The Fangirl Verdict

Completely biased reviews and fangirling


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Flash Review: My ID is Gangnam Beauty

Not too long ago, lots of people on my Twitter feed were going gaga over Meteor Garden 2018, and so I dipped my toes in too, out of curiosity (yes, despite stating firmly that I had had my fill of the story via the J- and K-versions). I really liked the first episode, but found myself losing interest in the next few episodes, so much so that I ended up dropping out early, after just 4 episodes.

BUT! Plot twist!

I found similar tsundere-male-lead-campus-romance crack in My ID is Gangnam Beauty instead. This kinda-sorta gave me the addictive feels I once had over Boys Over Flowers many, many moons ago (ironically, I can’t bear to watch BOF now), but I liked this one better, and slurped up the first 10+ episodes back-to-back. Woah, indeed.

Yes, there are caveats, but they aren’t dissimilar to the ones you’d need to make for Meteor Garden 2018 too, so – fair play? 😉

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Flash Review: Keys To The Heart [Korean Movie]

I am on a roll, you guys. I had an inkling, from watching Show’s trailer, that today’s in-flight pick was going to pack a bit of a heart punch, but I had no idea just how much this movie would make me feel, once I hit play. By Show’s last stretch, I was gratefully serving up my heart on a plate, my emotions pulling in so many directions as I did so.

So. Good. ❤

Also, I’m starting to suspect that it’s quite possible that any show featuring classical piano as a key theme will turn out to be a good one. I mean, first, Secret Love Affair, then Page Turner, and now this? I might have to make it a point to check out any show featuring classical piano, going forward, for reals.

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Flash Review: Little Forest [Korean Movie]

I am so pleased with my in-flight pick today, you guys.

Lately, I find myself swopping out my regular drama nightcap (woah, right?!) in favor of the wonderful cooking videos by YouTuber 꿀키honeykki. Not only are her videos super relaxing to unwind to, I just love the focus on food and sound. The sound of ingredients being chopped; the sound of food being cooked; the sound of food being eaten with relish, which is how 꿀키honeykki ends all of her videos. Every night, after watching these videos, I feel so much more attuned to the sounds around me, as I prepare to actually put myself to bed.

This movie is like the almost-perfect marriage between two of my favorite things: the celebration of food that nourishes, and storytelling that feels personal and wholesome. Yes please, and thank you very much.

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Flash Review: Nirvana In Fire 2: The Wind Blows In Chang Lin [China]

Y’know, it’s tough being a sequel.

Everyone wants you to be everything. You need to be as good as the original; faithful to the original; not too different from the original; not too similar to it either. You need to be the same, yet different; faithful, yet fresh. That’s a tall order.

It’s even more challenging when the original is Nirvana In Fire, which is a drama that ruined me for all other dramas for a good long while, when I first finished watching it. It was so brilliantly written, so wonderfully acted, so beautifully produced (if you haven’t yet watched it, drop everything and watch it!), that when I heard that there was going to be a follow-up series, all I could think was, How does one follow an act like that? Talk about the tallest of tall orders.

So the million-dollar question is, does Nirvana In Fire 2 manage to fulfill all the criteria of a good sequel? I’m gonna say, Yes. It did an admirable job.

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Flash Review: Life On Mars

Once upon a time, I used to categorize Jung Kyung Ho in my head as Dramaland’s go-to beta male, especially after seeing him in 2009’s Smile, You, where he was the sweetest beta male love interest to Lee Min Jung’s feisty broke chaebol. (Twas a sweet and cute story, pity about the whopping 16-episode extension, which then resulted in lots ‘n lots of pointless and frustrating filler. Boo.)

Back then, I liked Jung Kyung Ho well enough, but mostly in a casual, almost cursory sort of way. Compare that to today, when I would quite literally check out a show purely because Jung Kyung Ho is in it, y’know, because he is just so wonderful and brilliant and so good at what he does. *hearts in eyes* What an amazing evolution, eh?

So did I check out this show purely because Jung Kyung Ho is in it? Why, yes I did. Did I know what I was in for? No, can’t say I knew much at all, going in. Did I eventually understand everything about this show, and its somewhat fantastical premise? I’m gonna hafta say, No, I do not.

But did I enjoy it all the way through anyway? Oh yessiree. I sure did. ❤

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Review: Are You Human Too?

THE SHORT VERDICT:

Show is tightly paced, pretty well-written, and manages solid cliffhangers and some good plot twists, through its run. Just be prepared for a fantastical set-up (robots, after all), with melo lashings in somewhat substantial measure. With the right lens, though, this show is highly enjoyable. I found myself looking forward to new episodes of this one, more than I did with most other shows on my drama plate at the time.

Seo Kang Joon is absolutely fantastic in this, demonstrating acting chops that I never knew he had. Show is worth the watch just to see him in action.

A ride more rollicking than I first expected or imagined.

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Flash Review: What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim? [Why Secretary Kim]

A phrase that’s sometimes said around the dramaverse – and maybe you’ve said something similar yourself, at some point – is, “I could literally just watch these two be cute for sixteen hours.”

Well. Except for a backstory involving childhood trauma (kidnapping trigger alert, coz some folks might be sensitive to that), this show pretty much gives us exactly that: Park Seo Joon and Park Min Young being cute together, pretty much all of the time, for 16 episodes.

Yep. It’s as fluffy and angst-lite as it sounds. So if you’re up for something that’s light on plot but heavy on cute, this just might be the show for you.

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Flash Review: A Poem A Day [You Who Forgot Poetry]

If you’re on the market for a show that’s small, simple and sweet, this drama just might be the one for you.

As those of you who’ve been around the blog for a while would likely know, I am always on the look-out for suitable drama nightcap material. Yes, I like my dramas exciting too, but suitable drama nightcaps are just as important to me; I need a show that’s not too complicated nor intense, so that it won’t keep me up, but still engaging and interesting enough, that I’ll still enjoy the watch.

I first tried this show as regular drama fare, and to be honest, it didn’t grab me much, in its first episode. But once I tried it out as a drama nightcap, it fit the bill quite perfectly. Not only did it strike just the right balance between interesting and easygoing, it even has a sort of (found-) family drama feel to it, thanks to our story being more character- and relationship-focused than patient-focused. Not bad at all, I say.

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Flash Review: Lawless Lawyer [Lawless Attorney]

Sometimes patience does pay off, you guys.

After feeling pretty underwhelmed by Lee Jun Ki’s dramas in recent years – namely, 2014’s Joseon Gunman, 2015’s Scholar Who Walks The Night and 2016’s Moon Lovers – I was starting to seriously wonder if I would get to see Lee Jun Ki in a show that I truly enjoyed, ever again. (I didn’t check out 2017’s Criminal Minds, but I heard that I didn’t miss much.)

Now, I’m really pleased to report that I did enjoy his 2018 outing, Lawless Lawyer, and quite thoroughly too. This, when I’m not even usually that drawn to the action / legal genre. Not bad at all, I say.

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Review: My Mister [My Ahjussi]

THE SHORT VERDICT:

This show is like its titular protagonist; both start out quiet, gloomy and unassuming, but over the course of 16 episodes, both reveal themselves to be beautiful, moving heroes who show us the power of kindness, and the grace of humanity.

Assured writing, tender directing, and outstanding performances from the cast all come together to make My Mister an absorbing watch that feels organic, real and raw. The OST, which is delicate, thoughtful, and ethereal in turn, is meticulously crafted and applied, and effectively lifts the watch to another level.

Dark and beautiful. And at the same time, warm and beautiful. A must-see.

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