Tag Archives: Review

Review: Recipe For Farewell

THE SHORT VERDICT:

Even though Show’s premise centers around a character who’s terminally ill, I would say that Show is as much about love and life, as it is about death and loss.

Show’s got an extremely gentle, warm and soothing touch, even as it delves into the various challenges that our characters face, and doesn’t shy away from the hard topics.

In the end, what we get feels akin to gentle, wise lessons on life, perhaps told by a doting, tender grandmother, as she cradles you in her lap, and serenely rubs your back, while assuring you that it’s all not as hard as it sounds, and that you’ll be strong enough for the hard parts, and that everything will be ok in the end.

Thoughtful and worthwhile.

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Review: Alchemy Of Souls: Light And Shadow

THE SHORT VERDICT:

Show continues our magicky narrative from Season 1 (review here!), and manages to serve up a solid story, while sticking to its own mythology and internal rules.

On top of that, I found Show nicely engaging on the emotional front, once I got my bearings in Season 2.

To address the elephant in the room, yes, I thought Go Yoon Jung was very good as our female lead, and I thought the change of female lead between Season 1 and 2, was nicely managed.

Importantly, even though I did feel like Show wobbled a little bit at the end, it does, in fact, give us a solid ending, while working within the mythological framework it’s set up for itself.

Not bad at all, I say.

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Review: First Love: Hatsukoi [Japan]

THE SHORT VERDICT:

This show feels like a very well-done homage to classic melodramas of the early 2000s, boasting characteristics that I would associate with iconic dramas of the era, like Winter Sonata, for example.

The difference is, Show is given a more polished, modern touch, and is also infused with what I feel is an indie movie-esque sensibility.

It’s very thoughtfully conceived and executed, and alongside that sheen of polish, and the general air of restraint, there is oodles of heart, and altogether, this one grabs me, so much.

It honestly feels like the answer to the question, “What would happen if we took 2000s melodrama and gave it a modern makeover, while retaining its essence – and just, overall, made it better?”

Really nicely done.

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Review: Reborn Rich

THE SHORT VERDICT:

For a good portion of its run, I found Reborn Rich to be an utterly engaging, absorbing rollercoaster of a ride.

With fun twists and turns that I mostly didn’t expect, and some excellent performances by our cast (Lee Sung Min is STELLAR in this! 🤩🤩), I found myself lapping this up with relish, each and every week.

Your mileage may vary, but I personally didn’t enjoy the last 2 episodes as much as I did the first 14 that had gone before, even though I understood the narrative positives, for taking the direction that Show chooses.

Overall, I still found this to be a solid watch, and I’d say that Show is still a worthwhile spend of your drama hours.

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Review: Love Is For Suckers

THE SHORT VERDICT:

Show manages a reasonably strong start, in the way it sets the scene for a fun friends-to-lovers story, with a show-within-the-show to spice things up.

Once Show got into its groove, for a good stretch, I was lapping this one up with relish, and was convinced that Show would stay solid until the very end.

Unfortunately, Show seems to get kind of lost, by the middle stretch, and spends its screen time in bemusing places, instead of dealing more meaningfully, with our central characters and relationships (more on that in a bit).

However, Show manages to find a heartfelt note on which to end its story, and while it’s very different from the note on which it begins, this does help, because you come away with a bit of a sweet aftertaste.

A good chunk of wasted potential, but it’s not terrible?

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Review: Love In Contract

THE SHORT VERDICT:

Love In Contract boasts some pretty great key ingredients for a shiny rom-com in the tradition of Hallyu: a good-looking OTP that shares decent chemistry, a tropey-but-potentially-cute premise, an easy-breezy soundtrack to make everything pop.

Unfortunately, I do think that Show is stronger in its first half than in its second, which is where I feel it gets rather lost in the melodramatic backstory that it builds for itself.

However, Show is not without its bright spots, the biggest of which, I feel, is Go Kyung Pyo as our stoic, socially awkward, dorky and endearing male lead.

Nothing to write home about, in the end, unfortunately, but serviceable, for when you want a rom-com, and aren’t opposed to using the FF button for stuff that doesn’t interest you.

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Review: If You Wish Upon Me

THE SHORT VERDICT:

Show is warm and well-intentioned at its core, and does deliver a good amount of poignance and feels, when it leans into this aspect of its personality.

At the same time, Show also has a melodramatic side, and while it is relevant to the story, and therefore necessary for Show to give it time in the spotlight, I do feel like Show goes a bit ham with it, especially in its late stretch.

That said, Show manages to end on a poignant, feel-good, thought-provoking note, despite some treacly tendencies, which is a solid accomplishment on its own.

Your mileage is likely to vary, given Show’s mixed reputation. (Hopefully, this review will help you figure out whether this one’s for you.)

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Review: Love Between Fairy And Devil [China]

THE SHORT VERDICT:

Show is not without its rough edges, but it works out to be more than enough slurpy fun, and more than enough of an epic love story, that I was more than happy to just roll with the stuff that didn’t grab me as much, in our story, to get to – yes – our happy ending.

Esther Yu is as cute as a button in this, which is fantastic, but it’s Dylan Wang who really shines for me, as our titular devil. He shows way more range than I’d thought he had, AND he looks amazing, in an almost surreal sort of way, through the entire journey.

My eyes; they were quite pleased. 🤩😁

Best of all, this OTP shares pretty excellent chemistry, from the bickery silly stuff, to the swoony, skinship end of the scale, and their loveline makes for a pretty great backbone to our story.

Very solidly worthwhile, in my opinion.

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Review: Love Like The Galaxy [China]

THE SHORT VERDICT:

A gorgeously shot, epic love story that works out to be wonderfully addictive and immersive.

The entire cast is pretty great, but it’s really our leads Wu Lei and Zhao Lu Si who ground this one for me, with their nuanced portrayals of their characters, and their fantastic shared chemistry.

Show isn’t perfect, and there are some rough edges in the presented narrative, but it’s nothing some lens adjustments can’t fix (I talk more about that in a bit).

Importantly, Show knows how to serve up the romance, and make me swoon into a flailing puddle on a regular basis, and I consider that to be Show’s biggest strength. 😁

Absolutely recommend, especially if you enjoy a dose of swoony romance. ❤️

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Review: Little Women

THE SHORT VERDICT:

There are a number of ways to approach this show: as a modern adaptation of the novel by Louisa May Alcott; as a mystery-thriller; as a dark commentary on socio-economic inequality.

However, I find it most effective to approach this one as a stylish makjang, because I feel that that’s the lens that gives me the most enjoyment, of this show.

Show is darkly atmospheric and consistently intriguing and twisty – and it’s all pretty engaging and satisfying, when viewed with a makjang lens.

Our cast is strong across the board, with our primary cast putting in great performances, but I have to confess to being most fascinated by the deliveries of Uhm Ki Joon and Uhm Ji Won, and to being most dazzled by Wi Ha Joon’s very handsome face. 🤩😁

Overall, adjustment of expectations is a must – and very worthwhile.

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