2nd chance for My Dear Fake Husband

When I checked out Khun Samee Kamalor Tee Ruk (My Dear Fake Husband) soon after it aired, I went in expecting hijinks of the 'What Happened in Vegas' sort but what I got was an overbearing nang'ek engaging in petty office arguments and a mild- mannered pra'ek trying to avoid his overbearing grandma. Despite Chompoo and Rome looking great, there wasn't any sparks between Pim and Don at their first meeting and the meandering story in ep1 didn't look like it had a destination in mind so out the window this lakorn went.

I picked it up again last week cos I was desperate for something download-able on my iPhone to watch on my commute to work but even then ep2 was equally uninspiring and I would probably have dropped it again if not for the fact that the alternative was me staring into the space for 40mins on the train.

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Posted via LiveJournal app for iPhone.

tea time

It's time for wuxia romances!

When I wrote my post on drama romances, those in wuxia dramas completely slipped my mind till Fia mentioned them perhaps because I was first introduced to the genre in the form of novels and later watched the countless movie/tv adaptations so it was never just 'a drama' to me. My memories of wuxia stories and the host of characters are an amalgamation of both experiences and my perception is still continually shaped by each new re-make as well as my age. Wuxia has given us many enduring romances but I will focus on 2 lesser known (in the English fandom at least) ones in this post. Feel free to share you own favourites!
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tea time

What's on my lakorn horizon

The lakorns I were excited for end of last year didn't quite hold my attention as I had hoped: Qi Pao lost me around ep4,5 while I checked out of Khun Samee and Buang Barp after 1 ep. But I'm still holding out hope that the following new batches of lakorns will be good!

Pan Ruk Pan Rai
I don't keep tabs on Ch5's lakorns so I didn't know about this one till Fia blogged about it. It's pretty 90s kdrama makjang stuff with switched identities, amnesia, backstabbing, lies yada yada yada I can write the rest in my sleep but idk, I'm in the mood for it and am actually kinda excited for the explosion of dramatics that's sure to come. Having Charebelle in the lead role also helped my interest 'cos I have developed a liking for her since Dok Soke for no apparent reason. I don't need deep, inspiring plot, just keep it not-stupid and not-draggy and I'll be happy. Good news for those interested, PRPR is being subbed on Viki!

Paen Rai Pai Ruk
Similar sounding title as the first one but this one is a romcom that's in the vein of Suay Rerd Cherd Sod judging from the teaser (read the synopsis here). Film and Matt are super adorable in the BTS clips I've seen so far and it's whetting my apetite for this lakorn. I won't have to wait too long though, just read on baidu that it's premiering on 18/3.

Madam Dun
This one I'll have to wait for since the cast have just gone for the fitting. The story is none like what I've seen from lakorns till now. Ploy plays Madam Dun, an entertainment guru who discovers Mario the country boy and brings him into the entertainment world (thanks to Fia for this info). A refreshing story with a refreshing cast, I can't wait! AND P'PLOY I LOVE ALL YOUR LOOKS AT THE FITTING! *retreats from creepy fangirl mode*

I expected Ploy and Mario to have a p/nong relationship and for the drama to be focused on the Thai ent industry but according to Lyn's blog Mario will play Ploy's love interest in MD, so will it not be that different from the typical lakorns except with an older woman/younger man pairing? Hmm, we shall see.

Anyone has other upcoming lakorns to rec?

Let's talk about drama romances!

In my previous post on 'Manee Dan Suaan', I talked about how I couldn't care for the main couple because I didn't understand how they came to supposedly love each other. That got me wondering, what makes in you tick in a drama romance? Some people go for fairytales complete with rainbows and stardust while others prefer watching the trails and tribulations of star-crossed lovers and then there are those who like unwinding to a light-hearted romcom. I enjoy all those stated above but I prefer those where characters overcome issues/problems within themselves and become better/more complete persons because of the relationship, in contrast to ones who keep the OTP apart with circumstances. A good makjang drama complete with manipulative exes, domineering parents, unfortunately coincidental accidents and terminal illness for good measure is tons of fun too but it takes a rare one (like 2001 Kdrama Beautiful Days) for the romance to stick after the drama finishes its run.

A couple of my personal 'classic' drama romances:

Aishiteiru to Ittekure (Say You Love Me) 1995
This Jdorama taught me what heartbreak was at the tender age of 12. At my first watch, I cried for poor Koji who got his heart trampled by Hiroko and couldn't understand her betrayal. It was only with subsequent re-watches when I got older that I appreciated this drama for its realistic portrayal of the older man/younger woman and handicap/healthy person relationship. Young and vivacious, Hiroko brought vitality into the silent world of Koji but at the same time, her immaturity worked against their relationship and ultimately led to her impulsive betrayal of the man she so loved. Koji also had his share of emotional baggage from the rejections he suffered from those dearest to him when he was younger due to his deafness and that exacerbated Hiroko's insecurities. I guess it's not 100% realistic since I have yet to run into anyone resembling Toyokawa Etsushi drawing and being contemplative at the park in front of my house damn but it's close. If anyone is thinking of checking this out, it does end on a positive note.

Sood Sanaeha (Recipe of Love) 2009
I wouldn't say lakorns are the place to go to for realism and there are exaggerated comedic elements in SSH but despite the larger than life set up, the romance is most wonderfully grounded. As romcoms go, the main couple starts off on the wrong foot but the initial conflict isn't drawn out and they are given a believable reason for sticking with each other. It annoys me to no end when romcoms have the couple bicker from start to end then have them fall into each others arms for no apparent reason in the finale. Din and Alin learn about each other's strengths and flaws through friendship first and later when they grew fond of each other, they were 'kept apart' believably by Alin's blind pursuit of the perfect husband and Din's own insecurities. My favourite part of SSH is watching Alin learn that you don't love someone because he/she is perfect. The person is perfect to you because you love him/her.

What are your favourite drama romance tropes and what on-screen romances do you still remember years later?

Posted via LiveJournal app for iPhone.

sun and sand

Manee Dan Suaang (Jewel from the Heavens) review ... kinda?

A while back Fia posed a question on twitter, asking what we based our lakorn watching on and my response was 'cast/synopsis will lure me in but plot/chemistry keep me on board'. In general my answer has not changed but in this age of easy fastforwarding of videos, I realised that I am able to get through a drama simply for the casts' chemistry and I don't even have to waste time wading through stupid plot and/or characters I don't want to see. It happened for 'Dok Soke' where I picked the main couple's moments to swoon over and skipped most of the surrounding family and other woman drama... and of course that infamous head-banging ending. I didn't expect to put my ff skills to use again so soon but 'Manee Dan Suaang' (click link to read the synopsis) forced my hand by throwing Art Pasut and Sara Legge in this hot mess where people are beautiful and nothing makes sense. Pong's charisma played a part in my liking of the main couple in DS but at the same time I enjoyed watching their relationship which began with pity/reliance slowly blossom into love.
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tea time

xxxHOLiC live action preview

Everytime I think I'm done with xxxholic, something new gets thrown my way. Apparently not satisfied with having Watanuki cameo in 'Drug & Drop', CLAMP will be resuming the manga in Feb . I don't know where CLAMP will be taking this since everyone except Watanuki is gone but can they at least show what on earth the friggin' egg that Doumeki has been keeping forever is meant for?? In any case, it can't get any worse than the ending of 'Rou' ... right?

Before we get new manga updates, the live action drama of xxxholic will be premiering on the 24th. When I first saw stills from the drama adaptation, I wasn't too keen on it because the cast looked too different from how I envisioned the characters to be. Even now I think Watanuki's actor doesn't look 'Watanuki' enough (and his deep voice is too Doumeki!) and Himawari deserves a prettier actress but after watching the 5 minute opening and other clips, I'm getting excited for the drama. The tone of the opening scene makes the drama feel creepier than I remember the manga or anime to be but in general the sets and costumes are gorgeous and help bring the strange world of xxxholic to life.

by the beach

Drama status: a mixed bag


~ On Call 36 Hours [25][HK drama]
It doesn't bring anything new to the plate as far as plot points are concerned - if you're a tvb regular you'd have seen them one time or another - but'On Call' brings it all together seamlessly with the briskness and humour I have come to expect of hk dramas. It also has lots of heart and I was moved to tears at quite a few scenes from the beautiful relationships between family members, friends, lovers.
Unlike previous hk police procedurals which hurt my brain with some less than logical cases, this one's a medical one and I gladly bought into all the foreign medical jargon and cases thrown at me. Plus there were many meaningful lessons taught through the life and death situations encountered by the doctors at the hospital and gives the viewers food for thought on life and hope. The slow burning romance between Yat Kin Tau and Yu Zai was also the highlight of the drama and I love how their relationship is based on their mutual admiration and understanding of each other's strengths and flaws. Once I start writing on 'On Call', I feel like there's so many things I want to say about the individual characters but I'll leave that for another post. For now, I highly recommend everyone check it out here with english subs
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sun and sand

The Grandmaster

I've finished 'Likit Fah Chata Din' and have started on 'Manee Dan Suaang' but I'm feeling terribly lazy about writing these days so lakorn thoughts will come later... I hope.

Wong Kar Wai's arty-farty take on Wing Chun master Ip Man is finally making its way to the big screen and I'm really excited about it. I don't like Zhang Ziyi but heck, it has Tony Leung!!!, Chang Chen!!! (whose scenes were unfortunately chopped to a measly 3 in the final cut) and amazing fight scenes choreograph by Yuen Woo Ping.
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