question is: where are they going with this???? Is the “queen” falling in love in spite of herself..or…himself..lol?..Who is the king actually falling in love with? Questions…questions…I was happy with the ending ..I feared that it would be worse…though I know that not everyone was… so..if you should check it out you must decide for yourself. I do understand the objections but they don’t bother me much..now I’m going to watch the two special episodes that were produced..obviously for all the fans like me who find it hard to say goodbye!

Mood of the day

Which actually should’ve been titled “In search of Jin Cheol,” lol. Anyhoo, I could’ve sworn that I’ve seen the actor, Yoo Yoon Seok, in another drama or something, but looking up his bio, it doesn’t seem I have. Moon Chae Won I’ve seen many times before though. The premise of them meeting up on a train and graduating to coupledom sounded cute, and I was really in the mood for a short movie.

However, the movie fell flat for me. I couldn’t really see him as a player who breaks hearts, but more of a man of a series of relationships that didn’t work out for one reason or another. Moon Chae Won, otoh, I could see as a girl in a “going nowhere 10 year relationship,” but I didn’t feel the necessary connection as to why she hung in there that long. Her boyfriend, mind you, was only on screen for a hot 2 mins, but Korean writers usually live for the breakup scene! Had it been an angst filled breakup, I could’ve believed her reason for hanging in there 10 yrs.

The leads had some chemistry, but not enough to root for them moving forward. He was a great kisser though—— so my heart jumped .5 on the Richter scale……everything else was very formulaic.

Guess I gotta watch So Ji and Han Hyo Joo in “Always” again, lol….Heard So Ji got married last year! I’m truly out of the loop!

Love In Between – Series Review

I was intrigued by Avenue X’s praise (and legitimate quibbles) with Love In Between but the things that caught my attention in her review were ‘beautiful lighting’ and ‘live-recorded audio’ and ‘likable ensemble of leads.’ These are indeed reasons to watch this drama, and there are more, so without too much in the way of spoilers (always marked), here’s to my first fully completed drama of the new year!

First off, in terms of atmospheric lighting and general set pieces, this drama delivers the most beautiful, warm, candle-lit (and seriously, did someone in production have the candle concession and/or know about my pet peeve of historical dramas with night scenes lit for electrified day?) sequences that one could ever hope for in a relatively lower budget drama. Maybe they were using candles to reduce their electricity consumption, or perhaps to hide any imperfections on set, but one cannot complain about the end results. The natural shadows and mood created by this illumination just makes every yearning glance that much more poignant.

Just look at this beautiful room and candle-glow; you can just imagine the character of Wen Si Yuan straining to read by the dim light (no matter his levels of qi circulating around his eyeballs). The set piece for this room too is really that much more lovely in candlelight, though it’s satisfyingly detailed enough to enjoy in daytime scenes as well. In fact, although this is a much less Big Production drama than The Longest Day in Chang’an, they share much in the way of beautiful and thoughtful set lighting, and that is high praise because The Longest Day in Chang’an is one of the most stunning I’ve seen… ever.

The other thing that this drama does successfully is deliver on not one, not two, but three romances (not to mention two buddies and one failed suitor). Zuo Qing Ci and Su Yun Luo are the primary young lovers; he is the brilliant, medically trained (but, in a nod to Nirvana In Fire, seriously ill and fur-colored cape-wearing) young master with A Past. She is the young master thief with excellent neigong searching for ingredients to free her master from another type of poison. They’re young, they keep saving each other’s lives, and they’re in love, but they have Important Things to Do that are impediments. They part but cannot keep apart, so there is some lovely yearning time for this couple.

Couple number two is one of an older (30s?) mysterious leader of one of the Jianghu sects (he runs a NIF-like Lanya Hall/business managing information and more), Wen Si Yuan, and the oldest female disciple of the most important of the sects, 18-ish? Shen Man Qing. The flies in their ointment are her arranged marriage commitment to another sect’s (weasel) heir and his Secret Past (and his awareness that he is a little old for her).

Couple number three is the youngest one, a couple of cute kids who meet in times of conflict and whose families are on opposite sides (though not them, nope, not them). They’re Man Qing’s younger martial brother and the heir to their sect, Zheng Yang Palace, Yin Chang Ge.

Now one might think that having so many couples in a drama might bog it down a bit, but it’s really one of the more enjoyable things in this drama. When the story focuses on their joint and/or separate journeys the plot moves along briskly and the mostly very youthful cast more than delivers the emotional goods. I particularly enjoyed Zhang Yao’s lanky, intelligent Zuo Qing Ci; he must have been 21/22 during the filming, but for his relative youth he holds his own with more experienced actors. Nope, for me the show bogs down a bit with what one might call ‘an excess of plot.’ Here are the major arcs: Zuo Qing Ci’s birthright and connection to imperial palace intrigues (a plot to usurp the throne), Su Yun Luo’s and Wen Si Yuan’s connection to a power grab in the sects, and corresponding plots and attacks between sects driven by Zheng Yang Palace (home of Man Qing and Chang Ge). There’s also the little business of an invading army nibbling away at the border of the empire. Whew! Not gonna lie, I took advantage of the WeTV feature to play scenes at 1.5, even 2x speed during some of the more repetitive plotting sequences by the bad guys. (And what a nice feature that is! All streaming apps should off this feature; I can read fast, don’t even need to skip ahead!)

One thing is amusing: while most of the villains of the piece wear the typical black of their kind, take a look at this group shot (above) and their white/pastel robes. Now one might think that they’d be of the more noble and righteous character archetypes, but one would be (minor spoiler but acceptable because come on, look at their smug faces) wrong.

I also enjoyed the lovely relationships between Zuo Qing Ci and his servant/medical assistant/friend Bai Mo. Poor Bai Mo! Saddled with carrying this medicine kit cum instant market stall backpack most of his scenes, like some sort of porter, but truthfully, he’s charming and adds both humor and concern, reminding us that his master/friend is gravely, GRAVELY ill. Zhi Yun Peng (who was coincidentally a minor supporting character in The Longest Day in Chang’an) as Zhu Yan is initially a little less fleshed out as a character, but he swears an oath of friendship with Chang Ge that bolsters his position with the group to being more than the one with a hopeless (jealous) crush on Su Yun Luo.

All in all, this was a fairly satisfying way to start the new drama-viewing year. Will it be a favorite drama of the year? Probably not, but there’s a lot to like and it hit the spot, and I’ll look forward to seeing more work from the young cast in the future — and hopefully more works filmed with glorious candlelight!

#deng-yu-li, #love-in-between, #one-inch-of-yearning, #series-review, #shi-yun-peng, #yang-jun-sheng, #zhang-ya-qin, #zhang-yao, #zheng-hao, #zhou-ting-wei

Robin’s 2021 Viewing List

Completed

  1. C – Love In Between

In Progress (or Abandoned)

  • K – The Uncanny Counter
  • K – Run On
  • C – DouLuo Continent
  • K – Mystic Pop-up Bar
  • Reviewing last year’s abandoned/on-hold list to see which makes it here

Next Watch?

  • K – Kairos
  • K – Sisyphus
  • C – The Long Night
  • C – Love of Fei